§ Order of the Day for the House to be put into Committee, read.
§ Moved, That the House do now resolve itself into Committee.—(The Lord President.)
§ THE EARL OF SHAFTESBURY
My Lords, it is with the greatest grief, and yet with the deepest conviction, that I venture to submit a Resolution to your Lordships—a Resolution of an Address to the Crown, with a prayer that Her Majesty would be graciously pleased not to assume the title of "Empress." Now, my Lords, allow me a few words of explanation and apology for the course I have taken. First, I say that I do it with the greatest grief, because I feel most reluctant—as every loyal subject of Her Majesty would feel—to stand in opposition to the wishes of the Crown, especially when graced, as it is, with so many virtues; and secondly, I do it with the deepest conviction, because I am certain that the assumption of such a title in addition to that of Queen or King, under which we have so long enjoyed prosperity and freedom, will not only fail to advance, but will actually diminish the Royal dignity and the Royal esteem, even to the extent of making ridiculous the high honour which the title has hitherto enjoyed both among Her Majesty's subjects and among the other nations of the world. Had not my convictions on this head been profound and unalterable, nothing should have induced me to move in the matter. So much, my Lords, for my doing it at all. But why, I may be asked, do you come forward alone and without the aid and counsel of persons wiser than yourself? My Lords, I plead guilty of presump- 1040 tion and so anticipate the accusation—but listen to the reason. The entire or almost the entire debate in "another place" ran upon the assertion that the resistance to this measure proceeded from factious, from political, and not from Constitutional, motives. Some Members, indeed, went so far as to say that, though they hated the proposition, they would support it against a factious assault. I thought, therefore, that the first note of resistance in this House should be sounded by some one wholly disconnected from either of the two great divisions that agitate and adorn it. But even then I hesitated; and it was not until a certain speech had been delivered by a great man in the House of Commons on the third reading of the Bill, a speech which made disclosures so novel and prodigious, that independent Members, so it seemed to me, were forced, under a positive obligation, not to be silent on such an occasion that I made up my mind to undertake this onerous and delicate duty. The issues on this subject are very short and very simple—for I shall not wander from the text of the Resolution—they are simply, the effect which the assumption of the title of Empress may produce in India and in this country. I need not detain your Lordships, even if I had learning enough to do so, with long and various historical disquisitions. I feel certain that no amount of historical research or antiquarian lore can recommend the proposal to the people of England, nor, indeed—so I believe—to the people of India. The people of India, so far as we know, do not desire it; and the people of England utterly reject it. I do not deny that the people of India would gladly accept a title that would bind more closely their connection with the Crown of England, but then it must be a title of assimilation, and not of distinction, between them and the other subjects of Her Majesty. Now, what proof has been adduced—what proof can be adduced—to show their predilection for the title of Empress? Not even a shadow of evidence is at hand. So far as I can judge, the effect on them would be the reverse of satisfactory. I have, of course, no experience of India, nor any knowledge of it beyond what I have derived from books and conversation. But here is a fact, and it is worthy of your attention. A year or two ago, 1041 but long before this question had been stirred; I collected, at my house, some 50 of the Natives of India—youths and men of middle-age, who were in London for various purposes, some on business, some as students of Law, Medicine, or Theology. They were from all parts of India, from Bengal, Madras, from the South, and even from Rajpootana. I endeavoured to extract from them all the information that I could relating to the inner thoughts, feelings, and views of their countrymen, of which they all maintained that the greater part of the English officials and of the residents also knew but little. They were very open and unreserved. They told me that they regarded the Government of England in India as one of the greatest boons that had ever been conferred on their country—they spoke of the English Government as essential, at least for a time, to maintain internal peace and advance the people in the social scale. But one and all, without a single exception, and in the strongest terms, denounced the old Mahomedan Government and the Empire of Delhi, as the grand source of all the miseries and calamities their country had endured; and I am satisfied that if the proposed Emperorship is to revive in any way the notion of the Great Mogul, or if it be presented to the people with the same appellation, it will be received in India with universal dislike and apprehension. But this consideration has acquired additional force from the language of those who supported the Bill in the other House. In the course of the debates there on this question, it was asserted—and it was not contradicted, although uttered in the presence of the First Minister—that the title of Empress was required to notify to the people of India the despotic authority we exercise over them. My Lords, this is a sad announcement—it will go to the extremities of India—it will be listened to in every town, village, and bazaar of that vast country. There will be newsmongers in abundance to carry the intelligence to the remotest parts, and it will be heard with avidity—for though, as I heard the noble Marquess (the Marquess of Salisbury) say, "public opinion" is dumb in India, public feeling is by no means inaccessible, and this is a matter that will probe them to the quick. When the Natives of India ask 1042 the reason why India should be governed by one name and England by another, they will be told that a beneficent Parliament has given them the title Empress which they do understand, instead of the title of Queen which they do not understand—"What is this?" they will reply, "not understand it? remember our zeal, our hospitality, our fervour, our affection to the Prince of Wales—they were given to the son of the Queen and not to the son of the Emperor." My Lords, I use the word "Emperor" intentionally, because we shall in the course of time have many more Sovereign Emperors than Sovereign Empresses. There are many things at the present time to gild the title of Empress. It would be held by an illustrious Lady who has reigned for nearly 40 years, known and beloved; it bears, too, an impression of feminine softness; but as soon as it shall have assumed the masculine gender, and have become an Emperor, the whole aspect will be changed. It will have an air military, despotic, and offensive and intolerable, alike in the East and West of the Dominions of England. Now, my Lords, let us turn to the people of England. What do they say on the present discussions? My Lords, I will begin by the assertion that, even if they were breast-high in favour of this new title, I would spare no effort to dissuade them from it. I would say to them—"Ye know not of what ye speak, or whereof ye affirm." But there will be no need for such instruction. I believe that if a pollwere taken, head by head—man by man, woman by woman, child by child—beginning with the two Houses of Parliament, the immense majority would be against the assumption of the title of Empress. I say child by child; for remember your day and Sunday schools, where they early imbibe a true, and lasting affection to the Royal name. Now though there is, as yet, no open and wide opposition, there is much silent dislike. The noble Duke the President of the Council affirmed that at first the Public Press, and even the people, were, apparently, for it. Why, here he furnishes us with a powerful argument. If the Press has changed, is it not a sign that the public has changed also? Did the Press ever persist in opposition to public opinion and the public will? Suppose we allow that at the outset the proposal was not 1043 rejected; reflection has brought other thoughts, and a slow, gradual conviction has far more of decision and continuance in it than any sudden outburst of popular indignation. My Lords, I have done what I can to obtain information. I know the working classes well, and I can assure your Lordships that a great change of feeling has come over them from the highest to the lowest. They are beginning to talk of their feelings, and to give open expression to the views they entertain. From the small tradesman upwards I find the greatest repugnance—it is universal. Of the mass of the working people, some are displeased, some ignorant, some indifferent. But a for more serious feeling is becoming manifest. In some of the great towns of the North opinion is openly expressed; but in those places they seem to have thrown aside the question of the title itself, except so far as it marks a difference between two parties, and they are hotly divided between the supporters of Mr. Gladstone and Mr. Disraeli. Now, my Lords, much as I respect those eminent men, I tremble to see their names substituted for great principles. Here is another proof of the unhappy tendency of the people in modern days to forget principles and look only to persons. It is an approach to the true democratic spirit, which, taking up a man one day and striking him down the next, alternates perpetually between insolence and servility. Now, my Lords, I could produce an abundance of documents, letters, and the like, even from Whitechapel, where, of all places just now, you might expect a ready acquiescence, but they speak of Emperors as cruel and despotic men. "They have," they say, "their suspicions." What does all this mean? they ask. An agent of great experience writes to me—"It requires but a moderate amount of agitation to call out a strong feeling." This is the tenour of the whole. Now, if these thoughts be entertained in happy times and after recent favours, what will they become in days of distress, low wages, high prices, and general discontent? Are there not already emissaries of mischief abroad, who are making capital out of our discussions, and urging on a section of the people that as the present Parliament is doing something to advance the dignity of the Queen, they must, on their part, do something to take away 1044 from it? And now that the traditions and almost the compacts of a thousand years are broken, you must not be surprised, say they, that as you are trying to turn your King into an Emperor we also shall be making an effort to turn him into a President. Now, my Lords, on a matter like this we have a right to demand a large amount of evidence. We ask for it, negative and positive. Now, of negative evidence we have very little, and of positive, absolutely none. Perhaps I ought not to say absolutely none, for the Prime Minister, besides his own assertions, adduced a letter from an "enfant terrible" and an extract from Whitaker's Almanack. But the evidence of the Chancellor of the Exchequer was the other way, for he declared that the people were driven by an unreasoning "panic"—a fact which, whatever might be the epithet attached to it, showed that, in his estimation at least, the people disliked the measure. But the people, it is said, present no Petitions. My Lords, is it a subject on which they are likely to meet in assemblies, draw up memorials, and lose a day's work? Does it touch their homes, their pockets, their right of free action? Their silence is quoted; but is not silence as often a sign of contempt as of consent? If you have any doubt, read the papers which form their current literature, and which are found in every gathering-place of working men. You will soon be undeceived, and see how unanimous is their favourite Press in denouncing the addition of Emperor to the title of King. Why, here is a letter received only a day ago from a body of miners—"We may be," say they—Insignificant men, but we have sense of honour enough, to hold in contempt which we cannot express, those who are endeavouring to attach the title of Empress to that of our Royal Queen.But, my Lords, I have been more appalled by the assertion of the Prime Minister that the repugnance, wherever it exists, among the people is a mere sentiment. Sentiment, my Lords, to be sure it is, and a sentiment of the kind that ought to be cherished, and not to be despised. Now that the principle of Divine right to the Throne has departed from the people—now that they are in possession of almost Universal Suffrage—your Lordships' House and the Throne 1045 itself are upheld by sentiment alone, and not by force or superstition. Loyalty is a sentiment; and the same sentiment that attaches the people to the word "Queen" averts them from the word "Empress." We saw the force of loyalty exhibited in 1848. What Throne or Empire was undisturbed but the Throne of England? And why? Would it have been so had George IV. been King in that day? Far from it. The personal character of the Sovereign alone attracted and tranquillized the people. There were many agitators abroad who urged them to look across the Atlantic, and there see a Republic in the height of power, freedom, and prosperity. "And why not here?" said they. "No," replied the people. "We hold to the traditions of a thousand years." "Kings have been our nursing fathers and Queens our nursing mothers;" the crown of Alfred, the Edwards, Elizabeth, and George III., is worn now by Queen Victoria. "We want none of your revolutionary doctrines," said they; "and now," say we, "we want none of your Imperial diadems of yesterday." Destroy this sentiment and where are we? But some people try to comfort us by saying that the title may be localized and confined to the regions of, India. But the great understanding and candid admission of the Lord Chancellor have dispelled the delusion. I never believed it, for besides no end of documents, deeds, proclamations, signatures, and the like—and what they are in number and weight may be judged from the list that was cited the other evening by the noble Earl (Earl Granville)—flattery, common parlance, and mischief-making spirits will bring it into use. Can any one believe that the Crown will be Imperial to India and remain only Royal in England? that the epithet will never travel across the ocean or by the overland route? And even were it possible would it be right? First, it would leave in full vigour all the objections as affecting India, and next, as affecting our own particular look at it:—in this view the want of national unanimity in confirming this title is bad enough, but the want of confidence as to the use of it by the Crown would be almost worse. If given at all, it should be given freely. I heartily concur with my noble Friend (Earl Granville) that it is undignified to bestow an alias on the Crown; 1046 to enact that the Sovereign might go to India and figure away in all the glory of Parliamentary styles and titles; but when he returns to this country he must doff all such honours repudiated by the people of England. My Lords, I may pause to ask how can this title be offered after this fashion; and I may even go further and say, How can it possibly be accepted? Now, my Lords, I ventured, when I began, to urge, as one great objection to the mode in which this measure has been argued, that the name of the Emperor of Russia was, in a manner so novel and so violent, dragged in by the Prime Minister. Surely, it is a monstrous thing—what less term can you apply?—that the First Minister of the Crown should thus speak in public debate of a great Sovereign with whom we are professedly in most friendly alliance, and state that, in order to curb his ambition and damp his courage, he proposed to invest the Crown of England with a new name as a standing bulwark against his incursions. I say nothing of such a wonderful effort of the imagination; but I desire very earnestly to call your attention to this point. By the Bill before us that language will almost receive the force of statute. I cannot agree with my noble Friend that, bad as it is, it is unworthy of serious notice, for, by enacting this title, the temporary flourish of the Minister becomes the permanent flourish of the Parliament. It must affect, too, the representation of the Crown at that Court—and I should have been glad of an opportunity of asking the noble Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether the Crown will be represented at St. Petersburg by an Imperial or Royal Ambassador. If by an Imperial one, the change will affect our external as well as our internal relations, and be a standing menace to the Court; if by a Royal one, it will be tantamount to a confession that our manifestation is as idle as a puff of wind; and whether the Emperor of Russia treats it seriously or with contempt, the Crown of England will have lost a vast amount of its ancient dignity. My Lords, it is not yet too late to return to wise counsels—let the Minister recall his advice; and there will be no shouting of triumph, but one universal expression of gratitude throughout the country. My Lords, it is sad, indeed, to find division on a subject 1047 so delicate, so important, and on a subject too, where, in the depth of their hearts, all parties are agreed, and where there is so much to lose and. so little to gain. What could be gained by India beyond a name which is repudiated by the English people, and which could bring to India no increase of happiness or freedom? What would be gained by the people of England beyond the knowledge that they had imposed a title on the people of India which they themselves utterly reject? And what by the Crown, if such a power be conferred, without full and enthusiastic unanimity? But though little can be gained by India, something may be lost. India would lose, if by such a distinction as this we turn the Natives from unity of heart, unity of spirit, and a sense of common rights with the people of this Kingdom. Our duty is to enlarge their views, raise their thoughts, and strengthen their minds, by the communication of everything that we ourselves enjoy. Lose India, my Lords! we shall never lose India but by our own fault; but a time may come when, after a long course of happy rule, we may surrender it to Natives, grown into a capability of self-government. Our posterity may then see an enlargement of the glorious spectacle we now witness, when India shall be added to the roll of free and independent Powers, that wait on the Mother Country, and daily rise up and call her blessed. But to attain this end we must train them to British sentiments, infuse into them British principles, imbue them with British feeling, and rising from the vulgar notion of an Emperor, teach them that the deepest thought and the noblest expression of a genuine Briton is to fear God and honour the King. The noble Earl concluded by moving the Amendment.
An Amendment moved—
To leave out from ("That") to the end of the motion for the purpose of inserting ("an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty as follows:
That this House ventures to approach Her Majesty in sincere and earnest devotion to Her Majesty's person and dignity, with an humble and hearty prayer that She may be graciously pleased to assume a Title more in accordance than the Title of Empress with the history of the Nation and with the loyalty and feelings of Her Majesty's most faithful subjects.")—(The Earl of Shaftesbury.)
THE LORD CHANCELLOR
My Lords, the assurance of the noble Earl (the Earl of Shaftesbury) that he places himself in an attitude of opposition to this Bill with deep regret is one which I frankly and unreservedly accept. I accept equally the statement that the noble Earl has taken the step of moving his Resolution without concert or co-operation with any Party in Parliament; but, at the same time, the noble Earl must permit me to offer him my congratulations on the great and unusual good fortune by which he, a fortuitous and unexpected General, has found ready to his hand a disciplined and compact army, prepared not merely to follow his footsteps, but to accept that line of battle which he himself, without any concert with them, has chosen. My Lords, I will follow the example of the noble Earl, and will not shrink from any of the arguments to which he has referred in favour of his Motion; but there is one part of the artillery of the noble Earl to which I feel myself unable to reply. I cannot follow the noble Earl through the gloomy forebodings in which he indulges: in that field the noble Earl is without a rival. When we come to forebodings we enter upon the realm of prophecy, and when we enter upon the realm of prophecy there are only two alternatives possible—belief or rejection. My Lords, I am not a believer in the forebodings of the noble Earl.
I ask your Lordships to consider, in the first place, how completely the issue between us is narrowed on the present occasion. We have here to-night no controversy as to an addition to the title of the Sovereign—the Bill authorizing that addition has passed the second reading, and the noble Earl, by the words of his Resolution, does not propose to object to an addition, but, on the contrary, asks the Sovereign in words to make that addition. But, my Lords, the issue is narrowed somewhat further. It is not merely that there is no longer any dispute that there is to be some addition to the Royal title, but it has become even a narrower question, and the only issue now is as between two titles—the title of Queen and the title of Empress.
On the occasion of the second reading of this Bill I anxiously observed the observations made on this point from 1049 the Opposition side of the House. The noble Lord who once occupied the position of Governor General of India (Lord Lawrence) spoke—not in favour of the measure, but at the same time he did not propose any other title than that of Empress except a title in the Indian language, which, naturally, was not received with favour on either side. The noble Lord who was at one time Governor of Madras (Lord Napier and Ettrick), suggested for a moment the title of "Paramount Sovereign;" but he almost immediately appeared to shrink from it, and said it would be an unusual title, and returning again to "Empress," he observed that it expressed more nearly Her Majesty's position in reference to India than did the title of Queen. I know that outside this House other titles have been suggested. "Paramount Power," and "Lady Paramount," have been suggested; and we have heard the proposal that "Sovereign Lady" should be the title adopted. But, my Lords, I do not think that any public man in his place in Parliament has gravely risen and proposed any of these titles. Of all these proposals it is sufficient to say that the words suggested are not titles, but definitions and descriptions. "Paramount Power," "Lady Paramount," and "Sovereign Lady"—not one of these is a title. Your Lordships in the supplication made for the Sovereign in this House offer up your prayers for "our Sovereign Lady," but you add immediately after these words a title which designates the Sovereign Lady as "the Queen." The question, then, is simply this—if an addition is to be made to the Royal titles under this Bill, should that be the title of Queen or the title of Empress?
Now, my Lords, I will take that division which the noble Earl suggests, and will first look to India and then look to England. What I would desire your Lord ships to consider with respect to India is—first, whether the title of Empress is appropriate; and next, whether it is likely to be acceptable. Now, my Lords, what is the nature of our rule over India? The noble Earl hardly adverted to it. We govern a large part of India directly as dominions of the Crown; but there are enormous portions of India—portions larger than kingdoms and Empires in Europe—which we govern not directly, but indirectly. We find in these portions of India potentates with 1050 various titles—such as the Nizam, Scindiah, Holkar, the Guikwar, and the Maharajah of Jeypore, and many others. Over potentates of such magnitude this country exercises power in India. And what is the character of that power? We speak of Treaties made with these potentates, but these are Treaties by which we define the nature of our power. Those potentates cannot make peace or war, they cannot make Treaties with other Powers; they cannot regulate their own succession, and at their Courts, whenever necessary, we have Residents representing English power. This power does not require a better description than that given of it by Lord Canning. That description was referred to on the second reading of the Bill, but I will venture to read it again to your Lordships. It is a description not given without consideration, because it was introduced in a great despatch—the "Adoption Despatch"—which conferred on India a kind of Magna Charta. This is what Lord Canning said in the "Adoption Despatch"—A time so opportune for the step can never occur again. The last vestiges of the Royal House of Delhi, from which, for our own convenience, we had long been content to accept a vicarious authority, have been swept away. The last Pretender for the representation of the Peishwa has disappeared. The Crown of England stands forth the unquestioned ruler and paramount Power in all India, and is, for the first time, Drought face to face with its feudatories. There is a reality in the Suzerainty of the Sovereignty of England which has never existed before and which is not only felt but eagerly acknowledged by the Chiefs.I ask is that a true description of the power exercised by this country in India? The noble Earl (the Earl of Shaftesbury) will hardly deny that it is a true description. And, if it is, I ask, is it the description of a power which would be represented by the title of King or Queen? My Lords, I do not go into that antiquated lore which the noble Earl deprecated, but some of which the noble Earl who leads the Opposition in this House (Earl Granville) entered into the other night. I do not go into the question as to whether what he said as to the Kings of France and Dukes of Burgundy was correct, though I believe much might be said on the other side; but I ask whether in modern times—within these last five or six centuries of which the world has a vivid recollection—there is any 1051 instance where the title of King has been used to imply such a power as that which is described by Lord Canning. On the other hand, is there any doubt that with regard to a power which can be described in the terms used by Lord Canning, the title Emperor would be a proper description? I take the term as one indicating a Sovereign who governs not directly, but through other Sovereigns, and in this sense I believe the term "Queen" an inappropriate one, and the term "Empress" an appropriate one.
My Lords, the noble Duke who spoke the other night first in opposition to the Bill (the Duke of Somerset) asked the question—and I think the noble Earl repeated something of the same kind to-night—"Do you mean to offer the Princes of India a title which would not be accepted in this country?" The noble Earl to-night, following up that idea, said—"We want harmony, and in order to secure this we must assimilate our practice by using the same title for the Queen here and in India." I would like to ask this question—If we merely incorporate the name of India into the title which the Queen bears in this country, and style Her Majesty "Queen of Great Britain, Ireland, and India," what are the Nizam and Scindiah, and Holkar, and the Guikwar, and the Maharajah likely to think? They know how the Queen is Sovereign of England; they know how she exercises territorial dominion over every inch of ground in England. This they know, and they will ask—"Do you mean to say that the Sovereign is Queen of India in the same sense in which she is Queen of England." Do not think that the feudatory Princes of India have no intelligence on this subject. Do you not think they know and understand that the power exercised by the Queen over India is not the same as that exercised by the Queen over England? You should do nothing to excite jealousy of the Princes of India in respect of their territorial rights by conveying a false impression by any title that their territorial powers are impaired. I say, then, that the title of Empress is an appropriate one, having regard to the power exercised by Her Majesty in India.
I want to ask, then, would it be an acceptable title? We have got some testimony on this subject. My Lords, in 1052 inquiring whether this would be an acceptable title in India, in my opinion the great object is to obtain some testimony which may be regarded as unbiased and impartial. I give comparatively little weight to testimony arising after the conflict of opinion has commenced. I attach very much more weight to free and unbiased testimony which was in existence before the conflict began. The first witness to whom I refer as affording the latter class of testimony is Lord Northbrook, and I refer to a letter of his which was brought under the notice of your Lordships on the second reading of the Bill. Lord Northbrook when penning that document, which was directed to an Oriental potentate, could have had no object in applying to Her Majesty a title which he did not regard as appropriate and which he did not think would be understood by the Prince to whom it was addressed. In sending a mission to Yarkund Lord Northbrook described the Queen as Empress of Hindostan. The noble Lord a late Governor General (Lord Lawrence) suggests that the letter might have been written in the vernacular, and that "Empress" might not have been the precise term employed. My Lords, we have no reason to think that. The copy of the letter sent by the Viceroy comes to the India Office in English, and in it the Queen is described as Empress of Hindostan. But there is still further evidence upon this point. I mentioned just now the name of the Maharajah of Jeypore, who is one of the most intelligent of the Native Princes of India, and who is thought so highly of that Lord Northbrook placed him on the tribunal which was lately appointed to inquire into the conduct of the Guikwar of Baroda. What was the manner in which the Maharajah of Jeypore, of his own accord, addressed the Queen when presenting a congratulatory address to Her Majesty on the recovery of the Prince of Wales in 1872? The address was in the English language, and he styled the Queen "Empress of India." But there is another piece of evidence which was mentioned in this House on Thursday night. I allude to the Exhibition medals at Kurrachee. That was a case in which there was no action by any Government official, in which there was no object to be served by any officer of the Government, and no desire to do anything pleasant to those in high position; 1053 because, as far as I know, the medals were retained and circulated in the district in which they were struck. But it was a case in which, on the occasion of an Exhibition in which were centred the whole of the commercial interests of the West of India, the community of merchants themselves, both Native and English, in considering a fitting form to present a medal with the title of the Sovereign, of their own accord adopted the title of "Empress of India." Well, let me ask, have we any other witnesses on the subject? Are there not witnesses almost within our own hearing? Did the noble Lord who was Governor General of India (Lord Lawrence) tell us that the title of Empress was unacceptable in that country? The noble Lord spoke, I think, against the Bill on account of its possible effect in England; but, if I recollect right, he said that if Her Majesty were to adopt the title of Empress it would, in his opinion, be received with pleasure and satisfaction by the people of India. Again, what did the noble Lord who was Governor of Madras (Lord Napier and Ettrick) say, and to whose speech the other night I listened, as I am sure did all your Lordships, with great interest, for a more grave, measured, and temperate speech I never had the satisfaction of hearing, or one which conveyed more information? He said the title of Queen would be wholly inappropriate, and that he believed the title of Empress would be hailed with satisfaction by the people of India, who would look upon it as a proof that the interests of India were united with those of this country. I will mention another authority. There is scarcely anyone living, I imagine, who knows more or has seen more of public feeling in India than the great founder of the Missionary Church of Scotland in India—I mean Dr. Duff. His experience of India dates from nearly 50 years back. He has spent a lifetime in India, and his opinion on Indian subjects has been deemed of such value that a quarter of a century ago your Lordships asked for it when inquiring into questions affecting that country. Dr. Duff, I may add, having returned from India, has risen to the highest position in his own Church, having been Moderator of the General Assembly of the Free Kirk: and what did he say when addressing, only the other day, a public meeting of his own countrymen— 1054 one of those meetings which, according to the noble Earl (the Earl of Shaftesbury), could not be called together without expressing disapprobation of the title of Empress? He said—Remember the tie that exists between us and this region of India. There is no such tie between this country and any other kingdom of heathenism. We have conquered these tribes, every throne in India is prostrate at our feet, and the Princes and Rajahs are feudatories of Queen Victoria. … This tie is peculiar and intensely providential. There is thus an obligation laid upon us by Providence to do this work, and if the British Parliament will do what India has done without being consulted in the matter—regard our Queen Victoria as Empress of India, and the successor of the Great Mogul Emperor—the connection between this country and India will be closer than ever it was.He then goes on to say—Even when the last Mogul Emperor was a pensioner of the British Government at Delhi, all India looked to him still as the supreme Prince, and no Prince reckoned himself secure upon his little or big throne until he got the formal sanction of the Emperor of Delhi. All this continued down to the Mutiny and Rebellion of 1857. The last of the Moguls joined the Mutiny, and, being captured by the British Government, was tried for his life. I was at Calcutta at the time when he died in banishment, and I remember quite well what the Indians, both high and low, said then. They said, 'Now we are without a supreme Sovereign. The Great Mogul has gone; the only Empress we have now is Victoria.' And straightway, without being asked, they began everywhere to call her the Empress of India. That is the title by which she is known there.To which he adds—All this discussion in our Parliament is an inscrutable mystery to me.Now, against this body of testimony—the testimony of acts done in India, of Natives of India, of men who have passed their lives in India, and who thoroughly understand Indian opinion—what have your Lordships to put in the scale? Absolutely nothing—for I am not now speaking of English feeling on the subject—if you only except a drawing-room meeting in the house of the noble Earl, where some young Natives of India appear to have said that they hoped no dynasty which we might establish in India would imitate that of the Moguls—a hope in which we may all safely concur. So much for India.
I now pass to England, and I ask what would be the effect on the present Royal style and titles in this country if the title of "Empress of India" were 1055 assumed for India? My Lords, I am not one of those who look with any dissatisfaction on any amount of jealousy or solicitude here as to any measure that would impair the dignity of the title of the Queen of England. I believe—every one of your Lordships believes—that the title of Queen of England is the greatest and the grandest in the world. It is a part, and no small part, of our national inheritance. I believe—every one of your Lordships believes—that there is no Sovereign on earth, be he Emperor or King, to whom the Queen of England ought to yield precedence. I believe—every one of your Lordships believes—that there is no addition you could make to the title of Queen of England which could add to its dignity. I would say for myself—and I am satisfied I might say for every one of your Lordships—that if I know myself rightly I would forfeit all I possess before I would lend my hand to any measure which in my conscience I believed would dim the lustre or degrade the grandeur of that great title. But I want to know what is the effect which the assumption of the title of Empress of India for India, supposing it to be appropriate and accepted in India, will have on the Royal style and title of this country? I have not said a word, nor am I going to say a word, in this debate about Party motives. I allow to others, as I claim for myself, the admission that we are all actuated by a conscientious desire to do what we think right in this matter. I must, however, protest against some assumptions which, it appears to me, have been too lightly made in the course of these discussions. Those who are opposed to the title of Empress have assumed two things which are of great importance in their view of the case. They commence by assuming that we cannot have the title of Empress without altering and impairing the title of Queen of England. Arguing from that proposition, they go on to say that any measure which would impair the title of Queen of England must be unpopular in this country. Now, I should like to know what is the evidence on which they rely that this measure, properly understood, is unpopular in this country. The noble Earl who has just sat down (the Earl of Shaftesbury) will forgive me for saying that I cannot take his unsupported authority as evidence of the feel- 1056 ing of the country at large. I am the less disposed to take it as an authority when I hear the views which he entertains as to the opinions of the people of this country. If I understood, him rightly, he says that in the North of England—where it appears he has been collecting public opinion—he found that the people were not thinking about the merits of the Bill, but rather of the respective claims to their confidence of Mr. Gladstone or Mr. Disraeli. Now, my Lords, I cannot attach much weight to the views of those engaged in this collateral controversy as an expression of public opinion on this measure. In some other parts of the country, also, it seems, the noble Earl endeavoured to collect public opinion, and he says that the working men were so indifferent to the Bill that they declined to attend a meeting or to lose a day's work for the purpose of discussing the subject, but that their wishes might be gathered from the newspapers which they were in the habit of reading. Now, my Lords, I hope no one will gather my opinions from the newspapers I am in the habit of reading; and I can only say that if the opinions of the working men are to be ascertained from the newspapers which they are in the habit of reading they are very much to be pitied. Well, what other evidence has the noble Earl to produce? Petitions. About them I should like to say a word. I speak with the greatest respect of the power of petitioning; but I must be allowed to observe that it is very remarkable with regard to this Bill that, although nearly two months have passed since it was first announced, I am not aware that any Petitions deserving the name have been presented against it until within the last few days. We had a reference the other night to the manner in which these Petitions have been made to order. I think the order has been carefully executed, because if I recollect aright the circular expressly stated that the number of signatures to the Petitions was of no importance—the great thing was to have a Petition. When I looked to-night at the roll of Petitions which the noble Earl (Earl Granville) brought into this House, which appeared to be something of a feather weight, I rather thought the advice given as to the number of signatures had been literally complied with.
The LORD CHANCELLOR
I only judged by the degree of ease with which the noble Earl bore into this House and laid upon the Table the roll of Petitions which he presented. My Lords, out of curiosity I have looked at the reasoning of these Petitions, and I have selected two which may be taken as samples of those made to order. Here is one—it consists of one sentence:—"That in the opinion of the Petitioners the Royal Titles Bill now under your Lordships' consideration is fraught with danger to the public interests." That is very simple and very dogmatic, but it does not assign much reason. The other does assign a reason. "Your Petitioners," it says, "believe that it is unwise to alter the title of Queen under which Her Most Gracious Majesty has surrounded the Throne with the affection of all her subjects." My Lords, it is sufficient to reply to this Petition by saying that nobody proposes to alter the title.
Upon a subject of this kind there is in a country like ours a higher authority to appeal to with regard to the views and wishes of the people than Petitions. I have always understood that it was one of the advantages of a country possessing representative institutions that the views of the people of the country could be ascertained through the mouths of the Representatives of the people. It so happens that this Bill has passed the ordeal of the representative Assembly before it has come to your Lordships. The noble Earl (Earl Grey) who spoke the other night near me dealt with this difficulty in a very singular way. He said it was quite true that this Bill had passed the House of Commons by a large majority, but that a great number of those who voted for it did so with great reluctance. The noble Earl is one to whom we look for instruction upon all matters of Parliamentary and Constitutional practice, but it is a dangerous doctrine for this House to hold or listen to, that we are so to regard the votes in the House of Commons. I know what your Lordships would think if, after your Lordships had arrived at a decision, some person in the House of Commons—not some novice, but some one experienced in public life, some vir pictate gravis—should rise in his 1058 place, and say—"It is quite true in voting they were discharging a great public function, but in reality their votes were not given on any principle of that kind, but on another principle, and from other motives, with reluctance and against their judgment and conscience." If the noble Earl's observations do not amount to that, I am at a loss to know what they do mean. There is one other observation I may make with regard to the majority of which the noble Earl spoke so lightly. It might be said that the majority supporting the Government were bound by the bond which usually attaches them to the Government; but, my Lords, that ground is entirely cut away from under the noble Earl, because it so happens that the majority which carried this Bill was, if I mistake not, something like double the ordinary majority by which the Government is supported.
This being the evidence which we have of the feeling of the country, the noble Earl (the Earl of Shaftesbury) asks your Lordships to carry to the foot of the Throne a statement which, under these circumstances, appears to me to be both violent and unjustified. He proposes, in effect, that your Lordships should inform Her Most Gracious Majesty that the title of Empress—even if assumed for India—even if used for India—is a title which will not be in accordance with the loyal feelings of Her Majesty's subjects. That is, he proposes absolutely and unreservedly to state to the Crown—after the House of Commons has stated its opinion—not what is the opinion of this House, but what is the opinion of the people of this country. I must say that if anything could be imagined which is an usurpation of the powers of a representative body, it is for this House to go out of its way to express, not our own opinion, but something which we undertake to say is the opinion of the people of this country. But, my Lords, have we any evidence that the title of Empress is a title which will, in the opinion of the people of this country, properly express the power of the Throne in India? I think we have some evidence on that point. I believe that at the time this controversy was raised there was large numbers of people in this country who were under the impression that Her Majesty was already Empress of India. 1059 I recollect, at the time of Her Majesty's gracious Speech from the Throne, receiving a communication, from a keen observer of the public history of this country, which stated that the Government were under a misapprehension on this matter; that in 1858 the Queen had become Empress of India, and that was her title at the present moment. My Lords, I believe that this was really the opinion and belief of a large number of people at the commencement of this year. The noble Earl ridicules the references that have been made to school-books and almanacks, and I know that a good deal of contempt was thrown upon any reference to authorities of that kind. But I must say for myself that I think that the public man who throws contempt upon the school-books of the nation may be a man of very keen wit and of a very sharp tongue; but he is not a man of a very great deal of common sense. When I find that in school books and in almanacks circulating through the country by hundreds of thousands, and circulating for years, the style given to the Queen with regard to India is Empress of India, and that no voice has ever been heard against it, I consider that is very cogent evidence that there is nothing in that title, providing it does not affect the English title, which is objectionable to the feelings of the people of this country. If your Lordships will take up one of those depositories of information which I never open without amazement and admiration—I mean one of those books which contain a statement of the titles and histories of your Lordships—you will find—I think this one which I hold in my hand is about the oldest established in this country—that the title of the Queen is thus described—Victoria, Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and of the Colonies and Dependencies thereof, Empress of India.It has, so far as I know, never occurred to any person to protest against the title thus given as repulsive to English feelings.
I have anxiously endeavoured to discover what were the arguments upon which it was stated that the title of the Queen of England would be interfered with by the title of Empress of India, and I do not desire to overlook any one of them. The first argument that is used is what I may term the 1060 social argument. I think it was the noble Duke who spoke the other night (the Duke of Somerset) who said that, of course, the title would be used in England, and that it would be used not merely by the Sovereign, but by other Members of the Royal Family. That argument is very shortly answered. I will read to your Lordships what was stated on these points by the Prime Minister. He said—The noble Lord who has just addressed us has put the case very fairly before us. He gives myself and my Colleagues credit for being sincere in the statements we have made, and feels that we have given honest advice to the Sovereign—and that advice, I am bound to say, has been received with the utmost sympathy—namely, that the title which Her Majesty has been advised, for great reasons of State, to assume, shall be exercised absolutely and solely in India when it is required, and that on becoming Empress of India she does not seek to be in any way Empress of England, but will be content with the old style and title of Queen of the United Kingdom. To all purposes, in fact, Her Majesty would govern the United Kingdom as she has always governed it."—[3 Hansard, ccxxviii. 320.]As to the Members of the Royal Family, he said the advice which the Government gave to the Crown and which was received with sympathy was that no change should be made in, if I may use the term, the courtesy titles of the Royal Family. That appears to me to terminate this point.
But the noble Duke (the Duke of Somerset) had another string to his bow on this part of the question. He said—"But suppose you provide for the Sovereign exercising the title in the way which you say, you must look at the other side—What will people do after the Bill is passed even with these limitations?" It is said that the moment we pass this Bill the country will take up the title of Empress, and that it will in course of time become the ordinary title of the Crown. Now I want the noble Duke who used that argument to contrast it with another which fell from him in the same speech. He said the people of this country disliked the title of Empress—that they would not have it under any circumstances. Now, if that is the case, how does the noble Duke establish his first proposition—that the moment the title is adopted every person will be eager and ready to use it? I must submit to the noble Duke that it is not customary for well-balanced reasoning 1061 minds to lay down two antagonistic propositions destructive of each other in the same speech.
My Lords, reference has been made in the debate to the ancient history of France. I do not wish to enter into a controversy on the subject; but there is one part of it which I think may be usefully referred to in answer to the argument of the noble Earl near me (Earl Granville). My Lords, I believe I am right in stating that during the French Monarchy, and down to the termination of the reign of Louis Philippe—a time during which, if there was ever any people attached to the title of King, it was the French people—it was the rule of the French Government that Oriental Potentates in diplomatic intercourse with France should be addressed—and the Sovereign of France in diplomatic intercourse with those Potentates should style himself—Emperor. I have copies of several such documents, during the reign of Louis Philippe, and I have never heard that the practice led to any general introduction of the title of Emperor of France.
I now come to the argument with regard to the Royal style in public documents. In answer to a Question the other night, I said, speaking in general terms, and without referring to any definite form of Proclamation, that where it was necessary to use the whole of the Royal style the whole of the Royal style should, as a general rule, be used. The documents in question I believe may be generally classified as commissions, patents, writs, and possibly charters. It is not from the perusal of documents of that kind that the greatest amount of public information is obtained; but any difficulty which might arise from the new title being used in such cases will be avoided. The Bill authorizes Her Majesty to make such addition to the Royal style and titles as she may think fit. In that respect it follows the measures connected with the Union with Ireland in the year 1801. A Proclamation was on that occasion issued by the Sovereign defining the new title then introduced and stating that it was to be used so far as convenient on all proper occasions. But the Proclamation at the same time provided that on all coinage, as well as stamps, dies, and instruments of that kind, the old style and title should continue to be used. Well, my Lords, 1062 I have to state that it is the intention of the Government that the Proclamation to be issued by Her Majesty under this Bill shall comply literally with the engagements which have been given to the House of Commons, and that it will provide in a manner analogous to the Proclamation of 1801—that upon all writs, commissions, patents, and charters intended to operate within the United Kingdom, the Royal style shall continue as it is, without any addition.
There is another, and I believe it is the last, argument that has been advanced—it is said that the new title of Empress of India will overshadow the title of Queen of England. My Lords, that appears to me to be, not an argument, but a mere figure of speech. It is difficult to answer a figure of speech; and I am at a loss to conceive how the great title of Queen of England, unchanged and unaltered and sacred in this country, and beloved by every subject of the Crown, can possibly be overshadowed bythe addition of a title apposite and appropriate to and only to be used in India. But, my Lords, to my mind there will be much in the juxtaposition of those two titles that will appear to the people of India to be both significant and appropriate. There will appear in that juxtaposition to be not an obscuring shadow, but a beneficent lustre, and the light, in my opinion, will not fall from the Empress upon the Queen, but from the Queen upon the Empress. My Lords, the Sovereign of this country is in substance and in fact the Empress of India, but she is Empress of India because she is Queen of England. India does not possess in herself that capacity for self-government which we enjoy; but Providence has fortunately placed her under the power of this country—a power which, while in its action upon India it is paramount, is at the same time in its exercise checked and controlled by all the limits and responsibilities of Constitutional Government. My Lords, it is in the two-fold aspect of this paramount power—its aspect of origin and limit on the one hand, and its aspect of incidence and action on the other—that the pre-eminent fitness of this two-fold title is to be found. And, my Lords, when this measure goes forth to India, bearing—as I trust it will bear—to the Chiefs and people of that great world the assurance that their desti- 1063 nies and interests are indissoluby united with those of this Empire, it will serve to remind them at the same time that the Sovereign who claims their submission and allegiance is not only, and not primarily, Empress of India, but that her first, her greatest, her most grateful title is that of Queen of England.
§ LORD SELBORNE
The noble and learned Lord who has just sat down, in his very able speech, has reminded me of that power which is said to be possessed by one of the noblest animals in creation—namely, that of picking up with the peculiar instrument with which it is armed either the largest trees or the smallest objects with equal facility. With his practised and ingenious eloquence he has gone over almost all the arguments which have hitherto been used by the advocates of his side of this question. Two only of those arguments were not mentioned by my noble and learned Friend. I am happy to say that we did not hear him repeat something which I think inadvertently dropped from the noble Duke opposite the other evening, who told us that because Her Majesty's Ministers had announced their intention, if this Bill passed, to advise Her Majesty to assume the title of Empress, therefore your Lordships, by voting for the second reading, would be recording your votes in favour of that title. That argument, I am happy to find, has not been repeated. Another argument of greater importance, and which certainly made no slight sensation in the country, we did not hear from my noble and learned Friend. He has made no reference whatever to the advances of Russia in Central Asia—he has not stated his opinion to be that the assumption of the title of Empress by Her Majesty will have any effect in checking any danger from those advances. I therefore infer that, on further consideration, it has appeared to Her Majesty's Government that the Russian argument is not one on which they can safely base their proposal. The noble and learned Lord has taken the same ground as the noble Duke (the Duke of Richmond) took, when he said that the alternative in the case is between the title of Empress and the title of Queen; and I, for one, am perfectly willing to meet Her Majesty's Government on that ground. We know what other titles have been suggested by other 1064 persons. I will not inquire whether any of them are really available or not, because I do not hesitate to express my own clear and strong conviction that the title of "Queen" is that which it would be most fitting for Her Majesty to retain throughout the whole of her dominions; and I want to know why Her Majesty is not to retain, that title with special reference to India? By what title did Her Majesty in 1858 assume the government of India? By the title of Queen; and that, your Lordships will remember, not in a document requiring by law the exact legal style and title of the Imperial Crown—in a document which did not, in point of fact, follow that exact legal style and title, for the language of that Proclamation ran, if I recollect, thus—"Victoria, of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and the Dependencies thereof in Europe, Asia, Africa, America, and Australasia, Queen:"—that is, of the whole of the Dependencies of the United Kingdom in Asia—which I presume include India—Queen. If, then, Her Majesty could assume the government of India by the title of Queen, why should she not continue to govern India by that title? Has she not continued ever since to govern India by the name of Queen? Eighteen years have elapsed, and by that name it is that she has become endeared to the people of India. That name has been incorporated in all public Acts and documents, in all laws of the British dominion in India since 1858. Your Lordships will pardon me if I remind you of the language of those laws on some points. In the Indian Penal Code of 1860, the name "Queen" is defined as expressing the Sovereign of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland for the time being; and the 4th section of that Code, taking notice both of the territories under the direct government of the Crown and of those under Native Princes, says—Every servant of the Queen shall be subject to punishment under this Code for every act or omission, contrary to the provisions thereof, of which he, while in such service, shall be guilty, within the dominions of any Prince or State in alliance with the Queen, by virtue of any treaty or engagement heretofore entered into with the East India Company, or which may have been, or hereafter be, made in the name of the Queen by the Government of India.Section 121 makes it a capital offence to 1065 "wage war against the Queen." Sections 125 and 126 impose punishments for the offences of "waging war against the Government of any Asiatic Power in alliance or at peace with the Queen," and of "committing depredations on the territories of any Power in alliance or at peace with the Queen." Other sections relate to offences by persons "in the military or naval service of the Queen." Section 230 defines "coin stamped and issued by the authority of the Queen, or by the authority of the Government of India, or of the Government of any Presidency, or of any Government in the Queen's dominions," as "the Queen's coin;" and the offences of counterfeiting and debasing "the Queen's coin" are made punishable by the succeeding sections. The Code of Criminal Procedure, Section 300, gives power to take security for good behaviour in a variety of cases, according to a form which recites that the party has been "called upon to enter into a bond to be of good behaviour to Her Majesty the Queen, and to all her subjects." And so, throughout the Code, Her Majesty as Ruler of India by the name of Queen is recognized—it is the constitutional language of the law at the present moment throughout British India. Where, then, is the difficulty of adhering to the title which has been used during the last 18 years without mischief or misunderstanding—which has been embodied and incorporated in the whole of the law of British India, and which is to this day in use there. The noble Marquess opposite (the Marquess of Salisbury) said last week that the title "Empress" is more appropriate than that of "Queen" because it signifies "Ruler of Rulers;" and the noble and learned Lord (the Lord Chancellor) said to-night that the title "Empress" is fitter because it means "Sovereign of Sovereigns;" and in that way it is supposed to express more accurately than the name "Queen" the relations of the British Crown to the Princes of India and to those territories which Her Majesty does not directly govern. Now, every part of that argument appears to me to be without foundation. First of all, I entirely deny that there is the least foundation for the assertion that the name of Empress expresses "Ruler of Rulers," or "Sovereign of Sovereigns,"—that it ever did, or ever will, according to the proper 1066 meaning of the word. We all know that was not its original meaning. If we go back to the original meaning, it meant the Commander-in-Chief of Armies. But what is the sense it has acquired by usage? As far as my memory goes, there is only one dominion in Europe that has hitherto been described by the name of an Empire, which happens, among its other accidents, to have had this particular accident of the Sovereign being, in some sense, a Ruler of Rulers. And, on the other hand, there have been Kingdoms to which that accident was equally applicable. The old German Empire, and perhaps also the new one, may, with some propriety of speech, be described as being a dominion in which the Emperor is a Ruler of Rulers—not, I think, a Sovereign of Sovereigns. And there, with great deference to my noble and learned Friend, his language seemed to me less accurate than that of the noble Marquess opposite. Taking whichever word you please, the former German Emperors of the now dissolved German Empire were Prince selected by other Princes to a certain kind of primacy, and they were called Emperors. It would, therefore—as far as this precedent goes—be just as correct to say that the word "Emperor" signifies better than "Queen" an elective title, as to say that it signifies a Ruler of Rulers. The title of the present Emperor, recently created in Germany, really rested on the invitation of those other Rulers to him to assume that title: and if that single instance is to impose a new stamp on the meaning of "Emperor," I again say, that election or invitation is as much, implied by the title as "Ruler of Rulers." All other Emperors that I have ever heard of have not been Rulers over Rulers. Is the Emperor of Brazil a Ruler over Rulers? Was the late French Emperor a Ruler over Rulers? Is the Emperor of Russia—or was he before the late conquests in Central Asia—a Ruler over Rulers? Is the Emperor of Austria a Ruler over Rulers? I say that the word "Emperor" in its proper sense has no application to the object to which it is now intended to apply it. If the fact of being Rulers over Rulers is peculiar to Emperors and not to Kings, how do you account for the Kings of France having been, as they were, Rulers over Rulers? My noble 1067 and learned Friend referred to the Proclamation of Lord Canning, and to the authority of those who he said, are best acquainted with India. The word Empress is not in that Proclamation of Lord Canning to which my noble and learned Friend referred. We have heard the speeches of two of those persons in this House: and I have seen what has been said elsewhere by others of them. I do not find that any one of them anywhere has said that this word Empress was that best suited to express the relations of the Queen to the Princes and States of India—unless, indeed, it is the Gentleman who is reported to have argued, that we ought to regard the Queen as the direct successor by conquest of the Great Mogul. In this House we heard the opinion of a noble Lord who has been Governor of Madras (Lord Napier and Ettrick), and, certainly, of all the opinions expressed, in this House by independent Members, that of the noble Lord has been, on the whole, the most favourable to the views of the Government. But what did he say? Did he say that he thought this word Empress would appropriately express the relations of the British Crown to the Native States and Princes of India? On the contrary, if I remember rightly, the noble Lord said he did not think it was exactly appropriate for the purpose; he thought that another expression which, at the least, has the advantage of large generality and indefiniteness, and also another advantage of not being fixed in any sense by previous use—namely, the expression Paramount Power—
§ LORD SELBORNE
He thought that Paramount Sovereign was the title best calculated to express the actual position of the Crown in India. If I rightly apprehend the meaning of those words, it is that the Queen is the Great Sovereign of India, whose power is paramount to all other Powers in that country. The noble Lord is not satisfied that this word Empress, according to any known signification of it, accurately describes the existing relations between the Crown and the Princes and States of India, and he described those relations by words certainly not equivalent to Empress. But the noble Lord was preceded in the Government of Madras by another public servant of 1068 no small general attainments and of considerable knowledge of India—Sir Charles Trevelyan. He has suggested that the style of the Queen should be "Victoria, by the grace of God of the British Isles, of the Colonies, and of India, Queen." Therefore these two great Indian authorities do not think the word Empress is properly expressive of the relations between the Crown and India: and one of them prefers the title of Queen. But what said a noble Lord who, with perfect respect to the other distinguished persons I have referred to, is, I venture to think, a still higher authority? What said Lord Lawrence, the late Governor General of India? He said he did not doubt that the Princes of India would receive with satisfaction the assumption by Her Majesty of the title of Empress; and my noble and learned Friend has, no doubt, availed himself of that testimony of the noble Lord. But my noble and learned Friend did not also remind your Lordships that Lord Lawrence went on to say, that the Princes and States of India would receive with equal satisfaction the assumption by Her Majesty of the title of Queen of India. He did not stop there. He said the title of Queen was popular and would be universally accepted by the people of England, while the title of Empress was at least with a large part of the people of England unpopular and unacceptable; and that, when that fact became known in India, it would be enough to turn the scale in favour of the title of Queen, and the people and Princes of India would be better satisfied with that title. My Lords, I cannot but think there may be some possible danger—and that there can be no possible gain—in departing from the guarded and careful manner in which, in the public, legal, and authoritative documents hitherto in force in India, Her Majesty's relation to those territories in India, which she does not directly govern, is described. Your Lordships will, perhaps, allow me to remind you once more that the Princes and States of India are described in those formal and legal documents, as Princes and States in alliance with the Queen by virtue of treaties and engagements. It has not been thought necessary, it has not been thought wise, to attempt to define by any term indicative, or which might be thought to be indicative, of a direct assumption of 1069 Sovereign authority, the multifarious relations, differing greatly in different cases, which exist between Her Majesty and the various Native States in India. My noble and learned Friend (the Lord Chancellor) referred to such great Princes as Scindiah and Holkar and the Nizam, and he asked your Lordships what would they think the assumption of the title of Queen of India would imply? I think it was imprudent for my noble and learned Friend to ask that question. He might well have been content with the answer given to it by the noble Lord behind me who was Governor General of India—namely, that they would not think much about it: because, if it were really to be apprehended that they would regard with so much anxiety the use of the title of Queen, it was surely at least as probable, that they might inquire whether some new assertion of power was not intended on the part of Her Majesty by the assumption of the title of Empress. The noble Duke opposite (the Duke of Richmond) read an extract from a speech which Lord Palmerston made in February, 1858. I own I think that the language of that, and of another speech of Lord Palmerston, in support of the Bill for the transfer of the Government of India to Her Majesty is extremely different from the arguments we have heard as to the proper signification of the word Empress as defining our relations to all the States and Princes of India. In April, 1858, Lord Palmerston expressly declared his agreement with a previous speaker in the same debate, who had said that India is not like one of our other possessions abroad, that it does not contain only a single population, that India is not all under our sway, and that the Indian Government involves relations with independent Princes. When we come to examine those relations, it is very probable, that the word "independent" may require a great deal of qualification as to every one of those Princes. But is it wise, when we have admitted them to be independent Princes, in a broad and practical sense, now to adopt a new term for the express purpose, as we are told, of giving the most accurate possible description of our exact relation towards them? May they not inquire what is meant by the word Empress in other countries, and will the result of 1070 that inquiry be entirely satisfactory? I venture to think it will not. It cannot be contended that Her Majesty, whether as Queen or as Empress, exercises sovereignty over all the territories of Hindostan. And why not? Because there are others who have sovereign powers in Hindostan besides ourselves and the Native Princes. The settlements of France and of Portugal in those territories may be small in extent as compared with ours or with the territories of Native Princes, but nevertheless they form part of Hindostan, and by no possible use of the word "Empress" or "Queen" can Her Majesty be supposed to assume the sovereignty over the whole of that Peninsula. Whichever title is used, the word "India" must be taken in a sense not universal; and that being so, ordinary policy and common sense oblige us to say that its actual application to any particular territory must be defined and understood according to the actual relations of this country to that territory. My Lords, that being so, is it not clear that it is better to adhere to the use of the word "Queen," which is the word by which Her Majesty is now described here and in India, and in all other parts of the British territory throughout the world? For my own part, I should have thought that there could have been no doubt on that point. But, my Lords, the argument does not stop there—because, as I view the matter, the word "Empress," thus applied specially to India, is at variance with the ancient constitutional use of the words "Imperial," and "Empire," with respect to the British Crown; a use to which the Bill itself bears testimony. The clause of the Bill to which I refer proposes to authorize Her Majesty to make such addition "to the style and titles at present appertaining to the Imperial Crown of the United Kingdom and its Dependencies as to Her Majesty may seem meet." I do not entirely agree with what was said by the noble Lord behind me the other evening, that the word "Imperial," occurring, as it does, throughout the whole series of great constitutional statutes affecting the Crown, is no more than an epithet. It is more than that; it has reference to the word "Empire," which is used in several of those statutes. In the Statute of Appeals 1071 (24 Henry VIII., cap. 12) we find these words—This realm of England is an Empire, and so hath been accepted in the world, governed by one Supreme Head and King, having the dignity and Royal Estate of the Imperial Crown of the same.And in the last Act of that class, that which effected the Union with Ireland (39 & 40 George III., cap. 67), it is recited that it was an object of the Union "to consolidate the strength, power, and resources of the British Empire." What, then, does the word "Empire" mean in these great statutes, and what is the meaning of the words "Imperial Crown?" The meaning of those words is that the Imperial power, over all the dependencies and Foreign possessions of this country, resides in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, and in its Crown. That Imperial power resided originally in England, afterwards in Great Britain; it now finally resides in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. That is the Empire, and that is the Imperial Crown; and this Parliament of which your Lordships are Members makes laws, as such, whenever it is found necessary, for India, and for the British colonies and plantations in every part of the world; it is an Imperial Parliament; and the head of this Imperial system is the Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. Can it be maintained, therefore, for a moment, that you can take out of that Imperial system one portion of our territory and treat it as though Her Majesty ruled it by a different title from that by which she governs the other parts of the Empire—not by virtue of the Imperial Crown of this Realm, which she holds, not as Empress, but as Queen—but by virtue of a new title—that of Empress of India? I submit that it is not as Empress of India that Her Majesty rules over that country; it is as Queen of Great Britain. You cannot sever the Imperial quality from the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, or from the Royal Crown of that kingdom, and apply it to one portion of Her Majesty's dominions only; and if you attempt to do so I venture to say that you will be violating the true construction of these words, in the only sense in which they can constitutionally be used. The noble and learned Lord on the Woolsack, when referring to the state of public 1072 opinion on this question, applied tests which I should hardly have thought would have approved themselves to his mind. I should have thought that no number of Whitaker's Almanacks or Kurrachee medals could have any tendency to establish by usage an alteration in the style and title of the Crown which was not authorized by law. There is all the difference in the world between the use of inflated language by unauthorized individuals, and a solemn and formal addition, by an Act of Parliament, to the style and title of the Crown. The noble and learned Lord referred to Debrett's Peerage in proof of the popularity of this change in the Queen's title; and he put me in mind of the following lines:—Lament, lament, Sir Isaac Heard!Put mourning round thy page Debrett!For here lies one who ne'er preferr'dA Viscount to a Marquis yet.No doubt, it may be natural for that character of mind which those lines describe, to prefer, not only a Marquess to a Viscount, but an Empress to a Queen. Certainly, the Imperial style is harmless as long as it appears in unauthorized publications; but it is absurd to refer to such things as having paved the way to a deliberate alteration of the Royal title by statute. There is, however, another test by which we may learn, even from the conduct of Her Majesty's Government themselves, what is the feeling entertained by the country on the subject of this proposed change in the title of Her Majesty. Her Majesty's Government have pledged themselves that the title of Empress shall be used only in reference to India; but if the title is as popular in England as Her Majesty's Government say it is, why avoid touching it in this country as you would avoid touching poison, and why speak of it here "with bated breath and whispering humbleness?" I should have thought that nothing should have been added to the style of Her Majesty which might not have been blazoned forth in the face of all the world and have appeared at the head of every State document in England, as well as everywhere else. It is by the promise to localize this title in India that Her Majesty's Government have distinctly admitted their knowledge that the name is unpopular in this country. Let us have some title selected which may fitly express the supremacy of Her Majesty in 1073 India, which may give satisfaction to the Native Princes of India, and which will give offence to no single human being in this country. The argument appears to me irresistible that no addition should be made to the style and title of the Queen which cannot be everywhere used, and which cannot always be inserted in all charters, letters patent, and other documents in which it has hitherto been thought proper to set out Her Majesty's titles in full. It is certainly not necessary to set out the Royal titles in full either upon coins or on stamps; but it has been laid down, by high legal authority, that it is necessary to do so in such documents as writs and charters. As far back as 1678 the Court of King's Bench quashed and set aside a writ as bad in law because it omitted from the style of King Charles II. the title of King of Scotland; and unless words are inserted in this Bill to meet the case, I incline strongly to the opinion that the title which may be taken by Her Majesty must be universally used in instruments of that character, unless it is meant to run the risk of bringing into doubt the validity of those instruments. It has been contended that addition to the Queen's style is not alteration; but I must be pardoned for taking an opposite view; and I must say further that in dealing with a question affecting that style, associations and sentiments are most important. Her Majesty worthily represents an ancient and honourable title, whose lustre has not only remained unimpaired, but has gone on continually increasing; and while it has never, until now, been thought necessary to add anything to the simple, noble, and august name of Queen, time and events have been unable to subtract anything from its dignity. The feelings of the English people are wrapped up with the glories and great traditions of the Monarchy, in which the grand and simple name of Queen occupies the central place. I feel convinced that the very loyalty of those of Her Majesty's subjects who object to the advice which Her Majesty's Government have thought it their duty to offer to the Queen compels them to the course which they have taken. The hold which this title has upon the feelings of our fellow-countrymen has continually been strengthened, while transitory Empires in other countries have 1074 risen and fallen, and while modern Republics have been searching in vain for the secret of that authority which our Queen has inherited from the past. Whatever else may be thought upon the subject, I am sure your Lordships will agree with me that it is the duty of those of your Lordships who do not think that the strength, honour, and dignity of the Crown will be really enhanced by this addition to its title—who think that the course proposed is one which involves at least some risk of disturbing those hallowed associations which have centred round the name of Queen—openly to declare their sentiments and to support by their vote what they hold to be the wiser course. Our duty is not only to defend the honour and reverence which surround the Crown of our Sovereign from all external enemies, but also to protest against what we believe to be the misguided counsels of those who are vainly endeavouring to gild its refined gold.
§ VISCOUNT MIDLETON
thought that the discussion of the various points during the debate had brought their Lordships nearer to the real issue—what was to be the precise addition to the titles of Her Majesty. That some addition should be made was, since the Bill had passed its second reading without opposition, a foregone conclusion. The conditions of Her Majesty's rule in India were totally different from that of her rule in England; for in India she exercised a sovereignty over a population much larger than the population of the British Islands—a large part of which owed no allegiance. It had been contended that other titles—such, for instance, as "Lady Paramount," "Sovereign Lady,"—would logically express the same fact as to the nature of our dominion over India as the word "Empress;" but those titles seemed to him to be open to the same objection which the noble Earl opposite (Earl Granville) had brought forward with respect to Her Majesty's second title, when he objected to giving Her Majesty "two handles to her name." He (Viscount Midleton) objected, on the other hand, to using two words where one precisely expressed the relation in which Her Majesty stood to India. The word "Empire," properly used, signified three things—the right to conclude peace, the right to declare war, and 1075 the right to direct military operations on behalf of countries the inhabitants of which were not subjects of the Sovereign Power, and owed it no direct allegiance. Such was the nature of the Empire of the First Napoleon, of the present German Empire, and of our own Indian Empire, which no one ever yet heard called a Kingdom. With regard to the effect which the adoption of the title of Empress would have in India, he would observe that it was absurd to suppose that men possessed of the intelligence of Holkar and Scindiah did not already know their true position in reference to the Crown of England, or that any hopes would be excited or any fears raised in their breasts by the assumption by Her Majesty of that title in India. As to the general effect of the proposed change of title in that country, he would appeal to the authority of the late Governor General of India (Lord Lawrence), who had distinctly stated that he thought any addition to the Royal title embracing India would be received with pleasure, although he had no special liking for the particular appellation in question. The view of that noble Lord had been confirmed, and even in stronger terms, by the late Governor of Madras, who, preferring a special title in respect of India, was in favour of one which would distinctly express the sovereign power in India. But then came the sentimental objection based upon the effect which it was supposed the addition to the title would have on the people of this country. Now, he admitted that was an objection with which it was extremely difficult to deal, because it was so exceedingly difficult to ascertain what was the exact force of public feeling on any particular question. To whom were we to look for it? To the Press? But the Press was, after all, at the mercy of a comparatively small number of individuals, who were as likely as others to be mistaken. When, too, the measure was first announced to the world it met with the approbation of the Press, and although there had since been an alteration in its tone he did not think that fact warranted the statement that public opinion in this country had declared itself hostile to the proposal of the Government. To take another test. If there was anyone in this country who might be supposed to understand pretty accurately public feeling, it was, perhaps, 1076 Mr. Gladstone. Yet when he, acting upon his view of it, very recently made an appeal to the constituencies, the answer which they returned was not such as to justify the belief that he really knew what the country felt and thought. No one, he admitted, had a better right than the noble Earl who moved the Address to the Throne that evening (the Earl of Shaftesbury) to speak on behalf of the working classes, to whom his whole life had been one of devotion; but personal experiences in such matters were always liable to prove deceptive. He might, however, remark, in reply to what had fallen from the noble Earl on that point, that he himself, in the late Parliament, had represented a constituency numbering some 15,000 electors, composed almost exclusively of the middle classes, leavened by a considerable infusion of the best among the working classes, and that although he was in constant correspondence with them, ever since he ceased to represent them directly, and they were in the habit of communicating freely with him on matters of public interest, not one of them had addressed one word of censure to him on the course which the Government proposed to adopt in the present instance. He warned the House, therefore, against being misled or frightened, as he feared the noble Earl who introduced the Motion had been by his own shadow, and against admitting those gloomy anticipations for which he believed there was no ground whatever. With respect to precedents, it was useless to appeal to the history of this country for precedents in a case which was in itself unprecedented. He believed, indeed, he could find a precedent as far back as the time of our Saxon forefathers, in the case of a Saxon King who asserted that he was Emperor of all Britain. The strength of his position, however, lay in this—that never since the world was known had there been an Empire of the same kind, attended with the same incidents, and held by the same power as the Empire of India was held by England. Precedents, therefore, might be dispensed with. As to the gloomy apprehensions which had been put forward, regarding the effect of this change, he had greater confidence in the common sense, the reasonable feeling, and the unalterable loyalty of his countrymen than to believe that the proposed addition to Her 1077 Majesty's title would shake the foundation of the English monarchy or imperil the English Crown or Constitution. In conclusion, he wished to say that he had heard with surprise the remarks which fell from the noble Duke opposite (the Duke of Somerset) on the previous evening with respect to those who supported the Bill. The noble Duke had spoken as if their only ground for so doing was either a blind adherence to Party ties, or a still more odious motive, which he (Viscount Midleton) believed would not have dominion over any Member of their Lordships' House. As a humble and independent Member of that House he repudiated the noble Duke's insinuation. He at least was not open to the charge of supporting Her Majesty's Government when he was unable to arrive at the conclusions to which they had come. He should give his vote to Her Majesty's Government heartily and conscientiously, because he believed them to be right, and for himself and those who took the same course he asked noble Lords opposite to give them credit at least for this—that in the vote they should give that night they were actuated by no mere Party instinct, but that they had a clear conception of what they were doing—that they were not false to all the traditions of their Lordships' House, but that the vote they should give would be dictated, as he trusted it had always been, by feelings of due regard to the safety, the honour, and the welfare of our Sovereign and her dominions.
§ LORD SANDHURST
said, that the title of Queen had hitherto satisfied the relations which existed between her and her Indian subjects, and he therefore asked what reason there was for the change? It appeared to him the speech of the noble Lord on the Woolsack had not touched the marrow of the question. If they changed the Royal title there arose the question of the constitutional authority. It was difficult to say what was the idea of the Indian people as to authority. The title of "Queen" did not represent to them a purely despotic idea. They were habituated to appeal for redress to "the Queen in Parliament" and not to the autocratic authority symbolized by the word "Emperor" on "Empress"—a title much more suited to their idea of the Russian or French Monarch, than to the Constitutional Sovereign of England. It was to "the 1078 Queen" that appeals from India were made; and since 1835 the image and superscription and the title on the Indian coinage were those of William the Fourth and Victoria, King and Queen of England. The present name of our Sovereign and her relation to India were thus familiar to all classes of our Indian subjects. It was said that the substitution of a new foreign title for the old one would have a great effect on the people of India; but the answer to that was that both "Queen" and "Empress" were translated into the Native languages by the same words. It was difficult, therefore, to conceive how the mere alteration or substitution of one foreign title for another, the people not understanding the language to which either title belonged, could have any effect in India. To attribute even the shadow of importance in the sense of its being gratifying to the Native population of India was therefore absolutely contrary to fact. Therefore, it seemed to him that this was not an Indian, but an English question, and he was bound to say that all he had heard tended to confirm what the noble Earl who first spoke (the Earl of Shaftesbury) had said as to the unpopularity of the Government proposal. It mattered very little to the people of India which title was adopted; but the discussion which the Government had provoked on this subject might be productive of danger. Who could tell what the effect would be of stirring in this way the feelings of the vast population of India, by producing uncertainty and doubt where they did not exist before, and introducing novelties the object of which was unintelligible. At all events, to give rise to such discussions as they had lately listened to in and out of Parliament was most unwise, whether as affecting the minds of the Princes subject to British rule or the educated sentiment of this country. In short, it was impossible not to view the measure as unwise and inauspicious, perhaps more unwise and even mischievous than any to which the Government of this country had been committed for a long series of years. In view of these considerations, and as one who had a deep regard for the Monarchical institutions of this country, he entreated their Lordships to support the Motion.
§ THE EARL OF FEVERSHAM
said, he had heard a great amount of declamation 1079 and some vituperation in these debates, but no real tangible argument against the addition of "Empress of India" to Her Majesty's title. It had been urged in opposition to this step that it was proposed to change the title of Her Majesty. He yielded to no man in his admiration and affection for the title of "Queen of England," but he maintained that the title of "Queen" remained unchanged by this Bill, and that the title of "Empress" was in addition, and would be accessory and subordinate to it; and so far from losing dignity by that addition, as some seemed to think, he believed the dignity of the Queen of England would be enhanced by it. He denied that that proposal was not in accordance with history. Our Indian Empire had been created, maintained, and extended by the prowess, valour, and enterprize of the English nation, which, in the possession of that great and varied Empire, had all the attributes of an Imperial position: for Her Majesty as the supreme head of such a country "Empress" was no doubt the most appropriate title. The people of England, proud of their independence, and also proud of their Empire, were equally jealous of any attack upon either. The noble Earl who had moved the Resolution (the Earl of Shaftesbury) had professed to speak the sentiment of the people of England and had particularly referred to the people of the North of England. Now he (the Earl of Feversham) happened to know something of the feelings of the people in the North, and he must say that, from all the information he could gather, he did not learn that there existed that popular hostility towards this measure which the noble Earl would lead them to suppose. When he looked at the history of England and remembered the great public liberty which the people enjoyed, he confessed himself astonished that the Liberal Party should have such a poor idea of what the power of the Law of this country was, and of the strong and broad basis on which the Constitution was established, as to imagine that there was any real danger in a mere addition of this nature to the Royal title. He believed that the country generally entertained no such chimerical apprehension, and was ready to see the Sovereign assume an addition to her title which would fitly mark the transfer of the Government of India to the Crown. 1080 In a work on India lately published there was an account of a great durbar held there by Lord Lawrence as Governor General in 1867. On that State occasion the Viceroy, representing, for the first time at a general durbar, not merely a Company of Merchants, but the Queen of England herself, was described as having spoken of Her Majesty as Empress of India; and in presiding over an investiture of the Star of India, that noble Lord said that in conferring through him the title of Grand Commander of that Order on a Native Prince, "the Empress of India" wished to thank him for his fidelity and his signal services during the Mutiny. The noble Lord opposite (Lord Lawrence), therefore, himself employed the very title they were now discussing in addressing the Sovereign Princes of India 10 years ago. The Prime Minister had been taken to task for venturing to refer in the other House to the Russian advance in Central Asia. He (the Earl of Feversham) would ask the noble Lords on the other side of the House to free themselves for a moment from Party considerations. This question had been argued on their side from a narrow insular point of view, but it should be argued from an Indian point of view. He would ask them to cast their eyes across the great Empire of India and observe the approach of the great Empire of Russia to our frontier. He did not say he was jealous of the approach of Russia, he believed the annexation of the barbarous countries of the East might tend to the civilization, or, at all events, to the increase of the trade and commerce of those countries, but he did not see why England and Russia—those two great Asiatic Powers—should not exist together upon terms of amity. But supposing the two Empires touched each other, or nearly so, would it not be an advantage that the people of India should be able to regard their supreme Ruler as occupying the same exalted position as the Emperor of Russia? It seemed to him that for this purpose it was desirable that our Sovereign should be styled "Empress of India." Looking as this as an Indian question he would remind their Lordships that the two greatest authorities in that House upon Indian subjects had testified that the people of India would receive an addition to the title of the Sovereign directly connected with India with great satis- 1081 faction, and that neither had expressed themselves as, on the whole, dissatisfied with the title of "Empress," he regretted that the noble Earl who had moved the Resolution should have attempted to mislead the people of England by inflammatory declamation. A great responsibility rested on those who attempted to rouse the feelings of the people of this country against authorities and institutions instead of educating them and showing them the right patriotic and just course to pursue, and, therefore, he thought the noble Earl had acted most unwisely in moving a Resolution adverse to the present proposition, thereby depriving it of the grace which the general approval would impart to it. He unhesitatingly opposed the Amendment, regarding, as he did, the proposal of Her Majesty's Government to be wise and politic.
THE EARL OF ROSEBERY
could honestly say that in the whole course of the few years that he had been in that House he never rose to address it with greater reluctance than on the present occasion; but he felt constrained by a high sense of duty to oppose the measure introduced by Her Majesty's Government. And that he believed was the feeling of all those who had addressed the House on that side against that proposal. The noble Duke who introduced the measure (the Duke of Richmond) had characterized the course of the Opposition on this subject as a course of Party opposition—and on another occasion he made a pointed allusion to himself (the Earl of Rosebery). He would not attempt to imitate the peculiar suavity of the noble Duke; he would content himself with saying that there never was a more uncalled-for and injudicious imputation. Had the opposition to this measure been a Party opposition, what would have been more easy in the House of Commons than to have delayed the progress of the Bill throughout its different stages in that House. Certainly such imputations as those made by the noble Duke were not calculated to throw oil on the troubled waters which divided the two great Parties which had ranged themselves in opposition to each other on this delicate question. The noble Marquess the Secretary for India had complained of the absence of arguments on the Opposition side. With every respect for the noble 1082 Marquess he (the Earl of Rosebery) must say he had not heard a sentence from the promoters or advocates of the measure that deserved the slightest consideration as an argument. One of the difficulties of the debate was the attempt to grasp anything like argument in what the other side had advanced. The noble Marquess opposite referred to some instances in which Her Majesty had been called Empress of India. All that had been said about the Queen of England having been occasionally styled Empress of India only proved this—that the title had been wrongly given to Her Majesty; because it was obvious that if she were really entitled to be so styled there was no occasion for this Bill. The noble Duke opposite (the Duke of Richmond) brought forward two arguments of a negative character. He said there was no feeling in the country against this proposal of the Government, and he referred to the absence of meetings and Petitions as evidence that the public feeling was in favour of and not against the proposal of the Government. But the papers which he (the Earl of Rosebery) read led him to come to a conclusion widely different from that of the noble Duke. There had been a great meeting in the City of Manchester, which adopted a Petition praying Her Majesty not to accept the title of Empress. A similar Petition had been agreed to in the ancient and loyal City of Edinburgh and at Liverpool. There had been meetings allover the country which had emphatically declared against the proposal of the Government, and at the present moment the provincial journals teemed with announcements of further meetings for further deprecation. The noble Marquess (the Marquess of Salisbury) flaunted triumphantly in the House in support of the Bill a Petition to which signatures had been obtained in four hours by the incumbent of Blackpool: but he (the Earl of Rosebery) declined to recognize the incumbent of Blackpool as a suitable exponent of the wishes of the nation on this question. In Selden's "Titles of Honour" and in "Blackstone" were to be found passages which bore the strongest testimony to the dignity of the Crown of of England; and if, after having always maintained that the Sovereign of this country was the equal of all other Rulers in the world, we were to condescend to 1083 make our Queen an Empress the whole of Europe would laugh in our faces. He much regretted the absence of the noble Earl the Foreign Secretary, because from his own ancestral history he might have shown that the King of England was entitled to occupy the position of a Ruler of Rulers. Not much more than 100 years ago the Earls of Derby were Kings in Man, and yet as such, they owed feudal allegiance to the Kings of England. The Kings of England had always claimed homage from the Kings of Scotland. William the Lion of Scotland and other Scotch Sovereigns had sworn allegiance to the Kings of England, and the competitors for the Crown of Scotland did homage to Edward the First when he proposed to decide their respective claims. Such Kings were, at all events, of equal rank with the Native Princes of India. Indeed, the arguments that had been made use of in the course of the discussions upon this subject were enough to make King Edward rise from his grave. But, on the other hand, we had modern Emperors—such as those of Brazil and of Hayti—who numbered no Rulers among their subjects, and who therefore by no stretch of imagination could be regarded as Rulers over Rulers. The honest truth was that we had not yet heard the true arguments in support of this proposal to change Her Majesty's title. The proposal could not have been put forward with the view of giving satisfaction to the people of India, because we had been told upon high authority that the people of India were politically dumb; and it could not have been put forward with the object of impressing the people of Europe, because we had always told them that our King was the equal of their Emperors. The truth was, that this alteration of the Queen's title was suggested as being in accordance with the foreign and colonial policy of the present Government. The late Government were always taunted with having no foreign and no colonial policy, and the present Government came in with the intention of initiating a "spirited and an original foreign policy." Consequently, the first act of Her Majesty's Government had been to split up this great Empire, and to separate India from the rest of Her Majesty's dominions. We wished to secure our highway to India, and we purchased 10 votes in the management of the Suez Canal. We 1084 wished to secure our Indian Empire from Russia, and we made our Sovereign an Empress. It was impossible to treat the matter seriously—it reminded him of the warlike proceedings of the Chinese—also, by-the-by, governed by an Emperor—who put their chief trust in wooden swords, and shields painted with ugly faces. He trusted we should never be so foolish as to think that the title of Empress would operate as a fortification against a nation of 80,000,000 of people, and which numbered its soldiers by the million. The title affected England as well as India, and his astonishment was great that such a a proposal as this should have been brought forward by the Conservative Party, who, when in opposition, never ceased from warning the House in sepulchral tones not to touch the framework of our Constitution—not to meddle with that which had been perfected by by the wisdom of our ancestors—not to pour new wine into old bottles, and not to mend old clothes with new cloth. And whence came the opposition to this Bill? Not from those who were termed English Republicans and who were opposed to Monarchical institutions, but from those to whom for 16 out of the last 20 years the confidence of both the Crown and of the constituencies had been accorded, and who felt as deeply as the Conservatives the debt which the country owed to its gracious Sovereign. He denied that the opposition to this measure was in any sense of the term factious, or that it was got up for Party purposes. The noble Duke in introducing the Bill said that when the change was first proposed it was generally received with applause by the Press, but that since that time, for some unaccountable causes, the Press had changed its tone. Well, the Press had changed its tone because it was the faithful reflex of the popular opinion, and the Press now knew that the change of title was eminently unpopular among the people. The Government appeared to be very well aware of this, for they now proposed that it should be used in India only, and its use tabooed in this country. So that the Bill might properly be labelled "Poisonous—for outward application only." It was salutary when applied externally, but poisonous when applied to the inner working of the Constitution. He ventured to say 1085 on behalf of those who sat near him that they would be glad if a division on this delicate and painful subject could be avoided. They were anxious to avoid a division, not, however, because they would thereby avoid a defeat—they were accustomed to that on that side the House—but because they believed the proposal of Her Majesty's Government to be derogatory to the Crown, as well as unwise and unnecesssary. Above all, they feared that by touching the outward form of the Monarchy they might in some sort touch its inward spirit and dignity.
§ THE EARL OF HARROWBY
said, that when it was first announced that an addition was to be made to the Royal style and title in respect to India, every one anticipated that the title would be that of "Empress." The facts suggested it. We always spoke—even those who were most strongly opposed to the proposal of Her Majesty's Government—of our "Empire" of India—the natural sequence was that the person who ruled over an Empire was an "Emperor" or "Empress," and he had heard no sufficient reason for supposing that that which had naturally occurred to the minds of all men was an erroneous idea—namely, that the Queen of England should as ruler of the Empire of India be styled "Empress." For some time after the proposal had been brought forward there seemed to be a general unanimity on the subject; and at the outset the principal opposition in the other House of Parliament consisted of two ex-Cabinet Ministers, who in debate made a great explosion on the subject; but were nevertheless unable to command the support of those who usually followed them. They then appealed to the country and sought to persuade the people that there was something very dangerous in the assumption of the proposed title; and they pointed to a toast proposed at a Lord Mayor's dinner, and to some words which had been used after dinner by a foolish clergyman as a sure proof that the title of Queen would be overshadowed by the superior dignity of Empress. There could be no reasonable ground for such an apprehension. But surely their Lordships would not be deterred by such feeble apprehensions from giving the force of law to a title which exactly expressed the relations subsisting be- 1086 tween the Throne and the Empire of India, which the title of Queen did not. Who ever thought of the Kingdom of India? The expression would be totally inapplicable to the very various relations in which our Sovereign stood to the people and Princes of that vast Empire. He was himself convinced that it would be a great advantage if the people of India were shown that we were desirous of drawing still closer the ties which bound the people of this country to the people of our Eastern Empire.
THE EARL OF CARNARVON
I altogether sympathize, my Lords, with the desire expressed by the noble Earl opposite (the Earl of Rosebery), when he entreated the House if possible to avoid a division on such a question as this. A division would mar the grace and compliment of an act which ought to be hailed with almost universal welcome; in the next place, it would risk the peril of dragging into the mire of political controversy a name which ought to be sacred and above all controversies; and, lastly, it might possibly affect the population of India, leaving we do not know what result behind. We are in this position now—that if there ever was a question of modification or alteration, the course which has been taken this evening places it absolutely out of the power of Her Majesty's Government to recede. It is not necessary for me to go over the whole of the ground which has been traversed in the course of this debate; but I must allude to one point which, though it has not been raised in this House, formed a main ground of the attack levelled against the Bill in "another place." I allude to the fact that no mention is made of the colonies in the alteration which it is proposed to make in the formula of the Crown throughout the whole of this controversy. I have received no evidence of any desire on the part of the colonies to be so included, and I think that in my official position, I should have had an intimation of such desire if it existed. If the time should come when the colonies shall express a desire of the kind, I feel sure that the Government of the day will very carefully consider a proposal of the kind; but I can only say that no such wish has been expressed up to the present, nor have I heard a single expression of dissatisfaction or a single representation from any colony 1087 on the subject. The people of our colonies are content to be included under the general title, and it would be inexpedient to propose any change without previous communication with those great communities. Having said thus much on the question as it affects the colonies, I would now make a few remarks on the general question, which resolves itself into a question as to the particular word which shall be used in making an addition to the titles of the Queen. It is admitted that an addition in some form is both necessary and advisable. It is also admitted that there is nothing in the title "Empress" so monstrous, extraordinary, or abnormal as was at first represented; and, lastly, it is admitted that, if any addition is to be made, the present is a favourable time for making it. With respect to the word "Empress" the use of it dates back for several centuries. In a Proclamation Queen Elizabeth describes herself as "Queen of England, Defender of the Faith, and Empress from the Orkneys to the Pyrenees." Coming down to the present time I find that when the Order of the Star of India was instituted it was ordered that Members of the Order should be created on account of services rendered in "our Indian Empire;" and, on the other hand, when the Colonial Order St. Michael and St. George was created, it was ordained that its Members should be connected with "our Kingdom and our Colonial Possessions"—a wide and striking difference. I think this a most appropriate time for making the change. To have added the title of "Empress of India" to the style of the Queen at the close of the Indian Mutiny would have perpetuated the recollection of blood and slaughter; but at the present time it will keep alive in the minds of the Natives of India the recollection of the visit which has just been paid to India by the Prince of Wales—a visit the eminent success of which has been due to the courtesy and ability which His Royal Highness has displayed, and which has won for him the graceful homage of the Native Princes. As far as the title of Empress is concerned I know of no other so applicable. It is generally admitted that in India it is well understood, and expresses the relations which it is intended to represent and convey. The noble and learned Lord who has addressed the House 1088 (Lord Selborne) spent a good deal of time in endeavouring to prove that it would not convey the meaning that the personage holding it was a supreme Ruler over Rulers. My noble and learned Friend said that there was not a single instance in which the title of Emperor was used to express relations of that kind. But has he forgotten that during the earliest times the title of Roman Emperor gathered round it many great Kings and Chiefs from the East? Has he forgotten that the earlier Emperors of Germany ruled over tributary Kings, or that the First Napoleon had his anterooms crowded with Kings? Has he forgotten the rule, even, of the Mogul Emperor? I contend that if there be one word in the English language which can convey this particular notion of a Ruler over Rulers it is unquestionably that of Emperor. It did convey that in India, for up to the commencement of the present century there was the Mogul Emperor; he reigned legally, and one of the great reasons which induced Lord Wellesley to gain possession of Delhi was in order that he might gain possession of the person of the Emperor. After that he was known simply as the King of Delhi, till the time of the Mutiny. And what was the first act of the mutineers? To proclaim the old King of Delhi as Emperor of India! Since that day the Imperial title has remained dead; and now we propose that the Queen of England, as the Empress of India, shall, as it were, take up the thread of history, and gather round, her all the feelings and traditions which the title of Empress of India represents. So much for India. As to England, it has been asserted throughout the debates that the title of Empress is not to apply to India alone, but to this country. But your Lordships have heard Members of the Government over and over again emphatically deny that statement. I am at a loss to know how they can do so in terms more explicit. Ghosts generally appear in the dark—but here they come forward in the full glare of light—in the full blaze of debate. Why is it, then, that we have constantly those phantoms conjured up which have no foundation and no reality? It has been contended that this title of Empress could not be localized; but I should be very sorry if my noble and learned Friend on the Woolsack and the Law 1089 Officers of the Crown should be unable to find some means of effectually securing that object. My noble and learned Friend told us how the Proclamation was to be issued, and that the title would be confined to the measures which run only in India, and I should be very loath indeed to doubt his capability to give effect to that intention. I wish further to point out that all those objections appear to resolve themselves into complete contradictions. It is assumed—in my opinion, on the slenderest foundation—that the title of Empress is eminently unpopular, repugnant, and hateful to the English people. Now there is, I maintain, not the slightest evidence that such is the case; but while we are told that it is hateful to the English people, it is said in the same breath that it is a title which will be immediately adopted in every part of England. These are arguments which appear to me to be entirely inconsistent, and I have greater faith in the good sense and right feeling of the people of this country than to believe that they were founded on fact. The real truth is that all this proceeds in a great measure from a mistake—this is supposed to be a measure which is personal in its nature, and that it has been adopted from personal considerations. For my part, I look upon it rather as making an addition to the honours of the State. I have no wish to overrate its importance. Words cannot make or take away an Empire, any more than the material jewelry in a Crown is of the essence of Monarchy. Such things are mere emblems—the mere trappings and externals of Royalty. The real security for our retaining possession of India rests upon guarantees of a very different kind—upon the maintenance of our power and the wisdom of our rule. But India, nevertheless, is a country where words, after all, carry with them a wider and a greater significance than they do in England, and therefore I claim this title of Empress not so much for the Sovereign as for the State—as one more record of that triumphant power which is the result of a long blazon of historic successes. It is that title which appears to me to be the embodiment of the rule and dignity of England—it is the State carried up, so far as words can carry it, to its highest attributes. It is in the most literal sense 1090 in accordance with the words of the Roman poet—Famaque et imperiPorrecta majestas ad ortumSolis ab Hesperio cubili.And when the Roman poet made that proud boast he made it not for the Ruler but for the State—not on behalf of Augustus, but on behalf of that great Empire over which Augustus ruled, and to which, after all, this Empire of England approaches more nearly than any other Kingdom which the world has ever seen. It is in this sense I wish to see the Queen of England, who embodies in her private life and in her great office the traditions, the desires—in short, everything that has made this country great—it is in this sense I wish to see her reign as Empress over the broad Continent of India.
said, he was one of the last advocates of another Government of India in "another place"—for there was once a Government of that country which had established the military prowess of England upon a basis which was almost unique in the annals of history. They overthrew a dynasty and conquered kingdoms. And under what name? Under the modest title of a Company of Merchants trading to the East. They performed exploits and displayed a vigour and courage which could not be improved upon by any name whatever; but it was felt necessary that the extended empire and power of England should be further asserted; and a change in the form of Government in India was effected. When they put down the Indian Mutiny by force, they should then, and then only, have introduced this title. He had good reason to believe that this question was seriously agitated then, but there were very high influences brought to bear upon the proposal; but under the wise counsel of such men as Lord Palmerston, the conclusion arrived at was that the present title of Queen of England as used in the Proclamation was entirely sufficient. If it was sufficient then, and had been sufficient for the 18 years which had intervened, why change it now? They all knew the circumstances connected with the beneficent visit of the Prince of Wales to India. They knew the good that had been effected by his visit to a people among whom personal graces had great 1091 influence. Surely nothing had arisen in the circumstances of the visit of the Prince of Wales to India which rendered the change in this title of the Sovereign necessary? He did not understand how the title of Empress touched India at all. Would the people of India connect with the word any different ideas than they connected with the title of Queen? He did not believe that they would, and he could not understand how they should. How was the word Empress or Emperor to be communicated? It would have to be communicated to each nation in a separate language. Therefore it could not be said to be an Indian question at all. It would never come before the Indian people, in any form whatever, except a small discontented, querulous critical population which might be called "Young Bengal," who would try to find every fault they could. This was a serious question. It was not a question of almanacks of this year or last. It was an act which, when once done, was irreversible—once they had altered the title they could not undo it. They would have introduced into the political nomenclature of the country an entirely new word—a word alien, he believed, to the spirit of the English people. The noble Earl opposite had quoted Latin, he should quote Latin also—Multa simul contrà variis sententia dictisPro Turno, et magnum reginæ nomen obumbrat.They might give a new title to the Queen—but no name they could give her would add to the permanence of our power in India.
§ LORD LAWRENCE
said, the noble Earl opposite (the Earl of Feversham) had referred to him as having spoken of Her Majesty at a durbar at Agra in 1867 as Empress of India; but, in fact, the language in which he spoke was Hindoostanee—therefore he could not have used the word "Empress." He could not recollect what was the exact word he used. No doubt it was a highly honourable word as it was connected with Her Majesty, and was probably derived from the Persian or Arabic—but he certainly did not use the word Empress. The other night he endeavoured to convey his view that, with all respect to Her Majesty, it would be better as regarded India to use a word equivalent to Queen or Empress, in one of its 1092 classical languages rather than simply Queen or Empress. The translation should be suited to the comprehension of the people. But if the Government intended to write out and direct the word "Empress" to be used, the great mass of the people would not understand what the word meant. They would therefore be indifferent as to what it did imply. But if a word was taken which in their own language conveyed to them the power and the authority of Her Majesty, the object aimed at would, no doubt, be achieved.
§ On Question, That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Motion? Their Lordships divided:—Contents 137: Not Contents 91: Majority 46.1094
|Canterbury, Archp.||Lanesborough, E.|
|Cairns, L. (L. Chancellor.)||Lonsdale, E.|
|Beaufort, D.||Mansfield, E.|
|Brandon, D. (D. Hamilton.)||Nelson, E.|
|Leeds, D.||Orford, E.|
|Northumberland, D.||Pembroke and Montgomery, E.|
|Wellington, D.||Poulett, E.|
|Abergavenny, M.||Ravensworth, E.|
|Bath, M.||Romney, E.|
|Exeter, M.||Rosslyn, E.|
|Hertford, M.||Sandwich, E.|
|Salisbury, M.||Shrewsbury, E.|
|Amherst, E.||Stanhope, E.|
|Bathurst, E.||Strange, E. (D. Athol.)|
|Beauchamp, E.||Strathmore and Kinghorn, E.|
|Bradford, E.||Waldegrave, E.|
|Brooke and Warwick, E.||Wharncliffe, E.|
|Brownlow, E.||Bridport, V.|
|Cadogan, E.||Hardinge, V.|
|Carnarvon, E.||Hawarden, V. [Teller.]|
|Clonmell, E.||Hill, V.|
|Dartmouth, E.||Hutchinson, V. (E. Donoughmore.)|
|Devon, E.||Sidmouth, V.|
|Doncaster, E. (D. Buccleuch and Queensberry.)||Strathallan, V.|
|Ellesmere, E.||Chichester, Bp.|
|Erne, E.||London, Bp.|
|Feversham, E.||Rochester, Bp.|
|Graham, E. (D. Montrose.)||Abercromby, L.|
|Haddington, E.||Alington, L.|
|Hardwicke, E.||Arundell of Wardour, L.|
|Harrowby, E.||Aveland, L.|
|Jersey, E.||Bagot, L.|
|Bateman, L.||Inchiquin, L.|
|Bloomfield, L.||Ker, L. (M. Lothian.)|
|Bolton, L.||Lovel and Holland, L. (E. Egmont.)|
|Brancepeth, L. (V. Boyne.)|
|Brodrick, L. (V. Midleton.)||Massy, L.|
|Clanbrassill, L. (E. Roden.)||O'Neill, L.|
|Oranmore and Browne, L.|
|Colchester, L.||Oriel, L. (V. Massereene.)|
|Colville of Culross, L.|
|Conyers, L.||Overstone, L.|
|Delamere, L.||Penrhyn, L.|
|de Ros, L.||Raglan, L.|
|De Saumarez, L.||Ramsay, L. (E. Dalhousie.)|
|Dunmore, L. (E. Dunmore.)|
|Dunsany, L.||Redesdale, L.|
|Egerton, L.||Rivers, L.|
|Ellenborough, L.||Saltersford, L. (E. Courtown.)|
|Fisherwick, L. (M. Donegal.)||Saltoun, L.|
|Forbes, L.||Seaton, L.|
|Forester, L.||Skelmersdale, L. [Teller.]|
|Foxford, L. (E. Limerick.)|
|Gerard, L.||Stewart of Garlies, L. (E. Galloway.)|
|Harlech, L.||Strathnairn, L.|
|Hartismere, L. (L. Henniker.)||Templemore, L.|
|Hawke, L.||Tredegar, L.|
|Hay, L. (E. Kinnoul.)||Ventry, L.|
|Headley, L.||Walsingham, L.|
|Heytesbury, L.||Winmarleigh, L.|
|Bedford, D.||Morley, E.|
|Cleveland, D.||Shaftesbury, E. [Teller.]|
|Norfolk, D.||Spencer, E.|
|Saint Albans, D.|
|Somerset, D.||Canterbury, V.|
|Sutherland, D.||Cardwell, V.|
|Westminster, D.||Eversley, V.|
|Ailesbury, M.||Hood, V.|
|Abingdon, E.||Acton, L.|
|Airlie, E.||Belper, L.|
|Albemarle, E.||Blachford, L.|
|Camperdown, E.||Boyle, L. (E. Cork and Orrery.) [Teller.]|
|Clarendon, E.||Calthorpe, L.|
|Cottenham, E.||Camoys, L.|
|Cowper, E.||Carlingford, L.|
|Dartrey, E.||Carysfort, L. (E. Carysfort.)|
|Durham, E.||Chesham, L.|
|Essex, E.||Crewe, L.|
|Fortescue, E.||Dacre, L.|
|Granville, E.||de Clifford, L.|
|Grey, E.||De Mauley, L.|
|Ilchester, E.||De Tabley, L.|
|Kimberley, E.||Dinevor, L.|
|Lichfield, E.||Dorchester, L.|
|Minto, E.||Dormer, L.|
|Dunning, L. (L. Rollo.)||Monson, L.|
|Elgin, L. (E. Elgin and Kincardine.)||O'Hagan, L.|
|Eliot, L.||Ponsonby, L. (E. Bessborough.)|
|Foley, L.||Robartes, L.|
|Hammond, L.||Romilly, L.|
|Hanmer, L.||Rosebery, L. (E. Rosebery.)|
|Houghton, L.||Sandhurst, L.|
|Kenry, L. (E. Dunraven and Mount-Earl.)||Sefton, L. (E. Sefton.)|
|Somerton, L. (E. Normanton.)|
|Lawrence, L.||Stanley of Alderley, L.|
|Leigh, L.||Strafford, L. (V. Enfield.)|
|Lyveden, L.||Sudeley, L.|
|Meldrum, L. (M. Huntly.)||Thurlow, L.|
|Methuen, L.||Wentworth, L.|
|Moncreiff, L.||Wolverton, L.|
§ Resolved in the Affirmative.
§ EARL GRANVILLE
said, he had himself the other evening, and a noble Duke by his side had also put a Question to the noble and learned Lord on the Woolsack, as to the limitation of the use of the title of Empress to India. The noble and learned Lord in reply said—He was aware that in 'another place' a very ample and complete declaration had been made. It had been stated elsewhere in the most distinct way that although the intention was that the advice offered to the Crown would be that the ordinary and general use of the Indian title should be confined to India, yet in England, wherever a legal or formal document had to be employed in which the full style and titles of the Crown had to be rehearsed, that style and those titles must be rehearsed at length as they might stand for the time being.He found that many noble and learned authorities doubted whether a Royal Proclamation on that matter could override an Act of Parliament. Therefore, though he was not an advocate of dual titles, it would be satisfactory to the House to know whether it was proposed to remove that doubt by inserting in the Bill a power to Her Majesty in her Proclamation to limit the use of the title of Empress as she might think fit?
THE LORD CHANCELLOR
conceived that it was not a question of doubt, but a question of certainty that a Proclamation could not over-ride an Act of Parliament. Nothing that he had stated justified any supposition that the Proclamation would over-ride the Act of Parliament, and therefore he did not think that there would be any necessity for any alteration in the Bill.
1095 Then the original Motion agreed to: House in Committee accordingly.
§ Clause 1 (Power to Her Majesty to make addition to style and titles of Crown.)
§ LORD SELBORNE
said, that as far as he could form an opinion, from the authorities in the law books, the law required a certain class of documents, in order to make them valid, to have affixed to them the full style and titles at present appertaining to the Imperial Crown of the United Kingdom; and the present Bill, as he read the words, did not enable Her Majesty to do anything except to determine what addition should be made to the style and titles now appertaining to the Imperial Crown of the United Kingdom. He apprehended that under those words Her Majesty could not make an addition to the style and title of the Imperial Crown, and, at the same time, proceed to say that that style and title, should not be used in any class of documents in which it had hitherto been required by law that the full style and title should be set forth.
THE LORD CHANCELLOR
said, he received with the greatest possible respect any opinion on such a point coming from the noble and learned Lord, who might be quite sure that he would pay every attention to his observation. But he was bound to say, having given the best consideration he could to that matter, he could not take the view which the noble and learned Lord at present adopted. Yet, in deference to the noble and learned Lord, he promised to reconsider the question, and there would be an opportunity of dealing with it. At present it would be unadvisable to enter further into it.
§ Clause agreed to.
§ Bill reported, without Amendment; and to be read 3a on Friday next.