§ Order for Committee thereon read.
MR. GRANT DUFF
Sir, in bringing the subject of the transfer of the seat of the Indian Government before the notice of the House last year, I went at so much length into the question of the unhealthiness of Calcutta, and of the danger therefrom resulting to valuable European life, that I think I shall be justified in saying nothing about it on this occasion; more especially as little was proved by my hon. Friend the Member for Lancaster, and others, who took a view opposite to mine; except, what of course I never attempted to deny, that, namely, many have been known to survive a residence in that agreeable and salubrious capital. The truth is, that at Calcutta, as in most parts of India, all complaints are made much more dangerous by alarm. The more sensible part of the population is accordingly always in a tacit conspiracy to maintain that the climate is not so very bad, and my hon. Friend the Member for Lancaster has evidently not even now got rid of the habit of asking, 'Who's afraid?' and of'Whistling up Lord Lennox' MarchTo keep his courage cheery.I shall therefore confine myself entirely to the political reasons which seem to me to make in favour of a change in the seat of our Indian Government. In the first place, it will not be denied that this charming climate is at least somewhat enervating; that although officials and barristers are longer at their offices and in the courts than in England, the business done is much smaller; and the machine of government is perpetually working at half power. In the second place, Bengal is an exceptional country; there are few districts in 1287 India from which it is so dangerous for an English ruler to generalize. If ever any Governor-General imagines that the people of the North West will submit to half the ill-treatment to which the Bengalee will submit, we may have to face a convulsion, to which the mutinies were a joke. The permanent settlement, the indigo cultivation, the influence of the planters, and of the English colony in Calcutta, are all peculiarities of Bengal, which render it a very misleading residence for those who have to rule the gigantic assemblage of nations which we call by the collective name of India. The leading journal recently put this argument with great force, when it said, If we can conceive that France had been ever ruled, not from Paris, but from Nantes, and by a government imbued exclusively with the local traditions of Brittany, we shall get some idea of the effects produced by governing India from Calcutta.' The arguments in favour of Calcutta have been well summed up by Mr. Marshman. First, it is the pivot of the Ganges trade; secondly, it is on the estuary of a hundred rivers; thirdly, it would be too expensive to remove our records; fourthly, it would be impossible to remove our Mint, our Treasury, or our Financial Secretary; fifthly, we have at Calcutta the largest Anglo-Saxon independent community in India; and sixthly, Calcutta is not so far from being central as many people are accustomed to believe. To these observations I reply—first, I do not for a moment dispute that Calcutta must always remain an extremely important commercial city; the New Orleans of the Gangetic Delta, and the resort probably at no distant period of many more adventurous persons who desire to become quickly rich than it now holds; secondly, the very fact of its being upon an estuary makes it a great market, but an unhealthy seat of Government; thirdly, the sooner we remove our records the less expensive it will be; fourthly, with regard to the question of the Mint, I have been assured by some who ought to know that there would be some difficulty in taking away our Mint and our Treasury from Calcutta, but if so, these portions of the Governmental machine might be left there; fifthly, part of the Anglo-Saxon community would follow Government, and I am by no means sure that the influence of the Anglo-Saxon community in Calcutta, although it may have been of use in modifying some of the traditions of the Com- 1288 pany, is likely to be of permanent benefit to our Indian Central Administration; sixthly, I sincerely hope that we are not likely to extend ourselves much further towards China and the Eastern Peninsula, and I am sure that if fate forces upon us further conquests in those regions, Calcutta will not be the best centre from which to govern them, For the present at least, the great point seems to me to be to get our seat of Government away from Calcutta. If we do this, I care less whither we go. It is more than doubtful whether for the next ten years our Indian Government might not with great advantage be ambulatory. If, however, we select some one place, which of course we must eventually do, I am clear that it should be in Western India. Mr. Campbell, before the mutinies, proposed Deyrah-Mussoorie, and others have advocated Simla. Agra also has had its partisans; but to all these suggestions there is one sufficient answer: 'Cela nous engage trop,' as the French would say. No one can reasonably advocate the establishment of our seat of Government in any one of these places, unless he believes that England is to rule India as long as the Ganges runs to the sea. Whatever may be the favourite routes to India, when all the countries which lie between us and our Indian Empire are thoroughly opened up, they must all converge on some point in the Bombay Presidency. Whether we sail round the Cape or by the Mediterranean and the Red Sea, or travel by land, as many now living will probably do across Western Asia, we must, in the nature of things, first touch Indian soil at a point far distant from Calcutta; and even when the railway system is completed, the traveller from England must, after crossing the Indian frontier, undertake a journey across a miniature continent before Calcutta can be reached. Neither the Indus Valley nor Guzerat and the adjoining countries have any point to show which seems very desirable for a capital. We are driven, if we look in the map, continually further south, till we arrive in the neighbourhood of Bombay itself, and are brought to two points which have been frequently named as possible future sites of Indian Government, I mean to Bombay and Poonah. The respective merits of these I discussed at length last year, and need not say more at present than that the advantages of Bombay are sufficiently obvious, but that Poonah is superior to it in salubrity, in being less 1289 exposed to any attack from the sea, and in affording much less expensive sites for crecting new buildings. It is to the region, and not to the particular spots, that I wish to call attention. The different effects of the climate are sufficiently visible in the character of the inhabitants; for the most remarkable thing which has been done in modern times by natives of India was done by the men of the very district to which I am directing attention. I mean, of course, the foundation of that great Mahratta power which shook the throne of the Moguls, and measured its strength with that of England more than once, upon fields which were inglorious neither to the conqueror nor to the conquered. Let us suppose our empire continuously prosperous. What part of India, if we except the Himalayan range, possesses so many places where hard work may be done without injuring European life? Again, suppose our empire unprosperous, what part of India contains so many fastnesses where a small force of Europeans could defend themselves against overwhelming numbers, until reinforcements came across the sea? But whether we determine to fix our seat of Government in south-western India or not, at least let us determine to leave Calcutta; or, if we cannot determine even to do that, let us determine to call our Council together periodically in different places, until some one appears so peculiarly convenient as to warrant our making it the centre of our rule. There seems to be a much greater probability now than there ever has been yet that India will ere long send you back a fair percentage of men who may be useful in the public life of this country. She has sent, ere this, to our shores many hundred trained administrators; but they have generally wanted that breadth of culture which was necessary to enable them to take a foremost place in England. The men whom the competitive system gives you will have the inestimable advantage of early responsibility, which the older Indians had, and in addition they will have the not less important training in this country between eighteen and two or three and twenty, which the older Indians had not. It is not unreasonable to suppose that some of the very best of our servants will be attached to the Central Indian Government. Well then, let them work in as healthy localities as possible, if only that we may get more work out of them when they return to this country.
§ MR. GREGSON
observed, that to a considerable extent the wishes of the hon. Gentleman were already practically carried out, for the Governor General had a kind of roving commission, going to Agra at one time and the upper provinces at another. It was very true, that if the seat of Government were to be selected for the first time, it might be possible to fix on a site more convenient than Calcutta; but it would be attended with very great expense to remove the whole of the establishments from Calcutta, and he did not think any sufficient reason had been shown for the change.
§ SIR CHARLES WOOD
said, he would admit that the question had excited a good deal of interest in India, and many persons entertained the opinion that it was desirable that the seat of Government should be removed from Calcutta. But the hon. Gentleman who introduced the question had not thrown any great light on the subject. It, in fact, was a mere repetition of the debate of last year, and, after all, they were left considerably in the dark as to what the hon. Gentleman intended to propose. The only point on which he appeared at all to have made up his mind was, that the seat of government should, at all events, be removed from Calcutta, and, go wandering about India until it could find a place of rest. Now, a more inconvenient mode of proceeding than that he could not well conceive. Nothing could be more unwise than to leave Calcutta before they had determined where the new seat of Government should be. Calcutta had for many years been the seat of Government; all the public establishments were there, and great expense must be incurred if they were removed from year to year, and from place to place, until a more eligible site should finally be fixed upon. Such a scheme would be most extravagant and unwise. A plan had, indeed, been under the consideration of the Governor General for his Council to meet in some other part of India than in Calcutta during the ensuing autumn. There was no difficulty in that arrangement, but there would be the greatest possible difficulty in transferring the public establishments, with all the secretaries and clerks, from one part of India to another. He did not think such a roving commission as the hon. Gentleman proposed could possibly eventuate in any good whatever. It did appear to him a most unreasonable proposition, and till it was definitively settled where the new seat of Government should be, it 1291 would certainly be exceedingly unwise leave Calcutta.
§ MR. LIDDELL
said, he wished to remind the right hon. Baronet that he had not answered the Question he had put to him—whether the Governor General of India had the power of ordering troops upon foreign service without the previous sanction of that House? The question was very important with reference to what was happening in New Zealand and Japan.
§ SIR CHARLES WOOD
said, he did not think that under ordinary circumstances the Governor General would do so, but under extraordinary circumstances no doubt he would exercise that power.
§ MR. W. B. FORSTER
considered that the subject to which the hon. Member for Northumberland (Mr. Liddell) referred involved a constitutional question of much importance, and had a most important bearing on the revenues of India. He thought that the answer of the right hon. Gentleman rendered it necessary that fuller information should be given to the House upon it. From what had happened in China and what he supposed was happening in Japan, as well as from what was about to happen in New Zealand, it appeared that the Crown had the disposal of a much larger army than was voted by that House. He did not object to the employment of Sikh troops in New Zealand, but it appeared that by little and little the Crown was getting the disposal of a much larger force than was voted by Parliament, and it was highly important that the relations in which we stood to the Indian army should in this respect be clearly established and understood. The subject was noticed when the Bill for amalgamating the Indian with the Queen's army was under discussion, and the difficulty was foreseen by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, who introduced a clause to meet it. It was a high breach of the privileges of the people to maintain a standing army without the authority of Parliament, and the precise number of men of which the army was to consist was annually voted by the House. But if they permitted the employment, without remark, of Indian troops out of India, although there might appear reasons for it, the result would be to place at the disposal of the Crown an army of 100,000 or 200,000 men beyond the force directly sanctioned by the House.
§ SIR HENRY WILLOUGHBY
said, he thought the matter of the greatest importance. He had put a Question to the noble 1292 Lord the Under Secretary for War, which he appeared unable to answer. He wished to know how the Sikh troops to be employed in New Zealand were to be paid. The Executive, it appeared, took upon themselves the responsibility to employ the troops, and that House had to lament and pay the bill. He hoped the noble Viscount would explain the views of the Government, not only on the constitutional, but also on the financial question.
§ VISCOUNT PALMERSTON
I think the hon. Gentleman has considerably exaggerated the importance of the matter when he says the Government are taking to themselves the disposition of 200,000 or 300,000 men of the Indian army. The troops in India are paid out of the Indian revenue, and we cannot take them elsewhere without providing for them pay out of the revenue of the country; and therefore it is obvious, that although you may have a large number of troops in India, we cannot employ them elsewhere, or, at least, only in very limited numbers, and provided that the expense caused in so employing them can be met out of the sum already voted by Parliament for military purposes. What has happened in this case? Disturbances have unexpectedly broken out in New Zealand. We have reduced the number of troops in the Colony, confiding in the continuance of peace; and when these disturbances unexpectedly took place, the Governor felt, that for the safety of the European inhabitants, and for the interests of the Crown, an additional force would be required. He applied to us that three regiments, consisting of something like 3,000 men, should be sent from India to New Zealand. I think the Government would have been neglectful of their duty, and would have assumed a very great responsibility, if they had refused to comply with that requisition. We believed that upon a compliance with that request the safety of the lives and property of the colonists to a great extent depended. The Government, however, could only do so upon the condition that the additional expense caused by the transfer of that limited number of men from the Indian revenue to the Imperial revenue—if not met out of the amount already voted, or by the contributions of the Colony—should be submitted to Parliament next Session, when we ask the House to grant, as I have no doubt it will, the amount necessary to meet this additional expense. This is a very limited proceeding, arising from an urgent neces- 1293 sity, and which could not have been delayed without much danger.
§ COLONEL SYKES
observed, that the Act transferring the Indian territories to the Crown absolutely prohibited Indian troops from serving out of India; but, in its passage through the House of Lords, an alteration was made to the effect that Indian troops should not be so employed "at the expense of the revenues of India." The result was to leave the control of 200,000 or 300,000 men at the disposal of the Government at home, to be employed in any part of the world. It was a very grave constitutional question, which the House ought to consider. We were now going to send Sikhs to slaughter the aboriginal inhabitants of New Zealand upon a land dispute, in which they were right and we were wrong.
§ East India Revenue Accounts considered in Committee.
§ (In the Committee).
§ SIR CHARLES WOOD
I am happy to say that upon the present occasion I have a very easy, and, I trust, a satisfactory task to perform in stating the progress of Indian revenue and expenditure in the present and two preceding years. The accounts are rendered in the old accustomed form, and therefore it is not necessary for me to occupy any time in explaining them. The accounts with which we have first to deal are those of 1861–2, up to the 30th of April 1862, and the regular estimate for 1862–3. As to the year 1861–2, I am glad to say there has been a great increase in the revenue of India. When the regular estimate was submitted to the House last year, it was estimated that there would be a deficiency of some £600,000. I am happy to say, that although the expenditure has exceeded the estimate to the extent of £370,000, yet the revenue has increased to a larger extent—namely, £920,000, in round numbers. So the deficiency, instead of £600,000, will be only £50,000. The actual revenue was £43,829,000, the estimated amount being only £42,911,000. The actual expenditure was £43,880,000, the estimate having been £43,506,000, or an increase of £374,000; but the excess of revenue over the estimate, as I have said, reduced the actual deficiency to only £50,000. There are variations in the items which Jed to that result. There was a considerable increase in the land revenues of £862,000, a portion of which was, however, of a temporary character. There 1294 was a decrease in the revenue from salt—£547,000, not arising from a diminution in the quantity used by the natives, but because English salt has been substituted, to a large extent, for the salt manufactured by the natives, and the English salt having paid duty in the previous year the receipt did not appear in the accounts of the year 1861–2. There was a considerable increase in the expenditure for the army—£880,000, to discharge some arrears for the old mutiny, that had not been brought to account. Upon the other hand, there was a diminution in the cost of opium—£600,000. On the whole, the result is as I have stated. I think I may fairly congratulate the House upon the circumstance, that so soon after the mutiny we have arrived at a practical equality between Indian expenditure and Indian revenue. I have been sometimes accused of taking too sanguine a view of Indian revenue, and sometimes I have been accused of taking too desponding a view; but my only object has ever been to lay before the House what I believed to be a fair view of the prospects of the revenue, and it is satisfactory to find that the anticipations which I ventured to make as long ago as 1859, when I first assumed my present office, and again in 1860, when I had obtained some experience in it—that those anticipations have been fully borne out by the results. I said in 1859 I hoped, by judicious economy, we might, in two or three years, bring about an equilibrium of revenue and expenditure. In 1860 I ventured to state, that by reduction of expenditure and increase of taxation the equilibrium would probably be obtained in 1861–2. The view I then took has been verified by the event, for we are so near an equilibrium that the deficiency in that year is only £50,000 upon a revenue and expenditure exceeding 40 millions. That is all which it is necessary for me to say upon the accounts of 1861–2. I now come to what is called the regular estimate for the year 1862–3, which is an estimate of the public income and expenditure for the year made up shortly before the close of the year, and very nearly approaches correctness. The budget estimate of 1862–3, as transmitted from India, showed a probable surplus of £179,000, but it was my duty to state last year that I thought some items should be omitted and some inserted, and that after these corrections the result would be a probable deficiency of £800,000. But in this case, still more than in that of 1861–2, the estimate of reve- 1295 nue and also, to a lesser extent, of expenditure, were under the mark. It appeared clear, soon after the year had begun, that revenue was increasing more rapidly than had been estimated in April. As long ago as December last we received a despatch from India which showed that in all probability the revenue would be £1,018,000 higher than the estimate laid before the Council of the Governor General in the April preceding, and that the expenditure would be about £702,000 higher than had been estimated, thus reducing the anticipated deficiency by £316,000. But I am glad to say, that by the figures of the regular estimate it appears that the increase of revenue has been more extraordinary and the increase of expenditure has been less than was then expected. The regular estimate of 1862–3 gave a probable income of £45,105,000. The Budget estimate of April 1862 assumed a probable income of £42,971,000. In March 1863 the increase of revenue, compared with the estimate, was no less than £2,134,000. Of that sum, £1,550,000 is due to the increased revenue from opium, the whole amount which it is expected will be received from that source during the year being £7,850,000. In the salt revenue there is an increase above the Budget estimate of £280,000, which is most satisfactory, because it furnishes a strong proof of the prosperity of India. The land sayer and abkarry revenue shows an increase of £300,000. These are the main sources of increase which make up the £2,134,000. The expenditure in India is higher by about £440,000 than was anticipated in the Budget estimate; but, on the other hand, the expenditure in England has been considerably less. I wish I could say that the reduction of the expenditure in England was a real and actual reduction. I am afraid that is mainly due to the postponement of certain expenses, partly of some Admiralty claims, partly for the construction of the India Office, and partly for the construction of the electric telegraph cable through the Persian Gulf; but, so far as the year goes, there is a reduction of about £395,000. The result, therefore, is that the regular estimate of expenditure is £43,825,000, and the Budget estimate £43,779,000; the increase of expenditure, taking India and England together, is only £46,000; and, subtracting the expenditure from the revenue, a surplus of £1,280,000 is left upon 1296 the year. I am still more happy to say that I have not the least doubt that the revenue will exceed the regular estimate. Even in this country it is not easy to be correct in estimating revenue, and in India it is even less easy, the estimate of revenue made by Mr. Laing before he left India being more that £2,000,000 under the amount which it seems now probable will be received. But what is more material, as indicating the progress of the country, is a comparison of the estimate fir 1862–3 with the actual accounts of 1861–2. The revenue of 1862–3 may be taken at £45,105,000; that of 1861–2 was £43,829,000; so that the revenue of 1862–3, if the anticipations of the regular estimate are verified, will show an increase of £1,276,000, compared with the revenue of the preceding year. An increase of about £1,500,000 is due to the opium revenue; and the increased revenue from salt in 1862–3, as compared with 1861–2, is £770,000. The expenditure in India in 1861–2 was £37,245,000; in 1862–3 it amounted to £37,228,000, the reduction of expenditure in the latter year being only £16,000. The army has been reduced by about £1,215,000; but the opium charge is more by £544,000, and a larger amount of interest has to be paid, to the extent of £275,000. The decrease in expenditure is £55,000, taking England and India together; the increase of revenue is £1,276,000. This is the more satisfactory, because the reduction of the 10 per cent duty to 5 per cent had taken place, so that the revenue has kept up in spite of that reduction. I now come to the year 1863–4, which is the current year. This is what is called the Budget estimate, which is laid by the Government of India before the Council of the Governor General, before the commencement of each year. The revenue of 1863–4, before any reduction of taxation, is estimated at £45,306,000, and the expenditure at £44,490,000, leaving a probable surplus of £816,000. That being the state of the prospective revenue and expenditure, the Government of India thought it advisable to reduce taxation to a certain extent. Everybody knows that a sort of pledge was given that the income tax should cease at the end of the appointed period, and in order to show that they were honest in this intention, and to relieve the people of India from the pressure of a tax which is felt very severely, the Indian Government reduced the income tax by 1 per cent. 1297 At the same time they reduced the duty of 10 per cent upon the raw material of iron, a duty which I think ought never to have been imposed—and also the duty upon beer, one of the most wholesome beverages in India, and consumed there by Europeans. It is most desirable to extend the consumption of this beverage, so as to diminish that of spirits, which are much more deleterious. The reduction of the income tax and the Customs duties together amount to £335,000, leaving a probable surplus of £480,000 for the current year. In the estimate of revenue opium figures to a very large amount, the anticipated receipt from this source in the course of the year being no less than £8,000,000. The increased expenditure is upon public works, to the amount of from £400,000 to £500,000, but there is also a very considerable increase in the charge for the police force and for law courts—establishments intimately connected with the peace and tranquillity of the country. These items represent the principal increases in the expenditure of the year. The satisfactory condition of the revenue is, of course, owing to the general improvement and growing prosperity of the country. The reduction of expenditure is due, in a great measure, to the exertions made by the Government of India; and the Committee would probably like to see what these reductions have been during the last three or four years. The year of highest expenditure was 1859–60, when the gross expenditure was £50,475,000. Between that and the next year a reduction took place of £3,551,000; in the year following there was a reduction of £3,044,000; in the year which ended last April the whole reduction will be about £55,000; but, in the present year, owing mainly to the causes I have mentioued—namely, the larger grant for public works, police, and courts of justice, there will be an increase of expenditure amounting to £665,000, still leaving, after the reduction of the duties, a surplus of £480,000, Now, the great reduction, of course, has been in the military force. The highest charge for the military force was in 1858–9, and, comparing that with the last year, there will be found a reduction of from £25,500,000, to £14,500,000, or about £11,000,000. The charge is still considerably higher than it was before the mutiny, but that increase mainly results from the substitution of a much larger European force and the reduction of the native force. During the last year we have discontinued 1298 the Indian navy. That has been not from the slightest disregard of the merits and claims of this branch of the service, but because the state of things has very much changed from what it was in former years. In the early period of Indian history there was, in point of fact, no Indian navy at all, and the defence of India depended entirely upon the Royal Navy. Subsequently, the Bombay marine and the Indian navy were created, mainly for local purposes—the conveyance of troops, the suppression of the slave trade, and the prevention of piracy—and they performed these services admirably. But a considerable change has now taken place. Large French frigates now constantly visit those seas, and, with a view to the adequate protection of English interests there, it is indispensable that such a naval force should be there as could not be maintained by the Indian Government. The Indian navy was not calculated to meet or to cope with the vessels of first-rate European Powers. It was therefore thought desirable to reduce that force within smaller limits; but on learning that this was our intention, the officers, and the commodore who was at the head of that navy, expressed the opinion that if we were to reduce it to so small a force as was proposed, it would be hardly possible to keep up the spirit and the character of that force. We therefore determined that it would be far more advantageous to put an end to the service altogether; but it must not be supposed on that account that the officers, wherever they were employed, whether the Bengal marine in China or the Indian navy at Mohammera, did not perform the most distinguished services. The measure adopted did not originate in any doubt as to the admirable manner in which they discharged their duties, but it was thought desirable, simply for public reasons, not to continue the service. It may be interesting to the Committee to see a comparison of the year of highest charge and that of highest revenue. The charges were highest in 1859–60, when they amounted to £50,475,000, and lowest in 1862–3, when they were £43,825,000, being a reduction of £6,650,000 in the expenses of the Government. This reduction is certainly due to the exertions made by the Government in India; and I must say, in justice to the Financial Commission, at the head of which was first Colonel Jameson and then Colonel Balfour, that they deserve the greatest credit for their efforts to reduce 1299 any expenditure not absolutely required by public necessity. On the other hand, there has been an increase in the revenue from 1859–60 to 1862–3, in spite of some reductions, of £5,400,000. That is a satisfactory change, and shows the manner in which the resources of India have developed themselves. I do not suppose that we can effect much reduction in the civil establishments in that country. There will be some reduction, no doubt, in the interest of the debt, in the guaranteed interest on account of railways, and in what is called the loss by exchange. This is going on from year to year. On the other hand, there are some items of expense with respect to which we must expect an increase to take place. The great item in which an increase will take place is, of course, that of public works in India, which are necessary for so many purposes, and which can only be carried on by the Government. The first great cause of increased expense under this head will be for military works in an improved construction of barracks. In consequence of the Report of the Commission appointed to inquire into the sanitary condition of the Indian army, a question was put the other night for the purpose of ascertaining whether we were prepared to take any steps in reference to the mortality in the Indian army. I am sorry that that question was worded as it was, because I think that a careful examination of the documents contained in the Report would have shown that the general conclusion as to the mortality, though perfectly correct for a long period, was based on facts going so far back that they do not afford a very good index of the sanitary state of the Indian army at the present moment. There is not the least doubt that the habits of the soldiers were more intemperate in former years than now, and the rate of mortality which prevailed some forty years ago is no good criterion of the rate of mortality at present. If we look to Sir A. Tulloch's evidence, on which this statement is founded, we find that the conclusion arrived at is founded on accounts embracing four or five years of extraordinary mortality, which serve to swell up the average. For instance, during the Burmese war in 1824 and the two following years the mortality was 129 per 1,000, 157 per 1,000, and 158 per 1,000. In the year of the Cabul massacre the mortality was 107, and in the first year of the Sikh war 124 per 1,000. These few years swell the average in a wonderful way. Those were periods of war; but if we take 1300 periods of peace, the decrease of mortality is remarkable as we approach the present I time. In the period of peace before the Burmese war the mortality was 75 per 1,000; and in the next successive periods of peace the mortality was respectively 53 per 1,000, 50 per 1,000, 42 per 1,000, and 32½ per 1,000. During the mutiny in India, the mortality in twenty regiments which were sent from this country, but which were not in action, was only 34 per 1,000; and in eight regiments which were in India at the time, but not engaged, the mortality was only 30 per 1,000. But coming to the last year for which we have complete returns, the year 1861, I find that in that year in Bengal the mortality was 47 per 1,000, of which nearly one-half was owing to an outbreak of cholera; in Madras the mortality was only 12.8 per 1,000, and in Bombay only 20 per 1,000. That is by no means a higher mortality than prevails in more temperate climates. According to the Report of the Sanitary Commission in 1857 the mortality of the foot guards at home was 20.4, and of the infantry of the line 18.7, per 1,000. Referring to the rate of mortality in the West Indies, I find it stated at 60 per 1,000; in Ceylon at 38 per 1,000, in the Bermudas at 35 per 1,000, and in the Mauritius at 24 per 1,000. The rate of mortality, therefore, as stated in the Report of the Commission on the sanitary state of the Indian army, is not a fair representation of the ordinary mortality at present, sufficient allowance not being made for the casualties of the service, and for the deaths of persons suffering from wounds and diseases contracted in service. The ordinary mortality in India in times of peace is nothing like that which has been stated in the Report, and I think it right to make this statement, because some alarm might otherwise exist in the public mind. It is not, however, to be supposed that we will relax in the least in our sanitary precautions, for it is incumbent on us to take every means for the preservation of the lives of our troops in India. Another source of increased expenditure is the carrying on of works of a re-productive character. The total sum to be applied to public works in the year 1863–4 amounts to £5,237,200, and in-eluding the guaranteed interest on railways to £9,237,200. On this point. Sir C. Trevelyan, in his financial statement for 1863 4, made this further statement—The Government desires that it may clearly 1301 be understood that any funds that can be expended with advantage on cotton roads, on works of irrigation or navigation, or on any other useful works, will be granted during the ensuing year. There will be no difficulty as far as money is concerned. The only limit will be the impossibility, in particular cases, of getting value for the outlay.I can assure the House that for some time past there has been no check whatsoever as far as money goes. As regards railroads, if hon. Gentlemen will look at the Report laid on the table by Mr. Danvers, they will see that some railroads are completed, others are approaching completion, and that others are progressing rapidly. The whole amount now opened is 2,500 miles; 747 were opened last year, and 759 in 1861. The East India Railway is very nearly completed, with some small breaks, and I am glad to say that under the direction of Mr. Turnbull the works have been admirably executed. The Great Indian Peninsula—one of the greatest works ever accomplished—is rapidly progressing. The Bhore Ghaut incline, which surmounts an elevation of 1,800 feet in fifteen miles, was opened in April last. The scenery there is most beautiful; it really is almost worth while going so far to see the magnificent works which have been erected there. If any one is disposed to go, by this time next year he would have an opportunity of seeing works equally great on the sister incline—the Thull Ghaut. The amount of the estimated expenditure on these great lines is £60,000,000. Of this, £56,000,000 has been sanctioned. £48,000,000 has been raised, and £46,000,000 has been spent. The opening of these different means of communication from one part of India to another will be of the greatest possible advantage to that country. As I have mentioned Mr. Turnbull, I ought also to mention Mr. Berkely, the engineer of the Great Indian Peninsula line, who unfortunately was not spared to see the result of his skill and labour. I have been charged with having over rated the value of railroads, and neglected other means of communication; but it does so happen, that though I sanctioned the opening of the Godavery, the project for irrigation on the Irawaddy, and that in Berar, a light branch railway company supported by many gentlemen from Manchester, and other works, it never fell to my lot to sanction the construction of any of these great lines of railway. When the railways are once commenced, the more rapid- 1302 ly they are pushed on the better. We guarantee the interest, and until the receipts begin to come in, of course that is so much out of pocket. I have therefore been most anxious for the completion of those which had been sanctioned by my predecessors. The House will be glad to hear, that whereas in 1861–2 the traffic returns were only £390,000, in 1863–4 they are estimated at £868,000. That, of course, is deducted from the guaranteed interest which we are liable to pay. I need not go into topics which have already been made the subject of discussion here this Session—such, for instance, as the sale of waste lands. On that question I will only refer to one assertion made—that there had been no applications to purchase waste lands during my tenure of office, whereas there were many applications for the purchase of waste lands before I came into office. I have made inquiries, and I find the statement is totally inaccurate. Applications were made to the East India Company to know whether there were lands for sale, by persons who required first to inspect maps of the district, so that they might select their lots. Of course, there were no maps which would enable them to do that; and hon. Gentlemen will see that these complaints of the want of a survey are quite inconsistent with the violent attacks made against me for requiring a previous survey. I see in some papers we have recently received from Madras that they have carried out my instructions, and insist upon nothing more than marking out the boundaries, and special care being taken that there is no encroachment on lands belonging to private persons. So far from there being no demands for the purchase of land, I find that there has been a great demand in almost every part of Madras, and in four districts alone for no less than 80,000 acres. But these lands are not available for the growth of cotton, they are better suited to the production of tea, coffee, and similar plants. I should mention also that we have lately introduced into India the culture of the cinchona, or bark plant. An enterprising gentleman, who is at present a clerk in the India Office, was sent to South America for some plants, carried them out to India, and plantations of them have been established in various parts of Madras, with every prospect of their flourishing and becoming a very important feature. With regard to cotton cultivation, on a recent occasion I stated what had been done and what might be 1303 done, and to what extent the natural demand would induce the ryots to cultivate cotton to a larger extent. The only matter in which I have had reason to think that Government interference might be useful is, that we have since learnt that a considerable drawback has been the want of gins—for those sent out from Manchester did not answer the purpose. We have sent instructions to the Bombay Government to extend the sphere of Dr. Forbes's operations, who is the superintendent of the gin factory, and to employ other officers for a similar purpose in other parts of the country. When the question of measures for increasing the production of cotton was discussed here, no practical suggestion of any sort or kind was made differing from what has been actually done, nor have I received any from the gentlemen from Manchester whom I have seen. I should be glad of any suggestion, though I myself do not believe it is possible to offer any. I believe the Government have done all than can be done, but I can assure my Manchester friends that the Government will spare no possible exertions to stimulate the production of cotton. It may be remembered that a matter which used to excite frequent discussion here was the question of the salt duty. The Government of India were asked to do first one thing and then another; they left the matter alone, and the result is this:—In 1842–3 the native salt was 4,700,000 maunds, and the English salt 892,000 maunds—altogether 5,592,000 maunds. In 1862–3 the native salt had fallen to 1,800,000 maunds, while British salt had risen to 6,054,000 maunds—in all 7,854,000, a total increase of 40 per cent. The importation of English salt in the twenty years had increased sevenfold. The natives at first had great prejudices to overcome, but at last they had come to prefer clean salt to dirty salt. To give an illustration of the advantage of railways, I may mention that of 1,220,000 maunds of salt sold at the Madras depot, as much as 1,000,000 went by rail into the interior. I may refer shortly to the Indian debt, which has been reduced by about a million in India and by one million and three-quarters in England, and we propose to make some changes in regard to debentures. About £5,000,000 of debentures become payable in October, and £3,000,000 in April next. We deem it, however, very desirable to create stock at a lower rate of interest than is now paid, and we have therefore resolved to 1304 issue some new stock at Four per Cent redeemable at the end of twenty-five years. It will be offered in the first instance to the holders of debentures which are about to expire; and if they will not accept it, they will of course be paid off. Thus I shall either establish a considerable amount of Four per Cent stock, or reduce the debt by paying off existing debentures. The great object we have in view is to place the credit of the Indian Government on a sound footing. The best way to do that is to prove that we are acting in good faith, by never borrowing except when it is really necessary, and by paying off our debts whenever we have the means to do so. We have shrunk from nothing that appeared to be desirable for the improvement of the country, and finding ourselves in the possession of a surplus we have thought it best to apply it to the reduction of the public debt. I trust that the statement I have made will be regarded as Satisfactory by the Committee. Throughout the length and breadth of India we hear of a progress and prosperity which must be deeply gratifying to all who have the interests of that country at heart, and from all quarters I receive assurances of the contentment and loyalty of the people. Although the material improvement has been owing to the development of the natural resources of India, still I believe that the measures which have been proposed by the Government and passed by Parliament have contributed not a little to this very satisfactory state of things. The natives have been admitted to the highest positions. They have been placed in the Council of the Governor General, on the Bench, and in other situations of high trust and dignity. The people are now, I hope and believe, convinced that India is governed by us for the benefit of the great mass of the population. In referring to these results I should not be doing justice to my own feelings if I did not express my obligations for the assistance I have derived from my Council and the support which the House has uniformly afforded to me. In conclusion, I now beg to move the following formal Resolutions, both as regards the legislative measures which I have submitted for its sanction, and for its general approval of the administrative measures in India, which have been at various times brought under discussion within these walls:—1. That the total net Revenues of the Territories and Departments under the immediate control 1305 of the Government of India for the year ended the 30th day of April 1862, amounted to £3,217,369 sterling, and the Charges thereof, for the same period, other than Military Charges, amounted to £2,991,607 sterling.2. That the total net Revenues of the Bengal Presidency, for the year ended the 30th day of April 1862, amounted to £11,066,945 sterling, and the Charges thereof, for the same period, other than Military Charges, amounted to £2,134,301 sterling.3. That the total net Revenues of the North-Western Provinces for the year ended the 30th day of April 1862, amounted to £5,993,549 sterling, and the Charges thereof, for the same period, other than Military Charges, amounted to £1,806,575 sterling.4. That the total net Revenues of the Punjab, for the year ended the 30th day of April 1862, amounted to £2,673,785 sterling, and the Charges thereof, for the same period, other than Military Charges, amounted to £1,257,805 sterling.5. That the net Revenues of the Territories and Departments under the immediate control of the Government of India, of the Bengal Presidency, of the North-Western Provinces, and of the Punjab, together, for the year ended the 30th day of April 1862, amounted to £22,951,648 sterling, and the Charges thereupon, including the Military Charges, amounted to £15,558,194 sterling, leaving a surplus available for the general Charges of India, of £7,393,454 sterling.6. That the total net Revenues of the Madras Presidency (Fort St. George), for the year ended the 30th day of April 1862, amounted to £5,925,140 sterling, and the net Charges thereof, for the same period, amounted to £5,905,809 sterling, leaving a surplus available in the above Presidency, for the general Charges of India, of £19,331 sterling.7. That the total net Revenues of the Bombay Presidency, for the year ended the 30th day of April 1862, amounted to £6,844,274 sterling, and the net Charges thereof, for the same period, amounted to £4,538,446 sterling, leaving a surplus available in the above Presidency, for the general Charges of India, of £2,305,828 sterling.8. That the total net Revenues of the several Presidencies, for the year ended the 30th day of April 1862, amounted to £35,721,062 sterling, and the Charges thereof amounted to £26,003,449 sterling, leaving a surplus Revenue of £9,718,613 sterling.9. That the Interest on the Registered Debt of India, paid in the year ended the 30th day of April 1862, amounted to £3,134,897 sterling, and the Charges defrayed in England, on account of the Indian Territory, in the same period, including Guaranteed Interest on the Capital of Railway and other Companies, after deducting net Traffic Receipts of Railways, amounted to £6,634,344 sterling, leaving a deficiency of Indian Income for the year ended as aforesaid, to defray the above Interest and Charges, of £50,628 sterling.
§ COLONEL SYKES
congratulated his right hon. Friend (Sir Charles Wood) on the satisfactory Report which he had been able to make as to the state of India, and particularly in respect to its financial condition. The right hon. Gentleman de- 1306 served much credit for his policy in admitting the Natives to positions of honour and trust, in confirming the princes, nobles, and gentry of India in their hereditary rights, and enabling them to hand their principalities and estates down by adoption. That single act had done more to inspire confidence in the people of India in the British Government than any other thing that had been done by the Government within his memory. He also gave the right hon. Gentleman credit for his policy in disposing of the waste lands for the public benefit; but the power of the Government was limited in this respect—as these lands belonged to the village communities, and it was only lands lying beyond village boundaries, with few exceptions, to which the Government could fairly lay claim. The financial prospects of India must cause great satisfaction to his right hon. Friend, for during the mutiny, and subsequently, they were a cause of uneasiness; for though India never had cost England hitherto one shilling, there seemed a probability of England being necessitated to come to her relief. But his right hon. Friend might recollect that in 1859, he (Colonel Sykes) put a pamphlet into his hands on the Past, Present, and Prospective Financial Condition of British India, in which a strong opinion was expressed that the annual deficits must be made to disappear by vigorous but prudent retrenchments in the military expenditure; and happily these views had been realized by the indefatigable and judicious labours of Colonels Jamieson, Balfour, and Burn, respectively, of the Bombay, Madras, and Bengal armies, constituting a Military Finance Commission, who by their reductions had converted a deficiency into a surplus in a shorter time than he (Colonel Sykes) had ventured to hope for. Not only his hon. Friend owed a debt of gratitude to these able officers, but the taxpayers of India were equally indebted to them, and the country would expect that the great services of these officers, now that the Military Finance Commission was abolished, would be suitably recompensed. He (Colonel Sykes) could have wished that his observations had here terminated with expressions of approval; but the Report of the Royal Sanitary Commission, at the head of which was Lord Stanley, upon the health of the European troops in India, called for some observations in a tone unfortunately not commendatory. The Report of the Commission reviewed the vital 1307 statistics for a period exceeding eighty years, and he greatly feared that the soundness of its conclusions was not to be disturbed by the happy accident of a recent diminished mortality. Such favourable anomalies as had been relied on by his right hon. Friend had often occurred in the death-rate since the year 1800. The Commissioners reported that every 100 men sent to India requited eleven recruits annually to keep up the number. An army of Europeans in India, numbering 85,856 men, required 10,000 recruits annually, one-half the recruits died in five years, and the recruits of the year lost 10.75 per cent within the year. No less than sixty-nine per 1,000 of our troops had perished in India every year; and a company out of every regiment was sacrificed every twenty months. Those companies faded away in the prime of life, leaving few or no children, and they had to be replaced at a great cost by successive shiploads of recruits. It was shown, in a table prepared by Dr. Farr, that of 100,000 men sent to India only 43,344 remained in the ninth year, and that in the twentieth year there were only 9,604, out of the 100,000, which 9,604 died in that year at the rate of 12 1–10th per cent. This was a lamentable destruction of men between the ages of twenty-one and forty-five years of age, and these results were the average of the experience of nearly a century; but notwithstanding these circumstances, we had been increasing the drain of men from this country. In 1856 the number of commissioned officers of European regiments in India was 5,996, and the number of non-commissioned officers and men 39,108. In 1861 the number of commissioned officers was 8,324, and the number of non-commissioned officers and men 75,759, the increased number of Europeans therefore 40,979. The consequence of the increase in the number of European troops in India was an increased sacrifice of human life amounting to 4,023 annually; that was to say, whereas before the mutiny 45,104 men and officers, at the rate of eleven per 1,000 to supply vacancies, including invaliding, required 4,310 men annually, in 1861, with 86,083 men and officers, 8,333 men were required to fill vacancies, including invaliding, 4,023 more than were required in 1856. This lamentably increased waste of youthful British blood and sinew was occasioned by our distrust of the loyalty of the remaining Dative troops in India—a distrust for which 1308 there was no just grounds if we weigh carefully the conduct of the great majority of the native troops during the period of the mutiny of the Bengal army. Fourteen regiments of the Bengal army were not led astray by their comrades, and remain embodied to this day in the Bengal army. The Madras army remained loyal to a man, and in the Bombay army there were only two regiments in which a disposition was manifested to mutiny, and the majority of the men in these two regiments were of the same high caste—Brahmins and Rajpoots—and drawn from the same locality as the Bengal sepoys. They had the testimony of the right hon. Gentleman himself, that the native princes and gentlemen generally remained loyal, and the people at large showed little sympathy for the mutineers. By what troops had we won India? The British had never been one to seven as compared with the Native troops in action. The European troops had been, in fact, auxiliaries, and for a century our sepoys had loyally fought for us. Was it fair, then, to withdraw our confidence from men who had heretofore done us such good service? He was greatly afraid also that the conversion of the old Native veteran soldier of India into a military policeman, which Was the prospect before him as an irregular, would plant in the hearts of those soldiers a feeling of deep dissatisfaction. They would look upon their new position, as irregulars, as a degradation, and it would needlessly estrange them from the Government. In a recently published pamphlet, Major-General George Malcolm, a distinguished Indian officer, said that the service was becoming less popular with the Natives, and was rapidly losing its respectability. The financial result of the great increase of the European army in India was also a very important one. In 1856 the military charges in India, including the Indian navy, amounted to £11,463,775, whereas in 1862 they were £14,368,093, showing an increase of £2,904,318. That was in spite of the reduction in the native army, which in 1856 consisted of 235,221 men, and in 1861 of 137,804 only. The saving by the reduction of the Native army was £1,948,340, but the increased charge for European soldiers was £4,023,000, so that the substitution of Europeans had occasioned an annual increased charge of £2,040,660. Again, in 1856 the home charges amounted to £3,374,179, while in 1862 they were £5,209,264. Each 1309 European soldier in India cost £18 12s. 8d. per annum, exclusive of £13 3s. for barrack accommodation, but including all extra charges. The cost of a European soldier in India was about £104 per man. The Native soldier did not cost more than two rupees, or 4s., for barrack accommodation; that was to say, he was allowed two rupees per annum hutting money, and be hutted himself or built his own but in the lines. Complaints had been made of the defective barrack accommodation for the European soldier; but in truth in some parts of India a barrack was a palatial edifice, and the utmost attention was paid to the comfort of the soldier. Ventilation was effected by large fans being suspended and kept in constant motion by natives employed for the purpose. In the not winds, fragrant grass mats were placed at every opening and kept watered, and the wind passing through got cooled. The amusement of the men was also attended to by supplying them with racket courts and tool-shops, and they were at some stations supplied with plots of garden ground to cultivate, but unhappily the precautions to preserve their health were rendered ineffectual by an uncontrolable amount of intemperance and venereal disease. He thought he had now shown, that on the ground of humanity as well as of finance it was desirable that a great diminution should take place in the number of European troops in India; and he trusted that the facts he had stated would not be lost sight of, but would save hundreds of the families of the labouring classes from the constantly-recurring pang of the death of a young relative amongst the European troops in India.
§ MR. VANSITTART
said, there was no great inducement for any one to take part in the discussion, for be had observed that while the hon. and gallant Officer was making his speech there were not more than sixteen Members present. It was not his intention, therefore, to occupy the House for more than a few moments. One of the most satisfactory features connected with the financial statement of the Secretary of State was that it was unaccompanied by a narrative of one of those painful controversies between himself and the Commissioner of a minor Presidency, or between himself and the Indian Minister of Finance, which in so much detail had, on former occasions, formed part of his annual expositions. The Indian Government might also be congratulated on the 1310 condition of its finances, and on its transition from chronic insolvency to restored public credit. That result, he believed, was mainly due to that indefatigable public servant Mr. Laing, who lost no time, on succeeding to the late Mr. Wilson, in remedying some of the mischief which that gentleman inadvertently occasioned by his endeavour to assimilate the taxation of India to that which prevailed in this country. Foremost among the objectionable taxes imposed by Mr. Wilson was that most odious of all imposts, the income tax. Looking to the flourishing state of the Indian revenue, and considering the fact that those people residing in this country who had money remitted to them from India—of whom he was not one—were subjected to a double income tax, it was to be regretted that Sir Charles Trevelyan did not sweep the tax away altogether, instead of dealing with it in a peddling way by making a reduction of one penny.
§ MR. VANSITTART
said, that a reduction of one per cent did not make much difference in such a tax. He was persuaded that the income tax might have been dispensed with altogether if Sir C. Trevelyan had retained the salt monopoly for a short time longer. During his stay in India he had never heard a single word of complaint from the natives against the salt tax, and he was afraid that the imposition of a heavy excise duty upon the manufacture of salt would make the natives believe that we had been actuated solely by a desire to promote British interests, for it was quite impossible that the native salt could compete with Cheshire salt. It was satisfactory to know, however, that the Indian Government had been able, not only to remit taxation, but to reduce expenditure by many millions. The Home Government should also take care to co-operate with the authorities in India, and endeavour to effect a corresponding reduction in the expenditure in this country which had frequently been denounced as excessive. He had no further observations to make, except, that although, no doubt, the utmost tranquillity prevailed in India, and railways were being rapidly constructed there, he yet hoped that Her Majesty's Ministers would not fall into the same fatal error as they committed in 1856. It would be well for them to pause before, in order to carry on certain military opera- 1311 tions in New Zealand and Japan, they reduced the European force in India to a point which would again imperil the safety of our countrymen and country women who were scattered over the numerous and remote stations of which India was composed.
§ MR. GREGSON
said, he could not see how the native manufacturers of salt in India were placed in an unfavourable position as compared with the Cheshire salt manufacturers, who had to transport their commodity over 15,000 miles of sea. The duty on salt was 3¼ rupees, or equal to 6s. 6d. per maund. The invoice cost of that article was 4d. per maund, and the import duty on it amounted to about 1,700 per cent. He hoped that the Government would take an early opportunity of reducing the duty on salt, for the benefit both of the people of India and the manufacturers. It was essential that that great population should be supplied with such a necessary of life at a very small price. He rejoiced to have the admission of the hon. and gallant Member for Aberdeen that 97,000 natives had been relieved from service in the army, and had found employment in other and more peaceful pursuits. [Colonel Sykes: "No!"] At all events, the hon. and gallant Member sought to show that the natives of India were more disposed to engage in agriculture than to enter the army. The right hon. Gentleman's Budget was substantially a prosperity one. The accounts, however, were only brought down to April 1862. Surely, with the rapid communication existing with India, it might have been possible to bring them down to a date at least six months later. With regard to the income tax, he could not help thinking that it would have been better if the Indian Government had not yielded to clamour in reducing that tax before the expiration of the period for which it had been imposed. He would also warn the right hon. Gentleman against relying upon the continuance of so large a revenue from opium as seven millions. A few years ago the tax on opium produced only three or four millions, and it must always be a precarious source of income. The surplus was very satisfactory, but he found that the increase of expenditure had kept up a very even pace with the increase of revenue. He quite approved what had fallen from the right hon. Gentleman in respect to surveys. It might not be Expedient that the surveys made in India should be conducted on the high scale 1312 adopted for England, but accurate maps ought to be prepared, which would give the requisite information to persons desirous of purchasing land there. With regard to encouraging the cultivation of cotton or any other article in India, what was wanted was that the growers should have a reasonable prospect of fair and steady remuneration for their produce. He was glad the import duties had been reduced, and he hoped he should be supported when next Session he called attention to the fact that sugar—one of the most important products of India—was taxed, not 5 or 6, but 50 or 60 per cent.
§ MR. KINNAIRD
said, he would not have addressed the House but for the speech of his hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Aberdeen (Colonel Sykes), who seemed to have forgotten the whole lesson of the Indian mutiny when he complained of the increase of the European force in that country. No doubt the mortality in the Indian army had been great; the mortality in our army at home had also been great; but he trusted, by the adoption of proper sanitary measures, it would be greatly reduced. Increased security was given to India by keeping up there a powerful European force. The results which had been anticipated on that account were already beginning to appear. The natives of India, instead of looking to employment in the native army, were betaking themselves to agriculture, and that in itself was a most hopeful symptom. He congratulated his right hon. Friend on the growing prosperity of India. That was mainly owing to the encouragement of public works, which gave increased employment to the people. He trusted, therefore, that the Government would not only continue that system but do what they could to encourage private enterprise in works of irrigation and other permanent improvements. Such a course would promote the employment of native capital, and be an additional security for peace. When Government undertook any work the natives merely looked on, but in private enterprise they would be induced to join, and thus a new interest in the welfare of the country was created. Companies and individuals, by leading them to invest their money in public works, also did a great deal to promote the permanent peace of the country. He was glad to learn that there was to be an increased grant for education. The natives had expressed a great desire for such a grant, 1313 and he believed the measure which his right hon. Friend had introduced for an improved system of education in India was one of the greatest social benefits to that country that had ever been adopted. He hailed with great satisfaction the results of Parliamentary Government for India; and he trusted his right hon. Friend by continuing the same wise policy which he had hitherto adopted, would not only save the revenues of India, but secure the confidence and affection of the natives, which would be a great source of strength to the country.
§ MR. BUXTON
said, he hoped the Government of India would continue to give their attention to the question, whether the European force maintained in that country might not be still further reduced. His hon. and gallant Friend (Colouel Sykes) had given the weight of his great experience in favour of that reduction; but the European force in India had mounted up from 45,000 to 83,000 or 84,000 men. The native army, which it was conceded was the only source of danger, had been greatly reduced. The railways had doubled our military power; we had now also the telegraph; the arsenals and depots were in the hands of European troops, and we had far better artillery than before. The Enfield rifle was generally introduced among our troops, and we had therefore in every way far better means of quelling an insurrection, and far less reason to apprehend one. A further reduction in the number of European troops might, then, with safety be effected. He was glad to hear that the statistics did not bear out the distressing reports that had reached this country. But still the mortality had been most serious, and it was deplorable to think how many of those who did return from India suffered for the rest of their lives from disease contracted in that climate. Again, as each soldier was said to cost £100, the reduction of the European force would save the revenue of India, and thus enable the Government to apply themselves still more vigorously to public works.
§ MR. BAZLEY
said, he believed the statement of the right hon. Gentleman, showing the financial success of his measures, and the enlightened policy he had enunciated, would be received by the country at large with feelings of great satisfaction. He was glad that some hope was held out to Lancashire, which had been suffering great distress. They had been 1314 deprived of the raw material, which had supported in comfort the great mass of the manufacturing classes in the north; but, without the aid of the Government in affording facilities for the supply of cotton from the East Indies, he feared the calamity and distress felt in that district would be greatly prolonged and increased in intensity. He therefore entreated the right hon. Gentleman to do everything in his power to develop the resources of India, and thus relieve the industry of Lancashire. He thought the Indian accounts might fairly be presented to the House sooner than almost the last week of the Session. He would suggest to the right hon. Gentleman that he should introduce a new item into the accounts, to enable the country to judge of the magnitude of the investments in reproductive works. He believed that such a statement would produce greater confidence to the public, and induce them to place their capital in Indian investments. With the railways in progress, about sixty millions had been invested in the means of communication, but, instead of 4,500 miles of railway, he believed that ten times that amount was really required in that country, besides works of irrigation, and the improvement of river navigation. If the policy so ably enunciated by the right hon. Gentleman were practically adopted, it would, no doubt, greatly advance the prosperity as well of India as of this country. He therefore hoped the right hon. Gentleman would take every step in his power to emancipate the cotton trade from the necessity of relying upon slave labour for their supplies of raw material. Allusion had been made to the force employed in the suppression of the slave trade, but he did not think a wiser economy could be practised than that of suppressing slavery by superseding the work of the slave by free labour. India, he had no doubt, was capable of producing the supply of cotton that the English manufacturer required; and by allowing land to be taken at reasonable prices, and by affording the irrigation to which the Secretary of State had referred—for irrigated land yielded four or five times the crops of lands which had not that advantage—he believed that such result would be promoted.
§ MR. AYRTON
said, he was surprised, after the debates that had taken place during the Session, to hear the hon. Member for Manchester suggest that it was in the power of the Government of India, through any measures they could adopt, to provide 1315 for the wants of Lancashire by increasing the growth of cotton. Past debates had proved the utter futility of such a notion. It was true that great allowances must be made for persons who were Buffering under such dire distress, and perhaps it was too much to expect from them a rigid adherence to the principles of free trade when a departure from those principles might seem to afford a chance of relief from such a calamity. But such suggestions were really calculated to mislead the people of Lancashire. The growers of Cotton in India were receiving four times the price they had been able usually to realize, and no inducement or premium which the Government could offer to the agriculturists would be so likely to stimulate the growth of cotton as a quadrupled price. What would be the use of the Secretary of State offering premiums if such increased price had no effect; and why should he send agents through the country when there were purchasers in plenty at those advanced prices? Such suggestions had a tendency to mislead the people of Lancashire into a belief that there was a feeling on the part of some person connected with the Government of India to deprive them of the raw material which they so anxiously desired. He saw it stated about a year since that there were 50,000 bales of cotton in Central India, if anybody would buy them. That appeared to him an unjust reflection upon the Gentlemen connected with the cotton trade. The hon. Member for Manchester said that that cotton did not exist, but in the course of six months a public meeting was held in Lancashire, and then the 50,000 bales had magnified to five millions of bales, which were to be obtained if it were not for some extraordinary operations on the part of the Government of India to prevent its reaching this country. It had been put forth to the people of Lancashire that the Secretary of State was in a conspiracy to deprive them of the raw material, and such heavy charges were made against him that a Motion for his impeachment might have been looked for at the beginning of the Session. But nothing of the kind took place, and it all resolved itself into a complaint that the right hon. Gentleman had not arrived at a standard of manners which was recognised in Lancashire as the proper standard. He would, however, remind the Committee that in India the cotton agriculturist at his best was only about where the cotton grower in the United States 1316 would abandon the cultivation. In India 100 lb. of clean cotton per acre was looked upon with great satisfaction; but if the production in the United States was only to reach that amount, the growers would abandon the land, and remove to fresh and unexhausted soil. In India the soil was much of it indifferent in quality, and the best of it had been exhausted by a thousand years' cultivation, while there was no virgin soil of the richest character ever known in agriculture to remove to as was the case in the United States. For that reason India was not capable of producing the almost unlimited quantity which America could in the event of circumstances creating a demand. Comparisons were made of the charge of conveying cotton to the ship in India and in America, and it was said, by way of contrast to the assumed cheapness of transit in America, that the cost of getting the cotton on board in India was a penny per pound. But some cotton was grown near the coast in India, and there that charge was almost nothing; and the case was exactly the same in America, according as the cotton grew on the banks of the Mississippi, or at a long distance from any water conveyance. On that point charges were made against the Indian Government, though there was really nothing in those charges. Another suggestion offered to the Government, that the resources of India should be applied in improving the water communication by the great rivers of India, was still more unfortunate. The great rivers of India could not be dealt with like the perennial rivers of this country. They were subject to enormous floods from rain, when they would sweep everything before them. It was childish to talk of improving the Ganges for example, which in its course would take away a man's estate at night, and land it somewhere else in the morning. These rivers came scouring down their beds with immense force for hundreds of miles after the rains; and then for six months not a drop of rain would fall, and, instead of being perhaps forty or fifty feet deep and a mile broad, nothing was to be seen but a stagnant piece of water. Of course, as engineers said, money might do anything; but millions of money would be needed to make one of these rivers navigable. The hon. Member for Stockport pinned his faith to the Godavery, and wished the Government to authorize the outlay of large sums in improving the navigation of that river. Now, the Godavery had a large 1317 delta, and its course lay through a hilly region above. No doubt at the delta the navigation of the river was capable of improvement, because the country was flat; but the great problem put before the Government was to make the river navigable in its course through the hills. The more the scheme was investigated, the more impracticable did it appear. Men of great judgment in India—except the engineer who had charge of the works—were now persuaded that there could be no greater waste of the public resources than the attempt to make that great mountain torrent, running through a large extent of wild, jungly country, without population, a navigable stream; and they were seeking how with a decent amount of self-respect, they could retire from the agitation promoted by the hon. Member The Government had done enough to satisfy such demands, and must come to the conclusion that their works could not be carried with advantage beyond the delta of the Godavery. Eighteen years ago he formed an association in Bombay for the purpose of inducing the Government to guarantee the funds requisite for making a railway from that port to the great cotton-producing districts of India. At that time gentlemen in Lancashire did not interest themselves much in these proceedings, and were satisfied to continue their dependence upon the United States for cotton. Nevertheless the association pursued their inquiries, and were ultimately able to take by the hand a company, and propose to it those lines of railway which in the course of a few years would be completed. Gentlemen in Lancashire made it a reproach that they were steeped in Indian railways. Now, railways were the greatest boon that had been or possibly could be conferred upon India. It was sometimes said in this country that our free-trade policy was the sole source of the increased enterprise and wealth and industry of England. But he should be prepared to maintain, in the face of all the representatives of Lancashire put together, that railways had done four or five times as much in developing the wealth and industry of this country during the last twenty-five years as could be done by any number of fiscal or financial measures. He believed that they would produce the same great results in India. Talk of fiscal remission of 1d. or 2d. as bringing about a great development of trade; why, for every 1d. or 2d. thus 1318 reduced a railway lessened the cost of goods by 1s. or 2s., by reducing the cost of conveyance. When, therefore, it was said that nothing had been done for the improvement of India and the development of her resources, his answer was that the Government had done immense things by aiding the construction of thousands of miles of railway there through districts which otherwise, for all commercial purposes, would have been practically inaccessible. And they were beginning to feel the effect of what had been done in the improved revenue which was now being produced in India. It had been suggested that the production of cotton was kept back by the terrible state in which the Government kept the owners of land. Now, India had received for her cotton and agricultural produce in recent times some £10,000,000 more than she formerly did, and yet the land revenue of 1862 was estimated at £250,000 less than in 1861. That went to show that the production of cotton was not checked, as had been alleged, by the state in which the occupiers of land were kept by the Government, but that the agricultural interest of India had derived the sole advantage, from the increased demand for their produce. He would say, therefore, as a broad proposition, that there was nothing now in the land tenure of India which interfered in any way with the productive industry of the people. He was not there to defend the past, for no one was more anxious to see the changes which had taken place, and he was glad that the Government of India had in their own public documents emphatically stated that they had no right whatever to the soil of India; their claim was to a revenue as well settled as the income tax in this country; and as long as that was paid, the occupiers of the land were the owners in fee simple, and had a right to do with it as they pleased. That principle was to his certain knowledge upheld in the courts in India, and, when forgotten, on appeal by the Privy Council in this country. It might be thought that the Secretary of State had said the contrary; but though the form of expression might be different, he had no doubt the right hon. Gentleman would admit that in substance his statement was correct.
Turning to the revenue he regretted very much, that while there was an improvement in the revenue of India, there was not a corresponding improvement in the condition of the people, Some people seem to think 1319 that the consumption of ardent spirits or substitutes for spirits was beneficial to the people; but it was remarkable that the two great religious communities into which the inhabitants of India were divided—the Hindoos and Mohammedans—were so satisfied of the injury to health and morals from alcoholic drinks that it was a fundamental principle with them not to drink any, though there were low-caste Hindoos and Mohammedans who did not hold themselves bound by that obligation. He was sorry to see that the revenue from abkarry had considerably increased. Unfortunately the Government saw in it a great source of revenue, and he feared they were disposed to encourage its consumption. Coming next to the assessed taxes, he could not help feeling how difficult it was for England to govern India and do justice to the great body of the people. The income tax was obnoxious to the Europeans in India and other classes who were best able to pay it, and the consequence was that that tax, which was a most just one when not carried too low, was made a subject of agitation by those who could unfortunately best make themselves heard; and he feared the Indian Government had not the moral courage to resist the pressure which would be brought to bear, and to maintain the tax as it ought to be maintained. He should regret if the tax were taken off the rich, but should rejoice if persons of small incomes were exempted. What was to be thought of our administration when we were increasing the tax upon salt in order to reduce the tax upon the incomes of the rich? The tax on salt in this country was a most obnoxious one, and was, he believed, the first of the indirect taxes that was repealed. In times past the people of Cheshire used to feel a great anxiety about the sufferings of the people of India from the tax upon salt, but somehow or other since arrangements had been made by which salt from Cheshire was imported into India, though at a considerable duty, that great anxiety had subsided, and was not likely, after the speech of the right hon. Gentleman, to be ever revived. There never had been a salt monopoly in Bombay as it existed in Calcutta, and therefore his hon. Friend (Mr. Vansittart) was hardly justified in the remarks which he had made on this subject. Salt might be produced in Bombay cheaper than it could be in or ed from Cheshire; and as soon as the railways by which salt could be taken from the coast were completed, the people 1320 of India would be supplied by their own production, and it would not be necessary to import it. He could not but regret that the salt duty was to be kept up to so large an amount, as it pressed very severely upon the poorest people of India. When he saw the efforts which were made to induce the Government to remit the taxation of the rich, and when that could not be done except by increasing the duty upon salt, he felt considerable misgivings. In connection with the question of opium, the House was in great danger of running into an extreme the opposite of that into which they had fallen on former occasions. It was the first time they had a very considerable surplus; and when that went forth, there would, he feared, be a disposition on the one hand to increase the expenditure of India, and on the other to yield to the demands of powerful parties for a remission of taxation. The right hon. Gentleman would do well to remember that the revenue from opium was derived from an agricultural product which was sold only to a foreign consumer, and was therefore exposed to the double contingency of the seasons in India, and the political condition of China. They had witnessed the failure of the potato crop in Ireland and the vine crop in France; and it was therefore the duty of the Government to regard the revenue from opium as precarious, and not to indulge too much in a feeling of security, seeing that so large a portion of the general revenue depended on that single item. He was glad to see that the military expenditure had come back to its normal condition. Having read very carefully the Report upon the sanitary state of the European troops, he thought there was great truth in the observations of the right hon. Baronet that its conclusions were derived too much from mixed causes, which ought to have been carefully sifted and separated. Within the last two or three years—indeed, ever since the mutiny—the circumstances of the army had been undergoing such rapid and successive changes that general conclusions must necessarily be fallacious. He was glad that the anomalous and expensive Indian navy had been put an end to. It was a force much petted by the East India Company, but it was absurd to prevent officers of the regular navy from taking their turn of service there, and acquiring information as to coasts and harbours which would prove valuable in case of war. He rejoiced in the gradual but thorough 1321 amalgamation of India with this country, and at finding that the Indian statement, once a subject of standing contention, was now a subject of universal peace and congratulation, and that those who were disposed to indulge in gloomy anticipations had thought it imprudent to attend and justify them.
§ MR. BAZLEY
said, he wished to assure the hon. Member that much of the information with which he had favoured the Committee was incorrect. He also felt bound to protest against the calumnies regarding Lancashire which the hon. Gentle man had uttered.
§ SIR CHARLES WOOD
said, he was glad to perceive that, on the whole, satisfaction was generally expressed with the statement it had been his duty to submit to the Committee. In reply to the observations which fell from different hon. Members, he desired to say that those who knew India best were of opinion that no great reduction of military strength below the existing amount could safely be made at present. The sanitary condition of the troops had very greatly improved; but, of course, every pains would be taken still further to diminish the rate of mortality. It could not be said that the salt monopoly had been put down; it had put itself down, the Government finding that it was no longer of pecuniary advantage. There had also been concessions as to the land revenue, and a large expenditure upon public works. These combined advantages, it was hoped, would largely improve the condition of the people of India; but it was evident that the Government must look for a return, in some shape or other, for the contributions thus made towards the advancement of India. That return, he believed, would be obtained in the increased amount of land brought under cultivation. In the importance of extending education among the native population he quite agreed; large grants had been appropriated for the purpose by Sir C. Trevelyan, whose interest in the subject was well known. The exertions of the railway companies in the Presidency of Bombay to complete the railway communication were most active. They would soon have lines running directly into the cotton district. Of the Godavery, unfortunately, every fresh survey increased the estimate of the outlay requisite to improve its navigation; but there could be no doubt that outlay on this route would be attended with advantages, and he 1322 did not shrink from any expectations on that score which he might heretofore have held out
§ SIR CHARLES WOOD
said, that there was no provision that these Acts should be laid on the table, but that they were, he believed, all in the library.
§ Resolutions agreed to.
§ House resumed.
§ Resolutions to be reported To-morrow, at Twelve of the clock.