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the mischievous consequences of this sort of false economy will be discovered from time to time. Mr. Helps has dealt boldly with this subject:
• It is a favourite maxim with many of the governing persons of the day, and notably with economical reformers, that “ you must not be generous with other people's money." That I deny. When you are in an office of great trust, and have to deal with other people's money, it is your business to try to deal with it as though it were your own; and the highest functions of your trust may, in the interest of those for whom you have to act, compel you to be generous. In fact, if you are not generous with their money, you are often doing them a great injustice and a manifest dis-service.
"I am in general much disinclined to indulge in prophecy; but, for once, I will break through the rule, and will venture to say that, I shall not be surprised if some small economy should, on some great emergency, prove to be a pregnant cause of disaster to the nation in which that small economy has been practised, causing fatal detriment to some important national force.
* There is not anything which rewards the individual employer of labour better than supreme trust in his agents. For once that this trust is abused, it is used, nay it is made remunerative, in a hundred instances. If you do not trust your agents thoroughly, even in matters of expense, you must organise a system of checking, which is of itself expensive; and, what is much worse, is a hindrance that tends to efface responsibility, and to prevent rapidity of action.
* As I am, however, dealing with the question of economy, pure and simple, it is, as regards that question alone, that I maintain that the economy, which is sought to be obtained by a system of distrust, is likely to result in increased expense. For example, take any one of the great Offices of State. If every item of their expenditure is to be supervised by other Departments, there is great expense in this supervision; and there is no impulse given to the heads of the office to regard economy in their expenditure, as a thing for which they are responsible, and for effecting which they are to have the entire credit. If, on the other hand, they are intrusted, to a certain extent, with the control of their own expenses, they are more likely to have a pride in keeping those expenses within due bounds, and at the same time they will always have a great care not to impair the efficiency of their respective offices, which is, naturally, the first thing which a Department looks to, and ought to look to.
• No person, who has not had any experience of the effect of ridiculous supervision as regards small matters of expense in public offices, can imagine how much loss of valuable time, and increase of worry are occasioned by this interference-as for instance, when it descends into such particulars (not imaginary) as this-Whether, in the opinion of one office, a broom is sufficiently worn out by use in another office to make it necessary that a new broom should be provided. Moreover, and this is no small point, men's dignity is hurt by being obliged to deal with these absurdly trivial questions; and a man, perhaps one in high authority, curses in his heart the having taken service with an
employer who thinks fit to vex him, and take up his time with questions of this nature.
• Hitherto we have been considering the errors of a false and spurious economy. But there is a real and true economy, which the public servants of our own, or any other country, may be educated to regard as one of their highest and best functions. In private life, in works executed by the agents of any large and wise employer of labour, you will mostly find a devotion to their master in matters of expense, which makes them more careful and saving of his money than he is himself. That man has seen but little of the world, or has been very unobservant, who has not noticed many instances of this, the highest, the best, and the most continuous economy; and it is one which can be elicited by judicious trust, and by imposing upon agents that responsibility which is a source of enlightenment, as well as of the most unselfish and dutiful action.' (Pp. 177–82.)
And he winds up this chapter in the following terms :
'It was a very bold saying, in which I ventured to declare, at the beginning of this Essay, that it was necessary sometimes to be generous with the public money. This saying may, however, be thoroughly justified, if we acknowledge the fact that the first thing to be aimed at by the government, or by any employer, is to get the best service. Good service, good paid service (I am one of those who do not believe in unpaid service), must be handsomely remunerated, whether the employer of labour is a private individual or the State. I would have the State to be considered as the most generous employer of labour, so that it should ever have the best name for liberality in the labour market, and be able to attract to itself whatever form of talent it may wish to command. It may be a somewhat subtle and Machiavellian way of looking at the matter; but I have ever observed, that occasional acts of extreme generosity on the part of an employer have an almost disproportionate effect in inducing men to seek for work under that man; and that, to express the matter vulgarly, nothing pays better than these occasional acts of generosity. In fine, while pursuing a system of just economy, a government should always avoid such a lowering of salaries and rewards of all kinds as would render its service less than it ought to be to men of talent and education, of whom, happily, there is no lack in this country.' (Pp. 185–87.)
The progress of administrative reform and improvement in England—which is synonymous with good practical government–is very much impeded by the increasing confusion of
the legislative and administrative functions of Government. The criticism and control of such a body as the House of Commons is no doubt of use in detecting and punishing mismanagement and mistakes. But, on the other hand, the dread of this powerful engine, which may be worked for party and personal objects, as well as from an enlightened sense of public interest, not unfrequently weakens the hands of authority. A
Minister commonly escapes censure for what he leaves undone ; but his most meritorious efforts, if not immediately successful, may call down a storm of opposition on his head.
The same confusion which impairs the administrative functions of Government is not less injurious to the legislative functions of Parliament. Bills on intricate and important subjects are drawn in a crude and perfunctory manner by persons who have not even mastered the phraseology of the subject on which it is proposed to legislate; and the Houses of Parliament are left to flounder in Committee through a mass of incoherent and impracticable details. An eminent person of great experience, who has filled a high judicial office, writes to us a few days ago : 'When I compare the extreme care and solicitude with · which legislative measures were prepared by the Government
between 1824 and 1832 (my own experience extends no • further) with the careless and ineffectual proposals now sub‘mitted to Parliament, I must say I think we have not ad
vanced in administrative wisdom. To this cause is mainly to be attributed the total miscarriage of all our recent attempts at legal reform, where the harvest is so abundant, though reapers, competent to the task, are so few. The work of the
. digest of the law and the reform of the system of judicature has really been adjourned for want of the ability to deal with subjects so vast and so important.
As the object of Mr. Helps in this volume appears to have been, mainly, to treat of the duties of administrative government, we are surprised that it did not occur to him that the British Empire contains specimens of the two leading systems of government, each, we may venture to say, very complete in its kind. At home, we have that system of limited administration with which we are all familiar, controlled by a strong Parliamentary power and the vigilance of a popular assembly and an active public opinion. In India, we have an extraordinary example of a strictly bureaucratic and paternal government, administering the affairs of an enormous Empire, ruling over whole races of men of religions, manners, and laws dissimilar to our own, upon principles which, in relation to the State and in relation to the people, are those of integrity and justice. It is a remarkable proof of the capacity of the English race for the great functions of government that, whilst our domestic annals are crowded with the names of statesmen eminent for oratorical power and skilled in the conduct of political assemblies, the administration of India boasts a long series of English statesmen, not inferior in genius to the greatest of our Parliamentary ministers, although the duties they have had to perform, and the method of performing them, differ as widely as possible from the mechanism of English politics. Indeed, as administrators and statesmen in the stricter sense of the word, we are inclined to think that the first place must be assigned to that marvellous school and series of rulers by whom the British Empire in India was founded and has been maintained. Warren Hastings, Lord Wellesley, Sir Thomas Munro, Mountstuart Elphinstone, Lord Metcalfe, and Lord Lawrence, are names so illustrious, that in the art of government we can place nothing above them. They exercised an immense and almost uncontrolled power ; but they exercised it, one and all, with as earnest a desire to promote the welfare of the people of India as to maintain the supremacy of the people of England.
We have scen it recently asserted by writers-English writers—that the British Empire in India was founded in blood and is maintained by tyrannical force. Is it in malice or in ignorance that these absurd and detestable calumnies originate? Will anyone believe that an empire could be maintained for a century and extended until it embraces 180,000,000 of human beings, though it is defended by only 60,000 British troops, and governed by three or four thousand British civilians, if its authority rested on no better foundation than force and bloodshed ? Compare the present state of India with what it was a hundred years ago, when the Mahrattas were riding in triumph over the ruins of the Mogul Empire, and we affirm that civilisation and government never achieved a more signal triumph. It is by far the grandest system of pure administrative government existing in the world, and if allowance be made for the difficulties inherent in the task, we believe it to be the best.
The chief difficulty of the government of India is that it is exotic, and that by the nature of things it brings the ideas and interests of the West to bear with great—sometimes too great -intensity on the traditions and manners and faiths of the East. The Government represents, not only all political and military power, but almost all the elements of social improvement. The servants of the Government, eager to distinguish themselves according to an English standard of merit, by the advancement of their respective districts, are tempted to vie with each other in carrying on the work of improvement faster than the native mind can follow them. The march of the elephant, rather than the rush of the railway train, is the pace at which Indian improvements ought to proceed. The people are startled by the vivacity of their rulers; and,
as all improvements in government are more or less expensive, the expenditure and taxation of the country have increased more than is wise or prudent. The objects of the Government are excellent, and will even prove remunerative in a certain number of years, but they have been pursued with rather too much vehemence. In England, we just now pointed out the obstructive character of our institutions. In India, there is not quite obstruction enough; it is somewhat too easy to embark in undertakings and to institute changes when they depend on the will of a minister, a viceroy, or a service eager for active employment. So that, by an unlucky inversion of our respective wants, in England the Government is hardly able to keep pace with the public demand for improvement, whilst in India the Government outruns the demands and desires of the native community. But how admirably does the Indian Government illustrate, both by its merits and its defects, that which forms the main subject of Mr. Helps' book, namely, government without party, and without party contentions or politics, but based on a great structure of administrative unity. It is in India, even more than in England, that he would have found examples to illustrate his just and profound remarks on the conduct of public business by the servants of the State.
One of the causes which have created and developed the administrative genius of the civil service of India is the extent and variety of the duties and powers of every member of that service. The districts which every superior officer of the Indian Government has to administer are so large, the population so numerous, and the wants of society so various, that each branch of the service approaches the dignity and importance of an independent State government. Every member of it must be prepared to deal with unforeseen emergencies. He must be ready to bear a large share of responsibility; he must be prepared to act alone, upon his own personal judgment. These are the conditions which form and educate men to the discharge of the true functions of administrative government; and for this reason the Government of India is the most perfect school of administration in the world. The Germans, and especially the Prussians, are great masters of administration ; but they act on a far more contracted field, and they submit to a monotonous uniformity of system which is fatal to originality and independence of individual character. It is one of Mr. Helps' sagacious remarks, that if by any means a man of organising • power is attached to any branch of the Executive, care should • be taken, by his superiors, not to allow him to be ground