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discussed, and many arguments are ad- | ture of the tenure on which the land is held vanced to prove that on the whole it is bet- as to be incapable of being settled apart ter that these should be executed by ser- from this. Moreover, the discernment of vants immediately employed by the State, local needs, and the ability to contrive a systhan that they should be made over as ob- tem of collection sufficiently supple to adapt jects for the enterprise of individuals, as in itself to the circumstances of the different the case of the Indian railways. Major cultivators concerned, may reasonably be Chesney's reasoning rests on solid ground looked for in a civil servant of the Crown, when he points out that the guarantee, with knowing well the country, its customs and out which no works would be undertaken its language. But it is unlikely that these by private enterprise, does in reality im- qualities would be found in agents of joint pose on the Government which gives it the stock companies occupied with the sole end responsibility of failure, without any pros- of swelling the receipts of their employers. pect of compensation in the event of suc- It would be an objectionable thing to confer cess. Already the Government has been on any irrigation company the power of called upon in its capacity of guarantor to forcing the farmers along its line of operatake over the Calcutta and South-Eastern tions to pay for its waters although they Railway, as well as the works of the East might not care to profit by them. And it India Irrigation Company, in repaying in would be no less inconvenient to permit a each instance the money expended by share company of this kind to withhold at will the holders. And doubtless, in the event of water which years of use might have renunremunerative results, the same expedient dered essential to the system of cultivation would be resorted to by every company actually in force. The authority and forplaced in the same relation towards the bearance required to regulate most quesState. For the articles of agreement be- tions connected with irrigation might well be tween the contracting parties provide for exercised by a powerful Government, which such claims being recognised, -subject, it is could afford to wait many years for a return on true, to certain modifications regulated by any outlay on this head, knowing that mean. the market price of the companies' shares. while its property is being benefited, and its

And in addition to this and other consid- general revenues increased by many indirect erations of general expediency urged by the sources of gain. But the case might be difMajor, there are many reasons which go to ferent were the promoters of the enterprise prove that direct State agency for construc- uninfluential indviduals, to whom want of tion as well as for after control does possess dividends may mean want of bread. Irricertain advantages. The overshadowing in- gation works, too, offer tempting facilities fluence of authority which the very name of for the exercise of extortion-the sufferers Government imparts in the mind of an Ori- being the owners of the fields irrigated; a ental to anything the State undertakes, as class even now occasionally plundered by well as to any person it employs, gives it a dishonest servants of the Government Cagreat assistance in this direction—not mere- nal Department. As a crop advances to a ly in the shape of words of respect or acts certain point of maturity, and the drought of obeisance offered to its agents, but also of the season goes on increasing daily, the in the more substantial form of cheap work. value of water to it is often so great that For example, it has happened of late years the simple cultivator is easly terrified into that works were carried on in the same lo- bribing the irrigation underling who threatcality by Government engineers and by rail. ens, on one pretext or another, to withhold way contractors, simultaneously, and at the requisite supply. To prevent evils of times side by side ; and in many instances this description the concession of irrigating it was observed that the Government offi- Orissa, which was made some time ago to a cers could obtain labour and materials at joint-stock company, contained a provision rates sensibly lower than those paid by the for the distribution of the water being collothers.

ducted by the Government. In the instance of irrigation works the Many inen well acquainted with the subcase on behalf of direct State enterprise ject of Indian irrigation are of opinion that, seems specially strong. Revenues of rail- | 'as a rule, its operations cannot be carried ways are easily collected on behalf of asso

out profitably by any hand but that of the ciations who may have constructed them. State. It is certain that in numerous instan

the means required to recoup the share- ces cultivators are slow to avail themselves holders in an irrigational canal might prove of the waters which have been led past difficult of application. Indeed the benefit their lands. Immemorial usage has rela which any individual field may derive from dered the husbandman of India suspicious of such works is often so dependent on the na- | all innovations on the practice of his fore

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fathers; and he may not always possess and canals executed by Government officers
even the small capital required to render his on the one hand, and in the works carried
fields adapted for irrigation. The Ganges out by Indian railway companies on the
Canal, which has been in operation for near- other, it cannot be denied that the latter
ly fifteen years, is even at the present time show a continuity and uniformity of pro-
imperfectly appreciated by the farmers gress which is seldom found in the efforts of
along its course. During many of its early the Public Works Department, crippled as
years it was entirely unremunerative, in so these are by a want of sufficient men and
far as direct earnings were concerned. Its means. In short, so far as considerations of
profits have at length reached the rate of 39 certainty and expedition of construction are
per cento on its cost, and doubtless may yet concerned, the advantage appears to be on
increase. very considerably. But it seems the side of private enterprise.
unlikely that the example of long deferred A very serious obstacle in the way of
success which it affords should tempt Eng- road-making in India is encountered in
lish investors to embark in similar ven- many districts, owing to the want of suit-
tures-not at least unless under a guarantee able materials. And unfortunately this in-
of a certain annual dividend.

convenience exists in the greatest degree in In favour of committing works of im- many provinces where roads are most reprovement to private enterprise there are quired. The plains, which produce luxunot wanting certain good reasons, one of riant crops of cotton, grain, and tobacco, are which is especially cogent, viz., that under often utterly destitute of anything in the this system operations are undertaken at shape of stone. Indeed, the portions of the once which might have remained for years entire peninsula which furnish rocks of a uncommenced had the trouble of detailed quality suitable for road-metal are inconarrangements been cast upon the Govern- siderable. The stratified rocks which in ment. No reasonable man can deny that at many places afford fair materials for buildthe present moment India might in all like ing purposes, are seldom of sufficiently hard lihood have been destitute of railways, or texture to resist the passage of carts, and at best furnished with a very few miles of during the long-continued rains of summer railroad, had the obligation of constructing are liable to be soaked into a state of pulpithem rested directly on the ruling power. ness which yields to the pressure of the In obtaining improvements of this kind at first passing wheel. Broken bricks and the cost of a guarantee of profit or of a burned clay have been laid down as substi-. subvention, a Minister conceives that he tutes for road-metal in such localities, but can reckon with some certainty on the ex- with no great success; as these materials tent of the obligation which he undertakes; also are apt to give way under the action of whereas he is apt to imagine that little con- water. In the event of a high class of road fidence can be placed in estimates of the being required, it is absolutely necessary cost at which the same end may be declared to procure suitable stone. In cases of this capable of being attained by his own subor- kind, where the price of the metal forms the dinates. We do not say that he is right in larger portion of the cost of construction, this conclusion. Indeed, the experience of much advantage might be derived from the the last few years has tended to alter the adoption of some of the artificial roadways opinion formerly held by Englishmen as to which have at different times been devised the superiority of operations conducted by in various parts of the world. An expecompanies or contractors, contrasted with dient of this nature, contrived by a civil enthose carried out by servants of the crown. gineer of eminence in the north of Scotland, But we may safely say that this idea of the and w consists in coating the surface of more reliable nature of contract obligations the road with a concrete formed of broken is still sufficiently prevalent in official circles stone and cement, appears well suited for to influence very seriously any question of trial in such loamy localities. The original public works which may come under con- expense of a causeway of this description is sideration. Nor is it a small matter that a said to be much the same as that of a well Secretary of State should by this system be metalled road. For by the new process a saved the distracting task of determining much less depth of crust is necessary,--the the merits of many alternative schemnes concrete representing from the outset the proposed to effect one object in view—each thickness into which the loosely laid stones possibly recommended by men whose of are eventually crushed, after undergoing the ficial position entitles their advice to be well passage of a tolerably active traffic. In heard.

respect of maintenance these concrete roads Again, if we compare the operations of promise much economy.

From experithe two agencies as exhibited in the roads mental portions which have for some time

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been under severe tests, there seems reason men who among us are known as contractto think that, under ordinary circumstances, ors, has hitherto been little adopted in the they may endure many years unimpaired; case of works undertaken by the Indian while the task of making good the gradual Government, although this method has been effects of wear and tear appears capable of generally followed by Indian railway com. being done both cheaply and easily. panies. On behalf of this contract system

It is probable that railways of an inex- there is a good deal to be urged. Experipensive kind, or even tramways, might ence warrants the conclusion that works so profitably be provided across the alluvial managed are usually done more expediplains of India, in place of roads. Al- tiously, and, strange as it may appear, often Though the first outlay would thus be in- more economically, than by direct agents creased, the ultimate burden to be borne of the employing power. For, although by the State might in all likelihood be less. many items of construction may be more The examples of existing railways show costly to a contractor, yet his superior or that, under careful construction and man- ganization of labour enables him to provide agement, lines of this kind may not only the most efficient superintendence at the be made to clear working expenses, but smallest possible expense. His efforts, too, may be turned into sources of profit; while are made after a more uniform plan, and are in the case of ordinary roads it is almost less subject to interference or alteration than impossible in India to look for any direct the endeavours of a many-mastered piece returns to meet the cost of maintenance; of administrative mechanism, such as a turnpike tolls having proved impracticable Government department too often is. there. And this question of maintenance is On the other hand, this contract system sufficiently serious, seeing that, even accord. is liable to many abuses. That dishonest ing to the present progress in road-making, device which is known among us as “scampthe annual cost of repairs would in twenty ing work,” is said to have been largely pracyears' time consume the entire amount now tised on certain Indian railways, if not by allotted for construction in each Public English contractors, then by men to whom Works budget.

they had sublet portions of their task. Bridge-making in India is usually a heavy Without going the length of allegations task, owing to the number and size of the made by hasty observers among us regardstreams which everywhere intersect it, and ing the innate inclination to deceit displayed the violent floods to which these are subject by our fellow-subjects in the East,—allegaat certain seasons of the year. Nothing tions which any man who has had an opporshort of the most substantial structure can tunity of forming a fair judgment must acresist the summer freshets, and yet the knowledge to be as applicable to England necessary stability is often difficult of at- as to India—it must be admitted that tainment, owing to the soft alluvial loam Oriental nations have not that appreciation in which foundations have to be laid, and of the conditions of completeness which is which, in spite of almost any precautions, desirable in a good workman. is liable to be scoured from underneath Most of the shortcomings of Indian artipiers, or, on the other hand, to be swept sans are probably due to ignorance of confrom the sides of the channel, thus admit- structive principles rather than to frauduting the current to eat a way for itself in lent intentions." The defective mortar asrear of the abutments.

signed as the cause of collapse in the maLight iron superstructures resting on sonry along one railway was possibly in piles, securely screwed into the bed of the some cases due to wilful adulterations ; but stream, have been successfully employed in in many instances the fault lay in an idea

, such cases. And doubtless these may re- by no means confined to Indian workmen, ceive a wide application under the improved that the power of this mixture depended system on which they are now turned out directly on the proportion of

lime of the great iron-factories in England. For, present in it, so that those charged with its to meet the demands of the foreign and preparation withheld the supply of sand re colonial markets, our manufacturers have quired to develop its cohesive qualities

. arrived at supplying structures of this de- But, of course, whether due to ignorance scription, which at once combine the requi- evil intention, such practices are equally sites of strength, lightness, and cheapness-destructive to workmanship. To prevent their component parts admitting of being their occurrence, much vigilance and many put together by any intelligent artisan, as- subordinate inspectors of approved honesty sisted by such labour as may be found on are required. the spot of erection,

To render the Public Works Department The system of employing the class of of India really useful, its action must be



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made more simple and more prompt than that since the project had been declared to it now is. For this purpose many links be necessary it signified little that one man must be lopped off the long chain of its happened to calculate its cost somewhat authorities. Much of the consultative ele- higher than another. If the officer who has ment, which is so superabundant in its pres- to do the work be upright and energetic, he ent state, might well afford to be elimina- will surely exert himself to the utmost to ted. Let works be done in India as works complete his task as cheaply as possibleare done elsewhere. Place good men in irrespectively altogether of the estimate he charge of them, and on their ability and may originally have framed. If in the end honesty be satisfied to depend. Let obedi- a flagrant error should be discovered, then ence to orders be enforced by all means, let any retribution that seems necessary be but let these orders be so conveyed as to awarded. But in any case put the work in permit the men to whom they are addressed hand at once. In almost every instance it the power of exercising an intelligent dis- proves truer economy to adopt a proposal crimination as to the method of giving them which, though generally reasonable, may be effect. Lay down the general principles to open to some slight suspicion of extravabe followed or the main object to be at- gance, than to waste time and opportunities tained by an engineer, but do leave him at in haggling over measures for reducing its liberty to adopt the details which seem to estimate by some inconsiderable amount. him best suited for this purpose. Exact The very abundance of advising authorifrom him an accurate account of the outlay ties here begets an evil aptitude for faulthis work has involved, but be content to finding. Indeed, but for this resource some go without the statistics now elaborated by officials inight have no ostensible occupation. him as to the precise portion of this which And as each of these is in turn aware that happens to have been spent on any indi- his criticisms have yet to go through the vidual part of it. Micrometrical researches after criticisms of a revising power, it folof this kind may possibly at times possess lows that fanciful objections are often raised, certain advantages. They may even serve which the authors might hesitate to express to confirm or confute the conjectures of an were they dealing finally with the projects over-curious chief-engineer as to one wing- before them. Some very large diminution wall of a bridge being more costly than its seems necessary in the number of minds, fellow. Exacted as they now are almost and still more in the number of pens,

that universally, they must be set down as vexa- intervene between the man who proposes a tious taxes on the time and temper of men work and the man who disposes of the who ought to be fully occupied with higher means required to accomplish it. duties. Much of the preliminary warfare This phase of Public Works control in of words which now precedes the breaking India must be looked at along with the of ground may also be usefully dispensed wider question of the general administration with. At present an executive officer, after of that country. Which of the two methsubmitting a plan and estimate prepared by ods recommended by different schools of him for a work which may be urgently re- statecraft for this purpose be the best—that quired, is liable to have it returned after of vesting all initiatory power in one cendue deliberation by his superintending engi- tral government, or that of delegating such neer, with a request that the proposed out- duties to the independent councils of sepalay may be reduced. Upon which the sub-rate Presidencies or Provinces we do not ordinate who has drawn up his project after profess to say. But no man who has obcareful survey and consideration possibly served the working of the present adminisrepresents to his superior that the operation tration can fail to perceive that either altercannot be carried out at a lower cost. But native, if properly carried out, would be an the chief may yet find it in his heart to in- improvement on existing things. sist on economy, and yet again to find his The separate origin of the different Presisubaltern as firm as ever in remaining by dencies conferred on their early governhis original estimate. Meanwhile amidst ments an authority independent in every this wrangle of words the famine-stricken respect save that of general policy. But by district which the disputed work was in- degrees improvements in the postal service, tended to relieve is sunk out of considera- | the provision of lines of telegraph, and last tion, and days during which alone opera- of all the construction of railways, tended tions could be undertaken are suffered to more and more to extend the sphere of acslip by.

tion of that government which in India goes In a case of this kind--and we have our- by the name of Supreme, until at the presselves seen such a case--the exercise of ent time no village event is without its ken, ordinary reason might surely serve to show | no expenditure of a score of rupees beyond

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its interference. Their Excellencies who in this subject chanced to be awakened by govern the minor Presidencies--and their reports brought home to us by travellers Honours who rule over Bengal, the North- from Central Asia or by rumours of RusWest Provinces, and the Punjab-have not sian prowess culled by correspondents of unfrequently to submit to severe censure our leading journals from the bazaars of for acts of authority exercised by them Calcutta and Bombay. Of late these apwithout the previous permission of the prehensions have found utterance even supreme power—acts, it may be, involving among those who hitherto have treated issues of no greater importance than the such a contingency as without the range of engagement of an office-sweeper or the possibility. Able articles endeavouring to whitewashing of a road-side rest-house.

prove that such an invasion is far from imThe consequence of this minute system practicable have obtained place in our of supervision is, in the case of an inactive newspapers and our reviews. And in the governor, a speedy relinquishment of all House of Commons itself, that embodiment interest in his charge, and, in the case of an of intra-insular interests and sympathies, a energetic one, an early arrival at open war- good many dozens of members were not fare with his censor. And of the acrimoni- afraid last session to listen to dissertations ous manner in which these inter-Presidential on the subject delivered by fellow-reprédisputes are carried on, an idea may be sentatives whose knowledge of Central Asia formed by any Englishman who takes the and its tongues enabled them to give entire trouble to look over the columns of an guttural expression to names resonant with Indian newspaper.

the sounds of the letters į khé and į ghain. The pride felt by Anglo-Indians in the particular Presidency in which their lot is In India, too, the intermittent attention cast is to a certain extent conducive to which has long been directed to this queswholesome emulation. But when this


tion has recently taken the more active vincial bias is brought to bear on acts shape of overtures made by Her Majesty's which affect the welfare of a great continent Viceroy with the object of arranging an it is productive of mischief. Here the op- interview with the Ameer of Cabul. That ponents are apt to argue not so much for the matter of conversation at such a meettruth as for victory. On one side is an ing would be the advance of Russia Afeager struggle to burst through bonds, or, ghanistan-wards may be assumed as certain. worse still, to evade the restrictions they And that proposals to subsidize, succour, impose, even at the cost of expedients not or in some way assist the Affghans might always unquestionable. On the other is a at the same time be made, may also be desire to strain authority to the utmost, a considered probable. In short, there seems restless apprehension lest any act of inde every reason to believe that the ruling powpendence should by chance pass unperceived, ers of British India have arrived at the conand thus constitute an inconvenient


clusion that the time has come for strengthdent.

ening the defences and alliances on its northAs we have said before, it is not in a ern frontier. And whilst the convictions of paper on Public Works that the respective our statesmen are thus engaged, there has merits of one central or of several separate arisen a circumstance which seems likely to governments for India fall to be determined, enlist the interests of our commercial classes or even discussed. For the purpose we

in the same direction. For news begin to have in view it is enough for us to suggest reach us that, at the instigation of the emisthat one of these systems should henceforth saries of the Czar, the semi-subjugated be adopted in place of the present method, States of Central Asia are imposing duties which combines the disadvantages of both. of a prohibitory nature on all goods im

Either give to local authorities final pow-ported into their territories from the south; ers of dealing with projects connected with so that the wares of Birmingham and our their provinces, and at the same time the Eastern possessions cannot as heretofore undisputed command of money to enable compete successfully in those Trans-Oxus these to be carried out ;-or sweep them regions with the productions of Russia aside for ever, so as to enable a central gov- Proper or Russian Tartary. Our traders ernment to come into unimpeded contact who yearly unite in caravans to traverse with the executive men.

the countries north of the Hindoo Koosh Apprehensions of Russian attempts to have consequently begun to urge the estabinvade India have long lurked in the minds lishment of English Consular agencies at of Englishmen, and from time to time have those far inland marts. In short, the soobtained expression in our daily talk and called Central Asian question bids fair to our current literature, according as interest become an object of interest for all classes

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