§ The EARL of DERBY
My Lords, I rise for the purpose of moving, according to the notice placed upon the paper, the appointment of a Select Committee to inquire into the Operation of the Act 3rd and 4th William IV., chap. 85, for the better government of Her Majesty's Indian Territories; and to report their Observations thereon. My Lords, the Motion which I have now to submit to your Lordships is for a Committee to inquire into what, in common parlance, is called the renewal of the East India Company's Charter. I say, "in common parlance," because, not only does that phrase not correctly express the real facts of the case, but because, In reality, it expresses what I may almost say is the reverse of the fact. For, my Lords, up to a comparatively recent period, the East India Company was a commercial besides being a political body, having a charter which placed them in the enjoyment of certain rights and privileges as a trading company. The Act of 1813, however, materially modified those privilege; and a subsequent Act, that of 1833, went still further, and, as I shall have occasion to show, did not only diminish but alto- 547 gether took away from the Company the powers which they possessed of trading as an exclusive commercial body; and after the expiry of a certain limited period, the power of trading at all. But when I say that it took away this power, I mean that so long as the political powers and authority with which the Company was invested by the Act of 1833 continued, so long the commercial privileges of the Company as a trading body were put in abeyance. If, however, your Lordships should now think fit to withdraw the political power vested in the Company, their commercial charter would be re-established; and if your Lordships should decide to continue to the Company the political power which they now enjoy, so far from that being a renewal of the Charter, it would he but a renewal of the condition under which that Charter remained in abeyance. My Lords, in bringing forward this Motion, it is not my intention to weary your Lordships, or to take up the time of the House, by tracing the rise and progress of this great Company—a career to which I will venture to say history presents no parallel, when we look to its humble beginning, and to the comparatively short period during which this commercial Company has laid the foundations of and established one of the mightiest empires under the sun. My Lords, it is now little more than 200 years since the leaders of this then infant commercial community thought it advisable to refrain from landing a single battalion or from acquiring a single fort on the shores of India, for the purpose of protecting their trading operations, partly from the fear of exciting the jealousy of the native Sovereigns, and partly because they were apprehensive that the maintenance of that fort would entail upon them an expenditure which the profits of their commerce would be inadequate to meet. I will not attempt to trace the various steps through which this Company, from such an humble beginning, has gradually extended its power, by its negotiations, by its arms, and by the wisdom also of its counsellors; and if, under some of the early circumstances of its progress, any signal instances of a large rapacity and lust for wealth occurred among its servants, in later times it has been distinguished by prudence and ability: it is by a wise government and a feeling of enlightened humanity that it has achieved a dominion absolute and uncontrolled, whether by the direct exercise of its authority, or by an influence not less absolute than 548 actual authority, over a district of country extending from Cape Comorin on the south, to the borders of Burmah, of Cashmere, Cabul, and Afghanistan on the north, and embracing, I think, in its broadest part, something like 28 degrees of latitude—a vast district, inhabited by a population which I believe I am within the mark when I set it down at 150,000,000—exercising its authority over a population of various descent, and of various religions, who have been constantly in hostility to each other, but who now, conquerors and conquered, agree to submit to the jurisdiction of a comparatively small body of Europeans—a Company which has secured its power, not so much by the sword as by the wisdom of its counsellors—which has seen succumb to it, one after another, the mightiest monarchies of India, and which, without any desire for conquest, without any lust of power, nay, contrary to its wish—has seen the populations of those monarchies gradually forcing themselves under, rather than submitting to the protection of its authority. And, my Lords, with this gigantic dominion it is not less extraordinary that although for the maintenance of its vast empire this Company possesses an army of 285,000 men, yet that immense army you find composed mainly of natives of those territories which they have conquered, Mahomedans and Hindoos; every variety of religion and of grade alike vie in loyalty and attachment to their conquerors, and in their service exhibit as much of interest and of devotion as that small but noble army drawn from the mother country with which it is their pride and glory to be associated. My Lords, when you look to the vast extent and to the great resources of this empire, you will see that it is no light and unimportant task to which I am now about to call your serious consideration. You are calmly and deliberately to investigate the machinery by which the affairs of this great empire are conducted—a machinery which, formed for far different purposes, has gradually been diverted from its original intentions, and applied and adapted to the change of circumstances in which it is now placed—an institution and a machinery which would seem at the outset to be anomalous almost to the extent of absurity, but which has yet operated, as I think, and as I believe your Lordships think also, most beneficially to the interests of humanity and to the advancement and progress of that mighty empire which it superintends. My Lords, I stated that, 549 since the Committee of 1832, the East India Company has ceased altogether to be a commercial body. Up to 1813 they possessed, as you are aware, not only the right of trading to India, but the exclusive right of trading with India and of trading with China. By the Act of 1813, for the first time, a modification was effected in this Company's commercial monopoly. Under certain limitations British subjects were permitted to settle in India, and the Indian trade was thrown open to other than the servants of the Company, at the same time not depriving the Company of a participation in that trade. In 1833 we went a step further, and not only took away altogether the privileges of the Company with regard to the right of trading with India, but we also threw open to the public in general the trade with China, which had been up to that time a close monopoly in the hands of the Company. The question of the settlement of Europeans in India, and of their right to acquire land, was also adjusted; but with regard to commercial affairs, these were the material alterations. Now, my Lords, by the law of 1833, the Court of Proprietors, the foundation of the whole machine, ceased, in point of fact, to have any interest whatever or any control in the management of the affairs of India; because, by the arrangement then made, the East India Company were deprived of all their commercial property—not only of the right of trading, but deprived of all their commercial property whatever, which was made over to the Crown, there being at the same time a provision made, by which the stock of the Company, to the amount of 6,000,000l., or the dividend upon that stock, was made a primary charge upon the revenue of India; and a sum of 2,000,000l. was set aside for the purpose of accumulating, in order, under certain conditions, to buy up, if it were found necessary, that amount of stock. I will here mention, en passant, that the Act of 1833 appears to have contemplated—though the Act expired at the end of twenty years—but it appears certainly to have contemplated a continuance to the Company of its political powers for a period, not of twenty but of forty years; inasmuch as the Company, if the political rights which were accorded to them should be taken away at the expiration of twenty years, were then entitled to demand from the Government at home the repayment of their stock at the rate of 200l. sterling for every 100l. of stock—they had a right to 550 require that upon their political power being taken from them their stock should be bought by the Government at that amount, and this within a period of three years. Now, my Lords, undoubtedly it is not very probable that, even if its political powers were taken away, the Company would make such a demand for the repayment of its stock; because, although the obligation to purchase up the stock was fixed at the rate of 200l. for every 100l. stock, their stock is now worth, I believe, about 260l., and, therefore, it would evidently not be their interest to demand that purchase. On the other hand, however, you have no power, by the Act of 1833, to pay off that stock at present; until 1874—that is, until the expiration of forty years from the Act of 1833—you have no power to call on the Company to accept that bargain, and to have that stock paid off. But if the Company's powers should continue up to 1874, that is, for the second period of twenty years—the Crown has then the power of insisting upon paying off that stock upon the terms I have already mentioned, upon giving one year's notice; and for the purpose of paying off that stock, the 2,000,000l. at first set aside, and which has now accumulated to between 3,800,000l. and 3,900,000l., was to go on accumulating at compound interest for the purpose of forming the necessary fund at the expiration of forty years. Such were the arrangements of the Act of 1833, which evidently contemplated a reconsideration of the question, and of the whole principle of government, as between the Crown and the East India Company, at the end of twenty years; but which undoubtedly contemplated the continuance of the political powers of the Company, with such modifications as might be suggested, for a period of forty years, because till the expiration of that period the Government had no power of extinguishing the stock by paying off the principal. But, my Lords, with that Act of 1833 the Court of Proprietors ceased, as I have said, to have any control or interest whatever in the affairs of India. The whole business of the Court of Proprietors at this moment consists in receiving the dividends upon their stock, which is fixed, I think, at 10½ per cent, and also—and it is no doubt a material part of their duty—in electing the members of the Court of Directors. Further than that, the Court of Proprietors have no functions whatever to perform. It is true they may meet and dis- 551 cuss together; but, with regard to the legislation of India, with regard to any single instruction to be given, any order issued, or any decision to be arrived at, the unanimous vote of the whole Court of Proprietors need not exercise the slightest influence over the conduct of the Government. And, indeed, when you look to the present position of the Court of Proprietors, there is some reason why they should not exercise any power over the affairs of India. They have no interest in them except such as they derive from the payment of dividends, which are made a first charge upon the revenue. The number of proprietors is, I think, 1,800; as to the qualification for a seat in the Court of Proprietors, the possession of 1,000l. stock gives one vote, and the possession of larger sums gives two, up to four votes; the total number of votes possessed by the 1,800 proprietors being 2,500, of which something like one-fifth are held by native proprietors. The power which devolves upon these proprietors in electing the Directors, is in itself a material element in the machinery by which Indian affairs are conducted; but that is the sole power which they possess, with the exception, I believe, of a very insignificant though a very proper power, of putting a check upon some gratuities, to the amount of not more than 500l. or 600l.; a power, which, no doubt it is quite right that the Court of Proprietors should exercise over the Directors, but which does not afford any special reason for its continuance. As I have said, the chief business of the Proprietors consists in their receiving the annual dividends. I have been speaking throughout of the Court of Proprietors; I now come to the Court of Directors, elected by them. That Court consists of twenty-four members, and I believe the only qualification is the possession of a certain amount of stock, I forget precisely to what amount; I believe 2,000l.—and persons are disqualified if Directors of the Bank of England or of the South Sea House; but where these objections do not exist, the holding of a certain amount of stock qualifies for a seat in the direction of this Company. The Directors, generally speaking, are, the great majority of them, men whose lives have been spent and whose fortunes have been accumulated in India, and who must therefore be familiarly acquainted with the working of the system, with the country, and the character of the inhabitants, and who are, practically, I believe, well quali- 552 fied to advise the Government in the direction of the affairs of India. One-fourth of the twenty-four Directors go out of office every year; but, as they are generally re-elected, the whole body of Directors may practically be said to sit for life. Most of these details will probably be very familiar to some of your Lordships; but I did not think upon such an occasion that it was unfitting to me to state, as shortly as I could, what is the nature of the system, and how far its practical working may seem to compensate for some of the anomalies which may be found in it. My Lords, as to the power of the Directors, it is apparently exceedingly great—I am not prepared to say that it is greater than it ought to be, considering their great experience and their great knowledge of Indian affairs. The Directors, for convenience sake, divide themselves into three Committees—one the Finance Committee, another the Political and Legislative, and the third the Home and Judicial Committee; I am not sure, but I believe I am correct in stating that the Court of Directors is thus divided—one of these Committees has eight, and the two others seven members each; the Chairman and Deputy Chairman are members of all these Committees; and these form the whole governing—if that is not a wrong expression—the whole governing body of the Company. In these Directors has been vested from the earliest period, both nominally and substantially with regard to most of the offices, the power of making the appointments in the civil service of India. The exceptions, which are real, are the Governor General, the Judges, the Bishops, appointments which are reserved to the Crown; and a small number of the subordinate appointments, which by custom or by courtesy (I do not know whether by law) are with the President of the Board of Control. The appointments nominally proceed, and many really, from the Court of Directors; but the real and substantial power which the Court of Directors possess—a power which I know may lead to considerable difference of opinion, and which ought to be carefully and deliberately considered—is that of recalling each and every servant of the Company, from the Governor General down to the lowest clerk, without any communication or concert with the Crown. I believe I am correct in stating, that for every appointment they must have the concurrence of the Crown. I believe it is so; the Crown has the power of recalling any or every servant of the Company in 553 India, and the Company have also a like power of recalling, without concert or communication with the Crown, as the Crown has the power without communication with the Company. There may be occasions—there have been—upon which the exercise of that authority may practically lead to some inconvenience. But, my Lords, when we come to the legislative power of the Court of Directors, great as it may appear, and great as undoubtedly is the influence they exercise, their legislative power dwindles down to nothing; for not only have the Court of Proprietors no power, by a unanimous vote, to issue a single order, but the Court of Directors themselves can issue no order with regard to the legislation or government of India without the consent of the Crown signified through the President of the Board of Control. They have no power of issuing a single despatch, and, more, no power of refusing the issuing of a single despatch which the President of the Board of Control may think it his duty to insist upon their transmitting. If the President of the Board of Control sends to the Court of Directors a despatch upon a particular subject, and they refuse to deal with that question, he may then, in one fortnight, compel the transmission of that despatch; and the single exception is the very improbable one, in which the orders of the President of the Board of Control may be contrary to law, in which case the Court of Directors hold that they have an appeal to the Court of Queen's Bench, to know whether they ought or ought not to execute those orders. But, further, supposing, in dealing with one particular question, the Court of Directors should think fit to send out particular orders and particular instructions, and the despatch bearing those orders and instructions, when submitted to the President of the Board of Control, should be by him disapproved of, not only are they compelled not to send out the despatch they intended, but the Board of Control exercises the power of altogether modifying and altering the despatch, so as, if he thought fit, to reverse the whole sense and meaning of the instructions, and, under the hand of the Board, to give instructions altogether at variance with those which the Court of Directors desire to go out to the authorities as having the fiat of the President of the Board of Control, in whom, after what I have said, your Lordships will see that, virtually, the administration of the affairs of India in this country is vested. The constitution of the 554 Board of Control has undergone various alterations since it was established in 1784; the last, in 1833, at the time of the last Act of Parliament, by which, instead of three paid Commissioners and Secretaries, it became what it now is having a President and two secretaries, who usually have seats in Parliament. That has been the constitution of the Board of Control since 1833, and in that Board, practically speaking, the whole administration of the affairs of India rests. Now, my Lords, when looking to the working of this anomalous machine, conducted, in the first place, apparently by Directors, elected by a body of proprietors who have little or no interest in the affairs of the country which the Directors are to govern—conducted again by those Directors under the control of the President of the Board of Control, and thereby reduced to be in fact a subordinate Government Board—the question naturally suggests itself, to what purpose is it to continue this complex and anomalous machinery? Why not vest the nominal authority in the same hands which are now possessed of the real? and why not dispense altogether with the unnecessary intervention of the Board of Directors? That is a very important question, and one which the Committee will have carefully and seriously to consider. I think, for my own part, that very valid and strong reasons may be given for not departing from the practical working of that which we find in existence; but it is undoubtedly a question which will be open to the consideration and judgment of the Committee; and they ought to be satisfied, if they recommend the continuance of this system, either that it is one which in itself works well, or else, that it works at all events better than any modification or alteration which can be introduced, by giving a more direct power to the Government of this country. I ought to mention that, independent of the Court of Proprietors and Court of Directors, there is also, as your Lordships are aware, the "Secret Committee," which is charged with all negotiations and affairs which have to be transacted between the Company and the Native Princes, as well as other business which it may be thought expedient to preserve in secrecy. This Secret Committee is appointed by the Board of Directors, and usually consists of the Chairman and Deputy Chairman, with, I think, the senior member of the Court of Directors; and, in conjunction with the President of the Board 555 of Control, this Committee administers practically all those affairs which come under the political head to which I have adverted, of negotiations or dealings with native and foreign Princes. Now, my Lords, having stated the matter to be inquired into, I think it may not be a waste of your Lordships' time if we just see how this system has practically operated in India, and what has been the progress made in that country since 1834; I have spoken hitherto, of course, only of that operation of the machinery which is limited to this country. In India, I think, up to 1833, the three Presidencies were distinct and separate. By the language and by the spirit of the Act of 1833 it was contemplated to give to the Presidency of Bengal an overruling and preponderating influence and supreme authority over the other two. I think it was even contemplated at that time that the Council of Bengal should be a sort of ambulatory Council, to visit the different Presidencies, to overrule the administration of their affairs. That practically has not been the case. The Governor General in Council has administered the affairs of the Presidency of Bengal. In 1833 there was also a proposition for the institution of another Presidency, of Agra; but that was done away with, and I believe since that time there has been a Lieutenant Governor for that district; and the Governor General, with the assistance of the Lieutenant Governor of the north-west provinces, has administered the affairs of that vast district of country which forms the intended Presidency of Agra, and the newly conquered provinces in that direction. Now, my Lords, undoubtedly the Government of India has been, and I think for many years must be, that which has been spoken of in terms of praise by a noble Friend of mine, whom I do not see in his place (Earl Fitzwilliam), "a mild despotism." I apprehend none of your Lordships would dream that the time has arrived at which popular institutions can be applied to the government of India, and that, practically speaking, it is necessary that the power of governing these vast dominions, subject to the control of the Government at home, should be vested, as it is at present, in the separate Councils, and, more especially, in the supreme authority of the Governor General in Council. In the formation of that Council, however, in 1833, there was, for the first time, introduced a new element, by the addition of a new Councillor, 556 not in the civil service of the Company. Previously to that, I think, it consisted of the Governor General, the Commander of the Forces (not necessarily, I think), and another, who was a member of the civil or military service; with them was associated, by the Act of 1833, a fourth Councillor, not a servant of the Company, appointed directly by the Crown, and charged with peculiar functions, having only the power to attend the deliberations of that Council when they enter upon the discussion of judicial and legislative business. Now, I do not lay any stress upon the extent of territory acquired by the Company since 1834, because I am by no means sure that the acquisition of all that territory has been by any means an unmixed advantage; and I am sure that the possession of great portions of it was forced upon a very reluctant Government by circumstances over which they exercised no control; but the fact is that since the last time this question came under the consideration of Parliament there has been added to the territories of the Company an area of no less than 165,000 square miles, comprising a population of 8,380,000. In the course of that time it has been necessary, no doubt, materially to augment the expenditure and establishment of the Indian service; but I am happy to Bay that with the advance of that establishment, although I confess there has been a certain addition to the annual interest of the debt, the revenue has increased from 18,500,000l.in 1834, in round numbers, to about 25,000,000l. in 1849–50, while the charge has increassd from 18,600,000l.(rather in excess of the revenue) to 24,806,000l.in 1849–50 (being rather below the revenue); the estimated charge for 1850–51 is something in excess, arising from circumstances which it is not necessary to detail. But I think it will be gratifying to your Lordships to learn that, while there has been an increase in the territories of the Company, and an increase of revenue equal to the increased charge to be borne, the commercial prosperity of India has made rapid and immense strides during that period. I hold in my hand an account—I will not trouble your Lordships except by stating the first and last years of this return—showing the state of commerce at the first and the last of these two periods. I find the tonnage of British vessels between this country and India stands thus: The arrivals in 1834–35 were 108,000 tons; in 1849–50, 252,000 tons. The departures 557 in 1834–35, 83,776 tons; in 1849–50, 280,897 tons. The imports, in round numbers, had risen from 61,000,000r.—6,000,000l., in 1834–35, to 12,000,000l.in 1848–49, the last year for which there is a return; and the exports of India have, in the same time, increased from 8,000,000l.to 18,000,000l.My Lords, in the course of that time it is not only the material and commercial prosperity of India which has made rapid strides—it is not only that large territory has been added to your dominions, and new nations subjected to your sway, but I am happy to say, that in the arts of peace there has been a great and salutary increase in the period between 1834 and 1850. With regard to that which I must look upon as one of the most leading objects connected with the affairs of India, though it is an establishment which has to contend with many obstacles, and work its way gradually through a mass of ignorance and superstition, and of conflicting difficulties, which render its advance slow and almost imperceptible, it is satisfactory to know that, whereas through the whole of the vast territories of India there were only employed in the service of the Company 31 chaplains of the Church of England, in 1813, when the episcopal authority was first introduced, in 1832 there were a bishop and 75 clergymen. The Act of 1833 multiplied the number of bishops, assigning its bishop to each separate Presidency. There are now, instead of 31 chaplains, as in 1812, or 75, as in 1832, three bishops, and no less than 130 chaplains of the Church of England, independent of the ministers of the Scotch Church. Of the great social improvements which have taken place, cautiously and gradually introduced, since 1834, I cannot but mention, in the first place, that which had been the object of the constant and earnest attention of this country, namely, the total and entire abolition of slavery throughout its dominions; and, although great difficulties have had to be encountered, yet, by the Act passed in 1843, in India, as in the rest of Her Majesty's dominions, slavery was at once and completely abolished. Another not less gratifying change has taken place with regard to the administration of justice in India. In 1833 it was contemplated to establish, and there was established, a Legal Commission for the purpose of examining into the whole system of jurisprudence in India; the whole system of the penal and civil law, and reporting generally their opin- 558 ions with regard to the necessary alterations. In India you have to distinguish between the Crown Courts and the Courts under the control of the Company. The Crown Courts consist of a Chief Justice and two Puisne Judges; I believe, practically, in two Presidencies, they have for some time consisted of a Chief Justice and a single Judge. These have very large and extensive jurisdiction. Recently, since 1833, there have been introduced, I think under the control of the Company—I must beg pardon if I make any errors in speaking upon a subject with which I have not been very familiar—there have been established minor Courts, like the County Courts in this country, for the purpose of adjudicating in matters of small amount. But, although the Commission sent out in 1833 sat for some time, and laboured very industriously, and produced a most elaborate penal code, which is at the present moment, I believe, under the consideration of the Government of India, that Commission, from various circumstances, did not enter upon the discussion of the whole of the extensive subject committed to it; gradually, I believe, it has been permitted to lapse, the vacancies occurring upon it not being filled up, and the labour has since devolved upon the Members of the Council appointed under the Act of 1833. But there also courts of justice of various gradations and rank authorised to deal with questions of various amounts and moment, with more or less of appellate jurisdiction. I think I ought not to waste your Lordships' time by giving you details respecting the Zillah Courts and the Sudder and other Courts, and the various gradations of jurisdiction, but that to which I desire to point your attention is, that in the course of the period which has elapsed since 1833 there has been a very great increase in that which I look upon as a matter of signal importance, namely, the employment of the natives of India themselves in the minor courts, and a considerable extension of the judicial authority conferred upon those Courts. I have said that I think the time is far from being come at which anything like popular institutions could be safely conferred upon any portion of India; but of this I am quite sure, that this is your bounden duty in the interests of humanity, of benevolence, and of morality and religion—that as far and as fast as you can do it safely, wisely, and prudently, the inhabitants of India should be gradually intrusted with more and more of the superintend- 559 ence of their own internal affairs, under the control of British authority, and taught to respect that authority which is vested in the law, and which they see judiciously and firmly enforced, temperately enforced also, by the superior British authority, which they may by long habit and practice learn to imitate, and, I would hope, even to surpass. And, my Lords, even if this gradual admission of the Indian race to the benefits of self-government, slowly and cautiously, should have the effect, not of consolidating and extending the great fabric of British dominion which has been built up in that country, but of leading a people accustomed to self-government to desire something more of control over their political, as well as their judicial affairs—I say that, even if the gigantic power of Britain over India should in the course of years, but centuries must first elapse, fall to the ground by the operation of our own hands, it will have been an achievement worthy of a nation like this to have rescued the native population from the state of ignorance, superstition, and debasement in which we found a large portion of them sunk, and to have placed them, at the expiration of the period of our dominion, in the capacity of administering the affairs of their own country as an independent nation, but under the influence of those laws, those principles, and those sound maxims which they ought ever to entertain gratitude to this country for having with care and pains instilled into their hearts. My Lords, I say this is not a work of months, or of years, nor it may be of centuries; but, though we may not live to see it, that does not absolve us from the duty, while we carefully abstain from placing in the hands of an ignorant population power which they are incapable of yielding for their own benefit; it does not absolve us from the obligation of endeavouring to raise that population in the social scale, and of carefully intrusting them with such an amount of the administration of their own local affairs as, not to their detriment but to their benefit, they may safely be enabled to carry on under the superintendence of this country. The whole details of the judicial arrangement, and the extent to which the admission of natives to offices has gone, every detail which Parliament may desire, will freely be laid before the Committee, should it be your Lordships' pleasure to appoint one to inquire into the working of the existing system. There will also be laid before you matters of not less importance than 560 those which I have enumerated—the steps that have been taken for promoting the material prosperity of the country, the improvement of the communications, the formation of roads and canals, the clearing of the country, the irrigation of districts, which from the want of it were subject to all the horrors of periodical famine—these will be set before you; and it will be for you to consider whether the Directors of the East India Company, under the control and superintendence of the Government here, and through the administration of the various Governors General who since 1833 have held the supreme power in the country, have or have not been faithful and efficient stewards of the great interests committed to their charge. It will then be for you, my Lords, having inquired into the practical working of the existing system, to consider how far it is wise to continue, either in the whole or in part—how far altogether to abrogate—how far to alter or to modify in detail—the system which at present prevails. But, undoubtedly, one principal point which you will have to consider is, whether there be advantage or detriment to the public service in retaining that intervening authority between the Board of Control, or the Government of the day, and the people or Government of India, which now subsists in the Court of Directors. The Court of Directors have little substantial power, but their functions are neither few nor unimportant. They meet weekly for the purpose of considering and replying to the various despatches which are received from the Governor General of India in Council, and from the various Committees by which the affairs of Government are conducted in India. They give to Her Majesty's Government on all occasions their willing and cordial co-operation and assistance. I believe the noble Baron opposite (Lord Broughton), and all those who have filled the high situation which he lately held, will cordially and readily acknowledge how much advantage they have derived in the administration of the affairs of India from the talents, abilities, and experience of those gentlemen with whom they have been brought into contact, and by whose advice they have been in many respects guided. But, as I said before, the Court of Directors, if they have no substantial power, have a large amount of patronage. Now, my Lords, is it desirable, or is it not, that that patronage should rest in the hands which now exercise it? Is it desirable that the patronage 561 of an empire like India, extensive as it is, and comprising every variety of employment and profession, should ho vested in those who now exercise it, or should be placed in the hands of the servants of the Crown, changing from time to time according to the political changes in this country? In the first place, my Lords, I think that to bestow upon the Government of the day the whole amount of the patronage of India would be to place a very dangerous and unconstitutional amount of power practically in the hands of irresponsible Ministers. I am quite sure that no Minister of the Crown, however honest might be his intentions, and however true and sincere his desire to administer that patronage for the benefit of India, could administer it with as much knowledge of the circumstances and exigencies of the country as a permanent body, the great majority of whom are intimately and personally connected with the affairs of India, and who have an accurate knowledge of the country, of its legislation, and of its inhabitants. I have said that the Board of Directors consists at this time of thirty gentlemen—that is, including the six who went out last year; and the fact is, that of these thirty gentlemen—although there is no necessary qualification for the office except that of being the possessor of a certain amount of stock—of those thirty gentlemen there are no less than twenty-one in office at this moment, who have served the Company with distinction in the various branches of the civil service, and who bring consequently to the discussion of Indian affairs the whole of their experience and knowledge with regard to the condition and requirements of that country. With regard to an empire like India, it is a matter of infinite importance that the controlling power should, as far as possible, be kept aloof from political squabbles and party contests. That object, as is well known, is practically obtained by the system which now prevails; for, although undoubtedly there may be, and there are, influences connected with the patronage of that department which may connect it in a certain way with political considerations, yet it is notorious that, although the polities of the Directors, some of whom have seats in the Legislature, are of various shades, there is no political bearing whatever influencing their conduct with respect to the affairs of India. But is there no further advantage from this system with regard to the selection of 562 those who are to form the civil service of India? The civil service of India is a service altogether apart. Be it the civil service or the military service of India, it is a profession taken up at the earliest age; and, to become qualified for that profession, to rise in that profession, to receive the honours of that profession, is the first and early ambition of the youngest cadet or writer who goes out to India. Now, there surely is a great advantage in this respect with regard to India. I know, with regard to the colonial administration, with which I was long familiar, how great is the disadvantage arising from the impossibility, within the limited scale of each colony, of finding persons in the colony, or connected with it, properly acquainted with the colony, and able satisfactorily to assist in conducting its affairs. But the small scale of each of these colonies—the small scale, comparatively speaking, even of the Colonial Department altogether—independently of the widely different interests of different colonies, precludes the possibility of setting aside such a school for colonial service as is wisely and most beneficially set aside by existing arrangements with regard to the Indian service. Nor do I think it is a matter of any complaint, a matter of any grievance, a matter to be deplored, much less condemned—nay, on the contrary, I think it is the subject of congratulation and rejoicing—if we find a man who, at the age of 15 or 16, has entered the East India Company's service, who has been himself educated for the special service of that Company in establishments maintained—and most liberally maintained—at the expense of the Company itself, whose fitness to enter upon his duties has been tested by an examination, the strictness of which has been much increased, before he was even permitted to go out to the scene of his future life, who has spent the best years of his life in India, who takes a deep interest in the affairs of that country—though, like all Englishmen, he has always looked forward to the period when lie might return to this land, which he never ceases to consider as his home—who, upon his return, bringing with him Indian recollections and Indian interests, and able to apply to the administration of the affairs of India the knowledge and experience which he has there acquired, should at the same time, obtain personal distinction and reward for his past services by a seat in the Direction—I consider that, 563 so far from its being cause of regret, it is a subject of congratulation that there are the means of bringing forward within this country a body of men so formed and constituted to advise and assist the Government. It is also a matter of congratulation and rejoicing that, at the close of his life, each of the old and faithful servants of the Company has, by the exercise of his patronage, the means of introducing to the same honourable career, and launching upon the same creditable course, his own son, or nephew, or grandson, in whom may be instilled, from their earliest years, a love for and an interest in India, and who may be prepared to run the course which he who gives the appointment has honourably and creditably run before. There may be, and there always are, wherever you vest patronage, individual cases of its abuse. But this I believe, that if by holding out a premium—a most cheap premium—for the invaluable services of the men who serve you, I had almost said, without any other reward, for I believe their service is almost gratuitous—if you can obtain such advantages by giving to those best qualified, from their knowledge of India, to exercise patronage, the advantage of that patronage, it is for the service of this country and for the benefit of India; and if those Gentlemen do apply such patronage, in some instances, to place in the Indian service those in whom they have near and personal interest, I say that it is not a corrupt exercise of patronage—it is not an exercise of patronage which ought to be deplored and condemned, but, on the contrary, it is an exercise of patronage, as I believe, best calculated to promote the welfare and advantage of India. This subject, however, is one which your Lordships will have to consider if you consent to the appointment of this Committee. You will have to consider whether any modification should be introduced in the existing system; and upon the part of Her Majesty's Government there will be no indisposition to lay before the Committee, in the fullest detail, all the information they may desire with regard to the working of the existing machinery, whether in the political, in the judicial, or in the social system of India, in order that your Lordships may have the means of coming to a deliberate and impartial decision upon that vast and momentous question—namely, by what means, and by what instrumentality (remembering that this is no party, no political, question 564 —it is a question of empire), the great and important interests of that overwhelming empire of India can best be promoted, and most steadily advanced. I will not further detain your Lordships with any expression of opinion on my own part, because I concur with my noble Friend the noble Earl opposite (the Earl of Ellenborough), in the caution which he gave both to me and to my right hon. Friend at the head of the Indian Department (Mr. Herries), that we should not hastily pledge ourselves with regard to any specific course. But with regard to that part of the question which does not depend upon practical experience and knowledge, but more on principle than detail, I certainly do entertain a strong opinion as to the course of policy which it may be desirable for Parliament to pursue; but that question will rest in the hands of Parliament. By the reports of the Committees of this and the other House of Parliament Her Majesty's Government are ready to be guided in the course they will pursue; and to those Committees must be deputed the important task of considering how the affairs of India shall hereafter be best conducted.
That a Select Committee be appointed to inquire into the Operation of the Act 3rd & 4th William IV. Cap. 85, for the better Government of Her Majesty's Indian Territories; and to report their Observations thereon.
§ The EARL of ELLENBOROUGH
My Lords, my noble Friend has described with very general correctness the system upon which the Government of India is at present conducted. My noble Friend, at the commencement of his speech, took occasion to correct a very general error of common parlance, by which the question now before Parliament was described as being a question of the "renewal" of the East India Company's Charter. I am surprised that my noble Friend, entering as he afterwards did with very great correctness into the relations between the Court of Directors and the Board of Control, did not also avoid the very general error in common parlance, by which the Company is described as governing India. In point of fact the Company may nominally reign, but the Company does not govern India. For about seventy years the Court of Directors have, in point of fact, been no more than the Council of the Board of Control; and that which Parliament has now to consider is, whether it is expedient 565 still to continue that Parliamentary fiction, or whether it may not he better to adopt a more direct course for the government of India. I do not know whether my noble Friend, who spoke of the progress which India had made during the last twenty years, has taken into his consideration—he certainly did not advert to it in his speech—the very peculiar position in which that country now stands. The destruction of the Sikh power has altogether changed our position in India. Before the destruction of that Power we had a great rival, and there was every reason to expect, at no distant period, a most serious conflict for supremacy in India. That rival, however, has now been destroyed, and we stand in the position in which Rome stood after the destruction of Carthage, when, all fear of rivalry in the field having been removed, those evils began to operate which led to the destruction of public liberty, to the ruin of the commonwealth, and to the ultimate annihilation of the empire. We have now arrived at a position in which we cannot with safety go beyond our present territorial limits: indeed, in my own opinion we have already in some quarters passed those limits. It is with much regret that I look to the possession of Peshawur and of any country on the right hank of the Indus, above Kalabagh, where the navigation of the Indus from the sea ceases. I look also with regret upon most of the annexations obtained twenty years ago from the Court of Ava, with the exception of the annexation of Arracan; but of this I am quite sure, that beyond our present territorial limits it would be the last proof of political insanity to pass. My Lords, such being our position, it must be observed that the danger, in a military empire such as ours in India is, and such as it must ever remain, is greater far in the stationary than in the progressive state. I now look forward with apprehension to the danger likely to arise from the insolence of office—which even in my time led to one insurrection—from disregard of military duties, from the absence of due consideration for the native officers and troops, and, above all, from the forgetfulness of that great principle by which our Indian empire was acquired, respect for the religious prejudices and for the social habits of the people. These are the dangers of a stationary state, and are, in my opinion, greater far than any danger we have encountered in the progressive state of the ample do- 566 minion which we now possess in India. My Lords, when I come to consider what we should do under these circumstances, and what alterations, if any, we should make in the present system of the government of India, I assume, with my noble Friend, one point as absolutely settled seventy years ago—namely, that the patronage of India is severed for ever from the Crown. I willingly acquiesce in that as a settled point, because I believe it to be equally conducive to the advantage of this country and of India: but, at the same time, I am of opinion, and I hope to place before your Lordships the grounds of that opinion, that much may be done by Parliament for the purpose of improving the administration of that patronage; and I will at once distinctly declare that in my opinion there is no object Parliament can have in view so important as that of sending to India the very best persons both for the military and the civil departments—for their character is practically the Government of India. I am also willing to admit another principle, though I do so with very considerable reluctance, namely, the necessity of continuing the system of double government. I do not approve of that system; I see all its mischiefs; I see how directly it leads to delay in the transaction of business, occasionally to very great embarrassment, and necessarily to great disregard of economy; but, above all these, it involves practically a total absence of all real responsibility on the part of the home authorities. I will only at the present moment touch upon those organic changes which it seems to me expedient to introduce for the purpose of leading to the improved government of India. I admit that in the course of the last twenty years much has been done. It would be hard indeed if India alone had not shared in the universal progress of the world. But much remains to be done, and I think much might be done by the improvements which I will suggest. Before, however, I touch upon the organic changes I should desire to see introduced, I will shortly state those alterations in the present law which I think it would be expedient to introduce, even if your Lordships are prepared to maintain the Court of Directors and the Board of Control as they now are, and to conduct the Government precisely upon the principles upon which it now rests. I first suggest that it would be highly expedient that the Board of Control should have the same power over 567 the Home Treasury as it has over the Treasury in India. At present the Board has no such power. Whatever information the Board of Control may have with respect to any intended misappropriation of the public revenue of India, they are powerless for the purpose of preventing it. I believe that if the Court of Directors were to give an order to the Bank to divide among themselves the whole of the balance the Company might have there, the Board of Control has no power whatever to interfere to prevent such a division. I will ask your Lordships to look at the establishment of the East India House, and compare it with the establishments of the Crown, either with regard to numbers or emoluments. I believe the number of persons employed at this moment at the East India House is equal to the number employed in all the departments of all the Secretaries of State; and if, moreover, you look at the emoluments these persons receive, I apprehend it will be found that there is a very wide space for economical reduction. Such is the extravagance of these emoluments, that I recollect being told, more than twenty years ago, when I first went to the Board of Control, that a gentleman, whose only recommendation was, that he had written some very bad novels, which had failed, but who had a sort of knack for writing, had been employed by the Court, at a salary of 2,000l. a year, to write the controversial letters the Court might have to address to the Board of Control. For my part, I was charmed with my correspondent; for such were the literary abilities of this gentleman, that his letters, especially when altered and amended by the twenty-four other gentlemen, did not interpose very great difficulties in the way of the person who was called upon to answer them. I would further suggest, that the audit of the accounts of the East India Company should not be entirely dependent upon themselves, but that an independent Auditor should be appointed by the Crown. I see no reason why the officer who holds such an important situation should not be as independent as the noble Lord who is Auditor of the Treasury (Lord Monteagle). I think the duty of the Auditor should be not merely to see that there is authority for every payment, but that every payment is, according to the strict appropriation in the Act of Parliament, an appropriation of the revenues of India, for the service of the Government of India. I do not hesitate to say, that payments have 568 been made which were inconsistent with that appropriation, and which according to my understanding of the Act of Parliament were clearly illegal. Another alteration which I think would be productive of very great public advantage, would be to give to the Crown the absolute power of nominating the Commander-in-Chief of the Royal army in India, and not merely of the Royal army of India, but of the Native armies of all the Presidencies. I would give the Crown the power of appointing the Commanders-in-Chief of both the Royal and the Native armies, and I would suggest that the Commander-in-Chief should be, ex officio, Member of the Council of the Presidency in which he shall be. I know of one occasion—and there might be many—in which the East India Company, by objecting to the appointment of an officer of the Native army to be one of the Council, had prevented the appointment of the officer who had been thought most fit in the judgment of the Crown to command the army; and that was a power they ought not to have. I think this a great scandal and a great abuse, and it fully exemplifies the want of judgment and amount of prejudice which often characterise the proceedings of the Directors. I recollect, too, that on another occasion the most extraordinary representations had been made against the appointment of the late Earl of Dalhousie to the command of the Indian army, because, forsooth, the Chairman of the Court of Directors, Mr. Astell, took a different view of the noble Lord's conduct when Governor of Lower Canada, from that which had been taken of it by Mr. Huskisson, the Colonial Secretary. Now, as I have said, these representations were not attended to; but I conceive that these are representations which the Court of Directors ought not to have power to make. Again, I remember another occasion on which representations were made to me against the appointment of a most gallant officer, on the ground that he was addicted to habits of drunkenness. It fell to my duty to inquire into the charge; these representations were investigated, and proved to be utterly false and unfounded, and yet I, as representative of the Crown, had to make answer in reference to these charges preferred by the Charman. Such things, in my opinion, ought not to be. And further, I think it absolutely necessary, especially under the present circumstances of India, in order to insure its safety, that there should be a 569 very large increase of European troops, and a very great diminution of the Native forces; that there should be substituted for the civil police, which is utterly inefficient, a military police, who would perform many of the duties now executed by the native soldier. It is absolutely necessary that the Crown should possess without any control on the part of the Board of Directors the unrestricted power of sending out to and maintaining in India as many of the Royal troops as the Government here shall think fit. At present the Crown cannot send out more than 20,000 without the consent of the Court of Directors; which is contrary to reason and to public policy, inasmuch as the Crown is responsible for the safety of India, and on the Crown should rest the decision as to the number of troops requisite to be maintained there, according to the exigencies of the public service. There are a number of other things which I think it advisable to alter in the relations between the Court and the Government. I think it would be most expedient that the Crown should have a negative upon the appointment of Members of the Council. The present arrangement I do not challenge for its correctness; in former times it might have been properly made; but I do say, that under present circumstances, in the altered state of the empire of India, it is in my judgment most necessary and most expedient that every member of the military as well as the civil service, should look up to the Crown as the fountain of honour and authority. I do not propose that any alteration should take place in the mode of appointment of the Governor General. I think that there are practical advantages in the present arrangement, by which the Court proposes and the Crown approves of a Governor General: I think that mode of proceeding secures the best appointments. There may have been occasions on which the Government may have been somewhat inconveniently pressed by the request of one of their own friends, whom they felt it inconvenient and disagreeable to disoblige, for this very appointment, while at the same time they were reluctant to trust the government of India into his hands. On such occasions the intervention of the Court of Directors may have been most convenient to the Government. Seeing, therefore, no practical inconvenience arising from the present arrangement, I should certainly be most unwilling to disturb it. But I have already expressed my opinion, and 570 to that opinion I undoubtedly adhere, that after the Governor General has been appointed, and not only the Governor General, but the Governors of the subordinate provinces, the Members of the Council, and other officers—their continuance in office should depend solely upon the Crown. I think that we might with great advantage to the public service, improve the position of the Governor General, and increase his means of usefulness. It would be a very great advantage if the Governor General were not dependent upon two masters; that he should not be left in the condition to be approved of by one, and recalled by the other. We might also greatly improve his means of public usefulness by improving the composition of his Council. In that Council there is at present no Member from the Bombay, no Member from the Madras service; yet acts are daily sent up from the Madras and Bombay Presidencies, for the consideration of the Governor General in Council, who alone are endowed with legislative power. Many measures come, therefore, before the Council, and are discussed in total darkness as to their merits, in utter ignorance of the wants of the different localities, as they have no means of obtaining any practical information upon the subject. In my opinion, therefore, it would greatly conduce to the improvement of legislation and to the general efficiency of the various measures to be decided upon, if there were representatives from each of these Presidencies in the Council. I do not know that it would be advisable to make any alteration in the present practice by which the Governor General of India is nominated Governor of Bengal at the same time; but I think that often the Governor General will speedily discover, as I did, that it is highly conducive to the clue discharge of his public duties to divest himself of the Bengal Governorship, and to leave the duties to be performed by one of his Council. The Governor General, occupied with the control of India in all its departments, no matter what labour he might take upon himself, has not the necessary time to devote to the details of the government of Bengal; such, at least, is my experience. My noble Friend has alluded to the provision of the Act of 1833, by which an Extraordinary Member of Council was appointed. It has always appeared to me that a very great practical improvement might be made with regard to the Extraordinary Member of Council. This officer is always selected from among the gentlemen 571 of the legal profession, and as such the gentleman appointed always considers himself to be sent out to act as the legislator of India; he consequently, from the day of his arrival to the day of his departure, uses all his efforts to alter the law, in order to obtain the reputation of being a great legislator. Now, I must say that the most enlightened British lawyer, suddenly thrown into the midst of Calcutta, is not the man most qualified to devise those laws by which the people of India are to be governed. But by using that provision of 1833 in a different manner, I think that the Government here may give the greatest assistance to the Governor General. I think the addition of a political gentleman to the Council from the grade from which the Under Secretaries of State are generally selected, would be indeed a most valuable assistance to the Governor General and Council. He would be enabled to direct his fresh and English mind to a variety of subjects pressed upon the attention of the Governor General by persons with Indian prejudices; and the presence of a person with high attainments, with whom the Governor General could confidentially consult, would be to my mind the greatest possible relief. I assure your Lordships that there was nothing during my government of India which bore so heavily upon my mind as the fact of my having no other mind to which I could have recourse. I was forced to do everything from my own thought and will, without the opportunity of obtaining any aid whatever in the formation of my opinions. Facts might be, but opinions could rarely be, obtained. This it was which undoubtedly pressed most heavily upon my mind; and there is certainly nothing more calculated to unnerve a man than this constant pressure upon one unassisted mind. Enlarged as the Council would be by the addition of two Members from the Presidencies of Madras and Bombay, I think it would be extremely desirable on that account, if no ton general grounds, that there should be no ambiguity whatever upon the question whether the Governor General was at liberty to overrule the opinion of his Council. By some strained interpretation of the law, the Governor General may, I believe, now overrule the decision of his Council; but that is a matter which ought not any longer to be left in doubt. The Governor General should be at liberty upon all occasions to exercise that power, should he deem it advisable; for, after all, the Governor General 572 alone is responsible for the measures which are adopted. There is also another matter upon which a question has been raised, and which ought to be settled and put an end to—namely, whether it is in the power of the Governor General to leave his Council and proceed into the interior without the consent of his Council, and while absent to exercise all the powers which in such circumstances the Governor General possessed before the Act of 1833. Under the Act of 1833 it has been done by a Resolution of the Council. There is some doubt upon the point. For my own part, I am of opinion that the Governor General may leave his Council and go into the provinces, and exercise the same authority there as was used by Lord Wellesley and others, previous to the Act of 1833; but I do not think that a matter of such extreme importance should be left under question and subject to dispute. Perhaps it may be advisable to make a few observations with respect to a question which has been much agitated in India, and which has been discussed at home, namely, the change in the seat of Government. I recollect that some conversation took place upon the same subject in 1829 and in 1830. It became my duty then to consider whether any change should be introduced, and I recollect perfectly well communicating with the noble Duke (the Duke of Wellington), then at the head of the Government, upon the subject, and I considered the reasoning of the noble Duke in favour of continuing the seat of Government where it was unanswerable. I have been asked, "Could not the Government be conducted from Simlah?" My answer was, "Yes, as the Government of Rome was conducted from Capri, and with the same results." My Lords, I trust that your Lordships will now permit me to revert to a subject touched upon by my noble Friend (the Earl of Derby). It is a most important one, namely, the constitution of the Court of Directors, and the constitution of the Court of Proprietors. The number of proprietors who have votes in the Court is 1,800, and each represents 1,000l. stock: they represent nothing else; they have no other connexion with India, and have no more to do with it than the proprietors of Bank or any other stock. My noble Friend adverted to the number of ladies who were proprietors. Now, I have taken some trouble to examine into these matters, and I have ascertained, by a reference to the East India Directory, that out of the whole number 573 of 1,800, there are 385 who have the letters "W." or "S." appended to their names, meaning, of course, "widows" or "spinsters." I could not but remark also the number of gentlemen of the Jewish persuasion who are proprietors, some of whom, having purchased stock to a considerable extent, have four votes each. I have also endeavoured to find the proportion of persons really connected with India who are proprietors, and I feel satisfied that if I were to rate them at 300, or one-sixth of the whole number, I should overrate them. Yet this is the proprietary to which is intrusted the election of the Directors who are to govern India. Let your Lordships consider the composition of this proprietary, and how the influence of certain families and certain firms predominates; and your Lordships will see that the union of these families and firms can practically decide the election of the person desirous to be a Director. The constituency is so numerous and so scattered that no person, no matter what his services, desiring to become a Director, can obtain a seat in the Direction without going through the most elaborate and the most painful personal canvass: he must solicit for seven or eight years before he can be elected, and must undergo one or two or more defeats. I remember, upon one occasion, remonstrating with a friend of mine who had already suffered two defeats, and asking him what madness could induce him to go on? The answer which I received contained the whole secret of these transactions. "My friends," said he, "who have lent me their interest, and have been supporting me so long, expect me to go on, in order that they may reap the reward of their long adherence to me, and I should not be acting fairly by them if I did not go on." In that answer your Lordships may see what is the working of the system. And what is the result? I wish I could think it was that which has been painted by my noble Friend. My noble Friend stated that twenty-one out of the thirty Directors have been distinguished in the Indian service. Now, I have been acquainted with the affairs of India since 1828. My eye has never been off the Indian service; I have given all matters connected with India the deepest and the most watchful attention; I have marked the names and persons engaged in that service more probably than any other person; and I must say that there are but four gentlemen out of the thirty who have 574 any Indian reputation whatsoever. I do not mean to say that there are not men of eminent ability upon the Direction—men who having been many years on the Court have become, from long experience, very fit persons to have upon the Direction; but not one of them was fit when he was first appointed; and whatever their practical knowledge may be, their opinion carries no weight with it in India. Of India they knew nothing, and the Board of Control can have no confidence in the advice they tender, and the result is that resolutions are often adopted which would never have been dreamt of if the Court of Directors were composed of persons really cognisant of the affairs of India. Now, I venture to propose to your Lordships that you should consider whether it might not he expedient very materially to extend and improve the constituency by which those are to be elected who are to advise the Board of Control. I would propose an extension and an improvement of the constituency, for the only reason for which it ought to be proposed—for the improvement of the representative. First, however, I must say—indeed, it has been admitted by my noble Friend—that the Court of Directors of the East India Company—a commercial company in a state of suspended animation—has no necessary connexion with the Government of India. I would willingly leave to the present proprietors of East India stock the election of the Directors of the East India Company, who will have the management of their funds, and the payment of the interest upon their stock. I would take every necessary precaution for the due transmission to England of the necessary funds to pay the interest on the stock and bonds; but the payment of those dividends may as well be made at the Bank, as the payment of the Three per Cents. I, however, think that it would be advisable and expedient that there should be some body of men of Indian experience interposed between the Government of India and the Government of England; and inasmuch as the proprietors have purchased their stock in the hope of some advantage in the shape of patronage, I would not deprive them of the power of voting in the election of those persons to be substituted for the Court of Directors as the Council for the Government of India. What I should propose is this: In addition to the proprietors of East India stock, all officers, civil or military, who have served either in the Queen's or the native 575 army, the Indian navy, or as Judges of the Supreme Court of Law, or in the civil service of India, for the period of ten years, should have a vote in the election of those persons who are to assist in the government of India. I propose giving to this body of persons the designation of the Indian Council, and to leave the relations between this Indian Council and its President, to be nominated by the Crown, as they now are between the Court of Directors and the Board of Control. The persons so elected would be elected by an enlarged constituency, and the addition to the constituency, I calculate, would be equal to the whole number of the present electors. I consider that the number of retired officers and persons in England entitled to a vote, would, by this means, render the constituency just double in amount to what it is at present. Would it not be a great practical improvement to give to the Court a thoroughly Indian character, and by so extending the constituency as to render impossible the exercise of any influence arising from any combination of firms and families, to enable those persons cognisant of the wants and requirements of India, conversant with the people, and acquainted with their character, to give the benefit of their experience to those who were conducting the government of that empire—to enable them to give the benefit of that counsel, not at the end of seven or eight years' harassing canvass, but when they had returned fresh from the country, with all their faculties unimpaired, and in the full vigour of their health? Another alteration which I would further propose is, that the number of Members of the Council of India should not be twenty-four, but should be reduced to twelve; not that I mean to say that no Council consisting of twenty-four persons can by possibility transact business, or that no body of men exceeding twelve can with convenience transact business of a highly important, confidential, and political character: but I look in this alteration for that which I think should be the foundation of all our improvements—an improvement in the administration of patronage. If the patronage were divided among twelve individuals instead of being distributed among twenty-four, what would be the consequence? Your Lordships may recollect what was said by Lord Bacon, that "charity can hardly water the ground where it must first fill a pool." It is the same with patronage. In this case there 576 must be filled, not one pool only, but thirty pools, before there, could be an overflow of patronage to be distributed among those who are deserving of it for the services they have rendered. Some of those pools are very large indeed. I recollect looking over a list of persons on whom patronage has been bestowed, and I saw the names of fourteen gentlemen who all rejoiced in the same surname—one somewhat peculiar, and which was exactly the same name as that of one of the Directors; and I have not the slightest doubt that every one of them is a member of the same family. These fourteen persons of the one family had received the charity which would otherwise have watered the ground. It is not only that those persons who are entitled to have this patronage exercised in their favour do not obtain it; but by the present system on which it is dispensed, the relations of the thirty Directors are scattered over the whole face of India, which most materially interferes with the due exercise of authority there. It is to enable those twelve persons, with this much larger amount of patronage, to distribute it among those who deserve it, that, among other reasons, I propose the reduction of the number of the Court of Directors. I have sometimes read in the newspapers accounts of the extraordinary liberality with which Mr. This or Mr. That had conferred a cadetship in his patronage upon the son of this or that deserving officer. This instance of a proper exercise of patronage is paraded so ostentatiously as to lead to the inference that it is an exception to the usual course, and not the rule. Now, I have seen a great deal of deserving officers, and have often heard their complaints, and the expression of their utter hopelessness of obtaining the least favour from the Directors for the benefit of their families. I know how they have knocked at every door in succession, and got a refusal from all. I have known them leave India in a most desponding state of mind, because no provision had been made for their children. I recollect a most striking case. It is that of an officer who most ably distinguished himself in General Sir George Pollock's army. He was an officer on whom I felt it my duty, as the Governor General of India, to confer every honour and reward in my power. I recollect that officer coming to me and saying, "I cannot get a cadetship for my only son; all my desire is to get him into the service; I have made applications to the 577 Directors, but every one of them has been in vain; they are all so deeply engaged that they cannot assist me, and my son will now soon be of that age in which he will hardly be able to get a commission in the Royal Army." Such was the case of this meritorious officer, I felt it my duty to place the case of this young man before my noble Friend the noble Duke; and thus the case of the son of one of the most deserving officers in the Company's service is at present under the consideration of the noble Duke, simply for the purpose of being permitted to purchase a commission in Her Majesty's service, he having been unable to obtain an appointment from any of the Directors of the East India Company! What were the feelings of the gallant father when he saw the gate of honourable preferment closed against his son? His desire was to send his son to the scene in which he himself had acted so long and so meritorious a part; but this he was debarred from doing by the present system of the distribution of patronage. I trust that the alteration which I propose would obviate that evil. Again, I would in some degree diminish the extent of the patronage. I see no reason whatever why a proportion of the cadetships, and a proportion of the writerships, should not be saleable, like commissions in Her Majesty's Army, at a fixed price. I cannot understand why a practice should exist by which the whole of the aristocracy of England, almost with-out exception—I do not mean your Lordships only, but all persons of the highest rank and fortune in the country, who do not happen to be acquainted with a Director of the East India Company—that they and their sons should for ever be excluded from the most distinguished service to which any young man can aspire to belong. It seems to me to be a public wrong, and calculated to produce great public mischief. But, happen what may, I think it most desirable that at least one-fourth of the cadetships and writerships should be disposed of by sale at a fixed sum; and whilst upon this point I must not omit to say, that I think it not only highly expedient, but absolutely necessary, that the Governor General should have the power, on assigning his reasons, of taking officers from the military service and placing them in the civil service of the Company. According to the present system, for the purpose of securing offices to the relatives and friends of the Directors, this is not permitted. The reason why I think this would be an 578 advisable course is this. The total number of all the civil servants in India is about 800. Those gentlemen are generally the immediate relations and friends of the Directors of the East India Company. They go to India to rise in succession, and at last to exercise the highest functions, whatever their fitness, in the government of an empire containing, as my noble Friend has stated, 150,000,000 of people. It is contrary to reason that these 800 young men so selected should be capable of executing those important duties. I hold with Lord William Bentinck, who said that 800 Angels could not perform the functions of Government in India under such circumstances. It is preposterous. But if the Governor General had the power of selecting officers from the Army to become civil servants, he would be able to avail himself not only of the services of those 800 persons, but of the services of more than 5,000 gentlemen, every one of whom would be competent to perform the duties required of him by the Government, he having been selected for his fitness for such an office. Your Lordships will no doubt remember that, in point of fact, the best administrators of government in India have been military men who have risen in that country by means of having had intrusted to them the administration of conquered or ceded territories. I do not agree with those who think that a portion of the cadetships and writerships should be offered as a reward to the most distinguished scholars in the schools and colleges belonging to the Company. I say, on this ground, that the knowledge acquired from books is of no use in India. The giving of those rewards to boys in the different schools might be of great use to the schools, but it would be of great disservice to India. If you had to select a boy to lead your troops under difficulties, would you take the best scholar, the most solitary bookworm in the school, or would you not rather choose the boy who is the most expert at all manly exercises, who is most remarkable for his influence over his schoolfellows, and who knows best how to manage them? There is nothing, I must repeat it, which can be learned from books that can qualify a man for a situation in India. That which is required in India, besides a knowledge of languages, is an untiring industry and an aptitude for public business, which few merely literary men are practically found to possess; but, above 579 all, what is required is that which cannot be gathered from books—energy, decision of character, and, above all, moral courage, firmness in the face of the public, and a determination, happen what may, to do his duty at once to the country of his birth, and also to the country of his adoption. Those are the qualities we want in India; but they are not to be met with merely among those who most distinguish themselves at school. I confess I feel a very deep interest in the question now before your Lordships. I have made India the subject of my earliest thoughts, and that now for 24 years. I may, indeed, say that my whole public life has practically been devoted to India. My Lords, I must tell your Lordships again, that India has arrived at a most critical period of its history—at one of those periods in the history of a State in which it is absolutely necessary carefully to look back and carefully to look forward; to consider what were those measures and that policy which had assisted, or at least had not impeded, her progress, and to devise such as are likely to be equally efficacious for the purpose of preventing her fall. I feel satisfied that it is wholly on the spirit in which the Government of India is conducted, on the temper in which its power is administered, on the consideration with which you treat, not the Native Army only, but the whole of the native population—that it is on your perseverance in and adherence to those principles, and on your attention to the religion, and the prejudices, and the social habits of the people, by which hitherto your Government in India has been permitted to exist, and that we have conducted it to so prosperous an elevation—that it is on these principles and this conduct alone that that perilous empire can be preserved. A perilous empire, it was called by Lord Wellesley at a very early period of his acquaintance with India; much more perilous is it now. It is not one which has its roots in the affections of the people. It has not its roots in the perfection of its institutions. It exhibits nothing to the people which they can understand, or admire, or love. I was made deeply sensible of this, even under the most favourable circumstances in which that Government could be presented to the natives of India. I do, therefore, entreat my noble Friend, and I entreat your Lordships and the Parliament, when considering what should be done in this great emergency, and what constitution should be given to India for the pur- 580 pose of forming it, if we can, into an integral part of the British empire (for I cannot bear to consider it possible that England should ever be separated from that country; it is not yet separated, and never can be, if the same ability be used for preserving it as was used for obtaining it)——but I entreat your Lordships, when considering this great question, not to allow the mere consideration of convenience in carrying the measure through Parliament, or any consideration of matters which ought to be below the notice of high minded statesmen, dealing with the future happiness of a great people—I entreat you not to allow any considerations or feelings of that kind to prevent you from doing that which is just by the people of India, that which is just by the people of England, and that which may make our name memorable for ever in India, and establish our empire in the gratitude and affections of the people of that country for real blessings conferred.
§ On Question, agreed to: The Lords following were named of the Committee:—Ld. Privy Seal, M. Tweedale, M. Lansdowne, M. Normandy, E. Graham, B. Derby, E. Carlisle, E. Albemarle, E. De Le Warr, E. Mansfield, E. Powis, E. Grey, E. Harrowby, E. Stradbroke, E. Ellenborough, V. Canning, V. Hardinge, V. Gough, L. Bp. Oxford, L. Elphinstone, L. Colville of Culross, L. Sundridge, L. Wodehouse, L. Mont Eagle, L. Colchester, L. Ashburton, L. Glenelg, L. Stanley of Alderley, L. Monteagle of Brandon, L. Broughton.