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George II. reigned; £10,000,000 in the reign of George III. from the peace of Paris in 1763, to the commencement of the war with America in 1775; and £10,000,000 more from the conclusion of that war in 1784, to the commencement of that with France in 1793; while about £49,000,000 have been paid from the battle of Waterloo up to 1849. Since then, a few more millions of the debt have been satisfied; but now we must look forward to a contrary state of things. It is to be hoped that when peace is restored, some energetic measures may be taken for the reduction of the principal of the national debt. The citizens of the United States have set us a good example in this respect. During the peace which succeeded the war of independence, they made great steps towards redeeming the debt it had forced upon them. In like manner they dealt with the debt contracted in their second war with England, until at length, in 1835, they extinguished what remained of the liabilities entailed by the two struggles with the parent state. They are now, I believe, pursuing a similar course with respect to the expenses arising from the Mexican war, and some other proceedings. In this they are worthy of imitation; and if we were prudent, we would not hesitate to take a leaf from their book whenever an opportunity presents itself.” But the fact is, when acountry is heavily taxed, any excess of revenue over expenditure is generally made use of by the Government of the day, as an opportunity for acquiring popularity by the remission of taxation. Few statesmen have enough of public virtue to resist this temptation, and follow the less immediately popular though more beneficial course of relieving the nation once for all of a portion of its weighty liabilities. But of late years we have witnessed so much reform in financial and commercial administration, we may hope for improvement in this respect likewise. The present war has already taught two important lessons. It has shown how vain were the expectations of those who had flattered themselves that the principal nations of Europe had grown too wise to appeal to the sword as the abiter of their differences; and it has also demonstrated that, much as we condemned our ancestors for contracting national debts, and leaving us to pay the interest until we choose to redeem the principal, we are quite ready to imitate their conduct when the choice lies between ourselves and posterity. These are lessons which ought not to be forgotten, and which I trust we may profit by when peace returns.
* In 1791, the national debt of the United States amounted to 75,460,000 dollars: and by 1812 it had been reduced to 45,200,000 dollars. During the war which followed, it rose to 127,330,000 dollars; and by 1835 it was extinguished. The present debt is 23,340,000, being less than one fifth of the annual interest on ours. The federal credit of the United States has been honourably maintained from the commencement of the revolutionary war down to the present period; and it is as unjust to cast any imputation on her national honour, on account of the misconduct of some of her provincial assemblies, as to assail our own for the flagrant dishonesty not unfrequently exhibited by our local bodies and trading corporations. “In Europe a very erroneous estimate has been formed, and very unjust conclusions entertained, principally, we believe, from ignorance, by confounding the non-paying and repudiating states with the revenue, debt, and expenditure of the federal government, and of the states which have honourably and religiously discharged their obligations.”— Macgregor's Commercial Statistics, vol. iii. p. 1046.
IV.-The excessive Mortality of British Residents in India, as affecting the choice of the Civil Service of the East India Company as a Career for Young Men. By W. Neilson Hancock, LL.D.
[Read 16th April, 1855.]
GENTLEMEN, The adoption of the principle of examination in the selection of candidates for the civil service of India, has opened a new career to a very large class of young men of education and ability. But only a small number of those who may be led to take advantage of this opening have sufficient information as to the actual position of the British population in India, to enable them to decide on the expediency of their entering on this career. In this paper I propose to direct your attention to some facts, commonly overlooked, but which ought, nevertheless, to be fully considered by those who have to decide either for themselves or for others, as to the wisdom of choosing an Indian career. A young man commencing life would naturally desire an employment in which he had a reasonable prospect of attaining the usual period of human life, that he might first qualify himself for performing some duties serviceable to mankind; then spend his manhood in discharging them; and in old age retire to a dignified position of influence, which a well-spent life is calculated to produce. Now what prospect of prolonged life has the successful competitor of the Indian examination To solve this question, I have no elaborate statistics to produce; but the calculations for commercial speculations, though only rough approximations, are free from any risk of gross error or wilful exaggeration:— The Colonial Life Assurance Company have published tables of rates for life insurance for persons residing in different parts of the world.” In these tables the risks are divided into five classes, arranged according to the rate of mortality, and consequent amount of premium charged. To show the care with which these tables have been formed, I will explain the classification in detail:— The lowest class of risks includes Europe, Canada, the free states of the United States, the Cape of Good Hope, and Australia. The next higher class of risks includes the middle states of the United States, the Bermuda Islands, and South America to the south of Rio Janeiro. The next higher class of risks includes India, Ceylon, the Mauritius, and China. The fourth class includes the West Indies and British Guiana. The fifth class includes other parts of the world, such as the southern states of the United States, or the west coast of Africa, for which no tables are given, and for which there must be a special Contract.
* The Colonial Life Assurance Company Almanack, 1851.
Persons assured in the first class have permission to reside:— 1. In any part of Europe. 2. In any part of North America to the northward of the thirtyeighth degree of north latitude, but not to the westward of the Mississippi River. The thirty-eighth parallel of latitude is very nearly the boundary between the free and slave states ; it divides Virginia in half, and takes in a small portion of Kentucky. Persons assured in this class may travel, but not reside permanently, as far south as the thirty-fifth degree of north latitude, but not to the westward of the Mississippi river. This permission extends to Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, and the greater part of North Carolina. 3. In Africa, to the southward of the thirtieth degree of south latitude, which includes the whole of the Cape colony, except the settlement of Port Natal and the land lately taken from the Kaffirs. 4. In Australia, to the southward of the thirtieth degree of south latitude, which includes New Zealand, Van Dieman's Land, and the whole of Australia except Moreton Bay. Persons assured in the second class have permission to reside in certain parts of America, thus defined:— In North America, to the northward of the thirty-fifth degree of north latitude, but not to the westward of the Mississippi River. The thirty-fifth degree divides the United States between the Carolinas and to the south of Tennessee. The assured may, from the 30th of November to the 1st of June, travel, but not permanently reside, in any part of North America to the northward of the thirtieth degree of north latitude, including the whole of the United States. Those in the second class may also reside in the Bermuda Islands and in South America, to the southward of the twenty-fifth degree of south latitude. This degree is just north of Rio Janeiro. Those residing in Peru, Columbia, Guiana, and in the greater part of Brazil, are charged at an increased rate, according to circumstances. The third class, which is the one immediately connected with the subject of this paper, applies to those who have permission to reside in India, Ceylon, and the Mauritius, India including the whole of the possessions of the Hon. East India Company, and any part of the East to which their servants may be required to proceed. Persons in this class are permitted to visit the parts of China to which British traders have access, but those going to reside in China are charged an extra premium. The fourth class applies to residents in the West Indies and British Guiana. For residence in the parts of the world not included in the above classes the assured must make a special contract. As two places where the mortality of the English race is commonly supposed to be greatest, I may mention the west coast of Africa and New Orleans. Having thus explained the classification on which these tables are constructed, I will proceed to estimate the chance of life of a person residing in the countries comprised in the different classes. The latest age at which the successful candidate for an Indian appointment will go out to India will be twenty-five. Let us see, then,
what is the rate of premium for insuring* £100 on the life of a person of that age in the different classes :
In the first class, for Europe, Canada, northern United States,
Cape of Good Hope, and Australia, the annual premium is, £1 19 8
- 3 16 7
The rate diminishes each year for five years, and is finally,.. 4 0 1 If we take the sum charged for insuring at the age of twenty-one, an early age to go out, the premiums are:
In the first class, .. -- -- -- .. .. .. .. .. £1 16 0
3 12 2
In order to appreciate the exact degree of difference of mortality indicated by this difference of premium, a comparison must be made of the ages of residents of Europe, at which the higher premium would be charged. About the same premium is charged to residents
In South America at the age of 25, and in Europe at 40.
In South America at the age of 21, and in Europe at 38.
In other words, the Insurance Companies consider that a young man going to the East Indies, at the age of 21, has no better chance of life than his father at 45 remaining at home; and a West Indian cadet, at the age of 21, has no better chance of life than his grandfather at 60.
With these facts before us, we must look upon an Indian career as presenting an entirely different prospect as to the duration of life from any similar employment at home.
There are circumstances where the risk to life should be entirely disregarded. A soldier when fighting the battles of his country-a physician or a clergyman when ministering to the wants of the sick and dying—would be unworthy of their calling if they allowed any regard for their own lives to interfere with the discharge of their duties towards others.
But the advice to go out to India is not generally based on any strong sense of duty towards others, or any high motive of elevating the Hindoos, of converting them to Christianity, or even of governing them in a manly and chivalrous spirit. The motives usually suggested are, that the appointments are so lucrative, a man may
* After the Journal was in the press, I received some new tables of the Colonial Life Assurance Company, making some slight change in their rates, but not so as to affect the principle involved in this paper.
marry at once, promotion goes by seniority, there is a certainty of retiring allowances, and there is a chance of prize-money and an Indian fortune. The statistics I have detailed show that there is an element overlooked in these calculations. Indian fortunes are like prizes in a tontine—they belong only to the survivors, and their value depends on the rapidity of the mortality amongst those joined in the risk. The climate of India is, however, not so fatal to the adults as it is to the children of British race; and hence arises another consideration for the candidate for Indian appointments. What prospect is there that he will be able to rear his family under his own care? The usual, if not invariable practice, for Europeans settled in India, is, to send their children at the age of about six years to England, to remain with some relative until the age of sixteen, it having been found almost impossible to rear European children in India. Now, what a destruction of family union is involved in this state of affairs. If the wife accompanies the children to Europe, there is a separation of husband and wife; if she does not, the children are for ten years without parental cherishing or control, and, from the rate of mortality in India, with but slight prospect of ever seeing their parents again. This separation is entirely different from sending children to boarding-schools at home; for there are still vacations twice a-year, and there is the penny postage to facilitate intercourse by letter. It is scarcely necessary to notice, what I consider of far less importance, the increased expense which this mode of rearing a family involves; but the chief argument urged in favour of Indian appointments being their high pay, this increase of expense should not be overlooked. We have next to consider whether those who go to India intend to settle there, to found families, to become real members of the Indian community, to identify all their feelings of country with India, to occupy the same position that an emigrant does in Canada, in the United States, or in Australia. If they do not, how are they fitted to effect a lasting benefit in India? How can they appreciate the institutions of India, or understand the feelings of the people? How can they develop a higher civilization out of the elements that surround them? Now, as long as the rate of mortality amongst the British race in India is so great as I have shown it to be, as long as the children cannot be reared there, it is vain for those filling Indian appointments to consider India as their country or their home. The feeling which has been described to me by one who went there full of enthusiasm and chivalry, is such as we might expect under such circumstances. Every official he had met with seemed, he said, to be bent on only two objects—to make money and to come home. When such is the feeling of Indian officials, what hope is there for the permanence of British sway in India? Can an empire based on such sordid feelings be lasting? or can the system be sound which generates such feelings in the minds of those subject to its influence? Whether the effects of climate on health which the statistics indicate be remediable or not, is beyond our present knowledge to predict, but we must deal with the facts as we find them, and guide our conduct accordingly.