§ LORD WILLIAM HAY
said, he rose to call attention to the Despatch of the Secretary of State for India relative to the claims of the Maharajah of Mysore. He should not think of occupying the time of the House with this subject did he not believe that it was one which deserved an ample discussion. The case was one which had attracted much attention both in England and in India. Nor was that a cause of surprise when it was remembered that the district in question was one of the largest and most valuable in India, that it was situated in the most important part of that Empire, and that it was, on the whole, the most agreeable place of residence in our Eastern dominions. But the real importance of the case lay in the fact that it was the first seriously affecting the interests of the Chiefs and the people of India which had been brought prominently under the notice of the House since the transfer of the Government of India from the East India Company to the Crown. The progress of the case was watched in India with the most intense interest, because the Natives naturally and properly believed that its treatment might be taken as a specimen of the manner in which the House of Commons were prepared to deal with cases of a similar nature, and also of the willingness or otherwise of the House to supervise, and, where necessary, to criticize that branch of the Executive which controlled our dominions in the East. In the debates which took place at the time when the transfer of the Government was proposed, there were not wanting prophets 1028 who predicted much evil from that proposal. They alleged that the Government of the day would be exposed to party and captious Motions, and that much injury would result to our interests in India from such proceedings. Those predictions had not been fulfilled. No Motion, characterized by any feeling of that kind, had, since the change referred to, been made in the House. At any rate, he disclaimed being actuated by any feeling of the sort. He simply desired to contribute in a small degree to the knowledge of the House on an important and complicated subject. But there was one thing which was even worse than a discussion arising from a Motion brought forward in a spirit of party. That was no discussion at all. It was almost impossible to persuade the people of India that the House of Commons was really interested in Indian questions if it did not take into consideration a case of such importance as this, relating to a country as large as Scotland, with a population of 4,000,000 and a revenue of £1,000,000 a year—a country which had been called "the apple of the eye" of our Indian Empire. In the year 1799 the allied forces of the Nizam of Hyderabad and the British effected the conquest of Mysore. The arrangements necessary for the disposal of this large country were carried out hy means of two treaties—namely, the Partition Treaty and the Subsidiary Treaty. By the Partition Treaty, to which the Nizam and the British alone were parties, the territory of Mysore was divided into four portions—one was assigned in perpetuity to the Peishwa, the head of the Mahrattas, a second in perpetuity to the Nizam of Hyderabad, a third portion in perpetuity to the British, while the remainder was formed into a separate Government, at the head of which was placed the descendant of the old Hindoo family of Mysore. The object of this treaty was to define the external or political arrangements rendered necessary by the conquest of Mysore. To the Subsidiary Treaty, on the other hand, the British and the Rajah of Mysore alone were parties. Its object was to define the internal or domestic relations which should subsist between the contracting parties. Under its terms the British Government reserved to itself a complete right to interfere in the internal administration of the country in case of misrule, or apprehended loss of the subsidy which the Rajah had agreed to pay for certain 1029 troops to be employed in the protection of his country. In 1832 the British Government were compelled to take advantage of these clauses in the Subsidiary Treaty, and from that time to the present the administration of Mysore had been in the hands of the British. Since that time the Rajah had never ceased to make applications for the restoration of the administration of his country. These applications had come before almost every Governor General since 1832. That distinguished statesman, Lord Dalhousie, investigated the question with the utmost care, but arrived at the conclusion that it was impossible to reinstate the Rajah. He also pointed out that the treaty by virtue of which the Rajah sat upon his throne was a personal one, and that therefore the county of Mysore would on his death lapse to those who ceded it, and he recommended that it should be treated as a lapse. The question of the re-instatement of the Rajah had been set at rest for ever, while Lord Dalhousie's view of the personal, as opposed to the dynastic character of the Mysore Treaties, had been held by every succeeding Governor General and Secretary of State. It was held by Lord Canning, by Sir John Lawrence, by Lord Halifax (then Sir Charles Wood), and notably by the noble Lord (Viscount Cranborne), who said only the other day—I must therefore express most emphatically the opinion of Her Majesty's Government that the rights conferred on the Rajah terminated with his life.And here he wished to direct attention to a passage in a Minute by one of the Members of the Council, Sir Erskinc Perry, in which he drew attention to the fact that the noble Lord just referred to, shortly after taking office, wrote a despatch to the secret department ordering that on the death of the Rajah no steps should be taken for the annexation of Mysore, and he went on to say that the transmission of that despatch was of doubtful legality. With regard to this point, he should only say, as he saw the noble Lord in his place, that if it were so, then it was most desirable that the Secretary of State should be vested with the power to act in the manner referred to as soon as possible. The noble Lord went on to say that the kingdom of Mysore should not be annexed on the death of the Rajah. He entirely agreed with the noble Lord upon that point, and if the 1030 despatch of the right hon. Gentleman (Sir Stafford Northcote) had been written upon the basis of his (Viscount Cranborne's) speech, he should not have troubled the House with any remarks on the subject. But the despatch differed from it in several points, one of which was most material. His chief complaint against it was its ambiguity. The reason why this case had given so much trouble was the difference of opinion which prevailed as to whether the treaty was a personal one or not, and the great merit of the noble Lord's decision was that it disposed of this question once and for all. The despatch commenced in language which implied that the decision of Her Majesty's present Government was not in opposition to the decision of the late Government. In the second place, it left the question of the personal character of the treaty an open question still. In the third place, it made no allusion to a very important point—namely, the rights of the Nizam under the Partition Treaty, which in his opinion could not be overlooked, especially on the assumption that it was a personal one, and that the country would consequently revert to those who had originally ceded it. Lastly, the despatch went on to say, with regard to the future disposal of the country, that—In the case of the young Prince not having attained the age which you, on consideration, may fix for his majority, the territory shall continue to be governed in his name on the same principles and under the same regulations as at the present time,but failed to state what those principles and regulations were. With regard to the decision of the present Government not being a reversal of the decision of the late Government, he was ready to admit that literally and technically the language of Lord Halifax did not convey the meaning of annexation. But it was known perfectly well that the decision was taken both in England and India to mean annexation pure and simple. The Members of the Council proceeded upon that supposition, and in the petition presented by the hon. Member for Westminster the following passage occurred:—Your petitioners have observed with regret and anxiety from the papers relating to Mysore ordered to be printed by your honourable House on the 13th of March, 1866, that the Government of India has resolved upon the extinction of the native State of Mysore and the annexation of its territories to those of the Crown on the demise of the present aged Rajah.1031 It was not fair, therefore, to say that the decision of the late Government did not mean annexation on the death of the Rajah, because he felt quite assured that if it did not Lord Halifax would have removed the mischievous impression which so great a mis-apprehension could not fail to produce. But, after all, this was a comparatively unimportant point. The important point was the omission from the despatch of any opinion as to the interpretation put upon the Mysore Treaties by the Secretary of State. Sir Henry Russell, who was examined before the Select Committee of the House appointed in 1832 to inquire as to the renewal of the Charter, was asked what he thought of the treaties? His reply was—It might be said that we had contracted engagements as if they were never to be fulfilled, and had fulfilled them as if they had never been contracted.Now the Secretary of State for India seemed bent upon establishing the truth of this imputation. In his despatch he hardly alluded to the Partition or Subsidiary Treaty. All he condescended to say was that—Without entering into a minute examination of the Treaties of 1799, Her Majesty's Government recognises,and so on. But the whole case turned on the proper construction of those treaties. The Partition Treaty either did or did not convey the idea of hereditary succession. If it did, it was clear that on the death of the Rajah the country of Mysore would be at our disposal. If it did not, we had no option but to recognise the son adopted by the Rajah. It might be said, and it had been said, that Lord Canning's adoption despatch excluded the Rajah of Mysore from its operation. But Lord Canning had no power to exclude any Rajah. What Lord Canning's adoption despatch laid down was this:—That the Paramount Power had no right to refuse its recognition of an adopted son where succession by heirs of the body was contemplated. On the assumption that rights of succession were not contemplated it was quite clear a son's claim would be invalid, and an adopted son's equally so. That the Rajah's sovereign rights were in abeyance in consequence of our having taken the administration of the country in 1832 was no reason at all for excluding the Rajah from the benefits of the adopture despatch. Lord Canning himself had recognised 1032 the right of the Rajah to bequeath his country to the British. It was absurd to say that he had not an equal right to bequeath it to an adopted son. He was aware that others whose opinions were valuable took a different view of the case. He was surrounded by Gentlemen who thought that to hold to the personal character of the treaty was, in the words of the petition already referred to, alike unjust and indefensible. Many Members of the Council were of the same mind. That was the view of the whole press of India, with the exception of the Friend of India, published at Calcutta. The other day he read in the Bombay Times an article commenting on the speech of the noble Lord (Viscount Cranborne) in the most flattering terms. But the writer, in language Oriental in its imagery, regretted extremely that the noble Lord had taken into his hand that battle-axe of wrong—the personal character of the treaty. With a vast array of authorities on one side, and an almost equal number on the other, we had the despatch of the right hon. Gentleman (Sir Stafford Northcote) expressing no opinion whatever on this important point, but leaving it as much open as ever it was. What was extremely injurious to our interests was that those who opposed the personal view of the case had no hesitation in saying that those who held it had been actuated by sinister motives—that was to say, they desired to appropriate the country, which they had no title to. They went even further than that. Sir Frederick Currie, one of the Members of the Council, said that the despatch of Lord Halifax did not contain a fair epitome of the correspondence with the Home authorities. Captain Eastwick used stronger language, and said—Every one who carefully examines those relations cannot fail to observe that such recapitulation is anything but the fair representation of the case it professes to relate. It consists of all that can be extracted from the records that bears against the Rajah's claims, and withholds much that tells in their favour.Or, in plain English, that with all the information before him Lord Halifax had given a garbled and inaccurate statement of the case to suit his own view of the case. No one, of course, could believe that in this country. But Sir Frederick Currie and Captain Eastwick were equally eminent statesmen in India. If he had nothing to say in support of the personal character of the treaty beyond that which had been already advanced by the noble Lord (Viscount 1033 Cranborne) he would not occupy the time of the House, because he was not so vain as to imagine that arguments which had failed of their end when uttered by the noble Lord would derive additional weight from his lips. But, in the course of his inquiries, he had come across some interesting and valuable evidence, which set the point at rest for ever. In the papers which were bequeathed to this country by the late Lord Wellesley, to be seen in the British Museum, he found a collection of the draughts of the original partition and subsidiary treaties. Of the Partition Treaty there were two original drafts. Lord Wellesley, who was at Madras in 1799, appointed five Commissioners to carry on the negotiations arising out of the conquest of Mysore. These Commissioners were his brother Arthur, who afterwards became Duke of Wellington; his brother Henry, who became Lord Cowley; Colonel Close, Colonel Kirkpatrick, and General Harris, the Commander-in-Chief of the Forces, Lord Wellesley kept himself in continual communication with them collectively and individually. One draft was evidently in the handwriting of Colonel Kirkpatrick, the other apparently in that of Lord Wellesley. Neither of the two drafts was eventually adopted. Clauses were taken out of each, and these were moulded into the treaty as it now stands. Nothing, indeed, was more remarkable than the number of alterations which appear on the face of these drafts, showing the care bestowed by Lord Wellesley on the wording of the treaties which he negotiated with Native Princes. In the draft, which is ascribed to Colonel Kirkpatrick, the fifth article was in this wise—The contracting parties mutually and severally agree that the districts specified in Schedule C, hereunto annexed, shall be ceded to the said and his heirs for ever, and shall form the separate Government of Mysore.In the margin, immediately opposite to the line containing the words "and his heirs for ever," which were struck out with both pen and pencil, there was written in pencil, "This is unnecessary and dangerous." In the fair copy of this draft, the marginal note is as follows:—"This clause approved with the omission of the words struck through with the pen," and this note was signed with the initial "M." for "Mornington." In the same draft there was a still more remarkable clause, the object of which was to guarantee to the Rajah of Mysore his possessions exactly 1034 on the same terms as those which had been assigned to the Peishwa, to the Nizam, and to the British. The clause was in these words—Whereas it is expedient and necessary that should be secured in the possession of the territories assigned to him by the fourth article of the treaty, the said contracting parties do mutually stipulate and agree that the districts and territories hereinbefore granted assigned to by the fourth and fifth articles of the present treaty shall be guaranteed to the said by the contracting parties mutually and respectively in the same manner as if the said had been a party to this treaty.Colonel Kirkpatrick pointed out that if this clause were allowed to remain the Rajah would be placed in the same position with regard to heirs and successors as the Nizam and the Peishwa: the instructions of Lord Wellesley were to leave out this clause altogether. The original draft of the Subsidiary Treaty, also in the Museum, began in this way—This treaty is concluded by and shall be binding upon the contracting parties, their heirs and successors, as long as the sun and moon shall endure.The words "their heirs and successors" were struck out, leaving the words "as long as the sun and moon shall endure." He had seen it stated in some papers, that these words of Eastern metaphor alone conveyed the idea of succession. But he would ask was it at all probable that Lord Wellesley, who took such pains to exclude every word likely to convey that idea, would have allowed the words to remain, if they conveyed either to his mind or that of any other person the idea of succession? Having had much experience of these documents, he had no hesitation in saying that the words were just as much matters of form as the expression, "Your humble and obedient servant" at the end of a letter. There was a still more curious piece of evidence on this point in the Supplementary Despatches of the Duke of Wellington. In 1801 a member of the reigning family of Mysore set up a claim to be nearer the direct line to the Crown. His claim attracted some attention, he living in Madras, and did some mischief. Arthur Wellesley wrote to his brother Henry for his opinion. Henry Wellesley went into the matter with great care, and pointed out, first, that the claimant was not nearer the direct line; and second, it would not signify if he were, because the treaty said that descendants could not be heirs of the Rajah. Then he added these significant words— 1035Even at the death of the present Rajah it is in the power of the British Government to make any change in the form of the Government of Mysore.Clearly showing that the treaty was understood as conferring no right of heritable succession, but came to an end at the death of the Rajah. What became, then, of such bold assertions as these? Sir Frederick Currie said—I am satisfied that it may be proved to demonstration that the Marquess Wellesley did not consider the cession to the Maharajah in the light of a mere life grant.And Captain Eastwick added that there was in the correspondence "no trace of any intention to make it merely a personal treaty or to provide for the lapse of the country to the British Government." How much more truly did Lord Dalhousie interpret Lord Wellesley's intentions and motives when omitting all mention of "heirs and successors" in certain treaties? In writing upon the case of Azeem Dowla, which was precisely similar to this, he expressed himself thus—Lord Wellesley was not a man who did things without a reason. When, therefore, Lord Wellesley, while negotiating treaties with the Nawabs of Oude, their heirs and successors, is found negotiating a treaty with the Nawab Azeem Dowla, and omitting all mention in it of heirs and successors, it is very certain that Lord Wellesley did not intend to extend the provisions of the treaty beyond the life of Azeem Dowla.Considering that this was written in India, without any knowledge of the existence of these papers, a more remarkable instance of statesmanike sagacity can scarcely be imagined. The fact was that the establishment of this Rajah was an experimental measure, and the question as to what should be done with Mysore in the event of his death was left open for future settlement. The Rajah was perfectly well aware of this. Indeed, his conduct could not be explained on any other assumption. He always said that he should be the last Rajah of Mysore, and he caused it to be intimated to Lord Canning that he wished to bequeath his country to the British Government. Would he be likely to do this if he thought that he could leave the country to on adopted son, or to a distant relative, or even to one of his own clan? Of course, this intimation was a mere Oriental device for securing from Lord Canning the recognition of a right which the Rajah knew very well he did not possess. It might be urged that the Rajah was very young when the treaty was executed. 1036 But his first Minister, the Brahmin Poorneah, was well informed of everything that passed at the time of the Mysore settlement. Lord Wellesley writes—After an ample discussion with the Commissioners who had communicated the whole arrangement to the Brahmin Poorneah and conciliated his co-operation, and after the adoption of several alterations, the subsidiary treaty was formally executed on the 8th July.Another question of considerable moment was connected with that of the personal or dynastic character of these treaties, which had not been noticed at all in the despatch in question. He alluded to the Nizam's rights under the Partition Treaty with respect to the territory assigned to the Rajah. When the Rajah of Mysore heard that his territory was to be annexed on his death he pointed out that the Nizam had a right to be considered, inasmuch as he had received his territory originally from the British Government and the Nizam together. Sir John Lawrence had stated two reasons why this claim was not tenable. First, he said that the Nizam was a dependent power in 1799, when the treaty was made. He had ceded all his rights south of the Nerbudda, and he had never advanced any such claim as that which the Rajah now urged on his behalf. None of these reasons would stand examination. Even if the Nizam had been in a dependent position in 1799, that could be no argument against the justice of his claims. The Nizam's power then was certainly small compared with our own. It was clear, nevertheless, that Lord Wellesley was most anxious to obtain his alliance. The Nizam's country lay between us and the Mahrattas. It served as a "political buffer" between us and that great Power. Therefore Lord Wellesley took every pains to secure the Nizam's good will and support. The second reason assigned by Sir John Lawrence was still more extraordinary. He said that the Nizam "ceded" his reversionary rights under the Mysore treaties when he yielded. But, as a matter of fact, the Nizam did not cede anything. He only assigned, in lieu of a large subsidy, certain territories south of the Toombuddra, which he had agreed to pay to the British Government for the support of a subsidiary force. Then Sir John Lawrence asks why the Nizam had allowed his claim to remain in abeyance for sixty-five years? But he appears to have forgotten the question was one which would not properly arise until 1037 the death of the Rajah. Considerable light was thrown upon the subject by the M.SS. papers in the British Museum, to which he had already referred. Before the negotiations relating to the disposal of the Mysore territory were completed, it came to the notice of Lord Wellesley that the Peishwa refused to accept the portion assigned to him. It became necessary to decide what should be done with this tract; and accordingly Lord Wellesley instructed Colonel Kirkpatrick to frame a suitable clause with the above object. This was done, and the following explanatory note, in the handwriting of Colonel Kirkpatrick, appears on the margin:—As the Rajah of Mysore would have no just pretensions to participate in the reserved Mahratta share, the districts comprising it would naturally revert to the Powers who alone had the right of tendering them, and it would be reasonable that the Company and the Nizam should divide these equally.Lord Wellesley agreed to the view here taken of the respective lights of the Rajah and the Nizam; and in order to show his anxiety to conciliate the Nizam he gave two-thirds of these districts to him, and reserved only one-third to the British Government. There was nothing which showed conclusively that we ought to consult the Nizam as to our intention of dealing with Mysore after the death of the present Rajah. But the Nizam ought not to be treated in the cavalier way in which he had been treated. Another point of importance was the arrangements made for the future government of Mysore. He entirely agreed with the Secretary of State as to the education of the young Prince. But what he did not quite understand was, what he intended to convey by the expression, that the country should continue to be governed in his (the Rajah's) name "on the same principles as at present." In this connection it was necessary to say a word or two about the subsidiary ally system established by Lord Wellesley. The object of that system was to maintain, if possible, Native chief's in possession of their Sates, and at the same time to protect effectually the subjects of these rulers. The system, in its modified and improved form, was much criticized at the time. In 1832, when the Select Committee sat upon the foreign affairs of India, the advantages and disadvantages of the system formed the staple of its inquiry. The conclusion seemed to be that in some of the States the system answered well, and in others it was 1038 not so satisfactory. But several witnesses argued that it was as good a plan as could have been devised at the time. Mr. James Mill, the historian, condemned it in the most unmeasured terms, and said—This Rajah was a species of screen put up to hide at once from Indian and European eyes the extent of aggrandizement which the British territory had received; and it so far answered the purpose that, though an obvious, it undoubtedly deserves the praise of an adroit and well-timed political expedient.This was a harsh judgment, as it was clear from a most valuable paper which he regretted was not published among the Wellesley papers—a despatch addressed by Lord Wellesley to the first Minister appointed to the Rajah of Mysore. It was in these terms—The conduct of the Rajah's Ministers must be constantly superintended, with a view not only to the punctual realization of the subsidy and the improvement of the resources of the country, but to the prevention of any necessity on the part of the Company to assume charge of the country—an extremity to which it is on many accounts to be wished they may never be reduced.These instructions, with regard to the advisability of maintaining Native rule, were confirmed in their strictest sense by the East India Company, who wrote repeatedly to the Government of India enjoining them not to introduce a system of government which could not be worked hereafter by Native agency when the country should be restored to the Rajah. As long as Sir Mark Cubbon remained Commissioner of Mysore, the Government of that country was carried on upon those principles. But in 1862 the Government was entirely re-organized, and what was known as the "regulation system," which prevailed in our own territories, was introduced. In illustration of the change thus effected, he might mention that, whereas the yearly salaries paid to Europeans before the new system was introduced amounted to about £18,000, they amounted now to about £80,000. The principles and regulations which existed at present, and which were what might be called the British system, could not be administered by a Native ruler. It was contrary to all Indian experience to suppose that they could. Besides, it should be borne in mind that for thirty-five years the country was under the old system. For five years it was under the new. It must be ten years more before it could be handed over to the Rajah. So that fifty years must have elapsed before the experiment could be put to the proof. 1039 The inference to be drawn was that it was not sufficient to educate this Rajah so as to make him a good man. The system must be changed so that the Rajah might be able to rule, and the people to accept his Government. And now he would say a few words with respect to the "annexation policy." What made our rule unpopular in India was not that we removed Princes from their thrones, for the feeling of attachment to Princes was not very strong in that country. There was hardly a dynasty in India, excepting in the Rajput States of Central India, and among some of the hill tribes of the Himalayas, older than our own. The most popular Government in India had been a Native Government supervised by Europeans, such as that of Mysore under Sir Mark Cubbon, Nagpore under Sir Richard Jenkins, and Travancore under Sir Thomas Munro. But the annexation policy, or in other words the further extension of our rule, was unpopular, because it was always followed by a practical exclusion of the Natives from appointments of emolument, trust, or importance. The evil of this had been pointed out by every statesman of distinction from the earliest time, whether annexationist or not. If we educated Natives, stimulated them in every way, and then refused to reward them in the only way in which they could be rewarded, the only result would be to create a spirit of dissatisfaction. The opinion of Colonel Wilks, the historian of Mysore, on this subject, was very interesting—The settlement of Mysore by Lord Wellesley was distinguished from all preceding measures of British policy, was quoted with applause in the remotest parts of India, and was acknowledged gratefully by the people to be governed.And why? Colonel Wilks proceeded to add, becauseIt left every office, civil and military, to be filled by the Natives themselves.What he wished to impress upon the House was that we must revert to the system established by Lord Wellesley, and confirmed by the Court of Directors, if we really desired to restore Mysore to Native rule. He had troubled the House at great length, and begged to apologize. He wished to point out that, in dealing with the Mysore case, what was wanted was a sound, intelligible basis for our future negotiations. That basis was provided by Lord Wellesley when he made the treaty a personal one with the Rajah. It would be political folly to let an opportunity so favourable 1040 to pass by without taking advantage of it. In the next place, he had endeavoured to show that the Nizam had not received all the consideration at our hands which he deserved as an old and faithful ally. In the last place, he had urged that, if we wished to inspire in the minds of the people of India a belief in our sincerity with respect to a change of policy since the transfer of the Government of India from the Company to the Crown, we must do more than add to our list of Royal pensioners—something more than continue to govern Mysore "on the same principles and under the same regulations as at present"—we must strive to make Mysore the very type and exemplar of what a Native State should be, and that could be accomplished in one way only; namely, by a more liberal employment of Natives in the administration of the country. If we pursued a policy so advantageous in itself, and so worthy of this country, we should succeed in establishing in Mysore a Government exclusively administered by Natives, and thus do more than had been done for the last fifty years to reconcile the Natives of India to our rule.
§ MR. SMOLLETT
said, he would not advert like the noble Lord to what might have been the secret intentions of Lord Wellesley in 1799, when he had made this treaty. But he would at once say that the despatch of the right hon. Baronet (Sir Stafford Northcote) was one of the most honest and straightforward that had emanated from the India Office for many years. In order to estimate that despatch at its proper value, it should not be forgotten that it related to the disposal of a territory worth £1,000,000 a year, the seizure of which had been a favourite scheme with almost all the functionaries of British India for the last twenty-five years. No doubt, the despatch which had been brought under the consideration of the House was not altogether in accordance with the sentiments which were expressed by the noble Lord (Viscount Cranborne), in February last. The despatch did not repudiate in stern language the unscrupulous scheme of annexing Mysore, which had been entertained in India. Perhaps in an official despatch it was well not to advert to that subject. It did in plain language state substantially that the obligations which were undertaken in 1799, and which had existed for sixty-eight years, should not be terminated on the death of the present Rajah. It was Her Majesty's will 1041 and pleasure that those engagements should be held inviolate at least until the successor of the present Rajah had attained his majority. That was the sum and substance of the despatch, and he had no doubt the right hon. Baronet would adhere to it however he might be obstructed in this country or in India. He had never advocated the cause of any Native Prince on any other principles than those of justice. It was in the interests of justice that he had advocated the cause of the Prince of the Carnatic, who was plundered by Lord Dalhousie and Lord Harris. It was on the same principles that he advocated the cause of the Rajah of Mysore. At the end of 1858 Her Most Gracious Majesty assumed the direct sovereignty of India. In a Royal Proclamation, published on that occasion, Her Majesty stated that the "era of annexation was at an end;" that Her Majesty did not covet the possession of territories which were not Her own. Her own were already sufficiently extensive. It was added that all treaty obligations which existed and which had been created by the East India Company should by Her Majesty be inviolably observed. The Prince of Mysore claimed a dynastic right to his territories by the Treaties of 1799. If those treaties manifestly—not by insinuations or pencil marks — were purely personal — if they provided that Mysore should lapse to the East India Company or the British Government at the death of the present incumbent, the Rajah's pretensions were, of course, not worth a rush, and his little principality might at his death be properly annexed. If, however, as he (Mr. Smollett) believed, they were intended to confer perpetual sovereignty, annexation would be universally and rightly regarded in India as a flagrant violation of the Royal promise, and as a gross breach of public faith. During the dark reign of Lord Dalhousie, who avowed that annexation was the keystone of his policy, and lost no opportunity of carrying it out, the universal impression was that Mysore would prove an escheat to the British Government Not because that was the correct interpretation of the treaties, but because the Rajah was stricken in years, and had no legitimate male issue, and because Lord Dalhousie had set his face against adoption of heirs by Native Princes. When, however, the authority of the Crown and a better policy were introduced, the Indian Princes took heart. A letter was sent to them, in 1042 1859, by Lord Canning, conceding the right of adoption. That circular was not sent to the Rajah of Mysore — a very "artful dodge" on the part of Lord Canning, for he (Mr. Smollett) denied that Lord Canning ever argued that the territory of Mysore lapsed to us at its Sovereign's death. But what reason did Lord Canning assign for that omission? In writing to England he repeatedly stated the reason to be that the Rajah was not at that time in independent and actual possession of Mysore, his territories being held by us under trust and administered on his behalf. His Lordship constantly represented, moreover, that the Rajah had no wish to adopt an heir, and that it was not necessary to press such adoption on him, it being his intention to bequeath us the country in perpetuity by will. Now, his Lordship was a very astute nobleman, and must have known that if the treaties gave us the reversion, whether the Rajah had a family or not, he was not competent to dispose of the country by will. Unfortunately, the notion that the Rajah would not adopt, and that he was going to make a will in favour of the British Government, had turned out to be a mere delusion. The Rajah had not made a will, but had made an adoption among his kith and kin of a male child as his heir, and had intimated that fact to Sir John Lawrence. This intimation had placed the Governor General in a corner. Sir John Lawrence then bethought himself of an argument which had well served Lord Dalhousie on several occasions. He fell back on the assertion that these treaties were personal treaties, and he insisted that he would not acknowledge the adoption with regard to Mysore. Sir John Lawrence, in fact, declared that the Rajah was a mere puppet, that he had been put into Mysore as a warming pan to enable the Government to succeed more easily at a future time, and no doubt he considered that the Rajah had kept us out of our reversion a great deal too long. The Rajah, on his part, protested against these doctrines, and there being this dispute as to the interpretation of the treaty, who was to decide? He protested against the notion that the Governor General, who was often a man of narrow mind and arbitrary opinions, should issue his fiat in such a case, even though it were backed by a crotchety Secretary of State. It was clearly a legal question and ought to be determined by an impartial 1043 judicial tribunal. Her Majesty's gracious promise to maintain treaties was not fulfilled by allowing a Governor General and Secretary of State to give a final decision as regards their legal construction. At present, happily, no contention existed. The right hon. Baronet (Sir Stafford Northcote) decided that the territory should not be annexed, and that when the adopted heir came into possession the treaty should be revised, with the consent, he presumed, of the young Prince. As for the Minutes of the Members of the Indian Council, he had found only one of them worth reading. That was the production of Sir Frederick Currie, who approached the subject judicially, and who approved the decision of the right hon. Baronet as the only measure consistent with sound policy and good faith. Sir Frederick Currie held that the treaty was dynastic, and conveyed the right of perpetual sovereignty. But six Members of the Council had recommended that Lord Dalhousie's policy of annexation should be acted on in this case. If they could give no better advice than that, the sooner the right hon. Baronet cot quit of such counsellors the better. The only argument he could discover in favour of this view was that advanced by Sir James Hogg, that interests had sprung up in Mysore which would be endangered if it remained independent. With regard to the wishes of the Natives, his opinion was that if a plébiscite were taken in Mysore—if there were a mob election, such as we were coming to very fast in this country—999 out of 1,000 of the population would vote for the continuance of the Native dynasty in preference to the East Indian Government. The rights of the Natives in the soil, their religious rites, their claims to their pagodas and shrines, were maintained with far greater honour and security in Native than in European States. He (Mr. Smollett) entirely concurred in the opinions expressed by the noble Lord the Member for Taunton, that Mysore should be administered as far as possible after the manner of Native States. A gentleman long connected with Mysore had a day or two ago informed him that a penal code had been introduced into that country. One of the articles of that code was that adultery committed without the consent or connivance of the husband was punishable with fine and five years' imprisonment. He could only say that if this code had been in operation when he first went to India he very much feared that the East India Company 1044 would have required ten times as many civil servants as it possessed, and that the gaols would have been full of of them. This was as absurd a law as the law now obsolete in Scotland, under which adultery was punishable with death. He saw a case recently argued by the hon. and learned Member for Wigton (Mr. G. Young) in which he brought forward this law, and Lord Deas remarked that if it were put in force the population would be decimated. There might be European interests involved. He believed that the successful result of the claims of the Rajah of Mysore had been principally owing to the exertions of European gentlemen who had obtained large personal holdings in Mysore, and who preferred living under a Native Prince to being incorporated with British territory. The opinion of Sir Mark Cubbon was entitled to great weight. Sir Mark long governed Mysore. He raised the revenue of that territory to £1,000,000 per annum. The expenses under his management, including all the charges of the Government, were £400,000 per annum. Since he resigned the superintendence of Mysore the revenue had risen to £1,040,000 per annum, but the expenses had increased under European management by £170,000 per annum. Sir Mark supported the annexation policy of Lord Dalhousie as long as it was declared to be the law and was supported by the English Ministry; but when he saw that annexation was disowned by Her Majesty's Proclamation to the Princes and people of India, Sir Mark Cubbon from that date stated his belief that there was not a shadow of a pretext for preventing the adoption of a heir to Mysore, or against continuing that heir on the throne of that kingdom.
§ SIR HENRY RAWLINSON
said, that no one would dispute the incongruity pointed out by the noble Lord (Lord William Hay) between the statement addressed to the House by the noble Lord (Viscount Cranborne) and the despatch lately sent out by the right hon. Gentleman (Sir Stafford Northcote), a copy of which had been recently laid upon the table. But so far from considering that incongruity a matter of regret and censure, he regarded it as a matter of congratulation. The question raised by the noble Lord the Member for Taunton (Lord William Hay), referred specially to the personal character of the particular treaty. The result arrived at in the elaborate speech of 1045 the noble Lord (Viscount Cranborne) on a former occasion was the continuance of the Rajah in the person of his adopted son. But it must not be understood from the silence of hon. Members on that occasion that they were prepared to accept all his arguments. He (Sir Henry Rawlinson) thought them very inconclusive, and his opinions had not been changed by the subsequent evidence which had been brought forward. The noble Lord referred to the fact that in the Partition Treaty there was a clause containing the words "for ever," while the clause relating to the Rajah himself contained no such proviso. The noble Lord (Lord William Hay) supplemented this by saying that in the original treaty there was a marginal note stating that the introduction of the words "heirs and successors" was unnecessary and dangerous. His view was that the parties who drafted the treaty and prepared to execute it, arranged at the time that there should be two treaties—a partition treaty and a subsidiary treaty, the latter being provided for in the Partition Treaty. The Partition Treaty was a perpetual treaty, binding on heirs and successors. The subsidiary treaty was a personal treaty. In the Partition Treaty the words "heirs and successors" were specially mentioned. If there had been a proviso that the Rajah's heirs and successors were subject to the provisions of the treaty as it stood in the first draft, there would have been no possibility of modifying the arrangements for Government Administration at any subsequent period. It was also unnecessary, because the fact of hereditary succession was patent in itself, and there was no use in introducing the words "heirs and successors." That that was really the view taken of it at the time was shown by many other proofs. If hon. Gentlemen read the Minutes placed on record by the various Members of Council, they would see abundant evidence to that effect. They would see that the Marquess of Wellesley and the Duke of Wellington in their despatches of the period constantly spoke of the restoration of the dynasty of Mysore, and, further, of the restoration of the Rajah as the representative of the ancient family who was then placed on the throne of his ancestors. The very circumstances of the ceremonial attending the installation of the Rajah, when Lord Harris on the one hand and Meer Alum on the other placed him on the ivory throne of his ancestors, showed that the re-establishment of the 1046 dynasty was intended. According to the view of those who asserted the merely personal character of the treaty, the transaction could really have been no more nor less than making a life king—a thing monstrous and anomalous, and without parallel in our rule or in the history of the East. In his letter to the Viceroy, the Rajah had put the matter very well when he said that from time immemorial the rights and possessions of a Sovereign in India and throughout the world had been held to be essentially heritable and transmissible, and that it was utterly repugnant to the Oriental notion of the Royal dignity that there should be such a thing as a life king. That had been the view of different Governors General. The noble Lord (Lord William Hay) had quoted the opinion of Lord Canning. But both Lord Canning and Lord Dalhousie had taken the view that the Rajah had a right of sucession. In 1834, Lord William Bentinck negotiated a treaty with the Rajah of Mysore by which he arranged for the alienation or cession of certain districts to the British Crown in return for relieving the Rajah from the subsidy. That treaty was negotiated and settled in the country. But it never came into operation, because its ratification was subsequently refused by the Home authorities. Lord Dalhousie also mentioned in one of his letters the intention of the Rajah to bequeath his territory to the British Government. Lord Canning repeated that statement in many despatches, and it was that noble Lord's firm belief that the Rajah proposed in free gift to bequeath his territory to the British Government. It was not supposed that at the Rajah's death his territory would be subject to annexation, or that it would lapse to the paramount Power, but that a deed should be formally executed by the childless monarch. If the view of those who maintained the personal character of the treaty was correct, that would be nothing more than the alienation of the fee simple by a life-tenant—a transaction which no Governor General could sanction. The relations of the Rajah with the Nizam had been referred to, and there was no doubt that if the personal character of the treaty was acknowledged, the territorial rights of the Nizam would revive at the Rajah's death. The recognition of those rights would involve us in great embarrassments, and lead to a result which it was the special and principal object of the original treaty to prevent. 1047 One of the chief merits of the amended despatch, as sent out to India by the Secretary of State, was that by recognising the present validity of the original treaty, it obviated the chance of misunderstanding and complication hereafter. He would not presume to vindicate the right hon. Baronet (Sir Stafford Northcote) from the strictures passed upon him. He was quite able to defend himself. He thought the policy of annexation was indicated by the despatches of Lord Halifax. He could not see how it was possible to put any other construction upon them. He had never had the slightest doubt on that point. The protest of the Members of the Council had been based on that idea. It was in consequence of that conviction on his part that he had moved in the matter at all. He had felt satisfied that under the operation of the last order sent out by Lord Halifax to the Viceroy of India, in the event of the death of the Rajah, there would be no resource or alternative but to annex that territory. On that account he had thought it desirable before that took place that the matter should be brought under the consideration of that House. Very great stress had been laid out of doors upon the fact that the Secretary of State for India, in a delicate matter of that sort, should so soon after his accession to office have ventured to overrule his Council, ten members of which were against the despatch and only four for it. But in a case of that kind a mere numerical majority like that was not of essential consequence. The Council of India was divided into a series of committees, each of which was charged with the examination of subjects referring to its own particular branch of administration. There were respectively the Revenue, the Judicial, the Public Works, the Political, and the Military Committees. The subject of the Mysore succession was necessarily submitted to the Political Committee, and he was informed that the despatch was approved by the majority of that Committee. With the exception of Mr. Prinsep, who was the original adviser of Lord William Bentinck in his assumption of the administration of Mysore, every gentleman in the Council of India who ever served with Native Courts, and who therefore might be supposed to be conversant with the state of Native feeling, had been in favour of the continuance of the Government of Mysore. That he regarded as of much more importance than the mere fact that a majority of gentlemen 1048 who really knew very little of political matters should have recorded their votes against the despatch. In noticing that conflict of opinion between the Secretary of State and his Council, and the circumstance that Parliament was taken into consultation only after the matter had been decided and the despatch sent out, he wished to remind the House that it was in great measure owing to the decision of the House itself that such had been the case. Parliament having in its wisdom decided that the Members of the Council of India should not be eligible to sit in the House, those who were really the persons best qualified to instruct the House on Indian questions, and who would on the present occasion have kept it informed of the preliminary discussions on that subject, were unable to do so. It did seem strange that when the Government of India was in the hands of the Court of Directors of the East India Company, and when Parliament was not—or only remotely—responsible for the due administration of the affairs of that country, the Directors from Leadenhall Street had as free and open access to the House as any other members of the community. But when the Government of India was transferred to the Crown, and the power of ruling India was vested in a Council of sixteen, presided over by a Secretary of State, the very men who were perhaps most competent to enlighten Parliament as to what were the right measures for the Secretary of State to adopt were prohibited from sitting in the House. It had been said that it would be unseemly for Members of the Council of India to rise in the House and beard the Secretary of State. But it was equally unseemly, if not unconstitutional, that there should be no Parliamentary check upon the measures of the Secretary of State as to Indian administration. As long as there was no one in the House who had the necessary information and was thus qualified to give an opinion on the measures of the Minister, there would virtually be no Parliamentary check upon them. He would suggest whether it was not desirable to re-consider the question as to Members of the Council sitting in the House, with a view to the proper enlightenment of the House on subjects connected with India. Referring, in conclusion, to a somewhat personal matter, he complained of the very inaccurate and unfair account given by Mr. Prinsep of the causes which led to the bringing of this question 1049 again before the House. He touched upon this matter because the document containing the record had been laid upon the table, and because he interpreted it as imputing unworthy and party motives to a Member of the House, in the person of himself. Mr. Prinsep, in his dissent from the ruling of the present Secretary for India upon the question of the Mysore despatch, had stated that those interested in the question had brought it forward afresh after the decision of the former Government against the Rajah only because a change of Government had renewed their hopes of getting a hearing. As a matter of fact, however, he had asked Lord Russell, when in office, to receive a deputation upon the matter, and he consented to do so; but the day fixed by him happened to be two days after the vote upon which the Government resigned, and it was by a mere accident that the deputation was received by the noble Lord (Viscount Cranborne). The letter which had been written by the Rajah was dated the 4th of July, which was before the day the noble Lord took his place as President of the Indian Council. Mr. Prinsep made use of these words—They who have been induced by the Rajah's agents and agitators to advocate the Rajah's extreme rights procured a Motion to be made in Parliament.He answered that by saying that neither directly nor indirectly, either here or in India, had he communicated with any agent of the Rajah. He had once received a request for an interview from a gentleman who, he believed, was appointed by the Rajah; but knowing something of agitators, and as he desired to have no knowledge of the matter except what he obtained through public channels, he declined to grant the request. He did not know the Rajah, and had no interest in him further than that he respected an old man who had occupied his throne for sixty-eight years, and during the Indian Mutiny had so acted as to call forth the thanks of our Government. The Queen had declared that he was not only the oldest but the staunchest of Her allies. He had concerned himself in this matter from no desire to gratify the ambition of individuals, nor merely out of regard to the feelings of an Indian Prince, but in the hope that he might secure what would redound to the honour and interest of our own country.
said, that having 1050 dabbled in Indian politics for half a century, he desired to correct a gigantic misapprehension upon which the whole of this discussion had been based. Mr. Prinsep, in his minute of dissent, stated that we had conquered Mysore from Tippoo Sultan. That was not the fact. The Prince to whom the province had come down from time immemorial was used as a mere puppet by Hyder Ali. This Hyder Ali was a common trooper in his service, a man of great ability and daring, who assumed the Government, and acted so boldly as to excite British attention. He was succeeded by Tippoo Sultan, his son, who followed in the footsteps of his father, and assumed the entire mastery of the province. When the titular Rajah of Mysore died, Tippoo Sultan formally established the eldest son of the departed Prince on the throne, but of course kept him without a shred of real authority. The right to the territory, although usurped by Tippoo Sultan, remained inherent in the family of the present Rajah. We merely stole the territory from the robber who had stolen it from the Rajah's family, and we had no more right to it than that robber had. He wished to know what we should think, if, having seen a gentleman robbed of his purse, we were to knock down the thief and pocket the purse ourselves. Practically that was what we were doing in Mysore. Even if our treaty with the Rajah was a personal one that treaty could not bar the inherent right which the family of the Rajah had in the territory, and which was at present vested in the Rajah's adopted son. Treaties should be interpreted in the spirit of the Queen's Proclamation, which said, "We desire no extension of our territorial possessions." The noble Lord (Viscount Cranborne) and his successor had honourably interpreted the treaties in that manner, and he hoped that their policy would be continued. He concurred in the assertion that if the affairs of Mysore were in future to be administered by a Native Prince, it must be done upon Native principles and by a Native agency, in the way in which Sir Mark Cubbon administered the affairs of the country for thirty years.
§ MR. LAING
said, that as a member of Lord Canning's Council in India when the despatch of 1862 was written he had beard with extreme surprise the sentiments which fell from the hon. Member (Mr. Smollett). He had not taken any direct part in that transaction, in consequence of 1051 his having been at that period absent from India through indisposition. But he had heard the question frequently discussed, and he believed he might confidently speak as to the views which had upon that occasion influenced the policy of Lord Canning. Lord Canning had been accused of trying by "artful dodges" to prosecute a policy annexation. Such a charge, to any one who knew anything of the character of that noble Lord, must appear so extraordinary that it was almost an insult to his memory to offer a single word upon it. This was a case in which more depended upon the weight of authority than upon technical proof. If there was any one to whose authority special weight ought to attach on such a question it was to Lord Canning. The noble Lord's general policy was entirely opposed to the annexation of Native States. His reputation and all his feelings were identified with the preservation of the strictest good faith in treaty obligations with Native Powers. He was deeply impressed with the impolicy of the system of annexation carried out with such splendid results by his predecessor, Lord Dalhouise. If such a man as Lord Canning, in a particular case, adopted a course opposed to all the general rules that governed his conduct, the reasons influencing that decision must have been exceedingly strong. The point at issue was simply this, whether the treaty of 1789 with regard to Mysore was a dynastic or a personal treaty. Without partaking of the enthusiasm of his hon. and gallant Friend (Colonel Sykes) for the Divine right of Indian Kings, every one must draw a broad line of distinction between a treaty made with an ancient family, their heirs and successors, and one that was merely temporary in its character. If it bore the former character we were pledged to leave the reigning family in full possession of all those rights of succession which prevailed generally throughout India. But if it was a mere personal treaty it did not extend to the heirs of the sovereign whom we placed upon the throne the rights which it conferred upon himself. He (Mr. Laing) believed that it was clearly a treaty of the latter description. In Mysore the Hindoo dynasty had been subverted by two generations of Mahomedan conquerors, whose formidable military power at one period brought our system in India within a finger's breadth of ruin. When by strenuous efforts they in turn were subdued and put down we were left in absolute 1052 possession of the conquered territory, subject only to our obligations towards the Nizam, who assisted us in that campaign. It would have been quite consistent with our treaty obligations and with the law of nations to have annexed the conquered province. It was thought better to make a provisional arrangement. With the heir of the former dynasty, then languishing in prison under the barbarous rule of Tippoo Saib, a treaty was made. In that treaty care was taken sedulously to avoid all those expressions implying a perpetuity of possession found in our treaties with Native Indian Princes who had a real and bonâ, fide independence. On this point, if proof were wanting, it would have been furnished by the evidence of the noble Lord (Lord William Hay), whose researches had been attended with such happy results. Had the treaty been not personal, but dynastic, it would have been a monstrous thing to have refused the Rajah the right of adoption. The decision on the point involved not merely the particular question at issue, but the important consideration of how India was to be governed for the future. The overwhelming and concurrent weight of the highest Indian authority had been overruled by a single decision. He did not wish to say anything harsh of his right hon. Friend (Sir Stafford Northcote) who, owing to a diffiulty that had arisen with regard to the Reform Bill, almost at a day's notice was called on to administer the Indian Department—one to which his attention had never before been specially directed. In the first fortnight of his tenure of that office he was called on to decide a most serious question. It would be a very serious matter if such a question were to be determined through what might be regarded as a mere accident in English politics. The view of the treaty he was advocating was adopted by the Court of Directors in 1832, and confirmed at that time by the Board of Control. Among recent Governors General it had received the sanction of Lord Dalhousie, of Lord Canning, of Lord Elgin, and of Sir John Lawrence. All these high authorities concurred in the opinion that the treaty was a personal one, and that it was not expedient that we should set up a new Native dynasty in the State of Mysore. The same opinion was expressed in three successive despatches written by Lord Halifax. The noble Lord (Viscount Cranborne), while he thought the time had not yet come for adopting any positive decision 1053 with respect to the succession to the sovereignty of that territory, distinctly declared his belief that the treaty was a personal, and not a dynastic one. The decision of the noble Lord left the question an open one. But the decision of his successor reversed all former decisions, and that not only upon the cardinal point of law, but also upon the point of policy and expediency. If it were to be considered final it might leave us no alternative but to recognise the adopted heir of the present Sovereign of Mysore, and to set up in that State an hereditary ruler. There was a broad line of distinction between maintaining a dynasty to the maintenance of which we were bound by treaty and the setting up a new State when we were under no obligations to do so. The question of annexation was so unpopular that he did not wish to be understood as being favourable to it. He was not a partizan of annexation. The policy of annexation had been carried under Lord Dalhousie's administration to an extent he could scarcely approve. But he thought it due to the memory of that distinguished statesman to say that the case, as regarded annexation, was not so clear as it at first sight appeared to some persons to be. Some persons spoke of it as if it were a coveting of our neighbour's possessions—a mere lust of aggrandisement. But that was far from being the case. The existence of Native States in India, except as far as it was based on treaty and sanctioned by allowing hereditary possession, was a very doubtful policy, either for British interests or for the welfare of the inhabitants of British India. If we looked at the past condition of the Punjab, Oude, and other districts which had been recently annexed and compared it with their present condition, we should see how much the people themselves had benefited by the change of Government. Any one who had read Sir William Sleeman's interesting work would learn how bad had been the condition of Oude under its Native Princes. Its history had been one of cruelties and abominations. There had been no security for life or territory. The hostilities between the turbulent nobility of the country had been perpetual. They had been destroying the whole face of the kingdom by battles, sometimes against the King's taxgatherers, and sometimes among themselves. At present Oude was the most flourishing, contented, and loyal part of India. Its fierce feudal Chiefs were 1054 forming themselves into agricultural societies. He had seen a deputation of Talookdars come to thank the Viceroy for the change. The Natives were importing steam ploughs and applying themselves to improvements in agriculture. They had recently established a newspaper which advocated in Hindostanee the most enlightened doctrines. The abolition of infanticide and the emancipation, or partial emancipation, of the women were among the questions of the day. In modern times no more magnificent work had been performed than that which had been accomplished in these Provinces he the substitution of British for Native rule. In the Punjab and in Scinde, under Native rule, the turbulence of the Sikhs was the cause of frequent revolts and insurrections. They were constantly promoting dangerous wars with their neighbours. How was it possible for the 150,000,000 of inhabitants of British India to settle down into peaceful occupations, while such inflammable materials existed in the Native States? In the presence of men of such turbulent disposition we had been obliged to keep up a large army to guard our frontiers and a strong force to watch our own Sepoys. Now, in the case of Mysore, many of those evils must exist in an aggravated form. In a really independent Native State there might be misgovernment and danger. But there was an end of it. We might wash our hands of any responsibility either as regarded the institutions or the treatment of the inhabitants. But it was not so with a Native rule upheld by us and supported by British bayonets, which were at hand to prevent revolt. It was by revolt on the part of their subjects, or by intrigue in their own palace, where they were carried off by poison, that an end was put to the reign of unpopular Native rulers. That had been the state of things in Oude. How could we say that it would not be the state of things in Mysore? How could we wash our hands of responsibility in respect of a State of 4,000,000 of inhabitants set up by British rule, and protected by British authority? British power must be employed in that State for the protection of Native rule with all its abuses. He would mention one case for the purpose of showing what might be the nature of those evils. In the territory of that Prince it was a common practice to seize any unfortunate old woman suspected of witchcraft. A hook was passed through the muscles of the woman's back, and a cord being 1055 attached to it she was hung up and swung round with the view of seeing how long she could endure such torture. In the case to which he referred—which happened at Rajnootana—the Prince complained very loudly to the Resident, on the ground that a British officer's interposition to prevent this cruelty was an interference with his Sovereign authority, and with the feelings or prejudices of his subjects. That was an instance of the scenes which we must expect to witness if we set up a Native Prince in India and then extended to him our protection. If the decisions of the English authorities upon the spot were to be overruled in the manner which seemed to be contemplated, it would be very difficult for us to rule India. The facilities of steam and telegraphic communication were bringing the authority in Indian affairs more and more to London. He was afraid that the great race of British statesmen in India had nearly expired with Lord Canning. He was almost afraid that the inevitable tendency of things was to concentrate—to take authority from India and bring it here. That was a result to which he looked with considerable apprehension. Our Empire in India was of all others the most anomalous the world ever saw. To govern a Native population of 200,000,000 by a handful of Europeans required consummate judgment. It taxed the most consummate wisdom and statesmanship to maintain a machinery so delicate and so complicated. Perhaps the most important matter for us to look to was that our policy in India should be firm and consistent. He could conceive nothing so dangerous as frequent fluctuations. Whether this decision in the case of Mysore was right or wrong it was a great misfortune for the future of British rule in India that a decision come to by an overwhelming concurrence of Indian authorities should be at the last moment completely reversed by the decision of the right hon. Baronet (Sir Stafford Northcote) who, however much all might admire and respect his abilities and character, could not on a question of this kind fairly be regard as an Indian authority.
§ SIR EDWARD COLEBROOKE
said, he continued to be of opinion that we were bound by equity to maintain the succession. Whatever construction might have been put on the settlement of 1799—even supposing Lord Weilesley had had some secret views as to the interpretation to be put on it—that would not relieve us of the responsibility 1056 imposed on us by the open acts of the English authorities of that day. The fact of the family of the Indian Prince being placed on the throne by our Government carried with it in the eyes of the Natives an acknowledgment of those rights of succession which were inherent in a Sovereign. He tendered his acknowledgments to the noble Lord (Viscount Cranborne) and to the right hon. Gentleman (Sir Stafford Northcote) for the boldness with which they had expressed their views. He thought there were other grounds of policy in connection with this question in addition to the general question of a Native State. The speech of his noble Friend (Lord William Hay) left great doubts in his mind as to the particular object he had in view. The noble Lord, while expressing his concurrence in the policy of the Government, did not wish to see the State annexed. He could not understand, therefore, what reason the noble Lord had to quarrel with his right hon. Friend the Secretary for India respecting the course he had taken. He knew nothing of the reasons upon which his right hon. Friend had arrived at his decision, of the extent to which he carried his views, nor how far he differed from the policy of his predecessors. Whatever his views might be, he cordially agreed with the right hon. Baronet that, if we were to recognise the succession at all, we ought not to clog it with any reasoning or technical argument as to the original value of the treaty under which the family was placed upon the throne. He was glad that the right hon. Baronet had not followed the example of the noble Lord who preceded him in office, and qualified his decision by casting doubt upon the title by which the Sovereign was in future to be entitled to reign. Nothing could be more inexpedient than to put a member of that family upon the throne in order that he might be regarded as a mere life occupant of it. He did not think the House need be alarmed by the opinion expressed by the hon. Member (Mr. Laing) as to the dangers which would arise if the State were placed under the dominion of a Native Sovereign. The powers conferred on the British Government under the subsidiary treaty would be sufficient to secure the rights and happiness of individuals residing within the State. It was impossible to ignore the questions of expediency involved in the case of the administration of a country which had been so long under British rule. Even if the treaty were 1057 regarded as a personal one, we should not be deprived of any rights which we might exercise in this respect. It was stated by Mr. Prinsep that on the death of the Sovereign the British Government might exercise their original rights under the treaty, assuming it to be merely a personal one. We might say, for instance, to the Sovereign of the country, "We will not for the future regard you as a protected Sovereign, and we are not now under any obligation to support you with our troops. We will leave yon to the exercise of your Sovereignty." The adoption of such a course would be followed by anarchy, and the British Government would then be under the necessity of interfering as a neighbour who was interested in the welfare and the peace of India. Upon that interpretation of the treaty the British Government would have full power to protect the rights of every inhabitant of the territory. He believed that no danger would accrue from the course taken by Her Majesty's Government.
§ MR. HENRY SEYMOUR
said, he did not understand this case, as it was dealt with in the Secretary of State's despatch, who avoided, according to his own avowal, entering at all into the legal argument. He should like to know from the right hon. Baronet (Sir Stafford Northcote) whether he considered the treaty personal or dynastic. He thought the right hon. Gentleman should have agreed with those who preceded him in office, and held the treaty to be a personal one. The last speaker seemed to hold the doctrine of the inherent rights of sovereignty and the Divine rights of kings. What those inherent rights were he could not comprehend. He understood the hon. Baronet (Sir Edward Colebrooke) to say that if a Sovereign were made under any circumstances the right of sovereignty would be carried down in his family to the remotest times. According to that theory, the Stuarts were the rightful occupants of the Throne of Great Britain, and the Bourbons ought to govern France. He could not admit that any Sovereign ought to hold a throne except by the will of the people and the legislative authority of the country. It was by that authority that the Queen of England occupied the throne, and the same principle should be applied to India. The present Rajah of Mysore was not even of an ancient dynasty. It had been stated by the hon. and gallant Gentleman (Colonel Sykes) that Hyder Ali was a trooper who robbed his master, and 1058 that the Nizam was not the rightful Sovereign, because he was originally the lieutenant of his master, from whom he took the Deccan. The Rajah, therefore, was not the representative of an ancient dynasty. We took him from a dungeon and placed him on a throne. As to the treaty, the concurrence of almost every authority went to prove that it was considered by those who framed it as a personal treaty. The Secretary of State, however, in his despatch expressly declined to enter into the legal argument, but grounded his policy on expediency. He understood his meaning to be this—"Suppose that it is a personal treaty, it is our interest to adopt the son of the Rajah, to bring him up in a certain manner, and to undertake that when the young gentleman is eighteen or twenty years of age he shall be put upon a throne in the centre of our possessions, with the powers which his father enjoyed before 1832." Why should the son be invested with all the powers which his father possessed before 1832? In his judgment those powers should be curtailed. He thought the right hon. Baronet ought to state distinctly to the House whether he looked upon the treaty as personal or dynastic. The best thing for the young Prince was that he should have a good education, and a good education was not to be had in India. The son of the Rajah ought to be recognised as such, all his own property should be guaranteed, and he should receive a liberal education in England befitting one of his high station. It was the custom of the Russian Government to cause their Asiatic Princes to be educated at St. Petersburg with the young nobility, and we might learn a valuable lesson from the Russians in this respect. Armenians were found holding important offices in the State and discharging high civil and military functions. If such an example were followed by us with respect to our Indian Princes the most beneficial consequences would ensue. Fifty years ago there was a race of Indian warriors and statesmen which had ceased to exist under our rule. He should like to see that class of men revived. Sir Charles Napier entertained a decided opinion upon this point. The best proof that we had been of real service to India would be found in the possibility of her being able to stand alone in case the union between that country and our own should at any time be severed. He gave full credit to some of the motives which dictated this 1059 despatch, but he thought that it was too vague about the future of the adopted son of the Rajah. The course that had been pursued with regard to this young Prince would result in failure. It was impossible as now arranged that he could associate with boys of his own rank so as to imbibe those ideas of Western civilization which were absolutely necessary to prevent his becoming a burden to himself, and to make him an honour to his country. If there was to be a future of any distinction at all for him, he should be educated in this country and engaged in the public service until the proper time, when he would learn that his advancement depended upon his own merits. He regretted that the offices in India had not been opened more to Natives, instead of being filled as they had been almost exclusively by Europeans. The real cure for the fears of the Native Princes of India would be to settle their succession by Act of Parliament, as was the case with the Crown in this country. What they required for India was security of tenure in this respect, and the adoption of such a course would go far to prevent the Indian Princes from becoming victims to what in many instances were nothing but idle fears. The right hon. Baronet (Sir Stafford Northcote) was wrong in pledging the Government and the country as he had done to the policy contained in his despatch. That policy was a bad precedent. It was contrary to our system of rule in India, and the principles upon which it was based were to involved. He did not think that that despatch would prohibit or prevent any Member hereafter raising the question of the future government of Mysore.
§ MR. STANSFELD
said, the subject before the House divided itself into a question of law and a question of policy. Upon the question of law considerable additional light had been thrown. Perhaps in consequence of that additional light the right hon. Baronet might be prepared to express more clearly than he had yet done, his own opinion with regard to the legal position taken up by his predecessors. Up to the time of the right hon. Gentleman's despatch there had certainly been complete concurrence among Governors General and Secretaries of State upon the point of the treaty not being dynastic, but simply personal, as far as the Rajah of Mysore was concerned. It was extremely desirable that there should be continuity of opinion upon questions of both law and policy in dealing with 1060 so large and important a dependency as India. They had been told that if the treaty was only a personal one, we might get into great trouble, but that was not a question which it was necessary to go into at present. Differences of opinion would undoubtedly arise in dealing with a question like this. But as far as possible an attempt should be made to reconcile those differences and preserve an uniformity of policy. Whether the treaty was dynastic or personal, he did not think that we were under any circumstances bound to recognise the equal rights of the Nizam. Some hon. Gentlemen behind him appeared to think that Lord Halifax had decided in favour of a positive policy of annexation, but that was by no means the case. Lord Halifax intended that this question should be left perfectly open to his successors to be solved by them when the proper time, whatever that might be, arrived. But the noble Lord (Viscount Cranbourne) had gone a step further. For that he did not blame him, because it might be that the time had come for taking some further step during the Rajah's lifetime, protracted as that life had been. The view of the noble Lord (Viscount Cranbourne), when he wrote his despatch, was this—"I will leave the question to be determined by my successors when the child comes of age; I will not commit my successors to the recognition of the nominal sovereignty of this child, but will leave it to my successors to determine at that time what, if any, portion of the State he shall rule, and what administrative powers he shall exercise." The right hon. Gentleman had — as had been shown — taken up a somewhat different position. He trusted, however, that the three different positions which had been taken by three different Secretaries of State, with the explanation the House would probably receive, would prove to be not so irreconcilable as to imply anything like a reversal of policy. There were two points on which he wished to hear the opinion of the right hon. Gentleman (Sir Stafford Northcote). The first was as to time. The second as to the policy to be pursued when the time arrived. Certain mischiefs were risked by delay. If it were true that the present beneficial and successful system of administration could hardly exist under the Native Sovereign, we ought to determine long before the maturity of the present claimant whether we intended to hand over to him the whole or only a part 1061 of Mysore, and prepare the State for that change. He thought that the despatch left the question of time entirely undecided. As to the question of policy, he thought it would be advisable to leave it as free as possible. Two policies were possible, that of administering the whole as a Native State, and obtaining guarantees for good government, and that of "carving out" which was well-known in the office, and had been unofficially considered more than once. He had heard the word "annexation" in the course of the debate. There was a time for one policy and a time for another, and the time for annexation had passed away. He desired in this matter to trace identity of policy on the part of those who had been and those who were responsible for the Government of India, and he confidently hoped the right hon. Gentleman would be able to put himself in harmony with his predecessors. Nothing could be more statesmanlike than the policy which the noble Lord (Viscount Cranbourne) had announced on this question in his lucid speech last year, and he hoped the views of the right hon. Gentleman opposite would be found to be equally worthy of his approval.
§ SIR STAFFORD NORTHCOTE
said, that within the past half hour he had received a telegram from India with reference to the report of a mutiny which appeared in the newspapers the day before yesterday, and respecting which a question had been put to him by an hon. Member. The telegram was from Bombay, and it stated that information had been received there that the report of the mutiny was not true, and that it originated with a letter written by a person who was insane. He fully admitted the importance of the subject which had been brought under their notice by the noble Lord (Lord William Hay). There could be no doubt that this question was of great importance in more than one respect. It was important as it bore upon our policy in India generally. It was also of importance as affording a crucial case for determining the view which Parliament might take as to the relative position in which the Secretary of State for India, and his Council, and the Governor of; India, should stand one to another. As the hon. Member (Mr. Laing) had properly said, the present case was a peculiar and a very strong one. The Secretary of State for India, not having been previously familiar with the administration of Indian affairs, found himself immediately on his 1062 accession to office engaged in a question of great difficulty. He had taken upon himself, in opposition to the views of the majority of his Council, and in opposition to, or at all events, not in conformity with the views of his predecessor, to send out a despatch to the Governor General of India, giving him instructions upon a matter of great importance. That, undoubtedly, was a step which called for criticism and remark, and he should have had no right to complain had hon. Members found fault with such a proceeding. No one, however, had disputed the legality of the course adopted, and no one had raised the question whether or not that ought to be the position in which the Secretary of State should stand. It had been generally admitted that if we were to govern India by means of a Secretary of State it must be left to the responsible Minister of the day, who must be prepared to defend in Parliament the course he might adopt, and to decide what should and what should not be the measures to be taken upon those questions not specially reserved by Parliament for the decision of other authorities. There could be no doubt that Parliament had distinctly and emphatically reserved certain questions for the decision of the Indian Council. Questions of expenditure and revenue were determined by that body, and over them the Secretary of State had no power. If therefore the Secretary of State were to be overruled by his Council on some question of finance, no blame could be attached to him for giving way. But in questions like that at present before the House, Parliament had directed that the Secretary of State should have power to act upon his own judgment, notwithstanding he might not have the support of the majority of his Council in the course he might think proper to pursue. While he admitted the peculiarity and the difficulty of the position in which he had been placed, no other course was open to him than the course he had adopted—namely, to rely upon his own judgment and to carry out his own views on his own responsibility. Whether or not he had been presumptuous in setting up his own opinion against that of so many great authorities, as he was said to have done, was a question upon which he should feel it to be his duty to address a few words to the House. The Constitutional power of the Secretary of State to act as he had done, not having been denied, he would shortly discuss the actual course which had been pursued. He 1063 was at a loss to understand precisely to what the criticisms of the noble Lord pointed. The noble Lord appeared to find fault with him because he would not discuss the question whether the Treaties of 1799 were dynastic or personal. The noble Lord expressed his opinion that the treaties were personal, and that we should not annex. He then said that if the treaties were personal and not dynastic, on the death of the existing Rajah the question would be between ourselves and the Nizam as to the mode in which the kingdom was to be disposed of. Yet in the same breath he said that we ought not to annex, but that we ought to recognise the right of the Nizam. Did the noble Lord think we ought to have given a portion of the territory to the Nizam? [Lord WILLIAM HAY said, that he did not go so far as that.] The question of the Nizam had a certain bearing on all the proceedings that had taken place, and we ought not to assume that the fact of the treaty being a personal one, gave us an exclusive right to the inheritance of his dominions. Had it been necessary to construe the treaty according to the strictest construction of the words, the question would have arisen whether the Nizam was not as much a party to it as we were, and whether his case ought not to be considered as well as ours. But his object in taking the step he had done was to avoid going into a minute and critical examination of the words of the treaty, which would have been a most inconvenient and unnecessary inquiry. The position in which the question stood when it came before him was this. The noble Lord his predecessor (Viscount Cranbourne) had announced that it was not the intention of the Government to annex this territory upon the death of the present Rajah; that the treaty being merely of a personal character, it rested with us to make an arrangement that could come into effect on the death of the present Rajah; that we should take his adopted son under our care; that we should educate him as carefully as we could do, and that when he had attained a certain age, say eighteen or twenty, the Government should then decide what course should be adopted. That decision had been come to by the noble Lord without the question having been previously discussed by the Council of India. As soon as he (Sir Stafford Northcote) entered upon his duties he, of course, consulted the Council upon the subject. He found that while the majority of the Council were decidedly 1064 of opinion that this policy of the noble Lord was one of which they could not approve, while that majority were of opinion that we should rather look to a policy of annexation, those who did approve the noble Lord's proposal dissented from his view in several important matters. Having determined to examine the question for himself, he had come to the conclusion that the question was open to a great deal of argument, and he admitted that his mind had not been entirely satisfied by the argument of the noble Lord. He did not think that the argument, from the wording of the treaty, was conclusive to the extent of showing that the treaty was only a personal one. He had not thought it necessary, however, to inquire minutely into the question as to the right of inheritance, because the matter was one not to be decided merely by the technical construction of the clauses of the treaty. Instead of referring to the mere technical construction of the clauses of the treaty, he had endeavoured, as far as possible, to ascertain the spirit of the arrangement which had been originally made by Lord Wellesley, and, if possible, to carry it into effect irrespective of any special pleading with regard to the exact words of the treaty, and thus, in fact, to treat the matter as a question of broad national policy. That was the spirit in which his despatch was written. He did not desire to controvert the views of great authorities like Lord Dalhousie and Lord Canning, or discuss minutely what those views were. But he was not prepared to admit that he was in necessary opposition to them. They decided a different question from that presented to him, and under different circumstances from those with which he had to deal. He had endeavoured in the Minute which he had laid upon the table, and which accompanied his despatch, to point out that Lord Dalhousie and Lord Canning were dealing with different questions from those which he was called upon to consider. The question brought before them was whether the present Maharajah should be restored to the sovereignty. They argued that he could not claim to be so replaced as a matter of right under the Treaties of 1799. The question of succession did not arise in the form which it now assumed. No adoption had taken place, and it was uncertain whether the Maharajah would adopt. Indeed, Lord Dalhousie supposed it to be the Maharajah's intention to bequeath his kingdom to the British Government. Lord 1065 Canning applied himself to dissuade the Maharajah from adopting. He did not lay down any doctrine as to the effect of adoption. Lord Canning's aim was that the territory of Mysore should ultimately become British territory. He treated the case as an exceptional one. Though not generally desiring that our dominions should be extended, he thought that in the position of Mysore it would be well that the Maharajah should carry out his supposed intention of bequeathing the country to us. The very expression of a hope that such a bequest would be made was inconsistent with the idea that the treaty was of a personal character in the sense in which that expression was used. It was scarcely possible that Lord Canning could have held at one and the same time, that at the Maharajah's death the Government would fall of right to us, and that the Maharajah could bequeath it to us. With regard to the personal character of the treaty, he was thrown back upon the leading policy of Lord Wellesley. The leading policy of Lord Wellesley appeared to have been this:—After the conquest of Tippoo Sultan, the question arose what was to be done with his territory. A portion was given to the Nizam and a portion to the British Government. But as it was not thought desirable that the whole territory should be divided between the allies, Lord Wellesley was of opinion that it should be constituted into a separate State, and placed under a Hindoo Sovereign, having peculiar relations with the British Government. It was agreed that the Nizam should have nothing to say to this arrangement, but that the British Government should be at liberty to make a subsidiary treaty with this State, the object of which was to place all its resources at the disposal of the British Government, and to provide for the good government of the people. Accordingly, the subsidiary treaty was entered into with the young Rajah shortly afterwards. Lord Wellesley, in his despatches to Mr. Dundas and the Court of Directors, represented the matter in that light, pointing out that he had not only obtained the territory actually ceded to us, but had obtained the complete disposal of the resources of Mysore. This, and the establishment of such relations as should secure the good government of the people of Mysore, were the two points to which the subsidiary treaty was directed, the latter being a subject to which Lord Wellesley attached great importance. As to the 1066 words which the noble Lord (Lord William Hay) found in the manuscripts in the British Museum, the Marquess Wellesley was most anxious to show that Mysore was distinctly dependent on the British Government. In striking out these words it was no doubt his object to show this subordinate position of the new State. The substitution of the word "descendant" for "heir" was before known. One reason for this change was that there were private debts in respect of which creditors might have come against this child if he had been recognised as the heir. But the chief reason was because Lord Wellesley wished to show that the kingdom was a creation of ours; that the Maharajah did not take as representing the ancient Rajahs of Mysore, but was a person selected by the British Government; that they might have selected any body—and would have selected a Mahomedan but for reasons of policy—to occupy a position subordinate to British rule. By the subsidiary treaty arrangements were made with the Maharajah by which, for the purposes of good government, he was to provide a certain sum for the maintenance of a force, and take the advice of the British Government in the administration of his territories. Power was also reserved to the British Government to take possession of his territories if these conditions were not observed, and if he made default in the payment of the subsidy. Lord William Bentinck, in 1832, found it necessary to exercise this power, and from that time to the present we had administered the government of Mysore. But we had always carefully avoided the annexation of the country. Lord W. Bentinck made it understood that he had only assumed the administration of affairs because of the personal unfitness of the present Maharajah to govern for himself. He was left the nominal ruler, and, under their treaty rights, the British Government administered the affairs of the kingdom. It had been suggested that we should not now give up the country. But the country was not ours. Before it could become ours, even upon the death of the Maharajah, there must be a Proclamation of annexation, otherwise the country would be left without a government at all. Now, as to our watchfulness over the interests of the subjects of this State. He was told that it was our duty not to regard the rights and interests of Princes so much as the rights and interests of subjects. He had 1067 been told that a system of administration which supported Princes who showed themselves unfit to govern was worse than to leave them under their independent Princes, where bad government was checked by the right of insurrection. He entirely agreed that we ought to regard the rights and interests of the Natives of India. It was said if we supported a Native ruler against the fear of insurrection he might abuse his power. There was another and a better check than the fear of insurrection—forfeiture to the British Government. The administrator of a Native State in the event of misgoverning it might be set aside. That was what Lord Wellesley said—not that we should take the kingdom to ourselves, but that in the interest of the Natives of India we should step in and take the administration when necessary. That was a delicate operation to perform. It was one which, if the Natives of India understood it, might work very well; but if they misunderstood it a great deal of mistrust must be occasioned, and we might lay ourselves open to very severe reflections. Our course should be clearly disinterested. If we gave the Natives cause to think that we had really come in to take the territory for our own, it would cause distrust and multiply difficulties. We had stepped in in the present case. The question came to be, had that been done in the spirit of Lord Wellesley, or had it been done only as a stepping-stone to annexation? If the latter were the object, then it tended to shake the confidence of the Native States as to the meaning of our interference with regard to them. If, for instance, Travancore were badly governed and we were compelled to interfere, it would at once be said that we had come, not in the interest of the people, but to take the country for ourselves, and that we were only doing by two steps what might as well be done by one. If we converted this regency into an assumption of the country for ourselves we became exposed to reproach, and shook the confidence of other Native States in the justice of our proceedings when we interfered with them. That was the view he took, and it seemed to him to justify the policy he had to embody in the despatch. There was another point on which he differed from the course taken by his noble Friend (Viscount Cranborne), and it was one of more real importance than whether he should declare his opinion on the construction of the treaty. It was a cardinal 1068 point—what was to be done in the way of declaring positively the future arrangements of Mysore? His noble Friend left matters open till this child should attain the age of eighteen or twenty—that was, for the next fourteen or fifteen years. It seemed to him (Sir Stafford Northcote) that this policy was impracticable and mischievous. What were they to do during these fourteen or fifteen years? Everything would be kept in a state of uncertainty. The government of the country was at present carried on in the name of the present Rajah, and at his death they must declare in whose name it was to be carried on. On this point he had received a strong opinion from Mr. Bowring, the present resident at Mysore, who said—What will be my position in such an event? the people will ask me what is to be done. I can only tell them to wait and see; which would be interpreted into waiting for a convenient time when we might annex the State. Confidence would be destroyed. And what would be the condition of the young Prince? He would be brought up and educated, but a feeling of dissatisfaction and discontent would prevail among those who surrounded him, and he would be brought up, not as an expectant king, but as a pretender.That was a serious danger to be guarded against. But we should also be losing valuable time. These ten or fourteen years were extremely precious, and we ought to expend the time not only in carefully educating the young Prince, but in devising such a system and regulations as would, when the time came for his administering the country, as far as possible insure his administering it properly. He could not admit the force of the argument that because the present Rajah thirty years ago managed his country badly, it would be badly managed by a young Prince better educated. He believed that the change in education in India, and the fact that the Natives now saw what their system of Government was and is, had told most beneficially on that country. He had therefore confidence that we might establish a state of things in Mysore which would have a happy effect on the administration of the country. What had taken place in other parts of India? Travancore forty years ago was in as bad a state as Mysore, yet its administration under British influence had so greatly improved that Travancore was now something like a model Native State. Our Indian policy should be founded on a broad basis. There might be difficulties; but what we had to 1069 aim at was to establish a system of Native States, which might maintain themselves in a satisfactory relation — keeping the virtues of Native States, and getting rid, as far as possible, of their disadvantages. We must look to the great natural advantages which the Government of a Native State must necessarily have. Under the English system there were advantages which would probably never be had under Native administration — regularity, love of law, order, and justice. But Native administration had the advantage in sympathy between governors and the governed. Governors were able to appreciate and understand the prejudices and wishes of the governed; especially in the case of Hindoo States the religious feelings of the people were enlisted in favour of their governors instead of being roused against us. He had been told by gentlemen from India that nothing impressed them more than when walking the streets of some Indian town they looked up at the houses on each side, and asked themselves, "What do we really know of these people—of their modes of thought, their feelings, their prejudices—and at what great disadvantage, in consequence, do we administer the government?" The English Government must necessarily labour under great disadvantages, and we should endeavour, as far as possible, to develop the system of Native government, to bring out Native talent and statemanship, and to enlist in the cause of government all that was great and good in them. Nothing could be more wonderful than our Empire in India; but we ought to consider on what conditions we held it, and how our predecessors held it. The greatness of the Mogul Empire depended on the liberal policy that was pursued by men like the great Emperor Akbar and his successors availing themselves of Hindoo talent and assistance, and identifying themselves, as far as possible, with the people of the country. They ought to take a lesson from such circumstances. If they were to do their duty towards India they could only discharge that duty by obtaining the assistance and counsel of all who were great and good in that country. It would be absurd in them to say that there was not a large fund of statesmanship and ability in the Indian character. They really must not be too proud. They were always ready to speak of the English Government as so infinitely superior to anything in the way of Indian government. But if the Natives of India were disposed 1070 to be equally critical, it would be possible for them to find out weak places in the harness of the English administration. The system in India was one of great complexity. It was a system of checks and counter-checks, and very often great abuses failed to be controlled from want of a proper knowledge of and sympathy with the Natives. In answer to the two questions which had been asked with respect to the time and nature of the policy to be adopted, the words which had been quoted from his despatch as to the time in which any arrangement should be made, were deliberately inserted in consultation with the Indian Council in order that any arrangement which might be made with the Governor General and the majority of the Board should be the subject of discussion between the Secretary of State and the Council. Great care should be taken in making any arrangement, and he left it open to his successor to consider how far the policy might be adopted of what the hon. Member (Mr. Stansfeld) called "carving out a small State." That was not exactly the mode in which he would express the idea; but it was perfectly consistent with his despatch that a policy of that kind might be adopted. He had in the first instance pointed out that some arrangement would have to be made, but he left it open to his successor to make it in the way he pleased, and if his successor chose to adopt the method of a cession of territory, that would be equal to carving out a small State. Those were points upon which they ought, as far as possible, be consistent in their policy, even if he were apparently reversing the decisions of his predecessors. He had not reversed that policy. He might fairly say that he had not so much reversed those decisions as he had acted under new circumstances, somewhat in a different line than that which his predecessors had taken. But it would be his wish at all times, in all further proceedings, even if he were placed in opposition, to co-operate with his successors, whoever they might be, or with those who were interested in the administration of the Government of India. As far as it was possible to agree upon a principle they ought to do so, and not to allow party politics in England to interfere with the government of India. But there were questions upon which it was necessary for a Secretary of State to take a line of his own, and upon which no one would be justified in evading his responsibility out 1071 of deference to the opinions of his predecessors, or the possible opinions of his successors.
§ VISCOUNT CRANBORNE
I have very little to add to the speech of my right hon. Friend; but I should like to make a few observations on what has fallen from him. First I will allude to the Constitutional question and to the peculiar position in which he stands in having sent out a despatch in opposition to ten out of the fourteen of the Council of India. In that course, as he justly states, he has been borne out by the general tenor of this debate, beaause no one has taken exception to that course. I wish to record my opinion strongly in favour of the course he has taken, not only on the especial ground of his policy being coincident with that which I had suggested, but also on broad Constitutional grounds. Some of the dissents which we have before us — written, undoubtedly, by very able men, who form part of that Council—seem to me to indicate—probably because they are able and competent men—rather a tendency to encroach beyond the sphere which Parliament has assigned to them, and to entrench on the prerogatives of this House. There ought to be no mistake as to the Constitutional position which the Council holds. Constitutionally it is a most anomalous institution. It possesses by Act of Parliament an absolute and conclusive veto upon the Acts of the Government of India with reference to nine-tenths—I might almost say ninety-nine-hundredths—of the questions that arise with respect to that Government. Parliament has provided that the Council may veto any despatch which directs the appropriation of public money. Everyone knows that almost every question connected with Government raises in some way or other the question of expenditure. The construction which high legal authorities put upon the Act is that, directly or constructively, every despatch or order raises a question of expenditure, over which the Council of India have a conclusive and absolute veto, and from which there is no appeal except by an Act of Parliament. The only defence of such an anomalous slate of things is, that this House is so overwhelmed with business nearer home that it has no opportunity of making itself acquainted with all those vast fields of knowledge that will enable it to exercise an efficient vigilance over the acts of the Secretary of State for India. Therefore it has instituted this Council to be its deputy, 1072 as it were, to watch him and see that the powers placed in his hands are not abused. It ought, however, to be clearly understood that the moment the House steps in and expresses an opinion on a subject connected with India, that moment the jurisdiction of the Council of India ought to cease. It is not to be endured in this Constitutional country for a moment that the Council should set itself against the express opinion of the House. I make that statement because there are some strong expressions in one or two of the dissents which ought not to be allowed to pass unnoticed. If at any time these opinions should find expression in the acts of the Council of India, I will venture to predict that their large powers will speedily be restricted. It was with regret that I saw the Motion of the noble Lord (Lord William Hay) on the Paper. Though I know no one more competent to speak on the subject than he — as the event has been proved, because he has contributed interesting and valuable information in illustration of the question—still it was with regret that I saw it was to be made the matter of discussion. My reason was that it could hardly be avoided that the slight difference between the course of myself and my right hon. Friend (Sir Stafford Northcote) should be exaggerated in the course of the debate. You cannot state minute differences without, to some extent, exaggerating them. Therefore it was that I should have preferred if the matter could have passed in silence, because I believe that the despatch substantially expressed, not only the decision of the Government as expressed in July last through me, but also that of the House, upon this question. I think my right hon. Friend has exercised a sound discretion in not going deeply into the law in this despatch. It is one thing to do so in a speech and another in a despatch. If you go into it in an official document you are liable to criticism, and the necessity of doing it fully and following it out in detail makes the task almost impracticable. I do not think my right hon. Friend could have differed much from the views I entertained, because they were submitted to him in common with the rest of the Cabinet before they were placed before the House. Whatever opinions on reflection he might have entertained, it is well that that subject should not form part of the despatch. If I might venture to criticize the speeches that have been 1073 made, a little too much importance has been attached to these treaties. It is a hazardous opinion to express, for it might seem to imply that we are justified in departing from the letter of those treaties. I am far from wishing to express such an opinion. But we have heard doctrines propounded more fitting for the Congress of Vienna than this House. Mysore has been talked of as the property of a Sovereign, and the 4,000,000 of people as so many sheep or stock. I think that that is hardly such a view of the relation between the rights of a Sovereign and the welfare of the community as is usually taken on such a subject on this side of the world in the present day. Therefore, of whatever importance these treaties may be, it is dangerous to dwell so exclusively on the letter of them as some have done in this debate. It conveys the impression that we consider the rights of individual Sovereigns of much more importance than the welfare of the people. With that remark I will venture to dismiss a great deal of what has been said with reference to the Nizam. All his claims, whatever they are, are in the highest degree technical; and, in my opinion, in a Court of Law he would have no defence. Whether he has or not, I am certain that, as a matter of policy, no English Government would think it right to increase his dominions. I expressed my opinion on a former occasion on the legal question very fully, and I shall not again go into it. What I have heard from high legal authorities does not lead me to distrust the view I have taken. What the noble Lord has brought forward tends to confirm it. The general concurrence of opinion of those who know India best is that a number of well-governed small Native States are in the highest degree advantageous to the development of the political and moral condition of the people of India. The hon. Gentleman (Mr. Laing), arguing in the strong official line, seems to take the view that everything is right on British territory and everything dark on Native territory. Though he can cite the case of Oude, I venture to doubt if it could be established as a general view of India as it exists at present. If Oude is to be quoted against Native government the Report on the Orissa famine, which will be presented in a few days, will be found to be another and far more terrible instance to be quoted against English nule. The British Government has never been 1074 guilty of the violence and illegality of Native Sovereigns. But it has faults of its own which, though they are far more guiltless in intention, are more terrible in effect. Its tendency to routine; its listless, heavy heedlessness, sometimes the result of its elaborate organization; a fear of responsibility; an extreme centralization—all these results traceable to causes for which no man is culpable, produce an amount of inefficiency which, when reinforced by natural causes and circumstances, create a terrible amount of misery. All these things must be taken into consideration when you compare our elaborate and artificial system of government with the more rough-and-ready system of India. In cases of emergency, unless you have men of peculiar character on the spot, the simple form of Oriental Government will produce effects more salutary than the more elaborate system of English rule. I am not by this denying that our mission in India is to reduce to order, to civilize and develop the Native governments we find there. But I demur to that wholesale condemnation of a system of government which would be utterly intolerable on our own soil, but which has grown up amongst the people subjected to it. It has a fitness and congeniality for them impossible for us adequately to realize, but which compensates them to an enormous degree for the material evils which its rudeness in a great many cases produces. I may mention, as an instance, what was told me by Sir George Clerk, a distinguished Member of the Council of India, respecting the province of Kattywar, in which the English and Native Governments are very much intermixed. There are no broad lines of frontier there, and a man can easily leap over the hedge from the Native into the English jurisdiction. Sir George Clerk told me that the Natives having little to carry with them were continually in the habit of migrating from the English into the Native jurisdiction; but that he never heard of an instance of a Native leaving his own to go into the English jurisdiction. This may be very bad taste on the part of the Natives; but you have to consider what promotes their happiness, suits their tastes, and tends to their moral development in their own way. If you intend to develop their moral nature only after an Anglo-Saxon type, you will make a conspicuous and disastrous defeat. I concur in the general policy enunciated in the early part of the year, and which is now 1075 being carried out by my right hon. Friend, of continuing a Native State in Mysore. I was glad also to hear his closing words, that the greatest liberty should be left to his successors to settle the details of the arrangement. Most of all, I was glad to hear that we should not be bound to maintain the exact frontier, a reservation which, in the case of Mysore, is of considerable importance. We are in no way bound to maintain existing arrangements, and I would urge upon the House the danger of prematurely settling anything in respect of a country which is in such a rapid state of transition. The impression produced on my mind whilst I was at the India Office was, that I was watching a vast community, as it were, in the act of creation. The changes going on were so rapid; prejudices a thousand years old appeared to be so rapidly melting away; the agencies in operation were so powerful; those great facilities of locomotion which have done so much for the rest of the world were having so strong an effect, that it seemed to me the rashest act which a British statesman could be guilty of to predict—still more by his conduct to prejudge—the settlement of questions which will arise in the future, and which it will be the duty of the statesmen of the future to settle.
§ MR. KINNAIRD
said, he thought the time which had been devoted to this subject had been far from wasted, and that the people of India would be gratified on learning the consideration which it had received. The debate would produce a good effect, for it would show to the people of India that in that House, at least, the conduct of the Council and the Governor of India was watched; and that while they would be at all times ready to do justice to the Native Princes, they would take care not to hand the masses of the people over to Native rule without adopting those precautions which were necessary to their protection. He was glad that the noble Lord (Viscount Cranborne) had reminded the House, both on this and on a former occasion, of the 4,000,000 of people whose interests were vitally affected. He trusted that that population, having experienced the blessings of English rule, would not be given up to the government of Native Princes without ample precautions being taken by the present and succeeding Governments for their future welfare.