EconomicHisIndia2 Romesh Dutt 1903 - [PDF Document] (2024)


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EconomicHisIndia2 Romesh Dutt 1903 - [PDF Document] (3)

The Economic / History of India

In the Victorian Age




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FII st ~~ublrshed rn GI eat BI rtarn by Kegnn Paul, T I ~ n c l l , T I ubnel , 1904

PI tnted rn GI eat Brrtaln


SIX years ago, there was a celebration in London which was like a scenic representation of the Unity of the ~r-tish Empire. Men from all British Colonies and Dependencies came together to take part in the Diamond Jubilee of a Great Queen's reign. Indian Princes stood by the side of loyal Canadians and hardy Australians. The demonstration called forth an outburst of enthusiasm seldom witnessed in these islands. And to thoughtful minds i t recalled a long history of bold enterprises, arduous struggles, and a wise conciliation, which had cemented a world - wide Empire. Nations, living in different latitudes and under different skies, joined in 8 celebration worthy of the occasion.

One painful thought, however, disturbed the minds of the people. Amidst signs of progress and prosperity from all parts of the Empire, India alone presented a scene of poverty and distress. A famine, the most intense and the most widely extended yet known, deso- lated the country in I 897. The most populous portion of the Empire had not shared its prosperity. Increasing wealth, prospering industries, and flourishing agriculture, had not followed the flag of England in her greatest dependency.

The famine was not over till 1898. There was a pause in I 899. A fresh famine broke out in 1900 over a larger area, and continued for a longer period. The terrible calamity lasted for three years, and millions of men perished. Tens of thousands were still in relief camps when the Delhi Darbar was held in January 1903.

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The economic gulf which separates India from other parts of the Empire has widened in the course of recent years. In Canada and other Colonies, the income per head of the population is A48 per year. In Great Britain it is £42. In India it is oBcially estimated at £2. At the last meeting of the British Association, one of the greatest of British Economists, Sir Robert Giffin, pointed out that this was " a permanent and formidable difficulty in the British Empire, to which more thought must be given by our public men, the more the idea of Imperial Unity becomes a working force." Imperial Unity cannot be built on the growing poverty and decadence of five-sixths of the population of the Empire.

For the famines, though terrible in their death-roll, are only an indication of a greater evil-the permanent poverty of the Indian population in ordinary years. The food supply of India, as a whole, has never failed. Enough food was grown in India, even in I 897 and I goo, to feed the entire population. But the people are so resource- less, so absolutely without any savings, that when crops fail within any one area, they are unable to buy food from neighbouring provinces rich in harvests. The failure of rains destroys crops in particular areas ; it is the poverty of the people which brings on severe famines.

Many facts, within the experience of Indian Adminis- trators, could be cited to illustrate this; I will content myself with one. Twenty- seven years ago, Eastern Bengal was visited by a severe calamity. A cyclone and storm-wave from the sea swept over large tracts of the country and destroyed the homes and crops of cultivators in 1876. I was sent, as a young officer, to reorganise administration and to give relief to the people in some of the tracts most severely affected. The peasantry in those parts paid light rents, and were therefore prosperous in ordinary times. With the providence and frugality which are habitual to the Indian cultivator, they had saved in previous years. In the year of distress they

bought shiploads of rice out of their own savings. There was no general famine, and no large relief opera- tions were needed. I watched with satisfaction the resourcefulness and the self-help of a prosperous peas- antry. If the cultivators of India generally were as prosperous as in Eastern Bengal, famines would be rare in India, even in years of bad harvests. But rents in Western Bengal are higher, in proportion to the produce, than in Eastern Bengal; and the Land Tax in Madras, Bombay, and elsewhere is higher than in Bengal. The people are therefore less resourceful, and famines are more frequent and more fatal. The poverty of the people adds to the severity of famines.

The sources of a nation's wealth are Agriculture, Commerce and Manufactures, and sound Financial Administration. British rule has given India peace; but British Administration has not promoted or widened these sources of National Wealth in India.

Of Commerce and Manufactures I need say little in this place. I have in another work1 traced the com- ~nercial policy of Great Britain towards India in the eighteenth and the earlier years of the nineteenth century. The policy was the same which Great Britain then pursued towards Ireland and her Colonies. Endeavours were made, which were fatally successful, to repress Indian manufactures and to extend British manufactures. The import of Indian goods to Europe was repressed by pro- hibitive duties ; the export of British goods to India was encouraged by almost nominal duties. The production of raw material in India for British industries, and the consumption of British manufactures in India, were the twofold objects of the early commercial policy of England. The British manufacturer, in the words of the historian Horace Hayman Wilson, " employed the arm of political injustice to keep down and ulti~nately strangle a com-

11~1lia under Early British Rule, 1757-1837,

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petitor with whom he could not have contended on equal terms."

When Queen Victoria ascended the throne in I 837, the evil had been done. But nevertheless there was no relaxation in the policy pursued before. Indian silk handkerchiefs still had a sale in Europe; and a high duty on manufactured Indian silk was maintained. Parliament inquired how cotton could be grown in India for British looms, not how Indian looms could be improved, Select Committees tried to find out how British manufactures could find a sale in India, not how Indian manufactures could be revived. Long before I 85 8, when the East India Company's rule ended, India had ceased to be a great manufacturing country. Agriculture had vir- tnally become the one remaining source of the nation's subsistence.

British merchants still watched and controlled the Indian tariff after 18 58. The import of British goods into India was facilitated by the reduction of import duties. The growth of looms and factories in Bombay aroused jealousy. In I 879, a year of famine, war, and deficit in India, a further sacrifice of import duties was demanded by Parliament. And in I 882 a11 import duties were abolished, except on salt and liquor.

But the sacrifices told on the Indian revenues. In spite of new taxes on the peasantry, and new burdens on agriculture, India could not pay her way. In r 894 the old import duties were revived with slight modifications. A 5 per cent. duty was imposed on cotton goods and yarns imported into India, and a countervailing duty of 5 per cent. was imposed on such Indian cotton fabrics as competed with the imported goods. In I 896 cotton yarns were freed from duty ; but a duty of 36 per cent. was imposed on cotton goods imported into India, and an excise duty of gfr per cent. was imposed on all goods manufactured at Indian mills. Coarse Indian goods, which did not in any way compete with Lancashire

goods, were taxed, as well as finer fabrics. The miserable ciothing of the miserable Indian labourer, earning less than 2hd. a day, was taxed by a jealous Government. The infant mill industry of Bombay, instead of receiving help and encouragement, was repressed by an excise duty unknown in any other part of the civilised world. During a century and a half the commercial policy of the British rulers of India has been determined, not by the interests of Indian manufacturers, but by those of British manufacturers. The vast quantities of manu- factured goods which were exported from India by tho Portuguese and the Dutch, by Arab and British mer- chants, in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, have disappeared. India's exports now are mostly raw produce-largely the food of the people. Manufac- turing industry as a source of national income has been narrowed.

There remains Agriculture. Cultivation has largely extended under the peace and security assured by the British Rule, But no man familiar with the inner life of the cultivators will say that the extension of culti- vation has made the nation more prosperous, more re- sourceful, more secure against famines.

The history of the Land Revenue administration in India is of the deepest interest, because it is intimately connected with the material well-being of an agricultural nation. In the earlier years of the British Rule, the East India Company regarded India as a vast estate or plan- tation, and considered themselves entitled to all that the land could produce, leaving barely enough to the tillers and the Ianded cIasses to keep them alive in ordinary years. This policy proved disastrous to the revenues of the Company, and a reform became necessary. The Company then recognised the wisdom of assuring to the landed classes the future profits of agriculture. Accord- ingly, Lord Cornwallis permanently settled the Land Revenue in Bengal in I 793, demanding from landlords

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go per cent. of the rental, but assuring them against any increase of the demand in the future. The proportiorl taken by the Government was excessive beyond measure ; but cultivation and rental have largely increased since I 793 ; and the peasantry and the landed classes have reaped the profits. The agriculturists of Bengal are more resourceful to-day, and more secure against the worst effects of famine than the agriculturists of any other Province in India.

A change then came over the policy of the East India Company. They were unwilling to extend the Permanent Settlement to other Provinces. They tried to fix a proper share of the rental as their due so that their revenue might increase with the rental. In Northern India they fixed their demand first at 83 per cent. of the rental, then at 75 per cent., then at 66 per cent. But even this was found to be impracticable, and at last, in I 85 5, they limited the State-demand to 5 0 per cent. of the rental. And this rule of limiting the Land Revenue to one-half the rental was extended to Southern India in 1864. An income-tax of 5 0 per cent. on the profits of cultivation is a heavier assessment than is known in any other country under a civilised Govern- ment. But it would be a gain to India if even this high limit were never exceeded.

The rule of the East India Company terminated in I 858. The first Viceroys under the Crown were animated by rt sincere desire to promote agricultural prosperity, and to widen the sources of agricultural wealth in India. Statesmen like Sir Charles Wood and Sir Stafford Northcote, and rulers like Lord Canning and Lord Lawrence, laboured with this object. They desired to fix the State-demand from the soil, to make the nation prosperous, to create a strong and loyal middle class, and to connect them by their own interest with British Rule in India. If their sound policy had been adopted, one source of national wealth would have been

widened. The nation would have been more resource- ful and self-relying to-day; famines would have been rarer. But the endeavours to make the nation pros- perous weakened after the first generation of the servants of the Crown had passed away. Increase of revenue and increase of expenditure became engrossing objects with the rise of Imperialism. The proposal of Canning and of Lawrence was dropped in I 8 8 3.

The reader will no doubt clearly grasp the two distinct principles which were held by the two different schools of administrators. One was the school of Lord Canning and Lord Lawrence, of Lord Halifax and Lord Iddesleigh, who urged a Permanent Settlement of the Land Revenue. They knew that land in India belonged to the nation and not to a landed class, that every culti- vator had a hereditary right to his own holding, and that to permanently fix the Land Revenue would benefit an agricultural nation, and not a class of landlords. The other school demanded a continuous increase of the Land Revenue for the State, by means of recurring Land- Settlements, in course of which the State-demand was generally increased at the discretion of Settlement-Officers.

The Marquis of Ripon was the Viceroy of India from I 880 to I 884, and he proposed a masterly compromise between the opinions of the two schools. He maintained the right of the State to dernand a continuous increase of the Land Revenue on the definite and equitable ground of increase in prices. But he assured the cul- tivators of India against any increase in the State- demand, unless there was an increase in prices. He assured to the State an increasing revenue with the increasing prosperity of the country as evidenced by prices. And he assured to the cultivator a permanency in the State-demand reckoned in the proportion of the field produce taken as Land Tax. Lord Ripon's scheme happily combined the rights of the State with that security to cultivators without which agriculture cannot

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flourish in any part of the world. But Lord Ripon left India in December 1884 ; and his wise settlement was negatived by the Secretary of State for India in January I 88 5 . The compromise which had been arrived at after years of inquiry and anxious thought in India was vetoed at Whitehall; and a nation of agriculturists was once more subjected to that uncertainty in the State- demand which is fatal to successful agriculture.

The Half-Rental Rule still remained-in theory. But in practlce it had been violated. The expenses of the Mutiny wars had vastly added to Indian liabilities, and demanded increase in taxation. Commerce could not be taxed against the wishes of British merchants and British voters ; the increased taxes therefore fell on agriculture. Accordingly, from I 87 I , a number of new taxes were assessed on land, in addition to the Land Revenue. If the Land Revenue was 50 per cent. of the rental, the total assessment on the soil, including the new taxes, came to 56 per cent., or 58 per cent., or even 60 per cent. of the rental. And the people of India asked, what was the object of limiting the Land Revenue, if the limits were exceeded by the iinposition of additional burdens on agriculture.

The late Marquis of Salisbury was Secretary of State for India in I 8 7 5. His deep insight in matters to which he devoted his attention is well known. And he con- demned the weakness and the one-sidedness of the Indian Fiscal policy in a Minute recorded in I 87 5, which is often cited. "So far," his lordship wrote, I[ as it is possible to change the Indian Fiscal system, it is desirable that the cultivator should pay a smaller pro- portion of the whole national charge. I t is not in itself s thrifty policy to draw the mass of revenue from the rural districts, where capital is scarce, sparing the towns where it is often redundant and runs to waste in luxury. The injury is exaggerated in the case of India where so much of the reveilue is exported without a direct equi-

valent,. As India must be bled, the lancet should be directed to the parts where the blood is congested, or at least sufficient, not to those which are already feeble from the want of it."

Lord Salisbury's warning has been disregarded. And while we hear so much of the prosperous budgets - and surpluses since the value of the rupee was fixed at 1s. 4d., no advantage has been taken of this seeming

to relieve agriculture. Not one of the special taxes on land, imposed in addition to the Land Revenue since I 8 7 I, has been repealed.

I t will appear from these facts, which I have men- tioned as briefly as possible, that Agriculture, as a source of the nation's income, has not been widened under British administration. Except where the Land Revenue is permanently settled, it is revised and enhanced at each new Settlement, once in thirty years or once in twenty years. I t professes to take 50 per cent. of the rental or of the economic refit, but virtually takes a much larger share in Bombay and Madras. And to it are added other special taxes on land which can be enhanced in- definitely at the will of the State. The Land Assessment is thus excessive, and it is also uncertain. Place any country in the world under the operation of these rules, and agriculture will languish. The cultivators of India are frugal, industrious, and peaceful ; but they are never- theless impoverished, resourceless, always on the brink of famines and starvation. This is not a state of things which Englishmen can look upon with just pride. I t is precisely the state of things which they are remedying in Ireland. I t is a situation which they will not tolerate in India when they have once grasped it.

If we turn from the sources of wealth to its distribu- tion, and to the financial arrangements of India, the sarne melancholy picture is presented to us. The total rever~lxes of India during the last ten years of the Queen's reign- 1891-92 to 1900-I- came to 647 m~lliona sterling

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The annual average is thus under 65 millions, including receipts from railways, irrigation works, and all other sources. The expenditure in England during these ten years was I 59 millions, giving an annual average of nearly 16 millions sterling. One-fourth, therefore, of all the revenues derived in India, is annually remitted to England as Home Charges. And if we add to this the portion of their salaries which European officers employed in India annually remit to England, the total annual drain out of the Indian Revenues to England considerably exceeds 20 millions. The richest country on earth stoops to levy this annual contribution from the poorest. Those who earn £42 per head ask for 10s. per head from a nation earning A2 per head. And this I 0s. per head which the British people draw from India impoverishes Indians, and therefore impoverishes British trade with India. The contribution does not benefit British com- merce and trade, while it drains the life-blood of India in a continuous, ceaseless flow.

For when taxes are raised and spent in a counlry, the money circulates among the people, fructifies trades, industries, and agriculture, and in one shape or another reaches the mass of the people. But when the taxes raised in a country are remitted out of it, the money is lost to the country for ever, it does not stimulate her trades or industries, or reach the people in any form. Over 2 0 millions sterling are annually drained from the revenues of India; and it would be a miracle if such a process, continued through long decades, did not im- poverish even the richest nation upon earth.

The total Land Revenue of India was 178 millions in I 900-1. The total of Home Charges in the same year came to 17 millions. I t will be seen, therefore, that an a~nount equivalent to all that is raised from the soil, in all the Provinces of India, is annually remitted out of tho country as Home Charges. An additional sum of several rnil11on.q is sent in the form of private remittances

by European officers, drawing their salaries from Indian Revenues ; and this remittance increases as the employ- ment of European officers increases in India.

The I 7 millions remitted as Home Charges are spent in England ( I ) as interest papble on the Indian Debt;

(2) interest on railways; and ( 3 ) as Civil and Military Charges. A small portion, about a million, covers the cost of military and other stores supplied to India.

A very popular error prevails in this country that the whole Indian Debt represents British capital sunk in the development of India. I t is shown in the body of this volume that this is not the genesis of the Public Debt of India. When the East India Company ceased to be rulers of India in I 8 5 8, they had piled up an Indian Debt of 70 millions. They had in the mean- time drawn a tribute from India, financially an unjust tribute, exceeding I 5 o millions, not calculating interest. They had also charged India with the cost of Afghan wars, Chinese wars, and other wars outside India. Equit- ably, therefore, India owed nothing at the close of the Company's rule; her Public Debt was a myth; there was a considerable balance of over roo millions in her favour out of the money that had been drawn from her.

Within the first eighteen years of the Administration of the Crown the Public Debt of India was doubled. I t amounted to about 140 millions in I 877, when the Queen became the Empress of India. This was largely owing to the cost of the Mutiny wars, over 40 millions sterling, which was thrown on the revenues of India. And India was made to pay a large contribution to the cost of the Abyssinian War of I 867.

Between I 877 and I goo, the Public Debt rose from I 3 9 millions to 224 millions. This was largely due to the construction of railways by Guaranteed Companies Or by the State, beyond the pressing needs of India and beyond her resources. I t was also largely due to the Afghan Wars of 1878 and I 897. The history of the

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Indian Debt is a distressing record of financial unwisdom and injustice ; and every impartial reader can reckon for himself how much of this Indian Debt is morally due from India.

The last items of the Home Charges are the Civil and Military Charges. This needs a revision. If Great Britain and India are both gainers by the building up of the British Indian Empire, it is not fair or equitable that India alone should pay all the cost of the maintenance of that superb edifice. I t is not fair that all the expenses incurred in England, down to the maintenance of the India Office and the wages of the charwoman employed to clean the rooms at Whitehall, should be charged to India. Over forty years ago one of the greatest of Indian administrators suggested an equitable compromise. In a work on Our Financial Relations with India, published in I 8 59, Sir George Wingate suggested that India should pay all the expenses of Civil and Military Administration incurred in India, while Great Britain should meet the expenses incurred in EngIand, as she did for her Colonies. Is it too late to make some such equitable adjustment to-day ? India's total Civil and hlilitary Charges, incurred in England, come to 6 millions-a sum which would be considerably reduced if it came from the British tax- payer. Is it too much to expect that Great Britain might share this burden, while India paid all the Civil and Military charges incurred in India ?

These are the plain facts of the economic situation in India. Given these conditions, any fertile, industrious, peaceful country in the world would be what India is to-day. If ~nanufactures were crippled, agriculture over- taxed, and a third of the revenue remitted out of the country, any nation on earth would suffer from per- manent poverty and recurring famines. Economic laws are the same in Asia as in Europe. If India is poor to-day, it is through the operation of economic causes. If India were prosperous under these circ*mstances, it

would be an economic miracle. Science knows no miracles. Economic laws are constant and unvarying in their operation.

The evils suggest their own remedies. The Excise tax on Indian mill industry should be withdrawn; the Indian Government should boldly help Indian industries, for the good of the Indian people, as every civilised Government on earth helps the industries of its own country. All taxes on the soil in addition to the Land Revenue should be repealed; and the Land Revenue should be moderated and regulated in its operation. The Public Debt, unjustly created in the first instance, is now an accomplished fact : but an Imperial Guarantee would reduce the rate of interest; and a Sinking Fund would gradually reduce its volume. Civil and Military Charges, incurred in England, should be borne, or at least shared, by Great Britain, as she shares them in the case of her Colonies. Civil charges in India should be reduced by a larger employment of Indians ; military charges in India should be repressed with a strong hand ; and India should pay for an army needed for her own require- ments. All further extension of railways from State- Loans, or under guarantee of interest from the taxes, should be prohibited. Irrigation works should be ex- tended, as far as possible, from the ordinary revenues. The annual Economic Drain from India should be steadily reduced ; and in carrying out these fiscal reforms, repre- sentatives of the people of India,-of the taxpayers who are alone interested in Retrenchment in all countries,- should be called upon to take their share, and offer their assistance.

"The Government of a people by itself," wrote John Stuart Mill, "has a meaning and a reality, but such a thing as government of one people by another does not, and cannot exist. One people may keep another for its Own use, a place to make money in, a human cattle farm for the profibs of its own inhabitants." This state-

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ment contains a deep truth. Large masses of men are not ordinarily impelled by a consideration of other peoples' interests. The British voter is as fair-minded as the voter in any other country on earth, but he would not be a British voter, and he would not be human, if he did not ordinarily mind his own interests and secure his own ~rofits. Parliament carries out the mandates of voters; the Indian Secretary, a Member of the British Cabinet, cannot act against the joint wishes of the Cabinet. The Members of his Council are appointed by him, and do not in any sense represent the people of India. The Viceroy of India is under the orders of the Indian Secretary of State ; and the Government of India is vested in his Ordinary Council, which, in the words of Sir William Hunter, is an "oligarchy," and does not represent the people. The Members of the Governor- General's Council are generally heads of spending depart- ments, and (' the tendency is," as Sir David Barbour said before the Indian Expenditure Commission, " ordinarily for pressure to be put on the Financial Department to incur expenditure. I t is practically pressure. The other Departments are always pressing to spend more money : their demands are persistent and continuous." Nowhere in the entire machinery of the Indian Govern- ment, from the top to the bottom, is there any influence which makes for Retrenchment, any force which repre- sents the taxpayer. Fiscal reforms are impossible under this Constitution. If Retrenchment is desired, some room must be found, somewhere in the Constitution, to repre- sent the taxpayer's interests.

The Indian Empire will be judged by History as the most superb of human institutions in modern times. But it would be a sad story for future historians to tell that the Empire gave the people of India peace but not prosperity ; that the manufacturers lost their industries ; that the cultivators were ground down by a heavy and variable taxation which precluded any saving ; that the

revenues of the country were to a large extent diverted to England ; and that recurring and desolating famines swept away millions of the population. On the other hand, it would be a grateful story for Englishmen to tell that England in the twentieth century undid her past mistakes in India as in Ireland ; that she lightened land taxes, revived industries, introduced representation, and ruled India for the good of her people; and that the people of India felt in their hearts that they were citizens of a great and United Empire.


I ~ N D O N , December 1903.

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THE demand for a second edition of this work within three years of its first appearance is gratifying to the author; and it is equally gratifying that the work has received some attention in America, and the historical chapters of it have been translated into a European

language by Professor Zeeman of Holland. The signs of the times are hopeful. A new Govern-

ment in India has, in the present year, withdrawn some

of the oppressive cesses on land ; and a new Parliament in England has announced its intention of extending the

representative element in the Legislative Councils of India.












PAGE . . 3


UNDER THE QUEEN. 1858-1876.

1. CANNING, ELQIN, AND LAWRENCE . * 239 11. MAYO AND NORTHBROOK . . . . . . . 252

111. LAND REFORMS I N NORTHERN INDIA . . . . . ~ 6 3


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. . 291








1 X . H I S T O R Y O F T A R I F F S . . . . . . X. RAILWAYS AND IRRIGATION . . . . .



l J N D E R T H E C O M P A N Y


INDEX . . . . . . . . . . 618

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L ~ E D WILLIAM BENTINCK left Intlia in I 83 5. His seven yealyj' rule was an era of Peace, Retrenchment, and Reform. He secured trarlyuillity in the East India Company's dominions, and lived at peace with the Indian Powers. He reduced the public debt, decreased the annual expenditure, and showed a surplus. He corjlznenced that revised settlement of land revenue in Northern India which gave relief to landlords and cultivators. He admitted the educated people of India to the higher appointments in the revenue and judicial departments. He abolished the practice of Sati and suppressed the crime of Thugs. He promoted English education in India, and endeavoured to carry out the maxim that the administration of India was primarily for the interests of the people. His successor, Sir Charles Metcalfe, trained in the traditions of his school, worked in the same lines, and followed the same principles. He gave liberty to the Press of India, and earned for himself a high reputation as an able and benevolent administrator.

Henry St. George Tucker was the Chairman of the court of Directors in August I 8 34, when the resignation of Lord William Bentinck was received by the Directors. 'tucker had himself done distinguished service in India, and had ably managed its finances under Wellesley and

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Minto. And after his retirement to England he still remained true to the interests of the people of India. He desired, when Bentinck's resignation came, to appoint a worthy successor. His choice lay between Mount- stuart Elphinstone, lately returned from Bombay, and Sir Charles Metcalfe, still working in Bengal. Elphin- stone, then enjoying a life of literary repose in England, declined to return to the toil and turmoil of India. And the Court of Directors, by an overwhelming majority, carried the proposal of their Chairman, that Sir Charles Metcalfe should be appointed Governor-General of India. But the ministers of the Crown demurred to the appoint- ment. On receipt of the resolution of the Court of Directors, the Board of Control announced that the Company's nominee was ineligible to the station. I t was their secret wish that the prize appointment should be given to a party man.

Great changes in administration followed thick and fast in England. The Liberal Ministry, which had declined to sanction the appointment of Sir Charles Metcalfe, went out of office towards the close of 1834. Sir Robert Peel forrr~ed a Tory Government; and the choice of that Government fell, not on Sir Charles Metcalfe, but on a Tory peer. Lord Heytesbury's appointment was made in January I 83 5 . I t was sanctioned by the Crown in February. A farewell banquet was given to him in March. Sir Robert Peel, the Duke of Wellington, and other Tory magnates attended the banquet. In April, before Lord I-Ieytesbury had embarked for India, the Tory Government fell. The appointment of the Tory lord was revoked by the Liberal Government which succeeded, and a Liberal lord was appointed Governor-General of India. Lord Auckland was selected to take the reins of aclministration from the hands of Sir Charles Metcalfe, who was acting after the departure of Lord William Bentinck. I t is diffic~zlt to say if these transactions were more discreditable to the Tory party or to the


Whig party. But both parties seemed equally anxious to place party interests before the interests of Indian

~ u t the appointment of Lord Auckland as Governor- General of India had a deeper significance. I t meant that the foreign policy of India must shape itself to the foreign policy of England. The Liberal party in England had come triumphantly into office in 1830, and held office-excepting a brief interruption during the winter of I 8 34-3 5-for eleven years. The strongest man in the Liberal Government during these years was the Foreign Minister, Lord Palmerston. And the strongest ambition of Lord Palmerston was to check Russia in the East. In 1 8 3 8 he supported and strengthened the Turkish Government. In 1840 he made a convention with three European Powers for armed interference in support of Turkey. In I 8 4 1 he placed Egypt once more under the power of Turkey. I t was easy to fore- see that Lord Auckland was appointed to India to carry out this Imperial policy of England against Russia.

The East India Company has often been blamed for their wars of annexation and of conquest. But the crime of the first Afghan War cannot be laid at their door. I t was undertaken without their sanction and without their approval. As early as 1835, Henry St. George Tucker, then Chairman of the Court of Directors, had induced the Board of Control to accept the principle, that England's diplomatic transactions with Persia, for the prevention of the advance of Russia, was a European question and not an Indian question. I t was arranged, with that " melancholy meanness " which has so often characterised England's financial transactions with India, that India should pay £1 2,000 per annum for the Persian Mission, but that all power over the English envoy at Teheran and the politjcs of Persia should be vested in the Crown Ministers. I t was not anticipated, when the Russo-~ersian question was declared to be a European

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question, that Indian blood and Indian treasure were to be lavished on its solution.

Dr. MacNeill was appointed ambassador to the King of Persia, and placed himself in direct communication with the Foreign Minister, Lord Palmerston. In February I 8 3 7 he complained to Lord Palmerston that the agent from Kandahar had visited the Russian Minister, and had not visited the British Ambassador? And in the same month he addressed another letter to Lord Palmer- ston, in which he justified the possible invasion of Herat by the King of Persia.

Putting aside the claims of Persia to the sovereignty of Herat, and regarding the question as one between two independent sovereigns, I am inclined to believe that the Government of Herat will be found to have been the aggressor.

Persia has committed no act of hostility against the Afghans, but on the death of the late Shah, the Govern- ment of Herat made predatory incursions into the Persian territories, in concert with the Turcomans and Hazarehs, and captured the subjects of Persia for the purpose of selling them as slaves.

"Under these circu~nstances, there cannot, I think, be a doubt that the Shah is fully justified in making war on Prince Kamran."

The expected invasion of Herat by Persia took place. Dost Muhammad, the ruler of Afghanistan, gave his support to the King of Persia. He had also endeavoured to recover Pe:;hawar from Ranjit Singh of the Punjab, and had received a Russian rnission at Kabul. These mere the ostensible grounds on which Lord Auckland, now Governor-General of India, declared war with Afghanistan.

The reader seeks in vain in Lord Auckland's declara- tion any adequate cause for plunging India into a need-

1 Letter datetl Teheran, February zo, 1837. 2 Letter dated Teheran, Behrnary 24, 1837. 8 Declaration on the part of the Right Hor~ourable the Qovernor.

General of India, dated October I , 1838.


less war. If an endeavour had been made to recover Peshawar from Ranjit Singh, the endeavour had failed, and Ranjit Singh was quite competent to defend his own. And if Dost Muhammad had supported Persia in the invasion of Herat, that invasion was " fully justified " by the conduct of the Governor of Herat, according to Dr. MacNeill's letter of I 837, quoted above. The real cause of the war was to dethrone a strong, able, and friendly ruler like Dost Muhammad, and to place on the Afghan throne a creature of the British Power. Lord Palmerston was fighting England's great rival in the East, and Lord Auckland consented to pay the cost from the taxes of India. " I t was no doubt very convenient," wrote St. George Tucker, "for Her Majesty's Government to cast the burden of an enterprise, directed against Russia, on the finances of India, instead of sending the fleet into the Baltic or the Black Sea ; but we are bound to resist the attempt to alienate ana misapply the resources of India." l

The siege of Herat by Persian troops was ultimately abandoned. The ostensible reason of Lord Auckland's interference with Afghan affairs thus ceased to exist. There was yet time to abandon the contemplated Afghan War. The Duke of Wellington, who was not a peace-at- any-price man, was of opinion that the expedition should be abandoned. l 1 I had understood," he wrote to St. George Tucker, "that the raising the siege of Herat was to be the signal for abandoning the expedition to the Indus. I t will be very unfortunate if that intention should be altered. The consequence of crossing the Indus, to settle a government in Afghanistan, will be a perennial march into the country."

But Lord Auckland knew better. He wrote to the Secret Cornrnittee of the Court of Directors that : " Upon receiving an authentic report that the Shah of Persia had

1 Kaye's Lzfe and Correspondence of Henry St. George Tucker, p. 511. Latter dated December 12, 1838.

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relinqnished the siege of Herttt, I publicly announced my resolution to persevere, notwithstanding that favourable circ*mstance, in carrying through the course of measures which had been perfected with a view to establish the tranquillity of the western frontier of India upon a stable basis, and to raise up a permanent barrier against schemes of aggression from that quarter." The experience of sixty years enables us to judge whether the Duke of Wellington or Lord Auckland was right; and whether, by interfering in the iaternal affairs of Afghanistan, we " raise up a permanent barrier " against invasions, or sirnply tlemolish the existing barrier, and are led into " a perennial march into the country."

The war was carried on. The British troops marched through Sindh, because Ranjit Singh refused them per- mission to march through his territories in the Purljab. Kandahar was taken in April I 8 39 ; Ghazni was stormed in July ; Kabul was reached in August. Dost Muham- mad fled over the Oxus into Bokhara; Shah Shuja was placed on the throne. The elation in England was great; and the actors on the spot betrayed a vaingloriousness seldorn manifested by British soldiers or statesmen. Sir John Keane, after capturing Ghazni, wrote to Lord Auck- land : " The army under my command have succeeded in performing one of the most brilliant acts it has ever been my lot to witness during my service of 45 years in the four quarters of the globe." ' Lord Auckland wrote to the Secret Committee of the Directors "of the flight of Sirdar Dost Muhammad Khan, and the triumphant entry of His Majesty, Shah Shuja-ul-Mulk, into Kabul, amid the congratulations of his people." And His Majesty, Shah Shuja-111-Mulk, wrote to Queen Victoria, expressing " the fullest confidence in the kind considera- tion of my wishes which is felt by my Royal Sister." His wishes were to found an Order of the Durani Empire,

1 Letter d.rted July 24, 1839. Letter dated August 29, 1839.

and to confer the first class of the Order upon Lord Auckland, Sir John Keane, and a few 0thers.l

I t is not within the scope of the present work to narrate the history of the first Afghan War which is told in every school-book on Indian history, and has been

, fully and faithfully narrated by one of the most impartial of Anglo-Indian historian^.^ Briefly, the Afghan people resented this foreign interference in their affairs. The new Amir, Shah Shuja, smarted under the control of the British envoy. The Mullas of Kabul refused to offer up prayers for him, and declared that he was not their in- dependent king. Sardars and chiefs of tribes became openly hostile as the stream of gold from the Indian treasury was gradually reduced. On November 2, I 84 I , an insurrection broke out in Kabul, and Sir Alexander Burnes was killed. On December 2 3 the British envoy, Macnaghten, was killed in an open meeting by Akbar Khan, son of the exiled Dost Muhammad. In January 1842 the British army of four thousand, with twelve thousand camp-followers, began their retreat from Kabul. Fighting and negotiations continued during this dis- astrous retreat. Akbar Khan demanded more English hostages, including the wives and children of English officers, while his troops joined the Ghilzai mountaineers in pouring a murderous fire on the retreating army. The entire force and camp-followers, sixteen thousand men,

a perished under the Afghan fire, or died of wounds, cold, and hunger, in the Afghan snows. One solitary survivor, Dr. Brydon, escaped.

Lord Auckland was succeeded by Lord Ellenborough as Governor-General of India in I 842. In England the Liberal Government had fallen, and a Tory Government had succeeded. The new Ministers were not responsible

Papers relating to the war in Afghanistan, ordered to be printed by the Hwhe of Commons, January 21, 1840. Paper No. 24.


lr John Kaye's Ifistory of the Wav in Afghanistccn would have been better known to English readers, and appeared in popular editions, if it bad not been the history of a blunder and a disaster.

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for this unwise and disastrous war. They could rightly throw the whole blame of it on their predecessors ; and it was hoped that they would even do India the justice of relieving her of the expenses of the war. But British Ministers, Liberal or Conservative, are unwilling to face their constituencies with a demand for the cost of an unsuccessful war. The Court of Directors pressed their claims with vigour. The Court of Proprietors made a demonstration in the same direction and with equal vigour. The people of India felt the injustice of being taxed for a war beyond the frontiers of India. But all protest was vain. The cost of the first Afghan War was fifteen millions sterling, and was thrown on the revenues of India. Not a shilling was contributed by Great Britain.

In February 1842 Lord Ellenborough landed at Calcutta. Ellenborough had qualified himself for his Indian administration by his work as President of the India Board of Control. He had helped in abolishing the transit duties which had impcded the internal trade of India. And he had acted as Chairman of a Select Committee of the House of Lords, appointed to inquire into the question of Indian produce and manufactures. But Afghan affairs required his immediate attention on his arrival in India.

Ranjit Singh had died in June I 839, and there was none to oppose the march of the British army through the Punjab. General Pollock went through the Punjab and relieved Jellalabad. He defeated Akbar Khan, and in September 1842 was in possession of Kabul. The great Bazaar of Kabul, one of the finest edifices in Asia, was blown up by gunpowder ; and other acts of retribu- tion were perpetrated by the conquering army.

On October I , 1842, exactly four years after the declaration of war by Lord Auckland, his successor issued a proclamation announcing that the victorious British army would withdraw Gom Afghanistan. There are some passages in this proclamation which the Duke of

Wellington might have dictated, and Lord Lawrence might have carried out, passages which are true for all time.

l1 To force a sovereign upon a reluctant people would be as inconsistent with the policy as it is with the purpose of the British Government, tending to place the arms and resources of the people at the disposal of the first invader, and to impose the burden of supporting a sovereign with- out the prospect of benefit from his alliance.

" The Governor-General will willingly recognise any Government, approved by the Afghans themselves, which shall appear desirous and capable of maintaining friendly relations with neighbouring states.

, "Content with the limits Nature appears to have assigned to its Empire, the Government of India will devote all its efforts to the establishment and maintenance of general peace, to the protection of the sovereigns and chiefs, its allies, and to the prosperity and happiness of its own faithful subjects." l

These were wise and statesmanlike words. But Lord Ellenborough stained his administration by the policy which he adopted immediately after towards a nearer and weaker neighbour. The Amirs of Sindh had per. mitted the British army to pass through their country to Kabul in I 8 3 8, and from that date the Province of Sindh had acquired a value as the gateway to Western Asia. During the British occupation of Afghanistan the Amirs had rendered good service to the Indian Govern- ment; and it is lamentable to record that the conclusion of the Afghan War was immediately followed by the annexation of their country by that Government.

Major Outram had long been the British political agent in Sindh, and had dealt with the Amirs with that courtesy and kindness, joined with firmness and strength, which were a part of his character. In October 1842 the supreme power was taken from his hands and placed in those of Sir Charles Napier, a brave and distinguished

Proclamation dated October I , 1842.

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soldier, but an imperious and quarrelsome man-the last man who should have been appointed to deal with Indian princes.' Napier was easily led to believe that some of the Amirs were guilty of disaffection to the British Government, and he declared war against them. The Amirs were defeated in the battles of Miani and Haidara- bad in February and March I 843 ; and Lord Ellenborough, who had gone out to Asia as a peacemaker, ordered the annexation of Sindh.

No impartial historian has tried to justify this an- nexation of a friendly State on charges which were never proved. And it is to the credit of the Court of Directors that they passed a formal resolution, in August 1843, declaring the proceedings against the Amirs of Sindh to be unjust, impolitic, and inconsistent with the honour and interests of the Indian Government. I t is more than probable that Lord Ellenborough had acted with the approval of the Tory Ministry in the matter of Sindh, as Lord Auckland had acted with the approval of the Whig Ministry in the matter of Afghanistan. The Court of Directors, however, had the right of recall, and they recalled Lord Ellenborough in I 844, after only two years' administration, against the public protests of Tory Ministers.

One more incident connected with the annexation of Sindh is interesting, rather from a literary than from an historical point of view. Sir Charles Napier, the conqueror of Sindh, had a younger brother, distinguished in letters as well as in arms. William Napier had fought under the Duke of Wellington in the Peninsular War, and his admirable history of that war is now ac English classic. I t is a matter of regret that the brave soldier and distinguished historian should have mixed

1 In 1818 he had been made Governor of Cephalonia, but being of an excessively combative disposition, he became embroiled with the authori- ties a t home. After the conquest of Sindh he became engaged in an acrimonious war of despatches with the British authorities. Later on he went out to India again, and became Commander-in-chief ; but he quarrelled with Lord Dalhousie, ant1 finally left India in 1851.

himself up with his brother's quarrels with Major Outram. he author of the "Peninsular War published a work on the "Conquest of Sindh" in 1845 ; and not content with defending his brother, William Napier charged Major Outram with want of military skill, with opposition

, to a policy conducive to the civilisation of India, and with the advocacy of measures calculated to lead to the annihilation of a British force. The two brothers, rich in military and literary farne, sought to crush by the weight of their authority a comparatively young and obscure soldier. I t is a signal instance of the justice which posterity sometimes does to true and honourable men, that James Outram survived this unworthy attack, and his fame stands higher in India to-day than that of the conqueror of Sindh. He replied to William Napier's work in his own simple style; and his book is still read by many who have forgotten William Napier's partisan work. Known early in his career as the [~Bayard of India" for his high and chivalric character, Outram rose to distinction during the Indian Mutiny of 1857, and was made a baronet in the following year. And when the adminis~ration of India passed away from the East India Company to the Crown, Outram took his seat in the Council of the first Viceroy of India, Lord Canning, in 1860.

And the judgment which James Outram passed on . the annexation of Sindh was the judgment of the Court

of Directors, and is the verdict of impartial historians. " Solemn treaties, though forced upon them [the Amirs of Sindh] were treated as waste paper, past acts of friendship and kindness towards us in the hour of extremity were disregarded, false charges were heaped upon them, they were goaded into resistance, and the ruthless and unrelenting sword of a faithless and merciless ally completed their destruction."

Conqwat of Siwlk. by Lieut.-Col. Outrsm (London, 18461, p. 485.

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IT is not the purpose of the present work to narrate the history of wars aud annexations. Nor are the wars and annexations of Auckland and Dalhousie, with all the bitter conLroversy to which they gave rise, an attractive subject to a writer who desires to confine his story to the condition of the people. But the econo~nic history of India is incomplete without some reference to the enormous expenditure callaed by wars, or to the exten- sion of the Empire effected by annexations. We propose therefore, in this chapter, to narrate very briefly the le~rling incidents of the administration of Hardinge and Dalhousie, as we have narrated the leading acts of Auckland and Ellenborough in the last chapter.

When Lord Ellenborough was recalled from India in I 844, Sir Henry Hardinge was selected to succeed him. and a better selection could not have been matle. Hardinge was a brave soldier, and, like many true soldiers, was a man of peace. He had taken a distin- guished part in the Peninsular War against Napoleon's forces, and had stood by Sir John Moore when he received his fatal wound in the field of Corunna. He had then taken a part in the hard-fought battle of Albuera, and had been wounded at Vittoria. He was present in the Waterloo campaign, and was in atteialance on Marshal Blucher s t the battle of Ligny, when his left hand was shattcrhd by a round shot, and hat1 to be a~npn tated.

After the conclusion of the Napoleonic Wars, Hardinge entered Parlianrent, and retained his seat for

$ 4

over twenty years. He married the sister of Lord castlereagh in I 82 I , and entered the Cabinet as Secretary at War, in succession to Lord Pahnerston, in

828. He remained a consistent Tory, and became Secretary at War once more in 1841, when Sir Robert Peel came back to power. And he held that appointment till I 844, when he was selected to succeed Lord Ellenborough in India in his sixtieth year. The appointment was no distinction for a Minister of his position and eminence; and Sir Robert Peel spoke the simple truth when he said, two years after, that in accepting the post of Governor-General of India, Sir Henry Hardinge had ' I made a great sacrifice from a sense of public duty."

Scarcely eighteen months had elapsed from the date of his landing at Calcutta, when he was forced into a war which was not of his seeking. Ranjit Singh, the great ruler of the Punjab, died in I 8 3 g ; and the magnificent Sikh army which he had created became uncontrollable when his restraining hand was withdrawn. Like the Pretorian Guards of ancient Rome they became masters of the situation ; they formed Panchyets in every regiment and obeyed no other power; and they set up and deposed men in authority. Anarchy followed with frequent re- volutions; and the brother of Ranjit Singh's widow was tried and condemned by the military Panchyets, and

. shot by a party of soldiers. And in November I 845 the magnificent but misguided Sikh army, consisting of 60,000 soldiers, 40,000 armed followers, and I 5 0 guns, crossed the Sutlej and invaded British India.

The commander of the Sikh army, La1 Singh, was a traitor, and probably wished the destruction of tho army he led. In the first action with the British, at Mooclkee, La1 Singh fled at the beginning of the battle, and so caused the defeat of his troops. The second battle, at Ferozshahar, was obstinately fought. British cannon, "7s an eye-witness, were dismounted, and the ammuni.

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tion blown into the air; British squadrons were checked in rnid career ; battalion after battalion was hurled baclr with shattered raillrs ; and it was not till after sunset that portions of the Sikh position were finally carried.' The battle was renewed in the morning, but through the treachery or cowardice of La1 Singh his army was soon in full retreat. The third battle was won by the British at Aliwal ; but the decisive contest which concluded the war was the battle of Sobreon, fought on February 10, I 846. The Sikh soldiers fought with the valour of crusaders and the determination of heroes. But Tej Singh, the Sikh commander, fled at the first assault, and is slipposed to have broken the bridge over the Su~lej to prevent the escape of his army. The British victory was complete, but was dearly purchased by tlle loss of over two thousand troops, killed and wounded. The river, says Lord Hardinge's son, who was present at the action, was alive with a struggling mass of men. The artillery, now brought down to the water's edge, completed the slaughter. Few escaped; none sur- rendered. The Sikhs met their fate with that resigna- tion which distinguished their race.2

The terms imposed on the conquered people proved the moderation of the conqueror. The Sikh kingdom must be dismembered so as not to be again a formidable enemy to the British Empire. But subject to this con- dition, Lord Hardinge (now raised to the peerage) respected the independence of the Punjab By the treaty of March 1846 the Sikh Darbar abandoned the east.ern portion of the Punjab between the Beas and the Sutlej, promised payment of a million and a half sterling or its equivalent in territory, undertook to reduce the army to twenty-five battalions of infantry and I 2,000 cavalry, and surrendered all guns which had been pointed

Cunninqllam's Histoy of the Sikhs. Visco~int Hardinge, by his son and private secretary in India, Charles,

second Viscount Hardinqe.


%,gainst the British army. The Sikh Darbar could not pay the stipulated sum, and a further cession of territory was therefore required. And Kashmir was thus separated from the Punjab, and made over the Golab Singh on pay- ment of £750,000 to the British.

This treaty, concluded in March I 846, failed to safeguard the peace of the Punjab. The Sikh Darbar desired that the British troops should be maintained in Lahore to protect the Government. A second treaty

I of Lahore was accordingly concluded in December I 846. ' Ranjit Singh's widow, an able but intriguing woman, was excluded from all power, and received an annual pension of £I 5,000. A Council of Regency, consisting of eight Sardars, was appointed during the minority of Maharaja Dhalip Singh. A British Resident was appointed with plenary and unlimited power to control and guide the Darbar. A British garrison was maintained in the Punjab during the minority of the sovereign. And it was stipulated that the British Government should receive iCz20,ooo a year towards the expenses of the occupation.

Five days after the conclusion of this treaty, the Governor - General wrote to the Secret Committee : "These terms give the British Resident unlimited authority in all matters of internal administration and external relations during the Maharaja's minority." 1

. And in a General Proclamation which he issued on August 20, 1847, Lord Hardinge announced that he felt "the interest of a father in the education and guardianship of the young Prince." 2

Major Henry Lawrence, an officer as brave as he Was kindly and courteous, was appointed the first Resident. I t is possible to conceive that if Lord Hardingo had remained in India five years longer, and

' Parliamentary Papers. Articles of agreeuieut with the Lahore Darbar, 1847, p. 24.

"arliamentary Papers (Punjab, 1849), p. 53.

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if Henry Lawrence had remained in his post for the same period, the Punjab would have remained a strong, friendly, and enlightened Native State. But Lord Hard- inge was succeeded by Lord Dalhousie within six months from the date of the General Proclamation. And Major Henry Lawrence too was compelled to leave India un account of ill-health, and was succeeded by Sir Frederick Currie.

Lord Dalhousie was a young Scotch peer, and had succeeded to the earldom in I 838. When Sir Robert

Peel came to power on the fall of the Melbourne Minis- try, he appointed Lord Dalhousie Vice-President of the Board of Trade in I 843, under Gladstone, who was the President. And two years after, the young earl suc- ceeded Gladstone as President. In this capacity Lord Dalhousie had to deal with the new railways; and it is significant that he laid before the Prime Minister a scheme for treating railways as a national concern, and for bringing them completely under State control. Sir Robert Peel rightly rejected the idea of a State manage- ment of railways for England. Lord John Russell was favourably impressed with the young and industrious nobleman. And when the Liberals came to power, Lord John had the magnanimity to offer to the Tory peer the post of Governor-General of India Lord Dalhousie accepted the post, and at the early age of thirty-five succeeded the veteran Lord Hardinge in I 848.

Lord Hardinge had taken every possible precaution to secure peace and good administration in the Punjab. A British Resident had been invested with " full autho- rity to direct and control the duties of every depart- ment." A British force had been stationed at Lahore 'I for the protection of the Maharaja and the preservation of the peace of the country." The British Government had power to occupy any fort or military post in the kingdonr " for the security of the capital, and for main- taining the peace of the country." The Lahore State

was to pay to the British Government ~ z z o , o o o a year for the maintenance of this force, and to meet the

expenses incurred by the British Government." And these arrangements were to continue during the Maha- raja's minority, and to "cease and terminate on His Highness attaining the full age of I 6 years, or on the 4th of September of the year 18 54."'

Maharaja Dhalip Singh was virtually the ward of the British Government ; the British Government had under- taken to protect him, to control the administration of his country, and to preserve peace. And Lord Hardinge had taken adequate measures to fulfil the task imposed on the British Government. Fifty thousand men, with sixty guns, commanded the line of the Sutlej. A standing camp of nine thousand men held Lahore. Another standing camp of equal strength, with infantry, cavalry, and artillery complete, lay at Firozpur. Everything was in a state of perfect preparation to meet any contingency that might arise.

~ n d ~ e t no timely action was taken when trouble arose shortly after the departure of Hardinge. Dewan Mulraj's father had governed Multan for thirty years with almost independent sway. When the British Resident called for an account of his stewardship from Mulraj, he made various delays, and pretended to resign. He was taken at his word, and a successor was sent to Multan under the protection of two Englishmen, Vans Agnew and Colonel Henderson. The fort was at first surrendered, but soon after Agnew and Henderson were treacherously murdered, and Mulraj regained and kept possession of the fort. The British Resident, Sir Frederick Currie, called on the Commander-in-chief, Lord Gough, to advance with a British force from Firozpur, and to stamp out the rebellion. But Lord Gough declined, and Lord Dalhousie supported the decision of Lord Gough. The rebellion was thus allowed time to spread. ' ArticleeVI.,VII., VIII., IX.,and XI. of theTreaty of December 16,1846

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One English oficer did his duty promptly and well Lieutenant Edwards was in his tent on the banks oi the Indus when he heard of the murder of the English officers and of Mulraj's rebellion. He made a rush with only 400 men to Multan, but he could effect little against Mulraj's 4000 men and eight heavy guns defending the fort. All through the heat of the summer he did what it was possible for a British officer to do. He obtained levies from the State of Bhawalpur, defeated Mulraj in two battles in June and July, and drove him to the shelter of his fort. Had the higher authorities sent him aid from Lahore and Firozpur, as they were bound to do by the treaty of December I 846, the Multan rebellion would have been put down. And "had the Multan rebellion been put down," says Lieutenant Edwards him- self, " the Sikh insurrection would never have grown out of it."

While no timely action was taken to put down the local rebellion, measures were adopted by the British Resident which created a general consternation among the Sikhs. Ranjit Singh's widow, the mother of Maharaja Dhalip Singh, was an intriguing woman ; but she had been excluded fro~n all share in the government, and had been removed to Sheikhpur, and had ceased to be a source of danger. According to Lieutenant Edwards, " The Rani Jhanda, who had more wit and daring than any man of her nation, was weary of scattering ambiguous voices and of writing incendiary epistles. . . . There was no longer a man found in the Punjab who would shoulder a musket at her bidding." ' Under these circ*mstances the Resident's order to banish her from the Punjab to Benares was a measure of doubtful necessity, while its effect on the Sikh soldiery was instantaneous. " The reports from Raja Sher Singh's camp," wrote the Resident on May 2 5 , "are that the Khalsa soldiery, on hearing of the removal of the Maharani, are much disturbed. They

A Year on the Pulqjab Frontier, by Major Edwards, C.B,


said was the mother of the Khasla, and that as she was gone, and the young Dhalip Singh in our hands, they had no longer any one to fight for or uphold." l

The postponement of the young Maharaja's marriage was another measure which created ail unfavourable impression. Lieutenant Edwards saw this, and wrote to the Resident on July 2 8 : " An opiliion had gone very

abroad, and been carefully disseminated by the evil-disposcd, that the British meditate declaring the Punjab forfeited by the recent troitbles and miscon- duct of the troops. . . . I t would, I think, be a wise ant1 timely measure to give such public assurance of British good faith, and intention to adhere to the Treaty, as would be involved in authoritative preparations for ~roviding the young Maharaja wit11 a Qoeen. It would, no doubt, settle men's rninds greatly." This wise counsel mas unheeded.

Lastly, the treatment accorded to Sarda~ Cllatra Singh, whose daughter tho young Maharaja was to have married, further inflamed men's minds. Chatra Singh was the Governor of the Hazara province, inhabited by an armed hlaho~nedan population, warlike and difficult to control. Captain Abbot,, an assistant of the Resident, was appointed to aid and advise him, but he placed himself in open

opposition to the Sardar from the commencenlent. I n August 1848 the mountaineers of Hazara, rousod by Captain Abbot, closed the passes and surrounded the

town where Chatra Singh was residing. The Sardar ordered the troops, stationed for the protection of the

town, to encamp under the guns of the fort. Colonel Canora refused to move out of the city, and threatened to fire upon the first man that came near. Chatra Singh sent two companies of the Sikh infantry to take possession of the guns. Canora applied the match to one of the guns, missed fire, and was immediately after struck down

' Punjab Papers, 1849, pp. 168 aud 179. a ]bid., p. 271.

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by musket shots from the infantry. Captain Abbot called this incident the murder of Canora by the instigation of Chatra Singh He was justly rebuked by the Resident, who wrote: " I have given you no authority to raise levies and organise piid bands of soldiers. . . . I t is much, I think, to be lamented that you have kept the Nizam [Chatra Singh] at a distance from you ; have re- sisted his offers and suggestions to be allowed himself to reside near you. . . . None of the accounts which have yet becn made justify you in calling the death of Commedan Canora a murder, nor in asserting that it was premeditated by Sardar Chatra Singh." Neverthe-

less, orders were passed in August, not to punish Captain Abbot, but to deprive Sardar Chatra Singhof the post of Governor, to resume his Jaigir, and to humiliate before the Sikh people the man whose daughter was to have been wedded to their sovereign.

All these impolitic acts roused the Sikh nation, and the rebellion of Multan began to spread. Chatra Singh's

son, Sher Singh, went over to Mulraj with 5000 Sikhs, and the British force had to raise the siege of Multan. Nearly all the Sardars joined the insurrection, and the whole of the open country was in their hands.

I n November I 548, seven months after the rising at Multan, Lord Gough at last moved out with his grand m y . But at the first action at Ramnagar on the Chinab, he received a serious check; and the second action at Sadulapur was scarcely a victory. The third

action at Chilianwala was disastrous. The British infantry proceeded to the attack when exhausted and breathless, and were compelled to make a retreat; the British cavalry, advancing without the support of guns, were similarly forced to a retreat which was soon converted into a flight; the colours of three regiments and four guns were captured by the Sikhs; and a total loss of 89 officers and 2 3 so men was the end of a hasty and


1 Punjab Papers, 1849, p. 316.


ill-judged attack. Lord DaIhousie claimed this aIso as victory in his public despatches, but in his private

letter regretted "the lamentable succession of three unsuccessful actions" at Ramnagar, Sadulapur, and ~hilianwala.

When the news of this last action was received in England, public indignation exceeded all bounds. Lord ugh was recalled, and Sir Charles Napier was ap- pointed Commander-in-chief. Before his arrival, how- ever, Lord Gough had retrieved his reputation by a decisive victory at Gujrat on February 2oJ 1849. Multan had already fallen into the hands of the British in January. The Sikh army, beaten at Gujrat, was pursued across the plains of the Punjab by Gilbert,

the best rider in India," and surrendered at Rawal Pindi on March 12. Peace was restored within one year from the date of the first trouble at Multan.

By the treaty of December I 846 the British Govern- ment had undertaken to suppress risings in the Punjab,

and to protect the minor Maharaja Dhalip Singh. By a proclamation, which was issued in November 1848 with Lord Dalhousie's sanction, it was declared that the British army "entered the Lahore territories, not as an enemy of the constituted Government, but to restore order and obedience." Nevertheless, as soon as order was restored, the constituted Government was set aside. The Maharaja was dethroned and the Punjab was annexed to the British dominions. Sir Henry Lawrence, the first Resident appointed after the treaty of December 1846, protested against the annexation, and tendered his resignation. But Lord Dalhousie knew his worth as a pacificator, and induced him to withdraw his resigna- tion. Of this great and gifted soldier we shall have more to say when we speak of the ad~ninistration of the Punjab.

Another war was undertaken by Lord Dalhousie, three years after, in the eastern frontiers of the Indian

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Empire. In Burma, in spite of the treaty of Yandobo, various sums of money were levied on foreign merchants. and trade with the Burmese was attended with risks and difficulties. Since I 840, therefore, the British Government had ceased to maintain an accredited agent at the Court of Ava. On September 27 , I 8 5 I ,

British merchants at Rangoon made their complaints to the willing ears of Lord Dalhousie. The Governor- General sent a naval officer to inquire into the truth of the cornplaints; demanded compensation for the losses of merchants amounting to Lgoo; and asked for the dismissal of the Burmese Governor of Rangoon. I t was a repetition in Asia of the action taken by Lord Palmerston in the preceding year with reference to the losses of a Maltese Jew in Greece. Lord Dalhousie's requisitions were not complied with, and he declared war. Rangoon, Prome, and Pegu were captured, and on December 20, I 8 5 2, Lord Dalhousie closed the war by a proclarnntion annexing Lower Burma to the British territories.

The history of the annexation of Indian States on failure of heirs, during the administration of Lord Dal- housie, is even more singular than the history of his conquests. The ancient laws of India provided that, on the failure of natural issue, a Hindu might adopt an . ~~

heir to inherit his property; and there was no distinction in the eye of the law between e natural heir and an adopted son. During the five centuries ~f Mahomedan rule in Northern India, Mahomedan kings and emperors had never questioned the Hindu law of adoption. On the demise of a Hindu chief, his son, natural or adopted, took out a new Sunud from the ruling emperor, and stepped into his place. On the other hand, emperors bent on conquest annexed principalities without scruple, whether the chief was living or dead, whether his son was born of his loins or adopted. Under the British rule the practice of obtaining the sanction of the Govern-


merit, when a Hindu chief adopted a son, was introduced. ~~d when once this custom was recognised, the keen eye of the East India Company saw the possibility of extending their territories by refusing the sanction. ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ d i ~ g l y , the Court of Directors declared in I 834, that the indulgence of sanctioning the adoption of an heir should be the exception, not the rule. And the Government of India determined in I 84 r " to per- severe in the one clear and direct course of abandoning no just and honourable accession of territory or revenue." I t was reserved for Lord Dalhousie to carry out this < c just and honourable " principle into practice. With the exception of one or two very insignificant States,

annexed under circ*mstances of a special nature, the policy had never been carried into practice before Dalhousie's time.

The first victim of this new policy was the House of Satara. The Rajah of Satara represented the family of the great Sivaji, the founder of the Mahratta power. The principality had been constituted by the Marquis of Hastings in I 8 18, when he annexed the Mahratta kingdom of the last Peshwa in the Doccan. A genera- tion had passed since; and the last Raja of Satara had adopted a son, as he was entitled to do by the laws of his country and his race. On the death of the Raja in 1848, the Governor of Bombay, Sir George Clerk, recom~nended that the heir should be allowed to succeed to the State of Satara. His councillors opposed him ; his successor differed from him; and Lord Ualhousie pursued the ungenerous course of annexing the State.

The matter came up to the Court of Directors. The veteran Director, Henry St. George Tucker, whose name has appeared in the last chapter and will appear again

in these pages, opposed the annexation. The issue, however, was never doubtful for a moment; by a large majority of votes the Court sanctioned the annexation.

The State of Karauli came up next for consideration.

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The Raja of Karauli died in the same year as the Raja of Satara, and, like him, had adopted an heir before his death. Lord Dalhousie could see no difference between Satara and Karauli, and held that Karauli also had "lapsed" to the British Government. The Court of Directors, however, decided that Karauli was a " pro- tected ally," and not a ('dependent principality," and the State was therefore not to be annexed. The grounds on which the Court of Directors differed from Lord Dal- housie are set forth in their letter of January 26, I 8 5 3.

"Colonel Low gave his opinion in favour of recog- nising the adoption and Sir Frederick Currie supported the proposal. The Governor-General, with whom Mr. Lowis expressed his concurrence, inclined rather to de- claring the State a lapse to the British Government.

I' The Governor-General has given a fair and impartial statement of the arguments on both sides of this important question. After having given the fullest consideration to the circ*mstances of the case, we have come to the decision that the succession of Bharat Pal to the Raj of Karauli, as the adopted son of Narsingh Pal, should be sanctioned.

l1 I n coming to this conclusion we do not intend to depart from the principle laid down in our despatch of the 24th January 1849, relative to the case of Satara. . . . But it appears to us that there is a marked distinc- tion in fact, between the cases of Satara and Karauli, which is not sufficiently adverted to in the minute of the Governor-General. The Satara State was one of recent origin, derived altogether from the creation and gift of the British Government, whilst Karauli is one of the oldest of the Rajput States, which has been under the rule of its princes from a period long anterior to the British power in India."'

This letter of the Directors discloses the reasons of the Company's moderation. Satara was an insignificant

Karauli Biue BOOK, 185;, pp. 3 and 4.


Mahratta State, and its annexation involved no poIiticaI

risk. Karauli was a Rajput State, and its annexation \ might alarm the whoIe of Rajpatana. The Indian Re-

form ~ ~ ~ o c i a t i o n , led by Mr. Dickinson, a true and dis- interested friend of India, drew public attention to the impolicy of annexing Karauli. A motion by Mr. Blackett was threatened in the House of Commons; and the Government of the day avoided the scandal, and bade the Governor-General hold his hand.

The large State of Sambalpur in the Central Pro- vinces was then annexed, as the Raja had died childless without adopting an heir. But a far more important and a historic case soon came up for consideration. The Raja of Jhansi, Gangadhar Rao, died in November r 853, after adopting a son who assumed the name of Damodar Gan- gadhar Rao. The dying Raja announced the adoption to the two British officers stationed at Jhansi, the political agent and the commander of a contingent of troops. He delivered to them letters to the proper authorities, and commended his widow and adopted son to the British Government. Lord Dalhousie held that " the adoption was good for the conveyance of private rights, though not for the transfer of the Principality," and he annexed the State.

The State of Jhansi had rendered signal services to the British power in its earlier days. The Raja of

. Jhansi had saved Kalpi in I 82 5, and had been com- mended in the highest terms of praise and gratitude

by Lord William Bentinck at the Darbar of I 8 3 2. He had appended to his titles the addition of E1idruee Bad- shah, Janujah Englistan, " Devoted servant of the glorious King of England."

After the annexation, the widow Rani made an appeal to the British Government, alluding to the loyalty of her house ; and Major Malcolm, the political agent at Jhansi, "Pported her statement. "The Bai does not, I believe, 'O the slightest degree overestimate the fidelity and

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loyalty all along evinced by the State of Jhansi towards our Government under circ*mstances of considerable temptation, before our power had arrived at that com- manding position which it has since attained." And the widow heyself was described by Major Malcolm as " a lady of very high character, and much respected by every one at Jhansi."' But Lord Dalhousie was not moved from his fixed resolve either by the past history of the State or by the position and character of its present Rani.

The annexation oonverted the friendly and faithful State of Jhansi into a bitter enemy ; and it converted a lady of high character into a merciless and vindictive wornan. For tho Rani of Jhausi fomented, helped, and joined the great mutiny of 18 5 7 ; she permitted at Jhansi one of the worst of the Mutiny massacres; she fought in male attire against the British troops; and she fell sword in hand, the bravest fighter of her race. The Rani of Jhansi might have lived to be an able and bene- volent arlministrator of her little State, like so inany Hindu women who have figured in modern Indian his- tory. But a more tragic fate was reserved for her ; and she is remembered as the Joan of Arc of modcrn Indian romance.

Smaller States wcrc annexed one after another; but the last and greatest annexation under the Doctrine of Lapse was the kingdom of Nagpur. Raghoji Bhonsla, Raja of Nagpur, died on December I I , I 8 5 3. One of his widows adopted a young kinsman, known under the title of Appa Sahib, and the adoption was valid under the Hindu law. Tlle Political Resident, Mr. Mansel, adhered to the stand- ing instructions of his office ; he neithel* forbade nor gave special encouragement to the proceeding; but he re- commended that the adoption should be recognised. On

The extensive and valuable cotton-producing country ,,f Berar was taken over under a different plea. The subsidiary Force kept up at the expense of the Nizam of ~ ~ d ~ r a b a d had been excessive, and A7 5 0,000 were due from him as arrears. The Governor-General intimated that he would accept Berar, as well as the rich tract between the Krishna and the Tumbhadra, in payment of the debt, and as security for future charges for contingent force. When the draft treaty was presented to the Nizam he remonstrated in vain. He asked if an alliance which had lasted for sixty years would have such an ending, and he pleaded that to take away from him a third of his dominions would be to humiliate him in the eyes of his subjects. His expostulations were in vain; he signed the treaty, and died soon after?

One more act of Lord Dalhousie remains to be narrated-the annexation of the kingdom of Oudh. The misgovernment of Oudh was the rehson of this annexa- tion, and no one who reads the official literature on the subject, and weighs the evidence of unimpeachable and even sympathetic witnesses like Sleeman and Outram, will question the misrule and disorder of Oudh. Yet this misgovernment could have been remedied. General Sir William Sleeman, Resident of Lucknow from I 840 to 1854, pressed upon the Government of India his scheme for reforming the administration of Oudh, and he staked his high reputation on the success of his measure. But annexation, not reform, was Lord Dal- housie's idea ; and he declared in one of his Consultative Minutes on the subject, that if the British Government undertook the responsibility, the labour, and risk of reforming a Native State, it, ought to be allowed to appropriate the surplus r e ~ e n u e . ~ I t was this rage for - -

January 8, 1 8 54, Lord balhousie recorded his minutej All subsequent proposals for the restoration of Berar to the Nizam, annexing the large and populous kingdom. On Payment of all debts due, proved fruitless. And quite recently Berar

been permanently leased to the Indian Government. The Nizam was soon after made a G.C.B., which the wags of Hyderabad construe in three

Jhansi Blue Book, pp. 24 and 28. : Gave Curzon Berar. First Negpur Blue Book, p. 56. a Oudh Papers (1856).

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annexation which kept Lord Dalhousie from adopting prompt remedies in many cases until the evil had grown, and until he could swoop down on the offending State and include it in the Company's territory.

Lord Dalhousie placed three schemes with regard to Oudh before the Directors. He proposed that the King of Oudh should make over the province to the British Governrrlent for a limited period; or that he might be maintained in his royal state while the administration would be vested for ever in the Company; or that the State should be fully and formally annexed to the British dominions. A ruler like Bentinck would have adopted the first scheme; Lord Dalhousie himself advocated the second; the Court of Directors decided on the third. In their despatch of November 2 I , I 8 5 5 , which has been characterised as " a specimen of the art of writing im- portant instructions so as to avoid responsibility," the Directors issued their orders for the annexation of Oudh. And they further wished that Lord Dalhousie himself should carry out the orders before laying down his office in India. Lord Dalhousie's health had broken down after eight years' continuous work in India. He was prematurely old at forty-three, was suffering from illness, and could scarcely walk. Nevertheless, he had promised to carry out the decision of the Court of Directors, and he redeemed his promise. The province of Oudh was annexed to the British territories by Proclamation on February 13, 1856. On that last day of the sarne rnonth Lord Dalhousie resigned his office as Governor- General of India. " I t is well," he said to his physician, " that there are only twenty-nine days in this 'month ; I could not have held out two days more.''

We have in the preceding pages briefly narrated the history of Lord Dalhousie's conquests and annexations. During his administration of eight years he annexed eight large kingdoms or states, and the reasons assigned for these annexations were various. The Punjab was


because there was a rising in the country, such ,, the British Government itself had undertaken to quell in their treaty with the minor sovereign. Lower Burma was annexed on the complaints of British merchants trading in that country. Berar was taken over because the Nizam could not pay his debts. The kingdom of oudh was annexed because of its misgovernment. Sam- balpur was annexed because the last Raja left no heirs; and Satara, Jhansi, and Nagpur were annexed because Lord Dalhousie declined to recognise the heirs adopted hv the rulers of those States. - J -

Into the bitter controversies, of which these measures have formed the subject, it is not our purpose to enter. No impartial historian has defended Lord Dalhousie's policy and action on the ground of justice. One of the most thoughtful writers of the Victorian Age condones the crimes of Dalhousie by comparing them with the crimes of Frederick the Great of Prussia.' But this comparison is not altogether appropriate. Frederick's wars were against equal foes, and his crimes were almost redeemed by his high purpose to give his own country a place amongst the great nations of Europe. Dalhousie struck those who could not long resist ; and he descended to an untrue interpretation of an ancient law in order to add to the already vast empire and revenues of the East India Company.

Lord Dalhousie was the last of the old Imperialist school of rulers who believed that the salvation and progress of the Indian people were possible only by the destruction of their autonomy and self-government. Brief as were his years after he retired from India, he lived to see the opinion of that school discredited, the East India Company abolished, and the Doctrine of Lapse

" Lord Dalhousie, in particular, stands out in history as a ruler of the of Frederick the Great, and did deeds which are almost as difficult

to justify as the seizure of Silesia or the partition of Poland. But these acts, if crimes, are crimes of the same order as those of Frederick, crimes Of ambition."-Seeley's h'xpuruion of Englard.

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disavowed by his Sovereign and Queen. A more generous confidence in the progress of the people of India by their own endeavours marked the early years of the Queen's direct rule. Within those years a Conservative Secre- tary of State, Sir Stafford Northcote, resolved to re- store Mysore to Native rule; and another Conservative Secretary of State, Lord Salisb~~ry, refused to annex Baroda on the ground of its lslisgovernrnent and crime. The restor:ition of Mysore to the old family, and the selection of a new and worthy ruler for Baroda, are amongst the wisest, as they are the most generous, political acts of British Ministers in re1:ttion to India. And no part of India is better governed to-day t h a n these States, ruled by their own Princes.


' r H ~ British Province of Bengal, founded by Lord Clive, rapidly extended under the rule of Warren Hastings

and the Marquis of Wellesley. Benares and some adjoining districts were annexed by Warren Hastings in 1775, on the death of the Nawab of Oudh, by a treaty concluded with his successor. Allahabad and some neighbouring districts were ceded by the Nawab of Oudh in I 80 I , under pressure from Lord Wellesley, and were called the Ceded Provinces. Delhi and Agra and the basin of the Ganges were conquered from the Mahrattas in 1803, also during the administration of Lord Wellesley, and were called the Conquered Provinces.

In Benares, the State-demand from the soil was permanently fixed in I 795. A pledge of a similar Permanent Settlement was given to the land-holders of the Ceded and Conquered Provinces in I 803 and I 805, but the pledge was never redeemed. For in I 808 the Special Comlnissioners, R. W. Cox and Henry St. George Tucker, opposed the immediate conclusion of a Permanent Settlement in these Provinces.' And after a long con-

' Henry St. George Tucker, whose name has been mentioned in the Preceding chapters, was a strong advocate of a Permanent Settlement of the land revenues of India. In 1808 he had recommended a delay in the conclusion of such a settlement, not its abandonment. " 1 was appointed '" 1807," he wrote, many years after, to carry into execution a measure which successive administrators had considered to be essent,ial to the Prosperity of the country. Although concvirring most unreservedly in the opinion that it was wise and salutary, and that it contained a vital Principle which must in the end work out all the good anticipated, I ventured to counsel delay upon the ground that we were not a t the moment in a state of preparation to consummate so great an undertaking; but it never occurred to my mind that the principle of the measure was to be abandoned, or that the landholders who had received from us the


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troversy the Court of Directors finally declared them- selves, in I 8 2 I , against the conclusion of a Permanent Settlement in Northern India. Regulation VII. of I 8 2 2

was then passed, which declared that the State was entitled to 83 per cent. of the gross rental of estates, and permitted the Settlement to be revised from time to time.

To Lord William Bentinck belongs the credit of reducing this excessive assessment, and of introducing long-term Settlements. He held a Conference at Alla- habad in 1833, and the result was the passing of Regulation IX. of I 8 3 3, the basis of Land Settlements in Northern India. The State-demand was reduced to 66 per cent. of the rental, and Settlements were made for thirty years.

The great task was entrusted to Robert Merttins Bird, who performed it in the humane spirit in which Lord William Bentinck's policy was conceived. The procedure which he followed was described by himself many years after, when he was examined as a witness before a Select Committee of the House of Commons. The first process was to make a rough summary of all the land within a fiscal area. The second was to make a map including every field. The third was to make a professional survey showing the cultivated and the uncultivated land. The fourth process was to fix the Land Tax for the entire fiscal area. And the fifth and final measure was to apportion the entire amount among the villages con- tained within the area.

I t may easily be imagined that the last two processes, the fixing of the Land Tax for a Pergana or fiscal division, and its apportionment among the villages included in the division, were watched by the agriculturists with the

most solemn pledge given in the most authentic form, were to be deprived of the promised benefit, and that in the end they were to be cast aside as an encumbrance on the earth. That pledge can never be effaced, although it remains unfulfilled. "-Kaye's Life and Correspondence of Hewy St. George Tucker, p. 221


keenest anxiety. And indeed the weak point of the system was the assessment. For although 66 per cent. of

the was made the rule, the rental itself was ascer- tained by guess-work, especially in lands held by Village ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ i t i e ~ . " We then proceeded," said Merttins ~ i ~ d , to investigate the assessment of the Government Land Tax upon that tract, finding out, as best we could from the ~revious payments, and from the statemerlts of the people themselves, from the nature of the crop and the nature of the soil, and such various means as experience furnished to us, what might be considered a fair demand for the Government to lay upon it." l

This method left the widest latitude to the Settle- ment Officer, and the greatest uncertainty in the liabilities of the agriculturist. No two Settlement Officers could form the same judgment on data which were so vague; and the assessment made at one Settlement was departed from, and generally enhanced, at the next Settlement. Agricultural prosperity was impossible when the tax on agriculture was so variable; and the accumulation of wealth, which the advocates of a Permanent Settlement had contemplated, was equally impossible, when the first signs of wealth and prosperity naturally suggested a more rigorous assessment at the succeeding Settlement.

In spite of this defect, however, the Settlement com- menced in I 8 3 3 was made in a humane spirit, and gave great relief to the peasantry of Northern India, harassed by severe assessments and short settlements during the first thirty years of British rule. Merttins Bird laboured for nine years, and, on the eve of leaving India in I 842, submitted a full and exhaustive report on the results of the Settlement which was then coming to a close.

The idea of a Permanent Settlement had been aban- doned. But nevertheless Bird intended and desired that the Settlement he had made should be considered Permanent in the districts where most of the cultivable

' Fourth Report of the Select Committee, 1853, p. 30.

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lands had already been brought under the plough. We glean the following facts from his lucid report.

Portions of this division, irrigated by canals, were well peopled and prosperous. They had been over- assessed in some instances, but the pressure was now removed, and the Government Revenue now assessed was fair. The remaining portion which was not irrigated afforded only a precarious return to the husbandman.

''I consider, therefore, that no increase of resources can be expected from the Delhi territory on a revision of Settlement, unless Government should hereafter open a canal."

The average price of wheat was 73 lbs, for 2s.

Saharanpur District.-" This district had been partially very much over-assessed, and the measures employed for collecting the revenue had been equally harsh and illegal ; some of the communities composed of the most industrious classes had been cruelly depressed. Every effort was made to effect an equalisation of the demand, and with considerable success; but a considerable inequality still remains." An increase in the Government Revenue might be made in some villages of this district after the expiry of the Settlement, but, " one-fifth of the culturable land should always be left untaxed to allow for raising artificial grasses or other fodder for cattle, and to allow for fallows and chances of dereliction." A moderate increase in the Government Revenue might be expected on the completion of the irrigation canal from Hurdwar to Allahabad.

The average price of wheat was 80 Ibs. for 2s. Mwafirnagar District.-Some increase in the revenue

might be expected at the next Settlement where low rates


were paid, but, "no Mauza [village] having brought one-ha]f of its cuIturable area into the state known in the district by the term Meesum, and paying at the standard fixed for that rate, should be subjected to any enhanced demand."

The average price of wheat was 7 5 lbs. for 2s. ~ulandshahar District.-Backward, and assessment

low. Increase in the Government Revenue might be expected on the completion of the irrigation canal, and also from increased cultivation and the raising of rates.

The average price of wheat was 66 lbs. for 2s. Meerut District.-A very fine district. Increase in

the Government demand might be expected at the next Settlement from increased cultivation, "but none could be looked for from enhancement of rates, except what may be obtained by the introduction of canal irri- gation."

The average price of wheat was 66 lbs. for 2s. Aligarh District.--A prosperous and well-cultivated

district. Future increase of land revenue could be ex- pected only in six Perganas named, not in others except by the introduction of canal irrigation. The Village Communities of this district had received large advances from the indigo planters, Morton and MacClintock, as well as from native bankers ; and much trouble, and the sale of lands assigned for the debts, ensued.

The average price of wheat was 78 lbs. for 2s.

Agra District.--Fully cultivated and assessed. '' No increase of revenue can at any time be expected from this district, and the Jumma [assessment] should be declared Permanent at its present amount. The only hope of any improvement in the products, or methods of cultivation, Or increase of irrigation, must be founded on the ayi -

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culturists possessirig an assurance that they will reap the whole return of their pains and cost."'

Muttra District.--Also fully cultivated. " The revenue at its present rate should be confirmed in perpetuity. There is no prospect of any further improvement unless the people be assured of reaping all the advantage of it."

Parrackahad District.-Some parts were fully cul- tivated, but others ought to yield an increase of revenue at the next Settlement, both from increase of cultivation and from increase of rates. The introduction of canal irrigation should also lead to an increase.

Mynpoori District.-Some parts fully cultivated and assessed, others not.

Etawa Dist7'ict.-Fully cultivated and assessed. " No future increase is to be expected from it, except from t,he introduction of calla1 irrigation. With this reservation the present assessment ought to be considered perpetnal."

Bijnaur District.-The district had been heavily assessed before, and cruelly treated by previous Revenue Officers. "Forced transfers of property to unwilling purchasers and mortgagees, forced loans extorted from recusant bankers, forced labour required for the cultiva- tion of Mauzas [villages] which from abandonment had fallen into the management of public officers, were among the practices resorted to." These evils were now remedied, and an equitable revenue wes fixed, but an equality in assesslr~ent was not yet obtained.

Muradahad District.-No information had been ob- tained.

Paragraph 87 of Bird's Report. This was the argument used by all the advocates of a Permanent Settlement, from Lord Cornwallis to Lord Wellesley, Hastings, and Minto. I t is significaut that, after the Directors had rejected the idea of a Permanent Settlement in 1821, Robert Bird still insisted on it in 1842, in t,he folly cultivated districts of Northern India, as the only Lope of future agricultural improvemeut.


&reli ~&ts*ict.-This district had been heavily over- assessed before, and portions of it had suffered severely from the famine of I 837. Many of the starving in- habitants had forrned gangs for plunder, and many cultivators had left their homes. The assessment made ,t the present Settlement was node rate.

Budaon District.-The district was in a state of great distress at the time of the Settlement. The Settlement took place "when the disposition to over-assess was far from being allayed," and had therefore to be repeatedly revised. Full relief was not yet given. "No slight benefit will have been gained if Govern~nent and its ser- vants are convinced, as I trust they now are, of the actual loss of money which is certain to follow over-assessment, and resolve to maintain those principles of moderation which have now been brought into actual practical operation for the first time."

Shajehnnpur District.-The district had escaped the misery of over-assessment in past Settlements; was lightly assessed at the present Settlement, and was in a flourishing state.

Yilibeet District.-Half the district had been much over-assessed previously, but now obtained ample relief. The other half had been settled with Raja Gurnam Singh. The climate of the district was very unhealthy.

The average price of wheat was 57 lbs. for 2s.

Cawnpur District.-Had been a good deal over-assessed before, but now obtained relief. Most parts of the district were however fully cultivated and assessed, and except by reason of canal irrigation, "the demand on Cawnpur should be considered as not liable to increase, and fixed in perpetuity."

Acttehpur District.-These remarks applied to Futteh- pur District. " With exception to the increase to be

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gained by the introduction of canal irrigation, this district must be considered settled in perpetuity."

Allahabad District.-Had escaped the calamity of over- assessment in the past. With the exception of the increase due for canal irrigation, " this settlenlent sllould also be considered fixed in perpetuity."

The average price of wheat was 54 lbs. for 2s.

Aximga?nh District.-A fertile, well-irrigated, and well- cultivated district. Some portions were fully assessed and should not be considered liable to future enhance- ment. The remaining portions " may fairly yield an enhancement proportioned to the increase of cultivation at the close of the present term. The rates ought not to be enhanced."

The average price of wheat was 59 lbs. for 2s. Goruckpur District.-A fertile and favourably circum-

stanced district and expected to yield an increase in the Government demand in the future, both from increased cultivation and from increased rate of assessment.

The average price of wheat was 62 lbs. for 2s. The nett results of Bird's Settlement are shown in

the following figures compiled from tables appended to his report. Ten rupees are taken as equivalent to r9

pound sterling.




Delhi i Meerut




.. .. ---

Delhi (: clrnaon Hissar

Saharanpnr Mnzaffarnagar IvIeerut Balandshallar Aligarh

Bijtlaur Mu radabad Bu~laon Pilibeet Barrli Shajehanpur

Muttra Agra Parakkabad Mynpuri Etawa

Cawnpur F i~ t t ehpur Allahabad

Tutal A ~ c a in A c 1 . e ~ .

3649534 844,666

1,100,437 1,657?975

1,018,705 691,706

1,776,430 1,ozg,og6 1,11g,2 j8

1,0275533 not g ~ v e n 1,450,418 not given 1,116,174 1,3099211

Cllltivsted Area in Acres.


174,605 474,405 6473353 696, I47

606,847 3929377

1,034,016 592,630 900,562

4599 409 not given 752>."=3

nut glverl 639,579 651,549

not given 646,8 I 8 614,253 613,422 477,901

Goruckpur 1 1,9279234 208,3<4 Azimgarh 1 2 : 773,616 I 151,;88 1

When the work, thus nearly completed by Merttins Eird after nine years' labour, came befire the Lieutenant- Governor of the Province, that di~tin~uislled officer mroto a thoughtful minute, dated April I 5, I 84 2. He re- cognised that the settlement had been performed with consideration and judgment, and that increase of revenues had not been the object aimed at. He approved of the introduction of four instalments in the year for the pay- ment of revenue. And he also approved of the demarcation of boundaries and the corrections of accounts. But he doubted if the appointment of a paid watchman in every village would be welcome to villagers, and he curulusnted

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in severe terms on the harsh measure which had been adopted, by over-zealous subordinate officers, to resume rent-free tenures.

l L The Settlement Officer swept up without inquiring every patch of unregistered rent-free land, even those under ten Bighas [three acres] exempted by a subsequent order, which did not come out before five-sixths of the tenures had been resumed. In one district, that of Farakkabnd, the obligations of a treaty and the direct orders of Government were but lightly dealt with ; and in all, a total disregard was evinced for the acts even of such men as Warren Hastings and Lord Lake." '

Still more emphatic was the Lieutenant-Governor's condemnation of the manner in which the rights of hereditary landlords had been interfered with. The following is one of the instances cited.

" The Raja of Mynpuri, whose predecessor had received the highest acknowledgments from the British Govern- ment for his unshaken loyalty, when the district was overrun by Holkar's army in the year I 804, was, without a reference to Government, under the construction put on the right of a Talukdar, deprived entirely, he and his successors in perpetuity, of all power of interference in I I 6 of the I 5 8 villages included in his Taluka xhich had descended to him in regular succession before the intro- duction of the British rule."

The Lieutenant-Governor also regarded with disfavour a constant interference in the affairs of each village. " To keep up a record of the circ*mstances of every field there must be a constant interference of the Executive in the affairs in every village, or, it may be said, of every villager, which would be irksome to any people, and will, I suspect, prove intolerable to the Natives of India." And generally the operations appeared to the Lieutenant- Governor to be '' of a decidedly levelling character, and calculated so to flatten the whole surface of society as

Paragraph 16. a Paragraph 18.


to leave little of distinguishable eminence between the ruling power and the cultivators of the soil. ~t is a fearful experiment, that of trying to govern without the aid of any intermediate agency of indigenous growth ; yet it is, what it appears to me, that our measures, now in progress, have a direct tendency to bring about."

These remarks are of value for all time. The Settle- ment effected by Bird has been praised, and deservedly praised, for the great benefit it conferred on the agricul- tural population of Northern India. I t moderated the assessment which had been excessive and oppressive during the first thirty years of British rule. And it gave the people some rest from continuous harassment by giving them a long term of settlement. At the same time it should be remembered that Bird's declared inten- tion to make the assessment perpetual, where the lands were fully cultivated and assessed, has been disregarded by later administrators ; and his desire to eventually follow the same practice in other districts, as they came more fully under cultivation, has not been f~llfilled. On the contrary, the levelling character of the measures, deplored by T. C. Robertson in I 842, are more noticeable after the lapse of sixty years. The village Patwari, paid by the Government, is the master of the situation in North India to-day ; and to him is entrusted the power which should legitimately belong to the representatives of the people-the Village Landlord or the Village Com- munity. To flatten the whole surface of society as eventually to leave little of distinguishable eminence between the ruling power and the cultivators of the soil," is not a policy of wisdom in India.

The generous and kind-hearted James Thomason succeeded Robertson as Lieutenant-Governor in Northern India in I 843, and ruled that province for ten years. Under him were trained up a number of able adminis- trators, like John Lawrence and Robert Montgomery and

Paragraphs 26, 29, 30,

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Williart~ Muir, who have left their mark on tho history of India, as much by their synilmthy with the peoplc as by their ablc administration. Thomason himself was one of the most distinguished revenue administrators of India ; and while he corrected some of the evils pointed out by his predecessor, he completed the work of Merttins Bird, and closed the great Settlement in I 849. Four years later, on the very day on which an order was signed by the Queen's command to promote Thoma- son to the higher post of Governor of Madras, that great and good man died on September 27, I 85 3. Madras lost an officer whose humane policy was nowhere more needed than in that province.

Thomasou's first important work, after he became Lieutenant-Governor, was his " Directions for Settlement Officers," drawn up in 1844, being the first complete Land Settlement Code compiled in India. I t consisted of 1 9 5 paragraphs, and laid down the principles and procedure on which the Settlement of Northern India was conducted. A few of the provisions are quoted below.

" 5 2. It is desirable that the Government should not demand more than two-thirds of what may be ex- pected to be the nett produce to the proprietor during the period of settlement, leaving to the proprietor one- third as his profits, and to cover expenses of collection. By nett produce is meant the surplus which the estate may yield, after deducting the expenses of cultivation, including the profits of stock and wages of labour ; and this, in an estate held entirely by cultivating proprietors, will be the profit on their Sir cultivation, but in an estate held by a non-cultivating proprietor, and leased out to cultivators or Asamees paying at a known rate, would be the gross rental "

" 1 2 8 . Cultivators at fixed rates have a right to hold certain fields, and. cannot be ejected from them so long as they pay those rates. If they fail to pay tb6


relit legally demandable, the proprietor must sue them summarily for the arrear, and on obtaining a decree in his favour and failing after it to collect his dues, he may apply to the Collector to eject them, and to give him possession of the land."

" I 29. Tenants-at-will have no right beyond the vear of their cultivation." *

I 54. When there are many co-parceners (as in Village Communities), it is usual to select one or rnore from their number, and to arrange that the others s]l~uld pay their revenue through them to tho Govern- ment. All the co-parceners are Malguzars [revenue-

or Putteedars [holders of land in severalty], but the persons admitted to the engagement are the Sadar Malguzars [revenue-payers to the State direct], and are commonly called Lumber-dars."

" I 59. I t remains to point out the way in which the Record of Rights is to be formed. . . . The Record is to be permanent; it is to be, as it were, the Charter of Rights, to which all persons having an interest in the land, or seeking to acquire such interest, are to appeal. I t is to be the common book of reference to all officers of Government in their transactions with the people, to the Collector, to the Magistrate, and, above all, to the Judge."

Indian administrators will recognise in these rules some of the principles which have since been embodied in the Tenancy Acts of the different Provinces of India.

The Settlement of Northern India, finally completed by 1849, at last came before the Court of Directors. And in their important Despatch, dated August 1 3 , 18 5 I , the Directors reviewed that great work. Merttin Bird's assessments had been revised and reduced by the exemption of many rent-free tenures, after that officer had left India; and the figures given in the Directors'

' From the English word number, these men having specific numbers the Collector'e register.

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Despatch differ considerably from those quoted above from Bird's Report.

We quote the following figures from the Despatch of the Court of Directors, taking ten rupees as equivalent to a pound sterling.

I Year. Demands. Collections. I

~istrich. 11 ~is ir ict . I Assessment. Total


The healthy results of the Settlement are seen at a

glance. The period began with a large demand, and a million sterling remained unrealised. The

period ended with a reduced demand, and nearly the whole of it was realised.

Beviewing these facts and figures, the Directors com- plimented the Civil Service of India on the great task

and singled out Robert Merttins Bird " as being eminently entitled to our marked and special approbation."

Merttins Bird and the Civil Service deserved all the praise that was bestowed on them ; but nevertheless the work was only half done. The very foundation stone of the entire structure was unstable ; the fixing of the Land Tax for an entire Pergana or fiscal division was mere guess-work.

But the Land Tax was not only uncertain: it was excessive. Rule 5 2 of Thomason's Directions, quoted before, indicated that the Government denland might reach two-thirds of the nett produce. Relatively, it was a humane rule ; for the British Government had demanded 83 per 1822,and 75 per cent-in 1833. B u t i n reality it was a crushing demand which left the landlords and cultivators of Northern India resourceless. This painful truth was perceived within a few years after the Directors had complacently signed their Dispatch

. of 1851 . The time was approaching for commencing operations

for a new Settlement. The question of the relative shares of the State and the landlords in the nett produce of the

soil came again for anxious consideration. Experience had shown that a tax of 66 per cent., claimed by the

was excessive and impracticable. Thomason's Rule S 2 had proved oppressive, and had prevented land from

valuable property to its owners and tillers. I t Was necessary to revise Thornason's Directions, and new Rules were accordingly issued in I 85 5 , "designed to

L 139,767 218,995 135,741 123,133 81,706 67,068 35,794 80,778 38,020 62,831


-- The figures for some districts like Agra,Muradabad, Alla-

habad, and Gurgaon, show a very considerable increase compared to Bird's figures, possibly because the Settlement was yet incomplete when Bird submitted his Report. Other districts like Saharanpur, Farakkabad, Bijnaur, Pilibeet, Bareli, and Futtehpur show a considerable reduction.

The total land revenue demands and collections in Northern India during the last ten years of the Settle- ment operations are shown in the following figures :-

Futtehpur . . Allahabad . . Aeimgarh . . Juanpur . . . Benares . . . Mirznpur. , . Delht . . . Paniput . . . Hissar . . . Rohtuk . . Gurgaon . , .

Saharanpur . . Muzaffarnagar. . Agra . , . Farakkabad , . Mynpuri . . . Etawa . . . Bijnaur . . . Muradabad . . Pilibeet . . Bareli . , , Shajehanpur . , Cawnpur . ,

£ ' 90,443 67,274

155,401 92,173

138,213 131,103 1 82,755 i

133,463 37,589

100,706 102,707 1 218,154 1

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assist the Collector in points which have becn omitted from or not sufficiently detailed in the Dil-ections to Settlement Officers, or on which different rules from those laid down in that treatise have been subsequently issued by Government." The new rules were issued in connec- tion with the re-settlement of the Saharanpur district, and are therefore generally known as the " Saharanpur Rules."

The most important of the Saharanpur Rules is Rule XXXVI., which reduced the Land Tax from 66 per cent. to 50 per cent. of the nett produce or the nett rental of an estate. The rule is as follows.

('The assets of an estate can seldom be minutely ascertained, but more certain information as to the average nett assets can be obtained now than was formerly the case. This may lead to over-assessment, for there is little cioubt that two-thirds, or 66 per cent., is a larger propor- tion of the real average assets than can ordinarily be paid by proprietors, or communities, in a long course of years. For this reason the Government had determined so far to modify the Rule laid down in paragraph 5 2 of the Directions to Settlement Officers as to limit the de- mand of the estate to 5 0 per cent. of the average nett assets. By this it is not meant that the Jumma [assess- ment] of each estate is to be fixed at one-half of the nett averawe assets, but that in taking these assets with other

? data into consideration, the Collector will bear in mind that about one-half, and not two-thirds as heretofore, of the well-ascertained nett assets should be the Govern- ment demand. The Collector should observe the cautions given in paragraph 47 to 5 I of the treatise quoted, and not waste time in minute and probably fruitless attempts to ascertain exactly the average nett assets of the estates under settlement."

This rule may be said to be the basis of land assess- ments in India in the present day. After half a century af blunders and over-assessments, the British Govern-


decided to limit its claims to one-half the rental or the n~t t produce of the soil ; and this limit was gradually extended to all parts of India where the Land Revenue was not permanently settled. I t was extended to the Central Provinces of India, and to Oudh and the Punjab, after the annexation of those provinces. And it was also formulated by the Secretary of State for India, in his despatch of I 864, for provinces like Madras and Bombay, here the revenue was generally paid by the cultivators direct, and not through intervening li~ndlords.

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THE British frontier in Western India rapidly advanced under the Marquis of Hastings, and the whole of the Deccan came under British rule in I 8 I 7 , after the last Mahratta War. Valuable reports on the newly-acquired territories were submitted, first by Mountstuart Elphin- st,one in I 8 I g, and then by Chaplin in I 8 2 I and I 8 2 2.

And these reports throw much light on the state of agriculture, and the condition of the peasantry, under the Mahratta rule.

The first and most important feature of the Mahratta Government in the Deccan, wrote Elphinstone, was the division of the country into townships or Village Com- munities. " These Communities contain in miniature all the materials of a State within themselves, and are almost sufficient to protect their members if all other govern- ments are withdrawn." ' The Pate1 or head of the Village Community, wrote Captain Robertson of Poona, " was, and is still, a magistrate by the will of the community as well as by the appointment of Government ; he enforces the observance of what in England would be termed the bye- laws of the corporation ; he formerly raised by contribu- tion A sum of money for the expenses of the corporation as such, and for the support of his own dignity as its head ; he suggested improvements for the benefit of the association, and marshalled the members to aid him in maintaining the public peace; he dispensed and still dispenses civil justice as a patriarch to those who choose to submit to his decision as referee or arbitrator; or he

Elphinstone's Report, dated October 25, 1819. 59

presides over t,he proceedings of ol.hers whom either he himself or the partics might nominate as arbitrators of their disputes." '

The next most important feature of society under the Mahratta rule was the cultivation of the land by peasant proprietors, called Mirasdars or hereditary owners of their fields. Elphinstone tells us that " a large portion of the R Y O ~ S are the proprietors of their estates, subject to the payment of a &ell land tax to Government ; that their

is hereditary and saleable ; and they are never dispossessed while they pay their tax." " He is in no way inferior," writes Captain Robertson, "in point of tenure on its original basis, as described in the quotation, to the holder of the most undisputed freehold estate in England." The Mirasi tenure, says Chaplin, '' is very general through- out the whole of that part of the conquered territory which extends frorn the Krishna to the range of Ghats." And Mr. Chsplin adds that " the Collector [of Poona] is very properly an advocate for preserving the rights of Nirasdars, a line of policy which he strenuously recom- mends in several places ; but as nobody, I trust, has ever thought of invading their rights, the discussion of the question at any length would be superfluous."

I t is a lamentable fact that both these ancient institutions, the Village Community and the Mirasi tenure, virtually ceased to exist before the first generation of British administrators had closed their labours in the conquered territories. A fixed resolve to make direct arrangements with every separate cultivator, and to impose upon him a tax to be revised at each recurring settle- ment, necessarily weakened Village Communities and extinguished Mirasi rights. No impartial historian com- pares the Mahratta rule with its interminable wars, with the British rule which has given peace and security to the people. At the same time no impartial historian

Captain Robertson's Report, dated October 10, 1821, Chaplin's Report. dated August 20, ISZ?

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notes without regret the decay of the old self-governing institutions, tbe ext,inction of the old tenant-rights, and the consequerit increase of the bilrdens on the soil, which have been the results of British administration in India. I t is an unwise policy to efface the indigenous self- governing institutions of any country ; and the policy is specially unwise under an alien rule which can never be in touch with the people, except through the natural leaders and representatives of the people. Eighty-five years have elapsed since the British conquest of the Deccan, but the system of rural self-government, which the Village Communities represented, has never been replaced.

Land Settlements were made temporarily in different districts immediately after the conquest of the Deccan; and regular Survey Settlements were commenced by Pringle of the Bombay Civil Service in 1824-28, but ended in failure. His assessment was based on a measure- ment of fields and an estimate of the yield of various soils, and the Government demand was fixed at 5 5 per cent. of the produce. The measurement, however, was faulty; the estimates of produce were erroneous ; the revenue demand was excessive; and the Settlement operations ended in oppression. " Every effort, lawful and unlawful, was made to get the utmost out of the wretched peasantry, who were subjected to torture, in some instances cruel and revolting beyond all description if they would not or could not yield what was demanded, Numbers abandoned their homes and fled into the neighbouring Native States. Large tracts of land were thrown out of cultivation, and in some districts no more than a third of the cultivable area remained in occupation." '

A re-survey was commenced by Goldsmid and Lieutenant Wingate in I 835, and they founded the

1 Boml)ay Admipist~crtion Report of 1872-73, p. ; 3 .


on which land revenue administration in Bombay is based up to tlle present time. This date marlis, there- fore, the commencelnent of the current land system of Bombay, as I 833 marks {,he conlmencement of the

land system of Northern India. And both in Bornbay and in Northern India, Settlements have been made for long periods of thirty years from these dates.

The plan adopted by Goldsrnid and Wingate was very silnple. They classed all soils into nine different classes according to their quality; they fixed the assessment of a district after inquiries into its circ*mstances and

history ; and they distributed the district demand among the villages and fields contained in the district. The owner of each field was then called upon to cultivate his holding on payment of tho Land Tax fixed for his field. IThe assessnlent was fixed by the Superintendent of Survey without any reference to the cultivator ; and when those rates were introduced, the hoIder of each field was summoned to the Collector and informed of the rate at which his land would be assessed in future ; and if he choose to retain it on those terms, he did ; if he did not choose, he threw it up."

I t will be seen that this simple scheme entirely ignored the Village Communities of the Deccan, and extinguished the rights of Mirasi tenants to hold their hereditary lands at fixed rates. British administrators judged it wise to make a settlement directly with every individual tenant ; and they imposed on each field a Land Tax according to their own judgment. The new assessment, too, was more or less guess-work, and was therefore subject to the same uncertainty which vitiated the system of Northern India. It was liable to vary as the Settlement Officer was moderate 0' severe. And moderation shown at one Settlement, dur- ing a time of distress, was liable to be followed by severity at

'Evidence of Goldfinch. Fourth Report of the Commons' Select Oommittee, 1853, p. 141.

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the succeeding Settlement, at the first signs of prosperity. The accumulation of agricult,ural wealth was impossible so long as Settlement Officers retained the power of vary- ing the Land Tax at each recurring settlement according to their own judgment. And any permanent improve- ment in the condition of the peasantry was impossible when the peasantry possessed no security against arbitrary enhancements of the State-demand.

The Sadar Board of Revenue and the Government of India saw this weakness in thc system of the Ryotwari Settlement, which then appeared in its worst form in Madras. Ten years after the death of Sir Thomas Munro, Madras affairs were in the utmost confusion. The land assessment was raised, lowered, and raised again. The evils of uncertainty were added to the evils of over-assessment. The excessive revenue demand could not be met, and was never met. The peasantry was crushed to the ground, and there was widespread agricul- tural distress in the country. I t was against this system that the Saclar Board of Revenue raised its voice.

A copy of the Sarlar Board's letter was forwarded to Bombay. Though mainly directed against Madras, the letter was an attack on the Ryotsvari Systerr~ itself. And as Goldsmid and Wingate were introducing the same system in Bombay, they stood up for the system. In their able letter of October I 7 , I 840, they attributcd the wretched state of Madras to over-taxation, and not to the Ryotwari System itself. And they contended that the Ityotwari System, properly worked, might be as beneficial to the people as the system which was intro- duced in Northern India by Mcrttins Bird. A few ex- tracts from this remarkable letter will throw light on the land systems of Northern Tntlia, Madras, and Bombay, which were still in the process of formation at that period.

" 3. In the North-Westcrn l'rovinces thc Land Tax is assessed upon estates gener:tlly comprising rnany occu-

pancies instead of upon single fields, as here. An estate may be a single village, Or o~~asionally only a part of a villac=e ; an aggregation of villages, or parts of villages; and, instead of being simply the property of one individual, is almost invariably that of many proprietors, who are jointly responsible for the payment of the Land Tax, which is assessed on the estate in the lump. In the Deccan, on the contrary, the existing divisions of land are usually fields of moderate size, capable of being conveniently cultivated by one person; these divisions have been preserved in our Settlement, and the Land Tax fixed independently upon each."

l L g . . . . I t appears to us that a proprietary right in land can only be destroyed by the imposition of an assess- ment so heavy as to absorb the whole of the rent ; for as long as the assessment falls in any degree short of the rent, the portion remaining will give a value to the land, and enable its possessor to let or sell it, which, of necessity, constitutes him a proprietor. Whether or not Sir Thomas Munro disregarded the rights of the real proprietors, and recorded the land simply in the names of the actual occupants, who thus became responsible for the payment of the assessment, we do not think it necessary to inquire ; but we unhesitatingly record that our Settlement recog- nises all existing proprietary rights. and that the proprietor has the fullest liberty to assign his land to under-tenants upon whatever terms he chooses, and which right is everywhere exercised."

" I I . . . . We have adopted for the portion of the Deccan, to which our operations have as yet extended, nine classes of gradations. to one of which every peculiarity of soil has been referred; and these we have reason for believillg to be sufEoiently numerous."

" 1 5 . . . . The present condition of the agricultural classes. the saate of the particular villages, the amount of the Government realisations, the prices of produce, and 8imi1ar considerations, compared with those of preceding

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affording us the chief groundwork for determining satisfactorily what abatement or addition should be made to the existing Jumma."

" 39. The Board conclude their letter with a lengthened and impressive summary of the evils deemed by them inherent in the Ryotwari System, as evidenced by the wretched state of the Madras districts, which they con- trast with the flourishing condition of the North-Western Provinces under the present Settlement, and thence deduce the immeasurable superiority of the village-plan of management; but, in our humble opinion, the im- measurable superiority observed in the North-Western Provinces is the result of the moderation of the Govern- ment demand ; the undeniable inferiority in the Madras management arises from the error committed of imposing exorbitant and illiberal assessments."

" 44. Il'e further believe many most important ele- ments of national prosperity to be secured by the plan of settleirlent now being followed in the Deccan, among which may be enumerated: a moderate and equal assessment, leaving a proportion of the rent with the proprietor or holder; the settlement confirmed for thirty years; security against increase of demand, on any account whatever, during the term of the Settlement; the consequent accrue- ment of all benefits arising from irnprovcments to those who makc them; limitation of joint responsibility to a few cases where fields are held in common, or have been sub- divided by coparceners ; recognition of property in the soil ; perfect freedom of management with regard to rent from sub-tenants, and sale, secured to its owners ; facili- ties for effecting sales or transfers of land afforded, by the apportionment of the assessment on fields or such limited

A more effective method for preventing agricultural wealth and pros- perity could not be devised than by empowering Settlement Officers to vary the assessment according to the " present condition of the agricultural classes, &c " If their condition was prosperous the assessment was enhanced; where, then, was the possibility or the motive for improvement anti the accumulation of wealth ?


portions of land pas would, in the circ*mstances of the proprietors of thia country, be naturally made the subject

of transfers ; collection of the assessment from

land only, and thus permitting the Ryot to contract and extend the sphere of his labours, according to the lneans at his immediate command, a privilege of immense inlportance in a country where the capital of the agriculturist is not only small in itself, but subject to great fluctuation from the effect of variation in the seasons." '

Armed with this and other Reports, John Vibart addressed the Bombay Government, defending the Bombay system against the charges of the Board of Revenl~e. Vibart had no di6culty in showing that in fixing the assessment, the Bombay officers proceeded on precisely the same considerations as the officers of Northern India Indeed the first impression left on the reader's mind on perusal of this correspondence is that if the assessrnent of Bombay was guess-work, the assessment of Northern India was guess-work also; and N~r t~hern India reproving Bombay was like Satan reproving Sin ! But nevertheless there was an essential difference. In Northern India the assessment was made for an entire estate or village, and the owners of the estate or the village collectively could protest with some effect if the guess-work asscssment was wrong. In Bombay, every field was separately assessed, and the humble cultivator of a field had little chance of redress if the Settlement Officer made a wrong guess.

The reader will perceive at once the great diif'erence a Province where old institutions like Village

Cornrnunities and hereditary landlords were maintained, even in a crippled state, and a Province where they were

away or ignored, and an absolute Government " O O ~ face to face with each individual tiller of his field.

I Letter of H. E. Goldsmid and G. Wingate to John Vibart, Revenue Co2missioner of Poona, dated October r 7, r 840.

Vlhart's letter LO the Bombay Coternment, JaLed Februdry 15, 1841.

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I t is ~ust~omary with superficial writers to regard inter- vening landlords in India as incumbrances on the land ; but thollghtful men, who closely studied the social and econornic conditions of India, have recorded a different opinion. They have recognised that, apart from the political gain of having influential bodies of men between an alien Government and an unrepresented nation of cultivators, the opinion and influence of such men, belonging to the country and to the people, leaven the administration, correct its mistakes, resist its arbitrariness, and bring it more in touch with the people. Land revenue administration in Northern India has been more successful, and land assessments have bcen lighter, than in Bombay and in Madras, because there were in- fluential leaders and communities in the first-named pro- vince, who made their wishes felt, influenced the adminis- tration, and moderated taxation. The saddest mistake made in Madras and in Bombay was to ignore or to sweep away Village Co~i~munities, Polygars, Jaigirdars, and other influential bodies belonging to the people, instead of enlisting them in the cause of good administration.

" Joint responsibility for the payment of the revenue and joint village management." said Goldsmid and Wingate in their own justification, "were perhaps uni- versal in the Deccan, but we can find no traces of joint ownership."' I t would have been a gain to British rule, if this "joint village management," through Village Communities, which was universal in the Deccan, had been fostered and preserved. And the high admiration with which every student of history cherishes the memory of a great and good man like Sir George Wingate will not conceal from him the painful truth that, in setting aside Village Communities and making separate settlements with a hilndred thousand cultivators for a hundred thousand fields in each district, Wingate made a fatal mistake. The Madras Board of Revenue

Letter of October 17, 1840, paragraph 37.


protested against this mistake in Madras in I 8 I 8,-in vain. The Sadar Board of Revenue protested once more

this mistake in I 83 8,-in vain. Fifteen years after this, a high administrator, a

Governor of Bombay, was examined as a witness hefore Select Committees of the Lords and Commons. And he had the courage to state that wherever the Ryotwari System had been introduced,-sweeping aside Village communities and intermediate landlords,---the agricul- turists were a nation of paupers. Sir George Clerk's evidence is so clear and cogent, that it is necessary to quote some of his remarks.

&. Which system of managing land is most beneficial to the people at large-by Ryots or by Zemindars ?

A. They have their respective advantages, but the Ryotwari is most detrimental to the country. . . ,

&. Is not the character of the population in our dominion more generally that of the paupers ?

A. Only where the Ryotwari Settlement prevails, I should say ? '

The above evidence was given before the Lords' Com- mittee in I 8 5 2. The same witness explained the evils of the Ryotwari System rnore fully before the Select Com- mittee of the House of Commons in the following year.

Q. Will you state in a few words what the principle of the Ryotwari System is ?

A. 1t is a very minute and detailed assessment of land under individual cultivators, in small allotments, directly by the Government, so that they are, as we found them, still paupers. There is nothing between them and the Government. . . .

Q. Your idea of the Ryotwari Systern is that it does hot work well, either for the Government or for the natives ?

' Report of the Select Committee of thc House of Lords, 1852, p. 152

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A. Certainly not; they have no head landholders over them to acquire capital; they are of a class who never acquire capital in any country; mere cultivators. . . .

Q. What is the system of revenue which prevails in the North-Western Provinces ?

A. There has been, a new Settlement carried out there of leases on long terms to Zeinindars of different calibre, some holding a single village or so, and others being the many heads of a village.

Q. Was that Settlement laid down on the principle rcommended by Mr. Bird ?

A. I believe so, but the principle was not new; it was much older than Mr. Bird's time; it was a very ancient mode of assessment of Land Revenue in India.

Q. Has that worked well, in your opinion ? A. I think it works remarkably well, when in

forming your assessment of revenue with the heads of villages you have not infringed the rights of any Zemindar. . . .

Q. Are the Zemindars in the habit of assisting the Ryots in case of the failure of their crops 1

A. Yes. Q. I n what way do they assist them ? A. They will assist them with funds, or with seed,

corn, or with oxen ; that is the advantage of the Village or the Zemindari Settlement.

Illustrious men like Cobden and Joseph Hume were members of the Select Committee, and it is interesting to read the witness's answers to their special questions.

Mr. Cobden : You have stated that one difficulty attending the Ryotwari System in Bombay arises from the widespread and general corruption of the native population, and that where you lose the services of Europeans, you find it impossible to obtain faithful administrators. How do you reconcile that with the statement you made in the former part of your evidence

a,s to the general morality and truthfulness of the - .

of India 1 A T do not think I made use of the term wide- 2s. - --

spread corruption of the population; I certainly meant nothing of the kind. 1 meant that the under-paid native &gents whom you must use, in consequence of the want of funds to obtain others, are not to be trusted with the disposal of the money remitted from the revenue, or to carry out the Ryotwari System in all its minute parts.

62. If the Inass of the population be truthful and honest, where is the difficulty in finding honest agents among them ?

A. You impose laborious duties upon them, and do not give them adequate salaries to maintain them- selves. . . .

Mr. Hume: You have stated that the present Ryot- wari System leaves the cultivators in a state of beggary, and you have expresscd a doubt how far the Village System could be adopted. Is there any other step which you could recommend as a means of improving the condition of the cultivators of Bombay?

A. I do not think I expressed a doubt as to the Village System. I t is the system I have always advo- cated and ad0pted.l

The Ryotwari Settlement went on in Bombay. T'he rules of the Settlement were finally gathered up in I 847 in what is known as the Joint Report, signed by H. E. Goldsmid, Captain Wingate, and Captain Davidson. This Joint Report of 1847 was the basis of the Bombay Settlement, as Thomason's Directions to Settlement Officers, ~ublished in 1844, wan the basis of the Settle- ment in Northern India.

The principles of the Bombay Settlement, as ex- plained in the Joint Report, were, j rs t ly , that it was

First '853, pp.

Report 194-197.

of the Select Committee of the House

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based on the assessment of each field sepitrately ; secondly, that it granted long leases for thirty years; thirdly, that it abandoned the basis of produce-estimates, and substituted the basis of the value of lands for distribut- ing the assessment.

The cultivator's title to occupation of the fields is in- destructible while he continues to discharge the assessment laid upon them, though his engagement for each be annu- ally renewed ; and by placing the assessment upon each field, instead of on his whole holding, he is enabled, when circ*mstances make the course desirable, to relinquish any of the former, or take up others which may be unoccupied, so as to accommodate the extent of his liabilities to his means. The fixed field assessment for the term of thirty years, introduced by our surveys, thus secures to the cultivator the full advantages of a thirty years' lease without burdening him with any condition beyond that of discharging the assessment for the single year to which his engagement extends. He has thus all the security of tenure which the longest lease could confer, without the attendant liabilities and risk which his limited capital and precarious circum- stances would be quite inadequate to meet."l

For the purpose of est;inlating the value of lands, all lands were classed under nine different classes, as shown in the table on the opposite page.%

Fields being thus classified, it remained to determine the Government demand for a whole district, so that it might be then distributed among the fields and villages contained in the district.

" I t only remains to complete the Settlement to fix the absolute amount of assessment to be levied from the whole [district].

'' The determination of this point is, perhaps, the most important and difficult operation connected with the sur- vey, and requires, beyond all others, the exercise of great

Joint Report, paragraph 9. a Ibid., paragraph 42,

_-___ Soils of the

_ - _ _ . - I __

Relative Value of Class in B n ~ ~ a s or 16tl1s uf ;t


First Order.

Of a Fine I7r1iful.m Tex-

ture, Varying iu Colour from Deep Black to Dark Erown.

Second Order.

Of Uniform but Coarser

Texture than the Preceding,

and Lighter also in Colonr, which is Gene-

rally Red.

Third Order.

Of Coarse Gravelly, or Loose F~ixble Texture, and Colour Vary-

ing from Light Brown to

Grey. -

Depth in C'ul)it..i.

Depth in Cubita. . . .

- .. -- ---

Depth in Cubits.

~udgment and discrimination on the part of the officer on whom it devolves. The first, requisite is to obtain a clear understanding of the nature and effects of our past management of the district, which will be best arrived at by an examination and comparison of the annual revenue settlements of as Inany years as trustworthy data may be procurable for, and from local inquiries of the people during the progress of the survey. . . .

" Furthermore, to assist in tracing the causes to which the prosperity or decline of villages, or tracts containing several villages are to be attributed, independent state- ments of the annual revenue settlements of each village should be prepared. . . .

I 3 . . .

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" And finally, with the view of afl'ording the fiillest information on this important subject, detailed figured statements should be furnished, exhibiting the source and amount of every item of revenue hitherto derived from land of every description, whether Government or alienated, comprised within the limits of the villages for which an assessment is proposed.

'' The information thus collected and exhibited, with that obtained by local inquiries into the past history ot the district, will generally enable us to trace the causes which have affected its past condition ; and a knowledge of these, aided by a comparison of the capabilities of the district with those of others in its neighbourhood, will lead to a satisfactory conclusion regarding the amount of n~sessment to be imposed." l

I t will be perceived at once from these elaborate rules how much was left to the discretion and judgment of the Settlement Officer in determining the district demand from the past history and circ*mstances of the district and its villages. The utmost latitude for moderation was left to a considerate officer, and of severity to an inconsiderate officer. And the fortunes of a hundred thousand tillers depended, not on fixed and customary rates, but on the different judgments of different officcrs. More than this, an assesslrlent bascd on the past history of a district must rlecessarily rise after an era of prosperity ; and any per- manent improvement in the condition of the peasantry was impossible under w system which thus laid an increasing and deadening tax on prosperous agriculture.

This weak point in the method of assessment did not escape the Government of Bombay. The Governor of Bombay, in his Minute of November I 6, I 847, remarked : " I cannot but admit that, at present, we are entirely dependent on the judgment of our Superintendents ; aud so we must remain until our Revenue Commissioners do something more than make their offices the channels of

Joint Report, paragraphs 69, 70, 74, 75, and 76.


c,,,unication between the Superintendents and our- selves." But the Revenue Commissioners themselves were powerless in the matter. The Hon. Mr. Read, Member of the Bombay Council, in his Minute of May 16, I 848, very pertinently remarked : " I concur in the Honourable the president's appreciation of what must be left to the jlldgment of the Superintendents of Survey. Wc must indeed be almost wholly dependent upon them, for I do not think that we can hope for Revenue Commissioners

can do more than exercise a very general supervision over their operations. Few Revenue Commissioners possess the knowledge, and none could devote the time necessary for a minute scrutiny into them."

I t is creditable to Wingate that he exercised his irresponsible powers with moderation, tact, and humanity ; that his guess-work in making assessment was performed with care and assiduity ; and that his Settlement relieved the peasantry of the Deccan from that misrule and op- pression from which they had suffered for twenty years. The name of Sir George Wingate is remembered in Bombay, as the name of Sir Thomas Munro in Madras, and of Robert Merttins Birti in Northern India, not because their work was free from grave faults, but because they succeeded, on the whole, in introducing some order where chaos and disorder had prevailed, and in building up systems which have lasted to our day.

The financial results of land assessments by British administrators in Bombay can be best exhibited by figures. The limits of British territory remained virtually un- changed in this province from the acquisition of the Peshaa's dominions in r 8 r 7-1 8, to the survey and Settlement of Wingate, commenced in I 8 36. And yet the land revenue was increased immediately after the conquest.

111 181 7-1 8 the Land Revenue was . , £868,047 ,, 1818-19 ,, ,, I) . 1,143,041 r,1819-20 ,, ,, 1 3 . 1,078,164 9 9 1820-21 ,, 9 ) 9s . 1,818,314

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In other words, the Land Revenue of the province, including the conquered dominions, was more than doubled within four years from the conquest.

Wingate's settlement, commenced in I 836, was virtu- ally completed by I 87 2 , and showed an increase in the Land Revenue (excluding Poona and a few other places then under a, revised settlement), from /f;1,534,000 to &2,03 2,000, or an increase of 3 2 per cent. Figures for the different districts are given below. '

I Districts.

Thar~a . . . Khandesh . . Ratnagirl . . Ah~natiab,~d . Kxlra . . . hura t . . . Iiruach . . . Pancll Mahals Karachi . . H> tlarabad . Shiharpur . . Dharwar . . Belgaum . . Kishnagiri . , Satara . . . Kanara . . .

Total .

Revenue l'rior to


Revenue 1J11cler the Settlement.

.& 21 1,037 307,869 46,572 907474

188,752 240, I34 112,564

8,155 31,670 779353

1;9,263 156,562 157,026 58,283

158,543 27,788

f;2,032,05 I

Compiled from Bombay Admu~~istration Report, 1872-73, pp. 49 and 50, &I is taken as eql~ivalent t o 10 r11pe.e~.



A ~YOtW(Ll ' i Settlement, i.e., a Settlement of the land with the cultivators of the soil, was made by

Captain Read and Thomas Munro in the districts of Baramahal, when thc East India Company first acquired those districts in 1792, and was gradually extended to other parts of the province of Madras. The first assessments were severe and oppressive. The Sttttb demanded about one-half the estimated produce of the fields, a demand which was more than the whole economic rental of the country. Thomas Munro per- ceived this, and in I 807 proposed to reduce the assess- ment to a third of the produce. The Government of Madras admitted the justice of the proposal, but could not give effect to it, for the Directors of the Company pressed for money. Orders were received from England for an additional annual remittance of a million sterling, accompanied by a threat that the Directors would take the question of reducing the establishments in their own hands in case of disobedience. The Madras peasantry, therefore, obtained no relief.

Between 1808 and 1818 the Madras Board of Revenue urged the wise plan of recognising the Village Communities of the Province. They suggested that Land Revenue Settlements should be concluded with these bodies according to the ancient custom of India. And they proved from experience that Village Settlement had succeeded wherever it was tried, and that Settlement with individual tenants had failed. But representative village Communities had no place in the scheroe of the


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Company's absolute government ; the Dircctors decided to deal with the cultivators individually, without any intermediate bodies. The ancient Village Communities of Madras declined from that date.

Sir Thomas Munro was Governor of Madras from 1820 to 1827, and within this period the Ryot~vari Settleme~lt was introduced into all parts of the Province where a Permanent Settlement of the land revenue had not already been effected with Zemindars. Munro suc- ceeded in reducing the Government assessment to the extent he had recommended before; and his considerate measures and his untiring supervision remedied many evils.

Rut even the reduced demand of Sir Thomas Munro was found to be oppressive. One-third of the produce of the field represented the entire econon~ic rent in many villages and fields. I t was demanded in a fixed sum in money, irrespective of the annual yield or the prevailing prices. And it was realised, not through village elders and village corporations, but through the low-paid agents of the State, who added to the miseries of the cultivators by their cruelty and thcir corruption. And when Sir 'l'homas Munro, who had organised everything and super- vised everything, was removed from the scene by the hand of death, the difficulties of the system were felt more severely than ever. For thirty years the Province of Madras became a scene of oppression and agricultural distress unparalleled even in India in that age.

The Revenue Collectors themselves witnessed the uni- versal misery by which they were surrounded, and some extracts from their Reports1 will illustrate the condition of the people.

Cuddapa District.-The Collector wrote to the Roard of Revenue in I 8 2 8 : " The Ryots are more in the hands of the merchants than perhaps you are prepared to hear.

Quoted from S. S. Raghava-Iyangar's Memorandum of the Progrc~s of the Madras P ~ e a i d e n c y (1893)~ pp. 27-32.

. . ' The are too poor to more than keep up tkleir cultivation with Takavi [Government advances], when they have met with no extraordinary losses. When they have met with such losses from the death of cattle

other cause, it is impossible to repair them without '

assjstance from Takavi." fil1a.l-y 2)istrict.-The Collector reported in I 84 5 :

81 The universal cornplaint and request of the Ryots is to be allowed to reduce their farms, a convincing proof that cultivation is not profitable. Ryots, formerly substantial, aIld capable of laying out their capital on the lands, and liquidating their Sircar [State] demand, reserving their produce until they could get a favourable price, are now sunk in debt bearing heavy interest, entirely subject to their creditors; and were it not for the aid of the Col- lector through his revenue subordinates, one-half, or at least one-third, of the highly assessed lands would ere this have been thlsown up. Husbandry is not carried on efficiently, and consecluently the land seldom returns what it ought and is capable of. The number of Patta [lease] holders has increased, but they are a poor class who seek a maintenance only in husbandry with less spirit and by no means to be compnred with the sub- stantial farnlers who have fallen into difficulties and disappeared from the rent-roll of the district. With regard to food and raiment, the majority of the111 are poorly clad and ill-fed. and it is impossible to arrive s t :iny other conclusio~ than that poverty is the cause."

8fijarn?~ndry, afterwards called Godavari Bistrict, ap- peared, from the report of Sir Henry Montgomery in 1844, to have been on the verge of ruin. There were famines in I 830 and I 8 3 I ; the seasons were unfavour- able in 1835) 1836, and 1837, and calamitous in 1838, 1839, and I 840. The population, which was 6g5,o I 6 in 1830, had decreased to 533,836 in 1840.

Gantur and il!asnlipataw~. - 'rhe famine of r 8 3 3, known as the Gantur famine, was the severest on record

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in these parts. Capt,ain Walter Campbell, who was :m eye-witness, stated: " The description in Th,e Siege of Corinth of dogs gnawing human skulls is mild as com- pared with the scene of horror we are daily forced to witness in our morning and evening rides. . . . I t is dreadful to see what revolting food human beings may be driven to partake of. Dead dogs and horses are greedily devoured by these starving wretches; and the other day, an unfortunate donkey having strayed from the fort, they fell upon him like a pack of wolves, tore him limb from lirnb, and devoured him on the spot." In the Gailtur portion of the Krishna district from one- third to half of the whole population perished. An epidemic broke out in the following year, and " a rnan in perfect health was hardly to be seen anywhere."

Nellorc District.-The Ryots had become impoverished by the low prices of grain which ruled. The total culti- vated area had risen from 244,3 19 acres in I 801 to 389,802 acres in I 8 50. But garden lands had ceased to be cultivated through the pressure of the assessment, owing to a fall in the prices.

North Arcot.-The Collector reported : " The Ryots are in worse condition than they were at the beginning of the century. However this rrlay be, their present condition is indubitably bad, and must be improved. The great body of them are certainly poor ; their food is deficient in quantity as well as coarse ; and their clothing is scanty and poor ; and their dwellings extremely mean ; all this combined with gross ignorance."

South Arcot.-The Collector reported an increase in the population and in the wages of labour, and found some indications of improvement in carriages, cloths, and houses. But agriculture was in a backward condition owing to heavy and unequal assessment, and two-thirds of the cultivable lands were waste.

Tanjore District did not suffer to the same extent as other districts from a<;ricultural depression owing to


impovernents in irrigation works and in colnmunica- Lions.

Coimbatur District.-The Collector wrote in I 840, that of the ten preceding seasons nine had been bad ones, and the land revenue had fallen in conscquence. The trade in coarse piece-goods exported to Eornbay had illlproved, but tra~le in fine goods had been annihilated by English

Prices of grains had increased owing to a succession of bad seasons.

Salem, Madura and Tinnevelly Districts.-The exports of cotton goods manufactured in Coimbatur, Salem, Madura,

Tinnevelly had considerably increased. The price of labour had not risen with the increase of cultivntion. The Collector remarked that cheap prices had increased the consumption of luxuries.

Gcne~al Condition of the Madras Ryot.-From these accounts of the condition of the diEerent districts we turn to a description of the Madras cultivators generally, given by one of the bust-known Madras officials of his day.' Bourdillon had served as Clollector in North Arcot and else- where ; had acquired a thorough and intimate knowledge of the people among whorn he had lived; and had been chosen with Sir Arthur Cott,on and other distinguished men to form the Public Works Co~rlrnission which sub- mitted their valuable report in I 8 5 2. His account of the Madras .Ryot recorded in I 8 5 3 is sobcr and thought- ful ; it exaggerated nothing ; but it indicated with painful details the chronic poverty of the cultivators.

A very small proportion of the cultivators who were favourably assessed or held revenue-free lands, or possessed other exceptional advantages, were well to do, and, with an income of 30 to 40 shillings a month, were accounted to be very well off. An income of £3 to £ 5 a month was very rare even among these classes.

The large majority of the cultivators, however, were always in poverty and generally in debt. " A Ryot of this

' Description of the Madras Ryot by Mr. Bourdillon in 1853.

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class of course lives from hand to mouth ; he rarely sees rnoney except that obtained from the Chetty [money- lender] to pay his kist [instalment of Government revenue] ; the exchanges in the out villages are very few, and they are usually conducted by barter. His ploughing cattle are wretched animals not worth more than 34 to 6 rupces each [7 to I 2 shillings], and those perhaps not his own, because not paid for. IIis rude and feeble plough costs, when new, no Inore than 2 or 3 shillings ; and all the rest of his few agricultural implements are equally primitive and inefficient. His dwelling is a hut of mud walls and thatched roofs, far ruder, smaller, and more dilapidated than those of the better classes of Ryots above spoken of ; and still more destitute, if possiblc, of anything that can be called furniture. His food and that of his family is partly their porridge made of the meal of grain boiled in water, and partly boiled rice with a little condi- ment ; and generally the only vessels for cooking and eating from are of the coarsest earthenware, much inferior in grain to LE good tile or brick in England, and unglazed. Brass vessels, though not whollyunlinownamong thisclass,are rare.

" The scale of the Ryots descends to those who possess a small patch of land, cultivated sometimes by the aid of borrowed cattle, but whose chief subsistence is derived from cooly-labour, either cutting firewood and carrying it for sale to a neighbouring town, or in field labour.

" The purely labourinn 9 classes are below these again, worse off, indeed, but wlth no very broad distinction in condition. The earnings of a man employed in agri- cultural labour cannot be quoted at more than 2 0 rupees [40 shillings] a year, including everything; and this is not paid in money but in commodities. . . .

"Taking his earnings at the highest rate, viz., 20 rupees a year, this would be equivalent in real value, using the same standard of colnparison as above, to 10 pounds a year in England.

1 In other words, rupees zo or £2 was supposed to go as far in an ludian village as £10 ill Ensland in 1840.


11 The English field labourer earns on an average not less than £28 a year, including his estrn gains in harvcst time; and thus it appears that the real wages of a field labourer in regular employ, his command of the

and conveniences of life, are in this couritry little more than a third of what they are in England."

We will cite the testimony of one more distinguished officer on the actual working of the Ryotwari System, under which each District Collector was entrusted with the task of realising an i~npossible land revenue from a hundred thousand tenants in his district ! George Canlpbell, afterwards Sir George Campbell, Lielitenant- Governor of Bengal, and then !hIeuiber of Parliament, wrote in I 8 5 2 the following account of the Maclras System :-

" Only imagine one Collector dealing with I 5 0,000 tenants, not one of ~vhom has a lease; but each pays according as he cultivates and gets a crop, and with reference to the nun~ber of his cattle, sheep, and children ; and each of whom gets a reduction if he can mal- .e out a suaciently good case. What a cry of agricultural distress and large families there would be in England or any other country under such a system ! Would any farmer ever admit that his farm had yielded anything, that his cattle had produced, or that his wife had not produced ? If the Collector were one of the prophets and remained in the district to the age of Methuselah, he would not be fit for the duty; and as he is but an ordinary man and a foreigner and continually changed, it would be strange if the native subordinates could not do as they liked, and, having the power, did not abuse it. Accordingly, it is generally agreed that the abuses of the whole system, and specially that of remissions, is something frightful; chicanery and intrigue of all kinds are unbounded ; while the reliance of the Madras Collector on informers by no means rliends the matter." l

Modeni India, by George Campbell, London, 1852.

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These were the early results of a policy which had ignored Village Commu~lities, and had prescribed the collection of an impossible land revenue directly from each petty tenant. I t is painful to add that the use of torture was almost universal in he Province for the pru~rlpt realisation of the assessed revenue from the miserable cultivators. Rumours of this b:~neful practice were heard in England; and in r 854, Mr. Blackett, M.P. for the town of Newcastle, brought on i~ debate upon a Motion fur a Couimission to inquire into the land system of Madras. He described the system as the vilest that could be devised, and asserted that the ex- orbithnt revenue demand could only be realised by torture. The fearless John Bright took n part in the debate, and his eloquent description of the condition of the Madras cultivator, and of the treatment he received, roused indignation in the country.

The Indian Government, slow to move in the path of reform, was forced to take some action after this debate. A Comrnission was appointed to take evidonce ; and an Act was passed to enable the Commission lo proceed with their task. Elliot, a judge of the Madras Small Cause Court, Norton, a Madras barrister, aud Stokes, :L pronounced supporter of the Ryotwari Systcm, were appointed Commissioners. A Coulmission, so con- stituted, submitted a guarded report. They found, that the practice of torture for the realisaiioll of the (iovorn- ment revenue existed in the Province; and they also found that injured parties could not obtain any redress. But they were careful not to cast any imputation on the European Officers of the Government, and they saw nothing to impress them with the belief " that the people at large entertained the idea that their mal- treatment is countenanced or tolerated by the Europetin officers of Government."

'l'he kinds of torture which were most colntnon were:

1 Iteport of the Commi~sion, dated April 16, 1855 par. 70.

keeping a mau in the sun ; preventing his going to meals calls of nature; confinement; preventing his

cattle from going to pasture ; quartering a peon on him ; the use of Xittee Anunn'al, i.e., tying a man down in a bent position; squeezing the crossed fingers; pinches, slaps, blows with fist or whip, running up and down; twisting the ears, making a man sit with brickbats behind his knees; putting a low caste man on his back; striking two defaulters' heads, or tying them by the back hair; placing in the stocks; tying by the hair to a donkey's or n buffalo's tail ; placing a necklace of bones or other degrading or disgustiug materials round the necks ; and occasionally, though rarely, more severe discipline." '

One thing which came out very clearly during this inquiry was that where the land was severely assessed, the cases of torture were frequent. " I n Canara and Malabar," the Comrnission wrote, (( we learn that the Land Tax is generally light, that the people are flourish-

( ing, the assessment easily and even cheerfully paid, the struggle more often being who shall be allowed than who shall be made to pay the Government dues. Land has acquired a saleable value, and allotments of waste are eagerly contended for. Who can be surprised then at hearing one and all the European dwellers in those favoured spots declare that there torture for revenue purposes is comparatively unknown ? " "

And Bourdillon, the Collector of North Arcot, re- corded his opinion that torture for the purposes of revenue "might have ceased entirely by this time, but for the exorbitant demand on the land, and some par- ticular incidents of the revenue system in these Provinces. With a moderate assessment, land would have become a valuable property; and a nian would not only have taken care not to incur the loss of it, but in case of adversity would have in itself the means of satisfying

Report of the Commission, par. 61. 2 Ibid., par. 58.

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the Government demands upon it. Further, had the assessment been moderate, that circ*mstance alone would have powerfully tended to raise the character of the ,people ; for when men begin to possess property, they also acquire self-respect and the linowledge how to make themselves respected, and will no longer submit to personal indignities." '

All the evils of the Ryotwari System, attended with over-assessment of the soil, as it prevailed in Madras, were known to the Indian Government. And protests were made against a system which compared so un- favourably with the system of Northern India. As stated in the last chapter, the Sadar Board of Revenue addressed a strong letter to the Governor-General of India: in which they condemned the Madras System. They pointed out the fraud and oppression practised by every low-paid officer of the State, and deprecated the harassing and inquisitorial searches made into the means of every cultivator. The system, they said, was found in connection with the lowest state of pauperism and dependence. " Every man must be degraded in his own opinion and relegated to a state of perpetual pupilage. The honest manly bearing of one accustomed to rely on his own exertions, can never be his-he can never show forth the erect and dignified independence of a man in- different to the favour or frown of his superior." But neither the censure of the Sadar Board, nor the melancholy reports continually received from District Collectors, induced the Madras Government to reform its wretched land administration. I t is remarkable that while sweep- ing reforms were effected in other Provinces by men like Bird and Wingate, no large acts of reform, no great remedial measures, no statesmanlike policy to improve the condition of the people, emanated from the authorities of Madras. Madras has often been called the Benighted Province of India, and never was this opprobrious term

1 Report o f tile Commission, Appendix C. 2 Let,ter dated March 20, 1838.


more richly deserved than during the first half of the nineteenth century. The light that slowly dawned else- where in India failed to penetrate the thick gloom which hung over the Coromandel Coast ; and in the vast array of official documents which have been handed down to us from those times, we seek in vain for any great ideas of reform, any sweeping measures of improvement, in Madras.

Madras officials still adhered to their system, and, indeed, extended it from time to time, as ~ermanentlv settled estates were sold up for inability &to pay the revenue. The eagerness with which this policy was pursued in the middle of the nineteenth century has been described by an official of the time. "Meet a Ryotcwari Collector in his own house, at his hospital,le board, he will admit that the sale of a great Zemindari which he had just achieved was brought about bv

u U

dexterous management; that the owner had been pur- posely permitted to get into the meshes of the Collector's net beyond his power of extrication ; that the sale could .- - eas~ly have been obviated, nay, perhaps was uncalled for." And instances 'are cited by the same writer which

- - - are painful to read in these davs.l

Thomas Munro, the real author of the Ryotwari System, never anticipated the methods which came into operation under that system. He had said before the

Madras, its Civil Adntinistration, by P. B. Smollett, London, 1858. In Tinnevelly Distlict, the proprietor of the ancient Chocumpati estate came to the Collector to arrange a settlement of the arrear due from his estate ; but he was seized as a disaffected and dangerous character ; was kept in confinement as a political offender without any specific charges being preferred against him ; and his estate was confiscated. In Nellore District the Mahornedan ,Jaigirdar of Udaigiri was similarly confined for life for alleged treason without a trial ; and his estate was also con- fiscated. In Gantor District the great Vassy-Reddy possessions, yielding

revenue of iC;6o,ooo a year, were sold for £500 for arrears which had accrued during the management of the estate by Government Officers as trustees. In Masalipatam District the Nedadavole estates, worth £3000 a Year, were sold for £1200. In Vizagapatam District the ancient Zemin- dari of Golgonda, worth ~ 1 0 0 0 a sear, was sold for £10 And as these and 9 t h estates were sold one by one, the Ryotwari System was introduced in the lands.

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House of Commons in I 8 I 3 : " The principle of the Ryotaari System is to fir an assessment upon the whole land of the country ; the assessment is permanent ; every Ryot who is also a cultivating proprietor of thc land which he holds is permitted to hold that land at a fixed assessment as long as he pleases; he holds it for ever without any additional assessnlent."

But the assessment was fixed too h ~ g h ; and the consequence was that the State-demand had to be lowered, raised, and lowered again, according to the variation of the seasons, and the condition of the people. The history of the Province during thirty years was thus a history of varying assessments-new Hukm-numas, or orders being continuously issued, altering the assess- ments. Fainine or distress led to a reduction; the first signs of prosperity caused a rise! Modern history

scarcely furnishes a parallel to such an arrangement, under which a la,rge, industrious, and civilised popula- tion were rendered incapable of improving their condition or acquiring agricultural wealth, by a system of assess- ments which was kept up to the highest paying capacity of the country from year to year.

The evils of the system were fully exposed during the Parliamentary inquiries of I 8 5 2 and I 8 5 3, pre- ceding a fresh renewal of the East India Company's charter. Madras officials were examined in course of those inquiries, and they spoke in no uncertain voice.

Malcolm Lewen, who had served twenty-five years in India as Collector, Judge, and Member of Council, stated before the Select Committee of the House of Commons : " I t,hink that the system of revenue has a great connec- tion with the morality of the country; I think there are systems of revenue in Madras now which tend very great,ly to sap the morality of the country as well as to inlpoverish it." "The Tahsildars," he added, "who go about to make inquiries, have almost entirely under their control the amount of assessment which is raised


for the Government in all Ryotwari Districts. The is that whenever those people go to a

the first thing the Ryots of a village do is to to buy them over to get a low assessment."

James William R. Dykes, who had been employed jn revenue work in the district of Salem, stated before the House of Comlnons that throi~ghout that Province the evils of the Ryotwari System were ( I ) irregularity in assessments which were increased if the cultivators im- proved their lauds; (2) uncertainty of tenrue, and (3) the obscurity of the revenue rules which were never *lade known to the ignorant cultivator^.^

The Administration of Madras was then forced to adopt a large remedial measure in I 85 5, similar to that which hacl 1)een adopted in Northern India in r 833, and in Bombay in I 83 5. An extensive Survey and Settle- ment were determined upon; and in their well-known order of r 85 5 , the Madras Government anticipated the happiest results from this Settlement.

"An accurate survey and careful settlement of the land revenue will remove the evils. Each inan's pay- ment will be certain ; as a general rule there will be no rerriissions to be intrigued for or purchased; and thus the scope for cringing and bribery on the one part, and of corruption on the other, will be very greatly dimin- ished ; and there is no doubt that, under such n system, a larger revenue may be obtained than at present, with less inconvenience to the people. Not only r i l l the greater ~roportion of the payments now made to the Government Officers be saved to the Ryot, but by an equal distribution of taxation, those who now pay ex- orbi ta~l t l~ will be relieved from such extra exertion, and the burden will be laid on those who now, unfairly, evade it. Nor is this all ; it is morally ccrtain that, with a

' b'irst 1teporL of the Select Committee of the Houac of Uommorln, 1856, p. 286.

Fourth Report, p. 124.

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moderate and fixed assessment the occupation of land will rapidly increase. At present, cultivation is un- doubtedly repressed by the heavy burdens 011 the land direct and indirect ; but when these are lightened, not only will the properly agricultural classes extend their holdings, but numbers of the trading classes will apply their acquisitions to agriculture.

" Further, it is certain that the high assessments and the absence of accurate accounts give occasion to very extensive fraud and the concealment of cultivation. Occasionally instances of this are brought to light on a large scale, so as to prove its existence, and it is well known to all revenue officers that it exists largely, but is concealed through the purchased connivance of the subordinate officials. With reduced assessments, there would be less of this fraudulent evasion, because there would be less inducement to pay for such connivance; and with an accurate survey and clear and simple accounts such fraud would become difficult and dangerous

( I There seems no reason for doubt that, with a vast extent of unoccupied land, with a peaceful and industrious population, scantily fed and scantily employed to the extent of being led to cross the sea in search of employ- ment, though peculiarly averse to leaving home, with roads and other means of communication being every year improved and extended; under all these circum- stances it seems clear that such a reduction of assessment as would makc agriculture profitable would be speedily followed by a vast extension of cultivation. To these expectations are to be added the more partial causes which will make it practicable to enforce the fair claims of the revenue on extensive tracts now evading them; and lastly it must be noticed that the measures proposed must of necessity occupy a very considerable length of time. I t can hardly be espected that the survey and settlement of this extensive Presidency can be accom- plished in less than I 5 or 2 0 years, and thus only one-


fifteenth or one-twentieth of the revenue will have to be dealt with in each year, and there will be full time for the restorative agencies called into existence by the new measures to come into operation. On the whole, con- sidering the present depressed condition of the Presidency, it seems fair to anticipate with confidence, that the

of these measures, instead of a falling off, will be an accession to the revenue, while as respects the payers and the public the good will be enormous ; the revenue will be derived from resources double or treble those upon which it is levied now, and will be paid with corresponding ease and absence of privation."

We have made this long extract, because this document opens a new chapter in the history of Madras land administrations. The results of the Survey and Settlement, recommended in I 85 5, will be narrated in a subaequent chapter.

Order No. 951, dated August 14, 1855.

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A PORTION of the Punjab was annexed to the British dominions by Lord Hardinge in I 846, after the first Sikh War; and the remainder was taken over by Lord Dalhousie after the second Sikh War in I 849. And we have a clear and lucid account of the condition of the Province, under its former Sikh ruler sas well as under British rule, in the First Punjab Administration Report. published in I 8 5 2.

Under the great Ranjit Singh, who had consolidated the Province into a strong and powerful kingdom, men who distinguished themselves by their courage and high capacity were deputed to the remoter districts for the collection of revenue, armed with pretorian and pro- consular power. Among them was General Avitable who held down Peshawar with an iron hand, as also the doughty Hari Singh who kept the fierce and turbulent mountaineers of Hazara in unwilling submission. In the districts nearer to Lahore, Kardars or agents were eniployed to collect the revenue; and their most im- portant proceedings were subject to review by the Lahore Ministry.

Written law there was none; but a rude and simple justice was dealt out. "Private property in land, the relative rights of land-holders and cultivators, the cor- porate capacities of Village Communities, were all re- cognised. Under the direction of the local authorities, private arbitration was extensively resorted to. The most difficult questions of real and personal property were adjudicated by these tribunals. . . . The Maharaja

8 1

constantly made tours through his dominions. He would listen to complainants during his rides, and he would become angered with any Governor in whose province

were nllmerous. At court also, he would individual appeals." l

The taxation was heavy. ('But in some respects the Government gave back with one hand what it had taken with the other. The employ& of the State were nlost numerous; every village sent recruits for the army who again remitted their savings to their homes. Many a highly-taxed village paid half its revenue from its military earnings ; thus money circulated freely."

The Land Tax under Maharaja Ranjit Singh was in theory assumed to be one-half the gross produce, but in practice " may be said to have varied from two-fifths to one-third of the gross produce. The proportion prevailed in all the provinces which the Sikhs had fully conquered, and which were fairly cultivated, and may be said to have been in force in all their Cis-Indus possessions, except the province governed by Dewan Mulraj. Beyond the Indus, owing to the distance from control, the less patient character of the population, the insecurity of property, and the scarcity of population, the revenue system pressed more lightly on the people."

The Land Tax, such as it was, was raised not in money but in kind; and it was therefore proportionate to the produce of the fields in good years as well as in bad years. Under such a system cultivators were not called upon to pay a fixed and immutable sum when their harvest had failed; nor were they required in years of low prices to pay a revenue calculated on the basis of high prices.

The second treaty of I 846, concluded in December of that year, provided that a British Resident should con- trol the civil and military affairs of the Punjab; and

Punjab Administration Report, 1852, paragraph 28, Ibid., parag~aph 31. [bid., paragraph 233.

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Henry Lawrence was appointed the first Resident. There is no brighter name in the Indian annals of this period, renowned for able administrators and brave soldiers, than Henry Lawrence the Pacificator. Born in I 806, he had seen service in the first Burmese War of I 82 5 ; he had controlled Sikh chieftains at Peshawar and helped Pollock's advance into Afghanistan in I 842 ; and he had taken a part in the battle of Subraon which concluded the first Sikh War in February I 846. There was no man in India who knew the Sikhs better or had more influence with them than Henry Lawrence ; and there was none who felt a greater respect for their virtues, or a truer desire to maintain their position, dignity, and independence.

As Resident, Henry Lawrence was practically the ruler of the Punjab; and he secured the assent of the Council of Regency, consisting of eight Sardars, in all his measures of reform. One reform was of doubtful benefit to the people-the substitution of the British system of collect- ing land revenue in money for the old system of payment in kind. The State-demand was nominally reduced ; but the cultivators found no relief under the summary settlements and money assessments made by British officers. In other respects, however, Lawrence was more successful and more in touch with Sikh institutions. A simple code of laws, founded on Sikh customs, was framed by fifty selected heads of villages under the supervision of Sardar Lehna Singh. Oppressive duties and Government monopolies were abolished. Able and efficient officers, selected by Henry Lawrence, carried out his ideas, and controlled the administration in different parts of the Province. And Sardars, Chiefs, land-holders, and the people generally, appreciated his administration, and accepted the rule of the great Pacificator.

Unfortunately, the two men, who had secured peace in the Punjab, left India not long after. Henry Lawrence was compelled by ill-health to leave the country at the close of I 847. And Lord Hardinge made over the reins of


~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ m e n t to Lord Dalhousie early in I 848. The troubles which arose soon after, and which were allowed to grow until they culminated in the second Sikh War, have

been narrated in another chapter. Sir Henry Lawrence, now knighted for his distin-

pished services, hastened back to India on hearing of these disturbances, and stood by Lord Gough in the hard- fought field of Chilinnwala in January I 849. The next battle, at Gujrat, fought in February, broke the power of


the Sikhs; and the question of the ultimate fate of the i Punjab came up for decision. Henry Lawrence was against British annexation ; his brother John Lawrence is said to have been for it.' On March 29, 1849, the Proclamation was issued announcing that the sovereignty of the Punjab had passed over to the Queen of England.

Sir Henry Lawrence had tendered his resignation as noon as he had heard of this decision, partly from his avowed view of the injustice of the annexation, but mainly from the belief that the arrangement that would ensue would be harsh to the conquered people. But Lord Dalhousie knew the value of the Pacificator's work, and would not let him go. He sent his Secretary to Sir Henry, desiring him to continue in his leading position in the Punjab, '' if only for the special reason that it would ensure his having the best opportunity for effecting his great object-the fair and even indulgent consideration of

. the vanquished; the smoothing down of the inevitable pangs of subjugation to those proud and brave enemies, with whose chiefs and leaders no man was so familiar as hej or so appreciative of what was noble in their chara~ter ."~

' This is the accepted belief, but John Lawrence himself denied it eighteen years after. He wrote to Sir Stafford Northcote, Secretary of state for India, as follows : " I may say, with perfect truth, that I have "ever been connected with any great measure of annexation, except as regards that of the Punjab; and, in that case, I was only concerned in

out the measure, and not in the policy of annexation itself." -Letter dated June 25, 1867. Quoted in Boswolth Smith's Life of Lord hwrence (1889, vol. ii. p. 385.

Sir Hewy Lawveme, the Pacijcator. By Lieu tenan t-General M'Leod (1898), p, "3.

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To this appeal, urged on such a reason, Sir Henry colild not but yield. Lord Dalhousie entrusted the administration of the Punjab to a Board, consisting of Sir Henry Lawrence as President, his brother John Lawrence, and Charles Manse1 who was soon succeeded by Robert Montgomery. Sir Henry conducted the politi- cal work ; John Lawrence was in charge of civil and revenue administration ; Manse1 and his successor Mont- gomery superintended the administration of justice.

The Board did not work smoothly or harmoniously. Henry Lawrence, impelled by his generous instincts, strove to maintain for the fallen Sardars a high position and status in the new British Province, and to recognise in them the aristocracy of the country as they had been. John Lawrence tried to carry out the narrower view of Lord Dalhousie that the Sardars deserved little but maintenance; that none should intervene between the people and their alien rulers. Henry Lawrence en- deavoured unceasingly to recognise the natural and influential leaders of the people. John Lawrence, charged with revenue administration, was anxious to have a tighter grip on the Land Tax paid by the Cultivators; and saw in the due recognition of the old Sardfirs an alienation of the revenues supposed to be due to the State only.

The two brothers, who had the highest personal regard for each other, became estranged in their official relations; and the work of the State suffered. " My brother and I," wrote Jobn Lawrence to the Secretary to the Governor-General, " work together no better than we formerly did. Indeed, the estrangement between us has increased. We seldom meet, and still more seldom discuss public matters. . . . What I feel is the mischief of two man brougllt togetht:r, who have both strong wills and views diamutrically opposed, inid whose modes and habits of business do not ~onforrn.'~ '

1 Letter of December 5, 1852. Life oj Lord Lawrcnoc, by ~osworth Bniith (1885), vol. i. p. 332.


~ ~ t h brothers tendered their resignation. Lord Dal- bousie had to choose between them, and he had little hesitation in choosing. He abolished the Board of Administration ; made John Lawrence the Chief Com- missioner of the Punjab ; and transferred Sir Henry Lawrence to the less responsible and humbler post of Agent at Rajputana.

The decision of Lord Dalhousie fell as a thunderbolt on the Punjab. " Grief was depicted on every face. Old and young, rich and poor, soldiers and civilians, English- men and Natives, each and all felt that they were about to lose a friend. Strong men, Herbert Edwards con- spicuous amongst them, might be seen weeping like children ; and when the last of those moments came, and Henry Lawrence, on January 20, I 853, accompanied by his wife and sister, turned his back for ever upon Lahore and upon the Punjab, a long cavalcade of the Native Chiefs followed him, some for five, some for ten, others for twenty or twenty-five miles out of the city. They were men, too, who had nothing now to hope from him, for the sun of Sir Henry Lawrence had set,in the Punjab a l least, for ever. But they were anxious to evidence, by such poor signs as they could give, their grief, their gratitude, and their admiration. I t was a long, living funeral procession from Lahore nearly to Amritsar. Robert Napier, now Lord Napier of Magdala, was the last to tear himself away from one who was dearer to him than a brother. ' Kiss him,' said Henry Lawrence to his sister, as Napier turned back at last, heart-broken towards Lahore. 'Kiss him, he is my best and dearest friend.' When he reached Amritsar, at the house of Charles Saunders, the Depnty Commissioner, a new group of mourners and a fresh outburst of grief awaited him; and thence he passed on into Rqjputana."

We shall hear of Sir Honry Lawrence once more in this narrative. On July 2 2, I S 5 7, when British rule in ' Lift of Lord Lawrel~ce. By Bosworth Smith (1885), voL i. pp. 335-336.

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India was threatened by the outbreak of a great rebellion in Northern India, when the death or resignation of Lord Canning might at any day leave India without a guiding hand, the Court ofDirectors thought it proper to name a Governor-General in case of a vacancy. Their choice fell on the man who had proved himself a valiant soldier in times of war, and a sylrlpathetic administrator in times of peace. And they resolved that " Sir Henry Montgomery Lawrence, K.C.B., be appointed provisionally to succeed to the office of Governor-General of India on the death, resignation, or coming away of Viscount Canning, pending the arrival of a successor from England." But the honour of the selection came too late; Sir Henry Lawrence had fallen on July 4 at Lucknow-the most generous of British administrators then in India, after the great Englishman whom he had been selected to succeed.

Apart from the personal interest which attaches to the story of the life of Henry Lawrence, his public policy will have an abiding interest for all Indian administrators. He represented in his generation a distinct school of administrators-the school founded in the preceding generation by Elphinstone and Bentinck-the school which had ,almost become obsolete under the Imperialism of Auckland and Dalhousie. " This school," says General M'Leod Innes, " which gave special consideration to the feelings, traditions, and modes of thought of the Native Community, demanded a fair recognition of the claims of Native States, and urged the need for wise and generous treatment of the natural leaders of the people."'

Lord Dalhousie never understood, never appreciated, this school. He was an Imperialist. He held that the best administration for the people of India was the direct administration of alien rulers ; that all intervening chiefs and leaders were an obstruction to good administration and a hindrance to reforms. He rnade the mistake, which

1 Sir IIenry Lawrence, the Pacijicator. By Lieut.-General M'Leod Innes ( I SgS), Introduction.

has been made again and again by British rulers in of ignoring old leaders and old institutions, and of

trying to substitute the direct and personal rule of British officials. And in removing Sir Henry Lawrence from the Punjab, Lord Dalhousie virtually uprooted his policy, swept aside the natural leaders of the people, and brought

of cultivators directly under the Government. The ~ol icy was neither wise in itself, nor has it conduced to good administration during the fifty years which have since elapsed.

National institutions are the results and the outer expressions of national needs. The people of India de- veloped Village Communities, and lived under Polygars and Zemindars, Jaigirdars and Talukdars, Sardars and Panchyets, because they needed them. Their social or- gi~nisation was built up according to their social require- ments; they felt themselves securer and happier under their born leaders or within their Rural Communities It is unwise for any rulers to disturb such arrangements; it is especially unwise for alien rulers to neglect the organised institutions of a people.

The want thus created has not yet been remedied. No proper self-governing institutions have yet taken the place of the old Village Communities. No natural leaders of the people adequately represent their wishes and opinions in the government of Madras, Bombay, or the Punjab. Those Governments are less influenced and less benefited by public opinion thLn the Government in Bengal where society was early saved frorn dislocation by the action of Lord Cornwallis. Assessmenls have been severer and harsher in Madras and Bombay in the absence of Village Communities and of intermediate chiefs. In the Punjab, where the leaders of the people were unwisely ignored half a century ago, the so-called cultivating pro- prietors of the soil have not prospered. And the Govern- ment is excrting at the present day to save them from a new class of leaders -- speculators, shroffs, and money-

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lenders-the worst aristocracy that any country can have.

I t is asimple truism that some sort of representation, some form of self-government, is needed to safeguard the interests and promote the welfare of all nations, in Asia as in Europe. The forms of self-government which pre- vailed in India were not the forms with which Englishmen were familiar; but they served their purpose. They might have been fostered, corrected, and improved; but their effacement left a blank. In critical times, the want makes itself felt ; British Rule does not obtain adequate support ; Imperialisr~l itself does not find a national basis. General M'Leod Innes has pointed out in the work already cited that, in the dark days of the Indian Mutiny, Cis-Sutlej Sikhs, as well as the Mussulmans of Multan and the frontier, rendered valuable services and furnished strong contingents under the specific guidance of their chiefs. But the leaderless Sikhs of the Punjab rendered none till after the capture of Delhi. But the Indian administrator notes this want in times of peace no less than in time of war-the want of popular co-operation in influencing and popularising an alien administration.

John Lawrence carried out the policy of Lord Dal- housie. " Assess low," he wrote to Nicholson, " leaving fair and liberal margin to the occupiers of the soil, and they will increase their cliltivation and put the revenue almost beyond the reach of bad seasons. Eschew middle- men. They are the curse of the country everywhere."'

But the assessment was not low. As in other Pro- vinces of India, it was raised rapidly after British occu- pation. In I 847-48 the Land Revenue of the Plxnjab was £820,000. Within three years after British annexa- tion it went up to ~1 ,060 ,ooo. The fall in prices added to the distress of the cultivators now required to pay their revenue in money. The complaints during the year I 85 I on the part of the agriculturists was loud and

Life of Lord Law7,ence. Bj- Bosworth Smith (1885), vol. i. p. 341.


general, There has been a very general demand among the agric; l t~r i~t~ for a return to grain payments, to a division or appraisem*nt of the crops every season. The Board have resisted this call, but have directed the suspension of revenue wherever it appeared desirable." 1

The following figures for the different districts of tho Punjab 2 are compiled from the First Administration Report :- - I I I

Lahore . . . Anlritsar . .


Wazirabad . . Shekhpura . ,


J Jhelum ' '

Multan . . . i

Lantl Revenue, 1850-51.

Leia . . . . {

Land Revenue, 1851 52.

Gujrat . . . Jhelnm . . . Rawalpindi . . Shahpur . . .

Ponjab Administration Report, 1852, paragraphs 264, 266, and 27a a Paragraph 274 of the Punjab Administration Report of 1852. This First Punjab Report, from which we have made frequent

extracts in the preceding pages, was from the facile pen of Sir Richard Temple, known as the Knight of the Pen in India. John Lawrence, a solid worker and a great administrator, had not the gift of a lucid style; and he felt the want. When he first met Richard Temple in 1851 a t simla, and examined some of his st~ttlement reports, he was mightily Pleased. $&Here is the very man we want a s Secretary," he said to his friends. H e can understand what I say, and put i t into first-rate form I " Fortllwith Temple was appointed to write the Punjab Report which Henry Lawrence and John Lawrence had already partly drafted ; but the new Secretary recast the whole; and the First Punjab Report stands

59,382 69,548 82,481 41,231

Leia . . . . Khungarh . . Dera Gazikhsn DeraIsmaelkhan

Multan . . . Jhung . . . Pak Pattan . . Peshawar . . Haz;ra . . . -

48,444 49,534 45,574 48,968

56.430 271878 25,757 89,307 18,854

- - -

60,359 34,962 38,312 7 1,929 16,815

- -- - - Total . . £1,018,502 ,L1,064989

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To '( assess low " was John Lawrence's first principle in land administration; and he soon perceived that the demand of one-third the gross produce, payable in money, was oppressive to the peasantry. Within a few years the Punjab Administration corrected the mistake. The Land Tax of the Punjab was reduced to one-fourth, and then to one-sixth of the gross produce. The wisdom of this measure was proved by the extension of cultiva- tion, the rise of revenue, and the increase of actual collections.

The figures for 1856-57 and I 857-58 show a con- siderable increase in revenue as compared with the figures given above, as also a very satisfactory rate of collection :-I

Deni~nd. Collection. 1856-57 . . . ~1,485,000 f;1,452OJo 1857-58 . . . f;1,465,ooo A1,452,000

A regular Settlement of the Land Revenue was commenced soon after the annexation of the Punjab and was approaching completion when the East India Company was abolished in I 8 58. One-sixth of the produce was demanded as the land revenue in the Settlements of Lahore and Amritsar districts, concluded between I 860 and I 87 2 ; while by later rules, framed under the Land Revenue Act of 1871, the Government demanded one-half the actual rents paid by ordinary tenants at will in average years.

We have now dealt successively with Northern India, Bombay, Madras, and the Punjab. For a general view of the last results of the East India Company's Land Revenue Administration in India, we cannot refer our

apart from all other Indian reports as a readable and entertaining docu- ment. In 1854, when Temple returned from England t,o his work, John Lawrence had become Chief Commissioner of the Punjab. "Very glad," he said to Temple, " to have got you in your proper place at last I I am glad of your opinion, and, of course, very glad of your pen; but remember, it will be m y policy and my views-not yours. Your day may come itis mine now : every dog will have its day."-Bosworth Smith's Life of Lord Lawrence.

* Punjab Administration Report for 1856-57 and 1857-58, par. 37.


to an abler document than to a return submitted by the India House itself in 1857.' I t is signed by John Stuart Mill, then Examiner of India Office eorre- spondence ; and though probably it was compiled by his clerks, it bears traces of his philosophic finish and pre- cision. Some extracts are given below.

&.ngal.--" In the Lower Provinces of the Bengal Presidency the land is held by Zemindars, on payment of an annual sum fixed in perpetuity, the estates being liable to be sold in default of payment under the pro- visions of Act I of I 845. The only land at the disposal of Government consists of estates which have been thus sold, and purchased on the public account. The rate of Land Tax cannot be given, but is believed to amount on the average to about half the rental."

Northern India.-" First. All the inhabited part of the country is divided into portions with fixed boundaries, called Mahals or estates. On each Mahal a sum is assessed for the term of twenty or thirty years, calculated so as to leave a fair surplus profit over and above the net produce of the land; and for the punctual payment of that sum, the land is held to be perpetually hypothe- cated to t,he Government.

"Secondly. I t is determined who are the person or persons entitled to receive this surplus profit. The right thus determined is declared to be heritable and transfer- able, and the persons entitled to it are considered the proprietors of the land from whom the engagements for the annual payment of the sum assessed by the Govern- ment on the Mahal are taken.

"Thirdly. All the proprietors of a Mahal are, sever- ally and jointly, responsible in their persons and property

Return to an Order of the House of Commons dated Jurie g, 1857, showing under what tenures, and subject to what Land Tax, lands are he'd under the several Presidencies of Tndia.

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for the payment of the sum assessed by the Government on the Mahal. When there are more proprietors than one it is determined according to what rule they shall share the profits, or make good the losses on the estate. If the proprietors are numerous, engagements are only taken from a few of the body, who, on their own parts and as representatives of the rest, undertake to manage the Mahal, and to pay the sum assessed upon it.'

"The rate of assessment was in the first instance limited to two-thirds of the nett produce of each Mahal or estate, but on the revision which is about to take place on the expiration of the thirty years which formed the first term of settlement, it has been determined to restrict the demand of the State to one-half of the average nett assets."

Madras.--" The revenue systems in force in the Madras Presidency are the Zamindari, Village joint rents, Ryot- wari, and Ulangu."

<' The Zamindari tenure prevails chiefly in the Northern Cercars, though there are large proprietary estates in other districts, as Madura, Nellore, North Arcot, &c.*

I' In the Village-renting system the villagers stand in the Zemindar's position, and jointly hold from the Govern- ment. The village is rented to the whole body, or a section of them, for a term of years, and they make their payments direct to Government, managing their affairs independently, and allotting the lands for cultivation among themselves."

" Under the Ryotwari System every registered holder of land is recognised as its proprietor, and pays direct to Government. He is at liberty to sublet his property, or to transfer it by gift, sale, or mortgage. He cannot be ejected by Government so long as he pays the fixed assessment, and has the option annually of increasing or

These three Rules are taken from Thomason's Directwns for Kewnw O$ice+s, referred to in a previous chapter

8 Bg the Saharanpur Rules of 1855.


diminishing his holding, or of entirely abandoning it. In unfavourable seasons remissions of assessment are granted for entire or partial loss of produce. The asseisment is fixed in money, and does not vary from year to year,

in those cases where water is drawn from a Govern- ment source of irrigation to convert dry land into wet, or

into two-crop land, when an extra rent is paid to Government for the water so appropriated; nor is any addition made to the assessment for irllprovements effected at the Ryot's own expense. The Ryot under this system is virtually a Proprietor on a simple and per- fect title, and has all the benefits of a perpetual lease without its responsibilities, inasmuch as he can at any time throw up his lands, but cannot be ejected so long as he pays his dues ; he receives assistance in difficult seasons, and is irresponsible for the payment of his neighbours. . . . The Annual Settlements under Ryotwari are often misunderstood, and it is necessary to explain that they are rendered necessary by the right accorded to the Ryot of diminishing or extending his cultivation from year to year. Their object is to deterrrline how much of the assessment due on his holding the Ryot shall pay, and not to reassess the land. In these cases where no change occurs in the Ryots holding a fresh Potta or lease is not issued, and such parties are in no way affected by the Annual Settlement, which they are not required to attend."

" The Ulangu-renting system prevails only in Tanjore and Tinnevelly, and is not general in either ; its peculiarity consists in the Government demand being dependent on the current price of grain. On the introduction of the

a certain grain assessment was fixed on each village, and also a standard rate, according to which the grain demand was to be commuted into money; but it

at the sarne time, arranged, that if current prices in Year rose more than 10 per cent. above the standard

cOrnmutation rate, or fell more than 5 per cent. below it,

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the Government, and not the Ryot, was to receive the profit and to bear the loss. The advantages of the system are that the Government participates with the Ryot in the benefit of high prices, while the latter is relieved from loss when the prices are much depressed ; its disadvantage consists in the difficulty that is experienced in obtaining accurate and fair returns of the current prices which are taken throughout the year."

Bombay.-" Under the Bombay Presidency, the revenue management may be described in general terms as Ryot- wari, implying that, as a general rule, the occupants of Government lands settle for their land revenue or rent with the Government Officers direct, and not through a middleman. I t should be understood, hnwcver, that throughout the Presidency, instances not unfrequently occur in which the Government revenues of entire villages are settled for by individual superior holders under various denominations, or by a copartnery of the superior holders."

I' A revision of assessment is now in progress through- out the Presidency, by which the amount payable on each field is determined according to its quality, and the amount so fixed is not liable to alteration for a term of thirty years."

Punjab.-" In the Punjab, one and the same man is usually absolute proprietor and generally the sole cul- tivator, though he may occassionally lease out a few fields to tenants. He is saddled with no rent. He has to provide for the cost of cultivation and for the Govern- ment demand ; the rest of the produce he may devote to the maintenance of his family and the accumulation of his capital. But these men, well maintaining their individuality, do yet belong to Village Communities. A village is not inhabited by a certain number of Ryots

1 The expression "Government lands" is not a happy one. The occupants of the land in Bombay were its proprietors,-as clearly and unmistakably as in Matlras. Government was only entitled to a 1,and Tax which was a portion of the nett produce of the fields.


each unconnected with the other, but by a number of persons of common descent, forming one large cousin- hood, having their own head man accustomed to joint action alld mutual support."

( I The British Government has from the first decided on levying the Tax by money payments assessed for a number of years. The Peasant Proprietors cornpound with the State for a fixed period, such assessment and compounding being technically callcd a Settlement. But the Proprietors do not engage individually with the Government, but by villages. The brotherhood, through its headmen or representatives, undertakes to pay so much for so many years; and then, having done this, they divide the amount among themselves, assigning to each man his quota. Primarily each man cultivates and pays for himself, but ultimately he is responsible for his co- parceners, and they for him, and they are bound together by a joint liability. The Punjab System, therefore, is not Ryotwari, nor Zamindari, but the Village System. In the hills, and occasionally elsewhere, the Zamindari System, and near Multan something approaching the Ryotwari System, may be found. But the Village System is the prevalent one, especially in the most important districts."

Summary.--The account given above may be summed up in a few words. In Bengal, land was held by land- lords paying a fixed and unalterable Land Tax to the Government. In Northern India it was generally held by landlords paying a Land Tax revised at each new Settlement. In Madras and Bombay it was generally held by Peasant Proprietors who paid a Land Tax revised at each new Settlement. In the Punjab it was generally held by Peasant Proprietors living in Village Communities, each village collectively paying the Land Tax which was revised at each new Settlement.

And under these various arrangements the Land Tax gradually became a uniform rate, at least in theory. In Bcngal it was about one-half the rental in the middle

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of the nineteenth century. In Northern India it was fixed at one-half the rental by the Saharanpur Rule of I 8 5 5 . In Bombay and Madras Sir Charles Wood fixed the Land Tax at about one-half the economic rent in 1864. And in the Punjab the Government demand was reduced to one-half the rents ordinarily paid by tenants at will.

This, then, is the theory of the Indian Land Tax. Where the Land T m is 7~0t permanently &xed, one-half of the actual or economic ~.ent may be claimed as the Land Revenue.

But this theory is disregarded in practice, as will be shown in future chapters. In Northern India and the Central Provinces, where the Land Revenue is generally levied from landlords, a great deal more than one-half of the actual rental is taken by the Government. In Bombay and Madras, where the Land Revenue is gene- rally levied from cultivators direct, nearly the whole of the economic rental is taken, leaving to the cultivators little more than the wages of their labour.



WHEN the East India Company's Charter was renewed in 1833, it was provided that the Company should thenceforth " discontinue and abstain from all conlmercial business," and should stand forth only as administrators

rulers of India. The beneficial results of this pro- vision became manifest before many years had elapsed. The Company felt a greater interest in the trades and manufacturers of India when they were no longer rival traders. And on February I I , 1840, they presented a petition to Parliament for the removal of invidious duties which discouraged and repressed Indian industries.

A Select Committee of the House of Commons was appointed to report on the petition. Lord Seymour was in the chair; and among the Members of the Committee was Mr. Gladstone, then a young man of thirty, and a stern and unbending Tory. Mr. Brocklehurst, Member for Macclesfield, then a great centre of British silk manufacture, was also on the Committee, and represented the interests of the British manufacturer. Much valuable evidence on Indian produce and manufacture was re- corded, and has been published in a folio volume of over six hundred pages. I t is possible, within our limits, only to refer to such portions of this evidence as are ~pecially relevant to the present work.

blilitnry Expenditz~re and Home Charges.-Melvill said, the amount defrayed by the Company for the Queen's


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troops employed on the Indian establishment was .£1,4oo,ooo, and the Company had also agreed to raise and maintain such further men as might be necessary to keop at all times an effective force of 20,000 in India. The portion of the Indian rerenues spent in England was, on the average, £ ~ ; ~ , ~ o o , o o o a year, and this in- cluded the dividends of shareholders, interest on debt, furlough allowances, pensions, the expenses of the Board of Control and the Court of Directors, and their establishments.

Opium.-Opium was grown in British territory, Benares, and Patna, and in the Native State of Malwa. The Benares and Patna opium was the monopoly of the Company, and the Government of Bengal got a large revenue from this monopoly, selling the opium at a profit of more than 200 per cent. Malwa opium paid a heavy transit duty of £12, 10s. the chest on passing into British territory for exportation, and the Govern- ment of Bombay derived a substantial revenue frorn this transit duty. The two kinds of opium rnet in the market of Canton for sale in China.

Salt.-The Government realised a large revenue from salt manufactured in the Company's territory, and a heavy duty on salt manufactured in Native States and coming into British territory. The Company had the monopoly in salt as in opium.

Sugar.-In I 8 36, Parliament passed an Act, allowing Indian sugar to be brought to England at the same duty as sugar from the West Indies, i.e. 24s. a cwt. The principle of the law was that the Indian sugar might come, if importation was prohibited at the place from which it came. The Governor-General had prohibited importation into Bengal ; Bengal sugar therefore came to England on payment of 24s. per cwt. ; and the quantity had increased from 10 I ,000 cwt. in I 8 3 5 to 5 I 9,000 cwt. in I 839. The Governor-General had passed an Act in 1839 prohibiting importation into Madras, SO


,.hat Madras also was about to enjoy the same privilege as Bengal. There was no chance of the same privilege being extended to Bombay for some time.

BzLm.-There was a duty of I 5s. a gallon on Indian rum imported into England, as against a duty of gs. only on West Indian rum, although the latter was stronger.

~obacco.-There was a duty of 3s. per pound on Indian tobacco izl~ported into England, as against 2s. gd. on West Indian tobacco. The difference caused much hardship; and it was believed that by equalising the duty the consumption of Indian tobacco could be greatly promoted.

Cofee.-In I 83 5 the duty upon Indian coffee was equalised with the West Indian duty of 6d. per pound; a11d the consumption of Indian coffee in England had largely increased in consequence.

Cotton, Silk, and Woollen Goods.-British cotton and silk goods, conveyed in British ships to India, paid a duty of 34 per cent.; and British woollen goods a duty of 2 per cent. only. But Indian cotton goods, imported into England, paid a duty of I o per cent. ; Indian silk goods a duty of 2 0 per cent.; Indian woollen goods, a duty of 30 per cent.

As the import of cotton goods from India into England had died out, the import of raw cotton had increased. In the five years ending in I 8 I 3, the cotton- wool annually imported from India had been 9,368,000 I h . on the average. The annual average of the five years ending in I 838 was 48,3 29,660 lbs.

" Native manufactures have been superseded by British ? " Melvill was asked.

" Yes, in great measure," was his reply. " Since what period ? j J

" I think, principally since I 8 I 4." " The displacement of Indian manufactures by British

is such that India is now dependent mainly for its supply of those articles on British manufacturers ? "

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" I think so." " Has thc displacement of the labour of native manu-

facturers at all been compensated by any increase in the produce of articles of thc first necessity, raw produce 2 "

" The export of raw protluce from India has increased since she cc:~scd largely to export manufactures; but I arri not prepared to say in what proportion."

"Have the natives of India, weavers, for instance, when thrown out of employment, the same facility in turning their attention to other matters as people in this country have, or are particular trades at all mixed up with the peculiarities of caste 2"

" Particular trades arc, I believe, mixed up with the peculiarities of caste. I have no doubt that great distress was the consequence in the first instance, of the interference of British manufactures with those of India." '

Tea.-It was known to the Court of Directors, as early as I 788, that the tea plant was a native of India; but no attempts were then made to encourage its cultivation. In I 83 5 , Lord William Bentinck brought to the Court's notice that the tea plant was indigenous in Assam, and could be grown elsewhere in India ; and the Court gave its sanction to an experimental establishment in Assam for the cultivation and manufacture of tea. Ninety-five chests of Assam tea, about 4000 lbs., had recently arrived in London, and had been pronounced good ; and applica- tions from many persons, who had formed themselves into a company, had been referred by the Court of Directors to the Indian Government. The growing of tea in Assam by private enterprise and capital thus dates from about I 840.

This witness held grants of land from the East India Company in India, to the extent of about 60,000 English

1 Questions 577, 578, 583, 584, and 633.


and gave evidence mainly about the growing of sugar-cane and the manufacture of sugar. The culti- vators grew the cane, expressed the juice, boiled it, and then sold it to the factory. There it was made into ,yh,kkzty by mechanical pressure, boiled into syrup, and then evaporated into sugar.

The witness had much to say about the displacement of Indian labour by the introduction of English manu- factures-clothing, tools, implements, glassware, and brass articles. The people of India deprived of their occupa- tions, turned " to agriculture chiefly."

A more important witness was Sir Charles Trevelyan after a distinguished service in India under Lord

William Bentinck, had become Assistant Secretary to the Treasury in England.'

While in India, he had helped in abolishing vexatious transit duties which had irripeded the internal trade. And in his evidence before the Select Committee he pleaded for the removal of those unequal and prohibitive import duties in England which kept out India's manu- factures.

Pop~lation of British India.-The population of Bengal was generally calculated at 30 rnillions ; that of Nor- thern India under British Rule at 30 millions; that of Madras about 14 millions ; and of Bombay about 3 millions. Total for British India, 77 millions. The ordinary price of labour was 2 anas, or 3d. a day. Land in Bengal was tilled by cultivators who held it under landlords. The theory of Indian agriculture is, that as long as the Ryot, who is the occupant of the soil, con-

' Later on he went out to India as Governor of Madras in 1859; Was recalled in 1860 for his protest against new taxes ; and was Finance Minister of India in 1862 to 1 8 6 ~ under 1.ords Elgin and Lawrence He married Macanlay's sister, anddto his son we &e the L i f e and kttw8 Of Lord 2lfacauhy.

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tinues to pay the ratcs of rent fixed by usage in his district, he is not liable to be ousted; but this rule is constantly broken through." l All restrictions against Europeans holding land in India had been removed ; and it had been expected that Europeans wo~zld purchase lands and settle in India. " But that has ended in dis- appointment. The climate does not suit them ; they do not look to ending their days there."

Siigar and Rzcm.--The equalising of the duty on sugar was useless until the duty on rum was also equalised. " I t is a mere mockcry to give equality in one respect only; in order to establish equality you must equalise the duty on all the articles manufactured from the sugar- cnae." "

The inequality in the duty on rum, besides being injurious to the manufacture of both sugar and rum, created a sore feeling, a feeling among the people of India that their interests were being sacrificed to those of more favoured countries.

Mr. Gladstone.-When you speak of dissatisfaction existing among the natives, are you to be understood that you do not allude to the body of cultivators, or the population, but to that which niay be fairly called the commercial class ?

Jfi. Trevelyan. -I mcan that those among them, particularly the commercial class, and the educated natives of Calcutta, who know something of the relations between India and the mother country, feel it as a grievance; that it goes to add to the sum of grievances which the natives feel ; and that the feeling extends from the better informed class to the body of people, but without the body of the people well knowing the grounds?

Fur the rest, the witness said that the Bengal sugar,

Question 1624. a Question 1499.

Question 1513. Question 1789.

grown in the valley of the Ganges, had a vast hom*o con- sumption. Thc 30 millions of Benga1, the 30 rnillions of ~ ~ i t i ~ h Northern India, and some 40 millions beyond, consumed the Gangetic suoar. Witness understood that

? the people of Central Asia too derived their supply of sugar from the valley of the Ganges, until that sugar met the beet-roct sugar of Russia.'

Cotton Goods.-Indian cotton manufactures had been to a great extent displaced by English manufactures.

The peculiar kind of silky cotton formerly grown in ~ ~ n g a l , from which the fine Dacca muslins used to be made, is hardly ever seen; the population of the town of L)acca has fallen from I 50,ooo to 30,000 or 40.000, and the jungle and malaria are fast encroaching upon the town. The only cotton manufactures which stand their pound in lndia are of the very coarse kinds, and the English cotton manufactures are generally consumed by all above the very poorest thronghout India. . . . Diicca which was the Manchester of India, has fallen off from very flourishing town to a very poor and s~nall one; the distress thcre has heen very great indeed." "

Tea.-Tea was grown in Assam, at first experiment- ally, by the Government, and since then by the new Assam Company. There was a dearth of local labour, and the Company engaged hill-coolies and took them from a distance to Assam to do work in the gardens. Witness believed that the contracts were for three years, but he had no precise information.

lizdigo. - Hill-coolies went annually to the indigo planters of Bengal to find employment in the manufacture of indigo, just as the Irish come over into this country to get in the liarvest." The coolies did not take their families with them, and they returned home after the indigo season was over.

River Steamers.-All the steam navigation was still in the hands of the East India Company. The steamers

Question 1699. !I Questions 1824 and 1825.

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used were very small ones, and drew less than two feet water. There was a Steam Tug Company for drawing vessels up and down the Hughli River, which made a good dividend.

Roads.-Roads were seldom repaired at all, except along the main lines. But they seldom became entirely impassable for the country carts, which were stoutly made, except in the rains.

Raw produce.-Mr. Trevelyan recommended that the raw produce of India should be freed from all unequal duties in the English market. "We have swept away their manufactures ; they have nothing to depend upon but the produce of their land, and I think it would be extremely unjust not to give equal privileges in the market of the mother country to that."'

Henry Gouger was a merchant who had lived in India many years, and was the proprietor of works near Cal- cutta for the manufacture of cotton-twist, the distilling of rum, the expressing of oil from seeds, a foundry and a paper ~nill. His evidence therefore was of great value.

Cotton-twist.-700,000 lbs. weight of yarn was an- nually spun, of numbers varying from 2 0 to 50. The cotton used was all grown in India and selected with great care, and the machinery was worked by Indian labourers under European superintendence. There were roo power looms, but their use was discontinued in order to employ the whole of the power steam for the manu- facture of yarns which was more profitable. The lower numbers sold rather better than English yarns, the higher numbers on a par with them. But on the whole the profits of the business were not proportionate to the enormous cost. " I am inclined to think," said the wit- ness, " there never will be another manufactory for spin-

' Question rgga


cotton yams, in consequence of the great expense attending the building of the present one." '

coal.-Witness used coal from his own mine at Burdwan. The coal was sold at 16s. per ton in Calcutta ; it was not so good as E~lglish coal, but being cheaper was generally used in the steamers in India. The cost of the Burdwan coal at Calcutta was I 2s. or I 3s. the ton ; the price of Newcastle coal at Calcutta was 25s.

Sugar.-The juice of the cane, boiled by the growers into Goor, was brought by them and sold at the manu- factory to be made into sugar. Fine Benares sugar sold at I I or 1 2 rupees (24s.) for So lbs. weight. The price was lower before the duties were equalised. Sugar was carried to England as dead weight and the freight was L4, I 0s. the ton.

Rum.-West Indian rum paid a duty of gs. per wallon on import into England, while Indian rum paid a D

duty of I 5s. the gallon. Rum was distilled in India both from Goor, and from molasses, the refuse of Goor. Prom 80 lbs. of molasses 39 gallons of rum, London proof, could be obtained; a much larger quantity could be made from 80 lbs. of Goor. A gallon of rum could be supplied at Calcutta at 10 annas, i.e. IS. gd.

I t might be profitable to extract sugar from Goor and then to convert the refuse, the molasses, into rum ; but that was not the general practice.

Silk.-Bengal raw silk, imported into England, sold at about 16s. the pound. Corahs, or silk piece goods made in India, sold at about 16s. or I 7s. the pound. The export of raw silk from India was declining. In 1828-29 it was to the value of ~ 9 2 0 , 0 0 0 . In I 829-30 it was b8oo.000. In 1830-3 I it was &72o,ooo. In I83 1-32 it was only £540,000. Probably an increase had taken place in the manufacture of silk goods in India, and the export of silk goods from India had alaO increased.

1 Question 1981.

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Larpent, Chairman of the East Iudia and China Associatiun, was then examined. The Associatiorl was formed in 1836 with the object of rendering assistn~ice to all parties concerned in the East India arid China trade. He gave his evidence at great length on the import of sugar and rum from diff'erent countrief into England, and he spoke strongly on the decline of the cotwn and silk manufactures of India.

Cotton goods.-Mr. Larpent supplied the Commit,tee with the following figures relating to the import of Indian cotton !goods into Engl:tnd, and the export of English cotton goods into India.

Cotton Piece Goods Imported into Great Britain from tiru Z a ~ t Indies.

1814 . . . . 1,266,608 pieces. 1821 . . . 534,495 *, 1828 . . . . 422,504 ,, 1835 . . . . 306,086 ,,

Britisl~ Cotton Manyfactures Expol-ted to JtttZiu. 1814 . . . . 818,208 yards. 1821 , . . . 19,138,726 ,, 1828 . . . . 42,822,077 ,, 1835 . . 51,777,277 1 ,

In spite of this decline in the Indian manufacture, and the increase of British manufacture, British cotton goods were still irr~ported into India on payment of an ad valorem duty of 3 4 per cent., while Indian cotton goods imported into England were subjected to an ad valorem duty of 10 per cent. Quoting from Mr. Shore, witness read: "This supersession of the native for British manufactures is often quoted as a splendid instance of the triumph of British skill. I t is a much stronger instance of English tyranny, and how India has beell impoverished by the most vexatious system of


cllstonls and duties imposed for thc avowed object of favouring the mother country." Mr. Larpent did not ,-gee with Mr. Shore in these observations to the full extent; but they showed the feeling of a distinguished servant of the Company, a feeling which was likely to

among the people of India.' Silk goods.-British silk goods were admitted into

Calcutta on payment of a duty of 34 per cent., Indian silk ". ooods were subjected to an import duty of 2 0 per cent. in England. Corahs or Indian silk piece goods in the grey (unprinted), mere ill~ported into England mainly for being printed in England and then exported to other European countries. The following figures were given for Corahs imported into England.

For Home Consumptiou. For Re-export.

Bandannas or Indian printed pocket-handkerchiefs were imported into England in consicierable quantities. Mr. Larpent pleaded strongly for the equalisation of duties between Great Britain and India with regard to silk goods. Mr. Brocklehurst, one of tho me~rlbers of the Select Committee, represented British silk manu- factures, and necessarily desired the corltinuance of unequal duties to the advantage of England.

-- - -- -

1838 . . . 1839 . . .

Mr. Brocklehurs2.-You give your opinion without reference to the effect it would have on the British produce ?

Mr. Lavent.-I have no doubt there would be, to a certain extent, a rivalry in cornpetition with the silk manufactures of this country ; but I submit on principle

Question 2743.

- Pieces. 16,000


- -. .

Pieres. 310j000


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that India ought to be admitted as one of our own possessions. The argument has been used that while our manufactures are allowed to go inlo India at a very reduced duty, we ought to have admitted theirs on as low a duty.

Mr. Brock1ehz~rst.-Is there any colony of this country whose manufactures are admitted on so low a scale as those of India ?

Mr. Larpent.-There is no colony of this country whose manufacturers are of a magnitude calling for it. We have destroyed the manufactures of India. [And then the witness quoted the views of the Court of Directors, stated in Lord William Bentinck's minute of May 30, 1829: "The sympat,hy of the Court is deeply excited by the report of the Board of Trade, exhibiting the gloomy picture of the effects of a commercial revolu- tion productive of so much present suffering to numerous classes in India, and hardly to be paralleled in the history of commerce."] '

But Mr. Brocklehurst was not convinced. The use of Indian silk handkerchiefs in England troubled his soul, and he returned again and again to the subject.

Mr. Brock1ehurst.-Are you aware that they have already so far displaced silk handkerchiefs made in this country, that attempts are now making to introduce a spurious article from waste silk as a substitute ?

Mr. ,Carpent.-I have heard that an article is intro- duced made of waste silk; and that as I stated before, the ingenuity and science of the parties who are making those goods, will probably introduce into the home market a quantity of goods at a low price, which will be in very general use.

Mr. Brock1ehurst.-Driving the British manufacturer to make inferior articles to maintain his ground in competition ?

1 Questions 2750 and 2751.


Mr. Lavent.--The articles alluded to are those made here; the British ulanufacturers have made those inferior

Mr. B.rocklehurst.-It would be more desirable perhaps that India should produce the raw material, and this country show its skill in perfecting that raw material?

Mr. Zarpent.-The course of things in India is decidedly leading to that ; and it is in the main articles such as we have already alluded to, that we do think every assistance should be given to the agricultural poduce of India; but I submit that as this is the last of the expiring manufactures of India, the only one where there is a chance of introducing the native manu- factures, at least let it have a fair chance, and not be oppressed with the duty of 2 0 per cent., in favour of the British manufacture^.^

A still more slurdy champion for India was Mont- gomery Martin. He had travelled ten years in the colonies of the British Empire, mainly at his own expense ; had gathered facts, figures and statistics ; and had co~upiled the first complete History of the British Colonies in five large volumes. He had lived in India; studied Indian questions on the spot ; and also edited the volu.minous and valuable statistical account of Eastern India left by Dr. Francis Buchanan.

" I have examined at considerable length," he said, "and for a series of years, the trade of India. I have taken the utmost pains to arrive at correct concl~isions by examining various documents which the Honourable Court of Directors of the East India House, with their

Qllestions 2763, 2764, and 2771. " The last of the explring manufactures of India " has not been saved.

India to-day exports annually over seventy million pounds in goods, mostly raw produce Scarcely over a hundred thousand pounds of thia

silk manufactures.

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usual liberality, permitted me access to. And I have been impressed with the conviction that India has suffered most unjustly in her trade, not merely with England but with all other countries, by reason of the outcry for free trade on the part of England without permitting to India a free trade herself." And he added that, "on all articles except those where we are sup- plantine the native manufacturers, and consequently

D. impoverishing the country, there is a decreasing trade."

Cotton goods.--In I 8 I 5 the cotton goods exported from India were of the value of L I ,~OO,OOO. In I 832 they were less than L~oo ,ooo . In 181 5 the cotton goods imported into India from England were of the value of £26,300. In I 832 they were upwards of L400,ooo. ' I We have during the period of a quarter of a century compelled the Indian territories to receive our manu- factures ; our woollens, duty free, our cottons at 24 per cent., and other articles in proportion ; while we have continued during that period to levy almost prohibitory duties, or duties varying frorn 10 to 2 0 , 30, 50, 100, 500, and rooo per cent. upon articles, the produce from our territories. Therefore, the cry that has taken place for free trade with India, has been a free trade from this country, not a free trade between India and this country. . . . The decay and destruction of Surat, of Dacca, of blurshedabad, and other places where native manufactures have been carried on, is too painful a fact to dwell upon. I do not consider that it has been in the fair course of trade; I think it has been the power of the stronger exercised over the weaker." a

Evidence such as this brought about a keen con- troversy between the witness and Mr. Brocklehurst, the representative of the British manufacturer.

Mr. N~ocklehurst.--The fact being that weavers, either 1 Question 3876. Questions 3877 end 3879.

RAW PRODUCE AND MANUFACTURES I 1 3 in the one country or the other, must be sacrificed, and that ~acrifice having already taken place in India, you wish to revive the population of India at the expense of this country ?

M?.. iVartilz.-I do not wish to revive it, but I wish to prevent continued injury to India. But it does not necessarily follow that the weavers of England would be destroyed by admitting the natives of India to compete with them in this country, because the natives of India have no power looms, and no means of employing skill and capital to the extent that the manufacturers of Glasgow and Manchester have.

Mr. I~rock1ehurst.-The questions that have been asked refer entirely to fine fabrics which cannot be woven by power. The question is, whether we are to give up fine weaving in this country, or to retain it ?

Mr. Martin.-If it is only to be retained at the ex- pense of injustice to India, my answer is, that England ought to act with justice, no matter what the result may be. That she has no right to destroy the people of a country which she has conquered, for the benefit of herself, for the mere sake of upholding any isolated portion of the community at home.

Mr. Brock1ehurst.--When the transfer of India to the Government of this country took place in I 833.l the destruction of weaving in India had already taken place, and therefore it is not a question of destruction, for that is past; and we have it in evidence that India is an agricultural rather than a manufacturing country, and that the parties formerly einployed in manufactures are now absorbed in agriculture. Does it occur to you that there is an opening in this country, if manufacturers are displaced, for the psople to turn to agriculture ?

The transfer of India, to the Govern~nent of Great Britain did not take place in 1833. The British Government obtained control over the administration of India half a century before that date, by Pitt's India A ~ t of 1774, and was rtspo~lsible for Indian administration. In 1833 a ne\p Act was passed renewing the Company's Charter but prohibiting their trade.

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Mr. Martin.--I do not agree that India is an agri- cultural country; India is as n~uch a manufacturing country as an agricultural; and he who would seek to reduce her to the position of an agricultural country seeks to lower her in the scale of civilisation. I do not suppose that India is to become the agricultural farm of England ; she is a manufacturing country, her manufac- tures of various descriptions have existed for ages, and have never been able to be competed with by any nation wherever fair play has been given to them. I speak not now of her Dacca muslins and her Cashmere shawls, but of various articles which she has manufactured in a manner superior to any part of the world. To reduce her now to an agricultural country would be an injustice to 1ndia.l

Woollen. Manufactures.-For twenty- five years British woollen manufactures had been admitted almost duty free in India, but the manufactures of India made of goat's wool paid a duty of 30 per cent. ad valorem. The result was that from r 8 2 8 to I 8 3 8 the total importation from India had not averaged more than £28,000 per annum. By stopping this trade British manufacturers were not benefited, as the shawls of England were mostly made on the continent.'

Shipbuilding.-There was a marked decrease in shig- building in India. In 1795-96 six ships were built in Calcutta, with a tonnage of 4 1 0 5 tons, and five large vessels of 500 to 600 tons each were on the stocks. In I 797-98 several vessels were launched from the dock- yards of Calcutta. But shipbuilding had now ( I 840) been entirely given up in Calcutta. A dockyard had been founded by the Parsees at Bombay, and for three generations the splendid dock establishment at Bombay had been under Parsee management. The fine vessel Asia was built by Naoroji Jamsetjee, and Parsee gentle- men were studying shipbuilding in the English dock-

1 Questions 3918, 3919, and 3920, question 3957.


1 I

' Questions 3987 and 3992. Appendix 60. a Appendix I .

yards, Nevertheless, English-built ships, manned by lascars, proceeding to ports with which England had re- ciprocity treaties, were not trcatcd as British ships. This was a direct impediment thrown in the way of shipbuilding in India. The Charter of the East India Company of 18 3 3 declared that the natives of India were British sub- jects, and it was a hardship and injustice to them that they were not considered such in the matter of merchant ships.'

Home Charges.-Witness submitted a table showing the Home Charges, or the amount of Indian revenues spent in England, during twenty years, from the renewal of the Company's Charter in I 8 I 3 to the renewal of their Charter in I 83 3.' Figures showing the Home Charges for five subsequent years, 1 8 3 4 to 1837, have been taken from another part of the rep01-t.~ Figures showing thc revenues of India have been taken from a Parliamentary

Year. Home Charges. of India.

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Return.' The tablc, wlrich we have thus compiled, shows the proportion of thc Horne Charges to the total revenue of India for the twonty-four years ending in the year of the accession of Queen Victoria.

A small portion of these Home Charges, about one- fifth, was for stores supplied to India from England. The remaining sums, said Montgomery Martin, " are absolute charges upon the revenues of India, and for which no return whatever is made to India. . . . I t is a curious calculation to show, that estimating the sums of money drawn from British India for the last thirty years at three millions per annum, it amounts, at I 2 per cent. (the Indian rate of interest), cornpound interest, to ,£723,997,97 I ; or, if we calculate it at two millions per annurn for fifty years, the abstraction of fructifying capital from Hindustan amounts to the incredible surn of ~8,400,000,000,"

Silk Manufactures.-The silk manufactures of India should be frced from the unequal import duty placed upon it in England, and there was the greater reason for this because they really did not colrlpete with the silk nlannfactures of England or any other country?

Flax and Hemp.-Alexander Rogers was a large pro- prietor of factories in India, and was introducing the culture of flax for the fibre, tho natives of India having so long cultivated that plant for the seed. The first specimens of Indian flax were expected to arrive from India on June I o, I 840. " If we once succeed with flax, hemp and flax are so similar in their process of cultiva- tion that there will be no difficulty whatever with hemp."

Silk.-Witnoss also imported Indian silk into England extensively. The duty on British silk manufactures in Intlia was gfr per cent. ; that on Indian silk manufactures

Returns of t l ~ e Gross Revenue, kc., in India since 1792, ordered bY the House of C ~ ~ r ~ u o n s to be printed, June 22, 1855.

a Quehtion 4137. Question 4162, 4 Question 4256.


in land was 20 per cent. and upwards. This differ- ence paralysed the Indian silk industry. Reduction of duty on Indian silks would not afl'ect British manufac- tures, as the reduction of duty on French silks had not affected it. The Indian silk piece goods which would be introduced in England were of the heavier kind, the corabs, which were very little manufactured in England. On the other hand, " the advantage to England would be that of supplying the natives with the means to purchase twice or threefold the quantity of our goods in return."

Sugar.-Witness built s sugar manufactory at a cost of £2700 at Sericole, in Jessore District, near his indigo factory. He expected a profitable return, hoping for an equalisation of the duties on sugar and rum, which were produce of the same cane. His profit was I 14 per cent., which was unsatisfactory, as money lent in India without risk would bring in 10 per cent., and at compound interest much more. If the duty on rum was equalised his profit would be more; if it was not equalised he would give up the sugar business.

Iron. - The Association with which witness was connected began operations at Porto Novo, I 20 miles south of Madras, in I 8 3 3, built blast-furnaces, put up a forge for making malleable iron, and had greatly ex- tended their ironworks. Steel could not be made from English iron ; England was entirely dependent on Sweden and Russia for every bar of iron that was to be converted into steel; India could supplement the supply, for Indian iron could be made into steel. Witness imported Indian iron in the shape of pig iron in order to bo converted into bars; but the duty on the import of iron ore into England was prohibitive. "The duty upon a ton of iron

1 Questions 4384, 4385, 4388, 4415, 4418.

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ore is 5s. Now it takcs about two tons of iron ore to make a ton of bar iron ; a ton of bar iron pays a duty of 2s. 6d., whereas the duty upon thc ore requircd to make a ton of bar iron is I 0s. English iron going to India paid no duty at all."'

Books. - The distinguislled Sanscrit scholar and Orientalist had been out in India for twenty-four years, and on his retirement he was made Librarian to the East India Company and Professor of Sanscrit at the University of Oxford. He stated in his evidence that books printed in India paid a duty of £ 2 , 10s. per cwt., and pleaded for the reilloval of the duty.

Silk ilfanqfctctu~es.-Joscph Tuclrer, belonging to :L London firm of silk printers and dealers in silk handker- chiefs, desired to maintain the duty of 2 0 per cent. on Indian silk manufactures in order to protect the British industry. He said that the British people still used British manufactures only; but Frenchmen preferred the Indian article ; and the export of British silk goods into France was decreasing, and that of Indian Bandannas and other silk handkerchiefs into France was increasing. And he gave the followirig figures frorn a Parliamentary Return.-See table on opposite pagc.

The witness further explained that " When British goods first went to France, Indian goods were prohibited, and consequently British goods had a preference with French buyers; hence pcrhaps the large quantity. As soon as the prohibition was taken off, and in fact previous to that, slightly, the trade had beer1 affected. But im-

1 Questions 4610 aud 4676.


I Exported from the United Kingdom to Frame. I

mediately the prohibition was taken off, the British trade to France was entirely annihilated."'

Year Brg:$d:lk

The preference given by a single European nation to a single Indian manufacture had aroused the jealousy of English dealers and manufacturers. This jealousy is menifest in the evidence of the last four witnesses, all silk manufacturers, who were examined by the Select Committee, and to whose evidence we now turn.

Indian Ban- dannas and other Handkerchiefs.

THOMAS COPE. Silk Mantflactures.--No witness gave his evidence in

a more plain, straightforward manner than Thomas Cope, silk-weaver of Macclesfield.

Mr. B~ock1churst.-What would be the effect upon this branch of your trade if the present duty on East Indian silk goods were reduced from 2 0 to 3f per cent. ?

Mr. Cope.-In my opinion, it would have the effect of destroying this branch of trade; and if so, it would rob of their employment, and consequently of the means of living honestly by their labour, all those parties which I have before named, and would make them destitute and reckless, and cause them to become a burden to the

Question 6379.

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rest of society, whose burdens are already too heavy. I t would throw out of employment a large amount of capital, and would give into the hands of foreigners that employment by which we ought to be supported.

ilfr. Hogg.-You are of opinion that justice to the English operatives in silk requires that all foreign manufactured silk should be excluded from this market ?

illr. Cope.--My opiilion is that in justice to the English operative there should be a duty imposed upon the importation of these goods which would put them on a level with ourselves. Now, if the Hindustanee can live at 14d. or 2d. a day, and if an Englishman cannot live at less than 2s. a day, we think it very hard that the weaver in India should send his goods here and compete with us upon such very unfair terms.

Mr. Elliott.-Do you think that a labourer in this country, who is able to obtain better food than that, has a right to say, we will keep the labourer in the East Indies in that position in which he shall be able to get nothing for his food but rice ?

Mr. Cope.-I certainly pity the East Indian labourer, but at the same time I have a greater feeling for my own family than for the East Indian labourer's family; I think it is wrong to sacrifice the comforts of my family for the sake of the East Indian labourer because his condition happens to be worse than mine; and I think it is not good legislation to take away our labour and to give it to the East Indian because his condition is worse than 0urs.l

I t is needless to remark that manufacturers like Cope determined the policy of Great Britain towards India; the British Parliament and the Indian Government were merely the servants of the manufacturers and voters of Great Britain.

Questions 6453, 6577, 6582.


silk Mantcfactu/res.-John Prout was another silk- ,,aver of Macclesfiold, and represented the views of British silk manufacturers.

Mr. Brock1eht~rst.-Do you conceive that the reduction of the duty upon East India silk manufactures and Bandannas would be an injury to your trade ?

Mr. Prout.--I do conceive it to be a great injury, and it is the opinion of the trade of Macclcsficld generally, bocause it is part of a system of policy which gives to the foreigner thc home market, to the destruction of our own branch of industry.'

,S'iLIc A!an4~factures.-John Francis, a silk manufacturer of Norwich, was equally strong against Indian silks because they were competing successfully with British manu- factures. And he spoke bitterly of the East India Com- pany which had petitioned for the equalisation of duties.

Mr. Elliott.-In leaving off the silk trade in which you were forrnerly engaged, were you induced solely by the state of the trade, or were there any other circurn- stances ?

Mr. .Francis.-Solely from the state of the trade ; I can go to the India House, when their sales of Corahs are on, and buy a piece for a less price than I can now buy a pound of silk to make it.

Mr. 1Tr.uing.-How do you account for that ? Mr. Francis.-Only from the cheapness with which

the Indians can send their goods here. Mr. Brock1ehurst.-Would you think the best remedy

for this state of things would be to encourage India to Send the raw material and let the British industry work upon it ?

Mr. E'rancis.-To be sure. Question 6630.

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And the witness added that forty years before (about 1800) the East India Company brought raw silk from India, and sold it in England to be manufactured England. Now the Company were " indifferent to British industry," and let the silk be manufactured in India to get rid of it better.

Mr. Brocklehurst cven tried to get out of the witness that Indian manufacturers were comfortable, growing raw material and earning 14d. a day.

Mr. Brock1ehurst.-You do not suppose that they are uncomfortable; they live according to what they have been accustomed to all their lives ?

Mr. Prancis.-Certainly not. Mr. Brockle?~urst.--It may be comfort if they have

no better 2 Mr. Francis.-Yes, it may be comfort to be starving, but

I cannot think so."

The last witness examined by the Select Committee was John Poyton, a silk weaver of Spitalfields.

Silk Manufactures.-Very few Bandannas were manu- factured at Spitalfields, and India did not compete with that place at all. But, nevertheless, the witness objected to the lowering of the duty on Indian silk manufactures, because "if the duty is lowered, there will be less made in the country, and those that are now employed in making Bandannas will turn their hands to something else, and of course they will become competitors with us upon the goods that we now make."

We have not been able to find out if any specific recommendations were submitted by the Select Com- mittee of the Housc of Commons on the evidence re-

Questions 6814, 6815, 6836, 6852,. 6853, 6854. Questions 6889 and 6890. [The italics are ours.] Question 6946.

corded by them. But we have before us the Rcport submitted by the Select Committee of the House of Lords. For the East India Company's petition was presented to both Houses, and the Select Committee of the Lords had examined Melville and Larpent and Trevelyan, and some other witnesses whose evidence before the Commons' Committee has been referred to in this chapter. Lord Ellenborough, afterwards Governor- General of India, was the Chairman of the Lords' Com- mittee, and his Report, professing the utmost concern for the people of India, nevertheless denied them the relief end justice which they sought. His lordship pointed out the peculiar claims of India upon the justice and the generosity of Parliament in his usual florid style.

( r Possessed of a population four times greater than that of the United Kingdom, and of all the rest of the British Empire in all parts of the world, defraying from its own resources the whole charge of its civil govern- ment and of its military defence, subjected to the rule of British-born subjects in all the higher and more lucrative and honourable offices of the State, India is further required to transmit annually to this country, without any return except in the small value of military stores, a sum amounting to between two and three millions sterling." l

After these eloquent observations Lord Ellenborough recommended the equalising of duties on the import of West Indian and East Indian tobacco, but declined to make a similar recommendation with regard to rum. The cotton manufactures of India had already died out, and his lordship recommended that the inequality in duties between Great Britain and India should be removed. But the silk manufactures of India were still competing with those of England, and Lord Ellenborough would not recommend equalising the duties on this article-" the last of the expiring manufactures of India,"

' Report of the Select Committee of the House of Lords, p. xviii

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THE year I 848 was a year of political revolutions among the nations of Europe. France expelled her king and established her Second Republic. Germany showed her impatience of the despotism of petty princes by insur- rectionary movements, and secured important constitu- tions. Italy declared a premature war against Austria, established a republic at Rome in pursuance of the ideas of Mazzini, and made her first great but un- successful effort to secure national independence Austria witnessed an insurrection at Vienna, and Hungary rose under the valiant and patriotic Kossuth. In Ireland the continuous agitation for the repeal of the Union led to a rebellion. Everywhere there were indications of the passing away of the old order of things, and the rise of popular institutions and popular power.

Side by side with these political movements there was much commercial and agricultural distress in Europe. In England the contest between the landed classes who wished to keep up the price of corn, and the manufacturing and working classes who wanted cheap bread, was decided by the repeal of the corn laws in 1846. A great impetus was thus given to British manufactures; and the vague dream of a self-contained empire dawned on the minds of the people. Was it possible to rnake England independent of foreign nations ? Was it possible to obtain her supplies from her own dependencies ? Indian tea was slowly replacing China tea; was it possible for India to produce the necessary


supply of coffee ? Sugar plantations in the West Indies had declined after the emancipation of slaves; was it possible for India to supply sugar for the consumption of Great Britain? American cotton fed the looms of .

~ancashire; was it possible for India to supply that raw material to the extent required ? Parliamentary inquiries were made.

A Select Committee of the House of Commons was in 1848, with Lord George Bentinck as the

Chairman, to inquire into the condition and prospects of Sugar and Coffee Planting in Her Majesty's East and

West Indian Possessions and the Mauritius." The Com- mittee examined many witnesses, and submitted their evidence with eight reports, covering over two thousand

folio pages. Lord Palmerston was the first witness examined, but had little to say directly about the trade of India. John Bagshaw, a Member of Parliament, was examined on the same day, and dwelt at length on the many disadvantages under which India suffered in corn- peting with other British Possessions.

" Pirst : Three millions sterling and upward annually taken from the revenue of India towards the payment of the Home Charges of the East India Company, without any return whatever ;

" Second : Fortunes accumulated in India by the Civil and Military Services, seldom if any remaining in that country annually increase the capital of Great Britain from the resources of India ;

(' Third: The well-known fact that of the revenue raised in British India, the largest portion of it is from the land, by which its produce is necessarily burdened ; this amounts to nearly thirteen and a half millions sterling ;

" Fourth : The difficulties which importers are subject

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to from the way in which duties are levied at the Custom Houses of England." '

John Bagshaw deplored the extinction of the cotton manufactures of India within the preceding thirty years. In I 8 I 6- I 7 " India not only clothed the whole of that vast population, but exported £1,6 5 9,4 3 8 worth of goods." Thirty years later the whole of this export had dis- appeared, and India imported four millions sterling of cotton goods. " The people of India might buy British manufactures which were imported into India at a duty of 24 per cent., but the manufacturers of India were entirely precluded fro~n getting their goods into consump- tion here by the prohibitory duty which was exacted."

Sugar was not produced in England, and some healthy change in the tariffs with regard to this article had therefore been permitted. The result was marked and instantaneous. ' I There has been no instance of such growth," said Bagshaw, quoting from an Indian news- paper, " in any article of commerce at any preceding period. There has been no develop~nent of the resources of India to be compared with this sudden increase. Last year we [India] supplied England with one-fourth the sugar she consumed; and there can be no doubt that India would in time be able to bupply the whole of the home demand." I t is needless to add that this hope was never realised ; and sugar manufacture declined dur- ing the last half of the nineteenth century with almost every other manufacture.

Colonel Sykes, a distinguished Director of the East India Company, had carefully studied Indian facts and figures. He spoke of the Economic Drain from India of .f;3,3oo,ooo to £3,7oo,ooo a year, and remarked truly : " I t is only by the excess of exports over imports that India can bear this tribute." Henry St. John Tuckor, then Chairman of the East India Company, said that this Econorrlic Drain was an increasing quantity, ' I because our

First Report


Home Charge is perpetually increasing." ' The expression . of regret from the Chairrnan of the Company was no doubt genuine, but brought no redress. A cynic might remark that, as the flow of wealth from India to England increased in volume, England paid back the debt by

streams of sympathy and regrets. Nathaniel Alexander, an East Indian merchant, dwelt

on the great increase in the consumption of Indian sugar in England, but spoke guardedly on its future prospects. The Indian sugar trade had been profitable before I 846, but had not been so latterly; and if that trade declined it was difficult to conceive how the country would draw its annual tribute from India. " I may say generally,"

the witness, "that up to 1847 the imports [of India] were about ~6 ,000 ,000 , and the exports about ~f;g,500,000. The difference is the tribute which the Company received from the country, which amounts to about ~~ ,000 ,000 . "

Both Alexander and Sir George Larpent, of whom we have spoken in the last chapter, pointed out to the Committee that, while the West Indies and the Mauritius were mainly sugar-producing countries, India was mainly a sugar-consuming country, and exported only a small portion of her annual produce of sugar. India, therefore, could never compete with other countries in exporting sugar for any length of time. " The equalisation of duties in 1836," Larpent said, " became profitable solely because the quantity from the West Indies had, during that period, greatly declined, from 200,000 tons, I think, in the year 1831, to 110,ooo tons in 184oand 1841. I t ' First Report. ' Ibzd. The t ru th was clearly perceived over fifty years ago tha t

the annual Economic Drain from India for Home Charges compellecl that country t o export more than she could import. Trade between India and England was not natural but forced. Matters have become worse after half a century. The manufactures of India have decllned ; while the Home Charges have increased from three t o seventeen millions sterling. India meets this terrible annual demand largely by exporting wheat and rice, the food of the people ; and the result is greater poverty and more frequent famines.

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was that which gave an i~npulse to India and a profit to India; it is nothing but, the high prices of sugar here that can lead to a profitable exportation from India." l

More than one witness deposed that the system of assessing land, according to their estimated value, had the effect of discouraging the cultivation of valuable products Iilie sugar. The Chairman of the East India Company, Henry St. George Tucker, said : " Sir Thomas Muilro's plan was to obtain as much revenue from the country as possible ; and he assessed different articles of produce according to his idea of their probable value. He raised the assessment upon articles which were ex- pected to be very productive. Whether he succeeded or failed in that I will not undertake to say, because a reduction of the produce may have taken place from other causes ; but certainly in consequence of this assess- ment upon sugar, I think a very great check and discouragement was given to the cultivation of the article in the Madras territory."

Robert Christian, a coffee planter of Ceylon, gave an interesting account of the commencement of coffee plantation in that island.

" I t was about I 837 when we first embarked ; the inducements were in a great measure the falling off of the production of coffee in the West India Islands, and the large protecting duty which British plantation coffee then enjoyed; and the high prices, of course consequent upon those circ*mstances." Previous to this the people of Ceylon grew coffee, and exported the article without the help of European capital or agency. In I 8 3 8 Ceylon exported to England 2 500 tons of coffee, grown entirely by the people of the island. Nine years later, the crop of I 847 was I 2,48 2 tons, of which 7 r 73 tons were grown by the Cingalese and 5309 tons by European planters.'

In their concluding report, the Select Committee 1 Second Report. "First Report. a Sixth Report.

dwelt on the great distress and loss caused to sugar plantations by the emancipation of slaves, and the difficulty of obtaining free labour; and they recom- mended a differential duty of 10s. in favour of sugar, the produce of British possessions.

A more important Select Committee was appointed in the same year to inquire into the growth of cotton in India. India was known from ancient times for her cotton fabrics with which she had supplied the markets of Asia and of Europe. And when England, with the help of her power looms and her protective tariffs, had suppressed that industry, the hope was still entertained that India would continue to grow the raw material required for the factories of Lancashire. Endeavours were therefore made to extend and improve the growth of cotton in India, with the idea that Great Britain would thereby have both the raw material and the manufacture in her own hands, and be thus independent of America and other foreign countries. The Select Committee, which was appointed in I 848, was therefore entrusted with a task of the very highest importance; and one of the most illustrious men of England was the chairman of the Committee. John Bright, who had already won distinction as the colleague of Cobden in the agitation which led to the repeal of the Corn Laws, was in the chair; and it was in tbe course of this inquiry that he obtained that intimate knowledge of Indian affairs, which marked his public utterances during the rest of his life. I t may be said without exaggeration that John Bright filled the same place in the House of Commons in the middle of the nineteenth century that Edmund Burke had done in the last decades of the eighteenth. Their endeavours to render justice to a Vast Eastern Dependency will live in the memory of

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mankind, when England's Empire shall have passed away. And their published utterances will be read as among the finest specimens of English prose, possibIy when the present English language shall have ceased to be R spoken tongue.

Bcfore thc Select Committee had gone very far in recording evidence on the subject of the cultivation of cotton, the connected question of the assessment of the soil in India forced itself to their notice.

Francis William Prideaux, then Assistant-Examiner of India Correspondence, read fro111 the petition of the Manchester Chamber of Commerce on the subject of land assessments : "Amongst the obstacles to the better cultivation of cotton, none are more obvious than the Land Tax, the tenure under which land is held, and the want of roads and the means of conveyance. Your Memorialists believe that your honourable Court is itself impressed with the conviction that the Land Tax in the present cotton-growing districts is imperfect, and has more than once begun reforms which have been aban- doned almost as soon as begun; but until the injustice of levying a heavier assessment upon cotton than upon other crops be abandoned, and the tenure of land be placed upon a wise and equitable basis, all hope of so improving the quality of cotton as to procure for it prices which will stimulate further culture will be futile."

The influence of British manufacturers had so far prevailed that all duties on cotton exported into England from Bengal had been abolished in 1836, those on Bombay cotton in I 8 3 8, and those on Madras cotton in 1844. But the Court of Directors declined to reduce the land assessment in order to stimulate the cultivation of cotton.

The next witness was Dr. John Forbes Royle, who had been for nine years in charge of the Botanical

Select Couwlttee's Report, p. 6.


Gardens at Saharanpur, and in I 837 had published a valuable essay on the Antiquity of Hindu Medicine, explaining the nature and extent of the chemical and smgical knowledge possessed by the ancient Hindus. Be deposed that Surat cotton was 30 per cent. lower in price at Liverpool than American cotton, and that Indian cotton was generally shipped in a dirty state. American cotton grew better on the red soil, and Indian cotton on the black soil, in India. In the American States of Alabania and Louisiana, they got 400 lbs. of clean cotton per acre, while in India not more than 100 or I 5 0 Ibs. The cultivation of cotton had much increased in Northern India since the new settlement of I 83 3, which gave long leases to cultivators. I t was desirable to introduce the saw-gin into India, but Man- Chester spinners would not use the Indian cotton if the American cotton was cheap. Indian cotton was used in two ways in England; it was either manufactured into cloths, or used as wadding, i.e. people wore coats padded with cotton in the cold weather. The importation of English cotton goods into India was increasing, and was superseding the manufactures of India more and more every year.

Thomas Bazlcy, President of the Manchester Chamber of Commerce, furnished a table showing the proportion of Indian cotton to American cotton importcd into England-the proportion of the Indian supply to the total British import varying between 8 and I 5 per cent. The figures for ten years from the date of Queen Victoria's accession arc given on the next page.

The same witness deposed that while the spinner obtained from I lb. of Surat cotton only I 2 ounces of Yarn, he obtained from I Ib. of American cotton 134 ounces of yarn. The price of the latter was therefore between 34d. and 6d. the lb. when Indian cotton was between 3d. and gd.

Towards the conclusion of his evidence, Thomas

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I l u p o ~ t of Cotton Wool into England, Scotl.~nd, and Ireland.

Year. From the United States.

From R~i t i sh Possess~ons in the


lbs. 320,351,716 431,437,888 3II,5979798 457,856,504 358,214,964 4059325,600 558,7357600 517,218,622 626,650,412 382,526,000

Ibs. 51,5779141 40,229,495 47,170,640 77,0103917 97,368,312 96,555,186 68,820,570 88,639,608 583437,426 34,27O,b00

Bazley explained in a few words an Englishman's idea of the trade between England and India. " In India," he said, "there is an immense extent of territory, and the population of it would consume British rnanufactures to a most enormous extent. The whole question with re- spect to our Indian trade is whether they can pay us, by the products of their soil, for what we are prepared to send out as manufactures." l

Robert Crawford, a merchant who had been resident in Bombay, gave figures showing the extent of cotton cultivation in some Bombay districts during twclve years, from I 834 to I 845. In Broach cotton cultivation was 43 per cent. ; in Surat it was 2 2 per cent. ; in Kandeish it was 10 per cent. ; and in Sholapur it was 3 per cent. of the total cultivation on assessed lands. Asked as to the nature of Iand-assessment in Gujrat, witness said: "As the Government and their officers may justly claim the credit of getting all the revenue they can possibly get, it follows that the land is let at a rack-rent." And the witness, quoting from the report of Mr. Davies, col- lector of Broach, said: "As the present state of the market does riot unfortunately give him [the cultivator]

Select Committee's Report, p. 57.


that reimbursem*nt to enable him to keep up his stock, it far less enablcs him to reckon upon any profits ; the inference is too obvious that he mainly depends upon remissions and balances for his escape from ruin." l

The same witness also deposed to the evil effects of the Navigation Laws, requiring ships to be manned by Bnglish seamen. " I have known times," said the witness, 16 when it would very well have suited for a ship belong- ing to the port of Bombay manned by lascars to come to this country if she could have sailed upon the same terms as an English ship does."

A more important witness was Major-General Briggs. He had cntered the service of the Conlpany in I 801, and had worked thirty-two years in India. He had served under men like Sir John Malcolm and Mountstuart Elphin- stone, and had been Commissioner of Mysore and Resi- dent of Nagpur. He had written the most valuable and exhaustive work on the Land Tax of India, and had advised Lord William Bentinck in rcgard to the Settle- ment of Northern India. And he had studied Indian history from the original sources, and produced a scholar- like translation of Ferishta's " History of India " which is still a standard work.

Major-Gcneral Briggs spoke of the enormous con- sumption of cotton in India, and of the capacity of that country to " produce sufficient cotton for the consumption of the whole world." And he considered that the two great obstacles which prevented a l a r g ~ r export of Indian cotton to England were the Land Tax, and the want of road for c~nveyance.~ Questioned on the first subject, he said : '( The Land Tax of India, as well as all direct taxes, have been founded upon the principle of an Income Tax ; a portion of the income, whether in grain or in money, has usually been considered the right of the sovereign ; "

under the Hindu rule the portion was originally fixed at a tenth of the p r ~ d u c e . ~

Select Committee's Heport, pp. 96 and 97. a Ibid., p, 104. Ibi~2.~ p. 121. Ibtd., p. 123.

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'l'hc Scttlernent of Northern India begun by Lord Wjlliar~i R~,ntinck in I 8 3 3 " prcservcs the institutions of the people, and is most advantageous both to the Government and to the cultivator if it were made per- manent." On the other hand, the land assessment in Madras was excessive, cven after Sir Thomas Munro's ~neductions made in I S 2 7 ; the Government dcmand was not, and could not be paid in full; it was left to the discretion of the Collector as to how much he could col- lect. And " when it is left to the discretion of the Collector, it is practically left to the discretion of a host of subordinate officers scattered throughout the country." The fixed assessment was ncver paid; remissions were annually made ; the pcasaiits were "in a very irn- poverished state."l

General Briggs strongly recommended a corn-rent, i.e. an assessment bascd 011 the producc of each year ; and he held that the Ryotwari System might be workable under such a rule. Fifty per cent. of the produce was not more than the surplus produce or nett produce if taken in corn ; " but as the tax is a money tax, it must of course very frequently represent the whole of the produce."2

Thomas Williamson, who had been Revenue Com- missioner of Bombay, brought the strongest charge agailist the British system of land assessment when he said that the prosperity of the entire people depended upon the will and the inclination of one man, the Collector and Assess- ing Officer. " The prosperity of a whole district," he said, " mainly depended upon the personal qualifications of the officer managing it." But District Collectors were not always efficient or considerate ; Gujrat had been very severely asscssed till within recent years; and all land improvements had been checked. In Broach heavy arrears accumulated; remissions were made by favourit- ism; and corruption in various ways had its influence over the amount. The people were generally exceedingly

Select Committee's Report, pp. 126 and 129. Ibid., p. 136.

poor and depressed; their agricultural stock had dimin- ished; and the produce of cotton diminished. "These are the general consequences and indications of over- assassment." '

George Gibberne had been Collector of Gujrat, and left the country in 1826, and had revisited it in r 840 as Judicial Commissioner. He saw very little improve- ment in the condition of the people after the lapse of fourteen years; and altogether it appeared to him " that the wealthy inhabitants had fallen ofl." The assessment had been generally speaking too high : " In all the different districts that I have been in as a Collector, I think there is scarcely enough, certainly not sufficient left to enable the Ryot to lay by anything fur himself, or to become a capitalist."

"Have you known any districts," witness was asked, " in which the cultivation has evidently been very much diminished in consequence of the weight of the assessment?" " I cannot say," he replied, I' that I have known any ; they seem stationary instead of improving; the Ryots have nothing else to do but to cultivate even if they get no profit; they must cultivate their field for food for them- selves and families ; they are so wcdded to the country or to the village to which they belong that thdy would pay the rent if they could without gaining a farthing for themselves. There are no great signs of improvement."

Francis Carnac Brown had been born of English parents in India, and, like his father, had considerable experience of the cotton industry in India. He produced an Indian Charka, or spinning wheel, before the Select Committee, and explained that there was an oppressive Moturfa Tax which was levied on every Charka, on every house, and upon every implement used by artisans. The tax prevented the introduction of saw-gins in India.

Francis Brown held a high opinion of the Indian system of growing cotton, and said that he would as

Select Committee's Report, pp. I jq to 157. Ibid., pv. 200 to 203.

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soon send for American planters to teach Indians in this art as he would send for Belgian farmers to teach British farmers in the art of growing wheat. He substantiated his opinion by the testimony of an American planter, Mr. Mercer, who had been sent to India to improve its cotton cultivation. In 1845-46, Mr. Mercer had re- presented, (to quote from the Bombay Government Circular of January 2 8, I 847), " That the experimental farms were only a useless expense to Government; that the American system was not adapted to India; that the natives of India were, from their knowledge of the climate and capabilities of the soil, able to cultivate better and much more economically than any European." l

On the question of the assessment of land, the evidence of Francis Brown was emphatic. The Madras cultivator "obtains no profit whatever beyond his food, after paying his assessment." There were millions of human beings who were cultivators in Madras, and they realised nothing beyond a mere existence or the means of existence. The pressing wants of nature, the necessity of getting food, drove them to cultivation, and wherever they planted their feet they came under the Government assessment. And the assessment was so high that it could never be realised in full. " The estimation," said the witness, "in which a native has always appeared to me to be held, is, that he is a creature born to pay to the East India Company."

Charged with stating opinions so unfavourable to the Government of India, Francis Brown said: " I do not wish to detract from the credit of the East India Company-but there is the country; and I ask let it be looked at with the eyes, the understanding, and the honesty of Englishmen, and let the Government of the East India Company be judged by that examination. . . . I solemnly declare that I have seen the people of Malabar perish, and become pauperised as a country

1 Select Committee's Report, p. 235. W,, pp. 241 to 243.


under the operation of the Government. . . . The Government of the country has generally tended to the impoverishment and abasem*nt of the people." l

Contrasting the land system of America where cotton cultivation was extending, with that of India where cotton for the purpose of export was dwindling, witness said : " Land in America is put up to sale at a dollar an acre, a man purchases the fee-simple of it outright, and there is an end of all charge. But the state of things in India is diametrically opposite to this; there is no proprietary right ; and consequently a man is not induced to lay out that money, or to make those exertions for his own benefit, which have been the natural stimulus applied to the production of cotton in America." 2

I t is to the credit of Francis Brown that he was one of the first to sound the note of alarm at the destruction of forests in India and consequent decrease in rainfall. I t was a subject which was little understood then, and witness read the following passage from Baron Humbolt's Personal Narrative : " By felling the trees that cover the tops and the sides of mountains, men in every climate prepare at once two calamities for future genera- tions, the want of fuel and scarcity of water."

With regard to the ancient irrigation works of India, Francis Brown said: "There are throughout the whole of Southern India from Ganjarn to Cape Comorin, the most extraordinary remains of tanks that it is possible to imagine." The East India Company's Government had allowed all these valuable works to go out of repair, except Tanjore, where irrigation had been attended with the most favourable results. Major Arthur Cotton had vainly pressed the importance of irrigation worlrs on the Company's Government ; and Francis Brown believed that much of India could be made by means of irrigation what the valley of the Nile had long beenSn4

Select Committee's Report, pp. 262 and 263. ' Ibid., p. 264. V b z d . , p. 269. Zbid., p. 270.

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The Directors of the East India Company, no doubt, considered Francis Brown as an enthusiast, if not a fire- brand. But reading his evidence after the lapse of over half a century, it is i~~lpossible to deny that this clear- sighted Englishman, born and bred in India, perceived some of those great evils which the administrators of India could not or would not see. Nor was it likely that Indian officials should allow the evidence of such men as Francis Brown to go unchallenged. Three days after Mr. Brown's examination, Ross Mangles, who had been Rovenue Secrctary to the Indian Government, and was now a Membcr of Pt~rliament and a Director of the East India Company, offered himself for examination. There was probably no man then in England who could have defended the Company's revenue administration more sto~ltlg ; and it is impossible to read his evidence without noting the veFiemence of his conviction and the lucidity of his thought. But, nevertheless, Ross Mangles defended only the theory of the Indian Land Tax; of its abuse in practice none knew more than he.

111 the Permancntly Settled Province of Bengal, he said, the Government revenue paid by Zemindars was, on an average, about one-half of the rental of their estates. The Government demand in tracts not per- manently settlcd was often 75 per cent. of the rental. In Madras the Ryot was the proprietor, and paid the land revenue direct to the Government, but the great evil of the Ryotwari System was the eternal meddling and yearly fixing of rates. " I t must open the door to a vast quantity of bribery, extortion, and oppression." '

On the second day of his examination Ross Mangles had some discussion with John Bright, the Chairman of the Select Committee, and with George Thompson, one of the members of the Committee, which it is interesting to follow.

George Thompson,.-Are you prepared to justify on Select Committee'e Report, p. 276.

moral grounds the assumption on the part of the Govern- ment, whether British or any other, of a proprietary right on the soil of all India, supposing they rule over all India ?

Ross Mangles.-I do not think that that is a question connected with the revenue; I never have assumed or alleged that the Governrncnt was the proprietor of the soil of India, and I do not believe that it is the proprietor of the soil in India.

George Thompson.-Is it not virtually so when it takes upon itself to demand 75 per cent. of the natural rent of the land over all the country ?

Ross Mangles.-A portion of the rent from time immemorial has been the right of the State for public purposes.

John Bright.-Speaking of the mode of collecting the rent through Collectors, can you say at all, supposil~g the produce of a certain quantity of land to be roo, whether there be any fixed proportion which the Col- lector is understood to be authorised to fix as the amount of the assessment to the Government ?

Ross Mangles.-I have explained to the Committee that of late years it has been found extremely dangerous to make the produce the basis of the settlement, and the Collectors have been enjoined on every occasion to en- deavour to find what the rent is, and to make that the basis.

John Bright. - If the assessment was an annual assessment, as it is throughout a large portion of the Company's Government in India, would such an increase of the assessment in such a case [i.e. in case of improve- ments effected by cultivators] be calculated to improve the cultivation still further, or to discourage the culti- vator from making improvements ?

Ross Mangles.-The natural effect would be dis- couragement. I am as much opposed to annual settle- ments as the honourable Chairman can be,

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Thcse passages arc important, as they throw light on somc great principles recogniscd as long ago as I 848.

( I ) The Government did not claim to be the pro- prietor of the soil; Zernindars and Ryots were recognised as proprietors.

(2 ) Thc Government claimed a portion of the econor~lic rent as the Land Revenue.

( 3 ) The portion was not fixed. I t amounted to about 50 pcr cenl. in permanently settled estates, and approached 7 5 per cent. where there was no permanent settlement.'

For the rest Ross Mangles held with John Stuart Mill that the Land Revenue of India, being a portion of the rent, did not enter into the cost of production of articles grown on the soil, and could not therefore have any deterrent effect on the cultivation of cotton.

John Sullivan, who had been Member of the Govern- ment of Madras, and President of the Board of Revenue, also defended the Indian Land Revenue system, but com- plained against the annual Economic Drain from India. "As to the complaints which the people of India have to make of the present fiscal system, I do not conceive that it is the amount altogether that they have to com- plain of. I think they have rather to complain of the application of that amount. Under their own dynasties, all the revenue that was collected in the country was spent in the country; but under our rule, a large pro- portion of the revenue is annually drained away, and without any return being made for i t ; this drain has been going on now for sixty or seventy years, and it is rather increasing than the reverse. . . . Our system acts very much like a sponge, drawing up all the good things from the banks of the Ganges, and squeezing them down on the banks of the Thames. . . . They [the people of

This uncertainty has been subsequently removed, at least in theory. The Saharanpur Rules of 1855, and the Secretary of State's Despatch of 1864, fix 50 per cent. of the rental as the approximate Government demand in temporarily settled estates, Zemindari and Ryotwari.


India] have no voice whatever in imposing the taxes which they are called upon to pay, no voice in framing the laws which they are bound to obey, no real share in the administration-of their own country; and they are denied those rights from the insolent and insulting pretext that they are wanting in mental and moral qualifications for the discharge of such duties."

Some other less important witnesses are examined, but it is unnecessary to ~rolong this analysis. Enough has been said to indicate the nature of the evidence placed before the Select Committee ; and on this evidence John Bright and his colleagues submitted their report on July 17, 1848.

They reported that for sixty years, i.e. since I 788, the Court of Directors had made experiments in India for extending the cultivation and export of cotton, and had introduced American gins, sent out American cotton growers, and had established experimental farms for this purpose. The Directors still believed that the obstacles which retarded cotton cultivation in India could be over- come.

The result of the experiments satisfied the Select Committee that India had the capacity to supply cotton of an improved quality to an indefinite extent, but the Conlmittee did not expect that this effect would be achieved by the means adopted. American cotton, long- stapled, was not so well suited to the Indian manufac- turer as the Indian cotton, and the fluctuating demands for exportation were not a sufficient inducement for the introduction of a variety adapted to a foreign and distant marketq2

The miserable condition of the cultivators of India received the attention of the Select Committee. The

l Report of t.he Select Committee, p. 402. Cotton, like sllgar, was grown in India mainly for consumption in

India; and the people of India, very rightly, produced those article8 mainly with an eye to their national requirements, rather than to the demands of Lancashire looms.

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great mass of cultivators in Madras and Bombay were almost wholly without capital, or any of those means

which capital alone can furnish, by which industry may be improved and extended. They are in reality a class of cultivators in the most abject condition."

There was difference of opinion on the question as to how far this depressed condition of the cultivators was due to the Government Land Revenue demand. On the one hand the principle was urged that so long as the Government demand was limited to a part of the economic rent, no depressing result on the cultivation of soil could ensue. On the other hand, evidence had beon given that districts with large populations under the control of s iy l e officers were in practice badly administered ; that Imprudent zeal, inefficiency, or grave errors had affected the prosperity of entire districts, and that " the whole system is depressing, if not destructive to any spirit of improvement on the part of the agri- cultural population."

The two principles " of moderation in the Government demand, and certainty as to the amount and tenure" were recommended as the basis of land settlements in India.

Lastly the Select Committee commented on the lamentable want of roads in India, and they referred to the evidence of Ross Mangles himself, a Director of the East India Company, showing how little had been done to improve internal communications. The witnesses examined had also recommended the construction of railways in India from the centres of export and import to the interior.



JOHN BRIGHT'S report was submitted in 1848. Five years after, the East India Company's Charter canlc up for renewal. And, as usual, a thorough inquiry into the Company's administration was made by Select Com- mittees of both Houses of Parliament in I 8 5 2 and I 8 5 3. We shall have to refer to this inquiry when dealing with the general administration of the Company; but some interesting facts about the production of tea, salt, and opium, elicited during this inquiry, should find a place in the present chapter.

The most important evidence on the culture of tea was given by Dr. Royle of Saharanpur Botanical Gardens, whose evidence before the Cotton Committee has been referred to before. He had recommended the cultiva- tion of tea to the Indian Government in 1827 and I 8 3 4 ; it was first undertaken by the Indian Government in I 8 3 5 ; and in I 842 the first tea was manufactured. . At the time when the witness was examined ( I 85 3) the cliltivation of the plant was going on to a considerable extent all through the North-West Himalayas, and also in Assam.

Not more than ~ o , o o o lbs. had been grown in Kumaon in any year yet, but the cultivation was extending. The whole bf the mountains from Sikkim, through Nepal and Kumaon up to the Kangra valley and even to Kashmir, was suited to the cultivation of


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tea. Dr. Jameson, who had been employed by the East Intlia Company, had reported that "nowhere could the tea plant thrive with greater luxuriance t h n it was doing in the Kangra valley. Tea was not an article of general consumption by any part of the population of India." '

The Government of India had transferred all thcir interest in the growth of tea in Assam to a Company, and a Company was proposing to purchase from the Government the tea cultivation in K u m a ~ n . ~

Among the sources of the Company's revenues in British India, their monopoly in salt and opium was not the lcast import,;~ut. Salt was prepared in Bengal by the Company's agents, and a duty of 5s. pcr Maund (82 Ibs.) was added to the cost of production before the article was placed in the market. A duty of 4s. per Maund was raised on salt, obtained from mines in the Punjab; while salt prepared in Native States had to pay a duty of 4s. or 5s. before it passed into British territory.

Maclras salt was formed by solar evaporation on the margin of the sea, and was cheaper than Bengal salt; and the Company derived a considerable revenue by selling it at 2s. the Maund. In Bombay the Government permitted ~nanufacturers to rernovc the salt from the pans on paynleat of a duty of IS. 6d. the Maund. Salt imported into lndia from England or other countries paid a duty of 5s. or 6s. the Maund, so that the importers might not under-sell the duty-paying Indian salta3

The net revenue of the Company derived from salt manufacture rose frorn ~ 8 0 0 , 0 0 0 in 1793 to nearly

1 Commons' Fourth Report, 1853. Dr Royle's evidence. Lords' Third Report, 1853. Edward Thornton's evidence.

a Commons' Fourth Report, 1853. Prideaux'e evidence.


,L1,3oo,ooo in I 844. The total quantity of salt manu- factured by the East India Company in these fifty-two years is estimated at a little over two hundred million Maunds ; and the total revenue derived from the manu- facture at sixty millions sterling.'

From what has been stated before, it will appear that the East India Company endeavoured to hold the balance evenly between the salt manufactured by them in India, and the salt imported from Great Britain. The House of Commons had dictated this policy by a Resolution of their Select Committee in 1836; and it was the object of the Company to comply with this Resolution. But in working out the principle the Company went too far, and gave an undue advantage to the British manufacturer. For they included the expenses of securing and protecting revenues in the "cost price," and thus added to the selling price of the Bengal salt. The British manufacturer obtained the full advantage of this blunder, and the sale of British salt went up by leaps and bounds. Two witnesses: both interested in the sale of British salt in India, supplied the Select Committee with figures which are given below.

I British Salt imported into Calcutta, in Maunds (82 lbs.). I

I--- Britlsh Salt sent to 111d1a in Tons.

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The great increase in the import of British salt alarmed the Bengal Board of Revenue; and they sub rnitted an able and lengthy letter l pointing out the unfairness of enhancing the price of the Bengal salt by including in the " cost price " various charges which did not fall within the definition of cost.

Lord Dalhousie, then Governor-General of India, dealt with the important subject in an able Minute: from which we make the following extracts :-

" The representatives of the Board of Revenue, in my humble judgment, have established that, under the existing system, no injustice is done to the importer of salt, but that great and growing injustice is inflicted on the native producer of the article."

l1 The direct effect of this has been to enable imported salt to compete with native manufactured salt so success- fully that it is thrusting the latter out of the market, while, if the selling price of native salt were, what it would be in the hands of native traders, it might still hold its ground."

l 1 The Government, in my opinion, should be far less ashamed of confessing that it has committed a blunder than of showir~g reluctance to remedy an injustice lest it should at the same time be convicted of having previously blundered."

" I t may be too that the imported salt, with the many advantaaes which it is shown to enjoy in its import P over other articles of commerce, may still drive the native salt out of the market, even at its readjusted price. If this should prove to be the case, the Government will have to consider the question under that new aspect. Its present duty is obvious."

' l So great a change, however, cannot with propriety be carried into effect until a reference shall have been made to the Honourable Court of Directors. Let this be

1 Letter No. 685, dated Jnne 29, 1852. a Minute dated Sel~tember I I . 1852

done by next mail, and as the case is urgent, an early reply should be requested."

A reference ' was accordingly made to the Court of Directors, explaining the injustice done to the Indian salt, and demanding sanction for redress.

While the authorities in India were thus endeavour- ing to readjust the " cost price " of Indian salt so as to give it a fair chance of competing with imported salt, the irriporters of British salt were not idle. British manufac- turers, professing a desire to supply the people of India with their superior article, petitioned the House of Commons for a total abolition of the duty on imported salt. And they hoped that, if that Irieasure were adopted, the irnpure Indian salt would be driven out of the market, and the population of India woultl be consumers of British salt.

The merchants, manufacturers, tradesmen, and others of the city of Manchester held that " a constant supply of salt, of good quality and at a reasonable price, is of the utmost importance to the extensive population of India." The duty of £7 per ton imposed in India on imported salt was not less than 2000 per cent. upon the value of the article, and was " highly oppressive towards the native population of India." It was therefore prayed that British salt might be imported to India either free, or on pay- ment of a nominal duty.

The inhabitants of Northwich, in the county of Chester, stated that 600,ooo tons of salt were annually made in the salt districts of Cheshire, and gave employment to 5000 Englishmen. That if British salt could be sent to India on the same duty as other produce, n quantity for the consumption of India could be sent from Cheshire "pure in quality, certain and sufficient in supply, and low in price." ,

The inhabitads of the borough of Droitwich com- manufacture of :;alt by the East India

Government, datcd September 17, 1852.

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Company in India was a " manifest violation or evasion of Act 3 & 4 William IV., cap. 85, by which the Company were required to close their cornirlercial busi- ness"; that the duty of A7 per ton of salt imported into India limited the import to 50,000 tons per annum, while the consumption in India ought to be over 800,ooo tons; and that it was the duty of the East India Com- pany to collect their revenues in India "without excluding the British merchant from the benefit of a market to which he has natural and paramount claims to be admitted."

The mayor, alderman, and burgesses of Wych, other- wise Droitwich, in the county of Worcester, also com- plained that the East India Company by their enormous duty of £7 per ton " excluded British salt from the Indian market."

The Chamber of Commerce of the city of Gloucester also pointed out that the manufacture of salt by the Ea\t India Company was a " manifest violation and evasion of Act 3 & 4 William IV., c. 85," and protested against the exclusion of the British merchant "from the benefit of a market to which he has natural and para- mount claims to be admitted."

The merchants, manufacturers, and tradesmen of St. Helens held that a plentiful supply of good salt at low price was " of the utmost importance to the well-being of the people of India," that Indian salt was of inferior quality and costly, and that " if the salt manufactured in England could be imported into India free of duty, or upon the same terrns as other commodities at an ad valorem duty, and free from all excise imposts when imported, a sufficient supply to meet the wants of that country would be easily sent."

The inhabitants of Winsford, in the county of Chester, submitted a petition word for word the same as the peti- tion from Northwich referred to above.

The Chamber of Commerce of Worcester complained that the ~nanutkcture of salt from the inclxhaustible


springs of Worcestershire was materially circ*mscribed from the ports of British India being virtually closed against British salt. " An enlightened and humane policy would provide for and encourage unfettered im- portation on payment of a reasonable duty for revenue only; whereas the restrictions imposed by the Indian Government are made to protect a monopoly of its own of inferior salt, carried on, as your petitioners are advised, in direct violation of Act 3 $ 4 William IV., c. 85."

The Chamber of Commerce of Bristol submitted a vigorous and well-argued petition on the hardship caused by the salt tax in India. " The price to the consumer here [in England] is but about 30s. per ton instead of £21 per ton as in India ; and if it were necessary to abolish the salt tax at home some years since, it appears to your petitioners that the millions of her Majesty's subjects of India have a much stronger claim for its re- mission in their case, wretchedly poor as they are, and essentially necessary as salt is to their daily sustenance, and to the prevention of disease in such a climate."

The merchants, shipowners, and tradesmen of Liver- pool held it to be " the sacred and solemn duty of the Government to afford to the people of that country [India] the same fostering care as is and ought to be afforded to the people of this country." And they were of opinion that " the abolition of the duty on salt in British India would be not only a great boon to the people of that country, to which justice and humanity entitle them, but would also tend greatly to improve and strengthen the mercantile interests of this country generally by increasing particularly the demand for cotton and other goods of English manufacture." l

I t is clear from the extracts given above, that the merchants and anufacturers of England joined an organised on this occasion primarily and

~omrnons' ~ o d h Report, 1853, Appendix z , and Flfth Report, 1853, Appendix 3.

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mainly in their own interests. But it is nevertheless true that they honestly believed their interests in this instance to be the same as those of the tax-payers of India. I t would have been a happy event for India if this pl-ayer had been heard, and the duties imposed, both on manufactured salt and itnpol-ted salt, had been with- drawn. The result would probably have been different from what the manufacturers of England expected.

The Select Committee of the House of Commons had abundant evidcnce before it to show how the salt tax operated in India. In a petition submitted by the Madras Native Association, and signed by T. Ramaswami and othcrs, the petitioners described the state of things in Madras :-

" That in the year I So6 the Government established an agcncy for the control and management of the salt department, the first consequence of which was the doubling of the price of the article, which was then fixed at 70 rupees ( A 7 ) the garce, when the average consump- tion for the space of three years amounted to 3 1,685 garces, at the end of which time, in the year 1809, the pricc was again raised from 70 to I 05 rupees (LI o, 10s.) the garce, being three times as much as it had been prior to the Government monopoly. But as the enhanced price naturally decreased the consumption, the price, in 1820, was again fixed at 70 rupees (£7); but after a course of eight years the price was again fixed at 1 0 5 rupees ( A I o, IOS.), which was still further raised to I 80 rupees (A I 8) in I 844 ; but in the same year it was rc- duced I 20 rupees (£I z), at which price it has ever since continued. But this being the wholesale price, it is of course sold to the retail dealer at an advance, who neces- sarily adds his profit, to be paid by the consumer."

" And the consequence is that either the people go without salt altoguther or s~lbstitute an unwholesome article, obtaincd from common earth impregnated with saline particles, which they manufao~ure at the risk of

punishment; the procurement of salt other than that of the monopoly being prohibited under the penalty of fine and corporal punishment, inflicted at the discretion of the Collector or his Tahsildar." l

Similarly, in a petition submitted by the British Indian Association of Calcutta, and signed by Raja Radha Kant Deb Bahadnr and others, the harshness of the salt opera- tions was fully exposed :-

" The selling price of salt is arbitrarily fixed by the Government, and is at all times so high that, though the country has abundant resources for the manufacturc of the article, English merchants can afford to import it. The dearness of the article induces even those who live near the salt manufactures to use earth scraped from the salt lands; while those who reside in the interior have recourse to the alkali found in the ashes of burnt vege- tables. The officers employed in the salt department are vested with judicial powers contrary to all principles of justice and policy, and necessarily employ them very irregularly and vexatiously. The subordinate officers are furnished with opportunities, on pretence of preventing smuggling, of harassing the carriers of salt and the re- finers of salt-petre. Your petitioners are of opinion that, among other reforms required in this department, it is desirable that the Government, if they cannot immedi- ately afford to forego so odious a source of revenue, should fix an unvarying rate of impost on the manufacture of salt, say zoo rupees [lt;zo] on every I oo maunds [8 200

lbs.], whereby not only the poor will be greatly benefited, but the laws will be rid of the anomaly of judicial excise- men, and the traders of the harassment caused by the subordinate officers of salt Chowkis. But as salt is the necessary of life, the duty on salt should be entirely taken off as soon b possible.7

cultivators from ' ~ o m b a ~ submitted their petition to the Bombay dvernment against the oppressive salt

Commons' First Report, 185 j, Appendix 7. a lbid.

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tax on Novcmher 26, I 8 5 2 ; and Rustomjee Viccajee, who was exambled by the Select Committee of the House of Commons in the following year, quoted from this petition. The petitioners urged that the produce of their fields supplied them with food enough for eight months in the year; that during the remaining four months they subsisted on vegetables, " which they season with chillies, and salt when the latter was free from duty; but when it was made subject to duty, they were obliged to forego even this poor comfort," '

The evidence, given by many distinguished and ex- perienced oflicials, was not less strong than the evidence which came from the inhabitants of Bengal, Madras, and Bombay.

Robert Bird, who had served for thirty years in India as a Judicial and Revenue Officer, and was the author of the great Land Settlement of Northern India, was asked if the Salt Tax was as oppressive as it was reprusented to be.

" I do not know," he replied, "how oppressive it is represented to be, but that it is a very severe duty there is no doubt whatever. I t is a duty of very nearly 300 per cent., or perhaps 2 5 0 per cent., upon the cost of production of the article, but it is only levied on the frontier. When Lord Aucklsnd came up to the Western Provinces, as he was in the habit of doina, P to discuss with me all the operations I was engaged in, he spoke to me about this, and said that great con~plaillts were made about the hardships inflicted upon the people as regarded the salt dllty, especially the ill-effect produced and the disrepute brought upon the Government by the palanquins of females, in which females are carried across the frontier, being searched for salt. . . . I could only say, that if they were not to be searched, we should have Inore Lot's wives brought into the Western Provinces than you ever saw in any country ; that every woman's

1 Commons' Fourth Report, 1853, p. 27.

palanquin would be filled with salt from top to the bottom." l

Frederick Halliday, who was then Secretary to the Government of India in the Home Department, and shortly after was appointed the first Lieutenant-Governor of Bengal, spoke of the corruptions and extortions in- evitable in such a system as that of the Company's salt inonopoly in India. He was of opinion that if that monopoly was withdrawn, and the people of India were allowed to manufacture their own salt, imported salt would have no chance in India.

" The present price of the Government manufacturetl salt in eng gal is-very much raised to the consumer in the market by the necessary want of economy, not t,o say extravagances, connected with the Government system of manufacture, and by those many peculations, and ex tor~ions, and corruptions, which are inevitable in such a system, and carried on with such instruments. I t has seerned almost certain under those circ*mstances to persons informed upon the subject, that if the Govern- ment were to withdraw, and if there were no duty imposed, and the whole were left perfectly free, the native manufacturers in Bengal would forthwith com- plet3ely and entirely undersell the imported salt, and lllerc would not be a grain of salt imported into Bengal."

I t is needless to add that all memorials and agitation against the Salt Tax failed. The salt revenue was not given up.

article in which the Company re- was opium. And the method of'

the article was clearly explained by F. W. Prideaux, who

' Commonb' Fourth Report, 1853. Ibid.

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was ernyloyed at the India House as Assistant-Examiner of India Corre~pondence.~

In Bengal the cultivation of poppy was altogether prohibited except for the purpose of selling the juice to the Government. Cultivators, wishing to cultivate the plant, were permitted to do so only on condition of their delivering the juice to the Government at a fixed price. The juice was then sent to the two principal factories, one at Patna and one at Benares, where it was manufactured into opiurn and then sent down to Calcutta. I t was there sold by auction, and the Govern- ment revenue consisted in the difference between the price it had cost the Government, and the price which was realised for it from the merchants who exported it to China.

In Bombay no poppy was cultivated and no opium was manufactured; the Company's opium revenue was derived from the opium grown and manufactured in the Native State of Malwa. Merchants of that State sent the opium to the British port of Bombay for export to China; and the British Government realised a duty of A40 on each chest ( 1 2 3 lbs.) of opium on its passage through British territory. Previous to I 843, the Malwa opium used to pass out of India by way of Sindh; but after the British conquest of Sindh in that year, there was no exit for that opium except through British territory, and on payment of the duty on the transit which fornied the opium revenue of Bombay. The conquest of Sindh had thus a pecuniary value in increas- ing the opium revenue of Bombay.

In Madras no opium was produced. There has been much controversy in England as to

whether the Opium Revenue can really be called a tax on the people of India, whether the mars undertaken in China for maintaining the revenue were justifiable, and whether the opium monopoly should still be retained by

Commons' Fourth Report. 1853.

the Indian Government at the present time. The object of the present work is to place facts before our readers to enable them to form their own judgments, and we have no desire to enter into these controversies. No sound economist will, we think, deny that a Government mono- poly, which excludes the people from a profitable industry, and stops cultivation, manufacture and trade in a paying article, is a tax on the people, in the truest sense of thc word. No impartial historian has defended Lord Palmer- ston's wars in China in order to force the Chinese to admit Indian opium into their ports against the wishes of their Government. And no sober statesman desires to keep up the Government monopoly in this article, if it can be safely dispensed with.

At the same time, as opium is not a general article of food, the people of India do not consider the Government monopoly in the article to be nearly as hurtful to the people as the salt monopoly. There is no strong feeling in India against the first as there is against the second Still they believe the Government would do well to abolish the monopoly as a monopoly, and derive a legitimate income by imposing heavy dtities on the manufacture and sale of the article, as duties are imposed on the sale of all intoxicating drugs and liquors. The British Indian Association fairly represented the opinion of the people of India in their Petition to the House of Commons.

" Justice requires that the interference of the Govern- ment with the cultivation should cease, and that revenue derived from the drug should be in the shape of fixed duties on manufacture and exportation, but principally on the latter, as is in some measure the case with regard to Malwa opium. By the adoption of this principle, the cultivators will possess that freedom of action which all men possess under overnments which are not con- stituted on aibitrary and despotic principles; and what- ever is lost by su an arrangement will be more than ds

Commons' First Report, 1853, Appendlx 7.

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made up by the saving that will ensue from the abolition of the expensive establishments which are now necessary."

The appeal, however, was in vain. Neither the East India Company, nor the Government of the Crown which succeeded in I 8 5 8, was willing to surrender the mono- poly, or exchange it for a tax on the production and exportation of opium.



VARIOUS Acts were passed from time to time between I 83 3 and I 8 5 3 by the Indian Legislature to regulate Trade and Navigation and to fix the Tariff.' The duties which were levied in I 8 5 2 on some of the principal articles im- ported into India are shown in the following table :-


Books, British . , . . . Books, Foreign . . . . . Coffee . . . . . . Cotton and silk piece goods, British . Cotton and silk aiece goods. Foreign . Cotton thread, k i s t , ind $rn, ~ry t i sh Cotton thread, twist, and ) arn, Foreign Horses and other animals . . . Marine stores, British . . , . Marine stores, Foreign . . , . Metals, British . , . , , Metals, Foreign . . . . Beer, ale, and similar fermented liquors

Salt , . , , . , ,

Import Duty.

Free. 3 per cent. 74 per cent. 5 per cent. 10 per cent. 34 per cent. 7 per cent. Free. 5 per cent. 10 per cent. 5 per cent. 10 per cent. 5 per cent. 5s. per maund (82 lbs.)

in Bengal. 6s. Der maund in Madras 3s. her Imperial Gallon,

'pifits I ] ~ n d o n p , m o f . Tea. . . . , Wines and L~quers Woollens, British , Woollens, Foreign . . . Manufactured articles , . . Articles not named . , , .

' 10 per ceni. 2s. per Impel ial Gallon. 5 per cent. 10 per cent. 5 per cent. g& per cent.

1836 . Act, 2, 3, 14,22, 25, 32. 1843 . Act, 14, 25. 1844 . Act, 6, 15, 16, 20, 21. 1845 . Act, 7, 9, 249 32. 1846 . Act, 2, g. 1848 . Act, 6, 17, 16, 23. 1849 . Act, 5 , 8, 13. 1850 . Act, 5 , 10. 11, 24, 27,28

See Commons' Report, 1852, Appendix 5. 157

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Appendix 3 of the Commons' Report of I 85 2, from which the nl~ove figures are compiled, also gives us the value of the irnports and exports of Bcngal, Madras, and Bombay, for sixteen years from I 834-3 5 to I 849-50. In the following two tables we have taken a pound sterling as equivalent to 10 rupees.

An examination of the figures set forth herein suggests some observations. I t will be perceived at once that while the imports and exports of Bengal and Bombay advanced by rapid strides, those of Madras showed a very poor increase. The imports of Bombay and of Bengal increased from two and a half millions to six millions; the imports of Madras increased from ~600 ,000 to a million. Exports fro111 Bombay increased from three to six and a half millions, and from Bengal from four to ten and a half millions, while exports from Madras increased only from a million to a million and a half. These striking differences were not due to any extension of




territory in Bengal and Bombay; for there were few im- portant additions to those Provinces between I 834 and 1 849, The difference was mainly due to the impoverished

EXPORTS. - I I Merchandise and Treasure Exportecl fro111 1

ilfercliandise and Treasure imported into

Year. - 1 I B e . 1 Madrna. I Bengal. I Madras. Bombay. Total. i ,€ L £

1834-35 . 1835-36. . 1836-37 . . 1837-38 . . 1838-39 . . I 839-40 . . 1840-41 . . 1841-42 . . 1842-43 . . 1843-44 . 1844-45 . . 1845-46. . 1846-47 1847-48 . IS@-49. . 1b49-50 . -

condition of Madras under its wretched land system, which we have described in another chapter.

Another striking fact which we note in the above figures is the great disproportion between the imports and the exports of British India. The difference was two millions in I 8 34-3 5 , and increased to over four and a half millions in I 849-50. The figures represent the trade of British India not with Great Britain only but with all countries of the world. But other countries gave a fair return for they received ; Great Britain

millions a year imports ancl exports represented the annual drain of wealth from India.

In the preceding tables we have exhibited figures

4,1583598 994485 5,593,896 1,152,968

3,037,077 4,467,740 5,303,175 3,604,986 4,056,573 2,976411 4,481,832 4,691,689 5,0039942 6,6927393 57771,796 6,264,965 4,965,192

6,849,527 6,905,809 6,954,381 7,000,943 8,206,771 8,225,539 7,436,369

10,076,904 10,218,740 10,102,755 9,5199797 8,866,928 9,819,742


8,188 161 11,214,604 139504,117 11,583,436 12,122,675 119333,268 13,822,070 I4,34O1293 139767,621 17,999,553 17,697,052 17,844,702 16,069,307

1,351,416 1,072,640 1, I 11,719 1,355,914 1,133,466 1,423,064 1,327,308 1,230,255 1,706,516 1,476,981 1,584,316 1,491,558 1,946,311 1,345,522

49379,947 ( 143738,435 6,862,190 18,628,244 6,135,776 j 18,283,543

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showing the trade of India down to I 850. We are able to place before the render the figures for the last eight years of the Company's rule, I 8 5 I to I 8 5 8, from a more recent source.' The excess of exports continued during the first five years, but imports exceeded during the lost throe years, two of which were years of the Indian Mutiny.

I Tlade of India with d l Countries. I 1 1 Import of 1 Impon of 1 Total 1 Total 1 Excess of

Year' Merchandise. Treasure. Importa. Expolts. Exports.

Imports. 13,943,494 ~ , 3 0 1 , 2 8 8 25,244,782 23,639,435 1,605,347 14,194,587 14,413,697 28,608,284 26,591,877 2,016,407 15,277,629 15,815,436 31,093,065 28,278,474 2,814,591

1851 1852 1853 1854 1855

I t is needless to say that the excess of imports over exports was only temporary. By I 864, as we shall see in a future chapter, India's exports once more exceeded her imports, and the difference increased to an alarming figure with the lapse of years.

Souiewhat over one-half the entire trade of India was with Great Britain. Thus between I 84 I and I 8 5 5, when the total imports of India ranged between ten and seventeen millions, the imports from the United Kingdom alone were between five and ten millions. And in the last three years, I 8 56 and I 85 8, when the imports rose to between twenty-five and thirty-one millions, the inlports from the United Kingdom ranged between fourteen and eighteen millions. In the ex- port trade of Tndia the share of Great Britain was

1 Statistical Abstract relatiug to British India, 1840 to 1865.

£ I 1,558,789 12,240,490 10,070,863 11,122,659 12,742,671


somewhat less. The total for India between 184 r and I 855 ranged between thirteen and twenty-one millions, and the exports to Great Britain were between five and eight millions; while in the three subsequent years, India's exports to the United Kingdom rose to ten millions when her total exports were between twenty- three and twenty-eight millions.

Our space forbids us from attempting to show how the import and export of all the difTerent articles of merchandise rose or fell during these years; but a history of some of the principal articles of trade is important, as throwing some light on the industries of the people of India. Cotton twist and yarn, cotton goods, silk goods and woollen goods, machinery and metal manufactures, were among the most important imports of India; and the fluctuations in the consumption of those articles during ten years are shown in the following figures :-

£ 3 3 1 1,809 5,052,059 6,831,377 4,871,954 2,028,256

Imports into India from all Countiies. I Cotton Twist / Cotton 1 Silk 1 Woollen / Placbi- Metal bfanu-l 1 1 a a Good.. Goods. Goods. nery. factures.

£ 15,370,598 179292,549 16,902,240 15,994,613 14,770,927

L I I I I -- I

I t will be seen se figures that the import of cotton goods was doublet1 within six years, from 1849 to 1 8 5 a further increase was arrested during Indian Mutiny, the figures went up with a bound to eight millions in r 8 59.

£ 18,705,439 20,798,342 21,519,863 20,778,435 20,194,255

£ 3,334,839 3,5059793 4,617,623 4,783,822 5,423,328 Excess of

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The increase in the import of machinery and metal manufactures is also remarkable.

The following figures show the fluctuations in the principal exports from India during the same ten years.

The fluctuations of these articles of export are signi- ficant. The export of raw cotton rose in ten years from under two millions to over four millions. There was a continuous desire in England to extend and improve the cotton cultivation of India, so that England might rely on her own possession rather than on America for the requirements of her looms and factories. We shall see in a subsequent chapter that the Civil War ia America

Exports from India to all Countries.


in the early 'sixties came as a providential help to these endeavours. America sent little cotton during that war; and the export from India rose to near thirty-six nlillions in 1864, and to a still higher figure in the following year. But the hope vanished when peace was once more established in the United States. American cotton once more replaced Indian cotton in the British factories ; and the export from India fell as suddenly as it had risen.

Throughout the century just expired, there was no thought of fostering the weaving industry in India, or of instructing the people to manufacture for themselves by means of the power loom, or of improving their old hand loom. A truly national Government, one working for the good of the nation, would have sought to pre- serve the old national industry of India by introducing new and improved methods ; and the patient, industrious, and skilful artisans of India would undoubtedly have learnt the lesson, and preserved their old industry under new methods.

Referring once more to the table given above, we find that while the export of raw silk remained stationary and that of raw wool showed an increase, Indian silk manufactures, which had provoked so much jealousy among the silk weavers of England, showed a marked decline from I 857 and I 8 5 8 from which they never recovered afterwards. On the other hand, the export of food grains showed a steady and alarming increase, and the figure rose in ten years from less than a million to nearly four millions. I t was a natural result, when handicrafts and rnanufa tures declined, and India had to pay her annual tribut to England as well as for her imports, that she 2 nt out a continuously increasing share of the food supply of the people. By the end of the century, the export of rice and wheat and other food grains had reached the high figure of twelve millions sterling a year.

Silk Goods.

.€ 302,322 441,749 355,223 260,225 315,305 326,571 263,453 341,035 281,450

Silk (Raw).

.€ 713.632 666,094 619,319 688,640 667,545 640,451 Soo,105 707,706 782,140 766,673


L 5,772,526 59973,395 514599135 6,515,214 7,034,075 6,437,098 6,231,278 6,200,871 7,056,630 99106,635

Wool (Raw).

£ 55,591 48,925 68,335

100,612 '721110 205,601 207,263 272,942 314,216

Cotton Gooda, Twist

anti Yarn.

£ 690.51 742,320 673,549 819,049 930,877 769,345 817,103 779,647 882,241 809,183


£ 1,814,404 1,925,603 1,823,789 1,801,660 1,729,762

948,582 1,135,699 1,359,104 1,786,077 1,1751771

Year. Cotton (Raw).

I 1,77&09

1850 / 2,201,178 1851 3,474,489 18 5 2 1 3,619,989 1853 1854 1855 1856 1857 1858


1849 1850 1851 1852 1853 1854 1855 1856 1857 1858

31629,494 2,802,150 2,428,764 3,314,951 1,437,949 4,301,768


L 858,691 757,917 752,295 869,002 889,160

1,413,654 1,742,530 2,896,262 2,587,456 3,7909374

158,224 1 387.104


£ 2,093,474 1,838,474 1,980,896 2,025,313 1,809,685 2,067,769 1,701,825 2,424,332 1,937,907 1,7341339



L 68,717 88,989

196,936 180,976 112,617 214,768 229,241 329,076 274,957 303,292

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The export of Indian sugar already began to show a decline in the last years of the Company's rule, and dwindled into a very small figure, under ~ 1 7 0 , 0 0 0 sterling, by the close of the century. On the other hand the export of jute steadily increased, specially from the time of the Crimean War. The large supply of flax which England had obtained from Russia before was interrupted during the war, and Indian jute thus obtained a start which it has more than maintained since. By the end of the century the export of raw and manufac- tured jute from India rose almost to ten millions sterling.

The export of indigo was also large ; but it is painful to state that acts of lawlessness and coercion stained the records of the industry. Such acts on the part of the European indigo planters of Bengal caused much irrita- tion among the people, and at last brought their own remedy in most parts of Bengal. Cultivators struck; many indigo firms failed ; and the manufacture of the indigo declined, as will be explained in a subsequent chapter. And the discovery of a chemical equivalent in Germany towards the close of the century gave the final death-blow to this old industry.

Speaking about Indian industries it is satisfactory to note that the oppressive and harassing Mutarfa Tax on trades and professions had been abolished by 1853 all over India, except in the benighted Province of Madras. The Madras Native Association in thoir Petition to the House of Commons l described the Mutarfa as a " tax upon trades and occupations, embracing weavers, car- penters, all workers in metals, all salesmen, whether possessing shops which are also taxed separately, or vending by the road side, &c., some paying impost on their tools, others for permission to sell-extending to the

Commons' First Report, 1853, Appendix 7.


most trifling articles of trade and the cheapest tools the mechanic can employ, the cost of which is frequently ex- ceeded six times by the Mutarfa, under which the use of them is permitted." And the Association went on to state that " i t falls more heavily upon the indigent than upon the wealthy, while the discretionary power undcr which it is collected affords a wide field for the perpetual practice of inquisitorial visits, extortion and oppression, as suits the pleasure or the cupidity of the irresponsible collectors, with whom it is no unusual thing to resort to imprisonment and fetters in order to compel their ex- actions." And " the whole sum raised by this impost is but little above £ ~ o o , o o o sterling."

There was no exaggeration in the above statement. A witness, J. W. B. Dykes, who was a magistrate and revenue officer, and had himself collected the tax in Madras, spokc in stronger terms of its oppressiveness.

Q. The tax is only levied upon those who are en- gaged in commercial dealings ?

A. I t is levied upon every one almost who does not cultivate land. . . . If an old woman takes vegetables to market, and sells them at the corner of the street, she is assessed for selling vegetables. If a man is a cloth merchant, he is assessed. But no tax is levied upon European traders. Perhaps, next door to this man who is making a few rupees a year, there is a European trader making hundreds, but he pays nothing.'

Such an invidious tax could not be continued in any part of India after the quiries of I 8 5 3 ; and it was accordingly the Income Tax, which was imposed of India had been

were excluded from its operation.

and equitable, because it was imposed on all classes of men, and because, eventually, people with poor incomes

Commons' Fourth Report, 1853.

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GREAT irrigation canals, constrnctcd by Mahomedan rulers in Northern India, had fallen into disrepair during the wars of the eighteenth century, and attracted the notice of the servants of the East India Company shortly after they had acquired Northern India in I 803. A Committee of Survey was appointed under Lord Minto's administration in I 8 I o to inquire into the state of the old canals both east and west of the Jumna; but the Chief Engineer and the Surveyor-General were divided in opinion, and "poured over the survey report such a flood of contradictory learning" that the first scheme of restoring the canals perished under its weight.'

Lord Hastings approached the question in a morc practical manner. As a result of his tour in Upper India in I 8 I 5 he wrote hopefully of the schcme of restoring the old canal west of the Jun1na:-

" I will only say that my own inspection has fully convinced me of the facility and the policy of im- mediately restoring this noble work. Setting aside the consideration of its certain effect, in bringing into culti- vation vast tracts of country now deserted, and thereby augmenting importantly the landed revenue of the Honourable Company, the dues to be collected for the distribution of the water from it would make a most lucrative return."

Sir John Kaye's Administration of the &us1 India L'ompriny (185319 p. 278.

Miuute dated September 21, 1815 166

Lieutenant Blaine accordingly commenced the restora- tion of the West Jumna Canal, and saw the waters return to Delhi after a suspension of half a century, but his work did not go much farther. In I 8 23 Colonel John Colvin was appointed General Superintendent of Irriga- tion at Delhi, and the work proceeded rapidly towards completion. During the great famine of I 8 3 7 the gross value of the crops saved by the water of this canal was estimated at a million and a half sterling. The main line of the canal was 445 miles in length.'

The East Jumna Canal then attracted attention. That work, too, had been constructed by Mahomedan emperors, and the fame of two British engineers, Colonel Robert Smith and Colonel Baird Smith, is connected with its restoration. The first-named officer, Robert Smith, completed the work according to its original design in I 830 ; but much still remained to be done, and many serious defects were discovered. Captain Cautley rectified these errors; and he was succeeded by Baird Smith, whose high administrative work in another de- partment will be referred to in a subsequent chapter. He completed the necessary improvements and additions ; and the completed work, 1 5 5 miles in length, has been described with a legitimate pride by Colonel Baird Smith himself in the pages of an Indian Review :-

" Most beautiful in all parts it truly is, with its broad road, smooth as an English lawn, its double rows of trees drooping over the stream, its long graceful sweeps, its rich bordering of the most luxuriant crops, its neat station houses, and the peculiar care with which all its works are maintained. I t is certainly one of the most interesting and attractive of Indian&

The history of the Ganges Canal belongs to the last years of the Company's rule. The great work was com- menced by Lord Auckland, but was unfortunately sus-

Memorandum of the Improvements, &c. Being a Return to an Order of the House of Commons, dated Febrnary 9, 1858.

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pended by his successor, Lord Ellenborough. Lord Hardinge, however, recognised the merits of the magni- ficent scheme, and gave it his sanction and approval; and the Court of Directors, encouraged by the financial results of the East and West Jumna Canals, consented to the cxpendi~ure of over a million sterling over this great enterprise. The rule of the East India Company wits swept away before the work was completed; but what was done in their tirne is described in their own Memorandum :-

'&The total length of the Ganges Canal and its branches, when co~npleted, will be 8984 miles, and it will furnish abundant irrigation for an area of 44 million acres. The canal, in the words of the Lieutenant- Governor of the North-Western Provinces, 'presents a system of irrigation unequalled in vastness throughout the world; while the dixnensions of the main channel, kind the stupendous works of masonry which occur in its course, more particularly in the section between Roorkee and Hardwar, render the work eminently one of na~ional distinction and honour.' The amount ex- pended on it up to the 1st May 1856 had reached the suirl of tf;1,56o,ooo ; and, when completed, the total cost will fall little short of two millions. The canal has but just begun to be brought into operation; but it is esti- mated by Colonel Baird Smith, the Director, that the annual produce of the land already watered by it is of the value of from £1 50,ooo to L200,ooo; and that when the canal is in full operation, the value will ulti- mately reach the enormous sum of seven millions sterling. From the 30th April 1856 the canal had been carried so far that the water flowed continuously through 4494 miles of the main trunk and terminal branches." '

The Punjab was annexed by Lord Dalhousie in

1 ,%.If ii~ornndum of the I ~ I I ~ T O V ~ I I ~ ~ I ~ ~ Y , ~ t c . , r8 ,S.

1849, and was then found to contain canals of two kinds -inundation canals and permanent canals.

('The inundation canals are cuts from the rivers, which are empty during the winter, because the water is then not high enough to enter them; but as the water rises in the spring, from the melting of the snows, these channels fill, and remain full till late in autumn. The fertility of the South-Western Punjab mainly depends on these canals; and in a former age they appear to have been conducted from all the rivers; their course bcing traceable by the ruins, not only of villages, but of cities and public buildings, which depended for existence on their fertilising influence. Such of these canals as were found in working order at the annexation have been - maintained, improved, and enlarged ; and plans and esti. mates have been formed for the restoration of others, As yet, howevcr, a greater part of the funds which could be spared for the purpose have been devoted to the con. struction and improvement of permanent canals." '

The only important permanent canal which the East India Cornpaily undertook in the Punjab was the Baree Donb Canal, about 450 miles in length. To John Law- rence and to Lord Dalhousie, India is indebted for this magnificent work. John Lawrence continuously pressed on the Indian Government the expediency of construct- ing roads and canals, promising that such expenditure would soon return itself tenfold in increased revenue. "If we wish to feed the thousands of human beings," wrote the Lahore Board, " whom the change of rule must necessarily throw out of employment, we cannot more rcadily do so than by cutting new canals, a d improving

JB~M!?' responded thc beds of the old ones." "Ever Lord Dalhousie, " I found lands of vast extent, fertile properties now lying comparatively waste, but wanting only water to convert them into plains of the richest

' Mcmorar~dun~ r?f tlre I~t~provements, dc., 1858. a 1,abore Board to the Supreme Government. Letter dated Novembe~

29, 1850.

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cultivation." ' And the Court of Directors gave them cordial assent to the undertaking "-the Baree Doab

Canal-but with a caution that the work should be carried out with " due regard to economy."

Baird Smith had become the most distinguished autho- rity on irrigation in Northern India, and he took advan- tage of a furlough to Europe to visit Italy, and examine the great canal works of Lombardy and Piedmont. And the East India Company paid his expenses for a similar scientific visit to the United States of America. I t is needless to add that the Baree Doab Canal was pushed on vigorously. By May I 8 5 6, more than 3 2 5 miles had been excavated ; and the work was expected to be com- pleted in I 8 gg. The total cost was estimated at a million sterling, and the expected return at AI 20,.000, or I 2 per cent. on the outlay per a ~ n u m . ~

The province of Bombay does not boast of large rivers, except the Narbada and the Tapti, which water a few districts only; and there is little scope for irrigation by canals in the uplands of the Deccan. And sufficient attention was not paid by the Company's servants to irrigation by means of wells and reservoir tanks. In Sindh, cultivation was dependent on the rise of the Indus, whose waters were distributed by a network of old canals ; and the Company spent £2 5,000 annually in keeping these canals in working order.

Madras was rich in the remains of reservoir tanks, built by old Rajas and Polygars; and Dr. Francis Buchanan had observed and described them in course of his journey from Madras to the West Coast as early as 1800.~ A

1 Minute dated December 6, 1850. a Court of Directors to the Governor-General. Letter dated April 25,

1851. a Me?nornndum of the Improvements, &c., 1858. 4 >>very province in India has its distinct irrigation requirements. In

the alluvial basins of the Ganges and the Indus the most suitable irriga- tion works are canals from these rivers; while away from the rivers, wells are the most suitable. In Bengal with i t s copio~rs rainfall, shallow ponds are the most suitable works, and these were numerous in the olden times, sometimes of very large dimensions. Iu Madras and Southern India, where


systematic restoration and preservation of these ancient works, and the excavation of new works of the same kind where most needed, would have changed the face of the country within fifty or sixty years, and the Company might have handed over the Southern Province to the Crown with its agriculture safeguarded, and its popula- tion protected from famines. But irrigation was sadly neglected; and when, sometimes, a Collector undertook the restoration of an old reservoir, it was mainly with the purpose of adding to the heavy asscssment of his district.

There are, however, a few tracts in the Province of Madras where irrigation by means of canals on a large scale is possible, and these tracts are the deltas of the great r i v e r e t h e Godavari, the Krishna, and the Kaveri, Thoughtful men perceived, early in the nineteenth ccn- tury, the possibility of utilising these great rivers, and irrigating their deltas ; and the name of Sir Arthur Cotton is imperishably connected with the first great canal worka in the South, as those of Baird Smith and his colleagues are in the North.

Coleroon is one of the branches of the Kaveri; and the old Coleroon Works, constructed by the ancient Hindus, can be traced from the second century of thc Christian Era. When the country came under British administration in I 8 o I , the old works were found to be very defective; the bed of the river was rising by the deposit of silt ; and the extent of irrigated land was diminishing. The success of the Jumna Canals in Northern India at last suggested the improvement of the Coleroon Works in the South; and f r o m ~ B j 6 the work was regularly and vigorously prosecuted. The total ex- penditure on the Upper and Lower Coleroon anicuts

the soil is undulating, and the underlying rock retains the water, the most suitable irrigation works are reservoirs made by putting up large embank- ments, and thus impounding the water descending from the hill slopes. Buch were most of the old reservoirs of Madras. See Voelcker's Improve. merit of Indian Agriodturc, I 893.

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came to upwards of .68o,ooo; and a further sum of £~oo ,ooo was spent on subsidiary works for conveying irrigation over the district of Tanjore, and portions of Trichinopoly and South Arcot. The lands irrigated from the Coleroon and Kavcri increased from 630,000 acres to 7 16,000 acres; and the land revenue was increased by $44,000 per annum, giving a return of over 24 per cent. on the out1ay.l

The East India Company took credit to themselves for the successful and profitable results of this great work, but the real credit is due to Sir Arthur Cotton, who first conceived the idea, and commenced the construction, of the Upper Coleroon Dam against much opposition. Born in I 803, he had come out to Madras in I 8 2 I ; and before his final retirement from India in I 860, he had won for himself a reputation higher than that of any other engineer who has ever worked in India. "The permanent prosperity of Tanjore," wrote Bnird Smith, the great irrigation rnan of Northern India, "is without doubt to be attributed in large measure to that first bold step taken by Colonel Cotton in the construction of the Upper Coleroon Dam, under circ*mstances of great difficulty, with restricted means, against much opposition, and with heavy personal responsibilities."

The great reputation won by Arthur Cotton by the Coleroon Works marked him out as the fittest man to undertake the task on which his fame mainly rests, the Godavari Works. He selected a place a few miles below the ancient Hindu capital of Rajamundri, and he con- structed his magnificent anicut in four sections, taking advantage of two islands in the river. The total esti- mated expenditure was £264,000; but the East India Company looked at it as a profitable speculation, and ex-

' Memorandum on the Improvements, &., 1858. 8 a General Sir A7 thur Cotton, his Life m d Work, by his daughter, Lady

Hope (London, IF), p. 52.

petted an increase of land revenue by ~ 3 0 0 , 0 0 0 , or over I 00 per cent. per annum.'

There remained, then, the Krishna River; and the anicut across that river was commenced in I 8 5 3. The cost was originally estimated at A I 5 5,000 ; and an in- crease of £60,000 in the land revenue, or 39 per cent. on the outlay, was expected per annum

These were the principal irrigation works undertaken by the East India Company before 1858, when they ceased to exist. The works were constructed at a great expense ; and the Company could fairly claim an adequate return on their outlay by a moderate rate on the water they supplied. I t will be noticed, however, from the figures given above, that the Company went further, especially in the benighted Province of Madras; they raised the land revenue as much as it was possible to raise it, leaving the unfortunate cultivators as permanently poor as they were before. This policy would scarcely be considered wise or generous in a landlord dealing with his tenants; it was distinctly ungenerous and unwise in the Government of a great country dealing with a vast agricultural population. The growth of wealth and the accumulation of capital among a people should ever be the foremost aim of an enlightened Government.

The history of railways in India is different in its character from the history of irrigation works. Irrigation works paid, and more than paid, from the very commence- ment; railways did not give an adequate return on the

' Memorandum on the Improvements, be., 1858. The work with its extensions cost much mote in the end, and either the

East IndiaCompany, nor the Crown Adm~nistration which s eeded, was willing to find money for this beneficial and profitab ation work, while d they squandered money over railzvrr y works. Sir Arthur CottonLspoke of it before the Select Committee of 1878 when he was examined as a witness.

"It has taken thirty-two ye:trs to obtain ~ 7 ~ ~ 3 , 0 0 0 tor them-&zo,ooo a year for works which from the very first had been a] most prodigious success. . . . The only dispute is whether they yield 27, 28, or 40 per cent. ; and now after thirty-two years only 700,000 acres out of one million are irrigated. . . . During this time there not the least question about ,~,SCX~,COO for sixty miles of railway to Nagpur, which it was acknowledged would not pay 4 per cent."-Gene~al Sir Arthu~ Cotton, ILLS L?fe and Work, by Lady Hope, p. 276.

a Memorandwm on the Improvem~nts, bc., 1858,

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outlay. Irrigation works were converted into a source of revenue by the Government ; railways led to a permanent loss to the Government year after year. Irrigation secured crops, increased the produce, and averted famines in years of drought ; railways helped the conveyance of food to afflicted tracts in famine years, but did not add to the produce of the land. (

I t might naturally be expected that, under these circ*mstances, the Government of an agricultural country like India would be more partial to irrigation works than to railways. But Englishmen in their own country were more familiar with railroads than with canals ; and they made the mistake of judging the needs of India accord- ingly. British manufacturers, too, thought that railways would more quickly open up the interior of India to their commodities than canals ; and the administration both of the East India Company and of the Crown was subjected to a continuous Parliamentary pressure to extend and multiply railway lines in India, even at a loss to the revenues of the country. There was no counter pressure from the people of India, who had no votes and no representatives in the Executive Government ; and irrigation works were thus treated with comparative neglect, while railways were multiplied beyond the urgent needs or the resources of the country.

Two private associations called the East Indian Rail- way Company and the Great Indian Peninsula Railway Company, were formed in 1845 ; but the projectors found it impossible to raise the necessary funds for their schemes without the assistance of Government. After much discussion the Directors of the East India Company consented to grant assistance in the shape of guaranteeing interest on the railway capital. The terms of the agree- ment were that, if the nett receipts from the railways were less than 5 per cent. on the capital expended, the Government of India would make good the difference from the revenues of India. If, on the other hand, the

nett receipts from the railways were more than 5 per one half of the excess would go to the railway

companies, and the other to the Government of India. To take an example, if the railway traffic yielded 4 per cent. on the capital expended, the Government of India would pay I per cent. to make up the guaranteed rate of interest. If, on the other hand, the traffic yielded 7 per cent. on the outlay, the shareholders of the railway company would keep 6 per cent., and would pay the Government of India I per cent. The manage- ment remained with the railway company.'

I t was also stipulated that the railway companies could surrender the works on giving six months' notice, and the Government would have to repay the whole amount expended by them. And the Government was empowered, after the expiration of twenty-five and fifty years respectively, to purchase the lines at the market value of the shares. Lastly, at the expiration of ninety- nine years, the land and works lapsed to the Government, who would have to purchase the engines and carriages at a valuationa2

East fidian Railway.-In I 8 54, only 374 miles of this line were open for traffic; and in February I 85 5 the length opened was 121 miles, from Calcutta to Raniganj. Lord Dalhousie then drew up a scheme of a general system of trunk railways for India; and another contract was entered into, by which the same railway company agreed to extend the line to Delhi, and accepted 44 per cent. as the guaranteed interest on their capital spent on this extension. But the Indian MutinJr occurred before any extension was opened for traffic, and the administration of the East India Company terminated after the mutiny.

Great I d a n Peninsula Railway.-The line from 1 Juland Danver's Report to the Secretary of State for India, dated

lldarch 12, 1860, paragraph 4. ' Zbid., 1860, paragraph 4.

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the guarantee system should not be underlakex~ in Hdix except on the ground of' absolute political necessity ; that all other lincs should be left entirely to private enterprise; and that canals were more suited to the needs of India, both as a means of cheap transit to the people and as a protection against droughts and famines.


THE Company's Charter, renewcd in 1834, was to ex- pire in I 8 54. A fresh renewal was contemplated, and the usual inquiries into the past administration of the Company were instituted by Select Comnlittees of both Houses of Parliament. The evidence taken by the Select Committees, and published in the shape of Blue Books, are the most valuable materials for the history of India during the early years of Queen Victoria's reign.

A Select Committee of the House of Lords sat in I 8 5 2 ; examined Cosmo Melvill, Sir George Clerk, John Stuart Mill, and other important witnesses ; and submitted their Report in June I 852. And a Select Committee of the Lords sat again in I 8 5 2-5 3 ; and submitted three Re- ports in August I 8 5 3. Among the witnesses examined by this Committee were Lord Hardinge, Lord Gough, Sir Charles Napier, Sir Edward Ryan, Sir Erskine Perry, Sir Charles Trevelyan, Frederick Halliday, George Campbell, Alexander Duff, John Marshman, and Horace Hayman Wilson-names well known in India.

Similarly, a Select Comriiittee of the House of Com- mons, consisting of the Chancellor of the Exchcquer, Lord John Russell, Sir Charles Wood, Cobden, Gladstone, and other Members sat in I 8 5 2. They examined Lord Elphinstone, Lord Ellenborough, Lord Hardinge, Sir George Clerk, Cosmo Melvill, Henry Thoby Prinsep, and other. witnesses; and submitted their Report in June 18 5 2 . And a Select Committee of the Commons, con- sisting of the Members named above and other Members like Macaulay, Lord Stanley, and Lord Palmerston, sat


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during the Session of I 8 5 2-5 3. They examined Sir

George Clerk, Sir Edward Ryan, Sir Erskine Perry, Sir Charles Trevelyan, Frederick Halliday, Hay Cameron, Merttins Bird, Dr. Royle, John Sullivan, John Marshman, and other witnesses ; and submitted six Reports between May and August I 8 5 3 .

We do not propose to give within the limits of the present chapter anything like a summary of this evidence, submitted with eleven Reports, and covering four thousand folio printed pages. All that it is possible for us to do is to place before the reader the views and opinions of some of the most eminent men of the day on some of the niost important questions of their time. There is a distinct advantagc in reviewing the Indian administration of the early Victorian Age by help of the opinions of those who took a, share in that administration. We not only clearly understand the system which was followed, but we also see how the system worked. We not only learn the rules which guided the administrators, but we also get a living picture of the administration itself, from the very men who spent twenty or thirty or forty years of their lives in carrying on the work, amidst the vast population of the Indian Empire.

The India Act of I 834, following Pitt's India Act of 1784, organised a double government for India. The

powers of administration were left with the twenty-four Directors of the East India Company; the powers of control were placed in the hands of a Board of Control consisting of men appointed by the Crown. The Com- pany ceased to be traders, and stood forth simply as ad~rlinistrators in India from r 834. And it was declared that all the puwers of the Ilirectors of the Company should be subject to the control of the Board, except in respcct of the appointment of servants and officers

specified in the Act. The Court of Directors originated everything; the Board of Control controlled everything. For convenience of work, the twenty-four Directors divided themselves into three Committees, viz. the Committee of Finance, the Committee of Political and Military Affairs, and the Committee of Revenue and Judicial matters.'

There was, however, one important subject in which the Court of Directors had no power of initiative. The Board of Control made peace or war without consulting the Directors, acting through a Secret Committee of the East India Company. ' All proceedings of a great political nature, involving peace and war, may be said to be under the immediate direction of the Minister of the Crown, acting in communication with the chief authority in India through the Secret Committee of the East India Company, which so far acts entirely indepen- dently of the Directors of the East India Company."'

I t thus happened that India was often involved in war through the action of the President of the Board of Control-a Member of the British Cabinet-without the knowledge of the Court of Directors. If the Court of Directors had any power in the matter, Lord Auck- land's Afghan War, " which ended in the loss of I 5,000

men, and an expenditure of many millions of money, might have been prevented." " The Court of Directors have no knowledge whatever of the origin, progress, or the present state of the war in Burma. I have twice asked for the papers, and I have been given to under- stand that it was not tl~ought desirable to communicate them to the Court."

I t is scarcely necessary to point out that, by this unsatisfactory arrangement, Imperialist British Ministers like Lord Palmerston could, and did, involve India in

f Cosmo Melvill's Evidence, Commons' Report of 1852. Evidence of Col. Sykes, himself a Director of the East India Corn-

pan^, Commons' Report of 1852. ' s i r T. H. Maddock'ci Evidence, Commons' Report of 1852.

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expeditions and wars for the Imperial interests of England; and the Court of Directors had to find money for such wars undertaken without their consent or know- ledge. The Court of Directors have many sins to answer for; and they hastened their own end by the annexat,ions of Indian States effected by an untrue interpretation of the ancient law of India. But it should be said in justice to that body that for the worst Indian wars of the early Victorian Age-the wars in Afghanistan, in Sindh, and in Burma-the Court of Directors are not answerable.

Leaving aside this undoubted defect in the constitu- tion of the Government, the double system answered well enough in practice. I t kept the Directors of the Company under a necessary control, and it avoided the evil of vesting Crown Ministers with irresponsible and despotic powers. The wisest and ablest Governor- General of the period declared that " the system of double government is much wiser than bringing the Crown more prominently forward."' And the most thoughtful and far-seeing English philosopher of the nineteenth century approved of the system. John Stuart Mill had been for thirty years an Assistant Examiner of Indian Correspondence, from I 8 2 3 to I 8 5 2,

and he therefore spoke with authority on the system under which he had worked.

" I t is next to impossible to form in one country an organ of government for another which shall have a strong interest in good government; but if that cannot be done, the next best thing is, to form a body with the least possible interest in bad government; and I con- ceive that the present governing bodies in this country for the affairs of India have as little sinister interest of any kind as any govern~nent in the world."

Lord Hardinge's Evidence, Commons' Report of 1852.

The Court of Directors who are the initiating body, not being the body which finally decides, not being able to act but by the concurrence of a second authority, and having no means of causing their opinion to be adopted by that authority except the strength of their reasons,- there is much greater probability that a body so situated will examine and weigh carefully the pounds of all pro- ceedings, than if the same body which had the initiative gave the final order."

To carry on the Government of India solely through a Secretary of State "would be the most com- plete despotism that could possibly exist in a country like this ; because there would be no provision for any discussion or deliberation, except that which might take place between the Secretary of State and his subordinates in office, whose advice and opinion he would not be bound to listen to ; and who, even if he were, would not be responsible for the advice or opinion that they might give." l

Fifty years have passed since John Stuart Mill gave this opinion, and our experience of these fifty years proves the foresight and wisdom of the great philosopher. The administration of India has certainly improved in many respects, within these fifty years, owing to larger experience; but there can be little doubt that the irresponsible government of the Secretary of State has also been attended with many hurtful results. There is no real contJrol over the Secretary of State's action, similar to that which was exercised on the Court of Directors by the Board of Control; no periodical in- quiries are made into the present administration, as inquiries were made into the Company's administration

, nt every renewal of their Charter; and no jealous and salutary criticism, like that to which the Company was subject, restrains and corrects the action of the present Indian Government. And the results of this irrespon-

John Stuart Mill's Evidence, Lords' Report of 1852.

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sible administration have not been altogether happy. To confine ourselves to financial matters only, the annual revenues of India averaged thirty millions sterling in the last five years of the Company's administration ; and out of this sum, only three and a half millions were remitted to England for Home Charges. By the last year of Queen Victoria's reign, I goo- I go I , the revenues had been nearly doubled, amounting to fifty-five millions excluding railway and irrigation receipts, although the extent of the empire remained much the same,' and the wealth and income of the people had certainly not increased. And a sum exceeding seventeen millions was remitted to England as Home Charges. This enorlnous economic drain (increased fivefold in less than fifty years) would have been impossible under the rule of the East India Company.

British merchants and manufacturers always desired India to be well governed, but never had, or could have, that " strong interest in good government" which alone could ensure it. They naturally looked primarily at their own trade and manufacturing interests; and they believed that if the East India Company were abolished, and India were placed directly under a Crown Minister, it would be possible to secure further facilities for British trade with India, by means of pressure brought on the Crown Minister. I t does not surprise us, therefore, that hfanchester, Birmingham, and Liverpool differed from the opinion of Lord Hardinge and John Stuart Mill, and suggested the government of India through a Crown X I inister.

The City of Manchester, in Public Meeting assembled, believe that no security can be given for the reform of

abuses in India, but by a thorough reform of its home


government; and entertain the opinion that the Court of Directors and Proprietors of the East India Stock should be entirely disconnected from the Government of India, which, for the future, should in this country consist of a Minister and a Council appointed by the Crown, and directly responsible to the Imperial Parlia- ment." '

The Liverpool East India and China Association pinted out the necessity of 'I improved means of internal communication for produce and merchandise to and from the seaports of India "; protested against the excessive land-tax of India and against the suppression of the gold standard; asked for a better administration of justice and of the police; exclaimed against delays in the Customs department ; and <' would in all humility suggest the expediency of extending to India in some form the immediate authority and supervision of the Board of Control."

The inhabitants of Birmingham in Public Meeting assembled were more peremptory in their demands and prayed that the Parliament would abolish the existing system of a double government, and establish a home administration appointed by the Crown, and directly responsible to the Imperial Parliament."

The administrative policy of the British Empire is determined, not by philosophers and statesmen, but by the merchants, manufacturers and the voters of Great 13ritain. And when the manufacturers and merchants of Great Britain desired a Crown Government for India, the introduction of that form of government was only a question of time.

Commons' First Report, 1853, Appendix 7. a Commons' Fourth Report, Appendix 2. a Ib'd.

1 Upper Burma and Beluchistan yield little revenue.

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Faintly, and from far across the seas, was heard the first demand for representation from the people of India.

The Madras Native Association and the Native In- habitants of the Presidency of Madras suggested that the Council of Madras "be composed of officials and non- officials in equal number, six or seven of each ; the former to be nominated by the Government on taking their place at the Council Board in virtue of their office, the Advocate-General being one; and the latter to be selected by the Governor out of a list of eighteen or twenty-one persons chosen by the votes of the rate-payers in Madras, and of persons eligible to serve on the grand and petty juries, or in such other manner as your Honourable House may deem preferable. That as the official members, in conjunction with the casting vote of the Governor when requisite, could always carry any point of absolute importance, there could be no hindrance to the safe working of the suggested plan, while a suffi- ciency of information on all subjects would be afforded."

The Members of the Bombay Association, and other Native Inhabitants of the Presidency of Bombay, sub- mitted " that the time has arrived when the Natives of India are entitled to a much larger share than they have hitherto had in the administration of the affairs of their country, and that Councils of the Local Governments should, in matters of general policy and legislation, be opened, so as to admit of respectable and intelligent Natives taking a part in the discussion of matters of general interest to the country, as suggested by Lords Ellenborough, Elphinstone, and others."

The Members of the British Indian Association and other Native Inhabitants of the Bengal Presidency sub- mitted for the consideration of Parliament " the propriety

1 Commons' First Report, Appendix 7. a Ibid.

of constituting a Legislative Council at Calcutta, com- posed of seven members-three selected from among the most respectable and qualified Native Inhabitants of each Presidency to represent the Natives thereof-one member appointed by the Governor of each Presidency from among the senior Civil Officers on its establishment to represent the interests of the Government-and one member appointed by the Crown." l

While Indian Associations thus put forward their cautious and almost timid claims for representation, they also urged their claims for a larger share of employment in the higher offices, according to that famous clause in the Act of I 83 3 which was so much applauded in the House of Commons, and so consistently ignored in India. And English witnesses testified to the violation of the promise made to the Indian people. Hay Cameron, Legal Member of the Governor-General's Council from I 843 to I 848, was emphatic on this point.

Xord Monteag1e.-As far as declaration goes, could there be any much stronger declaration of the gencral eligibility of the Natives than that which is contained in the 87th clause of the last Act ?

Hay Cameron.-No, it seems to me very strong and very clear. . . .

Lord Monteag1e.-Taking the clause in the larger sense in which you interpret it, have the practical results been such as to realise the expectations of the framers of the clause ?

Hay Cameron.-No, quite the reverse. Not a single Native that I am aware of has been placed in any better position in consequence of that clause in the statute, than he would have been in, if no such clause had been enacted.'

The evidence of Sir Charles Trevelyan was still more emphatic. He referred to the Imperial nations of the past-to the Macedonians and the Romans-and showed

' qommons' First Report,, Appendix 7. Lords' Second Report, 1853.

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how lastina empires had been founded by placing con- 1 quered nations " on a complete footing of equality " with the conquerors; and he gave his opinion that " the best mode of retaining our Empire over India is by employing the Natives in posts of trust and emolument; but that for t i~a t purpose they should be educated so as to qualify them better to perform those duties." '

The Act of I 5 3 3 was passed in the full tide of true Liberalism, only a year after the first Reform Act was passed in England. Since then, true Liberalism had ebbed, and the tide of Imperialism had swollen in England, and a regard for the people had abated in India. Franois Robinson, who had been n judge and a Member of the Boarci of Revenue in India, testified to this melancholy fact.

''. There is a strong feeling of dislike," he said, "on the part of the ruling race in India to the people who are ruled over; the fact was known no better to any man than to the late Lord Williacrl Bentinck who first attempted to stem the current of that feeling, and to raise the Native population in the scale of society."

" Do you wish the Committee to understand," Francis ~obinson~was asked, " that the regard paid to the feelings of the Natives has or has not been increased greatly since particular attention was drawn to the subject by the measures of the Governor-General, Lord William Bentinck, himself ? "

'.<I think," answered Francis Robinson, "there has been a reaction upon that point. Since the time of Lord William Bentinck there has been a reaction."

Two decades had passed since the reforms of Lord William Bentinck. He had endeavoured to open out new positions of trust and responsibility to the people by the creation of such posts as those of Principal Sudder Amins, Deputy Magistrates and Deputy Collectors.

Lords' Second Report, 1853. a Commons' Fourth Report, 1853.

But after he had left India, little further progress was made. The number of Indians employed in Civil ~dministration in I 828, the year of Lord William's arrival in India, and in 1849, i.e. twenty-one years after, is shown in the following statement.'

Principal Sudder Amins . . Sudder Amins . . , , Munsiffs . . . . . Deputy Magistrates . , . Deputy and Assistant Collectors Sub-Collector's Assistants . . Abkaro (Excise) Superintendents Tahsildars . . . . . Sheristadars . , , . Mamlatdars . , . , Daftardars . . . , . Kamavisdars . . . . Adalatus . . . . . Mir Munsliis , . . Educational . . . . , 14 Various . . . . , . 149


- 990 - Total . . 1197 2813

Less than three thousand Indians found employment in Government services in British India in I 849. Less than a thousand of them held any posts of honour, trust, and responsibility.

The principal changes introduced by the Act of I 8 3 3, which came into operation in April I 8 34, provided that Bengal and Agra should be formed into separate Governments. Bengal still remained directly under the Governor-General, Lord William Bentinck; while Sir Charles Metcalfe was appointed the first Governor of Agra. A Legal Member was added to the Governor- General's Council, and Macaulay was the first Legal Member who was sent out to India. Hitherto each Province-Bengal, Madras, and Bombay-had enacted its own Regulations ; henceforth the Governor-General,

Commons' Report of 1852, Appendix 3.

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with the aid of his Council, was enabled to pass Acts applicable to all India.

Bengal still remained without a separate Governor; the Governor-General of India was also the Governor of Bengal; and Henry Thoby Prinsep was gazetted Secretary both to the Government of India and to the Government of Bengal.'

Madras and Bombay were, in theory, made more directly subordinate to the Governor-General, but uufor- tunately there was little inclination to interfere with the virtual independence of the administration of those Pro- vinces. " The Governor-General in Council in Calcutta very seldom interferes with the internal arrangements of the Madras and Bombay Governments; he does so in finance when an expenditure in money is required, and in Legislative Acts; but in revenue, police, and judicial matters, he seldom, if ever, interferes." '

When the Punjab was annexed in I 849, it was made into a fifth Province, and was placed under a Board consisting of the two Lawrences and Mansel, as has been described in a previous chapter. The Board was dis- established after three years, and John Lawrence was made chief Commissioner of the Punjnb in I 8 52.

Each of the Provinces was divided into districts; and district officers, combining in themselves criminal, revenue, and executive duties, still conducted the admin- istration in the primitive method organised by Warren Hastings and Lord Cornwallis in the previous century. The more important criminal cases were tried by judges, who, with their Indian subordinates, disposed of all civil cases.

Each Province had two superior Courts, the Sudder Court consisting of the Company's civil servants, and

1 Prinsep's Evidence, Commons' Report of 1852. Lord Hardinge'e Evidence, Commons' Report of 1852.

the Supreme Court consisting of judges appointed by the Crown. There was a concensus of opinions that the Courts should be amalgamated.

Sir Erskine Perry, who had been puisne judge, and then Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Bombay between I 84 I to I 8 5 2 , thought it " extremely desirable to amalgamate them, and one of the first institutions for the improvement of India would be to let all the justice of India run in the Queen's name. . . . The system which I suggest wo~ild, to a great extent, prevent that collision of Courts which now takes place."

Sir Edward Ryan, who had been puisne judge, and then Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Bengal between I 827 and 1842, also thought that " the amalga- mation of the Supreme Court and the Sudder Court is desirable. The notion which I entertain is this, that it would be desirable to unite the Queen's Judges with the Company's Judges in one Court, and such Court should be an appellate Court for the Presidency in which it is established."

Sir Edward Gambier, who had been puisne judge, and then Chief Justice of Madras between I 836 and I 8 50, said : ' I Every suggestion which I might make would pro- bably have reference to what 1 think a most desirable measure, the union of the two Courts at the Presidency, the Supreme Court and the Sudder Adalat Court." l

The opinion of the Bar was as emphatic as that of the Bench, and John Farley Leith, an English barrister who had taken up practice in the Privy Council in Lon- don after retiring from Calcutta, described the advantages of the proposed amalgamation very clearly. I' There should be associated with the Company's Officers, who are members of the Covenanted Civil Service of India, pro- fessionally educated English judges. . . . The Covenanted Service Judges would bring into practical use all their

Evidence of Sir Erskine Perry, Sir Edward Ryan, and Sir Edward Gambler, Commons' First Report, 1853

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experience and knowledge of the institutions of the country and the people, their manners and thcir usages, and you would then have an educated, practical lawyer to exercise his judgment on the facts and law, guided by a legal mind accustomed to accurate investigation and logical reasoning." l

The British Indian Association of Bengel also sub- mitted " that the Sudder Court and the Supl-eme Court should be amalgamated as soon as possible." In ac- cordance with this strong and unanimous opinion the Courts were amalgamated, and converted into the High Courts of Calcutta, Madras, and Bombay, when the Co~n- pany's Charter was renewed.

A Law Commission had been appointed after the passing of the Act of I 8 3 3) and Macaulay, the first Legal Member of the Governor-General's Council, was its first President. The Commission first set to work to frame a Penal Code for India. Macaulay had the Code Napoleon and other materials before him ; and the Indian Penal Code was drafted and submitted in I 8 3 7. I t was then sub~nitted to legal authorities in England and in India, and the observations of the Indian Courts were reviewed in I 847 by the then remaining members of the Law Commission, Elliot and Hay Cameron. The matter then slept for some time, and the draft was subsequently so altered by Bethune, then Legal Member, that it came to be called the Bethune Code.3 The Code, however, was not passed into law till after the abolition of the East India Company's government.

The Law Commission of I 848, then consisting of Elliot ant1 Hay Cameron, also prepared a Criminal Pro- cedure Code; but that too was not passed into law till after the extinction of the Company's administration. It was Lord Canning, the first Viceroy of India under the Crown,

Commons' First Report, 1853. a lb id . , Appendix 7. Sir Edward Ryan's Evidence and Sir Erskine Perry's Evidence, Lords'

First Report, 1853. And Frederick Halliday's Evidence Commons' First Report, 1853.


who passed the Penal Code and the Criminal Procedure Code of India, as well as a Code of Civil Procedure.

In the absence of codified law, the Company's judges and magistrates performed their work as best they could ; and Indian officers, appointed to responsible judicial posts, displayed an ability, judgment, and capacity for judicial work, which won the admiration of the highest authori- ties. Sir Edward Ryan was " very much struck with their capacity and their power of administering justice "; and Sir Erskine Perry cited and supported the opinion of two leading barristers practising in India that " the judg- ments of the Native judges were infinitely superior to the judgments of the Company's judges who sat in appeal."

Nevertheless the Indian judges were still badly paid. A European judge, said Sir Erskine before the Lords' Committee, received about 63000 a year, a Munsiff re- ceived £ I 20. And examined by the Commons' Com- mittee in the same year, Sir Erskine stated his opinions still more emphatically.

"I think as connected with the judicial service, in point of both intellectual and moral capacity, there is no judicial employment to which they might not attain. In the case of Zilla judges, where I was suggesting the employment of English barristers, I think it would be very advisable for the Native interests, and for the good government of India, that Natives should be associated with English judges in those posts. . . . I think the great instrument you have in your hands for securing good conduct in your Native officials is the same which you have applied to the English officials in India. By all accounts you have a very trustworthy English service throughout the country ; you have obtained it by giving them very large remuneration ; by applying the same principle to the Native einploy6s you would secure exactly the same kind of service in my opinion."

Evidence of Sir E. Ryan and Sir E. Perry, Lords' First Ileport, 1853. "omruons' First Report, 1853.

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I t is greatly to the credit of Sir Erskine Perry that, although he was merely a judicial officer in India, he could see beyond the precincts of law courts, and judge the character of the people by their ordinary transactions in their daily sphere of life. Immediately after the re- marks which we have quoted above, we find Sir Erskine's views about the commercial integrity of the people of India.

('Their commercial integrity has always been very famous ; it is quite remarkable what a principle of mer- cantile honour has prevailed among them, such as to give security to their paper from one end of India to the other; the sanctity of mercantile books was such that in the Native courts of justice, the production of the books was quite conclusive as to the veracity of any transaction in dispute."

And we are tempted here to quote the testimony of another Englishman, a contemporary of Sir Erskine Perry, who knew the people of India, not so often in law courts or in commercial offices, as in their village homes. The name of Colonel Sleeman is still remem- bered in India as a high and distinguished officer who travelled from province to province and from village to village to secure order, to repress crime, and to stamp out the criminals known as Thugs. (' I have had before me," said Colonel Sleeman, "hundreds of cases in which a man's property, liberty, and life has depended on his telling a lie, and he has refused to tell it."l Few Englishmen, who have mixed with the people of India only in law courts and offices, will subscribe to this opinion; few of them who have known them in their village homes will deny it. For it is a simple truth, which every observer can verify for himself, that in their everyday life, in their family relations, as in their social and commercial transactions, the vast population of India are as simple and honest, faithful and truthful, as any nation on earth.

Runblea u ~ d Hecollections of'an I?~Jialc O&iaL,


The least successful feature in British administration in India was, and is to this day, the Police. Frederick Halliday, who becarne soon after the first Lieutenant- Governor of Bengal, described the Police administration of India in his time at great length.

<'The truth is, that the subordinate officers of the Police are generally very much underpaid, and being exposed to great temptations, are extremely corrupt. . . . Immediately under the Magistrate or Deputy Magistrate there is a Daroga or Thanadar who, till comparatively late years, was paid at the rate of 2 5 rupees (50s.) a month; he has large powers, and is stationed in the centre of a jurisdiction of zoo to 300 square miles. . . . Under the Daroga is an officer called the Muharrar or clerk, whose business it is to take down depositions in writing, and to keep the records belonging to the Police Station; he also undertakes precisely the same duties as the Daroga whenever the Daroga is not present, or when deputed by the Daroga to perform them; his salary is 8 rupees (16s.) a month. There is also a Jamadar, whose salary is 8 or 10 rupees (16s. or 20s.) a month, and who performs similar duties (except those of writing), subject to the directions of the Daroga; and there are some ten to twenty-five constables or Barkan- dazes, who receive from 4 to 5 rupees (8s. or 10s.) a month, and who, upon a pressure of business, are some- times deputed alone to make investigations into occur- rences under the orders of the Daroga. Below all these, who are paid officers of the Government, there are the watchmen of the village." Further on Halliday said: " 1 cannot say that crime is diminishing. I t is diminish- ing in atrocity; for instance, Dacoities (robberies by gangs) in the Lower Provinces are as numerous as ever; in the immediate neighloourhood of Calcutta more

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numerous; but they are greatly diminished in cruelty and atrocity." '

Another witness, Robert Torrens, who had served as Magistrate, Judge, and Commissioner of Police in India, referred to the combination of the Police and Judicial duties in the same officer as a source of much evil.

Zord Harrowby.-The same man has to hunt out the crime and the criminal and to decide upon the crime afterwards ?

Towens.-He has. Zord Harrowby.-That is objectionable, not only in

theory, but found to be so in practice ? Torrens.-I think, highly so ; in my experience it has

been so?

I t is somewhat remarkable that no British adminis- trator of this period seriously endeavoured to improve the police and general administration of the country by accepting the co-operation of the people themselves and their Village Communities. India had been the earliest home of Village Communities, and for centuries and thousands of years these self-governing Communities had maintained order and peace, and settled disputes in villages, even when there was anarchy in the realm.

In Madras Province, it was reported as early as I 8 12, that '(under this simple form of Municipal Government the inhabitants of the country have lived from time immemorial. . . . The inhabitants give them- selves no trouble about the breaking up and divisions of kingdoms ; while the village remains entire, they care not to what power it is transferred, or to what sovereign it devolves ; its internal economy remains unchanged."

Lords' First Report, 1853. Lords' Third Report, 1853.

5 Fifth Report, 1812, p, 85,

In the Province of Bombay, it was reported in I 8 r g that "these communities contain in miniature all tho

of a State within themselves, and are almost sufficient to protect their members if all other govern- ments are withdrawn." 1

And in Northern India, Sir Charles Metcalfe had in 1830 that " the Village Communities are little

republics, having nearly everything they want within themselves. They seem to last where nothing else lasts. Dynasty after dynasty tumbles down, revolution succeeds to revolution, Hindu, Pathan, Moghal, Mahratta, Sikh, English, are masters in turn, but the Village Communi- ties remain the same. . . . The union of the Village Communities, each one forming a separated little State in itself, has, I conceive, contributed more than any other cause to the preservation of the people of India through all revolutions and changes which they havc suffered, and it is in a high degree conducive to their happiness, and to the enjoyment of a great portion of freedom and independence."

I t is a lamentable fact that these ancient and self- governing institutions have declined, and virtually dis- appeared, under the too centralised administration of British rulers. Some degree of trust in the 1e:~ders of the villages, some powers in revenue, criminal and police administration, and a careful and sympathetic super- vision for the prevention of abuses, would have enabled these Comlnunities to render good service to the present day. No system of successful self-government has been introduced after the old forms were effaced; no repre- sentatives of the village population help the administra- tion of the present day ; and an alien Government lacks that popular basis, that touch with the people, which Hindu and Mahonredan Governnlents wisely maintained through centuries.

' Elphinstone's " Report on the Territoriee conquered from the Pebhwa," 1819.

9u Charles Metcalfe'e Mlnate, dated November 7, 1830.

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Western Education is perhaps the greatest of bless. ings India has gained under British Rule. I t was not with- out much hesitation that the Directors of the East India Company consented to impart English education to the people of India. When in 1792, Wilberforce proposed to add two clauses to the Charter Act of that year for sending out schoolmasters to India, he encountered the greatest opposition in the Court of Proprietors, and the clauses were withdrawn. And the proposal gave rise to a memorable debate among the Directors.

"On that occasion, one of the Directors stated that we had just lost America from our folly in having allowed the establishment of schools and colleges, and that it would not do for us to repeat the same act of folly in regard to India; and if the Natives required anything in the way of education they must come to England for it."'

The only educational institutions, therefore, founded up to I 792, were a Mahomedan College founded by Warren Hastings at Calcutta in I 78 I, and a Sanscrit College founded by Lord Corn~allis at Benares in I 792. The objects of these institutions, however, were mainly to train law officers-Maulavis and Pandits-to help English judges in the judicial administration of the country. The disinclination to spread education among the people continued for twenty years more; and it was in 181 3 that the British Parliament for the first time ordered a sum of £ ~ o , o o o to be appropriated to the education of the people of India in the three Provinces. Nothing, however, was done to apply this fund for ten years more, i.e. till I 8 2 3.

In the meantime, private enterprise had started English education in Bengal. " There were two persons who had to do with i t ; one was Mr. David Hare, and the

' J C Marshman's Evidence, Lords' Second Report, 1853. ' Sir Chailes Trevelyan's Evldcnce Lords' Second Report, 1853.

other was a Native, Ram Mohan Roy. In the year I 8 I 5 they were in consultation one evening with a few friends, as to what should be done with a view to the elevation of the Native mind and character. Ram Mohan Roy's proposition was that they should establish an Assembly or Convocation, in which what are called the higher or purer dogmas of Vedantism or ancient Hin- duism might be taught. . . . Mr. David Hare was a watchmaker in Calcutta, an ordinary illiterate man him- self, but being a man of great energy and strong practical sense, he said, the plan should be to institute an English school or college for the instruction of Native youth. Accordingly he soon drew up and issued a circular on the subject, which gradually attracted the attention of the leading Europeans, and among others, of the Chief Justice, Sir Hyde East. Being led to consider the pro- posed measure, he entered heartily into it, and got a meeting of European gentlemen assembled in May I 8 I 6. He invited, also, some of the influential Natives to attend. Then it was unanimously agreed that they should com- mence an institution for the teaching of English to the children of the higher classes to be designated the Hindu College of Calcutta. A joint Committee of Europeans and Natives was appointed to carry the design into effect. I n the beginning of I 8 17 the college, 01

rather school, was opened ; and i t was the very first English seminary in Bengal, or even in India, as far as I know.

In I 832, i.e. ten years after the educational grant of Lro,ooo had been ordered by Parliament, the Bengal Government appointed a Committee of Public Instruction. The Committee established Mahomedan Colleges at Agra and Delhi with Sanscrit classes attached ; and they also commenced an extensive system of printing Sanscrit and Arabic classics and translating European science into those languages. And the Committee made

Rev. Alexander Duff's Evidence, Lords' Second Report, 1853.

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an annual grant to the Hindu College of Calcutta, which had been established six yexs before, and this assured its usefulness and success.'

Mountstuart Elphinstone was a friend of English education, and presided at a public meeting in Bombay in 1820, and a society for the promotion of education was formed. He obtained a grant of £5000 for this society for printing works and purchasing prizes, an& all education in the vernacular languages was conducted during the next sixteen years through the agency of this society. An inquiry into the state of education in Bombay disclosed that in I 8 3 2 there were I 705 schools and 3 5, I 4 3 scholars in that pr~vince.~

Elphinstone's proposal to found a college at Bombay for the training of young civilians, with a department for the training of Indian officials, failed to obtain the sanction of the Directors of the East India Company. The first English school was opened in Bombay in I 8 2 8, the year after Elphinstone's departure ; and the great Elphinstone Institution of Bombay was not opened till I 834.

In Madras, a few educatioqal institutions supported by missionaries were in existence in 1828, but there were none supported by the Government. A Hindu named Pachiapa had left a large charity for religious uses; and Mr. Norton, Advocate-General of Madras, succeeded in collectii~g about £70,000 or 680,000 under his will. I n 1839 a central educational institution was founded out of this money, and a Board of Indian Members was appointed for the management of the ~ h a r i t y . ~ The Pachiapa College still continues to be one of the most flourishing and successful educational institutions in Madras.

An English college was established at Delhi through the exertions of Sir Charles Trevelyan.

Sir Charles Trevelyan's Evidence, Lords' Second Report, 1853. a J. S. Cotton's Mounstwrt Elphinstone and the Making of South Western

The arrival of Macaulay in India gave a fresh imprtus to English education. With his support and assistance Lord William Bentinck passed the famous Resolution of March 7, I 83 5, by which the English language was estab- lished as the language of superior education in India. The Committee of Public Instruction was enlarged ; Macaulay was appointed its President ; Sir Edward Ryan, Hay Cameron, and other members were added ; and three distinguished Indian gentlemen of the time, Radha Kant Deb, Rosomoy Dutt, and Nawab Taharvar Jung, were also enrolled as members.'

The generous desire to foster English education in India was not, however, shared by all successors of Lord William Bentinck. Lord Ellenborough, who went out to India a s Governor-General in I 84 2, was very mistrustful as to the effects of English education in India, and he attributes the same timid opinions to Dwarkanath Tagore, one of the foremost Indian publicists of the time.

" I recollect having had a visit from the late Dwsrka- nath Tagore, who was the most intelligent Native that ever appeared in this country, and one of the most intelli- gent in his own country. I had read in the newspaper that morning a speech which Dwarkanath Tagore had made on the subject of the education of the Natives of India; and when he called upon me, I said : ' I see you have been making a speech about education.' He said : ' Have they printed it ? ' I said : ' Yes, they print every- thing, but you and I know in this room we need not talk as if we were talking for publication, but we may say exactly what we think. You know that if these gentle- men who wish to educate the Natives of India were to succeed to the utmost extent of their desire, we should not remain in this country for three months.' He said : 'Not three weeks;' and perfectly true was his judg- Qent."

Trevelpan's Evidence, Lords' Second Report, 1853. ' h r d ell en borough'^ Evidence. Commons' Report of 1852. I ~ l d i a . Norton's Evidence, Lords' Second Report, 1853.

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Lord Ellenborough's successor, Lord Hardinge, was an abler administrator and a wiser statesman. He estab-

lished a hundred schools in the different Districts of Bengal for imparting education in the vernacular, as a preliminary step to higher education in English. And he passed the famous Resolution for the selection of csndi- dates for public employment from those who had been educated in the institutions established. Pandit Iswar Chandra Vidyasagar, the most distinguished educationist and literary man of his time, helped Lord Hardinge in making excellent selections.

Lastly came the famous Educational Despatch of 1854, which virtually accepted the system built up by Bentinck and Hardinge, and laid down rules for a system of education in the vernaculars of India, leading up to higher education in English. The principle is clearly enunciated in these words : " While the English language continues to be made use of, as by far the most perfect medium for the education of those persons who have acquired a sufficient knowledge of it to receive general instruction through it, the vernacular languages must be employed to the far larger class, who are ignorant of, or imperfectly acquainted with English." l

For the promotion of higher education in English the Despatch approved of the establishment of Universities in India. " The time has now arrived for the establish- ment of Universities in India, which may encourage a regular and liberal course of education by conferring academical degrees as evidences of attainment in the different branches of art and science, and by adding marks of honour for those who may desire to compete for honorary distinction. The Council of Education, in the proposal to which we have alluded, took the London University as their model ; and we agree with them, that the form, government, and functions of that University, (copies of whose Charters and Regulations we enclose for

Educational Despatch of July 19, 1854, paragraph 14.

ADMINISTRATION 2 0 3 your reference), are the best adapted to the wants of India, and may be followed with advantage, although some variation will be necessary in points of detail." l

Arrangements were made through grants in aid and in other ways, to impart education through the vernaculars to the generality of the people. And en- couragement was also given to the indigenous schools for imparting elementary knowledge to the great mass of the p e ~ p l e . ~

The Universities of Calcutta, Madras, and Bombay were founded accordingly by Lord Canning; and the system sketched out in this famous Despatch is the system which is pursued in India to the present day. Universities haye since been founded at Allahabad and Lahore; and over four million boys were attending edu- cational institutions in British India in the last year of Queen Victoria's reign.

Most of the four million boys who attend schools in British India at the present day only receive an ele- mentary education in reading, writing, and arithmetic ; and this elementary education was not originated by British administrators, but is indigenous in India. Sir Thomas Munro and Mountstuart Elphinstone reported, after inquiries made early in the nineteenth century, that elementary education had been much more diffused in

, I

hd ia from time immemorial than it had been in Europe ; I / and that Indian boys, attending their indigenous schools, 8

I showed great powers of mental calculation in simple arithmetic. The Brahmans and the upper classes of India considered it a part of their religious duty to give Some education to their children, and the classes engaged

Ed~cat~ional Despatch of July 19, 1854, paragraphs 24 and 25. ' Zbid., paragraphs 41 and 46. "Sir Erskine Perry'e Evidence, Lords' Second Report, 1853.

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in trades and commerce trained their boys in letters and in accounts, to befit them for their hereditary duties. British administration has recognised, helped, and subsi- dised this ancient system of elementary education ; but the help given is still inadequate. One of the most pressing wants of the present day is a more liberal help to village primary schools and a wider extension of primary education to cultivating classes, so that every cultivator and labourer in India may find it possible to learn read- ing, writing, and arithmetic in his own village at a nominal cost. Sir Erskine Perry complained of the smallness of grant in I 8 5 3 , and pointed out that with such an inade- quate grant the Government could not "place schools in every village." The educational grant continues to be inadequate to the present day, and the duty to " place schools in every village " remains still unfulfilled?

The education of girls has not kept pace with the education of boys, if it be judged by the test of attend- ance in schools. In a country where girls are generally married between the age of ten and fourteen, they seldom attended schools in olden times, and can do so onlycin very small numbers at the present time ; their education must be largely carried on by a system of tuition at home. Drinkwater Bethune, Legal Member of the Governor-General's Council, made a very praiseworthy and successful endeavour to start a girls' school in Calcutta, to which he devoted Ero,ooo from his own personal funds;' and Bethune School is to this day the most successful institution for girls in India, and teaches up to the highest standard of University

1 The total educational grant for t he whole of British India with it8 population of 230 milllons was a little over a million sterling in t he last pear of Queen Victoria's reign. Out of this £664,000 came from Govern- ment funds, and L484,ooo from local and mu~liclpal funds.

2 Marht~mitn's Evidence, Commons' Sixth Report, 1853.

~~amina t ions . The Indian Universities, following the example of the London University, bestow degrees on wornen, and lady graduates take their degrees in Calcutta, Madras, and Bombay. In Primary Schools little boys and girls are often taught together, and the total number of girls attending schools in the last year of Queen Victoria's reign in British India was sorllcwhat under half a million.

As has been said before, this figure is not a correct index to the spread of female education in India. Girls and girl-wives, belonging to the upper classes, generally receive education at home. And among the lower and unlettered classes, women receive instruction in religious truths and moral duties and in their national traditioils and literature, to a much larger extent than in Europe. I t may be safely asserted that the mind of the unlettered Indian woman in her village home is at least as well instructed in her religion, as well informed in her national traditions and literature, as the mind of the poor European woman who knows her Bible, and reads occasional stories in penny magazines.

A large mass of correspondence between the Court of Directors and the Indian Government, which was pub- lished in I 85 8 as a Return to an Order of the House of Commons, enables us to trace the interesting history of the Public Press in India.

As early as I 79 I , under the administration of Lord Cornwallis, oLe William Duane was arrested by the Bengal Government for deportation to Europe for writing an offensive paragraph in The Beyal Journal. The Supreme Court held that the Government was within its rights ; William Duane was warned and released ; but he repeated his attack in The World, and was sent to Europe in I 794.

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Notices were taken of other attacks in subsequent years, and in 1799 some regulations were passed by the Government of Lord Wellesley to keep the Press in order. No paper was to be published until it had been previously inspected by a Government Official. And the penalty for offending against this and other rules framed was '< immediate embarkation for Europe " ! The regula- tions were approved by the Court of Directors.

Many editors were censured for objectionable articles and paragraphs between I 801 and I 8 I 8, and many offending writers were compelled to apologise to the Government. New and milder Regulations were passed in I 8 I 8 by the Government of the Marquis of Hastings. But editors were still prohibited from publishing " animad- versions " on public measures, " discussions " tending to alarm the Native population, as well as " private scandal and personal remarks" tending to excite dissension.

For a number of years after these Regulations were passed, the Government took notice of off'ensive writings in numerous instances ; and Lieutenant-Colonel Robinson was ordered by the Commander-in-Chief to a court-martial in I 822 for writing a violent letter to the Government, in defence of what he had written in the Calcutta Journal under the anonymous title, " A Military Friend."

In Madras and Bombay also, notice was frequently taken of writings in the Press.

" A Gee Press," said the Directors in I 8 2 3, " is a fit associate and necessary appendage of a representative constitution. Wherever a Government emanates from the people, and is responsible to them, the people must necessarily have the privilege of discussing the measures of the Government; and whenever the people choose representatives to make laws affecting their persons and property, the right of animadverting on the mode in which this trust is discharged belongs, of course, to the party delegating it. But in no sense of the terms can the Government of India be called a free, a representa-

tive, or a popular Government ; the people had no voice in its establishment, nor have they any control over its acts."

gcThe Governments in India exercise a delegated derived from the Court of Directors and the

Board of Control. The Government of India resides in this country [England], and is, of course, responsible to the English public, in common with the Government of England. I t is in this country, therefore, and not in India, that its measures ought to be discussed."l

Such was the opinion held by the Directors in I 823 with regard to the Public Press of India. I t must be stated, however, that what was known as the Public Press of India then, was the Press of the small European community in India. I t neither represented nor de- fended the interests of the people; and the people of India had no Press of their own of any influence, at that time or for thirty years after. And thus it happened that, when Lord William Bentinck strove for the advancement of the people of India, and employed them in responsible offices under the Company, he was attacked by the Press of India as no Governor-General has since been attacked.

Lord William's principal adviser, Macaulay, shared a similar fate; and he refers to the Public Press of India of his time in these memorable words: I' That public opinion means the opinion of five hundred persons who have no interest, feeling, or taste in common with the fifty millions among whom they live; that the love of liberty means the strong objection which the five hundred feel to every measure which can prevent them from acting as they choose townsds the fifty million." 2

' Letter from the Chairman and Deputy Chairman of the East India Oompany to the Right Hon. C. W. W. Wynn, dated January 17, 1823.

a Trevelyan's Life and Lettcvs of l ovd Macaulay. John Stuart M111 ex- Presbed a similar opinion of the English Press in India as late a s 1852. In his evidence before the Lords' Committee he said : &'As long as the great mass of India have very little access to the Press, i t is in danger of being an organ exclusively of individual interests. The English news- paper press in India is the organ only of the English society, and chiefly that part of i t unconnected with the Governmer~t. I t has little to do with the Natives and with the great interests of India,"

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Lord William Bentinck's successor, Sir Charles Metcalfe, signalised his short administration by giving liberty to the Press, such as it was, in 1835. This truly liberal and bold measure gave violent offence to the Directors of the East India Company. They wrote :-

'( This proceeding is in opposition to all our previous orders, to the solemn decisions both of the Supreme Court at Calcutta and of His Majesty's Privy Council, delivered, in both cases, after full arguments on both sides of the question, to the recorded opinions of all pre- ceding Governments of Bengal, Madras and Bombay."

"We are compelled to observe that this proceeding must be considered the more unjustifiable, inasmuch as it has been adopted by a Government only provisional."

' I We should then be prepared at once to avail our- selves of the power entrusted to us by Act of Parliament, and disallow your new law when passed, were we not aware that the immediate repeal of such a law, however ill-advised and uncalled for its enactment may have been, might be productive of mischievous results. We shall therefore wait for the deliberate advice of the Governor- General in Council after the arrival of Lord Auckland, your present Governor-General, before we communicate to you our final decision. But you are in possession of our sentiments, and we shall not be sorry to find, that by returning to the former system you have rendered our interference unnecessary." l

Fortunately, Sir Charles Metcalfe was not the man to be moved from his convictions by the "sentiments" of the Directors, and not likely to return to the former system on account of their threats. And when Lord Auckland came to India two years after, people both in England and in India had already been reconciled to the liberty of the Press, and the good work of Metcctlfe was not undone.

Letter dated February I , ~836,


Twenty years after, during the troubles of the Indian Mutiny, it was considered necessary to warn one English

for articles likely to inflame the minds of the people; and three Indian newspapers were prosecuted. The ~ublishers of two of them ' were discharged on their

their regret and entering into recognizances. The publisher of the third was found not guilty and acquitted. Some restraints which were then placed on the Press were subseqnently withdrawn.

1 The Friend of India. Durbeen and the Sultan-ul-Akhbar. Samaohar Sudha Barshan.

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THE evidence recorded by the Parliamentary Committees, from which we have made large extracts in the pre- ceding chapter, was placed before the public in I 852 and I 85 3. The inquiry into the administration of Indian aEairs by the East India Company was thorough and complete. There was a strong opinion, specially among the merchants and manufacturers of Great Britain, that the Crown should assume the direct administration of India. Ministers of the Crown, who had so often made war and peace in India without consulting the Directors, were nothing loth to assume direct manage- ment of Indian affairs. Nevertheless, the nation felt some hesitation in setting aside a Company which had built up the Indian Empire for them. Accordingly a compromise was effected.

The Company's Charter was once more renewed; but the Act of I 8 5 3 did not fix any definite term for the renewed Charter. I t declared, simply, that the Indian territories should remain under the Company in trust for the Crown until the Parliament should other- wise direct. The number of Directors was reduced from twenty-four to eighteen, and the Crown assumed the power of appointing six out of these eighteen Directors. And the Board of Control retained its power of control.

Other changes were made by the new Charter Act,. I t authorised the appointment of a Governor or a Lieutenant-Governor for Bengal. That Province, which had so long been ruled by the Governor-General himself, had its first Lieutenant-Governor in I 854. The Act


suthorised the formation of another Presidency or Lieutenant-Governorship. Accordingly the Punjab was placed under a Lieutenant-Governor in I 8 5 9. Among the other important changes, effected by this Act, we may mention that the Council of the Governor-General was enlarged for legislative purposes by the addition of Legislative Members. And the right of patronage to Indian appointments was taken away from the Court of Directors. I t was henceforth to be exercised according to regulations framed by the Board of Control, and these regulations threw open the Civil Service of India to general competition.

With these changes, some of which curtailed the powers of the Company and added to the influence of the Crown, the Double Government which had been so strongly supported by John Stuart Mill was continued. It lasted for a few years longer, until the Indian Mutiny gave the British nation and the British Parliament a suitable occasion and an ostensiblc reason for setting aside the Company altogether. In closing our account of the Company's rule in India, we shall, in the present chapter, briefly review their financial administration.

The figures showing the revenues and expenditure of India, during the twenty-one years which elapsed from the accession of Queen Victoria to the abolition of the East India Company, are an interesting study, as they faithfully reflect the political history of the period. The following statement has been compiled from official rccords? They will show the proportion of the total revenues which was derived from the Land Tax, and the proportion of the total expenditure which was incurred in England as Home Charges.

The hgures for the first two years have been obtained from a Return to an Order of the House of Commons, ordered to be printed June 22, 1855, and from the Commons' Commit 1 ee's Report of 1852, Appendix 12. The figures for the other years have been taken from the Statistical Abstract relating to British India, 1840 to 1865, presented to both Honsee of Parliament.

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I t will be seen from these figures that in the first year of Queen Victoria's reign India showed a surplus, even after paying over two millions as Home Charges. This was due to the careful administration of Lord William Bentinck, and to the reforms and retrenchment effected by him and his successor, Sir Charles Metcalfe. But Lord Auckland arrived in India in I 8 3 8, and initi- ated the ambitious policy dictated by Lord Palmerston. And from that year India lost her surplus and showed a deficit, which continued under the adrrlinistration of his successor, Lord Ellenborough.

The Sikh wars of the two next Governors-General, Hardinge and Dalhousie, made matters worse; and it was not until the csnclusion of the last Sikh War, and

1 Adding to this sum the revenues from Excise, Sayer, and Mutarpha, the total comes to £12,671,743, as shown in Indaa under Early British Rule (1757-1837)T P. 405.

a Deducting from this sum the expenditure incurred in England, the gross expenditure in India comes to £17,553,525, as shown in India Eady Brttish Ruk (1757-1837)~ p. 405.

the annexation of the rich province of the Punjab, that India once more showed a surplus in I 849-50. But the young Imperialist who ruled the destinies of India soon lost the surplus. Before the close of Dalhousie's adminis- tration the gross expenditure of India went up by leaps and bounds to over thirty millions in I 8 5 3-5 4 ; and in spite of Dalhousie's annexations of Nagpur and other rich states, India continued to show a deficit up to the year of his departure, I 8 5 5-56.

Lord Canning showed a surplus in the first year of his administration, owing mainly to the annexation of Oudh, which had been effected immediately before his arrival. But the surplus was changed into a heavy de- ficit of ten millions in I 8 5 7-5 8, the year of the Indian Mutiny.

Another interesting but melancholy fact which we learn from the foregoing table is the steady increase of the expenditure in England-the Home Charges. Great Britain and lndia were equally gainers by the establish- ment and maintenance of the British Empire in India, and the cost of the Empire should have been shared by the two countries. And it would have been an act of strict justice if India had been charged nine-tenths of that cost incurred in India, and England had paid the remaining one-tenth, which was then incurred in England. But the sword of the conqueror is thrown into the scale to-day as it was in the days of Brennus ; and financial arrangements are never dictated by strict justice be- tween a subject and a ruling race. To India the annual Economic Drain was a pure loss ; the money flowed out of the country never to return again; it went from a Poor country to fructify the trades and industries of a rich country.

Gross Revenue.

L 20,858,820 21,158,099 20,124,038 20,851,073 21,837,823 22,616,487 23,586,573 23,666,246 24,270,608 26,084,681 24,908,302 25,396,386 27,522,344 27,625,360 27,832,237 28,609,109 28,277,530 29,133,050 30,817,528 31,691,015

Exrlendlture In England.

L 2,304,445 2,615,465 2,578,966 2,625,776 2,834,786 2,458,193 2,944,073 2,485,212 3,044,067 3,066,635 3,016,072 3,012,908 2,750,9;7 2,717,186 2,506,377 2,697,488 3,262,289 39011,735 3,264,629 3,529,673


1837-38 . . 1838-39 . . 1839-40 . . 1840-41 . . 1841-42 . . 1842-43 . . 1843-44 . . 1844-45 . . 1845-46 . . 1846-47 . . 1847-48 . . 1848-49 . . 1849-50 . . 1850-51 . . 1851-52 . . 1852-53 . . 1853-54 . . 1854-55 . s

1855-56 . . 1856-57 . .

"With reference to its economical effects upon the condition of India," wrote a distinguished officer whose meritorious work in India we have reviewed in Chapter V. of this book, I' the tribute paid to Great Britain is by

Gross Expetid~ture.

£ 19,857,970~ 21,306,232 22,228,011 22,546,430 23,514,446 23,88S3526 24,9259371 24,293,647 25,662,738 26,916,188 26,746,474 26,766,848 26,960,988 27,000,624 27,098,462 27,976,735 30,240,435 309753,456 31,637,530 31,608,875

Land Revenue.

£ 11,853,975' 12,303,200 12,273,982 12,313,840 12,154,587 13,322,880 13,228,850 1 3 . 2 2 4 ~ 0 4 13,386,517 13,995,717 14,4j7,254 14,274,270 15,248,694 15,382,442 15,391,664 15,365,250 15,838,649 16,419,031 17,109,971 17,722,170

1857-58 . --

31,706,776 1 6,162,043 15,317,911 41,240,571

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far the most objectionable feature in our existing policy. Taxes spent in the country from which they are raised are totally different in their effects from taxes raised in one country and spent in another. In the former case the taxes collected from the population at large are paid away to the portion of the population engaged in the service of Government, through whose expenditure they are again returned to the industrial classes. They occasion a different distribution, but no loss of national income."

But the case is wholly different when the taxes are not spent in the country from which they are raised. In this case they constitute no mere transfer of a portion of the national income from one set of citizens to another, but an absolute loss and extinction of the whole amount withdrawn from the taxed country. As regards its effects on national production, the whole amount might as well be thrown into the sea as transferred to another country."

"The Indian tribute, whether weighed in the scales of justice or viewed in the light of our true interest, will be found to be at variance with humanity, with common sense, and with the received maxims of economical science. I t would be true wisdom, then, to provide for the future payment of such of the Home Charges of the Indian Government, as really form the tribute, out of the Imperial Exchequer. These charges would probably be found to be the dividends on East India stock, interest on Home Debt, the salaries of officers and establishments and cost of buildings connected with the Home Depart- ment of the Indian Government, furlough and retired pay to members of the Indian Military and Civil Services when at home, charges of all descriptions paid in this country connected with British troops serving in India, and a portion of the cost of transporting British troops to and from India." '

In another work; tracing the rise and consolidation ' Our Fznu~~cial Relatima with India, by Major Wingate. London, 1859.

Inrlia under Early British Ruh (1757-1837)~ pp. 46, 69, 113, 291, and 408.

of the British Empire in India down to the accession of Queen Victoria, we have seen that the total revenues of India, from the commencement of the British rule down to I 837, exceeded the total expenditure incurred in India, in spite of the high pay of British officials and the tvasteful expenditure of Indian wars. The figures which we have given in the present chapter show a similar excess of the income over the expenditure in- curred in India during the first twenty-one years of the Queen's reign from I 8 3 7 to I 8 5 8. Therefore, if India had been relieved of Home Charges from the commence- ment of British rule, India would have had no Public Debt when she was transferred from the Company to the Crown in I 8 5 8, but a large balance in her favour. The whole of the Public Debt of India, built up in a century of the Company's rule, was created by debiting India with the expenses incurred in England, which in fairness and equity was not due frorn India. If the financial relations between India and Great Britain during the century had been referred to an impartial judicial tribunal, there can be little doubt what the verdict of that tribunal would have been. Great Britain had gained far more frorn India than was represented by the Home Charges; Great Britain should in equity and fair- ness have borne those charges; and India morally and justly had no Public Debt in 1858, but, on the contrary, could claim credit for excess payments made.

In justice, however, to the East India Company, it should be stated that the Home Charges under their administration was comparatively small, and was a little over one-tenth of the annual revenues of India. In the twenty years preceding the Mutiny the revenues rose from twenty lrlillions to thirty-one millions, and the Home Charges rose from two and a half millions to three and a half millions. One of the saddest results of the adminis- tration of India under the Crown is that the Home Charges have been permitted to increase by leaps and

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bounds, not only absolutely, but relatively to the revenues, the Crown Government being irresponsible. The result justifies the opinion of John Stuart Mill, quoted in the last chapter, that the administration of India through a Secretary of State and his Council "would be the most complete despotism that could possibly exist" under British rule.

The total Indian Debt, bearing interest, was little over 7 inillions in I 79 2, and had risen to I o millions in I 799. Then followed Lord Wellesley's wars, and the Indian Debt rose to 2 I millions in I So 5, and stood at 2 7 millions in I 807. I t remained almost stationary at this figure for many years, but had risen to 30 millions in I 829, the year after Lord William Bentinck's arrival in India. That able and careful administrator was the only Gover- nor-General under the East India Company who made u substantial reduction in the Public Debt of India, and on the 30th April 1836 the Indian Debt was L26,947,434.l

The following table shows the Public Debt of India for - twenty-one years, from the year of Queen Victoria's acces- sion to the abolition of the East India Company. The figures have been compiled from official records.2

The increase of 24 millions in the total Debt in 1839-40, shown in the table, was not a real one;

This was the "Registered Debt." Besides this, there were Treasury Notes and Deposits, making the total " Indian Debt," Ez9,832,299. Add to this the " Home Bond Debt," and the total Debt of India on April 30, 1836, was £33,355,536.

The Commons' Committee's Report of 1852, Appendix 2, gives figures for seventeen years, from 1833-34 to 1849-50. The Statistical Abstract gives figures for twenty-six gears, 1839-40 to 1864-65. For ten years, therefore, 1839-40 to 1849-50, we have figures in both the records, but the figures do not agree. The total debt for 1839-40, for instsnce, according to the Com- mons' Report, was £32,438,078, while according to the Statistical Abstract, it was £34,484,997. Some portion of the total debt must have been left out in the table given in the Commons' Report, Appeudix 2. I have taken my fielircs for two years only from the Commons' Report, i.c. for 1837-38 and 1838-39, as the Statistical Abstract gives no figures for those years. For the remaining nineteen years, 1839-40 to 1857-58, I have taken my finures from the Statistical Abstract. as beincz the more correct record of tge total debt of India.


- Year.

1837-38 . 1838-39 . . . 1839-40 - . 1YqJ-41 . . 1841-42 . . 1842-43 . - 1843-44 . . 1844-45 . . . 1S45-46 . . 1S46-47 . . 1847-48 . . . 1848-49 . . . 1849-50 . . . 1850-5' . . 1851-52 . . . 1852-53 . . . 1853-54 . . . 1854-55 . . 1855-56 - . 1b56-57 . . . 1857-58 . . . - the apparent rise is simply due to two difl'erent systems of keeping the accounts followed in the two records from which the figures have been taken, as has been explained in the footnote. But from 1840-41 Lord Auckland's unfortunate Afghan War began to tell on the finances of India, and the total Debt of India rose from 349 millions to 439 millions by I 844-45. The East India Company were not alone in protesting against the expenses of the Afghan War being thrown on the finances of India; there were many members of the House of Commons who agreed with John Bright when he said : " Last year I referred to the enorrnous expense of the Afghan War-about I 5 millions sterling-the whole of which ought to have been thrown on the taxa- tion of the people of England, because it was a war commanded by the English Cabinet, for objects supposed to be English." l

The annexation of Sindh by Lord Ellenborough, and John Bright's speech made on Augast I , 1859.



339772,718 A 31,965,462 34,484,997 35,9225127 38,404,473 40,478,640 41,883,451 43,502,750 43,891,849 46,884,225 48,757,213 5b050,518 537934,768 55,099,315 55,114,693 56,233,686 53,683,468 55,53I3I20 57,764,239 599461,969 69,473,484

Indian Debt.

£ 30,2491893 30923I1162 32,7509697 34,187,827 36,670,173 38,744,340 40,149,151 41,203,150 419592,249 44,584,625 45,957,613 47,151,018 50,035,268 51,199,815 5',215,193 52,3133094 49,762,876 51,615,528 53,848,922 559546,652 60,704,084

Debt i n England. --

3,522,825 E 1,734,300 1,734,300 1,734,300 1,7349300 1,7349300 1,7349300 2,299,600 2,299,600 2,299,600 2,799,600 3,899,500 3,899,500 3,899,500 3,899,500 3,920,592 3,920,592 3,9159592 3,915,317 39915,317 81769,400

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the Sikh Wars of Lord Hardinge and Lord Dalhousie brought fresh liabilities, and the total Debt of India rose to 5 5 millions by I 8 50-5 I . There was a fluctuation after this, and endeavours were made to reduce the Debt, but it rose in the last year of Lord Dalhousie's adminis- tration to 5gfr millions. The Mutiny which occurred in I 8 5 7 raised the Debt in one year by 10 millions, so that on April 30, 1858, the total Debt of India stood at 694 millions sterling.

If ever there was a case of justifiable rebellion in the world, says an impartial historian,l it was the rebellion of Hindu and Mussulman soldiers in India against the abomination of cartridges greased with the fat of the cow and the pig. The blunder was made by British Adminis- trators, but India paid the cost. Before this, the Indian Army had been employed in China and in Afghanistan : and the East India Company had received no payments for the service of Indian troops outside the frontiers of their dominions. But when British troops were sent to India to suppress the Mutiny, England exacted the cost with almost unexampled rigour.

" The entire cost of the Colonial Office, or, in other words, of the Home Government of all British colonies and dependencies except India, as well as of their military and naval expense, is defrayed from the revenues of the United Kingdom ; and it seems to be a natural inference that similar charges should be borne by this country in the case of India. But what is the fact ? Not a shilling from the revenues of Britain has ever been expended on the military defence of our Indian Empire."

" How strange that a nation, ordinarily liberal to extravagance in aiding colonial dependencies and foreign states with money in their time of need, should, with un- wonted and incomprehensible penuriousness, refuse to help its own great Indian Empire in its extremity of financial distress."

&<The worst, however, is not yet told ; for it would appear that when extra regiments are despatched to India, as happened during the late disturbances there, the pay of such troops for six months previous to sailing is charged against the Indian Revenues, and recovered as a debt due by the Government of India to the British firmy pay-offioe."

I( In the crisis of the Indian Mutiny, then, and with the Indian finances reduced to an almost desperate con- dition, Great Britain has not only required India to pay for the whole of the extra regiments sent to that country, from the date of their leaving these shores, but has de- manded back the money disbursed on account of these regiments for the last six months' service in this country " previous to sailing for India." l

But a greater man than Sir George Wingate spoke on the subject of the Mutiny expenditure in his own fra~lli and fearless manner. " I think," said John Bright, " that the 40 millions which the revolt will cost, is a grievous burden to place upon the people of India. I t has come from the lnismanagement of the Parliament and the people of England. If every man had what was just, no doubt that 40 millions would have to be paid out of the taxes levied upon the people of this country.''

We make these extracts and mention these facts, not to recall an almost forgotten controversy, but simply with the object of clearly explaining the genesis of the Indian Debt. The popular impression is that the Indian Debt arose out of capital spent by England for the conquest and administration of India, and for the development of her resources. The facts explained in the present chapter will show that that was not the genesis of the Indian Debt up to I 8 5 8. India had paid for her own conquest and her own administration ; and what little English gold had found its way to India down to the last year of the

Our Financial Relations with Imlia, b y Major Wingate. London, 1859. ' John Bright's speech on East India Loan, March 1859. ' Lecky's Map of lib.

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Company's rule was an insignificant portion of the tribute India had paid for a century. I t is impossible to calculate even approximately what this payment amounted to. Sir George Wingate reckons it at IOO millions from the beginning of the nineteenth century down to I 8 5 8, without calculating interest. Montgomery Martin reckons it at over 700 millions during the first thirty years of the century, calculating compound interest at Indian rate of I 2 per cent. And these calculations exclude the sums remitted from India in the eighteenth century.

It was this tribute, exacted as Home Charges, which was the genesis of India's debt. India paid for her own administration; paid also for the frequent wars of con- quest and annexation in India. But she could not pay the full tribute demanded over and above these local expenses. Deficit occurred year after year, and thus tl

Debt was piled up which amounted to sixty millions when Lord Dalhousie left India. And the first year of the Mutiny expenses brought i t up to seventy millions when the East India Company was abolished.

The fresh charges which were thrown on India, owing to the transfer of the Government, will be described in the next chapter. The Empire of India was purchased by the Crown from the Company, but the people of India were charged with the purchase money. The value received by the shareholders of the Company's stock was not paid by the British Crown which won an imperial property, but was added to the Indian Debt.

Would England at least guarantee this Debt thus accumulated ? That would reduce the annual interest on the Debt by over a million sterling, and would so far relieve the tax-payers of India. Lord Stanley, afterwards Lord Derby, cautiously suggested it in I 8 5 9.

"I am aware the uniform policy of the Parliament and the Government of this country has been to decline all responsibility in regard to the Debt of India, which has been held to be a charge only on the Indian Ex-

chequer. Dealing with the present state of affairs I may say at once that I am not going to recommend any

in that policy. I know well the alarm which any such proposition would create, and I know the refusal which it would inevitably receive. But this is a question which will recur again and again, and which will have to be considered in the future as well as in the present."

<#I would likewise ask the House to bear in mind that if ever the time should come when the established policy in this respect should undergo a change, and when a national guarantee should be given for these liabilities, that guarantee would operate to reduce the interest paid upon the Indian Debt by no less than L ~ ~ O , O O O , or even ~ I ,OOO,OOO, which, formed into a sinking fund, would go far to pay off the whole."'

Six months after it was John Bright himself who opposed the idea of giving an Imperial guarantee to the Indian Debt. And his reasons were characteristic.

" I do not oppose an Imperial guarantee because I particularly sympathise with the English tax-payers in this matter. I think the English tax-payers have generally neglected all the affairs of India, and might be left to pay for it. . . . But I object to an Imperial guarantee on this ground-if we left the Services of India, after exhausting the resources of India, to put their hands into the pockets of the English people, the people of England having no control over Indian expenditure, it is impossible to say to what lengths of unimagined extravagance they would not go ; and in endeavouring to save India may we not go far towards ruining England ? "

Even John Bright did not see that, the people of England would have very soon ceased to neglect the affairs of India, and would have obtained a real control Over Indian expenditure, if some sharc of the liability of the Indian Debt had been thrown on them.

Lord Stanley's speech on East India Loan, February 1859. a John Bright's speech, August I , 1859.

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c 6 MY parting hope and prayer for India is, that, in all time to come, these reports from the Presidencies and Provinces under our rule may form, in each successive year, a happy record of peace, prosperity, and progress." With this pious wish Lord Dalhousie had concluded the memorable review of his eight years' administration of India before he sailed for England.

" We must not forget that in the sky of India, serene as it is, a small cloud may arise, at first no bigger than a man's hand, but which, growing bigger and bigger, may at last threaten to overwhelm us with ruin." With these almost prophetic words Lord Canning had replied to the Court of Directors at a parting banquet in London, before he sailed for India.

Lord Dalhousie's bright picture of peace, prosperity, and progress was destined to be obscured for a time ; Lord Canning's fears of a dark cloud threatening to overwhelm the Empire were destined to prove a true prophecy.

The causes of the Indian Mutiny of 1857 are no longer hidden in obscurity. " As a body," wrote John Lawrence, " the native army did really believe that the universal introduction of cartridges destructive to their caste was only a matter of time . . . such truly was the origin of the Mutiny.' And we know now from the equally high authority of Lord RobertsZ that the belief of the native army was not altogether unfounded, and

1 Letter on the trial of the King of Delhi, dated April 29, 1858. "orty-one Year8 in India.


tllnt the cartridges introduced were greased with the fat of the pig and the cow.

I t is also beyond a doubt that political reasons helped mere mutiny of soldiers to spread among large classes

of the people in Northern and Central India, and con- verted it into a political insurrection. Lord Dalhousie's vast and rapid annexations had created an impression in India that the East India Company aimed at universal conquest ; that they disregarded treaties and the laws of the country in order to compass their object. The minds of the people were unsettled; and leaders of the insurrec- tion issued Proclamations dwelling on the bad-faith and the earth-hunger of the alien rulers. In Jhansi State, which had been annexed by Lord Dalhousie, the Dowager Rani was the life and soul of the insurrection, fought in male attire against British troops, and died on the field of battle. In Oudh, which had also been annexed by the same ruler, vast masses of the population gathered round the mutinous soldiers, and made their deposed king's cause their own.

I t is not within the scope of the present work to narrate the thrilling incidents of that eventful war, which have been told by Sir John Kaye and Malleson in their great work, and have also been described in more recent and smaller worlis of great merit. The heroism of the small band of Englishmen who stood at Lucknow against surging masses of insurgents, and the tragic death of that truest and best of English soldiers, Henry Lawrence, " who tried to do his duty " ; the unflinching courage with which a handful of warriors held their ground through weary months on the historic ridge of Delhi, until the mastcr hand of John Lawrence denuded the Punjab to deal that memorable blow which decided the fate of the Empire ; the rapid and successful march through Central India, and the prolonged and arduous operations in Rohilkhand and Oudh; all these are portions of English history and have been woven into English literature. The Poet-

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Laurcate of the Victorian Age has sung of 1,ucknow in lines which will never bc forgotten ; and popular writers of the present day tell the heroic story of John Nicholson and the capture of Delhi.

Still less is it within the scope of this book to dwell on the darker incidents of the Mutiny; and Englishmen as well as Indians sincerely wish that those incidents could be expunged altogether from history, at least as recorded in school books meant for boys. Wars there have bcen in India since the days of Clive and Welling- ton ; but never has there been a war stained, on one side as on the other, by such wanton cruelty and crime as in I 8 5 7. The mutineers, rising as they believed in de- fence of their caste and religion, disgraced and blackened their cause by the inhuman, brutal, and barbarous massacre of defenceless women and children. On the other hand, British troops burnt down villagas along their route of many hundreds of miles, turning the country into a " desert "'; British conquerors massacred the inhabitants of Delhi after the mutineers had escaped; and British Special Commissioners executed thousands of citizens in Northern India, guiltless of the Mutiny. In the words of a living historian, " the contest seemed to lie between two savage races, capable of no thought but that, regardless of all justice or mercy, their enemies should be exterminated. Deeds of cruelty on one side and on the other were per- petrated, over which it is necessary to draw a veil." '

None felt the horror of these proceedings in India more than Lord Canning ; none deplored them in England more than the Queen. " There is a rabid and indis- criminate vindictiveness abroad," wrote Lord Canning to the Queen, " even amongst many who ought to set a

1 Rev. Dr. Frank Bright's Iiistory of England, period IV. (1893), p. 328. See also Return ordered by the House of Cornmons to be printed, February 4, 1858; Montgomery Martin's Histor?/ of the Mutiny of the Sepoy Troops in 1857 ; Bosworth Smith's Life of Lord Law~ence (i885), vol. ii. , chapters iv. and v.i Sir Charles Aitchison's Lord Lawrence, and other works dealing specially wlth the Mutiny transactions.


better example, which it is impossible to conternplate a feeling of shame for one's countrymen." " Lord

canning will easily believe," replied the Q~~een, 'I how entirely the Queen shares his feelings of sorrow and indignation at the unchristian spirit shown also to a great extent here by the public towards India in general." l

The rule of the East India Company was doomed. The British nation had already made up their minds on the subject, and the Indian Mutiny gave them a suitable occasion. Lord Palmerston had become Prime Minister in I 8 5 5, and had concluded the Crimean War with his accustomed vigour. His Government had returned with a larger majority after the general election of I 8 5 7 ; and in the same year he intimated to the Chairman of the East India Company that it was the intention of the Government to propose to Parliament a Bill for placing the Government of India under the direct authority of the Crown.

Ross Mangles, then Chairman of the East India Com- pany, and the Deputy Chairman, Sir Frederick Currie, replied on December 3 I , I 857. They expressed the surprise of the Court that her Majesty's Government, without imputing to the Company any blame in connec- tion with the Mutiny, and without instituting any inquiry by Parliament, intended to propose the immediate sup- pression of the Company. They held that " an interme- diate, non-political, and perfectly independent body," like the Company, was an indispensable necessity for good government in India. And they could not see how it was possible to form such a body if the Members of the new Government were to be nominated by the C r ~ w n . ~

The Company also submitted a formal petition, drawn U P by the clear-sighted John Stuart Mill, to the House of Commons and the House of Lords. The document, pro-

Life of the Prince Consort, vol. iv. page 146. &turn to an order of the Hosae of Lords, ordered to be printed February

22, 1858.

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ceeding from the pen of a writer so thoughtful and philo. sophical, interests us to the present day, and one or two passages deserve to be quoted.

Referring to the Double Government carried on by the Directors of the Company, and by a Minister of her Majesty's Government presiding over the Board of Control, John Stuart Mill urged with reason : " That, under these circ*mstances, if the administration had been a failure, it would, your petitioners submit, have been somewhat un- reasonable to expect that a remedy would be found in annihilating the branch of the ruling authority which could not be the one principally at fault, and might be altogether blameless, in order to concentrate all powers in the branch which had necessarily the decisive share in every error, real or supposed. To believe that the adminis- tration of India would have been more free from error, bad it been conducted by a Minister of the Crown without the aid of the Court of Directors, would be to believe that the Minister, with full power to govern India as he pleased, has governed ill, because he had the assistance of experi- enced and responsible advisers."

With reference to the proposed Council of the Secre- tary of State for India, he urged : " That your petitioners cannot well conceive a worse form of government for India than a Minister with a Council whom he should be at liberty to consult or not at his pleasure. . . . That any body of persons, associated with the Minister, which is not a check, will be a screen. . . . That your peti- tioners find it diflicult to conceive that the same independ- ence in judgment and act, which characterises the Court of Directors, will be found in any Council all of whose members are nominated by the Crown. . . . That your petitioners are equally unable to perceive how, if the controlling body is entirely nominated by the Minister, that happy independence of Parliamentary party influence, which has hitherto distinguished the administration of India and the appointment to situations of trust and


importance in that country, can be expected to con- tinue."

~ n d lastly, against the reproach levelled against a Double Government, the petitioners urged : " I t is con- sidered an excellence, not a defect, in the constitution of Parliament, to be not merely a double but a triple Government. An executive authority, your petitioners urge, may often, with advantage, be single, because promp- titude is its first requisite. But the function of passing a deliberate opinion on past measures, and laying down principles of future policy, is a business which, in the estimation of your petitioners, admits of and requires the concurrence of more judgments than one. I t is no defect in such a body to be double, and no excellence to be single."

The petition was submitted in vain ; Lord Palmerston introduced his Bill for the abolition of the Company's rule, and the future Government of India. I t was provided in that Bill that :he home administration should be conducted by a President and a Council of eight persons who were to be nominated by the Crown ; that members of the Council should hold office for eight years; and that two of them should retire by rotation each year. The second reading of the Bill was carried by a large majority. But before the Bill could be passed, Lord Palmerston's Government fell over the Conspiracy Bill, intended to protect the French Emperor against the machinations of political refugees in England.

Lord Derby then formed a Conservative Government ; and Benjamin Disraeli, Chancellor of the Exchequer, introduced his new India Bill, which was complicated, unworkable, and grotesque. I t provided that the India Council was to consist of members partly nominated by the Crown, and partly elected by the citizens of Manchester and other places, and holders of the East India Stock. Mr. Disraeli's scheme died of ridicule. And Lord Palmerston said of the Bill, what had been said of Don Quixote, that whenever he saw a marl laughing in the streets, he was

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sure that man had been discussing Mr. Disraeli's Bill! When the House of Commons met after Easter, no one could be found to support the Bill.

The two Bills were carefully examined by the Court of Directors ; and they submitted to the Court of Proprietors an able Report proceeding once more from the logical and fearless pen of John Stuart Mill. One paragraph deserves to be placed before our readers.

' I The means which the Bills provide for overcoming these difficulties [of the government of one nation by another] consist of the unchecked power of a Minister. There is no diff'erence of moment in this respect between the two Bills. The Minister, it is true, is to have a Council. But the most despotic rulers have Councils. The diff'er- ence between the Council of a despot, and a Council which prevents the ruler from being a despot is, that the one is dependent on him, the other independent; that the one has some power of its own, the other has not. By the first Bill [Lord Palmerston's Bill] the whole Council is nomi- nated by the Minister; by the second [Disraeli's Bill] one-half of it is nominated by him. The functions to be entrusted to it are left, in both, with some slight excep- tions, to the Minister's own discretion." l

The argument is unanswerable. And after the experi- ence of half a century many thoughtful men will be inclined to hold that a strong and independent delibera- tive body might have tempered the action of the Crown Minister, and secured a better administration of Indian affairs. The Directors of the Company formed such a body, but they represented the interests of the Company's shareholders, not of the Indian people. That was the defect of the old system ; that was the evil which required a remedy. But in the task of reorganisation which Parlia- ment undertook in 1858, this defect was not remedied. The power of the Court of Directors was destroyed, but no

1 Report approved by the Court of Directors on April 6,1858. Return to an order of the House of Lords, ordered to be printed May 3, 1858,


independent deliberative body, representing the people of India and safeguarding their interests and their welfare, found place in the new scheme of administration.

Mr. Disraeli's Bill was dead ; and it was necessary now to frame a new one. I t was then resolved that the principles of the new scheme should be discussed in the House, and that a Bill, the joint production of both parties, should be introduced. This was done ; and the new Bill became law in August 1858, and is known as an A c t for the better Government of India.

The Act consists of 75 sections, and as it still regulates the administration of India, it is necessary to refer to the more important clauses.

The territories of the East India Company were vested in her Majesty the Queen, and the powers exercised by the East India Company and the Board of Control were vested in the Secretary of State for India. He was to have s Council of fifteen members who would hold office during good behaviour,l and each member was to have a salary of 51200 a year out of the revenues of India. The pay of the Secretary of State and all his establishment would similarly be charged to India.

The Secretary of State was empowered to act against the majority of the Council except in certain specified matters. And on questions of peace and war (which had hitherto been dealt with by the Board of Control through the Secret Committee of the Court of Directors), the Secretary of State was empowered to send orders to India without consulting his Council, or communicating them to the members.

The Governor-General of India and the Governors of Madras and Bombay would henceforth be appointed by her Majesty the Queen; and the appointments of Lieu- tenant - Governors would be made by the Governor- General subject to the approbation of her Majesty. Rules

' Members are now appointed for ten yeare, on the nomination of the Beoretary of State himself, and are eligible for reappointment.

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should be framed by the Secretary of State for admission into the Civil Service of India by competition.

The strangest clauses of this Act are the financial clauses. I t was provided that the dividend on the capital stock of the East India Company, and all the bond, debenture, and other debt of the Company in Great Britain, and all the territorial and other debts of the Company, should be "charged and chargeable upon the revenues of India alone." l

By this singular clause the capital stock and the debts of the East India Company were virtually added to the Public Debt of India; and the annual tribute which India had so long paid as interest on the stock was made perpetual. The Crown took over the magnificent empire of India from the Company without paying a shilling; the people of India paid, and are still paying, the purchase money. I t was an act of injustice towards a British Dependency unexampled in the history of the British E m ~ i r e . ~ I t was an act of injustice which pressed heavily on the people, after the expenditure of forty millions sterling for suppressing the Mutiny had been saddled on them.

One salutary financial provision was made by the Act, " Except for preventing or repelling actual invasion of her Majesty's Indian possessions, or under other sudden and urgent necessity, the revenues of India shall not, without the consent of both Houses of Parliament, be applicable to defray the expenses of any militttry operation carried on beyond the external frontiers of such possessions by her Majesty's forces charged upon such revenues."8

1 Section +-Act for the better G'ove~mment of India. a Numerous instances will occiir to students of English history of Great

Britain incurring heavy expenditure for colonies and dependencies ; in no instance was the entire cost charged to such dependencies. As late as 1900, the British Government took over Nigeria from the Royal Niger Company, paying £56j,ooo as purchase money; and the sum was not charged to Nigeria. More recently Great Britain has spent over two hundred millions sterling to protect or extend her South African Empire; it i9 doubtful if more than a f;action of i t will be realised from South Africa.

8 Section 55.-Act for the better Government of India.


hi^ just and salutary principle has unfortunately been violated but too often; and the expenses of ex- pedition~ to Egypt and Abyssinia, of wars in Afghan- istan and for the conquest of Burma, have been charged to India.

The Board of Control ceased to exist under the Act; and the East India Company continued to exist, only to receive out of the revenues of India the dividend on their stock.

To the mass of the people of India the provisions of this new Act were little known. But they knew of the Queen of England, and cherished her name with affection and esteem; and they hailed the news that the Indian Empire was taken under her own administration. A Proclamation, suitable to the occasion, was issued ; and the Proclamation itself is dear to the people of India because the sentiments conveyed therein were the senti- ments of the Queen herself.

For the first draft of the Proclamation did not please her Majesty. She asked the Prime Minister, Lord Derby, to write it : " Bearing in mind that it is a female Sovereign who speaks to more than a hundred millions of Eastern people, on assuming the direct government over them, and after a bloody war, giving them pledges which her future reign is to redeem, and explaining the principles of her government. Such a document should breathe feelings of generosity, benevoleace, and religious toleration, and point out the privileges which the Indians will receive in being placed on an equality with the subjects of the British Crown, and the prosperity following in the train of civilisation."

Such were the sentiments of the Queen towards her Indian subjects; the new Proclamation was drafted according to her wishes; and it was one which was worthy of the occasion. The people of India regard this Proclalnation as a Charter of their Rights, and it is

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necessary therefore to quote the entire document, which ie not a long one.'

" Victoria, by the grace of God, of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, and of the Colonies and Dependencies thereof in Europe, Asia, Africa, America, and Australasia, Queen, Defender of the Faith.

I' Whereas for divers weighty reasons, we have resolved, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal and Commons in Parliament assembled, to take upon ourselves the government of the territories in India, heretofore administered in trust for us by the Honourable East India Company :

"Now, therefore, we do by these presents notify and declare that, by the advice and consent aforesaid, we have taken upon ourselves the said government ; and we hereby call upon all our subjects within the said territories to be faithful, and to bear true allegiance to us, our heirs and successors, and to submit themselves to the authority of those whom we may hereafter, from time to time, see fit to appoint to administer the government of our said terri- tories, in our name and on our behalf.

" And we, reposing especial trust and confidence in the loyalty, ability, and judgment of our right trusty and well-beloved cousin and councillor, Charles John Viscount Canning, do hereby constitute and appoint him, the said Viscount Canning, to be our first Viceroy and Governor- General in and over our said territories, and to administer

It was one of the happiest days of my boyhood when I heard this Proclamation read by the highest English official in one of the district towns of Bengal on November I, 1858, on which day it was read in all district towns in India. Hindus and Mussulmans had gathered there, and hailed the Proclamation with shouts of joy ; and Brahmans held up their sacred threads and exclaimed Maharmi Dirghajibi Haun-'' May the Great Queen live long." I remember the scene as if it happened but yesterday.


the government thereof in our name, and generally to act in our name and on our behalf, subject to such orders and

as he shall, from time to time, receive from us through one of our Principal Secretaries of State.

<<And we hereby confirm in their several offices, civil and military, all persons now employed in the service of the Honourable East India Company, subject to our future pleasure, and to such laws and regulations as may here- after be enacted.

We hereby announce to the Native Princes of India that all treaties and engagements made with them by or under the authority of the Honourable East India Com- pany are by us accepted, and will be scrupulously main- tained, and we look for the like observance on their part.

<<We desire no extension of our present territorial possessions ; and while we will permit no aggression upon our dominions or our rights to be attempted with im- punity, we shall sanction no encroachment on those of others. We shall respect the rights, dignity, and honour of Native Princes as our own ; and we desire that they, as well as our own subjects, should enjoy that prosperity and that social advancement which can only be secured by internal peace and good government.

" We hold ourselves bound to the Natives of our Indian territories by the same obligations of duty which bind us to all our other subjects, and those obligations, by the blessing of Almighty God, we shall faithfully and con- scientiously fulfil.

" Firmly relying ourselves on the truth of Christianity, and acknowledging with gratitude the solace of religion we disclaim alike the right and the desire to impose our convictions on any of our subjects. We declare it to be our royal will and pleasure that none be anywise favoured, none molested or disquieted, by reason of their religious faith and observanceg but that all shall alike enjoy the equal and impartial protection of the law; and we do strictly charge and enjoin all those who may be in

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authority under us that they abstain from all interference with the religious belief or worship of any of our subjects on pain of our highest displeasure.

"And it is our further will that, so far as may be, our subjects, of whatever race or creed, be freely and imparti- ally admitted to offices in our service, the duties of which they may be qualified, by their education, ability, and integrity, duly to discharge.

"We know, and respect, the feelings of attachment with which the Natives of India regard the land inherited by them from their ancestors, and we desire to protect them in all rights connected therewith, subject to the equitable demands of the State; and we will that gener- ally, in framing and administering the law, due regard be paid to the ancient rights, usages, and customs of India.

"We deeply lament the evils and misery which have been brought upon India by the acts of ambitious men, who have deceived their countrymen by false reports, and led them into open rebellion. Our power has been shown by the suppression of that rebellion in the field ; we desire to show our mercy by pardoning the offences of those who have been thus misled, but who desire to return to the path of duty.

"Already in one province, with a view to stop the further effusion of blood, and to hasten the pacification of our Indian dominions, our Viceroy and Governor-General has held out the expectations of pardon, on certain terms, to the great majority of those who, in the late unhappy disturbances, have been guilty of offences against our Government, and has declared the punishment which will be inflicted on those whose crimes place them beyond the reach of forgiveness. We approve and confirm the said act of our Viceroy and Governor-General, and do further announce and proclaim as follows :-

" Our clemency will be extended to all offenders, save and except those who have been, or shall be, convicted of having directly taken part in the murder of British sub-


jects. With regard to such, the demands of justice forbid the exercise of mercy.

('To those who have willingly given asylum to mur- derers, knowing them to be such, or who may have acted as leaders or instigators in revolt, their lives alone can be guaranteed; but in apportioning the penalty due to such persons full consideration will be given to the circum- stances under which they have been induced to throw off allegiance; and large indulgence will be shown to those whose crimes may appear to have originated in too credulous acceptance of the false reports circulated by designing men.

"To all others in arms against the Government we hereby promise unconditional pardon, amnesty, and oblivion of all offence against ourselves, our crown, and dignity, on their return to their homes and peaceful pursuits.

" I t is our royal pleasure that these terms of grace and amnesty should be extended to all those who comply with these conditions before the first day of January next.

"When, by the blessing of Providence, internal tran- quillity shall be restored, it is our earnest desire to stimu- late the peaceful industry of India, to promote works of public utility and improvement, and to administer its government for the benefit of all our subjects resident therein. In their prosperity will be our strength ; in their contentment our security ; and in their gratitude our best reward. And may the God of all power grant to us, and to those in authority under us, strength to carry out these our wishes for the good of our people."

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AN era of Peace, Retrenchment, and Reform succeeded the Crimean War. Lord Palmerston, the most unquiet of Foreign Ministers, was forced to be a peaceful Prime Minister when the nation wanted peace. Great events succeeded each other in the world's history. Italy won her independence in I 860. America cemented her Union in blood, shed in a great civil war. Prussia wrested provinces from Denmark, and entered on her career of aggrandisem*nt. Russia planned her march eastward. Lord Palmerston witnessed all this, and did not move. The rise of great nations called forth his jealousy, but did not provoke his interference. He died in 1865, when there was peace in his country.

For Englishmen had entered on a period of domestic reforms. The great fiscal reforms of Mr. Gladstone, then Chancellor of the Exchequer, removed bit by bit all re- straints on trade. Mr. Cobden concluded his Commercial Treaty with France in 1859. The Paper Tax was re- moved in 1860. Other taxes were repealed, and yet the revenues went up by leaps and bounds with the expansion of trade.

A Reform Bill was introduced after Lord Palmerston's death, but was defeated. But the nation demanded the measure ; and a Reform Bill, introduced by Mr. Disraeli, was passed. Mr. Gladstone succeeded him as Prime Minister in r868, and his first administration was marked by other reforms. The Irish Church was disestablished. The first Irish Land Act was passed. A system of National Education was organised. An Army fieform was effected.


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The Ballot Act was passed. The High Court of Justice was established.

Indian history reflects this peaceful progress during the first eighteen years of the Crown Administration. Lord Canning became the first Viceroy of India. Few of those who had protested against his "clemency," and had petitioned for his recall, knew of the task he had per- formed, or the trial he had undergone. It often happened during the dark days of the Mutiny that the silent and indefatigable worker passed the best part of the day and all the night at his desk. One winter morning he had worked from midnight till midday, without rest and without interval for breakfast; he then fell back exhausted, the action of the brain had ceased. Nor was it Lord Canning alone who bore this burden. His wife, the faithful partaker of all his anxieties, often shared his labours. She sat up, far into the night, copying secret letters and despatches which were not allowed to pass through the ordinary official channels. They bore the burden together; and they came out triumphant.

The Mutiny was at last over. A great Darbar was held at Allahabad on November I, I 85 8, and Lord Canning read the Queen's Proclamation to the assembled men. This greatest of all Indian Darbars was dignified with- out ostentation, impressive without vaingloriousness. At another Darbar, held at Cawnpur, the new Viceroy made a welcome announcement. The rule against adoption which had brought princely dynasties to a close, was abolished. The Government of the Queen recognised the ancient right of adoption in Indian princes. Every ruling chief in India breathed more freely when they heard this announcement. The nation received the new administra- tion of the Crown with acclamation.

Proceeding on his journey, Lord Canning visited the great cities of Northern India and the Punjab, and reached the frontier town of Peshawar in February 1860. Retracing his steps, he paid a short visit to Simla, and


returned to Calcutta in the heat of May. His health had been undermined by incessant labours; but no considerations of health kept him from his duty. Another

tour was undertaken in autumn ; and the Viceroy held a Darbar at Jabalpur to meet Holkar and Sindia and other chiefs of Central India. I t was necessary for him to be everywhere, to meet the princes and the people of India after the Mutiny. I t was necessary to reassure them and to consolidate the empire in their good wishes and loyalty.

A great sorrow fell on Lord Canning in I 861. On his return from a fresh tour in Northern India he found his wife seriously ill. Lady Canning had caught the Terai fever on her journey from Darjeeling; she rapidly sank under the fatal illness, and died in November. Then the strong heart of the indefatigable worker broke. ''I went into the death chamber," writes his private secretary, 'l the proud, reserved man could not restrain his tears, and wrung my hand with a grip that showed how great his emotion was." In March I 862 Lord Canning left India- a dying man.

In no period of modern Indian history-except under the beneficent rule of Lord William Bentinck-were so many great reforms crowded within so short a, period as during the administration of Lord Canning. But the greatest of his task was to promote the agricultural wealth of India- to secure to the tillers of the land the profits of cultivation. The land question is at the root of the prosperity of all agricultural nations; and Lord Cannine's generous en-

a. deavour to solve that question in the interests of the people will be narrated in a future chapter. I t is enough to mention here that the Bengal Rent Act of 1859 extended to the agricultural population of the Province a protection they had never enjoyed before; and the provisions of this Act were before Mr. Gladstone when he framed his first Irish Land Act ten years after. More than this, Lord Canning sought to protect agriculture

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in all the Provinces of India from harassing re-settle- ments and increasing State-demands. If that wise measure had been adopted, India would have witnessed less of those recurring famines which are the saddest feature of Indian history during the last quarter of the nineteenth century.

High education also received the Viceroy's attention. The Universities of Calcutta, Madras, and Bombay were established in I 857 on the model of the London Univer- sity. The inspiring influences of a Western Education reached a larger circle of the population. Indian society responded to this stimulus. The greatest writers of Bengal, Iswar Chandra Vidyasagar, Madha Sudan Datta, and Bankim Chandra Chatterjea, made their mark in the early 'sixties. Never, since the time of Lord Williarn Bentinck, was so much of high aspiration and healthy ambition manifest among the people as in the early years of the Queen's Government, and under her first Viceroys.

In legislation, too, Lord Canning's administration stands apart from all subsequent times. The Indian Penal Code, which had been drafted by Macaulay and the first Law Commission in 1837, was passed in 1860. Codes of Civil and Criminal procedure were passed; and the Police was organised and regulated by a new Act.

The Governor-General's Council, as reconstituted by the Act of 1861, consisted of five Ordinary Members. Lord Canning distributed the work among the Members, and placed each of them in charge of a separate depart- ment. The Council was thus converted into a Cabinet, of which the Governor-General was the head. The Member in charge of a department dealt with all ordinary questions, and only placed serious matters before the Governor - General for his consideration. When there was a disagreement in opinion, the question was brought up for discussion before the Council. This system of administration, first introduced by Lord Canning,


obtains to the present day. Its only defect, which should have been rectified since the time of Canning, is, that there is no representation of popular opinion in the adrninistra- tion of the empire.

Judicial administration was reorganised. High Courts were established in Calcutta, Madras, and Bombay, in 1861, by the amalgamation of the Company's Courts and the Queen's C o q s . Sir Barnes Peaco*ck, a distinguished lawyer, sat as C h i e f h t i c e of the High Court at Calcutta. Rama Prasad Roy, son of the distinguished Raja Ram Mohan Roy, was appointed the first Indian Judge of the Calcutta High Court, but died shortly after his appoint- ment. The most distinguished of his successors was Dwarka Nath Mitra, whose sound judgment and fearless independence commanded the respect and admiration of all.

The army was reconstructed, and India was garrisoned with 70,000 European troops and 1g5,ooo Indian troops. This vast army has been considerably increased since, and has been made a reserve for Great Britain's Imperial requirements in Asia and in Africa.

But the most difficult problem which faced Lord Canning was finance. I t had been decided by the British Government to throw the whole cost of the Mutiny Wars on the Indian finance; and the Debt of India increased by over forty millions sterling. The annual interest of this Debt was enormous, and Indian tax-payers were called upon to meet the demand. James Wilson, a sound political economist, and for some time Financial Secretary to the Treasury, was sent out as the first Financial Member of the Governor-General's Council. He created a State paper currency, and he imposed a Licence tax and an Income tax to meet the growing expenditure.

Lord Canning's work in India was done. Public opinion in England and in India had lost its bitterness. Englishmen had come to form a juster estimate of the

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first and greatest of Indian Viceroys. " In that land of the West," said a parting address given to Lord Canning, <(if justice and humanity be ever honoured, you cannot but hold a distinguished place." But Lord Canning was not destined for higher honours. He died in June 1862, in the fiftieth year of his age. His body was buried in Westminster Abbey, close to the remains of his illustrious father. England's long roll of bright names has not many that are brighter than George Canning the Prime Minister, and Charles Canning the first Viceroy of India.

Lord Elgin arrived in India in March 1862, and proved himself a worthy successor to Lord Canning. He pursued the same policy of peace, and he felt the same sympathy with the people of India. His father is better known to Englishmen for those priceless sculptures he brought from Athens, known as the " Elgin Marbles." The son was of about the same age as Lord Canning, and had been , his fellow-student at Oxford ; and he had distinguished himself as Governor-General of Canada from 1847 to 1854. While on his way to China with British troops in 1857, be had heard of the Indian Mutiny; and had promptly diverted the Chinese expedition to the aid of India. Five years after, he came to India as Viceroy and Governor- General. Much was expected from a ruler who knew his work, and who sympathised with the people. But he died in the year after his arrival, and therefore left no mark on Indian administration.

The question then arose, who was to succeed Lord Elgin ? Dalhousie and Canning had sacrificed them- selves to the toil of Indian administration, and had returned to their country only to die. Elgin had fallen before he was two years in India. The idea suggested itself that a constitution, seasoned by long residence in India, was best suited for Indian work. And the claims of Sir John Lawrence were paramount. True, he was not a peer. True, that no Indian civilian except Sir John Shore had ever been confirmed as Governor-General


before. But exceptional circ*mstances compelled a departure from the usual rule.

The Act for the Better Government of India had been passed by Lord Derby's Government in 1858; and his son, Lord Stanley, was the first Secretary of State for India. The Conservative Government fell in 1859, and Sir Charles Wood became Secretary of State for India under the Liberal Government which succeeded. He had been President of the Board of Control when India was ruled by the East India Company; he had reorganised education in India by his famous Despatch of 1854; and he brought to his new office an intimate knowledge of Indian affairs, com- bined with a sound judgment and a determined wish to do justice to the people. His Under-Secretary, Lord de Grey, afterwards became Marquis of Ripon and Viceroy of India.

Sir John Lawrence had been appointed a Member of the India Council in 1859, and had worked under Lord Stanley and Sir Charles Wood for four years, when the death of Lord Elgin created a vacancy in India. Public opinion in England pointed to the veteran of the Punjab as the most worthy successor ; and Sir Charles Wood had seen enough of him to come to the same opinion. On the morning of November 30, I 863, Sir Charles looked into the room of Sir John Lawrence at the India Office and said, "You are to go to India as Governor-General. Wait here till I return from Windsor with the Queen's approval." The same evening Sir Charles returned with the royal approval.

Sir John Lawrence arrived at Calcutta in January 1864. He knew the people of India as few Englishmen ever knew them ; and he was fortunate in his Councillors. Henry Sumner Maine, perhaps the greatest English jurist of the time, was his Legal Member. The veteran Sir Charles Trevelyan, who had been the colleague of Ben- tinck and Macaulay thirty years before, was his Finance Minister. And Robert Napier, afterwards Lord Napier of lagdala, was hia Military Adviser.

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One restless subordinate gave him some trouble. Sir

Bartle Frere, then Governor of Bombay, was an Impe- rialist. He had drawn up a paper attacking Sir John Lawrence's frontier policy. The paper was meant for Lord Elgin or his yet unknown successor. I t fell into the hands of Sir John Lawrence when he succeeded Elgin. Lawrence defended himself in his own manly style. And when the papers went up to the Secretary of State, Sir Charles Wood justly remarked : " Nothing could be more precipitate and rash than Frere's tirade against the Punjab policy." In lavish expenditure, and in vast schemes of improvement also, Sir Bartle Prere was as rash as Law- rence was cautious and economical. And the new Viceroy had much to do to restrain his precipitate subordinate.

A great Darbar was held in Lahore in October 1864. Lawrence spoke to the assemblage of six hundred Princes and Chiefs of India in their spoken tongue-a feat which no other Governor-General before or after him could have performed. A short war with Bhutan ended in the British annexation of the Doars, on condition of payment of half the revenue to the Bhutan State. A severe famine visited Orissa in I 866 ; the relief operations were inadequate ; and the loss of life was severe. The land question was eter- nally before the Government. Lord Canning had con- ferred security of tenure to the cultivators of Bengal; Lawrence pursued the same useful policy in Oudh and in the Punjab. And agreeing with Lord Canning, Sir John Lawrence recommended a Permanent Settlement of the State-demand from the soil in all Provinces of India. His aim was to form a strong middle class: and to promote the agricultural wealth of the people. For those were days when the welfare of the people was the f i r s t consider- ation with the rulers.

The expenditure on the Army was reduced by Sir John Lawrence from £1 3,182,ooo at the commencement of his administration to £1 2,ggo,ooo at its close. Nevertheless

Bosworth Smith's LCfe of Lord Lawrence (1885), vol. ii. p. 3 0 0


there was a recurring deficit ; and the total deficit during his five years' rule came to nearly 39 millions sterling. Taxes imposed on the people had reached their limit. Taxes imposed on commerce evoked an opposition from British merchants which the Government could not face. ''If the Licence Tax is vetoed," wrote Sir John Lawrence to the Secretary of State in 1867, "I cannot conceal from myself the conviction that all taxation which can affect, in any material degree, the non-official European community, will be impracticable. So far as their voices go, they will approve of no tax of the kind. They desire that all taxa- tion should fall on the natives." l

And, writing privately to Sir Erskine Perry, then a Member of the Indian Council, Sir John Lawrence said: "The difficulty in the way of the Government of India acting fairly in these matters is immense. If anything is done, or attempted to be done, to help the natives, a general howl is raised, which reverberates in England, and finds sympathy and support there. I feel quite bewil- dered sometimes what to do. Every one is, in the abstract, for justice, moderation, and such like excellent qualities ; but when one comes to apply such principles so as to aEect anybody's interests, then a change comes over them.'j2

One unjust addition to the Indian Debt was strongly but unsuccessfully opposed by Lawrence. Great Britain had a little war of her own with King Theodore of Abys- sinia in I 867. Robert Napier, then Commander-in-Chief of the Bombay army, was sent to the expedition; and the banner of St. George, in the florid language of Mr. Disraeli, was planted on the mountains of Rasselas. But the cost was enormous, and a large portion df it was meanly and unjustly thrown on India, with its disorganised finances and its annual deficits. " I believe I am right," wrote Sir John Lawrence, 'I that all the expenses of the British troops employed in the Mutiny who came from England, were

Bosworth Smith's Life of Lord Lawrence. a Ibid., vol. ii. pp. 411, 4x2.

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paid out of the revenues of India. I recollect very well that, in I 859 and 1860, India was even charged for the cost of unreasonably large numbers of men who were accumu- lated in the depbts in England, nominally for the Indian service. . . . In the present case, India has no interest whatever in the Abyssinian expedition, and it appears therefore to me that she should pay none of its cost."' Lawrence asked for simple justice, but he asked in vain.

I t remains only to say a few words about that frontier policy with which the name of Lawrence is so intimately connected. Sir Charles Wood had ceased to be Secretary of State for India in 1866. He had retired in ill-health from the India OEce, and was called to the Upper House with the title of Lord Halifax. Lord de Grey-afterwards larquis of Ripon-succeeded him in February 1866. But the Liberal Government fell shortly after ; and Lord Cran- borne-afterwards Marquis of Salisbury-became Secretary of State for India in July I 866. He, too, held that office only for a short time, and was succeeded in March 1867 by Sir Stafford Northc~t~e. And Northcote was succeeded by the Duke of Argyll in 1868, when the Liberals again came into power.

I t was in keeping with the spirit of the times that all the Secretaries of State under whom Sir John Lawrence worked-Sir Charles Wood, Lord de Grey, Lord Cran- borne, Sir Stafford Northcote, and the Duke of Argyll- agreed with him in his frontier policy. All of them approved of his unalterable resolution to hold to the strong natural frontiers of India, and not to seek a new frontier in the limitless mountains of Afghanistan.

For Lawrence maintained that, to extend the western limits of India was to go half-way to meet the dangers we professed to fear ; that it was to leave our natural frontier of an unpassable river and mountain walls for a frontier which was everywhere and nowhere; that it would compel us to fight the enemy away from our base with a hostile

Bosworth smith'^ Liye of Lord Zawvence, vol. ii. p. 390.


population around us; that it was to make enemy of the Afghans who wanted only to be left alone to be our friends; and that it would be wasting millions of the Indian money, sorely needed by R population crying &loud to be saved from the tax-gatherer on the one hand, and from actual starvation on the other. Accord- ingly, when there was a scramble for the Afghan throne after the death of Dost Muhammad in 1863, Lawrence held firmly to his policy-a policy of Masterly Inactivity, as it has been described-until the Afghans had settled their quarrels. And in 1868, when Shere Ali, one of the sons of Dost Muhammad, had succeeded in winning his father's throne, Sir John Lawrence, with the full approval of the Government in England, recognised him as the de jacto ruler of Afghanistan.

But this policy of Sir John Lawrence, wise, consistent, and successful, was not to pass unquestioned. Sir Bartle Frere, who had attacked his Punjab frontier policy in 1863, was now a Member of the India Council. He was a disciple of the "forward school," and he found a strong colleague in Sir Henry Rawlinson, another Member of the India Council. And Rawlinson raised the question once again in his famous Memorandum, proposing measures "to counteract the advance of Russia in Central Asia, and to strengthen the influence and power of England in Afghanistan and Persia." I t is remarkable that no disciple of the forward school ever proposed that England should pay for strengthening her influence and power in Afghanistan and Persia. If such a proposal had been made, British tax-payers would have known how to deal with it,. Every proposal of the forward school was based on the assumption that the people of India should pay the cost.

Sir Henry Rawlinson's Memorandum was forwarded to Sir John Lawrence. Lawrence replied to Rawlinson, as he had replied to Bartle Frere five years before. And the covering Despatch to the several Minutes, recorded on

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this occasion, clearly formulates the Lawrence policy for all time to come.

" We object to any active interference in the affairs of Afghanistan by the deputation of a high British officer with or without a contingent, or by the forcible or amicable occupation of any post or tract in that country beyond our own frontier, inasmuch as we think that such a measure would, under present circ*mstances, engender irritation, defiance, and hatred in the minds of the Afghans, without, in the least, strengthening our power either for attack or defence. We think it impolitic and unwise to decrease any of the difficulties which would be entailed on Russia, if that Power seriously thought of invading India, as we should certainly decrease them if we left our own frontier and met her half-way in a diffi- cult country, and, possibly, in the midst of a hostile or exasperated population. We foresee no limits to the expenditure which such a move might require, and we protest against the necessity of having to impose addi- tional taxation on the people of India, who are unwilling, as it is, to bear such pressure for measures which they can both understand and appreciate. And we think that the objects which we have at heart, in common with all interested in India, may be attained by an attitude of readiness and firmness on our frontier, and by giving all our care and expending all our resources for the attainment of practical and sound ends over which we can exercise an effective and immediate control.

' I Should a foreign Power, such as Russia, ever seriously think of invading India from without, or, what is more probable, of stirring up the elements of disaffection or anarchy within it, our true policy, our strongest security, would then, we conceive, be found to lie in previous abstinence from entanglements at either Kabul, Kandahar, or any similar outpost; in full reliance on a compact, highly equipped, and disciplined army within our own territories or on our own border ; in the contentment, if not


in the attachment of the masses ; in the sense of security of title and possession, with which our whole policy is gradually imbuing the minds of the principal chiefs and native aristocracy ; in the construction of material works within British India, which enhance the comfort of the people while they add to our political and military strength; in husbanding our finances and consolidating and multiplying our resources; in quiet preparation for all contingencies which no Indian statesman should dis- regard ; and in a trust in the rectitude and honesty of our intentions, coupled with the avoidance of all sources of complaint which either invite foreign aggression or stir up restless spirits to domestic revolt."

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LAWRENCE was made a peer on his retirement, and he had a worthy successor in India. Lord Mayo was an Irish nobleman of ancient descent, and possessed all the kindly sympat,hies and generous impulses of his countrymen. His genial and afl'able disposition disarmed opposition ; his strong capacity for work secured efficient administration ; and his faithful adherence to the interests of peace enabled him to continue the policy of his predecessor. His digni- fied demeanour impressed all, and he moved among the princes and chiefs of India, a king among men.'

Born in Dublin in 1822, Lord Mayo had entered Parliament in 1847, and had served as Chief Secretary for Ireland on three occasions before he went out to India. He was Mr. Disraeli's selection, and as the Conser- vative Government fell towards the close of 1868, people expressed a doubt if the succeeding Liberal Ministry would uphold the choice. I t is needless to say that Mr. Gladstone declined to listen to party clamour, or to rescind the appointment. And during the three years of Lord Mayo's Viceroyalty in India, he had the hearty support of the Liberal Ministry.

Lord Mayo took charge of the Indian Administration at Calcutta on January 12, 1869. And we can form some idea of his Viceregal work in India if we pause awhile to take note of his "Cabinet," and his seven departments. Lord Mayo himself held the "portfolio" of the Foreign

As a junior officer, I attended Lord Mayo's reception of the King of Siam at the Government House in Calcutta in the winter of 1871-72. The Viceroy's princely presence and dignified courtesy no doubt impressed his royal guest, as it struck every one present on the occasion.


and the Public Works departments. The able jurist, Fitz James Stephen, was the Legal Member of his Council, and presided over the Legislative department. Sir Richard Temple, with his varied Indian experience, was his Finance Member. Barrow Ellis was the Home Member, and Sir John Strachey the Revenue Member. Each Member dealt with the current duties of his depart- ment, and only brought important matters to the notice of the Governor-General. Once a week he held his Council, consisting of all the Members, and "in this oligarchy all matters of Imperial policy are debated with closed doors."'

In this brief but pithy sentence we detect all the strength and all the weakness of Indian administration. The "oligarchy" comprised the ablest British officials in India, but has never, within a half century of the Crown administration, admitted an Indian within its body. Neither the revenue, nor the finance department, nor any other department, has ever been entrusted to an Indian. The people of India have no place within the Cabinet ; no consultative body of representatives has been organised to advise the Cabinet; no constitutional method has been devised to bring the Cabinet in touch with the people. The best of Governments, composed of the ablest of administrators, must fail of success when the people are so rigidly excluded from the administration of their own concerns.

Only two months after his arrival in India, Lord Mayo received the new Amir of Afghanistan in the famous Umbala Darbar. Sher Ali, who had now secured his position as the ruler of Kabul, came in the hope of obtaining a fixed subsidy from the Government of India. Lord Mayo presented him with the sum of A~oo,ooo which had been already promised, gave him hopes of help and support when desirable, but rightly declined a fixed subsidy. "We have distinctly intimated to the Amir," wrote Lord Mayo, that under no circ*mstances shall L British soldier

1 Sir William Hunter's Earl of Mayo (Oxford, 18g1), p. &,

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cross his frontier to assist hitn in coercing his rebellious subjects. That no fixed subsidy or money allowance will be given for any riarned period. That no promise of assistance in other ways will be made. That no treaty will be entered into obliging us under every circ*mstance to recognise him and his descendants as rulers of Afghanistan. Yet that, by the most open and absolute present recognition, and by every public evidence of friendly disposition of respect for his character, and interest in his fortunes; we are prepared to give him all the moral support in our power; and that in addition, we are willing to assist him with money, arms, ammunition, native artificers, and in other ways, whenever we deem it desirable so to do."'

This was strict adherence to the " Masterly Inactivity'' of Lord Lawrence ; and Lord Mayo acknowledged this in a letter to Lord Lawrence, written immediately after the Umbala Darbar. "I adhered rigidly to the line laid down-i.e. no treaty engagements which may, hereafter, embarrass us, but cordial countenance and some additional support as it may seem advisable. I believe that when you sent Sher Ali the money and arms, last December, you laid the foundation of a policy which will be of the greatest use to us hereafter. I wish to continue it."=

But Lord Mayo did something more than merely continuing the policy of his predecessor. He developed it in order to secure peace in the Indian frontiers on a firm foundation. His distinctive foreign policy was to establish a ring of friendly and independent kingdoms on the frontiers of India, without interfering with their internal administrations, and without seeking to bring them under British domination. " I have frequently laid down," wrote Lord Mayo, "what I believe to be the cardinal points of our frontier policy. They may be summed up in a few words. We should establish with our frontier States of

Sir Willidm Hunter's Life o j the Earl of Mayo (1876), vol. i. pp. 259 and 260. ' Bosworth Smith'e Life of Lord Lalurence (I%$, vol, ii. p. 478.

Khelat, Afghanistan, Yarkand, Nepal, and Burma, intimate relations of friendship. We should make them feel, that although we are all powerful, we desire to support their nationality. That when necessity arises, we might assist them with money and arms, and perhaps even in certain eventualities with men. We should thus create in them outworks of our Empire, and by assuring them that the days of annexation are passed, make them know that they have everything to gain and nothing to lose by endeavouring to deserve our favour and support."l

In pursuance of this clear, sound, and sensible policy, Lord Mayo sent Douglas Forsyth to discuss and settle matters with Russian Ministers at St. Petersburg in October 1869, and the Oxus was fixed as the northern boundary of the Amir's dominions. Lord Mayo also succeeded in inducing the Shah of Persia to demarcate the boundary between his kingdom and Beluchistan. And he authorised a British officer to settle the internal dissensions in Beluchistan. Towards Nepal he maintained a firm and friendly attitude; and in Upper Burma he restrained the warlike propensities of the king, and estab- lished closer commercial relations. Happy it were for India if the firm and friendly attitude towards surrounding coun- tries had been always maintained by Lord Mayo's successors.

In the internal administration of India, and especially in financial matters, Lord Mayo's success was less pro- nounced. Sir John Lawrence, a stern economist, had failed to secure a surplus; and Lord Mayo succeeded only by adding to the taxes. The fault lay not with them, but with British Ministers, who had thrown burdens on the Indian revenues which Great Britain ought to have shared. The Public Debt of India in I 870 was 102 millions sterling, and the interest on this heavy debt had to be paid. Lord Mayo increased the Income Tax from I to 29

per cent. and then to 34 per cent. ; and he enhanced the duty on salt in Madras and in Bombay to secure a surplus.

' Slr William Hunter's LLfe of the E~T.! of hfayo (1876)' vol. i. pF 283 aRd 284.

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But more permanent alteratio~ls were effected under the administration of Lord Mayo in the Indian financial system. In the first place, the principle was clearly recognised and carried into practice, that Reproductive Works should be undertaken by loans, so that the annual revenue might be devoted entirely to current expenditure. This policy led to large and unjustifiable expenditure on railways, as we shall see in a subsequenl chapter; and no adequate sinking fund was provided to reduce the increasing Debt.

The second change was what is known as Lord Mayo's Decentralisation Scheme. Previous to his time, there were no fixed allotments for the different Provinces of India, and Provincial Governors sought to obtain as much as they could for their own Provinces. He who clamoured most, got most; and Sir John Lawrence had found the utmost difficulty in restraining Sir Bartle Frere from undertaking vast and expensive works for Bombay. By the Constitution of December 14, 1870, Lord Mayo made fixed grants to Provincial Governments for the period of five years, and Provincial Governors administered their ow11 Provinces, as best they could, within the allotments made. There was still a scramble for larger grants once in five years when the allotments are made, but a scramble once in five years was better than a yearly competition among the Governors.'

The grants a t first fixed in 1870 by Lord Mayo for the different Provinces were tilese-

6 Bengal . . . , . 1,168,592 North-WestProvinces , . , 640,792 P ~ ~ n j a b . . . . . 516,221 Madras . . , . . . 739,488 Bombay . . . . . . 880,075 Oudh. . . . . . 206,948 CentralProvil~ces . , . . 261,263 I?urma . . . . . . 275,332

Total . . . f;4,688,71 I

But in a few years it was found necessary to modify th is saheme, and to give each Province a $zed share in t he Land Revenue and other sources of revenue, instead of afized yrunt.

The third and the most unfortunate financial change introduced under Lord Mayo's administration was a large increase in Provincial taxes, as distinguished from Imperial revenues. As far back as 1861 the Finance Minister of Lord Canning had referred to the necessity of relieving the Imperial revenues of India by empowering each Province to levy Local Rates within its limits. In 1865 the Finance Minister of Sir John Lawrence had pointed out in his Budget Speech, that the actual proceeds from Local Rates in the year 1864-65 was 24 millions sterling. Lord Mayo's Decentralisation Scheme led to large additions to these Local Rates.

When allotments were made for the different Provinces under the Decentralisation Scheme, each Province was allowed less than its requirements, with the express desire that the deficit should be made good by increased Local taxation. The Imperial Exchequer was relieved by multiplying the centres of taxation, as well as by adding to the volume of the taxes. The old sources of the revenues continued; while each Province now imposed new cesses, mostly on land, to add to its own Provincial revenues. This scheme, which will be more fully explained in a subsequent chapter, had been considered and rejected by Lord Lawrence. Its unfortunate adoption by Lord Mayo largely added to the State-demand from the soil, and thus unsettled the rule, which had been adopted in 1855 and 1864, of limiting assessment to one-half the rental.

In the midst of these manifold labours the life of the indefatigable worker was cut short by the knife of an assassin. Lord Mayo went on a visit to the Andaman Islands, a penal settlement; and on February 8, 1872, he was stabbed to death by a convict, in the prime of his life, and in the fulness of his vigour and manhood.

Happily, he was succeeded by another statesman equally eminent, and equally true to the policy of peace. Lord Northbrook was born in 1826, in a family distin-

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guished in Europe for careful and successful commercial transactions. He had acquired a knowledge of India as Under Secretary of State for that dependency. He had adopted the sound views of Lawrence and Mayo on the Indian frontier question. And in his financial administra- tion he had the help and advice of his cousin, Sir Evelyn Raring, who, as Lord Cromer, has since earned a reputation second to none in the British Empire.

Lord Northbrook's administration, like those of his two predecessors, was a reign of peace. But the administration of a country like India is never unattended with difficulties ; and in the second year of his rule Lord Northbrook had to announce to the Secretary of State his serious apprehen- sions of an impending famine in Benga1.l

The terrible mortality caused by the Orissa famine of I 866, and by the famine of Northern India in I 869, was still fresh in the minds of the people; and Lord North- brook was determined to prevent a repetition of such fatal results in 1874. Ample and timely measures of relief were undertaken; and for once in the history of India, the measures adopted were completely successful. Bengal, with its Permanent Settlement and low rental, was more resourceful than any other Province in India; the people were able to help themselves to a greater extent than elsewhere ; and the measures of relief were, therefore, more efficacious in preventing deaths. The inquiries, made after the famine, showed that no mortality what- ever was due to the famine.

The misrule of the Gaekwar of Baroda was another source of trouble. He was charged also with having instigated an attempt to poison the British Resident. Lord Northbrook gave him a fair trial. Three English- men and three Indian Princes formed the tribunal, and Sergeant Ballantyne went out from England to defend the Gaekwar. The tribunal was not unanimous in its verdict, and Sergeant Ballantyne believed to the end of his life

Letter of the Viceroy in Council, dated October 30, 1873.

that the Gaekwar was guiltless of the alleged attempt. But he had proved himself unfit to rule, and Lord North- brook, faithful to the Queen's Proclamation aginst fi~rther annexations, placed a young boy of the rullng house on the throne of Baroda. The experience of a generation has vindicated the wisdom of the measure. Baroda, under its own Government, is one of the best administered States of India. The young prince has lived to prove himself one of the most enlightened rulers in the country.

The Prince of Wales, now his Majesty Edward VII., visited India in the winter of 1875-76, as his brother, the Duke of Edinburgh, had done five years before. And the people of India showed their affection to the royal house by demonstrations of loyalty as sincere as they were universal.

But the fair sky of India was slowly darkened by a little cloud which had arisen in the West. The arduous endeavours of Canning and Lawrence, Mayo and North- brook, to maintain the peace of India among strong and friendly powers, and to adjust the finances of a poor and resourceless country, were little appreciated in England. Once again the idea rose in the minds of British Imperialists that Russia must be checked in the East. Once again the thought came to them that India should be made to pay for this Imperial game.

Sir Bartle Frere, as Governor of Bombay, had vainly urged a Forward Policy in I 864 ; his attack on Lawrence's frontier policy had fallen into Lawrence's hands, and had been effectively answered. Sir Henry Rawlinson had once again raised the question in 1868, Lord Lawrence had once again replied. But now, when an Imperial reaction had set in in England, Sir Bartle Frere saw his chance ; and his famous memorandum of I 874 revived the question. This third endeavour succeeded, because the times were propitious.

Sir Bartle Frere urged in June 1874 that British agents

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should be placed at Herat, Kandahar, and Kabul ; and that instead of maintainii~g a strong and friendly Afghanistan, a preponderating British influence should be established in that country. The veteran Lord Lawrence replied in November 1874 that the policy advocated by Sir Bartle Frere would be likely to facilitate rather than stop the advance of Russia; that it would turn the Afghan races against the British; that British officers stationed in Afghanistan would be assassinated; that the assassina- tion would be followed by fresh wars. With almost prophetic vision the old seer sketched out in 1874 the very events which actually happened five years after. But his warnings were disregarded; and his unequalled experience and knowledge of the Afghans and the Punjab frontier were ignored. Sir Bartle Frere replied to Lord Lawrence in January 1875 ; and Lord Salisbury, who had once scoffed the alarms of the forward school with the keenest sarcasm, now accepted the views of Sir Bartle Frere. Lord Salisbury had succeeded the Duke of Argyll as Secretary of State for India when the Conservatives came into power in I 874. And he wrote to Lord North- brook, suggesting the establishment of a British Agency at Herat, then at Kandahar, and eventually at Kabul.'

Lord Northbrook was faithful to Lord Lawrence's views. He had read Lord Lawrence's reply to Sir Bartle Frere. And he had written to Lord Lawrence to express his complete agreement.2

When, therefore, Lord Northbrook received Lord Salisbury's Sacret Despatch in February I 875, he replied by telegraph that the time and circ*mstances were unsuitable for taking the steps proposed. And in June 1875 he sent a formal reply to Lord Salisbury's despatch showing that the policy which had been pursued since the days of Lord Canning, and pursued successfully, was to create a strong

Despatch dated January 22, 1875. Letter dated December 18, 1874, quoted in Bosmorth Smith's Life

of Lord Lawrence (1885), vol. ii. p. 479.

Afghanistan, over whose ruler British influence was powerful enough to keep him from foreign aggression. The letter l was signed by Lord Northbrook and the Melnbers of his Council-Lord Napier of Magdala, Sir Henry Norman, Sir Arthur Hobhouse, Sir William Muir, and Ashley Eden.

Lord Salisbury's rejoinder, dated November 1875, is one of the least creditable documents which have ever been penned by a British Minister.

The first step, therefore, in establishing our relations with the Amir upon n more satisfactory footing, will be to induce him to receive a temporary Embassy in his capital. I t need not be publicly connected with the establishmex~t of a permanent Mission within his dominions. There would be many advantages in ostensibly directing it to some object of smaller political interest, which it will not be difficult for your Excellency to find, or, if need be, to create."

Lord Northbrook's reply to this strange despatch was strong as it was dignified. He urged that if a permanent Mission was to be sent to Afghanistan, it was better to candidly inform the Amir of its true nature and object. But the step was not necessary.

"We are convinced that a patient adherence to the policy adopted towards Afghanistan by Lord Canning, Lord Lawrence, and Lord Mayo, which it has been our earnest endeavour to maintain, presents the greatest promise of the eventual establishment of our relations with the Amir on a satisfactory footing ; and we deprecate, as involving serious danger to the peace of Afghanistan, and to the interests of the British Empire in India, the execution, under present circ*mstances, of the instructions conveyed in your Lordship's despatch." 3

The same mail which brought this earnest and

Dated June 7, 1875. a Secret Despatch, dated November 19, 1875. a Letter dated January 28, 1876.

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dignified remonstrance to England, conveycd also Lord Northbrook's resignation of his high ofice.

With Lord Northbrook's administration ended the period of peace and reforms which had commenced in 1858. With Lord Lytton's administration began an era of restless Inlperialism. CHAPTER 111


GREAT as were the reforms of Lord Canning in every department of Indian administration, his greatest were those which benefited the ~gricultural and landed classes of India. His Bengal Rent Act of 1859 not only gave an adequate protection to the cultivators of Bengal, but helped his successors to pass similar Rent Acts for other Provinces of India. A brief account of the land reforms eKected in Northern India by Canning and Lawrence is given in this chapter.

When the land revenue of Bengal was permanently settled by Lord Cornwallis in 1793, a provision was made in the Act empowering the Government to take action for the adequate protection of the cultivators. Inquiries were made from time to time into the condition of the cultivators, but for a period of over sixty years the culti- vators of Bengal did not obtain the promised protection This was not owing to the negligence of Ihe Company's servants who administered Bengal; it was owing rather to the extreme difficulty of finding a proper basis of legislation between the classes t ad the masses.

The difficulty was at last overcome by Lord Canning. His Bengal Rent Act (Act x. of 1859) is considered the Charter of the Bengal Cultivators. I t divided the settled cultivators of Bengal into three classes. For those who had held lands at the same rents since 1793, the law declared that the rental should remain unaltered for all the


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time to come. For those who had held lands at the same rents for twenty years, the law presumed that they had paid the same rents since 1793 until the contrary was proved. And, lastly, to those cultivators who had held lands for twelve years, the right of occupancy was conceded ; and their rents could not be raised in future except on specific and reasonable grounds laid down in the law?

This law created a revolution in Bengal. And the population of Dengal are at the present time more re- sourceful and prosperous than elsewhere in India, Jirstly, owing to the limitation placed on the State-demand from landlords in 1793, and, secondly, owing to the limitation placed on the landlord's demand from tenants.

The Province of Oudh has a history of its own. When the Province was annexed by Lord Dalhousie in 1856, the landlords or Talukdars were found to be the virtual proprietors of their estates, and Village Communities were less developed than in other parts of Northern India.

The British Government overlooked this difference. Settlement Officers tried to set aside Talukdars in many cases, and to make settlements with village proprietors. This, however, could not be effected in the majority of cases ; and out of the 23,543 villages of Oudh, 13,640 were settled with Talukdars in I 856, and ggo3 were settled with village proprietor^.^ This disregard of the old leaders of the people in a newly annexed Province was neither a just nor a wise act. The Oudh Talukdars felt that their rights had been confiscated; and when the Indian Mutiny broke out in the following year, they joined the Mutiny.

The war ended, all lands were confiscated by Lord Canning by his Proclanlation of March 1858, which has

The Right of Occupancy has been extended to other cultivatore, ant1 the rights of tenants-:rt-will assured, by subsequrnt legislation.

13aden-l'owell's Land Systeins of British India (1892), vol. ii. p. 201.


become historic. The Governor-General singled out six loyal landlords whose rights were to be respected; and he held out a promise of "reward and honour" to others who might establish their claims.

" The Governor-General further proclaims to the people of Oudh that, with the above-named exceptions, the proprietary right in the soil of the Province is confiscated to the British Government, which will dispose of that right in such manner as it may deem fitting.

"To those Talukdars, Chiefs, and Landholders, with their followers, who shall make immediate submission to the Chief Commissioner of Oudh, surrendering their arms and obeying his orders, the Right Honourable the Governor-General promises that their lives and honour shall be safe, provided that their hands are not stained with English blood murderously shed. But as regards any further indulgence which may be extended to them, and the condition in which they may hereafter be placed, they must throw themselves upon the justice and mercy of the British Government."

The greatest admirers of Lord Canning will admit that this Proclamation was a mistake. Wholesale confiscation was probably never his object ; and a Proclamation order- ing a wholesale confiscation was uncalled for and impolitic. The Proclamation created an impression that the British Government would set aside the Talukdars of Oudh in their future land settlements, to a greater extent than had been done in 1856. And it justified the fears that the new rulers would sweep away the old la.nd system of the coun- try, in order to have a clean slate on which they would record their yet unknown land policy.

Lord Ellenborough, who had become President of the Board of Control on the return of the Conservatives to power in 1858, saw the mistake. Another man in his place would have secretly pointed out the mistake of the

Oudh Papers, ordered by the House of Commons to be printed, May 7, 1858.

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Governor-General, and directed its modification in a future Proclamation. But to indulge in eloquent platitudes was one of Lord Ellenborough's weaknesses; and this was an opportunity which his lordship was not likely to miss. In April I 858 he indicted his celebrated letter to Lord Canning.

" Suddenly, the people [of Oudh] saw their King taken from amongst them, and our administration substituted for his, which, however bad, was at least native ; and this sudden change of governnlent was immediately followed by a qummary settlement of the revenue, which, in a very considerable portion of the Province, deprived the most influential landholders of what they deemed to be their property, of what certainly have long given wealth, and disti~iction, and power to their families.

We must admit that, under the circ*mstances, the hostilities which have been carried on in Oudh have rather the character of legitimate war than that of rebellion, and that the people of Oudh should rather be regarded with indulgent consideration than made the objects of a penalty exceeding in extent and in severity almost any which ha8 been recorded in history as inflicted upon a subdued nation.

" Other conquerors, when they have succeeded in over- coming resistance, have excepted a few persons as still deserving of punishment, but have, with a generous policy, extended their cleniency to the great body of the people.

" You have acted upon a different principle ; you have reserved a few as deserving of special favour, and you have struck, with what they will feel as the severest of punish- ment, the mass of the inhabitants of the country.

" Government cannot long be maintained by any force in a country where the whole population is rendered hostile by a sense of wrong ; and if it were possible so to maintain it, it would not be a consummation to be desired." '

Every sentence in this rebuke is just. But it was hard

' Letter of the Secret Committee of the Oourt of Directors to the Governor-General of Indin, dated April 19, 1858, paragraphs 13, 14, 16, and 20.


on Lord Canning, who had borne the continued strain of the most serious disaster that has ever befallen British rule in India, who had struggled manfully against it and had triumphed over it, and who had restrained the fierce passions of his own countrymen and extended clemency to his opponents-it was hard on him to be censured for one serious mistake, more in the wording than in the object of his Oudh Proclamation.

The censure of Lord Ellenborough was a serious matter. He was a member of the British Cabinet; and his dis- approval, publicly endorsed by the British Ministry and telegraphed to India, weakened the authority of Lord Canning when he required support and encouragement. Englishmen felt this. They did not desire it to appear that the saviour of the Indian Empire had received a censure from the British Cabinet. The difficulty of the situation was removed when Lord Ellenborough resigned his seat in the Cabinet.

I n India, thoughtful and responsible men had per- ceived Lord Canning's mistake. Sir James Outram, then Chief Cornmissioner of Oudh, had induced Lord Canning to add a clause that the Government would view liberally the claims of those Oudh landlords who would promptly return to obedience. Sir John Lawrence, then Chief Com- missioner of the Punjab, declared that " to tell men that all their lands and property were confiscated, to allow them no locus pertitentie, was to drive them to despair." Lord Ellenborough's censure certainly had the effect of com- pletely rectifying thc mistake. The right of property in Oudh was recognised. The Talukdzlrs, returning to obedi- ence, were restored to their lands. The mistake which had been made in the Punjab in 1849, and in Oudh in 1856, of levelling down the leaders of the people, was not repeated. The first regular Settlement of lands was com- menced in 1860, and completed in 1878. The Settlement was for thirty years.

Bosworth Smith's Lifc of l o v d Lawrence (1885), vol. ii. p. 179.

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I t was reserved for Sir John Lawrence to extend to the cultivators of Oudh something of the same protection which Lord Canning had extended to the cultivators of Bengal. The first Oudh Rent Act (Act xix. of 1868) was passed when the first Settlement was still in progress. Without creating new rights, or recognising occupancy tenants, it gave fixity of tenure to ex-proprietary tenants ; and it prohibited the enhancen~ent of rents in rcspect of their holdings except by order of a court of law and equity.l

The Land Settlement of the country known as the North-Western Provinces under the able direction of Robert Merttins Bird, the Directions for Revenue Officers issued by Thomason, and the final decision of Lord Dal- housie in 1855 to reduce the State-demand to one-half the rental, have been narrated in a preceding chapter. The only important change made during the subsequent period, which is the subject of the present chapter, was the passing of the Land Revenue Act (Act xix. of 1873) under the administration of Lord Northbrook. I t simpli- fied the law by repealing or modifying over fifty preceding Regulations and Acts; and the revised Settlement was concluded under the provisions of this new Act. The older methods of survey were replaced by a cadastral survey ; the rental of each estate was revised and corrected by Settlement Oficers after local inquiry; and between 45 and 5 5 per cent. of the rental thus fixed was demanded as the Governnlent Land Revenue.

The reader will notice the importance of the changes thus introduced. The earlier method of assessxnent, fol- lowed by Bird and Thomason, was to proceed frorn%gg~e- gate to detail; the revenue of a fiscal circle was fixed at

1 Later legisl~tion has extended tenant rights in Oudh.


first, and was then distributed to the villages situated within the circle. The later method, introduced by rules framed under Act xix. of I 873, was to proceed from detail to aggregate; the rental of each estate was corrected and fixed by inquiry ; and the Government Revenue, assessed on the revised rentals of estates within a fiscal circle, was the revenue of that circle. In other words, the revenue demand in a, fiscal circle was fixed by guess-work under the old system; it was fixed on the basis of the revised rentals under the new system.

Nevertheless, the method, under which the actual rentals were fixed, was wrong in principle, and oppressive in practice. If a landlord was supposed to be lenient, the Settlement Officer might, by revising the rental of £1000, brlng it up to £1200, and fix the Government Revenue at .&Goo. Such a proceeding taught the landlord to be severe where he was inclined to be lenient ; and it inspired him with a motive to screw up his rents whish it is the first object of British Administration to prevent.

Another violation of the Half-Rental Rule was intro- duced when Local Cesses were multiplied under Lord Mayo's Decentralisation Scheme of 1870. The Half-Rental Rule was laid down by Lord Dalhousie's Government with the clear and unmistakable object of leaving to the landed classes one-half of the income from their estates, and the Land Revenue was limited to the other half. But when, in I 871, Local Cesses of 10 per cent. of the Land Revenue were imposed on estates in addition to the Land Revenue, the object of the Half-Rental Rule was defeated. The new scheme virtually added to the tax on land; it removed the clear limit which Lord Dalhousie had fixed ; and it gave to Provincial Governments indefinite powers to add to the State-demand from the soil. All provinces of India suffered alike from the multiplication of Local Cesses ou the land in 1871.

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Sir John Lawrence made n valiant and successful cntleavour to secure the Pul~,iab cultivators in their tenant- rights. When the time came for a revised Settlement, many landlords, who had failed to register thenlselves as such at the Settlement of 1853, put forward their claims. To recognise them as landlords would be to degrade those who held under them to the position of tenants-at-will. And it was estimated that in Amritsar District, out of 60,000 heads of families, 110 less than 46,000 would be so degraded by a recognition of the claims of the landlords. A Tenant Bill was accordingly introduced to protect the cultivators; and on October 18, 1868, a great debate took place at Simla on this Bill. Sir Henry Maine gave it his hearty support in a memorable speech ; and Sir John Law- rence desired it to become law. The opposition collapsed; and the Tenant Act (Act xxvii. of 1868) saved the cultivators of the Punjab, while recognising the claims of the landlords.

'I The Act regulated and defined the position of tenants with rights of occupancy; it protected them against enhancement except under peculiar conditions ; it recog- nised their power to alienate tenures ; it limited the privi- lege of the pre-emption and gave the option to the landlord ; and, with almost prophetic apprehension of the points at issue in Ireland, it defined the improvement,^ which 11night be made by the tenant, and specified the compensation which he might look to receive."

l t is only necessary to add that three years after the Tenant Act was enacted, the Punjab Land Revenue Act (Act xxxiii. of 187 I ) was passed during the rule of Lord Mayo ; and Settlements in the Punjab were made according to rules framed under this Act.

1 W. S . Seton Karr, quoted in Bosworth Smith's Life of Lord Lawt.esce (1885)~ vol. ii. p. 423.


We have in the present chapter very briefly reviewed the legislation which was undertaken by Lord Canning and his successors to secure tenant-rights to the culti- vators of Northern India. No more useful or beneficial legislation was ever undertaken by the British Govern- ment in India. The wise administrators of the day did not desire to set aside the landed classes. On the con- trary, they respected their rights while they alsc extended protection to those who actually tilled the soil under them. Nor did Canning and Lawrence introduce new ideas and new rights for the Indian tenants. On the contrary, they only defined, improved, and codi$ed those rights which Indian cultivators had always enjoyed by custom for cen- turies and thousands of years. The historian of the Indian people dwells with pleasure on the legislation of these years-legislation which respected the great and pro- tected the weak, and which was based on the unwritten custonis and the ancient rights of India. The credit of this wise and beneficent legislation was principally due to Lord Canning who first gave the protection of law to Bengal cultivators, and to John Lawrence who extended the same protection to the cultivators in Oudh and the Punjab. History recognises the heroic services of these two men in saving the British Empire in India in the dark days of 1857 ; but history scarcely condescends to note the services which they rendered to the voiceless tillers of Northern India by their strong determination to save their interests and secure their welfare. I t is the special privilege of the chronicler of the economic condition of the people to recognise, fully and emphatically, this almost unnoticed work of the two greatest of Indian administrators.

And while those eminent rulers limited the demands of the landed classes from the cultivators of the soil in Northern India, they exerted with equal courage to limit the demands of the Government itself on the landed classes. For they held, and rightly held, that there could be no permanent prosperity, no accumulation of wealth,

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and no adequate motive for improvement in an agricul- tural country, if the Government of the country demanded a cont;inuous increase of the Land Revenue at each re- curring Settlement. Canning and Lawrence desired to limit the increasing demand in order that the people might be prosperous, and the revenue of the State might increase with the general prosperity of the people. Canning and Lawrence failed because narrower views prevailed with the succeeding generation of statesmen,- with men who were less in touch with the people and thought less of the people when the empire was safe. The story of this controversy has a melancholy interest, and will be narrated in the following chapter.



THE famine of 1860 was the severest calamity that had visited the people of Northern India since the famine of 1837. I t affected an area of 25,000 square miles, and a population of 13 millions. Delhi, Agra, Allahabad, and other towns suffered severely. The Government opened relief works for the able-bodied men and women who could work. Gratuitous relief was provided at the ex- pense of the charitable public for those who could not work. The mortality was less than in 1837.

When the great calamity was at last over, Lord Canning appointed Colonel Baird Smith to inquire into its causes ,

and its extent. No better man could have been selected. Baird Smith had distinguished himself as the Chief Engi- neer at the recapture of Delhi in 1857. But his fame rested chiefly on those great irrigation works in Northern India by which he had extended the limits of cultivation and added to the food of the people. He entered upon his new task with all his wonted energy and zeal. After an exhaustive inquiry into the condition of the famine- stricken tracts, he submitted three reports in May and August 1861. And he may be said to have discovered some facts which are true of all Indian famines.

In the first place, he clearly showed that the famine was due, not to want of food in the country, but to the difficulty of the starving people in obtaining the food. And in the second place, he also pointed out that the staying power of the people depended greatly on the land system under which they lived.

" No misapprehension can be greater than to suppose =73

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that the settlement of the public demand on the land is only lightly, or, as some say, not at all connected with the occurrence of famines. It lies, in reality, far nearer to the root of the matter, because of its intimate and vital relation to the every-day life of the people and to their growth towards prosperity or towards degradation, than any such accessories as canals, or roads, or the like, im- portailt though these unquestionably are. I t is no doubt quite true that not the best settlement, which mortal in- tellect could devise, would cover the skies with clouds, or moisten the earth with rain, when the course of nature had established a drought. But given the drought and its consequences, the capacity of the people to resist their destructive influence is in direct proportion-I would almost say geometrical proportion-to the perfection of the settlemcnt system under which they are living and growing." l

A careful and exhaustive comparison of the famines of 1837 and 1860 confirmed Colonel Baird Smith in this belief. The areas affected by the two famines were about the same; the population affected by the later famine was larger ; and the other conditions were worse in 1860. Nevertheless, the sufferings and deaths in 1860 were far less than in I 837, because the land system introduced in Northern India, since 1833, was infinitely better than the previous system.

" Foremost, then, among the means whereby society in Northern India has been so strengthened as thus to resist, with far less suffering, far heavier pressure, from drought and famine in 1860-61 than in 1837-38, I place the creation, as it may almost literally be called, of a vast mass of readily convertible and easily transferable agri- cultural property, as the direct result of the limitation for long terlris of the Government demand on the land, and the careful record of individual rights accompanying it

1 Report of August 14, 1861, paragraph 36.


which have been in full and active operation since the existing settlements were made."

Relying on the facts and figures he had collected, and on his careful inquiries into the state of Northern India as it was then and as it had been before, Colonel Baird Smith recommended a Permanent Settlement of the Land Revenue as a protection against the worst eff'ects of future famines, and as a means of increasing the general revenue of the country with the general prosperity of the people.

" The good which has been done by partial action on sound principles is both a justification and an encourage- ment to further advances; and entertaining the most earnest conviction that State interests and popular in- terests will be alike strengthened in an increasing ratio by the step, the first, and, I believe, the most important remedial measure I have respectfully to submit for con- sideration, is the expediency of fixing for ever the public demand on the land."

" It may be supposed that a great sacrifice of public revenue is involved in the concession of a perpetually fixed demand on the part of Government. I t is to be observed, however, that, with a single exception to be noticed separately, the recent tendency of the measures of Government has shown a different conviction, and indicated a belief that its interests are best secured, not

I by general enhancement, but by general lightening of its demand on the land. . . . The land would enjoy the benefit of such accumulations, and as a necessary consequence of the increased prosperity of that class which must always be the very core of Native society, and with the strength of the weakness of which the social fabric generally must always have the acutest sympathy, trade and commerce and general wealth would not only increase, but as years passed on the community must grow stronger and stronger, and the risk of its collapsing under any such calamities as that we are now considering would gradually become

Report of August 14, 1861, paragraph 60.

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less and less. Assnining, then, that the results of the measure waul? in some degree at any rate, realise these anticipations, it seems unreasonable to suppose that an intelligent and powerful Government could fail to partici- pate in them. Its intelligence would direct it to the least offensive and most effective means of sharing in the general prosperity; and its power would insure the fair trial and ultimate success of those means. There would be no real sacrifice, therefore, I believe, but, on the con- trary, a marked increase of the public resources, from the creation of the increased private property to which, it is conceived, that a Perpetual Settlement of the public demand must lead." l

Such was the first remedial measure suggested by Colonel Baird Srnith, and he also urged the extension and completion of irrigation works and of roads and communi- cations. Lord Canning sent Colonel Baird Smith's Report to all the Provincial Governlnents for their careful con- sideration.

The Government of the Punjab was the only Govern- ment in Northern India which demurred to the immediate introduction of a Permanent Settlement, because the Province had been brought under British rule only twelve years before, and cultivation was still backward in many of the districts. The new Lieutenant-Governor said :-

( I The Punjab is not half cultivated ; there are immense waste tracts almost unpopulated ; the communications are incomplete; and the resources generally but partially developed. Hence, even admitting that it were wise to abandon the prospective right of Government to a share of the increased rent in a Province which had attained to an average degree of agricultural advancement, it might still be prudent to maintain it in one which remained in a backward state."

Report of August 14, 1861, paragraphs 62 and 64.


On a view of the whole subject, as it affects the Punjab, the Lieutenant-Governor considers that, if it be prudent in a country like the Punjab, which is still in a backward state of cultivation, which cannot be said to pay its entire military expenses, and the civil institutions of which are not adapted to the most advanced state of society, to declare the Land Tax liable to no future increase, still the existing and prospective inequalities of distribution are so many and great as to rentlcr its per- petuation very inadvisable." l

Northern India has been under British rule for sixty years; and the opinion in favour of introducing a Per- manent Settlement in the well-cultivated districts was strong and unanimous.

William Muir, then Senior Member of the Board of Hevenue, and afterwards Lieutenant-Governor of the Pro- vince and Finance Minister of India, summed up the benefits of a Permanent Settlement under six heads.

(I) Saving of the expenditure of periodical settle- ments.

(2) Deliverance of the people from the vexations of resettlements.

(3) Freedom from depreciation of estates at the close of each temporary settlement.

(4) Prosperity arising from increased incentive to im- provement and expenditure of capital.

(5) Greatly increased value of landed property. (6) Content and satisfaction among the p e ~ p l e . ~ And the junior Member of the Board sf Revenue,

R. Money, foresaw no financial loss to the Government from this measure.

" I am of opinion that no amount of direct land Letter from the Punjab Government to the Government of India,

dated April 25, 1862, paragraphs 6 and 16. a Minute dated December 5, 1861, paragraph 30.

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revenue which might possibly be hereafter assessed in excess of the demand which will be fixed at the approach- ing settlement, could bear any proportion to the increased sources of revenue which will, directly or indirectly, be gradually developed when the utmost possible simplifica- tion of the tenure of land shall have been affected and its stability assured."

Agreeing in these opinions, the Lieutenant-Governor of the North-Western Provinces recommended the con- clusion of a Permanent Settlement in a long and carefully considered Minute.

" I do not in the least doubt that the gradual and cai~tious concessions of a guarantee of permanency to the settlement of the land revenue in tJhc North-Western Provinces, generally, will be productive of all the advan- tages which Colonel Baird Smith and Mr. Muir, in even greater detail, have depicted. Judging by the effect of settlements for long periods, it may be safely anticipated that the limitation of the Government demand in perpetuity will, in much larger degree, lead to the investment of capital in the land. The wealth of the agricultural classes will be increased. The prosperity of the country and the strength of the community will be augmented. Land will command a much higher price. The prospective loss which the Government will incur by relinquishing its share of the profits, arising from extended cultivation and improved productiveness, will be partly, if not wholly, cornpensated by the indirect returns which would be derived from the increased wealth and prosperity of the country at large.

(<Nor should the minor advantages of freeing the people from the vexation and exaction which are insepar- able from a periodical settlement of the Land Revenue, of saving the large expenditure which each revision of settle- ment entails upon the Government, and of removing the temptation which the approach of cach revision holds out

Minute dated December 21, 1861, paragraph 11.


to land proprietors of temporarily deteriorating their pro- perty, be disregarded. These are all burthens which bear, with more or less severity, on the Government and on the people, and if they can be got rid of without lasting detri- ment to the revenues of the state, few will be found to offer any opposition.

" I t must also be admitted, I think, that the settlement of the Government demand in perpetuity will be politically wise. I t is true that in Behar, and also in some of the districts of the Benares province, notably Ghazipur, which are permanently settled, the rebellion of 1857-58 was not less general or less determined than in other parts of these provinces which are under temporary settlement. But these manifestations of feeling must be regarded as having been the result of exciting causes, having but a transient influence, and can hardly detract from the force of the conviction that the absolute limitation of demand upon their land will be received by an agricultural people with the highest satisfaction, and will produce, if anything can, feelings of attachment to the Government, and of con- fidence in its desire to promote the best interests of the country.

"But it certainly appears to me that the introduction of a Permanent Seltlernent must be subject to certain con- ditions, exceptions, and reservations, and that some years must pass away before the measure can be consummated. Precipitancy in a matter of this vast importance is to be deprecated as pregnant with injury both to the Govern- ment and the people." l

The " conditions, exceptions, and reservations " which the Lieutenant-Governor, G. F. Edmonstone, laid down, were, that a revision of the existing settlement should be made before it was declared permanent; that some wild or backward districts should be excepted for many years to come from this measure ; and that " the rates of water rent should be raised in order to make some compensation

Minute dated May 27, 1862, paragraphs 7 to 10.

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to the Government for relinquishing prospective accessions to its land revenue on the recurrence of periodical settle- ments." '

The Lieutenant-Governor of Reiigal, Cecil Beadon, had already expressed his opinion, as a Member of the Governor-General's Council, in support of the proposed measure. As Lieutenant-Governor of Bengal he confirmed this opinion in a separatk communication.

"Although, strictly speaking, the Board are right in saying that a settlement of the Land Revenue, as between the Government and the person admitted to settlement, is a mere matter of contract, and that legislation is not necessary to give validity to a permanent any more than to a transitory one, yet the Lieutenant-Governor has no doubt that the enunciation of a lasting principle, in refer- ence to the set,tlen~ent of the Land Revenue in several large divisions of the Lower Provinces of Bengal, to say nothing of the rest of Incliit, would most fitly be confirmed as in I 793, by legislative cnactruent."

Sir Bnrtlc Frere, then a Member of the Governor- General's Council, supported the proposal. But the most significant support which Lord Canning received was from the Finance Member of his Council, Samuel Lang. With the ext,reme caution, natural and commendable in a financier, he dealiucd to accept the assurance that the prospective loss in land revenue caused by a Permanent Settlement would be made good by increased revenues

1 Minute dated May 27, 1862, paragraph 37. Letter from the Government of Bengal to the Government of India,

dated June 25, 1862. I t should be explained that large portions of Bengal, like Orissa and Chota Nagpur, not being under British rule in 1793, had not been included in the Permanent Settlement of Lord Cornwallis. Cecil Beadon's recommendation, quoted above, was to extend the Permanent Settlement to these "large divisions."


from other sources. But he gave his support to the pro- posed measure on higher corlsiderations which cannot bc better stated than in his own emphatic words.

"We do not exist as a Government merely to get the largest revenue we can out of the country, or even to keep the mass of the people in a state of uniform deed level, though it should be a tolerably happy and contented one, as a peasant tenantry under a pat,ernal Government.

"If we give a Permanent Settlement, as Mr. Beadon proposes, we lay the foundation for a state of society, not perhaps so easily managed, but far more varied and richer in elements of civilisation and progress. We shall have gradations of society, from the Native noblemen of large territorial possessions down, through the country gentleman of landed estate, to the independent yeoman, tbe small peasant proprietor, the large tenant with skill and capital on a long lease, the small tenant on a lease, the tenant-at-will, and the day labourer.'

" In some districts one class will preponderate, in others a diflerent one, and, on the whole, 1 do not doubt that, although there may be more hardships, inequalities, and collisions, there will be more life, activity, and progress, than there ever will be where the Government was all in all.

"If the Crown in England had kept the fee-simple of all lands forfeited by successive civil wars or seized from the Church, there might have been a revenue which would have gone far to carry on the Government without taxes, but would England ever have been the country it is ?

" If we have any business at all in the East, it is to try and found something better than the old approved patterns

' The two kinds of society here depicted are precisely those which exist a t the present day in the Ryotwari tracts of Bombay and Madras, and in the permanently settled districts of Bengal. In the former we find a dead level of peasant proprietors under the Government, but not tolerably happy or contented. In Bengal we find gradations of society, the noblrman of territorial possessions, the country gentleman of landed BsJate, the occnpancy cultivator with his rights secured, the tenant-at- Wl11 the day-labourer.

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of Oriental despotisms,' and to give India the chance at least, of becoming a great independent and intelligent community.

"Nor do I see any reason to fear the effect on revenue. " I t may be true that we shall not get so much revenue

as if we had kept the increase of rent in our own hands, at any rate for the next twenty or thirty years, while it is almost certain to be rapidly increasing.

" But I have no fear of our being able to get revenue enough provided certain conditions are observed in regard to our land settlement; and I am by no means sure that it is desirable that a Government should appropriate a larger share of the income of a country, or get money more easily, than is really essential to meet the proper objects of a Government."

These reports and others from the Central Provinces, Madras, and Bombay: came up before the Secretary of State for India. Sir Charles Wood gave a careful consideration to the question, as well as the cognate question of Redemption of the Land Tax which had also been occupying the attention of the Government for some years past. The question of Redemption fell through ; but the question of a Permanent Settlement was calmly and ably discussed.

Sir John Lawrence, who was then a Member of the Secretary of State's Council, was opposed to the policy of

1 Oliental despotism in India, whatever its faults, permitted gradations in society, and fostered Village Communities, Zemindars, Polygars, Jaigirdars, Mirasdars, Sardars, and Talukdars.

2 Minute dated April 7, 1862. " I t is sometimes said, half in jest, half in earnest "--Band Smith had written-" that the sure effect of a full Ind~an exchequer is a war." I t would be more correct to say that a sure effect of surpluses, hecured by overtaxation, has been additional military expenditure, unjust burdens thrown on India, and larger Economic Drain from India.

The opinions of the Governments of the Central Provinces, Madras, and Bombay, will be quoted in the three succeeding chapters.


Redemption, but strongly supported the policy of a Permanent Settlement.

((1 recommend a Permanent Settlement because I am persuaded that, however much the country has of late years improved, its resources will be still more rapidly developed by the limitation of the Government demand. Such a measure will still further encourage the investment of money in the land, and will give still greater security to the land revenue itself, which, in years of great calamity, occurring every now and then, has suffered largely, though the loss has been more or less of a temporary character. I t is also very desirable that facilities should exist for the growth of the middle class in India connected with the land, without dispossessing the present yoeman and peasant proprietors. There are many men of much intelligence, spirit, and social influence among those classes, who are yet so poor that they find it difficult to maintain a decent appearance. I t is no remedy for this state of things to confer great and exclusive benefits on a few individuals, especially when the very benefits are conferred at the expense of the rest of the community. What is really wanted is to give the intelligent, the thrifty, and the enterprising among them, the opportunity of im- proving their condition, by the exercise of such qualities; and this can best be done by limiting the public demand on the land. When such men acquire property, and are in a thriving state, they are almost certain to be well- affected to the Government, and will use their influence, which will generally be considerable, in its favour. Feelings of race and religion have great influence on the people of India, but love for their lands has still greater. Thousands, probably millions, of the people of Northern India, the most warlike of all its races, are descended from ancestors who gave up their religion to preserve their land. I t is on the contentment of the agriculturists, who form the real physical power in the country, that the security of British rule, to a large extent,

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depends. If they are prosperous, the military force may be small, but not otherwise."


These sentiments and reasons were cordially endorsed by the Secretary of State for India in his melnorable despatch of July g, 1862, from which we make the followii~g extracts :-

"Her Majesty's Government entertain no doubt of the political advantages which would attend a Permanent Settlement. The security, and it may almost be said, the absolute creation of property in the soil, which will flow from limitation in perpetuity of the demands of the State on the owners of land, cannot fail to stimulate or confirm their sentiments of attachment and loyalty to the Govern- ment by whom so great a boon has been conceded, and on whose existence its permanency will depend.'"

' I I t is also most drsirable that facilities should be given for the gradual growth of a middle class connected with the land, without dispossessing the peasant proprietors and occupiers. I t is believed that among the latter may be found many men of great intelligence, public spirit, and social influence, although individually in comparative poverty. To give to the intelligent, the thrifty, and the enterprising, the means of improving their condition, by opening to them the opportunity of exercising these qualities, can be best accomplished by limiting the public dcrnands on their lands. When such men acquire property, and find themselves in a thriving condition, they are certain to be well affected towards the Government under which they live. I t is on the contentment of the agricultural classes, who form the great bulk of the population, that the security of Government mainly depends. If they are prosperous, any casual outbreak on the part of other classes or bodies of men is not likely to become an

1 Minute dated July 5, 1862, paragraph 15.


of danger, and the military force and its con- sequent expense may be regulated accordingly."

That this general improvement will be accelerated by a Permanent Settlement, her Majesty's Government cannot entertain any doubt. A ready and popular mode of invest- ment for the increasing wealth of the country will be povided by the creation of property in land, 2nd a11 classes will benefit by the measure. On the agricultural population, the effect will be, as pointed out by Colonel Baird Smith in the able paper already referred to, the elevation of the social condition of the people, and their consequent ability, not only to meet successfully the pressure occasioned by seasons of distress, but in ordinary times to bear increased taxation in other forms without difficulty; the feeling of ownership, or in other words, the absolute certainty of the full enjoyment of the reward for all the labour and capital which they may invest in the land, will be sure to call out all their energies for its improvement. Her Majesty's Government confidently expect that a people in a state of contentment and progressive improvement will be able without difficulty to contribute to the revenue in other ways to such an extent as more than to compensate for the disadvantage of foregoing some prospective increase of that from land."

"After the most careful review of all these consjdera- tions, her Majesty's Government are of opinion that the advantages which may reasonably be expected to accrue not only to those immediately connected with the land, but to the community generally, are sufficiently great to justify them in incurring the risk of some prospective loss of land revenue in order to attain them, and that a settle- ment in perpetuity in all districts in which the conditions absolutely required as preliminary to such a measure are, or may hereafter be, fulfilled, is a measure dictated by sound policy, and calculated to accelerate the development of the resources of India, and to ensure, in the highest

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degree, the welfare and contentment of all classes of her Majesty's suljects in that coutltry."

'(They consider that the direct mode of making a Permanent Settlement is preferable to the indirect one of obtaining a similar result by conceding to the land- holders the right to redeem their assessment. They do not believe that the power to redeem the land revenue is necessary to induce the landholders to incur expenditure in the irnproverrient of their property. What is really required, in order to call into effective action their enter- prise and capital, is not an cxe~nption from all payments to the Government on account of their estates, but the fixing of those payments in pcrpetuity, at a moderate and certain amount. In Bengal, where a Permanent Settle- ment was made with the Zemindars seventy years ago, the general progress of the country in wealth and prosperity, notwithstanding the depressed condition of the peasantry caused by errors and o~nissions in the mode of ~naking the settlement, bas been most remarkable. Such errors in the existing state of our knowledge, regarding the rights and interests of the subordinate occupants of the soil, ~vould not be permitted to recur."

( 'Her Majesty's Government have, therefore, deter- mined to limit the power of redeeming the Land Revenue to such cases as are referred to above in paragraph 26, but they have resolved to sanction a Permanent Settlement of the Land Revenue throughout India. I t will, however, still remain to be determined how far any particular district is in a condition to warrant the particular applica- tion of the measure at the present time."l


When Sir John Lawrence went out to India as Viceroy, he took up the great land question with his accustomed promptness. And in March 1864, he recorded a Minute,

Despatch dated July 9, 1862, paragraphs 47 48 53, 58, 59, and 63


stating in general terms the manner in which he proposed to introduce a Perrnanent Settlement in Northern India oudh, and the Punjab.

On March 24, 1865, the Secretary of State for India, Sir Charles Wood, wrote his reply. He divided Indian districts into three classes, viz. :-

( I ) Districts where agriculture was backward, (2) Districts fairly cultivated and fully developed ; and (3) Districts with estates fairly cultivated, and also

estates imperfectly developed. He decided that a Permanent Settlement should be

introduced at once into the second class of districts, and refused in tbe first class districts. I n regard to the third class of districts he stated that her Majesty's Government llare prepared to authorise an immediate settlement on perpetuity, after revision, for all estates in which the actual cultivation amounts to 80 per cent. of the cul- tivable or Malgoozaree area." Estates not so fully culti- vated "should be treated in the ordinary manner, and settled for a term not exceeding thirty years."

'On August 3, 1865, the Viceroy in Council forwarded copy of correspondence with the Government of the North- West Provinces on the question of Permanent Settlement in relation to canal irrigation.

On March 17, 1866, the Secretary of State for India, Earl de Grey and Ripon, recorded his reply, approving of the instructions given by the Indian Government to the Lieutenant-Governor for the Permanent Settlement of the North-West Provinces, and suggesting the following rule with regard to canal irrigation :-

"A rule might be laid down that no Permanent Settle- ment should be concluded for any estate, the assets of which would, when canal irrigation shall have been carried to the full extent at present contemplated, exceed, in the opinion of the oficers of the Settlement and Irrigation Departments, the existing assets in a proportion exceeding 20 per cent."

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On March 23, 1867, the Secretary of State for India, Sir Stafford Northcote, reaffirmed the decision of her Majesty's Government to introduce a Permanent Settle- ment. Her Majesty's Government, he wrote, were prepared to sacrifice the prospect of an increase in land revenue ' l in consideration of the great importance of connecting the interests of the proprietors of the land with the stability of the British Government." And he laid down two rules to restrict Permanent Settlement in undeveloped tracts and estates :-

l'First.-No estate shall be permanently settled in which the actual cultivalion amounts to less than 80 per cent. of the cultivable or Malgoozaree area ; and

" Second.-No Permanent Settlement shall be con- cluded for any estate to which canal irrigation is, in the opinion of the Governor-General in Council, likely to be extended within the next twenty years, and the existing assets of which would thereby be increased in the propor- tion of 20 per cent."


Inquiries went on with a view to ascertain what districts or parts of districts in Northern India could be perman- ently settled under the conditions laid down by Sir Staf- ford Northcote. In 1869 some cases were reported in which it was shown that a Permanent Settlement, even under the conditions laid down, would cause prospective loss to Government. This was not a new argument ; for Sir StafTord Northcote had foreseen such loss, and had declared it to be the final and deliberate decision of her Majesty's Government that " this sacrifice they were pro- pared to make in consideration of the great importance of connecting the interests of the proprietors of the land with the stability of the British Government." But every pass-


ing year of peace weakened the desire to make the sacrifice ; and the objection which had been foreseen and disregarded in 1867 seemed to have a greater weight in 1869. A third condition was accordingly recommended in addition to the two laid down in I 867 ; and this third condition practically

to this, that the Permanent Settlement should be deferred as long as the land continued to improve in value.

A difficulty was then presented by the depreciation of the rupee. This, too, had been foreseen by Sir Charles Wood ; but the difficulty appeared more formidable to the authorities in the 'seventies than it had appeared in the 'sixties. And, for a time, the idea of a Permanent Settle- ment was dropped.

At last came the final decision. The Secretary of State for India in his despatch No. 24, dated March 28, I 883, gave the coup de grdce to the recommendation made by Lord Canning twenty-one years before. The despatch said, " I concur with your Excellency's Government that the policy laid down in 1862 should now be formally abandoned."

I t will appear from the preceding narrative that the final rejection of the proposal of a Permanent Settlement of the land revenue of India mas due, not to any new diffi- culties discovered in course of the inquiries made, but to a change in the spirit of the Government policy. The proposal was first dictated by a desire to improve the material condition of the people; " to encourage," in the words of Lord Lawrence, " the investment of money in the land ;" to promote the gradual growth of a middle class in India;" to foster the accumulation of capital and of resources which would help the people in years of difficul- ties, droughts, and distress. These benevolent objects were lost sight of by a new generation of administrators. In the years succeeding the Sikh wars and the wars of the Indian Mutiny, her Majesty's Government had desired to sacrifice a prospective rise in the land revenue "in con-

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sideration," as Sir Stafford Northcote put it, " of the great importance of connecting the interests of the proprietors of the land with thc stability of the British Government." The years of peace which followed, and the loyal devotion of the people of India to her Majesty's Government, weakened, instead of strengthening, this desire; and in 1883, after an uninterrupted peace in India of a quarter of a century, it was no longer considered necessary to make the sacrifice. Never has the loyalty of a nation been worse rewarded ; never has the peacefulness of a people led more clearly to the withdrawal of a boon proposed in years of trouble and anxiety. I t is a bad lesson for a Government to teach and for a people to learn.



THE large tract of country known as the Central Provinces of India has an area of nearly ninety thousand square miles, and a population of over nine mi1lions.l I t came under British Rule at different dates. In the last Mah- ratta war, which took place in I 8 I 7, the troops of the Raja

Nagpur attacked the British force at Sitabaldi, but were repulsed with loss. The Raja disclaimed any connection with his rebellious troops, and cemented his friendship with the British by the cession of the Sagor and Narbada Territories, which thus came under British Rule in 1818. Subsequently, Lord Dalhousie annexed the State of Sam- balpur on the death of the Raja in 1849 without an heir; and in 1853 he annexed the State of Nagpur, on the demise of its ruler, the claims of the adopted heir being set aside. All these scattered territories, with the excep- tion of Sambalpur, were united under one Administration by Lord Canning in November 1861, and were henceforth called the Central Provinces of India. And Sambalpur was added in 1862. I t is necessary to say a few words here on the early administration of these separate tracts, previous to their union in I 861 and I 862.

When the Territories of Sagor and Narbada came under British Rule in I 8 I 8, they were first placed directly under the rule of the Indian Government, and were subse- quently placed under the Lieutenant-Governor of the

According to the Census of Igor. Berar has since been added to the Central Provinces.


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North-West Provinces. In 1842 they were under an Agent directly under the Government of India, and on a later date they were once more transferred to the Lieu- tenant-Governor of the North-West Provinces. And this state of things continued till the Union of 1861.

The early administration of the Sagor and Narbada Territories was not successful. British administrators made the mistake which they had made in Madras and elsewhere. They assessed the lands too high, demanded an impossible revenue, impoverished the people, and retarded the progress of the country. The mistake was found out at a later date, and was condemned in tho strongest terms.

Hoshangabad and Seonee Districts.-The first five- year settlement of Seonee and Hoshangabad, made in 1821, "probably was the worst settlement ever made. Major Macpherson had to deal with a depopulated country and an impoverished and dispirited people. . . . Major Macpherson expected an amount of improvement in five years which has not taken place in forty-five. . . . I t was soon found that this assessment was extravagantly high, and could not be paid. . . . Major Macpherson, however, had chastised Hoshangabad with whips, and Seonee he scourged with scorpions."

The assessment fixed by Major Macpherson in 1821 was £10,359 for an area which had been assessed by the Mahratta Government at £2277 only. In 1825 another five-year settlement was made, and the assessment was still further increased to £13,877, which was seven times what the Mahrat,tas had demanded. The enormous demand could never be rcaliscd, and remissions had to be allowed. " But the remissions were not sufficient, and very strenuous eff'orts were made to collect the revenue by any means, so that to this day a most lively recollection of the tortures and cruelties then suffered lives in the minds of the Zemindars."

1 Settlement Report of Hoshangabad, 1855, b y Charles Elliott, paragraph8 46, 47, 48, and 49. a Ibid., paragraph 50.


A third five-year settlement brought little redress. At last, in 1836, a twenty-year settlement was made at a reduced assessment of £6192, which was still nearly three tilnes the old Mahratta demand.

Na~si7~qhpur District.-The operations of the first fifteen years were as bad at Narsinghpur as at Seonee and ~oshangabad. " I t is no exaggeration to say that the first fifteen years of our administration were engrossed in one continuous struggle to keep together and support the agricultural community under an almost unbearable pressure of land revenue demand. Our first settlements were founded on the later Mahrntta assessments, which, as has already been stated, had been most unduly strained to meet an extraordinary crisis. . . . When our officers attempted a rigid system of collection on so unsound a basis, and the temporary prop afl'orded by the consump- tion of the Narbada field. force was withdrawn, the whole unsubstantial fabric broke down, and the impolicy of the assessment was shown by the entire desertion of numerous villages." l

f i e first assossment was £66,769. The results were disastrous, and the Malguzars or revenue-payers were ruined. Heavy remissions had to be allowed, and con- siderable reductions were made at the triennial settlements of 1830 and 1833. The twenty-year settlement of 1836 was made at a reduction of £5 3 I 3.

Damoh District.-In this district, unfortunately, the twenty-year settlement, made in I 83 5, increased, instead of reducing, the previous assessment made in short term settlements. The assessment fixed in 1835 was £30~5 14. "Several of the Malguzars at this settlement threw up their leases, and it was only by the adoption of very deter- mined measures that the diihculty was got over. . . ,

Landed property p i t e lost its value. Scores of villages rerosined under lchas management year after year."

&tuement &port of Nursinghpur. 1866, b y Charles Grant, paragraph 55.

"ttlenzent R ~ o r t of Damoh, 1866, by A. Russell, paragraph 60.

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8agor I)istrict.-- l n this district also, the long term settlement which followed the short settlements, did not bring any relief. "The Government demands press so heavily upon the people that all enterprise has been crushed, and there is not the slightest attempt at improve- ment. I have personally satisfied myself that in many instances the Government demand exceeds the gross rental assets of some villages.

"The people have lost heart to that extent that in some instances the rightful owners of hereditary descent refused on any terms to accept the proprietary rights of villages.

" The widespread misery and distress throughout this division of the district must be seen to be appreciated, especially at Dhamonee and the part of Benaika Patna.

"The impression conveyed to me on inspecting these tracts was, that the Paganahs were dead, so vast was the desolation, and so scarce the signs of life or of human beings."

"The Government of India strongly condemned this state of things at Sagor, after half a century of British administration. " In 1834," they wrote, " the twenty years settlement was still not suEciently moderate ; and the same benefits did not accrue from this long settlement as in other districts of these Territories. Heavy reductions were granted, and the assessment was thus further re- duced. I t is to be remarked that although the Govern- ment of the day pressed the necessity of reduction, its orders were carried out by the local anthorities with a nigg*rdly hand: and concessions made in driblets. Had the reductions been granted promptly, the district, it, is probable, would have been recovered."

And the Secretary of State for India wrote from London : " Even in a stronger degree than former reports

Settlement Repovt of Sagor, by Col. Maclean, 1867, paragraphs 43 and 94.

a Letter No. 353, dated November 30, 1867, from the Government of India (Foreign Department) to the Chief Cornmiasinner of the central Provinces.


from the same quarter of India, this report gives evi- dence of the evils committed by over-assessment since the district came under Bricish Government." l

These extracts will sufficiently indicate the state of the Sagor and Narbada Territories during the early decades of the British Rule. Short settlements and heavy assess- ments were the rule at first; and it was Robert Merttins Bird, known as the Father of Land-Settlements in Northern India, who pressed for the introduction of a long settle- ment in 1834. He submitted a vigorous report on the unhappy state of these Territories, brought about by persistent attempts " to prop up by temporary expedients a revenue confessedly excessive."

Robert M. Bird's general report.-" An excessive system of fraud and speculation," he went on to say, <'is said to have been introduced, and the cultivators rarely receive the benefit of that which is foregone by the Government, but have been forced to pay all that could be collected from them. On the other hand, a system of interference has been introduced, which, by destroying all confidence, has driven away capital from the land. The stores of the merchant have been opened, and grain forcibly taken away to be given out to the cultivators for seed, without any payment being made to the merchant, or any assist- ance afforded him for the subsequent recovery of the property of which he has been thus despoiled.

" This spoliation is stated to have occurred in favour of cultivators to whom the bankers have refused to make advances from past experience of their fraud and un- faithfulness. Capitalists, having obtained decrees against agriculturists, were not permitted to sell their cattle or imprison their persons, because. it was supposed, either of these measures would leave the land uncultivated. There is little use in following out the narrative of this system throughout all its ramifications of detail. I t is sufficient to say, that an ample collection of facts, openly stated

Despatch No. 33, dated April 33, 1868.

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by the Natives, and which could not be denied by the European officers, afforded abundant proof that, in the vain hope of pmpping up an exorbitant assess~nent, and under the mistaken notion of practical skill in the man- agement of details, a system of mischievous interference in the private arrnngernents and concerns of individuals had almost universally prevailed."

I t was after the subrnission of this report, and under the orders of the Indian Government, that a long settle- ment for twenty years was concluded in these Territories. We have seen before that this long settlement brought relief to some districts where the assessment was reduced while in other districts it brought none, because the local officers were still wedded to the principle of exacting the highest possiblc revenue from the land. The long settle- ment was allowed to last until the new administration of the Central Provinces was formed in 1861.

This State was under the Mahratta rulers of the Bhonsla family for over a hundred years, from 1743 to 1853. But within this period it had come under the management of British officers during twelve years, from 18 I 8 to 1830, during the minority of the ruling prince. British adrrlinistrators mistook the enhancement of the Land Itevenue as a sign of eilicient administration. Within theso twelve years the Land Revenue of the State was very considerably enhanced; and in one dis- trict, Chanda, it was doubled. When the State was re- stored to the Raja on his attaining his majority, the Land Revenue had risen to £253,000.~ The Raja's ad-

' Hird's reoort on the Sagor and the Narbada territories, dated October 31, 1g3~.

- £

2 Districts Nagpl~r and Warda . . 166,400 ,, Chanda . . . . . 48,500 ,, Bhandara . . . . 38,100

Total . . .rC;253,000 The fiscal result of twelve year8 of British management was satis-


ministration was not so rigorous as that of the British; and to us it is satisfactory to note, that the Land Revenue fell to .£z24,170 by the time of his death in I 85 3. The State was then annexed by Lord Dalhousie.

The administration of the newly annexed State during the first eight years, from 1853 to 1861, was not suc- cessful. Short term settlements did not add to the prosperity of the people, nor did they add to the revenues of the State. In 1861 the annexed State was united with contiguous districts and formed into the Central Provinces.

This State was ruled for centuries by n dynasty of the Chohan Rajputs, who had established their power in many parts of India before its conquest by the Mahomeclans. After n brief interruption, n descendant of the Chohan dynasty was restored to the throne in 1817 by British influence, and the State was placed under the political control of the Bengal Government. The Land Revenue of the State was about £ro,ooo sterling.

On the death of the last Raja without an heir, Lord Dalhousie annexed the State in 1849, and it was adminis- tered by the Government of Bengal until 1862. I t thus happened that, when the administration of the Centrs~l Provinces was formed in 1861, Sambalpur District did not form a part of it, but still belonged to Bengal. And after its transfer to the Central Provinces in 1862, it was for some years the scene of disturbances created by a pre- tender. The district of Sambalpur was thus excluded from the great Settlement of the Central Provinces which was concluded between 1863 and 1867; and the land system of Sambalpur is to this day different from that of the other parts of the Central Provinces.

factory, and the revenue handed back to the Raja was considerably higher than that taken over from him."-J. B. Fuller's Note o n the Central Provinces Settlement.

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On November 2, I 861, Lord Canning recorded the Resolutioe creating the Central Provirlces Administration. One or two extracts from this Resolution are given below.

The Governor-General in Council, having had under consideration the administrative arrangements of the Province of Nagpur and those of the Sagor and Narbada Territories, resolves that the time has now arrived for consolidating these several districts under one central jurisdiction."

ci Therefore the Governor-General in Council,-holding, firstly, that it is desirable that the Sagor and Narbada Territories should cease to be administered as an adjunct of the North-Western Provinces, and that they should possess an Administration sufficient in itself and per- manent in its nature ; and, secondly, that these Territories may be joined with the Province of Nagpur under one Local Government, with the greatest advantage to the man:~gement of the resources, and to the development of the capabilities of the whole area,-has resolved to con- stitute a separate Chief Cornmissionership for the Nagpur Province and the Sagor and Narbada Territories, to be designated the Chief Commissionership of the Cen~ral Provinces." '

Sambalpur District was added to the Central Provinces in April I 862 ; Ni~nar District in Mny I 864 ; and Bijra- gogarh in May I 865.

Colonel Elliot, an old and worn-out officer, was ap- pointed the first Chief Commissioner ; but upon his absence, in the first instance on furlough, and subsequently 011 his removal, Sir Richard Temple (then Mr. Temple) was placed in charge, and ruled the Province until 1866. He had served his apprenticeship under Thomason the great revenue administrator and ruler of Northern India; he

Kesolution of November 2, 1861, Foreign Department, paragraphs r and 5.


had worked under the Board of Administration and under Lawrence in the Punjab; and he now had the opportunity of establishing his reputation as an able and sympathetic ruler by his administration of a newly created Province. The times were in his favour; there was a desire to deal with India considerately, and even generously, during the first decade of the Queen's direct administration; and the influences of Canning and Lawrence, of Sir Charles Wood and Sir Stafford Northcote, were all for improving the material condition of the people, and attaching hem to British Rule.

While Mr. Temple was still officiating in his new post, the proposal of Colonel Baird Smith, referred to in the last chapter, for a Permanent Settlement of the land revenue, came before him for his consideration. I t is needless to state that the proposal received Eichard Ternple's hearty support, and his reply to the Indian Government,' which is not a very lengthy one, is given below in full.

"Your No. 2038 of the 7th October 1861, and subse- quent letter, No. 1474 of the 20th March I 862, requiring the opinion of the Officiating Chief Commissioner on the question of a Permanent Settlement of the land revenue, discussed in paragraphs 62 to 82 of Colonel Baird Smith's Farnine Report, and as to the value of a legislative snnc- tion for settlement for terms of years where existing settle- ments are not of a character to be made permanent, have, up to the present time, remained unanswered. The sub- ject was very important, and the changes in the ad~ninis- tration of these provinces rendered it impossible to accord that attention to it which it merited. The Oaciating Chief Commissioner having, however, now fully considered it, in reference to its bearing on the peculiar condition of the districts comprised i11 the Central Provinces, is pre-

Letter No. 532. dated July 22, 1862.

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pared to subrnit his opinion, and has accordingly desired rlie to report as follows :-

" 2 . In the first place it may, the Oficiating Chief Co~nrnissioner remarks, be superfluous to state that here, as elsewhere, a Permanent Settlement would eff'ect only the land tax itself. I t would fix the assessment for ever, and it should be more accurately terrned the permanent and perpetual limitation of the direct State-demand on the land. I t would in no wise ef£'ect the fundamental right and property of the people in the land. That right and property will be fixed absolutely and immutably, whether the land tax be limited to a certain sum for ever, or not. The value and interest of such right and pro- perty will indeed be greater or less, according as the State- denland is fixed for ;t short or long term, or for ever. But under any circ*mstances, the nature and essence of the right and property itself will remain the same.

" 3 . Here, then, as elsewhere, in the above sense, the principle of a Perrnanent Settlement is applicable. I t would have an effect altogether beyond immediate cal- culation, in stimulating the industry, enterprise, and self- reliance of the agriculturists, the application of capital, the accumulation of wealth. Where the assessments were fair, it would be accepted as a great boon by the people. 011 the other hand, the State, no doubt, will subject itself to prospective loss by surrendering all future right to increase its land revenue. But on the other hand, such loss would be more than compensated by the gradual, if not rapid, increase of all the other branches of the revenue. These branches entirely depend on the growth of wealth in the mass of the people. A Permanent Settlement will contribute more than any measure that could be devised to augment that wealth. I t follows that a Per- manent Settlement will cause all other heads of revenue, except land tax, to increase. Now, in these provinces more than one-third of the total income is derived from taxes other than the land tax; the other taxes are


increasing, the land tax alone remains stationary. In a fiscal point of view, then, there can be no fear for the success of a measure which would, while restricting the land tax, cause all other taxes to rise. Again, it is quite true that the value of the money will continue falling, and that prices of produce will rise more and more throughout these provinces. Thus the agriculturists will, in a short time, receive much more for their produce than they ever did before. On the other hand, the price of labour will rise, and that will greatly enhance the State expenditure. All the salaries and the establishments of the lower grades, at least, will be gradually raised, and tho cost of the public works will be greatly enhanced. There might appear to be some risk then, if Government, while anticipating increased expenditure, were to limit the land tax, the rnain source of revenue. But it will, in reality, be quite safe to trust to increase of other taxes. I t was declared, quite irrespectively of the Permanent Settlement, in the Joint Report of Colonel Elliot and Mr. Tenlple, that " it is rather from the miscellaneous taxes than from the land tax that increase of resources i s to be expected."

" 4. A Permanent Settlement, then, so far as it can be introduced, will be, firstly, good for the people, and secondly, good equally for the State. The questions remaining are-To what extent could it be applied? And When could it be introduced ? Now, it is to be ever remembered that in these provinces the railways, the roads, and the navigation will certainly work great changes, while similar results are not here to be expected from irrigation. But this prospect exists here, in common with the rest of India, neither more or less. If, then, the prospect of material improvement does not bar the con- cession of a Permanent Settlement elsewhere, neither should it have that effect here. So far, then, as railways, roads, and navigation are concerned, the Central Provinces seem as much entitled to the advantage of a Permanent Settlement as other provinces of India. But further, it is

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to be borne in mind that the amount of culturable waste in these provinces is enormous, and though this condition may exist more or less everywhere, it is peculiarly pre- valent here. Not only are vast tracts of culturable waste vitgl~ely claimed by parties with doubtful title, but within the legitimate boundaries of many, even perhaps the ~najority of estates and villages throughout these pro- vinces, there is a large proportion of culturable waste. Now, although the inducement held out by a Permanent Settlenlent to reclaim the waste is one of the cardinal benefits of that measure, still it is but fair to the State thah this privilege should be kept within moderate bounds. I t would be right to allow every estate permanently settled a just margin of waste as a field for extending cultivation. But it would not be right to allow a Permanent Settlement to an estate which might include a large or indefinite area of waste, at present quite beyond the means of the owner to reclaim, but capable in the future of being rendered valuable by a variety of contingencies.

" 5. Thus in these provinces there are many estates and villages, many entire tracts, and some entire districts, where a Permanent Settlement could not at present be properly introduced. Such districts are Raepore, Belas- pore, Surnbulpore, Sironcha, Bhundara, Mundla, Seonee, Chindwara, Baitool. All these districts are in a transition state; and influence will, it is hoped, sooner or later, be brought to bear, which shall change the entire face of them.

'I 6. On the other hand, there are some districts in each of which a Permanent Settlement might be intro- duced into parts, but not the whole, with as much benefit and as much reason as into the other parts of India. And into these the introduction of the measure has been recommended. These districts are Nagpore, Chandah, Natchengaon (Kowta), Jubbulpore, Saugor, Dumoh, Nur- singpore, Hoshungabad. All these districts (excepting Snugor and Dumoh) have large portions of their area


continuously and highly cultivated and subject to the same kind of development as the rest of India The Saugor and Dumoh districts are more rugged, and do not possess long strips of cultivation like those just named; but in other respects their position is the same. As regards past assessments, some have been too high and others too low, but this circ*mstance is not peculiar to these districts, and is but too common everywhere. On the other hand, for the Jubbulpore, Saugor, Dumoh, Nur- singpore, and Hoshungabad districts, there are the fiscal data year by year during thirty-five years of British rule. For the Nagpore, Natchengaon, and Chandah, besides the British assessment, there are the data of the assessments made during the Regency exercised by Sir R. Jenkins and his officers.

"7. Such being Mr. Temple's views on this question, I am further to state that he sees no reason why they should not be applied in the course of the settlement now in progress. The state and circ*mstances of the opera- tions connected with that settlement were reported at some length in my No. I I of 30th ultimo ; it is, therefore, unnecessary to enter into great detail on this point. The Officiating Chief Commissioner would merely submit that, should his Excellency the Viceroy in Council be pleased to approve, jtrstly, the general principles of the question as above laid down ; and secondly, the application of them at once to such of the districts in the Central Provinces as are advanced enough to receive them, then he would solicit that sanction be accorded to the following specific measures :-

" 8. (i.) That, when in the course of the present settle- ment it shal1,appear to the authorities engaged in making the settlement that an estate is, in the sense explained above, fitted for a Permanent Settlement, in such estate the assessment be made in perpetuity.

" 9. (ii.) That one of the chief conditions of fitness for To Government Foreign Department.

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this boon be that at least three-fourths of the culturable area is under cultivation.

'[ 10. (iii.) That it be competent for Settlem(>nt Officcrg to hold out a promise, in certain cases, that on estates attaining that advanced state in which threc-fourths of the lancl is under cultivation R revised assessment be made and declared permanent.

'( I I . Thus, if a permanent assessment be really desired by the people, then this system would induce every land- holder to increase his cultivation so as to secure the boon, and thus the greatest possible stimulus might be imparted t,o agricultural industry."

While the cluestion of a Permanent Settlement con- tinued the subject of debate for many years, a new Settle- ment of the Central Provinces was commenced in earnest. The principles of this Settlement had been laid down, as long ago as 1854, by a Proclamation issued by the Government of the North-Western Provinces, for the Sagor and Narbada Territories which were then under that Government. No action had been then taken. I t was after the formalion of the Central Provinces in 1861 that the old Proclamation of 1854 was taken as the basis for a Settlerrlent of the Land Revenue throughout those Provinces.

The main principle laid down by this Proclamation, and afterwardsLacce{ted for the Central Provinces gener- ally, was the recognition of proprietary rights in the Malguzars or revenue - payers. This has often been described as the conferring of a new gift; but it was a new gift only in so far as it admitted, in theory, a right which was enjoyed by the Malguzars in practice. " I do not know," said Mr. Chisliolm, one of tho ablest Settle- ment Officers of the time, " any rights appertaining to landed property which the Malgurar individually, or he


and his sharers jointly, did not exercise, except the power of sale and mortgage. He could not transfer his village, merely because the Native Government, from a short- sighted policy, declined to recognise any absolute right in land ; but while he remained in possession, he was absolute as regards all the internal arrangements of the village- settling cultivators, dispossessing them, increasing rent, planting groves, constructing tanks-in fact wielding all the authority in the management of the village which apper- tains to holders elsewhere under the most indisputable titles."

Nevertheless it was a great gain when this right, which had been exercised in practice, was expressly admitted; and when power was also given to the Malguzars to sell or mortgage their property. ( ' I t is now the intention of Govern~nent," said the Proclamation of 1854, "to make another twenty years' settlement, and to confer the Zemindari right on such persons as may appear to have the best right to such a gift." And it was added in the same Proclamation : " Every proprietor shad1 enjoy the free right of transfer or division." I t was the pleasant duty of Richard Temple to carry this principle into operation in the Settlement which he carried through.

TG proprietary rights of Malguzars having been re- cognised, the next question was: What portion of their rental should be claimed as Government revenue? The Seharanpur rules had laid down that, in Northern India, the land revenue should be limited to one-half of the rental; and this rule had been extended to the Sagor and Narbada Territories.' But what was the rule for Nagpur which now formed the larger portion of the Central Provinces ?

For Nagpur, the Government of India had sent direc- tions to leave the Malguzars from 3 5 to 5 5 per cent. of the gross rental. And it was added that ' the Governor-

' By N.W.P.,Government Order, No. 74, dated February 16, 1855. ' By Letter No. 2279, dated June 28, 1860.

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General in Council would be disposed to leave the Mal. guzars in all cases 40 per cent. for expenses of manage- ment and proprietary rights, and to extend the limit in special cases to 50 per cent." These instructions were liberally interpreted by Richard Temple ; and in the Settle- ment Code which he issued, with the sanction of the Governor-General, for application throughout the Central Provinces without any reservation: the only principle of assessment he laid down was the half-rental principle of the Saharanpur rules.

These, then, were the two main principles of the Settle- ment of the Central Provinces :-

( I ) The recognition of proprietary rights in Malguzars and tenant's rights in cultivators ;

(2) The limitation of the land revenue to one-half of . ,

the rental of estates.= I t is painful to record that the second principle was

not adhered to in the assessments made. The exact method by which the rental value of each estate was ascertained has been described by two subsequent Chief Commissioners of these Provinces.3

In so far as these two accounts can be reconciled, it IS

clear that Settlement Officers did not accept the actual rental of estates. They estimated what the rental should be from their own calculations ; they based the land revenue demand on these estimated rentals; and they communicated the demand to the landlords who were left to raise their rents to the estimated rentals. A more reprehensible system of encouraging landlords to screw up their rents from helpless and ignorant cultivators can scarcely be conceived. I n Bengal, in Oudh, and in the Punjab, Lord Canning and Sir John Lawrence had striven

Vide paragraph 135 of hie Administration Report for 1862-63. Sanlbalpur, still in a state of disorder, did not receive the benefit of

this Settlement, and a Ryotwari Settlement was subsequently made in that dist,rict.

Letter No. 501 S , dated May 18, 1887, and Letter No. 1862, dated April 11, 1901.


to restrict the enhancement of rents by private landlords by special legislation. But Settlement Officers in the Central Provinces and elsewhere adopted a method which encouraged landlords to screw up their rents.

The actual proportion of the rental, so calculated, which was demanded as land revenue, was also higher than 50 per cent. in most districts, as the following list will sho~v.~

I Percentage of Rental taken as Land Revenue. I Seonee . Hoshangabad Narsinghpur Jabalpur . Sagor . . Damoh . Mandla . Nimar . Nagpur .

' 1 under

: f so . 50

5' 54 56 64 78

Warda . . . . . 79 Chindwara . . . . 66 Betul . . . , Bhan,lara . , . 2 Chauda . . . . 60 Bilaspur . . . . 57 Raipnr . . , . . 53 Sambalpur (Ryotwari Settlement)

I t will thus be seen that the principles laid down for the assessment of the land revenue were violated in a two- fold manner. In the first place, the rental accepted as the basis of assessment was higher than the actual rents re- ceived by the landlords; and in the second place, the proportion demanded as revenue exceeded 50 per cent. of this rental in most districts, and was fixed at 78 per cent. in Nagpur itself. Once again the orders of the Government " were carried out by the local authorities with a nigg*rdly hand," and the people had no redress against the violation of rules by the very officers for whom the rules had been framed.

One benefit, however, the people obtained from this Settlement. The Settlement lasted for thirty years, and the cultivators and landlords enjoyed some rest after the harassment of previous operations.

Letter of the Chief Commissioner of the Central Provinces to the Governor of India, No. 1862, dated April 11, 1901,

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IN L. previous chapter we have described the Land Revenue administration of Madras during the last twenty years of the East India Company's Rule. In 1855 the Government of Madras resolved on a survey and settle- ment of the Province. I t was proposed to reduce the Land Tax so as to promote the extension of cultivation. And it was hoped that the Government Revel~ue would increase with the increase of cultivation.

The Directors of the East India Company, who had noted the happy results of the new settlements in Northern India and in Bombay, welcomed this proposal. And in 1856 they gave their formal sanction in a letter: from which we make the following extracts :-

"With your letter, dated the I ~ t h October (No. 44) 185 5, you have submitted to us a Minute of Consultation, dated the 14th August 1855, showing the final result of the consideration which has been given, during the last ten years, to the question of a general survey and revision of assessments in the districts subordinate to your Presidency."

"The urgent necessity of a survey, with a view to the reassessment of the Land Revenue in the greater portion - - - - - .. . of the districts under your Presidency is, we consider, established beyond the possibility of doubt."

" The officers engaged in the duty of fixing the assess-

' Letter to the Governor of Fort St. George, dated December 17, 1856. 308

merit should always bear in mind that as you have expressed it-'the right of the Government is not a rent which consists of all the surplus produce after paying the costs of cultivation and the profits of the agricultural

but a land revenue only, which ought, if possible, to be so lightly assessed as to have a surplus or rent to the occupier, whether he, in fact, let the land to others or retain it in his own hands.'"

We are therefore of opinion that the assessment should be proportioned to the nett, and not to the gross produce." 1

" The grain assessment having been determined, and converted into money at a fair and moderate rate, we should prefer that the assessnlent so fixed should be declared unalterable for a term of thirty years (as in Bombay and the North-West Provinces), at the expiration

I of which period both the amount of the grain assessment, and the rate of its conversion into money, would be subject to readjustment according to existing circ*mstances."

" You are of opinion that they (the proposed measures) will be followed generally, but surely, by a great extension of cultivation, and you anticipate with confidence the result, ' instead of a falling off, will be an accession to the revenue.' "

"We are disposed to concur in these expectations, and the probability of their realisation is borne out by the actual results of the revisions of assessment under the Presidency of Bombay, as well as by the effects of the introduction of reduced rates into the district of South Arcot."

The words which we have put in italics are important. They show that the East India Company did not claim the entire nett produce or rent of the soil, but only a portion of it as Land Revenue. They desired to have two-thirds of

' The nett produce is what is left to the cultivator after deducting the of cultivation and the profits of the agricultural stocks.

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the nett produce as Land Revenue in Ryotwari tracts, ns two-thirds of the rental had been claimed as Land Revenue in Northern India before 1855. In that year Lord Dal- honsie's Government rcduced the Land Revenue to one- half the rental in Northern India. Ancl nine years after, when the administration of lndia had passed from the Company to the Crown, Sir Charles Wood, Secretary 01

State for India, similarly fixed one-half the nett produce as the limit of Land Revenue in Southern India. We quote two passages from the important Despatch of 1864, which lays down this rule, and which has never been published.

" I arrl accordingly prepared to give my full support to the proposition of Sir William Denison, that the nett, and not the gross produce, should be adopted as the unit of which the Government is to take a fraction."

I have to comrrlunicate to your Excellency in Council my deliberate opinion that the share of the nett produce, which may be fairly taken as the due of Oovernmernt, should be assurned at one-half, and not one-third, as proposed in Sir William Denison's Minute."

From I 864, therefore, i.e. from the commencement of the Settlement which had been sanctioned in 1856, but which did not begin till several years after, the clear rule of assessment for the Madras Government was to fix the Government demand so as to leave one-half the nett produce of fields to the cultivators, and to claim the other half as Land Revenue.


One other remark is suggested by the Directors' letter of 1856. I t entirely ignored the principle of permanency which nnderlay the Ilyotwari Systern. Sir Thomas Munro, the real author of that system, had declared emphatically

1 Revenue Despatch to Madras, No. 7, dated February 24, 18649 paragraphs 11 and 15. The italics are our own.


befare the House of Commons that the principle of the Ryotwari System, as of the Zemindari System of Bengal, was the permanency of the State-demand. "With respect of permanency there is no difference between the two systems; but the Ryotwari leaves the Government an increasing revenue arising from the waste in proportion to its cultivation." l And, for more than forty years after MunroJs examination, the Madras Government, while claiming an impossible Land Revenue and varying the actual collection from year to year, had never questioned that a fixed and permanent demand was the principle of the Madras System. The Court of Directors, without referring in any part of their letter to this principle, simply ignored it by prescribing a revision of the assessment after every thirty years.

The principle, however, could not be thus tacitly ignored. After receipt of the DirectorsJ letter, the Madras Board of Revenue declared that the principle of a permanent assessment was still the principle of the Ryotwari System. " A general opinion prevails in England," they wrote in 1857, " that the Bombay Settle- ment for thirty years secures a far greater permanency of tenure to the landholder than the present Ryotwari tenure of Madras. This is altogether an error, for a Madras Ryot is able to retain his land, pevpetwally with- out any increase of assessment, as long as he continues to fulfil his engagements."

When, therefore, in I 861, the Madras Government was asked by Lord Canning to report on Colonel Baird Smith's recommendation of a Permanent Settlement of the land revenues, the Madras Government naturally replied that the Madras system was a Permanent Settlement. The difference in opinion between the Governor and the Members of his Couilcil was, whether the Land Tax would be a pemanent grain rent, or a permanent money

' Evidence given in 1813 before a select Committee of the House of Commons.

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rent. The letter1 is so remarkable that it is necessary to give it in full.

" I am directed by the Honourable the Governor in Council to acknowledge receipt of your letter No. 2035, dated 7th October 1861, requesting his opinion 'upon the advantages of a Permanent Settlement as applicable to the various districts of the Madras Presidency,' and 'as to the value of a legislative sanction for terms of years in districts in which his Excellency in Council may not consider the existing settlements of a character to be made permanent.'

'' 2. I am to premise that by a ' Permanent Settlement' this Government understand the Governor-General in Council to intend no more than fixing the Land Tax in perpetuity, in other words to bar the Government in all time to come from increasing the assessment on all land brought under the settlement.

" 3. The words ' Permanent Settlement ' are, however, very generally applied to Zemindari settlements under Regulation XXV. of 1802 of the Madras, and Regulation I. of 1793, of the Bengal Code. To any extension of this mode of tenure in this Presidency the Government are wholly opposed, for, among other reasons, the weighty objection, hhat it alienates from the State all waste land. I t is to this source that this Government look for a gradual increase in its land revenue, and it is essential that this source of future revenue should not be lost to the State.

" 4. This being understood, I arn to explain briefly the present state of the land tenure in this Presidency under the prevailing Ryotwari system, to which alone the pro- posals contained in your letter are applicable.

" 5. This mode of administration was introduced in 1792 by Colonel Head ; and was subsequently worked out

1 Letter from the Madras Government to the Indian Government, No. 241, dated February 8, 1862.


by Sir Thomas Munro. In I 812, the Home Government ordered it to be generally introduced, and it has since formed the prevalent tenure of this Presidency, the revenue derived from Zemindaries being in round numbers half a million sterling, while that drawn from Ryotwari estates is three and a half millions.

" 6 . There can be no question that one fundamental principle of the Ryotwari system is that the Government demand on the land is fixed for ever.

"7. When first settling the Salem district in 1796, Colonel Read issued a Proclamation to the Ryots, in which the following rule appears : ' The Putkut Nellum (or holding) being measured and valued, the assessment of every individual field in it, when at full rate, is fixed for ever, that is to say, the Government is never to require more or receive less, nor you to pay less or more than the present rate, unless when those fields actually " dry " shall hereafter be converted into wet at the expense of Government, when the rates will be proportionately raised, according to the consequent increase of the produce, and in like manner fixed for ever. But if you carry on such works at your own expense, plant topes, &c., you may de- pend on receiving the advantages accruing from these and from every other improvement of your lands while you continue to pay the established rates, those constituting, except in the case above mentioned, the annual demand upon them on the part of the Sircar for ever. Upon these principles you may rent out lands, which you may raise in value by tillage and manure, at rates greatly exceeding the Sircar rates, if there be a demand for them, while you will continue to pay the fixed rates to the Sircar for ever.'

" 8. Similarly, in I 802, Sir Thomas Munro, when issuing instructions to the Collectors of the Ceded Districts, expressed himself as follows : ' When a country has been surveyed, the individual (Ryotwari) supersedes both the village and district settlement. The rent of every field being fixed, each cultivator takes or rejects what he

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pleases, and the rents of all the fields occupied in the course of the year in any one village form what is called the settlement of that village.' Again, in 1806, when explaining the manner in which a Ryotwari settlement was conducted, he says: 'When a district has been surveyed, and the rent of every field permanently fixed, the Kulwar (individual) settlement becomes extremely simple; for all that is required is to ascertain what fields are occupied by each Ryot, and to enter them, in his Potta: their aggregate constitutes his rent for the year. He cannot be called upon for more: but he may obtain an abatement in case of poverty or extraordinary losses. He has the advantage of knowing in the beginning of the season, when he ploughs his land, the exact amount of what he is to pay; he knows the fixed rents of the different fields which he cultivates, and that the demand upon him cannot exceed their total amount ; he knows the utmost limit of his rent, not only for the present, but for every succeeding year; for it cannot be raised unless he takes additional land; and he is thereby the better enabled to provide for the regular d~scharge of his Kists, and against the losses of bad by the profits of good seasons.' I n 1818 the Board of Revenue issued detailed instructions for the general intro- duction of Ryotwar as ordered by the Home Government. One of the distinguishing characteristics of the system, they said, was, ' that the assessment was a permanent maximum rent fixed on each field.'

llg. At a later period the permanency of the Ryotwari settlement has, on several occasions, been acknowledged in unmistakable terms.

" 10. In the Madras Administration Report of 1855-56, Ryotwari is thus explained : ' Under the Ryotwari system every registered holder of land is recognised as its pro- prietor, and pays direct to Government. He is at liberty to sub-let his property or to transfer it by gift, sale, or mortgage. He cannot be ejected by Government so long as he pays the Jimed assessment and has the option


annually of increasing or diminishing his holding, or of entirely abandoning it. I n unfavourable seasons remis- sions of assessment are granted for entire or partial loss of produce. The assessment is fixed in money, and does not vary from year to year, except in cases where water is drawn from a Government source of irrigation to convert dry land into wet, or one into two crop land, where an extra rent is paid to Government for the water so appro- priated; nor is any addition made to the assessment for irr~provements effected at a Ryot's own expense. The Ryot, under this system, is virtually a proprietor on a simple and perfect title, and has all the benefits of a per- petual lease without its responsibilities, inasmuch as he can at any time throw up his lands, but cannot be ejected so long as he pays his dues: he receives assistance in difficult seasons, and is not responsible for the payment of his neighbours.' A similar description of Ryotwari was given to the House of Commons by the Home Govern- ment in 1857.1

" I I. The Revenue Board in 1857, in a report to Government on the new survey and settlement, wrote as follows : I t may not here be out of place to notice that a general opinion prevails in England that the Bombay Settlement for thirty years secures a far greater per- manency of tenure to the landholder than the present Ryotwari tenure of Madras. This is altogether an error, for a Madras Ryot is able to retain his land in perpetuity, without any increase of assessment, as long as he con- tinues to fulfil his engagements.'

" 12. In the same year, the Government, in a review of the Hon. Mr. Rickett's report, expressed themselves thus strongly : ' The proprietary right of a Ryot is perfect, and as long as he pays the &xed assessment on his land he can be ousted bylno one ; there is no principle of Ryotwari

Return showing under what tenures, and subject to what land- tax, lands are held under the several presitienciea of India (Mr. William Ewart); ordered, by the House of Commons, to be printed, zznd June '857.

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management more fixed or better known than this, and the Government deny that any right can be more strong.'

" I 3. I t is thus abundantly clear that the distinguished feature of Ryotwari is the limitation in perpetuity of the demand of the State from the land. The Ryots have thus all the advantages of the Zemindari tenure, while the State has a valuable reserve of waste land, whence, as cultivation extends, its resources will be augmented so as to meet the increasing demands on its finances which the progress of the country will entail ; and in practice this leading principle of Ryotwari has never been infringed. The assessments have, as in South Arcot, Bellary, Cud- dapah, &c., been reduced, but in no instance have they ever been raised; nor in the recent pressure for money has so obvious a source as increasing the land-tax been ever suggested as being open to the Government.

" 14. Had matters been left in this position, the Govern- ment would now have had merely to report that the Ryotwari proprietors of this Presidency already possessed the advantages which the Governor-General in Council appears willing to concede, although these were not secured to them under legislative sanction.

" 1 5 . But in 1855, when the survey and settlement now in progress were introduced, an important modifica- tion was made in the tenure of the land.

(' 16. The object of this operation was to revise the assessments, which were generally too high. In order to give the Ryot in all cases a valuable proprietary interest in the soil, and to induce extended cultivation, 30 per cent. of the gross produce, carefully computed in the manner prescribed, was to be ' taken as the rnaximunz of the Government demand,' and it was thought that 25 per cent. would be the average. The Government were oi

opinion that the assessment should be fixed in grain for a term of fifty years, and that the commuted value of the latter should be periodically adjusted every seven or ten years, according to its average money value in those


The Home Government objected to this arrange- ment, and gave the preference to an assessment in money, ~nalterable for thirty years. The subject was further discussed by the Government, who ultimately decided that the assessment should be revised after fifty years, if then deemed expedient. This decision, however, has not as yet been authoritatively intimated to the people.

" 17. I t will thus be seen that, while the leading char- acteristic of Ryotwari tenure is the permanency of the assessment, the revised assessments now being introduced are subject to revision after fifty years.

" 18. The alternatives proposed in your letter under reply have received the careful consideration of Govern- ment, and I am to state briefly the conclusions at which they have arrived.

" 19. His Excellency the Governor is favourable to the imposition of a permanent grain rent, but would reserve to Government the power of periodically determining the money value of that rent, if at any future time a material alteration in the value of money should render such a measure expedient.

" 20. The Honourable Members of Council, on the other hand, support the old Ryotwari principle of a permanent money assessment, that is to say, an assessment based on a certain portion of the crop, and converted into a money payment at a fair commutation rate fixed once and for ever.

" 2 1 . I am to request attention to the minutes which accompany this letter, and contain the views of the Presi- dent and Mernbers of the Council.

(' 22. The Government are not in favour of settlements under legislative sanction for terms of years. Such settle- ments would hamper the Government without ~naterially improving the position of the Ryot ; and it would be better, both for the State and the people, either that the settle- ments should be in perpetuity, or that the Government should have the power at any time of acting as the exigeu-

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cies of the State may require. The Government would not alter the assessment except under the pressure of necessity, and that necessity might occur in the course of the series of years fixed by law for the unalterable duration of the Settlement."

While the principle of permanency in the Government dernnnd was admitted in this letter, it was abandoned in practice. Settlements were made for thirty years, and at the expiry of the term the Land Revenue payable by each cultivator was liable to enhancement. And no specific and definite grounds for the enhancement of the State-demand were laid down, corresponding to the grounds laid down by law in 1859 and 1868, for the enhancement of rents by private landlords in Bengal.

The fiscal results of the new operations during fifteen years, from 1861 to 1875, are shown in the table on the opposite page.l

I t will appear from these figures that the area under cultivation, as well as the Gross State-demand on the land, increased about 20 per cent. in fifteen years. But these figures do not indicate correctly the pressure of the Land Tax. In the first place, the new lands brought under cultivation were poorer in fertility and produce than the lands which were already under the plough in 1860, and the increase in production therefore was not 2 0 per cent., and scarcely came to half of that. I n the second place, the price of the produce was lower at the end of the fifteen years than at its commencement, and what the cultivators actually got by the sale of their produce was therefore less for each garce than it was before. NO wonder, therefore, that remissions had to be made from the

1 The figur~s are taken from the Madras Board of Revenue's resolu- tion, No. 542, dated December 6, 1900, Appendix I. Tell rupees are taken as equivalent to a pound sterling.

Prevailing price 1861 to 1865, rupees 194 per garce. Prevailing price ~871 to 1875, rupees 155 per garce.


Lanil Revenue i n Madras, Excluding Mnlabar and South Canzn e. I I I I I

Occupied Assessment Total Ryot- 1 year 1 in 1 Thereon I wan 1 e e . Dz~. 1 Acres. Demand. -

1861 186- 1863 1864 1865 1866 1867 1868 1869 1870 1871 1872 1873 1874 1875

Government demand at the end of the period to the same extent as at the beginning. The Survey and Settlement of Madras, therefore, from which so much benefit had been expected, scarcely gave the relief that was needed. Some good was no doubt done. In the first place, the Land Tax was in a great measure equalised. In the second place, settlements for thirty years gave the cultivators relief from annual inquiries, harassment, and trouble. But judging the State-demand in relation to the total produce of the Province, and to the prices of that produce, it was undoubtedly a heavier taxation on the people in 1875 than it was in 1860. And the terrible Madras famine of 1877 proved fatally how little the new Settlement had added to the security and the staying power of the cultivators.

Better results might have been secured if the rule of 1864 of limiting the State-demand to one-half the nett produce of fields had been scrupulously adhered to. But in making settlements over large districts with 150,000

Land cess first appears. 2 Village service cess first included.

15,800,000 16,400,000 17,000,000 17,300,000 17,500,000 17,800,000 18,200,000 18,400,000 r8,8m,ooo 19,200,000 18,goo,ooo 1g,000,000 18,800,ooo 19,200,000 19,200,000

E 3,200,000 3,230,000 3,210,000 , 1 8 0 0 3,190,000 j,18o,ooo 3,230,000 3,240,000 3,270,000 3,300,000 3,220,000 3,220,000 3,1go,ooo 3,230,000 3450,000

E 3,220,000 3,380,ooo 3,430,000 3,360,000 3,410,000 3,520,000 3,300,000 3,400,000 3,600,000 3,710,000 3,560,000 3,670,000 3,540,000 3,760,000 3,530,000

E 70,000 70,000 70,000 50,000 80,000'

I 50,000 180,000 220,000 260,000 ZgO,OoO 400,000a 420,000 420,000 420,000 4IO,C€JO

L 3,290,000 3,450,000 3,500,000 3,410,ooo 3,4go,ooo 3,670,000 3,480,000 3,620,000 3,860,000 4,000,000 3,960,000 4,090,000 3,960,000 4,180,000 3,940,000

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holdings, summary and expeditious methods were neces- sarily adopted. Individual cultivators were never allowed a chance of proving what total produce they obtained from their fields, what the expenses of their cultivation were, and what nett income remained to them. I t was often assumed, in a general way, that one-third of the total pro- duce should cover the cost of cultivation. I t was assumed that 28s. covered the cost of cultivating an acre of good land, and 12s. was all that was allowed for cultivating an acre of ordinary arenaceous sandy soil. Every cultivator in Madras knew, and Englishmen with any experience of the Province knew, that this was inadequate." l

I t was on such inaccurate calculations, made collec- tively for vast areas of the country, that the Government assessment was based. I t was then proclaimed to the puzzled cultivator, who often found that the assessment really swept away the greater portion of the nett income from his field. But he had no right of appeal to any independent tribunal ; he must either pay the assessed tax or quit his ancestral field.

But i t was not the Madras cultivator alone who was puzzled. The successors of Sir Charles Wood, who had laid down the clear rule of 1864, were no less puzzled by the method in which it was ignored in practice. Lord Hobart, Governor of Madras, proposed in 1874 to close the settlement operations altogether, and to revert to a simpler method. And Sir Louis Mallet, Under Secretary of State for India, recorded two long and suggestive minutes exposing the absolute want of any guiding prin-

Mr. Bowden, a landlord of considerable experience, wrote on Decem- ber 5, 1895, to the Collector of his District: "The idea that the cost of cultivating an acre of poor land is less than the cost of cultivating a better class of land, is purely mythical." Mr. Master wrote in his report on the Western Delta, paragraph 79 : '' I cannot ascertain that the outlay on the poorer soil is much smaller than the richer." Mr. Meyer wrote : " The tendency to make the cultivation expenses roughly proportionate to the value of the land 1s one of the weak points of the Settlement Department!' And the Madras Board of Revenue, in their Resolution of December 6 , 1900, paragraph 36, wrote : "Nor does it assert that the gradation of expenses in proportion to produce is absolutely accurate in all its details."


ciple in the Madras operations. We will quote one signi- ficant passage from the first of these minutes.1

lLIn a return to the House of Commons in 1857 on Indian Land Tenures, signed by Mr. John S. Mill, I find the following general statement : ' Land throughout India is generally private property subject to the payment of revenue, the mode and system of assessment diffcring materially in various parts.'

On the occasion to which I have already referred, viz., the correspondence with Madras in 1856, the Court of Directors emphatically repudiated the doctrine of State proprietorship, and affirmed the principle that the assess- ment was revenue and not rent ; the revenue being levied upon rent, as the most convenient and customary way of raising the necessary taxation, which in a self-contained country, possessed of vast undeveloped agricultural re- sources, is perhaps the soundest, simplest, and justest of all fiscal systems.

"Sir C. Wood, in 1864, reaffirmed this principle, but went beyond the Court by fixing the rate of assessment at 50 per cent. of the nett produce, fully recognising, how- ever, that this was merely a general rule, and that in practice the greatest possible latitude must be given.

" The principle thus established appears to rest, then, upon a solid, scientific ground ; but launched, as it neces- sarily was, in language and under circ*mstances which really almost reduced it to an abstract proposition, (for the application of the principle was entirely left to the judg- ment of the Settlement Officers, and the tasks given them altogether beyond the power of any human beings to discharge, except in the roughest manner), one cannot wonder that the whole administration has drifted into the chaos in which these papers show it now to be.

' Dated February 3, 1875. The italics are o u ~ own

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'<One is bcmpted to ask if rent-economic rent, pure and simple-is alone to be taxed; why, instead of the costly, cumbrous, capricious, and when all is said, most ineffectual settlement system, we cannot leave the assess- nients to take care of themselves, and take whatever percentage on the rental of the land me want, wherever we find it. I can only suppose that the answer would be, that in truth the 50 per cent. of the nett produce has been ti mere paper instruction, a fiction which has had very little to do with the actual facts of the administration, and that i n practice the rates levied have often absorbed the whole rental, and not infrequently, I suspect, encroached on projits also."



THE first general Land Settlement of Bombay, commenced in 1836, has been described in an early chapter of this work. I t was conducted with considerate judgment by Sir George Wingate; and as it was concluded for thirty years, it gave the cultivators much relief after the frequent and severe assessments of preceding years. But its essen- tial defect was that the assessment was left entirely at the discretion of the Survey Officer; and cultivators were not protected against undue enhancements at future re- visions.

Before the expiry of the first thirty years' settlement the question of a Permanent Settlement came up for the consideration of the Bonlbay Government. Colonel Baird Smith's proposal of 1861 was forwarded by Lord Canning to the Governor of Bombay. The Governor, while reject- ing the proposal, accepted the principle of basing the assessment on "a just and moderate proportion of the gross produce."


" I t is a maxim of the Natives of this country that the perfection of financial administration may be measured by the extent to which an equitable land tax is made to con- tribute to the support of the State, and that the excellency of a Government may be estimated by the absence of direct and indirect taxation.

" 2. I have never doubted the truth of this opinion, seeing that the Native feels that, in return for the payment

1 Minute dated March 3, 1862. 3'3

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which he rrlakes to the Stale, he acquires the right to occupy or possess his land, and that in that right he receives an equivalent which to his mind deprives his pay- ment of the essential characteristics of a tax.

" 3. This financial syste~n is one of the most ancient institutions of this country, and is founded on the right of thc State to a share in thc produce of the land; a right which is proved not only by the universality of the practice, but by the fact that exemption from the obliga- tion to pay is regarded as a rnuch cherished privilege, which has either been forcibly acquired in olden times, or has been directly conferred by the State upon the pos- sessor as a reward.

" 4. I t is frequently th.e case that the title of the holders or occupants of the land to enjoy the usufruct of the soil has become more or less complete, and their rights of - occupancy more or less permanent, according to usage and a variety of circ*mstances. But exenlption from payment of a share of the produce is nowhere the rule, but the exception; and I consider it would be generally impolitic, by fixing permanently at their present money value the demand of the State on the land, to transgress a, principle of finance so sound and correct as the one I have adverted to, because it is the tendency of prices and wages to increase, consequently the expenses of adminis- tration must increase. If, therefore, the income of Government from the land be stationary, or nearly so, which, by fixing the assessment permanently, must be the case, recourse must be had to increased taxation, both direct and indirect.

'' 5. I t will be perceived that in these observations I advert only to the fixity of settlement in respect to the money demand, and I desire i t to be understood that I do not advocate any variation in the just and moderate pro- portion of the gross produce on which the present assess- ments are based. But, as the prices of produce are yearly increasing, I see no infringement of the original conditions


of the settlement, nor will it be so felt by the ryot, if, on the expiration of this experimental settlement, the Govern- ment Land Tax should be readjusted according to those increased prices and to other circ*mstances, provided that no revision is made within such long period of time, or otherwise than on considerations of the most sound character, and upon well-established facts.

" 6. This a thirty years' settlement, such as has been introduced into a considerable portion of this Presidency, and is in progress throughout the rest of it, fulfils. The moderation with which the assessment has been fixed, has given the right of occupancy a high marketable value ; and, under the settJement in some districts, the prosperity of the people has increased in a marked degree. But I do not concur with the late Colonel Baird Smith, that to intensify these results, which are similar to those described by him as having taken place under the settlement of the North-West Provinces, we should here have recourse to a Permanent Settlement of the Land Tax ; and it appears to me that more is due to those other elements of our settle- ments which he enumerates, viz., 'security of titles, moderation of assessment,' and, above all, 'the recognition and careful record of rights,' than to the mere ' protracted fixity of the public demand.'

" 7. For in this Presidency it had long been sought to perfect a Ryotwc~ri system by acknowledging no others than the Government and the poor peasant, and imposing on the latter all the burdens that he could stagger under in support of the former. That system naturally proved detrimental to the lands and all their inhabitants, except- ing here and there the usurer. The result was that which must infallibly ensue under any Government which itself lives from hand to mouth, keeps no surplus money for advances, and maintains no stores for use, when in hard times seed corn is needed. Constant remissions, and still further decline of villages, became the ordinary character- istics of provinces which had already undergone the

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harassing and depopulating efl'ects of more than two centuries of wars and plunder. The authorities at length resolved on retrieving a position for agriculture. I t would have been better, in my opinion, to have recognised some dormant tenures, and to have resuscitated others. But habit and the example set by predecessors, whose wars, recklessness, and oppressions had, generally speaking, exterminated the more respectable classes of landholders, served to keep out of view this best element of the success which depends on the possession of capital or of good credit. So they did the next best thing with a people who are not generally Mahomedan spendthrifts, but industrious Hindus. After a survey, they imposed a very moderate assessment. This is now in operation, and is to endure for a period of thirty years. I t is obvious that this being the first attempt on this side of India, within the limits of British dominions, to apply to culti- vation a method of extending and improving it, and to population an encouragement to immigrate and increase, it would be an utter disregard of the rights of the Govern- ment in Land Tax if the present settlement were to be viewed as the limit of our demand. A11 that is here wanted, short of the reconstruction of such classes as Zemindars and Meerasdars, with their worth and influence, is to allow such a duration of settlement (and thirty years is not amiss for the purpose) as will combine the objects of increasing at future periods the moderate and just demands of the Government, while reconciling the Ryot, for his own sake, to devote his industry and the utmost of his srnall means to the improvement of his long holding.

" 8. I t is, in my opinion, another good reason for not settling our Land Tax permanently, that there can be no doubt in any unprejudiced mind that the lands are not yet held, generally speaking, as they might without diffi- culty be declared to be held, on a title still more highly esteemed and cherished. However well satisfied the Ryot may be with the security of his right of his occupancy


under the Revenue Survey Settlement, the term Meeras conveys to his mind a sense of ownership, which no assur- ance, that so long as he pays the Government revenue he will not be disturbed in the possession of his fields, can give him. This was recently illustrated to me in a forcible manner by an intelligent Patell, who, in answer to a ques- tion put to him, with a view of eliciting the estimation in which he relatively held his ' Meeras' and 'Ghatkoolee land,' replied: ' The Meeras is mine; the Ghatkoolee is yours.' And, again, as was emphatically said in my hear- ing, on another occasion, by a Native District Deputy Collector, and at the same time by an experienced Mam- lutdar, ' they hold affectionately to meeras'-(meeras ko bohut d i l lugta).

"9. With reference also to the possibility of having hereafter permanently to impose new taxes, I object to the proposal for abandoning the right of Government to the improved value which increased prices should give to the right of the State to a share of the produce of the fertile soil worked at small cost in money and labour-a right which has been reserved to i t from ancient times, and which has, until recently, enabled it practically to exempt the people of this country from the burdens of taxation which press so heavily on the communities of Europe.

" 10. I shall lament to see a departure from this wise system, nor do I see the necessity of the proposed measure, for the agricultural classes are, on all hands, admitted to be improving, and to be becoming gradually possessed of some capital; and those works of irrigation, which must mainly be the mainstay to protect them in seasons of drought, can only be undertaken on an organised system, which no present Permanent Settlement would ensure being ever executed, but which it is the duty of the Government to undertake whenever it has available resources.

" I I . No legislative enactments have been found neces- sary in this Presidency to give effect to the thirty years'

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settlement now in operation, and none appears to be necessary."

It, mill be seen from paragraph 5 of this Minute that the Government of Bombay was opposed to "the fixity of set,tle~lient in respect to the money demand," but did not advocate "any variation in the just and mpderate proportion of the gross produce on which the present assessments are based." In principle, therefore, the Bombay Government was opposed to a Permanent Settlement of the land revenue reckoned in money, but was inclined in favour of a Permanent Settlement of the revenue reckoned in produce. As the prices of produce were then increasing, the Government looked forward to a proportionate increase in the land revenue at the next settlement.

I t would have been a gain to the cultivators of Bombay if this principle, of an increase in the land revenue in proportion to the increase of prices, had been acted upon, when the tirne for the next settlement arrived four years later. But in vast operations, carried on by single officers, such principles are apt to be forgotten unless they are laid down by legislation and guarded by independent tribunals. The idea spreads among the under-paid and uneducated subordinates that the Government desires as high a revenue as can be screwed out of the cultivators; a temporary season of prosperity induces the superior officers to dernand a large increase in revenue; and an undue enhancement is inevitable when the new rates are fixed without consulting the cultivators, and without appeals to Land Courts.

And this is what happened in course of the Revision Settlement co~nrrlenced in 1866. The Civil War in America had interfered with the import of America11 cotton into Lancashire, and had largely stimulated cotton


cultivation in Bombay. There was a sign of temporary posperity which officials mistook as permanent. And the officers employed in survey and settlement efYected a high and unreasonable increase in the Land Revenue demand.

The distinguished Indian patriot, Mr. Dadabhai Naoroji, gave timely warning in his evidence before a Cornrnittee of the House of Comrnons in 1873. He said that the signs of prosperity were hollow and ephemeral, and that the enormous increase in the land revenue was oppressive and unjustifiable. Complaints against the new assess~tlent were also universnl in the Deccan; but the warning was unheeded.

The Nemesis came at last. After the conclusion of the Civil War, America once more began to export her cotton to England ; cotton cultivation declined in India; prices and wages fell. Cultivators in the Deccan were unable to pay the new and enhanced revenue demanded; money-lenders refused to lend when the credit of culti- vators was low, and the law in favour of creditors was restricted. Agrarian disturbances, such as have seldom been known under the British Rule, followed in 1875. Rioting was committed; shops and houses were burnt down; stocks were destroyed. A Commission was then appointed to inquire into the matter, and a civilian of Northern India sat with two civilians of Bornbay to inquire into the causes of the disturbance. I t is no discredit to the Bombay civilians to state that the ablest and the most independent report submitted was the Memorandu~n cornpiled by the Northern civilian, Auckland Colvin, afterwards Sir Auckland Colvin, Lieutenant-Governor of Northern India, and Finance Minister of India.

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Auckland Colvin pointed out in his Memorandum' the extent to which the revenue had been enhanced in the settlements recently concluded.

Ii The result would seem to be that, in the villages of the above five Talukas, of which the printed reports are before me, the increase in thirty years was as follows :-- I I I I I


1 Memorandum. dated November 8, 1875.

Indapur . . . . . . Haveli . Pabal . . . . Supa . . . . Bhimthari . .


Collections of First Period of Initial


old and the new Settlement (a period of thirty years) has hitherto been thirty-six; and this is in the exceptional, because recently reclaimed districts of Gorakhpur and Basti; the average for the Province is 16 per cent."

I ' 1 think the above considerations justify me in placing the excessive e n h a n c e m e n t of t h e r e v i s e d se t t l enwnts as third among the special causes which have combined to disturb the relations of debtor and creditor in the Poona district."

The vast difference between the enhancements made in Northern India and those made in Bombay, as pointed out by Auckland Colvin, tells its own tale. But Colvin also described in some detail the defects of the Bombay system, and the inadequate checks imposed by the rules.

Finally, as bearing on the relation of the enhanced assessments to the economic condition of the people, I venture to think that the Bombay administrative pro- cedure, if I understand it rightly, is apt to press hardly on the Ryot. I should not have felt justified in advancing this opinion if I did not find myself supported by a recent expression of opinion by His Excellency the Governor in Council, which I will presently quote. The assessment seems to me to be based too purely on arithmetical data, and to be applied with too little regard to the conditions of the agricultural body who are expected to pay it. Now that the tenures have been defined and recorded, the Survey Department naturally looks to enhanced revenues as its r a i s o n d'e?re."

" The officers again to whom the assessment is con- fided have nothing, and never at any time can have any- thing, to do with the administration of the Collectorates ; the officers to whom the charge of Collectorates is confided have not, and never have had anything to do with survey or assessment. Hence we find the spectacle of Collectors, and Revenue Commissioners contending against the rates imposed by the Survey Department."

"The Bombay Government, by laying down a rnaxim of

Rupees. 65,220 64,452 66,508 48,856 43,407

Revised at

of Thirty Pears,

The real increase is considerably greater, because the collections of the j r s t decade were considerably in excess of the collections of the f i r s t y e a r of the old survey. Finally a statement furnished by Colonel Francis shows the percentage of increase between the assessment in the l a s t year of the old Settlement and the f i r s t year of the new-a single year-to be as follows :-

Percentage of Increaae in the Thirtieth Year over the Collec-

tions of the Period.


Rupees. 124,506 134,189 152,228 81,943 129,842


. . . . . . . . . Indapur Pabal . . . . . . . . . Haveli . . . . . . . . . Bhimthari . . . . . . . . Supa . . . . . . . . . .

90 108

23 109

Percentage. --

56 48 66 63 32

"The highest percentage of increase in any district in the North-West Provinces between the first year of the

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enhancement, has recently tried to meet this anomaly, but has cut rather than solved the difficulty. So large an increase as roo per cent. on an individual holding, or of 66 per cent. on a village, is still allowed without special sanction of Governnlent."


I t is necessary to make one more extract from a re- markably able document drawn up by the Poona Sar- vajanaika Sabha,-one of the best informed and most important Political Associations in India. The Poona Riots commission quotes from Chapter 3 of the report of the Sabha, and the following passage shows how the Bombay assesslnents violated the very principles of land assessxnent laid down by the Court of Directors in 1856, and by the Secretary of State for India in 1864.

I' The assessment should consist of a portion of the nett profits of land, after deducting the expenses of cultivation, including the wages of the cultivator and his family, and the charges for the purchase and renewal of agricultural stock. It has been shown before that the present assess- ment of the Government, and the charge of the Khote profits in Konkan Districts absorb from one-half to one- third of the gross produce, which by all accounts means that the Government assessment is a rack-rent in the worst sense of the term. In the Desh districts also it has been shown that the Ryot is enabled to continue the cultivation of land from year to year, not because he receives any fraction of the proprietor's rent, or true farmer's profits, but chiefly, if not solely, because he earns the wages of himself and family in its cultivation. 1% fact there is n o surplus produce left, after paying the cost of cultivation (including his wages and the c?narge for the renewal of agricultural stock) and the assessment of (f over~zment."


These clear and convincing facts and arguments were urged in vain. They led to no substantial change in the ~nethod and procedure of settlements. They led to no remedial measures affording security to cultivators against undue enhancements. They led to no rules for the strict enforcement of the principles of the Land Tax laid down by the Court of Directors and the Secretary of State. The Government declined to frame such rules for its own servants as had been framed to restrict the powers of private landlords in Bengal. The Government sought to relieve the cultivators of the Deccan only by restraining money-lenders. That was the object of the Deccan Agri- culturist's Relief Act of I 879.

The Act enabled Courts to go behind the letter of the bond in the case of small debtors, to lay down what amount thoy should pay, and to grant them a discharge for tlze balance. To debtors owing larger sums it gave the full protection of an Insolvency Act. The Act further pro- vided that agriculturists should not be arrested or irn- prisoned in execution of a decree for money; that their immovable property should not be attached or sold in execution of a decree unless it had been specifically mort- gaged; and that even in such cases the Court might direct the lands to be cultivated by the debtor for a number of years on behalf of the creditor, after which the debt was discharged.

So far as the Survey and Settlement Officers were concerned, their powers were made even more absolute than before. In 1873 an appeal in an assessrnent suit was preferred in the High Court of Bombay, and the High Court decided the suit against the Settlement Officer. Immediately after, a bill was introduced in the Bombay Council to exclude the jurisdiction of the High Court and of all Civil Courts in matters relating to land assessments. The member in charge of the bill did not disguise its

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object, but explained it in these memorable words : " I t is not expedient that the general policy of Government in relation to the Land Revenue should be questioned, or that the details of revenue assessments should be ques- tioned, by Civil Courts." The Bombay revenue Jurisdic- tion Act was accordingly passed in 1876, excluding the jurisdiction of Civil Courts in matters of assessment. The private citizen in India is permitted by the British Government, and by British Laws, to seek redress against the Government itself in impartial Courts of Justice. But the millions of the peasant proprietors of Bombay and of Madras, subject to an enhancement of the State-demand at each Revision Settlement, are debarred from seeking justice in Courts, or before any independent tribunal, against the blunders or the undue severity of the assessing officer.

Th rcc years after the passing of this Act, the Bombay Land Revenue system was comprehensively treated and logalised in the Revenue Code of 1879. I t was an excel- lent Code, and it clearly affirmed the cultivator's rights of inheritance and transfer in respect of their holdings. But the Code gave no protection against undue enhance- ments, and no security against excessive assessments in violation of the principles laid down in 1856 and 1864.

We have in these five chapters briefly described the land administration of the different provinces of India during the first eighteen years of the Crown Administration. A great many real reforms were effected. Protection was given to the cultivators of Bengal, Oudh, and the Punjab, against unjust enhancement of rent by private landlords. The system of settlements in Northern India was im- proved, and assessnlents were made on the tangible basis of the rental of villages. Relief was given to Madras cultivators by the introduction of the thirty years' settle-


ment rule. He1 p was given to Bombay cultivators by the ~gricultural Relief Act and by the Revenue Code, both pssed in 1879. And in the Centrd Provinces, the recog- nition of proprietary rights in Malguzars, and the long term settlement begun in 1863, were a boon to the harassed population.

The cardinal defects from which agriculture still suf- fered may be summed up in a few words.

(I) Enhancements were not limited by definite and specific rules at Revision Settlements.

(2) Assessments were not made according to the Half Rental Rule, but often absorbed the whole rental in Madras and Bombay

(3) No independent tribunals watched the enforcement of rules.

(4) Special cesses on land, in addition to the Land Revenue, violated the Half Rental Rule.

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Lortn CANNING undertook a great reform in the Indian r In February I 857, a year after his arrival in India, he addressed the Court of Directors on the subject. He proposed to equalise the duties on British and foreign merchandise, on raw and manufactured articles. He de- sired to exempt from duty a large number of articles which produced little revenue. He wished to abolish export duties, and to augment import duties. The pro- posals remained in abeyance during the Mutiny of I 857 ; and, in 1858, the East India Company ceased to rule.

Lord Stanley, the first Secretary of State for India under the Crown, replied to Lord Canning in April 1859. The liabilities of India had vastly increased in consequence of the Mutiny, and the financial difficulties were greater. Lord Stanley, therefore, modified Lord Canning's proposals, so as to secure a larger revenue. British and foreign lnanufactures should be treated equally by raising the duties on British goods to the foreign rates. Duties on petty articles should not be abolished. Export duties , should mot be abandoned. Import duties should be increased.

Before receipt of this despatch, the Indian Government had already passed Act vii. of 1859, raising the duties on British goods to foreign rates, and taking power to levy the increased duties even on current contracts. And on receipt of the Secretary of State's despatch, Lord Canning replied that the Act recently passed was virtually in accord- ance with the instructions contained in the despatch.

But the Act gave great dissatisfaction to British mer. 336

chants in lndia 1 and when James Wilson, the first Indian Finance Minister, went out to India, he had instructions to try and allay the irritation which had been caused.' Accordingly, in 1860, he abolished the export duties on Indian raw products, and considerably reduced import duties on manufactures. British merchants were concili- ated; and India suffered a loss of revenue at the time of her sorest need.

In the same year, n committee was appointed to inquire into the subject of Indian tarigs generally. Two British merchants of Calcutta and Bombay formed the committee, and Ashley Eden, afterwards Lieutenant- Governor of Bengal, presided. The committee submitted their report in 1860, and suggested a uniform tariff and important customs reforms. A second committee was appointed in 1867, and submitted a revised tariff. A third tariff was prepared in 1869, and in the following year Lord Mayo's Government passed Act xvii. of 1870. The Act fixed the import duties generally at 74 per cent. on manufactured goods and raw material, at jf per cent. on twist and 5 per cent. on piece goods, at I per cent. on iron and 10 per cent. on tobacco. The principal export duties were 6s. on a Mauncl (82 lbs.) of indigo, gd. on a Maund of grain, 4 per cent. on lac, and 3 per cent. on oils, seeds, cotton goods, hides, and spirits.

Further changes were made in the following year by Act xiii. of I 871. The principal import and export duties, fixed by the Act, are given on p. 338.

Valuable evidence on the operation of these duties on trade was given before the Select Committees of the House of Com~nons which sat in 1871, 1872, 1873, and 1874 I t is necessary therefore to refer to some portions of this ~oluminous evidence.

John Nutt Bullen, a prominent Calcutta merchant who had sat on Ashley Eden's Tariff Committee of I 860,

See Sir Bartle Frere's evidence before the Select Committee of the House of Commons, 1871.

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Import Duties.

Apparel, a1 ma, cabinet-ware, candles, carriages, clocks, 7h per cent. cotton. kc. . . . . . . . . . t . . . . . . . . . Cotton twist 3 i .. . . . . . . . . . Piece goods 5 .. . . . . . . . . . . Medicines 74 .. . . . . . . . Colouringmaterials. 74 .,

Fruits, glaas, skins, jewellery, ivory, and leather . . 74 ,, . . . . . . . . . . . Beer 14d. per gallon. . . . . . . . . . .. Spirits 6s. . . . . . . . . .. Wines 3s. . . . . . . . . . . . Iron 1 per cent. Othermetals . . . . . . . . Naval stores, oils, paints, perfumery, porcelain, pro: 1 i: *'

visions, and oilman's stoles . . , . . . . . . . . . . . . . Silk 7: ,. . . . . . . . . . . Sugar 74 .. . . . . . . . . . . .. Tobacco I 0 . . . . . . . .. Woollenpiecegoods 5

Export Uuties.

. . . . . . . . . Cotton goods 3 per cent. . . . . . . . . Grain of all sorts 44d. per maund. . . . . . . . . . . Hides 3 per cent. . . . . . . . . . . Incligo 6s. per maund. . . . . . . . . Shell lac, lac dye 4 per cent. . . . . . . . . . . Oils . 3 .. . . . . . . . ., Seedsandspiccs 3

complained of the export duty of 44d. per maund (82 lbs.) of grain, and said it fell on the grower of rice, and was, to that extent, an addition to the Land Tax. The import duty of 5 per cent. on cotton piece goods was, he con- sidered, moderate and unobjectionab1e.l There were only two or three cotton spinning and weaving mills in Calcutta.

Sir Bartle Frere spoke guardedly on the effect of keeping down the import duty on cotton piece goods in order to foster the sale of British goods. "There is this difficulty," he said, "that the interests of India and of England on that point seem rather at variance. No doubt some considerable increase of revenue might be realised by increasing the import duties, say, upon piece goods and yarns, but the direct result of that would be to

Select Committee's Hel)ort, 1871 ; Question, 6014


diminish consumption and to stimulate production on the spot."

On the other hand, Walter Cassels, who had been a Bombay merchant and a member of the Bombay Legisla- tion Council, argued that even the small import duty of 5 per cent. on cotton piece goods operated as a protective duty. And he looked with a jealous eye on the growth of the cotton spinning and weaving industry in Bombay. 111 say they are protective dulies. I do not advocate their abolition solely for that reason. I do not know whether you are aware that, for instance, in the Bombay Presidency there are 12 cotton mills, employing (a very small amount, of course, for Manchester) 3 I 9,394 spindles, 4199 looms, and 8170 hands, consuming, I think, 62,000 bales of cotton of 400 lbs. each annually."

British administrators in India marked with satisfaction, rather than with jealousy, the growth of the infant cotton industry of Bornbay ; but in matters of Indian administra- - tion they were the servants of the British merchant and the British voter. The veteran Sir Charles Trevelyan, who had served India with credit and distinction under a former generation of rulers, and who had, at a later period of his life, been Governor of Madras and Finance Minister of India, spoke with some warmth against the sacrifice of legitimate Indian revenues under the mandate of British manufacturers. "Although the trade of India," he said, "increased in these ten years from £60,000,000 to £106,000,000, the Customs yielded £I ,OI 3,500 less. If' Customs Duties are a legitimate source of revenue, so small an amount as £2,400,000 for the whole of India is simply ridiculous."

~ o r d Lawrence, too, felt deeply on this point. As Viceroy of India he had tried to raise the export duties on jute and other India11 products in 1865, to get a little

' Select committee'^ Report, 1871 ; Question 5608. lhid. ; Question 7962. Ibicl. ; 1873 ; Question 923.

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additional revenue and save the country from :t deficit. But 13ritish intcrcsts had becn too strong for him, and the Sccretary of State for India had disallowed his proposals. Eight years after, when he was questioned as a witness by Mr. Fawcett, he guardedly expressed his painful iinpressions of the influence of British trade over the financial policy of India.

Henry Fawcett.-With reference to export. duties; if an atte~npt was made to increase the export duties, to put an export duty, for instance, upon cotton or upon jute, it would, pro tanto, place the trade of India in a, com- paratively speakino unfavourable position, and would bring to bear against the Government of India the very powerful pressure of the commercial classes in England, would it not ?

Lord Lawrence.-That is quite true. Henry Fawcett. - Do you think, considering that

India is scarcely represented at all in this House, that it is only indirectly represented in the House, and that the commercial classes of England are powerfully repre- sented in it, that any Government would, for one moment, be likely to resist an opposition, brought to bear upon them from people who have votes, against putting on such an export duty ?

Lord Lawrence.-I think not. H e n ~ y Fawcett.-Therefore, considering how India is

governed, that India is governed by the House of Commons, and that India is governed by the Secretary of State, who, after all, is a Member of the Cabinet whose existence depends upon the votes of the House of Commons, you cannot rely upon the imposition of an export duty as giving you an increase of revenue in India, can you ?

Lord Lawrence.-I am afraid n0t.l I t is necessary to make one more extract here from

Mr. Fawcett's examination of Lord Lawrence to indicate the extent to which the Secretary of State and his Council

ilelect Oommittee's Report, 1873 ; Qneeti~ns 5580 to 5582,

did, and could, safeguard Indian interests against British commercial interests. The passage in question illustrates a painful truth which is as relevant to-day as it was thirty years ago.

Fawcett.-With regard to the relations between the Secretary of State and his Council, I understood in your previous examination that you said, speaking, for instance, as a typical case in reference to the Indo-European Tele- graph, that when it was proposed to throw the whole expense of that telegraph on India, instead of making England bear a part of it, there would be no use in the Council of the Secretary of State objecting, because they had no political influence, and they were unable to resist the pressure which was brought to bear upon the Secretary of State from outside ?

Lord Lawrence.-I said that was the practical result ; I think the Council did act in many cases as a very con- siderable buffer between the people pressing on expendi- ture in India and the Secretary of State, and in many ways helped the Secretary of State to resist that pressure ; but when it came to be a very important matter, in which the interests and the feelings of merchants in England were enlisted, then, I think, the Council could not resist it with any effect.

Fawcett.-But were they not appointed, and was not I this great charge thrown upon the revenues of India, with

no other object than that they should resist? That was the chief object with which they were appointed, was it not? If not, the duties which they performed might be performed, as they are in other Government Departments, by the permanent officials, the Under-Secretaries. Why, therefore, should they not, if they thought that this expenditure was wrong, say : " We are receiving a salary from the revenues of India; we care nothing about the political pressure that may be brought to bear upon the Secretary of State; no power on earth shall induce us to sanction an expenditure of money which ws think

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is wrong, so far as the interests of India are con- cerned " ?

Lord Lawrence.-" I think if you had no Council that practically there would be a great difficulty in that way. The Council may not be a perfect machinery, or a perfect buffer between those who want unduly to put expenditure on India and the Secretary of State, still they do a great deal in that way. I am sure from my experience of the five years that I was in Council, that had there not been a Council, a very great deal would have been put on India, which was not put on it, in consequence of the remon- strances of the Council.

Pawcett.-But still, without now discussing whether the Council do any good whatever, or whether it would not be desirable completely to abolish them, I want to know why was it not their first duty to the interests of India to resist-and how can it be said that they were not disregarding an important trust if they did not resist-this political pressure that you refer to, and did not say that no power on earth should induce them to sanction an expenditure which they thought wrong towards the people of India ? For what other purpose did they receive their salaries except to do that ?

Lo& Lawrence. - That seems theoretically a very simple way of acting; but I think in practice it is ex- tremely difficult ; and I think, moreover, that if the Council had acted in that kind of way, they would not have succeeded. Some moveinent would have been made in Parliament, or elsewhere, whereby they would have been perhaps done away with, or their powers would have been so shackled that, in point of fact, they would have been less able to work than they hitherto did work.'

The total imports and exports of India during the last years of the Company's adlninistration have been given in a preceding chapter. We exhibit below the figures for the first nineteen years of the Queen's administration, from

1 Select Oommittee's Report, 1873 ; Questions 5597 to 5599.

1859 to 1877. These figures are taken from the "Statis- tical Abstracts relating to British India " annually pub- lished and presented to Parliament.

I Trade of India with all Countries. 1 Import of Import of Total Total

Merchandise. Treasure. Imports. Exports.

I t will appear from these figures that, during the first two years after the Mutiny, India received much more than she sent out, and that during the two succeeding years her imports were about equal to her exports. This equilibrium did not last long ; in the year ending in April 1863 India exported nearly six millions more than her imports, and this difference went up to over sixteen millions in 1 8 6 4 , and to twenty millions in 1865. The difference decreased then for five years ; but after I 870 it settled down to a figure generally between fifteen and twenty millions sterling a year. This heavy and impover-

The official gear terminated on April 30 np to 1866. From 1867 the official year terminated on March 31. Therefore the figures for the year ending in 1867 are for eleven months only, from May I , 1866, to March 31, 1867.

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ishing Economic Drain from India, which followed so soon after the cornmencernent of the Crown administration, pl-esented a melancholy contrast to the comparatively light tribute which India had paid under the Company's adminis- tr:ttion. For the difference between the imports and the cxports of India during the last years of the Company's adlninistration was something between three and four nlillio~~s a year, as we have seen in a previous chapter.

Within twelve years after the change in administra- tion, the Econonlic Drain from India had increased four- fold. India suffered this steady and increasing drain, and propared herself for those frequent and widespread famines which marked the last quarter of the nineteenth century. They were the natural economic results of a continuous drain such as no country on earth could bear.

And while India suffered, the British nation, as a nation, did not gain. The manufacturers and operatives of Groat Britain, who formed the nation, would have obtained larger profits from an increasing trade with India if the country had grown in wealth and prosperity. But a poor people are poor consumers of foreign articles. The total merchandise imported into India frorn all countries of tho world showed a slight increase from 36 millions in 1868 to 379 millions in 1877. Over one-half of this was British produce, and the consumption of British produce therefore scarcely increased a million in ten years.

The true character of the trade with India will appear more clearly if we pass in review the principal articles of import and export. The principal imports are exhibited in the table on the opposite page.

The import of cotton goods into India, which was arrested during the Mutiny years at a figure under five millions sterling, went up by a bound to eight millions in 1859, and rose to double that figure in ten years. The people of India did not use much more cotton clothing in 1869 than they did in 1859 ; and the increase of imports indicated a corresponding decrease in Indian manufacture.

Impolts lnto India frt~m all Countries. ! Cottoll Twist Cotton Sllk Woollen Maah,nslv. Metdl Manu- ( Year I sod Y r l n I Goods. I Good.. / Goods. I ( f.ic~ulea. I

From an economic point of view, the people had gained by obtaining cheaper clothing, whiIe they had lost to a much larger extent by the loss of their weaving industry. For the loss was not replaced by any new industry; and millions of weavers sank to the level of agricultural labourers, and increased the pressure on the soil.

The same remark applies to the consumption of silk and woollen goods. The imports of the former increased from two to six hundred thousand pounds, and of the latter from three to eight hundred thousand pounds-displacing to that extent the weaving industries of India.

The fall in the imports of the last year, i.e. of the year ending March 3 I , I 877, was owing to a widespread distress in Southern India, which deepened into the terrible famine of 1 8 7 7 . Twenty years of peace had brought no prosperity to India ; and the year chosen by Lord Lytton for his Delhi

Described from 1876 as " Hardware, cutlery, and plated mare."

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Ilurbar festivities was unhappily a year of the worst famine that India had yet known within the century.

The table on p. 347 shows the principal exports from India to all countries of the world between 1859 and 1877. We have selected only those articles the export of which exceeded two millions sterling in I 877.

The first article of export in the table is raw cotton, and the extraordinary variation in the quantities ex- ported is both striking and instructive. Great Britain, desirous of creating a self-contained empire, had long endeavoured to obtain from the tablelands of Berar and Bombay the cotton required by the looms of Lancashire. A Parliamentary Committee had been appointed, as our readers will remember, in 1848, and John Bright, Chair- man of the Committee, had held out no hopes of India largely adding to her supply to the cotton mills of Eng- land. The idea of a self-contained empire had proved a dream; England had to obtain her raw material from the country which grew it cheapest and best; and America ?produced the best cotton for the Lancashire looms. When the British nation were settling down to this sane economic conclusion, the Civil War of America suddenly disturbed and restricted the supply of cotton from that country. India then came to the rescue; and she supplied what America failed to supply. The export of cotton from India rose from ten to eighteen millions sterling in 1862- I 863 ; to thirty five millions in the next year ; and to thirty- seven millions in the year following. There were people who hoped at the time that Great Britain might dispense with American cotton in the future, and that her Indian Empire would henceforth supply the requirements of the Lancashire operatives. But the hope was soon dispelled. Peace returned to America; and trade returned to its natural channel. The export of Indian cotton fell as suddenly as it had risen ; and by 1866-67 it had fallen no less than twelve millions. I t was unfortunate for Bombay that the revision of her land-settlements began in the very


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years when accidcn tal causes had brought about a tern po- rary prosperity. Settlement Officers were induced to make those enormous enhancements in the Land Tax which have been described in another chapter, and which led to hardship and misery, and to rioting and disturbance, in r 875. The incident illustrates forcibly the evils of a vary- ing Land Revenue demand in a country which is mainly agricultural. A nation of cultivators can never perma- nently improve their own condition if the State is ever ready to screw up its demands with the first signs of prosperity.

While the export of raw cotton underwent these varia- tions, the export of Indian cotton goods, including twist and yarn, slowly improved. In 1858-59 the value of the export was £813,604 ; in 1863-64 it had risen to £1,167,577; in 1869-70 it was £1,298,757; and in 1876- 1877 it had risen to £1,935,198, or nearly two millions. This aroused the jealousy of Manchester, and led to fiscal legislation which will be described in a future chapter.

The export of rice, wheat, and other food grains rose from under three millions to nearly eight millions in the nineteen years under review. Such a rise, in a country maintaining its commercial independence, is an indication of prosperity; but the commerce of India was forced and artificial. India had to meet a heavy drain which flowed annually into Great Britain without a direct commercial equivalent ; she was unable to meet this demand by manu- factured articles; and she met it therefore with the food supply of the people to a larger extent than she would have otherwise exported.

I t is instructive, if somewhat painful, to watch how this process works. The annual Economic Drain to Great Britain is met directly from the revenues of India. A great part of the revenues of India is derived from the soil in the shape of the Land Revenue. The Land Revenue is realised, generally, from cultjvators in Southern India, and from landlords in Northern India who in their


t,lrn exact rents from their tenants. Cultivators pay their revenue or their rcnts by selling a large portion of the produce of their fields, keeping an insufficient stock for their own consumption. Exporting merchants have their agents all over the country to buy what the culti- vators are corllpelled to sell; and railways rapidly trans- port these purchases to seaports whence they are exported to Europe. India presents a busy scene to the winter globe-trotter when these transactions take place in every large town and market ; but under the cheering appear- ance of a brisk grain trade lies concealed the fact that the homes and villages of a cultivating nation are denuded of their food to a fatal extent, in order to meet that annual tribute which England demands from India.

It thus happens that, even on the eve of great famines, the export of food goes on as briskly as ever, because the grain has to be sold to meet a rigid Land Revenue demand. In 1876-77, when India was on the brink of one of the severest famines of the century, she exported a larger quantity of food grains, as will appear from the foregoing table, than she had ever done in any preceding year. And even a province, actually suffering from famine, will con- tinue to export food to an extent which bears some propor- tion to the amount of the Land Revenue realised from the province during the famine.

There are other far-reaching results of the demand of Indian rice and wheat in Europe which it is interesting to watch. The demand has had some effect in extending cultivation; and where the Land Revenue is permanently settled, this means a substantial increase to the wealth of the people. There can be little doubt that the people of Bengal are more resourceful in the present day than they were a century ago, owing to the large increase of cultiva- tion in Bengal. The same remark can scarcely be made in respect of Madras and Bombay, where extension in cllltivation leads to increase in the Land Revenue, some- times out of proportion to the benefits obtained. It is

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sometimes forgotten that the lands last taken up are inferior in productive powers; and increase in the Land Revenue in proportion to the cultivated area is an increase out of proportion to the produce. When such blunders are committed, the extension of cultivation makes the people poorer, not richer.

Again, the demand of Indian produce in Europe affects the prices of the food grains. As the population of India is mainly a grain-producino 9 nation, the rise in the price of food grains is an economlc gain to the nation. But in this case also, a reservation has to be made. The signs of agricultural prosperity often induces Settlement Officers to screw up the Land Revenue, and the cultivators are left poorer when the prices fall again. All these considera- tions show the effects of a varying Land Revenue on the welfare of an agricultural nation.

The export of hides and skins went up from half a million sterling to three millions. This was an economic gain to the people in one way, but involved a loss in another direction ; for the export of so much of skins indicated the decline of the leather industry in India. The export of jute also went up from a million to three or four millions in the early 'seventies. Most of the jute was grown in a few districts in Bengal ; and while this new article of export added to the resource of cultivators, it restricted the area of land under rice cu1tivation.l

The export of opium was steady, and even showed an increase during the period under review; and as the Government had the monopoly of that article, the profits from the export was a gain to the revenues of India.

The export of seeds increased from two to five millions during the nineteen years, and this was a loss of manure to India. The refuse of oil seeds, after the oil is expressed,

1 Mymensingh is one of the great jute-producing distlicts in Bengal, and nearly a third of the rice lands was under jute in the years 1887 to 1890 when I was in charge of that dietrict.


is one of the best manures that can be used ; and if the had been used in India and the oils exported, an

ample supply of manure would have been available for the purposes of cultivation. To export the entire seed is, in the words of Dr. Voelcker, " to export the soil's fertility."'

The indigo and tea exported were mainly grown and prepared by British capital and by Indian labour. The profits of the capital went to the shareholders in England ; the wages of labour remained with the people of India. The many acts of coercion and oppression, by which an unwilling peasantry was forced to grow indigo by planters in Bengal, led at last to a serious disturbance and rioting in 1860. Dina Bandhu Mitra, an Indian writer, exposed the oppression in a drama of remarkable power ; and the Rev. James Long translated it into English, for which public-spirited act he was fined and imprisoned by the High Court of Calcutta. The Hon. Ashley Eden, after- wards Lieutenant-Governor of Bengal, supported the cause of the oppressed cultivators; and an inquiry made by a Commission disclosed the many evils of the system. The question came up through Lord Canning to Sir Charles Wood, then Secretary of State for India, and that strong and upright administrator exerted himself to remove the evils which had stained the history of this industry. Large classes of the Bengal cultivators freed themselves, and refused to grow indigo under compulsion. The figures given in the table above will show that the export of indigo steadily went down between 1859 and 1862, and that it was not till 1869 that it showed indications again of a steady rise. A different cause-the invention of arti- ficial indigo-finally ruined this industry in India at the close of the century.

On the other hand the export of tea showed no fluctua- tions, but a steady and rapid rise-the export increaser1 fortyfold in nineteen years, from L60,ooo in 1858-59, to Over 2h millions in 1876-77. The rise was continuous

Dr. Voelcker's Report on Indian Agriculture.

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, ~ n d uninterruptod-every yefir within this period cndcd in a larger export than the preceding year. Many wild wastes in hills and valleys have been thus converted into gardens, and hundreds of thousands of poor people have found employment in these gardens. But a dark stain is cast on this industry by what is known as the " slave-law " of India. Ignorant men and wornen, once induced to sign n contract, are forced to work in the gardens of Assarn during the term indicated in the contract. They are arrested, punished, and restored to their masters if they attempt to run away; and they are tied to their work under penal laws such as govern no other form of labour in India. Hateful cases of fraud, coercion, and kidnap- ping, for securing these labourers, have been revealed in the criminal courts of Bengal, and occasional acts of out- rage on the men and women thus recruited have stained the history of tea-gardens in Assam. Responsible and high administrators have desired a repeal of the penal laws, and have recommended that the tea-gardens should obtain workers from the teeming labour markets of India under the ordinary laws of demand and supply. But the influence of capitalists is strong ; and no Indian Secretary of State or Indian Viceroy has yet ventured to repeal these penal laws, and to abolish the system of semi-slavery which still exists in indin.



RAILWAY operations were commenced in !ndia under an arrangement, calculated to lead to extravagance, and not calculated to secure the comfort of passengers. Private companies working under a State guarantee of profits at 5 per cent. or 44 per cent. on the outlay, were not likely to observe economy in the outlay, or to seek the convenience of travellers. If there was extravagance and waste in con- struction, the shareholders nevertheless got their guaranteed profit on all the money that was spent, wisely or unwisely. If traffic decreased and the earnings fell short of the guaranteed rate, the difference was made good from the revenues of India, i.e. from taxes paid by the people.

The experience of twenty years showed that these apprehensions were not unfounded. There was an ex- travagance in the construction of lines, and a disregard for the comfort of travellers, perhaps unexampled in the history of railway enterprise in any other country. And these facts were proved by witnesses of the highest rank and position, examined by the Parliamentary Committees of 1871, 1872, 1873, and I 874, of which we have spoken in the last chapter.

Juland Danvers and William Thornton, who were ex- amined together in March 1872, were, from their position, the most important witnesses on the subject of India11 railways. Danvers was the Government Direotor of Indian Railways; and, while he admitted the extravagance and waste which had proceeded from the guarantee system, he nevertheless denied that "any other system would have enabled the Government at the time to have constructed


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the system of railways that has been carried out in India." 'rhornton was precisely of the contrary opinion, and held that " the guarantee system has not served any purpose whatsoever which might not have been better served with- out it." l

Speaking at a subsequent examination, Thornton said : " I do believe that unguaranteed capital would have gone into India for the construction of railways, had it not been for the guarantee. Considering how this country is always growing in wealth, and what an immense amount of capital is seeking investment which it cannot find in England, and goes to South America and other countries abroad, I cannot conceive that it would persistently have neglected India. I conceive that, as a result of the capital going to India and not being guaranteed-and it being known that if the investors made great mistakes, they would have to take the consequence of those mistakes- very much greater care and very much greater economy would have been adopted in the construction of the rail- ways." " But," said Thornton, " when once Companies had been guaranteed, then there was no chance of unguaranteed Companies coming forward."

I t is difficult to believe, but nevertheless it is true, that the contracts were so hastily and carelessly drawn up, that they afforded no protection to the Government or to the Indian revenues on important points. " I think," said Thornton, "that the contracts are a perfect disgrace to whoever drew them up, for they contradict themselves two or three times in the course of their several clauses, and they are seldom appealed to for the protection of Govern- ment interests without turning out to be practically worth- less for that purpose." " This is the necessary result of the way in which they are drawn up that, a railway having been commenced on the understanding that a certain guarantee would be given by the Government whatever

the railway might cost, the Government is practically bourld to continue the guarantee of interest upon the expenditure. Therefore, of course, the undertakers of the railway, the Company, are deprived of one of the great inducements to economy ; they know that whatever blun- ders they make, those blunders will not prevent their getting full current interest on their expenditure." l

: Lieutenant-Colonel Chesney, who had been auditor of accounts for six years, and was afterwards Yresi-

dent of the newly established Cooper's Hill Engineering College, testified to the costliness and the carelessness of the work done under the guarantee system. " Railways," he said, "began in India in the year I 848, when the first staff of engineers were sent out; and I need hardly say that in those days engineers in England were not accus- tomed to make economy their first consideration. These gentlemen were sent out to make the railways, and there was a kind of understanding that they were not to'be con- trolled very closely. . . . Then, too, the system of audit was extremely imperfect; it was what is called technically a post audit-nothing was known of the money expended till the accounts were rendered. The result of the system was that on one railway, the East India Railway, four mil- lions sterling out of twenty millions had been disallowed from the capital account. The only thing to be done, however, under those circ*mstances, was to allow it, and bring it all into the capital account again, because, under the contract as it was worded, it was quite impossible to disallow it finally, and it was quite understood that what- ever was spent must be eventually pas~ed . "~

Higher officials than Colonel Chesney spoke of the extravagance of the railway operations in India under the guarantee system. The Right Hon. William N. Massey, who had been Finance Minister of India under Lawrence hnd Mayo, said : The East India Company cost far more,

Report of 1872 ; Questions 1856 and 1857. a Zbid. ; Question 2623. 1 Report of 1872 ; Qtlestions 1863 and 1864.

a [bitl. ; Questions 3030 and 3031,

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if not twice as much, as it ought to have cost ; enormous sums wcrc lavished, and the corltractors had no motive whatever for econorny. A11 the money came from the English capitalist, and so long as he was guaranteed 5 per cent. on the revenues of India, it was immaterial to him whether the funds that he lent were thrown into the Hooghly or converted into brick and mortar. The result was these large sums were expended, and that the East India Railway cost, I think (I speak without book), about ~ ~ ; ~ o , o o o a mile. . . . I t seems to me that they are the most extravagant works that were ever undertaken." l

Sir John Lawrence, as Viceroy of India, had condemned the extravagance of the Indian railways in the strongest terms, and had recorded that "the history of the actual operations of Railway Co~npanies in India gives illustra- tions of management as bad and extravagant as anything that the strongest opponent of Government agency could suggest as likely to result from that system." As a wit- ness before the Parliarrlentary Committee of 1873, Lord Lawrence repeated his condenination of railway extra- vagauce in India, and also of the ill-treatment of passengers.

" I think it is notorious in India among almost every class that ever heard talk on the subject, that the railways have been extravagantly made; that they have cost a great deal more than they are worth, or ought to have cost."

"With a guarantee of 5 per cent., capitalists will agree to anything ; they do not care really very much whether it succeeds or fails; 5 per cent. is such a good rate of interest that they are content to get that, and not really look after what is done. Hence one of the reasons why the cost of the railways has been rnore than it ought to have been."

"The Natives in my tirne, (and I see little difference to

Report of 1872 ; Qoestion 8867. Quoted in l~ord Mayo's Despatch, dated March I I , 1869.

this day in spite of all the attempts of the Directors of t,he Companies to improve the system), greatly complained of their treatment on the railways ; and I myself believe that though it is difficult to prevent abuse of power under such circ*mstances, yet the Government could be more effective in that respect than the Co~npanies. . . . The Natives complained very much in this respect ; and on inquiry that I used to make in India, both official and private, I was confirmed in the view that these statements of the Natives were to a considerable extent true."

Our extracts have been long. But it is necessary to quote one more passage to show that even when the Indian Government declined to incur fresh railway liabili- ties, the Secretary of State for India had the power, no doubt under pressure from British traders, to sanction new schemes against the wishes of Indian authorities. This is revealed by the evidence of General Richard Strachey, who spoke with an experience of many years in the Public Works Department of India.

Fawcett.-But your evidence with regard to these bad bargains that have been made with various Companies tends to show this, that the people of India may be taxed in so many different ways. They may be taxed locally by local authorities; they may be taxed by the Governor- General; and the Secretary of State may carry out a scheme even against the wishes of all the authorities of India, and although he may know nothing whatever about India, and may never have spent an hour in it, which may entail heavy financial burdens on the people of that country ?

General Strachey.-l1 There is no doubt that that is the unfortunate result of having a Despotic Government, managed in the sort of way that the Government of India is ; and, for myself, I do not exactly see that there is any remedy for it.2

Report of 1873 ; Questions 4589, 4777, 4781. Heport of 1872 ; Question 6774.

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I t did not strike General Strachey in 1872, and it has not struck British administrators during the thirty years which have since elapsed, that the people of India, whose money was thus squandered, might have been consulted to some extent, even by a Despotic Government. If this had been done even in 1872, when the Parliamentary inquiry was made, the vast amount of capital which has been spent within the last thirty years on State Railways and Guaranteed Railways, greatly in excess of the available resources of the country, might have been reduced. But one of the gravest defects of the Indian administration is its rigid exclusiveness; there is no room in the entire machinery of the Indian Government for any effective control by the people of their own concerns?

In a Minute, dated August 16, 1867, Lord Lawrence had calculated the total loss which the people of India had suffered from the construction of railways. " I t is estimated," he wrote, "that while the Companies will have to supply 81 millions for the railways now under construc-

1 Five years ago (in 1898) I had the privilege of being examined as a witness by the Indian Currency Committee, of which the Right Hon. Sir Henry Fowler was the Chairman ; and I may be pardoned i f I quote some portion of my own evidence to elucidate the remarks which I hare mads above.

''An endeavour ought to have been made during those years of peace (1878 to 1898) to bring down our Public Debt, so that we might borrow again when it was necessary to do so. And I further say that the people of India-say one financial representative from each of the five great Provinces-ought to be consulted by the Government ; they should form a Committee ; and some place should be found for them in the Viceroy's Executive Council, in order to advise the Viceroy and the Finance Minister in preparing every pear's budget. A systematic endeavour should be made to reduce the Public Debt in every year of peace."

" I remember the condition of India twenty years ago. At that time all the main lines had been opened. The new lines which have been opened since have not added much to the development of trade ; they hare been constructed rather with regard to local interests."

"But all this is adding to our indebtedness, and it is a losing concern -according to your own showing-according to the last report published for the year 1897.98. We have lost 57 Crores of Rupees (thirty-eight millions sterling), and of that 283 Crores (nineteen millions sterling) have been lost within the last twenty years. We should not abandon the railway system altogether, but we should be cautions, and I think the representatives of the people should be consulted before any new lines are sanctioned."

Questions 10,727, 10,728, and 10,742.

tion, the Government contribution will be 74 millions for land, loss by exchange, and supervision; 144 millions for interest paid in excess of nett revenues; and 44 millions in interest paid on those payments of guaranteed interest."

The Guarantee System was eventually abandoned. 61The main system of Indian railways is nearly com- pleted," said the official chronicler of Indian progress,'

the State Railways, which are now under construc- tion or proposed, will, for the most part, supplement the existing trunk lines. There are now open in India 5872 miles of railway which have cost about £97,ooo,ooo, giving an average expenditure of £16,536 per mile. . . . As no more lines will be entrusted to Companies, all railway construction will eventually be in the hands of the Government. Lines are now open from Calcutta to Multan and Bombay, and from Bombay to Madras. The completion of the latter line was effected on the 1st of May 1871, on which day the Great Indian Peninsula [railway] joined that from Madras."

"The whole amount of guaranteed capital which has been raised to the grst March last was £g4,725,ooo, of which £g2,417,000 had been expended. The sum expended direct by the Government amounted to £5,398,000, making a total expenditure of upwards of a hundred million pounds sterling."

"But the railways are now almost completed, so that, with the cessation of heavy outlay on construction, the financial position may be expected to improve."

The writer of the above report anticipated a cessation of heavy outlay on construction in the future. I t were well for India if his anticipation had been realised. I t were well for the overtaxed population if, after the main lines had been completed, and a hundred millions had been spent on railways, the minor lines were left to private enterprise from 1874. The country could afford to wait,

' Moral a n d , Matrrial Progress and Condition of India, 1872-73. Ordered by the House of Commons to be printed, June 2, 1874, page 75.

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and the country should have waited, in view of its resources and its 1iabilit)ics. But this was not to be. The fatal facility with which the Indian Government could borrow in the Endish rnarket made the construction of

k. railways more rapid from 1874 than in the preceding years. And before the close of the cel~tury the mileage of railways in India had gone up fro111 less than six thousand to over twenty thousand.

Railways helped the distribution of food supply in times of famine, but did not add to that supply. I t was irrigation works which added to production and secured crops in years of drought. Hindu and Mahomedan rulers had therefore paid the greatest attention to irrigation works. And the remains of such works in every part of India, canals in Northern India, extensive tanks in Bengal, and large reservoirs in Southern India, still attest to the foresight and prudence of the ancient rulers. British administrators took up the work after some hesitation ; and the excellent results achieved before the close of the Company's rule have already been described in another chapter. But the British nation, more familiar with railways than with canals in their own country, did not adequately realise the supreme importance of irrigation works in India ; and did not extend them with the eagerness with which railway lines were multiplied.

Sir Arthur Cotton, the architect of the magnificent Kaveri and Godavari works, was one of the few men of his time who saw the great need of canals in India, both for irrigation and for transit. And he stated his con- victions before the Parliamentary Committee with the pardonable exaggeration of an enthusiast. "On every important line of country in India," he said, "you can carry a canal, that is to say, on every line where there is great population." Alrd he elucidated his remarks in the following words :-

"My great point is this, that what India wants is


water carriage ; that the railways have completely failed ; they cannot carry at the price required ; they cannot carry the quantities; and they cost the country three millions a year, and increasing, to support them. That steamboat canals would not have cost more than one-eighth that of the railways ; would carry any quantities at nominal prices and at any speed; would require no support from the Treasury ; and would be combined with irrigation." l

I t is due to two other eminent administrators, Sir Charles l'revelyan and Lord Lawrence, to state that they also recognised the importance of irrigation works for India. " Irrigation is everything in India," said Sir Charles Trevelyan ; "water is more valuable than land, because when water is applied to land it increases its productive- ness at least sixfold, and generally a great deal more, and it renders great extents of land productive which other- wise would produce nothing, or next to nothing."

For twenty years and more, Lord Lawrence had been an advocate of irrigation works in India. He believed irrigation to be infinitely more important for the wants of the country than railways ; but he could not make head against the general and deadening indifference on tho subject. Railways, therefore, had proceeded faster, even under his administration, than irrigation works.

On one point, however, he was particularly strong; he would not i~npose a compulsory water-rate ; he would make it optional with the cultivators to take water if they liked, and pay for it. " I would almost rather not make a canal at all, however much I desired to do so, rather than make it obligatory on them [the people] to take water."

As the construction of railways by private companies under the Guarantee System was slowly abandoned, the

Report of 1872 ; Qucxstions 8429 and 8560. Report of 1873 ; Question 813.

a Ztid. ; Que>tion 4458 The spirit of Lord Lawrence's administra- tion has pas-ed away, and a compulsory water-rate has been imposed in Madras and elsewhere.

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expenditure by the State increased from year to year. Irrigation works had, on the other hand, been generally undertaken by the State from the commencement, and the State expenditure therefore virtually represents all that was spent on irrigation. We extract the following figures from the Statistical Abstract, showing the expen- diture on railways and on irrigation from Imperial Funds, not charged to revenue accounts.

State Railways. Irrigation Works. I ,-

Spent up to March 1870. . . I , 1871 . . .

9, , 1872. . . , 7 , 1873 . .

1 9 1874 . . ,, 1875 . . , 1876. . .

9 1877 . . I , 1878 . . .

9 9 1879 . . .. 1880. . .

vari works, he might have gone to his grave unheard by the British public, if he had not enlisted the sympathy and co-operation of one of the foremost Englishmen of the day. John Bright came to his rescue.

At a great meeting at Manchester, held in January 1878, Mr. Bright supported the scheme of Sir Arthur Cotton to construct a number of navigable canals all over India at a cost of thirty millions sterling. This troubled the souls of officials. John Bright could not be ignored. The bold scheme for which he had stood sponsor could not be disregarded. Over a hundred millions had been spent on railways which Englishmen understood. But irrigation they did not understand ; and to spend thirty millions on irrigation appeared to them waste of money. To take up the question of irrigation all over India seemed to the average Englishman something like taking a leap in the dark.

Lord George Hamilton, then a young man of thirty- two, and Under Secretary of State for India, expressed these apprehensions in his speech. I' Seeing that, except in the delta, these irrigation works had all failed, he thought it was wrong for any one to support a gigantic agitation to force the Government into incurring an enormous expenditure, and yet keep back these notorious facts. Specially was he sorry to find that Sir Arthur Cotton had received countenance from such a high quarter as the right hon. gentleman, the member for Birmingham. His eloquence was so great that it seldom failed to influ- ence the public mind."

Lord George Hamilton's speech, January 22, 1878. Lord George, in the course of this speech, spoke of Sir Arthur Cotton in terms which the latter resented. In a reply which he sent to the Secretary of State, Sir Arthur wrote: "Whether it is quite becoming, or for the furtherance of the public service, for a young man who had never been in India, had never seen a tank, an irrigated area, or a mile of steamboat canal, or spoken to a Ryot in the irrigated district^, and was consequently, of necessity, very ignorant of the whole ~ubject , to speak before the House

the world in such contemptuous terms of an officer old enough to be grandfather . . . is a point which I beg respectfully to offer for the

of the Right Hon. the Secretary of State and his CounciL" Hope's Life of Szr Arthur Cottm, London, 1900.

Total . . . . . -----

A24,644,702 - I t will be observed that while the total expenditure

on railways by Guaranteed Companies and by the State came to 125 millions sterling down to March 1880, the total expenditure on irrigation works was only twelve mil- lions sterling. I t was this disproportion between the two classes of public works which irritated and grieved Sir Arthur Cotton; and after the terrible Madras famine of 1877, he found an opportunity to rouse the attention of tho British public to the unwisdom of their policy in India.

Indian economic questions, not directly touching the interests of British traders and manufactures, seldom receive public attention in England. Sir Arthur Cotton had done all that man could do to rouse public attention to the importance of irrigation in India. And in spite of the practical proof he had given by his Kaveri and Goda-

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tlel11.y Farvcett " strongly deprecated any partisan feeling in discussing the question whether railways or works of irrigation were the better calculated to yield a profitable return, and to prevent the recurrence of farnine."

John Bright then rose and asked, with all the weight of his high authority: "Why should not this Committee bc appointed for the express purpose of ascertaining from such evidence as me can get in England, and if necessary, such as we can get from India, how it is that after so many years of possession-one hundred years of posses- sion of this very part of the country-still we have got no further than this, that there is a drought, and then a famine? . . . We hear that there has been nine millions or sixteen millions sterling spent on such works [irriga- tion]. What is that in India ? The town of Manchester alone, with a population of half a million, has spent two million pounds already, and is coming to Parliament now to be allowed to spend 34 millions more: that will be 54 millions to supply the population of that town and its immediate surroundings with pure water and a sufficient quantity of it. But in India we have two hundred millions of population subject to the English Government, and with a vast supply of rainfall, and great rivers running through it, with the means-as I believe there are the means-of abundant irrigation."

Sir George Campbell, who had entered Parliament after retiring from his high office in Bengal, sneered at Sir Arthur Cotton, and "thought there was some truth in the saying regarding him, that he had water on his brain !" But General Sir George Balfour spoke of the great and single-hearted irrigationist with esteem and admiration. Standing up before the House he would say that he did not believe that a single work that Sir Arthur Cotton had executed had ever been a failure. " Sir Arthur Cotton was a man of mighty genius ; he was a man who had done much for the people ; he had been a great bene-

factor to India ; and his name would go down to posterity as one who had done great things for that country."

The inquiry asked for could not be refused. And on January 22, 1878, a select committee was appointed. Lord George Hamilton was the chairman. Twelve wit- nesses were examined, including Lord Northbrook, Lord Napier, and Sir William Muir ; but it is needless to say that Sir Arthur Cotton was the most important witness. I t was his scheme which was on its trial.

Sir Arthur put the whole case before the Committee in s few words at the commencement of his evidence.

" The Railway account now stands thus :-

Cost of works a I. £1 12,000,000 Cost of land 8,000,000 Debt now , 50,000,000

Total * £ I 70,000,ooo

for which we have about 7500 miles, or at the rntk of f;z3,ooo per mile. At the present cost to the Treasury in interest on share capital 4& millions, and on land and debt at 4 per cent., 3 millions ; total, 74 millions. From which, deducting nett receipts, 44 millions, leaves three millions a year as the loss o n the money sunk."

" The capital spent on the water-works, including the Toombhadra, is ;E I 6,000,000. The accumulation of in- terest against the Bari Doab, the Ganges, and other canals, are much more than balanced by those to credit on the Kaveri, Krishna, and Godavari works, which have at least 10 millions to their credit, leaving a balance in their favour of 5 millions. So that the money sunk may be taken at £1 1,000,000, the interest of which at 4 per cent. is half a million, against which we have a nett profit over working expenses of about a million, leaving a nett gain to the Treaszvry of half a million a year on irrigation worlcs."l

Question 2205.

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But the great point which Sir Arthur Cotton made was that railways were no protection against famines.

I am afraid we must reckon that out of the 40 millions alkcted by the famine in Madras, Mysore, Hyderabad, and Bombay, 4 or 5 millions have perished, after spend- ing 120 millions on railways besides incurring a debt of 50 millions sterling." And he pointed out forcibly that railways did n o t provide food for man and beast; did mot carry the whole traffic of the country ; did n o t carry it cheaply enough ; did n o t pay interest on cost and debt ; did n o t drain the country, and did n o t provide drinking water for the people. All this was and could be done by irrigation works.

Why then were irrigation and navigable canals oeglected? If these canals provided cheaper means of transit, why did the Indian Government not construct them ?

1( I want to know what is in your mind," asked Samp- son Lloyd, a banker of Birmingham and a member of the Cornuittee, ' I why any man should dread cheap transit 1"

beca cause," answered Sir Arthur Cotton, " i t would stultify the railways, that is the sole point. Only think of a canal by the side of the Eastern Bengal Railway which carries some 200,000 tons, and a canal by the side of it carrying 2,000,ooo tons, and swarming with passen- gers and goods. What n terrible affront to the railway that must be."

The reply is a good illustration of the vehemence of Sir Arthur's convictions ; but there was truth in what he urged. Englishmen had not appreciated the peculiar needs of India for cheaper transit as well as for irrigation They had not realised that securing crops in years of drought was of far more greater importance in India than means of quick transit. Having already constructed a vast system of railways along the main lines of com- munication, they hesitated to venture on navigable can&

Question 2204 z Quest i~a 2269.

which would compete with railways as a means of transit, and would deduct from the profits which the Government had guaranteed to Companies, or were deriving on their State lines. Nature had provided India with great navig- able rivers which had been the high roads of trade from ancient times. And a system of canals, fed by these rivers, would have suited the requirements of the people for cheaper if slower transit, and would at the same time have increased production, ensured harvests, and averted famines. But Englishmen made a geographical mistake. They needed few canals in their own country, and they therefore neglected canals in India.

The principal lines of navigation which Sir Arthur Cotton recommended were (I) from Calcutta to Karachi, up the Ganges and down the Indue ; (2) from Coconada to Surat, up the Godavari and down the Tapti; (3) a line up the Tumbhadra to Karwar on the Arabian Sea, and (4) a line up the Ponang, by Palaghat and Coimbatore.

Other witnesses were almost as eloquent as Sir Arthur Cotton himself on the benefits of canals for the purpose of navigation ; and they also showed that, what Lord George

Hamilton had called "failures," were not failures. Sir William Muir, who had been Lieutenant-Governor of Northern India, and then Finance Minister of India, said :

" I do not think I have expressed with sufficient emphasis the great value which I attach to the advantages derivable from the large canals such as the Ganges Canal and the Jumna Canals. The extent of prosperity which has been conferred upon the districts through which they pass is very great in a general point of view; and the degree in which the people are preserved from the distress and privations of famine is beyond all calculation a benefit to the country. The advantage also which I spoke of before in saving land revenues, which would otherwise be in arrear and lost, is also great. And further, there is an advantage in the country being protected and being pre- Berved from deterioration, which is incidental to land

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which is affected by fanline, that is to say, being protected from t,hc secondary effects of famine which are liablc to continue for considerable periods after the famine itself has passed away. Altogether the general improvement and advancement of the Doab, which is due specially to these canals, is a matter which, apart from their immediate financial returns, cannot be overlooked, and must be borne in mind in determining the general advantages derivable froni canal irrigation." l

But Lord George Hamilton's Committee failed to grasp the importance of irrigation works from this broad and statesmanlike point of view. And they returned again and again to the narrower view, based on the immediate financial return of worlrs con~t~ructed. A few paragraphs from the Select Comnlittee's Report are quoted below.

"Sir Arthur Cotton proposes the sunllrlary and in- definite suspension of nearly all railway schemes and works. He would, however, devote ten millions annually for the next ten or twenty years to irrigation works, ~rlaiuly canals (Question 2722), the main canals to be of such dinlensions as to permit navigation. By such an expenditure he estimates that ten thousand miles of main line navigation would be constructed at a cost of thirty ~uillion sterling, dealing with the most populous districts, whilst the remainder of this vast sum was to be spent on feeders or subsidiary works.

id Sir Arthur Cotton estimates that such an expendi- ture would give a large return to Government (Question 275 I), though your Committee were unable to ascertain the data of this conclusion, especially as he does not deem it to be within his province to consider how, or at what rate of interest, the money .expended would be raised. Neither has he in any way attempted to estimate or make provision for the iln~rlediate rise in the cost of material

Question 2885.


and labour which so sudden and si~nultaneous an expendi- ture throughout India must inevitably produce.

"The figures already embodied in this report show how few of the most carefully examined irrigation schemes have proved remunerative, and these returns are more than confirmed by Sir Arthur Cotton himself, who, in reply to a question asking him to indicatc what works constructed by the Government of India during the last twenty years, other than those in the Madras Delta, had proved remunerative, replied, 'None of the great works pay yet ' (Question 2 2 14).

"I t is evident to your Committee that this scheme, though of gigantic dimensions, is of too shadowy and speculative a character to justify their noticing it, except for the purpose of emphatically rejecting it."

I t will appear from these extracts that the Select Com- mittee singled out the Madras Deltas as the only rernuner- ative works; and that, from their narrow point of view, even the Ganges and Jumna works, which had increased the prosperity of the people, prevented famines, and saved the land revenues from loss in years of drought, were not remunerative.

I t is worthy of note that shortly after Lord Georgc Hamilton's Committee had come to this decision, the Madras Famine Commission commenced its inquiries in a more thorough and systematic manner in India and in England. And the Famine Commission came to a con- clusion diametrically opposite to that of Lord George Hamilton, both as regards the immediate returns, and the broad results of irrigation works. " The result has been," so the Famine Comlnission wrote in respect of irrigation works, "a great advantage to the State, regarded merely from the direct financial return on the money invested; and apart from their value in increasing the wealth of the country in ordinary years, and in preventing or mitigating famine in years of drought."

Famine Uommissiou's Ecyvrt, 1880.

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And the people of India-those who paid the cost of railways and irrigation works alike-would undoubtedly have given their support, if they had been consulted, firstly, to Sir Arthur Cotton's proposal to stop the further extension of State Railways and Guaranteed Railways, after the main lines had been completed, and secondly, to the construction of carefully considered irrigation works for the benefit of cultivation and the prevention of famines. Sir Arthur Cotton's plans undoubtedly were " shadowy and specolativc " ; for schemes drawn up in London, even by a man of his genius and Indian experience, must be only tentative in their nature. But a close and careful examination would have shown us how far these schemes were practicable, and were likely to be beneficial. And the construction of such useful works, twenty-five years ago, would have averted the worst effects of the famines of the last years of the century. But Lord George Hamilton's Committee had given their verdict; and the occasion created by Sir Arthur Cotton's foresight and John Bright's large-hearted sympathy passed away, not to return again within the century.



THE system of presenting the annual accounts underwent alterations from time to time, between 1858 when the Queen took over the direct administration of India, and 1877 when she assumed the title of Empress of India.

In the accounts presented to Parliament for 1859-60, the interest on guaranteed railway capital was for the first time shown as a charge on the revenues of the year.

In I 867-68, the policy of constructing large " Produc- tive Works " with borrowed money, and of excluding the capital so borrowed from the ordinary revenue and expen- diture accounts, was sanctioned. I t was by such exclusion that a surplus was shown in the accounts under Lord Mayo's administration. The capital borrowed was shown under the heading of Debt for Productive Public Works ; and the interest on the debt was shown in the ordinary revenue and expenditure accounts.

In 1870-71 the system of allotting to the different Provincial Governments certain grants of money, with the responsibility of meeting therefrom certain charges, was inaugurated under Lord Mayo's decentralisation scheme. In that year the only financial effect was an advance of £2oo,m to provide those Governments with a working balance. But from 1871-72 to 1875-76 certain receipts, estimated at about £650,000, were deducted from the expenditure, and both sides of the account were reduced to that extent; while expenditure to the amount of £SOO,OOO was shown in a lump sum as Allotments for Provincial Services.

From 1871-72 the statement of Nett Income was 371

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'~bandoned ; revenues were shown in the gross, and expenses of collect.ion were included in the expenditure.

From 1 4 6 - 7 7 the system of showing the Allotments to Provincial Governments was altered. Instead of one sum being shown as Allotments to Provincial Services, the receipts and expenditure were exhibited in detail under the proper headings. From the same year also, the annual revenue from Productive Public Works, and the annual charge for interest and working expenses in con- nection with them, were shown.

From 1877-78 a new heading of Provincial Rates was introduced, under which were entered the receipts from the special taxation imposed upon land in I 877. A further change was made in the following year by bringing into the general revenue account all the Local Funds previously accounted for separately, a corresponding charge being entered under various headings on the other side.=

The figures on the next page, showing the revenues and expenditure of India during the nineteen years which elapsed from 1858-59 to 1876-77, are taken from the Statistical Abstracts for India annually presented to both Houses of Parliament. Under the head of revenue we show the Land Revenue separately; and under the head of expenditure, we exhibit separately the portion of it incurred in England.

I t will appear from these figures that the gross revenues of India increased from 36 millions to 5 I

millions in eighteen years, i.e. by the end of 1875 -76 ; and the portion of it spent in England, i.e. the Home Charges, increased within the same period from 74 millions to I o millions.

Then followed the eventful year, 1876-77, when there was a decrease of Land Revenue on account of

1 Henry Waterfield's Memorandum on Changes made in the form of the Accounts, dated April 20, 1880. Tlle official year ended on the 30th April up to 1866. It ended on the 31st March from 1867. Therefore the figures for 1866-67 in the table on the following page are for eleven months only, 1st May 1866 to 31th March 1867.


1858-59 1859-60 I 860-6 I 1861-62 1862-63 1863-64 1864-65 1865-66 I 866-67

( I I months) 1867-68 19,986,640 48,534,412 1868-69 19,926,171 49,262,691 1869-70 z1,088,01g 50,901,081 1870-71 20,622,823 51,413,686 1871-72 20,520,337 50,110,215 1872-73 1873-74 1874-75 1875-76 1876-77

the Madras famine. The somewhat sudden increase in the figures, representing the gross revenue and the grosfi expenditure of that year, is due to the inclusion in the accounts of the receipts and charges for interest in connection with Productive Works, as has been already explained. The whole of the nett railway receipts is shown on the revenue side from that year; and the whole of the Guaranteed Interest and Profits paid to Coxrlpanies is shown on the expenditure side.

The total Debt of India just before the Mutiny in 1 8 56-57 was 594 millions, and in the following year it rose to 6 9 6 millions sterling. As the whole charge of the Mutiny wars was thrown on India, the Public Debt rose in 1 8 6 0 to over a hundred millions. And as the corlstruction of railways was undertaken by the State after the Guarantee System was abandoned, and railway lines were recklessly extended with borrowed capital. the Public Debt rose rapidly from I 870.

I t is necessary to explain that the iigures for

21,348,669 21,037,912 21,296,793 21,503,742 193857,152

50,219,489 49,598,253 50,570,171 51,310,063 559995,785

10,547,908 101265,557 10,604,994 9,8989683


50,638,386 54r959r228 54,500,545 53,911~747 58,r78,563

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1 I I I 1

I I I-- I --

I 870-7 I were revised at the instance of the Select Comnlittee on Indian Finance so as to include some obligations not previously exhibited, and this plan was followed in subsequent years. The total Debt of 139 millions at the close of I 8 76-7 7 includes the money borrowed and spent by the Government on State Railways and Irrigation Works, but does not include the money spent by private companies under guarantee of interest from the Indian revenues. Down to I 8 7 6-7 7 the Government had spent about 2 4 millions on State R,ailways and Irrigation Works; that is to say, £1 4,6 5 I ,3 5 3 on State Railways, and L9,6 5 I ,6 I 8 on


Irrigation Works. I t is also necessary to explain that the figures given

above do not include the East India Stock of twelve nlillions sterling, forming the capital of the East India Company on which India still paid interest.

We have seen in a previous chapter that, the East India Conrpa~ly had piled up a Public Debt, of 694


Inclian Deht and 0l)lip;r-


during the century of their rule in India. I t is painful to observe that the Administration of the Crown doubled this Debt in nineteen years, bringing it up to 139 millions-not including the East India Stock.

Let us suppose once again that an independent and impartial tribunal-an International Arbitration Court not composed p~irely of British or of Indian judges- had to deal with this Inclian Debt of I 39 millions in the memorable year 1877, when the Queen assumed the title of Empress of India.

There can be little doubt what the verdict of the Court would have been. The arbitrators would have made a clean sweep of the Company's Debt of 694 millions, as made up of a part of the unjust dernand of an annual tribute which India should not have paid.' They would probably have given an award to Great Britain for the Mutiny Debt of 40 millions-the cost of British troops employed in India-after deducting from it the cost of Indian troops employed in Imperial wars in Afghanistan, China, Persia, and Abyssinia; and the balance against India, if any, would have been small. And lastly, the arbitrators would have allowed the Public Works Debt of 24 millions to stand-with perhaps an injunction against the borrowing of more capital for such works-as minor railway lines could wait until taken up by private enterprise, and irrigation works could be annually extended from the ordinary revenues of the empire. A hundred nill lions of the so-called Public Debt of India would thus have been struck off' as not justly due from India. And the balance2 would soon have been extinguished from the revenues of India, once freed from the payment of interest of this enormous and unjust liability. There would have been no National Debt; for there need be no National

, Debt in India. See India under Eavly British Rule, 1757-1837, chapter xxiii.

a We assume there would be balance against India, not reckoning the whole of the tribute paid by India during the century of the Conlpany's

and not reckoning interest. If this was reckoned, the bala~lce Would be largely against Great Britain.

pc,l1t j,, Ellgland.


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The institution of a National Debt was unknown in India undcr her old rulers. Hindu and Mahomedan kings sometimes borrowed lnoncy from bankers on their own credit, as English kings in the olden days borrowed money by pledging their Crown jewels, or assigning specific revenues for the discharge of the debt. So late as I 688, the year of the English Revolution, England had scarcely any National Debt-the amount was less than a million.' And it would have been better if British rulers of India had followed the Indian precedent, or the old English precedent of the seventeenth century, instead of importing into India the more recent European institution of a National Debt.

Modern European nations create National Debts mainly to extend their conquests and colonies, and to maintain their position among rival nations. India seeks no conquests ; she has no rivals in Asia; her position under a strong and good government is invulnerable. The cost of the British conquest of the country had been defrayed from her annual revenues; tlhe cost of useful public works could be met from those revenues. There was no need for creating a permanent National Debt in such a country ; and there was no need for continuously increasing it wheri peace had followed the Mutiny wars, and the administration had been assumed by the Crown. Lord Lawrence endeavoured to meet all expenditure frorn the annual income. Lord Mayo's plan of constructing PuLlic Works with borrowed capital was a mistake. When money is easily borrowed it is easily spent, and the Debt accumulates.

The alarming growth of Debt and expenditure in India attracted the attention of Mr. Gladstone, the greatest British financier of the nineteenth century. He wished to arrest it, and he moved for a Select Committee on Indian Finance in I 87 I . I t would have been well for India if Mr. Gladstone himself could have sat on that Com-



mittee ; but as Prime Minister of Great Britain he could not do so. He did what was possible when he appointed Mr. Henry Fawcett as one of the members. Select Committees sat for four years, from I 87 I to I 874, and unfortunately discontinued their inquiries soon after the Liberal Government was upset in I 874. No final re- commendations and no great remedial measures there- fore ensued. But the evidence recorded during the four years is valuable, and has been referred to in preceding chapters. And it is interesting to turn again and again to this evidence, given by men who conducted the administra- tion and directed the finances of India a generation ago.

One of the most important witnesses examined was the Right Honourable W. N. Massey, who had been Finance Minister of India from I 865 to I 868. And he impressed on the Committee, in the strongest words he could use, the necessity of limiting the expenditure in India to the annual income.

" The principle of English Finance is,-adjust your income -to your expenditure. In my opinion the con- trary principle should be adopted in Indian finance. The truth is that your resources are so limited, that if you should outrun the constable a little, you are at once landed in a deficit. You cannot expand any of your taxation ; you cannot create new taxation with the ex- ception of the Income Tax. I wish to say that in round terms, for there is no new source of taxation, as far as I am aware, that it is possible for you to invent. There- fore it is that I would most earnestly impress upon all Indian financiers the expediency of accommodating their expenditure to their income." And referring to the Duke of Wellington's reply to the Court of Directors in 18 34, to make the expenditure keep within the income, the witness said, '' I wish the spirit of the Duke of Welling- ton's reply was made applicable to the present adminis- tration throughout the whole of India." l

Report of 1872 ; Queetions 8583 and 8612.

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Still more emphatic was the evidence of another Finance Ministor of India, Sir Charles Trevelyan. He

had been the colleague of Lord William Bentinck and Nacaulay in Indian administration forty years before.; he had been Governor of Madras and had been recalled from that post for protesting against increase of taxa- tion ; and he had then been Finance Minister of India from I 863 to I 865. A venerable man of sixty-six years, he still spoke with the fire of youth; and a veteran administrator of Indin both under the Company and under the Crown, he protested against the increased expenditure of the Crown Government.

(' Do you think," he was asked, " that, since the direct administration of affairs by the Secretary of State for Indi:~ in Council, there has been a greater disposition to give way to demands for expenditure of Indian finances 2 "

" Yes, no doubt," he replied. " The Queen's Govern- ment has shown itself profuse and squeezable. . . . I refer to the great point which was made in the transfer of the Government, of building up the personal inde- pendence of the Members of the Indian Council by a life tenure of office, and the arrangement that was made to continue in the Council the exclusive control over payments out of the revenue which had attached to the East India Company. But as regards expenditure, it has all gone for nothing. . . . The influences which press upon the Government outside, through the Press and through their influential supporters, have altogether been too strong, and every safeguard has been over- borne." '

" Stout resistances," said Sir Charles on a subsequent day, " which the East India Company opposed to the demands of the Queen's Government in former days, show that n substantial barrier did exist; and I can answer for those resistances having been, to a great.

Report of 1873 ; Questions 415 and 416.


~xt~ent , effectual. . . . The most striking co~rlparison is that between the atlrrlinistration of Public Works undcr the Queen and their administration under the Company." '

Four times had Sir Charles Trevelyan, as Governor of Madras, protested against the increase of expenditure and taxation. In 1859, he had protested against a tax on tobacco; and " from that time," he said in his evi- dence, " two conflicting policies prevailed in India ; one the policy advocated by me of reduction of expenditure ; the other, which was the favourite of Calcutta and in England, increase of taxation." His second and third protests were also submitted in the same year; but it was his fourth protest, dated March 2 0 , I 860, which cost him his high post. " Taxes," he wrote, " are a portion of the property of the community taken by the Govern- ment to defray necessary public expenditure. Thc Government therefore has no right to demand additional taxes unless it can be shown that the object cannot be secured by a reduction of unnecessary expenditure. In other words the reduction of expenditure is the primary mode for making good deficiency. . . . If we use the strength which our present advantages give to force obnoxious taxes upon the people, we shall place ourselves in a position towards them which will bc. totally incompatible with a simultaneous reduction of the native army. We cannot afford to have a discontented people and a discontented army upon our hands at the same time."' I t was the publication of this Minute, urging obvious but unpalatable truths, which led to Sir Charles Trevelyan's recall. But a man like him could not be spared by the Indian administration; and three years after his recall, he was sent back to India as Finance Minister.

In urging reduction, Sir Charles did not fail to see the difficulties in its way. Practically all Great Britain

1 Report of 1873 ; Question 965. a Zbid. ; Questions 1281 and 1282.

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as well us official lndia was interested in increased expen- diture ; the pcoplc of India who were interested in reduc- tion had no voicc and no hand in the administration of their own concerns. Trevelyan boldly faced this difficulty, aud the most valuable portion of his evidence is that in which he recomrrlended that the people should be con- sulted beforc new taxes were imposed.

" I an1 of opinion," he said, " that as in other countries wllerc the sarno principle has bcen carried out, Represen- tation rnust be corri~r~ensurate with Taxation. I think there ought to be, first, Provincial Councils, i .e. eight quasi-representative Councils, (I do not say that they sliould be appointed by popular election at first), at the chief seats of the eight Local Administrations; then there should be Zilla or County Councils, each district being represented by its notables and confidential men. And l~s t ly there should be Town and Village Municipalities, and the principle of direct elcction should be introduced within such limits as may be safe and expedient."

['The Natives are by no means deficient in public spirited liberality; the country is covered with ancient works, tanks, caravansaries, and works of various kinds, which have been constructed by individual munificence ; and the extraordinary liberality of Parsees and others, who have acquired fortunes during the late time of mer- cantile activity, is well known. If the Councils were merely consultative, the members would never become emarlcipated from the control of the European official Presidents. The Natives should not always be made to go in leading strings. I t is the old story of not allowing a boy to go into the water till he can swim ; he never will learn to swim unless he goes into the water and incurs a little risk and paddles about. At first, no doubt, they will be timid and frugal ; but a little done willingly is better than a great deal done under compulsion, or done for them. Give thern the raising and spending of their own money, and the motive will he supplied, and


life and reality will be imparted into the whole sy~t~e1.11. All would act under a real personal responsibility under t,he eye of those who would be familiar with all the details, and would have the strongest possible interest in maintaining a vigilant control over them. And it would be a school of Self-Government for the whole of India -the longest step yet taken towards teaching its 200,000,000 of people to govern themselves, which is the end and object of our connection with that country." l

Thirty years have passed since the above evidence was recorded, but even Consultative Provincial Councils have not been crcated yet to give the people of Indiir. some voice in the administration of their finances. Ex- penditure has not been reduced; taxes have not been lightened; and there is more widespread poverty, with more frequent and severer famines to-day, than thirty years ago.

With regard to the capacity of the people of India Sir Charles Trevelyan, with his more than forty years' knowledge of India, had no misgivings.

" The Natives," he said, " have all the qualities to make them good revenue officers. From Todar Mall, Akbar's Minister, who made the first revenue survey of India, and Purnea, who made Mysore so flourishing . . . down to Madhava Rao, and a very remarkable man, although less known to fame, Ramia Ayangar, the Natives are specially qualified for revenue functions. The whole of the appointments to the Customs might be filled by Natives."

" Then there is the great judicial department; it stands a fortiori, that if they are fit to be Judges of the High Court, they are fit for the subordinate appoint- ments."

" They have shown practical talent [in engineering] ; and on the main point of all, that of irrigation, nothing Can be better than the ancient irrigation works of

Report of 1873 ; Questions 863 and 866.

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Southern India; in fact, they have been a model to ourselves. Sir Arthur Cotton is merely an imitator, on a grand scale and with considerable personal genius, of the ancient Native Indian engineers." '

Other great administrators, distinguished by their work in various provinces in India, also felt the necessity of consulting the people in some way or other in the matter of assessments and taxation.

" There seeins to me a great necessity," said Sir Bartle Frere, who had been Governor of Bombay, " for having some ineans of ascertaining directly from the cul- tivators their views regarding assessments, which used to be ascertained by general communication with them, and for which there has been every year less and less facility, as our officers become more completely occupied and less able to put themselves in intimate communication with the taxpayers. I think that it would be very desirable that, before every revision of assessment after the expira- tion of the thirty years' leases, there should be some means of directly ascertaining what the cultivator and the cultivating class have to say upon the subject."

'l In India," said Sir Robert Montgonlery of Punjab fame, " we set aside the people altogether; we devise and say that such a thing is a good thing to be done, and we carry it out without aslring them very much about it." I think if each local Governor had a Consultative

Native body, which he would select from year to year or from time to time, and before which he would put certain points or questions, whether on taxation or on law, which might afl'ect their welfare generally, he would ge! n most excellent opinion from them ; and with that opinion, and the opinions of the officers of the Local Government, he would be able to arrive at the right decision."

Report of 1873 ; Q~~estionfi 851 and 1547. Report of 1871 ; Question 454. Zbid. ; Questions 1774 and 1831.


Robert Elliot, who spoke with an intimate knowledge of the people of Madras and Mysore, regretted that there was no channel of communication between the Govern- ment and the people, and suggested the formation of ~ouncils of the People. " I would first of all accustom the people to the idea t,hat the Government had some- thing to communicate to them, and they to the Govern- ment, and you might develop that system gradually towards Representative Institutions." l

('If there were a Local Council of the composition that you describe," Sir Charles Trevelyan was asked,

such taxes as were passed by the Bombay Legislature, viz., a tax on the non-agricultural rural population, or such a tax as the one on feasts or on marriages, would not be passed by any freely chosen representative body? "

" They certainly would not have been passed," replied Sir Charles Trevelyan; "and that is a striking example of calling the Natives to our Councils."

And very possibly, if the Government shoultl recom- mend them an unobjectionable tax in itself, they may say, ' We will not burden the people of this Province; this sum of rnoney must be provided for by a reduction of expenditure in some other item;' you would not inter- fere with their decision in the matter ? "

No." " You would give them independence, subject to veto

on any measure they may pass ? " " Yes ; it would be their own affair ? " A paper was handed in by Mr. Gay to the Finance

Committee comparing the taxation of I 8 5 6-5 7, the year before the Mutiny. and 1870-7 I , the twelfth year of the Crown Administration. The limits of the empire had not been extended within this period ; the resources of the people and their industries and manufactures had not

l Iteport of 1872 ; Question 3454. Iteport of 1873 ; Questions 1444 to 1446.

' Heport of 1872, page 5x8.

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increnscd , thc taxablc wealth of the country and the material condition of the people had not imp] oved ; and yet there was increase in taxation, specially in salt and in assesscd taxes, which is startling. We note some of the itcrns below :-

JTe.~clu of Revc~~ue. 1856-57. 1870-71.

1,and Revenue . . . . . . Abscbsed Taxcb . . . . . . ~ u 5 t o m s . . . . . . . . Salt . . . . . . . . . . Opium . . . . . . . . . Other Heads of ltevenne . . .


Total . . . . . .

Services. Your Petitioners submit that over-taxation has, for many years of British Rule, been the bane of India; and that strenuous endeavours have not been made by the authorities to reduce the public expenditure, which has been increased from year to year, until the augmentation now amounts to the vast sun1 of 19 mil- lions over and above the expenditure of 1 8 5 6 - ~ 7 . " ~

And Mr. Dadabhai Naoroji, the patriotic Indian repre- sentative who appeared as a witness before Ihe Finance Committee, placed before the Committee with equal force and cogency the fact of the extreme poverty of the people of India, their decadence in wealth and resources under British Rule, and the heavy and growing taxation of the country.

20,04c748 108~8 33

1,191,985 3,610,223 4,988,434 1,974,687

£49,376,225 I " I may put this great financial fact before the Com-

mittee," he said. "The United Kingdom out of its resources ( I use Lord Mayo's word) obtains 70 millions, from which about 27 millions being deducted for interest on Public Debt, there remains about 43 millions for the ordinary wants of the Government. This amount is about 5 g per cent. of the income of the country of Soo millions. The 13ritish [Indian] Government out of its re- sources obtains 50 millions, from which about 8 millions being deducted for interest on Public Debt, Railways, &c., there remain 42 millions for its ordinary wants ; this makes 14 per cent. of the income of the country of 300 millions. So that the Indian Government is two arid a half times more expensive than the Government of the United Kingdom."

I t is painful to note that these protests from the people of India led to no reduction in expenditure and in taxation. On the contrary, Lord Mayo's Decentralisation Scheme, which will be specially referred to in the suc- ceeding chapter, led to the imposition of various new taxes by the Provincial Governments. And every proposal made by Sir Charles Trevelyan and other able

Report of 1871, page 512, "eport of 1873 ; Question 6727.

24.170,151 2,072,025 2,610,789 6,106,280 8,045,459 6,371,521

Twelve years of Crown Government had increased the taxation by more than 5 0 per cent. "During the last

twelve years," wrote the Bornbay Association in their petition to the House of Commons, dated March 29, I 87 I , " the salt tax has been raised loo per cent. in Madras, 81 per cent. in Bombay, and 5 0 per cent. in other parts of India ; the duty on sugar has been enhanced IOO per cent. ; the Abkari or excise on spirits I oo per cent.; the stamp has been repeatedly revised and en- hanced, and is now so complicated, vexatious, and exces- sive, as frequently to lead to a denial of justice ; customs duties have been increased several times; heavy court fees and a succession tax of 2 per cent. have been recently imposed ; a local land cess of 61 per cent., village service cess at the same high rate, rural town cess, taxes on trades and callings, house-tax, tolls; and a considerable variety of municipal and local rates and taxes, amounting in the aggregate to an extremely large and oppressive sum, have been levied in different parts of the country. I t is now proposed to impose fresh Local Taxes to supply the deficiency caused by the conduct of the Government of India in curtailing the grant of several Provincial

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administrators, to allow the people some voice in limiting taxation :~nd reducing expenditure, was disregarded.

For the cry frou~ England was for fresh lines of railways and fresh expenditure in India ; and official India was bent on incrcased expenditure, rather than reduction. And as if the requirements of India were not more than enough for tho resources of that country, other burdens like the cost of the Chinese War and of the Abyssinian War, the cost of telegraph lines and military charges properly payable from English estimates, were again and again thrown on India.1

For there was no body of men in the Constitution of the Indian Government who could effectually resist such unfairness, in the manner in which the Directors of the East India Company had endeavoured to resist it before I 858. The Secretary of State was a Member of the British Cabinet, and could not resist the joint wishes of the Cabinet ; the Ye~nbers of his Council, not representing the people of India, failcd to rosist British influences and British demands; and the Viceroy of India and his Council, unsupported by Indian representatives, had to carry out the mandates whicli came from England. How entirely the interests of India were sacrificed, whenever there was sufficient pressure put on the India Council, will appear from the statements of Lord Salisbury himself, who was once more Secretary of State for India in I 874, when he gave his cvidence before the Finance Committee.

Henry Fazucett.--Then it comes to this simply- without saying whether any one is justified or not in doing it-that throughout the existence of an adminis- tration, the Secretary of State for India is aware that India is being unjustly charged; that he protests and protests, again and again; that the thing goes on, and apparently no remedy can be obtained for India unless the Secretary of State is re pared to take up this line

See the e\idencr of Sarrluel Laing, formerly Fc'lnance M~nister of India, Eeport of 1872; Questions 7518, 7519, 7676, 7677, &c,


and say-'I will not submit to it any longer; I will resign " ?

Lwd Salisbury. - I t is hardly so strong as hat, because the Secretary of State, if his Council goes with him, can always pass a resolution that such and such it

paymlnt is not to be made ; but, of course, any JfilLister shrinks from such a course, because it stops the machine.

Henry Fawcett.-You have these alternatives; you must either stop the machine, or you must resion or you

5 ' must go on tacitly submitting to what you cons~der to be an injustice ?

Lord Salisbury.--Well, I should accept that statement barring the word "tacitly." I should go on submitting with loud remonstrances.'

These extracts disclose the real weakness in the machinery of the Indian Government. There is no effective resistance to financial injustice towards India; no possible opposition to increasing taxation and expendi- ture. The system of taxation without any for111 of representation has failed in India as in every other civilised country. And future statesmen will be forced, before long, to introduce some form of representation in the financial administration of India, to save the country from calamities which no longer threaten, but have actually overtaken the Indian Empire.

1 Report of 1874 ; Questions 2234 and 2235.

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W E have in the last chapter dwelt upon the general increase of Public Debt and Taxation in India during the first nineteen years of the Queen's Administration. I t is necessary, however, to make a special reference to the Local Taxes which were multiplied in every Province of India within this period. Tlie objects of these Local Taxes were twofold. Ostensibly they were imposed for the greater development and improvement of the country by the construction of roads and the extension of educa- tion. But an equally important object was to relieve the Imperial Revenues of those charges, and throw them more and more on the new Local Taxes. The objections to this scheme were also twofold. In the first place, they greatly added to the burdens on an overtaxed population. And secondly, as the new cesses were imposed on the soil, they violated the limits which the East India Company and Sir Charles Wood had fixed for the Land Revenue, bohh in permanently settled tracts, and in provinces where settlements were made for thirty years on the principle of demanding half the rental.

The Local Rates which were imposed by the Company's Government on the soil were small and insignificant, and were generally based on ancient village customs. But within six months after the empire had passed to the Crown, the eyes of administrators were turned to this source of revenue. Lord Stanley, the first Secretary of State for India, called special attention to the expediency of imposing a special $38 rate to repay the expense

of schools for the rural population.' His successor, Sir Charles Wood, admitted the objections to the imposition of local cesses on land; but he thought that the obliga- tions to keep up roads was a liability which everywhere attached to the proprietors of land; and in respect of education, he considered a special enactment nece~sary.~ Local Rates on land, over and above the Land Revenue, were levied in the Punjab, Northern India, and the Central Provinces; and a special enactment, imposing such rates, was passed for Bombay.

Lord Lawrence, who was Viceroy of India from January 1864 to January 1869, was unwilling to em- power Local Governments to impose fresh cesses on the people, and was generally against the principle of the Decentralisation Scheme which was adopted by his successor. Questioned by the Finance Committee on this subject after his retirement from India, he said: " The system which was subsequently introduced was put before me, and I carefully considered it, and I did not think it advisable to introduce it. I thought that what was wanted really in India was to keep the Local Governments in order; to make them be careful in pre- paring estimates and not in exceeding their estimates; in fact that what was wanted was a restriction over them in matters of large works." Nevertheless, Lord Law- rence's Government had in I 867 and I 868 recom- mended that a cess, voluntary or otherwise, should be imposed on land in Bengal for roads and rural education.

I t was under Lord Mayo's Government that the question came up for final consideration. The Bengal Government made a strong protest6 against the imposi- tion of the proposed cess on the Zemindars with whom

Despatch dated April 7, 1859. ' Despatch dated May 25, 1861. a Finance Committee's Report of 1873 ; Question 4525.

Letters to Bengal Government, dated October 28, 1867, and April 25 and 27, 1868.

Letter to the India Government, dated April 30, 1869.

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a Permailcnt Settlement had been made in 1793. The Government pointed out t h ~ t the increased profits from extended cull lvation did not benefit the Zernindars, but benefited n laige lass of sub-tenants and the cultivators thcliiselves, that estates had changed hands, and new purchasers had paid their present values; that James Wilson the Finance Minister, and Sir Barnes Peaco*ck, Chief Justice of Rcngal, had considered special cesses on the soil in Bengal LO be a violation of the Permanent Settlement ; that Bengal paid a higher proportion of her revenues to the 1111perial Exchequer than any other provincc , that R special educational cess was therefore neither feasible nor proper; but that with regard to a cess for roads, " the Lieutenant-Governor hopes that a cess for this purpo5e would be far less unpopular than one for education."

Neither Lord Mayo's Government, nor the Duke of Argyll, who had succeeded Sir Stafford Northcote as Secretary of State for India, agreed with the Bengal Government's views? The Duke of Argyll held that it was open to the Governrr~ent to impose both a road cess and an education cess in Bengal, but recommended that " until the system, machinery, and incidence of local rating in Bengal has been satisfactorily established, so much only should, in the first instance be raised as is required for roads." And speaking generally of India, the Duke of Argyll betrayed his ignorance of its agricul- tural conditions and its land revenue history, when he denied that " in the Land Revenue raised from the agri- cultural classes, the Government, of India took so much from the resources of the pecple as to leave them unable to bear any additional burdens."

I t is strange also to note that the author of the Reign of Law disrtgsrdecl in this matter the opinions

See Letter from the Gove~ nor-Genela1 in Council, dated December 31, 18Cg, and the Sec~etary of State's Reply to the Governor-General in Counc~l, dated May 12, 1870

of his soundest advisers who tried to explain the law to him. I n his Council, the Secretary of State had men l ~ k e Sir Erskine Perry, who had been Chief Justice of Bombay; Henry Thoby Prinsep and Ross IIangles, who had unrivalled experience of Indian administration ; Sir Henry Montgomery and Sir Frederick Halliday, who had ruled Provinces in India. And these men spoke in no uncertain voice. Sir Erskine Perry wrote :-

"I have come reluctantly to the conclusion, after many struggles and attempts to draw fine distinctions in support of a different view, that the language and acts of Lord Cornwallis, and of the members of Govern- ment of his day, were so distinct, solemn, and unambigu- ous, that it should be a direct violation of British faith to impose special taxes in the manner proposed."

" In 1854, Lord Dalhousie, a man of no weak will, was most desirous to impose a local tax in Bengal for the maintenance of an improved police; but after read- ing Sir Barnes Peaco*ck's masterly exposition of the pledges which Government had entered into in I 79 1-93, the grcat pro-consul was compelled to accede to the soundness of the Chief Justice's argument, and most reluctantly abandoned his projects."

" Here, then, we have the plain language of Govern- ment, the eontemporanea exposita of its framers, the unanimous conviction of the people, and the declared acquiescence of the State in the justice of the popular interpretation during a period of eighty years. What is the answer attempted to this state of facts ? "

" The Government of India allege that the language of the Permanent Settlement itself, in section vii. of Lord Cornwallis's Proclamation, is large enough to enable them to impose the taxes in question; but this argument, on close examination, proves so utterly unsound that the Secretary of State abandons it."

" Two other arguments are brought forward ; first, that the lo position of the income-tax proves that taxes,

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additional to what Zemindars pay as land assessment, n~ay l)e inlposcd on them ; second, that educational cesses have been imposed over most parts of India in addition to the land assessment."

" As to the income-tax, it cannot be coilsidered sound logic, when the meaning of particular pledges is in question, to argue that because a Despotic Government has on one occasion, without consulting the people, con- strued these pledges in its own sense, that act of the Government is a fair proof that their construction is right and just. But argument on this head may be withheld ; because I understand that both the Bengal Government and the Zemindars acquiesce in the pro- position that in any great emergency they are justly subject to all general taxation which is imposed on the rest of the community."

" With respect to cesses additional to Land Revenue having been imposed in other parts of India, I am com- pelled to observe that, in my opinion, the Secretary of State has not interpreted the facts correctly, and that the exposition of the Lieutenant-Governor of Bengal is the true one."

" I will content myself with saying that I believe the true explanation of Local Cesses for education [in the other Provinces of India] to be this : whenever they have been levied, they have been so either when settlements for terms of years wore under discussion, and when the ' higgling of the market ' between the Revenue Officer and the Landowner was going on, or if the settlement was already made, the cess was imposed with the acquies- cence of the Landholder."

And Sir Erskine Perry paid a fine compliment to the Zemindars of Bengal who had protested against the proposed Education Cess in a public meeting held in Calcutta. The speeches, he said, "though delivered in a foreign language, would have done credit, both for

Sir Erskine Perry's Dissent, dated Nay 14, 1870.

good sense and good feeling, to any meeting of country gentlenien in England."

Other dissents were not less emphatic. Mr. Mac- naughten considered that 'k the tax, if levied at all, ought to be general in its application, and, irrespective of the amount of Land Revenue under the Permanent Settle- ment, should be imposed upon the holders of all property, real and personal, of whatever description."

Sir Frederic Currie admitted the unsatisfactory state of the Indian Finance ; it was a cogent reason, he said, for retrenchment and economy ; " but it cannot justify our laying a special tax exclusively on the Zemindars of Bengal, to do which, Sir Erskine Perry's paper shows conclusively, would be a breach of faith and the violation of the positive statutory engagement made with these Zemindars at the Permanent Settlement."

Sir Henry Montgomery said : " A government should not, in my opinion, voluntarily place itself in a position laying it open to be charged with a breach of faith."

Henry Thoby Prinsep, with his vast knowledge and experience of Indian administration, wrote : " I have never felt so deeply grieved and disappointed at a deci- sion given in opposition to my expressed opinions as when it was determined, by a casting vote, to approve and forward the Despatch referred to at the head of this paper, for I regard the principles laid down in that Despatch to be erroneous, and the avowal of them to be unwise ; while the policy inaugurated and the measures sanctioned will, if attempted to be carried out, alienate the entire population of India from the Government, and shake the confidence hitherto felt universally in its honesty and good faith."

" The Court of Directors, the Imperial Government, and Parliament, were all parties to the resolution to fix

Mr. Macnaughten's Dissent, dated May 14, 1870. Sir Frederic Ourrie's Dissent, dated May 14, 1870. Sir H. Montgomery's Dissent, dated May 18, 1870.

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the Government demand upon the land of the Provinces then held by the East India Company in Bengal, in perpetuity."

I' The traditions of this period are now forgotten, and new ideas are about to be introduced into the financial administration of India, which, I should be sorry to think, are likely to be attributed to the change of Government which took place twelve years ago. The right of unlimited and uncontrolled taxation is always a dangerous one to assert, and who could have expected that this policy should be advocated, and such arbitrary powers claimed, by a Queen's Government ?

Ross Mangles, who had been one of the strongest Directors of the East India Company, and was now one of the strongest members of the India Council, equally shrank from an act which looked like a breach of faith and a violation of truth.

" I t appears to me to be very doubtful," lie wrote, " as to what length the Government of India may feel themselves justified in going, under the sanction of the Despatch just sent. They may, I fear, be encouraged to take steps which may lay them justly open to charges of a breach of soleuln promises. Unguarded action niay destroy in a moment the credit, which the British Government has won by its honourable persistence, for a period little short of a century, in the unbroken observance of its pledges; such a price would be too dear to pay for even an object so laudable as the educa- tion of the masses. We have no standing ground in India, except brute force, if we ever forfeit our character for truth."

But the most authoritative Dissent on the proposed taxation in Bengal came from Sir Frederic Halliday, who had been Lieutenant-Governor of Bengal during and after the Mutiny, and knew that province better than

H. T. Prinsep's Dissent, dated May 19, 1870. ROSS Mangles' Dissent, dated May 25, 1870. -.

any other Member of the India Council. He rightly insisted that education was spreading in Bengal through the voluntary exertions of her educated men, and it would be an unwise policy to stop this natural and grati- fying result of the policy of Lord William Bentinck.

" Every educated man," he wrote, "has proved a nlissionary of education in his neighbourhood and among his dependants; and every considerable landholder vies with his neighbour in establishing and fostering village schools; until, in I 869, one-half of the whole State expenditure for vernacular education was met by private subscriptions and contributions from a people who, only a few years back, could by no means have been made to comprehend the value of education to themselves, still less the obligation of extending it to others. Assuredly the fruits of the great measure of I 83 5 are already amply visible; the wisdom and foresight of its authors are strikingly vindicated ; and the condition of national education in Bengal, though far indeed from perfection, is yet abundantly gratifying in the present, and full of safe and happy augury for the future."

"Things being in this position, the Government of India suddenly declared that they were entirely dissntis- fied with the system . . . they could no longer wait for the end, but must have education suddenly thrust upon the masses. . . . And since the expense of this scheme must be enormous, and the public exchequer could give no kind of aid, they directed that the whole charge, amounting certainly to many millions sterling, should be thrown upon the Zemindars of Bengal by a rate of not less than 2 per cent. upon their gross rentals."

"The Zemindars remonstrated strongly . . . they pleaded the distinct and solemn promises of the Perma- nent Settlement of 1792, when Lord Cornwallis had exhausted the resources of language to assure them that the rate then assessed on their lands was 'irrevocably fixed for ever,' and that they should in all future time

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be free from 'any further demand for rent, tribute, or ally arbitrary exaction whatever.' These great national pledges, they urged, had been scrupulously adhered to in Inany financial difficulties, and under all changes of Government, from Cornwallis to Canning, and could not now be broken without a deliberate abandonment of plighted national faith."

"All the official persons of the Province who were consulted supported these remonstra~lces ; and the Lieu- tenant-Govcrnor of Bengal transmitted them to the Government of India, and enforced them with a powerful, and, as I think, unanswerable argument. But the Govern- ment of India was unmoved, and declared in reply, that it was resolved to persevere in its determination."

" When the Income Tax was first imposed in I 860, the Zemindars of Bengal were disposed, not without plausible reasons, to object to it as an infringement ; but they soon gave up the point, and accepted the advice and example of the greatest of their body. The Raja of Burdwan, in a remarkable letter to the Legislative Council, announced that he would set an example to his fellows of submission to the Income Tax, because it was levied after the great Mutiny of I 8 5 7 . . . and because it was levied equally on all classes. That this well-timed and patriotic declaration should not be turned against its author and his brother Zemindars as a reason for setting aside the plain terms of the Permanent Settlement, and imposing upon them a special tax, oJ which other classes not connected zvith the land are to bear no share, cannot prove otherwise than severely and undeservedly grating and painful to their feelings." '

The remonstrance of the Zemindars and the Govern- ment of Bengal, and the strong dissents of some of the ablest Melnbers of the India Council, were not uttered together in vain. An Education Cess was not imposed

Sir F. Halliday's Dissent, dated May 25, 1870. The italics are our own. \

on land in Bengal. But a Road Cess of 36 per cent. on the rental was imposed in I 87 I , and the new Lieutenant- Governor of Bengal, George Campbell, was principally instrumental in imposing it according to the views of the Duke of Argyll. I t was said in Bengal, that a Campbell was required to carry into execution the arbitrary policy laid dowrl by a Campbell.

Such Local Cesses had already been imposed in other parts of India where the Land Revenue had not been permane~ltly settled. In Bombay, Sir Bartle Frere informed the Finance Committee, the cess of 64 per cent. on the Land Revenue, theoretically equal to 3i) per cent. on the nett rental, had been imposed for roads and schools.

I t "was deferred in some parts from an idea that it would be considered by the people as a breach of the covenant with them during the thirty years' settlement; and where nothing was said about it at the time of the introduction of these settlements, its introduction was postponed. But in all new settlements it is made a part of the original settlement, and has the same force as the - Government assessment." '

In the Punjab, as Sir Robert Montgomery deposed before the Finance Committee, the land settlements were made on the principle that one-half of the nett profits from cultivation belonged to the proprietors, and the other half was payable to the Government as Land Revenue. An education cess of I per cent. and a road cess of I per cent. had been added to the liabilities of the landed cesses. "If more than that were taken, I think they would consider it a gr ieva~ce.~

In the Central Provinces the addition of cesses for roads and for education to the land assessment was justi- fied by Mr. Morris, " provided there was some direct and inlmediate benefit to the people."

I Finance Committee's Report of 1871 ; Question 68 a Report of 1871 ; Question 755. ' Ibid. ; Question 1368,

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In Oudh, the Act of I 87 I , increasing the previous rttte of 1 1 per cent. to 24 per cent. from the landlords, over and above the land assessments, was passed with the

consent " of the landlords. But as Sir Charles Wingfield explained before the Finance Committee, " such consent is never voluntarily given. I t is obtained through administrative influence, and it is given because they feel thenlselves helpless, and from fear of provoking worse measures by resisting a request put to them in that way by the Chief Commissioner. And I also think that it is not a dignified thing for one party to a contract, and that the stronger party, to ask the other and weaker party to agree to a modification of the terms of the contract to his disadvantage. . . . People who were fugitives during the Mutiny, like myself, often heard many things which in other times would not have reached their ears; and I did know that the practice which had grown up in the Upper Provinces after the settlernent, of getting the people by what was called their voluntary consent to puy an Education Cess or some cess of that kind, which was not in their settlement engagements, was excessively un- popular, and was regarded as a breach of the contract entered into."

Henry Fauicett.-The thirty years' settlement, in fact, becomes a meaningless farce, if after you have made a thirty years' settlernent you can impose new cesses on the 1:wd simply at the free will of the Government?

Sir Charles WingJ;eld.--So it has always appeared to me.

Henrl] Fawcett.-And according to this action which the Government has taken, the proprietors in Oudh have no security whatever that if the exigencies of the Govern- ment increase, they may not find cess after cess to any amount irrlposed ?

Sir Charles Wz?lgJield.-Certainly none. Heny Fuu~cetl.-As I understand you, if it bad not

heen for this Decentralisation Scheme, which naturally deprives the Local Government of £3 50,000, which before they had been accustomed to receive, a great part of the necessity of imposing this new cess in Oudh would not have existed, would it ?

SLT Charles Wingjie1cl.-No, I understand that the Decentralisation Scheme is made the plea; and it has reduced the grant on Oudh by £1 5,000. And in the Decentralisation Order you will find it is particularly mentioned that the deficit must be made good by Local Governments; and they refer to the Local Taxation that either has been or is now being introduced ; and Oudh is mentioned as one of the Provinces in which it is being introduced to supply the deficit.

And Sir Charles Wingfield laid his finger on the real weakness of the Decentralisation Scheme when he said : " I disapprove of the Decentralisation Scheme because it puts the Local Governments more under a direct motive to screw as much as they can out of the people; and I know by experience what crotchets and fancies Local Governors have." '

There could not be a stronger confirmation of the worst fears of Mr. Henry Fawcett and Sir Charles Wing- field than the action which was taken in the North- Western Provinces of India at the very time when the Finance Committee was making their inquiries in London. By the arrangements made under the Decentralisation Scheme, a deficit of £48,030 was left to be made up by Local Taxation in the North-Western Provinces. The Lieutenant-Governor was not satisfied with making up this deficit, but exercised the powers conferred upon him to gradually obtain an increase of ~ 1 0 2 , 0 0 0 by Local Taxation. And he did this by imposing a cess of I o per cent. on the Land Revenue at the revision of the settle-

' Finance Committee's Report of 1873 ; Questions 2050, 208g> 2090, 2098, and 2073.

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ments, in lieu of the old cesses which carne to 5 pcr cent on1y.l

The sarnc thing happened in Madras. The deficit which was left to be made up by Local Taxation by the 1)ecentralisation Order of I 8 70 was £5 5,4 2 8. The Madras Government passed an Act in the same year by wllich they imposed a cess of 64 per cent. on the rental, estiinated to bring them £342,800, instead of £197,106 produced by the old cesses. Thus, while the Imperial Goverllment left them to make up a deficit of A5 5,000, they exercised their powers to obtain an increase of L 1 4 5,000 sterling.'

These new cesses on land, with the power to add to thein indefinitely, destroyed that definitiveness in land assessments which had been secured by Lord Dalhousie in Northern India in I 8 5 5 and by Sir Charles Wood in Southern India in I 864. Generations of statesmen had grappled with the difficult Land Revenue proble~li in India, and, after many blunders, had limited the land assessment to one-half the actual rental or one-half the economic rent. The few local cesses which were im- posed on land in addition to this Land Revenue were so insignificant up to 1864, and so often based on old local customs, that they did not count ; and the people of India did not consider them a violation of the Half-Rental principle. I t is painful to record that the limits fixed for the Land Revenue after more than half a century of administrative experience were now lightly swept aside ; and powers were given to Local Governments to add indefinitely to the cesses on land. The new policy virtually took away with one hand the priceless security which had been given by the other. The State-demand had been limited to 5 0 per cent. of the nett profits from agriculture ; other State-demands under other names were now added to it.

1 Report of 1873 ; Questions 1964 and 1965. Zbid., pages 160 to 188.



WHILE Indian administrators thus strove to maintain an equilibrium in the Indian finances by new taxes on agriculture, a mandate came from England in 1874 that an old and legitimate revenue, derived from a moderate import duty, should be sacrificed to meet the wishes of the manufacturers of Lancashire. We have, in preceding chapters, given some account of Indian tariffs down to I 87 r ; but a brief connected history of Indian tariffs will help a clearer comprehension of the controversy which arose three years later.

T4'hen the Empire of India came undei the direct administration of the Queen in I 858, the import duties consisted of 34 per cent. ad valorem upon cotton twist and yarns, and 5 per cent. on other articles of British produce and manufacture, including cotton piece goods. The duties were double on foreign articles.

In I 8 59, on account of the heavy financial pressure after the Mutiny, all differential tariffs were abolished ; duties on all articles of luxury were raised to 2 0 per cent. ad valorem; duties on other articles, including cotton piece goods, were raisad to 10 per cent.; and those on cotton twist and yarn to 5 per cent.

In I 860, Mr. James Wilson, the first Finance Minister of India, reduced the 20 per cent. duty on luxuries to 10

per cent., and raised the 5 per cent. duty on cotton twist and yarn to 10 per cent. ; so that the import tariff con- sisted of a uniform rate of 10 per cent. ad valorem, with special rates upon beer, wine, spirit, and tobacco.


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In I 861, the duty on cotton twist and yarn was reduced to 5 per cent.

I n I 862, the duty 011 cotton twist and yarn was further reduced to 34 per cent., and the duty on cotton and other manufactures was reduced to 5 per cent.

In I 863, the duty on imported iron was reduced to I per cent.

In 1864, the general rate of import duties was re- duced from 10 to 74 per cent.

In 1867, a great number of articles were added to the free list, export duties were abolished from time to time, the only increase being that the duty on grain was raised in I 867.

In I 87 I , a new Tariff Act was passed which we have referred to in chapter viii. of this Book. The valuations were revised. The import duty on cotton twist and yarn remained 34 per cent., and that on cotton goods 5 per cent. They were maintained, lilre other import duties, merely as a source of revenue, and did not operate as a protection to the infant cotton industry of India.

But Lancashire manufacturers were jealous of the new cotton mills of Bombay; and in I 874 they made an attack on the moderate import duties on cotton twist and piece goods, representing them as protective duties. The time was well chosen. The first administration of Mr. Gladstone, which had carried out great reforms in Ire- land and had established a system of national education in England, had in its last stages become unpopular in the country. The position of the Ministers became so unbearable that they dissolved Parliament in I 874. A general election therefore was at Iland, and the Lanca- shire vote counts for much at an election. The time was opportune, and on January 3 I , I 874, the Manchester Chamber of Commerce addressed a memorial to the Secretary of State for India.

The Memorialists urged that the duties of 34 per cent. on yarns and 5 per cent. on British cotton manufactures

imported into India were assessed on tariff rates fixed many years ago, when values ruled much higher than at present ; so that the duties thus levied actually amounted to 4 per cent. on the actual price of yarn in India, and *early 6 per cent. on cloth.

That the tax was found to be absolutely prohibitory to the trade in yarn and cloth of the coarse and low- priced sorts.

That the Chamber were informed that it was pro- posed to import Egyptian and American raw cotton into India (no duty being charged thereon) to manufacture the finer yarns and cloth, and would thus compete with goods received from England on which duty was levied.

That a protected trade in cotton manufacture was thus springing up in British India to the disadvantage both of India and Great Britain.

That the duties increased the cost to the Native population, or at least to the poorest of the people, of their articles of clothing, and thereby interfered with their health, comfort, and general well-being.

And the Memorialists therefore prayed that early consideration might be given to the subject of the duties levied on yarn and cotton piece goods on import into India, with a view to their abolition.

On receipt of a copy of this memorial the Government of India pointed out that the tariff had been carefully revised at the beginning of I 869, when the tariff valua- tions of cotton yarns and cloths were largely reduced. The Government, however, held out a promise that a committee of revision would again be convened in the following cold season.

This did not satisfy the Manchester Chamber. They reminded the Secretary of State that in their memorial they had only incidentally referred to valuations, and that their main object and prayer was the total and immediate repeal of the duties themselves. And they added :-

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<' The statements as to the baneful operation of these dutics on commerce, and on tllc best interests of her Majesty's subjects, both in India and in England, are abundantly confirmed by the latest advicas from Born bay, which show that, under the protection extended by the levying of duties on imports, to the spii~~ling and weaving of cotton yarns and goods in India, a large n u ~ i ~ b e ~ of new ntills are now being projected." l

According to their promise the Government of India formed a Committee in November I 874 with a view to the revision of tariff valuations. Mr. Alonzo Money, C.B., was appointed president, and all the members were English merchants or officials.

The Committee differed in their opinions on some points, but wcre unanimous in rejecting the Manchester demand for the repeal of import duties on cotton yarn and goods.

Lord Nortlibrook was then the Viceroy of India, and was a free-trader to the backbone. But he was - - --

a strong and just ruler; and would not sacrifice a source of revenue which did not operate as protec- tion. After mature consideration of the Committee's Report, the Viceroy in Council passed a new Tariff Act in 1875.

The new Act abolished all export duties except on indigo, rice, and lac.

Retained the import duties on cotton twist and goods, being of opinion " tha t a duty of 5 per cent. J valorem upon cotton goods cannot practically operate as a protection to native manufacture." '

Largely reduced valuations. Imposed a 5 per cent, duty on the import of long

staple cotton to prevent Indian mills competing at an advantage in the production of the finer goods.

Quoted in India Government Resolution No. 2636, dated August 1% 1875, forming an enclosure to Despatch No. 15 of 1875. The itallcs are

Reduced the general rate of import duties to 5 per cent.

And raised the duties on spirits and wines. The loss to the Indian revenues by the reduction

of valuations in respect of cotton goods was £88,000, while the total loss to the Indian revenues effected by the new Tariff Act of I 875 was ~ 3 0 8 , 0 0 0 , taking 10

rupees as equivalent to a pound sterling. But, by retain- ing the import duties on cotton yarns and goods, Lord Northbrook saved the Indian revenues from a further loss of 6800,000. Meanwhile, the General Election in Great Britain had returned a majority of Conservatives, and the Liberal Government had resigned in I 874.

Mr. Disraeli had formed a Conservative Government ; and Lord Salisbury had succeeded the Duke of Argyll as Secretary of State for India. Lord Salisbury was never a vehement free-trader, but he was vehement in his desire to conciliate Lancashire. I n July I 87 5 he wrote to the Viceroy :-

"If it were true that this duty is the means of excluding English competition, and thereby raising the price of a necessary of life to the vast mass of Indian consumers, i t is unnecessary for me to remark that it would be open to economic~l objections of the gravest kind. I do not attributc to it any such effect; but I cannot be insensible to the political evils which arise from the prevalent belief upon the matter.

"These considerations will, I doubt not, commend to your Excellency's mind the policy of removing, at as early a period as the state of your finances permits, this subject of dangerous contention."

On August 5 , I 8 7 5 , Lord Northbrook wired to Lord Salisbury that the new Tariff Act had been passed that day. We quote the first portion of the telegram, detail- ing the changes which we have already mentioned before.

Despatch to the Governor-General in Council, dated Ju ly 15, 1875 ; Paragraphs q and 8. our own.

Ibad., pa~ag laph 34.

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Act for revision of custon~s duties passed this day. hxport duties abolished, except those on indigo,

paddy, rice, and lac, which are unclranged. "General rate of import duty reduced from 74 to 5

per cent. Valuations revised. l1 No alteration considered necessary in import duty

on cotton goods, but their valuation reduced, which diminishes duty by A8 8,000.

Five per cent. import duty imposed on long staple raw cotton.

l' Duty on spirits raised from 3 to 4 rupees a gallon, London proof.

"Duty on sparkling wines raised from 1 4 to 24

rupees, and on other wines, except claret and Burgundy, from I to I + rupees a gallon."

And i t was pointed out towards the end of the telegram that the net loss to the Indian revenues by this Act was &308,ooo.

Lord Salisbury was not yet satisfied. He wired back:

'I Provisions of Act very important. Some objectionable."

And he desired to know why tlle Act was passed without a previous reference to the Secretary of State, according to Legislative Despatch No. g of I 874.

An unpleasant correspondence then ensued. Lord

Northbrook and his Council explained in August I 87 5 that the matter was urgent and could not be delayed; and that a reference to the Secretary of State would have had the effect of disclosing the intentions of the Indian Government, and caused inconvenience to trade.

Lord Salisbury was still dissatisfied. He proposed, in

November 1875, to send his Under Secretary, Sir Louis Mallet, to India, to confer with the Indian Government in regard to fiscal legislation ; and he urged the gradual but complete removal of the import duty on cotton goods.

Lord Northbrook and his Council replied in February 1 8 7 6 that it was undesirable to sacrifice a duty "which

brings in a revenue of more than &800,ooo ; " and that there was " no precedent of a measure so seriously affect- ing the future of Indian finance as the prospective removal of a tax which brings in a revenue of i1;8oo,ooo per annum, having been directed by the Home Govern- ment." " I t is our duty," concluded Lord Northbrook and his Council, "to consider the subject with regard to the interests of India; we do not consider that the removal of the import duties upon cotton manufactures is consistent with those interests; and we hope that the statement contained in this despatch of the whole circ*mstances of the case, and of the condition of the Indian finances, will show that the real effect of the duty is not what is supposed, and that it cannot be removed without danger to the Indian finances, and that the imposition of new taxes in its stead would create serious discontent."

And in a further letter, dated March I 876, Lord North- brook protested against the restrictions imposed by the Secretary of State on the action of the Viceroy of India. '' I t is our duty to represent to her Majesty's Govern- ment that the withdrawal from the Governor-General in Council of the power of prornpt action on the most important occasions that can arise, will, in our opinion, seriously weaken the authority and hamper the action of the executive Government of India."

Lord Northbrook, one of the soundest and wisest of Indian Viceroys, differed largely from the new policy of the British Cabinet. He could not carry out the unwise frontier policy urged by the Conservative Government; and he could not accept the fiscal policy dictated by Lancashire. He resigned his high office, and left India early in I 8 76.

I t would interest our readers to know how far Lord Salisbury had the support of his Council in pressing for the remission of Indian import duties, and proposing to 8end his Under Secretary to India to carry out this

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scheillc. This proposal had beun made by wire on Septcxr~ber 30, I 87 5.

Sir Erslcine Perry, one of thc strongest Members of the India Council, ol3,jected to this telegram. "The Government of India," he recorded, "is necessarily despotic, and the useful function of the Home Govern- lrlclzt is, by careful revision of all irleasures originated therc, to prevent the usual concomitants of despotism, such as caprice, hastiness, injustice, from springing up. If the tclegraphic wire is to convey peremptory orders during the concoction of measures in India, it will greatly enhance the difficulties of governrrlent in that country, and will increase the repugnance of statesmen of marl; to accept the office of Governor-General."

Sir Henry Montgomery, who had been a Member of the Council for seventeen years, knew of no previous instance of sending the Under Secretary to confer with the Indian Government on their fiscal policy. I t is startling also to learn that he, as a Member of Council, had been allowed no opportunity to see the official correspondence on the contelrlplated change in the fiscal policy of India. I ' I had no opportunity," he wrote, " of seeing any of the official or other documents, nor was I aware of the objections which the Secre- tary of State entertained regarding the financial policy of the Viceroy. . . . Not having seen the official pro- ceedings of the Governlnent of India, not being aware of the objections of the Secretary of State, and not having had an opportunity of conferring with my col- leagues I feel mysclf still constrained to refuse being a party to a measure which, as far as I understand it, is more likely to provoke than prevent a crisis which would deprive India at this moment of the abilities and experience of Lord Northbrook."

Even General Richard Strachey, who agreed with Lord Salisbury in the principle of abolishing the import duty on cotton goods, wrote : " My reason for objecting

to the draft of the telegram first proposed to the Council was that it virtually committed the Council to opinions on subjects, the papers relating to which had not been brought before them."

Sir Robert Montgomery, Vice-President of the Council, explained that the Council did not desire to express any disapprobation of Lord Northbrook's tariff. And Lord Salisbury, who had been in such haste to conciliate Lancashire that he had forgotten to consult his own council, recorded the very characteristic explanation : lCI was at a distance from London when the above telegram was sent to the Council." [ 'I was not aware that they had not had the opportunity of reading the papers."

When Lord Lytton succeeded Lord Northbrook as Viceroy, the path of Lord Salisbury became smoother. On May 3 1 , 1876, he sent two letters to India. I n one of them he insisted on the repeal of the import duty on cotton goods; and in the other he explained the relations of the Indian Government with the Secretary of State. Lord Salisbury had the majority of his Council with respect to both these letters, but Sir Frederick Halliday, Sir Barrow Ellis, and Sir Erskine Perry dissented on the question of the fiscal policy; and Sir Erskine Perry and Sir Robert Montgomery dis,,e nted on the letter defining the relations of the Indian Government with the Secretary of State.

I t is unnecessary to go into these dissents fully. Sir Frederick Halliday wrote : " The duties should be with- drawn only as far as they are actually protective; and hereafter to such extent, and to such extent only, as they nlay become protective. I do not see why a valuable and very needful revenue, to which avowedly there is no objection not derived from its protectiveness, should be given up so far and so long as it is shown not to be Protective."

And Sir Erskine Perry contended that the initiative

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in Inclian administration should be left wilh the Govern- ment of India, the revision with the Secretary of State. ' (If the initiative is to be exercised by the Secretary of State, no careful deliberation can be ensured, for no revision is possible."

But the dissenting Members were in the minority; Lord Salisbury had the majority of the Council with him ill demanding the repeal of the import duties on cotton goods; and Lord Lytton was nothing loth to comply. But n new difficulty had arisen in India. The terrible famine of Madras-the severest and most fatal which had yet occurred within the century-made the Indian authorities pause. The new Finance Minister, Sir John Strachey, spoke on March I 5, I 877 :-

" Financial embarrassments arising from the deprecia- tion of silver prevented any practical steps being taken last year in this direction. I t was thought unwise to give up any revenue at such a time, and the Secretary of State concurred in this decision. I t is with great regret that I have to announce that, for reasons similar to those which prevailed a year ago, it has been decided that nothing call be done at the present moment towards the abolition of these duties ; the financial diffici~lties caused by the famine are so serious that we cannot sacrifice any source of income." l

But Lancashire was getting impatient. No political party in Great Britain could afford to neglect the Lancashire vote ; and Mr. Disraeli's Government did not wish to do so. On July I I , I 877, while accounts of the terrible Madras famine were already appearing in British papers, the British House of Commons thought it fit to pass a Resolntion calculated to hasten and expedite the repeal of the cotton import duty. The Resolution ran thus :-

" That, in the opinion of this House, the duties now levied upon cotton manufactures imported into India,

' Sir John Strachey's financial statement of March 15, 1877.

being protective in their nature, are contrary to sound commercial policy, and ought to be repealed without &lay, so soon as the financial condition of India will permit."

The last clause of the Resolution has no meaning. The financial condition of India, since the Mutiny, had never permitted the repeal of any source of revenue. Locnl cesses had been imposed on land, severe and cruel in their operation, to secure a surplus ; and these should have been repealed before the finances of India repealed any other source of revenue. But this was not how the Resolution was understood, or was meant to be under- stood.

Lord Salisbury forwarded the Resolution of the House of Commons to the Indian Government, and referred with something like alarm to the fact "that five more mills were about to begin work ; and that it was esti- mated that by the end of March I 877 there would be 1,2 3 I ,2 84 spindles employed in India." '

Accordingly, in the following year, the Government of Indin made a further sacrifice of revenue by exempting from duty some imports with which Indian manufactures were supposed to compete. " These are unbleached T-cloths under I 8 reed, jeans, domestics, sheetings, and drills. . . . The Government of India has determined to commence by exempting these descriptions, with the further condition that the goods so exempted shall not contain finer yarn than what is known as 30 s., that is, yarn of which 30 hanks of 840 yards each weigh I Ib. The loss of duty, calculated on the figures of I 876-77, cannot exceed L2 2,2 2 7 slerling."

Even this, however, did not give satisfaction to the Manchester Chamber of Commerce. They pointed out that the list of free goods required to be materially added

' Letter to the Governor-General in Conncil, dated Aug. 30, 1877 a Government of India, Financial Statement, dated March 18, 1878;

Paragrs~phs 57 and 58.

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to; that shirtings and longcloths made from 30 s. and coarse yarns still rc~~laincd subject to impost; that in the case of y a r ~ ~ s the objection to the fixed limits of the free list was even stronger; and that therefore " it is resolved to urge upon her Majesty's chief Secretary of State for India the desirableness of simplifying those provisions of the new Indian Budget that aff'ect manufactured cotton, by exempting from duty all goods made from yarns not finer than 30 s., and all yarns up to 26 S.

water and 42 S. mule.' Lord LytLon, Ihe new Viceroy of India, was prepared

to subrnit to all demands unconditionally. But be it said to the honour of the Indian Civil Service that a majority of the members of his Council protested strongly against being thus bullied into submission, and compelled to sacrifice Indian revenues in a year of famine, war, and increasing taxation. And some of the minutes recorded by the dissenting members are among the finest passages in Indian official literature.

Mr. Whitby Stokes objected to the remission, firstly, because the financial condition of India was deplorably bad. "We have spent our Famine Insurance Fund, or what was intended to be such. We are carrying on rt

costly war with Afghanistan. We may any day have to begin one with the King of Burma. We have now to borrow five crores (five millions sterling) in India, and we are begging for two millions sterling from England."

Secondly, because the proposed surrender would even- tually lead to the surrender of the import duty on all cotton goods. " The powerful Lancashire manufacturers will be encouraged by their second victory to new attacks on our revenue. . . . If ever we have any true surplus, we should, in 11ny opinion, lessen some of our direct taxes rather than abolish any of our moderate import duties."

Thirdly, because the proposed repeal would be a

Resolution passed st a meeting of the Hoard of Directors, March 27, 1878.

of the contribution which Native States made towards the revenues of British India.

Fourthl?/, because no one complained against the duties except the manufacturers of Manchester. The people of India did not ask for their repeal.

Fltthly, because, by the proposed repeal, " the Man- &ester manufacturers would practically compel the people of India to buy cotton cloths adulterated, if pos- sible, more shamefully than such goods are at present. The cost of the clothing of the people would thus be increased rather than lessened."

Bzkthly, because Indian newspapers will proclaim in every bazaar that the repeal was made " solely in the interest of Manchester, and for the benefit of the Con- servative party, who are, it is alleged, anxio~is to obtain the Lancashire vote at the coming elections. Of course the people of India will be wrong; they always must be wrong when they impute selfish motives to the ruling race." l

Mr. Rivers Thomson, afterwards Lieutenant-Governor of Bengal, dwelt on the financial difficulties of India. The estimated Budget for I 873-80 showed a deficit of £1,3g5,ooo. The proceeds of the special tax imposed twelve months before to create a Famine Insurance Fund had been misapplied to other purposes. Fresh taxation to meet future famines would excite " the very injurious suspicion that the Government has been wanting in good faith." "It is not at such a time that in my judgment any portion of the cotton duties should be repealed ; and I deprecate the procedure all the more because in im- pending circ*mstances at home, the measure has all the appearance of the subordination of the reasonable claims of the Indian administration to the necessities of English politics."

Minute dated March 13, 1879. The keen satire of the last sentence quoted is not excelled by anything I have ever read in Indian official literature.

Minute dated March 15, 1879.

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Sir Alexander Arbuth~lot also dwelt on the financial condition of India; and he stoutly maintained that the resolution of the House of Colnmons did not set the Indian Government free from the responsibility of main- taining the solvency of India. " The people of India attribute the action which has been taken by her Majesty's Government in this matter to the influences which have been brought to bear upon it by persons interested in the English cotton trade; in other words, by the manufacturers of Lancashire. I t is notorious that this impression has prevailed throughout India from the time, just four years ago, when the Marquis of Salisbury informed a large body of Manchester manufacturers that the Government of India would be instructed to provide for the gradual abolition of the import duties on cotton goods.

<' Nor is this feeling limited to the Native community. From cornmunications which have been received from the Chambers of Commerce at Madras and Calcutta, it is evident that the feeling is shared by the leading representatives of the European mercantile community in those cities.

" I t is equally shared by the great body of the official hierarchy throughout India. I am convinced I do not overstate the case when I affirm my belief that there are not at the present time a dozen officials in India who do not regard the policy which has been adopted in this matter as a policy which has been adopted, not in the interests of India, not even in the interests of England, but in the interests or the supposed interests of a political party, the leaders of which deem it necessary at any cost to retain the political support of the cotton manufacturers of Lancashire.

"During the rule of the East India Company, the Court of Directors furnished what often proved an effective barrier between the interests of the people of India and the pressure of powerful classes in England


In this respect the Council of India, as the Council of the Secretary of State is called, has in no way taken the place of the Court of Directors. . . . The Council of the Governor-General, on the other hand, has large power

heavy responsibilities imposed upon it by law. . . . I t will be an evil day for India when the Members of this Council fail to discharge the duty thus appertaining to them."

Sir Andrew Clarke was also unable to recognise any justification for a departure from the policy on which the Tariff Act of I 87 5 was based.'

Rut all these strong protests were made in vain. 'J'he Governor-General of India has the power to act against the opinion of the majority of his Councillors in certain cases ; and Lord Lytton somewhat strained this power to exerupt from import duty " all imported cotton goods containing no yarn finer than 3 0 s." The only Members of his Council who supported him in this undignified surrender were Sir John Strachey and Sir Edwin J o h n ~ o n . ~

I t is needless to add that the Secretary of State approved of the action of Lord Lyttoa4 General Richard Strachey supported the Secretary of State, as his brother, Sir John Strachey, had supported the Viceroy. Five other members also approved of the action taken. On the other hand, seven members, including Sir Frederic Halliday, Sir Robert Montgomery, Sir William Muir, and Sir Erskine Perry, dissented from the Secretary of State. The import duty on coarse cotton goods had been sur- rendered by Lord Lytton against the opinion of the majority of his Councillors. The surrender was approved by Lord Salisbury against the opinion of the majority of the members of his Council.

We have passed beyond the limits of this Book in

' Minute, dated March 15, 1879. 2Minut,e of same date. : Letter to the Secretary of State, dated March 13, 1579. Despatch, dated July 7, 1870.

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referring to the events of 1879, which properly falls within the limits of the succeeding Boolc. We have done so in order to give the reader a connected account of the fiscal controversy which went on from I 8 7 4 to I 8 79. The circ*mstances under which the import duty was surrendered are a curious comment on the last clause of thc Resolution of the House of Commons. That clause desired the repeal of the duty " so soon as the financial condition of India will permit." The duty wtts actually repealed when Southern India had not yet recovered from the M:~dras famine of I 877 ; when Northern India was still suffering from the famine of I 8 7 8 ; when new cesses on land had recently been added to the Land Revenue; when the Famine Insurance Fund created by special taxes had disappeared ; when the estimated budget sliowcd a deficit ; and when troubles and a vast expendi- ture in Afghanistan, brought about in quest of a scientific frontier, were impending.

If the House of Cornrnons exerted an undue pressure on India by passing its Resolution in I 877, the Indian Government was guilty of a weak betrayal of trust in carrying out that Resolution in 1879. I t may be safely asserted that no Viceroy who has ever ruled Indin would have sacrificed the revenues of India at such tt moment except Lord Lytton ; and no financier who has ever held the post of Finance Minister in India would have advised and supported suc'h a sacrifice except Sir John Strachey.

This mea,n sacrifice to party politics did not even secure a party triumph. The Conservatives were de- feated at the general election of I 880.

BOOK 111


I 877- 1 goo

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WE now enter upon the last period of the Victorian Age. The close of Mr. Gladstone's first administration in I 874 is the date, if any single date can be given, for that padual change in men's sentiments, opinions, and aspirations, which has been called a Conservative Reac- tion in Great Britain. The rapid advance of the Great Powers of the world aroused new jealousies and awakened new ambitions. A great Western Republic, united once more after a Civil War, was supreme in one half of the world, and claimed an increasing share in the politics and commerce of the other half. A united Germany had arisen with the strength of a giant from the fields of Sadowa and Sedan, and dominated over the counsels of Europe. France too was rising after her defeat, and was seeking compensation in Asia and in Africa. And Russia had torn up the Black Sea Treaty, and continued her unresisted march eastwards. A feeling of unrest filled the minds of Englishmen. Domestic reforms no longer called forth the same enthusiasm as a desire for expansion. The advance of Russia towards India must be checked. England's supremacy in Asia must be ~naintained. The Continent of Africa was still open, and unexplored regions awaited the British conqueror. A closer union with the Colonies would restore British

and would enable England to present a united front to the world. All over the globe there was need for a vigorous foreign policy--a policy of expansion and *f conquest-to maintain England's position among

* I 9

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rising nations. So Englishmen felt,, vaguely, but strongly, and as is often the casc, the first blind enterprises were neither wise nor successful.

The sound frontier policy of Lord Lawrence no longer found favour. The creed of Sir Bartle Frere found acceptance in the present state of the national mind. Lord Northbrook had rejected that creed, but Lord Northbrook had resigned. A new Viceroy, willing to carry out the new policy, was selected. The first letter of the British Prime Minister, Mr. Disraeli, to Lord Lytton, indicated to hi111 the task he was expected to perform.

" MY DEAR LYTTON,-LO~~ Northbrook has resigned the Viceroyalty of India, for purely domestic reasons, and will return to England in the spring.

l1 If you be willing, I will submit your name to the Queen as his successor. The critical state of affairs in Central Asia demands a statesman, and I believe if you will accept this high post you will have an opportunity, not only of serving your country, but of obtaining an enduring fame." '

Lord Lytton was then forty-four years of age, and was Minister of Legation at Lisbon ; and this was the first intimation he received of his proposed appointment to India. The letter discloses the one object of the appointment. Lord Lytton was chosen to give efl'ect to a policy in relation to Afghanistan which Lord North- brook had declined to carry out. The recent famines in India and the economic condition of the people find no Inention in the Prime Minister's letter. These matters did not interest the British Cabinet very much.

The new Vicer y lost no time. On April I 2 , I 876, he took charge of Pis o£Ece from Lord Northbrook. 011

April 24 he was at Umballa, and gave the Commissioner of Yeshawar the draft of a letter to be sent to the Amir

1 Letter from Henlamin Din~aeli to Lorcl Lytton, dated Nov. 23, 1875

of Afghanistan. A pretext was found for sending s British Envoy to Kabul. The Amir was informed : <' Sir Lewis Pelly will be accompanied by Dr. Bellew and Major St. John, for the purpose of delivering to your Highness in person at Khureeta a letter informing your Highness of his Excellency's accession to office, and formally announcing to your Highness the addition which her Majesty the Queen has been pleased to make to her sovereign titles in respect to her Empire in India." '

The Amir of Afghanistan was a shrewd man, and perceived the real object of the mission. He replietl accordingly : " Please God the Most High, the friendship and the union of the God-given State of Afghanistan in relation to the State of Lofty Authority,-the Majestic Government of England,-will remain strong and firm as usual. At this time, if there be any new parleys for the purpose of freshening and benefiting the God-given State of Afghanistan entertained in the thoughts, then let it be hinted, so that a confidential agent of this friend, arriving in that place, and being presented with the things concealed in the generous heart of the English Government, should reveal it to the suppliant at the Divine T h r ~ n e . " ~ In other words, Sher Ali demurred to the proposal of a British Envoy being sent to Kabul, and desired to send an Agent to know the thoughts concealed '' in the generous heart of the English Government."

Lord Lytton was irritated by this first check. He warned the Amir, through the Peshawar Commissioner, that he was rendering nugatory the friendly intentions of the Viceroy, and was voluntarily isolating Afghan- istans from the alliance and support of the British Go~ernrnent.~

Letter of the Commissioner of Peshawar to the Amir of Kabul, dated May 6. 1876. ' The k i i r ' s Letter, dated May 22, 1876

Pesbawar Commieaioner's letter, dated July 8, 1876

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Lord Lytton's wisest Councillors disapproved of the attitude he had assurned. Sir William Muir, Sir Henry Norman, and Sir Arthur Hobhouse, all maintained, that Sher Ali was within his right in refusing to receive an English Mission ; that the reasons assigned by hinl were substantial; and that the reply of the British Govern- ment was almost equivalent to a threat of war. And they added that the Amir knew the real object of the llission ; and it was not dealing with him fairly if the aim of keeping a perinanent Mission at Kabul was con- cealed from him.

The Amir replied to the Peshawar Commissioner's letter.' He suggested that the British Agent at Iiabul, Atta Muhammad, should come to India, explain the state of affairs at Kabul, and know the wishes of the British Government. Lord Lytton accepted this sug- gestion.

Atta Muhammad arrived at Simla on October 6, I 876. He explained to Sir Lewis Pelly the views of the Amir at length ; and he expressed the Amir's fears that the tempowry British Mission would merge into a pev- manent one. This was exactly what Lord Salisbury and Lord Lytton had intended. Lord Lytton was annoyed at this fresh check. In his interview with the Agent he could scarcely refrain from threats. " The British Government," he said, " could only assist those who valued its assistance." " If the Amir did not desire to come to a speedy unders~anding with us, Russia did, and she desired it at his expense." " The British Government was able to pour an overwhelming force into Afghanistan." " If the Amir remained our friend, this military power could be spread around him as a ring of iron ; if he became our enemy, it could break him as a reed." The Amir pretended " to hold the balance between England and Russia." But the Amir was only an " earthen pipkin between two iron pots."

The Amir's repl) , received on Sept. 3, 1876.

Atta Muhammad was dismissed with a letter for the an aide-memoire for his own guidance, a watch and

chain, and a present of Lrooo. No results followed, for Sher Ali was wide awake.

More tangible results were secured in Beluchistan. Lord Northbrook had sent Major Sandeman to settle the disputes between the Khan of Khelat and his Chiefs, and to open the trade route of the Bola11 Pass which had been practically closed owing to these disputes. Major Sandeman, known and honoured all along the frontier, settled the disputes and opened the trade route. His terms of agreement were accepted by the Khan of Khelat and his Chiefs, and were ratified on oath in open Darbar. Had Lord Northbrook been still in office, Major Sande- man would have retired from Beluchistan after achieving these results ; but it was Lord Lytton's policy that the British force should stay. He sent his favourite military adviser, Colonel Colley, with a secret treaty ; and the sixth article of the treaty provided for the permanent occupation of the Khan's territory by a British military force. The Khan of Khelat signed the treaty, and Quetta was permanently occupied by British troops. 'I The Khan of Khelat," wrote Lord Lytton to the Queen, " has agreed to sign with me a treaty, the terms of which will make us virtually masters of Khelat." ' The treaty was exe- cuted at Jacobabad on December 8, r 876.

Having thus secured a foothold in the south of Afghanistan, Lord Lytton made his preparations on the eastern side of that kingdom. Colonel Lumsden had advocated the British occupation of the Kurm and Khost valleys ; but Lord Lawrence had rejected the proposal. Lurnsden's scheme, however, had attractions for Lord Lytton. The road from Rawal Pindi to Kohat was repaired; Cavagnari was sent to the Kurm River with orders to select a site for a military camp; and the Commander-in-chief was directed to be in readiness to

"ord Lytton's letter to the Queen, dated November IS, 1876.

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move to Kollat three batteries of artillery, two companies of sappers and miners, a regiment of British and two reginrents of native c a ~ l r y , and two regiments of British and four regiments of native infantry.'

In the north of Afghanistan, too, Lord Lytton was equally active. He supplied the Maharaja of Kashmir with arms of precision ; and he encouraged him to push forward troops into passes leading to Chitral. Kashmir was almost an insolvent State. British India was groaning under over-taxation, and was on the brink of the most terrible famine which had yet occurred within the century. Rut no considerations of economy, and no humane desire to ligl~ten the taxation, restrained the Viceroy from these vast and expensive preparations against a danger which did not exist, and which his own action helped to create. He did what he had threatened to do ; he formed a ring of iron on the south, east and north of the Arnir's dominions.

On January I , 1877, a Darbar was held at Delhi, and Lord Lytton proclaimed to the Princes and the people of India that the Queen had assumed the title of Xmpress of India. Mr. Disraeli had feebly imitated tho policy of Bismarck ; and the sovereign of British India assumed tlie august title which the sovereign of Prussia had assumed six years before. Thoughtful men in England inquired if this title added in any way to the real power of the Queen, or took away anything from the treaty rights of Indian princes.

Mr. Lowe inquired in the House of Commons if it was prudent to make a marked distinction between England and India, by giving to the Sovereign of England a title which implied obedience to law, and to the Sovereign of India a title which implied the supremacy of force. And Mr. Gladstone led the Opposition at the second reading of the Bill, and made a speech reflecting tlle best traditions and principles of British policy.

Papers presented to the House of Lords on February 28, 1881.

J f it be true, and it is true, that we govern 111clia the restraints of law except such law as we make

ourselves; if it be true, and it is true, that we have not been able to give India the benefits and blessings of free institutions, I leave it to the Right Hon. Gentleman [the Prime Minister, Mr. Disraeli] to boast that he is about to place the fact solemnly on record by the assurrlption of the title of Elnpress. I, for one, will not attempt to turn into glory that which, so far as it is true, I feel to be our weakness and our calamity."

I' I am under the belief that to this moment there are Princes and States in India over which we have never assumed dominion, whatever may have been our superiority in strength. We are now going by Act of Parliament to assume that dominion, the possible con- sequences of which no man can foresee."

" I ask whether the supremacy over certain important Native States in India was ever vested in the Company or whether it was not. We are bound to ask the Right Hon. Gentleman whether their suprenlacy was so vested or not, and whether he can assure us upon his responsi- bilily that no political cliange in the condition of the Native Princes of India will be effected by this Bill."

This was going to the root of the question. The new title, if it meant anything, meant that the Sovereign of India was about to assume powers over Indian Princes and States not secured by the treaties. The Sovereign of Prussia had assumed some powers over the States of Germany, openly and explicitly, when he had assumed the title of Emperor of Germany. The Bill before the Parliament made no specific mention of such powers. Did the new title imply such powers, or did it not ?

We owe it to the categorical questions of Mr. Glad- stone, and of Sir W. Harcourt, that the Prime Minister declared emphatically that no new powers over the Indian Princes and States were assumed. "The cl~angc of title," said Mr. Disraeli in answer to Sir W. Harcourt, "does

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not in the least affect the right and dignity or honour of Native Princes in India." The reply is important for all time to come.

I t is, however, explained by the daughter and biographer of Lord Lytton that : " Treaties, made perhaps a hundred years before, and still in force, might be quoted to show that the Native Princes, although not so strong, were equal in dignity and rightful position to the Viceroy. The Nizam, the Gaekwar, and the Viceroy, had all the same salutes, than which, to native imagina- tions, there could be nothing more significant. The twenty-one guns ceased, after the Delhi Assembly, to be a sign of equality with the representative of the Sovereign." l

The fair chronicler of her father's Indian administra- tion here confuses two things which are distinct. The Nizam and the Gaekwar never believed that they were the equals of the Viceroy in power. The assumption of a new title was not needed to convince even " native imaginations" that the Viceroy represented the greatest power in Asia. But the Nizam and the Gaekwar relied on the rights secured to them by treaties, as a poor citizen of a State may rely on his rights secured by law. And we have the Prime Minister's word for it that the assumption of the new title does not in the least affect those rights. Any interference with the autonomy of Native States, secured by treaties, is a violation of good faith to-day, as it was before the assumption of the new title.

While the Darbar of Lord Lytton was held at Delhi, amidst pomp and festivities and needless ostentation, the shadow of a great famine was already darkening over the land. If anything could have recalled the ruler of India in 1877 from a foolish and wasteful frontier policy to retrenchment and a reduction of the burdens on the

I ~ r d Lytton's Indian Administration, by Lady Betty Balfour, London, 1899, P 133.

pople, the terrible famine of that year should have pro- duced that effect. I t was a calamity unprecedented in its intensity within the memory of living men. Since the Queen's accession, India had suffered from great famines in 1837 and 1860, in 1866, 1869, and 1874, but no calamity so widespread and so fatal had been known in India within the century. The peasantry of Madras, wit11 their wretched land-system, were not as resourceful as the peasantry of Bengal. Relief operations were not organised as wisely as in the Bengal famine of I 874. Large villages were depopulated. Vast tracts of country were left un- cultivated. And five nill lions of people-the population of a fair-sized country-perished in this Madras famine in one single year.

But neither the Delhi Darbar, nor the distress in the land, diverted the Viceroy from the object he had placed before himself. There was a Conference at Peshawar between the Amir's Envoy, Nur Muhammad, and Sir Lewis Pelly, in February I 877. Sir Lewis Pelly insisted, as a preliminary condition, that British officers should reside on the frontier of Afghanistan. And he gave hopes that the British Government might then enter into an offensive and defensive alliance, recognise the Amir's heir, and support the Amir against disturbances in his dominions. But the aged Nur Muhammad declared the Amir's conviction, that to allow British officers to reside in his country would be to relinquish his own authority. The Conference came to nothing, for there was no basis of negotiation left.

Lord Lytton lost all patience. He wrote to Sir Lewis Pelly : " The British Government does not press its alli- ance and protection upon those who neither seek nor appreciate them. This being the case, it only remains for the Viceroy to withdraw, at once, the offers made to the Amir in the month of October last." ' Three weeks after the receipt of this letter, the aged Nur Muhammad died.

Letter to Sir Lewis Pelly, dated Maich 3, 1877.

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I-lis surviving colleague had no aut,hority to continue the negotiations. At,tn Muhammad, the British Agent at Katjul, was recalled. A war seemed inevitable.

Great events had in the meantime followed each other in rapid succession in Europe. The Russians had van- quished the Turks in a great war, and were near the gates of Constantinople. Mr. Disraeli had ordered the Mediter- ranean fleet to the Dardanelles, landed Indian troops at Malta, called out the Reserves, and occupied Cyprus with the consent of Turkey. And Russia had replied by mobilising an army in Turkestan, and despatching ct

Mission to Kabul. Lord Lytton took note of these events, and acted

accordingly. He arranged with the Maharaja of Kashmir for the establishment of a British Agency at Gilgit, upon the slopes of the Hindu 'Rush ; and the insolvent State of Kashmir was made to pay for a telegraph line from this new station to the British territory. And Lord Lytton congratulated himself on his cleverness. " We shall have secured a vicarious but virtual control over the Chiefdoms 3f Kafristan, which will cost us nothing, by their absorp- tion under the suzerainty of Kashmir, our vassal."

The kingdom of Kabul was indeed an earthen pipkin between two iron pots. The Russian Mission was forcing itself into Kabul. The Amir, in dire alarm, wrole to General Kaufmann, declining to receive the Russian Mission. But the Russians would not turn back, and General Stoletoff reached Kabul on July 22, I 878. The Arnir had to receive the Mission; and the draft of a treaty was drawn up.

In the meantime, peace had been secured in Europe by the Congress of Berlin. General Stoletoff was recallo(1 by the Russian Government, and left Kabul on August 24, I 878. The plea for interference with Afghanistan existed nu longer. But Lord Lytton had det,ermined on scndi~lg a British Mission, since a Russia11 Mission had

1 Lord Lytton to the Secretary of Stnte Letter dated April g, 1878.

1,een rece~ved. "Neither the withdrawal of the Russian Mission, nor any assurances on the part of Russia," he wrote, " will cancel the fact that a Russian Mission has been well received at Kabul; and that Russian officers have had full opportunities of instilling into the minds of tile Amir and his Councillors distrust and dislike towards England, belief in Russia's power and destiny, and hopes of assistance against us from that country." l

Sir Neville Chamberlain was placed in charge of the British Mission. I t left Peshawar on September I 2, and reached Jumrud on September 2 I . Its further progress was stopped (by the Afghan commander, Faiz Mahammad. A conference between him and Cavagnari came to nothing, and the Mission returned to Peshawar. Upon this, Lord Lytton proposed to issue a manifesto defining the causes of offence; to expel the Amir's troops from the Khaibar Pass ; to occupy the Kurm Valley ; and to advmce from Quetta to Kandahar. At the instance of the Home Government, however, an ultimatum was sent on October 2 . As no reply was received by November 20, the date fixed, military operations were comnlenced on the following day.

The narration of the incidents which led up to the Afghan War of I 878 has occupied a longer space than we wished to devote to that subject. But the narration was necessary. The war upset the long-established policy of Canning and Lawrence, Mayo and Northbrook. I t disturbed the peace on the north-west frontier of India, which had been maintained for nearly forty years. It was undertaken after peace had been concluded with Russia, and the alarm of a Russian invasion had ceased. And it brought about a financial disaster on India, still suffering from the effects of the Madras famine of I 877 and the northern famine of 1878. The veteran Lord Lawrence raised his voice against the war in time- before the ultimatum was sent. And some passages

1 Minute, dated September 4, 1878.

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from the letter which the aged statesman wrote to the Times on September 27 deserve to be quoted.

"We ought not, indeed, to be surprised that the Amir has acted as he has done. From the time of the Treaty of I 8 5 7, the late Amir Dost Muhammad Khan refused to allow us to have a Mission at Kabul, or even to send one there as a temporary arrangement, solemnly assuring us that such a step would lead to mischief, and not to peaceful relations with the Afghans. We accepted his excuses. In 1869 the present Amir affirmed the same policy."

"What are we to gain by going to war with the Amir ? Can we dethrone him without turning the mass of his countrymen against us ? Can we follow the policy of I 838-39 without, in all probability, incurring similar results ? If we succeed in driving Sher Ali out of Kabul, whom can we put in his place? And how are we to insure the maintenance of our own creature on the throne, except by occupying the country ? And when is such an occupation to terminate ? "

"Such are the political and military considerations which lead me to raise my voice against the present policy towards Amir Sher Ali. Are not moral considera- tions also very strong against such war ? Have not the Afghans a right to resist our forcing a Mission on them, bearing in mind to what such Missions often lead, and what Burnes's Mission in 1836 did actually bring upon them ? "

The warning was given in vain. The hero of the Indian Mutiny, who had been hailed in England twenty years before as the saviour of the Indian Empire, was now treated with scorn. Abuse and contumely were showered upon him by platform orators, by anonymous correspond- ents, and by sapient writers in the ministerial press. The spirit of the age had changed. Counsels of peace were ridiculed. New Imperialism demanded a war.

On November g, before the time given by the ulti-

matum had yet expired, Lord Beaconsfield disclosed the real cause which led England to this war. I t was not undertaken, he said in a speech at the Mansion House, to punish the Amir for his reception of the Russian Mission, or his refusal to receive an English Mission, but for a rectification of boundary and for securing a

frontier. Sir Bartle Frere, then High Commis- sioner of South Africa, must have gloried at this triumph of the policy he had advocated for fifteen years. And he had good cause to regret that policy before the war was over.

I t is not within the scope of the present work to narrate in detail the incidents of the war. British troops advanced by three routes-the Khaibar Pass, the Kurm Valley, and the Bolan Pass. Sher Ali fled to Turkestan and died. His son, Yakub Khan, signed the treaty of Gundamak on May 26, I 879, assigning the districts of Yishin, Sibi, and Kurm to the British Government. " The third article," wrote Lord Lytton, " establishes our exclusive influence throughout Afghanistan, and our paramount control over the Amir's external relations." l This was what Sher Ali had foreseen, and had fought against. "We have secured a scientific and adequate frontier," wrote Lord Beaconsfield to the Viceroy. I t will always be a source of real satisfaction to me that I had the opportunity of placing you on the throne of the Great Moghal." -

The congratulations were somewhat premature. Sir Louis Cavagnari and the British Embassy entered Kabul on July 24, I 879. The Afghans were sullen and angry. The new Amir was unpopular and was suspected of treachery. On September 2 Cavagnari sent his last telegram, which contained the words, "All well." On September 3 this gallant officer and his escort were "assacred. Yakub Khan abdicated, and was deported to India. A fresh war became necessary.

Despatch dated July 7, 1879. a Lord Beaconsfield's letter to the Viceroy, dated August 14, 1879.

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Mr. Lepel Griffin \ins sent to Kabul in March I 880 to undertake the diplotnatic and military superintendence of affairs, in communication with the military com- mander, Sir Frederick Roberts. " I see no reason," wrote Lord Lytton to him, "why you should not, as soon as you reach Kabul, set about the preparation of a way for us out of that rat-trap." ' " The sole object," he wrote to the Secret:~ry of State, " of all the military operations I have sanctioned for this spring is to facilitate the early evacuation of the country."P Such were the results of the new policy, described by the very man who had adopted it.

In April I 8 8 o the Conservative Government fell. And Lord Lytton, who had no policy of his own except the policy which had been dictated by the Conservative Ministry, resigned simultaneously with the Government. He had acted against the advice of his wisest predecessor, Lord Lawrence, and his wisest finance minister, Sir William Muir? He had achieved no results, aud had involved India in a loss of over twenty millions sterling. 'l'hat money would have sufficed for all the more irn- portant irrigation works which Sir Arthur Cotton had recommended to the Select Committee of the House of Commons in the very year in which the Afghan War had begun. I t would have saved millions of cultivators in Indi :~ from distress and famine for all time.

A Liberal Government was formed by Mr. Gladstone

1 L ~ r d Lvtton's letter to Lepel Griffin, dated February 16, 1880. 3 Letter of February 18, 1880. 8 It has been stated before that Sir William Muir, along with Sir

Arthur Hobhouse and Sir Henry Norman, dissented from lhe letter written to the Amir in July 1876. In October 1876, just before leaving India, b ~ r William Muir wrote a second note, repeating and enforcing the opin~ons contained in the first, and asking that both these notes might be treated as Officlal Minutes. This was not done. Lord Cranbmck refused to present the notes to Parliament with other papers refedng to Afghan affairs ; and Sir William Mulr was compelled to publish them to establish his fre~dom from complicity in Lord Lytton's Afghan policy. Muir's sucoesror, Sir John Stracheg, was at one time an earnest supporter of Lawrence and Mayo ; but he readlly became a convert to Lord ~ g t t o ~ ' 9 uew policy.-See Colonel ifa~ina's Second -4 fyhan War, vol. i. p. 172.


in 1880, afcer the fall of the Tory party. Nothing brings out in a clearer light his great influence and power than his success in stemming the tide of Imperial- ism for a time, and his forcing a short Liberal reaction. Never, even in his younger days, had the veteran states- man distinguished himself more by his burning eloquence and his righteous zeal, than when he denounced the llBulgarian atrocities," and fought his Midlothian Cam- paign. The nation responded to the call ; they returned the Liberals to power. And the second administration of Mr. Gladstone was signalised by a new Irish Land Act and a new Reform Act, and by the Liberal measures introduced by the Marquis of Ripon in India.

The Marquis of Hartington succeeded Lord Cran- brook as Secretary of State for India, and Lord Ripon took charge of his office from Lord Lytton on J u m 8, 1880. The Afghan War was soon brought to a close. A British brigade was defeated by the Afghans at Maiwand, near Kandahar, on July 27 ; but Sir Frederick Roberts marched from Kabul to Kandahar and totally routed the Afghan army on September I. Abdur Rahman was recognised as the new Amir; and the British army retired from Kabul and Kandahar.

India enjoyed peace once more, and the budget once more showed a surplus. Mr. Fawcett and Mr. Gladstone had, in opposition, denounced the policy of charging the Indian finance with the whole cost of the Afghan War; and the Liberal Government now voted a sum of five millions from the Imperial exchequer as a contribution to that war. I t was a small proportion of the total cost of the war; but it is the only instance on record of a prac- tical recognition of the principle that the cost of expedi- tions beyond the frontier of India, inspired by a jealousy

Russia, should not be borne by India alone. Another Sane measure was adopted by the Liberal Government. r lhe I weak Government of Lord Lytton had passed an Act to muzzle the Vernacular Press of India. Whenever the

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Government of India is betrayed into blunders, there is a tendency to stifle the voice of criticism. Lord Ripon, with the approval of the Home Government, repealed this Vernacular Press Act.

I t was also the pleasing duty of the Marquis of Ripon to hand over the State of Mysore once more to its Indian ruler in 1881, after the State had been under British administration for half a century. The high credit of this just and generous act does not belong to Lord Ripon, or to the Liberal Government of the time, but to the Conservative Government of 1867, and to Sir Staff'ord Northcote, then Secretary of State for India.

Mysore had been conquered from Tipu Sultan in I 799. And after the British Government and their ally the Nizam had carved out large slices of the conquered territory for themselves, the remainder had been made over to the old Hindu royal family by the Marquis of Wellesley. The gallant and sympathetic Sir John Malcolm was the first British Resident; and after his departure in I 804, the Indian Minister, Purnea, man- aged the State with an ability and success which won the admiration of the Duke of Wellington.

But the officials of Madras continued to cast longing eyes on this State, and the belief was general among the people of the State that their opposition to their Raja would be viewed with complacency by the East India Company's Government.' There was an insurrection in Mysore, and the management of the State was tempor- arily assumed by the Company's Government in I 832. Lord William Bentinck was influenced by exaggerated reports against the Raja in taking this action, and he after- wards felt that he had been misled. For after his return to England he repeatedly declared that the supersession of the Raja of Mysore was the only incident in his Indian administration which he looked back upon with sorrow.'

See Report of the Special Committee on the Mysore Insurrection, dated December 12, 1833 ; paragraph 199.

a Bee Major Evans Bell's Mysoye Recerpiw (1865), p. 29.

The Raja repeatedly asked for restoration ; and Lord Hardinge, after a careful examination of the question, expressed a doubt if British occupation could continue after British pecuniary claims were satisfied.' The Court of Directors replied that the real hindrance to restora- tion was the hazard which would be incurred to the good government of the States2

Lord Dalhousie, who succeeded Lord Hardinge, was of n different disposition. He recorded a Minute stating that the deposed Raja was sixty-two years of age, and had no son; and he trusted that, on his death, " the territory of Mysore, which will then have lapsed to the British Government, will be resumed, and that the good work which has been so well begun will be completed." "

Fortunately the doctrine of lapse, and the spirit which inspired that doctrine, disappeared when the Queen assumed the direct government of India in I 8 5 8. Lord Canning acknowledged the fidelity and the attach- ment of the old Raja, and his endeavours to preserve peace in Mysore during the Indian Mutiny; and pro- mised to convey his wishes to the Secretary of State.4 The question was ripe for decision in 1867 when Sir Stafford Northcote was Secretary of State; and the Conservative Government decided " to maintain the family of the Maharaja of Mysore on the throne of that province in the person of His Highness's adopted son."

Eight years after, a Conservative Government was again in power, and Lord Salisbury was Secretary of State for India. And he made some remarks on the education of the heir to the Mysore throne, as pro- posed by Colonel Malleson, which deserves to be on record,

" Literary proficiency is not in this instance the ' Despatch dated August 6, 1846. Wespatch dated July 14, 1847. a Minute dated January 16, 1856. ' Letter dated June 28, 1860. 4 Despatch of the Secretary of State to the Indian Government, dated

bprll 16, 1867.

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principal object to be attained. At an age when the

education of other men is not complete, His Highness will be invested with powers upon the due exercise of which the happiness of large numbers will depend, and will be charged with duties which will leave to him little leisure for the pursuits of a student's life. I t is of great importance that he should be well instructed in the knowledge which will help him to success in his high voca- tion. The principles of the government which will be administered by his authority and in his name, the special dangers and errors to which it is exposed, the blessings which if rightly directed it may confer, the warnings or the encouragement furnished by the history of other princes of his own race, are matters to which his mind should be specially turned during the remain- ing years of his minority." '

When the Liberal Party came into power in 1880, the time had arrived to restore the State. British management had reorganised the administration of Mysore, but had not been financially successful. The famine of 1877 was as severe in Mysore as in Madras ; and, as in British India, a vast debt had been accumu- lated.

The revenues of the State were burdened with a debt of £8oo,ooo to the Government of India, in addition to liabilities incurred for the construction of the Banga- lore-Mysore Railway. And it was therefore decided that in restoring the State to the Raja, the old annual subsidy of £245,000 should be continued for five years, and the proposal to increase it to i6350,ooo should be kept in abeyance."

The Instrument of Transfer contains twenty - four

1 Despatch to t he Governor-General in Council, dated June 17, 1875. If the education of minor rulers and chiefs had always been shaped on these principles, and if they had always been kept in touch with their own people and with the administration of their own States, they would not have turntrl out failures so often.

Despatch from Lord Hartington, Secretary of State for India, to the Governor-General in Council, dated August 12, 1880,

clauses ; and the transfer, which took place on March 2 5, I 8 8 I , was notified by a Proclamation to the chiefs and the people of Mysore.

In British India, the measures adopted for the further protection of cultivators were among the most beneficent acts of Lord Ripon. The Bengal Rental Acts of I 8 59 and r 868 required to be strengthened, and the prolonged deliberations on this subject ended in a Bill which, with some modifications, was passed by Lord Ripon's successor in 1885. For the Ryotwari tracts in Madras and Bombay, Lord Ripon proposed the judicious rule that the State-demand in settled districts should not be enhanced except on the ground of an increase in prices. These land reforms will be fully narrated in a subsequent chapter.

A small amendment which Lord Ripon proposed to the criminal law of India, by giving Indian magistrates jurisdiction to try European offenders, evoked a violent opposition. And the proposal was ultimately carried in a modified form, with a provision permitting European offenders to claim a jury. But the measure for which Lord Ripon's administration is best known is his intro- duction of LocaI Self-Government in districts and in municipal towns. In a resolution of the Financial Department,' the Governor-General formulated the prin- ciple in the following words : " The Provincial Govern- ments, while being now largely endowed from Imperial Sources, may well in their turn hand over to Local Self- Government considerable revenues at present kept in their own hands."

Letters were accordingly addressed to the Provincial Governments indicating branches of expenditure which appeared most suited for local control. Provincial Governments accepted the new principle, and offered their suggestions; and the Governor-General in Co~mcil then dealt with the question in greater detail. A few

Resolution dated September 30, 1881.

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extracts from this subsequent resolution1 will elucidate the objects of the new scheme.

" I t is not primarily with a view to improvement in administration that this measure is put forward and supported. I t is chiefly desirable as an instrument of political and popular education. His Excellency in Council has himself no doubt that, in the course of time, as local knowledge and local interest are brought to bear more freely upon local administration, improved efficiency will, in fact, follow."

There is reason to fear that previous attempts at Local Self-Government have been too often over-ridden and practically crushed by direct, though well-meant, official interference. In the few cases where real respon- sibility has been thrown upon local bodies, and real power entrusted to them, the results have been very gratifying."

The Governor-General in Council desires that the smallest administrative unit - the Sub - division, the Taluka, or the Tahsil- shall ordinarily form the maximum area to be placed under a Local Board."

I' The Municipal Co~nmittees will, of course, remain the Local Boards for areas included within town limits."

( t The Local Boards, both urban and rural, must everywhere have a large preponderance of non-official members."

' I Members of Boards should be chosen by election whenever it may, in the opinion of the Local Govern- ments, be practical to adopt that system of choice."

('The Government should revise and check the acts of the Local bodies, but not dictate them."

( . I t does not appear necessary for the exercise of these powers that the chief Executive Officers of towns, Sub-divisions, or Districts, should be chairmen or even members of the Local Boards. There is, indeed, much reason to believe that it would be more convenient that

Resolution dated May 18, 1882.

they should supervise and control the acts of those bodies without taking actual part in their proceedings."

"The Governor-General in Council therefore would wish to see non-official persons acting, whenever psacticable, as Chairmen of the Local Boards."

These extracts sufficiently indicate the scope and object of Lord Ripon's scheme, and after a great deal of official correspondence and discussion the scheme resulted in the creation or development of three classes of Boards.

( I ) Counties are called Districts in India, and District Boards were formed answering to County Councils in England. The majority of the members were elected by the people; some were nominated and appointed by the Government ; and the Executive Government Officer of the District was appointed the Chairman. Roads, educa- tion, hospitals, and some ferries, were made over to these District Boards.

(2) Local Boards were formed in Sub-divisions of Districts, and were placed under the orders of the District Boards. Most of the members of Local Boards were chosen by election: some were nominated and appointed by the Government.

( 3 ) In Municipal towns the majority of the members were chosen by election; and in advanced places the members were allowed to choose their own non-official Chairman.

A humble beginning was thus made in extending the elective system, and in giving the people of India some share in the administration of local affairs. Nothing makes British Rule in India more popular and more secure, nothing draws the people closer to an alien administration, than making them partakers in the duties and responsibilities of that administration. I t was by this policy that Munro and Elphinstone and Ben- tinck had succeeded in consolidating the Indian Empire in the early years of the century ; and it was this policy which made the administration of Lord Ripon so popular.

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India in our generation has not witnessed such manifesta- tions of loyalty and gratitude as the Marquis of Ripon evoked from the people before he left the country. Those who witnessed them have seen nothing like them in India or in any other part of the world. " His journey from Sirnla to Bombay was a triumphal march such as India has never witnessed-a long procession in which seventy millions of people sang hosanna to their friend."'

A sympathetic and wise administration, recognising the political advancement of the people, and gradually extending the forms of Self-Government and of Repre- sentation, strengthens British Rule in India, and makes the people themselves proud of the Empire. An auto- cratic and distrustful administration, repressing the legitimate ambitions of the people, and excluding them from the management of their own concerns, weakens the Empire, and creates a natural and universal dis- content, which spreads and deepens into political danger.

1 Europe and Asia, by Meredith Townsend.



THE: SUCCBSS of the great Liberal leader in stemming the Conservative Reaction, which had begun in 1874, was only temporary. No statesman can battle against his times. Never had Mr. Gladstone a more arduous and difficult duty before him than during the four years of his second administration. He had an ingrained and unalterable hatred of aggression ; but the nation was bent on expansion. In Afghanistan, he had the strength to withdraw from a mischievous and wasteful expedition. In Egypt, he was forced to take action against Arabi Pasha; he halted and hesitated after the victory of Tel-el-Kebir; he was compelled in the end to occupy the country. In South Africa, Mr. Gladstone had the courage to restore independence to the Transvaal Re- public; and his countrymen considered this act as a shameful humiliation. In the Soudan, he had not the decision either to withdraw at once, or to advance at once; and the fall of Khartoum and of General Gordon was condemned by his countrynlen a crime.

I t was plain, Mr. Gladstone was not the man for the hour. He had been a Peace-Minister all his life; he would not now turn an Imperialist. He had befriended small nations all over the world; he would not annex small States now. His soul was bent on domestic and popular reforms ; the nation wanted a leader who would extend the limits of the Empire. His high character, his strong personality, and his unrivalled powers, still inspired respect and admiration; but his influence declined because the nation was bent on a different


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policy. When, therefore, he had carried the Third Reform Act in December I 884, his work was done. The Liberal Ministry resigned in June I 88 5. Twice after, Mr. Gladstone became Prime Minister with the help of the Irish vote; but he was never as popular in England after I 885 as the " People's Willism " had been before 1874. He was not the man that England wanted for her new foreign policy.

Lord Beaconsfield had died in I 88 I , and Lord Salisbury had become the Conservative Leader. When, therefore, the Conservatives came into power in I 885, Lord Salisbury became Prime Minister. And he re- mained in that high post until I 902, except during the brief periods when the Liberals were in power-from February to July I 886, and from I 892 to I 895. Lord Salisbury was not an Imperialist himself. He desired peace, and strove for peace. But he had the capacity to yield, and to drift with the tide, when he could not oppose it. He had ridiculed a forward policy in India, and had then yielded in 1875. He prevented a war with Russia by the limitation of the Indian frontier in I 885. He avoided a war with the United States by the Venezuela arbitration in I 89 5. He avoided unpleasant- ness with Germany by the delimitation of African posses- sions. And he settled amicably, and with signal success, the claims of Great Britain and France, both in Fashoda and on the Niger. All these high services will be re- membered to the credit of a Prime Minister who always strove for peace. But he yielded, when he could strive no longer, in the closing years of the century.

In India, the first result of this growing demand for expansion was the conquest of Upper Burma. Lord Dufferin had succeeded Lord Ripon as Viceroy of India. He was an able and accomplished statesman, possessing great tact and varied experience. He had been Under- secretary for India from 1864 to 1866, when Lord Lawrence was Viceroy of India. His brilliant adminis-


tration of Canada from 1872 to 1878 marked him out as an able administrator. He was then ambassador at St. Petersburg and at Constantinople; and he had some &are in abolishing the Dual Control and establishing British administration in Egypt,. In December 1884 he succeeded Lord Ripon in India, at the mature age of fifty-eight.

Complaints had been made against the King of Burma from time to time. The British Mission had been withdrawn from Ava in 1879. But the British Cabinet had advised the Indian Government to be "slow to precipitate a crisis." Negotiations for a new treaty, which took place at Simla in I 882, came to nothing. The demarcation of the Manipur frontier by Colonel Johnstone did not receive the assent of Burma. British merchants at Rangoon held a public meeting in October I 884, and urged the annexation of Upper Burma. The sins of the King were, as usual, exaggerated to inflame the public mind. Handbills were distributed describing King Thibaw as a drunkard. The Rangoon Chamber of Commerce addressed a circular letter to various Chambers of Commerce in Great Britain, desiring them to bring pressure to bear on the British Cabinet. I t was suggested that British Burma should be cut adrift from India, and formed into a Crown Colony.

In the meantime King Thibaw was endeavouring to strengthen his position by negotiations with the Powers of Europe. The Court of Ava despatched a Mission to Europe in I 8 8 3 ; and by April I 88 5 it had c