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RAW PRODUCE AND MANUFACTURES
WHEN the East India Company's Charter was renewed in 1833, it was provided that the Company should thenceforth “ discontinue and abstain from all commercial business," and should stand forth only as administrators and rulers of India. The beneficial results of this provision 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 II, 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 ainong 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 recorded, and has been published in a folio volume of over six hundred pages. It is possible, within our limits, only to refer to such portions of this evidence as are specially relevant to the present work.
J. C. MELVILL. Military Expenditure and Home Charges.—Melvill said, the amount defrayed by the Company for the Queen's
INDIA IN THE VICTORIAN AGE troops employed on the Indian establishment was £1,400,000, and the Company had also agreed to raise and maintain such further men as might be necessary to keep at all times an effective force of 20,000 in India. The portion of the Indian revenues 'spent in England was, on the average, £3,200,000 a year, and this included 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, ios. the chest on passing into British territory for exportation, and the Government of Bombay derived a substantial revenue from this transit duty. The two kinds of opium met 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 1836, Parliament passed an Act, allowing Indian sugar to be brought to England at the same duty as sugar from the West Indies, i.e. 245. 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 101,000 cwt. in 1835 to 519,000 cwt. in 1839. The Governor-General had passed an Act in 1839 prohibiting importation into Madras, so
that 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.
Rum.-There was a duty of 155. a gallon on Indian rum imported into England, as against a duty of gs. only on West Indian rum, although the latter was stronger.
Tobacco.—There was a duty of 3s. per pound on Indian tobacco imported into England, as against us. 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.
Coffee.--In 1835 the duty upon Indian coffee was equalised with the West Indian duty of 6d. per pound; and 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 33 per cent.; and British woollen goods a duty of 2 per cent. only. But Indian cotton goods, imported into England, paid a duty of 10 per cent.; Indian silk goods a duty of 20 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 1813, the cottonwool annually imported from India had been 9,368,000 lbs. on the average. The annual average of the five years ending in 1838 was 48,329,660 lbs.
“Native manufactures have been superseded by · British ?” Melvill was asked.
“Yes, in great measure,” was his reply.
“ The displacement of Indian manufactures by British is such that India is now dependent mainly for its supply of those articles on British manufacturers ?”
“I think so.'
“Has the displacement of the labour of native manufacturers at all been compensated by any increase in the produce of articles of the first necessity, raw produce ?"
“The export of raw produce from India has increased since she ceased largely to export manufactures; but I am 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 ?”
“Particular trades are, 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.” 1
Tea. It was known to the Court of Directors, as early as 1788, that the tea plant was a native of India; but no attempts were then made to encourage its cultivation. In 1835, 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 applications 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 · 1840.
ANDREW Sym. This witness held grants of land from the East India Company in India, to the extent of about 60,000 English
Questions 577, 578, 583, 584, and 633.
acres, and gave evidence mainly about the growing of sugar-cane and the manufacture of sugar. The cultivators grew the cane, expressed the juice, boiled it, and then sold it to the factory. There it was made into Shukkur 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 manufactures_clothing, tools, implements, glassware, and brass articles. The people of India deprived of their occupations, turned “to agriculture chiefly."
C. E. TREVELYAN. A more important witness was Sir Charles Trevelyan who, 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 impeded 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 manufactures.
Population of British India.—The population of Bengal was generally calculated at 30 millions; that of Northern 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 lory 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 1865 under Lords Elgin and Lawrence. He married Macaulay's sister, and to his son we owe the Life and Letters of Lord Macaulay.