§ Mr. Cutlar Fergusson
rose to present a Petition from the India Company against certain clauses of the Bill, which materially affected their interest. The Petition had been agreed to at a meeting of the proprietors held this day. This might be a matter of perfect indifference to hon. Members; he believed the House and the Press regarded it with equal indifference; but he expected that Members would give that attention which they were bound to give to petitions presented to that House. In the unanimous judgment of the petitioners, who were charged with the Government of India, and all the responsibility of that government, the change in the local governments would cause such an alteration in the constitutional administration of India as to transfer to the Governor General all control, while all responsibility would rest with them. They complained also, that the proposed increase of the Ecclesiastical Establishment would cause an additional expense of 60,000 rupees a-year. These matters were forcibly stated in the petition, but owing to the impati- 15 ence of the House he would not read it. He had given his vote in favour of the Episcopal Establishment, on an express assurance from his right hon. friend that no additional expense should be incurred. But it now appeared that very great additional expense would be imposed. He hoped his right hon. friend would not object to a Resolution that there should be no additional expense. The petitioners objected also to the clause of the Bill respecting Haileybury College, in which they were more interested than any other body of men could be. They were unanimously of opinion that that Establishment was totally unnecessary, and that its maintenance would cost an additional sum of 10,000l. a-year. The hon. Member concluded by presenting the petition of the Company, praying the House to modify and alter the Bill in such a manner as to meet the objections they had stated, or that the petitioners might be heard by Counsel at the Bar.
§ Mr. Cutlar Fergusson moved, as an Amendment, that Counsel should be heard at the Bar in behalf of the Company pursuant to their petition.
§ Mr. Hume
seconded the Amendment. The Company were parties to the Bill, and their interests were materially affected by it. Nothing could be more reasonable, therefore, than that they should have an opportunity of stating their objections to particular parts of it. He hoped the right hon. Gentleman would have no objection to Counsel being heard.
§ Mr. Wilks
said, it would be inconvenient if Counsel were to attend on every occasion to support particular principles or private interests; but where such extensive interests were at stake, he considered it only fair to the proprietary that they should be allowed to state their objections to a measure by which their property was to be affected.
§ Mr. Robert Grant
said, that if he could agree with the hon. Gentleman who had just sat down that those great interests would sustain any injury if this Motion were not agreed to, or with his hon. and learned friend, and the hon. member for Middlesex, that by acceding to it the question might be discussed upon any new grounds which had not yet been brought forward, and that it was essential 16 to a just decision that such should be the case, he should cordially assent to the proposition. But, as the case stood, he felt bound to oppose it. The whole question had been discussed so fully that it was not necessary to have any legal explanation at the Bar. The Company had it in their power still to recede from their bargain. They were not bound by what had passed. Why had they not petitioned before? They had ample time, and at this advanced period of the Session he felt it his duty to oppose the Motion.
§ Mr. Buckingham
contended, that it would be more wise to agree to the Amendment, for should the Company reject the Bill upon just grounds the labours of the Parliament would have been thrown away.
§ Mr. Macaulay
opposed the Amendment. The fund holder might as well petition to be heard against any particular Act, because, in his opinion, it affected the national credit, and therefore, injured his security. Besides, the petition ought to have been presented before.
§ Sir Richard Vyvyan
said, he thought the Company was to be regarded not merely as a contracting party, but as the body to whom the Parliament were again about to delegate the government of India. Surely, then, such a body ought to be heard upon such a subject, and the House ought not rashly to reject the Amendment.
said, the question was not one of right, but of expediency. He supported the Amendment.
§ Mr. Cutlar Fergusson
, in reply, contended, that the Company could not have petitioned before. His right hon. friend (Mr. Grant) had given no reason for the rejection of his Amendment, and he should, therefore, take the sense of the House. He was greatly astonished at what had fallen from the hon. and learned member for Leeds. That hon. and learned Member had compared the East-India Company with fundholders petitioning against a measure they conceived injurious to the national credit. There was no truth in the simile. The East-India Company were to be the governors of India, and they declared that the provisions of the Bill, under which they were to govern, were highly injurious. Hitherto he had spoken as a Member only, and not as a Director, and had advocated points the body of the Directors deemed injurious; but they ought to be heard.
§ The House divided on the original Motion: Ayes 100; Noes 30—Majority 70.
|List of the NOES.|
|Attwood, M.||Jephson, C. D. O.|
|Barnard, E. G.||Lister, E. C.|
|Beauclerk, Major||Lyall, G.|
|Bish, T.||Pease, J.|
|Briggs, R.||Ridley, Sir M. W.|
|Brocklehurst, J.||Ruthven, E.|
|Brotherton, J.||Ruthven, E. S.|
|Bruce, Lord E.||Torrens, Col.|
|Buckingham, J. S.||Vigors, N. A.|
|Bulwer, H. L.||Vyvyan, Sir R.|
|Evans, Col.||Wason, R.|
|Finn, W. F.||Wilks, J.|
|Gillon, W. D.||Young, G. F.|
|Hume, J.||Fergusson, R. C.|
|Irton, S.||Sheil, R. L.|
§ The Order of the Day was read, and the Question put, that the Bill be read a third time.
§ Sir Robert Inglis
said, he would avail himself of that opportunity to make some few observations on particular branches of the general question, which an unwillingness to intrude at an earlier stage prevented him doing. With any remarks upon the general question, as to how far the alterations which the Bill established were expedient, or otherwise, he would not trouble the House, because he felt they could not now affect the measure; and as they could not affect it, he was unwilling to take up more of the time of the House than a sense of what was due to himself demanded. The first part to which he would advert was the question as to the abolition of slavery in India. That was a question which he need not characterize as of the highest interest to the people of England, and of the deepest and most vital importance to the general interest of the Indian population. Such being the case, it was with regret, not free from alarm, that he found in the Bill no exposition, not even a general one, of the nature of the system by which it was intended that the abolition of that slavery should be effected. Not only was the subject excluded from the details of the Bill, but the House had been called upon by Government to assert the principle that slavery should be abolished, without the smallest clue to the machinery by which that end was to be attained being afforded them. Some idea of it might perhaps be collected from the information on the Table of the House; but it was not every 18 Member who could spare time, even if inclination was not wanting, to wade through that mass of information, extending to some thousand folio pages, for the purpose of ascertaining what ought with ease to be detailed in a few minutes. On the whole he thought the details of the system ought in some shape or other to be brought under the notice of the House before it was called upon to sanction the last stage of the Bill. With regard to the judicial system which the Bill would establish in India, he could not avoid remarking that the House had not given it that degree of attention or that consideration which its importance so well merited. The only evidence on that head which was in the possession of the House consisted of a series of Reports, the fiftieth part of which it was improbable fifty Members had perused. Again, with regard to that important matter, the religion of the Indian people, the indifference and apathy of the House had been shamefully manifested. It had been indeed truly observed by the right hon. Gentleman, the Vice-President of the Board of Control (Mr. Macaulay), that a broken head in the streets of London would bring together 300 or 400 of the Legislators of the country, while a question involving the interests of an empire even so important as India might be discussed with almost empty benches. Such literally had been the case when the important details of the Bill which related to the religion of the people of India were discussed; forty, or perhaps fifty. Members only being present. He knew well that any attempt on his part to vest that question with any degree of interest at the present late stage of the measure would be useless, and he would, therefore, not make the attempt. But still he felt it due to himself to express in the most unqualified manner his regret at the indifference which the House had manifested to the subject, as well as the alarm he felt that that indifference, keeping in view the importance of the subject, would be attended with very unfortunate consequences. There was one point of great importance, to which it appeared to him sufficient attention had not been paid—he alluded to the improved means of communication. The facility of getting to India by steam navigation by way of the Red Sea and by the Euphrates, was a matter deserving the serious consideration of the Legislature. It might not be generally known that extensive in- 19 quiries had been carried on with respect to the manner in which the communication between India and England might be most safely and expeditiously carried on, and there now existed a mass of information, which would enable the House to come to the consideration of the subject, better prepared than it could have been at any former period. The passage by the Euphrates opened an almost uninterrupted communication between England and India by water, with the exception of twenty hours' journey by land from Scanderoon; and it appeared that the whole passage might be accomplished in forty-three days. It was necessary that the Government should pay attention to the influence of Russia along the line of the Euphrates. We had greatly neglected the frontier policy on that side of our Indian empire. Mr. Canning committed a fatal error when he withdrew the King's Representative from the Court of Persia, and gave over that kingdom to the care of the Indian Government; thus lowering the channel of our intercourse, and diminishing the national influence in Persia, while the Russian emperor maintained a direct Representative there. Whatever, as he had often said, was a great object with France, or with any other power, hostile or rival to us, ought to have been equally a great object with ourselves; and we ought not to forget how frequently this line of attacking the English possessions in India, had been in the contemplation of other powers. Whatever, then, pre-occupied and secured a direct and rapid communication between England and India, was most important for the maintenance of our empire in Asia. Another subject, but on the opposite quarter, connected with the due administration of the Indian empire was, the encouragement which ought to be given to the great commercial entrepôt of Singapore, founded by that great man. Sir Stamford Raffles, which had more than realized the expectation of the founder. He believed that when Sir Stamford Raffles established the colony, the island did not contain more than 2,000 inhabitants; but within a year that number swelled to 10,000, and they had carried on an extensive, flourishing, and yearly increasing commerce. The manner in which the East India Company neglected the services of this distinguished individual, was almost the only act of that body in latter years, 20 which he had found occasion to condemn. The conduct of Sir Stamford Raffles with respect to Singapore, putting Java out of the question, ought to have entitled him to the gratitude not only of the East-India Company, but of the whole empire. Another subject of great importance was the question of our trade and relations with China. He knew how little interest was excited by India; and much less by China. Indeed, in proportion to the distance, was our indifference; and vicinage was the chief element of sympathy. Some writer had said, that it would give a man of tolerable humanity more distress to be told that his own little finger was to be cut off tomorrow morning, than to hear that the whole empire of China had been swallowed up by an earthquake. In the one case he would perhaps lie awake; in the other, he would only think that he would lose his tea. Without, therefore, hoping to attract any interest to this part of the general question connected with the Bill, more than to any other part, he still felt that he ought not to neglect an occasion of condemning the mistaken view, adopted and propagated by the King's Government on the subject of our future intercourse with China. Papers had been laid upon the Table of the House, in compliance with a Motion made by him, the contents of which justified him in stating, that the hopes which his right hon. friend, the President of the India Board, held out, in his communication with the Court of Directors, and in his address to this House, with respect to the opening of the trade with China, would not be realized. He was aware that he should be told that a similar opinion was expressed in 1813, with respect to the opening of the trade with India. It certainly was then said, that no increase of our commerce would take place in consequence of opening the private trade; and he must admit that that prediction had not been verified; but the distinction between the two cases was obvious. In India, we possessed sovereign power, whilst in China we were strangers, scarcely permitted to touch the soil. The Chinese Government had, with singular pertinacity, for centuries excluded Europeans from all the ports of that empire except Canton; and when he found that the right hon. President of the Board of Control, in his correspondence with the Court of Directors, spoke of establishing a colony in the dominions of the emperor 21 of China, for the purpose of regulating British trade, and that the same proposition was embodied in one of the clauses of the Bill with as little ceremony as if the subject were the establishment of a Custom House officer in the Isle of Wight, he certainly was not a little astonished, and thought that they were about to legislate without sufficient knowledge of the subject. He knew it would be contended that the Government of Bengal could, by its reflected influence and power, cripple the Chinese Government. It was true that China had, during the last twenty-years, become dependent on Bengal for a supply of opium, from which the Chinese government derived a considerable revenue, but he was perfectly satisfied that they would sacrifice that advantage rather than abandon their system of excluding Europeans from all their ports excepting Canton. It could not be denied, that the Chinese government had the right of excluding us from their territories, although some persons assumed, because we admitted the Chinese into our Indian Empire, we were entitled to admission into theirs. It should be recollected that Paraguay was, as it were, hermetically sealed, not only against Europeans, but against its more immediate neighbours, and the principle of international law, which prevented us from forcing an entrance into that territory, would also prohibit us from violating the regulations of the Chinese. What was technically called the Chinese monopoly had been abandoned by the Court of Directors, not because they had been convinced by the arguments of the right hon. Gentleman opposite, but because they found it impossible to resist his power. He should never cease to regret that whilst the Government had determined to open the trade to China to all commercial adventurers, they had abstained from allowing the Company a concurrent right of trading. He could not help lamenting, that the noble marine employed by the Company, consisting of some hundreds of thousands of tons of British shipping, the largest ever used in commerce, was now to be broken up. When, two years since, people spoke of the trade to China being thrown open, merchants never contemplated that the East-India Company would not be allowed at least to compete with them. He feared that the hopes which had been excited by the right hon. Gentleman's statement as to the benefits which 22 would result from the opening of the China trade would prove perfectly illusory to the great mass of the people, while it would be destructive to the revenue. He felt that the continuance of the trade itself might be risked by the want of a just authority over the Europeans who might approach the shores of China, and whom the Government might, in self-defence, be obliged to expel. If, even under the rule of the East-India Company, such a voyage as that of the ship Amhersl could have been undertaken against the laws of China, how many other attempts would be made to violate those laws, when the restraints imposed by the authority of the East-India Company should be wholly removed, and when every English stranger might, by his own devices, endanger the whole commerce of his country with China. These were some of the considerations which induced him to pause, before he assented to the third reading of this Bill. Though, as he had already said, on a former occasion, he was thankful to his right hon. friend, for having preserved so much of the India system, which he believed to have been beneficial to the people, yet he had changed too much, and hazarded too much, by what he had done. He knew, however, that the question was already decided; and he would, therefore, only thank the House for the kindness and the patience with which they had heard these observations.
§ Mr. Buckingham
said, that he had watched the progress of this great measure with the most minute attention, during every stage and in every detail; and he regretted to be still obliged to state that all his original objections to the Bill remained in full force. He had listened with attention to all the arguments adduced in favour, or rather in palliation, of many of the objectionable parts of the Bill, but he had heard nothing to justify them; and as the time had now arrived, when, passing from the details to the general principle, it was consistent with the forms of the House, on the Motion for the third reading of the Bill, to review it as a whole, he would avail himself of that opportunity to state the grounds of his objections to the principle features of the Bill, and of his approbation of those few parts of it, in the justice of which he fully concurred. His first and greatest objection to the Bill was, because it confided the political government of an immense empire, to the 23 Directors of a Joint-stock Company, whose interests were merely those of proprietors of India stock, anxious chiefly to secure the permanent payment of their dividends; but, when that was attained, having no interest whatever in the advancement of the welfare and happiness of the people—which he had ever contended, and would still maintain, was the only legitimate end of all government. In sayiug this, he did not mean to impute anything to the Directors of the East-India Company, more than to any other individuals similarly circumstanced. His objection was not to the men, but to the system, and to that alone. As private individuals, the Directors generally were men of honour and integrity; but the acts done by them in their collective or corporate capacity were such as many, even of their own body, disapproved. Of their civil and military servants in India, he entertained the highest opinion; and he believed that there were no two classes of public servants in any country under the sun, in which, among an equal number of persons, were to be found a larger amount of knowledge, talent, public spirit, and liberality. But the system that they administered was such as they themselves generally disapproved; and he believed that no stronger testimonies were to be found against that system, than among the evidence tendered by those very servants themselves. The King's Ministers should have taken the direct administration of the Indian government into their own hands, and added to their councils, if it were necessary, the men of talent now belonging to the East-India Direction. This would have been manly and open; as they would thus have taken upon themselves the full responsibility for the right or wrong administration of Indian affairs; from which they now shrunk, by taking shelter under the cloak of the Company—and, while exercising an indirect control, leaving to them the full accountability for the consequences. They ought also to have made some provision in the new arrangement, for the admission into the Supreme Council in India, of some few representatives of the British population in India as well as of the natives, in order to make a beginning, at least, of that system of self-government, to which they ought to advance all our colonies as fast as possible. It had been well observed by the hon. Baronet who spoke last (Sir R. Inglis), and by the hon. 24 Secretary for the India Board, (Mr. Macaulay) that the most trivial accidents occurring in England excited more attention in that House, than the most important events occurring in India. It was a law of our nature, that what happened near to us affected us most deeply; and that in proportion as the scene of action or of suffering became remote, the events occurring there gradually weakened in their impression. What did this teach us, but this grand political truth, that self-government was the interest as well as the duty of all countries, and that in proportion as we narrowed the sphere of rule, would be the guarantees for just administration? Yet the Bill departed wholly from this principle; it gave no representatives of either the British or native population to the Supreme Council in India; while it left the general policy of the government to be directed, not by the parties most competent to judge of existing circumstances on the spot—but by four-and-twenty Directors, sitting in Leadenhall-street, at a distance of 10,000 miles from the country for which they legislated; and these again checked and overruled by a Board of Control sitting in Westminster, and each subject to the supervision of both Houses of Parliament besides. Instead of this cumbrous and complicated system, he conceived that India should be prepared, as speedily as possible, to govern itself; and it was because he thought the retention of the Company, as the rulers of India, would retard, rather than advance, this desideratum, that he objected to this great feature of the Bill. Another part of it, which seemed to him equally objectionable, was this—that it burthened the natives of India with the interest of a debt, in the contraction of which they had no share whatever; and which had, indeed, been created out of their own wrongs. In England, there was at least a colourable pretence for burthening the people with the interest of the national debt, as the constitutional assumption was, that it was contracted by the representatives of the people in Parliament, and expended in defence of the rights and liberties of the nation. But the debt of India had no such origin or end. The people there had never been represented in any way, nor even consulted as to the debt contracted; and instead of their rights and liberties being defended by the expenditure out of which 25 it arose, the very reverse was the case. The debt was incurred during expensive wars tending to their own subjugation; so that they were not only robbed of their country, plundered of their wealth, and reduced by foreign subjugation to a state of helpless misery, but they were now called upon to pay the interest of the debt thus contracted for their conquest, as this was to be charged upon the revenues of India, which came entirely from the taxes levied on the native population. He conceived this to be a violation of every principle of right and justice; and against it he would solemnly protest. There might be differences of opinion as to whether the necessity of raising the loans, which now constituted the debt, arose from territorial or commercial mismanagement; but, whether from one or both, and in whatever proportions of each, it must be clear that the natives of India had no share whatever in the production of the evil; and since a long train of families and individuals had come home from that country laden with its spoils, and thousands, now in England, were living in opulence on fortunes acquired at the native Indians' expense, it did appear to him the most monstrous injustice to charge upon these natives the additional wrong of paying, from the produce of their soil, the taxes necessary to meet the interest of a debt contracted for their own subjugation, and continued for their own wrong. He might be asked—would he then have such debt, to the extent of 40,000,000l. sterling, remain unpaid?—and his answer would be, that this was the East-India Company's own affair. Let those who had contracted the debt, and those who were enriched by it, pay it, if they could; but let not those whom it had already impoverished be called upon to pay still more. Let the Company dispose of all its property, and pay all its engagements; and if loss accrued to them by so doing, the many years of plunder and profit they had enjoyed, should be set off against it; and they should share the fate of any other mercantile concern; for up to this period they had been nothing else. In addition, however, to the injustice of making the people of India pay the interest of the Company's debt, as long as it remained unredeemed—that is, the interest of 40,000,000l. sterling for forty years—there was the additional injustice committed by this Bill, of making the English 26 people pay for the redemption of the principal; as the British Legislature had made it the condition of taking the government of the country into their own hands, forty years hence, that the British nation should pay to the holders of East-India stock 200l. sterling, for every 100l. originally embarked by them in the concern; and in the interim secure to them the enormous interest of 10l10s. percent, at a time when the common interest of money was not more than one-third of that rate. As if our own 800,000,000l. of debt were not enough, we were now to contract a new debt of 20,000,000l. for the West-Indians, to purchase a freedom which ought not to cost a single shilling; and charge ourselves with an obligation to redeem an old debt of 40,000,000l. for the East-Indies, as the purchase of a lease which was within a single year of expiring in its natural term; and for the cessation of which, therefore, we ought not to have been called upon to pay any thing whatever. Again, independently of the pecuniary burthens thus gratuitously thrown upon the country, let the House look upon the enormous powers which this Bill gave to the Supreme Legislative Council in India. Hitherto it had been the consolation of the British inhabitants of India, that the arbitrary power of the Governor-general was under some degree of restraint from the control of the King's Courts; for though the Governor-general in council might make any regulations he pleased, binding on the natives of India, beyond the jurisdiction of the Supreme Courts, yet for the British inhabitants he could make no regulations that should have the force of law unless they were registered in the King's Courts; and that would not be done if they were repugnant to the spirit of the British Constitution. Now, however, by the unlimited power given to the Legislative Council of India, composed only of five persons, and these neither elective nor responsible in any degree to the British or Indian community, any regulation might be passed, without the sanction of the King's Courts; the Trial by Jury, the Liberty of the Press, the Habeas Corpus, and every other constitutional safeguard of liberty, might be suspended or abolished without appeal or without redress. A regulation might be passed, declaring that the mere publication of any newspaper, or the expression of any opinion whatever on public affairs, 27 should be a transportable offence, with confiscation of property; and all that would be necessary in such case would be to prove the fact of such publication and such comment, and sentence might be legally carried into execution forthwith. He really conceived this to be a most unwarrantable delegation of uncontrolled power, which would place the British inhabitants of India in a far worse condition than they were under the old monopoly; and, on that ground alone, he thought the Bill would be reprobated by all parties in India. The limited right of settlement which it gave to British subjects in India, was another great defect of the present Bill. It was remarkable how fondly legislators seemed to cling to the remnants of ancient abuse, and how unwilling they appeared to be to reform all at once, an evil, even when admitted to be such. Evidence of the most valuable kind had been read to the House by the right hon. the President of the Board of Control, in favour of colonization; and the ablest of the Company's own servants admitted, that it was to the settlement of Europeans in India that we were to look chiefly for its improvement. The Bill, therefore, opened all the older provinces to such settlement, but it shut up the new ones, and prohibited all entry into these, except through the licence of the local government. Could anything be more absurd than this? It was admitted that colonization, wherever it had been yet tried, had produced the best effects; that where English planters had cultivated the earth, there the greatest improvements had taken place both in the quantity and quality of its products. It had been admitted that wherever the English settlers had longest inhabited, there the kindliest feeling existed towards the natives, and the greatest harmony and friendship reigned between them;—so that in Calcutta, Madras, and Bombay, we saw Hindoos, Mohammedans, Parsees, and others, joining hand in hand with Europeans, in the formation of Bible Societies, School Societies, agricultural, and other associations, and by becoming better acquainted with each other, learning the more easily to admire each other's virtues, and to forgive each other's defects. Who did not remember the time, not many years ago, when the commonly received notion prevailed, that the people of England and the people of France 28 were natural enemies; and that true patriotism demanded of each they should hate and make war upon the other? That notion was now happily exploded; and instead of the feeling of national antipathy, now universally reprobated, the most cordial and friendly feelings existed between the natives of England and of France. And why? Simply, because by the more familiar intercourse between the two nations, which the long continued peace admitted, both had been brought to see the merits of each other, and finding that all their evil qualities had been magnified, and their good ones diminished, by distance and separation—they now oscillated perhaps to the other and at least more amiable, extreme, of giving each other credit for more than they deserved; and thus living on those terms of cordial good-will which mutual esteem was sure to generate, and to maintain. It was the same in India, as it would be, indeed in every other country where the experiment should be tried. The contempt felt by the English for the natives was always the greatest in the new settlers; but this gradually abated, and changed at last into esteem, by mere length of residence and intercourse. The disinclination on the part of the natives to mingle with the English, was always the strongest in those provinces where they were fewest and least known; but this feeling also gradually abated, and at length changed into a strong desire to associate with them, as intimately as possible, by mere length of intercourse. Now, as this was a fact, which no one would venture to dispute, he put it to the House, whether it was not, therefore, of the utmost importance to encourage rather than dissuade the English from settling in the remoter provinces?—whether facilities for such settlement ought not to be granted, rather than obstacles be thrown in the way?—and whether the largest field of operation for mutual and reciprocal benefit to both parties, was not to be found in the very provinces from which, by this Bill, Europeans were to be excluded, except by a licence from the Local Government, which might be given or withheld at their pleasure? He had given his utmost attention to this subject, and he could not conceive any good reason why the whole of India should not be as safely opened, as any particular part of it, to the settlement of British subjects. The only 29 motives which were likely to induce settlers to go out from this country, would be a desire to improve their fortunes, by entering into agricultural or mercantile undertakings. And surely it might be left to the parties themselves to determine whether it would be most for their own interests to settle in the old provinces or the new, making them, in each, subject to the same general laws: for whatever legislation might be deemed sufficient to maintain the peace and security of the one district, would be equally effectual for another. Besides, was it not the interest of the individual who should go into any of the provinces to buy and sell, whether the object of his purchase or sale should be land or agricultural produce, or manufactured goods—would it not be to his interest to be upon the best terms with those by whom his profits were to be made? Neither buyers nor sellers usually began by insulting those with whom they dealt. It was the interest of each to put the other in good humour, and that interest might be relied upon as a sufficient guarantee for their pacific and friendly conduct. In the remoter provinces, the English had been hitherto known only as conquerors living upon the spoil of the land, draining it of its wealth, and giving nothing in return. But let the English appear as capitalists and merchants, to give money for land, and manufactures for agricultural produce, and the natives would flock around them as benefactors, instead of shrinking from them as invaders; and mutual interest begetting mutual confidence, the most friendly feelings would be engendered; from whence again would flow the gradual spread of information, morals, religion, and all those wise and benevolent institutions which characterize a land of civilization, and progressively overcome and ultimately extinguish every remnant of ignorance, superstition, slavery, and barbarism. He came next to that part of the Bill, by which an increase of the Church Establishment was to be made in India; and the burthen of its maintenance thrown on the Hindoos and Mohammedans—a measure which constituted another of its many great defects. The grounds upon which this increase was defended by the India Board, appeared to him to be utterly untenable. The hon. Secretary of that Board (Mr. Macaulay) had defended it on the ground, that as the British Go- 30 vernment in India paid for the support of the Hindoo and Mohammedan places of worship and priesthood, it was but fair that they should also pay for the support of the Protestant Established Church. But the fallacy of this lay in considering it to be the English Government, and not the Indian people, by whom these payments were actually made. The Government, it was true, was the party that made the grants, but it was the people who furnished the money out of which these grants were made. To speak correctly, then, the hon. Secretary's (Mr. Macaulay's) defence should be expressed thus:—Whereas the Christian Government of India derive their entire revenue from the monies paid them by the Pagans and Mohammedans of Hindoostan, and out of this revenue appropriate a portion for the support of the several religions in which they respectively believe; which is merely compelling them to pay for the support of their own temples and their own priests; therefore, it is also just to appropriate a portion of the same revenue to the support of Protestant Bishops, and other clergy of Episcopal Christianity, in which they do not believe; though this is compelling them to pay for temples and priests which are not their own, and which they regard with abhorrence. The House was hardly prepared perhaps for such an argument as this: and yet, this was the true light in which it stood. The Christian Government of India, much, he thought, to their shame, received the revenues of the Pagan temples, in the shape of fees for performing the most obscene and revolting rites; and out of these revenues, they paid the Pagan priests, the priestesses, the dancing girls, the prostitutes, and all the unutterable abominations flowing from so corrupt a source; and not content with this polluting participation in the guilt of idolatry, they actually transferred the surplus to their coffers, which were thus filled with the lucre of unholy gain. And this was a system defended by the existing Government, and made a pretext for burthening India with a Christian hierarchy, for which these already priest-ridden natives of India were called upon to pay I It might be said, indeed, that it was no more a hardship to make them contribute to the support of an Established Christian Chinch, than it was to the payment of an English army, or an English Civil Service 31 and he confessed that he thought it was most unjust in us to make them pay for either; as we had taken their country from them by force, without the least shadow of right, and were now compelling them to pay us for the wrongs we had thus heaped upon them. But there was at least this difference: an army is useful to the security of person and property, when it is maintained merely to keep the nation free from foreign invasion. A Civil Service is useful and valuable, when it is employed in wisely administering public affairs, and maintaining internal peace. The Hindoos and Mohammedans, being participants in these benefits, might surely be asked with more fairness to contribute to their support, than to pay for the temples and the priests of what they deemed a false religion; and be thus compelled to hasten, according to their view of the case, their own eternal destruction. The wrong done to the Catholics of Ireland, by compelling them to pay for the Protestant Church Establishment, though both are branches of one great religion, Christianity, has been deemed an evil: and tithes and rates for the Established Church have already been begun to be resisted by Dissenters in England. But what would be said by us, if, in the event of a conquest of our country by Hindoos and Mohammedans, they were to increase their establishments of pundits and moollahs, and force the Christians to pay for them? Or if the celebrated Bramin, Ram Mohun Roy, now in this country, were to set up a Pagan shrine, and levy contributions on the Christians of England for its support? Yet this was exactly what the Bill would do towards the natives of India: and, therefore, upon the true Christian principle, of doing unto others what we would they should do unto us, he should feel it his duty to resist so great an injustice. Another ground of defence had been taken up for the proposed increase of Bishops in India, which was this; it was contended that the diocese was too extensive for the personal inspection of any one man: and that the preceding Bishops had all fallen victims to excessive labour, and extensive travelling, in the execution of their duty: so that it now became necessary to increase their numbers. He denied the fact entirely. Having been in India at the period of the death of the first Bishop, Dr. Middleton, he could testify that his death arose from an imprudent, but totally 32 unnecessary, exposure of his person to the sun, while resident at Calcutta; and was not in the remotest degree connected with either excessive labour or extensive travels. Succeeding Bishops, who had travelled, had undoubtedly lost their lives in quick succession: but so also had King's Judges, in equal numbers, and in equal rapidity, though all of these were stationary at Calcutta, and never moved a mile from their residencies or the Court. Extensive travelling in India was rather favourable than otherwise to health; and the change of air and scene was as agreeable and invigorating to the mind, as it was undoubtedly healthful to the body. The officers of the army were in constant motion, from one station to another; the officers of the Civil Service were never long stationary; and voyages by sea, and excursions by land, such as the Bishops took to visit their diocese, were the very remedies that were continually resorted to by invalids, for the restoration of that health which too sedentary a confinement to one spot frequently impaired. On that ground, therefore, there was no necessity whatever for increasing their numbers. Some had thought, however, that as the orientals were much impressed by pomp and rank, there was something in the dignity of a Bishop which would have an imposing effect upon the natives of India, and win them over to Christianity. No mistake could be greater than this. This conversion of the natives to Christianity could only be effected by that familiar inter-course with them to which Bishops would never be likely to condescend. If they travelled, it was in a luxurious palanquin, borne on the shoulders of men, with umbrellas on either side to shield them from the rays of the sun; and a long retinue of pomp and state, which rendered the approach of the humble native, except in some menial capacity, wholly impossible. If they remained at home, they resided in a palace, receiving as companions only Europeans of the highest rank, and were just as inaccessible to the natives in their houses, as they were in their cathedrals: and, therefore, no converts had yet been made, or were likely to be made, through the instrumentality of the Bishops. The true instruments of conversion were the humble but zealous Missionaries, who, animated by a fervent and inextinguishable zeal, would go into the villages, invite and draw near to the people—converse with them 33 in their own tongue, and endure sufferings and privations, to which no Bishop, archdeacon, or other dignitary of the Church would ever submit: and indeed it was by the Missionaries at Serampore, and in other parts of India, that whatever good had been already done in the way of education, or moral and religious improvement, had been wholly effected. The course was a very plain one, if the Ministers would only have the courage to adopt it. It was this: that every religion should be supported by those who believed in it, and who, on that ground, would be willing to give it their aid. If the Members of the Church of England in India wished to have an increase of Bishops, let them be sent out, and those who called for them might fairly be left to pay for their support. If the Presbyterians and the Catholics wished an increase to their teachers, let them do the same. It was in this manner that Christianity was supported by the voluntary aid of its believers in the Apostolic age: it was, in this manner, that Christianity among the Dissenters of England was supported now: and it was his conviction that the nearer we approached to the truly Evangelical Spirit of the New Testament, and made its practice, as well as its percepts, the model of our imitation, the nearer we should approach perfection, and the sooner we should accomplish the great end of spreading the truth over every region of the earth. We should be careful, however, not to introduce even the germ of Hierarchy into India; for in that prolific soil, though its first particle should be as small as the mustard seed, it would spread into a tree, large enough to afford shelter by its branches to all the fowls of the air. As an illustration of the manner in which the spirit of a dominant Church had already evinced itself in India, he would mention this anecdote. About the period of his first arrival in that country, a Presbyterian chapel was just about to be built in Bombay, the service having been previously held in the Court House there; when, a question arising about crowning the edifice with a steeple, Bishop Middle-ton protested against this, on the ground that Dissenters had no right to steeples, which were the distinguished characteristics of the privileged or Established Church; and maintained an obstinate controversy on this point; and that, too, in a country where the Hindoos might 34 build pagodas till they touched the moon, and the Mahommedans might elevate their minarets till they lost their summits among the stars, as far at least as any Christian Bishop concerned himself about the matter; and in a community where the greater portion of the British-born subjects were either Irish Roman Catholics, or Scotch Presbyterians, or English Dissenters, who collectively formed a much greater number than the Members of the Episcopalian or English Established Church. He repeated then his assertion, that the religion of the New Testament was conceived ill a different spirit from this; and that the nearer we approached to the purity, economy, meekness, and piety of the Apostolic age, the greater would be the probability of our enlightening, moralizing, and christianizing, the whole Eastern world. The last defect of the Bill that he would notice was this; that notwithstanding that the two great evils under which India laboured, were—first, excessive taxation, which ground the natives down to the dust, and deprived them of all physical enjoyment, by making existence so miserable as to be a burthen in itself; and—secondly, excessive ignorance, which rendered them the prey of superstition and all its odious vices: yet the Bill was wholly silent on the two great remedies—of relief from fiscal oppression, and the spread of education—without both of which, no improvement could be hoped for in their unfortunate and miserable condition, He was glad to hear the right hon. President of the India Board say, that the subjects of infanticide, and other human sacrifices still prevalent in India, were under consideration, and he hoped that in this case the terra would not be found a mere official evasion, without a sincere intention of coming to any speedy conclusion, but that the consideration would be pursued closely, until all these murderous rites and revolting abominations should be altogether abolished. Having now stated his principal objections to the Bill, it was but right that he should do justice to those parts of it of which he heartily and entirely approved, and which he had left for the last, as the most agreeable part of his duty to perform. The opening of the commerce between Great Britain and China, including a free access to all the rich and populous regions of the further East, was a measure of strict justice and of sound policy; and so far was he from concurring 35 with the hon. Baronet, the member for the University of Oxford (Sir Robert Inglis) that little or no advantage would result from this—that he believed there was no single act of the Legislature that had been passed for the last twenty years, which was calculated to afford a greater and more substantial relief to the manufacturing, mercantile, and shipping interests of this country, than that opening of the Eastern Seas to British enterprise, now for the first time granted by this Bill. He would content himself with this general assertion now; but as there was another Bill before the House relating specifically to this trade, he would reserve the particular grounds on which he rested his expectations of benefit from it, until the provisions of that Bill should come regularly tinder discussion. He approved also, most cordially, of that part of the Bill which opened all the old provinces of India to the British settler; and his only regret was, that this opening had not been also extended to the new; because there was nothing which was calculated so rapidly and so powerfully to develope the rich resources of India, and make her people wealthy, civilized, and happy, as this colonization of its vast interior with British settlers of capital, science, skill, and industry, combined. Above all, however, he approved of that great admission in the Bill, which recognized, for the first time, the political rights of the native population, which opened the door for their admission into office; and which, by elevating them in their own dignity, would enable them the better to elevate their children, and these again their future offspring, until every succeeding generation should have greater and greater cause to bless the hour when the first stop was taken towards their political advancement, and gradual but certain emancipation from the treble yoke of foreign subjugation, fiscal oppression, and degrading superstition. He rejoiced in the recognition, by this House, of the great principles for which he had contended in India fifteen years ago—for a persevering advocacy of which he had incurred the displeasure of the ruler of that country, and had been not merely banished from hence without a trial, but had been ruined by the confiscation of all the property he left behind him. And for what?—Why, for having been somewhat in advance of the age and country in which 36 he lived; for having given utterance to truths in India, which were now recognized as sound maxims of legislation in England; for having contended, that the supremacy of the law was superior to arbitrary rule—and for demanding for British subjects in India that protection of person and property, and that freedom of opinion, which was safely conceded to them in their native land. He had lived to assist in this great work, as a legislator of that country to which India had returned him, as too liberal and too free for her then existing Government: and when he looked back on all the sufferings she had endured, and the obstacles he had overcome, in the long interval that had now elapsed—a review of the progress which the cause he advocated had constantly made, till the present moment in which he addressed the House, was at once his pride, his consolation, and his reward.
§ Mr. Hume
expressed his regret at the absence of proper provisions relating to the administration of justice. If it was desired to make the natives attached to the Government of this country, there ought to be a provision for allowing them to sit in the Councils of India. There ought, at least, to be one native in each of those Councils. Most of all he regretted that the Bill did not communicate to the natives the right of sitting upon Juries, a circumstance that would materially tend to elevate the national character. They were as well entitled to that as the people of Ceylon. The documents already on the table showed the great improvement among the natives of Ceylon, in consequence of the beneficial change which had been made there; and as one proof of it, he would mention that, within three years, the inhabitants had volunteered the abolition of slavery. At one period, the right of sitting upon Juries was given in Madras—he alluded to the administration of Sir Thomas Munroe; and he was sorry to add, that, on the arrival of Mr. Lushington, the natives were deprived of the privilege, on the sole authority of the Governor. In order to put this matter in a clear light, he would move, in a few days, for Copies of the Minutes of the Presidency of Madras. He hoped that the Board of Control would use its utmost in influence and best endeavours to advance and elevate the character of the native Indians, and to communicate to 37 them, ere long, the privileges enjoyed by the rest of the King's subjects.
§ Mr. George F. Young
could not allow the Bill to pass without a few parting remarks, though not upon the general policy of the measure. He was altogether opposed to the East-India Monopoly, but, at the same time, he was desirous that as little injury as possible should be done to existing interests. He thought that some degree of precipitancy bad been shown in the formation of the Bill, as far as regarded particularly the trade to China, and he complained of an arrangement made by the Directors, under the sanction of the Board of Control, by which none of the ships belonging to the East-India Company were to be fitted out and employed this season. The consequence was, that the workmen had been already discharged from two great establishments connected with the East-India shipping. He contended, that this step ought to have been taken more gradually, so that such deep and sudden injury should not have been done. At the expiration of the Charter, it ought to be recollected, that not less than sixty millions of pounds of tea would be thrown upon the hands of Government; and how they were to proceed under such circumstances he could not foresee. He even yet hoped, that some modifications might be introduced, and that everything would be done to prevent the measure being carried into effect with unnecessary and impolitic haste.
§ Mr. Stewart Mackenzie
said, that much had already been done, by internal regulations in India, to fit the natives for the enjoyment of those privileges which the hon. member for Middlesex was anxious to see too suddenly communicated to them, and to prepare the way for the abolition of domestic slavery. He vindicated the framers and supporters of the Bill from the charge of precipitation, and read the extract of a letter from an officer of a ship, to show the anxious desire of the natives of China to carry on private trade, independent of the East-India Company. He justified the present system of Government in India, on account of its cheapness and responsibility; and, with regard to taxation, every anxiety existed to vender the taxation of India as light as possible. Measures were at present both in progress and operation for that purpose.
§ Mr. Frederick G. Howard
enforced the 38 fitness of employing natives in different situations, not only on the grounds of economy and efficiency, but because it would tend to conciliate and to give a motive to others to qualify themselves for such posts. He also read an extract of a letter of the Court of Directors, which urged the necessity of attention to the education and moral improvement of the natives.
did not remember any Bill occupying so much time, and on so important a subject, which had excited so little attention, and created so little interest. He had an objection to the present number of Directors. He thought that in future only eleven should be appointed, and that any reason for continuing them at twenty-four would no longer exist, when the Bill should have become law. At all events nothing ought to be introduced into it which would pledge Parliament to the maintenance of the present number. He should also move, in the next stage, for the omission of the words in the Bill relating to the College of Haileybury, with a view to the substitution of an amendment, the nature of which he had already stated, and which referred to the election of candidates. A clause, providing that a certain number of cadetships should be given annually to the sons of old or wounded officers, he should move as a rider to the Bill. He objected to that part of the measure which rendered it necessary for the subordinate Governments to have the sanction of the Government of Bengal to any alteration, however trifling. He remarked, respecting the communications of the Directors with India, that they were not always to be taken to represent the opinions of that body, as paragraphs were sometimes inserted, even in opposition to the wishes of the Court.
could not allow the Bill to pass without contending for the necessity of admitting East-India sugar and other East-India produce into this country, without those restrictive duties, which, at present, were as injurious to our East-India subjects, as they were injurious to the trader of this country. He would ask, whether it was not sufficient to derive a revenue of 20,000,000l. from India, for the support of our Government, our army, and our police? At the same time, he expressed his satisfaction generally at the measure which had been brought forward.
§ Mr. Cutlar Fergusson
expressed himself greatly dissatisfied with many of the provisions of the Bill. He objected to that part which gave no opportunity to the Court of Directors of laying before Parliament, when the Board of Control differed from them, their reasons for the course they proposed to adopt.
§ Mr. Cutlar Fergusson
contended that they ought to have that opportunity without the necessity of resorting to the humiliating mode of petition. He also objected to the system proposed, with respect to the other presidencies being made dependent on that of Bengal. He likewise was opposed to the clause relating to slavery, which, he felt, would be productive of injurious effects. Indeed, that system could be scarcely called one of slavery, which was domestic servitude of the mildest kind. Another part of the Bill to which he objected was that which gave to the Governor-General the power of making regulations for courts of justice in India, by which the Governor might emancipate himself, on any occasion, from their jurisdiction. He should prefer the jurisdiction of the supreme Courts to that of the chartered Courts. The people of India would prefer those Courts in which they had enjoyed the protection of British law. But, by the power given to the Governor General, the benefits of these Courts might be taken away, and the Trial by Jury and the liberty of the Press; in fact, every protection the British inhabitants of India had hitherto enjoyed, might be abrogated;—the law of inheritance might be changed. This, he contended, was a power too great to be given to any Governor General, with his five councillors. He did not say it would be so used, but they ought to guard against the possibility of it. It was extremely unjust to the presidencies of Madras and Bombay, that they should thus be deprived, or incur the risk of being deprived, of the protection of British law. He also objected to that part of the Bill which continued the establishment of Haileybury College. He thought an equally good or better system of preparation for employment in the Company's service might be had at private seminaries. The next part to which he objected was, the reduction of the number of Directors, which would tend to destroy the independence of that body. As to 40 the increase of the number of Bishops, he would not object to it; but it should be on the express condition that no expense should be incurred. The present expense was 166,000 rupees; the proposed expense, he understood, would be 229,000 rupees; making a difference of 63,000, which he thought greater than ought to be incurred. He had briefly stated his objections to some parts of the Bill; but he would not oppose the third reading.
Mr. Wolryche Whitmore
admitted, that the Bill had been greatly improved in the committee, but there were still great objections to many parts of it. He hoped that the power of settlement in the older provinces would be extended to all parts of the Indian continent. He concurred with the hon. Member, in strongly objecting to that part of the Bill which subjected the Supreme Courts of Justice to the control of the Governor General. Where the government was so absolute as that of India, there should be two or three places where the rule of law should be superior to the rule of government. As the Bill now stood, it would tend to make the law as despotic as the government itself. He could not but regret that the political power of the Company had not been limited to ten years instead of twenty: at the end of ten years the subject might be re-opened, not only without injury, but with great benefit; but as the Bill stood at present, the re-opening of the question was precluded. The part of the Bill to which he most strongly objected was that of protecting duties on East-India sugar. It was most monstrous and unjust to the people of India and of England, and he was surprised that such a principle should be adopted by a Government professing otherwise such wise and liberal doctrines on the subject of commerce. He could not look upon it in any other light than that of an odious tyranny, which restricted the industry of the cultivators of India, and gave a great check to the manufacturing energies of England; and he hoped, that before long, the House and the country would see the necessity of adopting a more just and liberal policy.
Mr. Poulett Thomson
, referring to what had fallen from his hon. friend (Mr. W. Whitmore), said, that he did not find many articles in which there was any great difference in the duties between the produce of the East Indies and that of other places. The chief articles in which 41 the difference existed were coffee and sugar. With respect to the first, he would admit that it would be a great advantage if East-India coffee was admitted on the same terms as coffee of other countries. The effect of the difference of duty, at present, created a complete monopoly in favour of West-India coffee; the consequence of which would be, that the price must rise, and the consumption be diminished, unless there was an equalization of the duties. As to sugar, he differed much from his hon. friend, with respect to the power of the East Indies to supply this country with the quantity sufficient for its consumption, even if the duties were equalized. It might be possible to procure the supply under a different system of culture; but he believed that if the duties were equalized to-morrow, we should not have a much greater supply than at present, and that it would not make much difference in the price. At the same time he did not see why, on any principle of justice, East India sugar should be placed on a different footing to that of the West Indies. The duty of tobacco was a mere matter of revenue, and not of protection, and stood upon a different footing; but, with respect to sugar, he did hope that a day would soon come when, on principles of justice, the difference of duties would be done away with. At present, all that the Government could do would be to admit the principle of justice, and practically to do nothing more. He believed that the fears of the West-India proprietors, on the one hand, as to the injury that might be done by the importation of East-India sugar, were unfounded, and that, on the other hand, the expectations of those who thought that great quantities of East-India sugar could be imported if the duties were equalized, were equally destitute of foundation. At the same time, looking at the change that had taken place in the East-India trade, and in the articles and manufactures which were sent out to India, he did hope, that the time was not far distant when we should be able to exchange our cotton and other manufactures for the sugar and other produce of our Indian possessions.
§ Mr. Ewart
was glad to hear such declarations as had been made by the right hon. Gentleman, which he thought were worthy of a wise and liberal Government, He conceived, that it would be 42 most unjust to impose restrictions on the importation of East-Indian produce, whilst we were denying to that country the possibility of coming into competition with our other possessions. He earnestly hoped, that Government would encourage the produce of free labour, and of East-India industry generally, which must have the effect of giving a vast stimulus to our own commerce and manufactures.
§ Mr. Charles Grant
would not at that hour enter into any general consideration of points which had already been so fully discussed. Referring to what had fallen from the hon. Baronet (Sir Robert Inglis) on the subject of the China trade, he would repeat what he had stated on his first introduction of this measure to the House—that, though there was a great repugnance on the part of the Chinese authorities to permit foreign trade, there was a disposition on the part of the people of that country to embark in it—a disposition so strong, that the Chinese authorities themselves found it impossible to control it, and therefore, without sanctioning it openly, they were obliged greatly to relax the operations of the laws against it. This was proved by the great extent of the trade with India, the eastern islands, and particularly the country trade, in which they were the successful rivals of the British. The authorities of China had, in fact, come to the determination of admitting instead of prohibiting goods. In the case of opium the Emperor having sent a despatch to the Viceroy of Canton to take measures to prevent the importation of that drug, received for answer from that officer, that he had upon experiment found it impossible to do so. It was impossible not to admit, that China and the eastern islands would share the common impulse which would be given to India by the new arrangements, without making any specific efforts for that object. It had been objected to the Bill, that the name of the natives had not been introduced into it. The answer to this charge was, that every part of the Bill was favourable to the interests of the natives. The very admission of Europeans was calculated to have a favourable effect on the native population of India. For the sake of the native population, also, that great principle was advanced, of establishing a similar code of laws for both them and the Europeans. Never would he admit, that the interests of the natives did not form one of the objects of the measure, 43 or were kept out of sight in framing it. In conclusion the right hon. Gentleman thanked the House for the candid and courteous tone in which the measure had been discussed.
§ The Bill was read a third time.
rose to propose a clause as a rider to the Bill, on the subject of the patronage which was to be vested by the Act in the Court of Directors. This, in his mind, was an exceedingly improper state in which to place the whole of the enormous patronage of so great an empire; and he hoped the House would be of opinion, that a certain proportion of it should be reserved as a fund, as it were, from whence the sons of as brave and gallant a set of men might obtain appointments (he meant the officers of the Indian army), many of whom were continually, either by climate or by wounds, dropping off, and leaving their families comparatively unprovided for. He felt there was a strong ground of appeal both to their justice and their humanity. Indeed, such were the expenses of a return to Europe in those cases, that it was difficult even for the widow of a field officer deceased in India, to ensure the return of herself and orphan family. With a great respect, therefore, for the Directors themselves, he was prepared to move a clause, that a certain portion of the cadetships of that army should be placed apart for this purpose. The Directors were, of course, not disposed to remunerate the services of individuals, however meritorious, in a public view, out of their own private patronage. Nor was this an unnatural feeling on their part; as the patronage was given to them by virtue of their property. The right hon. Gentleman proceeded to state some cases in which the widows of most universally meritorious officers, on applying for a cadetship for their sons, received for answer, that they had no fund of patronage for that purpose, and that they themselves considered the services of such officers amply remunerated by their pay and allowances, though it were true they had fought, bled, and fallen in the service. The mode he would not attempt to point out for the distribution of this patronage, though he thought it might safely be left in the hands of the Governor-general, or of the Commander-in-chief, and that it should be fixed in amount at one-fourth of the whole number of cadetships granted to the Indian army. The right hon. 44 Gentleman concluded by moving, that the Court of Directors be empowered to set apart one-fourth of the whole number of cadet appointments bestowed by them for the sons of officers who have served for ten years in the military or civil service.
§ Mr. Cutlar Fergusson
Would not at the present moment enter into a discussion of the expediency of the Motion, but only rose to state what the Court of Directors had really done with regard to these appointments. The number of cadets appointed during the last twenty-one years was 5,092; and of these he believed a very large proportion were the sons of meritorious officers, 409 were the sons of civil officers, 411 were the sons of military officers, 124 the sons of maritime officers, 308 the sons of clergymen, and 1,018 orphans.
§ Mr. Charles Grant
thought, that a case sufficiently strong had not been made out to warrant the interference with the management of the appointments by the Court of Directors.
would persist in pressing his Motion, because he wished it to stand on the Journals of the House.
§ The Clause was negatived without a division.
§ Mr. Sheil
rose to propose a clause for making due provision in India for the Roman Catholic and other Churches dissenting from the Protestant Establishment, regard being had to the population of the various districts. He was one of those who were of opinion, that the wisest course would have been, hot to make provision for any Ecclesiastical Establishment in India whatever. The Company had objected to any extension of the hierarchy. Those points, however, having been disposed of, it was for the House now to consider whether it would not be expedient to place all forms of worship equally under the protection of Government. By the existing Act on the subject, provision was made for a Church Establishment in India, without stating whether that Establishment should be of the English Church alone, or not. The present Bill extended the hierarchy. An hon. member for Scotland then called on his Majesty's Government to introduce a statutory provision for the protection of the Scottish Church in India. The President of the Board of Trade gave that hon. Gentleman an assurance that a statutory provision 45 should be introduced into the Bill for that purpose; and accordingly he (Mr. Sheil) found, that a most important change had been made in the Bill, and that a provision had been introduced into it for the protection of the Scotch Church. He would ask what reason there was, that the Church of Scotland was to be protected by statute, when the Roman Catholics, who constituted so large a majority of the Christian population of India, were not to be protected? The whole amount of the Christian population of India was 800,000, of whom not less than 600,000 were Roman Catholics, besides a large population of Syrian Christians, whose tenets differed from those of the Roman Catholics by a very slight and evanescent line of demarcation. Thus there clearly appeared to be an infinite majority of Roman Catholics in the Christian population of India. In such a vast body of the population, of whom a great number were Irish soldiers, surely, in justice and good policy, there ought to be the same protection as for other classes. At the present moment the whole of the eight Roman Catholic Bishops in India were maintained by the Portuguese government, and, as had been most justly observed by a competent authority, it was the worst policy to allow this hierarchy to be supported by a foreign government. He (Mr. Sheil) would therefore impress upon the House the propriety of consulting their interest and character by not depriving the Roman Catholics of the same protection as the other religious classes. This would be the only way of preventing those future dissensions which would otherwise inevitably result. There were quite sufficient precedents to authorize the House in granting to the Roman Catholics the protection of a statute. The Roman Catholic Establishment in Ireland in general, the college of Maynooth, and similar institutions, were all under the protection of the law, and there was no possible reason why the Roman Catholics abroad should be left unprotected.
§ Mr. Lynch
did not think it advisable to encourage more than one establishment; but, that if any other than the Protestant Established Church were protected, that protection should not be exclusively confined to the English and Scotch Churches. The Catholic Establishment in Ireland had operated injuriously in retarding the spread of Protestantism, and he feared, that to encourage a similar establishment 46 in India would have equally injurious effects. Besides this, he strongly objected to imposing any tax upon one class of religionists for the support of another; yet, if the Catholic Establishment were protected, it would be necessary to impose other taxes.
§ Mr. Charles Grant
objected to the hon. Gentleman's clause. It was rather remarkable that, after the strong denunciations made by the hon. and learned Gentleman against imposing any additional load upon the Indians for the support of any other religion, the hon. and learned Gentleman, notwithstanding, now strongly urged the imposition of a still further amount of taxation for the support of the Roman Catholic Church. The alteration which he had suggested was not with a view to establish any Ecclesiastical domination in India, but with a much higher and general view. Besides, the clause of the hon. and learned Gentleman could hardly be admitted, as being too general and indefinite in its nature, for it proposed that "all forms of worship should be equally under the protection of Government, and that due provision should be made for the maintenance of Churches dissenting from the Protestant Episcopal Church." This would bring under the protection of Government, not merely Christian forms of worship, but every description of religion, even the idolatrous creed of the Heathen sects, many of which were such, as, so far from calling for the protection of Government, loudly called for the most strenuous efforts to suppress them, such as those where human victims were sacrificed. The hon. and learned Gentleman, too, had rather exaggerated the extent of the Catholic population. It would be the pride of the Protestant religion to make converts by the superior tone of its morality, and by the example given by its profession. The country might rest assured, however, that it was the desire and intention of Government to afford protection to all classes; and to make this apparent, he would propose to add as a proviso, that nothing in the Bill should be held to prevent the Governor of India in Council from advancing a sum of money for providing instruction for Christians of all classes, or from withholding due protection to all classes.
§ Sir Robert Inglis
thought the clause too indefinite. He had no objection to the clause proposed by an hon. and learned 47 Member, for allowing Roman Catholic chaplains in India, He would take the opportunity of saying, that the hon. member for Sheffield, was completely mistaken in his opinion as to the causes of the deaths of the Bishops of Calcutta. They died from excessive labour. The right hon. Baronet took occasion to pass a very high eulogium on the great Bishop Heber, whom he described as undergoing privations and labours unprecedented, in the furtherance of the one mighty object which he had throughout his life in view.
§ Mr. Finch
could not refrain from expressing his deep regret at the proposition which the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. C. Grant) just announced his intention of moving—a proposition which he trusted would receive the marked disapprobation of the country. By the doctrines of the Romish Church the Protestant religion was declared heretic, and by the articles of the Protestant Church the Roman Catholic faith was pronounced blasphemous. Let any one who thought otherwise state his reasons for so thinking, and he (Mr. Finch) would support his assertion in contradiction. By the 39th article of the Protestant Church the sacrifice of the mass was declared blasphemous and idolatrous. Any person who proposed to vote for the maintenance of two religions, the doctrines of which were at direct variance, was guilty of the most absurd inconsistency.
§ The Clause was withdrawn.
§ Mr. C. Fergusson moved, that the 53rd clause be struck out of the Bill, inasmuch as it abolished the Councils, and totally altered the Constitution of India.
§ The House divided on the Amendment—Ayes 33: Noes 78: Majority 45,
|List of the AYES.|
|Aglionby, H. A.||Finch, G.|
|Attwood, T.||Halcombe, J.|
|Briggs, R.||Henniker, Lord|
|Brotherton, J.||Hope, H. T.|
|Dare, R. W. H.||Hume, J.|
|Dawson, E.||Lister, C.|
|Lowther, Col.||Wemyss, Capt. J.|
|Palmer, R.||Blake, M.|
|Pease, J.||Finn, W. F.|
|Todd, R.||O'Connell, M.|
|Vyvyan, Sir R.||Perceval, Col.|
|Wason, R.||Ruthven, E.|
|Wilks, J.||Sheil, R. L.|
|Wynn, Right Hon. C.||Vigors, N. A.|
|Agnew, Sir A.||Inglis, Sir R.|
|Gillon, W. D.||Fergusson, R. C.|
§ Mr. Charles Grant
then proposed, a proviso relative to the expenses of the Episcopal Establishment in India.
§ Sir Robert Inglis
thought, that the Bishops in India should be placed, at least, on a level with the puisne Judges in point of income. So far from thinking the proposed sum too large, he should say it was rather too small.
§ Mr. Charles Grant
said, he had shaped his proviso so as to meet, he was sure, the views of Gentlemen opposite. The right hon. Gentleman then read the proviso to the 19th clause, to the following effect:—"Provided always, that the whole expenses of the Bishops and Archdeacons in India, shall not exceed 120,000 sicca rupees per annum, including their visitations."
§ The proviso was agreed to.
§ Mr. Charles Grant
then proposed a proviso to the 99th clause, to this effect:—"Provided always, that nothing herein contained shall be so construed as to prevent the Governor-General in Council from granting from time to time, with the sanction of the Court of Directors, to any sect, persuasion, or community of Christians, not being of the United Church of England and Ireland, or of the Church of Scotland, such sums of money as may be expedient for the purpose of instruction, or for the maintenance of places of worship."
§ Mr. Andrew Johnston
said, he must oppose the proviso. The hon. member for 49 Middlesex, had expressed his apprehensions with regard to taxing the Hindoos and Mahommedans for the support of the Church Establishment in India. Had that hon. Member ever opposed the shameful conduct of the East-India Company in screwing from those unfortunate Hindoos, ill the course of seventeen years, 1,000,000l. in the shape of pilgrim tax? If the principle of this proviso should be adopted, they would have no Church Establishment in India in the course of a few years. The East Indies, in a few years, would be made a hot-bed for heresies of all descriptions. He called on the House to resist the introduction of such a principle into India. They might see what results were attending it in France. If they adopted such a principle in India with respect to dissenting sects there, how could they resist a similar claim from the Roman Catholics in this country? He stood in a peculiar situation as an elder of the Church, and he felt it his duty to oppose such a proposition.
§ Mr. Robert Gordon
expressed his surprise, that after they had been engaged for so many years in promoting the cause of religious as well as civil liberty, any Member of that House could be found to second the hon. Member's objection.
§ Mr. Sinclair
said, he was willing to share in any obloquy which might attach to those who opposed it.
§ The House then divided—Ayes 92; Noes 8: Majority 84.
|List of the NOES.|
|Bruce, Major C.||Sinclair, G.|
|Buller, C.||Wynn, Rt. Hon. C.|
|Foster, C. S.||Inglis, Sir R.|
|Lowther, Hon. Col.||Johnston, A.|
|Plumptre, J. P.|
§ Mr. Wynn moved, that a part of the 100th clause be left out. His object was to abolish Haileybury College; the young men were elected on the principle of competition to be sent out direct to India.
§ Mr. Robert Grant
was desirous that the 50 establishment should have a further trial, and thought that it would be inexpedient to abolish it at once.
§ The House divided on the question that the clause stand—Ayes 46; Noes 20: Majority 26.
§ The Bill was passed.
|List of the NOES.|
|Aglionby, H. A.||Wason, R.|
|Briggs, R.||Young, G.|
|Brotherton, J.||Fergusson, C.|
|Buller, C.||Murray, J. A.|
|Dykes, F. L. B.||IRELAND.|
|Halcomb, J.||Blake, M.|
|Lister, C. E.||Finn, W.|
|Lowther, Col. H.||Ruthven, E.|
|Marjoribanks, S.||Wynn, Rt. Hon. C.|
|Pease, J.||Hume, J.|