[ The Indian Budget of 1897: Sir John David Rees and James Fairbairn Finlay discuss the 'intimation that public indignation meetings are contemplated'. ] An exchange of two ALsS from Rees and two ALsS from Finlay, discussing action to be taken.

Sir John David Rees (1854-1922), colonial administrator and author; James Fairbairn Finlay (1852-1930), Secretary to Government of India (Finance and Commerce Department), 1891-1903
Publication details: 
Finlay letter on letterhead of the Financial Secretary, Calcutta. [ Rees writing from Madras, India. ] 27 and 29 January 1897.
SKU: 20574

At the time of writing Finlay was Secretary to Government of India (Finance and Commerce Department, and Rees was Additional Member of Governor-General of India’s Council.In January 1897 the Madras region was in the grip of famine, and there was widespread disquiet in the province on rumours of an announcement in the forthcoming budget of the Government of India of the lowering of a financial subsidy. On 28th January the Madras Chamber of Commerce 'telegraphed at length to the Government of India touching the great curtailment proposed by Government of India in next Provincial contract period. The Legislative Assembly Debates (Official Report) of 1922 would note that 'Madras has been persistently and continuously protesting against the burden put upon it by the Indian Government for more than 25 years. In 1897 […] the Madras Chamber of Commerce raised their loud and strong voice in protest against the burden.' The four communications (two from each man) are on two bifoliums, with Item One below on the first and Items Two to Four on the second. Both bifoliums in fair condition, aged and worn. ONE: ALS from 'J D Rees' to Finlay. No place. 27 January 1897. 4pp., 12mo. Bifolium. He begins with reference to a document which has been sent to him 'with an intimation that public indignation meetings are contemplated', and complains: 'Meanwhile I don't even know if the facts are correctly stated & my Govt. which is in communication with on the subject has said nothing to me. Naturally, it ain't my business. | However I might reply perhaps that the representations of the Madras Govt. are receiving the full consideration of the Govt. of India, & that outside interventions could affor of no help & might be out of place.' He gathers that '[a]n interpellation' is what is expected of him. 'But as I understand the constitution & my present function therein, that would only be proper, at the instance of my Govt., which would never contemplate such action.' TWO: ANS from 'T. F. Finlay' to Rees. On government of the Financial Secretary, Madras. 27 January 1897. 1p., 12mo. Reads: 'My dear Rees | Your view of the matter and of the action you should take is certainly right and judicious.' THREE: ALS from 'J.D. Rees.' to Finlay. No place. 29 January 1897. 1p., 12mo. He begins by asking him to refer to a 'telegram just received. I see telegram from Chamber of Commerce in press to-day. Shall I telegraph “matter receiving full consideration Honble. Member who is in possession of all the facts & aware of all protests”?' He feels he 'should send some answer', although he 'can't know Sir James's “attitude”, and considers that nothing will be 'finally settled till budget comes before council. Can that be said?' FOUR: ALS from Finlay ('TFF') to Rees. No place. 29 January 1897. If Rees wishes to reply he may telegraph as he proposes, but would not 'add anything as to when the matter will be settled. It can hardly be left open till the Leg[islati]ve. Council discusses the Budget. It must be settled in the Executive Council before the Budget is introduced.' He concludes: 'The contract proposals are very wild. From the Rees papers.?>