§ Order for Committee read.
§ *THE UNDERSECRETARY OFSTATE FOR INDIA (Mr. BUCHANAN,) Perthshire, E.
The Motion that you, Sir, now leave the Chair opens the whole subject of India and its condition. In the scope of a single speech or a single evening it is impossible to cover more than a part of the ground, and I shall, therefore, have to ask the indulgence of the House for the omission of many matters. There is undoubtedly a good deal that is disquieting in the political feeling in parts of India at the present moment, on which I shall have something to say later on. But there is a bright side of the picture also, and the bright side occupies by far the greater part of the canvas. On the financial and economic side I think we can give a good account of the state of India at the present moment. After all, this is primarily and pre-eminently a financial Resolution and a financial debate. In accordance with the obligation put upon us by statute, we lay the accounts for the revenue and expenditure of India on the Table of the House. The accounts submitted embrace three years—the accounts for the year ended March, 1907, the revised Estimate, for the year ended March, 1908, and the Budget Estimates of the current year. With regard to the closed 114 account of 1907, we have a realised surplus of £1,500,000. With regard to the revised Estimates for the year ended March this year, we have a revised estimated surplus of £235,000. I am glad to say that is on the upward move. Our latest news from India leads us to anticipate with a good deal of confidence that that surplus will be more than doubled, and that we shall have about half a million of surplus on the year just ended. With regard to the current year, the Estimate is the Budget Estimate, and subject to all the possible circumstances that may arise, and to the various causes, climatic, political, and other which may bring about some change in the course of the year. We estimate we shall have a surplus of £500,000. These figures as a whole are satisfactory, and they are still more satisfactory if we take a somewhat wider view and recollect that they follow upon continuous surpluses for a considerable number of years past. Therefore if the House will allow me I will deal with the accounts not merely of the last year or two, but of the last five or six years. We have to acknowledge in fairness to the Government of India that they have been able to show these continuous surpluses after bearing the full weight of considerable reductions of taxation and of considerable increases of expenditure. In the two years I am more particularly dealing with, 1907–8 and the current year, we have also to bear the financial burden put upon us by the reduction in land revenue and expenditure on relief works caused by the unfortunate famine that prevails n Northern India. Notwithstanding these strains upon the financial situation, India has been able to show a series of very satisfactory surpluses. I will say few words on the reductions in taxation and increases in expenditure of recent years. In dealing with the former it is only fair that we should extend our view somewhat beyond the two or three years, as the large reduction of expenditure began five years ago, in the year 1903–4, with the first step taken towards the reduction of the salt duty. I should like to compare the state of our finance in the year before that reduction and now. The House is probably aware of what has taken place with regard to the salt duty. There have been three 115 biennial reductions of the salt duty. In 1903–4 we reduced it from 2½ rupees to 2 rupees per maund; in 1905–6 to 1½ rupees per maund; in 1907–8 to 1 rupee per maund. The financial result has been that we have to bear a reduction of our surplus by loss of revenue occasioned by the reduction of the tax by something like three and a quarter millions sterling. That is not all. In the same period there have been other reductions of taxation. There have been remissions of certain land cesses in northern India and other parts of India; and there has also been the raising of the lower limit of income-tax. These various reductions, along with the reduction of the salt duty, will bring the reduction of the surplus to the figure of about four millions sterling. The House will no doubt ask what has been the effect of the reduction of the salt duty. Has the consumer benefited? I think I can give a satisfactory reply. If you take the year before the reduction of the salt duty, 1902–3, the amount of salt which paid duty was, roughly speaking, 36,000,000 maunds. The amount of salt which we estimate will be consumed this year is no less than 47,000,000 maunds, so that you have in seven years an increase in the consumption of salt of more than 25 per cent., a considerably greater rate of increase than that of the population. On the financial side also this reduction stands us in good stead. We have not to face the full deficit of £3,250,000, but only a deficit of about £2,750,000. Everyone is glad to find that this policy of reducing the salt duty has benefited the people we wanted to benefit, that it has benefited both man and beast, cattle as well as human beings, and given them a larger supply of that which is absolutely necessary to their existence and at cheaper prices than before. At present, and in years to come, we have to face a progressive diminution of our opium revenue. This policy has met with general acceptance from a large body of Members of this House. It will probably cost us this year a loss of about £200,000, which will continue for three years certain, and if China fulfils its part of the arrangement it will go on for ten years, and then 116 we shall cease to have the opium revenue at all as a source of revenue. How do we stand with regard to increases of expenditure during the same period? There have been considerable increases of expenditure. "We have been able to find money for these increases and yet show a surplus. The House will remember, four or five years ago, the production of the Police Commission's Report, which contained a somewhat disquieting account of the state of the police service in India. The reform of that service has been taken in hand and largely put through. I believe it has had very beneficial effects, but it has cost a good deal of money. Already, as compared with the year 1903–4, we find we have to spend on the police service an increased sum within the year of £1,400,000. We have also increased our expenditure on education. No doubt some hon. Members do not think we have increased it enough. In proportion to what we were spending before we have increased it by 100 per cent. We have spent double what we did five years ago on this service. We have also largely increased the expenditure on sanitary and medical services, civil works, and various minor services. Anyhow, the total for the police and other services comes to an extra sum of something like £4,000,000 a year. Then there is an increase of our military expenditure. On that subject, of course, the large increase was beginning at the period that we have taken as the starting point. The Kitchener programme was not then introduced, but the military expenditure had begun to rise; but, if you take the figure roughly from me, we have had to meet an increase in those five years of £2,000,000 per annum, owing to the large reorganisation of the military services of India. I have no desire to open any discussion on the merits of the Kitchener scheme. I think there is no doubt among military authorities that Lord Kitchener has largely increased the efficiency of the Army of India. We have also had, I think, clear proof of that in the recent compaigns on the frontier. Whatever opinions hon. Members may have as to the policy of these campaigns, and there are very different views on 117 the subject, everyone will acknowledge that the force was organised and despatched, and did its work with exceedingly great promptitude and energy. The Mohmand Campaign, from start to finish, was completed in three weeks. In the early days, when an expedition of this sort was contemplated, it was put off to the cold weather, and it often took as many months as we have taken weeks. The officers in charge, as every fair-minded man will acknowledge, acting as they did under the instructions of a higher authority, also did their work expeditiously and efficiently; and at the conclusion of the business, the political officers showed equal skill and discretion in what I believe to be the satisfactory arrangements which they made with the frontier tribes, both the Zakka Khel and the Mohmands. I do not think there is the slightest doubt among military authorities of the general good results of the Kitchener re-organisation. To return to the question of finance, with which I am more particularly dealing, hon. Members, if they look at the Memorandum, will see that there has been a decrease since 1906–7 of about £1,000,000 in our military expenditure, and particularly in what is denominated special military expenditure. Since that year, I am happy to be able to announce, we have passed the maximum in regard to the increased expenditure entailed upon us by these reforms. The expenditure is decreasing slowly, and I think it will continue; but in order to be quite fair to the House I ought to state that the decrease in this year, and in the coming year, is not so much due to substantial alterations or cutting down of the programme of Lord Kitchener, as to the spreading over a longer period the execution of the works. I do not mean public works only, but works of organisation. I think we may fairly look forward in the course of the years to come to a slow, but fairly steady, decrease of military expenditure. Hon. Members will see that when added to the other items I have mentioned, we have had to meet an increased expenditure in the past five years of something like £6,000,000 per annum. Yet we have been able, without increasing taxation, to show a 118 surplus every year. There is one point which ought to be noted, that whatever the military expenditure of India has been she has always paid her way from year to year. She has never borrowed a rupee for military works or for any other military purpose, and that I think, shows a good example to this country. As hon. Members are aware, India is the only part of the British Empire that has never received a single sixpence in aid of he military expenditure or works; so far from receiving a single sixpence, she has been made continually to pay to the last sixpence, and very often, I am sorry to say, the Home Government, have been in this respect somewhat of a stepmother to her. I pass to the subject of the famine and its effect on the finances of the year. Of course, the famine has had a considerable effect on the finances of the 1907–8 and the current year. Perhaps the House will take without any explanation from me the figures according to the most recent calculations we have been able to make at the India Office. The figures differ slightly from those given in the Memorandum. In the first place, there is a direct extra expenditure on relief works; in the second place, there is a diminution of revenue, owing to the suspension of land revenue in famine districts. If you will take it from me, according to the best estimate we can make, the amount in the two years that the famine will cost us from these two sources is £3,146,000. There is also a further way in which the famine affects our financial resources, though not so much in regard to the revenue and expenditure of the year. The House is aware that we distribute very large Government advances to the cultivators to tide them over the period of distress, and these sums have, of course, to be met out of the cash balance of the Government of India That has thrown upon us during last year and in the current year the obligation to find a sum of no less than £2,700,000 in round figures. In all, therefore, the strain upon the resources of the Government of India caused by the famine amounts to the sum of £5,800,000. The House would like to know how far we have been able successfully to fight the present famine, and how far we 119 have been able to profit by the experience of our predecessors, and to improve and extend the methods they adopted. There are hon. Members who themselves have taken part in the practical work of famine relief, and, of course, they know a great deal more about the subject than I can ever profess to know or adequately explain. I think they will agree with me that each generation of civilians desire not to take credit to themselves, but to profit by the experience of their predecessors, and we will give all honour to those who are at the present moment engaged in devoting their time and labour to this famine work in Northern India, There are two respects, I think, in which we have improved upon and developed the action of our predecessors. The House knows that all the famines of the past twenty-five years have been succeeded by Commissions of Inquiry, and the Famine Commission Reports of 1880, 1898, and 1901, the last by Sir Antony Mac-donell, have all been most valuable documents, full of most admirable suggestions, and I think, each suceeding Commission his not been slow to learn lessons from it predecessor. One respect in which we have profited by this experience is this, namely, that we have very much more largely than in previous famines, suspended the revenue, and suspended it at a much earlier stage. This famine is most severe in the United Provinces and Central India—but particularly in the United Provinces. At the earliest moment the famine was apprehended, Sir John Hewett set to work at once, and instructed his officials to suspend the land revenue at the earliest moment, and this was done on a very large scale indeed. He also, in consequence of the accumulated experience of the past, issued Government loans to the authorities on a much larger scale, and also at the earliest possible moment. That has had a most admirable effect. There is only one figure I will give to the House—it is this. In the famine of 1896–7, which was also very severe in the United Provinces, the amount of the loans issued was £125,000, whereas in the famine from the year ended 31st March last, in the United Provinces, no less a sum than £1,000,000 has been issued for these loans. And the great merit of that 120 action and of the suspension of the revenue was that they were promptly taken, and taken at the right moment, when they put the cultivators in good heart to meet the troubled times ahead of them. All this, as hon. Gentlemen who have had experience are aware, is of the very highest importance. It is of importance also in another respect. These loans are spent mainly in the purchase of seed, the sinking of wells, embankments, and irrigation expedients. It is clear what the result will be. The cultivator will have in his pocket the power to purchase seed, and he will be in a much more secure position than if he had not the power of purchasing that seed. The result of all that is set out in some detail in the Report we have had from the United Provinces. They have been able to sow a much larger area of cultivated ground than could possibly have been anticipated, or than has ever been sown in famine circumstances before. Officers in the United Provinces have made close calculations of the amount of land that would normally be sowed in the famine districts. I will give only a couple of examples. In two districts of the United Provinces, instead of being able to sow only half the normal area, in consequence of these loans they have been able to sow three-quarters of it. In two other districts they have been able to sow three times more than was anticipated, and in other districts double as much as anticipated. It is clear, therefore, there will be a much larger area, for spring crops, secured than otherwise; would have been done. All this gives an increased amount of labour, it gives fairly high wages for the labourers in ploughing and watering, and that increased demand for labour results in a less expenditure on relief works. The results of what has been done may be summed up in a few words. First and foremost, these loans have put heart into the cultivators at the most important moment. Secondly, they ensure as full an area as possible being cultivated for cold weather crops. Thirdly, employment is given to a large number of people at high rates of wages in irrigating and harvesting those crops, thus keeping them off relief works. Fourthly, they add permanently to the irrigated area. Fifthly, they keep open 121 the ordinary courses of credit usually available. But there is something more. In consequence of what has been done we have had much less of what is one of the most painful experiences of famine, namely, that of a man giving up at the earliest moment, and taking to wandering, with his family, aimlessly through the country, contracting disease and perishing by the way. There has been much less of that sort of experience, and the recent report of Sir John Hewett states that there is much less disease and mortality—less smallpox, less fever, and less cholera. But on the whole there has been much less sickness in the United Provinces, and there has been no rise in mortality equal to what we have seen in previous famines. Sir John Hewett says that in a large number of the districts of the United Provinces the death rate was, in April, well below the normal. Still I do not want to exaggerate the good side of the situation. We received a telegram last night from India stating the exact position in which things were at the present moment. It states that in the United Provinces, relief is still being given in thirty-seven districts; there are 300,000 persons on relief works and 500,000 on gratuitous relief. There is little wandering and little emaciation or signs of distress, and the physical condition of the people is well maintained, though the mortality in some districts is above the normal on account of smallpox and cholera, which were rapidly abating. The monsoon has so far given good rain to the greater part of the, country, and the rainfall over India as a whole from 1st June up to date is exactly normal. Reports received from the Lieutenant-Governor on tour in the United Provinces show that there is at present the prospect of an excellent harvest over an abnormally large area. The prospects of India generally are distinctly favourable though more rain is wanted in the North-West Frontier provinces and part of Madras. There is still, however, time even in those areas for sufficient rain to fall to secure a good harvest, and in the country, as a whole, the conditions are, up to date, satisfactory. On the whole, the Report is a good one, and it does not keep back from the knowledge of the House the two sides of the question. It must 122 be a source of gratification for the House to find that the long-continued efforts and the accumulated experience due to those efforts are having their effect in reducing the inevitable suffering and misery that follow in the wake of scarcity and famine. If we compare the state of things to-day with the condition of affairs thirty or fifty years ago, or still more before British rule began, we cannot fail to recognise that there is no sphere in which British rule has done more to alleviate the condition of the poorest of the peoples of Hindustan than the long-continued efforts for the prevention of famine and the alleviation of its miseries when they arise. I should like to go back to a more pleasing topic, again a financial one. There is the question of the debt. I think that India can show up very well in comparison with other countries in respect of its position as to nonproductive debt. The total debt-charge of India for the non-productive debt amounts to no more than £1,420,000, or just about 3 per cent. of its net revenue. If the Chancellor of the Exchequer could imagine that, in this country, he could have in the future a debt-charge amounting to not more than 3 per cent. of his net revenue he would sleep more comfortably at night and would anticipate certain charges that may possibly come upon his revenue with a lighter heart. Anyhow it is satisfactory that there is this light debt charge and that it is diminishing and not increasing. There is also the ordinary test of the yield of the commercial departments of the State and the general state of trade in India. Of both we can give good reports. The commercial departments of the State in India are of great importance, much more important from a revenue point of view than in this country. The railways in the main belong to the State, and they now, after paying all expenses and interest on capital, yield to the Indian Exchequer a net revenue of £2,500,000 per annum as compared with £250,000 five years ago. The irrigation works yield us £750,000 per annum, as opposed to less than £200,000 per annum five years ago. There is no sphere of work in which the Indian Government has engaged which is more satisfactory to contemplate than that of the railway 123 and irrigation work. Hon. Members will have read with interest the report on railway work by Sir James Mackay's Committee which we laid before the House at Whitsuntide, and which shows what our policy in the past has been and what the policy in the future is to be. Everyone will anticipate from the fact that we have adopted the main recommendations of that Report a satisfactory result to our revenue, which in the future will not be worse, but better than at the present time. I have given notice of a Bill for renewing our power of borrowing money for railway, irrigation, and other general purposes, but I have not yet had the opportunity of introducing it. It is a measure, however, that will generally commend itself to the approbation of the House and from it we may expect very excellent results will ensue. Everyone will recognise also that there is no part of our work which reflects more credit on us than the admirable irrigation work, large and small, which has been carried out in recent years. It has been a help to our revenue, tending also to mitigate the conditions of the poorest people in the time of their distress. We intend to go on as we have done only more so in the future in pursuit of that policy. The Customs duties are increasing year after year. We have an increase in the yield of the Customs duties for the five years of £1,030,000 per annum, which is due to the great increase of imports, and that increase may be attributed to the prosperity that was widespread before the present scarcity began, and to the state of inland trade. The figures in connection with exports and imports are probably fairly familiar to Members of the House of Commons for the use they often make of them in other contests, and they are exceedingly satisfactory. The imports of merchandise on private account in the five years have risen from £52,500,000 to £91,000,000—an £increase in imports of 70 per cent. In exports the increase has been from £86,000,000 to £115,500,000, while the volume of trade has risen from £138,500,000 to £206,500,000. The increases have been in all the important articles—such as food and drink, metals, manufactured goods, and cotton. Drink is not the 124 largest of these items by any means in the total of £11,500,000 for articles of food and drink; the largest item is sugar, which yields us £6,000,000 out of the £11,500,000. In the course of the five years metals and manufactured goods have risen from £9,500,000 to £20,000,000, and the value of imported cotton from £20,250,000 to £32,000,000. In exports cotton has gone up in value from £16,000,000 to £24,000,000, but jute beats cotton, of which for the sake of Dundee I am glad, having risen in value from £13,000,000 to £24,000,000, while wheat and tea follow on very well. Perhaps I ought to add that in the past six months there has been some setback, owing partly to the famine, partly owing to the crisis in the United States, and India has suffered as other communities have done. There were difficulties in regard to our Bills which we endeavoured to meet and supplement, I think with success. Any hon. Members will see a good deal about that both in the financial statement and in the Memorandum. I think the account one can give of the economic condition of India is a fairly satisfactory one as judged by any ordinary test. I have endeavoured to take criteria which will test the prosperity as far as possible not only in the upper ranges of wealth, but in the lower ranges as well, and the vast body of population is an agricultural, and a poor population. I have dwelt upon famine and one or two other drawbacks to the situation. There is also plague. Plague has undoubtedly been a terrible calamity in India during the past ten or eleven years. A few days ago several questions were put to me on this subject by hon. Members, and I gave to the House the figures for the current year. They were of a fairly satisfactory character. I am told that some gentlemen who asked me these questions rather demurred to my statement as to the first six months of the present year, and they asked how the figures compared with the first six months of last year month by month. Last year was, of course, an exceptionally bad year—the worst we have had. The mortality in the first six months of 1907 reached 1,061,000; in the six months of the present year the mortality was 110,000 and all through 125 you will find a tenfold decrease in the bad months as well as a great deal more than tenfold in what are called the good months, like June and July. In the telegram which I read a minute or two ago the Viceroy gives us the latest figures, and the total number of deaths in the week ended 11th July in the whole of India amounted only to 435. The House should not, of course, be too hopeful. Although the figures for the first six months are the lowest since 1900, there have been decreases before, and we have been disappointed in their continuation. The large decrease in 1906 was followed by the appalling figures of 1907. We must, therefore, possess our souls in patience, and hope that we are passing by the worst of this dreadful plague. But the Government of India have to battle not only with plague, pestilence, and famine, with battle and murder, but with sedition and privy conspiracy as well. There is, unfortunately, a seditious spirit abroad in some parts of India. It shows itself in the Press and in a general spirit of suspicion and distrust, and, in some cases, of violence and outrage. The last development of it has been the discovery in Calcutta of an organised conspiracy for the production and use of bombs and other murderous instruments of destruction. We do not know, I am sorry to say, how far the ramifications of this conspiracy go. But it is a new and most unpleasing discovery. It is needless to enlarge upon it. It would be useless to exaggerate it or to minimise its importance. But I am convinced that such methods are utterly repugnant to the ideas of Indians and Europeans alike in India; and we are having, and we have already had, from day to day and from week to week assurances upon this subject—hon. Members will have seen one in the newspapers today—assurances of the united support of all sections of the population in stamping out this hateful form of political disease. That we shall do by any and every means at our command. We have already strengthened our powers for this purpose by passing the Explosives Act and the Press Act. Until the present moment no need has arisen for putting the latter of these Acts into operation. We can look at the fact with satisfaction, because it shows so far as it goes—it is but a short 126 time—the deterrent results of this legislation we have passed. [AN HON. MEMBER: No."] I think so far as it goes it does. We cannot be surprised that there is anxiety among Europeans in India, particularly in the outlying districts; but it is anxiety that has bravely been borne. We sitting here on these benches can, and I think ought to, give our tribute of respect to all in India, high and low, non-officials as well as officials, women as well as men and more than men, who possess their souls in fortitude and patience and show no signs of feeble panic or alarm. They trust in us and we shall not fail them. But there are other signs of political discontent and unrest, not outside the pale like the bomb of the anarchist, but serious in their character, and for which it is difficult to devise a remedy. We have got to recognise that a new spirit has come over the political outlook of large numbers of educated Indians. This class may be numbered, not by millions, but by tens or hundreds of thousands; but it is an influential class; and our rule, to be a complete and stable success, should be able to attract that class to our side. Some are frankly hostile to the maintenance of our rule, some are hostile, but not frankly so. The majority, I believe, recognise the advantages obtained and to be obtained under our rule. They know the disasters which would befall them were our rule removed; but many of them, at any rate, are not cordial. Can we bring them really to our side? Can we adapt British rule and British administration to the new ideas that are growing up in India? We may not be able to satisfy all their ideals. But to those who loyally accept the conditions of our rule we want to offer an active and real interest and responsibility in the concerns of their own people. That is the problem that is before us. It is not a simple or a single problem, and we cannot have a simple or a single solution of it. But if we can convince those most interested of the sincerity of our desire to solve it we shall have the assistance of all the moderate sections of the community. I know there are those—and they are gentlemen whose opinion is entitled to every respect—who maintain that, if we were to go back on the partition of Bengal, all would be well, not only in Bengal, but throughout 127 India. I cannot share that view. At any rate, whatever our opinion on that transaction may be, what is most obligatory upon us at the present moment is, in Bengal and elsewhere, and particularly in Bengal, to endeavour to improve the work of administration under existing arrangements, to oil its wheels and to remove the soreness which, undoubtedly, was largely caused by the way in which the division of the province was originally carried out. The Secretary of State for India has shown generally what his aims and intentions are as regards political reforms. His object and that of the Government is to go forward fearlessly on the lines of constitutional progress in such a way as to meet, as far as possible, possible, in the words used by Lord Minto, the Viceroy, the other day, the political aspirations of honest reformers. We should like to be able on this fiftieth anniversary of the assumption of the Government of India by the Crown to take a real step forward. It is not merely constitutional but administrative reform in all its grades that we have in view. We hope to do a great deal in the way of administrative improvement by simplifying and shortening its procedure, by limiting excessive official interference, quite as much in the interest of the official as of the non-official class; and as a guiding principle in all that we do, to endeavour to associate Indians more and more with the practical work of government. It would be unwise and. indeed impossible for me to go more into detail where no detailed scheme has yet been decided upon by us. The House is aware of the position generally in which the question of reform now stands. We are most anxious for speedy progress; but we want to take with us the maximum of consent and of hearty consent, both here and. in India. The opinions of the Local Governments and the other authorities in India on the last proposals submitted to them by the Government of India have all been sent in; but we await the final recommendations upon them of the Government of India. Then there is the Report of the Decentralisation Commission presided over by my hon. friend the Secretary to the Treasury. I think few members of the House realise the time and labour which he and his colleagues devoted to 128 that work. It was a large and important work, and they did not spare themselves. They held eighty sittings and travelled 30,000 miles in the execution of their work; and I believe they have still to extract the essence from something like seven or eight large volumes of evidence laid before them. We anticipate great results from their recommendations. But it is manifest that with the labours they are performing now day after day and week after week it will be two or three months before their Report can be produced, and it is clear that it must be nearly the end of the year before definite decisions can be arrived at by the Secretary of State and the Government which can be announced to Parliament. But the Secretary of State hopes that such a statement will be possible before the autumn session comes to au end. One word of caution before I conclude. These reforms cannot be a panacea for all Indian troubles. Legislation and the machinery of government are not everything. But we believe that these reforms, if carried through, will do something to meet the legitimate desires now unsatisfied of an important class of the community; and it is in that confident hope that we are proceeding with them. But there is another, and humbler, day to day method by which we hope to surmount some of our troubles as our predecessors had surmounted similar difficulties in the past. We can say for ourselves, without flattery, that as a nation we are not daunted by theoretical difficulties which may be presented to us by clever men in an apparently insoluble form. We take things as they come; and we endeavour to find a practical solution for each particular emergency as it arises. The method is not ours. It is as old as Solomon, who told us to ponder the path at our feet and to let our eyes look right on. That has served us in good stead in the past; it will serve us well in the future. After all, the millions of Indian cultivators are the bulk of the Indian people, and if we give them a just rule, if we secure them peace, and—so far as enlightened government can do it—secure them prosperity, we shall do a good work in our generation. I sometimes read with regret disparaging things said of those who are carrying on the work of 129 administration in India. We all have friends engaged in that work; and we know the good they have done and are doing. I am perfectly certain that the younger men of the Indian Civil Service just like their predecessors, in the heroic days, thirty, forty, or fifty years ago, dream dreams and see visions of the grandeur of the work in which they are engaged. Indeed, no one can be associated with the government of India in whatever capacity—as I am here, as we all are, sitting on these benches—without feeling something of the inspiration that it is given to us to help on, in however humble a way, a great achievement and a noble work.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That Mr. Speaker do now leave the Chair (for Committee on East Iddia Revenue Accounts)."—(Mr. Buchanan.)
§ *EARL PERCY (Kensington, S.)
said that while they must all regret the almost irreparable loss which the House had sustained by the removal of Lord Morley to another place, he was sure they would join in congratulating the right. hon. Gentleman who had just sat down on the ability with which he had discharged the task which he thought had not devolved for some fifteen years on any one holding his office in this House, and which was not rendered more easy by the fact that he was so recently transferred from another position. They would also echo the eulogium which he passed on the skill and success with which the recent expedition on the Indian frontier was organised and carried through —a success all the more remarkable because of the very stringent stipulation laid down by the Government with regard to the speedy evacuation of the territory concerned. The right hon. Gentleman had said that the policy of punitive expeditions was a subject on which people differed in opinion. He did not suppose there was any school of responsible politicians who would seriously contend that the Indian Government could sit with its hands folded and allow outrages to be committed by raiders from beyond our territory within our own borders. If there was any question on the subject of punitive expeditions, it was not whether they should take place, but whether they should or should not be followed by 130 annexation. He thought the attitude of the majority of the frontier tribes during the recent expedition was strong corroborative evidence in favour of maintaining that policy of abstention from intervention in tribal affairs beyond our frontier which was laid down by Lord George Hamilton in his despatch, and which has been adhered to by the present Secretary of State. Perhaps the most disquieting feature of the expedition, and one to which the hon. Gentleman did not allude, was the participation in the operations of a certain number of raiders from Afghan territory, and it was satisfactory to know that in the later stages of the campaign the Ameer of Afghanistan seemed to have taken some steps to control those incursions into our territory, and, perhaps, he might take that opportunity, though it was not a subject which it was desirable to discuss at length, of expressing a hope that the Ameer would before long be able to give us a fresh proof of his goodwill by the announcing his acceptance of the recent Anglo-Russian agreement, which many on that side of the House thought it necessary to criticise in some of its details, but which, so far as regarded Afghanistan itself, had no other object in view than to make it easy for the two coterminous Powers to fulfil their treaty engagements with respect to the integrity and independence of that country.
So far as the purely financial aspect of the present Budget was concerned, he did not imagine that the Government would meet with any serious criticism. The surplus at their disposal, though larger undoubtedly than was anticipated—(and in view of the partial recrudescence of famine in the provinces, it was surprising that there should be any surplus at all)—was not sufficiently large to admit of a further reduction of taxation, and he was not sure that a reduction of taxation had the first claim on an Indian finance Minister. The allocation of the surplus to grants in aid of sanitary administration had met with general approval. Nor when they turned from the purely financial aspect of the question to those larger questions of public policy to which the right hon. Gentleman made passing and eloquent reference in his concluding 131 remarks—the extension of primary education, the enlargement of the legislative councils, the decentralisation of provincial administration—were they in regard to any of these larger questions of policy in a much more favourable position usefully to discuss them than they were last year, for the reason as the right hon. Gentleman had himself said, that neither the House nor the Government themselves were in possession of the results of the inquiries set or, foot in India. Therefore, upon none of those questions did he think that any long and minute discussion was called for. He was not disposed to blame the Government for the delay which had taken place in this matter, because questions of this kind were far too important to be hastily decided, and they had a somewhat unpleasant reminder of the need of proceeding cautiously in these matters, in the fact that in this very year somewhat ominously in which the Secretary of State had announced his intention to take steps in the direction of broadening he basis of the legislative system, the Government of India should have had to go the legislative council in order to ask an increase of their executive authority.
The right hon. Gentleman had said little in regard to the Press Act. He thought the Government was to be congratulated upon taking a step long overdue, and which, if report spoke truly, was unsuccessfully pressed upon the Secretary of State by the Government of India last year. The repeal of Lord Lytton's Press Act had been universally regarded by British opinion in India as a mistake, and although he thought the Unionist Government had to bear a fair share of the blame for not having dealt with the matter themselves in the past, still, in view of the importance of keeping the treatment of Indian questions free so far as possible of the suspicion of party bias, he could not regret himself that it should have fallen to a Liberal Government to redress a mistake for which a Liberal Government was in the first instance responsible. If there was any criticism to be made on the 132 recent Press Act it was that it erred on the side of leniency, and that the definition of sedition was exclusively confined to sedition tending to actual acts of violence. Another criticism which might be made was that the mode of procedure, which involved in every case the direct interposition of the local Government before the magistrates could act, might in times of emergency be found to he somewhat cumbrous and dilatory. At the same time the Government had announced their intention of correcting any defects which experience might reveal in this Act. Lord Minto stated that they intended to supplement it with an Act dealing with the whole question of the supervision of the Press, and it was, at all events, satisfactory to know, as the hon. Gentleman had told them that afternoon, that although no prosecutions had taken place under the Press Act nor the Explosives Act still, they had been effective, and that some of the worst offenders had thought it advisable to close their offices. He hoped the Government would not allow themselves to be deterred from taking any steps necessary in this matter by the very small section of opinion which was constantly proclaiming that we ought to govern India according to. Indian ideas, and then turned round and asked us to extend to the native Press a licence which would not be tolerated by any native Government. If we were to allow matters to drift much longer, we should forfeit, and deservedly forfeit, the respect of the best native opinion in India itself, we should fail in our duty to the rising generation whose minds have been poisoned by the perpetual propaganda of sedition, and further, we should fail in our duty to that small but devoted band of our fellow-countrymen upon the maintenance of whose authority depended not merely their personal safety, but the very existence and continuance of British rule in India.
Assertions had frequently been made regarding the growing feeling of estrangement between the white and the coloured races in India. It was some five years since he was in India, but he did not 133 believe that in that interval events had so far changed that so sweeping a generalisation could be justified. This much was certain, that if anything could produce, not only estrangement, but actual antipathy between the white and coloured races, it would be the identification of the idea of justice to native aspirations with the idea of passive toleration of every form of incitement to disloyalty and crime. But there was another reason why he thought the Government were bound to deal sternly with an agitation of that kind, and it was one to which Lord Minto alluded in his speech in the debate in the Legislative Council. Lord Minto said very truly that whatever might be the determining factors in the present state of unrest, there could be no doubt whatever that the main problem which Indian statesmen had to solve was not a political, but an economic problem, It was quite true that the measures which the Indian Government had passed during the last few years had done a great deal to place the finances of India in the satisfactory position which the right hon. Gentleman had described that afternoon. They had, in fact, placed the finances in a position which might well excite the envy of any Western nation. They had reduced taxation to a point which scarcely left any room for criticism, even by the Leaders of the Congress party. They had wiped out the unremunerative debt, they had established over large parts of India means in the shape of loan banks for freeing the agriculturist from dependence upon the local usurer, and they had set up machinery for assisting the agriculturist by means of advances of capital and remissions of land revenue to tide over a time of stress and emergency.
But the fact remained that India was not so much perhaps a poor country as a country whose economic position was necessarily precarious, because it depended almost exclusively upon a single industry, namely, agriculture, which was exposed to vicissitudes of a kind and frequency to which it was not exposed in any other country in the world. So long as that was the case there must be recurring periods of misery with the inevitable 134 accompaniment of discontent, and it was one of the worst features of the agitation which had now gone on for three or four years, that it must inevitably tend to discourage the free inflow of British capital into India, which was absolutely indispensable if alternative Indian industries were to be developed, and which would be more necessary than ever in the coming years if the Government were to carry out successfully the large borrowing operations which they contemplated in connection with their railway programme. Although the economic problem was distinct from and more important than the political, there was, at all events, one question which vitally concerned both, and that was the question of education. In the speech which the Secretary of State made at the Civil Service Dinner the other day, he mentioned as one of the main causes leading to the present unrest in India, the defective ideal which had inspired our educational system. The same view was expressed by one of the Indian Members on the Legislative Council when he said that what was most needed was not a multiplication of existing primary schools, but the reform of the whole system. He believed that everybody was agreed that sonic reform of the educational system was necessary, but hardly any two were agreed as to the lines on which that reform should proceed. On the one hand, there was a school of thought, represented by some Gentleman in that House, who thought we ought to copy in India all the latest educational ideas of England, that education ought to be free and also compulsory; and, on the other hand, there was a school of thought, according to which the initial blunder lay in ever having introduced into India the English system of education at all. If we had introduced the English system of education in India, he would view its extension with much less misgiving than he did. But the fundamental difficulty of the system in India was that it never bore more than a superficial resemblance to that with which we were familiar, and the conditions under which it was introduced were wholly different from the conditions existing at home, and wholly different from the conditions prevailing in India at 135 the present time. In England, from the outset, in both State and voluntary schools, primary education was associated with religious teaching in one form or another, and to this day the opposition excited by any proposal to banish religious teaching from the schools, was due to the widespread conviction that education divorced from religious teaching was not merely defective in itself but might have an actually subversive effect on character and hardly deserved to be called education at all. In India the conditions were wholly different. There we had grafted on to a system that for centuries had been religious and nothing else, another system which, because it maintained an attitude of strict neutrality to every form of religion, tended to detach the people from ancient traditions or beliefs, and did not attempt to supply any alternative basis of religious or moral training, which could fit them for political or administrative responsibility. That this had given rise to a serious state of things was illustrated in "The Moral and Material Progress of India." The Tikka Sahib of Nabha in the Viceroy's Council said—Primary education is an admitted necessity for the country. I have read with much pleasure Your Excellency's speech in reply to the address of the orthodox Hindu community, in which you stated that you saw no objection to the institution of denominational hostels. I am strongly of opinion that the religions of India ought to be maintained, and this can only be done by a system of denominational education. I am of opinion that even the Chiefs' College at Lahore is unfit for the education of Sikhs of position. In this connection I would beg to point to the deplorable ignorance of the religious systems of the country generally possessed by English officials in India.He would read one or two extracts from the Reports on "Moral and Material Progress of India." In the United Provinces—The continuous decline in the number of private schools was to be regretted. Five years ago they numbered 6,071, attended by 84,278 pupils; now they numbered only 4,570, with attendance of 69,277.In the Central Provinces—The education of Mahomedans made slow progress, owing to the importance attached by them to religious education, and, consequently, to the necessity for separate schools.The influence of the masters, it was stated, was not so strong as it should be, and there were outbreaks of dis- 136 order owing to political influences. It did not appear that the influence of masters was as strong as it should be, their interest in the boys not always extending beyond the mere teaching class. From the North-West Frontier Province the report was even more striking. It began with quite a sanguine observation upon "steady progress in every direction," and the statement that—the old private village schools in which instruction goes little further than the teaching of religions books by note are now declining in popular favour and the people are learning to appreciate the more intelligent education offered by the Government schools.But as one of the results of "intelligent appreciation" it was stated that—Although the attendance of Hindus showed an increase of 24 per cent., that of Mahomedans, who at the 1901 Census were more than 92 per cent, of the population, showed a small decline.That, he submitted, showed a very serious state of things. It was very difficult to know how the difficulty was to be met, but surely it must be obvious that this had a very direct bearing when they were considering the widespread extension of elementary education. He did not suggest for a moment that the State should abandon its attitude of neutrality towards the various religions, and still less that the State could discover any form of dogma common to all the various beliefs of that great continent; but the inference he drew from those premises was that the State could not hope to play in India the same active propagandist part in regard to primary education as in this country, but ought to direct its efforts to stimulating native denominational schools. The Indian system differed again from the English on the utilitarian side. In England, whatever its defects might be, our system of education was regarded as a preparation for an industrial career. In India almost the only industry was agriculture, but the system did nothing to qualify the people for that calling, and any special aptitude which it imparted found no outlet except in the law or in Government employment. That, he thought, was a real grievance and danger, for it lent colour to the assertions often made by agitators in India that the British Government did little to help the pepole 137 to participate in the benefits that night follow the development of industrial resources. It was now seven years since a conference at Simla went into all the phases of Indian education,primary,secondary, and technical, and passed an enormous number of resolutions, upon which it was expected prompt action would be taken. Into the details of these he would not enter; they would be more appropriate to the Resolution which would presently he moved, but he mentioned one or two. They dealt with the neglect of the study of the vernacular, recommending that it should be carried on throughout the school course up to the University. They recommended that inspection should he substituted for examinations, and the results of such inspection accepted as passports to the Universities and Government employment; that in secondary schools a modern side should prepare pupils for a commercial career; that relations should be established by the school authorities with chambers of commerce and employers; and, lastly, the subject of technical education was dealt with in a valuable Report by Sir Edward Buck, who suggested the erection of six industrial institutes for the different provinces connected with special local industries, the introduction of a system of apprenticeship in workshops under the supervision of Europeans in connection with technical schools and the training of village schoolmasters in the principles of agriculture. Were we really making substantial progress in any of these directions? The Tikka Sahib of Nabha, in his address at the Viceroy's Council to which he had referred, said—As far as I can see, these primary school are opened mostly for the benefit of the agricultural population, but I am afraid that the agricultural classes are not fully benefited by them. With a little more expense and forethought it might be possible to adapt these schools to the requirements of the villagers. As a first step the scope of the work of these schools should be defined; and they should be raised to such a position as to enable them to teach something useful to the agriculturists. In the first place, an attempt should be made to instruct the pupils in reading, writing, and arithmetic in their own language, not as it is done now in Urdu, which is a foreign language. The result is that after three or four years study they hardly understand the meaning of the words they read or repeat. Education to be of any real advantage must be given first in the 138 easiest language to learn; and could there be any language easier to learn than one's mother tongue? So primary education in the Punjab ought to be given through the Punjabi only, and in the characters peculiar to that language. When the Government has recognised a knowledge of Punjabi as a desideratum for the British military and evil officers, it is very strange indeed that the Educational Department should have forced on the poor Punjabis the necessity to forget their own vernacular for the camp language of the Mughal Emperors, which is not a general household language in India. Then, again, books should be specially compiled containing useful information in simple and colloquial language about agriculture, sanitation, manure and cattle. The schoolmaster should be a man who knows something about cattle diseases and practical farming, so that he may be able to attract the attention of the villagers and win their respect by his knowledge of the very subjects which they pride themselves on knowing better than anyone else. It would be far better to have fewer schools doing really useful and practical work than to open many lower primary places of instruction which serve no useful purpose.So far as he was aware few steps had been taken to carry out the reforms suggested and the whole reforming energy of the Government seemed to have been directed to the Universities. Of course the Government might plead that they had considerably increased expenditure on education, and their financial resources would not allow more liberality. The increase had taken place on a very low scale of expenditure; the total amount was almost insignificant, and he could not accept the financial argument as sufficient excuse. After all, we in this country were embarking on an expenditure of some £7,000,000 or £8,000,000 lightheartedly without making any provision for it, and on an object which, however much the House might sympathise with it, could not be described as remunerative. How could they ask the Indian to believe that his own Government., which in the last three or four years had sacrificed three or four millions of revenue from the salt duty and opium, and which intended to borrow 100 millions in eight years for railways, could not find money enough to spend on the development of technical education, which was of such vital importance if the people of India were to be prepared to take their proper part in the development of industries, and which might legitimately be described 139 as a most remunerative form of expenditure? With regard to the general administration of education, he could not help thinking they would never get any real enthusiasm or progress until that administration was reformed. If he remembered rightly, Lord Curzon had laid great stress on the absurdity of treating educational matters in India as a mere province of the work of the Home Department. There was now a Director-General of Education, but it was still the fact that, not only was there no Member for Education in the Viceroy's Council, but the Director-General, if he wished to bring any educational matter before the Member who represented the Home Department, had to do so through the ordinary machinery of the office. He thought that, if there was not to be a Member on the Council directly representative of and responsible for education, the Director-General ought to be given the same right and privilege of free access to the Viceroy which was proposed to be given to the President of the Railway Board. Leaving education, he would like to say a word on another subject. Lord Morley had alluded, as a contributory cause of the unrest, to the increasing complexity of our administrative system, which allowed less and less personal contact between the population at large and the officials appointed to look after their interests. Personally, he would welcome decentralisation, though it was rather difficult to discuss it in the abstract apart from detailed proposals; but, personally, he believed it to be a good thing if it led to closer correspondence between the individuals and the population among whom they worked, even it if resulted in a slight diminution of efficiency. After all, Oriental populations had been accustomed for centuries to personal rule, and he thought that personal rule, even if comparatively inefficient, was better than administration carried on by the machinnery of Government Departments. But he hoped the Government would not confine their attention to the mere freeing of the provincial Government and individual officials from undue interference from headquarters. He hoped they would see the expediency of diminishing the excessive burden of responsibility 140 now thrown on individuals. He was glad to see that the Government had announced their intention of giving to the local government greater powers of making appointments without referring home every case for approval. If the statement of Sir Bampfylde Fuller was correct, that there were many districts in which a single executive officer was supposed to look after a population of 1,000,000 souls, and an area of 10,000 square miles, he thought there was great force in his contention that there was room not only for an increase of appointments, but for a further subdivision of administrative areas, for which they had a precedent in the separation of the Frontier Province from the Punjab, and which would have the advantage of throwing open a larger number of administrative appointments which natives might fill. He wished to allude briefly to one other question upon which he understood the Government were contemplating, if they had not already sanctioned, a new departure, and on which he felt unable to congratulate them, namely, the policy of the separation of judicial from executive functions in Bengal. Ideally he had no doubt, considering the question purely in the abstract and apart from Indian traditions, everyone would agree that it was not desirable to combine these two functions in the same hands, and that separation would have the incidental advantage of enabling the district officer to pay more attention to his administrative duties. But it was not contended that the existing system had led to any grave abuse, and British official opinion in India had always been strongly against the change on the ground that to take away judicial powers from the executive officer would very seriously impair the respect for his authority. That was still the opinion both of the provincial Governments and of high judicial officers to whom the question had been referred by the Government, and in defiance of their opinion this step had been taken, and taken in the province of Bengal where respect for administrative authority seemed already to have sunk to a somewhat dangerously low point. As he understood it from a perusal of Sir Harvey Adamsons' speech in the Viceroy's Council, the main reason that had 141 influenced the Government in taking this step was the argument that, in a province where the agitators were constantly impugning the judicial impartiality of the district magistrates, their executive authority was likely to be increased rather than impaired by the removal of that suspicion, however groundless it might be. That was no doubt an argument which carried some weight, though, obviously, the validity of it depended on the extent to which the concession the Government contemplated was really likely to meet the demands the agitators were making. As he understood the scheme outlined by Sir Harvey Adamson, it proposed to leave the judicial officer under the control of the Divisional Commissioner and, in those circumstances, those who protested against the combination of the two functions being in the same hands might still contend that the judiciary was subject to the control and influence of the Administration. He did not wish to take the responsibility of saying that the decision of the Government was a wrong one; but he did think they would have clone better not to have made the announcement in India or thrown down the scheme fog general criticism until they were prepared to announce their decision in the House and to state the grounds on which they had acted. The reform was not an urgent one, it would he very costly, and it might well have been postponed in favour of other reforms, such as that of education, which might not bulk so largely in the speeches of political agitators, but which, he believed, would be of more material advantage to the great body of the population.
§ *MR. REES (Montgomery Boroughs)
, in moving "That this House, while it recognises that the reforms now under the consideration of the Government of India are suitable and sufficient in respect of questions with which they deal, is of opinion that the educational system in India stands in urgent need of reform," said he agreed with all the noble Lord had said with regard to the separation of the judicial and executive functions, at any rate as to the merits of that question. He joined in the congratulations to his right hon. friend the Under-Secretary, not only 142 as to the statement which he had made, but also that he had been able on this occasion to be present to make it. His right hon. friend was able to repeat what a former Chancellor of the Exchequer, Sir Michael Hicks Beach, had said in this House with regard to the finances of India, and that was that not only were the finances of India in a more satisfactory condition but they were much better administered than the finances of this country. He rejoiced that the right hon. Gentleman had been able to congratulate the House on the speedy termination of the military operations on the frontiers and upon the subsidence of the plague, although he thought the epithet of appalling which the hon. Gentleman had used with regard to the mortality might have been reserved for the deaths from the far greater scourge of malaria. By making a hasty calculation on the spur of the moment, he made out that the mortality from plague had fallen from one-third of 1 per cent. last year to one-thirtieth of 1 per cent. this year, and that it was about one-sixtieth of the mortality from malaria. He advised his right hon. friend not to be in too great a hurry to accept the assurance of the Chinese Government as to the opium traffic, because similar assurances had been given at any time during these twenty-five years, and although everybody would like to see the opium traffic done away with, no one would wish to see it simply transferred from the Indian ryot to the Chinese cultivator, to the detriment of the former, who would have to pay the Bill. He confessed he was glad the accident of the ballot had laid upon him the duty of moving this Amendment, because, while he thought there should be no division in this House on any Indian subject, if an Amendment was to be moved, it was well that it should proceed from one who at any rate endeavoured to represent the views of the peoples of India and of his fellow countrymen in India, and who did not mistake the voice of one class, of one people, of one part, of one province, for the voice of the multitudes which inhabit our Indian Empire. It was in exact accordance with his view of the absolute necessity of maintaining the salutary rule that India was outside party politics that this 143 Motion would, he hoped, be seconded by the hon. Baronet the Member for West Edinburgh, who himself had had no little experience of, and no small reputation in, Indian administration. A terrible responsibility attached to those who dragged India into party strife, which should be confined strictly to our domestic affairs. He must begin by reminding the House that there was no such country as India, and there was no such people as the Indians, and it was no more correct to talk of the people of India than it would be to talk of the people of Europe. Nor, in spite of a general similarity in the standards of administration in India, resulting from British supremacy, was there any more resemblance between different races in India than between different races in Europe. These simple, elementary facts were industriously concealed from the people of Britain by the propagandist agitators of the English branch of the Indian Congress, which maintained in England a newspaper, little known in this country, but a very active agent in the dissemination throughout the vernacular Press in India of everything which could possibly, by any ingenuity, be twisted to the disadvantage of the British administration. It also contained much original news and only the readers of Mr. Cotton's paper realised that the Secretary of State and the hon. Member for Nottingham only differed as one star differeth from another star in glory. These considerations were vital to the true estimation of the reforms now under consideration, and it was feared that, elementary as they were, they were little appreciated in this country. There were, of course, bodies in existence which enlightened, or affected to enlighten, folks at home on Indian affairs. There was, for instance, the so-called Indian Parliamentary Committee. Anyone who said he was interested in India could belong to this body, there was no subscription, and, as there were nearly 200 Members of Parliament on its list, it might appear to be an association of great weight. As a matter of fact, its meetings were generally attended by only a few extreme politicians of the Congress party, and one or two Labour Members, though in the present Parliament two or three had usually been gathered together of 144 a different faith, so that the proceedings of the Camarilla had never been able to claim the lofty attribute of unanimity. Half - a - dozen members attended the meeting held for the purpose of deciding upon a subject for the ballot on this debate. The result of their deliberations was found in the Motions on the Paper which stood in the names of the hon. Members for Brentford and Merthyr Tydvil.
§ *MR. REES
said it was the same in spirit. It was sufficient to say that it was hardly imaginable that anything more unpalatable to the peoples of India—who. had one, and perhaps only one, thing in common, namely, strong caste distinctions—could be conceived than a Resolution that: "The people of all grades should be associated with the Government of the country." As the hon. Member for East Nottingham truly remarked in a book called "New India"—The basis of internal order in India is a patrician aristocracy of indigenous growth, trained to control and lead the lower orders.This undemocratic expression was, of course, that of the hon. Member. The one thing they did know about the Indian masses was that they were conservative to the core, and that caste had always prevented the fusion of races into nations. The hon. Member for Brentford was one of a little band. who spent in India the fateful period of three weeks, to which some peculiar significance appeared to attach. It was the chosen length for honeymoons, and, if popular novelists might be believed, for experiences in which the staider pleasures of the honeymoon were anticipated. It was therefore a period which seemed expressly suited for a delirious, political debauch. However, it was pretty clear that the hon. Member for Brentford should be exempted from the charge of taking his own Amendment seriously. He made it obvious from a speech he delivered earlier in the session that instead of joining the ranks of the peripatetic politicians, who out of the profundity of unacquaintance criticised an administration which they had had no opportunity of understanding, 145 his intention was to give the cause of law and order that peculiarly subtle and effective form of support which consisted of making a transparently unsustainable attack upon an institution the merits of which it was desired to bring out into stronger relief. His own Motion expressed appreciation of the reforms now under the consideration of the Government of India, but called for further reform in the educational system of that Empire. One reform which the Government of India should adopt was that of making known elementary facts regarding itself in these islands inside and outside the House of Commons. Only those who had been engaged in that difficult, thankless, and unappreciated task had the faintest conception of the extent to which the minds of the people of this country had been poisoned against their fellow-countrymen in India. True, agitators had been busily occupied, but were we not to blame for ignoring the fact that it was not enough to make our rule good, but that we must make those subjected to it and those responsible for it alike feel that it was good? In the Old Kent Road it was an article of faith that the British Indian official starved the Indians, and no one could be surprised that this should be so when hon. Members of this House asked questions, the underlying suggestions of which were that the British Army in India made away with the wounded and ignored flags of truce, and" that the Government invented plague, oppressed innocent journalists, strained the law in favour of Europeans and against the natives, indulged in wanton warfare on the frontier, and outraged administrative decency in all directions. It was of course, true that any Government was fair game in the House of Commons including apparently the Governments of friendly and independent Powers, but it was not true that the results of those attacks, proceeding from those who did, and from those who did not, know better, were otherwise than deplorable and disastrous. It was the effect in India they had to consider. The Government of India and the India Office should organise, or should encourage the organisation of, the refutation of the calumnies sown broadcast 146 against our administration. What could an audience think when a gentleman, who was entrusted with the charge of a province, a small one it was true, but still a province, informed them that: "The attitude of the English towards the Indians was harsh, and that justice between man and man in India was far from being fairly administered," and concealed the fact of which they were of course entirely unaware, that, with rare exceptions, justice in India was administered to natives by natives? What opinion could such an audience form of the elementary features of our rule in the East when the same gentleman informed it that "coloured races became demoralised when white people came into contact with them," and concealed the fact that he himself continued to take part in what he now regarded as organised oppression, until he had exhausted all possibilities of further promotion? What a lesson in race solidarity, in discipline and good feeling, was afforded by communications front a retired Civil servant., now a Member of that House, to a leading Bengal agitator, who had been dismissed for misconduct from the same Civil Service, urging him to keep on agitating till the Secretary of State yielded in regard to the so-called partition of Bengal—a province five times the size of Scotland, with twice the population of the United Kingdom! What was to be said of the elementary ethics of politics when an ex-Chief Commissioner was quoted in the Press as saying: "We have bred a gang of seditious youths, who have been goaded into bomb-throwing by the infliction of floggings for political offences," and never repudiated those words though it was known that no youths had been so treated? What vain and mischievous aspirations were not encouraged when a Member of Parliament, who was the Leader of of a Party, the hon. Member for Merthyr, before proceeding to India announced that—We hold down the natives in the bondage of subjection, and I may be able to let a light in on the dark places of Indian Government.Had he known anything of the men he was addressing, he would have realised 147 that a less broad hint would have been all sufficient. He had also said—He would have but a short time, but with the aid of friends he hoped to turn it to good account.He was determined to dot the i's and cross the t's; and so was led about Bengal with a garland around his neck, a sacrifice at the altar of privilege, wholly unaware, for he was necessarily tongue-tied and blind-folded, that he saw nothing and heard nothing but the ease of the classes, the upper classes of Bengal, who were of a very different mind from the masses of the inhabitants of that province. There was, of course, one great difference between the Socialist and Labour "friends of India," and the retired official "friends of India" who "had returned and considered all the oppressions that were done under the sun, and beheld the tears of such a; were oppressed and had no comforter, while on the side of their oppressors was power." The one set of "friends" knew what it was doing, and the other probably did not. It was astonishing, however, that their Socialist allies did not ask the ex-Indian officials why they continued so long to be parties to an oppression, the iniquities of which dawned upon them with their retirement. For his part he said it was an abuse on the part of ex-officials to use a mandate obtained from the electorate upon domestic issues for the purpose of vilifying the Government in the service of which they passed their lives, and from which they drew a pension. Some hon. Members without going to India absorbed the spirit of the East with more or less completeness. The hon. Member for East Leeds, for instance, who took an active part in the discussion of Indian questions, had studied the doctrine of reincarnation, and he now knew that his fellow-countrymen though born good like himself, though continuing to be virtuous like himself till they proceeded to the East for their life's work, no sooner arrived in India than they were born again bad, and continued to get worse, till the day of their death Could it indeed be necessary for our Government in India to pay three-fourths of the cost of the education of every graduate, when this 148 class possessed such supreme political talent as to persuade the Socialists of England that liberty, equality, and fraternity were invented by the Brahmin of Bengal and Poona, and that landlords, lawyers, and journalists, who would like to govern the lower castes and classes without our impartial supervision, occupied the same position in Bengal as the Labour Members of Parliament occupied in England? Surely to the reforms now under consideration by the Government of India should be added some provision for the systematic refutation of the monumental misrepresentation of which it was itself the apparently helpless and heedless subject. The present was not the occasion for any survey of the history of education in India, but it might be remarked that Oriental ideas on this subject had no resemblance whatever to those which obtained in Great Britain, and in the advanced countries of Europe. Under the Hindus higher instruction was strictly confined to the upper castes and classes, and under the Mahomedans was inseparably connected with mosques and shrines. Early in the nineteenth century, when a knowledge of English became a marketable acquirement, missionaries and philanthropists brought pressure to bear on the Government of India in favour of popular education. Two parties arose, those who contended that the knowledge and science of the Western world should be conveyed to the natives by means of English, and those who held that the vernacular education should be supplemented by the study of the classical languages of the East. The Anglicists won, under the leadership of Lord Macaulay, who so little knew what he was doing that he prophesied that as a result of the adoption of his system there would not be a single idolater—the word, of course, was Macaulay's—among the respectable classes in Bengal after a lapse of thirty years. There were others however who did know what they were doing. Sir Thomas Munro regarded—An unrestricted Press in India as incompatible with the character of British rule.Lord William Bentinck thought itEssential that the Indian Press should be kept under the most rigid control.149 Sir John Malcolm wrote—The Brahmins and civil classes have for ages been the nominal servants and the real masters of the turbulent, bold, and superstitious military tribes, and when we consider what they have lost by the introduction and extension of our dominion, it would be folly to expect that they should not wish to subvert it. We could give to the Brahmins and others of the instructed classes no weapon which they would know better how to use against us than a free Press, which they would use to corrupt out native soldiery.Macolm knew, Macaulay theorised. He would not willingly raise any subject relating to India to which a party character might be given in the House, but since it was hopeless to expect the self-styled friends of India, the representatives of the classes to whom Malcolm referred, wholly to abstain from dealing with subjects which almost exclusively engaged the attention of the particular organisation they represented, he had put down an Amendment, which would not exclude speeches upon such subjects, but under cover of which at any rate the frontier policy of Afghanistan would be left alone. Enough, and more than enough, had been said on this subject during the last of a course of lectures, which was being delivered by a noble Lord from Ireland in another place, and he sincerely hoped, for his part, that that matter would be left where the noble Viscount, the Secretary of State, left it in that House. Among the many vernacular papers which reached him weekly, in one of the Congress organs it was written—No Minister ever held a stronger position than Mr. Morley holds to-day. He is for the moment more powerful than the most despotic monarch. His methods of administration receive the support alike of Liberal and Conservative Members.That was the case, and he deeply regretted that the Amendments on the Paper, with two or three exceptions, and the speeches made in support of them, would be published broadcast in the vernacular Press, and would tend to, and would be intended to, obscure and conceal what was the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
The reforms which the Government of India had proposed, and Lord Morley had approved, were now under consideration in India, not only by the 150 Government but by an infinite number of other official and non-official, private and public, associations and individuals. They were well calculated not only to broaden the basis upon which our rule rested, but to enlist the sympathies of the agricultural element, and of the aristocracy of the country, to which all classes were passionately attached, except that which consisted of agitators and anarchists. It was also necessary in a country needing capital above all things to enlist the sympathies of the capitalist. The hon. Member for East Nottingham wrote in "New India"—The lower orders stand in urgent need of an aristocracy above them. The prosperity of every country requires that there should exist within it, not only a proletariat, the great body of the people who devote themselves to labour but also a class of capitalists, which provides the funds which enable labour to become productive. It is only under the fertilising influence of capital that labour is productive.He wondered what the hon. Member for Leicester and his friends thought of that, they who regarded capital as "the enemy." The alliance in that House of Gentlemen holding these views with the Labour and Socialist Party was almost as strange as the tie between the representatives of the classes in India and the representatives of the masses in Britain, and both connections showed that agitation, like misery, "acquaints a man with strange bed-fellows." The nature of these proposed reforms had been fully explained in that House, Reports upon them from India had not yet been received, and it did not seem necessary on the present occasion to do more than point out that when any measures such as these, indeed when any legislative measures were under consideration, representatives of every possible class were consulted, and their opinions were carefully weighed. The suggestion that legislation was the outcome of the mere fiat of what the right hon. Baronet the Member for the Forest of Dean would call "a white oligarchy" was entirely unjustified, and the real cause of offence in the minds of the Babus was that others were taken into the confidence of Government, besides lawyers, journalists and the like classes, who enjoyed such undue influence that the people had 151 commenced to call our rule by the contemptuous name of the pleaders' paradise, or the lawyers' kingdom. There should be plain speaking in and out of Parliament as regarded the so-called moderate and extreme parties in the Congress. Both were now committed directly or indirectly, openly or secretly, to an endeavour to terminate our rule in India. The Congress had shifted its ground, and our educational system should distinguish between friends and foes. Still the Congress was nowhere more strongly denounced and ridiculed than in. Bengal journals like the Amrita Bazaar Patrika and the Telegraph, and it found complete acceptance nowhere but in certain circles in England. The so-called moderate agitators, Mr. Gokhale and Mr. Dutt, were now rated by the Socialist Mr. Hy adman for facing both ways. The latter authority fairly said that he had heard Mr. Gokhale in the East End of London deliver a speech as vehement and anti-British as any article in the vernacular Press, and he added that these two gentlemen were extremely anxious to prove to the British public that their cherished private views, which they kept diplomatically to themselves for the present, were held only by a contemptible minority in India, and that organised sedition did not exist. But at the so-called "India House" at Highgate, the whole company, moderate and extremist, cheered the sentiment "loyalty to England means treachery to India." Mr. Gokhale said—We are shut out of all posts of trust and confidence.Yet Mr. Gokhale well knew there was no single office in Bengal except the lieutenant-governorship, which had not been, and might not again be filled by natives, and his friend Mr. Bepin Chandra Pal more candidly and truthfully said—We govern India now. What use then have we for the English?None. It was the British Army they wanted. Babu rule protected by British bayonets, and paid for by British taxpayers. What a. truly democratic ideal! One respect in which the reforms under consideration were defective was that they did not provide for a Press law. No measure was so necessary as a Press law such as existed in India in the days of Lord 152 Lytton, and was repealed by Lord Ripon, with the help of so good a Liberal as Lord Cromer, who had since repented, recanted, and expressed his conviction that an unbridled and licentious Press was incompatible with the safety of our rule. To turn from these reforms to education; after 1854 Departments of Public Instruction, Universities, and Training Colleges were introduced into India, Elementary vernacular schools were multiplied, and the system of grants-in-aid was adopted, which was not altered in essentials by the Commission of 1882, and survived to the present day. At the last Census, ninety-eight in 1,000 males and seven in 1,000 females, were able to read and write. Those who compared our Oriental Empire with an English parish might comment upon the small proportion of educated people, but those to whom was vouchsafed the knowledge that the whole world could not be judged by-British standards, and managed on British lines, would contrast the educational conditions of our Indian Empire with those of other parts of Asia, whether or not under European rule, and would realise how great was the work which had been done. Even in the Indian peninsula where the peace enforced by the British had enabled Native States to pursue the path of education, the figures were, with some conspicuous exceptions, not nearly so satisfactory as in British territory. The statistics incidentally exposed the falsity of the claim of the 1,000,000 who could speak English to represent the 299,000,000 who could not. It was found by the Indian Universities Commission that the acquirements of Indian graduates were to a great extent inadequate and superficial, and that they lived during their University course in lodgings with admittedly unsatisfactory results. We had since learnt how the shortcomings of this system made these youths, thus gathered together without control or - cohesion, the easy prey of the agitator, and the Government of India had been driven in self-defence to take steps to enforce discipline amongst the student class, ever "cereus in vitium flecti." The hostel system, a rough approximation to the boarding houses of our public schools, or rather to the licensed lodging-houses of our Universities, was now encouraged, but it was clear that further steps were 153 necessary before the students at Indian Universities would be efficiently protected from being debauched by agitators, who led them along the same path which had caused students in Russia to be a thorn in the side of their Government, and too often a disgrace to their country. There were, of course, chiefs' colleges, technical, industrial, arts, engineering, medical, agricultural, veterinary, and normal colleges and schools. Everything was represented in the complex educational system of India, but as the State maintained a position of strict religious neutrality, no religious instruction whatever was given in Government schools, while private institutions, provided that their secular instruction was satisfactory, might teach any religion whatsoever wholly unchecked. In 1888 the important question of moral training was considered, and suitable text books, physical training, and sports were recommended as an antidote to the want of reverence, of respect, and of religious obedience, which were promoted by merely secular education. Efforts were made to prescribe the selection of suitable text books, but the great evils existing were hardly scotched, certainly not killed. Our education continued to be altogether too literary in character for men who had to make their own living. The East India Railway, by taking young natives of India into their carriage and wagon works for training as mechanics, did more good than many colleges. Lord Curzon, who was always ready to grasp the nettle, and from the very comprehensive and hostile criticisms upon whom so often made in that House he wholly dissociated himself, well knowing the cost, dared to uphold the cause of the vernacular languages, the sole resource of all but a small minority, which were generally neglected in the pursuit of the -more marketable English. More, he encouraged primary education, for which the class who were now so closely associated with hon. Members on the Labour benches, had no use, in which they took no interest, and expenditure upon which they denounced. He introduced important reforms into the training colleges, and into primary and industrial schools, and in encouraging the Universities to control the instruction given in colleges and to keep up the standards 154 he became the subject of obloquy and hatred to those interested in institutions, whose object it was to turn Out the largest number of graduates without regard to the standard which they attained. The weaker colleges were at once the preserve of the Babu class, and the breeding ground of anarchists and agitators. Lord Curzon, having given power to the Universities to set their house in order, and to stiffen the standards to something approaching a passable pitch, committees of Universities now perambulated the country for the purpose of inspecting the colleges and of discovering which was not very difficult, their weak points. It was, however, certain that the standards in these institutions needed to be still further raised. But, after all, the chief of the many and great defects of our educational system was that it (lid not provide, and could not provide, any kind of religious teaching, and thus tended inevitably to destroy the respect for authority which was naturally inherent in the Hindu mind. That which young Oxford or Cambridge read and rightly regarded as the mere opinion of the individual writer, young India took as dogma, or, as they said, as a "Shasanam, which came down from Heaven." A seditious print, known as the Indian Sociologist, which in this refuge for conspirators had so far, to his great regret, escaped the attention of the public prosecutor, gave at the head of each issue a text from Mr. Herbert Spencer—Every man is free to do that which he wills, provided he infringes not the equal freedom of any other man. Resistance to aggression is not simply justifiable but imperative. Non-resistance hurts both altruism and egoism.This was the kind of pernicious stuff upon which young India fastened and fed. It was true the Government could not teach religion in its schools, but it could encourage, and should encourage, what we would in this country for want of a suitable expression describe as "denominational" institutions. The peoples of India themselves realised that education without religion was dead sea fruit. Proofs of their faith in this behalf were found in the existence of the Mahomedan Anglo-Oriental College at Alighur, the Central Hindu College at Benares, the Khalsa College of the Sikhs, 155 and the Arya Vedic and Islamic Colleges of the Punjab. It was, of course, impossible now to put the clock back, and in respect of higher education, at any rate to exalt the Orientalists above the Anglicists. But they should build upon existing lines and follow indigenous leads. Indeed this would be good policy even apart from the crying needs of the educational system. The radical fault of these colleges namely the absence of moral teaching, and of the inculcation of standards of duty, was not present in institutions of indigenous growth, nor did they find them hurling Mr. Spencer's precious dogmas to the hungry student, or Burke's Speeches on American Independence, or Mill's "Liberty" without Stephen's crushing rejoinder, nor did they deal in philosophy of a class which, of doubtful advantage on the banks of the Cam and the Isis, was downright mischievous on the margin of the Ganges. The Government should also have greater control over the text books which Universities now prescribed for colleges, and for the upper classes in secondary schools. The text books of history might with advantage be amended so as to shew that the small armies which won India were always supported by a great Navy, and that England's position in this respect was till now at any rate unimpaired. They might also teach the elementary truth that everywhere representative institutions originated in the extension of aristocratic and oligarchic privileges, and that this stage had necessarily to be passed, and that to ignore experience and to force the pace was to place power in the hands of classes full of prejudice against the poorer and the lower castes and classes, who were freely credited with ideas of which they never dreamt, and with a desire for that of which they never heard. India, governed according to native ideas, was the India of the rule of caste, birth, wealth, and strength. Some competent authorities thought more good could be done by rewarding good colleges for taking proper care of moral training, physical fitness, coporate life and true traditions. By these means the competition in such respects would be set up amongst 156 the pick of the colleges. It would be easy to reward them by choosing from the best the fortunate graduates to whom the Government appointments were given, now that the craze for competitive examination had happily given way to a more true appreciation of its worth. It was indeed all-important that Indian students should be placed under proper supervision, and since they were generally out-boarders, that some such system as the Bishop of Hereford, when headmaster, introduced into Clifton, should be established, and the tutors should have information regarding the status, antecedents, and character of their students, who now paraded Bande Mataram badges in school and college classes. Grants to aided colleges should not be given in cases where false concocted history was taught, for it was madness to subsidise institutions which aimed at the overthrow of British rule. These grants-in-aid, moreover, should be distributed so that different classes of the community might benefit, and most of the money should not go as it now did to managers, who confined instruction to one caste. Similarly, in our Government colleges and high schools the limited space should be allotted to representatives of all classes. Everyone must sympathise with a master in preferring to teach the high-bred, handsome, and intensely intelligent Brahmin youths, but it was their business to see that other classes got their share. It would not do to be democratic at home, and more aristocratic than the aristocrats abroad. Nothing indeed was so important as primary education, so needful for the masses, so unpopular with the classes, and a larger proportion of the total expenditure on education should be devoted to this head, and the number's of inspectors of this class of schools increased. Seeing the importance moreover of the character of their public servants, and of the atmosphere in which they were brought up, it would be well that there should be a Government college on the same lines mutatis mutandis as the old Haileybury, with residential quarters attached, in which selected candidates for the Government service should spend a year or two, undergoing special training at the hands of a good European staff. Not the least important among the reforms, 157 Government could, and should, effect was insistence upon a far higher standard of colloquial knowledge of the languages on the part of district officers. The Babu class spoke perfect English, the English official could not without an effort find non-English speaking natives with whom to talk, and his immediate subordinates would isolate him in his own district unless he persisted and insisted on breaking free from his bonds. It was not necessarily in his interests or in those of the people for whose welfare he was responsible, that his Babus made themselves the sole medium of communication. As Sir James La Touche, ex-Lieutenant-Governor of the United Provinces, lately said, the less advanced, or the less: English-speaking, the population, the better and the closer to the people was the administration. He might also quote the Superintendent of Municipal Schools in Bombay, an Indian gentleman, who said—The Indian graduate does not command much influence among the masses of his country— own and does not represent them,though he was himself far from thinking this class a negligible quantity; his opinion, indeed, was of the contrary description. It would be evident from these suggestions, that he concurred with the views expressed by all the provincial governments after consulting the beet authorities, official and non - official, throughout the country, to the effect that it would be a great mistake to abolish the fees charged in Government primary schools, and to pay in respect of private schools of the same class a subvention equal in amount to the abolished fees. Primary education could be helped by multiplying primary schools, not by making those existing free. The amount of money available was necessarily limited, and it should be devoted if possible to providing a primary school in every village. He did not know that there was, so far, even in the craze for the introduction of impossible institutions into India, a serious intention to try compulsory education. Nor was there any apparent reason why the Government should pay three-quarters of the cost of a graduate's education, or why graduates should be turned out from Government Colleges at a paltry cost of £6 and £3 a year for fees in first and 158 second grade colleges respectively. The proposal to initiate a class of indigenous institutions, which for want of a suitable adjective he had described as denominational, might meet with some objection from the more narrow-minded members of the school which thought the British Indian Empire should be treated like an English parish, and regarded British methods of administration as suitable alike to the New Hebrides and the Old Hebrides, to New and to Old South Wales, to the North, South, East and West of the round world; but there were signs that the missionaries at any rate had passed this stage, and saw that the destruction of the faiths of the people, and the manufacture of faithless, discontented, and half-educated graduates, was the ruin and not the salvation of the country. At the Pan-Anglican Congress a bishop was reported to have said that they should not be in such a hurry to convert the people, and destroy their own religions, from which it was evident that great advances in the realm of reason and tolerance had been made since the days in which the Government of India was forced against its better judgment, by the Government at home at the pressure of public opinion, to divest itself of religious endowments, which had been administered by its predecessors in India, and which had subsequently been final-administered by private bodies, to the annoyance and indignation of the communities concerned. Unfortunately those who loved English education best hated the English most, and the Government evoked a spirit that they did not even attempt to control or direct. They took the educated Indian away from pundit and priest, freed him from authority, his god for thousands of generations, and then left him to wallow amongst Anarchists, Nihilists, sedition - mongers and the like company, until he found his own, and too often a very low, level. Not only might the steps suggested in respect of education be taken with advantage, but in this and in other respects the Government should renounce the policy of alienating friends in a vain effort to conciliate enemies. This was habitually carried to such an extent as to endanger the good relations so essential between the Government and the 159 European population, official and nonofficial, such as planters and merchants, who were most valuable allies of the administration, and a very present help in time of trouble. Two men and a. boy, or rather two boys and a man in Bengal or Madras, calling themselves by the great name of a Mahajana Sabah or an Indian Association would count for more than 230 loyal English planters, who expressed their views pretty freely when gathered together, but never agitated, and were always true to their salt. It was within the power of the Government of India, as it was within the power of no other body, to give object lessons by rewarding loyalty, so that never again should the saying be current, as it was now and long had been in India, that loyalty did not pay, and that its recognition was deprecated as likely to offend those of another school. Every Viceroy in turn thought it had been left for him to conciliate the babus and agitators, and each one in turn left India a sadder and a wiser man. The natives did not understand a power which was not manifested, and a ruler who stooped to expostulation, extenuation, and explanation, as far as they were concerned, had already abdicated. It was widely held amongst Indian princes, who were undoubtedly loyal to British rule, that even the reforms now under consideration had better have been withheld until the agitators had desisted from inciting their dupes to bomb-throwing and the like outrages. But if the reforms were in themselves good, they were twice good if quickly given, and being what they were he for one would give them at once. Certainly they went as far as was wise at a time when those who demanded reform on behalf of the peoples of India, which they could not prove they represented, continued to denounce British rule, and to palliate if not to applaud the murderous outrages committed by half-educated youths, who were their dupes and their supporters. Whether further advances would be necessary, and at what time, could under present circumstances only be the subject of sterile speculation. It was, however, folly to ignore the fact that the system of election was unpleasing to the people of India, and that men of good class would not submit themselves to the 160 votes of all and sundry, by no means believing that one man was as good as another. Representation in India meant the due recognition of the principle of aristocracy. Happily it was far from being the truth that educated Indians as such were unfriendly to the British, or that the Brahmins, the hereditary and inevitable leaders of the non-Mahomedan people of India, were generally opposed to British rule, but it was the case that only those who had been educated in Western fashion were hostile to our Government, and it was the fact that this movement, like all others, was led by the Brahmins who predominated among, and who dominated, the English-educated class. The Mahomedans, of course, were on a different footing. They were united, had one religion and no caste, and so counted far and away beyond their numbers. Strong control should be kept over the Brahmin directors of schools and colleges, for they inevitably favoured their own caste, no doubt incomparably the best scholars, and cut out other classes, which had at least an equal claim on the administration. Another necessary measure was to train princes so that they should love to stay amongst their own people, instead of living their lives in Europe, the more fitted to which they became, the less suited they were to do their duty in that state of life to which they were called. Nor was it possible to omit the necessity for the establishment of some measures of control over Indians at Oxford and Cambridge, where little hot-beds of sedition were established such as flourished unchecked in London, with the inevitable newspaper to spread the poison abroad. It was almost incredible that meetings should be held without objection in Hampstead" in commemoration of the glorious Mutiny," and that a grossly seditious newspaper forbidden ingress into India should be published without let or hindrance in London. The present Government which had appointed many Commissions might be urged to appoint one more, to report on the political effects of our system of education, and to suggest remedies for its many and great defects. Surely our sanity would be seriously questioned if we went on manufacturing half-educated enemies. It became all true friends of India to acknowledge the great advances 161 made already in the appointments of educationists eminent in British India and in native States, Mr. Theodore Morison and Mr. Syed Hussein Bilgrami to the Council at the India office, but such radical reform as was needed would never be effected unless upon the strong Report of a strong Commission, none of whose members had alternately praised and blamed the British Government according as either attitude suited their present plans. There was, indeed, need for reform, and without giving way to alarm, for which as yet there was no occasion, we should do well to remember that—The same arts that did gainA power, must it maintain.He begged to move.
§ *SIR HENRY CRAIK (Glasgow and Aberdeen Universities)
in seconding the Amendment, said he did not claim the knowledge of India which was possessed by the hon. Member for the Montgomery Boroughs. He did not arrogate to himself that he had mastered all the problems of Indian government, although he had paid a short visit to our Eastern Empire, but he knew something of those problems from long and intimate correspondence with people who were acquainted with the conditions and circumstances of India. He did not mean to dwell at length on the polemical aspects of this question, which were discussed by the mover of the Amendment in the first part of his speech. On that side of the House they felt that the whole country was in-bebted to the Secretary of State for India for having maintained, in spite of temptation to the contrary from many of the extreme Members of his own Party, that attitude which perhaps had saved India from a great calamity. He felt, however, that he could not assent even to the earlier part of the Amendment if it obliged them, quickly and without careful consideration, to carry out even moderate reforms if those reforms were to be given as concessions to violence, conspiracy, or assassination. There was a danger that that interpretation might be placed upon concessions by a large section of people in India, and that made one hesitate to adopt without careful reservation the earlier part of the 162 Amendment. There was another consideration which it would be well not to leave out of account. There were as many natives of India who were liable to be alarmed by reforms too easily conceded as there were within our own country. He had talked over and over again with natives who were more ready to see the evils involved in undue concessions than even he himself was. Let the House remember that all India did not consist of Babus and their representatives. There were vast numbers whose loyalty was not a mere negative quantity, or not a quantity which could be calculated upon indefinitely. They had constantly supported us in the face of constant discouragement. There was nothing that struck one more in travelling about certain parts of India than the fact that many of the native races were alarmed lest the landmarks of their country and the traditions, habits, and customs to which they were profoundly attached might be impaired, if not entirely abolished, by these political reforms. Some members of the Indian population who were most articulate had learned the methods of Western politics, and the tricks by which a small party was made to appear a large one; but they did not alter the profoundly conservative views of many of our best friends amongst the native races. His chief object in seconding the Amendment was to refer to the question in which he was specially interested, namely, educational reform in India. He did not think that in Indian official circles any opinion was more prevalent or more universal than that a reform in education was imperatively required. To a great extent he attributed this not to a lack of enthusiasm on our part, not to the backwardness of any authority in India, not to any desire to crush out the intelligence of the native races, and so make them more subservient. Such a figment of the imagination did not exist among the responsible rulers of India, but he thought that much of our educational machinery in India for the last fifty years had been mistaken, and that many of the mistakes still existed. They were too ready originally to adopt the latest fads and ideas and the freshest contrivances, believing that they would last to the end of time, and to plant them 163 wholesale upon India. Competitive examinations and the pursuit of University degrees gave them the idea that a University was only a place for conferring degrees. That was the last possible attribute which he should like to attach to a University, and for his part he would not he sorry to see an M.A. degree conferred on every child six weeks old, so that they might be done with the superstition that degree granting was the only function of a University. That idea had impressed itself on the people of India. We forgot that while Indians adopted our habits, they did not move forward with the quickness and readiness which we did in the matter of reforms. They had got embedded in their minds that book-learning and competitive examinations were the be all and the end all of everything. That idea exercised a thraldom over the mind of the native which it never attained with us. Even in our wildest vagaries it had never obtained here. We forgot also that we had made mistakes before, and that we might be making mistakes now. The hon. Member for the Montgomery Boroughs had spoken of the opinion that there should be free and compulsory education as one held by none but a few extremists. That was not his own experience. That was not only an idea indulged in by a few extremists. He had repeatedly heard those who professed to be leaders of the Reform Party in Bengal express their adherence to that idea. He thought there was nothing more mad than the fiction that free and compulsory education in India would advance education there, because such a system had been introduced in this country a few years ago. It was mere midsummer madness. It was all very well for the Babu to urge that such a system should be adopted, but did they think that the agriculturists of the Punjab would accept compulsory education? The other day when talking to a leading Indian Gentleman he asked whether, in his opinion, compulsory education would prove altogether acceptable to the native agriculturists. "Oh, yes," he said, "they would have to accept it whether they liked it or not." But who would be responsible for enforcing it? The burden would lie on the much-abused 164 English official. He did not think his hon. friend the Member for Nottingham would be ready to face the music in connection with the difficulty of making education compulsory to the millions of agriculturists in India. We had sometimes forgotten the multitude of races with which we had to deal in India, and how a system of education suitable for one might be entirely unfitted for another. We had introduced a system of education which was predominantly literary which was largely, founded on modern philosophy in absolute contrast to all the ideas with which the thought of India had moved for centuries. We had introduced what we called political science, which meant a number of theoretical books upon the constitution, which were understood in Western countries, but which, unfortunately, were almost all of one type. Students read these books in our own Universities, and there was no harm done. They read them as only the expression of one side, and not as axioms. That was not the case in India. The natives read these books as if they were mathematical truths incapable of being controverted, while at the same time they assimilated our ideas and used them for their own objects and in their own ways in political agitation and controversy. There was one special characteristic in which the native races were divergent from the Western. Was it not the case that we were more or less religious on principle, by teaching, by tradition, by one's sense of duty; and, after all, were we not as a nation fundamentally secular in our minds by the force of environment? The absolute opposite was the case with the native races. Some individuals might, if they thought it better in order to affect advanced opinion set aside the predominant religion. He had found among the agitators in Bengal that the old religion of their race was spoken of with a shrug of the shoulders and as if that was a matter for the lower and not the educated classes. But, however that might be, it applied to a very small number of the inhabitants of India. It was not the case with the vast mass of the people, who were, by instinct and not like us by principle, down to the finest fibre of their being, religious. It was the first motive which dominated their 165 lives; and if we attempted to found their moral education on any other basis we were building, so far as the native races were concerned, on sand. They could not understand what was meant by all our Cowper-Temple clauses. They believed in, the religion handed down to them for long centuries, which was part of their bone and ran in their blood. They believed in no other. It was all very well for some people to say that we could not adopt any attitude except a neutral one in regard to religion, and to dismiss the subject with that remark. He was inclined to say that that was a piece of cant. Why should we divide ourselves from what was the dominant influence of the lives of these native races if we wished to get hold of them? We should never get at the root of the minds of the natives if in their education morals were divorced from religion. Over and over again leading gentlemen of the great races of India had expressed to him, not only during his short visit to India, but over a long series of years, their dislike of this divorce of religion from their schools. He had no wish, if it were found difficult for the authorities, that these should themselves introduce the teaching of religion in the schools. But let the authorities ally themselves with those who would. Let them have open doors to the teachers of religion. The only alternative was to encourage those private schools, those free schools to which the noble Lord had referred and in regard to which he had read some words paragraph denouncing them as the remnants of a bygone system. He took exactly the opposite view from that taken in the words quoted. It was a lesson even for us at home, where we saw the effect produced by a system which necessarily divorced education from religious teaching. There was another aspect of education to which he wished to refer. By all means let us make our education better. But let us not be subject to a traditional superstition in regard to it. He could assure the House that the superstition did not largely prevail amongst those responsible for educational administration; but the public at large and those who spoke on platforms were far too apt to speak as if education consisted solely of 166 reading, writing, and arithmetic. For himself, the more he had to do with education the more he was inclined to regard that as a small part of it. What he looked to was the more vivifying and fructifying elements. We must make our education for the future more practical, but let us not introduce the jargon of technical education with all its jaw-breaking terms. We had ourselves fallen under a sort of tyranny of that kind. We had various classes of schools—higher grade schools, industrial schools, schools of applied science—till we hardly knew where we were. We forgot the real germ of truth that lay at the bottom of the whole thing—that we must make the pupils in our elementary schools here, as well as in India, understand somehow that what they were being taught had some practical effect on their lives. He was not very anxious, nor did he see that salvation lay that way, to establish a few technical colleges. We knew what that meant. It would just lead to the training of a few men to whom the be-all and end-all of their life was to qualify themselves for some Government appointment. That was one of the banes of India at present. By all means have these technical colleges where they were wanted for special purposes; but we should not imagine that by building up that kind of technical education we were forming anything but the apex of our educational pyramid. We must lay our foundation more widely and deeper down. He would rather aim at a technical education in the elementary schools. We could teach the children of the native races of India first of all the dignity of work. That was a novelty to the Eastern mind. We could teach them in the great agricultural districts, which formed the hardest problem with which we had to deal in India, that nature was not, merely a series of antagonistic, hostile, supernatural powers, such as it appeared to the mind in these vast silent territories. We could teach them that it was a force of which they might make an ally, from which they could draw the best of all its resources; that it might become their best helper and co-operator, their familia associate all their life long. We might try that, and then we 167 should get hold of the practical side of agricultural schools. But, above all, we should not forget the conditions with which we had to deal. We must not attempt to mix together in those schools these different races, a practice so much complained of by those who endeavoured to reach native opinion. We had broadened the schools so much that the parents did not find them a fitting training-place for their children. It must be remembered that we were in India dealing with races profoundly aristocratic, however distasteful that word might be to hon. Members below the gangway. We could not force democratic views upon races which were of that temperament. We could not reach them by breaking their traditions as to the conditions which divided class from class. To attempt to do so would only make the schools unfamiliar places which they only thought of as the first step in that career of artificial training, to be followed up by other weary steps to examination, and finally, to end in divorce from those of their own race. Let them he given, above all, something that would help them out of the official service in their own country districts. Let them be helped to seek the alliance of those who represented the different nations in the country. Let not their educational efforts be associated with the notion that the schools could be framed in accordance with ideas that would be satisfactory to the Nonconformist conscience. Let them be taught above all, that British rule maintained its proudest boast of administering absolute, impartial, unbiassed justice between the different classes, races, and religious convictions that came under our sway. That was the problem we had to face in India, and we could only face it by seeking an alliance with all that was best and most characteristic in the native races.
To leave out from the word 'That,' to the end of the Question, in order to add the words this House, while it recognises that the reforms now under the consideration of the Government of India are suitable and sufficient in respect of questions with which they deal, is of opinion that the educational system in India stands in urgent need of reform.'—(Mr. Rees,)—instead thereof.
§ Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."
§ *MR. ELLIS (Nottingham, Rushcliffe)
, congratulated his right hon. friend the Under-Secretary upon his statement, to which the House had listened with much pleasure. As an old political comrade he congratulated him on his appearance at the Table. He was a master of Indian finance, and when a few years ago he was in a position of responsibility on the Royal Commission, he had waged war on behalf of the Indian taxpayer and had come out triumphant. Very satisfactory was the statement, so far as the figures were concerned. The right hon. Gentleman had shown them surpluses year after year, not multiplied as the result of under-estimates, but the result of natural growth of the prosperity of the country. Very pleased he was to hear the statement in reference to opium. Last year the noble Lord the Member for Kensington spoke of the premature action of the Government in regard to opium, and drew a lurid picture of what might happen; but it was gratifying to find that there was reduction in the area under poppy cultivation, and promise of further reduction, in accordance with the "accepted policy" of helping the Chinese Government in efforts to extinguish the opium habit among their people. This was the first time "accepted policy" had appeared in official papers and it marked a great advance. So long as the present Government remained in power those words would stand. The reduction in the salt tax was a measure of humanity for the poor ryot who had suffered much from the high price of salt for many years, and everyone must rejoice that the policy of reduction had been exceedingly successful, owing to increased consumption. He had heard the reference to the Police Commission with great interest. There was hardly any part of the Indian administrative system which required to be more carefully watched and needed more thorough reform. He hoped it would receive very drastic treatment. The Report of the Commission respecting the Indian Police was not very pleasant reading, and he was satisfied that a great deal required to be 169 done to improve the morals of the police in India. Nothing was more important for the welfare of India than the development of railways and irrigation works, and he was delighted to hear his right hon. friend say that he proposed to introduce a Bill for the further advancement of the railway system. The Report of the Committee on Indian railways would well repay hon. Members for its perusal. The first thing they found was that the railway system in India was in a state of chaos. That was the result, one of the many unfortunate results, of what he would term the Curzon regime. Lord Curzon thought fit to create a new railway board, which was exactly like the fifth wheel of a coach. The Committee appointed to consider the railway system of India, in a most exhaustive Report, had pointed out how the creation of this new railway board had really denuded the railway system of India of responsibility,and that the state of the whole thing was that of confusion worse confounded. It was to be hoped that the carrying out of their recommendations would put an end to this. He believed that the two things which lay at the root of the prosperity of India were a well developed railway system and irrigation. The Amendment just put from the Chair really embraced two things. In so far as it invited the House to declare that the educational system of India stood in urgent need of reform he was inclined to agree with it; and the system might be remodelled on the lines indicated by the hon. Member, why had just sat down, and directed to the building up of character and training the intelligence for the affairs of life. The present system was too much an attempt to develope the intellectual faculties and did not sufficiently build up character. There was no man snore capable of dealing with this subject than the present Secretary of State. When the Resolution declared that the reforms under consideration were suitable and sufficient, he confessed, before he gave his assent to that, he would like to see what the reforms were. Hon. Members who had listened to what had taken place the other day, or who had read the speeches, would realise that there was a grave situation to deal with in India; but that must not deter 170 them from holding fast to the only clue out of the difficulty. Speaking at this time last year, Lord Morley, then Mr. Morley, used these words—Criticism on the attitude of Lord Minto and His Majesty's Government leaves out of account the fact that Lord Minto did not come quite into a haven of serenity and peace.No one in that Assembly at present knew that so well as he himself did. He had said last year, that the Secretary of State would have been better advised if he had a little more lifted the curtain and taken the public into his confidence, and he was of that opinion still. The Government two years ago found a state of things internally in India which formed a heritage to which few viceroys had succeeded. The reason for that, if anybody wanted to know it, he would find by going into the library and reading the speech of Lord Curzon, made in the House of Lords, the other day. He who read it would see the spirit out of which these difficulties arose. Mr. Morley went on to say—Our policy was to compose the unexampled conditions of the controversy and confusion by which we were faced.A situation had been created which required very grave and patient handling, and the country owed a great deal to the firmness, patience, and sympathy of Lord Morley when he went to the India Office. He did not put himself into the hands of the chief officials as other Liberals had sometimes done when they went to the India Office. That was all he thought that he need say. The situation was grave. It called for a very cool head, a firm and even temper, but, above all, a courageous adherence to the principles of reform. He had read with the greatest delight these words of Lord Minto—No anarchical crime will deter me from endeavouring to meet as best I can the political aspirations of honest reformers.That was very fine language for, a man in his position, for they knew what it was for a Governor-General in Simla and in Calcutta to say those words before those by whom he was surrounded. Lord Minto might fairly be compared for coolness of head, tenacity of purpose and warm sympathies with a great people, to his great predecessor who, to his 171 immortal honour, earned the sobriquet of "Clemency Canning." To a certain extent this discussion on reforms was a little premature that evening. In order to obtain full information they wanted the Report of the Hobhouse Commission, and the views both of the Government of India and the India Office. He earnestly hoped that the Report would be circulated during the autumn session, and that they would then be afforded an opportunity of going into the whole matter thoroughly. It had always seemed to him of far more importance that the head of the ship should be turned in the right direction than that the speed at which it travelled should be high. It had been turned in a very different direction directly Lord Morley took his present position on 11th December, 1905. They knew Lord Morley's mind; he was sure that neither he nor his efficient Under-Secretary would swerve in any shape or degree with reference to the direction in which the ship should continue to be directed. That being so, ho was certain they might rely on the earnest and whole-hearted support of the House and the country.
§ *MR. KEIR HARDIE (Merthyr Tydvil)
said he had listened with some satisfaction to the speech of the Under-Secretary for India. The surplus which he had been able to declare in connection with the Budget indicated that so far as the financal state of the Government of India was concerned all appeared to be well. The right hon. Gentleman had spoken of the military expenditure as one of the items which had been growing in India, and it was only a very modified hope that he had held out that it would be reduced. During the last eight years the military expenditure accounted for in the Indian Budget had gone up from just over £14,000,000 to £20,750,000—an increase of £6,500,000 during that period. That in itself was a very serious item, and, if he might be allowed to express an opinion, not a little of the growing unrest in India was due to the growth of the spirit of militarism, as represented in the Budget by the growing expenditure on the Army. But there was one item which the Under-Secretary had not referred to, and which was not dealt with in 172 these accounts, but was one on which the right hon. Gentleman was perhaps able to give them some information. Each native state of India incurred a not inconsiderable yearly expenditure for Imperial purposes. There was what was called the Military Transport Corps maintained exclusively out of native state funds for the exclusive use of the Imperial Government. In addition there were the Imperial Lancers, maintained by the native states in the same way and for the same purpose. He had had an opportunity of learning that this new form of impost was resented very strongly in at least some of the most progressive native states. It had its origin — this was his information — in a good-natured offer on behalf of one of the native rulers at a time when there was threatened trouble with Russia, and what was then a voluntary offer of help on his part to the Imperial Government had become practically a compulsory charge on those native states for all time to come. It hampered these native states seriously in ninny directions; and he would express the hope that now that the menace, or alleged menace from Russia, which had been used up to the present in regard to the safety of India had been removed, this impost upon the native states of India would shortly be dispensed with. Then in regard to education. It was a great satisfaction, he was sure, to everyone to find that the expenditure upon education this year or in the year coining was shown by the Budget to have increased. The increase however was far from being sufficient to meet the requirements of the case. The most that could be said for it was that it was a step in the right direction. The educational needs of India were very great, and what was further, the desire for education was very great among the Indian roots. One of the sights which he never failed to see when he was visiting the villages away from the big towns, was the local village school, and it was most gratifying to him to find that, although the parents of the children were charged fees which, considering their position, were considerable, yet those fees were paid cheerfully. The children would go four or five miles in a morning to attend school. And there were some 173 cases in which the village schoolmaster out of his fifteen rupees monthly salary would pay the fees of children whose parents were too poor to pay them themselves, in order to enable the children to get the advantages of the education afforded. Under these circumstances he thought that the Government would do well to be a little more generous in its expenditure upon education and educational requirements. He would not enter upon the question of the quality of the education given, further than to say that he agreed in toto with the criticisms which had been offered as to its exclusively literary character. That criticism, by the way, applied to our own country as well as to India. Unquestionably there was a greater need in India for a more all-round education than was at present given. One of the very pathetic sides of India was to be seen in its decaying hand industries. With a little encouragement from the Government, and with a little stimulus to education they might preserve most of these hand industries which represented a phase of the people's life which should not be allowed to die. It was matter to him for regret that the handloom was being superseded by machinery. He had previously referred to what was being done for education in the State of Mysore, and the taunt was thrown across the floor at him that Mysore owed its advanced state to its fifty years of tuition under British rule. As it happened, the State of Baroda which was never under British rule, was even more advanced, educationally, than was Mysore itself. In Mysore, free compulsory education had been promised, and would shortly come into effect. But in Baroda, not only was education free and compulsory, but the educational needs of the pariah children were attended to, and the Government in Baroda set apart a certain proportion of its civil appointments for the exclusive use of children of pariah parents educated in the State schools. A native State, able to do that, set an example which the British Government could well afford to follow. Surely if we held India for the good of the Indian people we should not be content to lag behind a small native State. He was very interested in the remarks about famine, 174 and he would like to take that opportunity of heartily and cordially endorsing what the Under-Secretary had said about the humane activities and the practical work that was being done by Sir John Hewitt, the Governor of the United Provinces, whose work was of a kind which marked him out as one of the type of men whom India needed to develop it along higher lines. But while that was true of the United Provinces and of famine, there was still much requiring to be done to break down the ravages which plague and disease in its various forms was increasingly making. An alarming feature of the outbreak of plague and cholera in recent years had been its continuity, and its increasing virulence. He was delighted to learn that there was this year a very heavy reduction in the death rate and he prayed it might continue, and that at length the disease had be in mastered. But the fact remained, that for the last decade of the last century the average death rate from this preventible cause was over a million a year, and during the seven years which had elapsed of the present century the death-rate had averaged more than 1,000,000 a year. That was a very serious state of affairs. At Poona he found the disease was being grappled with because, in spite of the opposition of one of the chief officials of the district, the authorities had called into co-operation a native committee to assist them in dealing with the plague and the remedies for it. Beneficial results were accruing, and the example was one which could be recommended to other parts of India. They heard much of the causes of the unrest in India, but the real cause, though there were others which had contributed, had been the hope deferred of the native Indians. Time and time again they had had legislation passed and reforms promised, and some reforms the Viceroy or the Provincial Governor had done what he could to inaugurate. But over and over again the promise which had looked so fair to the eye had been blasted to the hope, and as a consequence they had this gathering volume of unrest in India culminating in those recent acts which every friend of India must deplore, connected with bomb outrages. If the India Office, with, he hoped, the full ap- 175 proval and sympathetic support of the Indian Government, was determined to limit the excessive official interference with the natives, to associate Indians more and more with the administration of the country, and generally, both legislatively and administratively, to bring the people more into touch with Indian affairs, unquestionably the dawn of a new and brighter era was about to break in that distracted country. The mover of the Motion had played the part of a Mahatma in professing to know the future, and had expressed approval of reforms which had not yet been formulated. In so far as they had been formulated they were not of a kind which either the Liberal or the Labour side of the House could by any possibility accept with satisfaction. They were in most respects quite reactionary.
He hoped he would be in order in referring to a personal matter. The hon. Member who moved the Motion was good enough to refer to him and others in a way that had been common since his visit to India by persons in more or less official and high positions. He was not the only Member of the House who had assumed that certain things alleged to have been said by himself were necessarily correct because they had appeared in the Press. On two separate occasions Lord Cromer in another place had referred to statements attributed to him, and Lord Curzon had seemed on a recent occasion to be referring to the same thing. A good deal of sympathy had been expended on those Indian officials who were likely to be misrepresented and abused without cause by the native Press and by wandering agitators in India. More harm, however, was done to the cause of British rule in India by the unsympathetic, cavilling spirit represented in the speech of the hon. Member who moved this Motion, and by the régime of Lord Curzon, than by all the seditious writings and all the native Press put together. Calcutta one morning was astonished to find that he had been preaching sedition in India and libelling the Anglo-Indian officials. Calcutta itself knew nothing about it, and until the news was telegraphed out from London neither the officials in Calcutta nor the able journalists who conducted 176 the Anglo-Indian Press were aware of what he was supposed to have been doing. What was the statement which appeared to set the heather on fire, not only in Great Britain, but as he subsequently discovered, all round the British Empire? The Times in a leading article on October 2nd, 1907, stated that—The Bengali newspapers assert that he has declared the condition of Eastern Bengal to be worse than that of Russia, and that the atrocities which officials commit there woul caused more horror in this country, were they known, than the Turkish outrages country, Armenia.The Pressman who sent the cable home was challenged on the spot by five of his brother journalists, all Englishmen, and two of them English Conservatives, to produce his authority for the statement. He was unable to do so. The statement was a pure concoction. The man who made it had such a reputation for misleading the public at home concerning affairs in India that several of his brother journalists in Calcutta, prior to this incident, sent a warning note to the editors of papers here to be on their guard against statements emanating from him. One or two of the newspapers had the decency and the good taste to apologise for having assumed the statement to be true. But despite that, although every schoolboy who took an interest in politics was aware that the statement was a fabrication, hon. Members of that House, and still more remarkable numbers in another place, were not above accepting the unsupported testimony of this one discredited journalist and placing it against all the responsible authorities and journalists in Calcutta and other parts of India. He was prepared to abide by what the Viceroy said in regard to his general conduct. He was not troubled about a personal matter concerning his own reputation, but when his alleged sayings were used to prejudice people at home against the people of India he thought it necessary to make the truth known.
There was one aspect of the revenue which was to him a matter of great satisfaction and that was the decrease in the revenue from opium. At the same time there was a danger that the prohibition of the use of opium might encourage the use of other drugs of a 177 more dangerous character. At Singapore he visited an opium den, and he saw subsequently morphia victims who were literally covered with sores from head to foot, and this was a far more pitiable spectacle than that which was presented by the users of opium. Therefore, it was necessary that they should be on their guard to see that in suppressing the one evil they did not create even a greater one. Another point he wished to refer to was the increase in the revenue from the sale of liquor. During the past ten years the increase had been £5,000,000, and that increase appeared to be still going on. It had been said that this was a proof of the prosperity of the Indian people, but he would like a little further explanation on that point. As a rule people did riot drink to excess when they were comfortably off and well-to-do. It was when they were miserable that they tried to drown their sorrows in liquor, and it would be found that those villages of India where the local toddy shops carried on the most successful trade in liquor were those in which poverty and destitution were without parallel in any part of the world. He would quote to the House some figures which had been supplied to him by a gentleman, Rev. Herbert Anderson, who was at the head of a deputation which waited upon him in Calcutta, and who was the president of the temperance association there. These figures dealt with Bengal exclusively, and they showed that the revenue from the sale of spirits and liquors for the year 1905–6 was £1,100,000, and that was an increase of £73,000 over the preceding year. The last published accounts for the year 1906–7 showed an increase in the sale of liquor of over £48,000. That state of things in a nation where the use of intoxicating liquors was condemned by all forms of religion was very serious. He agreed with the suggestion made by Mr. Anderson that one necessary step to take to have this evil kept in check was to separate the revenue from the licensing function. At the present time they were both in one Department, and, without maligning anyone, he thought he might say that it naturally followed that the revenue officer was likely to be more active in extorting revenue than in acting as a temperance 178 reformer anxious to keep down drunkenness. He thought the separation of those two departments would go a long way towards removing the pressure, which was brought to bear in various ways to increase the sale of liquor in India in order to increase the revenue. That was a matter which demanded the serious attention of the Government both in this country and in India and one which he hoped would not be overlooked. Now he came to the reforms which were in process of being elaborated. The need for reforms in India was a question which was no longer in dispute. Those who had followed the debate in another place would see that their Lordships were practically unanimous in saying that reforms of some kind were imperatively needed in India. Perhaps he might be allowed to say a word or two upon what he considered was a very important cause of the unrest prevailing in India; he referred to the partition of Bengal. It was admitted that much of that unrest was due to the way in which the partition was brought about, and in this connection he remarked that not the least interesting incident in the recent debate in another, place was the way in which everybody tried to evade responsibility for the partition. Lord Curzon quoted a telegram showing how the partition was forced upon him by the India Office, and the representative of the India Office replied that Lord Curzon insisted upon it, and the India Office agreed to it in order to humour him. The point he wished to make was that some reform was necessary in connection with the partition of Bengal. The particular form of partition which had been made was not only opposed by the Hindoo population of Bengal but also from its inception by the Mahomedan population and by the civil authorities from the Governor downwards. Surely there was at least a case for inquiry here. The present partition, geographically and otherwise, was not the best, and as to this point there was no dispute. The only justification put forward for it was that it gave to the Mahomedan population a sphere of influence in Eastern Bengal, that the Mahomedan people were now in a majority under the partition, and that to interfere with the existing partition 179 might take away from them, that majority. But surely the Government of India was not to be driven to the necessity of offending the Hindu population hi order to maintain the Mahomedans in a majority. He would appeal with all the power at his command to the Secretary of State for India not to consider this question a closed book. If partition was an accomplished fact, at least they should see to it that the boundaries were so adjusted as not to give unnecessary cause of offence to a great number of loyal and law-abiding people. In regard to the reforms themselves, he had arrived at the conclusion that no matter what was done for India there could be no real pacification, no allaying of discontent, no breaking down of the barrier rising between European and Asiatic, until the people of India had some effective form of self-government. In the Civil departments the more highly paid positions were practically closed against the natives. The hon. Member for Montgomery had said that in Bengal there was no position which could not be held by a native.
§ *MR. KEIR HARDIE
said there was not a single native employed in the salt department with a salary over 800 rupees a month. The higher positions were all reserved for Europeans. In the Customs Department the line was drawn at 700 rupees.
§ *MR. KEIR HARDIE
said the figures he was quoting were given by a native member of the Viceroy's Council in the Budget debate in 1905. That speech was made in the presence of the Viceroy himself and his officials, and as far as he could ascertain no one had controverted it. In the Public Works Department it was 1,200 rupees. The natives of India were barred from these higher positions. Formerly the natives came here and sat for examination with the view to obtaining these positions, but the number appointed was so very small that they longer troubled to come. They 180 asked that simultaneous examinations should be held in India and in England. There was one reform which he would suggest as thoroughly practicable, and he thought it was one with which most members would be inclined to sympathise. There were two branches of the Civil Service in India—the Provincial and the Imperial. The lower paid positions belonged to the former and the higher paid to the latter. Surely it would be possible to adopt a system whereby the Provincial Civil servants might, after a certain number of years service, and after proving that they were qualified, rise to the higher service. That would give young men who were capable administrators something to look forward to. At present they knew that once they had entered the Provincial service, the higher service was closed to them for all time coining. That was a question which might be considered by the India Office. In regard to the legislative department, he suggested that the whole system by which members were appointed to the various councils should be reformed. The Under-Secretary had ref erred to the growing cost to the people of official charges. It was a well-known fact that the Law Courts were becoming one of the most grievous burdens with which the people of India were afflicted. He was casting no reflection on the Courts; he was stating a fact which everybody knew in India. The habit of going to law had become so prevalent, and the law's delays so costly, that the obtaining of justice in India had become a serious matter. Under the old condition of things each village had its own council. These councils still existed in some villages. He suggested a restoration of the old village council, that it should be popularly elected and entrusted with certain well-defined powers in the trial of civil cases up to a certain amount in small petty disputes. These councils should also have the control of the village school of irrigation, grazing lands, and woods and forests within their borders. The charges for woods, grazing lands, fishing licences, and this, that, and the other charge, did not exist until a few years ago. These charges were grievous in themselves, but it sometimes happened that a piece of land which had 181 been from time immemorial grazing land was suddenly declared to be forest land by the Imperial Government, and people whose cattle strayed on the land were fined for trespass. If these lands were placed under the village council the people would have a real interest in the administration of their own affairs. He had been blamed for saving, but he repeated here, that the ryots of India in intelligence and in capacity for looking after their own affairs would compare favourably with our agricultural population at home. They had no book learning, they did not know much about Western science, but in all that affected themselves they had a shrewd practical knowledge which reminded him of the Scottish farmer at his best. They could be quite safely trusted with those things. From those village councils they could elect district councils, and the districts councils in turn could elect the provincial councils. In this way the whole superstructure of Indian administration would rest upon popular election, and the people would be given a real control over their affairs. At present the provincial councils were practically passive, they had no power to move amendments on the Budget. Provided that enlarged powers were given to the provincial councils, the young men of India who were imbibing our Western ideas would have an outlet for their energies and scope for the exercise of their ability which would keep them out of the way of wandering agitators and other pestilent and pestiferous persons.
§ *MR. KEIR HARDIE
said he was not proposing that the Government should he left in a minority on the provincial councils. He would be prepared to give the Government a small majority, though there should be freedom in the council to move amendments on the Budget and to deal with other questions. It was on these lines that he ventured to hope that the reforms, when they came to be hammered out, would take shape. It had been said that owing to the diversity of castes and creeds they could not have popular elections. He denied that statement. At the present time in 182 Bengal three-fourths of the members of the local council were elected by popular vote. In Bombay one-half of the members, and in Madras the whole of the members, were nominated. In all the big cities and towns of India there were popularly - elected town councils.
§ *MR. KEIR HARDIE
said that that did not matter; they were elected by a popular vote. If the hon. Member was going to say that lawyers were not fit to represent the common people, there was some reforming to be done in the House of Commons. He could quote a number of cases to show that people of different castes and creeds could unite at elections to secure the return of certain members. He would give one illustration. The city of Benares was the holy city of the Hindus, and the facts he was about to state were made on the authority of the town clerk, who was himself a native Christian. In that city there was not a single ward in which the Mahomedans had a majority of electors. There were nineteen members elected by popular vote to serve on the council. Of that number twelve were Hindus and seven were Mahomedans. The same thing was found all over the country. In Madras a provincial member was being elected when he was there. Madras was a Hindu province, 83 per cent. of its people being Hindus, The Hindu organisation brought forward a Mahomodan gentleman who was subsequently elected to represent them. The talk about caste and creed was greatly exaggerated, and if it was desired to break down caste prejudices the best method was to give the people some form of popular representation in regard to which they would be compelled to work together for the common good. The present moment was doubly serious for this country in connection with India from every point of view. It was not merely that unrest was growing in India; unrest was growing throughout the whole of the East. There was trouble in Turkey and Persia, there was the great awakening in Japan, and there was the development taking place in China. India, after all, had more affinity with the East than with the West, despite 150 years of European occupation. The Hindus and Mahomedans with whom he came in 183 contact were kindly well-intentioned people. The Hindu o in particular were very much maligned, but if they had one fault greater than another it was their submissive loyalty. Those natives who were kindly affectioned, well-meaning, responsive to sympathy, having no higher ambition in life than to live loyal under the British Flag, were being treated as pariahs. We had responsibilities not only to the people of India, but also in the face of Europe; for if unrest was spread throughout India a conflagration might one day break out in China, Japan, and even nearer home, which would set India ablaze and burn up the last vestige of British rule. The people there would be loyal if they felt that their grievances were being acknowledged and redressed; but repression of legitimate reforms and a denial or postponement of what they had been led by proclamations by the Crown, by the promises of Ministers, and by speeches in their midst to believe were their rights as British subjects, would produce that feeling of hopeless despair which bred discontent and disloyalty and menaced the unity of the Indian Empire.
§ MR. MACCAW (Down, W.)
said that, as one who had spent some years in India, he would like to say a few words in this debate. In the first place he desired to record, in common with previous speakers, and indeed with all who had any interest in the greatest of all our Dependencies, how much he deplored the present condition of affairs in certain parts of that country, and the attitude of a certain, though he would fain believe only a small portion, of our native fellow-subjects. The feeling of unrest which undoubtedly existed had arisen from various causes, for most of which we, as the ruling race, could not he held accountable; but there were others which he thought were the direct and logical outcome of our own deliberate acts. He might take the question of education, for instance, which was now under discussion. When we decided, many years ago now, to establish a system of higher education in India, he wondered if it ever entered into the mind; of those responsible what, as time went on, was likely to be the result of their action. He did not think that even the most it far-seeing amongst them could have 184 anticipated the situation which now existed, and which was growing more acute day by day. The result of that system was that all the large towns of India were flooded with young men, educated up to a certain standard, by an education which had the effect of confirming them in their belief, though no doubt unintentionally so, that manual labour was degrading, and which quite unfitted them for earning their livelihood by the means which their fathers and forefathers adopted, with the consequence that their ambitions and thoughts were wholly turned, either towards the learned professions or to Government employment. The opportunities in both these walks in life were of necessity limited, with the result that numbers of educated and to some extent qualified men were thrown on the world without occupation of any kind, a sure hotbed of trouble in any country. The list was being added to year by year, and the position was undoubtedly becoming a somewhat serious one in this respect. Naturally these idle men became more or less discontented with their lot, and he was afraid in many cases harboured resentment against those who, quite unintentionally, had placed them in the anomalous position which they occupied. What was to be the remedy for this state of affairs, it was somewhat difficult to formulate. The suggestion had been put forward that the opportunities for University education should be very materially curtailed, but he did not believe that that idea would commend itself to many thinking men of the present day. One of the most important of our many duties in India was to see that our fellow-subjects there had placed at their disposal freely and lavishly all that Western knowledge could impart, and he trusted that this would be recognised so long as England remained the paramount power in the government of that country. He had no claims beyond those of an ordinary observer to speak on the subject of education, but he thought the general consensus of opinion appeared to be that our whole system there had been, and still was, far too much of a literary, As opposed to a practical character, and in this direction he thought most people were agreed a great change was required. 185 Technical instruction must receive much greater attention than had been the case in the past. In improved methods of agriculture alone a vast field lay open to the educated Indian, and there were few crops now being produced which could not be doubled and trebled in quantity and value, were recognised systems of scientific cultivation to be applied. In this work, occupations might be found for thousands of young men who, under the present system of education, had no career open to them beyond a struggle for existence in the overcrowded sphere of Government employment. With the aspirations of educated Indians to the fullest share possible in the Government of their country, he had nothing but the warmest sympathy, but even the most sympathetic mind must see beyond question that there were limits in this direction. So long as England remained responsible to India as a whole for the great trust which she had undertaken, the supreme control of affairs must remain vested in men of English race. The vast interests committed to her care were so complex and so varied, and at times so conflicting, in their character, that none but most impartial administrators could be considered as qualified to do them proper justice. This consideration alone, even if there were no others, which lie was far from saying, must effectively dominate the situation for very many years to come. At the same time there was, lie thought, a strong desire on all sides amongst Europeans in India, that capable natives should be associated as much as possible with the Government of that country. A great deal had already been done in this direction, but it was generally recognised that the time had come when a further step forward might be taken, and the Government scheme which was at present under consideration for the enlargement of the Imperial and Provincial Councils was awaited with a considerable amount of expectation, although it was felt than any advances of this nature must be gradual and in no sense revolutionary. He thought it was incumbent on all Members of the House to refrain from saying one word which might have the effect of aggravating the condition of affairs out there at the present moment, a position full 186 of the gravest anxiety, but he was only stating what was common knowledge when he said that all well-wishers of India, both native and European, would join in condemning in the strongest possible manner the spirit of disorder which had been manifesting itself in certain quarters during the past twelve or eighteen months, culminating in the dastardly outrages which had been perpetrated quite recently. There could, he thought, be no two opinions worthy the attention of any right-minded man, as to the imperative course open to any Government when called upon to deal, with a state of affairs such as had been shown to exist. Law and order must be maintained at all hazards and at all risks, and. whether the offences were incitement to disorder, or disorder itself, the punishment must be equally swift and sure. The two measures recently passed by the. Government of India for the suppression of bomb, manufactures, and the more effective control of the Press, had not been placed on the Statute-book one moment too soon; indeed, there was a strong feeling amongst many well qualified to judge that the latter measure had been far too long delayed, and that if the incitements to outrage and other evils which existed had been dealt with strongly in their earlier stages, they would long ere this have been effectually stamped out. Liberty was not licence, and both the liberty of the Press and the liberty of the subject were seriously imperilled when anarchy was permitted to spread rampant throughout the land. He rejoiced to see that many of the well-known and leading native gentlemen had spoken out with no uncertain sound on this question, and were giving the Government their full support. One of the great dangers to be apprehended, if the lawlessness which at present existed were not put down with a strong hand, was the effect it would have on the trade and internal development of the country. In commercial circles in London the difficulty of raising capital for investment in Indian industrial enterprises had long been recognised. This, he thought, had its origin in the times when the flunctuations in rates of exchange between India and England were violent and extreme, and men who 187 sent money out to India could form no accurate idea as to what rate it would be returned. Thanks to the wise measures taken by the Government of India, some few years ago, a much more stable condition of exchange had of late been established, though the effects of the old feeling of insecurity had not yet entirely passed, away in some financial quarters. Another cause which had contributed in no small degree to keep British capital from flowing towards India, was the very unsympathetic attitude adopted by the Government of India towards all commercial undertakings. The long delay on the part of the Government in' answering correspondence, and the mass of red tape formalities which had to be gone through, before any permission could be obtained to do anything towards opening up the country, so disgusted the enterprising capitalist that he entirely refused to have anything to do with the place, and became willing to lend his money for investment in any part of the globe rather than India. The fact was that up till quite recently there was no one connected with the Indian Government who had the slightest knowledge of commercial matters, and merchants were in a sense tolerated rather than encouraged. The appointment of a commercial member of the Viceroy's Executive Council, initiated a year or two ago by Lord Curzon, was decidedly a step in the right direction, as indicating that the Government of India were abandoning their former position of aloofness, and that they now recognised the responsibility which was on them to foster trade in every possible manner. It was to be hoped that some arrangement would be come to by which frequent changes in the holding of this office would be avoided, so that the member might always be well in touch with all the commercial requirements of the country. This improvement in the attitude of the Indian Government towards trade generally must, if continued, have ere long a good effect on the minds of British capitalists, but he would like to utter and emphasise a warning that if the idea was allowed to get abroad that law and order and security of property were not being rigorously maintained, the better financial feeling which was 188 being gradually built up would rapidly be swept away, and the development of India retarded for years to come. One of the most important of all the matters engaging the attention at the present time of those interested in India was the question of railways. It was one which affected the whole country and everyone living in the country. Rapid and cheap means of transport were a necessity in any country, and more particularly so in a vast area like India, where distances were so great and where the material transported was for the most part of small value, compared to its bulk. The pressing need at the moment was not so much the opening out of new lines, though this was, of course, a matter that must be steadily pursued, but the proper equipment of lines which already existed. For years past the outcry had been great against the immense dislocation of trade which occurred season after season, in consequence of the shortness of rolling stock available for moving the produce of the country. To his own knowledge the coal trade of Bengal, which had come rapidly to the front of late years, and which was capable of infinite expansion if properly encouraged, was being most seriously retarded by the want of waggons to transport the coal from the mines in the interior to the places of consumption or ports of shipment. Continual protests were being made in the Viceroy's Council, at meetings of Chambers of Commerce, and by private representation, but all with no effect, and the state of affairs at the moment was as bad as, if not worse than; it had ever been. The general system of management seemed to be at fault. He did not mean the individual management of the lines themselves, for in most cases this seemed to be quite efficient, those in charge being a really capable and hard working body of men, but the general system of control, which was exercised by the Government itself, seriously needed revision. A few years ago, in consequence of severe criticism, a railway board, composed of experts, was established at headquarters and great things were at first expected of it, but greater still had been the disappointment. The true explanation he believed was that it 189 had never had any real power, and those composing the board had always been kept too much in a subordinate position. The magnitude of the interest in railways was such as to warrant its being made into a separate Department of Government, with a free hand and a seat on the Viceroy's Executive Council being given to the chairman of the board. If this were done and full provision made in each year's Budget for railway requirements, there would then be some probability of the urgent needs of the mercantile community and of the country receiving that satisfaction which had been so long denied to them. This was a matter which he desired to bring most strongly to the attention of the Secretary of State. But all the arrangements which the skill of man could devise were of little value to India, unless backed up by favourable climatic conditions. The one great requisite essential to make the land prosperous, and the bulk of its people happy and contented was a plentiful supply of rain, properly distributed, and falling in its appointed season. This was all that was really necessary to secure a bountiful harvest, and with a full yield of food crops the country could never be considered as poor. He rejoiced to see that so far this season the progress of the monsoon had been satisfactory, and he trusted that its continuance would soon drive from the land that gaunt spectre of famine which had been threatening some parts of the country for so many months past. With a plentiful supply of food, and freedom from turnmoil and unrest, the future of India could only be considered as full of hope and promise.
*SIR HERBERT ROBERTS (Denbighshire, W.)
said he had listened with great pleasure to the hon. Gentleman who had shown his knowledge of the wants of India, and also his sympathy with the legitimate aspirations of the people there. The hon. Member for Merthyr had referred to the alarming increase of revenue derived from the consumption of liquor in India. That subject had been noticed by those interested in India for many years. A deputation of Members of Parliament 190 and others interested in the subject waited on the Secretary of State for India in August last, and the Memorandum had been forwarded to the Indian Government on the subject. He hoped the answer of the Indian Government would soon arrive and that the Government would be prepared to lay it upon the Table of the House. Everybody would recognise that the discussions on Indian affairs were far too limited in the House, but until some scheme of devolution of the business of the House was brought into operation he was afraid more time would not be able to be given to then. It was a gratifying sign that more interest was taken in the House in Indian matters than used to be the case. In certain quarters it was thought that the discus don of Indian affairs in the House of Commons was injurious to the Government of India, but so long as we lived under a democratic form of Government it was inevitable that the House of Commons should take interest in all matters relating to India. In his opinion nothing but good could come from discussions conducted in the spirit in which the debate that day had been carried on in relation to Indian affairs. The House of Commons had shown a true instinct in relation to the critical state of affairs in India in the various matters that had been brought before it in the debate. He would like to join hon. Members, especially the right hon. Member for Rushcliffe, in the expression of their sense of admiration of the way in which the Secretary of State for India had in face of enormous difficulties pursued his way in Indian affairs. The noble Lord had moved forward necessarily slowly but steadily towards the goal he set before him when he took upon himself the responsibility of administering the affairs of that Empire. He had done it in such a way as to merit the confidence of both sides of the House. When the time came to write the history of his administration it would be seen how deeply the noble Lord's mind had been written on the life of the future of India. At present we were in the midst of what was called a crisis and it was our present duty to consider what our action should he. The last twenty years had been an interesting epoch in the history of India. In the preliminary parts of the circular 191 issued by the Government of Simla it was pointed out that everything was changed in India; that education had taken great strides forward, and that the number of scholars now learning English had been doubled. Those who had studied the history of India would have come to the conclusion that India had been accustomed during centuries to be governed by a small number of people whose intellect and culture fitted them for that purpose, and he ventured to submit that history would repeat itself in the growing power of educated India of to-day. The Secretary of State, in a speech delivered a short time ago, referred to the existence in India of two parties—the moderate party and the extreme party. He thought it would be more correct to say that there were three parties connected with political agitation in India. At the beginning of the twenty years period referred to, there was only one -arty pledged to constitutional methods in India; but, owing to the delay in securing reforms, another party grew up, and the movement in connection with this second party was stimulated by the partition of Bengal and all those things which were generally referred to under the term "the Curzon regime." Then came the third party of physical force and outrage.
§ MR. PATRICK WHITE (Meath, N.)
Mr. Deputy-Speaker, I beg to call your attention to the fact that there are not forty Members present.
The hon. Member cannot move for a "count" between the hours of eight-fifteen and nine-fifteen.
*SIR HERBERT ROBERTS
said that he and all who cared for the welfare of India deplored the outrages and deeds of violence perpetrated in India, and were prepared to do everything that was possible to support the Government in rutting down with a firm hand all the symptoms of violence and outrage. He believed that all the constitutional leaders of the Reform movement in India were with them in a determination to do everything to support the Government in stamping out these deplorable symp- 192 toms and in restoring peace and confidence. In reference to the main principles of the reforms produced by the Government, they had long been expected and were overdue. They all knew the difficulty in connection with the machinery and the Government of India which made progress necessarily slow. He attached great importance to the Decentralisation Commission, and he was pleased to hear the Under-Secretary say that the Report would be presented in two or three months and that the Secretary of State for India hoped that before the end of the autumn session he would be in a position to announce the decision of the Government upon the important reform proposals. The Secretary of State himself had outlined the direction in which the reforms would travel. These were his words—They will be steps which shall do two or three important or even momentous things in the history of India.He summarised the two directions in which reform would travel under the following heads—(1) Anministration improvements. (2) We shall, I hope and feel confident, do something to give the population of India in all their grades some form and authorised opportunity of handling some of their own affairs.He had no doubt it would be found when the reform proposals were laid before Parliament that, on the executive side, they would be in the direction of the election of some Indian on the councils, and, on the legislative side, in the direction of the grant of larger representation of Indians by their election on the legislative councils and the granting to those councils of wider functions in finance, etc. He desired to express his sense of the grave condition of affairs in India. On the one side there were elements in the situation there quite new to our experience as governors of the country. On the other side, there were some hopeful signs. They had in the Secretary of State a man of the temperament, courage, and ability he had already described, and they had a firm, courageous, and sympathetic Viceroy, and one who would make his term of office memorable in many ways in the Indian administration. But more than that, they had the fact that the most experienced administrators 193 in India recognised the desirability of moving along the road of reform, and to his mind that was one of the most important factors in the present situation. The evident remedy, in his opinion, for the elements of danger in the Indian situation lay in an endeavour to establish closer unity between those who ruled and those who were ruled in India. Personally, he thought the dark clouds on the horizon would pass away, and he had a firm belief that another chapter could be and would be written in the history of British statesmanship in the administration of the Indian Empire.
§ MR. HART-DAVIES (Hackney, N.)
said he would like to add his humble tribute to the skill, clearness, and lucidity with which the statement on the Indian Budget was produced by the Under-Secretary. Having himself had a long connection with India, he listened to the right hon. Gentleman's statement with enormous interest; and kept wondering what an extraordinary, wonderful machine the Indian Government was. He had never been one of those who had tried to decry the Indian Government or the service to which he used to have the honour to belong. He thought it a very great, a high-minded, an honest, and an incorruptible Government, which had done a great work for India; but, when listening to all the good things the Under-Secretary had to reveal in his Budget—how taxation had been reduced, how communication had been developed, how the country, in fact, was advancing in every way, how plague and famine had been successfully coped with, and then how at the end of it all there was profound unrest and discontent all over the country—he could not help wondering why the excellence of our administration in India had ended in the dissatisfaction of the people. He believed the root reason was to be found in our failure to appreciate the peculiar national characteristics of the Indian people. With us, material objects always seemed to have a wider share in our range of ideas than those which he might call the ideal. We had never been able to understand the spiritual aspects of the problem, and that, after all, was the reason of our failure in connection with Ireland. We had never been able to 194 understand what the Irish people thought-about; and, in like manner, he thought we had failed to understand what the Indian people thought about. Irrigation works and protection against famine and plague were all very well, but they did not make up for certain spiritual desires there were in every people and more especially in the people of India. He was sure that it must conic as a great shock to anyone who knew anything about India and her people that there was this unrest and dissatisfaction. He did not know any people more easy to get on with and to manage or who responded more readily to sympathy, and to hear that they were in a state of dissatisfaction with the Government seemed to come upon them something like a blow. What was the cause of it? It was partly want of sympathy and partly because for two years a spirit of unrest had been gradually growing. If twenty-five years ago we had only gone on with the policy of local self-government and had attached to ourselves that body of educated native opinion which was found in the National Congress—an extremely valuable and learned body—and had fell: wed their advice, looking upon them as a kind of branch of the Government of India, we should have avoid al many mistakes which we had made. There was no doubt a large amount of unrest in China, Turkey, Persia, and in fact all over Asia, and, of course, pit had greatly affected India. The main cause, however, was our failure to understand the people's spiritual desires. We had given them a Western education, and had put Western ideas of freedom and self-government into their heads; but we had not been able to satisfy them in any way. The old regime had gone on. They could not see any difference, and at last a spirit of hopelessness had settled upon the educated people of India. They looked on the pledges that had been given that all subjects of the Crown should have an equal share in the country as having been broken, a feeling of despair had come over them, and it took a form which they all deeply regretted and particular forms of which they looked upon with abhorrence. If they had only gone on with the local self-government which Lord Ripon began they might have had a new India by this time. It. 195 was true they had district boards and they had to this day languished in a kind of way. It was said the people had a complete want of interest in them. But in the Bombay Presidency the average area of the jurisdiction of each of these boards was 440 square miles. The average income each board had to spend was £415, which was not a large sum. One-third of it went in education over which the district boards had no authority at all, and a good deal more went in roads in which also they had no interest. Four-sevenths of the boards were nominated and not elected at all, and it worked out in the end that each really elected member had about 10s.a year for the area of a square mile to superintend. Under those circumstances they could not be expected to take an interest in the work. The whole thing was a farce. That was a thing that ought to be altered, and although the Under-Secretary for India very wisely would not be drawn into any hint as to what the reforms were going to be, as he was in a position of rather greater freedom and less responsibility perhaps he might make a few suggestions. One was that the natives should be on the executive councils. That, he thought, was adumbrated by Lord Morley the other day as an extremely possible reform, and he hoped it would be carried out. There ought to be some system of election to the councils. He did not see why each district should not return one member on the Council of the Presidency. He was greatly struck with the speech of the hon. Member for Merthyr, and he believed the plan he adumbrated of rising from the village community right up to the Council for the whole Presidency through various stages of election would be a feasible policy, and he did not see why something like it at all events should not be carried out. All the district officers had a great deal of writing to do, and had not time really to go about in the villages and make the acquaintance of people as they ought to do. If all these matters connected with public works were taken off their shoulders and put into the hands of district associations, it would give them more time to do their work and would interest people in the development of the country. They might at first make mistakes, but it was only by making mistakes that they learned how 196 to administer. After all, our own history showed that the beginning of self-government in the widest possible sense was in the self-government of the village, and that eventually led to the fullest grant of local self-government it was possible for any nation to have. He hoped that that would be one of the reforms that the right hon. Gentleman would take into consideration. Then there were many minor reforms which ought to be possible—to move amendments to the budget, and to call attention to administrative acts, for instance. He did not believe there would ever be real peace in India if that ill-omened partition of Bengal was not in some way modified or done away with altogether. It was arranged in 1833 that Bengal was to have a Governor in Council, and he believed no further Act would be necessary in order to establish a Governor in Council. The Lieutenant-Governors were only put in as a kind of stop-gap until a Governor in Council was appointed. That would be a way out of the difficulty into which we had got. All they would have to do would be to go back to the original scheme of having a Governor in Council for the whole of Bengal, with various authorities for the outlying provinces, such as Assam, in the shape of Chief Commissioners. It was an infinite pity that when the Liberals first came into power the occasion was not taken to modify the partition. It was with extreme reluctance that he said a single word of criticism of Lord Morley. He had done a very great work for India and he hoped he would do still greater work in the future. The partition of Bengal was only an act of administrative convenience. There was no moral principle involved in it. There was nothing to connect it with the existence of the British Empire in India. It had nothing to do with any question of high policy, and the question of British amour propre ought not to he involved in it at all. If it was altered it would be a message of peace to the people of India; it would show that we took their wishes into consideration and did not wish to ride roughshod in any way over their aspirations, and with other reforms this evil chapter of unrest and dissatisfaction in India, which he deplored o as much as anyone could, would be finally closed and they would go back to their 197 old status of sympathy and affection between English and Indians which used to exist and which he hoped would exist again when these ominous clouds had passed away.
§ *MR. GWYNN (Galway)
thought he was the first who had spoken in the debate without first-hand knowledge of India, but it was because they had in Ireland some experience of what it meant to be governed by an assembly that was foreign to them. In listening to the utterances of the hon. Member for Montgomery Boroughs, he thought he was listening to the kind of opinions that he was so familiar with from the Ulster Unionists contingent. Yet the speech of the one Irish Unionist who intervened was more liberal and more in harmony with their ideas as to what was meant by the value of education than that of the hon. Member who spoke with all the authority of long experience of official life, and whose speech made such a contrast to the utterance of the supposed violent agitator which was delivered from the Labour benches. The House, he was sure, would have considered which of those speeches was more likely to bring peace in India, and which was more likely to create irritation and discontent. The Amendment which they were discussing raised the question of education. Was it not a strange thing that they should have the pretension to decide what the people of India should be taught and how they should be taught—to decide upon the education of persons divided from us by half the world, strange to us in speech and in religion. They might ask themselves in what sense they were going to determine their education. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Rushcliffe said the ship's head had been turned in a new direction. By what star was that course set? What was the ideal that was to govern the education that they proposed to give to the people of India? Did they simply wish to maintain India as a place that provided an honourable and well-paid career for the sons of the professional classes and as a field for trade that they could not only keep free for themselves, but which they could regulate and in which they could tax the home products of British India in such a 198 way that cheap Indian products should not have advantage over Manchester cottons? If in governing India they were actuated by the old notion of the relation of the mother State to its Colonies—the idea of the eighteenth century—he did not know that all the denunciation that had been heaped upon the present system of education had any real justification. He was not sure that the education which had been given under the wise guidance of England to British India had not been the very best education in the world to keep British India in a perpetual state of subserviency. The effect of that education had been to divorce the people of India from their religion, and from the whole tradition of their moral life. Judging from the Irish standpoint he was quite familiar with the kind of education which had been laid out for India, and that kind of education was calculated to kill in the people the spirit of resistance. Was that the idea with which they desired to educate the people of India? He quite understood the idea put forward by the hon. Member of Montgomery Boroughs, which was to avoid producing the agitator and. produce the loyal man at all cost. He knew full well the loyal man in Ireland and the kind of education that had produced him. He would like to know what was the ultimate intention of the Liberals of to-day with regard to education in India. Did they regard the present state of affairs with satisfaction? Did they believe that the predominance of an alien race was the thing to be maintained in perpetuity? He blew that the average English Liberal regarded himself as a trustee of freedom in India, and he hoped that they were educating the Indian people to be some day free, although he was convinced that it would not be safe now to grant freedom to the people of India because there was a danger that they would be at each other's throat. He did not know that freedom would be so great a danger to the people of India, and the hon. Member for Merthyr Tydvil evidently regarded that danger as being wholly exaggerated and fictitious. If the hon. Member for Merthyr Tydvil was right he did not think Liberals could salve their consciences in that way because they professed to believe in the 199 principles of nationality and development on the lines of racial freedom. If there was no such duty placed upon England as that of keeping the people of India from cutting each other's throat, in what sense were they to guide the education of India? It was true that there was no Indian nation, strictly speaking, but where were the nations that were once there? All through British India there was one common denomination, and that was the common subservience of the people. In framing their conception of what the Indian people ought to learn, were they to teach them with a view to keeping them in continual subservience, or were they going to educate them to become some day people that might be either friendly or hostile to this Empire, but, at least, they would be free people. That was, after all, an urgent question. Let them take the facts as they found them. Let them take the most brilliant book ever written about British India, and they would find in it, from beginning to end, a glorification of the spy. Was that the highest ideal of India from the British point of view? Was there no other ideal that could be set before the people of India than that of abandoning their own loyalty and their own religion, and taking upon themselves the service of the British Empire? The responsibly for what was being done in India to-day came home to all Members of this House. What was their hope and fear in regard to India? Was it their hope, was it their fear, that India some day might be free? [An HON. MEMBER: Yes.] That was a question he put to the Party opposite, and he hoped someone would answer it.
§ *SIR HENRY KIMBER (Wandsworth)
said the subject upon which he wished to make a few remarks was that of the great railway asset of India. He wished to associate himself with the congratulations of the noble Lord on the front bench in regard to the statement which the Under-Secretary for India had been able to make. He regretted that the right hon. Member had not been able to acid some more material to that which he placed before them in regard to the railways. They had all read the financial Memorandum, and he only understood the right hon. Gentleman to say among other good things 200 that they were proposing to take into consideration the recommendations of Sir James MacKay's Report upon Railways. From the financial statement which had been put before them it would be seen that the revenue of India was £50,000,000 a year, and that did not include the revenue derived from this great asset of the railway, which was £30,000,000 more. That arose from the fact that the mode of keeping the accounts of the railways had been altered for the better, the net revenue only of the railways being brought into the general account instead of the gross receipts being put on one side and the expenditure upon the other. There were 30,000 miles of railway in India, for which £253,000,000 of capital had been raised on the credit of the Secretary of State in England, the benefit of which had been given to the people of India. The revenue derived from that capital paid about 5½ per cent. upon it after allowing for all the expenses of working and all other charges. The right hon. Gentleman had told them that the net receipts after paying interest were £2,500,000, and lie thought he had rather understated the figures, because there was a large portion of the capital raised under the aegis of the companies which were now practically nonexistent and which had largely been paid off by means of annuities, which included the capital as well as interest, cad this amounted to about £750,000, which made a sum considerably over £3,000,000 as the net profit derived from this great asset of the railways by the Government of India for the benefit of the Indian Exchequer. All that profit had been derived from British capital and it had gone in relief of the taxpayers of India. The whole of that capital had been raised, with small exceptions, upon the credit of the Secretary of State for India on behalf of the British Government. If India no longer remained ours, the consideration of the security of that debt of £250,000,000 would be a very serious matter. This railway capital was in part raised by companies, with the guarantee of the Secretary of State, some fifty years ago, beginning at 5 per cent., and until the year 1900 the railways of India were carried on with a deficit remaining to the charge of the Indian Government. From the year 1900 to the present time, after 201 allowing for interest, those railways had yielded a very considerable surplus, which had been growing every year until it had now reached about £2,500,000. Many of theIndian railways paid interest varying between 7 and 9 per cent., and in two cases they paid 12 per cent, and 10 per cent. The railway which paid 7 per cent. was the one with which he had to do and over which he had presided for many years, and that railway could now, if permitted, raise capital without the assistance of the guarantee of the Government of India. Fifty years ago it was necessary to give a Government guarantee because money could not be raised without it. When in India last year he had the pleasure of conferring with the Minister of Finance on the subject, and he made a suggestion which was favourably received. If the Secretary of State for India had to look after all this capital, it followed that the Government of India had to bring into its budgets every year the whole of the railway finance. They had to take into account in the ordinary Budget the provision of the means for new construction and further capital outlays on open lines, and the consequence was that very great delay necessarily occurred through the fault of no one, but simply through the fault of the system, and progress could not made. The money available under the programme of the Indian Government was £10,000,000 a year for the whole of the Indian railways, and that was scarcely sufficient for equipment with the necessary rolling stock for the normal increase of passengers and goods and merchandise offered for transit and improvements of open lines. It was admitted on all hands that that was a state of things which ought to be remedied. His proposition was supported by two eminent Indian officials of experience who were directors at this moment of other companies. He would like to be informed by the Under-Secretary, if convenient, whether the recommendations which had been made on this subject had been adopted. It would be of interest to the House and also to the money market of this country to know whether the proposition as to the raising of capital without the guarantee of the Secretary of State had been, 202 or was likely to be, adopted. It seemed to him that it was plain that a company which was paying so large a percentage on the whole of their capital ought to be able to raise money in London or in India without the assistance of any guarantee at all. There was another convenience which would result from the adoption of this plan. The interest which the Secretary of State had in the railways could be put in the form of stock, and some of it could be taken up by the native princes of India. He knew that some of them desired to take an interest in the railways, they kne—that the undertakings were earning good interest on the capital employed. The railways were improving the revenue from the lands they possessed, and they had expressed the hope that they would be enabled to acquire an interest in them. One other point he would like to mention. Great credit was due to the Civil servants who were performing most beneficial work in connection with irrigation in India. These officers in the Punjab were carrying out works in districts where there was not a white man within a day's march. The circumstances of their employment were such that they could not take their wives or sisters to the places. He believed they were not sufficiently paid. The pay was supposed to be good enough to attract them as young men to the service, but looking to the enormous advantage which the work in which they were engaged brought to the finances of India he thought they deserved a more ample reward than they at present received.
§ SIR GEORGE SCOTT ROBERTSON (Bradford, Central)
said the hon. Member for Galway had suggested that our system of education in India was designed mainly to render the people of India subservient and obedient, so that they might be the more easily controlled by the dominant power. On the other hand, they had lately heard great fear expressed everywhere that by our system of education the exact reverse of that was being brought about. There were conflicting opinions, and he fancied that his hon. friend was in a small minority. What were we doing in relation to the question of education in India? 203 It seemed to him that what we had been mainly accomplishing unconsciously, was to provide ourselves with a sufficient supply of clerks and subordinate officials for the large requirements of the whole of the great Empire of India. That seemed to him at first sight what had really been done. The system we had adopted had also been the cause of an immense amount of the present unrest in India. It had added considerably to that unrest owing to two different circumstances. First there was a general wave of emotion and of curious sentiment which had spread all over Asia, analogous somewhat to the flood which spread over Europe in 1848. That undoubtedly had had a great effect on the question of unrest in India. It had undoubtedly been increased by the successes of the Japanese against the Russians, and of the Eastern against the Western. It had raised hopes—false hopes he believed—throughout many of the Eastern nations that the East would. in the future be the peer or the conqueror of the West. That was one of the causes of unrest. The next was the very question of education which they had been discussing. We had educated a largo number of people to supply our own demands for clerkships in subordinate positions in India, and there was a large reserve of that educated class. Though the class itself was a very limited one in relation to the whole population, it was very powerful from the fact that they had got education. There being a large surplus of educated young men, many of them, of course, utterly failed to obtain the appointments for which they had striven to qualify themselves, and consequently they were discontented, and eventually they played the role of unemployed men wherever they wore. They either submitted in a sort of heartbroken despair or were rendered furious with anger against fate, which in their case was synonymous with British Government in India. That was really one of the main causes of unrest in India. Another particular reason was the nature of the education given to the Indian. It was most specially a literary education. It was not professional, industrial or technical, and consequently; when a man did not got an appointment he; was rendered hopeless, and he gradually 204 fell back into the position of the agitator. He might be asked what was the remedy? Well, the first thing they ought to do was to acknowledge the cause. If that was admitted to be the cause, he did not think there would be very much trouble eventually in finding a remedy. He wished to impress on the House his belief that what he had stated was the main cause of the unrest in India. The position was very serious and very critical, and it might have been dangerous but for the quiet firmness and excellent strength of officials both here and in India. He thought those men had observed that the first requirement of Government, especially in India, was the power of reticence. They were working silently; there was no declamatory speech; they did not go in for perorations. That was one thing, if not the chief thing, which had rendered the present troubled and critical time in India otherwise than dangerous. Of course, there always must be very great trouble in reconciling the people of India to the rule of a Western people. Some of these causes were permanent in their nature and some more or less ephemeral. He thought the wave of emotion in India had now reached its flood mark, and was about to subside; but there were other important causes which they might trace and deal with. They had always been there, and so far as he could see they would always remain. First of all, there was that curious but absolutely certain difference in manners, customs, and religion which peculiarly distinguished the East from the West, and which was carried into detail in such an extraordinary way that it actually became physical. There was in India a physical distaste of the East with the West; that could not be doubted. It was the same in China. A Chinaman disliked service with a Western, for the curious physical reason that he could not stand the odour of the Western. He attributed it to too much indulgence of the Western in animal food. Such things raised racial prejudices. He knew it was a delicate subject to touch upon; but one might mention a similar circumstance with which possibly they were all familiar in this country. He referred more particularly to the question of the Jews. It had been said that every country got the Jews which that 205 country deserved. When they said that they paid a high compliment to themselves. But there was always a great difficulty in the way of friendly assimilation between the Jews and ourselves; and the chief difficulty had been really some question of ceremonial purity—some idea on the part of this race which originally came from the East. The same thing happened in India at the present day. He had been much struck by the impressive and thoughtful speech of the hon. Member for Merthyr Tydvil, and lie might say how pleased he was to hear his repudiation of the slander of which he complained. It must have been a terrible thing to any Member of the British House of Commons that, at such a critical time, utterances of such a slanderous character should be attributed to him, and they were all glad that he was free from these imputations. The hon. Gentleman might not have been long enough in India to find out this peculiar repugnancy of the natives of India to Western men; but it was one of the main and permanent causes of the general dislike of the Eastern to the Western. It was very strong; it had always existed, and it must be faced. But allowing for all this, and for many other causes which he did not desire to enter into at the moment, it was interesting to give one's opinion as to what the immediate future of India might be. He was extremely optimistic about it, as the House might have gathered from what he had said. He believed that the main trouble was subsiding; that now, owing to the admirable strength and calmness displayed by the Viceroy and the officials at home and in India—owing to the strength with which they had been able to say that nothing in the way of those mad efforts and the detestable tactics of agitators should deter them for one single instant from proceeding with reform—they might be hopeful for the future. About eighteen months ago he was asked his opinion of what was going to happen in India, and he ventured on a prediction which had been happily disproved. He said that the great trouble was that the feeling of unrest in some places might lead to isolated outrages, and worst of all, that some 206 unfortunate, unhappy Englishwomen might stiffer, following which there might arise the greatest danger of a
a white panic. That latter he had always looked upon with the greatest dread. Curiously enough the outrages had occurred, but there had not been the slightest suspicion of anything like a white panic. It had been obviated by the calmness and courage of every white person in India, and by the admirable behaviour of the Viceroy and his Government. That was the reason why he thought they might look forward to the immediate future of India with distinct hope. He thought they were suffering now from a little too much government in India. The people in India were accustomed to look upon their Viceroy as one who was placed in a singularly elevated and isolated position, surrounded by all the parapharnalia of State, and he thought they had been a little surprised and perhaps disturbed, to see an official so highly placed come down from his exalted position and employ himself principally in working and driving forward the engine of State. He thought that one might fail altogether by being over-energetic in a particular occupation. One might steam up the engine to an extreme point of efficiency, but the strains might become too great, and the engine would suffer languor: in its Movements. Still worse, this highly placed official, this almost mysteriously apart man, had before all the people of India come down to be a kind of protagonist in what almost amounted -to a party fight with his own subordinates in which he had been practically worsted. He thought that might well be understood by the people of India as a curious overturning of the natural conditions of things, and lead them to believe that there was now a chance for an agitator of any sort. He would like to say how he disagreed with the noble Lord the Member for Kensington in one particular about, education. He thought that the noble Lord seemed to refer to the fact that in the schools they depended a good deal upon denominational teaching, and that, the natives who attended them lost their religion. His experience led him to believe that that was quite illusory. In the great 207 missionary schools which were largely attended by natives, because the education received there was very good, the missionaries insisted on reading a chapter of the Bible, but he was right in saying that hardly any child ever changed his religion from Hindooism to Christianity.
§ EARL PERCY
said he was not referring to missionary schools, but to State schools where there was no religion taught at all.
§ SIR GEORGE SCOTT ROBERTSON
said the same thing would apply in other schools; but even where they tried to change the religion of the children that was not effected. The head of one big college had explained to him that he not know of any one instance of the change of religion of a child. He asked the gentleman how it was that the missionaries were able to continue their work under these circumstances; and the reply was that they believed that in the end their good work would tell. He himself sincerely believed that the future of India was full of hope, and that for the various reasons he had described. He did not for a moment believe that India was at all prepared for what we considered to be democratic institutions, and he was very glad to hear the remarks of the junior Member for Merthyr Tydvil on that point, and that in that hon. Member's opinion the Government should always have a majority of non-elected members on the provincial councils. We had a distinct mission in India. Although it might be that the education we were providing in India made the people at present harder to govern, it would be the meanest policy possible for us to cease giving that education merely on that account. He congratulated the Under-Secretary on the favourable statement he had been able to give on the Indian accounts; and he was sure that every person in the House and in the country at large was firmly persuaded of the excellence of the Government of India as conducted by Lord Morley and the Under-Secretary of State. There was one point not raised in the debate, the terrible old fallacy that India could never be governed by demo- 208 cracy. He supposed that that fallacy had passed away for ever. If anybody believed that it was equivalent to saying we were throwing up India in despair, but if it was looked at for a moment and regard was had to who had been the strongest Secretaries for India the names of Lord Morley and Sir Henry Fowler would be admitted to be amongst them, and if democracy was able to produce men of that calibre then it showed that India was able to be governed by democracy.
§ *SIR H. COTTON (Nottingham, E.)
associated himself with the previous speakers in congratulating the Under-Secretary of State on the statement that he had made. He had made it in a manner which convinced hon. Members that he compared not unfavourably with his illustrious chief. On behalf of those Members of the House who had served in India lie thanked the right hon. Gentleman for his invariable courtesy and above ill for his accessibility, which was a great virtue in an official. He had heard many of the observations which had been made with regard to the educational system in India, with feelings of amazement. When he took a broad view of the matter the one feeling that predominated in his mind was that of pride and exultation that England should have been able to work out so grand a system with such magnificent results. It could not be a very bad system which enabled foreigners speaking another language and living thousands of miles away to come to this country and compete with the cream of our own youth in our universities and beat them at their own tests. Within ten years there had been two senior wranglers at Cambridge, who were natives of India. The great bulk of the carping criticism which had been heard that afternoon on the educational system of India was wholly misplaced. The question of unrest in India had been discussed from various points of view, but if he might say so respectfully, none of the speeches made, not even that of the hon. Member for Merthyr, had really gone to the root of the matter. It was not merely a question of reform. We might grant concessions—nobody knew what they were at present, but it might be 209 assumed that they were good, beneficial, and in the interests of the Indian people—but concessions and reforms such as were contemplated would not allay the discontent and unrest which were now so strongly seen in India. The real cause of that discontent and unrest lay in the spirit and policy of our administration and until that was changed they would not remove this discontent. The great question was, were we to govern India through, by, and in conformity with the wishes of the people, or to govern them as we were doing at present. entirely irrespective of and too often in direct opposition to, their wishes. Although he had a very high admiration for the late Viceroy of India, whose great qualities, all who knew him must recognise, he could not but admit that upon Lord Curzon rested in a large measure the responsibility for governing India irrespective of, and too often against, the wishes of the people. The climax of that policy was reached when he determined upon the partition of Bengal, which was one of the greatest errors, and one of the most profound blunders that were ever committed by the alien governors of a foreign country. But what was the real wrong? It was that it was an administrative act carried out in direct opposition to the wishes of the people affected. Thousands of meetings had been held to protest against it, and there had not been the faintest recognition of them by this country. Petitions of protest and telegrams innumerable had been sent to the Government of India, and to the Secretary of State, but they had been ignored. This defiance of popular opinion was the main cause of the discontent. When he left the Province of Bengal six years ago there was hardly a word heard of unrest and it was solely due to the policy of the Government that it had arisen. Bengal was the most important province of India, and what Bengal thought to-day, the rest of India generally thought to morrow. But what had been done to soothe matters in other provinces? Let them look at Madras. Gentlemen of position in that province had been prosecuted for sedition, and the Courts had sentenced them to transportation for life. That was a monstrous thing. What was the result of sentences of that 210 kind? It was that they drove the peaceable citizens of Madras into the ssme degree of irritation and unrest as existed in Bengal. It was the same in Bombay. The most influential citizen of Bombay was being now proceeded against for sedition, and it would be improper under the circumstances to comment upon the proceedings, but he thought that to seize the present moment to prosecute the most popular man in Bombay was simply suicidal. If the Government wanted to create discontent and unrest in Bombay they had certainly adopted the very best means of attaining their object. As to the violence of the Indian Press it was no doubt very bad in some cases, but he was bound to say there was considerable justification for it in the language used by our own Anglo-Indian Press of India. He had seen articles calling the most distinguished natives of India polecats and cowards, and some of the papers even appealed to the authorities to flog the Congress leaders. What was the remedy? That was the real question. We were face to face with a situation of extraordinary difficulty; and nothing short of a reconstructed form of Indian Government would meet the case. He noticed that in a speech in the House of Lords the other day, Lord Morley referred to this question. He said—For my part, I have no ambition to under take such a task.'He might have no ambition to undertake the task, but unless he faced the great problem of reconstructing the form of Indian government, neither he nor the Government he represented would ever get to the bottom of the unrest and discontent. What was the present form of Government? It was administration through the Indian Civil Service. He knew something of the Indian Civil Service; probably no man in England knew more than himself. Both his father and grandfather served thirty years in the Service; he was cradled in it and rose from the lowest to the highest place, becoming a Governor of a province, and served thirty-five years in it; and he had a son now serving in it. His family connection with the Service therefore extended considerably over 100 years, and he ought to know 211 something about it. The Service had done magnificent work— in the past; it was a splendid Service, and he was proud to have belonged to it; but, like other great institutions, it had had its day, and the time had come when it Was bound to pass away and make room for an improved, altered, and more representative system of government. The Indian Civil Service was consistent only with absolute autocracy and a bureaucratic form of rule. It was really suited only to the government of a people by foreigners. The time had come when it was necessary to review the position which the march of events had rendered untenable, and the Government would have to consider in some way or another this large question of the reconstruction of the Indian Civil Service. All judicial o appointments—he was speaking generally and not in regard to backward tracts—should be taken away from that service, and o should be held exclusively by those who were trained in the knowledge and practice of the law. Judicial duties should no longer be left in the hands of officers who were wholly executive in their training and habits. That was one great change which would have to be effected, and we should also have to adopt a more popular and representative form of executive administration. At the time the Civil Service was organised it was felt, and rightly felt that India must be governed on an autocratic, one-man-rule method. We had got beyond that now, and expected Liberal statesmen, when they were responsible for the affairs of India to look at o the question from an altered point of view. Did hon. Members believe that any form of administration of a country could be permanent when it was in the hands of a small number of foreign emigrants, pilgrims and strangers who v ere continually coming and going, and who, while in India, were in a state of isolation in religion, ideas, and manners front the people of the country? We could no longer continue to govern India on lines suited only to a slavish and ignorant population. And yet that was what we were endeavouring to do when we declined to face the problem of reconstructing a form of administration which was established more than 100 years 212 and which the course of events had rendered altogether inappropriate to the present time. He could conceive no more ignoble and unworthy policy than that a great Power like England should avowedly continue to govern the Indian people with the deliberate intention of holding them in perpetual subjection and with the set purpose of preventing their advance to freedom. That he laid down as a broad principle, which ought to meet with general acceptance on a Liberal Front Bench. But when they came to discuss the problem of the future of India they were met as Lord Morley met them in a speech he once made by saying: "You are crying for the moon." Even Lord Courtney, good friend to India as he was, had suggested that these were mere idle dreams. And yet these things were not idle dreams in the eyes of the people of India. We had imparted our Western ideas to them; they had learnt from us the conception of freedom; and, when they were trying to develop it and work it out, instead of co-operating with them and assisting and encouraging them so as to bridge over the disturbance which must inevitably exist in any change in the form of Government, we resorted to coercion and transportation, sometime, even without trial. These remedies would never meet the existing situation, and that was why he urged that a Committee of the House should be appointed in order to consider these wide questions, to take evidence from all points of view, and to advise the English nation on the course which should be followed. The present moment in India was critical. There was no doubt about that. So far from our difficulties being over we were only on the threshold of them, and what might happen in the future depended entirely on the wisdom, sagacity, and Liberalism with which this crisis might be met by the Secretary of State and the Under-Secretary.
§ MR. BUCHANAN
said the debate, had travelled over a considerable area and many most interesting speeches had been made, but he did not think it was incumbent on him to reply in detail to them. He had occupied a great deal of time already, and he did not think it would be fair if he were to occupy much of it now. He had listened 213 to all the speeches with great interest and they had been most suggestive, and he hoped they would be helpful to the Secretary of State in the difficult task that lay before him. He confessed there were some things in the speech of his hon. friend the Member for East Nottingham which would not exactly make their task easier, because he must really recognise, as other speakers had, that they could only go gradually in advance. They had shown their willingness to do that, and he hoped that, when their scheme was produced, the fair mind of Members and of his hon. friend himself would acknowledge that they were endeavouring to take a real step in advance. He could not help thinking, whilst his hon. friend was speaking, that perhaps some of the sentiments to which he gave expression would not render a gradual and somewhat limited advance in the first stages as acceptable as it otherwise might have been. But he welcomed the statements made by other hon. Members. They had had an interesting speech from the hon. Member for Bradford, which was full of suggestive ideas, and they had had an interesting speech from the hon. Member for Merthyr, and although he did not profess that they would be able to agree with the proposals in detail made by the hon. Member. they were practical proposals put forward in a practical way. They had them under his name in the dossier at the India Office, and they were prepared to consider them in detail with other practical and substantial proposals which he had from time to time thought right to put his name to. The general point raised had been the question of education. As he had said in his opening remarks, they did not spend so much money on education as they would like to, but the amount had increased and was increasing. Instead of the figure being something like £1,600,000, they really spent out of public funds in India more like £2,600,000, and they were progressing in that direction. Action had been taken upon the Report of the Commission referred to, and they had been doing a certain amount with regard to technical and agricultural education, and, he hoped, the v would be able to do more with regard to vernacular education. Technical edu- 214 cation was rather a difficult matter. It was an expensive form of education to start, and he was bound to state from information he had obtained that some of their efforts had not been wholly successful and acceptable to those for whose benefit they had been intended. They hoped, however, that the difficulties might be obviated by arrangements better suited to the desires and occupations of the different localities in India. They were very much alive to all the suggestions which had been made with regard to education, and particularly to the suggested improvements in administration. Principally on financial grounds they could not undertake largely to increase the amount of money they could afford to spend upon education in the future. It was one of the subjects, certainly, Lord Morley had very really at heart, and he hoped to make very substantial progress during the time he remained in office. Although the debate on the Amendment had been exceedingly wide there were hon. Members who wished to speak on other subjects which would not be in order on this Amendments In order that they might have that opportunity it was desirable that the discussion on the Amendment should come to a conclusion so that the remainder of the time at their disposal might be devoted to other subjects.
§ *MR. C. J. O'DONNELL (Newington., Walworth)
said that the debate was a distinct improvement upon previous debates, for there had been exhibited a real desire to approach the question of the Government of India in a sincerely sympathetic spirit. He did not wish to refer to the criticisms which had been passed upon a few Indian representative members of the Indian Civil Service, but he thought he was justified in protesting against the language used in another place by a distinguished nobleman who once held the position of Viceroy.
§ *MR. SPEAKER
reminded the hon. Member that it was contrary to custom to answer in the House of Commons speeches made in another place.
§ *MR. C. J. O'DONNELL
said that under the circumstances he would not pursue 215 that subject. He wished, however, to associate himself with what had fallen from the hon. Member for Merthyr Tydvil, whose able speech had shown the utmost toleration, and he felt sure that the feeling of the House generally was that the hon. Member had been most grossly maligned. He had been maligned himself, but perhaps in a less degree. His name had also been associated with the Extremists in India, but his own opinion was that Extremists, either in India or Ireland, were a positive danger to reform and good Government. He wished to associate himself with the appeal which had been made to the India Office to re-consider the partition of Bengal. On this subject he had always spoken with the utmost moderation, as he absolutely recognised that there was a very strong case in favour of the partition which was considered necessary in order to help the Government to carry out its duties. But admitting that, he could not understand why the India Office sat on its heels and refused to recognise that a great protest had been made. Those who protested were absolutely loyal subjects and embraced some of the greatest and most distinguished natives of India. The men who pressed this matter most on the Government were the territorial aristocracy. Three of the most distinguished men in Bengal who were behind this protest were refused a hearing at Calcutta, and that he could not understand. The eminent officials at the India Office were the salt of the Indian Civil Service, and why a body of that sort should refuse to listen to the arguments of, the Bengali people passed his understanding. He begged the House to use the influence it possessed to press the India Office to smooth this matter over and arrange the partition ii such a way as to obviate the breaking up of the Bengali people. He would not enter into any elaborate argument in regard to this partition. When 45,000,000 of people spoke the same language it was a considerable argument in favour of their ancient rights to be called a nation. Bengal was a ration, and the people there had spoken the language for centuries; as long as the English people had spoken English. The only claim they made was to be allowed to keep the o Bengali-s eaking 216 districts under one governor. It was a reasonable request. During the past three years much wrong had been done and much bitterness had been aroused, and he believed that the feeling against British government would go on as long as we insisted on this partition. He was ready to say that British Government in India was an absolute necessity for the civilisation of India. He could not express his opinion too strongly as to the necessity of giving the Government every possible form of support when it had to deal with such crimes as had recently been committed, but if the Government of India was to receive that support from the people of India the only way to justify our rule was by listening to the reasonable demands of the people of that courtly and by doing justice without too much regard for the amour proper of officials.
§ *MR. LUPTON (Lincolnshire, Sleaford)
said he would like to join in the appeal which had been made by hon. Members in regard to the partition of Bengal. It must seem exceedingly strange to the people of India that we in this country should take so much interest in their education. There could be no doubt that in all of the more essential matters of education the people of India were 1,000 years ahead of the British. He had recently seen a description of a University in India, which flourished about 1,500 years ago, where there were 100 lecture pulpits from which 100 professors could simultaneously address the 10,000 students who were there assembled. He was not sure that the education there given was such as was suited for a conquering people. He rather thought there was some truth in the remark of a Scottish sergeant, who was with the British Army when it was conquering Upper Burmah. Referring to the Buddhist priests, who would not fight nor ask the people to fight because they considered it wrong to kill, be said "They are no use." The Hindoos were ahead of us in the more important parts of education, religion, and philosophy, but for a conquering nation it was more important to know how to shoot and to fight, how to lie and steal. With regard to the quality of our rule in India, one test of Government was the death-rate. In the year 1884–5 the death-rate was 217 26 per 1,000, and in 1904–5 it was 35 per 1,000, an increase of over 40 per cent. in a period of twenty years.
§ *MR. LUPTON
said that was what was always stated when statistics were inconvenient. The Civil Service in India were quite capable of collecting statistics twenty years ago. The death-rate in India had increased owing to a state of things which was hardly a credit to this country. Many people there had not money to buy food. Tha extra Assistant Commissioner of Ferozeporo reported that men in many of the villages do not get food for two meals in twenty-four hours. In the province of Agra, and Oudh, the Collector of Etawa wrote—The united earnings of a man, his wife and two children cannot be put at more than 4s. a month. This income will enable the family to have one fairly good meal a day.The Collector of Banda wrote—A very large number of the lower classes of the population clearly demonstrate by the poorness of their physique that they are habitually half-starved, or have been in early years exposed to the seventies of a famine.The Commissioner of Fyzabad quoted Mr. Bennett's statement that—It is not until he has gone into these subjects in detail that a man can fully appreciate how terribly thin the line is which divides large masses of people from absolute nakedness and starvation.and the Commissioner added—I believe that remark is true of every district of Oudh.The same Commissioner wrote—It has been calculated that about sixty per cent. of the entire native population are sunk in such abject poverty that unless the small earnings of child-labour are added to time small general stock by which the family is kept alive, some of the members would starve.He could give quotation after quotation from Indian officials to the effect that the people had not enough to live upon. The plague, of which they had heard so much, was only a symptom of a state of things in India which was hardly creditable to our Government. The first thing a good Government should do was to see that its people were well-fed and not half-starved; and how could the people be well-fed when the income of the natives over great parts of India was only ½d. 218 per day? That was the glorious Empire in India which the House was asked to uphold. In his opinion, the sooner a Government which was unable to support its people came to an end the better. The reason was that the crops raised by the people of India were not sufficient and that production was going down. In the Central Provinces the produce per acre was only 372 lbs. per annum, whereas the Government estimate was 600 lbs. In Berar, for nine years ending 1900, the average product of wheat per annum was only 144½ per acre as against 2,000 lbs. in England. Here they had proof that India was not in a condition sufficient to support the people. The reason for that was that the taxes extorted from the people were excessive, and accordingly they went to the money lender, and the money lender compelled them to sell their grain at once and at a low price. The consequence was that they could not get stock to manure the land, the land got worse, the people became poorer, and when a failure of rain came they had to starve. All that was done for the sake of maintaining great armaments in India. It had been said that India was lightly taxed, but the taxation had greatly increased in twenty years. The Indian Budget for 1887–8 showed that the amount of revenue to be raised was 774,000,000 rupees, whereas the estimate for 1907–8 was 1,116,000,000 rupees, or an increase in twenty years of 44 per. cent., and a great part of that extra taxation had been got out of the land. If the revenue from land was taken, the figure for 1887–8 was, in round numbers, 229,000,000 rupees; whereas in 1907–8 it amounted to 304,000,000 rupees, or an increase of 32 per cent. If, however, instead of taking the land revenue alone, the items of irrigation and forests were added, the total revenue from the soil in 1887–8 was 246,000,000 rupees, and in 1907–8, 383,000,000 rupees, showing an increase of 55 per cent. He would now consider what this money raised from the poor people of India was spent upon. In 1887–8 the Army, including expenditure on military works, coat India 205,000,000 rupees; in 1907–8 it had increased to 309,000,000 rupees, an increase of 50 per cent. The great bugbear of Russia no longer existed, and there 219 was no justification whatever of such a terrible increase in expenditure on armaments. But take the expenditure on salaries and the expenses of o the Civil Department. That was o in. 1887–8, 250,000,000 rupees, contrasted with 379,000,000 rupees in 1907–8, or an increase of 51 per cent.. The total expenditure on the Civil Service, collection, pensions, and Army had increased from 455,000,000 rupees in 1887–8, to 688,000,000 rupees in 1907–8, an increase of 51 per cent. The Hindoo got Very little benefit from all that. He would compare the expenditure in India with the expenditure in England to show how the former told on the poor. The total income of the entire population of India was estimated by Digby at £284,000,000 a year. It was calculated that the income of the people of the United Kingdom was £1,800,000,000, or More than six times as much. If we spent on our Army, Navy, and Civil Service in proportion to our wealth, what was spent in India, we would spend £275,000,000 instead of £94,000,000. There was no wonder that there was unrest in India. It seemed to him that the House should calmly consider whether it intended to bleed India white, and go on taking from the poor Indian people those taxes from which they got no return. It would be very easy to reduce the taxation in India if native instead of European servants and administrators were employed. The wages of a European were forty times those of a Hindoo, and there was, therefore, no wonder that India was being ruined. The rupee had come down in twenty years, but the price of wheat, the chief product of the India ryot, had come clown in like ratio, and the ryots had to pay 11 rupees for every rupee they paid in taxation twenty years ago. He would not go further into this, as he thought he had said quite enough to show that the case of India required serious recoil-Aeration. The plagues and famines would never be got rid of until this extravagant expenditure on the Army and Civil Services was stopped, and taxation was also stopped altogether in the poor districts for some five years or so, in order that the cultivators of India might recover. They were the hardest worked and most industrious people 220 in the world, and if some hope was given to them that what they earned would go to them and their family, in that way India might in twenty years again become a prosperous country. At present our rule did no good to India. India had been called a rich country and was until we went there and destroyed their manufactures and their, shipping. We had done this by laws deliberately passed to bring that about. We were now destroying their agriculture, their last resource, by excessive taxation, and it would be a disgrace to this country and to the party to which he belonged if they did not, now that they were in power, take the opportunity of trying to stop the ruin of India and of the people who, for a time, were committed to our care in that country.
§ Question "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question," put, and agreed to.
§ Main Question again proposed.
§ MR. MACLEAN (Bath)
rose to call attention to the Motion standing in his name dealing with the condition of the church accommodation for soldiers of the Anglican community in India. It raised, he said, a question of national importance. The difficulty arose in this way. In 1860 certain Regulations were made by the Government of India for the provision of churches for British troops in India, and under Rule 3 a church was provided for the Roman Catholic and for the Protestant communities in the Army. That rule laid down that the word "Protestant" should include Weslevans, Presbyterians, and other denominations. It was understood that there should not be more than one Protestant church provided, and certain regulations were drawn up, but under this rule that church was to be under the control of the authority of the Anglican Church in India. For thirty years that rule had never been acquiesced in by the Scottish Church authority. It met with a certain sense of satisfaction because it was interpreted in a tolerant spirit. But a change came over the tolerant attitude in 1897, and certain revised rules were contemplated to provide that in the event of any dispute 221 with regard to the use of the church, so far as the military authorities were concerned the final appeal should be to the Commander-in-Chief of the station. If the question of want of accommodation in Protestant churches for these Protestant communities had been left to the military or the Civil authority no difficulty would have arisen, but the decision was left to the ecclesiastical authorities, and in spite of all the efforts of the Civil Government there the difficulty had remained persistent. Some of the hard-ships which the Scottish regiments had to suffer with regard to this were very great. They had no church set apart for the Scottish chaplain, and frequently had to worship in the-school-room or music hall where the remains of the last night's entertainment had been left, which did not tend to a spirit of reverence. The position was that the Scottish regiments sent to India had to pivot around Presbyterian places of worship except in cases of military emergency. What was the result? He mentioned the glaring case of the 2nd Battalion Gordon Highlanders. For years they had been near the frontier expecting to take their place in the recent war. When they were at Peshawar they were ordered to march to the front. Subsequently they received an order to go back to Calcutta, where they now were, and the Manchester regiment was moved right up to the north to take the place of the Gordon Highlanders. Everybody would agree that that was extremely hard lines on the Gordon Highlanders, who had been waiting on the Frontier o take their proper part in the campaign. What was the consequence? The Gordon Highlanders were in Calcutta to-day and were not in a state of mutiny, hut of great unrest and discontent, on account of the hardships imposed on them owing to the uncharitable action of the Anglican authorities in India. The regulations enforced were ridiculous. The idea that Scottish regiments were to pivot around such meagre provision as might be made for Presbyterians, while other regiments coming many years later could be moved about the whole of India in accordance with military necessity, was enough to break the heart of any soldier in any regiment in the British Army. He ventured to hope that whatever might be the difficulties in the way 222 of the Secretary of State he would see that for the future the Government building set apart for religious worship should not be consecrated to the use of any one denomination, but should be open and free to all in the. British Army. So long as such churches were claimed for one denomination they should be kept at the sole expense of that denomination. He hoped a common-sense opinion would prevail upon those who were at present standing in the way of a reasonable settlement of a most irritating problem.
§ *MR. EUGENE WASON (Clackmannan and Kinross)
said that the Scottish Members, believed that the Scottish regiments were under a, great disadvantage at the present time because they were not sent to places to which otherwise they would be sent as there was no place there in which they could worship. They had no wish to make any complaint against the Anglican Church except to say that these were Government churches, and that Presbyterian services ought to be allowed to be conducted in them. But the Anglican authorities had gone further than not providing facilities, they had actually when they had allowed Presbyterians to worship in these churches, forbidden the ministers of the Scottish churches to administer the Communion there. That was a great insult. These churches were built by the Government out of public, money and the clergy were mostly paid by public money. As these churches were maintained and supported by public money they ought to be as free for the administration of the Presbyterian Communion as the administration of the Anglican Communions. They did not quarrel with either the Anglicans or the Roman Catholics, but they did say that for the Scottish troops to be kept at Calcutta and not given the same chance as other regiments, because there was not a Presbyterian church in a district to which otherwise they would be sent, was a grievance under which they ought not to be, allowed to suffer. At the present time the Scottish regiments were being unfairly treated because they were kept in places where there was not a Presbyterian church. If in other places they were allowed to worship in the same 223 churches as the other denominations they would have the same chances as other regiments.
§ MR. MUNRO FERGUSON (Leith Burghs)
said it was stated in the White Paper recently issued that this was a question between the Church of Scotland and the Government on one hand, and the Church of England and the Government on the other; but all the churches in Scotland had the same interest in the matter as the Church of Scotland, and the whole of Scotland was unanimous and felt very deeply upon the point. He quite recognised that the scandal attending the consecration of churches in India would, under the Secretary of State's despatch, now cease, but he did not think the suggested remedy would be accepted as such, either by Scotland or by Scotsmen in the Army. The official papers referred to six or seven Scottish Infantry battalions, but they by no means represented all the Scottish soldiers in India. The artillery was very largely recruited in Scotland and in many of the cavalry and other regiments they found a large proportion of Scotsmen. They had to consider not six or seven Scottish battalions, but the Presbyterians in the Army, and he ventured to say other Protestants who were probably even a larger proportion of the Army. The present system under which the Anglican bishop or chaplain had the right to prohibit services of any other denomination in churches erected by the Government of India was intolerable. It had been worked without much Christian feeling, and they would never consent to the present arrangement. It was proposed in the last despatch that a Scottish regiment should be concentrated where there was an unconsecrated church. That was extremely unsatisfactory. Those who went into the military service wanted to go where there was likely to be work, and in many of the frontier places they would not find an unconsecrated place of worship, and again the unconsecrated places often compared unfavourably with the consecrated places of worship. It was not quite fair to call upon the people of India to provide churches for every variety of Christianity that happened to be represented in India, and the principle that there should be one Protestant 224 Church in each station was the soundest. They therefore asked and expected that Protestants who did not happen to be Anglicans should be allowed to hold their services, solemnise marriages, baptisms, and the sacraments in the churches provided by the Government, and that no Government grant should be given to such churches from which they were excluded. It was not a matter which could be left to the discretion of the bishops of the Anglican Church; it was not from them that they sought their rights; they sought them from the Government.
§ MR. C. E. PRICE (Edinburgh, Central)
said that very strong feeling on the subject had been roused in Scotland, and he scarcely thought the Secretary of State had realised the strength of that feeling, or he would not have issued the report or suggestion referred to. He noticed the other day that in reply to a question the Under-Secretary referred to these Protestants as Nonconformists.
§ MR. C. E. PRICE
said he did not catch the expression himself, but it appeared in the report of the right hon. Gentleman's Answer. He might have used it unwittingly.
§ MR. C. E. PRICE
said he was aware that the right hon. Gentleman might say they intended to make provision for all Presbyterian soldiers in the different stations in India, but that would not meet the case. There were other soldiers beside Presbyterians, and the only way in which they could meet the difficulty was to allow all denominations to use the churches. He, therefore, suggested that no further grant should be made to the churches, either for capital expenditure or maintenance, unless they had an assurance that they would be open to the various denominations represented by the soldiers. It was nothing short of a scandal that they should place an annual charge for the churches upon the people of India, why 225 were of an entirely different religion. If there was to be any charge, it should be placed upon this country, or, on the other hand, they should rely upon the Christian communities to support their own churches.
§ MR. BUCHANAN
said he quite agreed with his colleagues from Scotland that Scotland and Scottish soldiers had a grievance, and he shared their natural feeling with regard to the action taken by the officials of the Anglican Church; but they must look at the facts. There was one sentence in the White Paper which was not read by the hon. Member for Bath, and to which no one else had paid any regard. It was the kernel of the whole matter. When the difficulty arose, and it became serious, the Secretary of State in 1899, Lord George Hamilton, took the legal opinions of Mr. Cohen and two other authorities and had it confirmed by the opinion of law officers of the Crown. Their opinion was that under the form in which permission was given by the Government of India to consecrate the churches, the bishops had sole control over them. They had got the right side of the law. The present position of affairs was that when this grievance arose they took the best course available, and found out what the grievance was. They found out that the best side of the law was with the church authorities. What was to be done? Surely the best course was that in future from that time onwards no church which was built out of the revenues of India should be allowed to be consecrated, so that this difficulty could not occur in the future in any church built out of the revenues of India after 1899. In that matter he thought they had done their best. The Government had endeavoured at the principal stations in India to supply facilities for Presbyterian soldiers to worship at their own churches, and that surely was the desire of Scottish Members. He thought Scottish soldiers should have proper facilities for attending the Scottish Church. [An HON. MEMBER: What about the Wesleyans?] Surely hon. Members did not propose that they should go back upon the agreement they had made with the authorities of those consecrated buildings. How 226 could they possibly do that? They had observed that agreement for five years, and it was a binding arrangement. As he had already said the authorities of the church had the best side of the law, and how could they alter that state of things by putting pressure upon the Government of India? Personally he was not in favour of altering the law so as to upset what had been done before 1899, because he did not think that would be fair. The Government were doing everything in their power to supply this want and remedy the difficulty which has occurred by building other churches at the principal stations.
§ *MR. MORTON (Sutherland)
said the reply which had just been given was not at all satisfactory. They were very much astonished to find that one particular Church had an exclusive right to use buildings provided by public money. He thought that was most unfair. A great many things had been legally done in this country which were unfair, but that did not mean that they should continue for ever, and the argument used in this connection by the right hon. Gentleman was in his opinion nonsense. Why did they disestablish the Irish Church, if they could not alter something which had legally been done? The House ought to insist upon having fair play to all sects in India. He appealed to the Under-Secretary for India to see that justice was done to the Presbyterians, and he hoped the law would be altered so as to permit all buildings built and maintained by public money to be used by all religious sects. They might be told that the Episcopalian Church was so powerful that the Government dare not go against them, but that was not the opinion of the people of Scotland or England. There was a very strong feeling about this matter, and the sooner the right hon. Gentleman gave way to it the better it would be for himself and the Indian Government, and for everybody else concerned. The right hon. Gentleman acknowledged that it was wrong and that it was an injustice. Therefore, let them have justice done to all the people, and let the Government understand that they must not favour the Episcopalian Church more than any other church. This matter could not 227 rest as it was. The right hon. Gentle- man congratulated himself on the fact that they could not take a division now; if they could have done so his tone would have been very different, but he might clearly understand that the injustice complained of must be speedily remedied.
§ MR. DUNDAS WHITE (Dumbartonshire)
said it was perfectly clear that the English law affecting the consecration of buildings did not apply in British India. The Under-Secretary for India had referred to some legal opinion, but unfortunately, no details were given. The difficulty in this matter had arisen from the supineness of the Government of India. The complaint was that the Government ought never to have given such a guarantee as that which had been referred to. o He could appreciate the difficulties which had arisen in consequence of that, and he could appreciate also what the hon. Gentleman had said about no further church being consecrated; but when he turned up the despatch he found it stated in general terms that no church was in future to be consecrated for the Church of England except where church accommodation had been set apart for those of other creeds. He did not consider that that went far enough. He considered that where churches were built with Government money an exclusive right should not be given to any particular denomination. It seemed to him that so far as existing churches were concerned public money ought not to be given unless the Government were to have the control of them. He hoped the Under-Secretary would be able to give a satisfactory answer on that point.
§ MR. BRIGHT (Oldham)
said he wished to speak on behalf of Nonconformists who might be with the Army in India. It was a monstrous condition of things that churches that had been built from the monies of others in India and also from the Indian Exchequer should be devoted to the use of any particular sect. He was not at all content to hear that Presbyterians were to be provided for in the future throughout India. Wesleyans and other Noncon-formists had just as much right to be 228 regarded as Presbyterians, and there should be no unfair discrimination on behalf of the Anglican Church. Surely, it was in the power of the Government of India to cease to pay sums of money to the churches. He had a strong impression that when the clergy found that the money was not forthcoming they would modify their views. He hoped the Government would be able to take a view which would have some regard for Nonconformists generally.
§ Main Question put, and agreed to.