HL Deb 06 July 1857 vol 146 cc951-4

, in rising to move for Returns relative to the Civil Service in India, said, that as he believed there was no objection to their production, and as there must before long be a general inquiry into the administration of the Indian Government, he would not detain their Lordships at any length. When the present disturbances were put down—and he had no doubt they would be quelled at much less cost and with much less difficulty than some persons supposed, Parliament must inquire into the causes of the state of things which recent events had proved to exist in the Indian army. To suppose that this was a mere question of greased cartridges was absurd. The Returns which he desired would be of great service in the prosecution of these investigations, and would show what was the amount of administrative force at the disposal of the Indian Government. At present he spoke upon imperfect information, but it appeared to him that they were expecting the present Governor General to administer the affairs of India with the same number of civil servants that were at the disposal of the Indian Government in 1846, when our territory was much smaller in extent. To show their Lordships that he had not adopted that opinion without due authority, he should quote a passage from the Minute of Lord Dalhousie, which had been laid upon the table of their Lordships' House in the course of the last year. He learned from the 12th paragraph of that Minute that "in eight years four Indian kingdoms had passed under the sceptre of Her Majesty, and that various chieftainships and smaller districts had been brought under her sway." Among the smaller acquisitions the Governor General enumerated Khyrpore, Ungool, Sikkim, some Nepaulese sirdars, Mundote, the Nawab Nazim of Bengal, and the States of Central India. Then there were, besides these, the Punjab, Rangoon, Nagpore, Sattara, Hyderabad, and Oude; the population thus brought under the dominion of this country amounting to nearly 11,000,000 of souls, while the extent of territory thus acquired amounted to 207,637 square miles. It also appeared, from a Return which had been laid upon the table of their Lordships' House that the amount of revenue derived from those recent additions to our territory in India was £4,330,000 per annum. That in Europe would be a large and important country by itself. Notwithstanding that large increase, however, in the extent of our territory, he could not ascertain that any corresponding addition had been made to our civil service in India. The number of the covenanted civil servants in that country were, he found, in 1846, 431, while in 1856 it was not more than 432. It was quite clear, therefore, that we were imposing upon the Governor General of India the task of ruling an empire of considerably-enlarged proportions with precisely the same staff as had been appointed in 1846 to administer the affairs of a much smaller territory. How long, he would ask, were we to continue that policy? Was our Indian Government to be the only Government in the world which was not to possess that elastic character by which the number of the public servants was adapted to the requirements of the State? What was the resource which, under those circumstances, was open to the Governor General when a demand for an increase in the number of the civil servants arose? Why, in the case in which an office of high importance was to be filled, he was debarred from going beyond the covenanted service, and from calling to his aid any member of the uncovenanted civil service, however qualified such person might be. What was the consequence? He was obliged to resort to the military department, and to take officers away from the duties of their profession to fill civil employments. Thus, when an increase in the number of civil servants in India became imperative, a diminution of the military force was the invariable result. He had heard it stated, that the number of officers who were under those circumstances taken away from their regiments, amounted to no less than 25 per cent. That such a state of things existed he attributed to the fault of no individual; he deemed it to be the result of the system—and he trusted the Government would, by agreeing to the production of the Returns for which he rose to move, place their Lordships and the country in a position to obtain accurate information upon a subject so important to the efficient administration of the affairs of our Indian empire. The noble Marquess concluded by moving that there be laid before the House a Return of the Number of Officers belonging to and employed in the Civil Service of the East India Company, distinguishing those in the Covenanted from those in the Uncovenanted Service, and in receipt of not less than £400 a year Salary, on the 1st of January, 1846, and a similar return for the 1st of January, 1856; And, also, Return of the Number of Military Officers employed In Diplomatic, Political, or other Civil Services, on the 1st of January, 1846, and a similar Return for the 1st of January, 1856.


rose, to express a hope that their Lordships would have the assurance of the Government that a full and searching inquiry into the condition of India in all its branches would be instituted. If such an inquiry took place, it would, he thought, be found necessary to make very material changes in the policy which had hitherto been adopted towards that country, and especially in one portion of that policy—he alluded to that by which the annexation of the territories of princes whose dominions bordered upon our own was brought about. In the adoption of that system, indeed, might be found one of the causes which had led to the mutinies which had lately taken place. In support of that reform he might state, that about fifteen months since he had had along conversation with an intelligent Mahomedan Native of India in reference to the annexation of Oude, and the gentleman in question upon that occasion observed to him, "If you annex Oude, you will find that disaffection will break out among the Native troops, and for this reason—they are all drawn from the agricultural, but not from the peasant class. They are what you would call in this country yeomen, or small landlords. They are of the highest caste, being either Rajpoots or Brahmins, and are of a most inflammable character. They number about 50,000, and will necessarily be deprived of many of their privileges by the annexation of their territory." Such was the opinion of the gentleman to whom he had referred; and he might add, that it had also been pointed out to him that the new land revenue system which the Government had introduced into the North-Western Provinces of India, and which was made to follow the annexation of this new territory, was regarded by the Natives as a great hardship, inasmuch as under its operation every man's property was surveyed, and each of those 50,000 sepoys would thus be compelled to make out his title to the land in his possession. He understood that Her Majesty's Ministers might rely upon the fact that 140 petitions had already emanated from the sepoys of Oude in reference to that subject, and he therefore trusted that the Government would institute the most minute inquiries into the System to which he had adverted. He had only that morning received a newspaper from India, called the Rising Sun, dated May 20, which contained a quotation from another journal, complaining of the irritating nature of the survey of the lands in that country.

Motion agreed to.