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essential to the prosperity of the line. Their report was backed by a strong recommendation from Sir John Lawrence, and transmitted to the Secretary of State, who lost no time in offering the East India Railway Company the usual guarantee of five per cent, on the outlay, combined with the privilege of keeping the account distinct for ten years, to prevent any interference with the revenue of the main line. The proposition was submitted to the shareholders at the half-yearly meeting in the room at the London tavern, which will accommodate about 150, when between twenty and thirty absolutely refused to entertain the idea of the bridge, even on these liberal terms, or, indeed, on any terms whatever. The rest of the shareholders present abstained from voting at all. Three years have thus been lost to an object which is indispensable to the full development of the traffic of the line, and it is a question of some importance whether an arrangement which leaves the policy of this gigantic undertaking to be determined by the crotchets of some thirty shareholders out of a body of more than 12,000, does not call for revision. Sir John Lawrence, upon a second and more pressing representation from the merchants in Calcutta, appointed another commission at the beginning of the present year to go over the ground afresh, and to suggest the plan of execution. Under the impression that there was little chance of securing the construction of the bridge, and of the metropolitan terminus by the East Indian Railway, Sir John Lawrence proposed to the Secretary of State to erect them through the agency of a separate company, composed of members of the East Indian and the Eastern Bengal Company. This proposal is now under consideration, and unless some new obstacle should be thrown in the way, this important work will be commenced before the close of the year.

The establishment of railways in India has led to the introduction of several thousand Europeans employed in various subordinate posts on the different lines. The temptations to which many of them are exposed, when separated from the salutary restraints under which they were accustomed to live at home, demand the constant attention of the Companies, who are, moreover, the greatest sufferers from the casualties and invaliding entailed by their irregularities. On the largest of the lines, the number of Europeans falls little short of two thousand, and the Directors have spared no pains or expense to improve their position, and to counteract their proneness to those indulgences which lower the national character, and dishonour the Christian name in the eyes of the natives. They have offered to grant to every family man one-half the passage of his wife and children, and to advance the remainder, to be repaid by instalments. They

have also endeavoured to multiply the means of recreation, and mental enjoyment, and Christian instruction. At Jumalpore, the great workshop of the line, a large European population has been planted, which is constantly on the increase. This settlement, which is situated in a salubrious climate on the confines of Bengal, has been laid out with neatness and regularity; the drainage is complete, and the houses, both for men and officers, have been erected on the most advanced principles of sanitary science. There are two Christian churches, a mechanics' institute, a library, recreation grounds, a racket court, and a band, supplied with instruments from a fine and forfeit fund, and in fact every appliance which could conduce to the rational enjoyment of the men off duty. It is the object of the Company to extend these advantages as far as possible to other stations in proportion to the European population. For the whole service of the Company there is a savings' bank, which appears to be rapidly growing in popularity, and likewise a provident fund, to which the servants on the establishment of recent appointment are required to contribute five per cent. of their allowances, which the Company has agreed to subsidize with an equivalent sum when the returns of the line exceed six per cent. The same arrangement has been made by the Great Indian Peninsula.

Mr. Danvers's report contains some valuable observations on the practice adopted by some of the Companies of establishing a reserve fund to meet the expense of maintenance, and he recommends all the Companies to follow the example. This plan, he observes, had been attempted and abandoned in the case of English railways, because there was no sufficient security against the employment of the fund for other purposes.' There can be no such risk on the Indian lines, where the fund would be invested in Government securities and held sacred. The arguments adduced by those who are opposed to the plan appear extremely feeble by the side of those which are advanced in its favour. The permanent way will need general replacement; the rails once, and the sleepers twice, in sixteen years, according to the latest calculations. The entire expense incurred in maintaining the line, including the cost of materials, is charged to revenue, to the last farthing, when the half-yearly account is made up. Mr. Danvers justly observes that the cost of the renewals will fall very heavily and very unjustly upon the revenue of the two, three, or even four years in which it took place. It is manifest that it ought to be equitably distributed over the whole period. It does not seem reasonable that the burden should fall exclusively on those who happen to hold shares during the period of replacement, and that those who were shareholders during the process of deterioration should enjoy the undiminished profits of the traffic which had occasioned it. If, however, it should be deemed objectionable to include in this arrangement the entire charge for maintenance--which, except in the matter of renewals, varies little from year to year—a reserve fund ought at the least to be formed, upon the principle of the fire insurance fund, to meet the periodical demand for locomotives, and for sleepers, rails, and other materials.

shareholders a letter

The mode in which the guarantee system is worked at home and in India is a subject of considerable interest. In this country the official director attends every meeting of the Boards, as the representative of the Secretary of State, and assists their deliberations by his knowledge of the views of Government and the weight of his official advice. This personal intercourse with the Boards lessens, if it does not remove, the chance of a collision with the authorities at the India Office, and conduces to the harmonious transaction of business. Every tender is opened in his presence, and requires his sanction, and the whole of the home expenditure is thus brought within the jurisdiction of Government. The connexion of the Secretary of State and his Council with the various Companies is in fact a repetition of the relationship which formerly subsisted between the President of the Board of Control and the Court of Directors. It is the double government over again, not altogether free from the spirit manifested by Cannon Row in its dealings with Leadenhall Street. The despotic caprices which it naturally tends to nourish have, in the case of the railways, been mitigated by time, but they do occasionally start up when the sensibilities which grow out of an adventitious position of authority happen to be ruffled. Every communication from the Boards to their agents abroad has to be submitted to the Secretary of State, and requires his written sanction before it can be transmitted. He exercises precisely the same control over this correspondence which the Board of Control formerly exercised over the correspondence of the Court of Directors with the public authorities in India. This rule carries with it the one special advantage that these communications are clothed with the authority of the supreme power in the government of India, and admit of no controversy. Whatever modifications may be made in these letters at the India Office, the Boards, like the old Court of Directors, are bound to adopt, however repugnant to their opinions, and to transmit the revised communication to India as the expression of their own sentiments. One of the most amusing instances of this form of control was exhibited five or six years ago, when one of the Companies in London drafted a letter to their agent in Calcutta approving of the grant of passage-money to Rangoon to their engineer, who, instead of putting them to the expense of a passage to England on a medical certificate, tried the less expensive expedient of a short trip to sea for the benefit of his health. The draft was returned from the India Office with the remark that it might go forward as altered in the fourth paragraph, viz., The Board cannot consent that the expense of his voyage to and from Rangoon should be borne by the Company. The letter was necessarily forwarded as the act and deed of the Board.

The feelings which dictated this procedure, of which the records of the old India House afford numerous examples, have been gradually softened, and latterly, when the views of the Board have not been approved of, their communications have been allowed to go forward as an expression of their own opinions, unsanctioned by the India Office. But it is still to be regretted that the intercourse of the two bodies lacks the freedom of a cordial cooperation, and is too much characterised by that spirit of loftiness which those in power are apt to assume towards those who are in a subordinate position; the spirit which animated the officials of the Board of Control on receiving a proposition from the old Directors. It does not appear to be sufficiently recognised that the interest of the two parties is not antagonistic, but identical, and that they are both called to labour towards the attainment of a common object, the economical and efficient management of a great national undertaking. There can be no doubt that if the Committee of the Council of India, to whom the railway department has been assigned, and whose decisions are seldom overruled, could find it compatible with the dignity of their position to meet the chairman and some members of a Board" in friendly conference when any question of moment arose, or when there was any divergence of opinion, there would be a great economy of time, labour, and patience, and a still greater economy of money.

The labours of the various Boards are of course proportioned to the extent of their lines, but they are by no means light, and often very arduous, but their remuneration bears no proportion to their duties. During the period of construction their work is comparatively light; it begins emphatically when the line is open,

and it devolves on them to make it remunerative by incessant and minute supervision. The laborious duties of the East Indian Board are thus described in the letter prefixed to this article from Mr. Crawford, its able and zealous chairman, to Sir Stafford Northcote :- The Transfer Committee, consisting of two members of the Board, undertakes the personal revision

of

of the registration and transfer of the stock and share capital of the Company—twenty-eight millions—the issue of its debentures of all kinds, the issue of stock certificates, and, generally speaking, of all matters appertaining to or connected with the department.' It will scarcely be credited that one of these members receives no other compensation for his labours than the sum which may be scraped from the forfeits of the members of the Board who are unable to attend every meeting throughout the year. That document proceeds to state that the Audit Committee, consisting of four members of the Board and the managing director, takes especial cognizance of all matters in any way affecting the expenditure of the Company. It constantly examines the cost of the different establishments in India, as well as estimates for works generally, as well as all matters relating to the traffic and working of the line. It reviews, in particular, from 'week to week, the proceedings of the Board of Agency in Calcutta, recorded for that purpose. It examines the correspondence which takes place in India, particulars of all importance being sent home for that purpose. It inquires also into many måtters of a more general character especially referred for its examination, and meeting every week, reports to the Board in writing. The members of this Committee receive no pecuniary acknowledgment for these services, or for their double attendance, though the chairman has a gratuity of between nineteen and twenty shillings a week. Indeed, the scale of remuneration assigned to the various Boards, when compared with the magnitude of the transactions entrusted to them, or with the injury which would be entailed on these undertakings by the least relaxation of vigilance on their part, would appear ludicrous if it were not unjust. The whole sum allotted to eight Boards for the efficient working of eighty millions of capital does not exceed 80001. a year, and in the case of the largest of the railways, the honorarium of the directors has remained stationary for ten years, while the capital has increased from five millions to twenty-eight, and the revenue, with its increasing responsibilities, has risen from 300,0001. to more than two millions.

Indian railways are by no means exempt from the perils of that incessant increase of capital which has overwhelmed many of these undertakings in England. It is the ambition of the heads of office in India to make their respective departments as effective as possible. The Government equally looks to the efficiency and perfection of the line, in the interests of the public, and there is a natural tendency to regard the question of expenditure as a secondary consideration. After the lines are finished there is a continuous stream of demands for additional outlay on construction, for the

comfort

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