§ COMMITTEE. [Progress 3rd August.]
§ Consideredin Committee.
§ (In the Committee.)
Question again proposed,
That it appears by the Accounts laid before this House that the total Revenue of India for the year ending the 31st day of March 1868 was £48,534,412; the total of the direct claims upon the Revenue, including charges of collection and cost of Salt and Opium was £8,957,464; the charges in India, including Interest on Debt, and Public Works ordinary, were £32,362,402; the value of Stores supplied from England was £970,926; the charges in England were £5,710,880; the Guaranteed Interest on the Capital of Railway and other Companies, in India and in England, deducting net Traffic Receipts, was £1,540,435, making a total charge for the same year of £49,542,107; and there was an excess of Expenditure over Income in that year amounting to £1,007,695; that the charge for Public Works extraordinary was £602,462, and that including that charge the excess of Expenditure over Income was £1,610,157.
§ MR. J. B. SMITH
remarked upon the continued increase of expenditure in India, and complained that, although at the time money was wanted to make railways in India, it was promised that 1344 their construction would be followed by a reduction in the Army, the cost of the force was still £16,000,000, notwithstanding troops could now be transported from one end of the Empire to the other in as many days as it formerly took months. A very hard-hearted Chancellor of the Exchequer was wanted in India, and he hoped Sir Richard Temple would bring about a more satisfactory state of affairs than his predecessors had. He approved the principle laid down by the right hon. Member for Devonshire (Sir Stafford Northcote), that accounts relating to reproductive works should be kept distinct, and was glad to hear that future accounts would be framed on the principle of keeping ordinary and extraordinary expenditure separate. As it was now proposed to borrow upon these public works, he suggested that the loans should be called Public Works Loans, and that an effort should be made to raise the money or some portion of it in India. The people of India would see that the money was spent in works of great benefit to themselves, and he believed the investment would become popular among them. He had for years past advocated the construction of these works by borrowed money, and ventured to assert that India might be covered with every necessary public work without cost. The Erie Canal, one of the greatest works in the world, had been made without costing the State 1s.; it had been constructed for small vessels in the first place with borrowed money; the tolls had paid off the loan and enlarged the canal, and now it was proposed to make a ship canal of it; and all through the transaction, the policy of the State had been to attract traffic by a reduction of toll. Manchester, in like manner, had been supplied with water and gas without costing the people a ¼d. in taxation; and the whole of the Liverpool Docks had been constructed on the same principle. The advantages to the inhabitants in each case were, of course, immense; and India might be similarly benefited without cost to the tax-payers if public works were constructed with money borrowed on State credit and the security of tolls; for while the outlay on public works would be re-paid by the revenue derived from them, wealth would be 1,000 times increased by increased production. In the course of an interesting discussion a 1345 short time ago, by the Society of Engineers, upon irrigation in India and Spain, Mr. Allan Wilson, from the Madras Presidency, described the extraordinary magnitude of the works in that part of India before our conquest. It had been estimated there were in fourteen of the principal irrigated districts of the Madras Presidency, upwards of 43,000 tanks and channels in repair, besides about 10,000 out of repair, having probably 30,000 miles of embankments and 300,000 separate masonry works. Colonel Baird Smith stated that the Ponacry tank in Trichinopoly had an embankment of thirty miles long and an area of sixty to eighty square miles, and Mr. Wilson expressed surprise that the Government had neglected these great works, and allowed large rivers to flow into the sea unused for agricultural purposes. Besides the profit to the State in the way of increased commercial prosperity, canals were accounted valuable for sanitary purposes. Mr. Login, an engineer of the Ganges Canal, said the strong argument in favour of canals is, that they are calculated to prevent those awful visitations which sweep off hundreds of thousands by starvation. It was estimated that the Ganges Canal prevented the death of as many thousands as perished in Orissa, and in the next year, 1866–7, the canal repaid to the country more than its total cost, while it was the means of feeding little short of 2,500,000 of people. It appeared that the water in the canals in the Madras district was comparatively clear, and though the current was slight no great deposit was formed; but the water in the Ganges was full of mud, and a rapid current was there needed to prevent the accumulation of sediment. Now, it was proposed to make some of the Ganges Canal works on the same level as those of Madras; but it was the opinion of the engineers to whom he had just referred, among whom was that eminent authority, Mr. Hawksley, that such a course of proceeding would be altogether in error. He therefore trusted that the Indian Government would not spend £2,000,000 or £3,000,000 on such an important undertaking without making further inquiry. In proof of the benefits derived from irrigation he instanced the large profits yielded by several works of that kind, and he thought that such results ought to encourage the Indian Go- 1346 vernment to persevere in making works of irrigation. Sir A. Cotton said the opinion had been expressed that no great profit can be gained on works of irrigation for many years to come. His experience of profits were—
The total aggregate profits on the Madras works, over and above 4 per cent interest, was £2,820,000 on a total cost of £560,000, or five times the cost of the works after paying interest and cost of repairs. The Indian Government wanted revenue, and it was very clear that the most effectual mode of obtaining it was by irrigating their lands and thereby increasing their rental. Mr. Allan Wilson, contrasting the difference between dry and irrigated land, stated that of fourteen Ryotwaire districts of Madras, 2,000,000 acres irrigated yielded a revenue of £1,500,000; 25,000,000 acres of dry land only £2,000,000; while, if it had been irrigated, it would have produced upwards of £18,000,000. As regarded the gain to the cultivator, independently of the certainty of reaping a crop, irrigated lands yielded a crop of 20 rupees an acre; dry land, 6 rupees an acre. So that the Ryot was better able to pay 3 rupees per acre for irrigated land than 1 rupee for dryland. If the Government wanted to increase the revenue and at the same time benefit the cultivator, they had only to promote irrigation. He was glad to learn that the Government of India were taking measures to promote the growth of forests in their territory, for the manure which ought to be used to enrich the land was to a great extent dried and used as fuel. In alluding to the growth of cotton, he observed that twenty-five years ago certain persons in the manufacturing districts of this country entertained great apprehensions in consequence of those districts being mainly dependent for the cotton they needed upon one source of supply. At that time 75 per cent of the raw cotton used in this country came from America, and at the time of the occurrence of the civil war the proportion supplied by America had increased to 85 per cent. In 1848 the present President of the Board of Trade moved for a Select Com- 1347 mittee to inquire into the growth, of cotton, and the Committee, after investigating the matter, were satisfied that a large quantity of excellent cotton could be obtained from India. In the following year his right hon. Friend moved that a Commission should be sent out to India further to inquire into the subject; but the East India Company refused to afford any assistance in prosecuting the inquiry. However, the manufacturers of Lancashire felt the importance of obtaining information on that head so greatly that the Manchester Chamber of Commerce sent out a commissioner of their own, who, though he unfortunately died, left behind him sufficient evidence to prove that the desired object of procuring supplies of cotton from India might be attained. It was represented to the Government from time to time that, without Government assistance, it was impossible for India to produce what was wanted—namely, a good quality of cotton; but the reply made to that representation was that it was contrary to the principles of political economy for the Government to interfere in such a matter, and that when there was a demand there would be a supply. That statement was true as regards most countries, but it did not apply to India. In America the cotton was produced by men of capital, but in India it was the production of a miserable set of ryots; and one might as well look for improvements in agriculture from Irish cottiers as expect improvements in the cultivation of cotton from the class of cultivators he had referred to. The Government said it was contrary to political economy to do anything in this matter. But there was as great a demand for tea as cotton, yet that demand brought no tea from India until the Government, acting upon the economical principle, wisely tried the experiment of planting tea gardens, and exhibiting to the natives the practicability of extensively growing it, and now they succeeded in growing tea of better quality than was grown in China. There was now a large growth of tea in India, and very probably it would be exceedingly extended. Then, there was the article of quinine. It fetched fabulous prices, but no one ever thought of growing it till, on the recommendation of the noble Lord the Member for King's Lynn (Lord Stanley), plants were introduced in large quanti- 1348 ties, and now India not only supplied itself, but in all probability quinine would become an article of considerable export. If the Government could do all this, why not try experiments in the growth of cotton? But Government had always treated Lancashire people as merely seeking their own interests. Now, they did seek their own interests undoubtedly, but they could not do so without seeking also the interests of India. During the American War the total exports from India amounted to £67,000,000, and of that £34,000,000 consisted of cotton. The total exports now were £50,000,000, and he supposed they would have to pay some £30,000,000 this year for cotton. Was not India, then, interested in the growth of cotton, seeing that one-half of her exports consisted of that article? They had been imploring the Government for years, and at length they had got a Cotton Commissioner. They were very fortunate in his appointment, for the gentleman appointed had his heart in the work. He went to the province of Candeish and saw they were using a very inferior kind of seed. He imported seed from Berar, where the best cotton in India was grown. The very first year after sowing this seed the sowers obtained so much more for it as paid the price of their rent twice over. He said, then, that the Cotton Commissioner had been a great benefit to India. But he must warn the Indian Government that they would have competition to encounter. America would still grow cotton, and of a better quality than India, unless India bestirred herself. America was about to import large numbers of Chinese labourers, and India could not keep the valuable cotton trade she possessed unless she bestirred herself. The great disadvantage of India was that, while America grew 500 lb. per acre, India grew only 50 lb. per acre. India had also this disadvantage, that, for want of roads, the cotton had formerly to be carried on the backs of bullocks from Berar to Bombay for shipment, a distance of 500 miles. India had now railways and the finest rivers in the world. The expense of the conveyance of cotton from Berar to Bombay on bullocks was 2d. per lb., by railway 1d. per lb., and by the Godavery, which flowed through the centre of the best cotton-fields, half-a-farthing per lb. The Government of 1349 India must, therefore, bestir themselves. Not many years ago we were reproached with the charge that if we were driven from India the only memorial we should leave behind would be pyramids of empty beer-bottles. That reproach no longer existed. We should now leave behind us ever-enduring monuments of our greatness and beneficence in the magnificent public works already existing, which, with those the Government projected, would confer greater benefits on the people of India than were recorded of the conquerors of any age or nation. The late Mr. Cobden could never be persuaded to take part in Indian affairs; his answer always was we had no business there. Well, but we were there; we had taken upon ourselves a great responsibility, and it was our duty to face it; we had destroyed the established Governments of the country; and if we left India now, anarchy and confusion must be the result. The English Government was the best that India ever possessed, and life and property were never so secure as under our sway; nevertheless a foreign yoke was always hateful. Let us endeavour, by just and beneficent rule, to make our Government a blessing to our Indian fellow-subjects.
Cost. Profits. Per cent. Godavery £337,000 £160,000 45 Kistreah 191,000 29,000 15 Upper Calleroon Anicut 24,000 64,000 270 Lower Calleroon 34,000 52,000 150
§ MR. BAZLEY
said, he had listened with great interest to the very able speech of the Under Secretary for India on Tuesday last, but he must deplore that so much procrastination occurred in all that concerned India. He hoped that in future Sessions the Indian Budget would be brought forward earlier. No doubt the accounts quoted by the hon. Gentleman were accurate, but they should be more distinct. He agreed in the suggestion that there ought to be an investment account; for reproductive public works, and indulged the hope that a permanent source of revenue would arise from judicious Government investments in railways, canals, and irrigation. The cost of these works should be the foundation of the proposed investment account. He believed it would be found that the increase in our Indian expenditure, since the period of the Mutiny, was little less than £20,000,000 per annum, and this amounted to a heavy burden on the people of India. He approved very much of the statements which had been made in "another place" with regard to public works, and was 1350 much pleased to find that an eminent authority had said that 30,000 miles of railway were necessary for India. That country had 4,000miles of railway, constructed at a cost of £80,000,000 sterling; Great Britain had 14,000 miles of railway, which cost £600,000,000; while America had already 40,000 miles of railway, which cost £550,000,000; and there was a prospect that before long the railway investments in the United States would amount in value to £1,000,000,000. It was clear that India was still lamentably behind Great Britain in railway enterprize. He was glad to see that railways in that country would be constructed in future at the sole cost of the Indian Government, because he believed there would be great national economy in making railways a portion of public works. We spent £100,000,000 during the Crimean War, and why should not our capitalists, in the cause of peace and industry, raise £100,000,000 for Indian railways? The Government might as well engage in these works as depute a railway company to execute them. He would go further, and advise the Government to buy up the lines already opened in India, and establish one uniform public railway system for that country. He believed that if that course had been pursued in England the railways would have been more cheaply constructed, there would not have been so many duplicate lines, and there would have been greater convenience, combined with a lower rate of charge. He did not see why the public works should not become a source of permanent and enduring revenue. The establishment of an Agricultural Board would probably give a stimulus to the productions of India, which could send us three or four times her present amount of exports. Her coffee was of an improved quality, owing to the application of manure to which the soil of India had hitherto been a stranger. Her growth of cotton could be largely increased. Unhappily great distress existed at present among the cotton interests in the manufacturing districts, hence the necessity of still greatly increased supplies of raw cotton. He had every reason to believe that the losses on fixed investments in the cotton trade amounted to £30,000,000 sterling, and the losses on floating capital to an equal amount; so that by the disasters 1351 connected with the cotton trade that branch of industry had sustained a total loss equivalent to £60,000,000. A continuance of the present state of depression, coupled with the emigration of the operatives, would go far to remove the trade itself to some more prosperous country. He deplored the existence of the protective system in America; but, with all its evils, the manufacturers in America were able to keep their mills going, while we could only work ours for a very limited period. He gave the present Government full credit for endeavouring to bring about a healthier state of things as far as this could be accomplished by legislation. With that object in view he trusted they would persevere in their efforts to develop not only the cotton trade in India, but remunerative traffic in the various products of the soil.
§ MR. C. DENISON
said, he regretted that the discussions upon Indian subjects were always deferred to so late a period of the Session that Members were utterly wearied and worn out, and unable to give to the matter in hand that attention which its importance demanded. If it were true that this year upwards of forty Members had come down to hear the statement of the hon. Gentleman the Under Secretary for India, he hoped that might be taken as an augury of good for the future; the subject only required to be popularized to become full of interest to Members. Some improvements had been made, but still he thought the accounts of Home expenditure, as placed upon the table this year, were not satisfactory or easily intelligible; it would be much better if they were classified, as was done with the Indian expenditure, under different heads. A separate Financial Statement and Budget for the public works would also, he thought, be highly desirable. The ordinary expenditure, as laid down by Sir Eichard Temple—the permanent guaranteed interest on railway capital, and the extraordinary reproductive expenditure together made up £10,000,000, and it would surely be interesting to the House to know how these £10,000,000 were spent, and to what extent the works themselves were reproductive, With regard to the Customs, he hoped that the Government might before long see its way to a reduction of the export duty of almost every Indian product. The 1352 manner in which the salt duty was levied was far from satisfactory. It produced a net revenue of £5,500,000; but the proportion of that which, fell to the Punjaub and the North-west Provinces was not more than £1,400,000. As regarded the revenue from opium, he hoped the hon. Baronet the Member for Carlisle (Sir Wilfrid Lawson) and those who thought with him would bring forward their objections in some shape admitting of the question being thoroughly talked out; he should then be prepared to meet them. On that point he fully agreed with Sir Richard Temple, who declared that—If the Chinese will have opium, they may as well have it first-rate from us as second-rate at home, and they may as well have it taxed as untaxed.The Chinese would have opium: there was no doubt about that; and if that was the case, he did not see why a profitable article was not to be supplied to the Chinese market. At the present moment, however, it was idle to discuss the question; we simply could not do without the revenue from opium. If that stopped from any cause, all the expenditure upon public works must cease at the same moment. The postal service in India ought to be a source of revenue; but, at present, there was a deficit, and this could hardly be regarded as in process of diminution, for the Government had lately doubled the minimum weight of letters to be carried without increasing the tariff. The telegraph entailed a net expenditure of £200,000 and upwards, and he wished to ask the Government what portion of this outlay belonged to India proper, as this was not shown in the accounts? There was another item as to which explanation was desirable; £68,000 were put down for a small arms manufactory in this country. He wished to know where the machinery was erected for making the small arms ammunition for India, and also what was the total estimated cost of the gunboats for Bombay Harbour? The hon. Member for Stockport (Mr. J. B. Smith) had expressed his belief that matters might be so arranged that the public loans for the public works of India might become a favourite investment with the natives, but it was a remarkable fact that out of the £87,000,000 1353 that had been subscribed for Indian railways, only £1,000,000 was held by the natives; and that out of the £100,000,000 of which the Indian public debt consisted, only £15,000,000 were held by them, scarcely any portion of that sum having been taken up since the Mutiny of 1856–7. There were two reasons explanatory of that fact. In the first place, the usual rate of interest in India was 12 per cent, or more than double that offered by the Government; and, in the second place, the confidence of the natives in Government securities had been shaken in consequence of the Government having confiscated that portion of their debt which was the property of the rebels. Upon the much-debated subject of Indian railway finance the hon. Member for London (Mr. Crawford) the other day had taken great pains to point out the great injustice that had been done the guaranteed railway companies by the recent despatch of the Indian Government, in. which they were charged with mismanagement and extravagance. It appeared to him (Mr. C. Denison) that the East Indian Railway was well deserving of the confidence of the Government. It was, howover, only fair to state that the despatch had not been drawn up for presentation to Parliament, or as an attack upon the railways, but had been merely intended to justify the Government in inaugurating the new system which was to be pursued with regard to them. In his opinion, however, that despatch did not show the existence of such a state of things as would justify the Indian Government in taking the whole control of the Indian railways into their own hands henceforth. He doubted, in the first place, the capability of the Government of India to undertake the management of these enormous works to anything like the extent which had been foreshadowed by the Secretary of State, and, beyond that, he had a great horror of the management of the existing lines and of the 10,000 miles of new railways which it was proposed to make being placed in the hands of one high central department. On the other hand, it might be most advantageous for the Government of India to take in hand certain railways, for the purpose of showing the companies what economy and good management might produce. But that was a very different 1354 thing from taking possession of lines of which 4,500 miles were open and 2,000 were in progress, and which gave employment to 3,000 Europeans and to 25,000 natives. They had had some experience of Government management in the case of the Ganges Canal, and that was not calculated to inspire confidence in their management of the railways. The Home Government, under the advice of the Governor General, had very wisely within the last few weeks authorized the Government of India to undertake the construction of about 800 miles of railway, and he should watch the progress of those lines with great interest. If the Government could bring down the cost of construction from £17,000 to £12,000 per mile, and could materially reduce the cost of the working expenses they would do much towards justifying the charges they had brought against the guaranteed companies. The Committee, however, should recollect that when these railways were first inaugurated the British people had but little confidence in public works in India as a remunerative investment for capital, and, therefore, by removing that distrust the guaranteed companies had amply served their purpose, however extravagant they might have been in their capital accounts, and however much they might have neglected economy in their working expenses. That there was a remarkable difference between the amount of the working expenses of the various lines was true; but that was largely accounted for by the fact that while some companies had coal in their own districts others had to import Welsh coal at the cost of 60s. or 70s. per ton. The Government would do well to persevere in the course they had indicated during the last month, which was to authorize the construction of a certain number of miles of railway under the superintendence of their own officers, and to encourage the old and new companies only on the understanding that the terms of their agreement should be altered so as to permit the Government, when there was extravagance in the capital account, to take the lines under their own control, while all surplus over the 5 per cent which was guaranteed was to be equally divided between the company and the Government. If that course were adopted he could not see what objection there could be to leaving the 1355 lines in the hands of the companies. He did not propose to enter deeply into the subject of the irrigation works, but he might observe that the Government of India proposed to expend in this very year not less than £2,500,000 upon them over and above the amount appropriated to the ordinary public works, a sum which, in fact, they could not spare in any one single year. Certainly, he would not encourage an unlimited expenditure on those works although they were reproductive. It had been found by experience that in India such works took a longer time to be reproductive than they did in this country. He believed that in India it took from ten to fifteen years for such works to recoup the capital expended on them. He thought those who urged an enormous expenditure were not really good friends to India, and he thought also that the Government of that country must always keep a firm control over its finances, otherwise the credit on which they were now so proud of borrowing at 4½ or 5 per cent, would soon disappear. He did not believe in the power of the Government to go on for a number of years borrowing money at 4½ per cent. He was sure that the noble Lord who now filled the post of Governor General and the Indian Government at home would make it their study to consider Indian subjects from an Indian point of view. They should do everything to encourage the flow of surplus capital into India, and he agreed with the hon. and gallant Member for Aberdeen (Colonel Sykes) that England had done more for India than India had done for England—that was to say, India had absorbed more, much more, of the precious metals from England than she had given back. The Under Secretary in his long and able review had taken occasion to say that, on the whole, he thought there was much reason for hope as to the progress of India. He concurred with the hon. Gentleman. He believed that the present improvement was only a beginning, and that, if an intelligent interest were taken in India, in twenty years to come the India of that time would no more be recognized as the India of to-day than the India of today could be recognized as the India of twenty years past. He would conclude by expressing his hope that in future the Government would be able to intro- 1356 duce the Indian Budget at an earlier period of the Session.
§ MR. PLATT
said, that he felt great interest in the question, inasmuch as the prosperity of Lancashire depended, in a great degree, on the development of the resources of India. At one time it was said that Indian cotton would not be used in Lancashire. No doubt before the American War very little of that cotton was used; but since then the exports of cotton from India had risen from 125,000 lbs. to 30,000,000 lbs. per annum. He did not mean to say that some of those exports did not find their way to the Continent, but three-fourths of the Indian cotton was used in Lancashire. The town which he represented (Oldham) used, he believed, one-sixth of the cotton imported into this country, and three-fifths of the cotton it used was Indian cotton. Oldham was the first town to use Indian cotton, and by the use of such cotton it had been able to surmount the crisis caused by the civil war in America better than any other town in Lancashire. He did not go so far as to call on the Government to grow cotton in India, but he asked them to give facilities connected with it. The Government proposed to make railways on a large scale, and he would suggest that a preference should be given to railways that went through the cotton districts. The manufacturers of Lancashire had been pertinaciously pressing on the Government the question of roads to the cotton districts for many years past. Some ten years ago he was chairman of a cotton company in India, which came to grief in consequence of the want of roads. Lord Halifax, who was at that time Secretary of State for India, gave a promise that a railroad to Darwar and the cotton districts should be immediately commenced. Now, after a lapse of nine years, there was a prospect of the road being commenced, and he trusted that it would be made. India could produce more cotton without diminishing the quantity of land devoted to the production of the food of the people. The produce of cotton was only from 50 lb. to 70 lb. an acre. They did not ask for an increase in the acreage, but for an increase in the productiveness of the land which was now employed. He found that in the Southern States of America, by the employment of artificial manures and other means, the produce of the soil 1357 had been raised from 500 lb. to 700 lb. per acre, and if the same thing could be done in India there was a large margin for the further development of the cotton trade. He agreed with the hon. Member for Manchester (Mr. Bazley) that a Board of Agriculture, or else a Minister of Agriculture ought to be appointed in India, with agents and inspectors in all the subordinate districts. If this were done, it would turn out immensely to the advantage not of the revenues of India only, but also of its ryot population. There was no country in which information upon agricultural matters was so much needed as in India. This was well proved at the time of the war with Russia, from which country we had been accustomed to obtain our supplies of jute. It was soon discovered that the article could be grown in India, and from that time jute became a permanent export of India. Neither did he think India had any reason to fear the competition of America in the production of cotton. Much was said just now about the Chinese settling in the Southern States, but he believed that a great social battle would have to be fought before that could be accomplished. Lancashire could consume any amount of cotton from India. Indian cotton, when well selected, was quite equal to the middling cotton of America. There was another remark of the hon. Member for Manchester with respect to the advantages of America in manufacture which he could not endorse. It must be remembered that since the Americans had adopted a high tariff they had lost every neutral market in the world—even the market of China. This was so much the case that Mr. Wells, who had been sent over to this country to inquire into our system of Free Trade had recommended, on his return, a great relaxation of the American tariff. He hoped it would not be considered that Lancashire was importunate in pressing the Government as it did.
§ SIR DAVID WEDDERBURN
said, he must complain of the great expenditure on barracks in India. The greater portion of that expenditure was worse than useless. He doubted whether, even by skilful organizations, we could reduce our Army of 64,000 European soldiers in India — soldiers who were very costly to us, and of whose value the highest opinions had been expressed by 1358 Runjeet Singh and Shere Ali No class deserved more care and sympathy than those troops. Each man of them was really worth his weight in rupees; and, in spite of all the care that could be taken as to their clothing and lodging, their health and strength would gradually ebb away. But while the officers could go to the hills or get leave of absence to recruit their health, there was no such resource for the men, who gradually died off or were sent home invalided. He would urge that European soldiers might occupy healthy hill stations to a much larger extent than they had hitherto done. There were spots, such as Darjeeling, on the slopes of the Himalayas, the Neilgherries, and even the Western Ghauts, where the men could be kept in health and spirits as buoyant as at any station we possessed; but in these districts there were only a few detachments, while at Lucknow, Seeunderabad, and Nawar, there were small armies stationed. It could scarcely be said in these days of railways and telegraphs that it was necessary to keep large bodies of European troops in close proximity to Gwalior and Hyderabad in order to overawe the natives of the semi-independent states, when far more healthy quarters could be found for them in the neighbouring hills. At Morar very large and extensive barracks had been built, sufficient for a brigade of European cavalry, besides infantry, though the spot was noted for its un-healthiness; and the 71st Highlanders, when quartered there, buried 10 per cent of their numbers in a few months. It would be presumptuous in him to say whether, instead of stationing our troops in unhealthy barracks, it would be possible to form military cantonments, where in time of peace our soldiers might be employed in industrial and agricultural pursuits. He ventured merely to direct attention to this point, which involved not merely the welfare of many thousands of our fellow-countrymen, but even the safety of our Indian Empire.
§ MR. KINNAIRD
said, that the people of India might suppose, judging from the tone of the present debate, that in the House of Commons India was looked upon either as a Manchester colony or as a military settlement. He protested against the postponement of all discussion on Indian subjects to the 1359 very end of the Session, when in one day the House was asked not only to discuss the Budget, but to pass two important measures relating to the future government of India. He certainly should do all he could to defeat these two measures. The late Government had promised a full inquiry into Indian affairs, and he could see no reason why the noble Duke (the Duke of Argyll), and his hon. Friend the Under Secretary for India, should seek to pledge the House without redeeming that promise, as no Committee on the affairs of India had sat for the last ten years, though the whole state of affairs in that country had changed more than man could conceive. He considered, therefore, that the House was being treated in the most supercilious way by the present Government. Was India, he asked, to be governed for her own welfare, or for the sake of Manchester? No doubt cotton was a good thing, and hon. Gentlemen of one idea might think that India was made for the purpose of supplying it, and of receiving Manchester goods. But he did not so deem it. He felt some sympathy for the 184,000,000 of natives of India, and his hon. Friend the Under Secretary, before he was in Office, had felt some sympathy for them too. He hoped that he should not be disappointed in his expectations from his hon. Friend. When he heard of his appointment he was rejoiced by it, because he thought that he did sympathize with the natives. There were two or three special points to which he would now call the attention of the House. One was the salt tax, which the Government of India ought to consider very seriously with a view to its modification. Salt was a necessary of life; the absence of it led to disease; and, in the interests of humanity, the tax should not be continued in its present form. If a poor ryot attempted to scrape a morsel of salt out of the mud of which his cottage was built, he subjected himself thereby to the severest penalties. Then there was the revenue derived from opium. It certainly was a most unhappy thing that the Government should so long have indirectly been encouraging a contraband trade with China. No doubt there was a lawful use of opium; but there was also a demoralizing use of it, and he could not withhold blame from the Indian Government in past 1360 years for having abetted the latter in order to fill the coffers of the Indian Treasury. He did hope that the Government would alter its course of procedure on this head, and, without throwing the trade open, separate itself from the responsibility of the trade itself. He appealed to his right hon. Friend (Mr. Bright) on this point. One of these days the opium trade might again lead us into war, and he hoped that his right hon. Friend, if he were still the man he once was, would unite with him in saying there should be an end to revenue derived from this demoralizing source. The third point he wished to allude to was the system of public works—and here he must express his regret that so very little encouragement was given to private enterprize, thereby Limiting the introduction of English capital into India. He could not but think that the wiser course would have been to encourage its introduction as widely as possible; for, surely, there was scope enough in India both for the Government and for the English capitalist. He had given a Notice on the subject for next Session. The matter ought to be thoroughly gone into by a Committee next year, and then justice might be done to India on this point.
said, he would put it to the Committee whether, after the discussion of that evening, as well as on a previous occasion, it would not be desirable that his hon. Friend the Secretary for India should be allowed to proceed with the Bills relating to that country which were set down on the Notice Paper. Unless there were great objections to those measures, it would, it seemed to him, be a great pity at the end of the Session, when the changes which were proposed with respect to administration in India could not be much affected by anything which might be said in that House, that the Bills should not be allowed to pass. The speech of his hon. Friend who had just sat down was one of a very lively character, and he could assure him that so far as many of the points on which he had touched were concerned, he sympathized with him now as well as in past times, when he took a much more active part in the discussion of Indian affairs. It was not possible, however, on the present occasion to alter the duty on salt or to do anything with regard to the opium question, while it would be a 1361 great convenience to the Government and the House that the Bills relating to India should be proceeded with at once. If that were not done, the probability was that they would have to be abandoned for the Session, and the majority of the House would, he thought, be sorry that such should be the case.
§ MR. DICKINSON
said, he intended to enter into the general question raised by the financial statement of the Undersecretary for India, but at that late hour would refrain from doing so.
MR. GRANT DUFF
begged to add his entreaty to that of his right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Trade, that the Bills in question should be permitted to be advanced a stage that evening. With the view of facilitating that course he trusted he would be pardoned if he did not reply to the speeches which had been made during the evening, as well as on a previous occasion, in the usual way.
§ Question put, and agreed to.
§ House resumed.
§ Resolution to be reported To-morrow, at Two of the clock.