HC Deb 13 March 1860 vol 157 cc514-5

said, he rose lo move an Address for certain papers connected with the subject of the organization of the army in India. The subject involved was one of the greatest importance, relating as it did to the future safety of our possessions in India, and the well-being of 200,000,000 of people. He mentioned the case of an outrage which was committed by an English officer in desecrating' an Hindoo temple, in which some robbers had taken refuge, quite in ignorance; hut, still, the entrance of the officer was a desecration of the temple, and created a very unpleasant feeling in the minds of the people. What he wanted to see was that the attention of officers and others who went to India should be specially directed to a knowledge of the habits and the prejudices of the Hindoo race, in order to enable them to avoid shocking those feelings which had long existed among the Natives, and could not now be removed. It might be that the establishment of a local force might be beneficial, because at present the constant changing of the troops and the continual influx of fresh officers not only was injurious to the service generally, but the manner in which it affected and increased the patronage was by no means advantageous. A local army in India got acclimatized through remaining there many years, and the loss of life was very much less than that among the new-comers; indeed, it was only two per cent as against seven per cent. We had now 600 British officers in a state of uncertainty as to their future position, and they feared that the cadetship system having boon done away with, it might be followed by some change which would be detrimental to their interest. He thought they ought to be relieved from the doubt and distress in which those officers were placed. "With, respect to the production of the Returns he could not believe that the Government could object.

Notice taken, that Forty Members were not present; House counted; and Forty Members not being present,

The House was adjourned at a quarter to Ten o'clock.