HC Deb 15 June 1868 vol 192 cc1601-2

Order for Second Reading read.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read a second time."—(Sir Stafford Northcote).


said, he hoped that when the Bill got into Committee the Secretary for India would offer some explanation respecting the power proposed; to be given to the Governor General to make laws for Natives of India wherever they might be, whether in India or in any other part of her Majesty's dominions. Hitherto this power had been limited in its application to Natives in India, and he wished to know why it was now to be extended. The provision in the Bill giving to the Lieutenant Governors of different Provinces very summary powers to make laws appeared to be a rather retrograde proceeding. The Bill provided for a difficulty—which now existed—in case of a difference between the Governor General and the majority of his Council; but it contained no provision to remedy an important defect in the present constitution of the Governor General's Council. Some further provision was requisite by which the Governor General should be empowered to conduct the ordinary business of government, by dividing his great administration into several Departments and playing one member of the Council at the head of each. The provision for introducing Natives into the permanent Civil Service required great consideration, for it was of no use subjecting candidates at home to stringent examinations if there was to be a back door in India by which the Governor General could usher Natives into the Civil Service. He thought it would be very much better to guarantee to the Natives that to which; they were clearly entitled—namely, the uncovenanted branches of the Civil Service. He was afraid that at present it was too much the practice for those in power to appoint their own dependents to this part of the service; and the result was that the Natives had little confidence in the manner in which public business was conducted.


said, he thought it objectionable that the Governor General should have power to introduce Natives of India into the higher branches of the service without proper provision being made to test their capabilities and qualifications. With regard to the Uncovenanted Service, he took a similar view to that of the hon. and learned Member for the Tower Hamlets (Mr. Ayrton). Of the civil servants in that brunch, 75 per cent were European adventurers, ignorant of the languages of India, and usually the protegées of men in Office.


said, he thought that, in the absence of any Papers bearing on the question of the admission of Natives into the Civil Service, such an explanation ought to be given as the importance of the change deserved, particularly with reference to the extent to which it was to be carried.


admitted the propriety of the suggestion that Papers bearing on the question ought to be produced. He had laid before the House Papers relating to the administration of Bengal, which ranged to a considerable extent over the more important questions raised by the Bill; but there were Papers relating to the appointment of Natives which it was desirable the House should be in possession of before passing the Bill. He would take care that they should be laid on the table, and in the meantime it would, perhaps, not be convenient that be should discuss the general subject.

Motion agreed to.

Bill read a second time, and committed for Thursday.