§ MR. E. STANHOPE,
in rising to call attention to the increased expenditure of India, and to move—That, in the opinion of this House, it is necessary that early steps be taken to reduce the expenditure of India; and with this view it is necessary in the first place that a Committee be appointed to inquire into the working of the Act of 1858, for the better Government of India (21 and 22 Vic. c. 106),said, that the hon. and gallant Member who had just sat clown had rightly interpreted what would be the feeling of the country with regard to the action of the hon. Member for Ipswich (Mr. Jesse Collings). That hon. Member seemed to think that the subject to which he had drawn attention was of far greater importance than a question of great difficulty and intricacy affecting our Indian Empire and to desire to postpone an issue which the Government themselves were ready to meet. It was not his in- 265 tention to discuss the subject which he was bringing forward in a Party spirit, and though he believed that the figures which he should lay before the House would prove conclusively that the present Viceroy of India was very much the most extravagant of all those who had held the Office, he was of opinion that a fair and impartial consideration of the subject would lead to the conclusion that, of all the Viceroys who had recently been in India, there was not one more entitled to credit for patient and persevering attention to details and for an anxious desire to reduce expenditure than Lord Northbrook. Nor did he intend to discuss generally the recent Budget Statement of the Indian Finance Minister. He intended to address himself exclusively to two points. The first he would formulate thus—Had there or had there not been an increase of expenditure in India? And the second was —Were there any special reasons why the increased expenditure, if any, was specially dangerous to India? The last time that questions of this kind were seriously taken in hand was in 1879, when the present Postmaster General placed a Motion upon the Paper, and showed a most sincere desire to reduce the expenditure of India. He was followed by the right hon. Gentleman now the Governor of Madras, who laid down certain views with regard to the reduction of the expenditure of India, which were taken up shortly after by the present Prime Minister. The right hon. Gentleman the present Prime Minister said—My hon. Friend the Member for the Elgin Burghs (Mr. Grant Duff), who is by no means given to exaggeration in his views of Indian policy, but whose reputed disposition is, on the contrary, to colour it too favourably, has fixed the measure of retrenchment he considers necessary to give solidity to Indian finance at £4,000,000 a-year. That is a very grave statement, and I do not believe it is an exaggerated one. It means that there must be a reduction of what we may call 10 per cent, or from 10 to 12 per cent all round in the real Expenditure of India."—(3 Hansard,  1748.)If that was the opinion upon the other side of the House, upon the Conservative side opinion was no less unanimous. The late Government anticipated any discussion on the subject by announcing that the time had come when increased and vigorous efforts should be made to reduce the expenditure of India wher- 266 ever it was possible. They were prepared to deal with the home charges, although it was his duty to inform the House that the total amount of these charges over which the India Office had any real control was only £275,000. They appointed a Committee at the India Office to go into every single item, and that Committee for months investigated every detail on which they thought a reduction of the expenditure might be made. The Government of India also took the matter up and announced their intention, so far as they could manage it, to carry out a reduction of expenditure in all branches. No one could doubt that a great effect was produced by these measures of 1879 on the ordinary expenditure of India in 1880. It would probably be a controversial point if he were to endeavour to state the exact effect of the measures taken by the Indian Government. Nor did he desire to pay special credit to Lord Lytton and his Government; but he did want the House to consider what had happened since 1880. Everyone who had looked into the figures must be aware that the expenditure of India had gone on steadily and continually increasing from that time. The noble Lord the Secretary of State for War, when Secretary of State for India, speaking upon the subject last year, referred to a statement recently made by him (Mr. Stanhope) in that House. He said—The hon. Member (Mr. E. Stanhope) is reported to have said that since 1880 the Expenditure has been raised £3,500,000. I cannot, of course, tell what were the exact figures on which the hon. Member based that statement; but I presume that his calculation was somewhat as follows:—I may probably take him to mean that, deducting from last year, 1880–1, the charge for War Expenditure and the Frontier Railways, and deducting, also, the charge for the present year for Famine Insurance, and adding the sums to be drawn from the provincial balances, the excess of Expenditure in the present year over that for the year 1880–1 would amount to £3,600,000. Taken that way, I believe the statement is substantially correct." —(3 Hansard,  1707.)Let the House ponder the effect of that statement. No war was going on in India, no famine was extending its ravages throughout the country, and no exceptional circumstances existed, crops were fairly good, and the general prosperity of the country was about the average, and yet, in two years, the ex- 267 penditure of India had been raised by £3,500,000. But it was not his intention to limit his remarks to the last three years. Let them make a comparison of a wider character. And, in order to compare fairly the ordinary expenditure of different years, it was necessary to exclude all items of an exceptional character, or which fluctuated from causes wholly independent of the State. For these reasons, he deducted all the expenditure incurred in different years for famine, loss by exchange, the Egyptian and Afghan Wars, and frontier railways. He also eliminated those most disturbing items, the provincial surpluses and deficits, and also the very fluctuating results of our expenditure upon productive public works. The ordinary expenditure arrived at in this way for the 10 years up to 1880–1 averaged £36,500,000; in 1881–2 it amounted to a little over £39,000,000; and this year, 1883–4, it was estimated at £39,500,000, showing an increase of ordinary expenditure of no less than £3,000,000 sterling. No one could doubt that that was an enormous increase. No doubt, this increase might be in part due to exceptional circumstances, and, indeed, it was mainly accounted for by one item; but it was none the less enormous. If the House would allow him, he would analyze it as shortly as he could. If anyone would take the trouble to examine the different heads of expenditure he would find a considerable increase in almost every case of importance with one significant exception. It was one which they should all gladly recognize. There was no substantial increase under the head of ordinary Army expenditure. The net average cost of the Army during the 10 years ending with 1880–1 was just under £15,000,000. About the middle of the period it was at its lowest, mainly owing to the great exertions of Lord North-brook. In 1883–4 it was estimated at £15,198,000. It was also quite true that the increase would have been converted into a large decrease in India if it had not been for the rapid growth of the charges for the non-effective services in England over which the Government of India had no control, and many of which had been imposed without consulting them. The causes of this increase could not be better 268 expressed than they had been by Sir John Strachey—This increase has, for the most part, been caused, directly or indirectly, by changes of system which have been introduced at various times, and has fallen chiefly on the non-effective charges, the growth of which has more than swallowed up the important economies carried out in the effective charges. The additional payments in the shape of pensions at their capitalized value, which have been unavoidable consequences of the abolition of the old Indian Army, have increased the yearly non-effective charge by £750,000, and the increase in payments on account of European troops who have served in India amounts to about half that sum. The increase of military expenditure, which from its nature has been beyond the power of the Government of India to control, is the most unsatisfactory part of the financial history of the last few years.Therefore, in his opinion, the Government of India could not be justly charged with neglecting serious attempts to reduce Army expenditure. But the most important step was taken by Lord Lytton, who appointed a Commission, including such distinguished authorities as Sir Ashley Eden and Sir Frederick Roberts, to inquire into the whole subject. The Commission reported in the year 1880, and made suggestions which would, if carried into effect, have reduced the cost of the Army by £1,250,000. Some few of their minor proposals had been carried out, and as criticism had been a good deal expended upon them, he hoped the House would allow him to read the short passage in which General Wilson, the able military Member of Council explained and justified the changes which had been made. He might add that his whole Minute was well worth careful perusal. General Wilson said that he approved the present Army Estimates—Because they maintained the British Army at its normal strength in batteries and regiments, and they provided for an addition to the aggregate strength of the Army, had provided each regiment with an additional British officer, and had effected a change in organization which had brought about the elimination from the ranks of the Bengal Army of the non-fighting classes, while adding to the establishments of the regiments retained men of the warlike classes. This had been done, and improvement in establishments had been gained at a considerable reduction of expenditure, while, consequent on the liberal concessions sanctioned by the Secretary of State to the men discharged, and the care exhibited by the military authorities, the changes had been carried into effect without a murmur, and without any of the disquieting effects which were by some anticipated.269 No one could read that Minute without feeling the greatest satisfaction at the result of carrying out one of the proposals of the Army Commission. But all the principal proposals of that Commission — and especially that as to the Presidential Armies in India —though the recommendations of the Government of India had been received upon them, had not yet been dealt with, and the question he should like to put to the Government was this— How long did they mean the present deadlock to continue? The recommendations of the Commission on this head had been substantially adopted by the Government of India; but they had been opposed, obstructed almost—if they understood rightly the speech of the Secretary of State last year—by the Council of the Secretary of State. In the midst of this divergent opinion the Secretary of State had been unable to make up his mind. It was, however, a serious matter, for these views had been before the Government at home since 1880, and yet they had been absolutely unable, up to the present time, to arrive at any decision on a question which was one of a most pressing character. The House had to deal with the question absolutely in the dark, for no Papers were before them, and he urged upon the Government, if they could not make up their minds in this matter, to have the courage to publish some part of the Report of the Royal Commission and see if they could not gain the support of the country. He would take next the main heads of increase, the largest of which was, of course, that of public works. He hoped they would not to-night wander into any general discussion upon the merits or demerits of public works in India. Everybody admitted that the extension of public works was of paramount importance to the development of the resources of India, and most people would also gladly recognize the fact that that outlay, notwithstanding many mistakes and some waste, had been substantially a successful outlay, which was year by year bringing, upon the whole, good returns into the Exchequer. But should they not all admit also that any such outlay must not be increased beyond what India could safely bear, and that it ought to be made upon fixed principles, not liable to constant variation? The increase of expendi- 270 ture on this head was best shown by the Return for which he had recently moved, and which was known as No. 142 of the present Session. It showed at a glance what was the net charge upon the Revenue of the year, in respect of all classes of public works. With the permission of the House he would summarize its results, which were most remarkable. In the first six years—that was, between 1873 and 1879—the average net charge upon the Revenue of the year was £5,348,000. Then two favourable circumstances occurred. The net result from the irrigation works then, for the first time, began to show a profit instead of a loss; and, secondly, the purchase of the East India Railway Company by the State then first began to bring in to the Imperial Exchequer, as its share of the profits of the undertaking, a sum which had since averaged more than £1,000,000 sterling. These favourable circumstances ought at once to have produced a marked effect in reducing the net charge upon the Revenue; and this they did. In 1879–80, the net charge was £3,774,000—a diminution of £1,500,000; and in 1880–1 it was £3,408,000. But in 1881–2, the first year for which Lord Ripon was responsible, it rose at once to £4,934,000—an increase of £1,500,000; in 1882–3 it went up £700,000 more; while in 1883–4 the total net charge on Revenue was estimated at £6,615,000. Making allowance for a peculiar mode of entering the expenditure upon protective public works during the last two years, he was still entitled to say that the net cost to the State of all classes of public works was now greater by £2,700,000 than it was in 1880; or if they took the single item of public works ordinary, it would be found that the cost of these works was £1,750,000 higher than it was in 1880–1. Sometimes he had heard it said that these works were unfairly cut down in the latter year. Let them then compare the figures of the present year with the average of the five years before 1880, and even then it would be found that the increase was no less than £1,500,000. And he would ask the House to remember, if it should occur to anyone that £6,500,000 was not, after all, a large sum to be expended on public works out of Revenue in so large a country as India, that the real question was whether India could afford 271 to pay that amount, and also that it was entirely exclusive of the capital expenditure upon public works, which, taking one year with another, might be put down at about £8,000,000 annually. Part of this increased expenditure on public works was of course due, as the noble Lord the Secretary of State for War had told the House, to the activity of the provincial Governments and local bodies in the construction out of funds at their disposal of minor local improvements very necessary for the progress and development of the country. But here again there was great danger. He observed that the provincial Governments had in April, 1882, accumulated very large balances, owing to restrictions put upon their expenditure in previous years. These balances were being spent at the rate of £1,500,000 a-year, and though this expenditure was perfectly legitimate, and an essential consequence of the contracts entered into with the provincial Governments, it was evident that in another year these balances would be exhausted, and they would of necessity have to curtail their expenditure on this head to an enormous extent, or to devise some fresh means of raising revenue. And the new system of local self-government was likely to add to this danger, because it must involve new establishments and contingent expenses. He now came to the great bulk of Civil Service expenditure. Passing over items which he knew were capable of satisfactory explanation, he found that, comparing 1880–1 with the present year, and speaking in the language of the new forms of account, the "direct demands upon the revenue," which comprised to a large extent the cost of the collection of revenue, had increased by £465,000; the Post Office and Telegraph Services by £274,000; and the "salaries and expenses of Civil Departments" by £536,000. Almost every head in the last class showed an increase, and one only a substantial decrease. But he would take a wider ground. Instead of making the comparison with 1880–1 only, which might have been in some respects exceptional, he would take four groups of years, the first group of four years comprising Lord Mayo's Viceroyalty, the second and third groups the Viceroyalties of Lord Northbrook and Lord Lytton. 272 Each of these groups consisted of four years. The last group he took comprised the three years of Lord Ripon. He borrowed this mode of comparison from the well-known work by Sir John Strachey. He would take first the Effective Civil Services, which included 14 main heads of expenditure. The average annual expenditure under Lord Mayo was £11,750,000; it rose to £12,400,000 under Lord Northbrook, to £12,457,000 under Lord Lytton, and to no less than £13,439,000 under Lord Ripon. In the first year of the whole series, 1869–70, it amounted to £12,100,000; in the present year it was estimated at £ 13,689,000, or an increase of over 12 per cent. A few items were remarkable. He found it took £409,000 more to administer law and justice, £311,000 for police, and £118,000 for law and printing than, in 1869–70. Taking next the Non-Effective Civil Services, the average annual expenditure started in Lord Mayo's time at £1,278,000, and had risen in Lord Northbrook's time to £1,660,000, in Lord Lytton's time to £1,995,000, and in Lord Ripon's time to £2,081,000. In the first year it was £1,151,500, and in the last £2,104,500, or an increase of over 80 per cent. The House would, he felt sure, while pardoning him for detaining them on matters of detail, admit that his case, as regarded a large increase of expenditure was abundantly made out. He now came to the second part of his argument. Why was the increased expenditure of which he had spoken especially dangerous to India? The House would anticipate that he referred, in the first place, to the subject of famine. Fortunately, for the last few years India had been remarkably exempt from famine. But they might look with mathematical certainty to a recurrence of that visitation before many years were past, not less disastrous than former ones or less difficult to cope with. What was the effect of a series of famines upon the finances of India? All their resources would have to be directed to the saving of life, and the Government would be compelled to borrow on a large scale for the purpose of meeting the famine expenditure. Nor could the borrowing be confined to India, whose means of borrowing in any single year were narrowly limited. The borrowing would have to be in England, and it would have to be in gold. He would be told 273 that the proposal made a few years ago, with regard to a Famine Insurance Fund, met all difficulties. He did not underrate the value of that proposal which had been made by Sir John Strachey and Lord Lytton, for they deserved the gratitude of India for what they had done. So far as they proposed to lay aside £750,000 annually as a famine insurance, they had given great strength to the financial position of India. He did not think he could say so much for the protective works, because, though they might do much to diminish the suffering of small localities, they did not greatly diminish the burdens of the Government of India in the event of a widespread famine. But it had not always been possible to lay aside even the annual £750,000; and this led him to touch upon the second great danger caused by a large ordinary expenditure in India. It lay in the enormous remittances which had to be made to this country, and which amounted to£18,000,000. The effect of those remittances was not fully felt till 1871. Since that time it had been felt more and more until the enormous amount to be remitted had resulted in forcing down the price of silver to a point which caused great difficulty to the Indian Government—one of the greatest, indeed, with which that Government had to contend. The loss in a single year by exchange had been as much as £3,000,000 or £4,000,000. In 1881–2 the Secretary of State had said that the bills amounted to £18,000,000 sterling, and, in order to satisfy the demands necessarily made in this country, the Government had had to sell silver to the extent of 22 crores of rupees. That was an operation of gigantic magnitude, greater probably than any other Government had to undertake, and which, depending as it mainly did upon the condition of the silver market, it was hazardous to assume could be always effected in any particular year. And, indeed, experience showed that it had not been effected. During the last 10 years of which the accounts had been published, the aggregate amount that ought to have been remitted was £153,000,000. The amount actually remitted had been£129,000,000. That left £24,000,000, which had to be borrowed; and though, of course, it was not all unproductive expenditure, yet it had increased the future annual burthen 274 of the remittances, and in this way they had grown, and would go on growing, unless immediate steps were taken. And he ventured to say that in his opinion the only way of grappling with that grave danger was either to develop trade in India, or to reduce the debt in England. [Mr. J. K. CROSS: Hear, hear!] He was glad to hear that cheer from the Under Secretary, because in 1879 the hon. Gentleman was doubtful about the policy of reducing the Indian Gold Debt. But whether we desired to develop trade, or to reduce debt, a surplus was equally necessary. Where was the surplus to come from? Sir John Strachey had, by a policy which included some increase of taxation, provided a surplus of £4,000,000. But that surplus was given away last year, no doubt in a manner most beneficial to India; but the result was that no surplus was left. And though it was true there was some slight elasticity in the Revenue, its result was not large, and as it was hardly possible to increase taxation, it was difficult to see how any increase of Revenue was to be obtained. It was doubtful, indeed, if you could rely on the existing Revenue, and especially on the opium revenue, as fresh fields were being opened in China and elsewhere for the cultivation of that drug. Therefore, the only remaining means of obtaining a surplus was by economy; and in his opinion the policy of reducing expenditure ought to be continuously and steadily followed. But the possibility of doing so unfortunately depended on each successive Viceroy. One Viceroy cut down expenditure, and another, to gain popularity, increased it again. Take, for instance, the post of Public Works Minister, which, was abolished by Lord Lytton on the specific ground, admitted by everybody, that you would thereby obtain a more complete financial control over public works, Lord Ripon had immediately re-established. The result of this sort of change was apparent. One important item was that of superannuations. There had been an increase of 80 per cent in recent years in that item. That increase was a monument of fluctuations of policy. But, after all, it was not the Viceroys who were so much to blame as the House of Commons. In 1879 it was recognized in that House that the reduction of Indian expenditure was a matter of paramount necessity. 275 But in 1882 it was increased by £2,000,000. That was not the way to carry out economy, or to instil into the minds of the Government of India the necessity of doing what was, no doubt, unpleasant and, at the same time, exceedingly difficult. But the importance of the question could hardly be exaggerated, and on his responsibility he declared without hesitation that unless some decisive step were taken in the direction of economy a crisis must arise. A cry for reduction would spring up, and then, perhaps, a demand for a sudden reduction of Expenditure would be forced upon the country in a manner most injurious to the welfare of India. Then, in the panic which would arise, a cry would be made for the dissolution of the tie between India and this country, lest, as had very rarely happened, India should become a burden on the finances of this country. The only way of establishing on a firm basis the connection of India and this country was by boldly grappling with the question, and by recognizing to the full the paramount necessity of a reduction in the Expenditure of India. The hon. Member concluded by moving the Resolution of which he had given Notice.
§ MR. R. T. REID,
in seconding the Resolution, remarked, that the Debt of India, which was only £30,000,000 in 1840, had risen to £106,000,000 in 1872, and to £156,000,000 in 1882. The Prime Minister had pointed out a short time ago that the cardinal rule of finance was to keep the expenditure within the income; but, as a matter of fact, there had been within the last 10 years five surpluses and five deficits in Indian finance, showing a balance of some £4,000,000 to the bad. In one of his Mid Lothian speeches the Prime Minister had stated that the Expenditure of India was rapidly increasing, it being then £58,978,000 a-year, and that if it continued to increase at the same rate for a few more years the people of England would be called upon to take upon their own shoulders the £135,000,000 of East Indian Debt that then existed. But in 1882 the Indian Expenditure had risen to £70,000,000 per annum, and the Debt had increased to £156,000,000. Was there any reason to suppose that India could bear that amount of Debt coupled with such an enormous Expenditure? It had been declared many years 276 ago by eminent men that she could not do so. In considering the power of the country to bear these heavy burdens, it must not be forgotten that India was subject to recurrent famines, and that in the course of the 10 years ending in 1871 5,240,000 of her inhabitants had died from famine, while in the 10 years ending in 1881 that number had increased to 6,250,000. But, quite apart from these recurrent famines, a large portion of the inhabitants of India were miserably poor and were always in a state of semi-starvation. But in the face of all this he found that the Superannuation and Pension Fund of the country had increased from £1,450,000 in 1872 to £2,150,000 in 1881, that the cost of collecting the Revenue had increased from £6,050,800 in 1872 to £8,250,000 in 1881; that, whereas the land revenue had only increased from £20,520,000 in 1872 to £21,112,000 in 1881, the cost of collecting it had increased from £2,435,000 in 1872 to £2,983,000 in 1881. During the same period the cost of administering law and justice had increased from £2,273,000 to£3,230,000, although the whole value of the property in dispute was only £15,500,000. The hon. Gentleman, though he had made a very valuable speech, had not made any suggestions as to the method that ought to be adopted of reducing Expenditure. He put it to the House whether it was likely that, as long as there was no real control at all over the gentlemen in India, who were responsible for the financial government of that country, any real reduction of expenditure would take place? Sir Charles Trevelvan put the matter very tersely when he said—"When people spend other people's money, they are generally inclined to be liberal," and that was what had taken place here. At present the control of the Government of this country was far from satisfactory, and by no means complete. He quite agreed with what had been stated by high authorities, that the House of Commons was the place to which alone the people of India could look for support against the extravagance of the officials who were set over them; but he asked what the House of Commons did or what it had done for the purpose of checking the official expenditure? Why, even when the Indian Budget, which, afforded an opportunity of discussing 277 the details of Expenditure, was presented, the House was not permitted to enter upon that discussion owing to the late period of the Session. Surely some steps ought to be taken to investigate the working of the Act which was the charter of the Indian people, and see whether some method could not be adopted to effect some real check upon Expenditure. He did not, however, believe there would be any reduction of a substantial character in Expenditure until something was done for the purpose of putting a check upon the able and skilled but autocratic Native officials who had charge of the finances of India, and who seemed to revel in extravagance.
Motion made, and Question proposed,
That, in the opinion of this House, it is necessary that early steps be taken to reduce the expenditure of India."—(Mr. E. Stanhope.)
§ MR. J. K. CROSS
said, he was quite sure the Government, and certainly he, as a humble official of the Government, had no reason at all to complain of the tone of the debate. But he thought the speeches illustrated very well the truth of the old proverb, which said—"One tale is good until another is told;" and though he could not follow fully the speech of the hon. Gentleman opposite (Mr. E. Stanhope), still, so far as the account he gave of expenditure on public works, he had been unable to verify the statements, or confirm any single set of figures which the hon. Gentleman had quoted. So far as he could make out, the expenditure under this head in 1881–2 was £2,725,000; in 1882–3, £2,631,000, excluding the cost of the Madras irrigation works; and the estimate for 1883–4 was taken at £3,820,000, including £424,000 for the East India Railway.
§ MR. E. STANHOPE
explained that he had dealt only with Return 142, which he had in his hand, and which showed the net charge on the Revenue of the year for public works.
§ MR. J. K. CROSS
proceeded to say, that he thought it well the House should thoroughly understand the object of successive Governments in India, in decentralizing the finances of India, and the exertions they made to carry out that policy for a considerable number of years. For that purpose he would go back to the period immediately suc- 278 ceeding the Mutiny, and trace the history of the financial arrangements of India from that time downwards. He would point out that, after the Mutiny, it was seen that the centralization which had been continued up to that time was a very great detriment to the financial arrangements which then existed. It was seen that the attempt to administer, from one centre, the finances of that Dependency, covering an area of 800,000 square miles, and including a population of 200,000,000 of people, was an absolute impossibility. As time went on, various Finance Ministers, one after another, suggested changes of one sort or another, but they did not succeed in getting them carried out. So far as his observation went, it was only under the pressure of very grave anxiety that anything was ever done by any Central Government. The change in the system, therefore, was slow and painful, notwithstanding the urgent representations of the greatest of our Indian officials and the efforts made by Ministers at home from time to time. It was not till 1870 that an attempt was really made to deal with the difficult problem on well-defined lines, when Lord Mayo took the matter in hand. Sir John Strachey said that—To Lord Mayo belongs the only effectual remedy for these serious evils. He resolved to give to Local Governments the local standard which they required; to make over to them a certain income by which they might regulate their local expenditure, and to leave to them, subject to certain rules and conditions, the responsibility of managing their own local affairs.The control of gaols, police, medical services, printing, roads, and civil buildings were accordingly transferred to the local governments. This decentralization was further developed under Lord Lytton; and other services were placed under local supervision, and the management of some of the railways and all the canals was made over to the local governments. The object of that was to throw on the local governments the management of these services and the accompanying revenues. This development of local and provincial life was, according to the testimony of Sir William Muir, Sir Ashley Eden, and others of the best of India's servants, whose ability and impartiality would not be questioned by anybody, succeeding beyond expectation, when to the troubles 279 of famine and exchange was added the outbreak of the Afghan War. This complication of evils could not be escaped except by a heavy reduction of expenditure which was insisted upon. What was the effect of that reduction? He found it alluded to in a Resolution of the Government of India in September, 1881, and the local governments were called upon to contribute during the years 1879 and 1880 a very large sum from resources made their own, the result of which, in the suspension of improvements and works in progress, was very prejudicial. The advantages to India of the plans that had been adopted were very great, and many men who would be supported by the hon. Member opposite had borne testimony to this fact. In proof of those advantages of decentralization, he would refer to the evidence of Sir Ashley Eden, who showed that—The revenues had been increased, useless expenditure had been curtailed, and that funds had been made available for great improvements under all branches of administration.By placing the funds under the control of the local authorities, they had been able to administer, in a satisfactory manner, those revenues which they were not able previously so to administer. It was not necessary to go into details which would weary the House; but very large sums had been taken away from the central authority, and placed in the hands of the various local authorities, to use for their own purposes; and if any attempt was made to disturb those arrangements, or to curtail them, the result would certainly not be particularly good. He had ventured to lay before the House the reasons which were at the root of this decentralizing system, and he had tried to explain some of the advantages derived there-from; but he was bound to say, at the same time, that when they denuded themselves of income, and gave over to others the power to control it, it was not quite so easy, as hon. Members seemed to think, for the Central Government of India to exercise any very definite control in the matter. The hon. Member for Mid Lincolnshire (Mr. Stanhope) had gone, at some length, into the subject of the general expenditure, and he had taken various periods for the purpose of comparing them. He (Mr. J. K. Cross) was unable to follow all the figures the 280 hon. Member quoted, from the rapidity with which he spoke; but he had not a word of complaint to make with regard to those he did hear. Now, in dealing with the matter of expenditure, he would take the last 12 years, and divide them into four triennial periods—first, the three years ending 1874; the second period ending 1877; the third ending 1880; and the fourth ending 1883; and the figures he gave were from Papers 267 of 1881, 214 of 1882, and 139 of 1883. The net expenditure of those periods, leaving out certain balances as the hon. Member opposite had done, was, in the first, £118,000,000; in the second period, £121,000,000; in the third, £132,000,000; and in the fourth, £136,000,000. The hon. Member had said that, in order to make fair comparison, it was necessary to exclude certain items, and he (Mr. J. K. Cross) quite agreed with him. He said it was necessary to exclude the items for famines, war, frontier railways, exchange, public works, and certain balances; but there were two other items which it was equally necessary to exclude, in order to make a fair comparison of the expenditure over which the Government of India had control—namely, superannuation and Army non-effective charges. The hon. Member must admit that those charges were equally out of their control. [Mr. E. STANHOPE: Not of the English Government.] Of the Government of India, he meant. If they had to consider the effect of the proceedings of the Government of England on the finances of India, they would have to go over a very large field indeed. He was speaking of the Government of India; and if they took off the charges for frontier railways, for the Afghan War, subsidized railways, exchange, famine, &c, they must also take off superannuation and Army non-effective charges. Those charges for the period ending 1874, were £35,642,215; for the period ending 1877, £35,830,803; for the period ending 1880, £46,693,780; and for the period ending 1883, £46,191,080; leaving the controllable expenditure in the first period £83,114,490; in the second period £85,239,651; in the third period, £86,006,389; and in the fourth period, £90,719,579. But it must be remembered that, in the last period, £2,965,000 charged to famine expenditure was really in hand, in comparison with 281 former periods, being partly in productive public works, and partly in redeemed debt. Bearing in mind that they had this backset in hand, the increase in charge on controllable items was in the last triennial period, as compared with the 1880 period, £4,713,190, or £1,571,066 per annum; as compared with the 1877 period, £5,479,928, or £1,826,642 per annum; and as compared with the 1874 period, £7,605,089, or £2,533,029 per annum. The hon. Gentleman had complained that some of the charges had unduly increased. Let them take the Post Office charges, for instance. In 1876 there was a great decrease in receipts from official postage. The Postal Union had been joined, throwing a large expense on India. The business of the Post Office had greatly increased. In 1871 there were 2,800 offices in India; in 1877, 3,400; and in 1881, 4,600; and the letters carried had increased from 89,000,000 in 1871 to 158,000,000 in 1881. Other additional expenses had occurred, over which the Government had not had very much control—for instance, the allowance under Treaties; and in the last period—that was, from 1880–3—it had been necessary to make some extraordinary payments to the State of Rajapootana, which had absorbed a sum of £269,000. But, taking all these charges, and including the charges for police, law, and justice, stationery, educational, and medical charges, public works and navigation, the total increase in the period ending 1883 over that ending 1874 was £7,600,000. He must ask his hon. Friend the Member for Hereford to correct one of the figures he had quoted. He (Mr. J. K. Cross) thought his hon. Friend had said that the cost of the collection of the land revenue amounted to £2,400,000 in 1872; but if he referred to the corrections, he would find that that charge came to £2,800,000. Then the charge for police had been alluded to; and he might say that it was necessary that that charge should increase; but what was the charge after all? The total charge for police in India was, nominally, £2,300,000. But was the House aware of how many policemen there were in India. There were 151,000; and, if their cost were compared with the cost of the English police, it would be found that the latter cost about £100 a man, while in India they cost only £16 a man. The charges 282 for stationery and printing had been alluded to, and they had certainly gone up during the last 12 years; but they had increased in nothing like the ratio shown in the statistical abstract. The hon. Gentleman would see that they appeared to have fallen in 1872 to something like half what they had been before, this being an error in the accounts which would be remedied next year. With regard to the development of ordinary public works—an item of considerable importance—he thought he should be able to show that, so far from their being any evil effects connected with it, it was one of the most profitable items of expenditure in which they could possibly indulge. In 1878–80, public works had been, to a great extent, practically stopped, owing to the necessity of reducing the amounts allotted to that account, under the pressure of war, famine, and exchange. He would now go a little further. Having spoken of the items over which the Government of the day in India had a sort of direct or indirect control, he would ask the attention of the House to what he considered by far the most serious items with which they had to deal, and over which they had no direct control—namely, the extraordinary increase in the non-effective charges both civil and military; and respecting this, the statement he had to make was so grave that he would have to ask for serious consideration upon what he might state regarding it. In the triennial period ending 1874, the net civil superannuation charges were £2,575,673, and the military superannuation charges £5,787,441, or, together, £8,363,114; in the triennial period ending 1877, the civil charges were £3,453, 577, and the the military £6,494,919, or, together, £9,948,496; in the triennial period ending 1880, the civil charges were £4,284,373, and the military £7,978,527, or, together, £12,262,980; and in the triennial period ending 1883, the civil charges were £5,534,480, and the military charges £8,541,000, or, together £14,075,480. That was an increase of charge of £5,712,366, on an original charge of £8,363,114, since 1874. But that was not the worst of the case. There had been a very great error in the estimation of the amounts annually required to meet the military charge for pensions; and, year by year, these charges had been very much more than 283 they were estimated by the War Office, and a great deal more than they had been estimated and paid for by the India Office; and there had grown up a debt due to the Treasury, which, at the present time, amounted to no less a sum than £2,000,000, the charges having been underrated or underpaid by £96,831 in the 1874period; by £711,072 in the 1877 period; by £697,000 in the 1880 period; and by about £514,000 in the 1883 period. If that debt should be converted into a Ten Years' Annuity, and if the first annual payment towards it should be made during the coming year, requiring about £260,000, the total superannuation charges—civil, military, and medical—to be discharged next year, would require a payment of 129 lacs of rupees in India, and about £3,922,000 in England; the total cost to India to provide this payment being 60,000,000 rupees, or one-seventh of the net Revenue of India. Before he sa down he should try to say something more about these charges; but, at present, he would turn to a pleasanter feature in these accounts. The abnormal war expenditure charged to account in the 1880 period was £5,442,343, and in the 1883 period, £7,853,241. We might hope that that would not recur; and, if we escaped the necessity of making any railways in Afghanistan, we should also save a charge which was in the 1880 period, £1,334,350, and in the 1883 period, £2,799,797. On these two heads India might hope to escape a payment of some £15,000,000, besides our own contribution of £5,000,000, which would be saved to us. The Government had, in the meantime, paid the expenses of the Afghan and the Egyptian Wars, charging in the latter 73 lacs of rupees to India, as she had derived immense advantages from the keeping open of the Suez Canal. There remained but four items of charge to mention—namely, exchange, interest, productive public works, and famine charges. The nominal loss by exchange had greatly increased; but really that should be added to the cost of the Home Charges, as it arose from the necessity of remitting the equivalent of the sterling payments which had to be made in England. That was a charge which was entirely outside the control of any individual Government of India. The change which had taken place in the interest and public works charge on the 284 Revenue was the one bright spot in the picture of Indian finance, and it did much to relieve the sombre colours which he had been obliged to use. The interest paid on ordinary Debt had been, in the 1874 period, £15,345,224; in the 1877 period, £12,907,376; in the 1880 period, £13,054,591; and in the 1883 period, £10,631,654, showing the satisfactory reduction of £4,700,000 between the 1874 and 1883 periods. But it was to the productive works to which he must direct their attention as the essentially satisfactory feature. The charge on the Revenue for these works was, in 1874 period,£6,822,992; in 1877,£4,771,255; and, in 1880, £1,912,110. But in the last period there was a gain of £1,708,007. Taking the interest on ordinary Debt and the interest and charges of productive public works together, they found that what was a charge on the Revenue in the 1874 period of £22,168,236 was in the 1883 period £8,923,647, or a reduction of no loss a sum than £13,234,589 in the last triennial period as compared with that of 1874. He had said little about the Famine charges. In the period ending 1874 they were £3,883,217; in that ending 1877, £4,990,358; in that ending 1880, £5,784,285; and in that ending 1883, £3,034,469; but in the last period they had the advantage of some £900,000 spent on protective works, and they had reduced the Debt by £2,045,000. With regard to famine, they could only hope for the best, and prepare as well as they could to meet the calamity when it came. He had said that he should speak more fully on the superannuation charges. He had said that that year they would require 60,000,000 rupees, and they were growing still, and would grow for some years yet. There was an idea afloat that the Homo Charges for pensions and other Home Charges which had to be annually remitted from India might be easily reduced. It was his painful duty to dispel that delusion. For the next year Home Charges, for pensions and superannuations of one kind or another, would be £3,900,000; the other charges were, in 1881–2, furlough accounts, £501,000; interest on debt, £2,510,000; dividend on guaranteed railways, £6,240,000; passage of troops, £309,000; miscellaneous, post office, &c, £151,000; India Office and Store Department, £218,000; remittance transactions, £502,000; Army effec- 285 tive charges, £615,000; Array stores, £1,332,469; Public Works Department stores, £585,591; total, £16,864,050. Here they had a total of nearly £17,000,000, requiring 204,000,000 rupees, which had to be paid in England. And, so far as he could see, these charges were so well established that the only point of attack was upon the effective Army charges paid here and the stores. With regard to the superannuation charges, they were completely manacled, handed over, bound hand and foot; these charges were planted by law, they grew by custom, they were fostered by the House of Commons, but they were paid by the people of India. They were paid, not in coin, but in kind, like all the other Home Charges; no money came to pay them; they were paid in cotton and corn, in jute and rice, in teas and indigo, and many other products of the soil of India; and as they grew year by year, so year by year they demanded more and more of the produce of Indian soil to meet them. What were their most potent means of meeting these charges? They were trustees for India in this matter; they were bound to do the best they could with their trust. How could they better promote the welfare of that trust than by developing local means of making wealth, the making of roads and bridges, wells, and tanks, making their gaols healthy too? And for these things a generous local expenditure was the first requisite. But not only should they try to meet these charges, they ought to try to check their growth. No one had more emphatically endorsed his opinion than the hon. Gentleman the Mover of this Resolution. How could they so well prevent the growth of these charges as by the employment of more Natives and fewer Europeans? Far be it from him to say a single word against those splendid men who had spent their lives in India in the service of the State; the country recognized to the full the services which they had rendered and were still rendering; but they were costly, very costly, to a poor country, and besides that, when their active work was done, they did not stay in their adopted country. Whereas, if they employed Natives, they were less costly; they did not come home on pensions at 50 years of age, and by employing them in the service of the State, at least they hoped to make their loyalty to English 286 rule more active. He did not speak without authority on this subject; he had the high authority of the hon. Member for Mid Lincolnshire himself. But there were other and very cogent reasons why they must develop by every means in their power the resources and the wealth-producing power of the people of India. Debt was not so easy to pay as it formerly was. The Debts of the world were paid in kind. A pound of Debt was discharged by a remittance of a sovereign's worth of produce. But, unfortunately for the debtor nations of the world, the absorption of gold by Germany and America and other countries, which had adopted gold as their standard of value in place of silver, had caused gold to be harder of acquisition than formerly, and a good deal more produce had to be remitted to discharge a pound of Debt than was the case when most of the Debts of the world were contracted. That told heavily against India. During the average of the last 25 years she had discharged a pound's worth of debt to us by a remittance of 34 lbs. cotton, or 168 lbs. wheat, or 123 lbs. jute, or 192 lbs. rice, or 13 lbs. tea, or 3½ lbs. indigo; but so much harder had it now become for India to discharge that debt, that the pound of Debt which required 34 lbs. of cotton now required 44 lbs.; in place of 168 lbs. of wheat, it required 224 lbs.; in place of 123 lbs. of jute, it required 185 lbs.; in place of 192 lbs. of rice, it required 288 lbs.; in place of 13 lbs. of tea, it required 20 lbs.; in place of 3½ lbs. of indigo, it required 4½ lbs. His right hon. Friend the Member for Ripon (Mr. Goschen) had alluded to the strain on gold as a disturbing cause before, and it was one which might well make debtors tremble; But it was a warning to us in India to mend our means of production and improve our roads, to render access to our ports from the interior easier, and, therefore, cheaper, and by every means in our power to aid India in her effort to pay her way. You could not do that by binding ligatures upon her limbs; you might paralyze her, but you could not stimulate her by such a process. From the speeches they had heard that evening, it might be thought that the finances of India were in a rather mournful condition; but it must be remembered that circumstances were very different now from what they were in 1879, when the 287 hon. Gentleman the Member for Mid Lincolnshire made his Indian Budget speech. Then there was war and famine; but since then the salt tax had been reduced 25 per cent, the Customs had been reduced £1,250,000, £2,000,000 sterling had been set aside for famine purposes, and there had been spent on productive and protective works £3,600,000 in the last triennial period more than in the corresponding period ending in 1880. He did not think, therefore, they should regard India as growing poorer and poorer, when they could reduce taxation to that amount, and increase the amount spent on public works, and yet have a fair surplus at the end. From 1871 to 1883 there had been an average increase in exports from India of 30 per cent, while the expenditure had increased during the same period only 7 or 8. During the same period India had absorbed a considerable quantity of bullion and merchandise, the latter being £49,000,000 worth a-year; so that, taking all things together, India, so far from being in a state of poverty, was getting on pretty well under the circumstances, and they were justified in looking forward to the future with hope. Certainly, there was no need to curtail expenditure; indeed, he wished that we had more men in the House who could tell them, by their own experience, of the means and wants of India. He sometimes thought that, if the Council of the Secretary of State were not so numerous, more of the best Indian servants would find places there, and so would keep them more in touch with our Eastern Empire. At that Council Table there sat 15 eminent men, whose collective experience of India must approach five centuries; at least they might spare them a century of knowledge to leaven the ignorance of the House of Commons. And if any eminent Administrator who had left India within the last five years would take his place there, he would tell the House not more earnestly, but with infinitely more effect than he (Mr. J. K. Cross) could, that it was by a generous development of her resources that we might alone hope to make India prosperous. He had tried to put before the House a plain statement of fact; he had pointed out items of charge which seemed to be excessive, and which he would gladly see more fully justified; and he could assure hon. Members that no exertion on his behalf 288 should be wanting in that direction; but with regard to the main items of local expenditure, which he looked upon as the very lifeblood of Indian provincial progress, he must ask the House not to put any obstacles in the way of such generous spending from the income of the year, as would, in the opinion of the Local and Provincial Governments, be productive of profitable results. He must repeat to the House the points he wished to urge—first, there was a great growth of expenditure in several items which might well be earnestly pressed on the Government of India for consideration, but these items were more matters of detail of administration than principles of finance; secondly, there was an enormous increase of superannuation and pension charges, which it was the duty of this House to check by every means in its power, the only means suggested was the increased employment of Natives; thirdly, in order to lighten the burdens of India it was necessary to develop her productive resources, and this would require an increase, rather than a decrease, of expenditure on public works. The Resolution of the hon. Gentleman opposite was too sweeping and too indefinite. He (Mr. J. K. Cross) was as anxious for economy as the hon. Gentleman; but it must be economy which should not fetter progress, and, therefore, he was unable to accept the wording of the Resolution in its present form. But, as both of them had the best interests of India in view, though approaching them by somewhat different means, he asked the House to accept a slight alteration in the Resolution, and he begged to move, as an Amendment to the Motion, these words—This House is of opinion that every effort should be made to effect economy in the expenditure of the Government of India.
To leave out all the words after the word "House" to the end of the Question, in order to add the words "every effort should be made to effect economy in the Government of India,"—(Mr. J. Kynaston Cross,)
§ Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."
§ LORD GEORGE HAMILTON
said, he could not see that there was any material difference between the Motion 289 of his hon. Friend the Member for Mid Lincolnshire (Mr. E. Stanhope) and the Amendment of the hon. Gentleman the Under Secretary of State for India (Mr. J. K. Cross), except that the Motion actually pledged the House to effect some reduction in Indian Expenditure, whereas the Amendment only stated that the House ought to do its best to effect that object. For himself, he preferred the plain and straightforward Resolution of his hon. Friend; and, if necessary, he should support it. The necessity for effecting any considerable economy rested upon the narrow margin of Revenue which the Indian Government had at its disposal. At the same time, he thought that the hon. Gentleman, in his speech, had clearly shadowed forth a further reduction in taxation. Many persons had been afraid that the abolition of the cotton duties would be pernicious to Indian trade and manufactures. But there had been an increase of 44 per cent in the exports to China, and of 11 per cent in the imports from England. Thus, the abolition had been beneficial to the population of India, both as producers and consumers. Then, the decentralization which had been so largely effected had diminished the resources of the Imperial Government by transferring them to local centres. When the hon. Gentleman (Mr. J. K. Cross) spoke of the surplus during the last two years, it should be remembered that there had in that period been no wars or famines; but as wars and famines might at any time occur, and the Opium Revenue was likely to fall off, it was most desirable to reduce Expenditure so as to be able to meet an exceptional emergency which might arise. His hon. Friend had pointed out the enormous increase in the superannuation allowances and in the non-effective charges, and he had asked how they were to be kept down in future. The only way to keep them down was to reduce our establishments in India. The Under Secretary of State for India had intimated that it was the intention of the Government to expend more and more in public works. He (Lord George Hamilton) had sat on a Committee which investigated that question, together with the Chancellor of the Exchequer, the Postmaster General, and the present Under Secretary of State for India. After 18 months' inquiry, they came to a remarkable unanimity, and one re- 290 commendation was, that in no one year should more than £2,500,000 be borrowed. But, in 1883–4, it was proposed to borrow £3,820,000, or more than £1,300,000 in excess of that amount. The proposed expenditure upon works made out of Revenue was £1,800,000 in excess of that of three years ago. Moreover, £1,350,000 were, in addition, to be spent upon works classified as protective. Thus, nearly £5,000,000 in excess of the amount recommended by that Committee was to be expended this year on public works. When the cash balances increased, it was customary to embark in engineering schemes, which necessitated the creation of new establishments; and thus a heavy additional charge was imposed, which was severely felt at the next period of financial depression. In time of prosperity the Indian Government were told they could afford to enlarge their establishments; and in time of depression they were told they could not get rid of material that had been accumulated. He looked with diffidence upon what were called protective public works; that generally meant that they were non-productive, and that, not being remunerative, they had been pressed upon the Government as protective. The Report of the Select Committee on Public Works said that financial results were generally the best test of public utility. Unless an irrigation work benefited its immediate locality, it could not be of use to an outside district; if the cultivators close to it did not take advantage of it, it did not accomplish its main purpose His experience as Under Secretary of State for India was that the House of Commons was always ready to support an abstract Resolution in favour of economy, but not ready to support the Minister in resisting any concrete demand for increased expenditure. He realized that on two occasions on which the Government of which he was a Member was defeated in the House. The Government must take advantage of a fit of economy, when it was on, if they desired to act on the Resolution now before the House. As regarded superannuation and the non-effective charges, the rights secured to officers under what was called the Guarantee Clause, which was carried when the Government of India was transferred to the Crown, had hampered the Government in every scheme of Army 291 reform, and it had cost India millions, besides conducing to inefficiency. A Governor General might go out with the best intentions and several schemes of reform in his mind. He knew that he must secure the co-operation of the Services, to whom the changes might be unpalatable, and gradually he found it expedient to abandon his schemes. If the Government wanted to overhaul the administration of India for the purpose of effecting economy, the motive power must come from that House, and from the India Office. The only way by which they could give practical effect to an abstract Resolution such as this would be for the Secretary of State here to intimate that, in deference to the wishes of the House of Commons, he proposed to appoint a small Commission. The Commission ought then to go out to India, and there investigate and supervise each branch of the Civil Service Expenditure. While in India, they should be under the complete control of the Viceroy; they should have power to call up and examine witnesses; and their Reports, tempered with the opinions of those practically responsible for the government of India, should be forwarded to the local, as well as the Imperial Government. The mass of information thus collected would enable the Indian Government to effect the desired reforms, which, he believed, they were anxious to do. He hoped his hon. Friend would carefully consider this proposal. It was one which he knew the preceding Viceroy looked upon with favour. As to the Military Expenditure, Sir Ashley Eden's Commission recommended the abolition of the triple system of military administration as a means of saving £1,250,000 a-year. Successive Viceroys supported that view. Last year the Secretary of State for India summed up the merits and demerits of the proposal. It was important to notice how the present system had stood the test of the late war in Egypt. War was, after all, the only thorough test of a military organization, and every military authority in Europe had had to alter its arrangements in consequence of the experience of actual campaigns. Now, what were the difficulties which the present treble system had caused during the last few months? The Indian Government had had to perform a very simple operation—namely, to select, equip, and embark 5,000 men for service in Egypt—and if there had 292 been one central authority, the duty would have been done with the utmost ease. As things were, the most enormous strain was put upon the various authorities who had to carry out the operations, for they had to work night and day. The reason for that was that there were three separate military authorities in India, so that as soon as the Government began to select recruits for the Expedition, they had to consult three Governments, three Commanders-in-Chief, three Adjutant Generals, three Quartermaster Generals, three Clothing Agents, three Inspector Generals of Ordnance, and a host of minor officials—a necessity which multiplied, to a perfectly absurd extent, the correspondence with the chief military officers. According to the present system, any soldier who passed from one Presidency to another was under the jurisdiction of the Commander-in-Chief of the Presidency in which he happened to be. Sir Herbert Macpherson was sent by the Government of India to superintend the embarkation of goods at Bombay. The consequence was, that all communications to him had to be sent from the Government of India to the Government of Bombay, and from the Commander-in-Chief at Calcutta to the Commander-in-Chief at Bombay. This led to the sending of despatches that were often identical with one another, and to the more serious inconvenience of occupying unduly the time of the officials and of delaying the operations. Again, when articles were wanted at Bombay for a Bengal regiment, they had either to be sent for from Bengal, or to be supplied at Bombay, to the great confusion and complication of the accounts. That was absurd enough; but nothing better illustrated the defects of the present system than the fact that a considerable part of the Madras Army was, at that moment, out of the jurisdiction of the Madras Government. Surely it was high time to establish a central military authority, and that the Government of this country took steps to put an end to this treble system of military administration, which, sooner or later, might lead to disastrous consequences. Objections might, no doubt, be taken to any course that would diminish the importance of the minor Presidencies; but those objections were of no consequence compared to the risks involved in the maintenance of the exist- 293 ing state of things. The treble system largely added to our Indian Army Expenditure, and, in the opinion of many of the most competent authorities, actually endangered our Indian Empire. Could not, he would ask, the India Office enter into some compromise, by which the Commanders-in-Chief of the three Presidencies might be retained, and sweep away the triplicate War Office system that hampered all our military operations? He did earnestly trust that the Government would pluck up courage and insist upon that all-important reform being carried out. They were pledged to retrenchment and reform, and ought now, therefore, to express definitely their intentions as to the change which he advocated.
§ MR. PUGH
said, that if the Government were prepared to appoint either a Commission to go out to India, and by personal examination see how a more efficient control could be exercised over the expenditure, as the noble Lord opposite the Member for Middlesex (Lord George Hamilton) had recommended, or a Committee to inquire into the subject, as he (Mr. Pugh) would himself suggest, then they might arrive at some real and practical means of enforcing economy. Both sides of the House were agreed as to the necessity for economy; but he thought the difference between the Resolution and the Amendment was very like the difference between tweedledum and tweedledee. The result of the one or the other would be absolutely nil. With respect to the Amendment which he had put on the Paper, but which he had as yet been unable to bring forward, it was, he thought, amply justified by the speech of his hon. Friend the Under Secretary of State for India. The House was desirous to enforce economy; but it had no means of bringing pressure to bear for that purpose. The Commission that sat at Simla was the very best proof they could have of the impossibility of effecting any practical improvement unless they had a spur from that House. If any Viceroy in India were to propose to materially diminish the charge under the head of administration for the Civil Service, it would be perfectly idle for him to attempt to carry a scheme for the purpose, because of the pressure which would be brought to bear against him both in England and in India. The Army Commission sat at 294 Simla a long time, at great expense, and made an elaborate Report. That Report had to be considered by the Viceroy and his Council, by the Secretary of State for India and his Council, then by the War Office, and then by the Horse Guards. What chance had any scheme which had to run the gauntlet of all those authorities? The Council of the Secretary of State for India appeared to him a very unsatisfactory body. It was composed, no doubt, of Gentlemen of the highest ability and the greatest experience, who performed their duty conscientiously and well. But they had no power effectively to control expenditure, or to initiate reforms. They could not expect the Secretary of State to initiate reforms unless he was spurred on by the House or by some other authority; and it was impossible for the Viceroy to carry reforms involving a large reduction of expenditure into effect unless he was supported and urged thereto by that House. It was, notwithstanding what his hon. Friend the Under Secretary of State for India had said, high time that there should be some control over the non-effective charges. Both sides of the House were in favour of the appointment of Natives, as far as they might be competent, to discharge the duties required; and, from the steps which the Government were taking for their education, more Natives would be in time found competent. But for many years the employment of Natives would not bring down the non-effective charges. Europeans would still have to be employed to a very large extent; and they would earn their pensions, and return to England to live upon them. The employment of Natives would not, therefore, afford an adequate solution of this part of the question. Neither the Resolution nor the Amendment of the noble Lord would be of any use unless the House insisted upon the appointment of a Committee to inquire into these matters. He had no doubt that the policy of decentralization had done good; but that result arose from the fact that, under that system, the public money was better spent. It was idle, however, to say that actual economy was caused by decentralization. He approved the step taken by Lord Ripon's Government with reference to the purchase of stores in India, which, though not noticed by the Under Secretary of State for India, was a very important and 295 beneficial reform, and one much appreciated by the people of India. He hoped it might yet be carried further. One change which he would like to see was the adoption of a system by which the real not Imperial Revenue would be shown in the Returns. At present the Returns of net Revenue contained items which ought not to find a place in them; for they did not, in fact, constitute net Revenue, and including them only made the net Revenue larger than it really was, and so encouraged increased expenditure. As regarded the Revenue derived from the administration of law and justice, there was great necessity for reducing the cost to the suitors; for the fees now charged gave justice to the rich and denied it to the poor. The export duty on rice was also a subject that demanded the attention of the Indian Government. The rice trade was checked, and the profits reduced to an unremunerative amount, by the combined influence of the cost of transport and the export duty. In the same way, the increase in the wheat trade, which was one of the most cheering prospects in India, though materially encouraged by the Government of India, was stopped in consequence of the difficulty and cost of carriage in remote districts. Major Baring had declared that it was absolutely necessary, for the development of India, that British capital should be largely attracted to the country. The Bill brought in by the Indian Government with regard to the trial of Europeans by Natives had a bearing on that subject; and there was great danger that, if that Bill was passed, it would discourage very much the introduction of British capital into India. Almost all the great works in India were carried on by British capital, and the capitalists insisted upon their undertakings being superintended by Europeans. If Europeans were in any doubt as to their security in out-of-the-way places, it would be difficult to get European management at the price at which it could now be obtained. He would not go into the question as to whether the alarms in consequence of that Bill were well or ill founded; but they constituted a great danger, which should be carefully watched and studied.
§ MR. ONSLOW
said, he thought the Amendment of the hon. Gentleman the Under Secretary of State for India (Mr. J. K. Cross) should have been placed on 296 the Table of the House before now. The Motion of his hon. Friend (Mr. E. Stanhope) had been before them for some weeks, and the Amendment which he himself (Mr. Onslow) had put upon the Paper, to add at the end of that Amendment the words—And this House regrets the decision arrived at by Her Majesty's Government to cast a further burden upon the Revenues of India in order to meet the extraordinary charges incurred by that Government on account of the Military expedition to Egypt,had also been in the hands of Members for a considerable time. What happened? They all came down to the House feeling they might have to vote on the Motion of the hon. Gentleman (Mr. E. Stanhope); but, at the last moment, the Under Secretary of State for India interposed with what he called an Amendment, but which was very little different from the Motion. This was a question of great importance, not only to this country, but to India. It was idle and useless for the House of Commons to adopt general abstract Resolutions like the present if, at the same time, the Government at home acted diametrically opposite to the known wishes of the Viceroy and his Council in fastening on the Revenues a burden which they had themselves condemned as unjust, and which they ought not to be called upon to pay. If they were to pass Resolutions of this kind, and if the finances of India were to be left entirely in the hands of the Government at home, and if they placed burdens on India—burdens which India could not be properly required to bear—discussions such as they had had on the present occasion were waste of time. It must be evident to the people of India, from the present decision of Her Majesty's Government, that, however anxious they might be for economy, it was competent for Her Majesty's Government, at one fell swoop, to frustrate the whole of their financial arrangements. The subject came before the House last year on the Motion of the noble Lord who was then Secretary of State for India (the Marquess of Hartington); and so strong was the feeling exhibited on all sides of the House that at the last moment the present Chancellor of the Exchequer (Mr. Guilders) interposed words which left it subject to the future consideration of the House whether India should be called upon to 297 bear any of the extraordinary charges of the war lately undertaken in Egypt; and he (Mr. Onslow) believed that, had it not been for the insertion of the words proposed by the right hon. Gentleman, the Government would have sustained a defeat. From that time to this they had had no opportunity of bringing the question before the House so as to elicit a vote. He (Mr. Onslow) had put certain Questions to the noble Lord (the Marquess of Hartington); but the answers he had received had always been unsatisfactory. As long ago as the 11th of June last year he asked the Prime Minister if India was making preparations for the contemplated war, and the right hon. Gentleman replied it was not consistent with public policy to disclose what was going on. Continually he put Questions to the Secretary of State for India; but from him he could get no definite statement. On the 1st of March this year the noble Lord refused Papers on the subject; and on more than one occasion he said he did not think it was to the interest of the Public Service that Papers should be produced. Last year the noble Lord often said that Papers would be produced on the subject when the correspondence with the Indian Government was closed. It was only after great pressure was put on the noble Lord that he produced the Papers which he (Mr. Onslow) held in his hand. Those Papers commended themselves to Members. If the Government of India had been consulted in any way in the matter he should not have raised his voice; if the Government of India had approved of the policy of this country there might have been something said for the imposition of the tax upon India. From the first moment, however, of Her Majesty's Government contemplating war in Egypt the Government of India was never consulted. The first intimation which the Indian Government had on the subject of the expenses of the war was the telegram from the noble Lord, on July 24th, last year—namely—Subject to final decision on any representation you may desire to make, we propose Indian Revenue shall bear all expenses of the Indian Contingent serving in Egypt.Immediately on receipt of that telegram the Viceroy replied—We beg unanimously to protest very strongly against the proposal that Indian 298 Revenue shall bear all expenses of Indian Contingent serving in Egypt. As soon as possible we shall address a despatch to your Lordship on the subject.The Government took some time to consider what their change of policy should be, and the first intimation the House had of the amount which the Government were going to give India on account of the recent war was when the Supplementary Estimate was laid on the Table shortly before the Easter Recess. In that Supplementary Estimate they had a Vote of £500,000 to India for the war. Of course, to India, half a loaf was better than no bread. Hon. Members at the time had not the Viceroy's despatch before them; they had no means of knowing what was the opinion of the Viceroy and his Council. He did not believe that any definite policy was involved in the grant of £500,000; but that, in reality, it was a sum which the Chancellor of the Exchequer thought would fit in with the Budget. It was said the Government of India had accepted the policy of Her Majesty's Government. He could assure the House there was no foundation whatever for such an assertion. The only thing in the Papers which could possibly be construed into an acceptance by the Government of India of the policy of Her Majesty's Government was the congratulatory despatch from the Viceroy. In reply to the telegram of the Secretary of State announcing the grant of £500,000, the Viceroy said it was with satisfaction he received the telegram, and asked the Secretary of State to convey the thanks of the Government of India for the important assistance which Her Majesty's Government had granted. That had been construed into an acceptance of the policy of Her Majesty's Government. It was no acceptance at all, but was merely an acknowledgment for some small assistance that had been rendered the Government of India. There was nothing in any of the despatches to show that the Indian Government was satisfied with the decision arrived at by Her Majesty's Government. His principal contention against India paying any of the extraordinary charges of the war was that the employment of Indian troops in Egypt was on a very different footing from the employment of Native troops in any other part of Her Majesty's Dominions in which they had had to fight, 299 It had been alleged that there was some analogy between this war and the Afghan Wars as far as India was concerned. There was, however, no analogy between the two cases. In the case of the Afghan Wars India knew everything that was going on; the Viceroy was aware of every despatch that was written; from the time of Dost Mahommed until the present Ameer was put on the Throne it had been the policy of the Viceroy and his Council to be cognizant of everything that went on in Afghanistan. The Viceroy and his Council knew nothing of what was going on in Egypt. It was all very well to say that we had undertaken the war for Indian interests and for the protection of the Suez Canal. Last year the Prime Minister himself said that the ends of the Government in Egypt were well known to consist in the maintenance of all established rights in Egypt, whether those of the Sultan, the Khedive, or the people of Egypt, or of the foreign, bondholder. There was not a word in any speech of the right hon. Gentleman to show that this war was undertaken in the interest of India. The right hon. Gentleman had, over and over again, said in that House that the object of the war was to put down anarchy in Egypt; he never said it was for the protection of the Suez Canal. However great a ruffian Arabi might be, he had never once attempted to stop the communication through the Suez Canal; and, in point of fact, our communications with India had never been practically interrupted from the time of the bombardment of Alexandria to the end of the war. If India was to be called upon to pay for the protection of the Suez Canal he failed to see why our other Colonies should not be required to do the same. India had, no doubt, a vast interest in the maintenance of a free passage through the Canal, and he admitted that she had a much greater interest in it than any other of our Colonies; but he asked the Prime Minister and the Government if Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, and Ceylon had not a very considerable interest in the passage through the Canal? If they were to call upon India to contribute towards the maintenance of that passage, he asked the right hon. Gentleman why India should not be called upon to pay some of the cost of a European war, during which it would be 300 necessary to preserve our possessions in the Mediterranean? The Viceroy asserted that Egypt lay wholly within the sphere of European politics; and he (Mr. Onslow) thought he was right in saying that that had always been the case. He maintained that there was no precedent whatever for the course which the Government were pursuing in this instance. There was the case of the Persian War, in which, he believed, half the extraordinary charges were paid by India. But, in that instance, India was consulted throughout; she knew what was going on, and it was for the benefit of India that we did not allow Persia to get to Herat. As regarded the first Afghan War, the Government at home knew nothing of what was going on at the time, the whole of it having been managed, or mismanaged, by the Governor General of the day. He failed to see any analogy between those wars and that which had been recently concluded in Egypt which could suggest a precedent for calling upon India to pay a portion of the cost in the latter case. With regard to the war in 1878, it was not for India to come to us in formâ pauperis. India never asked for the money that was given to her; she never wanted it; the money was thrust upon her, and at the time she was quite willing loyally to pay every atom of the cost of the war, because she felt it was a war in which she was interested. It might, indeed, be called a war of her own creation, and it was perfectly legitimate for her to pay the expense of that war. If this policy was to be carried out; if we were to tax India at a future time for any particular war which might be undertaken by the Imperial Government, he failed to see where such a policy was to end. By all means let India pay every farthing of the cost of wars for which she was responsible; let taxes be imposed and even money borrowed by her for that purpose if necessary; but he maintained that the principle which the Government had laid down was totally uncalled for and totally unneeded. Finally, he maintained that it would be a great misfortune if the Government, in the face of everything th6 Viceroy had said, and in the face of the strongest opposition in India, were to outvote the Supreme Council of India in the decision they had arrived at, and at some future day call upon India to pay for that which she thought she was not bound to pay 301 for. He had himself the strongest views upon this subject, and, speaking from his knowledge of some of the opinions with regard to India entertained upon the opposite Benches, he felt sure that if the Conservative Party had adopted the policy of the present Government, the first person who would have risen to condemn it would have been the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Hackney (Mr. Fawcett). Although the Forms of the House prevented him from moving the Resolution of which he had given Notice, he had felt it his duty, in the interests of India, to address these few words to the House.
§ MR. O'DONNELL
said, he agreed with the spirit of the observations made by the hon. Member for Guildford (Mr. Onslow); but he failed to see what was the Constitutional provision by which India could express her views on this subject, or how she would ever be able, judging by the expressed policy of both Parties in that House, to impose an effective check upon any kind of misapplication of her Revenue. The House had always, within his recollection, been practically unanimous in recommending economy in the Indian Administration, in condemning the increase of her Expenditure, and in recommending a return to the moderate Estimates of past times. The House might go on passing abstract Resolutions until the end of the 19th, or even the 20th century; but the Expenditure in India would go on increasing, and the heads of the spending Departments in India would go on laughing at the Resolutions of the House of Commons. There was no Member of the Government Service in India who did not know the exact value of these declarations of good intentions on the part both of individual Members and the House generally. It was the essential character of Indian administration to be like the administration in Ireland in the worst times before the Union—that was to say, along with a considerable amount of honest endeavours to reform the Public Service, there was a vast alliance of family parties, and an enormous nation practically without any power whatever to impose any obstacle to the grossest misapplication of its Revenues on the most cruel enhancement of its burdens. Everyone in the Public Service in India had a cousin, a brother, a father-in-law, or some other relative, who would be assisted, directly or in- 302 directly, by the increase of the public burdens; and they would, therefore, be increased. The great principle of Indian administration was that in every Department there should be a great number of officials paid for doing nothing, and a great number of paid officials assisting them. The Army was a vast nest of jobbery. In the Native Army, there was from 20 to 50 per cent of the I European officers of the Native regiments continually separated from the duties of their posts, far away from, and utterly neglectful of, those regiments, but appointed to every kind of office in the Accounts Department, in the Political Department, and other Departments, each of these officers enjoying a post remunerated in proportion to the amount of private influence which he possessed in the highest circles of the Indian Government. In the European Army, in the same way, the expenditure was puffed up and bloated in every possible manner and on every possible excuse. The number of European officers—those peculiarly expensive exotics—was artificially increased; and posts were created for them throughout India, in the Public Works or in the political Departments, exactly as in the case of the European officers attached to the Native regiments, according to the amount of influence which they possessed in the highest circles of the Government. The hon. Member for Cardiganshire (Mr. Pugh) had suggested the advisability of appointing a sort of Supervision Committee for the purpose of trying to carry into effect the Resolutions of the House of Commons. Such a Committee might be of some use; but he could not see that it would be able to effect any reduction of the charge saddled on the Revenues of India for the salaries of the Secretary of State, Under Secretary of State, Members of the Council of India, Secretaries and officers of the Secretary of State, which formed part of the charge for salaries, and amounted to £140,000.
§ Notice taken, that 40 Members were not present; House counted, and 40 Members being found present,
§ MR. O'DONNELL
said, he hoped it would be recorded in India that the hon. and very Liberal Member for Stockton (Mr. Dodds), a most devoted supporter of Her Majesty's Government, had attempted, although unsuccessfully, 303 to cut short this debate upon the Indian Expenditure. He was about to observe, when the interruption of the hon. Gentleman took place, that if the salaries of the Secretary of State for India and his staff were thrown upon the Home Estimates, which they ought to be, because it was for the information of that House and the country—if there was any advantage whatever in that Office—that the Secretariat of India existed, they could secure, year by year, a certain opportunity of discussing the administration of India. It would then be impossible for any Government to evade a regular annual discussion of Indian Expenditure, and equally impossible for zealous Liberals like the hon. Member for Stockton to try to check such discussion by the expedient of counting the House. Nothing more unjust, unfair, and politically dishonest could be mentioned than that this Indian Secretariat was saddled on the Revenues of India. Why should not the Colonial Secretariat be saddled on the Colonies in the same way? The Government did not saddle Australia and Canada with the salary of the Secretary of State for the Colonies, because they dare not. But in India they had a vast slave Empire, infinitely exceeding in numbers and in helplessness the population of Russia in its most servile days; and, being able to do as they liked with India, they saddled upon India the expenses of these officers, who were solely useful in their relation to that House, who were solely useful through the position they held in the House, and who were maintained for the advantage which that House derived from them. He believed the Government saddled India with these expenses in order to deprive the friends of India in that House of the opportunity of discussing the grievances of India which would be open to them if the salaries of these officers were thrown on the Home Estimates as the salaries of the Secretaries of State for the Colonies were. When they talked of introducing economies in India they ought to commence by reducing the expenditure by such items as these, which were strictly in our own control. They ought to insist upon the Secretary of State for India being paid from the Revenues of this country, and not allow it, by a sleight of hand, to be juggled on to the already over-burdened people of India. Why was the cost of the British Missions at the Court of 304 Pekin and in Persia saddled on the people of India, seeing that those Missions were as strictly and rightly a part of the general Imperial burdens as were the expenses of the British Embassy at Constantinople or the Legation at Washington? But, after all, these items were only as drops in the vast ocean of expenses which India had to bear; and the only reason why he had laid stress upon the iniquity of throwing the expense of the Secretary of State for India upon the Indian Revenue was that he saw in that fact a deliberate purpose to avoid discussion which otherwise would arise in the ordinary course upon the Estimates. There was no hope or chance of introducing anything like a substantial reduction in Indian Expenditure until some means were found of curbing the existing nepotism—the favouritism, the wholesale creation of unnecessary posts, the wholesale enhancement of salaries already swollen and bloated, the wholesale payment under any pretext of the money scraped from the people of India, to the foreign officials who swarmed in India. He would mention a specimen of the reckless lavishnesss with which Indian officials, and even ex-officials, were remunerated. In the Accounts for last year he found an item of £5,828 for bringing the Earl of Lytton and his family home from India. That was a public—a national disgrace. He made no imputation upon Lord Lytton, simply treating him as an ex-official; but the idea that a first-class saloon passage, even on rather exorbitant terms, would not suffice to bring him and his family from Calcutta to Charing Cross was simply monstrous. It was a monument I of nothing less than political dishonesty. He found that even English newspapers in India, like The Englishman, were commenting on the extraordinary extravagance of the more than Regal progress indulged in not only by Viceroys, but by more ordinary officials. The Englishman stated that a Viceroy could not travel from Calcutta to Simla by a first-class ordinary train, but must have a special saloon carriage, expensively furnished and adorned with silver, at a cost of 12,000 rupees. If that cost came out of the Revenues of India, he (Mr. O'Donnell) thought Members of the Council might be admonished that their salaries were sufficiently high, and that they might travel without disgracing themselves from Calcutta to Simla by 305 ordinary rates twice in the year, and so avoid this reckless extravagance of saloon carriages at a cost of 12,000 rupees each. A large item in the expenditure of Madras would be found to he the costly progress of Mr. Grant Duff—the most grandiloquent Lieutenant Governor probably that was ever known. Some time ago the Government, not being able to hit upon any other way of remunerating a most deserving supporter of the Administration and a generally respected Gentleman, sent the late Mr. Adam to India and made him the Lieutenant Governor of Madras. He was, however, unfortunately taken away.
§ Notice taken, that 40 Members were not present; House counted, and 40 Members being found present,
§ MR. O'DONNELL,
resuming, said, he was afraid that in face of what had occurred, and of the concerted Obstruction on the Ministerial Benches, he should not be allowed to conclude his remarks. However, for the purpose he had in view—namoly, pressing on the people of India that their only hope was in taking care of themselves and in organizing in their own self-defence—he was by no means sorry to see these continued instances of Liberal intolerance of discussion and Liberal hostility to the interests of India. He wished to point out that there was a legislative change in India which would undoubtedly have the effect of reducing the expenditure. He referred to the change which would alter the present character of the land assessment in India. The Members of Her Majesty's Government might be supposed to have sufficiently recognized the evil, from every point of view, of an unsettled state of agrarian relations, and must have realized how uncertainty in the rent and land tax in India, and the prospect of having the land tax raised in proportion to the expenditure of labour by the cultivator, must dishearten the cultivator, and lead him to prefer to drag on a miserable existence, rather than expend labour, and capital, and skill, only with the result of increasing the demands of the tax gatherer. He would not now go into detail on a matter of that kind; but during the last six or seven years he had received hundreds of letters from all parts of India, from Europeans as well as Natives, recommending in the strongest way the regularization of the 306 system of settlements and its extension to the whole of India. If the land tax were once settled on a permanent basis, all that large portion of the expense in connection with assessment caused by continual survey would be out of the Budget. No Resolution of that House would have the slightest effect until the House hit upon some way of controlling the despotic and unchecked action of the official classes, who at present, to a large extent, ruled India neither for the Indian people nor for the English people, but simply for their own Anglo-Indian selves, their families and their connections, even to the 10th generation.
§ Question put, and agreed to.
§ Main Question again proposed.
§ SIR WILFRID LAWSON
said, he rose to Order, and asked whether the hon. Member for Guildford (Mr. Onslow) intended to move his Amendment?
§ MR. ONSLOW,
rising to Order, said, he had concluded that the Amendment of the Under Secretary of State for India would be carried; and he certainly thought he should have been in Order in moving his Amendment at the end of that Motion. It was not really an Amendment; it was an addendum; and, if in Order, he intended to move it. It was an addition referring to increased expenditure in India.
§ MR. SPEAKER
The words of the hon. Member for Guildford being in the form of an addition, it is competent to him, if he thinks fit, to move them as an addition.
At the end of the Question, to add the words "and this House regrets the decision arrived at by Her Majesty's Government to cast a further burden upon the Revenues of India in order to meet the extraordinary charges incurred by that Government on account of the Military expedition to Egypt."—(Mr. Onslow.)
§ Question proposed, "That those words be there added."
THE MARQUESS OF HARTINGTON
Sir, there was so little difference between the Motion of the hon. Gentleman opposite (Mr. E. Stanhope) and the Amendment of my hon. Friend the Under Secretary of State for India, as has been pointed 307 out by previous speakers, that the Government did not think it necessary to press the Amendment; but the proposed addition of the hon. Member for Guildford (Mr. Onslow) is one which it is impossible for the Government to accept without a division, inasmuch as it is a Vote of Censure. At this time of night I do not propose to enter at length into the subject, after the reply of my hon. Friend, especially as I think it was unfortunate that this subject should have been introduced on an Amendment to the Motion, and interpolated into the discussion on the Motion of the hon. Member for Mid Lincolnshire (Mr. E. Stanhope). The hon. Member obtained an opportunity, which is very rare, of having a discussion, not of a Party character, on a question of great importance connected with Indian finance; and the hon. Gentleman referred entirely to the question of the policy of expenditure, and not to a matter of Party difference. The addition proposed is one which raises many of those questions of Party politics which it was the intention of hon. Gentlemen originally to discard from the discussion. It is unnecessary to follow the hon. Member for Guildford (Mr. Onslow) through the speech he has made, because the difference between the Indian Government and the Home Government, which was very slight, and may now be said to have almost completely disappeared, was greatly exaggerated. The House will observe that the Government of India never did intend, and, in the despatch which has been referred to to-night, stated that they did not intend, that India should not bear some portion of the expenditure of this war. The only contention they raised was that India ought not to be called on to bear the whole expenses of the Contingent. There was very little difference between the view taken by the Government of India and the Government at home. As I explained in a despatch when we made the proposal, it was made in the full belief that a comparatively small share of the expenses of the Expedition would be thrown on the Revenues of India. That was the view I expressed to the House in August last. When we found how much larger the probable cost would be than we had anticipated, we acknowledged that the proposal we had made would, on after consideration, have to be modified; and, in consultation with the Indian Govern- 308 ment, it has been modified. The Indian Government thought their share ought to be limited to the ordinary expenditure of the Contingent; but we thought they ought to pay a somewhat larger share. After that admission on the one side and the other we came to a friendly arrangement, not one which could be argued on general principles or be confirmed by precedent, as there are no parallels between the despatch of this Expeditionary Force and the despatch of Expeditionary Forces to the Indian Frontier, the cost of which everyone admits ought to be paid by India alone, and to Malta, the cost of which everyone equally admits ought not to fall in any degree on India. There are many cases varying in character, some of which have been quoted by the Indian Government. There was the Persian War, where all the ordinary, and part of the extraordinary, expenses were paid by India. There was the Abyssinian War, where the extraordinary expenditure was paid entirely by this country. In my opinion, without going into the circumstances of that war, it is far more than to question whether India ought not to have been charged with even the ordinary expenditure of the troops during that campaign, in which she had not the smallest interest, to question that she should be called on to pay the proportion of the cost of the Egyptian Campaign which she is called on to pay. No one denies that India had an interest in the pacification of Egypt, and in the maintenance of the security of the Suez Canal; and no one denies that the pacification of Egypt and the security of the navigation were two of the objects for which the British Government entered into hostilities with Egypt. There may be a difference as to the necessity for these operations; but the Imperial Government must be held responsible for the policy not of Great Britain alone, but of India also; and there can be no doubt that material Indian interests were involved. There were other considerations beyond this which made it desirable that India should pay some substantial proportion of the cost of the Expedition. The House cannot have overlooked the immense costliness of the Expeditions fitted out in the present day, and it is fair to assume that the costliness would be augmented when the Indian Government knows that no portion of the expense falls on their shoulders. The House must re- 309 member the immense cost of the Abyssinian Expedition; and, bearing that in mind, it is very doubtful whether, under similar circumstances, Indian troops will ever be employed again. It is desirable where Indian troops are employed, and where Indian interests are involved, that the Indian Government should have before it some motive for the exercise of economy such as that of bearing a proportion of the cost. There has been nothing in the arrangement come to inconsistent with the general principles upon which the relations existing between the two countries are based; and, considering that the proposal made by the British Government has been accepted by the Government of India, and is considered fair by a great number of those who have the interests of India at heart, and who were at first inclined to believe that India should bear the whole cost of the Expedition, I trust the House will not consider it necessary to divide on the question, or censure what has been done.
§ MR. E. STANHOPE
said, he would appeal to his hon. Friend the Member for Guildford (Mr. Onslow) not to persevere with his Amendment, and would give his reason for so doing. It was true his hon. Friend had been hardly treated by having another Amendment interposed before his; it was true he had a great right to complain; but he must know that a large number of Members had left the House under the belief that his important Amendment was shut out, and that they would not have an opportunity of discussing it. Without entering into a discussion of the question raised, he (Mr. E. Stanhope) hoped his hon. Friend would not persist in his Amendment.
§ THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER (Mr. CHILDERS)
said, that, before the Motion was put, he desired to point out to the House the very serious nature of the question, and what the results would be should the policy indicated by the Amendment be adopted by Parliament. The Estimates of the finances of the year had been laid before Parliament; and according to these Estimates a very small balance indeed remained, after providing for the reduction of the Income Tax by 1½d. in the pound and for other remissions of taxation. He would point out to the House that if this Amendment should mean that India was to be repaid not only £500,000, but a further sum of £600,000 or £700,000, 310 there would be a considerable deficit in the year's account; and it would be necessary for the Government—the Customs and Inland Revenue Bill not having been yet passed—to take some measure in that Bill to increase taxation. He did not say how much the additional charge would represent, if raised by Income Tax or otherwise; but, if the whole of this £600,000 or £700,000 had to be paid, there was no question about it that an increase of taxation was necessary. If that was the case, was the House prepared, with barely a quorum present, and between 1 and 2 o'clock in the morning, to adopt the Resolution. ["Yes!"] Was the House prepared, at such an hour as this, and in such a manner, to increase the taxation of the country. ["Yes!"] An hon. Member said "Yes," as though it were a very trivial matter to increase the taxation of the country. He (the Chancellor of the Exchequer), on the other hand, however, thought the House, in its present condition, should pause—having, practically, approved of the Budget arrangements of the year—before disturbing those arrangements. He would not go over the ground traversed by the noble Lord, and deal with a subject which the House had thoroughly discussed earlier in the Session, when the opinion of a full House was, so far as could be gathered from the expressions of Members, that the adjustment between this country and India was a fair one. The Budget was based on that adjustment, and the Budget Bill had been read a second time; and he could not imagine a more violent course than for Parliament, within a week or two of that adjustment, suddenly to turn round and, by a vote involving an increase of taxation, to upset the arrangement which had been entered into. He urged not those who looked on this as a light matter, but those who looked on it as a serious matter, to combine with the hon. Gentleman opposite (Mr. E. Stanhope) in his appeal to the hon. Member for Guildford to withdraw his Amendment, or, if they would not do that, to join with the Government in voting against it.
§ SIR R. ASSHETON CROSS
protested against the ground on which the Chancellor of the Exchequer appealed to the House to reject the Motion. He (Sir R. Assheton Cross) would not say whether the hon. Member for Guildford (Mr. Onslow) was right or wrong; but the 311 whole argument why they should reject his Motion, which was that the Government had made several proposals to the House, and they would be upset by the adoption of the Motion, was the most monstrous that was ever put before the House. The right hon. Gentleman said the House had settled the amount of taxation for the year. They had done nothing of the kind—they had never had an opportunity of discussing it. They had not had an opportunity of discussing the second reading of the Customs and Inland Revenue Bill even.
§ THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER (Mr. CHILDERS)
We passed the second reading and have disposed of the Revenue Clauses.
§ SIR R. ASSHETON CROSS
said, he was aware of that; but what he said was that they had had no practical opportunity of discussing the measure on the second reading. The conduct of this Bill altogether was somewhat extraordinary. They were told on Monday night that the Bill was so essential to the Government—so necessary in the interests of the Public Service—that it would be taken at whatever hour it was reached. At Question time to-day they were told it was necessary that this matter should be settled to-night, and now they were told the Government were not going to bring it forward. It seemed as though they were never to have an opportunity of discussing this question, and they never had had an opportunity of discussing it on the present particular ground. Was this a real argument that, because they had passed a Financial Statement, there was to be no review of the proposal to put a portion of the charge on India? He saw some communications passing between the noble Lord who acted as one of the Whips to the Government and the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer—communications, no doubt, which had had something to do with the course of Business this evening; but, putting that aside, he was bound to protest in the strongest manner against the proposition that, because this Motion had been on the Paper for some time, they were not now to discuss it and come to a decision on it. That proposition was a most monstrous one.
§ MR. ONSLOW
said, that, as this was his Motion, he trusted the House would allow him to say a few words upon it. He denied that there had been a com- 312 promise on this question. He and his friends some time ago had said that they could not discuss the matter because they had no Papers; and they asked the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer to give them an opportunity further on. Why did not the right hon. Gentleman think of all this when he inserted the words—"Subject to the future decision of Parliament?" They had not been allowed to bring this matter forward during the Autumn Session. He had taken every opportunity of endeavouring to bring it on; and so strongly did he feel with regard to it that, no matter what any right hon. Gentleman said on the subject, he should insist upon dividing the House.
§ SIR WILLIAM HARCOURT
(who, on rising, was received with cries of "Divide!") said: Hon. Gentlemen cry "Divide!" but surely they will agree that the decision they are asking the House to take is a serious one. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for South-West Lancashire (Sir R. Assheton Cross) said we have not settled the financial arrangements of the year. Everyone knows they have been settled, practically speaking. If it had been intended to contest them, the Customs and Inland Revenue Bill would not have been read a second time. It is quite plain that hon. Gentlemen opposite did not intend to contest the arrangement proposed to the House with reference to the financial settlement of the year and the taxation to be imposed. What answer has the right hon. Gentleman opposite (Sir R. Assheton Cross) made to the Chancellor of the Exchequer on that point? Does he assert that if a new charge is to be imposed on the Exchequer, it will not be necessary altogether to re-cast the Budget? That it will be necessary to do that cannot be disputed for a moment. The right hon. Gentleman seems to think that at this time—at 1 o'clock in the morning, with the House in its present condition—we can determine upon the making of a new Budget. The right hon. Gentleman knows perfectly well that the course now proposed is one which will involve an increase of taxation beyond that which has been submitted to the House. It was quite plain that was not a decision which ought to be come to on a Motion like the present. If a question of such a grave character was to be introduced and decided upon, it ought to be introduced and decided 313 upon in a very different manner than that now suggested. It was quite impossible that they could play ducks and drakes with the Revenue of the country in the way proposed. After 1 o'clock in the morning, it was proposed to overthrow the whole of the financial arrangements of the year, or, in other words, to pass a Resolution which involved an entire re-casting of the Estimates. Against such a course he must protest. It was not the manner in which finance had hitherto been dealt with in the House; and he could not believe that Gentlemen who were in a condition of responsibility would do anything to involve the finances in serious irregularity, and to overthrow the solidity they had been in the habit of employing upon questions of this description. He could not believe that the hon. Member for Guildford (Mr. Onslow) would be supported by those who were anxious to give solidity to the finances of the country.
MR. A. F. EGERTON
considered the whole question was now within the power of the House of Commons, irrespective of the financial arrangements which had been made on the other side of the House. The question before them was a very simple one—namely, whether the Indian finances were to bear any part of the expenses of the Egyptian Expedition? His own mind had long been made up on the point. He was strongly of opinion that India ought to bear a part of the expenses of the late war; and, therefore, he should record his vote against the Amendment of his hon. Friend (Mr. Onslow).
§ MR. SLAGG
said, he cordially agreed with the Opposition that India should bear no portion whatever of the war charges; but, at the same time, he considered that a vote taken at this time, and under the present circumstances, would be most unfair and altogether meaningless. He was perfectly convinced that a great number of Members had left the House under the impression that this Amendment could not possibly be put. Therefore, a vote taken upon it now would express no conviction whatever. Under the circumstances he could not support the Amendment. It was impossible to conceive that any financial steps could be necessitated in consequence of a vote taken under such conditions as the present.
§ MR. MARJORIBANKS
said, he did not think the present was at all a proper time to take a division upon the Amendment of the hon. Gentleman the Member for Guildford (Mr. Onslow); and, therefore, he begged to move the Adjournment of the Debate.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Debate be now adjourned."—(Mr. Marjoribanks.)
§ MR. THOMASSON
said, he desired to ask the Government if, in the event of the debate being adjourned, they would afford the House another opportunity of discussing the question?
§ MR. ARTHUR O'CONNOR
said, the application of the hon. Gentleman (Mr. Thomasson) was most reasonable. There was only one interpretation to be put upon the Amendment—namely, that it amounted to a Vote of Censure upon the Government. That being so, he did not see how the Government could refuse to give an early opportunity for discussing the matter.
THE MARQUESS OF HARTINGTON
said, he could assure the hon. Gentleman the Member for Guildford (Mr. Onslow) that the Amendment of the hon. Gentleman the Under Secretary of State for India (Mr. J. K. Cross) was not, in the least, intended to prevent his (Mr. Onslow's) Amendment being moved. If the debate had come on early in the evening and been concluded, the Government hoped that the Amendment of the Under Secretary of State for India would have been accented by the hon. Member for Mid Lincolnshire (Mr. E. Stanhope). No doubt, a great number of hon. Members had left the House under the impression that the Amendment of the hon. Member for Guildford could not be moved; and, therefore, a vote taken now would be taken under very unfortunate circumstances, and would not, in the least, represent the real meaning and intention of the House. It was very desirable that the debate should be adjourned—indeed, it would be the duty of the Government to adjourn it to a most favourable occasion. ["When?"] In the absence of his right hon. Friend the Prime Minister, he could not say what opportunity would be given for the discussion. He trusted it would not be a discussion which would last very long, and he should certainly think it his duty 315 to represent to his right hon. Friend that an opportunity should be given on an early day.
§ MR. ONSLOW
said, the noble Marquess had made a fair offer; but he would, nevertheless, like to ask one question. The noble Marquess said that an early day would be given. They all knew what that meant. Did it mean that a day would be set apart some time about the beginning of August?
§ LORD GEORGE HAMILTON
said, if this debate was adjourned, the Customs and Inland Revenue Bill must also be adjourned. The Chancellor of the Exchequer had said the House was not competent to express an opinion upon the point at issue, if the taxation of the year was once fixed. The right hon. Gentleman, therefore, must agree to postpone the proceedings of the Customs Bill. As to the immediate subject before the House, he deemed it right to point out that the House had not had an opportunity of discussing it. The House last year expressed an opinion hostile to calling upon India to pay the whole cost, and in the Supplementary Estimates a sum of £500,000 was voted to India in regard to the war expenses. That sum was accepted by the House because they had no option or power of increasing it. He hoped it was understood that if the debate was now adjourned, it would be resumed before the Customs and Inland Revenue Bill was passed.
§ THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER (Mr. CHILDERS)
said, he would remind the noble Lord opposite (Lord George Hamilton) that the taxation clauses of the Customs and Inland Revenue Bill had been agreed to. The only portions of the Bill now remaining for settlement were questions of collection—questions of a minor character.
§ THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER (Mr. CHILDERS)
said, he had omitted to say that the Government would undertake to find a day for the debate before the middle of July.
§ Question put.
§ The House divided:—Ayes 77; Noes 17: Majority 60.—(Div. List, No. 87.)
§ Debate adjourned till Thursday.