HC Deb 23 March 1876 vol 228 cc480-518

Order for Third Reading read.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read the third time."—(Mr. Disraeli.)


said, since the Bill had been introduced he had taken a very strong view on the question of the policy of the measure as a whole. The Bill, it was true, consisted only of a single clause, and that clause was one which gave Her Majesty power by Proclamation to add to her Royal titles; but the only interpretation which they had had of the clause was the information which had been presented to the House from time to time by the Prime Minister. Now, he wanted to call attention to the position which they occupied. It appeared from the statements of the Prime Minister that "Empress" would be used as little as possible in England, and only in connection with Indian affairs, so that the people would be free to withhold the new title in England. We had, however, already had, from a high municipal authority, an example of the use of the title; and what he feared was, that there would be two parties in this country—one using the term Empress and Imperial, and the other using Queen and Royal. Such a state of things would be inimical to the peace and tranquillity of Her Majesty's reign, and to the harmony which ought to exist in a country like this. They were by this Bill giving Her Majesty a title limited—and he objected to any title which was limited—to one portion of Her Majesty's dominions. Such a limit was a thing utterly unknown in the Constitution of this country. It seemed to him that such a limit was contrary to the dignity of the Crown, and anything which was adverse to the dignity of the Crown prevented that respect being paid to the Throne which he thought it was eminently entitled to; and further, anything which impaired the dignity and respect for the Crown damaged the Constitution as they at present enjoyed it. The title had been sanctioned, it was true, by a majority in that House, but it was opposed by an important minority, who declined to offer Her Majesty such a title, believing that it would place the Sovereign in such a position as no Sovereign had ever been placed in, and which was contrary to the dignity and honour of the Throne. The hon. Member for West Cumberland (Mr. Percy Wyndham) said that in India the Queen was at the head of a despotic Government, and therefore the title of Empress would be a suitable one there. Thus it would go forth to the people of India that Her Majesty was going to assume over them a title which had been almost unanimously rejected by the people of England. As far as this country was concerned, that appeared to him to be almost an insult. ["No!" and "Yes!"] The people of this country said that they did not wish Her Majesty to take the title of Empress ["No!" and "Yes!"]—and they were telling the people of India that they would not have the title of Empress themselves, but it was good enough for India. All he had heard of the Princes of India induced him to think that they were men of great intellectual power, who studied their own position, and read with interest the debates in this House. Would they not appreciate the fact that the title which the people of England rejected was to be given to Her Majesty as a symbol of despotic power in India? The Native Princes were being treated in a manner which he feared they would one day resent; and such treatment was a poor return for the hospitality and loyalty they had shown to the Heir to the Throne in his recent visit. Whether, therefore, he looked at the matter as it regarded Her Majesty the Queen, or, as the right hon. Gentleman had said, as it regarded "the Princes and the nations of India," he would far rather this Bill had never been introduced, and would very much deprecate its being read a third time.


said, he did not know how many had petitioned in favour of the Bill, but he believed only 98 persons had petitioned against it. When the House considered that 9,000 persons petitioned for the release of the Tichborne claimant, and that 155,000 had petitioned for doing away with the political disabilities of women, they would be apt to conclude that the Petitioners against the Bill were very few indeed. The point, however, which he wished to raise was this—would any addition be made to the Royal Coat of Arms? It should be borne in mind that when the Elector of Hanover became King of this country, the arms of Hanover were quartered on the Royal Standard, and when Her Majesty married the Prince Consort, his arms were also quartered on the Royal Standard, and were adopted by the Royal children. This was a matter which should not be lost sight of.


wished to make an explanation. He did not intend to convey to the House that he believed that the majority of the people of England were against this Bill. What he said was that the majority of the people of England declined to accept the title of Empress as applied to the Queen of England.


said, the hon. Gentleman the Member for Mid Somerset (Mr. Neville Grenville) had spoken of the small number of persons who had petitioned against the Bill, but he had omitted to state how many had petitioned in its favour, and he (Mr. Anderson) doubted very much whether there had been one single Petition so presented. He thought that on this, the last stage of the Bill, they ought not to allow so very obnoxious, offensive, and objectionable a measure to leave this House without giving it a parting kick; and he hoped that when it went to "another place" it might receive such a reception as would put an end to it altogether. The explanations given by the Prime Minister the other night were explanations which satisfied the House that they ought to have been made long ago; but they were not otherwise satisfactory. Nobody ever for a moment imagined that Her Majesty's Government would be so insane as to recommend Her Majesty to adopt the title of Empress in England, or to recommend her to make the Royal Princes and Princesses "Imperial." Nobody ever imagined that the Queen would of herself, under cover of this Bill, assume such titles. What was dreaded was that in spite of the Government, and in spite of the Queen, these offensive titles would in time come into the country and into use. What was dreaded was that all the toadies, snobs, and sycophants of the country would begin to use the title—and, most of all, municipal sycophancy was dreaded. Something had occurred since he last spoke on the question that afforded even greater reason for such a dread. He had been told, on authority which he could not doubt, that a Gentleman occupying the high position of a Member of this House, and the high position of Lord Mayor of the City of London, had actually, in dispensing his civic hospitalities, so trespassed on his guests as to endeavour to thrust down their throats this offensive title. The hon. Gentleman to whom he referred was now in his place, and he could contradict the statement if it were incorrect. He (Mr. Anderson) spoke from information he had received, and he regretted extremely that any Member of this House should have done such a thing; and he especially regretted that the Lord Mayor of London should have set such a pernicious example to all the other municipalities of the country. When they had such an example set by the Lord Mayor of London, what might they not expect from municipal toadyism in other parts of the country? But he would pass from this point, and ask what about the feeling of the people of India? They had been told that this was to be a very agreeable thing to the people of India; that it was done in their interest, and because they would like it. But they had now heard from India. He had read extracts from some of the Indian Native newspapers, and it turned out that the people of India, in place of looking upon this as a message of peace and goodwill in return for the hospitable reception they had given to the Prince of Wales, looked upon it with very great disfavour indeed. If that were so, he believed the people of England would dislike it still more, because, instead of the compliment intended, it would tend to stamp Indian institutions and Indian rule as permanently despotic. We ought, instead of carrying such, a title to India, to give the people the hope that they might in time arrive at representative institutions like our own—we ought to give them a share in our own Royal title, and not create for them and try to reserve for their separate use a despotic title which they disliked, and we disliked also. He feared that in the future we should very much regret what was now being done in the matter.


, with reference to the statement of the hon. Member for Glasgow (Mr. Anderson) that he doubted whether any one had petitioned in favour of this Bill, said, that he (Mr. Mills) had himself presented a Petition from his constituents, in which they prayed that the Bill might be passed, as the title of "Empress" was the most suitable to be given to Her Majesty in connection with her Indian Empire. In that opinion, which was the opinion of those who brought forward the Bill and of the very large majority who supported it, he entirely concurred; because the title of Empress best conveyed to the Natives and Princes of India that Her Majesty was Sovereign of Sovereigns, and that the idea should be ever present to their minds that their great Sovereign was in England Queen.


I beg leave to doubt whether my hon. Friend who has just sat down has mended the matter. He likes to proclaim through his mouth to the people of India that sovereignty is now for the first time by law to be definitely assumed over India. I do not wish to share his responsibility; and, notwithstanding the high character that he bears, I trust that those whom his words may reach in India willnot re- gard Mm as an empowered and authenticated organ of the British Legislature and nation. I agree very much with the substance of what fell from my hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow (Mr. Anderson), but I shall not use his decisive language. But I wish to say a few words before the third reading of the Bill is passed. I cannot bring myself to doubt that it will be read a third time without a division; but we do not regard the measure as settled—in fact, I think it a duty not to regard the matter as settled—until it has finally obtained the assent of both branches of the Legislature. I know very well that in the House of Lords Her Majesty's Government are not less happy than in this House in the adherence and support of a very compact majority; but it is simply as a matter of duty, and not as expressing what I think a very probable alternative, that I have used the langauge that we ought not, until the last moment, to regard this matter as settled. I wish just to point out what I think we have gained in the discussions on this Bill and what I think we have failed to gain. The discussions have been remarkable in this respect, as well as in other respects—that information has been communicated to us in a very progressive manner by Her Majesty's Government. Almost every stage of the Bill has presented the sentiments of Members in a new character, and therefore I think it desirable to review briefly what I take to be its exact position at the present moment. I am not going to make any charge, or to offer, what is the dullest of all things, a defence against any charge. I think the charge of using the machinery of Party against this Bill has been unnecessarily and unjustly made. I make no charge against Her Majesty's Government for using the machinery of Party in favour of the Bill. When measures of this kind are introduced by the Government it is absolutely necessary, if they think that their public duty requires them to persevere with their proposal—it is absolutely necessary for them to use the machinery of Party in favour of it. But with respect to hon. Gentlemen on this side of the House, I must say that it appears to me that there are none of the evidences or indications which would warrant a charge of that nature. When the Bill was originally introduced it was not opposed with the evidence of concurrence and combination on our part. Only a single Member—at any rate who had ever borne office on this side—my right hon. Friend the Member for the University of London (Mr. Lowe)—expressed what at the time many felt, and he was most anxious to put all his statement, not in the form of definitive opposition to the Bill, but simply in the shape of questions and in the expression of misgiving. Now, Sir, when we come to the important division on the Bill, I think I may say that, as far as information has reached me, every man who voted in the minority on that occasion did so under strong and conscientious convictions. I mean convictions of his own. I do not mean to say that other votes were not conscientious; but I think it would be difficult for any one to assert the same of all in the majority by which the Motion of my noble Friend was defeated. [Mr. D. ONslow: No, no.] Does the hon. Member object to what I have said?


The right hon. Gentleman said that all the conscientiousness was on his side of the House, and that we did not vote on this side conscientiously, intimating that we were not sincere.


I did not say that. I said expressly that I did not say their votes were not conscientious. But the conclusion I wished to draw was this—that the votes of the minority, in my opinion, expressed a conviction on the merits of the proposal; but I doubted very much—and I still doubt—whether any Minister will say he believes all the votes of the majority in like manner expressed a conscientious conviction on the merits of the question. ["Oh!"] I am surprised, and I am quite sure that those who express displeasure are persons very little used to debate in this House, and can only very recently have given their attention to these matters. Convictions, of course, are always conscientious. Every conviction is conscientious; but many a Gentleman supports a measure without a positive conviction in favour of that measure on its merits, though he has a conscientious belief that, upon the whole, he best discharges his public duty by supporting it. I have not a doubt that all those who gave their votes in support of this measure had convictions as conscientious as those which we gave in the minority; but my point is that the votes of the minority, as far as I know and believe, were given in opposition to the merits of the measure. The votes of the majority, I believe, were given with equal conscientiousness, but were given partly only in approval of the measure, though, in the circumstances in which it was introduced by the Government, and from the feeling which is entertained towards the beloved Sovereign who sits on the Throne of these Realms, they felt that they did their duty by supporting it. I am extremely anxious to be understood on this point. I should be ashamed of myself, and should think myself blame able, if for a moment it could be supposed that I presumed to deny that those who voted in the majority did so as conscientiously as those who voted in the minority. But my meaning was wider and directed to a different purpose. If it were only the spirit of Party which dictated opposition to this measure, how was it that the remarkable change in the Press was noticed the other night by the Chancellor of the Exchequer? The spirit of Party just now is not particularly alive to the action of the Press; and especially of the Metropolitan Press. My right hon. Friend noticed that state of things, and said it was due to unreasoning panic, which was justly distinguishable from the mere action of Party. I am quite sure this could not fail to be observed by those who considered the Division List. They could not fail to have noticed that some of the weightiest, some of the most experienced, some of the most impartial, some of the most respected Members of the Party opposite entirely declined to give their votes in favour of the second reading of the Bill. They were entitled, if they pleased, to take that course, but we are also entitled to point to it as exhibiting on their part a proof that the opposition to this measure was not a Party opposition. But I pass from that subject. I wish to show—and I hope I do show to the satisfaction of reasonable minds—that such a change had better not be introduced, inasmuch as it has no effect excepting that of embittering controversy, and inasmuch as there is not only no positive evidence to support it, but there is positive evidence to refute it. With respect to the measure itself, I apprehend that we have gained in the discussion, at any rate in point of knowledge, upon two points. In the first place, we understand from Her Majesty's Government that it is their intention that this title shall be, as far as possible, only employed as a local title. There are very great disadvantages in such a use of any title belonging to Her Majesty. At the same time, as far as that goes, it is a gain, and I am very glad to consider it as placed on the record. We have also gained a most explicit declaration that the India mentioned in this Bill is, not only in the view of Her Majesty's Government, but is also in the view of the law, according to the opinion of their Law Officers, the same India, and no other India, than that which was mentioned in the Act of 1858, and that therefore, whatever my hon. Friend who spoke just now may say, there is no new assumption of rights intended or contemplated by this Bill, but that the relations which have subsisted between this country and India up to the present time remain unchanged, the alteration that takes place being simply and solely a change of name. In these respects I think we have gained something, although I will not say that it has removed the substantial objections to the Bill. With deep regret, and in no spirit of Party, but from conviction, which I cannot avoid, I feel obliged to come to the conclusion that it has not, and on these three grounds. First, I think we run a serious risk as regards our colonies. I should have been opposed to any step for imposing on the colonies the slightest change, even nominally, in their relations with the Crown; but I think if it so happened that public opinion in the colonies, the movements of which it is difficult for us to anticipate, should show a tendency to complain that when a particular portion of Her Majesty's dominions, not hitherto noticed in her title, was selected for the honour of that distinction, the colonies were overlooked, I should, I confess, not know what answer to make, and I think any Government, and this House, would be to blame if it left open this ground of complaint. In the second place, although it is not the intention of the Government to make use of this title excepting as a local title. I think the more we reflect the more we shall see that, independently of individual feelings—or what I may call the redundancy of the loyalty of individuals—it will be found extremely difficult to circumscribe the title. I doubt very much whether it could be circumscribed by anything short of a provision of this nature—that it never should be used except by the Local Government of India. The right hon. Gentleman at the head of the Government felt himself obliged to point out to the House that he did not mean that the application of the title would be absolutely local. I give him credit for the intention, and I wish particularly that he had taken note of the intention that it should be made local as far as it might be; but he pointed to a particular occasion—namely, the conclusion of some great diplomatic instrument having no distinct connection with India—in which usage would require the enumeration of all the titles of the Crown; and, of course, that is not a local use of the title. In the same way, my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Oxford (Sir William Harcourt) raised another objection—he asked when an appeal from any of our Indian subjects came to the Queen in Council, is the use of the title Empress to be excluded from all relation to that appeal? I know not how that may be; but it would be a singularity and an anomaly in law and procedure if the subject of an Empire, applying to an Empress in due course of law for justice under the usual forms, should be precluded from addressing her by that title under which in her local relations she is known. Then my hon. Friend the Member for East Aberdeenshire (Sir Alexander Gordon) raised another point in reference to the Sign Manual. The question has been raised whether for Indian purposes we shall have the old form "Victoria Regina," or whether it shall not be "Victoria Regina et Imperatrix." To have two Signs Manual used by one and the same Sovereign would be an innovation touching the Crown in the immediate exercise of its Constitutional functions, and one which we ought to be especially anxious to avoid, because it is in matters which lie near the centre and heart of the Constitution. These are points which have arisen casually in debate, and what I am afraid of is that a great number of such points will arise. In practice and in the administration of Government it will be found from time to time one matter and another will come forward for discussion. I believe that Her Majesty's regiments generally carry the Royal cipher on their colours. Is that cipher to be borne as it has been uniformly borne heretofore—namely, as consisting of two letters "V. R."—or is it to be altered to "V. R. I.," or any other form? If it is to be altered, that clearly would be a very important alteration in the midst of England, or within the limits of the United Kingdom. If it is not to be altered then we are landed in another unfortunate anomaly, because whilst in India the Queen will be legally not Queen, but Empress, upon the colours of her troops she will be displayed to the people of this country not under that legal title, because the letters will remain "V. R." It is not possible that the declaration of any Ministry, or that the language of any Proclamation, however prudent—and I do not doubt that there will be much consideration of the terms of the Proclamation on this subject—it is not possible to erect an effective and permanent barrier against the intrusion of the new title into this country. I hope the endeavour may be successful—I even am sanguine in the belief that for a time it will be so; but I cannot say I think, even with what we have obtained, and with all it is in the power of the Government to give us, we have any security that will be permanent and complete. Then comes the remaining point—namely, the limitation of the title to India. I have endeavoured to measure the exact force and significance of the declaration of the Government on the point; but notwithstanding that limitation, I cannot but feel that we are doing an act which is thoroughly unwise, and against the commonest prudence. However sanguine we may be with regard to the permanency of our relations with India, however strong we may feel ourselves to be in the possession of paramount power, and likewise in a much better defence, and in our firm intention and ardent desire to do our duty by the people of that country, whatever may be the foundations and sources of our hope—to introduce a novelty of this kind, which may be thought by the jealous mind to touch relations of the utmost delicacy which have been formed during the time we have been building up this gigantic fabric, and which on every occasion we have studiously avoided the temptation to define, is, I cannot but feel, an act of the class which we call "a tempting of Providence." It is all very well to say we can see no danger in it; I subscribe to it; a sound and healthy mind need not, and ought not, to see any danger in it; but the proceedings of Governments and Legislatures are not to be regulated by the idle belief that the minds of all persons, or of all communities, are at all times sound and healthy, and their judgments always wise and discriminating. In the proceedings of Government you must allow much for the weakness, much for the fluctuation of the public mind, and not a little for the designs and intrigues of evil-minded men; and if you do not guard against these designs and intrigues, though you may not share with these evil-minded men the guilt which they bear, you will share the responsibility for what ensues. I think we have had lessons enough, especially in that portion of the world, of the effects that may be produced by acts wholly unimportant, wholly inadequate, to have impressed upon our minds the propriety of caution and circumspection; to have created in us a strong determination to be limited in all our proceedings towards India by what was obviously and necessarily prudent; to run no unnecessary risks; to create no unnecessary doubts or misgivings or speculations. In what I have been saying, I have proceeded on the assumption, which I do not absolutely admit, that the title of Empress is to be adhered to. That is what I must assume as the probable conclusion of this discussion; but when I say the probable conclusion, I will not assume it as certain; I will cling as strongly as I can to the hope that a wiser course will be adopted, and more reasonable counsels prevail. I trust that in what I have said I have succeeded in removing the misapprehension as to the equal conscientiousness of all hon. Gentlemen in this House. I have made no reproach to anyone. The subject lies too deep to be settled by reproaches. There is plenty of temptation in the course of this debate to review the subject point by point, and to make what is called a Party speech upon it. I deprecate the course. I wish to reduce my whole views of the case to the limits and terms of the utmost so- briety. I do not prophesy that evils are certain to arise from the adoption of this measure—I hope they will not arise. What I perceive is that we are making room for them; and that if they do not arise, it will not be owing to our prudence and judgment, but to the beneficent influence of a Higher Power that we trust watches over the destinies of this country. I was greatly struck in the course of such reading as I have had of the comments of the newspapers, by a remark, I think in The Spectator newspaper, in which the writer stated that in his judgment a very large portion of the case lay in the distinction between the words Emperor and Empress. The more I reflect on that observation the more heartily do I enter into the spirit of it. I feel, and feel deeply, with reference to the Sovereign on the Throne, that this proposal loses, by the fact of its having been made under a Queen, a very large proportion of what might seem invidious in our eyes. I believe that such is the feeling of this country towards one who for nearly 40 years has exhibited upon the Throne such a model of personal and domestic life, who has manifested so high and loyal a sense of every engagement which the possession of her high station involves, and who has been the source of so many wise and beneficial influences to the people, that there is hardly any request that could be made in the name of the Sovereign which the minds and the hearts of the Members of this House, and of the people of this country would not, with one impetuous impulse, as it were, rush to gratify. But we are not dealing with the Queen alone; we are dealing with future Sovereigns; and I must say I think it is a perfectly just observation that the very change of gender, trifling as it may appear, offers to our view a difference that was almost vital, certainly of a very weighty character in relation to this proposal. I doubt very much whether if, instead of having Her Majesty upon the Throne, we had upon the Throne a King—and one of the best Kings that ever adorned the Throne—there would ever have been found a Minister either rash enough or bold enough, I will not say which, to lay such a Bill before Parliament, or bring such a proposal before the country.


Sir, the right hon. Gentleman has offered us—I use the word not in an offensive, but in a classical sense—an apology for the management of the Opposition during the preceding debates on this Bill; and though I am very willing to accept from the right hon. Gentleman his assurance that he did not claim a monopoly of conviction for his friends, I am bound to say that, whether it is from an unhappy dulness of my own, or my inability to meet the unrivalled powers of casuistry possessed by the right hon. Gentleman, I am still at a loss to know, if he did not impute to us a want of conviction, what he really did mean. However, I accept the assurance he gave; though I must say we were under the faint impression of his having made an accusation which I do not remember to have heard made before in Parliament with so general an application. With respect to the regrets of the right hon. Gentleman and the arguments he offered to prove that no Party spirit had been introduced into this discussion—that it had not been introduced by those with whom he associates in political life—I always feel that we must not be very severe and critical censors of all the impulses which sway a popular Assembly. Party influences have a sort of atmospheric character when we assemble in large numbers in this House. The recollection of those with whom we habitually act, and the remembrance of the friends with whom we have served in many a struggle, do necessarily influence Gentlemen on both sides of the House. I was not aware, I confess, that in the conduct of the debates on this Bill there had been a total absence of Party feeling. I was totally unaware till the right hon. Gentleman addressed us this evening that it was this side of the House which was distinguished particularly by ebullitions of that kind. It is true I had the honour of introducing the Bill; but I did so in my Ministerial capacity, and certainly not as the Leader of a political Party in Parliament; and as the Bill proceeded, when I saw the noble Marquess opposite (the Marquess of Hartington) take the reins in his hands, after several attacks had been made of a guerilla-like nature, I did not disapprove his doing so, but I was under the impression that he was performing his public duty as the Leader of a Party; and therefore the right hon. Gentleman must not suppose that he has succeeded in instilling into the country the idea that Party feeling is confined to this side of the House, or that all those with whom he acts in public life—including, I suppose, the noble Marquess—are perfectly free from any imputation of that character. Then the right hon. Gentleman says it is very satisfactory to him to have had this opportunity of vindicating in the House, in the face of the country, his own conduct and convictions, and to take a survey of the conduct of this Bill from the beginning. He says that the information given by the Government has been of a progressive character. When I introduced the Bill I certainly did not inform the House what the title was which it was intended Her Majesty should be advised to assume; but I was perfectly frank as to the causes which deterred me from stating it. The right hon. Gentleman says there is nothing in my reason; but I spoke, of course, on the highest authority on this subject of the Royal Prerogative, and I cannot pretend to put my opinions before those of some of my Colleagues, and one especially, whose great learning and reputation are acknowledged on both sides of the House. I gave the reason why, under that advice, and with a due sense of responsibility, I did not then give the Royal title. I venture to say, as I have every reason to say from the authorities whom I consulted, that a question of Prerogative was at that moment concerned in the matter, and that until I had the permission of the Queen that could not be done. The right hon. Gentleman on that occasion flouted, as he has done since, all idea of Prerogative. Prerogative, he says, has been extinct, or virtually so. [Mr. Gladstone: No.] Well, I give the words of the right hon. Gentleman himself. He said that Statute and Prerogative could not co-exist. [Mr. Gladstone: Hear, hear.] The right hon. Gentleman cheers that statement—he who carried one of his most important measures by statute and prerogative combined. Beginning by statute, and when the statutory power failed him, having accomplished his purpose to some extent by statute, he ran to the Throne and fetched the Royal Warrant to complete his work. Well, then, the right hon. Gentleman says we gained by these prolonged debates another important point. We have ascertained, it seems, that if the Queen, by her Proclama- tion, accepts this title, that will make no change in the relations between the Throne and the Princes and Natives of India. Not an institution will be altered; not a manner, not a custom, not a law, will be affected; and this great result is the consequence of our discussions! Now, is there any human being alive who believes that because a person takes a name, that can change the laws and customs of a country? Who ever supposed for a moment because our Sovereign is to be called Empress instead of Queen of India that the laws of property, the social and religious institutions of the country, the powers of Princes and the prerogatives of feudatories, are all to be affected by merely assuming a name? If the right hon. Gentleman is satisfied with the many speeches he has made and the activity he has shown upon this subject, I can only say that he is more easily satisfied than I have observed him to be under any other circumstances. The right hon. Gentleman says that there are three great points in these discussions which have been satisfactorily brought forward. One relates to the colonies. Now, after our discussion the other night on this subject, it is unnecessary for us any further to discuss it. [Mr. Gladstone: Might I say unsatisfactory?] The right hon. Gentleman, at all events, said that he was satisfied that these points had been brought under discussion. But I have no doubt that he thought the result was unsatisfactory. Of course, according to the views which the right hon. Gentleman holds on the subject of the colonies, and which he expressed the other night, he was right in speaking of it as unsatisfactory. Our views are different; but I will not pursue that subject. I thought that upon the second point the right hon. Gentleman was satisfied—namely, that it had from the first been announced that the assumption of the title of Empress was to be limited to India, and was, therefore, to be a local title. But the right hon. Gentleman seems to think that this was developed in debate in an unsatisfactory manner. Then he says that the third point is the great difficulty of the Queen in Council. I must say that I do not see the slightest difficulty in that. The right hon. Gentleman in his argument proceeded upon a fallacious assumption—namely, that the Queen in Council sitting at Westminster is in fact presiding over a Court of Appeal from India. It is a Court of Appeal; but a Court of Appeal, not only for India, but for every part of Her Majesty's dominions. It is, therefore, in fact, an appeal to the Queen's Majesty in Council, and, whether the appeal comes from India or from Australia, the title does not change, and I imagine that there is not the slightest difficulty which can arise on that point. As to the Sign Manual, since the right hon. Gentleman spoke I have had the opportunity of conferring with those who are extremely learned in the law on that point. The result is, I imagine, that that also is one of the shadowy difficulties which will disappear in course of time. The truth is the Sign Manual of the Sovereign is simply "Victoria." Custom has added the word "Rex," or "Regina," indicated by the letter "R," and it may be convenient that in India the Queen's Sign Manual may be "Victoria Regina et Imperatrix," or it may not be. But the Sign Manual will remain as it is. I have consulted the most learned men who ever wrote on the subject, and there can be very little doubt that the Sign Manual of the Queen will be "Victoria Regina" in England, and "Victoria Regina et Imperatrix" in India. What difficulty is there in that? Are these the circumstances that are to bring about the doleful and dismal results which the right hon. Gentleman has depicted to the House? We must remember that India does not cease to be a dependency of the Crown because the Queen is called Empress there. The relations are not changed. The hon. Gentleman who opened this debate (Mr. Pease) made some statements which rather surprised me. He stated that the vast majority of the people objected to this title as unconstitutional, and as lowering the dignity of Her Majesty. He added that using the name of Empress was inimical to the peace of the country. I do not think that the hon. Gentleman is justified in making such sweeping charges without some shadow of proof. I will not mention, as I have before done, the evidence that the title of Empress was an old title in this country, and held in much reverence and honour. The hon. and learned Member for Oxford (Sir William Harcourt), when he last addressed the House, spoke of my reference to Spenser. I think it was a fair reference. He was one of our greatest writers in our greatest age, and he used that name in an honoured sense. But I was interested in observing that in Camden's Britannia—in the first English translation from the original Latin—it is described as "the true and Royal history of the famous Empress Elizabeth, Queen of England." So, at any rate, Camden, as well as Spenser, may be quoted as authority on that point. The hon. Gentleman (Mr. Pease) says that there is no instance of Sovereigns of this country bearing a title that they did not use in the country. How would that apply to the time when our Sovereigns were Kings of Hanover? They never used the title of King of Hanover in this country, and that is exactly the same thing. It only shows what monstrous conclusions are drawn at random when hon. Gentlemen have no solid arguments to offer. The hon. Member said that the title of Empress had been rejected by this country. Well, I say, in reply, that some proof ought to be given of such an assertion. If there had been innumerable Petitions on the subject I could have understood it. I, for one, do not depreciate the importance of the character of Petition; because, however artificial may be the organization by which they are procured, they still in a certain sense represent public feeling. But there have been no Petitions presented to this House. Have there been any public meetings? This measure has been before the House for four or five weeks, and have there, I repeat, been any public meetings? I remember asking one of the most sagacious men who ever sat in this House—Mr. Walter—father of one of our Colleagues now in the House of Commons, and a gentleman who had great knowledge of the Press and of public opinion—I asked him—"How do you ascertain what is public opinion?" He said—"Well, the way I ascertain public opinion is this. Petitions may be got up and meetings may be got up, or the country may feel a great deal without expressing its opinion either by Petitions or public meetings; but there is an infallible test, and that is the post. They way I always know what is the real feeling of the country is by the letter-bag." And it must be borne in mind that Mr. Walter had at that time the conduct of one of the most powerful journals of the country—those journals which it is now the fashion to quote in the House of Commons—it never was done when I first entered it. He said—"I receive a hundred letters a-day—and more when there is anything stirring in the country—and I thus understand and find out what is public opinion from the post-bag. It is that which tells me what the feeling of the country is, and I know it before Petitions or public meetings. They follow it." Well, I think a Minister of State has as many letters as the editor of a newspaper. I have sometimes 100 letters a-day, and have had a great many lately. Generally speaking two-thirds of these refer to the business before Parliament. They sometimes contain very crude, but sometimes very critical and useful hints. The other third consists of what may be called "crazy correspondence." Now, I have a letter which I received the day before yesterday, which I will really venture to read to the House, because it has a moral. It shows that while we have been discussing with all this learning and argument, and with an entire absence of Party feeling, and while we have been listening to the Quixotic denunciations of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Greenwich, the people out-of-doors are astonished at our being ignorant of what they thought was well known to everybody. My correspondent is a young lady. She is only 12 years of age, so there is nothing compromising to her dignity or my own. Her father was in the House of Commons the other day listening to our debates—I do not, of course, mention her name, but it is an extremely pretty one. They live a few miles away from London. The young lady asked her father what the debate was about, and he told her the House of Commons was discussing the question whether the Queen of England should be called Empress or Queen. "What silly men they must be," said she; "I have known that for three years. "And how did you know it?" she was asked. "Why," she said, "it's in my geography book." Upon which she brought the book into her father, who sent it to me by post. Now, this is not a book to be despised, for it is in its 89th edition. I am informed by the most perfect authority on the subject—namely, the publishers them- selves, that there are at this moment at least 250,000 copies of it in circulation, educating young people and others. On examining this book what do I find? There is a chapter on India—I will not read it all, but merely give a quotation. "Hindostan," it says, "is in general a flat country," and so on. And here I beg the House to remember that I am reading from the edition of 1873, which I need not say has not been printed for the occasion. At Paragraph 6 I read, "British India is under the dominion of Great Britain. Her Majesty Queen Victoria bears there the title of Empress of India." This was known even in 1873 to this young lady, and probably many people knew it many years ago. To say, therefore, that the people of England have rejected this title as something strange, is as if we had brought on something terrible like the Dragon of Wantley, which everybody must run from. If you read her letter you would be still more pleased. Well, I have here another letter written only yesterday. It is an excellent letter, in handwriting, style, and everything. I will not give the writer's name; but he will probably commend himself to hon. Gentlemen opposite, when I state that he is a Nonconformist minister. He says— May I hope that you will not think it an improper trespass on your time if I call attention to the fact that while the Royal Titles Bill is so keenly discussed by statesmen, the question at issue was settled years ago by what a large party of the English-speaking people have received with unhesitating confidence as a competent authority, Whitaker's Almanack. In that work for 1861 he says Her Most Gracious Majesty is thus described—"Alexandrina Victoria, of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, Queen, and of the Colonies and Dependencies thereof, Empress of India, Defender of the Faith." "The title of Empress of India," the writer added, "seems to have been accepted by the common sense of the nation as a simple statement of fact." Yet the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Greenwich says that this title has been rejected by the country. Well, now, I hope this Bill may pass without a Division. It passed its recond reading without a division, and if it passes its third reading in the same manner, perhaps what has occurred in the interval may be forgotten. I have had the honour of introducing this Bill, and I have impressed on the House to the utmost of my power that I at least felt it was most important it should pass. I have said—and I do not speak without authority or reason—that there were grave political reasons why this Bill should pass; and I should have been glad had some of the discussion which had arisen upon it been avoided. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Greenwich taunted me the other day, when I talked of the revolution that had occurred in India, by adducing the changes that had occurred in the colonies, and the changes in the relationship between the Sovereign and those settlements. But while we have been pondering and legislating on these matters there have been greater changes going on in the very heart of Asia than even the conquest of India itself, or the foundation of all our colonies. There is a country of vast extent, which has been known hitherto only by its having sent forth hordes to conquer the world. That country has at last been vanquished, and the frontiers of Russia—I will not say a rival Power, but the frontiers of Russia—are only a few days march from those of Her Majesty's dominions in India. I venture to speak on this subject with some frankness, because I am not of that school who view the advances of Russia in Asia with those deep misgivings that some do. I think that Asia is large enough for the destinies of both Russia and England. But whatever may be my confidence in the destiny of England, I know that Empires are only maintained by vigilance, by firmness, by courage, by understanding the temper of the times in which we live, and by watching those significant indications that may easily be observed. The population of India is not the population it was when we carried the Bill of 1858. There has been a great change in the habits of the people. That which the Press could not do, that which our influence had failed in doing, the introduction of railroads has done, and the people of India move about in a manner which never could have been anticipated, and are influenced by ideas and knowledge which before never reached or touched them. What was the gossip of bazaars is now the conversation of villages. You think they are ignorant of what is going on in Central Asia. You think they are unaware that Tartary, that great conquering Power of former times, is now at last conquered. No; not only do they know what has occurred, not only are they well acquainted with the Power which has accomplished this great change, but they know well the title of the Great Prince who has brought about so wonderful a revolution. I have listened with surprise, night after night, to hon. Gentlemen on both sides of the House translating the title of Empress into all sorts of languages, and indicating to us what name would at last be adopted. The nations and populations that can pronounce the word Emperor, and that habitually use it, will not be slow to accept the title of Empress. That is the word which will be adopted by the nations and populations of India, and in announcing, as Her Majesty will do, by her Proclamation, that she adopts that title, confidence will be given to her Empire in that part of the world, and it will be spoken in language which cannot be mistaken that the Parliament of England have resolved to uphold the Empire of India.


said, he had not had an opportunity of taking any part in the discussion during the previous stages of the Bill. He knew it was unusual for a Member to attempt to continue a discussion after the Prime Minister had made his reply; but, as he felt strongly on the question, and as he was not accustomed to trouble the House often with observations, perhaps they would kindly accord him their attention for a few minutes. The speech they had just listened to from the Prime Minister was in some parts solemn, and in some parts frivolous. His remark as to the receipt of private letters, giving an indication of popular feeling, was, to say the least, somewhat unfortunate. He (Mr. Cowen) had some practical knowledge of the Press of this country, and he could assure the right hon. Gentleman that, whatever number of letters he had received with respect to this Bill, there were daily newspapers published in England whose editors were throwing into the waste-basket from 20 to 40 communications per day respecting this question, and four-fifths of them were in opposition to the Bill. He was surprised that the Prime Minister should again attempt to draw an argument from such a poor precedent as that of Spenser's Faery Queen. Perhaps this was the first time that the most fanciful poem of one of our most fanciful poets should be made a serious argument for a grave Constitutional change. But if Spenser was to be quoted as an authority for the use of the word "Empress" in England, it was only right for them to recollect that the author of the Faery Queen was a courtier of Queen Elizabeth. He was not only a servant of Her Majesty, but he received from her both pension and property. He spoke from recollection; but he believed he was correct when he said that the confiscated estate of a rebel Irish Earl—Kilcolmac—in the county of Cork, was given by Queen Elizabeth to Spenser, and it was when residing upon that estate that the Faery Queen was written. To put the matter mildly, Elizabeth had what the phrenologists call the bump of love of approbation largely developed. Whatever other merits she had, her best friends admitted that she was a trifle vain. It was not unreasonable to suppose, therefore, that a courtier and a pensioner should feel anxious to acknowledge the bountiful gifts of his Royal mistress by addressing her in a style a little inflated, but, at the same time, acceptable to the Royal ear. A much greater man than Spenser, and a very much greater poet, had been guilty of a like literary offence, and had travestied English history, to please the prejudices and whims of the ambitious daughter of Henry VIII. If Shakespeare could in this way try to win the favour of his Queen, a weak and courtly man like Spenser surely might do it. But the action of either, or both poets, certainly ought not to be used in a serious argument for effecting political changes. The right hon. Gentleman was fond of precedents. It was his love of them that led him to drag Spenser into his arguments for this Bill. He (Mr. Cowen) would give him a precedent, that he was surprised had been overlooked, and which was far more to the purpose. There was a King of England once who called himself Emperor. Edgar, the Saxon King, commonly called the "peaceful," because he maintained peace within his dominions, took upon himself the double title of "Basileus Imperator," or King and Emperor of Britain. This was more than 900 years ago. Edgar wished to declare himself independent of the Holy Roman Empire, and of the suzerainty of Henry the Fowler, who then occupied the Germanic Throne. To show his independence, Edgar assumed the titles he had indicated. If the Queen of England wished to adopt this new title, he submitted that the precedent of Edgar was far more to the point than that of an Elizabethan poet. He did not think, however, that the country was inclined to follow either precedent. He was free to confess that the alteration the Prime Minister had made in the Bill during its progress through the House, had modified, but had not removed, the popular hostility to it. All the opposition centred in the word Empress. This objection might amount to very little, it might amount to a great deal. No doubt the Prime Minister thought that this additional title would augment the prestige and add to the power of the Queen; but every one had not the same passion for pageantry, or the same fondness for ceremonial, that was possessed by the Premier. Other hon. Gentlemen, no doubt, thought that the change was chiefly of a personal and family character. In their speeches and conversations they did not hesitate to confess that the reason whythey supported the Bill was because they believed it would be acceptable to Her Majesty and the members of the Royal Family generally. If no other effect was to be produced than simply to please the Queen, the vote upon the Bill would be unanimous. He believed the question at issue concerned the nation infinitely more than it did the Court or the Government. Future generations were more interested in the question than the present. It was not so much the direct or immediate results that they were afraid of, as it was the indirect and ultimate consequences. The Government under which they lived was a strictly Constitutional one. What the Ministers wished them to do was to engraft upon their Constitutional forms the name and style of a military, autocratic, irresponsible, and arbitrary power. In changing the name, he feared they might change the character of the Government. Phrases had a curious habit of transmuting themselves into facts. The liberties they enjoyed had been too dearly bought, the privileges they rejoiced in had been too stoutly fought for, to be surrendered even in appearance. They could not be too jealous of regal and despotic encroachments upon popular power and influence. He knew these fears were not entertained by hon. Gentlemen on the opposite side, and he believed sincerely, if they were entertained, the Gentlemen there would as resolutely defend every form of English liberty as he would. They could not overlook the fact that, although a majority was in favour of this change, full two-fifths of the Members of the House of Commons were opposed to it, and took the same view as he was enforcing. The Government and their supporters might not—he believed did not—contemplate such consequences as he had described; but they must excuse him, and others like him, who dreaded such results, if they offered the proposal their resolute opposition. He was afraid, if they effected the suggested change, that they would be taking the first step, but a substantial step, towards abolishing the time-honoured and historic title of Queen of England, and supplanting it by the tawdry, common-place, and vulgar designation of Empress. What were the facts? There were 32,000,000 of people in the United Kingdom, and something like 8,000,000 or 10,000,000 in the colonies. In India there were 200,000,000. If this change was made, one-fifth of Her Majesty's subjects would address her as Queen, and four-fifths as Empress. The communication between this country and India was large, and was yearly increasing. Hindoos were coming in larger numbers to England, and Englishmen were going in larger numbers to the East. When the Hindoos were at home, their ruler would be an Empress; when they were in England she would be their Queen. When Englishmen were at home their ruler would be a Queen; and when they were in India she would be an Empress. He asked hon. Gentlemen whether they seriously thought they could preserve this dual designation? They might carefully observe it on all State occasions; they might use it in all Royal Proclamations; and they might embody it in a thousand Acts of Parliament, but popular usage—which in matters of language was despotic—would abandon one title and retain the other. The title abandoned would be that which was conventionally considered the inferior, and the one retained would be that which was conventionally considered the superior. Charles V. was Emperor of Germany, King of Spain, and Lord of the Netherlands, but who ever heard of him by any other name than that of Emperor Charles V? The Duke of Buccleuch sat, and voted in the other House of the Legislature, as the Earl of Doncaster; and the Duke of Argyll sat and voted as Baron Sundridge. Their Ducal titles were Scotch; but who ever heard of them spoken of otherwise than as the Duke of Buccleuch and the Duke of Argyll? Lord Palmerston was an Irish Peer, but history only knew him by his local title. It was impossible to localize or limit a title; and when the Government talked of doing that with the title of Empress of India, they were seeking to accomplish an impossibility. The Prime Minister had told them that the title of Empress was not superior to that of Queen. If it was not higher, it was lower; if it was not lower, it was equal. The right hon. Gentleman would not surely have the Queen to adopt an inferior title, and there would be no wisdom in encumbering her style with another, and merely equal prefix. The Prime Minister had also told them that the mode of address of Her Majesty would not be altered. That it was "Her Majesty the Queen" now, and that it would be the same in future. He had assured them further that the Queen's numerous children and grandchildren would not be able to attach the word Imperial as well as Royal Highness to their names. This might be correct; but there was one Royal personage, he who stood nearest the Throne, who would be affected by the change. He bore a title that recalled some of the most touching and memorable incidents in English history. Recent bearers of the title had not sustained the character for chivalry and courage that distinguished some of its original possessors. Still, the title was pre-eminently a British one. It was woven into the web and warp of our national life, and no man, whatever his politics or his Party, would like to see it abandoned, and the meaningless designation with which a deposed French usurper tricked out his son adopted in its place. It was for purely Indian reasons that this change was said to be desired. No one attempted to say that the people of this country wished it. All the arguments and reasons of the Go- vernment were drawn from Indian sources. But the House had no information that the change was wished for, even asked for, by India. The Prime Minister had refused to supply them with any official intelligence upon the subject. The Chancellor of the Exchequer, indeed, said that articles had appeared in Indian newspapers advocating the change. He (Mr. Cowen) knew something of the Indian Press, and he confessed he had never seen any such articles, though he had seen, and they had all seen, a large number of articles in the English Press against the change. The right hon. Gentleman knew the value of evidence as well as any man, and he felt sorry when he saw him compelled to rely upon such flimsy material as he had addressed to the House. The Chancellor of the Exchequer had also read to them a Petition from some landowners in the province of Oude, asking that the Queen should take a new title. Hon. Gentlemen near him who took part in the discussion on the Irish Coercion Bill last Session would appreciate the force of the remark, when he said that Oude stood towards the rest of India in much the same position as the county of West-meath stood towards the rest of Ireland. He asked the Government whether it was likely they would consent to change the title, or alter the duties of the meanest official in the household of the Viceroy of Ireland, upon the requisition of a few landowners from a county which was accused—he did not say rightly—of being the last resting-place of Ribbonism in the Sister Isle? If they would not effect this change in a small country, and limited population, like Ireland, surely upon such a requisition from the Westmeath of India they ought not to effect a change in which so many millions of persons were interested. They had heard a good deal of India during these discussions. He did not set himself up as an Indian authority; but he believed he would not be contradicted when he said that the men who had lived the longest there, who had devoted their whole lives to studying that wonderful land, were the most unwilling to hazard any opinion as to the thought of the Indian people. Men might live in India, and become acquainted with its geography, its rivers and mountains, with its natural history, the produce of its soil, and its climate; but hitherto the thought of the Hindoo people had been to Europeans a sealed book. Lord Salisbury, speaking in the House of Lords a few days ago, declared that the greatest difficulty the English had to deal with in India was their ignorance of the real mind and thought of the people. The Hindoos were the inheritors of a peculiar, a wonderful, and an illustrious civilization. They were proud of it, and they looked upon Englishmen as powerful parvenus whom circumstances compelled them to submit to, but whom, in their secret hearts, they despised. The Hindoos, too, were a conquered people. They had all the feelings and the natural characteristics of conquered races. They were suspicious and distrustful of their conquerors; the passions and the prejudices of the people were only intensified in the Princes of that interesting land. He believed he spoke the deliberate opinion of every man familiar with the Government of India, when he said that whenever an Indian Prince contemplated a conspiracy against the English Government, or was engaged in a plot against our rule, he was always studiously courteous and conciliatory, polite and deferential, to English residents and English officials. He would not presume to offer an opinion on the question, because, as he had said, they had no evidence; but as far as they were able to form an opinion, he thought he could venture to declare that the Indian people were, as a body—and a large number of their Princes—supremely indifferent as to any title the Queen might take. Other Princes, perhaps, some of them the most powerful and best informed, if they held an opinion at all on the subject, he supposed it would be one of opposition, because they would see, or think they saw, in the change of title, some increase of power by England, and some further decrease of their own authority. He did not wish to weary the House; but if they would permit him he would like to say a few words in answer to the statement made by the hon. and learned Member for Sheffield (Mr. Roebuck) a few nights ago. The hon. and learned Gentleman told them that the word "Emperor" had reference to Empire, and was not derived from the Latin word Imperator. He (Mr. Cowen) entirely dissented from that view. Imperator was the name given, in the first instance, by Roman soldiers on the eve of victory to their successful generals. The man who had led the Roman legions to triumph was on the field of battle proclaimed by his soldiers an Imperator. This title at first was used after the proper name, as "Vespasian Imperator," for example. Many Roman generals were repeatedly proclaimed Imperators. Augustus, according to Tacitus, was more than 20 times made Imperator. In the latter days of the Roman power a new meaning was attached to the word. It was then used by the rulers of Rome, much in the same way as it was in modern times. But Rome was then decrepit and declining. She was emasculated by excessive wealth, and weakened by excessive territory. He did not wish to institute an unpleasant parallel; but he could not resist some comparison between this country now and Rome when she first adopted the title of Emperor. England had now a plethora of wealth. She had dominions in every quarter of the globe, and she was following the Roman expedient of taking a pretentious title for its ruler. He hoped that this change did not indicate the commencement of the downward career of the power of Britain, as like circumstances and changes marked the fall of Rome. The title of King was of purely Saxon origin. It was the name given by free peoples to their chief magistrates. The Monarchy of England rested, it was true, on hereditary descent; but, at the same time, it was partly elective. The Parliament of England gave the Crown of these realms to the descendants of Sophia of Hanover, under specified restrictions and strongly guarded limitations. Ours was emphatically a limited Monarchy, and the people shared with the Monarch the rule of the nation. To fasten on to the Constitution a military and autocratic figurehead might not be contrary to the letter of the Act of Settlement; but it was certainly contrary to its spirit. The right hon. Gentleman opposite had told them that this was a question of sentiment. Heat once, and frankly, admitted that it was. Half of human life was made up of sentiment. Existence would be a dull, dreary, drudgery, unless it was illuminated by some ray of hope, and enlivened by some gleam of generous emotion. Men were much more easily moved by their feelings and sympathies, than their convictions. They were much more earnestly roused to action by their passions and prejudices than by their interests. The men who were not conscious of this, and did not know that people were guided more by principle than selfishness in their mode of life, had only half learnt the art and the work of statesmanship. One remark further he wished, with the permission of the House, to make. The right hon. Gentleman the Prime Minister had told them that the Throne of this country depended for its support on the spirit of the people. He quite agreed with that opinion. The Monarchy did not rest on soldiers' bayonets or policemen's batons. It did not even depend on law; but on the good sense and right feeling of the people. While they recognized that fact, however, it was only right for them to recollect also that there was no fanatical belief in the abstract principles of Monarchy in this country. The doctrine of divine right was killed on the scaffold with King Charles, and went out with the Commonwealth. The people of the country supported the Monarchy because they knew, from experience, that they enjoyed, under its rule, as large an amount of well-ordered liberty as any other people in the world. The country, under its guidance, had been prosperous, and the people comparatively contented and happy. But if there was any attempt to establish a species of socialistic Empire, to drag into our Constitution the forms and principles of Imperialism, hon. Gentlemen opposite would soon find that the superstition of Royalty had no real hold on the people of this land.


I desire to tender to the noble Lord opposite (the Marquess of Hartington) and the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Greenwich (Mr. Gladstone) my thanks for the manner in which they have vindicated the best traditions of the Party that is hereditary among them, and for having vindicated the duty and the functions of a Constitutional Opposition, for having so used their power and their eloquence in debate as to have extracted from Her Majesty's Ministers the information due to this House for the purpose of enabling it fully and properly to discuss this Bill. I lamented, from the first, that the right hon. Gentleman at the head of the Government should have been so reticent in communicating information, and I deprecate his frequent appeals to the spirit of Party. Are we not to have two Parties in this House? Is not a legitimate Opposition identified with some of our proudest traditions? Has not an Opposition thus conducted habitually rendered the most exemplary services to the country; and on the present occasion the Opposition have rightfully claimed that the House should be put in possession of information, essential to its properly dealing with a question of the deepest importance, as touching the Crown of this Kingdom? They have resisted what appeared to be an attempt to prevent discussion by appeals to the Prerogative. The right hon. Gentleman at the head of the Government referred to the use made of the Royal Prerogative by the late Prime Minister on the Army Bill. I remember his opposition to that proceeding. I remember my own denunciation of it, and my vote in condemnation of it; and it was with pain I recently observed on the question now before the House that the right hon. Gentleman, instead of appearing to continue the reprobation he then expressed against that stretch of the Prerogative, seemed disposed to use the Prerogative to the supercession of Parliament in this matter of altering the title of the Crown, as though he was tempted to repeat or imitate the offence he had formerly condemned. During the course of these debates, the right hon. Gentleman has referred over and over again to grave political considerations, which, he said, actuated himself and the Government he leads, but he never explained the substance of those considerations. How could the right hon. Gentleman expect an Assembly such as this, largely composed of new Members, and including Gentlemen who can address the House with such power as the hon. Member (Mr. Cowen) who has just resumed his seat has displayed, would be satisfied with the mere assertion that grave political considerations were involved in the question, while the nature of these considerations was left unexplained? Sir, I rejoice that this question has been fully discussed. The House and the country are greatly indebted to those right hon. and hon. Gentlemen who have shown so much ability in securing this discussion. It is now clearly understood that there is no intention that the present Imperial character of the Crown of the United Kingdom shall be at all infringed or impaired by the assumption of this local title of Empress or Emperor of India, and that Parliament is not asked to derogate from its own share in the Imperial power attaching to that title. If this new title is to be assumed, these discussions were necessary in order to reconcile the people of this country to the change of the title to the Crown, the emblem of their nationality and power. They would not have been content that the House of Commons has treated this measure as the measure of the Minister, not as its own. Without such a conviction, I believe that grave suspicions would be awakened in the public mind with regard to the ulterior and disguised objects which the measure would have been supposed to involve—that a distrust would be engendered that might not be limited to this country, but would probably have extended to India. I hope, also, that an answer has been given to those designing persons who would have us believe that the Parliament of England, the representative of a race which an ambitious ecclesiastic described as Imperial, has not been and will not prove itself unworthy of its traditions or the accomplice of that ecclesiastic who—and the declaration has become historical—declared it to be the function and the duty of the Church of Rome to break the will of and to subjugate the English nation, whose will, he acknowledged, has ruled the world as the will of old Rome once did. If Her Majesty now assumes the title of Empress of India, it is to be assumed, I trust, merely as the local reflection of the Imperial quality of the Crown, which in this country is identified with free institutions, which is known to be the guardian of our freedom, and which is Imperial only in the sense of asserting its own absolute independence, in the asserting its independence of all or any power, other than that of the Almighty, in asserting its exemption from subordination to any human authority. That is the sense in which the Crown of this United Kingdom has been, and is, Imperial. Imperial now and here, and never, I trust, to be in any other sense Imperial in India. For I should consider it a misfortune that anything should go forth that might appear to purport a separation of this Imperial character and qua- lity of the Crown, and that this separation and difference should seem to take place with respect to India, the only portion of the dominions of the British Crown in which the form of government is despotic. I believe that the discussions which have taken place in this House will enlighten, have already enlightened the public mind on the subject; although I should have been glad if Her Majesty would be content with the title of "Sovereign of India." [Cheers.] Yes, Sovereign of India. That is the term which would best express the supremacy of Her Majesty, because the term, in its second sense, implies excellence, and is thus peculiarly appropriate to Her Majesty. I rejoice that the House of Commons has vindicated its right to full information and debate before it would consent to pass this important measure.


said, he could not but express his surprise at the speech delivered by the Prime Minister, especially the concluding portion of it, and his astonishment how a responsible Minister could have delivered such a speech. Seldom had so rash and dangerous a speech been delivered. He would not, after the eloquent remarks which had just been made by the hon. Member for Newcastle (Mr. Cowen) say a single word with regard to the deep and unalterable dislike of the people of this country to the title of "Empress;" but he would ask the Prime Minister what were the reasons which had induced him to propose that the people of India should enjoy a title different from that which was enjoyed by the people of England? If the title of Queen were respected, honoured, and revered in this country, and if the Government wished to bind the people of India to England by closer ties of attachment and affection, why should they not enjoy the same title for their Ruler as was regarded in this country with so much reverence? He thought it impossible to condemn too strongly the want of caution on the part of the Prime Minister in introducing into that discussion the possibility of India being attacked by Russia. Even if there were such a danger hanging over our Indian dominions, such a matter ought not to have been mentioned by the Prime Minister in that casual and off-hand way. It was not in such a manner that the right hon. Gentleman should have defended this new-born title of "Empress of India." But it was said the government of India was different from that of England, and that was a point on which he wished to make an earnest, he might say a solemn, protest. One hon. Member had said the people of England enjoyed Parliamentary and free institutions, but our Government of India was despotic. At a time when education was constantly increasing, and the people were taking more and more interest in the Government, and aspiring to a greater share in the management of their affairs, was it well to remind them that we governed them by a despotic Power? But he (Mr. Fawcett) denied the accuracy of the hon. Member's statement. Although the people of India were not governed by Parliament directly, they were governed by Parliament indirectly. The House of Commons could agree to an Address for the dismissal of the Governor General of India, the Secretary of State, or any other official who acted unjustly to the people of India, and to a certain extent the people of India enjoyed the same protection of free institutions as were enjoyed by the people of this country. The Prime Minister had stated that this Bill would give satisfaction to the people of India; but, without presuming to be the interpreter of their opinions and wishes, he might say that for every particle of evidence to show that the people of India desired that Her Majesty should assume the title of Empress, he could bring ten times the amount of evidence to show that they wished that the same Queen who ruled over us should rule over them upon the same principles and with the same appellation. In conclusion, he again protested against the incaution, the recklessness which had been exhibited by the Prime Minister in introducing into this debate considerations which seemed to him to show that he had fears for the permanence of our rule in India. He thanked the House for giving him the opportunity of briefly stating his views upon this question, and if a Division were called for he would support them by his vote.


Sir, the right hon. Gentleman the First Minister of the Crown has conducted the debates on this measure upon the principle which the theologians term the doctrine of development. The right hon. Gentleman has been unable to induce himself to state the whole of his case at once or to lay before the House as a whole all the arguments he intended to rely on. Every speech that he has addressed to us has contained some variation, some addition, and some alteration of that which he had previously uttered. He has fed us by instalments—and it is only within the last half-hour that we have heard for the first time an argument to which he evidently attaches the greatest possible weight. Sir, such conduct as that is unworthy of the greatness of this occasion. It is unworthy of the position of the right hon. Gentleman to treat a question of this kind as if he were pulling out the slides of a magic lantern, instead of developing a great policy for a great nation. We had a right to expect that all the reasons and arguments fit to be produced at all to Parliament should have been produced in the first instance, and that we should not be played with in this manner, having argument after argument produced, until at the last moment the right hon. Gentleman springs on us something entirely new and unexpected. Sir, the right hon. Gentleman has given us arguments of a kind that I little thought to hear in the course of this debate. Whatever may be said of the speech of the right hon. Member for Greenwich, no one can deny that it was worthy of the occasion in the tone of solemnity and the sense of responsibility with which it was addressed to the House. We felt we were hearing a great statesman worthily and to the best of his ability treating a great question; whether we agree or disagree with him, the House must be proud of possessing men who treat a matter in that way. The same may be said of the hon. Member for Newcastle (Mr. Cowen). That hon. Gentleman evidently spoke from deep conviction; he spoke with eloquence and he spoke with force, because he spoke what he really felt, and all that he really felt. He was not doling out to us bit by bit, and by little bits, the convictions he thought it necessary to express. The hon. Gentleman spoke like an honest Englishman, not only with frankness and fairness, and carried the House with him; and I hope we shall often hear his voice raised with similar manliness and similar effect. But when one turns from my hon. Friend to the First Minister of the Crown, what do we hear? We have the lispings of the nursery voice— My brother Jack was nine in May, And I was eight on New Year's Day. That is the language of the First Minister of the Crown upon this momentous occasion; and when he has exhausted that source of frivolity, he must go even to a deeper depth of unworthiness. The next thing, then, to which we are treated is the blunder of an almanack as a reason why the title of the Ruler of 250,000,000 of people should be changed. And as though that were not sufficient to lower and degrade this subject and to make us think as meanly of it as he does himself, the right hon. Gentleman, not content with referring to the blunders of an almanack, puts before us as a further argument the blunders in children's school books. It certainly does not much matter to the right hon. Gentleman what sort of arguments he makes use of, because the result of the division on this question will remain unaffected by them. But the right hon. Gentleman owed it to the House, to himself, and to his own Party on this last occasion when this measure will be before us to supply us with some sort of reason for passing it, instead of mocking us with such miserable frivolity and drivelling. I now turn to a rather more serious subject. The right hon. Gentleman has got another reason which he has kept concealed during the whole of the debates on this question, and has not thought fit to produce till this, the last moment when it is obviously impossible that it could receive that discussion, and I may say that castigation, which I am sure the House would have given it earlier. What does the right hon. Gentleman say? He says that the Emperor of Russia is pushing into Central Asia, and says, with ridiculous exaggeration, that he is getting close to our territories in India; and he further says that because the Emperor of Russia is so near to us, and because the Natives of India know that we are in so dangerous and so critical a situation, we, who have ruled India for 100 years, are in a panic of terror to alter the name of Queen to that of Empress, in order that our Sovereign may be placed on terms of equality with the Emperor of Russia. ["No."] That is the language we hear. I gave, most unintentionally, great offence to the House the other night by suggesting that the time might come when we may lose India. I regret what I then said; but, at the same time, I said what was only relevant to the case and was expressing my own conviction. It is my conviction that it is possible that we may at some time lose India. ["Oh, oh!"] I do not wish to force that conviction upon the House, though I believe I am justified in entertaining it. But look at the effect of what the right hon. Gentleman has said. He does not say anything about our losing India, but he tells us that our position in India is so critical, is so threatened, on our northern frontier by the overwhelming power of the Emperor of Russia, that we must actually take the extraordinary step of altering the title of the Sovereign in order to place ourselves upon an equality with Russia. Is that language calculated to insure our hold upon India? I hope the Natives of that country will read all the debates that have been held on this subject, and then they will not mind what the right hon. Gentleman says. But, taken alone, what effect must the language of the right hon. Gentleman necessarily have upon the minds of the Natives of India? It must make the Natives believe that we foresee some tremendous danger, of which they do not as yet know anything, and to create such a feeling in that country is probably to do the greatest dis-service that can be done to the permanence of our Government in India. I am very sorry to have troubled the House onthis occasion; but I could not allow such a statement as that made by the right hon. Gentleman to pass without making my earnest protest against it. I most bitterly regret that the right hon. Gentleman reserved such an argument as that to this moment, when the House is not able to criticize it and by a large and preponderating number of protests to do away with the effect of this last and most mischievous development of a series of so-called arguments with which the House of Commons has been mocked and tantalized during the whole course of these debates.

Question put.

The House divided:—Ayes 209; Noes 134: Majority 75.

Adderley, rt. hn. Sir C. Gallwey, Sir W. P.
Alexander, Colonel Gardner, J. T. Agg-
Allsopp, H. Garnier, J. C.
Anstruther, Sir W. Gilpin, Sir R. T.
Arkwright, A. P. Goldney, G.
Ashbury, J. L. Gooch, Sir D.
Assheton, R. Gordon, rt. hon. E. S.
Baring, T. C. Gordon, W.
Barrington, Viscount Gore, W. R. O.
Barttelot, Sir W. B. Gorst, J. E.
Bates, E. Grantham, W.
Bathurst, A. A. Greenall, Sir G.
Beach, rt. hn. Sir M.H. Gregory, G. B.
Beach, W. W. B. Hamilton, Lord C. J.
Bentinck, rt. hn. G. C. Hamilton, I. T.
Beresford, Colonel M. Hamilton, Lord G.
Blackburne, Col. J. I. Hamilton, hon. R. B.
Bourke, hon. R. Hamond, C. F.
Bousfield, Major Hanbury, R. W.
Bowyer, Sir G. Hardy, rt. hon. G.
Bright, R. Harvey, Sir R. B.
Brise, Colonel R. Heath, R.
Brooks, M. Hervey, Lord F.
Bruce, hon. T. Heygate, W. U.
Buxton, Sir R. J. Hick, J.
Callan, P. Hildyard, T. B. T.
Cameron, D. Hinchingbrook, Visct.
Cartwright, F. Hogg, Sir J. M.
Cave, rt. hon. S. Holker, Sir J.
Cawley, C. E. Holmesdale, Viscount
Cecil, Lord E. H. B. G. Holt, J. M.
Chaplin, Colonel E. Home, Captain
Chapman, J. Hood, hon. Captain A. W. A. N.
Christie, W. L.
Clive, hon. Col. G. W. Hope, A. J. B. B.
Close, M. C. Hubbard, E.
Cobbett, J. M. Hubbard, rt. hon. J.
Cobbold, T. C. Hunt, rt. hon. G. W.
Cole, Col. hon. H. A. Jervis, Colonel
Coope, O. E. Johnstone, Sir F.
Corry, J. P. Johnstone, H.
Cotton, rt. hn. W. J. R. Jolliffe, hon. S.
Crichton, Viscount Jones, J.
Cross, rt. hon. R. A. Kennard, Colonel
Cubitt, G. Kennaway, Sir J. H.
Cuninghame, Sir W. Knowles, T.
Cust, H. C. Lawrence, Sir T.
Dalkeith, Earl of Lee, Major V.
Davenport, W. B. Legard, Sir C.
Deakin, J. H. Leigh, Lt.-Col. E.
Denison, C. B. Leighton, S.
Denison, W. B. Lindsay, Col. R. L.
Dick, F. Lindsay, Lord
Digby, hon. Capt. E. Lloyd, T. E.
Disraeli, rt. hon. B. Lopes, Sir M.
Eaton, H. W. Lowther, hon. W.
Edmonstone, Admiral Sir W. Lowther, J.
Lusk, Sir A.
Egerton, hon. A. F. Macartney, J. W. E.
Egerton, hon. W. Mac Iver, D.
Elcho, Lord Makins, Colonel
Elliot, Sir G. Manners, rt. hn. Lord J.
Elphinstone, SirJ.D.H. March, Earl of
Emlyn, Viscount Marten, A. G.
Eslington, Lord Mellor, T. W.
Fellowes, E. Mills, Sir C. H.
Fielden, J. Montgomerie, R.
Forester, C. T. W. Moore, S.
Forsyth, W. Mowbray, rt. hn. J. R.
Fraser, Sir W. A. Mulholland, J.
Freshfield, C. K. Naghten, Lt.-Col.
Nevill, C. W. Selwin-Ibbetaon, Sir H. J.
Neville-Grenville, R.
Newport, Viscount Shute, General
North, Colonel Simonds, W. B.
Northcote, rt. hon. Sir S. H. Smith, S. G.
Smith, W. H.
Onslow, D. Smollett, P. B.
Paget, R. H. Somerset, Lord H.R.C.
Palk, Sir L. Spinks, Mr. Serjeant
Parker, Lt.-Col. W. Stanhope, hon. E.
Pateshall, E. Stanhope, W. T. W. S.
Peek, Sir H. Stanley, hon. F.
Pell, A. Starkey, L. R.
Pemberton, E. L. Starkie, J. P. C.
Peploe, Major Stewart, M. J.
Percy, Earl Talbot, J. G.
Perkins, Sir F. Thornhill, T.
Pim, Captain B. Thwaites, D.
Plunket, hon. D. R. Thynne, Lord H. F.
Polhill-Turner, Capt. Tollemache, hon. W. F.
Praed, C. T. Torr, J.
Raikes, H. C. Twells, P.
Read, C. S. Verner, E. W.
Rendlesham, Lord Wait, W. K.
Ripley, H. W. Walker, T. E.
Rodwell, B. B. H. Wallace, Sir R.
Roebuck, J. A. Watney, J.
Round, J. Wilmot, Sir H.
Russell, Sir C. Wilmot, Sir J. E.
Ryder, G. R. Wolff, Sir H. D.
Sackville, S. G. S. Woodd, B. T.
Salt, T. Wyndham, hon. P.
Sanderson, T. K. Yeaman, J.
Sandon, Viscount Yorke, hon. E.
Sclater-Booth, rt.hn. G. TELLERS.
Scott, M. D. Dyke, Sir W.
Scourfield, Sir J. H. Winn, R.
Adam, rt. hon. W. P. Dodds, J.
Ashley, hon. E. M. Downing, M'C.
Barclay, J. W. Dunbar, J.
Bazley, Sir T. Earp, T.
Beaumont, Major F. Egerton, Adm. hon. F.
Beaumont, W. B. Ennis, N.
Biggar, J. G. Errington, G.
Blake, T. Fawcett, H.
Brassey, T. Ferguson, R.
Briggs, W. E. Fletcher, I.
Bright, J. Forster, Sir C.
Bright, rt. hon. J. Forster, rt. hon. W. E.
Brocklehurst, W. C. French, hon. C.
Brown, J. C. Gladstone, rt. hn. W. E.
Burt, T. Goldsmid, J.
Butt, I. Goschen, rt. hon. G. J.
Campbell, Sir G. Gourley, E. T.
Campbell-Bannerman, H. Gower, hon. E. F. L.
Grieve, J. J.
Cartwright, W. C. Harrison, C.
Cave, T. Hartington, Marq. of
Cavendish, Lord F. C. Havelock, Sir H.
Chadwick, D. Hodgson, K. D.
Clarke, J. C. Holms, J.
Colebrooke, Sir T. E. Holms, W.
Colman, J. J. Hopwood, C. H.
Cotes, C. C. Howard, hn. C. W. G.
Cross, J. K. James, Sir H.
Crossley, J. James, W. H.
Dease, E. Jenkins, D. J.
Dilke, Sir C. W. Jenkins, E.
Dillwyn, L. L. Kensington, Lord
Kinnaird, hon. A. F. Palmer, C. M.
Kirk, G. H. Parnell, C. S.
Laverton, A. Pease, J. W.
Law, rt. hon. H. Peel, A. W.
Lawson, Sir W. Pennington, F.
Leeman, G. Philips, R. N.
Lefevre, G. J. S. Playfair, rt. hon. L.
Leith, J. F. Plimsoll, S.
Locke, J. Potter, T. B.
Lowe, rt. hon. R. Power, J. O'C.
MacCarthy, J. G. Price, W. E.
Macdonald, A. Rathbone, W.
Macgregor, D. Reed, E. J.
Mackintosh, C. F. Richard, H.
M'Arthur, A. Shaw, W.
M'Arthur, W. Sherlock, Mr. Serjeant
M'Lagan, P. Sherriff, A. C.
Maitland, J. Simon, Mr. Serjeant
Marling, S. S. Stacpoole, W.
Martin, P. Stanton, A. J.
Meldon, C. H. Stuart, Colonel
Middleton, Sir A. E. Sullivan, A. M.
Milbank, F. A. Swanston, A.
Monk, C. J. Taylor, P. A.
Montagu, rt.hn.Lord R. Temple, rt. hon. W. Cowper-
Morley, S.
Mundella, A. J. Vivian, H. H.
Muntz, P. H. Ward, M. F.
Nolan, Captain Watkin, Sir E. W.
Norwood, C. M. Weguelin, T. M.
O'Byrne, W. R. Whitbread, S.
O'Callaghan, hon. W. Williams, W.
O'Conor Don, The Wilson, C.
O'Donoghue, The Young, A. W.
O'Loghlen, rt. hon. Sir C. M. TELLERS.
O'Reilly, M. W. Anderson, G.
O'Shaughnessy, R. Cowen, J.
O'Sullivan, W. H.

Bill read the third time, and passed.