§ Lords' Amendments to Commons' Amendments considered.
§ Dr. RUTHERFORD moved: "That this House do disagree with the Lords' Amendments to the Commons' Amendments."
§ In moving to disagree with the Lords' Amendments I do so to give the House an opportunity of protesting against the criminal infatuation of the House of Lords in this matter. For the convenience of the House it would be well that I should recapitulate briefly the chief circumstances with regard to the Bill. The Government and the Secretary of State for India considered that clause 3 was a vital portion of the Indian Councils Bill. The Bill they realised was a modest measure to meet the legitimate and proper aspirations of the people of India. The Lords considered this clause, and summarily re jected it. Then the Bill came to this House, and on the motion of the Government the clause was reinstated in its entirety. The Bill went back to the House of Lords, and instead of accepting our Amendment restoring the clause in its fulness, their Lordships whittled it down, and only allowed it to apply to Bengal; and their Amendments made it necessary that if they wanted these councils in clause 3 extended the Government of India must-lay the proclamation on the Table not only of the House of Commons but also of the House of Lords, and an address from either House would render these schemes nugatory and void.419
§ This is a serious step for India, and, to ray mind, it is a very sinister and significant fact. It means now that the veto of the House of Lords is suspended over progressive legislation in India like the sword of Damocles. It means that it is going to handicap progressive legislation in that country. It means that good government, according to the meaning of good government by the people in this country, is now going to be, in India, at the mercy of the House of Lords. Might I ask the question: What is the character of an assembly already drunk with power that arrogates to itself more power? I should like to read—
§ Mr. SPEAKER
The hon. Member must confine himself strictly to the Amendments that have come down from another place.
We are considering whether this Amendment is justifiable, and I wish to read the opinion of Lord Morley, which he expressed in 1885.
§ Mr. SPEAKER
Order, order. What Lord Morley said in 1885 has nothing whatever to do with the Indian Councils Bill of this year. The hon. Member must try to confine himself to the matter now before the House.
Lord Morley, in the House of Lords, said that most of these Amendments we are dealing with to-day were a reasonable compromise. Lord Morley was not of that opinion when the Lords had first decided their policy on this matter by rejecting the clause entirely. He then thought it was so serious to the good government of India that within two or three days he moved in the House of Lords that this clause be reinserted. What I have to say with regard to this suggestion of Lord Morley that this is a reasonable compromise is this: that it only gives to Bengal power to have an Executive Council at once. That can hardly be called a reasonable compromise, for the simple fact that Lord Morley can snap his fingers at the House of Lords, and straightway create, by the Acts of 1833 and 1858, an Executive Council and Governor in Council for Bengal and the United Provinces. It is quite unnecessary for the Government to accept these Amendments in any shane or form as a comnromise. They would be infinitely better without the clause, as it at present stands, and they could do far more for India without this clause, and by means of these Acts which I have referred to in 420 regard to both Bengal and the United Provinces. It would be better for the Government to let this clause drop altogether as amended by the House of Lords, and to throw the responsibility upon their Lordships' shoulders. What does this action of the House of Lords mean to the Government of India? It means, as far as I can see, a direct vote of censure. It means that the House of Lords has no confidence in the judgment, wisdom, and discretion of the Viceroy and his Council, and I believe it is a deliberate blow to their self-respect and to their prestige. The Government of India will now be in the position of Lazarus, and will have to crawl to the Table of the House of Lords or to the Table of this House to ask for any political crumbs that either House may offer to them. This is entirely unsatisfactory, humiliating, and detrimental to the Government of India. How will this action of the Lords affect the Liberal Party? I feel that it is another challenge, another skirmish, another defeat of this House and of our party, and another victory for the House of Lords. At the same time I should like to remind their Lordships that it is a Pyrrhic victory by which they will lose more than they will gain, and it will be another proof to the people of this country and to those whom it may concern in India, that it is essential that the veto of the House of Lords should be restricted or removed entirely. The Lords are going to do for India what they have already done in this country—deprive India of legislation which is for the regeneration and for the building up of the people under one great nationality. I would like to ask, further, what will be the effect upon India itself of this action of the House of Lords? I should like to quote in this respect the view of Mr. Goklale on this subject, which appeared in the March number of the "Contemporary Review." He said:—It will he absolutely disastrous if any attempt is made to go back on the scheme in any important particular. The people of this country have accepted it in the spirit in which it has been conceived by the Viceroy and the Secretary of State, and if the people of India are subjected to any disappointment in connection with it there will be a violent reaction, which will be in every way deplorable.So far as the shunted provinces are concerned, it affects Eastern Bengal, which is in a state of unrest; the Punjaub, which is the training ground to a large extent of the Indian Army; the United Provinces, which are to a great extent the home of the Mahomedan movement; and the Central Provinces as well as Burma 421 It means that all these provinces will now have to come cap in hand to the House of Lords whenever they want an Executive Council. It means that they are condemned to one-man rule and to political servitude for a considerable time to come. That must embitter public feeling in all those provinces, and must make the government of the country more difficult than it is to-day. I think the House of Lords should remember that, after all, we lost America by denying to the Americans the right to govern their own country. We declined to acknowledge the rights of citizenship there, and if we decline to acknowledge the rights of Indians to govern their country, if we deny them all the privileges and duties and responsibilities of citizenship, it must lead to great trouble, to great difficulty, and it might lead even to what occurred in America—the loss of India as part of the British Empire. This, after all, is a very serious matter. I look upon it as indeed very serious for the reasons I have put before the House. I believe it will fill India with indignation and despair, and that the reform scheme will lose—for, after all, the reform scheme lulled the storm in India—its effect, and that the danger in India will be increased. I feel that their Lordships have eyes which do not see and ears which do not hear. They fail to see that this national movement is like a great, mighty, and beneficent river flowing from the everlasting heights of freedom. They fail to recognise that this national movement is irresistible. It must grow, and it must increase. If we do not recognise it, then the danger will be enormously increased. I feel that the House of Lords have tried to dam this river, but it will only overflow, and probably lead to that anarchy and destruction of life and property which everybody must deplore. In conclusion I feel it is our duty as a nation and a country to foster this spirit of nationalism, and it is for that purpose that I ask the House to disagree with the Lords' Amendment.
§ Mr. SPEAKER
Am I to understand that the hon. and learned Member does not object to the Lords' Amendments being now considered? That is the question which I put.
I move to disagree with the Lords' Amendment, and I understand that is the proper form.
§ Mr. SPEAKER
The question I put and on which the hon. Member rose to speak was that the Lords' Amendments should now be considered.
§ Question, "That the Lords' Amendments be now considered," put and agreed to.
§ The Lords' Amendments, which were read a second time, were as follows:—
§ The Lords agree to clause A inserted by the Commons (Power to constitute provincial executive councils):—
§ A.—(i) It shall be lawful for the Governor-General in Council, with the approval of the Secretary of State in Council, by proclamation, to create a council in any province under a Lieutenant-Governor for the purpose of assisting the Lieutenant-Governor in the executive government of the province, and by such proclamation—
§ (a) To make provision for determining what shall be the number (not exceeding four) and qualifications of the members of the council; and
§ (b) To make provision for the appointment of temporary or acting members of the council during the absence of any member from illness or otherwise, and for the procedure to be adopted in case of a difference of opinion between a Lieutenant-Governor and his council, and in the case of equality of votes, and in the case of a Lieutenant-Governor being obliged to absent himself from his council from indisposition or any other cause.
§ (2) Where any such proclamation has been made with respect to any province, the Lieutenant-Governor may, with the consent of the Governor-General in Council, from time to time, make rules and orders for the more convenient transaction of business in his council, and any order made or act done in accordance with the rules and orders so made shall be deemed to be an act or order of the Lieutenant-Governor in Council.
§ (3) Every member of any such council shall be appointed by the Governor-General with the approval of His Majesty, and shall, as such, be a member of the Legislative Council of the Lieutenant-Governor in addition to the members nominated by the Lieutenant-Governor and elected under the provisions of this Act.
§ But propose to amend the same by leaving out the words ("any province under a Lieutenant-Governor") in lines423
§ 3 and 4, and inserting (" the Bengal division of the presidency of Fort 'William '"), and by inserting as a new sub-section at the end of sub-section (1):—
§ (2) It shall be lawful for the Governor-General in Council, with the like approval, by a like proclamation to create a council in any other province under a lieutenant-governor for the purpose of assisting the lieutenant-governor in the executive government of the province. Provided that before any such proclamation is made a draft thereof shall be laid before each House of Parliament for not less than sixty days during the session of Parliament, and, if before the expiration of that time an address is presented to His Majesty by either House of Parliament against the draft or any part thereof, no further proceedings shall be taken thereon, without prejudice to the making of any new draft.
May I now technically move: "That this House do disagree with the Lords in the said Amendments"?
§ Mr. SPEAKER
I shall put the Question: "That this House do agree with the Lords in the said Amendments," and then the hon. Member can vote against it.
§ The FINANCIAL SECRETARY to the TREASURY (Mr. Hobhouse)
One word, and one word only, upon the subject which has been raised by the hon. Member for Brentford. The House will remember that this Amendment, which has come down to us from the Lords, is the result of an understanding—a verbal understanding, but none the less a binding understanding—which was come to between the two Front Benches when this matter was last considered by the House.
§ Mr. HOBHOUSE
This House. It is the result of a suggestion thrown out by myself, speaking on behalf of my Noble Friend the Secretary of State and accepted by the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition. I must confess that I thought at that time, and I think still, that it was a pity that the discretion of the Government of India was limited in the way in which this clause does limit it; but, at the same time, I perfectly understand and I frankly admit that there were very good precedents for the course which has been adopted, and I think it is just as well to point out to the hon. Gentleman that this is the usual form in which those draft 424 Orders—for, after all, this is a draft Order, and not a final Order—would be put before each House of Parliament. For such a draft Order it is a usual and common thing that exception can be taken by either House. Therefore the form in which this Amendment reaches us to-day is the usual form taken in proceedings of this sort. I am also bound to say that I do not think either House of Parliament, in the event of the need arising and when it does arise, for the Government of India to recommend that an Executive Council should be set up as occasion occurs from time to time in any of the provinces of India—I cannot believe that either House of Parliament would take upon itself the responsibility of rejecting the recommendation arrived at after mature deliberation by the Government of India. Believing as I do that in practice no such inconvenience will arise, I recommend the acceptance of this Amendment to the House.
§ Mr. JAMES O'GRADY
I must confess that the statement now made by the hon. Gentleman somewhat changes the aspect of the case. I was not aware of the fact that the compromise had been effected between the two Front Benches of this House. That being so, it must be clear these are not the Amendments of the Lords in actuality. I want to protest most emphatically against the arrangement as it stands, because, after all, we are dealing with a very great reform that has been met by several sections of the Empire with very great approval. I want to emphasise what the hon. Member who attempted to move the Amendment suggested, that the original Bill received the full assent of the Viceroy of India and his Council, and all the important authorities in India, and then because the other place began to discuss this matter and began to use pressure—I say this with all due respect—began to use pressure on the Government that they should accede to what I consider to be a vicious compromise in regard to the original Bill. I think most of the Members of this House who have taken a keen interest in Indian matters will admit that the result of this compromise in India must be simply disastrous.
The purpose of the Bill was to guide the growing feeling that has undoubtedly developed in India during the last ten years, to guide the national aspiration of the Indian people in the right direction. I believe it could be so guided, and I believe we could have attached India with firmer bonds under the original Bill of Lord Morley than has been possible during the 425 last 20 years. But it must be considerably weakened by the fact that the Government, in conjunction with the Front Opposition Bench, have acceded to this weak and—may I say it again with deference—this parochial compromise in that narrow spirit that grapples with great reforms, and always does something to undermine, it seems to me, the real good that reforms must effect, particularly in countries like India. I suppose the harm is done; but I just want to say a word with reference to the Orders. Most public men during the last ten years have declared that what we ought to do with regard to India is to trust the people, and particularly the moderate section who are engaged in the work of reform. Statements have been made in the Mansion House here in London to that effect. I submit that the Orders that are to be placed on the Table with regard to extending the councils to the provinces is nothing more or less than mistrust. I can quite see the point that any contentious Member of this House or the other House who are absolutely opposed to reform, and they are on the Liberal side as well as upon other sides of the House—I mean men who pose as an authority on this question—they can protest against those Orders, and so the extension of those councils to other provinces would be indefinitely delayed. I submit that is a very dangerous proposition, and I just rise for the purpose of entering my strongest protest against what I consider to be a weak, vacillating policy, which has resulted in this miserable compromise that is going to damage a very great reform.
§ Mr. J. D. REES
I would not have said a word if I was not well aware of the important effect of speeches made in this House. My remarks will be of a non-controversial character. My hon. Friend the Member for Leeds entirely overlooks the fact that it was only Bengal that asked for a council; that no other council is asked for. Surely that makes all the difference.
I do not wish to interrupt my hon. Friend, but may I state that public meetings have been held in the Punjab and United Provinces and Eastern Bengal asking for councils.
§ Mr. REES
Perhaps I should have said it is only Bengal made anything like an official request. I am too much acquainted with the genesis of public meetings to attach too much importance to them. The hon. Member for Leeds (Mr. 426 J. O'Grady) said that he was far more in favour of the original Bill, but is he aware of the fact that the Noble Viscount was perfectly satisfied with the arrangement made in the House of Lords? I understood his position to be, and that of his Friends, that they were satisfied with the Bill. Therefore I submit they ought to be satisfied with this small compromise, which has been effected with the entire concurrence of Viscount Morley. In the other House it was admitted by the Noble Viscount that no effort had been made to make party capital of India in that House, and I really do not see how my hon. Friend could fairly take objection if he perused the proceedings of another place.
§ Mr. O'GRADY
I thought I made my position perfectly clear. I said I was distinctly in favour of the original Bill, and protested against any compromise of any kind.
§ Mr. REES
The Noble Viscount not only consented to the compromise, but congratulated the opposition upon the manner in which they had met him. He expressly did so, and the hon. Member may see the words. The hon. Member for Brentford (Dr. Rutherford) appeared in a very startling character as the champion of the Government of India. He said the Government of India was hurt by these proceedings. I should not have accepted the hon. Gentleman as champion of the Government of India until I have some reason to know that the Government of India accept his championship. He said the character of the Liberal party was affected by this matter. The Noble Viscount in another place made a great point of keeping India outside the purview of party considerations. He con-gratualted the Noble Lords on the manner in which they had met him in that all-important object, and on the satisfactory way in which party considerations were kept out of the discussion of the Bill in the other House. I wish myself that a similar spirit had inspired the speech of the hon. Gentleman just below me (Dr. Rutherford), and which we have heard to-day. He spoke with great confidence of the opinion of Mr. Goklale, who said that the compromise would be disastrous. No one man can speak for the people of India. There are many peoples in India, and there is no one person authorised to speak for them. I do not at all undervalue the authority of a gentleman who, like myself, was a member of the Viceroy's Council, and who, I am 427 sure, has opinions that are entitled to be heard with respect, but he is not entitled to speak in that wholesale manner of the people of India, nor when the hon. Gentleman the Member for Brentford said that when the other provinces wished to have councils they would have to come cap in hand to Parliament, did he speak according to the book? That is not the case. When the Government of India issue a Proclamation, according to the Orders, that Proclamation shall lie upon the Table, and if either House presents an address, which is a somewhat solemn and serious proceeding, and which cannot be done on the action of one Member only, in that case would the Proclamation be stopped. So that really to speak of provinces in India having to come cap in hand to the House of Lords in order to obtain what the Government of India decided they should have is really quite an exaggeration of the situation.
I feel bound to refer to these things, because I know the way in which these speeches are reported and scattered broadcast in vernacular leaflets. The hon. Member said that the effect upon India as a whole would be to produce indignation and despair. I trust the hon. Member will not think me wanting in any respect towards him if I do not admit his right to speak for India as a whole. If any man came here and ventured to speak for the opinion of Europe as a whole his remarks would be received with derision, but when one Gentleman speaks of the far more difficult case of India, with more peoples than Europe, his remarks are received probably with acquiescence, or at any rate without any apparent sign of disagreement, such as I think anyone who is acquainted with the problem in any way must know to be their desert. I do say this very discussion is sufficient to show how weighty and how true were the words of the Noble Viscount in the House of Lords when he spoke of the great inconvenience both to the Government of India and Parliament if, whenever a proposal is made to attach Executive Councils to Lieutenant Governors, there should arise full dress debates on second reading, Committee, Report, and the various stages. He went on to say (the Noble Viscount) he now began to understand the full significance of the fact that the Government of India was very sensitive to the intervention of Parliament, and that whenever that can be avoided it ought to be done. I most heartily associate myself with those remarks, because I know how 428 great the danger is in these speeches, and how they are reported. If no reply is made they are said to be unanswerable, and it is only for that reason I have reluctantly risen.
I submit and hope that hon. Members who wanted the Bill as it originally stood without these Amendments will remember what Lord Morley himself said, and how he complimented Lord Lansdowne on his spirit of give and take, and how Lord Lansdowne complimented him. Lord Lansdowne said that he had been able to meet them in a reasonable spirit. Hon. Gentlemen who are able to receive with levity the mention of the names of Lord Morley and Lord Lansdowne are not likely to be in a proper frame of mind to consider a Question affecting India. I sincerely hope in my remarks I said nothing controversial or provocative. I have striven very hard not to, and I might certainly have said a great deal more, but in case I should be betrayed into doing so I shall say nothing more at all. I sincerely hope that no objection will be raised to this moderate and reasonable compromise, which gives the substance and which practically allows the further extension of those councils, only subject to this formality, and it is a necessary formality, because the power of Parliament cannot be abrogated over the Government of India.
§ Mr. JOHN DILLON
I do not pretend to go into the merits of this clause, but the hon. Member who has just spoken (Mr. Rees), in answer to the objections which have been made, said that this Amendment was put in by the House of Lords because the power of Parliament cannot be abrogated over the Government of India. But why not keep the clause as it originally stood, and as it was accepted, if not unanimously, by an overwhelming majority in this House? The only reason I have intervened in the Debate is that the Secretary to the Treasury, who spoke for the Government, appears to be under a complete misapprehension as to the history of this particular transaction. This clause was struck out in the House of Lords at the instance of Lord Lansdowne and Lord Macdonnell. All of us remember the Debate which took place, and also the expressions of opinion that came from all friends of reform in India in this House and in the country as a consequence of the action of the House of Lords in the matter. The speech of the Secretary to the Treasury was calculated to give the impression that the Government were really content 429 with the present compromise. That certainly is not the impression conveyed by the Debate in the House of Lords. The Government are contented with it, I suppose, on the principle that half or quarter of a loaf is better than no bread. They have had to be content with many mutilated reforms, the mutilation of which has been forced upon them by the House of Lords, and I assume—I think I am justified in assuming—that the reason we are asked by the Government to accept this Amendment from the House of Lords is that they are placed in the position of either taking the Bill so mutilated, or paying no reform for India at all. That puts the matter in a very different aspect. I do not profess to have sufficient knowledge of the affairs of India to say whether or not the Government are justified in accepting this reform in its mutilated shape in preference to allowing the Bill to be lost. But that I believe to be a true statement of the case, but it certainly was not the impression conveyed by the speech of the Secretary to the Treasury. What was the strong argument put forward in support of this compromise by the hon. Member (Mr. Rees), who always stands up to champion what I might fairly describe as reactionary India 3 He said that it was very objectionable that whenever a proposition came forward to constitute a new Executive Council in India it should be made the subject of Debate in Parliament.
§ Mr. DILLON
The hon. Member agreed with the Noble Viscount, and strongly supported that view. But that is exactly what this Amendment proposes to do. Under the clause as it originally stood, new councils could be set up in any part of India without any Debate in Parliament; but under this Amendment, no new council can be set up outside the province of Bengal without the risk of Debate in Parliament and of collision between the two Houses. I cannot conceive any machinery more foolish or more fraught with mischief. What is likely to happen is this. If a proposition is made, perhaps in response to some agitation in India, to set up a new Executive Council in the Punjab or some other province, a Proclamation may be issued. I am sick of hearing all this talk about removing India, or the fleet, or the Army, or anything else from party politics. It is all humbug and hypocrisy. Supposing that in the future a proposition is made by some reforming 430 Viceroy like Lord Ripon to set up a new Executive Council, and the House of Lords in their wisdom say "No." Is the House of Commons, if it contains a large majority of Liberals, going to remain silent? You are setting up machinery by this stupid and most perverse Amendment by which you may invite India to the spectacle of their being denied that which the House of Commons by a large majority say they ought to have. I cannot conceive a worse or more ill-judged proposition.
Then, says the hon. Member for Montgomery Boroughs (Mr. Rees), "Oh, but the House of Lords will never dream of presenting an address overruling the judgment of the Government of India." But what are they doing by this Amendment? Have we not been told that the Government of India accepted the Bill in its original form? Lord Landsdowne complimented Viscount Morley when the latter was compelled to yield to him, but he was not very complimentary when Viscount Morley did not yield; but as soon as he had asserted the authority of the House of Lords and won his point he complimented the Noble Viscount. If I had been Lord Morley I would not have returned the compliment. This sort of compliment ought not to be very agreeable to Liberal Ministers. Lord Morley was complimented on accepting a compromise which overrules the opinion of the Government of India. What authority or ground has the hon. Member for Montgomery Boroughs for his confidence that in the future the House of Lords will be any more tender for the opinion of the Government of India than they have shown themselves to be on the present occasion? The House of Lords have had another victory in this matter. The whole course of reform, whether in Ireland, India, South Africa, or any other part of the British Dominons, is marked by these enterprises of the House of Lords, who have over and over again wrecked schemes of reform. As I say, I do not profess to have any expert knowledge of India which would enable me to give an opinion as to whether they will succeed in doing the same thing on this occasion. On previous occasions, when they have been compelled to yield and accept to some extent reforms, they have robbed them of their grace by mutilating them, and they have taken away any effect they might have had in reconciling opinions and healing bitterness in the countries to which they applied. They have done the same on this occasion, and 431 they have only acted consistently with their whole record. In my opinion Lord Morley could have been much better employed than in complimenting Lord Lansdowne on this fresh humiliation inflicted upon the House of Commons.
§ Earl PERCY
As this clause in its amended form has been introduced by the Government mainly to meet representations from this side of the House, and in order to carry out an understanding arrived at, not in the House of Lords, as some Members seem to suggest, but in this House—an understanding on the strength of which I withdrew my Amendment—I may perhaps be allowed to thank the Government for having gone so far to meet the views which we then put forward, and also to express my surprise at the somewhat belated protest made by the hon. Members for Leeds (Mr. O'Grady) and East Mayo (Mr. Dillon). I really cannot understand how anyone who was present on the Report stage—I believe the hon. Member for East Mayo was not present—could have conceived that the declaration then made by the Government of their intention could possibly be given effect to by any other means than that embodied in this clause. What was the compromise which I myself suggested on that occasion? The clause had been thrown out altogether in the House of Lords on the ground that they did not think a case had been made out for the creation of Executive Councils in any of the Provinces of India. They said at the same time that when the Bill came back from this House the Government might be able to produce reasons to induce them to reconsider that view. When the Bill was brought forward in this House in Committee the Government did not produce any very convincing or novel reasons even in favour of creating an Executive Council in Bengal; but they did at all events show that not only the Government of India but the Lieutenant-Governor of Bengal were in favour of the immediate creation of an Executive Council in that particular province. We voted against the reinsertion of the clause in Committee, but it was reinserted; and when the Report stage came on I said that I would not move to reject the clause again, but that we would be willing so far to waive our objections to the creation of an Executive Council in Bengal, where the Government of India and the Lieutenant-Governor were in 432 favour of that being done. I suggested that in other provinces where neither the Government of India nor the Lieutenant-Governor was at present in favour of the creation of those councils, the Government should allow matters to remain where they were. I said that if the Government objected to that proposal, not on the ground that it limited the discretion of the Government of India or their own discretion, but that the necessity of having recourse to fresh legislation would involve great and unnecessary expenditure of time, we on our side would be perfectly prepared to acquiesce in some arrangement by which, by some less dilatory procedure, such as we are familiar with in connection with provisional orders, the same object might be obtained and the control of Parliament effectively retained. Of course, the control of Parliament in the case of a proclamation like this or of a provisional order must mean the same as it means in the case of legislation, namely, effective control on the part of each House. Therefore, I do not understand why, if hon. Members objected to the compromise which was suggested in this House and provisionally accepted by the Front Bench opposite, they did not seize that opportunity to make their protest.
The real truth is that, in spite of the admirable example set him by his leaders, who, however much we may disagree with them, have throughout argued this Bill on the highest grounds of practical common-sense and not of party prejudice, the hon. Member for Brentford (Dr. Rutherford) cannot resist the temptation to introduce party considerations into the discussion of a purely Indian question and to have a dig at the House of Lords. A more inappropriate occasion to discuss the relations between the two Houses than an Indian question could hardly be imagined. I can quite understand that on ordinary questions, in which party considerations come into play, the hon. Member may dislike the prerogative of an Assembly in which his views are represented by a very small minority; but the question of creating Executive Councils in India does not involve party considerations at all, nor does it involve questions of reaction. The Opposition to the creation of Executive Councils in other provinces was expressed in the House of Lords quite as strongly by Liberals like Lord Macdonnell, and by independent peers like Lord Cromer, as it was by Lord Lansdowne, and the proposal was strongly opposed in this House by 433 several hon. Gentlemen who usually support the Government. If it is really to be suggested that on a purely administrative question like this the House of Lords is necessarily likely to take a different view from the House of Commons, the only possible reason I can suggest for that difference of attitude is that the House of Lords happens to possess almost a monopoly of those who have held high administrative office in India, and who, therefore, are capable of speaking on the basis of their Indian experience.
May I say a word, in conclusion, as to the object of this compromise, which I think has been somewhat misunderstood? The hon. Member for Leeds (Mr. O' Grady) seemed to imagine that our idea is to interfere with the discretion of the Government of India. That is the very reverse of our position. We think that to have retained the clause in its original form would really have been to fetter the discretion of the Government of India by enabling the Secretary of States at home to put pressure upon them or to force them to put pressure on the Lieutenant-Governor.
§ Mr. O'GRADY
Does the Noble Lord overlook the fact that the Viceroy himself and his council were strongly in favour of the original Bill?
§ Earl PERCY
I do not know whether it is really worth while going back on that point, but as regards the province of Bengal itself the Government of India were not in favour of the creation of an Executive Council there three months before the Bill was introduced, and, owing largely to pressure from home, they were induced to change that opinion within that short space of time. We want to safeguard them as regards other provinces, where neither the Government of India nor the Lieutenant-Governor is in favour of the creation of Executive Councils, from the same kind of pressure. May I point out that we want to safeguard the Government of India from the impression that the creation of these councils was due very largely to the feeling in England that the creation of these councils will afford a fresh opening for the employment of the natives. If they will turn to the Debate which recently took place on the Indian Budget they will see that Sir H. Adamson, who admits that sooner or later Executive Councils on administrative grounds will have to be created, also states that the main reason why many people think that Executive Councils should be created is that it will afford an opportunity for the employ- 434 ment of natives. He adds expressly that that is a wholly irrelevant consideration. That is our whole object. We want the Government to have a free hand to discuss. this question on its merits, from the point of view of administrative efficiency, and that alone. I entirely agree with the view expressed by the hon. Gentleman who moved the clause in its amended form, that whenever the time arrives that the Government of India comes to this House, and to the other House, and says: "We do think that the time has arrived when Executive Councils on the ground of administrative efficiency ought to be set up in these other provinces," then I do not think we shall find that there will be the slightest divergence of opinion between the two Houses or any reluctance to concede what the Government of India desires.
§ Mr. T. HART-DAVIES
I regret this compromise was entertained. I would have much rather have seen the Bill in its original form. At the same time I think that the effect of it has been rather exaggerated. I do not think it is a matter of such very great importance as some think. On the whole I think that the opinion of the Government of India will in all probability be followed. I think on the whole that Indian affairs are treated here in a way to show that whatever the Government of India recommend goes through, and the occasions are very rare that either House will refuse to follow that course. I understood at the time of the compromise that what was meant was that there should be an Address from both Houses. I see now it is an Address from either House. That seems to me to be rather a doubtful state of things. For instance, if the House of Lords moved an Address against the Government of India who had proposed the council, I suppose that the House of Commons would be in the position to move an Address in favour of it. Then we should have a conflict between the two Houses, and one which would be very much to be depreciated, because Indian questions are the very last thing that ought to come into our constitutional struggles here. I understood at the time that it was an Address by both Houses, and I was surprised when I read the Debate in the House of Lords that it was either House. I suppose it is too late now to alter that unless the Government were to take the matter up. It will be extremely desirable that they should take the matter up if only to give 435 a simple expression of our opinion. I hope the hon. Member who is in charge of this Amendment, if he can do so, will move that the Address from "either" House should be altered into an Address from "both" Houses.
§ Sir J. JARDINE
I would like to give my views on this matter, for it seems to me one in which we ought carefully to remember the great advantages of compromise, and the advantage also of looking at things in due proportion. There was a difference of opinion about this clause on this side of the House I know. I have been impressed by the speeches made from the other side, and by some of the arguments used in another place showing that there was a strong difference of opinion. However, what I venture to state is my own opinion. I think one of the reasons why we should be willing to accede to the compromise is the difference of opinion. Secondly, as regards the due sense of proportion, as most of those who have spent their lives in India know, it is extremely important, as we are on the eve of passing this Bill. I think that we can well afford to treat the Lords' Amendment as rather a matter of procedure than an issue raising a great constitutional question and possible conflict between the Houses, either now or in a time of future that none of us have eyes to see far into. As to voting for the Amendment moved by the hon. Member for Brentford (Dr. Rutherford), I would do so if I anticipated all the evil consequences which he was afraid of. I must state plainly I do not. I believe the people of India will very largely be satisfied with the whole measure. The people of Bengal will have their council, a thing which they have been demanding for so long. The Civil servants will be satisfied with the Lieutenant-Governor of Bengal presiding over the council. Then, besides, one must never forget that there are a great many people in India who do not trouble their heads in the least about the changes of Government unless it effects them personally, chiefly by means of taxes. There is a large number of people who are willing to see reforms go on in a quiet way. I do not deny that some enlightened minds are anxious for even more than this Bill provides; but still, there is a large number of people there, as everywhere else, who tell you that they are more or less indifferent. At any rate, I think that we may well wait in hope, and leave them to wait 436 in hope too. I am not concerned much as to procedure, nor to consideration as to what might happen if such an Address as is contemplated by the Amendment were assented to; but I agree with those who have preceded me in believing that both Houses would, as becomes their dignity and high profession, not consent to an Address conflicting with the Viceroy of India in Council in a matter of this kind, unless there were found grave and serious reasons for so doing. I think, then, that we may well leave this matter to time, and trust, in full confidence, that by passing this Amendment we shall present the people of India with a statute agreed on, not by one party alone but generally by the great historic parties, and in that way a free gift from Great Britain more than it would be if we made it a further means of conflict.
§ Mr. JOHN ELLIS
I noticed that my hon. Friend the Secretary of the Treasury—who is in the place of my right hon. Friend, whose absence we all lament—I say I noticed with pleasure that he did not express a very great sense of gratification in accepting this Amendment. He put his lament that it was necessary in the very careful sentence at the commencement of his speech. The Noble Lord who spoke on this matter for the official Opposition gave an account as to how this thing arose. It was accurate, of cours?, as far as it went, but it was rather insufficient. What we have seen of this matter this afternoon reminds us of what has happened. By an overwhelming majority of the House of Commons a clause was inserted, with the full assent of the Government of India, on the responsibility of the Secretary of State here, and with the full assent of the Cabinet. It was, I may say, contumeliously rejected by the other House. The Government restored the clause by an overwhelming majority. It went up again to another place. Certainly the suggestion was thrown out by the Noble Lord that if certain things were done, the Opposition would be willing to accept the change. I am one of those who is free to confess that I look upon this compromise as a very lamentable one. It is very true that one should observe the proportion of things. Even so, I regard the compromise as a very lamentable one. We must not blink the fact that if compromise is agreed to by the Government under force majeure it is in order to get a great Bill of which we all approve through the Houses of Parlia- 437 ment. Therefore, it is an old illustration of what I suppose we must submit to for a time longer—I hope not a very long time. I hope my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister will make a note that this is another illustration. Speaking for myself, I doubt very much whether the hon. Member for the Montgomery Boroughs (Mr. Kees), who seemed to have lost his way in the House, should speak as he did of the Secretary of State. I do not think my noble Friend ever committed himself to such strong language as to be "perfectly satisfied with this arrangement." Knowing him as I do, I do not think he would use such language as that. Therefore, I personally look upon this as a lamentable instance of what is constantly taking place, and that we in this House are being constantly overruled. If my hon. Friend goes to a Division I shall support him.
§ Mr. A. LUPTON
The hon. Member for Montgomery Boroughs said that it would be quite as absurd for a man to stand up and profess to talk for Europe as it would be to profess to speak in this House in the name of India. But supposing Europe was governed by Japan, and that Japan had established authority over the whole of the Continent of Europe, might not a man then speak in the name of Europe through Japan? I think it would be quite a possibility. We know that the bonds of love are strong; we also know from those who have read history that the bonds of hatred are also strong, and we often find people united in hatred of a particular rule, and we find it often to be one of the most common bonds that unite a nation. It would be a great pity if the people of India should be united in a hatred of this country. There have been signs in the last few years that such a possibility might arise. This Bill was a great calming influence when it was brought in, and we hope, and the correspondents many of us had in India had written to say that they had hopes of good things resulting from this Bill. I am sorry to hear the Noble Lord the Member for South Kensington (Earl Percy), whose observations I always listen to with great interest and respect, say that in his view the establishment of these councils was entirely a question of administrative effici-
§ ency. Of course that is good enough for a Gentleman accustomed to governing. For him practically the whole question of government is administrative efficiency. Some of us take a different view as to government. We think it is better to govern ourselves badly than to be well governed by foreigners. I can well imagine from what I read of some clever Japanese coming over here and governing this country far better than we could govern it.
§ Mr. SPEAKER
Order, order. I do not see the relevancy to the Amendment before the House of the hon. Gentleman's observations.
§ Mr. LUPTON
I beg pardon, Mr. Speaker. I was only replying to the Noble Lord opposite, who supported the Amendment on the ground that he was in favour of administrative efficiency, and declared that he was against those people who claim for Executive Councils solely on the ground that it would give employment to Indians and to natives in governing themselves instead of the employment of Europeans; it was that argument that led me to make that examination as to what would happen it we were governed by foreigners. Of course, I bow to your ruling. If you say it is not germane, of course it is not germane. We sometimes forget here that we have 250 millions of people in India to govern, and I think the only view we can take is how long it will be before these 250 millions are no longer subject to our government. I cannot understand the Liberal party—
§ Mr. SPEAKER
Order, order. The hon. Member is talking at large. He must confine himself to the particular Amendment.
§ Mr. LUPTON
I think in one respect the Amendment made by the House of Lords may produce a good effect in this country, for it may lead to many Debates upon India in this House which, if the. Amendment were rejected, we should be deprived of.
§ Question put: "That the House do agree with the Lords' Amendments"
§ The House divided: Ayes, 245; Noes, 104.439
|Barry, Redmond J. (Tyrone, N.)||Haworth, Arthur A.||Pullar, Sir Robert|
|Beauchamp, E.||Hazel, Dr. A. E. W.||Rainy, A. Rolland|
|Bonn, W. (Tower Hamlets, St. Geo.)||Heaton, John Henniker||Randies, Sir John Scurrah|
|Bennett, E. N.||Hedges, A. Paget||Raphael, Herbert H.|
|Berridge, T. H. D.||Helme, Norval Watson||Rea, Russell (Gloucester)|
|Bethell, Sir J. H. (Essex, Romford)||Henry, Charles S.||Rees, J. D.|
|Bignold, Sir Arthur||Herbert, Col. Sir Ivor (Mon. S.)||Rendall, Athelstan|
|Birrell, Rt. Hon. Augustine||Herbert, T. Arnold (Wycombe)||Renwick, George|
|Brooke, Stopford||Hobart, Sir Robert||Ridsdale, E. A.|
|Brunner, Rt. Hon. Sir J. T. (Cheshire)||Hobhouse, Charles E. H.||Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)|
|Burdett-Coutts, W.||Holland, Sir William Henry||Roberts, S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall)|
|Burns, Rt. Hon. John||Hope, James Fitzalan (Sheffield)||Robertson, Sir G. Scott (Bradford)|
|Butcher, Samuel Henry||Horniman, Emslie John||Robinson, S.|
|Buxton, Rt. Hon. Sydney Charles||Hunt, Rowland||Robson, Sir William Snowdon|
|Cameron, Robert||lllingworth, Percy H.||Roch, Walter F. (Pembroke)|
|Carlile, E. Hildred||Jardine, Sir J.||Rogers, F. E. Newman|
|Causton, Rt. Hon. Richard Knight||Jones, Sir D. Brynmor (Swansea)||Ronaldshay, Earl of|
|Cave, George||Jones, Leif (Appleby)||Runciman, Rt. Hon. Walter|
|Cawley, Sir Frederick||Jones, William (Carnarvonshire)||Russell, Rt. Hon. T. W.|
|Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)||Kearley, Sir Hudson E.||Scarisbrick, T. T. L.|
|Chance, Frederick William||Kennaway, Rt. Hon. Sir John H.||Schwann, Sir C. E. (Manchester)|
|Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry||Kerry, Earl of||Scott, Sir S. (Marylebone, W.)|
|Cheetham, John Frederick||King, Alfred John (Knutsford)||Sears, J, E.|
|Cherry, Rt. Hon. R. R,||King, Sir Henry Seymour (Hull)||Seaverns, J. H.|
|Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston S.||Laldlaw, Robert||Sheffield, Sir Berkeley George D.|
|Cleland, J. W.||Lambton, Hon. Frederick Win.||Sherwell, Arthur James|
|Clive, Percy Archer||Lamont, Norman||Silcock, Thomas Ball|
|Clyde, J. Avon||Lane-Fox, G. R.||Sloan, Thomas Henry|
|Corbett, C. H. (Sussex, E. Grinstead)||Lewis, John Herbert||Smeaton, Donald Mackenzie|
|Cornwall, Sir Edwin A.||Lloyd-George, Rt. Hon David||Smith, Abel H. (Hertford, East)|
|Cox, Harold||Long, Col. Charles W. (Evesham)||Smith, F. E. (Liverpool, Walton)|
|Craig, Charles Curtis (Antrim, S.)||Lonsdale, John Brownlee||Soames, Arthur Wellesley|
|Craig, Captain James (Down E.)||Lowe, Sir Francis William||Soares, Ernest J.|
|Craik, Sir Henry||Luttrell, Hugh Fownes||Spicer, Sir Albert|
|Crosfield, A. H.||Lyell, Charles Henry||Stanger, H. Y.|
|Crossley, William J.||Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk Burghs)||Stanier, Beville|
|Dalrymple, Viscount||Maclean, Donald||Stone, Sir Benjamin|
|Davies, David (Montgomery Co.)||M'Callum, John M.||Strachey, Sir Edward|
|Davies, Ellis William (Eifion)||M'Calmont, Colonel James||Straus, S. S. (Mile End)|
|Davies, M. Vaughan. (Cardigan)||McKenna, Rt. Hon. Reginald||Strauss, E. A. (Abingdon)|
|Davies, Timothy (Fulham)||Mallet, Charles E.||Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)|
|Davies, Sir W. Howell (Bristol, S.)||Markham, Arthur Basil||Tennant, Sir Edward (Salisbury)|
|Dewar, Sir J. A. (Inverness-sh.)||Mason, A. E. W. (Coventry)||Tennant, H. J. (Berwickshire)|
|Dickinson, W. H. (St. Pancras, N.)||Mason, James F. (Windsor)||Thomas, Sir A. (Glamorgan, E.)|
|Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-||Massie, J.||Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton)|
|Duckworth, Sir James||Masterman, C. F. G.||Tillett, Louis John|
|Duncan, J. Hastings (York, Otley)||Menzies, Walter||Tomkinson, James|
|Dunne, Major E. Martin (Walsall)||Meysey-Thompson, E. C.||Trevelyan, Charles Philips|
|Edwards, Enoch (Hanley)||Middlebrook, William||Tuke, Sir John Batty|
|Edwards, Sir Francis (Radnor)||Molteno, Percy Alport||Ure, Rt. Hon. Alexander|
|Erskine, David C.||Montagu, Hon. E. S.||Valentia, Viscount|
|Evans, Sir Samuel T.||Moore, William||Walker, Col. W. H. (Lancashire)|
|Everett, R. Lacey||Morgan, G. Hay (Cornwall)||Walrond, Hon. Lionel|
|Faber, George Denison (York)||Morpeth, Viscount||Walters, John Tudor|
|Faber, Captain W. V. (Hants, W.)||Morrison-Bell, Captain||Walton, Joseph|
|Fell, Arthur||Morse, L. L.||Ward, John (Stoke-upon-Trent)|
|Ferens, T. R.||Morton, Alpheus Cleophas||Warde, Col C. E. (Kent, Mid)|
|Ferguson, R. C. Munro||Murray, Capt. Hon. A. C. (Kincard.)||Warner, Thomas Courtenay T.|
|Fetherstonhaugh, Godfrey||Murray, James (Aberdeen, E.)||Wason, Rt. Hon. E. (Clackmannan)|
|Findlay, Alexander||Myer, Horatio||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)|
|Foster, Rt. Hon. Sir Walter||Nicholson, Charles N. (Doncaster)||Waterlow, D. S.|
|Foster, P. S.||Norman, Sir Henry||White, J. Dundas (Dumbartonshire)|
|Freeman-Thomas, Freeman||Norton Capt. Cecil William||White, Sir Luke (York, E.R.)|
|Gardner, Ernest||Nussey, Thomas Willans||Whitley, John Henry (Halifax)|
|Gladstone, Rt. Hon. Herbert John||Oddy, John James||Whittaker, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas P.|
|Glen-Coats, Sir T. (Renfrew, W.)||Partington, Oswald||Wiles, Thomas|
|Glendinning, R. G.||Pearce, William (Limehouse)||Williams, Col. R. (Dorset, W.)|
|Goddard, Sir Daniel Ford||Pease, Herbert Pike (Darlington)||Wilson, Hon. G. G. (Hull, W.)|
|Gordon, J.||Percy, Earl||Wilson, J. W. (Worcestershire, N.)|
|Gretton, John||Phllipps, Col. Ivor (Southampton)||Wilson, P. W. (St. Pancras, S.)|
|Grey, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward||Philipps, Owen C. (Pembroke)||Young, Samuel|
|Haldane, Rt. Hon. Richard B.||Pickersgill, Edward Hare|
|Harcourt, Rt. Hon. L. (Rossendale)||Powell, Sir Francis Sharp||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Mr.|
|Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose)||Pretyman, E. G-||Joseh Pease and the Master of|
|Harris, Frederick Leverton||Price, C. E. (Edinburgh, Central)||Ellbank.|
|Harrison-Broadley, H. B.||Price, Sir Robert J. (Norfolk, E.)|
|Division No. 119.]||AYES.||[5.7 P.m.|
|Acland-Hood, Rt. Hon. Sir Alex. F.||Ashley, W. W.||Balfour, Rt. Hon. A. J. (City Lond.)|
|Agnew, George William||Asqulth, Rt. Hon. Herbert Henry||Banbury, Sir Frederick George|
|Airsworth, John Stirling||Astbury, John Meir||Baring, Godfrey (Isle of Wight)|
|Allen, Charles P. (Stroud)||Atherley-Jones, L.||Barker, Sir John|
|Anson, Sir William Reynell||Baker, Sir John (Portsmouth)||Barlow, Percy (Bedford)|
|Anstruther-Gray, Major||Balcarres, Lord||Barnard, E. B.|
|Arkwright, John Stanhope||Baldwin, Stanley||Barrle, H. T. (Londonderry, N.)|
|Abraham, W. (Cork, N.E.)||Bryce, J. Annan||Clynes, J. R.|
|Barnes, G. N.||Burke, E. Haviland||Cobbold, Felix Thornley|
|Black, Arthur W.||Burt, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Cooper, G. J.|
|Boland, John||Channing, Sir Francis Allston||Craig, Herbert J. (Tynemouth)|
|Brace, William||Clough, William||Crean, Eugene|
|Crooks, William||Kennedy, Vincent Paul||Power, Patrick Joseph|
|Curran, Peter Francis||Kettle, Thomas Michael||Radford, G. H|
|Delany, William||Lardner, James Carrige Rushe||Redmond, John E. (Waterford)|
|Devlin, Joseph||Law, Hugh A. (Donegal, W.)||Redmond, William (Clare)|
|Dillon, John||Lea, Hugh Cecil (St. Pancras, E.)||Richards, Thomas (W. Monmouth)|
|Donelan, Captain A.||Lehmann, R. C.||Roberts, G. H. (Norwich)|
|Duffy, William J||Lupton, Arnold||Roche, Augustine (Cork)|
|Ellis, Rt. Hon. John Edward||Macdonald, J. R. (Leicester)||Roche, John (Galway, East)|
|Fenwick, Charles||MacNeill, John Gordon Swift||Scott, A. H. (Ashton-under-Lyne)|
|Flavin, Michael Joseph||MacVeagh, Jeremiah (Down, S.)||Sheehan, Daniel Daniel|
|Fullerton, Hugh||MaeVeigh, Charles (Donegal, E)||Sheehy, David|
|Gill, A. H.||M'Arthur, Charles||Smyth, Thomas F. (Leitrim) s.)|
|Ginnell, L.||Meagher, Michael||Stewart, Halley (Greenock)|
|Glover, Thomas||Mooney, J. J,||Summerbell, T.|
|Grant, Corrie||Muldoon, John||Sutherland, J. E.|
|Greenwood, G. (Peterborough)||Murphy, John (Kerry, East)||Taylor, John W. (Durham)|
|Gulland, John W.||Murphy, N. J. (Kilkenny, S.)||Toulmin, George|
|Halpin, J.||Nicholls, George||Walsh, Stephen|
|Hart-Davies, T.||Nolan, Joseph||Wardle, George J.|
|Harvey, W. E. (Derbyshire, N.E.)||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)||Watt, Henry A.|
|Hayden, John Patrick||O'Connor, James (Wicklow, W.)||White, Patrick (Meath, North)|
|Healy, Maurice (Cork)||O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.)||Williams, J. (Glamorgan)|
|Henderson, Arthur (Durham)||O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)||Williams, W. Llewelyn (Carmarthen)|
|Higham, John Sharp||O'Doherty, Philip||Wilson, John (Durham, Mid)|
|Hogan, Michael||O'Donnell, T. (Kerry, W.)||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Holt, Richard Durning||O'Dowd, John||Winfrey, R.|
|Hope, John Deans (Fife, West)||O'Kelly, Conor (Mayo, N.)|
|Hudson, Walter||O'Shaughnessy, P. J.|
|Johnson, John (Gateshead)||Parker, James (Halifax)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Dr.|
|Jowett, F. W.||Pointer, J.||Rutherford and Mr. O'Grady.|
|Joyce, Michael||Ponsonby, Arthur A. W. H.|