Cyclopædia of Political Science, Political Economy, and the Political History of the United States
EAST INDIES, a popular geographical term not very well defined, but generally understood to signify the continents and islands to the east and south of the river Indus, as far as the borders of China, including Timur and the Moluccas, but excluding the Philippine islands, New Guinea and New Holland. China and the Philippine islands were, however, included within the limit of the East India company's peculiar privileges.
—1. Distinction of Castes in India. Inaccuracy of the Representations as to the Inhabitants being unalterably attached to ancient Customs and Practices. We have taken occasion in the preceding sketch of the history of the East India company, repeatedly to notice the small extent of the trade carried on by its agency. It was contended, however, that this was to be ascribed, not to the deadening influence of monopoly, but to the peculiar state of the people of India. A notion has long been prevalent that the Hindoos are a race unsusceptible of change or improvement of any sort; that every man is brought up to the profession of his father, and can engage in none else; and that, owing to the simplicity and unalterableness of their habits, they never can be consumers, at least to any considerable extent, of foreign commodities. "What is now in India has always been there, and is likely still to continue" (Robertson's Disquisition, p. 202.) The Hindoos of this day are said to be the same as the Hindoos of the age of Alexander the Great. The description of them given by Arrian has been quoted as applying to their actual situation. It is affirmed that they have neither improved nor retrograded, and we are referred to India as to a country in which the institutions and manners that prevailed 3,000 years ago may still be found in their pristine purity. The president de Goguet lays it down distinctly in his learned and invaluable work On the Origin of Laus, Arts and Sciences, that in India "every trade is confined to a particular caste, and can be exercised only by those whose parents professed it." (Origin of Laws, etc., English translation, vol. iii., p. 24.) Dr. Robertson says that the "station of every Hindoo is unalterably fixed; his destiny is irrevocable; and the walk of life is marked out from which he must never deviate." (Disquisition on India, p. 199.) The same opinions are maintained by later authorities. Dr. Tennant says that "the whole Indian community is divided into four great classes; and each class is stationed between certain walls of separation, which are impassable by the purest virtue and most conspicuous merit." (Quoted by Mr Rickards, p 6.) This unalterable destiny of individuals has been repeatedly assumed in the dispatches and official papers put forth by the East India company, and has been referred to on all occasions by them and their servants as a proof that the depressed and miserable condition of the natives is not owing to misgovernment, or to the weight of the burdens laid upon them; and that it is in vain to think of materially improving their condition, or of making them acquainted with new arts, or giving them new habits, so long as the institution of castes, and the prejudices to which it has given rise, preserve their ascendency unimpaired.
—But notwithstanding the universal currency which the opinions now referred to have obtained, and the high authority by which they are supported, they are, in all the most essential respects, entirely without foundation! The books and codes of the Hindoos themselves, and the minute and careful observations that have recently been made on Indian society, have shown that the influence ascribed to the institution of castes by the ancients, and by the more early modern travelers, has been prodigiously exaggerated. In the first part of his work on India, Mr. Rickards established, partly by references to the authoritative books of the Hindoos, and partly by his own observations, and those of Mr. Colebrooke, Dr. Heber, and other high authorities, that the vast majority of the Hindoo population may and in fact do, engage in all sorts of employments. It has been further shown that there is nothing in the structure of Indian society to oppose any serious obstacle to the introduction of new arts, or the spread of improvement; and that the causes of the poverty and misery of the people must be sought for in other circumstances than the institution of castes and the nature of Hindoo superstition.
—The early division of the population into the four great classes of priests (Brahmans), soldiers (Cshatryas), husbandmen and artificers (Vaisyas), and slaves (Sudras), was maintained only for a very short period. The Hindoo traditions record that a partial intermixture of these classes took place at a very remote epoch; and the mixed brood thence arising were divided into a vast variety of new tribes, or castes, to whom, speaking generally, no employments are forbidden.
—"The employments," says Mr. Rickards, "allowed to these mixed and impure castes may be said to be every description of handicraft and occupation for which the wants of human society have created a demand. Though many seem to take their names from their ordinary trade or profession, and some have duties assigned them too low and disgusting for any others to perform but from the direst necessity yet no employment, generally speaking, is forbidden to the mixed and impure tribes, excepting three of the prescribed duties of the sacerdotal class, viz., teaching the Vedas, officiating at a sacrifice, and receiving presents from a pure-handed giver: which three are exclusively Brahminical."
—Mr. Colebrooke, who is acknowledged on all hands to be one of the very highest authorities as to all that respects Indian affairs, has a paper in the fifth volume of the Asiatic Researches, on the subject of castes. In this paper Mr. Colebrooke states that the Jatimala, a Hindoo work, enumerates forty-two mixed classes springing from the intercourse of a man of inferior class with a woman of superior class, or in the inverse order of the classes. Now, if we add to these the number that must have sprung from intermixture in the direct order of the classes, and the hosts further arising from the continued intermixture of the mixed tribes among themselves, we shall not certainly be disposed to dissent from Mr. Colebrooke's conclusion "that the subdivisions of these classes have further multiplied distinctions to an endless variety"
—Mr. Colebrooke has given the following distinct and accurate account of the professions and employments of the several classes at the present day. It forms a curious commentary on the "irrevocable destiny" of Dr. Robertson, and the "impassable walls" of Dr. Tennant.—"A Brahman, unable to subsist by his duties, may live by the duty of a soldier; if he can not get a subsistence by either of these employments, he may apply to tillage and attendance on cattle, or gain a competence by traffic, avoiding certain commodities. A Cshatrya in distress may subsist by all these means; but he must not have recourse to the highest functions. In seasons of distress a further latitude is given. The practice of medicine and other learned professions, painting and other arts, work for wages, menial service, alms, and usury, are among the modes of subsistence allowed both to the Brahman and Cshatrya. A Vaisya, unable to subsist by his own duties, may descend to the servile acts of a Sudra; and a Sudra, not finding employment by waiting on men of the higher classes, may subsist by handicrafts; principally following those mechanical operations, as joinery and masonry, and practical arts, as painting and writing, by which he may serve men of superior classes, and although a man of a lower class is in general restricted from the acts of a higher class, the Sudra is expressly permitted to become a trader or a husbandman.
—Besides the particular occupation assigned to each of the mixed classes, they have the alternative of following that profession which regularly belongs to the class from which they derive their origin on the mother's side: those at least have such an option who are born in the direct order of the classes. The mixed classes are also permitted to subsist by any of the duties of a Sudra; that is, by menial service, by handicrafts, by commerce, and agriculture. Hence it appears that almost every occupation, though regularly it be the profession of a particular class, is open to most other classes; and that the limitations, far from being rigorous, do in fact reserve only the peculiar profession of the Brahman, which consists in teaching the Vida, and officiating at religious ceremonies." "We have thus," says Mr. Rickards, by whom this passage has been quoted, "the highest existing authority for rejecting the doctrine of the whole Hindoo community being divided into four castes,' and of their peculiar prerogatives being guarded inviolate by impassable walls of separation.' It is also clear that the intermixture of castes had taken place, to an indefinite extent, at the time when the Dherma Sastra was composed, which Sir William Jones computes to be about 880 years B. C.; for the mixed classes are specified in this work, and it also refers in many places to past times, and to events which a course of time only could have brought about. The origin of the intermixture is therefore lost in the remotest and obscurest antiquity; and having been carried on through a long course of ages, a heterogeneous mass is everywhere presented to us, in these latter times, without a single example, in any particular state, or kingdom, or separate portion of the Hindoo community, of that quadruple division of castes which has been so confidently insisted upon. I have myself seen carpenters of five or six different castes, and as many different bricklayers, employed on the same building. The same diversity of castes may be observed among the craftsmen in dockyards, and all other great works; and those who have resided for any time in the principal commercial cities of India must be sensible that every increasing demand for labor, in all its different branches and varieties of old and new arts, has been speedily and effectually supplied, in spite of the tremendous institution of castes, which we are taught to believe forms so impassable an obstruction to the advancement of Indian industry."
—2. Growing Demand for English Goods. It is difficult to suppose that the directors of the East India company should not have been early aware of the fallacy of the opinions as to the fixedness of Indian habits. So fat, however, as we know, they did not, in this instance, evince any acquaintance with the discoveries of their servants. On the contrary, in all the discussions that took place with respect to the opening of the trade in 1814, the company invariably contended that no increase of trade to India could be expected. In a letter of the chairman and deputy chairman to the Right Honorable Robert Dundas, dated Jan. 13, 1809, it is stated that the small demand for foreign commodities in India "results from the nature of the Indian people, their climate and their usages. The articles of first necessity their own country furnishes more abundantly and more cheaply than it is possible for Europe to supply them. The labor of the great body of the common people only enables them to subsist on rice, and to wear a slight covering of cotton cloth; they, therefore, can purchase none of the superfluities the English offer them. The comparatively few in better circumstances restricted, like the rest, by numerous religious and civil customs, of which all are remarkably tenacious, find few of English commodities to their taste; and their climate, so dissimilar to England, renders many of them unsuitable to their use; so that a commerce between them and England can not proceed far upon the principle of supplying mutual wants. Hence, except woolens in a very limited degree, for mantles in the cold season, and metals, on a scale also very limited, to be worked up by their own artisans for the few utensils they need, hardly any of English staple commodities find a vent among the Indians; the other exports which Europe sends to India being chiefly consumed by the European population there, and some of the descendants of the early Portuguese settlers; all of whom, taken collectively, form but a small body in view to any question of national commerce." (Papers published by authority of the East India Company, 1813, p. 21.)
—The volume from which we have made this extract, contains a variety of passages to the same effect. So confident, indeed, were the company that they had carried the trade to India to the utmost extent of which it was capable, that it was expressly stated, in resolutions passed in a general court held at the India house on Jan. 26. 1813, "that no large or sudden addition can be made to the amount of British exports to India or China," that the company had suffered a loss in attempting to extend this branch of their trade, that the warehouses at home were glutted with Indian commodities for which there was no demand, and that to open the outports to the trade would be no other than "a ruinous transfer of it into new channels, to the destruction of immense and costly establishments, and the beggary of many thousands of industrious individuals."
—Luckily, however, these representations were unable to prevent the opening of the trade, and the result has sufficiently demonstrated their fallacy. The enterprise and exertion of individuals have vastly increased English exports to India—to that very country which the company had so confidently pronounced was, and would necessarily continue to be, incapable of affording any additional outlet for English peculiar products!
—The commercial accounts for 1812 and 1813 were unfortunately destroyed by the fire at the custom house. The trade to India was opened on April 10, 1814; and in that year the declared or real value of the products exported from Great Britain to the countries eastward of the cape of Good Hope, excepting China, by the East India company, was £826,558, and by the private traders, £1,048,132 In 1817 the company's exports had declined to £638,382, while those of the private traders had increased to £2,750,333, and in 1828 the former had sunk to only £488,601, while the latter had increased to £3,979,072, being more than double the total exports to India, as well by the company as by private traders, in 1814! Since then the market has continued progressively to increase. At an average of the six years ending with 1849, the declared value of the exports of British goods amounted to no less than £6,313,668 a year; the declared value of those exported in 1849 being £6,803,274. In 1854, previously to the outbreak, the exports to India had reached the sum of £10,025,969.
—The company stated, and no doubt truly, that they lost a very large sum in attempting to extend the demand for British woolens in India and China, which, notwithstanding, continues very limited. But in their efforts to force the sale of woolens, they seem to have entirely forgotten that England had attained to great excellency in the manufacture of cotton stuffs, the article principally made use of as clothing in Hindostan; and that, notwithstanding the cheapness of labor in India, the advantage derived from England's superior machinery might enable her to offer cotton stuffs to the natives at a lower price than they could afford to manufacture them for. No sooner, however, had the trade been opened to private adventurers than this channel of enterprise was explored; and the result has been, that, instead of bringing cottons from India to England, the former has become one of the best and most extensive markets for the cottons of the latter. We question, indeed, whether, in the whole history of commerce, another equally striking example can be produced of the powerful influence of competition in opening new and almost boundless fields for the successful prosecution of commercial enterprise.
—In 1814, the first year of the free trade to India, the exports of cotton amounted to 817,000 yards, of which only about 170,000 yards, valued at £17,778, were exported by the company' The progress of the trade has since been such, that in 1866 England exported to India 544,699,474 yards of cotton stuffs, and 19,849,460 lbs. twist and yarn, ex. hosiery, lace and small wares, the aggregate declared value of the whole being £12,773,302.
—The demand for several other articles of British manufactures has increased with great rapidity. Notwithstanding all that has been said as to the immutability of Hindoo habits, the fact is not to be denied that a taste for European products and customs is rapidly spreading itself over India; and the fair presumption is, that it will continue to gain ground according as education is more generally diffused, and as the natives become better acquainted with English language, arts and habits. The authenticity of Dr. Heber's statements can not be called in question; and there are many passages in different parts of his journal that might be quoted corroborative of what has now been stated. Our limits, however, will only permit of our making a very few extracts.—"Nor have the religious prejudices and the unchangeableness of the Hindoo habits been less exaggerated. Some of the best informed of their nation, with whom I have conversed, assure me that half their most remarkable customs of civil and domestic life are borrowed from their Mohammedan conquerors; and at present there is an obvious and increasing disposition to imitate the English in everything, which has already led to very remarkable changes, and will, probably, to still more important. The wealthy natives now all affect to have their houses decorated with Corinthian pillars, and filled with English furniture, they drive the best horses and the most dashing carriages in Calcutta; many of them speak English fluently, and are tolerably read in English literature, and the children of one of our friends I saw one day dressed in jackets and trousers, with round hats, shoes and stockings. In the Bengalee newspapers, of which there are two or three, politics are canvassed with a bias, as I am told, inclined to Whiggism; and one of their leading men gave a great dinner, not long since, in honor of the Spanish revolution: among the lower orders the same feeling shows itself more beneficially in a growing neglect of caste." (Vol. ii., p. 306)—"To say that the Hindoos or Mussulmans are deficient in any essential feature of a civilized people, is an assertion which I can scarcely suppose to be made by any who have lived with them; their manners are at least as pleasing and courteous as those in the corresponding stations of late among ourselves; their houses are larger, and, according to their wants and climate, to the full as convenient as ours; their architecture is at least as elegant; nor is it true that in the mechanic arts they are inferior to the general run of European nations. Where they fall short of us (which is chiefly in agricultural implements, and the mechanics of common life), they are not, so far as I have understood of Italy and the south of France, surpassed in any degree by the people of those countries. Their goldsmiths and weavers produce as beautiful fabrics as our own; and it is so far from true that they are obstinately wedded to their old patterns, that they show an anxiety to imitate our models, and do imitate them very successfully. The ships built by native artists at Bombay are notoriously as good as any which sail from London or Liverpool. The carriages and gigs which they supply at Calcutta are as handsome, though not as durable, as those of Long Acre. In the little town of Monghyr, 300 miles from Calcutta, I had pistols, double barreled guns and different pieces of cabinet-work brought down to my boat for sale, which in outward form (for I know no further) nobody but perhaps Mr.——— could detect to be of Hindoo origin; and at Delhi, in the shop of a wealthy native jeweler, I found brooches, ear-rings, snuff-boxes, etc., of the latest models (so far as I am a judge), and ornamented with French devices and mottoes." (Vol. ii., p. 382.)
—As Bishop Heber penetrated into the interior of India, he found the same taste as in Calcutta, for European articles and for luxuries, prevalent everywhere among the natives. Of Benares he writes as follows: "But what surprised me still more, as I penetrated farther into it, were the large, lofty and handsome dwelling houses, the beauty and apparent richness of the goods exposed in the bazaars, and the evident hum of business. Benares is in fact a very industrious and wealthy as well as a very holy city. It is the great mart where the shawls of the north, the diamonds of the south, and the muslims of Dacca and the eastern provinces centre; and it has very considerable silk, cotton and fine woolen manufactories of its own, while English hardware, swords, shields and spears, from Lucknow and Monghyr, and those European luxuries and elegancies which are daily becoming more popular in India, circulate from hence through Bundelcund, Gorruckpoor, Nepaul, and other tracts which are removed from the main artery of the Ganges." (Vol. i., p. 289.)
—Proceeding still farther into the interior of the country, and when at Nusserabad, distant 1,051 miles from Calcutta, the bishop continues his journal in the same strain, viz.: "European articles are, at Nusserabad [near Ajmeer, in the heart of the Rajpoot country], as might be expected, very dear; the shops are kept by a Greek and two Parsees from Bombay; they had in their list all the usual items of a Calcutta warehouse. English cotton cloths, both white and printed, are to be met with commonly in wear among the people of the country, and many, I learned to my surprise, be bought best and cheapest, as well as all kinds of hardware, crockery, writing desks, etc., at Pallee, a large town and celebrated mart in Marwar, on the edge of the desert, several days' journey west of Joudpoor, where, till very lately, no European was known to have penetrated." (Vol. ii., p. 36.)
—As to the character of the Hindoos, their capacity, and even anxious desire, for improvement, the bishop's testimony is equally clear and decided; and as this is a point of pre-eminent importance, the reader's attention is requested to the following statements: "In the schools which have been lately established in this part of the empire, of which there are at present nine established by the Church Missionary, and eleven by the Christian Knowledge societies, some very unexpected facts have occurred. As all direct attempts to convert the children are disclaimed, the parents send them without scruple. But it is no less strange than true, that there is no objection made to the use of the Old and New Testament as a class book; that so long as the teachers do not urge them to eat what will make them lose their caste, or to be baptized, or to curse their country's gods, they readily consent to everything else; and not only Mussulmans, but Brahmans, stand by with perfect coolness, and listen sometimes with apparent interest and pleasure, while the scholars, by the roadside, are reading the stories of the creation and of Jesus Christ." (Vol. ii., p. 290.)—"Hearing all I had heard of the prejudices of the Hindoos and Mussalmans, I certainly did not at all expect to find that the common people would, not only without objection, but with the greatest thankfulness, send their children to schools on Bell's system; and they seem to be fully sensible of the advantages conferred by writing, arithmetic, and above all by a knowledge of English There are now in Calcutta, and the surrounding villages, 20 boys' schools, containing 60 to 120 each: and 23 girls', each of 25 or 30." (Vol. ii, p. 300.)—"In the same holy city [Benares] I visited another college, founded lately by a wealthy Hindoo banker, and intrusted by him to the management of the Church Missionary society, in which, besides a grammatical knowledge of the Hindoostanee language, as well as Persian and Arabic, the senior boys could pass a good examination in English grammar, in Hume's History of England, Joyce's Scientific Dialogues, the use of the globes, and the principal facts and moral precepts of the gospel; most of them writing beautifully in the Persian, and very tolerably in the English character, and excelling most boys I have met with in the accuracy and readiness of their arithmetic." (Vol. ii., p. 388)—"The different nations which I have seen in India (for it is a great mistake to suppose that all India is peopled by a single race, or that there is not as great a disparity between the inhabitants of Guzerat, Bengal, the Dooab, and the Deccan, both in language, manners and physiognomy, as between any four nations in Europe) have, of course, in a greater or less degree, the vices which must be expected to attend on arbitrary government, a demoralizing and absurd religion, and (in all the independent states, and in some of the districts which are partially subject to the British) a laxity of law, and an almost universal prevalence of intestine fends and habits of plunder. The general character, however, has much which is extremely pleasing to me: they are brave, courteous, intelligent, and most eager after knowledge and improvement, with a remarkable talent for the sciences of geometry, astronomy, etc., as well as for the arts of painting and sculpture In all these points they have had great difficulties to struggle with, both from the want of models, instruments and elementary instruction; the indisposition, or rather the horror entertained, till lately, by many among their European masters, for giving them instruction of any kind; and now from the real difficulty which exists of translating works of science into languages which have no corresponding terms" (Vol. ii., p. 409.)
—Even if our space permitted, it would be unnecessary to add to these extracts The facts and circumstances now mentioned, must, we think, satisfy every one that there is nothing in the nature of Indian society, in the institution of castes as at present existing, or in the habits and customs of the natives, to hinder them from advancing in the career of civilization, commerce and wealth. "It may safely be asserted," says Mr. Hamilton, "that with so vast an extent of fertile soil, peopled by so many millions of tractable and industrious inhabitants, Hindostan is capable of supplying the whole world with any species of tropical merchandise; the production, in fact, being only limited by the demand."
—3. Colonization of India. Considerable obstacles were long thrown in the way of Europeans establishing themselves in India, and particularly of their acquiring or holding land. This policy was dictated by various considerations; partly by a wish to prevent the extrusion of the natives from the soil which it was supposed would be eagerly bought up by Europeans, and partly by the fear lest the latter, when scattered over the country, and released from any effectual control, should offend the prejudices of the natives and get embroiled with them. Now, however, it seems to be the general opinion of those best acquainted with India, that but little danger is to be apprehended from these circumstances; that the few Europeans established in it as indigo planters, etc., have contributed very materially to its improvement; and that the increase and diffusion of the English population, and their permanent settlement in the country, are at once the most likely means of spreading a knowledge of English arts and sciences, and of widening and strengthening the foundations of English ascendency. It is obvious, indeed that the duration of the English power in India must depend on a very uncertain tenure unless they take root, as it were, in the soil and a considerable portion of the population be attached to them by the ties of kindred, and of common interests and sympathies. In this respect they should imitate the Roman in preference to the Lacedæmonian or Athenian policy. We formerly expressed the opinion that looking at the density of population in India, the low rate of wages, the nature of the climate, and other similar circumstances, it seemed very doubtful whether it would ever become the resort of any considerable number of English settlers, at least of such a number as would be sufficient, within any reasonable period, to form anything like a powerful native English interest; and we have now to state that these anticipations have been more than realized, and that though the restraints on the settlement of Englishmen in India have been practically at an end since 1834, very few have availed themselves of the privilege. There may no doubt, though we see little reason to anticipate such a result, be a greater emigration to India in time to come; and to whatever extent it may be carried, it promises to be highly advantageous. "We need not, I imagine," said Lord William Bentinck, "use any labored argument to prove that it would be infinitely advantageous for India to borrow largely in arts and knowledge from England. The legislature has expressly declared the truth; its acknowledgment has been implied in the daily acts and professions of government and in all the efforts of humane individuals and societies for the education of the people. Nor will it, I conceive, be doubted that the diffusion of useful knowledge, and its application to the arts and business of life, must be comparatively tardy unless we add to precept the example of Europeans, mingling familiarly with the natives in the course of their profession, and practically demonstrating by daily recurring evidence, the nature and the value of the principles we desire to inculcate, and of the plans we seek to have adopted. It seems to be almost equally plain, that independently of their influencing the native community in this way, various and important national advantages will result from there being a considerable body of our countrymen and their descendants settled in the country. To question it, is to deny the superiority which has gained us the dominion of India; it is to doubt whether national character has any effect on national wealth, strength and good government, it is to shut our eyes to all the perils and difficulties of our situation; it is to hold as nothing community of language, sentiment and interest between the government and the governed; it is to disregard the evidence afforded by every corner of the globe in which the British flag is hoisted; it is to tell our merchants and manufacturers that the habits of a people go for nothing in creating a market; and that enterprise, skill and capital, and the credit which creates capital, are of no avail in the production of commodities."
—In order to facilitate the development of agriculture and the employment of British capital in India, Lord Canning (being governor general) issued a series of ordinances in October, 1861, for the sale of waste lands, and the redemption of the land tax, the object being to effect "the sale of waste lands in perpetuity, discharged from all prospective demand on account of land revenue," and "permission to redeem the existing land revenue by the immediate payment of one sum equal in value to the revenue redeemed."
—Advantage of India to England. The popular opinions in regard to the vast advantages derived by England from the government of India are as fallacious as can well be imagined. It is doubtful, indeed, whether its advantages compensate for its disadvantages India never has been, and never can be, a field for the resort of ordinary emigrants. It has, it is true, furnished an outlet for considerable numbers of well-educated young men of the middle classes, but the fortunes of those who return to spend the evening of their days in England are far short of compensating for the outlay on themselves and on those who die in the service. And there is but little ground to bank that the legitimate trade England carries on with India (we say legitimate, for a considerable portion of English trade with India is carried on upon account of the British troops serving in the peninsula) is greater than it would have been had it continued subject to its native rulers; neither is it by any means improbable that the large public debt of India will, in the end, have to be partially or wholly provided for by England.
—England may flatter her vanity by dwelling on the high destiny and glory of providing for the regeneration and well-being of 190 or 200 millions of human beings; but she has yet to learn whether this be not an undertaking that is greatly beyond her means, and whether, in attempting to elevate a debased and enervated race (supposing that she really make such an attempt) 12,000 miles from her shores, she may not be sapping the foundations of her own power and greatness.
—Nothing during the outbreak of 1857 was more extraordinary than the fact of its having failed to bring forward a single native chief of talent. In every contest the inferiority even of the best drilled sepoys, when brought face to face with Europeans, was most striking. No superiority of numbers gave them a chance of success. They continue to be precisely what they were at Plassey and Assaye.
J. R. M'CULLOCH AND HUGH G. RETD.
—Constitution and Government of the East Indies. The present form of government of the Indian empire is established by the act 21 and 22 Victoriæ, cap 106, called "An act for the better government of India," sanctioned Aug. 2, 1858. By the terms of this act, all the territories hereto-fore under the government of the East India company are vested in her majesty, and all its powers are exercised in her name; all territorial and other revenues and all tributes and other payments are likewise received in her name, and disposed of for the purposes of the government of India alone, subject to the provisions of this act. One of her majesty's principal secretaries of state, called the secretary of state for India, is invested with all the powers hitherto exercised by the company or by the board of control. By acts 39 and 40 Viet., cap. 10. proclaimed at Delhi, before all the princes and high dignitaries of India. Jan 1, 1877, the queen of Great Britain and Ireland assumed the additional title of Indiæ Imperatrix, or Empress of India.
—The executive authority in India is vested in a governor general, or viceroy, appointed by the crown, and acting under the orders of the secretary of state for India. By acts 24 and 25 Viet., cap. 67. amended by act 28 Viet., cap. 17, and by acts 32 and 33 Viet., cap. 98, the governor general in council has power to make laws for all persons, whether British or native, foreigners or others, within the Indian territories under the dominion of her majesty, and for all subjects of the crown within the dominions of Indian princes and states in alliance with her majesty.
—The government of the Indian empire is entrusted, by acts 21 and 22 Viet., cap. 97, to a secretary of state for India, aided by a council of fifteen members, of whom at first seven were elected by the court of directors from their own body, and eight were nominated by the crown. In future, vacancies in the council will be filled up by the secretary of state for India. But the major part of the council must be of persons who have served or resided ten, years in India, and not have left India more than ten years previous to the date of their appointment and no person not so qualified can be appointed unless nine of the continuing members be so qualified. The office is held for a term of ten years; but a member may be removed upon an address from both houses of parliament and the secretary of state for India may for special reasons reappoint a member of the council for a further term of five years. No member can sit in parliament.
—The duties of the council of state are, under the direction of the secretary of state, to conduct the business transacted in the United Kingdom in relation to the government of and the correspondence with India; but every order sent to India must be signed by the secretary, and all dispatches from the governments and presidencies in India must be addressed to the secretary. The secretary has to divide the council into committees, to direct what departments shall be under such committees respectively, and to regulate the transaction of business. The secretary is to be president of the council, and has to appoint from time to time a vice-president. The meetings of the council are to be held when and as the secretary shall direct; but at least one meeting must be held every week, at which not less than five members shall be present.
—The government in India is exercised by the "council of the governor general," consisting of five ordinary members, and one extraordinary member, the latter the commander in-chief. The ordinary members of the council preside over the departments of foreign affairs, finances, the interior, military administration, and public works, but do not form part, as such, of what is designated in European governments a "cabinet." The appointment of the ordinary members of the "council of the governor general," the governors of presidencies, and of the governors of provinces, is made by the crown. The lieutenant governors of the various provinces are appointed by the governor general, subject to the approbation of the secretary of state for India.
—Revenue and Expenditure. According to the act of 1858 the revenue and expenditure of the Indian empire are subjected to the control of the secretary in council, and no grant or appropriation of any part of the revenue can be made without the concurrence of a majority of the council.
—The subjoined table gives the total gross amount of the actual revenue and expenditure of India, distinguishing Indian and home expenditure, in each of the ten fiscal years, ending March 31, 1871-80:
—The following table shows the distribution of the revenue and the expenditure over the various presidencies and provinces in each of the two financial years, ending March 31, 1879 and 1880:
—In the budget estimates for the financial year 1878-9, the revenue was assessed at £64,562,000, and the ordinary expenditure at £65,917,000, leaving a deficit of £1,355,000. Besides the ordinary expenditure, a sum of £3,500,000 was set down as probable extraordinary expenditure for public works, raising the total deficit to £4,855,000. The budget estimates for 1879-80 fixed the total revenue at £64,620,000, and the total expenditure at £65,930,000, including £2,000,000 for the expenses of the Afghan war. The excess of ordinary expenditure over revenue in the year 1879-80 was estimated at £1,395,000, and the capital expenditure on productive public works at £3,500,000.
—The following table, compiled from official documents, exhibits the growth of the three most important sources of the public revenue of India, namely, land, opium and salt, in the ten financial years, ending March 31, 1871-80:
—The most important source of public revenue to which rulers in India have, in all ages, looked for obtaining their income, is the land, the revenue from which, in the year before the mutiny, furnished more than one-half of the total receipts of the East India company's treasury. At present, when the necessities of the Indian exchequer require that government should resort more largely to the aid of duties levied on the continually increasing trade of the country, the revenue from land produces not quite so much in proportion, but it still forms two-fifths of the total receipts of the empire.
—The land revenue of India, as of all eastern countries, is generally regarded less as a tax on the landowners than as the result of a joint proprietorship in the soil, under which the produce is divided, in unequal and generally uncertain proportions, between the ostensible proprietors and the state. It would seem a matter of justice, therefore, as well as of security for the landowners, that the respective shares should, at a given period, or for specified terms, be strictly defined and limited. Nevertheless, the proportion which the assessment bears to the full value of the land varies greatly in the several provinces and districts of India. Under the old native system a fixed proportion of the gross produce was taken; but the British system ordinarily deals with the surplus or net produce which the land may yield after deducting the expenses of cultivation.
—In Bengal a permanent settlement was made by Lord Cornwallis, by which measure the government was debarred from any further direct participation in the cultivation of the country. The division of Benares was also permanently settled about the same time. In the northwestern provinces, a general settlement of the revenue was completed in 1840, fixing the amount to be paid by each village for a period of thirty years; and a similar course was adopted in the Punjab. Some of the districts of the Punjab were inadequately assessed at former settlements, and these have therefore been confirmed for a term of ten years only. In many cases these expired in 1874 and 1875, and the revised settlements which were subsequently made were generally for thirty years. It is estimated that in most cases the assessment is about two-thirds of the yearly value—that is, the surplus after deducting expenses of cultivation, profits of stock, and wages of labor. In the revised settlements more recently made it was reduced to one-half of the yearly value.
—In the Madras presidency there are three different revenue systems. The zemindary tenure exists in some districts, principally in the northern circars; the proprietors, of whom some possess old ancestral estates, and others were created land-holders in 1802, hold the land direct from the government, on payment of a fixed annual sum. In the second, the village renting system, the villages stand in the position of the zemindar, and hold the land jointly from the government, allotting the different portions for cultivation among themselves. Under the third, the ryotwar system, every registered holder of land is recognized as its proprietor, and pays direct to the government. He can sublet, transfer, sell or mortgage it; he can not be ejected by the government, and so long as he pays the fixed assessment he has the option of annually increasing or diminishing the cultivation on his holding, or he may entirely abandon it. In unfavorable seasons remissions of assessment are granted for loss of produce. The assessment is fixed in money, and does not vary from year to year, except when water is obtained from a government source of irrigation; nor is any addition made to the rent for improvements effected at the ryot's own expense. He has, therefore, all the benefits of a perpetual lease without its responsibilities, as he can at any time throw up his lands, but can not be ejected so long as he pays his dues, and receives assistance in difficult seasons. An annual settlement is made not to reassess the land, but to determine upon how much of his holding the ryot shall pay; when no change occurs in the holding, theory of is not affected by the annual settlement, and is not required to attend it. The ryotwar system may be said to essentially prevail throughout the presidency of Madras, as the zemindar and village renter equally deal with their tenants on this principle.
—In Bombay and the Berars the revenue management is generally ryotwar; that is, as a rule, the occupants of government lands settle for their land revenue, or rent, with the government officers direct, and not through the intervention of a middleman. Instances, however, occasionally occur in which the government revenues of entire villages are settled by individual superior holders, under various denominations, or by a copartnership of superior holders. The survey and assessment of the Bombay presidency has been almost completed on a system introduced and carefully elaborated about twenty years ago. The whole country is surveyed and mapped, and the fields distinguished by permanent boundary marks, which it is penal to remove; the soil of each field is classed according to its intrinsic qualities and to the climate; and the rate of assessment to be paid on fields of each class in each subdivision of a district is fixed on a careful consideration of the value of the crops they are capable of producing, as affected by the proximity to market towns, roads, canals, railways, and similar external incidents, but not by improvements made by the ryot himself. This rate was probably about one-half of the yearly value of the land, when fixed; but, owing to the general improvement of the country, it is not more than from a fourth to an eighth in the districts which have not been settled quite recently. The measurement and classification of the soil are made once for all; but the rate of assessment is open for revision at the end of every thirty years, in order that the ryot, on the one hand, may have the certainty of the long period as an inducement to lay out capital, and that the state, on the other, may secure that participation in the advantages accruing from the general progress of society to which its joint proprietorship of the land entitles it. In the thirty years revision, moreover, only public improvements and a general change of prices, but not improvements effected by the ryots themselves, are considered as grounds for enhancing the assessment. The ryot's tenure is permanent, provided he pays the assessment.
—The important questions of the propriety of settling in perpetuity the amount of revenue to be paid to the government by landholders, of permitting this revenue to be redeemed forever by the payment of a capital sum of money, and of selling the fee simple of waste lands not under assessment, have been within the last few years fully considered by the government of India. The expediency of allowing owners of land to redeem the revenue has long been advocated as likely to promote the settlement of European colonists; but experience seems to show that advantage is very rarely taken of the power which already exists in certain cases to redeem the rent by a quit payment; and it appears unlikely that such a permission would be acted upon to any great extent, while the rate of interest afforded by an investment in the purchase of the land assessment is as low as at present in India.
—Next in importance to the land revenue is the income derived from the opium monopoly. The cultivation of the poppy is prohibited in Bengal, except for the purpose of selling the juice to the officers of the government at a certain fixed price. It is manufactured into opium at the government factories at Patna and Ghazipore, and then sent to Calcutta, and sold by auction to merchants who export it to China. In the Bombay presidency, the revenue is derived from the opium which is manufactured in the native states of Malwa and Guzerat, on which passes are given, at the price of £60 per chest, weighing 140 lbs. net, to merchants who wish to send opium to the port of Bombay. The poppy is not cultivated in the presidency of Madras. The gross revenue derived from opium averaged, during the ten years, 1869 to 1878, the sum of £8,500,000.
—The largest branch of expenditure is that for the army, equal to the aggregate annual revenue from salt and opium. The maintenance of the armed force to uphold British rule in India cost £12,000,000 the year before the great mutiny, and subsequently rose to above £25,000,000; but after the year 1861 sank, for a short period, to less than £15,000,000. It was £16,793,306 in the financial year 1865-6; £16,329,739 in 1869-70; £15,228,429 in 1873-4; £15,308,460 in 1875-6; £16,639,761 in 1877-8: £17,092,488 in the financial year 1878-9, and £21,712,862 in the financial year 1879-80. The amount of the public debt in India, including that incurred in Great Britain, was £59,943,814 on April 30, 1837. In the course of the next five years the debt was largely increased, and on April 30, 1862, it had risen to £99,652,053. From 1862 to 1868 the government was enabled to pay off some portion, and at the end of the financial year 1868 the total had been reduced to £95,054,858. In the course of the eleven years, 1868 - 78, there was again an increase of nearly £39,000,000 in the total debt.
—The subjoined table shows the amount of the public debt of British India, both the interest bearing and not interest bearing, and distinguishing the debt in India and in Great Britain, in each of the financial years ending March 31, 1871-80:
The total debt in India and Great Britain amounted to £96,194,642 on March 31, 1869, and had increased to £131,728,065 on March 31, 1880. Not included in the latter total were "obligations"—including treasury notes and bills, service funds, and savings bank balances—to the amount of £1,406,620, bringing the entire liabilities up to £153,134,685. The total interest on debt and obligations amounted to £4,954,021 in the financial year 1879-80.
—The currency of India is chiefly silver, and the amount of money coined annually is large. In the ten financial years ending March 31, 1871-80, the value of the new coinage was as follows:
—On July 16, 1861, an act was passed by the government of India, providing for the issue of a paper currency through a government department of public issue, by means of promissory notes. Circles of issue were established from time to time, as found necessary, and the notes were made legal tender within the circle in which they were issued, and rendered payable at the place of issue, and also at the capital city of the presidency within which that place was situated. Under the provisions of further laws, consolidated by a statute known as Act III. of 1871, the issue was regulated in seven descriptions of notes, namely, for 10,000 rupees, or £1,000: for 1,000 rupees, or £100; for 500 rupees, or £50: for 100 rupees, or £10; for 50 rupees, or £5; for 20 rupees, or £2; for 10 rupees, or £1; and for 5 rupees, or 10s. There are ten currency circles, the headquarters of which are at Calcutta. Allahabad, Lahore, Nagpore, Madras, Calicut, Cocanada, Bombay, Kurrachee and Akolah. (Official Communication)
—The following were the total amounts of notes in circulation—calculated at 2s. the rupee—on March 31 in each year, since the introduction of the state paper currency in 1861:
—Nearly two-thirds of the total note circulation are in the currency circles of Calcutta and Bombay. The circulation in Calcutta was to the amount of £6,436,556, and in Bombay to the amount of £3,345,067, March 31, 1880.
—Army. The act of parliament which transferred the government of India to the crown, in 1858, directed that the military forces of the East India company should be deemed to be Indian military forces of her majesty, and should be "entitled to the like pay, pensions, allowances and privileges, and the like advantages as regards promotion and otherwise, as if they had continued in the service of the said company." It was at the same time provided that the secretary of state for India should have "all such or the like powers over the officers appointed or continued under this act as might or could have been exercised or performed by the East India company."
—The following table gives the established strength of the European and native army in British India, exclusive of native officers and followers, March 31 1880:
—In the army estimates laid before parliament in the session of 1880, the strength of the British regular army in India for the year 1881-2 was given as follows:
Returns of the year 1879 reported the combined armies of the native chiefs of India to number 305,235 men, with an artillery of 5,252 large guns.
—Area and Population. The first general census of British India was taken during the years 1868 to 1876. According to the revised returns of this census, the total population numbered 101,096,603, living on an area of 899,341 English square miles, being an average of 212 inhabitants to the square mile. The following table shows the area and population of each of the divisions of India under direct British administration:
—Besides the provinces of India under direct British administration, there are, more or less under the control of the Indian government, a number of feudatory or native states, covering an extent of 573,193 English square miles, with 49,674,827 inhabitants.
—According to the last official reports the native states exceed 450 in number. Various frontier countries, like Nepaul, merely acknowledge British superintendence; while others pay tribute or provide military contingents. New states are gradually drawn within the circle of British supremacy, either for the consolidation or the protection of the existing boundaries. The latest movement in this direction, toward the northwest, was the invasion of Afghanistan, a country of about the size of the United Kingdom, with an estimated population of four millions.
—Including the feudatory states, the total area and population of British India, according to the preliminary results of the census of 1881, are as follows:
—Enumerations to ascertain the religious creed of the inhabitants of India were taken in the various provinces during the years 1868 to 1876; in Berar and the Punjab, 1868; in Oudh, 1869; in Ajmere and Coorg, 1871; and in the remaining provinces from 1872 to 1876. A verification of all these returns with the results of the general census of India furnished the following classification of the leading creeds in the provinces under British administration:
—The British-born population in India, exclusive of the army, amounted, according to a census taken June 15, 1871, to 64,061 persons. Of these there were 38,946 of the male, and 25,115 of the female sex. The largest number, at the date of the census, was in the province of Lower Bengal, namely 16,402, comprising 10,625 males and 5,777 females; the next largest number in the provinces of Bombay, namely 10,921, comprising 6,786 males and 4,135 females; and the next largest number in the northwest provinces, namely 6,910, comprising 3,843 males and 3,067 females. In the central provinces there were, at the date of the census, only 276 British-born subjects, namely, 173 males and 103 females. In the three capital cities of India, the number of British subjects was as follows, at the census of June 15, 1871:
—The occupations of the British-born subjects in India were as follows, at the census of 1871, under the six classes adopted by the English registrar general:
—At the last enumerations there were in British India forty-four towns with a population of over 50,000 inhabitants. The occupations of the adult male population of British India, calculated to number 57,508,150, were classified as follows at the last enumerations:
—In the northwest provinces and Madras the foundation has been laid of a national system of education; while public instruction throughout the whole of India has made great progress in recent years. Three universities, at Calcutta, Madras and Bombay, were incorporated by acts of the government of India, in 1857. In the year ending March, 1880, there passed 787 candidates for admission at Calcutta, 1.094 at Madras, and 436 at Bombay.
—Trade and Commerce. The total value of the imports and exports of the Indian empire, including bullion and specie, was as follows in each of the ten fiscal years, ending March 31, 1871-80:
The total imports, if divided into merchandise and "treasure," the latter term meaning bullion and specie, were as follows in each of the ten fiscal years 1871-80:
—The exports in the same ten years classified as merchandise and treasure, were as follows:
—The amount of bullion and specie imported annually into India is very large; but though it has been greatly on the increase in recent years, it is, on the whole, very fluctuating, especially as regards silver. The following table gives the imports, distinguishing gold and silver, in each of the ten fiscal years, ending March 31, from 1871 to 1880, inclusive:
—The following table shows the exports of bullion and specie, distinguishing gold and silver, in each of the ten fiscal years, ending March 31, from 1871 to 1880, inclusive:
—The imports of bullion and specie into India are mainly from the United Kingdom and from China; while the exports are shipped principally to the United Kingdom, Ceylon, China and South Africa.
—The extent of the commercial intercourse between India and the United Kingdom is shown in the subjoined table which gives the total value of the exports from India to Great Britain and Ireland, and of the imports of British produce and manufactures into India in each of the ten years, 1871-80:
—The staple article of export from India to the United Kingdom is raw cotton; but the quantities, and still more the value of the exports, have been greatly on the decrease within the decennial period. The following table exhibits the quantities and value of the exports of raw cotton from India to Great Britain in each of the ten years from 1871 to 1880, inclusive:
—Next to cotton, the most important articles of export from India to the United Kingdom in the year 1880 were jute, 4,633,327 cwts., of the value of £4,014,699; rice, 6,563,849 cwts., of the value of £3,134,556; tea, 45,138,111 lbs. of the value of £3,072,922; and untanned hides, 463,764 cwts., of the value of £1,616,634.
—The chief articles of British produce imported into India are cotton goods and iron. The imports of cotton manufactures, averaging two-thirds of the total British imports into India, were of the value of £12,835,744 in 1870; of £13,101,645 in 1871; of £13,078,831 in 1872; of £15,020,646 in 1873; of £16,216,491 in 1874; of £15,699,731 in 1875; of £14,934,370 in 1876; of £16,692,865 in 1877; of £15,078,497 in 1878; of £14,415,456 in 1879; and of £22,099,267 in 1880. Of iron the imports amounted to £1,637,584 in 1876, to £1,923,820 in 1877, to £1,767,526 in 1878, to £1,535,901 in 1879, and to £2,415,309 in 1880.
—Next to the United Kingdom, the countries having the largest trade with India are China, the straits settlements, and Ceylon.
—The internal commerce of India has been vastly developed of late years by the construction of several great lines of railways, made under the guarantee of the government. In the year 1845 two great private associations were formed for the purpose of constructing lines of railroad in India; but the projectors found it impossible to raise the necessary funds for their proposed schemes, without the assistance of the state. It was, therefore, determined by the Indian government to guarantee to the railway companies for a term of ninety-nine years, a rate of interest of 5 per cent. upon the capital subscribed for their undertakings; and in order to guard against the evil effects of failure on the part of the companies, the power was reserved by the government to surpervise and control their proceedings by means of an official director. The lands are given by the government free of expense, and the stipulated rate of interest is guaranteed to the shareholders in every case, except that of the traffic receipts of the line being insufficient to cover the working expenses, in which event the deficiency is chargeable against the guaranteed interest. Should the net receipts be in excess of the sum required to pay the guaranty, the surplus is divided into equal parts between the government and the shareholders, until the charge to the government for interest in previous years with simple interest thereon, has been repaid, after which time the whole of the receipts are distributed among the shareholders. The government has the power, at the expiration of twenty-five or fifty years from the date of the contracts, of purchasing the railways at the mean value of the shares for the three previous years, or of paying a proportionate annuity until the end of the ninety-nine years, when all of the lands and works will revert from the companies to the government. In 1869 the government of India decided on carrying out all the new railway extensions by means of direct state agency, that is, without the intervention of guaranteed companies.
—The progress of the railway system in India since 1854 is here shown. Length of lines open for traffic Jan 1, 1854, 21; 1860, 624, 1867, 3,567; 1872, 5,072, 1878, 7,324, 1879, 7,994; 1880, 8,228.
—The number of passengers carried on the railways of India largely increased in the course of ten years, rising from 15,999,633 in 1869 to 43,144,608 in 1879.
—The gross receipts of all the railways during the year 1879 amounted to £11,231,108, while the gross expenses in the same year were £5,858,512, equal to 52.16 per cent of the earnings.
—The total amount of guaranteed capital raised for the construction of railways up to March 31, 1879, amounted to £96,444,666, while the total outlay upon railways, both state and guaranteed, amounted to £119,979,139 at the same date.
—For the year ending March 31, 1879, the number of miles of line of all the telegraphs in India amounted to 18,589; the total receipts were £353,741, and the working expenditure £305,381. At that time there were 250 telegraph offices.
—BIBLIOGRAPHY: Karl Ritter, Erdkunde von Asien, vols 3-5, Leipzig, 1834-7; Thornton, A Gazetteer of the Territories under the Government of the East India Company, 2d ed., London, 1857, Montgomery Martin, British India, its History, Topography, Government, etc., London, 1857; and The Progress and Present State of British India. London, 1862; Bell, The Empire in India, London, 1864; Lott and Hughes, A Manual of the Geography of India, London, 1863; Latham, Ethnology of India, London, 1859; II., A. and R. Schlagintweit, Results of a Scientific Mission to India and High Asia, undertaken between the years 1854 and 1858, etc., vols. 1-4, Leipzig, 1860-66, with Atlas: Zur Erinnerung an die Reise des Prinzen Waldemar von Preussen nach Indien in den J., 1844-6, 2 vols., Berlin, 1855; Von Otlich. Indien und seine Regierung. Leipzig, 1859-61, and Reise nach O., Leipzig, 1845: Andrassy, Reise in O., Ceyton, Java, etc., from the Hungarian, Pesth, 1859: Balbezen, Les A glais de l'Inde. Paris, 1875; Duncan, Geography of India Madras, 1876; The Guide Books of Murray, Bradshaw, etc. The best works on the early history of India are: Lassen, Ind. Alterthumskunde,. 4 vols., Bonn, 1844-62, 2d ed., 1 vol., Leipzig, 1866. Drucker, Geschichte des Alterthums, 3d ed., 2 vols., Leipzig, 1867; Wheeler, History of India during the Hindoo Period 2 vols., London, 1867; Elliott, The History of India, comprising the Massalman Period. 3 vols., London, 1867; Sullivan, The Conquerors, Warriors and Statesmen of India. London, 1867; Wheeler, The History of India from the Earliest Ages, vols. 1-4, London, 1867-75. The history of the Anglo-Indian empire is treated of in the works of Malcolm, 1784-1823, 3 vols., London, 1826; Mill, 5th ed., by Wilson, London, 1855; Elphinstone, 5th ed., 2 vols., London, 1866. Thornton, 6 vols., London, 1842-5; Neumann, Geschichte des engl Reichs in Asien, 2 vols., Leipzig, 1857, and Ostasiat Geschichte, Leipzig, 1861; Torrens, Empire in Asia. How we came by it, London, 1872, etc. The histories devoted to the earliest events are Trotter. The History of the British Empire in India, 1844 to 1862. London, 1865; Arnold. The Marquis of Dalhousie's Administration, 2 vols., London, 1862; Kaye. History of the Sepoy War in India, 2d ed., 3 vols., London, 1866-76; Rennie, Bhotan and the Story of the Dooar War. London, 1866; Markham. Statement Exhibiting the Moral and Material Progress and Condition of India, vols. 1-6, London, 1873.
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