§ Order for Committee read.
§ MR. HENNESSY
rose to move the Instruction to the Committee of which he had given notice. A Select Committee which he had the honour to obtain at an early part of the Session, and 232 which had been presided over by the noble Lord the late Secretary of State for India (Lord Stanley), had investigated the whole subject of the manner in which the appointments in the civil service at home were filled up, and in their Report they recommended that the principle of open competition should be applied carefully and gradually to admissions to the entire British civil service. That recommendation was in accordance both with the feeling out of doors and with the whole current of present legislation. A few nights ago, the Secretary for India placed a notice on the paper for leave to introduce a Bill to regulate the Indian civil service, and it was then rumoured, whether rightly or wrongly, that the right hon. Gentleman intended to very much alter and curtail the system of open competition. He hoped the Government would take this occasion to contradict that rumour. In his dissent to the Bill of the Government Mr. Prinsep stated that the measure omitted to notice an important point connected with the officering of the Indian army which ought to engage the attention of Parliament. Mr. Prinsep was quite correct; and this omission rendered the Instruction he (Mr. Hennessy) had been requested to move, absolutely necessary. By the Act of 1858 for the Government of India, it was provided that one-tenth of the commissions for the Indian army should be placed at the disposal of the officers who had served in India, and that arrangement had still the force of law. But under the present Bill what would become of that arrangement? He would venture to recommend that that principle should be carried out. The system of open competition had been introduced into the civil service of India as well as into the scientific and medical branches of its army, and it had produced the most beneficial results. He, therefore, wished to see it extended generally to commissions in the army. It might be said that his Motion would interfere with the patronage and the prerogative of the Crown, but that objection had been satisfactorily disposed of by the President of the Council in a debate in the other House two years ago, when it was shown that the same objection might equally have been urged against introducing competitive examinations into the civil service. According to the testimony of the highest authorities, and amongst others the noble Viscount at the head of 233 the Government, and the right hon. Member for Buckinghamshire, the system had operated with perfect success. The right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Disraeli), when leader of the House, had said:—"I am a firm, though not a headstrong or extravagant supporter of the competitive principle for public appointments. As far as I am able to form an opinion, I think that principle, in its practical application, has been entirely successful." Referring to the apprehension that the power of the Crown would be too much increased by the Indian patronage, and to the fact that the middle classes, who gained India, would lose their share, he said—"It appears to me that that difficulty which has baffled some of our wisest statesmen, and the wisdom of many Parliaments, we have, in a great degree, solved by the creation and development of that very competitive principle of which I have been speaking." Surely this was a proper occasion to manifest our sense of the great advantages conferred on British India by the middle classes, and a proper occasion likewise to show our appreciation of that generous and politic principle—competitive examinations—which so high an authority as the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Disraeli) had thus identified with the successful solution of the capital problem of Indian Government. By his Instruction to the Committee, he proposed that the successful candidates should pass through one of the military colleges, a requisition which was in accordance with the practice in foreign countries. Under the French system every successful candidate in the competition was entitled, according to his means, to the privilege of support from the State. The Prussian system differed from the French in many respects. In the Prussian system the Patronage of the Crown was very limited. The officers underwent a preliminary examination before the colonel, and the principle of open competition was adopted. The Austrian system was still more competitive than the French system, throwing open the commissions of the army to all classes, while it also recognized the principle of granting commissions to the sons of officers. The Commissioners who had investigated this subject had boldly approached the question of the expediency of throwing open the commissions in the British army to all classes by the establishment of a thorough competitive examination. Those examinations had, up to the present, been 234 most successful, and he thought the time had come when they should be extended. Long before the recent changes in the Government of India were thought of, Sir John Lawrence proposed that a large proportion of the commissions in the Indian army should be given by open competitive examination. In late Reports presented to Parliament the success of competition candidates, as contrasted with patronage candidates, was shown. One of these Beports—that of the Rev. Canon Mosely—gives an account of a competition at Woolwich, in which fifty-three cadets were examined together—thirty who had got into the Academy, on the average about nine months, by open competition, against twenty-three patronage-appointed cadets, who had been in the Academy for periods varying from one year nine months to two years nine months; that is to say, it was a competition of patronage-appointed candidates specially trained, chiefly in practical branches of the service, on an average of two years, against competition cadets, trained on an average of nine months. The first four places were won by competition cadets; the fifth by a nominated cadet. Then came no less than nine competition cadets, and only the last two places fell to the nomination cadets. The results of other competitions of patronage-appointed and competition candidates were similar. The usual objection to this plan was that the persons who would gain commissions under it would be of a lower social rank than those who now held them, and that this would have an injurious effect upon the army. The futility of this plea was abundantly shown by the results of recent examinations for the civil service and for commissions in the scientific branches of Her Majesty's army. Of the successful candidates in the former examination, the great majority had been educated at the universities, and of those who were candidates at one of the latter one-third were sons of clergymen, one-third of private gentlemen and magistrates, a large number sons of officers and barristers, and only 4 per cent were sons of persons in business. Considering by whom India was won, and for a long time governed, the middle classes might, in his opinion, fairly receive more than 4 per cent of the commissions in that country. Probably this was one reason why Sir John Lawrence, in a memorandum, to be found among the paper's on the organization of the Indian army, recommended that a system of open competition 235 should be established. There could he no doubt that under the system indicated by his (Mr. Hennessy's) instruction the Home Government would be relieved of an onerous and distressing task, Members of Parliament would be saved much troublesome solicitation, and, above all, the military administration of India would be conducted with greater skill, with more economy, and, as a natural result of a higher educational standard, with a greater regard for the feelings and interests of the Native population. Indeed, recent events furnished us with the most conclusive evidence that many of the British officers, entrusted with grave authority in India, had, from an ignorance of popular customs and a disregard of national habits and traditions, given great cause of complaint and encouragement to disaffection. As long as we send out officers to India who seem inclined to treat the Natives as slaves, who seem unable or unwilling to appreciate the noble qualities, of that unfortunate people, and who add the grossest military outrages and insults to the civil misgovernment and financial burdens we have imposed upon them, so long will our rule in India be a blot upon civilization. The executive barbarity, the breaches of faith, the unfeeling disregard of Eastern customs and prejudices, and the military insolence, which characterize British administration in India, might be traced, to a great extent, to the ignorance and want of ability of those entrusted with the Queen's authority. By sending out more intelligent and better educated men, something at least will be done to remedy these acknowledged evils. Another, though less important reason influenced him in desiring to throw open the whole Eastern service, and sweep away the exclusive system of patronage. In Great Britain and Ireland there was a large number of young men possessed of good abilities, fair attainments, and an honourable ambition, to whom it would be only just that we should throw open some of the rewards to be obtained in India. On their behalf, and with an earnest desire to promote the efficiency and increase the intelligence of the Indian service, he begged leave to move the Instruction to the Committee of which he had given notice.
Motion made, and Question proposed,—
That it be an Instruction to the Committee, that they have power to make provision therein that the half of all vacancies to be filled up in the ranks of the European commissioned officers of
Her Majesty's line or local troops serving in India be allotted to the sons or orphans of officers, line or local, or the sons or orphans of Her Majesty's Civil Service of India, who have served in India, and who shall have passed the prescribed examination, and that the remaining vacancies be filled up by open competition, the successful competitors to pass through one of the Royal Military colleges.
§ MR. SIDNEY HERBERT
said, he thought the Motion was not practically of a nature to carry out the excellent intentions of its author towards the Indian military service and the Queen's army generally. At present there was a certain amount of the patronage of the Indian service, one-tenth of the whole, which was to be given to the orphans of officers in the Indian army, of the Civil Service of India, and of the Queen's officers serving in India; but commissions, to be of any use to such persons, must be given without purchase, for the option of a commission which cost at least £450 was no favour or advantage to a young man without means. To meet that difficulty the Government had determined that the class he had mentioned should have, as far as possible, all their commissions, without purchase, upon, entering any one of nine local regiments from which the system of purchase, as practised in the Queen's army, would be excluded; but if half of all the commissions which fell vacant in the local army or in the Queen's army serving in India were to be given to a certain class, the immense majority of those commissions would be, of course, with purchase, and therefore of no advantage to the proposed recipients. He was not an advocate for giving commissions to any particular class. The army was not made for officers, but officers for the army, and he thought a general system of entrance and promotion was far better than that of selecting a special class for a particular amount of patronage. If the attention of the hon. Gentleman had been called to the Report of the Committee on Military Organization, of which the right hon. Baronet (Sir James Graham) had been Chairman, he would have seen how few commissions were available without purchase in time of peace in the Queen's army. During times of war or anticipated war, however, they amounted to a great number. From 1853 to 1859 upwards of 3,000 commissions were given away without purchase; but previous to the late war the number of commissions disposed of without purchase was not more than, upon an average, sixteen per annum, 237 and in some years it fell as low as three. Of such commissions a considerable number must be given to non-commissioned officers who had earned their rank. If the hon. Member's Motion were agreed to, an enormous proportion of commissions would be given to the class of persons mentioned, as compared with other classes; and again they would be of no advantage, as the great majority of commissions by purchase would not be available for orphans or persons in distressed circumstances. The hon. Member had read a number of extracts in favour of open competition, but the object of his Motion was to limit the amount of competition.
§ Notice taken that Forty Members were not present. House counted, and Forty Members being present—
§ MR. SIDNEY HERBERT
resumed: At that late period of the Session he did not expect that any hon. Gentleman would seek to deprive the Government of another day in the progress of business. The Government were maturing a plan for a better arrangement under which candidates having passed the Military College could obtain those commissions by purchase, after a successful competitive examination. In those arrangements the most scrupulous regard would be paid to the officers in the Indian Civil Service as well as to those in the Queen's army. Under those circumstances he trusted that the House would reject the proposition of the hon. Member for King's County.
§ COLONEL SYKES
said, the right hon. Gentleman, on a former occasion, had pooh-poohed the question of promotion in the local army, and now, to his surprise, he had endeavoured to induce the House to believe that it would be of no advantage to the sons of officers in the Indian service to have a right of nomination in consequence of their birth. The right hon. Gentleman seemed to forget that there were 4,980 European officers now on the list of the local army; and it would require 300 gentlemen a year to supply the vacancies which occurred in that number. The late Court of Directors, with a generous consideration for the claims of old servants, military and civil, and for the sons of Royal officers who had served in India, used to allot about three-fourths of their patronage in satisfaction of these claims. And what was now the prospect of these 4,980 officers? One-tenth, that is to say, about thirty appointments were annually to be allotted to the sons of those 238 officers. [Mr. SIDNEY HERBERT: About twenty.] It appeared that there were only twenty allotted to them, so that the injustice was even greater than he had at first supposed. Well, the officers in India now got their commissions without paying anything for them, and yet the right hon. Gentleman sought to make the House believe that the increased number to be allotted, as proposed by the instruction to the Committee, would be of no advantage to the orphan sons of officers—although it insured them Commissions gratuitously. The Royal army was just as much interested in this question as the local army. Upon the score of humanity even he trusted that the House would concur in the proposition of the hon. Member for the King's County.
§ MR. MONCKTON MILNES
said, he wished to read the protest of a member of the Indian Council, Mr. Willoughby, against some statements which had been made in that House:—Excluded from Parliament they have no means of defending themselves, even when unworthy motives are imputed to them. They have been charged with a lust of power and a greed of patronage. Strange that the gallant officer, who stated in Parliament that it was simply a question of patronage, should not have felt how he exposed to a similar retort those who advocate amalgation. I am satis6ed, however, that there is not a single individual in the council who would not willingly relinquish the so-called patronage, and I would suggest the following mode for carrying out the object:—Let the number of cadetships now distributed by the Secretary of State in Council among the sons of persons who have served in India, in the military or civil services of Her Majesty or the East India Company, be increased from one-tenth (Clause 35, 21stand 22nd Victoria, cap. 56) to one-third or such other proportion as may be deemed expedient, and let the remainder be open to public competition into the Royal Military College at Addiscombe.This was the declaration of one of those who were accused of unworthy motives in their attempt to uphold what from their knowledge and experience they believed to be the interests of India.
§ SIR DE LACY EVANS
said, he had hoped that the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary for War, after the strong language he had made use of, would have remained in his place until the conclusion of the debate. For himself he felt bound to support the proposition of the hon. Member for the King's County. It was a very remarkable circumstance that they had heard that night, for the first time, from the Secretary of State for War, the word "purchase" introduced with regard to the 239 Indian army. Not a word had been said about purchase before. Now they knew that the head of the English army was a determined supporter and promoter of the system of purchase, and that distinguished and illustrious personage was the most prominent in promoting the Bill which was now before the House. He should be sorry to use any strong language with respect to the Secretary of State for India, or the Secretary of State for War, because he believed them more worthy of commiseration than of indignation. He believed they were compelled to take the course they did by a powerful influence which they felt themselves unable to resist. The Indian Secretary was chargeable with inconsistency in this matter, for whereas he had, at a comparatively recent period, brought forward a Bill providing for a local army in India, he now was advocating a Bill which wholly set aside former legislation. The right hon. Gentleman said the gravity of the mutiny in India bad compelled the Government to forego their intentions. Gentlemen who were induced with difficulty to interest themselves in Indian questions supposed that he might be right, there being no papers for their guidance. Certain pertinacious persons, however, persisted in demanding these papers. The noble Viscount—who he was glad to see was indulging in a nap as he required it—administered the most jocose rebuke to the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Horsman) for his peculiar pertinacity; but, whatever objections might be urged to certain expressions which had escaped the right hon. Gentleman, those who had the interests of India at heart had some reason to feel obliged to him for the course ho had pursued. It was suggested on the part of the Government that their patronage and that of the Horse Guards should be waived and a college should be formed. But the question was, who was to permit persons to enter the college? Why, the Commander-in-Chief. And then the country was told that there was no patronage at all? Why, it was a trick and a delusion. He was in favour of the competitive system. In the Royal Commission on the Purchase System Lord Panmure and the Commander-in-Chief expressed themselves very doubtfully as to the eventual results of competition; and the supporters of the competitive system felt that when two persons of such high position and authority spoke in this way it was questionable whether the system would be maintained. But 240 somehow the Members both of the late and the present Government listened to the representations of the examiners, and after a year or two it was admitted that the system had answered extremely well. The Earl of Derby, he believed, stated in the other House that only one appointment made on the competitive principle had proved unsatisfactory. Some persons at first were horrified at the notion that Commissions would be obtained by young men who had nothing in their favour except that they were rather clever; and such persons appeared to think that cleverness was not an adequate qualification. It turned out, however, that those young men were not only clever, but well-conducted, and were competent, both physically and mentally, for these appointments. He thought, therefore, that unless the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary for India could bring forward a stronger case than had yet been urged, the general scope of the argument of the hon. Member (Mr. Pope Hennessy) could not be objected to. The Secretary for War had made a remarkable observation. He said that it had been contended that the officers of the local European forces in India were of a different class from those who composed the officers of Her Majesty's army, but that he did not believe a word of it. That was a strong expression considering that the right hon. Gentleman had had no practical experience of either army, but he (Sir De Lacy Evans) had experience of both, and insisted that there was a considerable difference. He had referred to the Army Lists, and while in the Indian army he only found five names of "honourables," in Her Majesty's army there were 200 or 300 peers or sons of peers among the officers. There was also a large infusion of the aristocracy of wealth as well as of blood. Then came back the original question, was it wise to put an end to that be dy of middle-class officers who had rendered such good service in India? The Resolution of the hon. Member might be open to question in details, but upon the whole it was one to which he (Sir De Lacy Evans) should give his support.
§ SIR EDWARD COLEBROOKE
said, he also would give his cordial support to the Motion of the hon. Gentleman opposite. The legislation on which the right hon. Gentleman, the Secretary for India, had embarked, was of an unexampled character. The Government plan was very wide and large; especially that portion which 241 provided that the troops of the local Native service should be officered by a selection from officers of the Line. He thought the gravest objections were opposed to that proposition; but as he had already pointed them out to the House, he should, not repeat them on the present occasion. The Bill would interfere with the existing law, not merely by giving large additional patronage to a department in which the public had not the utmost confidence, but by interfering with the status and position of officers of the Indian Army, notwithstanding the guarantee of 1858.
§ SIR GHARLES WOOD
said, he could assure the hon. Gentleman that the Bill, if passed, would not at all affect the guarantee contained in the Act of 1858, and never had been intended to do so.
§ Question put—
§ The House divided:—Ayes 15; Noes 73: Majority 58.
§ SIR JAMES ELPHINSTONE
said, he rose to move that it be an Instruction to the Committee that they have power to make provision for the future regulation, discipline, and patronage of the European forces serving in India. The terms of his Motion were purposely ample to embrace all the aspects of the question he wished to bring under the notice of the House. He was far from wishing to embarrass the House by making a longer statement than was necessary; but he was of opinion that the attention given to Indian subjects by that House was hardly commensurate with their importance. He had endeavoured to improve what little personal experience he had on the subject by reading carefully all the papers which had been brought before Parliament on the subject, and if it had not been for the paucity of information, he should not have presumed, sailor as he was, to have taken up the question. In reading the various Minutes which had been drawn by the most distinguished Indian authorities on this subject, he had been struck with the great moral preponderance in favour of maintaining a local force in India. In particular he had read the able Minute drawn up by Mr. Wil-loughby, and generally adhered to by the Members of the Indian Council, which he believed to be the most exhaustive treatise on the subject which had been laid before Parliament. The first paragraph related to the danger which India would run under the new system of being denuded of troops at a season of Imperial emergency. The Secretary of State for India might say 242 that there was no chance of this ever happening, but it had happened in the Crimean war, when troops were withdrawn from India and never replaced. Many of the disasters attendant and consequent on the annexation of Oude were attributable to that cause. Mr. Willoughby next brought forward the sanitary considerations which rendered it advisable that India should always be garrisoned by soldiers inured to the climate. His own experience enabled him to say that this was of vital importance. He had seen a regiment landed from England in a first-rate state of efficiency decimated within a few weeks of its arrival by the effects of the climate. He well recollected the frightful visitation in the neighbourhood of Bangalore, when almost the entire wing of an European regiment was lost on its march from Bangalore to Madras. The 78th Regiment, in its march from Kurrachee to Moultan, lost 2 officers, 25 sergeants, 9 drummers, 439 men, 47 women, and 169 children. The same thing had happened in China, where troops from England had suffered immensely, while the local Europeans had not lost a man. Mr. Willoughby's next reason referred to the fact that until very lately there had been scarcely a dissentient voice against the plan of a local European army. Lord Clyde, General Mansfield, and General Grant were of that opinion not very long ago, and it certainly behaved those Gentlemen to come forward with some more cogent reasons than any they had yet assigned for the change which had taken place in their opinions. Among those who were still in favour of a local force were three Governors-General, the Earl of Ellen-borough, the Marquess of Dalhousie, and Earl Canning, Lord Harris, Sir Henry Somerset, Lord Stanley, Sir James Out-ram, Sir B. Frere, General Vivian, Sir J. Laurence, General Birch, Colonel Baker, Colonel Sir Philip Melville, Colonel Green, Colonel Durand, Mr. P. Grant, and Mr. Bicketts. Sir James Outram, in the Minute which he had drawn, alluded to this change of opinion, and expressed a hope that the recent conduct of the local European troops—which he presumed had had considerable influence in producing the change of opinion—would be fully explained by the Secretary for India when the subject was discussed by Parliament, so that no Member of either House might give a vote to the prejudice of the existing army under an erroneous impression as to 243 their language and conduct. Sir James proceeded to point out that the noble Lord at the head of the Government, when the Bill transferring India to the Government of the Crown was under discussion, treated it as a matter of course that the men would have their discharge offered them. He carefully guarded himself against admitting the propriety of their claim; but he felt that, considering the difference of legal opinion on the subject, there was considerable excuse for the men regarding the statements and opinion of the Attorney General as the quibbles of a lawyer. Mr. Willoughby's next reason was because he did not see how any amalgamation could be effected without raising discontent among the local European troops, and violating a second time the conditions on which they enlisted. It was stated in a General Order, dated June, 1859, that the sole change would be in the designation of the troops; that they would be deemed the Indian military forces of Her Majesty; and that the previous terms under which they enlisted would be carefully observed. It was supposed in this country that the local Indian army was annihilated; but the fact was that 22,356 men and officers of that army were still left, and the question arose what was to be done with them. The next reason of Mr. Willoughby was, because the Royal Engineers were not adapted, while the local Engineer corps were especially adapted for service in India both in peace and war, and because to relieve 80,000 troops every ten years would entail an intolerable burden on Indian finances. He thought that when they came to look at the plan shadowed out by the Government, they would be convinced it would throw an enormous expense upon India. There would be 8,000 relieving and 8,000 relieved men continually at sea every year. There would be 5,600 recruits to meet deaths. There would be 4,000 invalided, or whose time had expired; and there would be 4,000 going to relieve them—so that there would, in all, be 29,600 men hors de combat. But, moreover, a regiment brought home bodily from India would be of no use for twelve months. Supposing a regiment during cold and wet weather, like that of the present summer, were landed at Portsmouth, and were sent to Aldershot, the whole of them would be very soon on the sick list. On the other hand, a regiment proceeding out to India direct from this cold climate would for some time after their arrival be completely 244 disorganized. Until the plan of the Government was tested by experience, it was impossible to say what the number of non-effectives would be. Mr. Willoughby's next reason was because no plan or scheme had as yet been devised, by which amalgamation could be effected without a violation of the Parliamentary guarantees made to the Indian army in Clauses 56 and 58 of the Government India Bill of 1858:—The first of these clauses secured to the officers of the Indian army the like pay, pensions, allowances, and privileges, and the like advantages as regards promotion and otherwise, as if they had continued in the service of the Company.' The second clause guaranteed 'any claims to pension, or any claims on the various annuity funds of the several Presidencies in India,' which an officer might have had previous to the passing of the Act; and the proper interpretation of these clauses was given by the then Prime Minister, the Earl of Derby, when he introduced the India Bill into the House of Lords, on the 15th of July, 1858, and explained, that the Bill provides, as far as it refers to individuals and bodies, that they shall have reserved to them all the rights, privileges, and expectations which they were led to form at the time of their admission to the service.'He should be very sorry to see the army of India handed over to the tender mercies of the right hon. Baronet the Secretary of State. He belonged to a branch of the Company's service which was reduced in 1833, and he retained a very lively recollection of the manner in which he was treated. He was driven from a very high point in that service, a fund to which he had paid nearly £3,000 was confiscated, the pensions to widows were withdrawn, although that did not so much matter then, as he was not married; he was put upon a pension of £200 a year, the junior officers were sent adrift with but scanty compensation, and for years he contributed to the support of the warrant officers of the ship to which he belonged in the Poplar workhouse. With that experience the right hon. Gentleman would excuse him for not wishing to hand over brother officers to the tender mercies of Her Majesty's Government, for he was convinced that faith would not be kept with them, that they would be treated according to the whims of the fluctuating majority of the House of Commons, and that, probably, any one rising to defend them would address a number to whom it would be the duty of some hon. Member to call the attention of the Speaker. Mr. Willoughby's next reason was—Because it was a great object to secure for service in India, not only in a military, but also 245 in a civil and political capacity, a large body of officers, who going out young became attached to India, and, entertaining no views or expectations beyond India, were induced to make themselves intimately acquainted with the manners and customs of the country, the languages, peculiarities, and even prejudices of the various tribes and peoples who inhabit it.This was the most important point of the whole controversy. They might depend upon it that a man who had enjoyed the luxuries of the Junior United Service Club would not settle in India in the same way as a boy, who uncontaminated by the society of this country, looked to India as the field in which he had to gain his spurs, and to the Natives as the subjects whom it was his birthright to govern. He would adduce in support of this statement the evidence of an officer whose name was an honour and a credit to his country, and who was not born with a silver spoon in his mouth—Sir James Outram. Sir James Outram said—Hitherto the officers had been mainly derived from the middle classes of England. They came out healthy, ingenuous youths, ignorant of the enjoyments and dissipations of life, and full of expectations of a country which was to be their home for the next twenty or thirty years. On their arrival they were drawn into contact with people who had acquired knowledge of the Natives, their language and religion, and of civil and military affairs. From them they took their tone, and really became ambitious to acquire a thorough knowledge of the country and its concerns. They were thrown into intimate intercourse with the Natives, and learnt to feel a friendly interest in them. They were thus enabled to remove many misapprehensions from the minds of the Natives, and to win their affections by redressing their wrongs and giving them practical aid in a variety of ways.The present system was, perhaps, an anomaly. Officers, it was true, were not always present with their regiments. One might be found superintending some great work here and another there. It was, however, scarcely fair or consistent for the right hon. Gentleman (Sir Charles Wood)—one of whose colleagues in the Cabinet was at Pekin and another at Toronto—to find fault with a practice in which the Ministers themselves indulged. Mr. Willoughby also adduced as arguments against the change, that it would injure the morale of the Native army, diminish the authority of the Governor General, and overwhelm with work an already overburdened department at home. When they reflected on the wide and complicated nature of the military administration of India, involving the direction of three local armies under separate heads, the transport 246 of troops to and from India, and a vast amount of other arrangements, it was obvious that it was utterly impossible for the Horse Guards, already fully occupied with the superintendence of the Queen's army at home and in the Colonies, to discharge these additional duties with credit or success. The tendency of the change would be to create a central bureaucracy of the most objectionable kind, which would paralyze the whole empire to its extremities in Asia, and might prove fatal to its very existence. Mr. Willoughby pointed out, further, that the division of authority between the Governor General and the Secretary of State for India was best adapted to check the abuse of patronage, and that it was essential to the good government of India that first nomination to the service and subsequent promotion should not be vested in the same hands. Sir Charles Trevelyan, who was a great authority with hon. Gentlemen opposite a short time ago, if not so still, and who was really an able, though sometimes an imprudent man, remarked,—The weak point of the Horse Guards is in reference to the higher class of Staff appointments, which is called in England valuable patronage; but here the India rule that all Staff appointments are to be at the disposal of the local Government provides a satisfactory remedy.The next argument used by Mr. Willoughby was that the proposed change would remove the check at present imposed on the tendency to incur excessive military expenditure on account of India, and to cast undue charges upon the Government of that country. He himself could regard the proposition now made only as the first great step towards an arbitrary mode of government by means of the extensive patronage which would be placed at the disposal of the Government. The patronage of the military service of India, of the local uncovenanted service, of the numberless appointments which would spring up in every direction as India became more civilized and the means of communication were multiplied, would place an engine in the hands of the Government which might be wielded for the most dangerous and arbitrary purposes.
Had this Bill been brought in at an earlier period of the Session, there would have been time carefully and deliberately to consider it, and nothing would have induced him to act an obstructive part. But, having wasted their time in the consideration of abortive treaties, of a Reform Bill 247 which was intended only to be talked about and bandied from one side of the House to the other, of a financial scheme which had broken down from point to point, they were asked at the fag-end of the Session to decide this great and important question, which involved the permanence of our Empire in the East, and to expose the military administration of India to the influence of a fluctuating Parliamentary majority. Another of Mr. Willoughby's reasons against the change was that the officers and men of the local army fraternized more with the Natives than the constantly shifting troops of the Line could do. He had the authority of Sir James Outram for saying that the ages of officers in the army who went to India averaged from 28 to 38—a period of life when their habits and prejudices had become fixed, and when they could not adapt themselves to Indian life, or acquire fresh languages, as well as they could have done at an earlier age. Thirty years ago, as a youngster, he had had some experience in the transport of Queen's officers, to India. He knew that a great improvement had taken place among them as a class since then; but he recollected that on one occasion, about the year 1824, out of a batch of twenty-two officers, only two or three were under 40 years of age, and only a couple of them could sign their own names. Of these two one had been a midshipman, and the other had been at Sandhurst. There could be no doubt that the amalgamation of the two forces would tend greatly to unpopularize the Queen's service, and would prevent many men from joining it. There was a great number of men who went into the Line for the mere purpose of amusement, and of getting a certain knowledge of accounts and of the management of affairs, which enabled them, when they "came into their estates, to become useful and agreeable members of society. None of these would relish the idea of Indian service. But there was no such class in the Indian army. The officers there went out to India to work, and had no idea of living luxuriously at their clubs, or of shining in the fashionable world. He agreed with Mr. "Willoughby also in believing that the present time was the least opportune that could have been chosen for such a change. The time was badly chosen for forming a new body of from 5,000 to 7,000 officers. Sir Bartle Frere, a high authority, had written a 248 short Minute on this question, in which he showed that the local European army had not been the creation of any individual soldier or statesman, but had grown up with the growth of our marvellous Indian Empire, that it would be inconsistent with a wise and prudent policy to supersede it by the present scheme, and that the outbreak of the mutiny, which was quite as likely to have occurred under the management of the Horse Guards, was not sufficient for the proposed change. Officers high in Her Majesty's service had assigned the indiscipline of the local regiments as a reason for doing away with them. Now want of discipline was comparative. He had himself seen at one and the same station a Queen's regiment which was a perfect disgrace to the service, and whose barracks were at night a perfect pandemonium of drunkness and debauchery, and another Queen's regiment than which no body of troops could be finer or better ordered. He witnessed the 18th Regiment march into Bombay after the events at Jellalabad, and never in his life did he see, nor was he, perhaps, ever likely again to see, such a regiment. There would always be contrasts between the state of different regiments, and therefore there was no weight in the argument attempted to be drawn from that circumstance. For himself, he had never heard but one opinion expressed by Sir L. Cole and many other competent Indian authorities on the good discipline of the local European force. He thanked the House for the great patience with which it had listened to him. He humbly hoped that the delays which would be interposed to the passing of this measure would be successful, and that the Government would accept the advice of those who regarded this as a question of conscience, of deep and awful responsibility; that they would take time to send out to India for the purpose of assuring these 5,000 officers that they would be fairly and hourably dealt with; and that the great settlement so recently come to would not be destroyed piecemeal, or alterations, of which no man could see the issue, be introduced into the foundations of our Indian Empire.
Motion made, and Question proposed,—
That it be an Instruction to the Committee, that they have power to make provision therein for the future regulation, discipline, and patronage of the European Forces serving in India.
§ SIR DE LACY EVANS
(who was imperfectly heard) said, if there were any 249 irregularity in his again addressing the House, the blame was due to the manner in which the Government, relying on the indifference of Parliament to such questions, particularly at that period of the Session, had sought to carry through this most important measure. They were now near the end of July, when a great number of Members were doubtless anxious to enjoy their shooting. The House, in his humble opinion, had not displayed the decorous dignity which became it on so grave a subject as a question of India. When the Minister for India introduced the Bill, he had hardly finished his statement when 200 Members went away from the House, leaving the debate to be carried on by some dozen or two Members, who, having either been in India or taking a strong interest in this matter, desired to give it proper discussion. The same thing was repeated night after night; and if anybody called attention to the fact that there were not forty persons present, then the Ministerial train-bands were brought in to keep a House from some place hard by—he know not exactly where, although, doubtless, it afforded them more agreeable employment than taking part in the business of the country. This convinced him forcibly of the truth of a sentence in a letter from the Duke of Wellington to his brother, the Marquess of Wellesley, in which that great commander observed, "The real truth is that the public mind cannot be brought to attend to an Indian subject." He did not, however, think the Government would have so far presumed upon the indifference and comparative ignorance of the House on this question had the Bill been introduced, early in the Session. The right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for India had told them that the authorities for and against the amalgamation of the armies were pretty equally balanced; that he had himself been long undecided on the point; but that he had now made up his mind to do exactly the reveise of what he did in August last. The right hon. Gentleman had forgotten to tell the House in any clear and satisfactory manner how he came to change his views. The public out of doors entertained a tolerably decided opinion that the initiative in this matter came not from the right hon. Gentleman himself, nor perhaps from his colleagues, but from a higher source. The House had been treated unfairly by the right hon. Baronet and by the noble Lord at the head of the Government with regard to the pro- 250 duction of papers. They had been assured by the noble Viscount that if they passed the second reading of the Bill the papers which were asked for would be produced at the next stage. But what had subsequently taken place? It was said the papers were very voluminous, numbering 800 pages, and on the morning of the day, when the next stage was to be considered, an instalment of those papers only was given, and the House was forced into a discussion of the Bill. The right hon. Gentleman had thrown out hints that the change which had taken place in his opinions, and the opinions of some of the general officers, was owing to some very grave and terrible mutiny which had taken place, and that there were considerations of such gravity connected with that mutiny that it was desirable that the local force should no longer exist. He thought he would be able to show to the House that no such great mutiny as had been hinted at had taken place. Lord Clyde had acted most judiciously in regard to this matter. He suggested to the Governor-General to appoint a Committee to inquire into the subject, and on that occasion the men came forward, and in a most respectful manner stated what were their grievances. Earl Canning had distinctly stated that the statements made by the noble Viscount had a very great effect in causing the outbreak in India. General Sir Charles Stewart also, writing to the Commander-in-Chief, said that many of the men grounded their claims on part of the speech of Viscount Palmerston. The same fact could be abundantly proved from the petitions of the men themselves, in which these petitioners alleged that Lord Palmerston had stated in Parliament that any soldier who did not choose to come under the new regulations would of course be entitled to his discharge. "As to the charge that the mutineers intended to make common cause with the Sikhs, what was the fact? The Government in their alarm caused the letters of the private soldiers to be stopped in the post-office and examined, and there they found a letter from some foolish fellow, saying that if their grievances were not redressed they would unite with the Sikhs. But if the letters of soldiers, or even officers, in this country were examined, many foolish expressions would be found in them. There were, perhaps, one or two letters from soldiers to their sisters in Tipperary or Kerry, complaining of their treatment, and those 251 letters were paraded as proving that grave discontent existed. Lord Clyde was reported to have stated that no officer of the local army was fit to be intrusted with a command; but he would not believe, until he heard it from Lord Clyde himself, that so distinguished an officer had uttered any such expression. At the present moment several Indian officers were commanding-divisions with the highest approval of the Government, and if Lord Clyde had really made the statement attributed to him Earl Canning had met it in the most unanswerable and decisive manner. He was astonished that Ministers should seek to carry a Bill through Parliament by disparaging the character of their own military officers in India. Their depreciatory remarks were in striking contrast to the glowing eulogium passed by Earl Canning upon the heroic conduct of that portion of the Madras army, the Fusileers, which was actively employed in the suppression of the mutiny. Lord Clyde, on leaving India, thanked in handsome terms the officers and soldiers of the two services for their gallantry, endurance, and discipline. What had been the conduct of the authorities in this country with regard to those troops which were disbanded in India and sent back to England? Why, as soon as they arrived here recruiting sergeants invited them, most zealously to join the British army, and he found there were at Woolwich, at the present moment, a thousand of these men whom the Secretary at War described as disloyal and unworthy to be in Her Majesty's service. Under these circumstances he thought the Government were bound to bring forward more substantial reasons for the course they pursued. With regard to the question of patronage, the opinion of the Marquess of Wellesley was thus recorded:—If the King's Commissioners for India and the Court of Directors should at anytime agree to co-operate in filling from home all official vacancies which shall occur in India, it is evident that the result of such a combination might he the transfer of the whole local patronage of India, or of a certain share of it, to the Crown. Whatever share of the patronage of India should be obtained by the Crown in this manner would ho exercised in the most dangerous and objectionable form, for as the appointments to office would be made in an indirect manner, and through several successive channels of authority, no direct responsibility would attach to the Ministers of the Crown; and the influence of the Crown might become considerably extended through a secret and unobserved course, and without the possibility of public control. Such a system would be 252 sufficiently objectionable, even in its application to the public and constitutional interests in England; its application to the public service in India is, however, infinitely more perilous.He thought this bore a distinct reference to what was proposed to be done. The course proposed would open up the most enormous field of patronage in the world, and was therefore most objectionable, not only in respect to India but this country.
SIR MINTO FARQUHAR
said, he felt great interest in the subject, and a careful examination of the papers which had been laid before the House, led him to believe that the reasons which had been stated by the Secretary for War as those which had induced him to change his mind since the 10th of August last year were most unsatisfactory. He regretted the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary for War was not then in his place, because in the course of a speech which he had made on the Bill before the House, he brought a serious charge against the local European forces. In concluding that speech the right hon. Gentleman drew a comparison between the conduct of certain regiments which had lately gone out to China, under the command of Sir Hope Grant, and those in the service of the East India Company. The officers of those regiments were in the receipt of Indian pay, whilst the men were not, and the latter believing Indian pay to be their right, represented the case to their officers, who promised to refer it to the proper authorities. Now the right hon. Gentleman stated that in that ease there was not the slightest discontent or dissatisfaction; that the representations were made by the officers to the proper authorities; and that the latter decided that the men had a right to Indian pay, which was at once generously granted to them. That was the instance which the right hon. Gentleman had compared with what had taken place in respect of the local European forces in India. Well, what had happened in the ease of the latter? When the Government of India was transferred to the Crown, the men naturally supposed that upon that event they would be allowed their discharge, or a bounty on re-enlistment and they had been encouraged to suppose so by a statement made in this House by the noble Lord at the head of the Government. But disappointed in that expectation, they did exactly what was done by these regiments in China—they made known their complaints to the commanding officers. It was notorious that the opinion of the 253 Commander-in-Chief and the Chief of the Staff was in favour of the men, but the Advocate General and Lord Canning determined that their claim was not a valid one, and this decision was confirmed by the opinion of the legal authorities at home. Was this a parallel case with that cited by the War Secretary, in which the men got all they asked for, while the local army in India, though the Commander-in-Chief was on their side, found their claims rejected on the strength of a lawyer's opinion? In the papers which, after much delay, had been placed on the table of the House, there was abundant evidence that all the best authorities in India were of opinion that the men only asked what was their due. In a despatch from Lord Clyde to the Military Secretary of the Indian Government, dated November 10, 1858, it was pointed out that in the attestation of a soldier on joining the Indian army he was asked whether he would serve the East India Company only, and that no alternative of serving the Crown was apparent. Nothing could be more clear and distinct than the opinion of the Commander-in-Chief upon that point. Many officers had stated that the dissatisfaction arose from the men being refused any bounty, and being transferred from one service to another without any proper explanation being vouchsafed to them. There could be no doubt that there had been great mismanagement, which had cost the country an enormous sum of money. These very men who had accepted the discharge offered to them, had been equally invited to re-enlist upon their arrival in this country. He was informed by a gallant Friend near him that there were 600 men now at Woolwich who had been re-enlisted from the Indian army, and those men were amongst the best at that station. To found the Bill before the House on what was now said to be mutiny of the worst character, but which was called discontent in the blue-books laid on the table, and represented as more in the character of a strike in the speech of the Secretary of State for India on the 10th of August last year, was absurd. He had been told by persons come home from India, that if the men had had a sovereign a-piece given to them to drink the Queen's health, accompanied by a few good words, the matter would have been settled quietly, and nothing more would have been heard of what had been miscalled a military mutiny. He was exceedingly surprised at the sudden change 254 of opinion that had come over the mind of the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary for India upon this subject—a change which, up to the present moment, he had not attempted to explain. The blue-books showed the inconsistency of the statement that the mutiny had been the cause of this Bill. The dates of the public documents contained in them contradicted such an impression. The fact was, that the men in India were induced to avail themselves of the excuse which their change to the Queen's forces gave them to get home to England to see their wives and families, believing at the same time that they would most probably be re-enlisted, as had been the case in many instances. There was not mutiny, but discontent shown that they should have been handed over like bullocks or other chattels as they expressed themselves from the service of the Company to that of the Crown without bounty and without proper explanation. Lord Clyde had himself borne testimony to the brilliant services of the officers of the local European army in upholding the honour and dignity of the English name in India. The colours of one of the Bombay regiments bore the names of ten battles; those of a Madras regiment thirteen battles; and those of a Bengal regiment twelve battles. The 1st Madras Eusileers were selected by Sir Henry Havelock to lead the van of his army. They captured Cawnpore, and worked their way to Lucknow; and these were the men who, standing shoulder to shoulder with their gallant comrades of the Line, had with them successfully put down the mutiny of the Native Indian Army. He should certainly support the Motion of his hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Portsmouth.
§ MR. ROEBUCK
said, as this was a very important question, and as many hon. Gentlemen were anxious to speak upon it, while Ministers had not yet done so, he begged to move the adjournment of the debate.
§ VISCOUNT PALMERSTON
I certainly will not make any opposition to the Motion, finding the debate cannot finish to-night. I can only state that the duty of Ministers is to sit here and listen to any speech which any hon. Gentleman may make, and to any extracts with which they may favour us from the papers before the House. Of course, when an hon. Member is at a loss for any further argument, it is natural that he should eke out his speech by read- 255 ing. I wish, it, however, to be clearly understood that we attach great importance to this Bill; that our patience is inexhaustible, and that we shall be quite prepared to sit here till Christmas in order to get it through.
§ MR. HORSMAN
said, he regretted the spirit in which the noble Lord had mot the Motion for the Adjournment of the debate. He might possibly find himself met in the same spirit, as those who were opposed to the Bill were equally endowed with patience to sit till Christmas. Moreover, while it was not unusual for hon. Members to read extracts, it was no less common to find Ministers, when at a loss for argument, resorting to jests. He could, however, assure the noble Lord he would find great difficulty in jesting away the opposition to this Hill. The earnestness of its opponents would not be defeated by his levity. The noble Lord said the other night, in introducing a measure to that House, that serious matters ought not to be treated with levity, and he therefore, hoped, with regard to this Bill, the noble Lord would now practice what he then preached. The noble Lord said the Government attached much importance to this Bill, that their patience was inexhaustible, and that they would sit till Christmas to carry it through Parliament. Would the noble Lord tell the House what particular interest it was intended to gratify and promote by passing this Bill? Who wanted the Bill? Who asked for it? Who would make it necessary for them to sit till Christmas? Would the noble Lord answer those questions? The House had seen some of the greatest questions that could be submitted to their consideration, one after another, thrown aside—questions on which the Government had come into office, and to which they were committed, abandoned; while office, contrary to all precedent, was retained. Was such a thing ever before known in the history of Parliament? ["Oh, oh!"] Yes, they had had quite enough of that. There was no such intolerance as when a Liberal majority abetted a Ministry in overriding the forms and practice of the House. That tyrannical majority had accomplished great things this Session; but if they thought that in July they were quite as strong and irresistible as in the month of February, the opponents of this Bill would show that they were somewhat mistaken. They had now come to a very serious point in this matter. This was the 256 26th of July, and the noble Lord told them, with that light bombast by which he knew so well to throw over a great question, that they would sit there till Christmas. He had said so before. Did ho not say so the other night with regard to the Bankruptcy Bill brought in by the Attorney General? Did he not tell them that the patience of the Government upon that subject was also inexhaustible? Was not that a Bill for which the whole country was looking? Was not that a Bill of enormous importance to all their constituents? And yet, while one day the noble Lord said the patience of the Government was inexhaustible, the next week he abandoned it, as he abandoned the Reform Bill, and every other Bill when he found the numerical majority was against him, and yet continued to retain office. He did not, therefore, attach much importance to the statement of the noble Lord that he was prepared to sit till Christmas in order to pass this Bill. With all respect to the noble Lord, on whose honour and veracity he wished to place the utmost reliance, he did not give much credit to that statement. He, therefore, repeated to the noble Lord that, on this question of the Indian army, they had been treated in a manner of which, he would venture to say, the noble Lord's own official experience of fifty years, under every different sort of Administration, furnished no precedent. The noble Lord would find no precedent for it in the Administration of Viscount Melbourne, in the Administration of Earl Grey, in the Administration of the Duke of Wellington, in that of Lord Liverpool, in that of Lord Castlereagh, in that of Mr. Addington, or in any previous Administration to which, during a long series of years, the noble Lord belonged. But they were not prepared to be overridden upon this, one of the greatest questions which had been brought before the House, affecting the retention of the Indian empire by the Queen; a Bill being brought in of a single clause, an abstract Resolution—a dodge, he must call it, to avoid submitting any plan to the House—he repeated that on a question involving the retention of that great empire, won by the valour of so many heroes, and retained by the wisdom of so many statesmen, they were not prepared to jeopardize all this because the noble Lord cared nothing for the public interests in comparison ["Oh, oh!"]—he repeated it deliberately—he said in comparison with that peculiar influence to which on that occasion he would 257 not more particularly allude, and which made him so desirous to pass this Bill. The noble Lord was determined to force this Bill through the Commons and through Parliament, while, as far as the could see, no one in the House desired it—no one in India desired it; the whole Indian Council was against it; all the best authorities were against it. It had been introduced without notice. Information had been kept back. No plan was produced; only the noble Lord said his patience was inexhaustible, and he would sit there till Christmas in order to carry it through. Well, now, the House of Commons and the Ministerial majority had shown themselves capable of great things; where there was a party with no great knowledge, and no strong convictions, they were not likely to have any very great scruples; and, as he believed nineteen out of every twenty of that majority had not read the papers, or taken any pains to inform themselves on the question, but were ready to go into any lobby into which the hon. Member for Lewes might invite them, he, for one, would say that he would not bow to any tyrannical majority—he would yield to reason, but he would not be overborne by force; and he promised the noble Lord he would find it very difficult, unless he substituted argument for jests, to compel them, even if they did sit till Christmas, to pass this unconstitutional and unprecedented measure which he was endeavouring to force down the throats of the House of Commons.
§ MR. MONCKTON MILNES
said, he hoped Her Majesty's Government would believe that those of their followers who never differed from them except with great pain, and under circumstances of great difficulty, in opposing, as far as the forms of the House would admit, this Bill for the abolition of the local army of India, were actuated by a real desire for the public good, as far as their knowledge and experience enabled them to judge. It was a question not to be voted on without thought or reason, and therefore he trusted hon. Members would study the valuable papers which had been placed upon the table, and then, if they sat till Christmas, he firmly believed the discussion which took place would only tend to make every division more adverse to the measure introduced by the Government. It merely gave the Government power to do something else. What was that something? Let the Government say distinctly what this was 258 to lead to, what was the real object and meaning of the measure, and what substitute they proposed.
MR. J. B. SMITH
said, that he did not wish to offer any factious opposition to a measure which, in his opinion, was the most important which had engaged the attention of the House during the Session, but, having listened to the arguments which had been adduced with reference to the proposed amalgamation, he must confess they appeared to him to be all on one side. The noble Lord (Lord Palmerston) had taunted hon. Members who were opposed to the scheme with reading extracts, but he could hardly be aware, when he did so, of the effect which the statements contained in those extracts had produced. The fact was that the House, worn out as it was at the present late period of its labours, had not time to devote to the acquisition of a thorough knowledge of the papers which bore upon the question, and that not one out of every twenty of its Members had read them with any degree of attention. Having left the House with only twenty-one Members in it when the second reading of the Bill was under discussion in order to procure some refreshment, he had found on his return that there were 200 present, that number having, when the division took place, increased to 400, the great majority of whom had not listened to the debate, and knew nothing of the subject on which they had voted. Since then, however, in consequence of the statements which had been brought to their knowledge by means of the extracts which had been read to the House, several hon. Gentlemen who had voted for the second reading had declared their opinions with respect to the measure to have undergone a change. Under those circumstances, and taking into account the late period of the Session, when it was impossible that hon. Members could set about acquiring the information which was necessary in order to enable them to arrive at a just conclusion on the subject, he trusted the noble Lord would see the expediency of withdrawing the Bill and postponing legislation to another Session. If the Government did not consent to act upon that suggestion, then the course which he should advise the opponents of the measure to pursue was to go on reading extracts until their object was attained. It was, in his opinion, extremely doubtful whether, if hon. Gentlemen generally had read carefully as he 259 had done the Minutes of Sir James Outram and Mr. Willoughby, the Government would retain that majority which they had upon the previous stage of the measure secured.
§ COLONEL SYKES
said, that communications which he had received from several gentlemen, civil and military, in India, led him to believe that a strong feeling of dissatisfaction was growing up in that body of 4,980 officers of the local army of India who would be affected by the Bill, and who, from the accounts of the debates in Parliament which they received, were induced to form the opinion that their interests were being dealt with with the utmost recklessness and inattention by the House of Commons. The question before the House, however, was less to be considered as tending to the injury or promotion of the interests of any particular class, than as bearing upon the future safety of our Indian Empire, and the best mode of reconciling the rule of a comparatively trifling number of Europeans with the obedience of 200,000,000 of the Native population of India. For his own part, he could not help thinking that the annual accession of fresh European blood to that country, which the proposed annual reliefs of regiments would effect, and the fact that those of our race who were sent out there were for the first five or six years after their arrival disposed to look upon and treat the Natives as "niggers," must ultimately tend to impair, if not altogether to annihilate, our authority in India.
§ MR. NEWDEGATE
said, he wished to know from Her Majesty's Government why they proposed to abandon the power of maintaining a local European force in India. He had voted against the second reading because he could not understand why Her Majesty's Government should abandon the power of raising and maintaining a local force in India.
§ Debate adjourned till To-morrow.