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business were not so perfectly executed at the India House, and if the senior clerks of the establishment in Westminster were not well competent to furnish their in-coming superiors with instruction. In this way-but in this way alone-an admirable brief is put into the hands of the newly appointed President, and he, from parliamentary habits, is enabled to discuss questions as they arise with the Chairman and Deputy Chairman of the Court of Directors. It may be said that something analogous occurs in most other great departments of the State. Let us not, however, overlook the fact that the affairs of India very seldom occupy the attention of Parliament-whereas the time of both Houses is so taken up in debates on the domestic, colonial, and foreign policy of the Empire, that the leading members are conversant not only with the general principles but with the details of administration in any office to which Parliamentary conflicts may raise them. There is usually found, we must repeat, in a newly appointed Board of Control, utter ignorance as to the judicial and revenue systems of India. Nor is this all: much of the composition and organization of the native army is peculiar and, were it only with a view to military questions, it surely would be desirable to introduce Indian experience into the Board itself. A Board composed of a president, vice-president, and chief secretary, having seats in Parliament, together with two paid and permanent commissioners selected by the Crown from among the experienced servants of the Company, and not sitting in Parliament, would certainly be more efficient than the present Board. As there would be only one parliamentary secretary, supposing the salaries of the permanent commissioners to be 15007. each, and that of the vice-president 20007., the increase of charge would amount to 31007. A Board such as this would present the foundation of a system that might hereafter replace the East India Company in the government of India :-it is in fact clear enough that a further addition of five commissioners not in Parliament, with one other non-parliamentary secretary, would complete the requisite machinery. This speculation does not include the distribution of the Indian patronage, for which some arrangement, almost entirely disconnected with the administering authority might-and indeed in the supposed case must-be made: but, well satisfied as we are to leave the great Indian trust, as it now is, with the Company, we are not called upon to discuss eventualities which, it is to be hoped, will not arise.

We have not space for a detailed examination of the financial position of British India; but we must not wholly omit it. In his tenth chapter Mr. Campbell estimates the gross revenue of


all India at about 48 millions sterling, which he distributes as follows:

Native States, but the revenue probably exceeds the

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Alienations in our own territories, inferior states, rentfree lands, &c. &c.

Sacrificed by permanent settlement at Bengal

Political pensions and assignments, Bombay hereditary officers, &c. &c.

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From this he says-' It appears we possess little more than half the revenues of India; whereas, if we appropriated the whole, we should undoubtedly always have a large surplus, and India might be more lightly taxed than any country in the world." But here we cannot believe the writer to have weighed his words with his usual care. They certainly suggest something too like an anticipatory apology for wholesale spoliation.

According to the latest accounts of Indian territorial revenues and disbursements submitted to Parliament,

The net revenues amount, for 1850 and 1851, partly estimated, to .

The total charges for 1850 and 1851, partly estimated, to

Leaving a deficiency of

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. £19,906,502



This deficiency admits of easy explanation. Mr. Campbell is quite justified in saying that our ordinary revenue has defrayed our ordinary expenditure. Our debts are, almost without exception, the result of extraordinary expenditure in war.' Large cash balances are kept in the Indian treasuries to meet extraordinary expenditure; and the last stated amount of these balances was, in round numbers, eleven millions sterling: but at next reckoning this amount will be found diminished by the Burmese war, and no portion of the Treasury balances will be applicable to the reduction of debt.

In the year 1835-36, under Lord William Bentinck's government, the surplus income amounted to 1,466,8487.; and in 1837, the last year of surplus revenue, the Indian debt was 30,446,2497. It stands now, after the wars in China, Afghaniston, Scinde, and the Punjaub, at 46,908,0647., bearing an interest of 2,236,1407.-about a ninth part of the ordinary net revenue. The debt itself does not exceed the net revenue of two years


and a half. To this debt, indeed, must be added the bond debt at home, amounting to nearly four millions; but even with this addition the whole public debt is under the revenue of three years. We do not consider the capital stock of the Company a charge upon India, for the Act of 1833 provided a security fund of two millions, destined to accumulate for the redemption of it.

Such a financial condition would, in any powerful European monarchy, be considered highly satisfactory; but in the case before us the same conclusion cannot be come to without some reservation; for in India the great branch of permanent revenue derived directly from the land does not admit of increase according to the varying necessities of the State; and the next considerable receipt, that from opium, fluctuates with the demand in China, and, were the moral habits of that extraordinary region improved, might greatly fall off, if not altogether cease. The salt monopoly is another most important branch of revenue; but it is one that, from the universal demand for the article, and its pressure upon the indigent multitude, must at all times be considered a grievous burthen, and cannot, under any circumstances, admit of augmentation. It may be hoped, that with the full development of the resources of the soil, and more especially with an increased production of cotton and sugar, and an amelioration in the quality of both, the condition of the community may be so improved as to allow of more variety in the objects of taxation, by which the poor industrious cultivators of the soil may be relieved, and wealthier classes compelled to contribute in a larger proportion. Peace is the great desideratum in India-peace, that will bring with it a reduction of charge, and restore a surplus


Where the form of government is absolute, the people have a right to expect that great works of public utility shall be undertaken by the Sovereign Power, and not left altogether to the enterprise and association of individuals. Few perhaps in Britain are at all aware of the extent to which such duties have, during a lengthened period, and signally within our own times, been encountered under the administration of the India Company. The whole world may be challenged to show anything comparable with what that government has already done for the improvement of internal communications of every sortbut above all, with what has been achieved by the skill of British Engineers in the extension of canals for drainage and irrigation in many districts of India. On this last subject-at least on the most important part of it, the wonderful operations in the sub-Himalayan region-our readers will find most ample and most interesting information in a work lately published by Captain

Captain Baird Smith, of the Bengal Engineers-a work which every candid Englishman will peruse with pride; * and assuredly whenever a surplus revenue exists in India, the best employment of it, even in preference to the reduction of debt, will be found in a still wider application of the methods thus successfully exemplified.

Before we close our observations on one of the greatest questions awaiting the decision of Parliament, we are anxious to guard ourselves against the charge of indifference to the welfare of the Asiatic millions intrusted by Providence to the Crown of England, and of making their best interests a question entirely subordinate to the maintenance of her Eastern supremacy. It is true that we have presumed to differ in opinion from some very considerable authorities in regard to the introduction of natives into the higher ranks of office- on the ground that such an innovation would be dangerous to the connexion subsisting between Britain and India. Policy commands, we think, the avoidance of this danger-but philanthropy equally recommends it; for the internal tranquillity and prosperity of all India itself are at stake. Were the rule of the sojourning strangers to be subverted or weakened, there are now no elements amongst the natives for constructing either a general government or independent sovereignties; and the inevitable result must be anarchy and civil war, even to a greater extent than when a Company of merchants laid the foundations of our marvellous dominion.

The preceding article was in the press before the Evidence taken by the late Committees of both Houses had been published. It is satisfactory to find that in most of our views we concur with Lord Hardinge, Lord Elphinstone, Sir George Clerk, Mr. Shepherd, and Mr. Melville. We have not been so fortunate as regards Lord Ellenborough, more especially as respects the expediency of intrusting the future government of India to the old Company. However, Lord Ellenborough can scarcely be considered an unprejudiced witness on this point.—

Manet altâ mente repostum

Judicium Pariais, spretæque injuria formæ.

* Italian Irrigation—a Report to the Court of East India Directors.' 2 vols. 8vo. 1852. See the Appendices to vol. i.


ART. IV-1. Recherches sur les Etoiles Filantes. Par MM. Coulvier-Gravier et Saigey. Introduction Historique. Paris. 1847. 2. Catalogue of Observations of Luminous Meteors. By the Rev. Baden Powell, M.A., F.R.S., Savilian Professor of Geometry, Oxford. In Reports of British Association, for 1847, 1848, 1849, 1850, 1851.

3. Humboldt's Cosmos. Translated under the superintendence of Lieut.-Col. Sabine. Vol. I. Section on Aerolites.


N former articles of this Journal we have dwelt at some length on those peculiar characters which designate the physical science of our own time, and which have mainly contributed to its astonishing progress during the last half-century. Such are, first, the higher principles of inquiry into nature; involving in the case of each particular science the action of elements heretofore unknown, and the establishment of laws more general and profound than any before recognized:-secondly, the infinite increase of exactness required and obtained in all the methods of research, whether by observation or experiment :and, thirdly, the intimate connexion established amongst different sciences-affording new illustrations to each—and tending towards those great generalizations which it is the object of all philosophy to obtain, not solely for the perfection of theory, but also for the most various and valuable application to the uses of man. We now revert to these characteristic distinctions because they are, all and each, strikingly illustrated by the subject before us —one of the most recent departments of physical knowledge, and hitherto very slenderly provided with facts fitted for the establishment of general laws; but gradually moulding itself into the forms of a science, and acquiring connexions with other branches of general physics, which every day tends to make closer and of higher interest.

In every age of the world, and in every region of it, there have been witnessed, amidst the more constant aspects and phenomena of the heavens, those strangely irregular and vagrant lights, those fiery shapes and burning cressets,' which suddenly kindle into brightness above us, and as suddenly are lost again in darkness. Sometimes seen as globes of light in rapid movement-much more frequently under the aspect and name of falling or shooting stars, and these occasionally even crowding certain parts of the sky by their number-such appearances in former times were regarded either with dull amazement, or with superstitious awe as the omens of approaching events. Throughout all ages, moreover, reports have existed of masses of stone of various size falling from the sky, preceded by vivid light and explosion; and these occur


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