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India Company of its functions and transferring them to Her Majesty's Government. For, 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 powers

to govern India as he pleased, has governed ill because he had the assistance of experienced and responsible advisers.

That your Petitioners, however, do not seek to vindicate themselves at the expense of any other authority. They claim their full share of the responsibility of the manner in which India has practically been governed. That responsibility to them is not a subject of humiliation but of pride. They are conscious that their advice and init tive 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 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 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 entrusted 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 can 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 influence 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 policy. And 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 hithertofore ; 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 powers 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 sentiments 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 religions and manners of the natives." That their policy in this respect has been successful is evidenced by the fact that, during a military mutiny which is 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 could have been given for the persuasion that the British Government intended to identify themselves with proselytism. And it is the honest conviction of your Petitioners that any apprehension of a serious 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 toward 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 will avail to restore the 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 advantage should be sought for Her Majesty's subjects of European birth, except that which they will naturally derive from their superiority of intelligence, and from 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 infringed. And 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 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 public mind, to the various questions connected with the organisation 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.

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; to its total abandonment and placing of their Commercial Charter in abeyance in 1833 ; 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; and to their concurrence, in 1853, in the measure by which the Court of Directors was reconstructed and reduced to its present number. 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 and deferentially 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 anyone 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 a certain degree of moral check. It cannot be expected that the Minister, as a general rule, should himself know India ;

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