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have its representative. There was some healthy competition in the Serampore election.
The part of the lost Municipal Act which the LieutenantGovernor has most regretted, is that which provided for village communes a simple municipal form of self-government. He is more and more convinced that as the old village institutions have become lost, and the patriarchal power of native rulers has died out, while landholders become more and more speculators in rents and less and less leaders of the people, Bome form of self-government for the people whom we are
educating into intelligence and
Village communes. ■, i3 °
independence is a very crying necessity. The whole subject is one of very great and growing importance. The experience of the Census has shown the existence of imperfect, but still existing, representatives of the old village headmen and other old institutions. A successful system of rural communes for Bengal would be an achievement of overwhelming importance.
If only to supply one most crying need, viz. wholesome drinking water, some communal system seems very necessary. In former days natural channels flowed less obstructed than they do now; and the official zemindars, responsible for the revenue and the people, and subject to the Government, did in some sort execute the works necessary to save revenue and lives. Now-a-days not only have many channels silted up by natural processes, but, with the extension of cultivation and the assertion of exclusive private rights, channels are obstructed and drainage prevented by artificial means. The modern landholders are content with the largely increased rents which natural unaided progress has given them; the
f)0wer of the Government and its officers over them exists no onger, and they seldom do what is required for the well-being of the villagers. The cry regarding water-supply which comes up from Bengal villages is deep and constant. It is the subject on which the people feel most acutely, and in respect of which they are really ready to help themselves if only some system for their doing so by a common effort could be organized. Some of our most experienced officers think this deficiency of wholesome water an evil which is increasing and threatening to destroy the prosperity of several of our best districts, and, echoing the people, they are most urgent for a remedy. Hospital, medical, and jail statistics, show clearly that the death-dealing scourge of Bengal is not fever, nor even cholera, but the forms of bowel diseases which are attributable to impure water.* What each villager cannot do for himself to remedy this great evil, a body of villagers working under a communal system would very gladly do.
To other hands the present Lieutenant-Governor must resign and commend the great task of organizing rural communes.
Meantime, the Act which constituted village unions for police purposes, containing as it does some provisions which are in the Lieutenant-Governor's view objectionable, and being, perhaps, subject to the disadvantages apprehended by the Viceroy without all the corresponding advantages of a communal constitution, has not been further extended at present.
Before leaving this subject of Municipalities, one word ^ „, ^ « • . must be said of the Calcutta
The Calcutta Municipality. n . • . .1 ... >
Municipality, to the position of which allusion was made in the last report. The LieutenantGovernor is more and more convinced that the present constitution of that Municipality is not good. There is too much of a spurious independence. There has been occasion for question whether a body of well-to-do householders have not preferred to reduce the direct house taxation when taxation affecting a poorer class had perhaps greater claims to consideration. The Justices are so far independent of the Government that the Government really is not responsible for the great and weighty matters affecting the metropolis of India which are involved in great undertakings and much expenditure of money with a rapidly increasing debt. Not being in a position to interfere with dignity and effect, it is compelled very much to abstain from interference. On the other hand, the Committees of Justices and such bodies to whom many things are now delegated, are not efficient for executive work, as was, for instance, prominently brought to light by the failure of the Calcutta Census. The position of the Chairman is exceptionally difficult and unpleasant, and it is only in the case of a singular personal influence that any officer so placed can combine efficiency with smoothness of working—the one is almost necessarily sacrificed to any attempt to obtain the other. As stated in the last report,
* Nora.—The imperfect returns of death and disease collected by the Statistical Department show most deaths from fever; but the unskilled natives call almost everything fever, and the accurate medical statistics of our hospitals and jails .show almost everywhere the same result, viz. that dysentery and diarrhoea are much more destructive than fever.
much had been achieved by Mr. Hogg, but the LieutenantGovernor much fears that some very important questions have lately drifted. His personal opinion is that the Municipality should be radically reformed. At the same time, to devise a good constitution for such a town is a work of extreme difficulty; and, perhaps, discouraged by the ill-success of his endeavours for municipal reform, the Lieutenant-Governor has not yet attempted it. In the latter part of Chapter X will be found particulars regarding the Calcutta Municipality.
In Chapter XI, "Marine," besides other matters will
The Calcutta Port Trust. affairs of the Calcutta Port Trust,
which has continued to progress most successfully during the year without any drawback whatever. The Commissioners under the Trust have already provided the Port of Calcutta with excellent modern facilities such as it has never before had, and it may reasonably be hoped that the Port will soon be as well off in this respect as almost any Port in the world. This has been effected without any increase of charges, but, on the contrary, with some immediate, and the prospect of still further future, decrease.
Chapter XII gives a careful account of the Weather, Crops, m ,„ , „ . __. and Prices during the year 1872
Thc Weather, Crops, and Prices. _0 j • j /• J
7o, as derived from reports now more carefully made than formerly. The general result of the accounts from the various provinces is decidedly good, the season having been, as before observed, favorable and the country prosperous during the year to which the reports refer. In Chapter XII, Agriculture and Horticulture, will be
found an account of all that
Agriculture and Horticulture. , . , , ■
has been done towards the establishment of experimental farms and gardens, of the management of the Botanical Gardens, and of the progress made in the cultivation of cinchona and ipecacuanha. An experienced chemist sent from England has arrived, and has commenced operations to turn the cinchona bark into quinine and other fever-curing alkaloids. His first experiments give promise of providing this great blessing to the people of India at a very moderate expense. This chapter also gives some account of what has been done towards obtaining reliable agricultural statistics, and explains the inquiry which has been undertaken into the production of jute, and some inquiries made regarding tea, cotton, tobacco, safflower, and other products.
Mention is also made of the new Economic Museum. _ „ = . „ Sir George Campbell is pro
Tbe New Economic Museum. „ ° . J P.-l ,
foundly convinced of the great importanceof obtaining an adequate knowledge of the products of the country. He is much inclined to favour the idea of an Economic Survey lately put forward by Dr. Forbes Watson. As a first step, he has thought it well to provide a place in which specimens of our productions may be placed and made accessible to the public; and with this view he has adapted and fitted up a building in the heart of the business portion of Calcutta >'hich is, he believes, admirably suited for the purpose of an Economic Museum. It now only remains to fill it. Three gentlemen, excellently qualified to deal with the subject, have kindly consented to take it in hand, and it is hoped that progress will soon be made. The Chapter of the Statistical Summary on "Physical Features, Climate, and Chief Staples," contains an account of the most important productions and industries of these provinces.
Chapter XVI explains what has been done and designed
XV gives such information as we
Manufacture and Mines. regarding the pr0greSS of
Manufactures and the working of Mines in the past year.
Chapter XVI gives somewhat full information regarding
The statistics of sea-borne trade are stated with precision; and there will further be found much, though not yet by any means complete, information regarding the internal trade of the country; this last being the first fruits of the measures recently adopted to obtain information on the subject.
Chapter XVII gives the total expenditure on Roads,
Roads, Canals, and other Public Canals, and Other Public Works of
Work»- all kinds, and states what has been
done in the department of ordinary public works as distinguished from irrigation works and railways. It will be seen that several important roads have been pushed on, and that several much needed buildings have been carried almost to completion, in a very short space of time and in a way which reflects much credit on the officers of the Public Works Department employed at the Presidency. The new Presidency College in particular will supply a very great want.
The imperial assignments for public buildings are, however, much smaller in proportion than those made to Bombay, and it is therefore impossible that we can enter into an architectural rivalry with the latter city. Till we have proper accommodation for the Offices of the Bengal Government and Administration, we must be sadly deficient in the buildings necessary to the capital of so great a country, even though Justice has been housed in the new High Court in a manner of which we need not be altogether ashamed. The necessities caused by the failure of the crops have caused the postponement of a projected new Custom House and other buildings which are much wanted.
The entire absence of any proper jails in Bengal has rendered it necessary to devote a large portion of our funds to this necessary provision, which, in other provinces, had already been made from imperial funds.
In Chapter XXII (Provincial and Local Finance), page 323, will be found a detailed account of the financial arrangements now made for the various classes of public works.
Chapter XVIII deals with the great Irrigation works now
I "at onWorics *n Proeress *n these provinces.
"''11 '' This is a subject attended with
much difficulty and anxiety, inasmuch as it raises most perplexing questions which the Lieutenant-Governor cannot say that he has seen his way to solve. It will be seen that the total expenditure will be enormous, while financially we have been most unfortunate. In Orissa the premature attempt to secure a large revenue ended disastrously, as explained in the last report, and caused much irritation and discord. It was certainly the right course after what had occurred to abstain scrupulously from anything like complusion or undue forcing of our water on an unwilling people. Under a revised system and improved free-trade management, harmony and confidence have been restored; but still the difficulties resulting both from the tenure of the land and the unwillingness of the people to pay for water till reduced to extremity by failure of the rains, are so great that we have not succeeded in getting voluntary customers, except to an extent ridiculously disproportioned to our expenditure and our works. On the other hand, the experience of a year of drought has made us feel that when the country is threatened with famine it will be practically impossible to maintain the rates and rules made to encourage those who take a regular supply and to charge adequately those who only take water when it is exceptionally precious. When the cry of famine is upon us, and there