§ MR. GIBSON
, in rising to call attention to the grievances of the East Indian Medical Service, and to move—That the condition of the East Indian Medical Service calls for the early attention of Her Majesty's Government, and this House trusts that steps will soon be taken to lessen the block in promotion and the disappointment at the methods of employment and pay which exist in its ranks,said, that the subject which he desired very strongly to bring before the notice of the House was one of deep interest, not only to those directly concerned, but was likewise regarded with great sympathy by many other classes in the United Kingdom. The Questions which, from time to time, during the last two or three Sessions, had been asked of the hon. Gentleman the Under Secretary of State for India (Mr. J. K. Cross), indicated that that interest had found a very substantial outlet in that House. His (Mr. Gibson's) Motion was framed in no carping or acrimonious spirit, and he should endeavour to present, as temperately and concisely as he could, the complaints of the persons concerned. Many hon. Members sitting in different parts of the House held the same views as he did on this question, and he was sure it was the anxious desire of the Under Secretary of State for India to listen fairly and carefully to the different statements which would be made; and he hoped the hon. Gentleman would indicate, in his speech, that he would communicate what was said in the debate both to the Secretary of State and to the Viceroy, and that he would endeavour, as far as was consistent with his duty, to have the matter put in train for further and fuller consideration. The Indian Medical Ser- 1618 vice was an important one, with a distinguished and interesting history; and it could not be regarded as satisfactory that any great Public Service, such as it undoubtedly was, should find itself agitated and disturbed by a keen feeling that it had not been justly dealt with. The Service could, unquestionably, stand any amount of criticism and examination. It had been long before the public, and it had in its ranks now, and had had in the past, many most eminent and distinguished men. By its conduct in times of cholera, pestilence, and war, and upon every occasion when it had been put to the test, it had merited the gratitude and recognition of all who took an interest in the good administration of such a Service. The grievances of the Indian Medical Service must be looked at from two points of view, in one sense independent, but in another and broader sense closely connected—first, in connection with the position and grievances of the senior officers; and, secondly, in connection with the grievances and disappointments which were experienced by the junior members of the Service. As regarded most of the former, the Act of Parliament which transferred them to the Crown when their country took over the Government of India was, he contended, equivalent to a Charter. The senior officers were, of course, not a very large class; and their position could be dealt with easily by a little tact, good sense, and discretion, in a way that would be a relief, not only to them, but also to their juniors, and, what was very rare in such cases, be at the same time for the benefit of the Treasury. The seniors complained that, by the abolition of administrative appointments, which existed and were proportionate to the strength of the Service when they entered it, their position had been damnified, and that they had been injured by the violation of rights and privileges which were guaranteed to the Service at the time they entered it under the Government of India Act. From the 56th section of that Act, to which he would call the attention of hon. Members, it was evident that it conferred upon all medical officers previously serving in India a right not to have their position injuriously affected by or after the transfer of the Indian Government to the Crown, but a claim not only to fair play, but to generous consideration. 1619 In 1857 there were 432 officers in the Bengal Medical Service, and 15 administrative medical appointments; and, at the present time, those numbers had fallen to 342 and 10; in other words, the strength of the whole Service had decreased 20 per cent, and the number of administrative appointments had been diminished by 33 per cent. He made no charges against the Government; but he wished simply to state facts, and indicate that, as public servants, the rights of these officers should not be altered to their detriment, without giving them an opportunity of legitimate retirement on reasonable and fair terms. Nothing whatever had taken place to mitigate the disastrous effects of the change he had described; and unless the Government did something in that direction, these senior officers must continue in the discharge of subordinate duties until they were compelled by age to retire, and then on very inadequate pensions. The Indian Medical Service was, essentially, under the Company, a seniority Service, tempered, of course, by the right of passing by any officer who might be disqualified by incapacity or misconduct. He was informed that, since 1880, the Government had several times set aside that practice, and some of the appointments that had been made had had a serious effect to the detriment of senior officers of proved capacity and tried efficiency who had been previously in the service of the Company. Another rule of the Service was, that an officer who declined promotion would be permanently passed over. Promotion carried with it not only rank, but increased pay, and, when an officer retired, the right of an extra pension of £250 or £350 per annum. If, therefore, senior officers were deprived of their chances of high promotion, and at the same time not offered reasonable terms of fair retirement, their position was a serious one. There would really be a great waste of strength and power, as they would have officers of great experience drawing comparatively high salaries discharging duties which should fall to the lot of junior officers. That was so in this case, for many of these officers, after years of service which had entitled them to high administrative positions, were still discharging duties which surgeons of five or six years' service under the Crown would be perfectly competent to discharge; and 1620 the junior surgeons were relegated to uncertain and anomalous positions with disappointing status and inadequate pay. The consequence was, there was a feeling of intense discontent in the junior branch of the Medical Service, which the Government ought not to disregard. At one time the Service had been exceedingly popular; but the reason it was so was because distinct inducements were held out to the Medical Schools of the United Kingdom, in the most official and formal way, by the Government of the Crown to send their young men to India. A Government Circular was issued which gave candidates official information with reference to the competitions, and that Circular gave a list of all the higher offices of the Indian Medical Service as baits of what these young men might expect to rise to in time. They naturally read the Circular in the way in which any ordinary man of intelligence would read it, and it could not be wondered that acute disappointment was felt, when they found that the words of the Circular were given an entirely different construction to once they had entered the Service. Another Circular, which he had in his hand, contained these words—A medical officer will, however employed, be restricted to the rate of pay laid down in paragraph 12 until he shall have passed the examination in Hindustani known as the Lower Standard.Did not that clearly convey that a medical officer who had passed the examination in Hindustani would not be restricted to the pay laid down in paragraph 12, and that he was to receive the higher rate of pay? [Mr. J. K. CROSS dissented.] The hon. Gentleman shook his head. Under Secretaries of State always did shake their heads—shaking their heads was more or less a part of their business. But his construction of that Circular was confirmed by the Circular which had been presented to that House a few months ago. The meaning of the paragraph was, that unemployed pay in the Indian Medical Service was to be temporary and exceptional, and that employed pay was to be the rule. But the actual fact was, that it appeared by the Bengal Army List of January, 1883, that out of the 42 gentlemen who had passed the Lower Standard in the last six examinations in Hindustani, not one had obtained permanent regimental employment, while 1621 only 25 were receiving employed pay. Was not that keeping the promise to the ear, and breaking it to the hope? It was a very serious state of facts; and, obviously, if a Service was administered in this way, it must sooner or later break down. He might refer to the case of a young gentleman who had attained the highest possible University honours, who had entered the Indian Medical Service in the hope of obtaining immediate high pay, but who had now been in India for two years, and had had professional duties of the highest importance to discharge, and yet who was merely receiving unemployed pay, which was far below that received by the youngest subaltern in the Service. Would it be believed that during Sir Frederick Roberts's Campaign, numbers of men in the Indian Medical Service, who had sacrificed their lives in the field, or in the hospitals, and who had been wounded, were technically regarded, and had been actually paid as unemployed men! Such a system was farcical. It was painful to think that there was only too much ground for the allegation, that the members of the Indian Medical Service were worse paid than any European commissioned officers in the Indian Army. It was not satisfactory to find that a veterinary surgeon with less than five years' Government service, was paid a fixed salary of not less than 377 rupees a-month; while the Indian medical officer of the same service, a man of high ability and great qualifications, might, in a number of cases, be paid only 286 rupees a-month. It was said that there was a new Memorandum, a very long and tiresome document, stating the conditions of service without ambiguity, which the India Office would not call a new Memorandum, because they disliked calling anything by its real name. Well, this new Memorandum might be a good warning for the future, but it could not undo the past. What was the remedy for all these serious difficulties? It was not for him to indicate a remedy, except with great humility and considerable hesitation. He pointed out, what no one could gainsay—namely, that there was at present enormous dissatisfaction and discontent, together with a sense of injury, in the Indian Medical Service, and it behoved them all to attempt by some means to get rid of it. It was not, as 1622 he had said, for him to suggest a remedy; but he was told that some plan of retiring the old officers, who belonged to a former regimé, would contribute very largely to the solution of the difficulty, and that a plan, fair and just to seniors, juniors, and the Treasury, could with case be sketched. He held such a plan in his hand, which worked out figures plainly, showing that after payment of adequate pensions to senior surgeons there would be a great annual public saving. It might also be advantageously considered whether the system of unemployed pay could not be put on something like a rational basis. Perhaps it might be said—"If these gentlemen are dissatisfied, there are lots of men ready to come in." That, however, was no answer at all. It could be said with as much force of any other branch of the Public Service. If we got the services of first-rate men from the best Medical Schools, by virtue of public representations and statements, we were bound, in the interest of the Public Service, to maintain our honour and to keep our word. He hoped he had not said anything of an intemperate or exaggerated character. That was not in the smallest degree a Party question. It was a question which he might fairly ask hon. Gentlemen to judge from a fair and a reasonable standpoint. He sincerely hoped, and, indeed, he had confidence, that his hon. Friend the Under Secretary of State for India would weigh very carefully everything which would be said in the course of this discussion, and that he would, as far as he could, see that all these topics were put into a train for further inquiry, if, indeed, he did not know all about them at present, and that he would take care that he, the Secretary of State for India, and the Viceroy, should, as soon as they could, apply a remedy which would improve this important branch of the Public Service. The right hon. and learned Gentleman concluded by moving the Resolution of which he had given Notice.
§ SIR LYON PLAYFAIR
My right hon. and learned Friend (Mr. Gibson) has so clearly stated the case for the medical officers of the Indian Army that very few words from me will suffice in the present debate. I admit, at once, that it requires a very strong case indeed to justify Parliamentary interference between any Public Service and the 1623 Executive Government. When men have entered a Service, with a full knowledge of the conditions of that Service, any subsequent discontent which may arise is, in my opinion, a matter between them and the Executive; while the intervention of Parliament is generally inexpedient, and dangerous to public interests. But this is not a case of that kind. The Medical Service in India has, in times past, been of such a high character, that it has secured the flower of young medical men from all the great Medical Schools in each part of the United Kingdom, and the result has abuntantly justified the liberal terms which secured this selection. The Indian Medical Service can boast of names which are familiar in all lands for the advance which has been made in science, in public health, in medicine, and in surgery. Names such as Falconer, M'Clelland, Martin, Royle, Wallich, Murchison, Mouat. Fayrer, Cunningham, and, if I might be allowed to add, relatives of my own name, are still held in honour in the country which they served. The traditions of that Service entice into it the pick of the young medical men. What, then, has arisen to render those who have recently joined so profoundly discontented? The conditions of their Service may not be so favourable as they once were; but that circumstance would form no reason for Parliamentary interference, if they entered it with a full knowledge of the changed conditions. But that is not the case. My right hon. and learned Friend has clearly shown that, in any fair interpretation of these conditions, the candidates have been deceived. When a man is told that he goes out with less than £28 a-month till he passes a lower examination in Hindustani and until he is professionally employed, he has no grievance; but when he is further told that, when he has passed that examination and is professionally employed, he will receive £40 a-month, no casuistry can persuade him that the professional employment is so extremely limited in character that he cannot expect to receive it for five or six years, when, as a fact, he is doing professional work of an arduous character all that time. Let me give two instances of this. One medical officer, whom I know, goes out and passes his language examination. He receives 286 rupees a-month. He is sent 1624 to Egypt with the Indian Contingent, but is informed that he is unemployed, and still remains at the same rate. He is sent again to Egypt last year, during cholera; but he is still "officially unemployed," and receives the pay of an unemployed surgeon. I give another case. Another of my correspondents has been five years in the Service. He is sent to a British station hospital, to acquire knowledge which he got at Netley, and is paid 286 rupees a-month. He is then sent on an escort of British troops; but that is not official employment, so his pay remains the same. He is then attached as a supernumerary to a Native regiment, with no increase of pay. He then is put in charge of a wing of another regiment; but the pay continues at 286 rupees a-month. Then he is put in charge of another regiment, and is raised to 304 rupees, or, after five years' active service, he gets 18 rupees more, all on the fiction that during that time he was unemployed. Now, no official fiction in regard to the word "employment" can satisfy a doctor who was given to understand that full employment was to carry 400 rupees a-month, that he is not unjustly treated when he is really working hard in his profession all that time. The Indian medical officer finds that the general medical officer of the British Army is better treated than he is. The Indian officer has entered by higher qualifications; and yet he finds the medical officers of the British Service, sent for a short period to India, receiving higher pay than himself. The Indian officer is sent to serve in station hospitals, where his less qualified brother in medicine is his superior. As Professor MacLean, of Netley, puts it very clearly—To place Indian medical officers in a position subordinate to those of the British Service is, to put it shortly and in all its naked absurdity, simply to put inferiors over their superiors.I contend that no such profound discontent would have arisen had the terms of their appointment not misled the medical officers as to their future position. The Service may be overstocked, but that is the fault of the Government. The senior medical officers complain also that their promotion is much slower than before, and, of course, this ultimately will affect the juniors. How do we meet such cases at homo? I had the honour to be President of a Commission for re- 1625 organizing the Civil Service. We found many of the offices overstocked with high-paid clerks who stopped promotion. We recommended their reduction on liberal pensions; and that step, though at first a costly process, soon proved a great economy to the Public Service. But I will not go further into the detailed grievances which have been so well explained by the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for the Dublin University. I would, however, entreat my hon. Friend the Under Secretary of State for India to use his best efforts to lessen the profound discontent which prevails throughout both the junior and senior divisions of the Medical Service. The efficiency of that Service has vastly aided the Government of India. The mortality among our troops was at one time terrific. The improvements in public health, introduced by a skilled Medical Service, have produced vast economies in our Indian Government. You cannot keep up that efficiency without tempting the best men to enter the Service. I hope this debate will show the Under Secretary of State that he must take prompt steps to allay the discontent in India. It is in this hope, and with this conviction, that I would urge my right hon. and learned Friend not to divide. A negative result, even with the large minority which we should have, would be mistaken in India; though I think the debate will prove the strong desire of this House that the anomalies and obstacles which are now so patent in the Indian Medical Service should be removed by the Indian Government. My hon. Friend (Mr. J. K. Cross) must not rely on the fact that there are numerous candidates for each vacancy. There will always be a crowd of young men starting into life, to whom £28 a-month will be a temptation. But if he desires to sustain the character of the Indian Medical Service, he must give such terms as will secure the highest class of candidates. While the present discontent prevails, he cannot expect that he can obtain them, and the lowering of the standard would be a disaster to the Indian Empire.
To leave out from the word "That" to the end of the Question, in order to add the words "the condition of the East Indian Medical Service calls for the early attention of Her Majesty's
Government, and this House trusts that steps will soon be taken to lessen the block in promotion and the disappointment at the methods of employment and pay which exist in its ranks,"—(Mr. Gibson,)
§ Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."
SIR TREVOR LAWRENCE
said, he was able, from his own experience in the Indian Service, to give strong testimony to the justice of the cause which had been so ably advocated by his right hon. and learned Friend (Mr. Gibson) and by the right hon. Gentleman opposite (Sir Lyon Playfair). At the time when he was in India, the administrative appointments in the upper branches of the Service were almost invariably given by seniority; and, unless a man had proved himself incompetent, he was rarely passed over. Now, when men got up to a certain height, there they stopped. There was no possibility of more than a limited number getting any further; and the number of administrative appointments, previously very small, had been considerably reduced. He knew the case of a man who had retired disappointed and almost broken-hearted. From his own experience he knew that, in former times, medical officers were not long in the Indian Service before they received employed pay—in his own case the period was only six months; but now onerous and important duties were discharged, and yet, by an extraordinary fiction, the men who discharged them were said to be unemployed. The efficiency of the Service was proved by the fact that, practically, all the Indian troops who went to Egypt were taken back, except those who were killed or wounded in battle. Formerly, many important and valuable appointments were open to members of the Service, and these were an inducement to medical men to enter it. Since then the pay had been reduced, although the expenses of living had increased; and so, from every point of view, the conditions of the Service were worse than they had been. When it was suggested that the appointments were put up to open competition, he urged that candidates should know absolutely the condition of affairs, and be made aware of the number of officers at present unemployed. While acquit 1627 ting the India Office of anything like the imputation of taking these young men into the Service under false pretences, he could not disguise that this feeling might find expression among the medical officers themselves; and we certainly should not get picked men as we used to do. He had received numerous letters, and had had several personal interviews with members of the Indian Medical Service, and he believed that there was, undoubtedly, a very keen feeling of disappointment and dissatisfaction among all ranks, seniors and juniors alike, and he hoped the hon. Gentleman the Under Secretary of State for India (Mr. J. K. Cross) would be able to restore to the Service some of its ancient prestige and satisfaction.
§ MR. J. K. CROSS
said, the members of the Indian Medical Service were to be congratulated on the ability and moderation with which their case had been stated. The right hon. and learned Gentleman opposite (Mr. Gibson) had spoken of the great reduction in the number of administrative appointments; but he surely did not mean to say that these appointments were ever, under any circumstances, guaranteed to the Service as a whole, in the numbers at which they were at the time of the transfer of the Indian Company to the Crown? The right hon. and learned Gentleman also spoke of reductions of from 10 to 15 per cent as a grievance. Surely, it could not be a grievance if, from the changes in the Service from one year to another, it was found necessary to reduce the administrative appointments. That being so, he could not see that the Medical Service had any right to object; and, certainly, the diminution could not be a grievance to those who had entered the Service since the appointments were abolished. He had already explained, in answer to Questions, that it was not at all a new thing that there were unemployed officers of the Indian Medical Service. He had stated that it was necessary to retain a Reserve of surgeons in excess of the bare number required to fill all the necessary posts in time of peace. Spare men were wanted—a small number, in case of unforeseen contingencies, and a larger number, to do the work of those surgeons who were absent on furlough. The nature of the Reserve was explained in the Indian Medical Blue Book of 1881. It was there stated that 1628 the ideal Medical Establishment consisted of 542 appointments, and a Reserve—calculated at 25 percent—of 131, making a total of 673. Of the Reserve, about 100 would be, it was assumed, holding officiating appointments. The balance would consist of the juniors of the Department, who were not supposed to rise above unemployed pay for the first two years of their service. It was impossible to recruit the Department in such a manner that the Reserve should never be bigger than was necessary at the moment. Deaths and retirements necessarily varied from year to year, and so did the number of officers who went on furlough. Besides these, which were causes over which it was impossible to have control, the Department was now over-manned, owing to the large drafts which had to be made into it during the Afghan War. At the last seven half-yearly examinations, 46 appointments had been given. In the year 1880 alone, 49 appointments were made. The result of that reduction of the yearly appointments was now beginning to tell. The actual number at present drawing unemployed pay was hardly greater than it was 10 years ago—namely, 63, as against 57. During the last three years, only 36 appointments had been made; while the retirements in 1882 and 1833 were 56, and probably would be 76 by the end of the year. But, before proceeding further, he would call the attention of the House to the actual number of officers for whom relief was claimed; and in connection with the point, he must say that it was entirely a mistaken notion to suppose that many of the officers appointed some years ago were still only drawing unemployed pay. Of the whole Medical Service of India, 126 had been appointed within the last five years, of whom only 52 remained on unemployed pay on the 1st of March last; and of that number, six had since then been promoted from the category of unemployed officers, and 20 were under two years' service, which was the length of time laid down in the Blue Book, C. 2,921, of 1881, before which an officer could not expect to rise above unemployed pay. The agitation, therefore, appeared to be, so far as India was concerned, on behalf of 26 gentlemen only, out of the whole Medical Service of upwards of 600, who would receive appointments, however, in the course of a year or so if retirements 1629 continued at the average of the last 10 years, which was 31, or even at the average of the last five years, which was 29. That candidates were not deterred from joining the Department by the length of time for which they must continue in the "unemployed pay" stage was proved by the fact that, at the last examination, when 25 candidates presented themselves to compete for five appointments, all came up to the qualifying standard. A charge of bad faith had been brought against the India Office for not fulfilling the conditions of the Memorandum which was issued to candidates for the Service, and which had been laid upon the Table of the House. His right hon. and learned Friend had made use of some rather strong language in connection with that Memorandum; and therefore he (Mr. J. K. Cross) might be permitted to say that he had had the various editions of that Memorandum, which had been published since 1866, printed in such a form as to show clearly any alteration which had been made in the terms of the Memorandum. The Paragraphs on which the charge of bad faith was founded, were at Pages 10 and 17 of the Memorandum, under the head "Pay and Allowances." Hon. Members would see that the same form had been adopted since 1866 till September last year, when, in consequence of the representations made to him in the form of Questions in that House, the advertisement was amplified. He would first discuss the terms of the Memorandum as it was issued before September, 1883, and he must observe that, although the Memorandum had been issued substantially in the same form since 1866, no complaint that it was misleading or inaccurate was made till last year. Here was a document so faulty, that a demand for redress was based on it; and yet, for 17 years, it had been accepted without remark. Paragraph 14 of the chapter on "Pay and Allowances," as it was issued before September, 1883, ran as follows:—Officers who may hereafter be appointed to the India Medical Service will receive pay in India according to the following scale:—The pay of a surgeon of six years' service is 329 rupees monthly; five years' service, 304 rupees monthly; and less than five years' service, 286 rupees monthly.Paragraph 15 explained at what date payment of a surgeon's salary was to begin. Paragraph 16 was as follows:— 1630The salaries of the principal administrative and military appointments are fixed at the following consolidated sums:—The pay of a surgeon above five years' full-pay service in charge of a Native regiment is 600 rupees monthly, with horse allowance in the Cavalry; under five years, 450 rupees monthly, with horse allowance in the Cavalry.Paragraph 14 laid down the scale at which officers were to be paid on first appointment — namely, at 286 rupees monthly; and Paragraph 16 stated the salaries of the principal appointments, the lowest of which, the charge of a Native regiment, was paid for a surgeon under five years' service at 450 rupees monthly. Paragraph 19, the crucial, the vital paragraph, on which the grievances of which so much had been heard were founded, was as follows:—A medical officer will, however employed, be restricted to the rate of pay laid down in paragraph 14 until he shall have passed the examination in Hindustani, known as the 'Lower Standard.'Now, what did these words mean? Obviously, that an officer who had obtained one of the principal appointments mentioned in Paragraph 16, would not draw an increase of pay, unless he had passed the examination in languages. The surgeons, on the other hand, contended that the obvious meaning of these words was that, as soon as anyone had passed the examination in languages, he was guaranteed promotion to the rates of pay reserved in Paragraph 16 to the principal appointments in the Department. The words "however employed" were construed into a pledge that employment should be given of that particular kind which was specified in Paragraph 16 as alone carrying the higher rates of pay. He defied any rational person to say that he believed that the natural meaning of Paragraph 19 was that, as soon as a surgeon had passed the examination in languages, he was to be promoted to one of the principal appointments mentioned in Paragraph 16. A pamphlet which had been issued by some of the Medical Profession contained statements of the most misleading character. The pamphleteer, in quoting the chapter of "Pay and Allowances," very sensibly omitted Paragraph 14, and began with Paragraph 16. He (Mr. J. K. Cross) would not dwell any longer on that subject, except to say that, in the edition of the Memorandum issued last September, the wording of the 1631 Paragraph had been changed. He confessed that the alteration was rather a work of supererogation. The other change introduced into the Memorandum of September was, to explain that there were intermediate rates of pay between those laid down in Paragraphs 14 and 16. When a surgeon in charge of a regiment went on leave, his vacancy was filled by an officer who was said to officiate for him. The officiating officer did not draw the full pay of the officer whose place he filled, but only a certain proportion of it. The reason why the same rate was not given to both officers was an economical one, as without some such rule as this the financial burden of furloughs would be too great. The same rules as to officiating pay obtained in the Civil Service, and it was accepted throughout all the branches of the Indian Service. Indeed, without it, the system of furlough which prevailed in India could not be maintained except at a most extravagant cost. The surgeons had complained that when appointed to officiating charges, they did not receive the rates laid down in Paragraph 16, but only the proportion fixed for officiating officers. The mistake was a natural one to anyone unacquainted with the practical working of the Indian system; but, as he had said, the system of officiating allowances—well known to every Indian civilian, but of which the surgeons might well have been ignorant on first joining—was accepted throughout the Service as being necessary to insure a liberal allowance of furlough. And the fact of officiating allowances being given in no way conflicted with the statements of the Memorandum, which did not, before the edition of September, make any notice of any but substantive appointments. The proper way to regard the officiating allowances was as being over and above, and in addition to, the rates laid down in Paragraph 16. He thought he had now disposed of the charges of inaccuracy brought against the Memorandum issued by the India Office. The terms of the Memorandum had been strictly fulfilled; and he was very sorry if those grants were disapproved, but most men had to wait on fortune at one time or another. It was true that, at the outset, the pay of the Indian medical officer contrasted disadvantageously with that of the British medical officer similarly 1632 employed. But, on the other hand, the prospects of the Indian officers were greatly superior. With respect to the higher ranks, there was, he understood, no question at all. But, taking the lower rank—namely, that of surgeon—he found that from the latest Bengal Army List that there were in that Presidency 100 officers of this rank in the British Service. Of these, 93 were under five years' service—that was, 93 per cent—and received 317 rupees a-month, with no extra allowance, except in the case of two, one of whom drew 447 rupees a-month, and the other 337 rupees. That was 91 per cent on the lowest rate of pay. In the Indian Service there were 173 surgeons, of whom 46 were under five years' service. Of these, 24 held substantive or acting appointments of from 360 rupees to 550 rupees a-month—that was, from 40 rupees to 240 rupees more than the British officer of similar standing. The remaining 22 received only 286 rupees, or 31 rupees less than British officers of similar standing. So that, even in the first five years of service, when the advantage was supposed to be altogether on the side of the British as compared with the Indian Service, more than one-half of the Indian officers were in a far better position than their brethren of the Army Medical Department; while the remainder, 22 in number, drew 286 rupees a-month, as against 317 rupees drawn by 91 out of 93 officers of the British Service. That was, 91 per cent of the English Medical Department drew lowest rates as against 13 per cent drawing lowest rates in the Bengal portion of the Indian Medical Department. It was later on, however, that the real advantage of the Indian Service appeared. For, while the British surgeon of from six to 12 years' service could not, except in a few trifling instances, draw more than 452 rupees a-month, the Indian officer was drawing from 492 rupees to upwards of 1,000 rupees. He must also point out that the Civil branch, with its salaries, should not be left out of sight in considering the position of the Indian Medical Service. So far as prizes were concerned, it was more important than the Military branch. For, of 151 surgeons drawing Staff salaries, 79 were drawing them in the Civil Departments; while, of the 131 surgeons major, 87 held Civil appointments, whose emoluments far 1633 exceeded in value those of the military appointments held by officers of the same standing. As regarded pensions, too, the prospects of the Indian Service were far better than those of the British; while the surgeons and many of the surgeons major of the latter had no claim to pensions, but were liable to discharge after 10, 15, or 18 years on gratuities of from £1,250 to £2,500—the Indian officer, after 17 years' Indian service, could retire on £292 a-year, or could claim to continue to serve for higher rates up to £700 a-year, with the prospect of further additional pension for service in administrative grade amounting to from £950 to £1,050; the highest pension attainable by corresponding administrative service in the British ranks being £730 a-year. Those who had served 17 years got £292; 20 years, £366; 25 years, £500; and 30 years, £700. These amounts were absolutely certain. If a man should become Deputy Surgeon General, he would get at 58 £950; if Surgeon General, £1,050; while the highest British medical pension was £730. So far, therefore, as the higher branches of the Service were concerned, he did not think the case had been made out. But he had a very considerable amount of sympathy with young surgeons who went out from this country, and had to spend a considerable number of years on small salaries without promotion. The remedy for that state of things was to reduce the numbers going out. But this, as he had explained, had already been done. The reductions were beginning to produce the desired effect, and they would be still further continued. But, even at present, comparing, as he had done, the position of the surgeons of the Indian Service, taken as a whole, with that of the surgeons of the British Service, he must say that there was no doubt that the Indian Service was out-and-out the best. The competition showed it, as he said before, in the rush for it. So far from the Service being unpopular, 21 candidates had applied for places, all of whom had qualified in the examination, and they seemed exceedingly anxious to enter, notwithstanding the block in promotion at the present time, and the great number of men employed in it. The grievance was one that prevailed in all the Services of the State, and he believed it prevailed in the whole of humanity. 1634 In France and Germany they were going so far as to say that no man ought to work after 56, not so much that he was unable as in order that he might be moved out of the way of younger men. On those Benches there were many "grave and reverend" seigniors who were not anxious to be pushed off to make way for younger men. The same was the case in the Military and Naval Services. His sympathy was with those young men who would in the future have to bear the brunt of the Medical Service in India; and if, consistently with duty, anything could be done for them, none would be more glad than himself. The statement put forward by his right hon. and learned Friend and others should certainly receive the utmost consideration. He was sorry that he could not accept the Resolution of his right hon. and learned Friend; but he should be very glad to bring before the Government of India the statement which he had made, in order that it might receive careful consideration.
§ MR. LEAMY
said, the hon. Gentleman the Under Secretary of State for India (Mr. J. K. Cross) had not answered all the charges made against the India Office in this matter; and he (Mr. Leamy) regretted to find the hon. Gentleman had not even made a promise respecting what was really a bitter grievance—namely, the travelling expenses of those members of the Service. Men, he said, might be ordered on employed stations; and, although they might have to travel 500 or 600 miles, and although that journey might mean the expenditure of three or four months' pay, they were allowed no travelling expenses. He really thought that was a grievance which the Government ought to undertake to remedy without delay. He was sorry to hear the hon. Gentleman characterize the pamphlet issued by the Indian Medical Service in the manner in which he had done. He (Mr. Leamy) refused to believe that a body of men of the high position of those filling positions in the Medical Service of India had issued a pamphlet of that character, or that they would enter into a conspiracy to put forth publications that were grossly unfair, or calculated to impose on the Members of that House who took an interest in their case. The medical men who went out to India were men of 1635 spirit and of ambition, such as the Government would wish to have in its service. It was impossible that their case could have been brought forward in a more clear and temperate manner than it had been by the right hon. and learned Gentleman who had introduced it (Mr. Gibson); and it would be hard if it did not receive the most serious consideration. The hon. Gentleman said that the members of the Service were not told that they might get the administrative appointments in India. Well, the fact that, in former years, they received more of those appointments than they did at present, ought certainly to entitle them to some improvement on the miserable unemployed pay they at present received. He should say that, when such grievances were brought forward there, it was a very hard thing that they would not receive some fairer consideration than such grievances had got at the hands of the hon. Gentleman.
§ DR. LYONS
said, he believed that the statement which had been made by the Under Secretary of State for India (Mr. J. K. Cross) would be received by the Medical Schools of this country with intense regret, and something like dismay. No case had ever been presented to that House with greater ability, or in a manner better adapted to bring it home to every impartial mind, than that contained in the speech of the right hon. and learned Gentleman opposite (Mr. Gibson); and the unsatisfactory answer which had been given to it by the Under Secretary of State could not fail to have a most injurious effect on the supply of men for the Indian Medical Service. He might remind the House that the country owed a large debt of obligation to that Department in India. Very able men had been drafted from the Medical Service of India into the general Service of that country; and some of the most distinguished servants of the Crown in India had been originally drawn from the Medical Department serving there. He would only cite the name of Dr. Cleghorn, who, at the inception of the Forest Service, had done so much to place that great branch of the Service of the State on the broad and secure basis on which it had now reached such success financially and otherwise. The Memorandum issued last year had been referred to; and, whatever a close and careful examination of that Memorandum 1636 might show, it was commonly known to those who became candidates only that they were to get a certain scale of pay on their going out to India; and after preparation, which occupied a considerable number of years, they were brought face to face with the fact that they were practically paid, when they went to India, about one-half, or even less than that, of what they had in all good faith contracted for when they took the position to which they proposed to devote their lives at an unusual degree of risk to their health and the sacrifice too often of their very existence. Knowing, as he did, what were the feelings of those who influenced and directed the class of young men who entered the Indian Medical Service, he said that a blow would at once be struck at the whole class who were in course of active preparation for that Service, that the area of supply would be henceforth restricted, and that they would no longer have the choice of the first intellects that devoted themselves to medicine for the service of the State in India. The higher class of young men who went into that Service were disappointed not only as to pay, but more especially at the condition of hopeless inactivity in which they had to remain two, three, four, five, and six years in India, with no definite employment, hanging on now and again at small temporary duties, but not launched on a career to which they could give their energies when young and fresh. They thus became tired and worn out, and entered on what he looked upon as most unfortunate for young men—namely, the career of grievance-mongering, and they could not help thinking of what they might have done if they had chosen other careers. He held in his hand a letter from one of the most gifted and most distinguished young men who ever entered the Public Service, and who was well known to many hon. Members of that House; and, for himself, he (Dr. Lyons) could only express his most sincere regret that he had ever had anything to do with inducing that young man to enter on a career of that kind, as either at the Bar, or in any other Public Department, he might ere now have commanded a first-class position. He had received a letter from him, in which he stated that the condition in which he was living was one of almost nomadic pauperism. What this 1637 young gentleman complained of most was, that he had no recognized duties to perform. He had not yet advanced on that career on which he had hoped to enter from the first; he was in a position in which he was neither going back nor forward; his energies were being wasted, and his fine intellect and enthusiasm dulled and blunted. The country, in a case like that, was losing the services of a man of the highest abilities, who would be competent to fill the highest position in the Department with high distinction to himself and great advantage to the State, were he placed in a condition to go forward, step by step, in his career. The hon. Gentleman who had spoken on behalf of the Government (Mr. J. K. Cross) had said that the matter would be taken into consideration; but he (Dr. Lyons) complained that for years the question had been under consideration, and nothing had yet come of it. He did not see why there should not be now, as formerly, means of utilizing the services of young men in the prime of life and endowed with high mental gifts in various collateral Departments in India; and he could not but believe that there were many avenues in which their talents might be utilized in an Empire of such magnitude, and where such strides in progress were being made. He regretted that these men had not been dealt with in a more generous spirit, because it did not take a great deal to satisfy them. While they naturally looked to the bettering of their pecuniary position, they were really more anxious to obtain some definite employment, some recognition of duties which they were doing for the State, and which would bring them forward and show the public what manner of men they were, and give them, at the same time, an opportunity which they so much desired of being promoted and winning distinction. He desired also to say a few words as to the senior officers of the Service, whose case was no less deserving of consideration by the House. The diminution in the number of superior administrative offices which had taken place recently arrested promotion in the higher grades, and this, in its turn, re-acted on the position and prospects of the juniors. It was also complained of that officers of longer service and superior claims had to serve under those who were their juniors in the 1638 Queen's Service. He trusted that immediate attention would be directed to these pressing questions by the India Office. The only effective remedy for dealing with the Medical Service was that which was applied to the Civil and Military Services—namely, the offer of favourable terms to induce the senior officers to retire, and thus make room for the juniors.
§ MR. PLUNKET
said, he had not heard, in his experience of the House, such a practical unanimity of opinion and feeling, from all quarters of the House, in support of the proposal brought forward by his right hon. and learned Colleague (Mr. Gibson); and although the hon. Gentleman the Under Secretary of State for India (Mr. J. K. Cross) had stated the case from the official point of view with great ability, he was sure the feeling of the House was that a case of great grievance and hardship had been established in regard to the members of the Indian Medical Service, and also as to the almost hopeless condition of their case as regarded promotion. A fallacy, it seemed to him, underlay the arguments of the hon. Gentleman the Under Secretary of State for India, when he compared the Indian Medical Service with the service of medical men in the English Army serving in India. He seemed to forget that, in one case, the officers had gone practically into exile from their own country; and, in the other case, the officers of the English Army took their turns of service in India and also at home. This, he thought, made an important difference. He did not agree with the hon. Member who had just spoken (Dr. Lyons) in two special points. In the first place, he (Mr. Plunket) was willing fully to accept, with the most complete confidence, the undertaking which had been given by the Under Secretary of State for India that he would inquire into this question, with the full intention on his part of doing justice; and he did not agree with the hon. Member for the City of Dublin when he said that, after this debate was over, all further opportunity of discussing the question had passed away. That was not the case. The position which his right hon. and learned Friend took up was this—while he was satisfied with the strong opinion which he had elicited from the House in favour of inquiry, and of remedying the 1639 grievances of those persons whose case he had brought forward; he, at the same time, wished it to be distinctly understood that while he accepted the assurances that had been given on the part of the Government so far as they went, the matter would be carefully watched, and unless something were done in the way of remedying the injustice of the grievances inflicted upon these officers, he should be prepared to bring their case forward again. For the present, therefore, he would be satisfied to allow the Motion to be negatived.
§ DR. FARQUHARSON
said, he wished to express a few words of sympathy with his medical brethren in India. Whatever had resulted from the discussion that evening, he thought it had been made out most emphatically to the satisfaction of the House that there was a very real discontent existing in the Indian Medical Service. As there was no smoke without fire, he believed there was some cause for this dissatisfaction, and there was no doubt that the Service was no longer as popular as it was in former years. He thought, therefore, that it was quite right that extra inducements should be held out to young men to go out, especially as it was quite evident that there had been a good deal of misconception as to the terms upon which men had entered the Service, many of them believing that after a service of two years in India they would be entitled to 400 rupees a-month. That misconception he was, however, glad to see would now be removed. He did not see why the unmeaning term "unemployed pay" should not be abolished. It was something like the old term of non-combatant applied to an Army surgeon, who often risked his life, and lost it, without being entitled to the compensation received by military officers. He thought some general arrangement should be made by which this anomaly would be removed, by which pay might be given for admitted employment on different scales. He also thought that a small but very important grievance, referring to travelling expenses, which the hon. Member for Waterford (Mr. Leamy) brought under the notice of the House, ought to be remedied. There was no doubt that medical officers would in future know what to expect; but whether the best class of men would be induced to join the Service or not was 1640 doubtful. The present discussion would be of great service if it only induced his hon. Friend (Mr. J. K. Cross) to look into the case and try to remove some of the grievances that existed.
§ MR. HEALY
said, that, in his opinion, the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for the University of Dublin (Mr. Gibson) had done very good service in calling attention to this matter. He thought that the rancorous reference made by the hon. Gentleman the Under Secretary of State for India (Mr. J. K. Cross) to the pamphlets that had been issued on this subject might, no doubt, be explained by the tone in which the India Office was referred to in this pamphlet. The hon. Gentleman might think that he had made a very satisfactory statement from the official point of view; but the hon. Member must be aware that there was a large body of hon. Members of all Parties and of the three nationalities who thought that these gentlemen had a hard case, and that it ought to be remedied. He thought it was no answer whatever to say that these medical gentlemen were a very small body of men, and that therefore their claim was not urgent. As to the question of unemployed pay, he strongly approved of the observations of the hon. Member for West Aberdeenshire (Dr. Farquharson), suggesting the abolition of the term. He thought it was a stigma on the India Office that a man in the Medical Service of India could go through a whole Afghan campaign, get wounded, or, perhaps, get shot, or that he should have to face death by the bedside of a cholera patient, and yet be told that he was not employed. It was monstrous and absurd; and the Government, if it did not remove the monetary grievance, might, for its own sake, remove this verbal one. He believed that the right hon. and learned Gentleman (Mr. Gibson) did not intend to go to a Division; but he thought that it would be as well if the House could express its opinion in that way. He scarcely thought these medical gentlemen had been fairly treated; and, therefore, if a Division were taken, he should certainly support the right hon. and learned Gentleman.
§ Question, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question," put, and agreed to.1641
§ Question again proposed, "That Mr. Speaker do now leave the Chair."