HC Deb 10 February 1881 vol 258 cc491-2

asked the Secretary of State for India, Whether, as promised last year, inquiry has been made as to funds supplied by the general taxation of India and spent in paying salaries of chaplains, not for officers in the service of the Queen only, but for planters and merchants and persons wholly unconnected with the Government; whether it is not true that more than half of the Church of England chaplains are at stations where there are no European troops, that of the forty-four chaplains in the cities of Calcutta, Madras, and Bombay, only nine minister to European troops, that at Berhampore the chaplain gets £1,000 per annum, while the number of officers and men who attend is eight; whether, notwithstanding the promise of the Indian Government to revise and reduce this expenditure, fresh chaplains have recently been appointed to stations where there are few or no officials; and, whether he will send out instructions to the Governor General to take vigorous measures for removing all just cause of complaint in this matter?


Sir, in reply to the Question of my right hon. Friend the Member for Montrose, I may say that a despatch was sent to the Government of India on the 17th of June last, asking for the information which I promised on the 31st of May last I would make an inquiry about. 1. The Government of India have called upon the Bishop of Calcutta to furnish this information, but no reply has at present been received. 2. The number of Church of England chaplains in India is 160, reduced by absentees on furlough to 139. Of the 160 chaplains, it would appear from the Parliamentary Return, dated February 5, 1880, that not more than 30 chaplains are at stations where there are no European troops, or one-fifth of the whole number. The same Return shows 30 chaplains—not 44— in the cities of Calcutta, Madras, and Bombay, and that at Berhampore, in the Madras Presidency, there is a retired chaplain, who receives, in addition to his pension, 1,200 rupees per annum, and a travelling allowance of 382 rupees per annum—not £1,000 per annum— from Government for ministering at that place and seven other stations. Chaplains are not provided for soldiers only; civil servants of the Crown, as well as military servants, are entitled to the services of chaplains. It appears from the Return already quoted that the military servants occupy four-fifths of the whole number of chaplains. The Government of India do not appear, so far as I can ascertain, to have paid sufficient attention to their promise to revise this expenditure, and I propose to call their attention again to this subject.