HC Deb 08 April 1859 vol 153 cc1559-60

said, he rose to ask the Secretary of State for India what steps have been taken for removing the political establishment of the India Office to the neighbourhood of the other Public Offices of Government. Last Session he had been under the impression that a new India Office would be erected on the site immediately adjoining the Foreign Office, but it appeared from the discussion that had recently taken place upon this subject, that no steps had as yet been taken in the matter. It seemed quite clear that as the style of architecture to be adopted had not yet been fixed, three or four years must elapse before any new building was erected. The question was one, however, he would take occasion to observe, which was of considerable importance with the view of facilitating the transaction of the business connected with India, and it was, he believed, quite competent for the noble Lord to make the change to which he adverted, Lord Ellenborough had, he believed, before he left office, expressed himself favourable to such a transfer, and he trusted the noble Lord opposite would find no difficulty in the way of adopting his suggestion, particularly when he bore in mind that a sum of £300,000 or £400,000 might be obtained for the site of the existing premises in Leadenhall Street, and that the expense attendant on the change would thus in a great measure be defrayed. Before he sat down he should wish to say a few words on another subject. He meant the sending out a financial Minister to India, as a member of the Council in that country, which the noble Lord that evening announced to be in the contemplation of the Government. Now, he could not be surprised that the noble Lord should have come to the conclusion to adopt that course, which had received years ago the sanction of the Earl of Ellen-borough and other high authorities. There were, however, many Gentlemen conversant with Indian affairs who entertained grave doubts as to the expediency of its adoption. He thought, indeed, it was, in a legal point of view, doubtful whether the noble Lord was justified in acting as he proposed, inasmuch as the spirit of the clause in the Act of Parliament required that one member of the Council should be a member of the legal profession. The noble Lord would find that the legal ground would fail him, and there was also the substantial objection that any change in the financial system of India must originate in this country.