§ Order for Committee read.
§ Mr. DISRAELI
Sir, the House manifested such a general desire a little time ago to know the title Her Majesty's Ministers would recommend Her Majesty to adopt, that I am sure they will allow me, in continuation of the remarks that I then made, to make one or two more. Before the second reading of the Royal Titles Bill I informed the House what the title was which the Government intended to recommend Her Majesty to adopt—namely, that of "Empress"—a title which we believed was one that it was expedient for Her Majesty to adopt from local circumstances 273 and from considerations of high policy connected with India. But, although I was under the impression that I had clearly expressed my meaning on that occasion, I think there has been considerable misconception—I might almost say even among hon. Members of this House, and certainly there has been considerable misconception out-of-doors on this subject. Therefore, I wish distinctly to state that there never was an intention on the part of Her Majesty to substitute any title for the superior and supreme title of Her Majesty—namely, that of Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. I am sure that under no circumstances would Her Majesty assume, by the advice of Her Ministers, the title of Empress in England. I wish to make this declaration, because I have reason to believe that considerable error exists on this subject. There is another point on which I should like—and on which it may be desirable that I should, on this occasion—to make one or two remarks. It is with reference to a rumour which is very prevalent that in consequence of the assumption of the Imperial title in India by Her Majesty, Her Majesty would be advised to confer titles on her Royal children and her agnates that would denote their Imperial connection, so that they should be called not only Royal, but Imperial Highnesses. Her Majesty's Ministers would under no circumstances give such advice to Her Majesty, and there never was the slightest foundation for that rumour. It would be a step entirely disapproved of, and I trust that after this statement it will be no longer considered as an element in our discussions.
THE MARQUESS OF HARTINGTON
Perhaps the House, Sir, will allow me to make one or two observations in consequence of the statement just made by the right hon. Gentleman, and if it should be thought necessary that I should place myself in Order by making a Motion, I will conclude by doing so. I think the House will agree that the observations which have just been made by the right hon. Gentleman are to a certain extent, and as far as they go, of a satisfactory character. I must, however, say that I regret that this further explanation was not given at an earlier period. I wish it had been given on the introduction of the Bill, or if it was impossible that the explanation could have been 274 given at that time, I wish, at all events, it had been announced on the second reading, when the proposed title was announced for the first time to the House. The proposed limitation of the title has been announced for the first time to the House to-night, and it is impossible to say that the statement just made by the right hon. Gentleman removes all the objections which have been entertained on this side of the House to the proposals of the Government; indeed, I am not certain whether the right hon. Gentleman quite understands even now what is the character of those objections which are so strongly felt. Whatever may have been the apprehensions out-of-doors, we in this House have never apprehended that there was any intention whatever on the part of Her Majesty's Ministers to advise Her Majesty to assume any other title than that of Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. What we did apprehend, and what, notwithstanding the statement of the right hon. Gentleman, we do still, to a certain extent, continue to apprehend, is that when once the proposed title has been assumed, although in relation only to a limited and particular portion of Her Majesty's dominions, the new title will gradually come, partly by common use, and partly, perhaps, by being used in official documents and instruments, to be coupled with the more ancient title of the Sovereign. We certainly also apprehended that the Imperial addition to Her Majesty's title would probably be made use of in some way or other in the ordinary mode of addressing Her Majesty's family. As to the latter point, Sir, the statement of the right hon. Gentleman is, I think, perfectly satisfactory, so far, at all events, as the present is concerned, and so far as can be secured by the action and advice of Her Majesty's present Ministers. As to the other point also, although the statement, as far as it goes, is satisfactory, it is not, perhaps, in the power of Her Majesty's Ministers to prevent or to remove the apprehensions which, as I have said, we felt. But the statement of the right hon. Gentleman, I think, shows that Her Majesty's Advisers understand and appreciate the feeling of the House, and that they will do what is in their power to meet that feeling. Suggestions have been made and placed on the Table of 275 the House for the purpose of limiting, if possible, to a local use and application the new title which it is proposed should be assumed by Her Majesty. One of these Amendments is that of my hon. Friend the Member for South Durham (Mr. Pease) intended for this evening; the other that of the noble Lord opposite (Lord Elcho), and which I believe he intends to move on the third reading. It would not, perhaps, be desirable, or even regular, that I should make any observations upon the different modes proposed by these hon. Members for accomplishing what I believe to be the same object. These hon. Gentlemen will have to consider, after the statement of the right hon. Gentleman, whether they feel it necessary to persevere with their Motions; but, whether they do or not, and whether those Motions are accepted by the Government or not, I cannot conclude without urging upon the Government, as strongly as I can, the necessity of leaving, if possible, some record upon our proceedings that it is intended that this title which the Government have advised Her Majesty to assume, shall be used in India and for Indian purposes only, and that it is not the intention of Parliament in granting to Her Majesty this power, or that Her Majesty's Ministers in advising Her Majesty to assume this title do not intend, that it shall be used in conjunction with the ancient and Royal title of the Crown. The statement of the right hon. Gentleman may to a certain extent affect the discussion upon certain points which will be raised this evening; but I conceive that it can have no bearing whatever upon two of the points which remain for discussion. Those are, the questions raised by the hon. and learned Member for Dewsbury (Mr. Serjeant Simon) and my hon. and learned Friend the Member for the City of Oxford (Sir William Harcourt), and the hon. Member for Banbury (Mr. Samuelson), in relation to the effect the Bill will have upon the Government of India, and our relations with the colonies. As to the other more delicate and perhaps more important point referred to by the right hon. Gentleman, I can only say that I am glad that the statement of the right hon. Gentleman has been made, although I cannot anticipate that it will remove all the objections which have been urged. I hope, how- 276 ever, the House will give me credit for sincerity when I say that I trust the statement may be found to remove those difficulties which it was the most painful duty of those on this side of the House to point out.
§ Bill considered in Committee.
§ (In the Committee.)
§ Preamble read a first time, and postponed.
§ Clause 1 (Power to Her Majesty to make addition to style and titles of the Crown).
§ MR. SERJEANT SIMON
, in moving, as an Amendment, in page 2, line 3, after "India," to insert "and in order to include Her Majesty's Colonial Dominions in the Royal Style and Title of Her Majesty," said, he looked upon it as a very serious defect that the Bill did not include the colonies. It had been said by the Prime Minister that it was not necessary to include them, because they were part of the United Kingdom. He was very much astonished when he heard that statement. The right hon. Gentleman had been unmindful of statutory enactments. Before the Union with Scotland this was the Kingdom of England. By the Act of Union with Scotland it became the Kingdom of Great Britain; and by the Act of Union with Ireland it became the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. The Message brought down to the House of Lords by Lord Grenville, and to the House of Commons by Mr. Pitt, was in these words—That the Kingdoms of Great Britain and Ireland shall upon the 1st January, 1801, and for ever after, be united into one Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.The United Kingdom therefore was composed of the Three Kingdoms alone, and the colonies, or any other part of Her Majesty's dominions, formed no part of it. Further, when Her Majesty assumed the direct government of India, in 1858, the Royal Proclamation, so far from embracing the colonies as portions of the United Kingdom, distinctly mentioned them as apart from it. Her Majesty was mentioned and described as—Victoria, by the Grace of God, of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, and of the Colonies and Dependencies thereof in Europe, Asia, Africa, America, and Australasia, Queen, Defender of the Faith.277 Therefore, the statement of the right hon. Gentleman that the colonies formed part of the United Kingdom fell to the ground. There was another reason why the right hon. Gentleman should even now, at the last moment, accede to the Amendment. The right hon. Gentleman had described the colonists as here to-day and gone to-morrow, as a sort of roving adventurers who went abroad to amass fortunes, and "having found nuggets and sheared a thousand flocks," came back and built palaces and enjoyed the luxuries and the honours of home life. He had heard these expressions with pain. The House knew the right hon. Gentleman, and were accustomed to his brilliant sallies. They knew that an irrepressible force of genius could not always be restrained by graver considerations of State; but the colonists, not knowing these things, would lay to heart the words of the right hon. Gentleman, and they would inflict a deep wound, and lead to much serious misconception. The colonists were sensitive, and if there was one point upon which they were more sensitive than another, it was as to the way in which they were regarded by the mother-country. To be looked upon as inferior to those born upon British soil, was to them a serious grievance. They claimed to be, and it was their special pride to be considered as, Englishmen, and not as British subjects merely. It might be true that some of them had gone abroad with the intention of coming back as soon as they could; but the great mass were permanent settlers, and in our older colonies especially had been there from generation to generation. They felt a deep attachment to the land of their adoption, and took an active interest in its affairs and in its prosperity, while at the same time they were deeply attached to the mother-country, glorying in its history and traditions. A glance at one or two facts connected with the colonies would show how misplaced were the remarks of the right hon. Gentleman. The colonies Within the temperate zone extended over 4,000,000 of square miles, and were inhabited by no fewer than 6,000,000 of Whites, either Europeans or of European descent; and, if the colonists within the tropics were added it would bring the population up to something like 7,000,000. Was Her Majesty, notwithstanding the words of the Pro- 278 clamation of 1858, to tell her colonies that she was now indifferent to them? That India was preferred? Was she to tell this to the people of India also, and proclaim it to the world? He felt very strongly on the subject, because he knew there were families settled in the colonies from their first colonization to the present hour; and, although they were never seen on the British shores, they gloried in the fact of being Englishmen, and claimed all the right sand all the consideration of Englishmen at home. Surely, under these circumstances, it would be hurtful to the colonists and unwise to omit that recognition which had been given to them in the Proclamation of 1858. The Division of the other night had settled the question as to the title of Empress, and it would be unbecoming in him, and unworthy of the dignity of the House, to make use of its Forms for purposes of delay. He had no such intention; his object simply was to make the question with regard to the colonies clear to the Committee, and he hoped it would receive the serious consideration of Her Majesty's Government. He deprecated the notion that the colonies should in any degree be considered inferior to other parts of Her Majesty's dominions. They were at least as fully entitled to recognition in such a Bill as our Eastern Empire; and he hoped, if the Government did not at the present moment feel inclined to adopt his view, they would in their graver moments deem it their duty to do so. He would conclude by moving the Amendment.
§ Amendment proposed, in page 2, line 3, after "India," insert "and in order to include Her Majesty's Colonial Dominions in the Royal Style and Title of Her Majesty."—(Mr. Serjeant Simon.)
§ MR. DISRAELI
Sir, without arrogating for the present Ministry any peculiar claim of sympathy with the colonies, I do not think any impartial critic will refuse to acknowledge that there have been made, ever since we have attempted to control the destinies of this Empire, great efforts to recognize their claims to our consideration, and that there has been a great desire to express our sympathy with their fortunes. I think the hon. and learned Gentleman has made rather 279 too much of the observations which fell from me on a former occasion, perhaps in a lighter vein than suited the subject, but which then appeared appropriate to my mind. I hold that the proposed title is an addition to, and not a change in, the Royal Style. When I made the remarks referred to I certainly had no intention of describing our colonial fellow-subjects as a migratory population, nor did I do so. What I wished to convey to the House was, that from the happy accidents of their colonial life a considerable number of the subjects of the Queen, after being settled for some years in the colonies, do visit and return to their country, and that thus are maintained active relations between her colonial subjects and the Sovereign which do not exist with respect to her subjects in India. The hon. and learned Gentleman now presses for a recognition of the colonies in the action which this Bill will regulate. I am myself indisposed to change the scope of the Bill. This Bill has a particular object and a limited significance, and I think it would be very unwise to alter it. I should be very glad indeed if the relations between the Sovereign and her colonial subjects could be described in a satisfactory and happy manner, and if we could, by the introduction into the Royal Style of some felicitous phrase, exhibit the sympathetic relations which exist between them. But this is a question of much difficulty, and though I do not by any means despair that the time may yet arrive when so happy a result may be consummated, I am unprepared at present to meet the requirements of the case, and I should be sorry to delay the progress of this Bill for an object of that kind. As far as I can form an opinion from conversation with some eminent colonists, it is, I believe, the desire of the colonies that the great settlements throughout the world in connection with this country should no longer be regarded as merely colonies or dependencies. If, therefore, you would by the introduction of a few words effect the object which the hon. and learned Gentleman has in view, I believe you would only excite disappointment, not to say a stronger feeling. The hon. and learned Gentleman has quoted on more than one occasion, and referred twice to it to-night, the Proclamation of 1858. I am the last man in this House to treat that 280 Proclamation with disrespect, for I am responsible for it. But I cannot say that when the designation referred to was decided on, it was ever intended that it should be introduced into the formal and permanent style of the Sovereign of this country. Although, therefore, I will repeat my hope that we must not by any means despair some day of expressing in a happier manner the relations between the Sovereign and the colonies, this is not an occasion on which I would advise the House to attempt to effect that purpose. The hon. and learned Gentleman has referred to the conduct of George III. when the Act of Union was passed. We must remember that in the Act of Union King George was empowered to introduce the phrase, "Colonies and Dependencies." But King George himself then acted under the impression that they were included in the title of King of the United Kingdom, because in his Proclamation under the Great Seal he did not use any phrase which would confine the term "United Kingdom" to Great Britain and Ireland. We must also remember that the colonists of this country look upon themselves, and rightly, as brother Englishmen. The relations between this country and the colonies, and the relations between this country and India, are totally different. In the colonies every Act of the Executive runs in the name of the Queen. Parliaments are opened in her name and by her Governors. Legislation is carried on in her name, and without her sanction no measure is law. All civil processes issue under the Crown; Judges are appointed, criminals are arraigned and convicted, and conveyances of lands are made in the name of the Crown. Therefore I say the relations between Her Majesty and her subjects in the colonies are totally different from those which exist between Her Majesty and her subjects in India. It is also to be remembered that the proposition to add to the style and titles of the Queen with reference to India, is occasioned by the circumstance that a great revolution has occurred in the relations between England and India—between Her Majesty and her Indian subjects; and the time has come when we think it is necessary, and, we believe, a matter of high policy, that some measure such as the one which we have introduced should be passed. In the re- 281 lations between Her Majesty and her colonial subjects no such change has occurred. These relations are of the most satisfactory kind, and I trust they will remain so; but no change has occurred in those relations since the time referred to, in the reign of George III. There has, however, been a change with regard to India since that time, and therefore there is no similarity between the two cases. I do not want to be misunderstood. My sympathies are strongly in favour of our Colonial Empire. I have never given utterance, I trust, to any expression hostile to them, but always in their favour. I have always sought to consolidate that Empire, and even, if necessary, to increase it, and I have never hesitated to say so. But what we have before us is a different work. I do not myself see any prospect of any satisfactory arrangement of the point to which the hon. and learned Gentleman refers. I think it will only encumber the Bill, and I trust, therefore, that, on the whole, he will not press us to a division on the subject.
§ MR. W. E. FORSTER
I am sure my hon. and learned Friend will thank the right hon. Gentleman for the manner and tone in which he has met the proposal before the House. I never supposed the Government of which he is the head would for an instant contemplate not fully acknowledging the importance of the colonies, or wish to interfere with their connection with this country. I was sure that on consideration the right hon. Gentleman would feel that the few expressions which he uttered on the very spur of debate and argument are not those in which he would, upon maturer reflection, have described either the colonies or the colonists. As regards the present Motion, I am sincerely sorry that the Government do not see their way to accept it. The right hon. Gentleman says there have been great changes in India, and that there has been no change in the colonies. But we must remember that the changes in the position of the colonies since the last alteration of the Royal title are about as great as any that could possibly be made. At the beginning of this century our colonial Empire was almost, I may say, at its lowest; that is to say, we had lost the American States, many of our colonies had not then been founded, and some of them were in their 282 veriest infancy compared with the lusty youth they enjoy now. I think if we were merely to consider the changes which have happened in India and the colonies since the last alteration of the Royal style and title, we should have to acknowledge that the change in the colonies is greater than that which has taken place in India, although it is quite true there was a nominal change from the rule of the East India Company to that of the Crown. The right hon. Gentleman rather mistook the Union Act and the Proclamation of George III. issued in consequence. He stated that that Act gave power to George III. to take such title for "the United Kingdom, colonies, and dependencies" as he thought fit. I think if the right hon. Gentleman refers to the Act he will see the colonies are not mentioned, and that it is merely "United Kingdom and dependencies." I do not think the colonies were thought of in "dependencies." My belief is that the dependencies meant the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man, and therefore we can hardly take that as a precedent. However the Government may feel this difficulty in trying to solve the question, they must allow me to say it is one of those difficulties they ought to have foreseen when introducing the Bill. Perhaps there are other difficulties which, if they had given them greater consideration, would have given rise to less discussion on this subject. I will not ask my hon. and learned Friend to press his Motion to a division, for two reasons—first, I should be exceedingly sorry that any proposition made on behalf of the colonies should not be accepted by the House or disputed by any large number of Members, because it would put the colonies and the House in an unfair position. And, again, I cannot help thinking that the right hon. Gentleman and the Government may even yet consider the question, and try to discover whether, now they are passing this Bill and making this important change in Her Majesty's title, they cannot take this opportunity of acknowledging the existence of our colonial dominions. We are not going to have changes in Her Majesty's title often, I hope. It would be a very serious matter if we were. I do not think there is such exceeding haste required in the passing of the Bill that the Cabinet may not fairly consider the question. I am sure if they did, they 283 would get over the difficulty, and that from the fertile brain of the right hon. Gentleman words should come sufficing to meet the object in view. As to the words, I feel the difficulty of the objection to the word "colonies." But there are other words, such as "Her Majesty's dominions," which might effect the object in view. I can only say I think this is a very good opportunity, and one that should not be lost, not only of reminding Her Majesty's colonial subjects of her relationship to them as their Queen, whom they are so proud to acknowledge, and to whom they are as loyal as we ourselves, but also of showing that we, the Parliament of the United Kingdom, acknowledge our fellowship with these young communities, which we know will before long be almost, if not quite, as powerful as ourselves. We shall thus show that we are prepared to treat them not as dependencies, but as equals. I cannot help thinking these are considerations which the Government might bear in mind. They will have further opportunities of considering this matter here, and a good deal more in "another place," and if any alteration came down to us I believe it would be received with general approval on both sides of the House.
§ MR. FORSYTH
said, that one of his objections to the proposal of the hon. and learned Gentleman opposite (Mr. Serjeant Simon) was that it was not relevant to the Bill. There ought to be a connection between the Preamble and the body of the Bill, and the Preamble had been allowed to pass sub silentio. If the Amendment was to stand, the Preamble could not remain as it was.
§ MR. SERJEANT SIMON
said, he would remind the hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Marylebone that the consideration of the Preamble was postponed, and he (Mr. Serjeant Simon) had given Notice of Motion to add a clause in the Preamble to meet the case of the colonies, in the event of his Amendment being adopted.
§ MR. FORSYTH
said, that he was still of opinion that the Amendment would be irregular, as it would introduce into the Bill a totally new element. With regard to the question of title, he denied that up to the time of the Act of Union the title of the Sovereign was "King of England." The title up to that time was "King of Great Britain, 284 France, and Ireland." On the death of Elizabeth James the First assumed the title not of King of England, but King of Great Britain. He was of opinion that at Common Law the Sovereign could assume any title he pleased, but by the Act of Union with Ireland a statutory title was given which Prerogative could not alter. He believed the colonies were quite contented with the title the Queen now bore.
§ SIR GEORGE BOWYER
said, he must deny that King James I. on the death of Elizabeth became King of Great Britain. He was James Sixth of Scotland, and James First of England. In the recent debates a great deal was said of the greatness and sacredness of the title of King of England, and to do anything adverse to that title was equivalent to sacrilege; but the title did not now exist—there was no such thing. At the time of the Act of Union with Scotland the Sovereign became King of Great Britain, and this country was styled in all legal documents "that part of Great Britain called England." Then came the Act of Union with Ireland, in 1801, which extinguished the title of "King of Great Britain," and established a new title, "King of Great Britain and Ireland," and this country was then styled, "that part of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland called England." So that the present title of the Queen would only be 75 years older than her new title of Empress of India. He hoped the House would therefore hear no more of the sanctity of the ancient title of the Queen of England. Her Majesty was descended from an illustrious line of ancestors, some of whom were Kings of England, but she was not now Queen of England. Selden, one of the most learned men England had ever produced, had written at length on the distinction between Kings and Emperors, and the result of his arguments was that an Emperor was a Sovereign over other sovereign Princes, and therefore no title could be more appropriate for the Queen than Empress of India, because in that country there were yet a great many sovereign Princes, and Her Majesty was Suzerain over them. As to the Amendment, and its proposal to introduce the colonies into the Royal titles, he hoped the House would do nothing of the kind. They could find no instance in history of 285 any Sovereign taking a title from a colony. [An hon. Member: There is the case of Spain and the Indies.] The Indies were conquered by Spain, consequently Spain took a title from the Indies, but it was not a colony, but a conquest. The title was in fact so taken because a colony was not a dependency, but a province—a portion of the mother country—and for the Queen to take a title from a colony, say, for instance, Queen of Canada, would be as absurd as it would be if she were to take the title of "Queen of Berkshire." He trusted that the House would reject the proposition.
§ MR. LOWE
hoped the House would not take its law from the hon. and learned Baronet who had just sat down. If they were not to include among their colonies any territories that had been conquered, then the roll of their colonies would be cut down to very small dimensions. Canada, he (Mr. Lowe) supposed, was not a colony, for it certainly was conquered. The Cape of Good Hope, also, if the hon. and learned Baronet's view was correct, was not a colony. He ventured to say that the manner of colony made a difference in law, but it made no difference as to the fact of its being a colony. In the case of a conquered colony the Queen legislated as she pleased, in the case of a planted colony it must be done by Parliament. Conquered countries certainly might be colonies, and he was surprised the hon. and learned Baronet should make such a slip. But he would venture to say that the question before them was not whether the proposal came within the present Bill before Parliament, but in what state the question of the colonies would be left if the present Bill became law. That was a very weighty and momentous question to consider, and one which the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Disraeli) had scarcely done justice to in what he had said. If they looked back to 1801 they would find that the colonial Empire of England had shrunk to extremely small dimensions. They had lost the American States; Canada contained 240,000 inhabitants, Australia 4,000, and the Cape of Good Hope was considered of so little value that they made a present of it to the Dutch, though they had to conquer it back again; Tasmania and Western Australia were unsettled altogether, and the rest of their colonial 286 possessions were exceedingly small. It was not to be wondered at that they should have been passed over then; but the right hon. Gentleman had scarcely done justice to their present position. The Dominion of Canada alone now contained fully 4,000,000. Australia and New Zealand contained 1,500,000—[Several hon. Members: More, much more]—and certainly almost all those persons were of British origin. Their other colonial dependencies were also very populous. Now, therefore, the question arose, as they were dealing with a British population as large as that of Ireland—though he thought it was quite reasonable to omit them from the style and title in 1801—whether they had any reason to leave them out now; and he put it to the House whether it was wise, prudent, or fair to the colonies, as they had chosen to raise the question now, to exclude from the new title of the Queen those colonies which were such an important part of her dominions, and which would in all human probability overtop in population the mother Island from which they had sprung? He could not say how much it was to be regretted, as this question had been opened, that the colonies should have had this slight—this marked slight—put upon them. ["No, no!"] Yes, marked slight; he spoke as he knew they would feel it. The colonists were, as nearly as possible, the reverse of the description given of them by the right hon. Gentleman. Of course some did return, but the maxim of the great majority of those who went out was nulla vestigia retrorsum. They went out from England to found new homes; all their hopes, their feelings, and wishes were bound up with the colonies where they had settled with their children, and while they retained a kind feeling towards England they did not look back to the possibility of returning, and did not think of it. But people in that position, wealthy and well-to-do, as well governed at any rate as we were, and who were conscious, whatever their position now, that it was nothing to what it would be, were naturally extremely tenacious of these matters, because they were really in a better and higher position than was indicated by the title they bore. They were persons of all others who would be sensitive to anything said or thought of them in England. The colonists did not care for 287 what was said or thought of them by other colonies. Their connection with each other was comparatively slight; but the connection between them and the Crown and people of England was strong, while the feeling was still stronger. He could not imagine anything more calculated to do serious mischief than that after having chosen to open this great question without having considered the subject at all, they should now shrink from the difficulty of doing what was only fair and right to the colonists, and would give them satisfaction. One of the difficulties stated by the right hon. Gentleman was that some of them could only be described as colonies, whereas we had erected one into a Dominion, and, therefore, that a variety of titles would be necessary. For his own part, he apprehended that the colonies would be perfectly satisfied if they were described as colonies; and, giving credit to the people of the Dominion of Canada for good sense, he thought they would be satisfied to go with the rest of the colonies, although they might have been elevated to a higher name. It had been said it was difficult to define the relation of the Queen to the colonies, but he thought nothing was more easy. The relation of the Queen to the colonies was the same as the relation of the Queen to her subjects here. She was the Governor of the colonies just as she was Governor of Great Britain, and governed the colonies by the advice of a Colonial Ministry, responsible to a Colonial Parliament. Her subjects there were under the same conditions as we were here. Nothing could be more monstrous than to assume that the colonies were included in these Islands as respected their government. The Acts of this Parliament did not bind the colonies, unless they were specially named; they were bound by the Acts of their own Legislatures—their laws were not the same as ours—they were governed by their own laws, having one common link with the United Kingdom that they were under the same Sovereign. It was said the colonies must be left out of the Bill, because they could not find a word that would express the relation of the Queen to them; but he thought it was perfectly competent for them, in settling the new title, to say that Her Majesty should be Queen of the colonies, and he considered it would 288 be only a fair recognition of their importance. In that way they would satisfy all the reasonable demands of the colonies. If it was so desirable to recognize India, which was taken under the control of the Crown 18 years ago, it was surely as desirable to recognize the existence of those great colonies which had sprung into existence since the last alteration in the Queen's title. What reason had they which was applicable to India which was not equally applicable to the colonies? Could it be supposed that Her Majesty's subjects in the colonies were not as dear to her as those in India? And yet, what other construction could be put upon it, if they were ignored on the present occasion. If there was any difficulty in describing the Dominion of Canada and the other colonies, let the Government meet the difficulty. They need not do it by the present Bill, and if they afterwards found that there was an absolute impossibility, let them come to the House and state it frankly. But so far from there being an impossibility, he considered there was not one-hundredth part the difficulty in including the colonies that there was in dealing with the question as it now stood. He hoped the House would give its serious consideration to the question, for it was not a matter which merely affected the present moment. It was of enormous consequence that these great communities, whether they remained part of the Empire or not, should continue to have a kind and good feeling towards this country; that they should know that, whatever their future destiny might be, they were one in feeling and in sentiment with the people of the mother country, and that we should never again repeat the folly of alienating from us by injudicious conduct a large portion of our own kindred.
§ LORD ROBERT MONTAGU
said, that the Amendment was not an enacting clause, but merely gave power to Her Majesty to include her colonial dominions and to recognize her colonies as part of her Empire. So far it was on all fours with the Act of 1801. It had been said that the colonies were part of the kingdom. This was true in old days, when we made laws for the colonies; but a great change had taken place, and now the colonies had their own Legislatures, and he maintained that they were accordingly not a part of 289 the Kingdom. If they were still a part of the Kingdom, as the right hon. Gentleman opposite (Mr. Disraeli) alleged, he (Lord Robert Montagu) was at a loss to understand how, if a Parliament met in Ireland, it could be called a dismemberment of the Empire. He had always objected to the Act of 1801, because it limited the Prerogative, and he had heard with pleasure the right hon. Member for Greenwich (Mr. Gladstone) say that this was a question of Prerogative only. He thought the Queen had the Prerogative of taking any title she thought proper, and, therefore, the Bill was uncalled for. The Amendment merely proposed to give the Queen the power to take a title, leaving it to Her Majesty to take whatever title she liked.
said, he did not join in advising his hon. and learned Friend the Member for Dewsbury (Mr. Serjeant Simon)not to press his Amendment on the ground of any of the arguments he had heard against including the colonies within the scope of the Bill. The hon. and learned Baronet the Member for Wexford County said there had been no case in which a Sovereign had taken a title or part of a title from a colony or a Province. [Sir George Bowyer: I did not say a Province.] That was exactly what he wanted to point out. His hon. and learned Friend did not say a Province. [Sir George Bowyer: I will explain.] Oh, no! his hon. and learned Friend had had a fair innings already. He would see that if he did not say Province his objection fell to the ground, for Canada was a Province and we had other Provinces attached to the Empire. His hon. and learned Friend the Member for Dewsbury did not mean to raise the question upon the name by which the colonies were to be called, but upon the territory. Certainly, as he had said, he could not agree in voting against the Amendment on the ground that the matter was already prejudged by the Preamble. The hon. and learned Member for Marylebone (Mr. Forsyth) was in a predicament which excited his commiseration, when he opposed the Motion on the ground that the Committee had already passed in silence the Preamble which fixed the scope of the Bill; and when he afterwards discovered that the Preamble was not passed at all, he was still under the 290 necessity of making his speech upon some ground entirely different. Had the Prime Minister given the Committee any reasons for dismissing the colonies from their consideration? He wished to state exactly his own position as a Member of that House in regard to the Bill. It was a very peculiar position. The Government asked for discretionary powers to recommend the Queen to make an addition to her title, but they insisted on the power of excluding from that discretion a certain portion of the dominions of Her Majesty. He believed that they had shown great indiscretion in stirring in this matter upon any conditions at all. Still as it had been stirred, and as the Government were responsible for stirring it, he thought they should take upon themselves the responsibility of saying how the power entrusted to them should be exercised. If the Government had asked the House for powers that did not extend to the assumption of any title that went to impair the dignity and lustre of the Crown, and had left it on the responsibility of the Government to determine to which of the dominions of the Crown this title should be extended, he, for one, would have been very reluctant to withhold it. But the Government insisted on taking from Parliament a discretionary power with regard to India, and insisted upon not taking a discretionary power with respect to the other possessions of Her Majesty. Now he was not willing to be involved in that double responsibility. He had to ask himself what grounds had been shown for such a proceeding. The arguments given on former nights that the colonies were a part of the United Kingdom—that they had a fugitive population—that the colonists were ever with us, and that all that we had was theirs—that they represented the son in the parable, who would by-and-by come and complain of the way in which he had been treated—these arguments were now scattered to the winds, and a new set of arguments had been brought forward. It had been said that the case of the colonies was entirely different from that of India because there had been a revolution in India, while there had been none in the colonies. He, for one, protested against that statement. There had been no revolution in India—no change in the principle of government, and no contraction of the 291 liberties of the people of India. If anything had been done, it had been that Parliament intended by the India Government Act to provide new securities for the good government and the civil—not the political—liberties of Her Majesty's subjects in India. If they were to look at the change which had occurred in the extent of Her Majesty's dominions as a reason for calling upon Her Majesty to extend her title, there had been an infinitely greater change and development in the colonial Empire of this country than had occurred in our Indian Empire within the same period. There was, however, another point to be considered. In the year in which the Union with Ireland was enacted there was no such thing as free Parliamentary government as it was now understood in any of the colonies. Since then there had been a peaceful and a happy revolution, and now there was not a single colony of any consequence where the system of Parliamentary government did not prevail. Therefore, if the Bill was to be founded on the amount of change which had occurred in regard to India, he would point out that the amount of change in the colonies was far greater both in material extension and in political progress than in India, and therefore the argument for including the colonies was an argument à fortiori. But the right hon. Gentleman held out a hope which he viewed with considerable apprehension. He said they might have a further opportunity of considering and doing something with the title of Her Majesty with respect to the colonies. He hoped these words meant nothing. He hoped they were a mere expedient to get rid of the present measure, and that they would have no further attempts on the part of the Government to patch and mend, and he would almost say tinker, the Royal Title. The Government had now brought them to a point when it was most desirable they should get quit of this question. Let them do what was best under the circumstances. Let them give the Government all the power and responsibility they could give them without incurring political danger, but do not let them set aside one portion of the question on the ground of the difficulty there was in fixing on an appropriate title, and that they would have another opportunity of considering the matter when the right hon. Gentleman had an op- 292 portunity of looking a little further into his dictionary and discovered whether he could find one or two terms on which he had not yet been able to satisfy himself as to their propriety. He did not think, however, it was desirable that the Amendment should be pressed. They had already expressed their opinion by their vote. They had already voted, without success—very far, indeed, from success—that the House was not unwilling to give power to Her Majesty to make an addition to her title which should include such dominions as might seem fit. In that Motion of his noble Friend they had a principle on which he was prepared to take his stand—namely, that if there was to be a change, their desire was to leave to the Government, on their responsibility, the duty and office of choosing which should be the dominions included in the new enumeration. He admitted it would be better to approach the subject with some knowledge of the sentiments of their fellow-subjects in India and the colonies, but the Government had chosen to place them in a predicament so that they could have no such opportunity. He was not referring to India, but to the colonies. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for the University of London, who was an authority in all matters relating to the colonies in a degree even beyond what he might claim on any subject in that House, expressed a strong opinion that the colonies desired to be included in the Bill, and that they would be mortified at being excluded from it. That utterance was met on the other side of the House by an adverse opinion. There were certain colonial organs in this country, and they were in favour of the colonies being included; but he admitted that was not conclusive. The desirable course to pursue was clear. He frankly owned he should not support any Motion which went directly to bring the colonies within the scope of this Bill; but, on the other hand, he was determined not to be responsible for excluding them. The Government having made the proposal ought to take upon themselves the responsibility of determining whether or not the colonies should be included in any change which Her Majesty might be advised to take. He was not going to predict whether discontent might arise in the colonies or not; but this he would say, that when 293 the Bill had passed, if discontent and disaffection should arise, the whole responsibility of that discontent and disaffection would rest on Her Majesty's Government. Therefore, what he hoped they would do was this—If they did not like the shape of the Motion, at their own time and in their own mode they would insert power in the Bill to enable them to act hereafter. Having raised the question the Government could not escape from the responsibility. They had already protested and voted for power to include the colonies, and he thought it would be best for all parties if the right hon. Gentleman would now, or on a future occasion, allow power, of the kind referred to, to be inserted in the Bill, and keep it in his own hands when he came finally to advise the Crown. If the right hon. Gentleman should see fit to do so, he, for one, would not ask for any pledge as to the way in which it should be used.
§ SIR GEORGE BOWYER
explained with regard to the word province, that his contention was, that the colonies were provinces in the strict sense of the word, or, in other words, a portion of the mother country.
§ MR. DISRAELI
There is one difference, Sir, between the case of India, which is now before us, and that of the colonies, which the right hon. Gentleman has not touched upon, and which appears to me to be one of a vital character. There are political considerations of the highest character that influence Her Majesty's Government in recommending Parliament to assist Her Majesty to assume the title of Empress of India; but no one can pretend for a moment, whatever her relations with her colonial subjects may be, that there are political considerations, and those of an urgent character, which render it necessary to consider their case. That is a difference which the right hon. Gentleman has never admitted in his numerous remarks upon the Bill, but which, after all, involves the very core of the argument. This is not an occasion on which to dwell upon these considerations. I have not thrust them forward, but there will be opportunities when I shall certainly no longer refrain from using my privilege as a Member of this House, if I find that from omitting to bring such considerations forward room is given to, of course, the unintentional misrepresenta- 294 tions which have found their way into this discussion. The right hon. Gentleman talks of the rapid development of the colonies. Why, that is one of the very reasons that has rendered it so difficult to deal with them as forming part of the style of Her Majesty. I might say that it is only a few months ago that a considerable Confederation was about to be formed in Africa; while two or three years ago an Australian federation seemed to be on the point of being accomplished; and these are matters which must be considered when events are likely to occur, and results to accrue, which give a totally new character and form to the society you are attempting to bring into this delicate and important connection with the Crown. With regard to the other remarks of the right hon. Gentleman I will only say that Her Majesty's Government will never shrink from any fair responsibility which they ought to incur, and I can assure the House that it is not on this bench they will find any character or quality of that kind.
§ MR. SERJEANT SIMON
thought if there might be some difficulty in Canada with respect to the title of Empress, there could be none as regarded the remainder of the colonies. He hoped the Government would see the necessity of creating a kindly feeling among our vast colonial population; but under the circumstances he should not press his Amendment.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Amendment (Mr. Samuelson) in page 2, line 5, after "India," to insert "as in the aforesaid proclamation published and set forth," by leave, withdrawn.
§ Amendment (Sir William Harcourt) in page 2, line 5, after "India," to insert "that is to say, of the territories so vested in Her Majesty as defined in the last-mentioned Act," by leave, withdrawn.
MR. OSBORNE MORGAN moved, as an Amendment, in page 2, line 5, after the word "India," the insertion of the words—
But not so as to give to any Style or Title which Her Majesty may be graciously pleased to assume any precedence or priority over the Royal Style and Title now appertaining to the Imperial Crown.
His object was that Her Majesty should be Queen and Empress, and not
Empress and Queen; and he wished to ensure us against the result which in every other country had followed from the union of an Imperial and a Royal title—the absorption of the latter in the former. In past times, so far as his recollection went, the Royal title had always been merged in the Imperial title. In the good feeling of Her Majesty and her son, we had a perfect guarantee that there would be no assumption of the Imperial title over that of the Kingly title in their reigns; but Parliament was legislating for future generations, and it would be satisfactory to know that it had placed upon record that if our Kings were to be Emperors, they should be Kings and Emperors, not Emperors and Kings. The Queen of England was endeared to her people by those qualities of woman, wife, and mother, which Max Müller said were originally implied in the word "Queen," as much as by her position as Sovereign, and it was not asking too much that the title should be placed for all future time beyond the reach of assault. It was impossible to deny that the title of Empress grated upon the English ear, and what they desired was that the Queen or the King should always be known in England as the Queen or the King. The right hon. Gentleman at the head of the Government had agreed to localize the title, and in effect, though he would not put it in the Bill, he accepted the Amendment of the hon. Member for Durham (Mr. Pease). But a name could not be localized; when once it was given, you could not control its use. You might as well try to imprison the wind or chain the air. The other night the right hon. Gentleman said the new title would add new lustre to the Crown of England. He (Mr. Osborne Morgan) thought the Crown of England did not want any new lustre. The right hon. Gentleman would follow the example of the unfortunate artist who succeeded in spoiling by gilding the horses of Lysippus. He might as well attempt to "Paint the lily and adorn the rose." Let them put on record their desire that the Sovereigns should be known by a title endeared to them by associations begun with Alfred and ending with Victoria.
Amendment proposed, in page 2, line 5, after the word "India," insert the words—
But not so as to give any Style or Title Her Majesty may be graciously pleased to assume any precedence or priority over the Royal Style and Title now appertaining to the Imperial Crown."—(Mr. Osborne Morgan).
§ SIR ALEXANDER GORDON
pointed out that documents promulgated in India were headed with the words "Victoria Regina;" and if Her Majesty was to be called Empress of India, it would be an anomaly if, in documents issued in her name, those words continued to be used. The title of Empress must be exercised in this country, because Her Majesty must sign the proclamations which were going out to India in this country under the advice of her Secretary of State. He asked whether an alteration would not be required in the Royal sign manual? Would proclamations in that country at present headed "Victoria Regina" hereafter be headed "Victoria Imperatrix."
§ Mr. DISRAELI
, as far as he understood the Amendment, thought it would have the contrary effect to that which the hon. and learned Member for Denbighshire desired—namely, the localizing of the name of Empress, because it would require Her Majesty to be described in India as Queen and Empress. He thought it hardly desirable that the Amendment should be pressed upon the attention of the Committee.
§ MR. E. JENKINS
said, that as the Amendment was similar to the one of which he had given Notice early in the evening, he would accept it and withdraw his own. He thought the right hon. Gentleman did not quite understand the aim of the hon. and learned Gentleman, whose intention was to prevent the acquisition of that title of Empress which the Government were attempting to force upon the unwilling people of England. The right hon. Gentleman had spoken of the political considerations of the highest importance involved in carrying the Bill, but what evidence had he offered? Was this to be a new avatar to the people of India? The title of Empress was looked to with the utmost interest, with the most anxious expectation, according to the right hon. Gentleman. But might he not be mistaken? No evidence had been offered to the House or to the country, and the course taken had led people to question the truth of the right hon. Gentleman's statement. ["Oh!"] That was not a charge which he (Mr. Jenkins) brought; he was only reporting 297 what was a historical fact—that in consequence of the action of the Government and its reticence in the matter, people in England had entirely misunderstood their objects, and were not giving to the statements of the Government that confidence which the statements of every Government, of whatever Party, should have. Was it too late to ask that the evidence should be given? Would not the title of Queen satisfy the claims of the people of India? If the House had the Papers before it, it could judge for itself; but those Papers for grave political reasons were withheld, and they were threatened with serious consequences if the suggestions of the Government were not accepted. He hoped the Amendment would be adopted.
§ MR. GREGORY
said, it was difficult to deal with an Amendment of which no Notice had been given; but, as far as he had caught the Amendment, it appeared to cut down the Imperial character of the Sovereign of this country, and, if so, it conflicted with a declaration in the statute of Henry VIII. whereby the jurisdiction of the See of Rome was annihilated in this country—namely, that this Realm was an Empire and had been so accepted in the world. That Imperial character and the rights it involved had been recognized by one of the greatest writers on constitutional law in this country—he meant Mr. Selden. It would be a most serious thing for the House to adopt an Amendment which would trench in any degree on the principle involved in a statute upon which so much of the liberty of this country depended.
§ MR. SERJEANT SIMON
did not think the adoption of the Amendment would in any way lower the dignity of the Queen's title. He would suggest that Her Majesty should be styled "Sovereign of India." As given by Johnson, Richardson, and Webster, it meant "supreme lord," a far more expressive title than the one assumed under the Bill. That title would not only avoid offence to the people of this country, but it would also express to the people of India the true state of the case—namely, that Her Majesty was their Supreme Ruler.
§ MR. BENETT-STANFORD
hoped the Amendment would not be pressed to a division, as it sought to upset by a side-wind the decision come to by so 298 large a majority of the House on Friday night. He was sure it must be distasteful to the loyal feelings of those educated gentlemen of India who watched the debates of Parliament with the deepest interest, to find this question made a matter of Party strife. He believed that the people of England approved of this measure. On Saturday he attended a large farmers' ordinary in the West of England, at which the conduct of the Government in bringing forward this measure was unanimously affirmed as being likely to give pleasure to the people of India, after their cordial reception of the Prince of Wales.
§ SIR GEORGE CAMPBELL
hoped the Government would take notice of the difficulty mentioned by the hon. and gallant Member for East Aberdeenshire (Sir Alexander Gordon). It was desirable the Committee should know whether in orders and proclamations sent from the India Office Her Majesty would be styled "Queen," "Queen Empress," or "Empress Queen."
§ SIR GEORGE BOWYER
believed the Amendment to be totally useless and unnecessary, and hoped the hon. and learned Gentleman would not press it.
MR. OSBORNE MORGAN
said, that after what the Prime Minister had said with respect to the non-currency in India of the title "Queen," he would, with the leave of the Committee, withdraw his Amendment. He was not aware that there was no equivalent for the word "Queen" in India, but wished it to be placed on record that there was an objection to the use of the Imperial title in England.
said, his hon. and learned Friend interpreted what had fallen from the Prime Minister in the sense that the title "Queen" would not be current in India after the passing of this Act. He (Mr. Gladstone) was not aware the right hon. Gentleman had mode any such statement. It was, however, most important that there should be a distinct understanding on the point, on account of the apprehension of the public that that title was to be fused in that of "Empress." No notice had been taken of the objection of the hon. and gallant Member for East Aberdeenshire. He, therefore, wished for further information upon one or two points before the Amendment was withdrawn. He wished to know—first, whether it 299 would be necessary to call in and recoin the hundred millions or so of coins now current in India that bore the word "Queen" upon them; secondly, whether the style of Her Majesty's Government would only be altered as regarded India; thirdly, whether there would be any alteration of the sign manual as regarded England; and, fourth, whether the present Bill would contain anything that would prevent any Minister in the future from advising Her Majesty to alter the sign manual as regarded this country?
§ MR. DISRAELI
replied that the style of Her Majesty would be Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, and Empress of India, and that the sign manual of Her Majesty would be "Victoria Regina et Imperatrix" in India. As regarded the coin bearing the word "Queen," now in circulation in India, there would not be much difficulty, inasmuch as he had at that moment in his pocket two or three shillings bearing the style and effigy of George III., and he was not aware of any necessity for re-coining them. Whether any future Minister could, under this Bill, effectually advise Her Majesty to make an alteration of the sign manual in this country would depend upon the future will of Parliament.
said, the Prime Minister had not answered his question about the sign manual. What he meant was this. Supposing it were the pleasure of the Minister at any time to recommend that the sign manual should be altered, and the name "Imperatrix," or something betokening it, be introduced—whether for India or England—would there be anything in this Act to prevent him from doing it?
THE MARQUESS OF HARTINGTON
observed that the Government had hardly considered all the questions involved in this proposed change. The right hon. Gentleman had just told them that the style of the Queen in India would be Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and Empress of India, and that he presumed the sign manual would be in India "Victoria Regina et Imperatrix." As the style of the Sovereign in India would be the same as in England, he could not see why the sign manual in India should be different from that in England; and if this change which was about to be made 300 involved a change in the sign manual from "Victoria Regina" to "Victoria Regina et Imperatrix," why should not a corresponding change be made in England?
§ SIR GEORGE BOWYER
observed that the public had nothing whatever to do with the sign manual, and the responsibility for advising Her Majesty to alter it would remain with the Minister. Most certainly this Bill would not restrain any Minister in the future from advising Her Majesty to alter the sign mannal; and if it did so, it would be a most unconstitutional measure.
§ SIR WILLIAM HARCOURT
said, he was ashamed to hear the language that had fallen from the hon. and learned Baronet the Member for Wexford uttered in the House of Commons, where such views had not been enunciated since the time of the Stuarts. The whole thing depended upon their creating the title, and consequently giving a Minister an excuse or a pretext for altering the sign manual. When the great Reformation statute with reference to the title of the Crown was passed, it had become a sort of constitutional doctrine that these titles should not be altered except by Act of Parliament, and therefore it was that at the time of the Union with Ireland special authority was given for altering the title. Therefore it was that this Bill was brought in. While the Bill was in their hands, they had a perfect right to propose any addition to it they chose with reference to this title. That was the constitutional doctrine, and the only thing they had to ask now was whether the sign manual would be altered in England; and if the Government did not intend that, would they give the English nation any security that if it was not done in the present it would not be done in the future?
THE MARQUESS OF HARTINGTON
said, that the right hon. Gentleman had not answered the question put by the hon. and learned Member for Oxford.
THE ATTORNEY GENERAL
thought that when the hon. and learned Member for Oxford rushed so boldly to the front, and told a very good constitutional lawyer that he was utterly wrong, he could not have heard the question of the right hon. Member for Greenwich. The question simply was, whether there was anything in the Bill which would pre- 301 vent any Adviser of Her Majesty in future from suggesting that there should be any alteration in the sign manual? He understood the hon. and learned Baronet (Sir George Bowyer) to say that there was nothing in the Bill to prevent anything of the sort, and that it was not necessary that there should be. He might be a very bad judge of the matter; but it occurred to him that there was nothing stated by the hon. and learned Baronet that had even a semblance of bad law about it. With regard to the alteration of the sign manual—as the title of Empress was only to be a title applicable to India, and used for the purposes of India—it might be necessary to have the sign manual altered upon all documents used in India, or purporting to be used there. He did not suppose it would be necessary to have the same alteration made in respect of the documents used in England.
said, it was a very important matter, and he hoped that the right hon. Gentleman would at the next stage of the Bill acquaint them with what was to take place.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ MR. SERJEANT SIMON moved, as an Amendment, that in the words "addition to the style and title," in line 6 of the 1st clause, the word "Royal" should be inserted before "style." The right hon. Gentleman at the head of the Government in introducing the Bill said that he followed the precedent of the Act of Union, but in that Act the title of the Crown was described as the "Royal title." It was of the utmost importance that the word should be inserted, considering the jealousy with which the adoption of this new title was regarded by many hon. Members of that House and by a large portion of the community.
§ Amendment proposed, in page 2, line 6, after the word "the," to insert the word "Royal."—(Mr. Serjeant Simon.)
§ Question proposed, "That the word 'Royal' be there inserted."
THE ATTORNEY GENERAL
submitted that the Amendment was unnecessary. There could be no doubt that what was meant by the words was in 302 addition to the present style and title of Her Majesty.
§ MR. W. E. FORSTER
thought it would be better in this matter to abide by the precedent of the Act of Union.
§ MR. DISRAELI
pointed out that the reference was to the style and title of the Imperial Crown of the United Kingdom, and that the word "Royal" was unnecessary.
§ MR. W. E. FORSTER
expressed a wish that some Member of the Government should state why there had been a distinct departure from the wording of the Act of Union.
§ SIR WILLIAM HARCOURT
said, there was a further reason why the Amendment should be adopted—namely, that the title of the Bill was to enable Her Majesty to make an addition to the Royal style and title.
THE MARQUESS OF HARTINGTON
said, it was not the wish of hon. Gentlemen on that side of the House to cause any unnecessary delay or to divide the Committee, if it could be avoided; but it was rather difficult to avoid going to a division when the appeals made for information from that side of the House met with no response from the Government.
§ MR. DISRAELI
said, he had confidence in the manner in which the Bill was drawn, and, using also his own intelligence as a layman, it appeared to him that the manner in which the Bill was drawn was preferable to that suggested by the hon. and learned Member for Dewsbury. That, he thought, was a sufficient Parliamentary reason for not acceding to the Amendment.
§ MR. SERJEANT SIMON
called attention to the use of the word "Royal" in the second Article of the Act of Union. If the right hon. Gentleman intended to follow the precedent of that Act as he had stated, why had he not adopted from it the use of the words "Royal style and title?"
§ SIR GEORGE BOWYER
said, the precedent referred to by the hon. and learned Member for Dewsbury was inapplicable to the present case. At the Union Parliament was making a Kingdom, and therefore defined the style and title of the Sovereign by the word "Royal;" but here he would remind the hon. and learned Member for Ox- 303 ford they were not even creating a title—they were only enabling Her Majesty to assume one. The hon. and learned Gentleman seemed think that no one knew anything about law but himself. He (Sir George Bowyer) did not think so. The hon. and learned Gentleman was exceedingly skilful in conducting or opposing the progress of Bills through Parliamentary Committees, but no one suspected the hon. and learned Gentleman of being a lawyer, and he should be sorry to follow the views of the hon. and learned Gentleman on a question of law.
§ MR. W. E. FORSTER
said, this was not an unimportant matter, for the country was very jealous of the word "Royal," and would be inclined to think that there was some meaning in its omission.
MR. GATHORNE HARDY
said, he was very much surprised at the extraordinary pressure used in the matter, seeing that in the very clause under notice the words—"the Queen by her Royal proclamation" were used.
§ MR. W. E. FORSTER
said, he could not understand why the desire to abide by precedent should be opposed.
§ Question put.
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes 92; Noes 171; Majority 79.
§ Mr. NEWDEGATE
, who had an Amendment upon the Paper, said:—Sir, I wish to make an alteration in the terms of the Motion of which I have given Notice; to propose the following addition at the end of the 1st clause of the Bill:—Provided, That nothing in this Act shall abridge or prejudicially affect the power or authority of Parliament in relation to the Government of India.It may appear, after the attention which the House has given to this Bill, that any provision of this sort must be unnecessary. But I beg the Committee to consider that we are now about to ratify a great settlement in India; that the assumption of the title of Empress by Her Majesty is to set the seal to the form of Government now established in that country, and that a form of Government totally differing from every constitutional principle; for the truth is that our Government in India is a system of 304 absolutism. And I have never yet been able to understand why the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer should have spoken of the feeling which the introduction of this Bill produced as an "idle panic." The proposal is, that the title of Empress shall be assumed by Her Majesty in confirmation of a system of absolutism which has been created by Act of Parliament. Now, it is not unnatural that those, who in this country enjoy the benefits of a constitutional form of government; who are proud of the Imperial character of this Realm, and regard the title of Queen as the emblem of the supreme power of a Constitutional State, should view with some hesitation the creation of a form of government so totally different, and look with jealousy upon that form of government being stamped with what may appear final adoption by the assumption of the title of "Empress" by Her Majesty. That feeling has been widely spread among the educated classes of this country, and the question which I would raise is this—Are we, the Commons of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, by ratifying this form of government, abdicating in any sense our power of interference in the affairs of India? ["No, no!"] Now, the answer that I wish to have is something more than can be conveyed by a monosyllabic "No." I wish to have a clear and an explicit answer to that question, and it is with that object, that I propose the addition of the words I have read to the House. It is quite evident to me that something of this kind has passed through the mind of the hon. Gentleman the Member for Kirkcaldy (Sir George Campbell), whose authority on subjects connected with India no one will dispute. He has placed an Amendment on the Paper providing, that in the event of a conflict between the laws passed by the absolutism, which we are about to ratify by Act of Parliament, and the statutes, which are enacted by Parliament, the former shall yield to the latter. It may be said, that there can be no conflict of this sort, because we have a Secretary of State for India in each House of Parliament; and I may be asked, whether that is not a sufficient recognition of the authority of Parliament over the Government of India. That may be a recognition, a sufficient recognition of the 305 authority of Parliament over the Executive; but what I wish is to see a recognition of the authority of the central State as embodied in the laws for the government of India, as well as of every colony. It appears to me that this House can have no right to abdicate its share of the Imperial power of this country. This is an Imperial Parliament, and if we are to create an Empire in India, it seems to me that it would be prudent that this House should beforehand reassert its share in the legislative authority of the Empire it creates in India, as equivalent to the share it possesses in the Imperial Parliament at home. It is with this view, that I now move the addition of the Proviso. I wish also to assure our fellow-subjects in India of the full security, their right of appeal to this, the Great Inquest of the nation, and not less of the nation than of the Empire; so that, not having any form of representative government among themselves, they may be assured of their right to indirect representation in England. These, Sir, are my objects. I will not further detain the Committee with other reasons which I might adduce for the desire I feel to obtain from Her Majesty's Ministers some statement, which will I trust satisfy the Committee that, by thus ratifying the form of government which we have established in India, we in no sense abdicate our legislative rights over India, but that concurrent with the authority of Her Majesty, as Empress, shall be the authority of this Imperial Parliament. The hon. Gentleman concluded by moving the Amendment.
Amendment proposed, in page 2, line 8, after "seems meet," add—
Provided, That nothing in this Act shall abridge or prejudicially affect the power or authority of Parliament in relation to the Government of India."—(Mr. Newdegate.)
§ SIR GEORGE CAMPBELL
hoped the Government would accept the Amendment, as calculated to prevent misconstruction in India. The Princes of India did not understand our system of Parliamentary government, and they might be disposed to believe that assumption of the direct government of that country by the Queen carried with it greater power than they had hitherto been accustomed to associate with her name. He was much afraid that behind the alleged satisfaction of the Princes of 306 India with the proposed Government measure, there was an idea that, as a result, they would have a more direct appeal to the Crown, and would be less completely under the authority of the Viceroy in India, who acted under an authority derived from Parliament. Now, while he thought the Princes of India might be really well pleased that there should be an assumption of title by Her Majesty, and while he felt satisfied that they did not assert anything like political supremacy, the adoption of the Amendment would serve as a warning to them that India still continued to be governed by Parliament as before, and that the title was assumed by the Sovereign as representing the British nation.
THE ATTORNEY GENERAL
said, he was glad to hear from so high an authority on Indian subjects as the hon. Gentleman who had just spoken, that the Princes of India were anxious that Her Majesty should assume a title as Ruler over them, and his right hon. Friend at the head of the Government, who had been taunted with not producing evidence to show the existence of that desire, might have appealed to such a witness with confidence had he known the opinions which he held on the point. As to the Amendment, he thought that the Committee would not be able to approve of it; because, in the first place, it was unnecessary, for by nothing in the present Bill was it sought to interfere with the power of Parliament to legislate for the future as it might deem fit; and, secondly, it was mischievous, because its insertion might throw a doubt on the validity and correctness of that proposition. In reference to the remarks of the hon. Member for Kirkcaldy, he must express his opinion that there could be no doubt that the Parliament of this country could, if it chose, legislate for India or any of the colonies. It was, however, another question how far it would be expedient for Parliament to do so. There was no good ground for supposing that the assumption of the title of Empress would confer on the Queen any more direct power than Her Majesty at present possessed over the Native Princes in India.
§ Mr. NEWDEGATE
pointed out that he had altered his Amendment since it had been placed upon the Paper; and though he had moved it in its altered 307 form, he found the hon. and learned Member was addressing himself to the Amendment in its original shape.
THE ATTORNEY GENERAL
said, he had been misled by the form of the Amendment as it appeared on the Notice Paper; but still the same objection he had urged, applied to it in its altered shape. He, therefore, must oppose the Amendment, on the ground he had already stated.
§ SIR WILLIAM FRASER
opposed the Amendment. He could not believe that the Natives and Princes of India were so wanting in intelligence as not to understand what had occurred in a matter so simple. They would never imagine it was intended that Her Majesty should become a tyrant. The Maharajah Dhuleep Singh had expressed to him his decided opinion that the title should be Empress, and when adopted by our Sovereign, would be most pleasing to the people of India.
§ SIR GEORGE BOWYER
said, it was unquestionably the law of England, as Lord Coke laid it down, that "a statute restraining future Parliaments bindeth not." With regard to the title of Empress, undoubtedly it was un-English, but then it should be remembered that nothing could be more un-English than India. In his opinion the title of Empress would be generally accepted soon after the Royal Proclamation was issued, and be no more objected to than the title of Marquess, which on its introduction here some centuries ago was regarded as un-English. The whole affair was a nine days' wonder; in a short time everybody would be familiar with the title, and would wonder why there had been all this fuss about it.
said, the great objection to the title of Empress was, that it would soon be generally accepted in the country. He would remind the hon. and learned Baronet that in the course of time the title of Earl had become merged in that of Marquess.
§ MR. GOURLEY
thought the majority of the Princes of India would not be satisfied with the measure. With regard to the Natives, however, it was very different, for as long as they were well fed they cared very little what title the 308 Sovereign assumed. So far from caring either for Empress or Queen, the only authorities they looked up to were the local magistrates and the Chief Judge of the district.
§ Mr. A. MILLS
believed that the Bill contained nothing to invalidate the functions of Parliament, and considered the Amendment quite unnecessary.
§ MR. NEWDEGATE
, in withdrawing the Amendment, said: My understanding of this Bill is that it is a declaratory Act, meant to confirm the form of government now established in India. That is my understanding of the Bill, and I was anxious, in concurrence with the hon. Member for Kirkcaldy, that there should be no belief either in India or in England that Parliament, by the passing of this Act, creates any new authority. It was once said by the first Napoleon that the concurrence of the Pope in any European struggle was worth 100,000 men, and my belief is, that the active co-ordinate co-operation of a free and an independent Parliament, the Imperial Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, is worth several armies to Her Majesty, to any Sovereign of these Realms; and my wish is that the belief should not prevail for one moment in India that Her Majesty, by the assumption of any new title, is in any degree separating herself from the constitutional power and authority of England which has moulded India and governs the Empire. I am convinced, that, without some explanation of the kind, the false impression may be produced in India, that we are effecting a constitutional change in this country and an alteration of the system of government in India. That, we now have the authority of the hon. and learned Attorney General for saying, is not intended; and I trust he is correct in believing will not result as an effect of this Bill. I will not now press the Motion further. My object in proposing it has been, and is, to bring prominently before the House that we ought not in this declaratory measure to leave any doubt upon the mind, either of the people of England or of the people of India, as to any intention on our part to alter either the principles or the particulars of the form of government which now exists in India.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.309
§ Mr. PEASE
, in moving, as an Amendment, in page 2, line 8, at end, to add—Provided, That nothing in this Act contained shall be taken to authorize the use in the United Kingdom of any style or title of Her Majesty other than those at present in use as appertaining to the Imperial Crown,said: Sir, I beg leave of the Committee to amend the addition to this Bill, of which I have given Notice, by striking out the words "or any member of the Royal Family," as I am advised that those words, if retained, would have the effect of curtailing Her Majesty's present Royal Prerogative in granting titles to the Royal Family, which is no part of the object I have in view. The House has before it to-night an instance of the great inconvenience arising from the very unprecedented policy of pushing forward important Bills at a great speed through the House. Sir, I was one of those who, on Thursday week, voted in the minority on the Motion of the hon. Member for Banbury (Mr. Samuelson) for an adjournment of the debate. I did so under a feeling that Her Majesty's Government were most unduly pressing the second reading of a most important measure—a measure which, as a matter of fact, had not been till that evening either before this House or the country. It is true that a Bill had been presented in accordance with the Royal Speech, giving Her Majesty power by proclamation to alter or add to the Royal titles; but we were in entire ignorance, until the right hon. Gentleman's announcement, what those titles were which Her Majesty's Advisers had recommended her to adopt by proclamation. Sir, this House knew nothing—the people of India knew nothing—the people of this country knew nothing of that which we had to decide upon; all had been kept a profound secret until Thursday last, when we were pressed to read this Bill a second time. Such, Sir, was the course followed by Her Majesty's Government on Thursday week, and although the debate on Thursday last was, in fact, and admitted on all hands to be, a second reading debate, the same system was followed. A great number of Members had occupied their places during the entire evening, desiring to address the House, and had each risen several times, amongst others the hon. and 310 learned Member for Denbigh (Mr. Osborne Morgan), the noble Lord the Member for Bury St. Edmund's (Lord Francis Hervey), and other hon. Members who sit beside me and behind me, were amongst those who desired to address the House, and the greatest inconvenience of all was, that the Prime Minister, to use his own words, had to waive his right of speaking. Had he done so, those explanations which he has to night added to those he made on the second reading of the Bill, would have been before the Committee on Thursday last instead of this evening. If I understood the right hon. Gentleman correctly, he said that the title of Empress had been dictated by local circumstances, and was solely for the gratification of India. He told us further that it was never the intention of Her Majesty's Government to recommend the substitution of Empress for Queen. If I am wrong in this matter, I hope the Chancellor of the Exchequer will correct me, and that Her Majesty's Advisers will not recommend to Her Majesty the assumption of the title of Empress in England. If that is to be the case, and these titles are to be Indian titles, and not English titles, what guarantee are we going to have for that? I desire to place those views on the records of the House. Is the right hon. Gentleman prepared to take the Motion of my noble Friend the Member for Haddingtonshire (Lord Elcho) "that an Address should be moved on the third reading of the Bill, that Her Majesty would be pleased to make this purely an Indian title?" This seems to be a most important matter, because I look upon this Bill as a great constitutional Bill, and I want to know, when Royal documents are brought out in this country, whether they will be in the style of "Victoria, by the Grace of God, Queen, Defender of the Faith, and Empress of India." If they are English documents, whether they will stop at Defender of the Faith, or whether the word "Empress" of India is to appear upon all forms? I wish to address a few words to the Committee, not on Indian grounds, because much as I dislike a great deal of the argument about India, I presume they have gone so far that they are almost bound to the question of Empress of India. I look upon the word Empress as an insult to the people of India. It seems to me that we 311 call her Empress because we have conquered India, and that is the reason why we refuse it for the United Kingdom and use it in India. Is the day never to come when Indian institutions are to be made more constitutional? Is the day not to come when the title of Emperor is to be as little applicable to India as to England? In moving this Amendment I am, of course, presuming that it is still the intention of Her Majesty's Ministers to advise Her Majesty to assume the title of Empress; but, Sir, in assuming that, I cannot help asking the Prime Minister if he is going to hand to Her Majesty a title conceded reluctantly by three-fifths—["No, no!"]—then, Sir, if not reluctantly, willingly and obediently, by three-fifths of this House; but which two-fifths decline to offer her. Surely no Sovereign of England ever received so vain an oblation! But, Sir, the House having determined that an alteration or addition to Her Majesty's titles should take place—a course which, however much I may regret it, is now determined upon—I shall not trouble this Committee with those reasons which I had hoped to have offered in debate, but I shall address myself to those reasons which have induced me to give Notice of the Amendment now before the House. I will endeavour to discuss the matter, influenced by those considerations which influence us all—a sincere regard for Her Majesty's comfort, for the prosperity and tranquillity of her reign, and for the maintenance of that Constitution of which we are all so proud, and which is the great birthright of every Englishman. Then, Sir, by the simple but grand title of Queen, Her Majesty has been long known to us, and long beloved by us. And where a title and a person have been so long associated with every loyal feeling, I think it requires a strong reason to advocate a change. And, Sir, no reason has, during the debate, been given for altering the title as regards the United Kingdom—far otherwise. My hon. Friend the Member for West Cumberland (Mr. Percy Wyndham) said "the Queen was at the head of a constitutional Government here, and therefore her title here was Queen; but in India she was at the head of a despotic Government, therefore her title must be Empress." The hon. Gentleman the Member for Cambridge University (Mr. Beresford Hope), 312 thought "it was a healthy out burst of true loyalty—the righteous determination of the people—that the Crown of Edward and Alfred should be at all times the Crown of Kings and Queens. He was exceedingly glad that the question had been raised, and that the people of England would have the opportunity of declaring their peculiar, but really genuine, hereditary affection and adhesion to the kingly title. He trusted that what had been said would prevent the danger of an Imperial title being forced on the people of this country." The noble Lord the Member for Haddingtonshire (Lord Elcho) spoke in the same strain. The whole argument, from first to last, is that Kings and Queens are for England, and Empress for a Sovereignty over the Princes of India. From the commencement of this idea being circulated, I have objected to a change of title, but especially to that of Empress being added; but I confess mainly on English grounds. The only effect it can have is to impair the title of Queen in the eyes of all Englishmen, and, Sir, if it is used in the United Kingdom, we shall have a constant struggle between the Court sycophants who use "Empress" and "Imperial" and those who use "Queen" and "Royal," to the great detriment of Her Majesty and Her Majesty's subjects. I humbly think, Sir, that the use in this Kingdom would be to endanger the tranquillity of the reign. I feel certain it would damage the safety of the succession. I think it would be detrimental to the Constitution. These are strong views, but I will state my reasons for holding them, and in giving them I would first state my belief that no Sovereign on earth at this moment reigns over a more loyal and devoted people, from the day when, in her almost girlhood, she ascended the Throne, she reigned, as a Sovereign should ever reign, in the hearts of her people; and from that sad Sabbath morning, when the tolling bells of every mother church in this Kingdom told the sad tidings of Her Majesty's great sorrow, down to this moment, she has possessed the sympathies of her people. Whatever it may be in India, I entirely deny that the titles of Empress and Queen in the eyes of Europe, and in the minds of the people of England, mean the same thing, and whatever may be the desires of those three tailors of Tooley Street, the Ta- 313 lookdars of Oude, the desires of the people of this country are in an entirely opposite direction. In the eyes of the people of England the government by an Empress is a less constitutional government than that of a King. Power is more vested in the Crown—less in the House of the people. The associations of the people of this country are not favourable to the title of Emperor. The title is not associated with free institutions. But, Sir, what is the history of that better title which so many of us prefer? Why is it popular? It has had a long line of unbroken descent standing out a monument through centuries. It is the pride of our country that, whilst other thrones of Kings and Emperors have passed away, our Constitution as a kingdom has gathered strength; whilst the Monarch has become less powerful, he has become more popular; and, as the growth of free institutions has demanded it, power has been steadily distributed, till it now concentrates in this House—the Representative House of the People. And, Sir, the people of this country, knowing this, will not suffer the sound—if it be, as we are told, but the empty sound of a title that even seems to convey more power to the Crown. Sir, I have said Her Majesty reigns over a loyal people, but no one can be blind to the fact that thousands of the working people of this country—living far from the attractions of Courts—look most philosophically upon Kings and Princes, as belonging to a state of things that has more to do with the past than with the present. They look at an hereditary Monarchy as a thing that it is somewhat difficult logically to associate with free institutions, and they ask, at election times, ugly questions on Royal dowries, Royal savings, and Royal expenditure; and still, with all this, they say Her Majesty has set a great example of all domestic virtues, so dear to the people of this country. In all that she has been graciously pleased to reveal of her home life, there runs through it a warm love of free institutions. They say by example and precept, she has encouraged the good and the noble, the charitable and the benevolent; that, whilst they protest against the logical character of the position, they love the Queen and they love the Constitution. But let Her Majesty assume another title in this 314 country which savours ever so little of that which they dislike—government by Emperors—and they will quickly ask, in no pleasant tones, what it means. If it means nothing but tawdry tinsel, they will despise both the giver and receiver. If it means anything, it means that there is to be an alteration in the relative position of Sovereign and people. Their personal loyalty will be diminished, as Her Majesty's Government will have driven them into the position of deciding between their personal regard for their Sovereign and their love for that Constitution which is so dear to us all. I have deemed it my duty to speak thus plainly, because I think I have some knowledge of the subject on which I speak. I ask whether the risk we are running is worth that which we can gain by a change. I ask that either by this Act or by an Address to Her Majesty, as suggested, or by words to be brought up in a subsequent stage, this House shall have on its records that we will have no Emperor in England. Let us draw the line suggested by the hon. Member for "West Cumberland. If an Empress is needed for India, let us have a Queen at home. But, Sir, make this a title which is used ever so little in England, and we may rest assured that, whether the Administration of the right hon. Gentleman be longer or shorter, he will leave his Sovereign weaker on her Throne than he found her, for no other reason than that he thought a great title received from a long line of ancestors could be amended by an addition foreign to the tastes and traditions of a loyal people. The hon. Gentleman concluded by moving the Amendment.
Amendment proposed, in page 2, line 8, at end, add—
Provided, That nothing in this Act contained shall be taken to authorize the use in the United Kingdom of any style or title of Her Majesty, other than those at present in use as appertaining to the Imperial Crown."—(Mr. Joseph W. Pease.)
§ THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER
said, he did not know whether the Committee was really to go into a revival of the discussion on the second reading on the occasion of this clause. His hon. Friend rather indicated that he had been disappointed in not having been able to deliver his views on a former evening, and he did not grudge 315 the hon. Gentleman the opportunity which had now arisen, although he might regret the course he had taken. He hoped, however, the Committee would not allow itself to be led into travelling again and again over the ground it had already traversed. The Amendment, if adopted, would have the effect of doing that which his right hon. Friend the Member for Greenwich (Mr. Gladstone) objected to in another sense. After giving Her Majesty power to do something, it would afterwards put a restraint on that power, and in such a way as to prevent Her Majesty doing that very thing which, in the earlier part of the evening, so many Members seemed to wish she might do—namely, introduce some words with regard to the Colonies. The Amendment was—Provided, That nothing in this Act contained shall be taken to authorize the use in the United Kingdom of any style or title of Her Majesty other than those at present in use as appertaining to the Imperial Crown.That would not only shut out the title of Empress, but also any possible title which might be taken from the Colonies. Really, after what had been stated by the Prime Minister at the beginning of the evening—that it was not at all the intention of Her Majesty's Advisers to advise Her Majesty to take the title of Empress to be borne in this country, but that it should be a title of a local character to be borne in India—the Amendment would be simply in the nature of an expression of Want of Confidence in the promise or statement of his right hon. Friend. The Bill was to enable Her Majesty, of course with the advice of her Ministers, to make proclamation stating her style and title. The nature of that advice had been already stated, and of course the proclamation, if at variance with the promise given, would be subject to comment in Parliament, though the proclamation would stand. There was therefore no necessity for such a clause; its only effect would be to encumber the Bill, if they were to adopt it. It would be of advantage to nobody, and would be injuriously restrictive to the Prerogatives of the Crown.
§ MR. MUNTZ
,: said, he was surprised at the speech of the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer, objecting to the Amendment, as it was exactly in accordance with the statement of the Prime Minister, which, in the early part of the evening, had given so much satisfaction to the House, and he believed it would give satisfaction to the country. This was a question not to be decided by the Minister of the day. They did not know who would succeed him, and what advantage would be taken of the Bill; therefore it was necessary to well guard the title. The House had been informed by the Prime Minister that this new title was to apply to India only, and not to this country. On the other hand, the Attorney General had informed the Committee that this title of Regina et Imperatrix was to be used in this country with reference to affairs of India. Whether anything was to be done for the colonies was a matter, they had been told, for future consideration. He believed that if hon. Members on the Ministerial benches were ballotted, a large proportion of them would decide that there should be no change in the title at all. As there was to be a change, however, the question which the Committee had to consider was, what that change should be. He would suggest that the course which was adopted in the case of the King of Prussia when he assumed the Imperial title should be followed in the case of our own Sovereign. There were places in Germany of which His Majesty could not assume to be Emperor, and the Imperial Council got over that difficulty by deciding that the title should be "Emperor in Germany," instead of "Emperor of Germany." In the case of our own Sovereign the difficulty with respect to such places as the French and Portuguese Settlements in India would be got over in the same way by the adoption of the title "Empress in India" instead of "Empress of India." It was important that her Majesty should not be placed in a false position, and that the people of England should be satisfied that everything was fair and above-board. He felt a veneration for the title of Queen, and he should be sorry to see it sullied in any way.
§ SIR H. DRUMMOND WOLFF
protested against the assumption of hon. Members opposite that they were the 317 sole interpreters and representatives of public opinion in the country; and still more against their assertions that hon. Members on the Conservative side voted against their consciences at the bidding of the Leaders of their Party. He supposed the reason of these insinuations was that, while those who sat on the Government side of the House were firmly united on certain principles, hon. Members opposite were united on nothing. The Amendment attempted to limit in a most improper manner the Prerogative of the Crown in the use of such titles as might be thought proper to assume. In diplomatic documents it was usual for the Sovereign to be described by every title in his possession. The Emperor of Austria, for instance, was described in Austria as "King of Hungary and Bohemia, "but that did not imply that the kingdom of Hungary and Bohemia gave him any power in Austria more than the Imperial title gave him any power in Hungary and Bohemia. In Austria he was known as Emperor, in Hungary as King. If Her Majesty were not to use the title of Empress in this country, her not doing so would lead to great complications, and also to great legal difficulties. Such a limitation would be extremely inconvenient, if not impossible. In the case of a proclamation of neutrality, the Queen must recite all her titles to show that it applied to all her dominions. He sincerely trusted the Government would not give in to this attempt to foist in at the end of the Bill, by a side-wind, an addition to the clause which would re-open the whole question and make the Bill utterly unworkable.
THE MARQUESS OF HARTINGTON
said, he had no wish to re-open the discussion on the Main Question, because, much as he regretted it, he accepted the division on Friday morning as conclusive, on the question of the title which Her Majesty should be authorized to adopt. There was nothing, however, either in the speech of his hon. Friend the Member for South Durham (Mr. Pease) or in his Amendment which re-opened that point. His hon. Friend merely wished to give effect to the general desire—and he (the Marquess of Hartington) was not certain that it was not also the desire of Her Majesty herself—that the title of Empress, if it were adopted at all, should be strictly localized, and not used in ordinary documents and instru- 318 ments in this country. The Chancellor of the Exchequer said the Amendment would restrain the use of the power which it was the object of the Bill to confer on Her Majesty and that this restraint would go so far as to exclude its use in the colonies as suggested by hon. Members on the Liberal side of the House. But he (the Marquess of Hartington) conceived that the colonies were already excluded from the scope of the Bill. Her Majesty could not, under the terms of the Bill, alter her title so as to include any recognition of her colonial dominion. The Chancellor of the Exchequer further said that the Amendment argued distrust in the statement made by the right hon. Gentleman at the head of the Government in the earlier part of the evening. He should be glad if this were so, for if the right hon. Gentleman and his hon. Friend the Member for South Durham really meant the same thing, and only proposed to adopt different modes of accomplishing the same object, the difference between the two sides of the House was not very great. He could not gather, however, that the statement of the right hon. Gentleman went to the extent of the Amendment. It was perfectly clear and explicit as regarded the members of Her Majesty's family. But what did the right hon. Gentleman say respecting Her Majesty herself? He said there never had been, and was not now, any intention of substituting the title of Empress for that of Queen. There was no impression that such had ever been the intention, and indeed the terms of the Bill would not admit of the substitution. The Bill authorized an addition to the Royal title, and not a substitution, and from the expressions which had fallen from the right hon. Gentleman and also from the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Attorney General, he gathered that it was the intention of the Government some way or other to advise that there should be a local limitation of the title of Empress, and that the Bill was not to make any difference in the ordinary style by which Her Majesty was known. If that were so the Committee ought to be told the fact in the most distinct language that the Ministers could use, and he thought they ought also to be told in what way an object in which all were agreed might be permanently secured. He saw no reason to 319 doubt that Her Majesty's Advisers would recommend her to assume and make use of that title which was most consistent with the wishes of the people. But, as had already been remarked that evening, Parliament was legislating not for the present, but for the future; and the intentions of Her Majesty, assured as the Committee might be that they would conform to the wishes of the people, and of her Ministers, however wise and prudent they might be, would not bind future Governments. Was it not desirable then, if they were all agreed that there should be a limitation to India of the use of this title, that they should be put in possession of the intentions, opinions, and wishes that existed upon the subject, in order that their sense might be placed in the Bill as an authoritative expression of the opinion and wish of that House and of the country. If the Government were not prepared to accept the Amendment of the noble Lord the Member for Haddingtonshire (Lord Elcho), or if they were not prepared to adopt either of the modes which had been suggested, then he asked what other mode would they suggest? Would they adopt the advice given in the speech of the hon. Member for Birmingham (Mr. Muntz), and if not, was there really any other mode which they could suggest to the Committee? He protested against the idea that any distrust of the good intentions of the Government was insinuated by the Amendment. If they were all agreed, let there be an expression of the opinion of Parliament upon their records, and not leave to chance and to a time when that discussion might be obliterated, the use of this new title.
§ Mr. DISRAELI
I am willing to believe that the intention of hon. Members on this side may be in accordance with that of the hon. Member for South Durham, but I cannot agree that the result will be accomplished by the Motion he has made. I will not debate on the point as to the invasion of the Prerogative, but we all agree that it is for the Queen, as the fountain of honour, to decide what title her subjects or herself shall assume, and any restrictions upon that Prerogative are, I think, most unwise. Prerogative, I am aware, is not a popular subject, and several hon. Gentlemen in this debate have spoken of if with lightness and even of indignation. 320 This is hardly an occasion in Committee to dwell upon it, but still I must remind hon. Gentlemen that the Prerogatives of the Crown are of great value and importance. The fact is, that Parliament exists by the Prerogative of the Crown. It is the Royal Warrant which allows this House to be elected and to assemble, and without it we could not meet in this place. We could not go to our constituents without the Writ of the Sovereign. The noble Lord who has just addressed us has put the case very fairly before us. He gives myself and my Colleagues credit for being sincere in the statements we have made, and feels that we have given honest advice to the Sovereign—and that advice, I am bound to say, has been received with the utmost sympathy—namely, that the title which Her Majesty has been advised, for great reasons of State, to assume, shall be exercised absolutely and solely in India when it is required, and that on becoming Empress of India, she does not seek to be in any way Empress of England, but will be content with the old style and title of Queen of the United Kingdom. To all purposes, in fact, Her Majesty would govern the United Kingdom as she has always governed it. At the same time, I cannot agree that we are to interfere with the Prerogative of the Queen, and that under no circumstances shall she acknowledge herself in this country, or be acknowledged by others, upon the necessary business of the State, as the Empress of India. Take, for example, a most important State incident that occurred a month ago. The Queen of England appointed a new Viceroy of India. In issuing that Commission, was the Queen of England not to act also as Empress of India? In diplomacy my hon. Friend the Member for Christchurch (Sir H. Drummond Wolff) has already mentioned that it is the constant practice—indeed the universal rule—in all documents relating to treaties to recite the full titles of the Sovereign; but because on such occasions the full titles are recited, it must not be regarded that to do so at St. James's is a violation of the engagement which, so far as I have any power in the matter, I have entered into with the House as to Her Majesty governing India only, and not England, as Empress. I mention that to the House to show that we must not too precipitately accept Amendments of this 321 character, which, however plausible they may appear, may in the conduct of public affairs involve us in great inconvenience, whereas, by adhering to the sound constitutional rule that we should not interfere with the Prerogative of the Crown in regard to honours, we shall save ourselves from all those difficulties. The security which the noble Lord wishes, either by a vote of the House or by a clause in the Act of Parliament, is, after all, only a temporary security. Decisions whether by Ministries or by Parliaments do not bind in any way the Ministries or Parliaments who follow, and, as a matter of fact, the duration of Ministries and Parliaments is, on an average, much about the same. In that way I consider that if a Ministry engages, on the part of the Crown, that a certain act shall be consummated, upon the average of incidents, and taking the duration of Ministries and Parliaments to be equal, the country has about the same security as it has in a Resolution of Parliament. Nobody can contend for a moment that the intention of Parliament is more than a temporary security. We cannot bind our successors, free as air in this matter as in every other, and the very first day of meeting they may make a Motion on the Address which would entirely overthrow all the arrangements which we are now asked to make. It appears to me, I confess—although I do not pretend it is a security which can be, under all circumstances, valid and absolute—that the best way of accomplishing what has been expressed by the noble Lord, and with which there is very little discordance on this side, would be by the Proclamation which, if this Act passes, Her Majesty will have the power to publish. In that Proclamation when she announces her Royal purpose to assume this title, it is not impossible—indeed, it would be in keeping with the character of all proclamations—that the opportunity would be taken of expressing the spirit in which Her Majesty availed herself of this great honour. I do not pretend that that would be a perfect security, because there might in the course of time be other proclamations which might rescind that particular one; still I must say that upon the whole, for obtaining the purpose which the noble Lord has in view, I really believe that a Royal proclamation issued under those circumstances would be a much better 322 security than any arrangement made by Parliament. The hon. Gentleman whose speech has been more than once referred to—I mean the hon. Member for Birmingham (Mr. Muntz), who never speaks on any subject without thought and information—I state my conviction on that point with great pleasure—has made many ingenious remarks, which, unfortunately, are all erroneous. The hon. Gentleman appears to consider that it is ridiculous or wrong that the Sovereign should adopt the title of Empress of India when all India does not belong to her. The hon. Gentleman says—"Look at Pondicherry; that belongs to the French." So it does. But is not Alfonso King of Spain, although Gibraltar belongs to England? Yet the hon. Member and others with him lay it down as fact, that no Sovereign can take the title of a country, unless he is the possessor of every acre of it. Why, the Kings of France—no mean Sovereigns—were for a long time Kings of France, although they did not possess every inch of what was, properly speaking, French territory. Take the case of the King of Italy at the present day. Why, he was King of Italy—and no person acknowledged him as King of Italy with more fervour than the right hon. Member for Greenwich—when he did not own either Venice or Rome; and now we are told that the Queen is not Empress of India because, forsooth, she does not possess Pondicherry. Why, we can make France a present of Pondicherry twice over. Now he came to the German instance of the hon. Gentleman, which he said ought to prove a solution of our difficulty. He referred to the conduct of the King of Prussia at Versailles, when the Princes of Germany assembled to congratulate him on his great victories, and offer him their esteem and the reward of his merit. The hon. Member says that the difficulty was, that they wished to make him Emperor of Germany, but that there were several minor parts which he had not conquered or which did not belong to the Princes, and that therefore it was arranged that he should have the title of Emperor in Germany. I have no doubt the hon. Member has read his history in some newspaper of the time. I dare say one of "our own Correspondents" has sent him down three columns, describing in most picturesque terms the touching scene in which the Emperor "in" Ger- 323 many was created. All I can say, with my knowledge of public affairs, which now is not limited, is that I never became acquainted with that Potentate, or with the Representatives who, I suppose, are here as his envoys. I know nothing about the "Emperor in Germany." There is the King of Prussia, and, so far as I know, he is Emperor of Germany. [Mr. Muntz: I beg the right hon. Gentleman's pardon; he is German Emperor.] Is not German Emperor Emperor of Germany? I can only give in debate the best, the highest authority for my assertion. ["Name!"] The Almanach de Gotha. The description of King William given there is not the description of the Emperor "in" Germany. He is described therein as premier Empereur d' Allemagne, Roi de Prusse. So much, therefore, for the strong case which was given us by the hon. Member for Birmingham, to whom we always listen with so much interest; and he will excuse my criticism, because when a Member makes a successful speech, which is very much praised by his own side, it is a part of our own business to offer some arguments to counteract the injurious effect of so successful an effort. I trust the hon. Member for South Durham will not persist in his Amendment. I must oppose him, because, under any circumstances, I believe it is an invasion of one of the most constitutional Prerogatives of the Crown and one of the most useful, and the limitation of it which he recommends would be most injurious and embarrassing to the public service. At the same time, I most entirely sympathize and agree with the noble Lord in his anxiety to let the country thoroughly understand that Her Majesty in taking—if she is enabled to do so by the passing of this Bill—a very important political step, which, I believe, will have great and beneficial influence on the fortunes of her Eastern Empire, has no wish whatever to interfere with that established mode of governing her ancient kingdom under which we have always prospered. But I do not see that the mode—even if it had not the same great objection I pointed out against this Amendment—I do not see that the proposal which the noble Lord made of a Parliamentary record of our opinion would give any security whatever. It is of essentially a temporary 324 character, and although I believe that all modes and methods which we might fix upon must upon such a matter be of a temporary nature, I look to Her Majesty's Royal Proclamation on the subject as the most befitting and the most likely to effect the proposed object. Although I cannot, of course, pledge myself to the words or composition of a Proclamation which the House has not yet permitted to appear, I look to the Proclamation as a more likely means of obtaining our object than any clause of an Act or any Resolution of Parliament. After all, Mr. Raikes, in these matters it is not Proclamations or Acts of Parliament we must trust to. We must trust to the spirit of the nation. We must trust to the spirit and the patriotism of the people. It is by that alone we can prevent the abuse of the Prerogative or the tyranny of Parliament. And if you find in this country any attempt, by Proclamation or by any other means, to effect an object different from that which is now maintained by both the great Parties in this House in regard to the Government of India, depend upon it that, better than any hasty Act we can pass now, will be the spirit of future Parliaments, which would prevent any acts of the kind that might be feared.
I beg to tender my acknowledgments to the right hon. Gentleman for some very sound doctrines to which he has treated us in his last few sentences. I have not heard anything from him with so much satisfaction for several weeks past. The right hon. Gentleman speaks of the spirit of the English people as a great security for restraining the abuse of Prerogative and the errors of the Parliament. Well, I think we have seen some of the results of the spirit of the people. That, I think, has been well manifested even within the course of the last few days. I will refer very briefly to what the right hon. Gentleman has said, in so far as it is of general character. I am not able to agree with the right hon. Gentleman in his doctrine that, after all, the declaration of Parliament and of Ministers is much the same thing. I am not satisfied with his observation which he gives as a proof of the doctrine—although it is not far from the truth—thatthe average duration of the Government is not much shorter than the average duration of Parliament. There 325 is this difference, in the first place, that the declarations of Ministers are not always correctly recorded, whilst there can be no doubt that those of Parliament are recorded in a manner which renders them the most difficult to assail or impair of any form of declaration known to the Constitution. I wish to reserve my judgment on the subject. I agree with my noble Friend near me, who hopes, as I hope, that some method may be found of indicating in the Bill we have now in our hands the intention with which it is passed. I am afraid it is useless to entertain any hope of dislodging from the capacious and fertile brain of the right hon. Gentleman opposite that extraordinary chimera that has so long dwelt there with reference to the Prerogative. He will have it that it is Prerogative which is to grow out of this Act. Well, if it is to grow out of the Act, how can it possibly be "Prerogative?" Is there a lawyer on the Treasury Bench, or anywhere else, who will say that the statutory powers which the Queen possesses belong to the Prerogatives of the Crown? I must dissent from the doctrine of the right hon. Gentleman, but I will come nearer to the practical points in this case. I think a more convenient opportunity may arise for entering into the questions which my right hon. Friend has raised with reference to the geographical scope of the term India. His appeal to me with regard to my acknowledgment of the King of Italy, is the most unfortunate that can be conceived. He said that I acknowledged the King of Italy, and that he had accepted that acknowledgment. Well, I was not aware that he had accepted it, but undoubtedly I did cordially acknowledge the King when he assumed the title, at which time he was not King of Venice or of Rome. But why did I acknowledge him, and why did the King of Italy assume that title when he did not possess Venice or Rome? Why, because he had declared to the Italian Parliament that Venice and Rome would form part of Italy. With regard to Pondicherry and the Portuguese possessions in India, if the right hon. Gentleman's argument is good for anything, it is good to show that in assuming the title of Empress of India, we mean to signify to the possessors of those limited portions of the Peninsula that they are ours by right, and that we 326 mean, as soon as we can, to make them part of India. That is the precise meaning of my right hon. Friend's argument. ["No, no!"] "No, no!"—you should have said that when my right hon. Friend spoke. You listened with great satisfaction when my right hon. Friend referred to me as having accepted the title of the King of Italy, and did not say, "No, no!" You say it now when I am merely telling you the sense in which I accepted the title, and the sense in which the right hon. Gentleman took it. We have been defeated by a large majority of this House in the objection which we took to the introduction of the title of Empress to the Sovereignty of this country, and also to the limitation of the title to a particular portion of the Queen's dominions, by declaration of Parliament. Upon a simple division we have submitted to the majority. Having done that, within the narrow limits that are left us, we wish to see whether it is possible to arrive at that sort of understanding which will reduce to a minimum the inconveniences which we apprehend will be likely to arise from the passing of this Bill. I must say that a part of the right hon. Gentleman's speech has given me the greatest misgivings. I refer to that part in which he speaks of the observations of the hon. Member for Christchurch (Sir Henry Drummond Wolff), because that speech was, without any dispute, an argument for the promiscuous use of these titles. I should have been much better satisfied if the right hon. Gentleman had expressly disclaimed that speech as to its general upshot, instead of assuming the position with regard to it which he did. It seems to me that the course is obvious—that, if the right hon. Gentleman wishes to give us such assurances as he can reasonably give without impairing the purpose he had in view, his course is obvious. I can understand, though I do not sympathize with his objection to such a Motion as that of my hon. Friend (Mr. Pease). The adoption of that, or a part of it, would, I hold, have been constitutional; but in lieu of it, can we not adopt a mode of proceeding which will be free on both sides from anything fatal and fundamental?—for instance, so slight a change as the word "local" before the word "addition" might be introduced. That addition would, in my opinion, be calculated to convey satis- 327 faction and reasonable assurance, without the possibility of fettering the hands of the Government or causing any inconvenience to them. I would recommend the adoption of that change, because the right hon. Gentleman is perplexed by this phantom of statutory Prerogative, which haunts him by night and by day, robbing him of needful repose. The change will get over the difficulty. No one can possibly imagine that Prerogative would be in peril by the insertion of the word "local" in the Preamble of the Bill, as I have suggested. I make the suggestion because I think the word was first employed by the Chancellor of the Exchequer. I do not know where he used it, or whether it was a phrase authorized by the Government; but I think—and I am bound in candour to say that I think—the phrase was deliberately used, and that it has been adopted, and has received the seal and stamp of the approval of the Government in the course of this discussion. The insertion of such a phrase as that in the Preamble would not tie the hands of the Government in any proceeding they might wish to take; but it seems to me that it would give us that kind of moral assurance which is all that we can get, and it is a kind of consolation and guarantee which I think, under the circumstances, it is not unreasonable to ask. I believe that in making a suggestion of that kind I am acting in the spirit of the speech of the right hon. Gentleman himself; but I will tell him precisely how I understood the matter, in order that he may judge whether I am misinterpreting or rightly interpreting his views. In the first place, I have heard no disavowal up to the present moment of the doctrine of the hon. and learned Attorney General that, except with reference to the documents in which we contemplate dealing with India, no alteration is necessary in the Sign Manual of the Crown. That, next to the hereditary title, is the most important of all indications and forms under which the action of Majesty and Sovereignty is made known and takes effect. If I understand the right hon. Gentleman rightly, he has not objected to the substance of the view of my right hon. Friend, nor to the tone and purport of the speech of the noble Lord. He merely objects to the insertion of the term in the Bill. The right hon. Gentleman said he 328 could not be bound to exclude the recital of the proposed Imperial title from every document not relating specifically to the business of India, and he referred to a solemn instrument, such as a treaty, wherein it is customary that all the titles of the Sovereign should be recited. But am I rightly interpreting that by saying that when he refers to those occasional instances, he refers to them as exceptions, and he means us to understand that only the local use of the word Empress in India and in documents relating to India is to be the general rule? If it be an understanding that that will be the general rule with reference to the employment of the title, that is a fact important and reassuring for us to know. I have heard the right hon. Gentleman refer, with satisfaction, to the Proclamation which will issue—and issue once for all according to the terms of the Act—which will have to be issued under the Act for the purpose of giving effect to these proceedings. The right hon. Gentleman stated that it appeared to him that such an instrument as that Proclamation would afford a vehicle for the formal expression of the views which he has laid before the Committee to-night. I think the fact one of great importance, and that by making that statement he has done all in his power to give to the declaration that sort of fixity and substance which it otherwise would not possess. I have tried in what I have said to place a reasonable construction upon the speech of the right hon. Gentleman, and I sincerely hope I have not been wide of the mark in the attempt.
said, they often heard of the strange manner in which history was composed, but he was never more astonished at anything in his life than at the historical anecdote of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Greenwich that night with respect to Italy. The right hon. Gentleman stated that when the King of Italy assumed that title, he (Mr. Gladstone) most readily and cordially—which he (Mr. Sullivan) fully believed—hailed him in that title, because in taking that title he avowed that he intended to take Rome and Venice. At the moment when the title was assumed by the King of Italy he was under a most solemn treaty obligation to respect Rome and Venice; and his Minister rose in the Italian Parliament and gave Europe a public pledge 329 that His Majesty the King of Italy desired no more Italian territory. Therefore, when he went to Rome he went as a treaty breaker and an invader.
§ Mr. MONK
said, the Prime Minister had on more than one occasion stated that reasons of State had induced the Government to bring forward this measure, but he had never informed the House what those reasons of State were. The right hon. Gentleman said that a Resolution of the House could not bind a future Parliament. True; but if the House placed on record its deliberate opinion, that would have due weight with future Parliaments. He therefore hoped his hon. Friend would persist in his Motion, for by so doing he would place on record the opinion of the present Parliament with respect to the assumption of any Imperial title in the British dominions.
§ Mr. PEASE
said, that after listening to the remarks of the right hon. Gentleman opposite, he should feel that if he proceeded to a division, he should imply a want of trust, which he had no desire to imply. He had sat opposite the right hon. Gentleman for many years, but would be the last to doubt the word which had been pledged to them, and, therefore, with the permission of the Committee, he would withdraw the Amendment, reserving to himself the power on some future stage of the Bill to make a Motion in accordance with the suggestion made by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Greenwich, or to support the Motion of which the noble Lord the Member for Haddingtonshire had given Notice.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Clause agreed to.
Mr. SAMUELSON moved, as an Amendment, in page 2, after line 2, to insert the following clause:—
For the purposes of this Act, India shall have the same signification as in the Act for the better Government of India, passed in the twenty-first and twenty-second years of the reign of Her present Majesty.
Under the provisions of that Act India was governed in the name of Her Majesty, and he thought no doubt should be left as to what was intended. In India there were public writers and others who would like to excite suspicion in the minds of Native Princes, and
there should be nothing in the Bill which would give them that opportunity. The treaties with the Native Princes of India occupied seven volumes, but he would only allude to the treaties with Holkar and Scindiah. Holkar was the nominee of the Indian Government, and he had to pay a fine on investiture to show his position towards that Government; whereas, since the Act passed, a treaty was concluded with Scindiah, by which an exchange of territories was effected, the full sovereignty of the contracting parties being asserted in so many words. They must be careful in passing an Act like this that there should not be the least suspicion that by a side-wind they were endeavouring to obtain for themselves in India anything which they did not by treaty possess at that moment. In these debates they had never spoken of the Indian Princes otherwise than as feudatories, but at the time of the Mutiny they were recognized as our faithful allies.
Amendment proposed, in page 2, after line 2, to insert the following clause:—
1. For the purposes of this Act, India shall have the same signification as in the Act for the better Government of India passed in the twenty-first and twenty-second years of the reign of Her present Majesty."—(Mr. Samuelson.)
§ LORD GEORGE HAMILTON
thought that the hon. Gentleman was under some misconception in some of the statements he had made. He (Lord George Hamilton) contended that there was no substantial distinction between the position, of Holkar and that of Scindiah, inasmuch as the lands which were transferred to the latter in full sovereignty were, in common with all the other lands held by the Princes of India under our rule, subject to certain rights reserved to ourselves. If the Act of 1858 were carefully read it would be seen that the present Amendment was unnecessary. By that Act two powers were transferred from the East India Company to Her Majesty. The first power so transferred was "the sovereignty over the dominions of the East India Company," and the second power so transferred was one over territories other than those actually in the possession of that Company, but which arose in respect of those territories. Inasmuch as the present Bill referred to 331 the Act of 1858 for a definition of the term India, it was impossible that the word could bear a different interpretation in the present Bill from what it did in the previous Act. Right hon. Members opposite had disputed the existence of the paramount power of England over India, but he trusted that those heretical doctrines would not be heard of again in that House; and as it was essential to the successful government of India that those doctrines should not appear to have the least countenance from that House, he must on the part of the Government object to the clause of the hon. Member.
§ SIR WILLIAM HARCOURT
said, he had understood the other evening from the Chancellor of the Exchequer that the Bill was not intended to make any change in the political status of Her Majesty in India, and therefore he thought that, as it was considered necessary in 1858 to define the meaning of the term India, so now, when it was proposed to alter the style of Her Majesty in reference to that country, a similar definition of the term should be introduced into this Bill. That was the object which he and the hon. Member for Banbury had in view, and which they desired to make clear. If the Government refused to adopt the same language in this Bill, the Princes of India would suspect that some alteration was meant. He, therefore, thought the best plan that could be adopted, in order to avoid ambiguity, would be in the present measure to adopt the definition which was used in the Act of 1858, in order to describe the area over which the rule of Her Majesty as Empress of India was to extend in the event of the Bill becoming law.
THE ATTORNEY GENERAL
said, the Amendment, which came before the House in an apparently innocent garb, was really a very dangerous and insidious proposal, calculated to restrict the Act of 1858 and to make the present Bill mean something infinitely less than was meant by the former Act, which undoubtedly gave a definition. The hon. and learned Member for Oxford wished to substitute for the word India the phrase "the territories vested in Her Majesty by the Act of 1858;" but, as matter of fact, they were not now merely dealing with the geographical area called India, and the territories 332 formerly vested in the East India Company and transferred to the Queen, for they had also to include all the rights, powers, and privileges which became vested in Her Majesty by means of the Act of 1858, and which were comprehensively known as the Government of India. At the time of the passing of the Act of 1858 there were vested in the East India Company not only certain territories then belonging to them, but the means of acquiring other territories by virtue of treaties which they had entered into; and all such powers were transferred to Her Majesty by the Act of 1858. It therefore seemed to him that by adopting the Amendment of the hon. Member for Banbury or the more artful and insidious proposal of the hon. and learned Member for Oxford, Parliament would be making a statutory declaration to the effect that the Act of 1858 meant and accomplished a great deal less than it did and was intended to accomplish. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Greenwich had spoken of chimeras on the brain of the First Minister of the Crown; but the right hon. Gentleman himself possessed an extraordinary chimera on the subject of the operation of this Bill. He seemed to think that this innocent little Bill would transfer to Her Majesty power and dominion over the Princes of India which she never possessed before. There was no lawyer on the opposite side of the House—and the opposite benches bristled with them—who would advance such doctrines, and he (the Attorney General) did not think there was any foundation for it.
said, he must congratulate the hon. and learned Gentleman on his appearance in the arena. He (Mr. Gladstone) had been invoking his appearance all along, but until now without success. If he had done this earlier, and had had the goodness to make the declaration on a previous night which he had made that night, it would not only have saved him some trouble, but have saved him with charging his (Mr. Gladstone's) hon. and learned Friend (Sir William Harcourt) with proposing an insidious Amendment—it would have saved the Chancellor of the Exchequer from charging him (Mr. Gladstone) with dangerous and incendiary doctrine—it would have saved the noble Lord—who was so measured in 333 all his language, the necessity of charging him (Mr. Gladstone) of heretical doctrine. He (Mr. Gladstone) had asked the question over and over again, and he had at last got an answer, and he was most thankful. The noble Lord had misread his (Mr. Gladstone's) speech on a former occasion, and had perhaps trusted to one of those useful gentlemen in public offices, who with a pair of scissors cut out two or three sentences from a speech which could be made to bear an unnatural interpretation. What the noble Lord quoted was interrogatory to the right hon. Gentleman at the head of the Government. [Lord GEORGE HAMILTON: Here it is.] He was glad that it was in the hands of the noble Lord, and trusted that he would follow him when he read it again, so that it would impress itself upon his youthful and intelligent mind. It contained no assertion whatever. His object and endeavour in putting the question was to obtain the information which had been vouchsafed to them that evening, and which they had received with so much satisfaction. What he now understood from the noble Lord and from the hon. and learned Gentleman the Attorney-General, who always addressed the House most frankly, was this, distinctly, that no political changes in the condition of the Princes of India would be effected by the Bill—that the transfer intended to be made was a transfer of that which was conferred upon Her Majesty by the Act of 1858—nothing more and nothing less. He was bound to say that a flaw in the Amendment which he had not perceived at first, had been pointed out by the hon. and learned Gentleman, and that it did not include everything that that was included in the Act of 1858. But on the subject of the charges of heretical doctrine which had been made by the noble Lord, he asked to be allowed to read the question which he had put during the debate on the second reading of the Bill. It was this:—I ask whether the supremacy of certain important Native States in India ever was vested in the Company or whether it was not? We are bound to ask the right hon. Gentleman—and I think he is bound to answer the question through the medium of his best legal authorities—whether this supremacy is so vested or not, and whether he can assure us upon his responsibility that no political change in the condition of the Native Princes of India will be affected by this Bill.334 That was the question which he put, and it was for putting it that he had been hailed upon with this shower of unsavoury epithets. By the time the noble Lord was half as old as he was, he would learn that it was not wise in matters on which a man had not sufficient information to make a positive assertion. He had put the question without information, and at last the answer had come. It would now, he hoped, be understood by the House and go forth that the rights to be exercised under the Bill and the title to be created were those rights which were given to the Crown in 1858, neither more nor less. The question which remained was as to the mode of proceeding, and he understood the hon. and learned Gentleman to say that in some way or other, which he for one did not profess to understand, the recital in the Bill was sufficient for the purpose. He hoped it would be so, but in an important Bill of this kind it was not right in point of draftsmanship, or he would say of statesmanship, to make a recital which was not strictly accurate. To make the Bill correspond with the speech of the hon. and learned Gentleman it would be necessary to give for the word "India" in the Preamble a construction from another Act of Parliament. If that were really so, he thought the best course would be to recite the words in the other Act of Parliament in extenso. To do that it would be necessary to recommit the Bill, a proceeding which need not delay the measure in its present stage, and on receiving an assurance to that effect the hon. Member for Banbury might withdraw the Amendment. If that were done, it would place the matter beyond the reach of doubt; but as it stood, the Bill was defective on the very point in which the Amendment was defective, speaking as it did of the transfer of certain territorial rights, and not of the other rights not strictly territorial, which were transferred by the Act of 1858. He trusted that this suggestion would be acted upon, and was glad to find that there was no intention of creating new rights on the part of the Crown towards the Native Princes of India, but that the pledges which were given in 1858 would be strictly observed. He did not think the hon. Member for Banbury should be charged with having made an insidious Motion, and he considered that all hard words of that kind should be 335 avoided in discussing in Committee a measure of a practical character.
§ MR. FORSYTH
observed, that in the year 1861, when the Liberal Government were in office, an Act was passed in which the word "India" was used in precisely the same way, without any geographical definition, as it appeared in the present Bill. It should be remembered that no foreign territory could be affected by an Act of Parliament.
§ Mr. SAMUELSON
said, he had obtained the object he had in view by moving his Amendment. After the statements of the right hon. Gentleman the Prime Minister and the hon. and learned Attorney General all the objections to the principle of the Amendment had vanished into thin air. He, therefore, would withdraw his Amendment in favour of that of the hon. and learned Member for Oxford, for which he would vote if it was pressed to a division.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
SIR WILLIAM HARCOURT moved, as an Amendment, in page 1, line 18, to leave out from "Government of" to "should become," in line 19, and insert—
The territories in the possession of or under the Government of the East India Company, and all rights vested in or which might have been exercised by the said Company in relation to any territories.
He could not understand what the hon. and learned Gentleman the Attorney General meant by saying that this was insidious. He (Sir William Harcourt) merely followed the Act of 1858.
In page 1, line 18, leave out from "Government of" to "should become," in line 19, and insert "the territories in the possession of or under the Government of the East India Company, and all rights vested in or which might have been exercised by the said Company in relation to any territories."—(Sir William Harcourt.)
§ THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER
said, this appeared to him more a question of drafting than anything else. The words in the Bill appeared to him to be sufficient, and he did not think they ought to be changed. If they adopted the Amendment of the hon. and learned Gentleman they would be throwing doubt upon a great many Acts which had been passed since 1858, and in which 336 there was no long recital. There was at one time an impression that there was going to be something conveyed secretly and unavowedly which was not given to Her Majesty by the Act of 1858. If the Amendment was intended to neutralize any statement of that kind, he would consider it important. As it was, however, there was nothing more in calling Her Majesty Empress of "India" than there was in speaking of the Secretary of State for India.
§ Sir GEORGE CAMPBELL
agreed that the Amendment was unobjectionable so far as it went. He wished, however, to point out that, in view of the great changes which had occurred, one main objection to the Amendment was the inconvenience it might occasion by giving rise to a possible misconstruction on the part of the Native Princes of India if the reciting portion of the Act of 1858 were to be re-enacted; because, in truth, our relations with them had been greatly changed since 1858. The adoption Sunnuds of 1859 contained a distinct assertion of the supremacy of the Crown, which the Princes accepted, and those other important engagements of a later date.
§ SIR WILLIAM HARCOURT
thought, on the contrary, that the re-enactment of that portion of the Act of 1858 would prevent misconception. As he believed it was desirable that the Amendment should be adopted, he should not withdraw it, although he should not put the Committee to the trouble of dividing upon it.
§ Amendment negatived.
§ Preamble read a second time, and agreed to.
§ House resumed.
§ Bill reported, without Amendment; to be read the third time upon Thursday.