European merchants just after the Indian Government has so fully met their wishes in regard to the northern portion of the country.a
In July, 1887, a crowded special meeting was held ato support the Irrawaddy Flotilla Company, Ltd., in their request to have the wharf tolls and dues on the inland traffic, which the Port Commissioners purpose to levy, compounded for a payment of Rs. 12,000 per annum, such amount to be re-assessed periodically.a
During the next few years three subjects constantly recur. One is the need of a local High Court, which was first urged by the Chamber in 1884 ; another is the need of appointing a representative of Burma on the
that the act constituting the Chief Court of Lower Burma was passed, and the gratification of the Chamber at getting this court, for which they had been asking for sixteen years, was tempered by the fact that a member of the Civil Service was appointed Chief Justice. A protest was made at once, and has been renewed from time to time, but it was not until 1906 that a barrister of experience, instead of a member of the Civil Service, was appointed Chief Justice.
The judicial administration in Burma formed the subject of a memorial to the Secretary of State for India in the latter part of 1909. In this memorial it was urged that the establishment of a High Court for the whole province was highly desirable, owing
MEMBERS OF THE BURMA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE.
1. A. R. Finlay.
and when he retired, in 1908, Mr. W. B. Murdoch was appointed.
One of the first steps taken by the newly constituted Chamber was to present a memorial against the action of the Forest Department in cutting up and exporting timber from the forests of Tenasserim, which had been let to permit-holders in return for the payment of certain fixed dues upon the timber extracted. As there is no further allusion to this matter in the records it may reasonably be assumed that the grievance was redressed. Complaints, however, of the interference of the King of Burma in the trade between his subjects and the British, though often repeated, proved unavailing. The trade in question fell in value from sixty lakhs in 1874-75 to forty-nine lakhs in 1876-77, owing to the King forbidding his people to buy from any one except men appointed by him. These men, called a royal brokers,a purchased piece goods in Rangoon for sale in Mandalay and other up-country towns, thus preventing the healthy competition provided for by the treaty. The misrule in Upper Burma continued to be a perennial source of irritation until the annexation of the territory in 1886.
Meanwhile, dissatisfaction had been expressed at the alienation of so much of Burmaas revenue to India, while the province stood in need of increased expenditure on communications and on more efficient administration. Referring to this matter early in 1886, the secretary of the London Chamber of Commerce wrote asking whether the annexation of Upper Burma a does not give more, rather than less, emphasis to the claim made by your Chamber, some time ago, for the separation of the Government of Burma from that of India, and the establishment of a separate Crown Colony in direct connection with the Home Government, say for the whole of the Malay Peninsula ? a The following extract from the reply sent by the Rangoon Chamber is an interesting record of local feeling at the time a There is undoubtedly a widespread feeling of discontent, especially among the European nonofficials in Rangoon, at some of the results of the connection with India. This feeling, however, originated mainly in resentment at the injustice of the alienation of Burmaas surplus revenue, and at the indifference so long manifested by the Government of India in the matter of misrule in Upper Burma. The latter grievance has now been removed, and it is felt that, although the annexation of Upper Burma does strengthen the case for separation, agitation directed towards that end would come with a bad grace from the
2. J. A. POLSON.
3. The Hon. Mr. W. R. Stikeman (Chairman).
4. J. P. Halliday.
Legislative Council of the Viceroy of India ; and the third is the need of converting the province from a Commissionership into a Lieut.-Governorship. The second of these needs was admitted by the Government of India in 1895, and Mr. Glendinning, the chairman of the Rangoon Chamber of Commerce, was accorded a seat on the Legislative Council. The province was raised to the status of a Lieut.-Governorship in 1897, and the local Legislative Council was then established. It was not until the year 1900
5. James Findlay.
6. James Wood.
7. Mr. F. D. Stewart (Vice-Chairman).
8. J. Z. Munro.
to the increasing congestion of work in the Chief Court of Lower Burma, and to the conflict of decisions given in this Court and in the Court of the Judicial Commissioner of Upper Burmaaconflicts which, in three cases, had necessitated legislative action. It was pointed out that when the Courts rose for the Easter vacation on April 9 there were 520 original cases and 408 appeals pending, as compared with 377 and 286 respectively at the end of I9A7- These figures were exclusive of execution cases, insolvency cases,to the increasing congestion of work in the Chief Court of Lower Burma, and to the conflict of decisions given in this Court and in the Court of the Judicial Commissioner of Upper Burmaa conflicts which, in three cases, had necessitated legislative action. It was pointed out that when the Courts rose for the Easter vacation on April 9 there were 520 original cases and 408 appeals pending, as compared with 377 and 286 respectively at the end of I9A 7- These figures were exclusive of execution cases, insolvency cases,