§ Mr. WEDGWOOD
I beg to move, as an Amendment, to leave out from the word "That" to the end of the Question, in order to add the words, "this House, whilst disavowing any sympathy with political crime or methods of agitation calculated to conduce to such crime, deplores the 2033 enactment and administration of recent restrictive legislation in India, especially the Press and Seditious Meetings Acts."
I protest against what I think is an infringement of the rights of private Members that a private Member should not be called upon until five minutes to nine o'clock in the evening to move an Amendment of which he has given notice and for which he has obtained a place in the ballot.
§ Mr. DEPUTY-SPEAKER
The hon. Member is quite out of order in making such reflections upon Mr. Speaker.
§ Mr. WEDGWOOD
I was not making any reflection upon Mr. Speaker, but I was calling attention to the forms of the House which allow an hon. Member to try for and get a place under the ballot on the understanding that he is going to get a Debate on the subject, and then finds the time given to him is much too short to enable such a discussion to take place. I think that is a hardship that we ought to protest against. I think we ought also to protest against our Debates being interrupted by the introduction of Black Rod, when promises have been made over and over again that the Debates in this House shall not be subject to such interruption. I have also to make this observation. Here am I about the fifth speaker in this Debate—a Debate of long speeches—and I am surrounded by many Members who are more familiar with India than I am, and not one of those Members have been called upon, and I as a stranger to India am extremely sorry to take their place, and I feel like a person who is intruding in a discussion on Indian questions. The Amendment which I have moved deplores the enactment and administration of restrictive legislation in India, while disavowing any sympathy with political crime, or matters of agitation. The Member who preceded me, however, said that I belonged to a small handful of men who were encouraging sedition in India. I think it is time it should be made clear that, however much in the past it might have been possible for our enemies to suggest that our speeches here encouraged sedition in India, and made it more difficult to carry on the government of India, we may, at any rate, to-day render one tribute of gratitude to the Indian Press Act, that it cannot be said of us in regard to this Debate that what we say is likely to do harm in India for the very simple reason that if it were likely to do harm in India it would not be reported there.
2034 9.0 P.M.
The Press Act puts us in a perfectly free position, and we dare once again to speak out our minds. The Acts to which my Amendment refers have been passed by Englishmen in India, and this is a matter which does not affect India alone, but which affects our English good name, and it is principally as an English matter that I intend to deal with it to-day. We must face the position squarely. Murder—political murder has been done in India and here also—our women as well as our men have been brutally done to death. No one has more cause to deplore these murders than the friends of India. These murders of English people are the ostensible cause of these Acts, and yet we, as Englishmen, demand the repeal of them. We might demand their repeal on two counts; we might say, first of all, that it was impossible that Acts such as these could really tend to increase loyalty, check sedition, and stop murder, or we might say, secondly, that even if we concede that measures such as these do really effect their end that even then we could still maintain, and we should still maintain, that their existence in India is treason against our good name. I do not propose to argue the first of these contentions. After all, whether these laws are useful or not in checking sedition is a matter of opinion only. On the one side you have the men on the spot, on the other you have, thank God, the teaching of history. They know their Indians presumably, and I know history. It is therefore only a matter of opinion, but I would enter a caveat against paying too much attention to the dicta of the official in India. The bureaucrat has a natural and comprehensible tendency through his love of domination and often benevolent control—he has a natural tendency to use the keenest and the best weapon, and we have in India in the present day, perhaps, the most elaborate example of Socialist bureaucracy that the world has ever seen, but I do not propose to base any argument on the inutility of these methods. Even supposing that these five repressive measures will reduce sedition, will make India easier to govern, and will stop murder, even granting that large hypothesis I beg Members of this House to follow the traditions of their country and not to-night to set their seal upon this legislation.
It seems to me that through all history you see two distinct political principles contending with one another. You can see them in the history of Rome and of 2035 Greece just as clearly as you can in the history of India and of the England of to-day. The Latins summed up these two distinct principles in short terse sentences which will stand at the present time. One is, Salus populi suprema lex—the welfare of the people is the supreme law. How often have we heard that maxim used to justify coercion? It is a vague indeterminate maxim, but all the idea at the bottom of it is diametrically opposed to the other simple maxim, Fiat justitia ruat cœlum—Do justice first, put that before everything else and neglect utility. It seems to me you could not have two more apt mottoes, one for a bureaucracy and the other for democracy searching after truth, freedom and justice. Whether you regard their administration or their legislation the Indian bureaucracy seems to me to believe solely in the first maxim, that the welfare of the people is the supreme law, and to hate with a bitter and comprehensive hatred the natural antithesis of that law, that justice and not expediency must come first.
But what of England; it seems to me to be time that they should be told that we in England deny their premise that the welfare of the people should come first. We deny it and we have always denied it. All through our political development there has persistently run one idea; the glory of our racial character and history, an ideal which has inspired our foremost men in all ages, an ideal for which men have suffered and died, by the side of which your welfare of the people sinks into contemptible insignificance, and it is the overwhelming love of justice and of freedom. The genius of Rome ran to law, order and control. It is for the Germans to be governed efficiently, but we are sunk indeed if we must drop all that has made England great among the nations of the world in order to adopt the political ideals which are summed up in that negation of the rights of the individual—Salus populi suprema lex. It is because we protest against that becoming part of our English history and our English life that I ask Members of the House to think twice before they vote for these five repressive measures. It is really curious that we should have to-day backing this good old English principle of liberty, justice, and individual freedom, the so-called Socialist Members (Mr. Ramsay Macdonald and Mr. Keir Hardie), while the man behind whom the bureau- 2036 crats take shelter is he who was once John Morley. Serious as the police question is in India, and deeply as I regret what I can only regard as the largely unjustifiable attack made by my hon. Friend upon Mr. Mackarness's character, I do not think you can radically improve the police system of India so long as your legislation is of the character of these five Acts. It is autocratic government that creates a bad police, and not a bad police that creates an autocratic government. If you have these five Acts, I do not care whether you pay your police twice as much, or whether you can manage to draw them from any other stratum of Indian society, whatever you do, so long as you rely upon Acts such as this Seditious Meetings Act, the Criminal Law Amendment Act, or the Press Act, the police will be worthy of the Government, no more and no less. What are these five Acts? First and foremost comes the Act which is not really new, but which has been put into force afresh within the last three or four years. It is the Deportations Act of 1818. I do not believe the people of this country can know that this Act has been put into force. Under it any man can be taken from his home and sent to prison, and kept in prison, without any limit of period, without even being told what is the crime which is charged against him. It is the principle of the Bastille. It is the principle of the lettre de cachet under Louis XIV. It is about time that the people of our race and nation should make an emphatic protest against its further use in India. Of course it supports law and order in a way. It can be defended as making for law and order in India—such laws as those against which we protest to-day and order such as reigned in Warsaw. But I do not think, if Mr. Gladstone had been alive, even this Liberal Ministry would reintroduce an Act which flies in the face of every Liberal principle of the last 200 years.
I pass from that Act to the first of the really new Acts—the Seditious Meetings Act of 1907. It was introduced in November, 1907. Under it all meetings of more than twenty persons are prohibited if they are likely to cause public excitement or even if they are for the discussion of any political subject, and that, although the meetings be held in a private house and by invitation only, the participants in such prohibited meeting can be sent to prison for six months and fined as well. There is an addendum to the Act that "any speaker who delivers any lecture on 2037 any political subject may be arrested without a warrant and sent to prison for six months." That is a nice Liberal provision in an Act of Parliament. It reminds one of Palermo in 1860. The third of the five Acts is called the Newspaper (Incitment to Offences) Act. It was passed six months later, in June, 1908. This was really a mild Act. It was too mild, as the results showed. The magistrates under this Newspapers Act were given power to forfeit the Press and newspaper on account of any article inciting to any act of violence. At first one would think that was a perfectly justifiable means of combating violence, but under the existing law, as it was before 1908, any publisher or editor of a newspaper could be imprisoned or fined for publishing anything inciting to violence, and numbers of them were already imprisoned for these offences. The Government could not claim that they were unable to get convictions. Convictions were obtained in plenty, yet they introduced this Act because it threw upon the accused the onus of proving himself innocent instead of leaving it in the style which existed in India for over fifty years, leaving the onus on the prosecution of proving a man guilty. I do not say that all English laws can be transported to India. Trial by jury fails, and a great many others fail, but surely we can transport to India, or leave in India when once we put it there, the principle that the accused is innocent until he is proved guilty, instead of putting him in the untenable position of having to prove himself innocent against all the dead weight of the official position. What was the next measure? I would ask the House to notice the extraordinary rapidity with which these laws, each a little bit worse than the last, are introduced in India. The next was the Criminal Law Amendment Act of 1908. Under this Act the trial of the accused is held in camera. Neither the accused nor his pleader is present. No examination of witnesses occurs. The only thing is that the prisoner is allowed to make a statement. But this Act is not so bad as it appears. There is, after all, a second and open trial before the High Court, so that, although I think it is bad that there should be introduced the French system of secret trial for the first time in Indian politics, I do not blame that part so much as the second part of the Act. Under the second part the Governor can declare any association unlawful if he is of opinion that it "interferes with the administration of the 2038 law, or with the maintenance of law and order." The Governor has discretion as to whether any association of any sort, so long as it might interfere with the maintenance of law and order, should be declared unlawful. Every member of that society is liable to imprisonment for six months, and can be fined in addition. Not only is every member liable, but every one who has subscribed even a rupee is liable, and everyone who has attended a meeting of the society is liable to six months' imprisonment, while the promoters can be sent to prison for three years. To help the House to realise what this Act is, I want to compare it with the Anti-Jacobin legislation of 1794–5. There was then in England exactly the same fury against the intellectual and middle classes, and exactly the same efforts were made to muzzle opinion and to destroy agitation against and criticism of the Government. The Seditious Practices Act introduced in 1794 dealt a blow at the agitating in the Press. Public meetings were prohibited by the Public Meetings Act in the same or the following year, and under the head of "constructive treason" the Government tried in the Law Courts to make membership of the Law Association punishable by death. Lord Campbell says:—But worse proceedings were going on than loading the Statute Book with such enactments, which might have remained brutum fulmen till swept away in better times. Spies and informers employed by the Government not only pretended to give information respecting political associations, but invaded the sacred privacy of domestic life. In consequence, 'State trials' took place both in Scotland and in England upon which we now look back with shame.I do not think that what caused Lord Campbell to look back to 1795 with shame can do anything but cause shame to us in the twentieth century, even although it be with respect to India. What I have heard of the police in India does not give me any confidence. Spies and informers followed similar legislation in England. Will they not find a counterpart in India under the Criminal Law Amendment Act of 1908 which makes associations illegal? That Act is exactly paralleled by the legal dodge of constructive treason of which Lord Campbell says:—If this scheme had succeeded, not only would there have been a sacrifice of life contrary to law, but all political 'agitation' must have been extinguished in England, as there would have been a precedent for holding that the effort to carry a measure by influencing public opinion through the means openly resorted to in our days, is a 'compassing of the death of the Sovereign.'In those days Erskine's impassioned eloquence saved the constructive traitors, 2039 and even the Tory Government ceased to try to strain the law in order to prohibit associations. Here there is no question of straining the law. They have made a law to suit the case. I will read a quotation from Erskine:—If the Government resolve to rob the people of their rights, the people will be justified in resisting such glaring oppression. I say, again and again, that it is the right of the people to resist a Government which exercises tyranny. It is certainly bold to say that the people have a right to resist, and that they ought to rise, but there are some occasions which render the boldest language warrantable. I maintain that the people of England should defend their rights, if necessary, by the last extremity to which freemen can resort For my own part, I shall never cease to struggle in support of liberty. In no situation will I desert the cause. I was born a freeman, and, by God, I will never die a slave.[Laughter.] I do not think the House need laugh at that quotation. It was made by a Lord Chancellor of England when England was in exactly the same circumstances as India is to-day—when England was being governed by a class not drawn from the intellectual class—when the Government in this House was a matter of pocket boroughs directed against the class of people who afterwards carried the 1832 reform. Now I come to the latest and worst of these five Acts, namely, the Indian Press Act of 1910. Under this Act the owner of any Press can be ordered to make a deposit up to 5,000 rupees, and then if there ever comes from that Press a newspaper, pamphlet, or book which, in the opinion of the Government, "May have a tendency, directly or indirectly, by inference, suggestion, allusion, metaphor, implication, or otherwise to bring the Government into hatred or contempt"—or which, "may have a tendency…to excite disaffection or any feeling of enmity towards the Government or towards any native chief." If that happens, and I do not suppose that there is any Opposition newspaper in this country which would not supply the case, then the deposit and the book are forfeited. For the second offence a deposit twice as large is forfeited and the Press itself is confiscated also.
I should think that under this Act the first thing to be confiscated would be the Act itself, because I cannot believe that anything would be more likely to bring the Government into hatred and contempt. Further, "Any postmaster or Customs House officer may detain and send to the Government any package which he suspects to contain any newspapers or any books which contain any passage coming under the above category." That is to 2040 say, any book which contains a passage which might possibly be twisted into tending to bring the Government into contempt can be confiscated by a postmaster or a Customs House officer. As if that were not enough, should the Government have a difficulty in showing the "tendency" of any newspaper which they desire to suppress, they may refer to any copy of such newspaper published since the passing of the Act in February, 1910, so that the editor or proprietor of a newspaper will never be certain that they are clear, and that some back number will not be raked up against them to confiscate their paper later on. I should say that the editor and proprietor have a right of appeal from the arbitrary action of the magistrate in confiscating their paper to the High Court if they like to face such odds as are put against them in the wording of the Act. I do not believe that any newspaper, however justified they might feel, would dare go to the High Court to try to prove that there had never been in their columns since February, 1910, something which might have a tendency, indirect or direct, to excite disaffection. There was circulated with the Votes the other day a verbatim report of the debate at the Indian Council on this Bill. I do not know quite what the intention of the Government was in circulating that debate. It was a new step, but I imagine that the India Office only desired to show Members of the House the strength of the bureaucracy which they have to control in India and against which they have to contend. I am bound to say that, so far as I am concerned, they have achieved their object, if that was their object. I read through the debate from beginning to end, and it left me with a feeling of positive physical nausea. There were some half-dozen English members who took part in that debate. I think they must be some new brand of Anglo-Indian official to which we are not accustomed in this country. For the first time I really appreciated how typical was the hon. Member for Montgomery Boroughs (Sir J. D. Rees), and how fully deserved was the honour which he has obtained.
The English members who spoke in that debate drew all their illustrations and drew their inspirations from Germany and Austria. They might have been the Raiser's officials instead of English citizens. There was not one word of even lip service to the old traditions of England. There was not one word of regret for what every one of us here consider to 2041 be at least the regrettable necessity of these Acts. Sir Harold Stuart spent his time in trying to show that there was nothing extraordinary in this system of asking for deposits from newspapers because the same system was applied to members of the Stock Exchange in England. He said: "We have also, my Lord, a number of precedents. Every member of the Stock Exchange and of Lloyds is required to deposit security. Every member of the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge, and probably of other universities, is required to deposit securities." I wonder what a member of the Stock Exchange in this country would say if he were asked by the Government to make a deposit which could be confiscated whenever he consigned the Chancellor of the Exchequer to perdition. This is a type of the argument used by this school of British officials, and Sir Harold Stuart's conclusion from these arguments is as soothing as it is convincing. He says: "My Lord, this is not a drastic or arbitrary measure." I do not know what is drastic if this Act is not drastic. If it is not drastic to give a magistrate power to confiscate another man's property if he thinks there is anything in it, even one single word, which might have a tendency directly or indirectly to excite disaffection towards the Government, then I do not know whether there is anything which you could call arbitrary or drastic. In giving a postmaster or a Customs house officer the right to stop any package which he suspects contains any book that might contain any such passage, it seems to me you have reached in this Act the very acme of all that is arbitrary and all that is drastic; yet we are told by this official, "My Lord, this is not a drastic or arbitrary measure."
As for the Indian princes, they are, of course plus royaliste que le roi, welcoming effusively this measure, an Act to coerce their fellow-countrymen, and largely because it is to protect themselves from the criticism of the Press as well as to protect the Government. Under the old law a native Rajah was not protected from the free Press in neighbouring British territory. They could criticise him. Now they criticise him no longer. I think, however, the Maharajah of Burdwan went a little too far for English ears when he alluded, no doubt with all the lordly contempt of an Indian Rajah for the ryot, to my hon. Friend the Member for Merthyr Tydfil (Mr. Keir Hardie) as a "coolie." I think he has yet to learn that 2042 no Englishman is so base that you can curry favour with him by insulting one of his own race. We do that among ourselves in the family, but we do not permit the impertinence to outsiders. But it was the speeches of the common Indians which really caused me pain in this report. Why was there no Englishman to make the speeches which they made? I have always had the idea from Rudyard Kipling and the comic Press that the Bengali Babu was a man who lacked courage and who wrote ludicrous English. Sir, I revise my estimate for all time. The speech of Bhupendra Nath Basu, a Bengali Babu, is worthy to take its place among the classics of the age-long struggle for liberty. I do not intend this evening to read extracts from that speech, but I can only beg any hon. Member who feels that the Bengali Babu is not fit for freedom, is not fit for social intercourse with white men, to read that speech and see the magnificent English and sound, convincing argument, and I think at the end of it he will regret that that speech was not made by an Englishman in the Indian Council. Long after the Rajahs and Maharajahs are dead and forgotten the names of men like that Babu will be held in honoured remembrance not only in India but in England, in whose voice they spoke. In England the case of this Press Act was decided long ago, and the arguments are as sound to-day as they were a hundred years ago, and as universal as mankind. It was decided in the days of John Scott, Lord Eldon and Thomas Erskine, and I beg hon. Members not to go back on the teaching of their ancestors at the bidding of the new bureaucracy. I have not time to quote Thomas Erskine on freedom of the Press, or the words of Campbell, but I would ask hon. Members to listen for one moment to the words of one whom I honour more than any other living politician, Lord Morley. What I am going to read to the House was delivered just eighteen months ago in the House of Lords by Lord Morley, in connection with the Indian Reform Bill. He spoke as follows:—Supposing you abolish freedom of the Press, or suspend it, that will not end the business. You will have to shut up schools and colleges, for what would be the use of suppressing newspapers if you did not shut up the schools and colleges? Nor will that be all. You will have to stop the printing of unlicensed books. The possession of a copy of Milton or Burke, or Macaulay, or of Bright's speeches, and all the flashing array of writers and orators, who are the glory of our grand and noble English tongue—the possession of one of these books will, on this peculiar and unfair notion of government, be like the possession of a bomb, and we shall have to direct the passing of an Explosive Books Act. All this and the various sequels and complements 2043 make a policy if you please, but after such a policy had produced a mute, sullen, muzzled, lifeless India, we could hardly call it, as we do now, the brightest jewel in the English Crown. No English Parliament would permit such a thing.Is this House prepared to establish the "mute, sullen, lifeless" India, of which Lord Morley spoke eighteen months ago? One can dimly see the struggle which yoked words like those with deeds like this Press Act within twelve months. Was Io's gadfly ever so driving and tormenting as this new Indian bureaucracy? I feel more sorry for Lord Morley at present than I do for India. I think it is a tragedy that the man who has led the progressive forces of this country, who has spoken words like those, which will appeal to ages yet to come, should, within twelve months, be driven to pass into law an Act of which he knows the consequences.
Does anyone suppose that if a Conservative Government had been in power when these Acts were passed that it would have been left to a private Member like myself, a comparatively new Member, and to the Member for Merthyr Tydfil, to voice the principles of Liberalism? Can you not imagine that there would have been speeches from fifty platforms in this country by the Under-Secretary for the Colonies and the Home Secretary? It is ill-luck for India that we have got these Acts passed and put into force by a Liberal Government. The position is almost hopeless when the two Front Benches are leagued together. We have got nothing except the previous utterances of our own leaders to back our arguments. But I think that when generations to come they look back upon this Debate, they will see that though Liberal truth and justice were in feeble hands, yet there were some in the English Parliament ready to carry out the old traditions which has made our nation great, and to stand out against this increasing wave of bureaucracy which is swallowing up India, and which may come to England, too. There is one other point with which I wish to deal. The Under-Secretary of State said that these Acts, drastic as they are, ferocious as are the penalties by which they are to be enforced, will only be used sparingly, that the Government will see that no severity is used, and that the weapon is held in reserve, and used only now and then as a reminder. I think that is only an aggravation of the offence. What an opening for favouritism and spite. To make penal laws and then apply them 2044 capriciously at the nod of the Executive is the most odious form of tyranny. It is only three years since we started to use these weapons, and they follow each other in dread succession one after another, each more fatal than its predecessor to those who seek truth and would follow her, to those who recognise justice and would stand for her. Continue your work by closing schools and colleges. Will that suffice? Have Milton's "Areopagitica" burnt by the common hangman. Search the post for stray copies of the "Isles of Greece," or Mill on "Liberty." You will find them more dangerous to this system you seek to set up than a pamphlet by Mr. Mackarness on one detail of the results of such a system. You can go down and down to deeper and deeper depths, but you cannot get low enough for an autocratic Government, which grows on what it feeds upon. The Secretary of State for India is going to set up a new Education Department. I hope one of the results of that will not be that English history is excluded from the schools. We do not want to teach ignorance to the Indians, we do not want to put the clock back.
What is the alternative? I know well enough the difficulties of an opposite course, especially now that you have accustomed your officials to rely on laws like these. I myself have administered British rule among a hostile people. I have been a bureaucrat, and I know of the temptations, the natural temptations, of the bureaucrat, really governing, as he believes, for the good of the people as a whole, to do away with criticism of the Press—ill-advised, ill-conceived criticism, inspired by the most inconvenient and unscientific ideas of liberty and freedom. I have seen Acts similar to these put in force, and rouse nothing but indignation and race hatred, and I have seen the same nation become one of the most loyal parts of the British Empire, proud of its share in the British Empire, simply because we have set it free. Which is now the brightest jewel in the British Crown? Is it India or is it South Africa?
I know perfectly well that we cannot change India into South Africa at once, but the question I would like to put to every man who has the interest of India at heart and a share in the government of India is this: Do we actually want India some time to be free and self-governing or do we not? I know that nine out of ten men will put by and shelve the question, and will say that the Indian race are not fitted for self-government. But that is not the question. 2045 What we ought to make quite clear is whether we want India ultimately to be self-governing or not. If we do not, then let us drop cant and say so, if we want to maintain the present bureaucratic position. If, on the other hand, we do want it ultimately to be a self-governing Union or Federation like South Africa, whether it be in twenty or fifty or a hundred years, then let us be open and above board, and tell the people of India that we do aim at that solution. Let us lay our plan for that solution, and, having laid our plans for some ultimate solution on those lines, let us stick to those plans without any vacillation whatever. I am quite certain that the best means to stop sedition in India is to tell the people there, if you ever do intend to set them free, the road you mean to travel so that they can see the milestones in front of them, and know exactly how they are progressing towards their ideal. Then I think you would have no need of these five repressive Acts which are steps in the wrong direction, and not only that, but inconsistent with all the doctrines which have made England great. We shall be told, perhaps, that it was necessary to pass these Acts in order to protect the lives of our fellow countrymen. Let us put human life at its true value. After all, there are worse things than death. Sometimes there are few things more glorious than death. The fathers and grandfathers of our Anglo-Indian countrymen went through the days of the Mutiny. They fought behind Nicholson and behind Havelock in the narrow winding streets, they were butchered in Cawnpore and Delhi, but they died for the honour of England. The honour of England is not made up by battles alone. It has been built up brick by brick throughout the ages, laid in sweat and blood by the people who have suffered and died for England. The race who faced death at the Kashmir gate, who faced it daily behind the mud walls of the Lucknow Residency, will face as coolly the bomb and the dagger of the assassin, and as willingly for the honour of England, that her good name may no longer be dragged in the mud and the dishonour of these five Acts.
§ Mr. KEIR HARDIE
I rise to second the Amendment, and, before doing so, desire to deal with a matter partly personal, but concerning India. When the question of India was last being discussed, I stated that women had the municipal franchise, and were eligible to vote for the election of municipal councillors, from which a portion 2046 of the provincial councillors were subsequently chosen, and that through those municipal councils women had power to take part in the provincial councils. The Noble Lord the Member for Hornsey (Earl Ronaldshay) put a question on the same point, and the Under-Secretary stated in reply that no woman was eligible to vote. I hold in my hand the municipal election roll for the City of Bombay in force from 10th December, 1909, to 9th December, 1910. The city is divided into wards, and the names of the voters are given in this register. I find the names of 1,813 women voters—30 Europeans, 20 Eurasians and Portuguese, 166 Armenians and Japanese, 453 Parsees, 527 Hindus, and 250 Mahomedans. I hope the Noble Lord and the Under-Secretary will accept the evidence of the municipal voters' list as being conclusive on this point, and I express the hope also that the India Office is kept better informed on other matters concerning India than it appears to have been in regard to this matter of the franchise. As to the Amendment I will not deal with the details of the Acts, as the Mover has done so. The reason for these new powers contained in these Acts was not because powers were lacking under the old legislation. The Penal Code of India and the 1818 Ordinance gave full and complete powers for dealing with every form of sedition, whether by the spoken word or the written word, or even by innuendo. With the exception of deportations, of which we have had a sample, without trial and without charge made, all the cases under the Indian Penal Code had to be tried before a court, and the case had to be proved. Under the new legislation not only does the case not require to be tried, in the case of newspapers, but it does not require to come before the court at all, and the magistrate has power to suppress or to confiscate the property. There is, I admit, an appeal to a superior court, but in the first instance the power can be exercised by the officials. It will be admitted that these are tremendous powers with which to vest the authorities of any country, and when it is remembered that in the last resort the authorities depend for their information upon the police it becomes doubly important that the police force of India should be above suspicion.
The Under-Secretary in his statement to-day—the manner of which, let me say, I admired greatly, although with much of the matter I found myself in disagreement, but upon the manner of the speech I take 2047 this opportunity respectfully to compliment the hon. Member—informed us that as an outcome of the Police Commission an additional million was now being spent on the police of India. Can he inform us what proportion of that million is being spent upon buildings, what proportion upon an increase in the numerical strength of the force, and what proportion actually upon increasing the wages of the lower paid men so as to encourage a better type of men to enter the force? The evidence we have is not very encouraging on this point. Five years ago the Commission recommended, as a matter of urgency, that in Bengal certain powers of prosecution should be taken from the police and vested in Revenue officers. This afternoon we were informed, in reply to a question of mine, that the matter is still under consideration. Five years after the Report has been issued this question of urgency and importance is still under consideration! The illiterate character of the police force will not be denied. In Bengal more than half of the force are unable to read or write, though in some of the upper reaches of India the proportion of literates is much higher. The municipal council of Lahore, with a view to spreading education amongst the common people, from whom the police force is mainly recruited, sought to give free education in their municipal schools, but the Provincial Government has interfered and prohibited the carrying out of the proposal. In some of the native States education is both compulsory and free, but in a municipality, of an enlightened kind, such as Lahore is, where the municipality was anxious and willing to have education free, so as to make it as widespread as possible, the Government of the Province steps in and prohibits this beneficial reform from being carried out. That does not encourage us to believe that the Government of India is doing all that might be done either to improve the condition of the people educationally or to improve the status of the police force.
As showing how these powers are exercised, I will give two illustrations. In one of the upper reaches of the Punjaub there is a district known as Rohtak, where no political agitation has ever been known, and where in all probability political agitation would not have reached for many years. A preacher of a certain sect was about to visit this place to propagate the tenets of his own belief, whereupon the 2048 whole district was proclaimed under the Seditious Meetings Act, and no meeting of any kind is now allowed to be held in that district without permission of the resident magistrate. Surely it was not in that spirit that the Act was intended to be administered when it was passed. Administration of that kind disposes most effectively of the statement of the Under-Secretary that these laws were to be administered with discretion, and were intended to differentiate between good and bad propagandists of reform. The other illustration is the prohibition of the conferences in the three Bengal Districts to which I have already called attention by a question. These conferences, which have been held yearly for a quarter of a century, are composed of responsible men, and up to the present have been held without let or hindrance. This last year, for some reason as yet undisclosed, the official resident in three of the districts took it upon himself to prohibit the holding of the conferences, the reason given, when the question was put, being that there was a fear of sedition being preached. But the responsible leaders of the conference movement gave their word of honour that no outrage or extreme doctrines would be tolerated or permitted. In spite of that the conferences were prohibited, the inference being that the word of these men could not be believed. But see what happens. On the occasion of the death of His late Majesty these same men, who were not allowed to hold conferences to discuss political reforms, held great demonstrations, at which thousands were present, to express their grief and sorrow at the loss of the Monarch. If they were not fit to be trusted to hold open conferences of responsible men lest they should preach sedition, if they were so inherently deceitful that they could not be trusted, why is it that they were allowed to hold these great demonstrations, when the opportunity for preaching sedition was much greater than it could have been in the conferences?
The real truth is that there is no such thing as sedition in these districts, but for one reason or another the person in authority there desired to show his power, and the legislation we are now discussing unfortunately places that power in his hands. The Under-Secretary to-day read what was intended to be a blood-curdling circular as showing the kind of literature and the kind of teaching which the new Press Act was intended to suppress. I should like to ask whether that one sheet 2049 was a printed page at all, or whether it was not circulated either in manuscript or in some duplicate form. The language of the circular was of the wildest possible kind, which every member of the Indian community as well as every Member of this House would repudiate. That circular was read with a view to justify the passing of the new Press Act. The Under-Secretary must be aware that the new Press Act would never reach a circular of that kind. Circulars which do not require to be printed, and which can be written and passed from hand to hand, can never be reached by any kind of legislation. Under the old law there was power sufficient to deal with the writers of circulars of that kind. And the gravaman of the charge against the new law is that it deals with responsible editors and responsible newspapers, and leaves these irresponsible firebrands practically untouched as they have been in the past. One point more about the speech of the Under-Secretary. He told us, with reference to the new law, of the mild, gentle, and discriminating way in which it was going to be administered. He added, "That the Act enumerates very definitely what language constitutes an offence." My hon. Friend the Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme has read the clause of the Act, and a more vague, a more indefinite thing the English lexicon does not contain than that which is put within the four corners of that clause. Suppose you take the Under-Secretary as an authority upon the matter. I want to ask him whether this law is to apply to the Anglo-Indian Press as well as to the native Press? If the object of the Act be to prevent sedition and to prevent the Government being brought into contempt, what does he think of this language in the "Madras Times," which is a white man's paper, Anglo-Indian, and very loyal. On 10th and 11th February of this year there were articles dealing with Lord Minto, that is the Viceroy, and his policy in India. Here are one or two extracts from those articles. The article of 10th February says:—Lord Minto has now laid the coping stone on his policy of shilly-shally, and with the supreme and crowning efforts of passing an Act to control the Press, and at the same time setting at large men who were said to be the cause of all the existing sedition, we may hope that he may pass away into well-merited retirement.If language of that kind is not calculated to bring the King's Government in India into contempt, I want to know what is? If it is not strong enough, take this, from an article on the following day, which has 2050 reference, not to the Viceroy, who is implicated, but to Sir Herbert Risley, who is no longer in India, and may be within sound of my voice. The article says:—Rightly or wrongly, Sir Herbert Risley has been credited with being the strong man in the Government of India, who makes Lord Minto perform—A monkey up a stick! Sir Herbert Risley making his lordship perform!It it is true, Lord Minto has still to bear the reproach of weakness and incompetence, but for the wrong-headed policy which has played with the forces of sedition during his term of office he is, perhaps, not altogether responsible.There, again, we have language which, had it appeared in a native paper, would have been held to justify the immediate suppression of that paper under the terms of the new Act. My last quotation from the same paper is two days after the one I have just given. Referring to the Press Act, it says:—Lord Minto poses the cruel tyrant under the compulsion of advice, in the other as the forgiver of faults, acting of his own bountiful free will. It is a pretty picture, but it does not add to our respect for an English statesman. The Viceroy's policy is 'knockkneed,' and it is only when he is 'bent upon doing a foolish act' that he relies upon his own judgment.These are the terms in which a loyal Anglo-Indian paper refers to the head of the Government in India. So long as these things are allowed to pass unchallenged, and the slightest whisper of criticism from a native paper is at once brought to book, it is no good the Under-Secretary coming here and telling us that this Act is going to be impartially administered. This Act is intended to suppress all criticism of the Government and its officials when that Government, with a strong hand, attempts to carry out an impossible policy—that of suppressing the growing movement for reform within the King's Dominions in India. I come now to what to me—and this is my last point—was the most damaging portion of the Under-Secretary's speech. I refer to the carefully prepared peroration, in which he denounced a man formerly a Member of this House, one who holds strong views in regard to the subject under discussion. The wording of the speech was bad enough, the cheers it received from these benches seemed to me to be an act of disloyalty to an old colleague. The hon. Baronet the Member for Montgomery Boroughs (Sir J. D. Rees) says that Mr. Mackarness was no colleague of his. That is the reason why we honour Mr. Mackarness. One Member of the type of the hon. Member for Montgomeryshire is as much as any Assembly can stand. The 2051 Under-Secretary said that the pamphlet of Mr. Mackarness which has been declared forfeit by the Indian Government and prohibited from entering into India, was made up of garbled extracts. The point which impressed me at the time, and must have impresed others, was that, in spite of all the sound and fury with which the denunciation of this pamphlet was launched forth, not one single quotation was given to back up the statement made. Surely hon. Gentlemen on all sides of the House have a right to ask when a reputable and honourable man, practising in the Law Courts of the country, is going to have anything of this kind said about him on the floor of the House of Commons, some attempt should be made to substantiate it. The meaning of the charge is that Mr. Mackarness is a dishonest man, who gives garbled and unfair extracts from a Royal Commission, and that he has tried to shield those who are guilty of sedition. Those who know Mr. Mackarness are aware that he is one of the old type of Liberals who put love of liberty above love of party, and the House of Commons is the poorer for his absence. But in this, as in every other respect, the Under-Secretary is, perhaps, not altogether to blame. The duties and responsibilities of his office must be great, and he must necessarily depend upon information conveyed to him by others whose opinions and whose judgment he has a right to trust. The statement the Under-Secretary made to-day about the quotations given in Mr. Mackarness's pamphlet not being expressive of the opinion of the Commission but merely of the evidence submitted to the Commission, was not the hon. Gentleman's own. I have no doubt he has read the Commission and the Resolution of the Government of India upon the Commission, and if so he must be aware that in paragraph 8 of the Resolution of the Government of India, Sir Herbert Risley, who was then Chief Secretary for the Home Department in India, put forward that very point of view, and in all probability the mistake made by the Under-Secretary is due to the same source.
I ask the House to look at this pamphlet and its contents, and if I appear to be trespassing on the limited time of the House I do so solely and exclusively because the honour of an honourable man is at stake. This pamphlet has for its preface certain extracts from the opinions, not the evidence but the opinions given 2052 to the Police Commissioner. Will the Under-Secretary tell the House which of these extracts is garbled or misleading? What part of the context has been left out that justifies a charge of this kind being brought? I intended to read some of these extracts, but as every Member of the House has had a copy of the pamphlet sent to him, hon. Members will be able to do that for themselves. So much for the preface. I now come to the pamphlet. The first paragraph in it is headed "Sir Andrew Fraser's Report against the Police," deals with the Report of the Police Commission of which Sir Andrew Fraser was Chairman. The second paragraph on page 8, headed "Report of Commissioner Halliday," deals with the state of the police in Bengal.
§ Mr. MONTAGU
May I ask my hon. Friend whether he has compared the quotation which purports to come from the Curzon Commission Report, page 7 of the pamphlet, with the Curzon Commission report, and whether he noticed that the final sentence of the alleged quotation is taken out of its place and put last; whether he noticed that a full-stop is substituted for a semicolon and the wordsBut they are now rareare left out?
§ Mr. KEIR HARDIE
The substitution of a full-stop for a semicolon is probably a printer's error. I do not say it is, but it probably is. The parts that are left out are marked by asterisks.
§ Mr. MONTAGU
Oh, no. If the hon. Member will note at the last line but one there occurs the word "occasionally." In the Report the word "occasionally" is followed by a semicolon, and the words "but they are now rare" are left out, and a sentence is taken from an earlier part of the same paragraph and put last. That cannot be a printer's error.
§ Mr. KEIR HARDIE
That is probably intended to bring out in strength the opinion set forth. If it is simply a question of rearranging sentences surely there cannot be much in that. Am I to understand that the case upon which this pamphlet has been prohibited is that some four words have been left out, and that one sentence has been transferred from the beginning to the end of the paragraph? I am sorry that the hon. Member did not give us that information before; otherwise I should certainly have compared the extract with the original in 2053 order to have found out what the gravamen of the charge consisted of. In view of what has taken place, and the fact that to-morrow the Jingo Press will make it appear that the Under-Secretary has entirely vindicated the action of the Government of India in suppressing this pamphlet, I think I had better read the extracts. The first is paragraph 23 of the Report on page 14. In a letter dated the 12th of December, 1901, from the Government of Bengal to the Home Department of the Government of India, it was stated that:—In no branch of the administration in Bengal is improvement so imperatively required as in the police. There is no part of our system of government of which such universal and bitter complaint is made, and none in which for the relief of the people and the reputation of the Government is reform in anything like the same degree so urgently called for. The evil is essentially in the investigating staff. It is dishonest and it is tyrannical.That is the evidence submitted to the Commision, but here is what the Commission itself says as its opinion on that evidence:—The Commission desire, as the result of their inquiries, emphatically to record their full concurrence in the views of the late Sir John Woodburn as then expressed.That refers to Bengal only, but the Commission go on to say:—There is no Province in India to which these remarks may not be applied, though there is no other Province in which the necessity for real reform is more urgent than in Bengal.It is their own opinion that in every part of India, to a greater or lesser degree, a reform of the police force is necessary. In paragraph 25 the Commission states that complaints were received in regard to the action of investigating officers, and that the action of these officers had been condemned by witnesses. That is the summary of the evidence, but the opinion of the Commission is this:—The Commission cannot too strongly express their concurrence in this Condemnation. They regret, however, to have to report that they have the strongest evidence of the corruption and inefficiency of the great mass of investigating officers of higher grades.Two things will be observed—the opinion of the Commission and the summary of the evidence. On page 16, still in paragraph 25, the Commissioners, still dealing with corruption in the police force, add this:—But, while admitting there are different degrees of corruption in the different Provinces or districts, and, while admitting there are exceptionally honest and upright officers of this class, the Commission cannot resist the strong testimony as to the prevalence of corruption amongst station-house officers throughout the country.2054 These expressions are the findings of the Commission and not the opinions expressed before the Commission, show, in spite of misarrangement of the paragraphs in the preface of Mr. Mackarness's pamphlet, that the charge of corruption on the part of the police was found to have been proved by the Commission, and strong recommendations were made as to the best way of dealing with it. Let me read one final paragraph, and here I will leave out part of the paragraph to save time:—'There are,' says the Commission, 'honest and efficient police officers of all grades, though they are represented as being very exceptional in the lower grades.'That, again, be it observed, was a summary of the evidence. The closing lines of the Report are these:—But honourable exceptions and mitigating circumstances cannot efface the general impression created by the evidence recorded. There can he no doubt that the police force throughout the country is in a most unsatisfactory condition, that abuses are common everywhere, that this involves great injury to the people and discredit to the Government, and that radical reforms are urgently necessary. These reforms would cost much; because the Department has hitherto been starved; but they must be effected.The real object of this pamphlet was to show that whilst the Commission had recommended certain reforms, those reforms were not being carried out, and that when crimes against witnesses and prisoners of the kind which had been brought before the Commission, and condemned by it, were again committed in connection with police cases, it was very seldom that any punishment of the police officers followed. Case after case is given here of torture. There is the case of a woman—it has been before the House before—who was tortured in the most inhuman manner by the police. The surgeon who examined her the morning after her admission to the hospital certified that the injuries found upon her were quite consistent with her tale. Twelve months afterwards another surgeon, who had probably never seen the woman, gave it as his opinion that the injuries might have been self-inflicted, and apparently upon the strength of that statement the implicated officers were acquitted. We have other cases from the different Provinces. There was the Midnapur conspiracy case, where a number of constables brought evidence which the High Court refused to accept. An inquiry was held into the conduct of these officers, but before the result was disclosed some of those under suspicion were promoted to higher positions, and in the Birthday List of Honours issued the other day I find the name of the hon. Member for the Mont- 2055 gomery Boroughs in close juxtaposition with the names of two of the officers under suspicion. Several suits have been raised against them by the parties against whom they brought false evidence. Those suits have not been tried, yet, in the face of that, the Government of India selects these men for special honour. I should like to quote the reasons given by the favourite paper of the hon. Member for the Montgomery Boroughs—the Calcutta "Statesman"—
§ Mr. KEIR HARDIE
The "Statesman" says the reason why Sir J. D. Rees has received this honour is because he is strong in the House of Commons in his efforts to checkmate the harassing efforts of Mr. Keir Hardie. Now we know why the hon. Member has got his stripe. The Viceroy of India, as practically the closing act of his reign—his personally kind and sympathetic reign—I found he was liked, respected, and trusted in all parts of India in so far as he was free to act on the dictates of his own mind—issued a circular calling upon all sections of the Service in India to cultivate more friendly and systematic relationship with the people of India. We are told in the letter that the people who are agitating are only a small literate class. Below them is a mass of poverty-burdened peasants toiling from sunrise to sunset, and getting very little. Above the literate classes are the Princes and other portions of the aristocracy. The Government cannot depend for support on the peasants, neither can they rely on pot-bellied bullies like the Maharajah of Burdwan. The one class which should be sought after by the Government is the middle literate class, against which this restrictive legislation is aimed, legislation which is alienating the very class to which the Government should look for support. This circular of the Viceroy has gone out to the various provincial Governments, and the Secretary for the Government of Bengal has issued his interpretation of it. He begins with a most insulting reference, and he goes on to say that every member of the official class is to make it his business to worm his way into the confidence of the responsible people in every district, keep a record of their sayings and opinions, and transmit that record to headquarters for examination. This is to 2056 make the Civil Service in India a nest of spies, and to send them out to spy and report upon the sayings and doings of those who should be their neighbours and their friends. And the folly of it is that it is trumpeted abroad in advance in a public document that all this is to be done. Lord Curzon the other night deplored the fact that the first class students of the universities were no longer offering themselves for service in India in the same proportion that they did formerly. Those who know even a little about India and its method of government know the way in which the Civil servant is there reduced to the position of a clerk in an office overburdened with clerical duties, with no escape from the grindstone of routine work, and if anyone who wants to become a first-class clerk has also to become a spy on behalf of the Government it will not be an inducement for people to enter the Civil Service. Lord Morley, in one of his recent speeches, deplored making India a muzzled India, but if this policy is pursued all that is best and most worthy in India will be alienated from our rule, and the last condition of that far away and unhappy land will be worse than the first.
EARL of RONALDSHAY
The Motion asks us to withdraw the enactment of certain restrictive legislation which the Government of India has recently been responsible for. However much we may deplore the necessity for that legislation, we are bound to admit the necessity. Under these circumstances, the House will be very ill-advised to give any countenance to the suggestion that it deplores the enactments themselves. The Mover of the Amendment told us that he was quite ignorant of Indian conditions, and that he was going to deal with the question purely from the English point of view. No one will deny that the hon. Member is animated by extreme sincerity, but I think that confession alone makes his speech comprehensible. May I recall some of the landmarks in the seditious campaign in India during the past six or eight months. In November last a bomb was thrown at the Viceroy himself, and as far as I know, the perpetrator is still undetected and at large. The following month Mr. Jackson, a Civil servant, who was respected and loved not only by his colleagues in the Civil Service, but by the Indians who came into personal contact with him, was foully murdered, and, 2057 galvanised into activity by this particularly revolting crime, the police discovered large stores of concealed arms and ammunition throughout the Deccan, and simultaneously in various districts of Bengal. Early in the present year an inspector was shot dead in the precincts of the High Court, and, as an illustration of the Anglo-Indian opinion upon the situation at this time, I may quote from the "Pioneer":—Over a large portion of the country every magistrate who does his duty carries his life in his hands.Following upon these outrages a fresh outbreak of agitation in Bengal in the spring of this year necessitated the proclaiming of various districts under the Seditious Meetings Act. There was a lull for a short period subsequent to that act of the Executive, yet we have fresh out-rages breaking out again now, and only at the beginning of this month a prominent Indian gentleman was shot and the supposed motive for the crime was the belief that he was willing to give information against promoters of sedition to the police. News has now come to hand that large stores of concealed arms and ammunition have been found in Calcutta. That shows that the seditious movement is still the dominant feature in the Indian situation. In India there is a considerable mass of material which is in a state of high inflammability. Under the circumstances the obvious duty of the Government is to keep the match away from the powder and to deal with promptitude and decision with any cases which may be liable to have an exciting effect upon this inflammatory material. Will anyone deny that the seditious Press in India is one of the most dangerous causes at the present time. I should like to give an illustration of the way in which the seditious Press in India works upon the immature minds of Indian students. I have a copy of a postcard which was written by an Indian student and addressed to the editor of a seditious paper called the "Jugantar."
§ "From your advertisement articles and your bold writings I understand that he who has the subversion of the Firingee Government at heart should by all means read the 'Jugantar.' I, a schoolboy, living in a hilly country, don't feel any oppression of the Firingees, and I give way to people for want of information. I am therefore in need of 'Jugantar,' for it acquaints us to a great extent with the devices of driving away the Firingee, and also make us alive to wrongs."
§ I would direct the attention of the House particularly to the last sentence. 2058 Here was an Indian youth, living in the hills, who was ignorant of the fact that his ambitions and aspirations were being trampled under foot by an unscrupulous and tyrannous Government; but as soon as he read this paper his mind began to work in the direction of wondering whether there was not some wrong which he was suffering under an unscrupulous Government. It is really an imperative necessity that in India at the present time the Government should take the strongest steps possible to suppress seditious literature of this kind. I confine my criticism of the Government, so far as I have any criticism at all, to the statement that they have allowed the evil to attain intolerable proportions before bringing in any really effective measure to deal with it. This seditious literature is not the outcome of the moment. It has been permeating the country for some years. I notice that one native member of the Viceroy's Council pointed out that it was owing to the patience and long-suffering of the Government that the evil had reached such tremendous proportions as it has done at the present time. He went on to say that it would have been much better to have brought in a repressive and drastic measure long ago and nipped the movement in the bud. So much for the hesitation shown by the Government in bringing in their measure.
§ The measure itself has been spoken of by the hon. Member as if it were a very drastic measure. It is not, in my opinion, as a matter of fact, half as drastic a measure as the circumstances demand. When the Bill was first introduced by the Government it contained a clause which enabled the postal authorities to detain letters and other matter which was suspected to contain seditious literature, but in the course of its progress through Committee that clause was struck out, and an amending clause was inserted, leaving it in the power of the postal authorities to detain any matter other than letters and parcels. Either the Government did or did not think it necessary to propose the original clause. If they did not think it necessary, why did they insert it in the original Bill? If it was necessary, surely it was an exhibition of intolerable weakness to allow themselves to be deprived of it. I think it was a necessary provision for the reason that some of the most mischievous of the literature which is poisoning the minds of the 2059 students of India is not printed and published in India itself. It is printed and published in European countries and sent under the guise of letters to permeate India. I have here a copy of a most seditious rag, which is not printed and published in India. It is called "Bande Mataram." I should have liked to quote a few extracts from it, but I will refrain, as the Under-Secretary no doubt desires to speak before the Debate closes. Hon. Members below the Gangway object to the Press Act passed by the Indian Government, and they also hold the theory that India ought to be governed in accordance with Indian ideas. I should like to refer them to one of the most model States—the State of Mysore—and I would ask those who object to the Press Act of the Indian Government to peruse the provisions of the Mysore Press Act, which was passed not very long ago, and a copy of which has by the courtesy of the Under-Secretary been placed in the Library. They will therefore find no obstacle in their way if they desire to see the Act. I think I have shown that there is a good case for a drastic Press Act in India at the present time.
§ Motions like the Amendment before the House, and speeches like those in support of it, do an incalculable amount of harm. They encourage the promoters of discontent in India, and are received with astonishment and dismay by the loyal section of the population. The hon. Member who moved this Amendment referred to the speech made by the Maharajah of Burdwan in the Viceroy's Council. In the particular extract to which the hon. Member referred the Maharajah doubted the advisability of introducing everything Western, particularly politics, into India. It was perplexing to the mind "while the Government takes active measures for putting down sedition in India it allows a Labour Member, or, in other words, a white sardar coolie in the shape of Mr. Keir Hardie"—that is a gentleman representative of the Labour party—
EARL of RONALDSHAY
"to have the audacity to say that the time had come for the Crown to be thrown into the melting pot," and then he says, lower down, "It is therefore, my lord, that with humble submission I beg to point out that the 2060 time has come to seriously consider whether we are to allow India to be made the dumping-ground of Western politics, political thoughts, and Socialism."
§ Mr. MONTAGU
I must apologise for asking the House to listen to my reply upon the Amendment moved, having regard to the large draft which I have already made upon the time of the House. I have carefully taken a note of all those points raised from the benches opposite, and trust that hon. Members will take my assurance that I will communicate to them the result of the consideration of the arguments which they have raised. I have little time now to comment upon two particular incidents in the Debate. In the first place the Blue Book dealing with the Press Act Debate which the hon. Member for Leicester (Mr. Ramsay Macdonald) referred to as a waste of public money was laid on the Table of this House in response to an invitation from himself. The point I had rather refer to now is to say something about this pamphlet of Mr. Mackarness. I do hope that the House will believe that it was in no light-hearted frame of mind I approached the consideration of this pamphlet, which began when I had to answer questions on it. Mr. Mackarness was a Member of this House, and was a colleague of mine. His political principles are the same as my own. All the more keenly, therefore, do I regret the fact that he has sacrificed his great position and used the weight of his name and reputation for the publication of a pamphlet that has been prepared in this way. It will be fresh in the memory of the House that I was permitted by the kindness of my hon. Friend the Member for Merthyr Tydfil to interrupt him in his speech, when I think I proved up to the hilt the charge I made that Mr. Mackarness has employed garbled quotations. Almost every time a quotation appears in this pamphlet with omissions marked by asterisks or dots he omitted something in favour of the police. Nearly all those quotations, which the hon. Member for Merthyr himself represents as coming from the Report of the Commission, come from Chapter 2, which is headed "Popular Opinion Regarding It." I will only give two other instances. On page 12 the pamphlet begins:—The alleged torture. Here is the horrible story of what the police did to the woman in the very words of the official resolution.2061 What was that put in for? To permit the reader of the pamphlet to believe that this is an official description of the torture of the woman, and then follow the words of the woman herself. On the last page of the pamphlet Mr. Mackarness regrets that the Government of India have never issued any order preventing torture. That is a serious statement to make in this pamphlet. Of course it is true. The British Government have never issued an official order against murder, for murder is punishable in this country, and torture is punishable in India. I hope that this pamphlet will now be relegated to the obscurity which it deserves. When I hear my hon. Friend the Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme (Mr. Wedgwood) extolling liberty and confusing it with lawlessness, and denouncing Lord Morley, whom he admires, as adopting practices which he condemns, it occurs to me that the explanation is that Lord Morley still loves liberty, and the hon. Member claims to make a use of the term which it would never permit. My hon. Friend complained in advance of the system of education we are to inaugurate, in India. I should like to state that the co-ordinated system of education which we propose to establish under the new Member of the Council will, we hope, so spread education throughout India that the time will soon
§ dawn when Press Acts and Seditious Meetings Acts will no longer be necessary, as they are to-day.
§ Sir J. D. REES
As a Member who has not opened his mouth, but who has taken a prominent part in this Debate, I now venture to trespass on what has come to be regarded as a preserve of the Labour party. On behalf of the Civil Service, of which I have the honour to be a member, I utterly repudiate everything that has been said by the hon. Member for Leicester and the hon. Member for Merthyr Tydvil. Neither of these hon. Members would be allowed by the members of the Indian Civil Service, or by anybody else with real experience of India, to have any authority whatsoever to speak on any problem connected with that country, except as an itinerant agitator or a political week-ender.
§ Mr. MONTAGU rose in his place, and claimed to move, "That the Question be now put," but Mr. Speaker withheld his assent, and declined then to put that Question.
§ Question put, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 277; Noes, 48.2063
|Division No. 132.]||AYES.||[11.0 p.m.|
|Acland-Hood, Rt. Hon. Sir Alex. F.||Brunskill, Gerald Fitzgibbon||Craik, Sir Henry|
|Adkins, W. Ryland D.||Bryce, John Annan||Crawshay-Williams, Eliot|
|Agar-Robartes, Hon. T. C. R.||Bull, Sir William James||Croft, Henry Page|
|Agnew, George William||Burns, Rt. Hon. John||Crosfield, Arthur H.|
|Allen, Charles Peter||Burt, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Dalrymple, Viscount|
|Asquith, Rt. Hon. Herbert Henry||Butcher, John George (York)||Dawes, James Arthur|
|Attenborough, Walter Annis||Buxton, C. R. (Devon, Mid)||Denman, Hon. Richard Douglas|
|Bagot, Captain J.||Buxton, Noel (Norfolk, North)||Dickinson, W. H. (St. Pancras, N.)|
|Baird, John Lawrence||Buxton, Rt. Hon. Sydney C. (Poplar)||Dickson, Rt. Hon. C. S. (Glasgow, E.)|
|Baker, Harold T. (Accrington)||Carlile, Edward Hildred||Du Cros, Arthur P. (Hastings)|
|Baker, Joseph Allen (Finsbury, E.)||Carr-Gomm, H. W.||Duncannon, Viscount|
|Baker, Sir Randolf L. (Dorset, N.)||Castlereagh, Viscount||Dunn, Sir W. H. (Southwark, W.)|
|Balcarres, Lord||Cave, George||Elverston, Harold|
|Baldwin, Stanley||Cawley, Sir Frederick (Prestwich)||Falconer, James|
|Balfour, Robert (Lanark)||Cawley, H. T. (Lancs., Haywood)||Falle, Bertram Godfray|
|Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)||Fell, Arthur|
|Barclay, Sir Thomas||Cecil, Lord Hugh (Oxford Univ.)||Fenwlck, Charles|
|Baring, Captain Hon. Guy Victor||Chaloner, Col. R. G. W.||Ferens, Thomas Robinson|
|Barnston, Harry||Chapple, Dr. William Allen||Ferguson, Rt. Hon. R. C. Munro|
|Barran, Sir John N. (Hawick)||Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston S.||Flannery, Sir J. Fortescue|
|Barrie, H. T. (Londonderry, N.)||Clay, Captain H. H. Spender||Fletcher, John Samuel|
|Barry, Redmond J. (Tyrone, N.)||Clough, William||Forster, Henry William|
|Barton, William||Clyde, James Avon||France, Gerald Ashburner|
|Bathurst, Hon. Allen B. (Glouc., E.)||Coates, Major Edward F.||Furness, Stephen|
|Beale, William Phipson||Colefax, Henry Arthur||Gelder, Sir William Alfred|
|Benn, W. (Tower Hamlets, St. Geo.)||Collins, Godfrey P. (Greenock)||George, Rt. Hon. D. Lloyd|
|Bentinck, Lord Henry Cavendish-||Collins, Stephen (Lambeth)||Gibbs, George Abraham|
|Bird, Alfred||Collins, Sir Wm. J. (St. Pancras, W.)||Gilmour, Captain John|
|Birrell, Rt. Hon. Augustine||Compton, Lord Alwyne (Brentford)||Goddard, Sir Daniel Ford|
|Boyle, W. Lewis (Norfolk, Mid)||Cooper, Captain Bryan R. (Dublin, S.)||Goldman, Charles Sydney|
|Boyton, James||Corbett, A. Cameron (Glasgow)||Grant, J. A.|
|Brackenbury, Henry Langton||Cornwall, Sir Edwin A.||Gretton, John|
|Brocklehurst, William B.||Craig, Charles Curtis (Antrim, S.)||Grey, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward|
|Brotherton, Edward Allen||Craig, Herbert J. (Tynemouth)||Griffith, Ellis Jones (Anglesey)|
|Brunner, John F. L.||Craig, Norman (Kent, Thanet)||Guest, Major|
|Haldane, Rt. Hon. Richard B.||Menzies, Sir Walter||Starkey, John Ralph|
|Hall, D. B. (Isle of Wight)||Meysey-Thompson, E. C.||Steel-Maitland, A. D.|
|Hamersley, Alfred St. George||Millar, James Duncan||Stewart, Gershom (Ches., Wirral)|
|Hamilton, Marquess of (Londonderry)||Mitchell, William Foot||Stewart, Sir M'T. (Kirkc'dbr'tsh.)|
|Hancock, John George||Molteno, Percy Alport||Strauss, Arthur|
|Harcourt, Rt. Hon. L. (Rossendale)||Montagu, Hon. E. S.||Summers, James Woolley|
|Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose)||Morgan, G. Hay (Cornwall)||Sutherland, John E.|
|Harvey, A. G. C. (Rochdale)||Morpeth, Viscount||Sykes, Alan John|
|Harvey, T. E. (Leeds, West)||Morrison-Bell, Major A. C.||Talbot, Lord Edmund|
|Haslam, James (Derbyshire)||Munro, Robert||Taylor, T. C. (Radcliffe)|
|Havelock-Allan, Sir Henry||Murray, Capt. Hon. Arthur C.||Tennant, Harold John|
|Haworth, Arthur A.||Muspratt, M.||Terrell, Henry (Gloucester)|
|Hayward, Evan||Neilson, Francis||Thomas, Sir A. (Glamorgan, E.)|
|Helme, Norval Watson||Newton, Harry Kettingham||Thomas, David Alfred (Cardiff)|
|Henderson, J. M. (Aberdeen, W.)||Nicholson, Charles N. (Doncaster)||Thomson, W. Mitchell- (Down, N.)|
|Henry, Charles S.||Nield, Herbert||Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton)|
|Hickman, Colonel Thomas E.||Norton, Captain Cecil William||Thynne, Lord Alexander|
|Higham, John Sharp||Nuttall, Harry||Toulmin, George|
|Hobhouse, Rt. Hon. Charles E. H.||Ogden, Fred||Trevelyan, Charles Philips|
|Hohler, Gerald Fitzroy||O'Neill, Hon. A. E. B. (Antrim, Mid)||Ure, Rt. Hon. Alexander|
|Holt, Richard Durning||Orde-Powlett, Hon. W. G. A.||Valentia, Viscount|
|Hooper, Arthur George||Ormsby-Gore, Hon. William||Verney, Frederick William|
|Horner, Andrew Long||Parkes, Ebenezer||Verrall, George Henry|
|Howard, Hon. Geoffrey||Pearce, William||Vivian, Henry|
|Hughes, Spencer Leigh||Pease, Rt. Hon. Joseph A.||Wadsworth, John|
|Hume-Williams, William Ellis||Peel, Capt. R. F. (Woodbridge)||Walker, Col. W. H. (Lancashire)|
|Hunt, Rowland||Peto, Basil Edward||Walton, Sir Joseph|
|Hunter, Sir Charles Rodk. (Bath)||Pollock, Ernest Murray||Ward, A. S. (Herts, Watford)|
|Illingworth, Percy H.||Pretyman, Ernest George||Ward, W. Dudley (Southampton)|
|Isaacs, Sir Rufus Daniel||Price, Sir Robert J. (Norfolk, E.)||Warde, Col. C. E. (Kent,. Mid)|
|Jessel, Captain Herbert M.||Pringle, William M. R.||Warner, Sir Thomas Courtenay|
|Johnson, William||Proby, Col. Douglas James||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)|
|Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth)||Quilter, William Eley C.||Waterlow, David Sydney|
|Jones, William (Carnarvonshlre)||Radford, George Heynes||Wheler, Granville C. H.|
|Kemp, Sir George||Raffan, Peter Wilson||White, Major G. D. (Lancs, Southport)|
|King, Sir Henry Seymour (Hull)||Rainy, Adam Rolland||White, Sir George (Norfolk)|
|King, Joseph (Somerset, North)||Raphael, Herbert Henry||White, J. Dundas (Dumbartonshire)|
|Kyffin-Taylor, G.||Rawlinson, John Frederick Peel||White, Sir Luke (York, E. R.)|
|Lambert, George||Rees, Sir J. D.||Whittaker, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas P.|
|Lawson, Hon. Harry||Rice, Hon. Walter Fitz-Uryan||Whyte, A. F. (Perth)|
|Layland-Barratt, Sir Francis||Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)||Williams, Penry (Middlesbrough)|
|Lehmann, Rudolf C.||Roberts, S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall)||Willoughby, Major Hon. Claude|
|Levy, Sir Maurice||Robinson, Sidney||Wilson, Hon. G. G. (Hull, W.)|
|Lewis, John Herbert||Roth, Walter F. (Pembroke)||Wilson, John (Durham, Mid)|
|Lincoln, Ignatius Timothy T.||Roe, Sir Thomas||Wilson, T. F. (Lanark, N. E.)|
|Llewelyn, Venables||Ronaldshay, Earl of||Winfrey, Richard|
|Lloyd, George Ambrose||Rothschild, Lionel de||Wing, Thomas|
|Locker-Lampson, G. (Salisbury)||Royds, Edmund||Wood, Hon. E. F. L. (Yorks, Ripon)|
|Locker-Lampson, O. (Ramsay)||Rutherford, Watson||Wood, John Stalybridge|
|Lockwood, Rt. Hon. Lt.-Col. A. R.||Salter, Arthur Clavell||Wood, T. M'Kinnon (Glasgow)|
|Low, Sir Frederick (Norwich)||Samuel, Sir Harry (Norwood)||Worthington-Evans, L. (Colchester)|
|Lyell, Charles Henry||Sanders, Robert Arthur||Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart-|
|Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. A. (S. Geo. Han. S.)||Sanderson, Lancelot||Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George|
|Mackinder, Halford J.||Seely, Col. Rt. Hon. J. E. B.||Younger, George (Ayr Burghs)|
|M'Callum, John M.||Shortt, Edward|
|Magnus, Sir Philip||Simon, John Allsebrook|
|Mallet, Charles Edward||Soares, Ernest Joseph||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Master of Elibank and Mr. Gulland.|
|Manfield, Harry||Stanier, Beville|
|Masterman, C. F. G.||Stanley, Hon. G. F. (Preston)|
|Abraham, William (Dublin Harbour)||Hazleton, Richard||Pointer, Joseph|
|Barnes, George N.||Henderson, Arthur (Durham)||Power, Patrick Joseph|
|Bowerman, Charles W.||Hope, John Deans (Fife, West)||Richards, Thomas|
|Brace, William||Jowett, Frederick William||Roberts, George H. (Norwich)|
|Byles, William Pollard||Joyce, Michael||Robertson, John M. (Tyneside)|
|Chancellor, Henry George||Keating, Matthew||Smith, N. B. Lees (Northampton)|
|Clynes, John R.||Kelly, Edward||Snowden, Philip|
|Cullinan, John||Macdonald, J. R. (Leicester)||Taylor, John W. (Durham)|
|Devlin, Joseph||MacNeill, John Gordon Swift||Thomas, James Henry (Derby)|
|Dilke, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles||MacVeagh, Jeremiah||Thorne, William (West Ham)|
|Dillon, John||Meagher, Michael||Twist, Henry|
|Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness)||Nolan, Joseph||Wardle, G. J.|
|Edwards, Enoch||O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.)||Williams, John (Glamorgan)|
|Ffrench, Peter||O'Grady, James||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Glover, Thomas||O'Neill, Dr. Charles (Armagh, S.)|
|Gwynn, Stephen Lucius (Galway)||Parker, James (Halifax)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Mr. Wedgwood and Mr. J. Keir Hardie.|
|Hackett, John||Pickersgill, Edward Hare|
Main Question put, and agreed to.