The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 4
Appendix D. — Memorials from the Chambers of Commerce of the United Kingdom to Her Majesty's Government, on the Subject of the India Museum
Memorials from the Chambers of Commerce of the United Kingdom to Her Majesty's Government, on the Subject of the India Museum.
To the Right Honourable Benjamin Disraeli, M.P., First Lord of her Majesty's Treasury.
The Memorial of the Association of Chambers of Commerce of the United Kingdom:
That your memorialists beg to call the attention of her Majesty's Government to the desirability of rendering the India Museum a really efficient institution for the development of our commercial intercourse with the many millions of India and Central Asia.
That the commercial and industrial prosperity of England is in a great measure due to the rapid utilisation of newly discovered raw materials, the consequent growth of new branches of manufacture, and to their ready adaptation to the requirements of new markets.
That India is one of our principal sources for the supply of raw materials, as well as one of the principal outlets for our manufactures, the trade of the United Kingdom with India taking the third rank in our external commerce, and following closely in importance the trade with France.
That the vast capabilities of India for supplying new raw materials are exemplified by tie unparalleled development of the jute trade, the exports of raw jute from Calcutta havin page 61 increased six-fold within the last ten years,* and the aggregate value of jute and jute manufactures exported in 1872-73 from Calcutta amounting to more than five millions sterling in value, and the quantities of jute now imported into the United Kingdom considerably exceeding the imports of flax and hemp taken together, although the whole trade is only a creation of the last thirty years.
That the India Museum contains a great variety of specimens of the animal, vegetable, and mineral products of India, hitherto but little known, but which the enterprise and ingenuity of our manufacturers might render as important materials for our mills and factories as jute has already become, and rhea promises to become, and that the museum may also afford useful guidance in the selection of profitable exports.
That such guidance would be particularly useful at a time when foreign competition and the growth of native manufactures in India render it more and more imperative to study the tastes of the native consumers.
That hitherto, however, this magnificent collection has been comparatively useless from want of suitable accommodation and practical organisation, and that in the opinion of this Association it is in the interest of English trade and commerce that the collections should be located in a suitable building in some central position, and that they should be arranged in such a manner as to be not merely helps for scientific inquiry and teaching, but available for reference to practical men of business.
For that purpose they would further suggest that provision be made to render accessible the stores of information which the East India Company and the present Government must have accumulated with regard to many of the products of the country, in such a manner that the important manufacturing and commercial centres throughout the kingdom may be able to draw, from the depôt of the Museum, samples of such raw material as they may desire to experiment upon.
That considering the many efforts of the East India Company in past times, and the more systematic efforts of the present Government in promoting the material development of India, the Association is confident that the Secretary of State for India in Council cannot but be anxious to further an undertaking tending so directly to the benefit of India; that considering, however, the equally direct interest of England in this matter, and the financial circumstances in which India has been placed by the late famine, the memorialists are of opinion that the subject is of sufficient importance to render it desirable that her Majesty's Government should afford such assistance as may be required to ensure the efficient working of such an institution, which may be made subservient to the best interests of both countries.
Your memorialists therefore hope that her Majesty's Government will find it possible at an early period to take steps to render the India Museum efficient for the purposes herein set forth.
S. S. Lloyd,President of the Association of Chambers of Commerce of the United Kingdom.
To The Right Honourable Benjamin Disraeli, M.P., First Lord of her Majesty's Treasury.
The Memorial of the Directors of the Manchester Chamber of Commerce,
That your memorialists take a profound interest in the prosperity of India, in the development of its natural resources, and in the extension of its commercial relations, believing that all measures for the promotion of these ends are for mutual advantage, and tend to strengthen the material and political bonds uniting India with the Empire.
That in the opinion of your memorialists the India Museum, by its unrivalled collections of the natural products and manufactures of India, may be rendered an important instrument for the development of the commerce of India, whilst at the same time it may supply models for our manufacturers, and indicate fresh outlets for English enterprise and capital.
That the museum, especially if taken in connection with the Indian Library, by exhibiting the literary and artistic achievements of the natives of India, and by illustrating the customs and habits of the people, is calculated to arouse and to foster the public interest in Indian affairs, as also to supply full and trustworthy information on all points bearing on the development of the material resources or the improvement of the social condition of the country.
That hitherto, however, the want of a suitable building and organisation has materially restricted the sphere of its action, and hampered its efficiency, and your memorialists, deeply sensible of the benefits the museum has already conferred, are the more alive to the influence it would exercise under more favourable conditions.
That your memorialists recognise with gratitude the efforts of the Indian Government in keeping up the museum, even in its present im- page 62 perfect state, and in carrying out many special measures, all tending to disseminate the knowledge of Indian products and manufactures in this country, and they would strongly urge the obligation now resting upon England for contributing its share towards the maintenance and extended usefulness of an institution the benefits of which are in no inconsiderable degree conferred on the people of this country.
That in the opinion of your memorialists the time has arrived when the Government of Great Britain should contribute a substantial share towards the funds necessary for the erection of a building for an India Museum.
That in view of the evidence afforded of the importance which her Majesty's Indian authorities attach to measures of this description, your memorialists entertain no doubt that they would gladly take advantage of the assistance proposed, and which would enable them to secure a full accomplishment of the objects herein set forth.
That your memorialists further feel that the present is the most suitable time for the consideration of this matter, so that before the expiry of the period for which it is understood temporary accommodation has been found at South Kensington for the India Museum collections, a permanent home may be provided for them in a more central position.
Your memorialists therefore, for these and other reasons, pray:—That her Majesty's Government will, at the earliest practicable opportunity, take into their earnest consideration the desirability of supplying the necessary funds required to carry out, in conjunction with her Majesty's Secretary of State for India in Council, the erection of an India Museum in a suitable and easily-accessible situation, by which course your memorialists are strongly of opinion that substantial benefits will be conferred alike on this country and on her Majesty's subjects in India.
And your memorialists will ever pray, &c.
Edmund Ashworth, President.
Thomas Browning, Secretary. Manchester,
To the Right Honourable Benjamin Disraeli, M.P., First Lord of her Majesty's Treasury.
The Humble Memorial of the President and Directors of the Chamber of Commerce and Manufactures in Glasgow, incorporated by Royal Charter,
That the attention of this chamber has been called to the present unsatisfactory position of the India Museum and Library, and to the fact that no proper accommodation has been provided for their reception since their removal from the India-house in Leadenhall-street, in 1865.
It is essential that this most valuable and useful collection should no longer be lost to the public, but be placed under one roof, in a locality easily accessible to all classes of the community, but specially so to the commercial and manufacturing interests; and this chamber has learned with satisfaction that a movement is now being made to procure a suitable building (for the India Museum and Library) in a central position in London, and it is hoped that the national importance of the undertaking will secure the assistance of her Majesty's Government to the proposed undertaking.
That your memorialists have in view that the careful and systematic arrangement of the contents of the museum would facilitate the distribution of identical sets of trade collections, embracing specimens of the whole range of Indian products and textile fabrics, to the various manufacturing centres in the kingdom, and that in this way the standard or central collection would be made still more useful to the country at large.
For these and other reasons your memorialists pray that her Majesty's Government will take into consideration the proposal referred to, and render such assistance to its accomplishment as they may deem proper.
And your memorialists will ever pray.
Walter Paterson, Director of the Chamber.
Thos. G. Wright, Secretary. Glasgow,
Resolution of the Belfast Chamber of Commerce, passed in May, 1875.
"That her Majesty's Government will as soon as practicable consider the advisability of supplying the funds necessary to carry out the erection in London of an India Museum in a situation appropriate for the purpose and easily accessible."
London: Printed by W. Trounce, Gough-Sware, Fleet-Street, W.C.
* Average export of raw jute from Calcutta in the five years ending 1872-73 amounting in value to £3,010,000, and in the five years ending 1862-63 to only £522,000.