The Lyttelton Times
Lyttelton Times, Rōrahi IX, Putanga 588, 23 Pipiri 1858, Page 5
The Lyttelton Times
Wednesday, June 23rd. pf oW that the misunderstanding with France has been adjusted, and all apprehensions of European ruptures are transferred, at least, to some future period, the affairs of India become the prominent subject of enquiry and reform. Although the progress of the war has been hitherto triumphant, though occasionally disastrous, its termination will doubtless cost abundance of blood and treasure ere the country be totally reduced to a state of comprehensive and solid peace, and new institutions be established on a basis of permanent and secure stability. The grand problem then to be solved is how to render India financially a self-sustaining country. With all the acknowledged talents of the civil servants of the East India Company, and their devoted abilities in ascertaining and applying the resources of the country, the i principal result of these talents is the re! vealing of the real difficulty of the question $ and the man who can settle it will ! be de facto the conqueror of the country, 1 so far as its military conquest can be ren! dered available for its peaceful occupation lin future. The revenue of India has | been hitherto derived from the opium and [ salt monopolies, and the rents of land. I The first of these brings in about fourmil-1 lions, /.sterling, but is really paid by the [ Chinese, and can hardly therefore be called a tax on India. The salt monopoly, in! eluding the import duty on that article, yields about three millions sterling, being the only direct tax the Indians pay. The ; land revenue amounts to about sixteen and I a-half millions sterling, and has been the chief resource of India. Supposing this to be as much as the land can bear in its present state, this branch of revenue can j be increased only by increasing its produc tivenessj and the cultivation of waste tracts, I and these developments must depend eni tirely upon the application of English I capital. All irrrgular sources of revenue have been abandoned, while the pay and pensions of the host of European officials, and the heavy outlay of sustaining a large standing army have involved a vast expenditure, annually exceeding the income, re- I suiting now in the accumulation of a debt, | in- fifty years, of fifty millions sterling. In I addition also to the cost of suppressing I the present mutiny, which, whatever the I amount, must be added to the existing I debt, the annual deficit, for some time to I come, will amount to nearly two millions I sterling,—the income being estimated at | £29,344,960, and the expenditure at | £31,326,022. Although rapid and as| tounding fortunes have been made in India, | these were chiefly the results of plunder, I corruption, or fortunate speculation j and I the country is comparatively a poor one, land densely populated by empoverished | natives, who can neither afford, nor will I passively submit to an increase of taxation. | Under these circumstances improvement | and retrenchment must evidently go hand j in hand to place the financial position of I India in any satisfactory position, and the I question becomes of primary importance to I the empire, how to transform this expan- I sive from a dead clog and I heavy burden, into a flourishing, self-sus| taining country.