« НазадПродовжити »
opposition to the industrial interests of the Indian people. For each new impulse to Indian manufactures implies, under the Manchester dogma, the loss of the article manufactured to the Indian Custom.
I think you will agree with me that this was a painful position for those who have the welfare of India at heart and who desire to see the finances of India in the interest of the Indian people. The Indian Government in August 1875 reduced its whole tariff to the very moderate rate of 5 per cent. Of the eighty odd classes of merchandise specified in the list, only two were let in at a lower rate, viz., iron at 1 per cent., and cotton twist or yarn at 3} per cent. You know the result. As trade became worse in England, Lancashire again agitated for a reduction of the duty on its goods. In 1878, the Indian Government again revised its tariff, removing many articles to the free list, and letting in the lower numbers of cotton twist free. But even this did not satisfy Manchester, and in March 1879, all grey cotton piece-goods, however designated, and not containing yarn higher than 30's, were exempted from the Indian import tariff. What can the unrepresented millions of India do against Manchester? It has been for them a losing battle from the commencement, and it will be a losing battle for them to the end.
But the people of India, although their poor, semi-articulate complainings have no chance as against the clear, persistent voice of Manchester, deeply feel the wrong, and bitterly resent it. Since 1869 I have attentively studied the native Press, and my cheeks have sometimes flushed with shame at the justice of its complaints. When England wished to give an unusually splendid entertainment to a European prince, say the native journalists, it did so out of the Indian revenues. When England wished to make war in Abyssinia, it took the Indian troops and charged their pay to the Indian Exchequer; and so on through a list of accusations, which are repeated in every newspaper, both native and European, throughout all India. You do not realise in this country bow the honour of England suffers from these accusations. The action of Manchester regarding the cotton duties bas given fresh bitterness to such complaints. In order to let in Manchester goods free, or at low rates, Indian financiers have to keep up the old bad system of taxing Indian exports. They have to levy a cruel duty on Indian rice, with rates on Indian oils, seeds, indigo, lac, hides; in respect of all which commodities the Indian producer bears a keen competition with other countries in the markets of the world. To avoid anything like a protective import duty, as against the Lancashire millowner, you force Indian financiers to keep up export duties, which form a protective tariff in favour of competing countries at the expense of the poor Indian peasant. How can you venture to give a Free Press to India, or any
meagre form of representation to India, so long as you maintain such a system of finance ? No doubt, the removal of the import duties would reduce the cost of certain classes of cloth and other British
especially of indirect taxation, would reduce the cost of living. The English financiers whom England has sent to India have not yet been able to find a substitute for indirect taxation in that country; and before they take off the import duties on the plea of Protection, they should take off the export duties on the same ground. It falls to me, as a corresponding member of the National Indian Association, to receive a number of the Indian youths who come to complete their studies in this country. These young men have been trained in our own State schools, but they assure me that a bitter conviction is spreading throughout the thinking classes of their countrymen, that the Indian finances are being dealt with in the interests not of India, but of England.
This conviction is happily not altogether well founded. For our Indian tariff, although designed for fiscal purposes, must unavoidably act to a small extent as a protective tariff. Now, I hold that England has so deep a stake in the Indian finances, both from her vast loans to India and from her general responsibility for the welfare of India, that she has a right to lay down the great principles to be followed in Indian finance. England is entitled to say, 'We have now made up our mind that our Indian financiers shall levy no import duty which has in the very least degree, or even accidentally, a protective result.' If England is prepared to take up this position, Indian financiers can only reply that the whole Indian tariff must be
But England has no right, while sanctioning the Indian tariff as a whole, to forcibly withdraw from that tariff the very articles which make the tariff a profitable one to India. At present England leaves India to keep up all the Indian custom-houses, coastguards, and preventive establishments; while, under pressure from Manchester, England deprives the Indian tariff of the very articles which made its custom-houses pay.
I believe that there is a solution for this difficulty. Looking to the recent history of our Indian tariff, and remembering the might of Manchester and the powerlessness of the Indian people, it would almost be better for Indian financiers to offer to give up their import duties altogether. They should say to England, We have an import tariff, levied chiefly from British goods, which yields us in round figures one and a-half millions per annum. You English financiers lery from our Indian staples, tea and coffee, about a million per annum. Well, we are willing to give up altogether our Indian customs tariff of one and a-half millions per annum, and let in all merchandise free, if you will give up the million which you levy from our tea and coffee, and let in our Indian products free.'
In short, I think that England and India would find it to their mutual advantage to enter into a treaty of commerce. object to the word treaty, then call it a convention, to be settled, not between a Secretary of State in London and a Viceroy in Calcutta, both of whom are controlled by the political party for the time being in office, but by commissioners appointed to arbitrate impar
Such a convention would render India an empire of free ports, and would greatly facilitate and augment British commerce with the East. It would, moreover, give England a new power in her dealings with France and other European countries. At present, when England asks the French to reduce their tariff on British goods, the French naturally inquire what concession can England, which has already almost entirely abandoned its import duties, give France in return. The abolition of the Indian Customs would put something into the hand of England with which to bargain with France. England might then say to M. Waddington, “Facilitate British commerce with France, and we shall facilitate French commerce with India; lighten your French tariff on English goods, and we shall undertake that your French goods are admitted free into India. I believe this arrangement would be a very welcome one to France. For long, France has been an excellent customer to India. Last year she bought over six millions sterling worth of Indian products, but she could only sell half a million of French commodities to India; and the French would be glad of facilities for increasing their Eastern export trade.
While England would thus benefit by the abolition of the Indian import tariff, India would also be a gainer. In the first place, the opening up of India to the commerce of the world, by declaring all her harbours free ports, would give an enormous impetus to the industrial life of the people. In the second place, India would secure the free admission of all her staples into England; or if England (in order to maintain her duty on China tea) preferred to continue to levy the million sterling on Indian tea and coffee, India would be very glad to accept the million sterling thus raised. In the third place, India must face the fact that sooner or later Manchester will force in all her goods free, so that the Indian import duties will lose the 900,000l. now paid by cotton manufactures, and will fall from one and a half millions to 600,000l. Of this 600,000l., more than a half, or say 350,000l., is levied from liquors, wines, and spirits; and the abolition of the Customs duty would not materially affect them, as they would, after being admitted free, be taxed by the Inland Excise Department. The net loss to India in the future from the abolition of her import duties would therefore be the remaining 250,000l. In return for this 250,000l. of import duties, India would have an enormously increased commerce, together with a consequent rise in the general revenue; she would get rid of a damaging and hopeless conflict with Manchester; and she would secure a free entrance for all her staples into England.
Such would be some of the results of a treaty of commerce with India. Instead of Manchester obtaining special exemptions for her own goods, all British manufactures would enter India free; and Birmingham, Staffordshire, Sheffield, Leeds, and every industrial centre in England would be gainers by the change. I do not say that the import duties are the first taxes which India ought, for her
levy no import duties which are accidentally or in the least degree protective against British goods, then, were India represented, she would insist upon both sides of the commercial relations between herself and England being dealt with as a whole. By dealing with this question of the Indian import duties in a narrow and selfish spirit, England snatches an advantage for one of her manufactures at the expense of her national fame, and at the cost of the Indian Exchequer. By dealing with it in a broad and an equitable spirit England would benefit all her great industries, and at the same time she would give an enormous impetus to the commercial develop ment of the East.
I have been able to touch on only two points connected with Indian finance. But I believe that much work is to be done in the decentralisation and local management of Indian finance; in the reduction and unification of Indian debt and obligations into the silver currency of India ; and in the abolition, under treaties of commerce, of the Indian export duties as well as of the Indian import tariff. Before this generation passes away I hope to see India an empire of free ports; absolutely open, without custom houses or duties of any sort, to the incoming and outgoing of the commerce of the world. I have selected not the most interesting aspects of Indian finance, but the two points with regard to which England can render most substantial service to the Indian people. As I said before, my object is to ask you to do your duty by India. You can never do your duty to India unless you take the trouble to understand India. If I could only touch the conscience of England, then I should feel sure of the justice of England ; and Manchester herself would be the last city in England to knowingly commit a wrong upon an unrepresented and a defenceless people.
W. W. HUNTER,
FIRST IMPRESSIONS OF THE NEW WORLI).
CRUISE in the Druid' along the northern shores of the Bay of
Chaleur, as far as Gaspé, gave me an opportunity of seeing a very interesting coast in reference to the resources of the inshore fisheries.' The settled country extends but a very short distance inland-the skyline shows invariably an outline of low rounded hills covered entirely with forest. But along certain portions of the coast the sea was well covered with powerful boats fishing for Cod. On hailing some of these for the purpose of buying fish, it was pleasant to see the abundant take,' which often covered the bottom of the boats. The Cod were generally small – that is to say, not abore three or four pounds weight-and a large proportion of them not above two pounds. But they were of excellent quality. At several stations along the shore, and especially at the picturesque little village of Gaspé, there were large establishments for the curing and export of these fish. From the great abundance of the supply, it could not be otherwise that the price should be low; but I heard with regret that the fishery was generally prosecuted on a system of advances' by the curing houseswhich was, in fact, the truck system on an extended scale --and that the final result to the fishermen was a very low rate of remuneration for an occupation very toilsome, involving great exposure, and ofteu not devoid of danger. The north-eastern shores of the Bay of Chaleur are very open, and in easterly and north-easterly winds are exposed to the full sweep of the Atlantic.
When at Gaspé, which is a most picturesque little town with an excellent harbour, I saw one of the fast American schooners, whose operations in the mackerel fishery of this coast are much complained of by the Canadian fishermen. Their complaints reminded me much of the similar complaints on the west coast of Scotland, against what is called trawling' for herrings. In both cases new and more efficient modes of catch have been at least coincident with a departure of the shoals from former places of resort, if not with diminished productiveness over a larger area. This is one of the allegations which will probably form the subject of inquiry between the Governments concerned on the pending question of the Fishery Treaties.
As regards another branch of the fishing industry, the provincial population have it all to themselves. I refer to the lobster fisheries. The abundance of lobsters on this part of the Canadian coast is astonishing to those who are acquainted only with this pursuit on the almost exhausted shores of Scotland. Until quite lately any number of the finest loksters could be caught by a noose at the end of a short