§ SIR CHARLES WOOD
, in rising to move for leave to bring in a Bill "to confirm certain appointments in India, and to amend the law concerning the Civil Service there," said,—I now have to move for leave to bring in the third Bill of which I have given notice, and I do not know that in some respects it is of less importance than the other measures which I have mentioned. I know that it excites lively interest among certain individuals, who conceive that their personal interests are affected by it; but I do not think that they will or can be affected to any such extent as should induce the House to interfere with that which I believe will be of great public advantage. The good of the public service ought, I think, to outweigh what I venture to call the imaginary injury apprehended by these persons. The object of the Bill is to legalize certain appointments which have for the last fifty years been made in India contrary to law, and to provide that in certain exceptional cases, to which I will hereafter allude, appointments may be made, notwithstanding the restrictions imposed by the old law. In 1793 an Act was passed, the object of which was to prevent jobbing in Indian appointments on the part of the Indian authorities; and it provided that all vacancies occurring in the civil branch of the service, under the degree of Councillor, should be filled up from among the civil servants of the company. That was the law of 1793, and I am not now disposed to question that it was then a proper law. Since then, however, the state of things has undergone a considerable change. At 653 any rate, there is not the slightest doubt that almost from the passing of this Act the Government of India found it impossible, consistently with a due regard to the public service, to adhere to its provisions. At all times the Indian Government, with the sanction of the Court of Directors, whose interest it was to maintain the rights of the Civil Service, deviated from the law to such an extent that I believe I shall not exaggerate when I say that at this moment one-third of the Indian appointments have been made contrary to law. There are three distinct cases in which the law has been departed from. According to the Act all civil appointments in India, such as existed in 1793, must be held by covenanted servants only. Now what is the case? All the civil appointments of this description that are hold by military men, all that are held by Englishmen other than covenanted servants sent out from this country, and all the civil appointments held by Englishmen born in India, or by Natives are contrary to law. In the first place, in what are called the non-regulation provinces of India the Indian Government never for a moment supposed that they were bound by the law, and they have, therefore, bestowed the appointments largely upon military men and others. A few years ago, when I called the attention of the Indian Government to the salaries of the civil servants, Mr. Ricketts was desired to inquire into the matter, and reported fully upon a variety of matters, including this; and I will show, from documents quoted in that report, what are the opinions of various persons bearing upon this subject. In the non-regulation provinces, as I said, the Government never dreamed of being bound by the Act of 1793, but the fact is undoubted that in the application of this Act there is no real distinction between the regulation and non-regulation provinces, and that which is illegal in one is also illegal in the other. Perhaps there never was a more able administrator nor one who more effectually called forth the energies of those under his control than Sir Henry Lawrenee. Though there is hardly whom I should any person in the world look upon as a greater authority in these matters than Sir John Lawrence, yet it is remarkable that all those who were acquainted with both concur in looking upon Sir Henry Lawrence its the higher authority of the two. Sir Henry Lawrence's opinion is given in the following words:— 654He thinks that both justice and expediency demand that military men and civilians should receive the same amount of salaries when employed on similar duties. It is for the public benefit that the present competitions for offices, especially in the higher grades, should exist.Sir John Lawrence, himself a civilian, says—But a good sprinkling of military men is beneficial, especially in a new country; their presence excites emulation.Again, Sir Henry Lawrence says—I go much further in my views of equalization, and strongly advocate that uncovenanted gentlemen be largely mixed with civil and military officers in the non-regulation provinces, and be paid at a similar rate. Such appointments to be by selection after approved service and strict tests from the ordinary uncovenanted ranks. Such competition would both strengthen Government and improve the tone of the services.The above passages refer to offices in the non-regulation provinces, which have been elsewhere reserved for covenanted servants. I come now to the second class. The more general way in which the Government have proceeded has not been by appointing uncovenanted servants to fill the places of covenanted servants, but by abolishing covenauted places, and creating new covenanted places. This has been done to an extent of which hon. Gentlemen are, perhaps, not aware. In 1793, for instance, the assistant-collector must be a covenanted servant. There is no such person now of the same class as before; but there is a deputy-collector, who may be an uncovenanted servant. Sir George Clerk, in a minute drawn up while my noble Friend opposite was in office, says—Adherence being quite impossible with reference to increasing population, crime, and litigation, the restrictive law has been disregarded to a great extent—for instance, by uncovenanted servants being appointed Postmaster General, superintendent of police (Bombay), secretary in the Foreign Department, and by the appointment of 316 existing deputy collectors uncovenanted against sixty-four existing covenanted.I do not blame the Government of India for this course. It was forced upon them by the necessities of the case. Sometimes they broke the law; sometimes they evaded it. It has been precisely the some in the judicial appointments. In former times the judicial officers were covenanted servants, but afterwards a new class of officials were created, called Sudder Ameens, and Principal Sudder Ameens, who are almost without exception Natives or uncovenanted servants. Here they did not break the law, but they turned the flank of 655 it. This process is very clearly described by one well acquainted with the practice as to judicial matters of India. He says—The original jurisdiction in the administration of civil justice, which, in 1793, could for the most part be exercised only by civil servants, passed into the hands of the uncovenanted Judges, not by an absolute transfer of the authority of the covenanted Judge, but by a gradual augmentation of the power of the uncovenanted Judge. In like manner uncovenanted agency is now employed to a much greater extent than formerly in the administration of criminal justice, and in the revenue departments.This, be it observed, is in the regulation provinces, to which nobody questions for a moment that the Act of 1793 strictly applies. Then we come to the last class of cases in which the Government of India has avowedly appointed uncovenanted servants to offices in the presidencies which, under the law of 1793, were held by covenanted servants. Nothing can be clearer than that in 1793 the Secretaries to the Government were exclusively covenanted servants. Now, two secretaryships—Military and Public Works—are held by soldiers, and the assistants in both cases are uncovenanted servants also. In Lord Corowallis's time there was in the Political and Secret Department a secretary, an assistant-secretary, and eight assistants, all of them covenanted servants; at the present time the secretary and the undersecretary are covenanted servants, and the eight assistants are unconvenanted. The same has taken place in other departments, and there is no doubt that such appointments have been illegal. The assay-master, the master of the mint, the military paymaster, the superintendents of police, all formerly covenanted servants, have for a considerable time been uncovenanted servants. A short time ago Sir Frederick Halliday, the Lieutenant Governor of Bengal, during the absence of a civil Judge, appointed an uncovenanted servant to perform the duties. The arrangement was the most convenient which could be made, but, unfortunately, he was an uncovenanted servant and the Government had to remove him. A short time before, however, an uncovenanted servant had been made a collector of revenue at Bombay, and the Court of Directors confirmed the appointment. On this, Mr. Ricketts very justly remarks—The same law applies to both offices. If it was illegal to appoint an uncovenanted officer merely to officiate as a civil Judge, it was at least equally illegal to appoint an uncovenanted officer to be permanently collector at Bombay.656 I mention these matters not to blame the Government of India, because the necessities of the case justify them—and they are rather to be praised for making the public interest and the proper administration of the functions of Government first considerations. Lord Elphinstone not only approves this practice, but in his evidence before the House of Lords, he expresses an opinion that a Native might legally be made a collector or a Judge. Lord Auckland says—An absolute disqualification to all but those in the covenanted service from holding, or from even taking charge in time of emergency of the offices in question would be productive of very great embarrassment and inconvenience.The right hon. Gentleman then proceeded to refer to the authority of Sir George Clerk, Lord Hardinge, and others, pointing out the desirability of having in the public service some offices of emolument and position to which Native gentlemen of character might aspire. Lord Dalhousie, in a minute of the 26th of April, 1854, stated—It is a cause of constant regret with me that there do not exist in the public service some offices of large emolument and high position to which Native gentlemen of character and ability might rise, so that the office and pay of principal Sudder Ameen may no longer be the boundary of a Native gentleman's ambition in the British service.Mr. Ricketts, notwithstanding that he might be supposed to have the prejudices of a covenanted servant, nevertheless, recommended that the uncovenanted service should be admitted to certain offices embracing Executive control. That gentleman's report stated—It will be observed that in the list given there are no offices embracing Executive control, but I would under each Government have a few such offices open to Natives and East Indians. If each Government were permitted to appoint three uncovenanted collectors, three uncovenanted Judges, and three uncovenanted magistrates, or Natives or East Indians thoroughly qualified for the offices, presenting themselves, choosing, of course, such districts as were best suited to the experiments, these classes would be provided with further opportunity of showing their fitness for such positions. I can see many advantages from such a partial opening of Executive offices, and no possible disadvantage, unless the advance of our native subjects towards fitness for offices of high responsibility is considered disadvantageous.He did not think it possible that any man could consider such a result disadvantageous. With regard to the bench of the Upper District Court, Mr. Harrington, as chairman of a Committee of the Legislative Council, strongly recommended the 657 appointment of uncovenanted servants and of Natives. That gentleman stated—I am bound, however, to admit that the Select Committee never contemplated, nor did they desire, that the bench of the Upper District Court should be composed entirely of Members of the Indian Covenanted Civil Service. What they hoped was that the senior or chief Judge of the Court would be a member of that service; that the second Judge would be a member of the English or Irish bar, or of the Faculty of Advocates in Scotland; and that the third Judge would be selected from the uncovenanted judicial branch of the Service, which is composed chiefly of Natives of India.Lord Canning had recommended the admission of Natives to seats on the bench of the High Court. A case had arisen within the last few days exemplifying in the strongest manner the advantage to be derived from a provision such as he intended to propose. Lord Canning had written home proposing that a member of the Indian Council, Colonel Durand, should go out to India and take the place of Foreign Secretary, that gallant officer being most eminently fitted, in the opinion of the Governor General, for the office. Colonel Durand, at considerable personal sacrifice but from a sense of public duty highly creditable to him, responded to the invitation, and the whole of the India Council were perfectly willing that the Government of India should have the assistance desired, yet under the existing law the appointment could not be made. He had stated the reasons for taking the course which he proposed to pursue, because he was anxious to convince the House that when interfering, even to the smallest extent, with the vested interests of the covenanted servants, it was not without very strong and unanswerable grounds in the interest of the public service. His noble Friend who preceded him in the office of Secretary of State became impressed with the necessity of this change. He had found the records of his noble Friend's opinion in the office, and after careful inquiry he had come to the same conclusion. He had no intention to lower the covenanted service. That service had produced some of the ablest men whom the country had ever seen, and, no doubt, it was a great advantage that men going to India should know what prospects were before them. Those who supposed that he was about to injure to any extent the covenanted service had entirely misapprehended his views and intentions. But he thought there were exceptions in which a 658 positive bar against the admission of uncovenanted services to office was a positive evil. The members of the uncovenanted service felt it to be a degradation and a stigma, and it was not fair to call upon them to perform laborious and onerous duties without any prospect of promotion. If they were not fit let them be excluded without a scruple, but let them not be excluded by law from the possibility of rising in accordance with their merits. In the case of Native servants, Mr. Ricketts recommended their admission. He said—The emulation would be useful in stimulating the exertions of both parties, useful in elevating the position of Natives generally, and making them more honest by showing trust in their honesty. The deeper the fall the greater is the fear of falling. Many a dishonest lerishtedar has made an honest deputy collector.He felt, therefore, that with due precautions against the power being abused the admission of uncovenanted persons, English, whether civil or military, and Natives, would be most beneficial to the public service, and he thought the request in the memorial of the uncovenanted servants expressed very fairly what ought to be granted—Your memorialists ask only that the supreme and local Governments be empowered to promote uncovenanted servants who have passed through a certain term of approved service in India to offices now reserved exclusively for members of the covenanted service.They further asked—That the Bar, which at present excludes uncovenanted servants, whatever their merits or special qualifications, from holding offices heretofore reserved for covenanted officers, be removed, and that it be left to the discretion of the supreme and local Governments to promote meritorious uncovenanted servants to such offices, under such regulations as may be deemed necessary.It was very remarkable that, although a number of distinguished men had been bred up in the covenanted service, many of the ablest administrators of India had not been covenanted servants. If one side quoted Mountstuart Elphinstone, Sir Charles Metcalfe, and Sir John Lawrence, the other could quote John Malcolm, Sir Henry Lawrence, and Sir Thomas Munro. A short time ago he was conversing upon the subject with an able covenanted servant, and he said that the change was quite right, and that he knew an instance of an uncovenanted servant who had been employed for years at a salary of £400 a year, who had seen his covenanted juniors 659 rise to £700 a year, and who only the other day, when an officer was required for employment out of the regular course, was selected, such was his merits, for that employment at £1,200 a year. This measure had been considered by the Council. Many of them, of course, did not like breaking into the covenanted rule, but after discussion they authorized him to introduce it as a measure which had their general concurrence. It was honourable to them that with their natural predilections against the change they should have concurred in it, on the ground of the advantage to the public service. He proposed to legalize all those appointments which had habitually been made. He proposed, further, that when any authority in India should think it desirable, under the special circumstances of the case, that an appointment should he made, without regard to the Act of 1793, he should have authority to make the appointment, subject to such regulations as might be made from time to time by the Secretary of State in Council; that the appointment should be provisional; that it should be reported to the Secretary of State, with the special reasons for making it; and that, if not approved within a year by a majority of the Council, it should be void. The regulations would be laid down in England; the appointment would be made in India, and without the concurrence of a majority of the Council in England it would be void. The regulations had been prepared, and they would require, generally speaking, precisely the same qualifications as those of the covenanted service. In order to prevent the abuse of a Governor General taking out a number of friends and appointing them, it was proposed that the officers to be appointed should have resided in India seven years previously, and that they should be qualified in the language of the district to which they were appointed. Natives would be subject to the same tests as Europeans. He thought that with these restrictions no abuse could take place, and that although in an infinitesimal degree it infringed on the vested rights of the covenanted servants, they could not possibly complain of a change so eminently required by the demands of the public service. The right hon. Baronet concluded by moving that leave be given to bring in a Bill to confirm certain appointments in India, and to amend the law concerning the Civil Service there.
§ MR. WHITESIDE
believed that the 660 speech of the right hon. Gentleman would do a good deal to dissipate the impression which had hitherto prevailed in India in regard to this measure. He had received several letters requesting him to state to the House what wore the feelings of the covenanted servants on this subject. In their petition it was set forth that the Act of 1793 contained, along with the rules of the covenanted service, a proviso that no man should be appointed to a situation with a salary of £500 a year unless he had been three years resident in India. The petitioners stated that in the territories which the Company then possessed that rule was almost universally acted upon, and pointed out the advantage to the Civil Service in inducing men of intellect to qualify themselves for the important duties of that profession. He thought that the law of the case was clearly in favour of the civil servants of the Company, because the Act just passed for the better Government of India declared that all contracts and engagements which bound the Company should bind the Crown. The petitioners, however, feared that offices which formerly could be held only by covenanted servants were to be thrown open to all persons without distinction, and prayed the House to prevent such injustice being-done to them. But it appeared that the right hon. Gentleman did not contemplate such a course, because he understood that should any arbitrary act of that character be done by a Governor General of India, it would not be sanctioned by the Secretary of State. The petitioners set forth another ground of complaint, and he (Mr. White-side) thought it was a grievance which they were justly entitled to complain of, and that was the mode in which their retirement was regulated. They stated that they had to subscribe a large percentage of their salary to the Civil Service Fund and Annuity Fund, the objects of which were respectively to make provision for their families on their deaths, and for themselves after a certain fixed period in the service. These funds were supplied by the percentage deducted from their salaries, and they said, very truly, that if their salaries were curtailed the funds in question would of course suffer. They, therefore, claimed compensation on that account; but he did not hear the right hon. Gentleman propose to give them any. He had received a letter from a very clever and active young gentleman in the Indian service, who complained of the heavy de- 661 ductions which were made from the salaries of civil servants, in addition to an income tax at the rate of 10¼ per cent. The position of the covenanted servants, his correspondent showed, would be much prejudiced by the proposed change, as their promotion would be twice as slow as formerly, and their salaries much reduced. He trusted that the right hon. Gentleman would endeavour to frame the regulations so as to redress the grievances of the covenanted servants, and that, in conjunction with the Chancellor of the Exchequer, he would consider how the heavy income tax which the covenanted servants had to pay might be reduced, and less deductions made from the service money of those very, useful and deserving officers.
§ MR. AYRTON
said, he shared the belief of the right hon. Gentleman that the Act of 1793 was introduced for the purpose of suppressing jobbing; and held that there was just as much necessity for maintaining the principle of that Act at that day as when it was first passed. If he had any prejudice at all in regard to the Civil Service of India, it might be expected that, as he had been in India, but had had no connection with that service, he would adopt the prejudice against it which seized nearly all non-official residents. But, making every allowance for the short comings of the Civil Service, and the incompetency of individual members of it, he thought that, on the whole, no measure was ever passed in Parliament which had conferred so much benefit on India as that which established the Civil Service of that country on its present basis. He believed that it had contributed more than anything else to good government—as far as there had been any—in India, and, therefore, he thought it would be the duty of the House to watch with great care any proposal from the Minister of the Crown which would interfere seriously with that great institution. He entirely differed from the view which the right hon. Gentleman (Sir Charles Wood) took of the statute of 1793. It was a mistake to suppose that the statute prescribed that certain offices were to be filled with civil servants, and that one-third of the appointments which had been made since then were illegal. It would be very strange that such should be the case, and that it should never have been brought under the notice of Parliament. The provision in the statute was that all appointments in the civil line of the Company's service should be conferred on those only 662 who constituted the Civil Service in India, but the statute did not specify what should be held to be the civil line of the service. Its object was to provide that the Court of Directors in England should decide what new appointments in India should be in the civil line of the Company's service, and that it should not be competent for the Governor General, or any of the Governors, to appoint their own friends to offices of such a character; but it never was contemplated by the measure that every person in the Civil Service of the Government of India or discharging any civil duties was to be a member of the Civil Service. At the very hour when the Act was passed there, were a vast number of civil appointments in India which were not held by civil servants, and such had been the case to that day. There were two classes of appointments—those in the civil line of the Civil Service, and those in the line of offices held by Natives, and sometimes by Europeans in India. The former class was confined to the Civil Service, while the other was at the disposal of the Governor of India or the Governors of the Presidencies. But, after a time, attempts were made to make appointments to the line without first making representations to the Government in England, and it was to put an end to jobbing of this description that the Act of 1793 was passed. He was not at all anxious to see the Civil Service of the Government, as at present established, extended to all appointments in India. The Government hero ought to consider what appointments should be confined to the Civil Service, and what should be thrown open to Natives. Claims for opening the Civil Service had always been made by Governments in the name of the Natives; but when the power of making the appointments was given it was not exercised for their benefit, but in favour of Englishmen who had the command of influence in the local administration. That was the difficulty with which the House had to deal. Ministers always said they were desirous to promote those whose claims were of the highest character; but no such considerations influenced them in the actual exercise of their power. It was used according to motives of which it seemed impossible for men to divest themselves in the discharge of their public duty. The House should take care that it did not open a new field for corruption. He would express no opinion on the proposal of the right hon. Gentleman; but, if he put forward claims on 663 behalf of the Natives of India, there should be some guarantee given that the appointments should be open to merit, and that they should be given to Natives, and not to English adventurers, who set up comparisons between themselves and the covenanted civil servants, and complained that they did not receive the same compensation. If Englishmen were wanted to administer the affairs of India, they should be sent from this country in a regular manner; but if Natives were employed, they should be paid on a scale suited to them. The scale of remuneration to a Native of India was not more than one-fifth or one-sixth an Englishman would receive for discharging the same duty; and if the scale of salaries were fixed on this consideration it would, he thought be a strong guarantee that none but Natives would be appointed to the posts. He did not wish then to express any opinion on the measure of the right hon. Gentleman, which was one of considerable detail; but every one must feel that the course he had taken was intended to improve the public service, and was, therefore, so far deserving of sup port.
thought the House could not be too vigilant and cautious in considering measures of this kind, which, whether for good or for evil, must have a most important effect on the welfare of India, and he would be sorry, therefore, that the Bill should pass without full discussion. As reference had been made by his right hon. Friend to the part which he (Lord Stanley) took in the regulation of the Civil Service of India, he felt bound to take his own share of the responsibility which belonged to the preparation of this measure. Shortly after the transfer of the Government of India to the Crown an inquiry was instituted into the covenanted and the uncovenanted Civil Service; the opinion of the law officers of the Crown was taken; and he (Lord Stanley) then came to the conclusion that it was impossible to continue the exclusive privileges of the covenanted service as they had hitherto been kept up; and when his right hon. Friend became Minister for India, he ventured to sketch out the plan which he had in preparation on that subject. The plan which he was then about to introduce was nearly identical in principle with that which his right hon. Friend now brought forward. As to legislation on the past appointments in India that was a question on which the House had hardly any choice. The hon. 664 Member for the Tower Hamlets (Mr. Ayrton) had expressed doubts whether they were illegal. But that doubt was not shared by the law officers of the Crown; and when grave doubts were raised as to the legality of so many past Indian appointments, he thought they were bound to lose no time in legalizing them and removing those doubts. As to the future, he did not think it was now worth their while to consider whether it was possible to return to the system constituted by the Act of 1793. He thought to any one acquainted with all that had taken place in India during the last twenty years, such a proposition would appear to be simply impossible. Since that time a great number of appointments had been created, and thrown open, in consequence of the insufficient number of covenanted civil servants and the enormous increase of expense which would be necessary if the covenanted service were increased in proportion. As far as these appointments were concerned, the service had been practically opened and must remain so. The practical question before the House now was, whether they would admit persons not of the covenanted service into those higher offices from which up to the present time they had been excluded. On that subject there might be said to be three different opinions. There was first the opinion of a considerable number of the members of the covenanted service, that their exclusive privileges in respect to these offices ought to be maintained. That, for reasons which he would give, he thought to be impossible, and, therefore, it was unnecessary for the pre-rent to discuss that view. There was next the opinion that a service with exclusive rights and privileges was unnecessary, and that all appointments should be thrown open; but that was a plan which, in the present state of things, he believed would lead to serious evil. It would create a vast amount of Parliamentary patronage, and special qualification for Indian duty would be neglected in the choice of Indian servants. Third, there was a combination of the two plans, on a principle like that contained in the present Bill, by which the covenanted service would, indeed, be maintained in practical possession of its present rights and privileges, without wholly shutting the door to others who fulfilled certain conditions of qualification. As to the maintenance of the covenanted servants in their present position, he believed, as he had said, they would find that it could not be 665 done. The feeling of the Natives, and still more the feeling of the European residents, was such as to render the maintenance of an exclusive civil service impossible. It was not so much that any individual felt aggrieved at his own personal exclusion, but that the feeling of each was that he belonged to a class which by the law of India was not allowed to aspire to the conduct of the higher offices of the State; that was a position in which Europeans, at least, would never acquiesce. Again, it was impossible to say to members of the uncovenanted service, that, however useful and efficient they might be, there should be a limit beyond which they might not pass. Upon the whole he believed, with the right hon. Gentleman, that all the privileges of the Civil Service ought not to be swept away, but that energetic men now excluded from it should be encouraged to consider themselves as possible members of that body. This would put an end to the feeling of envy with which the covenanted service was at present, not unnaturally, regarded. In this settlement of the question there were, no doubt, two dangers to be guarded against; one was the danger of so diminishing the value of appointments to the Civil Service that men of intelligence and ability would no longer be induced to enter it; and you would thus be compelled to raise other men less intelligent and less able to a position in life to which they were not equal; the other, and the more pressing danger of the two, was that an opportunity would thus be given to the Governor General and other persons in high authority to raise their own friends and dependants to office to the exclusion of those who had gone through the training necessary to fit them for those stations. But these were dangers which might be guarded against, and he thought the securities provided in the Bill of his right hon. Friend were sufficient. In the first place, there was the term of residence in India which was required as a qualification. A Governor General rarely stayed in the country longer than seven years, so that by this provision he would not have the power of appointing any of his own friends, and it was not likely he would go out of his way to perpetrate a job in favour of the friends of his predecessor. Then the requirement of a knowledge of the language of the district to which an appointment was to be made did, though in a less degree, give a security that unfit men would not be chosen. 666 He did not know if these securities were to be inserted in the Bill itself; if not, they ought to be. These were matters of too great practical importance to be left to be dealt with by regulations which were continually liable to change. There was a third security, and he thought it the best of all. Supposing an appointment to have been made from nepotism, and in special favour of some individual, it was not likely that the Secretary of State for India would be willing to take the discredit of recommending the appointment for confirmation; and, if he did, it could not be reasonably supposed that a majority of the Indian Council would confirm if. Appointments would require the threefold sanction of the Governor General, the Secretary of State, and the Indian Council. If these securities were not sufficient, he knew not what would be. They were certainly stronger than any securities that at present existed. But what the House had chiefly to consider was whether the injury done to the members of the Civil Service would not be more than compensated by the increased security and popularity of the service itself to which the European residents in India would now be encouraged to look, instead of its being one from which they felt themselves hopelessly excluded. Under ordinary circumstances he would have reserved his opinion of this Bill till the second reading; but on this occasion, as he had some responsibility in framing it, he thought himself bound to take the earliest opportunity of expressing his opinion in its support.
§ COLONEL SYKES
was somewhat amused that, after sixty-eight years' breach of the law, there should be so much anxiety to satisfy the minds of people in India on that point. The Act was, no doubt, passed to prevent jobbery and corruption, and he agreed that too many securities could not he taken against those evils; but these appointments were in so good hands that there could be little doubt that every care would be taken to guard against anything of the sort. He did not object to the Civil Service being thrown open to all comers who were properly qualified whether they belonged to the Civil Service or to what were called the "outsiders." But he thought to whichever class they belonged that they ought to be highly remunerated. They collected a large amount of revenue, and as judges they had cases before them involving sometimes half a million of money. They ought, therefore, to 667 be placed above the reach of temptation and suspicion. He had no objection to the principle of the Bill.
§ MR. H. BAILLIE
agreed with the hon. Member for the Tower Hamlets (Mr. Ayrton) that of the three Bills which the right hon. Gentleman had introduced this required the greatest caution on the part of the House. It was admitted that the Act of 1793 was introduced for the purpose of preventing jobs; and that that law had been shamefully evaded, and evaded for the express purpose of jobs, which had been carried on in India to an immense extent. He did not say that there were not cases in which the law had of necessity been evaded, as in the case of the non-regulation provinces; but in these cases it was doubtful whether the law applied, and so whether it had been evaded or not. To take the case of the Punjab for example, there were a great number of civil servants required, while there were none of the covenanted servants that could be obtained for the purpose. He had no opportunity of knowing what were the safeguards to which his right hon. Friend referred; but he had no hesitation in saying that some such Bill as the present was necessary in the condition into which the whole system of the Civil Service had fallen.
MR. DANBY SEYMOUR
said, he agreed with the hon. Member that the Act of 1793 had been introduced to prevent jobbing, but he did not agree that it had been so shamefully evaded. The fact was, our Empire in the East had increased without a corresponding increase in the number of civil servants. He believed that in each of the three Presidencies the Governments had been in great straits, at times, for legally qualified persons to fill certain appointments when they became vacant. He believed that the Government had no power to reconsider appointments when once made, and he thought it would greatly facilitate a right understanding of this measure and the necessity for some enactment of the kind, if the Secretary of State would lay upon the table the correspondence which took place a few years ago in the case of Mr. O'Reilly. Independently of all considerations of justice, he thought some such measure was necessary to keep up the efficiency of the public service in India. There was always a large deficiency of public servants in India, and there was always a large number of uncovenanted servants. The hon. 668 Member for the Tower Hamlets had called those adventurers who went out to India to fill the situations which were vacant there; but surely they were perfectly justified in offering their services. The hardship was that this large number of civil servants, who had shown themselves equal in merit to the covenanted service, were debarred from filling the high offices to which their merits entitled them; and this Bill only enacted that a man who had distinguished himself in the public service should be competent to hold the high appointments to which his merits gave him a claim to aspire. As an instance of the injustice of the present state of things, he might mention the case of Mr. Venables, an uncovenanted civil servant, who during the mutiny remained in his district, and, unaided by any covenanted civil servant, exerted himself energetically and successfully. The merits of that gentleman were recognized by the Government, which regretted that it had not the power, because he was uncovenanted, to appoint him to the posts which he was justly entitled to fill. Mr. Venables could not be allowed to administer the affairs in a district in ordinary peaceful times, though he had shown himself able to do so in a time of mutiny, and the highest reward that could be conferred upon him as an uncovenanted civil servant was £1,200 a year. In order that the House might clearly see how the present regulations acted, he should move for the production of the correspondence concerning Mr. O'Reilly; and he hoped that the House would in the meantime agree that it was desirable to adopt means for advancing civil servants of extraordinary merits, and at the same time to adopt precautions against jobbing.
§ SIR JAMES FERGUSSON
said, that as this country had now assumed the direct Government of India it behoved the House of Commons to be careful that they did not by precipitate legislation produce ulterior evil consequences. A sister Bill to the present one was introduced into the House last year, consisting of one clause only, and which excited very general alarm. That Bill simply proposed to suspend recruiting in the Indian army, and yet it involved the interests of a large service and the position of a large number of officers, who were anything but satisfied with the regulations which that Bill proposed. Although the present Bill was short, yet it might introduce a new principle, and be a departure from those sound principles of 669 good government by which we had so successfully established the British Empire in the East. He was glad to find that the right hon. Gentleman had spoken with the utmost moderation as to the extent to which he intended to interfere with the Civil Service in India. The Civil Service of India was composed of persons who had devoted themselves from their earliest youth to that service. Having once embarked in that service, no other was open to them; and having entered for those prizes which they looked to attain by long service, it was not fair to let in others over their heads to prevent them attaining that object which had induced them to enter the service, and for which they had exposed themselves to a trying climate and suffered a long expatriation. It would be unjust if the best prizes should be taken by civil servants who had not been entered in a regular manner. In the case of those who since the new regulations for opening the Civil Service to competition had entered the service it would be still more unjust, for it would expose the élite of the youth of this country to the risk of being shut out from the highest prizes by persons who had better influence and more powerful friends in this country. As Lord Macaulay had said, the civil servants of India were distinguished by integrity, disinterestedness, and public spirit, and their just rights should be respected. He agreed with the noble Lord below him (Lord Stanley), that the regulations which the right hon. Gentleman intended to establish ought to be embodied in the Bill. They ought not to be left to the judgment of the Secretary of State, as one Secretary might have different views with regard to them to those of his predecessor. If it was found necessary at home to lay down precise regulations in Acts of Parliament, how much more requisite must it be when we were dealing with the case of a distant empire. The right hon. Baronet had quoted very high authorities, most of whom were de-serious of opening the Civil Service to Natives of India, in favour of his Bill; but he thought that the House ought to have been put in possession of the opinions of the Members of the Council of India on this Bill. A Special Committee of that Council had been appointed to consider this measure, and it was understood that they were not unanimous in their expression of opinion upon it. Some of them saw the danger of placing so much patronage in the hands of the Minister, and required certain safe- 670 guards to be introduced. He thought it was a dangerous principle to introduce a Bill of this kind with a few simple clauses leaving to the Minister of the Crown afterwards to fill in the details in any way he pleased, and denying to the Indian Council the opportunity of expressing an opinion upon the subject. Unless the right hon. Baronet produced the papers which he had declined to give the other evening, and unless he consented to introduce into the Bill the regulations to which he had referred, he should himself propose clauses which would prevent men being sent from this country to fill places of profit which were now reserved for the civil servants.
SIR, HARRY VERNEY
asked whether the Secretary of State would introduce into the Bill a regulation requiring every man appointed under this Bill to have a knowledge of Hindustani?
§ MR. VANSITTART
hoped from the speeches which he had heard that the apprehensions which he had entertained with regard to this measure were unfounded, and asked whether the Secretary of State would lay on the table the dissents of the members of the Special Committee which had considered this Bill? The right hon. Baronet had, with reference to the first of these three Bills, moved for Correspondence which in a great degree supported his measure, and he hoped that he would grant him a similar favour with regard to this one.
§ SIR CHARLES WOOD,
in reply, said, that it would he absurd to require a man who was to be employed in the Madras Presidency to be acquainted with Hindustani—a language which probably no one else in the presidency would understand. He would, before the second reading of the Bill, which he proposed to fix for that day week, consider the propriety of introducing the regulations into the Bill. He did not think it desirable to produce the Reports of Committees of the Council made to the Secretary of State. If the House insisted upon the production of such Reports, the only result would be that the Secretary of State would never appoint a Committee. He might, however, repeat what he had before stated, that he introduced this Bill with the general concurrence of his Council.
§ Leave given.
§ In reply to a question from Sir MINTO FARQUHAE,
§ SIR CHARLES WOOD
was understood to say that the dissents which were to be 671 produced to the House were such as were prepared by members of the Indian Council in cases in which they dissented from the decision of the majority of the Council, or from that of the Secretary of State, if he overruled the majority.
MR. DANBY SEYMOUR
inquired when the right hon. Gentleman intended to take the discussion on the Bills?
§ Bill to confirm certain Appointments in India, and to amend the Law concerning the Civil Service there, ordered to be brought in by Sir CHARLES WOOD, Viscount PALMERSION, and Lord JOHN RUSSELL.
§ Bill presented, and read 1°, to be read 2° on Thursday next, and to be printed. [Bill 164.]