HL Deb 24 February 1909 vol 1 cc169-216

Order of the Day read for resuming the adjourned Debate on the Motion for the Second Reading.


My Lords, I hardly think that the speeches which followed that of the noble Viscount yesterday can have been wholly satisfactory to those who framed this Bill. The noble Viscount asked us to give a whole-hearted support to the Bill, and warned us that if anything were done at Westminster to show a breach in what ought to be the substantial unity of Parliamentary opinion in face of the Indian situation, it would be a great disaster. I fully concur in his view, and I am quite certain that it is not the desire of anybody on either side of the House that such a situation should be created. I think it will be remembered that, so far as the maintenance of order and the instructions which he has had to give are concerned, he has had the unqualified and unanimous support and approval of the Members of this House.

But on the question of reform it would be absurd to conceal from ourselves that the speech which immediately followed that of the Secretary of State last night did show considerable divergence of opinion from his views. The noble Lord the Secretary of State paid a high and deserved tribute to the spirit in which the noble Lord the ex-Viceroy had carried on the whole of his work in India; and the noble Lord behind me, with equal sincerity, paid an equally high tribute to the spirit which animated the noble Viscount. The fact that no hostile spirit whatever was discernible in either speech, I think adds to the strength of the declarations which were made, and which showed a material difference between the two speakers in regard to the proposals. In view of that divergence I think there will have arisen in the minds of many of us a recollection of the appeal made by the Secretary of State in December last. He pointed out that there was a tendency to fall into a groove in Indian affairs and unless we recognised surrounding circumstances we should remain where we were, and that it was better to make some start rather than no start at all. I feel that we must face the facts. We have raised up by education a very considerable population in India who are capable of taking an interest in political affairs. We have by our example inspired them with the idea of political activity. We have opened to them almost the highest posts in the law. We have given them a considerable position in the Civil Service, and, having invited them, as it were, to the threshold of government, I hardly think we can close the door in their faces. Although I think most of us will feel that there was very great force in the observation addressed to the noble Viscount the Secretary of State, that what the great mass of Indians desire is not Indian government but good government, still we have an instance in Egypt—perhaps the best instance—of what British government can do in a country which had known nothing but bad government and chaos. One of the main principles of Lord Cromer's action in Egypt always was to associate with him in the Government men differing from him in creeds, habits, and traditions who were none the less the natives of the country; and when we consider the admirable results which have accrued in that country from that policy, I think we ought to take our courage in both hands and go forward as far as we possibly can in the direction of the noble Lord who has brought forward this Bill.

I do not think, on the other hand, we can conceal from ourselves that if we pass the Bill in its present form we are practically giving a blank cheque to the Secretary of State—a blank cheque on the filling up of which depends practically the whole future of our government and perhaps of our rule in India. This Bill is largely based on regulations. I do not complain of that I recognise that we have on many occasions found ourselves coerced and shackled by the fact that Statute governed so many things in connection with Indian government. I might mention one case which came before my personal notice. By the Act which regulates the Council of India which sits in Whitehall there are various provisions to prevent men who have been too long away from India from sitting on the Council and so forth, and there is one provision that a Councillor who once resigns can never come back; the Secretary of State has no power to reappoint him. Not long ago a member of that Council, a gentleman of considerable attainments and of great knowledge—Mr. Findlay—was invited by the present Secretary of State to go to India to perform a special service there. He returned after a time, but it was out of the power of the Secretary of State to call him back to his old duties. I think that when we look at the vast mass of questions that will arise under these regulations we are compelled to acquiesce in the opinion of the Secretary of State that we must not attempt to affirm them all by Statute, but must leave the power to vary them where necessary in his hands. On the other hand, we must realise that these questions are thus taken out of the purview of Parliament.

I do not know whether all your Lordships have realised in how different a way and under what different authority these regulations will be made. We all know that as regards appointment to the Viceroy's Council, which does not come under the Bill, the power is absolutely in the hands of the Secretary of State. He can make what appointment he pleases, and he is only accountable to Parliament to justify himself. With regard to the additions proposed to the Councils of Madras and Bombay, with a view, as we understand, of putting native members on these Councils, they are reserved to the Secretary of State in Council, and can be made without the concurrence or even the suggestion of the Governor-General. With regard to all the other points in the Bill—the appointment of Executive Provincial Councils, the enlargement of the Legislative Councils, and the rules of procedure—those are all made in India, subject to the approval of the Secretary of State in Council. Those are distinctions, but I am not quite certain that there is a difference. A great deal will depend whether these regulations are drawn up on the cautious plan of the Indian Administration or whether they are permeated by the more adventurous spirit which the noble Viscount has infused into what have been erroneously termed elsewhere "the fossils in Whitehall."

Lord Curzon yesterday took one by one the provisions of this Bill and the changes which it is proposed to make, and, having summed them up, he used these words:— The Secretary of State has in reality overruled and altered the views of the man on the spot at almost every critical and vital stage, and has substituted for them entirely independent proposals of his own. That being so, and bearing in mind the difference of opinion which has been already expressed not only here but in India as to some of these provisions, I would urge upon the Secretary of State that he should undertake, in a Bill of this great magnitude, to follow the example of many measures of far less magnitude, and provide that the regulations to be made by the Government of the day under the Bill should be laid before Parliament for forty days and should not take effect if either House of Parliament presented an address to the Crown to nullify or alter them. I do not think that is an unreasonable demand. I could cite, if it were desirable, a long list of measures in which that course has been taken.

It has been already agreed that some little latitude should be allowed with regard to the discussion on the promotion to the Viceroy's Council. It is unnecessary really to labour it very much, partly because public opinion has been so centred upon it that that one question has almost dwarfed all the others in the public mind, and partly because nothing I could say, if I entirely concurred, could add to the force of the very weighty pronouncements already made on this subject from both sides of the House. I realise that this is the centre of the struggle and that this House could only touch it by influencing the mind of the Secretary of State. I would say, however, that it would indeed be a tragedy if, when we are moving forward solely with the object of placating public opinion in India and strengthening the supreme Executive, we were to do anything which would have the effect of alienating the sympathy of considerable classes in India and of weakening the central authority. But I must go one step further than the noble Lord behind me, who said last night that, in his opinion, once this appointment of a native was made to the Viceroy's Council, you could never go back from it. I go further and say that, once the statement has been made on the responsibility of the Secretary of State in this House that it is his intention to appoint a native on the first vacancy to the Viceroy's Council, you can never go back upon that. I am very much influenced in criticising what the noble Lord proposes because I believe that it must be carried through, and I believe also that he is going to carry it through, and to do so on the lines of least resistance.

The noble Viscount hinted that he would appoint a legal member. In India natives have risen to higher positions—deservedly so—in the legal than in other professions. They have obtained a great deal of public confidence as Judges. The noble Lord last night said that you were entering on a new phase when you proposed to give Indians authority in government over Europeans in India. That is, of course, very important. But, on the other hand, we must recollect that in the Courts of Law Europeans have had to plead before Indian Judges now for many years, and Indian Judges, I believe, have been held competent to decide almost any suit in which a European was concerned. Therefore you are taking the Indian at his strongest point if you appoint a legal member of Council from among Indian candidates. On the other hand, even after what was said so well by the noble Lord as regards the services rendered by the legal members to India in times past, it should be remembered that times and conditions have very much altered in regard to these appointments since Lord Macaulay's days. An eminent lawyer who is now asked to go to India to serve on the Viceroy's Council for five years has to consider whether he is prepared to give up his practice entirely in this country. He has to undertake labour which is three times as severe as when Lord Macaulay went to India; and instead of coming back, as Lord Macaulay did, with a moderate competence, he has to conduct these five years' work on not a large margin over his personal expenditure, and he comes back to find a number of careers not open to him in this country which were open to him before. And as time goes on the difficulty of obtaining a really first-class lawyer to go out and hold this very high post may increase. If it be decided to place a legal member on the Viceroy's Council, you are taking the native Indian on his strongest point and the European, as compared to other members of the Council, on his weakest point.

It is no part of my desire to travel again over the ground covered last night, but what I think we require to do is to try and get into our minds what the cumulative effects of the Bill will be on those who have to represent us in India. What will be the position of a provincial Governor as compared with the past? Instead of having a practical autocracy as Governor he will share his responsibility with a Council, and with a Council which may not always be in accord with him. He used to have a say as to the nomination of the Legislative Council who sat with him; in future he will have none. He will be face to face with a small Parliament, with, perhaps, a permanent majority against him with enlarged powers, with certainly a great deal more of his time taken up in discussions in a Council having, perhaps, some dangerous elements in its composition. That is an immense change, and it is being carried out without any communication with India at all. I read in The Times the other day that it is only within the last few days that the provincial Governors have been invited to give their opinion as to whether or not this change can be carried through, and also whether it is desirable to add Indian members to the Executive Council. I do not labour this point, partly because it has been so strongly put already, partly because there are behind me three or four noble Lords, who, I hope, will speak, all of whom have intimate knowledge as to the circumstances of working with a Council in Madras and Bombay.

But when we come to the legislative proposals, I must say that I think the noble Viscount has been carried away by his own intimate Parliamentary experience. I cannot imagine anything which will be more foreign to the present spirit of conducting business in India than the position in which the Governor is to be placed vis-a-vis his Legislative Council in the future. There is nothing whatever in the Bill or in the regulations which the Secretary of State has foreshadowed to prevent a man who has been the subject of a criminal prosecution and has been deported by the Secretary of State from sitting——


Undoubtedly, one of the regulations will determine certain classes of prohibitions and exclusions. We have not yet the full list of the proposed disqualifications, but such as the noble Viscount mentions will find a place in the exclusions.


I am much relieved to hear that. I hope that later on the noble Viscount will kindly tell us whether he proposes to make that a prohibition by regulation against a particular class, or whether he proposes to give a veto to the Lieutenant-Governor.


I think it will have to be done by regulation, with excluding categories.


That is an extremely interesting addition to our information. I think it is quite clear there might be very grave scandal in that respect, and that will be avoided by the intention of the Secretary of State. At the same time, I know that apprehension is very strong that the Lieutenant-Governor may find himself at times in a very awkward situation. The mass of the people of India are not organised, and will have very little voice in the election of these Councils. They may have the right and the opportunity, but I think all those who know India will agree that they have neither the initiative nor the organisation. On the other hand, those who agitate have organisation. A distinguished official writes— It will not be long before a firm phalanx of obstructionists sit in our Legislative Council. If that is so, the work may be paralysed to a large extent, and I think the noble Viscount has hardly given sufficient consideration to the degree to which the best officials will be called away from their districts and their work to sit in Calcutta or in the other centres. I do not know if he saw the statement made the other day on this subject. This is the statement sent to The Times by a member of the Legislative Council of Calcutta, and it bears out what was stated by the noble Lord yesterday. Writing three weeks ago, this gentleman said— I have been here about six weeks. I have been present at one or two meetings, and have, perhaps, done two hours solid work during the whole time. I have no office to attend, and hardly any correspondence worth mentioning.…I pass my days in enforced idleness, and now they are going to appoint several more men to similar idle posts. That may be inevitable, but it ought to be minimised as much as possible. There is no doubt that you will have a very costly system set up by these proposals.

The Secretary of State began his great speech in December by telling us that he would never be a party to establishing a Parliamentary system in India, but I cannot help feeling that he has to some extent proposed by this Bill to introduce some of the very worst features of our own Parliamentary practice. I do not believe that any member of this House who has sat in the House of Commons will not agree that among the greatest abuses, though they may be inevitable, in that assembly is the enormous time which Ministers of the Crown who have important work to do elsewhere are forced to give in attendance on the House of Commons. This may be inevitable in England, but are we to set up this state of things in India?

Then there is the point as to supplementary questions. It seems a small matter, but I do not think it is going to be made a small business of in India. I do not believe that our last recruit from the House of Commons—the noble Lord the Secretary for Scotland—will contradict me when I say that the abuse of supplementary questions has produced one of the greatest wastes of time, with the maximum demand on official energy and the minimum of public information. It is a sort of sword-play which is very amusing to the public, but it involves very often hours of preparation for the man who has, say, thirty Questions on the Paper to think of the supplementary questions that may be put to him. It became so great an abuse that well recollect the late Lord Salisbury requesting his own Under-Secretary not to reply to supplementary questions on foreign affairs. I might say also that during the war, both before I was connected with the War Office and afterwards, we had vehement protests from Generals in the field at information which slipped out in answer to supplementary questions, and I should have thought the noble Lord when he was Irish Secretary would have been aware of the awful waste of time involved in replying to these conundrums. Are they going to be of any use in India? I see that the Marhatta said a few days ago— The power to ask supplementary questions in the hands of well-informed and skilful interrogators must expose the jugglery of official replies. A skilful cross-examiner may well hope to put the official member to shame by making him appear either ignorant or dishonest. That is not what you are establishing this system for. My noble friend, Lord Ampthill, spoke of the difference between a trained administrator and a recently appointed Under-Secretary. I should also like your Lordships to consider the difference between a trained Parliamentarian and an official who is suddenly asked after twenty years service to place himself in the position of a cockshy for every missile in the shape of questions that may he hurled at him.

I would ask the noble Viscount to give attention to the points which I have raised in no hostility to his Bill. I feel that if he is to carry with him anything like the consensus that he desires in this country, it will be very necessary for him to modify in some respects the proposed regulations and to give us assurances on others. In the first place, I would urge that he should alter the regulations in some degree to meet the speeches which have been made, and that he will undertake that they shall be laid before Parliament for the usual period of forty days. Then I would ask him, if he takes power under the Bill to constitute Executive Councils for the various provinces and to increase the Executive Councils of Madras and Bombay, not to put that power into effect before he has received and has presented to Parliament the opinions of those who are chiefly qualified to form an opinion in India—the provincial Governors themselves—and until Parliament has had an opportunity of expressing an opinion. Thirdly, I would ask him, with regard to the Executive Councils, to consider a modification of the numbers, without which the undue pressure on the officials cannot possibly be avoided, and that he will let us know something about the form of exclusion which he will propose in order to prevent inappropriate persons from being elected to these Councils. I further trust he will remove an unfortunate imitation of one of the worst forms of our own Parliamentary abuses—the allowing of supplementary questions.

These may not seem very important modifications. They certainly are not intended in any way whatever to interfere with the general course of the reforms. If you compare this proposed legislation with the legislation of 1892, it is an immense step forward. I quite recognise that since 1892 we have had a great development in India. The development of railways and communications alone has brought much nearer to the masses of the people opportunities of observation and co-operation. We have also had a great commercial development, and it is noteworthy in this Blue-book that we show very little symptom of these commercial classes being represented in the Councils. I trust that, even in the question of education, the noble Viscount will not forget the possibility by commercial education of diverting a number of minds into commercial channels, and preventing the mass of Indians looking to politics and the law as the sole means of airing their abilities. But if we do not go the full distance with the noble Viscount it is only for this reason, that, however we look at it, we cannot hide from ourselves that something like nine-tenths of the adult male population of India are, intellectually and politically, in swaddling clothes and do not seem to have the least desire at present to put them off. Therefore I would urge on the noble Viscount, in setting up these semi-Parliamentary institutions, not to mistake the shadow for the substance, not to do something which will give opportunities to a few individuals for self-advertisement but which might altogether clog the wheels of government in India and end in alienating the sympathies of the great mass of the governed classes in India.


My Lords, this Bill enables the Secretary of State and the Government of India to associate more closely with the various governments representatives of the native community. There is one important element which ought not to be overlooked—namely, that already a large number of the natives of India, some of them in the Civil Service and others in the provincial service, are in the Administration. No measure of any importance is taken without consulting representatives of the native community. My own experience was that the knowledge required to govern in a country where characteristics of race and religion and political and social ideals are so divergent could only be derived from ascertaining the views of those who represented those characteristics and ideals. I never experienced any difficulty in obtaining the well-considered opinions of those whom I consulted, and, as a rule, those opinions were sound and sober. Eminent members of the Civil Service entertained amicable relations with influential natives, and discussed freely with them the questions which were engaging the attention of Government. By giving to these consultations a more official character we do not introduce any novel procedure, but we give recognition to an element in the administration which is essential to its success. The French, who in Cochin-China are confronted with similar problems, have given it the appropriate name of la politique d'association. It is the natural result of the education we have given to the natives.

When I was Governor of Bombay I appointed to the Legislative Council—in those days there were no elected members—the leaders of the native community, men who would have been elected if there had been an election; and in dealing with legislative matters, their contributions to the debate were most valuable, and they were quite as anxious as we were that the Bills we introduced should have the practical results desired. They stated their views with courtesy, and were always ready to meet us as far as possible where we differed. Anyone reading the prolonged discussions on the Bill introduced to reform the municipal corporation of the City of Bombay will be struck by the businesslike character of the debates, and the ability displayed in those debates by the non-official members. I would have been willing—and it is now very nearly twenty years since I left India—to carry out the legislative business of the Presidency without an official majority, and I am quite prepared to accept the proposal of the Government to that effect. It is very unlikely that the non-official members of the Legislative Council will form a bloc. This is much less likely if they are a majority than if they are always a minority. I am not sure that the same might not be said of this side of the House.

Lord Curzon

objected to the enlargement of the Councils, but that enlargement is the result of proposals which have come from the Government of India and from the local governments, and all that has been done by my noble friend the Secretary of State is to embody the proposals with regard to that enlargement which emanated from India. I would point out, with regard to the difficulty that is anticipated, that the increased number of official members need not be taken from the Civil Service only; they can be taken from other branches of the service, such as the Public Works Department and the Educational Service. Therefore there is a wide area of selection. I consider that it will be of great advantage to the Government to have in the enlarged Legislative Councils an expression of opinion of the various communities and the various interests, agricultural and industrial, and to have frequent opportunities of explaining its own policy to the Councils. On many occasions I found it decidedly opportune to state the reasons which had induced the Government to adopt a certain course of action, and I was very glad to hear Lord Curzon emphasise that point. In order to prevent misapprehension and erroneous criticism of the policy of the Government that policy must be explained, and this explanation must reach all parts of the governed area through the members of the Legislative Council who have heard the explanation, whether voluntarily given by the Government or in answer to an interpellation. The wider facilities given, especially with regard to the consideration of the Estimates, I consider politic in order that the Government may hear what are the views of the non-official members with regard to the distribution of expenditure and the ways and means of meeting it. There is no doubt that the tendency of expenditure in India, as elsewhere, is to increase; the taxpayer must be informed why he is taxed, and the discussion of the Budget in the Legislative Council will give him a guarantee that his interests have been duly considered. Lord Curzon pointed out that these reforms will involve expenditure, but I do not think that in India this expenditure will be grudged.

The Bill does not throw any light on the constitution of the electorate and on the qualifications of those elected. This has been left to the Government of India. The conditions are so different in the various provinces that it would be almost impossible, and certainly injudicious, to enter into detail. I do not see any objection to an electoral college. Where the electors are spread over a wide area the only way of focussing their votes is in an electoral college, as obtains at present for the election of members of council by municipalities and district boards in Bombay, and this will also probably have to be done in the case of Mahomedans. Besides, the Government have not yet received the Report of the Decentralisation Committee which deals with the constitution of municipal corporations, district boards, and parish councils or village punchayats, which latter 1 suppose will be re-established. As the representatives of these local bodies will, I suppose, be called upon to elect representatives for the Legislative Councils, it may be necessary to give effect to the recommendations of that Report before a scheme can be drawn up for the constitution of the Legislative Council. Great care should be taken to secure a proper representation of all classes interested in the cultivation of the soil, not only big landlords, but also tenants and ryots, for agriculture is in India the great industry of the country.

I have no objection to appointing natives on the Executive Council of a Provincial Governor. The natives are admitted into the Civil Service, they are placed at the head of a district, they are appointed as Judges in the different Courts, they are dewans in native States, and there is no reason why they should be debarred from admission to the Executive Council. I should have had no difficulty in submitting the names of eligible natives, Hindus, Mahomedans, or Parsecs, if I had been asked to do so; and I am convinced that we should have found their co-operation very useful. In making the selection you must take a man who is trusted by his own community as well as by other communities. I do not think that we need fear that a native member would attempt to induce his colleagues to show favour to his own community; and if the attempt were made it would certainly fail, when the subject was considered in the full council. The increase of members of the Executive Council will lead to a better distribution of the work, and give the Governor and the members more time to attend to business which, under present circumstances of the congestion of work, cannot be undertaken. Relief will also be given by decentralisation; but, even then, the burden of administration will be very great, and there must be time for constant intercourse with members of the various native communities in all parts of the province. This intercourse is of very great importance, and on it depends, in a large measure, the success of our Administration.

The natives must have easy access to their rulers. The motive of the proposed reforms is to establish closer relations between the ruling power and those who are subject to our rule. Through all the grades of our administration this association must be maintained and developed. Personal influence in India is a mainspring of authority exercised without friction; impartial justice is secured, but it is not sufficient if it is not accompanied by the conviction that the representatives of British rule are desirous of cultivating personal intercourse with His Majesty's subjects. This is as important as official correspondence, and the Service should be organised with a view to allowing for the discharge of this essential duty. In training members of the Civil Service more attention will have to be given to knowledge of Indian history and sociology. On this subject I will not dilate, because the Government will receive recommendations on the subject in a Report on Oriental Studies shortly to be issued.

There is no doubt that these reforms will impose on the Civil Service more arduous duties. Their success will depend to a large degree on the ability and tact with which officials give the necessary guidance to the various bodies which are placed on a new basis. It is our duty to give to candidates for the Civil Service such training as will enable them to deal with the problems which they have to solve. An intimate knowledge of the structure of Indian society, of the complex ramifications of race and caste, must be acquired, if our rule is to rest on a solid foundation. Lord Curzon alluded to the people who have no vote and whom these reforms do not touch. I do not doubt that in the future, as in the past, they will receive the protection they require. This has always been recognised as one of the chief duties of the Administration, and there is no reason to anticipate that it will not be considered with the same care.

As regards the presence of a native in the Viceroy's Council there seems to be a good deal of apprehension. If I had been asked to submit a name for the appointment, I do not think I should have had any difficulty in giving a satisfactory answer. I could have mentioned the name of a very distinguished native gentleman who enjoyed the confidence of all the communities in the Presidency as well as of his own, the Hindu community. I am sure that he would have gained the confidence of his colleagues, and that his opinions on the subjects with which he would have had to deal would have carried great weight, as they did with the Government of Bombay at the time. He was a man of very exceptional ability, and his judgment was very sound. He would have satisfied Lord Curzon's requirements as an expert and a statesman. He would certainly have discountenanced any hazardous experi- ments, and he was extremely cautious and aware of the limitations of his own countrymen. I cannot admit that such men cannot be found in India at the present time. They have a great sense of responsibility, and this would be enhanced if they were called to discharge important duties. We must not forget that the office of dewan in one of the great native States involves very great knowledge of affairs, and that many men have distinguished themselves in that field as well as in the High Courts of Justice. The noble Lord, Lord Curzon, pointed out that natives could at all times be consulted by the authorities. That is, no doubt, the fact, but, if you attach importance to their advice, why should you not take it in a regular official form attaching responsibility to it? I do not think that the native member will necessarily always be the legal member. Natives with experience of administration in other departments will be available when a vacancy occurs.

The Mahomedans claim to send representatives to the various boards and councils. They do not ask for any special privileges, but they wish to be represented as a distinct community forming a nationality by traditions of race and religion. I do not wish to exaggerate the divergences which exist between the Mahomedan and other sections of the Indian people, but it is not possible to ignore them. Anyone who has followed the pan-Islamic movement will be aware of the intense earnestness of the Moslems in defending their faith. To secure the smooth working of the Legislative Councils it will be politic to give the Mahomedans their own representatives in order that they should not have a grievance. We must avoid accentuating the divergences to which I have alluded, and this object will be attained if the Mahomedans have their fair share of representatives. In Mahomedan native States Hindus are appointed to important offices, which illustrates that there is no absolute incompatibility; but there are subjects, for instance education, on which the Mahomedans hold very strong views. There will be difficulties in the creation of a distinct electorate, especially in Bombay, but these difficulties are not insuperable. Justice can be meted out to the Mahomedans without depriving the Hindu community of any advantages they have acquired through their own exertions. I am quite sure that sagacious leaders of the Hindu community will admit the duty of Government to protect minorities in the exercise of their rights. On most questions with which I had to deal. Hindu and Mahomedan interests were identical, and where they were divergent we always tried to bring about a modus vivendi which would allay friction. That object will be much more easily attained if Mahomedan representatives are able to speak with authority on the questions with which the Councils will have to deal, as will be the case under the conditions granted by my noble friend.

On the scheme of a council of ruling chiefs, the Secretary of State has pointed out the difficulties which exist, but has left the Government of India a free hand. The extreme importance of friendly relations with the rulers of native States is fully admitted in the November Despatch. They govern one-fifth of the present population of India; they have a great hold on their subjects; their loyalty is of great value to us; and we cannot ignore their opinion on questions which touch India as a whole. In railway management, in taxation, we have to secure their co-operation as well as in the supply of Imperial contingents. If they are not invited to form a council, it should be made clear to them that this does not exclude the strengthening of the confidential relations which have existed between them and the Supreme Government and our desire to enter into frequent communication with them and to promote the prosperity of their States.

Those who have been connected with the Government of India know how intricate and complex are the problems which arise. We have to hold an even balance in order that all classes may have confidence in our rule as the source of peace and prosperity, enabling them to reap the fruits of their industry. The policy embodied in this Bill shows that we are ready to open up closer relations with the loyal subjects of His Majesty, and I believe they will show themselves worthy of the trust placed in them and ready to strengthen the Government in its endeavours to benefit the great Indian Empire.


My Lords, it is with some hesitation that I intervene in this debate. Although the present condition of affairs in India had been foreseen for many years, and is, indeed, the natural and almost inevitable result of the educational reforms which were inaugurated by Lord Macaulay, I recognise that an Indian experience gained twenty-five years ago is not of any great value under existing circumstances. Still, I should like to make a few observations, more especially on the question of the appointment of a native of India to the Viceroy's Executive Council. It is no matter for surprise that there should be considerable difference of opinion on this subject. Even those who, like myself, agree with the proposal must admit that it is to a certain extent a leap in the dark. I regret it has not been found possible to give to the House in an official form the views of the Council of the Viceroy with regard to this scheme. I am aware that the Secretary of State is under no statutory obligation to consult the Government of India on this question officially. But I think that it would have been more satisfactory, both to your Lordships' House and to the country in general, if we had been placed in possession of the views entertained on this subject by those whose Indian experience is both prolonged and recent. However, the House has been informed that the Viceroy himself is in favour of the proposal, and as Lord Minto would certainly not express an opinion on the subject without having consulted his confidential advisers, we may assume that some at least of those advisers are in favour of the project.

The Secretary of State has drawn a very striking contrast between the two different schools of thought on this subject—namely, those who attach special importance to efficiency and good government and those who are more in favour of the extension of the principle of self-government, though, perhaps, the latter definition is not very correct. But there is a third school to which, possibly, the Secretary of State belongs, and of which certainly I myself am an adherent. That school consists of those who are in favour of endeavouring to effect a working compromise between the two extremes. The same difficulty frequently confronted me in Egypt. When. some important appointment had to be filled up, the question arose whether it should be given to a European or to a native. In other words, the political argument and the efficiency argument came into conflict. The difficulty of finding an efficient native was greater in Egypt than it would be in India, considering that the education of the Egyptians had been neglected for years. The efficiency argument was generally very strong on its own merits. I generally had to pose as the advocatus diaboli in favour of the political argument. The departmental officers would say— Your political theory is excellent, and we entirely agree in it, but this is not a suitable occasion for putting it into force. You must wait for some other opportunity. Under these circumstances, I frequently had to yield, but I always bore in mind the great importance of the political argument, and when the opportunity was favourable I put it into effect.

In like manner the main test by which the proposal of the Secretary of State is to be judged is this—is the political argument or the efficiency argument to be allowed to predominate? My own view, after giving the matter very great consideration, and also, I must frankly admit, after a good deal of hesitation, is that, in this case, the political argument ought to be allowed to predominate over the efficiency argument. If I thought for one moment that the appointment of a native of India to the Viceroy's Council would in any way shake the supremacy of British rule in India—and there has been some faint allusions to that in the course of the debate—I should be the first to object to the proposal, and I think in all probability the noble Viscount opposite would object too. But my hope certainly is that, so far from being at all weakened, the supremacy of the British Government will rather be strengthened by the proposal. I am perfectly well aware that there are many formidable objections to the proposal in detail, but they appear to deal with matters which are of secondary importance. I do not think it is possible to blind ourselves to the fact that there is now throughout Asia a movement going on having for its object the association to a greater degree than formerly of the natives of those countries, not merely in the framing of their laws, but also in the direction of the appointment of natives of capacity to high administrative posts. I do not think it would be politic to oppose an absolute non possumus to this movement in respect of the largest and most important of these Asiatic countries. Not only that. If we consider our own democratic institutions, the sympathy which is felt with native aspirations by very large and influential bodies in this country, and also the effects of the educational system which, whether wisely or unwisely, we have adopted for the last fifty years in India, I do not think it would be possible to resist this movement for any very considerable length of time.

It should be remembered that the position of India at the present time is almost unique. It is, so far as I know, the only important country in the world where education is advanced which is governed in all essential particulars by non-resident foreigners. It is also the only country where the Civil Service, in all its higher administrative branches, is in the hands of aliens appointed by a foreign country under stringent educational tests. That the system has yielded very good results up to the present everyone, I think, will admit; but, on the other hand, I cannot help thinking that the time has now arrived when it requires not radical alteration, but some reasonable modifications. If we are to modify it—and I think everybody agrees that it must be modified—it must be in the direction of allowing the natives of India greater scope either in Legislative or in Executive work. The opinion appears to be held amongst many that there is less objection to granting to natives of India increased legislative than to granting them increased executive functions. I rather challenge that position. The East is full of surprises, and with the example of Japan, and more recently of Turkey, before us, I think he would be a very rash man who would prophesy what would be the result of introducing anything like Parliamentary institutions into India. I know that the legislative experiment has to be tried, but I must confess that I have no very great confidence in the result of the experiment. If we consider the immense diversity of race, religion, and language in India, and also the fact that we shall be endeavouring to transplant to India a plant entirely of exotic growth and placing it in a very uncongenial soil, I must confess for my own part that I shall be very much surprised if the legislative experiment does succeed.

What the natives of India really require, and what I think should in reason be bestowed upon them, is to take some minor but effective share in the real government of their country, and that they can only do if they are given some administrative functions. These considerations are, to my mind, of such importance that they outweigh the very considerable objections in detail which have been urged against the project and about which I would like to say a few words. I do not attach any very great importance to the objection that it is impossible to find any native of India who will generally represent native opinion and who has sufficient capacity to be appointed to the Viceroy's Council. I do not know what the facts may be at present, but I can say that when I was in India twenty-five years ago there were men like Sir Salar Jung and Sir Madhara Rao who were not only very capable administrators, but who were, also, statesmen in the fullest acceptation of that term. They, of course, possessed special knowledge of the provinces in which they resided. The same may be said of the Indian civilians who are appointed to the Council. But they were also men of sufficient capacity to give valuable advice on the affairs of India generally. Surely this race of men cannot be extinct. I do not, therefore, attach much importance to this objection. I quite admit that there is something in the objection that the appointment of natives would hamper discussion in the Council and render it impossible for that free and intimate communication which is certainly very desirable between members of the Cabinet. The caste system does, most unfortunately, place a very considerable barrier to social intercourse between Europeans and Hindus. Moreover, the difficulty does not only arise in the case of Hindus. I have always regarded it as a most unfortunate circumstance that the Mahomedans in India have, by long association, become so far Hinduised as to have, to some extent, adopted Hindu caste practices. I do not doubt that the noble Viscount (Lord Morley) and the noble Earl (Lord Crewe) are in constant and intimate communication with each other. What, however, would be the result if the religious sympathies of either the noble Earl or the noble Viscount prevented them from adjourning to the tea-room in the course of debate, and discussing matters over a cup of tea and some bread and butter? That, however, will be the position of the native members of the Council in respect to their European colleagues. The difficulty, I admit, is considerable, and, moreover, it is insuperable. But there is no necessity to exaggerate it. I cannot see why, in spite of this social barrier, as regards all political and business relations there should not be free and intimate discussion between the native and European members.

I am always rather reluctant to draw any analogy between Egypt and India, because, although there are some points of similarity, there are a great many points of difference. At the same time, a case did occur two or three years ago in Egypt which is so much to the point that I will draw attention to it. Very constant complaints were being made that the Egyptian Ministers, who are all natives of Egypt, were too much under the control of the diplomatic representative and of the various English officials in the Egyptian Service. Although that criticism was mainly directed against myself, I quite agree that there was a certain amount of force in it, the truth being that Egyptian affairs when we took them in hand were in such a chaotic condition that we had to go through a period of transition, during which it was necessary to assert the paramount ascendency of British influence. The system was, however, a bad one, and there was no intention that it should be made permanent. Before I left Egypt, I took some steps to remedy it, and my successor has taken further steps in that direction. I will tell you what I did. The educational system had been the subject of very severe and unjust criticism in Egypt. I went to His Highness the Khedive and suggested that he should appoint as Minister for Education a very distinguished Mahomedan Judge, who I will not say was an Anglophobe, but who had the reputation of not being a great Anglophile. Moreover, he had made himself rather conspicuous by the somewhat acute, but perfectly honest, criticisms he had made on the educational system. A good many of my advisers shook their heads and said they thought I was wrong in suggesting him to the Khedive for this appointment. But what was the result? The first result was that this gentleman was a good deal embarrassed by his utterances in Opposition—an embarrassment not unfamiliar to politicians in this country. He was very soon sobered by the responsibilities of office. He very soon came to understand that a great deal he had heard when in Opposition was not only exaggerated but entirely untrue, and he eventually—I may say almost immediately—worked most harmoniously with myself and the English officials. I think that entirely disproved the rather sombre anticipations which were put forward as regards his nomination. In fact, I may say the only cause of difference I had with this gentleman was one which will elicit the sympathy of noble Lords opposite. He was rather in the habit of bringing forward far-reaching and costly proposals for reform, without having any clear idea where the money was to come from to carry them into execution. With that exception I do not think I had any difference with him at all.

Another objection which has been urged, and which I quite admit is a very formidable objection, is the question whether a Hindu or Mahomedan is to be chosen. That is the point which causes me most to hesitate. Various proposals have been put forward to meet this difficulty, but they are all open to considerable objections, and I think the noble Viscount has done well to reject them. The difficulty has to be faced. There is no way out of it, but it does admit of mitigation. There is no reason whatever, because a Hindu is first appointed, that another Hindu should be appointed when the place falls vacant. Indeed, whoever is Secretary of State, I hope he will consider as favourably as possible the desirability of allowing a Mahomedan to have his turn after the Hindu. Natives will also have to be appointed to the Executive Councils of Bombay and Madras—there will thus be an opportunity of doing something for the Mahomedans. These arguments are not entirely satisfactory, because the difficulty still remains, but the objection, great as it is, does not, in my mind, weigh against the general advantages of adopting the scheme of the noble Viscount.

Turning to more general issues, the noble Viscount must be gratified at the way in which his proposals have been received. Nothing, of course, will satisfy the extremists. They are disappointed because the reforms do not go far enough. I cannot help thinking that one of the causes of their disappointment is that they go so far that, to a certain extent at all events, they have cut the agitation from under their feet. That there is a good deal of force in this argument on which much reliance appears to be placed I fully admit. I was glad to hear the noble Viscount say that only three per cent. of the educated classes of the country could be counted as extremists; it must not, however, be forgotten that this small residuum of three per cent. is capable of doing a great deal of mischief in respect to the remaining ninety-seven per cent. The noble Viscount said the only way to deal with extremists who overstep the law was stern repression. I entirely agree, but I do hope that some effort will be made to deal with the extremists who dwell in this country. I do not know whether your Lordships' attention has been drawn to a letter which appeared in The Times the other day. The writer of that letter, who calls himself the editor of the Indian Sociologist, defended the murder not only of Englishmen but of defenceless Englishwomen on the somewhat irrelevant and unconvincing ground that Milton and Cromwell were regicides and that the French erected a statue to Joan of Arc. He also warns us solemnly that we are not to send our kith and kin to India because they will run a very great risk of being murdered, and as far as I can gather from his letter he seems to think it is a very right and proper thing that they should be murdered. I am well aware that the place for a man of that sort is not a gaol but a lunatic asylum; and I am very glad to hear that the matter is receiving the consideration of the noble Viscount. An answer was given in another place to that effect, and I hope it will be found in some way possible to stop these proceedings. I am informed that the man who wrote this letter was educated at Oxford, and for my own part I certainly think that an educated sympathiser with criminals of this description is as guilty as, if not more guilty than the thrower of bombs and the man who uses the knife of the assassin, who are his dupes in India.

For the rest, the policy of the noble Viscount has been to rally the moderates, and I think it may be said that the moderates have been rallied. The whole of the Mahomedan population may be counted as moderates, and I therefore heard with pleasure the noble Viscount's declaration that he was going to make some concessions that would conciliate the Mahomedans. As to the regulations, I was very glad to hear the noble Viscount say that he was disposed to consider some proposal which would enable Parliament to form an opinion of those regulations when they were framed.


I gave no assurance of that kind.


I thought the noble Viscount rather hinted that something of that sort would be done. I think, however, it certainly would be very desirable that Parliament should have the opportunity of seeing those regulations, and I consider it not improbable that in Committee some Amendment in that sense will be moved from these Benches. On the matter of supplementary questions, I wish to express my very cordial concurrence with Lord Curzon and Lord Midleton. I am afraid that whatever we do a large number of the men elected will be professional agitators or astute lawyers, who will be able to take full advantage of any opportunity of that kind. I hope that on that point the matter will be reconsidered when the regulations are framed.

I entirely sympathise with the general scheme of the noble Viscount., and I hope he will not think that such criticisms as I have made derogate from that sympathy. I attach very great importance to what the noble Viscount said in regard to unanimity. I hope that when this reform scheme goes to India it will not be with the grudging consent of Parliament or as the view of one party in the State, but with the unanimous consent of Parliament and, as far as possible, of the British nation, and I trust that when we get into Committee we shall be able to come to some conclusions that will ensure that unanimity.


My Lords, every Member of your Lordships' House who has so far spoken has at some period been connected with the Government of India. I venture to intrude for a few moments although I have no similar claim to your attention; but I do think there are some things which in a discussion of this kind may be usefully said even by one who is in a completely detached position so far as the Indian Government is concerned. There is a general consensus of opinion which has found expression in this debate that something must be done; and general consent has reached this point, that that something must be a development of the powers and functions of the Legislative Councils. That being so, I venture to deprecate a good deal of the criticism that has followed and which is really rather inconsistent. I think that those who consent to the end had better not begrudge the inevitable machinery which must be employed to bring about those changes. With regard to supplementary questions, it seems to have been forgotten that the regulation of the procedure of the Legislative Council is not vested in the Legislative Council, as is the case in regard to the two Houses of Parliament here, but in the Governor-General in Council, and it is entirely within the power of the Governor-General in Council to make rules which shall deal with any appearance of abuse of privileges. If in a Legisative Assembly the right to ask questions of Ministers exists, supplementary questions are inevitable. I have had some experience as a subordinate Minister in answering questions, and I have had more experience in watching the practice of questioning, and I can say that, in the absence of the right to put supplementary questions, a Minister will be able to put off the querists altogether with information he professes to give.

Another point of objection is the waste of time and ability, and the increase of burden on the taxpayers, by requiring the presence of so many official members in the Viceroy's Council in order to establish a Government majority. The noble Lord who spoke last night with all the knowledge gained from his experience in India dwelt on the inconvenience and expense of appointing deputy officials, and the dislocation that might be caused throughout the whole hierarchy of officials in consequence; but if the representative character of the Viceroy's Council is to be conceded, and if it is necessary to have a number of officials for a Government majority, it is of no use to grumble about the consequences. It is urged by some that the Government majority is not a necessity, and that the use of votes by members who merely express the will of the Viceroy differs little from the use of the veto. As a compromise I suggest that the gentlemen who may form the Government majority should not be required to leave their functions in various parts of India, but should be allowed to vote by proxy, their proxies being in the pocket of a member of the Government. That could be done under the regulations. The regulations are of the utmost importance. Something has been said in favour of laying them on the Table of both Houses of Parliament, but I do not think that suggestion would stand examination. I think the regulations must be made in Calcutta, and must come into force there. Upon the question of the manner of election, I entirely accept the conclusion of my noble friend the Secretary of State in giving way to the representations made to him on behalf of the Mahomedan population, though I do so with regret. I think my noble friend himself said that he arrived at this decision with regret; he did so because he felt it necessary to defer to the anxieties of the Mahomedans in India, but he added that he himself believed, as I do most completely, that those anxieties were misplaced. Under the scheme of election which was foreshadowed—not too clearly, I admit—in the Despatch, the Mahomedans would have obtained as full a proportion as they could desire. The Mahomedans and the non-Mahomedans, through the process of election suggested, would have got their separate representation in the ultimate Legislative Council in the exact proportion proposed to be given, and no cajolery or manipulations could have interfered with their getting that representation. I share the desire that Hindu and Mahomedan should be brought together in one electoral college, in order, if possible, to break down those antipathies which exist in so much force. My noble friend used an expression yesterday which I thought was not a very happy one. He said they would meet to pool their votes. They would not. They would meet together in order to elect a certain number of the members of the Legislative Council, but each elector would have only one vote and each vote could be given to one man only. The votes would be given to separate persons, and in the case of one man getting more votes than were necessary for his election they would be passed over to another candidate of that particular section. The result is that supposing the conclusion had been come to that one-fourth of the electoral college should be Mahomedan and three-fourths non-Mahomedan and that the body to be elected numbered twenty, the Mahomedans would certainly get five representatives and the Hindus, if they stuck together and voted for their men, would get the other fifteen.

My noble friend deprecated entering into the question of proportional representation and referred to a saying by Calvin of those who had taken to another study—that they were either mad when they took to it or became mad afterwards. Of course, the application of the parallel to students of proportional representation is easy. I do not know whether my noble friend would say that his master and mine, Mr. Mill, was mad before he took to it, when he took to it, or after he took to it. He certainly held it for the last thirteen or fourteen years of his life. He was regarded as sane and his teachings as well worthy of consideration; and there are other persons who have been reckless enough to enter on this particular subject without, I hope, altogether losing their reputation for sanity in consequence. The unfortunate ambiguity of the Despatch did give rise to the misconstruction which led the Moslems astray and excited their anxieties. The truth is that the scheme of my noble friend proposed and gave absolute justice to both branches of the community in India, favouring neither one nor the other.

My noble friend spoke of the general acceptance of his scheme in India. He proceeded to refer to the particular classes of politicians there, and dwelt upon the effect produced by his scheme on each of them. The noble Viscount did not hope to secure much adhesion from the irreconcilables who had a tendency to physical force; and satisfaction was expressed by the noble Lord opposite that the Secretary of State, in referring to them, had talked of unfaltering repression. The noble Earl who has just sat down referred to the same words but in a different way, for he spoke of unfaltering repression with extremists "who overstepped the law." The noble Lord last night used the expression "unfaltering repression" without any such qualification. I daresay he did not realise his omission, but I think it is very unfortunate that there should be an omission of that kind. We all agree that unfaltering repression is a necessary action when the law is overstepped. It is, of course, very essential that the law itself should be just, and that it should not aim at repressing mere desires for an ideal future which may never come. I am sure that the Secretary of State when he talks of unfaltering repression uses the phrase only in reference to the necessity of preventing crime or the incitement to crime, which everybody agrees must be suppressed.

I deprecate the division of the politicians of India into the three classes mentioned yesterday. I deprecate the habit of thinking of them in that fashion. I trust that the general effect of what my noble friend the Secretary of State has done will be a great reduction in the number of irreconcilables, though some, of course, will continue to exist—they exist everywhere—and the development of constitutional methods of procedure. I deprecate entirely pronouncements as to what may or may not be the outcome of all these changes in the distant future. It has taken a long time to come about, but my noble friend said last night and said truly, that what he is proposing to-day is the development of what Mr. James Mill wrote in 1833, and of what the Queen said in her Proclamation to the people of India in 1858. It is a mere form of evolution of the principle that fitness is the sole qualification for office, and that no discrimination should be made, as far as possible, in respect of race and creed. What is proposed now is the development of what was said then. Yet it is probably true that Mr. Mill did not conceive then what is being proposed now, nor can we now say what will be the development fifty years hence of the beginnings we are making to-day.

I see no reason whatever for laying down the maxim that Colonial self-government can never, under any circumstances, come to pass in India. When we consider what has been done in the last thirty years in Japan and observe the movement in China, is it not rash to declare what may be the ultimate form of government fifty years hence in India? We have had government for the people in India. It is impossible to carry that on without proceeding to government through the people of India. By and by you will come more and more to government by the people. If it is done cautiously, as I have no doubt it will be done, there is no necessity to trouble much about the ultimate goal. There must be great changes, there will be great changes, and the mass of the people of India will be associated more and more with every branch of the administration and government of India from the highest to the lowest. I am content to watch and wait, and, if the act done to-day is good, to support it thoroughly, leaving to the future the working out of one of the greatest problems that ever befel statesmen or nation—the problem of gradually moderating the government of a whole subject people by an imported handful of persons of another race, another creed, and another training. It is wonderful, under such conditions, that the problem has been so successfully met as it has been up to this time. Not a few of the people of India think that the creed of the governing race is an impiety, that their lives are bestial, and their touch an abomination. We have to work all that clown, and we shall only do it by great toleration of their ideals and by not attempting to circumscribe to-day what may come to pass hereafter.


My Lords, the Bill has keen so fully discussed from this Bench as well as from other quarters of the House that I shall compress as closely as I can the few observations I desire to offer; and I shall endeavour to be doubly careful in what I say, because the noble Viscount opposite administered to me last night a very gentle rebuke to the effect that when I referred to this subject in the debate on the Address I read him a lecture or homily. I can assure the noble Viscount that nothing was further from my thoughts than to lecture him, and, having referred to the passage in question, I remain of opinion that there was nothing in it which could be so described. I was referring to the measures taken by the Government of India, with the concurrence of the noble Viscount, for dealing with sedition, and I ventured to offer the opinion that for those measures to be successful they must be prompt, and that you must trust, not the man on the spot, but the men on the spot, by which I meant all men in authority in all parts of the country. If the noble Viscount really wishes to know what was in my mind when I referred to the necessity of not depriving the Governor-General in Council of any weapon which seemed to be necessary, I was thinking of those deportations under the regulation of 1818 to which the Government of India has had resort, and which the noble Viscount, reluctantly, I have no doubt, but in a manner which greatly redounds to his credit and courage, has from time to time authorised. I intended to indicate my approval of what had been done, and my hope that a similar policy would be followed in the future.

In the course of this debate, the noble Viscount has referred to the fact that this Bill is in a sense the outcome of another Bill for which I had a considerable share of responsibility in 1892. May I say that if any credit was due for the initiation of the measure of 1892 it was due rather to my distinguished predecessor and old friend Lord Dufferin, from whom when I arrived in India I inherited the outline of a measure of this description. In those days, as now, there were differences of opinion as to the pace at which it was safe to proceed, and I am inclined to think that in those days the Government at home was rather more inclined to put on the brake than His Majesty's present Government. At any rate, we produced amongst us a measure which certainly was a very cautious measure. It was our earnest desire to infuse new life into the Legislative Councils, and we were fully prepared to resort to election whenever it seemed to us that election could safely be resorted to. It seemed to us best to work so far as possible from the bottom upwards, and to take as the basis of our scheme the existing municipal boards and corporations. Having those principles and views constantly present to our minds, we did not feel ourselves able to recommend anything approaching a complete or symmetrical measure of reform. We thought it desirable to confer upon those newly-created constituencies only the right of recommending certain persons for appointment to the councils, subject to the approval of the head of the Government, and we took the utmost pains to protect the Government and to safeguard its authority by leaving it in possession of an official majority, and by very carefully restricting the right of free debate and the right of addressing questions to the Government. Our Bill was a considerable step in advance, and I think it was favourably regarded in India as such.

But the question now arises whether the time has not come to go a step further. I think that question has by common consent been answered in the affirmative, and to that extent the noble Viscount certainly carries with him the opinion of both sides of the House. I will not dwell upon the reasons for which such a forward step is necessary. I am inclined to think the feeling present to most of our minds is that, in cases of this kind, you cannot stand still. You cannot go back, you cannot stand still; therefore you must go more or less forward. At certain points, moreover, I believe the Act of 1892 has not operated exactly as might have been wished, and there are defects in it which it should not be beyond our power to remove. That later consideration is evidently very much in the mind of the Government of India. The noble Viscount will recollect that in the forefront of the Despatch of 1907—the Despatch on which this scheme is founded—Lord Minto's Government stated that the Act of 1892 was unsatisfactory in that it did not give a sufficiently large share of representation to the most powerful and stable elements of Indian society. By that it was explained was intended the ruling chiefs of India, the great landowners and the representatives of commercial interests in India.

The Government proposed in the first place to supplement the Legislative Councils by the appointment of advisory councils and councils of chiefs upon which the classes to which I have just referred were to be largely represented. In the next place, the Government proposed to institute certain changes in the Legislative' Councils themselves, and, more particularly, I find they proposed that there should be an additional electorate, recruited from the landed and moneyed classes. They desired that there should be more representation given to the classes who are now liable to be crowded out. That was, it seemed to me, the dominant note in the original project put forward by Lord Minto's Government and approved by the noble Viscount, and in exactly the same spirit was framed the proposal for giving special representation to the Mahomedan community. In regard to the discussion of the Budget, all that was proposed was that it should be dealt with by separate heads, so as to afford fuller opportunities for criticism, but not a word was said of any change in the rules as to the right of interpellation by members of Council. I think Lord Minto's scheme may be not inaptly described as having been conceived in a very generous and sympathetic spirit to the people of India, but it was a very carefully guarded scheme. It was pointed out in the Despatch that the Government of India desired to avoid any surrender or weakening of the supremacy of the British power in India. It was urged that the executive authority of the Government of India should be maintained in undiminished strength. In a very remarkable passage which follows they declare that if that undiminished authority is to be secured to the Government of India it should always have a numerical majority on the councils. The passage runs:— The principle of a standing majority is accepted by the Government as an entirely legitimate and necessary consequence of the nature of the paramount power in India, and so far as they know it has never been disputed by any section of Indian opinion that does not dispute the legitimacy of the paramount power itself. That is, I conceive, not an unfair outline of the original scheme put forward with the concurrence of the noble Viscount opposite in August, 1907. Then came the consultation with the local Governors which went on for a very considerable time, and upon that consultation, the details of which are recorded in the two copious Blue-books, was founded the revised scheme of Lord Minto's Government.

Now, the original scheme came out of this ordeal very little altered. The Secretary of State appears to question that. But as I read the Despatch addressed to the noble Viscount by Lord Minto's Government, after the consultation, it stops short of contemplating anything like popular election, it desires to secure representation for the land-owning and the moneyed classes, and recurs to the proposal that there is to be an advisory council and a council of chiefs. In fact, the idea seems to have been to rally the conservative classes in India to the support of the Government. It preserves the official majorities. It secures adequate representation for the Mahomedan community. It contains no proposals for altering the regulations in regard to questions. It proposes that there should be a right of discussing the Budget, but on the clear understanding that any opinion formed by the council on the Budget should take the shape of a recommendation which of itself would have no operative effect. That was the scheme which came before the noble Viscount opposite.

I am very anxious to do the noble Viscount no injustice; but I think I am within the mark when I say that his scheme, the details of which are to be found in the Bill on the Table, in the noble Viscount's Despatch to the Government of India, and in his speeches in Parliament, goes very considerably beyond what was suggested to him by the Government of India. I hope he will not think me irreverent if I use an expression derived from a game of cards which is very popular on the other side of the Atlantic, and say that the noble Viscount saw Lord Minto's hand and went one better. I say that because the scheme of the noble Viscount is certainly based on popular election. It certainly gets rid of the official majority. It certainly extends the power of dealing with the Budget, and the right of interpellation is put considerably beyond what was proposed by the Government of India. But it does more. The noble Viscount's scheme breaks entirely fresh ground in this, that it deals with the question of Executive Councils—both the Viceroy's and Provincial—which, as he knows were only dealt with in Lord Minto's Despatches in a very tentative fashion. Of course, he may say, with great fairness, that many of these things are left to be dealt with by regulations under the Bill. That, no doubt, is the case. But the general result, so far as I can see, of his action has been that he has converted an extremely cautious proposal made to him by the Government of India into a scheme which, in my judgment, is very much less cautious and reaches very much further. And this is done at a moment when the greatest possible caution is necessary in dealing with Indian affairs. It was truly said by my noble friend Lord Midleton that the effect of these proposals on the Legislative Councils cannot be really understood unless you consider, not the effect of each single separate proposal, but their cumulative effect taken altogether; and I do not think that aspect of the case was much touched upon by the noble Viscount in his statement the other evening. Taken by themselves, however, these things are serious enough. You have a large increase in the number of the Councils You have a system of election which I shall always maintain is foreign to the ideas of the people of India. It is a European system which they do not understand, and which I do not believe they greatly care about.

Then there is the question of the right of the head of the Government to object to the appointment of an unsuitable and undesirable member. The noble Viscount made this evening an announcement which interested us extremely, and which I am bound to say goes far towards disarming any misgivings which I have on this particular point. We understand that in the rules which are to be promulgated there are to be certain categories of exclusions, and I have no doubt that in that net the noble Viscount will catch some of the personages whose presence on the councils would be most objectionable. But so long as the head of the Government has no right of objecting to a particular member on the ground that his presence would fatally impair the efficiency or good order of the council, so long will there be a risk, and a very considerable risk, that men will be elected—I am not speaking now of men who have actually undergone imprisonment or anything of that kind—that men will be elected who can be familiarly described as very dangerous firebrands, and who will take advantage of their presence on the council in order to make good government extremely difficult, if not impossible. I am afraid one must admit that in the eyes of the people of India themselves it will seem most strange and unaccountable that the Government should tolerate upon these bodies the presence of men who are known to be flagrantly disloyal and promoters of sedition. They will ask themselves why these things happen. A friend of mine showed me not very long ago a very interesting passage in an article published in a magazine in this country by a rather well-known Indian gentleman, Ooday Pertab Singh, Rajah of Bhinga, in Oude. It runs:— A man desirous of entering the council has now but to make a few speeches before a debating club of schoolboys denouncing the foreign rule as a curse, painting every official European as a scoundrel and every supporter of the British rule as a vagabond. Thus he paves his way to election to a municipal or local board, as a member of which he decries every measure originating with the Government as inhuman and unjust. He is honoured with the appellation of the champion of liberty, and has not to wait long for a seat in the legislative Councils, local or supreme. That is how Indian natives look at the admission of gentlemen of this undesirable class to seats on the Legislative Council. I trust, therefore, that the noble Viscount, when he comes to deal with the question of regulations, will consider very carefully whether it is not necessary to strengthen the hands of the heads of the local Governments on this particular point.

I pass from that to the question of the official majorities. I confess that I am sorry that the official majorities are to exist no longer. I think it is a dangerous thing to expose these local Governments to the risk of being out-voted in council. I think it would be a shock to their authority, a shock which, if possible, we should avoid.

A good deal, again, has been said as to the effect of these changes upon the position of the officials who will take part in the proceedings of the Legislative Councils. I am bound to say that I entirely agree with what has been said by my noble friend Lord Curzon as to the very deplorable effect which it may have upon their position in the future. In the first place, this work cannot help distracting them and luring their attention away from what is their real official business. They have plenty to do, and you take them away from their proper work, disorganise the department to which they belong, and give them work for which a great many of them are by no means specially fitted.

Lord Ampthill thought that this argument was a rather unkind cut to the Indian Civil Service. I do not think so. The Indian Civil servant has his particular metier, and performs it extremely well, and I desire to associate myself with all those who have spoken with respect of this most distinguished body of public servants. But they have not been brought up to take part in the hurly-burly of public discussion. When I heard this point discussed this evening, my memory recurred to some words which were spoken at this Table by Lord Rosebery on the occasion when we were all of us lamenting the death of the Duke of Devonshire. Lord Rosebery said that none of us, probably, knew how much anguish the Duke of Devonshire used to feel when he was called upon to make an important speech. These words, I think, must have come home to many of us. I suspect most of us have at different times shared that feeling of anguish, but, if we have that feeling, what will be the feeling of a wretched assistant secretary who has got to go down to the council and stand an hour or two hours heckling at the hands of men who could hold their own at that amusement with any Scottish heckler or with any Irish Member of Parliament? Have none of us ever felt when we had office work to do, and when we have had a speech to make the next day, that our office work rather suffered in consequence? And do you not suppose that these poor gentlemen will, occasionally, spend many hours of misery and trepidation with a debate hanging over them, and that their thoughts will be turned away from their proper work to the task of preparation?

As I said a moment ago, a great deal depends on the rules which are to be made. As my noble friend truly said, this Bill is really a blank cheque, and, until the rules are made, we do not know how the cheque is going to be filled up. We are very anxious to elicit from the noble Viscount a little more information as to the extent to which he proposes to take Parlia- ment into his confidence with regard to these rules. I certainly gathered from him last night, and I gathered it with the very greatest pleasure, that in some shape or form Parliament was to have an opportunity of becoming aware of, and, therefore, the opportunity of discussing, these new rules. May I read the words which the noble Viscount is reported in the newspapers this morning to have used:— No doubt it is desirable that some of the heads of the regulations, rules, and proclamations to be made by the Government of India, under the sanction of the India Office, should be, more or less, placed within the reach and knowledge of the House so far as they are complete.


May I explain to the noble Marquess exactly what I meant and what I mean? As he will remember, I first of all read out the language used by Mr. Gladstone in 1892, and accepted at that moment by Lord Curzon, to the effect that the regulations, rules, and proclamations formed under the Act must be made in India by the Government of India. That was my general view. Then I went on to say that I thought it was right that the heads of these regulations, so far as we had then arrived at them, should be stated to Parliament, and my intention is, when we go into Committee, when, I believe, I shall have the opportunity of making some general observations on the Bill of a very short kind, to explain to the House what the general heads of the regulations are at the stage at which we have now arrived—I am in telegraphic communication with the Government of India—what is their effect, and what they come to.


I am very much obliged to the noble Viscount for his explanation. I do not think we all understood what he said quite in that sense, and, until we have had an opportunity of listening to the promised statement on the rules, I would prefer to withhold further observations, except this general observation, that the circumstances do not seem to me to be in any way the same as the circumstances of 1892, and that, on the face of it, I should think that there would be a good deal to be said for the view that Parliament should be given an opportunity of seeing the whole of the rules in their complete form, and then, if necessary, it would be open to anyone to call attention to them or even to move a resolution with regard to them. Of course, the noble Viscount will not imagine for a moment that I want to suggest that the rules and regulations should be brought in as a Bill and debated clause by clause. That is not my intention at all.

May I pass for one moment to the question of the Executive Councils? We are to have enlarged Executive Councils in Madras and Bombay, and we are to have, or we may have, new Executive Councils in other provinces. One comment I venture to make upon that is that this part of the scheme has, apparently, been put through with very great haste and with not nearly the same amount of discussion and consideration which has been given to the part of the scheme which deals with Legislative Councils. The noble Viscount thought last night that I had lost my way in that part of the Bill. I do not think I have. I told the noble Viscount that I had strong views with regard to the appointment of an Indian member on the Viceroy's Council, and then I went on to say that, until the Despatch of October, 1908, we had never heard anything, and the Government of India had never said anything at all about reforms in the Executive Councils, and that is the case. The first reference to the question is to be found in paragraph 76 of the October Despatch, and what is said in that paragraph? Lord Minto's Government postulates, in the first place, that we are to have experience of the working of the new Legislative Councils before the question of Executive Councils is taken up. It postulates that there is to be a consultation with those who are test qualified to advise before the matter is disposed of, and, finally, there is no reference of any kind in that paragraph to the Viceroy's Council. What does the noble Viscount do? He does not wait for the experience of the new Legislative Councils. He does not wait for the consultation. There is a rumour that some kind of consultation is in progress at this moment. I do not know whether I am right or wrong, but what I want to ask is are we going to be told why this long and laborious consultation with experts of all kinds was necessary in the case of the Legislative Councils, why are we given all these copious materials for forming a judgment on that point, and why was there, apparently, no consultation, and why are we given no materials for forming a judgment in the case of the Executive Councils?

I am afraid His Majesty's Government have rather got into a habit of legislating first and consulting afterwards. We had a leading case in the Old Age Pensions Act of last year, and I think there is going to be another leading case in the Bill for the disestablishment of the Welsh Church. There is on record a considerable amount of expert opinion unfavourable to that part of the proposal which gives Executive Councils to the Provincial Governments. The noble Viscount, I am sure, remembers that in 1905 the matter was mooted in Bengal, and I have seen it stated in the Press, and it has never been contradicted, that the proposal was unanimously rejected at that time by the Government of India. If I am wrong the noble Viscount will have an opportunity of contradicting me. There does not seem to me to be any point in the scheme where consultation was more called for than this particular point. Is it really quite fair to impose upon a Lieutenant-Governor of a province an Executive Council which, perhaps, he does not want, to convert his subordinates into colleagues, and to associate with him, whether he likes it or not, one or two Indian colleagues—is it fair to do all that without, at least, giving him an opportunity of urging anything that he can urge in opposition to the proposal? There is a very remarkable feature in the scheme—and here we are dealing with a clause in the Bill and not with regulations which may be hereafter made. Under a clause in the Bill, as I understand it, the Bombay and Madras Councils are to consist of four members.


Of a number not exceeding four.


Of whom two are to be qualified by official experience?




And the other one or two are not to have official experience?


It does not say that. All it says is that one shall have a qualification, and the other may have, or may not.


My point is this. Will it, under this clause, be open to the Secretary of State to put into the Council of a Governor two Indian gentlemen neither of whom has had any official training or experience, who may indeed have acquired a political celebrity, but who have never been successful in acquiring a reputation as trained and efficient administrators? That is the real question, and I hope it will be answered.

With regard to the appointment of an Indian Member on the Viceroy's Council may I be allowed to say that, although I do not see eye to eye with the noble Viscount upon this point, I do most entirely appreciate the feelings which induced him to make the proposal? I think, if I may say so, that the passage in his speech which dealt with that question was one which, perhaps more than any other, appealed to the sympathies of the House. If I may use the expression used by my noble friend Lord Cromer, I understand that this is a case in which the Secretary of State thinks that political—or perhaps I should say sentimental—considerations should be allowed to outweigh considerations based on efficiency pure and simple. I am the last person in the world to desire that in a case of this kind no weight should be given to sentimental considerations. I think it would be a bad day when in our public life we ceased to have regard to considerations which may fairly be described as sentimental considerations.

But I would ask this question—What sentiments are we thinking and talking about? Is it Indian sentiment, or are we quite sure that it is not European sentiment which we are taking into account? If it were possible to ascertain what Indian sentiment is upon this subject I believe there would be a preponderance of Indian sentiment against putting an Indian upon the Viceroy's Council. I do not know to what quarters the noble Viscount would look for an opinion of the contrary kind. The inarticulate masses for whose benefit we govern India know nothing about the Viceroy's Council, and would be profoundly indifferent. The fifty-three millions of Mahomedans are up in arms against it, and will remain up in arms against it unless the noble Viscount gives them what he has peremptorily refused to give them—a second Mahomedan member to serve alongside of a Hindu member. Then what about the sentiment of the chiefs and rulers of India? What is the advice which the noble Viscount has received upon that point? I am under the impression that it will be eminently distasteful to the chiefs and rulers of India that they should be governed—that orders should be issued in the name of the Government of India—by a gentleman who, if the indication given to us by the noble Viscount is correct, would probably be an extremely able Calcutta lawyer. Therefore I really believe that if one could conceive of an Indian referendum upon this point you would be answered by a great preponderance of opinion against the addition of a native member to the Viceroy's Council.

But let me put sentimental or political considerations on one side. What about the practical effect of the proposals? I presume this is one of those cases where His Majesty's Government desire to introduce representative institutions "of a practical kind," as recommended for Persia in the gracious Speech from the Throne. The practical result which the noble Viscount expects to obtain is that the Viceroy will be given a responsible adviser with a knowledge of the country who will act as a kind of counterpoise to the exclusively British element. All I can say is that the Viceroy's Council never was recruited upon principles of that kind, and I am forced to believe that if you are going to appoint an Indian gentleman to the Viceroy's Council and prefer him to other competitors because he is an Indian, you are in fact introducing a test of a wholly novel description. But the noble Viscount explained matters a little more fully yesterday. We understood from him that these appointments are to be filled with reference to the merit of the particular candidate, and if that is really so—if we could be told that the Secretary of State will look round and will not give the appointment to an Indian gentleman unless he is convinced that that Indian gentleman is really a stronger candidate from an official point of view than any other candidate in the field—then my objection is to some extent, but not entirely, mitigated.

But what really as rather shaken my confidence in the judgment of the noble Viscount on this point is the appeal which he has made in this House to two analogies—the analogy of his own Council in Whitehall, and the analogy of Indian Judges. Surely it is notorious that the whole position and functions of the Secretary of State's Council are wholly dissimilar from the position and functions of the Viceroy's Council in India. The Secretary of State's Council has no initiative; it is purely consultative; it has no executive functions; and, last but not least, the two Indian members of the Secretary of State's Council are wholly removed from the kind of influences to which an Indian in Calcutta will certainly be exposed. The analogy of the Judges seems to be equally wide of the mark. The Judge has to administer judicially a code of law from which he cannot depart. The functions of the Viceroy's Council are executive in the strictest sense of the word.

I regret the effect of this new departure upon the efficiency of the Viceroy's Council. The claims of efficiency may, no doubt, sometimes be pushed too far, but I confess I think that in this case efficiency ought to come first, and I think we are justified in claiming that the institution known as the Governor-General in Council has been one of the most efficient instruments of government in the world. The noble Viscount referred very appropriately the other day to the admiration expressed by ex-President Roosevelt for our system of Indian government. What has been the secret of the success of that government? It is that it has been so constituted that it has been able to observe the strictest possible neutrality so far as the people of India are concerned, and that is why the people of India trust it. I say it with no disrespect to Indian gentlemen, I do not believe that you can find such a thing as an absolutely neutral Indian, and if he is neutral nobody would believe that he is. But I know that the noble Viscount has burnt his boats so far as that part of his scheme is concerned. I can only hope that he may prove to be right, and that I may prove to be wrong. But with regard to the provincial councils a good deal yet remains open, and I earnestly hope that the noble Viscount will take in good part and will consider attentively the suggestions that have been made to him with regard to one or two points in his scheme that deal with these Councils.

I make one suggestion. I am afraid the noble Viscount will reject it summarily. But I do wish that he could find it consistent with his duty to postpone for the present. and entirely without prejudice, the two clauses dealing with the Executive Councils. If he would do that, if he would allow those clauses to come up in a separate Bill after he had elicited opinions from all those whom he would naturally consult, I feel quite sure the House would consider them with an open mind and with no desire to impair the usefulness of the scheme as a whole.

I apologise to the House and to the noble Viscount for having dealt somewhat critically with his proposals. But we who have had some experience of Indian affairs are bound to tell him what we think about these proposals, we are bound to warn him if we think any of them are of a dangerous character, and, after all, we are playing for tremendous stakes. This Bill may prove—or rather, I would say it will prove—to be a turning point in the history of our position in India. We should be untrue to ourselves if, while there is still time, we did not urge him to consider well whether at some points he is not going to travel rather too fast over ground which we all of us know is honeycombed with pitfalls and dangers.


My Lords, I ought, I think, to apologise to the House for rising to address your Lordships at all at this hour of the evening; but I think it would scarcely be respectful that the debate should close without one or two observations being made from this Bench. My noble friend the Secretary of State for India will take an opportunity before the House is put into Committee on the Bill to make a general statement dealing with the various points raised in the course of this debate. I shall, therefore, confine myself to one or two observations on the question of the Legislative Councils, their constitution, and their proposed procedure. I confess that the demand made for a veto by the principal authority on the appointment or election of any particular member does seem to me to be going very far. It certainly does seem to me that the introduction of the electoral system can be of very little value if the man elected can be declared incapable of sitting not on any specific ground, but simply because the Lieutenant-Governor or Governor-General does not desire to see him on the Council. A power of that nature given to an individual is a dangerous power, and one to which it is unlikely my noble friend could agree.

A word or two seem necessary on the question of official majorities. What seems to me the case is this. A Council composed of an official majority and an unofficial minority works very well in ordinary times. but if it comes to a state of things when the official majority is always drawn on one side and the non-official minority on the other, then we may be quite sure that there is something altogether wrong with the condition of the Government of the country or province. You may get your way but in a manner that is by no means satisfactory, a manner that makes it scarcely worth getting. So far as the Colonial Office is concerned, if such a state of things were to become habitual, we should regard it as a very strong case for some form of outside inquiry. The blame would not necessarily be upon the Governor or the Government, but there would be indication that in some way the machinery of Government had broken down. If you have an unofficial majority in this case I understand the carrying through of what are called "wild cat Bills" is in the last resort prevented by the use of the veto. Further than that—and this, of course, is a safeguard which does not exist in the case of all unofficial majorities—when it is thought necessary to pass a particular measure in the teeth of an unofficial majority, a power is given to do so. That seems to me to safeguard your position, but it is really safeguarded, as pointed out by Lord Ampthill, in an entirely different way by the fact that these unofficial majorities are not, or certainly ought not to be, solid bodies. I should not think very much of a Governor who did not somehow find means of detaching some of the non-official members from their colleagues and transferring them to the supporters of his own point of view. I do not say that if he failed to do so on a particular occasion he would show himself inefficient, but assume that the non-official members were drawn up in a line opposed to the official members in a given case. I should be disposed to think that the executive officer, though he might be a good Governor in other ways, was not a very efficient politician or had not the qualities of a skilful diplomatist.

The noble Lord said last night that after all there was no great hardship in being in a perpetual minority, and he pointed to these Benches as illustrating the possibility of being in that position and yet surviving. Well, my lords, appearances are sometimes deceptive. We may maintain a calm demeanour and even attain at times to the appearance of a spurious joviality, but the noble Lord will guess, if he does not know, the effect on our general character, our tempers, and our minds, of living in a state of being perpetually outvoted. I am speaking quite seriously when I say that if the noble Lord opposite had shared our fate during the ten years before we came into office, he would know the truth of what I am saying. Most of us towards the end of those ten years were beginning to lose interest in public life, and began to think it might be well to turn our attention to the cultivation of our gardens, and had it not been for the emergence of the fiscal question, which gave new life to proceedings in your Lordships' House, I am not sure but some of us would have done so.

I pass to points upon which it is supposed some danger might arise, and the use of supplementary questions has been mentioned. Well, I should have thought that this power would prove a very useful safety-valve, I assume under proper restrictions. The noble Lord seems to forget that many more men like to talk about their grievances than expect redress. I was looking the other day at an account, by a very skilled observer, of one of the native races that come under my Office—more advanced, no doubt, than some of the races in India; and he said of them that it was a characteristic that if they had a grievance they would come and talk about it, perhaps for an hour on end, and were so satisfied at having relieved their minds by this long and elaborate complaint that they often walked away without waiting to hear what he had to say in reply. That, of course, is an extreme instance. At the same time I think noble lords underrate the value of this safety-valve of talk, and I cannot help thinking that if supplementary questions were forbidden, a great deal of the reality of the Legislative Councils must necessarily pass away. It is said that it would be hard upon officials, would take up too much of their time, and that they would be engaged in oratory against skilled speakers who merely wished to cause annoyance. Now I have always found that the man who knows his subject, orator or not, makes a good speech upon it. The speeches that are ineffective, are those made by men who really do not know what they are talking about. I cannot in my own mind doubt that experienced administrators will find no difficulty, in nine cases out of ten, in dealing with popular, glib but infinitely less informed speakers whom they may have to encounter.

I pass to a different point—the regulations which are to fill in the framework of the Bill. One noble Lord said we were asked to give a blank cheque, and in one sense it is a blank cheque; but it is like one of those cheques signed by a body of trustees—it will have a great many other signatures at its foot besides that of my noble friend. Something has been said about these regulations being laid on the Table of the House, with a view, I suppose, of their being altered upon the presentation of an Address from either House. That is a demand to which we could not assent. In the first place, it would be entirely foreign to practice in these matters, and to the principle laid down by Mr. Gladstone quoted by my noble friend and in general terms, I think, agreed to by the noble Lord opposite. The noble Marquess said this did not mean that the regulations would be debated clause by clause in Parliament; but it was a large demand to make by Members of this House, who have a strong position and control of our legislative proposals here—complete control except in regard to details in the region of finance. If they are going to ask also for control over purely administrative matters, they are making a demand never made before, and one to which I do not think my noble friend could possibly agree. It would simply mean that the ultimate form of the regulations would be settled by a few noble Lords who are competent to have an opinion on the question from their Indian experience and who sit on the Bench opposite. That is the simple outcome of the proposal, and, if noble Lords think of it seriously, they must see that it is not a proposal which my noble friend behind me could possibly accept.

Then I turn to the question of the native member of the Executive Council, and here I think some confusion seems to have arisen by the use of the word "representative." It is sometimes said that if an Indian member is placed on the Viceroy's Executive Council he is to be the representative of India. It is undoubtedly true, as has been already pointed out, that no one man can be the representative of India, because there are so many Indias. But I do not understand that, if and when this gentleman is put on, he is to be put on as the representative of India. My noble friend's proposition is not to create a representation but to remove a disability, and that is surely a very different thing indeed. A closer analogy than those which have been made seems to me the removal of Catholic disabilities in 1829. If you were to take the specific instance of the disability which still exists in appointing a Roman Catholic to the office held by my noble and learned friend on the Woolsack or the Lord Lieutenacy of Ireland, the removal of that disability does not necessarily mean that a Roman Catholic will always be appointed to that particular office. It would mean, just as my noble friend's proposition means, that, other things being equal, the person who holds that creed is as fit as any other person to hold that particular office. That is all that can be actually said to be meant by my noble friend's proposition.

The ultimate method of working out the proposition is, I admit, a different matter. It may so happen that the appointment of a native member will tend towards the filling of one particular office by a native rather than by another. Obviously there are some posts on the Viceroy's Council which could never be held by a native, but we ought, I think, to get rid of this notion of representation, which has been rather unfortunately imported into the question—unfortunately because it gives a wrong idea both to people in this country and in India as to what is really meant by the proposal. I very heartily re-echo one remark that fell from the noble Earl on the Cross-benches, and that is the extreme importance of this proposition being so far as possible a unanimous one, when it reaches India. The value of anything proposed by my noble friend, I quite admit, must be diminished if it becomes the subject of acute controversy here with men, like the noble Lord opposite, who are well known and thoroughly respected in India.

This debate has undoubtedly been maintained on the high level which distinguishes your Lordships' House. Here and there there has been an observation which we on this side of the House have heard with regret. I thought, if I may say so, that the whole tone of the remarks of the noble Lord opposite, Lord Curzon, was somewhat unduly pessimistic about the entire scheme. He seemed to speak with lights turned half down and to the sound of rather melancholy music. I do not also, I admit, entirely appreciate the observations of the noble Lord behind me with regard to the future destinies of India. I do not know that the prophecies to which he objected were exactly necessary prophecies, but I am quite sure that the noble Lord's prophecies in turn were not needed either. What will be the future of India fifty, sixty, or a hundred years hence need not, I think, trouble us. It is on the knees of the gods, and all we have got to do is to provide, as best we can, for the conditions of the moment, having, of course, an eye to the future, but not troubling ourselves about what may happen in days when, to use Sheridan's words—"all of us are dead and most of us are forgotten." I think that my noble friend behind me has good reason to be satisfied with the recep- tion of his Bill. He has been himself the recipient of many tributes which, I can assure the House, give even more pleasure to his colleagues than they do to himself. I trust that the future course of the Bill in its later stages will be easy and prosperous.

On Question, Bill read 2a, and committed to a Committee of the Whole House on Tuesday next.