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and the principal matters connected with the country and the administration which are necessary to a proper understanding of the annual reports. The idea was, it is believed, that such an account should be compiled or revised once every five years, or thereabouts, so that the repetition of the same facts might not be necessary, and the permanent or quinquennial summary should be taken as a basis and starting of all reports till it is revised and a new point of departure is taken.
It was not positively required that this more permanent account, comprised in what are marked in the instructions as 'red letter chapters,' should be wholly prepared in the present year; but this Government has been able to compile most of what is wanted through the very active and effective labours of Mr. H. J. S. Cotton, as., to whom, both for this work and for his excellent work in connection with the Annual Report, the Lieutenant-Governor is very especially indebted.
panded and completed, it has been thought better to collect them together with a separate paging, so as to keep them distinct from the annual report and admit of future additions. This compilation has been eutitled 'Statistical Summary,' and will, it is hoped, be found to contain much very useful information. It commences with an account of the ' Physical Features, Climate, Chief Staples' and productions of the territories under the Government of Bengal, which is full of important matter. It then gives an 1 Historical Summary' showing the rise and progress of the system of civil administration, which the Lieutenant-Governor believes will be found particularly valuable, inasmuch as, so far as he is aware, no such history oi our civil institutions exists in any other form. The existing 'Form of Administration' is then explained and detailed. There follows a chapter on the ' Character of the Land Tenures,' including the system of land settlement. We have not yet full information regarding the land tenures of Bengal, but it is believed that we can already give more on the subject than has ever been available before. There is next an account of the Civil Divisions of these provinces. The Chapter on the Census is a summary of the very interesting information obtained by the census of the past year, and is of extreme novelty and importance.
As connected with this last subject, there is then inserted a Chapter on a subject which is not in the list prescribed by
eventually exthe Government of India, but which yields to none in importance, and information regarding which was speciallysought by the Secretary of State: viz. the Condition of the People. It was mentioned in last report (Part I, page 39,) that the Secretary of State, in reviewing a previous correspondence on the subject, had commended it to the careful consideration of the present Lieutenant-Governor. More recently the question was raised, in connection with the fever prevailing in Burdwan and Hooghly, whether the people were not predisposed to disease by want. Sir George Campbell then explained that he had not thought it desirable to undertake a specific inquiry immediately following the inquiry previously made, but that he had made the acquisition of information regarding the condition of the people a main object of all his inquiries and all his measures. The Commissioners and District Officers had been desired specially to notice the subject in their annual reports, and much interesting information had been received. It has been thought then that it would be appropriate to place in the Statistical Summary a Chapter showing the general result of the information so far available regarding the condition of the people. A special inquiry has. been ordered in Burdwan and Hooghly to ascertain whether the fever can in any degree be specially attributed to causes connected with the condition of these particular populations, but the result of that inquiry has not yet been received.
Next follows a Chapter on the ' System of Public Instruction,' in which the measures adopted for educating the people of Bengal, and especially the new system of elementary education for the masses, are explained. It is unnecessary to dilate on the vast importance of this subject.
Finally, a brief account is given of the Frontier States and Tribes with which we have relations, and unfortunately sometimes little wars, and of the various feudatory estates attached to Bengal and administered on a semi-political system.
Turning to the Annual Report, it may be said that the Principal subjects of the Annual most important undertakings RePort- which have been matured during
the year are:—
The strengthening and extending the Executive Machinery of the administration, by which more permanent and experienced officers have been invested with a more effective control over all departments in each district; and an inferior machinery has been provided by means of which the responsible officer may acquire knowledge of and administer their districts.
The registration and valuation of the landed tenures of every degree over a great portion of these provinces, and the introduction of a system of local taxation for local purposes by the successful assessment of the Road Cess in the districts so valued for the purpose.
The introduction of the system of Primary Education, which is acknowledged by all to have succeeded beyond the anticipations of the most sanguine, and which fairly promises to effect the much-needed education of the masses of Bengal, if we can only find the funds to continue and extend it. Very moderate funds are needed, for it is the cheapest possible system.
It has been felt and acknowledged that Statistics pretending to exactness are worse than worthless unless they are grounded on sufficient data, and it has not been attempted to show too great results in this respect, especially as the new establishments by which these results are to be attained have only recently been entertained. But a much improved knowledge of the country and of the condition of the people has been already gained, and a commencement has been made of systematic measures to obtain more accurate statistics, vital, agricultural, and commercial, which have already begun to bear some fruit.
The new subordinate machinery and the local institutions created by the Road Cess Act had hardly been tried, and our statistical inquiries had not in any degree approached maturity, when the present failure of the crops came upon us; but it may already be said that the improvement of our executive machinery has come quite providentially at the very time when it was most wanted to save us from the weaknesses which former famines had made apparent. Already the new subordinate establishments everywhere render the most active and useful service. And the Road Cess Committees have furnished, ready to our hands, the means of spreading widely over the distressed districts works fitted to relieve the labouring poor. We are dealing with a people whose numbers, condition, and needs, we know far better than formerly, though in truth we still know them very insufficiently.
The best form in which the superior administration of these provinces can be cast has formed the subject of discussions during the year, in connection with the efforts of the Lieutenant-Governor to concentrate the governing authority, as he has concentrated the district authority, and to shorten the official chain. Sir George Campbell is strongly of opinion that the position of this Government should be either raised or lowered. Either the Government must be strengthened with advertence to the vastness of its territories and responsibilities, or it must be reduced to more limited functions. The Government of India has inclined to the alternative of reducing its territories and relieving it of the political affairs of the frontier, and a scheme for forming the Eastern territories, including all Assam, with Sylhet, Cachar, and the adjacent hills, into a separate Chief Commissionership, is now, it is understood, under the consideration of Her Majesty's Secretary of State. At the same time, the superior administrative machinery of Bengal none the less admits of improvement, and if the separation of the territories to form the Eastern Chief Commissionership be finally sanctioned, the proposals made in respect to the Bengal Administration must be reconsidered and readjusted. Sir George Campbell holds to the belief that some such concentration of the superior offices and shortening of the chain as he has suggested, would be an immense improvement.
At the same time he much feels that a theoretical concentration can have little practical effect unless there is at the same time a physical concentration in amalgamated public offices, such as ne has for some time striven to obtain. While suitable public offices have been provided for almost all other administrations, this, the greatest of all, is miserably housed in a variety of tumble-down and hired houses all over Calcutta. In the first chapter of the annual report, page 3, will be found an account of the various efforts made by the Lieutenant-Governor to secure a site in order to build the offices for which he had provided considerable funds, and of the objections which the Government of India unfortunately found to them. The object then remains unattained, but it is one of the greatest possible necessity.
The large agrarian questions which have been raised by difficulties between landlords and ryots in Pubna, Orissa, and elsewhere, have rather suggested reforms and improvements (such as we have tentatively attempted in Government and Wards' estates) than received a solution. This subject will be further noticed in the present chapter, and the latter part of the Chapter on 'Changes in the Administration' more fully explains what has occurred, and the views set forth in a correspondence between this Government and the Government of India.
The new Code of Criminal Procedure, which effects several great improvements in the most prominent portions of our law most affecting our daily administration, has been introduced with much benefit and success, and has given us in India a system probably more rational and more free from legal prejudices than is enjoyed by any other part of Her Majesty's dominions.
Notices of many other reforms and questions of an importance great, though perhaps inferior to those just mentioned, will be found in subsequent portions of the report. In this chapter they can only be very briefly touched on.
According to practice, external and border affairs may
first be glanced at. Bengal is
Frontier affaire. , j in . Ttt I_
seldom wholly at peace. We havo had the Looshai expedition one year, the Garo expedition another, and now we have a Duffla expedition on our hands. But the undertakings of previous years, instead of leading to fresh complications, have happily ended most successfully in the cessation of devastating raids and the establishment of peace and order in the parts of our frontier to which they were directed. It may be hoped that such little wars, not aiming to extend our frontier but to settle and consolidate it, are a good economy in the end.
The past year has been, in fact, one of much activity m _ ^ J... on several parts of our fron
The Garo hjtpedition. ,. * , , „
tier. 1 he standards of the empire have not receded, on the contrary they have been somewhat advanced. This Government was permitted to undertake a small expedition to reduce the independent Garos and to bring within our knowledge and under our control the large portion of the Garo Hills which have hitherto been marked as unexplored. These hills gave cover to a people of unquiet and marauding character, never yet subdued by Hindoo, Mahomedan, or any other power, and whose depredations have annoyed us from the earliest times of our rule. The expedition was most successful. With little bloodshed or loss the independent country was completely occupied and subjected. Armed police posts have since been maintained within it, the ordinary petty tribute paid by the hill people has been exacted, and complete arrangements for the administration of the territory, suitable to a simple people, have been made by Captain Williamson, an