HL Deb 05 April 1869 vol 195 cc130-1

House in Committee (according to Order).


said, he had to propose to their Lordships the insertion of an additional clause of some importance, to which he desired to call the attention of the noble Earl opposite (the Earl of Ellenborough). The Act of 1833 contained five or six clauses, providing that Europeans should not reside in India without the consent of the Governor-General in Council, and empowering him to issue regulations as to their residences and as to licenses, amounting, in fact, to a system of passports in that country. Now, the whole condition of the country had so much altered that these clauses were practically obsolete; but nevertheless they acted as a very inconvenient impediment on the action of the Government in India in dealing with vagrants, the number of whom had greatly increased since the introduction of railways, owing to the large bodies of navvies employed in their construction, and to other causes. The repeal of these clauses had consequently been contemplated; but on further consideration it was thought that, as prior to the Act of 1833 it was altogether illegal for Europeans to reside in India without the permission of the East India Company, such a step might have the effect of reviving enactments still more obsolete. He had therefore come to the conclusion that it would be better to add a clause to the present Bill enabling the Legislature of India to deal with vagrancy notwithstanding those clauses; any Act on the subject being subject, of course, to the approval of the Secretary of State in Council. This would avoid all difficulty, and one or two of the clauses were valuable, as laying down the principle that Europeans insulting or injuring the religion or customs of the natives should be subject to penalties.


thought the noble Duke would do well to communicate with the Horse Guards on the subject, his impression being that many of the vagrants were discharged soldiers.

Further Amendments made; The Report thereof to be received on Thursday next.