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Motion For An Address

Volume 202: debated on Tuesday 28 June 1870

The text on this page has been created from Hansard archive content, it may contain typographical errors.

Sir, I have to present a Petition signed by 129 officers, late of the East India Company's Armies in India, praying for redress of grievances. I was in hopes that the Petition might have been printed with the Votes, and in the hands of Members this morning, and that the Members might have been cognizant of the specific grievances and their nature; but, the forms of the House not permitting it, I fear I shall have to trouble the House at greater length than I intended. Since the Address of this House to the Queen on the 2nd of May, 1865, a General Election has taken place, and above 200 new Members have taken their seats. It is due to those Members to offer some explanation of the origin of the grievances of the Indian officers, and their repeated appeals to this House for redress. Before the Mutiny of the greatest portion of the Bengal Army in 1857, the East India Company had three armies embodied—those of Calcutta, Madras, and Bombay, comprising a body of 5,338 European officers, including the medical service, and 287,782 men of all arms. The system of promotion of the European officers was by strict regimental seniority up to the rank of major, when the field, officers were thrown into line seniority. Notwithstanding the reputed insalubrity of the climate of India for European constitutions the senior officers would not die, and they were too poor to resign, and there was an absolute stagnation in promotion, and lieutenant-colonels of above 40 years' standing and majors of 37 and 38 years' standing were numerous, as instanced in the following extracts from the Indian Army List of 1841, and which had existed for years previously:—

"BENGAL ARMY.—Colonel Pattle, of 43 years service; Major John Graham, 72nd Regiment 37 years; Major Richard Home, 73rd Regiment, 37 years; Major George Young, 68th Regiment, 37 years; Major Edward Gwatkin, 13th Regiment, 37 years.
"MADRAS ARMY.—Major R. B. Hutching, 51st Regiment, of 35 years' service; Major Henry Moberly, 49th Regiment, 36 years; Major Charles Snell, 30th Regiment, 35 years; Major C. J. Grant, 52nd Regiment, 35 years; four Lieut.-Colonels of 41 years.
"BOMBAY ARMY.—One Lieut.-Colonel of 44 years' service, and 3 of 40 years; Major W. Ogilvie, 26th Regiment, 38 years; Major Stratford Powell, 2nd European Regiment, 33 years; Major Christopher Newport, 23rd Regiment, 33 years.
This state of matters occasioned not only great discontent, but was highly detrimental to the public interests, as it kept worn-out men in India who were no longer fit for field service. Well, Sir, the officers generally appealed to the Court of Directors to withdraw the interdict which had existed since 1793 against buying out seniors, and the Court, with the consent of the Board of Control, and, therefore, of the British Government, transmitted the following despatch to the Government of India, dated 29th November, 1837, and published in Government General Orders, 2nd May, 1838:—
"1. Government consider that the practice which has for some time obtained, although now for the first time brought to notice, of inducing time-expired officers under the rank of Lt.-Colonel to retire from the service, must conduce to the contentment of the officers and to the efficiency of the army.….
"2. We see no necessity for interfering with the arrangements which the junior officers of a regiment may make in individual cases for adding to the comforts of a senior officer on his retirement from the service upon the pension to which he may be entitled.
"3. The Regulation of 1793 requiring officers upon retirement to make oath that they have received no pecuniary consideration for quitting the service, has not been enforced by us in any single case of retirement in England during the period of nearly 40 years which has since elapsed."….
The purchase system being thus sanctioned, the manner in which the buying out of regimental seniors was as follows:—A fixed sum was to be given to the regimental major on his retirement—usually in an infantry regiment, £3,000; but I have known as much as £7,000 paid to a lieutenant-colonel in a cavalry regiment; and Major General Pears, now Military Secretary at the India Office of the Madras Engineers, received £6,000 on his retirement. A smaller sum was to be given to the senior captain who retired—the contribution gradually diminishing with the lower standing of the next officer. The exact sums are stated in the Petition which I have presented. In like manner, the sum each officer was to contribute was fixed. The senior captain,

Payment or bonus to each Officer on his retirement in the Infantry—


To ensure these payments, the following were the usual contributions according to regimental seniority:—

No.Rank.Amount to be paid to the Retiring Officer.Amount to be paid by each Officer Junior to the one Retiring.

This practice continued without interruption, and with the sanction of the authories,

who succedeed the retiring major, had to pay the largest contribution of any officer. The Petition states the next captain somewhat less, and the other officers of the regiment a gradually diminishing sum, according to their senior-ship—the senior ensign £80 and the youngest £10. The Petition states the detailed sums, which accumulated made up the sum of £3,000 to be paid to the retiring major, and this was called his "expectation." The following is the scale of contributions in a Bengal Infantry Regiment; but the scale slightly differed in the different armies; indeed, in the same army:—

until the transfer of the armies of the Company to the Crown in August, 1858. Act 21 & 22 Vict. c. 106, which passed the House of Commons, contained the following clause:—

"On the Transfer of the Indian Government to the Crown by Act 21 & 22 Vict., c. 106, s. 56, August 1858, taking place, the following guarantee formed part of the Act, and was repeated in Act 23 & 24 Vict., c. 100, 20 August, 1860, and is called Henley's Clause:—
"And be entitled to the like pay, pensions, allowances, and privileges, and the like advantages as regards promotion and otherwise, as if they had continued in the service of the said Company.
"And the advantages as to pay, pensions, privileges, promotion and otherwise ….shall be maintained in any plan for the re-organization of the Indian army."

This Act was passed by the Conservative Government of Lord Derby, and his Lordship, in introducing the Bill into the House of Lords on the 15th July, 1858, made the following declaration:—

"The Bill also provides, as far as it relates to individuals and bodies, that they shall have reserved to them all rights, privileges, and expectations which they were led to form at the time of their admission into the service."

The House will recollect what the "expectation" of a regimental officer was—that he should get £3,000 from his regiment when he retired as major.

Here was a pledge of the Prime Minister. In August, 1860, Lord Palmerston, being then Prime Minister, and Sir Charles Wood, Secretary of State for India, the Act 23 & 24 Vict. c. 100, was introduced; and to make surety doubly sure, Mr. Henley, the Member for Oxfordshire, insisted on the insertion of the Guarantee Clause of the former Act, and this clause is popularly known as the Henley Clause. Sir Charles Wood accepted the clause, and assured the House—

"There will be no change in the position of the officers, and to give them assurance of that I am willing to accept the Amendment of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Oxfordshire (Mr. Henley), with respect to the rights and privileges of the officers and soldiers of the local Army of India."

Well, Sir, the House will learn with surprise how the above pledges and promises have been fulfilled. The bonus or purchase system had continued to the advantage of the public service, when it pleased Sir Charles Wood to establish at each Presidency a Staff corps of officers, in which promotion was to take place by length of service, and not by regimental seniority. These Staff corps officers—some 2,213—were withdrawn from regiments in which promotion by seniority and the buying out system existed. But, as the Staff officers obtained their promotion independently of buying out seniors, they, of course, would not contribute to their respective regimental funds, and the remaining officers in each regiment being too few in number to make up the requisite sum to induce a senior to retire, the bonus system fell to the ground, and the contributions that the officers had previously made were practically confiscated by an act of the Indian Minister. So much for the fulfilment of the promises of the Conservative Minister respecting "expectations," and of Sir Charles Wood that there would be no change in the position of the officers. But this is not the only breach of promise; the names of the Staff officers were left in the cadres of their respective regiments as blocks to promotion, and the result was, that as they got their promotion by length of service, they superseded their seniors in their own regiments.

The local regimental officers, who had spent their money—upon which most of them had to pay the high interest of 9 per cent to the banks—in buying steps with

the authority of the Court of Directors and the British Government, applied for compensation for their losses, caused by a voluntary act of the India Office and British Government, and were told they had not any claim. The reply caused general indignation, and Petitions to the House of Commons were poured in to the number of 712, humbly praying for redress. On the 2nd of May, 1865, the attention of the House of Commons was called to these Petitions by Major—now Colonel—Jervis, Member for Harwich, and myself, and other Members, and the following Address to the Queen was voted, notwithstanding the opposition of the Conservative Government:—

"That an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty, praying that She will be graciously pleased to redress all such grievances complained of by the Officers of the late Indian Armies as were admitted by the 'Commission on the Memorials of Indian Officers' to have arisen by a departure from the assurances given by Parliament by 21 & 22 Vict, c. 106, and 23 & 24 Vict. c. 100."

Consequent upon the Resolution of the House of Commons of the 2nd May, 1865, Lord Cranbourne, in his speech to the House, 6th August, 1866, used the following language, but not until 14 months after the Address had been presented:—

"But, putting the guarantee aside, I think it is clear that if your servants have been largely damnified by any sudden or unexpected act of yours, the principle that is and ought to be observed in every branch of the public service is that we ought to do something to compensate them. And, assuredly, if there is any branch to which we should desire to apply that principle it is to those who risk their lives in our defence. Viewing the matter in that light, and not in the least questioning or attempting to reverse the decision of former Governments, we still thought it our duty to attempt in some way to meet the complaints of officers on this head. Now, the House will observe that the subscription of a bonus had for its immediate object to get a step of rank. That step carried with it increased pay; therefore, the object of that subscription was to a certain extent obtained."

But, Sir, that is a mistake—a 10th Lieutenant had to pay for 10 steps before he got his company, and all this time was out of his money. Lord Cranbourne continued—

"The officer got his advance in rank, and, of course, increased pay earlier through the subscription than otherwise. If he had not purchased out his superior officer, he would have had to remain longer in his inferior grade. Therefore I say the Indian officer has already got to a certain extent compensation for his subscription. We have no intention to pay that over again; but our proposal is this—We understand it is stated by several officers that they have not received full compensation in that way—that they paid a very much larger sum than they had any immediate chance of receiving, in the hope that when they came to retire they would receive compensation from the subscriptions of their junior officers. Our proposal is that in each Presidency a committee shall be appointed which, as soon as an officer retires, shall inquire into his case in order to ascertain how much money he is really out of pocket in payments to officers who have retired, and the loss, whatever it be, the Government propose to make good to him. [An hon. MEMBER: With interest?] No, not with interest. Considering the enormous stimulus to promotion that has taken place, the many advantages that officers have received, and that you never in practice give compensation to public servants for the whole of their loss, we think that interest on neither side should be allowed—either for or against the officer. The House, and especially those hon. Members who take an interest in Indian matters, may wish to know what this operation is likely to cost. We have had it calculated by General Hannyngton, a very competent authority on such a subject, and his view of the matter is, that it will cost about £160,000, extending over 20 years, or £8,000 per annum."—[3 Hansard, clxxxiv. 2092.]

Whereas only £90,000 has been claimed by 212 officers, and less than £20,000 paid. To carry out these views the following instructions were sent to India by Lord Cranbourne, dated 8th August, 1866:—

"With this view, the following course will be adopted:—
"A committee will be formed at each presidency, for the purpose of investigating and reporting upon claims of this nature on the part of officers, borne on the strength of the Indian army on February 18th, 1861.
"An officer proposing to retire from the service, or having retired since February 18th, 1861, and being below the rank noted [if in the artillery or engineers, below the rank of colonel commandant. If in the cavalry or infantry, below the rank of regimental lieutenant-colonel] at the time of retirement, will submit his claims to compensation for the loss of sums subscribed for the purpose of assisting his seniors to retire, through the usual channel, to the Government of this presidency, by whom they will be referred to the above committee. He will submit, at the same time, a declaration, upon honour, as to the sum of money, if any, that he has received, or expects to receive, from the officers of his cadre on retirement.
"It will be the duty of the committee to ascertain, with all possible accuracy, the following circumstances:—
"1st. The number of retirements among his brother officers to the purchase of which the officer had contributed up to February 18th, 1861. This will, of course, not include arrangements which may have been made with officers transferred to the invalid establishment.
"2nd. The amount ascertained to have been actually paid in each case by the officer in question to the retiring officer.
"These facts may be gathered from the statement of the officer himself, supported by such proof as the committee may consider sufficient; but it will be competent for your Government, in communication with those of Madras and Bombay, to lay down any general rules that you may think fit for the guidance of these committees.
"The above sums will be placed to the credit of the officer in each case.
"On the other hand, the committee will estimate the value in money of the advance in rank or position which accrued to the officer from the above arrangements, and will debit him therewith.
"The balance, reduced by the sum, if any, which he may receive from the officers of his cadre on his retirement, and, in the cases of officers who have already retired, by the value of any special annuity that may have been granted to them in addition to the regulated pension, will be paid to the officer on his resignation of the service appearing in orders, provided, in the case of the cavalry, infantry, and Staff Corps, such retirement or resignation takes place before he attains the rank of regimental lieutenant-colonel, and, if in the artillery or engineers, before he attains the rank of colonel commandant.
"Special periodical reports of the sums so paid will be made to Her Majesty's Government.—I have, &c., (Signed) "CRANBOURNE."

With respect to the sums paid to officers transferred to the invalids, the following were the orders of the Government of India:—

"10. No sums paid to officers transferred to the invalid establishment can, under the orders of the Secretary of State, be credited to an officer under any circumstances; and in all cases deductions from sums due under paragraphs 6 or 7 of this order, must be made to the extent of any amount the retired or retiring officer may have received, or may receive, from the juniors of his regiment or cadre, or from his regimental retiring fund, and also on account of the value of any special annuity a retired officer may have received in addition to his regulated pension."

Now, Sir, it mattered not to the officer who had paid his money to remove a senior, where that senior resided—whether in India, London, or Jericho; he was not the less out of pocket. In regard to giving extra pensions, the following are extracts from the Report of the Royal Commission, 1863, on the grievances of Indian officers, showing the reason why the extra pension was given:—

"Par. 54.—As regards the 'complaint' as to the course pursued by Government to encourage retirement from among the senior officers of the cavalry and infantry, in consequence of the very large reductions in the number of the native regiments, there were a number of Lt.-Colonels and Majors for whom it was impossible to find employment. These officers would in ordinary course reach to the rank of full Colonel, and so become entitled to Colonel's allowances. It was considered that by offering them an addition to the pension on, which, by their length of service, they were entitled to retire, they might be induced to retire, and so that a considerable boon would be conferred on the officers who should remain. A scale was therefore framed, fixing the sum to be offered to field officers below the rank of Colonel, as an inducement to them to retire. The amount varied according to the standing of those to whom it was to be offered, and to officers who were of a standing which made it likely that by remaining in the service they would soon become full Colonels, an additional pension was offered, amounting to £550 per annum; to those further removed the sum was less, descending as low as £200 per annum; and if as many as 300 officers should not accept these terms, they were to be offered to Captains of 25 years' standing and upwards."

Now, Sir, as at this date, 1863, the bonus or purchase system was declared illegal—contrary to fact, however—by Sir Charles Wood, the giving extra pensions as an equivalent for the money, confiscated in the abolition of the bonus system, could not for one moment have been contemplated. The extra pensions were entirely for the advantage of the Government to save money in India.

And now I beg to put the results before the House. The generous and high-minded character of Lord Cranbourne—now Marquess of Salisbury—puts the "initiation" of the sordid devices in the despatch of the 8th August, 1866, to reduce the claims of officers for compensation, out of the question—and these devices must have originated with subordinates—devices which have rendered the proposed redress a mockery. The complaints of the officers are—1st, that the expectations of the regimental officers are not to be fulfilled; 2nd, that deductions are made from money actually out of pocket for what is called accelerated promotion; 3rd, that officers are refused credit for the sums they contributed to remove officers from their regiment to the invalids; 4th, that they are refused altogether any compensation in case they have received an extra pension; which had no relation or connection whatever with the bonus system—the extra pensions having been given for the advantage of the Government and unsolicited; 5th, that officers who paid sums after 18th February, 1861, are refused all compensation. In explanation of these grievances. I have made the House aware of what "expectations" means. When an ensign joined a regiment, he expected, on his retiring as a major, to receive £3,000 from his brother officers in case he had subscribed to the bonus or purchase funds, and this was the expectation promised by Lord Derby. 2nd.

With respect to deductions on account of accelerated promotion, a legal Member of the House, who is unhappily called away from London by county quarter sessions, declares them to be illegal. For illustration—In case I paid premiums to an insurance society, to secure a stipulated sum at a fixed date, and on demanding payment was to be told I could not receive the stipulated sum, but that my premiums would be returned to me with deductions—I presume such an act would not only be illegal but fraudulent. This is precisely analogous to the premiums or bonuses paid by officers to insure a payment of a fixed sum on the occurrence of a certain event. Again, would a gentleman who buys a commission in the Royal Army, and, subsequently, a commission of a higher grade, and who, after a few years, desires to sell, be told he could not receive the whole amount of the money he had paid because he had accelerated promotion and had received increased pay? Moreover, in case the purchase system were abolished in the Royal Army—as the bonus system was abolished in the Indian Armies—would the most economical House of Commons refuse compensation for the money laid out in purchasing? I will just show how unjustly this deduction system has acted—and two or three instances are as good as 100. I hold in my hand a Parliamentary Paper, No. 90, of 1870, showing the ranks and names of those officers who have claimed a return of their bonus contributions—124 Bengal; 51 Madras; Bombay, 37; total, 212.

BENGAL.—Major A. le Gallais, claims £258—nil, his increased pay exceeded his claim; Lieutenant-Colonel A. Parsons, claims £420—is made a debtor to the Government because he has an extra pension of £50; Lieutenant-Colonel P. A. P. Bouverie, £425—gets £10!!!
MADRAS.—Colonel J. Babington, Artillery, claims £655—nil, because he had £50 pension; Colonel G. Carr, Infantry, £1,100, nil; Lieutenant-Colonel G. S. Cotter, artillery, £4,421, nil; Lieutenant-Colonel A. H. M. Chesney, £240, nil.
BOMBAY.—Captain H. G. Raverty, claims £337—gets £22; Major M. J. Battye, claims £976—£631 cancelled and £135 allowed.

This officer was, as a lieutenant on diplomatic employ, on a consolidated allowance of £75 per month. He had paid £976 for regimental steps, and got his captaincy; but he still remained in diplomatic employ, on his consolidated

pay of £75 per month, and did not gain one shilling by his accelerated promotion, and yet, most unjustly and strangely, £631 is deducted from his claim. In regard to the fourth grievance—the refusal to give a shilling compensation to officers who have paid sums for the removal of an officer to the invalids to the advantage of the service—the injustice is manifest, for the loss to him is absolute, whether the invalid officer resides in India, or London, or Jericho. With respect to the fifth cause of complaint, the Government had arbitrarily fixed the 18th February, 1861, as the date after which no compensation would be granted, while some officers, in ignorance, had bought out officers a few days or weeks after that date, and were refused a shilling of compensation.

Finally, Sir, it is with great pain, but under a thorough conviction of its truth, I say that the claims of the officers for compensation have been met in a spirit of meanness and heartlessness—meanness in elaborate devices for reducing claims for compensation, which Lord Cranbourne admitted to be well founded, and heartlessness that 5,338 officers and 287,782 men, who, aided by a proportionable body of Royal officers and troops, had won an empire for the Crown which would have excited the envy of Alexander the Great and Augustus Caesar, should not have experienced some generous consideration for their triumphant services; but, on the contrary, the sole object seems to have been by what devices the claims for compensation could be reduced to a minimum amount. Let me remind the House, that in May, 1865, it voted an Address to the Queen for the redress of the grievances of the Indian officers. Those grievances have not been redressed in the sense in which that vote was passed, owing to the reductions in the compensation ordered by Lord Cranbourne's despatch of the 8th August, 1866, and the officers again humbly appeal to the House to sustain its former vote. The hon. and gallant Gentleman concluded by moving for an Address.

said, the Order or Regulation dated November 29th, 1837, clearly gave the officers of the late Indian Army to understand that their rights and privileges in this matter of buying out their seniors should not be interfered with unless under particular financial circumstances, in which case full notice should be given to them beforehand. He could not understand how that Order could be repudiated, and the officers told that they had no claim upon the Government. The Marquess of Salisbury, when at the India Office, was of opinion that if the officers had been damnified by the change they ought to be compensated; but, instead of getting compensation, they were refused the repayment of the sums which they had previously expended. The case of those officers was another instance of that cheeseparing policy which had created dissatisfaction, not only in the Indian Army, but in our own. There was no one, he added, who could fail to have the highest respect for the Indian Army, which had produced as many distinguished officers as any army in the world, and he hoped the House would again express it to be its opinion that their claims to remuneration should be met to the fullest extent. He begged to second the Motion.

Motion made, and Question proposed,

"That an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty, praying that as the orders Her Majesty was graciously pleased to give for the redress of the grievances of the Officers of Her Majesty's late Indian Military Services, consequent upon an Address of the House of Commons, dated the 2nd day of May 1865, have not been carried out, in the sense of the Address, owing to deductions being made from the bona fide claims of officers on the ground of accelerated promotion and on the ground of increased retired pensions, Her Majesty may be graciously pleased to direct a further consideration of the subject, with a view to the redress of the still unsatisfied claims."—(Colonel Sykes.)

said, that justice was not dealt out in this case as it would have been to civil servants in this country. The Government of India did not recognize the bonus system until very lately. They then recognized it in an indirect way. There was no claim upon the Indian Government so long as the Regulations of the service continued as they were; but when the Regulations were altered and put an end to the fund from which these officers were to benefit, and to which they had subscribed, there was then a most decided claim on their part against the Government. Pensions were given to get rid of supernumerary officers; and this was a point well worthy of consideration. It was too bad for the Government, having gained all the advantage of the bonus system, to turn round on the officers and refuse to repay them the amount which they had actually disbursed.

said, it was the duty of all Governments, and of the Indian Government among others, to see that the interests of its servants were fairly and liberally cared for; but it was likewise the duty of all Governments, and of the Indian Government among others, to remember that its servants existed for the people which it ruled, not the people for its servants. In this spirit he wished to examine his hon. and gallant Friend's proposal; and, first, his Resolution seemed to have been framed under some misconception. He asked for a further consideration of certain alleged grievances, because "the Address of this House, dated the 2nd day of May, 1865, has not been carried out in the sense of that Address, deductions having been made from certain claims upon various grounds." But his hon. and gallant Friend had apparently forgotten that the Address of the 2nd of May, 1865, was for the redress of such grievances of his clients as were admitted by the Royal Commission of 1863 to have arisen out of a departure from the assurances given by Parliament. Now, the Royal Commission of 1863, referring to this very complaint of the loss of bonus on retirement, declared in so many words that the Parliamentary guarantee did not extend to this claim, and therefore the Commission of 1865 did not and could not entertain it at all. What really happened was this. After a long agitation—very detrimental, indeed, to the discipline of Her Majesty's Indian Army—the Government of the day, then represented in this House by Lord Salisbury, announced, on the 6th of August, 1866, a measure of the most comprehensive and of a more than conciliatory character. That statement appeared to give, as well it might, great satisfaction to those whose interests were concerned. The instructions sent by Lord Salisbury to India were drawn up in a sense accordant with the sense of his statement, and were carried out by the appointment of committees composed of officers of each of the three armies, Bombay, Madras, and Bengal—who were to investigate the amount of claim made and established in each case. There was not a shadow of evidence that the officers appointed did not most fairly and most liberally consider all claims brought before them. Indeed, it was in the nature of things that they should do so, for they represented the complaining officers, and must have shared largely in all their feelings; while, with regard to the action of the Government, he believed that the only cases in which the decisions of the committees of officers had been interfered with, had been cases in which from a mistaken interpretation of their instructions they granted an officer less than the Government thought right to concede to him. If that was not liberal treatment, he wondered what kind of treatment would be entitled to that name. Looking back upon the dealings of the Indian Government, as reconstituted in 1858, and of this House with the East India Company's Army, looking at them with strong sympathies for that army arising from family connection—he confessed that he could find in all history nothing to equal it in liberality. Here was an army, on the larger and more important portion of which, the Bengal Army, had fallen a disaster altogether unparalleled in modern military annals—unparalleled, so far as he knew, in any annals, unless it were in the story of Carthage and her mercenaries, as told by Polybius. Many armies in modern times had melted away under the pressure of extreme physical privation, and some had been pulverized and utterly destroyed by a hostile force; but did modern history tell us of any other army falling to pieces in the hands of its own officers, in a time of profound peace, in the middle of the territory which it was set to guard? [Colonel SYKES: The officers did not do that.] He fully absolved many of these officers from blame. Many of them, both before and after the outbreak, did their duty, and more than their duty; but would anyone venture to say that, after all allowances had been made, a Government which treated officers, whose regiments had disappeared, as if their regiments had still continued in full efficiency, was not an almost preternaturally generous Government? Yet that was precisely what the Government did; for when the time came for reconstructing that military power which had been so rudely shaken, the Government and this House forgot the past, and applied to all alike—to the officers of the Bengal Army, of which so large a portion had disappeared, as well as to those of the Bombay and Madras Armies, which had come through 1857 almost unscathed, the same measure of ungrudging liberality, the same Parliamentary guarantee. In the interpretation of that guarantee, and in all the arrangements connected with the amalgamation, disputable point after disputable point was yielded. Every one was treated as if he had been not only innocent, but impeccable. Rules which would have been extremely liberal in the case of officers whose regiments were absolutely perfect were applied to officers whose regiments had vanished into space, till at last all men thought that conciliation and kindness had been carried to the utmost imaginable limits, and that no officers of the old Indian Army would ever again dream of even naming the word grievance. At the close of his speech, already referred to, the present Lord Salisbury, then Lord Cranborne, said—

"I will only conclude my answer to my hon. and gallant Friend by saying that I hope he will use his influence, if he is satisfied with this arrangement, and that all others who have taken up the case will use their influence, to do all they can to put a stop to a system of agitation most mischievous to the Indian Service and most inconsistent with the ordinary attitude which officers ought to assume towards the Government. I do earnestly hope that as far as this House is concerned we may now close this thorny and disagreeable subject."—[3 Hansard, clxxxiv. 2094.]
The hope which Lord Salisbury then expressed had, unhappily, not been fulfilled. It had seemed good to his hon. and gallant Friend to do what he could to rekindle the embers of what all thought was a burnt-out agitation. He deeply regretted that the hon. and gallant Member should have thought fit to lend the sanction of his advanced age and long experience in Indian affairs to so evil a cause. The responsibility the hon. and gallant Member had assumed was certainly no light one, and he would be no sharer in that responsibility by giving the slightest shadow of hope that the present Government, any more than the past Government, or indeed any conceivable Government, would ever listen to the demands which he had made. Just one word as to these precious expectations, about which his hon. and gallant Friend had spoken so much. The expectations which his hon. and gallant Friend wanted the Indian Government, alias the people of India, to pay for in hard cash, were expectations of success in a highly speculative transaction, not to use a stronger term. If each Indian officer had got up to the top of the regimental list and then retired, the subscriptions paid by each would just have balanced his receipts on retirement. Now, the Government had refunded all the net subscriptions; but what these gentlemen wished to be paid for in hard cash were the expectations which they had formed that many of their comrades in arms who stood above them in the regimental list would die, and so save their subscriptions. They wanted a nice round sum in hand out of the Indian taxpayer's pocket as an equivalent for the "bloody wars and sickly seasons" which they had lost. He did not think the House of Commons would say "Aye" to that proposal. He had only once more to repeat the assurance that every claim advanced by these officers had been most carefully sifted, and, where even tolerably reasonable, admitted; that the taxpayers of the Indian Empire had been most heavily amerced; first, to be just, then to be generous; lastly, to be almost prodigal to them; and that the Government would ask the House to support them in giving the most determined opposition to a most extortionate demand—a demand which, in two words, was this—that these officers should retain every possible advantage which accrued, or might have accrued, to them from the old system, which crumbled to dust in their hands; that they should obtain every possible advantage, direct and indirect, from the new system, which had to be created; and that the unhappy people of India should pay for all in this wonderful game of "Heads I win, tails you lose!"

said, he could not remain silent after hearing what had fallen from the Under Secretary of State. He could hardly have believed that anyone who had reached manhood in the years 1856–7–8 could have got up and used the terms the hon. Member had used with reference to that gallant Indian Army. They were told for the first time to-night that it was owing to the want of discipline that that great army of India crumbled into dust. Were officers who, in the service of their country one after another fell under the hands of Hin- doos and Mahomedans, leaving widows and children, to be spoken of in this way? What was said in this House by Lord Cranborne was that, if the terms proposed gave satisfaction, he trusted the agitation would cease, and the terms thus frankly stated he frankly accepted. But what were they? Lord Cranborne said, considering the magnitude and all the circumstances of the case, he was prepared to deal liberally, and he would repay the officers all that they were out of pocket; and these terms were utterly repudiated by the present Under Secretary of State. Sir Stafford Northcote, in a despatch which he sent out, expressed the opinion that the instruction of Lord Cranborne had not been carried out. He wished to make no charge against Her Majesty's Government, for this was a matter which more or less affected four different Governments; but he protested against that narrow-minded spirit which, for the sake of a few paltry pounds, created the most intense dissatisfaction, while millions were expended of which no account whatever could be obtained.

said, he wished to make one remark, as the speech of the Under Secretary of State might go abroad, that the Indian officers had not done their duty in the Mutiny. The hon. Gentleman said that some officers had done their duty, implying that some had not done their duty. Now, he wished to say, from his own personal knowledge and experience, that all the Indian officers had done their duty in that terrible time, and he hoped the hon. Gentleman would get up and say so.

said, that last year, when the subject was likely to come on, he took some pains to investigate its merits, and he came to the conclusion that there was a real case of grievance. As he understood, Lord Cranborne promised that the officers should have returned to them all the money which had actually been paid by them, and the contributions corresponded to payments made to an insurance office to be returned after a certain time had expired. Lord Cranborne was understood to promise that these officers should have returned to them, not all their expectations—not the large sum which they expected to receive originally in allowances to the highest rank, but the actual amounts they were out of pocket by the payments they had made from time to time at each step in promotion. The Indian Government kept the word of promise to the ear but not to the hope; and when it came to consider the claims of these officers it said—"Oh! but for these payments you made from time to time you have got each time a certain advance in position in your regiment by the retirement of the officer above you, who was induced to retire by your contribution;" and in some instances, by a minute calculation, it had been made to appear that the officers, instead of having a claim, were actually in debt. He knew a gentleman, fortunately for himself, in easy circumstances, who, having paid something under £1,000 in respect to these policies, had a calculation brought against him, and he was told that £10 was the sum he would receive for all he had contributed. This was not considered by these officers the fair way of carrying out Lord Cranborne's intentions, and was not, he understood, what was meant by Lord Cranborne himself when he made the speech referred to, and penned the despatch to the Governor General of India. The demand was of a limited nature, and it would be better to meet it than to let these gentlemen have ground to complain of want of faith on the part of a British Ministry and Parliament.

said, having gone carefully through the Papers in connection with this case, he found he could not support the demand of these officers. The right hon. Gentleman who had just sat down had entirely misconceived what Lord Cranborne said, for that noble Lord most distinctly stated that he would deduct from the sums to be paid to the officers what they had gained by accelerated promotion.

said, he had listened with disappointment and dismay to statements of the Under Secretary for India that the Indian Army must not expect that the present Government or any other Government would ever give ear to the complaints now brought before the House. That was not the proper spirit in which those complaints should be met. The question was, were there or were there not individual instances of injustice and grievance which the House was bound to consider? If there were, the faith of the Government of this country was pledged to inquire into them, and to afford a remedy. Though a large proportion of officers might have received the measure of justice they were entitled to in the shape of increased pension and accelerated promotion, there was good ground for belief that beyond these there was yet a residuum of hardship and injustice, which the Government were bound not to overlook. He knew the case of an officer, who should have received £4,000 by reason of this bonus fund, to which he was compelled to contribute by social considerations and the pressure of his commanding officer, and who only got £500. That was an illustration of the grievance which was suffered, and he protested against the absolute language of the Under Secretary for India that, under no circumstances, could he hold out the hope that these Indian officers would receive further attention or inquiry as to the reasonableness of their claims.

The House will, perhaps, allow me to observe, with reference to the warm speech of the hon. Member for Harwich (Colonel Jervis), that, in criticizing the acts and language of the Government, he has ascribed to my hon. Friend the Under Secretary of State for India words and ideas which do not properly belong to him. The hon. Member was evidently under the impression that my hon. Friend had declared that the calamitous revolt and dissolution of the Bengal Army were owing to their want of discipline, and that this was chargeable upon the officers. I heard the speech of my hon. Friend, and I certainly heard nothing which conveyed or resembled such an imputation; it was as far as possible from the intention of my hon. Friend to convey any imputation of that kind. Let us, therefore, put out of the way any extraneous matter in approaching the consideration of this question. As far as I can understand the point at issue, it is not one of any great difficulty. My hon. Friend's allusion to the past acts and the probable conduct of any future Government of India was not an allusion altogether gratuitous. The proceedings which have been taken are in perfect conformity with those of the late Secretary of State for India, and unless my hon. Friend is very much mistaken indeed, the late Secretary of State would have been in his place to-night to affirm and sustain the doctrines which have been propounded, if, from urgent causes, he had not been compelled to leave London. Knowing this, therefore, it was no unnatural allegation for my hon. Friend to make that neither the present nor any future Government of India was likely to give in to this claim. What is the claim? It is contended that the rule laid down implied a pledge; and the whole question is, whether that pledge has been fulfilled? The Motion of my hon. and gallant Friend insists, in terms which are certainly very strong, that the House should be prepared to address Her Majesty, stating that the orders given for the redress of the grievances of the officers of the Indian Army have not been carried out in the sense of the Address of the 2nd of May, 1865. If that Motion be adopted, the Members who vote for it will take upon themselves a heavy responsibility, for they must first have examined into the matter and satisfied themselves that the pledge has been given and not redeemed. Let me ask, has there been such a definite and positive pledge as should induce the House to vote an Address like this? I am not now saying that we should refrain from making any further investigation; in a case of this kind, where individual interests are concerned, even if there be a slender case shown, I think that there should be a full investigation into every point and allegation that is raised. We shall be perfectly ready to investigate when any deficiency is shown in the proceedings that have occurred, and with even greater facility when we do this ourselves, and not under the stringent terms of the Motion that my hon. and gallant Friend would bring to bear upon us. But have expectations been held out which have not been fulfilled? My hon. Friend bases his statement apparently on a promise by Lord Cranborne. [Colonel SYKES: And of Lord Derby in the House of Lords.] I have not got the words of Lord Derby before me; but I shall be quite prepared to give to them all the consideration to which they are entitled. The words, however, of a responsible Minister, speaking in the name of the Department with which the transaction lies, seem to me about as authoritative testimony as it is easy to obtain. It is contended that the engagements made with the Indian officers under the bonus system have been broken because certain deductions have been made on the ground of accelerated promotion and increased retiring pen- sions; but what does Lord Cranborne say, speaking in this House on the 6th of August, 1866?—

"Now, the House will observe that the subscription of a bonus had for its immediate object to get a step of rank. That step carried with it increased pay; therefore, the object of that subscription was to a certain extent obtained. The officer got his advance in rank, and, of course, increased pay earlier through the subscription than otherwise. If he had not purchased out his superior officer, he would have had to remain longer in his inferior grade. Therefore, I say, the Indian officer has already got to a certain extent compensation for his subscription. We have no intention to pay that over again."—[3 Hansard, clxxxiv. 2093.]
I ask my hon. and gallant Friend how he gets rid of that statement of Lord Cranborne's? The very thing Lord Cranborne says he will not do is the thing which is now complained of as a breach of faith. [Colonel SYKES: That is the complaint.] If so, my hon. and gallant Friend is shifting his ground, and shows still more strongly that this Address cannot be agreed to. He cannot say, as he now appears to say, that Lord Cranborne was wrong in refusing to pay this over again, and then, in the same breath, declare that the promise was made and that faith has not been kept. In a despatch of the 18th of August, 1866, which Lord Cranborne addressed from the India Office to the Governor General in Council on this subject, he said, having enumerated the sums which would be credited to the Indian officers—
"The above sums will be placed to the credit of the officer in each case. On the other hand the value will be estimated in money of the advance in rank or position which accrued to the officer from the above arrangement, and he will be debited therewith."
With this evidence before us, patent and unquestionable, I say that it is impossible my hon. and gallant Friend can ask the House to vote this Address, whereby the House binds itself to complain that engagements were broken which there is distinct ground for believing were never entered into.

, speaking from personal recollection, declared that at a time when the upper ranks of the service in India were greatly choked, the bonus system was introduced to clear them, and it was just as much understood that the money contributed by those officers was to go towards the in- crease of rank as any other regulation in the service was understood.

, in reply, quoted the speech of Lord Derby when, as Prime Minister, in 1858, he introduced the Bill into the House of Lords. His words were—

"The Bill also provides, as far as it refers to individuals and bodies, that they shall have reserved to them all the rights, privileges, and expectations which they were led to form at the time of their admission to the service."—[3 Hansard, cli. 1461.]
With regard to the statement of the Under Secretary for India that the poor Natives of India would have to pay the amount, what was the sum required? 212 officers had claimed £90,000, and they had had adjudged to them £20,000. Yet the Government that refused this sum had raised the taxation on India by £2,000,000. He should divide the House on his Resolution.

Question put.

The House divided:—Ayes 113; Noes 92: Majority 21.