The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 4
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:
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.