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valuable services in defence of the freedom of the Press. The design of the cup which was presented to Mr. Alderman Wilkes, by order of the Common Council, was as above mentioned.
The struggle between Parliament and the Press concerning the printing of debates was not repeated. Parliament seems to have acknowledged that constituents have a right to know the Parliamentary proceedings of their representatives. From that time to the present the Debates in both Houses have been constantly printed in all newspapers, and Parliament, as well as the public, has profited by the facility given to the Press, and obtained by the City of London in the manner above explained.
II.-FIXITY OF TENURE IN INDIA.
THE articles entitled "Indian Affairs" which occasionally TH
appear in the Times are believed to emanate from the India Office and to represent the views of the Indian Secretary of State; and when they conflict with the public utterances of that officer, they create a degree of perplexity as to the actual views of the Government, which cannot fail to weaken public confidence in its intentions. On the 26th January last Lord G. Hamilton, in opposing Sir W. Wedderburn's motion for an inquiry into the causes by reason of which the masses in India are helpless to resist even the first attacks of famine, said :
6. The honourable baronet seems to indicate that if such an inquiry were made, it would be possible to stop famine in India. I contest that altogether. Famines are inevitable incidents. It is a mistake and is wrong to hold out the hope that remedies can be suggested, which can prevent famines desolating India."
On the 27th April following, an article on “ Indian Affairs" appeared in the Times, maintaining that “ famines are not beyond human control, and questioning whether such control has been effectively exercised in India ; asserting that the staying power of the people is a main factor in determining the extent to which a failure of crops shall mean wholesale starvation ; that that power is the product of the well-being of the people in ordinary times; that its force depends on the permanent prosperity of the community, and that fixity of tenure-which the Government systematically opposes by periodical enhancements of the land tax-holds the first place among the conditions which make for the permanent prosperity of agricultural races."
A flat denial is thus given to the Secretary of State's dictum that famines are inevitable, and that it is wrong to seek the means of stopping them. The Times article, moreover, ascribes the severity of famines in India to the very action of the Government in preventing, by oppressive taxation, the agricultural classes from attaining the degree of prosperity which would enable them to tide over a season of dearth. The article further informs its readers that the Government in 1804 promised a Permanent Settlement in Orissa upon certain conditions which have been fulfilled, and within a certain period, which has long elapsed, and that the Government evaded redeeming its pledge "through loopholes in the fluctuating policy of the last ninety-three years.” Thereupon the article calls on the Government to fulfil its promise now, and seems to have been dictated by a sense of justice and sound policy, except in its last paragraph, which reads as if it were the work of an entirely different author. It says: “It is of course not a question of a Permanent Settlement, such as Lord Cornwallis gave to Bengal, which secured definite rights to the landowners and left the rights of the cultivators undefined."
This description of Lord Cornwallis's Settlement is simply a misrepresentation, as any one may ascertain, who
will glance at the Regulations of January, 1793, which embody that Settlement. The land tax at that time was most oppressive, amounting to ten-elevenths of the rent due to the owner, with the result that rents were proportionately enhanced, that one-third of the country was jungle, inhabited only by wild beasts, and that the State could scarcely realise its land revenue. The pledge which the Government then took to refrain from further enhancing the tax, induced the landowners to offer reasonable terms and even material assistance to all who would come and cultivate their fields. The success of the measure was marvellous, as innumerable official documents testify. Sir Ashley Eden, on being appointed Lieutenant-Governor of Bengal, said, on his return from his first tour of inspection :-“Great as the progress which I knew had been made in the position of the cultivating classes, I was quite unprepared to find them occupying a position so different from that which I remembered them to occupy when I first came to the country. They were poor and oppressed, with little incentive to increase the productive powers of the soil.
I find them now as prosperous, as independent, and as comfortable as the peasantry, I believe, of any country in the world ; well fed, well clothed, free to enjoy the full benefit of their labours and able to hold their own and obtain prompt redress for any wrong.”
Now this great and rapid improvement in the position of the cultivators could not have taken place had they not been protected in the enjoyment of their rights. The Permanent Settlement Regulations, while they exempted the proprietors of land from future enhancements of the land-tax, established efficient Courts of Judicature for the protection of both landlords and tenants against illegal demands and all wrongs whatsoever; and the motive for misrepresenting and attempting to discredit Lord
Cornwallis's great measure arose from the bar which it raised against the exercise of arbitrary power by the Executive in India, and against the illegal modes of duress which were resorted to for the enforcement of illegal and oppressive demands. The Settlement was attacked early by officials whose conduct it tended to control and regulate, and Sir Philip Francis, the supposed author of the letters of Junius, who was then a member of the Indian Government, replying to an allegation that the Settlement neglected the rights and interests of the ryots, recorded a Minute, in which he said :
“ It is proposed to secure to the ryots the perpetual and undisturbed possession of their lands. The language, I know, is popular and has often been used to give countenance and colour to acts of violence and injustice against zemindars and superior ranks of natives. Before we give perpetual possession, we ought to determine the property. The State does not consist of nothing but the ruler and the ryot, nor is it true that the ryot is the proprietor of the land ; but it does not follow that because the ryot has no direct permanent property in the land, he should therefore have no rights or that no care should be taken to protect him. Without his assistance the land is useless to the zemindar. If they are left to themselves, they will soon come to an agreement in which each party will find his advantage. To dictate the specific terms of any lease is an invasion of the rights of property. The intervention of the Government between the zemindar and the ryot should have no object but to enforce their respective engagements.”
If we now consider, in the light of Sir Philip Francis's observation, the last paragraph of the Times article vaguely advocating undefined rights on behalf of the cultivators, a revelation is disclosed, indicating that the Government, on pretence of fulfilling the promise of 93 years ago, is
preparing to despoil the zemindars of Orissa as they despoiled those of Bengal, by means of the Tenancy Act which a compliant and obedient Legislative Council passed in 1885. The provisions of that enactment created a class of middlemen delusively named “ Occupancy ryots,” who were endowed with the right of holding their lands at a permanently fixed rent, while they were authorised to rack rent their under-tenants, the cultivators. No surer scheme could have been devised for enabling these middlemen to secure the bulk of the profits from agriculture, which legitimately belong to the owners and cultivators of the land.
The aim of that complicated scheme will be more easily apprehended on a review of the course which the Authorities previously pursued in respect of the Permanent Settlement. When that compact enabled the zemindars, by the application of capital and labour, to develop the resources of their estates, to discharge the heavy tax permanently imposed on them, and later, to increase their incomes and the well-being of their tenants, the Government pledge to refrain from enhancing the land tax was represented by zealous fiscal officers as a wanton sacrifice of revenue. The suggestion to repudiate Lord Cornwallis's Permanent Settlement was entertained on the ground that it did not bind the present generation, and when that question came before the Secretary of State's Council in London, a member emphatically declared :“We have no standing ground in India except brute force, if we forfeit our character for truth." At the same time many high Indian
officials raised their voices against repudiation, with the result that open repudiation was abandoned and the scheme of the Tenancy Act, which offered the same financial advantage, while its violation of principle was obscured in its complicated machinery, was, after a few years of ingenious elaboration, duly enacted in