Page images
PDF
EPUB

Maguire) wished to know the manner in which Mr. Gladstone had prosecuted his inquiry, its result, and what were the recommendations contained in his report. He read extracts of papers to show the fervent desire of the Ionians for union with free Greece, and contended that the doctrine recognized by Lord John Russell in the case of Italy, that the people were alone to decide who should rule over them, was equally applicable to the Ionian Islands. The Chancellor of the Exchequer said Mr. Maguire was under some misapprehension as to the intention of the Government, which, though it could not lay before the House papers of a confidential nature, did not desire to withhold information, but was ready to give the substance of the other documents. After explaining his motives in undertaking the mission to the Ionian Islands, and contrasting the new ardour manifested by Mr. Maguire in defence of nationality with the spirit in which he discussed Italian affairs, he stated his conclusions as to the influenée which the sentiment of nationality exerted upon differentclasses of the Ionians, – the masses, whose character was amiable; the demagogues and corrupt portion of the people, who traded upon the sentiment; and the clergy. With reference to the doctrine adopted by the Government in Italian affairs, he admitted that we must be prepared to apply that doctrine to our own case; but the principle, he ob. served, must be varied in its application by considerations of prudence and policy as regarded European interests. Our proside thought that, so far as personal liberty was concerned, they had no ground for complaint. Mr. M. Milnes observed that, although the Greek Government had shown no desire to appropriate the islands, and treated the people as strangers, a feeling of nationality existed among the Ionians, which had been regarded as hostility to England. He hoped that the Islands would be governed upon the principles of justice; and not as a British possession. Mr. Monsell complained of the tone and spirit of Mr. Layard's speech. He defied Lord John Russell to reconcile the doctrines laid down by him with regard to Italy, with the denial to the

tectorate of the Ionian Islands was connected with views, not of interest on our part, but of duty, and with obligations which England had contracted towards Europe as guardian of the general peace. Supposing that the people of the Seven Islands desired to be united to free, Greece, there was no evidence that free Greece wished for the union, and his opinion was that it was far better for Greece to look after her own concerns. He described the government of the Ionian Islands, remarking that free government as we understood the term did

not exist; it contained, with democratical elements, fundamental vices, but the policy

pursued by England towards the people had been a generous policy. Free institutions had been offered them, which had been refused, and the faults of the Government were not attributable to England. Mr. Layard observed that this was a mischievous and troublesome question, and it was desirable that a stop should be put to the agitation in the islands. Speaking from personal knowledge, he characterized the representations of the malcontents there as untrue. He denied that the doctrine of nationality could be applied to the case of the Ionians, who had, he said, no right to claim nationality with Greece. If the islanders would turn their attention to their own resources, there would be no happier people in the world. Mr. Whiteside observed that Mr. Gladstone had not indicated what should be done with the islands, except that he seemed to leave it open to the people to decide for themselves. Mr. White

Ionians to join themselves to Greece or any other country.

Mr. C. Fortescue explained the nature of the papers which the Government was willing to produce. He defended the course pursued by Sir H. Storks, and said that the islands were at present in a state of profound tranquillity.

Mr. Maguire accepted the papers offered by Mr. Fortescue.

Lord Palmerston agreed with preceding speakers, that this discussion must do good in the Ionian Islands, and convince that people that there was no feeling on the part of the English Government or nation but a desire to promote their happiness and prosperity.

CHAPTER VI.

East Indian FINANCE AND LEGISLATIONPolitical and fiscal changes

consequent on the transfer of Government from the East India Company to the Crown--Mission of Mr. James Wilson to India as Finance MinisterAppointment of Mr. Laing on Mr. Wilson's DeathMeasures adopted in consequence of their Suggestions --Loans for India raised in this Country to supply the Deficit of Revenue-Statement of Sir Charles Wood respecting the Finances of India at the Opening of the Session- Further Statement on proposing a New Loan of 4,000,0001. on the 3rd of June-Observations of Mr. Bazley, Lord Stanley, Mr. J. B. Smith, Mr. Crawfurd, Mr. Danby Seymour, and other MembersSir Henry Willoughby animadverts on the Finuncial Policy of the GovernmentSir Charles Wood vindicates his Measures He makes a full financial Statement on the 25th of July, giving a detailed Account of the Revenue and Expenditure of India-Proposes a Loan of 5,000,0001. to assist the Railway CompaniesThe Resolution, after some Debate, is agreed to-Three Measures affecting the Administration of Government in India brought in concurrently by the Government: The Legislative Council Bill, The Court of Judicature Bill, and the Civil Service Bill-Statement of Sir Charles Wood in explanation of these BillsThe Bill for altering the Constitution of the Council undergoes much discussion in the House of Commons-Several Amendments are proposed, but negatived -The Government adopts some Suggestions made by Members, and the Bill is passed by the House of CommonsThe Policy of the Measure is questioned by Lord Ellenborough and Lord Lyveden in the House of Lords, but is ably vindicated by the Duke of Aryyll and Lord Granville - The Bill for reforming the Judicature meets with little opposition in either House, but undergoes some criticism from Lord EllenboroughThe Civil Service Bill is much debated in the House of Commons - It is opposed by Mr. Vansittart, Mr. Liddell, Mr. Henley, Mr. Adams, Sir H. Farquhar, and other Members, and is supported by Mr. Crawford, Mr. Danby Seymour, and Sir Charles WoodVarious Amendments are proposed, but without success, and the Bill is passed-It is carried through the House of Lords, afler some unfavourable Remarks from Lord Ellenborough Debates in the House of Lords on the Development of the Resources of India, The Marquis of Tueeddale presents a Petition from Manchester in favour of encouraging the Growth of Cotton-Remarks of Lord Harris, Lord Brougham, Lord Ellenborough, and Lord De Grey and RiponThe Earl of Shaftesbury moves an Address to the Crown in favour of promoting the Cultivation of Cotton and the eaecution of Public Works— His Speech—Observations of Lord Lyveden, the Marquis of Clanri. carde, and the Duke of Argyll–Lord Overstone moves the previous

Question, which is agreed to.

HE session of 1861 witnessed the passing of some important measures affecting the dominions of Great Britain in the East Indies. The recent transfer of the government of those vast provinces from the Company to the Crown involved a series of changes, administrative, military, and financial, which, though regarded with jealousy in some quarters, received the decided approval of Parliament, and were in accordance with those principles which in this country are usually identified with efficiency and success. The disordered state of the Indian exchequer, which had marked the close of the Company's rule, already exhibited symptoms of recovery under the auspices of a Minister thoroughly imbued with the principles of English finance. Mr. James Wilson had been especially sent out to investigate and revise the fiscal system of India. His untimely death prevented the accomplishment of his plans, but his official career, short as it was, sufficed to inaugurate some changes of great value, tending to the equalization of revenue and expenditure. Mr. Laing, who succeeded him, followed in the same path; and for the first time, after a long period of deficit and confusion, light began to dawn upon the prospects of the Indian exchequer. For a time, indeed, it was necessary to supplement the deficiencies which existed by means Vol. CIII.

of British credit, and the Secretary of State for India was obliged to resort to the English money-market for loans. This necessity, however, was regarded as being only temporary, and it was confidently anticipated that the effect of reduced military expenditure, together with the adoption of the new modes of taxation resorted to by the Government, would in a short time be to place revenue and expenditure on an equilibrium, and to make our great Eastern dependency no longer a drain upon the resources of the Empire. It will be remembered that in the preceding session a Bill had been passed authorizing the Government to raise a sum by loan for the use of India, and in the commencement of the present year it was understood that the sum of 3,000,000l. would be required for that purpose. Inquiries relating to this transaction were addressed to the Secretary of State for India as soon as Parliament met, by Mr. Crawford, M.P. for London. He asked whether the necessity of raising the above sum was owing to circumstances connected only with railway receipts and expenditure, or whether it arose from a falling off of the available sources of the public income, or the increase of expenditure. Sir C. Wood, in reply, explained that large funds had to be provided in England for the service of India, and, on the

[ocr errors]

other hand, the main portion of the means required for railways in India required large remittances to India which were paid into, and drawn from, the Home Treasury. The sum expected to be paid in England was 7,000,000l., and 2,500,000l. had been expected from India on account of Indian expenditure at home; but the home expenditure on account of India in this country had exceeded the estimate, while the railroad payments had fallen short, and the Indian Government had remitted 1,250,000l. less than had been calculated upon. The whole amount was 2,750,000l. short of what he had expected, and he had, therefore, found it necessary to exercise the power given by Parliament last session. As to the bulk of the expenditure in India, he was happy to say that there was no necessity for borrowing a single shilling. The expenditure had been very considerably reduced since he had last addressed the House upon this subject. The military expenditure would be reduced in the course of the year 3,300,000l., following a reduction last year of 3,500,000l., making a total reduction in the course of two years of 6,800,000l.; and next year, 1861-2, if no unforeseen circumstances arose, the income and expenditure would be almost balanced. On the 3rd of June Sir Charles Wood made a short preliminary statement respecting the finances of India, for the purpose of founding a Resolution, to which he asked the assent of the House of Commons, affirming the expediency of raising money in the United Kingdom for the service of India. The right hon.

Baronet said that he should defer his full exposition of the financial affairs until he was in possession of more complete information from India. His present explanation would therefore be limited. He referred to his financial exposition last year, in which his anticipation that the deficiency of revenue would disappear was conditional on no unforeseen event occurring to disappoint it. He was sorry to say that such an event had happened in the shape of a drought and consequent famine, the necessary effect of which was a loss of revenue and an increased expenditure. The ultimate result would be, taking the most unfavourable view, a deficiency of 2,000,000l., which he did not think could be much complained of. Meanwhile the prospects of the ensuing year were favourable, and Mr. Laing expected shortly to see the revenue and the expenditure equalized. There would be a pressure for money in the early part of the year, and recourse must be had in this country either to the money paid in by the railroad companies, or to a loan in the money-market. From the railroad balances he had no prospect of a considerable sum being available; the only alternative, then, was a loan to meet the demands in England. The next question was, what sum he should borrow. After stating the estimated amount of the expenditure in England on account of India, and the means of meeting it, he proposed, he said, to borrow a sum of 4,000,000l., though he might have occasion to come to the House again to borrow a further sum for railroad pur

« PreviousContinue »