HL Deb 12 December 1919 vol 37 cc974-1050

Debate upon the Motion for the Second Reading resumed (according to Order).


My Lords, I moved the adjournment of the Debate last night on behalf of Lord Harris, who, however, is not able to be present, so I will now make the few remarks that I desire to offer. I think I am entitled to say something, as it is not very long since I was a Governor of a Presidency in India. Some of your Lordships who know about recent affairs in India probably look upon me as holding views on the subject of this Bill which may be considered rather advanced— probably more advanced than those of most members of your Lordships' House; and I admit that this certainly is the case, though I trust that your Lordships will believe me when I say that the views I do hold are views of the correctness of which I am perfectly convinced.

I dare say if I had not gone to India at the time when I did, or if I had gone to another part of India, I should not hold these views. I am not surprised that most members of this House do not look at things quite as I do, because, if I had never been in India, or if I had gone to India before the passing of the Morley-Minto reforms—and I think even if I had not gone to India before the visit of the King-Emperor—I should not have thought as I do now. I am inclined to believe that if I had stayed on in Madras, where I first went as Governor, and had not gone to Bengal, I might have looked at things rather differently, and I probably should not have taken the view that, even if this Bill had gone a good deal further than it does go, it should not be opposed, on general principles at any rate. That is the point of view from which I look at the Bill, and I congratulate my noble friend the Under-Secretary of State for India (Lord Sinha) on the present form in which the Bill is; and, were he here, I should congratulate my noble friend the Earl of Selborne and his colleagues on the form which has been adopted as the result of their labours on the Joint Committee.

I do not pretend that I look upon the Bill as a perfect Bill—I certainly do not. If it were any use I should make criticisms on some matters on which probably most members of this House would agree with me. I do not love the idea of the dyarchy any more, I think probably, than most members of this House, or most of those who have any knowledge of Indian administration. But I realise that no other alternative has been offered. Looking at it simply from the point of view of my own experience as a Governor in India, I believe there are just as many good arguments to be used against a scheme put forward by certain Lieutenant-Governors as there are to be used against the idea of the dyarchy. In any case, whatever is done will be somewhat in the nature of an experiment; in any case there will be difficulty, and I recognise that there will be danger; and I think in any case the point of view of a past Governor like myself would be that we have to make the best of whatever is brought forward.

Personally I do not much mind what the form of the Bill is as long as something is done, and as long as there is sufficient elasticity to make whatever is done into something which will lead to a better state of affairs in India. I recognise as fully as anybody in this House that there is danger. I, perhaps, see some of the dangers which most members of this House do not see—or perhaps I see them a little more clearly. I recognise, and I think the Under-Secretary recognises, that a very large number of the people of India cannot be said by their best friends, if they speak honestly, at this moment to be very suitable for self-government. But I believe that a great many of them are suitable for it, and I think that we ought not to wait until everyone is suitable. I know that many of those who are politically-minded—which I think is the expression used nowadays about those in India who take an interest in politics (they are a small proportion of the people of India)—have not been hitherto, and are not at this moment., very much enamoured of the present state of affairs. I would go further and say that many of them do not like government by us. Personally I do not see why they should; and I will say at this moment that if I were an Indian I should hold very advanced views—views which many of your Lordships would look upon as extreme—and I should think that I was fully justified in holding them. But where I differ from many of my friends, especially from those who know India, is that I do not believe they will continue to be hostile to us. By "us" I mean those people of Great Britain who govern India from the Executive point of view at present.

No one regrets more than I do the way in which Indians who are most fully informed on political matters dislike and distrust—I think honestly distrust—us. When I first went to Madras, and had not the experience I afterwards got, nothing gave me greater anxiety than the feeling that Indians who knew and cared most about politics thoroughly distrusted me. I say "me" definitely, because many of them told me that they distrusted me; they did not distrust me in any personal sense, but they did not see how I could be in a position really to deal honestly with them. That caused me a great deal of anxiety, especially as I know it was honest distrust on their part, which they were not ashamed to avow to me, though they were not anxious to avow it to me; in fact, they would not do it for a long time until they began to trust me to a certain extent. I do not believe that this distrust need go on. I know that there are some men—with longer knowledge of India that I have; knowledge acquired at an earlier stage than I acquired mine—who believe (you have only to look at the newspapers from time to time to learn it) that the politically-minded Indians will not give up that distrust. But that is not my experience.

Oddly enough, I got my Indian mail this morning, and I have in my pocket letters from two Bengalis. These are both young men who at one time certainly held views which were not friendly to us, views which would have been looked upon by myself as dangerous, but they were honestly held—it was some time, I confess, before they would confide in me sufficiently to tell me their real ideas—but they are men with whom I had a good deal of conversation and with whom. I have had a good deal of correspondence. I am delighted to say that both their letters are about this Bill. They are not exactly the letters with which I dare say many of your Lordships would sympathise fully, but they say, and I am sure they honestly mean it, that in this Bill they see a prospect of hope which leads them to think that, after all, they have, perhaps, been wrong in the attitude which they held, believing honestly that it was impossible that British government of India could ever be such as they would gladly support. I am not going to deal with that very much. I have mentioned it merely because I know that some of your Lordships are aware that I am in sympathy—more, perhaps, than most who have been in India—with views which are looked upon as somewhat extreme. I am going further to admit that possibly in the definition of what views were extreme and what were moderate. I would go further in the direction of extremism than a great many of my friends would in saying that certain views were moderate.

We have all been younger than we now are. Some of us have modified our views—I know I have—on many points; and as we grow older I think we learn a certain amount of sense. One thing which, perhaps, people in this country forget is that in India those who take an interest in politics are on the whole younger than the men who take an interest in politics here. It is rather difficult for us in this country to realize—it was very difficult for me to realise it when I first went to India—how much the very young count in matters of that sort. It is only when people begin to be educated—you may call it half-educated or three-quarter educated if you like—in Western ideas, that as a rule men of the upper classes (so to speak), or of the upper middle classes, in India take an interest in politics. Every year the number of men who are so educated becomes larger and larger. That, I think, is to our credit. I think any of your Lordships who have ever electioneered—as some of you have done and as I myself have done—will remember that the younger men did not count for so much from the voting point of view as those who were rather older; but in India the more numerous body taking an interest in politics is always the youngest men, and, therefore, the men who have least experience. Though it is not necessarily so, at any rate you would still think they had all the enthusiasm and all the certainty of youth. It is in favour of British government that these men as they grow older and learn more will think more correctly; and I am conceited enough to think that if Indians think more correctly they will think more as their governors do.

I have said enough upon that. I do not want to take up the time of the House, but there is one small matter at which I want to ask Lord Sinha to look. Perhaps in this I may be looked upon—I know that I am so looked upon by some of my friends—as somewhat reactionary. It is not often that I am looked upon as reactionary. I do not quite know what "reactionary" means, but generally it seems to me to mean, in the opinion of anybody who uses the term, that he thinks rather differently from you. I have no doubt many of your Lordships read The Times newspaper, and perhaps that is the quickest way of getting at the point. If so, although I know some of your Lordships to whom I have spoken missed it, others may have seen the letter from Professor Berriedale Keith, of Edinburgh University. He is a friend of mine, but he has not written to me about this matter, and I am speaking my own opinion. On December 1 he wrote to The Times drawing attention to a point which may be thought a small point, but which he says is of the highest constitutional importance. I confess that I regard it as of very high importance, and it may have escaped consideration. Mr. Keith draws attention to the Amendment in Part II of the Schedule—I am not going to deal with it, because I am sure that Lord Sinha will know what I mean—by which an addition is made to a clause in the Government of India Act, 1915, saying that the Ministers appointed under this Act, as is the case with Governors, Lieutenant-Governors, the Chief Commissioner and members of the Executive Council of the Governor-General or Lieutenant-Governor, are not to be subject to the original are jurisdiction.

There was a reply in The Times on Wednesday, December 3, from Sir Edward Chamier, which gave an explanation. No doubt it is the explanation which those who speak for the Government thought was good enough to put forward. It may be the only explanation. A further letter from Professor Keith appeared on Monday, December 8, in which he returned to the point. I am not a lawyer and do not pretend to be one. I have been a Governor in Australia, and a Governor in India, and I am an ordinary, commonplace man here. However, I do think that this is a very important point. I quite see that it may be said that the new Ministers should be put on the same footing as the Executive Council or as the Governors. Possibly they should be. I am not certain myself that Governors ought to be in that position. However, this is a question with which constitutional lawyers can deal. Looking to the future—perhaps looking rather far ahead—I think that point ought to be fully considered. Perhaps it has been already, but the public ought to know that it has been more fully considered than the public, at present think it has been. I do not believe that very much attention would be drawn to it in India, but my knowledge of India leads me to suppose that it is the sort of point which might come up some years hence. The only people in India who consider that sort of point wish India to be on a level with those other States which make up the British Empire, and I do not believe that they want their Ministers to be in a different position. No doubt these points will be looked into when we get into Committee, where there will be members of your Lordships' House who are learned in the law and in a far better position than I am to judge. I hope the Government will consider it and be able to satisfy us on the matter, because if they do not satisfy us they are raising up difficulty in India in the future.

I said I would not say very much about my ideas as to where this Bill is defective, because there will be criticism from other members of this House, with much of which I shall agree. Where I differ from some members is that I feel more strongly than perhaps they do, that the greatest danger is to do nothing, and that the next greatest danger is to do something which seems in any way to detract from the authority of the Viceroy and from what I would almost call the veneration in which he is held in India. That is why I wish to see something done. This Bill has been put forward, and nothing else, at any rate, has been more definitely proposed. What certainly weighs with me is that it is put forward on the strength of recommendations made by the Viceroy and by the Secretary of State, from which I might differ, and do differ, in some respects, but I think it would be most unfortunate for India if we go very far from what they have recommended. That is the reason, more than any other, which weighs with me in being perfectly willing to sink my dislike of some of the provisions of the Bill, about which I know some of your Lordships hold very strong views.

I am not going to press my own view that I think the Bill might have gone further than it does in certain directions, because I can hardly expect your Lordships to agree with me. As I said a little while ago, if I had gone to India at an earlier date than I did, or if I had gone to a different part of India than that to which I did go, I believe I should not have held the views I do hold. I believe, however, that those views will be generally held before very long in this country, though it takes a little time for them to spread. Only the younger men among officials think as I do, and I do not wonder at it; but I am not going to dwell on that. I am not sorry, because I know this is merely a step in the right direction. At least, I regard it as a step in the right direction, and I think all your Lordships admit that it is. There are very few members of your Lordships' House interested in India who do not agree that a good deal has to be done.

I think we ought to be very thankful to the noble Earl, Lord Selborne, and the other members of the Select Committee for the Report they have made. It is a most important document, and I do not think that the Under-Secretary of State over-stated the case yesterday when he dwelt upon its importance. For my own part I feel extremely thankful—and I think all friends of India ought to feel thankful—also to my noble friend Lord Sydenham. He and I do not agree on a good many points, but there are others on which we agree very closely. Lord Sydenham has pointed out dangers which he feels, and some of them I feel too, but we have drawn different conclusions, probably because he was not in Bengal in the years when I was there. However, we need not go into that. He is not going to change his mind, and I am afraid I am too stupid or too obstinate to change mine. On one or two other points probably Lord Sydenham will agree with me. This Bill when it becomes au Act will undoubtedly give us a great deal of cause for thought. I assume we are going to pass it, and in that case we are taking a step which would have astonished us if we had known ten years ago that we should take it. We are taking a step which, I think, will surprise people in European countries. At present they are thinking, as we are, of the war, but those interested in politics will be surprised to find that Great Britain is taking this step.

The eyes of the whole world, indeed, will be on India to see what is the result. It lies, and must lie, with the people of India themselves, more than with anyone else, to make this Bill a success. Lord Sinha dealt with this point yesterday, and it is one which he was right to emphasise. Perhaps I can speak on this point more effectively than most people, as owing to circumstances there are Indians who fancy that I more than many other Englishman sympathise with their advanced views. Those who are politically-minded in India, to whatever party and to whatever class they belong, are not, as a rule, very satisfied with their present position. I know that there are differences of opinion; that there are extremists and moderates, and that hitherto, perhaps naturally, the extremists have counted for more as a force than the moderates.

There was nothing I regretted more while I was in India, than the position in which some of the moderate Indian reformers found themselves. I knew many of them. I have talked with them in Bengal, and I knew some of them in Madras. I did my best to try to know what they were really thinking, and I know that many moderate reformers, those whom the Government looked upon as moderate men, felt very bitterly their position. They were never sure when, to use a common expression, they might be "put in the cart." They were never sure when the Government would back them up, and I confess that, after all, one had as a Governor to think more of the views put forward by the extremists than by the moderates.

But neither the extremists nor the moderates had very much power of getting anything done. They could criticise, and of course it was the criticism of the extremists that was most listened to. The moderates made suggestions to me and to my officers. They were not often very practical. How could they be? These people have no experience in administration. When I stood for a constituency in this country I had to listen to people putting forward views which were not exactly practical; and is it any wonder that impracticable views should be held by men who never had, and thought they would never have, the chance of having any real responsibility?

I do not blame the officials of the Government in India. They are all overworked. The worst thing in India is the fact that every official from top to bottom is over-worked. Not one, from the Viceroy down to the most newly joined officer, but is expected to do far more than any man ought to be expected to do. They try to do the work, but are very much overworked, and when people are in that state they cannot have the patience, or show the patience, which is expected from them by men who were in the position of Lord Sinha when I first went to Bengal—intelligent men who thought on political questions, who had ideas well worth considering, and who wished to put them before those who alone could give effect to them. The officials had not the time to give to the consideration of these matters, and therefore brushed them aside, civilly I hope, though perhaps not always civilly. I know this from my own experience. You have to brush the proposal aside because you have not the time to deal with it and explain to the man the real position. I do not wonder that the moderate man has often felt that he might just as well be an extremist.

One of the best results of this Bill when it becomes an Act will be that it will give some sense of confidence to the moderate politically-minded Indians. From my knowledge of the Bengalis I do not think that the politically-minded Bengali is as bold as he might be. The politically-minded Madrasi is a much bolder man. That is my experience. I was only a short time in Madras, but the number of Madrasis who told me I was wrong and gave me good reasons why they thought I was wrong—sometimes they were right—was much larger than the number of Bengalis who expressed their opinion. This is probably due to the fact that in Madras they have for a long time had a series of Governors, whereas I was the first Governor in Bengal. I know many of your Lordships will think, as I think, that a Lieutenant-Governor is much more likely to have real knowledge about Indian affairs than a Governor has. I see just on my right one or two of your Lordships whose knowledge of Indian matters is far greater than mine can be. As to any details I bow to them, certainly, but I do not believe that the ordinary Indian would be as willing to be convinced by them as he would be by me, simply because he knows that they have been brought up in the Indian Civil Service, and he believes that they have got into traditions which, unfortunately but undoubtedly, have aroused a certain amount of distrust among Indians.

I think there is an advantage in having a Governor rather than a Lieutenant-Governor, and a Governor who comes from this country—or I don't care where—but who has not been a Civil Servant in India. I said I do not care where he comes from. I think—it is a fad of my own—that a Governor might sometimes come from another part than the British Isles. However, there is a great advantage in there being in the province one man who is ignorant—I do not care how ignorant—who even may be a fool, but who can ask questions, and whose questions must be answered—who has the right to ask questions and who, when something happens which he thinks is wrong, has a right to enquire into it. I have asked many questions. I used to ask questions in Madras, and also in Bengal, and I do not mind saying this—that when I went to Bengal, I think that sometimes some of my officers did not quite like my asking the questions which I did ask. They had an idea—a very natural idea—that I, as the first Governor after a change which they did not like quite as much as they might, should have sympathised with them, and that I was wasting their time, and that sort of thing; still they had to answer those questions, and I do not think it was at all a bad thing that they had to do so, because I hope that, when I was in Bengal, amongst Indians the idea grew up that there was one man who was always to be blamed for anything that happened in Bengal, and that man was the Governor.

I have said again and again to them "Well, if it is wrong I am to blame for it. Either I ought to have had it done otherwise, or I ought to have seen that the person dealing with it was capable of dealing with it." That is not a position in which any Lieutenant-Governor who has been a member of the Civil Service ever can be or can be expected to be in. I say that the Indians must themselves make this Bill a success. If the moderate men prevail, as I hope they will, then this step will lead to success and will lead to further success, but I think it will lie with us—with the Government—to help the moderate men. It will lie with the members of the Civil Service to a great extent to help them, and I believe they will do so. I know myself that members of the Civil Service are not enamoured of this Bill. Many of them are against it, and I do not wonder at it. Their idea is, and it is a quite correct idea, that they have so far "run the show," to use a common expression, very well. I think they have. And they do not quite see why we should alter the system. But I feel sure of this, that if we alter the system they will do their very best to make it a success.

I know there are some of them who think that they will not have the power, so to speak, that they have hitherto had. My own view is that with the Ministers the Civil Service will have a very great deal of influence—more influence than they have with any member of an Executive Council. I believe that the Indian gentlemen who become Ministers will certainly want to make a success of their own work. They will be men of intelligence, and they will know that they themselves have no administrative or executive experience, and their first idea will be to rely on the officers who have. I am talking from some experience of Indian Executive Councillors, and my idea is that the Indian Executive Councillors listen to their secretaries and persons who advise them in a way which a secretary cannot complain of. I have discussed matters with my own Executive Councillors, and I always found that my Indian Executive Councillors when they differed from me, as they sometimes did, quoted to me the views of their secretary, or of some other member of the Indian Civil Service, far more than my English Executive Councillors did. I have not myself the slightest doubt that, at any rate at first, the danger will rather be that the Indian Ministers will rely a little bit too much on individual members of the Indian Civil Service, and on English members of the Indian Civil Service.

I shall say no more on that. I just want to say a word or two on two other points. Another person who will be in a great difficulty is undoubtedly the Governor. I am speaking feelingly in this. I think the Governor under the new system will be in a very difficult position. That has been recognised in Lord Selborne's Report, and we will have to take care that good men go out as Governors. I know that it will be said that it is difficult to find Governors, and still more to find good ones, but I think the future of this Bill will lie with them to a very great extent. One other thing. I am very glad to see that the Joint Committee have recommended that the matter of Europeans in Bengal should at any rate be considered. I have always found as a Governor that a great deal of help could be given by non-official Europeans. They do not take much interest in politics. Many of them are Scotsmen, and I am a Scotsman, and I quite sym- pathise with them. They were attending to their own business, but I often felt that if only they would help me to attend to mine a little more than they did it would help matters on. I hope when it comes to dealing with the rules that they will be considered very fully.


My Lords, I am anxious, as a former Secretary of State for India, to say a few words in support of the Second Reading of this Bill, rather of a general character than trying to deal with particular clauses. In the first instance, I am anxious to express the great satisfaction which I feel that Lord Sinha has been here to move the Second, Reading of the Bill. To former Secretaries for India, from the time of Lord Stanley down to the time of my noble friend Lord Morley, it would have seemed almost too much to hope that an Indian gentleman should be in your Lordships' House in the official position which my noble friend holds. It would have seemed equally strange to former Viceroys, from Lord Canning down to the time of Lord Hardinge. But I am sure that we all deeply appreciate the fact that at a time of heavy domestic trouble, in which Lord Sinha I am sure has the sympathy not only of your Lordships' House but of his many friends both in India and here, he should have presented this Bill with a lucidity of statement and a force of conviction which I know will be appreciated both in this House and everywhere else.


Hear, Hear.


We are told, and it is a patent fact, that the provisions of this Bill are altogether novel, and that Parliament and the country are being asked to take a leap in the dark. It cannot be disputed that the provisions of this Bill are new, but we have to remember that all reforms, and in particular constitutional reforms, must constitute a leap in the dark, unless they arrive too late to be of real service. It is, of course, quite true that When in 1909 Lord Morley and Lord Minto introduced the constitutional reforms known by their name they never contemplated—and Lord Morley made it quite clear—that those reforms were intended to lead up to a system of responsible Government; and three years later, at the time when the change of capital took place and His Majesty addressed his Indian subjects at Delhi, Lord Hardinge and I, holding the same offices, were obliged to correct a misapprehension which arose from a particular paragraph in the Despatch of the Government of India from which it was sought to be shown that provincial autonomy on responsible lines was in the view of the Government of the day.

But events have moved fast since then, and the need of a change became clear for at any rate two different reasons. In the first instance, it became evident that the enlarged Councils constituted under the Morley-Minto reforms, while doing in some respects a great service, were bringing about a peculiar danger of their own. It was evident that the faculty of criticism by exceedingly able and instructed members of the Viceroy's and different Indian Legislatures was being over-exercised in a manner which was beginning to place Governors and governed in India on uncomfortable terms. That exercise of criticism without responsibility, which of course is the easiest of all forms of criticism, was beginning to develop in a manner that was almost dangerous. Then, in the second place, and what is a far more agreeable reason for believing in the necessity of change, India was showing in a great many directions a capacity and was earning a respect, not possessed before, through the splendid part which she was playing in the European war. Those two reasons of themselves were enough to make it clear to thoughtful people that some further advance must soon be made, and it became obvious to not a few people before the announcement of August 20, 1917.

I hope that I am committing no breach of confidence—and I do not know whether I very much care if I am—in saying that I know from personal knowledge that before Lord Chelmsford went out to India in 1915 he had become clearly convinced in his own mind, from conversations he had had with those competent to give opinions and from his own reflections on the matter, that it would be necessary before long to make an announcement of the character which was made in 1917—namely, that this country was looking forward to an advance in India with responsible government as the goal, and it was not till nearly a year later that, when a different Secretary of State was in office, the actual announcement was made in Parliament. I think that I am justified in saying that there is general agreement, even among those most adverse to the provisions of this Bill, that some step forward is demanded and would be demanded even if the particular declaration of August, 1917, had not been made. That, I think, is common ground. But the difference arises when it has to be decided whether that advance should take the form of a further association of Indians with the Government of India and the Provincial Government, or whether it should take the form of conferring actual responsibility for a part—or conceivably in some districts the whole—of administration and government. My noble friend Lord Sinha, in his speech yesterday, drew the distinction between the two views with the utmost clarity.

There are those who favour what is known as the unitary system of government—that is to say, the conferring upon Indians of a far greater influence upon the whole of government by a closer and an increased association with the different Administrations. And there is, of course, the alternative method which is proposed by the Bill—that of a dual form of government, giving what for practical purposes may be called complete control to Indian Ministers on a certain class of subjects. There are, I know, those who believe that it would have been wiser to begin with the unitary form, with a view of proceeding later to the dual form, if it could thon be shown, as the supporters of the Bill believe it can be shown, that it would hardly be possible to proceed to complete responsible government without the intervention of the dual stage. That, of course, is the reason at the back of the introduction of that temporary system. It is believed that it is only through the dual system—that is to say, the granting of complete control on some subjects—that the requisite training can be acquired by Indian politicians which in time will enable them to become in the fuller sense self-governing. And it may be that some of those who favour the unitary system are convinced that it must be indefinitely long, if ever, before a completely responsible form of government can be instituted in India, and that that form of government must be relegated to the Greek Kalends.

But I am far from thinking that those five gentlemen, the distinguished heads of Provinces, who proposed a unitary scheme to the Government of India (with most of whom, I am happy to think, I have had pleasant official relations in the past) desire to put aside the day of responsible government altogether. They, no doubt, believe that the establishment of a unitary system would step by step lead to the goal which was declared in the announcement of 1917. And although many of us may not feel much sympathy with those who desire the indefinite postponement of any responsible form of government, and who may believe that, India being what it is, such a policy should in no case be contemplated, it is equally necessary to guard against the too sanguine hopes of some ardent Indian politicians who believe that full responsible government is a matter of a very few years—five or ten years, perhaps—if this Bill is passed.

While believing in a steady advance in that direction, I am bound to express the belief that it may be a long time—it may be generations—before India possesses a form of government precisely analogous to that of Australia or New Zealand. Some mischief, I think, has been done by the use of the phrase "Dominion government" as though that was a recognised and known form of government. His Majesty's Dominions differ in their Governments in marked and essential respects, but I think that the most thoughtful Indian politicians must see that the complete and sole government of India by Indians represents a system which, if it be a desirable system at all, is not likely, in the interests of India herself, to be pressed by reasonable people for a considerable number of years to come.

In the meantime I confess I hope that the system set up by this measure will have a fair chance for a definite period of years. I appreciated what was said on that point by the Under-Secretary yesterday. It will be far better from every point of view if no attempt is made in India to agitate for special changes in the first few years during which this new system comes into operation. All the political energies of the ablest statesmen in India ought to be directed, and reasonably may be directed, to ensuring the smooth and prosperous working of the scheme. One trusts, therefore, that for ten years, until the first Statutory Commission (as recommended by the Joint Committee), finds its way to India or begins to discuss the question, a fair chance will be given to the scheme as it stands, although, of course, thoughtful people will consider and carefully weigh in what respects it ought to be amended when amendment becomes possible.

The control of Parliament is designed by this measure to be relaxed in important respects. It was clearly impossible to make statutory provision in that direction in a great number of matters. One Parliament cannot by a Statute say that a succeeding Parliament is not to do this, that, or the other. These matters must be left for, practice, convention, and understanding; and I firmly believe that, as happened in the case of the great Overseas Dominions before they received completely self-governing Constitutions, Parliament will understand that meticulous interference with the details of Indian government ought to be relaxed, and that it will be relaxed.

Quite another matter, altogether a separate subject—although they are sometimes confused—is that of the relations between the Government of India and the Indian Provinces. I dare say some of your Lordships remember—those who have read Mr. Bright's speeches on India—that Mr. Bright's belief was that the India of the future would be a federation of entirely separate Provinces, each with its own military force, living side by side on terms of amity, but bound together by no central form of government. Mr. Bright would have abolished the Governor-General off-hand. There are, as we know, different schools of thought to-day in that regard. Some believe that the welfare of India and the subsistence of the right sort of link between India and this country largely depends upon the existence of a strong Central Government. Others, without going the whole length to which Mr. Bright went, would institute something of a federal system with practical independence, for the Provinces in all matters except those in which foreign relations are concerned. This is not the moment to discuss, and I have no desire to do so, what is to be said for each of those different theories; but those who consider how the provisions of this Bill, when it is a Statute, ought to be amended in the future, will have to fix clearly in their minds at which of those two goals they are aiming, and whether they desire that in the future India should be a federation of practically independent States or Provinces, or whether it should rather follow the example of Canada and look to a Central Government as the pivot on which its political life moves.

The noble Lord who spoke last said something about the existence of an electorate. It has, indeed, to be borne in mind that the possibility of responsible government for any country hinges, not on the existence of a limited number of competent and eloquent statesmen or politicians, but upon the existence of a solid and reasonably well-informed electorate. That electorate, of course, need not be such an electorate as can receive universal suffrage or anything like it. If it were so, we should have to look back on the history of this country in a different spirit from that in which we do; for it is only since the period of the last Reform Bill that we have had anything which could be described as approaching universal suffrage, and yet we are not ashamed of our history during the long years, even before 1832, when the suffrage was what we should now probably consider to be a scandal. But the principal aim of India must be to secure an electorate which can be regarded as adequately representative, and for that purpose there is obviously no question so urgent for Indian statesmen to consider as that of the general improvement of education all over the country.

One question which has excited not a little interest is that of the women's vote in India. By the recommendation of the Joint Committee, this has been left to the different Provinces of India to solve; because Parliament here has felt that the question is of too great complexity for it to deal with, and I have no doubt that the Bill will pass in that form, although I know there are many ardent supporters of woman suffrage who would like to see it made a definite provision in the Bill. While I am on this subject I should like to pay a word of tribute to some in India who have not, so far as I know, received any in public—I mean the wives and mothers of the soldiers who went out from India and played so great a part in the war.


Hear, hear.


Here we all know what we owed to such women, who were able in many cases to leave their homes and take a practical part, as munition workers and otherwise, in what was really the defence of the country. That was, perhaps, scarcely possible for Indian women in most cases. But I am sure of this, that a great deal is owed—more than people here can realise—to the wives and mothers of Indian soldiers in those quiet homes and small farms in Northern and Central India, and in all parts from which soldiers came, in showing a quiet power of resistance and heroic patience which cheered the warriors and must have contributed in no little degree towards keeping their spirit as high as it remained throughout the war.

Something has been said of the Indian Civil Service, and I was very glad that Lord Sinha paid a tribute to the work which that Service has done in the past. I have taken occasion several times to tell Indian friends of mine of the harm which I believe has been done to the cause which they desire to advance, by the indiscriminate attacks which some Indian politicians have made upon the Indian Civil Service, and in every case when I have done so I have received the most cordial agreement from the Indian gentlemen to whom I have stated my opinion. It is, of course, not such as they who have been guilty of those thoroughly stupid and uninformed attacks—of which, as we know, there have been many—and I trust that those who hold a different view, while not desiring to see the Civil Service remain exactly in the form in which it has been in the past or possessing all the powers which it has in the past, yet appreciate what Lord Sinha stated as to the vast benefit to India which that Service has been.

I was a member of the Joint Committee which considered this Bill under the presidency of my noble friend Lord Selborne, and I hope he will allow me, although he is sitting on this bench, to express my complete concurrence with what Lord Sinha said yesterday about the care, the skill, and the solid ability with which he filled, in by no means easy circumstance, the chair of that Committee. I merely touch on one point of the work of that Committee because it was one with which, earlier, I was myself particularly concerned—namely, that regarding the Home administration. I was one of those who thought that it would be wiser to change the position of the Council of India from that of a statutory body, no doubt with special powers, some of them in practice obsolete, to that of an advisory body. The majority of those on the Committee, and, I take it, the majority in Parliament, did not take that view, but preferred to leave the Council as it is; but only in this sense—that it was generally agreed that there are certain rules and regulations governing the work of the Council which may be, and I hope will be, appropriately modified when it comes to practice.

I know that a large number of Indians would like to see the India Office greatly "Indianised," if I may use the word. We all, I think, welcome the presence of some Indian members on the India Council, but I question whether it is to the advantage of India that the India Office should be to any considerable extent manned by Indian officials. To my mind, the advance towards self-government should be made in India itself and not on this side of the water; the more you can associate Indians and give Indians responsibility in India itself, the better; but it is really lighting the candle at the wrong end to attempt to start a separate Indian administration here, and those who favour it are, I think, making a mistake.

I am glad to think that the proposal for making India responsible for purely Indian subjects, such as the purchase of stores, and so on, instead of leaving all that to the India Office, working through a High Commissioner, is one that has been adopted. It will be, I think, of great practical value. It is placing India in that respect on the same lines as the self-governing Dominions, and I believe it will be generally welcome. There is also to be a Parliamentary Committee. There, again, I am afraid I am somewhat of a heretic. I have always dreaded the appointment of a standing Parliamentary Committee, believing that it may lead to the somewhat excessive interference of Parliament in Indian details, unless its functions can be so closely guarded and so strictly limited as to make it not a very interesting body for anybody to sit upon. But I am in a minority. I hope that this Committee will be at any rate perfectly harmless, and that it may contribute—at least where Indian legislation is in question; there I do not dispute its usefulness—to the assistance of the Secretary of State. What will have to be guarded against is any tendency of active members of either House to put their oar in where Indian administration is concerned.

I do not like to sit down without paying a tribute to the Secretary of State for the part he has taken in promoting this Bill. I have had the pleasure of being associated with Mr. Montagu at the India Office, and. I well know how deeply the interests of the Indian Empire appeal to him. It would not, I think, be too much to say that India plays the same part in his political life that the great overseas Dominions did in the life and in the heart of Mr. Joseph Chamberlain. Mr. Montagu has devoted himself with most unsparing zeal, and with a resourcefulness which I am sure has been the admiration even of those who do not agree with him, to this cause of Indian reform, and I feel that the day when this Bill becomes an Act of Parliament will be a proud one for my right hon. friend. Personally, although I fully admit, as I said at the beginning, that risks are being taken in a measure of this kind, I look forward with confidence to the future. I believe that the best political elements in India will be able to assert themselves in making it a success.

I alluded just now to the Civil Service. In ten years time, when the capacity of Indian statesmen and politicians is to be weighed in the balance, there will be no finer test of their capacity to be entrusted with further powers than their attitude to and treatment of the Indian Civil Service. There will be a number of other matters in which their steps will be closely and even jealously watched by critics, both in India and in this country. I am thoroughly hopeful that they will pass the test well. Those of us who in ten years time may be here to see what has passed will, I believe, agree that the measure with which we are now dealing has been far the benefit of India and for the credit of the Empire. I fervently trust that it may be so; and although I know there is no probability that any one will desire to divide the House against this great measure, if any one did so I should most cheerfully give my vote in support of the Motion of my noble friend opposite.


My Lords, I warmly congratulate the noble Lord on the skill and eloquence which he brought to bear on the difficult task that he undertook, as the noble Marquess has just said, under the shadow of a great personal sorrow in which. I deeply sympathise with him. He knows that I differ from him widely, but I am quite sure he also knows that I am as anxious as he is for the welfare of India, and that I earnestly desire that a safe step should now be taken in the direction of Indian self-government.

The noble Lord painted a picture of India which I am sorry to say I cannot see. He suggested the existence of an India keenly desiring the passage of this Bill, waiting calmly to receive it, and to co-operate in making it a triumphant success. He described the Bill as if it were an ordinary measure which would smoothly and without any dislocation come into being, and would lead by natural and simple steps towards the object which we all desire. He likened it to a little grain of seed which would in time grow into a gigantic banyan tree, under the shade of which the peoples of India would live in peace and happiness. I cannot see that picture. What I feel is that this Bill will endanger the peace of India and may delay the progress of India towards self-government, which, as I say, every member of your Lordships' House desires. In my opinion—I certainly hope I am wrong—it appears to be the most dangerous and possibly also the most complicated Bill that has ever been presented to your Lordships' House. With its wilderness of rules, schedules, and references to the principal Act, no one without a large amount of study can possibly master its contents; and even so, no one who has not lived in India can do more than guess what the effect of it will be in India.

To me it seems that the Bill does not arise from any desire on the part of the peoples of India. To me—I may be wrong—it seems to represent the maximum of concession which the Secretary of State is prepared to make to the demands of a comparatively small class in the hope of securing tranquillity. I earnestly hope that he will secure tranquillity. Of the 315,000,000 people in India more than 85 per cent. dwell on the land, and the whole interest of their lives is bound up with the land. Of these millions, 94 per cent. are illiterate. It is easy to reel off these figures, but nobody who has not been in India can know what they mean and how truly and organically different are the conditions under which they live from those under which we live. From this vast mass of agriculturists I say that no demand whatever has come for this Bill. On the contrary, such evidence as we have shows that many of them, and the whole of the non-Brahmins of India, are alarmed at the powers conferred on the small minority, which really is a small town-dwelling minority.

When the Secretary of State and the Viceroy toured India and interviewed a great many of the heads of the "politically-minded" classes, they received a number of representations, some of them couched in almost pathetic language, in which they were begged not to weaken British rule in India. In the Joint Report which followed that visit there was not one single allusion to any one of these representations. One-third of India and two-ninths of the population are under native State rule. The Princes and Chiefs in India splendidly supported the Empire during the war. They have kept the peace while disorder has been rampant, almost constant, in British India. They may not be able to keep the peace much longer. I fear that the violent attacks which have been directed against our rule will before long be turned against their rule, and I know that some of the great Chiefs are already realising what may lie before them and are greatly concerned with the probabilities of the future. Have their interests been carefully considered, as surely they deserve to have been considered? I confess I see no sign that any consideration is given to their interests in this Bill.

But there is another great and all-important section of the Indian people whose interests seem to have been ignored. I allude to the fighting classes of India, who have suffered and given their lives freely with small reward and with great honour. They come from the land, and they remember that most of the land of the Punjab would have passed into the hands of the money lenders and town dwellers but for the action of the British Government, bitterly opposed at the time by the minority which this Bill will place in power. The Joint Committee took no evidence from this class, though I asked for it; and the only indication of their opinion we have is to be found in a remarkable Memorandum by Major Sir Malik Umra Hayat Khan, a gallant Punjabi soldier. That Memorandum conveys a grave warning.

The demand for this Bill, which a prominent Indian politician calls "a little thing," has come entirely from a comparatively small body of English speaking Indians, some of whom are almost denaturalised. There are about 1,700,000 Indians returned in the census as being literate in English—and perhaps three-quarters of that number have some mastery of our language. Of that number many, to my knowledge, are strongly opposed to some of the provisions of the Bill, and from one of the ablest of them has come the most powerful criticism ever made against the Montagu-Chelmsford Report. The persons who have organised the agitation which led to this Bill must be very small in number out of the 244,000,000 of people in British India. This amazingly successful agitation was set on foot at a critical time in the war and has been the source of anxiety and embarrassment to every Government in India ever since.

It was in September, 1916, that Mrs. Besant first started the Home Rule League, and in the following month nineteen members of the Viceroy's Legislative Council suddenly produced an ultimatum demanding a form of self-government on lines which do not differ widely from some of the propositions in this Bill. The response was the Declaration of August 26, 1917, which was given in answer to a casual question in the House of Commons at the very fag-end of the Session. I do not in the least quarrel with that Declaration. It announced no new policy, and it only confirmed what was said in finer language by Lord Hastings one hundred years before. But I do complain of the way in which it was presented, which barred all discussion and which committed Parliament to what is admitted even by the supporters of this Bill to be largely a leap in the dark. It did contain a proviso that the British Government was to have complete discretionary power as to the pace at which the reforms were to proceed, and that proviso has been persistently and consistently ignored by the agitators in India. I claim that this proviso gives a right to anyone who knows and loves India to say that this Bill goes too far at one step, and that my Lords is all I say. My Lords, the unrest caused by the war has, of course, affected India and the whole of the Far East, but many millions of Indians to-day know nothing about the war, although they have felt its economic effects, and only the fighting classes realise what it has meant.

The many outbreaks of disorder which occurred in many parts in the autumn of 1916 were due to active and widespread propaganda of an anti-British character. Of these agitators a most experienced Indian writes— To them the political agitation to get what, political concessions they could as the result of this war has meant the only opportunity, duty and activity which the war has brought them. Those are bitter words, but they are not my words. Any one who takes the trouble to understand the nature of the agitation in which Mrs. Besant played a most prominent part must come to the conclusion that there is truth in those words which I have quoted.

The agitation has been concentrated upon assertions that British rule has utterly failed, and that we are responsible for plague and famine and all the ills which the Indian people may suffer from. It has proclaimed that the mildest rule in the world is tyrannical, and it has been characterised by violent attacks upon British officers and residents, and especially upon the devoted Civil Servants, to whom the noble Marquess has paid such a worthy tribute. I could give your Lordships innumerable instances to show the language which latterly has come into almost common use in the Press of India, but I am only going to quote three— If the Indian Rulers had given effect to the terms of the Proclamation of 1858, India would not have been converted into a land of permanent famine and pest lence, and its children into a race of effeminate weaklings. The progress of India since 1858 has been absolutely astounding. And where were the effeminate weaklings to be found during the late campaigns? Here is an effusion of a poet which the Viceroy in one of his excellent speeches quoted to show what the Indian Press was capable of— When will the oppression by the wicked cease in India, when will the enemies of India be crushed, and how long will this cruel oppression of the weak continue? Lastly, these are the words of a late Judge of a High Court, in a most carefully prepared Presidential Address, delivered to the National Congress (the predominant political body in India) at Bombay last year— When the transference from the Company to the Crown took place the greed of wealth and lust of power abated not one jot; the only difference being that the tyranny became systematised, and plunder became scientific. [Loud cheers.] The people know it; they feel it, and they are asking for a reparation of the incidents of the past. [Continued cheering.] My Lords, that gives some idea of the other side of the picture, which you ought not to neglect. These falsehoods have been widely spread here and in America, as well as in India, and they clearly account for the murderous attitude of mobs this year in the Punjab and elsewhere. There has been no effective attempt to refute them, and the harm which they have done, and the harm which cannot be undone, is to my mind quite incalculable. Surely we mis-name this stirring up of race hatred when we call it the "awakening of political consciousness."

Now we have a Bill which will transfer great power into the hands of these propagandists. We can judge from their language how they are only too likely to make use of it. It is quite hopeless to attempt to deal with all the revolutionary changes which are embodied in this Bill. I will confine myself to three only. The main constructive provision is the establishment of dual government in every province, which has been called the triumph of statesmanship. Many of your Lordships have served in Cabinets. My experience has only been in Australia and India, but I think we all admit that Cabinet government in this country has been a slow evolution, covering perhaps two or three hundred years, and we all admit that its success has been absolutely dependent upon common responsibility.

By this Bill every Cabinet in every Provincial Government will be divided into two factions, one responsible to Parliament and the other responsible to a Legislative Council, which is only too likely to be dominated by political extremists. Safeguards are, of course, provided by giving extraordinary powers to Governors, but from the language which I have quoted your Lordships may judge of what will result if the Governor has resort to those powers. Such a preposterous system would not be tolerated in any civilised country in the world, and I humbly submit that it cannot work well, and that we are forcing it upon India at a most critical time. One faction of the Cabinet disposes of the loaves and fishes, and the other faction, deriving its authority from Parliament, is to deal with the services of law and order and land revenue. Those two factions derive their powers from totally different sources 6,000 miles apart, and it is impossible to suppose that they will not come into conflict.

It is an illusion to say that in such conditions a simple conference can settle the difference. Under the Bill it becomes possible for a small politically organised body to bring every Provincial Government in India to a deadlock, and that is what I greatly fear will happen. But the evil does not end here. All the great public services in India will rapidly deteriorate. No Indian Civil Servant objects for a moment to serve under a trained Indian, but no conscientious Civil Servant would ever carry out the orders of an untrained and inexperienced Indian, if he thinks those orders are likely to prejudice the interests of the masses, of whom he regards himself as the natural protector. The crumbling away of the efficiency of all the great services must have a serious effect in the course of a very few years, and I should like to point out that the Indian element will suffer equally, just when it is to be increased and its training is becoming more and more important. And everything, my Lords, which goes wrong under this extraordinary system will be attributed by the poor people of India to British rule. That is the only and the inevitable result of this dual form of Government. The noble Earl the Leader of the House not long ago laid down the condition that nothing should be done which would destroy the character of the Indian Civil Service. The Bill, in my opinion, flagrantly violates that condition, I and all the other great Services which have helped on the wonderful progress of India will be similarly affected, and particularly the Medical Service. There is nothing that India wants more at the present time than medical science, applied on a very large scale.

I turn to the Government of India, which the noble Earl the Leader of the House warned us must not be weakened. The noble Earl the Chairman of the Joint Committee pointed out last year that in the Joint Report of the Viceroy and Secretary of State the Central Government had been "left too weak"; and yet, I my Lords, the Montagu-Chelmsford Report said that "for the present official authority must be effectually retained by the Government of India." I think that everybody must admit that by the amended Bill the Supreme Government is made far weaker than it was before. There may be four Indians at once on the Executive Council of the Viceroy, and there may be two or three more in a few years' time. I am glad to see Indian members on the Viceroy's Executive Council, but I think that is going too far, if the British character of the Government is to be maintained in its integrity. Beyond that, the control of policy in some very important respects is taken away, and while great powers are vested in the Viceroy, just as they are in the Government, he may not be able to use them in face of a strongly hostile Legislative Assembly.

I should like to add here that the Bill leaves the Legislative Assembly and the Council of State (the Parliament of India at its head) in the air. It does not say how they are to be constructed, but only the proportions of the Indians and British people who are to take part in them. The Indian politicians, who not long ago proclaimed that railways were ruining India by draining away her resources to the sea, have an obsession that high protection is essential to the prosperity of India. Have we really already forgotten the boycott movement in Bengal which caused murder and pillage and was headed by the present leader of the moderate party? I am the very last person to maintain that the Indian tariff should be settled and regulated in British interests. That should never be. But I am sure that the Government of India will find itself confronted by demands which, if granted, might ruin a great part of Lancashire, and at the same time be grossly oppressive to poor consumers in India. That ought not to be possible; but it will be most difficult for the weakened Government of India to resist demands of that kind.

This Bill, like some speeches of the Secretary of State and other speeches which we shall hear in this House, contains a whole host of illusions, and among them is the idea that the large number of new voters in India can protect themselves as English electors can. Only communal representation can give full protection in a country where caste is the basis of the dominant religion. I have some experience of elections on a small scale and I know what happens. But Bengal is to have an electorate of 1,400,000 people, some of them living in far away jungly districts, as the noble Lord knows, very difficult of access. It is absolutely impossible to exercise any trustworthy supervision in such cases as these, and there must be corruption on a huge scale. A ballot paper with the mark of an illiterate man is no evidence that that man ever voted at all, and about 80 per cent. of the rural voters in these new electorates will be illiterate. The Joint Committee proposes that an anti-bribery Bill should be brought in at once, but every one who knows India is aware that such a Bill as that would prove quite ineffective in practice, and even where supervision of elections is possible you cannot prevent in India the influencing of voters by fear and by wild misrepresentations. I contended that the necessity for building up electorates by gradual steps and so educating the electors to their responsibility was the course that we should have followed, and it is the course which is ignored by this Bill. This Bill seems to me—I hope that I am wrong—to set up the rule of a small class oligarchy, tempered if at all by spasmodic manifestations of autocracy, and that is not a desirable form of Government in any country. Yet it is widely claimed as a democratic measure, and the Labour Party has been cleverly captured by the Brahmins who, as your Lordships know, are a hereditary priesthood, claiming divine sanction, and who have twenty-five centuries of social oppression behind them.

It is painful to differ from my colleagues on the Joint Committee, and especially from the noble Earl, who was the most impartial and the most considerate Chairman that I have ever had the pleasure of sitting under, but in my opinion the Report conflicts with the real weight of the evidence. Not from any fault whatever of the Committee, evidence from the most important people in India was not taken at all. Imagine setting up a Committee to gauge the opinion of Irishmen on Home Rule and taking the evidence only of Irishmen who speak German. That was really our position, and some of the shrewdest and ablest men in India that I came across are men who cannot speak a word of our tongue. I bitterly resent being regarded as a reactionary merely because I claim the right of private judgment as to the declaration of 1917. I am most anxious for a considerable step towards self-government, and especially towards a much greater association of Indians with us in the administration. I made definite proposals, building on the foundations set up by the Morley-Minto reforms, which I had the honour of helping to establish, and those proposals were cordially accepted by Dr. Nair, the great leader of non-Brahmins whose untimely death was a disaster to the working classes and lower castes of Southern India.

This Bill must have the effect of undermining throughout British India at the same moment the only authority which has hitherto kept order among the people whom the noble Marquess, Lord Lansdowne, described only last year as "a motley congeries of people who really have nothing in common, or very little in common, except that they are Eastern and not Western people. The Bill provides no substitute for the authority which it destroys, and it will undo in my opinion in a few years much of what I regard as the finest achievements of our people, the achievements of such great men as the two Lawrences, John Nicholson, Out-ram, and Havelock, and all those many others who died to save India from peril and to help her onward progress. This Bill imposes upon India a form of government which is totally at variance with customs and traditions that date back thousands of years, and is in my view incompatible with the existence of the caste system. It confers great powers on a small minority whose interests are not the interests of those for whose welfare Parliament has hitherto been responsible. I am amazed to see the readiness of Parliament in abandoning its responsibility, a responsibility which I am certain will in a few years be again brought home to it. For some time past we really have not had full information of proceedings in India. We do not know what is the position on the North-west Frontier. The public have never understood the nature and extent of the disorders in the Punjab and elsewhere this year, nor do the public, realise that at the present moment the British official witnesses before the Court of Inquiry at Delhi have been violently attacked in the Press for the evidence they have given. That would not be allowed in this country.

Nor does the public realise in the least that there is a new danger coming to India from Bolshevism. Every one who has read the Rowlatt Report knows of the existence of a dangerous conspiracy which in 1915, and again this year, threatened to set the whole Punjab on fire. But every- body probably does not know that that conspiracy has developed much in the last two years. It now has branches here, in New York, Paris, Berlin, Moscow, Kabul, and Tokio, besides many branches in India which are all working to destroy British rule in the East. The problems of Egypt and of Ireland, believe me, though they are somewhat the same, are bagatelles compared with the problems of India. If things go wrong among 315,000,000 people, perhaps the most excitable and credulous in the world, forming more than three-fourths of the whole of the subjects of His Majesty the King, then you will have trouble of unimaginable extent and difficulty. There is only one way to rule in the East and to attach Eastern people to your rule, and that is by a strong Executive, by which I do not in the least mean a purely British Executive, but an Executive so strong that it is able to do what is right and to fear nothing.

Remembering that all the demands which this Bill satisfies have been accompanied by threats it is impossible not to see signs of fear in the provisions of this Bill. Thinking as I do only of the interests of the masses of the people of India for whom I shall always cherish warm affection, I have thought it my duty to say these words of warning and to sound what is perhaps a jarring note among so many speeches that we hear of congratulation on the Bill. But I sadly know that what I have said will be of no avail. I think there was a time when this House, in the interests of the Empire as a whole, would have so amended this Bill as to make it safe. I hope that that time has not passed away. But in conclusion I should like to say that I feel that there has been far too much hurry with this Bill. The Second Reading was rushed through in another place in a very small House. The Committee stage was rushed by the "kangaroo" closure, which prevented a large number of important Amendments from being moved. And what strikes me more is that the Bill was pressed forward before it had reached India and before the Report of the Joint Committee had reached India. So that we have not been able to have the considered views of our fellow-countrymen in India and of the large number of Indians who, I know, are opposed to some of the provisions of the Bill. I do, therefore, earnestly hope that your Lordships will give careful consideration to some of the Amendments which may be moved to this Bill.


My Lords, I cannot claim any personal knowledge of India, such as my noble friend who has just spoken enjoys, or as is enjoyed in such a distinguished degree by my noble friend who leads this House. But I had the honour of being Chairman of the Joint Select Committee which dealt with this Bill with hardly any interruption for the best part of five months, and therefore necessarily I became familiar with the questions at issue. Before proceeding to discuss any part of these questions I should like to join with those who have spoken before me in expressing my admiration for the manner in which my noble friend Lord Sinha moved the Second Reading of this Bill. To my very great regret I had to leave before he had concluded, but I know that the whole of that speech was on the same level as the commencement. And when we think of the circumstances of great personal sorrow under which my noble friend labours, his performance acquires all the more merit, and becomes all the more remarkable.

Although I was Chairman of this Committee, of course noble Lords all understand that neither I nor my noble friend Lord Midleton have any responsibility for this Bill, or for the policy on which it is based. That responsibility necessarily resides exclusively in His Majesty's Government. All we could do on the Joint Select Committee was to turn out the best Bill we could consistently with the Preamble of the Bill and according to the usual forms of Parliamentary procedure. And, of course, one's fate on a Committee of that kind is the same as one's fate in Committee of the Whole House. One is likely to be beaten on a Division. And therefore I do not conceal from this House, any more than Lord Crewe concealed from it, that there are features of this Bill, as it emerged from the Joint Select Committee, which are different from what they would have been if I had myself composed the Committee.

Take this question of the Government of India. Personally, if I had been responsible for this policy I should not have touched the Government of India at all while making this great experiment in the Provincial Governments, except to this extent—and here I differ from my noble friend Lord Sydenham—I think it is very wise to introduce three Indian statesmen into the Government of India. I do not think too much effort can be made to give the opportunity for the highest experience and training to Indian statesmen in government in India. There can be no possible danger—I say quite deliberately—no possible danger in this wise extension in the number of Indians on the Viceroy Council. Because, in the first place, these gentlemen are chosen by the Viceroy exclusively on his own judgment of those most fit; and in the second place, we deliberately removed the statutory barrier to the numbers of the Viceroy's Council, so that these three Indian gentlemen—and possibly four if the Legal Member is also an Indian—should not bear in this transition period too large a proportion to the total numbers of the Council. We also resisted the effort that had been made to reduce the number of members of the Indian Civil Service on the Council. Those members must be three. Three Indians are now introduced. The total number of the Council is unlimited, so that it can be formed exactly of the very best men whom the Viceroy, in conjunction with the Secretary of State, may choose.

I am not going to attempt in the course of these remarks to deal with every aspect of this most complicated and immense measure. But I want to revert to what I said, that I had no responsibility for the policy of this Bill. I am glad that I have no responsibility for the Declaration of August 20, 1917, because I think that Declaration was unfortunately worded. I will point out the fallacy which lies within that Declaration, according to my judgment. It is a fallacy which finds repeated echo in the rather gushing utterances which one reads from Members of the House of Commons on platforms and in the Press on this subject. The nature of the fallacy is this—that political institutions which have been found useful and good for England will necessarily be useful and good for India; and also, that when Indians have the power to evolve their own political Constitution they will necessarily follow the same lines as we have followed here in England. I believe those statements to be fundamentally untrue. I wholly and utterly disbelieve both of them. I do not believe that political institutions which suit us here are likely to be the same institutions that will best suit India; and I do not believe for one moment that, when Indians themselves are able to shape the course of their Constitutional development, they will shape it exactly as our fathers shaped ours here. But the Declaration of August 20, 1917, has been made, and it is binding. You must consider it binding for this reason—nothing could be more unwise, more fatal, than that our fellow-subjects in India should learn to doubt our word. That statement was made not in the circumstances of the usual solemnity but it was at least acquiesced in by both Houses of Parliament, and it was made by the King's Minister and, therefore, with the King's sanction.

If that Declaration had not been made, in my judgment important changes were bound to come. They were necessary; they were due; it was right to make them then, and it is right to make them now. Why do I think this? I will try, without detaining your Lordships too long, to explain the situation as it seemed to unroll itself to me as I sat in the Chair of that Joint Committee. The Government of India was originally formed on the most simple lines possible. Its tasks were to preserve order, to administer justice, and to collect the revenue. It really was an absolutely ideal Government after the conception of government of the Manchester School. I do not suppose that such an economical Government has ever existed before in the history of the world, and I do not suppose that the world will ever again see its like. It is quite extraordinary for what it has done with a very small manpower and with the smallest possible Budget. Now, on to a Government formed under those ideas are gradually loaded all the complexities which this post-Victorian generation associates with the duties of government. This Government of India, so formed, is supposed to fulfil all those multifarious functions of the State which modern opinion considers appropriate to the State; and it has to do this at a moment when it is for the first time subjected to an incessant fire of acute criticism—a criticism never ceasing in India, directed at all its doings or non-doings in India, and brought over here and directed to the attention of the Press and of Parliament.

What is the result of all this? That the centralisation of Government in India has become worse and worse. Notwithstanding the heroic efforts of Viceroys like my noble friend opposite (Earl Curzon of Kedleston) to devolve on others some share of the burden that fell on them, yet, as I see the story, the centralisation of Government has been constantly increasing, and for an obvious reason. Because so long as it was held that the whole Government of India was responsible to Parliament—mainly, of course, to the House of Commons—and the acuter and the louder the criticism became, and the more the functions of Government multiplied, the more the opportunities of criticism arose. The Government of India, in order to cover itself, would have referred to it more and more questions that ought to have been settled in the Provinces; and the Secretary of State, afraid of the House of Commons and of the Press here, required more and more questions to be referred to him by the Government of India—this at a time when, as I have said, the whole scope of Government in India was enlarging from the original simple idea to the modern very complex idea.

The result has been that the load has become too great for the machine. That is the main impression left on my mind. But although the load has become too great for the machine, do not suppose for one moment that anything has impaired or diminished the magnificent efficiency and devotion of the Civil Service in the different districts of India. The one thing that has impaired their efficiency has been that, owing to the same causes which I have endeavoured to describe, they have been chained far too much to their desks and to their offices, and have been too little free to go about their districts. The call on them for Returns, which have never been read, and which will never be read, is incessant—even worse than it is in this country; but they remain to-clay what they have always been—namely, one of the very finest examples of the power of government and of devotion of our race.

The moral I drew from these impressions was that the time had come when provincial autonomy, or something like autonomy, was absolutely necessary; that an immense devolution of responsibility from the Government of India and from the Secretary of State to the Provinces was absolutely essential, or the whole machine would have broken down. Then the question at once arose how to get that devolution under the conditions of the case. So long as the Government of India remained what is called autocratic, that devolution—that autonomy—was impossible; because the Secretary of State theoretically remained responsible in the long run for everything done in every part of any Government of India; and therefore it conflicted with all ideas of political theory here in England that a Provincial Governor should really be given large powers irrespective of the control of the Viceroy or of the Secretary of State.

Again, it must be remembered that there is an inevitable tendency of thought in our system of Empire which is always running towards the idea of self-government; and at this particular moment every one all over the Empire was shouting self-determination without any particular thought as to what it really meant, or to what extent it could be carried, or what limitations were necessarily implied in the idea. At the same time, the results of the system of education carried out in India now for so many years had come to full bearing. We had carefully trained a large body of very intelligent and efficient critics and, speaking broadly, given them no profession in life except that of criticism. The great defect of our system of education in India, so far as I can judge, has been that the agricultural, commercial, scientific, and technological side has been so sadly neglected, and a career has been open only to those who have followed the arts. That is to say, apart from the bar and journalism—the avenue of politics being closed—there has been nothing whatever to do for the chief products of our education, except to criticise the Government which had created them.

Then, in addition to these facts there is the urgent call of wisdom and statesmanship to associate Indians in every possible way in the government of India. Therefore, the conclusion that I draw from these premises is that the changes, which, as I have said, were inevitable, must be in the direction of self-government, and the question that I am going to try to answer to-night in certain aspects is this—Is it the right form of self-government which we find in this Bill? I am not going to say anything more about the Government of India. I have said all I have to say about that. I am only going to speak about the Provincial Governments.

A great controversy has raged about the question of what is called the dyarchy, and whether the dual system contained in this Bill is right or wrong. Here I find myself in the sharpest possible conflict of opinion with my noble friend Lord Syden- ham. After all I speak, and your Lordships will pardon me for saying so, with some little experience as well as he does. I have not had the fortune of experience in India, but I have had now a good many years of experience of constitutional government at home and in the Dominions, and I have had experience of what is called autocratic government in the Dominions. I hold in the strongest possible way that for the purposes of this experiment the Viceroy and the Secretary of State are absolutely right in advocating this system of dyarchy and that the Lieutenant-Governors of the Provinces who advocated a unitary system are absolutely wrong.

Not only do I advance that as an opinion, but I believe it is a matter susceptible of proof. Let me first of all very briefly remind you what the two systems are. According to the system of the Bill, the Government of each Province will consist of two different parts, both under the Governor. One part will represent the existing Government, the Governor in Council, which Will be responsible for all subjects not transferred to the other part. The subjects which are not transferred are all those which have to do with law and order, and the administration of justice, and other very important matters as well. To the other half is given the charge of the transferred services, and those are administered by Ministers acting under the Governor. The Governor may, if he thinks the occasion sufficiently serious, overrule those Ministers, but generally he has to act by their advice. If he thinks they are making a mistake he will tell them so quite frankly. He will say, "Upon you gentlemen rests the responsibility; I have told you what I think; do what you think proper."

The two halves of the Government will sit usually as a Joint Cabinet and discuss the affairs of both sides of the Government. When it comes to a decision there never will be the slightest doubt as to the responsibility for that decision. The decision on all subjects for which Ministers are responsible will be given by Ministers alone; on all subjects for which the Governor in Council is responsible, the decision will be given by the Governor in Council, without any interference by the Ministers. The system preferred by my noble friend Lord Sydenham and by the Lieutenant-Governors of the Provinces is this. There shall be no change from the existing system of the Governor in Council, except to introduce into that Council of the Governor an additional number of Indians.

The advocates of both systems agree in these objects. The first is to train Indians in the art of self-government. The second is to make them responsible for their acts. The third is to transfer government to them in successive stages, if they prove themselves fit for it, until at last in the Provinces they will control even law and order, police and justice. Lastly, that while this period of training is going on, the Governor in Council shall remain absolutely free, without any kind of doubt whatever, to fulfil his responsibility for the maintenance of law and order. Both sides agree on those objects. I have described to you the methods by which they would fulfil them.

But there is one other point which they have in common. It is this. According to the dual plan Ministers are to be appointed, not because the Governor thinks those are the best Indians in his Province, but because he thinks those are the best men in the Legislative Council who will command the confidence of the Council. That is exactly the same reason for which the Lieutenant-Governors and my noble friend Lord Sydenham would choose additional Indians for the Executive Council. The Lieutenant-Governors and Lord Sydenham do not propose to choose these Indians for the Executive Council because they are the best Indians in the Province, but because they are the best men available out of the Legislative Council who would command the confidence of the Council. My first point is this. In the Executive council which my noble friend Lord Sydenham would have, you would have two bodies of men—the first members of the Civil Service chosen because they command the confidence of the Legislative Council. From the very moment that you have within one Cabinet two bodies of men chosen from wholly different motives, there, whether you like it or not, you have dualism. That is dualism in essence, because you have two bodies of men in one Cabinet looking to wholly different quarters for their support. The members of the Indian Civil Service would look, as they do now, to their official chief, their colleagues, as the source of their inspiration and guidance. But the men selected for the Executive Council out of the Legislative Council, because the Legislative Council has confidence in them, must necessarily look to the Legislative Council, and whether you like it or not, even in this so-called unitary plan, you have all the essence of dualism but under the most disadvantageous conditions.

There is one mistake the Lieutenant-Governors and my noble friend make. They think that in their Executive Councils they could keep down the number of Indians to one or two chosen, as I have said, because they command the confidence of the Legislative Council. That is a perfectly idle dream. At the present moment, in my judgment, the Government of India in every Department is entirely undermanned, and the men who correspond to Ministers in this country are grossly overworked. I want to lay the greatest stress on this—the cheapness, the economy, almost the stinginess in man-power of the Government of India at the present. Under this system, with the largely magnified field of governmental activity, it is quite idle to think that you can run the machine in the Provinces with the same number of men that you have run it up till now. You will have to increase them. It is not a question of one or two Indians, but in my judgment in no government will there be less than three, and often four. Now let me test the two systems.

The desire is to train the Indian statesman in the art of government and make him responsible before the whole of India for his acts. By the plan in this Bill he is pinned like a butterfly in a collecting box. He cannot possibly, if he makes mistakes—and he will make mistakes—palm them off on somebody else. The mistakes made by an Indian Minister, just as the wise and beneficent things he will do, will be credited to him. What happens under the plan of my noble friend? Nobody can tell, in the Executive Government of Indians and Indian Civil Servants he proposes, who is responsible for what. And there will be this perfectly certain result, that every popular thing will be credited to the Indians and every unpopular thing to the Civil Service; whereas by the plan of the Bill there can be no possible doubt as to where the responsibility lies. That is the first point.

The second point is with regard to the transfer of additional powers by stages to Ministers, or other Indian statesmen enjoying the confidence of the Legislative Council. By the plan of the Bill you can have as many stages as you like. If at the end of ten years the Commission of Investigation says that Indians in a Province have mismanaged their affairs it is perfectly simple to give them no more power. It will be quite possible, and it is intended under the Bill, if necessary to take from them some of the power transferred by this Bill. You can make the stages as quick, as short, as slow, and as long as you like, until the moment comes when, in any given Province, the Indian statesmen and Legislative Council have so shown their complete ability to cover the whole field of Government that law and order, and police, can be transferred to them. But there can be no stages whatever under the plan of my noble friend and the Lieutenant-Governors. No stages of any sort or kind, and therefore no previous tests of fitness. The moment must come when the whole field of government is transferred en bloc, including law, justice, and police to the Ministers enjoying the confidence of the Legislative Council. Therefore I claim to have proved conclusively that from the point of view of the two great objects—the training of Indian Ministers in responsibility, and devolving self-government to them by stages—the dual plan holds the field.

Now let me look at the responsibility of the Governor and the Executive Council for law and order. It is agreed on both sides that during this transition period the Governor in Council in a Province must be free to carry out his responsibility for law and order without fear, let, or hindrance, and without the danger of impediment. Compare the two schemes in this respect. Under the scheme of the Bill a question of law and order arises. The Lieutenant-Governor has to consult the members of his Executive Council. They may be composed of one member of the Civil Service and one Indian, or possibly, and rarely, of two members of the Civil Service and two Indians. The suggestion being that it may be the Indians in their un-wisdom who may wish to interfere with him in the exercise of his responsibilities—if there is no such suggestion there is no question at all involved in the matter—all that the Governor has to do in this case is to discuss the matter with the two Indians in his Executive Council. After he has heard them he has simply to overrule their opinions because he has a clear majority. He has no difficulty about it whatever. But by the plan of my noble friend there may be an Indian majority in the Executive Council. Instead of having two Indians and two Civil Servants, with himself to decide between them, there might easily be three or four Indians on the Executive Council and not more than two members of the Civil Service. The Governor's position in the execution of his responsibilities would be far more difficult in that case than under the Bill. Nothing would induce me to be responsible for putting a Governor into a position where I can quite imagine he would be unable to fulfil his responsibilities.

Therefore I claim to have been able to show, step by step, and looking at it from both points of view—the point of view of the Governor and also of Ministers—that this scheme of the Viceroy and Secretary of State which is called dyarchy absolutely holds the field. I am not going into detail on the other parts of the Bill. I would only say that the objects we had in making the Amendments we did were these. We desired to remove all possible causes of friction; we desired to remove all shams; we desired to fix responsibility everywhere; and we desired to leave the Government with real weapons to fulfil its responsibilities. I want to make that as plain as it is possible to make it. When we recommend that the Governor should be able to pass laws by ordinance, even if his Council object, so long as it is in fulfilment of his responsibilities, we wish him to have the power to do so. And the same with the Viceroy. The powers which we propose to confer upon them are real powers, meant for use if occasion should unhappily arise, always, of course, subject to the control of Parliament; and we were careful to amend the Preamble, so as to include all the pertinent parts of the Declaration of August 20, because it had been said, even in our presence, by a witness, that whereas a part of that Declaration had authority, the rest, which said that the progress of self-government in India would depend upon the use which the people of India made of this gift of self-government, had no validity. Therefore we made it perfectly plain in the preamble that the future grant of self-government ought to depend upon the use which the people of India make of this grant of self-government. We also made it plain that for ten years there ought to be no change; that what is given is a very great and potent gift—potent for good or for evil—and that ten years is absolutely nothing in the life of any country. At the end of ten years the best Commission that could be got together ought to be sent out to see in each Province, and in India as a whole, what use has been made of the powers now given.

I want to say two things about the Indian Civil Service. It is difficult to speak on this subject in language that does not seem to be exaggerated. I do not believe a more magnificent set of men have ever served a country than the Indian Civil Service, and I think the way that they have been attacked in India by a certain set of Indians is a standing disgrace to those Indians in India. After all, India is the most conservative country in the world, and for Indian politicians to attack Indian Civil Servants because they too are conservative, seems to me a gross absurdity. It would be very strange indeed if the Indian Civil Servants with their traditions and their experience were not averse to big changes. I know of no service worth being a service, in any country in the world, where the feeling is not mainly that of conservatism. Therefore it should be perfectly clear to any Indian politician who chooses to think the thing out that it is only natural that the tendency of the Indian Civil Service should be one of criticism and doubt towards these changes.

I think even worse is the kind of ingratitude which the Indian Civil Service have met with from some critics in this country. I think some of the reflections which have been cast upon them by certain of the Press here are such that you would not have thought it possible to be written. Nevertheless, with great respect, I would say to the Indian Civil Service two things: In the first place do not make too much of an idol of efficiency. There is efficiency and there is efficiency. In matters of law and order, and the peace of the country, you cannot be too efficient, but in all other spheres of activity of government Governments must make mistakes. They all make mistakes. I know what the Indian Civil Servant thinks. He thinks that these Indian Ministers will make great mistakes—so they will—and he cannot bear the idea of sitting there and having his advice disregarded and seeing mistakes made. He has got to put up with that, because unless he does the Indian cannot be trained.

Has the Indian Civil Servant never made mistakes? Has this Government never made mistakes? Of course I do not mean the Government now in power. We who have had some years' experience of Governments in England do not exactly regard them as infallible. We have seen some pretty bad blunders; and so long as the blunders are reparable and not irreparable that is the only method by which any nation can be trained in the arts of self-government. The second thing I would say to the Indian Civil Service is this: Your work will be different, your position will be different, but so far as this humble admirer of your great work can judge it is not going to be in the future a bit less interesting. It is going to be of a different kind, but I am quite certain that the service you can render to India and the Empire is going to be even greater in the future than it has been in the past.

My Lords, I have nothing more to say, except this word to my Indian fellow subjects. I think they have come nearer than some of them know to turning a very great body of public opinion in this country against their aspirations. I do not think they realise the extent of the misgivings which their attitude on the Rowlatt Act have caused in this country, and for this reason, that none of us can think of any other civilised country in which highly educated and intelligent politicians would have taken the same view of the Rowlatt Act, under similar conditions, as was taken of it in India. Therefore, if they want, as I know and believe very many of them do, to retain the good opinion of their fellow subjects who are taking part in government in different parts of the Empire, and to show that they, no less than we, deserve a full measure of the power of self-development and self government, let me humbly and respectfully advise them to weigh their words before they use them, and to think of the effect that they will have in countries far beyond the limits of India.

Before I sit down I want, if I may, to draw the attention of my noble and learned friend on the Woolsack, and of Lord Finlay and Lord Sumner, and also of the Leader of the House, to a legal conundrum which I brought forward during the sittings on the Bill, but which I was not able to persuade the draftsman was of real importance. The legal system of India as between the Government of India and the Provinces is one which is called concurrent jurisdiction. When I had the honour of taking some part in framing the Constitution of the Union of South Africa we received a special message from Sir Wilfrid Laurier, then Prime Minister of Canada, to this effect: "Shun concurrent jurisdiction as far as you possibly can—it is the very devil. It has been the curse of Canadian politics; the snare of statesmanship. Avoid it." We did avoid it in South Africa, and at the proper stage of this Bill I raised the question to our legal draftsmen—"Was the Parliament of India sovereign as regards the Provincial Legislatures?" "No." "Was it a federal distribution of power?" "No, concurrent jurisdiction." "What happened if a Provincial Act is found to be repugnant to an all-India Act?" They said the case had never arisen, such care had been taken to prevent it, and in this Bill all power was given to the Provincial Legislatures to repeal sections of Indian Acts so that there should be no inconsistency or repugnancy. "Yes," I said, "but there is going to be a far greater volume of provincial legislation in the future than there has been in the past, and you cannot argue from the comparatively simple code of law of the past as to what there is going to be in the future." "It is perfectly certain," I said, "that Provincial Acts will be passed that are inconsistent with Indian Acts, of which the Indian sections are not repealed by inadvertence, and perhaps the repugnancy or inconsistency may not be found out for a year or two. In that case which Act is to prevail, the India Act or the Provincial Act?" I should have thought, and I still think, there ought to be a provision in this Bill that where there is repugnancy or inconsistency between Provincial and Indian Acts, that the Indian Act should prevail. That is not the view of the legal advisers of the India Office. They say that the latest dated enactment should prevail. I cannot believe that to be right, because a Provincial enactment may be inconsistent with an India enactment in a matter that really affects far more than the Province in which the latest enactment had taken place. I informed the draftsmen that I would take the opportunity of laying the question properly before the Law Lords of this House, and particularly before the Lord Chancellor. Of course, when I have their authority for saying that in their opinion this Bill may operate leaving it to the Courts to decide in every case which of the two Acts should prevail—the Provincial or the India Act—I shall bow to their judgment. Until I hear from them to the contrary I shall still believe that it will be a very wise protection in this Bill to put in words to the effect that whenever there is inconsistency or repugnancy the all-India Act should prevail.


My Lords, there are some remarks that I have to make on the Bill as it now comes before your Lordships' House. In the first place, I should like to say that without any reservation whatever I accept the Declaration of August 20, 1917. Proceeding to consider the Bill on the basis of that acceptance, I regard the Bill now before your Lordships as a great improvement upon the Bill as it was introduced in another place. I think that the Joint Committee were well advised in retaining intact the Secretary of State's Council. Engaged as we are on an experiment—a perilous experiment in the opinion of many—upon the extremities of our administrative and legislative system in India, I think that it would be most inopportune to curtail or restrict the control which the Secretary of State maintained over the whole of the administration.

Passing from the Secretary of State's Council to the Legislative Council of the Governor-General, I find that the Joint Committee have determined to reject this Council of State, or as it was first called, the Grand Committee, as an organ of Government legislation, and that they have decided from the commencement to create a Second Chamber. I regard the creation of a Second Chamber in India as most essential and as the greatest achievement in the Joint Committee's Report. I know of no country in the East in which a Second Chamber is more important than in India. It is idle to expect that the influential classes in India, the wealthy land owners and the scions of old families, will ever contest with their inferiors a seat in the Lower Chamber. They may accept a seat in the Lower Chamber as the nominees of the Government, such a seat so conferred possessing an honorific distinction, but they never will contest at the polling booth a seat which would bring them into close contact with their social subordinates.

I would express my regret that the Joint Committee did not extend the boon of a Second Chamber to the Provincial Governments. The Provincial Governments in India are great in area, great in population, and great in the families from which you desire to recruit a Second Chamber; and also great in regard to the questions which would come before them for solution. I can only express my hope that when the first review of the work which we are now doing comes before us ten years hence that the question of creating a Second Chamber for the Provincial Governments will receive your attention. In the Bill, as introduced, it is proposed that the essential legislation necessary for the Government of India should be passed by a Grand Committee, and, if such legislation were rejected by a Legislative Assembly, that it might be re-introduced into the Grand Committee in which the Government of India would have an official majority. I am exceedingly glad that the Joint Committee have rejected that arrangement. Surely if there remains on the shoulders of the Viceroy in Council any responsibility in regard to law and order in India, he should be provided with an easy and straightforward way of securing the laws necessary for him to discharge his responsibility. As the noble Earl, Lord Selborne, stated, the Governor-General has already—so, at least, I understand—in the ordinance arrangements the means of his own motion, of providing the necessary laws.

Now I come to the electorates. Every thing in this Bill depends upon the electorates. Without an electorate there can be no Ministerial responsibility, for the Government of India defines responsibility as consisting primarily in amenability to constituents, and, in the second place, in amenability to an Assembly. Everything therefore depends upon the electorate. Everything following, such as the selection of Ministers, the introduction of the dyarchic system depends upon having an electorate. I confess that my heart sank when I heard that the Secretary of State hoped that his electorates would be established everywhere, and would be in full working order in the brief period of five years. He has had full opportunity of making the attempt and what is the result? I will quote the Committee's own words. But perhaps I may mention here that there are three assemblies in India under the Bill which require electorates. There is the Council of State, there is the Legislative Assembly of the Government of India, and there are the Provincial Legislative Assemblies. What do the Joint Committee say in regard to the electorate of the Council of State?— The Franchise Committee advise that the non-official members of the Council of State should be elected by the same groups of persons as elect the members of the Legislative Assembly and in the same constituencies. Their comment is— This is a plan which the Committee could, under no circumstances, accept. Therefore you have the Council of State existing at the present time without an electorate. In so little esteem do the Joint Committee consider the attempt of the Franchise Committee in that respect that they have rejected it, and I for my part consider that the Joint Committee were absolutely right. I come now to the electorate proposed by the Franchise Committee for the Governor-General's Legislative Assembly, and here the Joint Committee have to report almost equal dissatisfaction with the result of the Franchise Committee's work. These are the Joint Committee's words— For the Legislative Assembly the Joint Committee are equally unwilling to accept as a permanent arrangement the methods of indirect election proposed in the Report of the Franchise Committee. If by any other course it were possible to avoid delay in bringing the constitution enacted by the Bill into operation the Committee would acquiesce in the method for a preliminary period for three years, but they are not convinced that delay would be involved in preparing a better scheme of election, and they endorse the view expressed by the Government of India in Paragraph 39 of their Dispatch dealing with this subject. With the utmost respect for the Joint Committee, I think that they are far too optimistic on this point of the facility of making electorates. In my opinion, of nothing can it be said with more truth than it can of an electorate that the greater haste the less speed. The failure of the Franchise Committee, which is an exceedingly strong Committee, is ample proof that an electorate can only be created by patience and experiment, and with time. And in this connection I would respectfully enter my protest against the opinion which the Joint Committee express on page 7 of their Report that the franchise now settled should not be altered for the first ten years. It seems to me that the first ten years of these reforms should be years of experiment and of change, and that these years should be spent under the control of the Governor-General in Council with a minimum of interference from the Secretary of State in making those experiments and those attempts to come to a satisfactory electorate in India.

I now come to the electorate proposed for the Legislative Assembles. They are, if I may say so, without exception no more racy of the soil of India, and most sadly wanting in those adjustments to Indian conditions which one naturally expects to find. These are some of the Joint Committee's criticisms on that—criticisms, I would ask your Lordships to note, not of local but of general application. The Joint Committee say first— The Committee regard the number of seats allotted to the rural population, as distinct from the urban, as disproportionately low and consider it should receive a larger share of representation. Now that is a criticism extraordinarily damaging to the allotment of seats. It will give advantages to the intelligentsia, if I may use that word, and would be most injurious to the whole population of the more illiterate class. Secondly, the Committee say they are of opinion that the representation proposed for the depressed classes is inadequate, as such depressed classes comprise a large proportion of the population of India. In the Madras Presidency the Committee consider that the non-Brahmins must be provided with separate representation by means of the reservation of seats, and they recommend that similar treatment be accorded to the Mahrattas in Bombay. That, again, is most destructive criticism. Lastly, they say— Special representation of landholders in the Provinces should be reconsidered by the Government of India in consultation with the Local Governments. Here the most important class of the population, the great landowning class, is unfairly dealt with. The fact is that at the present time you have got no electorate upon which to base your administration. There are no electorates. So that I venture to say that the investigations which have hitherto been made do not touch the fringe of the great electoral problem in India, and how you can proceed to appoint Ministers on such a basis passes my comprehension.

Then, if this is the case, does it follow that these reforms are to be postponed until satisfactory electorates are brought into being? It may be argued that the Government's plan of dual administration does not logically imply such a postponement. But their plan postulates electorates as the foundation of Ministerial responsibility, and electorates have not yet been made. But, after all that has been done in India, and after all that has been said and done here, I hesitate to say that there should be any postponement at all. But it is perfectly impossible to go on without an electorate. My suggestion is that this dyarchic system, which cannot be proceeded with without an electorate, should be postponed, and that as the first step in these reforms you should take the unified form which finds very little favour with the noble Earl, Lord Selborne, but which seems to me to be absolutely essential in the present state of things. By taking the unified system in the first place you will avoid loading Ministers with personal responsibilities until association with the Governor and with his Council has taught them the ABC of their work.

My proposal then is that your Lordships should not enforce the dual system of Government as the first act of the reform programme, but rather that you enforce, as the first step, the more simple, the more natural, and by far the more educative system of a unified Government. Later, say at the end of the first decennial period, that system will have served its purpose. It will have relieved you of the difficulty under which you labour at present in the absence of electorates; it will have educated a certain proportion of Ministers in the work of Government; and than at the end of that period you may introduce the dyarchic Government. I agree that Ministers must have at one time or another of their training unqualified authority in certain matters, but their association with the Governor's Executive Council will then save them from irreparable mistakes. It has been urged that, if from the outset independent powers of administration be not transferred to Ministers that they may justify their policy and their action to the electors, there will not be a proper compliance with the Declaration of August 20, 1917. The unified form of Government, by the way, is the form recommended by the Lieutenant-Governors, the two Governors of most experience in India who know what will probably be the effect of going too quickly. I myself entirely agree with the Lieutenant-Governors that, as the noble Earl, Lord Selborne, has just stated, ten years is as nothing in the lifetime of a nation; but ten years in the beginning may put you in the wrong direction. It seems to me to be unfair to the Ministers themselves that you should place them in uncontrolled authority at the very beginning.

It is stated that the unified form of Government is not a compliance with the Declaration of August 20, 1917. I cannot understand how that can be said. Is the creation of electorates not a great step towards responsible Government? Every one with any knowledge of India whom you ask will tell you that, in the twenty centuries of historic life of India, no greater change in political thought and action has ever been known. Is the association of Ministers with the Government of a Province to be said to be no step towards responsible Government? It is the most educative step you could have imagined—far more educative, I should have thought, than appointing a politician straight off without any education or experience as a Member of the Council. These things are made light of by some ambitious politicians, of whom I remember Lord Dufferin saying that "they were anxious to usurp the seat of Phœbus and to guide the chariot of the sun." I myself believe that Lord Dufferin's prognostication is coming true.

May I remind your Lordships that when the noble Earl who leads this House in June last moved that the Bill be committed to a Joint Committee he made a most comprehensive and eloquent speech (as he always does), and amongst other things he said that if he were a member of the Joint Committee he would bear in mind four considerations, to two of which Lord Sydenham had called your Lordships' attention. The first consideration was to keep alive, and not in any way to daunt or quench, the spirit and traditions and efficiency of the Indian Civil Service. The second consideration was to do nothing to dethrone or weaken the Central Government of India. The third consideration was to do nothing to weaken or diminish the protection that is given to the poorer classes. The fourth consideration was to do or to say nothing to encourage the belief that India can safely cut herself adrift from the Imperial connection.

Now, can any one say that this Bill is calculated to keep alive and not to daunt the spirit and the traditions and the efficiency of the Indian Civil Service? Throughout those long-drawn inquiries and discussions which have taken place, has any real effort been made to reconcile the interests and the status of the Indian Civil Service with the new dispensation? There has been great lip-service paid to the past services of the Indian Civil Service. Are you perfectly sure that you can discard them now; are you sure that the time will never come when you will call upon them again to render the services which they have given you in the past? Yet this treatment of the Indian Civil Service is of capital importance. Politicians that we know have well known that the Indian Civil Service was the first bulwark of British rule in India, but they made it their deliberate purpose to smash that bulwark. With the wishes of many I sympathise; but the object of the extremists is to smash British rule in India. The status of the Indian Civil Service ought to have been very differently treated from the way in which it is treated in this Bill. There should have been a Royal Commission appointed to discuss the question, to examine it, to see how the position of the Indian Civil Service can be fitted in and adjusted to these new arrangements; and I hope that the time has not passed when this can be done.

On the second consideration—to do nothing to dethrone or weaken the Central Government of India—I agree with a great deal that was said by my noble friend Lord Sydenham, and I think that when this Bill goes into Committee very scrupulous attention should be paid to the necessities which even the noble Earl, Lord Selborne, admitted existed. The third consideration is the necessity of protecting the poorer classes. I feel bound to say here that in my long experience of India I did not find the persons of the class likely to be Ministers display any particular regard for the interests of the poorer classes. I was reading yesterday a speech of the late Lord Northcote, who was Governor of Bombay. He gave a very illuminating example of what happened in his own Council when he introduced a Bill to protect the cultivators from the extreme demands of money lenders. So little regard had the Council that they pressed him first to delay and afterwards, when he refused to accept delay, they stood up and walked out of his Council. He also added that before he left Bombay he was gratified to find that the legislation had effected its object and that the cultivators in the Deccan were greatly relieved.

I notice in Part II of this Bill a large number of Amendments which are to be introduced into the Act of 1915–16. That Act was before your Lordships some two or three years ago and was discussed then. Coming now as an adjunct to the organic reforms, this new proposal imposes on members of your Lordships' House who take an interest in the matter an intolerable burden, and I would suggest that it would be much more fair to members of the House if it had been made a separate Bill—that the organic improvements in the Constitution of India should be allowed to be considered alone, and that the Amendments should be taken in a separate Bill. In that way we should be better able to deal with them.

The substance of my representations is this. Many and grave defects have been found by the Joint Committee to exist in the scheme of electorates furnished by the Franchise Committee. It cannot be said with any truth that there is any electorate at the present time. Electorates are not things of mushroom growth. They take a long time to develop. These defects are such as to require that the work shall be done over again on the spot. Such re-doing will take time and cannot be unduly hastened without detriment to the future. Until it is done I maintain that your dyarchic system of Government, which rests upon, and only draws its strength from, the representation of the people, cannot safely be introduced. It is very undesirable that the scheme of reform should be altogether held up until these electorates are created, but the unified system of government, which system postulates the responsibility of the Minister and which is a more natural initial step than the dual system, may be introduced at once and continued so long as satisfactory electorates are not established.

When they are established the situation can be reviewed and if, in the meantime, no better system is devised than that of the dual system, then the dual system of government can be introduced in the second stage. The first stage would take ten years and, during that stage, while the unified system of government was in force, time would be given in which to admit of the adjustment of the rights and position of the Indian Civil Service and of the settlement of any other contentious questions which may arise. I am impressed with the feeling that this matter has been pushed too hastily. There is no step backwards. You can never retrace what you have done. Therefore, it is desirable that every step that you take should be solid and such as you can look back upon with satisfaction. I shall propose Amendments in Committee in regard to the unified system and its substitution for the dyarchic system, and also in regard to the India Council, which I think require considerable thought, and, finally, in regard to the Government of India.


My Lords, I am, sure the noble Lord will not think it any disrespect to him if I do not enter into some of the questions on which he has spoken and on which I think, in some cases, he has not quite appreciated the effect of the action of the Committee. I desire to say only a few words to associate myself mainly with what has fallen from my noble friend Lord Selborne as regards the attitude which we felt we could assume in respect of the provisions of this Bill. We make no complaint of the manner in which the Government have carried out their pledges. I felt at first, and I think I raised in your Lordships' House, some objection to the manner in which the original Declaration was made. I do not want to harp upon that at this moment. I confess I think it was unfortunate and I feel that it would have been a great advantage to the Secretary of State and to the Viceroy if, before they entered on this investigation in India, they had been seised of the opinion of those who have long experience of these matters and who, by a debate in both Houses, had been able to put forward their views.

It is altogether too late to consider that point at this moment. What we have now to face is the position which was created when the Government proceeded to make good their pledge that there should be investigation and full, open discussion in this country before any action was finally taken by Parliament. In appointing the Joint Committee I feel that they gave full effect to that pledge, and I may say for my own part, without criticising the language of the Declaration upon which Lord Selborne has spoken, that nothing so affected my own judgment with regard to it as the fact that the noble Earl the Leader of the House was a party to it, because I was quite convinced—we must all have been—that nothing but an overwhelming sense of the necessity and urgency of the case would have caused him to make a pronouncement at once so imperative, so sweeping, and so binding upon Parliament and upon the Government. In the Committee itself there was a general feeling that we were in a sense debating with our hands tied—tied in the sense that the question of policy as to whether there should be a large transfer of responsible government was not a question we were there to decide, but that we had merely to decide what amount should be given, what the measure should be and in what form.

I think it would be indeed ungenerous on the part of the Committee if we were not to acknowledge the extraordinary confidence which Parliament in the other House, and so far as this debate has gone in this House, has shown in the decisions of the Committee by accepting them with comparatively little debate. It would be a great mistake if, out of doors, it were held that the comparative haste with which this measure is being passed through Parliament was any indication of the interest or the importance attached to it. I am sure I am within the recollection of the oldest member of this House in saying that there has been no measure which, before it came here, had been considered so amply by such different tribunals and with such a full sense of the importance of the whole case.

That being so, I should like to say a word or two to justify the restrictions which the Committee put into the Bill, and to which some of us attach the greatest importance. It is not necessary in tins House to assert what every member knows, but which is not fully understood outside that no analogy can be drawn between the powers of this Parliament and the powers which are going to be given to the Parliaments of India. You cannot exchange bureaucracy for democracy in India. You are only going to exchange bureaucracy for an oligarchy representing a small minority of the people. You have not the power to do otherwise. There are in this country divisions, but they are nothing like the racial and geographical divisions which exist in India. I do not suppose under any circumstances in this country could it occur that we should be placed in the position in which the members of the Committee were placed, of having a remonstrance addressed to us most fervently, and continuously pressed home, that we should carry out the communal system of representation, described by Lord Sydenham, in such a way that although the non-Brahmin population in Madras is 27,000,000 and the Brahmin population 1,000,000 we should give quite a different representation to the Brahmins in order to preserve the great influence of the small minority. That is a state of affairs which shows that you have to deal with India in a different spirit from that which you would deal with any electorate in this country.

Not much has been said on the question of taxation and I am not going to labour it to-day. But I would appeal to any member of this House—and there are some present—who fought the General Election of 1885 in this country, and who are aware how far removed the mind of the great mass of rural workers was then from politics of any description. I draw from that this deduction, which must be clear, that in a country so infinitely larger and so much less educated, in which you have only 5 per cent. of the population who can read or write, which has not had a Universal Education Act as we had for fourteen years before 1885, it is inevitable that the plant of political knowledge and interest will be of slow growth. I do not suppose Lord Sinha will disagree with me on that.

The conclusions, therefore, at which we arrived seem to me to have been wholly justified. While we desired to give a share, and a large share, in the administration of the country to these popularly elected Assemblies, and to do so with no grudging hand, at the same time we were determined, as Lord Selborne, said that the responsibilities should be clearly divided and if mistakes were made those who made them would be the persons on whom the responsibility would fall. We also desired that education should develop. I trust I shall not be thought to be speaking in any hostile spirit to the legitimate ambitions of our Indian fellow subjects when I say that we attach to the restrictions not merely great importance—that is only a form of words—but that we regarded them as the cardinal centre of the whole Bill, without which we should not have been prepared to support it. By these restrictions I mean the veto which must, if it is to be exercised, be a real one.

Those who will not be represented in the Indian Parliament are the poorest of the poor. They are numbered by tens of millions, and it is quite possible—doing the best we can with regard to the electorate, and after all the consideration and admirable work done by Lord Southborough's Committee—we may find that the urban constituencies are stronger than the rural and that rural interests are not as strictly regarded by the urban voters as we should wish. They are not always in this country. We may also find that laws not intended to be oppressive are capable of being used quite differently from the intention—that also occurs in this country—and, therefore, these things might require to be redressed. Surely it is our duty as a Parliament so long as we represent those who are not represented themselves to take care that the increase of civilisation in India in the last hundred years under our rule is not in any way imperilled or vitiated by hasty or ill-considered actions on the part of the new Assemblies. That is the first point.

The second point is that had we had our way we might have wished—I should have wished—that in this experiment the Government of India should not have been touched. We regarded it as a cardinal safeguard of the Government of India that the principle of what has been called the Consolidated Fund, embracing those services without which India cannot possibly be administered under British rule—services connected with the Army and the higher officials—should not at the present come in any way under the purview of the Legislative Assembly. This Consolidated Fund is, in our opinion, absolutely vital to the Bill.

The third point is one alluded to by Lord MacDonnell—namely, the establishment of a genuine Second Chamber, intended to act as a revising Chamber and to check, but not to be described as superfluous. The last point to which I invite your Lordships' attention is the one that in no circumstances are these provisions to be, reviewed and the plant pulled up to see how it is growing, before the Commission is appointed in ten years' time. I cannot too strongly and strenuously put forward the absolute importance of that, which has been borne in on me by the number of Indian witnesses whom we examined. Some of them seemed to think that after this great concession had been made their business was not to proceed to make the very best of powers which they had never dreamed of possessing a few years ago, but to continue the agitation, in the hope that by a change of parties here, or by some other change, further concessions would be made. I believe that to be absolutely fatal to the future of India. Generous are these concessions; wide will be their effect; great will be the opportunities afforded to men who are willing to devote themselves to the working out of these things in India; but quite fatal to all of them would be the failure to carry out what is now offered. To make matters difficult for the authorities who must remain in India as long as Great Britain continues responsible for India is to cause continual friction which can only be fatal to the success of this concession.

I would therefore adopt the language of Lord Sinha in his admirable speech—I hope that others in India will take the broad view that he took—and say that this is a great experiment, and an experiment which will depend on the manner in which those who are to have the working of it will work it out. I think he will admit, knowing the differences which have existed, that Parliament has shown a remarkable spirit in the last few days in dealing with this question. Men of extreme views on either side, like Lord Sydenham on the one side or some members of the Labour Party on the other, have combined and have agreed that whatever is given shall be given in an ungrudging manner, and with a desire to show that Parliament in the extreme of its generosity is willing to make this concession. This Bill will leave the two Houses of Parliament, so far as we can foresee and so far as we can guide it, without any feeling of bitterness left behind it. It will be sent on its journey with the fullest desire that it shall be a success and justify further action.

But may I say that while it is incumbent on the Legislative Assemblies which are to be formed in India to do their part, I sincerely hope that the provision which the Joint Committee pressed upon Parliament, will be adopted—that we shall have a Committee of Parliament constantly watching Indian affairs. I know there is not a member of the House present who has taken an interest in Indian affairs who does not regret that there are times when, apparently, Parliament has taken no sustained interest in great changes which have had to be made in India. I believe that such a Committee will form the nucleus of such interest. I believe it is an absolute necessity for the Secretary of State, who will have to take a more active part in great business and a less active part in small business, than hitherto, in connection with India, and I feel that the maintenance of the Council of India is absolutely essential to the discharge of his duty by the Secretary of State.

In conclusion, may I say that I believe His Majesty's Government can do more than any body of men towards making this great experiment a success if they would only take into their consideration, as their first care, the class of men they send out to work the Bill. The position of a Governor will be difficult enough under the new dispensation. As a rule, it would be well if he had some Parliamentary experience—I do not wish to say anything against the appointment of Civil Servants—and it is certainly well that he should have some measure of independence; but on the class of man you send out, or whom you select in India, to fill the posts in India under these very difficult conditions, will depend largely if not exclusively the success of this great change. Lord Sydenham gave us a catalogue of the men who had died for India and whose names we all know. I am certain that in perhaps a more difficult way there is work still to be done in India, without which India cannot be in the future what she has been in the past, and to the men who are sent out to India in the future we shall look to sustain the honour of this country and our reputation as a great civilising influence in the East.


My Lords, in ordinary circumstances it would be unseemly for one who has so recently become a member of your Lordships' House to intervene in this debate. In asking your permission, however, to submit certain considerations upon the Government of India Bill, I beg your special indulgence on two grounds—one being that the Viceroy of India and his advisers deputed me to this country to plead the cause of Indian reforms, as they see it, before His Majesty's Government and the tribunal of Parliament; and the other being that it may be possible for me to assist your Lordships in some measure by an account at first hand of the political conditions prevailing in India to-day, conditions which make a constitutional change not only inevitable but also now a matter of considerable urgency—conditions, consequently, with which this Bill and the Regulations to he framed under it hereafter will have to cope.

This second plea I admit is put forward with very considerable diffidence, because there is no Assembly in the world that has a knowledge of Indian affairs at all comparable with the experience and knowledge possessed by this House through many eminent members of it who have held exalted office in India. In presuming to supplement that knowledge and experience I can only offer as an excuse the remarkable pace of the change which is taking place in the political mind of India, and the manner in which forces that were largely subterranean and invisible in the days when noble Lords now in this House were in India, have now emerged and are covering the country with a flood which it is impossible for us to stem, even if we wanted to do so, and which all the instincts of statemanship require us to attempt to divert into channels of healthy political life.

Is this change wholly fortuitous? Is it due to the strenuous efforts of a small clique of noisy professional agitators? Is the Bill which is now before your Lordships' House and, what is really more important the policy underlying that Bill the result of panic, of yielding to the noisy, irresponsible demands of a few politicians? I assure your Lordships that this is very far indeed from being the case, and that there could be no greater mistake, no more serious misreading of the recent history of India, than to imagine that the new Constitution which is now before you has been wrung from a reluctant Government by noise, demonstration, and agitation. Of course there has been agitation in India, but that agitation does not mean that the people have forgotten the benefits that the British have conferred in India, or that the people are ungrateful for those benefits. This agitation is the inevitable result of our own work in India, and I believe that if it had not taken place we should have had to admit that our work in India was largely failure.

Take any country inhabited by thinking people proud of the traditions of a great civilisation of their own, fully equipped with religions, philosophies, social systems of their own, and place it under foreign domination, and then proceed to teach it seriously all the doctrines which have created our modern Western democracies. Teach it that liberty is the first law of nature, that all men are equal, that every nation has a divine right to manage its own affairs, and go on teaching that and similar doctrines from generation to generation. If at the end of that time the people of that country do not rise and agitate and demand self-government as a right, as a privilege certainly if not as a right, then you will indeed have something extraordinary and unheard of in the political history of the world. I do not care how efficient or how benevolent your domination is, people will begin to question it, and will begin to work for those things which are now being demanded in India, and if the agitation is allowed to go on, and if we do not cut at the root of it by meeting it in a reasonable manner, it is bound to become bitter in tone and racial in character. That is exactly what has been happening in India. It is exactly what has been happening in other countries. Still it is not a. revolution. It is not a protest against Britain or British administration. It is a demand for privileges which we have taught India to expect, for which we have been training India to qualify, and which many patriotic Indians in all sincerity believe that they are not going to get unless they ask for them in terms of political denunciation, which also unfortunately we have taught them.

Agitation is really only the handmaid of something deeper. It is rather like the handmaid of the classic French comedy. It is a very inconvenient, inquisitive awkward, interfering sort of handmaid. But I think we can afford to overlook that, and pass over the temporary and awkward episodes with which we have been familiar, and look at the deeper causes that underlie the agitation we deplore. If some of our critics are to be believed both in this House and outside, the only force behind political movements in India is a small group of noisy intelligentsia. Eighty-five per cent. of the people, we are told, live on their fields and in their villages, and only desire to be left alone and to be governed quietly, and of the remaining 15 per cent. the great majority accept our rule and are reasonably grateful for it, and it is only a small microscopic fraction of unplaced politicians who wander about India fomenting discontent and pulling the strings to which the whole of India dances. This is, perhaps, a somewhat emphasised version, but I do not think it is altogether an unfair version of at least one speech which we have heard this afternoon.

I beg your Lordships to exercise a wider judgment in this matter. The Government of India are not being dragged at

the heels of a revolutionary movement, of a negligible group of professional agitators. Revolution, indeed, we may put clean out of the question, because the Government of India have power to deal with revolution—power which is by no means impaired by this Bill—in the way that they have done in the past, and. I have no doubt that they will exercise it fearlessly and efficiently in future. Professional agitation also for present purposes we may put out of the picture, because although it is an unpleasing feature in India and in most other countries in a stage of political adolescence, it can only be regarded for our present purposes in so far as it is a symbol of some deeper trouble. What lies behind and below the whole of the political difficulties in India—with which difficulties your Lordships are now coping in the Bill before us—is the spirit of nationalism, a spirit bred in the soil, nurtured (whether we know it or not) by our own methods and our own examples, and spreading rapidly through all ranks and classes of Indian society. I say deliberately all ranks and classes, because I have been watching its operations now for over thirty years. It of course permeates the professional classes, with whom it originated. That is accepted. But it is also going deep into the trading and moneyed classes. A few years ago they had nothing whatever to do with polities, bur they are now a prominent feature in political organisations, and it is very largely their money which finances the nationalist movement. It is also spreading to the landed classes. The old-fashioned squire of northern India, with whom some noble Lords may have been familiar personally, is rapidly giving place to a new and more dissatisfied type. He is no longer content with what he regards as exile on his ancestral estates, and he comes into the town for amusement and change. When he gets there he finds that politics is the only game that is worth playing, and he plays it. Consequently he also is being imbued with more and more of the nationalist spirit. It would ill become me to say anything about the great Princes of India. Some noble Lords in this House may have heard two years ago the most advanced nationalist sentiments falling from the distinguished representative of that order who was, a member of the Imperial War Cabinet in 1917, and I think that it is an open secret that most of the more progressive and enlightened Princes in India are deeply in sympathy with all that is best in this nationalist movement. That still, it may be said, leaves the 85 per cent. of the rural masses untouched. That is true. But let us remember that as education spreads among the rural masses, and as their standard of comfort rises—and, after all, our highest duty is to see that their standard of comfort is increased and that suitable education is brought to their doors—the rural masses will be shaken out of their old lethargy into some political group, and it requires little enough of prophecy to foretell that when that happens they also will find themselves recruits of the nationalist movement.

It is this far-reaching and constantly spreading spirit of nationalism which made it impossible for us who were actually engaged in the work of government to carry on without a declared policy of what England meant to do in and with India, and it was very largely in response to our appeals—the appeals of those of us who were trying to carry on the work of Government—that the search for a Constitution was undertaken. Far more to that reason is the present Bill due than to anything in the nature of a sop to lawlessness or irresponsible demands. I will not detain your Lordships by any attempts at arguments upon the details of the Bill. They will naturally come more properly at the Committee stage, and from that point of view I should like to withhold anything that I have to say on the subject of the dyarchy, although I find it impossible to add a word to support or strengthen the defence of that scheme that has been made by the noble Earl, Lord Selborne.

I should like, if I may without inappropriateness at this stage, to say a word of very grateful thanks, on behalf of the Service to which I very recently belonged, for the generous tributes which have been paid both by the noble Earl, and by others this afternoon, and also in another place, to the work of that Service, and I am sure that those tributes extend not only to the Civil Service properly so-called, but also to the sister Services in India which have shared the heat and burden of the day. I do profess that I know something about the feeling in the Civil Service in India to-day, and I know that, amidst very much misgiving and regret at the passing of the old order, amidst considerable resentment at the hard time that they have had in the past, and considerable apprehensions as to the trying time that may be for some years before them in the future, there is a general acceptance in that Service of constitutional change as inevitable, and a general resolve to live up to their high traditions by helping to make the new order a success. And what has been said in this House this afternoon will very greatly stimulate and encourage that resolve.

The strongest critics of the Bill are not those who attack this provision, or that, or the other. They are those who, in their heart of hearts, believe that the whole experiment is a mistake, that India is not ripe for even the faint beginnings of self-government and that what India needs more than anything else is a strong, efficient, orderly Government, as far as possible on the old lines, and that the constitution now proposed means nothing but the introduction into India of bitterness and discontent. Nobody denies that India does want, almost before anything else, a strong, just, and competent Government, and that the duty will rest upon this Parliament and upon its officers in India to see that that is secured. The Bill does not leave that in any doubt. But what we who are most deeply interested in India and in the future of India contend is that it will not diminish, but in time it will greatly strengthen, our Government to make the people a party to it. And the Bill provides for this process of initiation and training with all due caution and all wise safeguards.

What we further contend is that the work of the British administrator was not brought to a close when he had produced order out of chaos in India. We feel that before him lies a more difficult it may be, but certainly a higher task, in fostering the growth of a nation. The Bill provides for this. And finally, what we urge is that we cannot stand still, any more than you could amidst the rearing traffic of a London street. The Bill may be dangerous, as has been said by one noble Lord in accents which I hope are far too pessimistic; it may be dangerous, but, even if it were crammed full of dangers, there is one danger which, in the words of the first noble Lord who spoke this afternoon, is far greater than any that it contains, and that is the danger of doing nothing. There is one risk which would be infinitely more unpardonable than the risks taken in the Bill, and that is the risk of ignoring the reasonable and natural demand of the Indian people for a larger share in the management of their own affairs.

Finally, may I be permitted one brief allusion to the vague threats, the wild alarms as regards the effect of this Bill which are constantly being expressed in certain quarters, mainly outside this House. We are told that the Bill is the result of a great, dark conspiracy, that if it passes we shall be abandoning our trusteeship and handing over the future of India to disorder and revolution. And other unbridled and almost hysterical language in the same strain, mixed with wholly unworthy personal vituperation, is being employed in a manner which cannot possibly do any good in this country and which will certainly do harm in India. On the other hand you have had the assurance of my noble friend the Under-Secretary for India that the policy which inspires this Bill will go far to increase the affection and to enhance the loyalty of the people of India. It will be for your Lordships to say which of these two presentations of the case you are prepared to accept.

But this is what I should like to place before you—that what the Viceroy and those of us under him who are responsible for the administration of India (if I may speak for a moment as if I still were at the head of an Indian Province)—what we ask from your Lordships is, first, a remedy for the present unsettlement and misunderstandings in India, and, second, a policy along the lines of which we can shape our course in dealing with the growing complexities of the future. Such a remedy and such a policy we do not believe that we shall find in coercion or martial law, but we do believe that we shall find it in giving India a vision and our wholehearted support to her in the realisation of that vision. We believe that in entrusting India with an actual share in the work and in its responsibilities we shall bring all the saner, all the more stable elements in Indian society into a genuine partnership with us in the Government, and in this way, and in no other way, we shall foster a really wise spirit of national pride, national self-esteem, which will in time surmount the religious troubles, the tyranny of caste, and all the other evils which make the administration of India a matter of ever-increasing difficulty. All this, of course, cannot be done in a day. But we do believe that the Bill now before your Lordships makes an honest, straightforward, practical beginning in the right direction, and that is why we trust that your Lordships will accept it.


My Lords, I suppose that shall be expected to say something before we pass away from the present stage of this extraordinarily important Bill—by far the most important Bill relating to the Government of India that has been introduced or passed through Parliament for more than a hundred years. I am glad that I have heard nearly the whole, although not quite the whole, of the speeches that have preceded mine yesterday and to-day. I heard with great admiration the remarks of my noble friend the Under-Secretary for State yesterday evening, and the applause with which those remarks were greeted at the end—quite unusual in the placid atmosphere of your Lordships' House— was a sufficient indication of the manner in which you regarded that utterance.

I was exceedingly sorry to miss the speech of Lord Carmichael and of my noble friend the Leader of the Opposition this afternoon. It was due to causes which my noble friends will, I am sure, appreciate, and which have rendered the occasion of the discussion of this Bill in this House a singularly unfortunate one for me, owing to the heavy preoccupations in which I have been engaged elsewhere. But every other speech I have heard; and I listened, as we all did, with especial pleasure to the remarks of the noble Lord who has just addressed us. He is, if I may say so in his presence, a worthy representative of that great Service about which and to which he spoke in language so admirable just now. Well can I understand why the Viceroy and Government of India selected him as the champion of their cause in connection with this Bill.

The most significant part of my noble friend's speech was, in my judgment, the picture that he drew of modern social, and political conditions in India. It was a picture not without sombre features, in some respects rather ominous and perhaps discouraging, but I believe it to have been substantially true. I realise that, having left India now so many years ago, I am not only out of touch with India but probably out of focus and out of perspective; and I think it is a good thing that from time to time there should be some one who comes here fresh from that country to put us right in focus and perspective, even if he draws such a disquieting picture as my noble friend has just done.

I said that this Bill was incomparably the most important with regard to India that your Lordships have had before you for more than a century. But apart from that, what is really the most distinguishing feature about it? It is not merely the magnitude of the changes which it introduces; it is the spirit in which they have been approached. Nothing this evening has been said more true than the observation of my noble friend Lord Midleton when he pointed out that throughout this controversy (if that word is not too strong) there has been an extraordinary absence of bitterness, a presence of good temper, a friendly spirit, and a a patriotic desire to do the right thing in this country, and I think in India too, with regard to this Bill. And if we contrast the history of this measure with the Parliamentary history at any rate of the Bills which first endeavoured to lay down the broad lines of the Government of India in the times of the great statesmen at the end of the eighteenth century—Bills upon the fate of which hung the destinies of Governments, which caused great Ministers to rise or fall, and which are throughout inspired by the bitterest Party passion—if we contrast those days with these, what a change is there, and into what a tranquil sea the barque of Indian reform has been steered. It is true that many doubts are expressed in some quarters about this Bill. On the one hand, grave fears are entertained as to what it may lead to; on the other hand, I dare say extravagant hopes are entertained by another party of what it may produce. I imagine that in this, as in many other matters, the truth lies between these two extremes.

To what has been due the general atmosphere of tranquillity and good will with which this measure has been conducted? I think in the main to the procedure by which it has been carried to its present stage. I was rather surprised to hear from more than one noble Lord a complaint that there had been too much hurry about the way in which the Bill had been pushed along; and I think my noble friend Lord Midleton, although I imagined him to be referring only to the concluding stages, used the words "comparative haste with which it is being carried through Parliament." I do not think that the charge of having gone too quickly with this measure is one that can possibly be sustained. Reference has been made more than once this evening to the famous Declaration of August, 1917. Nearly two and a-half years have elapsed since that Declaration was made, and if any one had said to your Lordships at that date that we were going to spend two and a-half years before we asked you to carry into effect the legislation which would render the Declaration effective, not one of your Lordships would have complained of indecent haste.

As regards that Declaration, it is too late in the day to resume the discussion of it. I was one of those who was largely, perhaps mainly, responsible for its phraseology; it may not have been perfect, although I think it was not bad; but the remarkable thing is that, sharply as it has been sometimes criticised, I have never met one who has suggested a preferable alternative, and I know that at the time in the debates in Parliament even my noble friend Lord Sydenham welcomed the language of that Declaration, and nowhere, so far as I remember, did it excite any subatantial dissent. However, let that pass. My noble friend Lord Selborne was right in saying that, whether the phraseology was good or bad, it was a binding Declaration. It was a pledge not only upon Government but upon Parliament and upon the country, and all the subsequent proceedings have been an attempt—a loyal attempt—on the part of those concerned faithfully to carry that pledge into execution.

I can summarise in a sentence the stages that have been passed since that Declaration was made. There was first the visit of the Secretary of State to India and his consultation with the Viceroy. There was the hearing given to innumerable bodies, deputations, and individuals there. There have since been the corresponding visits of representative Indians to this country. There have been the different stages of this measure in both Houses of Parliament; there has been an abundant publication of correspondence with the Government of India and with the Local Governments; and, finally, we come to the stage of which we are now reaching the end—namely, the reference to the Joint Select Committee of both Houses of Parliament. In my judgment the real merit and success of the Bill in its final form is in the main due to the labours of that Committee.


Hear, hear.


In this House at any rate we have, as has more than once been pointed out, many noble Lords speaking with an experience—sometimes a life-long experience—of India, and devoted to its interests. We were fortunate in putting upon the Committee no fewer than two ex-Secretaries of State, two ex-Under-Secretaries for India, and one very influential ex-Governor, Lord Sydenham. If I may be allowed to say so, the success of the Committee appears to me to have been in the main due to the fact that it was presided over by a noble Lord whose conduct in the chair seems to me to have been a model of industry, fair-mindedness, and conscientious regard for the interests of the country whose future was for the moment so largely in his hands.


Hear, hear.


The Report of that Committee is in our possession. I myself have never read a more moderate or temperate or statesmanlike pronouncement upon a similar situation. I regard that Report as a State Paper of first-class importance. There is not in it the faintest trace of partisanship; it is wholly undisfigured by any rhetoric; the tone throughout is judicial; and, further—here I touch upon a point to which Lord Midleton alluded, although in a different context—the Report seems to me to have derived one of its chief merits from the fact that it was largely tinctured by Parliamentary experience. There were sitting upon that body men who were trained in the life and traditions of Parliament, who knew exactly what they were talking about, and who placed at the disposal of India the benefit of an experience here which you can trace in line after line and in paragraph after paragraph of the institutions they have endeavoured to create. Above all, I think their action has been very bold. They accepted the pronouncement of August, 1917, whether they wholly agreed with it or not; they did not regard it, however, as a slavish formula to which they were bound, but as a guiding principal to animate all their decisions. Nor, again—and I think they were right—did they regard the Bill, in the form in which it was introduced by the Secretary of State and passed its Second Reading in the House of Commons, as sacrosanct. I believe—I have seen the figures given—that their overhauling of the measure was so complete that, whereas it occupied thirty pages of print when it reached them, it filled no fewer than forty-eight when it left their hands. Indeed, in many respects they have made almost a new scheme, and in my judgment an incomparably better scheme than the old one. And there is this to be said also, I think, to their credit, that it cannot be charged against them that the changes they introduced into the Bill were in any way directed to whittling down or attenuating its main features. Rather do I think that, while imposing in some quarters necessary and prudent restrictions, they have to a large degree amplified and liberalised the measure in the process of dealing with it in Committee.

In the few moments with which I will occupy your Lordships, I will allude to one or two of these changes which have been introduced, or, at any rate, to those of them which have been commented upon in the debate this evening. As regards the dual system of government, this was a great and a novel experiment. I myself, I confess, regarded it with grave apprehension, and I do not know that my fears about the matter have been wholly removed even by the frank, and in some respects the ingenious, defence offered for it by my noble friend Lord Selborne this evening. What, however, did he tell us as to the attitude of his Committee? The noble Earl will correct me if I am wrong. Firstly, as I understand, he told us that after examining all the alternatives put before them—and I imagine those alternatives to have been numerous—they found that this was superior to them all; secondly, that they thought this was the best method of carrying out the policy outlined in the Declaration; and, thirdly, my noble friend went beyond that, because he defended it as an admirable system of government in itself, and in the course of that defence he succeeded in proving to his own satisfaction, if not to that of your Lordships, that the unitary system of government which now prevails in the Provinces of India is really a dual system in its worst form.


Oh, no! At present the members of the Executive Council in the Indian Provinces are selected solely because the Lieutenant-Governors think they are the best men for the posts. Under the system of the Lieutenant-Governors, or of my noble friend Lord Sydenham, after this Bill had become law, members of the Executive Council would have been composed in two parts, for two different reasons—one part because they were the best men in the Indian Civil Service for the posts, in the Governor's opinion, and the other because they commanded the confidence of a majority of the Legislative Council. I said that the moment you got appointment by two different motives you had duality.


I am much obliged to my noble friend for his explanation, which renders his defence of the dyarchy much less ingenious than I had thought it to be. Those are the reasons which my noble friend Lord Selborne has advanced for the findings of his Committee in this respect. I am glad, for my own part, to acknowledge that in leaving the dyarchy—I detest the phrase, as we all do—in leaving duality (or whatever you like to call it) in the Bill, the Joint Committee have robbed it, at any rate in my judgment, of some of its greatest dangers. They have, as it appears to me, diminished the opportunities for friction between the two parts of this two-headed Government. They have placed the responsibility upon the right shoulders, and they have pleaded and provided for close co-operation between the two sections of the Provincial Government. This will remain, in my judgment, a great experiment, but I think that the treatment of it by the Joint Committee has materially enhanced the chances of success and diminished the chances of failure.

There are several other respects in which my noble friend's Committee, as I think, greatly improved the original Bill. I speak of the changes they have introduced in the franchise proposals for the better representation of the people. I applaud their arrangements for the better representation of the rural areas, comprising as they do such an enoromous preponderance—I think my noble friend said 85 per cent.; I thought it was 90 per cent.—of the total population. I applaud their endeavour to secure better representation of those wretched, depressed, and outcast classes in India who also number many millions of the people; and I am glad that they have extended in some, quarters communal representation.

I think the Committee have very wisely refrained from touching female franchise. That is not a proposition which has ever excited my wild admiration in this country, and had my noble friend, even with his admitted prepossessions, proposed in this Bill to institute it in India, my opinion of his judgment and sanity would have been very much less than it now is. The fact is that the woman question cuts much more deeply into the roots of social life, of tradition, of custom, of prejudice if you like, in India, than it does here, and I think the Committee have done well to leave that matter to be dealt with not here, but, at some later date if it is dealt with at all, in India itself.

Disagreeing with one noble Lord on this side—I think Lord MacDonnell—and entirely agreeing with Lord Midleton, I warmly approve of the plan that there should be no change for ten years. I think that is a great improvement in the Bill. I need not recapitulate the arguments so powerfully advanced by my noble friend. The situation, the change from five to ten years, is accepted by the Government, and I believe it will give a better chance to this measure than almost any other alteration in the procedure could have done. I welcome the proposal about the Consolidated Fund.

And I must allude to one more of the Committee's findings to which I am astonished that no reference has been made in this House—that is, the question of fiscal policy. For the first time a responsible and representative British Committee, charged with shaping a Government for India, have conceded to India almost absolute freedom of fiscal policy. They have laid down the proposition and the principle that she ought to be free to exercise, in respect of her tariffs, the same degree of liberty as is enjoyed by the great Dominions of the Crown. That is a change so fundamental and fraught with such stupendous consequences than I am amazed at the little attention which it has attracted in this country. It will be, I do not say one of the main sources of possible difference in the future between certain sections of the community here and in India, but it is a starting point to a future career in the growth of self-governing institutions in India the importance of which cannot be exaggerated. I am the last to complain of it, because, in all the controversies about Cotton Duties, and so on, I have always fought the battles of India. Some of your Lordships may have heard me more than once do so in this House. Therefore I am delighted to see my views and my theories prevail. But do not let your Lordships lose sight of the fact that among the changes that have been created in this Bill, and among the powers that you are handing to India, this particular one is in many respects the most important of all.

A few words about the changes that have been introduced in the Government at home. I welcome the proposal that the salary of the Secretary of State should be placed upon the Estimates in the House of Commons. It is now nearly thirty years since I was Under-Secretary in that House, and even at that date I formed the opinion that there could be no possible disadvantage in treating the salary of the Secretary of State as the salaries of other high officials of the Government were treated, with a power on the part of the House to move a reduction of the Vote and to raise a discussion on this or that particular. I am glad that this has been done. I am glad also—and here I am fortunate in finding myself in agreement with Lord MacDonnell —that the Council of India has been spared. The Council of India in Charles-street is a body that all of us who have been concerned in the Government of India have at different times regarded with diverse sentiments. The Viceroy sometimes found them an intolerable nuisance when they interfered with what he conceived to be his indispensable measures. At other times, when they have saved him from what he regarded as the tyranny of the Secretary of State, he has regarded them as an invaluable protection. Similarly, the Secretary of State himself sometimes finds them most useful either as an adjunct or a buffer. But on other occasions when he wants to dispense with their advice he invents all sorts of constitutional fictions which enable him to do so. The great fault really of the Council of India here has been that it has never, at any rate within my recollection, possessed sufficient power or independence, and that the Secstary of State has tended, when he felt it necessary, to overrule or ignore it.

In this conflict of feeling produced by the action of the India Council I incline, on the whole, strongly to think that it is desirable that the Council should remain. The Joint Committee, I think, somewhere said that it represents tradition and authority in the India Office. I believe that is true, and, trying to view the matter dispassionately, I think that the existence of the India Council is much more likely to save the Secretary of State from error than it is to tempt him to commit mistakes. I am glad that the India Council is spared, and I hope that the suggested provision for a more continuous flow of experience and talent through it, and for a shorter term, will be carried into effect.

As I am speaking of Parliamentary procedure, will you allow me to echo in the strongest possible terms my cordial approval of the particular suggestion commented upon just now by Lord Midleton with regard to the creation of a Standing Committee upon India of both Houses of Parliament? That, I think, is one of the best changes introduced into the Bill. I am not alluding to the particular functions with which in Lord Selborne's Report they are charged. They are to advise on new rules that are made under the provisions of the Bill, and to advise on the Acts passed in exceptional circumstances by the Provincial Governor or the Governor-General in Council. It is not this that I am thinking of. I am thinking of its action here, in the ordinary sessions of Parliament, in keeping us in both Houses in closer touch with Indian affairs. I believe that such a Committee may be of the greatest use both to the Secretary of State and to Parliament itself. I hope that it will contain the best men, and that it will be the object of ambition and pride of all the great servants who come back from India, or of men who, though not having been to India, take a great personal interest in that country, to be placed on the Committee. If it is so composed, and contains men like those who served under my noble friend Lord Selborne and are inspired by the same high ideal of duty, I believe it will be capable of rendering great service to India and to this country.

One word about the effect that this measure will have upon the principal classes or individuals concerned. Just now a noble Lord alluded to the position of the Provincial Governor of the future, and more than once have I heard Lord Sydenham say that the position of such a Governor under this Bill will be one which he, at any rate, would have been most reluctant to assume. The Committee have certainly done their best to tell the Provincial Governor of the future what to do. I remember when I was a boy there were fashionable then certain little books containing, so to speak, a manual of deportment for young ladies belonging to the upper classes of this country. It is such a vade mecum that my-noble friend has constructed for the Provincial Governor of the future. When he takes his pocket book out of his pocket and reads the excellent maxims that my noble friend has suggested to him, hope he will find a method of extrication from the many difficulties in which he will otherwise be involved. But the position will be a very difficult one.

The lesson that I draw from it is this, that even more than in the past you must get the best men for the post. I sometimes think that in this country people hardly realise what a Provincial Governor is. They think he goes out there in a position of state and importance as representing the Crown. They do not know that he is the head, the vital, effective, and powerful head, of a most important and far-reaching organisation. There is in a Provincial Governorship in India material to attract the best abilities of this or any other country, and those of my noble friends sitting here who have been Provincial Governors will admit—though modesty would prevent them from expressing pride—that there is a natural tendency in India, not only in the Civil Service but amongst Indians themselves, to regard with great deference and respect those who occupy the position of Governor or Lieutenant-Governor. I hope that in the difficult circumstances that lie before us the Prime Minister, or whoever has the gift of these offices, will succeed in attracting to them the best of the character and talent that the House of Commons or the House of Lords or public life in this country can produce.

A great deal has been said to-night about the Indian Civil Service. Every one has joined in a tribute to them and their work which it is superfluous for me to repeat or endorse. We are told that some of them regard this measure with serious misgivings; that they are likely to sever their connection with India; and that the long traditional association with service in India, sometimes extending for generations in particular families, is likely to come to an end. These, if they be true, are grave dangers. They are grave for this reason, that the real secret of success in India is good administration. A good administrator means a contented people, a good district officer means a happy district, a good Commissioner means a contented division, and a good Governor means a settled Province. I cannot exaggerate the degree to which, in my judgment, the happiness of the people, which is the final test, depends on the quality, the character, the disinterestedness, the ability of the man who is at the top, be he Englishman or Indian—though I am speaking for the moment of Englishmen. If you lower that standard nothing can be more certain than that reaction will go down and down until it will find itself expressed in a less degree of tranquility and prosperity and happiness among the lower classes of population.

I dare say it is true—I am sure it is—that the life of the Indian Civil Servant will be a more difficult and less attractive one in the future. It has been growing so in my own recollection during the last fifteen or twenty years. But I would respectfully join in the appeal made to that Service by Lord Sinha, Lord Meston, and others who have spoken, and urge them to stay and carry on their work. In the transition period which lies before us, that work is more than ever required. We remember in our own history the interesting incident of the accession of a young female Sovereign to the Throne. Ignorant, although singularly well-educated, inexperienced, suddenly called to the highest station, in what did she find her help? She found her help in the presence at her side of an experienced and high-minded man of the world, Lord Melbourne. It was he who steered her through the difficulties of the early years, and it is precisely that kind of function which I hope the Indian Civil Servant, with all the experience of his service behind him, will be able yet to render to India. We want him to imbue with the old ideals those who are going to be the leaders of the future. We want him to train up a new school of native public servants in India. I cannot believe that the Indians in India will have any desire to kick down the ladder by which they themselves have risen. Rather do I think that in these initial stages they will be inclined to show great and deserved deference to those from whose teaching they have so much to gain.

Lastly, there are the Indians themselves. Although for years we have been placing in their hands an ever-increasing measure of authority and power, undoubtedly they are lifted now for the first time on to a high plane of responsibility. They have to exchange the irresponsible criticism in which they have indulged, and of which they have been such masters in the past, for responsible action. It is rather like the experience of the man in the House of Commons who, after being a reporter in the Gallery and having spent his life in criticising the attitude and conduct of members of Parliament below, descends from that elevation, takes his place on the floor, and becomes for the first time a speaker and legislator himself. The people of India have great gifts. They make good Judges, good lawyers, good speakers—we have seen that already in this House. They are wonderfully industrious and faithful in their discharge of departmental duties. The question which they now have to put to themselves, and which the world is waiting to see the answer to, is, Will they be fearless, upright, capable administrators and legislators; will they produce great men? A great chance lies in their hands. They have climbed up into the highest place of authority. Certain branches of administration are placed henceforward almost entirely at their disposal. My words may not carry any weight, although they are the words of a genuine friend of India, but I do pray them to remember that the eyes not only of India but of a much wider world are upon them, and that is rests with them to justify the opportunities with which they are now presented.

My Lords, this is a great experiment. I would not have quarrelled with anybody who used the words "daring experiment." I am not certain that I should cavil even at the word "rash." Anyhow, it is a great and daring experiment. One noble Lord asked the question, "Will India be better governed under it than it has been in the past?" I do not think it will. I do not think it will be so well governed. I think that the standard will tend to fall. Some noble Lord talked about efficiency, of which I was supposed in India to be an exponent, and said that efficiency is not the real or most important thing. I will not dispute about it, but I think in the existence and prevalence in the world of the kind of spirit to which some noble Lords have referred, and about which Lord Meston spoke—the modern ideal of nationalism and self-determination, and so on—in those countries they attach much more importance to being governed, even though not so well governed, by themselves, than they do to being even superbly governed by another race.

Some difficulties we must expect, but the way to meet them is, of course—it is a truism—for all the classes concerned to set about it together; and by that I do not merely mean the Englishman and the Indian in India—I mean the Government of India at home and the Government in India, in co-operation; and, above all, I refer to the two types of Press in India—the Anglo-Indian Press and the Indian Press. sometimes called the native or vernacular Press. I would urge my noble friend, or anyone whose voice carries far and wide in India, to make this a particular opportunity of introducing into the native Press in India a higher, fairer, and more judicial tone. Let them endeavour within their range of influence to make this project a success.

There is only one other party concerned, and that is Parliament. I hope that we in Parliament will not forget the responsibility which lies upon us. In the last resort Parliament is the tribunal to which every great Indian issue is referred. It was at the bar of a Parliamentary tribunal that Warren Hastings was arraigned. It is in the Houses of Parliament that every great Indian measure is introduced, and has to be carried, unless it fails. It was by a Parliamentary Committee that this measure has been shaped into the form in which it is presented to us this afternoon; and although we have created or re-created by this measure responsibility for the inhabitants of India themselves, do not let us forget that in the background there does and always must remain our responsibility here. I hope that over the future before this Bill, which I have commended to your Lordships, Parliament will watch with un emitting interest, and do everything in its power to facilitate the success of the greatest and boldest experiment that has ever been made in the history of the British Empire.


My Lords, I beg to move that this debate be now adjourned. I hope that this course will be convenient to your Lordships, for judging from the attendance there is no disposition to carry on the debate at present, and I imagine that a great many other members desire to speak.

Moved, That the debate be now adjourned.—(Lord Ampthill.)


My Lords, I earnestly hope that the House will not agree to that proposition. And pray do not let the noble Lord believe that it is from any reluctance to listen to him. I understood that he was going to speak earlier this afternoon. I saw his name down on the list, and I viewed his absence with considerable disappointment. The noble Lord really lost his opportunity of speaking, but if he still desires it he will have an opportunity of doing so at a later stage, because on the Motion to go into Committee it will still be possible for him to give us that privilege. To continue the Second Reading debate on this Bill for another day, in the great congestion of business, is a course which I could not possibly recommend to the House.


In view of what the noble Earl has said, I withdraw my Motion.

Motion to adjourn the debate, by leave, withdrawn.

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

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