Page images

There the Government is everything, here the Governonent is Powerless, unless supported and urged forward by public opinion.

I have the honor to be, Sir, your most obedt, servi.
(Signed) R. M. G. Ri Ndlay.

To C. B. Greenlaw, Esq.
Secretary to the New Bengul Steam Fund.

Sin, -We have heretofore abstained from reporting the progress in this country of the question of steam communication with ladia, because we understand that Capt. Grindlay transmittel monthly a detailed account of such particulars as would keep you duly acquainted with the course of events here. Our object having now been partially attained we feel called upon to congratulate you upon the degree of success which has attended our exertions, and to express our earnest hope that the step which has been gained is but the prelude to complete realization of our wishes, and that a few months will produce the extension of the communication to all the principal ports of India. You are aware how zealously the comprehensive scheme has always been sup: ported by your late Governor-General. The opinion which he has hitherto maintained he continues to hold, and is prepared to assert them in the next session of Parliament, when the subject will be again pressel upon the notice of the legislature. Great caution has been necessary to avoid ruining our prospects altogether by too much rapidity of action, but we have now gained a point from which we cannot be driven, and the possession of which will enable us to advance with greater certainty and confidence.

We forward a memorandum which will convey some knowledge of the difficulties with which we have had to contend, difficulties which could only be surmounted by the operation of time aided by caution and discretion. Captain Grindlay has devoted his time almost exclusively to the furtherance of your views, and has constantly been engaged both publicly and privately in promoting their success. As we have had opportunities of becoming acquainted with his labours not enjoyed by his constituents in India, we think it due to him to bear testimony to the unwearied zeal, judgment and assiduity, with which he has sought to advance their interest, and to express our entire s tisfaction with his conduct throughout the proceedings in which we have been engaged.

We have the honor to be, Sir, your most obdt, serves.,
(Sd.) J. MacKillop.
W. Fiftcutt, Sd. by Mr. Mackillor.
G. G. do ll. Lampest.
King's Arms Yard, London, Aug. 4, 1837.
[Hurkaru, Jan. 4,

STEAM M1 EETING AT THE TOWN HALL. The Steam Meeting at the Town Hall on Thursday was very numerously attended. At a little after ten the Sheriff took the chair and read the requisition on occasion of which the meeting had been called, and having so done, he proceeded as follows : Gentlemen, had the occasion upon which we meet to day, been a matter of an ordinary nature or of minor importance, I should have desired, as Ishould have considered it my duty, to reside at it ; but when I take into consideration the intensity of interest that is felt upon the question we are met to consider, and the peculiar position in which it is o respects the authorities at hone, I think that shall best fulfil my duty by proposing that the chair should be taken by one far more capable of filling it

with effect. Gentlemen, I shall therefore propose the name of one who has often fulfilled the same duty upon this most important subject, I propose to you that the Chief Justice be requested to take the chair. . . Sir E. Ruan.—Gentlemen, my excellent friend the High Sheriff, having selected me to fill the chair at this meeting and you having been pleased to express your approval of his nomination, I with pleasure assume a duty connected with a subject upon which, it is true...that I have always and do take the deepest interest. Upon the general merits of the subject it will not be necessary for me to enlarge at the present moment, my sentiments have often been expressed, and before I make any further observations on the subject, it will be better to allow the proposed resolutions to be submitted to the consideration of the meeting. The Lord Bishop then rose and said, I should have been much better pleased if the duty of proposing the first resolution, had been!entrusted into other hands, had the occasion upon which we have met together, been one of ordinary import or of common character. The retired and sacred nature of my profession would render it improper and unbecoming in me to take a prominent part on occasions of meetings for ordinary purposes or with a view to objects of doubtful utility ; but on a subject whereupon an intensity of feeling peryales the public mind, and were the question under discussion may be considered as embracing all the interests of humanity, and in its consequences calculated materially to affect the whole well being of society ; on a question which regarded in its influence upon all the benevolent relations of life, is boudless in its scope, on such an occasion I deem it not ouly not uubecoming, bud entirely consistent with my more immediately sacret duties, to exert my voice in support of that which,” calculated to prove so eminently coducive to the benefit of mankind. In whatever light we regard the great question Steam Communication with Great Britain, whether as public men, or as private individuals, as members of the community, or as fathers, husbands, of guardians,— in every relation of life shall we find the vast importance of this great improvement in the means of distant and rapid intercommunication, between the metropolitan country and her colonies. What father of a family, does not appreciate the immense value of the means of learning the progress of his distant progeny, their health and happiness within a comparatively, unimportant interval of time * Who, looking at the subject as a public man, can regard with indifference the vast improvements which will be derived to commerce in general What boundless advantages will this country enjoy in the rapid communication of the discoveries of the western world in the arts and the sciences ! Of what inestimable value towards the civilization of the East must be the full and rapid communication of European knowledge, and the wisdom of the West' To every missionary of religi'on, to every traveller in search of knowledge, as well as to every servant civil or military of the Company, is this subject of deepest interest. It is a project, which like the discovery of the mariner's compass or invention of printing, must produce consequences which it is beyond the view of human speculation to embrace. In such a case, and to promote such an object, I cannot but leel that I am justified now in coming forward as I did five years ago for the same purpose. Nothing, indeed, can be contemplated as so wonderfully calculated to promote the interests of humanity as the invention of locomotion by means of steam ; and as regards India, the present moment appears to present a crisis, which not only justifies but demands the support of all, and of every character in promoting the scheme in its largest and most comprehensive extent, an object upon which such an intensity of feeling pervades all India. Our great business is, by manifesting our own anxiety and eagerness to kindle the


sympathies of the British nation, which unless we are strenuous will necessarily become lukewarm, and conse-object when attained.

quently the object we have in view will be not smothere: but delayed. Our exertions, inieed,ought not to be limited by any consideration of the abstract ments of the question, or the benefits to be derived from its accomplishment. We are to consider not so much what we have to gain as what we have to overcome : the coolness and backwa dness of friends, the hostility of those whose interests are in truth identified with our own, but who choose to oppose instead of supporting us. I speak of Bombay. All these circumstances demand that we exert ourselves in

roportion. The selfish policy of Bombay as exhibited in the early stage of intercommunication, sufficiently evinces what would be the result of a scheme which should confine the channel of communication to that port. Of their unaccomotiating spirit we have had example we may say before hand. Of the uncertainty of the present mode of conducting the communication, f need only instance the case of Principal Mill, who, taking his pas sage here on the best calculation, arrived at Bombay three days after the steame had sailed. There can be no doubt, that whether we are lukewarm or whether we are energitic, this great object will make its way; but the question is, whether you will have it now or twenty years hence " 'I he cause will advance, it cannot be stopt; but the question is, shall it advance with the firm, bold front of freemen or the creeping abjectness of slaves The cause must advance, it is not to be resisted; but the question is, shall it advance with the current or against it ! If you are lukewarm ; if you are tame and torpid, your cause must advance against the stream. If you are reso. lute, firm, energetic, you will turn the current in you, favor. The results that are to be anticipated from a free communication between this country and England, on the most comprehensive scale, are boundless, and for my own part I cannot perceive the immense difficulties that have impeded the regularity of communication be. tween Suez and Bombay; and in making allusion to the conduct of Bombay in respect to the steam question, we should recollect, that we are not possessed of all the facts, and that we ought to believe that but for some operating causes to us unknown, there would exist the same unanimity at the other presidencies, and the same desire to promote the one great object, and the more we are enabled to give a favorable and charitable construction upon the conduct of others, the more easily will the great question make its way. That it will make its way through whatever may obstruct it is certain; but the question is, whether India shall enjoy this blessing now or whether it is postponed to twenty years hence With the aid of this discovery and holding the most important colonial possessions ever connected with a present state, such vast means of bestowing happiness upon mankinhave been entrusted by Providence to the British nation, not merely for herself but in trust for the many mil. lions who look to her, not only for protection but for inprovement and civilization. England beholds India thirst

ing for knowledge, and looking to her fountains from whence to draw and be satisfied. India beginning to , awaken from the sleep of ages,

after sixty years' repose, under a benignant, mill and paternal government, turns her eyes towards England, and asks that the book of knowledge be spread open before her. England has been placed by Providence on the pinnacle of national greatness, and lndia has been entrusted to her care, in order that she may from the height of her own prosperity and glory, communicate to her colonies, the knowledge and the wisdom that has made her great. The question then is, whether England will hasten to send forth her sons to communicate these boundless advantages to these her vast possessions, and in order so to do whether she will adopt such means as may be said with scarcely a me.

taphor, to bring their vast possessions nearer home * Immeasureable will be the advantages which we may

contemplate in ten thousand points of view, of such an

In the time of sickness, the enfeebled patient may be rapidly transported from the dangerous atmosphere in which he is sinking, and carried into pure and renovating climes ' Instead of parting with our children, when we send them to the land of their fathers, as though we were to be separated with but the distant and cheerless prospect of seeing them again only aster the lapse of years—when perchance they have stept from infancy, to an adult age—we may hope by means of steam, to send for them and have them with us in a space of forty days So vast and various indeed are the advantages to be anticipated, that it is impossible even to inmagine, far less to enumerate, the grand results which must be the consequences of the full attainment of the great object which we have meet this day to promote ' If ever there were a triumph for public spirit, it will be enjoyed in the accomplishment of this great object; and, it is only by the full and energetic display of public spirit, that it can be accomplished. By this means shall religion, by this means shall liberty in its widest and noblest sense, be diffused amongst the millions of the East. To aspire to such grand objects is a noble feeling and worthy of the greatest nation upon earth ; it is worthy of the claims which religion has upon such a nation ; it is worthy of the obedience which such a nation owes to the Almighty, from whom its greatness flows. Into this great measure should the British nation plunge at once, not headlong, but with an utter disregard to soroid and narrow calculation of expense. Now is the hour when it is in the power of the British na tion to open the flood-gates of measureless blessings upon her Indian territories. Let her not hesitate, let her not delay, but achieve at once that great good, which will clothe her with tiue glory, and secure the suture happiness of India. Sir Edward Ryan. --Gentlemen, I am desired by his Lordship to read the following resolution. 1st.—“That as the petition of the inhabitants of Calcutta and its neighbourhood to the Honorable the House of Commons, and the memorials to the Right Hon'ble the Board of Commissioners for the affairs of India, and the Court of Directors of the East India Company, all dated the 5th March, 1835, praying for the immediate establishment of a regular, expeditious,and frequent communication between the principal Indian ports and Great Britain, by means of steam vessels, have failed in the auainment of the object as far as relates to Madras and Calcutta, an arrangement having been entered by the Court of Directors with Her Majesty's Government for the establishment of a communication limited to Bombay, and as the select Committee of the House of Commons which sat in June last, has recommended a continued and zealous attention to the subject on the part of Her Majesty's Government and the East India Company, it is expedient that a further petition and memorials be presented to the above named authorities from the inhabitants of Calcutta and its neighbourhood, praying for the immediate establishment of the extended communication." The resolution was seconded by Mr. Tucker, and passed by a shew of hands, no one dissenting. . Sir Edward Ryan.—Gentlemen, you have unanimous. ly carried the resolution for presenting the petition of which a draft has been proposed and published, and which may probably have been seen and perused by many present ; if however you are desirous that it should be now read, the Secretary to the Steam Committee, will read it to you. Here a number of voices intimated by acclaim that the petition should be read, which was accordingly done. Mr. Pattle.—I did not expect, when I came here to: day, that the duty of proposing the 2d resolution would have devolved upon me. I had understood that it had been undertaken by a party far more capable than myself of adequately fulfilling it. However, it is with no reluctance that I address you as the mover of the 2d resolution, aud in doing so I may congratulate the

friends to Steam Communication upon the numbers here assembled to support its interests. It proves how general is the conviction that pervades our society, that the cause of steam will never be complete till the full and entire object prayed for by the petition has been attained. The petition itself is so ably drawn, and so fully and clearly expresses the strong grounds upon which we claim the attention of Parliament, that it leaves little to be said further in its support ; and, I am fully assured, that it must carry conviction, as well as satisfaction, to the breast of every impartial and unbiassed man. With your permission I beg to read the 21 resolution.

2nd.—“That the petition now read be adopted and that the Committee of the New Bengal Steam Fund be re. quested to take charge of the same in order to its being duly signed, and that they be further requested, after full opportunity shall have been afforded to the inhabitants of Calcutta and its neighbourhood, to sign the same to for ward it to the Right Hon’ble Lord William Cavendish Bentinck for presentation to the House of Commons, with the expression of the grateful thanks of this veeting for the indefatigable exertions made by his Lordship in furtherance of the prayer of the former petition, and to solicit the contiunance of His Lordship's invaluable aid until the object is attaine l.”

[blocks in formation]

part of the evidence taken before the Committee of the House of Commons, which, as it has not been published

increased and enforced with all the encouragement that the Government authority can bestow. I look to steam navigation as the great engine of working this moral improvement. In proportion as the communication between the two countries shall be facilitated and shortened, so will civilized Europe be approximated, as it were, to these benightel regions ; and in no other way can improvement in any large stream be expected to flow in. Past experience shows what we have to expect for the future. I shall take the liberty of enlarging upon this topic. For much more than half a century the British dominion has been established at the three presidencies over a great extent of territory, with a large dependent population. Examining attentively the intellectual conditiou of these numerous communities it cannot be denied that little progress comparatively has been made in the acquisition of useful knowledge. There prevailed throughout, and in the darkest ages of European history, the same ignorance and superstition, the same belief in witchcraft, the confidence in charms and incantations, the same faith in astrology and onens, the practice of human immolation of all sexes and ages, and many other barbarous customs, opposed to true lappiness, and repugnant to the best feelings that Providence has planted in the human breast. Again also, in the arts and sciences, in every branch of useful attainment, the ancient usages and learning retain their unimpaired sway. In medicine and surgery, in chemistry, in hydraulics, in mechanics, in civil engineering, in painting, sculpture and music, we observe then all, with the exception of a few individuals of superior talents and ambition, remaining stationary in their primitive rudeness and ignorance. And yet, during this long interval, thousands of wellelucated Europeans, deeply versed in all these branches of knowledge, have been succeeding each other, and domiciliated for years in the country. Why, it will

in this country, you will not deem it irrelevant' if I read be asked, had all this science, this learning, and this abilito the meeting, as most strikingly exhibiting the opinion |ty to impart instruction, passed away without leaving

of Lord W. Bentinck, respecting the advantages to be delived to India, by the establishment of Steam Communication with India on the most comprehensive plan. Sir Edward Ryan here read the following extract from the evidence he alluded to : –

The Right Hon. Lord William Bentinck, Chairman of the Committee, further Examined.

1954. Lord Sandon.] Do you consider that a speedy and regular communication by steam with all the ports in iudia will be pro luetive of any moral or political advantage Very many, and very great. With respect to the moral advantage, I have already had the occasion, in India, of publishing my opinion ; and I will now repeat it. The subscribers to the Madras Steam Fund addressed me a letter, in 1834, in which they stated their belief that this project would confer vast and incalculable benefits upon our country and mankind. I answerd as follows: “I confess that my anticipation of the expected benefit goes far beyond the more obvious results, great as those undoubtedly would be, of improved government, of the welfare of the people, as effected by such improvement, of the promotion of commerce, and of what may be considered of minor importance, of the comfort of our own numerous countrymen, sepa. rated by such great distance of time and place from all connextion with their dearest interests. The limit assign ed by the resolution is expressed by the large term of * mankind,' and in my judgment appropriately and correctly ; because the great want of this eastern world, India, China, &c., may be comprehended in the single word, “knowledge.’” If the moral condition and happiness of the most enlightened countries suffer from this cause, it can be easily conceived, that on this great space, where the human mind has been buried for ages in universal darkness the task must be hopeless unless the same means which have alone accomplished the object elsewhere are brought into action, and these means

any trace or impress on the mind of India, although in no other part of the wo. iii does there exist greater quickness of intellect, a more eager thirst after knowledge or superior aptitude to acqui.e. it The answer to this question is plain and oilvious. The cause is to be found in the past principle of our rule, of rigidly precluding the free admission of Europe us to alia ; the lirect consequence of which, whatever in other respects may have been its alvantages, has been to viam up in a great degree the main channel of improvement into India. It may be assumed that 19-20th parts of the importanoa Europeans have consisted of the Company's servants ; they have had, of course, other duties to perform, occupying the whole of their time, and the fault lies not with them, it they have contributed louie or nothing to this object. The government, indeed, may perhaps be accused otomission, and of not having done as inuch as they might ; but I doubt even with more exertion on their part whether, while the same system lasted, much progress could have been made. All the improvements of the description to which I have been adverting, are exclusively due to the skill

|and enterprise of individuals, aided by the capital of the

houses of agency. Every indigo and coffee plantation, the Gloucester mills, the works of every description that are moved by steam, the iron founderies, the coal-mines worked after the European fashion, and the other great establishments that we see around us in Calcutta, are so many great schools of instruction, the founders of which are the real improvers of the country ; it is from the same sources that we must expect other school-masters of new and improved industry. The new charter will remove many obstacles, but steam communication far more. But with the opinion I entertain, that the extent of colonization,(as it is mistermed,) and the effects of it, have been very much overrated, I am convinced that the knowledge, and instruction so much needed by India can never be sufficiently provided by European colonists and speculators only. The natives themselves must be encouraged to go to Europe, there to study in the best schools of all the sciences. This opinion I know to be entertained by some of the intelligent members of a committee now sitting at Calcutta, to consider the best means of educating the natives in the higher branch. es of medicine and surgery. The Pasha of Egypt has given a noble example in this respect to the rulers of rude and unlearned nations. The circumstances that have hither to operated as a complete barrier against the intercourse of the natives with Europe, except the classes of sailors and of menial servants, hive been, first, certain customs as to food prescribed by the Hindoo religion ; and secondly, and mainly, the length, the expense and apprehension also of so long a voyage, In respect to the first of these obstacles, Ram Mohun Roy, who will be of illustrious memory among his posterity, has broken the ice ; and I know that some, and I have no doubt that other, rich and well-educated natives are preparing to tread in his footsteps, with the same laudable desire of seeing what India may become, by what Europe, and especially Egland, is ; and of raising their country by the same means from the moral and political le radation in which she is plunged. With respect to the second obstacle, which makes the attempt almost impossible to the great class of students, however willing to those who are to be the practical operatives and the introducers of the new arts and sciences, and will become the best teachers of their country. men, steam navigation, with the aid of Government, and of those interested in India's welfare, will go far to remove it. I was happy to learn from the same members of the medical cult inittee, that natives thoroughly acquainted with the language would, if assisted, be ready to embark immediately in that pursuit, and necessarily in others of the same utility. I will, therefore, conclude this too long detail by saying, that it is knowledge that is needed ; knowledge is the beginning of wisdom ; knowledge alone can raise this country to a higher standard among the nations of the world; and with the sentiments 1 have expressed, of the best and most effectual mode of attaining these great purposes, the Steam Committee are amply boine out according to my firm conviction, in their resolution, “that this project opens vast and incalculable benefits to our own county and to mankind.” The principal political advantages I will shortly state ; First, great increase to our military power. The vast space we have to occupy and de'en!, and the cousequent impossibility of quickly trans; oring troops from one point to another, has led to the necessity of having upon each portion of our territory a force sufficient for its protection, independent of all extaneous assistance. It is evident that, India forming a peninsula, and the monsoons offering no impediment to the access of steam. ers, large means of transport of this kind could always convey troops to the point menaced, and the whole arm could thus be made available for the service of every portion of our dominions. The last overland mail bring. an account of the arrival of the Atalanta at Boonday, and of her being dispatched three days afterwards with a whole native regiment to Mangalore, the seat of an insurrection. In Beugal, the river steamers will convey a reinforcement in three weeks, and safely, to Allahabad, situated at the junction of the Jumna and Ganges, and the central point of the upper and lower provinces of Bengal, which by the ordinary boats of the country could not have been done in less than as many months, and without much risk, the insurance to Allahabad being equal to that upon a whole voyage to England. When in India I recorded the opinion, which I repeat, that had the establishment of steamers now proposed been in existence during the Burmese war, many thousands of lives, prodigious individual suffering, and millions of money, would have been saved to the state. It is not too much to assert that under the peculiar local circumstances of India, with great space, no roads or canals, a very unhealthy climate, and with a seacoast for its universal limit, one-fourth of the same

military force, in co-operation with an adequate steam es. tablishment, would be more efficient than the whole without it. If, moreover, the Pasha of Egypt could be induced, as some well-informed witnesses seem to consider practicable, to allow the passage of our troops through his country, a regiment or more from Malta might reach Bombay in five weeks. All this is power exercised in its most imposing character. Hyder Ally is said to have declared, that it was not what he saw, but what he did not see, that he was afraid of. I beg leave to put in an extract from a letter (vide Appendix) from the superintendent of steam vessels on the Ganges, upon the great success of that establishment, and as affording a certain degree of expectation of a similar result to the sea-going steamers. Secondly, the civil fuctionaries, who now come to India so young as to have acquired little European useful knowledge, and necessarily from their position, too apt to contract arbitrary feelings and habits, would have easy means and should be encouraged to visit Europe, there to acquire liberal notions of the principles and practice of improved administration. Thirdly, the same salutary influence would operate upon our military officers, Susbordintion would be greatly promoted by the knowledge that the authority of the superior power at home could be quickly interposed ; nor would the courts-Inartial have the same reluctance to do their duty, if all those considerations which distance so injuriously creates were removed The comfort, the allegance, the attachment of all to their native country, would be more firmly maintained. Fourthly, but perhaps the most in portant benefit of all, would be its tendency to place the security of our impire upon the only solid fouliation, the general good will of those we govern. Our present position is this ; we have conquered the whole of India ; we have much above 100,000,000, of men under our direct and indirect rule ; and it is universally allowed that our government has no hold upon the attachment of the people. I will introduce here, as more deserving the attention of the Committee than any opinion of my own, an extract from a minute of one of the Inost sagacious statesmen that India, or indee i any other country, has produced, the late Sir Thomas Munro, written in 1824, describing the effects of our government. “If we make a summary comparison of the advantages and disadvantages which have occurred to the natives from our government, the result, I fear, will hardly be so much in its favour as it ought to have been. They are more secure from the calamities both of foreign war and internal commotion ; their persons and property are more secure from violence ; they cannot be wanton v punished, or their property seized by persons in powe ; and their taxation is, on the whole, lighter;" (my exi erience cannot confirm this latter opinion;) “but, on the other hand, they have no share in making laws for hemselves, little in administering them, expect in very subordinate offices;” (some a melioration has taken place in this later respect, but not much ;) “they can rise to do high civil or military station ; they are every where regarded as an inferior race, and oftener as vassals or servants than as the ancient owners and masters of the country.” This minute is full of able, wise and enlightened principles, and the same sentiments, will be found to prevail in the recorded documents of two other most able and distinguished individuals, Sir John Malcolm, and the Hon. Mount Stuart Elphinstone. Sir Thomas Munro observes also, “It is not the arbitrary power of a national sovereign, but subjugation to a foreign one, that destroys national character and extinguishes national spirit.” Successive foreign domination under Mahommedan emperors, for centuries, has been the sad lot of India; and it ought to have been a happy change in her fortunes and no doubt will be, that she has become subject to a civilized, enlightened and Christian nation; but so far she has gained little by the transfer, except general peace and tranquility, and the consequent capability of receiving the benefits of improved institutions and government. In many respects the Mahommedans

surpassed our rule; the settled in they countries which they conquered ; they intermixed and intermarried with the natives; they admitted them to all privileges, the interests and sympathies of the conquerors and conquered became identified. Our policy, on the con: trary, has been the reverse of this ; cold, selfish and unfeeling ; the iron hand of power ou the one side, monopoly and exclusion on the other: . The bane of our system is not soely that the civil administration is entirely in the hands of foreigners; but that the holders ol this monopoly, the patrons of these foreign agents, are those who exercise the directing power at home; that this directing power is exclusively paid by the patronage; that the value of this patronage depends exactly upon the degree in which all the honours and emoluments of the state are engrossed by their clients, to the exclusion of the natives. There exists, in consequence, on the part of the home authorities, an interest in respect to the administration precisely similar to what formerly prevailed as to commerce, directly opposed to the welfare of India; and consequently it will be remarked without surprise, that in the two renewals of the charter that have taken place within the last 25 years, in the first nothing was done to break down this administrative monopoly, and in the second, though a very important principle was declared, that no disability from holding office in respect to any subjects of the Crown, by reason of birth, religion, descent or colour, should any longer continue, still no provision was made for working it out; and, as far as is known, the enectment has remained till this day a dead letter. India, in order to become an attached dependency of Great Britain, must be governed for her own sake, not for the sake of the 800 or 1,000 individuals who are sent from England to make their fortunes. They are totally incompetent to the charge, and in their hands the administration, in all its civil uranches, revenue, judicial and police, has been a failure. Our government, to be secured, must be made

popular, and to become so, it must consult the welfare of

the many, and not of the few : the government must remain arbitrary, but it may also be, and should be, pater. nal. But how can this be effected 2 England has no knowledge of and no care for India. India, again, has no representatives in England, and has hitherto had no access to her shores; her fate is entirely in the hands of the two authorities with whom her management as vested. The Court of Directors seek their office for the sake of the patronage only ; for the most part they are strangers to india; have their own separate affairs to manage; are divested of responsibility ; but, from their permanency, and the knowledge which they delive from their numer. ous clients, they possess a power and influence over all affairs, which a temporary President of the Board of Control, unaided by any board possessing local infor. mation, cannot possibly control. It is much to be regretted, when the last charter was renewed, that these two bodies had not been amalgamated into one department, with a Secretary of State at its head, with a competent board like that of the Admiralty, possessing local experience and information; chosen, perhaps jointly by the East India Company and the Crown, or Parliament, and paid out of the India revenues. It is through the means of a quick, safe and frequent communication between all lndia and England, that the natives of India in person will be enabled to bring their complaints and grievances before the authorities and the country ; that large numbers of disinterested travellers will have it in their power to report to their conntrymen at home the nature and circumstances of this distant portion of the empire. The result, I hope, will be to rouse the shame. ful apathy and indifference of Great Britain to the concerns of India ; and by thus bringing the eye of the British public to bear upon India, it may be hoped that the desired amelioration may be accomplished. The following remark of Mr Mill, in his able history of India, is well suited to the present question: “If the East India

Company have been so little successful in ameliorating the practical operation of their government, it has been owing chiefly to the disadvantage of their situation, distant a voyage of several months from the scene of action, and to that imperfect knowledge which is common to them with all their countrymen.”


The whole scope of Lord William Bentinck's evidence, goes to prove his entire conviction of the utility and the necessity of establishing the communication by steam on the most comprehensive plan. By means of this invention months are reduced to weeks, and there can be no doubt that had the facilities of steamers existed in lndia during the Burman war, one-fourth of the military force employed, would have produced more efficient results. A regiment might be brought from Malta to Bombay in three weeks. Hyder Ally, used to say that he feared the English, not from what he saw but from what he did not see.”

Sir Edward Ryan.—I thought that whilst we tendered our thanks to Lord W. Bentinck it would not be proper in some measure to shew how far his Lordship merited them for his services in this cause. His Lordship follows out the argument to its full extent. Before I conclude allow me a few words more. We are not met here to consider whether communication by steam with India, shall be established or not ; that question, thank heaven, is settled and decided in our favor ; that battle is fought and won ; all we have now to ask or desire is that our success be complete. The petition, therefore, has been prepared which states that the home authorities have not done enough in restricting the communication to Bombay, nor granted to us that which we have a right to claim. The petitions shew, that by the regulations of government the greatest weight allowed by dawk, is 4 ounces, and by dawk banghy 19 pounds; the time occupied by the dawk banghee is double that of the dawk, and thus all important as to the transmission of public document and public correspondence, having to be conveyed to us across the peninsula of India, steam is of little or no use. Now as we are the payers, we have a right to ask for the full, complete, and equal establishment of steam communication by letter. But what is still more desirable, and the absence of which is a still greater hardship upon us, is the means of personal communication by steam. Every body is aware of the difficulty that at certain periods exists of getting round to Bombay. Principal Mill, on every reasonable calculation, expected to arrive there in time for the Atalanta; he was three days too late, and these three days occasioned him the loss of many weeks as regards his arrival in England, as well as much additional expense. Iłowever, although individual cases may serve to illustrate the mischief, it is not the loss or disappointment sustained by individuals, but the inconvenience to the public that constitutes the grievance. It is the withholding that facility of intercourse which once established would bring thousands to Iulia who now never dream of such a journey. Look at the difference in the traffic between Liverpool and Manchester, in the establishment of rail roads between those two towns. When steamers shall be regularly established between this country and India, multitudes will flock here, and return and tell those at home, what we are and what we are not, which at present they do not at all seem to know. The Lord Bishop has so ably developed the vast results which may be most confidently relied upon that it will be unnecessary for us to dwell further upon the subject; but I would call att ntion to one point. Whilst we are seeking for the sull completion of our wishes, we ought to feel grateful for what has already been achieved. We have an admission of the justice of our cause. We shall have Ceylon, which is at present altogether excluded from participation in the advantages of steam, joining its voice with ours. We are sure that in Lord W. Ben

tinck we have one who will never lose sight of the one

« PreviousContinue »