HC Deb 07 August 1913 vol 56 cc1780-908

Order for Committee read.


I beg to move, "That Mr. Speaker do now leave the Chair (for Committee on East India Accounts)."

This is the fourth time that it has fallen to my lot to move that you do leave the Chair in order that the East India Revenue Accounts for the year may be reported to the House. I can assure the House that as the years go by I approach this task with more and more diffidence. I am afraid that the temper of the House with regard to Indian matters has not altered very materially since Mr. Gladstone, in 1834, wrote a letter to his father on a speech which he had made on the University Bill. He said:— The House heard me with the utmost kindness, but they had been listening previously to an Italian discussion in which very few people took any interest, toil the change of subject was DI) 11aulit felt as a relief. Since I last stood at this box for this purpose, I have bad the advantage of a prolonged journey in India. I make no apology for that tour, though I do most sincerely apologise to the House for any inconvenience that my absence may have caused. After all, no one questions the wisdom of the First Lord of the Admiralty in journeying to see the ships under his charge, or of the Secretary of State for War in meeting and talking to soldiers, or of the President of the Local Government Board in inspecting workhouses, or of the Home Secretary in going to look at the prisons. I am con- vinced that I did right, when I had been longer in my office than any of my predecessors, with the exception of three or four, in going to see something of the country and of the people with whose welfare I was concerned. I promise the House that I shall not weary them this afternoon with an account of the opinions which I formed in India. I am here only to express the views of the Government which I represent. I have the opportunity from day to day in my office of bringing to bear upon my daily work the information given to me in India, and it was not for the purpose of making speeches, but for the purpose of helping me in my share of the administration that I went out. I can only say that it would be almost impossible for me to forget the cordial assistance given me by British and Indian officials and non-officials alike in my eager desire to find out what we could do to help them, and I shall endeavour to prove my gratitude by helping to bring about, as time goes on, some of the many schemes of reform which were advocated to me abroad. I am certain that the majority of those whom I had the honour and pleasure of meeting were glad, at all events, to get an opportunity of meeting face to face and talking to an inmate of that very vague and indefinite authority which so often is the instrument of alterations in the conditions under which they live—the India Office.

When I mention the India Office, I want to say a word to the House about the changes which we contemplate in the organisation of the Office. I need only say a very few words, because a week ago my Noble Friend explained in another place exactly what was in his mind. To lay certain possible anxieties to rest, I want to say at once that there is not now, nor, so far as I am aware, has there ever been, any intention to abolish the Council of India. It is not even proposed to curtail any of their powers. And in order to lay to rest another rumour that has been circulated, I want to say emphatically that whatever be the exact final shape of the scheme, one unalterable factor in it is the presence of two Indian members on the Council. The whole scheme is one of domestic reform such as might be accomplished by any other Minister by a stroke of the pen without consulting anybody. But in the case of the India Office the minutest detail of which is statutorily prescribed, it will be necessary to con-le to Parliament for a Statute. We have a dual aim: to speed up and to simplify the slow and complicated procedure of the Office, and to make the expert advice which the Secretary of State derives from his Council more up to date. Anybody who is sufficiently interested will have read my Noble Friend's speech in another place, and it will not be necessary for me to go into details, but I do not think that there is anybody familiar with the procedure of the India Office who will deny—I cannot do better than use the words my Noble Friend quoted—that it is "intolerably cumbrous and dilatory." with regard to the other part of the scheme, it is possible, under existing Statute, that a member of the Council may by the end of his time have been twelve years out of India. We propose to reduce that period, so far as possible, to about seven years. This may not appear very important to people here, but it is very keenly awaited in India. When, at the end of my tour, I read, in one of the leading Indian newspapers an article commenting on my visit to India, an appeal to me to go home and do all I could to help in the alteration of the Council, in order to bring about these results, so that the opinions it expressed and the advice it gave might be more up to date and more in accordance with recent developments, it gave me great satisfaction to think that we had been considering such schemes for two years, and that they were very nearly ripe for announcement.

Leaving the India Office and coming to India itself, I propose this year, with the permission of this House, to introduce an innovation which I cannot but think will be welcome to those hon. Members who, by their presence this afternoon, show their interest in India. I do so with some trepidation, because I am fully aware of the years of unbroken precedents behind me, and I do so by way of experiment. As the House is well aware, the financial statement made by the Financial Member of the Government of India, together with the debates on it in the Viceroy's Legislative Council, has already been circulated to the House in the form of a Blue Book, and this Blue Book has been supplemented by a White Paper containing what is known as the Under-Secretary of State's "Explanatory Memorandum." It has been usual for the Minister responsible for India in this House to superimpose upon this explanation a further explanation, amounting to nothing more than a copious analysis of the White Paper. This has occupied the first half of the Budget Speech of the year. The second part has been devoted to questions of general administration. When one considers that this Debate is, in ordinary circumstances, the only opportunity in the year for the discussion of Indian affairs, and that only one night is given to it, I really think that no apology will be needed from me if I rely on the Explanatory Memorandum and say very little about finance this year. I should like to devote that portion of the valuable time of the House which I desire to usurp to the discussion of matters of general public interest in the administration which have not before been discussed.

These are the salient features of the Budget. There was last year, due mainly to the very large railway receipts and the high prices obtained for opium, a surplus of not less than nearly £8,000,000 over the Budget Estimate. This surplus is to be spent mainly on Grants to provincial Governments for education and sanitation and, with the surplus estimated for in the Budget on the reduction and avoidance of debt. For this year, 1913–14, it has been considered prudent to estimate the railway receipts at a slightly less sum than last year, but the remarkable feature of the year is that this is the first Budget in which no receipts can be expected from the Indo-Chinese opium traffic. May I remind the House of what I said two years ago on this subject—in 1911? My words then were:— We must now definitely face the total loss, sooner or later of revenue derived from opium sold for export to China … [but] the question whether the loss of opium revenue will involve fresh taxation is one which T hope no one will decide too hastily The present financial strength of the Government of India, the growth of its resources and the growth of restriction of its expenditure are all factors that have to but considered as the plans for each financial year are made. My doubts whether the loss of the Chinese opium revenue would lead to the necessity for new taxation were, I believe, considered to be the index of a characterically too optimistic frame of mind, but in Indian matters, and on Indian finance especially, optimistic views have a way of being justified by the event. In the present year the chief feature in the Budget Estimates is that, although the Estimate anticipated from the opium revenue is only £306,000, or £4,250,000 less than last year, yet without any increase of taxation, without any abandonment of necessary or desirable expenditure, and with, indeed, a very large pro- vision for the two objects which the Government of India recognise as having a first claim on their resources, namely, the improvement of education and the spread of sanitation, we are estimating for a surplus of nearly £1,500,000.

This position is mainly due to one factor—the improvement in the earnings of the railways. For the last two generations successive Secretaries of State and Governments of India have used the resources and the credit of India to build up a railway system which has always been closely associated with the State, and has become more closely associated with it during the last generation. They have met with difficulties and discouragements of various kinds. In the early years there was a large annual loss which had to be made good from revenue. In later years, such has been the growth in the world of the demand for capital, there has been difficulty in obtaining the necessary capital, but they have persevered in spite of all, and the Budget of 1913–14, thanks to the growth of the railway revenue, enables them to make good a loss of £4,000,000 out of a total net revenue of less than £60,000, a rich reward' for the work of many years. I think this story may be taken as a symptom of the marvellous possibilities of our Indian Empire, and as a lesson that bold Government enterprise in the direction of helping and exploiting her resources by developing her railways, or her irrigation works, or her wonderful forests, will lead: to large national profit. I wish to say a word next about education, a subject which always interests Members of this House. At the Delhi Durbar, in December, 1911, it was announced that:— The Government of India has resolved to acknowledge the predominant claim of educational advancement on the resources of the Indian Empire. and that it was

their firm intention to add to the Grant (made at the time of the Durbar) further Grants in future years on a generous scale. In accordance with this declaration, last year and this year, a non-recurring Grant of £2,500,000 and a recurring Grant of £695,000 a year has been made for this purpose. The non-recurring Grant will be spent on capital requirements for schools (elementary and technical), colleges, and universities, including the new universities which it is hoped to establish at Aligarh, Dacca, Patna, and Rangoon. The recurring Grant will be spent on such matters as scholarships and stipends, educational Grants to local bodies, and the strengthening and improving of the inspection and teaching staff. It is perhaps worth while, in order to show the progress of educational outlay by the Government of India and provincial Governments, to compare the provision this year with the outlay of the three precedings years:—

  • In 1910–11 the actual net outlay was £1,662,607.
  • In 1911–12 it was £1,815,579.
  • In 1912–13 it was £2,370,600.
  • In 1913–14 the provision is £3,847,200.
An increase in three years of about 130 per cent.

4.0 P.M.

The service which has the next strongest claim after education on the resources of the Government is Sanitation. This year and last year recurring Grants of £261,000 and non-recurring Grants of nearly £1,500,000 have been made, some of which may be used for research, but the balk of which are intended for schemes of urban sanitation. Anyone familiar with the horrible slums in such cities as Bombay, and the marvellous effect on health of such work as is carried out by the Bombay Improvement Trust, will welcome this additional expenditure. In order that the House may have comparable figures to those which I have given for education as regards sanitation, I may say that the Budget Estimate of expenditure for sanitation under this head comes this year to nearly £2,000,000, showing an increase of 112 per cent. over the expenditure of three years ago. I am precluded from dealing with many things in the financial world which I should like to say something about, because we are now engaged, with the assistance of a strongly manned Royal Commission, under the presidency of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for East Worcestershire (Mr. Austen Chamberlain), in exploring the system of finance with a view to seeing if a system which has not been revised for many years, and which has been partly inherited from our predecessors, the old East India Trading Company, cannot be improved. Although it is one of the matters which is being investigated, there is one fact I wish to mention. From time to time proposals have been put forward, and have, I think, in theory, at any rate, found acceptance both here and in India for the establishment of a State bank. Such a bank would relieve the India Office of a very large amount of the commercial and financial work which it now does, and would, perhaps, find a solution of many of the difficulties which our critics have front time to time pointed out. The Secretary of State is of opinion that the time has now come for the reconsideration of the proposals for the establishment of a bank which would act as custodian for a large part of the Government balances, manage the paper currency, and take part in the sale of drafts on India for meeting the Secretary of State's requirements. The subject has been discussed in a Memorandum prepared by the Assistant Under-Secretary of the India Office (Mr. Abrahams), and the Secretary of State, without committing himself in any way upon the subject, has directed that Mr. Abrahams should present his Memorandum for the consideration of the Royal Commission, and he will welcome the consideration of it by the Royal Commission, as lie thinks it clearly comes within its terms of reference.

To leave finance and to come to the question of general administration, I should like to say one word about the Army, which is a subject which will play a part in the Budgets of the future. As the House is aware, a Committee has been sitting which has explored our military defences under the distinguished presidency of Field-Marshal Lord Nicholson. This Committee has reported to the Viceroy. I need hardly say that the Report is a confidential document, comparable to the Reports on similar subjects drawn up by Sub-Committees of the Committee of Imperial Defence. It cannot be published, although I believe that this confidential document will lead to improvements in our Army of which the House may from time to time be interested to hear. But in order to dispose of hones on the one hand and fears on the other, I want to state one general conclusion—that the expert Committee has proved that, although we may possibly get a better Army for the same money we are now spending, although we can possibly improve our defences without any extra expense, there is, I fear, no chance of any reduction in expenditure on either the British Army in India or the Indian Army. The most interesting new feature in the Army expenditure for this year is the amount set aside for the formation of a Central Flying School. At first sight, one would be inclined to suppose that in a country where the conditions of wind and weather can, as a rule, be anticipated with certainty some time beforehand, the difficulties of flying would be much less than they are in this country. But I am informed by experts that the extremes of heat and cold, the variations of temperature, and the differences of radiation over cultivated and desert areas give rise to new difficulties. The type of machine best suited for India has yet to be ascertained, and, in order to avoid any unnecessary risks to our flying officers, we must discover to what extent heat and moisture, and especially the combination of the two, may affect the materials which have been found most useful in the manufacture of aeroplanes in this country. We, therefore, propose to start the Flying School on a very modest basis, and to confine the work in the first instance to experiments and not to include the tuition of beginners. It is intended to begin with four officers, all of whom are in possession of pilot certificates. They will be provided with six aeroplanes for experimental purposes. The school will be situated at Sitapur, in the United Provinces, where there is a large number of Government buildings, which are now unoccupied, which were formerly British Infantry barracks, but which, I am told, are very suitable for our purpose. The total Estimate for this year is about £20,000.

Turning to foreign affairs, I have very little to say. Last year was free from any serious disturbance on the North-West Frontier, though there was no intermission of minor raids, chiefly due to the presence of outlaws in the Afghan Border Districts of Khost. In March, 1912, the Mullah Powindah made a deliberate and almost successful attempt to embroil the Mahsuds against the Government, and for some time it looked as if drastic military action would be necessary. Fortunately, a demonstration of force was sufficient to rally the friendly tribes to our side, fines were levied and paid, and order restored. Save for a disturbance this year in the Tochi, which might have been serious but fortunately remained isolated, these were the only two incidents on the North-West Frontier. The rapidity with which they were dealt with is proof that Sir George Keppel and his officers have not only been successful in keeping the troubled borderland tranquil, but in making great educational progress on the North-West Frontier. On the North-East Frontier complete peace has reigned. Various survey parties which visited the tribal country were very well received, and arrangements are being made for the tribes to visit the plains for commercial purposes and to do so unhindered. As regards Tibet, I need not say anything here this afternoon, because my Noble Friend Lord Morley made a statement upon the subject last week in another place. At the present moment the Government of India have invited the Tibetan and Chinese Governments to send representatives to Simla to confer on the subject of Tibet's future relations to China. At this conference the protagonists will be the Chinese and Tibetan delegates, for we desire, if possible, that they should settle their differences between themselves. His Majesty's Government have no interest whatever in the internal affairs of Tibet. All that we desire is to preserve peaceful relations between neighbouring States and to see that order is maintained on the Indian Frontier from Kashmir to Burma. These are very important interests, and His Majesty's Government cannot permit them to be endangered, directly or indirectly, by the Chinese. They are, therefore, not only concerned in bringing about a settlement between China and Tibet, but are bound to see that that settlement secures that there will be no repetition of the events of the last five years. I may mention that the Russian Government have been fully apprised of the action and intentions of His Majesty's Government, and have expressed their goodwill.

The only other foreign matter with which I need deal is to say that the Central Indian Horse, which went in 1911 to Shiraz, has been withdrawn. The Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs has instructed the Consul-General at Bushire to convey to Colonel Douglas and the regiment under his command his sincere congratulations that their most arduous duties in Persia have been brought to a conclusion. The tact and self-restraint which has been displayed by all ranks under trying conditions for the past one and a half years have been highly appreciated. I am sure the House would wish to endorse this tribute to men who have worked for some time in very trying circumstances. The Foreign Department of the Government of India not only deals with Foreign Affairs, such as those to which I have referred, but, what I think is nowadays an anomaly, with the affairs of Native States. We are not often concerned in this House with the affairs of Native States, but the huge territories which are described under that name and their rulers loom large in Indian affairs to-day, and will loom larger as time goes on. They are not merely places to be visited by tourists who wish to see interesting places and old buildings, to study ancient customs, or to indulge in sport. Those who visit them can gain many an opportunity of political speculation and instruction by observing their widely diverging political, racial, and social conditions. However marked is the influence of Western education in India generally, nowhere is it more markedly to be seen than in the Native States, where the rulers of the present generation vie with one another in improving the condition of their administration and their reputation for efficient government. Consequently, in the last twenty years, there has been a great development in all the affairs of the States—in finance and administration, in railways, irrigation, and education—and this advance brings with it the necessity for modernising our methods of dealing with the affairs of the Native States, where we are concerned with them. I need hardly say that in the majority of cases in their internal affairs we do not interfere.

At the present time the links in the official chain between the Native States and the Viceroy are the Resident or Political Agent—in Rajputna and. Central India, the Agent to the Governor-General; then the Deputy-Secretary in the Foreign Department, who deals with internal affairs, then the Foreign Secretary, and then the Viceroy. The Foreign Secretary is already overburdened with work. He has to deal with an increasingly delicate sphere of operations all along the Indian borders. It is quite impossible for any one man at the same time to cope satisfactorily with the affairs of the Native States. The Government of India have, therefore, now proposed, and their proposal is being considered by the 'Secretary of State, that a separate Secretary should be appointed for the affairs of Native States. He will bear the title of Political Secretary; he will have all the rights and privileges of a Secretary to the Government of India, and he will have in his Department a branch of the present Foreign Office to deal with internal affairs. The change can be brought about at very little cost and will, I am quite sure, be acceptable to the Chiefs, as tending to the quicker discharge of business and to a more thorough and more personal representation of their problems to the Viceroy. In addition, too, the Conferences which are to be held from time to time at Delhi or Simla, to which ruling princes will be invited, will give them opportunities of meeting one another and of discussing alterations of custom, of practice or of rule. That will be a very valuable procedure. There was a Conference held at Delhi this year on education in the Native States, and the success which attended that Conference augurs well for the future.

Coming to British India, I know that it is very difficult to make a choice of the subjects which those hon. Members who are interested in India will agree with me are ripening, but I have tried, without any attempt to avoid anything of difficulty, to, choose the three things which I think are most pressing. I need only say that if the House will be good enough to allow me to reply at the end of the discussion, I shall be only too glad to give any information on any other subjects that I can. The first subject with which I wish to deal is that concerned with the relations between the religions and races of India. The second, is the problem connected with the maintenance of law and order, and, third, those service questions with which the Public Services Commission is now dealing. I said something about the relations between the Mussulman and Hindu some years ago. I think it is possible to say something more to-day, because it is difficult for Indian national ideals to take any intelligible or any satisfactory form so long as the great Mussulman community stands apart from the rest of the Indian population. I am confident of the future. I believe that the Indian peoples of all races know full well to-day that the desire and the intention of the Government, communicated to all its officers and understood by them, is that there should be complete harmony between all the races there. The maxim divide et impera—one of the most dangerous maxims—has no place in our textbook of statesmanship. I can state emphatically that if the leaders of the Mussulman and Hindu communities could meet and settle amongst themselves some of the questions which from time to time arise out of and foster differences of opinion and of tradition they would find ready co-operation from the Government. I found in India that one of the outstanding causes of trouble between the Mussulmans and the Hindus was the problem of special representation for the Mussulmans on legislative and municipal bodies. Another was the difficulty of obtaining for the relatively backward Mussulman youth a full share of Government employment. On the first question, I believe, it is recognised by all parties that the Government is committed to the principle of special representation. If the Hindu community who understand this and the Mahomedans were to accede to the request of the Hindus for special representation too, I believe, by agreement between the parties, we could arrive at a basis for the modification of the present rules to suit them both, but the Government has to await that agreement before any move can be made. However, the divergence between these two people is very marked. Hinduism is self-contained, and, so far as events outside India attract their attention at all, it is due to an ordinary interest in the politics of the world, consequent upon the spread of education and the improvement in means of communication. So while the mutual relations of Europe and Asia are interesting the Hindu generally, the Indian Mussulmans, members of a religious community which for generations have exercised a marked effect upon the politics of the three Continents, are naturally interested in the welfare and importance of Islam as a whole, and, despite the neutrality of this country, despite our refusal to take part in these affairs, I think this House will sympathise with the fact that the Mussulmans of India have been and must be deeply stirred by the misfortunes -which have come to their co-religionists in -Persia, in North Africa, and in the Balkans.

Amid these misfortunes educated Mussulmans are, I think, keenly conscious that there was a time when Islam was not only abreast of the general culture of the rest of Europe, but, through its scholars and men of science, took a leading part in the development and learning in Europe. They contrast the conditions of Morocco to-day with the history of the Moors in Spain. They remember that under Akbar and his immediate successors they were not only prominent in politics, but led the Eastern world for a brilliant period in arms, in letters, in art, and in architecture. I think the Indian Mussulmans realise that they have, as a whole, too long neglected the educational opportunities that the British Government wish to offer as freely to them as to the Hindus, with the result that in those spheres of public employment, the doors of which are opened by Western education, they have not attained a position proportional, either to their achievements in the past or to the numbers at present. They see some of their eminent men in high places. There is a Mussulman who is a member of the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council; another sits upon the Council of the Secretary of State for India; a third is legal member of the Viceroy's Council, and many of them occupy important judicial and administrative positions. These examples are indications, if indications were needed, that there is no sort or kind of discrimination against their creed or their race. The Mussulmans themselves have only to utilise the opportunities that already exist, and there has been considerable progress in the last ten years. During that time the number of Mussulmans at the elementary schools has increased by 50 per cent., and during the last few years the number of Mahomedan students in higher institutions has increased by 80 per cent. The scheme for raising the Mussulman Anglo-Oriental College at Aligarh to the status of an independent university has been delayed, among other reasons, by the generous contributions which have been given to the Red Crescent fund in Turkey. The Government of India has recently called the attention of the local Governments to the necessity for increased facilities for Mahomedan education in more modest ways. A community that has once lagged behind in education has more difficulty than in almost any other sphere in making up leeway. All educated Indians must recognise that it would be disastrous to India if divisions of the population, due to religious or historical causes, were to coincide permanently with a difference of intellectual level, and if 57,000,000 of people who include the rulers of great States, landholders, merchants, some of the most vigorous and martial elements in the Indian Empire, were to remain outside the forces which are moulding the India of the future. I think we may be sure that such arrangements as local Governments can make for the encouragement of the Mussulman pupils by scholarships and by special courses, will be welcomed by the best elements in all the other communities.

As regards higher education, I should like to call attention to the scheme for the proposed new University at Dacca, which has been framed by a Committee. We have not yet received any definite proposals from the Government of India. There are certain points which require consideration, but the presentment of this scheme opens a new chapter in higher education in India. Existing Indian universities have been formed on the model of the London University, although the Indian Universities Act of 1904 has, in a measure, modified this conception. The Universities of Calcutta and Bombay are, it. is true, now developing post graduate teaching; but the old Indian University is an examining body affiliating remote colleges which they control to a certain extent, but do not teach. The new University at Dacca will have eleven constituent colleges, all at Dacca, all residential, and it will be somewhat similar to the old Universities of Oxford and Cambridge in this country. That is the novel and important point of the scheme. It is to serve as a model for Indian universities in the future. The University at Aligarh and the University at Dacca will consist of one or more colleges, all local, in which the pupils will reside, and in which it is hoped that we shall obtain something like the best features of English university life. I mention Dacca in connection with Mahomedan education not because it is to be a Mahomedan university, but because it is situated in the centre of a rather backward Mahomedan community, and therefore will offer to the Mussulmans the best opportunity of university education that they have yet had.

I should like to say a word about the other education progress of the Government. They have issued this year a resolution which declares their policy and makes announcements something on the lines of those which I was privileged to make this time last year. It clears up some misconceptions. We intend to rely, as we have relied in the past, on private enterprise for secondary education. It is difficult to exaggerate the debt that we owe to private enterprise in teaching in India. One can see on all hands the marvellous work done by the missionaries. I am not now talking about any efforts at conversion. I am talking of the real educational work which they achieve in virtue of the inspiration which they derived from their religion. Mr. Tyndall Biscoe's school in Srinagar has done marvellous work for Kashmir. The Anglo-Vedic Aryo-Somaj School at Lahore is another example of private enterprise and in a sense the Brahma-Somaj is a missionary body. The Christian College at Madras, the Oxford and Cambridge Hostel at Allahabad, St. Xaviers College at Bombay, and the Salvation Army work among the criminal tribes. All this private education is of a kind which, assisted by Government inspection, recognition, and control, by the very energy and influence of their teachers, has accomplished wonderful work in the development of India, and everything in India, but particularly education, depends upon the personality and the human influence in enlivening and interesting the pupils. I think we are alive, too, to the importance of making education in India something different. from the process merely of teaching Indians enough English to enable them to obtain, or fail to obtain, a B.A. degree. The Resolution which I am referring to drew attention to three matters in which education in the past has been imperfect, the formation of character, sound hygiene in the schools and colleges, and the improvement of the teaching and study of Oriental languages. The first Grant of the old East India Trading Company of 1813 was chiefly for the encouragement of literature. I am afraid we have lagged rather behind since then, but the project for establishing a central Oriental institution in India and an Oriental college here in London, will remove from us the reproach that we have lagged behind Germany and France in our treatment of Oriental learning. The Resolution concluded with an appeal for the co-operation of the Indian people. We cannot have education in the true sense from without. Millions of apt pupils engrossed in codes and schemes drawn up by Europeans will not suffice of themselves to make an educated people.

I come to the second of my subjects, the question of law and order. I think it may generally be said that peace reigns in India. The Legislative Councils with their opportunities for discussion, the great progress that has been made during the last few years, the evidence that we are considering all outstanding questions, these have their effect, but I cannot paint a rosy picture without saying a word about certain disquieting features. I am bound to express the view that all is not well with Bengal. The elaborate rules and the diverging procedure in all the provinces which have for their object the fixing of rent or revenue due by land holders to the Government or from tenants to the zemindars or landlords, are absorbingly interesting to any student of Indian agriculture. I am not sure that they are not in some cases perhaps over- elaborate and over-irksome, but no one can study them without being impressed by the fact of the relentless efforts with which land records, unequalled in the world, are kept, and by the help of these records justice and equity between the States and the land-holder on the one hand, and between the land-holder and his tenants on the other are meted out. This elaborate system of rent and revenue administration has incidental advantages in bringing together the rulers and the ruled. It gives infinite opportunity for knowledge of the condition of the peasant, and occasion upon which to foster village life and agricultural co-operation—which, as I have described before to the House, is making such wonderful strides in India—and for understanding and appreciating the character and the habits of the people.

In Bengal, the permanent land settlement and the absence of continuous land records have together resulted incidentally in one tremendous disadvantage, that these opportunities for close relationship between the people and the administration have been limited, with the result of estrangement and a reliance, not on the revenue officer, but on the police, for the link between the people arid the Executive. The problem in Bengal is, then, to devise some remedy for this state of affairs by perfecting the machinery of local government, and, on the other hand, improving the police. All these matters are engaging the attention of the Government, and I have only stated them because it will enable the House of Commons to realise the sort of problem with which we have to deal. The House hears from time to time about dacoity in Bengal. In the year 1912 there were fourteen cases of dacoity, or attempted dacoity, by armed gangs in Eastern Bengal in the quest of money or of weapons, and in December a large quantity of arms and ammunition was discovered in a house in Dacca, in which also were found many articles of jewellery looted on some of these occasions. The peculiar feature about these crimes is that they have nearly always been brought home to a class which, outside Bengal, is very law-abiding—the young men of the more or less educated middle class, sons of respectable parents. There are not many of them—an infinitesimally small number when thinking of the population of India, but gangs of a dozen or fifteen young men of respectable parents cannot engage in these exercises without attracting the notice of their neighbours. A head constable was murdered in the streets of Dacca last December by three young men armed with revolvers who were seen by many passers-by. We must rely in our effort to correct these things upon the co-operation of the people. But it must be remembered that m Eastern Bengal the communications consist almost entirely of waterways, and crimes of violence are difficult to guard against and hard to detect. An enormous area of country, full of small isolated villages, intersected with rivers and courses, must always offer an easy field to daring criminals and present great obstacles to the police.

There was a remarkable case in 1908, when about thirty young Bengalis were able to travel for many miles with the loot obtained by robbery in broad daylight, meeting no police and encountering little resistance from villagers, though they murdered four men, and that led to an investigation of the position. It was then found that the average of police stations, excluding outposts, was one to every 400 square miles. It is all very well to talk about. the co-operation of the people, but you cannot expect villagers to travel great distances, leaving their agricultural pursuits and leaving their homes and women unprotected, in order to go and help the police. The situation is being faced, the police are being strengthened and reorganised, and a system of river patrols is being established. The first step is necessarily to cope with existing crime. The larger problem is to prevent the recruiting of criminals in the future. So far as prevention goes, the Bengal Government are engaged in a comprehensive and carefully devised scheme, including, besides the measures I have described, a reorganisation of the village chaukidars and police. But the permanent problem is the cure of the conditions which made these crimes possible, and here we are face to face with economic and educational problems of great complexity. The development of the industrial resources of the province, the improvement of education on lines which will enable young men to earn a living in practical pursuits, instead of turning out. educational failures who find themselves divorced from the humble callings which their fathers followed, endowed with just enough book learning to make them bad politicians, yet far too little to enable them to live by any liberal profession. These are the real problems of the future in Bengal, and their solution must be at best, slow.

In the meantime it is plainly the duty of the State to protect the law-abiding, to give confidence to the timid, and to deal so energetically with crimes of violence that public confidence may be restored in the ability of the Government to give protection to a population which has no natural sympathy with crime, but which has too often found that the dacoit can strike harder and quicker than the Government. One necessary step is to improve the police. The attention of the House is from time to time called, quite justifiably, to cases in which Indian constables have abused their powers. I only want to pause for a moment before saying a word on this well-worn theme, to regret that no members of that force, except its few bad characters, are ever heard of by the public in this country, and I should like to draw attention to the splendid material we have in the English officers and those under their charge. I have been looking at the most recent rewards, and I wish to tell the House of some of them. I find that three recipients of the King's Police Medal risked their lives to save helpless people from drowning, while five awards were made to two superior officers and three constables on the occasion of a fire and explosion in the laboratory of the Delhi Fort. Twenty-five live shells were known to be in the burning building when a superintendent and three constables mounted an adjoining wall, and for two hours played the hose on the fire, until their comrades succeeded in getting into the building and removing the shells. I find that a Calcutta constable, unarmed, captured an armed burglar after he had just killed another constable. A Punjab constable, who had saved two women from drowning at the risk of his life, came to the rescue of a comrade felled to the ground by four criminals. Two constables in the United Provinces attacked a band of twenty armed robbers, wounding and capturing one, and putting the rest to flight. A sub-inspector in Madras, unarmed, saved a magistrate from an angry mob during a religious disturbance, A European inspector in Behar saved two Indian women from a burning house at the risk of his life. I have taken these from different provinces, and all from the one year's record, because I wish the House to realise what good material we have in the Indian police. I hope that the recital of such cases may raise a desire on the part of some of my fellow Members, who are laudably anxious to eradicate torture and practices of that kind from the Indian police, to encourage merit by seeking information also as to the other side of the shield.

In Bengal, within three years, no less than five Indian police officers have been murdered by political assassins, and one has been severely wounded. We punish severely any constable whom we can detect in abuse of his power. Facts are notified by way of warning to all members of the force. We must to complete the process, say a word of recognition and sympathy for the members of the force who have lost their lives in the fearless performance of their duty, and amid difficulties which I think are not always sufficiently appreciated by the House. May I add that, although we propose to relax no effort in improving the condition of the police and their character, we cannot see our way to doing what some Members of this House would have us do—abolishing a record of confessions prior to trial. We have two duties, one is to avoid and to prevent torture, as I believe we are increasingly successful in doing, but we are not justified in hampering ourselves against the other side of our duty—the punishment of crime and the protection of law-abiding citizens—by action which, as the House will see when the papers are published, is opposed by all the local Governments, and nearly every Court of law throughout the country. I have said before, and I say again, that the prohibition of confessions would not prevent the risk of ill-treatment of accused persons by constables. It would not prevent the ill-treatment of witnesses in hopes of discovering clues or stolen property. However, we can, I think, perfect our precautions to ensure that confessions are really voluntary and carefully recorded.

I should like to read to the House some of the measures which the Government of India propose to adopt. These proposals are still under the consideration of the Secretary of State, and I am able to say that he will be only too glad of the cooperation of any hon. Member of this House in suggesting further reforms for consideration by the Government of India. The police are to be forbidden to interrogate accused, if remanded, without the permission of the magistrate. Instructions will be given that a remand of a confessing prisoner to police custody should only be granted if the police could show good and satisfactory grounds, and only by magistrates who have first-class or second-class powers under the Criminal Procedure Code. Where the object of the remand is verification of prisoner's statement, he is to be remanded to the charge of the magistrate, and the remand should be as short as possible. When a prisoner has been produced to make a confession, and has declined to do so, he is in no circumstances to be remanded to police custody. The recording of confessions is to be limited to special divisional magistrates and magistrates of the first-class, or, if especially empowered, of the second-class. An effort will he made not to record a confession without the orders of the district superintendent of police, or until the accused has had some hours out of police custody. The police are not to be present when confession is recorded, and ordinarily a confession shall be recorded in open Court, and during Court hours, and a magistrate recording a confession shall endeavour to ascertain the exact circumstances in which the confession was made, and shall record on the Record the statement of the grounds on which he believes the confession genuine, and the precautions taken to remove accused from the custody of the police.


The hon. Gentleman used some words which I do not quite understand. Will he kindly explain what is meant by the words "remanded to make a confession."


I am very sorry if I did not make the statement quite clear. I did not say, "remanded to make a confession." What I said was, "When a prisoner has been produced to make a confession, and has declined to do so, he is in no circumstances to be remanded to police custody.


May I ask what is meant by "produced to make a confession"?


When he is produced in Court for the purpose of making a confession, and he declines to do it, he is not to go back to the custody of the police who produced him. I wish to say one word about the Delhi outrage. A bomb was thrown in daylight, the Viceroy was severely wounded, and two men were killed. The assassin got clear away, and has not yet been caught. That is the story, and I want to say how it was possible for such a plot to be matured without any inkling of it reaching the authorities, why the actual attempt was not frustrated, and how it is that the criminals have not been detected. If there is an active organisation, however small in numbers. however abhorrent to the general sense of the people, an organisation including men competent to manufacture effective bombs, and men willing to take the risk of throwing them, and if that organisation is in the hands of men who can keep their secrets and confine their knowledge of particular-plots to a very narrow circle, then carefully thought-out plans could be prepared, and no Government in the world can guard against them, except by such a network of surveillance and of espionage as would be absolutely intolerable. Even so, history has not shown that Governments who were ready to subordinate their main business to a policy of intense suspicion, have thereby succeeded in preventing political murder, and State occasions, which draw immense crowds, may draw, too, persons secretly armed with explosives and ready to use. Ready them. There are certain precautions, which are not only possible, but which it is the clear duty of the police or authorities to take. They include careful arrangements for regulating the traffic, the presence of troops, and of police, the. knowledge of the occupants of houses that overlook the road, and the ascertaining whether strangers of known bad character have arrived upon the scene. The judgment of the Government of India, after most careful inquiries, is that there was no failure on the part of the local authorities or the police to carry out these duties. There was no reason whatever to expect that such a crime would occur. There was no reason to expect that the arrangements made for guarding against this crime were not thoroughly adequate. Lord Hardinge said in the moving speech with which, still suffering from his wound, he opened the First Session of the Imperial Legislative Council at Delhi—one of the most moving occasions at which I was ever privileged to be present— In my desire for kindly intercourse with the people and accessibility to them. I have always discouraged excessive precautions, and I trusted myself and Lady Hardinge more to the care of the people than to that of the police. I think we owe to this fact, and to the splendid courage with which the Viceroy and Lady Hardinge acted throughout the magnificent display of sympathy with them, and the abhorrence with which the crime was regarded from one end of India to the other. Had His Excellency desired, further precautions would have been taken. When a procession moves through a city of flat-topped houses, it is possible, by posting men practically to garrison the roofs, but this would not prevent the throwing of a bomb. There are assassins who will kill even with the certain knowledge that they cannot escape. The building from which the bomb was thrown is really a collection of houses built round a courtyard, a warren of passages and staircases with over a dozen means of access to the adjoining buildings and streets, and so the assassin got clear away. This does not mean that the police have been idle, or that there is no hope of ultimately bringing him to book. But this crime is not the outcome of a wide national movement. The fact that a lot of irreconcilables, enemies of authority, can effect political murder is not confined to India. There have been times and countries in which the deliberate opinion of the people was opposed to the Government, and in which political murder is the extreme manifestation of a sentiment which in its milder form the mass of the people shares. In such cases as the detection of a political crime is, as a rule, not difficult, for the existence of conspiracies is no secret to the people at large. In those circumstances a particular crime can be detected and punished without affecting the general situation. A situation of this kind differs radically from the present situation in India. The spontaneous expressions of horror of the crime came from Indians of all parties, all races, and all creeds from one end of India to the other, wholly apart from any difference or any political opinion. The splendid thanksgiving for the recovery of the Viceroy constitutes one of the most striking events in the history of our Empire. A closer association of leading Indians in the Government of the country has precluded all possibility that an attempt on the life of the Viceroy, the President of that enlarged Legislative Council, in which speeches of sympathy and dismay of such striking eloquence and sincerity were made, can be the act of a politician nationalist.

India abhors the crime, and Indians have reflected sadly that its occurrence constitutes an unmerited stain upon the reputation of their country. Lord Hardinge declared at once that he would pursue, without faltering, the same policy that he has pursued for the last two years. There is no question of reaction or withdrawing from the innocent millions the measures that we have thought it right to take, merely because in India, as in a dozen other countries, terrorists have committed a crime that could by no possibility have brought a single national aspiration nearer to fulfilment. But the good name of India has suffered very unfairly, and the position of our Indian fellow subjects in other parts of the Empire, difficult enough already in many ways, has not been made easier by the Delhi bomb. Instances of this kind impress the imagination, and evoke a general out-burst of indignation from severe critics of our Government, as well as from those who are generally more in sympathy with it. I do not like here to repeat that injudicious speeches may affect the mind of half-educated and perhaps half-witted boys, and others whom no political concessions can please, but I want to draw attention to the words of one Indian member of Council in a recent debate, who said:— I fully share the feelings of shame which have been expressed, but then I ask myself, Have I been able to help Government or those responsible for the administration of the country to get rid of these people? Though these outrages are committed against my Own country, amid my kith and kin, what have I done?' That is really the thing. This question, I think, shows a feeling of personal responsibility which is new behind a feeling of loyalty which is not new, and this feeling of responsibility is one of the greatest needs as its appearance is one of the most hopeful signs in India to-day.

I come to my last subject, the Royal Commission which is now sitting. I think that I can describe the year of which I have been speaking as the year of deliberation. It has marked out, as it were, a halt after a period of advance. The last march, the march of the Morley-Minto Report, covered a vast tract of unconquered and valuable territory, and we are now halting to consolidate our recent conquest while reconnoitring parties are being sent out to spy out the land that lies before us. To two of our pioneers I have already referred, the Royal Commission presided over by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for East Worcestershire, and the Military Committee which has sat under Field-Marshal Lord Nicholson. The third is the Public Services Commission, Lord Islington's Commission, now sitting in London, and soon to go back again to India, where it has already sat during the last cold weather. The Commission has conducted its inquiry under conditions of great difficulty. It has been subjected to misunderstanding, based on imperfect reports of its proceeding and often to slander. I want to say that the Government appreciates the determination and assiduity with which it is pursuing its labour, and the Government is confident that when its Report issues we shall have the basis of many desirable alterations in our system, the material for another march forward. I do not want to say one word which would prejudge its conclusions, but I do want to say that we cannot go on governing India with a dissatisfied public service, and there is evidence that the recruiting sergeant is hampered by the evil reports which are brought home from India at this moment.

At the risk of once again stating a platitude I will say that unless you can get the best then, selected by the most suitable tests, animated by the highest traditions, proceeding—this is the important point—to India confident of their choice of a permanent career and of the goodwill of arid fair treatment by the British people in whose name they are going to administer, you will lose, and you will deserve to lose, the hold of the British people upon the affection of the Indian people. In saying that, I am not referring for one moment to those few, very few, Civil servants who regret the good old days when they were sent out to govern the people, who were content to be governed, and lament the fact that they have now to co-operate with the people and the Government of India. With all respect and all recognition for their services in the past, we do not want those men in India. After all, what did we go to India for? If the people of India have act made any progress under British rule, if the problems of the Government are still to-day what they were a hundred years ago, or in the days of Lord Clive, then I think we have failed in our justification. Nor do we want to listen for one moment to those men who tell us that they do not like the educated Indian, and that the educated Indian does not like us. If the educated Indian has faults or shortcomings, different from or greater than the faults of the educated Englishman, these faults are the faults of the education which we have given them.

Even if it can be said against us that there are some educated Indians who do not like us, do not sympathise with us, do not believe in our motives, I think that there is no necessity to be dismayed. Our part, difficult and worthy, is to bring the educated Indian on to our side, and to go on helping him in order that he may help us, or to ask him to help us in order that we may go on helping him. The problem of India is not a problem of material advance of increasing prosperity. It is not a problem of new schools and university buildings. It is not a problem of new hospitals and Government houses. It is a problem of government and of cooperation, of giving to the Indian increasing opportunity in the country which is his own, and increasing assistance in the development of his capacity for local government and administration. No, the grievances, as I understand, in the Indian Civil Service, to which I desire to call attention are three: The first is want of pay. The Indian Civil Service claim that their pay has not been revised as has the pay of people in private employment, to keep the pace with the enormous increase in the cost of living in India. The standard of life, the slowness of promotion, and the lateness of life at which they are recruited are all questions of the utmost importance, and if an underpaid service is an unsatisfactory service, the Royal Commission have got a worthy task to perform in a thorough investigation of this grievance in order that they may recommend pay which shall be adequate to the altered conditions, and pensions proportionate to the services rendered.

Sir J. D. REES

Is the hon. Gentleman referring to any general complaint by Indian Civil servants or a complaint by the Punjab, the United Provinces, and the Central Provinces? Is he referring to something specific and local?

5.0 P.M.


Of course, I know that there is a particular grievance from the Punjab and the United Provinces owing to the block in promotion, and we have taken some steps, not wholly satisfactory perhaps, but which will not—if I may use the expression—queer the pitch of the Royal Commission, for temporarily dealing with these places. But I was taking a general view that the cost of living had increased, and that the pay had not. The next grievance of the Indian Civil Service is the growing complexity of the system under which they live. Half the faults which are found from time to time with the Indian Civil Service are mainly attributable to their overwork. Every year sees an increase in the inflexible rules laid down for the guidance of all grades of officers. Every year, therefore, decreases the responsibility of officers, makes their task less agreeable, and devotes more of their time to reports. I have heard of an officer who said that when he joined the Service a small volume of rules was sufficient to guide him when he went into camp; now he has to pack a portmanteau with codes and regulations. At the risk of repeating what I have said before in this House, I cannot pass by this subject without saying that one of the cures for this is devolution. We must seek to find indigenous voluntary agencies to conduct a large amount of our detailed work. We are always inclined to thrust upon India, in the light of our own experience in this country, laws and regulations comparable to those which have been found satisfactory to us. In this country, when laws are passed, we hand them over in the main to our voluntary agencies—our county councils, our municipal councils, and our rural district councils—to carry out; but in India every such enactment and every such resolution must at present mean more work for the officials. Even if there be some loss of efficiency, even if a district board be worse run, a municipal body be less capable, we ought to find the indigenous agency in India which will alone ensure our progress being real and complete.

How can this be done? I hope the House will forgive me for saying that there is this problem: How can a district officer entrust details of his work to voluntary assistance if the local Government is always asking him detailed questions on matters for which he ought to be responsible? How can the local Government forbear worrying each district officer if the Imperial Government at Delhi is for ever interfering and worrying the local Government for reports? How can the Imperial Government at Delhi refuse to interfere with its local Government if it is always being worried for reports or details by the Secretary of State, and how can the Secretary of State forbear to worry the Imperial Government at Delhi if the House of Commons and the House of Lords are always asking for information? The tightness of control of each step in the machine is an excuse for the step below. I hope the House will forgive me. Hon. Members are entitled to know anything and everything they want to know, but if you devolve on other people duties which you cannot or will not perform yourself, you must leave them with trust, to do the things that you have asked them to do for you. Let them do confidingly the things that you have asked them. I know I shall be told, indignantly, by hon. Members that were it not for their interpolation of questions as to Indian affairs, there would be no opportunity of any public and recognised criticism of the Indian Government. All these things are a matter of degree, and, as time goes on and you take steps in India to bring the Government more and more face to face with the people, every step you take in India in that direction ought to lessen control here. But I should like to remind the House that devolution in this respect was accomplished by recent reforms, and that in the legislative councils, now enlarged, elective and representative, questions are asked and answered, and resolutions moved and discussed, on question of every variety of importance concerning every branch of administration. It is only necessary to glance at the proceedings of one of those councils to realise that a very genuine interest in administration is taken by the leaders of Indian opinion, and that there is very little danger that any real or apparent grievance, or any Government action of any kind which appears to require explanation, will pass unchallenged.

Then there is a third grievance, the last grievance of the Indian Civil Service, and this applies to all the Services in India, British and Indian. They are sensitive of your opinion and dependent on your support, and, believe me, I speak from the bottom of my heart when I say they are in every way worthy both of your support and of your good opinion. The isolation, the courage, the indefatigable work of exiled men and women, often in lonely stations, in the Forest Service of the Indian Civil Service, in Salt, in education and other services, to name only a few, ought to call for the admiration of every Member in this House. What I ask in their name and what they ask silently, is an appreciation of their difficulties and a belief in their undoubted singleness of purpose. It too often happens that they are discouraged in their work, because the criticisms of them from this country, are so very vocal. whereas praise and appreciation is so often silent, because men have not time to attend to Indian subjects. So much for that side of the public services inquiry. But there is the other side of the public services inquiry which opens up the whole vast territory of the share of Indians in the administration of the country. What our attitude is in regard to this I have already indicated. The old era of a hard and fast division between government and the governed on racial lines has long ago disappeared. The watchword of the future is co-operation. We are pledged to advance, and we mean to advance, but it must be steadily and prudently. The very appointment of the Commission is good earnest of our sincerity, and, as their share, we ask from the progressive section of the Indian community patience. The Commission will advise us as to what changes, what reforms are necessary to take us as far forward on this new road as we are now justified in going.

All I take leave to do now is to make this one comment on the subject. It is not only a question of new regulations, of carefully balanced proportions between the two races, it is not only a question of words and of figures, it is, above all and beyond all, a question of real determination on both sides to act up to the spirit of the underlying principle. Mere lip service to a formula is worthless. I wish to appeal to British and to Indians alike, to make this co-operation a real thing by inspiring it with the vital elements of tact, sympathy, and sincerity—the instruments of success in India. Finally, I want to remind the House that there is another side of the question which the Commission probably will not touch, but which is as important, as serious, and as deserving of our most earnest consideration. There are in India millions, tens of millions, I might almost say hundreds of millions, who do not, cannot, and probably never will, aspire to a share in the government of their country, and who live the life of an Oriental, unstirred by the Western life we have imported. We measure their lands, we administer justice to them, we teach them to keep themselves, their houses, and their villages clean, we show them how plague may be avoided, we bring to bear on their material improvement all the resources of Western science and civilisation, but all this is to them but as a phase—passing in a maze and murmur of words—in the eternal scheme of things. The principle on which we act is right. It is our bounden duty to give of our best to the betterment, according to the best of our ideas, of the people under our rule. We must do these things, and we must do them by rule and by code, and through the agency of officials who use the language and practices of officials; but let there be added to the rules and codes and to the official book a note of explanation, a gentleness of application, and an endeavour to interpret.

The Indian of whom I now speak has a view of life which is not our view. His ways are not our ways. Our books, our medicine, our sanitation, are as mysterious to him as the rites of Shiva or of Vishnu to the average middle-class Londoner. The language of officialism booms in his ears and stupefies him; he is entangled and trapped, and terrified in the coils and meshes of official codes; he is, in spite of all our Western importations, the same man as he was fifteen centuries ago. That is one of our difficulties—that we find in India living side by side the twentieth century and the fifth, and the same machinery to deal with both of them. I do not ask for separate machinery, but what I do ask is that where the machinery, with all its complications and intricacies suited to the twentieth century, comes in contact with the fifth century, let every effort be made to simplify, to adjust, and to explain. Understanding is what is wanted, and understanding is impossible unless the officer who meets the people in direct contact has the time to see and talk to them face to face, the liberty to adjust and lighten their difficulties, and the freedom to ease their condition by the intervention of his personal agency and sympathy. And so my last word is a plea for devolution, not necessarily by a redistribution of duties and powers, but by the liberty to exercise a wise discretion in the use of duties and powers as they now are. If we make co-operation and devolution our guiding principle, I am convinced that we shall be on the right lines, and, if anything we have done during this year, or if anything I have said this afternoon, helps towards securing for the one section of the Indian community another instalment of their just and proper ambitions, and for the other and larger section of the Indian community a more personal, a more elastic, a more understanding rule, and for our public servants some due recognition of their loyal and unsparing service by the removal of any existing or potential cause of discontent, then I shall feel that though I have taxed the patience of this House I have not wasted its time.


The hon. Gentleman the Under-Secretary for India has no need to excuse himself for having wearied the House, for I can certainly say that his speech from beginning to end has been very interesting, and has very often been more than interesting in the effect which it had upon us. He began his speech by saying that he approached his task with increasing diffidence year by year. I can well understand that, for there is no Department of the Government with which anyone can be connected where the seriousness of it, the importance of it, the difficulty of it, can fail to be increasingly impressed upon those who are responsible for it. I am quite sure when the hon. Gentleman, in the closing part of his speech, referred to the fact of people of the twentieth century living side by side with people of the fifth century, that he really touched the vital difficulty in governing India. I would suggest that it brings to our minds this idea, that while it is desirable to criticise in every way, we should not be moved by the reactionary views of people either in this country or in India, but that we should realise that, in dealing with people of that kind, we cannot hope to transplant our ideas suddenly, and that however earnest we are in trying to make the people of India realise that we are governing India for their benefit and not for ours, yet progress must be slow. If the hon. Gentleman with all his knowledge felt diffident, the House will fully understand I do not approach this subject with any great, delight. It is one of the penalties of my position that I have to speak on many occasions whether I desire to do so or not, and the curious, and for me unpleasant, consequence is that, while I have to make speeches on so many subjects, I have less time than I had before, rather than more, to try to make them adequate to the subject.

What I propose to do to-day is to take up those of the subjects which have been dealt with by the hon. Gentleman as I remember them, and, in doing that, I am sure I shall occupy at least as much of the time of the House as I desire. To begin with, the hon. Gentleman called our attention to the fact that there is a great deal of inquiry going on about the Government of India in different directions. He referred to the reform which is contemplated in the India Office. I read the speech to which he referred of Lord Crewe, which took an hour in delivery, and after reading it with the utmost care I think he indeed is entitled to great congratulations on having occupied so long a time in dealing with the subject of so small a reform of what both he and the hon. Gentleman has described as "the cumbrous and dilatory procedure" of the India Office. I hope it will have that result, but I do not think I am misrepresenting Lord Crewe's speech when I say that all I could make out of it was that there was to be some slight reduction in the number of members of the India Council, and some slight change in the way in which they performed their duties. It will need more than that to do away with this "cumbrous and dilatory procedure," but we shall judge better from the Bill. The hon. Member spoke also of another Commission, the Royal Commission presided over by my right hon. Friend the Member for East Worcester (Mr. Austen Chamberlain). It is indeed a gigantic subject that that Commission has to deal with, and I know, for I find how it interferes with his other work, how keen an interest he is taking in it. I think the hon. Member was wise not to refer at all to the complicated and difficult problems with which they have to deal. He did refer to a statement made, but which, I may say, was nothing but merely an indication that it was being put forward as one of the subjects to be considered by this Commission.

He then referred to another Committee as to which I should like to say a word, and that is the Committee presided over by Lord Nicholson. Its object, as I understand, was to consider the possibility of reduction on expenditure in the Indian Army. The lion. Gentleman has told us that already the Government have come to t he conclusion that, though they hope for the same money to get greater efficiency, there is no hope of a reduction in the total expenditure. There has been a great deal, as hon. Members know, of rumour in India about this Committee, rumours of differences of opinion, and I am not surprised that the Government are not prepared to lay their Report upon the Table of the House. Probably that would not have been done in any case, and certainly up till now, the Government of India can hardly have had time thoroughly to consider it, and I would not expect any statement of its intentions to be made to-day. But the rumour has been that the proposed reduction, whatever there was, was to be in the number of British officers attached to native regiments. I do not know whether there was any truth in it or not, but there was such a rumour, and I think we have a right to ask, and I hope the hon. Gentleman will agree with me, that as the House will not be sitting for six months, no step in this direction of any importance will be taken until Parliament is summoned and can consider it with some information of its intentions having been laid before the House. The hon. Member spoke also of the effect of it upon, I thought, the administration of the Army. I did not know that its reference included this subject in regard to which also there has been much debate in India. If it is included, I am sure the House and country will be very glad before anything is done to know what changes are proposed.

The third Commission which was referred to was the Public Services Commission, of which the hon. Member spoke with great effect, which was appreciated on all sides of the House. That Commission, as he pointed out, has been subjected to a good deal of criticism, especially in India. I do not know whether it was the fault of the Commission at all or not, but everyone who is interested in India knows that at one time in the proceedings there, undue prominence was given to what is called the racial question. There was a great deal of evidence as to comparison between Europeans and Indians in the Civil Service. The effort of the members in India dwelt far too much, I think, on the aspect of the subject. Later on that disappeared, and I am sure everyone will agree it is a good thing that discussion of this kind should disappear. While it cannot be of advantage to inquiry in India or out of it, I noticed that in the Blue Book Sir Fleetwood Wilson alluded to it, probably on account of what had happened in India. In dealing with it, he uses words which seem to me so thoroughly to express what we all feel, that I am sure they will interest any Members who have not read them:— What I wish to emphasise is this, that in my experience the best civilians never give so much as a thought to this 'racial question' unless circumstances force it upon them, anal that they find the necessity to think of it. when thus forced upon them, utterly repugnant." I am sure that is the feeling of the Civil Service, the best of it, both European and Indian, and I am sure everyone desires it treated in that way now that the Commission is sitting at home. The hon. Member said a great deal, but not too much, about the necessity of making our Civil Service in India more attractive than it is. We all know that there has been a great deal of change in our own experience in this respect. It used to be regarded as almost the best career for which educated boys could equip themselves. That has certainly changed, and it has not changed because there is less emigration. On the contrary, not only is emigration going on more rapidly than ever before from the whole mass of the population of the country, but, so far as my experience goes, men of my own age who have now sons growing up, are sending them to a greater extent than ever before outside the United Kingdom to gain a livelihood. Of course, it is not altogether the change in the conditions of the Civil Service which causes the comparative unattractiveness of that Service. It is due to wider openings in other directions and more attractive openings. It is due also, I think, to this, that the more energetic type have a preference for a career which has unlimited possibilities in which they can hope to obtain a good amount of success, whereas, after all the rewards of the Indian Civil Service are limited. Making all allowances, I think it is absolutely necessary that an attempt should be made to make that Service more attractive, for, undoubtedly, the success we have had in India has been due to this, that on the whole, the type who have been sent out there, have been the very best type which we find at home. They have immense responsibility, and everyone who has ever written on the subject agrees, though, of course, everyone makes mistakes, that the success of the Government of Great Britain in India has been largely due to the quality of the Civil Servants whom we have sent out to represent us.

While the hon. Member was speaking, and I hope he will not think I ant unduly controversial in raising this point, and talking of the feeling that those people have that when they do good they are not noticed at all, but whenever they make a mistake they are criticised, I think there is one other thing that anyone in his position, and still more in the position of the Secretary of State, should carefully bear in mind, and that is, that, unless there is absolute necessity, the higher positions in India should be reserved for the men who have borne the burden and heat of the day, and should not be given to anyone from outside. An account of a ease—I knew nothing about it before—has been sent to me, as, of course, I do not accept statements without verifying them, I only put it before the hon. Gentleman so that he will deal with it when he replies. The case is that of a Mr. Hornell who has been sent out as head of the Education Department in Bengal from the Education Office here, and it is the fact that under Lord Morley's rule as Secretary of State, it was laid down that such appointments would never be given except to people in the education service there unless suitable people were not obtainable. It seems to me almost incredible that in the whole of the Education Service of India which is manned, as the hon. Gentleman will agree, by picked men from our universities, nobody is to be found who is fit to accept that post. There is one man, and I think it is on his behalf that the information of which I speak was sent, who is supposed to have the natural right to step into the position. He was, I think, a double first at Oxford or Cambridge, and the gentleman who follows him had no such distinction. I do not put an excessive value upon that by any means. I see the Prime Minister is present; he has had as great distinctions of that kind as it was possible for a man to have, and, if I might, I should like to congratulate him on what I saw in the "Times" the other day, that two of his sons in succession have attained distinctions equal to his own.

But, for all that, I would be very sorry to believe that necessarily a man who takes first-class honours is superior to a mats who does not, but surely the fact that there is someone with a record so valuable in India, makes it necessary that there should be very complete justification for sending someone out to India at the very time when the hon. Gentleman himself tells us that one of the first duties of the Indian Government is to make the Civil Service attractive to the people who are recruited for that service. I would like also in this connection to refer to another subject of criticism which he has not mentioned. He said that nothing is so hard for those Civil servants, or the servants of the Government of India as to find that perhaps after a life of splendid service, something is done which does not meet with the approval of certain Members on this side, and that they are recognised as a target for criticism. I think there was a case of that kind in this House the other day on the adjournment of the Debate. That was the case of Sir John Hewett, I do not know Sir John Hewett, and I am glad I do not, but I have carefully read the White Paper which has been issued on that subject, and I read, I am bound to say, with great dislike, the statement of Lord Crewe that in his opinion Sir John Hewett had made an error of judgment. That really amounts to condemnation from his chief of the action which he took. If that statement had been made before he had communicated with Sir John Hewett, there might have been some excuse for it, but how anyone could make it, after reading the statement made here by that officer, is something that I cannot understand. What is it for which he was criticised? He was criticised in connection with the delay with regard to the appeal from the Court below, but that delay is, I am sure, explained in a way satisfactory to anyone, and I need not dwell on it.

The main ground on which he was criticised was that a petition to the central Government of India was sent to him, and that he declined to forward it. Lord Crewe says that it would have been wiser if he had forwarded it. What are the facts? The Government of India has distinctly laid down a rule for the guidance of anyone in Sir John Hewett's position. That rule is perfectly definite—that a petition is not to be sent at all unless it can reach the central Government forty-eight hours before the execution, and unless two conditions are fulfilled. Those two conditions are that the Governor thinks there is a likelihood of the central Government reconsidering the decision, and that the matter has not aroused public interest. In my belief, with those rules clearly laid down, Sir John Hewett had no option in the matter whatever. He was not to send the petition unless it could reach the central Government forty-eight hours before the execution, and unless, in his judgment—and he alone had to decide this—there was ground to think that the central Government would reverse the decision. We have nothing to do with the rule in considering Sir John Hewett's case. I quite agree with Lord Crewe that the rule about a case having excited public interest is one which is open to the most serious objection, and I think it would be wise to alter it. But what you have to consider arc the rules as they were, and whether or not the Lieutenant-Governor was bound to act upon them. I think he was. If he does not act upon them he makes the rules a dead letter, and it practically comes to this, that the Governor goes against the rules and sends documents to the central Government of India, in order to save himself a responsibility which he ought to bear.

Not only is that true as a general principle, but in this particular case a telegram had been sent to the central Government, on behalf of the people who had been convicted, asking for the postponement of the execution. The central Government sent a telegram to Sir John Hewett not to postpone the execution and to act according to rule. In this particular case he was told to act according to rule, and yet Lord Crewe turns round and says that he has committed an error of judgment in not doing something which the central Government said he ought not to do. But there is more than that. Sir John Hewett points out that on a previous occasion someone who was temporarily filling his position acted in the way we are now told he ought to have acted. What happened? The central Government of India, his superior authority, said that they had made a mistake and they ought to have acted according to rule. I am bound to say that in my belief the least that a distinguished servant like Sir John Hewett has to expect is that the head of his Department in a case like this should not use words which by the public as a whole, will be considered as a condemnation of his action—as I believe the action which Sir John Hewett was inevitably bound to take.

The hon. Member spoke later on of the general financial position of India. He was very optimistic about it. He pointed out, quite truly, that the Indian Government was able to meet next year's increasing expenditure, in spite of the loss of the opium revenue, without any extra taxation. I think there is good ground for a reasonable amount of optimism, but I think also there is great ground for caution. The fact is that the railways, which gave an immense part of the revenue last year, and are expected to give it next year, only a few years ago were actually losing money. In the interval there has been an unusual succession of good seasons in India, but I think it is reasonable to fear that they will not continue; and that the revenue will not continue to be so prosperous as it has been. The hon. Member pointed out that great sums have been spent on education and sanitation. I am sure that everyone, desires that the largest possible amount of money should be spent in that way. I listened with interest and pleasure to what he said about the efforts to give education in India. Everyone, I think, realises how difficult lit is, and also that some great educational changes must take place. The hon. Gentleman spoke of the large sums spent on education and sanitation as nonrecurring expenditure. It may be put down in that way in the Budget, but in a country like India, so large, and with such immense demands, once having begun to spend money on that scale it will be very difficult to draw back. I am sure there is great ground for feeling that sooner or later some change will have to be made and some new form of raising revenue found. I do not wish to bring any controversial subject into the Debate to-day, but I cannot refrain from one remark on this point. About a year ago I happened to be speaking in the country on the fiscal question, and. giving my view of what should be the system in India. Lord Crewe spoke afterwards. My view was that Preference would be a good thing, which would practically mean that there should be, as far as revenue would permit it, complete Free Trade between India and this country, and that whatever revenue was required should be raised by duties on other goods. Of course, I know that that does not commend itself to a large section of people in this country, and I should not have objected to any amount of criticism on its merits. But what did Lord Crewe do? He said that that was a proposal which, when it was known in India would cause an immense amount of resentment.

After reading that I took steps to find out what Indian opinion was. Lord Crewe, in a later speech, was able to quote extracts from two Anglo-Indian papers, which a friend of mine told me were edited by Radical Englishmen. But there is an immense native Press, and my friend who took the trouble to get the information said that he failed to find a single native paper in India which had anything but condemnation for Lord Crewe's view. It is very difficult to prove a negative, and I do not say that there many not be another view, but I have had extracts from an immense number of native papers strongly condemning the view of Lord Crewe. That is not all. It is very seldom in political controversy that a decision so rapid and so final can be given as was given in this case. What happened? The Legislative Council set up in India discussed this subject only a few months ago —in March—and strange to say, this system of Preference, which I was told would be resented by the whole Indian population, was actually proposed in the Legislative Council by the leader of native Indian opinion, and every Indian present spoke in favour of it. I will not say more on the matter. I do not wish to discuss the merits now, but I hope that Lord Crewe, or anyone who succeeds him as Secretary of State for India, in trying to emphasise his own arguments, will not throw into the scale the opinion of India, and prove, as Lord Crewe did, how lamentably he misunderstands what that opinion is

I will refer to only one other subject mentioned by the Under-Secretary of State, and that is under the heading law and order, with a great deal of which he said I entirely agree. He spoke of the attempt on the life of the Viceroy, and said that neither the Viceroy nor the Government of India would desire on account of that attempt to go back one step in the general forward movement that they were making. I entirely agree with that. But I think the hon. Gentleman was rather optimistic in describing the present state of India in the matter of content or discontent. There are constant reports of secret conspiracies, of fires, of wrecking of trains, but the very case which he gave—the attack on the Viceroy—seems to be one of the most remarkable. It must have been known to a very large number of people, and not merely to those who were immediately concerned. Although the largest reward ever known in India has been offered for the capture of the man who was guilty, not a trace of him has been found. All this goes to make me feel, and the feeling is shared by those who know India much better than I do, that the position is a serious one, and while there is no suggestion that there should be measures like those which are sometimes adopted in despotic countries in similar conditions, there is certainly need for the greatest vigilance. I am sure that nothing can be more absurd than to pretend that the ameliorative measures which we are trying to bring about in India are going at once to do away with this discontent. It will do nothing of the kind. On the contrary, to give the whole or a very large section of the population what, at most, can only be a smattering of education, is likely at the beginning to increase discontent rather than abate it.

When the hon. Member told us that the problem in India was to find out some means of educating these people better, so that they would be able to get professions suitable to their higher degree of education, he was touching a problem the solution of which I do not see. There is the same problem in England. The same thing in a different way is happening here. People are undoubtedly made rather more discontented with their surroundings by the amount of education which is given, but that is no reason why I should suggest that we should stop giving education. By no means. What I mean by this is that it is vain to hope by any method of this kind to get rid of discontent. It is absolutely necessary that the Government of India should realise that the discontent exists, and take all the precautions necessary in order to guard against it. The hon. Gentleman told us one curious thing—that amongst those who were creating disorder in Bengal were gangs of well-educated and comparatively well-to-do people, and he said—I do not think anyone will disagree with him—that these people could not go on murdering some and robbing others without attracting the attention of their neighbours. The only way to deal with that problem is the way suggested by the hon. Member—that is, to strengthen, as far as you possibly can, the methods of police, to try to trace the crime, and to put it down. That, I feel sure, the Government will do. I quite agree that We have in India, from all that I can learn, a body of police who do credit to our government in that country, and which, in spite of many faults, and sometimes crimes, deserves the respect and not the constant criticism of the Members of this House.


I intervene in this Debate for one specific purpose. About the two speeches to which we have listened I shall say only one sentence. They were to me very wonderful by way of poignancy of contrast. One was full of sympathy with the Indian people and their condition. The hon. Member wished to relieve it, and he hoped that institutions of educational benefit leading up to self-government would be given. The speech of the Leader of the Opposition, who had a wide range before him, concerning the fate of some 350,000,000 people, was confined absolutely to comparatively minor points: whether a Civil servant has got an office in the Education Department or whether someone else had obtained it or not; whether Sir John Hewett was justified or not; whether, above all, tariff reform would or would not suit India; and whether the native police should or should mot be reinforced. I leave that speech. While however my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary for India was speaking of the great benefits to India of British rule, I felt that perhaps those benefits might not be so rosily or picturesquely painted if he had had present to his mind what is now very well known as the gallows tragedy at Sitapur. I wish in reference to that not to attack in the smallest way, or even to provoke, any individual, but I am going to speak very seriously of the system. I say that anyone who has looked into this matter can only regard with horror the fact that two men arrested for murder, tried and acquitted, and allowed to go to their own homes for sonic five months, by a process of trial unknown to English Law, and repudiated by every English lawyer, should then be tried again on an appeal taken against them on their acquittal, and t hat judges who never heard the case or saw a witness should condemn them to death; that the Lieut.-Governor who was at the head of the Government and who was responsible for this reprosecution should use his position, while not feeling able to grant a reprieve himself as he could not well do, to obstruct, delay, and refuse the forwarding of a. petition to the Government of India.

Let me state the case exactly as it is. A very brutal murder was perpetrated, about that there is no doubt. It occurred on 25th December, 1911. Three men, all relatives, were arrested and were tried by the sessions judge at Sitapur. The sessions judge had three assessors, all of them Indians. Witnesses were examined, and cross-examined. The Crown was represented. The whole case was heard. The sessions judge, with the support of two of his assessors, came to a distinct conclusion that these men were not guilty. This is what he said:— I find it impossible to convict on the evidence offered, for I do not believe it. This took place on 22nd February, 1912. The men were accordingly acquitted. They were set free, but they heard nothing whatever of what was in preparation for them. This acquittal did not please the Dowers that be. An extraordinary thing happened. The Judicial Commissioner of Oudh, Mr. Lindsay, the senior judge of the Judicial Commissioner's Court, called for the record, and, after perusing it, called the attention of the Public Prosecutor to the case. The Public Prosecutor addressed the District Magistrate of Kheri on 20th April, and the District Magistrate replied, recommending that an appeal should be lodged. Thus by various rotations the case ultimately came before Sir John Hewett, who sanctioned the appeal. This was an appeal against the acquittal of men who had once been in peril of their lives for murder. Sir John Hewett, in his statement, is very careful about the dates. He has not told us when these men were rearrested. At all events, they were certainly in custody on 16th August. As to the second and third Commissioners who tried the case, I shall say nothing. I think my hon. Friend opposite will be able to say something in reference to their former career, and as to their competence to decide a case of this kind. It has been stated that there was a retrial and a rehearing. What occurred? Neither of these two methods was adopted. No witnesses were examined; the prisoners themselves were not produced. Depositions were read and examined, and no doubt prisoners counsel was heard. Then the two judges—men who had never seen the accused men, and who had never heard the witnesses: who had no idea of the witnesses or of the surrounding circumstances of the case—came to the conclusion that these prisoners were all guilty. Without any difficulty they sentenced the men whom they had never seen. Two of them were sentenced to be hanged and the third to penal servitude for life, for by a very merciful provision in the penal code the judge has the option of sentencing to death or to penal servitude for life. The judges themselves seemed to have some knowledge of the weakness of their position. It is very curious that in their judgment, if I may call it so, page 21 of the Report, they say— An Appellate Court is always placed in a difficult position when it is asked to find that the evidence of witnesses whom the judge and assessors have seen and observed is true, when the judge and the assessors have found it false. Their position was a difficult one, but they were equal to it. They sentenced these men—two to be hanged, and the third to penal servitude. What followed? It is distinctly provided by the Code of Criminal Procedure of India that in reference to petitions for mercy a prisoner is bound to be informed by the superintendent of the gaol, who is enjoined to inform him that he can petition to the Lieutenant-Governor of the United Provinces, and then, if he refuses, to the Governor-General-in-Council. These men petitioned to the Lieutenant-Governor. He received their petition on 27th August. He took four days to consider it, and then refused it. He states that he brought a purely judicial mind as to whether he should refuse or entertain the petition, and that other considerations did not affect him. I am sure he believes that to be so. But it is quite impossible for any gentleman who had been at the head of Government, and stimulated an appeal against an acquittal after a conviction had been obtained, to say that. He refused the petition. Arrangements should then have been made immediately that the Governor-General should be appealed to. Instead of that a telegram was sent to the Governor-General asking him to postpone the executions. He, of course, could not intervene in the matter, which he referred again to the Lieutenant-Governor, Sir John Hewett.

6.0 P.M.

The execution was fixed for 9th September. On 6th September an ordinary, properly drafted petition for a commutation of the sentence was sent or was received by Sir John Hewett to be forwarded to the Governor-General. Sir John refused to send it forward on the ground that it would not reach the Governor-General forty-eight hours before the execution was timed to take place. His own words are perfectly explicit in reference to that, but he makes a curious observation. He says he could not send it forward owing to the postal arrangements. Why, then, could he not telegraph? This forty-eight hours' rule was subject to other conditions, first, that the Lieutenant-Governor thought there was not a shadow of ground for the petition, and, secondly, that the matter had not, aroused public attention. As regards the Lieutenant-Governor thinking there was not a shadow of ground for a reversal, at all events to the extent of giving a reprieve to these men who had been tried before for their lives and had undergone a second trial, it was impossible for him to have formed that opinion if he were not very much biassed having regard to the previous acquittal. Lord Crewe has utterly swept aside the idea that a reprieve should not be sent unless public opinion were very much aroused about it; it is an absurd and, I must say, rather a wicked reflection. Does the hon. Gentleman know what is the reason of this forty-eight hours' rule? The forty-eight hours' rule was only contemplated and established after the result of a shocking refusal or shocking obstruction of the prerogative of mercy as exercised by the Governor-General in 1906. In that year, in Eastern Bengal, a man had been convicted, and then the Lieutenant-Governor, as he was entitled to do, refused to receive petitions, which were then sent on to the Government of India. The Government of India granted a reprieve, and while the reprieve was on its way the, man was hanged. Actually they hanged the man while the petition was going to him! Then came this forty-eight hours' rule. Let me just read what Mr. Morley, as he then was, said in this House on the 12th July, 1906, in reference to that scandal:— Whatever may be the right construction of t he rule it was to be expected, in lily opinion, that. the local government having forwarded the petition would make it part of same operation to take care that the object in forwarding it should not be made futile by taking no steps to suspend the execution. I must remind the House that the Government of India have had no doubt upon a review of the record that the conviction and sentence passed by the Sessions judge and confirmed by the High Court of Calcutta was entirely just. There had been admitted faults in procedure and I regret to say that in my mind these proceedings fall short of the high and exact standard of official duty that the Indian Civil Service has for so many generations so notably maintained. That miscarriage of justice produced this forty-eight hours' rule, and we now see how absurd this forty-eight hours' rule is. I quote this comment on the conduct of Sir John Hewett and the Government from the "Bombay Chronicle" of 12th July:— The scandal caused by the Eastern Bengal case led to a demand for a revision of the rules in forwarding petitions for mercy to the Governor-General, the intention being to prevent any recurrence in the future of the possibility of the man being hanged before his reprieve could reach the local Government. 'The manner in which this was done by the humane officials who amended the rules was to say, we will take care sea a thing cannot occur again, we will see the petition cannot be sent at all and there will be no possibility of a man being hanged before the reprieve reaches the local Government,'"— And this paper goes on to say— And this rule was invented which says a petition for mercy must not be forwarded unless it can reach the Government of India at least forty-eight hours before the date of execution. Could anything be more perverse and inhuman? The same paper quotes from another paper, an official organ, a very angry article for even mentioning a ease of this kind in the House of Commons, and it cites a case in 1887 in which after acquittal by a Sessions Judge, and conviction by the High Court, a man was hanged, It says "there was no disturbance made about that, but other methods and other times." I am very glad that the methods and the times are very much altered and that to-day there is plenty of disturbance made by people living under a free Government when such a state of things occurs. I do not want to make any personal observations about anyone, or to give one iota of pain to anybody, and I very much agree with what the Leader of the Opposition said in reference to, Sir John Hewett, that he has been reproved and rebuked by Lord Crewe. But other people should be reproved too. The Government of India should be reproved. Sir John Hewett says this most distinctly —that he did not choose to forward the petition as the Lieutenant-Governor had been told that petitions should not be forwarded. Again, several instances occurred in which a telegram was sent by him as Lieutenant-Governor, informing the Government of India that petitions for mercy would subsequently be sent. If Sir John Hewett is rebuked, why should not the Government of India be rebuked in attempting to disregard their duties in considering whether there should have been a reprieve, or whether human life should be taken? They should not throw off this onus. They abrogated their duty in throwing over the exercise of the prerogative of mercy to a distinguished subordinate official. If there be liability so far as Sir John Hewett is concerned, the same should be placed upon the Indian Government. It occurs in the twentieth century that three men were tried for murder, were acquitted, were retried again and then two were executed after the horrible agony of going through two trials for their lives. I want to know what English lawyer will defend that. My bon. Friend the Under Secretary for India talked about their being no racial distinction. A white man could not be tried for murder by a Sessions Judge and after his acquittal be tried again and hanged. It is reserved simply and solely for the natives of India. Is not that in every way a great scandal? The idea of acquittal in any criminal case and then retrial for murder afterwards, followed by execution is horrible.

Nothing like this provision in the penal code of India where after acquittal on the capital charge a man can be retried exists here. I tell my hon. Friend it is not known in any other jurisprudence, and it is not known in Indian jurisprudence either. It was inserted in 1872 by no less a person than Sir James Stephen as the legal member of the Legislative Council. He came to the conclusion that in Petty Courts before a Petty Judge there was a very distinct temptation to acquit Europeans. The jurisdiction, of course, of these Courts in reference to Europeans extends only to some minor offences and the ultimate punishment is twelve months imprisonment. Sir James Stephen came to the decision of inserting that Clause in regard to petty offences to secure that justice was done as regards Europeans, and the right hon. Gentleman, the junior Member for Oxford university (Sir William Anson), in his monumental work on the Practice of the Constitution says, laws are passed and very frequently are put to uses never intended, and thus Sir James Stephen's equitable plan of securing that Petty Judges should not show undue favour to Europeans has been galvanised into an Act or system whereby a man because he is a native, though acquitted on trial, can be retried and convicted. But this case shows something very different and something very shocking. It is twelve months old. The men were executed on the 9th September. Why did we never hear of it? Lord Crewe and my hon. Friend, the Under-Secretary for India, are men whom I would not believe to be guilty of any subterranean or improper act. But I want to bring this charge directly and distinctly. I do not know the name even of one member of the Legal Department of the India Office, but I say the Legal Department of the India Office did their best to burk this case and to keep it from coming before the public.


That is a very serious charge, and I say at once, and I say emphatically that there is not one shred or particle of truth in the hon. and learned Gentleman's statement.


I adhere to my opinion absolutely. The facts speak for themselves. On 21st January last Sir Henry Cotton had the full correspondence with reference to this case, which he forwarded to Lord Crewe, giving all the details and summaries, and stated that a grave miscarriage of justice had taken place. He said, as he was justified in saying, with his Indian experience—because this case is mentioned in every bazaar and commented on in every paper —that he did not choose that it should be published, and urged, if possible, that there should be some alteration in the rules of procedure, especially in regard to the forwarding of petitions for reprieve and mercy. He got a letter from some one of the officials stating that his report had been received. That was on 21st January. He waited on until 4th June. Then he wanted to know what was the answer or whether an answer had come, and he was given a reply that what he had stated and all his representations were substantially accurate. I am, not saying that my hon. Friend was conversant with all these transactions. He knew nothing whatever about it. That dispatch was sent on 5th April. It was, therefore, over two months under the control of the Indian Legal Office. Why was not Lord Crewe told about it? He has a great deal to do. He is Leader of the House of Lords. Why did not these well-paid Indian legal advisers communicate with him or Sir Henry Cotton? Of course, we must take the assurances given, but beyond all question, looking at the probabilities and with the knowledge of the results, a case like this is likely to produce, I do say it was hoped that Sir Henry Cotton would forget all about it, and that the thing would be slurred over and burked. That is my view and theory, and to that view and theory I adhere. Now I do not think I need say anything more except to say that it grieves one to hear, as one does on Indian Budgets year after year, the wonderful and glorious description of the country, and yet to see that such occurrences as this are possible. I must ask that, first of all, this forty-eight hours' rule, which is an illegal rule, should be changed, and that in cases of this kind there should be the most ample opportunity for the prisoner to appeal and seek for mercy, and I must ask the hon. Gentleman, having regard to these fearful scandals from India to get rid immediately of this shocking provision whereby a man once acquitted can be re-tried and convicted and hanged. That is a thing we would not bear in England. It is opposed to our law and it is opposed to every law and should not be enforced upon our Indian fellow-subjects.


The Under-Secretary for India was absent from this House at a time when a good deal of interest and curiosity was shown by hon. Members in regard to certain transactions in connection with finance for which the India Office was responsible. Apart from that or any inconvenience which hon. Members of this House may have been caused by the Under-Secretary's absence, I think he has no reason to regret his tour in India. It is of inestimable value to any man, whatever his walk in life, to have some practical and personal acquaintance with the problems with which he has to deal, and more especially is that the case with the government of India. It is almost impossible, unless. a man has had some personal knowledge of the country, the people, and their customs, for him to understand their point of view, and to grapple adequately with the problems which they present for his solution. After that, the Under-Secretary dealt with a very large number of subjects. The subject is so wide, the topics of interest are so many, the opportunities which are granted to us for discussing them so few, that it is impossible on an occasion like this for anyone who is speaking for the India Office to compress his remarks or to avoid occupying a considerable amount of time in ranging over the wide field which he has to cover. The two speakers who preceded me introduced additional subjects which were not touched upon by the Under-Secretary. The hon. and learned Member for South Donegal (Mr. Swift MacNeill) returned to a former charge of his in regard to the Sitipur murder case. This afternoon, in dealing with that case, the hon. and learned Member was careful to say that he was desirous of not bringing a personal charge, but that he only wished to attack the system of which he complained. I only wish the hon. and learned Gentleman and his Friends had been actuated by motives of that kind when they last brought this matter before the House.


I was.


I think I shall be able to show that the hon. and learned Member is not so guiltless in that respect as he would have us believe. I can quite understand that Sir Henry Cotton, who was instrumental in bringing this matter-before the House, may have thought the system which allows an appeal against an acquittal is a bad system. After all, it is a perfectly ordinary procedure under the Criminal Procedure Code in India, which has been in force, I should think, for over forty years, and which must have been put into operation over and over again during the time Sir Henry Cotton was a member of the Indian Civil Service and serving in that country. What I cannot understand is why Sir Henry Cotton should have waited until this juncture to make his attack on the system. As a member of the Indian Civil Service, Sir Henry Cotton must have been aware of several cases similar to this one which would have provided quite as good an illustration of his point of view as the case which is now under consideration. What I cannot understand is why, if Sir Henry Cotton holds this view, when he was a Member of this House he did not do something to get the system to which he objects altered. In view of the fact that it is generally supposed that Sir Henry Cotton was an unsuccessful rival of Sir John Hewett in India, I think it did behove him to be very careful to take no course which could in any way be construed as a personal attack upon Sir John Hewett. I am afraid the course which Sir Henry Cotton has elected to pursue has certainly been construed in that way in certain quarters of India. I find, for instance, the following sentence in an article in an Indian newspaper which appeared after the report of the original Debate upon this question was telegraphed out to that country. In the "Pioneer Mail," of 11th July, the writer of the article says:— The hubbub aroused over the Oudh Samindar execution has been explained since we were told that it originated with that veteran intriguant, Sir Henry Cotton, who seems to have stirred up his Irish friends to fall upon Sir John Hewett in a pack. All I can say is, if Sir Henry Cotton was anxious to avoid creating any suspicion that he was actuated by motives of personal animosity, he was very badly served by his friends in this House. The hon. Member for South Donegal introduced the case to the House in a speech which was full of false statements and false suggestions—


I will not permit anyone to say that I have made false statements and false suggestions, and if the Noble Lord persists in such a charge he will get an answer that he will not like.


I do not say that the hon. and learned Member made false statements, knowing them to be false, but I do say that he made a speech full of false statements and false suggestions, and I propose either with or without his permission to refer to those particular false statements and false suggestions which the hon. and learned Member made in his speech. But apart from that the hon. Member for Burnley (Mr. Morrell), who seconded the Motion on that occasion, really made a most unjustifiable attack, not upon the system, but upon Sir John Hewett, the man who was called upon to work the system, and he said among other things that Sir John Hewett's conduct was scandalous and he actually thought it worth his while to protest against the well merited promotion in the Order of the Star of India granted to Sir John Hewett, fully oblivious of the fact that he was granted that promotion even before the murder which is the basis of this case was committed.


I was informed that Sir John Hewett had been promoted immediately after this case, and I particularly asked the Under-Secretary whether this was so or not. I waited for his answer and then I made certain comments. I found afterwards that I was mistaken, and I immediately wrote to the Press to correct my statement.


I am glad to hear that the hon. Member has written to the Press correcting his statement; but all I can say is that his letter has entirely escaped my notice. The hon. Member for East Mayo (Mr. Dillon), who also joined in the hunt, after prefacing his remarks by saying that he knew nothing of the circumstances of the case—an admission that was wholly superfluous—described Sir John Hewett as having been guilty of gross inhumanity. I protest against accusations of this kind being made against an India Civil servant who has been accused in this way and has been given no chance of making his reply or giving an explanation. I will now return to the charges of the hon. Member for South Donegal. The hon. and learned Member objects very much to my accusation against him of making false statements and false suggestions.


Not wilfully.


No doubt they were made from ignorance of the facts, but hon. Members opposite often take it upon themselves to make charges of this kind, when they are so badly misinformed as to give a wholly wrong impression of the actual facts of the case. Let me come to the particulars of this case. The hon. Member for South Donegal said, first of all, that these murderers were rearrested at the instance of the local Governor, and that statement is wholly untrue. They were not rearrested at the instance of the local Governor, because he has not the right to start the machinery for rearresting these people. The initiative in a case like this must come from the magistrate of the district, and it is only afte0r he has sent his opinion to the Commissioner that it is sent on to the local Governor to be finally disposed of. Let me now take the second charge made by the hon and learned Member. He said that in Oudh they have not the usual order of higher judges, and instead of judges they have commissioners. That is absolutely untrue, because they have the same order of higher judges as other parts of India. Thirdly, the hon. Member next stated that instead of magistrates they have sub-commissioners and petty sessions judges. They have not got petty sessional judges, but district sessional judges with precisely the same status, power and jurisdiction as the sessional judges in other parts of India. Under these circumstances, what does the hon. and learned member mean by saying that in Oudh they have not the usual order of higher judges? Fourthly, the hon. and learned Member said that instead of a Lieutenant-Governor they have a Chief Commissioner. That is not a vital matter, but, as a matter of fact, they have not a Chief Commissioner, but they have a Lieutenant-Governor. The hon. and learned Member does not seem to recognise that Oudh is a part of a province under a Lieutenant-Governor, precisely the same as other parts of India. Therefore, I do not know what the hon. and learned Member means by saying that they have not got a Lieutenant-Governor but a Chief Commissioner, because there is not a vestige of truth in that statement. Fifthly, the hon. and learned Member stated that these accused were brought before the Petty Sessions judge for trial. I do not know what he means by that statement, because they were brought before the ordinary Divisional and Sessions judge in the ordinary way. So much for the hon. and learned Member's misstatements Let us now see what he said when I accused him of making false suggestions. He said:— The Chief Commissioner himself directed the Crown Prosecutor in this district to appeal, not to the High Court at Allahabad, but to the Chief Commissioners of the United Provinces to retry the case.


May I state that those statements were made by me in my first speech on the 21st of June, and they have been since corrected? I made very considerable mistakes in regard to the details, and I did not assume that they were correct.


Did the hon. and learned Member correct those misstatements in the House?


No, I did not.


I have listened with great care to the lion. and learned Member's speech to-day, because I thought he was going to correct some of those misstatements. I was astonished to find that he did not do so, and, not having done so, he now objects to my doing so for him. I really think, in view of the fact that this attack was made upon a man who is not in this House, and without a knowledge of the facts, that it is only fair that the true facts should be placed before the Members of this House, the place in which the original accusation was made. What he said was this:— The Chief Commissioner himself (Erected the Crown Prosecutor in this district to appeal. not to the High Court at Allahabad. but to the Chief Commissioners of the United Provinces to retry the case."—[OFFICIAL REFORT, 25th June, 1913, col. 1170.] What is the suggestion contained there? It is that Sir John Hewett, fearing that the High Court of Allahabad might not support him, directed that the case should not be tried by the High Court of Allahabad, but by gentlemen whom the hon. Member describes as the Commissioners of the United Provinces. Would it be believed that the High Court of Allahabad had absolutely no jurisdiction in this case at all, and even if Sir John Hewett had wished to refer the case to the High Court of Allahabad he could not have done so, for the simple reason that it came within the jurisdiction of the High Court of Oudh, the High Court of Oudh being of precisely the same status as the High Court of Allahabad, with the exception of a slight difference in name, being known as the Judicial Commissioners, instead of the judges of the High Court, and the Commissioners receiving a slightly less salary than the High Court judges of Allahabad? It is a disgraceful thing that any hon. Member should make an insinuation of the kind contained in the words of the hon. Member I have just quoted. He made one other false suggestion to which I must call attention. He said:— On 27th August an appeal for mercy was sent to the Lieutenant-Governor, and on 2nd September counsel for the prisoners received refusal. The execution in the meantime had been fixed for September 9th."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 25th June, 1913, col. 1171.] Obviously, the suggestion made there war that Sir John Hewett had the date of the execution fixed after he had received the first appeal, in order that it might not be possible to forward the subsequent appeal to the Government of India under the rules prescribed by the Government of India for the governing of such things. It is an absolutely false statement. The date of execution was not fixed in the meantime. The date of execution had been fixed before the first appeal was placed in Sir John Hewett's hands at all, and it was, of course, fixed by the magistrate. It was not fixed by the Lieutenant-Governor at all. It is, I say, grossly unfair that attacks of this kind should be made upon a Civil servant of the standing of Sir John Hewett, not that I think for one moment that Sir John Hewett has much to fear from petty personal attacks of this kind upon his honour. Sir John Hewett is a man who has left behind him in India the reputation of a great administrator with a large-hearted sympathy for those masses who were committed to his charge. I do not think that anybody who has any personal acquaintance with Sir John Hewett can doubt for a moment that in all his actions he was animated by one motive, and by one motive only, and that was to secure the best interest of the lowly masses who were committed to his charge. I observe that in the course of the Debates which have taken place on this question not one tear was shed, and not one word of sympathy was uttered, for the wretched men who were the victims of this foul outrage. No, it was not the men who were the victims of this monstrous crime who melted the hearts and appealed to the sympathy of the hon. Member for Donegal and the hon. Member for Burnley. No, it was the men who committed the outrage, the men whose continuous existence was a menace to the law-abiding people among whom they lived, who appealed to the sympathy of the hon. Members and who had won their championship. That amazes me beyond measure. There was not one word of condemnation or of abhorrence of the foul crime. No, the whole vials of their wrath was reserved for a devoted public servant whose only object had been to cherish and protect from the knife of the assassin those people who had been committed to his charge.

There is another aspect of this question upon which I should like to say a word or two. The Under-Secretary this afternoon pointed out, very truly, that we, in this House, very seldom recognise the good deeds of those who are serving their country in India, but that we are very ready to take any opportunity of flogging them. There are too many journalists in India who are only too glad of the opportunity of getting material with which to flog the members of the Indian Civil Service. I have no doubt that there are numberless pens already being exercised in making the most of the material which has been provided for them by the speeches of the hon. Member to which I have referred. It so happens that I myself have only seen one vernacular newspaper since the report of the Debate which took place in this House on 25th June reached India, namely, the "Bengali." I find that the "Bengali" has not been long in making use of the material with which it has been provided, and it already describes Sir John Hewett's conduct as "a great official blunder," as "a heartless proceeding," in order to commit which he is said to have "sheltered himself behind rules which there was no call for him to observe." The writer concludes:— No wonder the proceedings evoked a storm of indignation in the House of Commons. The Government finds itself in a difficult position. violently assailed by its own partisans. An indignant House wrung from Mr. Montagu the assurance that the investigation would be pursued vigorously. Lord Crewe would shirk no measure, however drastic, which the honour and the reputation of our code of justice demanded. The lot of the Indian Civil servant is not an easy one. Throughout his career he lives in exile from his country, and for a large part of his career he is 'obliged to live in separation from his wife and family. He has to submit to all the discomforts and perils of a ravaging climate, and I am bound to say that I have often marvelled at the cheerful goodwill with which he faces the disadvantages, the discomforts, and the perils—I am not saying too much when I say "perils," for the abominable outrages of the assassin have been all too frequent of late years in India—which are inseparable from his career. It is this which makes British dominion in India possible. Under those circumstances, does it not behove us to sent out to that country the very best men which we here in this country can produce We have been successful in doing so in the past, but is it quite certain that we shall continue to be successful in doing so in the future No one who has had the opportunity, as I have, of inquiring into this matter can be blind to the fact that the Indian Civil Service does not possess the same attractions for the best men of our country to-day as it has done in the past. Doubtless there are many reasons which have contributed towards that result, some of them susceptible of proof. I am convinced in my own mind, and I have reason for my conviction, that one reason why the Indian Civil Service is not so popular among the best men of this country as it has been in the past is the fact that a tendency has grown up among hon. Members in this House to assume, when any dispute arises between the civilian and the population in India that the civilian must necessarily be in the wrong, and to deliver violent, and often ignorant, attacks on men who are precluded from making any reply. That is a matter which is susceptible of removal if hon. Members will only try to realise that when these Englishmen leave these shores and go out to serve the Crown in these distant lands they do not leave behind them those feelings of humanity and that sense of justice which, as Englishmen, they have been taught in their earliest years to cherish.

I want now, for a few minutes, to turn to a question more closely germane to the actual Budget of India itself. The Under-Secretary remarked upon the fact that the Indian Budget which is now before the House was the first for which Englishmen have been responsible in which no revenue appears from the Indo-Chinese opium traffic. When it is remembered that until the year 1907 there were no restrictions of any kind imposed upon the exportation of opium from India to China, that fact is itself sufficient to show how far the Government of this country have gone to meet the Chinese Government in their express desire to stamp out the habit of opium smoking in their country. Under the agreements which have been arrived at between this country and China between 1907–11 we have agreed to diminish the exportation of opium from India to China on a rapidly but regular diminishing scale, namely, to reduce the amount which we were entitled to export to China by something like 5,500 chests per year. One of the provisions of our agreement with China was that so long as this trade still existed the local authorities in China should have no right to impose restrictions upon the wholesale trade. When the revolution took place in China that provision of the agreement was broken. The Chinese local officials in various provisions imposed such restrictions upon the authorised wholesale opium trade that large stocks of the drug accumulated at Hong Kong and Shanghai. Under these circumstances, the British Government would have been perfectly entitled to say that the treaty had been broken by China, and that they would no longer recognise its validity. They did nothing of the sort. Indeed, they treated China with extraordinary generosity, generosity certainly at other people's expense, but still extraordinary generosity.

They not only said that they would continue to observe the provisions of the treaty, but they said that they would give up their right to send to China 16,500 chests which they were entitled to send in the year 1912–13, and, further, that they would be ready to accede to the immediate and final cessation of the Indo-Chinese opium traffic providing China could show that they had been successful in putting down the production of the poppy in their own country. I think that any impartial observer will admit that the British Government have treated China with great generosity in that respect. Not so the hon. Member for the Radcliffe Division (Mr. Theodore C. Taylor). The hon. Member for the Radcliffe Division is so relentless in his pursuit of vicarious virtue that, like "Oliver Twist," he asked for more. He asked that the stocks of opium at Hong Kong and Shanghai, which had already been sold at Chinese market prices, should not be allowed to enter that country, but should be transhipped and disposed of in other than Chinese markets. I will not dwell upon the gross injustice of any such procedure as that towards the men who had bought this opium and paid for it at market prices. But surely it is a matter to which the House will not be blind! What, however, would be the effect of any such proceeding on the Indian Exchequer? India has already given up, during the present year, a revenue of something like £5,500,000 by reason of the fact that she does not send the 16,500 chests of opium to China which she is entitled to send under the provisions of our agreement. India has only received in the present year a sum of rather more than £1,000,000, and when the Under-Secretary of State put the figure at £300,000 odd, he must have been speaking of the net and not the gross revenue. I understand from the statement made by the Finance Minister that he estimated that 9,000 chests would be sent to extra Chinese markets, and that there would be produced by the sale of those 9,000 chests a sum amounting to something over £1,000,000.

Supposing the desires of the hon. Member are accomplished and the stocks now at Hong Kong and Shanghai are sold in extra Chinese markets, what will be the effect on India? It will mean that these markets will be glutted and India will not be able to sell the 9,000 chests which have been budgeted, and this year and next year's prospective revenue, as well as the revenue for many years to come, will be entirely blotted out. I think that is grossly unfair to the Indian Exchequer. Let us remember, when we axe patting our-selves on our backs over our virtues, and congratulating ourselves on the acquisition of merit—let us remember that we are acquiring our merit entirely at other people's expense. It is easy to be virtuous at other people's expense. I venture to say that when the Under-Secretary the other day declared that Indian public opinion, so far as it existed, had, with the exception of one or two isolated protests and grumbles, cheerfully accepted this policy, he was going a little further than the facts warranted. I read with very great interest the debate on the resolution in the Viceroy's Council, moved by an Indian member, to which my right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition has already referred this afternoon. Let me call the attention of the House to the terms of the Resolution in question. It was in the following words:— That this Council recommends to the Governor-General in Council the desirability, in view of the loss of opium revenue, of considering financial measures for strengthening the resources of the Government with special reference to the possibility of increasing the revenue under a system of preferential tariffs with the United Kingdom and the Colonies. I should like to express my gratitude td the Indian Member of the Council, Sir Gangadhar Chitnavis, who moved the Resolution for demonstrating that there is a very strong body of public opinion in India in favour of the system of preferential tariffs between that country and the United Kingdom. As one who is himself a believer in the great advantages that would accrue from a system of preferential trading I am grateful to those Indian Members of the Viceroy's council who spoke so ably in favour of the Resolution. My object in calling attention to the Resolution is to show the Indian point of view with regard to the cessation of the Indo-Chinese opium traffic, and I can easily do that by giving one or two very short quotations from their speeches. Sir Gangadhar Chitnavis, the mover, said:— The opium policy of Great Britain has driven a breach in our finances. In the ensuing year, we have managed to maintain equilibrium between income and expenditure; but we cannot expect to maintain it for long. … We cannot forego this revenue altogether. India is a country not yet fully developed, and we require all our resources for our growing needs if for no other purpose. There is only one course open, namely, fresh taxation … India is self-reliant, as she has always been, but she must also be free to utilise her resources solely for the promotion of her own interests. Give her fiscal autonomy and she can brave any danger. Give her that, Sir, and she will cheerfully forego her just claim on the Home Government for the heavy loss entailed on us by their opium policy. I venture to ask the Under-Secretary, does he consent to that condition? Does he consent to the condition that India should be granted fiscal autonomy? I should be very much surprised if he answered that question in the affirmative. I will give another quotation from an Indian speaker, Mr. Mahdu Sudan Das, who said:—

It is very opportune that Sir Gangadhar should have thought proper to move this Resolution just when we have before us the loss to Indian revenue on account of the stoppage of the transit of opium into China. That was no doubt in furtherance of the humanitarian and moral sentiment of England. … It is quite in keeping with the noble mission of England in the world—a mission which has always been to raise peoples and nations from the dark valley of adversity to the sunlit summits of prosperity. But then we Indians were not consulted about it; and if, on account of the loss of opium revenue, there is need for fresh taxation, the burden of that taxation will fall upon Indians. I commend that sentence to the hon. Gentleman. I will not trouble the House with further quotations, for I think I have said sufficient to show that when the Under-Secretary of State said Indian public opinion was cheerfully foregoing the revenue which they were accustomed to derive from the Indo-Chinese opium traffic, he was somewhat overstating the facts of the case. There is one other matter with which I desire to deal very briefly. The Under-Secretary has referred to the Royal Commission on the Public Service in India, and he has to a certain extent given us the advantage of an expression of the views which are clearly held by the Government with regard to some of the questions that are under consideration. I need hardly say that I have not the smallest intention this afternoon of dealing with any of those points upon their merits. But the Under-Secretary pointed out, very truly, that the procedure adopted by the Royal Commission during its tour in India had been very much misrepresented by the Press, both in that country and at home and I do not think it is desirable, in view of that fact, that I should say a few words in order to correct some of the misrepresentations involuntarily made no doubt, but still misrepresentations, of which we have been the victims. I think the criticisms levelled against us are fairly well embraced in a leading article which appeared in the "Times" of 25th February in the present year. In the article in question the writer used these words:—

Rightly directed the Commission might have done work of real value to the Dependency. But it has paid small heed to many of the problems mentioned by Mr. Montagu in his speech on the Indian Budget last year. At present, while it seems likely to accomplish little good there is sonic danger that it will produce a great amount of harmful disputation upon questions of racial differences which should not be debated in public under official auspices.

Sir J. D. REES

Hear, hear!

7.0 P.M.


The hon. Member says "hear, hear" I venture to suggest, however, that so sweeping a con. demnation of the procedure of the Royal Commission, made as it was when the Commission had only just begun its labours, was a little premature. When it is remembered we were summarily dismissed in those words at the end of the first few days of our inquiry—an inquiry which on the most sanguine estimate cannot he concluded at any rate until March next year, I think it will not be suggested I am putting the matter too high when I say that such a sweeping condemnation was a little premature. But let us inquire what were the chief objections which the writer of this article levelled against our procedure. He said, first of all, that he objected to the question of the recruiting of the service by examinations held simultaneously in India and in England being raised. He said:— If there is one subject upon which the Commission can throw no fresh light whatever, it is that of simulataneous examination." And, rather curiously and inconsistently, he added:— We do not say that the project should not again come under review. No doubt it must once more receive attention. I venture to suggest, in view of the fact that we were instructed under the terms of our reference to inquire, firstly, into the methods of recruitment in the service, and, secondly, as to its effects on the employment of non-Europeans in the service, it would have been impossible, even if it had been desirable, to prevent Indian witnesses advocating that particular mode of recruitment of the service, if they desired so to do. But perhaps the gravamen of the charge made against us in this connection is contained in the following words:— The question of simultaneous examination was immediately pressed upon the very first witness called in Madras, and has been kept in the forefront of the Commission's interrogations ever since. I think the best answer to that charge is a mere statement of the bare facts. The Commission drew up a series of questions, upwards of 130 in number, covering the whole ground of the problems we had to consider, and out of that whole series of questions, but one solitary question dealt with the subject of simultaneous examinations in India and in England. If the writer of this article had desired to ascertain the facts for himself, he would have had no difficulty in doing so, but the light-hearted way in which he sat down to criticise the Commission is sufficiently indicated by a sentence which occurs later, in which he says:—

The Indian witnesses are all in favour of them, with the solitary exception of Mr. Justice Sankaran Nair, of Madras, who gave an opinion covered by very marked reservations. I venture to suggest when a leader writer in a paper like the "Times," which carries the weight the "Times" does as a responsible newspaper, when he sets out to supply the public with information he might as least verify the accuracy of the information which he proposes to give before he ventures to deal with it. As a matter of fact, in this case the writer of the article would have had no difficulty whatever in finding out that, far from it being the case that every Indian witness, with a solitary exception, was in favour of the recruitment of the service on these lines, he would have found the names of half a dozen Indian witnesses in Madras alone who objected to any such system of recruit meet for the Service. It is rather a preposterous thing that the Royal Commission, which to the best of its ability is carrying out the arduous inquiry entrusted to it, should be criticised, not with fair criticism, but with criticism that is based on wholly erroneous information. There is one other special criticism leveled against us to which I wish to refer. The writer of the article, after having upbraided us for doing the things we ought not to do, went on to take us to task for not doing those things which he said we ought to do. On that point he said:—

Some of the most important problems awaiting solution in connection with the executive administration of India have nothing to do with race. The provincial services, for example, are almost entirely Indian already. In regard to the Covenanted Service, any inquiry ought to go to the very roots of its conception of its duties. Do the developing needs of India now require that Covenanted civilians should be specialists almost from the beginning? Or are we to preserve the old tradition, feasible enough a century ago, that the Indian administrator should be a handy man who can turn his talents in any direction? Of these, and many questions equally grave, the Commission remains wholly oblivious, The provincial service is a wholly Indian Service, to the problems of which, according to the writer, we are wholly oblivious. Will the House believe it, that with regard to that service we drew up a whole series of nearly fifty questions dealing with that service alone, covering the whole gamut, connected with the questions of recruitment, probation, training, and all the conditions of the service. With regard to his accusation that we are taking no trouble to ascertain whether the Indian civilian ought to be a specialist from the start or a handy man, as he was a hundred years ago, it was to that very point we directed the bulk of our inquiries. We drew up questions on subjects which were calculated to throw light upon that very point—questions of the age at which a man might be recruited, questions as to the subjects in which he should be expected to pass his examinations, questions as to the time of probation after he passes his examination, and questions as to the kind of training he should be given when he arrived in the country itself. In view of the fact that we drew up a whole series of questions dealing with these points alone, which we submitted to all the witnesses who came before us to give information with regard to the Indian Civil Service, is it fair that we should be told that these are matters to which we had been wholly oblivious? So far as I am personally concerned, I care nothing for the criticisms which have been levelled against us.

Sir J. D. REES

made an observation which was inaudible.


I do suggest that when a question of this importance is before the public it is most undesirable that any criticisms based, as these have been, on incorrect information, should be made, which are calculated to prejudice public opinion against any findings which the Commission may make at the conclusion of this inquiry. It cannot surely be in the public interest that an inquiry of this sort should be prejudiced in the way I have described.


The Noble Lord who has just sat down, in the very fierce onslaught he made on the hon. Member for South Donegal (Mr. Swift MacNeill) and myself for the part we took in the Debate the other night, expressed an extraordinary view. He said he had noticed a generally increasing tendency in Members of this House, whenever a dispute arose between natives in India and English Civil servants in that country, to take it as granted that the natives were in the right. I doubt whether I have taken part in an Indian Debate until the other night, but 1 have been a consistent sitter and patient listener at the Indian Debates which take place annually in this House towards the close of the Session, and I should be disposed to say that the Noble Lord has absolutely misstated the facts of the case, and that, on the contrary, with the exception of a small handful of men in this House, the tendency always is to assume, when there is any dispute between civilians in India and the natives of that country, that the civilians are in the right.. I am not surprised at that tendency, because this House is mainly composed of Englishmen, and the natural tendency—I do not wonder at it, and I do not want to find fault with it—is to take the view so eloquently stated by the Noble Lord. But I would say to the Noble Lord and to the official, Sir John Hewett, whose action was called in question the other (lay, that this House being, as it is, responsible for the government of four hundred millions of people who have no real voice in their own Government, ought to be most careful to convey to the people of India the impression that they do stand impartially between the people of India and the civilians we send out, from this country to govern them, and that, so far from being prejudiced in favour of the civilians—I admit it, is a most natural prejudice—we should convey to the people of India, and take every possible means of conveying to them, that whenever a complaint is made as to the conduct of a civilian in India it will meet with a fair and impartial hearing. I think the tone and temper of the speech of the Noble Lord was singularly unfortunate, because if it, were reported in India it would convey to the mind of any Indian who read it, that in this House there is no disposition to give a fair hearing and consideration to corn-plaints which are made by the Indian people.

The Noble. Lord quoted a passage from a speech I made about a fortnight ago. He said that I stated that I was in absolute ignorance of the facts of the case. I do not know why the Noble Lord should have felt bound to sneer at that observation. It was an honest observation, and it was the truth. I thought it was fair and reasonable to say so. I think it was rather unworthy of the Noble Lord to sneer at it. I used it at the time because I wished to be perfectly frank and honest with the House. On what did I base the observation to which the Noble Lord took such strong objection? It was the statement of the Under-Secretary of State. I came into the House and listened to the Debate. The issue was extremely simple, and one did not need to be an Indian expert to form an opinion upon it. My opinion was chiefly formed by listening attentively to the statement of the Under-Secretary of State. There has been circulated a Paper containing an elaborate statement by Sir John Hewett in justification of his conduct, which raises a wholly new and very much broader question in connection with this case which is known as the Sitapur case. This is a very singular Paper and one without precedent, in which Sir John Hewett, departing from the established traditions, as I have always understood them, of the Civil Service of this Empire, undertakes to argue the case as if he were a politician with the politicians of this House and attacks us who criticise him. Not only does he attack us, but he attacks his own superior officer, the Secretary of State for India, and complains of the speech the Secretary of State made. Since I came into this House I have often felt how bitter a thing it must be for great permanent officials of the Empire to take up the newspapers and read the criticisms, often in their opinion ignorant, often in their opinion unfair, which are passed upon their conduct by Members of this House. I can quite understand their bitterness, and how difficult it is for a great official, particularly if he is away in a Colony or some remote part of the Empire, to read the criticisms in this House and not to say, "This is ignorant, and what right have these men to criticise us?"

Am I wrong in thinking that it is the established and well-understood rule of the Civil Service of this Empire that the permanent officials of the Empire are not at liberty to appeal to the Press or to answer in any public manner the criticisms levelled at them by politicians. It may be a very hard rule. I can quite understand how bitter the feeling must be, but it is a rule and they are bound to play the game according to the rule. I have heard from the Bench above the Gangway, as well as these, greater officials than Sir John Hewett criticised. I might quote the classic case of Sir Eldon Gorst, who was attacked in the cruellest and most unjust way. In those cases their mouths were absolutely sealed and they could not answer. They were bound by the traditions and rules of the Civil Service of this Empire to trust their defence to their political chief. What right has Sir John Hewett to set himself over all the Civil servants in the British Empire and to enter into a political discussion, as he has done in this paper, and to complain of and indict the conduct of his own political chief? I have read this document and studied it very carefully. In it we have a full statement by Sir John Hewett himself justifying his action, together with the minutes of the trial. I do not put upon it the same interpretaion as the Noble Lord. I feel much more strongly that his conduct was to be condemned after I had read it than before I read his defence. While I frankly admit that the expression I used was perhaps not exactly the one I should have selected if I had had time to think—I can thoroughly enter into Sir John Hewett's feelings of resentment against that expression—when I said it was a cruel thing not to forward the petition. I only rise to defend myself on this particular point. What occurred? The hon. Member for South Donegal (Mr. Swift MacNeill) has given all the facts of the case up to the sending forward of the petition so fully that I need not say a word about that. But when the petition came to Sir John Hewett he refused the petition for mercy. In this paper he enters upon a long and elaborate argument to show that there was nothing in the previous history of the case to disqualify him from applying a judicial and unbiassed mind to the consideration of the petition for mercy. I challenge that statement out of his own mouth. First, I put this question: Is it or can it be contended that Sir John Hewett directed the appeal against the acquittal to be filed without taking any trouble to inform his mind as to the merits of the case? I think it is impossible for any man who reads this paper to come to that conclusion. He undoubtedly maintains the position that he acted on the advice of the Legal Remembrancer without looking into the matter himself at all. That is the whole point at issue, because if he had satisfied himself that it was a case which ought to be retried by the High Court, he was not the man to consider the appeal for mercy. Here are his own words taken from his own statement:—

The principles which I followed were that I could not give sanction to the filing of such an appeal unless first, the legal adviser of the Government considered that the possibilities were strongly in favour of the success of the appeal, and unless, secondly the case was of such a nature that the interests of the Indian population or of the Government made it important that the order of acquittal should, if possible, be reversed. Therefore, out of his own mouth, we have it from Sir John Hewett that he had satisfied himself, and that it was a necessary condition of his consenting to the filing of the appeal, and in his opinion it was in the interests of the Indian population or of the Government that the judgment of the Court below should be reversed, and the men should be executed. How can he satisfy himself of that, without going into the merits of the case, and if he was not satisfied that it was in the interests of the Government or the population that these men should be condemned to death and executed, and the acquittal reversed, how could he bring himself to sit and adjudicate on the appeal for mercy? It was a cruel thing to do because his mind was already closed. But now we have an eloquent disquisition from the Noble Lord about the cruel injustice of indicting the conduct of Sir John Hewett. He is a, most distingished servant. I know nothing against him. I am speaking now simply from his statement. We hear all these eloquent appeals, but what about the judge of the Sessions Court, who acquitted this man? You indict his conduct. He is brushed aside. He was an English member of the Civil Service of India of twenty-one years' service—Mr. Bell. He heard the case, and saw the witnesses, and he was in a better position to form a judgment. He decided that he could not convict the prisoners, because he put it on record in his judgment that he believes the witnesses who declared that they saw the murder were liars, and he goes into particulars to show where they must have been liars. It is not our duty to retry this case, nor is this House a competent tribunal to do So; but these circumstances have to be taken into account, that one of the reasons why Mr. Bell acquitted the prisoners was that there was no possibility or suggestion of a motive, and also because he decided that the witnesses for the prosecution were liars and had a most distinct motive to get rid of the prisoners. That is a very important element in the case. This is not a case which requires expert Indian knowledge. It is a case the facts of which will appeal to the common sense and sense of justice of any Englishman. Here is the petition of mercy which Sir John Hewett refused to send round. First of all, one article says that the evidence was disbelieved by the Sessions Judge and two out of the three assessors who tried the case and before whom the witnesses were produced, and who were in a better position to judge. They go on to say:— The learned judicial Commissioners say in their judgment we are not in a position to discover the motives which actuated the criminals, and it is respectfully submitted that the absence of motive for the crime is generally considered a good ground for the acquittal of the accused person. In the present case, it is respectfully submitted that the evidence of the witnesses is tainted as all of them have a strong motive to get your memorialists out of the way.' Here is another all important point in article 13 of the petition. The accused had called a number of witnesses for the defence whom they did not produce, relying on the fact that the judgment of the Sessions Court was already in favour of an acquittal. They did not expect that a complete acquittal would be changed into a conviction, and therefore they never produced their witnesses at all. The accused had been misled and mistaken in riot producing their witnesses who would have given a true and intelligible story of the murder which was to the effect that Galadar was murdered by Natura, who had an intrigue with the wife of the deceased and was afraid of the deceased taking revenge upon him. He had been several times prosecuted for murder, but the case failed for want of sufficient evidence. Then they go on to say, as another proof, that it is a well-known fact that in the village where the murder was committed and in the neighbouring village also it is believed that the memorialists were innocent. As a proof of this the memorialists attach a statement that they are believed to be innocent, signed by 120 inhabitants. I do not put that forward as a proof that the men were innocent. But the facts set forth in the petition ought to have gone before the Government of India, and these men ought to have had a chance. And when the Noble Lord thought fit to turn upon me and sneer, and use the grossly offensive observation that our sympathies were altogether with the murderers and not with the victims of this crime, what right had he to say that? That was meant to be a grossly offensive observation, and it was. The whole question is whether these men were murderers or not, It is a very doubtful question in my mind, after reading this paper, and I say that they were entitled by law to have their appeal considered by the Government of India, and they were denied that right by Sir John Hewett not forwarding the petition.

The point is that having disallowed the first petition for mercy to himself, I do not think, after what had happened, his was a fit mind to consider a petition for mercy. He complains that counsel for the prisoners, instead of pursuing the regular course, telegraphed over his head to the Government of India, asking them to suspend execution until the petition for mercy could be sent, and the Government of India telegraphed back to him declining to suspend the execution, and ordering him to proceed according to rule. I think the Government of India behaved exceedingly badly. It is clear, on the face of it, that the Government of India, without looking at the petition or giving these poor condemned men their last chance of life, telegraphed to go on according to rule. Sir John Hewett, because other Governors have been snubbed by the Government of India, most improperly, does not take the one course which was open to him to insist upon this appeal being properly considered and thereby get rid of a responsibility which he ought never to have accepted. He ought to have suspended the execution for three days to allow these men to exercise the right which the law had given them, but he did not do so, and they were sent to execution. You must remember the effect of this on the minds of the people of India. Millions of men will believe that these men were unairly done to death. Are we to be told that this is the proper way to administer their country, just in an offhand way, because they would not take the trouble to suspend the execution for three days, to deny these men a right which they undoubtedly had and send them to execution, leaving in the mind of the Indian people a feeling that they were unjustly treated and denied this last chance of life? I have nothing to withdraw in my speech the other day. I have read Sir John Hewett's defence, and I feel much mare strongly on it than I did before, and when hon. Members or Noble Lords talk about our ignorance of India, I yield to no man in my ignorance of India. I know nothing about India, but I know something about the elements of justice and common sense, and I say this is a case which will appeal to men, whether they live in India, or whether their skins be white or black, because it is really a case concerning the very elementary principles of justice.

It is a monstrous thing that men who had been tried by an English judge of long experience, who sat in Court, and heard the witnesses and disbelieved them, should be put on their trial again before two other High Court judges who heard no evidence and saw no witnesses. Whatever the Noble Lord may say, and however he may complain of the Irish pack, as he called us, the Irish pack will be heard again in the House, and the people of India will thank us. I shall never forget when one day I went to the Union at Oxford to speak for Home Rule, and in the middle of my speech I turned round and saw every Indian student in Oxford setting behind me and supporting us. The people of India are grateful to the Irish pack, because we have had the courage to stand up for people who were ill-treated in India, and I am not ashamed of it, no matter what terms of opprobrium the Noble Lord may apply to us. I am glad to believe the interference of the Irish pack on the present occasion has had some effect, because this procedure, I think, is doomed. We are at least certain —we have it from the Secretary of State himself—that never again will a man be hung in India without the opportunity of laying his appeal before the Governor. The Irish pack have succeeded in doing something, and we will continue to defend the right, so far as we can judge it, whether with respect to the people of India or any other people throughout the Empire. I think the Noble Lord, by the tone of his speech, and by the gross want of sympathy with the people exhibited in it, is not at all contributing to ease what at best must be an extraordinarily difficult task, and that is, to conciliate the millions of people over whom we rule in India.

Sir J. D. REES

As one who has been in the Civil Service in India, I got up at an earlier stage to defend my distinguished brother officer, and my regret that I was not called then to address the House was very much mitigated when I heard the admirable speech in which that duty was performed by my Noble Friend (Lord Ronaldshay). I have acted as Registrar in a High Court, and I freely confess that the procedure under which a man who has been acquitted by the judge who heard the evidence can be retried and found guilty upon a paper record always went with me against the grain. I make that confession, but I say also that the whole of the arguments which have been directed against Sir John Hewett are entirely beside the mark. Hon. Gentlemen who have spoken here, and the Press in England, do not realise that the Government to whom the appeal for mercy lies is Sir John Hewett, and not the Viceroy. The Government for this purpose is the Lieutenant-Governor.


Is there not an appeal in such cases to the Viceroy?

Sir J. D. REES

The appeal which arises in this country and is dealt with by the Home Secretary, in India is dealt with by the local administration. A great deal of misunderstanding arises from the fact that it is supposed there is an appeal upon everything from the Lieutenant-Governor to the Governor-General in Council. The House should understand that in all matters within their competence—and almost everything is within their competence—the local Government is the Government, and they exercise the prerogative of mercy. Personally, I think it is a matter of regret that some exceedingly unjust remarks were made in 1906 about Sir Bampfylde Fuller, who acted under the rules. If the regulations under which he acted are wrong, they are wrong, and it is not the local Government in India that did any wrong. The speeches of the hon. Member for South Donegal (Mr. Swift MacNeill) and the hon. Member for East Mayo (Mr. Dillon) were full of inaccuracies as to the actual laws under which the Lieutenant-Governors perform their duties in India, and although they did not know it, they were also full of the animosities which lurk behind the charge which has been made against Sir John Hewett. I do not wish to go over any ground unnecessarily, and I will only point out certain things which my Noble Friend omitted to notice. The hon. Member for South Donegal said that this law as to the appeal from an acquittal is repudiated by every English lawyer. I would point, out that it was put in by Sir James Stephen. The penal code was worked out by Lord Macaulay, a fairly distinguished lawyer, and in the face of the animated speeches which have been made, and the appeals to public feeling by saying that these men were acquitted by an English judge, and then improperly on appeal condemned by the High Court, will the House believe that one of the superior judges who took upon himself the responsibility of finding these men guilty was a Brahmin, a Hindu, a man who has the blood of his race, and who has inherited traditions against bloodshed for any cause extending back a thousand generations. Was that man anxious to put to death a brother Hindu? He sat trying the case with the English judge. In Heaven's name, should there not be some sense of moderation and an appreciation of the circumstances in the face of this really monstrous attack which has been made upon great officials? Our great officials who are held up to ignominy are the envy of other countries, and they ought to be the pride of our own, but by some extraordinary mischance when hon. Gentlemen get up to attack officials they invariably choose men like Lord Milner, whom they attacked before, and Sir John Hewett, whom they are attacking now—men who are particularly distinguished for their humanity and their love of the natives, whether in Egypt or in India. It is invariably so.

I may be forgiven for feeling hotly on this question. As a Civil servant whose duty it might have been to behave just as Sir John Hewett did, I can state that he carried out every instruction which he was bound to carry out, and having to decide this matter himself, why should he have referred it to the Governor-General? I contend that Sir John Hewett merely behaved with a full sense of responsibility, and that he had no notion of putting weakly or sentimentally upon the Governor-General in Council a function which he was himself called upon to fulfil. When I was in the Indian Civil Service, I thought, and I still think, that the India Office is one of the best managed offices of the State, and I cannot say how deeply I deplore that the Secretary of State should have allowed himself to defend Sir John Hewett in such a lukewarm manner, and to say that he did not act with proper discretion. The Secretary of State's criticism in this case, which I hold to be wholly unjustified, will be acutely felt by officers in India, and will not make it easier for the men serving in India. It occurs to me at this moment that there was one occasion upon which one of his Ministers said to King David:— Thou hast shamed this day the faces of all thy servants which this day have saved thy life. … In that thou lovest thine enemies and hatest thy friends. It is too often the case when their conduct comes under review by those at home that officials are thrown over too readily in deference to public clamour. I admit that the speech of the hon. Member for East Mayo was in far better taste than that of the hon. Member for South Donegal. He said that Sir John Hewett had no right to argue the case against the Secretary of State. If it is true that an officer may not do so while in the service, it cannot be said that he has no right to do so after leaving the service, Sir John Hewett has left the service, and not only has he the right to defend himself against the Secretary of State, but he has the right to say that that great officer is wrong. All the criticisms of the hon. Gentleman therefore fall to the ground. The hon. Gentleman says that Sir John Hewett is bound to trust his defence to his political chief. Lord Crewe is not his political chief any more than he is mine. The hon. Member said also that Sir John Hewett should not have dealt with the appeal for mercy because he would be biassed. He was in the same position in that respect as the Home Secretary is in here, and he was bound to do that by law. If the hon. Member says that the procedure in India is wrong, well and good, but do not let him attack a distinguished officer for doing that which the law compels him to do. In every Oriental country the whole of the executive and the whole of the judicial functions are performed by the same officers. The whole of the criticism falls to the ground when it is remembered that Sir John Hewett was the Governor and that the appeal for mercy lay to him. He merely carried out the rule which he was called upon to carry out.

I am very glad that the Under-Secretary has returned from India, and that he made the excellent speech to which we listened to-day. I will not complain about his going to India, but I hope it will not form a precedent, and, indeed, I would hope that in future a Member of the Government will be forbidden to spend a Session travelling in that country. His duty is nowhere during the sitting of Parliament but upon that bench. Much as I respect his desire to understand India, I do think that he should have followed the precedent set by another Gentleman, Mr. (now Lord) Curzon, and that he should have become an Orientalist before taking office. The hon. Gentleman referred to the changes in the India Office. I am glad that they are not very sweeping. I believe the India Office to be an extremely good office, and the other day I refused to join in a complaint as to the financial management. The Under-Secretary referred to the large balance in the Budget this year. I am very much afraid that that large balance was due to overestimating. I very much suspect that it is due to the straits in which the Government are placed. They are masking and endeavouring to conceal what they are bringing upon the finances of India by their sentimental opium policy. The hon. Gentleman said that the loss of opium revenue was made up by the railway receipts, and this is so. They are still short of the recommendation of Lord Inchcape's Committee by £500,000 in their allotment for railways, and I trust that the Government will at last persuade themselves that the capital cannot be raised in India for providing the thousands of miles of additional railway which are wanted, and that they may allow those who are willing and able to do it to raise capital in this country, if they want to, see railway communication extended in India. This is a matter to which that much despised class railway directors, to which I belong, attach much importance, and I think that the hon. Gentleman will admit that railways are very good for the country and that it is extremely desirable that extensions should be made. I could mention one or two which would bring lots of grist to the mill and serve districts which are now crying loudly for railway extensions, but which cannot get them owing to the scruples of the Railway Board and the unwillingness of the India Office to allow money to be raised by private financiers, in the manner in which it could easily be raised, I would specially mention the Kodaikanal Road to the Pulneys and the Raipur branch lines.

The Under-Secretary said that we had no interest in the internal affairs of Tibet. How is he going to maintain order which he says is necessary outside Tibet without taking a considerable interest in what goes on inside Tibet? I sincerely hope that he will not take what he said very literally, but will take an interest in Tibet, and try as far as possible to make up for what was done, not by a Liberal but by a Conservative Government, when they threw away, as I think they did, the whole results of the Tibet expedition. It is the fate of the professional Indian Member to be bombarded with the details of a great many cases which he is desired to bring before the House as I have with a persistance which I should have thought praiseworthy if it had not been that the Chair invariably rebuked me and ruled me out of order when I have endeavoured to bring many of these things up. It is not possible to go into them all, but perhaps I may mention some in the hope that the Under-Secretary will make a note of them as things about which I want to get information, and will very kindly inquire in his office. This is the only opportunity we get for having a discussion on Indian subjects. The first matter to which I would refer is the outrage at Delhi. The attempt upon the Viceroy's life has been forgotten in a most extraordinary manner, and it is a grave reflection upon the Government administration in India that no arrests have been made. As the hon. Gentleman has said, obviously it was the result of a conspiracy. It was within an ace of being successful, and, unfortunately too, it is widely believed—I, for one, believe it—that there are people nominally our friends, some of them in fairly high places in India, who know more about it than they will say. The administration in India and in the India Office are not taking sufficiently active steps to get information regarding that crime and many others, as they seem to be far more anxious to conciliate their enemies than reward their friends.

The feeling now in India is that you have only got to attack the Government to have the Government at your feet, and where offenders call themselves political offenders, just like the suffragettes here, you have gangs of students of respectable families going about committing armed robbery with violence, and, unfortunately, the Government of Bengal illegally entered, in a famous case, into a compact to condone those offences and to save these young men from the consequences of their acts. What occurred two years ago gave a shock to the public conscience, and a further shock was given by the repeated contemptuous reversals of judgments of the High Court of Calcutta. You get no help now from the educated classes in India. Babus, members of Council and all these great men, who, I admit, are very able men—I like seine of them very much and many of them have been my friends—will not help the Government to discover crime. They call it political, and then claim the same indulgence for it as the hysterical feminist does in this country. A most grievous matter is that it is widely thought in India that the Public Service Commission, and the indiscreet manner in which it has allowed itself to be worked for political ends and the character of its composition, to some extent has had a very disastrous effect in India, upon which I am unwilling to dwell, but which is extremely serious and is showing itself in various ways. In face of the optimism of the Under-Secretary's speech, which I expected from him, I may read the remark of Lord Sydenham, who says:— We must not forget that there are very grave symptoms in India which it would be madness to ignore. We have to deal with a section. not a large one but an influential one, which is permanently hostile to our rule. I think that the hon. Gentleman and his chief have been far too ready to alienate our natural friends by displaying too great a desire to conciliate such enemies. As regards the police, I would ask the hon. Gentleman to take into account their very fair plea that they should have pensions after twenty-five years' service. The police have been the object of so many unjust attacks in this House, that I think attention should be given to this claim. I see that even in the Calcutta High Court, which cannot be accused of partiality in the matter, the chief justice the other day condemned the violent attacks made on the police. They are, indeed, violent and unjustifiable, and I hope that the hon. Gentleman will give favourable consideration to this demand. I imagine that I should not be in order to do more than refer in passing to the present phase of Mahomedan opinion in India. It is a very serious matter that we should be alienating those who have been the best friends of our own in India by thoughtless speeches in which it is taken for granted that whoever gains by the dissensions in the Balkans the Turks must not. That attitude is most deplorable, and I am not at all sure that it is not to a large extent responsible for the riots at Cawnpore, and for the feeling which is manifested just now all over India and for the striking fact, so utterly contrary to all that previously characterised Mahomedans in India, that they should pass a resolution in favour of self-government in India in which no Mahomedan for one moment believes. It was merely an expression of feeling against ourselves.

Coming to the opium question, I had an opportunity some time ago of making a speech here almost exactly in the terms of that of my Noble Friend, but for the benefit of the hon. Gentleman opposite may I point out that the Chinese Government are not putting down the cultivation of opium in China. They are cultivating it there as hard as they can, and having killed the Indian trade, they mean to make a monopoly and poison their own subjects themselves. I ask the House to allow me to refer to a White Parliamentary Paper on this subject. Sir John Jordan, in writing to the Foreign Secretary, refers to the statement made even by missionaries, who are most anxious to put an end to this traffic in all cases—though they do not always see the justice of compensating those people who suffer loss—that in the province of Fuhkien travellers reported that so extensive a crop of opium was without precedent, and it was planted even on the main roads without concealment. In the province of Hunan, another great opium province, cultivation is reported from five districts in the west and two in the south. I find that in the capital of the province the police occasionally arrest a smoker, but apart from what is done to save their faces, no attempt is made to put it down. In Kwei Chau there is very extensive cultition, there are proclamations against poppy growing, but poppy is reported to be growing everywhere. In Kiangsi there is a recrudescence of cultivation over a very considerable district reported.

A similar statement is made in this White Paper regarding all the great poppy growing provinces in China, and the Chinese Government have repudiated their treaty with us under which honest, natives of India as well as mere Englishmen engaged in the business, trusting to the justice of the British Government, have exported large stocks to China where they are now unsaleable. I call on the Under-Secretary to be bound by the treaty of his own Foreign Secretary and to admit that the Chinese are not putting an end to poppy cultivation, but are improperly evading their obligations to the unjustifiable loss of British and British Indian merchants. I have communications from a great many of these merchants in Bombay and Rajputana. [Mr. T. A. TAYLOR: "Hear, hear."] Will the hon. Gentleman as a Lancashire Member abstain from enforcing the countervailing excise upon the Indian cotton manufacturer, I wonder? Cannot he be virtuous except when somebody else pays for it`? We have the fact that a large number of merchants from Malwa have now some 50,000 chests of opium, lawful produce, on which they pay tax and that they cannot get the Government of India to buy it from them, and they cannot export it anywhere as the Government of India has shut the free market in India against them. That is a scandalous thing, whether opium be a thrice accursed thing wicked in itself or not. That is all nonsense. I know that it is not. It has most valuable medicinal properties. It may be ill-used like anything else. But whatever the merits of the ease these men are entitled to compensation. Coming to the Public Service Commission I submit that its proceedings have been most indiscreet. From beginning to end it dwelt upon racial and colour questions. It has brought in the Civil servants, who are anxious to conceal their opinion that they do not think an Indian as good a man as themselves—perhaps he is not; I do not say so—but it has forced these men to get up in the light of day and before all the reporters in India and say that they do not think that the Indian is a good administrator.

8.0 P.M.

Is that a good thing? Is it likely to lead to good feeling or to getting better work out of Indian subordinates? Is that a good thing? Is it likely to lead to good feeling or to getting better work out of Indian subordinates? To send this Commission about India leaving one long streak of racial feeling in its trail is one of the most unfortunate things that have yet happened. As far as I can see, the Commission has not dealt with the subjects with which they ought most to have dealt—questions of the personnel of the public service, of its payment, and of the dissatisfaction which exists. A little bit may have been sandwiched here and there between interesting questions raising the everlasting point of the greater employment of Indians in the public service. That is the impression I have carried away of the proceedings of this Commission. I wish to point out a gross impropriety which occurred on the part of one of these Commissioners. I believe it to be the rule of public life that no member of a Royal Commission is entitled to prejudge the issues or to make any statement regarding the evidence and opinions given before the Commission. The hon. Member for Leicester (Mr. Ramsay Macdonald), in April last, made a speech in India in which he said that "so far as the evidence which had been tendered before the Commissioners in regard to the effect of the employment of Indians in positions of responsibility in the public service was concerned, that evidence was negligible on its merits, negligible as regards the sort of witnesses who gave it, and in the best interests of the country arid Empire." Judged by any of the standards which have hitherto been observed in this country as regards members of Royal Commissions, I submit that it is really a gross outrage on the part of any member of a Commission to prejudge the issues and make so insolent a statement, a statement so disrespectful to his brother members.

Another subject of which I should like the Under-Secretary to take note is the great ill-feeling, a very natural ill-feeling among the covenanted Civil servants in the Punjab, and to note that the measures taken for their relief are wholly inadequate, and it is high time that something was done to deal with that very serious subject. There is similar and very justifiable discontent in the Central Provinces and in the United Provinces, and I beg the India Office to take that question into their consideration, because, if the Civil Service of India is discontented, the work of administration cannot be well done. In regard to the question of simultaneous examinations, upon which the 'Commissioners spent so much time and labour in taking down evidence which is exactly like that taken on a previous occasion, I would point out that you cannot have those simultaneous examinations, putting aside all points of principle because the papers cannot be kept secret. It is perfectly well known that in India examination papers are sold in the streets, and it is quite impossible to have satisfactory examinations of a simultaneous character, for that, if for no other reason. If I were to deal with the Report of the Commission there is enough to occupy a whole day, but I will leave it. With regard to the Army in India, the Under-Secretary spoke with some satisfaction of the provision for aviation. I should like to know whether £13,000 is really enough. Unless I am mistaken, there must have been some later Grant, for I think £13,000, and £4,000 for buildings, are not enough. As regards Lord Nicholson's Commission, I hope I am right in inferring that there are to be no reductions of the British troops in India, and that if such a proposal is put forward it will not be entertained by the Government.

I hope that the hon. Gentleman will note this as a subject in which everybody in India is vitally interested. There is also one which I have many times impressed upon the Government, namely, the question of the transfer from British to native regiments of officers, who have for this purpose qualified in Hindustani. If I call attention to this and other subjects it is because I am very much importuned to bring them before the India Office. As to Delhi City, I am perfectly certain that the Government of India are the best judges how it ought to be built, and I do not think that they will get any help out of this country. I rather regret to see the amount of ground provided round the houses of members of the Council and I really hope nothing will be done in so extremely expensive a style. A member of the Council has less than £5,000 a year, and he is not allowed to supplement his income by speculations and flutters. He does not want a large house with a park. I do not see anywhere an. estimate of what the expense is going to be. A change of the capital from the north to the south is bound to be expensive. Sir Bradford Leslie's scheme would have been a cheaper one, and I incline to differ from the report of the experts, whatever my opinion is worth. What is this new city going to cost? I saw an estimate of £4.000,000. That is obviously absurd; it must have been a mere off-hand statement at the commencement.

I see also that this city is to be a pattern and inspiration to the East, and when I saw that I thought of those who are losing their opium revenue. They had had a succession of good seasons and they may now have to suffer a cycle of bad seasons; yet while their revenue is diminished, there comes this expenditure upon a change of capital, as to the cost of which we have not yet got proper estimates. As to the style of buildings they ought to be something suitable to the climate and the circumstances, and that, after all, is what is good architecture and good art. I am quite sure that no advantage will be gained from the attention given to the matter in this country. One word upon education, and the case of Mr. Hornell. I should like the hon. Gentleman to know what is said in India. What is said in India is that having appointed Mr. Clark, the ex-private secretary of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, a member of the council, Mr. Clark now proceeds to appoint Mr. Hornell, an educational officer in London, and those two appointments, together with other appointments that have been made, have a cumulative and harmful effect on administration in India. I congratulate the India Office on their educational policy for the very reason that they are putting primary education first, which is what ought to have been done long ago, and because they are following in almost every particular the course marked out by Lord Curzon, than whom there has been no more courageous Viceroy of India in modern times. He had the courage to act while other people were talking.

There is another subject of which I hope the Under-Secretary will make a note, and it is a matter which I have been urged to bring before him on this occasion, and that is the need of a double mail every week to India. In the last ten years the number of letters have increased by 230 per cent., the parcels by 132 per cent., and papers and packets by 70 per cent. annually, between India and England, while the ratio of increase between India and foreign countries has been very much larger than that. I desire to point out, to return to the question of railways, what desperately bad finance it is on the part of the Government not to borrow money to make Indian railways on a large scale. They can borrow at 4 per cent. and 4½, per cent., and there is an average return of 5.89 per cent. I do beseech the Government to take some practical measures to raise money to complete the system of railways. These are merely one or two things which I ask the hon. Gentleman kindly to note down in addition, Will he ask the India Office and the Secretary of State during the holidays not to overlook the question of the pensions of widows of military officers? I need not dwell upon the subject, for it will be well understood at the India Office. Will he also give attention to the case of the London Institution? The Under-Secretary made some sensible remarks about learning the native languages, a subject which I brought before Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman years ago, but I believe very little has been done to carry out the Government's intentions with regard to this subject, and I hope they will accelerate them and bring the Oriental School of Languages to fruition. I also want the India Office and the Secretary of State not to forget the strong feeling which exists in commercial circles in India regarding the action of Japan, which, while enjoying our coasting trade with India, and having the advantage of subsidies, is cutting us out of our own trade with our connivance and assistance, while British ships are not allowed on any account to take part in the coasting trade of Japan. Here is a case of proved known injustice to British trade by a preference given to a friendly nation, but a foreign nation. I sincerely hope that the Secretary of State will not, during the recess, fail to take that into his very careful consideration.

Colonel YATE

I will not go at any length into the question with regard to Sir John Hewett, which occupied so much of our attention to-night, but I should like to say that I wish to associate myself with previous speakers on this side of the House, and to say how much I regret the words that have been recorded by the Secretary for State, Lord Crewe, regarding Sir John Hewett's conduct. The hon. Member for East Mayo (Mr. J. Dillon) got up and in a speech in which he acknowledged that this House was not the place to retry the case, then proceeded to retry it, in the most unfair and partial manner, to his own satisfaction, and the whole trend of his opinion was that justice had not been done to the murderers and that thousands of men would say that the murderers had been done to death. It would have been very much more correct to say that the one hundred or two hundred who knew something about the case had thought and knew how very nearly the murderers in this case had escaped justice through the intricacies of British law. Here we had a most dastardly crime, and I have the Indian papers giving an account of how an unfortunate man was savagely murdered at sunset at the edge of the village, with fifty wounds in his body, and not one word of sympathy has ever been. expressed for the man who has been murdered. In the first trial, where there were two native assessors, one assessor found them guilty and the other assessor found them not guilty, and in the Higher Court they were unanimously found "Guilty." The third man, who was sentenced to transportation for life, did appeal to the Governor-General, and his appeal reached him and was summarily rejected. There can be no doubt that justice has been done, and the cry that has been raised has been a most shameful one, and I can only say that I regret that the Secretary of State should have put the seal upon it which he has done. I will say no more about that subject.

I would like to congratulate the Under-Secretary of State most cordially on the very concise and practical and interesting account that he gave of India in his address to-day. I think it was interesting all through and fully deserved the praise with which it was credited on all sides of the House. The first question raised by the Under-Secretary was that regarding the India Office. He referred to the statement that had been made by Lord Crewe the other day in the House of Lords, in which certain changes were proposed in the India Office. The principal thing proposed, so far as I can judge, is the reduction of the members of the Council from a maximum of fourteen and a minimum of ten, to a maximum of ten and a minimum of eight I can only say that I trust most sincerely that a minimum of ten will be retained; otherwise, I do not see how the Civil Services and the Army of India and Indians themselves can all have representation on the Council in the way they ought to have it. At the present moment, there is only one military member of the Council of the Secretary of State for India. Hitherto I believe it has always been the custom to have two military members on that Council. When you have vital interests, not only to India, but to the Empire as a whole, of just and sympathetic treatment of the Army, it seems to me there should always be at least two officers of the Indian Army fresh from actual command in India as military advisers to the Secretary of State for India. The term of service at the India Office has now been laid down at seven years, and when we have two military members on that Council it, could then be arranged every three and a half years to have a new officer from the Indian Army fresh from the command of Indian troops, appointed. I do most respectfully ask the Secretary of State to take this question into his favourable consideration.

Another point to which I would like to refer is as to what steps are going to be taken on this new modified Council to secure the representation of Indian finance members. We have had notable financiers on the Council of the Governor-General of India of late years, and not a single one of them has ever been appointed to the Council of the Secretary of State at the India Office. The financial interests of India, I think, demand that they should be represented in London by representatives from India. At the present moment, both financial members of the Secretary of State for India at the India Office are London bankers. Lord Crewe said that the financial members on the Council "might need differential treatment" from those who sat on the Council in an ordinary capacity. That might possibly apply to London hankers, but I do ask the Secretary of State and the Under-Secretary to bear this question in mind, so that room may be found for financial members from India at the India Office in what he described as an ordinary capacity. I quite agree with Lord Crewe that membership of the Council should be the final stage in the Indian official's actual Indian work. The appointment to Council, whether an appointment to the Council of the Secretary of State or the Council of the Governor-General in India, should, I say, be the final stage in any Indian official's active work. No member of either Council should ever be eligible for promotion to a Lieutenant-Governorship or any other appointment. As Lord Crewe rightly said, a member of Council, waiting for further promotion in India, would lose his independence. Perhaps Lord Crewe will make this ruling compulsory, both in England and in India. I quite agree with the advantage of interchange between officials in India and clerks in the India Office, such as that foreshadowed by Lord Crewe. That is a change that would be greatly valued in India. Clerks at the India Office and members of the Civil Service in India pass the same competitive examination, but there the similarity ends. At present we have two entirely separate services both paid for by the Government of India, but with entirely separate interests; this can well be altered. I have known cases of promising young men in the Indian Civil Service who, after a few years in India, had to retire owing to their inability to stand the climate, but who would have made excellent clerks at the India Office. Why should their career have had to be closed on this account, and why should not service in the India Office be open to them? And why should not clerks from the India Office go to India?? I trust that the question may be considered by the Royal Commission now sitting, with a view to the amalgamation of the Indian Civil Service and the India Office Service more than they are at present.

Another point I would raise is that of the commutation of India Office clerks' pensions. Under the rules of the Government of India, pensions are commuted on a 3½ per cent. basis instead of the 5 per cent. basis which is applicable to the India Office staff. This is an apparent injustice to the latter which ought to be remedied, and I would urge that the Government of India rules should be made applicable to all officials at the India Office. I am averse to the commutation of pensions myself, as we all know of eases where a man has commuted his pension and lost everything and been left practically penniless. But the Government of India have wisely ruled that no Indian servant can commute more than one-third of his pension, and I would ask that that same rule should be made applicable to the India Office. The Under-Secretary said that an alteration was to be made in the Foreign Office of the Government of India. I welcome that announcement. All that he told us, however, was that there was to be a separate Foreign Secretary for Native States. That change is not sufficient. Has not the time come when the Viceroy of India should have the assistance of a member of Council in special charge of foreign affairs? At present the Viceroy has no assistant in this respect except that of the Foreign Secretary. The work of the Indian Foreign Office is increasing year by "year, and is yearly becoming of greater Imperial importance. The Foreign Office at Simla now is practically the Asiatic Department of the English Foreign Office in London, and corresponds more nearly with the Asiatic Department of the Foreign Office of St. Petersburg than with anything else. The Viceroy at present has to deal unaided with all that concerns not only all the native chiefs in India and their vast territories, but with the concerns of Arabia, Turkish Arabia, Mesopotamia, Persia, Russia in Central Asia, Afghanistan, Tibet, Nepal, Bhutan, the tribes on the Assam and Burma Frontiers, Siam, China, and the Malay Peninsula, and with ail sorts of questions -with all the countries where Indians go to. The Foreign Office is overworked, and the secretaries are overwhelmed with detail and so is the Viceroy. It appears -to me that the hands of the Viceroy should be strengthened by the addition of a Foreign Member of his Council to relieve him of the detail work and to leave him freer for the consideration of the larger questions.

Last year when speaking on this Debate I raised the question of the status of Lieutenant-Governors and Chief Commissioners of Provinces in India, and I urged that the recommendations of Sir George Chesney, in his book entitled "Indian Polity," should now be carried into effect, and that the Governors of provinces in India should be called Governors. I will take the case of Siam alone. This small kingdom, with which we in India and the French in Saigon are so much concerned, has on the south of it the comparatively small Colony of the Straits Settlements. Being under the Colonial Office this Colony is ruled by a full Governor. On the Western side Siam is bordered by the huge province of Burma, a province double the size of the whole United Kingdom, and here Siam has to deal with only a Lieutenant-Governor—a title absolutely not understood in the East. Surely the Ruler of Burma should be styled the Governor of Burma! In Persia, Afghanistan, or China, he would be a Governor-General at least. We should do in the East as the Easterns do. I do trust that all Lieutenant-Governors and Chief Commissioners of Provinces may be levelled up and styled Governors. I was very glad to hear the Under-Secretary's assurance that there would be no reduction in either the British or the Native Army. That will be a great comfort to all those who are interested in India. I was very glad to hear praise bestowed upon the Central India Horse for their conduct in Persia, but I trust, however, that never again will a regiment of the Indian Army have to be praised for its restraint. Regiments of the Indian Army are not drilled and disciplined to restrain themselves when other people are firing at them, and I hope that in future no Indian regiment will ever be placed in such a terrible position as that to which the Under-Secretary referred.

On the general question of the Army, we must await the result of Lord Nicholson's Committee. I hope, however, the hon. Member will consider the question of education in the Indian Army. Nothing has been done from public funds in that direction. Last year I pleaded the cause of domiciled Europeans and Anglo-Indians in India for more generous treatment in regard to education. I am glad to say that since then public attention has been called to the matter—Committees have discussed the question, and I hope that much good will result. This year I wish to plead for an increased Grant for the better education of native soldiers. You have in the native soldiers the most loyal and contented class of men in India, but nothing is done for their education. The value of the regimental school is absolutely ignored. The extra pay of an ordinary regimental schoolmaster is seven rupees or 9s. 4d. a month. If he is a certified English teacher he gets twenty rupees or 26s. 8d. a month. Can you wonder that the officers commanding native regiments have great difficulty in finding competent schoolmasters willing to enlist on such terms? They cannot get them. The man who has the necessary qualifications for teaching in a civil school shirks the prospect of military training and discipline, and the liability to foreign and active service, and extra pay is necessary to get the right sort of men. As a rule, the young recruit on joining has had little education. Some have to be trained to read and write messages as signallers, some to be regimental clerks, others to be non-commissioned officers and native officers, and when a man retires his educational qualifications are entered on his discharge certificate with a view to civil employment. To give these fine and loyal men a chance in civil employment is one of the first duties of the Government of India, and I beg the Under-Secretary to see to it that the question is taken into consideration, and that in next year's Grants for education a substantial Grant in aid of native regimental schools has a first place.

The only other point I wish to raise in connection with the Indian Army is the necessity of one battalion out of the three being always quartered at the regimental centre. Nothing does the Indian sepoy set more store by than a permanent station near his own home, so that he can visit it from time to time. He will readily take his turn of service abroad and in other parts of India, but the one thing he clings to is a fixed depot where he can return to and feel really at home. Indian regiments are brigaded by threes, and each of these three battalions have a regimental centre as near as possible to the recruiting grounds for the three battalions, but, as often as not, not one of the three battalions is quartered at it. What I ask is, that each of the three battalions should take it in turn to be quartered at the regimental centre; each battalion would go for three or four years to one station, and then for three or four years to another station, but if the men are to be kept contented let them always know that the third change will be to the regimental centre, where they will be able to have three or f our years in the vicinity of their own homes. All who know the Indian sepoy will appreciate the desirability of this. The officers too, should be granted special travelling allowance to permit their visiting their sepoys at their own homes much more than they can do now.

The question of equal division of Staff Appointments between officers of the Indian Army and the British Service in China and other places where Indian troops are employed, I have referred to before. I trust that this has been inquired into and that a fairer and more equal treatment of the claims of officers of the Indian Army will result. The question of the arming of the Royal Indian Marine vessels to enable them to take their share in the policing of the Indian seas and Persian Gulf is another question I have already raised. I understand it is under the consideration of the Slade Committee, and as soon as that has reported I trust no time will be lost in giving the Royal Indian Marine the status of an armed. Naval Force—of which it should never have been deprived. One point I may refer to in connection with the Royal Indian Marine, and that is the extraordinarily mean treatment accorded by the India Office to the family of the late, Lieutenant Bowers who perished so bravely in the South Antarctic Expedition. In the grant of pensions to the surviving relatives, the Prime Minister announced the grant of £300 to the widow and sister-in-law of Dr. Wilson, and yet the India Office only granted £100 to the mother and sisters of Lieutenant Bowers. Again, in the case of those who belonged to the Royal Navy, the Admiralty treated them as having been absent on leave with pay and the pay thus due was credited to their estate for the benefit of their heirs. The India Office, instead of following the precedent set by the Admiralty, treated Lieutenant Bowers as absent on leave without pay, and the £240 or some small sum of that sort that would otherwise have accrued to his mother and sisters, was not given.

We members of the Indian services look to the Indian Office to uphold the status of the Indian services in every possible way. India possesses a body of officers ready to go anywhere, to take their full share in all deeds of daring and exploring, and to hold their own with the best. They ought to be encouraged in every way to volunteer for whatever enterprises may be going, and not discouraged by mean and ungenerous treatment. The differentia- tion of treatment accorded to Lieutenant Bowers tends to discourage others to follow his example, brings despair to the heart of the Indian officer, and tends to lower the status of the Indian services generally. My hon. Friend has already mentioned the next question, the long deferred claims of the Indian police to be given full pensions after twenty-five years' service, as in the other Government Departments in India. This, I hope, will receive full consideration by the Royal Commission now sitting. It seems very hard that full pensions after twenty-five years' service should be granted to officers of the police in England and that it should be denied to those in India, especially when it is given to the other Indian services. The Under-Secretary gave us a very glowing account of the Royal Commission. So did the Noble Lord the Member for Hornsey. The Under-Secretary told us that the Royal Commission would give a basis for desirable alterations, and material for another march forward. We hope it will result in bettering the conditions of the Indian services, and give us a more generally contented service. The Under-Secretary to-day said that the Indian Civil Service was suffering from overwork. Nothing is more true. There is not a single official in England, I take it upon myself to assert, that has the faintest idea of the work that is done by Civil servants in India. I trust that the policy of cooperation and devolution outlined by the Under-Secretary may have some little result, and that we shall see the district officer in India left more to his own devices, given a freer hand, and not so overburdened with detail work. This is a real practical question such as the Royal Commission was appointed to report on.

Last year the Royal Commission went round India and spent their time asking all sorts of impractical questions. They asked witnesses what they thought of each other and stirred up all sorts of ill-feeling. The one question which they ought to have put, and which they never did put, was: What the witnesses thought of the Commission? Had we got the replies to that question we might have had some useful and enlightening information. As it is, I can only hope that this next year will be productive of sonic real good both to the police and the other services in India, who have borne their grievances so patiently for so long. The Under-Secretary has told us nothing about the question raised by the Karachi Chamber of Commerce, which I referred to last year, regarding the extension of the metre gauge system of railways into Karachi. I see by the Indian papers that the Bikanir Durbar proposes to build a direct metre gauge line from Delhi through Bikanir and Jaisalmir to Haidarabad Sind, and it seems only fair that the great metre gauge system of India should have a free ran into Karachi. Rajputana is dependent entirely on the metre gauge system, and this huge country surely should be allowed direct communication without break of gauge with its nearest port!

The question of a direct mail service to Karachi does not seem either to have been taken into consideration yet. I gathered from the Postmaster-General's reply to a recent question that it would not come up for consideration till the present contract expired, but as it takes some years to arrange for new steamers for a new mail service I trust that no further time may be lost in starting the consideration of this matter.

In conclusion, let me touch for a moment on Indian external affairs. We have lately had a discussion raised by Lord Curzon in the other House regarding Turkish-Arabia, Persia, and Tibet, full of information—I think all will acknowledge—to all those who take an interest in those countries. Regarding the Baghdad Railway, I trust that the negotiations now going on will result in a much warmer feeling of friendship between Turkey and England than has of late years been the case. The estrangement between the two countries of late years has been entirely the fault of the Turkish rulers. Now that the former regime has been removed and Turkey has to settle down to consolidate her possessions in Asia, I trust the same old friendly relations that existed between us in former clays will be restored and that England and Turkey will be able to work cordially and harmoniously together for the betterment of the peoples wherever our respective interests are concerned. In the Persian Gulf we shall welcome her withdrawal from the untenable position she had taken up among the Arabs on the Arab coast, and the Baghdad Railway agreement will, I hope, include increased river steamer facilities for our trade between Busra and Baghdad till such time as the railway comes to be built. In Persia, the Muhamra-Khoramabad Railway survey is under completion. The Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs has told us that the option given by the Persian Government to the British Syndicate for this railway is just as good as the concession granted to Russia for the Julia-Tabriz Railway. I look to the Secretary of State, therefore, to see to it that no further haggling or difficulty on the part of the Persian Government will be allowed, and that the railway will be proceeded with directly the surveys are ready, without any further delay on the part of the Persian authorities. With regard to the Trans-Persian Railway it, appears from what Lord Crewe said in the other House that there is a proposition for the making of a Russian line from near Batoum to Teheran in the North, but nothing was said as to what corresponding concession is to be given to us by the Persian Government in the South. It is vital to British and Indian interests that the Russian line should not extend beyond the limits of the Russian sphere, and I ask the Secretary of State in assenting to this Russian line in the North to do so on the condition that Great Britain and India are to have the first right to the construction of railways in the South—that is, in the so-called neutral zone to the South of Ispahan and Yezd in that sphere of British interests.

Regarding the Neutral Sphere, upon which so much stress has been laid by Lord Morley, we must not forget that our interests in the Persian Gulf have been specially recognised by Russia in the correspondence attached to the Convention, and that those interests consist of the safety of the trade routes from the gulf ports at Bushire and elsewhere up through the so-called Neutral Sphere to Shiraz, Ispahan, Yezd, and other places. The idea that this part of Southern Persia can be called a Neutral Sphere is a false idea, and the name is a misnomer. The interests of Great Britain and of India are centred in the so-called Neutral Sphere, and the sooner that name for it is done away with the better. British interests are paramount at Bushire and Shiraz, and where Russian interests end at Ispahan and Yezd there British interests commence, and I trust the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs will inform the Russian Government that this is our interpretation of the agreement regarding British interests in the Persian Gulf. Lord Lansdowne said in the Debate last week in the other House that as regards the Neutral Zone we must look the facts in the face more courageously than we have hitherto done; that we are assuming responsibilities in the country, and we do not sufficiently recognise that the exercise of those responsibilities involves the assertion of certain rights. It is high time that our rights should be asserted and our position in this respect should be definitely laid down. I will not say anything now about the Swedish gendarmerie, for which, as Lord Curzon pointed out, we are finding the money.

The DEPUTY-SPEAKER (Mr. Whitley)

I think the hon. and gallant Gentleman is travelling rather into the sphere of the Foreign Office than the India Office. Of course, I recognise the relations between Southern Persia and India, but. he is now going into questions for which the Foreign Minister can only answer.

Colonel YATE

I apologise, but these countries border immediately upon India, and all I was going to point out is, is that within the British sphere immediately adjoining British territory, British rights are entirely unprotected, and I would ask that some British officers and Mahomedan officers should be lent from India to Persia to organise a force of Persian levies under the Persian Government to maintain order in the British sphere along the Bunder Abbas and Kirman trade route. We have in India the finest men that could be found for such a task. We have Mahomedans there who could help Persia greatly, and if we could lend to Persia the services of a few Mahomedan judges like Mr. Justice Amir Ali, for instance, whom we all know so well as a member of the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council here in England, we would be doing a great service.


I think it is hardly fair to deal with Persia on the India Office Vote. I think we must keep more closely to Indian questions.

Colonel YATE

Of course. Sir, I bow to your ruling, but as regards the Mahomedans of India I do hope that they will instead of passing resolutions against interference in Persia, go themselves to help Persia, and that Persia, when the help of Mahomedan officers is offered to her, will have the sense not again to refuse it. I will not say anything more about Persia. I do not know whether I will be in order in saying a word about Tibet. It is a question which intensely interests India because it borders India, as Lord Morley said, from Kashmir to Burma, a distance of more than 1,000 miles.


No, I think not. May I put it this way to the hon. and gallant. Member: We must only discuss to-day matters for which the Secretary of State for India is responsible, and I think our relations with Tibet are governed by the Foreign Office.

Colonel YATE

I am sorry I shall not be able to touch upon Tibet, which deeply concerns India, but as you have ruled I cannot I shall not attempt to do so. There is only one other question I wish to touch upon, and that is the question of opium. I believe that question is to be raised by an hon. Member opposite. So far as I can gather, proposals were made that the stock of opium now in China should be deported and sold somewhere else. The Chinese authorities tell us that they are enforcing the law against opium in China, and that they have beheaded over 1,000 people in connection with it. I quite agree that China has a strong and resolute Government, and is putting down opium. Supposing we had a strong and resolute Government in England, and supposing that, as sonic of my hon. Friends on the opposite side of the House might wish who are so anxious to stop the drink traffic—and liquor is just as bad as opin111 when taken to excess—the Government were to cut off the heads of all the people growing malt and barley, I am sure that would be thought a very hard thing, and I am sure it would be considered very unfair if the people with stocks of beer were told to withdraw them from the country and find a market for them somewhere else. I think that whatever stocks of opium the merchants have they have a just claim to be allowed to sell them in China. These are the only points I wish to raise at present.


I will not detain the House very long, but as three Gentlemen on the other side have honoured me by personal notice, an honour which I do not often enjoy, I wish to respond by saying a word or two on this item of opium in the Indian Budget. The Under-Secretary for India, who always speaks with so much lucidity and force, has been able to tell us to-day that opium is practically, if not quite extinguished, and that at any rate it is a very small item of the revenue of the country. I heartily congratulate him and India upon that because the very best men in India—men like Mr. Gokhale and others—members of the Indian Council have said more than once that they are ashamed of this revenue and would be glad to see it ended. More than that, the last two Finance Ministers, Sir Edward Baker and Sir Fleetwood Wilson, both of them very able men, and I believe their predecessors, said repeatedly that they did not regard this item in the income of India as an economically sound one. It is not only morally bad, but it is not a good fiscal item to rely upon, because it varies so much. In recent years, when owing to the high price from Chinese restrictions on production India has received so much extra, it comes in very conveniently as a kind of windfall, but it is a temptation to extravagance. The Finance Ministers for India show care and ultra-prudence in their estimates. The way in which this item in particular is underestimated by the Finance Ministers in India is very safe, no doubt, but it is rather apt to create, in comparison with another year, the idea that we are losing more revenue than we really are. The revenue this year shows that there is nearly £1,000,000 derived from Excise in India. On this question of opium a very sharp distinction should be drawn, and for lack of it there has been much misunderstanding, between the use of opium in the shape of pills and medicines and for smoking. There is not in the world any medical authority for the smoking of opium, which everywhere is an injurious vice which is very demoralising. May I quote from the Blue Book, "The Moral and Material Progress and Condition of India," just published, which, in dealing with the smoking of opium, says:— Since the end of the period under review the Government of India have announced their intention of taking further steps in the, direction of direct and unqualified prohibition of opium smoking. That shows what the Government themselves think about the smoking of opium. What Lord Morley thinks about it we heard seven years ago, when he called it "this horrible drug." The present First Lord of the Admiralty, speaking at Dundee a few years ago, said:— This damnable drug should be stamped out as far possible for any use at all except purely medicinal. I welcomed the sympathetic reference of the Under-Secretary last May as to the action of the Chinese Government in this matter, which I am sorry has been sneered at, as if a great nation could not do a good thing because their civilisation and religion are different from our own. I thank the hon. Member very much for the words he used in which he recognised the sincerity of the Chinese Government and the large measure of success China has achieved in trying to stamp out production in China. I am sorry that this evening the old sneer should have been raked up again. The Noble Lord opposite and the hon. Member for East Nottingham have again said that we opium people are guilty of vicarious virtue, that we are patting ourselves on the back, and obtaining credit at other people's expense, and that our virtue is easy, and so on. This is not correct—in fact, it is very incorrect—because we are not patting ourselves on the back. How can we, as Englishmen, pat ourselves on the back for what we have been doing for all these years? We have been merely urging the giving up of doing a bad thing, and between conferring a favour and ceasing to perpetrate a huge wrong, surely there is a very great difference! This consideration is vital to the Whole question. I earnestly beg this House to take note that we have nothing to pat ourselves upon the back for, and, if we begin to think we have any virtue in the matter, that will make us slack in taking the further steps which some of us desire the Government should take, and that is that. India should cease forcing opium on China, should give up producing opium for smoking, and produce it for purely medical purposes only.

I congratulate the hon. Gentleman again upon the fact that the Indian revenue has a surplus of more that £1,000,000 in addition to the £306,000 estimated to be derived from the export of Indian opium. I think we can now at least afford to be honest and just to China. My contention is that we have never had any moral right to inflict this drug upon China in order to make money for ourselves or for India. We have been asked in this matter to think of the people of India. Personally, I can never forget that there is a salt tax in India, and by it we are taxing a very large number of very poor people, and so long as we do that there is every reason for economy in our military expenditure in India, and I hope we shall not be extravagant in that respect. The people in India are very poor and we are their trustees, but our trusteeship for their welfare does not demand from us that we should inflict a wrong upon any other nation. It is contrary to public policy, and to the feeling of the best people in India, that China should be enslaved through having to take our drug. It is true that no individual in China is bound to buy it, but we have been forcing it on China in the sense that we have been compelling the Chinese Government to allow the admission of this drug which has ruined so many of their people, and this practice deserves all the bad adjectives I have used. I am sorry that the hon. Member for Nottingham is not here, but again he has given a false impression of what is going on in China. He says that there are 50,000 chests of opium in the hands of the Bombay merchants. Those merchants say that it is only about 20,000 chests, and the hon. Member's figures ought not to be given to the public without contradiction, because that is not fair to them or to anyone else. The hon. Member also stated that the Chinese Government have repudiated their treaty, but they have not. I am going to say deliberately that if t he Chinese officials determined that none of these (to be exact) 23,000 chests of opium should be admitted to their country, if they did what our American Colonies did with tea, and threw it into the harbour at Shanghai, we in this country would support them. Some treaties are better broken than kept. What is the good of maintaining that we have a moral right to force this upon China simply because we have a Treaty right? The right of men to free themselves from great evils is much greater than any treaty ever written or signed by any plenipotentiaries in the world, and I ask His Majesty's Government once more to find some means to relieve China from faking these stocks which are coming into China at a slower rate than the Under-Secretary was informed when he made his speech three months ago. The number of chests there is about 23,000, at the moment —609 went in in the month of June, and the average for the first five months of the year was 1,314. Why is that? It is because they are using less and less in China. It is true that China, in the matter of opium production, like the curate's egg, is good in parts and bad in parts, but J am perfectly certain that one of the greatest difficulties the Chinese have at the present time in stopping their own farmers from producing opium is the fact that the farmers see us sending the stuff into their country, and that they can make three or four hundred per cent. profit by growing it in China, like we do by growing it in India.

9.0 P.M.

It is no use for us to say that we are friendly with China so long as in the interest of the Government and of dealers we allow this stuff to be forced upon China. If the Chinese took the law into their own hands no British Government, as Sir James Ferguson said in this House in 1891, would spend a sovereign or risk the life of a single soldier in order to force China to take opium, and, if by taking the law into their own hands, they could have their own way, why should we not have the wisdom and the foresight to do graciously what we might have to do in another way? The opinion of the world would be against us if we were to go to war again to force China to take it. Why, therefore, should we not be gracious in this feature of our dealing with China, and why should we not find some means of putting a stop to this traffic? There is the question of compensation. India has got the money, but I do not want to take back the money from her, and I do not want the dealers to lose it. There is another method. It is not the best method of all, because to carry out the highest policy of all we ought to give up producing that which our own Ministers say is a "horrible and damnable drug"; the ruin of millions wherever it is used. We ought to stop the production at once, and to burn and destroy what there is, but in the present state of finance and of public opinion, I am afraid that it is impracticable for our Treasury to find £5,000,000 or £8,000,000, or whatever it may be, for this purpose. There is another way of doing it, and I strongly commend it to the House and to the Government. We should discontinue the production of it in India. I am informed that we are going to plant 150,000 acres this autumn in India as compared with 200,000 in the last two years. I deeply regret that we should produce any more of this article at a time when the Indian Budget is overflowing. I do not think that it is too greatly overflowing, but there is at all events a surplus of over £1,000,000, without reckoning any income from the export of opium.

I beg the Government not to plant any more, but to say to China, "You can go free and not take this opium," and to the dealers, "You can sell your stocks in non-Chinese markets, for we are not going to produce any more." That is not the noblest policy, I agree, but there would be less produced and smoked, and the effect, I am absolutely certain, would be that there would be an immediate accession of strength to the arm of the Chinese Government in putting down, not only the use of the article, but also the production of it within their own borders. I have had the pleasure during the last ten weeks of introducing to some 200 Members of this House, individually, the president of the Chinese National Opium Prohibition Union, General Chang, who tells us that this is their greatest hindrance. When they go to their people and say, "You must give up growing this opium or we will punish you, confiscate your land, and, in the final resort, cut off your head," there is a feeling on the part of the people that it is unjust to stop them making this enormous profit while a foreign Government is sending it into the country and making a great profit. This, therefore, would be strengthening the hands of the Chinese Government in stopping its production within China itself We should be doing a good thing by ourselves in our future relations with this Power, and we should be increasing our future trade with China, which should be a great consideration with us. It is of the greatest importance that we should have the goodwill of the Chinese people, and, if we can find some means of relieving them from taking Indian opium, I am perfectly certain that it will pay us in every respect. I make this concession to my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary. If we once give up producing this opium, I dare say that we shall never resume it. Perhaps the Indian Government have had that in their minds in their reluctance to give it up at all, but we are parties to The Hague Convention, and I would like to read what is now the opinion of the world on this point. It is not yet the law of the world, because two or three Powers have stuck out, but we are willing to sign a final instrument when one or two other Powers come in, and we and nearly all the Great Powers have signified their assent to Article 8, which says:— The contracting parties who are net pet ready to prohibit the export of opium shall prohibit the export of prepared opium to such countries as now forbid or may hereafter forbid the import of opium. We, therefore, morally bind ourselves to prohibit the export of prepared opium to countries like China, which forbid the import thereof. Having set our seal to this as a statement of international policy, it ill becomes us practically to force China to take any more. I do not want India to lose anything by this, but I say that the stocks of opium could be run off in the other countries of the world apart from the British Empire. I do not mean the Straits Settlement or Hong Kong, because we ought to stop the use of it there. Surely we ought to follow the example of China and of our Colonies to that extent. We are, therefore, bound to cut off the markets of our own Crown Colonies for our Indian opium. We are bound to go still further, and we must help China by finding some other way of disposing of these 23,000 chests than at Chinese Treaty ports. This appeal to the Govern-India of India to sacrifice future revenue is not made merely on grounds of higher finance. Ministers have for years past been preparing for the entire disappearance of this revenue. But I put this forward on the greatly higher ground that we ought not permanently to produce an article which has proved a curse wherever it is largely used. To keep on producing it is a moral wrong, and what is a moral wrong is not a political right. I once more beg the Government of India and the House not to force on China any more of this opium.

Mr. MacCAW

I desire to say a few words regarding the removal of the capital of India from Calcutta to Delhi. I am aware that this question has been debated in this House on several occasions, but I make no excuse for bringing the matter forward once again, as I consider it to be one of the most important questions which is before the Government of India at the present time. The Government have now had eighteen months' time for reflection on the action which they took so precipitately in January of last year. They have also had the further advantage of the information gained by the Government of India having been located at Delhi during the past cold season. I am only voicing the opinions held by many men of long experience in Indian affairs when I say I trust that the knowledge which the Government have gained during this period will have convinced them that they were in error in the action which they adopted when they proclaimed, in that very highhanded manner, without proper consultation with those best able to give them sound advice on this subject, that they had determined to transfer the capital of India from its ancient site in Calcutta to a new city to be built somewhere in the suburbs of Delhi. The acute controversy which has sprung up since the change was decided upon regarding the exact location of the site of the new capital shows in what a very crude manner the whole question was considered before the decision was finally come to.

The actual site of the new capital is a very small matter indeed compared with the grave administrative difficulties in the government of the country which the transfer which has been made is inevitably beginning to create. Those difficulties were very fairly foreshadowed by the Bengal Chamber of Commerce in the series of dispatches which they sent to the Government of India last year, dispatches copies of which I understand were also sent to the Secretary of State for India. The Bengal Chamber of Commerce represents the whole of the trade, not only of Calcutta but also of the adjoining districts in Bengal and Assam, and it is composed of men who have most extensive commercial and financial interests at stake in the country. Consequently, I think the Government will admit that their opinions and their desires are entitled to the very fullest weight and consideration. The-objections which they have made to the proposed transfer are very numerous and of very great moment. But one of the principal points to which they have directed attention is the location of the commercial department of the Government of India under this new arrangement. One of the chief arguments to my mind against the change is, and always has been, that it would place the Government of India completely out of touch with that body of non-official opinion with which it ought to be in constant and regular contact. The exodus of the supreme Government to Simla for eight months every year has for a very long time past been the subject of very grave criticism, and it has been almost unanimously condemned on general grounds. The only real justification for it which I have ever seen put forward has been that most Viceroys, when they go out to India, do so at a somewhat late period in their lives, and that it would be neither prudent nor reasonable, for considerations of health, to request these men to spend the hot weather in the plains; where the climatic conditions are, as a rule, not very favourable. That consideration is entitled to very great weight. but it does not remove the great administrative objections which undoubtedly exist of having the supreme Government of the Empire stowed away in a part of the country remote and difficult to access for two-thirds of every year.

The evils of this system before the present change was finally decided upon were mitigated to some extent by the fact that the members of the Government of India did come down from the hills to Calcutta and other centres of real life in the country for the remaining four of the twelve, and this period, short as it was, enabled the officials and the merchants, lawyers, and other non-official men, to meet together and exchange ideas for the mutual benefit of themselves and the country generally. Under this new scheme, however, even this short period is going to be done away with, for the Government now, when they come down from Simla, simply migrate to Delhi, where, for all practical purposes, they are just as much isolated from the general community as if they remained in Simla all the year round. That serious drawback is vastly accentuated instead of being mitigated, as has been the desire of everyone who has any knowledge of the disadvantages entailed. This is freely admitted. It is also admitted it would be a distinct gain for the officials to be thrown as much as possible in contact with the non-official portion of the population, so as to get thoroughly acquainted, in an indirect way, with their views and their ideas. Although this has not always been the case, it has been repeatedly realised in recent years, and I think the truth of it is absolutely beyond all question. Let me give an example of what I refer to. Some time ago, during Lord Curzon's Viceroyalty, it was recognised that the special interests of commerce in India were not receiving that attention from the Government which they deserved, and, in his usual practical way, Lord Curzon immediately set to work to remedy it. He created a Minister of Commerce with a seat in the Viceroy's Council.

Then the difficulty arose as to who should fill this post. The type of man required was one who had a good knowledge of the commercial requirements of India, a man who was perfectly independent of all pecuniary interest in any mercantile business. I understand that the first intention was to appoint, a merchant to this post. but that. was afterwards found to be impracticable. Fortunately, there was available one of the most distinguished Indian Civil servants, Sir John Hewett, whose name has come very prominently before the House to-day, and of whom I cannot speak too highly from my personal knowledge of him. He fulfilled all the con- ditions that were required. He had taken every opportunity of coming into contact with the merchants engaged in all classes of trade, and had made himself thoroughly conversant with mercantile affairs generally. His tenure of office as commercial member proved very successful, but, on his retirement on promotion, great difficulty was experienced on filling his place, for there were very few men available in the Indian Civil Service, who had been able to qualify in the same way as he had done. The result has been seen in the last appointment to this office, for the Indian Government have thought it well to come over to this side of the world to find a civilian, a member of the English Civil Service, to fill that post. As to the wisdom of the procedure I will say nothing, but I think it is beyond dispute. that if greater opportunities were given. to Indian civilians to make themselves acquainted with the commercial requirements of the country, which can only be done by coming into personal contact with those engaged in commercial pursuits, there would be no difficulty whatsoever in finding many men on the spot fully qualified in every way to fill the post of commercial member of the Viceroy's Council. There can be no doubt that such a man would be much better equipped for the work than any outsider, I care not what his qualifications may be, who has no real knowledge of the requirements of the country.

Under this new system, however, the Government is isolated from the commercial community the whole year round, and it will not only be more difficult than formally to find the right man for this post, but when he is found, his usefulness will be-very seriously impaired. He will be constantly out of touch with the very body of-men whose interests he has been specially-appointed to serve. I am aware that it has been proposed by the Government of" India that the Minister of Commerce shall in future make tours all through India during the cold weather. Flying visits of that nature will be quite inadequate for the proper discussion of grave commercial questions, neither will they allow the Minister to acquire the necessary information to enable him to perform his duties in a really efficient manner. This is a serious and genuine grievance, which, if it is not removed, will have the effect of injuring the commercial interests of the country instead of fostering them in every way, which, I am sure, is what the Govern- ment and everybody else desires. There is another important matter which calls for earnest consideration, that is, the vast sum of money which will have to be raised in some shape or form in order to pay for the establishment of the new capital at Delhi. The amount originally estimated by the Government was £4,000,000, but the most competent observers on the spot and the most experienced men in India say that at least £10,000,000 will be required to complete this gigantic scheme. The expenditure of such an enormous sum as this upon an undertaking of this nature for which, so far as I can see, there appears to be no necessity, and the benefits of which are really sentimental, seems to be quite indefensible, seeing that there are calls from all parts of India for the spending of money upon works of real utility, and in view of the fact that the revenues of the country are being constantly depleted by the cessation of the income derived from the opium traffic. I observe that the Finance Minister has put forward a proposal to devote some portion of the surplus revenues of India to this scheme. If there be any surplus in years of prosperity surely it should be devoted either to the many schemes for the development of the country or to the relief of taxation.

With regard to the schemes which are urgently required, I should like to press on the attention of the Government the necessity of an adequate supply of rolling stock for the railways of the country. As the Under-Secretary probably knows, most of the large railways in India have been loudly complaining that they are utterly unable to move their traffic in the busy season in consequence of the way in which they are starved for money. The general business of the country is dislocated by it. The Government are always promising relief, but no real relief ever comes. If the Government would only meet this crying necessity, instead of squandering millions of money on a new capital which I believe will serve no good purpose, they will be doing a real service to the trade of the country and to the wants of the people. I am very glad to see that this matter was prominently brought forward a short time ago in another place by Lord Inchcape, a man who has a though knowledge of the subject, he having been specially sent out to India at the head of a Commission to inquire into the matter. I trust the Government will act without further delay on the Report which he has made. The merchants of India are becoming quite tired of being put off year after year, and the damage which is done to the trade of the country generally is very serious.

I have only touched on a few of the reasons which appear to me to tell heavily against the carrying out of the scheme for the removal of the capital. The more the matter is considered, the more it is apparent that these objections are very sound and well founded. I think that is the view now held by the great majority of those who have really interested themselves in this matter. I believe that if the Government would call for a general expression of opinion from the Indian public, both official and non-official, they would be surprised at the extent of the conviction that they are wrong in the course they are adopting. I would press upon the Government that it is not too late, even now, for them to pause and reflect upon the action they are taking, and if further consideration convinces them, as I believe it will, that the decision to which they came was ill-advised, I trust that they will have the courage of their convictions and will not hesitate to reverse a policy which was adopted without due examination, and which, I believe, will result in the infliction of serious injury upon India herself.


I beg to move, as au Amendment, to leave out from the word "That" to the end of the Question, in order to add the words, "in view of the responsibility of this House for the Government of India it is desirable that a Standing Committee on native affairs should be appointed, and that the salary of the Secretary of State for India should be placed on the Estimates."

I should like to associate myself with all the tributes which have been paid to the most interesting speech we have had from the Under-Secretary. During the four years that he has held that office he has accustomed us to look forward to his statement as giving us a most sympathetic and a most broad-minded insight into Indian affairs that I think one is able to get. He deals with this matter every year in a way that makes one look forward to hear him, and I believe the time may come when his addresses will be considered as amongst the most remarkable delivered in this House on, Indian affairs. However that may be, I do not think, all the same, anyone who takes part in this Debate or who listens to it as I have done year after year for nearly seven years can do so without feeling how unsatisfactory is the way in which Indian affairs are treated by this House. The Minister who represents the Department is not really a representative of the Department, but of a whole nation. He is responsible for defence, for education, for factory administration, in fact for the whole administration of an Empire of 300,000,000 inhabitants. It is quite impossible in the course of a few hours' debate once a year that this House should be able to give to the enormous complexity of Indian affairs the consideration which they really deserve. That difficulty, of course, increases as Indian progress increases in the way my hon. Friend has shown in his various statements. India is growing and has been developing in a way that we are told constitutes almost a revolution during recent years. Not only in agriculture, but in industry the whole conscious life of the nation of India is developing in a most marvellous manner and, as the result, the problems we are asked to consider are increasingly complex and difficult. The result is that while this House in theory is in supreme control of the Government of India we cannot really touch the merest fringe of the questions which ought to be considered.

Another result is that we all give sensational grievances undue importance from the mere lack of time, from the mere fact that in the short time which is available you must deal with those particular subjects which seem of moment. I think that in very unfortunate. My hon. Friend tonight said, "Their criticisms are very vocal, but their praise and appreciation is apt to be very silent." I agree it is unfortunate that that is so; but what is the reason? It is that these grievances are forced upon us, and that we have not time to deal with the other matters with which we ought to be able to deal. The Noble. Lord (Earl of RonaldshaY) made insinuations as if those who take an interest in cases like the Sitapur case did so from some petty personal spite. I can assure him it is very little joy to hon. Members who have to raise disagreeable cases of that sort. We do so, not because we have any sort of spite against distinguished officials, whose distinctions we are perfectly well aware of, but because, to be quite frank, unless these grievances are raised in this House there is nowhere else where they can be raised, because these things are forced upon us and we think it is right that they should be brought to light. For these reasons, and for certain reasons referred to by my hon. Friend, I should have thought the Government, when considering the reconstitution, of the India Office in these matters, would also have taken into consideration the desirability of establishing some such Committee of the House of Commons as-I have referred to in this Amendment. We are told, of course, that now that the Indian people are co-operating so much more with the Government than they did before, through the Legislative Councils and through the new reform scheme, there is not the same need for the House of Commons to take an interest in these matters. I disagree entirely with that view. These Councils, valuable as they are, arc largely nominated bodies, and the only possibility of getting any criticism upon the vast bureaucracy which governs India is by means of the Questions and Debates in this House. Though I have the highest respect for the magnificent work that is done by the Civil Service in India, yet I do not believe there is anyone who does not see that it is very important and very desirable, when these immense powers are. entrusted to any body of men, that there should be a right of fair criticism and of voicing grievances which Debate in this House gives. That is the main reason why I suggest that the Government ought to, look with favour upon such a proposal as I here suggest, namely, that there should be some Committee of this House appointed which might sit, not once in a year, as we do here, but continually, to deal with the various problems.

Let me give the House two or three examples of the sort of questions which are not dealt with, or are dealt with inadequately, under our present system. Let me take, first, the position of Indians in South Africa. There we have a large community of 150,000 Indians who feel today that by the new immigration law which has just been passed they are being subjected to an almost intolerable grievance. They say that faith has been broken with them, that a settlement has been reached as a result of a prolonged agitation, but. it is not being carried out. I am not here now to. say whether they are right or wrong. We could not discuss that matter at any length upon this Amendment. So far as I know, they have very strong grounds for what they say. They say that in two particulars the provisional settlement has not been carried out. In the first place, they say that their existing rights are not being preserved, and, secondly, that the racial bar which they objected to is being reintroduced under this law. Their leaders threaten that if this law which is in operation now is allowed to continue in operation without amendment, they will again be compelled to resort to that campaign of passive resistence which led in the past to such intense bitterness and to such great evils that finally, even in South Africa, the Government was compelled to find a way out. If that happens, their grievances will reverberate right through India. It is not only the 150,000 Indians in South Africa that you are dealing with. They tell us that now South Africa is under the British flag their position is even worse than in the old days-of the Republic. Surely it is nothing less than discreditable to this House that when a difficulty of this sort arises, affecting the Empire as it does, no opportunity whatever should be given to discuss it fully and freely as we ought to do! We cannot find out what the Government are doing, or what steps they are taking to protect our Indian fellow subjects.

I will take another illustration—that of the police. I am delighted to hear what the hon. Gentleman has to say as to the heroism of the police on many occasions, and as to the virtues and merits they have shown; but we cannot blind our eyes to the fact that gross cases of torture have occurred, and that in many respects the conduct of the police has not been satisfactory. I admit that great improvements have taken place as the result of commissions and reports. At the same time, it is disquieting to know that these cases of torture still go on under the British flag. From a return I got from my hon. Friend I find that in five years there were certainly fifty cases in which policemen had actually been convicted for torturing prisoners. In some of the cases the men died under the torture. Only this year we had a case brought to our notice by my hon. Friend the Member for Salford (Sir W. Byles), in which policemen were convicted of the grossest torture of three Indian peasants. I know that a great many steps are being taken to put a stop to this which we all feel is a strain upon the good name of this country and of our Empire; but I am disappointed to hear tonight that the one course which I am told by those who have a right to speak would be the most effective course for putting a stop to this evil is not going to be adopted. Under English law it is, I am told, impossible to convict a man upon a record of confession unless it is made in open Court before the judge who tries the case. What we have asked again and again is that the same principle should be adopted in India. I am sorry to hear that that is not to be done, and I am still more sorry that, owing to the limits of time, it is practically impossible to discuss in any sufficient way a great question like that of the police in India. Let me refer, lastly, to the Sitapur case.


Upon a point of Order. I wish to know your ruling, Mr. Speaker, whether it will be legitimate for any other Member to discuss the whole of the internal affairs of India, and the various questions that might arise on this Budget, or whether hon. Members will be confined to the subject referred to in the Amendment, namely, that it is desirable that a Standing Committee should be appointed.


The hon. Member is entitled to roam at large over all matters connected with India, and the Debate can be continued on those lines until the Amendment he is moving is proposed from the Chair. When it is proposed from the Chair, then the Debate must be confined strictly to the Amendment.


Apart from your ruling, I was intending to speak to the Amendment which I am moving. I was endeavouring to show, and I think I was showing very clearly, that there are important subjects which under the present system are not discussed, and I think, for that reason, it is desirable that those subjects which arc not discussed, or adequately discussed, might receive fuller discussion than they otherwise would do if a Committee were appointed. As to the Sitapur case, it may be said that under our present system it was fully discussed. That case seems to me to afford a very strong example of the difficulty we are placed in. I do not think anyone will deny that, except for the Debate the other night, the Sitapur case would not have been brought to light in the way it has been. We should not have got this Session the same full report which we now have upon the case but for the Debate which was introduced by my hon. Friend the Member for South Donegal Mr. Swift MacNeill). Anyone who knows the difficulty of getting a Debate at all will realise how absurd it is that for the discussion of a grievance of this sort we should not have some Committee or some better means than we now have. It was by chance that the House happened, on a Motion for the Adjournment, to get a couple of hours' Debate upon this case, which has aroused a great deal of feeling in India. I submit that it is a strong reason for suggesting that it would be much better to have a Committee of this House to discuss Indian Affairs. Even now, after all the discussion we have had, there are one or two points with regard to the Sitapur case which require clearing up, and I hope my hon. Friend will deal with them when he makes his reply.

10.0 P.M.

The defence of Sir John Hewett has rested greatly upon the fact that these men, who were condemned to death and hanged, were sentenced by a High Court which consisted of one Indian and one English judge. That is quite true, but I am informed that though the judges were a High Court, yet they were judges who had only been recently appointed to the office, and that Sir John Hewett himself was well aware of this fact. If that can be shown, it seems to me that the case for seeing that the petition was forwarded and that these men should have a chance was much stronger than even that it. seemed before. The information which I have upon this point and which I believe is perfectly authentic states that this Appellate Court consisted of two Judicial Commissioners, Mr. Stewart and an Indian. Both these officers got their appointments only a few weeks before this case came before than and they were the personal selection of Sir John Hewett. Then it goes on to say that one of them was a promoted officer of the Subordinate Judicial Service, whose legal experience had previously been entirely confined to civil laws, and Mr. Stewart was a junior officer who had been put in by Sir John Hewett to officiate in a temporary vacancy in the Judicial Commissioners Court for about three or four months. That is a point which has not yet been brought out, and it only seems to show that, in spite of all that has been said upon this case, it does require a lot of investigation yet. There is another point on which I should like information; the question most relevant when you are discussing whether Sir John Hewett exercised his discretion harshly, as I believe he did, is the question whether the date of the execution ought to have been postponed to enable an appeal to the Governor in Council to be made. Upon that a telegram was sent, and in the Report of Sir John Hewett he says, on page 9 of the White Paper:— The request for the postponement of the (late of the execution was rejected by them"— that is to say be Government of India— in a telegram also dated 9th September, in which he was directed to deal with the case according to rule. According to the original telegrams which I have seen, which were sent, from Simla by the Government of India, both to the barrister who was appealing and to the father of the condemned men: what the Government of India did was not to reject the petition to postpone the date of execution, but simply to refer the whole question, without expressing any opinion back to Sir John Hewett for decision. That is a very important point, and I shall be glad to know whether in this particular Sir John Hewett's Report is correct or not. I think that what I have attempted to show is that in the interests of India it is desirable that this House ought to continue to exercise a voice and influence upon the Government of India. It is very easy to say that there is a lot of ignorance shown. It is easy to suggest, and unfair to suggest., that there is malice or unfairness shown towards Indian Civil servants. I believe that the criticism which is directed, and directed perfectly fairly, is only directed when we believe that a real case has been shown. I do not hesitate to say that any man who had the facts with regard to the Sitapur case brought before him, and who was fair-minded, and not influenced by party motives or feelings about the Civil servant, would say that the criminal law in India needed immediate reform with regard to petitions for mercy and appeal. And I say that in this particular case, however excellent may have been the motives of Sir John Hewett, he acted harshly and unfairly towards those unfortunate men who were hanged.

I may be asked what sort of a Committee I suggest. I do not intend to go beyond laying down three essential conditions. I believe that it should be large enough to be fairly representative of the House. There is no use in having a hole-and-corner body just nominated by the Whips and consisting of a few Members. I should like to have a Committee of at least twenty. Then I think that its proceedings ought to be public, because greater publicity is what we want in regard to India. Lastly, I think that any Debates in the Committee ought to be additional to and not in substitution for Debates in this House. The other proposal in my Amendment, to put the Salary of the Secretary of State upon the Estimates, has been debated often, and the arguments for and against it are well known to the House. I believe that it is an important matter, because it shows, not only in this country, but in India, what is indeed the fact, that the Secretary of State for India is responsible ultimáately to this House for the way in which he exercises his great duties. The matter was very clearly stated in Debate seven years ago by my hon. Friend who is now Secretary to the Board of Trade. He put the case in a few sentences so closely that I think it well to read them:— If the Secretary of State for India is a servant of the Indian Government, why does he sit in Parliament? If, on the other hand, he is a servant of England, why does not England pay his salary? The principle of the matter has been settled long ago. The salary of the Secretary of State for the Colonies is paid by England simply because the Colonies kill not pay it. The salary of the Secretary of State for India was put on India because we knew we could make India pay. That is the opinion of one who occupies a position in the Government. It seems to me that it is time, if we really mean to discharge our responsibility fairly to India, that we should deal with matters of that sort I believe that we are at the beginning of a period of progress in India. I look forward to improvements there. I believe that in spite of all the unrest, in spite of all the crime, we shall see a great era of prosperity, and an increase of loyalty to English rule, and I hope and believe, if we are to make the best of it, it will be by bringing Indian opinion into closer touch with opinion in this country, and still more by seeing that the responsibility of the Government to this House in regard to its policy in India is fully maintained.


I beg to second the Amendment.

I will enumerate with strict relevance the points which seem to me to show the value of Parliamentary influence in the past and its desirability on certain points in the future. I am only familiar. with the Southern part of India and with Ceylon. It at once occurs to me that if the Government of Ceylon can be conducted under the control of this House, what is the difference in essence between the needs of the Government of Ceylon and those of India. The Ceylon Government is precisely of the same kind so far as control of the natives goes, and you have there the peculiar difficulty of a large planter element, such as you have in Assam. But I particularly dwell on the need of a Parliamentary Committee. That seems to me, to be more urgent even than the direct control of Parliament. I think my hon. Friend will not be opposed to the principle of the idea of a Parliamentary Committee. Parliament has, in the past, intervened in Indian affairs on many occasions. It has intervened in the opium traffic, and it has intervened in the case of the Suttee. It happens that an ancestor of mine, in 1821, took action which led to the abolition of Suttee. Parliamentary influence is obivous in that case. There is a case on the same lines which remains for the Indian Government to remedy, and T would ask my hon. Friend to say something on it in his reply; it is the case of what, I think, may be called conditions of slavery in certain classes of pauperised natives in the Lushai Hills.

There is a case very similar to the cases of slavery in the past, and it needs no argument to show that it is Parliament which interested the Government in questions of slavery. The argument used for a system of slavery are precisely those which Parliament had to meet in regard to slavery in the West Indies, and which it required ten years of agitation in this House to induce the Government to take up. It is true that the Indian Civil Service is the model Civil Service in regard to the government of natives for the whole world. Why? Is it not very largely because of the influence that Parliament has exercised during the past 100 years? Parliament intervened long before the end of "John Company," and before the Government was directly responsible. So moderate a paper as the "Westminster Gazette" to-day dwells rather vehemently upon the value of Parliamentary interference in such cases as that to which my hon. Friend has alluded.

May I urge another and more positive matter in which Parliamentary influence is needed, and that is in regard to the sympathetic treatment of native feeling, upon which my hon. Friend spoke with such great acceptation from all quarters of the House. I was delighted to hear the way in which he, spoke of the spirit of co-operation, and the new spirit of understanding which he desired to inculcate into the Indian Civil Service. Is there not a very peculiar sphere in this connection for the Parliamentary Committee? The great test of the future, one of the greatest tests of future government of the world, is the reconciliation of democracy with imperialism.

This matter of sympathetic considerateness to native feeling is the crux upon which the Government and democracy are on their trial in the future. My hon. Friend will not deny that if democracy is to be reconciled with Imperialism, Parliament in some way or other must be the means by which they are to be brought into touch. Only a few weeks ago we sanctioned the annexation of the Congo State to Belgium on the sole ground that Parliamentary control was brought in, and that, in the opinion of the Foreign Secretary, justified our recognition. We relied upon the value of Parliamentary control. In this matter of natives we find a vast problem, in regard to which there are always two ideas, which animate one set of men and another set of men. One set may be identified with that very great man Sir George Grey, of New Zealand, who believed in entirely sympathetic treatment of the natives. The other is the idea of prestige through force. If we want to see an improvement it must come through Parliament. I want to urge upon my hon. Friend that these are precisely the matters in which the influence of a Parliamentary Committee could be exerted, for it would avoid the crudity, if it may be so termed, of an open Debate in Parliament, and would introduce close and mutual relationship between Members of the House who have expert knowledge and the Minister himself. It is exactly the way to bring ideas into accord.

One point which has been frequently dwelt upon has reference to Mahomedan feeling; and it is frequently urged that in connection with foreign policy ton arils Turkey we should have regard to -that feeling. Is not that an illustration of the value which would accrue if there were a wider knowledge and a closer touch between the representatives of the India Office and the Members of this House? I was delighted to hear my hon. Friend speak of the consideration which is being given to Mahomedan feeling in India. Sir William White, the great ambassador, used to say that the foreign policy of this country could not be affected by Asiatic considerations. That only illustrates the extreme delicacy and complication of this question, and that is precisely where the House welcomed most eagerly what my hon. Friend to-day said about the special consideration which is given to that feeling of Mahomedans from the point of view of the Indian Government and its duties to a subject people. Those of us who are criticised for a policy in regard to the Near East which is distasteful to Moslems are the very men who hold most strongly that the views of Moslems and of every religious body should be considerately treated in India.

There is one point at which increased public influence seems to me to point particularly to the desirability of such a Committee, and that is increased public interest in Indian affairs There is an enormously enhanced public interest in the last few years. May I apply that to this practical point in regard to the need of the future, the point on which my hon. Friend has dwelt in his opening speech, namely, the necessity of introducing a religious atmosphere into the educational projects of the Government of India. Where I think a Parliamentary Committee comes in in connection with that proposal is that it is because of the increased public interest felt in Indian education and largely in Indian missionary efforts and in Indian literature that influences have been brought to bear upon the Education Office of India, and it is highly desirable as my hon. Friend has shown, that that should go further. We have not only increased knowledge arising from increased travel, and of the circulation of books on India, but we have now in Indian thought an influence which is positively astonishing. Sir Edwin Arnold's translation of the Bagavadgita is to-day read by hundreds of thousands, and the writings of the poet Rabindranath Tagore you may find on almost every educated man's table. All that shows the vast increase of interest which is felt in the country, and, in connectionwith politics, is naturally represented in this House. It is that that should lead my hon. Friend to feel that his hand would be strengthened if he wants to modify the traditional spirit of the Education Department in India. There is the fact that upon old-world Indian ideas Rave been introduced ideals of progressive government and materialism and now through the lack of popular control that tradition has become out of date. It tends to be too secular, and there is an attempt to introduce a more spiritual atmosphere. Such a Committee would already have suggested to the Indian Government, perhaps years ago, that the missionary bodies might be brought into association with public schemes of education in exactly the way my hon. Friend, in such a very interesting manner, indicated to-day. I am very glad he told us tonight, and I hope he will tell us more, of what he saw and what he thought about those efforts. If there is to be that dual system of association of voluntary religious effort with the action of the Government, that is a point at which I believe public opinion, as represented by this House, would be distinctly advantageous.

Coming to the immediate methods of the application of the idea of a Parliamentary Committee, may I just urge two or three points. It is a system that is familiar in France and other countries. We are almost the only State that has not adopted the system of Parliamentary Committees. It would save the sudden efforts which are made to diffuse knowledge and gain advice through Royal Commissions, which for one thing have deprived the House of the presence of the hon. Member for Leicester (Mr. Ramsay Macdonald) for a long time, greatly to its disadvantage in my opinion. Surely such a Committee would in this country, as it has in France, strengthen the hands of the Minister where he wishes to introduce a new idea to his Civil Service. The Civil Service is the chronic difficulty of a Liberal Minister, because in its very nature it is Conservative, and tends to be stereotyped. Then again it would avoid the excessive openness of debate which sometimes attaches to discussions in this House. It would be a compromise between that condition of the House and the total absence of Debate. My hon. Friend admits some degree of failure in the present unrest, and now we hear of methods to meet that difficulty, which would perhaps have been suggested long ago by such a Committee as we propose. It is a very happy thing for us on this side to feel that as between the two views of the treatment of coloured men—whom Kipling wrongly calls the "lesser breed," who are often the greater breed intellectually, although the lesser in political development—there is no ques- tion which view is held by my hon. Friend. He is the first "modernist" Liberal, if I may use the expression, who has had to deal with this vast problem, perhaps the greatest problem which presents itself to politicians in the whole world. It is his happy task to develop the work of Lord Ripon and Lord Morley, and if there is no alternative to propose to the method suggested in this Motion, may we not conclude that a Parliamentary Committee on the line of the French Committees, in connection with India particularly, is a policy dictated by the highest consideration of true statesmanship.


I understand that those who speak on the Amendment must confine their remarks strictly to that Amendment. Therefore, as I am anxious to say a word on the Sitapur case and on two or three points raised by the Leader of the Opposition, and also to hear what the hon. Member for Glasgow University (Sir H. Craik) has to say, I want to ask my hon. Friend to be content with the very forcible argument which he has addressed to the House and withdraw the Amendment, so that we can get back to the general discussion. As I understand the Amendment, my hon. Friend wants to put the Secretary of State's salary upon the Estimates. I presume he wants to put my salary also on the Estimates. There is something to be said for the argument that we have no right to put on the Indian revenues the cost of the upkeep of the India Office. That would mean something like £200,000, together with the site and the buildings in London now belonging to the Government of India, and upon that matter my hon. Friend would have to address himself to the Chancellor of the Exchequer as well as to the Secretary of State for India. It would involve all sorts of considerations in regard to other items of expenditure, the Army, and such matters as the relative advantage to India and this country of the cost of the India Office. But the hon. Member's point now is greater Parliamentary control. I do not think he would secure that by the remedy which he suggests. If you had the Secretary of State's salary in the Estimates, and somebody did not like that Secretary of State, all that would be necessary would be to move a reduction of £100, and that reduction would have the same effect as, and not more than, a Motion of Censure won in the ballot and moved in this Budget Debate.

In exactly the same way, when we come to the Committee on Indian Affairs, I am rather afraid that my hon. Friend, having got a specific which he wants to apply to Foreign Affairs, and having failed to get it so applied, comes to India to endeavour to get his ideas in there. There is an old proverb that used to be current at Cambridge when I was there, fiat justita in corpore vili, which being interpreted meant "try it first in Scotland." Now it means to try it first in India. I venture to say, in all seriousness, that the proper function of this House is general control. Detailed control of Indian affairs ought to be left to India. My hon. Friend is quite wrong when he says that Legislative Councils of India are nominated. They are partly nominated, largely elective, and largely representative. There is a non-official elected majority in the local legislative councils. If you subject your Indian officials on points of detail to a growing fire of criticism from the councils on the one hand, and from the House of Commons on the other, you are squeezing them out between the two. I think the proper view to take is that the total of the criticism from the legislative councils on the one hand, and the House of Commons on the other, ought to be constant; if you increase the one, you reduce the other; but you ought not to increase them both. For these reasons I have to say that I cannot accept the Amendment of my hon. Friend. I am grateful for the courteous and forcible way in which he put it forward. I shall be very grateful if he can now see his way to withdraw it, so that we may return to the general discussion, which he was privileged to take part in even when moving his own Amendment.


In deference to what the hon. Gentleman has said, though I am not entirely convinced by his argument, I ask leave to withdraw my Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.


I have two points that I wish to bring before the House. I welcome, as all of us welcome, the Under-Secretary's sympathetic words with regard to the Civil servants of India. We are agreed that there is perhaps no better work done by officials than that done by those in India. But it is curious that with all the sympathetic words we have not heard a word as to the special grievances and difficulties to which these Civil servants are subjected. I have had a long correspondence, and I know by that correspondence what are their views. I am quite sure that we shall have sympathetic treatment from the Royal Commission to which my Noble Friend referred, though I am sorry that he was so much ruffled by the article that recently appeared in the "Times." I am sorry to say that the article, unjustly it may be, had some sympathetic echo amongst Civil servants in India. There is no doubt that the opening sessions of that Commission did give rise to much heartburning in official circles in India. Let us remember that these Commissions are convenient mechanisms of government for dilatoriness and for putting off doing what they ought to do. The hon. Member knows there are grievances, and I trust he does not wish to put off the removal of those grievances to the distant date when the Royal Commission may report. The difficulties that have arisen all over India, and especially in the Punjab, have arisen through mistakes of the past, mistakes for which the present official circles are absolutely irresponsible. There was over-recruiting and arbitrary rearrangement of provinces, and there is now in the Punjab an almost unprecedented block in promotion which has given rise to the very greatest difficulty. Let us see exactly what this means. In the first place—and let us remember this cuts at the very central strength of the Civil Service in a marked way—you never can develop the peculiar faculties which are brought forward by young Englishmen and Scotsmen to their proper measure unless you give them responsibility fairly young. I had the other day, from one of my correspondents, a letter which struck me very deeply. He had been reading the "Life of Sir Alfred Lyell", and he said, "I wonder what would happen to Sir Alfred Lyell if he had been in India now, and had had no chance of reaching a Commissionership until close on fifty?" That is a very serious consideration. Deferred responsibility hardens a man, quenches his hopes, slackens his energies, and makes him less fit all through life than he would otherwise be for the work of responsibility. And in place of that, what do you give him? In place of hope, in place of free scope, in place of that electrifying power of responsibility, what do you give him?—the anxieties of grinding poverty.

I am perfectly convinced, if hon. Members on both sides of the House had but seen some of the letters that come before me and knew what some of those Civil Servants are suffering, they would feel that these grievances are very deep and very real. And remember this, that none of these men is possessed of private means. They go out to India to make their way in the world, and the expenses of India are not like the expenses of England, that can be curtailed and lessened according to our wish. You cannot lessen your domestic expenses in India, because you are entirely at the mercy of your Indian servants and of the climate. It is no more possible to cut down and retrench the expenses in the homes in India than it would be to go to a hotel proprietor and ask him to reduce his bill by 10s. in every £1. They are Compelled by circumstances, by the consideration of the health of their wives and their children, to send them to the hills during the summer time. We who go out to India for a few months in the pleasant season and perhaps return in search of what we have found to be an equal or even better climate than our own, forget the long periods during which the official in India is obliged to keep up two establishments and to be separated, in the dullness of official work in the towns of the plain, from his wife and children, whom he has to send to the hills. What are the facts to-day? Owing to this block in promotion men of fifteen or sixteen years' standing in the Indian Civil Service are now earning £300 or £350 a year less than they ought to be earning, according to the officially recognised standard of the Civil Service Regulations. I may cite a definite Clause, Article 754, under which they are taxed for their pensions. Can there be anything more unjust? You set up an official scale of pay which you recognise as the basis for taxation for his pension, but you pay him a salary a good deal short of the scale, by something like £300 or £350 a year. I give the Under-Secretary fair warning that the certain result of this policy is that many of your officials will necessarily get into debt from the very necessities of the case, and is that a safe position for the Civil Service of India? Another result is certain to follow, and it is that the recruitment must fall off. I have had to do with the University of Oxford and those of the North all my life, and I am often being consulted by young men in the choice of their profession, and I give them the best advice I can. Under the circumstances, how can I, in fairness, advise them to enter for the Indian Civil Service with the prospects which it holds out to them at this moment?

It is absolutely certain that all these conditions have led to a falling off in the recruiting. I am not going to speak in any terms of accusation. I know the grievances of the Civil Service are recognised by the Under-Secretary and the Noble Marquess the Secretary of State for India. I have had plenty of communications with both of them, and I know they feel sympathy towards the service, and I have no fear of sympathetic treatment from the India Office, and from the more responsible authorities in the Viceroy's Government. I have, however, doubts and suspicions about certain officials, who have used their bureaucratic influence in an unsympathetic way with regard to these promotions. There is a tendency on the part of some of these officials to speak with contempt of the "mofussil" Indian official. Some of these officials have been inported from London offices to high office in Calcutta, and I suppose hereafter will be found in Delhi. I do not trust that class of official, because he has not had long experience of India, and he is without the deep sympathy he ought to have for the Indian official, and does not know his difficulties, and he is apt to think, coming from an English office, that he knows a great deal more about administrative business than they do. I think they are a very dangerous element, and I would far rather trust to the judgment of the Viceroy and the Secretary of State for India than to those officials who perhaps think the easiest way of treating these grievances is to shut them out, return an unsympathetic answer, imagine there is very little in them, and perhaps never lay them before the Viceroy or the Secretary of State at all.

I wish to suggest one or two remedies. I know that much gratitude is felt in the service for what the Secretary of State has done—often by intervening at the prompting of his own good and sympathetic feelings towards the Civil Service —but this has only touched the very fringe of the difficulty. Men of fifteen or sixteen years' standing are still not getting much relief. The relief that is sought for by the Civil Service is what is called the "time scale." When the political branch of the service—that is, those who are moved throughout the various Native States—was organised, they were paid upon a "time scale" a certain amount which was to correspond with their fair expectation had they remained within the ranks of the Civil Service. It was thought fair, because they went out, to give them a certain time scale, and they are now getting pay far in advance of anything that they would be getting if they had stayed in the Civil Service. The Civil Service claim that they should be put on that time scale which was adopted for those of their colleagues who were selected for an outside Department. Another remedy proposed is that there should be a rearrangement of posts by placing the Punjab Deputy Commissioners on the same footing as regards pay and classification as those of the Central Provinces. I think that is a matter that needs only to be stated in order to be agreed. I am tolerably certain that if it were submitted to the Secretary of State he would see the justice of it, and I trust that those in the Government of India will see the justice of putting it before the Secretary of State and not hanging back as they are apt to do in making such proposals.

There is one other point to which I wish to refer in slightly more detail than my right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Bonar Law), and that is the very unsatisfactory appointment that has been made in the Indian educational service. That is a very large service recruited from able men among the universities. It is not very highly paid, but the chief attraction is that there arc one or two well paid directorships to which they are entitled to aspire. The directorship of education in Bengal recently fell vacant. In 1886 there was a resolution of the Secretary of State that selections for these higher appointments should be made from the Indian educational service. In 1896 rather a different course was pursued by the India Office. They selected outsiders, and a rule passed in 1896 rather justified them in doing so. But in 1906 Lord Morley, by a very distinct Minute, laid down clearly the rule that reverted to the habit of 1886, and to that extent departed from the rule of 1896. Lord Morley laid it down that— The Secretary of State has recently reconsidered the decision of 1986, and desires that the appointments to directorships should no longer be governed by the rule of 1896, but by the resolution of the 4th September,…The Secretary of State considers it desirable, in order to appoint properly qualified persons in the event of a vacancy arising, that measures should be taken to give the officer to whom the appointment is proferred full and wide experience in the working of the Department and all its branches. That qualification was fulfilled by a gentleman who had a fair right to look for appointment to this directorship. He had served twenty-four years; he had had various appointments, including that of temporary Director of Education itself, and while holding that office Mr. James—the gentleman to whom I am referring had the special confidence of the Government of India. He was sent home to London in 1907 to report upon secondary education, and he was in every way qualified for the vacant post. By university standing, by long experience of having taught both in India and in English colleges and schools, by having had wide administrative experience, by a large command of the vernacular, and by being a recognised authority in educational matters even at home, he had earned the right to selection for that post.

What was done? By some extraordinary freak, instead of this gentleman being appointed, the official selected was a young man of thirty-four, from the Special Inquiry Department of the Board of Education. He was an assistant in that Department. I have nothing to say against the gentleman or against the Inquiry Department, except that you could not find a Department more absolutely separated from administration. They sit in the Library and read various reports, and they draw up special reports, which no sane man with any desire to economise time, would think of reading, although sometimes extracts are quoted from them. That is the whole of the administrative experience this gentleman had. Between the years 1902–1908 he was in a subordinate capacity in the Indian Education service, since then he has been at home in the Board of Education, and now suddenly he is put over the head of this better man of high university standing and long experience, who had already acted as Director of Education.

I ask the House what can be the feeling of an official who finds himself thus superseded after his own superiors in the Government of India have showered compliments upon him, and after he has been sent home to report on secondary education so as to fit him more entirely for the ultimate directorship? What can be the feeling of the whole of the educational service in India if they find that one of the two or three plums that are to be gained after a life of arduous labour in an unhealthy climate is taken away from them and given to a young man brought from Whitehall, who is absolutely without any experience in India worth mentioning, without any knowledge of the vernacular, who, I suppose, has never taught in or seen the inside of an Indian school, but who is put at the head of 188 men grown old in the educational service? I do not want to use words like "jobbery" or "nepotism," or anything of that sort. I offer this solution to the hon. Gentleman. I understand that Mr. Hornell has been taken out of the department of special inquiries. I assume that he has been chosen in order to make special inquiries and give special advice to the Indian Government. Why should he be confined to Bengal? The appointment does not become effective until October. It would be only fair to attach him to the Government of India and use him for all the Provinces in regard to new schemes of education. That would not interfere with the fair promotion which is the reasonable expectation of the senior servant in the educational department in Bengal. If he is deprived of it, it will cause heart-burning, disappointment, and ill-feeling amongst all his colleagues in that service.


called on Mr. Montagu.


Will you allow me to put a few matters to my hon. Friend, to which he can reply later on?


I have called upon the Under-Secretary- for India. There are many other hon. Members who also want to put a few things to him.


I do not want to take up the time of the House, which has been very kind to me in its reception of what I had to say this afternoon. I want to deal only with one or two outstanding points which have been raised, promising every Member who has called our attention to anything that I have made a note of it, and will call the attention of the Secretary of State to the arguments raised, with a view to meeting the criticisms they have made. In reply to my hon. Friend (Mr. Noel Buxton), who spoke about the slavery system in the Lushai Hills, I am able to inform him that the Secretary of State has communicated with the Government of India asking for another inquiry to see if any further improvements can be effected. With regard to my hon. Friend who so often makes eloquent speeches on opium he had the opportunity of producing the same arguments to the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs this afternoon, and I shall let the matter rest with the reply he gave, which the hon. Member heard, but I was not privileged to hear. I should like to confine myself to two or three points raised by the Leader of the Opposition. If he will allow me to say so, I think that although he did well to draw our attention to the financial position of the Government of India with regard to its large commitments on education, the financial prosperity of India is so wonderful that I think we are entitled to take a little bigger risk than we can in a country like this. If the House would remember that the total deadweight of India, the total debt corresponding to our National Debt, the total debt against which there is no productive assets, is only £12,500,000, and that the deadweight debt of India has been reduced by no less in the last three or four years than £13,500,000—that is, more than half—there is a great symptom of the prosperity of Indian finance!

Leaving that, I want to say a word about the appointment of Mr. Hornell. From the story as it is told, first by the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Bonar Law) and then by the hon. Gentleman (Sir H. Craik), the House would conclude that we have, for some mysterious reason, sent out from England a young man whose life had been spent in the inquiry office in the Board of Education to replace an old and valued servant. The situation is that by resolution of the Government of India, after a dispatch from Lord Morley in 1906, certain rules for these appointments have been laid down, and they were strictly enforced upon this occasion. The Government of Bengal, not the India Office, not even the Government of India, applied for the services of Mr. Hornell. In accordance with the resoluton which I have quoted the Secretary of State refused to appoint Mr. Hornell at once. He reminded them of the terms of the resolution, and told them that before he could sanction the appointment they had got to assure him that there was no one available for the position in Bengal, and that they had tried to obtain the services of a suitable man from some other province. We attended to that rule, and the Government of Bengal, on their own responsi- bility, at once replied, without any sort or kind of slight on any servant of the Government of Bengal, that they were contemplating new departures in primary and secondary education in Bengal, and that they wanted, for an exceptional purpose, and not as a rule, a different kind of man from any of the very eminent men they had in Bengal at the time. We did not then send out a Mr. Hornell who happened to be in the Public Inquiry Office of the Board of Education. It was true that Mr. Hornell was at the moment in the Board of Education, and that he had been helping the Secretary of State for some years past by interviewing candidates and making recommendations to him for the educational service in India, but would the House believe, from the facts as they have been represented to them, that Mr. Hornell had been for five years in the educational service in India, in Bengal, and had officiated there as Assistant Director of Public Instruction?


I am sure the hon. Gentleman does not wish to misrepresent me. I distinctly mentioned that between 1902 and 1908 he had been an assistant in Bengal.


I apologise to the hon. Gentleman. Certainly, the Leader of the Opposition did not mention that. All that we are doing is sending back to Bengal at the request of Bengal, because they held him to be the best man for this exceptional work, a man who after ripe experience in that country has had some experience of the Board of Education.

A word about the Sitapur murders. I yield to no one in the House in my admiration of the work which Sir John Hewett has accomplished. You have only to go to the United Provinces to see the prosperity of the Provinces, the contentment of the people, the great advance which has been made and which is a monument of the efficient work which he has done. Nor can I agree with the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Bonar Law) that this despatch of the Secretary of State is a censure upon Sir John. I think the case can be argued without any criticism of any judge of the High Court. I do not think it need ever be said that the reversal of a decision on appeal implies any censure on a Sessions Judge. Sir John Hewett had to act with regard to this appeal on certain lines. The rules do not say that he must refuse to forward appeals if they obey certain qualifications. What they do say is that he shall not forward them if he is certain that they fulfil all of three conditions. The second of these three conditions is that there are no circumstances which in the opinion of the local government would be likely to cause the Governor-General to take a different view of the case. All that the Secretary of State has said is that this was a case of appeal after acquittal, and that it would have been wiser to say, "I cannot decide it. I will forward the petition because I am not in a position to say whether there are any circumstances which would be likely to cause the Governor-General of India to take a different view from myself"


Was he obliged to forward the petition?


The rule says "in his opinion." All we say is that it would have been wiser, seeing that there was an appeal against his own exercise of his functions, not to say that in his opinion there were no circumstances.


I do not question in the least what the hon. Gentleman has said. What I said was that the rule was perfectly distinct, that he was to act upon his opinion, and that, alone. It would not have been right to give an opinion different from what was his real opinion.


All that we meant by our dispatch was that in the opinion of the Secretary of State he was not in a position to exercise that opinion, because it would give rise to misconstruction. I would draw the right hon. Gentleman's attention to the fact that everybody is agreed that the Secretary of State acted wisely when he suggested to the Government of India an alteration of the rules so as to necessitate that every appeal should be forwarded. The very fact that an alteration of the rule is suggested is some proof, at any rate, that it would perhaps have been wiser for Sir John Hewett to forward this petition.


Not break the rule.


Not break the rule. It is permissive. The whole of the dispatch taken together is a tribute to Sir John Hewett, and the only thing we ventured to suggest was that the case having been brought to our notice it would have been wiser to have exercised his discretion differently. I very much regret the attack of the hon. Member for South Donegal upon the legal department in the India Office. If he thinks that Sir Henry Cotton has a grievance which has not been thoroughly met, he has a perfect right to blame the Secretary of State or myself, his representative in this House, but he is not entitled to attribute motives which are wholly without any sort of foundation whatever as to the officials in India. The suggestions he has made about them are absolutely without any ground or reason. Finally, I wish to say something to the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition about his remarks as to Free Trade and Tariff Reform and its application. He pointed out to the House that there had been moved with regard to the disappearance of the opium trade a Motion by Sir Gangadhar Chitnavis approving of preferential trade with this country. He pointed out how ready he would be—I think it was at Oldham last year—to suggest a policy of Free Trade between India and Great Britain and Protection for India against the rest of the world. I would draw the attention of the House to the passage, which will be sufficient, in Sir Gangadhar Chitnavis's speech. He said:— It is superfluous to add that the claim of prefer ential tariffs with the United Kingdom and the Colonies presupposes the introduction in India of a tariff upon imports to those countries. All I want to suggest is that if you read this gentleman's speech you will find throughout that what he really wants is protection from British competition. Then the right hon. Gentleman comes along and says, "Come on my platform you and I. We want preference with India." But when the right hon. Gentleman speaks in Lancashire he does not suggest protection for India against Lancashire goods, and what those who speak in India say is that preferential tariffs with England presupposes a tariff upon foods from England for the Colonies. The most hopeful sign in this controversy is what was said a little bit later in the Debate by another Indian speaker in which be pointed out that at any rate, so far as he saw the advent of Tariff Reform in England was very far distant. The right hon. Gentleman said, with some satisfaction, that although Lord Crewe had pointed out that his speech would be regarded as very mischievous in India, a friend of his had made careful search of the Indian newspapers conducted by Indians, and could find no trace of the slightest objection to his speeches, or words to that effect, A friend of mine has made careful search of some of the Indian newspapers since the right hon. Gentleman spoke this afternoon, and if he will forgive me, I will, in conclusion, read him one or two extracts. The "Kesari," a Bombay native paper, on the 7th of January, says:— Mr. Boner Law's speech is objectionable from my point of view. The "Indu Prakásh," which is also a Bombay native paper, on the 7th of December says:— Mr. Boner Law's dictum cannot but stiffen the backs of the whole country and cause a discontent before which that over the Bengal partition would pale into insignificance. The "Tribune" is not a vernacular paper, so I will not read it. [HON. MEMBERS: "Read it."] Very well. The comment of the "Tribune" of Lahore on 7th December is this:— Mr. Boner Law, whose leadership of the Unionist party has not been distinguished by discretion declared that the tariff policy for England should be based on England's claim to India's gratitude for past services. This was very properly denounced by Lord Crewe, who said that the idea was already resented in India. The "Allahabad Leader" says that Mr. Bonar Law has had little to do with statesmen, with office, and nothing to do with India to speak in the manner he did, but those who have wisdom and experience know better than to raise that issue.

The "Indian Spectator" says:— The Unionist Leader, while he relies on that part a human nature which responds to good services, forgets another part of human nature which has found expression in the saving that charity begins at home.'


Are those English papers?


Two Indian and two English.


May I remind the hon. Gentleman that I told him he had got English newspapers, but that I had not been able to trace any native papers. He has got two, but I could give him fifty at least in the other sense.


Does the right hon. Gentleman mean in the vernacular?


In the vernacular.


I have only been able to find two in a search this afternoon, but I will look further, and I daresay I can, find a good many more. I only want to suggest that the right hon. Gentleman's policy, which means one thing to him and another thing to the Indian, has not been welcomed in India, as he flattered him- self in the earlier part of his speech. I thank the House again most sincerely for their great kindness and forbearance, and I apologise for the great amount of time which I have occupied. The fact of the matter is that every part of the Indian policy and administration are of absorbing interest to me, and I am becoming more and more convinced that if we want to do justice, one day's Debate in the House is not sufficient.


To some extent I agree with the hon. Member who moved the Amendment, because I think it would be well for Members of this House who take an interest in Indian matters to meet together and discuss them; but I disagree with him when he says that its sittings ought to be in public, because I think there are certain matters which can be much better sifted and dealt with in the absence of the newspaper reporters. I see an item in the Revenue Accounts for silver bullion to coin. Last year the Indian Revenue received £533,000 from the duty on silver. I should like to ask how it comes about that there is a Customs duty in India on silver bullion. It seems to me the strangest thing possible for the Government to put a duty on silver which is the currency of the country and the only metal of exchange. There is another point with regard to the currency of India which, although we are not seriously [...]ced with it at this moment, will become one of those matters which the Under-Secretary will have to take very serious note of, and that is a state of affairs which has arisen in comparatively the last few years.

In these returns I see that the people of India, not the Government, imported 27,000,000 sovereigns in gold, and the year before 18,000,000 of sovereigns, and I think that is partly accounted for by the fact that he pointed out in his speech—the extraordinary prosperity that has come about in India. As one who does business in a good many of the products which come from India I can substantiate that, because it is so apparent with the present range of prices. The commodities which India exports have been so much in demand in this country, jute, linseed, cocoanut oil and seed oils, that the natives have received prices they had not dreamt of some years ago. The position in India as I understand it is this. Up to 1893 every Indian hoarded silver. The Member for Wirral (Mr. Gershom Stewart) gave me an instance with regard to the people of India that we find it difficult to understand: Mahomedans do not look for interest on investments and therefore they do not invest their money the same as we do in this country. The hon. Member told me of a man who deposited a thousand rupees and that when he came to have it returned the bank gave him not only the thousand rupees but the interest upon it, but he refused the interest. When we have to deal with a people of that kind we must remember there are millions of Mahomedans. Those who do not believe in investing savings for the sake of interest. Therefore we are up against a proposition which it is very difficult to understand.

In the generations that have passed the Indian when he had saved a little money invested that money in silver or ornaments for his wife and family or for himself. After 1893, through the action of the Indian Government reducing the free coinage of silver they found that, silver was valueless in that it tended to decrease in value. The Indian was told that gold was the only article to put away, as when he wanted it afterwards it would be of the same value, and he started to horde it. That has affected the whole civilised world. I presume there are 300,000,000 of people in India, and I take it there are 60,000,000 of workers who are in a better position than they were ten years ago. It is quite understandable that they each might want to save an average of thirty shillings per year. If that happened and they all wanted to horde gold, we, the civilised traders of the world should be up against this proposition that, the whole gold production of the world would be finding its way into India and would be sunk in the ground almost as effectively as if it had never come out of the ground, and the currency of the world would be seriously curtailed. We are in that position to-day, and many business men in the City of London are anxiously watching that problem. Eighteen million sovereigns went to India the year before, and twenty-seven millions last year. If the high prices of Indian commodities continue it is easy to see that the Indian producing those articles will have more money to horde. He will not horde silver, and there is nothing else he can horde but gold. There is therefore the very serious difficulty as to how that can be stopped. I appeal to the Under-Secretary to take some action internationally.

It is quite impossible for us to recommend that the Government of India should revert to the free coinage of silver, but it is possible for the four great trading nations of the world—the United States, Germany, France, and the United Kingdom—to confer together as to how this threatened danger to the commerce of the world may be stayed. I believe there are ways by which that can be done. The danger is very imminent. There is a Royal Commission sitting on certain questions affecting the finances of India, but I am sorry to hear that this question is excluded from its purview. I should be glad if, before that Commission concludes its labours, the Under-Secretary could see his way to open this question and ascertain whether it is possible for international action to be taken. Action by India or the United Kingdom alone could not stay the danger, it is far too serious for that. The matter is of such importance that the Under-Secretary should seriously consider whether he could not take into council a few of the great financiers of New York, Berlin, Paris, and London. We have an interest rate of 5 per cent. or 6 per cent. to-day; it is quite possible if this goes on for five years that we may have a permanent rate of 8 per cent. I do not say that without thought or consideration.

There is another matter in connection with this statement of revenue that I do not like, and that is the enormous revenue made from the coinage of silver. That also will have to be looked into. If the coinage from silver falls off and also the revenue from the importation of the silver itself—which I consider an iniquity—that about which the Leader of the Opposition spoke may be brought into requisition. He suggested absolute freedom of trade between India and ourselves, and a duty outside. I would rather put the case this way, that if the duty on calico goods going into India is 4 per cent. let it stay at 4 per cent. to Great Britain and all countries which take the produce of India on the same terms as we do, but put it up to 15 per cent. against all countries which refuse to take the products of the Indian artisan on reasonable terms. Would the Under-Secretary justify the position which Germany and the United States adopt when they refuse to take the skilled product of the jute artisan? They say, "We will only buy jute from India, but our skilled textile workers shall sell their products in India to the Indian worker." Surely the hon. Gentleman must see that it would be quite possible to bring about a better feeling between the textile workers all over the world if we gave the same equality of opportunity to the textile workers in India that other texile workers claim in the Indian market. As soon as that equality of opportunity was recognised, then, I think we should begin to bring together a good many other international points of the greatest value. I must, however, leave those to-night. I simply press upon the Under-Secretary for India the consideration of whether in his opinion it is possible to take this action, so that the continued importation of gold into India, the hoarding of that gold, and the taking it out of the currency of the world may in some way be stayed or delayed.


rose in his place, and claimed to move, "That the Question be now put."

Question, "That the Question be now put," put, and agreed to.

Question, "That Mr. Speaker do now leave the Chair," put accordingly, and agreed to.