Page images

and delay from the side of India; and get there is no doubt that within the very years in which the attention of the Indian Government has been devoted to this trade, Russian articles have beaten English articles out of the Toorkistanee markets. And the cause is clear. Russian manufacturers have, and English manufacturers have not, studied the tastes and needs of the Toorkistanees. Reporting on the exports from Leh, in 1871, as British Commissioner of Trade, Mr. Shaw said :

The demand for “ piece goods" is immense; for every man, woman, and child in Central Asia wears several long robes, of which either the lining or the entire substance consists of white or printed calico. They prefer stout stuffs, with large and brilliant patterns, glazed calico and chintz, such as would be used by us for covering chairs, &c. They also take much white muslin for turbans. Although this fornis the principal article of export from India, yet so small a proportion does it bear to the total requirements of the country, that the very existence of English cotton goods is almost unnoticed in the bazaars of the great cities, which are crowded with Russian fabrics. It requires a long search to find a shop where English piece goods are kept, and certainly not one person in a hundred in Eastern Toorkistan wears clothes of English manufacture. . . The Yarkundee, if he wishes for English manufactures, has to clothe himself for a winter where he will be driving hill waggons across the winding steppes and frozen rivers of his home, in stuffs prepared for the inhabitants of Bombay and Bengal (or at best of the Punjab). Moreover, his taste is in brilliant and showy colour, and he must content himself with the more tasteful, but less appropriate, patterns preferred in India. We have not yet held out any inducement to the Central Asiatic to clothe himself from English looms. All the admirable adaptations or mixtures of wool or alpaca with cotton--making fabrics as light and strong as his own silk, and almost as cheap as his coarse native-made cotton goods-are, as yet, unknown to him. On the other hand, our commercial rivals the Russians have, for a course of years, studied the tastes of the Central Asiatics, and adapted their own manufactures to them. It seems even probable that they have, in some cases, enlisted our English manufactures in the making of Central Asian goods without their knowing it. Some samples obtained in Kashghur, with Russian stamps on them, were shown by me to manufacturers in the midland counties, and declared by them to be of English make. Mention was even made of a large order, some time previously received by an English firm for a new description of fabric, similar to some of the Kashghur samples, which order was given on the condition of no inquiry being made after the destination of the goods. Thus it appears probable that English stuffs reach the Central Asian markets through Russia, burdened with 13s. per cwt. of extra carriage (for it costs much more to convey goods via Tashkund, costs about 41. 78., while from London to Yarkund við Lahore, it costs 31. 17s, 6d. Mr. Shaw has estimated the greater cost of transport by Tashkund to be 138. per cwt.

from Russia than it does from England við India); while all the intermediate profits are reaped by Russian instead of by English hands.'

Cutlery should be a great article of export to a country where every man wears a knife at his waist. But some superstition of the country requires the introduction of a third substance between the blade and the handle to make it lawful to cut food with. This trifling alteration in the usual mode of manufacture would secure a considerable market, but, as no arrangement of the kind is necessary in India, no such knives are to be got there of English make.'

Similarly his predecessor, Dr. Cayley, writing in 1867, said,


"There was a very great demand for broad cloth, but only old and inferior articles had been sent up from India, so that some of it found no sale, although,' he observed, 'a very considerable supply comes from Russia, and sells at a very high price. The chief demand is for cloth of bright colours, red, blue, green and yellow, &c., and only really sound durable materials will sell.

Again, if our manufacturers had taken note of what has been published regarding the tastes of the Toorkistanees, they would have observed that there is a great demand for loaf sugar of small size, suitable for the presents which Asiatics are constantly making to each other, and moreover of a shape that can be commodiously packed. The Russians have found out the kind of article needed, and their enterprise has been duly rewarded; while the English loaf sugar is too large for the purpose needed, and of a shape singularly unfitted for transport over a long land journey. Indeed in no instance have English merchants studied the size or shape of the package which can best be carried on mule-back or pony-back over steep passes. Consequently bales, as they come from England, have to be opened and made up afresh, before they can be sent on, the result being injury to the goods and unnecessary expense to the trader. And yet the attention of British manufacturers and merchants has been specially invited to the Toorkistan trade by the publication of facts and figures showing the profits*

• Thus 101. worth of piece goods at Umritsur taken to Yarkund at a cost of 31., and paying 9s. duty, will fetch 181. in Yarkund. Broad cloth, tea, dyed skins, guns, pistols and swords fetch a clear profit of cent. per cent. ; sugar (the little that is exported) a profit of more than 300 per cent., gold and silver brocades 37 per cent. To the opening for the sale of tea in Eastern Toorkistan the planters in Kangra, lying actually on the line of route, are quite alive; and the trade is progressing very healthily. Tea is in fact drunk by everybody in the country many times a day.

to be enormous. Large as the gains are known to be, they have not yet tempted any British capitalist to embark even a small portion of his wealth in this trade, the bulk of which is consequently in the hands of hardy but comparatively poor adventurers, who cannot afford to wait long for their returns, and who work on borrowed capital, for which they have to pay very heavy interest. Another reason for the slow and partial development of this trade is no doubt to be found in the arbitrary restrictions of the Atalik Ghazee, who shows his suspiciousness regarding all dealings with the outer world by permitting only one caravan in the year to start from Yarkund, at a time fixed by himself, often too late to suit the convenience of merchants from India. The removal of this impediment is, however, one of the results to be expected from the British Mission now on its way to the country; and we must hope that the Chambers of Commerce in India and England will then give some attention to the needs and resources of a country, to which, more than to almost any other in the world, trade can bring wealth, security, and enlightenment.

ART. II.-1. Seventeenth Report of Her Majesty's Civil

Service Commissioners. London: 1872. 2. First Report of the Royal Commission appointed to inquire

into the present State of Military Education. London: 1870. TWENTY years have passed since the great experiment

of competitive examinations was first entered upon, by throwing open the Indian Civil Service to public competition, and those persons have reached to middle age who can remember the sanguine predictions of success with which in the time of their youth the new system was ushered in. The test

demic tournament; it was to be an arena open to all comers, where the lists should be so fairly arranged that while every champion should be allowed his choice of weapons, the weight

beto be

D thould be

value. Mathematics, classics, philosophy, the natural sciences, the languages of Europe and Asia, each branch of knowledge should be appraised at its just relative merit, and thus a perfectly fair and impartial mode of comparison be introduced. So great a prize thus thrown open to the youth of the British empire, without limit or reserve, as the meed of industry and talent, could not fail to become the subject of eager competition from all quarters. Thus two great ends would be served by the same means—the purification of a most important branch of the public service, and the inauguration of a new era in the progress of education.

On the other hand there were not wanting abundant prophecies of failure. That an extensive competition would arise was not doubted, nor that a great stimulus would be given to higher education throughout the kingdom; but it was alleged that while open competition would supply the Indian Service with men of brains, a large proportion of them would prove to be mere book-worms, unfit physically as well as mentally for the practical business of life, still more for the duties required of an Indian civilian.

The validity of this objection was indeed disposed of at the time. Lord Macaulay, in his famous speech in the House of Commons on the second reading of the Indian Government Bill in June 1853—a speech which probably contributed more than any other advocacy to carry the measure and break down the old system of nomination-showed by an appeal to facts the fallacy of the assumption that intellectual power would usually be found separated from the other qualities needed for success in life; that of the university men who have achieved subsequent distinction, whether as politicians, or in office, or in literature or science, the men who had already been distinguished by university success furnished far more than their relative share,

tion of success in after life. This inference must indeed be drawn by anyone who will be at the trouble of examining for himself the university class lists which Lord Macaulay cited; and if additional testimony were wanted on this point, it is abundantly afforded by the experience of the twenty years since that speech was delivered. The examination for the Cambridge Mathematical Tripos, for example, is essentially an open competition, although, as we shall presently see, of a very different kind from that established for the Indian Civil Service; and it shows not only, as affirmed by Lord Macaulay, that mental capacity is usually found united with practical sagacity and fitness for the business of life, but also how fair a test a paper examination may be made of the particular sort of capacity it professes to deal with. In the great competition known as the examination for the Smith's Prizes which follows that of the Tripos, the candidates are with infrequent exceptions placed in the same order as in the first trial, showing how

little the element of chance enters into the matter; while of the men who take mathematical honours, those who in after life distinguish themselves in mathematical or physical science are almost always to be found among the half dozen at the top of the Wranglers’ list. The same thing holds good of the Classical Tripos, and of the Oxford Class Lists. Men of mark may pass through the universities without taking honours, from various causes, but of those who do take honours and are afterwards distinguished in life, by far the larger proportion have taken high honours. These facts show that the test of practical business does not cancel but confirms the judgment recorded by the test of examinations properly conducted.

The prediction that competition would be followed by phy-sical degeneracy has also been entirely refuted by the facts,

The Indian Civil Service contains, no doubt, a proportion of weakly men, but so it did before the time of competition. At the Military College of Woolwich for the Artillery and Engineer Cadets, to which the experiment of competition was next applied, the result has been not only a much higher standard of education than was possible before, owing to the weeding out of the idle and incompetent lads who under the nomination system found a place in every batch, but this advance has been accompanied by an actual improvement in the physique of the cadets : a finer set of young men than those who enter the Royal Artillery and Engineers from the Royal Military Academy under the new system could nowhere be found.

The experience gained here also disproves another à priori assumption against competitive examinations, that the middle classes would be elbowed out of the way by aspirants from a lower section of society. The fact is precisely the reverse. It was overlooked that to throw open a service meant to open it above as well as below. Heretofore the nominations to Woolwich had fallen very much to the sors of officers, who were admitted at a lower than the ordinary rate of payment, especially the sons of officers of the Artillery and Engineers, which branches of the service had thus become in a measure family regiments. The effect of throwing open these services has been the admission among others of many rich men, who under the old system would not have sought or obtained nominations; the two regiments are distinctly wealthier than they used to be, and more completely representative of all the middle classes of society; and now that purchase has been abolished in the rest of the army this change is likely to go much farther. It is obvious, upon reflection, that patronage was very generally exercised, from kind and charitable motives, in favour of those

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »