§ MR. FAWCETT
, in rising to move a Resolution relative to Examinations for the East India Civil Service, said, that Her Majesty, in her Proclamation to the People of India in 1858, which had been looked upon as the charter of their liberties, declared it to be her will and pleasure 1839 that all her subjects, of whatever race or creed, should be fairly and impartially admitted into her service, if they were qualified by education, ability, and integrity. He should be able to prove that if some scheme like that he intended to propose was not carried out that promise would not be faithfully fulfilled. Under the present system of admission to the Civil Service, a preliminary examination was necessary in London, to decide on the candidate's intellectual and moral fitness; and on succeeding in this he was required to spend two years in this country, taking minutes of the proceedings of Courts of Justice, and in other ways preparing himself for his duties. It was no doubt true that the Natives of India might compete in these examinations; but, as they could only do so by coming to London, at great expense, and then might be unsuccessful, to say that the examinations were practically open to them was an idle mockery. In fact, though the system had continued for many years, only one Native had entered into the competition. His proposal was that there should be examinations at Calcutta, Madras, and Bombay; that there should be the same papers and the same tests as in London; and that the successful candidates, whether English or Native, should spend two years in this country. To this he had reason to believe, from memorials he had received from Calcutta and Bombay, the Natives would not object, though they naturally objected to coming over to England in the first instance without any guarantee of success. Their two years' residence here might be turned to good account; for conversation with many of the leading members of his own University enabled him to say that at Cambridge, as also, doubtless at Oxford, they would be welcomed and encouraged to spend the two years there, and they would thus be brought in contact with the best of our English youth. There would be no difficulty in carrying out this plan; for the examination papers might be sent under seal to India, and, the examination being fixed for the same day as in London, the candidates' papers might be sent home under seal, and inspected by the same examiners, the names of the successful candidates at all four examinations being arranged in the order of merit. This would be analogous to the plan pursued with the Middle Class Examinations, Cambridge University having a centre at Trinidad, and the examination there being 1840 conducted as fairly as at London or Liverpool. An objection might, indeed, be taken on account of part of the examinations being vivâ voce, but some of the best scholars from English Universities held professorships in India, and were perfectly competent to conduct vivâ voce examinations. The Secretary for India, while not resisting the claim of the Natives to a larger share in the government of the country, preferred a compromise, which was embodied in an Amendment to be moved by his hon. Friend (Mr. Trevelyan)—namely, that a certain proportion of the appointments should be reserved for Natives who were properly qualified. The plan, however, unless the proportion were absolutely fixed, would vary with the changing opinions of each Governor General or Secratary of State, and it would not satisfy the just demands of the people of India. Even in the Uncovenanted Service there was only one Native. Some favoured the plan of permitting a given proportion of the Civil Service to consist of Natives; but if it were decided that one-third or one-fifth should be Native, it might happen that the quota could not be supplied in consequence of the inefficiency of the candidates. But under any circumstances the admission of Natives on the present terms would be very trying to them, because they would always occupy an inferior position; for Englishmen, who were prone to feel proud of their race, would say to the Natives that had they been obliged to undergo the same test that they as Englishmen had been subjected to, they never would have been admitted to the Civil Service, and they would therefore take care to keep the Native civil servants always down. The people of India were ready to undergo whatever intellectual test it was deemed wise to impose; all they asked for was to be subjected to precisely the same trial as the English. He had seen letters from Natives of India stating that, if they could only obtain this privilege of perfect equality, and the result should show that not one Native could prove himself equal to his English competitor, they would then have no longer any ground for complaint. He made no prediction as to the number of Natives that would be successful in the examinations; but he believed that it would be an intellectual rivalry which would benefit the people of England as well as of India. He felt confident, however, that a large number of Natives would be success- 1841 ful; and he based his confidence on the fact that they were a studious people and showed an extraordinary zeal for a high education. Intellectually, he was convinced the Natives were not inferior to the Engglish. A very eminent friend of his, who had been twelve years tutor at Cambridge, and who had also been tutor at Calcutta, said that he never had another class for high intellectual character such as he had at Calcutta. The Secretary for India might say that something beside intellect was needed, and insist upon moral qualities as well. He answered that moral qualities should also be insisted on when Englishmen were chosen to assist in the government of those whom they looked upon as a subject race. Sir Bartle Frere had said that those Natives who had received a good education were always foremost in their advocacy of the Imperial Government. He (Mr. Fawcett) saw no objection, however, to requiring that Native candidates should pass two years in some recognized English educational establishment where their moral character might be studied. It should be said, in defence of the Natives, that to make them fill inferior offices at a mean late of pay was not the way to cultivate integrity among them. Even a Native Judge who had power to decide cases involving sums up to £500 received no more than one-fifth of the lowest European Judge in India. Sir Thomas Munro had testified to the assiduity of the Natives; he had spoken of them as better men of business than Europeans, and more fitted to fill offices under Government, because they were acquainted with the manners and customs of the people; and, with reference to their alleged inferiority of character, he had asked, what would be the effect on English character if we, having been subjected, were debarred from all but the meanest Offices of State? our civilization and our literature would be destroyed, nothing would save us from debasement. It was an indisputable fact that many Natives competent to govern a province were fulfilling the humblest duties at salaries less than was received by the youngest member of the Indian Civil Service. Lord Metcalfe had well said that the bane of our system was that the advantages were reaped by one class and the work was done by another. The great reason why the people of India were not more contented with our rule was, not that we had not given them material prosperity, but that we had excluded them from social, municipal, and 1842 political offices. The great defect of our Indian system had been its rigid centralization. It was obvious that those who had been brought up upon the spot must be better able to understand the wants of the people, to enter into their feelings, and to appreciate their prejudices, than those who were completely strangers to them. Sir Bartle Frere, in one of his despatches, said he had been much struck with the fact that the ablest exponents of English policy, and our best coadjutors in adapting that policy to the wants of the various nations occupying Indian soil, were to be found among the Natives who had received a high-class English education. It was too often forgotten in that House that India was really not one nation, but it was composed of many nations, and therefore a system of strict centralization was peculiarly ill-adapted to that country. What was particularly wanted in India was that that there should be in the public service persons who understood the particular manners, customs, and prejudices of the varied and distinct nations of which it was composed. By carrying out the proposal embodied in his Resolution they would redress the grievance complained of, inasmuch as they would throw open the appointments in the public service in that country to all those Natives who were intellectually and morally qualified to fill them. Directly they educated a man they made him ambitious to take part in the government of the country, and, therefore, it became more hard each day on the people of India to quench the ambition which by these educational efforts we had called forth. It was very hard, again, that the children of English officers or civilians resident in India should not have the same facilities for obtaining admission to service under the Crown as were possessed by the families of officers or civilians resident in England. This consideration would become of even greater importance if, with increased facilities for locomotion, and with means of sending children to the hills every year, it became possible to rear the families of Europeans in India itself. The course which he advocated was based upon justice; and he was perfectly certain, that if adopted, it would have a most beneficial effect upon public opinion throughout our Indian territory. It had been well said of the subjects of Her Majesty's Eastern Empire—that in their prosperity was our strength, in their contentment our security, and their gratitude would be our best re- 1843 ward. The hon. Member concluded by moving his Resolution.
Motion made, and Question proposed,
That this House, whilst cordially approving of the system of open competition for appointments in the East India Civil Service, is of opinion that the people of India have not a fair chance of competing for these appointments as long as the examinations are held nowhere but in London; this House would therefore deem it desirable that, simultaneously with the examination in London, the same examination should be held in Calcutta, Bombay and Madras."—(Mr. Fawcett.)
§ MR. TREVELYAN
Sir, I gather from the speech of my hon. Friend, with the spirit of which I cordially agree, that he has two principal objects in bringing forward this Resolution. First, he wishes, by placing the Natives of India in intellectual competition with our own countrymen, to vindicate their claims to mental superiority, and thereby to diminish the tone of disparagement and contempt which is too often adopted with regard to them; and, secondly, he aims at giving them a fair share in the administration of their own country. Now, Sir, if the House will lend me its attention, and I promise not to detain it long, I hope to be able to show that the first of these objects, so far from being furthered by the course which my hon. Friend calls on you to adopt, will, on the contrary, suffer from it a great and, what is more, an irremediable check; and that the second will be attained in a much more sure and satisfactory manner, by the course indicated in the Amendment which I have placed upon the Paper, and which the Government has since embodied in a Bill: a Bill to which, as a humble but sincere well-wisher to India, I beg to give my cordial approval. Sir, I deplore equally with my hon. Friend, the manner in which European settlers and planters, and, in too many cases, the younger officers of our army allow themselves to speak of their Indian fellow-subjects. As a proof of sincerity on this point, hon. Gentlemen will perhaps not think it impertinent in me to state that I once wrote a book, whose only merit consisted in its being a protest against the high-handed, overbearing, and unjust way in which many Englishmen spoke of and dealt with the population whom it was their special national mission to govern and to elevate; a protest which called down on me the vigorous denunciations of the Anglo-Indian Press. But, Sir, the policy of my hon. Friend, instead 1844 of extinguishing those feelings of dislike and depreciation would only serve to embitter and perpetuate them; and the process by which this unfortunate result would come about is obvious and certain. What is this Covenanted Civil Service? What is its special object, and what is the public reason for its existence? It is the appointed channel through which the knowledge, the ability, the higher morality of the United Kingdom is applied to the administration of India, and not of the United Kingdom only, but of Canada, Australia, and the other British colonies. In order to ascertain who are the best and ablest among our young men, we hold yearly a searching competitive examination; and, in order to attract the greatest possible number of such young men, we hold out to the successful candidates the certainty of a highly paid and most influential, and interesting public career. To bring to bear upon India the highest governing powers of the United Kingdom and the whole British Empire, is, therefore, the object of the Covenanted Civil Service, and the justification for its existence. And hon. Gentlemen must remember that it needs such a justification, for this Civil Service is guarded by monopoly, and fenced round with privileges. It is exclusive to such a degree, that the Government are bound to continue in their service, and to promote according to the ordinary routine, every civil servant who is sent out under covenant, unless he commits some act of gross misconduct; and they are also restrained from looking abroad for persons of experience and ability, and are bound to confine themselves to members of this privileged class, unless circumstances should occur of such a special and exceptional character, that practically they never have occurred, and the monopoly of the Covenanted Civil Service remains to this day uninfringed and absolute. The civil servants sent out to India are untried young men, and, owing to moral and physical defects which cannot be absolutely tested in an examination, a proportion of them are certain to turn out unfit for the highly difficult and important administrative career to which they have been designated; and yet the conditions on which they entered the service must be observed. The Government must fulfill its side of the contract. Good or bad they must be promoted in their turn, or in something like their turn. Posts worth their acceptance have to be found for them. Men are made Judges 1845 who are notoriously deficient in discrimination, and are appointed to govern provinces as large as an English county, though they have never learned to govern themselves. And yet, for the honour of our nation, it must be said that the number of bad bargains is surprisingly small; and the reason is evident. Success in the competitive examination is a guarantee that an English civil servant possesses industry, and intellectual ability, and an Englishman who is industrious and clover is very seldom deficient in the moral qualities of force, energy, honesty, and courage; qualities which are absolutely essential to all who aspire to be enrolled among the governing caste of an Oriental people. But it is far otherwise with Hindoos. The Natives of Bengal are remarkable for extreme quickness and cleverness; but, as compared with Europeans, are singularly deficient in the bolder and hardier virtues—in pluck, self-reliance, and veracity—the three great national attributes by which we gained, and by which we retain our hold upon British India. In such a competition as is proposed by my hon. Friend, they would be eminently successful; for remarkable as is their capacity, it is not so peculiar as the premature ripeness of their intellect. Their turn for mathematics is extraordinary. A Cambridge contemporary of my own, who was professor at the Calcutta University, a distinguished wrangler, assured me that the young men whom he was engaged in instructing, rushed through his course of subjects at such headlong speed that he began to be afraid lest, at the end of six months, he should have nothing left to teach them. There is no doubt that if you adopt my hon. Friend's Resolution; if you open these doors at Calcutta, Madras, and Bombay, the Natives would come in by shoals, and just reflect a moment on what you will be doing. The Hindoos are strong in intellect, and confessedly weak in morale. You submit them to an intellectual test, which the great number are pretty sure to pass. You dispense with the moral test, by which the great number are pretty sure to fail. You will have the service full of bad bargains. And why? Why, Sir, because in old Haileybury days, when the service was close, and there was no competitive test, a bad bargain meant a man who was a fool. In these days, when there is a competitive test, when every successful candidate must have, at the least, some book learning, a bad bargain means a man who is a muff. 1846 And, Sir, if 5 per cent of the English competition wallahs are found wanting in the vigorous and manly virtues, indispensable to the members of a ruling caste, what will be the percentage among the Hindoo competition wallahs? Why, many times as great, Sir; and everyone, who thinks for a moment, will see that it must be so, and no one more clearly than the hon. Gentleman, who, in discussions of this nature, has the immense, and almost unique advantage of being equally versed in practical education and practical politics. Of course, where you find one young English civil servant unequal to the duties and responsibilities of his career, you will find ten or twenty Natives; for the very plain reason that we, as a race, are far superior to them in force of character. We know that it is so by observation; by their own confession; by the overwhelming testimony of fact. If it be not the case—if the average of what I may call the governing qualities is as high among the Hindoos as among the English, how did we ever get to India, and how do we contrive to stay there? We are there because nine Englishmen out of ten are born to rule, and ninety-nine out of 100 Hindoos are born to be governed; because we are manly, and they are effeminate; because—but instead of giving reasons to ourselves why we are in India an Imperial race, ask the first Native, and what is he sure to tell you? He is sure to say—and I appeal for confirmation to every old civil servant in the House—that the secret of our power in India is not so much our valour, not so much our enterprise, as that we, as a nation, speak the truth, and never take bribes. And, therefore, Sir, if, in an evil day for our rule in India, you listen to the advice of my hon. Friend, you will fill the service with men who will succeed in the examination, and altogether break down in practical life. The Indian career is of such a nature that the youngest civilian has constant demands upon his stock of determination and self-reliance. Contingencies are frequently occurring when he is looked to to put down a dangerous outbreak; to coerce or cajole a refractory potentate; to arbitrate between religious sects inflamed against each other by mutual injuries. On such an occasion the great majority of these unhappy Hindoo competitition wallahs would succumb to the difficulties of their situation, and then what would become of the philanthropic motives of my hon. Friend? Would this be a state of the case likely to in- 1847 duce English planters and subalterns to moderate their tone towards the Natives of India? No, Sir! On the contrary, they would imagine that everything harsh and unkind which they were accustomed to say and believe had received an additional justification. Their taunts and sarcasm would acquire fresh point, and they would believe that they had now good ground to upbraid the Hindoos for inferiority of character, whereas, up to that time, they had only abused them on speculation.
But, Sir, if we reject the proposition of my hon. Friend we are bound in honour as a nation to substitute for it some machinery by which Native Indian talent may be brought to bear upon the administration of India. I say, in honour as a nation, because in the 87th section of the Charter Act of 1833 we solemnly pledged ourselves to open all employments to Natives, without distinction of caste, sect, or religion. And how have we redeemed this pledge? We have extended the line somewhat as regards the subordinate class of employments to which Natives are eligible. If this had not been done the business of the country could not have been carried on, and public affairs must have fallen into utter confusion; and, at the same time, we have appointed Natives to the honorary unpaid situation of Legislative Councillor, and to a very small number of Judgeships of the High Courts—two or three for the whole of India. But as regards the great bulk of judicial revenue and other offices the monopoly of the Covenanted Service has not only been practically maintained, but has been confirmed, and has had a new legal sanction given to it by the Civil Service Act of 1861, whereby all the situations previously held by the Civil Service have been scheduled and declared to be tenable only by members of that Service, as well as all similar offices which may be created hereafter. That is the manner in which we fulfil our solemn national engagements. We ordain that the entire people of a great country, who from time immemorial had governed themselves, and managed their own affairs, should be entirely excluded from their own administration, except as regards those subordinate offices which could not be filled by members of the Covenanted Civil Service, without involving intolerable expense and certain inefficiency, and a very small number of high situations most of which were unpaid. And hon. Members must observe that, by declaring 1848 the Natives eligible for the high situations of Legislative Councillor and judge of the High Court, we have admitted their fitness for the large class of situations which lie between the Judgeships of the High Court and the principal Sudder Ameenships and other subordinate posts which they are permitted to fill; and yet we take no steps to give practical effect to this inevitable inference. We ignore this fact; and give another proof, if another proof were wanted, that injustice always involves inconsistency. This injustice must be redressed; and the means of redressing it are fortunately at hand. In every Presidency there are two, three, or four Natives of tried character, ability, and official experience. These men are well known to the authorities of the district in which they reside, and the authorities would gladly employ them in the most elevated and responsible situations if the law did not place an obstacle in the way. In the Regulation Provinces—that is to say, speaking roughly, in three-fourths of British India, all the Governor General can do for Natives who have earned their promotion is to refer them back to the competitive entrance examination. What mockery this is! I appeal to those hon. Gentleman opposite, who do not love the modern system of competition, to put off men who have earned an honourable public reputation, by twenty or thirty years' practical service, by directing their attention to a competitive examination in English poetry and pure mathematics, held in a class room 6,000 miles across the sea. There are plenty of Natives, Sir, fit for any public employment, however weighty and dignified. I need not remind the House of the names of those great ministers of Native Powers—Sarlar Jung, Madhava Rao, Pinker Rao, and Jung Bahadoor, the famous Mayor of the Palace of Nepaul. And just as all the Indian world knows the fame of these eminent men, so the public opinion of every province can point to Natives intellectually and morally not one whit inferior to the best among our own countrymen. In Madras, for instance, when there was a question of a complicated operation connected with the annual assessment, it was universally allowed that, throughout the whole Covenanted and Uncovenanted Service, there was no one so fitted for the job as a Native employée called Ramiah. And how was this man rewarded? The Government gave him the best post they legally could: that is to say, they made him a sort of subordinate adviser to the 1849 Revenue authorities of the Presidency. Now, would the position of such a man be bettered by my hon. Friend's proposition? When you have such a man ready to hand it is a farce to examine him in geology, and to ask him what play the quotation "When Greek meets Greek" comes from. The evils which the system of competition is intended to remedy are two. First, the ignorance of those who are possessed of patronage, as to the merits of the candidates for that patronage; and next, the tendency in all human beings to nepotism and favouritism. But in the case before us neither of these dangers exists. The resident, authorities who have the patronage are well informed as to the merits and services of their Native subordinates; and there is no temptation to jobbery, for in the eyes of an Englishman, as far as favouritism is concerned, one Native is much the same as another. And therefore, Sir, the House might safely adopt my Amendment, which could be carried into practical effect by the least possible degree of change in the law. The 3rd and 4th clauses of the Civil Service Act allow the Authority; in India to appoint any person to any office whatsoever, under special circumstances; provided he has resided at least seven years in India. Now, all that is really required is, that the provisions of these sections should be relieved from their exceptional character; and that it should be declared, on the authority of this House, that the selection for vacant appointments of qualified persons on the spot is to be considered as regular and normal a mode of recruiting: the Civil Service, as nominating young men to it from this country according to the result of a competitive examination. Thus we should have two permanent sources of supply for the India Civil Service: one would be derived, as at present, from the competition at home of the youth of the whole Empire; the other, from a careful selection made in India itself of persons distinguished in the Uncovenanted Service and at the Native Bar. We should take a signal step towards raising the character and educating the intellect of the Natives, and so gradually rendering them fit to govern themselves. And for what other purpose are we in India at all? No purpose, at any rate, which we can confess before Europe and before the tribunal of history. We should imitate what was wisest in the policy of old Rome, as expressed by Gibbon in a most eloquent passage. But we need not go so far back, 1850 nor to such a distance from the country whose future we are discussing. There are examples nearer India. Akbar, the greatest of the great Mahomedan Emperors, opened the field of employment and distinction, in the most liberal manner to Hindoos—the conquered and subject race; and his fame and power were equally brilliant and durable. Aurengzebe pursued a different course. He sent orders to all governors and persons in authority to employ no more Hindoos, but to confer the higher offices on Mahomedans only: and from that day the Mogul Empire began to go to pieces, as must be the fate of all empires which rest on force, not on affection; on national monopoly of rule and honour, not on open and entire confidence between the governors and the governed. He would beg leave to move the Amendment of which he had given Notice.
To leave out from the words "open competition" to the end of the Question, in order to add the words "as regards the appointment of untried young men to the East India Civil Service, is of opinion that natives of India who have proved in, the Uncovenanted Service or otherwise their superior fitness for situations at present held exclusively by Members in the Covenanted Service, should be appointed to them without undergoing a competing examination,"—(Mr. Trevelyan,)
§ Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."
said, that annually a number of Native young men of the highest intellectual and mental calibre took degrees in India by passing similar examinations to those which were necessary to the conferring of the same degrees in this country. And yet men who exhibited such capacity and attained those degrees were excluded from the Civil Service of India unless they passed examinations in this country which were by no means so hard as those they had already gone through. This was the practice, in spite of the fact that the Vote for the Education of the Natives of India amounted to £904,190, or more than was at present expended in the same direction on the people of this country. He certainly thought that those Natives who obtained such degrees as those of B.A., M.A., and M.D. ought to be permitted at once to enter the Civil Service and not be compelled to come to England for the purpose of undergoing a fresh examination. Certainly it would be advantageous to Indian aspirants 1851 to pass some time in England, as it would enlarge their views and give an improved tone to their minds, and young Indians might be induced to come to Europe if scholarships should be established in this country for those who looked to rise in the service of the Government. These scholarships would enable young Indians to obtain advantages which they could not procure in their native country. The support which we received from the Nepaulese troops in the suppression of the mutiny in 1857, we owed to the visit which Jung Bahadoor had paid to England. He (Colonel Sykes) was enabled to learn from his friendship with Jung Bahadoor, that when the Bengal mutiny broke out, delegates were sent by the mutineers to the Nepaul Court inviting co-operation against the English. A great meeting of the Court nobles and chiefs of the army was held, find the general sentiment was in favour of joining the mutineers; but Jung Bahadoor rose and said he too would have concurred in the opinions expressed, had he not paid a visit to England; but he saw there such industry, such energy, and such indomitable perseverance in conquering difficulties, that although the mutineers might at first succeed and drive the English to the coast, they would be involved in the end in defeat and ruin. Happily his advice prevailed, and the Nepaulese army joined the English, and Jung Bahadoor's prediction was verified. On the whole, therefore, he (Colonel Sykes) would encourage Natives to finish their studies in England.
§ MR. FAWCETT
explained that it was part of his scheme that successful competitors should reside two years in England.
said, he was also opposed to the Amendment, believing that it would be worse than of no service to the Natives; but he believed the time was arriving, and educated people were accumulating so fast in India, and the self-respect and importance of the Native population were extending so rapidly, that some suitable and dignified positions must be obtained for them in our service, in order to ensure their attachment, instead of exciting their jealousy and resentment.
§ MR. NEATE
said, that having for two years been brought, in his capacity of Examiner, into contact with the candidates for the Indian Civil Service, he wished to make some brief remarks on the subject before the House. The question of competitive examinations was indirectly raised 1852 by the Motion of the hon. Member for Brighton (Mr. Fawcett), and he was obliged to confess that his experience led him to doubt very much the efficiency of that system, and to doubt whether it was better than the old system of patronage. It was far from a good method of providing for the Civil Service of India. He had had a good deal to do with the people of India; and the feeling among them undoubtedly was that the class of men now sent out to represent this country were inferior to the men sent out under the old system, and could not acquire in the same degree the respect of the Natives. The civil servants were now degenerating into a lower class of society, and there was rising up in the different Presidencies a new class of independent Englishmen, especially at the Bar, who looked down on the Civil Service. His hon. Friend the Member for Brighton had said that he intended by his Motion to provide that those who were appointed to the Civil Service by the competition by examination in Calcutta should reside two years in England. If the Motion expressed that, he should view it in a different light—not on the ground put forward by his hon. Friend who sat near him (Mr. Trevelyan), that the candidates would be more impressed with the irresistible power of this country, but because they would have learnt the principles and morality of this country. As to the mere question of learning, however, it might happen that the English competitors would be placed at a disadvantage as compared with young Indians of the same age, who, though less fit to discharge the responsible duties imposed upon them, would have greater facilities for preparing themselves for an examination. If he were to chose between the Motion and the Amendment, he should prefer the latter; because it was based on the principle that our great object was not so much to secure men who were able to pass a good examination in languages and mathematics as men imbued with the spirit and tone of this country.
§ SIR STAFFORD NORTHCOTE
said, it was not without some regret that he felt himself obliged to oppose the Motion of his hon. Friend the Member for Brighton, for in the object aimed at he was disposed to agree very much with the hon. Gentleman, as he naturally desired to promote, as far as possible, the employment of Natives of India in the Civil Service and government of that country. He was con- 1853 scious that the offer now made to the Natives of India—that they should present themselves at the competitive examinations in this country—was at all events at present little more than a nominal opening for Natives, though he hoped, that by-and-by, it would become something more. At present, however, it was only with great difficulty that Natives could pass such an examination. Although he was unable to accept the proposal of the hon. Member for Brighton, he should be extremely glad to adopt a system by which competition might be adopted in the first cities of India. This matter was brought under his attention some time ago by a deputation which waited upon him—he believed in July or August last—at the India Office. He listened to their statements, and promised to consult the Governor General and other persons of authority on the subject. He did so, and one or two objections of a subordinate character had been suggested, such as the difficulties of a mechanical kind as to the mode of carrying the examination into effect; but he believed, from representations he had had from the Civil Service Examiners, that those objections might be very readily got over. He believed that examinations upon paper might be conducted in the way suggested by the hon. Gentleman; but with regard to vivâ voce examinations, it would be difficult to find a proper standard of comparison. The difficulty would be to compare the vivâ voce examinations conducted in one place with those conducted in another. He attached great weight to these vivâ voce examinations, as they showed that the candidate was able to make use of the knowledge he had acquired on the spur of the moment, when unexpected questions were put to him. Another objection to the proposal would be that the examinations should be held in many more centres than the two or three suggested by the hon. Member, if they were intended to be accessible to certain classes of the Natives. A further objection that might be suggested was, that if the proposal were adopted, it might at some future period be urged that the nature of the examination was of a character not suitable to the people of India, and considerable pressure might be brought to bear for the purpose of getting the standard of examination altered, under the pretence of adapting it to the capabilities of the Natives—an alteration that would be much to be lamented, as the service as now constituted was one of which England 1854 had every right to be proud. The hon. and learned Member for Oxford (Mr. Neate) had made some observations upon what he called the deterioration of the Civil Service in India under the system of competitive examinations; but it was doubtful whether, upon a full and impartial inquiry, any grounds existed for that complaint. It was quite true that when a change of system occurred, the minds of the Natives were prejudiced against those who were appointed under the new system, and were disposed to look jealously upon them; but, from recent information, he had reason to believe that that feeling on the part of the Natives had passed away, and that the merits of the new coiners as a body had been acknowledged by them. The present system was still going on, and those appointed under the competitive examination system had scarcely yet risen to the higher posts in the Service; but, within his own knowledge, two of those gentlemen who were now in this country, and who were among the first of those who were appointed under that system, were as promising and as distinguished young men as were to be found in the service of the country. On the whole, he had reason to believe that the system answered exceedingly well, and was likely to prove of the greatest advantage to the service. Another danger he should apprehend from the adoption of the hon. Member's proposal was this:—It was not improbable that a large number of Natives who might succeed in passing the competitive examination, and who might be perfectly fit for the lower posts of the service, would be totally unfit for its higher and more responsible posts, and the Government of India might hold it contrary to their duty to promote those persons to those positions—a course that would be likely to promote jealousy and heart-burnings among the Natives, who might consider that they were not fairly treated by being excluded from the more important positions in the service. In such an event the Government of India would probably feel called upon to obtain the required strength of will and of mind by having recourse to the Uncovenanted European Civil Service, instead of to the Covenanted Civil Service. He was exceedingly jealous of the Uncovenanted Service being employed in posts that should be filled by the Covenanted Service; because although there were, doubtless, many posts that might with propriety be bestowed upon those who had not passed through 1855 the test of competitive examination, still there should be great jealousy in admitting persons into the service through any other door than that furnished by examination, otherwise considerable pressure would be brought to bear upon those who had the patronage of those appointments. Everyone conversant with the subject must feel that the great safety of the service in India lay in recruiting as far as possible the European branch of the service from the Covenanted Service. These were the reasons which induced him to pause and hesitate before he could sanction any such proposal as that suggested by the hon. Gentleman; and these reasons were confirmed by the views of those who were well qualified to speak upon the subject, being those who were practically engaged in carrying on the Government of India—men who were favourable to the employment of Natives in India, whose sympathies were in their favour, and who were desirous of making the Native Indian our friend—and they were of opinion that the adoption of the proposal of the hon. Member would be a measure fraught with much inconvenience and even serious danger. He wished to say a few words upon what appeared to him to be the rationale of the competitive examination system. He had always been an advocate for that system as a mode of obtaining young men for the Civil Service both for this country and for India. While that system did not necessarily secure that all those who passed through the examination were the fittest for discharging the duties of Government clerks and those which fell upon our civil servants, still upon the whole it was the fairest way of ascertaining, who among a large number of young men, had established, by their previous good conduct and application, a character for industry and ability, which was strong evidence to show that at least they formed a fair average of the class from which they were taken. But then the question arose, whether the average of the class of Native Indians from which the selection would have to be made was possessed of the necessary ruling and governing qualities to the extent those qualities were possessed by the corresponding class in this country—whether the Native Indians were possessed of the fibre required in men who were to be intrusted with political power and authority? It must be borne in mind that these men were selected to fill very important posts. They might be well fitted to fill the lower posts, but 1856 those who filled the higher posts of the service were frequently placed in situations where great responsibility fell upon them, and where men were required who were not only truly trustworthy as to integrity, but who in trying positions would not be afraid to act, and who could stand alone. They must have the vigour to control those who were under their authority, whether of the same race or another, because there would always be a considerable number of Englishmen and Europeans with whom superior officials would have to deal. Without casting any reflection upon the Native character as a whole, he much doubted whether an average Native was able to stand alone and to control the Englishmen under his jurisdiction. Therefore the competitive system, applied in an unfettered way, was not suitable for providing the class of men wanted. He was afraid the effect of it would be to bring in a large number of individuals of intellectual ability who would not have the strength required for administration. It was urged that we should do all we could to benefit the people of India. Everybody admitted that; but who were the people of India, and for whose benefit were we to to rule? If they adopted the theory of the hon. Member for Brighton, it would only be that class or section of the people of India who would carry off these appointments—a very small section of the community. It should be carefully remembered that we had to provide for the government of 150,000,000 of people, amongst whom only a small class could be described as intellectual. Our duty, therefore, primarily was to provide the best possible machinery for the good government of the whole mass, rather than for a small portion. Even were the system of competitive examination advocated by the hon. Member introduced, what would be the result? The Bengalese and other sects of the less vigorous but more educated races of India would be the class chiefly benefited. They would carry off the prizes in an examination of a purely intellectual character; but they were just the men who would conspicuously fail if you placed them in positions of difficulty, or set them to rule over the more vigorous races that we had under our sway. They would be employed without the advantages of Englishmen, without the prestige of the English race, and without the energy of the English character; and we could not rely upon their being treated with that esteem which in the East is attached to 1857 persons distinguished by birth and family connection. Under these circumstances, we ought to be cautions how we throw open the door by competitive examinations. This opinion was coincided in by many of those most favourable to the employment of Natives, including Sir John Lawrence, Sir Bartle Frere, and Sir Herbert Edwards; and the latter, in a paper lately read before the East India Association, spoke with great hesitation as to the morale and integrity of the great mass of the people of India. Attached to the pamphlet in which this was published were a number of letters, all purporting to be in favour of the employment of Natives; but there was scarcely one writer who boldly stated his opinion that the Natives, as a class, were to be relied on for the moral qualities required in rulers. He was afraid that any kind of test that could be applied in the shape of testimonials and inquiries as to character would be feeble security. Another reason for pausing was, that if once they entered into the system, they would be obliged to go on with it, no matter what might be the difficulties into which it might throw them. He would not close the door for ever against examinations; but there were other measures more suitable to the emergency which would do much towards introducing Natives freely. The first was that of scholarships; and if young men could be assisted to present themselves for examination in this country, and to receive a certain education here, much would be done to imbue them with English feelings; and even if they failed on examination, they would not have had their time thrown away, because they would have learnt much that would be useful to them. There was every disposition on the part of the Government to assist those who gained scholarships, and it was proposed to pay their passages out and home. It was suggested that, if the system succeeded, further scholarships might be created by the Government; and, by degrees, young men might be brought over and passed through the mill with competitors upon equal terms. This would provide a test of moral qualities, for it would show courage, vigour, and self-reliance for a young man to expatriate himself, and it would indicate that he was above the average in moral strength and fibre. There was another measure substantially the same as that embodied in the Amendment of the hon. Member for Tynemouth (Mr. Trevelyan), who, however, did not draw a sufficiently sharp dis- 1858 tinction between the Covenanted and Uncovenanted Civil Service. That distinction was a matter of great importance. At present there were about 870 covenanted civil servants in India, with salaries ranging from about £360 to upwards of £5,000, few having more than that. The Uncovenanted servants, leaving the lowest appointments out of consideration, and including those whose salaries ranged from £250 to £1,000 and £1,500 (a few reaching £2,000), numbered 2,336. The average of the salaries of the Covenanted servants was £1,800, and that of the Uncovenanted servants £520. [Colonel SYKES remarked that Europeans held the highest paid positions.] Not exclusively, for there were fifteen Natives receiving salaries of upwards of £1,000, and several receiving upwards of £500. Unquestionably the number of Natives admitted into the Service was miserably small, and that the Government was endeavouring to remedy as soon as possible. Last year he had drawn the attention of the Governor General to the fact in a despatch, and had asked his opinion as to the possibility of finding a better opening for the employment of Native talent. The Governor General replied that steps were being taken to introduce a larger proportion of Natives in the non-Regulation Provinces. To that he replied it would not be necessary to confine the measure to the non-Regulation Provinces, but that it should likewise be carried out in the Regulation Provinces. With regard to the judicial service, Sir John Lawrence thought that, while it might be dangerous to throw it open widely to Natives, much might be done to employ Natives in it. His intention was to insert in his India Bill a clause giving the Government power to introduce Natives of India into appointments held by the Covenanted Service, if they were proved fit for them; and that would be a better mode of selection than the system of competitive examinations. At all events, it would be safe; and if it proved inefficient they might resort to other measures in order to give it extension. It was the earnest and sincere desire of the Government both here and in India to introduce the Natives into important positions in the service. It would be for the benefit of our rule, it would be of importance for India itself, that the Natives should be educated to govern themselves mid their own affairs. They believed that an immense improvement was going on among the Natives, and would be 1859 gradually productive of beneficial change; but it was most important that nothing rash or hasty should be done. He believed that the step taken would give considerable impulse to that improvement, and to the real interests of Native agency, far beyond anything that had hitherto been done. He hoped, therefore, that having introduced a clause to give effect to the principle of the Amendment, it would not be thought necessary to press either the Motion or the Amendment to a division in order to commit the House to any positive view. He was very glad this discussion had taken place. They were taking action on the subject both in their correspondence with India, and in the measure they were submitting to Parliament, and he hoped the feeling of the House had been sufficiently manifested without taking a division.
§ MR. FAWCETT
said, that after the speech of the right hon. Gentleman, he would not divide the House on his Motion. The right hon. Gentleman did not seem to impugn his Motion, but simply wished to try something else first. He should be doing an injustice to the question by now dividing, and he would have the opportunity of expressing his opinion when the Bill to which the Secretary of State for India had referred was before the House. He should support a scheme to enable the Natives to take a part in the government of their country. The Amendment, indeed, was not antagonistic to his proposal. It was simply to enable officers to pass from the Uncovenanted to the Covenanted service without coming to England to pass an examination. At the same time he thought that the people of India would not be satisfied at their being obliged to spend so many years in the Uncovenanted Service before they could enter the Covenanted, when, if they came to England and passed the examination, they could enter at once. All that the proposition of the Government meant was to admit persons that the Governor General thought fit to enter the Covenanted Service, and he thought that that would not be quite satisfactory to the people of India.
§ Amendment and Motion, by leave, withdrawn.