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mitted to traveloutside that very circum- cordance with the wishes of the European scribed radius. I will take the instance and native mercantile world of India. At of financial discussion.
present the Government is exposed to every discussion. In these kind of misapprehension and misrepresents. Councils no financial discussion is pos- tion in regard to its figures and the statement sible unless there is a proposal for a of their results. Were the matter to be gone new tax, and then it can only be in into thoroughly and exhaustirely on the occonnection with the immediate legisla-casion I suggest by independent critics, who,
however anxious to detect a flaw and prove tive proposal before the Council for the The Government wrong, would be masters of tiine being. Under these circumstances their subject and cognisant of the intricacies it has been felt that there has been of Indian administration, the result would be wanting to the Government an oppor- of the Indian Government, as well as more
more advantageous to the financial reputation tunity of explaining its policy and of re- conducive to improve her financial system, plying to hostile criticism and attack, than the perfunctory Debates of the House of such as a less restricted system of dis- Commons, and the imperfect criticism of cussion would provide ; and that at Indian finance by some English newspapers." the same time there was wanting an In the same despatch Lord Dufferin opportunity to the non-official element, expressed the opinion that questions to those who may legitimately call should be asked in the Supreme Legisthemselves the guardians of the public lative Council, subject to certain reinterest, of asking for information, strictions, upon matters of domestic as stating their grievances, and becoming distinguished from matters of Imperial acquainted with the policy of the Go-interest. At the end of 1888, Lord vernment. These feelings have been Dufferin left India, and was succeeded expressed in many memorials which by the eminent statesman who now have been addressed over a large holds that office. Quite early in his number of years to the Government Viceroyalty, in a speech delivered in of India by important public bodies the Legislative Council in March, and associations in India. They 1889, Lord Lansdowne signified his have been further testified to approbation of the annual disby successive Viceroys. Lord Duf- cussion of the Budget in the manner ferin, in a speech which he delivered suggested, and also of the right of at Calcutta in February, 1887, the addressing questions to the Governoccasion being the celebration of the ment on matters of public interest. Queen's Jubilee, spoke of the desira- Both these proposals were accepted by bility of reconstituting the Supreme the Secretary of State in a Despatch, Legislative Council of the Viceroy dated August, 1889, not merely as rebroader basis, basis, and of
en- ferring to the Supreme Legislative larging its functions. And in the Council of the Viceroy but also in reNovember of the following year he ference to the Provincial Councils. In sent home a despatch, extracts from the same Despatch my noble Friend which have been published in a also signified his desire for an enlargeParliamentary Paper, in which he re- ment of the representation of public commended in the first place a yearly opinion in India by an addition to the financial discussion in the Supreme number of members on these Councils Legislative Council of the Budget of the by means of an extension of the present year. And, Sir, inasmuch as his words system of nomination, and, inasmuch are of very great importance, and will, as these changes were found to be of course, carry deserved weight in this impossible without fresh legislation, he House, I hope the House will pardon also included a draft Bill upon which me if I read some portions of it. Lord he invited the opinions of the GovernDufferin said:
ment of India and of the several “I do not mean that Votes should be taken in Provincial Governments. These views regard to the various items of the Budget, or
and other suggestions were received that the heads of expenditure should be sub
found mitted in detail for the examination of the from India, and they were Council, but simply that an opportunity on the whole to be eminently favourcriticism and examination of the financial From these germs sprang the Indian should be given for a full, free, and thorough able to the contemplated measure. policy of the Government. Some such change Councils Bill which it is now my as this would, I think, be as beneficial to the Indian administration as it would be in ac- privilege to introduce to the notice of
this House. Now, a few words as to | Viceroy of India, who, having inauguthe Parliamentary history of this mea- rated his term of office by signifying his sure. It has been in no ordinary de- hearty approval of this Bill, is naturally gree a victim to the vicissitudes of looking forward to being able to carry Parliamentary existence. Its career it into execution before the termination up to this point has been one of mingled of his period of office. This anxiety success and disappointment. It was has been shared in this House, if I may introduced for the first time in the judge from the numerous questions House of Lords by the Secretary of addressed to my right hon. Friend who State in 1890, and a very important preceded me in the office I now hold. discussion--if I may venture humbly These feelings of disappointment and to express the opinion, the model of interest are, moreover, I believe shared what such a discussion should be— by those who hold more extreme views, took place on the Second Reading of and who, while they regard this Bill as the Bill. In Committee a number of in some respects an inadequate measure, important and valuable Amendments are desirous that it should pass into law. were introduced in it by noble Lords In July of last year the British Comwho have had experience in the mittee of the Indian National Government of India, and it passed Congress, who may be supposed to be through that House. It came down in the the representatives of extreme views in same Session to the House of Commons India, wrote a letter to the Secretary but did not succeed in getting beyond of State in which occurs the following a First Reading. In the ensuing year, passage1891, it was again introduced into this
“They express the deep regret with which House and again it fell a victim to that they view the withdrawal by Her Majesty's fate which hon. Members, according to Minister of the Indian Councils Amendment their political feelings, will be disposed Bill, and respectfully bring to your notice that to ascribe to the hardships of fortune out India by the abandonment for yet another or to the immoderate interest displayed year of any action in a matter of such by their opponents in other topics of paramount importance to our Indian fellow Parliamentary interest. So much for
citizens." 1891. This year the present Bill, in In the present year Lord Kimberley, who its amended form of 1890, has again has himself been Secretary of State for been introduced into the House of India, has elsewhere expressed himself Lords, and subject to some speeches im- in the same sense in a paragraph which plying strong approval from a number I propose to read. He saysof noble Lords it has passed without "I echo most sincerely the hope that this alteration through its various stages, measure will be pressed by Her Majesty's and thus it comes about that it is now Government and will pass into law. my duty to bring it before the House really a misfortune that a measure of this
kind should be hung up Session after Session. of Commons. This delay which I have However important to us may be our been describing has naturally been the domestic legislation, let us not forget that source of considerable disappointment we have an immense responsibility in the in India, where there has been a and that it is not well for us to palter long good deal of murmuring at the tardy with questions of this kind. And I am more arrival of this long-promised reform, desirous that this measure should be dealt and at the apparent willingness of this with, because I have observed, with great House to postpone the consideration of pleasure, that in India the tone has much
moderated, and that very sensible views have a non - controversial Constitutional been expressed at meetings held in India, and change for India to the perennial and there is now reasonable promise that there unprofitable discussion of changes of a will be an agreement as to a tentative and highly controversial character for other must not look for it all at once, but if we can
commencing measure on this subject. We parts of the Empire nearer home, make a beginning, I believe we shall lay the which, from the Indian point of foundation for what may be a real benefit, and view are infinitesimally small and a real security to our Indian Empire.” unimportant. I think this disappoint- I hope I may draw from the extracts I ment has been a perfectly legitimate have read to the House, and from the feeling, and it undoubtedly has been expressions of opinion to which I have felt by the noble Lord the present alluded, the inference that this Bill
will be welcomed on both sides of this removing misapprehension, of answerHouse, and subject to the expression ing calumny and attack; and they will of opinion by those who hold more also profit by the criticism delivered advanced views, will as rapidly as in a public position, and with a due possible be passed into law. So much sense of responsibility, by the most in explanation of the history of the competent Representatives of non-official measure and the circumstances under India. The native community will which it falls to my lot to introduce it gain, because they will have the opporto this House. Now briefly turning to tunity of reviewing the financial situathe Bill itself I will give an outline of tion independently of the mere accident the manner in which it is proposed to of legislation being required for any carry out the recommendations of suc- particular year, and also because cessive Viceroys and of the present criticism of the financial policy of the Secretary of State. The changes which Government, which now finds its vent it is proposed to introduce by this Bill in anonymous and even scurrilous are broadly speaking three in number. articles in the newspapers, will be The first is the concession of the privi- uttered by responsible persons in a lege of financial criticism both in the public position. Lastly, the interests Supreme and Provincial Councils ; of finance themselves will gain by this the second the privilege of interpella- increased publicity, and by the stimulus tion or the right of asking questions ; of a vigorous and instructive scrutiny ; and the third an addition to the number and the application of the external aid of Members in both classes of Councils. that I have described cannot have any First, as regards the financial discussion. other result than the promotion of sound I have already pointed out to the House and economical administration in that under the existing law this is only India. It is now 20 years since possible when the Finance Minister Lord Mayo, that wise and enlightened proposes a new tax. At other times Viceroy, first proposed the submission the Budget in India is circulated in the of Provincial Budgets to the Provincial form of a pamphlet and no discussion Councils. At that time he was overcan take place upon it at all, and as an ruled by the Government at home, illustration of the practical way in which, I believe, was one of the which this works, I may mention that Governments of the right hon. Gentleduring the 30 years since the Councils man opposite. However that may be, Act of 1861 there have been 16 occa- I hope both sides of the House will now sions on which new legislation has been co-operate in introducing this change, called for and on which discussion has which speaks for itself, and requires taken place, and there have been 14 on no further defence from me. The second which there has been no discussion at change introduced by the Bill is the all. In this Bill power will be given concession of the right of interpellation, for a regular annual discussion of the or of asking questions. That is a system Budget both in the Supreme and Pro- with which we are tolerably familiar, vincial Councils. It is not contem- and which is sometimes severely plated, as the extracts I have read from attacked in this House. It is not the Despatch of Lord Dufferin will for me to say whether the right is or show, to vote the Budget in India item is not abused, but I have observed that by item in the manner in which we do it those who denounce the system most in this House, and to subject it to all savagely when they are its victims, view the obstacles and delays which Party it with a benevolent regard when they ingenuity or loquacity can suggest. are in a position to become it's That is not contemplated, but it is masters. It is proposed to give to proposed to give opportunities to Mem- Members of both classes of Councils, bers of the Councils to indulge in a full, the Supreme and Provincial Councils, free and fair criticism of the financial this right of asking questions on policy of the Government, and I matters of public interest. But both think all Parties will gain by such a this privilege and the one to which I discussion. The Government will gain, have previously alluded will be subject, because they will have an opportunity under the terms of the Act, to such of explaining their financial policy, of conditions and restrictions as may be
prescribed in rules made by the eight and the maximum to 20. The Governor General or the Provincial Council of Bengal consists at present of Governors. In answer to the hon. twelve nominated Members, of whom Gentleman who cheers somewhat one third are non-official, and we proironically, I may observe that we pose to raise the number to 20. In the are not altogether unfamiliar with North-West Provinces the number is such rules and restrictions in nine, of which one-third are also nonthis House, and if they are needed official, and under the Bill the number here, where we have, perhaps, the will be raised to 15. The object of these most perfect and highly elaborated additions is very easily stated, and will system of ParliamentaryGovernment be as easily understood by this House. that has ever been known, how much It is, by extending the area of selection more will they be needed in India, where in each case, to add to the strength and Parliamentary institutions cannot be representative character of the Counsaid to exist. The merits of this pro- cils. The late Mr. Bradlaugh, who at posal are self-evident. It is desirable different times introduced two Bills in the first place in the interest of the dealing with the reform of the India Government, which is at the present Councils into this House, proposed in moment without the means of making those measures to swell the numknown its policy, or of answering bers on these Councils to quite criticism or animadversions, or of impracticable and unmanageable prosilencing calumny, and which has fre- portions. Under his first Bill their quently suffered from protracted mis- totals would have amounted to more apprehension, which it has been power than 260, and under the second to more less to remove; and it is also desirable than 230. It is within the knowledge in the interests of the public, who, of everyone who is acquainted with in the absence of correct Official infor- India that the number of persons who mation, are apt to be misled, and to are competent and willing to take part entertain erroneous ideas, but who, in the functions of these Councils is within the limits dictated by the judg. nothing like adequate to supply the ment of the responsible authorities, will extravagant expectations of those henceforward have opportunities of Bills. making themselves acquainted with the MR. SCHWANN : Do the figures. real facts. I hope this liberty may pro- just quoted refer to the Councils separvide a wise and necessary outlet in ately or are they clubbed together? India for feelings which are now apt *MR. CURZON : I was speaking of to smoulder below the surface because the five Councils I have mentioned there are no public means for their and the totals for those five Councils. expression, but which might often be As I was saying, you could not get the allayed a little if timely information were number of persons; but still, the number given from the right quarter. The third is sufficient to justify a not inconproposal is to add to the number of siderable addition to the present totals. Members on these Supreme and Pro- Every year the number of native vincial Councils, and I will state the gentlemen in India who numbers to which, under this Bill, the qualified and willing to take part Members will be increased. The Supreme in the work of Government is increasLegislative Council consists at present, ing, and every year the advantage in addition to its ex officio Members, who of their co-operation increases in number seven, of a minimum of six the same ratio. More especially and a maximum of twelve nominated in the case of
Provincial Members, of whom half must be non- Councils it has been found that official. The Bill proposes to raise the more effective means are needed of minimum to ten and the maximum to 16. reinforcing native and non-official The Madras and Bombay Councils now opinion. The Government believe that consist, independently of their four ex this moderate addition which they proofficio Members, of a minimum of four pose to the numbers will have the effect and a maximum of eight nominated which I contemplate, and at the same members, of whom half are non-official. time that it will be compatible with In the Bill the ininimum is raised to efficiency. This House does not need
to be told by me that the efficiency of On another occasion he said :a deliberative body is not necessarily “I myself believe that under this clause it commensurate with its numerical will be possible for the Governor General to strength. We have instances in this make arrangements by which certain persons
may be presented to him, having been chosen country of public bodies prevented by election if the Governor General should from working well in consequence of find that such a system can properly be estabthe large number of their members. lished.” Overlarge bodies do not necessarily MR. MAC LEAN (Oldham): Does work well. They do not promote the Government accept this view of economical administration, but are apt Lord Kimberley ? to diffuse their force in vague and *MR. CURZON: Undoubtedly the vapid talk. And if this be true of opinions expressed by Lord Kimberley deliberative bodies in England it is still are those which are also shared by the more true of deliberative bodies in a Secretary of State. Under this Act it country like India.
I hold in fact would be in the power of the Viceroy that it would be better that compe- to invite Representative Bodies in India tent men should be left outside than to elect or select or delegate representathat incompetent men should be tives of themselves and of their opinions included. Now we will look at the to be nominated to those Houses, and question of how these additional Mem- thus by slow degrees, by tentative bers are to be appointed. I notice that measures, and in a matter like this the hon. Member for North Manchester measures can not be otherwise than (Mr. Schwann) has placed on the Paper tentative, we may perhaps approximate an Amendment declaring that no re- in some way to the ideal which the hon. form of the Indian Councils which does Member for North Manchester has in not embody the elective principle will view. With respect to the character prove satisfactory. But in reply I of such Bodies and Associations as those should like to point out that our Bill to which I have alluded, I may mention, does not exclude some such principle, only as indicating what may be possible, be the method election, or selection or such Bodies as the well-known Associadelegation or whatever be the particular tion of the Zemindars of Bengal, the phrase that you desire to employ. I Chambers of Commerce of India, the would with the permission of the House Municipalities of the Great Cities, the read the very important Sub-section of Universities, the British India AssociaClause 1, which deals with that tion, and perhaps even more important question :
than any, the various great religious denominations
in that country. “ The Governor General in Council may believe that the House will hold that Secretary of State in Council make such regula- this method of dealing with the questions as to the conditions under which such tion is a wise method, since it leaves the nominations (that is the nomination of addi- initiative to those who are necessarily tional Members), or any of them, shall be made best acquainted with the matter and Lieutenant Governors respectively, and shall does not lay down any hard-and-fast prescribe the manner in which such regulations rule by which they may find themselves should be carried into effect."
unfortunately bound. I cannot myself I should say that this clause was conceive anything more unfortunate introduced into the Bill as an Amend than that this House should draw up ment by Lord Northbrook in the House and send out to India a cast-iron elective of Lords, and was gladly accepted by scheme within the four walls of which the Secretary of State with the avowed the Government would find itself conobject of giving considerable latitude in fined, and which, if it proved at some this respect. Let me call the attention future period inadequate or unsuitable, it of the hon. Member to the fact that would be impossible to alter without comLord Kimberley has thus expressed ing back to this House and experiencing himself elsewhere on this Clause :
all the obstacles and delays of Parlia
mentary procedure in this country. "I am bound to say that I can express my own But I am well aware that these prosatisfaction because I regard this as to a certain extent an admission of the elective prin posals may not altogether suit those ciple."
hon. Members on the other side, whose Mr. Curzon