HC Deb 07 June 1858 vol 150 cc1613-89

Question again proposed, That in order to assist such Minister of the Crown in the discharge of his duties it is expedient that a Council be appointed of not less than twelve nor more than eighteen Members.


, who had given notice of the following Motions,

As an Amendment to the Third Resolution:— That regard being had to the position of Affairs in India, it is expedient to constitute the Court of Directors of the East India Company, by an act of the present Session, to be a Council for administering the Government of India, in the name of Her Majesty, under the superintendence of such responsible Minister, until the end of the next Session of Parliament: In the event of the adoption of the foregoing Resolution, to move thereafter; That in the said administration of the Court of Directors, so constituted to be a Council, be subject to all the powers at present vested by law in the Board of Commissioners for the Affairs of India; and furthermore, that the President of the said Commissioners be empowered to preside, when and so often as he shall think fit, over the Court of Directors in lieu of the Chairman thereof, and to assume and exercise any of the powers now ordinarily exercised by such Chairman: rose to address the Committee.


said, he rose to order. When the subject was last before the Committee, it was agreed that the proposition which he maintained should have logical precedence of every other. His proposition was, that there ought to be no Council for the Government of India, and he stated at the time that the most logical mode of proceeding would be to take that proposition first. The Committee agreed with him, and consented that by the logical mode he should have precedence. Since then the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the University of Oxford (Mr. Gladstone) had given notice of a Motion that the Council should consist of the East India Directors. If the Committee desired that there should be no Council, then there was an end of his proposition; if it desired that there should be, then the constitution of the Council would have to be considered, and his proposal that it should consist of the Court of Directors would come before them with logical correctness. If the right hon. Gentleman were allowed to bring forward his proposition at once, he (Mr. Roebuck) would be shut out altogether, and he appealed to the Committee and to the Chairman—he appealed to the chairman's head, as a logical head, whether his proposal ought not to come first—whether he was not, logically, first before the Committee.


said, he was decidedly of opinion that the proper time for the hon. and learned Member to give his negative to the whole proposition would be when the Amendment of the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Gladstone) had been disposed of, and the Resolution, as amended, was put to the Committee. He, therefore, was clearly of opinion that it was his duty to call upon the right hon. Gentleman to proceed.


said, he again rose to order. The Chairman would recollect that on the last occasion on which these Resolutions were under discussion the question was raised when the proposition that there should be no Council should be submitted to the Committee, and it was decided that that proposition, being logically the first, ought to be first decided. The Chairman stopped at the word Council—"and that there shall be a Council appointed;" whereupon he rose and said "no" to that proposition. The reason that he had given notice of no amendment was, that his proposition was a direct negative to the Resolution before the Committee.


said, he rose to order. He wished to know whether, after the Chairman had ruled a point, it was competent to any hon. Member to question his decision.


submitted that, as the hon. and learned Member for Sheffield (Mr. Roebuck), was in possession of the Committee when the debate was last adjourned, he was in the same position now, and ought to be allowed to proceed. He thought it was not competent for any other hon. Member to come in with a new proposition and take precedence of him.


said, that in the case of Mr. Duffy, three or four years ago, it was decided that an hon. Member addressing the Committee at the time of the adjournment was not of right in possession of the Committee upon the resumption of the debate. The hon. and learned Gentleman therefore had no right to precedence on that ground.


Sir, I may take leave to assure the hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Sheffield (Mr. Roebuck) that nothing could be further from my intention than to avail myself of any technical advantage in order to interrupt that logical order of proceeding upon which he so strongly insists; but I do not concur in the hon. and learned Gentleman's view of logical order. I perfectly admit that if we had determined upon the absolute abolition of the Court of Directors as at present constituted, it might then be very proper to decide whether we should have any Council at all before we considered what particular new Council we should have; but I must confess that it appears to me that the character of my proposal, the character of which was to keep the Court of Directors in existence for a limited time, subject to certain modifications, makes it one in which it is convenient and orderly for the Committee to decide before entertaining the proposition of the hon. and learned Gentleman. The hon. and learned Member for the Tower Hamlets (Mr. Ayrton) seems to think that some Resolution was come to on a former night which was intended to preclude, for an interval of weeks, as it has proved to be, the proposal of any new Amendment I am sure that a moment's reflection must convince the hon. and learned Member that such an understanding would have been alike irrational and contrary to the rules and orders of this House. Amendments might be bonâ fide the product of circumstances which have occurred in the interval. I do not hesitate to say that many of the considerations which recommend the Amendment that I am about to propose have acquired great force during that interval; for what is our present position? We are now, on the 7th of June, about to resume—I should, perhaps, more accurately say to recommence—the work of legislation upon the affairs of India. Now, I do not intend to lay any consider- able stress upon a motive which, so far as it is entitled to attention, is obvious to us all—namely, the period of the year at which we are about to commence this work, because if there are public considerations which make it desirable that we should now proceed to definitive, conclusive, and comprehensive legislation, it is our duty to disregard every consideration connected with personal convenience, and with arrangements other than those of this House; but, at the same time, it must be understood by hon. Members that if we are to go on with such legislation, attempting a full settlement of the Indian Government, the Session of Parliament must be protracted to an almost indefinite period, so as entirely to alter the ordinary arrangement and distribution of business. We have, however, had other lessons within the last few weeks that are not without their bearing upon the subject now before us. In referring to the first of these I have no desire—in fact, I should be most culpable if I did desire—to reanimate any angry or excited feeling that may happily have passed away; but I cannot help thinking that a Motion recently propounded by a right hon. Friend of mine (Mr. Cardwell) upon high reasons of political duty, and resisted with at least equal zeal and fervour upon the other side of the House, has taught us that it is a matter of perhaps greater difficulty than some of us had supposed to keep the great affairs of India out of the arena of political contention, and has consequently done something to bring home to us in a practical form the proposition that in setting about the reformation of the Indian Government we ought to proceed with the utmost circumspection. But there is another circumstance which appears to me to have an important bearing upon the propriety—I do not say of proceeding at the present moment—but of the particular form and manner in which we are to proceed. I refer to the continuance of the war in India. Unhappily, the continuance of the war in India does not mean merely its continuance from one mail to another. Since we last discussed the subject of Indian government we have passed over a critical period of the year for our military operations. We are landed again in the hot season, and, I apprehend, the most sanguine man among us does not now believe it possible that a war which, unfortunately, has assumed so much more formidable a character since we were accustomed to regard it as a mere military mutiny, can be terminated during the present Session of Parliament. There is, probably, no man who will not think that the turn of affairs has been more favourable than we have at present any right to anticipate if we are able to congratulate one another upon the complete re-establishment of order and tranquillity in India when we meet next year. I do not know what the feelings of others may be, but I look at the continuance and extension of the war, both upon general and particular grounds, as a circumstance having an important and even vital bearing upon the question whether we should now proceed to definitive and complete legislation for India. I would venture to ask the noble Viscount the Member for Tiverton (Viscount Palmerston) and those who were his colleagues in the late Government, whether, if they had anticipated at the commencement of the present year that hostilities would have been protracted to the present time with the prospect of at least a six months' further war in India before them they would have submitted their India Bill to the House. I doubt whether they would have come to any such conclusion, except under the influence of those more sanguine anticipations which most of us shared with them, and I am convinced the House would have given a very lukewarm reception to their proposition if it had not believed that we had at that period attained very nearly to the conclusion of hostilities. Now, Sir, I wish to explain to the Committee in few words what it is that I propose to do by the Amendment I am about to submit. Twice this House has considered the question whether it should legislate for India during the present Session. Once by a large majority—once by an overwhelming majority, it has determined not to postpone legislation. I wish frankly to testify my respect for the decisions to which the House has come, and to accept and give effect to them. The House, besides declaring in abstract terms that legislation ought not to be put off for a year, has affirmed two of the Resolutions proposed by the Government. The first and principal one of these declares that, in the judgment of the House, the time is come when the Government of India ought to be transferred from the East India Company to the Crown. The second Resolution, when constitutionally considered, is no more than an inevitable corollary from the first. If the Government of India is to be transferred to the Crown, it follows as a matter of course, unless we were prepared to depart from the principles of our law and constitution, that the powers thus conferred upon the Crown should be exercised through the medium of a responsible Minister. I therefore propose recognizing and seeking to give effect to the judgment of the House, that the Government of India shall be transferred to the Crown by Bill during the present Session; and I humbly and respectfully venture to submit to the Committee a mode in which it may be transferred to the Crown so as to satisfy the conclusion of the House that we ought to legislate for India, so as to meet in a great degree such practical objections as have been urged against the present system of Indian Government, and so as to avoid compromising ourselves by a premature discussion of many questions relating to Indian Government which, although of course we can proceed to decide them, we are far from being in a condition to settle. When the late Prime Minister introduced his Bill, the whole of his objections to the present system of Indian Government lay within a very narrow compass. I do not allude now to some reference he made, in a few passing and perhaps careless words, to the mercantile character of the body by whom the affairs of India are administered, because I do not imagine he intended to lay any invidious stress upon those words, and as one interested in and connected with the mercantile class of this country, I must say that those who seek to find grounds for disparaging the capacity of that class for Government ought not to look for the materials of their arguments in the history of the government of India. The objection made by the late Prime Minister to the present Government of India really rested upon the cumbrousness of the forms of business, and upon the delays necessarily attaching to its transaction. It is admitted on all hands that there is much in that objection, as far as it goes; but at the same time, do not let it be supposed that it ought to be the object of legislation to establish a railroad rapidity in the transaction of Indian business. I have been much struck with the truth of a weighty sentence, comprised in few words, in one of those able documents that have proceeded from the India House during the present discussions—a sentence in which it is stated that the forms for the transaction of Indian business are practically and in effect the constitution of India. But as I have said, it is admitted that those forms are accompanied with considerable inconvenience, and I propose to remedy that inconvenience by placing the Minister of the Crown who is to be responsible for Indian affairs in direct contact and juxtaposition with the Court of Directors for the limited period to which my proposition relates. There are two parts of that proposition, by which I hope it may be the opinion of the Committee, as it is my own, that we may be able to give sufficient and substantial effect to the spirit of the resolutions at which we have already arrived. The first is that the President of the Board of Control may become as soon as he pleases President of the Court of Directors in lieu of the Chairman of that Court, and the second empowers him to take into his own hands the exercise of the other powers of the Chairman of the Court of Directors over and above the power of presiding at their deliberations. The latter part of my proposition is intended to touch the important question which is known by the appellation of the initiative in the East India Direction. Practically, it may be said that the initiative which now belongs to the East India Company is in the hands of the Chairman and Deputy Chairman, and therefore by authorizing the President of the Board of Control to take into his own bands the "other powers" of the Chairman of the Company, the intention is, and the effect would be, to enable him to assume, as far as he might find it necessary for the discharge of his responsibility, the initiative in the transaction of Indian business. It would be in his power to direct the preparation of despatches and the framing of measures, but it would be his duty to pass them through the same ordeal as at present—that is to say, to submit them in the first instance to one of the Committees of the Court of Directors, and in the second place to the judgment of the Court collectively. Here I may observe, that it has been pointed out to me that it will be necessary to make some restrictions in transferring those powers to the President of the Board of Control, because it is no part of my object, under the limited and provisional arrangement which I propose, to alter anything that relates to the distribution of patronage; and I believe that the words as they stand will require some qualification with respect to the right of the Chairman in proposing appointments to the Court of Directors. But the general intention is this—that we should give to the President of the Board of Control, besides the full retention of those powers which he now enjoys by law, the power of presiding over the Court of Directors, and influencing their deliberations as chairman; and, besides that, the power of the initiative, or preparing measures for the Court, so far as he may find it to be necessary. It would, therefore, be a misapprehension of the case to suppose that these Resolutions are simply a perpetuation of the status quo, or that, on the other hand, they stop short with merely the nominal transfer of powers to the Crown; because I confess it appears to me that the changes which they make, are changes which, while they introduce no great derangement in the proceedings of Parliament, and no sensible derangement at all in the proceedings of the East India Company working under them, will satisfy the spirit of the Resolutions at which we have arrived, and almost entirely meet the practical objections made by the late Prime Minister to the present constitution of the home government of India, and pleaded by him as the reasons for the Bill which he introduced. Such is the character of the Amendment which I have ventured to propose. I do not mean to say that I have proposed it to meet the convenience of any party in this House. So far as regards the Indian Government, at least, that is a question not yet effectually involved in the vortex of party. I am one of those who retain the opinion that, on the one hand, we ought to respect and give effect to the judgment at which the House has already arrived; and, on the other hand, I have a strong opinion, which I believe is shared by many hon. Members, that it is not practicable during the present Session to dispose finally and conclusively of the question of India in such a manner as befits that question. I lay a stress upon the words "as befits that question." I do not doubt that it is in the power of Parliament to legislate during the present Session. If the plan of the hon. and learned Member for Sheffield (Mr. Roebuck) be adopted, the Bill before us may be made a very simple Bill. But I do not think you will adopt that plan. I do not at all dispute that, by devoting two or three months, or, perhaps, a little more to the subject, you may pass a Bill relating to India; but I do not think that you can pass a Bill such as shall be worthy of yourselves and your subject. I do not think that the House of Commons, far less the country, is awake, even up to the present moment, to the difficulty and comprehensiveness of the question. I do not think we have realized to ourselves how true it is that the problem of the Indian Government presented to us is not only one of the most formidable problems which ever came before us,—for that description falls short of the truth,—but that it is the greatest and most difficult problem ever presented to any nation or to any legislative body in the whole history of the world; because it is the first time in the history of the world that a people at one extremity of the earth have endeavoured to hold within their rule 200,000,000 at the other. And to hold them within their rule upon what conditions? Not upon the conditions on which in other times great conquerors of other days have proceeded and held their conquests. Great conquests have been made by races of superior energy, who have gone in among inferior races, who have incorporated themselves with those inferior races, naturalized themselves in the country, associated probably with their religion and institutions, and at last amalgamated in one consistent and homogeneous body, so as to become essentially the same in all the particulars which go to make up national existence. That is not our case. We go into the Indian peninsula with no such purpose. We go to take power out of the hands of those who formerly exercised it. We have gone there to destroy, in a great degree, not from any vicious purpose but from necessity, the whole upper class. We go to India, not to become Indians—not to incorporate ourselves with the people. We go there as strangers and to remain strangers. No man goes to India but with the hope of an early return, and every Englishman now in India is as much an Englishman in his hopes and desires and the ultimate purpose of his life as he was before he quitted his native shores. This is, after all, but a faint sketch of those difficulties which lie around the great problem of the Indian Government, and make me feel that, if I am placed between the two opposite evils of precipitation and delay, the possible evils of delay are not only light and insignificant, but are not to be thought of for a moment in comparison with the evils of crude and hasty legislation. I will just beg the Committee to consider for a moment what are some of the points to which it is necessary to give full consideration before we can venture to say that we have finally and sufficiently legislated upon the question of Indian government, and how difficult it must be to do justice to them in the present state of affairs in the East. I will take that great question which in the early days of East Indian history—when the Company was a trailing company—was never thought of, or, at all events, did not find its way into the first efforts of Parliamentary legislation; I mean the question of the state of the Natives, of the efforts which we are to make to keep open for them a career, and of the measures which we are to adopt for bringing them forward in the social scale, which, if it be a true advance, cannot be limited to the social scale, but must leave open a political career. We have to look at the question how far we can improve their qualifications for that career, and the measure of their qualifications must be the exact measure of their admission. This is not the opinion of theorists or the vision of philanthropists. There never was a more practical writer than Mr. Kaye, and in his history he says:— The admission of the Natives of India to the highest offices of State is simply a question of time. And there is another name entitled to great weight in this House, Mr. Halliday. Mr. Halliday says:— I believe that our mission in India is to qualify the Natives for governing themselves. Now, Sir, it is impossible that this House can be perpetually legislating about India. It cannot be perpetually considering from year to year in what manner it can frame and assert on behalf of the Natives that arrangement of government and administration which shall be well adapted to bring them forward in proportion to their powers in the work of governing themselves. So that the full consideration of this question ought to enter into any measure which purports to dispose conclusively of Indian government, and must form part of it, if it is to be of any value. But I confess I cannot conceive circumstances more unfortunate for the consideration of such a question than the present circumstances of India, when a considerable portion of the Natives are still in arms against you, and the concessions you may make, if too narrow, will fail to satisfy them; while, on the other hand, if they are large and liberal, they may be ascribed not to your deliberate convictions of what is right, but to the apprehensions which they think they have excited. Again, take the question, which has been little adverted to in this House, of the two great services of the East India Company—the civil and military services. One would almost suppose, to judge from the debates, that there was no difficulty at all in this part of the question. As respects the civil service, I will not advert to that, because I wish to keep to points which are few and comparatively simple. But, as respects the military service, do you think it is a small matter to destroy altogether the relation which now subsists between that great army of India and the Government at home, to which it has heretofore looked up as its head and natural protector, and to substitute, I might almost venture to say, nothing in its place? The Resolutions of Her Majesty's Government, which include, of course, the principal points which they think necessary in Indian legislation, do not mention the subject of the Indian army at all. Upon what footing it is intended to stand we have not the smallest means of judging. Nor am I at all making that a matter of censure. I am only referring to it as a fact. The Bill of the late Government did refer to the Indian army; and I must confess that the manner in which the reference was made, made me devoutly to wish that no reference had been made to it at all. I do not mean the extension of the European force serving in India—that is a matter, however, which may ultimately prove much more difficult than we have yet been accustomed to acknowledge; but rather the manner in which it dealt with the Native army, properly so called. As regards that army and its officers, they were no longer to be in the Company's service, nor, practically, were they to be in the Queen's service. No provision was made with regard to that vast body upon which we must, under all circumstances, place a great part of our reliance both for the maintenance of order and the defence of the country. It appeared, according to the provisions of that Bill, that the whole of that great Native army, including the body of officers by which it is commanded, was not to be a Queen's force nor a Company's force, but a mere local force, of a secondary character, deprived in a great degree of the military spirit which neces- sarily follows and is fostered by belonging to a distinguished service, even as if it were no more than an ordinary constabulary or police force in England. I have always thought it a misfortune that the Indian army should be placed in any situation of inferiority to the Queen's army. For what is India, and what is the Indian army? India is the greatest and finest military school in the world. Such is the tranquillity of our dominions that we have the greatest difficulty in developing the military qualities of the Queen's army, but in India we have an opening for the acquisition of military knowledge and the development of military capacity such as no other nation possesses. What, then, can be more absurd than to treat the command of the Indian army as a secondary task to be delegated to secondary men? But this important and difficult subject is entirely passed over in the propositions now before us, and I want to know how you intend to deal with it when you are laying down at once the whole system of Indian legislation. I want to know in what position you are about to place the Indian army, what provision you are going to make to give full scope for its energies, and to enable it to hold that rank and title in the eyes of the world and Europe to which it has a right. These are difficult questions, they involve the entire question of the reorganization of that army, and yet they cannot be excluded from consideration in a final scheme for the government of India. There is another question of the greatest importance, to which neither the Bills nor these Resolutions make the slightest reference—the constitution of the local Governments of India. We seem to think that we have got a machine that moves like clockwork, and that in legislating for India there is no occasion to touch on the question of the local Governments of India. Such, however, was not the opinion of Parliament in former times, and I do not believe it is the opinion of those best acquainted with India that we have arrived at such a solution of the leading questions connected with the local government of India as to justify us in throwing them behind us and passing to other matters. It has been a question much debated whether you should constitute the local government in each Presidency on a footing of independence, or whether, on the contrary, you should centralize the Government, and place it entirely under the Governor General at Calcutta. At former periods the local governments enjoyed a great amount of independence, because in the early history of the connection of England with India, Calcutta was not the headquarters of British power. But that independence was greatly weakened in 1833, and at present there is a mixture of two systems in operation with regard to the local governments which are somewhat incongruous, The Government of each Presidency is complete—the Governor has councillors to assist him, just as though he had to conduct independently the affairs of that portion of the empire over which he presides; while, on the other hand, his independent powers have been reduced within the very narrowest limits. Generally speaking, he is a Sub-Governor, holding his powers at the discretion of the Governor General at Calcutta, while, at the same time, he has a Council placed around him, which seems to imply that he exercises an independent control. When we are revising the whole government of India, surely we ought to consider whether the Indian Government ought to be centralized, or how far the government of the several Presidencies ought to be independent. If you think the Government ought to be centralized, then arises the question whether the local Governors of the inferior Presidencies ought to be surrounded by Councils, which seems to imply that they are independent, or whether they ought not to be represented in the Council at Calcutta, where the matters of the greatest importance to them are, in the last resort, to be determined. These are questions of the greatest gravity, strictly relevant to the question of Indian government, and with which you have dealt in former years in renewing the East India Company's Charter; and yet upon them neither the present nor the late Government have given any definite opinion. Are they not questions on which we ought to have the power of consulting those distinguished men who are now exercising power in India? Is it rational that we should go through this important subject, either dismissing this point of the local governments altogether as not deserving of notice, or attempting to settle it without taking the advice of Viscount Canning, Lord Harris, Lord Elphinstone, and the number of able men by whom they are surrounded. There is a serious objection, too, to admitting of comprehensive and final legislation with regard to India at the present moment, which arises out of a consideration of the question of Indian finance. I do not refer merely to the claims which will doubtless be made on this House by those persons who are creditors of the Indian Government, and who think that Parliament ought not to alter their security or to remove the East India Company from the position of being their debtors without their consent. That is a matter to which, no doubt, this House will have to devote a great deal of minute consideration; but still it is a question merely of time, and at present I shall not dwell upon it. You are going now to legislate for India, and if you persevere in your intention, I presume you wish that your legislation should not be merely provisional, but, as far as possible, definitive. It is desirable, therefore, that you should be able to say that upon all the great subjects connected with the government of that country you have made arrangements which, with a fair allowance for human infirmity, may be expected to stand the wear and tear of time and circumstances. But how does the question of Indian finance stand in reference to the great question of the liabilities for Indian debt? When you thought you had to deal with a mere military mutiny—when you thought that the capture of Delhi or Lucknow would put an end to the war, it was natural enough to conclude that you had in view the extreme liabilities which you would have to incur, and, consequently, that you should proceed at once to legislate upon them. You might have supposed that you had nothing to consider but the ordinary balance in time of peace between the revenue and expenditure of India, and you might have proceeded to deal with the question upon what revenue and on what exchequer the Indian debt should be placed. But the Indian revenue forms a limited fund. I do not mean to say that it may not be capable of increase when order and good government are re-established in India; but at all events, looking to the nature of our tenure of the country, and not putting out of view the present difficulties of our situation, you will be calculating too extravagantly and too largely on the nature of Indian revenue if you treat it as an elastic fund capable of taking whatever you may choose to place upon it. You may mortgage the capital and the industry of this country as long as the creditor is willing to lend, or as long as you think the necessities of the case exist, without throwing any doubt on the security; but that is not the position of Indian finance, nor will it be so long as the present war continues. The ordinary revenue amounts to £25,000,000 or £30,000,000 a year; but, in consequence of the war, the receipts have materially diminished, while, on the other hand, you cannot expect to carry on the war at a smaller annual cost than £10,000,000 or £15,000,000. If you, then, are worsening the financial condition of India by from £15,000,000 to £20,000,000 a year, is it wisdom to think you are providing for such a state of things merely by enacting—as you propose by these Resolutions to enact—that the debt contracted on behalf of India shall be chargeable only upon the revenues of India? You ought not to proceed with this measure until you are assured that you can give to the credit of India a sufficient basis to maintain it. We say, or at least in my judgment we say, that is an affair of the creditor, and, as long as he likes to lend, it is his business to see whether the security is of any value. But I do not think that is a safe or honourable course for this House. There is also the relation—although we have not yet sounded the depths or ascertained the limits of that relation—there is the relation between Indian debt and finance and the ultimate resources of this country. I do not want prematurely to open that question. The Indian revenue is now dwindling under the effects of war, and the Indian debt is expanding at an enormous rate; and, at such a time, the principle that the Indian revenue alone shall be liable for Indian debt is sound alone, and nothing else. It cannot be the boná fide and serious opinion of the House of Commons that under such a state of things—that with demands indefinitely and most rapidly extending, and with resources, on the other hand, contracting, the nature of the fund being limited now and in its foundation questionable, we are acting safely or prudently in choosing such a moment for the purpose of altering and reconstituting under a new Government of India the vast Indian debt and Indian finances. All of these are points upon which, I must confess, it appears to me that nothing can be more inconvenient than that we should proceed, or profess to proceed—for I can hardly call it proceeding—to definitive and complete legislation for the government of India at a time when war in India conti- nues to exist upon its present unfortunately too extended scale. I do not know whether I ought to refer—at any rate, I will only refer for a moment—to that other question which I am bound to say, though it is not yet opened in any of the Amendments or Resolutions, must be opened and fully discussed and considered in this House when we proceed to legislate for India—I mean that of the unconstitutional position which, through a course of unforeseen circumstances, the prerogative of the Crown has acquired, by means of its powers over Indian finance, with respect to the Indian army for purposes which are not local and Indian purposes. At present we are in this strange condition—there are two armies at the disposal of the Crown; the one the British army, the other the Indian army. The British army exists by the authority of Parliament, and in the Bill of Rights you have declared that it is a high violation of the liberties of this country to keep on foot a standing army except by the authority of Parliament. That authority of Parliament is so jealously used that you will not deliver it out in the form of a permanent Act, but from year to year you define, in strict and rigid numbers, the amount of the force that it shall be lawful for the Crown to keep on foot. Not only the amount of the force, but every farthing it costs to support it, is voted by this House. And not only that, but whenever measures involving hostility are contemplated by Her Majesty's Government, if they are to be carried into effect by means of the British army, the first act of the Minister is to make known the intentions of the Crown to Members of both Houses by means of a message, inviting the concurrence of both Houses to the policy that it is intended to pursue. Such is the provision, complete and effective, that you have made as far as regards the employment of the Queen's army. But there is another army—larger, much more remote, out of the view of Parliament, out of the view of the people of England—an army the movements of which arc not subject to public observation—an army the policy and management of which are not subject to the control of public opinion. And what are we going to do? We are going straightway—because the Resolution asserts that India is to be governed by the Crown—to place in the hands of the Crown the whole management and control of this finance and this army. Is it possible that, at this time of day, the House of Commons will be so forgetful of the traditions of other times, so unworthy of the position we occupy, as to let this opportunity pass by of correcting what is not only an anomaly, but what, when the time comes for discussion, we must in all frankness and plainness of language denounce as a monstrous practical evil—the dangerous extension of the power of the Crown in India, which may injure the foundations of our liberty at home and of the privileges of Parliament. I am not willing for one to allow this to be done by a final measure without endeavouring to make some complete and satisfactory arrangement in that respect. I wish I could think as some hon. Gentlemen think in this House—my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Sheffield among others—that you have done all that is required from you as the guardians of the public liberties, when you have established a nominal Parliamentary responsibility. I mean by nominal Parliamentary responsibility, a system under which you put all the executive power—the power of the sword, the power of the purse—in the hands of the Minister. You allow the Minister to exercise those powers without observation and without control, and you will lay your head tranquilly on your pillow, and say you have discharged your duty as a House of Commons, because you have retained the power of calling him to account. I must confess that in my opinion such a notion is groundless and shadowy. Calling to account is all very well. It is a power that I counsel the House of Commons not to surrender one tittle of; but do not let us rely upon it, when we can get something better. I should not like to give to the Crown the power of raising as many soldiers as it pleased in this country. I mean by the Crown, the men who sit on this (pointing to the Ministerial) bench, be they whoever they may. They say, "Oh, it's all right, because we are responsible to the House of Commons." Well, I am not a jot the better satisfied with that responsibility, because the scene is in India instead of in England. There was something at least intelligible in it as long as your Indian wars were merely local wars. They have entirely ceased to bear that character. Now, that we rule our 200,000,000 of men in India, and are in contact with a vast extent of frontier, English Statesmen imagine that they see British interests, European interests, world- wide interests, in the question of an Indian war; and if we have arrived at the period when it is not necessary to cross the great central chains of Asia or to mount the Persian Gulf for the purpose of using the regiments of the Indian Army, then I say we have also arrived at the period when the House of Commons should maintain the substance of its powers, and not allow them to become a shadow and a mockery. It is requisite that we should proceed to apply the principles of the Bill of Rights to the system of Indian Government with respect to army and finance. All these are points with regard to which I do not claim the assent of the Committee. I have submitted them to the Committee in perfect bona fides, intending to raise no recollections that can be disagreeable to any one, but in perfect good feeling to the question now before us. That question is not whether we are to refrain from legislation at all, but it is whether we are to persevere in an attempt which I, for one, believe to be hopeless—that of a final legislation which shall be satisfactory in its character. If we cannot reasonably expect to have legislation both final and satisfactory, then I humbly submit that the moment at which we have now arrived is by far the most convenient moment for the course which I propose. My hon. and learned Friend the Member for Sheffield, if my Motion is rejected need not complain. There will be abundance of opportunity for discussing his proposition. But I submit this Motion to the House with confidence, because I say that it makes considerable changes which are perfectly safe, and in harmony and unison with the principle of the vote at which the House has already arrived. If you should think fit to engraft upon this Motion at a future period further changes, there is nothing in it that will operate as an impediment. On the contrary, it will give you some experience upon the practicability of such further changes. It will show you how far you can unite the operations of the Executive—the Minister of the Crown—with the proceedings of the Indian Council, and will thus afford you experience as to further legislation for India. I, for one, do not think that a more advantageous course could be proposed for arriving at a definitive solution of that question. Why should there be such extraordinary haste in this matter? You want to have the benefit of the authority of the Crown in India. That I can perfectly well understand. There might be much argument upon the wisdom of that change at this moment, but the House has decided that it shall take place. Well, then, take the benefit of the authority of the Crown. What else do you want by the changes that you wish to introduce into the Indian Government? You want, or at least I, for my own part want, to bring the public opinion of England to bear more upon Indian affairs. I want to see the people of England more sensible than they have hitherto been of the enormous responsibilities they have contracted with regard to India. But I shall lose nothing of these objects by refraining, during the present year, from accomplishing that task. I know it cannot be accomplished as it ought to be accomplished. The mind of England might indeed be withdrawn from Indian affairs in a period of tranquillity in India; but so long as every mail tells of the existence of new bands of insurgents and of the occupation by the mutineers of this or that district—so long as every mail details to us more or less—thank God, hitherto less, than upon the whole, we might have expected—that the precious blood of England is being lost in military expeditions against our fellow-subjects under the frightful disadvantages of a hot climate and a hot season, there is no fear that the attention of the British public will be withdrawn from India. There could be but one other ground for saying that there was a pressing and urgent demand to complete the task of Indian legislation. It might have happened that there was a total breakdown of the administrative power of the East India Company. It might have happened that all its departments were proved to be inefficient. It might have happened that they failed in sending to India at the right time, and in the right way, the maximum force which the circumstances of the case required they should have sent, and that that force was in every respect insufficient. But did these things happen? Can we honestly say that the system of Government of which the East India Company is the centre has broken down as an administrative system? It may be, as some say, that we are not as a nation endowed with great administrative talents; these things must go very much by comparison, and I must honestly say, as one that never has had any special leaning towards the East India Company, that, looking back on what has been done by the Government of the Queen and the Government of the merchants in reference to the administrative exercise of their duties—each of them under circumstances of great suddenness and of extreme pressure—I do think that the East India Company, so far from having failed in the discharge of its duties, has made out a title to the lasting gratitude of the country. There is, therefore, no argument of a pressing character to be derived from the administrative feebleness of the system that should induce us to rush upon the performance of a task which otherwise it is not convenient for us to discharge. If I repeat a statement formerly made by the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer, it is not for the sake of reproaching him, but for the sake of simply recording what I believe to be an indisputable fact which he had the candour to state, when he said there was not that maturity of sentiment in the House or in the country that was desirable for the settlement of so great and important a question as this. I will put this test to hon. Members:—Is there a Member of this House who has heard any one whose opinion is worth anything say, "If you want to get at a knowledge of the affairs of the East India Company, go and read the debates in Parliament?" I am sorry to say I have not been so fortunate. I have heard frequent and irreverent remarks on the imperfect and insufficient stock of information possessed by this House—on the disposition to dogmatize without knowledge—and on a disposition to shut our eyes and to march forward without being sensible whether the way before us will lead to a path or a precipice; but I have not been fortunate enough to come across the man who has given to our deliberations on the East India question that honour and credit which, I am happy to say, on most questions of great public interest is freely and fully given to our debates,—namely, that in those disquisitions we show that we are masters of our subjects, and that we know what we are about. I therefore do entreat the House that, as the proposition I have now to make is one not involving differences of party or differences of a personal character, but is based on an honest desire to get at a right settlement of this question, they will give to it a fair and candid consideration. It is not an attempt to rebel against the authority of the House. Mistaken I may be; but so far as I am concerned, it is an honest attempt to give effect to the views and judgment of the House. I believe that if the House will adopt the proposition—if not in its precise terms, at least in its spirit—if we adopt this important change now, and postpone the consideration of other thorny and difficult matters till a mere favourable opportunity, me shall do that which will best assert our own dignity, and be most consonant with our obligations and duty to study and maintain the interests of the people of India.

Amendment proposed,— To leave out from the first word "That" to the end of the Question, in order to add the words, "regard being had to the position of affairs in India, it is expedient to constitute the Court of Directors of the East India Company, by an Act of the present Session, to be a Council for administering the Government of India, in the name of Her Majesty, under the superintendence of such responsible Minister, until the end of the next Session of Parliament.


Sir, knowing as I do, and knowing as this House does, the power with which the right hon. Gentleman treats every subject with which he has to deal—knowing the sympathy which such an Amendment as that he has put on the paper could not fail to command from a section, and that no inconsiderable section of this House—knowing, moreover, how easy it is, even for those gifted with far inferior powers, to assign on almost any subject plausible reasons in favour of delay and against any decided course which it may be proposed to take, I cannot be surprised that the speech of the right hon. Gentleman should have produced, as undoubtedly it has done, a considerable impression on the House. But though I quite allow that the object and purpose of the right hon. Gentleman's Amendment is different in some respects from that of Motions formerly submitted in the same spirit to the House, yet I could not but think, while I was listening to the right hon. Gentleman, that some of the arguments which he must strenuously employed were arguments which I had heard before, and that at no distant date. The right hon. Gentleman dwelt on the late period of the Session at which we propose to make this change, on the disturbed state of affairs in India, on the dangers of party spirit, and on the complexity and intricacy of the subject with which we have to deal. These topics and arguments have been touched on before; they were all urged by the noble Lord the Member for Durham (Lord H. Vane) some six weeps ago; and what was the decision at which the House arrived? After a debate of scarely two hours, the proposition then made in favour of postponing the discussion of this subject was negatived, not by a bare majority, but by one of the most overwhelming majorities ever recorded in this House. What are the objections to proceeding with the proposals of Her Majesty's Government? The right hon. Gentleman has stated them fairly and I shall endeavour to answer them in a spirit equally candid. He objects to proceeding with it at this time of the year, and he has referred to a late Motion made in this House as indicating the spirit in which it is likely Indian affairs will be discussed. He has adverted also to the continuance of the war in India, and lie has told us of the great intricacies and difficulties of the question. Now, taking that first which is perhaps the least material objection—that of time—I will not go back beyond the precedent of 1853, though I may just mention in passing that on almost all former occasions when this House entered upon the renewal of the East India Charter the duty was undertaken at a period of the year quite as advanced as this. But to go no further back than 1853,I may remind the House that though the question of the Home Government of India was not then dealt with in so comprehensive a manner as now, yet in the Bill introduced by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Halifax (Sir C. Wood) no slight or unimportant changes were imported into the system of government. It was no slight matter to convert the Court of Directors from a purely elective body into one partly nominated by the Crown; and it was no slight matter to open admission to the civil service of India to unlimited competition. Those large charges were introduced into, and passed through this House, in the months of June and July. Let me also remind the House that we are not now beginning anew to deal with this subject. We have had before us ever since February the plan of the late Government. Since December last we have had intimations of that plan being in progress, for we were then told in the speech from the Throne that Indian affairs would call for our most serious consideration. Ever since that time, and, indeed, for months before, every newspaper and every review has been full of the subject, and if it be desirable, as I think it is, to deal with that question at a time when it is familiar to the public mind, I do not believe you can ever have a more favourable occasion than the present in that respect. It would be a strange confession of weakness and incapacity if, after six months' definitive notice, and after the attention of all England has been called for twelve months, and called in a special manner to Indian affairs, we were now to declare that we were incompetent to make a permanent settlement—I do not say of the whole Indian question, but a settlement of that part of the question with which alone we are required to deal. The right hon. Gentleman speaks of the effect and influence of party spirit on this question. The noble Lord the Member for Durham (Lord H. Vane) six weeks ago preceded him on that topic; but the noble Lord the Member for Durham had not the advantage of some events which have since occurred. The right hon. Gentleman referred to a late event, the memory of which is fresh with us all, as affording an unfavourable indication of the manner in which Indian questions are treated in this House. Remembering that event—remembering the debate that took place, and the conclusion to which the House came, I am inclined, from precisely the same premises, to draw a precisely opposite conclusion. I think many hon. Gentlemen were led at that time to support the Government of the day from an anxious and scrupulous desire not to bring India within the scope of party conflict in this House. With regard to the state of the insurrection in India I have no wish to mislead the House. I agree with the right hon. Gentleman when he tells us that the war now being waged in India is not at an end. I agree with him that, though the worst is now over, though it is no longer a war perilous to the empire, yet that in some districts military operations will long continue—that they will be harassing to the troops, and will involve a considerable sacrifice of valuable lives. But how far, and to what extent, does that state of affairs impede our proceedings in the work of reconstruction of the Home Government of India? For twelve months that war has raged, for six months the whole question has been open, and it has been publicly announced, on the highest authority, that the existing system of the Indian Government at home is discredited and condemned. Has there been any complaint—has it been said that the effect of that announcement has been to impede the carrying on of operations in India or to diminish the public spirit of those who are there employed? The right hon. Gentleman, indeed, appealed to the noble Lord the Member for Tiverton (Viscount Palmerston) and asked whether, if the noble Lord had known the dimensions which this disturbance in India was about to assume, he would have proceeded with his proposed course of legislation. But we stand in a different position from that in which the noble Lord stood. The noble Lord thought—and I am far from blaming him for it—that the state of affairs in India required greater promptitude in carrying on the Indian business at home, and that was one of the reasons alleged by him for entering on that course of legislation. We are in a different position now. It is not in our power to deal with this matter as if the question had not been raised. The question has been raised, and the confidence of all persons—I do not say in the government of India and the administration of Indian affairs at home, but in the system and mechanism by which the administration of Indian affairs at home is carried on—has been rudely shaken. It seems to me that the only manner of restoring that confidence—and its restoration is now more important than ever—is to close up again as speedily as possible, and as permanently as possible, that part of the question which has been opened. The right hon. Gentleman also spoke of the complexity and difficulty of Indian government. I am far from denying that it is a most difficult and intricate problem; but I think the right hon. Gentleman has confounded two things which, though connected with each other, are, nevertheless, essentially distinct—namely, the administration of Indian affairs in India, and the composition of that body which in this country is to exercise a general direction and control over the Indian Government. The right hon. Gentleman has entered on some of the largest subjects with which a statesman can possibly be called to deal. He has told us of the necessity of giving an open career to the Natives of India and of elevating them in the social scale; he has told us how social improvement is necessarily connected with the possession of political power; and with all that he said on that subject, and with the high authority he quoted to confirm his opinion, I fully and entirely concur. But I agree with him also when he says—and there he seemed to be replying to his own argument—that this is not the time to deal with those particular questions, because, at present, when feelings of hostility exist against our Government on the part of the Native population, to make concessions on such points would be taken as a sign of weakness, while to resist concession would only exasperate the enmity already existing. Again, he told us of the relations between the military services of India and England. He said that the relation between the English and the Indian armies was not noticed in any of the Resolutions before the country. Undoubtedly it was not so noticed, and that for precisely the reason which he alleges. There is an inquiry at present going on, or about to commence, on the subject of the reorganization of the Native army in India. A full investigation will be entered on in reference to that subject, and when that investigation is completed we shall be prepared to give the result to the public. But the right hon. Gentleman throughout his argument, proceeded on an assumption in which I should regret if the House were to share. He assumed, if we were to go over the questions connected with the Indian administration and attempt to settle any such questions permanently now, that so soon as the Bill which we shall shortly bring in was passed, the House would refuse to reopen any part of the Indian subject, and a door would be closed against all future reform. I should deeply regret if such were likely to be the case; but I am sure that if at one and the same time, and in one and the same measure any Government were to attempt to deal with all those questions touching the political status of the Native population, the relations between the Native and European armies, and those between the Governor General and the Executive here, the result would be that no measure would be passed, and probably the whole Session would be consumed by fruitless discusssion, while the recollections which it would leave behind would operate powerfully to prevent any future Minister or Parliament undertaking to deal with the subject in a comprehensive manner. The right hon. Gentleman has stated the objections which he entertains to the course proposed by the Government, and I must state in a few words what are the objections which entertain to the course pursued by him. The right hon. Gentleman wishes to constitute the present Court of Directors a Council for administering the Government of India in the name of the Queen, under the superintendence of a responsible Minister of the Crown, until the end of the next Session of Parliament. In the first place and principally I object to any such mode of procedure, because it would place those who were to compose such a Council in a singularly false and inconvenient position. You would tell them that they were doomed, that their term of power would soon expire, that no efforts they could make, no energy they could show, and no public spirit they could display would avail to prolong that term of power. Would not the inevitable effect of placing such men, however able and laborious, in a position like that, be to a great extent to diminish the zeal and energy with which the public business would be carried on? But it is not merely as regards the Directors themselves that I think the proposal objectionable. You must look also to the effect it would produce on the public mind. When you say a certain body whom you would intrust with considerable power is to lose that power at the end of a not very lengthened term,—when you say openly, or by implication, that the only reason they are allowed to continue in the possession of power for that short time is the difficulty of finding a substitute, the effect must be to impair the confidence which the public will feel in them, and to discredit them before the eyes both of England and of India. We have ourselves experienced the inconvenience which is apt to arise when there occurs in our Parliamentary government a period during which Ministers only hold office until their successors are appointed; we have found that during such an interregnum of two or three weeks, or, at the utmost, a month, all even business comes to a standstill, arrears accumulate in all the offices, and great inconvenience accrues to the public service; and I must say that, in my opinion, we should be creating a similar inconvenience, but upon an infinitely larger scale and at a most dangerous time, if we were to tell the Court of Directors that they might hold their tenure of power until the end of next Session, while at the same time we announced to them that the only reason which induced us to continue power in their hands was our unwillingness at the present time to lay down any scheme for the permanent government of India. They would be precisely in the position of a Ministry which has announced its resignation, but which has not been yet replaced. Again, the intention of the right hon. Gentleman undoubtedly is to do away with that which is thought by some to cause a great part of the inconvenience which has been complained of—I mean the existence of a double Government and the existing system of separate offices. Now, I do not think that the plan suggested in the Resolutions of the right hon. Gentleman even effects the object which he wishes to effect. All that the proposal of the right hon. Gentleman amounts to is, not that the Board of Control should be abolished, not that the President of the Board of Control for the time being should assume the functions of President of the Council in Leadenhall Street, and transact business there only; but he proposes to retain the two offices and the present system of communication between them, but to give the President of the Board of Control, whenever he might be so inclined, an optional power of going to Leadenhall Street, and being, when there, the Chairman of the Court of Directors. I cannot conceive that such an arrangement would bring about any economy of time or saving of labour, or that it would be productive of good to the public service. At present the Chairman of the Court of Directors is invested with large powers, and consequently with great responsibility; and his authority would be impaired if he were only to be Chairman when the President of the Board of Control did not happen to come down and assume his functions, while no diminution of delay or of expense would ensue, nor would the President of the Board of Control be regarded as the natural head of the Court of Directors. Then farther, is he in one capacity, at the Board of Control, assisted by his staff there, to sit in judgment on acts which he himself sanctioned while sitting as Chairman at the East India House? I do not think that such a plan would conduce to the good working of the department; but that is a question of detail, and I do not wish to rest upon it. My objection to the proposal before the House, plainly and briefly stated, is that it does not attempt any permanent settlement of the question. When I talk of a permanent settlement, I dont't mean to say that, when we have arranged matters between Leadenhall Street and Cannon Row, we shall have made great progress in settling that vast and complicated problem of the local administration in India—that is, I repeat, a separate subject—a subject, doubtless, which requires great care and attention; but, so far as regards that part of legislation for India with which we at present propose to deal, I confidently hope that even at this period, and notwithstanding the delays which have taken place, we shall be able during the present Session to agree upon some legislation which shall be of a permanent and not merely personal character.


said, he believed that the noble Lord, who on that occasion appeared for the first time as Minister for India, would have suffered nothing in the estimation of the House if he had consented to the Motion of the right hon. Gentleman. The noble Lord had failed on many points to answer the arguments adduced by the right hon. Gentleman. He seemed, however, to have felt that it was most desirable to eliminate the question of India from all party struggles; and in so doing he appealed to the experience of the House as to recent events; but he (Mr. M. Milnes) was extremely astonished to think how the noble Lord could forget that within the last few weeks they had witnessed a party struggle of the severest character on an Indian subject, illustrating in a most marked manner the great danger and difficulty of bringing Indian questions as matters of party struggle before this House. If it were possible to take this matter out of the atmosphere of party struggle and transfer it to a quieter period, he did not think it would be any disadvantage to India or England. He could not agree with the noble Lord, that in another year the country would cease to take an interest in the subject, and he could not flatter himself that in that period the condition of India would be such that people in this country would cease to regard it with attention; but, however that might be, the question of governing 180,000,000 of men ought not to be treated as a party question, but ought to be brought forward at a time when it could meet with the calmest consideration, and he thought that they would be in a better state to legislate on such a matter at a future time than they were at the present moment. The noble Lord seemed to have misunderstood somewhat the Motion of his right hon. Friend. He believed his right hon. Friend desired to abolish the double Government, by merging the East India Company with the Board of Control. rather than sacrificing the East India Company to the Board of Control. He was obliged to confess that he had heard nothing, and had seen nothing, to make him swerve from the opinion that the double Government was a most wise and providential arrangement, and he thought that the very delays which had been complained of had been efficacious in checking rash or immature innovations. Nor did he find that the most inveterate enemy of the East India Company had been able to bring forward one single case in which delays caused by that double Government had peen any injury to India during these late perilous times. At the same time, there was a superstitious abhorrence of this double Government which it might be difficult at the present moment to overcome, and there was a great difference—if it were destroyed—whether it were done by a reform or a revolution. The double Government might be altered by making the President of the Board of Control permanent Chairman of the Company, and combining in his own person all the powers that at present existed in the Chairman of the East India Company. He did not know any very great practical advantage to be obtained from such a transfer, but he believed that they would satisfy public opinion on that matter, and at the same time preserve all that was most useful and important in the present system. When the noble Lord said that it was necessary to do something in the way of destroying the East India Company, because the Company was at this time wholly discredited, and when he said that during all this discussion, and the angry feeling that had been agitated, the present state of things had not in the least degree impaired their efficiency, or agitated the public mind in India, or caused any confusion or difficulty there, he thought he would find it somewhat difficult to reconcile those opposite opinions. It was a noble example of public duty well performed, that the East India Company, though insulted as they had been, and discredited as far as possible, had notwithstanding allowed no feeling of private pique to make them swerve from public duty, but had gone on doing their duty as the governing power in India, just as they would if that power had never been questioned, and that authority never chalenged. He said that they had no right to assume that the East India Company was not at present an efficient governing body for India. The question of the efficiency of the Board of Directors had been before them for six months, during which period every attempt had been made to criticise what they had done, yet in all things they had found that under the guidance of the East India Company the operations of the war had been carried on with a rapidity and exactness which formed a singular contrast to the military operations of late years in other quarters of the globe. If they could not find any fault with the East India Company at the present time, why should they destroy that Company and work a great revolution in India, which the confused and desultory debates on this subject showed how little they were able to direct and control? The noble Lord objected to his right hon. Friend that his measure was only temporary, and not a permanent measure; but was he sanguine enough to suppose that any measure which he might bring forward would be secure from all alteration? Nay more, was it not an unfair assumption that the measure would be of a temporary character? Suppose the proposition were carried out, and suppose it proved to work satisfactorily, and that the East India Company should not be abolished, but retain its power, elevated and preserved from unjust suspicion, who would be rash enough to disturb it? If the noble Lord could not be induced to take this view of the case, he did trust that independent Members on both sides of the House and on both sides of the question would determine to view this matter in no spirit of party, but would endeavour to adopt those steps which would be most for the interest of India. He hoped that the House would feel inclined to maintain the East India Company, and that they would accept this proposition of the right hon. Gentleman, and that the measure would be found so satisfactory that it would not be a temporary but a permanent measure, He would say to those who wished to destroy the Company, give it at least an opportunity of a fair trial, when the cause of the Company is disembarrassed from the question of the double Government." As he said before, the question was one of reform or revolution, and he did hope that the Committee would take a prudent, wise, and statesmanlike course in this matter, and that they would not pull down where they could not upbuild—that they would not destroy the fabric of a century to place in its stead the fabric of a day. Let them show some respect, not a superstitious or servile respect, but still some reverence for the past. Let them not calumniate those great men who had in times gone by governed in India. Let them endeavour to legislate for that empire in a statesmanlike spirit, and not merely in obedience to a violent impulse of popular opinion, and from motives of which in a few years they would probably be the first to be ashamed.


Sir, I quite agreed with the noble Lord (Lord Stanley), when he said that this Motion is a repetition of that of my noble Friend the Member for the county of Durham (Lord H. Vane). In its effect it would undoubtedly be merely dilatory. It would postpone legislation upon the question now before us, and would substitute for a definite settlement that which professes to have no such quality. But while I agree with the noble Lord to that extent, I cannot but think that if these Resolutions of my right hon. Friend were fully carried into effect they would in truth involve us in difficulties scarcely less than those involved in the original plan. Let the Committee consider what would be the effect of these two Resolutions. My right hon. Friend did not in his able address very distinctly explain their meaning, and I confess that I have great difficulty in reconciling one with the other. The first Resolution says that the Court of Directors are to become a Council for administering the Government of India. If the Court of Directors are to become such a council it is clear that they must cease to be a Court of Directors. They must lose their independent character. If the first Resolution has the meaning which its words apparently convey the system which it would introduce would be that there should be a President and Council for the administration of the affairs of India; but that is, in fact, the system which is embodied in the Resolutions already before the Committee. That simple Resolution would, in fact, raise all the difficulties which are involved in the plan of the Government, because if you take away the independent character of the Court of Directors, if it ceases to be a Court and becomes merely the Council of the President, you must then solve all the questions which arise from bringing the two parties into contact with each other. My right hon. Friend distinctly stated that he wishes to place the Court of Directors in contact and juxtaposition with the Indian Minister. What I say is, that if you place the one in juxtaposition and contact with the other you necessarily impose upon this Committee the solution of the difficulties involved in the Resolutions already before us. You must face the difficulty of patronage; and there is another question which ought to be, and must be, dealt with—namely, that of the Secret Committee. What is the Secret Committee? It is a contrivance to enable the President of the Board of Control to correspond with the Governor-General and send him instructions upon his own authority, in accordance with the form and constitution of a separate Court of Directors. The Chairman, the Deputy-Chairman, and, I think, another member of that Court constitute the Committee, and they are the organ and instrument through which secret despatches are sent. But, according to these Resolutions, the President of the Board of Control will himself be the Chairman of the Court of Directors; and, therefore, unless you entirely alter the existing law, you will arrive at the absurdity that he is to send secret despatches through the Committee of which he is himself the President. The Committee must see that if once you give up the principle that the Court of Directors is an independent court, if once you make it a Council and bring the President of the Board of Control into direct contact with it, you subvert its existing constitution and enter upon that revolutionary course which my hon. Friend the Member for Pontefract (Mr. M. Milnes) deprecates, and destroy that constitution to which with something of a poetical license he ascribes a duration of centuries. You desert the prudent road of reform and create an entirely new home Government for India. The second Resolution does not appear to me to be in its terms consistent with the first. I would submit to my right hon. Friend that if he will closely examine his two Resolutions he will find that they are inconsistent with each other. The first Resolution might be introduced without the second, or you might have the second without the first. That is to say, you might keep up the Court of Directors as an independent body, or you might give to the President of the Board of Control power to become Chairman of that Court when he thinks fit, although I can hardly conceive a more capricious or inconvenient state of things than that regulation would introduce. Still, it is conceivable that such a state of things should exist; but it does appear to be wholly inconceivable that the state of things contemplated by the first of these Resolutions should exist contemporaneously with that contemplated by the second. I really hope that the Committee, notwithstanding the advantage which this scheme has received from the advocacy of my right hon. Friend, will not be disposed to entertain it, or, indeed, to debate it at any great length; for I think we ought not to delay discussing the Resolutions already before us, which contain an intelligible—at all events, a consistent plan. Having stated the objections, the fatal objections, to which, as it seems to me, these two Resolutions are liable, I cannot but say that I think my right hon. Friend has greatly exaggerated the difficulties in the way of the plan already before the Committee. These Resolutions merely involve a plan for the improvement of the home government of India. They do not necessitate the consideration of the difficult questions that were passed in review by the right hon. Gentleman—that of giving political power to the Natives, that of the military system of India, and that of the local governments of India—none of these subjects need be treated in connection with these Resolutions now before us. But so far from agreeing with the right hon. Gentleman that because these difficulties exist we are not competent to deal with the home Government of India, it appears to me, on the contrary, that the settlement of the simpler question as to the home Government of India would very much facilitate the settlement of those other difficult questions. When we have the home Government settled in a direct and manageable shape with responsibility upon one head, this House will have facilities and advantages for dealing with the question of local Indian policy which it does not now possess. Although much has been said about the ignorance of this House, and we have been told that our debates are not looked to for instruction upon this subject, and we have heard repeated usque ad nauseam statements that this House is not competent to deal with questions of Indian government, yet I am decidedly of opinion that this House is perfectly competent at this moment to deal with the question of the home Government of India. We have all the material elements of the subject under our eyes—within our knowledge. We do understand the relation between Leaden- hall Street and the Board of Control, we do know how business is transacted in those departments, and if we wait until next year no additional light will be thrown upon the subject, and we shall be no more competent to deal with it in the month of June, 1859, than we are now. There is nothing, in my opinion, in the further progress of the Indian mutiny or the war in Oude, in the details of the military system of India, or in any of the different subjects that have been dangled before our eyes, to raise a doubt as to the policy which I contend is clearly indicated as to the constitution of the home Government. We know the historical origin of the Indian Government. We know that, from a series of accidents, what was originally the Court of Directors of a trading joint stock company became invested with sovereign powers, that it was divested by Parliament of its trailing functions, and that it has now become a subordinate part of the home Government of India. So far from thinking there is any practical difficulty or obscurity, it appears to me perfectly clear, and my only wonder on reviewing the whole history of the Company is not that we are now proceeding, as I believe we shall, to abolish the last traces of the East India Company, but that that form of constitution should have remained in existence so long after the Court of Proprietors had been shorn of all administrative power, and one-third of the Court of Directors have become mere nominees of the Crown, and the remaining two-thirds subject to the President of the Board of Control. The wonder really is that it has been postponed until this year to accomplish the reform which I trust is now about to take place by establishing a responsible Council in immediate contact with the Minister for India.


said, the noble Lord had described the powerful arguments put forth by the right hon. Member for the University as old and stale, but as they were founded upon experience he (Mr. Liddell) preferred them to the new-fangled ideas and crude notions which had been introduced into the Government's late India Bill. The proposition of the right hon. Gentleman had been described as a simple proposition for delay, but that was not a fair way of viewing it. Was there no change involved in the Amendment? Was there no change involved in bringing the Minister for India into the position at present occupied by the Chairman and Vice Chairman of the East India Company? Was it no change to give to the responsible Minister of the Crown the initiation of all measures of Indian policy, and to bring under one roof two deliberative bodies which had been hitherto located in different quarters of the town? Those were changes which possessed a quality not always attaching to change, that of safety. Reference had been made to the length of time which had been occupied in discussing Indian affairs, but he for one did not regret that circumstance. Since the discussion of this question commenced, a great revulsion of feeling had taken place in that House and in the country. Partly owing to misstatements in that House and partly to aspersions in the newspapers, a very false impression was prevalent three months ago respecting the East India Company. He did not know by what means exactly the change had been brought about, but certainly there had been a change of opinion upon the subject. He would remind the Committee that the question immediately before it was to provide a Council to assist the Minister for India, and there never was a time when a Minister more required the aid of an able and experienced Council. Several plans had been propounded for the formation of such a Council—that of the Government, which had been so well and so sarcastically criticized by the noble Lord the Member for Tiverton; the plan of that noble Lord himself, which would have reduced the Council to mere tools of the Minister; and that of the noble Lord the Member for London, who wished the members of the Council to hold their offices during good behaviour. The proposition now made was to give to the Minister the aid of the most experienced statesmen, men who were thoroughly and practically acquainted with India. He would, however, put it to the Committee whether, with the vast weight of an Indian war, it would be possible for a new Council to make up the arrears of work which must necessarily exist, or whether they could be of any great assistance to the Minister for India. The noble Lord the Member for Tiverton, in introducing his India Bill, had said that the very name of the Queen was calculated to produce the most beneficial effect in that country; hut he (Mr. Liddell) might observe that the name of the East India Company was identified with a policy which was deep-set in the hearts of the Mahomedan, the Mahratta, and the Hindoo—a policy which was based upon the recognition of the religious feelings and usages of those under its dominion. The inference which he desired to draw from the opinions to which he had given expression was that such men as those would form the most fitting Council for the Minister for India, and that surrounded by such men his decisions must have greater weight and must inspire greater confidence in the minds of those whose affairs he would be called upon to administer than could under other circumstances be the case.


said, his right hon. Friend who had commenced the discussion in which the Committee were engaged had stated one of the reasons why he wished legislation in regard to an Indian Government to be postponed for the present to be that he did not think the country was sufficiently prepared to deal with the question, by which expression of opinion he had no doubt meant to imply that the Members of that House did not possess a sufficient amount of accurate information to enable them to arrive at a just conclusion upon the subject. Now, he felt assured that if his right hon. Friend had been in his place and heard the speech to which the Committee had just listened, he would have been furnished with a still stronger argument than any which he had urged in favour of the proposition which he had advanced. For his own part, his objections to the Bills which were, or rather which had been, before the House were, that they did not really touch the Government of India at all. The measure of the noble Lord the Member for Tiverton was, it was true, entitled "a Bill to provide for the better Government of India:" but the right hon. Gentleman the late Chancellor of the Exchequer had made the very distinct admission that there was no question of the Government of India in either the Bills or the Resolutions, and that the whole question involved was, in fact, nothing more than some hocus pocus about what was termed the Home Government. Now, in order to avoid all equivoque upon the subject, he desired, once for all, to state that that which he called the Government of India was a Government for India, and carried on by Indians for the happiness of the people of that country. If that were not the scheme which Parliament had in view, it certainly did not deserve to succeed in its attempts at legislation, and they as certainly would, as he hoped they would, lose their Government of India altogether. With respect to the question of a Council, he could only say, that in his opinion, the right steps to secure the services of an efficient Council had not been taken. The point, indeed, was one upon which he might be permitted to observe en passant—for he should not enter at length into the merits of the question—great confusion seemed to prevail. Some hon. Members, for instance, talked of a Council as if it might to be a body which should exercise a control over the Minister to whom it was constituted to give advice. This, however, was not the object of the Privy Council, nor of any other similar body of which he had ever heard. The result of placing the Council in a position to control the Minister would, in fact, be to create a double Government, and better than to do that, he should contend, would it be to let the subject drop altogether. But to revert to the remark of his right hon. Friend who had opened the discussion, he might be permitted to express his belief that neither the House of Commons nor the country was well informed with reference to what had hitherto taken place in connection with our Indian administration, and to state that those who were mentioned in the Bills and the Resolutions before the House were a class of persons who had been designated by all our Governors General as men who were profoundly ignorant of the country in which they had resided. Now, he was perfectly ready to admit that it was not right, an assertion so grave as that should be made upon his own individual authority; and, although he was aware it was very irk-some for hon. Members to hear extracts from documents read at any length, yet he trusted he might be allowed to lay before them the evidence upon which rested the charge against old Indiana to which he had just adverted. The first person whose testimony he should quote in support of his statement was Sir F. Shore, son of Lord Teignmouth, who said that the insolent behaviour which English people resident in India thought it necessary to pursue towards the Natives by way of keeping up their own dignity, was carried to such a pitch as to lead the latter to avoid as much as possible all intercourse with them, inasmuch as they were far more likely to meet with slights and neglect than with sympathy. The same gentleman added that it was not at all uncommon to hear young men who had been only a year or two in India, and who were wholly unacquainted with the language of the country, except, perhaps, that they could mutter a little Hindostanee jargon, speak of the Natives with the utmost contempt, looking upon their as a degraded race, and not allowing that they possessed a single good quality. The language of Billingsgate was, he went on to observe, constantly used towards respectable servants simply because they did not happen to understand what their masters said, a circumstance which was very often owing to the fact that they did not speak intelligibly. He might also mention the story of a certain magistrate who insisted that whenever a Native met him on horseback he should at once dismount and make him a salute, while he might adduce the authority of Mr. Norton to prove that we seemed disposed to regard the Natives now even with less kindness and sympathy than at the period when our relations with them had first been established. Mr. Rees stated, in his Narrative, that the conduct of many of our young officers towards the Natives was cruel and tyrannical, while the London Quarterly declared that the behaviour of Europeans was marked by a high degree of pride and insolence. Lord William Bentinck said that the result of his observation was, that the Europeans generally knew little or nothing of the customs and manners of the people; and Mr. Fraser Tytler asserted that the servants of the Company were the least able to supply correct information upon those subjects. Now, if we were proud of our aristocracy and mindful of their dignity, how could we think that these things did not rankle in the breasts of men who could trace their hereditary rank and their possessions up to a period anterior to the commencement of our history—in some cases, indeed, up to the time of Alexander the Great? Were we so foolish as to imagine that because they did not retort an insult upon the instant, they did not feel it? We might depend upon it that the Italian proverb was true in India as everywhere else—"Vengeance sleeps long, but never dies." He found the following in one of the last journals from Calcutta:— What with all this thieving and insolence, I am determined, for once, to take the law into my own hands, and thrash within an inch of his life the first man I have tangible proof against—be he a Pandy so much the better; and as for the thieves, I shall try and shoot somebody, whether it is the right or wrong it will not much matter. I have been bullied and hunted about by the Pandies quite enough, and have no idea of going through any more such fun. If the Natives are to be allowed to ride roughshod over us and insult us, we must just follow the example of the 10th at Dina- pore. The papers are full of this. From Agra, Delhi, everywhere, correspondents remark on the growing insolence of the Natives. The Government, for the last fifty years, have been doing their best to keep Europeans down and Natives up, and this was the cause of the mutiny—at any rate, of the indignities heaped on the victims of the mutiny. I do not want to see men servile or cringing, but I do want to see them civil and respectful, especially the Pandies, who know that if they got their deserts it would be the gallows. But that they should be allowed to swagger about in the way they do is preposterous. These matters might seem unimportant, but he would ask whether it was possible, that if we had endeavoured to goad the people into revolt we could have pursued a different course from that which had been adopted? The provoking part of the matter was, that the "old Indians" presumed to be the only persons who knew anything of India, although all the prophecies uttered by them at every renewal of the Charter about the ruin of our trade with China and elsewhere, and the impossibility of the country being governed, had been completely falsified by events. Supposing there were a question in that House as to an insurrection in Poland or Hungary what weight would be attached to the opinions and statements of a man who presumed to know all about the matter because he had resided in Naples? The late Duke of Clarence was showing a portrait of Columbus to two ladies, of whom Mrs. Jordan was one. "Here," he said, "is a very fine picture of Columbus, a clever fellow, who dicovered America 500 years ago." "Oh," cried Mrs. Jordan, "it was not so long ago as that." "What do you know about it?" asked the Duke. "I have been lately reading Robertson's History of America," replied Mrs. Jordan. "Robertson!" exclaimed the Duke, "How should he know anything of the matter? He was never in America—I have been, and therefore I ought to know better than he." That showed what the testimony of "old Indians" was worth. The people of India having been subjected to such treatment, was it surprising that they should hate us? Mr. Fisher, a gentleman quoted by Mr. Norton, stated that the people generally were dissatisfied, and that they had too much cause for it. He added, that there was disaffection enough for half a dozen rebellions. Mr. Norton himself said that various large sections of the Natives hated us cordially, while Sir Charles Metcalfe declared that dissatisfaction existed because the dominion of foreigners must be odious. It had been proved in evidence that torture in one shape or other had been practised to a large extent by the lower subordinates in the Indian revenue service; and yet, not long ago, Sir James Hogg, Mr. Mangles, and Mr. Elliot stated, in their places in Parliament, that they had never heard, during their residence in India, of a single case of torture. Such were the men who were to give good counsel to the new President of the Board of Control. We ought to remember that the laws of the people of India were mixed up with their religion—that their land tenure and their theology were bound up together. But what had we done? We had sent out a parcel of English lawyers who had tried to introduce English courts and English law into that unfortunate country. At home there was nothing to which we stuck with more tenacity than our legal forms. Every English gentleman must think the constitution of the Court of Session in Scotland absurd; but mention the name of that court and see how Scotchmen would start up to defend it. One of the worst grievances complained of by the Italians was, that they were obliged, in the ultimate resort, to send their cases to Vienna to be decided by a law and in a language which they did not understand. That was the very evil we had inflicted upon India by means of our lawyers. Colonel Sleeman said that the people felt they were exposed to great injustice from the uncertainties of our law, the multiplicity and formalities of our courts, the pride and insolence of our Judges, and the corruption and ignorance of those who practised before them. The Natives, he said, could not understand our rules of law; our courts of justice, they declared, were the things they most dreaded, and they were glad to escape from them as soon as they could. Other writers gave evidence to the same effect. Yet the nostrum of all the lawyers was the introduction of English law, and the sending out more lawyers from this country, their universal panacea. That was their plan of government. Now, the root of the whole evil was the doctrine that India was a country to be exploited for the benefit of the civil service. If we were going to look upon India as we had looked upon it hitherto, as a mere place of plunder for English officials, we should surely lose it, and should deserve to lose it. The natural tendency, it had been said, of the principles inaugurated upwards of a century ago was to place the patronage in the hands of a class who had no stake in the prosperity of India beyond the salary they drew from it. Another result was, that according to Sir Charles Metcalfe, the army was in a constant state of discontent with the large salaries given to the members of the civil service; and he might quote much more to the same effect. At some future time he should like to make some observations respecting our interference with the religion of the Natives. But, in his opinion, it was of paramount importance to issue a Proclamation in the Queen's name and let her take possession of that country. Talk of the respect the Natives bore to the Company! Why, they looked upon it with the most perfect indifference. Now, the Queen's name would be hailed with respect, and in that same Proclamation we ought to declare that we would govern India for the happiness of the whole population, and that the instruments of our Government should be, not exclusively Europeans, but the Native Princes and landowners of India.


said, he would support the Resolution of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the University, as he understood it recognised the propriety of that Resolution which had already been adopted by the House, of transferring the government of India in name, as it had long been, in fact, to the Crown. To him that was no new proposition. He had advocated the recognition of the Royal authority in India when the renewal of the Charter in 1853 was under consideration, and he had not changed his opinion in that respect. Campbell somewhere talked—he meant the poet, not the chief justice—of the "magic of a name," and he knew of none that was likely to exercise a more attractive influence for than the name of our most gracious Sovereign. His hon. Friend who had just sat down, said that he could not approve of any system which did not contemplate the eventual transfer of the Government of India into the hands of the Natives themselves. Now, he could conceive nothing more likely to retard the object which his hon. Friend had in view than that our legislation should cripple the power of Englishmen in India, because such was the absence of truth among the Natives, and their want of reliance upon each other, that he believed the only way to raise them to a capacity for self-government was to keep them attached for many years to come, as a dependency to this country. His hon. Friend complained of the hauteur of members of the Civil Service to the Natives. He was afraid that was not confined to the Civil Service; but he did not see how that state of things was to be remedied by any change in the system of the Civil Service. He had himself put a Motion en the notice paper in some degree connected with the Amendment of the right hon. Gentleman. His intention was to propose that the present Court of Directors should constitute the first Council of India, reserving to them the power of suggesting or originating measures, but leaving with the president the power of overruling those measures if he disapproved of them, but requiring of him, if he did so, that he should put his reasons of disapproval on record. He did not intend that the Court of Directors should be continued as they were now constituted, or that they should be appointed for life; but he would leave it to future arrangements to settle the order in which they should retire, and in what manner the vacancies should be filled up. The noble Lord the President of the Board of Control had argued against the proposition of his right hon. Friend that it would cause delay, and that seemed to be the standing objection to every new proposition. He did not give any weight to that objection, for if there were twenty hon. Members in the House who believed that these Resolutions could be carried, and that a Bill founded on them would pass both Houses, they must have more faith than he possessed. The noble Lord farther said they would lose their character for common sense and discretion, if, after having two Bills laid before them, and now these Resolutions, they were by adopting the right hon. Gentleman's proposal, to declare that they would allow the question to drop altogether. He (Mr. C. Bruce) did not think there was much in that argument; for certainly if they were to trust the noble Lord the Member for Tiverton, the Bill of the present Government could not have been intended for serious legislation, so that it would be no disappointment if legislation did not go on in the course of the present year. The hon. Member for Pomfret (Mr. M. Milnes) made an observation which did not appear to be at all justified, when he said that both the present and the late Government had treated the Directors of the East India Company with disrespect. So far from that, both the noble Lord (Viscount Palmerston) and the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Disraeli) in proposing their respective measures, which involved the extinction of the East India, Company, had spoken in terms of the highest commendation of the administration of the Board of Directors. The noble Member for Tiverton, while proposing the abolition of that Board, praised them for their success, and the House would readily remember the right hon. Gentleman's fine comparison of the Court of Directors to the founders of the great republic which had settled by the lagunes of the Adriatic; and he could only hope that the changes which were now impending over the East India Company would be productive of greater benefit to India than the changes in the Venetian Government had been to Venice. He would vote for the Motion of the right hon. Member for Oxford University, which, if it were adopted, would afford ample time for duly considering the arrangements to be made for the future government of India.


said, he supposed his hon. Friend who had just announced to the House his intention of supporting the Motion of the right hon. Member for the University of Oxford understood the Resolutions proposed, but that was more than he (Mr. Lowe) could say for himself, and, he suspected, for a great many hon. Members. He did not think they were altogether to blame for this want of understanding, because it was exceedingly difficult to understand them, as they stood on the paper, and it seemed to him that the speech of the right hon. Gentleman had not done as much as might have been wished to clear up the difficulty. The difficulty under which he laboured had been well expressed by his right hon. Friend the Member for Radnor (Sir G. C. Lewis), namely, what were to be the relations of the Minister and the Court of Directors under the new provisional constitution which the House was invited to sanction. The first Resolution proposed by the right hon. Member for the University of Oxford provided that the Court of Directors of the East India Company should form a Council for the Minister; and if the Resolution had stopped there, it might have been understood, because it might have been supposed the effect of the Resolution would be that the Court of Directors of the East India Company was to be altogether abolished, but that the gentlemen now forming that Court would constitute the Council. That proposition, whether right or wrong, would have been intelligible; but the second Resolution, which, although not before the House, must be read in order to enable them to construe the first, provided that "the President of the Commissioners should be empowered to preside, when and so often as he should think fit, over the Court of Directors, in lieu of the Chairman thereof, and to assume and exercise any of the powers now ordinarily exercised by such Chairman." It appeared, therefore, that the Court of Directors was to have the right of deliberating as a separate body, and that the President of the Commissioners was to take the chair or not, as he pleased. This seemed to imply that the corporate existence of the East India Company was to be preserved. Now, at present, as hon. Members were aware, the only connection between the East India Company and the Board of Control was a corporate one; the Board of Control knew nothing of the East India Company, except in its corporate capacity, and it had no cognizance of the Directors of the Company as individuals. Was it intended that that connection should be abolished? Were the Court of Directors only to serve as a Council to the President of the Commissioners when he took the chair on the occasions contemplated by these Resolutions, and were they at other times to go on as they did at present? He thought this was a point on which it was desirable that some information should have been afforded to the House. Again, the powers of the Board of Control were preserved, and how could they be preserved without preserving the powers of the Company? All the powers of that Board were powers of control—of regulating, in some measure, the action of the East India Company; but if—as would be supposed from the first Resolution which had been carried—the power of the East India Company was to be abolished, why should they retain the powers of the President of the Board of Control to regulate the action of a non-existent body? His right hon. Friend complained of the forms that now existed between the Court of Directors and the President of the Board of Control, and proposed that these forms should be abolished. But, if the Court of Directors were not to be a deliberative body, what was the use of its existence? If it was to be a deliberative body, what new forms of connection between them were to take the place of the present ones? As far as he could gather from the speech of his right hon. Friend, there were only two things to be done. One was, that the initiative should be given to the Minister for India, but that initiative the President of the Board of Control had already, if he chose, to exercise it. There was nothing now to prevent the President of the Board of Control from submitting despatches to the Court of Directors; and, therefore, if it was intended to give the initiative to the President by these Resolutions, it was clear that no innovation would be effected. Again, it was said that the despatches were to lie on the table to be read by the Committee, and then by the full Council. Why, that was the case under the existing system; and if the despatches were, in the first instance, to be submitted to a Committee, and then to the full Court of Directors, consisting of the same members as at present, he wished to know how they would escape that intolerable delay which was one of the main objections to the existing constitution of the home Government of India? Therefore he confessed he did not take much blame to himself when he said that he was unable to comprehend exactly the scheme proposed by the right hon. Member for the University of Oxford; but so far as he did understand it, he gathered that the object of the right hon. Gentleman was to effect some change in the relations between the Minister for India and the present Board of Directors, and that he proposed it as a provisional scheme, to be continued only until the end of the next year. Although he was aware of the Her culean powers of the right hon. Gentleman, who was doubtless fully sensible of the Herculean task he had undertaken, he (Mr. Lowe) wished the right hon. Member had explained the grounds upon which he proposed to abolish a state of things which, with all its faults, was understood and established, and to substitute another state of things, not founded upon permanent and durable principles, but upon temporary and provisional principles—to last, indeed, only for a year. He had waited to hear upon what grounds the Right hon. Gentleman would support such a proposition, but he had waited in vain. The House would recollect that the Right hon. Gentleman had really urged no arguments whatever in support of the specific scheme which he recommended. He had not shown why, at this crisis, he deemed it expedient that the Government of India should be rendered provisional and temporary, carrying with it avowedly the principle of dissolution. He had not shown how such a scheme would strengthen our armies, or give wisdom to our councils. He had not shown what was the necessity of encountering all the risks, and hazards, and inconveniences of making a change now, only to make the change over again in the course of the next year. He had not shown what would be gained by taking the Company into partnership with a Minister appointed directly by the Crown, after that House had expressed in the most emphatic manner their disapprobation of the system which he called upon them to continue. All that the Right hon. Gentleman said was, that his proposal, if adopted, would give the Parliament an opportunity of gaining additional knowledge on the subject of India, and would show that the East India Company had not broken down in their administration. It was, therefore, vain to argue against that which the Right hon. Gentleman himself had not supported by argument. The burden of proof lay on him, who proposed to disturb everything and settle nothing, and to make a provisional government at a time when permanency in the Government was required. So far from supporting his proposition, the greater part of the Right hon. Gentleman's speech appeared to be employed in forcibly proving that it would be most inexpedient at the present time to adopt it. The Right hon. Gentleman with great particularity went through all the difficulties which presented themselves to his mind in respect to the future settlement of the government of India and those difficulties could hardly be exaggerated, and he supposed that the Right Gentleman was about to show that the scheme he proposed would have the effect of removing those difficulties. Most of those difficulties arose from placing the Government of India in the hands of the Crown; but his measure contained no provisions for rendering those difficulties more easy to cope with. He dwelt upon the inconveniences arising from the placing the Indian army under the control of the Crown; but his measure did not propose to withdraw the army from that control, nor did he propose any measure to settle those thorny difficulties between the local corps and the Imperial army. Then there was the question of local governments—the relation of Bombay and Madras to Calcutta; but that question the Right hon. Gentleman left as he found it. Then there was the question of the Indian debt. The Right hon. Gentleman seemed to think that this House was not competent to change the Government of India unless it was prepared to pay off the Indian creditor. He (Mr. Lowe) could not agree with that doctrine; but granting it to be true, what did the Right hon. Gentleman propose to escape the difficulty? His only proposition was, that the difficulty should be doubled by proposing two changes instead of one. The truth was, that the Right hon. Gentleman proposed to the House a temporary measure, which opened several important questions, and settled none of them. He, on the other hand, would say to the House, that if they were to meet these great questions at all, let them face them manfully; if their time or their courage failed them, let them leave matters as they were; but let them not, in this critical emergency of India, adopt a measure which had neither the prestige of an old, nor the vigour of a new system, but which was likely to weaken the hands of their armies, to give confidence to their enemies, and to embarrass the action of the Government at home.


said, he would not trespass on the House for many minutes, for indeed he felt that any Member who wished an Indian Bill to pass would show his sincerity by not making long speeches on the Resolutions. There were at this moment thirty-five Resolutions on the subject of India before the House, exclusive of the Amendments and the two that had been passed, and of the one that was now before them. Allowing them the average time for speeches upon each of them, and considering the present state of business and the period of the Session, he thought it would be exceedingly wonderful if they succeeded before the end of the Session in passing the Bill. He must express his regret that such a Resolution as that moved by the Right hon. Gentleman should have been brought forward, and he must confess that, like the Right hon. Gentleman who had just sat down, he felt a difficulty in comprehending—not indeed its phraseology, but how any clause was to be framed which would carry out the object that he believed the Right hon. Gentleman intended. If it were adopted there would still be the same cumbrous machinery, which was admitted on all hands to be at present the cause of intolerable delay. He did not see how the objection would be removed by giving the power to the President of the Board of Control occasionally to attend the meetings of the Directors and to supersede the Chairman. He should be sorry to accept the office of Chairman under these circumstances, for the Chairman would be liable at any moment to be dethroned. The Right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Gladstone) seemed to be overpowered with the difficulty of carrying a Bill this year, and no doubt there would be a great difficulty, but if forbearance was shown by the House, and energy by the Government he did not despair. It appeared to him that they would have the same difficulty to contend with two years hence that they had now, so far as the obtaining any additional information was concerned; and no one who had taken the trouble of perusing the evidence given upon the subject by Sir James Melville, Mr. Waterfield, and other gentlemen, could entertain a doubt as to the exceeding difficulty of carrying on the home Government of India as it at present stood. With respect to the matters to which the Right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Gladstone) had alluded—namely, Indian finance, local government, the position of the army, and other points connected with the local government of India—he confessed he should regard the measure which if this Resolution were passed, would be based upon it as simply a staving off of difficulties, because two years hence they would have the same difficulties to contend with, so far as any information they were likely to possess on the subject was concerned. It was with extreme reluctance he felt himself unable to support the Amendment; but, on the grounds of the present emergency, and the immense importance of bringing the matter to a conclusion, he could not vote in its favour.


said, that the proposition before the House was that the Minister appointed by the Crown to conduct the Government of India should be assisted by a Council of twelve or eighteen persons; but the Amendment of the right hon. Member (Mr. Gladstone) was more simple. It was that that Council should, in the first instance, consist of the Gentlemen who now comprise the Court of Directors. Thirteen of that body now consisted of gentlemen elected by the proprietary body, and five had been nominated by the Crown. True, the qualifications of the elected body had been impugned, and it had been said that city men and bankers were put into the direction, but the fact was that there were only three Directors out of the present eighteen who had not been connected with India in some way or other, and many of the Directors had filled administrative and executive offices in India of the most important character. These were the very men who ought to be selected to assist the Minister of State as Councillors with regard to the measures he should adopt. The function of the Court of Proprietors was to elect two thirds of the Court of Directors; but the court was also a safety valve for the complaints of India which, in that House, were likely to be made party questions. The army of India was a matter to which the Committee would do well to give grave consideration. It had widows' and orphans' funds, scales of retiring pensions—subscriptions for accelerating promotion, and the great principle of promotion by seniority, all of which had nothing in common with the royal army, and yet they were going to transfer this army of 250,000 men, under such a system, to that of the royal army, with which it could not amalgamate. He was sorry to hear the hon. Member for West Surrey (Mr. Drummond) outrage the character of Europeans in India as he had done to-night. The hon. Gentleman had quoted an author who wrote half a century back, and also an individual now resident in Calcutta, who had made equally unfounded and calumnious statements. He (Colonel Sykes) would appeal to the common sense of the House whether, if what these persons asserted were true to the extent they represented, and that such a feeling were prevalent between the Native and European communities, we should not have been chased out of India half a century ago? He had seen a good deal of India; He had seen unruly boys and young men who hated the Natives; but the hon. Member evidently did not know what were the rules of a camp or cantonment to restrain the petulance or violence of the thoughtless. If any officer beat his servant, the latter could go to the properly constituted authorities, and have his master up just as if he were in this country, and had summoned him before a police magistrate. Yet the hon. Gentleman said there was no redress? The same with regard to a debt—a camp or cantonment debt. A master did not pay his servant's wages, or the shopkeeper for his goods; the servant or shopkeeper at once went to the commanding officer, a court of requests was ordered, before which the officer was summoned, the matter was adjudicated, and the officer's pay was stopped. No redress! Why, how on earth could we exist if such a state of things prevailed in India as the hon. Gentleman represented? He wished the hon. Member would attend on one of those occasions when the Company's cadets were being sworn in. He would then hear an address from the Chairman of the Military Committee, couched in almost parental terms, in which, if one thing was more impressed upon the cadets than another, it was the absolute necessity of practising kindness towards the Natives of India. The same thing had always been done at the half-yearly examinations of the civil servants at Hayleybury, of which the hon. Member should have been aware, as the addresses were invariably published in the newspapers. If the hon. Gentleman had read Williamson's History of the Bengal Army, he would have known of instances of devotion towards their European officers on the part of that class of Sepoys who had lately run mad which would bring tears to his eyes, instances of devotedness which were not to be surpassed by those of any other army in the world. It was an extraordinary fact that, as yet, throughout all the discussions in this House, they had not heard anything about the feelings and wishes of the Natives themselves upon the subject of the future government of India. They were upon the eve of transferring 181,000,000 of people from a system of government under which they had been so long protected in their rights, feelings, prejudices, religion, lives, and properties to another system, under which it had been broadly stated in India, and by a party in this country, that caste was to be put down and Christianity extended by the action of the Government itself. Upon this subject he solemnly warned the House that there was a distrust growing up in the minds of the nations of India at this moment which would probably cost us our Indian empire if it were not speedily allayed. He had recently received communications from three Natives which convincingly showed what was the nature and extent of this feeling. They were all three men of education, wealth, intelligence, and capacity of observation. The first of them was a Parsee, whose family had been connected with the Government of Bombay from the period of its transfer to Great Britain by the Crown of Portugal, and he himself had been educated at the Elphinstone Institution in Bombay. Writing to him (Colonel Sykes) on the 5th of May last, being at the time in England, he said:— Being the descendant of a family which has been serving the British Government from their first taking possession of the island of Bombay, now nearly 200 years ago, I cannot sit quiet without making a few remarks upon the discussions which are going on in this country upon the affairs of India, both in and out of Parliament, since the breaking out of the mutiny in that country; and also as to the transfer of its administration from the East India Company to the Crown. These discussions, I am led to believe, are based upon the imperfect knowledge which the English people have of that country, and will do more harm than any good towards India. I assure you that what I now write is not only my own sentiments, but the sentiments of the people of India. I do declare that the present Administration of India is imperfect, and requires reform in a great many points, still the present is not the time for the change. How can the people of this country assure the people of India that the transfer of the Company's government to the Crown will be beneficial to them, after having an example before our eyes of the mismanagement of all Her Majesty's colonies. It is nearly a hundred years since the British Parliament and people committed a most gross blunder, and what was the consequence? You have lost the earlier British colonies in America; and for God's sake don't commit the same blunder and lose India. The public press and public meetings in this country have lately much unsettled the minds of the people of India, and led them to believe that the change of government will force them to change their religion and destroy their caste. Hundreds of petitions are now lying before the Crown and the Parliament, praying them to enforce the Christian religion on the Natives of India, and to do away with caste. The educated people of India all know that the Government will not do such things; but how are you to satisfy the minds of the millions when the Government of this country never come forward and declare that these absurd petitions will not be acted upon? When the colonies in America revolted, they only had 3,000,000 of population, and were only 3000 miles distant front this country; yet, with all the mighty power of England, it was unable to put them down, and was forced to acknowledge their independence. Now, if you excite the feelings of the 200,000,000 of people in India upon their religion and caste, and they should immediately revolt (which is as sure as the day, if you interfere with their religion and caste), awl that empire is 15,000 miles distant from this country, what resources have you against them? The present disturbance is only the mutiny of a few Native troops, joined by the budmashes of the country, and it requires 120,000 European troops, with the assistance of a large Native army, to put them down; and even now you have not accomplished your object; but assuredly it any interference takes place with their religion, the whole country will rise against the Government, by which act you will not only lose your Indian empire, but it will end in anarchy, murder, and plunder. In another part of the letter he said:— Is this country free from those prejudices to which the Natives of India are subject? Why do you make a distinction between Jews and Christians and between Protestants and Roman Catholics? Perfect your own country and your own people first, and show examples to those whom you wish to force to abandon their religion and caste, which they have enjoyed thousands of years before you. Now, a few questions about the change of Government. Have the Natives of India petitioned for such a change? Have the Government ascertained whether the Natives would like such a change? No! He (Colonel Sykes) echoed that answer, and said emphatically a thousand times—No. The next communication was from a Native, the manager of an English newspaper at Bombay, and in that communication occurred this passage:— Are not the people themselves for whom you are about to legislate at all to be consulted in the matter? Is it not fair and just to ascertain their wishes on the subject? Is it not advisable to invite the opinions of respectable and enlightened Natives of all parts of India as to the advisability or otherwise of the proposed change? Such an inquiry is not only in itself indispensably necessary, but it will tend to conciliate the Natives of India to the British rule, and make it clear to them as noonday that the authorities are not regardless of their wishes in the conduct of their Government. In India itself, before any Act is passed by the Legislative Council, a draught of the same is published in the Government gazette, and at least three mouths' time is given before it is passed into a law, that the people to whose interest it relates may in that period have the opportunity of representing their own views upon it. He (Colonel Sykes) would call the particular attention of the House to the fact stated in this Native's letter, that no law affecting the Natives of India is passed until it has been three months before the public, that the Government may be made aware of every serious objection to its being carried into effect.

The third letter was from a judicial officer to the same effect. The advantage of carrying the Motion of the right hon. Gentleman would be to give people here time to reflect on the magnitude and the difficulties of the question, it would give the Natives time for the expression of their feelings and wishes, and it would also give time for the tranquillization of India.


said, he thought that it would be impossible to pass a Bill founded upon the Resolutions this Session; and as both sides desired some measure on the subject, he was in favour of the Motion of the right hon. Member for Oxford. The House had decided almost unanimously that the government of India should be transferred from the Company to the Crown, and that the President should be assisted by a Council. [Cries of "No!"] The principle of a Council had been sup- ported by two Governments, and the Resolution of the right hon. Member for Oxford went to provide such a Council as all were anxious to obtain—namely, a Council partly nominated, partly elected, and composed of members practically acquainted with the affairs of India. If the House agreed to that Resolution, they would secure not only an efficient Council in the meantime, but would give the people of India an opportunity of expressing their opinion on the various and complicated questions connected with the subject.


said, that for reasons exactly the opposite of those stated by the hon. and learned Gentleman who had just spoken, he should vote against the Amendment. He really could not understand the argument of the hon. and gallant Member for Aberdeen. It seemed to him (Mr. Seymour) that, if they adopted the Amendment, they would leave everything in a state that would excite criticism both here nad in India. He thought that, as the House had decided to make a change in the Government, it would be the height of folly to leave India in doubt for the next twelve months as to what the details of that change were to be. It appeared that a correspondent of the hon. and gallant Member for Aberdeen (Colonel Sykes) was of opinion that the public meetings in England with respect to India had unsettled the minds of the people of India; but did not the speeches of the hon. and gallant Gentleman himself tend to unsettle their minds? When the people of India heard that a gentleman of his high official position came down to that House to state that it was the intention of the Government and people of England to act upon a different policy henceforward with regard to India, to interfere with their religion, what would be their feelings? Was not the hon. and gallant Gentleman a greater firebrand than those who had attended the public meetings in England? Some speeches had no doubt been made, upon platforms at religious meetings, expressing a wish that Christianity should be spread by means which he (Mr. Seymour) thought inconsistent with our religion; but Parliament had not sanctioned such a course. The people of India knew well that the greatest authority in this country was vested in the Legislature, and that very little regard need be paid to speeches made at public meetings in this country. They would learn from the public press that the British Legislature, which was the representative of the wishes of the people of this country, was animated by a most civilized spirit, and anxious to treat the people of India as the people of this country, so far as their rights and interests were concerned. But he regretted to say that, of late years, the East India Company had sanctioned proselytism in India. He had frequently seen despatches which the Company wished to send to India, from which it was evident that the Company was desirous of spreading our religion by other than legitimate means. But he believed that the people of India did not impute to the people of this country a desire to interfere with their religion in that manner. The House had already resolved to legislate upon India this year, and, as they had put their hands to the plough, they ought not to turn back. He was surprised at the courage displayed by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the University of Oxford in bringing forward the same question a second time in the same Session. The House ought to show to the people of India that they were determined to complete the task which they had begun, of permanently legislating for India, however much their time and recreation might thereby be trenched upon. For these reasons, he hoped that no further obstruction would be offered, but that they would immediately cuter once more upon the consideration of the measures they had to determine.

Question put, "That the words 'in order to assist such -Minister of the Crown' stand part of the proposed Resolution."

The Committee divided:—Ayes 265; Noes 116: Majority 149.


Were I to consult only the probabilities of success in the proposition I have to make I should certainly be daunted, for I am tolerably sure there will be an immense majority against it. But that to me is no new thing. I have brought forward many propositions, which were at first rejected, but which afterwards became the creed of this House. Some years ago I contended for a particular course being followed in our colonial policy, and was always outvoted; but a time came when that which had been so often rejected, almost with scorn, became the creed of the Colonial Minister. I am not daunted, therefore, at the prospect of a large majority against me. This House has resolved—first, that the Government of India shall be transferred from the Court of Directors to the Crown; next it has decided that the power of the Crown shall be exercised by a Minister of State; and now it is proposed to give to that Minister of State a Council to aid and counsel him. It is against this last proposition that I now address the House. I must remind the House of a distinction to which allusion has been made to-night, but not sufficiently dwelt upon—I mean the distinction between the Government of India that is in England, and the Government that is in India. With this last point we have now nothing to do—the Resolution before us concerns the part of the Government of India only, which is located in England, and which conveys to the Executive Government in India the principles and the opinions of the Parliament and people of England. The question we have to answer is, whether there shall be a Secretary of State by himself alone, and responsible for his own acts, or whether he shall be shrowded and screened from all responsibility by being aided by a Council. I adhere to the first. I say that a single Secretary of State responsible for all his acts, relying on himself alone, and bringing his own mind to be his guide and counsellor, is the proper Governor of India. I hold this view first on account of the mental and moral benefit which a man derives from acting alone. He has a more distinct and pressing interest in what he has to do than a man who shares his responsibility with others, and therefore mentally and morally he is a stronger man, and better able to carry on the government with vigour. I have heard it said, "Why, under your plan, only fancy India governed by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Northampton" (Mr. Vernon Smith.) Well, we have seen India governed by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Northampton, and governed without responsibility. Under my plan, however, I would so fasten responsibility on him as to make him afraid of governing India alone. On the other hand, a divided responsibility is a sort of homeopathic responsibility. But I am told that the days of responsibility are over, and that we don't now deprive Ministers of their heads, but of their places. I have, however, seen three notable instances of the results of responsibility. I have seen the Government of the Earl of Aberdeen turned out because the people of England thought their honour was not safe in their hands. I have seen the Government of the noble Lord the Member for Tiverton turned out of power for the same reason. I have seen the almighty power of this House hurl him from his place —headlong flaming from th' ethereal sky, With hideous ruin and combustion, down To bottomless perdition. I have seen, on this very business of India, a President of the Board of Control driven from power simply by the expression of opinion—not by a Resolution—in this House and out of doors, and that within a few weeks past. Shall any man tell me, then, that there is no responsibility? Aye, but it is said, there was at that time, when he was so driven from power, a Board of Directors. Does not every body know that the Board of Directors was at that time destroyed, and that the very fact of his being responsible was because he acted by himself alone? And did not he say that he acted by himself, without their consent and without consultation with them, and that he was answerable for his conduct? And did not the House and the country accept that statement, and punish him for his conduct? I don't say the House or the country was right; but what I say is that, believing he was so responsible, they punished him for his act. This is the only constitutional responsibility in fact, and the milder manners of modern times, which do not allow us to cut off the heads of Ministers, by allowing us to displace them make them responsible to us for their acts. But, it may be said, a Council is necessary for the purpose of affording advice. Well, then, we have to consider the Council which is to aid this Indian Minister, first, as to the men from whom it is to be derived; next, as to the manner of its election; then as to its tenure of office; and again, as to its power. With respect to the men from whom it is to be derived, I have in this House spoken of the class who are generally called "Old Indians." I am told that a large proportion of the men who are to assist and advise this Minister of the Crown are to be selected from that class of Old Indians. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for the University of Oxford (Mr. Gladstone) made upon me a somewhat weak joke. He said, "The hon. and learned Gentleman takes exception exactly to those men who have some means of acquiring knowledge." I am going to speak of Old Indians, but not on my own authority; and the right hon. Gentleman must pardon me if I say his authority in matters of Government is not possessed of any great weight. Invariably have I found the right hon. Gentleman opposing almost all the advances made by mankind since I have been in this House. I recollect that upon that very question of colonial administration among my most formidable opponents was the right hon. Gentleman. I think he also opposed the free trade measure. But it is not for me to say that the right hon. Gentleman has not many claims to the admiration of this House. He has a most captivating eloquence, but he wants judgment to guide it. In fact, his mind is like a tangled web of gorgeous material. It is a thing marvellous to look at, but utterly useless for any practical purpose. I am going to put against his authority that of a very different man, who deeply dived into all human thoughts, who ransacked human nature, in order to understand and guide it. I mean Mill, the historian of British India. You are told to consider the advantage you would derive from framing a Council of Old Indians for the guidance of the Indian Minister; and I would have you recollect the mode in which the Anglo-Indian acquires knowledge. He goes out to India a youth, and has very little power of acquiring a knowledge of mankind. He studies a language or two. He is segregated from his own class, and sent at once to govern. Now, Mill, in the preface to Ids history, discusses the question of the advantages which the historian of British India would derive from going to India, and says that the powers of observation in every individual are exceedingly limited, and it is only by combining the observation of a number of individuals that a competent knowledge of any extensive subject can be acquired. Now, let us recollect that our dominions in India extend from the Himalayas to Cape Comorin, There are, I believe, in that space thirty different nations, all speaking very different languages, and all having very different customs, as different as Italy is from Denmark; and I would suppose a traveller in Italy called on to legislate for Denmark. You know what that would mean. For the same reason, a man who had passed his life in the Punjab would be as unable to legislate for Travancore as a man living in Naples would be to legislate for Denmark. My hon. Friend the Member for Surrey (Mr. Drummond) quoted opinions concerning the moral condition of gentlemen who have gone to India, but I have only to do now with their intellectual character. Lord Teignmouth points out in emphatic language the difficulty of acquiring a requisite amount of knowledge to enable us to govern India by reminding his readers of the magnitude of our acquisitions there, the character of the people placed under our dominion, their difference of language, their dissimilarity in other respects, and that we began our rule in the country in ignorance of its former Government. I could also quote to the same end the authority of Lord W. Bentinck, Sir H. Stracey, Sir J. Malcolm, and other distinguished men—in short, that of all the men of mind who have gone to India. I do not mean to say that the mere going to India totally unfits a man for governing India, but I say, that taking the mass of men who have gone there, the mere fact of a man having been in India gives him no greater power of governing that country than he could have acquired by study and reflection at home, and, in fact, not so much so far as regards knowledge of the feelings and habits of the people. Now, Sir, I come to the question, by whom is the proposed Council to he selected? It is said partly by this Crown, and partly by election. Now, I if I know anything of this House—and I have had a long experience in it,—I am confident that the doctrine of election in this matter will not be received—in short, that it will be scouted; and the real fact will be that the appointment ref this Council will be in the, hands of the Ministers of the Crown, for when we say that it will be in the hands of the Crown, we mean that it will be in the hands of the responsible advisers of the Crown. "Oh," but says the right hon. Gentleman, "that will be an enormous power to confer upon a Minister." Now, what power is it proposed to confer on the Minister? Why, it is proposed to confer on the Government of the day the power of electing persons who will be screens to those who elect them, and for that reason I object to any one having such power of election; but at the same time, if it is determined to confer upon any one that power of election, I think that the person who is responsible to this House is as likely to be a good elector as any holder of so much India stock. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for the University of Oxford has proposed to form the Council from the existing Board of Directors. Now, the existing Board of Directors has been elected by the holders of India stock; and I would ask the House, do you consider that gentlemen so elected would be more responsible or would be better chosen than persons chosen literally by this House? I say literally chosen by this House, because it is by this House that the Minister is chosen by whom the Council is to be chosen, and therefore it is by this House, in the last resort, that the Council would be chosen; and I ask you if you consider that holders of India stock form a better elective body than this House? Oh, but it is said, you are putting into the hands of the Government of the day a vast engine of corruption. Now, as regards the question of the virtue of this House, in the first place I do not think that the mere appointment of ten or twelve persons to hold office for six or seven years would afford a means of corruption that this House could not withstand. Then we are told that the appointments to all positions in the army and civil service would be in the hands of the Minister, and that that would exercise a corrupt influence over this House, for that we could not resist the blandishments of a Minister armed with such a power. Now, if there is the least honest sincerity in this objection, the House will see at once how easily it is got rid of by the mode which I should suggest. I would suggest that all first appointments in India should be bestowed upon the principle of fair and open competition. Do not let me be misunderstood. I would have a clear, open, honest competition. Say there are twenty places to be given away. Well, I would allow every man capable of making an application in writing to undergo the trial and be examined. Let there be no pretence, as there is now, of compelling persons to beg to be placed on the list for examination, but let it be competent for every man who is willing to do so to put his name down and be examined, even if there should be 1,000 competitors for the twenty vacant offices. That, to my mind, is the only fair mode of employing the principle of competition, and that would, I think, sake all power of corruption out of the hand of the Minister. I now come to the question of the time for which the Council is to be appointed. Some say that the appointment should be for life, others for ten years, and others for six years. Now, the fact of electing members of the Council for six years would deprive them of all responsibility, while at the same time the Minister for India would be an irresponsible Minister. Depend upon it that if you adopt that principle you will abolish all responsibility in the government of India; if you give the Minister of the Crown the aid and assistance of a Council you will take responsibility from him and destroy his power of governing India. I have now passed over the questions as regards the persons to be elected, and the persons by whom they are to be elected, and I come now to the question as regards the powers which it is intended to give to the Council. It is said by some that the connection between the Minister and the Council ought to be something like the connection between the Governor General and his Council, that he should take the advice of the Council, and act upon it. Now, that would be to deprive the Minister of all responsibility, and I don't think that the majority of this House would wish to see the establishment of a Council to control the Minister. The effect of such a Council would be to shroud the Minister when in the wrong, and to hamper him when in the right; for if wrong his responsibility would be taken away, and when right he would be afraid to act in cases where it might be said that he was acting contrary to the opinions of ten or tweve persons associated with him. I know that such would be the case from what has occurred since I have been a Member of this House. We have been told that the President of the Board of Control is really the Governor of India, and that is the fact, and that he may do as he pleases. Now, I upon one occasion moved a vote of censure upon the President of the Board of Control, and what course was adopted by the East India Directors who were Members of this House? Time out of mind I had heard them say that they had nothing whatever to do with the war in Affghanistan, and yet when I moved a vote of censure upon the President of the Board of Control in connection with that war, all the Directors who were Members of this House voted against me. Now, that is a very striking fact, and I may say that they have upon all occasions shielded themselves under the system of non-responsibility. I remember an attack which I made upon Sir J. Hob-house and the noble Lord the Member for Tiverton, and upon that occasion two or three of the Members of the Court of Directors spoke and voted against me. Still, then I ask, what could be the responsibility felt or acted upon by the Council? To connect the Minister to whom the government of India may be intrusted with such a Council would be like putting wine into water, an operation by which both the wine and the water are spoilt. Having stated my objections, and the ground for them, I do not wish to detain the House, but there is one point to which I wish to refer. I know that I shall have very high authorities against me, and, among others, that of the noble Lord near me (Lord J. Russell); but the noble Lord, like the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the University of Oxford, is no great authority, in my mind, in matters of legislation. From the very outset of my political life I have found the noble Lord in opposition. He always puts me in mind of what we lawyers term "a case lawyer." He knows very well what has been done, but he never knows what ought to be done. He is a capital pilot in the shoals and cross-currents of party life, but put him out into the open sea and he has neither compass nor chart. Therefore, Sir, having found the noble Lord so often in opposition, it is with some satisfaction that on this occasion I see him in opposition to myself. In fact, if upon the first blush of this proposal he had thought I was right, I should have been disposed to think I was wrong. This is a frank avowal. I hope the noble Lord will not take it amiss that I have made this statement. I am quite sure that his good nature and good feeling will go with me. I move, Sir, that the word "Council" be omitted.

Amendment proposed, in line 3, to leave out the word "Council."


Sir, although the question of Council or no Council is one of the most important which can be raised in the course of these discussions, it is one with regard to which the argument lies in a very narrow compass. There are only two grounds upon which objection can be taken to the appointment of a Council. One of them was not noticed by the hon. and learned Member, and I think the Committee will not attach much importance to it—I mean that of expense. I do not apprehend that, where the question of the efficiency of the home Government of India is concerned, the Committee will be inclined to attach much importance to the expenditure of £10,000 or £15,000 more or less. The whole discussion, therefore, turns upon the point—whether the appointment of a Council will, as the hon. and learned Member contends, diminish the responsibility of the Minister. Is the responsibility of a Minister necessarily incomplete if there is a Council to assist him? That, I appre- hend, will depend upon the relations to be established between the Minister and the Council. In the main those relations are very simple. The Council is bound to give advice, and the Minister is bound to hear, but he is not bound to take it. It is for him to decide whether he will take or reject it; and whether he takes it or rejects it, he will equally act upon his own responsibility. But then it is said that, if this Council is composed of persons eminent for their knowledge of Indian affairs, he will shelter himself under the authority of their opinions. My answer to that is, that the Minister will not have it in his power to shelter himself more under the opinions advanced by eminent persons being member, of his Council than he would if they did not stand in that relation to him. No doubt any Minister, whose measures wore attacked, would be glad to bring forward in his defence the opinions and authority of men eminent as Indian statesmen. That is a degree of shelter which he would obtain from the authority of such persons, whether they are his colleagues in administration or not; but any other protection it is expressly provided that he shall not receive. What, then, is this Council intended to do? To supply that special departmental knowledge which it is utterly impossible that any public man, trained in the ordinary school of English administration, can possess upon purely Indian questions. And now let me ask tine Committee, what will be the result of negativing the appointment of the Council? Does any hon. Member of this House really imagine that, upon any one of those multifarious questions which come before the Directors of the East India Company and the Board of Control, the Minister will depend upon his own exclusive and unassisted judgment, formed simply upon reading the papers and a knowledge of the facts? Why, every one knows that he cannot. He must rely to some extent—that, I admit, is inevitable—upon the advice which he receives from his Council. If he does not, he will have to depend upon that of other persons who will be councillors in fact, though not in name—upon the advice of the permanent officials of his department. The hon. and learned Member says that the members of this Council will, in reality, be irresposible Ministers for India. I answer, that their position in that respect will be in no respect different from that of those other irresponsible advisers whom every head of a department habitually and ne- cessarily consults upon matters of departmental knowledge of which he has no previous official experience. The only difference is, that, by placing these gentlemen in a more eminent position, by bringing them more before the public, you will obtain for that branch of the service men of high reputation, who have filled offices of great distinction—men whom you could not otherwise place in a position of direct subordination to the Minister. I have not heard it from the hon. and learned Gentleman, but elsewhere I have frequently heard a parallel drawn between the administration of India and that of the Colonies; and I will, for one moment, ask the House to inquire how far these two administrations resemble each other. Under the Colonial Department, there are altogether about 7,000,000 of persons, of whom you may say that, speaking roughly, 3,500,000—the population of British North America and Australia—manage their own affairs with very little reference to the Department at home. Under the Indian Department you have, I will not venture to say what number of persons, because I never heard two statements on the subject, either in this House or out of it, which agreed; but putting it at a very moderate estimate, if I were to say 140,000,000, that would be twenty times the number who are under the Colonial Department, and all of them under a Government which is of a very absolute kind. Then the hon. and learned Gentleman raises a great objection to those whom he calls "Old Indians." and assumes that they must exclusively compose this Council. He said that there might be eminent men among their number, but that the mass of them knew very little more of Indian affairs than if they had never been in the country. I will not stop to inquire how much of that proposition is true and how much it is exaggerated, and for this reason, that those whom we hope to include in the proposed Council will be not the mass of those who have served in India, but those whom the hon. and learned Gentleman himself admits constitute the eminent exceptions. We have heard the worst and the blackest side of the Anglo Indian character stated to-night, and I dare say there may be, as applied to a small fraction of those who serve in India, some truth in the description; but we must not forget that the service which he has so criticised has, in former times, produced men like Malcolm, Munro, and Elphinstone. And looking to the present generation, it can hardly be said that men like Sir John Lawrence, Sir H. Lawrence, if he had lived, and Sir James Outram, whose names are at this moment so prominently before the people of England, are incapable of offering advice to any Indian Administration. The special gain of surrounding the Minister for Indian affairs with men of this class will be that you will obtain, what you can get in no other way, that kind of knowledge which only comes from personal contact with the Natives of India, and personal experience of what are their habits and feelings. There is, I hope, no fear that any one undertaking the business of this department will come to it otherwise than with good intentions, and a sincere desire to promote the welfare of the Natives of India; but, unluckily, when you are dealing with alien races, differing among themselves hardly less than they differ from you, more mischief may be done with the most sincerely benevolent intentions, and by carrying out plans which are abstractedly good, than perhaps in any other way, or by any other error into which an Indian statesman is likely to fall. Again, the hon. and learned Member said that each Member of the Council will only represent some one particular part of India, and therefore his special knowledge will be quite useless as applied to questions affecting any other part of the country. This is to some extent true, and it is a very fair, and to my mind a conclusive argument against unduly limiting the number of the proposed Council. You do require to have, if possible, each Presidency and each department of the public service in India represented in the Council which you are to constitute; but it may often happen that some persons will be competent as regards more than one part of India, and in more than one department; because if you look into the career of most of the eminent men who have served in India, you will find that they have not served all the time in one branch of the service, or in one part of the country, but have been transferred from one post of difficulty to another, sometimes in one part of India and sometimes in another, accordingly as the pressure and emergency of the public service was greatest. Now, as to patronage, I should not propose to constitute a Council simply for the purpose of absorbing a certain amount of patronage which could not be otherwise disposed of, but there being other reasons for its creation, I think it is worth while to consider how materially its existence will assist you in the settlement of that difficult part of the question. I know of only three modes of dealing with that portion of the Indian patronage which has to be exercised in England, and which is mainly military. Either you must vest it all in the Minister —a course which on his account is very much to be deprecated, and to which this House would not readily assent—or you must open it altogether to an intellectual and literary competition,—a mode of procedure excellent, I think, as regards the civil service, and one which I cordially supported when its introduction was proposed by the right hon. Gentleman opposite in 1853, and when on many sides it was strenuously opposed,—a mode of procedure applicable also, I doubt not, to the scientific branches of any service, whether civil or military, but one upon which, I think, you cannot so implicitly rely when it is a question of giving away those simple military appointments for which one must acknowledge that high intellectual qualifications are not those particularly required. I am far from saying that open competition should not be introduced into the Indian army. I only request the Committee to consider how little experience we have of that principle, how much it is still an experiment—that it is an experiment of which in a few years more we shall be able to see the results as exhibited in the working of our civil service; and then I ask them whether it is not premature, whether it would not be trusting too much to theory, to say at once and in one sweeping measure, that the sole mode of entering the non-scientific branches of the military service in India should be after undergoing an intellectual and scientific examination. I believe competition to be a good and a sound principle, but like all other good and sound principles, it may be pushed too far. If then there are objections to at once throwing open the whole patronage, and objections equally strong to investing it in the Minister, I think that the most convenient, if not the only mode to deal with the difficulty is to place it in the hands of Members of the Council. They will be men—if the Council be constituted as we hope it will be—who will be perfectly independent of the Minister of the day or of any Minister,—men with no inducement to job away their patronage, with no Parliamentary or electioneering interest to serve—with a strong interest in the well-doing of India—men whose habits and inclinations will lead them to consider alone the public advantage. These are the grounds upon which I oppose the hon. and learned Gentleman's proposition. There must be, practically, an Indian Council; the only question is, whether it shall be composed of persons avowedly placed in that position, or of the subordinate officials of the Indian department. It is by means of a Council that you will get rid of the patronage difficulty; and if you constitute it, as I think you may, with a due admixture, tempering the Indian with the English element, you will accomplish the end we all have in view.


said, he wished to make one remark with regard to an observation of the hon. and learned Member for Sheffield. That hon. and learned Member referred to the Affghan war in support of his views, but the facts were a complete refutation of his argument. Just before the Affghan war broke out Lord Heytesbury was appointed to the Government of India by the late Sir Robert Peel. The Government which succeeded Sir Robert Peel thought fit to cancel that appointment, and to appoint an estimable and well-intentioned but inexperienced nobleman in his place. That appointment was made solely on party grounds, and from the want of administrative abilities on the part of the well-intentioned nobleman so appointed, sprung the Affghan war.

Question, "That the word 'Council' stand part of the proposed Resolution," put, and agreed to.


said, he rose to move that the word "appointed" should be left out, and the words inserted, "and that the first Council of India consist of the present Court of Directors." The object of his Motion might be explained in a few words. The Committee had agreed by a large majority that India should be governed by and in the name of the Queen, and that there should be a Secretary of State appointed, and also a Council. What he now proposed was, that the Council should be the present Court of Directors. He did not propose to give them any executive powers, but to give them only the powers conferred upon the Council by the Resolution. He would leave the Executive in the hands of the Secretary of State for India. By acceding to the Amendment he proposed many difficulties would be avoided as to the number of the Council, their qualifications, and the disposal of the patronage. He thought the administrative capacity of the present Court of Directors had been proved under the late emergencies, and their conduct in forwarding troops and providing land transport in India contrasted favourably with the management of the Government during the Crimean war. He could not see upon what grounds it could be proposed to lose all the benefits of the knowledge, the experience, and the administrative abilities of the present Court of Directors, who had so well managed their affairs during the late crisis. By adopting his Amendment the Committee would remove many difficulties, and be able to dispense with Resolutions 6, 7, and 8.

Amendment proposed,— In line 3, after the word "appointed," to insert the words, "and that the first Council of India consist of the present Court of Directors.


said, he did not feel at all disposed to dissent from the complimentary terms in which the hon. Gentleman had spoken of the Court of Directors, and he was sure the Committee would bear testimony to the truth of what he stated when he said that, however much he might have found fault with the system under which the Government of India was carried on, he bad never spoken disparagingly of those by whom that system was administered. He was, however, of opinion that it would be premature to accept the Amendment which the hon. Gentleman had proposed, inasmuch as the Committee had as yet come to no decision as to how long the appointments of Members of the Council were to be held. With respect to that question various propositions had been made, and he could not help thinking it would not be a very businesslike proceeding upon the part of the Government to say to any Gentleman, "We offer you those offices, but we are not in a position to state whether you are to hold them for life, or for a term of years, or merely during pleasure." But the hon. Gentleman asked, why remove the members of the present Court of Directors? His answer was, that, although practically speaking the tenure of office upon the part of some of those who constituted the Court of Directors was very long, yet that looking to the fact that the term of office of one-third of their number would expire next year, of another one-third in three years' time, and of the remaining one-third in 1863, it was quite clear that at the end of five years all vested rights in the case of those who were at present members of the Court would have ceased. He should simply say in conclusion, that, although he should not enter into any pledge upon the part of the Government to make any particular appointments, they would not of course preclude themselves, should the nomination of the Council be placed in the hands of the Crown, from accepting the very valuable services of those who now carried on the service of the Company.


said, he wished to make a few observations, not solely upon the question immediately under discussion, but upon the general proceedings of the Committee. He was of opinion that, taking into account the period of the Session at which they had arrived, it was extremely desirable that the Committee should, as soon as possible, come to a decision upon the main points embraced in the Resolutions, and that the Government should be enabled to proceed at once to the introduction of a Bill founded upon them. It was with that view that he should propose, not alone the Amendment of which he had given notice, to the effect that the new Council should consist of not more than twelve members, but also another Amendment, of which he begged to give notice for the next time when the Committee should meet, and the object of which was that those members should be appointed by the Crown. Another point of some importance remained to be considered—namely, for what period the members of the Council were to be appointed. In the Resolutions as proposed by the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer no fixed time, he believed, was laid down; but if the noble Lord the President of the Board of Control wished to raise the question, he might do so upon the discussion of his Amendment. There was also the subject of patronage, which was of considerable importance; but, in his opinion, if the Committee were to assent to two or three Resolutions, in addition to those which had been already passed, it would be desirable, instead of going through the whole fourteen, to proceed at once to the introduction of a Bill. With respect to the proposition more immediately before the Committee, he quite concurred with the noble Lord opposite (Lord Stanley) in thinking that it was somewhat premature, and that if the whole of the proposed Council were to be appointed by the Crown it would be competent for the Government to consider how many members of the present Court of Directors should be selected to advise the new Minister for India.


said, that in re- ference to the remarks which had fallen from the hon. Member below him (Mr. Lindsay) in relation to the credit which he had said was due to the Court of Directors for the arrangements which they had made for the conveyance of troops to India, he wished to remark that it was only fair that a great portion of that credit should be attributed to the Government of India on the spot.


thought that under all the circumstances of the case the hon. Gentleman opposite would exercise a wise discretion in withdrawing his Amendment.


said, he found that the proposition of which notice had been given by the noble Lord the Member for London was one which it had been the intention of his right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer to submit to the notice of the Committee. It would, perhaps, be convenient to hon. Members that he should state at that stage of their proceedings that whereas in the Resolution under discussion as it stood it was suggested that the Council should not consist of less than twelve nor of more than eighteen persons, he was prepared to adopt the number twelve, not, however, as the noble Lord the Member for London proposed, including the new Minister for India, whose functions and those of the Council would be essentially distinct.

Question, "That those words be there inserted," put, and negatived.


said, he would now propose his Amendment.

Amendment proposed, in line 3, to leave out the word "less," in order to insert the word "more."

Question proposed, "That the word 'less' stand part of the proposed Resolution."


said, he was willing it should stand that the Council should consist of twelve.


said, that "not less than twelve" might mean that the Council was to consist of 100.

COLONEL SYKES moved that the Chairman report progress.

Motion made and Question proposed, "That the Chairman do report progress, and ask leave to sit again."


expressed a hope that the Committee would, before acceding to the Motion, dispose of the Resolution which they were engaged in discussing. Although they might not that evening have made much progress in the business upon the paper, yet the tone of the debate tended, he thought, to show that hon. Members were anxious to make some advance, and that it would be unsatisfactory to the Committee if the Resolution were not agreed to.


suggested that the words, "not more than twelve," should constitute the words of the Resolution in reference to the number of the proposed Council. Many hon. Members were of opinion that the Council should consist of a smaller number than twelve.


observed, that many hon. Members, upon the contrary, thought that twelve was not a number sufficiently large. He, however, must confess that he considered it a very fair number, and he seas, therefore, quite willing to strike out the words "not less," if the noble Lord, upon his part, would assent to striking out the words "not more."

Question put, and negatived.


said, he was astonished at the course which the Government seemed disposed to adopt. They had submitted a Resolution stating that the Council should consist of not more than eighteen, nor less than twelve members. The precise number was to be decided according to the nature and extent of the duties imposed upon the Council; but now, without any intimation of what those duties were to be, without saying whether the Members of Council were to be advisers or mere clerks, without announcing any change in their own opinion, the Government were ready to agree to a most important alteration of their Resolution. If the Resolutions submitted by the noble Lord the Member for London had been proposed and adopted, he could understand the course which was now pursued; but, after having deliberately declared that the number should not be more that eighteen, nor less than twelve, Ministers would act most inconsistently if they agreed to limit the number to twelve. He hoped the President of the Board of Control would, upon reconsideration, think it advisable to defer that limitation of number until he had explained to the Committee what were the duties which he intended to impose upon the Council.


said, that the object of the Government in submitting the Resolutions now upon the table was, not to give a definite and precise decision as to the number of the Council, but to elicit the general opinion of the Committee upon the point. The Government thought that the Council ought not to be an inconsiderable one, and they asked the Committee to consider whether the number of Members should be not less than twelve nor more than eighteen. It was necessary to arrive at some result, in order to prepare the Bill which they were to place before the House, and which would contain their definite conclusions. The President of the Board of Control was perfectly justified, and was acting in accordance with the usual course of procedure, when Resolutions were brought forward in order to obtain the opinion of the House, when he accepted what he considered to be the general sense of the Committee. It appeared to be the predominant feeling of the Committee that the number of the Council ought to be fixed at twelve, and not at eighteen. If that were so, the Government were advancing the progress of Indian legislation when they endeavoured at once to come to some more precise conclusion than was to be found in the Resolution, and he agreed with the President of the Board of Control in thinking that the general opinion of the Committee was in favour of limiting the number of the Council to twelve. If he were mistaken in that, it would be in the power of the Committee to prove he was in error.


remarked, that the Chancellor of the Exchequer had stated accurately enough that the object of the Resolutions was, within certain limits, to lay down rules which might afterwards be embodied in a Bill; but the right hon. Gentleman had fallen into a mistake in supposing that the Committee had come to any conclusion as to the precise numbers of the Council. That was a matter for the Bill, but not for the Resolutions; and, for his own part, he thought they should confine themselves at present to saying that the numbers should not be more than twelve. If we were to have a Council as cumbrous as the Court of Directors, little would be gained by any alteration in the system of government. No blame, he thought, could be attached to Ministers for the course they had pursued on the present occasion; but, instead of fixing the number absolutely at twelve, the words ought to be "not more than twelve," leaving the precise number to be hereafter determined by the Bill.


denied that the general opinion of the Committee was in favour of limiting the number of the Council to twelve; on the contrary, it had been proved that the duties could not be discharged by fewer members than eighteen.


said, that the subject before the Committee involved a very important principle, and one which hon. Gentlemen, perhaps, had not sufficiently considered as belonging to it. The question was whether, when the government of India was transferred from the Company to the Crown, the administration of Indian affairs was to be carried on in London or mainly in India. If it was intended that all the details of Indian administration should be judged of and transacted in London, as heretofore had been the custom, then a large Council would be required; but those who, thought that the interference of the home Government ought to be restricted within narrower limits with respect to details, than had hitherto been the practice by the Court of Directors, would probably be of opinion that a small Council would be more convenient than a large one. It was natural that the Company—having begun as a trading association—should exercise the most minute and detailed supervision over all the transactions of those engaged in the conduct of affairs in India; but that was not the manner in which Parliament thought the dependencies of the Crown abroad ought to be governed; and if it should be the opinion of Parliament that the superintendence of the home Government should be more confined to general matters, not touching that mass of details which had hitherto come before the Court of Directors, then it would be found, he thought, that a large Council would not only be useless but cumbrous, and that a small number of advisers would be preferable. He therefore recommended that, instead of attempting now to fix the precise number, the Committee should leave it to be determined when the Bill came under discussion, and when the powers and functions to be intrusted to the Council should have been more fully considered.


said, he agreed generally in the observations which had fallen from his noble Friend. Heretofore many details of business had been brought to this country which, perhaps, it was not necessary to transact here; but, at the same time, it appeared to him that this was not only a change of great importance, but one which could not take place com- pletely for a considerable period. Of course the papers generally sent from India would be forwarded as usual for some time to come, and, if there was a very small Council at first, they would find the mass of papers referred to them such that they could hardly deal with them properly. Under the circumstances, therefore, he thought the proposal of the noble Lord opposite for a Council of twelve a very fair one; but provision might be made in the Bill, not absolutely but conditionally, that, if the business should be found to diminish, the Crown should have the power to reduce the number to ten or eight, as might be thought proper. He thought the number of twelve was not too great at present, but eighteen would be a much larger number than was necessary for the transaction of business. With regard to the notice he proposed to give for adding words to this Resolution, he had since understood that the Chancellor of the Exchequer intended to have fewer Resolutions, and in this case he should not now press his notice; but he hoped the right hon. Gentleman would agree that the question of the appointment or election of the Council should be comprised in the next Resolution.


said, he would remind the Committee that this Council would, in fact, be the Court of Appeal for the Natives of India; but no efficient supervision over the local Government of India could be furnished unless the number of members was large.


said, the amount of business imposed on the Government of India was such that to digest properly the information placed before them, and to mature their plans, would require a considerable number of Members in the Council and its fusion into Committees. Now, whatever the opinion of the Ministry might be on this subject, they ought not to have changed the number of Members from eighteen to twelve without notice. From the remarks of the noble Lord (Viscount Palmerston) it appeared such a change in the number was of much importance as regarded the future government of India, yet there had been no discussion as to the number. It was thought that the Government would abide by the Resolution; but now, all at once, the question not having been brought under consideration at all, the Committee were called upon to limit the number to twelve. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Northampton (Mr. Vernon Smith) said the Committee could not be taken by surprise, because it was known that the Resolution was to be discussed; but he (Mr. T. Baring) certainly ha no idea that a change would be proposed without notice first given. He trusted the Government would see that this was not a fair way to deal with the question, and that at all events they would not press it that night.


remarked, that the Government were in an unhappy position between the hon. Member for Huntingdon, an old member of their party, on one side—and the noble Lord the Member for the City of London, who had got them out of the scrape before, on the other. [Cries of "Question!"] He was speaking as to the constitution of the Council, a most important subject, and hon. Gentlemen had no right to call "Question."


doubted whether it was right now to fix absolutely the number of members in the Council. The Committee hardly possessed the means of determining this question precisely before knowing what the functions of the Council were. If the House was not to be bound by the number mentioned in the Resolution adopted in Committee, what was the use of now discussing the subject? The best plan, he thought, would be to omit in the Resolution all mention of the number of the Council, and then in Committee on the Bill that point might be fully discussed and determined.


said, that no doubt it would greatly facilitate the passing of these Resolutions if they left out all its marrow; and if all the Resolutions were treated in the same manner they might all be passed that night. In that case, when the Bill came to be discussed, instead of passing it in a short time all the discussion would come over again. Having collected generally what was the feeling of the Committee as to the number of the Council, he had endeavoured to fix that number accordingly. In the Resolution as at first submitted the Government had left an interval between the two numbers twelve and eighteen—without binding themselves to either. Their own opinion was, on a strict investigation as to what would be the probable duties of the Council, that twelve would be able to fulfil those duties. For his part, he should be glad if the Committee would agree to fifteen, because, perhaps, it might at first be more prudent to have that number; but the Government believed that the business could be efficiently carried on, and that even Committees could be formed by twelve members. What chance, however, was there of legislation, if the Committee did not endeavour upon every fair occasion to arrive at some decision? If this Resolution were passed without some conclusion as to the number of the Council no time would really be gained, but there would be a proportionate increase of discussion on the Bill, and they ought, therefore, now to come to some definite decision on the Resolution before them. At that late hour, however, he did not wish to attempt to press the Resolution, and if the hon. Member for Huntingdon (Mr. T. Baring) was of opinion that it required further discussion, he (the Chancellor of the Exchequer) was ready to consent that progress should be reported. He hoped, however, that hon. Gentlemen would not carry too far the privilege of moving that progress be reported, and thereby prevent the Committee from deciding upon important points. If the Committee had settled the question now before them to-night they might, when the Resolutions again came under their consideration, have decided upon the elective principle, and after very little further discussion the Government would, no doubt, be enabled to bring in a Bill.


said, he had understood the Chancellor of the Exchequer to state, a short time ago, that they might agree, by Resolution in Committee, that any number of members of Council should be appointed, but that such decision would not be binding upon the house when the Bill was brought under their consideration. If that was the case, he (Sir C. Wood) did not see what could be gained by deciding upon any specific number in Committee. Nor could he understand how the right hon. Gentleman had arrived at the conclusion that the opinion of the Committee was in favour of the number twelve; he had been in the House since half-past four, and had not heard anything to justify such conclusion. An hon. Gentleman had expressed his opinion that the reduction of the number of Directors in 1853 had been a mischievous measure, but he (Sir C. Wood) had heard it stated by some of the most experienced members of the Court of Directors that the alteration then made had greatly increased the efficiency of that body.


said, that the work of the Court of Directors had greatly increased since 1853, and for that reason he intended to move that the Council should consist of fifteen Members.


said, he concurred with the hon. Member for Huntingdon that it would not be advisable to proceed with the Committee at that hour; but if the discussion was to be renewed, he must express his intention to persist in his Amendment to the effect that a Council be appointed of not more than twelve members, and that the members of such Council be appointed by Her Majesty.


then moved that progress be reported, when


said, an Amendment had been moved that the word "less" be omitted, for the purpose of inserting the word "more," and he had to put the question that the word "less" stand part of the Resolution.

Question, "That the word 'less' stand part of the proposed Resolution," put, and negatived.

TEE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER moved that the Chairman report progress.


said, he thought no satisfactory settlement as to the number of members of Council could be arrived at that hour (a quarter to One o'clock). He was not at all aware of the nature of the Amendment which had just been put by the Chairman, and he was glad the Chancellor of the Exchequer had now moved—as he (Lord Vane-Tempest) had attempted to do some time since—that progress should be reported.


suggested, that if the Government intended to make any changes in the Resolutions as now laid on the table, it would be desirable to lay them again on the table with the proposed alterations, in order that hon. Members might know beforehand in what shape the Government proposed to submit the Resolutions.


said, that, of course, if any extensive alterations should be proposed in the Resolutions, they would be placed in a new form before the house; but it would be difficult to substantiate the doctrine that on Resolutions being brought forward alterations might not be proposed in the course of the discussion. On the contrary, it very frequently happened that Resolutions were altered in the course of their progress through the House; and were that not the case, the discussion on them might never end in legislation.


said, he would admit that it was perfectly competent for the Government to make changes in the Resolutions, and he had merely submitted that, as a matter of convenience to the House, the course he suggested should be adopted.

Motion agreed to.

House resumed; Committee report progress, to sit again on Friday.