HL Deb 04 May 1893 vol 12 cc1-33

Order of the Day for the Second Reading, read.


My Lords, in moving the Second Reading of a Bill which relates to the very important Indian question of the organisation of the Armies of two of the Presidencies, I cannot help being painfully reminded of the loss which the House has sustained by the death of Lord Derby, who was the first Secretary of State for India after the government of that country was placed under the immediate control of the Crown. We all, I think, feel that the wide experience of public affairs possessed by my lamented Friend, his extreme insight into every question which he touched, the singular impartiality of his mind, together with his, I may say, almost unequalled power of stating the arguments on both sides of any question with the utmost clearness and fairness—all those qualities made every one of his public utterances peculiarly valuable to the minds of all who heard them. There may be others more eloquent, others who have exercised a greater influence in our political contests; but I think it will be a long time before this country will find an adviser at once so wise, so calm, and so impartial, My Lords, after those few words, which I could not avoid saying on an occasion such as this, I pass to the Bill to which I ask your Lordships to give a Second Reading, and I will, in the first place, give a short history of this question. Some of your Lordships are well acquainted with the various Despatches which for years past have passed backwards and forwards between India and this country on the subject; but many of your Lordships may not have been attracted by the very bulky Blue Books which have been laid on the Table, and therefore I shall state exactly what has occurred. In 1879 a very important Commission was issued to inquire into the whole question of the organisation of the Indian Armies. That Commission was proposed by the Government of India when the late Lord Lytton was Viceroy, and the issue of that Commission was cordially approved by the noble Earl opposite, who was then Secretary of State for India. The succeeding Viceroy, my noble Friend below me, sent home a Despatch in April, 1881, in which he recommended that the proposals of the Commission should be adopted. Those proposals were of a far-reaching character, dealing as they did with the whole question of the organisation of the Armies in India. It fell to my lot about two years afterwards to answer that Despatch. Your Lordships may perhaps remember that two years ago there was some discussion in this House upon that subject, and reference was made to the Despatch which was sent out by me and which did not approve of the proposals of my noble Friend's Government. The reasons were very fully stated in that Despatch, and I do not think it is necessary that I should go into them now at length. The objections we raised were, shortly, that we thought it was desirable to continue what were commonly termed the water-tight compartments of our system—namely, the separate organisation of the Bombay and Madras Armies, under the Bombay and Madras Governments. We doubted also the financial saving which my noble Friend anticipated; but I confess I was also greatly influenced by the fact that, having consulted the best military opinion I could obtain from a number of officers well acquainted with Indian military affairs, I found that their opinions were so nicely balanced that I did not think I could go before Parliament and ask for effect to be given to the proposed legislation for the government of India. I will recur, in a moment, to the position I then took up. But, to complete the history of the matter, I may mention that in 1885 another Despatch on the subject came from the Government of India, repeating its application to the Government at home to deal with this matter; and Lord Randolph Churchill, the then Secretary of State for India, made answer that he did not see his way to legislate on the subject. But the Government of India was not to be deterred, and they returned to the matter again in 1888, when Lord Dufferin was Viceroy. In 1889, also, when Lord Lansdowne was Viceroy, another Despatch was sent home, repeating the application, and from these Despatches, which have been laid upon the Table, I will read one or two extracts. I will not go so far back as the Despatch of my noble Friend the Marquess of Ripon; but, in 1888, Lord Dufferin wrote thus— It will be seen that only a small remnant remains of the old Presidential system; nevertheless, as far as it exists, it is harmful.— We submit to your Lordship our earnest and deliberate opinion that the time has come when what still remains of the Presidential system should be finally abolished. And he ended by saying— We desire to re-assert in the strongest way our sense of the importance of maintaining the separate constitution and segregation of the different local Armies —and showing that it was not their intention to remove the safeguards which existed under the present system. Lord Lansdowne in his Despatch was not less urgent. He had brought the matter before the noble Viscount, who was my immediate predecessor, and the noble Viscount in a Despatch, to which I will presently refer, found himself unable to accept the proposals made to them. The noble Viscount (Lord Cross) found himself unable to accept the proposals made at the time, and he wrote as follows in a Despatch of May 30, 1889:— Though I am unable to give effect to the measures proposed so as to fully meet this evil, I am far from ignoring it, and am desirous of affording a cordial support to your Government in endeavouring to reduce it to a minimum. The noble Viscount then suggested various minor changes which might be made, which would remove some of the difficulties which arose from the existence of the Presidential system as it is termed, and many of those changes have since been carried into effect. At that time the noble Viscount recommended, I think, that the Clothing and Commissariat Departments should both be placed under the Central Government, and also, possibly, the Military Works Department. The noble Viscount added, with reference to the measures proposed— I believe they go far towards that consolidation of military control which, as distinguished from mere centralisation, I conceive to be necessary for the full and adequate employment of Her Majesty's forces in India. On receiving that Despatch, Lord Lansdowne, on July 5, 1889, wrote as follows:— We desire once again to place before Her Majesty's Government our conviction that it would be a misfortune of the greatest moment if this amendment of the military administration, which we consider to be essential to the efficiency of the Army of this country, should not be carried out in the breathing time of peace which we fortunately now possess. I have referred to those reiterated statements, because they show that the Government of India have held the strongest opinion that the proposals of the Commission of 1879 should in some form or other be adopted. In the 26th paragraph of the Despatch, which has been laid upon the Table, your Lordships will find that the Government of India say— We have already indicated that the administrative departments of the Army have been organised in anticipation of the change, and state that the Military Accounts, Ordnance, Commissariat, Military Works, and Clothing Departments are now organised for the whole of India. They also recommend that the Medical Departments should be amalgamated. Therefore, your Lordships will see that it is but a remnant of the old system which yet exists. I had myself suggested in a Despatch to Lord Ripon that it might be possible, without adopting the whole of the proposals of the Commission, to minimise the evils complained of by amalgamating some of the Departments. That policy has been proceeded with since; and the result is, that now practically all the different Departments are placed under one administration, always, of course, reserving the general control over the Army possessed by the Madras and Bombay Governments. But the evil has been brought to a minimum, because all the Departments are now under the control of the Central Government. It now only remains, to give effect to the recommendations of the Commission, that we should pass the necessary Bill in order to take from the Governments of Bombay and Madras their separate power and control over the two Armies. The evils of that separate control had been set forth, as I have stated, by Government after Government as well as by the Commission. They may have been exaggerated, but that they exist there can be no doubt, because every order which has to be given has to go through the Governments of Bombay and Madras, and I need scarcely say that that gives rise to a considerable amount of delay and friction. It necessarily greatly impedes the speedy transaction of business, which is perhaps more important in reference to military matters and dealing with an Army than in any other Department of the State. The measure which I have laid on the Table is a very simple one-It proposes to repeal those Acts which give the control of the Armies of Bombay and Madras to the Governments of those-Presidencies, and, with the exception of one clause, the whole of the Act consists of that repeal. I know that it has been thought by some that this may result in centralisation of an objectionable kind. I will point out to my noble-Friend below the Gangway (the Earl of Northbrook), who has, I know, this question in his mind, that in some instances of administration, such as Courts Martial,, there is in the Army Act power given to the Commander-in-Chief to delegate to the officers who have command at Bombay and Madras authority to exercise all the powers that would belong to him after this Bill has passed. There is, therefore, no special reason to take objection on that ground, but I shall be quite ready to meet any further points that may be raised in this respect when the Bill roaches the Committee stage. There remains one other clause to which I ought to refer, and that is the clause which prevents the officers in command of the Bombay and Madras Armies from being any longer members of the Council. The Government of India have varied in their opinion on this matter. Originally, the Commis- sion of 1879 recommended that those officers should not sit in the Council. Subsequently, Lord Dufferin gave expression to the opinion that he saw no reason why they should not sit in the Council, and your Lordships will find the same opinion expressed in the Despatch laid on the Table. I may naturally be asked, therefore, why this clause is to be found in the Bill. My answer is, in the first place, that I find that the whole of my advisers, both civil and military, are strongly of opinion that it is undesirable the Commanders of the Armies of Madras and Bombay should continue to sit in the Council. They consider it would have no beneficial effect, inasmuch as the Governments would cease to have control of the Armies, and they are of opinion that much friction might from time to time be occasioned from the presence of the Commanders of those Armies in the Council. On the whole, I thought the arguments predominated on that side. Your Lordships will see that if this new state of things is to be created there is really no more reason why the Lieutenant Generals commanding the Bombay and Madras Armies should sit in the Bombay and Madras Councils than the Lieutenant Generals commanding the Armies in Bengal or in the North-West Provinces should sit in the Councils in those places. We therefore considered that it was better to put all the Lieutenant Generals cm the same footing; and for that reason consulted the Government of India as to whether they felt any strong objection to this change, and the answer I have received by telegraph is that they have none. That being so, I placed this clause in the Bill. Your Lordships will naturally ask why, after having myself, in a very fully-argued Despatch, which was to a large extent prepared by that very distinguished officer Sir Henry Norman, in answer to that of my noble Friend (Lord Ripon), stated strong objections to the proposed change, I now submit it to the House. In the discussion which took place here three years ago I ventured to say that if the noble Viscount were to bring forward a measure similar to the present I should not make any objection, and I think there are several reasons why Her Majesty's Government ought now to yield to the pressure of the Government of India on the subject. I say yield to the pressure, because, in my opinion, the pressure of the Government of India is a very important element in the matter. They are the Government on the spot, and are immediately responsible; and when your Lordships find that all the successive Viceroys during the last 10 years have pressed the Imperial Government in the strongest manner that this measure should be adopted, it seems to me that now the greatest responsibility would attach to us if we refused any longer to accept their proposals. I do not say that that is a sufficient reason, but it must be obvious that there are other matters as regards the condition of India to be taken into consideration, seeing the great changes which have taken place in recent years. Railway and telegraphic communications have been made between the different parts of India, and have wholly changed the conditions, so that the whole matter has been rendered exceedingly different from what it was in old times. Besides that, there is also to be considered another reason of extreme importance which your Lordships will find in the Despatch, and I have no doubt that this reason has had great influence on the Government of India in the conclusions at which they have arrived—I mean the approach to the frontiers of India of another great European military Power. I would not load your Lordships to suppose that at the present time there is any special reason to anticipate unfriendly relations with that Power, or to apprehend danger from that quarter. On the contrary; our relations are of a friendly character, and Her Majesty's Government hope that matters which are now the subject of negotiation with respect to an approach to some portion of the frontier of India will be brought to a happy conclusion. There is no reason why we should not continue to maintain cordial relations with that great European Power. But we cannot calmly shut our eyes to the fact of the near approach of one of the greatest military Powers in the world to our Indian Empire. We have acknowledged that fact by the construction of a most important system of frontier defence, and we must seek in the organisation of our Indian Army to place ourselves in the very best state of defence in order to be able to meet any possible emergency should the calamity of war arrive. The state of affairs in India renders it absolutely necessary that our Armies should be not only capable of dealing with the internal conditions of India, but also able to defend the country if need be from foreign aggression. Your Lordships will see from the Papers laid on the Table that the Government of India have laid great stress on this consideration in support of the proposals they have made. I will say at once that that is one of the principal reasons which have led me to change my opinion, and to believe that the time has come for a greater concentration of the military command in order to secure the complete efficiency of our forces in India. Those forces, though I hope they are entirely sufficient for defence, are not of a very imposing character in point of numbers compared with those kept on foot by the great European Powers; and therefore it is the more necessary that we should have the most complete control over those forces, and should be able to use them in the most speedy and expeditious manner. The Government of India have come to the conclusion that, in order to secure this, the old Presidential system should be abandoned. In favour of this change we have the authority of two of the most distinguished men who have commanded our Armies in India—Sir D. Stewart, and that most able and distinguished soldier who was now about to return from India, Lord Roberts, the late Commander-in-Chief. The new Commander-in-Chief, who has just gone out to India, I am able to say, is also in favour of the change, for I have had the advantage of communicating with him on the subject. Those reasons will, I hope, convince your Lordships that the time has arrived when it is absolutely essential that this matter should be dealt with on the principles laid down by the Commission which was issued by Lord Lytton and approved of by successive Viceroys whom I have mentioned. There is yet another matter which I cannot with propriety pass over. Your Lordships will have read in the interesting and important Despatch which Lord Lansdowne has sent home the scheme which the Government of India proposes for the reorganisation of the Indian Armies. It is important that the House should know what view Her Majesty's Government take of those proposals. I may say at once that we have not arrived at a final decision on the matter, and we shall not be able to do so until we know whether Parliament accepts this Bill or not, but I may intimate what our decision is likely to be. The proposals of the Government of India have somewhat varied from time to time on the question of reorganisation of the Indian Armies. In the first instance, by the Commission of 1879 it was proposed that there should be four Armies for Bombay, Madras, Bengal, and the Punjaub, and also to maintain the existing system under which Beloochistan and Scinde were comprised in the Bombay command, and Burmah was included in that of Madras. The present proposals vary from these. It is proposed that Madras should be deprived of Burmah, and Bombay of Beloochistan and Scinde. Your Lordships will see that therein lie questions of very great consequence. As far as I am able to judge, it is not likely to be the opinion of Her Majesty's Government that it would be desirable to adopt the whole of the proposals put forward exactly as they have reached us. With regard to the Bombay and Madras Armies, I say at once, speaking generally, we consider that those Armies will be maintained separately, but they will be commanded by Lieutenant Generals, under the immediate control of the Commander-in-Chief. As regards the Bengal Army, we do not view with favour the proposal to place practically the whole of our fighting regiments in one separate Frontier Army. We consider there are elements of considerable danger in such an arrangement. We should also deprecate the severance of the Bombay Army from all frontier service, the necessity of which we do not see. We approve of the division of the Bengal Army, because it is so large that for it a division of command would be necessary; that is to say, there would be two Lieutenant Generals commanding the two sections of the Bengal Army, but we do not entertain the idea of making so complete a severance of those two sections that there would be no interchange between them. We think it better to leave power to the Government to make such interchange of regiments as they may wish and not to completely sever that Army into two parts. As I have said, we think it not desirable for many reasons to form one single Frontier Army containing the whole of our fighting regiments in India. With regard to Madras and Burmah, that matter stands upon a somewhat different footing. There is no doubt a good deal to be said in favour of not connecting Burmah with the Madras command, but there are also good reasons on the other side. We have not formed any strong opinion or come to any actual conclusion upon that point. There is another remark I have to make. I think your Lordships will have seen with satisfaction that all the Governments of India successively have had clearly before them the paramount necessity for such a segregation of the different elements of our Indian Annies as will conduce to the safety of the State. That segregation has hitherto been provided by means of the Presidential Armies, although, at the same time, from the fact that many of the warlike races on the frontier are recruited into the regiments, the segregation has not been so perfect as it might have been; and in any proposals the Government of India may entertain, it is their strong determination to have such a segregation of the different elements in the Armies as will afford the security which is to be derived from the varied races in the Indian Empire. Looking to all the different interests we have to deal with, that is as absolutely necessary now as in former times. I hope no Government in India will ever lose sight of that most important consideration. We must not forget that we have not to deal there simply with military organisation as it might be dealt with in Germany, or France, or in this country; we have to deal with an Empire, not only of immense size, but of a most multifarious character, governed by a people on the other side of the globe, and presenting many different considerations from those attaching to a people homogeneous with its Government. I have a firm belief in the loyalty of the Indian Princes, and of the good feeling towards us of the vast populations of India; but, notwithstanding that, and notwithstanding all the advances which are being made in good government, and that there is a growing sympathy between those peoples and ourselves, we must remember the history of India. We must remember our duty to India; and it is our duty to India, for the preservation of the peace, in the highest sense of the word, of that vast Empire, to see that our military organisation is such that that peace is not endangered, and that we shall not incur such dangers as have befallen us in past times. For these reasons, I repeat that I trust this system of segregation, and a due regard for the differences of race in the elements composing our Indian Armies, may never be lost sight of. If that be remembered, I see nothing in this measure in any respect to cause alarm. On the contrary, I believe it will strengthen our position in India, and will enable us to make the best use of the warlike elements among the native races which are a source of strength to our Armies; and I hope there will be laid in that way the foundation of a military system so strong that, whether as regards internal administration, or external aggression, we may have nothing to fear.

Moved, "That the Bill be now read 2a" —(The Earl of Kimberley.)


My Lords, I cannot enter upon the subject-matter of the discussion before us to-night without first endorsing every word that has fallen from the noble Earl with regard to my old Friend and Colleague the late Lord Derby. It had been my good fortune to be acquainted with Lord Derby for more than half a century, and to work with him at many periods of his life. I can, therefore, bear my personal testimony to Lord Derby's absolute worth, to his strong sense of public duty, to his constant desire to do everything for the public and nothing for himself, and also to the strong, straightforward, common-sense which he brought to bear upon every subject. Lord Derby's death is a serious loss, not only to your Lordships' House, but to the country at large. With regard to the Bill which has been brought before us to-night I would venture to say a few words to your Lordships. There can be no doubt that the question with which the Bill before us deals is a question upon which there has been very great difference of opinion, whether looked at from a political or a military point of view. It will be found, I think, by those who have studied the subject that it is the older military men who have been strongest in favour of maintaining the Presidential system, and that it is the younger generation, so to speak, who have been anxious to see it done away with. Such well-known military authorities as Sir Frederick Haines, Sir Henry Norman, and Lord Napier of Magdala strenuously opposed the policy of abolishing the Presidential system in Madras and Bombay. Nor do I think it unnatural that you should find those opposing opinions between different sets of military officers. The system was generally supported by the older officers who had had experience of its value during the Indian Mutiny, and who felt the necessity for some safeguard to prevent anything of the kind in the future. On the other side, officers whose attention had been chiefly directed to the defence of the North-Western Frontier against a foreign foe favoured the proposal to concentrate the Army under one head. I am far from saying they may not be right from that particular point of view. In Lord Lausdowne's Despatch the different views of the two schools of military thought are expressed. In paragraph 6 your Lordships will find Lord Lansdowne points out— One lesson to be learned from the Mutiny, apart from the necessity of maintaining a due proportion of British troops in India, is the danger of allowing any one part of the Army to attain a vastly preponderating strength over the others; and in paragraph 12 he says— The expansion of the Empire and its advance beyond its old limits involve the necessity of enlisting in our service the people of the new countries which have come under our rule. The necessity for this is now brought the more prominently before us, in view of the possibility that the next great operations our Army may be called on to undertake may be against a more formidable enemy than it has ever yet encountered. When this matter was brought forward by my noble Friend in 1881, I ventured to state to your Lordships that if the Bill which was then proposed was to encounter great opposition in Parliament, as at that time I expected it would have done, upon those two subjects—the Indian Mutiny and a foreign foe—a public discussion should rather be avoided, as they were likely to raise disputes upon the one side and the other. The noble Earl has said that four Viceroys have been strongly in favour of the proposal embodied in the Bill. That is perfectly true; but, on the other hand, four Secretaries of State have taken the other view, and have abstained from acting upon the opinion of the Viceroys. It is worthy of consideration that these four Viceroys had all been influenced by the Military Department in India, which has been stirring throughout the whole of this matter since 1879. Their opinion, therefore, ought to have hardly as much weight as if it had been formed independently, and had been quite free from the bias of that Military Department. I stated at that time in the House that I was quite ready to carry out almost everything the Commission had recommended with the exception of this one point now before us. The noble Earl has stated what has been done in this direction in reference to the Military Accounts, Ordnance, Remounts, Commissariat, Transport, Clothing and Military Works Departments. A great deal has been done in preventing friction and to lessen the amount of correspondence which formerly took place, when everything had to go first to Madras or Bombay, and afterwards to the Governor General or the Commander-in-Chief. We have now before us a proposal to do away with the last remnant of the Presidential system, I am not inclined to oppose a Bill dealing with a subject to which so much consideration has been given by successive Secretaries of State in Council, and now that the responsible Government of the day has introduced it, I trust that they will persevere with it and determine that it shall become law, for it is very undesirable to cause uncertainty in India by introducing Bills affecting that country and then dropping them time after time, so that no one knows what the future may be. Therefore, I press upon the noble Earl that this measure should now be carried into effect with as little delay as possible. Before I make any observations upon the Bill, I should like to ask one question upon the 2nd sub-section of the 1st clause, for I cannot help thinking there is an error in it—a printer's error, I hope. It provides that— The military control and authority exercise-able by the Governors in Council of the Presidencies of Madras and Bombay shall cease to be exercised, and all things which by or under the Army Act are required or authorised to be done by, to, or before the Governor of the Presidency of Madras or of Bombay, shall or may be done by, to, or before the Governor General of India —not to the Governor General of India in Council. That must surely be a mistake.


Certainly I should think so, speaking off-hand; but I should like to consult a draftsman. It cannot be intended to give special powers to the Viceroy.


Of course not. It is a matter of vital principle; and if it were brought before us in that shape in Committee I should certainly take the opinion of your Lordships upon the question, whether it should not be Governor General in Council. The Despatch we have in our hands is dated November 2, 1892, and, therefore, the Government has had ample time to consider it. I am bound to say that, I think, before we were called upon to consider this Bill a Despatch in answer ought to have gone out to the Government of India, because there are a great number of questions in connection with the subject about which we know nothing. The noble Earl has told us a most elaborate scheme has been sent home in answer to my own application when in Office as to the way in which the details of this plan were to be carried out. There is a great deal which is objectionable in that scheme. Paragraph 17 in the Despatch says there are three main principles which the Government of India have in view— First, to frame the division of the Indian Army in large military commands, so as to allow the changes, which will probably come within the next few years, to find a proper place in the new system. I should like to have seen the Despatch of the noble Earl on that point, because the Government of India has presented one or two totally different schemes in this matter. I am glad to hear from the noble Earl that, in his opinion, the Armies of Madras and Bombay ought to be considered and maintained as separate Armies. I entirely agree in that. I am very strongly of opinion that the Armies of Madras and Bombay should have the opportunity of frontier service, and that those parts of India should not be cut off from them. We ought to have heard something about this matter, because it is quite evident that what the Government of India are pressing upon the Government at home is that the scheme should be so framed as to give very great elasticity to the Government of India in forming these great demands. We ought to know what the view of Her Majesty's-Government is upon that matter, and I trust that before long we shall have a Despatch written showing what their view really is. Now I come to the second principle. The second principle which the Government of India has in view is that of decentralisation. I am glad to hear what fell from the noble Earl on that point, but as the Bill is drawn it is a purely centralising Bill. There are no safeguards in the Bill for securing decentralisation. There was no safeguard taken in any Despatch to secure decentralisation. So far as the Bill is concerned, these two offices are entirety abolished, and the entire Government of the whole of the Indian Armies-is at once placed in the Commander-in-Chief under the Governor General in Council. It is not the time now to discuss this question in detail; but if noble Lords will go through the Schedules of the Bill and compare them with the Army Act, they will see that they do strip the local Commanders-in-Chief of every vestige of the primary duties of a Lieutenant General and centralise everything in the Commander-in-Chief in India. The third principle was the maintenance of the segregation of races. I am very glad to find that it is to be maintained, but I should like to have had it more fully stated not by word of mouth only, but in some Despatch to the Governor General of India. Paragraph 26 in the Despatch says— We base our proposals on the foundation upon which successive Governments of India have advocated the change for the last 11 years, that the reform which we again submit for the consideration of Her Majesty's Government will conduce to the more efficient and economical administration of the Armies of India. I think some information might have been given us upon that subject by the noble Earl. I do not quite understand how economy is to be effected by this change. I have never seen any satisfactory Report from India as to how the financial burdens are to be diminished by this change. I fear that the financial arrangements of a large scheme like this will be anything but economical in the long run. There is another part of the Bill to which I should like to call attention. The third paragraph of the 1st clause says— The officers holding at the commencement of this Act the offices of Commanders-in-Chief of the Forces in the Presidencies of Madras and Bombay shall cease to be Members of the Council of the Governors of Madras and Bombay respectively. I must say I object very strongly to that paragraph. I see no reason for it, and I see very great harm in it. The noble Earl, so far as I understand, has brought forward no authority from India on the point, except some telegram which we have not seen.


I will lay it on the Table.


I should like to remind the House of the views the Government of India has held, at all events, since 1888 as expressed by the Viceroys. On June 1 of that year Lord Dufferin wrote— We would add that the present holders of these offices might, retain the title of Commander-in-Chief, nor do we see any reason why they and their successors should not continue with advantage to be Members of the Local Councils. On October 15, 1888, Lord Dufferin, in answer to my request, wrote again— It is to be understood that the position and authority, the privileges and titles of the present incumbents of the offices of Commander-in-Chief of the Madras and Bombay Armies respectively are to remain, as far as possible, unaltered. On February 26, 1889, Lord Lansdowne wrote— It is not proposed to remove those officers from the Local Councils. We are of opinion that their retention in Council is desirable, because questions of general military and political policy would still have to be dealt with by Local Governments, just as the Lieutenant Governors of the Provinces of Bengal, the North-West Provinces and Oudh, and the Punjaub have to deal with questions of the distribution and strength of the troops and the maintenance of order in their respective Provinces, and it would be advantageous that Local Councils should have the advice in such matters of the senior military officer serving in the Provinces. Now I come to the Despatch which we have just received, and in paragraph 22, page 8, we find Lord Lansdowne still pressing the same point. He says— As to the Commanders-in-Chief of Madras and Bombay, we propose, as we did in 1888, that the position, authority, privileges, and title of the present incumbents of the offices should remain unaltered. Their successors would be Lieutenant Generals commanding the Armies of the south and the west respectively; but, as recommended in 1888, we see no reason why they should not be Members of the Council of the Governor of their Presidencies. So that we have had four Despatches from India all strongly in favour of retaining the Lieutenant Generals as Members of the Councils. If they wore deprived of that office, I cannot help thinking they will not be looked up to in the same light as in their present position as Members of the Councils, and it would lessen them in the eyes of those who served under them. I see no possible advantage in taking away from them duties they have so well performed. But, my Lords, I see another great disadvantage. Last year an Act was passed which enabled the Indian Councils to be very much enlarged, and I hope that by this time several Governments have promulgated orders by which the numbers are to be increased. If you take away the Commander-in-Chief from the Council of the Governor, you will deprive him of the advice be very likely might want in military matters, and you will also take away one of the members nominated by him and destroy the balance at present, established. I cannot imagine what has induced the noble Earl to strike these officers off the Councils. I hope some of your Lordships will take that view of the case, and that we may he able to pursuade the Government of India to leave those Commanders as Members of the Local Councils. I will not detain the House with any observations on the general condition of India, but I believe one of the greatest duties we owe to India is to maintain an efficient Army there. It is essential that we should be strong, and that the natives should have a knowledge of our strength. It is our strength and justice together that promotes the happiness of India, and I believe that the condition of the people of India, though it may be slowly, is certainly steadily improving, and that from one end of India to the other they do believe not only in our strength, but also in our justice.


My Lords, I deem it my duty, if your Lordships will allow me, to say a few words upon this important Bill, for it is an important Bill. Though personally, unfortunately for myself, I have never had any experience of India by residence in that country, I have, during the long time I have had the honour of being at the head of the Army, had constant opportunities of hearing the opinions of the most distinguished officers, both of our Imperial Army and of the local Army who have served in that country during that period. Up to the present time I must frankly admit, as it is well-known to both sides of the House, I have consistently had one opinion on the matters embodied in the Bill. I have held that opinion because I have heard from men like Lord Napier, Sir Henry Norman. Field Marshal Haines, and others that they strongly objected to any change being introduced in the distinct commands in that country. They have always said that the interests of the Indian Empire being very vast, and the numbers of the Armies being so great, each should have a chief of its own, and that it would be impossible for one individual to grasp the whole question in operations connected with that great Empire unless there was a division of authority to some extent. Besides that, they also strongly impressed upon me the fact that for all military practical purposes the power of the Commander-in-Chief in India as a Member of the Council of India under the Viceroy was such that he could at any moment employ any portion of the troops in any one of the three Presidencies to any extent necessary. However, so strong became the pressure that this change should be made, and so strong was the opinion of Lord Roberts, and I believe others, that I could have no hesitation in withdrawing any opposition that I might have offered on this question. To my mind, the time has come when the change should be made, and the sooner it is made the better, because doubt and hesitation are most objectionable in military affairs. There are, however, some points in the Bill on which I should like to make a few remarks. In the first instance, I entirely agree with what has fallen from the noble Viscount, that the withdrawal of the two Generals from the Council of their respective Presidencies is undesirable. In my opinion, it is essential that there should be some military authority in direct and close and intimate relationship with the Civil Members of the Governments of those Presidencies. There is no doubt that the Government of India itself is quite prepared to agree to that; not only so, but they absolutely suggested it, and it would be a great advantage to the local Army if it were done. I do hope there may still be time to arrange the matter in such a way that this change will not be required by the Bill before the House. Another question of great importance is with regard to service on the frontiers of India which are dangerously situated. Their defence is to be absolutely in the hands of one single Army—that of Bengal; and the Armies of Madras and Bombay are to be cut off from the frontier where service is looked for, and where service alone is really valuable. I think it a misfortune that the Madras troops have already had too little opportunity of qualifying for service by having been for years entirely kept to local duties. Bombay has had a little better chance, having had Scinde. I cannot see why Madras troops should not be employed in Burmah or on that frontier side. This is really a matter of internal arrangement, and I hope any arrrangement which is to be made under this Bill will not prevent the local organisations being so managed as to allow portions of every one of the Armies being occasionally employed on the frontier, whether at Burmah, Beloochistan, Scinde, or elsewhere. It is desirable that every portion of the Army should occasionally come in contact with hostile or dangerous elements, and not simply be called upon to do home police duty, which, of course, is necessary, but which, still, is not calculated to create that spirit which is so necessary in the Army. As regards the efficiency of the troops, I will give an instance when the Indian Contingent was in the Soudan. I can say that no troops could have behaved better than the Native Bombay Regiment. I cannot conceive why all the strong fighting elements should be in one Army Corps. I think that would be a great misfortune, and objectionable in a military point of view, and I hope some system of organisation will be carried out which will meet any serious trouble that may arise. I felt bound to point out what I think the very serious inconvenience which may arise under the Bill as it now stands; and I hope that before it is passed some reconsideration will be given to what I consider, from a military point of view, most important questions.


de-sired, before he dealt with the Bill, to refer both on his own account and on be- half of his noble Friend the Duke of Devonshire, to the late Earl of Derby, in respect of his connection with India, and the loss which the House and country had sustained by his death. The late Earl was in India before the Mutiny, and he filled for the last time the office of President of the Board of Control. It was under his auspices that the Act for the Better Government of India was passed, which transferred the Government of India from the grand old East India Company to the Crown, and he became the first (Secretary of State for India. He (the Earl of Northbrook) could well remember, as a young man in the other House, being struck with the tact, ability, and thorough knowledge of the subject which the Earl of Derby displayed in passing that very difficult Act. He had also been struck with the singular power which the late Earl possessed of seizing the main arguments upon any question, however complicated and difficult, and placing them lucidly, tersely, and fairly before the country. With regard to the Bill, he shared with the illustrious Duke and the noble Viscount doubts as to the policy of the change. At the same time, he thought with them that, under the circumstances in which the Secretary of State was placed, it would be impossible for him not to accept the proposals of the Government of India in respect of the main change—namely, to bring the control of the Armies of India under the Viceroy in Council and the Commander-in-Chief in India. He was sorry that the House had not before it in some more complete shape the views of Her Majesty's Government on this matter. The plan submitted by the Government of India was not in all respects satisfactory, and he thought that in this interval which had elapsed since the scheme was sent out there had been time for the Government to have gone carefully into the matter, and to have given the House the benefit of the observations of the Secretary of State for India in Council, so that they might have known what was the actual plan which they were asked to sanction. He wished to impress upon their Lordships the absolute necessity of taking care that the administration of these separate Armies should be decentralised. An opinion to the same effect had been expressed by the Government of India and by the Secretary of State, and they ought to guard, by distinct instruction, against the danger of centralisation. It was important, also, to consider whether it was not desirable that Lieutenant Generals commanding the newly-constituted Armies should be Members of the Councils of Bombay and Madras. There was great advantages to be gained from their connection with those Councils, and he saw no reason why they should not remain Members. The Secretary of State had said that the whole of his Council were in favour of removing these officers from the Councils of Bombay and Madras. Those Presidencies were very inadequately represented on the Councils, and he would like to know whether the noble Earl had any other Despatches from the Presidencies on the subject to lay on the Table, and whether he had consulted Lord Reay, who had lately filled the office of Governor of Bombay; Sir Grant Duff, who had recently returned from Madras, and whether he had taken the opinion of the illustrious Duke on the Cross Benches (the Duke of Connaught), who had recently held an important command in India as to this proposed change? If the Bill passed on the lines named in the Despatch he feared the tendency might be to diminish the power of the Civil Authorities in the Punjaub, and to place the whole of the frontier policy in the hands of the Commander-in-Chief in India, which might be a very disadvantageous arrangement. There was a paragraph in the Despatch which made him apprehensive as to what was meant in this matter. Paragraph 21 said— We should insure that unanimity in our military action towards the tribes on the North and North-West Frontiers which is so desirable, and that seemed to indicate the change he feared that was the withdrawal of the late system of management of those tribes by the Civil Authorities, and putting it into the hands of the General Officer commanding the Army of the North, in immediate communication with the Commander-in-Chief in India. The opinion of the Civil Authorities on that matter of the management of the tribes was of the greatest importance, and should not be passed by. Arrangements should be made to enable that opinion to be conveyed to the Governor General in Council and military measures should only be taken after careful consideration of it by the Governor General in Council. In the Despatch he saw nothing about economy; but, on the contrary, various indications that, unless a careful check were kept by the Secretary of State in Council and by the Government of India, the effect of the proposals would be to increase still further the growing military expenditure of India. When the Secretary of State wrote his answer to the Despatch which was now on their Lordships' Table, he trusted he would take care to provide as far as possible that the change about to take place by a redistribution of the forces or by raising more troops, of which he saw some indications, should not still further increase the very heavy charges which now fall on India in respect of military expenditure. There were several minor questions connected with the Bill which would be more appropriately discussed in Committee; but he would make no further observations at present, and would conclude by trusting that as the Secretary of State had at last introduced a Bill of this kind he would in his instructions to the Government of India take care that the points referred to, which he believed the noble Earl most thoroughly appreciated, and which were of great importance, should be carefully guarded in order that no mischief, either administrative or financial, should occur in consequence of the change now proposed.


would only add a few words to what had been said upon the subject of this Bill. In the course of his long service in India he had seen most of the troops in both Presidencies. Having been much impressed with the amount of petty detail thrown upon the Commander-in-Chief and his staff, and the fact that they were really precluded in consequence from taking part in the larger questions which were continually pressing for attention, he framed a scheme for the abolition of the minor Commands in Madras and Bombay. That scheme differed from the present one in this particular—that instead of dividing the Army of India into four Commands he divided it into eight. He forwarded that scheme to many influential persons, and it was, on the whole, very favourably received, although he was bound to confess his own Commander-in-Chief did not approve of it. He was surprised to hear from the illus- trious Duke that Sir Henry Norman had expressed an opinion adverse to that scheme, because he had at home a letter from that gallant officer expressing entire approval of it, and saying that he had had a consultation with the lamented Lord Mayo, and he thought it was very desirable such a change should take place. Of course, in a scheme for the abolition of Commands, everything depended on how the details were carried out. Having studied the despatch laid on the Table very attentively, he was much struck with the tone of depreciation of the different parts of the Army of India except that which was recruited from the Punjaub. Now, they all knew what gallant service the Sepoys of the Bengal Army had rendered, with the assistance of British troops, in defeating the Sikhs; and now, with their discipline infinitely improved, he was quite certain those regiments, if properly handled and distributed, would do right good service, supposing at any time we had to defend our frontier from a determined attack by a formidable European Force. The Bombay native troops behaved well under Sir Hugh Rose, and Lord Napier of Magdala had borne testimony to the gallantry of the Madras troops in Abyssinia. The Armies of Bombay and Madras had not had the same advantages of reorganisation as the Bengal Army, but their record was not less creditable. Running through the whole of the despatch, too, lay the presumption that if we were to meet a formidable European enemy on our frontier we must go outside the frontier to do so. He believed that would be a fatal mistake to make, unless it could be absolutely proved that by stepping outside we should find a better fighting position than inside our own country. But he contended, after studying this question very closely for a great number of years, that the North-Western Frontier, which was the only strikable frontier for a European Force, was as strong as it possibly could be made. It was only 500 miles in length, and along it ran an absolutely unfordable river. A formidable defensive position existed at Quetta, which he trusted would be supplemented at some future time by another at Peshawur. We, in fact, possessed what was so necessary on a frontier, the absolute command of both sides of the river, and we had now strategical railways which enabled us to send troops to any point required. There are only two main lines from which India could be attacked; one from Cabul and the other from Candahar. The latter was now absolutely blocked by the forts at Quetta, and the line of attack would have to be thrown higher up in the direction of Ghuznee. In the circumstances he trusted the Bengal troops might be allowed, as hitherto, to occupy posts in the Punjaub mixed with Punjaubees. Their martial spirit would be repressed if they were completely separately from that frontier. If we were to yield to those who were so persistent in advocating a forward policy, it would be seen, he believed, that they were doing a great injustice to the natural features of our own frontier and risking the loss of our Indian Empire.


My Lords, I need scarcely say that I have listened with great interest and, if I may be permitted to say so, with great satisfaction to the discussion which has taken place upon this Bill. It is now 12 years ago since I, taking up this question from the late Lord Lytton, who left it to my Government, have been advocating the principle which animates the present Bill, and to that principle no opposition has been offered. Some criticisms have been directed against details of the Bill which can best be dealt with in Committee; but I have no doubt from the course of the Debate the Bill will now be read a second time without opposition, and that the principle which four successive Governor Generals of India and Governments of India, one after another, have been urging, will be passed by this House, and will become law. The noble Viscount opposite will, I hope, permit me to say that I cannot altogether admit the fairness of the charge which he brought against the Governments of India in regard to this matter, that they were solely inspired by the Military Department of their Government. My noble Friend must remember that this question took its rise not from the Military Department, so-called, of the Government of India, but from the most important and weighty Commission of 1879. That was the origin of this matter. The Report of that Commission was reviewed by Lord Lytton, but his Government, as your Lordships know, had not time to complete the consideration of the subject. Lord Lytton himself recorded his strong opinion in favour of the proposals of the Commission; but he was obliged to leave the matter to those who followed him, myself, Lord Dufferin, and Lord Lansdowne. We all took the same view, and pressed the matter with the greatest earnestness. I am glad to find that we have been able to bring conviction to the minds of those who doubted for a long time, and that at last the principle of this Bill will be passed. The truth is that the Presidential system in India has been broken down. No one was a greater destructive in that matter than the noble Viscount opposite. He did a great deal to break it down, and it only remains now to take the ultimate logical step of abandoning the last remnant, and reorganising our Indian Armies so as to suit them to the requirements of the present time. Before I go further, I should like to say a word upon a matter which has received attention from some of the previous speakers, and that is the question of the segregation of the native elements of the different Armies. Throughout this discussion we, who have been advocating this arrangement from India, have found, to our surprise, that there is a great deal of distrust of us in this matter of segregation and centralisation. It has always been supposed that the object of this change is centralisation. That, certainly, has not been the object with which this arrangement has been proposed by any of the Governments of India who have urged it; and I beg to express my entire concurrence with my noble Friend below me (Lord Northbrook) in thinking that the principle of segregation in the Armies of India is of the greatest value. And I go further, and say that from my own experience I believe that principle of segregation will be better carried out under the system proposed by this Bill than it has been under the system existing in former years. The noble Viscount seemed rather to expect that there would have been in this Bill some more minute regulations given with regard to the general question of the reconstitution of the Indian Army. I am sure the noble Viscount will agree with me in thinking that it would be very undesirable to lay down regulations of that kind in an Act of Parliament. We have suffered somewhat in India from having to deal, in respect to Army organisation, with the provisions of an Act of Parliament. Nothing could be more unwise, in my judgment, than to lay down the system of our military organisation, even in its main lines, in the imperative terms of an Act of Parliament. All we wish to do by this Bill is to remove the difficulties from the new system which the existing Act of Parliament imposes, and that is all, I venture to submit, which any Act of Parliament ought to do. Something has been said about the want of a despatch dealing with the new organisation as sketched out in the last despatch from the Indian Government. I know very well that that despatch makes proposals which are different in certain respects from those put forward in the Bill; but that, as Lord Lansdowne and his Colleagues say, is the result of the changed circumstances of India at the present time. It is, as I reminded your Lordships just now, more than 12 years ago since this question was taken up. Things in India have been a great deal changed from what they used to be. Many things have occurred in India in those 12 years, and I am not at all surprised that the Government of India should have proposed some changes in the detailed proposals which had been previously submitted to the Secretary of State. But then it is urged that my noble Friend ought to have laid before your Lordships a despatch upon this question at the same time that he brought in this Bill. I understood my noble Friend to say that we ought to take the opinion of Parliament upon the principle of this change, and then afterwards carry out the details in consultation with the Government of India when we have matured the plan. Your Lordships will have observed that in what fell from my noble Friend there are points upon which he hesitates to accept the views of the Government of India as laid down in that despatch. My noble Friend's course before he comes to a final conclusion upon those points will naturally be to consult with the Government of India, and to hear what they have to say upon them; and though this is a perfectly arguable matter, I venture to say that I think the course which my noble Friend has taken is the best that could have been adopted, and that it would have been a mistake to incur the delay in introducing this measure which might have followed from a prolonged discussion with the Government of India at so great a distance in regard to its details. For I entirely agree with what fell from the noble Viscount opposite as to the importance of settling this question, so far as this Bill can settle it, at once and without delay. Everything that the noble Viscount said upon that point was, I think, most just and most important; and I can assure him that Her Majesty's Government will do all that rests with them to get this measure passed by Parliament during the present Session. Now, my Lords, I come to what, I think, is the principal objection which has been taken to the details of the Bill before the House—I mean the question whether the Lieutenant Generals who are to be at the head of the Armies of Madras and Bombay should or not also be Members of the Councils of the Governments of those Provinces. I will merely say that my own opinion has always been that the proposal of the Bill is the right one. That was the opinion of the late Lord Lytton. No doubt the noble Viscount was able to quote on the other side the opinion of Lord Dufferin, and to a certain extent the opinion of Lord Lansdowne, though, of course, from the telegram which has been communicated to your Lordships to-night, it is obvious that is not a point—I will not go beyond that—to which Lord Lansdowne attaches much importance. Now, my Lords, the main difficulty which I have always felt in regard to this matter is this. The system which was contemplated by the Commission of 1879, and which the successive Governments of India have desired in these respects to adopt, was a, system which provided that under the Commander-in-Chief in India there should be four or five Lieutenant Generals upon an equal footing; and I have been unable to see why you should put the Lieutenant Generals in Madras and Bombay upon a different footing from the Lieutenant Generals in Bengal and the Punjaub. That is the view I have always taken in the matter. I do not want to press it too far. I entirely admit there is much to be said on the other side, but I am bound to tell your Lordships frankly what is the view I have been led to take. My noble Friend behind me said it was very important that the Governments of Madras and Bombay should be in immediate communication with the officers commanding the troops. I entirely agree with that—it is absolutely necessary; but I do not see the least in the world how that will be rendered difficult by preventing the Commanders-in-Chief from serving on the Councils. If a time of trouble and difficulty arises it is necessary that the Lieutenant Governors in Bengal and in the Punjaub should be in the closest possible communication with the officers commanding the troops in those Provinces; and I fail at the moment to see why it is more necessary in Madras and Bombay than it is in Bengal and the Punjaub. That is the view I have always taken, I confess, in this matter; and it is some satisfaction, I own, to me that that view was unanimously taken, as my noble Friend has told us by his present Advisers on the Council at the India Office. Those Advisers include Sir Donald Stewart, as we know, whose acquaintance with every detail in every branch of the Indian Army is surpassed by no man living at the present time; and the experience of the noble Earl's other Advisers is very great; so that, at all events, whether the view I take be right or wrong, it has considerable weight of authority to support it. I think, my Lords, I have touched sufficiently upon the main points which have been raised in this discussion, simply in the way of discussion, for there is no opposition to the principle; and I should be wrong in taking up your Lordships' time in arguing that principle at length. I did so two years ago when the course of the Debate, although not favourable at the moment to the view I entertained, led me to look forward to the time when those who opposed me would come round to my view, and when the proposals would ultimately be carried out, I certainly hope, my Lords, that the Bill, at all events in its principle, will be passed speedily by both Houses of Parliament.


My Lords, I am not entitled to make any reply; but, as I have been asked two or three questions, perhaps I may be allowed to answer them. In the first place, I wish to make one remark with regard to the point which has been touched upon by the noble Marquess, and that is the great objection which has been taken to that part of the Bill with regard to the exclusion of the Generals commanding these Armies from the Madras and Bombay Councils. I can only repeat that I have taken the advice which I am bound to take, and which is provided for me as Secretary of State. A strong and unanimous opinion was expressed by my Council in favour of the clause in the Bill. I had the advice upon my Council of civilians who had sat in the Councils both at Madras and Bombay, and who were, therefore, competent to give me advice upon this matter. The advice given me, was, therefore, not that of military men alone, but was given by competent Civil officials also. I need scarcely say that that clause is not a cardinal principle of this Bill, and whatever objections may be urged against it will be arguable in Committee. Then, with regard to the finance question, my noble Friend asked for a statement of the financia saving. The matter stands, believe, as nearly as possible in this way. It was originally hoped that there would be savings to a considerable amount. They have amounted, I believe, on the whole, from the various changes made in the direction mentioned by the noble Marquess, to about £500,000 a year. Those changes have been made already, and of course, in that respect, the matter is discounted. But, as coming from this particular measure which I am proposing, there is no immediate expectation of any considerable amount of saving, though there is hope on the part of the India Office and Indian Government that eventually, when the reorganisation is completed, a more economical system will be created. That is all I can say upon the question of finance. My noble Friend also referred to a matter which it would be out of place to discuss now—the importance of always consulting the Punjaub Government and the Frontier Authorities upon all questions relating to the frontier. I simply wish to say that I entirely agree in what my noble Friend has said. I think it is of the highest importance that the Government immediately on the frontier, who are well acquainted with frontier questions, and have long experience with regard to them, which cannot be the case with the Central Government, at all events in the same degree, should be consulted on questions regarding the frontier. I will not say anything further, except to express my satisfaction that the general principle of the Bill is accepted by your Lordships, and to add that when we reach the Committee stage I shall, in regard to details, be ready to give whatever further explanations may be required.


My Lords, this is the first time I have had the honour of addressing your Lordships, and I should not have risen but for the deep interest I feel in the subject under discussion. During the time that I was Commander-in-Chief in Bombay I was in frequent correspondence with the Indian Authorities on this subject, and also with the noble Viscount (Viscount Cross), as he will remember. I have always felt certain, from what had taken place, and from the result of the previous Commission of 1879, a very important one, as the noble Earl the Secretary of State for India said, that it was inevitable that a Bill somewhat on the lines of the measure now submitted by the Secretary of State for India should follow, and, as far as I am concerned, I concur in the general principle of the Bill. I wish, however, to point out very strongly that I think the Secretary for India has not recognised what a great loss it will be to the Native Armies of Bombay and Madras if the Commanders-in-Chief or Lieutenant Generals, as they are in future to be termed, were no longer to be Members of the Governors' Councils. I see that in one part of the despatch it was stated that the Sepoy did not at all understand the changes that would be likely to take place. I venture to think that the Sepoy, though he may not understand the nature of those changes in the same manner as we do at home, is a very sensible man for all that, and fully appreciates all that goes on. There are a largo number of vernacular newspapers read either by these men themselves or read to them, and they take a deep interest in all matters which concern the prestige of those under whom they are serving. I wish your Lordships to understand that I have no present interest in those Armies; but I desire to defend the interests of those who followed mo, and I think it will be reducing them to the position of Divisional Generals when they are no longer taken into Council, and have no longer the right of sitting in the Governors' Councils, a right which is highly prized by everybody of position in these Presidencies. I wish also to point out, with regard to the recruiting for the Bombay Army, that the new Orders which are to come out will be severely felt in that Army. We had when I was in command of that Army a certain percentage of foreigners, Sikhs, Pathans, and others I know that this was most distasteful to the Government of Bengal. They looked upon it as an infringement of their rights; but, at the same time, it was au enormous advantage to that Army in stiffening it up, if I may say so. The ordinary Bombay Sepoy, recruited from the Mahratta, the Konkarie, and other parts of the Deccan, are not at the present day of the physique they used to be. The Mahrattas are much better off than they were. They have taken so much to agriculture, and have filled so many appointments in Bombay and other places, that, as a fighting element, they are not what they were in old days when they rendered such gallant service for the British Government. Therefore, should they lose any other element than those I have mentioned, I feel certain that the Bombay Army will, as regards martial spirit and physique, deteriorate; but I am happy to think that the Secretary of State, from what he has said, is in favour of sending these troops to their respective frontiers, Beloochistan and Burmah, for service. I am aware that the health of the Bombay troops does suffer. There is no doubt that the Bombay Sepoy is less capable of resisting the rigours of the climate than his northern brothers; but, at the same time, there is au important prestige attaching to the right of going to the frontier and of taking part in the little frontier wars that occur. I think, especially for the officers, it would be a very serious matter if they never had a chance of those frontier experiences which are so important in keeping up the martial spirit of the Native Armies. Your Lordships have heard many important speeches from those who preceded me that I feel it would be quite out of place on my part to take up any further the time of your Lordships' House. But I do hope the question of the retention of the Commanders of the Bombay and Madras Armies in Council will be carefully considered. They have always sat in the Councils ever since the formation of those Armies of the two Presidencies. I trust, therefore, this question will be re-considered on its own merits.

Motion agreed to; Bill read 2a accordingly, and committed to a Committee of the Whole House on Tuesday the 16th instant.