HL Deb 15 July 1858 vol 151 cc1447-81

Order of the day for the Second Reading read.


; My Lords, in rising to move the second reading of this Bill, I cannot but express the deep regret which I feel that this task should have devolved upon me rather than upon say noble Friend and late colleague (the Earl of Ellen-borough), whose intimate knowledge of every thing connected with Indian affairs would have enabled him to speak with a weight and authority which certainly I cannot command. But my noble Friend, unfortunately, is no longer a Member of Her Majesty's Government, and it therefore becomes my duty to state to your Lordships, as shortly and as clearly as I can, the main principles and provisions of the Bill to which I ask you to give a second reading this evening. Without attempting in the slightest degree to derogate from the importance of the measure, I cannot conceal from myself that a far greater degree of interest and attention has been attracted to it than would perhaps have been called forth by its intrinsic importance, in consequence of the political circumstances which accompanied its introduction and its progress through the other House of Parliament. This additional advantage, however, has accrued from that circumstance—that the Bill has received a greater degree of care and of patient investigation in the other House than possibly it might otherwise have obtained.

My Lords, I must, in the first place, observe that I think the title of the Bill is open to the objection of being somewhat infelicitous. It is not, as it purports to be, a Bill for the better government of India. It is a Bill which will, I hope, tend to the better government of India; but the government of India must, as cannot be too often repeated, be on the whole carried on in India, and this Bill does not pretend to deal with all those complicated and difficult questions which will no doubt, within the next few years, frequently engage the anxious consideration of Parliament and of the country. It does not pretend to deal with the revenue, with the finance, with the land regulations, with the condition of the Natives, and the possibility of extending their admission into the public service after this unhappy revolt shall have been suppressed. It does not profess to deal with any of these grave and extensive questions; and although such questions will no doubt engage the attention of Parliament, at future periods, and although Parliament will doubtless feel it to be both its right and its duty to lay down broad principles of action with regard to most of them, I cannot help expressing my opinion, that with regard to the details of the government of India, the less interference there is on the part of Parliament the better prospect will there be of securing the happiness and contentment of the people of India. I need not remind your Lordships that at the commencement of the present Session Her Majesty's Government announced that it was their intention to legislate during that Session with respect to the affairs of India. Without entering into the merits of the particular legislation which they proposed, I must remark that I was certainly of opinion at the time—and that opinion was shared by many—that although it might be necessary within a very short time to deal with this question, the period when the Government were engaged in suppressing a serious revolt was not the most convenient one for the consideration of a measure affecting the government of the country. But that opinion was overruled by a large majority in the other House; for, when a right hon. Friend of mine (Mr. Disraeli) thought it his duty to take the somewhat unusual course of moving that leave should not be given to introduce the Bill, on the express ground that it was not the time for legislation—thus especially preventing his motives from being misconstrued, and his opposition from being regarded as directed against any of the provisions of the measure—a majority of, I believe, about two to one, in a tolerably full House, decided that it was expedient and desirable that a Bill for the regulation of the Home Government of India should be introduced in the course of the present Session; and you will observe that this Bill is not, in fact, for the "government of India," but for the improvement of the machinery by which, in this country, Indian government may be superintended and controlled. In consequence of that decision the noble Viscount, lately at the head of Her Majesty's Government, introduced a measure to carry into effect the views of himself and his colleagues. Very shortly after that, circumstances occurred which caused the resignation of the noble Viscount, and a consequent change of Government. In several of the provisions of the Bill of the late Government—indeed, in most of them—I, and those with whom I have the honour to act, cordially concurred; but there were at the same time provisions of no minor importance on which we held entirely opposite opinions. It then became a question with us whether we should take the course of proceeding with the Bill of the noble Viscount, and propose in Committee such Amendments as we might think necessary. But it was the opinion of Her Majesty's servants—and, I think, it was a correct opinion—that a measure of such vast importance as one regulating the machinery for superintending the government of India, ought to be conducted and carried through, not by any private Member, but on the responsibility of the Government as a whole. The consequence of that was, that under the auspices of my noble Friend (the Earl of Ellenborough) a Bill was introduced and laid upon the table shortly before the Easter recess. In the course of the observations which I shall have to make it may be my duty to contrast some of the provisions of that Bill and of the Bill now before your Lordships with those of the measure introduced by the late Government; but at present I shall only say that the course which we pursued—although I think it was the necessary and proper course—had this inevitable consequence:—that there being, as it were, two rival Bills on the table of the House of Commons, there might, in the then state of political excitement, occur this unfortunate result, that the House would be called upon to decide between those Bills, not with regard to their respective merits, but with regard to the persons and parties by whom they were introduced; and that, consequently, the affairs of India, which required the most careful and dispassionate consideration of Parliament, might be made—what I was most anxious to avoid—a battle-field for contending political parties. In those circumstances the noble Lord the Member for London (Lord John Russell) made a suggestion, which was, I think, as wise and patriotic as it was certainly just and conciliatory, and it tended to relieve Parliament from what might have been a very serious embarrassment. Lord J. Russell suggested—and the Government at once adopted the suggestion; indeed, to a certain extent it had already been anticipated by us—that, instead of proceeding to match, as it were, one Bill as a whole against the other, we should enable the House to consider one by one in Committee Resolutions, the principles of which were involved in each, and out of those Resolutions to frame a measure which might receive the sanction of the Legislature. The Government, therefore, acting on that suggestion, prepared a series of Resolutions, which were submitted seriatim to the consideration of the House of Commons; and it is only doing that House the barest justice to say, that during the whole of my experience in Parliament I have never known a question which has been treated by that House with more patience, with more deliberate attention, with greater temper, and with more entire absence on all sides of party feeling or acrimonious discussion. The result of that course of proceeding is, that there has been sent up to your Lordships' House a measure—not carried by a bare majority, not depending for its success upon this or upon that political party, but a measure to a great extent the work of the House of Commons itself, and to which all parties concurred in giving their tribute of praise—the noble Viscount at the head of the late Government uniting with the noble Lord the Member for the City of London in according to the third reading, not his hesitating but his cordial approval, and expressing his wishes for its success before your Lordships' House. My Lords, I now proceed very shortly to lay before your Lordships the principles and chief provisions of this Bill. The noble Earl who rose immediately before me (the Earl of Shaftesbury) has presented a petition, in the prayer of which he does not concur, from the East India Company, praying to be heard by counsel against the preamble and various clauses of the Bill. I wish to speak with every respect of the East India Company, and I am bound to say, that during the long period which they have administered the affairs of India, they have exhibited a degree of temper, an impartiality, and a sense of the great and important functions which they had to discharge, which could not be surpassed; but at the same time, I cannot admit that the East India Company have upon a question of this kind any claim to be heard by counsel before your Lordships. The East India Company have been, to the present moment, trustees for the Crown; and though from various periods—from 1813 to 1833, and from 1833 to 1853—that trust, under special limitations, has been renewed for periods of twenty years, yet in 1853 Parliament took a different course and confided the same trust to them, simply during the pleasure of Parliament. Clearly, then, from that moment the East India Company were tenants at will, whom you were perfectly free to dispossess whenever Parliament might think that the time had come to deprive them of their functions and transfer them directly to the Crown itself. My noble Friend whom I see opposite (Lord Monteagle) has presented another petition with regard to the possible diminution of the security which the East India Proprietors may have under this Bill, with respect to the money they have invested in India stock, and with respect to the payment of the dividends which depend upon the revenues of India. All I can say upon this subject is, that the clauses in this Bill which provide for that security, are the same as were introduced into the Bill of the late Government, upon the advice, I presume, of the hon. and learned Gentleman who has now given an opinion that they are not sufficient for the purpose. If it can be shown, however, that there is the slightest diminution of the security of the stockholders, I shall be ready to consider any proposition that can be made for increasing that security; and I believe that the only questions that can be raised relate, first, to the receipt of the dividend; secondly, to the Bank of England advancing sufficient to meet the deficiencies in the Indian remittances; and, thirdly, the deferring the claim for the payment of the principal. But if there is a doubt on that point we shall be very glad to receive any suggestions to improve the security. My Lords, having been led into this digression, I shall now proceed to speak of the measure itself. When it was determined that a change should take place in the Home Government of India, there was one principle which could not but meet with uniform and unanimous assent—namely, that it was absolutely indispensable that a transfer of the nominal as well as the real authority should be made directly from the Company to the Crown, and that the affairs of India should thenceforth be conducted in the name of the Crown. My noble Friend (the Earl of Ellenborough) who is not desirous of any very extensive change, laid the greatest stress on the necessity of that transfer, and dwelt upon the beneficial effects which it was likely to produce in India. Now, as before intimated, I consider that the government of the East India Company, both here and in India, has been marked by singular prudence and ability, and I should be very sorry if this Bill was considered—what it was represented to be at a meeting held at the India House yesterday a Bill of Pains and Penalties against the Directors. It is nothing of the sort. I believe no men could have conducted business better under the system which they found in operation than the Directors of the East India Company have done. But the complaints against the system itself, the encumbrances connected with its machinery, the delay which unavoidably attended the most important transactions, make it quite obvious that in any remodelling which may take place, India must be put on the same footing as the other possessions of the Crown, and be administered by a Minister responsible to Parliament. I may add that, in point of fact, the transfer of authority to the Crown is more nominal than real, because, although the Court of Directors have been in a position to exercise certain powers of obstruction and delay, I believe that, with the single exception of the power of recalling the Governor General, there was no single act which they were enabled to perform without the assent of the President of the Board of Control. Not only does the President of the Board of Control possess the power of altering or of vetoing the instructions proposed by the Court of Directors, but he has the power, and it has been sometimes exercised, of sending out instructions diaemtrically opposed to those which the Court intended. There is a question whether the Court might not hare interposed delay, and even persisted, until compelled by a mandamus; but in point of fact they have generally been obliged to yield to the suggestions of the President of the Board of Control, We all remember that my noble Friend below me (the Earl of Ellenborough) who has on various occasions been at the head of the Board of Control, told the Committee that when he was in office the government of India was in his hands altogether. Upon the subject, then, of the transfer of the powers of the Court of Directors to a responsible Minister of the Crown, and of carrying on all business both here and in India in the name and by the direct authority of the Crown, there was no difference of opinion between the two parties into which the House of Commons was divided. Nor was there any difference of opinion on this point—that although it was expedient that the business should be conducted by a high Ministerial officer, under whatever denomination he might be known, who should, like the holders of other offices in the Government, be appointed by the Crown and responsible to Parliament, yet, inasmuch as it is impossible to conceive that any person so appointed would have sufficient knowledge and experience to discharge duties so various and so complicated as those connected with the administration of all the different provinces of India, it was necessary for the good government of India, to associate with the Minister a Council more or less numerous by whom he might be assisted and advised, It was with regard to the constitution of that Council that there existed the main difference of opinion between Her Majesty's late Government and Her Majesty's present Government. Her Majesty's late Government proposed that the Council should consist of eight members, who should each hold office for six years, all nominated by the Minister of the Crown, and two of whom should retire from office each alternate year. Now, the present Government was of opinion that, although in that manner the President of the Board of Control might surround himself with many able and experienced advisers, due provision was not made for securing to the Council that character of independence which was absolutely essential to the proper discharge of its functions. It was quite clear that when one-third of the members of the Board had been only recently appointed by the actual President of the Board, and another third would soon vacate their offices, and were hoping, perhaps, to be re-appointed by the same Minister, there would be great temptation presented to the Council to defer, more than they ought to do, to that Minister, and to refrain from freely expressing their opinions. It was, moreover, the opinion of the members of the present Government that a Council of eight members would not be sufficiently numerous, having regard to the great extent of the duties which would have to be performed, and we thought that eighteen—the present number of the Directors—were not more than were required by the business of India. The Council of India we thought ought not to be—as the Directors may have been before—a screen between the Minister and Parliament, but a body of men well acquainted with the affairs of India, to give the Minister advice, which, on his own responsibility, he might be at liberty either to accept or reject. I have heard it said that, according to the peculiar character of the President of the Board of Control, the Council, as proposed to be constituted, would be either his masters, his advisers, or his puppets. It must, no doubt, depend on the character and the self-reliance of the head of any great Department how far he is influenced or controlled, how far he is guided, by those who filled permanent situations, and to what extent he is the master of his own Department. For my own part, I certainly hope and believe that the Council proposed by the Government under this Bill will be found neither the masters of the Secretary of State nor his puppets, but that they will prove that, which their qualifications prepare them to be, most valuable advisers to the Minister in all matters relating to India. But, to secure the independence of the Council we considered that one portion of it should be, as at present, elected, and the other portion nominated by the Crown. We were also of opinion that both the elective and the nominated portion of the Council should have a longer term of service than was provided for by the Bill of the late Government, and that this would be of great importance as tending to increase their independence. Accordingly, it is proposed in the Bill before the House that the members of the Council, whether elective or nominative, shall hold their offices during good behaviour; there being a proviso that at the expiration of ten years' service, if they are disabled by infirmity, they shall be entitled to retire upon suitable pensions. When we came to consider the elective principle, we found, I must confess, considerable difficulty. My noble Friend (the Earl of Ellenborough) who is not now a Member of the Government, but for whose proposition we are all responsible, laid before Parliament, on behalf of the Cabinet, a very elaborate scheme, a scheme involving considerations which ought, as it appeared to me, to be borne in mind by any Government when dealing with such a subject. My noble Friend proposed so to constitute a Council that it should be a representation of the civil and military services of India—not merely of India, but of the three Presidencies; because the qualifications which enable a man to give very valuable opinions with regard to Bengal may be utterly useless in relation to Madras or Bombay. The only objection which I have heard to the noble Earl's proposition is this—not that it was wrong in itself, but that it was imperative, and would be found to fetter too much the hands of the Crown, who might under it be compelled to choose inefficient men and to pass over the most competent. There was another proposition of the Government which did not meet with seeming great favour; I mean the proposition by which they endeavoured to obtain, what it was very difficult to secure, a representation of the commercial interests connected with India in the Council. We proposed in that Bill to supply that deficiency by giving the appointment of four of the Councillors to the constituencies of the largest towns connected with the trade to India. That proposal was, I believe, a good one in itself; but it did not meet with such an amount of support in Parliament, or in the country, as would justify us in insisting on its adoption. The conclusion at which we then arrived was, that with a view to secure the three great requisities of intelligence, experience, and independence in the Councillors, it was necessary that a portion of their body should be elected, that another portion should be nominated, and that all the parties elected should have served, or should at least have resided, for a considerable period in India, and should, consequently, have possessed opportunities of obtaining a knowledge of the feelings and of the wants of the people of that country; while they were to hold office during the pleasure of the Crown, but should, of course, be removable, like other public servants, on an Address from both Houses of Parliament. But when we came to apply the principle of election we found that we had considerable difficulties to encounter. It could not be argued with hardly more than plausibility that the Court of proprietors, as at present constituted, possessed any such interest in the affairs of India as to entitle them to elect the Councillors; and yet there was no other body besides the Court of Proprietors to whom that duty could be committed. The functions of the Court of Proprietors, as your Lordships are aware, are limited to the mere receipt of the dividends on their stock; and even under the system of Indian Government which has hitherto prevailed, although they could pass Resolutions, they had no means of giving effect to any decisions at which they might arrive. It was proposed that there should be added to the Court of proprietors all those persons who had for a certain period been engaged either in the civil or in the military service of India. But it was found that such a constituency would be very difficult to bring together, that it would be inconveniently large, and that it would in point of fact aggravate those disadvantages of the present system which prevent some of the most competent and most high-minded men from entering on the career necessary to ensure their return as Members of the Court of Directors. Such men will not now go through a canvass for the appointment of Director, and still less would they go through a canvass of a more extensive body for the purpose of being elected members of the Council. Under these circumstances, and after much consideration, Her Majesty's Government determined on adopting an arrangement under which one-half of the Councillors should be elected and one-half should be nominated by the Crown, and under which the elected members should be chosen by the existing Court of Directors, in conformity with a suggestion which had been thrown out by a noble Earl not now present (Earl Grey) at the commencement of the Session. Some arguments were certainly advanced against that scheme, but on the whole it met with no considerable opposition; and I believe it was the best escape which could be devised from the difficulties in which the question was involved. This Council, so constituted, would be entitled to tender its advice to the Secretary of State. And when I say "Secretary of State," I must add that, although the name which may be given to the head of the Indian Government may not be a matter of much importance, we thought that in the formation of such an office it would be more advisable and more in conformity with constitutional practice to give the name of Secretary of State to a high officer upon whom Her Majesty is pleased to devolve the exercise of duties under Her Royal sanction. As regards the Colonies and Foreign Affairs, so as regards India, the same title is given to the presiding officer, and there will be this additional convenience, though not at first contemplated, that either of the Secretaries of State will be able to sign papers and perform duties in the absence of the Secretary of State for India. I must also observe that there are two qualifications of the power which is given by this Bill to the Secretary of State of setting aside the authority and advice of his Council. He has full power of acting in opposition to their advice; but, if he should act in opposition to a majority of the body, he must state and place on record the reasons why he set aside their opinion; and any Councillor whose advice is not adopted may also enter on the records of the office the reasons which induced him to give it. There is also a provision in the Bill which requires that the Secretary of State should call the Council together at periods of not more than one week. The measure, further, contains a provision to the effect that the Secretary may, if he should think fit, issue orders on an emergency without calling the Council together; but he must in that case lay those orders before them at their next meeting. There is another provision, which I think your Lordships will believe to be absolutely necessary for transferring to the Secretary of State that power which was exercised by what was called the "Secret Committee" of the Court of Directors—namely, the power of sending out orders and instructions to India on particular subjects, without previously communicating those orders and instructions to the Council. Now, I do not mean to say that that power has not in certain cases been abused; I do not mean to say that it has not been too extensively employed; but I am sure your Lordships will agree with me that with regard to the two cases to which alone it is properly applicable—namely, the carrying on of war or of diplomatic arrangements with Native States, it is absolutely necessary the Secretary of State should possess the right of preserving entire secrecy even from the members of the Council. There are two occasions on which the Secretary of State may be overruled by the judgment of the majority of the Council, and I think it is only reasonable that those two limitations should be imposed on his powers. The first of those limitations will arise in the case of the election of members of the Council. It is obvious that that election would be a farce if the authority of the Secretary of State were to be paramount in the matter. The only other limitation will be with regard to the expenditure of the revenues of India. With regard to this expenditure we must bear in mind that the effective and bonâ fide control over the Secretary of State by an independent body, such as I hope this Council will be.

There are, I believe, only two other subjects to which I need now direct your Lordships' attention, and I allude to them because I think that, as far as they are concerned, the principle and the object of the Bill have been somewhat misunderstood. One relates to the employment of the Indian army, and the other relates to the admission to the civil service of India. The 55th clause deals with the first of those subjects; and it has been objected to that clause that it appears to interfere with the prerogative of the Crown, inasmuch as it provides that none of Her Majesty's forces maintained out of the revenues of India shall be taken, except in cases of urgent emergency, beyond the frontiers of that country without the previous consent of Parliament. Now, it has been thought—and I confess that the wording of the clause wakes it open to a construction which was not intended by its framers—it has been thought that that would be an interference with the undoubted perogative of the Crown to make war or peace. But your Lordships will recollect that, although there is no prerogative of the Crown more indisputable than that of making war or peace, the constitution has provided an equally indisputable check on the practical exercise of that prerogative by rendering it necessary for the Crown to come to Parliament for the supplies necessary to raise and maintain the troops, without which it would be impossible to carry on a war. But with regard to the troops in India there is, and there can be, no such Parliamentary control; and consequently, if there were no such provision in the Bill as that to which I have referred, it might have been competent—I do not say there is any danger, but the danger might be possible under a Sovereign less constitutional than Her under whom we have the happiness to live—for the Crown to employ the Indian troops in wars wholly and entirely unsanctioned by Parliament, and the whole force of India might be carried to any portion of the world without the interposition of that practical pecuniary check to which I have alluded. In the Bill of the late Government that principle of restricting the power of the Crown was enforced by a clause which provided that Her Majesty should not be enabled to send out of Asia (not out of India) any part of the forces maintained out of the Indian revenues. Now, as far as regards the restriction of the prerogative of the Crown, the principle is precisely the same, whether the provision be that the troops should not be sent beyond the limits of Asia, or that they should not be sent beyond the limits of our Indian possessions; and it would be perfectly competent to Parliament, in handing over to the Crown the government of that vast empire, to make the restriction even greater, and to provide that for the future the Indian forces should be placed on the footing of a militia, and should not be liable to serve beyond their own territory. But while the principle of the exception in the Bill of the late Government was the same as ours, the limitation which they put upon that principle allowed that which is the true and substantial danger in this matter. Within Asia the Crown might carry on a war with Persia, or with China, or even with Russia, with no further exception that the forces should not serve out of Asia, and that might be done without Parliament having any control over the expenditure, or any right to express an opinion on the propriety of the war. Our intention, however, is not to limit the prerogative of the Crown, but to protect the revenues of India; and consequently when we come to that clause I mean to propose in it an Amendment which will, I think, remove all ambiguity upon this point. It will be to the effect that, except for the purpose of preventing or repelling actual invasion of Her Majesty's Indian possessions, or in order to meet some sudden and urgent emergency, the revenues of India shall not, without the consent of Parliament, be applicable to the expense of any military operations carried on beyond India by Her Majesty's forces chargeable on such revenues. That provision will impose a pecuniary check on the prerogative of the Crown in regard to the army of India, such as already exists in the case of all other portions of Her Majesty's forces. The other point to which I wish to advert is the admission to the civil service of India, which is dealt with by the 32nd or 33rd clause of the Bill. As the law at present stands, all persons are admitted to that service. after such examinations as shall from time to time be prescribed, and under such regulations as may be laid down by the Court of Directors and the President of the Board of Control. That power we now propose to transfer to the Secretary of State. But the Bill, as it stands at present, goes further, I think, than the justice of the case warrants; it gives to the principle of competitive examination that which it has never yet received—namely, the sanction of an Act of Parliament binding the hands of the Executive in all cases, and rendering compulsory a strict adherence to the principle, not of examination, but of competitive examination. It is my intention to move the omission from the clause of the words which render it necessary for the Government to admit candidates to the civil service in the order of their proficiency in the competitive examination, leaving the law as it stands with regard to admission to the Indian civil service, subject to such regulations as may be issued by the Secretary of State, with the approval of the Crown, and laid before Parliament.

My Lords,—There is one other most important point—namely, the reconstruction and organization of the future Indian army. That is a question of the most vital importance, and will require the most careful consideration; and Her Majesty has been advised, and will, I believe, act upon the advice, to issue a Commission for the purpose of instituting an inquiry into all the subjects connected with the reorganization of the future forces to be employed in India. This Commission will have to consider the proportion of Europeans to be employed, the mode in which they shall be relieved, the conditions upon which they shall serve, the number of the Native army, and the conditions upon which they shall be engaged, and every other question connected with the future permanent military establishment of India when the revolt shall have been happily put down. In the meantime it will be necessary for Parliament to provide for the maintenance of the present state of things until the result of this Commission shall be known, and until Parliament shall have acted upon its recommendations. The Bill, therefore, provides what may be necessary for the present, leaving to Her Majesty the perfect freedom of making such regulations for the future administration of the army, both as regards the European and Native troops, as she may be advised. The Bill also provides, as far as it refers to individuals and bodies, that they shall have reserved to them all the rights, privileges, and expectations which they were led to form at the time of their admission to the service. It would be the grossest injustice to introduce a similar system at once in both descriptions of the Indian force, and to apply the same principles to those who shall hereafter enter and those who entered the service under different expectations.

I have now stated to your Lordships—I trust not at too great length—the principles of the measure to which I ask your Lordships to assent. The Bill has received the careful deliberation and attention of the House of Commons, and it has been sent up to your Lordships with the universal concurrence of that House. I have perhaps entered at too great length into an explanation of a measure to which no objection will probably be made; but while the labours of the House of Commons render it probable that no very numerous Amendments will be necessary, Her Majesty's Government will be happy to give the fullest and most impartial consideration to any Amendments which may be suggested in the course of the discussion of this Bill.

Moved, that the Bill be now read 2a.


My Lords, I can assure the noble Earl that his speech has not been considered too long. The noble Earl, whom it is impossible ever to listen to without pleasure, has given your Lordships a singulary clear and lucid statement of the history of the legislation of this year with regard to India, and I only regret that the noble Earl did not explain the provisions of this Bill at an earlier period of the Session and in a House still more full than it is at present. This has been partly owing to circumstances for which the Government are not responsible, but partly owing also to the course which the Government have pursued; for it is perfectly clear that that advantage might have been obtained if Her Majesty's Government had thought proper to take up the Bill of their predecessors, introducing at the same time such alterations and Amendments as they might have considered necessary. The noble Earl has stated with perfect accuracy what passed when the late Government introduced their Indian Bill. The noble Earl opposed that measure as inopportune; and when he came into office there were two courses open to him—either to adhere to his original Resolution, or to declare, as He prudently did, that the matter had gone too far,—that the House of Commons had too strongly pronounced upon the necessity of legislation, and that the Government were compelled, in the interest of India itself, to adopt some measure on the subject. Under these circumstances the noble Earl might have adopted the Bill of the late Government with certain Amendments; and I must say that, in my opinion, that would have been the most speedy and most simple mode of dealing with this question. They might gain some little triumph by bringing in a Bill of their own; but for practical purposes, if they had proposed some Amendments upon the Bill of the late Government, they would have arrived at a much speedier conclusion. There could have been the less objection to such a course considering the great similarity which prevails between the two measures. Many of the provisions of this Bill are exactly the same, and a still greater number are substantially the same as those in that of the late Government. The only original matter which was introduced into the Bill of the present Government was so much disapproved of that it has entirely disappeared from the measure. The Government then adopted the suggestion of the noble Lord the Member for London (Lord John Russell), which the noble Earl said they had before had under consideration, and determined to proceed by Resolution. There was much to be said in favour of this course if it had been adopted before any Bill had been brought in; but when two Bills had been brought in and discussed it was, I think, somewhat anomalous to go back to Resolutions. If, however, the usual course had been taken, and if, as your Lordships were led to believe, the Resolutions agreed to by the other House had been submitted to your Lordships after a certain time, we should have had ample time for discussing the whole bearings of this question. The Government must have felt that, considering how well informed some of your Lordships are upon Indian affairs, and the great amount of legal knowledge and acumen in this House, the time employed in discussing these Resolutions would have been well spent. Such, however, was not the case, and the result is, not that the Bill has been so well considered by the other House that few Amendments can be necessary, but that their attention having been drawn to one Bill after another, and one Resolution after another—what with mere weariness, and what with the state of the Thames—the House of Commons have been too ready to accept any proposition which has been thrown out from any quarter of the House. Considering, too, the late period of the Session and the great desire on this side of the House that there should be nothing factious in our consideration of this Bill, I think it doubtful whether your Lordships will give it that careful and detailed attention which its most important provisions require. The noble Earl has truly stated that the great principle in which both Bills concur is the transfer of the government of India from the East India Company to the Crown. Two objects will be gained by this transfer,—the simplification of the administrative machinery at home, and the inestimable advantage of governing India in the name of the Sovereign of this country. One change has been made from the Bill of the late Government, which although only a change of name, is, I believe, an improvement. I think it better that the Minister for India should be a Secretary of State than that he should continue to be called the President of the Council for India. We considered this point, and we were chiefly deterred from nominating another Secretary of State by a technical difficulty in regard to an officer who is the direct organ of the Crown being checked by another body. However, considering the high position of a Secretary of State, considering that by long experience his functions are clear and well-defined, and that in the absence of one Secretary of State any other Secretary is able to act in his place, I think that this change, although merely a verbal one, may be considered an improvement. As to the Council, it would not be honest on my part if I did not admit that from the first I had great doubts as to whether it was as desirable to have a Council as an adjunct to the office of Secretary of State for India as some persons supposed it to be. The chief advantage of a Council in such a case is the advice it might give to the Secretary of State, the support it might extend to him, and the control it might exercise over his acts. Now, with regard to control, the noble Earl seems rather to have thrown the idea of control overboard; but if there is to be no control, I confess I do not see how the Council is to be considered independent. With regard to the difficulty of getting advice, that is not so great as might be supposed, as it can be got on all occasions from the permanent servants of the East India Company, by whom the administration of the affairs of India is principally carried on, and who possess so much information on all questions connected with India. When I have found it necessary to inform myself on questions connected with India, I have sometimes applied to servants of the East India Company lately returned, and I have uniformily found them ready to give all the information in their power; but I have usually found that, with reference to what may be called general questions, they were more apt to dwell on individual circumstances connected with the districts in which they had resided than to go into those wider views that might lead to an enlarged and comprehensive decision; whereas, if I went to men like Sir James Melvill—men who were not under the influence of any merely local or professional associations—whatever their views might be on any particular question, whether they were right or wrong, they were able to go into the whole principles on which that question turned, to give a full history of it up to that moment, and so to enable me to come to a sound conclusion regarding it. Besides, nothing is so easy as to find men constantly arriving from India extremely well informed on particular departments of a question, and who are always ready to give information, though they may not, of course, be able to supply what can be obtained from official sources alone. With regard to the support which may be given by a Council to the Secretary of State, I think that has been much overrated also, and the same observation may be applied to the control which it may be supposed to exercise; and if it exercises any support or control the probability is they will be misapplied. If you have a man of ability, temper, and discretion as a Secretary of State, perhaps no difficulty will be experienced. It is probable that he and his Council will go on smoothly and pleasantly for a time; but when a question arises in the House of Commons requiring the exercise of delicacy and great prudence, the Council will not be of much use to him, for the likelihood will be that a difference of opinion will prevail among themselves. If the Council disagree with the Minister it will be said he is acting contrary to their judgment, and if, on the other hand, they are at war with him it will be said he is completely under their control. If a difference of opinion arises in the Council, and the Secretary resolves to act in accordance with his own views, and those, perhaps of a portion only of the members, the probability is that the progress of business will in this way be materially impeded, as he may have to go on with the assistance of only a part of his Council, while the others would probably let it be known that they did differ in opinion from him. I believe that a strong and able Minister will govern for himself; and that the Council will only make their influence felt under an officer incapable of controlling them:—and then their power will only lead to an obstruction of public business. It may be asked why, if I held these opinions with reference to a Council, I should have agreed to the introduction of a Council in the Bill proposed by the late Government. My answer is, I believe that public opinion would not have consented to the establishment of a government for India which had not some scheme for the appointment of a Council; and I further thought that the kind of Council we proposed would have so operated in practice as to have reduced within the narrowest limits the disadvantages attendant on that form of government. The Council we proposed was to be composed of eight persons, holding a very simple qualification, to remain in office for eight years, or to be nominated by the Crown. The plan of the present Government, as originally proposed, was of a very different kind—the Council to consist of eighteen persons, partly elected, partly nominated, and partly representative. Herein lay the great difference between the Bills of the late and the present Governments. The whole thing, however, is now changed. In the Bill as it now stands the number is from twelve to fifteen, and the representative principle is wholly abandoned, the nomination resting in a very complicated and unconstitutional way with the Crown and the Council itself, and they are to continue to hold office "during good behaviour," which in 99 cases out of 100 is equivalent to saying that they shall hold it during life. I am, however, bound to admit that the opinion of the House of Commons has been so strongly expressed on that subject, and it has come down to us so strongly marked by the authority of the Government, that I do nut intend to make the slightest opposition to that part of the Bill. With regard to the Members, I must say I think the number proposed is highly objectionable. I can see no reason why there should be so many, neither can I understand why it is that the Members of the Council should have treble the salary now paid to the Directors of the East India Company. As to the number I may refer to the Cabinet as an example—a body composed of fifteen or sixteen individuals—and ask if it is not rather too large for the work to be done. There is a tendency to the encouragement of conversation, and I may ask if it is not found to a certain degree that the knowledge and experience and ability required for the conduct of a great deal of important business are in the hands of a fewer number than they would be if the Cabinet itself were less numerous? But there is another element to be considered in the constitution of a body like this, and that is the great chance of getting a bore among them. There is this advantage on the side of the Cabinet, that if a man should become a bore there, and impede the progress of public business, there is no reason why he should not be turned out; but that is not an advantage which the Indian Council will possess. I have had the good fortune of knowing several Indian servants, and have found them most pleasant and agreeable persons; but it cannot be concealed that they have been accustomed to do business in a manner very different from people at home, who have gone through a sort of roughing among their superiors and equals in the acquirement of business habits. The East India servant has been accustomed to move in a circle, and do business where he has no equals, and to exercise his talents in writing long minutes; and it is therefore possible that you may find a very able, energetic, well-informed man, ready to conduct business in the Council with so much deliberation and at such a length as to make business really impossible. The result of such a state of things will be that the Secretary of State will find it too tiresome to go on with, and will, in pure self-defence, reduce the proceedings of the Council as much as possible to a mere matter of form. Now, if you are anxious to secure the independence of the Council, that is a state of things which, if possible, you ought to avoid, in order to save it from becoming nothing better than a sham. One great argument against the Bill of the late Government was, that it would greatly increase their own patronage. Now, it so happens that, with regard to the home patronage, our Bill placed it in the hands of the President of the Board of Control, with the concurrence of one-half of the Council. The noble Earl (the Earl of Ellenborough) made this change—that promotion should be in the hands of the Secretary of State; but in the present Bill both of these were given to the Government, for they retained in their own hands both the appointments and the subsequent promotions. There is another change which has been made with regard to the nomination of the Council of the Governor General in India. Originally it was proposed that this should be left in the hands of the Governor General; but as the Bill now stands, it is proposed that it should be left to the Home Government. Now, the only argument I have heard for this change is, that the civil servants in India think their interest is compromised by the manner in which the Council of the Governor General is at present nominated. But this does not appear to me to be any argument. I think that the disadvantages, if any, of the existing arrangements are not to be compared with the disadvantage of the civil servants in India coming over to England to secure their nomination by the Home Government; whereas, if they allowed the Government to be carried on in India, the Governor General ought to have such influence over his subordinates as would enable him to carry on his Government. With regard to the question of patronage, I heard with some regret the proposed Amendment of the noble Earl as to the mode of admitting civil servants; but I postpone any argument on that subject till he proposes his Amendment in Committee. With regard to the duties and procedure of the Council, I am bound to confess to the House that I have had very great difficulties in following the arrangement which has been made. I think that, in the first place, the Secretary of State is to have transferred to him all the powers now vested in the Board of Control and in the Court of Directors. Subsequently, it is provided that the Council under the direction of the Secretary of State, and subject to the provisions of this Bill, shall conduct the business transacted in the United Kingdom in relation to the Government of India. The next clause enables the Secretary of State to divide the Council into different committees, and to allot to them different departments of Indian business, with powers of rearranging this business in any way. Now, it is difficult to know the meaning of that clause. Is it intended by that clause that the Secretary of State shall transfer any of the duties of the Council in general to the Committees? or that the Committees shall merely digest the papers he may refer to them, and hand them back to the Council? I think that this part of the Bill ought to be made more clear. Nowhere in this Bill are the powers to be exercised by the Secretary of State in Council clearly laid down, nor had we any explanation on that subject from the noble Earl. He may have overlooked it, but as it is a subject of the utmost importance, I hope we shall have a clear explanation. Then the clause goes on to state that if there be any difference of opinion on any question other than the election of a Member of Council, or as to any question with regard to which the Secretary of State is not thereby empowered to act without the concurrence of the majority of the Council present at a meeting, the determination of the Secretary of State shall be final. It then goes on to make provision in case of equality of votes; but what is the use of that if the decision of the Secretary of State is to be final? [The Earl of DERBY made an explanation which was not heard.] In that case the clause ought to be more clearly drawn. Another clause provides that the Secretary of State may, in cases of urgency, make orders without submitting them to the Council, the urgent reasons for making or sending them being recorded by the Secretary, and notice being given to every Member of the Council. Of course, the Secretary himself will be the judge of the urgency, and we all know how difficult it is to come to a right decision on such a point. I entirely agree with the noble Earl that it is necessary that the Secretary of State should retain those powers formerly given to the Secret Committee. That was the plan adopted in our Bill, but the Government introduced a Bill by which the Secret Committee would be continued, and then they came back to the original proposition. With regard to the very difficult and complicated question of restriction upon expenditure, here again we proposed that no increased charges should be made on the revenues of India except with the consent of the majority of the Council. The present Government, in their first Bill entirely omitted this restriction. [The Earl of DERBY intimated dissent.] The noble Earl shakes his head; but the Bill in this respect has undergone such a change that the restriction which it proposes is much more stringent than that which we proposed. It goes to this extent, that there shall be no appropriation of the revenues of India without the consent of the majority of the Council. In fact, if they choose to fully exercise their powers, they can, like the House of Commons, "stop the supplies," and so put a stop to the proceedings of the Government altogether. By this clause you render perfectly nugatory the other clauses by which you give, in case of urgency, power to the Secretary of State to act secretly and speedily, because there is hardly an imaginable case in which he would be called upon so to act in which some appropriation of revenue would not be necessary in order to accompany that exercise of his power. I do not believe that these powers will be fully exercised by the Council; I do not think they will go to such a length as that; but there is some absurdity in leaving this matter to the control of a Council, while you at the same time refuse to give them powers which I think ought properly to be exercised by them. I think that in this respect you are doing what is a great sham. It is not my intention to move your Lordships to reject any part of the arrangements which I deprecate. I think it possible that some of the objections I have raised may turn out futile; and I think it still more likely that in a very short time we shall have again to discuss the question, how is India to be governed? Even the most ardent admirers of this scheme must admit that the whole thing is an experiment, and that it ought to be very much treated as such. I think the noble Earl will admit there is nothing in what I have said which shows a factious feeling. I am quite sure we on this side of the House shall act in no factious spirit on this subject, and I hope that Her Majesty's Government will receive in a fair spirit any reasonable proposition which we may bring before them. The noble Earl said that the late Government first proposed to appoint a Council for life, and then limited the duration of the India Bill to five years; but the present Government have done something very like that, because, although they propose to appoint the Council for life, they have crippled the clause as to their appointment by providing that the Council may be sent about their business at any moment if the Government should object to them. This shows that the proposed Council will be no-thing but a provisional form of Government. I do not believe that any Government will be anxious to bring the question of the fitness of the members of the Council before Parliament. I believe they would subject themselves to a great deal of inconvenience before they took such a course. On the other hand, I think it desirable that such a provision should not necessarily lead to a reconsideration of the whole scheme of government for India. I trust that the Government will show some disposition to alter the Bill in this respect. The noble Earl has already alluded to the fifty-fifth clause. I have very often remarked that, when anything not very wise is done by any person, it is done at the suggestion of some one else wiser than himself. He who offers the suggestion does not very carefully consider it, and the person to whom it is offered thinks he may adopt it, inasmuch as it has proceeded from a very sensible man, without that sifting to which he would subject his own proposition. Something of this sort seems to have taken place in the other House with regard to this clause. A very able man in the other House (Mr. Gladstone) suggested this clause, and the Government, to my great surprise, instantly adopted it. What is the clause? That, except in cases of great urgency, the army in India shall not be employed beyond the frontier of Her Majesty's Indian possessions without the consent of Parliament. That appears to me altogether unconstitutional. The noble Earl says that he has an Amendment to propose on that subject (which I could not very accurately gather), whereby the constitutional objection to the clause will be very much modified. I hope some clause will be introduced so as to include cases in which an invasion may be imminent. I believe military operations to be only justifiable where they are necessary—bellum justum quum necessarium. Then how is the assent of Parliament to be signified? Is an Act of Parliament to be passed before any military operations can be executed? If so, I presume that it will be equally necessary to have an Act of Parliament declaring peace, and in this way you will entirely take out of the hands of the Crown one of its most important prerogatives. I must say that, if this clause be merely modified in the sense in which I understood the noble Earl to say he was willing to modify it, it will still be open to much objection, and I shall feel it my duty to ask your Lordships to reject it altogether. In conclusion, I have only to say that I shall cordially support the second reading of the Bill. Feeling, as all your Lordships must have felt, the immense difficulty of the task thrown upon this country in governing our numerous possessions, and the immense moral responsibility which weighs upon us in so doing, I do hope that Divine Providence, which has given this charge to us, will enable us, without party spirit, and actuated by conscientious convictions, to combine in order to secure for the people of India the benefits of good government, and to impart to them a portion of those blessings and that happiness which we ourselves enjoy.


My Lords, my noble Friend at the head of the Government courteously expressed his regret that it did not fall to me, as a Minister of the Crown, to propose this measure for your Lordships' approval. My Lords, I feel still greater regret in stating that it would have been impossible for me, as a Minister of the Crown, conscientiously to ask your Lordships to agree to this Bill, because, desirous as I am that whatever measure is adopted should be permanent, I could never have called upon you to agree to any Bill under which a portion of the Council of India was not chosen by popular election; nor could I have asked you to ratify a proposal for introducing what is called competitive examination into the Engineers and Artillery of the Indian army—two of the noblest corps in the service of any State, and which have recently added—if that be possible—to a reputation already diffused over the world. The officers of these two services are already chosen by competitive examination from the young gentlemen educated at Addiscombe. It might have been possible, and, perhaps, was advisable, to establish another College, or to so extend Addiscombe as to draw through it the whole of the officers of the Indian army. But under that system we possess, and always have possessed, this great advantage—that we were not exposed to the risk of having forced upon us some person who has been crammed for an examination; we always know that any person educated there has received from able and conscientious men a really solid education in a military seminary, and the best men of those so educated, and those alone, were placed in the Engineers and Artillery. When we look at the present moment to those who have rendered illustrious the Indian Artillery—to Sir Henry Lawrence, to Sir Archdale Wilson, to Vincent Eyre, to Toombs, and the many others whose names are as household words among military men, and when we see that it is now proposed to alter a system already so perfect and under which this service has been distinguished above any other in the world, it seems to me the most unnecessary, the most gratuitous act of truckling to a temporary feeling existing elsewhere—an act which I could have hardly supposed it possible that any Government would commit. With regard to the Bill now before you Lordships, it differs in principle from both the measures proposed by Her Majesty's Governments. The second of these Bills differed from the first, and I now consider this as more the Bill of the House of Commons than of the Ministry. The House of Commons were determined this year to have a Bill about India. They had certain objects in view. They wished to put an end to all connection between the East India Company and the Government of India; they wished to put an end to what is called double government, and to have one sole responsible officer—a Minister for India—to whom Parliament and the country might look. They were desirous also—and there they were perfectly right—I wish they had confined themselves to that object—to substitute the name of the Queen for that of the East India Company in the Government of India. Now, what have they done in this Bill? They have, no doubt, put an end altogether to the Court of Proprietors; and I think the Court justly deserved their fate. That body has not acted under a sense of moral responsibility in the execution of its duties, and latterly it had absolutely abdicated its functions. I saw with surprise that on two occasions when the Court met to discuss this measure, which went to the extinction of the Company's authority, it was actually counted out, and that, twenty being a quorum, seven persons only were present. That, I say, is an abdication of their functions, and they have no claim whatever for consideration here. But we always look to the Court of Directors as being really the East India Company. Now, the connection of the Court of Directors with the Government is not only not put an end to under this Bill—it is reestablished. Under the former law the Court of Proprietors elected twelve out of eighteen. Under this Bill the Court of Directors are to elect seven out of fifteen; but in the first instance there will be practically ten members of that body at least in the new Council, because the Court will of course nominate only those who have been elected by the Proprietors, knowing of necessity that the Government, in the exercise of its responsibility, must name on the part of the Crown at least three of the other members of that Court. Thus, in the first instance, there will be ten, not seven, Directors in the Council. But, what is to be the proportion hereafter? It is said, that the alternate nominations are to be with the Crown. Now, suppose the first person who dies should be one of the Crown nominees. The Crown in that case gets nothing. If the next is a nominee of the Crown, the relative position of the Crown and the Council is altogether altered. The Council get the advantage; they would have eight, and the Government seven; and unless the nominees of the Crown and the elected members can come to some amicable arrangement for dying alternately, it will be impossible to preserve the proper proportion. But is that the only alteration which is to be made? We want to put an end to double Government, and we want to establish one sole Minister responsible to Parliament. Have we secured this by the present Bill? I say, no. The clause which was introduced at the last moment, almost without observation, and which I dare say at this instant is hardly known even to the country—I mean the clause which gives the power of the purse to the Council—converts the Council into a Parliament, and it is impossible for the Minister appointed to be considered solely responsible, because he has not the sole power. Another alteration was made at the very last moment. Originally it was intended that the Governor General should nominate the members of Council in India. It is now proposed that those members shall be named by a majority of the Council here. That again affects the responsibility of the Minister. He will not be solely responsible here, because he cannot spend a single shilling. He will not be responsible in India, because a material part of the Government is elected not by him, but by the Council. I say, then, the House of Commons has not carried out any of the great purposes which it had in view. That point respecting the nomination of the members of Council by the Governor General has been greatly misunderstood. I will tell you how it will work. It is supposed that the Governor General will at once put out the Council he found existing, and will put in another who will be a parcel of tools of his own selection. He could do no such thing. But what will be the effect of the arrangement now proposed? Why, that every man in India will look to the Home Government to reward his services. I deprecate the system of what may be termed "foreign allegiance"—the system of a man's gaining favour here by opposing the Government there, for it is a principle which is altogether inconsistent with good government in India. I entirely agree that the substitution of the Queen's name for that of the Company is the greatest advantage which at the present moment could be conferred on the people of India; but then it is necessary to know how you use that advantage; for if it be not used at once, and well used, it will produce injury instead of benefit. I do not deny that there are material practical advantages in this Bill, notwithstanding the errors which have been committed. There can be no doubt it (as well as all the others) shortens by at least four weeks the time which ordinarily elapses between the receipt of intelligence and the writing of the reply; it gives the Secretary of State the initiative in important matters; and it substitutes the Queen's name for that of the Company. But it will not do to make any man Secretary of State for India, and place him at the head of a Board of fifteen Councillors, every one of whom knows more of the subject than himself. Under the existing system the President of the Board of Control sees the Chairman and Deputy Chairman once a week, and that of itself is a very great advantage; for although he sees them in his private room, he must be able to answer the questions which they put to him, and to defend the alterations which he may have made in the several letters which have been submitted to him. That is a most useful trial of his competence; but how different will be the trial when he is sitting at a Board of fifteen gentlemen, nine of whom, at least, have been long resident in India, and who are acquainted with every subject. It will require the greatest tact and management to deal with such a body. The object of the first Bill which was introduced by the present Government was to provide that there should be in the Council representatives of the several military and civil services of the several Presidencies, and that object was absolutely accomplished by that Bill. It must be at all times the object of every Government to do the same thing, because no Council can be perfect which does not contain a representative of each of those services. At the present moment the Court of Directors is, I believe, notoriously imperfect in this respect, because I understand that there is no gentleman there who is acquainted with the civil administration of Madras. I thought, also, that it was desirable to have four other Councillors, not necessarily belonging to any particular Presidency or any particular service, in order to secure for the Minister for India such Councillors as could at all times give him information on every possible subject connected with that country. I was desirous of connecting the Council of India with the largest popular constituency that I could find, and the constituency sketched out in the first Bill was much larger than any that could be found in this country. It represented £50,000,000 of property connected with India, and there would not have been one man of that constituency who had not property at least to the amount of £2,000. It included 6000 or 7000 persons and canvass was impossible; fur, with such a constituency, a man must stand upon his character alone, as in canvassing for a division of Yorkshire. That constituency would have chosen, I believe, some of the fittest men in the service, and there would thus have been nine members representing particular districts and particular services, and four not confined to any district. We went be yond that. I felt it to be essential to the good government of India that the Council should be one of weight and authority, capable of sustaining and giving assistance to the Minister; and recollecting as I do that there is no greater public or commercial object to be attained by this country than the making of England independent of America for the supply of the staple of our greatest manufacture, and knowing how little has been done towards the accomplishment of that object in the last thirty years, I was desirous of seeing placed upon that Council representatives of the great commercial towns that were most interested in the cotton manufacture and in the general commerce of the country. I know that there would have been a difficulty on the part of the Minister, in the first instance, in managing those elected members of the Council; but his Indian majority would have carried him through in the case of opposition; while, if he could have obtained the concurrence of the representatives of those great constituencies, he would have stood in the House of Commons with a degree of strength which no Minister can command who is supported merely by eight or nine nominees of the Crown and of an effete corporation. What is the Bill as it comes before us now? We have a Council of fifteen, eight of whom are nominated by the Crown and seven elected by the Directors, and they are to be nominated for life, with the view of giving them independence. It is not pretended that these gentlemen will be guilty of jobbery on their own account; but men who have property and position often have poor relatives and hangers-on, who may attempt to move them to do their jobs, and it may happen hereafter, as it has happened before, that some of the richest men in the country may be the greatest jobbers. But what is the necessary result? I believe that the Council in its original formation will be one in which the country will have perfect confidence. But none of those gentlemen are appointed at a very early age, and what will be the state of that Council eight or ten years hence? We are dealing with futurity, remember, and are endeavouring to establish some government for India that shall last. Those gentlemen will not take their £500 a year and retire and lose their patronage. They will stay on and retain their patronage. You make a Council, then, part of which must in ten years be effete, and they will then be very much in the position of a conclave of Cardinals with a dying Pope. Canvassing will go on continually; each man will be looking into his neighbour's face to see who is to die first, and ample preparations will be made, in the most pious disposition, for filling his place. After eight or ten years, therefore, canvassing will be perpetually going on for succession to those respectable old men. But the House of Commons has provided that one-tenth of all the patronage shall be given by the Court to the sons of officers either in the service of Her Majesty or of the Company. I consider that that provision is altogether unnecessary, because naturally that amount of patronage would be so distributed. It seems to me to act rather as a restriction, and to encourage solicitation on the part of persons who have no claim to appointments in India. The Court of Directors have always had the good sense never to give anything as a body, because they knew that it would lead to constant canvassing. The first time a Royal personage asked the favour of a cadetship, it was given, but once only. The first request was equivalent to a command; but, with that exception, they have always politely but firmly refused such requests. That is the principle on which the Court, for excellent reasons, has uniformly acted; but now, in order to establish within the walls of the Council a permanent canvass, you give them all these cadetships to distribute by the act of the Court. It will thus be always the desire of some person to obtain a majority, and at the end of a few years you provide that they shall canvass for successors to one another. I think that those two provisions will materially affect the usefulness of the Council, There is one clause in the Bill upon which I must remark, which retains, and more than retains, the power which has always been possessed by the President of the Board of Control of sending letters through the Secret Department. These letters have been sent hitherto subject to the perusal of the Chairman, Deputy Chairman, and one member of the Court, who was usually, but not necessarily, the senior member. I speak from experience, and I admit that there was an advantage in affording to that Secret Committee the opportunity of reading those letters. The Secret Committee had no power to stop those letters, but it had always the opportunity of offering suggestions, which a prudent Secretary of State could act upon if he thought fit; but now no one is to see what the Secretary. of State writes when he is sending out orders which may affect questions of peace or war. Observations have been made on the 55th clause; but neither the framers of it nor the noble Earl who has just spoken seem exactly to be aware of its bearing. They seem to imagine that troops paid out of the revenues of India continue to be paid out of those revenues when they leave the shores of India. It is not so. Their pay stops the moment they leave India, unless the Secretary of State, in the most scandalous manner, chooses to lay an improper charge on those revenues. But in the Court of Directors there was always an honest body desirous of saving the revenues of India from charges which they had no right to bear, and this was never done unless by some special arrangement and with the consent of both parties. For instance, the expedition to China was carried on by troops paid out of the revenues of India at the time, but only on account, and this country afterwards reimbursed the Indian exchequer. So, also, in the late war with Persia, It was only by an amicable arrangement that any portion of the expenses were paid out of the Indian revenue. Properly speaking, not a penny of them was payable out of the Indian revenues, and not a penny would have been paid if the Indian Directors had chosen to stand on their rights, and say that they would not pay for a purpose which did not strictly concern the interests of India. I think, therefore, the operation of this clause is much more limited than is supposed. With all these clauses, however, we shall have an opportunity of dealing in Committee, but as we are now forging a home Government for India, it is impossible for me, with my strong opinions on the subject, to refrain from stating the impressions produced on my mind by the information received from that country during the last two months. My Lords, I have never looked forward to the future of India with more anxiety than I do at the present moment. I feel perfectly satisfied that it is absolutely necessary to send out for operations at the commencement of the cold season a very much larger force than it is possible, with due consideration to other equally vital interests, to detach front this country, without a material change in all our military establishments. But, however valuable it may be to send out a strong reinforcement of troops, I do not believe that that reinforcement will enable us to maintain our position in that country unless we send out also a policy intelligible and acceptable to the Natives. The first act of the Government—when Her Majesty assumes in her own person the direction of affairs in India—ought to be to issue in the most solemn manner—and the Queen's word must be sacred—a proclamation with respect to the religion and the rights of the Natives. That proclamation must not be written to please the House of Commons, nor to please people on the hustings, still less people on a platform; it must be addressed to the people and the armies of India. We have to govern India for India, not to please a party here, and we must make a declaration of the principles on which we intend to govern it such as will be thoroughly acceptable and intelligible to the people. But, whatever policy you may declare, however great your additions to the army of India may be, neither one nor the other will effect your object unless you have in India at the head of the Government a man who has the confidence of the Natives and of the Europeans, who is capable of directing military operations, and who, by his personal authority, which in India is everything, can compel all his subordinate officials to co-operate in his policy and in carrying out the wishes of Her Majesty's Government.


gave his assent to the Bill, so far as its main principle was concerned, though he regretted to say that many of the clauses seemed expressly devised to impede rather than to carry out the operation of that principle. The noble Earl who introduced it had laid great stress upon the transfer of the government of India from the East India Company to the Crown, and to a responsible Minister. That principle, he felt assured, would be adopted in this House without one dissentient voice. But then he agreed with the noble Earl who spoke last, that if this were really the object of the Bill it had not in all respects attained it, because the Council, as it stood now, and as it was to be nominated, would still form a sort of double government. The functions of that Council the noble Earl at the head of the Government had nowhere explained; and he, for one, was quite at a loss to understand what was to be gained by having such a numerous Council. The principle of eight, as proposed by the late Government, was intelligible; it was a body sufficient, but not more than sufficient, for the work they would have to perform; but he could not see what fifteen members of Council could find to do. He agreed with those who thought that the 85th clause should limit the prerogative of the Crown, and he was glad to find that the noble Earl intended to propose some alteration in Committee; at the same time he could not quite agree with the noble Earl who spoke last (the Earl of Ellenborough), that there was a financial check already established. It was quite true that the Indian revenues could never be charged for the payment of troops that were not employed on Indian objects: but the disputed point always was, what are Indian objects? He quite agreed with the remarks made by the noble Earl against the introduction of a system of competitive examination for the corps of Artillery and Engineers, as he thought those bodies were already as perfect as they could be made. He thought the whole question of patronage much overrated, and the dread of corruption had prevented them from obtaining many useful objects. For his own part, he believed that if first nominations were put into the hands of educated young Englishmen, they would be pretty sure of getting men who would discharge their duty. He hoped this Bill would pass. He was quite sure, if it did pass in its present shape, many of its provisions would have to be altered in a short space of time. But there was one great provision which he hoped would never be altered—that an attempt would never again be made to hand over the control of a great empire to an irresponsible corporation.


said, that one objection to the Bill was, that for the first few years the Governor General of India would have a permanent majority against him; and in the case of the noble and distinguished Lord now at the head of the Indian Government, who had manifested such extraordinary talents, this would be a great misfortune. There was one defect in the Bill—he meant with regard to Indian finance. This would soon become, not an Indian, but an Imperial question. There was no security for that economy which was so urgently demanded by the deplorable state of the Indian finances. Many men were impressed with the wealth of India. Milton had told them of— The wealth of Ormuz and of Ind; and the authors of this Bill seemed to have adopted that belief. How could a country be rich which had been misgoverned for three thousand years—where the price of labour was in many parts only 2½d. a day, and where the people were ground down by taxation? Out of 180,000,000 of people a miserable £22,000,000 was all that could be squeezed; and nothing could more forcibly show their poverty. The territorial debt was £100,000,000—about one-seventh part of ours; while the country had only the seventeenth part of the power to pay it. In the face of this, the 30th clause of the Bill continued the extravagant payment of a million and a half to the covenanted service. The question would soon arise, if India could not pay its own debt and expenses, who was to pay them? This was a question which affected every man in this country, and ought to be seriously considered. It ought to stimulate to the practice of economy; for, as soon as India became unable to provide her own expenditure, we might bid adieu to what had been called "the brightest jewel in the crown."


said, he would defer any further remarks until their Lordships went into Committee, when he hoped to answer some of the objections of the noble Earl (Earl Granville) and of his noble Friend (the Earl of Ellenborough). He proposed to go into Committee upon the Bill, as their Lordships were aware, tomorrow.

Motion agreed to.

Bill read 2a accordingly, and committed to a Committee of the whole House To-morrow.

House adjourned at Eight o'clock, till To-morrow, a quarter before Three o'clock.