« PreviousContinue »
India alone amounts to about double the whole of the demand of England at that period.
In a late letter from the Governor-General of India to Sir Charles Wood, we find four other articles of commerce mentioned as showing remarkable development, and increasing in the following manner :1800. 1861.
409,243 571,736 811,108 1,598,084 Wool
473,544 862,672 1,477,214 1,511,644 Tea
101,693 131,314 179,613 222,035 Coffee .. 249,095 402,994 426,489 518,768
Although all these figures give but an imperfect idea of the existing trade with India and its future probable development, they are sufficient to show that it is a trade which adds materially to the prosperity of Great Britain. We shall now endeavour to show what advantages England derives from her rule over India, independently of her commerce with a country vast in extent, of matchless fertility, and peopled by industrious millions.
Let any of our readers glance over the families of his acquaintance, and we believe that he will find very few whose resources are not derived in some degree from India, or who are not looking to India as a provision for some of their members. Let him inquire at any of our large schools, and ascertain the proportion of their income paid by remittances from India, and he will be surprised to see how large that proportion is: or let him visit the sites of those educational establishments to which retired Indians are attracted for the education of their families, and let him remember that the sums there expended by Indian families are actual contributions from India to the wealth of England, for which the only return made by England has been the services of her civilians and soldiers, and he will see not only how large is the aggregate of those sums, but how they are contributing to the prosperity of the middling classes of England.
But to bring these facts into one point of view, and to place the matter in a light intelligible to all, and to derive our information from the most authentic sources, let us turn to the Parliamentary Papers,' which show the payments now made at the Bank of England, on account of the Secretary of State for India, and compare them with those made on account of the national debt of England.
We there find * that the charges paid in England by India
Parliamentary Papers, 15th May, 1865: East India Finance and Revenue Accounts,' p. 80
(excluding the value of stores supplied to India) for the year ending 30th April, 1864, amounted to 6,446,9131. We select from the payments of which this sum is composed those made in England from the revenues of India for services rendered, or as interest for money lent:
£. * Dividends to the proprietors of Indian stock .. 629,970 Interest on loans contracted in England
1,372,599 Civil pensions and retired allowances
246,918 Military pensions and retired allowances
1,165,043 Marine pensions and retired allowances
53,951 Guaranteed interest on the capital of railway and other companies, deducting net traffic receipt
5,137,764. We have selected these items as forming a standard of comparison with those made at the Bank of England on account of the National Debt. It is the annual dividend due by India to England for money lent, or for services performed, by those who have retired from the service to reside and spend their incomes in England. We find that these payments amount to nearly one-fourth of the dividend on the National Debt. At the English rate of interest (or three per cent.), they represent a capital of 173,000,0001. À bout 25,000,0001. should be added for capital, the interest on which is paid by the earnings of the railways, and the whole may be taken at the round sum of 200,000,0001., or more than one-fourth of the National Debt of England. But this gives still an inadequate idea of the flow of wealth from India to England. India—be it observed-pays the whole cost of the government, and so long as India is governed as at present, the following payments in England are also annual contributions to the wealth of the governing country (p. 99) :
£. Home establishments ..
171, 120 Civil furlough and absentee allowances
72,092 Military ditto
161,410 Marine ditto ..
407,276. Even to this we have to add a vast amount of miscellaneous charges ; for everything that is in any way connected with India is charged to India. Not only is the salary of Her Majesty's Secretary of State charged to India, but the new Office now under construction in St. James's Park is paid for by the people of India. In one year we find India is charged with
25,4891. 17s. 6d., being the expenses connected with the institution of the Order of the Star of India. As soon as a regiment is ordered for service in India, the cost of the depôt in England is charged to India. Thus we find in the account such entries as the following:
£. * Home civil establishment
132,254 The Imperial Government for troops serving in India 550,000' The above, it should be observed, are average annual charges. The whole sum paid by India in England has lately averaged about 13,000,0001., the whole of which is consequent upon our connexion with India as the ruling power; but as a large portion of it is in payment of railway materials, military stores, and other similar purchases, and in return for goods of equivalent value, we do not include it in the estimate. Omitting all these, the sum paid annually by India for the services of civilians and soldiers, and the interest of money lent, spent in England, forming a clear addition to the wealth of the country, is about 6,000,0001. a year.
But we have still only referred to the official remittances from India. In these are not included the savings and remittances through private channels of thousands of officials, civil and military, now engaged in the Indian service, a very large proportion of whom are remitting a share of their salaries for the support and education of their children in England, and as a provision for their declining years; but all are sums which come to England as the governing country, or as creditors of India. Were England to cease to govern India, the larger portion would be lost; were India to cease to have a civilised and solvent Government, the whole would be annihilated.
But, perhaps, to some minds a yet stronger impression of the greatness of our Indian empire and of its importance to England may be conveyed by a glance at the steam fleet by which our communication with India is carried on. For keeping up this communication is required a flotilla exceeding the national navy of any foreign European power, excepting France and Russia. The fleet of the Peninsular and Oriental Company consists of sixty-four ships, aggregating 90,545 tons and 18,649 horse-power. Although this splendid navy is the property of a private company, it owes its existence to the fact of England being the governing power in India. Every ship of this navy is available to England in time of war; but it is paid for by India. It adds enormously to the strength
of England, gives employment to her dockyards, educates her sea men, and trains her engineers, without cost to England. It is from the Indian correspondence that the postal subsidy is defrayed, and from Indian salaries that the passages are paid; it is to the existence of a governing body of Englishmen in India that it owes its existence; if England ceased to govern India, this fleet would cease to be.
But though owing its origin to the exigencies of the English Government of India and its resident servants, this fleet subserves the wants and interests of England in China, Australia, New Zealand, and Mauritius, and forms a chain of communication throughout the world, of which India is the most important link
If now we endeavour to form an estimate of the number of persons resident in England, who are creditors of the Indian Government for the above-mentioned income of 6,000,0001, a year, we may make an approximation in the following way :-In Mr. Danvers' • Report on the Railways of India for 1864-5, it is stated (p. 6) that the holders of shares in these railways amounted to 36,533, of whom all but 777 are resident in England. The aggregate amount of capital was 58,000,0001.
Adopting this proportion as a guide, the whole of the 200,000,0001. held by persons in England would be divided among 126,000 people. This would give to each proprietor a capital of about 16001. It is true that as much of the Indian dividend as is paid in the form of annuities is in large masses ; but if it be considered as divided among those who are supported by these annuities, the families and relations of the pensioners, the above number of 126,000 is probably a moderate estimate of those in England who have a considerable stake in the payments made at the Bank of England on account of the Government of India.
All this, let it once more be noted, is independent of the advantages which England as a commercial nation derives from her trade with India, to which we have referred above. Here, then, we see two vast streams of wealth flowing from India to England—the one dependent on there being in India a civilised Government of some sort—the other on England being herself that governing power. Can it be said that there is any analogy between this state of things and the connexion between England and her Colonies? Or can it for a moment be thought that the government of India could be renounced by England without an enorinous amount of ruin and disaster ?
The above facts must, we think, convince the most sceptical that England derives vast advantages from her connexion with India, and that these advantages are secured without cost to England. But if England thus gains by her connexion, is this result obtained by an equivalent loss on the part of India ? We are happy to think that so far from this being the case, great though the gain of England be, the gain on the part of India is far greater.
If a change from a state of anarchy to one of internal and external peace; if an improved police and purer administration of justice; if freedom of trade and the construction of roads and bridges; if the introduction of the railway and the telegraph ; if the diffusion of education, be national blessings; and if increasing population, extended agriculture, advancing knowledge, diminished crime, diffusion of social comforts, and enormously increased exports and imports be signs of national prosperity, those blessings India possesses, and those signs she exhibits—and the whole she owes to her connexion with England. It would be very easy to accumulate proof under each of these heads, from the most authentic sources, did our limits allow of it; but we can only refer to one or two. We have already mentioned the fact that the trade of India has increased in thirty years from 14,000,0001. to 89,000,0001. sterling, as a proof of national progress; and if we add that this enormous trade is balanced by the importation into India, in one year, of bullion to the value of 21,000,0001., some idea may be formed of the enormous and increasing wealth of India dependent upon the maintenance of her present Government.
We do not attach the same importance to the balance of trade as shown by the course of the precious metals as the first economists did, but in India the influx of the precious metals has a peculiar significance. Bullion is the luxury of the rich and the hoard of all classes. The influx of the precious metals leads to the same inferences in India as the increase of luxury and the rise of savings' bank deposits do in England. Bullion is the means by which the vain man displays and the cautious man conceals his wealth. It is therefore no slight proof of increasing national prosperity that the imports of bullion into India (rendered necessary to balance the trade between India and England) from the year 1800 exceed 256,000,000, while those of the two last years exceeded nineteen and twenty-one millions respectively.
The average value of exports from England to India from 1830 to 1835 was 3,342,3811.* In 1864 India was our largest. customer, and purchased our goods to the value of more than twenty millions of pounds sterling.
* See McCulloch's Commercial Dictionary.'