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of this House for the purpose of trans- MR. R. T. REID: He says that in acting duties in connection with India one instance before the Commission a which appertain to this House. I en- man had satisfied the President of the deavoured during the Parliament of Commission, an Englishman, that he did 1880, more than once, to get either a not dare to give open and full testimony, Standing Committee or some other form because he was afraid of the Governof Committee appointed, in order to ment-and that is the statement of a enable this House faithfully to discharge man who does not speak generally withthe duties which it owes to the people of out facts. It will be denied, probably; India. The Government of India is ab- and I am sure, if it is, it will be because solutely uncontrolled by Native opinion, the Government are satisfied that it is except so far as that opinion can reach untrue. But are we to have no other the consciences of the governing class. method than such a Commission as that And who controls it here? Why, it is con- to investigate these charges ? There trolled by the Secretary of State for India are a series of instances of charges made and the Under Secretary for India-itis and suggestions offered as to corruption 22 controlled by the Secretary of State, with and unfair treatment on the part of the assistance of the Council. But what Government officials towards witnesses is the Council-how is it constituted ? giving evidence before this Commission, It is a Council consisting of gentlemen and this House is absolutely powerless who have spent no more than half their in the matter. On the 9th of September, lives in that country, and who represent at tho end of a long and exhausting stalo Anglo-Indian opinion--the opinion Session, with, perhaps, only 15 or 16 of 25 years ago. No one knows any- Gentlemen in the House with sufficient thing about their deliberations, as they energy left to watch the proceedings, all take place in secret. They are a the House is absolutely powerless to do secret, irresponsible Council, composed, anything, and will be powerless so long I have no doubt, of men of great ability, as we confine the discussion of Indian and of men who have shown great questions to financial matters as we have capacity in India, but who represent done in the past. It has been pointed Anglo-Indian opinion-and nothing but out in the evidence given in 1871, 1872, Anglo-Indian opinion. These gentlemen 1873, and 1874, that a great many cases should be under the control of the Go- of unfair treatment financially between vernment of this country, and their the English Government and the Indian operations should be subject to the fresh Government have occurred. It is a air of this House, and should be under matter in which the Indian Government the influence of public opinion and pub- is incapable of coping with the English lic discussion here. The influence of men Government. The Indian Government who have to answer to their constituents are unable to cope with this Government for the course they have adopted is not unless they are supported by the opinion brought to bear on the Government of of this House. We have a duty.imposed India at all; and that is one thing, in my on us by the State, and it is supposed opinion, most necessary. How do we by a great many parties that the stand as to India ? The hon. Member finances of India are brought before this for Northampton has brought a variety House and considered; but the debates of charges and accusations against the on this subject are reduced to a farce. officials of the Indian Government. He The discussion begins at about a quar, says that Messrs. Streeter have had an ter past or half-past 6 o'clock, and unfair advantage in the matter of the ends in four or five hours, and we are Ruby Mines; that was contradicted by expected in that time to have settled the the hon. Gentleman the Under Secre. affairs of 200,000,000 of fellow-subtary. Be it so. The hon. Member also jects, and to have sanctioned an outlay says that the teak forests have not been of between £70,000,000 and £80,000,000. well-administered. Very well. He says That is a state of things in which, it that a great many charges have been seems to me, it would be far better for disposed of by a Commission sitting at us to abdicate our duties than to go on Calcutta.
discharging them in a way which is a Sir JOHN GORST: Sitting all over mere mockery. None of us can do what India.
is really our duty in the matter, because
to a very
we can merely draw attention to two or and that is the question of the Ruby three points with an eye to the clock Mines and the concession to Messrs. watching the time as it passes. I do Streeter. My own opinion on the matter entreat the Government to listen to the differs somewhat from that of the hon. appeals addressed to them on this matter. Member for Northampton. I am rather I entreat them to say whether it would afraid that in consequence of the presnot be possible to appoint a Standing sure he was able to put upon the GoCommittee. I am not particular as to vernment by certain Questions he asked the form of the Committee, let it be a in this House, we are probably about to soo Special Committee, a Select Committee, something very like a breach of public or any other form of Committee which faith in this matter. I do not think that would give the people of India the idea the facts of the case have been put that somebody in this House is looking correctly either in the Blue Book or by after their interests, and that their in- | the hon. Member. The Blue Book does terests are considered of the utmost im- | not give anything like the whole of the portance, and are attracting, as I be- case; and I think that an impression lieve they are, a great deal more sym- must have been created by some of the pathy outside this House than they are Questions of the hon. Member for Northinside it. Let us show the people of ampton that something like a job had India that their interests are really been perpetrated. That, I confess, was weighed and valued, and appreciated by the motive which tempted me first to the House of Commons, and that the look into the matter; and I am bound House of Commons will not leave them to say that, after giving the subject to be dealt with absolutely by an irre- very careful investigation, I am insponsible despotism.
clined to think that the grievance, if MR. HANBURY (Preston): I do not anything, is rather the other way. At wish to enter into the general policy of any rate, the matter has led this Budget, or into the details of the serious difference of opinion--judging many subjects which have been referred from the statements in the Blue Books to this evening. I only want to say between the Viceroy of India and the that I am quite sure that amongst the Secretary of State at home; and so far Conservative constituencies, just as I can read the Blue Book I am bound much as amongst the constituencies of to say that I believe the Viceroy not hon. Gentlemen opposite, there is a only seems to have better information very strong feeling indeed that this as to what has been going on, and as Indian Budget ought to be discussed a to the actual facts of the case, but, being great deal earlier than it is in the Ses- on the spot, he is much more able to sion. I do not think it is any answer to form an opinion than the Secretary of the complaint to reply, as the hon. Gen- State, who is so far removed from India. tleman the Under Secretary of State There can be no doubt whatever that a (Sir John Gorst) did in a portion of his concession was granted by the Viceroy remarks, that preceding Governments of India in April, 1886, after free and have been nearly as bad as the present open competition. That fact, I think, Government in this respect. Surely we cannot be denied for one single moment; ought now to have reached the time but that concession was granted subject when the argument that two blacks to a certain condition, and subject to an make one white can no longer be avail. inquiry which was to be made on the able. I do hope that on both sides of spot both as to Native rights and as to the House considerable pressure will be the mode of working the mines; but in put on Governments to force them to all other respects, as to the term of bring on the Indian Budget at a rea- years and so on, the matter was left to sonable time in the Session. The spe- be settled later on the spot between the cial subject on which I wish to say a Viceroy on the one hand and the confew words is the one alluded to by the tractors on the other. Now, the language hon. Gentleman the Member for North of the Viceroy was very clear indeed ampton (Mr. Bradlaugh) before Mr. upon this point, because, writing on the Speaker left the Chair, and which has 10th of June, 1886, he saysbeen touched on by the hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Dumfries time was made by Patton on behalf of Streeters,
"The highest offer of lease within given who has just sat down (Mr. R. T. Reid), and intention is to accept offer if cortain details
can be satisfactorily arranged. Concession is of revenue for the year 1247 B.E. Future delayed by necessity for local inquiry upon assessments of revenue will be made with certain points."
a strict regard for justice, reason, and moderaOn May 22 of this year he tele- tion. Officials, headmen who are well disposed,
and render proper and fitting assistance in the graphs
management of affairs, will be confirmed in “Viceroy in Council is of opinion that their appointments, and will receive appropriate should Ruby Mines regulation and terms of remuneration to their merits." agreement finally agreed upon prove acceptable By this Proclamation full protection was to Streeter, he is entitled to be granted on lease
and in consideration of his having sent in the given to Native rights, arrangements highest tender.”
were come to as to the mode of working
the mines; and not only was that done, Every despatch sent in for a year takes the same view. Again, on June 5, who addressed the Government on the
but, in connection with everybody else 1887, we have the following telegram:- subjeot, Messrs. Streeter were always
“Messrs. Streeter made highest offer within treated as having a formal and binding prescribed time, and we informed them that if
with the Government, general conditions imposed by us met their arrangement views we should be prepared to accept their which could only be upset by the refusal offer. We see no just grounds for cancelling on the part of Messrs. Streeter to accept this.''
the Government conditions. Those con. Therefore, as far as the Viceroy was ditions, however, they accepted. Messrs. concerned, undoubtedly Messrs. Streeter Streeter accompanied the expedition to sent in the highest tender within the given the mines. They built houses on the time, and the only question was in re- spot, and spent a sum of no less than gard to the concession as to the Native £10,000 there in making preparations rights and as to the working of the for working the mines. So much, then, mines. Now, how far were those con- for the arrangement so far as it went ditions afterwards agreed upon? Well, with the Viceroy of India. The Vicercy both parties went to the mines, and the of India leaves no doubt whatever in whole question of Native rights was the minds of anyone reading the dethoroughly gone into on the spot, and spatches that as far as he was concerned the rules and regulations for working there was a real, moral, and binding the mines were provisionally agreed contract between him and the contracupon and signed by the representatives tors for these mines. Meanwhile, what of both parties at Mandalay, and were is happening at home? We are told that subsequently ratified and accepted by the influence of this House does not the Indian Government on or about the operate upon Indian questions, partly 23rd of May of this year. There is no because we have no opportunities of doubt that the Indian Council passed discussing these subjects in this House, these rules and regulations, so that that and therefore the Questions which are matter is disposed of. As to the Native sometimes put here are perfectly uninrights, there can be no question that telligible. "Without any wish to do any the matter was gone into very fully at injustice to the hon. Member for Norththe mines themselves, because a Pro- ampton, for I believe him to be one of clamation was actually posted up there the most honest-minded men in the by the authority of the Indian Govern- House, still I do think that some of his ment, which was as follows:
Questions have really tended to bring " The working of the rubies and the trade about that which is hardly fair in this in rubies near the mines will be a Government matter, and what is the result? Why, monopoly, as they were in the times of the that the Secretary for India, because he Burmese Kings, and the lease of this monopoly has been granted by the Government to a great has not been kept fully informed of firm of wealthy English merchants, who will what is going on here, takes fright, and use great endeavours to promote the extraction sends a despatch on November 18, in of rubies by the employment of many labourers which he says that nothing on this and other means. These merchants will make arrangements with the diggers of rubies such as subject ought to be decided without remay be conducive to the advantage of both ceiving his formal approval. Well, that parties. Following ancient customs they will was all very right and proper, and, no either purchase the rubies that may be raised, doubt, the sort of Despatch which the fixed by the Government, and no rubies may be Secretary of State might very naturally otherwise removed under penalty. The British send out. He also, at the same time, Government have been pleased to remit arrears questioned the policy of leasing these
mines at all, and said that it probably were offering three lakhs, and that might be found that they should be re- Messrs. Streeter were offering four lakhs, served in the hands of the Government. and he saidThat was the 18th November, 1886; “Do you consider that latter offer may bo but although that was a very reasonable accepted ?" despatch, it had one unfortunate defect The Secretary of State at once, on the -namely, that it was sent just seven 14th August, telegraphed a reply, which months too late, for whilst it was de practically left the matter at the decision spatched on the 18th November, on the of the Viceroy. That telegram really 18th April in the same year the Gover- left the matter in the hands of the nor General had already agreed to this Viceroy, and this was recognized by lease with the contractors-the Governor Lord Cross himself, because he says as General having full and absoluto power much in his telegram of the 14th August; from the Secretary of State at home. his words beingWhat were the powers given to the Viceroy to deal with this matter? They
"A telegram which practically left the are very clear. In the first place, when matter to the decision of your Excellency.”' the question of leasing these Ruby Mines That being the case, and full powers first came up, a Question was put to the having been given to the Viceroy to noble Lord the Member for South Pad negotiate the concession of these mines, dington (Lord Randolph Churchill), two days after receiving that telegram, who was then Secretary of State for this concession was granted by the India, and Lord Harris, Under Secre- Viceroy to Messrs. Streeter. They tary of State, on the 24th of December, made the highest offer---namely, four 1885, wrote
lakhs of rupees-and the only thing to "I am directed by the Secretary of State for do was to go out to Burmah, and to India to inform you that it is for the Govern settle such conditions as to the Native ment of India to decide upon your application rights and the mode of working the for a mining concession in Upper Burinah, and
mies, which, as I have said, were fully to suggest that you should transmit it direct to the Secretary to the Government of India agreed upon by Messrs. Streeter on tho Foreign Department, Calcutta.”
one hand and the Government of India Therefore the matter was transferred on the other. So, therefore, as far as from the Secretary of State to the Vice- the Government of India were roy in Council in India itself. Nothing cerned, undoubtedly they were pledged happened for two months. When the morally, and almost legally. Of course, noble Lord had been succeeded by the they could not be pledged legally, boEarl of Kimberley, a telegram was sent cause all these matters might be subseby the Viceroy to Lord Kimberley on quently upset by the Home Government. the 25th February, 1886.
In that I say in a matter of this kind, where you despatch the Viceroy says
can establish a strong moral claim like " Gillander and Arbuthnot offer two lukhs of there ought to be some very strong con
that which Messrs. Streeter can establish, rupees.”
sideration forthcoming to induce the On the 4th March, Lord Kimberley an. Secretary of State at the last moment to swered the Viceroy saying
upset the arrangement so agreed upon. "I have no objection to offer to this conces. It must be admitted that, in upsetting sion."
the arrangement, the Secretary of State That is the very same concession which did so after the Viceroy himself had has since been given to Messrs. Streeter, gone to a very great length indeed, and and which was to be given to Messrs. had practically looked upon the matter Gillander, Arbuthnot and Co. for two as settled. In the first place, the Secrelakhs of rupees. That shows that there tary of State says it is a question in his canuot be much of a job in the matter, mind whether it would not be better to as far as the offer of Messrs. Streeter keep the mines in the hands of the Gois concerned. A fortnight after that vernment, instead of leasing them at letter the Viceroy again telegraphed him, all; but, unfortunately, that matter was saying
settled 18 months before by his PredeMessrs. Streeter offer three lakhs of rupees.” cessor in Office. As to the question of On April 14th, he telegraphed him again Native rights, the Secretary of State for to say that Messrs. Arbuthnot and Co. India, on the 4th of June, says that VOL. OOOXXI. (THIRD SERIES.]
“I am not fully satisfied that the Natire tenth of that. Therefore, if the acceptance rights have been considered in this matter." of Messrs. Streeter's offer is delayed, or Well, that, again, is certainly not the if the matter is not settled speedily, the opinion of the Viceroy of India, who Government of India will be suffering would naturally be very careful in this month by month and year by year. matter, because he, some time before, They will be losing heavily, because the supposing that this question would be rate at which the mines are now being raised by the Secretary of State, in one worked is worse than ever it has been, of his despatches, says
but as I have said the offer made by “Whatever the result of these arrangements the firm of London merchants is more may be we trust that your Lordship will be satis. than twice what the mines produced in fied that we have been careful to protect the the best days of King Thebaw. Then rights and interests of the Natives."
there is another consideration which Therefore there was no other question, must have been in the mind of the hon. I should suppose, on that ground. Un- Member for Northampton, in fact I am doubtedly, the Secretary of State is sure it was, and I think that the hon. justified in re-opening the whole ques- Member was perfectly right in putting tion if a fair price has not been given the question which he did. It is a for these mines. That is the real prac- question which I myself should have tical consideration for the Secretary of put under similar circumstances—that is State. There is no doubt whatever upon to say, if I had held the view of the that point. Although the arrangement matter which the hon. Member holds. has gone so far, if the Secretary of State Ho suspected that there was some job has any doubt
upon this point, he is, no being carried on in this matter, and it doubt, perfectly justified in withholding was that suspicion which made him exahis sanction until he is satisfied in the mine into it. I am bound to say, howmatter. Now, what are the facts as to ever, that in my view, if there is a job the question of price? The Secretary of in the matter at all it is all the other State for India, no doubt, had his mind way. If Messrs. Streeter had not interdisturbed on this point by the startling vened as they did at the last moment statement of the hon. Member for North- and insisted upon this matter being put ampton, that the lease of these mines, to open competition, the loss to the instead of being worth only four lakhs Indian Government would have been of rupees, was worth at least £400,000 considerable. The lease would have &-year. That was a very startling been given without any competition statement, and if it could have been whatever for the sum of two lakhs of justified, I say at once that the Secretary rupees, which is exactly one half of the of State would have been right in re- amount obtained by competition. I say fusing his assent to the arrangement en therefore that Messrs. Streeter rendered tered into with Messrs. Streeter. Having a great service to the Indian Govern. regard to the interests of this country ment when they insisted that so valuable and India itself, he would, even at the a concession as this should not be given last moment, have been justified in up- away to the first comer at an inadequate setting the arrangement; but as a price, but should be put up to the matter of fact the Indian Government highest bidders. Concessions of this inquired into the matter, and they tell kind should be put up to open competius that they scout the idea of the mines tion, and there should be no favouritism being worth anything of the sort, and whatever in regard to them. It must they look upon it as an utter delusion. be romeinbered that Messrs. Streeter The gentleman who named that value sent in a tender twice as high as that refuses, I understand, to make any which had been offered before. There definite proposal. It was the duty of is another reason why it was specially the Government of India to look at the necessary that there should be competipast history of these mines. Well, even tion in this matter. It was specially in the best days of King Thebaw, the necessary that this lease should not be most the mines brought in was about given to Messrs. Gillander, Arbuthnot half of what has been offered by Messrs. and Co., because it is said that the son Streeter, but the mines working in the of the right hon. Gentleman the Mem. way in which they are being worked at ber for Mid Lothian (Mr. W. E. Gladthe present moment do not bring in one- stone) was a member of the firm of