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Although the land revenue of India is not derived from taxation, but is a portion of the rent or produce reserved by the State, in accordance with immemorial custom, the land is not entirely exempt from taxation. It is liable to certain rates which vary in the different provinces, but which are everywhere light. Deducting about 500,0001. shown under this head, but applied to payments for village services which have nothing to do with taxation, they yield about 2,500,0001. a year. They are mainly applied to local purposes, such as the construction and maintenance of roads, schools, hospitals, and dispensaries. soldats qui ne vivent que de la paye, tous les paysans de la campagne, qui ne labourent que pour le souverain, sont nourris à ses frais, et presque tous les artisans des villes, qu'on fait travailler pour le Mogol, sont payés du trésor impérial. On conjecture assez quelle est la dépendance des sujets, et par conséquent, quelle est leur déférence pour leur maître.'

Although I see nothing incredible in the amount which Aurangzeb's land revenue is said to have reached, the evidence given by Mr. Thomas to support the opinion that the total revenue of the empire was 77,438,0001. seems to me quite insufficient. It is arrived at by doubling the amount of the land revenue, and is based on the following passage from Catrou's work. After enumerating the miscellaneous sources of revenue, he says, on Manucci's authority: Tout ce casuel de l'empire égale, à peu près, ou surpasse même, les immenses richesses que l'empereur perçoit des seuls fonds de terre de son domaine.' Another Italian traveller, Careri, writing in 1695, says:

. I was told that the Mogul receives from only his hereditary countries 80 crores of rupees (80,000,0001.) a year. There is apparently no other authority, excepting these general statements, for the conclusion that the total revenues of Aurangzeb approached 80,000,0001., and I cannot think that they deserve credence. This question of the amount of the revenues of the Moghul Emperors has been carefully considered by Sir W. Hunter. He abstains from giving any final judgment, but is clearly of opinion that the matter remains open to much doubt. As he has observed, it is probable that 'the purchasing power of silver, expressed in the staple foodgrains of India, was two or three times greater than now.' He has also noticed that these conversions into sterling are made at the nominal rate of ten rupees to the pound, whereas the actual rate was then eight or nine rupees to the pound. Consequently, the figures given above, which profess to represent Aurangzeb's resources, would have to be considerably in. creased. See Sir W. Hunter's Imperial Gazetteer of India, Art. ‘India,'

p. 298.

Next to the land revenue, the most productive source of the public income in India is Opium. It yielded in 1886–87 nearly 9,000,0001., almost the whole of which was derived from opium exported to China.

More than one-half of this revenue is obtained from opium produced and manufactured in our own territories under a strict system of State monopoly ; the rest is obtained from a customs duty levied on opium produced and manufactured in Native States and exported from Bombay.

In Bengal, Behár, the North-Western Provinces and Oudh, the cultivation of the

poppy
is not allowed

except on the condition that the whole of the produce shall be sold to the Government. Notice is given every year that the Government will be prepared to purchase crude opium at a certain specified price. The price offered varies according to the quantity of opium required, and the area of the poppy crop varies with the inducement which this price holds out to the cultivator. The opium is manufactured at Government factories, and sold by auction in Calcutta to the highest bidders.

The poppy is also largely cultivated in the Native states of Central India. The British Government interferes in no way with the production or manufacture, but the opium cannot reach the sea without passing through our territories, and we levy a heavy duty on every chest of opium exported.

1 do not propose to discuss the vexed question of the morality of the system under which the Indian Government derives revenue from the consumption of opium in China. I shall merely state the conclusions to which my own study of the subject has led me. 1

The first thing to be learned is this, that, although the finest opium consumed in China is Indian, China does not depend on India for her supply. It is a common but complete mistake to suppose that the prohibition of the export of opium from India would have the result of putting a stop to opium-smoking in China. If the supply of opium from India were to cease, the richer classes in China would be deprived of a luxury which they prize, but, so far as the general population was concerned, the consumption of opium would remain much as it was before. Long before Indian opium went to China, opium was consumed there; no one can say how long the custom of opiumsmoking has prevailed. A single province of Western China produces more opium than the whole of India ; the cultivation is carried on, so far as the Chinese Government is concerned, with perfect freedom, and it is constantly and rapidly increasing. The population of China practically depends for its supply on the opium produced at home.

If, therefore, all that is said about the rain of the Chinese by opium were true, the prohibition of imports from India would afford no remedy. But it is certainly not true. Excess in opium, so far as the individual consumer is concerned, may probably be as bad as excess in alcohol; it cannot be worse, and its effects upon his neighbours are comparatively harmless. Used in moderation, as the vast majority of Chinese smokers use it, there is no reason to believe that opium is injurious. I do not doubt that the people of France, and Italy, and Spain are, on the whole, better for their wine, and that the people of England and Germany are better for their beer. Neither do I doubt that, on the whole, the Chinese are better for their opium.

1 A more complete account of the opium revenue is given in The Finances and Public Works of India, by Sir John and General Richard Strachey.

It is often said that the Chinese Government views the opium trade with dislike and desires its abolition. Whatever may once have been the case, it undoubtedly now desires that the trade should flourish, because it derives from duties on Indian opium a large and highly prized revenue. It has officially disclaimed any wish to see the imports from India diminished. Its real and reasonable object, for which it has long been striving, has been to obtain for itself a larger share of the profit derived by a foreign State from the consumption of opium by Chinese subjects.

For many years past an import duty has been levied by China on all opium brought from India or elsewhere. Apart from this duty, the amount of which is regulated by treaty, transit duties, and more or less irregular exactions, called lekin, have been levied upon opium at varying rates, and at various places, on its passage from the port of entry to its destination in the interior of the country. These duties were formerly collected by the provincial authorities, but the proportion that reached the imperial treasury was very uncertain. It was said that one-half of the amount went into the pockets of the collectors. The Chinese Government had long been anxious that a different system should be introduced, and it proposed to our Government that, in addition to the ordinary import duty, a supplementary duty, at a uniform rate, should be levied, in lieu of lekin, when the opium was imported. They proposed to issue

the port

to purchasers, for opium on which the whole of these duties had been paid, certificates which would protect the drug from all other demands in its progress

from of entry to the interior. This arrangement was accepted by our Government, and, as one of the provisions of the Chefoo Convention, it came into force in February 1887. Opium, instead of being liable to a fixed duty of 30 taels per chest, with a further indefinite liability for lekin, now pays altogether 120 taels per chest, the whole of which is collected by the Chinese Customs authorities and goes directly into the imperial treasury.

If the anticipations of the Chinese Government are fulfilled it will receive a large increase of revenue. The financial results to India can only be shown by experience; but if there should be a loss of revenue, which may not improbably happen, it will still be true that it was right and politic on the part of our Government to receive in a liberal spirit the reasonable representations of China.

In those parts of India where opium intended for export to China is produced, little or no opium is consumed. In the Punjab, however, there has always been a large consumption of opium, chiefly in the form of a decoction of poppy-heads called post. Its use is general among the Sikhs, who are prevented by religious prejudices from smoking tobacco. They are physically the finest race in India, and it would be difficult to find in any part of the world a more manly and more vigorous people.

1,104,0001. was received in 1886–87 under the head of Forests. This revenue is derived from the sale of

1 The value of the tael in English money varies according to the relative price of silver and gold. Its value in 1887 was about 4s. 10d.

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