HL Deb 12 August 1853 vol 129 cc1673-5

Order of the Day for the Third Reading read.

Moved—"That the Bill be now read 3a."

On Question, agreed to; Bill read 3a, accordingly, with the Amendments.

Further Amendments made.


said, that in pursuance of the notice that he had given, he rose for the purpose of proposing the three clauses which had been presented, and were in the hands of their Lordships. He did so for the purpose of recording his own opinion, and having his proposition entered on their Lordships' journals, rather than with any intention of occupying their time, or of dividing the House. The latter course, in respect to these three clauses, would be inexpedient as well as unnecessary, after the reply made to him on a former night by the President of the Council (Earl Granville). In relation to the most important of these clauses—that which declared and enacted that the Natives of India should hereafter be considered as eligible by law to all offices whatever, as well in the covenanted as in the uncovenanted service—he understood his noble Friend to have fully assented to the principle for which he then contended; but to have objected to the clause only as being unnecessary, the exclusion having arisen solely from the right of nomination existing heretofore, but now modified by the present Bill. He admitted the force of this argument, and thanked his noble Friend for the admission; but recollecting what had been the conduct of the Home Government in relation to the Act of 1833, and how widely they had departed from the intention of its framers, he would have wished to have inserted a clause making such a course hereafter impossible. By another clause, he sought to guard against a power which had been used by the Home Government in restraining the functions of the Legislature of India, in cases where no such limitations were prescribed or contemplated in the Charter Act. This was stated in evidence to have been done contrary to law. Such a power exercised from home, prohibiting the Legislative Council from entertaining subjects not included within the list of subjects specifically reserved in Section 43 of the Charter of 1833, he held to be wholly without excuse and without defence. After the evidence given, however, he did not feel that there was much risk that this would be repeated by the Court, or permitted by the India Board. The 3rd Clause proposed to place the East India Company, in one important respect, on the same footing with all the chartered and Crown colonies. From each of these colonies, annual statistical returns were required to be made, in the form commonly called the Colonial Blue Book. These returns were corroborated by the Secretary of State and presented to Parliament. As it was now intended to leave the question of India open to the annual review and legislative authority of Parliament; and as it was not even suggested that the present Bill did more than continue, with certain modifications, the Government of India; and as the great questions of finance, commerce, agriculture, public works, and the administration of justice, had not even been touched upon by Parliament—his object was to secure to Parliament from time to time the fullest information that could be required to guide their future judgment. This, he was aware, could be done without any statistical authority, by direction of the Board of Control and the Directors, in whose hands he was willing to leave it after recording his own opinion.

Clause moved—To insert after Section 25, the following, namely— It shall not be lawful for the said Court of Directors to forbid or prohibit the Legislative Council of India appointed under this Act from making any Law or Regulation, or repealing or amending any Laws or Regulations, as authorised by the said recited Act of the Third and Fourth of William the Fourth, Chapter Eighty-five, Section Forty-three, save and except where such Laws or Regulations or proposed Laws and Regulations shall come within the Exceptions in such recited Act contained, to which excepted Cases the legislative Authority of the Governor General and Council of India is not extended by Law.

Moved—To insert after Section 37, the following, namely— Whereas it is provided by the said herein-before recited Act of the Third and Fourth Year of the Reign of King William the Fourth, Chapter Eighty-five, Section Eighty-seven, 'that no Native of the said Territories nor any natural-born Subject of His Majesty resident therein shall, by reason of his Religion, Place of Birth, Descent, Colour, or any of them, be disabled from holding any Place, Office, or Employment under the said Company:' And whereas it is expedient to give further Security in this respect to remove any Doubts in regard to such Enactment as aforesaid, as well as to carry into full effect the several Provisions of this Act in respect to Admissions to the College at Haileybury, and to the Appointments of Assistant Surgeons to the Company's Forces: Be it enacted and declared, That no Distinction between the covenanted or uncovenanted Service of the said Company shall hereafter disable or be deemed or construed to disable any natural-born Subject of Her Majesty, by reason only of Religion, Place of Birth, Descent, Colour, or any of them, from holding any Place, Office, or Employment under the said Company, whether such Place, Office, or Employment shall be in the covenanted or the uncovenanted Service of the said Company.

Moved—To insert the following, namely— For the Purpose of furnishing to Parliament, from Year to Year, accurate Accounts of the State and Progress of the Possessions of the Crown in India, and thus supplying Information of the same Description required in relation to the European and Colonial Dominions of Her Majesty, be it enacted, That there shall be made up for every Year Statements and Reports, in such Form as the Board of Commissioners shall prescribe, to the Court of Directors, showing the Territory, its Area and Population, from the best ascertained Sources; the Income and Expenditure; the Civil Service, distinguishing the Native from the European; Trade and Navigation, Numbers of each employed, and Salaries; Education, including Number of Colleges, Schools, Number of Scholars, and Expenditure; Taxation, distinguishing Land, Opium, and Salt Tax; Judicial Returns, showing the Administration of Justice, Civil and Criminal; Agricultural Productions, distinguishing Sugars, Cotton, and Indigo; Legislative Proceedings, showing the Titles of the several Bills, Laws, or Regulations submitted to the Legislative Council of India, and showing how the same have been disposed of; Public Works, whether Roads, Railways, Canals, Tanks, or Wells; together with such other Information as, in the Judgment of the said Board of Commissioners and Court of Directors, it may be thought expedient to furnish; and that the said Reports, Accounts, and Statements be laid before both Houses of Parliament on or before the First Week in the Month of May in every Year.

Amendments negatived; then it was woved—"That the Bill do pass;" objected to; and, on Question, agreed to.

Bill passed, and sent to the Commons.

House adjourned to Monday next.

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