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THE PETITION OF THE EAST-INDIA COMPANY 1858 - John Stuart Mill, The Collected Works of John Stuart Mill, Volume XXX - Writings on India 
The Collected Works of John Stuart Mill, XXX - Writings on India, ed. John M. Robson, Martin Moir, and Zawahir Moir (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1990).
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THE PETITION OF THE EAST-INDIA COMPANY
In Memorandum of the Improvements in the Administration of India during the Last Thirty Years, and the Petition of the East-India Company to Parliament (London: Cox and Wyman, 1858), 111-29. Appeared also in Debates at the East-India House, Relative to the Proposed Change in the Government of India (London: Cox and Wyman, 1858), 6-8; and in PD, 3rd ser., Vol. 148 (1858), in an unpaginated Appendix. The petition was presented to the House of Commons by Thomas George Baring (1826-1904) on 9 February, 1858, and to the House of Lords by Henry George Grey (1802-94), 3rd Earl Grey, on 11 February (PD, 3rd ser., Vol. 148, cols. 970-5 and 1121-37). Headed as title. Unsigned. Not republished by Mill. Identified in his bibliography as “The Petition of the East India Company to the two Houses of Parliament against the intended measure for depriving them of the Administration of India; printed by the company and presented in the Session of 1858” (MacMinn, 90). In the footnoted variant readings, “D” signifies Debates at the East-India House, “PD” signifies Parliamentary Debates. The square brackets around “Lordships” in the copy-text signal the deletion of the word when the petition was presented to the House of Commons.
The Petition of the East-India Company
To the Right Honourable the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and the Honourable the Commons of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, in Parliament assembled,
Thata your Petitioners, at their own expense, and by the agency of their own civil and military servants, originally acquired for this country its magnificent empire in the East.
That the foundations of this empire were laid by your Petitioners, at that time neither aided nor controlled by Parliament, at the same period at which a succession of administrations under the control of Parliament were losing to the Crown of Great Britain another great empire on the opposite side of the Atlantic.
That during the period of about a century which has since elapsed, the Indian possessions of this country have been governed and defended from the resources of those possessions, without the smallest cost to the British Exchequer, which, to the best of your Petitioners’ knowledge and belief, cannot be said of any other of the numerous foreign dependencies of the Crown.
That it being manifestly improper that the administration of any British possession should be independent of the general Government of the empire, Parliament provided, in 1783, that a department of the Imperial Government should have full cognizance of, and power of control over, the acts of your Petitioners in the administration of India;1 since which time the home branch of the Indian Government has been conducted by the joint counsels, and on the joint responsibility of your Petitioners and of a Minister of the Crown.
That this arrangement has at subsequent periods undergone reconsideration from the Legislature, and various comprehensive and careful Parliamentary inquiries have been made into its practical operation; the result of which has been, on each occasion, a renewed grant to your Petitioners of the powers exercised by them in the administration of India.2
That the last of these occasions was so recent as 1853, in which year the arrangements which had existed for nearly three-quarters of a century, were, with certain modifications, re-enacted, and still subsist.3
That, notwithstanding, your Petitioners have received an intimation from Her Majesty’s Ministers of their intention to propose to Parliament a Bill for the purpose of placing the government of Her Majesty’s East-Indian dominions under the direct authority of the Crown,4 —a change necessarily involving the abolition of the East-India Company as an instrument of government.
That your Petitioners have not been informed of the reasons which have induced Her Majesty’s Ministers, without any previous inquiry, to come to the resolution of putting an end to a system of administration, which Parliament, after inquiry, deliberately confirmed and sanctioned less than five years ago, and which, in its modified form, has not been in operation quite four years, and cannot be considered to have undergone a sufficient trial during that short period.
That your Petitioners do not understand that Her Majesty’s Ministers impute any failure to those arrangements, or bring any charge, either great or small, against your Petitioners. But the time at which the proposal is made, compels your Petitioners to regard it as arising from the calamitous events which have recently occurred in India.
That your Petitioners challenge the most searching investigation into the mutiny of the Bengal army, and the causes, whether remote or immediate, which produced that mutiny. They have instructed the Government of India to appoint a commission for conducting such an inquiry on the bspot .5 Andb it is their most anxious wish that a similar inquiry may be instituted in this country by your [Lordships] Honourable House;6 in order that it may be ascertained whether anything either in the constitution of the Home Government of India, or in the conduct of those by whom it has been administered, has had any share in producing the mutiny, or has in any way impeded the measures for its suppression; and whether the mutiny itself, or any circumstance connected with it, affords any evidence of the failure of the arrangements under which India is at present administered.
That, were it even true that these arrangements had failed, the failure could constitute no reason for divesting the East-India Company of its functions, and transferring them to Her Majesty’s cGovernment. For,c under the existing system, Her Majesty’s Government have the deciding voice. The duty imposed upon the Court of Directors is to originate measures and frame drafts of instructions. Even had they been remiss in this duty, their remissness, however discreditable to themselves, could in no way absolve the responsibility of Her Majesty’s Government, since the Minister for India possesses, and has frequently exercised, the power of requiring that the Court of Directors should take any subject into consideration, and prepare a draft despatch for his approval. Her Majesty’s Government are thus in the fullest sense accountable for all that has been done, and for all that has been forborne or omitted to be done. Your Petitioners, on the other hand, are accountable only in so far as the act or omission has been promoted by themselves.
That, under these circumstances, if the administration of India had been a failure, it would, your Petitioners submit, have been somewhat unreasonable to expect that a remedy would be found in annihilating the branch of the ruling authority which could not be the one principally in fault, and might be altogether blameless, in order to concentrate all powers in the branch which had necessarily the decisive share in every error, real or supposed. To believe that the administration of India would have been more free from error had it been conducted by a Minister of the Crown without the aid of the Court of Directors, would be to believe that the Minister, with full power to govern India as he pleased, has governed ill because he has had the assistance of experienced and responsible advisers.
That your Petitioners, however, do not seek to vindicate themselves at the expense of any other dauthority. Theyd claim their full share of the responsibility of the manner in which India has practically been governed. That responsibility is to them not a subject of humiliation, but of pride. They are conscious that their advice and initiative have been, and have deserved to be, a great and potent element in the conduct of affairs in India. And they feel complete assurance that the more attention is bestowed and the more light thrown upon India and its administration, the more evident it will become that the government in which they have borne a part has been not only one of the purest in intention, but one of the most beneficent in act, ever known among mankind; that, during the last and present generation in particular, it has been, in all departments, one of the most rapidly improving governments in the world; and that, at the time when this change is proposed, a greater number of important improvements are in a state of more rapid progress than at any former period. And they are satisfied that whatever further improvements may be hereafter effected in India can only consist in the development of germs already planted, and in building on foundations already laid, under their authority, and in a great measure by their express instructions.
That such, however, is not the impression likely to be made on the public mind, either in England or in India, by the ejection of your Petitioners from the place they fill in the Indian administration. It is not usual with statesmen to propose the complete abolition of a system of government, of which the practical operation is not condemned, and it might be generally inferred from the proposed measures, if carried into effect at the present time, that the East-India Company, having been intrusted with an important portion of the administration of India, have so abused their trust as to have produced a sanguinary insurrection, and nearly lost India to the British empire; and that having thus crowned a long career of misgovernment, they have, in deference to public indignation, been deservedly cashiered for their misconduct.
That if the character of the East-India Company were alone concerned, your Petitioners might be willing to await the verdict of history. They are satisfied that posterity will do them justice. And they are confident that even now justice is done to them in the minds, not only of Her Majesty’s Ministers, but of all who have any claim to be competent judges of the subject. But though your Petitioners could afford to wait for the reversal of the verdict of condemnation which will be believed throughout the world to have been passed on them and their government by the British nation, your Petitioners cannot look without the deepest uneasiness at the effect likely to be produced on the minds of the people of India. To them, however incorrectly the name may express the fact, the British Government in India is the Government of the East-India Company. To their minds the abolition of the Company will, for some time to come, mean the abolition of the whole system of administration with which the Company is identified. The measure, introduced simultaneously with the influx of an overwhelming British force, will be coincident with a general outcry, in itself most alarming to their fears, from most of the organs of opinion in this country as well as of English opinion in India, denouncing the past policy of the Government on the express ground that it has been too forbearing and too considerate towards the natives. The people of India will at first feel no certainty that the new Government, or the Government under a new name, which it is proposed to introduce, will hold itself bound by the pledges of its predecessors. They will be slow to believe that a Government has been destroyed only to be followed by another which will act on the same principles and adhere to the same measures. They cannot suppose that the existing organ of administration would be swept away without the intention of reversing any part of its policy. They will see the authorities, both at home and in India, surrounded by persons vehemently urging radical changes in many parts of that epolicy. Ande interpreting, as they must do, the change in the instrument of government, as a concession to these opinions and feelings, they can hardly fail to believe that, whatever else may be intended, the Government will no longer be permitted to observe that strict impartiality between those who profess its own creed and those who hold the creeds of its native subjects which hitherto characterized it; that their strongest and most deeply-rooted feelings will henceforth be treated with much less regard than heretofore; and that a directly aggressive policy towards everything in their habits, or in their usages and customs, which Englishmen deem objectionable, will be no longer confined to individuals and private associations, but will be backed by all the power of Government.
And here your Petitioners think it important to observe, that in abstaining as they have done from all interference with any of the religious practices of the people of India, except such as are abhorrent to humanity, they have acted not only from their own conviction of what is just and expedient, but in accordance with the avowed intentions and express enactments of the Legislature, framed “in order that regard should be had to the civil and religious usages of the natives,” and also “that suits, civil or criminal, against the natives,” should be conducted according to such rules “as may accommodate the same to the religion and manners of the natives.”7 That their policy in this respect has been successful, is evidenced by the fact, that during a military mutiny, said to have been caused by unfounded apprehensions of danger to religion, the heads of the native states, and the masses of the population, have remained faithful to the British Government. Your Petitioners need hardly observe how very different would probably have been the issue of the late events, if the native princes, instead of aiding in the suppression of the rebellion, had put themselves at its head, or if the general population had joined in the revolt; and how probable it is that both these contingencies would have occurred, if any real ground had been given for the persuasion that the British Government intended to identify itself with fproselytism. Andf it is the honest conviction of your Petitioners that any serious apprehension of a change of policy in this respect would be likely to be followed, at no distant period, by a general rising throughout India.
That your Petitioners have seen with the greatest pain the demonstrations of indiscriminate animosity towards the natives of India, on the part of our countrymen in India and at home, which have grown up since the late unhappy events. They believe these sentiments to be fundamentally unjust; they know them to be fatal to the possibility of good government in India. They feel that if such demonstrations should continue, and especially if weight be added to them by legislating under their supposed influence, no amount of wisdom and forbearance on the part of the Government will avail to restore that confidence of the governed in the intentions of their rulers without which it is vain even to attempt the improvement of the people.
That your Petitioners cannot contemplate without dismay the doctrine now widely promulgated that India should be administered with an especial view to the benefit of the English who reside there; or that in its administration any gadvantageg should be sought for Her Majesty’s subjects of European birth, except that which they will necessarily derive from their superiority of intelligence, and from the increased prosperity of the people, the improvement of the productive resources of the country, and the extension of commercial intercourse. Your Petitioners regard it as the most honourable characteristic of the government of India by England, that it has acknowledged no such distinction as that of a dominant and a subject race; but has held that its first duty was to the people of India. Your Petitioners feel that a great portion of the hostility with which they are assailed, is caused by the belief that they are peculiarly the guardians of this principle, and that so long as they have any voice in the administration of India, it cannot easily be hinfringed. Andh your Petitioners will not conceal their belief that their exclusion from any part in the Government is likely at the present time to be regarded in India as a first successful attack on that principle.
That your Petitioners, therefore, most earnestly represent to your [Lordships] Honourable House, that even if the contemplated change could be proved to be in itself advisable, the present is a most unsuitable time for entertaining it; and they most strongly and respectfully urge on your [Lordships] Honourable House the expediency of at least deferring any such change until it can be effected at a period when it would not be, in the minds of the people of India, directly connected with the recent calamitous events, and with the feelings to which those events have either given rise or have afforded an opportunity of manifestation. Such postponement, your Petitioners submit, would allow time for a more mature consideration than has yet been given, or can be given in the present excited state of the public mind, to the various questions connected with the organization of a government for India; and would enable the most competent minds in the nation calmly to examine whether any new arrangement can be devised for the Home Government of India uniting a greater number of the conditions of good administration than the present; and, if so, which among the numerous schemes which have been, or may be, proposed, possesses those requisites in the greatest degree.8
That your Petitioners have always willingly acquiesced in any changes which, after discussion by Parliament, were deemed conducive to the general welfare, although such changes may have involved important sacrifices to themselves. They would refer to their partial relinquishment of trade in 1813;9 to its total abandonment, and the placing of their Commercial Charter in abeyance, in 1833;10 to the transfer to India of their commercial assets, amounting to £15,858,000, a sum greatly exceeding that ultimately repayable to them in respect of their capital, independent of territorial rights and claims;11 and to their concurrence, in 1853, in the measure by which the Court of Directors was reconstructed, and reduced to its present number.12 In the same spirit, your Petitioners would most gladly co-operate with Her Majesty’s Government in correcting any defects which may be considered to exist in the details of the present system; and they would be prepared, without a murmur, to relinquish their trust altogether, if a better system for the control of the Government of India can be devised. But, as they believe that in the construction of such a system there are conditions which cannot, without the most dangerous consequences be departed from, your Petitioners respectfully iand deferentiallyi submit to the judgment of your [Lordships] Honourable House their view of those conditions; in the hope that if your [Lordships] Honourable House should see reason to agree in that view, you will withhold your legislative sanction from any arrangement for the Government of India which does not fulfil the conditions in question in at least an equal degree with the present.
That your Petitioners may venture to assume that it will not be proposed to vest the home portion of the administration of India in a Minister of the Crown, without the adjunct of a Council composed of statesmen experienced in Indian affairs. Her Majesty’s Ministers cannot but be aware that the knowledge necessary for governing a foreign country, and in particular a country like India, requires as much special study as any other profession, and cannot possibly be possessed by any one who has not devoted a considerable portion of his life to the acquisition of it.
That in constituting a body of experienced advisers to be associated with the Indian Minister, your Petitioners consider it indispensable to bear in mind that this body should not only be qualified to advise the Minister, but also, by its advice, to exercise, to a certain degree, a moral check. It cannot be expected that the Minister, as a general rule, should himself know India; while he will be exposed to perpetual solicitations from individuals and bodies, either entirely ignorant of that country, or knowing only enough of it to impose on those who know still less than themselves, and having very frequently objects in view other than the interests or good government of India. The influences likely to be brought to bear on him through the organs of popular opinion will, in the majority of cases, be equally misleading. The public opinion of England, itself necessarily unacquainted with Indian affairs, can only follow the promptings of those who take most pains to influence it, and these will generally be such as have some private interest to serve. It is, therefore, your Petitioners submit, of the utmost importance that any council which may form a part of the Home Government of India should derive sufficient weight from its constitution, and from the relation it occupies to the Minister, to be a substantial barrier against those inroads of self-interest and ignorance in this country from which the Government of India has hitherto been comparatively free, but against which it would be too much to expect that Parliament should of itself afford a sufficient protection.
That your Petitioners cannot well conceive a worse form of government for India than a Minister with a Council whom he should be at liberty to consult or not at his pleasure, or whose advice he should be able to disregard, without giving his reasons in writing, and in a manner likely to carry conviction. Such an arrangement, your Petitioners submit, would be really liable to the objections, in their opinion, erroneously urged against the present system.13 Your Petitioners respectfully represent that any body of persons associated with the Minister, which is not a check, will be a screen.14 Unless the Council is so constituted as to be personally independent of the Minister, unless it feels itself responsible for recording an opinion on every Indian subject, and pressing that opinion on the Minister, whether it is agreeable to him or not; and unless the Minister, when he overrules their opinion, is bound to record his reasons, their existence will only serve to weaken his responsibility, and to give the colourable sanction of prudence and experience to measures in the framing of which those qualities have had no share.
That it would be vain to expect that a new Council could have as much moral influence, and power of asserting its opinion with effect, as the Court of Directors. A new body can no more succeed to the feelings and authority which their antiquity and their historical antecedents give to the East-India Company, than a legislature under a new name, sitting in Westminster, would have the moral ascendancy of the Houses of Lords and Commons. One of the most important elements of usefulness will thus be necessarily wanting in any newly constituted Indian Council, as compared with the present.
That your Petitioners find it difficult to conceive that the same independence in judgment and act, which characterizes the Court of Directors, will be found in any Council all of whose members are nominated by the Crown. Owing their nomination to the same authority, many of them probably to the same individual Minister, whom they are appointed to check, and looking to him alone for their re-appointment, their desire of recommending themselves to him, and their unwillingness to risk his displeasure by any serious resistance to his wishes, will be motives too strong not to be in danger of exercising a powerful and injurious influence over their conduct. Nor are your Petitioners aware of any mode in which that injurious influence could be guarded against, except by conferring the appointments, like those of the Judges, during good behaviour; which, by rendering it impossible to correct an error once committed, would be seriously objectionable.
That your Petitioners are equally unable to perceive how, if the controlling body is entirely nominated by the Minister, that happy independence of Parliamentary and party influence, which has hitherto distinguished the administration of India and the appointment to situations of trust and importance in that country, can be expected to continue. Your Petitioners believe that in no government known to history have appointments to offices, and especially to high offices, been so rarely bestowed on any other considerations than those of personal fitness. This characteristic, but for which in all probability India would long since have been lost to this country, is, your Petitioners conceive, entirely owing to the circumstance that the dispensers of patronage have been persons unconnected with party, and under no necessity of conciliating parliamentary support; that, consequently, the appointments to offices in India have been, as a rule, left to the unbiassed judgment of the local authorities; while the nominations to the civil and military services have been generally bestowed on the middle classes, irrespective of political considerations, and, in a large proportion, on the relatives of persons who had distinguished themselves by their services in India.
That your Petitioners, therefore, think it essential that at least a majority of the Council which assists the Minister for India with its advice, should hold their seats independently of his appointment.
That it is, in the opinion of your Petitioners, no less necessary that the order of the transaction of business should be such as to make the participation of the Council in the administration of India a substantial one. That to this end, it is, in the opinion of your Petitioners, indispensable that the despatches to India should not be prepared by the Minister and laid before the Council, but should be prepared by the Council and submitted to the Minister. This would be in accordance with the natural and obvious principle that persons chosen for their knowledge of a subject should suggest the mode of dealing with it, instead of merely giving their opinion on suggestions coming from elsewhere. This is also the only mode in which the members of the Council can feel themselves sufficiently important or sufficiently responsible to secure their applying their minds to the subjects before them. It is almost unnecessary for your Petitioners to observe, that the mind is called into far more vigorous action by being required to propose than by merely being called on to assent. The Minister has necessarily the ultimate decision. If he has also the initiative, he has all the powers which are of any practical moment. A body whose only recognized function was to find fault, would speedily let that function fall into desuetude. They would feel that their co-operation in conducting the Government of India was not really desired; that they were only felt as a clog on the wheels of business. Their criticism on what had been decided without their being collectively consulted would be felt as importunate, as a mere delay and impediment; and their office would probably be seldom sought but by those who were willing to allow its most important duties to become nominal.
That with the duty of preparing the despatches to India, would naturally be combined the nomination and control of the home establishments. This your Petitioners consider absolutely essential to the utility of the Council. If the officers through whom they work are in direct dependence upon an authority higher than theirs, all matters of importance will in reality be settled between the Minister and the subordinates, passing over the Council altogether.
That a third consideration, to which your Petitioners attach great importance, is, that the number of the Council should not be too restricted. India is so wide a field, that a practical acquaintance with every part of its affairs cannot be found combined in any small number of individuals. The Council ought to contain men of general experience and knowledge of the world; also men specially qualified by financial and revenue experience, by judicial experience, diplomatic experience, military jexperience. Itj ought to contain persons conversant with the varied social relations and varied institutions of Bengal, Madras, Bombay, the North-Western Provinces, the Punjab, and the native states. Even the present Court of Directors, reduced as it is in numbers by the Act of 1853, does not contain all the varieties of knowledge and experience desirable in such a kbody. Neither,k your Petitioners submit, would it be safe to limit the number to that which would be strictly sufficient, supposing all the appointments to be the best possible. A certain margin should be allowed for failures, which, even with the most conscientious selection, will sometimes occur. Your Petitioners, moreover, cannot overlook the possibility that, if the nomination takes place by Ministers at the head of a political party, it will not always be made with exclusive reference to personal qualifications; and it is indispensable to provide that such errors or faults in the nominating authority, so long as they are only occasional, shall not seriously impair the efficiency of the body.
That while these considerations plead strongly for a body not less numerous than the present, even if only regarded as advisers of the Minister, their other office, as a check on the Minister, forms, your Petitioners submit, a no less forcible objection to any considerable reduction of the present number. A body of six or eight will not be equal to one of eighteen, in that feeling of independent self-reliance which is necessary to induce a public body to press its opinion on a Minister to whom that opinion is unacceptable. However unobjectionably in other respects so small a body may be constituted, reluctance to give offence will be likely, unless in extreme cases, to be a stronger habitual inducement in their minds than the desire to stand up for their convictions.
That if, in the opinion of your [Lordships] Honourable House, a body can be constituted which unites the above enumerated requisites of good government in a greater degree than the Court of Directors, your Petitioners have only to express their humble hope that your endeavours for that purpose may be successful. But if, in enumerating the conditions of a good system of Home Government for India, your Petitioners have in fact enumerated the qualities possessed by the present system, then your Petitioners pray that your [Lordships] Honourable House will continue the existing powers of the Court of Directors.
That your Petitioners are aware that the present Home Government of India is reproached with being a double Government; and that any arrangement by which an independent check is provided to the discretion of the Minister will be liable to a similar reproach. But they conceive that this accusation originates in an entire misconception of the functions devolving on the Home Government of India, and in the application to it of the principles applicable to purely executive departments. The Executive Government of India is, and must be, seated in India itself. The Court of Directors is not so much an executive, as a deliberative body. Its principal function, and that of the Home Government generally, is not to direct the details of administration, but to scrutinize and revise the past acts of the Indian lGovernmentsl ; to lay down principles, and issue general instructions for their future guidance, and to give or refuse sanction to great political measures, which are referred home for approval. These duties are more analogous to the functions of Parliament, than to those of an Executive Board: and it might almost as well be said that Parliament, as that the Government of India, should be constituted on the principles applicable to Executive Boards. It is considered an excellence, not a defect, in the constitution of Parliament, to be not merely a double but a triple Government. An executive authority, your Petitioners submit, may often with advantage be single, because promptitude is its first requisite. But the function of passing a deliberate opinion on past measures, and laying down principles of future policy, is a business which, in the estimation of your Petitioners, admits of, and requires the concurrence of more judgments than one. It is no defect in such a body to be double, and no excellence to be single; especially when it can only be made so by cutting off that branch of it which by previous training is always the best prepared, and often the only one which is prepared at all, for its peculiar duty.
That your Petitioners have heard it asserted that, in consequence of what is called the double Government, the Indian authorities are less responsible to Parliament and the nation, than other departments of the Government of the Empire, since it is impossible to know on which of the two branches of Home Government the responsibility ought to rest. Your Petitioners fearlessly affirm, that this impression is not only groundless, but the very reverse of the truth. The Home Government of India is not less, but more responsible, than any other branch of the administration of the State; inasmuch as the President of the Board of Commissioners,15 who is the minister for India, is as completely responsible as any other of Her Majesty’s Ministers, and in addition, his advisers also are responsible. It is always certain, in the case of India, that the President of the Board of Commissioners must have either commanded or sanctioned all that has been done. No more than this, your Petitioners submit, can be known in the case of the head of any department of Her Majesty’s Government. For it is not, nor can it rationally be supposed, that any Minister of the Crown is without trusted advisers; and the Minister for India must, for obvious reasons, be more dependent than any other of Her Majesty’s Ministers, upon the advice of persons whose lives have been devoted to the subject on which their advice has been given. But in the case of India, such madvisersm are assigned to him by the constitution of the Government, and they are as much responsible for what they advise as he for what he ordains: while in other departments the Minister’s only official advisers are the subordinates in his office—men often of great skill and experience, but not in the public eye; often unknown to the public even by name; official reserve precludes the possibility of ascertaining what advice they give, and they are responsible only to the Minister himself. By what application of terms this can be called responsible government, and the joint government of your Petitioners and the India Board an irresponsible government, your Petitioners think it unnecessary to ask.
That without knowing the plan on which Her Majesty’s Ministers contemplate the transfer to the Crown of the servants of the Company, your Petitioners find themselves unable to approach the delicate question of the Indian Army, further than to point out that the high military qualities of the officers of that army have unquestionably sprung in a great degree from its being a principal and substantive army, holding Her Majesty’s commissions and enjoying equal rank with Her Majesty’s officers, and your Petitioners would earnestly deprecate any change in that position.
That your Petitioners, having regard to all these considerations, humbly pray your [Lordships] Honourable House, that you will not give your sanction to any change in the constitution of the Indian Government during the continuance of the present unhappy disturbances, nor without a full previous inquiry into the operation of the present system. And your Petitioners further pray that this inquiry may extend to every department of Indian administration. Such an inquiry your Petitioners respectfully claim, not only as a matter of justice to themselves, but because, when, for the first time in this century, the thoughts of every public man in the country are fixed on India, an inquiry would be more thorough, and its results would carry much more instruction to the mind of Parliament, and of the country, than at any preceding period.
[1 ]By Sects. 1-5 of 24 George III, c. 25 (1784).
[2 ]Following on 33 George III, c. 52 (1793), which lasted until 1813, a parliamentary committee was set up which reported five times (see the “Reports of the Select Committee on the Affairs of the East India Company,” PP, 1808, III; 1810, V; 1810-11, VII; 1812, VI.1; and 1812, VII.1). The result was the Charter Act of 1813, 53 George III, c. 155. Committee reports were also made as the period of that Act came to an end (see PP, 1830, V; and 1831-32, VIII-XIV), resulting in the Charter Act of 1833 (3 & 4 William IV, c. 85).
[3 ]For the Reports of the Committee before which Mill gave evidence (see “The East India Company’s Charter,” above) see PP, 1852-53, XXX-XXXIII; the result was the Charter Act of 1853, 16 & 17 Victoria, c. 95.
[4 ]For the “intimation,” see “Correspondence between the First Lord of the Treasury and the Directors of the East India Company Respecting Legislative Measures to be Proposed for the Future Government of Her Majesty’s Dominions in India,” Sessional Papers of the House of Lords, 1857-58, XI, 445-8. The measure was “A Bill for the Better Government of India,” 21 Victoria (12 Feb., 1858), PP, 1857-58, II, 267-86.
[b-b]D spot; and
[5 ]See “Letter from the Court of Directors to the Governor-General of India in Council, Military Department,” 25 Nov. (No. 236), 1857, PP, 1857-58, XLIV, Pt. 1, 48-9.
[6 ]Though the subject was often debated in both Lords and Commons, there was no Select Committee on the Mutiny. See, however, “Papers Relative to the Mutinies in the East Indies,” PP, 1857 (Sess. 2), XXX; and 1857-58, XLVI, Pts. 1-4.
[c-c]D Government; for
[d-d]D authority: they
[e-e]D policy; and
[7 ]Provisions in Sects. 18 and 19 of 21 George III, c. 70 (1781), which amended 13 George III, c. 63.
[f-f]D proselytism; and
[h-h]D infringed; and
[8 ]For varied proposals that illustrate the public agitation on the subject, see, e.g., Richard Congreve, India (London: Chapman, 1857); Francis William Newman, “English Policy in India,” The Times, 3 Dec., 1857, p. 5; “Hadjee,” “Indian Home Government,” ibid., 31 Dec., 1857, p. 9; “Indophilus,” “The Government of India,” ibid., 21 Jan., 1858, p. 10; and Harriet Martineau, Suggestions towards the Future Government of India (London: Smith, Elder, 1858).
[9 ]By Sects. 11 and 24 of 53 George III, c. 155.
[10 ]By Sects. 3 and 4 of 3 & 4 William IV, c. 85.
[11 ]Sect. 4 of 3 & 4 William IV, c. 85, required the Company to sell its commercial assets after 22 April, 1834.
[12 ]By Sect. 2 of 16 & 17 Victoria, c. 95.
[13 ]The objection to “double government” was raised by Henry John Temple (1784-1865), Lord Palmerston, in his speech asking leave to introduce the Bill on the government of India (12 Feb., 1858), PD, 3rd ser., Vol. 148, col. 1279.
[14 ]The image (one of Mill’s favourites) comes from Jeremy Bentham, Letter to Lord Granville on the Proposed Reform in the Administration of Civil Justice in Scotland (1807), in The Works of Jeremy Bentham, ed. John Bowring, 11 vols. (Edinburgh: Tait, 1843), Vol. V, p. 17.
[j-j]D experience; it
[k-k]D body; neither
[15 ]I.e., the Board of Control.
[m-m]D advices [printer’s error?]