7 JULY 1883, Page 3

A. meeting was held in Exeter Hall on Wednesday to

pro- mote a scheme for lending money to Indian peasants at reason- -able rates. They now pay 24 per cent., which Mr. Bright, who spoke on behalf of the scheme, considers fatal to agri- -culture. He will find on inquiry that this rate has been paid for hundreds of years, and is not fatal to agriculture, -though ever-much borrowing is. The Indian sun is not the English, or the Indian return from seed. The crux of the scheme is the peasant's character. If the ryot, being able to borrow at 12 per cent., borrows as much as he did at 24 per cent., the English lenders will benefit him and them- selves; but if he borrows twice as much, he will, when payment is asked for, be worse off than before, while they will lose their money. The experiment is an excellent one, and ought to be tried, but we would warn poor investors, clergymen, and widows to leave it alone. Mr. Bright says the soncars, or native usurers, are all in favour of the scheme, and we have no doubt that is true. All their insolvent debtors will borrow to pay .them off, which will be very convenient for the soucars, while the solvent debtors will go on as their fathers did before. No peasant will break with the soucar, who tides him m er bad seasons, by going to a competitor, without the soucar's own consent.