HC Deb 01 May 1879 vol 245 cc1495-6

asked the Under Secretary of State for India, Whether the late action of Lord Lytton in remitting some of the Indian Cotton Duties was done with the knowledge and consent of Her Majesty's Government or of the Secretary of State for India?


Most undoubtedly, Sir. It was taken with the knowledge and approval of Her Majesty's Government.


In consequence of the answer I have received, I wish to give Notice that I will take the earliest opportunity of moving the following Resolutions:— That the action of Her Majesty's Government in causing or authorising the late reduction of the Indian Duties on Cotton Goods, without consulting the Council of India, is contrary to the Act for the better Government of India, which requires that every order or communication sent to India shall be submitted to the Members of the Council, excepting only in the case of urgency or the issue of orders such as might formerly be sent through the Secret Committee of the Court of Directors. That the action of Lord Lytton, as Governor General of India, in carrying into effect the reduction of Duties in opposition to the opinion of the Council of the Governor General is contrary to the true intent of the Laws, which confine the power of the Governor General, to overrule his Council, to measures whereby the safety, tranquillity, or interests of the British possessions in India are essentially affected. That, quite irrespective of the merits of the Cotton Duty question, the adoption of a measure of this kind in disregard both of the Council of India in this Country, and of the Council of the Governor General in India, amounts to setting aside altogether the safeguards provided by Parliament for the protection of the interests of India and the introduction of a new and unprecedented system of personal rule in regard to the affairs of that Country.