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Indian speeches (1907-1909) by John Morley (AKA Viscount Morley)

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between the European and native populations, would be the very best
way that could be adopted to deprive them of fuel for their sinister
and mischievous designs. I hope your Lordships will agree in that, and
I should like to add one reason which I am sure will weigh very much
with you. I do not know whether your Lordships have read the speech
made last Friday by Sir Norman Baker, the new Lieutenant-Governor of
Bengal, in the Council at Calcutta, dealing with the point that I am
endeavouring to present. In a speech of great power and force, he said
that these repressive measures did not represent even the major part
of the true policy dealing with the situation. The greater task, he
said, was to adjust the machinery of government, so that their Indian
fellow-subjects might be allotted parts which a self-respecting people
could fill, and that when the constitutional reforms were announced,
as they would be shortly, he believed that the task of restoring order
would be on the road to accomplishment. For a man holding such
a position to make such a statement at that moment, is all the
corroboration that we need for persisting in our policy of reform. I
have talked with Indian experts of all kinds concerning reforms. I
admit that some have shaken their heads; they did not like reforms
very warmly. But when I have asked, "Shall we stand still, then?"
there is not one of those experienced men who has not said, "That is
quite impossible. Whatever else we do, we cannot stand still."

I should not be surprised if there are here some who say: You ought to
have some very strong machinery for putting down a free Press. A long
time ago a great Indian authority, Sir Thomas Munro, used language
which I will venture to quote, not merely for the purpose of this
afternoon's exposition, but in order that everybody who listens and
reads may feel the formidable difficulties that our predecessors have
overcome, and that we in our turn mean to try to overcome. Sir Thomas
Munro said--

"We are trying an experiment never yet tried in the
world--maintaining a foreign dominion by means of a native army;
and teaching that army, through a free Press, that they ought to
expel us, and deliver their country."

He went on to say--

"A tremendous revolution may overtake us, originating in a free

I recognise to the full the enormous force of a declaration of that
kind. But let us look at it as practical men, who have got to deal
with the government of the country. Supposing you abolish freedom of
the Press or suspend it, that will not end the business. You will
have to shut up schools and colleges, for what would be the use of
suppressing newspapers, if you do not shut the schools and colleges?
Nor will that be all. You will have to stop the printing of unlicensed
books. The possession of a copy of Milton, or Burke, or Macaulay,
or of Bright's speeches, and all that flashing array of writers and
orators who are the glory of our grand, our noble English tongue--the
possession of one of these books will, on this peculiar and puerile
notion of government, be like the possession of a bomb, and we shall
have to direct the passing of an Explosives Books Act. All this and
its various sequels and complements make a policy if you please. But
after such a policy had produced a mute, sullen, muzzled, lifeless
India, we could hardly call it, as we do now the brightest jewel in
the Imperial Crown. No English Parliament will ever permit such a

I do not think I need go through all the contents of the dispatch
of the Governor-General and my reply, containing the plan of His
Majesty's Government, which will be in your Lordships' hands very
shortly. I think your Lordships will find in them a well-guarded
expansion of principles that were recognised in 1861, and are still
more directly and closely connected with us now by the action of Lord
Lansdowne in 1892. I have his words, and they are really as true a key
to the papers in our hands as they were to the policy of the noble
Marquess at that date. He said--

"We hope, however, that we have succeeded in giving to our
proposals a form sufficiently definite to secure a satisfactory
advance in the representation of the people in our legislative
Councils, and to give effect to the principle of selection as far
as possible on the advice of such sections of the community as are
likely to be capable of assisting us in that manner."

Then you will find that another Governor-General in Council in India,
whom I greatly rejoice to see still among us, my noble friend the
Marquess of Ripon, said in 1882--

"It is not primarily with a view to the improvement of
administration, that this measure is put forward, it is chiefly
desirable as an instrument of political and popular education"

The doctrines announced by the noble Marquess opposite, and by
my noble friend, are the standpoint from which we approached the
situation and framed our proposals.

I will not trouble the House by going through the history of the
course of the proceedings--that will be found in the Papers. I believe
the House will be satisfied, just as I am satisfied, with the candour
and patience that have been bestowed on the preparation of the scheme
in India, and I hope I may add it has been treated with equal patience
and candour here; and the end of it is that, though some points of
difference arose, though the Government of India agreed to drop
certain points of their scheme--the Advisory Councils, for example--on
the whole there was remarkable agreement between the Government of
India and myself as to the best way of dealing with these proceedings
as to Legislative Councils. I will enumerate the points very shortly,
and though I am afraid it may be tedious, I hope your Lordships will
not find the tedium unbearable, because, after all, what you are
beginning to consider to-day, is the turning over of a fresh leaf
in the history of British responsibility to India. There are only a
handful of distinguished members of this House who understand the
details of Indian Administration, but I will explain them as shortly
as I can.

This is a list of the powers which we shall have to acquire from
Parliament when we bring in a Bill. I may say that we do not propose
to bring in a Bill this session. That would be idle. I propose to
bring in a Bill next year. This is the first power we shall come
to Parliament for. At present the maximum and minimum numbers of
Legislative Councils are fixed by statute. We shall come to Parliament
to authorise an increase in the numbers of those Councils, both the
Viceroy's Council and the Provincial Councils. Secondly, the members
are now nominated by the head of the Government, either the Viceroy or
the Lieutenant-Governor. No election takes place in the strict sense
of the term. The nearest approach to it is the nomination by the
Viceroy, upon the recommendation of a majority of voters of certain
public bodies. We do not propose to ask Parliament to abolish
nomination. We do propose to ask Parliament, in a very definite way,
to introduce election working alongside of nomination with a view to
the aim admitted in all previous schemes, including that of the noble
Marquess opposite--the due representation of the different classes of
the community. Third. The Indian Councils Act of 1892 forbids--and
this is no doubt a most important prohibition--either resolutions
or divisions of the Council in financial discussions. We shall ask
Parliament to repeal this prohibition. Fourth. We shall propose to
invest legislative Councils with power to discuss matters of public
and general importance, and to pass recommendations or resolutions
to the Indian Government. That Government will deal with them as
carefully, or as carelessly, as they think fit--just as a Government
does here. Fifth. To extend the power that at present exists, to
appoint a Member of the Council to preside. Sixth. Bombay and
Madras have now Executive Councils, numbering two. I propose to ask
Parliament to double the number of ordinary members. Seventh.
The Lieutenant-Governors have no Executive Council. We shall ask
Parliament to sanction the creation of such Councils, consisting of
not more than two ordinary members, and to define the power of the
Lieutenant-Governor to overrule his Council. I am perfectly sure there
may be differences of opinion as to these proposals. I only want your
Lordships to believe that they have been well thought out, and that
they are accepted by the Governor-General in Council.

There is one point of extreme importance which, no doubt, though it
may not be over diplomatic for me to say so at this stage, will create
some controversy. I mean the matter of the official majority. The
House knows what an official majority is. It is a device by which the
Governor-General, or the Governor of Bombay or Madras, may secure
a majority in his Legislative Council by means of officials and
nominees. And the officials, of course, for very good reasons, just
like a Cabinet Minister or an Under-Secretary, whatever the man's
private opinion may be, would still vote, for the best of reasons,
and I am bound to think with perfect wisdom, with the Government.
But anybody can see how directly, how palpably, how injuriously, an
arrangement of this kind tends to weaken, and I think I may say
even to deaden, the sense both of trust and responsibility in the
non-official members of these councils. Anybody can see how the system
tends to throw the non-official member into an attitude of peevish,
sulky, permanent opposition, and, therefore, has an injurious effect
on the minds and characters of members of these Legislative Councils.

I know it will be said--I will not weary the House by arguing it, but
I only desire to meet at once the objection that will be taken--that
these councils will, if you take away the safeguard of the official
majority, pass any number of wild-cat Bills. The answer to that is
that the head of the Government can veto the wild-cat Bills. The
Governor-General can withhold his assent, and the withholding of the
assent of the Governor-General is no defunct power. Only the other
day, since I have been at the India Office, the Governor-General
disallowed a Bill passed by a Local Government which I need not name,
with the most advantageous effect. I am quite convinced that if that
Local Government had had an unofficial majority the Bill would never
have been passed, and the Governor-General would not have had to
refuse his assent. But so he did, and so he would if these gentlemen,
whose numbers we propose to increase and whose powers we propose to
widen, chose to pass wild-cat Bills. And it must be remembered that
the range of subjects within the sphere of Provincial Legislative
Councils is rigorously limited by statutory exclusions. I will not
labour the point now. Anybody who cares, in a short compass, can grasp
the argument, of which we shall hear a great deal, in Paragraphs 17
to 20 of my reply to the Government of India, in the Papers that will
speedily be in your Lordships' hands.

There is one proviso in this matter of the official majority, in which
your Lordships may, perhaps, find a surprise. We are not prepared to
divest the Governor-General in his Council of an official majority.
In the Provincial Councils we propose to dispense with it, but in the
Viceroy's Legislative Council we propose to adhere to it. Only let
me say that here we may seem to lag a stage behind the Government of
India themselves--so little violent are we--because that Government
say, in their despatch--"On all ordinary occasions we are ready
to dispense with an official majority in the Imperial Legislative
Council, and to rely on the public spirit of non-official members to
enable us to carry on the ordinary work of legislation." My Lords,
that is what we propose to do in the Provincial Councils. But in the
Imperial Council we consider an official majority essential. It may be
said that this is a most flagrant logical inconsistency. So it would
be, on one condition. If I were attempting to set up a Parliamentary
system in India, or if it could be said that this chapter of reforms
led directly or necessarily up to the establishment of a Parliamentary
system in India, I, for one, would have nothing at all to do with it.
I do not believe--it is not of very great consequence what I believe,
because the fulfilment of my vaticinations could not come off very
soon--in spite of the attempts in Oriental countries at this moment,
interesting attempts to which we all wish well, to set up some sort
of Parliamentary system--it is no ambition of mine, at all events, to
have any share in beginning that operation in India. If my existence,
either officially or corporeally, were prolonged twenty times longer
than either of them is likely to be, a Parliamentary system in India
is not at all the goal to which I would for one moment aspire.

One point more. It is the question of an Indian member on the
Viceroy's Executive Council. The absence of an Indian member from the
Viceroy's Executive Council can no longer, I think, be defended. There
is no legal obstacle or statutory exclusion. The Secretary of State
can, to-morrow, if he likes, if there be a vacancy on the Viceroy's
Council, recommend His Majesty to appoint an Indian member. All I want
to say is that, if, during my tenure of office, there should be a
vacancy on the Viceroy's Executive Council, I should feel it a duty
to tender my advice to the King that an Indian member should be
appointed. If it were on my own authority only, I might hesitate to
take that step, because I am not very fond of innovations in dark and
obscure ground, but here I have the absolute and the zealous approval
and concurrence of Lord Minto himself. It was at Lord Minto's special
instigation that I began to think seriously of this step. Anyhow, this
is how it stands, that you have at this moment a Secretary of State
and a Viceroy who both concur in such a recommendation. I suppose--if
I may be allowed to give a personal turn to these matters--that Lord
Minto and I have had as different experience of life and the world as
possible, and we belong I daresay to different schools of national
politics, because Lord Minto was appointed by the party opposite. It
is a rather remarkable thing that two men, differing in this way in
political antecedents, should agree in this proposal. We need not
discuss what particular portfolio should be assigned to an Indian
member. That will be settled by the Viceroy on the merits of the
individual. The great object, the main object, is that the merits of
individuals are to be considered and to be decisive, irrespective and
independent of race and colour.

We are not altogether without experience, because a year ago, or
somewhat more, it was my good fortune to be able to appoint two Indian
gentlemen to the Council of India sitting at the Indian Office. Many
apprehensions reached me as to what might happen. So far, at all
events, those apprehensions have been utterly dissipated. The concord
between the two Indian members of the Council and their colleagues has
been unbroken, their work has been excellent, and you will readily
believe me when I say that the advantage to me of being able to ask
one of these two gentlemen to come and tell me something about an
Indian question from an Indian point of view, is enormous. I find
in it a chance of getting the Indian angle of vision, and I feel
sometimes as if I were actually in the streets of Calcutta.

I do not say there are not some arguments on the other side. But this,
at all events, must be common sense--for the Governor-General and the
European members of his Council to have at their side a man who knows
the country well, who belongs to the country and who can give him the
point of view of an Indian. Surely, my Lords, that cannot but prove an
enormous advantage.

Let me say further, on the Judicial Bench in India everybody
recognises the enormous service that it is to have Indian members of
abundant learning, and who add to that abundant learning a complete
knowledge of the conditions and life of the country. I propose at
once, if Parliament agrees, to acquire powers to double the Executive
Council in Bombay and Madras, and to appoint at least one Indian
member in each of those cases, as well as in the Governor-General's
Council. Nor, as the Papers will show, shall I be backward in
advancing towards a similar step, as occasion may require, in respect
of at least four of the major provinces.

I wish that this chapter had been opened at a more fortunate moment:
but as I said when I rose, I repeat--do not let us for a moment take
too gloomy a view. There is not the slightest occasion. None of those
who are responsible take gloomy views. They know the difficulties,
they are prepared to grapple with them. They will do their best to
keep down mutinous opposition. They hope to attract that good will
which must, after all, be the real foundation of our prosperity and
strength in India. We believe that this admission of the Indians to a
larger and more direct share in the government of their country and in
all the affairs of their country, without for a moment taking from
the central power its authority, will fortify the foundations of our
position. It will require great steadiness, constant pursuit of the
same objects, and the maintenance of our authority, which will be all
the more effective if we have, along with our authority, the aid and
assistance, in responsible circumstances, of the Indians themselves.

Military strength, material strength, we have in abundance. What we
still want to acquire is moral strength--moral strength in guiding
and controlling the people of India in the course on which time is
launching them. I should like to read a few lines from a great orator
about India. It was a speech delivered by Mr. Bright in 1858, when the
Government of India Bill was in another place. Mr. Bright said--

"We do not know how to leave India, and therefore let us see if we
know how to govern it. Let us abandon all that system of calumny
against natives of India which has lately prevailed. Had that
people not been docile, the most governable race in the world, how
could you have maintained your power there for 100 years? Are they
not industrious, are they not intelligent, are they not, upon the
evidence of the most distinguished men the Indian service ever
produced, endowed with many qualities which make them respected by
all Englishmen who mix with them?... I would not permit any man
in my presence without rebuke to indulge in the calumnies and
expressions of contempt which I have recently heard poured forth
without measure upon the whole population of India.... The people
of India do not like us, but they would scarcely know where
to turn if we left them. They are sheep, literally without a

However, that may be, we at least at Westminster here have no choice
and no option. As an illustrious Member of this House wrote--

"We found a society in a state of decomposition, and we have
undertaken the serious and stupendous process of reconstructing

Macaulay, for it was he, said--

"India now is like Europe in the fifth century."

Yes, a stupendous process indeed. The process has gone on with
marvellous success, and if we all, according to our various lights,
are true to our colours, that process will go on. Whatever is said, I
for one--though I am not what is commonly called an Imperialist--so
far from denying, I most emphatically affirm, that for us to preside
over this transition from the fifth European century in some parts, in
slow, uneven stages, up to the twentieth--so that you have before you
all the centuries at once as it were--for us to preside over that, and
to be the guide of peoples in that condition, is, if conducted with
humanity and sympathy, with wisdom, with political courage, not only a
human duty, but what has been often and most truly called one of the
most glorious tasks ever confided to any powerful State in the history
of civilised mankind.




[A deputation of the London Branch of the All-Indian Moslem League
waited upon the Secretary of State, in order to represent to him the
views of the Mussulmans of India on the projected Indian reforms.]

I am delighted to meet you to-day, because I have always felt in my
political experience, now pretty long, that it is when face answers
to face that you come best to points of controversial issue. I have
listened to the able speech of my friend Mr. Ameer Ali and to the
speech that followed, with close attention, not merely for the sake
of the arguments upon the special points raised, but because the
underlying feeling and the animating spirit of the two speeches are
full of encouragement. Why? Because instead of any hostile attitude
to our reforms as a whole, I find that you welcome them cordially and
with gratitude. I cannot say with what satisfaction I receive that
announcement. If you will allow me, I will, before I come to the
special points, say a few words upon the general position.

It is only five weeks, I think, since our scheme was launched, and I
am bound to say that at the end of those five weeks the position may
fairly be described as hopeful and promising. I do not think that the
millennium will come in five more weeks, nor in fifty weeks; but I do
say that for a scheme of so wide a scope to be received as this scheme
has been received, is a highly encouraging sign. It does not follow
that because we have launched our ship with a slant of fair wind, this
means the same thing as getting into harbour. There are plenty of
difficult points that we have got to settle. But when I try from my
conning-tower in this office, to read the signs in the political
skies, I am full of confidence. The great thing is that in every party
both in India and at home--in every party, and every section, and
every group--there is a recognition of the magnitude and the gravity
of the enterprise on which we have embarked. I studied very closely
the proceedings at Madras, and the proceedings at Amritsar, and in
able speeches made in both those places I find a truly political
spirit in the right sense of the word--in the sense of perspective and
proportion--which I sometimes wish could be imitated by some of my
political friends nearer home. I mean that issues, important enough
but upon which there is some difference, are put aside--for the time
only, if you like, but still put aside--in face of the magnitude of
the issues that we present to you in these reforms. On Monday, in _The
Times_ newspaper, there was a long and most interesting communication
from Bombay, written, I believe, by a gentleman of very wide Indian
knowledge and level-headed humour. What does he say? He takes account
of the general position as he found it in India shortly after my
Despatch arrived. "I might have dwelt," he says, "upon the fact that
I have not met a single official who does not admit that some changes
which should gratify Indian longings were necessary, and I might have
expatiated upon the abounding evidence that Lord Morley's despatch
and speech have unquestionably eased a tension which had become
exceedingly alarming." That is a most important thing, and I believe
Parliament has fully recognised it.

We cannot fold our arms and say that things are to go on as they did
before, and I rejoice to see what this gentleman says. He is talking
of officials, and I always felt from the beginning that if we did not
succeed in carrying with us the goodwill of that powerful service,
there would be reason for suspecting that we were wrong upon the
merits, and even if we were not wrong on the merits, there would
be reason for apprehending formidable difficulties. I have myself
complete confidence in them. I see in some journals of my own party
suspicions thrown upon the loyalty of that service to his Majesty's
Government of the day. It is absurd to think anything of the kind. If
our policy and our proposals receive the approval of Parliament and
the approval of officials, such as those spoken of in _The Times_ the
other day, I am perfectly sure there will be no more want of goodwill
and zeal on the part of the Indian Civil Service, than there would
be in the officers of his Majesty's Fleet, or his Majesty's Army. It
would be just the same. I should like to read another passage from
_The Times_ letter:--"It would probably be incorrect to say that
the bulk of the Civil Service in the Bombay Presidency are gravely
apprehensive. Most of them are not unnaturally anxious"--I agree;
it is perfectly natural that they should be anxious--"but the main
officials in whose judgment most confidence can be placed, regard the
future with the buoyant hopefulness without which an Englishman in
India is lost indeed." All that is reassuring, and no sign nor whisper
reaches me that any responsible man or any responsible section or
creed, either in India or here, has any desire whatever to wreck our
scheme. And let me go further. Statesmen abroad showing themselves
capable of reflection, are watching us with interest and wishing us
well. Take the remarkable utterance of President Roosevelt the other
day at Washington. And if we turn from Washington to Eastern Europe, I
know very well that any injustice, any suspicion that we were capable
of being unjust, to Mahomedans in India, would certainly provoke a
severe and injurious reaction in Constantinople. I am alive to all
these things. Mr. Ameer Ali said he was sure the Secretary of State
would mete out just and equitable treatment to all interests, if their
views were fairly laid before him. He did me no more than justice.

The Government are entirely zealous and in earnest, acting in thorough
good faith, in the desire to press forward these proposals. I may tell
you that our Bill is now quite ready. I shall introduce it at the
first minute after the Address is over, and, when it reaches the
Commons, it will be pressed forward with all the force and resolution
that Parliamentary conditions permit. These are not mere pious
opinions or academic reforms; they are proposals that are to take
Parliamentary shape at the earliest possible moment; and after taking
Parliamentary shape, no time will, I know, be lost in India in
bringing them as rapidly as possible into practical operation.

Now the first point Mr. Ameer Ali made was upon the unfairness to the
members of the Mahomedan community, caused by reckoning in the Hindu
census a large multitude of men who are not entitled to be there. I
submit that it is not very easy--and I have gone into the question
very carefully--to divide these lower castes and to classify them.
Statisticians would be charged with putting too many into either one
or the other division, wherever you choose to draw the line. I know
the force of the argument, and am willing to attach to it whatever
weight it deserves. I wish some of my friends in this country would
study the figures of what are called the lower castes, because they
would then see the enormous difficulty and absurdity of applying to
India the same principles that are excellent guides to us Westerns who
have been bred on the pure milk of the Benthamite word--one man one
vote and every man a vote. That dream, by the way, is not quite
realised even in this country; but the idea of insisting on a
principle of that sort is irrational to anybody who reflects on this
multiplicity and variety of race and castes.

Then there is the question of the joint electorate--what is called the
mixed electoral college. I was very glad to read this paragraph in the
paper that you were good enough to send to me. You recognise the very
principle that was at the back of our minds, when we came to the
conclusion about mixed electoral college. You say:--"In common with
other well-wishers of India, the Committee look forward to a time when
the development of a true spirit of compromise, or the fusion of
the races, may make principles indicated by his Lordship capable of
practical application without sacrificing the interests of any of
the nationalities, or giving political ascendency to one to the
disadvantage of the others. But the Committee venture to think that,
however ready the country may be for constitutional reforms, the
interests of the two great communities of India must be considered
and dealt with separately." Therefore, to begin with, the difference
between us in principle about the joint electorate is only this: we
are guilty of nothing worse than that we were premature, in the views
of these gentlemen--we were impatient idealists. You say to me, "It is
very fine; we hope it will all come true; but you are premature;
we must wait." Still, though premature, I observe that your own
suggestion in one of those papers adopts and accepts the principle of
the scheme outlined in our despatch. It is quite true to say, "Oh,
but you are vague in your despatch." Yes, a despatch is not a Bill.
A Minister writing a despatch does not put in all the clauses and
sections and subsections and schedules. It is the business of a
Minister composing a despatch like mine of November 27, 1908, to
indicate only general lines--general enough to make the substance and
body of the scheme intelligible, but still general. I should like to
say a word about the despatch. It is constantly assumed that in the
despatch we prescribed and ordered the introduction of the joint
electoral college. If any of you will be good enough to look at the
words, you will find that no language of that sort--no law of the
Medes and Persians--is to be found in it. If you refer to paragraph 12
you will see that our language is this:--

"I suggest for your consideration that the object in view might be
better secured, at any rate in the more advanced provinces in India,
by a modification of the system of popular electorate founded on the
principle of electoral colleges."

You see it was merely a suggestion thrown out for the Government of
India, not a direction of the Mede and Persian stamp. You say, "That
for the purpose of electing members to the Provincial Councils,
electoral colleges should be constituted on lines suggested by his
Lordship, composed exclusively of Mahomedans whose numbers and mode of
grouping should be fixed by executive authority." This comes within
the principle of my despatch, and we shall see--I hope very
speedily--whether the Government of India discover objections to its
practicability. Mark, electoral colleges "composed exclusively of
Mahomedans whose members and mode of grouping should be fixed by
executive authority"--that is a proposition which is not outside the
despatch. Whether practicable or not, it is a matter for discussion
between us here and the Government in India.

The aim of the Government and yours is identical--that there shall
be (to quote Mr. Ameer Ali's words) "adequate, real, and genuine
Mahomedan representation." Now, where is the difference between us?
The machinery we commended, you do not think possible. As I have
told you, the language of the despatch does not insist upon a mixed
electoral college. It would be no departure in substance from the
purpose of our suggestion, that there should be a separate Mahomedan
electorate--an electorate exclusively Mahomedan; and in view of
the wide and remote distances, and difficulties of organisation in
consequence of those distances in the area constituting a large
province, I am not sure that this is not one of those cases where
election by two stages would not be convenient, and so there might be
a separate electoral college exclusively Mahomedan. That is, I take
it, in accordance with your own proposal. There are various methods by
which it could be done. In the first place, an election exclusively
Mahomedan might be direct into the legislative council. To this it
may be said that it would be impossible by reason of distance. In the
second place, you could have an election by separate communities to a
local board, and the local board should be the electoral college, the
Mahomedans separating themselves from the other members of the board
for that purpose. Thirdly, the members of the local board, the
communities being separate in the same way, could return a member for
the electoral college. Fourthly, you might have a direct election to
an electoral college by the community, and this electoral college
would return a representative to the legislative council. These, you
see, are four different expedients which well deserve consideration
for attaining our end.

I go to the next point, the apprehensions lest if we based our system
on numerical strength alone, a great injustice would be done to
your community. Of course we all considered that, from the Viceroy
downwards. Whether your apprehensions are well founded or not, it is
the business of those who call themselves statesmen to take those
apprehensions into account, and to do the best we can in setting up
a working system to allay and meet such apprehensions. If you take
numerical strength as your basis, in the Punjab and Eastern Bengal
Mahomedans are in a decisive majority. In the Punjab the Moslem
population is 53 per cent. to 38 per cent. Hindu. In Eastern Bengal 58
per cent. are Moslem and 37 per cent. are Hindu. Therefore, in those
two provinces, on the numerical basis alone, the Mahomedans will
secure sufficient representation. In Madras, on the other hand,
the Hindus are 89 per cent. against 6 per cent. of Moslems, and,
therefore, numbers would give no adequate representation to Moslem
opinion. In Bombay the Moslems are in the ratio of 3-3/4 to 14
millions--20 per cent. to 77 per cent. The conditions are very complex
in Bombay, and I need not labour the details of this complexity. I am
inclined to agree with those who think that it might be left to
the local Government to take other elements into view required or
suggested by local conditions. Coming to the United Provinces, there
the Moslems are 6-3/4 millions to 40-3/4 Hindus--14 per cent. to 85
per cent. This ratio of numerical strength no more represents the
proportion in the elements of weight and importance, than in Eastern
Bengal does the Hindu ratio of 37 per cent. to 58 per cent. of
Moslems. You may set off each of those two cases against the other.
Then there is the great province of Bengal, where the Moslems are
one-quarter of the Hindus--9 millions to 39 millions--18 per cent. to
77 per cent.

We all see, then, that the problem presents extraordinary difficulty.
How are you going in a case like the United Provinces, for example, to
secure that adequate and substantial representation, which it is the
interest and the desire of the Government for its own sake to secure.
No fair-minded Moslem would deny in Eastern Bengal, any more than a
fair-minded non-Moslem would deny it in the United Provinces, that
there is no easy solution. You see, gentlemen, I do not despair
of finding a fair-minded man in a controversy of this kind. From
information that reaches me I do not at all despair of meeting
fair-minded critics of both communities, in spite of the sharp
antagonism that exists on many matters between them. But, whatever may
be the case with Mahomedans and Hindus, there is one body of men
who are bound to keep a fair mind, and that is the Government. The
Government are bound, whatever you may do among yourselves, strictly,
and I will even say sternly, to insist on overcoming all obstacles
in a spirit of absolute equity. Now, what is the object of the
Government? It is that the Legislative Councils should represent truly
and effectively, with a reasonable approach to the balance of real
social forces, the wishes and needs of the communities themselves.
That is the object of the Government, and in face of a great problem
of that kind, algebra, arithmetic, geometry, logic--none of these
things will do your business for you. You have to look at it widely
and away from those sciences, excellent in their place, but not of
much service when you are solving awkward political riddles. I think
if you allow some method of leaving to a local authority the power of
adding to the number of representatives from the Mahomedan community,
or the Hindu community, as the case may be, that might be a possible
and prudent way of getting through this embarrassment. Let us all be
clear of one thing, namely--and I thought of this when I heard one
or two observations that fell from Mr. Ameer Ali--that no general
proposition can be wisely based on the possession by either community,
either of superior civil qualities or superior personal claims. If you
begin to introduce that element, you perceive the perils to that peace
and mutual goodwill which we hope to emerge by-and-by, though it may
take longer than some think. I repeat that I see no harm from the
point of view of a practical working compromise, in the principle
that population, or numerical strength, should be the main factor in
determining how many representatives should sit for this or the other
community; but modifying influences may be both wisely and equitably
taken into account in allotting the numbers of such representatives.

As regards Indian members on the Executive Council, if you will allow
me to say so, I think it was dubious tactics in you to bring that
question forward. We were told by those who object, for instance,
to my recommending to the Crown an Indian member of the Viceroy's
Executive--that it will never do; that if you choose a man of one
community, the other will demand a second. The Executive Council in
all--this will not be in the Bill--consists of six members. Suppose
there were to be two vacancies, and I were to recommend to the Crown
the appointment of one Mahomedan and one Hindu, the effect would be
that of the six gentlemen one-third would be non-English. You may
think that all right, but it would be a decidedly serious step.
Suppose you say you will bring in a Bill, then, for the purpose of
appointing an extra member always to be an Indian. That is much more
easily said than done. I am talking perfectly plainly. You would not
get such a Bill. I want to talk even more plainly. I want to say
that reference to the Hindu community or the Mahomedan community, in
respect to the position of the Viceroy's Executive, is entirely wide
of the mark in the view, I know, both of the Viceroy and of myself.
If, as I have already said I expect, it may be my duty by-and-by to
recommend to the Crown the name of an Indian member, it will not be
solely for the sake of placing on the Viceroy's Executive Council an
Indian member simply as either a Hindu or a Mahomedan. Decidedly we
are of opinion that the Governor-General in Council will be all the
more likely to transact business wisely, if he has a responsible
Indian adviser at his elbow. But the principle in making such
a recommendation to the Crown, would be to remove the apparent
disability in practice--for there is no disability in law--of an
Indian holding a certain appointment because he is an Indian. That is
a principle we do not accept; and the principle I should go upon--and
I know Lord Minto would say exactly the same--is the desirability
of demonstrating that we hold to the famous promise made in the
proclamation of Queen Victoria in 1858, that if a man is fully
qualified in proved ability and character to fill a certain post, he
shall not be shut out by race or religious faith. There is a very
great deal more to be said on this most important subject; but to-day
I need only tell you--which I do with all respect, without complaining
of what you have said, and without denying that in practical
usage some day there may be means of alternation for meeting your
difficulty--I see no chance whatever of our being able to comply with
your present request.

I have endeavoured to meet you as fairly as I possibly could. I assure
you again we are acting in earnest, with zeal and entire good faith;
and any suggestion that any member of the Government, either in this
office or the Government of India, has any prejudice whatever against
Mahomedans, for the purposes of political administration in India, is
one of the idlest and most wicked misapprehensions that could possibly
enter into the political mind. I am greatly encouraged by having met
you. I am sure that you speak in the name of important bodies of your
own countrymen and of your own community. I am sure that you are going
to look at our proposals in a fair and reasonable spirit, and give
us credit for a desire to do the best that we possibly can in the
interests of all the communities in India, including also the
interests of the British Government. I can only tell you further, that
if this action of ours fails, miscarries, and is wrecked, it will be
a considerable time before another opportunity occurs. You will never
again--I do not care whether the time be long or be short--you will
never again have the combination of a Secretary of State and a
Viceroy, who are more thoroughly in earnest in their desire to improve
Indian government, and to do full justice to every element of the
Indian population.




MY LORDS. I invite the House to take to-day the first definite and
operative step in carrying out the policy that I had the honour of
describing to your Lordships just before Christmas, and that has
occupied the active consideration both of the Home Government and of
the Government of India for very nearly three years. The statement was
awaited in India with an expectancy that with time became impatience,
and it was received in India--and that, after all, is the point to
which I looked with the most anxiety--with intense interest and
attention and various degrees of approval, from warm enthusiasm to
cool assent and acquiescence.

A few days after the arrival of my despatch, a deputation waited upon
the Viceroy unique in its comprehensive character. Both Hindus and
Mahomedans were represented; and they waited upon the Viceroy to offer
warm expressions of gratitude for the scheme that was unfolded
before them. A few days later at Madras the Congress met; they, too,
expressed their thanks to the Home Government and to the Government
of India. The Moslem League met at Amritsar; they were warm in their
approval of the policy which they took to be foreshadowed in the
despatch, though they found fault with the defects they thought they
had discovered in the scheme, and implored the Government, both in
India and here, to remedy those defects. So far as I know--and I do
beg your Lordships to note these details of the reception of our
policy in India--there has been no sign in any quarter, save in the
irreconcilable camp, of anything like organised hostile opinion among
either Indians or Anglo-Indians.

The Indian Civil Service I will speak of very shortly. I will pass
them by for the moment. Lord Lansdowne said truly the other night that
when I spoke at the end of December, I used the words "formidable and
obscure" as describing the situation, and he desired to know whether
I thought the situation was still obscure and formidable. I will not
abandon the words, but I think the situation is less formidable and
less obscure. Neither repression on the one hand, nor reform on the
other, could possibly be expected to cut the roots of anarchical crime
in a few weeks. But with unfaltering repression on the one hand, and
vigour and good faith in reform on the other, we see solid reason to
hope that we shall weaken, even if we cannot destroy, those baleful

There are, I take it, three classes of people that we have to consider
in dealing with a scheme of this kind. There are the extremists, who
nurse fantastic dreams that some day they will drive us out of India.
In this group there are academic extremists and physical force
extremists, and I have seen it stated on a certain authority--it
cannot be more than a guess--that they do not number, whether academic
or physical force extremists, more than one-tenth, or even three per
cent. of what are called the educated class in India. The second
group nourish no hopes of this sort; they hope for autonomy or
self-government of the colonial species and pattern. The third
section in this classification ask for no more than to be admitted to
co-operation in our administration, and to find a free and effective
voice in expressing the interests and needs of their people. I believe
the effect of the reforms has been, is being, and will be, to draw the
second class, who hope for colonial autonomy, into the ranks of the
third class, who will be content with admission to a fair and workable
co-operation. A correspondent wrote to me the other day and said:--

"We seem to have caught many discontented people on the rebound,
and to have given them an excuse for a loyalty which they have
badly wanted."

In spite of all this, it is a difficult and critical situation. Still,
by almost universal admission it has lost the tension that strained
India two or three months ago, and public feeling is tranquillised,
certainly beyond any expectation that either I or the Viceroy ventured
to entertain.

The atmosphere has changed from dark and sullen to hopeful, and I am
sure your Lordships will allow me to be equally confident that nothing
will be done at Westminster to overcloud that promising sky. The noble
Marquess the other day said--and I was delighted to hear it--that
he, at all events, would give us, with all the reservations that
examination of the scheme might demand from him, a whole-hearted
support here, and his best encouragement to the men in India. I
accept that, and I lean upon it, because if anything were done at
Westminster, either by delay or otherwise, to show a breach in what
ought to be the substantial unity of Parliamentary opinion in face of
the Indian situation, it would be a marked disaster. I would venture
on the point of delay to say this. Your Lordships will not suspect me
of having any desire to hurry the Bill, but I remember that when Lord
Cross brought in the Bill of 1892 Lord Kimberley, so well known and so
popular in this House, used language which I venture to borrow from
him, and to press upon your Lordships to-day--

"I think it almost dangerous to leave a subject of this kind hung
up to be perpetually discussed by all manner of persons, and,
having once allowed that, at all events, some amendment is
necessary in regard to the mode of constituting the Legislative
Councils, it is incumbent upon the Government and Parliament
to pass the Bill which they may think expedient as speedily as
possible into law."

Considerations of social order and social urgency in India make that
just as useful to be remembered to-day, as it was useful then.

The noble Marquess the other day, in a very courteous manner,
administered to me an exhortation and an admonition--I had almost said
a lecture--as to the propriety of deferring to the man on the spot,
and the danger of quarrelling with the man on the spot. I listened
with becoming meekness and humility, but then it occurred to me that
the language of the noble Marquess was not original. Those noble Lords
who share the Bench with him, gave deep murmurs of approval to the
homily that was administered to me. They forgot that they once had a
man on the spot, the man then being that eminent and distinguished
personage whom I may be allowed to congratulate upon his restoration
to health and to his place in this Assembly. He said this, which
the noble Marquess will see is a fair original for his own little
discourse; it was said after the noble Lord had thrown up the reins--

"What I wish to say to high officers of State and members of
Government is this, as far as you can trust the man on the spot.
Do not weary or fret or nag him with your superior wisdom. They
claim no immunity from errors of opinion or judgment, but their
errors are nothing compared with yours."

The remonstrance, therefore, of Lord Curzon, addressed to the noble
Lords sitting near him, is identical with the warning which I have
laid to heart from the noble Marquess.

The House will pardon me if for a moment I dwell upon what by
application is an innuendo conveyed in the admonition of the noble
Marquess. I have a suspicion that he considered his advice was needed;
he expressed the hope that all who were responsible for administration
in India would have all the power for which they had a right to ask.
Upon that I can--though I am half reluctant to do it--completely
clear my character. In December last, shortly before I addressed your
Lordships, Lord Minto, having observed there was some talk of my
interference with him and his Council, telegraphed these words, and
desired that I should make use of them whenever I thought fit--

"I hope you will say from me in as strong language as you may
choose to use, that in all our dealings with sedition I could not
be more strongly supported than I have been by you. The question
of the control of Indian administration by the Secretary of State,
mixed up as it is with the old difficulties of centralisation, we
may very possibly look at from different points of view. But that
has nothing to do with the support the Secretary of State gives
to the Viceroy, and which you have given to me in a time of great
difficulty, and for which I shall always be warmly grateful."

The MARQUESS OF LANSDOWNE: I think the noble Viscount will see from
the report of my speech, that the part he has quoted had reference to
measures of repression, and that what I said was that justice should
be prompt, that it was undesirable that there should be appeals from
one Court to another, or from provincial Governments to the Government
in Calcutta, or from the Government at Calcutta to the Secretary of
State for India. I did not mean to imply merely the Viceroy, but the
men responsible for local government.

VISCOUNT MORLEY: I do not think that when the noble Marquess refers to
the report of his speech he will find I have misrepresented him. At
all events, he will, I do believe, gladly agree that, in dealing with
sedition, I have on the whole given all the support the Government of
India or anybody else concerned had a right to ask for.

I will now say a word about the Indian Civil Service. Three years
ago, when we began these operations, I felt that a vital condition of
success was that we should carry the Indian Civil Service with us, and
that if we did not do this, we should fail. But human nature being
what it is, and temperaments varying as they do, it is natural
to expect a certain amount of criticism, minute criticism, and
observation, I have had that, but will content myself with one
quotation from the Lieutenant-Governor of Bengal, well known to the
noble Lord opposite. What did he say, addressing the Legislative
Council a few weeks ago?--

"I hold that a solemn duty rests upon the officers of Government
in all branches, and more particularly upon the officers of the
Civil Service, so to comport themselves in the inception and
working of the new measures as to make the task of the people and
their leaders easy. It is incumbent upon them loyally to accept
the principle that these measures involve the surrender of some
portion of the authority and control which they now exercise, and
some modifications of the methods of administration. If that task
is approached in a grudging or reluctant spirit, we shall be
sowing the seeds of failure, and shall forfeit our claim to
receive the friendly co-operation of the representatives of the
people. We must be prepared to support, defend, and carry through
the administrative policy, and in a certain degree even the
executive acts of the Government in the Council, in much the same
way as is now prescribed in regard to measures of legislation; and
we must further be prepared to discharge this task without the aid
of a standing majority behind us. We will have to resort to the
more difficult arts of persuasion and conciliation, in the place
of the easier methods of autocracy. This is no small demand to
make on the resources of a service whose training and traditions
have hitherto led its members rather to work for the people, than
through the people or their representatives. But I am nevertheless
confident that the demand will not be made in vain. For more than
a hundred years, in the time of the Company and under the rule of
the Crown, the Indian Civil Service has never failed to respond
to whatever call has been made upon it or to adapt itself to the
changing environment of the time. I feel no doubt that officers
will be found who possess the natural gifts, the loyalty, the
imagination, and the force of character which will be requisite
for the conduct of the administration under the more advanced form
of government to which we are about to succeed."

These words I commend to your Lordships. They breathe a fine and high
spirit; they admirably express the feeling of a sincere man; and I do
not believe anybody who is acquainted with the Service doubts that
this spirit, so admirably expressed, will pervade the Service in the
admittedly difficult task that now confronts them.

The Bill is a short one, and will speak for itself. I shall be brief
in referring to it, for in December last I made what was practically
a Second-Reading speech. I may point out that there are two rival
schools, and that the noble Lord opposite (Lord Curzon) may be said
to represent one of them. There are two rival schools, one of which
believes that better government of India depends on efficiency, and
that efficiency is in fact the main end of our rule in India. The
other school, while not neglecting efficiency, looks also to what is
called political concession. I think I am doing the noble Lord no
injustice in saying that, during his remarkable Vice-royalty, he did
not accept the necessity for political concession, but trusted to
efficiency. I hope it will not be bad taste to say in the noble Lord's
presence, that you will never send to India, and you have never sent
to India, a Viceroy his superior, if, indeed, his equal, in force of
mind, in unsparing and remorseless industry, in passionate and devoted
interest in all that concerns the well-being of India, with an
imagination fired by the grandeur of the political problem that India
presents--you never sent a man with more of all these attributes than
when you sent Lord Curzon. But splendidly designed as was his work
from the point of view of efficiency, he still left in India a state
of things, when we look back upon it, that could not be held a
satisfactory crowning of a brilliant and ambitious career.

I am as much for efficiency as the noble Lord, but I do not
believe--and this is the difference between him and myself--that you
can now have true, solid, endurable efficiency without what are called
political concessions. I know the risks. The late Lord Salisbury,
speaking on the last Indian Councils Bill, spoke of the risk of
applying occidental machinery in India. Well, we ought to have thought
of that before we applied occidental education; we applied that, and a
measure of occidental machinery must follow. Legislative Councils once
called into existence, then it was inevitable that you would have
gradually, in Lord Salisbury's own phrase, to popularise them, so as
to bring them into harmony with the dominant sentiments of the
people in India. The Bill of 1892 admittedly contained the elective
principle, and our Bill to-day extends that principle. The noble Lord
(Viscount Cross) will remember the Bill of 1892, of which he had
charge in the House of Commons. I want the House to be good enough to
follow the line taken by Mr. Gladstone, because I base myself on that.
There was an amendment moved and it was going to a division, but Mr.
Gladstone begged his friends not to divide, because, he said, it was
very important that we should present a substantial unity to India.
This is upon the question of either House considering a Bill like the
Bill that is now on the Table--a mere skeleton of a Bill if you like.
I see it has been called vague and sketchy. It cannot be anything
else, on the broad principle set out by Mr. Gladstone--

"It is the intention of the Government [that is, the Conservative
Government] that a serious effort shall be made to consider
carefully those elements which India in its present condition may
furnish, for the introduction into the Councils of India of the
elective principle. If that effort is seriously to be made, by
whom is it to be made? I do not think it can be made by this
House, except through the medium of empowering provisions. The
best course we could take would be to commend to the authorities
of India what is a clear indication of the principles on which we
desire them to proceed. It is not our business to devise machinery
for the purpose of Indian Government. It is our business to give
to those who represent Her Majesty in India ample information as
to what we believe to be sound principles of Government: and it
is, of course, the function of this House to comment upon any case
in which we may think they have failed to give due effect to those

I only allude to Mr. Gladstone's words, in order to let the House know
that I am taking no unusual course in leaving the bulk of the work,
the details of the work, to the Government of India. Discussion,
therefore, in Parliament will necessarily not, and cannot, turn
substantially upon details. But no doubt it is desirable that the main
heads of the regulations, rules, and proclamations to be made by the
Government of India under sanction of the India Office, should be more
or less placed within the reach and knowledge of the House so far as
they are complete. The principles of the Bill are in the Bill, and
will be affirmed, if your Lordships are pleased to read it a second
time. The Committee points, important as they are, can well be dealt
with in Committee. The view of Mr. Gladstone was cheerfully accepted
by the House of Commons then, and I hope it will be accepted by your
Lordships to-day.

There is one very important chapter in these regulations, which I
think now on the Second Reading of the Bill, without waiting for
Committee, I ought to say a few words to your Lordships about--I mean
the Mahomedans. That is a part of the Bill and scheme that has no
doubt attracted a great deal of criticism, and excited a great deal of
feeling in that important community. We suggested to the Government of
India a certain plan. We did not prescribe it, we did not order it,
but we suggested and recommended this plan for their consideration--no
more than that. It was the plan of a mixed or composite electoral
college, in which Mahomedans and Hindus should pool their votes, so to
say. The wording of the recommendation in my despatch was, as I soon
discovered, ambiguous--a grievous defect, of which I make bold to hope
I am not very often in public business guilty. But, to the best of
my belief, under any construction the plan of Hindus and Mahomedans
voting together, in a mixed and composite electorate, would have
secured to the Mahomedan electors, wherever they were so minded, the
chance of returning their own representatives in their due proportion.
The political idea at the bottom of this recommendation, which has
found so little favour, was that such composite action would bring
the two great communities more closely together, and this hope of
promoting harmony was held by men of high Indian authority and
experience who were among my advisers at the India Office. But the
Mahomedans protested that the Hindus would elect a pro-Hindu upon it,
just as I suppose in a mixed college of say seventy-five Catholics and
twenty-five Protestants voting together, the Protestants might suspect
that the Catholics voting for the Protestant would choose what is
called a Romanising Protestant, and as a little of a Protestant
as they could find. Suppose the other way. In Ireland there is an
expression, a "shoneen" Catholic--that is to say, a Catholic who,
though a Catholic, is too friendly with English Conservatism and other
influences which the Nationalists dislike. And it might be said, if
there were seventy-five Protestants against twenty-five Catholics,
that the Protestants when giving a vote in the way of Catholic
representation, would return "shoneens." I am not going to take your
Lordships' time up by arguing this to-day. With regard to schemes
of proportional representation, as Calvin said of another study,
"Excessive study of the Apocalypse either finds a man mad, or makes
him so." At any rate, the Government of India doubted whether our plan
would work, and we have abandoned it. I do not think it was a bad
plan, but it is no use, if you are making an earnest attempt in good
faith at a general pacification, to let parental fondness for a clause
interrupt that good process by sitting obstinately tight.

The Mahomedans demand three things. I had the pleasure of receiving
a deputation from them, and I know very well what is in their minds.
They demand the election of their own representatives to these
councils in all the stages, just as in Cyprus, where I think,
the Mahomedans vote by themselves. They have nine votes and the
non-Mahomedans have three, or the other way about. So in Bohemia,
where the Germans vote alone and have their own register. Therefore we
are not without a precedent and a parallel, for the idea of a separate
register. Secondly, they want a number of seats somewhat in excess of
their numerical strength. Those two demands we are quite ready and
intend to meet in full. There is a third demand that, if there is a
Hindu on the Viceroy's Executive Council--a subject on which I will
venture to say something to your Lordships before I sit down--there
should be two Indian members on the Viceroy's Council and one should
be a Mahomedan. Well, as I told them and as I now tell your Lordships,
I see no chance whatever of meeting their views in that way.

To go back to the point of the registers, some may be shocked at
the idea of a religious register at all, a register framed on the
principle of religious belief. We may wish--we do wish--that it
were otherwise. We hope that time, with careful and impartial
statesmanship, will make things otherwise. Only let us not forget
that the difference between Mahomedanism and Hinduism is not a mere
difference of articles of religious faith or dogma. It is a difference
in life, in tradition, in history, in all the social things as well as
articles of belief, that constitute a community. Do not let us forget
what makes it interesting and even exciting. Do not let us forget
that, in talking of Hindus and Mahomedans, we are dealing with, and
are brought face to face with, vast historic issues. We are dealing
with the very mightiest forces that through all the centuries and
ages have moulded the fortunes of great States and the destinies of
countless millions of mankind. Thoughts of that kind, my Lords,
are what give to Indian politics and to Indian work extraordinary
fascination, though at the same time they impose the weight of an
extraordinary burden.

I come to the question which, I think, has excited, certainly in this
country, more interest than anything else in the scheme before you--I
mean the question of an Indian member on the Viceroy's Executive
Council. The noble Marquess said here the other day that he hoped an
opportunity would be given for discussing it. "Whether it is in order
or not--am too little versed in your Lordships' procedure to be quite
sure--but I am told that the rules of order in this House are of an
elastic description and that I shall not be trespassing beyond what is
right, if I introduce the point to-night." I thoroughly understand Lord
Lansdowne's anxiety for a chance of discussion. It is quite true,
and the House should not forget it, that this question is in no
way whatever touched by the Bill. If this Bill were rejected by
Parliament, it would be a grievous disaster to peace and contentment
in India, but it would not prevent the Secretary of State the very
next morning from advising His Majesty to appoint an Indian member of
the Viceroy's Executive Council.

The noble Marquess the other day fell into a slight error, if he will
forgive me for saying so. He said that the Government of India had
used cautious and tentative words, indicating that it would be
premature to decide at once this question of the Indian member until
after further experience had been gained. I think the noble Marquess
must have lost his way in the mazes of that enormous Blue-book which,
as he told us, caused him so much inconvenience, and added so much to
his excess luggage during the Christmas holidays. The despatch, as far
as I can discover, is silent altogether on the topic of the Indian
member of the Viceroy's Council, and deals only with the Councils
of Bombay and Madras and the proposed Councils for the

Perhaps I might be allowed to remind your Lordships of the Act of
1833--certainly the most extensive and important measure of Indian
government between Mr. Pitt's famous Act of 1784, and Queen Victoria's
assumption of the government of India in 1858. There is nothing more
important than that Act. It lays down in the broadest way possible the
desire of Parliament that there should be no difference in appointing
to offices in India between one race and another, and the covering
despatch written by that memorable man, James Mill, wound up by saying

"For the future, fitness is to be the criterion of eligibility."

I need not quote the famous paragraph in the Queen's Proclamation of
1858. Every Member of the House who takes an interest in India, knows
that by heart. Now, the noble Marquess says that his anxiety is that
nothing shall be done to impair the efficiency of the Viceroy's
Council. I share that anxiety with all my heart. I hope the noble
Marquess will do me the justice to remember that in these plans I have
gone beyond the Government of India, in resolving that a permanent
official majority shall remain in the Viceroy's Council. Lord
MacDonnell said the other day:--

"I believe you cannot find any individual native gentleman who is
enjoying general confidence, who would be able to give advice and
assistance to the Governor-General in Council."

Well, for that matter, it has been my lot twice to fill the not very
exhilarating post of Chief Secretary for Ireland, and I do not believe
I can truly say I ever met in Ireland a single individual native
gentleman who "enjoyed general confidence." And yet I received at
Dublin Castle most excellent and competent advice. Therefore I am not
much impressed by that argument. The question is whether there is no
one of the 300 millions of the population of India, who is competent
to be the officially-constituted adviser of the Governor-General in
Council in the administration of Indian affairs. You make an Indian
a judge of the High Court, and Indians have even been acting Chief
Justices. As to capacity, who can deny that they have distinguished
themselves as administrators of native States, where a very full
demand is made on their resources, intellectual and moral? It is said
that the presence of an Indian member would cause restraint in the
language of discussion. For a year and a half we have had two Indians
on the Council of India, and we have none of us ever found the
slightest restraint.

Then there is the question, What are you going to do about the Hindu
and the Mahomedan? When Indians were first admitted to the High
Courts, for a long time the Hindus were more fit and competent than
the Mahomedans; but now I am told the Mahomedans have their full
share. The same sort of operation would go on in quinquennial periods
in respect of the Viceroy's Council. Opinion amongst the great
Anglo-Indian officers now at home is divided, but I know at least one,
not at all behind Lord MacDonnell in experience or mental grasp, who
is strongly in favour of this proposal. One circumstance that cannot
but strike your Lordships as remarkable, is the comparative absence of
hostile criticism of this idea by the Anglo-Indian Press, and, as I
am told, in Calcutta society. I was apprehensive at one time that it
might be otherwise. I should like to give a concrete illustration of
my case. The noble Marquess opposite said the other day that there was
going to be a vacancy in one of the posts on the Viceroy's Executive
Council--that is, the legal member's time would soon be up. Now,
suppose there were in Calcutta an Indian lawyer of large practice and
great experience in his profession--a man of unstained professional
and personal repute, in close touch with European society, and much
respected, and the actual holder of important legal office. Am I to
say to this man--"In spite of all these excellent circumstances to
your credit; in spite of your undisputed fitness; in spite of the
emphatic declaration of 1833 that fitness is to be the criterion
of eligibility; in spite of the noble promise in Queen Victoria's
Proclamation of 1858--a promise of which every Englishman ought to be
for ever proud if he tries to adhere to it, and ashamed if he tries to
betray or to mock it--in spite of all this, usage and prejudice are
so strong, that I dare not appoint you, but must instead fish up a
stranger to India from Lincoln's Inn or the Temple?" Is there one of
your Lordships who would envy the Secretary of State, who had to hold
language of that kind to a meritorious candidate, one of the King's
equal subjects? I press it on your Lordships in that concrete way.
Abstract general arguments are slippery. I do not say there is no
force in them, but there are deeper questions at issue to which both I
and the Governor-General attach the greatest importance. My Lords, I
thank you for your attention, and I beg to move the Second Reading.



(OXFORD. JUNE 13, 1909)

[The Vice Chancellor of Oxford University and the teachers of the
Indian Civil Service probationers gave a dinner to the probationers
on Saturday at the New Masonic Hall, Oxford, to meet the Secretary of
State for India. The Vice Chancellor was in the chair]

It is a great honour that it should fall to me to be the first
Secretary of State to address this body of probationers and others.
Personally I am always delighted at any reason, good or bad, that
brings me to Oxford. A great deal of Cherwell water has flowed under
Magdalen Bridge, since I was an undergraduate here, and I have a
feeling of nostalgia, when I think of Oxford and come to Oxford. The
reminiscences of one's younger days are apt to have in older times an
ironical tinge, but that is not for any of you to-day to consider. I
am glad to know that of the fifty odd members of the Civil Service who
are going out this autumn, not less than half are Oxford men, nearly
all of them, Oxford bred, and even the three or four who are not
Oxford bred, are practically, so far as can be, Oxford men. Now I will
go a little wider. An Indian Minister is rather isolated in the
public eye, amid the press and bustle of the political energies,
perplexities, interests, and partisan passions that stir and
concentrate attention on our own home affairs. Yet let me assure you
that there is no ordinary compensation for that isolation in the
breast of an Indian Minister. He finds the richest compensation in
the enormous magnitude and endless variety of all the vast field of
interests, present and still more future, that are committed to his
temporary charge. Though his charge may be temporary, I should think
every Secretary of State remembers that even in that fugitive span he
may either do some good or, if he is unhappy, he may do much harm.

This week London has been enormously excited by the Imperial Press
Conference. I was rather struck by the extraordinarily small
attention, almost amounting to nothing, that was given to the Dominion
that you here are concerned with. No doubt an Imperial Conference
raises one or two very delicate questions, as to whether common
citizenship is to be observed, or whether the relations between India
and the Colonies should remain what they are. I am not going to
expatiate upon that to-night, but it did occur to me in reading all
these proceedings that the part of Hamlet was rather omitted, because
India after all is the only real Empire. You there have an immense
Dominion, an almost countless population, governed by foreign rulers.
That is what constitutes an Empire. I observed it all with a rather
grim feeling in my mind, that, if anything goes wrong in India, the
whole of what we are talking about now, the material and military
conditions of the Empire as a whole, might be strangely altered and
convulsed. One of the happy qualities of youth--and there is no
pleasure greater than to see you in that blissful stage, for one who
has passed beyond, long beyond it--is not to be, I think I am right,
in a hurry, not to be too anxious either for the present or future
measure of the responsibilities of life and a career. You will forgive
me if I remind you of what I am sure you all know--that the civil
government of 230,000,000 persons in British India is in the hands of
some 1,200 men who belong to the Indian Civil Service. Let us follow
that. Any member of a body so small must be rapidly placed in a
position of command, and it is almost startling to me, when I look
round on the fresh physiognomies of those who are going out, and the
not less fresh physiognomies of those who have returned, to think of
the contrast between your position, and that, we will say, of some of
your Oxford contemporaries who are lawyers, and who have to spend ever
so many years in chambers in Lincoln's Inn or the Temple waiting for
briefs that do not come. Contrast your position with that of members
who enter the Home Civil Service, an admirable phalanx; but still for
a very long time a member who enters that service has to pursue the
minor and slightly mechanical routine of Whitehall. You will not
misunderstand me, because nobody knows better than a Minister how
tremendous is the debt that he owes to the permanent officials of
his department. Certainly I have every reason to be the last man to
underrate that. Well, any of you may be rapidly placed in a position
of real command with inexorable responsibilities. I am speaking in the
presence of men who know better than I do, all the details, but it
is true that one of you in a few years may be placed in command of a
district and have 1,000,000 human beings committed to his charge. He
may have to deal with a famine; he may have to deal with a riot; he
may take a decision on which the lives of thousands of people may
depend. Well, I think that early call to responsibility, to a display
of energy, to the exercise of individual decision and judgment is what
makes the Indian Civil Service a grand career. And that is what
has produced an extraordinary proportion of remarkable men in that

There is another elevating thought, that I should suppose is present
to all of you. To those who are already in important posts and those
who are by-and-by going to take them up. The good name of England is
in your keeping. Your conduct and the conduct of your colleagues in
other branches of the Indian Service decides what the peoples of India
are to think of British government and of those who represent it. Of
course you cannot expect the simple villager to care anything or to
know anything about the abstraction called the _raj_. What he knows is
the particular officer who stands in front of him, and with whom he
has dealings. If the officer is harsh or overbearing or incompetent,
the Government gets the discredit of it; the villager assumes that
Government is also harsh, overbearing, and incompetent. There is this
peculiarity which strikes me about the Indian Civil servant. I am not
sure that all of you will at once welcome it, but it goes to the root
of the matter. He is always more or less on duty. It is not merely
when he is doing his office work; he is always on duty. The great men
of the service have always recognised this obligation, that official
relations are not to be the beginning and the end of the duties of an
Indian administrator. It has been my pleasure and privilege during the
three or four years I have been at the India Office, to see a stream
of important Indian officials. I gather from them that one of the
worst drawbacks of the modern speeding up of the huge wheels of the
machine of Indian government is, that the Indian Civil servant has
less time and less opportunity than he used to have of bringing
himself into close contact with those with whose interests he is
concerned. One of these important officials told me the other day this
story. A retired veteran, an Indian soldier, had come to him and
said, "This is an odd state of things. The other day So-and-so, a
commissioner or what not, was coming down to my village or district.
We did the best we could to get a good camping-ground for him. We were
all eagerly on the look-out for him. He arrived with his attendants.
He went into his tent. He immediately began to write. He went on
writing. We thought he had got very urgent business to do. We went
away. We arrived in the morning soon after dawn. He was still writing,
or he had begun again. So concerned was he both in the evening and in
the morning with his writing that we really had nothing from him but a
polite _salaam_." This may or may not be typical, but I can imagine
it is possible, at all events. That must be pure mischief. If I were
going to remain Indian Secretary for some time to come, my every
effort would be devoted to an abatement of that enormous amount of
writing. You applaud that sentiment now, and you will applaud it more

Upon this point of less time being devoted to writing and more time to
cultivating social relations with the people, it is very easy for us
here, no doubt, to say you ought to cultivate social relations. Yet I
can imagine a man who has done a hard day's office work--I am sure I
should feel it myself--is not inclined to launch out upon talk and
inquiries among the people with whom he is immediately concerned. It
may be asking almost in a way too much from human nature. Still, that
is the thing to aim at. The thing to aim at is--all civilians who
write and speak say the same--to cultivate social amenities so far as
you can, I do not mean in the towns, but in the local communities with
which many of you are going to be concerned. I saw the other day a
letter from a lady, not, I fancy, particularly sentimental about the
matter, and she said this: "There would be great improvement if only
better social relations could be established with Indians personally.
I do wish that all young officials could be primed before they came
out with the proper ideas on this question." Well, I have no illusions
whatever as to my right or power of priming you. I think each of us
can see for himself the desirability of every one who goes out there,
having certain ideas in his head as to his own relations with the
people whom he is called upon to govern. That is the mission with
which we have to charge you, and it is as momentous a mission as
was ever confided to any great military commander or admiral of the
fleet--this mission of yours to place yourself in touch with the
people whom you have to govern. I am under no illusions that I can
plant new ideas in your minds compared with the ideas that may be
planted by experienced heads of Indian Government. The other day I saw
a letter of instructions from a very eminent Lieutenant-Governor to
those of the next stage below him, as to the attitude that they were
to take to the new civilians when they arrived, and you 24 or 25
gentlemen will get the benefit of those instructions if you are going
to that province. I do not think there is any reason why I should
not mention his name--it was Sir Andrew Fraser, the retired
Lieutenant-Governor of Bengal--and those instructions as to the temper
that was to be inculcated upon newcomers, were marked by a force, a
fulness, and a first-hand aptitude that not even the keenest Secretary
of State could venture to approach. I know that exile is hard. It is
very easy for us here to preach. Exile is and must be hard, but I feel
confident that under the guidance of the high officers there, under
whom you will find yourselves, you will take care not to ignore the
Indian; not to hold apart and aloof from the Indian life and ways;
not to believe that you will not learn anything by conversation with
educated Indians. And while you are in India, and among Indians, and
responsible to Indians, because you are as responsible to them as you
are to us here, while you are in that position, gentlemen, do not live
in Europe all the time. Whether or not--if I may be quite candid--it
was a blessing either for India or for Great Britain that this great
responsibility fell upon us, whatever the ultimate destiny and end
of all this is to be, at any rate I know of no more imposing and
momentous transaction than the government of India by you and those
like you. I know of no more imposing and momentous transaction in the
vast scroll of the history of human government.

We have been within the past two years in a position of considerable
difficulty. But the difficulties of Indian government are not the
result--be sure of this--of any single incident or set of incidents.
You see it said that all the present difficulties arose from the
partition of Bengal. I have never believed that. I do not think well
of the operation, but that does not matter. I was turning the other
day to the history of the Oxford Mission to Calcutta. In 1899--the
partition of Bengal, as you know, was much later--what did they
say? "There exists at present"--at present in 1899--"an increasing
hostility to what is European and English among the educated classes."
"No one can have," this Oxford report goes on, "any real knowledge of
India without a deep sense of the splendid work done by the Indian
Civil Service. The work is recognised by the Indian people. They
thoroughly appreciate the benefits of our rule, they are bound to us
by self-interest, but they do not like us." It is intelligible, but
that is a result to be carefully guarded against by demeanour, by
temper, by action--to be guarded against at every turn. Every one
would agree that anything like a decisive and permanent estrangement
between the Indians and the Europeans would end in dire failure and an
overwhelming catastrophe. I am coming to other ground. The history of
the last six months has been important, anxious, and trying. Eight
months ago there certainly was severe tension. That tension has now
relaxed, and the great responsible officials on the spot assure me
that the position of the hour and the prospects are reassuring. We
have kept the word which was given by the Sovereign on November 1 last
year in the message to the people of India commemorating the 50th
anniversary of the assumption of the powers of government in India
by the Crown, the transfer of the power from the old Company to the
Crown. We have kept our word. We have introduced and carried through
Parliament a measure, as everybody will admit, of the highest order
of importance. It was carried through both Houses with excellent
deliberation. I have been in Parliament a great many years. I have
never known a project discussed and conducted with such knowledge,
and such a desire to avoid small, petty personal incidents. The whole
proceeding was worthy of the reputation of Parliament.

You are entering upon your duties at a stage of intense interest. Sir
Charles Elliott, who was Lieutenant-Governor of Bengal, wrote the
other day, that this is "the most momentous change ever effected by
Parliament in the constitution of the Government of India since 1858."
He goes on to say that no prudent man would prophesy. No, and I do not
prophesy. How could I? It depends upon two things. It depends, first
of all, upon the Civil Service. It depends on the Civil Service, and
it depends on the power of Indians with the sense and instincts
of government, to control wilder spirits without the sense or the
instincts of government. As for the Civil Service, which is the other
branch on which all depends, it is impossible not to be struck with
the warmest admiration of the loyal and manful tone in which leading
members of the Civil Service have expressed their resolution to face
the new tasks that this legislation will impose upon them. I have not
got it with me now, but certain language was used by Sir Norman Baker,
who is now the Lieutenant-Governor of Bengal. I think I quoted it in
the House of Lords, and, if I could read it to you, it would be far
better than any speech of mine in support of the toast I am going to
propose to you. There never was a more manful and admirable expression
of the devotion of the service, than the promise of their cordial,
whole-hearted, and laborious support of the policy which they have now
got to carry through. I am certain there is not one of you who will
fall short, and I am speaking in the presence of those who are not
probationers, but persons proved. There is not one of you who, when
the time comes, will not respond to the call, in the same spirit in
which Sir Norman Baker responded.

I am now going to take you, if you will allow me, for a moment, to a
point of immediate and, I can almost say, personal interest. Everybody
will agree, as I say, that we have fulfilled within the last six or
eight months the pledges that were given by the Sovereign in November.
An Indian gentleman has been placed on the Council of the Viceroy--not
an everyday transaction. It needed some courage to do it, but it was
done. Before that, two Indians were placed on the Council of India
that sits in my own office at Whitehall. We have passed through
Parliament, as I have already described to you, the Councils Act.

Those are great things. But I am told great uneasiness is growing in
the House of Commons as to the matter of deportation. You know what
deportation means. It means that nine Indian gentlemen on December 13
last were arrested and are now detained--arrested under a law which is
as good a law as any law on our own statute-book. You will forgive me
for detaining you with this, but it is an actual and pressing point.
Some of the most respected members of my own party write a letter to
the Prime Minister protesting. A Bill has been brought in, and the
first reading of it was carried two or three days ago, of which I can
only say--with all responsibility for what I am saying--that it is
nothing less, if you consider the source from which it comes, and if
you consider the arguments by which it is supported, than a vote of
distinct censure on me and Lord Minto. The Bill is also supported by
a very clever and rising member of the Opposition. Now words of an
extraordinary character have been used in support of this severe
criticism of the policy of myself and Lord Minto. In a motion, not in
connection with the Bill, but earlier in the Session, words were read
from _Magna Charta_, with the insinuation that the present Secretary
of State is as dubious a character as the Sovereign against whom
_Magna Charta_ was directed. Gloomy references were actually made to
King Charles I., and it was shown that we were exercising powers that,
when attempted to be exercised by Charles I., led to the Civil War and
cost Charles I. his head. This was at the beginning of the present
Session. I doubt if they will get through to the end of the Session,
whenever that may be, without comparisons being instituted between the
Secretary of State, for example, and Strafford or even Cromwell in his
worst moments, as they would think. If Cromwell is mentioned, I shall
know where to point out how Cromwell was troubled by Fifth Monarchy
men, Praise-God Barebones, Venner, Saxby, and others. In historical
parallels I am fairly prepared for the worst. I will take my chance.

Let us look at this seriously, because serious minds are exercised by
deportation, and quite naturally. On December 13 nine Indians were
arrested under a certain Indian Regulation of the year 1818, and they
who reproach us with violating the glories of 1215 (which is Magna
Charta) and the Petition of Rights, complain that 1818 is far too
remote for us to be at all affected by anything that was then made
law. Now what is the Regulation? I will ask you to follow me pretty
closely for a minute or two. The Regulation of 1818 says:--"Reasons
of State occasionally render it necessary to place under personal
restraint individuals, against whom there may not be sufficient
grounds to institute any judicial proceedings, and the
Governor-General in Council is able for good and sufficient reasons to
determine that A.B. shall be placed under personal restraint." There
is no trial; there is no charge; there is no fixed limit of time of
detention; and in short it is equivalent to a suspension of _habeas
corpus_. That is a broad statement, but substantially that is what it
is. Now I do not deny for a moment that if proceedings of this kind,
such as took place on December 13 last year, were normal or frequent,
if they took place every day of the week or every week of the month,
it would be dangerous and in the highest degree discreditable to our
whole Government in India. It would be detestable and dangerous. But
is there to be no such thing as an Emergency power? I am not talking
about England, Scotland, or Ireland. I am talking about India. Is
there to be no such thing as an emergency power? My view is that the
powers given under the Regulation of 1818 do constitute an emergency
power, which, may be lawfully applied if an emergency presents itself.
Was there an emergency last December? The Government of India found in
December a movement that was a grave menace to the very foundations of
public peace and security. The list of crimes for twelve months
was formidable, showing the determined and daring character of the
supporters of this movement. The crimes were not all. Terrorism
prevented evidence. The ordinary process of law was no longer
adequate, and the fatal impression prevailed that the Government could
be defied with impunity. The Government of India did not need to pass
a new law. We found a law in the armoury and we applied it. Very
disagreeable, but still we should have been perfectly unworthy of
holding the position we do--I am speaking now of the Government of
India and myself--if we had not taken that weapon out of the armoury,
and used it against these evildoers.

It was vital that we should stamp out the impression that the
Government of India could be defied with impunity, not in matters of
opinion, mark you, but in matters affecting peace, order, life, and
property--that the Government in those elementary conditions of social
existence could be defied with impunity. I say, then--it was vital in
that week of December that these severe proceedings should be taken,
if there was to be any fair and reasonable chance for those reforms
which have since been laboriously hammered out, which had been for
very many months upon the anvil, and to which we looked, as we look
now, for a real pacification. It was not the first time that this
arbitrary power--for it is that, I never disguise it--was used. It was
used some years ago--I forget how many. I was talking the other day to
an officer who was greatly concerned in it in Poona, and he described
the conditions, and told me the effect was magical. I do not say the
effect of our proceedings the other day was magical. I do not say that
bombs and knives and pistols are at an end. None of the officers in
India think that we may not have some of these over again, but at any
rate for the moment, and, I believe, for much more than the moment,
we have secured order and tranquillity and acquiescence, and a warm
approval of, and interest in, our reforms. I have said we have had
acceptance of our reforms. What a curious thing it is that, after the
reforms were announced, and after the deportations had taken place,
still there came to Lord Minto deputations, and to me many telegrams,
conveying their appreciation and gratitude for the reforms, and other
things we have done. Our good friends who move a vote of censure upon
us, are better Indians than the Indians themselves. I cannot imagine a
more mistaken proceeding.

Let me say one more word about deportations. It is true that there is
no definite charge that could be produced in a court of law. That is
the very essence of the whole transaction. Then it is said--"Oh, but
you look to the police; you get all your evidence from the police."
That is not so. The Government of India get their information, not
evidence in a technical sense--that is the root of the matter--from
important district officers. But it is said then, "Who is to decide
the value of the information?" I heard that one gentleman in the
House of Commons said privately in ordinary talk, "If English country
gentlemen were to decide this, we would not mind." Who do decide? Do
you think this is done by a police sergeant in a box? On the contrary,
every one of these nine cases of deportation has been examined and
investigated--by whom? By Lord Minto, by the late Lieutenant-Governor
of Bengal, by the present Lieutenant-Governor of Bengal, by two or
three members of the Viceroy's Executive Council. Are we to suppose
for a minute that men of this great station and authority and
responsibility are going to issue a _lettre de cachet_ for A.B., C.D.,
or E.F., without troubling themselves whether that _lettre de cachet_
is wisely issued or not? Then it is said of a man who is arrested
under this law, "Oh, he ought not to be harshly treated." He is not
harshly treated. If he is one of these nine deported men, he is not
put into contact with criminal persons. His family are looked after.
He subsists under conditions which are to an Indian perfectly
conformable to his social position, and to the ordinary comforts and
conveniences of his life. The greatest difference is drawn between
these nine men and other men against whom charges to be judicially
tried are brought. All these cases come up for reconsideration from
time to time. They will come up shortly, and that consideration will
be conducted with justice and with firmness. There can be no attempt
at all to look at this transaction of the nine deported men otherwise
than as a disagreeable measure, but one imposed upon us by a sense of
public duty and a measure that events justify. What did Mr. Gokhale,
who is a leader of a considerable body of important political
opinion in India, say? Did he move a vote of censure? He said in the
Legislative Council the other day in Calcutta, that Lord Minto and the
Secretary of State had saved India from drifting into chaos. I owe you
an apology, Mr. Vice-Chancellor and gentlemen, for pressing upon your
attention points suggested by criticisms from politicians of generous
but unbalanced impulse. But they are important, and I am glad you have
allowed me to say what I have said upon them.



_Extract from the dispatch of the Board of Directors of the East India
Company to the Government of India, December 10, 1834, accompanying
the Government of India Act_, 1833.[1]

[Footnote 1: Tradition ascribes this piece to the pen of James Mill.
His son, J.S. Mill, was the author of the protest by the Company
against the transfer to the Crown in 1858.]

103. By clause 87 of the Act it is provided that no person, by reason
of his birth, creed, or colour, shall be disqualified from holding any
office in our service.

104. It is fitting that this important enactment should be understood
in order that its full spirit and intention may be transfused through
our whole system of administration.

105. You will observe that its object is not to ascertain
qualification, but to remove disqualification. It does not break down
or derange the scheme of our government as conducted principally
through the instrumentality of our regular servants, civil and
military. To do this would be to abolish or impair the rules which
the legislature has established for securing the fitness of the
functionaries in whose hands the main duties of Indian administration
are to be reposed--rules to which the present Act makes a material
addition in the provisions relating to the college at Haileybury. But
the meaning of the enactment we take to be that there shall be no
governing caste in British India; that whatever other tests of
qualification may be adopted, distinctions of race or religion shall
not be of the number; that no subject of the king, whether of Indian
or British or mixed descent, shall be excluded either from the posts
usually conferred on our uncovenanted servants in India, or from
the covenanted service itself, provided he be otherwise eligible
consistently with the rules and agreeably to the conditions observed
and exacted in the one case and in the other.

106. In the application of this principle, that which will chiefly
fall to your share will be the employment of natives, whether of the
whole or the mixed blood, in official situations. So far as respects
the former class--we mean natives of the whole blood--it is hardly
necessary to say that the purposes of the legislature have in a
considerable degree been anticipated; you well know, and indeed have
in some important respects carried into effect, our desire that
natives should be admitted to places of trust as freely and
extensively as a regard for the due discharge of the functions
attached to such places will permit. Even judicial duties of magnitude
and importance are now confided to their hands, partly no doubt from
considerations of economy, but partly also on the principles of a
liberal and comprehensive policy; still a line of demarcation, to some
extent in favour of the natives, to some extent in exclusion of them,
has been maintained; certain offices are appropriated to them, from
certain others they are debarred--not because these latter belong
to the covenanted service, and the former do not belong to it,
but professedly on the ground that the average amount of native
qualifications can be presumed only to rise to a certain limit. It is
this line of demarcation which the present enactment obliterates, or
rather for which it substitutes another, wholly irrespective of the
distinction of races. Fitness is henceforth to be the criterion of

107. To this altered rule it will be necessary that you should, both
in your acts and your language, conform; practically, perhaps, no
very marked difference of results will be occasioned. The distinction
between situations allotted to the covenanted service and all other
situations of an official or public nature will remain generally as at

108. Into a more particular consideration of the effects that may
result from the great principle which the legislature has now for the
first time recognised and established we do not enter, because we
would avoid disquisition of a speculative nature. But there is
one practical lesson which, often as we have on former occasions
inculcated it on you, the present subject suggests to us once more to
enforce. While, on the one hand, it may be anticipated that the range
of public situations accessible to the natives and mixed races will
gradually be enlarged, it is, on the other hand, to be recollected
that, as settlers from Europe find their way into the country, this
class of persons will probably furnish candidates for those very
situations to which the natives and mixed race will have admittance.
Men of European enterprise and education will appear in the field; and
it is by the prospect of this event that we are led particularly to
impress the lesson already alluded to on your attention. In every view
it is important that the indigenous people of India, or those among
them who by their habits, character, or position may be induced to
aspire to office, should, as far as possible, be qualified to meet
their European competitors.

Thence, then, arises a powerful argument for the promotion of
every design tending to the improvement of the natives, whether by
conferring on them the advantages of education, or by diffusing among
them the treasures of science, knowledge, and moral culture. For these
desirable results, we are well aware that you, like ourselves, are
anxious, and we doubt not that, in order to impel you to increased
exertion for the promotion of them, you will need no stimulant beyond
a simple reference to the considerations we have here suggested.

109. While, however, we entertain these wishes and opinion, we must
guard against the supposition that it is chiefly by holding out
means and opportunities of official distinction that we expect our
Government to benefit the millions subjected to their authority.
We have repeatedly expressed to you a very different sentiment.
Facilities of official advancement can little affect the bulk of
the people under any Government, and perhaps least under a good
Government. It is not by holding out incentives to official ambition,
but by repressing crime, by securing and guarding property, by
creating confidence, by ensuring to industry the fruit of its labour,
by protecting men in the undisturbed enjoyment of their rights, and
in the unfettered exercise of their faculties, that Governments best
minister to the public wealth and happiness. In effect, the free
access to office is chiefly valuable when it is a part of general


_Proclamation by the Queen in Council, to the Princes, Chiefs, and
People of India, November_ 1, 1858.[1]

[Footnote 1: This memorable instrument, justly called the Magna Charta
of India, was framed in August, 1838, by the Earl of Derby, then the
head of the Government. His son, Lord Stanley, the first Secretary of
State for India, had drafted a Proclamation, and it was circulated to
the Cabinet. It reached the Queen in Germany. She went through the
draft with the Prince Consort, who made copious notes on the margin.
The Queen did not like it, and wrote to Lord Derby that she "would
be glad if he would write himself in his excellent language." The
specific criticisms are to be found in Martin's _Life of the Prince
Consort_ (iv 284-5). Lord Derby thereupon consulted Stanley; saw the
remarks of some of the Cabinet, as well as of Lord Ellenborough, upon
Stanley's draft; and then wrote and re-wrote a draft of his own, and
sent it to the Queen. It was wholly different in scope and conception
from the first draft. The Prince Consort enters in his journal that it
was now "_recht gut_." One or two further suggested amendments were
accepted by Lord Derby and the Secretary of State; experts assured
them that it contained nothing difficult to render in the native
languages; and the Proclamation was launched in the form in which it
now stands. One question gave trouble--the retention of the Queen's
title of Defender of the Faith. Its omission might provoke remark,
but on the other hand Lord Derby regarded it as a doubtful title,
"considering its origin" [conferred by the Pope on Henry VIII] and as
applied to a Proclamation to India. He was in hopes that in the Indian
translation it would appear as "Protectress of Religion" generally,
but he was told by experts in vernacular that it was just the title to
convey to the Indian mind, the idea of the special Head and Champion
of a creed antagonistic to the creeds of the country. Lord Derby was
inclined to omit, but he sought the Queen's own opinion. This went the
other way. The last sentence of the Proclamation was the Queen's. The
three drafts are all in the records at Windsor.]

Victoria, by the Grace of God of the United Kingdom of Great Britain
and Ireland, and of the Colonies and Dependencies thereof in Europe,
Asia, Africa, America, and Australasia, Queen, Defender of the Faith.

Whereas, for divers weighty reasons, we have resolved, by and with the
advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons,
in Parliament assembled, to take upon ourselves the government of the
territories in India, heretofore administered in trust for us by the
Honourable East India Company.

Now, therefore, we do by these presents notify and declare that, by
the advice and consent aforesaid, we have taken upon ourselves the
said government; and we hereby call upon all our subjects within the
said territories to be faithful, and to bear true allegiance to us,
our heirs and successors, and to submit themselves to the authority of
those whom we may hereafter, from time to time, see fit to appoint to
administer the government of our said territories, in our name and on
our behalf.

And we, reposing especial trust and confidence in the loyalty,
ability, and judgment of our right trusty and well-beloved cousin
Charles John, Viscount Canning, do hereby constitute and appoint
him, the said Viscount Canning, to be our first Viceroy and
Governor-General in and over our said territories, and to administer
the government thereof in our name, and generally to act in our name
and on our behalf, subject to such orders and regulations as he shall,
from time to time, receive through one of our Principal Secretaries of

And we do hereby confirm in their several offices, civil and military,
all persons now employed in the service of the Honourable East
India Company, subject to our future pleasure, and to such laws and
regulations as may hereafter be enacted.

We hereby announce to the native princes of India, that all treaties
and engagements made with them by or under the authority of the East
India Company are by us accepted, and will be scrupulously maintained,
and we look for the like observance on their part.

We desire no extension of our present territorial possessions, and,
while we will permit no aggression upon our dominions or our rights to
be attempted with impunity, we shall sanction no encroachment on those
of others.

We shall respect the rights, dignity, and honour of native princes as
our own; and we desire that they, as well as our own subjects, should
enjoy that prosperity and that social advancement which can only be
secured by internal peace and good government.

We hold ourselves bound to the natives of our Indian territories by
the same obligations of duty which bind us to all our other subjects,
and those obligations, by the blessing of Almighty God, we shall
faithfully and conscientiously fill.

Firmly relying ourselves on the truth of Christianity, and
acknowledging with gratitude the solace of religion, we disclaim alike
the right and the desire to impose our convictions on any of our
subjects. We declare it to be our royal will and pleasure that none be
in any wise favoured, none molested or disquieted, by reason of their
religious faith or observances, but that all shall alike enjoy the
equal and impartial protection of the law; and we do strictly charge
and enjoin all those who may be in authority under us that they
abstain from all interference with the religious relief or worship of
any of our subjects on pain of our highest displeasure.

And it is our further will that, so far as may be, our subjects, of
whatever race or creed, be freely and impartially admitted to offices
in our service the duties of which they may be qualified by their
education, ability, and integrity duly to discharge.

We know, and respect, the feelings of attachment with which natives of
India regard the lands inherited by them from their ancestors, and we
desire to protect them in all rights connected therewith, subject to
the equitable demands of the State; and we will that generally, in
framing and administering the law, due regard be paid to the ancient
rights, usages, and customs of India.

We deeply lament the evils and misery which have been brought upon
India by the acts of ambitious men, who have deceived their countrymen
by false reports, and led them into open rebellion. Our power has been
shown by the suppression of that rebellion in the field; we desire
to show our mercy by pardoning the offences of those who have been
misled, but who desire to return to the path of duty.

Already, in one province, with a desire to stop the further effusion
of blood, and to hasten the pacification of our Indian dominions, our
Viceroy and Governor-General has held out the expectation of pardon,
on certain terms, to the great majority of those who, in the late
unhappy disturbances, have been guilty of offences against our
Government, and has declared the punishment which will be inflicted
on those whose crimes place them beyond the reach of forgiveness. We
approve and confirm the said act of our Viceroy and Governor-General,
and do further announce and proclaim as follows:--

Our clemency will be extended to all offenders, save and except those
who have been, or shall be, convicted of having directly taken part
in the murder of British subjects. With regard to such the demands of
justice forbid the exercise of mercy.

To those who have willingly given asylum to murderers, knowing them to
be such, or who may have acted as leaders or instigators of revolt,
their lives alone can be guaranteed; but in apportioning the penalty
due to such persons, full consideration will be given to the
circumstances under which they have been induced to throw off their
allegiance; and large indulgence will be shown to those whose crimes
may appear to have originated in too credulous acceptance of the false
reports circulated by designing men.

To all others in arms against the Government we hereby promise
unconditional pardon, amnesty, and oblivion of all offences against
ourselves, our crown and dignity, on their return to their homes and
peaceful pursuits.

It is our royal pleasure that these terms of grace and amnesty should
be extended to all those who comply with these conditions before the
1st day of January next.

When, by the blessing of Providence, internal tranquillity shall be
restored, it is our earnest desire to stimulate the peaceful industry
of India, to promote works of public utility and improvement, and to
administer the government for the benefit of all our subjects
resident therein. In their prosperity will be our strength, in their
contentment our security, and in their gratitude our best reward. And
may the God of all power grant to us, and to those in authority under
us, strength to carry out these our wishes for the good of our people.


_Proclamation of the King-Emperor to the Princes and Peoples of India,
the 2nd November, 1908._

It is now 50 years since Queen Victoria, my beloved mother, and my
August Predecessor on the throne of these realms, for divers weighty
reasons, with the advice and consent of Parliament, took upon herself
the government of the territories theretofore administered by the East
India Company. I deem this a fitting anniversary on which to greet the
Princes and Peoples of India, in commemoration of the exalted task
then solemnly undertaken. Half a century is but a brief span in your
long annals, yet this half century that ends to-day will stand
amid the floods of your historic ages, a far-shining landmark. The
proclamation of the direct supremacy of the Crown sealed the unity of
Indian Government and opened a new era. The journey was arduous, and
the advance may have sometimes seemed slow; but the incorporation of
many strangely diversified communities, and of some three hundred
millions of the human race, under British guidance and control has
proceeded steadfastly and without pause. We survey our labours of the
past half century with clear gaze and good conscience.

Difficulties such as attend all human rule in every age and place,
have risen up from day to day. They have been faced by the servants
of the British Crown with toil and courage and patience, with deep
counsel and a resolution that has never faltered nor shaken. If errors
have occurred, the agents of my government have spared no pains and no
self-sacrifice to correct them; if abuses have been proved, vigorous
hands have laboured to apply a remedy.

No secret of empire can avert the scourge of drought and plague, but
experienced administrators have done all that skill and devotion are
capable of doing, to mitigate those dire calamities of Nature. For
a longer period than was ever known in your land before, you have
escaped the dire calamities of War within your borders. Internal peace
has been unbroken.

In the great charter of 1858 Queen Victoria gave you noble assurance
of her earnest desire to stimulate the peaceful industry of India, to
promote works of public utility and improvement, and to administer the
government for the benefit of all resident therein. The schemes that
have been diligently framed and executed for promoting your material
convenience and advance--schemes unsurpassed in their magnitude and
their boldness--bear witness before the world to the zeal with which
that benignant promise has been fulfilled.

The rights and privileges of the Feudatory Princes and Ruling Chiefs
have been respected, preserved, and guarded; and the loyalty of their
allegiance has been unswerving. No man among my subjects has been
favoured, molested, or disquieted, by reason of his religious belief
or worship. All men have enjoyed protection of the law. The law itself
has been administered without disrespect to creed or caste, or to
usages and ideas rooted in your civilisation. It has been simplified
in form, and its machinery adjusted to the requirements of ancient
communities slowly entering a new world.

The charge confided to my Government concerns the destinies of
countless multitudes of men now and for ages to come; and it is a
paramount duty to repress with a stern arm guilty conspiracies that
have no just cause and no serious aim. These conspiracies I know to be
abhorrent to the loyal and faithful character of the vast hosts of my
Indian subjects, and I will not suffer them to turn me aside from my
task of building up the fabric of security and order.

Unwilling that this historic anniversary should pass without some
signal mark of Royal clemency and grace, I have directed that, as was
ordered on the memorable occasion of the Coronation Durbar in 1903,
the sentences of persons whom our courts have duly punished for
offences against the law, should be remitted, or in various degrees
reduced; and it is my wish that such wrongdoers may remain mindful
of this act of mercy, and may conduct themselves without offence

Steps are being continuously taken towards obliterating distinctions
of race as the test for access to posts of public authority and power.
In this path I confidently expect and intend the progress henceforward
to be steadfast and sure, as education spreads, experience ripens,
and the lessons of responsibility are well learned by the keen
intelligence and apt capabilities of India.

From the first, the principle of representative institutions began to
be gradually introduced, and the time has come when, in the judgment
of my Viceroy and Governor-General and others of my counsellors, that
principle may be prudently extended. Important classes among you,
representing ideas that have been fostered and encouraged by
British rule, claim equality of citizenship, and a greater share in
legislation and government. The politic satisfaction of such a
claim will strengthen, not impair, existing authority and power.
Administration will be all the more efficient, if the officers who
conduct it have greater opportunities of regular contact with those
whom it affects, and with those who influence and reflect common
opinion about it. I will not speak of the measures that are now being
diligently framed for these objects. They will speedily be made known
to you, and will, I am very confident, mark a notable stage in the
beneficent progress of your affairs.

I recognise the valour and fidelity of my Indian troops, and at the
New Year I have ordered that opportunity should be taken to show
in substantial form this, my high appreciation, of their martial
instincts, their splendid discipline, and their faithful readiness of

The welfare of India was one of the objects dearest to the heart of
Queen Victoria. By me, ever since my visit in 1875, the interests of
India, its Princes and Peoples, have been watched with an affectionate
solicitude that time cannot weaken. My dear Son, the Prince of Wales,
and the Princess of Wales, returned from their sojourn among you with
warm attachment to your land, and true and earnest interest in its
well-being and content. These sincere feelings of active sympathy and
hope for India on the part of my Royal House and Line, only represent,
and they do most truly represent, the deep and united will and purpose
of the people of this Kingdom.

May divine protection and favour strengthen the wisdom and mutual
goodwill that are needed, for the achievement of a task as glorious as
was ever committed to rulers and subjects in any State or Empire of
recorded time.

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