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´╗┐Title: Indian speeches (1907-1909)
Author: Morley, John, 1838-1923
Language: English
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_The modern and Western spirit is assuredly at work in the Indian
countries, but the vital question for Indian Governments is, How far
it has changed the ideas of men_?--SIR HENRY MAINE.



A signal transaction is now taking place in the course of Indian
polity. These speeches, with no rhetorical pretensions, contain some
of the just, prudent, and necessary points and considerations, that
have guided this transaction, and helped to secure for it the sanction
of Parliament. The too limited public that follows Indian affairs with
coherent attention, may find this small sheaf of speeches, revised as
they have been, to be of passing use. Three cardinal State-papers have
been appended. They mark the spirit of British rule in India, at three
successive stages, for three generations past; and bear directly upon
what is now being done.

_November_, 1909.


I. ON PRESENTING THE INDIAN BUDGET. (House of Commons, June 6, 1907)

II. TO CONSTITUENTS. (Arbroath, October 21, 1907)

III. ON AMENDMENT TO ADDRESS. (House of Commons, January 31, 1908)

IV. INDIAN CIVIL SERVICE. (London, July, 1908)

V. ON PROPOSED REFORMS. (House of Lords, December 17, 1908)



VIII. INDIAN PROBATIONERS. (Oxford, June 13, 1909)


THREE STATE-PAPERS: 1833, 1858, 1908





I am afraid I shall have to ask the House for rather a large draft
upon its indulgence. The Indian Secretary is like the aloe, that
blooms once in 100 years: he only troubles the House with speeches
of his own once in twelve months. There are several topics which the
House will expect me to say something about, and of these are two or
three topics of supreme interest and importance, for which I plead for
patience and comprehensive consideration. We are too apt to find that
Gentlemen both here and outside fix upon some incident of which they
read in the newspaper; they put it under a microscope; they indulge
in reflections upon it; and they regard that as taking an intelligent
interest in the affairs of India. If we could suppose that on some
occasion within the last three or four weeks a wrong turn had been
taken in judgment at Simla, or in the Cabinet, or in the India Office,
or that to-day in this House some wrong turn might be taken, what
disasters would follow, what titanic efforts to repair these
disasters, what devouring waste of national and Indian treasure, and
what a wreckage might follow! These are possible consequences that
misjudgment either here or in India might bring with it.

Sir, I believe I am not going too far when I say that this is almost,
if not quite, the first occasion upon which what is called the British
democracy in its full strength has been brought directly face to face
with the difficulties of Indian Government in all their intricacies,
all their complexities, all their subtleties, and above all in their
enormous magnitude. Last year when I had the honour of addressing the
House on the Indian Budget, I observed, as many have done before me,
that it is one of the most difficult experiments ever tried in human
history, whether you can carry on, what you will have to try to carry
on in India--personal government along with free speech and free right
of public meeting. This which last year was partially a speculative
question, has this year become more or less actual, and that is a
question which I shall by and by have to submit to the House. I want
to set out the case as frankly as I possibly can. I want, if I may
say so without presumption, to take the House into full confidence so
far--and let nobody quarrel with this provision--as public interests
allow. I will beg the House to remember that we do not only hear one
another; we are ourselves this afternoon overheard. Words that may be
spoken here, are overheard in the whole kingdom. They are overheard
thousands of miles away by a vast and complex community. They are
overheard by others who are doing the service and work of the Crown in
India. By those, too, who take part in the immense work of commercial
and non-official life in India. We are overheard by great Indian
princes who are outside British India. We are overheard by the dim
masses of Indians whom, in spite of all, we shall persist in regarding
as our friends. We are overheard by those whom, I am afraid, we must
reluctantly call our enemies. This is the reason why everybody who
speaks to-day, certainly including myself, must use language that is
well advised, language of reserve, and, as I say again, the fruit of
comprehensive consideration.

The Budget is a prosperity Budget. We have, however, to admit that
a black shadow falls across the prospect. The plague figures are
appalling. But do not let us get unreasonably dismayed, even about
these appalling figures. If we reviewed the plague figures up to last
December, we might have hoped that the horrible scourge was on the
wane. From 92,000 deaths in the year 1900, the figures went up to
1,100,000 in 1904, while in 1905 they exceeded 1,000,000. In 1906
a gleam of hope arose, and the mortality sank to something under
350,000. The combined efforts of Government and people had produced
that reduction; but, alas, since January, 1907, plague has again
flared up in districts that have been filled with its terror for a
decade; and for the first four months of this year the deaths amounted
to 642,000, which exceeded the record for the same period in any past
year. You must remember that we have to cover a very vast area. I do
not know that these figures would startle us if we took the area of
the whole of Europe. It was in 1896 that this plague first appeared in
India, and up to April, 1907, the total figure of the human beings who
have died is 5,250,000. But dealing with a population of 300,000,000,
this dire mortality, although enormous, is not at all comparable with
the results of the black death and other scourges, that spread over
Europe in earlier times, in proportion to the population. The plague
mortality in 1904 (the worst complete year) would only represent,
if evenly distributed, a death-rate of about 3 per 1,000. But it is
local, and particularly centres in the Punjab, the United Provinces,
and in Bombay. I do not think that anybody who has been concerned in
India--I do not care to what school of Indian thought he belongs--can
deny that measures for the extermination and mitigation of this
disease have occupied the most serious, constant, unflagging, zealous,
and energetic attention of the Indian Government. But the difficulties
we encounter are manifold, as many Members of the House are well
aware. It is possible that hon. Members may rise and say that we are
not enforcing with sufficient zeal proper sanitary rules; and, on the
other hand, I dare say that other hon. Members will get up to show
that the great difficulty in the way of sanitary rules being observed,
arises from the reluctance of the population to practise them. That
is perfectly natural and is well understood. They are a suspicious
population, and we all know that, when these new rules are forced
upon them, they constantly resent and resist them. A policy of severe
repression is worse than useless. I will not detain the House with
particulars of all the proceedings we have taken in dealing with
the plague. But I may say that we have instituted a long scientific
inquiry with the aid of the Royal Society and the Lister Institute.
Then we have very intelligent officers, who have done all they could
to trace the roots of the disease, and to discover if they could, any
means to prevent it. It is a curious thing that, while there appears
to be no immunity from this frightful scourge for the natives,
Europeans enjoy almost entire immunity from the disease. That is
difficult to understand or to explain.

Now as to opium, I know that a large number of Members in the House
are interested in it. Judging by the voluminous correspondence that I
receive, all the Churches and both political Parties are sincerely and
deeply interested in the question, and I was going to say that the
resolutions with which they have favoured me often use the expression
"righteousness before revenue." The motto is excellent, but its virtue
will be cheap and shabby, if you only satisfy your own righteousness
at the expense of other people's revenue.

Mr. LUPTON: We are quite ready to bear the expense.

Mr. MORLEY: My hon. friend says they are quite prepared to bear the
expense. I commend that observation cheerfully to the Chancellor of
the Exchequer. This question touches the consciences of the people of
the country. My hon. friend sometimes goes a little far; still, he
represents a considerable body of feeling. Last May, when the opium
question was raised in this House, something fell from me which
reached the Chinese Government, and the Chinese Government, on the
strength of that utterance of mine, made in the name of His Majesty's
Government, have persistently done their best to come to some sort
of arrangement and understanding with His Majesty's Government. In
September an Imperial decree was issued in China ordering the strict
prohibition of the consumption and cultivation of opium, with a view
to ultimate eradication in ten years. Communications were made to
the Foreign Secretary, and since then there has been a considerable
correspondence, some of which the House is, by Question and Answer,
acquainted with. The Chinese Government have been uniformly assured,
not only by my words spoken in May, but by the Foreign Secretary, that
the sympathy of this country was with the objects set forth in their
decree of September. Then a very important incident, as I regard
it, and one likely by-and-bye to prove distinctly fruitful, was the
application by the United States Government to our Government, as to
whether there should not be a joint inquiry into the opium traffic by
the United States and the other Powers concerned. The House knows,
by Question and Answer, that His Majesty's Government judge that
procedure by way of Commission rather than by way of Conference is the
right way to approach the question. But no one can doubt for a moment,
considering the honourable interest the United States have shown on
previous occasions, that some good result will come with time and

I will not detain the House with the details, but certainly it is a
true satisfaction to know that a great deal of talk as to the Chinese
interest in the suppression of opium being fictitious is unreal. I was
much struck by a sentence written by the correspondent of _The Times_
at Peking recently. Everybody who knows him, is aware that he is not
a sentimentalist, and he used remarkable language. He said that
he viewed the development in China of the anti-opium movement as
encouraging; that the movement was certainly popular, and was
supported by the entire native Press; while a hopeful sign was that
the use of opium was fast becoming unfashionable, and would become
more so. A correspondence, so far as the Government of India is
concerned, is now in progress. Those of my hon. friends who think we
are lacking perhaps in energy and zeal I would refer to the language
used by Mr. Baker, the very able finance member of the Viceroy's
Council, because these words really define the position of the
Government of India--

    "What the eventual outcome will be, it is impossible to foresee.
    The practical difficulties which China has imposed on herself are
    enormous, and may prove insuperable, but it is evident that the
    gradual reduction and eventual extinction of the revenue that
    India has derived from the trade, has been brought a stage nearer,
    and it is necessary for us to be prepared for whatever may

He added that twenty years ago, or even less, the prospect of losing a
revenue of five and a half crores of rupees a year would have caused
great anxiety, and even now the loss to Indian finances would be
serious, and might necessitate recourse to increased taxation. But if,
as they had a clear right to expect, the transition was effected
with due regard to finance, and was spread over a term of years, the
consequence need not be regarded with apprehension.

When I approach military expenditure, and war and the dangers of
war, I think I ought to say a word about the visit of the Ameer of
Afghanistan, which excited so much attention, and kindled so lively an
interest in great parts, not only of our own dominions, but in Asia.
I am persuaded that we have reason to look back on that visit with
entire and complete satisfaction. His Majesty's Government, previously
to the visit of the Ameer instructed the Governor-General in Council
on no account to open any political questions with the Ameer. That was
really part of the conditions of the Ameer's visit; and the result
of that policy has been to place our relations with the Ameer on an
eminently satisfactory footing, a far better footing than would have
been arrived at by any formal premeditated convention. The Ameer
himself made a speech when he arrived at Kabul on his return, and I
am aware that in this speech I come to a question of what may seem
a Party or personal character, with which it is not in the least my
intention to deal. This is what the Ameer said on 10th April--

    "The officers of the Government of India never said a word on
    political matters, they kept their promise. But as to myself,
    whenever and wherever I found an opportunity, I spoke indirectly
    on several matters which concerned the interests of my country and
    nation. The other side never took undue advantage of it, and
    never discussed with me on those points which I mentioned. His
    Excellency's invitation (Lord Minto's) to me was in such a proper
    form, that I had no objection to accept it. The invitation which
    he sent was worded in quite a different form from that of the
    invitation which I received on the occasion of the Delhi Durbar.
    In the circumstances I had determined to undergo all risks (at the
    time of the Delhi Durbar) and, if necessary, to sacrifice all my
    possessions and my own life, but not to accept such an invitation
    as was sent to me for coming to join the Delhi Durbar."

These thing are far too serious for me or any of us to indulge in
controversy upon, but it is a satisfaction to be able to point out
to the House that the policy we instructed the Governor-General to
follow, has so far worked extremely well.

I will go back to the Army. Last year when I referred to this subject,
I told the House that it would be my object to remove any defects that
I and those who advise me might discover in the Army system, and more
especially, of course, in the schemes of Lord Kitchener. Since then,
with the assistance of two very important Committees, well qualified
by expert military knowledge, I came to the conclusion that an
improved equipment was required. Hon. Gentlemen may think that my
opinion alone would not be worth much; but, after all, civilians have
got to decide these questions, and, provided that they arm themselves
with the expert knowledge of military authorities, it is rightly their
voice that settles the matter. Certain changes were necessary in
the allocation of units in order to enable the troops to be better
trained, and therefore our final conclusion was that the special
military expenditure shown in the financial statement must go on for
some years more. But the House will see that we have arranged to cut
down the rate of the annual grant, and we have taken care--and this,
I think, ought to be set down to our credit--that every estimate for
every item included in the programme shall be submitted to vigilant
scrutiny here as well as in India. I have no prepossession in favour
of military expenditure, but the pressure of facts, the pressure of
the situation, the possibilities of contingencies that may arise, seem
obviously to make it impossible for any Government or any Minister to
acquiesce in the risks on the Indian frontier. We have to consider
not only our position with respect to foreign Powers on the Indian
frontier, but the exceedingly complex questions that arise in
connection with the turbulent border tribes. All these things make
it impossible--I say nothing about internal conditions--for any
Government or any Minister with a sense of responsibility to cancel
or to deal with the military programme in any high-handed or cavalier

Next I come to what, I am sure, is first in the minds of most Members
of the House--the political and social condition of India. Lord Minto
became Viceroy, I think, in November, 1905, and the present Government
succeeded to power in the first week of December. Now much of the
criticism that I have seen on the attitude of His Majesty's Government
and the Viceroy, leaves out of account the fact that we did not come
quite into a haven of serenity and peace. Very fierce monsoons had
broken out on the Olympian heights at Simla, in the camps, and in the
Councils at Downing Street. This was the inheritance into which
we came--rather a formidable inheritance for which I do not, this
afternoon, attempt to distribute the responsibility. Still, when we
came into power, our policy was necessarily guided by the conditions
under which the case had been left. Our policy was to compose the
singular conditions of controversy and confusion by which we were
faced. In the famous Army case we happily succeeded. But in Eastern
Bengal, for a time, we did not succeed. When I see newspaper articles
beginning with the preamble that the problem of India is altogether
outside party questions, I well know from experience that this is too
often apt to be the forerunner of a regular party attack. It is said
that there has been supineness, vacillation and hesitation. I reply
boldly, there has been no supineness, no vacillation, no hesitation
from December, 1905, up to the present day.

I must say a single word about one episode, and it is with sincere
regret I refer to it. It is called the Fuller episode. I have had the
pleasure of many conversations with Sir Bampfylde Fuller since his
return, and I recognise to the full his abilities, his good faith, and
the dignity and self-control with which, during all this period of
controversy, he has never for one moment attempted to defend himself,
or to plunge into any sort of contest with the Viceroy or His
Majesty's Government.[1] Conduct of that kind deserves our fullest
recognition. I recognise to the full his gifts and his experience, but
I am sure that if he were in this House, he would hardly quarrel with
me for saying that those gifts were not altogether well adapted to the
situation he had to face.

[Footnote 1: An unhappy lapse took place at a later date.]

What was the case? The Lieutenant-Governor suggested a certain course.
The Government of India thought it was a mistake, and told him so. The
Lieutenant-Governor thereupon said, "Very well, then I'm afraid I
must resign." There was nothing in all that except what was perfectly
honourable to Sir Bampfylde Fuller. But does anybody here take up this
position, that if a Lieutenant-Governor says, "If I cannot have my own
way I will resign," then the Government of India are bound to refuse
to accept that resignation? All I can say is, and I do not care who
the man may be, that if any gentleman in the Indian service says
he will resign unless he can have his own way, then so far as I
am concerned in the matter, his resignation shall be promptly and
definitely accepted. It is said to-day that Sir Bampfylde Fuller
recommended certain measures about education, and that the Government
have now adopted them. But the circumstances are completely changed.
What was thought by Lord Minto and his Council to be a rash and
inexpedient course in those days, is not thought so now that the
circumstances have changed. I will only mention one point. There was
a statement the other day in a very important newspaper that the
condition of anti-British feeling in Eastern Bengal had gained in
virulence since Sir Bampfylde Fuller's resignation. This, the Viceroy
assures me, is an absolute perversion of the facts. The whole
atmosphere has changed for the better. When I say that Lord Minto was
justified in the course he took, I say it without any prejudice to
Sir Bampfylde Fuller, or the slightest wish to injure his future

Now I come to the subject of the disorders. I am extremely sorry to
say that some disorder has broken out in the Punjab. I think I may
assume that the House is aware of the general circumstances from
Answers to Questions. Under the Regulation of 1818 (which is still
alive), coercive measures were adopted. Here I would like to examine,
so far as I can, the action taken to preserve the public interests. It
would be quite wrong, in dealing with the unrest in the Punjab, not to
mention the circumstances that provided the fuel for the agitation.
There were ravages by the plague, and these ravages have been cruel.
The seasons have not been favourable. A third cause was an Act then on
the stocks, which was believed to be injurious to the condition of a
large body of men. Those conditions affecting the Colonisation Act
were greatly misrepresented. An Indian member of the Punjab Council
pointed out how impolitic he thought it was; and, as I told the House
about a week ago, the Viceroy, declining to be frightened by the
foolish charge of pandering to agitation and so forth, refused assent
to that proposal. But in the meantime the proposal of the colonisation
law had become a weapon in the hands of the preachers of sedition. I
suspect that the Member for East Nottingham will presently get up and
say that this mischief connected with the Colonisation Act accounted
for the disturbance. But I call attention to this fact, in order that
the House may understand whether or not the Colonisation Act was the
main cause of the disturbance. The authorities believe that it was
not. There were twenty-eight meetings known to have been held by the
leading agitators in the Punjab between 1st March, and 1st May. Of
these five only related, even ostensibly, to agricultural grievances;
the remaining twenty-three were all purely political. The figures seem
to dispose of the contention that agrarian questions are at the root
of the present unrest in the Punjab. On the contrary, it rather
looks as if there was a deliberate heating of the public atmosphere
preparatory to the agrarian meeting at Rawalpindi on the 21st April,
which gave rise to the troubles. The Lieutenant-Governor visited
twenty-seven out of twenty-nine districts. He said the situation
was serious, and it was growing worse. In this agitation special
attention, it is stated, has been paid to the Sikhs, who, as the House
is aware, are among the best soldiers in India, and in the case of
Lyallpur, to the military pensioners. Special efforts have been made
to secure their attendance at meetings to enlist their sympathies
and to inflame their passions. So far the active agitation has been
virtually confined to the districts in which the Sikh element is
predominant. Printed invitations and leaflets have been principally
addressed to villages held by Sikhs; and at a public meeting at
Ferozepore, at which disaffection was openly preached, the men of the
Sikh regiments stationed there were specially invited to attend, and
several hundreds of them acted upon the invitation. The Sikhs were
told that it was by their aid, and owing to their willingness to
shoot down their fellow countrymen in the Mutiny, that the Englishmen
retained their hold upon India. And then a particularly odious line of
appeal was adopted. It was asked, "How is it that the plague attacks
the Indians and not the Europeans?" "The Government," said these men,
"have mysterious means of spreading the plague; the Government spreads
the plague by poisoning the streams and wells." In some villages the
inhabitants have actually ceased to use the wells. I was informed only
the other day by an officer, who was in the Punjab at that moment,
that when visiting the settlements, he found the villagers disturbed
in mind on this point. He said to his men: "Open up your kits, and let
them see whether these horrible pills are in them." The men did as
they were ordered, but the suspicion was so great that people insisted
upon the glasses of the telescopes being unscrewed, in order to be
quite sure that there was no pill behind them.

See the emergency and the risk. Suppose a single native regiment had
sided with the rioters. It would have been absurd for us, knowing we
had got a weapon there at our hands by law--not an exceptional law,
but a standing law--and in the face of the risk of a conflagration,
not to use that weapon; and I for one have no apology whatever to
offer for using it. Nobody appreciates more intensely than I do the
danger, the mischief, and a thousand times in history the iniquity of
what is called "reason of State." I know all about that. It is full of
mischief and full of danger; but so is sedition, and we should have
incurred criminal responsibility if we had opposed the resort to this

I do not wish to detain the House with the story of events in Eastern
Bengal and Assam. They are of a different character from those in the
Punjab, and in consequence of these disturbances the Government of
India, with my approval, have issued an Ordinance, which I am sure the
House is familiar with, under the authority and in the terms of an Act
of Parliament. The course of events in Eastern Bengal appears to have
been mainly this--first, attempts to impose the boycott on Mahomedans
by force; secondly, complaints by Hindus if the local officials stop
them, and by Mahomedans if they do not try to stop them; thirdly,
retaliation by Mahomedans; fourthly, complaints by Hindus that the
local officials do not protect them from this retaliation; fifthly,
general lawlessness of the lower classes on both sides, encouraged by
the spectacle of the fighting among the higher classes; sixthly, more
complaints against the officials. The result of the Ordinance has been
that down to May 29th it had not been necessary to take action in any
one of these districts.

I noticed an ironical look on the part of the right hon. Gentleman
when I referred with perfect freedom to my assent to the resort to the
weapon we had in the law against sedition. I have had communications
from friends of mine that, in this assent, I am outraging the
principles of a lifetime. I should be ashamed if I detained the House
more than two minutes on anything so small as the consistency of my
political life. That can very well take care of itself. I began by
saying that this is the first time that British democracy in its full
strength, as represented in this House, is face to face with the
enormous difficulties of Indian Government. Some of my hon. friends
look even more in sorrow than in anger upon this alleged backsliding
of mine. Last year I told the House that India for a long time to
come, so far as my imagination could reach, would be the theatre
of absolute and personal government, and that raised some doubts.
Reference has been made to my having resisted the Irish Crimes Act, as
if there were a scandalous inconsistency between opposing the policy
of that Act, and imposing this policy on the natives of India. That
inconsistency can only be established by anyone who takes up the
position that Ireland, a part of the United Kingdom, is exactly on the
same footing as these 300,000,000 people--composite, heterogeneous,
with different histories, of different races, different faiths. Does
anybody contend that any political principle whatever is capable
of application in every sort of circumstances without reference to
conditions--in every place, and at every time? I, at all events, have
never taken that view, and I would like to remind my hon. friends that
in such ideas as I have about political principles, the leader of my
generation was Mr. Mill. Mill was a great and benignant lamp of wisdom
and humanity, and it was at that lamp I and others kindled our modest
rushlights. What did Mill say about the government of India? Remember
he was not merely that abject and despicable being, a philosopher. He
was a man practised in government, and in what government? Why, he was
responsible, experienced, and intimately concerned in the government
of India. What did he say? If there is anybody who can be quoted as
having been a champion of representative government it is Mill; and in
his book, which, I take it, is still the classic book on that subject,
this is what he says--

    "Government by the dominant country is as legitimate as any other,
    if it is the one which, in the existing state of civilization of
    the subject people, most facilitates their transition to a higher
    state of civilization."

Then he says this--

    "The ruling country ought to be able to do for its subjects
    all that could be done by a succession of absolute monarchs,
    guaranteed by irresistible force against the precariousness of
    tenure attendant on barbarous despotisms, and qualified by their
    genius to anticipate all that experience has taught to the more
    advanced nations. If we do not attempt to realize this ideal we
    are guilty of a dereliction of the highest moral trust that can
    devolve upon a nation."

I will now ask the attention of the House for a moment while I examine
a group of communications from officers of the Indian Government, and
if the House will allow me I will tell them what to my mind is the
result of all these communications as to the general feeling in India.
That, after all, is what most concerns us. For this unrest in the
Punjab and Bengal sooner or later--and sooner, rather than later, I
hope--will pass away. What is the situation of India generally in the
view of these experienced officers at this moment? Even now when we
are passing through all the stress and anxiety, it is a mistake not to
look at things rather largely. They all admit that there is a fall in
the influence of European officers over the population. They all, or
nearly all, admit that there is estrangement--I ought to say, perhaps,
refrigeration--between officers and people. There is less sympathy
between the Government and the people. For the last few years--and
this is a very important point--the doctrine of administrative
efficiency has been pressed too hard. The wheels of the huge machine
have been driven too fast. Our administration--so shrewd observers
and very experienced observers assure me--would be a great deal more
popular if it was a trifle less efficient, a trifle more elastic
generally. We ought not to put mechanical efficiency at the head of
our ideas. I am leading up to a practical point. The district officers
representing British rule to the majority of the people of India, are
overloaded with work in their official relations, and I know there are
highly experienced gentlemen who say that a little of the looseness of
earlier days is better fitted than the regular system of latter days,
to win and to keep personal influence, and that we are in danger of
creating a pure bureaucracy. Honourable, faithful, and industrious the
servants of the State in India are and will be, but if the present
system is persisted in, there is a risk of its becoming rather
mechanical, perhaps I might even say rather soulless; and attention to
this is urgently demanded. Perfectly efficient administration, I need
not tell the House, has a tendency to lead to over-centralisation. It
is inevitable. The tendency in India is to override local authority,
and to force administration to run in official grooves. For my own
part I would spare no pains to improve our relations with native
Governments, and more and more these relations may become of potential
value to the Government of India. I would use my best endeavours to
make these States independent in matters of administration. Yet all
evidence tends to show we are rather making administration less
personal, though evidence also tends to show that the Indian people
are peculiarly responsive to sympathy and personal influence. Do not
let us waste ourselves in controversy, here or elsewhere, or in mere
anger; let us try to draw to our side the men who now influence the
people. We have every good reason to believe that most of the people
of India are on our side. I do not say for a moment that they like us.
It does not come easy, in west or east, to like foreign rule. But in
their hearts they know that their solid interest is bound up with the
law and order that we preserve.

There is a Motion on the Paper for an inquiry by means of a
Parliamentary Committee or Royal Commission into the causes at the
root of the dissatisfaction. Now, I have often thought, while at
the India Office, whether it would be a good thing to have the
old-fashioned parliamentary inquiry by committee or commission. I have
considered this, I have discussed it with others; and I have come
to the conclusion that such inquiry would not produce any of the
advantages such as were gained in the old days of old committees, and
certainly would be attended by many drawbacks. But I have determined,
after consulting with the Viceroy, that considerable advantage might
be gained by a Royal Commission to examine, with the experience we
have gained over many years, into this great mischief--for all the
people in India who have any responsibility know that it is a great
mischief--of over-centralisation. It seemed a great mischief to so
acute a man as Sir Henry Maine, who, after many years' experience,
wrote expressing agreement with what Mr. Bright said just before or
just after the Mutiny, that the centralised government of India was
too much power for any one man to work. Now, when two men, singularly
unlike in temperament and training, agreed as to the evil of
centralisation on this large scale, it compels reflection. I will not
undertake at the present time to refer to the Commission the large
questions that were spoken of by Maine and Bright, but I think that
much might be gained by an inquiry on the spot into the working of
centralisation of government in India, and how in the opinions of
trained men here and in India, the mischief might be alleviated. That,
however, is not a question before us now.

You often hear people talk of the educated section of the people of
India as a mere handful, an infinitesimal fraction. So they are,
in numbers; but it is fatally idle to say that this infinitesimal
fraction does not count. This educated section is making and will make
all the difference. That they would sharply criticise the British
system of government has been long known. It was inevitable. There
need be no surprise in the fact that they want a share in political
influence, and want a share in the emoluments of administration. Their
means--many of them--are scanty; they have little to lose and much to
gain from far-reaching changes. They see that the British hand works
the State machine surely and smoothly, and they think, having no fear
of race animosities, that their hand could work the machine as surely
and as smoothly as the British hand.

And now I come to my last point. Last autumn the Governor-General
appointed a Committee of the Executive Council to consider the
development of the administrative machinery, and at the end of March
last he publicly informed his Legislative Council that he had sent
home a despatch to the Secretary of State proposing suggestions for
a move in advance. The Viceroy with a liberal and courageous mind
entered deliberately on the path of improvement. The public in India
were aware of it. They waited, and are now waiting the result with
the liveliest interest and curiosity. Meanwhile the riots happened
in Rawalpindi, in Lahore. After these riots broke out, what was the
course we ought to take? Some in this country lean to the opinion--and
it is excusable--that riots ought to suspend all suggestions and talk
of reform. Sir, His Majesty's Government considered this view, and in
the end they took, very determinedly, the opposite view. They held
that such a withdrawal would, of course, have been construed as a
triumph for the party of sedition. They held that, to draw back on
account of local and sporadic disturbances, however serious, anxious,
and troublesome they might be, would have been a really grave
humiliation. To hesitate to make a beginning with our own policy of
improving the administrative machinery of the Indian Government, would
have been taken as a sign of nervousness, trepidation, and fear; and
fear, that is always unworthy in any Government, is in the Indian
Government, not only unworthy, but extremely dangerous. I hope the
House concurs with His Majesty's Government.

In answer to a Question the other day, I warned one or two of my
hon. friends that, in resisting the employment of powers to suppress
disturbances, under the Regulation of 1818 or by any other lawful
weapon we could find, they were promoting the success of that
disorder, which would be fatal to the very projects with which they
sympathise. The despatch from India reached us in due course. It was
considered by the Council of India and by His Majesty's Government,
and our reply was sent about a fortnight ago. Someone will ask--Are
you going to lay these two despatches on the Table to-day? I hope the
House will not take it amiss if I say that at this stage--perhaps at
all stages--it would be wholly disadvantageous to lay the despatches
on the Table. We are in the middle of the discussion to-day, and it
would break up steady continuity if we had a premature discussion
_coram populo_. Everyone will understand that discussions of this kind
must be very delicate, and it is of the utmost importance that they
should be conducted with entire freedom. But, to employ a word that
I do not often use, I might adumbrate the proposals. This is how
the case stands. The despatch reached His Majesty's Government, who
considered it. We then set out our views upon the points raised in
the despatch. The Government of India will now frame what is called a
Resolution. That draft Resolution, when framed by them in conformity
with the instructions of His Majesty's Government, will in due course
be sent here. We shall consider that draft, and then it will be my
duty to present it to this House if legislation is necessary, as it
will be; and it will be published in India to be discussed there by
all those concerned....

The main proposal is the acceptance of the general principle of
a substantial enlargement of Legislative Councils, both the
Governor-General's Legislative Council and the Provincial Legislative
Councils. Details of this reform have to be further discussed in
consultation with the local Governments in India, but so far it is
thought best in India that an official majority must be maintained.
Again, in the discussion of the Budget in the Viceroy's Council the
subjects are to be grouped and explained severally by the members of
Council in charge of the Departments, and longer time is to be
allowed for this detailed discussion and for general debate. One more
suggestion. The Secretary of State has the privilege of recommending
to the Crown members of the Council of India. I think that the time
has now come when the Secretary of State may safely, wisely, and
justly recommend at any rate one Indian member. I will not discuss the
question now. I may have to argue it in Parliament at a later stage,
but I think it is right to say what is my intention, realising as we
all do how few opportunities the governing bodies have of hearing the
voice of Indians.

I believe I have defended myself from ignoring the principle that
there is a difference between the Western European and the Indian
Asiatic. There is vital difference, and it is infatuation to ignore
it. But there is another vital fact--namely, that the Indian Asiatic
is a man with very vivid susceptibilities of all kinds, and with
living traditions of a civilisation of his own; and we are bound to
treat him with the same kind of respect and kindness and sympathy that
we should expect to be treated with ourselves. Only the other day I
saw a letter from General Gordon to a friend of mine. He wrote--

    "To govern men, there is but one way, and it is eternal truth. Get
    into their skins. Try to realize their feelings. That is the true
    secret of government."

That is not only a great ethical, but a great political law, and we
shall reap a sour and sorry harvest if it is forgotten. It would be
folly to pretend to any dogmatic assurance--and I certainly do not--as
to the course of the future in India. But for to-day anybody who takes
part in the rule of India, whether as a Minister or as a Member of
the House of Commons, participating in the discussion on affairs in
India--anyone who wants to take a fruitful part in such discussions,
if he does his duty will found himself on the assumption that the
British rule will continue, ought to continue, and must continue.
There is, I know, a school,--I do not think it has representatives in
this House--who say that we might wisely walk out of India, and that
the Indians would manage their own affairs better than we can manage
affairs for them. Anybody who pictures to himself the anarchy, the
bloody chaos, that would follow from any such deplorable step, must
shrink from that sinister decision. We, at all events--Ministers and
Members of this House--are bound to take a completely different view.
The Government, and the House in all its parties and groups, is
determined that we ought to face all these mischiefs and difficulties
and dangers of which I have been speaking with a clear purpose. We
know that we are not doing it for our own interest alone, or our own
fame in the history of the civilised world alone, but for the interest
of the millions committed to us. We ought to face it with sympathy,
with kindness, with firmness, with a love of justice, and, whether the
weather be fair or foul, in a valiant and manful spirit.




It is an enormous satisfaction to me to find myself here once more,
the first time since the polling, and since the splendid majority that
these burghs were good enough to give me. I value very much what the
Provost has said, when he told you that I have never, though I have
had pretty heavy burdens, neglected the local business of Arbroath and
the other burghs. The Provost truly said that I hold an important and
responsible office under the Crown; and I hope that fact will be the
excuse, if excuse be needed, for my confining myself to-night to a
single topic. When I spoke to a friend of mine in London the other day
he said, "What are you going to speak about?", and I told him. He is a
very experienced man and he said, "It is a most unattractive subject,
India." At any rate, this is the last place where any apology is
needed for speaking about India, because it is you who are responsible
for my being the Indian Minister. If your 2,500 majority had been
2,500 the other way, I should have been no longer the Indian Minister.
There is something that strikes the imagination, something that
awakens a feeling of the bonds of mankind, in the thought that you
here and in the other burghs--(shipmen, artificers, craftsmen, and
shopkeepers living here)--are brought through me, and through your
responsibility in electing me, into contact with all these hundreds
of millions across the seas. Therefore it is that I will not make any
apology to you for my choice of a subject to-night. Let me say
this, not only to you gentlemen here, but to all British
constituencies--that it is well you should have patience enough to
listen to a speech about India; because it is no secret to anybody who
understands, that if the Government were to make a certain kind of bad
blunder in India--which I do not at all expect them to make--there
would be short work for a long time to come, with many of those
schemes, upon which you have set your heart. Do not dream, if any
mishap of a certain kind were to come to pass in India that you can
go on with that programme of social reforms, all costing money and
absorbing attention, in the spirit in which you are now about to
pursue it.

I am not particularly fond of talking of myself, but there is one
single personal word that I would like to say, and my constituency is
the only place in which I should not be ashamed to say that word. You,
after all, are concerned in the consistency of your representative.
Now I think a public man who spends overmuch time in vindicating
his consistency, makes a mistake. I will confess to you in friendly
confidence, that I have winced when I read of lifelong friends of
mine saying that I have, in certain Indian transactions, shelved the
principles of a lifetime. One of your countrymen said that, like the
Python--that fabulous animal who had the largest swallow that any
creature ever enjoyed--I have swallowed all my principles. I am a
little disappointed at such clatter as this. When a man has laboured
for more years than I care to count, for Liberal principles and
Liberal causes, and thinks he may possibly have accumulated a little
credit in the bank of public opinion--and in the opinion of his party
and his friends--it is a most extraordinary and unwelcome surprise to
him, when he draws a very small cheque indeed upon that capital, to
find the cheque returned with the uncomfortable and ill-omened words,
"No effects." I am not going to defend myself. A long time ago a
journalistic colleague, who was a little uneasy at some line I took
upon this question or that, comforted himself by saying. "Well, well,
the ship (speaking of me) swings on the tide, but the anchor holds."
Yes, gentlemen, I am no Pharisee, but I do believe that my anchor
holds, and your cheers show that you believe it too.

Now to India. I observed the other day that the Bishop of Lahore
said--and his words put in a very convenient form what is in the minds
of those who think about Indian questions at all--"It is my deep
conviction that we have reached a point of the utmost gravity and of
far-reaching effect in our continued relations with this land, and I
most heartily wish there were more signs that this fact was clearly
recognised by the bulk of Englishmen out here in India, or even by our
rulers themselves." Now you and the democratic constituencies of this
kingdom are the rulers of India. It is to you, therefore, that I come
to render my account. Just let us see where we are. Let us put the
case. When critics assail Indian policy or any given aspect of it, I
want to know where we start from? Some of you in Arbroath wrote to
me, a year ago, and called upon me to defend the system of Indian
Government and the policy for which I am responsible. I declined, for
reasons that I stated at the moment. I am here to answer to-night,
when the time makes it more fitting in anticipation all those
difficulties which some excellent people, with whom in many ways I
sympathise, feel. Again, I say, let us see where we start from. Does
anybody want me to go to London to-morrow morning, and to send a
telegram to Lord Kitchener, the Commander-in-Chief in India, and tell
him that he is to disband the Indian army, to send home as fast as we
can despatch transports, the British contingent of the army, and bring
away the whole of the Civil servants? Suppose it to be true, as
some people in Arbroath seem to have thought--I am not arguing the
question--that Great Britain loses more than she gains; supposing it
to be true that India would have worked out her own salvation without
us; supposing it to be true that the present Government of India has
many defects--supposing all that to be true, do you want me to send
a telegram to Lord Kitchener to-morrow morning to clear out bag and
baggage? How should we look in the face of the civilised world if we
had so turned our back upon our duty and sovereign task? How should we
bear the smarting stings of our own consciences, when, as assuredly
we should, we heard through the dark distances the roar and scream of
confusion and carnage in India? Then people of this way of thinking
say "That is not what we meant." Then what is it that is meant,
gentlemen? The outcome, the final outcome, of British rule in India
may be a profitable topic for the musings of meditative minds. But we
are not here to muse. We have the duty of the day to perform, we have
the tasks of to-morrow spread out before us. In the interests of
India, to say nothing of our own national honour, in the name of duty
and of common sense, our first and commanding task is to keep order
and to quell violences among race and creed; sternly to insist on the
impartial application of rules of justice, independent of European or
of Indian. We begin from that. We have got somehow or other, whatever
the details of policy and executive act may be, we are bound by the
first law of human things to maintain order.

There are plenty of difficulties in this immense task in England, and
I am not sure that I will exclude Scotland, but I said England in
order to save your feelings. One of the obstacles is the difficulty of
finding out for certain what actually happens. Scare headlines in the
bills of important journals are misleading. I am sure many of you must
know the kind of mirror that distorts features, elongates lines, makes
round what is lineal, and so forth. I assure you that a mirror of that
kind does not give you a more grotesque reproduction of the human
physiognomy, than some of these tremendous telegrams give you as to
what is happening in India. Another point is that the Press is very
often flooded with letters from Indians or ex-Indians--from _Indicus
olim_, and others--too oftened coloured with personal partisanship and
deep-dyed prepossessions. There is a spirit of caste outside the Hindu
sphere. There is a great deal of writing on the Indian Government by
men who have acquired the habit while they were in the Government,
and then unluckily retain the habit after they come home and live, or
ought to live, in peace and quietness among their friends here. That
is another of our difficulties. Still, when all such difficulties
are measured and taken account of, it is impossible to overrate the
courage, the patience and fidelity, with which the present House of
Commons faces what is not at all an easy moment in Indian Government.
You talk of democracy. People cry, "Oh! Democracy cannot govern remote
dependencies." I do not know; it is a hard question. So far, after
one Session of the most Liberal Parliament that has ever sat in Great
Britain, this most democratic Parliament so far at all events, has
safely rounded an extremely difficult angle. It is quite true that in
reference to a certain Indian a Conservative member rashly called out
one night in the House of Commons "Why don't you shoot him?" The whole
House, Tories, Radicals, and Labour men, they all revolted against any
such doctrine as that; and I augur from the proceedings of the last
Session--with courage, patience, good sense, and willingness to learn,
that democracy, in this case at all events, has shown, and I think is
going to show, its capacity for facing all our problems.

Now, I sometimes say to friends of mine in the House, and I venture
respectfully to say it to you--there is one tremendous fallacy which
it is indispensable for you to banish from your minds, taking the
point of view of a British Liberal, when you think of India. It was
said the other day--no, I beg your pardon, it was alleged to have been
said--by a British Member of Parliament now travelling in India--That
whatever is good in the way of self-government for Canada, must be
good for India. In my view that is the most concise statement that
I can imagine, of the grossest fallacy in all politics. It is a
thoroughly dangerous fallacy. I think it is the hollowest and, I am
sorry to say, the commonest, of all the fallacies in the history of
the world in all stages of civilisation. Because a particular policy
or principle is true and expedient and vital in certain definite
circumstances, therefore it must be equally true and vital in a
completely different set of circumstances. What sophism can be more
gross and dangerous? You might just as well say that, because a fur
coat in Canada at certain times of the year is a truly comfortable
garment, therefore a fur coat in the Deccan is just the very garment
that you would be delighted to wear. I only throw it out to you as
an example and an illustration. Where the historical traditions, the
religious beliefs, the racial conditions, are all different--there to
transfer by mere untempered and cast-iron logic all the conclusions
that you apply in one case to the other, is the height of political
folly, and I trust that neither you nor I will ever lend ourselves to
any extravagant doctrine of that species.

You may say, Ah, you are laying down very different rules of policy in
India from those which for the best part of your life you laid down
for Ireland. Yes, but that reproach will only have a sting in it, if
you persuade me that Ireland with its history, the history of the
Rebellion, Union and all the other chapters of that dismal tale, is
exactly analogous to the 300 millions of people in India. I am not at
all afraid of facing your test. I cannot but remember that in speaking
to you, I may be speaking to people many thousands of miles away, but
all the same I shall speak to you and to them perfectly frankly. I
don't myself believe in artful diplomacy; I have no gift for it. There
are two sets of people you have got to consider. First of all, I hope
that the Government of India, so long as I am connected with it and
responsible for it to Parliament and to the country, will not be
hurried by the anger of the impatient idealist. The impatient
idealist--you know him. I know him. I like him, I have been one
myself. He says, "You admit that so and so is right; why don't you do
it--why don't you do it now?" Whether he is an Indian idealist or a
British idealist I sympathise with him. Ah! gentlemen, how many of
the most tragic miscarriages in human history have been due to the
impatience of the idealist! (Loud cheers.) I should like to ask the
Indian idealist, whether it is a good way of procuring what everybody
desires, a reduction of Military expenditure, for example, whether it
is a good way of doing that, to foment a spirit of strife in India
which makes reduction of Military forces difficult, which makes the
maintenance of Military force indispensable? Is it a good way to help
reformers like Lord Minto and myself, in carrying through political
reform, to inflame the minds of those who listen to such teachers, to
inflame their minds with the idea that our proposals and projects are
shams? Assuredly it is not.

And I will say this, gentlemen. Do not think there is a single
responsible leader of the reform party in India, who does not deplore
the outbreak of disorder that we have had to do our best to put down;
who does not agree that disorder, whatever your ultimate policy may
be--must be with a firm hand put down. If India to-morrow became a
self-governing Colony--disorder would still have to be put down with
an iron hand; I do not know and I do not care, to whom these gentlemen
propose to hand over the charge of governing India. Whoever they might
be, depend upon it that the maintenance of order is the foundation
of anything like future progress. If any of you hear unfavourable
language applied to me as your representative, do me the justice to
remember considerations of that kind. To nobody in this world, by
habit, by education, by experience, by views expressed in political
affairs for a great many years past, to nobody is exceptional
repression, more distasteful than it is to me. After all, gentlemen,
you would not have me see men try to set the prairie on fire without
arresting the hand. You would not blame me when I saw men smoking
their pipes near powder magazines, you would not blame me, you would
not call me an arch coercionist, if I said, "Away with the men and
away with the pipes." We have not allowed ourselves--I speak of the
Indian Government--to be hurried into the policy of repression. I
say this to what I would call the idealist party. Then I would say
something to those who talk nonsense about apathy and supineness. We
will not be hurried into repression, any more than we will be hurried
into the other direction. This party, which is very vocal in this
country, say:--Oh! we are astonished, and India is astonished, and
amazed at the licence that you extend to newspapers and to speakers;
why don't you stop it? Orientals, they say, do not understand it.
Yes, but just let us look at that. We are not Orientals; that is the
root of the matter. We are in India. We English, Scotch, and Irish,
are in India because we are not Orientals. We are representatives, not
of Oriental civilisation, but of Western civilisation, of its methods,
its principles, its practices; and I for one will not be hurried into
an excessive haste for repression, by the argument that Orientals do
not understand patience or toleration.

You will want to know how the situation is viewed at this moment in
India itself, by those who are responsible for the Government of
India. This view is not a new view at all. It is that the situation is
not gravely dangerous, but it requires serious and urgent attention.
That seems for the moment to be the verdict. Extremists are few, but
they are active; their field is wide, their nets are far spread.
Anybody who has read history knows that the Extremist often beats the
Moderate by his fire, his heated energy, his concentration, by his
very narrowness. So be it; we remember it; we watch it all, with that
lesson of historic experience full in our minds. Yet we still hold
that it would be the height of political folly for us at this moment
to refuse to do all we can, with prudence and energy, to rally the
Moderates to the cause of the Government, simply because the policy
will not satisfy the Extremists. Let us, if we can, rally the
Moderates, and if we are told that the policy will not satisfy the
Extremists, so be it. Our line will remain the same. It is the height
of folly to refuse to rally sensible people, because we do not satisfy
Extremists. I am detaining you unmercifully, but I doubt whether--and
do not think I say it because it happens to be my department--of all
the questions that are to be discussed perhaps for years to come, any
question can be in all its actual foundations, and all its prospective
bearings, more important than the question of India. There are many
aspects of it which it is not possible for me to go into, as, for
example, some of its Military aspects. I repeat my doubt whether there
is any question more commanding at this moment, and for many a day to
come, than the one which I am impressing upon you to-night. Is all
that is called unrest in India mere froth? Or is it a deep rolling
flood? Is it the result of natural order and wholesome growth in
this vast community? Is it natural effervescence, or is it deadly
fermentation? Is India with all its heterogeneous populations--is it
moving slowly and steadily to new and undreamt of unity? It is the
vagueness of the discontent, which is not universal--it is the
vagueness that makes it harder to understand, harder to deal with.
Some of them are angry with me. Why? Because I have not been able to
give them the moon. I have got no moon, and if I had I would not part
with it. I will give the moon, when I know who lives there, and what
kind of conditions prevail there.

I want, if I may, to make a little literary digression. Much of this
movement arises from the fact that there is now a large body
of educated Indians who have been fed, at our example and our
instigation, upon some of the great teachers and masters of this
country, Milton, Burke, Macaulay, Mill, and Spencer. Surely it is a
mistake in us not to realise that these masters should have mighty
force and irresistible influence. Who can be surprised that educated
Indians who read those high masters and teachers of ours, are
intoxicated with the ideas of freedom, nationality, self-government,
that breathes the breath of life in those inspiring and illuminating
pages. Who of us that had the privilege in the days of our youth, at
college or at home, of turning over those golden chapters, and seeing
that lustrous firmament dawn over our youthful imaginations--who of us
can forget, shall I call it the intoxication and rapture, with which
we strove to make friends with truth, knowledge, beauty, freedom? Then
why should we be surprised that young Indians feel the same movement
of mind, when they are made free of our own immortals. I would only
say this to my idealist friends, whether Indian or European, that for
every passage that they can find in Mill, or Burke, or Macaulay,
or, any other of our lofty sages with their noble hearts and potent
brains, I will find them a dozen passages in which history is shown to
admonish us, in the language of Burke--"How weary a step do those
take who endeavour to make out of a great mass a true political
personality!" They are words much to be commended to those zealots
in India--how many a weary step has to be taken before they can form
themselves into a mass that has a true political personality! My
warning may be wasted, but anybody who has a chance ought to try to
appeal to the better, the riper, mind of educated India. Time has gone
on with me, experience has widened. I have never lost my invincible
faith that there is a better mind in all civilised communities--and
that this better mind, if you can reach it, if statesmen in time to
come can reach that better mind, can awaken it, can evoke it, can
induce it to apply itself to practical purposes for the improvement
of the conditions of such a community, they will earn the crown of
beneficent fame indeed. Nothing strikes me much more than this, when
I talk of the better mind of India--there are subtle elements,
religious, spiritual, mystical, traditional, historical in what we may
call for the moment the Indian mind, which are very hard for the most
candid and patient to grasp or to realise in their full force. But our
duty, and it is a splendid duty, is to try. I always remember a little
passage in the life of a great Anglo-Indian, Sir Henry Lawrence, a
very simple passage, and it is this, "No one ever ate at Sir Henry
Lawrence's table without learning to think more kindly of the
natives." I wish I could know that at every Anglo-Indian table to-day,
nobody has sat down without leaving it having learned to think a
little more kindly of the natives. One more word on this point. Bad
manners, overbearing manners are disagreeable in all countries: India
is the only country where bad and overbearing manners are a political

The Government have been obliged to take measures of repression; they
may be obliged to take more. But we have not contented ourselves with
measures of repression. Those of you who have followed Indian matters
at all during the last two or three months are aware there is a reform
scheme, a scheme to give the Indians chances of coming more closely
and responsibly into a share of the Government of their country. The
Government of India issued certain proposals expressly marked as
provisional and tentative. There was no secret hatching of a new
Constitution. Their circular was sent about to obtain an expression
of Indian opinion, official and non-official. Plenty of time has been
given, and is to be given, for an examination and discussion of these
proposals. We shall not be called upon to give an official decision
until spring next year, and I shall not personally be called upon for
a decision before the middle of next Session. One step we have taken
to which I attach the greatest importance. Two Indians have for the
first time been appointed to be members of the Council of India
sitting at Whitehall. I appointed these two gentlemen, not only to
advise the Secretary of State in Council, not only to help to keep him
in touch with Indian opinion and Indian interests, but as a marked
and conspicuous proof on the highest scale, by placing them on this
important and ruling body, that we no longer mean to keep Indians at
arm's length or shut the door of the Council Chamber of the paramount
power against them. Let me press this important point upon you.

The root of the unrest, discontent, and sedition, so far as I can make
out after constant communication with those who have better chances of
knowing the problem at first hand, than I could have had--the root of
the matter is racial and social not political. That being so, it is
of a kind that is the very hardest to reach. You can reach political
sentiment. This goes deeper. Racial dislike is a dislike not of
political domination, but of racial domination; and my object in
making that conspicuous change in the constitution of the Council
of India which advises the Secretary of State for India, was to do
something, and if rightly understood and interpreted to do a great
deal, to teach all English officers and governors in India, from the
youngest Competition wallah who arrives there, that in the eyes of the
ruling Government at home, the Indian is perfectly worthy of a place,
be it small or great, in the counsels of those who make and carry on
the laws and the administration of the community to which he belongs.
We stand by this position not in words alone; we have shown it in act
and shall show it further.

There is one more difficulty--there are two difficulties--and I must
ask you for a couple of minutes. I only need name them--famine and
plague. At this moment, when you have thought and argued out all
these political things, the Government of India still remains a grim
business. If there are no rains this month, the spectre of famine
seems to be approaching, and nobody can blame us for that. Nobody
expects the Viceroy and the Secretary of State to play the part of
Elijah on Mount Carmel, who prayed and saw a little cloud like a man's
hand, until the heavens became black with winds and cloud, and there
was a great rain. That is beyond the reach of Government. All we can
say is that never before was the Government in all its branches and
members found more ready than it is now, to do the very best to face
the prospect. Large suspensions of revenue and rent will be granted,
allowances will be made to distressed cultivators. No stone will be
left unturned. The plague figures are terrible enough. At this season
plague mortality is generally quiescent; but this year, even if the
last three months of it show no rise, the plague mortality will still
be the worst that has ever been known, I think, in India's recorded
annals. Pestilence during the last nine months has stalked through
the land, wasting her cities and villages, uncontrolled and
uncontrollable, so far as we can tell, by human forethought or care.
When I read some of these figures in the House of Commons, a few
perturbed cries of "Shame" accompanied them. These cries came from the
natural sympathy, horror, amazement, and commiseration, with which we
all listen to such ghastly stories. The shame does not lie with the
Government. If you see anything in your newspapers about these plague
figures, remember that they are not like an epidemic here. In trying
to remedy plague, you have to encounter the habits and prejudices of
hundreds of years. Suppose you find plague is conveyed by a flea upon
a rat, and suppose you are dealing with a population who object to
the taking away of life. You see for yourselves the difficulty? The
Government of India have applied themselves with great energy, with
fresh activity, and they believe they have got the secret of this fell
disaster. They have laid down a large policy of medical, sanitary, and
financial aid. I am a hardened niggard of public money. I watch the
expenditure of Indian revenue as the ferocious dragon of the old
mythology watched the golden apples. I do not forget that I come
from a constituency which, so far as I have known it, if it is most
generous, is also most prudent. Nevertheless, though I have to be
thrifty, almost parsimonious, upon this matter, the Council of India
and myself will, I am sure, not stint or grudge. I can only say, in
conclusion, that I think I have said enough to convince you that I
am doing what I believe you would desire me to do--conducting
administration in the spirit which I believe you will approve;
listening with impartiality to all I can learn; desirous to support
all those who are toiling at arduous work in India; and that we shall
not be deterred from pursuing to the end, a policy of firmness on the
one hand, and of liberal and steady reform on the other. We shall not
see all the fruits of it in our day. So be it. We shall at least have
made not only a beginning, but a marked advance both in order
and progress, by resolute patience, and an unflagging spirit of




    DR. RUTHERFORD (Middlesex, Brentford) rose to move as an Amendment
    to the Address, at the end to add,--"But humbly submits that the
    present condition of affairs in India demands the immediate and
    serious attention of his Majesty's Government; that the present
    proposals of the Government of India are inadequate to allay the
    existing and growing discontent; and that comprehensive measures
    of reform are imperatively necessary in the direction of giving
    the people of India control over their own affairs."

MR. DEPUTY-SPEAKER, I think the House will allow me in the remarks
that I wish to make, to refer to a communication that I had received,
namely, the decision arrived at by the Transvaal Government in respect
to the question of Asiatics. Everybody in the House is aware of the
enormous interest, even passionate interest, that has been taken in
this subject, especially in India, and for very good reasons. Without
further preface let me say, this is the statement received by Lord
Elgin from the Government of the Transvaal last night:--"Gandhi and
other leaders of the Indian and Chinese communities have offered
voluntary registration in a body within three months, provided
signatures only are taken of educated, propertied, or well-known
Asiatics, and finger-prints of the others, and that no question
against which Asiatics have religious objections be pressed. The
Transvaal Government have accepted this offer, and undertaken, pending
registration, not to enforce the penalties under the Act against all
those who register. The sentences of all Asiatics in prison will be
remitted to-morrow." Lord Selborne adds, "This course was agreed to by
both political parties." I am sure that everybody in the House will
think that very welcome news. I do not like to let the matter drop
without saying a word--I am sure Lord Elgin would like me to say
it--in recognition of the good spirit shown by the Transvaal

In reference to the Amendment now before the House, I have listened
to the debate with keen, lively, and close interest. I am not one of
those who have usually complained of these grave topics being raised,
when fair opportunity offered in this House. On the whole, looking
back over my Parliamentary lifetime, which is now pretty long, I think
there has been too little Indian discussion. Before I came here there
were powerful minds like Mr. Fawcett and Mr. Bradlaugh and others, who
constantly raised Indian questions in a truly serious and practical
way, though I do not at all commit myself to the various points
of view that were then adopted. But, of course, this is a vote of
confidence. I am not going to ask members to vote for the Government
on that ground. But I must submit that His Majesty's present
Government in the Indian department has the confidence both of the
House and of the country. I believe we have. An important suggestion
was made by my hon. friend now sitting below the gangway, that a
Parliamentary Committee should sit--I presume a joint committee of the
two Houses--and my hon. friend who spoke last, said that the fact of
the existence of that committee would bring Parliament into closer
contact with the mind of India. Well, ever since I have been at the
India Office I have rather inclined in the direction of one of the old
Parliamentary Committees. I will not argue the question now. I can
only assure my hon. friend that the question has been considered
by me, and I see what its advantages might be, yet I also perceive
serious disadvantages. In the old days they were able to command the
services on the Indian committees, of ex-Ministers, of members of this
House and members of another place, who had had much experience
of Indian administration, and I am doubtful, considering the
preoccupations of public men, whether we should now be able to call a
large body of experienced administrators, with the necessary balance
between the two Houses, to sit on one of these committees. And then I
would point out another disadvantage. You would have to call away from
the performance of their duties in India a large body of men whose
duties ought to occupy, and I believe do occupy, all their minds and
all their time. Still it is an idea, and I will only say that I do not
entirely banish it from my own mind. Two interesting speeches, and
significant speeches, have been made this afternoon. One was made by
my hon. friend, the mover, and the other by the hon. Member for East
Leeds. Those two speeches raise a really important issue. My hon.
friend the Member for Leeds said that democracy was entirely opposed
to, and would resist, the doctrine of the settled fact.[1] My hon.
friend tells you democracy will have nothing to do with settled facts,
though he did not quite put it as plainly as that. Now, if that be so,
I am very sorry for democracy. I do not agree with my hon. friend. I
think democracy will be just as reasonable as any other sensible form
of government, and I do not believe democracy will for a moment
think that you are to rip up a settlement of an administrative or
constitutional question, because it jars with some abstract _a priori_
idea. I for one certainly say that I would not remain at the India
Office, or any other powerful and responsible Departmental office, on
condition that I made short work of settled facts, hurried on with my
catalogue of first principles, and arranged on those principles
the whole duties of government. Then my hon. friend the Member for
Brentford quoted an expression of mine used in a speech in the country
about the impatient idealists, and he reproved me for saying that some
of the worst tragedies of history had been wrought by the impatient
idealists. He was kind enough to say that it was I, among other
people, who had made him an idealist, and therefore I ought not to be
ashamed of my spiritual and intellectual progeny. I certainly have no
right whatever to say that I am ashamed of my hon. friend, who made
a speech full of interesting views, full of visions of a millennial
future, and I do not quarrel with him for making his speech. My hon.
friend said that he was for an Imperial Duma. The hon. Gentleman has
had the advantage of a visit to India, which I have never had. I think
he was there for six whole long weeks. He polished off the Indian
population at the heroic rate of sixty millions a week, and this makes
him our especially competent instructor. His Imperial Duma was to be
elected, as I understood, by universal suffrage.

[Footnote 1: The Secretary of State had on an earlier occasion spoken
of the Petition of Bengal as a settled fact.]

Dr. RUTHERFORD: No, not universal suffrage. I said educational
suffrage, and also pecuniary suffrage--taxpayers and ratepayers.

Mr. MORLEY: In the same speech the hon. Gentleman made a great charge
against our system of education in India--that we had not educated
them at all; therefore, he excludes at once an enormous part of the
population. The Imperial Duma, as I understood from my hon. friend was
to be subject to the veto of the Viceroy. That is not democracy. We
are to send out from Great Britain once in five years a Viceroy,
who is to be confronted by an Imperial Duma, just as the Tsar is
confronted by the Duma in Russia. Surely that is not a very ripe idea
of democracy. My hon. friend visited the State of Baroda, and thought
it well governed. Well, there is no Duma of his sort there. I will
state frankly my own opinion even though I have not spent one single
week-end in India. If I had to frame a new system of government for
India, I declare I would multiply the Baroda system of government,
rather than have an Imperial Duma and universal suffrage. The speech
of my hon. friend, with whom I am sorry to find myself, not in
collision but in difference, illustrates what is to my mind one of the
grossest of all the fallacies in practical politics--namely, that you
can cut out, frame, and shape one system of government for communities
with absolutely different sets of social, religious, and economic
conditions--that you can cut them all out by a sort of standardised
pattern, and say that what is good for us here, the point of view, the
line of argument, the method of solution--that all these things are to
be applied right off to a community like India. I must tell my hon.
friend that I regard that as a most fatal and mischievous fallacy, and
I need not say more. I am bound, after what I have said, to add that I
do not think that it is at all involved in Liberalism. I have had the
great good fortune and honour and privilege to have known some of the
great Liberals of my time, and there was not one of those great men,
Gambetta, Bright, Gladstone, Mazzini, who would have accepted for one
single moment the doctrine on which my hon. friend really bases his
visionary proposition for a Duma. Is there any rational man who
holds that, if you can lay down political principles and maxims
of government that apply equally to Scotland or to England, or to
Ireland, or to France, or to Spain, therefore they must be just as
true for the Punjab and the United Provinces and Bengal?

Dr. RUTHERFORD: I quoted Mr. Bright as making the very proposal I have
made, with the exception of the Duma--namely, Provincial Parliaments.

Mr. MORLEY: I am afraid I must traverse my hon. friend's description
of Mr. Bright's view, with which, I think, I am pretty well
acquainted. Mr. Bright was, I believe, on the right track at the time,
when in 1858 the Government of India was transferred to the Crown.
He was not in favour of universal suffrage--he was rather
old-fashioned--but Mr. Bright's proposal was perfectly different from
that of my hon. friend. Sir Henry Maine, and others who had been
concerned with Indian affairs, came to the conclusion that Mr.
Bright's idea was right--that to put one man, a Viceroy, assisted as
he might be with an effective Executive Council, in charge of such
an area as India and its 300 millions of population, with all its
different races, creeds, modes of thought, was to put on a Viceroy's
shoulder a load that no man of whatever powers, however gigantic they
might be, could be expected effectively to support. My hon. friend and
others who sometimes favour me with criticisms in the same sense,
seem to suggest that I am a false brother, that I do not know what
Liberalism is. I think I do, and I must even say that I do not think I
have anything to learn of the principles or maxims or the practice of
Liberal doctrines even from my hon. friend. You are bound to look at
the whole mass of the difficulties and perplexing problems connected
with India, from a common-sense plane, and it is not common sense, if
I may say so without discourtesy, to talk of Imperial Dumas. I have
not had a word of thanks from that quarter, in the midst of a shower
of reproach, for what I regard, in all its direct and indirect results
and bearings, as one of the most important moves that have been made
in connection with the relations between Great Britain and India for
a long time--I mean, the admission of two Indian gentlemen to the
Council of the Secretary of State. An hon. friend wants me to appoint
an Indian gentleman to the Viceroy's Executive Council. Well, that
is a different thing; but I am perfectly sure that, if an occasion
offers, neither Lord Minto nor I would fall short of some such
application of democratic principles. In itself it is something that
we have a Viceroy and a Secretary of State thoroughly alive to the
great change in temperature and atmosphere that has been going on in
India for the last five or six years, and I do not think we ought to
be too impatiently judged. We came in at a perturbed time; we did not
find balmy breezes and smooth waters. It is notorious that we came
into enormous difficulties, which we had not created. How they were
created is a long story that has nothing whatever to do with the
present discussion. But what I submit with the utmost confidence
is that the situation to-day is a considerable improvement on the
situation that we found, when we assumed power two years ago. There
have been heavy and black clouds over the Indian horizon during
those two years. By our policy those clouds have been to some extent
dispersed. I am not so unwise as to say that the clouds will never
come back again; but what has been done by us has been justified, in
my opinion, by the event.

Some fault was found, and I do not in the least complain, with the
deportation of two native gentlemen. I do not quarrel with the man
who finds fault with that proceeding. To take anybody and deport him
without bringing any charge against him, and with no intention of
bringing him to trial, is a step that, I think, the House is perfectly
justified in calling me to account for. I have done my best to account
for it, and to-day, anyone who knows the Punjab, would agree that,
whatever may happen at some remote period, its state is comparatively
quiet and satisfactory. I am not going to repeat my justification of
that strong measure of deportation, but I should like to read to the
House the words of the Viceroy in the Legislative Council in November
last, when he was talking about the circumstances with which we had to
deal. He said, addressing Lord Kitchener--

   "I hope that your Excellency will on my behalf as Viceroy and as
    representing the King convey to His Majesty's Indian troops
    my thanks for the contempt with which they have received the
    disgraceful overtures which I know have been made to them. The
    seeds of sedition have been unscrupulously scattered throughout
    India, even amongst the hills of the frontier tribes. We are
    grateful that they have fallen on much barren ground, but we can
    no longer allow their dissemination."

Will anybody say, that in view of the possible danger pointed to in
that language of the Viceroy two or three months ago, we did wrong in
using the regulation which applied to the case? No one can say what
mischief might have followed, if we had taken any other course than
that which we actually took.

Let me beseech my hon. friends at least to try for some sense of
balanced proportion, instead of allowing their wrath at one particular
incident of policy to blot out from their vision all the wide and
durable operations, to which we have set firm and persistent hands.
After all, this absence of a sense of proportion is what, more than
any other one thing, makes a man a wretched politician.

Now as to the reforms that are mentioned in my hon. friend's
Amendment. It is an extraordinary Amendment. It--

    "submits that the present condition of affairs in India demands
    the immediate and serious attention of His Majesty's Government."

I could cordially vote for that, only remarking that the hon. member
must think the Secretary of State, and the Viceroy, and other persons
immediately concerned in the Government of India, very curious people
if he supposes that the state of affairs in India does not always
demand their immediate and very serious attention. Then the Amendment

    "The present proposals of the Government of India are inadequate
    to allay the existing and growing discontent."

I hope it is not presumptuous to say so, but I should have expected a
definition from my hon. friend of what he guesses these proposals are.
I should like to set a little examination paper to my hon. friend. I
have studied them for many months, yet would rather not be examined
for chapter and verse. But my hon. friend after his famous six weeks
of travel knows all about them, and the state of affairs for which our
plans are the inadequate remedy. I do not want to hold him up as a
formidable example: but in his speech to-day he went over--and it
does credit to his industry--every single one of the most burning and
controversial questions of the whole system of Indian Government and
seemed to say, "I will tell you how far this is wrong and exactly what
ought to be done to put what is wrong right." I think I have got from
him twenty _ipse dixits_ on all these topics on which we slow dull
people at the India Office are wearing ourselves to pieces. When it is
said, as I often hear it said, that I, for example, am falling
into the hands of my officials, it should be remembered that those
gentlemen who go to India also get into the hands of other people.

Dr. RUTHERFORD: I was in the hands both of officials and of Indians.

Mr. MORLEY: Then let me assure him, perhaps to his amazement, that he
came out of the hands of both of them still with something to learn.
I wonder whether, when this House is asked to condemn the present
proposals of the Government of India as being inadequate to allay the
existing and growing discontent, it is realised exactly how the case
stands. I will repeat what I said in the debate on the Indian
Budget. The Government of India sent over to the India Office their
proposals--their various schemes for advisory councils and so forth.
We at the India Office subjected them to a careful scrutiny and
laborious examination. As a result of this careful scrutiny and
examination, they were sent back to the Government of India with the
request that they would submit them to discussion in various quarters.
The instruction to the Government of India was that by the end of
March, the India Office was to learn what the general view was at
which the Government of India had themselves arrived upon the plans,
with all their complexities and variations. We wanted to know what
they would tell us. It will be for us to consider how far the report
so arrived at, how far these proposals, ripened by Indian opinion,
carried out the policy which His Majesty's Government had in view.
Surely that is a reasonable and simple way of proceeding? When you
have to deal with complex communities of varied races, and all the
other peculiarities of India, you have to think out how your proposals
will work. Democracies do not always think how things will work.
Sir Henry Cotton made a speech that interested and struck me by its
moderation and reasonableness. He made a number of remarks in perfect
good faith about officials, which I received in a chastened spirit,
for he has been for a very long time a very distinguished official
himself. Therefore, he knows all about it. He went on to talk of
the great problem of the separation of the executive and judicial
functions, which is one of the living problems of India. I can only
assure my hon. friend that that is engaging our attention both in
India and here.

Another of the subjects to which the attention of the Indian
Government has been specifically directed has regard to the mitigation
of flogging, the restriction of civil flogging, and the limitation of
military flogging to specific cases. In this we are making a marked
advance in humanity and common sense,--which is itself a kind of

My hon. friend appeals to me saying that all will be well in India,
if the Secretary of State will make a statement which will show the
Indian people that, in his relations with them, his hopes for them,
and his efforts for them, he is moved by a kindly, sympathetic, and
friendly feeling, showing them that his heart is with them. All I have
got to say is that I have never shown myself anything else. My heart
is with them. What is bureaucracy to me? It is a great machine in
India, yes a splendid machine, for performing the most difficult task
that ever was committed to the charge of any nation. But show me where
it fails--that it is perfect in every respect no sensible man would
contend for a moment--but show me at any point, let any of my hon.
friends show me from day to day as this session passes, where this
bureaucracy, as they call it, has been at fault. Do they suppose it
possible that I will not show my recognition of that failure, and
do all that I can to remedy it? Although the Government of India is
complicated and intricate, they cannot suppose that I shall fail for
one moment in doing all in my power to demonstrate that we are moved
by a kindly, a sympathetic, a friendly, an energetic, and what I
will call a governing spirit, in the highest form and sense of that
sovereign and inspiring word.




GENTLEMEN,--I have first of all to thank you for what I understand is
a rare honour--and an honour it assuredly is--of being invited to
be your guest to-night. The position of a Secretary of State in the
presence of the Indian Civil Service is not an entirely simple one.
You, Gentlemen, who are still in the Service, and the veterans I see
around me who have been in that great Service, naturally and properly
look first of all, and almost altogether, upon India. A Secretary of
State has to look also upon Great Britain and upon Parliament--and
that is not always a perfectly easy situation to adjust. I forget who
it was that said about the rulers of India in India:--"It is no easy
thing for a man to keep his watch in two longitudes at once at the
same time." That is the case of the Secretary of State. It is not
the business of the Secretary of State to look exclusively at India,
though I will confess to you for myself that during the moderately
short time I have held my present office, I have kept my eye upon
India constantly, steadfastly, and with every desire to learn the
whole truth upon every situation as it arose.

But there must be a thorough comprehension in the mind of the
Secretary of State of two things--first of all, of the Indian point of
view; and, secondly, the point of view as it appears to those who are
the masters of me and of you. Do not forget that adjustment has to be
made. It would be impertinent of me to pay compliments to the Civil
Service, to whom I propose this toast--"The Health of the Indian
Civil Service." You might think for a moment, that it was an amateur
proposing prosperity and success to experts. I have had in my days a
good deal to do with experts of one kind and another, and I assure
you that I do not think an expert is at all the worse when he gets a
candid-minded and reasonably well trained amateur.

Now, this year is a memorable anniversary. It is fifty years within a
month or two, since the Crown took over the Government of India from
the old East India Company. Whether that was a good move or a bad
move, it would not become me to discuss. The move was made. (A voice,
"It was a good move.") My veteran friend says that it was a good move.
I hope so. But at the end of fifty years we are at rather a critical
moment. I read in _The Times_ the other day that the present Viceroy
and Secretary of State had to deal with conditions such as the British
in India never before were called upon to face. (A voice, "That is
so.") Now, many of you sitting around me at this table are far better
able to test the weight of that statement, than I can pretend to be.
Is it true that at the end of fifty years since the transfer to the
Crown, we have to deal with conditions such as the British in India
never before were called upon to face? ("Yes.") I cannot undertake to
measure that; but what is clear is that decidedly heavy clouds have
suddenly risen in our horizon, and are darkly sailing over our Indian
skies. That cannot be denied. But, gentlemen, having paid the utmost
attention that a man can in office, with access to all the papers, and
seeing all the observers he is able to see, I do not feel for a moment
that this discovery of a secret society or a secret organisation
involves any question of an earthquake. I prefer to look upon it, to
revert to my own figure, as clouds sailing through the sky. I do not
say you will not have to take pretty strong measures of one sort and
another. Yes, but strong measures in the right direction, and with the
right qualifications. I think any man who lays down a firm proposition
that all is well, or any man who says that all is ill--either of those
two men is probably wrong. Now this room is filled, and genially
filled, with men who have had enormous experience, vast and wide
experience, and, not merely passive experience, but that splendid
active experience which is the real training and education of men
in responsibility. This room is full of gentlemen with these
qualifications. And I will venture to say that the theories and
explanations that could be heard in the palace of truth from all of
you gentlemen here, would be countless in their differences. I hear
explanations of the present state of things all day long. I like to
hear them. You think it may become monotonous. No: not at all; because
there is so much, I will not say of random variety, but there is so
much independent use of mind upon the facts that we have to deal with,
that I listen with endless edification and instruction. But, I think,
and I wish I could think otherwise with all my heart--that to sum up
all these theories and explanations of the state of things with which
we have to deal, you can hardly resist a painful impression that there
is now astir in some quarters a certain estrangement and alienation of
races. ("No no.") Gentlemen, bear with me patiently. It is our share
in the Asiatic question.


I am trying to feel my way through the most difficult problem, the
most difficult situation that a responsible Government can have to
face. Of course, I am dependent upon information. But as I read it,
as I listen to serious Indian experts with large experience, it all
sounds estrangement and alienation even though it be no worse than
superficial. Now that is the problem that we have to deal with.
Gentlemen, I should very badly repay your kindness in asking me to
come among you to-night, if I were to attempt for a minute to analyse
or to prove all the conditions that have led to this state of things.
It would need hours and days. This is not, I think, the occasion, nor
the moment. Our first duty--the first duty of any Government--is to
keep order. But just remember this. It would be idle to deny, and I am
not sure that any of you gentlemen would deny, that there is at this
moment, and there has been for some little time past, and very likely
there will be for some time to come, a living movement in the mind of
the peoples for whom you are responsible. A living movement, and a
movement for what? A movement for objects which we ourselves have all
taught them to think desirable objects. And unless we somehow or other
can reconcile order with satisfaction of those ideas and aspirations,
gentlemen, the fault will not be theirs. It will be ours. It will mark
the breakdown of what has never yet broken down in any part of the
world--the breakdown of British statesmanship. That is what it will
do. Now I do not believe anybody--either in this room or out of this
room--believes that we can now enter upon an era of pure repression.
You cannot enter at this date and with English public opinion, mind
you, watching you, upon an era of pure repression, and I do not
believe really that anybody desires any such thing. I do not believe
so. Gentlemen, we have seen attempts, in the lifetime of some of us
here to-night, attempts in Continental Europe, to govern by pure
repression. Has one of them really succeeded? They have all failed.
There may be now and again a spurious semblance of success, but in
truth they have all failed. Whether we with our enormous power and
resolution should fail, I do not know. But I do not believe anybody
in this room representing so powerfully as you do dominant sentiments
that are not always felt in England--that in this room there is
anybody who is for an era of pure repression. Gentlemen, I would just
digress for a moment if I am not tiring you. ("Go on,") About the same
time as the transfer, about fifty years ago, of the Government of
India from the old East India Company to the Crown, another very
important step was taken, a step which I have often thought since
I have been concerned with the Government of India was far more
momentous, one almost deeper than the transfer to the Crown. And what
do you think that was? That was the first establishment--I think I
am right in my date--of Universities. We in this country are so
accustomed to look upon political changes as the only important
changes, that we very often forget such a change as the establishment
of Universities. And if any of you are inclined to prophesy, I should
like to read to you something that was written by that great and
famous man, Lord Macaulay, in the year 1836, long before the
Universities were thought of. What did he say? What a warning it is,
gentlemen. He wrote, in the year 1836:--"At the single town of Hooghly
1,400 boys are learning English. The effect of this education on the
Hindus is prodigious.... It is my firm belief that if our plans of
education are followed up, there will not be a single idolater among
the respectable classes in Bengal thirty years hence. And this will be
effected merely by the natural operation of knowledge and reflection."
Ah, gentlemen, the natural operation of knowledge and reflection
carries men of a different structure of mind, different beliefs,
different habits and customs of life--it carries them into strange and
unexpected paths. I am not going to embark you to-night upon these
vast controversies, but when we talk about education, are we not
getting very near the root of the case? Now to-night we are not in the
humour--I am sure you are not, I certainly am not--for philosophising.
Somebody is glad of it. I will tell you what I think of--as I have for
a good many months past--I think first of the burden of responsibility
weighing on the governing men at Calcutta and Simla and the other main
centres of power and of labour. We think of the anxieties of those in
India, and in England as well, who have relatives in remote places and
under conditions that are very familiar to you all. I have a great
admiration for the self-command, for the freedom from anything
like panic, which has hitherto marked the attitude of the European
population of Calcutta and some other places, and I confess I have
said to myself that if they had found here, in London, bombs in the
railway carriages, bombs under the Prime Minister's House, and so
forth, we should have had tremendous scare headlines and all the other
phenomena of excitement and panic. So far as I am informed, though
very serious in Calcutta--the feeling is serious, how could it be
anything else?--they have exercised the great and noble virtue, in all
ranks and classes, of self-command. Now the Government--if you will
allow me for a very few moments to say a word on behalf of the
Government, not here alone but at Simla--we and they, for after all we
are one--have been assailed for a certain want of courage and what is
called, often grossly miscalled, vigour.

We were told the other day--and this brings us to the root of
policy--that there had been a momentary flash of courage in the
Government, a momentary flash of courage when the Government of India
and we here assented to the deportation of two men, and it is made a
matter of complaint that they were released immediately. Well, they
were not released immediately, but after six or eight months--I forget
exactly how many months--of detention. They were there with no charge,
no trial, nor intention of bringing them to trial. How long were we to
keep them there? Not a day, I answer, nor one hour, after the specific
and particular mischief, with a view to which this drastic proceeding
was adopted, had abated. Specific mischief, mind you. I will not go
into that argument to-night: another day I will. I will only say one
thing. To strain the meaning and the spirit of an exceptional law like
the old Regulation of the year 1818 in such a fashion as this,
what would it do? Such a strain, pressed upon us in the perverse
imagination of headstrong men, is no better than a suggestion for
provoking lawless and criminal reprisals. ("No.") You may not agree
with me. You are kindly allowing me as your guest to say things with
which perhaps you do not agree. (Cries of "Go on.") After all, we
understand one another--we speak the same language, and I tell you
that a proceeding of that kind, indefinite detention, is a thing that
would not be endured in this country. (A voice of "Disorder.") Yes, if
there were great and clear connection between the detention and the
outbreak of disorder, certainly; but as the disorder had abated it
would have been intolerable for us to continue the incarceration.

Last Monday, what is called a Press Act, was passed by the Government
of India, in connection with, and simultaneously with, an Explosives
Act which ought to have been passed, I should think, twenty years ago.
What is the purport of the Press Act? I do not attempt to give it
in technical language. Where the Local Government finds a newspaper
article inciting to murder and violence, or resort to explosives for
the purposes of murder or violence, that Local Government may apply to
a Magistrate of a certain status to issue an order for the seizure of
the Press by which that incitement has been printed; and if the owner
of the Press feels himself aggrieved, he may within fifteen days ask
the High Court to reverse the order, and direct the restoration of the
Press. That is a statement of the law that has been passed in India,
and to which I do not doubt we shall give our assent. There has been
the usual outcry raised--usual in all these cases. Certain people say,
"Oh, you are too late." Others say, "You are too early." I will say to
you first of all, and to any other audience afterwards, that I have no
apology to make for being a party to the passing of this law now; and
I have no apology to make for not passing it before. I do not believe
in short cuts, and I believe that the Government in these difficult
circumstances is wise not to be in too great a hurry. I have no
apology to make for introducing executive action into what would
normally be a judicial process. Neither, on the other hand, have I any
apology to make for tempering executive action with judicial elements;
and I am very glad to say that an evening newspaper last night, which
is not of the politics to which I belong, entirely approves of that.
It says: "You must show that you are not afraid of referring your
semi-executive, semi-judicial action to the High Court." This Act
meddles with no criticism, however strong, of Government measures. It
discourages the advocacy of no practical policy, social, political, or
economic. Yet I see, to my great regret and astonishment, that this
Act is described as an Act for judging cases of seditious libel
without a Jury. It is contended by some--and I respect the
contention--that the Imperial Parliament ought to have been consulted
before this Act was passed, and ought to be consulted now. (Cries
of "No, no.") My veteran friends lived before the days of household
suffrage. Well, it is said that the voice of Parliament ought to
be heard in so grave a matter as this. But the principles of the
proposals were fully considered, as was quite right, not only by the
Secretary of State in Council, but by the Cabinet. It was a matter of
public urgency. I stand by it. But it is perfectly natural to ask:
Should the Imperial Parliament have no voice? I have directed the
Government of India to report to the Secretary of State all the
proceedings taken under this Act; and I undertake, as long as I hold
the office of Secretary of State, to present to Parliament from time
to time the reports of the proceedings taken under this somewhat
drastic Act.

When I am told that an Act of this kind is a restriction on the
freedom of the Press, I do not accept it for a moment. I do not
believe that there is a man in England who is more jealous of the
freedom of the Press than I am. But let us see what we mean. It is
said, "Oh, these incendiary articles"--for they are incendiary and
murderous--"are mere froth." Yes, they are froth; but they are
froth stained with bloodshed. When you have men admitting that they
deliberately write these articles and promote these newspapers with
a view of furthering murderous action, to talk of the freedom of the
Press in connection with that is wicked moonshine. We have now got a
very Radical House of Commons. So much, the better for you. If I were
still a member of the House of Commons, I should not mind for a moment
going down to the House--and I am sure that my colleagues will not
mind--to say that when you find these articles on the avowal of those
concerned, expressly designed to promote murderous action, and when
you find as a fact that murderous action has come about, it is
moonshine to talk of the freedom of the Press. There is no use in
indulging in heroics. They are not wanted. But an incendiary article
is part and parcel of the murderous act. You may put picric acid in
the ink and pen, just as much as in any steel bomb. I have one or two
extracts here with which I will not trouble you. But when I am
told that we should recognise it as one of the chief aims of good
Government that there may be as much public discussion as possible, I
read that sentence with proper edification; and then I turn to what I
had telegraphed for from India--extracts from _Yugantar_. To talk of
public discussion in connection with mischief of that kind is really
pushing things intolerably far.

I will not be in a hurry to believe that there is not a great body
in India of reasonable people, not only among the quiet, humble,
law-abiding classes, but among the educated classes. I do not care
what they call themselves, or what organisation they may form
themselves into. But I will not be in a hurry to believe that there
are no such people and that we can never depend on them. When we
believe this--that we have no body of organised, reasonable people
on our side in India--when you gentlemen who know the country, say
this--then I say that, on the day when we believe that, we shall
be confronted with as awkward, as embarrassing, and as hazardous a
situation as has ever confronted the rulers of any of the most complex
and gigantic States in human history. I am confident that if the
crisis comes, it will find us ready, but let us keep our minds clear
in advance. There have been many dark and ugly moments--see gentlemen
around me who have gone through dark and ugly dates--in our relations
with India before now. We have a clouded moment before us now. We
shall get through it--but only with self-command and without any
quackery or cant whether it be the quackery of blind violence
disguised as love of order, or the cant of unsound and misapplied
sentiment, divorced from knowledge and untouched by any cool
consideration of the facts.




I feel that I owe a very sincere apology to the House for the
disturbance in the business arrangements of the House, of which I have
been the cause, though the innocent cause. It has been said that in
the delays in bringing forward this subject, I have been anxious to
burke discussion. That is not in the least true. The reasons that made
it seem desirable to me that the discussion on this most important and
far-reaching range of topics should be postponed, were--I believe the
House will agree with me--reasons of common sense. In the first place,
discussion without anybody having seen the Papers to be discussed,
would evidently have been ineffective. In the second place it would
have been impossible to discuss those Papers with good effect--the
Papers that I am going this afternoon to present to Parliament--until
we know, at all events in some degree, what their reception has been
in the country most immediately concerned. And then thirdly, my
Lords, I cannot but apprehend that discussion here--I mean in
Parliament--would be calculated to prejudice the reception in India
of the proposals that His Majesty's Government, in concert with the
Government of India, are now making. My Lords, I submit those are
three very essential reasons why discussion in my view, and I hope
in the view of this House, was to be deprecated. This afternoon your
Lordships will be presented with a very modest Blue-book of 100 or 150
pages, but I should like to promise noble Lords that to-morrow morning
there will be ready for them a series of Papers on the same subject,
of a size so enormous that the most voracious or even carnivorous
appetite for Blue-books will have ample food for augmenting the joys
of the Christmas holidays.

The observations that I shall ask your Lordships to allow me to make,
are the opening of a very important chapter in the history of the
relations of Great Britain and India; and I shall ask the indulgence
of the House if I take a little time, not so much in dissecting the
contents of the Papers, which the House will be able to do for itself
by and by, as in indicating the general spirit that animates His
Majesty's Government here, and my noble friend the Governor-General,
in making the proposals that I shall in a moment describe. I suppose,
like other Secretaries of State for India, I found my first, idea
was to have what they used to have in the old days--a Parliamentary
Committee to inquire into Indian Government. I see that a predecessor
of mine in the India Office, Lord Randolph Churchill--he was there for
too short a time--in 1885 had very strongly conceived that idea. On
the whole I think there is a great deal at the present day to be said
against it.

Therefore what we have done was in concert with the Government of
India, first to open a chapter of constitutional reform, of which I
will speak in a moment, and next to appoint a Royal Commission to
inquire into the internal relations between the
Government of India and all its subordinate and co-ordinate parts.
That Commission will report, I believe, in February or March
next,--February, I hope,--and that again will involve the Government
of India and the India Office in Whitehall in pretty laborious and
careful inquiries. It cannot be expected--and it ought not to be
expected--that an Act passed as the organic Act of 1858 was passed,
amidst intense excitement and most disturbing circumstances, should
have been in existence for half a century without disclosing flaws
and imperfections, or that its operations would not be the better for
supervision, or incapable of improvement.

I spoke of delay in these observations, and unfortunately delay has
not made the skies any brighter. But, my Lords, do not let us make
the Indian sky cloudier than it really is. Do not let us consider the
clouds to be darker than they really are. Let me invite your Lordships
to look at the formidable difficulties that now encumber us in India,
with a due sense of proportion.

What is the state of things as it appears to persons of authority and
of ample knowledge in India? One very important and well-known friend
of mine in India says this--

"The anarchists are few, but, on the other hand, they are apparently
prepared to go any length and to run any risk. It must also be borne
in mind that the ordinary man or lad in India has not too much
courage, and that the loyal are terrorised by the ruthless

It is a curious incident that on the very day before the attempt to
assassinate Sir Andrew Fraser was made, he had a reception in the
college where the would-be assassin was educated, and his reception
was of the most enthusiastic and spontaneous kind. I only mention
that, to show the curious and subtle atmosphere in which things now
are at Calcutta. I will not dwell on that, because although I have a
mass of material, this is not the occasion for developing it. I will
only add this from a correspondent of great authority--

"There is no fear of anything in the nature of a rising, but if
murders continue, a general panic may arise and greatly increase
the danger of the situation. We cannot hope that any machinery will
completely stop outrages at once. We must be prepared to meet them.
There are growing indications that the native population itself is
alarmed, and that we shall have the strong support of native public

The view of important persons in the Government of India is that in
substance the position of our Government in India is as sound and as
well-founded as it has ever been.

I shall be asked, has not the Government of India been obliged to pass
a measure introducing pretty drastic machinery? That is quite
true, and I, for one, have no fault whatever to find with them for
introducing such machinery and for taking that step. On the contrary,
my Lords, I wholly approve, and I share, of course, to the full the
responsibility for it. I understand that I am exposed to some obloquy
on this account--I am charged with inconsistency. That is a matter
on which I am very well able to take care of myself, and I should be
ashamed to detain your Lordships for one single moment in arguing
about it. Quite early after my coming to the India Office, pressure
was put on me to repeal the Regulation of 1818, under which men are
now being summarily detained without trial and without charge,
and without intention to try or to charge. That, of course, is a
tremendous power to place in the hands of an Executive Government. But
I said to myself then, and I say now, that I decline to take out of
the hands of the Government of India any weapon that they have got, in
circumstances so formidable, so obscure, and so impenetrable as are
the circumstances that surround British Government in India.

There are two paths of folly in these matters. One is to regard all
Indian matters, Indian procedure and Indian policy, as if it were
Great Britain or Ireland, and to insist that all the robes and apparel
that suit Great Britain or Ireland must necessarily suit India. The
other is to think that all you have got to do is what I see suggested,
to my amazement, in English print--to blow a certain number of men
from guns, and then your business will be done. Either of these paths
of folly leads to as great disaster as the other. I would like to
say this about the Summary Jurisdiction Bill--I have no illusions
whatever. I do not ignore, and I do not believe that Lord Lansdowne
opposite, or anyone else can ignore, the frightful risks involved in
transferring in any form or degree what should be the ordinary power
under the law, to arbitrary personal discretion. I am alive, too, to
the temptation under summary procedure of various kinds, to the danger
of mistaking a headstrong exercise of force for energy. Again, I do
not for an instant forget, and I hope those who so loudly applaud
legislation of this kind do not forget, the tremendous price that you
pay for all operations of this sort in the reaction and the excitement
that they provoke. If there is a man who knows all these drawbacks
I think I am he. But there are situations in which a responsible
Government is compelled to run these risks and to pay this possible
price, however high it may appear to be.

It is like war, a hateful thing, from which, however, some of the most
ardent lovers of peace, and some of those rulers of the world whose
names the most ardent lovers of peace most honour and revere--it is
one of the things from which these men have not shrunk. The only
question for us is whether there is such a situation in India to-day
as to warrant the passing of the Act the other day, and to justify
resort to the Regulation of 1818. I cannot imagine anybody reading the
speeches--especially the unexaggerated remarks of the Viceroy--and the
list of crimes perpetrated, and attempted, that were read out last
Friday in Calcutta--I cannot imagine that anybody reading that list
and thinking what they stand for, would doubt for a single moment that
summary procedure of some kind or another was justified and called
for. I discern a tendency to criticise this legislation on grounds
that strike me as extraordinary. After all, it is not our fault that
we have had to bring in this measure. You must protect the lives of
your officers. You must protect peaceful and harmless people, both
Indian and European, from the blood-stained havoc of anarchic
conspiracy. We deplore the necessity, but we are bound to face the
facts. I myself recognise this necessity with infinite regret, and
with something, perhaps, rather deeper than regret. But it is not
the Government, either here or in India, who are the authors of this
necessity, and I should not at all mind, if it is not impertinent and
unbecoming in me to say so, standing up in another place and saying
exactly what I say here, that I approve of these proceedings and will
do my best to support the Government of India.

Now a very important question arises, for which I would for a moment
ask the close attention of your Lordships, because I am sure that both
here and elsewhere it will be argued that the necessity, and the facts
that caused the necessity, of bringing forward strong repressive
machinery should arrest our policy of reforms. That has been stated,
and I dare say many people will assent to it. Well, the Government of
India and myself have from the very first beginning of this unsettled
state of things, never varied in our determination to persevere in the
policy of reform.

I put two plain questions to your Lordships. I am sick of all the
retrograde commonplaces about the weakness of concession to violence
and so on. Persevering in our plan of reform is not a concession to
violence. Reforms that we have publicly announced, adopted, and worked
out for more than two years--how is it a concession to violence, to
persist in those reforms? It is simply standing to your guns. A number
of gentlemen, of whom I wish to speak with all respect, addressed a
very courteous letter to me the other day that appeared in the public
prints, exhorting me to remember that Oriental countries inevitably
and invariably interpret kindness as fear. I do not believe it. The
Founder of Christianity arose in an Oriental country, and when I am
told that Orientals always mistake kindness for fear, I must repeat
that I do not believe it, any more than I believe the stranger saying
of Carlyle, that after all the fundamental question between any two
human beings is--Can I kill thee, or canst thou kill me? I do not
agree that any organised society has ever subsisted upon either of
those principles, or that brutality is always present as a fundamental
postulate in the relations between rulers and ruled.

My first question is this. There are alternative courses open to us.
We can either withdraw our reforms, or we can persevere in them. Which
would be the more flagrant sign of weakness--to go steadily on with
your policy of reform in spite of bombs, or to let yourself openly
be forced by bombs and murder clubs to drop your policy? My second
question is--Who would be best pleased if I were to announce to your
Lordships that the Government have determined to drop the reforms?
Why, it is notorious that those who would be best pleased would be the
extremists and irreconcilables, just because they know well that for
us to do anything to soften estrangement, and appease alienation
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.

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Indian speeches (1907-1909)" ***

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