HC Deb 02 August 1873 vol 217 cc1477-509

Order read, for resuming Adjourned Debate on Amendment proposed to Question [31st July], "That Mr. Speaker do now leave the Chair;" and which Amendment was, To leave out from the word "That" to the end of the Question, in order to add the words "in the opinion of this House, the present constitution of the Government of India fails to secure an efficient or economical management of its finances, and that this House views with apprehension the state of local taxation in that Country, and is of opinion that its financial condition must he regarded as unsatisfactory so long as the Income Tax forms its only financial reserve,"—(Mr. Fawcett,)

—instead thereof.

Question again proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."

Debate resumed.


said, he could not concur with the views taken by the hon. Member for Brighton (Mr. Fawcett) with respect to the administration of the affairs of India, which he said were not economical. What good could result from an Imperial point of view, if the House should affirm the three points which the hon. Member had propounded in his Resolution? All who had paid attention to the subject must admit that, speaking generally, the past administration of the finances of India had not been economical, and that there were grave errors in it; but the question was, what object was to be gained by asserting that in a Resolution of that House, and what could the hon. Gentleman set up which would be admitted on all hands to be a more efficient administration? He was not a thick-and-thin apologist of the Government of India, and he should be the last to find fault with criticism upon it; but from along residence in that country he knew something of the inherent difficulties of the administration of India, both as regarded its revenues and the expenditure of them; and he thought that it was greatly to be regretted that the hon. Member for Brighton had not himself had a share in Indian administration and experienced its difficulties, as in that case his criticisms would have been tempered with greater moderation, and he would not have indulged so unrestrainedly in the luxury of denunciation. The hon. Gentleman fairly objected to be looked upon as the spokesman of financial panic; but he should remember that whatever he said in that House was published separately as a noteworthy speech, and was propagated throughout the length and breadth of India, as a unique exposition of the financial position of India and its administration. The hon. Member could not conceive the mischievous effect of a long, able, and denunciatory speech being sown broadcast throughout the Indian Presidencies. The words were magnified by distance, by imagination, and by designing men, whose mission it was to stir up hatred and discontent against the Government of India. The hon. Gentleman had denounced the Income Tax, but that was now a thing of the past; and if it were judged by the small amount of revenue it brought in, as compared with the amount of irritation and abuse which it occasioned, no one would regret that it had been abolished. He (Mr. Denison) agreed, however, in the reserve with which the Under Secretary of State for India had spoken of the matter, and thought that without surrendering it for over they should retain it as a source of revenue, to be resorted to in the event of an invasion, a war, or a great internecine conflict, when it might be required to meet the expenses of such extraordinary times; but to impose an Income Tax, in order to find interest for the loans raised and expended on public works the propriety of which was doubtful, was a policy against which he should always set his face, and he hoped the day was very distant when Government would again propose it. In respect to the public works, he agreed with the hon. Gentleman in thinking that a great deal had been done in the past which had been unremunerative, and he could from the experience of a quarter-of-a-century say that there was no Department of the Indian Government which required a more close or a more persistent watchfulness to be exercised over it; and he blushed to think of the millions it had expended with very little judgment indeed. Looking at the Revenues of India as a whole, and the sources from which they were derived, the hon. Member asked, supposing it were necessary to raise £4,000,000 or £5,000,000 on an emergency from taxation, what would they do? He (Mr. Denison) believed that there was no way in which they could safely raise anything like such a sum from direct taxation; but he did not think the emergency could arise in India which would require that amount. If it did, a loan could be raised to meet the necessity of the moment, and the burden of the loan could be spread over a term of years. Whether they looked to the revenue or to the expenditure they would see that there was no heroic mode of dealing with the administration of India; everything must be done by small means. They could not make largo and sweeping deductions from their taxation, neither could they make large and sweeping additions to their expenditure. The progress of economy, therefore, must be naturally slow, but at the same time progressive; but that did not save the Government from taking every means in their power to reduce the expenditure, and the only two departments in which a reduction of expenditure was possible were in unremunerative public works and in the Army. The Government were pledged to carry out any possible reduction in the Army; for it was admitted, that in spite of a great reduction in the Force, the cost was much more than when there was a larger number of men. With regard to public works, he fully endorsed all that had been said about the waste upon barracks which had been condemned; but he was afraid that they had not yet arrived at a business-like and satisfactory arrangement with regard to the public works expenditure. The hon. Member referred in terms of severe animadversion to the two new questions of decentralization and local taxation; but the hon. and learned Member for Lynn (Mr. Bourke) had begged the House not to pass any present judgment upon the system of decentralization, until it had had a fair trial. Then, the question of local taxation required the serious consideration of the Government. If the present system went on, it would be found they could not tax the people in the different localities without giving them a direct and powerful voice as to the manner in which that taxation should be raised, and the objects for which it was imposed. It was also to be borne in mind that the more zealous the Government officer, the more was he imbued with a despotic temperament, so that he could not bear with opposition, and made enemies where he ought to make friends. In the municipal and local councils a man of his character was sure to over-ride all opposition; and if the other members disagreed with him, he was sure to have them removed at the next election in favour of others who might prove more compliant with his dictation. These were all matters which would require the interposition of the Indian Government and of the House; but, at the same time, he did not think the matter had got to that extent as to justify the Amendment of the hon. Gentleman the Member for Brighton. He hoped the evidence which had been given in the Committee upstairs would induce the Government in the different Presidencies to give a patient hearing to everything calculated to allay discontent. The Manchester school was responsible for the Government of India being forced into expenditure against its will during the last 13 or 14 years; it was only now that the unremunerative nature of the expenditure was beginning to be perceived, and that public opinion was turning round and enabling the Government to resist the pressure that was put upon it by the Government of this country. The hon. Member, on the principle of laudator temporis acti, attributed all the virtues to the old East India Company and all the evils to the present Government of India; but if he had known India in the time of the Company, he would modify his judgment. The old Company had many excellent qualities, not the least of which was their successful resistance of unfair burdens on the people for Imperial taxation. He (Mr. Denison) was, however, not prepared to say that, on the whole, the East India Company was a better Government than the present Government. His opinion inclined the other way. Although the publication of the proceedings of the India Council in London might gratify the curiosity of many, and occasionally prevent an abuse, in the long run it would be disastrous. It would be advisable to reduce the Governors of Madras and Bombay to Lieutenant Governors, with Councils upon which the various local opinions in the Presidency towns should be represented—an arrangement which had been found to work quite satisfactorily for Bengal. Sir John Lawrence told the Committee upstairs that he had again and again called upon the Government of Bombay to stop its expenditure, to send in estimates, and to wait until the Supreme Government had pronounced an opinion, but no attention was paid to him; and when asked why he did not insist on his wishes being carried out, he said the status of the Governor of Bombay was too high to warrant the Governor General in resorting to extreme measures, and however much he disapproved what was being done, he felt that he was helpless in the matter. That was not such a state of things as ought to exist. The control of the Governor General ought to be real and potential if it existed at all. A Lieutenant Governor, to know anything of the wants and feelings of the people, must have had some previous practical acquaintance with them. No man could go from another part of the world into an Indian Presidency and avoid mistakes unless he had a Council to guide him. There was only one other subject he wished to draw attention to—the employment of Natives. On that subject he thought the Government of India had been guilty of something like a breach of faith. That was a serious question as regarded our future hold on the people of India, and as the natives advanced in education, it was not fair or politic to close up all the avenues of employment for them except in a position of complete inferiority to their European colleagues? He knew the difficulties of the subject, but we must be content to forego some of our prejudices and fears. We must in deed, as well as in word and. promise, throw open the services of India to Natives, and give them the chance of qualifying themselves, without imposing upon them the intolerable burden of coming to Europe in order to pass through the colleges of this country. To say that we would not have any who had not passed through Cooper's Hill College, was to say that we would not have any at all. Although he was no pessimist like the hon. Member for Brighton, not an optimist like the Under Secretary for India, yet he did not think they needed to look with alarm on the future, nor did he agree in the necessity of affirming that the present Government of India failed in efficiency. In conclusion, he would urge the hon. Member for Brighton not to press his Amendment.


said, he must congratulate the hon. Member for the West Riding of Yorkshire (Mr. Denison) on the excellent practical speech which had just been delivered. The remarks on the Indian administration could only have been made by one who had had experience in India. He agreed with all that had been said, except as to the objections made to the course taken by the hon. Member for Brighton (Mr. Fawcett). That hon. Member had been a good friend to India, and deserved well of the people; but he joined with the hon. Member for the West Riding of Yorkshire, in expressing a hope that the Amendment would not be pressed to a division in so thin a House; because all the objects the hon. Member for Brighton sought had already been, or were about to be, attained; and he would suggest that the hon. Member should assist the Under Secretary and the Committee upstairs in coming to some practical conclusions upon the evidence that had been taken before them. He would only add that if it were divided on, he should vote for it, in order to mark his sense of the good service the hon. Member for Brighton had done to India. He rejoiced to learn that the finances of India were in a flourishing condition, and congratulated the hon. Gentleman the Under Secretary of State on the balance being at length on the right side of the account, though the balance at their credit was not so large as to afford much satisfaction. Still, with the five allies which the hon. Gentleman had, of Providence, good seasons, opium, land revenue, and economy, he had no doubt by the aid of the last three allies, we should soon have an increased balance in our favour. With regard to the opium revenue, he must refer to the opinion of the hon. Member for Orkney (Mr. Laing), who had shown that no branch of the income of India had been so uniformly sound as this. He had no wish to go into the high moral question raised by the hon. Baronet the Member for Carlisle (Sir Wilfrid Lawson). It was purely a financial question that was now under discussion; and, though he admitted that it was unwise of the Government of India to rely on that large part of their revenue continuing without fluctuation, still, as regarded China not buying this drug, he had no doubts. He had himself, 30 years ago, investigated the question of opium cultivation in China, and he was satisfied from that investigation, and from all that had since occurred, that the Indian opium revenue had nothing to fear for some time on account of Chinese cultivation of opium. He was glad to learn from the Under Secretary that there had been an increase in the land revenue between 1868–9 and 1871–2 to the extent of £594,166, and he hoped that that important item would increase year by year; but he must add that he wished the hon. Gentleman had brought to notice the important fact that the largest part of that increase was due to the much abused Presidency of Madras. There they had found a continuous rise in the revenue in all branches year by year for many years past, and between 1868–9 and 1871–2 the increase in the land revenue had been £371,524, thereby leaving but a small part of the total increase from land to the other Provinces. Indeed, in three of the Provinces there had been an actual decrease of land revenue, so that without the aid of Madras, the finances, as respected land revenue, would have appeared to a disadvantage. He trusted that the well-ordered Administration of the Madras Presidency, as well as its Army, might in future be better appreciated. Now, seeing the difficulty of increased balances on the favourable side of the balance-sheet of India, through the aid of increased revenue, there was one ally of the Under Secretary which could be relied on to effect this result, and that was economy. No doubt, the military expenditure afforded an opening for economy; but he would suggest that there was ample room for economical reforms in the Public Works Department and other branches of the Civil Service. The Public Works Department in India was an overgrown establishment; it had passed beyond the control of any one head; and he was, therefore, glad that in that Department the Government were reducing the expenditure. The outlay on military works alone had fallen off from £2,125,554 in 1868–9, to £747,094 in 1871–2; so that there had been a saving of more than £1,250,000; still there was ample room for large economies in the excessive expenditure of that Department, and in other branches; and not only in the expenditure in India, but in the yearly increasing outlay in England for public works, for establishments, stores, and the engineering college of Cooper's Hill. There were also other great openings for economy in all branches of the Civil Service. The numbers of Europeans now employed were large as compared with the former numbers. In their large salaries, and in the unnecessarily high salaries given within the last few years to all the establishments in India, there were great openings for economy. Whilst he advocated the employment of Natives, and a great decrease in the number of Europeans, he must add his protest against the practice of giving to Natives the same rates of salaries as allowed to Europeans. These latter should be few in number and paid exceptionally. Considering the yearly increasing number of European engineers, civil and military, and the additions of Europeans to the Forest Department and to the Telegraph, there was ample scope for great economy. Instead, therefore, of making all the economies out of the Army expenditure, he trusted that not only the Army, but the Public Works, and all the civil establishments of the country, in India and at home, should be equally submitted to the economical shears which they could so well bear. By that economy they could obtain means for removing some of the obnoxious burdens which created the serious discontent which had been adverted to. The present Commander-in-Chief in India had represented that at no previous time had our Government had such little hold on the affections of the people of India as at present. That meant that without a large Army, and, consequently, an excessive expenditure, we could not maintain our rule in India in the face of unpopular taxes. As one of the small band who invaded China in 1840, he could speak to the difficulty of carrying on war in Asia with a hostile population; and, therefore, fearing the like evil in India, he most cordially endorsed Lord Canning's saying, that "rather than have discontent from unpopular taxes, he would risk holding India with a small Army." Now, the cost of the military force had largely increased within the last 15 years. The strength of the Army in 1857 was calculated out and reported by the Government of India in a despatch to the Secretary of State written in. 1861 at. 42,179 European non-commissioned rank and file, and 268,413 Native officers and men—total, 310,592 European and Native soldiers. But the cost of that Army had never been calculated out and made public. He (Sir George Balfour) en-deavoured to estimate it for Lord Can- ning in 1860, and made out statements to show that if the European Force in 1856–7 had been maintained complete in effectives, instead of being largely below the established strength, and if the two European infantry regiments withdrawn from India for the war in the Crimea had been kept in India, then the total cost of the Indian Army, at home and India, could not have been less than £13,500,000. In order to be safe, it might be taken at£14,000,000, including the charge for military works. Since then the European Forces had been increased. In 1861, the Government of India fixed the strength at 73,577 European non-commissioned rank and file of Artillery, Cavalry, Engineers, and Infantry, and 136,369 Natives; total, 209,946. In 1862, the established strength of European soldiers was about the same, but the Native Force less, and the cost amounted to £15,500,195, including Home and Indian expenditure and military works. In 1863–4, the military expenditure, including military works, was£15, 465,276; in 1868–9 it had sprung up to £18,395,125, Home and India and public military works included. In 1871–2, with an established force of about 60,000 European non-commissioned officers and. men, and about 120,000 Natives, deducting boys, or a total of about 180,000 European and Native soldiers, the cost was £16,425,206, including military works. Thus we had an increased military charge of nearly £2,500,000 since 1857, with a much smaller total Force, especially in Native troops, and with only an increase in the European Force of about 16,000 men. Even since 1862–3 and 1863–4 we had an augmentation of £1,000,000, and with a decrease of 13,000 Europeans and about 16,000 Native troops. He must, however, explain that additions of various kinds had been made to the military charges of India, whilst reductions had been few, except in the number of the Forces. We had practically maintained more than all our former expenditure on all branches of the Army, whilst we had largely diminished the military strength. The military budget for 1873–4 continued to show a large increase over the expenditure of 1862–3. But the military charges in 1873–4, as shown in. the Budget, could not, however, be contrasted with those of 1862–3, without taking into consideration the large transfers of outlay that had taken place from the military budget to other services, amounting to fully £520,000, so that the expenditure on the Army since 1862–3 might be said to have increased fully £1, 500,000. Now, there was one part of the military charges on the Revenues of India to which particular attention had been called of late years in that House and outside; it related to the high cost of maintaining the British troops detached to India from the Home or imperial Army. It should, however, be remembered that that was the result of a policy pursued of late years. Until 1861, India had a special force of European soldiers as a component part of the Indian Army; and in the last century, when service in India was disliked, then that Force was larger than it had been in any part of this century, except at the date of its discontinuance in 1861. The European troops raised and maintained for India were in that year in number about 18,000, of whom about 17,400 transferred their services in 1861 to the Imperial Army, on a payment of a bounty of about £160,000. That discontinuance of a special Force of European troops for service in India had. always been advocated by certain classes. It had been the policy of parties at home throughout all this century to decrease the numbers of the European troops kept up by the Government of India, and to increase the numbers detached to India from the Home or Imperial Army. Now, after the transfer of the Government of India to the Secretary of State for India the present Earl of Derby continued the system of keeping up a European Force specially for India; and one of the greatest and. most far-seeing statesmen we have ever had on all affairs relating to India (the Earl of Ellen-borough) strongly advocated the continuance of this Force. The Viceroy of India, at the date of the transfer of the Government of India to the Crown, the late Lord Canning, earnestly advocated the maintenance of a separate European Force for India, and. others of great weight supported the measure. But on Sir Charles Wood taking the Seals of office of the Secretariat of India, he decided on abolishing the force of European troops maintained on the rolls of the Indian Army, and of depending en- tirely on the aid of European troops detached from the Imperial Army for service in India. That decision was entirely opposed to the opinion of every Member of the large Council with which Parliament in its wisdom had surrounded the Secretary of State as his advisers in all matters relating to India, but more especially in all questions involving finance. In order to enable that Council to record their adverse opinions, Sir Charles Wood laid before the Council the draft of a Bill, which subsequently became an Act, to discontinue recruiting for the European Force of India, which necessarily involved the abrogation of the Force. The Council of India, in a body, earnestly and urgently minuted against the measure; and all, except one Member of the Council, signed the dissent which was laid before Parliament in Parliamentary Paper 330 of 1860. That dissent was entirely disregarded; and in January 1861, Sir Charles Wood sent out a despatch to Lord Canning, directing measures to be taken to induce the European soldiers to volunteer for the Imperial service. So wisely were all the arrangements in India made, that on that occasion, as already stated, about 17,400 European soldiers accepted general service on receiving the usual bounty on change of conditions of service. That was effected at the cost of one-eighth of the outlay which was entailed on the country by the ill-advised and badly-arranged step which led to 10,000 European troops of the Indian Army taking their discharge, on the Government of India being transferred from the East India Company, in whose service they had enlisted. It was to that step of Sir Charles Wood that we could trace the heavy expenditure of the Indian Army as far as it related to the maintenance of the European troops. India, by giving up the local force of European soldiers, lost a standard by which to keep down charges for the Imperial troops detached to India, which were unavoidable so long as the organization of the Home Army was adapted for Imperial purposes, irrespective of Indian considerations. He (Sir George Balfour) felt called upon, from his recent connection with the War Office, to do justice to the Secretary of State for War, and to add that with regard to increase in the military expenditure of India by charges made from the War Office, his right hon. and gallant Friend the Surveyor General of the Ordnance had tried to aid India by decreasing expenditure on stores. Some improvement was effected; but if all that was possible in that branch had not been done, it was not chargeable to his right hon. Friend. From the personal experience he had gained whilst in the War Office he was able to give the fullest credit to the Secretary of State for War, for affording facilities for effecting reduction of expenditure in the Indian Army. The right hon. Gentleman had clone him the honour to consult him on proposed reductions, and he the more readily listened to his opinions, that these proposals were in strict accordance with those he (Sir George Balfour) had made in 1862. The Secretary of State being satisfied as to their propriety, at once decided in favour of economy. These reductions involved the decrease of two regiments of European infantry, without decreasing a single private, and a reduction of 120 companies, and 120 captains and other officers; also of two regiments of cavalry and of 23 troops, but with a decrease of men; subsequently, two brigades of Artillery, five batteries of horse-artillery, and 13 other batteries had been withdrawn from India; by these important changes the Secretary of State for War had aided the Government of India in effecting, he believed, a reduction of at least £250,000 per annum from the Indian military expenditure. And he was convinced that it was only necessary for the Secretary of State for India to lay before the War Office a well planned project for the organization of the European troops in India, and for the maintenance of depots at home, to ensure the prompt attention of the Secretary of State for War to the economies. But it must always be borne in mind that the Army of India, even with its present heavy expenditure for the large strength in European troops, was totally insufficient to maintain order, if a spirit of discontent prevailed amongst the people of India. If there was any convulsion in India, either from taxation or from external intrigues, or from both causes, it would be necessary largely to increase our military expenditure. It should be borne in mind that with our military expenditure in 1856–7 at about £13,500,000 or £14,000,000, it had sprung up from the mutiny of the Bengal sepoys, to nearly double; it was increased to £26,522,136 in 1858–9; and in 1860–61, it was still at £19,243,634, including military works. Hon. Members would therefore see how speedily a convulsion would swallow up the whole of the opium revenue and necessitate an extensive tax on incomes. In a mere money point of view he would, therefore, strongly urge the Indian Government to remove the causes of discontent. It was more desirable to have a small Army with the people of India contented, than to have a large Army with the people discontented. He (Sir George Balfour) expressed his satisfaction with the change in the constitution of the Indian Council that had been effected. Instead of appointing members for life, the appointments were now limited, under an Act brought in by the present Secretary of State for India, to a term of years, and he hoped that the present limit of 10 years would be still further restricted. He also hoped that further improvement would be effected in the home and India administration. He trusted that the Viceroy would be able to devote his whole time and thoughts to the general and impartial administration of all India and to this end that he should at once be freed from the administration of the Bengal Army. This practice created some of the greatest of evils in Indian administration. Moreover, instead of only one Army under the Commander-in-Chief and under the Viceroy, as so strongly and persistently advocated by Bengal officers, he trusted that there would be several Armies—probably five or seven—in India, as recommended by that distinguished statesman, Sir Bartle Frere. We ought to build up our house in several compartments, as that great man Mountstuart Elphinstone urged, so that in case of convulsion we might save some of the parts out of the conflagration. With regard to the advocated measure of having a Native Army composed of the same military classes as sepoys, he hoped that a delusion about the superiority of one class of Natives for military service over other classes would be dispelled from their minds. It was the European officer, the training, and drilling, and leading which made the Native a good soldier. The example of the Punjaub men had often been quoted; but they enlisted in the Mutiny, as Sir William Mansfield pointed out, to get revenge on the Bengal men and to obtain pl under in India. The best opinion that he (Sir George Balfour) had ever obtained was from an intelligent and observing officer who was a prisoner of the Punjaub troops when that country was independent of the Government of India. He stated that he then found that these troops were as much afraid of the Bengal troops when led by European officers, as the mutinied Bengal troops were frightened at the Punjaub troops when led by European officers. It was the officer that made the men; and in the former excellent system of the Madras Army, they had a good lesson as to how Natives could bear a good regimental code. Now, with regard to the much-abused Madras sepoys, he had practical knowledge as to their bravery and discipline. In 1839, a band of Arabs and of men beyond the frontier of India was formed in the Nizam's dominions and took service with our feudatory the Nabob of Kurnool. He (Sir George Balfour) was the brigade major to the Force which attacked that band. It was led by the most distinguished of all the leaders then in the Nizam's territory. It consisted of fully 3,000 well-trained stalwart men, and active, brave, and small Arabs. The Chief of the Arabs was also a famous leader—and, yet, with a weak battalion of Madras sepoys, under 500 men, with about 120 European infantry, 60 European cavalry, and 100 native cavalry, with six guns, this band was attacked and nearly annihilated. The Madras sepoys were amongst the foremost in closing with the baud and in using the bayonet. No doubt, that battalion was vieing with the small body of European infantry who fought side by side with the sepoys. It was thus useless to cry up Bengallees or Punjaubees or Sikhs. The men then attacked were from the frontiers of Punjaub and from Affghanistan, as fine men as could be found; and yet they succumbed to the well-disciplined Native of Madras, because he was led and disciplined by good European officers. It was in that portion of the administration, relating to the Native Army of India, that Sir Charles Wood's unhappy changes had caused so much evil. He hoped that the evidence collected upstairs would lead to changes in the administration by which the proceedings in India might be better known and more effectually supervised by the Secretary of State in Council. He also hoped that changes would be introduced into the Home Establishment, by which a scrutiny might be established over all branches of expenditure both in India and in England. In that respect there was a great opening for improvement. And with regard to the remark of the Under Secretary of State, as to the insufficient control over the finances and expenditure of India which the Minister el Finance was stated to feel, that was most extraordinary; if the hon. Member fin. Orkney (Mr. Laing) had an opportunity of saying a few words, he would unhesitatingly state that when he was in India he had most effectual control over all expenditure, especially that of the military. Lord Canning's Government established a system of control, and a machinery for exercising control over all expenditure which vas equal to any that existed in any country; but changes were made by Sir Charles Wood's special instructions, by which that machinery was destroyed, and the control so wisely and effectually created by the experience of Lord Canning, of Mr. Wilson, of Sir Bartle Frere, and of Mr. Laing was cast aside, and the result had been large augmentations in every branch of the civil and military expenditure. He would conclude by advising that every effort should be used to develop the resources of the country; not by means of gigantic and overgrown establishments of a large Public Works Department, but by moderate establishments in the several localities. The improvements most useful were irrigation works; not those of a large and expensive kind, as lately in favour, but of a kind that would speedily produce results. Instead of State railways to keep the large establishment of the Public Works employed, it would be far better to leave the construction of such works to companies, but under improved terms as to outlay, leaving to Government officers the duty of making canals and of forming reservoirs. It was in those irrigation works that Natives could be so usefully employed; they only required to be directed by the higher skill of a few European engineers to be able to finish works on an excellent model, certain to be useful to the people and profitable to the State. He would take leave of' the subject with an earnest wish for the prosperity and happiness of the people of India.


Sir, it appears to have been assumed throughout this debate that the Financial Statement of the Under Secretary of State for. India and the Amendment of the hon. Member for Brighton (Mr. Fawcett) are diametrically opposed to each other, and that while one has presented a picture all couleur de rose, the other has employed only the darkest and gloomiest colours. Now, it seems to me that making due allowance for the difference in style of the two artists, the pictures are substantially the same. The Under Secretary of State has told us that, thanks to a favourable season, a good opium crop, military reductions, the suspension of public works, and the transference of various charges from Imperial to local funds, he expects this year to make the two ends meet without the aid of the income tax. Now, I would ask if there is anything inconsistent with this in the Amendment of my hon. Friend—namely, That, in the opinion of this House, the present constitution of the Government of India fails to secure an efficient or economical management of its finances, and that this House views with apprehension the state of local taxation in that Country, and is of opinion that its financial condition must be regarded as unsatisfactory so long as the Income Tax forms its only financial reserve. Upon a careful consideration of all the evidence, it seems to me that the case is made out, not against the Indian Government in particular but against all Governments since the transfer of India to the British Crown, that they have been too costly for so poor a country as India. The most minute and careful watchfulness over every item of expenditure and the incidence of every tax is necessary, where the power of bearing taxation is so small, and this can only be secured by direct representation of the taxpayers. It is to this point that I wish specially to direct the attention of the House. The extent and the population of India are so great that persons in this country are easily misled as to her capacity for bearing financial burdens. To state her vast population as a proof of such a capacity, is like asserting that the number of paupers in this country lightens the average burden of taxation per head. The great bulk of the people in India are in fact living on the verge of pauperism, which in their case does not imply the poor-house or out-door relief, but simply wholesale famine and starvation, when an un-favourable season occurs. Compare British India with France by means of their respective Budgets of ordinary Revenue for 1872. That of France was, in round numbers, £93,700,000 for 36,000,000 of inhabitants. That of India for 190,000,000 was £47,400,000, from which ought to be deducted for land revenue £20,700,000, and for opium £8,000,000, leaving only £18,700,000 as the amount raised from similar sources to those from which the French Revenue is raised. A very simple calculation shows that France pays 25 times as much per head as British India. No doubt the French are burdened; but if £5,000,000 additional were required in France no financial difficulty would be experienced in raising it, whatever political obstacles there might be. In India a similar deficit, arising from a failure of the opium revenue or any other cause, could be supplied only by re-imposing the income tax, which, at 1 per cent or 2½d. in the pound, yielded a little more than £500,000. The most competent witnesses before the Indian Finance Committee are nearly unanimous in their opinion that all other methods of taxation are practically exhausted. Retrenchment is therefore essential, and the natural tendency to administrative extravagance must be controlled by the taxpayers, speaking through accredited representatives. Such control may be exercised in three different cases: over local taxation and expenditure, over Imperial taxation and expenditure in India, and over the Home charges. If the scheme of decentralization and of local taxation proves to be a disastrous failure, this will be due mainly to the utter absence of anything like representation of the taxpayers. As regards the municipal councils, we have just heard from the hon Member opposite (Mr. Denison) that they are absolutely under the power of the Government officer, who presides over their deliberations, and at whose discretion the members are appointed and removed. There is also reason to believe that the funds raised for municipal purposes are sometimes grossly misapplied. To introduce local representation would be a simple matter, by no means foreign to native traditions, and the village assemblies, known as punchavets, might furnish a model for the introduction of popular control over local business. It is of greater importance that the representative element should be introduced into the Supreme and Provincial Legislative Councils, and that those Councils should be invested with some power of control in matters of finance. At present the Supreme Legislative Council is composed of seven Members of the Executive Council, along with two official Members from Madras and Bombay. Besides these there are two non-official Europeans and three Natives, two of whom are feudatory Princes, not British subjects, and not acquainted with the English language, in which the debates of the Council are conducted. Hitherto the form has been gone through of submitting the Budget to the Legislative Council, who have, however, no power to alter its details. In 1873, even this form was omitted; and as no real control was exercised, it is, perhaps, better that such a pretence should no longer be kept up. In order to see an example upon which the Legislative Council of India and its proceedings might bore-modelled, we have only to cross over to Ceylon, a Crown Colony, where far more liberal institutions prevail. The Ceylon Legislative Council consists of nine official and six non-official Members, some of whom are Natives. The Bill of Supply is brought in annually, and after being read a first and second time, is referred to a Committee, composed of three official and three non-official Members, who examine the Estimates in detail, and report to the Council. The Bill is then fully discussed in the Council, the Members of which have power to move Amendments, or refuse Votes, and finally it is read a third time and passed, the whole procedure being very similar to what takes place in this House. Successive Governors of Ceylon have approved this constitution, under which taxation has been reduced, and a surplus has frequently been obtained. If a similar procedure were adopted, as regards the Budgets, in the Indian Legislative Councils, and if those Councils were reconstituted with a strong non-official and representative element, an efficient check might be exercised over expenditure and taxation. At some future time I may have an opportunity of bringing this before the House in a substantive form, as it is one of the highest importance to India. There remains the case of the Home charges, for which the House of Commons is especially responsible, although as controlling the Executive Government, our responsibility may be held to extend over all Indian expenditure. It is, of course, out of the question that India should have representation in this House in any proportion to her population; but many who know India well believe that the experiment of conceding representatives to the Presidency cities would be attended with complete success. At first, it is probable that Europeans rather than Natives would be elected, and my hen. Friend the Member for Brighton, if unfortunately he should ever lose the confidence of his present constituency, might find a secure and permanent seat for Calcutta, Bombay, or Madras. There can be no doubt as to the favourable political effect in India, if when a re-distribution of Parliamentary scats takes place, half-a-dozen were to be reserved for the three Presidencies. We have not been able as yet to examine many Native witnesses before the Finance Committee; but those who have given evidence, while complaining of fiscal oppression, are strongly in favour of maintaining the connection between Great Britain and India. I believe that it is most desirable to maintain this connection, and that our Government, with all its faults, is by far the best Government that India or any Asiatic country has ever seen. Believing that administrative extravagance produces our only serious danger, and that in no other way can it be effectually checked, I would urge strongly upon Parliament that the time has now come for conceding, in some modified form at least, representative institutions to India.


wished to address himself to one or two salient points which he thought it was important to bring before the House. He would first thank his hon. Friend the Under Secretary of State for India for the candid and fair, and, he must add, so far satisfactory statement he had made of the affairs of India, and he was glad to learn that they could look forward to better times. For the first time they had established an equilibrium, and he hoped there would soon be a balance on the credit side. With respect to the Resolution of the hon. Member for Brighton (Mr. Fawcett), no one could deny that there were blots and defects in the administration of India; but he thought, on the other hand, the hon. Member for Brighton had been scarcely fair, for he ought to take into consideration the difficulties which the Government of India had to deal with in administering the affairs of that great country. He took the liberty of saying that as having been a resident in India for many years, and having been, and still being intimately connected with its affairs, it would be better both for the interests of this country and of India if the hon. Member for Brighton had pointed out those difficulties, and, while pointing out the defects of administration, had shown to the people of India what England had done and was still doing for them, and what efforts the Government of India were making for the good and well-being of their country. He said this because for one person in India that read the statement of the Under Secretary for India, hundreds would read the speech of the hon. Gentleman the Member for Brighton, and he therefore regretted that the hon. Gentleman had not shown more of the statesman and less of the advocate in his speech. He should have liked to have seen something in his speech more like a quasi-judicial spirit in the balancing of those difficulties. With respect to the Motion before the House, he could not agree to ascribe the present state of the finances of India to the "constitution of the present Government of India," which was the first proposition contained in the Motion. But the House had heard nothing to satisfy them that the present constitution of the Government of India was not a wise and a good one; although there was no doubt it admitted of improvement, which he would be glad to sec carried out. He hoped his hon. Friend would take what he had said in good part, for he well knew that he believed what he was doing was for the good and benefit of India. But he thought his hon. Friend would have done much better if he had pointed out the difficulties under which the Government of India laboured, and. shown the people of India how much better they were under the English Government than they could be under any Native Government, and than they had been under any Government in time past. With those observations, he should like to say a word or two on some other points. First, with regard to the opium revenue, he quite agreed with the hon. Baronet the Member for Carlisle (Sir Wilfrid Lawson) that it involved great immorality in principle. But the House ought to recollect, at the same time, that the present Government were not responsible for this. That revenue had been bequeathed to them by the late East India Company. It was a damnosa hœreditas, and he thought they, as practical men, ought to consider how they were to get rid of it, for he agreed with the hon. Member for Carlisle that the traffic was both immoral and impolitic; and, on that head, not a single suggestion was made by the hon. Member. A high authority—Lord Lawrence—had been quoted to show that the Revenue of India could not be increased. That was a great point, and the hon. Member for Brighton had shown the House that they had only the income tax to fall back upon. Now, the income tax had failed in raising more than £500,000; but the opium revenue brought in last year £9,000,000, and whore were they to find a substitute for it? The people of India were truly said to be very poor. They would not use articles of European production and consumption so as to allow indirect taxes to be raised. Direct taxation, as shown in the case of the income tax, had failed. The hon. Member for Gravesend (Sir Charles Wingfield) approved of the income tax because, as he said, it enabled them to tax the richer classes in India who would otherwise escape taxation altogether. The question, however, was how could it be made to reach these classes? It had been tried and failed to do so. He (Mr. Leith) would like to see the rich native bankers and merchants of India, who were rolling in wealth, made to contribute to the Revenue. Now, why had the income tax failed in India? An income tax could only be raised when you could trust the morality and truthfulness of those who were to be assessed to it. But in India there was very little truth or morality among the Natives as regarded this subject, and no public opinion which could be brought to bear on these classes, and so compel them to contribute to an income tax. The result was that in India the rich native bankers and merchants escaped the tax, and as it was used as a means of extortion amongst the poorer classes, and as the Europeans, who made correct returns, felt the hardship and complained, there was no other course but to get rid of it. He wished to call attention to another tax, which he considered most unconstitutional, most mischievous, and most iniquitous in its operation. That was the tax charged upon the administration of justice. He found by the Returns in the Budget that the stamps yielded a revenue of £1,639,779. They were required to be paid by the suitors under "The Courts Fees Act" —namely, Act vii. of 1870. This was entirely a poor man's question, and they had heard a great deal about the poverty of India. No man could enter a Court of Justice without having first paid an institution fee for an ad valorem stamp upon the value of the subject-matter of the suit, which ranged from 10 to 1,200 rupees. Fees or stamps had also to be paid at every step. The result was that it afforded an encouragement to the rich and fraudulent, in a country where injustice and corruption wore rampant, and in the case of the poor man, became almost a refusal of justice. If the suitor had to appeal to a higher Court, the institution fee had again to be paid; and in Oude there were two Courts of Original Appeal! It appeared that the amount so obtained nearly covered the whole charges of the administration of justice in India—so that the suitors paid for what the whole community had the benefit of! He wished to call attention for a few moments to the excise system and "the Akbarree tax," from which a revenue of nearly £1,390,851 was raised. This large amount was not raised in accordance with the views of the hon. Baronet the Member for Carlisle (Sir Wilfrid Lawson) for the purpose of repressing the consumption of intoxicating liquors; but the whole principle and object of the system was to stimulate the production and extend the sale and consumption of intoxicating liquors. It became a question of such importance as to deserve the serious consideration of the House, and of every man of right feeling. It was in its character immoral, and prejudicial to the best interests of the people. He then referred to a correspondence published in The Friend of India, which could be relied upon. A Commissioner, who was an officer of the Revenue in the Central Provinces, wrote to the Chief Commissioner, and pointed out that there was a difficulty in increasing the Revenue, and that it could only be done by multiplying the distilleries and shops for the sale of intoxicating liquors, as had been successfully done elsewhere; and that, unless this was done, there would be little revenue raised in the rural districts in comparison with the towns. In reply, the Chief Commissioner acknowledged the zeal and energy of his correspondent, and agreed with him that his suggestion would be productive of much good to the Revenue; but as he (Mr. Leith) thought every friend of India would agree, in much evil to the country. For the reasons which he had pointed out, he could not vote for the Amendment.


observed that, having discharged the responsible task of presiding over the Committee which had been appointed by the House to inquire into the state of the finances of India during a period of three consecutive Sessions, he wished to offer a few observations on the Motion of the hon. Member for Brighton (Mr. Fawcett). It appeared to him that before asking the House to pronounce a judgment on the Resolution, when they appointed a Committee to embark in an investigation of great magnitude and complexity, which had produced three folio volumes of immense dimensions—larger than any history of the United Kingdom—unless they were appointed merely to record thousands of questions and answers, surely it was desirable that the House should suspend their judgment on any matter under their consideration till the Committee should have the opportunity of deliberating on the evidence received, and submitting the conclusions to which they had come on that evidence. To anticipate those conclusions by a Resolution would appear to bring the proceedings of the House itself into contempt, and, instead of accomplishing that object which the hon. Member for Brighton had often expressed his wish to attain in the matter, he would in the most signal manner produce the very opposite result, for he would be proclaiming to the people of India that when the House had given them an opportunity of having their affairs investigated, Parliament would not even suspend its judgment till the result of their labours was announced, but must, in an off-hand manner, after a single debate, pronounce an opinion on the finance of the country. He did not complain, however, of the course taken by the hon. Member for Brighton. He (Mr. Ayrton) was afraid that he himself, to some extent, had set the example which the hon. Member was now following—of proposing Resolutions on the Motion that the House should go into Committee on the accounts of the Government of India; but there was a great distinction between the course he (Mr. Ayrton) had taken, and that pursued by his hon. Friend, for the Resolutions he proposed when the late Government was in office, pointed to certain distinct propositions connected with the constitution of the Government which could not be discussed properly and adequately in a general investigation of the state of the finances of India. One of his propositions was that there ought to be a Member of Council acting for agriculture, commerce, and trade. That proposition was entirely separate from any discussion on the accounts. Another of his propositions, which had since been accepted, was that the Members of Council in this country ought not to hold their office for life, but for a limited period. Unfortunately, the comprehensive Amendment of the hon. Member for Brighton embraced every proposition to which the Committee upstairs had to direct its inquiries, and, if it were desired that that Committee should arrive at any practicable solution of the problems before it, surely the hon. Member could never intend to invite the deliberate judgment of the House upon the Amendment at the present time. That would be very disrespectful to the Committee appointed at his own instance; it would amount to an assertion that the Committee was useless; and the hon. Member could not wish to say that, because, in accordance with his wish, the Committee was continuing to take evidence, and had abstained from expressing its views. The Amendment had been understood to be an intimation of certain views which the hon. Member intended to advance; but it had not been supposed that he intended to invite the deliberate judgment of the House upon them, or else the discussion would have taken place at an earlier period, when a larger House might have pronounced an opinion more worthy of the magnitude of the question. He wished to offer one or two ob- servations on the points which had been raised in the debate. The general subject was one of so much complexity that the more you examined it the more difficult did it seem to be to come to a satisfactory conclusion. If he had been asked 15 years ago whether he would have supported the establishing a Secretary of State for India, with 15 Councillors, he should have opposed any such proposition; but then he would have been viewing the Indian Council as a speculative institution, while now it had to be considered as tested by practical experience. It was obvious that that House was the proper guardian of the people of India, in the last resort, in matters of finance; but by statute it had delegated its authority to the Secretary of State for India in Council. It was therefore of the first importance to see the Council of India was worthy of the confidence of the House and entitled to be maintained, and he hoped the Committee would come to some conclusion upon it. If they were not satisfied with it, he hoped they would not indulge in a mere general statement, but point out how the Council should be re-constituted, or what should be established in its place. As to the course he had taken when out of office, he did not indulge in general utterances; he addressed himself to particular evils, and pointed out specifically what ought to be done. If they passed from the Council to the Viceroy, and his relations to the Governors and their Councils, very difficult questions were raised. In India there were various parties, or rather schools, with different views as to the government of India; and such was the difficulty on the subject that it was idle for any man to assume dogmatic authority in regard to it. He therefore counselled the House not to be hasty in coming to a judgment on the subject. He wished to take that opportunity of doing justice to one of the late Governors, a man of eminent personal merit, Sir Bartle Frere. There was no doubt whatever, from the evidence which had been received up to this time, that there had been a laxity of financial administration in the Presidency of Bombay which had produced most deplorable results. The Committee had not, however, yet examined Sir Bartle Frere or his successor, but in all probability they would be examined before the Committee, and then an opportunity would be given of answering the charges which had been brought against them. Until then the judgment of the House should be suspended. One of the schools in India was of a very dangerous character; it held that the power of England depended chiefly upon the efforts of men occupying high positions in India. The power of England there depended neither upon the Viceroy nor upon the Governors. It depended, in the first place, upon the British Navy, which kept open the communication with India, and which could throw upon the shores of India a military force which no one in India could withstand; and next, it depended on the power of the British Army, and its ability and disposition to render service in India. But still, within the limits of that power, no doubt every Viceroy, every Governor, every Sub-Governor, and every person in authority in India had enormous opportunities of doing great good to the people of that country. They all had great and important duties to discharge, but they must not be led away by theoretical speculations of their own in regard to the Government of India. His conviction at the same time was that the Government of India was animated by an earnest desire to do what was best for the welfare of the people. He wished to distinguish between the Government of India for the benefit of 200,000,000 and the Government of India for the benefit of the small number of people aggregated together in the towns, who were always expressing their views, no doubt earnestly—it might be conscientiously, sometimes noisily, and not unfrequently offensively—on questions which they said were entirely for the benefit of the 200,000,000, but which other people thought were entirely for the benefit of themselves. Expressions of public opinion from India must be looked at with great discrimination. It was the duty of everyone in this country to take care that he did not mistake the opinions which emanated from small but influential coteries in India for opinions which came from the people in a large sense. Turning now to the question of Indian taxation, hon. Gentlemen were aware that the total income of the Government of India was £48,200,000. Some people were in the habit of saying—"What a tremendous sum to wring from the poor people of that Empire;" but it was not by political arithmetic of that kind that an intelligent judgment could be formed on the subject. How was the money raised? A sum of £21,180,000 was derived as revenue from the land, and was essentially in its character a land rent, which had existed for a great length of time in India. Everyone held his land in India on condition of paying a land rent, as it was accounted in former times; but the British Government had performed an act of magnificent justice by enfranchising every occupant of the soil in India, and declaring him to be a freeholder, with a saleable title, but stipulating that he should continue to pay a land tax. That arrangement had given every man what he claimed, but could never before obtain—an independent proprietary right. Neither was the opium tax a. tax upon the people, because it was paid by the Chinese, who much preferred to smoke opium grown in India to any other; and inasmuch as the opium growers obtained the very best price from the best paymaster—namely, the Treasury—they at least should be content. The expenses of the Mint, the Post Office, Telegraphs, and Law and Justice, were not taxes, but payments for services rendered, and for which value was given. There were many other items of a like character, and the result was that out of £48,286,000 they amounted to £33,594,000, leaving a sum of £14,692,000 of taxation, or 1s. 6d, per head, which it was represented was crushing the people of India. With regard to expenditure, the Committee had examined the matter with the utmost detail, in order to satisfy themselves wherever there was anything wasteful and wherever economies could be recommended. He would not anticipate the conclusions which might be arrived at. He hoped the Committee would apply their minds to the evidence taken, and not shrink from expressing their opinion where economy could be introduced, and make such recommendations as they thought proper. He must at once say that he did not at all agree with the sweeping charges which had been made against the Commander-in-Chief or the Secretary of State for India, and although great exception had been taken to the mode in which the accounts of India were kept, as if they were intended to mystify, yet that was an entire mistake; the principle on which these accounts were kept was the same that had been adopted in this country. They could not possibly adopt the system of a joint-stock company, which really mystified the shareholders; and the illustration of the recent mistakes in the Post Office was a most unhappy one, because the mistakes which had arisen had been the consequence of a departure from the system. His hope was that they would not be led too hastily into the adoption of any new system connected with Indian finances, agreeing as he did entirely in the opinion expressed by Lord Lawrence that whatever good was to be done would be accomplished by good administration. It was through good administration alone—by fixing on individuals definite responsibility and holding them to their administrative duties, that they could hope to obtain the best Government in India and the most economical results. Each man, in his own sphere, should be definitely responsible, and it should not be like the game of hunt-the-slipper, in which the responsibility was shifted about so that no one could find it. That principle ought to be applied to the conduct of all connected with the Government of India, and the more competent and successful each man was in his own sphere, the more would our Government be likely to conduce to the happiness of the people. After the assurances he had given, he hoped the hon. Member for Brighton would be satisfied with the discussion, and would not ask the House to pronounce an opinion on the Resolution.


asked leave to withdraw his Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Main Question, "That Mr. Speaker do now leave the Chair," put, and agreed to.

Accounts considered in Committee.

(In the Committee.)


said, nothing had been advanced in the debate with which he concurred more cordially than he did in the concluding remarks of the right hon. Gentleman the First Commissioner of Works (Mr. Ayrton). As he had said, the principle which ought to guide us in all attempts to reform Indian administration was this—that we should, if possible, endeavour to concentrate re- sponsibility more than we had done hitherto. The right hon. Gentleman was evidently alluding to some of the facts which had come out before the Committee. Something was done which everyone thought ought not to have been done, and the recurrence of which everyone thought ought to be prevented, and it was impossible to say who was to blame for what had been done. Sir Bartle Frere had written to him (Mr. Fawcett) complaining of the only inaccuracy which, so far, had been pointed out in the long speech he made the other night. The House would remember he was particularly anxious to avoid mention of names, and in that instance he only mentioned the name on being challenged. On referring to the evidence of Lord Lawrence, he found that every statement he had made as to the building of this country house was correct. First, a house was sold without the order of the Governor General, which was an act of insubordination; and the excuse made was that the cost of the new building would not exceed the £35,000 for which the old one had been sold. Lord Lawrence discovered, while it was still incomplete, that it had cost £95,000; he then became angry, and demanded an estimate, but before it was forthcoming an additional £60,000 had been spent; so that this act of insubordination cost £155,000, to which was to be added £20,000 for furniture, making a total of £175,000 for the country house of a local Governor. These facts were corroborated by Lord Lawrence, who was Governor General at the time. On being appealed to as to who was Governor of Bombay at the time, in the course of his speech, he stated that it was Sir Bartle Frere, He now found, on referring to the evidence of Lord Lawrence, that he had done some injustice to Sir Bartle Frere, Part of the transaction was effected during the time he was Governor, and part during the Governorship of Sir Seymour Fitzgerald. Therefore, he ought to have associated with Sir Bartle Frere, Sir Seymour Fitzgerald, and if he had done any injustice he apologized. While saying many things with which he agreed, the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Ayrton) was entirely silent with respect to local taxation, which the Under Secretary of State for India also passed over very lightly. He believed, if the right hon. Gentle- man had spoken about it, he would not have been able to restrain his feelings, but would have used language quite as strong as he (Mr. Fawcett) had himself employed. None who had spoken had differed from him except the hon. and learned Member for King's Lynn (Mr. Bourke). It was a great pity that the speech of the hon. Member for the West Riding of Yorkshire (Mr. Denison) was addressed to a House which might have been counted out at any time, for that fact, in his opinion, evinced the listlessness and carelessness of the House on Indian affairs. The hon. Member unintentionally misrepresented him, by assuming he was anxious to prove that the rule of the East India Company was better than that of the present Government. What he said was that the Company rendered this service to India—it enabled an independent Power to give protection to India when unjust demands were made upon her Revenues by the British Government; and one of the problems we had now to solve was to attempt to supply to India that advantage which was associated with the rule of the Company. The hon. Member seemed to agree with him in every respect—and more particularly as regarded local taxation, the millions which had been wasted in irrigation, and the military expenditure—except in what he said as to the propriety of making public the proceedings of the India Council; and, considering the practical acquaintance of the hon. Member with India, the speech of the hon. Member would command quite as much attention in India as anything he (Mr. Fawcett) had himself said. It had been assumed that the income tax afforded a basis for comparing the wealth of India and of England, but England, in proportion to her population, was 56 times as rich as India. It might, perhaps, be considered that that comparison was a delusive test, and therefore he would take another, which had been supplied by the Under Secretary of State for India himself, who stated two or three years ago that the aggregate product of wealth in India was £350,000,000, whereas the aggregate product of wealth in England was £850,000,000 per annum. Thus it appeared that England produced two-and-a-half times as much wealth as India, and he might mention that the calculation of the Under Secretary was corrobo- rated by the Viceroy of that time. Considering, therefore, that India was seven times as populous as England, the latter country was, in proportion to her population, 18 times more wealthy than India. These figures showed that, although the taxation in. India might be small per head, yet it was a more onerous taxation than was even imposed in this country. Moreover, nine-tenths of the people of India were so miserably poor that the smallest taxation in pecuniary amount represented something taken from what to them was an absolute necessary of life. In conclusion, he wished in justice to himself to state that nothing could be further from his mind than a desire to weaken the legitimate influence of England in India. On the contrary, his object was to make it more fruitful of advantage in the future. He felt certain that India required, above all things, the watchfulness of the House of Commons in order to render our Government beneficial, and to make the people feel that the English Parliament was ready to redress any grievance which might be proved to exist. He was well pleased with the debate that had taken place on the subject, and believed it would satisfy the people of India.


said, he had authority to state that Sir Bartle Frere was not responsible for the enormous expenditure referred to by his hon. Friend. The fact was that four years before the completion of the House in question, Sir Bartle Frere had ceased to be Governor of Bombay.


said, he should regret to do any injustice to Sir Bartle Frere, and explained that he merely repeated what Lord Lawrence had stated to the Committee.


remarked that the evidence was given in the absence of Sir Bartle Frere, who would be able to show that the expenditure was made quite independently of him, and it was unjust to saddle that distinguished statesman with responsibilities which others should bear. Resolved, 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 1872 was £50,110,215; the charges in India, including the collection of the Revenue, Interest on Debt, and Public Works ordinary, were £37,282,803; the charges in England (including £1,249,040, the value of Stores supplied to India) were £7,980,017; the Guaranteed Interest on the Capital of Railway and other Companies, in India and in England, deducting net Traffic Receipts, was £1,723,218, making a total charge for the same year of £46,986,038; and there was an excess of Income over Expenditure in that year amounting to £3,124,177; that the charge for Public Works extraordinary was £1,628,474, and that including that charge the excess of income over Expenditure was £1,495,703.

Resolution to be reported upon Monday.