Front Page Titles (by Subject) 106.: The Government of India Bill  22 JUNE, 1868 - The Collected Works of John Stuart Mill, Volume XXVIII The Collected Works of John Stuart Mill, Volume XXVIII - Public and Parliamentary Speeches Part I November 1850 - November 1868
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106.: The Government of India Bill  22 JUNE, 1868 - John Stuart Mill, The Collected Works of John Stuart Mill, Volume XXVIII The Collected Works of John Stuart Mill, Volume XXVIII - Public and Parliamentary Speeches Part I November 1850 - November 1868 
The Collected Works of John Stuart Mill, Volume XXVIII - Public and Parliamentary Speeches Part I November 1850 - November 1868, ed. John M. Robson and Bruce L. Kinzer (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1988).
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The Government of India Bill 
PD, 3rd ser., Vol. 192, cols. 1876–7. Reported in The Times, 23 June, p. 7, from which the variants and responses are taken. For the Bill, see No. 102. In the debate on going into Committee, Lord William Montagu Hay (1826–1911), M.P. for Taunton, had opened the discussion of the Bill’s main provision, that Council membership should be for twelve years rather than life, by suggesting that Council’s power of overruling the Secretary of State on matters of expenditure should be curtailed. He suggested that expenses should be submitted to Parliament in the estimates.
mr. j. stuart mill said, he agreed with the noble Lord that it was most important that India should be governed in India, and that there was a great tendency in the change of circumstances which had rendered communication with India so much easier to lead to over-interference on the part of the Home Government.1 But, after all, they could not altogether abdicate their control, though the best way in which that control could be exercised would be to send out men to represent us who could be relied upon to perform their duty well. (Hear, hear.) Since there must be a controlling power here, the question was between placing it in the Secretary of State alone or in the Secretary of State and the Council. On that point he did not think the noble Lord had said anything which tended to show that it was better to place that control in the Secretary of State alone rather than in the Secretary of State and a Council which had an effective power. The noble Lord had admitted the absolute necessity of the Secretary of State being assisted by persons who had acquired a knowledge of Indiaa, and who should hold a more responsible position than that of being a mere consultative bodya .2 About that there could be no difference of opinion between the noble Lord and himself. But if the Council did not possess some substantive power, if they were made a consultative body only, they never would have that degree of weight which they ought to possess; they would be ba mere superfluous wheel in the machineryb . If they had only the power of giving their opinions they would never be so powerful with the Secretary of State as his own subordinates in Office. (Hear, hear.) If the House did not think that the Council as at present constituted was the best controlling body, they could try to improve it; and various modes of doing so had been suggested, some of which he thought were improvements. Perhaps it would be an improvement if a portion of them were allowed to sit in that House. He confessed he was surprised, however, when the noble Lord said that if the present powers of the Council were continued he would be against its Members being admitted to seats in that House; but if their powers were taken away then he thought it would be of advantage that they should have seats.3 Now, such an expression of opinion appeared to him at variance with the whole course of the noble Lord’s argument, because he had contended that the Council were irresponsible, and that the Secretary of State was the only one who had any responsibility.4 But what responsibility had the Secretary of State? It was that he could be called to account in that House, and if he did not succeed in defending his measures he could be turned out of Office. But the same thing would happen to the Council. They could be turned out (No) after a period of trial, because the proposal of this Bill was to make the duration of Office as a matter of course shorter. But of all the surprising things in the speech of the noble Lord that which had surprised him most was that the noble Lord should have brought forward the tendency of this country to throw all expenditure, when any excuse could be found, on the people of India, as a reason for asking the consent of England, not India, when such expenditure was in question.5 (Hear.) If there was one thing which might be held absolutely certain, it was that the majority of a body constituted like the Council would in such matters be on the side of India. The Court of Directors had always been so, and many a battle to his knowledge had been fought by them with the Board of Control, in order to prevent such expenditure from being thrown upon India; and they often succeeded, but, he was sorry to say, still oftener failed. Now, if the power of sanctioning expenditure were taken away from the Council, which represented India, and given to that House, which did not represent India; and which seldom troubled itself about India at all, but which did care about England and its burthens, and if the noble Lord believed that the House would be actuated in such matters by a generous and chivalrous spirit and would take the burden from India to throw it upon their own constituents, he must say that the noble Lord had a far higher opinion of the virtue of that House than his (Mr. Stuart Mill’s) experience had taught him to have of that or perhaps any other public body in similar circumstances. (Hear.)
[The House went into Committee on the Bill.]
[1 ]Hay, cols. 1870–1.
[2 ]Hay, col. 1872.
[b-b]TT mere superfoetation
[3 ]Hay, col. 1875.
[4 ]Hay, col. 1873.
[5 ]Hay, cols. 1874–5.