HC Deb 13 June 1861 vol 163 cc1032-57

Order for Second Reading read.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read a Second time."


said, that although it appeared that the noble Lord the Member for King's Lynn (Lord Stanley) had made common cause with the right hon. Baronet the Secretary of State for India in reference to the passing of this Bill, which sapped and would ultimately destroy a service in which some of the best years of his life had been passed, he hoped the House would permit him to offer a few observations. The right hon. Baronet, in introducing his Bill, observed that its objects were to legalize certain appointments which for fifty years and more had been made in India, and to provide that appointments might be made in certain cases, notwithstanding the provisions of the existing law. With regard to the first of these allegations, it seemed to him that the legality of the appointments referred to had been fully recognized by successive Acts of Parliament passed in 1813, 1833, 1853, and 1858. It was rather remarkable that, though the technical illegality of the appointments had long been known, it was never deemed necessary to legalize them by a special Act of Parliament until it was thought expedient to use such an Act as a sort of shoeing-horn to draw on a clause in order to injure the Covenanted Civil Service. As regarded the necessity of throwing open that service, that had already been done by s. 32, 21 & 22 Vict. c. 106. By that Act, this exclusive Service vice, as it was the fashion to call it, had been thrown open to free and unreserved competition. So open was it in this respect that it was competent for any young man to present himself at the India House in January or July of any year, and, provided he were of the prescribed age, he could claim to be examined. In consesequence of that Act parents had been put to great expense in the education of their sons for that Service; because such was the severity of the examination that it not only exceeded that for any office or department of the Civil Service of this country, but instances had occurred and were occurring of the health of a young man being so seriously impaired by the cramming to which he had been subjected preparatory to his going before the Examination Commissioners that after a short sojourn in India be had been ordered home on medical certificate and compelled subsequently to relinquish the Service. Now, the system which prevailed in England was the very reverse of that. All nominations merely for permission to compete for the Civil Service appointments rested entirely with the Government of the day, and it would be regarded as a breach of Parliamentary decorum were a Member sitting on the Opposition side of the House to submit an application in behalf of a young man, however high his attainments might be, for the purpose of his being permitted to compete along with other candidates. In England, therefore, a parent was forced to submit to the humiliating necessity of interceding with an avowed supporter of the Government of the day for leave for his son to be examined to prove his fitness to enter the public service of his native land. This Bill actually sought for powers to do away with that test of merit, and to substitute in its place Parliamentary influence, nepotism, and jobbing of the very worst description, breaking faith at the same time with those who had gone out to India under the competitive system. Among other plausible reasons for this proceeding it was said that it was impossible to procure a sufficient number of civilians to fill the appointments consequent upon increase and additions made to our Indian territories. It was, no doubt, true that the list of candidates diminished every year, and that fact had been confirmed by the Sixth Report of the Civil Service Commissioners, which had been laid on the table within the last few days. But what was the reason? Why, the high standard of the examinations and the abstraction of the great prizes from that pro- fession. Reduce that standard and preserve the prizes and they would get any number of young men. The standard might be advantageously reduced without impairing the competitive principle, and without substituting for that principle the wholesale jobbing which was sought to be established by this Bill. If we required proof of what would be the results of the working of this Bill, it was only necessary to refer to the correspondence of Lord Cornwallis, recently published, and to the last speech which Lord Macaulay made in that House. He was in a position to state that within a few weeks of his much-lamented death, Lord Macaulay mentioned to a Member of the Indian Council that he still retained his opinion, and expressed his willingness to record it in writing. Lord Macaulay said— But my firm opinion is that the day on which the Civil Service of India ceases to be a close service will be the beginning of an age of jobbing—the most monstrous, the most extensive, and the most perilous system of abuse in the distribution of patronage that we have ever witnessed. Every Governor General would in such case carry out with him, or would soon be followed by, a crowd of relatives, nephews, first and second cousins, friends and sons of friends, and political hangers-on; while every steamer arriving from the Red Sea would carry to India some adventurer bearing with him letters from some powerful man in England, all pressing for employment…Now, against evils like this there is but one security, and, I believe, but one, and that is, that the Civil Service be kept close."—[3 Hansard, cxxviii., 747–8.] Lord Macaulay added— That excellent and valuable man, Lord William Bentinck, in the month he left India, said, 'I have now been here seven years, and during that time I have had to dispose of immense lucrative patronage, and I have never but once in all that time been able to do a single service to a single old English friend.'"—Ibid., 749.] The Right Hon. Baronet, the Member for Herts (Sir Edward Bulwer Lytton), on the 15th June, 1855, in a speech which he delivered in this House, said— Let me again impress upon this House that it is not enough to subject any candidate to a rigorous examination to decoy into the public service the rising energy and talent of the country, unless you set before them all the lawful prizes of the profession, and convince them that not one such prize shall be abstracted from their ambition, and bestowed upon gentlemen who, however able, are not connected with the service. If the public service is to be really a profession, it ought to be as monstrous to give one of the great prizes in that service to a man who has not been actively distinguished in it, as it would be to give a clever lawyer the Colnelcy of a Regiment, or a gallant officer the Mastership of the Rolls." [Hansard, cxxxviii., It should he borne in mind that by the Act the 21st and 22nd of Victoria, "all contracts, liabilities, and engagements upon the East India Company were made equally binding upon the Crown," and that as the present members of the Indian Civil Service, numbering something less than one thousand persons, went out to India with certain rights guaranteed to them, and as they on their part had, agreeably to the terms of their covenant, subscribed a large percentage of their salaries to the two funds, known as the Civil Service Fund and the Civil Service Annuity Fund, they were clearly entitled to compensation. Yet would it be believed that no compensation clauses whatever had been inserted in the Bill? With regard to compensation there were two ways in which it might be granted. It might be granted either by refunding to a member the amount which he had subscribed to these funds with indemnity for past services, or by guaranteeing the Widows and Orphans 'Fund, and by granting increased pensions at the expiration of service. Unless some such provision were made the right lion. Baronet might depend upon it that he would experience the same difficulty and create the same feeling of discontent which he had raised among the military officers by his amalgamation measure of last Session. Although the right hon. Baronet hoped to reconcile them to that measure by offering them a miserable pittance of £50 a year and staff employment, he believed that there were some 1,000 or 600 officers totally and entirely without employment. Without following the right hon. Baronet into the whole of his introductory speech, he would merely observe that he laboured under a misapprehension in saying that "there is no such appointment as assistant collector;" on the contrary, there were just as many now as formerly, and on referring to the East India Register for 1860, he found that there were in the Bengal Presidency alone no less than 139 posted assistants, and 23 unposted. He could also produce heaps of witnesses to prove that it was to its very peculiar training—namely, that of commencing as assistant collector, and then gradually rising to be a deputy collector, joint magistrate, full collector, magistrate, and civil and sessions Judge—that the Covenanted Civil Service' had gained its high reputation and efficiency. As the right hon. Baronet had quoted Mr. Mills's work on Representative Government he hoped the House would also permit him to quote a brief passage from that work. Mr. Mills said— It is in no way unjust that public officers thus selected and trained should be exclusively eligible to offices which require specially Indian knowledge and experience. If any door to higher appointments, without passing through the lower, be opened even for occasional use, there will be such incessant knocking at it by persons of influence, that it will be impossible ever to keep it closed. The only excepted appointment should be the highest one of all. The Viceroy of British India should be a person selected from all Englishmen for his great capacity for government. He took upon himself to say that this measure would be as unpopular with the Natives of India as with the Civil Service. The Natives already complained that a different class of men were sent out to India now—men who did not appear to possess that traditionary sympathy towards them which existed in the days of our Metcalfes, Thomasons, Colvins, Lawrences, Edmonstones, Plowdens, Prinseps, Yules, and a host of other bright Indian names. He was really very reluctant to detain the House longer than he could possibly help, but he could not sit down without alluding to the very extraordinary manner in which the right hon. Baronet had behaved in regard to this Bill. The right hon. Gentleman, in reply to a question which he put to him on the 8th of March last, assured him that the only Bills of importance which he proposed to bring in this Session were those relating to the Council and the amalgamation of the Courts, Nos. 1 and 2 Bills. He then withheld from the House the dissents or protests of his Council against this Bill. It appeared to him that the right hon. Baronet, with the active assistance of the noble Lord the Member for King's Lynn, was determined to destroy that glorious Service by whose untiring energies and cordial co-operation with their gallant military brethren that magnificent empire had been won and governed—a service which had existed pure and unsullied since the year 1765, when it was recast by its beloved chief, Lord Clive, and which had not only on several occasions received the thanks of the Sovereign and both Houses of Parliament, but had been spoken of in highly eulogistic language by successive Governor Generals, from the high-minded Lord Wellesley to the present Lord Canning.


said, he quite dissented from the opinion expressed by the hon. Member (Mr. Scully) that hon. Gentlemen in that House, unconnected with India, did not feel a deep interest in Indian subjects. For himself, and for others who were placed in the same circumstances with himself, he must express his fullest sympathy with the right hon. Baronet, the Secretary of State for India, when he expressed his deep sense of the responsibility attaching to the introduction of three of the most extensive measures Indian policy which it had ever been the lot of any man to bring down to the House in one night. An equal a mount of responsibility attached to every Member who gave a vote on those three great measures of reform. But their position was different, and in some respects less favourable for arriving at a correct judgment on these matters than that of the right hon. Baronet; for he was surrounded by a Council, composed of men of long Indian experience and of the highest ability, to guide him; while they were deprived by an inconsiderate vote of the presence in that House of Members of that Council. The propriety of the course which he (Mr. Liddell) had suggested when the Government of India was transferred to the Crown was now fully apparent, when they were called upon to decide on measures which changed the governing power of India and established new courts of judicature, and when they were called upon to make a sweeping change in the administrative body, without the benefit of the assistance which such a Council could afford. The point they had to consider was, whether those grave objections were had been urged against the measure were not more than counterbalanced by its advantages. These objections were mainly two: one of them was, that it aimed a blow at the system which had produced such a distinguished body of men as the civil servants of India. He fully admitted that, unless proper safeguards surrounded this measure, it might give a death-blow to the Civil Service of India. And when they spoke of that system, they must not forget that it had been described in this House as one which had grown up under favouritism, nepotism, and jobbery; but a more honourable set of men could not be found than the civil servants connected with the Government of India. That body had, nevertheless, grown up under the old system. A large change had been made in the service in 1853, which had been followed up in 1858, and they had not yet had time to judge whether the new system would produce men equally eminent. The next objection was that this was a breach of faith with the aspiring youth of this country who had been invited to compete for appointments in the Civil Service of India. But, on the other hand, it must be remembered that it was in their favour that the old exclusive body was destroyed, and it was but reasonable to expect that some regard would be paid by them to the claims of the State at the present junction. It was for the House, then, to say whether the objections to the change outweighed the advantages of it. A further objection had, indeed, been made—that by the proposed alteration an amount of patronage was placed in the hands of the Secretary of State, which would work to the detriment of the public service. But he did not think the Bill was fairly open to that objection, though he still thought the House ought to have distinctly placed before them the regulations that were proposed, in order that they might be assured that proper restrictions and safeguards, upon the authority of the Secretary of State, were inserted in this Bill. He would now come to the recommendations in favour of their acceptance of this Bill. They had first of all the stern fact before them of the great number of persons who ex necessitate rei had been appointed to fill the vacancies created by the extraordinary emergencies that had arisen. These persons in the Bengal presidency alone had been stated to amount to 800. He believed that at the present moment all these appointments were in strictness illegal, and the object of this Bill was to legalise them. He wished to call attention to a Minute of the Governor General, issued so lately as August of last year, in which he said, speaking of the low ebb to which the Civil Service of Bengal was reduced, that it admitted of no remedy but a great increase in the Civil Service, if the covenanted Service was to be maintained at all. He stated that in the Punjab and Oude, which, being non-regulation provinces, admitted of a larger infusion of the non-covenanted Service than elsewhere—there were in the Punjab, out of 116 assistant and deputy commissioners, 71 uncovenanted, where the proportions ought to have been about equal; that in Oude, out of 36 such appointments, 26 belonged to the uncovenanted Service, there were three vacant, and no covenanted servants were available to fill those vacancies. The remedy which the Governor General suggested was that these places should be thrown open for competition among the junior officers of the army; and Sir Bartle Frere, a high authority, concurred with him. He must remind the House that the great competitive system, from which so much was expected, had proved inadequate to supply the demand. In July last year 80 prizes were competed for, and only 150 persons came forward to compete; so that, for some reason or other, the prizes that were held out in India failed to induce a sufficient choice of qualified candidates to offer themselves. He thought, therefore, that the Government had no choice but to widen the field. He did not argue for a great enlargement: he hoped the powers given by this Bill would be used discreetly, wisely, and sparingly, but he could not but think that great advantages would be derived by the Indian Government from opening up the service, and that it would instil new vigour and honest rivalry into the system itself. What had they lately seen in India? They had sent out some of their ablest financiers to restore the embarrassed finances of India. Were they received with jealousy? Had not their mission been eminently successful? He hoped and believed the same results would follow from the infusion of new blood into other parts of the system of Government. And that led him to the last feature of the measure he wished to notice—the effect which this measure would produce on the Native mind in India. That was a feature so valuable that in his mind it outweighed every objection that might be urged against the Bill. They all knew the effect which the prospect of advancement in life had on all classes of society, from the boy in the village-school to the highest member of the Bar. What was it that cheered the learned Attorney General in the midst of his laborious life but the hope of his one day reaching the Woolsack. They knew that of late the Natives had devoted themselves to European studies; that they were eminently qualified by nature for literary attainments; and they were entering in large numbers upon the study of law and jurisprudence. By the Act of 1853 the hopes of the Natives of India had been raised by the declaration that henceforward no distinction would be made, either of race or religion, in the appointment to the highest posts under the Government. He was at a loss to see how this declaration could be reconciled with the maintenance of a strictly Covenanted Civil Service. Colonel Durand lately used these remarkable words "that the English had struck no root in India, that they existed only on the surface, and their only source of influence was through the military power." He was glad to find that that able man was himself to benefit by this change of the law, and that though not of the Covenanted Service he was to be appointed to fill the office of Foreign Secretary to the Council of India. He hoped he would inaugurate in his own person this beneficial change of system, which would elevate the Natives not only in office but in their own eyes, and would abolish the distinction of abject submission on the one hand and complete domination on the other between the governors and the governed. He believed that by opening posts of responsibility and emolument to Europeans and Natives alike, we should do more to fix our rule in India upon a firm and substantial basis than by any other measure our Government could devise.


said, he thought his hon. Friend the Member for Windsor (Mr. Vansittart) had shown unnecessary alarm when he talked of this Bill sapping and destroying the Civil Service. If there were I the least danger that this Bill would have I any such effect, he should be the last man to give it his support. There were no greater names in our history than the names of Indian civil servants, nor had the Natives of India ever had better friends. The Service, now that it was an open competitive Service, was in a very different position to the time when it was a close: Service. Such being the case, he did not object to the alterations proposed by this Bill, provided that certain words which he thought necessary were inserted in it—for, as it now stood, he feared it would be a most dangerous measure. He had much confidence in the present Secretary for India, and he hoped he should have as much in future Secretaries, but it did not go quite so far as that of his hon. Friend opposite. The opinion of the Council of India had on some occasions been dealt with somewhat lightly; on two important measures—the imposition of the income tax and the amalgamation of the armies—it was well known the almost unanimous opinion of the Council had been overruled. The manner in which the promise regarding the medical service of India had been disregarded was a proof, too, of the value which was to be attached to mere promises. What were the facts? It was announced that the Natives of India were entitled to all places which were open to Europeans, and the medical service was particularly mentioned. But, after several young Natives had come over to this country to educate themselves at a great expense, and had obtained distinction here, they were suddenly told that the Secretary of State had changed his mind, and that since the amalgamation of the armies they could not hope for army medical employment in India. After considerable pressure had been put on the Government they were told that if they liked they might go to Sierra Leone. This was an illustration of how little they could trust in promises, and how necessary it was they should have definite arrangements included in the Bill. Therefore, unless words to the effect that a residence of seven years in India, a knowledge of the Native languages, and, perhaps, in some cases, an examination should be necessary to entitle a man to employment in the Civil Service, he should be very much disposed to oppose the Bill; but, probably, the right hon. Gentleman would be inclined to give way to the almost unanimous opinion of the House. Two classes of persons would be affected by this Bill—the independent Europeans and the Natives. With regard to the European settlers, he should be glad to see men duly qualified holding the positions in India to which they were entitled from knowledge of the country and of the habits and languages of its inhabitants. Such appointments had already been made, and one of the objects of this Bill was to legalize them. The great danger of jobbery would arise from persons going out from this country with strong recommendations from persons in authority at home or with influence with persons in power in India. He had certainly heard lately of one or two remarkable cases in which there had been something very nearly approaching to jobbery. Another object of this Bill was to legalize appointments which might be made, and the want of some such measure was strongly illustrated by a case which had lately occurred. Captain Meadows Taylor had distinguished himself very much in au official capacity in the ceded districts of the Dekkan. By his exertions roads had been made and a variety of improvements had been carried out, and there was no man who was regarded by the Natives of that part of India with greater respect. When those districts were annexed to the Crown the Government refused to appoint him to the government of them because he was not a covenanted servant, and had appointed in his place Captain Cooper, who, as the head of the Enam Commission, was one of the most unpopular men in the West of India. As regarded this class of persons, he thought it essential that they should have that knowledge of the country which could only be acquired by long residence, and he thought seven years was a very reasonable period to require. As regarded the Natives, the question was more difficult. He thought they ought to open Civil Service appointments to Natives the same as to Europeans, but there was the difficulty of the expense of coming over to this country for the purpose of passing an examination. To remedy this he should propose one of two things—either that the Government should send young men over to the colleges here, and pay their expenses to the time of examination, or that there should be a Board of Examination in India, to which young Natives could apply who had prepared themselves to compete for Civil Service appointments. He quite agreed with the right hon. Gentleman in the principle on which the Bill was founded. If they gave the Natives an education equal to the education received by Europeans, it was absurd to withhold from them employment in the Civil Service such as their attainments entitled them to. A body of highly educated discontented young men would be more dangerous than an army of mutinous Sepoys; and, therefore, he was happy to see that by this Bill an opportunity would be given them of entering the Civil Service of the Government. But, at the same time, unless such terms as he had mentioned were introduced, he should be unwilling that the measure should pass, because it would open a door that would interfere seriously with good government in India, and might have the effect, as it had been said, of undermining and destroying the Civil Service.


said, there were two points on which the House seemed to have come, if not to an unanimous, at least to a very general conclusion—that the principle of the Bill was sound, but that the details would require careful supervision—and that some conditions or restrictions ought to be inserted in it which were not in it now. When the Bill was brought in he stated that he entirely approved the principle of it; but the more he had considered the matter and the more he had been able to gather the opinions of those interested in and informed on Indian affairs the more he was satisfied that those securities which were alluded to the other night, and which he believed it was the intention of his right hon. Friend to insert in Regulations to be framed by him the Bill itself, and not which might be revoked a these two securities, by far the most important as a limitation to the admissions into the Civil Service was that a man should have resided seven years in India; and to that he was inclined to hope the right hon. Gentleman would not offer any objection. But as to the other requirement—the test of knowledge—he could well understand the hesitation of the right hon. Gentleman, seeing that cases might occur of appointments in the Presidency towns where no knowledge of Native languages was required. If, however, they were to choose between two possible inconveniences, he thought the possibility of excluding one or two men otherwise qualified would be a far less evil than the absence of the security implied in the language tests. If it were limited, as he thought it might be, to the revenue and judicial branch, and if a proviso were inserted that in the remaining branches of the service the same test of knowledge should be required as was required now of civil servants before appointment to the same offices, he could not conceive that any possible inconvenience would arise. If that condition were insisted upon there would be four distinct checks on any abuse of patronage by the Governor General. There would be the check of residence, the test of language, the confirmation by the Secretary of State, and the further independent confirmation by the Council. He had heard doubts suggested whether the confirmation by the Secretary of State would be anything more than a mere form. It was said that the Secretary of State would be apt to consider that the Governor General was the best judge of the case, and would accordingly be guided by what was determined at Calcutta. In answer to that he would point out that within the last two years, since his right hon. Friend had been in office, two appointments had been made—made he did not doubt, from the best motives, by the Governor General—which his right hon. Friend considered had been improperly made; and, accordingly, those appointments were cancelled. If that were done by the Secretary of State at present, when he was not called upon specially to interfere in the matter, much more was it likely to be done when his confirmation was specially required, and, therefore, when he shared quite as much as the Governor General in, the responsibility of the appointments. As to the interference of the Council being a check not to be relied on, he knew no men who were in a position to give n more independent verdict upon a question of the kind than the Members of the Council. They had nothing to hope and nothing to fear. They naturally liked to act in harmony with the Secretary of State; but he had seen enough of them to feel assured that, whatever respect they might feel either for the Governor General or the Secretary of State, if there was reasonable ground to suspect that undue favour had been shown in any appointment which they were called upon to sanction, they would do their duty in refusing their concurrence. As to the possibility of the Council being abolished, whatever might have been the opinion which prevailed two years ago, no one believed in that contingency now. In 1858, when the new arrangements were made, the popular theory was that Parliament would take such an interest in all Indian affairs that the Council would be unnecessary; but any one who had watched the empty state of the House when Indian discussions had taken place within the last two years or eighteen months, could form his own judgment on the soundness of that view. What, then, were the objections to the principle of the Bill? His hon. Friend the Member for Windsor (Mr. Vansittart) told his right hon. Friend the Secretary of State that this was an attempt to do away with the competitive system, and to return, by an indirect method, to the system of patronage. If he regarded it in that light, he was the last person to consent to have any share in it. But his hon. Friend contented himself with saying that such would be the effect, without attempting to prove it, except as far as to say that if the Bill passed the old abuse of Governors-General taking out their relations and friends and providing for them at the expense of the public would be revived. Now, inasmuch as no Governor General, as a general rule, remained in India seven years, it would be impossible for him to provide for his friends in that manner; for he did not think they would be content to follow him out, and to hold no office, or only a very subordinate office, for seven years, with the chance of some succeeding Governor General taking pity on their for- lorn condition, He did not think that any man in his sound senses would be induced to go to India with such prospects.


The noble Lord has misunderstood me. I quoted the last speech which the late Lord Macaulay made on India in that House, and I quoted it as Lord Macaulay's opinion.


said, the opinion might have been that of Lord Macaulay, but the application was his hon. Friend's. He (Lord Stanley) did not know under what circumstances Lord Macaulay's speech was delivered; but he had no doubt that if Lord Macaulay had had an opportunity of considering this Bill he would have come to a different conclusion as to its effect. No doubt, if the system which prevailed before 1773 had been continued they would be likely to have the old abuses connected with it. His hon. Friend said farther that he believed the Natives would object to the new system, and would look upon it as an interference with them, because men of an inferior class would be appointed to higher offices. Considering that one of the principal objects of the Bill was to admit the Natives to higher offices than they were now allowed to hold, he should be surprised to hear of any objection on their part. He would be a bold man who undertook to say what the opinion of the Natives of India was. No one could answer for the opinion of a community so vast and so heterogeneous. But he had seen numerous Indian newspapers, written in English, but to a great degree owned and influenced by Natives, and he had never seen one which did not, when the question was touched upon, express a strong sympathy with the desire to open the Civil Service to Natives. The question was raised what would be the effect of the Bill upon the Civil Service itself—whether it would not discourage young men of talent from offering themselves for examination? In considering how far the Bill would affect the Civil Service, they must endeavour to see what amount of competition there would be on the part of outsiders with the civil servants. He thought it had been abundantly shown that under the provisions of the Bill no man would be likely to go out from England with the view of obtaining one of the offices to which it referred. They must, therefore, look only to the case of persons actually resident in India; and all who had experience of Indian affairs would confirm him when he said that the number of Europeans in India quali- fied for high office in the Civil Service, and not belonging either to the civil or the military service, was comparatively inconsiderable. There would be a certain number of military officers admitted to offices from which they had hitherto been excluded. There would be a certain number of uncovenanted servants who would obtain the right, to which he thought they were justly entitled, of higher promotion. There would also be a few barristers. He did not think that the appointments of the latter class would be very frequent, because a successful barrister was doing better for himself by remaining in his profession than if he accepted high office, and a barrister who had failed in his profession was not likely to be selected. Besides these, there only remained the Natives, and he thought there would be no inclination on the part of Governors-General or Governors of Presidencies to be unduly precipitate in appointing Natives to high offices. He thought they were all agreed that although it was right Natives should be appointed, it was a great experiment, and one to be tried very cautiously. Looking to all these considerations, he greatly doubted whether the civil servants would be affected by this Bill in anything like the proportion of 5 per cent of all its appointments, and the civil servants themselves were very formidable competitors. They were selected when young men by the best of all possible methods—they were carefully trained for their special duties; when they arrived in India they were placed in responsible situations, though still young; their whole life was a preparation for holding higher offices:—and if, with those advantages in their favour, they were no-able to hold their own against competitors not having those advantages, all he could say was that they must be very inferior in ability and energy to what he had always believed them to be. As to what would be gained it was not difficult to see. They would enlarge the field of selection for the public service they would give a fair encouragement to the Natives and uncovenanted servants, which they had not had hitherto; they would apply a stimulus to the energies of the civil servants themselves; and what he regarded as most important of all, they would effectually remove that feeling of jealousy, not altogether reasonable, and which nevertheless existed very strongly on the part of unofficial Europeans, which at present was one of the greatest social evils in India. He be- lieved that the Bill, limited as he proposed, would be a very valuable measure; but he was bound to say that he concurred in the opinion of those hon. Members who recommended that the authority to appoint to offices should be inserted in the Bill, and not left to regulations prepared by the Secretary of State, and that he was quite prepared to take the sense of the House upon the propsal to insert them.


said, the most important clause in the Bill dealt with two matters—first, power was given to the Secretary of State to make Regulations under which exceptional appointments might be made; and, secondly, the right lion. Gentleman would have power to confirm the appointments made in India. He deemed it of far more importance that the Secretary of State should be guided by his Council when engaged in a legislative capacity in framing Regulations than when he was acting executively in confirming appointments; and he should, therefore, propose that the power of framing Regulations should only be exercised with the assent of the majority of the Council. As to the confirmation of those appointments in India, he should be willing to leave it to the judgment of the Secretary of State alone. The first clause appeared to him to contain the real gist and pith of the measure. He concurred entirely in the preamble of the Bill. As regards the Civil Service in India at present, he presumed that it was not denied that it had been intended in some measure that the Natives should be employed in it; but he thought it would be very inexpedient to break down the practical monopoly of a large class of valuable appointments which the Civil Service of India had long enjoyed unless upon some distinct principle, in order that they might know exactly what to expect in future. He contended that the first clause of the Bill went far beyond the preamble or the speech of the right hon. Gentleman who introduced the Bill, and did not sufficiently describe the covenanted and uncovenanted services of India. If any post had been held by a non-covenanted servant, the clause authorized the filling up of all similar appointments in the same way, so that it would be almost impossible to say what offices were not equally open to covenanted and non-covenanted servants. He maintained that either the Home Government or the Indian authorities ought to decide what appointments were to be open and what closed. A young man entering the Service had a right to know with certainty, what his prospects were. Moreover, there was the interest of the public to be considered, that the Service should be as efficient as possible; and to secure this they should hold out the greatest possible inducements to young men of ability to go out to India.


said, he had no objection to the abstract principle of the Bill, but thought the House ought to be told what was the opinion of the most experienced civil servants in India on the subject. If such information were not furnished they should appoint a Committee to inquire into the matter. The real security for the good government of India was that person should devote themselves early to the Indian service, and should obtain their appointments under such a system of competition and examination as would prevent abuses. With regard to the appointments of Natives he was ready to give a carte blanche to the Government; but if the right hon. Gentleman wanted really to do the Natives a service be had better increase their present miserable rate of pay, which would probably be a greater boon than that now proposed to be conferred upon them. As to the other branches of the uncovenanted service, including persons of European origin, it was extremely hard to draw the line where uncovenanted service ended and the covenanted began. But the real difficulty arose in respect of those who were not in the public service at all. The Bill proposed to throw open the service of India in the broadest manner, and he thought that, unless restrictions were introduced, such a rule would lead to great abuses. The noble Lord (Lord Stanley) said that no person in his senses would go out to India for the chance of obtaining these appointmenst. He differed from the noble Lord, and believed that if this Bill passed without proper securities numbers of persons would go out to India for the purpose of seeking these appointments. With regard to the Indian Council, the right hon. Gentleman had done his utmost to destroy its independence. If the Members had a seat in the House of Commons their opinions would be known and their arguments heard; but, instead of this, they sat and worked in the dark; so that the Council was practically reduced to a nullity. He asked the House to consider whether, in adopting this Bill, they would not tend to destroy the efficiency of the sys- tem of competition which had been introduced into India? It would be a great discouragement to the civil servants of India if they were led to suppose that they would not obtain the great prizes of the service.


said, the right hon. Gentleman seemed to have proceeded on the exhaustive principle, by bringing forward on one evening four important measures connected with India. Surely it would have been better to divide them, and to have given a greater opportunity for considering and discussing them. It was not to be wondered, considering the professed objects of this Bill, that it should have excited great alarm among those belonging to the Indian Civil Service. He assumed, with reference to the seven years' residence in India, and the knowledge of languages, to be required of uncovenanted servants, that the right hon. Gentleman would not oppose such a provision; but, besides these restrictions, he thought it would be advisable that they should undergo the same tests to which the present covenanted servants were liable, and should enter into the same agreement against trading and against engaging in other pursuits. In the Bill to provide for the amalgamation of the armies the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Oxfordshire (Mr. Henley), whose name would be gratefully remembered by the officers and men of the Indian army, had procured the repetition of that clause of the Act of 1858, transferring the Government of India to Her Majesty, which guaranteed the rights and privileges of those officers and men, and he hoped that a provision would be introduced into this measure giving to the members of the Civil Service a similar guarantee. The Small Courts Act had recently passed the Legislative Council of India. Would the appointments under that Act come under the first or under the second clause of this Bill? If, under Clause 1, the appointments would not come under the control of the Home Government, nor be subject to the conditions which the right hon. Gentleman agreed should be introduced into the Bill. He would remind the House that the present competitive system for appointments into the Indian Civil Service had only been established in 1858. Every inducement had since been held out to encourage young men to enter into this competition, and, it was only fair and just, not only to the older members of the Civil Service, but to those who had more re- cently entered it, after passing a severe competitive examination, that such regulations and restrictions should be introduced into this Bill as would give them a guarantee upon which they could rely.


shared the regret which had been expressed by other hon. Members, that the right hon. Baronet had not produced all the papers which bore upon this question, and which might have enabled the House to come to a better decision. It was more necessary in the case of Indian subjects than of any others that the fullest information should be laid before the House. He thought it was a mistake to prevent the Members of the Councils from holding seats in that House, and he trusted that would be rectified. If this Bill was passed too rapidly through the House, Parliament would find that it was committing an act of short-sighted ingratitude to the Civil Service, which deserved well of the country, and of which the country was proud. The right hon. Gentleman had taken power to frame Regulations which were he said to prevent jobbery or other evils; but as the Bill now stood it contained no safeguards whatever. It contained no guarantee that the persons to be appointed under it would be required to have been resident a certain time in India, to understand the Native languages, or to submit to such an examination as was now undergone by the civil servants; nor was there any security for the funds to which those servants had so largely contributed. It broke faith with the "older civil servants who entered that service under the guarantee of an Act of Parliament, and with the younger who entered it by competition" upon conditions which, if this Bill passed, could not be fulfilled; and it broke faith with the public, who were interested in future competitions, and in the securing of the most efficient administrators for India. The present Secretary of State for India and Governor General might use their patronage fairly and honestly, but their successors might not act upon the same principle, and the House, as responsible for the Government of India, ought not to give the power conferred by this Bill without taking security for its proper exercise. He hoped the right hon. Gentleman would have these restrictions put into the Bill.


appealed to the House to adjourn the debate. They had now been employed discussing Indian questions since half past four o'clock; One Bill had passed through Committee and they had given a second reading to two; but this Bill appeared to him wholly inexplicable. There was no provision in the Bill to guard the Civil Service from injury, and he knew that a very large and influential portion of the Council had dissented from its provisions. He should now, therefore, move the adjournment of the debate, in order that the suggestions that had been made might be embodied in the Bill.


trusted the lion, and gallant Gentleman would allow the second reading of the Bill to pass, if only pro formâ, as he could in Committee bring forward any of the matters of detail which he wished to be introduced into the Bill. With regard to the principle of the Bill, he did not see that the Secretary of State could have acted otherwise than he had clone, seeing that for years successive Secretaries of State had represented the difficulty they had in filling up places in the Civil Service. It could not be expected that the uncovenanted servants would be content with the subordinate position which they had hitherto held, and the House would hardly approve if the Secretary of State were to ask for a large sum of money to increase the covenanted service. Five or six years ago he suggested a somewhat similar arrangement, but the right hon. Gentleman saw objections to it. The difficulty that existed should be met in some way or other, and he could not see that this proposal would injure the Civil Service to the extent anticipated. It was thought that the new appointments would not be few, that the checks would be useless, and that the Secretary for India and the Governor General would join together to job the service; but that was not very likely. The civil servants considered that their vested rights were invaded, and so they were; but the answer to that was, that they could not fill all the places. And what was Government to do? Were they to leave the places unfilled? The system must be altered in some way, because many of the present appointments in India were illegal. There must be some solution of the difficulty, and the simplest and wisest way, and that by which least injuiry would be done to the Civil Service was that proposed by the right hon. Gentleman; and the noble Lord who had filled the same office before him was of the same opinion. No one supposed the noble Lord to wish to injure the Civil Service, and, in fact, no one who knew the Civil Service of India would wish to do away with it or to injure it. He himself believed that the Civil Service was as necessary to the Government of India as an aristocracy was to monarchy. They had a close service in Austria, in Russia, and in Prance, but none so close as the service in India, for in no other did the rule prevail that unless one entered as a boy he could not take place in the service. He could not but think that the Civil Service showed too great a distrust of the Government. Checks against abuse were proposed by the right hon. Gentleman. He had already agreed to the seven years' test of residence in India; he did not know whether he had agreed to the test of language, but that was a proper test, as a man of fair ability might learn two of the languages in a year; and the only other security that he believed necessary was to give every appointment publicity in the London Gazette, with the reasons for the appointments; They must show that they wished to keep good faith with the members of the Civil Service, who had always been distinguished for their ability, and to whom they owed so much in the good government of the empire; but, at the same time, the public necessities must be met, and he did not believe that a better way of meeting them could be shown than that proposed by the right hon. Gentleman.


did not exactly see why the debate should be adjourned, nor why any blame should be thrown upon the Government for having introduced four Bills upon Indian subjects on one evening, especially as the appearance of the House during the discussion showed that Indian subjects did not excite any paramount interest. It had been said that the covenanted servants showed unreasonable distrust of the Government; but it should be borne in mind that those servants could know nothing of the intentions of the Government but what they saw within the four corners of this Bill. They did not know what the right hon. Gentleman's Regulations were to be, nor how far any other Secretary of State for India might alter those Regulations; and men whose interests were at stake were apt to be alarmed when they saw such a state of things. What position would the Bill as it stood put these gentlemen in? Great interest had been taken in the mode of filling up appointments by means of examinations; and he honestly declared that when he read the Bill he wondered what its object was. He could not help thinking that the right lion. Gentleman, having got as much brains as was required by means of examination, wanted an element of a different kind to mix with it. No doubt some thought there were certain advantages in admitting persons to the service who had not gone through the ordinary preparation and examination; but it was desirable that the conditions on which they were to be allowed to enter should be defined. There was, however, no reason why the number of servants should not be increased by means of the crucible of examination. Was it, then, anything but reasonable that the civil servants should wish to know the terms upon which other persons would be allowed to enter the service?—and for his part he thought it but reasonable that the conditions should be inserted in the Bill. He himself had great faith in the present Secretary of State for India; but then he might die to-morrow, and no one knew whether his successor would be as scrupulous—and this was his reason why the conditions should be part of the measure. These Regulations, however, could not be introduced until the second reading was agreed to; but unless such conditions were introduced a fatal blow would be struck at the system of examinations, for no young man would go through the expensive and laborious course necessary for an examination, and run the risk of the climate also, if he was likely to have his prospects destroyed by any interruption which was not well guarded. He hoped, therefore, that the Regulations would be introduced into the Bill, and that ample time would be given for consideration.


joined in the request that the House would not consent to an adjournment. He thought that the people of India had an interest in this matter as well as the civil servants, and he was prepared to give his assent to the proposal of the right hon. Gentleman. There were certain appointments in the Presidencies which his experience told him it would be very desirable that the Government should have the opportunity of filling up by persons who brought to India recent experience from England. At the present moment the appointment of Collector of Customs' at Bombay was vacant, and he had reason to believe that the Government of Bombay were in great difficulty to find in the Civil Service, without detriment to other interests, a gentleman sufficiently well qualified to fill that appointment—["Oh, oh!"]—he meant with regard to his experience of the general trade and commerce of the country. Hon. Gentlemen who cried "Oh!" perhaps did not remember that a large interest would be affected by the manner in which this vacancy should be filled up, and the mercantile community at Bombay had a right to expect at the hands of the Government, that the Government at Bombay should select to this office a gentleman who would do justice to their interests, and he knew that the Government had great difficulty in finding in the Civil Service a gentleman properly qualified for the appointment. Again, there was the appointment of police magistrates, who had to administer the English law as between Europeans, to superintend the police, and to do a variety of other matters, and it was very desirable that any gentleman who might be appointed to fill that office should be possessed of qualifications which it could not be supposed a gentleman in the Civil Service' would have. He thought the object which some hon. Gentlemen had in view would be obtained if the restrictions were made to apply to what was ordinarily termed judicial, magisterial, and financial functions of the Government. On the whole he gave his hearty assent to the measure of the right hon. Gentleman.


thought there was no wish in any quarter to appoint persons to lucrative offices over the heads of members of the Civil Service, thus depriving them of the rewards they were fairly entitled to; but if, as the hon. Member who spoke last had stated, there was any difficulty in selecting from the Civil Service gentlemen qualified to fill the offices he had named, something must be at fault in the education or examination of those who entered the service. If mercantile law and practice were necessary to the Indian service they should form part of the examinations. He regretted that the attention given to the affairs of India did not seem greater now than before its Government was transferred to the Crown. The present Bill did not contain more than the preamble of what was intended. The principle of this Bill was not contained within its' limits. The important part of it was contained in those Regulations and restrictions which the House had not seen; and unless they were of a satisfactory nature the measure might be injurious in its effects, instead of promoting the prosperity of India. The right course for the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for India to pursue was pointed out by the Act which abolished the East India Company's government. It would be an evasion of the intention of the House in passing that Act if the Secretary of State, instead of submitting those measures to his Council, referred them to special Committees of that Council, and then came down and said that hon. Members were not, entitled to the opinions of those Committees because they were not the opinions of the Council. His hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Portsmouth he was sure had moved the adjournment, not with any desire to impede the business of the House, but in order that they might not proceed with the Bill without that information which was requisite to enable them to form a sound opinion on the subject.


said, that at a meeting held on the previous day a Court of Proprietors of the East India Company passed a Resolution, expressing its opposition to the clauses in the Bill, which gave the Secretary of State in Council unlimited discretion over certain appointments in the public service in India, to the detriment of" the interests of that country, and in breach of good faith with those who had qualified for appointments under existing acts.


hoped that the right hon. Baronet would accede to the suggestion of the noble Lord the Member for King's Lynn (Lord Stanley), and insert the safeguards to which that noble Lord had alluded; that he would accede to the suggestion of the hon. Member for Hertfordshire (Mr. Puller), and insert those offices which parties were to hold under the provisions of this Bill; and that he would produce the opinion of the Committee to whom he had referred the measure.


thought that he had consulted the convenience of hon. Members who were anxious to take part in the debate on these measures by putting all the Bills on the paper for one evening. By that course he had insured that they would come before the House on a particular occasion. He, therefore, hoped that the hon. Baronet, the Member for Portsmouth, would not press his Motion for an adjournment. The right hon. Gentleman, the Member for Oxfordshire, and the noble Lord, the Member for King's Lynn, con- curred that there was no serious objection to the second reading; and hon. Gentlemen who had Amendments ought to be desirous that the Bill should get into Committee in order that they might propose them. He was not surprised that this Bill should excite great interest among those who felt an anxiety in respect of the Civil Service in India. He did not for a moment believe that the Civil servants would be injured by the Bill. It was only in exceptional cases that posts hitherto held exclusively by covenanted servants would be occupied by other persons when it was required by the public necessities of India. Some hon. Gentlemen had objected to it as a new principle, but, in fact, it had prevailed for the last sixty or seventy years. Officers of the army and gentlemen not in the service of Government had been introduced as necessity required;—and the fact was that at the present moment the covenanted Service could not furnish a sufficient number of men to do the duties which were absolutely necessary. Lord Canning, in a despatch which had been alluded to, proposed that a certain number of officers of the army should undergo a competitive examination in order to meet the exigencies of the public service, but this could not be done, as it was contrary to law. At the present time covenanted servants of four years' standing are placed in magisterial and other positions which properly demanded twelve years' standing. It had been said that there was no necessity for this Bill but the truth was, that men were wanted to fill places in Madras and in Bengal, and competitive examination could not supply them in time from the Covenanted Service. Lord Canning had stated that most strongly, as also had Mr. Ricketts, Mr. Hamilton, and Sir F. Halliday. An hon. Gentleman had expressed a wish that a list of places which might be held by uncovenanted persons should be inserted in the Bill; but that had been found, after full consideration, to be impossible, and the best plan was deemed to be to take exceptional powers to deal with exceptional cases, subject to certain checks to guard against abuse of those powers. A good deal of debate had turned upon the question whether the Regulations should be inserted in the Bill? He could not deny that that was a natural wish, and to the extent of a seven years' limit he should not object to insert it in the Bill. Some difficulties might arise in requiring a seven years' residence for persons placed in different positions at the Presidency towns. The Collector of Customs at Bombay had recently come home, and there was not a single available civil servant to fill his place, which was temporarily occupied by a deputy collector. Something had been said about languages, but he thought that a better qualification than a mere knowledge of languages would be the competency of the person selected to perform the duties of the office. He could not, of course, specify the exact words which he would propose to meet the wishes of lion. Gentlemen, but he was ready to introduce into the Bill the Regulations, as far as they were capable of being reduced, into a clear and definite form. He hoped that the lion. Baronet would be satisfied with that assurance, and would allow the Bill to be now read a second time, upon the understanding that, before the Committee, endeavours would be made to meet his wishes as far as possible.


said, he would withdraw his Amendment if the hon. Baronet would fix the Committee for that day fortnight.


said, he would name the Committee for that day week.


said, that in that case he should press the Amendment.

Motion made, and Question, "That the Debate be now adjourned," put, and negatived.

Original Question put, and agreed to.

Bill read 2°, and committed for Monday next.

House adjourned at half after Twelve o'clock.