HC Deb 11 August 1881 vol 264 cc1526-8

asked the Secretary of State for India, Whether his attention has been called to an article in the July number of the "Statesman," entitled the "Restitution of Berar," and to the statements in that article as to the conduct of the ex-British Resident, Sir Richard Meade, in forcing on the Nizam's Minister, Sir Salar Jung, as his colleague in the Regency, one Vikar-ool-Omra, an alleged enemy of that Minister and of the British Government; and whether the Government can state the reasons which dictated that appointment; whether he has observed the narrative in the same article of the conduct of the said ex-British Resident in supporting alleged spoliations and violent proceedings of Vikar-ool-Omra since his appointment; and, whether he will cause a full inquiry to be made by independent persons into the facts alleged in this article?


, in reply, said, it was perfectly impossible for him to give anything like a complete answer to the statements contained in the article, which he had seen, and which related to a very complicated matter. It was written with the avowed object of advocating a restitution of Berar to the Nizam. It contained a series of most violent attacks upon the conduct of the Government of India during the whole of the present century, and, indeed, during the whole of the past century, towards the Government of the Nizam. With regard to the specific point referred to in the Question—the conduct of the ex-British Resident, Sir Richard Meade, in the appointment of the Nawab Vikar-ool-Omra as co-Regent with Salar Jung, that appointment was made, not by Sir Richard Meade, but by the Government of India, whose proceedings were approved by the Secretary of State at the time. It was impossible for him to enter into an account of the reason of the appointment, which was the subject of a very full Report; but he might briefly say that the main object was to adhere to the spirit of the arrangement which was come to in 1869, he thought, when it was decided to associate with the Regent, who was a very distinguished representative of the official classes at Hyderabad—a representative of the Hyderabad nobility. Whether what was done was done rightly or wrongly, it was done undoubtedly by Sir Richard Meade, but not upon his responsibility, and he could not be held personally responsible for it. With regard to the alleged spoliations and violent proceedings of the Nawab Vikar-ool-Omra since his appointment, those allegations appeared to be made entirely on the foundation of a Memorial which had been presented to the Indian Government by nephews of Vikar-ool-Omra. He had never seen the Memorial. It was, no doubt, in the possession of the Government of India, and the Government of India would, if necessary, make a Report upon it. The article contained imputations which were very grave on the character of the ex-British Resident, Sir Richard Meade. It charged him, in a manner scarcely disguised, with misconduct and actual corruption. Sir Richard Meade was a very distinguished officer, and hitherto of unblemished character. He was at present on leave, and had, practically, retired from the Indian Service. He was on the Continent, and this article had only just reached him. He had heard from him on the subject. He said that many of the statements contained in the article were falsehoods, and that others were gross misrepresentations. With regard to the charges against himself, he said he thought his proper course would be to place himself in the hands of the Government of India, desiring them to take such steps as they might deem proper to ascertain what grounds there were for the imputations that had been made against him. He had accordingly addressed the Government of India. It would be highly improper for him (the Marquess of Hartington) to take any steps in the matter until he knew what the views of the Government of India on the subject were.


remarked, that the affairs of Hyderabad were very complicated, and very few individuals were acquainted with them; and he therefore begged the noble Marquess that Papers be laid before the House giving a distinct statement of the whole transaction since 1854 relating to the Berar and Raichore Doab territories temporarily handed over to the care of the Indian Government. It was equally for the honour of the country and of individuals that this should be done, and the bad practice of concealment departed from.


said, it was impossible for him, without Notice, to say what Papers could be laid on the Table. There were a great many Papers; but many of them were of so extremely confidential a character that he had no hesitation in saying it would be impossible to lay them on the Table.