Imágenes de páginas

dominions spread over Astrachan, Siberia, the Crimea, Georgia, the Mahomedan provinces acquired from Persia, the territories conquered from Turkey and various other places; Russians are found from Wologda and Woronesch to Kamschatka and Chinese Tartary; under her sovereignty are found Moldavians, Calmucks, Armenians, Greeks, Baskires, Servians, Wallachians, Turks, Buriats, Hindoos, French, Tartars, Germans (the latter to the number of half a million), &c.; but in reality the policy adopted by Russia is that which the East-India Company have so long pursued; it is thus described by Malte Brun:—

“Le Gouvernment Russie respectá avec une politique eclairée, tous les droits acquis, tous les privileges de provinces, de villes, de classes; les seuls changemens que le peuple conquis épreuvent sont en général favorable à la liberté personelles, industrielle, et religieuse.”

In addition to this the Company have had to consider the peculiar character of the Hindoos, jealous of their religious institutions, though weakened from the long bondage in which they have been held for eight centuries by the Mussulmans; whatever, therefore, be the decision of Parliament, I would respectfully address to the constituted authorities of India, with reference to the great problem which they are now solving, in endeavouring to raise a vast mation of the dark coloured races of men to a state of political independence equal to that of their European brethren, I would, I repeat, address them in the language of George Washington when bidding a political adieu to the Americans:—

“Towards the preservation of your government, and the permanency of your present state, it is requisite, not only that you steadily discountenance irregular opposition to its acknowledged authority, but also that you resist with care the spirit of innovation upon its principles,

the Greek Synod, was 542,701. Since that period Finland, Bialystock, the Caucasus provinces, Poland, and a part of the Turkish dominions have been added to the empire, making the present population upwards of 60,000,000.

however specious the pretexts. One method of assault may be to effect, in the forms of the constitution, alterations which will impair the energy of the system, and thus undermine what cannot be directly overthrown. In all the changes to which you may be invited, remember that time and habit are at least as necessary to fir the true character of government, as of other human institutions;–that easperience is the surest standard,” by which to test the real tendency of the existing constitution of a country; that facility in changes upon the credit of a mere hypothesis and opinion, ea poses to perpetual change, from the endless variety of hypothesis and opinion; and remember, especially, that for the efficient management of your common interest, in so extensive a country, a government of as much vigour as is consistent with the perfect security of liberty, is indispensable. Liberty itself will find in such a government, with powers properly distributed and adjusted, its surest guardian. It is, indeed, little else than a name, where the government is too feeble to withstand the enterprises of faction, to confine each member of the society within the limits prescribed by the laws, and to maintain all in the secure and tranquil enjoyment of the rights

of person and property.” perty GEoRGE WASHINGToN. United States, Sept. 17th, 1796.

* The Right Honourable Robert Grant justly remarks:—“There can be no sounder, no safer tests of the goodness of a system than the practical advantages which it produces, and its susceptibility of gradual improvement. Where these are found together, as in the Indian constitution they are incontrovertibly found together, prejudice against any material change of principle becomes reason, and the speculative innovator, however specious his propositions, is not to be derided as a theorist, but repulsed as an enemy!”—Eapediency Maintained, p. 167.



THE agriculturists and artizans of India are called on to support a home and foreign government, a standing army of two hundred thousand men, and to supply annually (what can scarcely be considered in any other light than tribute) four million sterling to the governing country. Unless England withdraw her protection from India, and leave its inhabitants once more a prey to rapacious neighbouring enemies, or to internal discord, a revenue must be drawn, which it is impossible, under the present state of the world, to reduce in amount; the question therefore is, how it can be most easily and cheaply collected, without unnecessarily pressing on the industry or resources of the people?—whether, as in Great Britain, by means of taxing necessaries* and luxuries of life, stinting the poor of their food, and the middling classes of their comforts?—by heavy imposts on articles of merchandize, which, while checking legitimate commerce,t requires an immense es

* Bacon, beer, butter, eggs, corn, cheese, peas, cucumbers, fruit, &c. &c. are all subject to heavy duties on importation, and beef,

lamb, mutton, pork, sheep, and swine are prohibited to be imported

into this country, by 6 Geo. IV. c. 117. + By the accounts laid before the Finance Committee of Parliament it appears, that the revenue from the custom duties is collected in England

tablishment for its protection, and raises up a host of spies and informers, and contemners of the law throughout the country: and in addition to the foregoing, by taxes on industry,” which are fatally destructive of that elastic principle of man in his social state, whereby he is enabled to repair the misfortunes which untoward events may have created? Or, as in India, by a system of taxation, which fairly, lightly, and uninguisitorially presses on every individual; which rises and falls with general, not partial prosperity; which makes it the paramount benefit of the Government to preserve peace, foreign and domestic; to augment, by every possible means, the quantity and quality of territorial produce ; to provide easy, cheap, and expeditious transit by land and water, to the most profitable markets; and thus, influenced by fixed and comprehensive principles of universal utility, most beneficently unites the governed and the governing by the least dissoluble ties of mutual self-interest? The many advantages of the latter procedure over the former is apparent; in an essentially agricultural country like India the greater part of taxation must ultimately fall upon the rent of land, it is therefore highly advantageous that the source whence the income of the state is derived should be as direct as possible. The economists of France, and I believe many

England on five hundred and sixty-six different articles' of these, five hundred and ten articles produced only £20,903 revenue, the cost of collecting which did not fall short of half a million sterling. Such is the admirable system of English customs, which theorists propose for adoption in India!!

* For instance, the tax on paper in England injures the makers of machinery, type-founders, ink-makers, printers, engravers, bookbinders, booksellers, stationers, paper-stainers, and many other trades: this destructive duty on paper varies from fifty to one hundred and fifty per cent.' The penalties are monstrous, and the laws relating thereto so confused, that no person almost can avoid unintentionally infracting them! This is a specimen of English legislation in matters of revenue: too many of similar instances could be pointed out.

of their disciples in this country, assert that all taxation finally rests upon land: if this be even partially true, how much preferable is the Asiatic to the European mode of taxation; for, as Dr. Adam Smith justly remarks, “duties of custom and excise are contributed for the support of the state, rather in proportion to a man's humour than to his revenue; the hospitable paying more than their proper quota, and the parsimonious less, while those who reside out of the country, contribute nothing for the security of the government or state whence their revenue is derived.” The opinions of this celebrated philosopher on the land revenue of India, will be better understood by the following quotations from his works: *

“In Indostan and in several other governments of Asia, the revenue of the sovereign is almost altogether from a land tax or land rent, which rises or falls with the produce of the land. The great interest of the sovereign, therefore, is that his revenue is in such countries necessarily and immediately connected with the cultivation of the land, with the greatness of its produce, and with the value of its produce. But in order to render that produce both as great and as valuable as possible, it is necessary to procure to it as extensive a market as possible, and consequently to establish the freest, the easiest, and the least expensive communication between all the different parts of the country. But the revenue of the sovereign does not, in any part of Europe, arise chiefly from a land tax or land rent; in all the great kingdoms of Europe perhaps the greater part of it may ultimately depend upon the produce of the land, but that dependency is neither so immediate nor so evident. In Europe, therefore, the sovereign does not feel himself so directly called upon to promote the increase both in quantity and

* Ireland affords a remarkable illustration of this doctrine; an immense portion of the principal wealth of the island, the landed rental, is drawn out of the country, and contributes to swell the resources of England, while the consumption of custom and excise articles by the proprietors takes place also in England; had the taxation been fixed on the land, the Duke of Devonshire, the Marquis of Abercorn, and other great landed proprietors would have been obliged to contribute their quota to the exigencies of the state, and the necessaries and comforts of life would have been the cheaper obtained by the bulk of the people, but as the case now stands the whole fiscal weight falls on the poor, i. e. the mass of the people; the Duke of Devonshire, the Marquis of Abercorn, &c. pay nothing to Ireland.

« AnteriorContinuar »