PP/GC/LE/111 Letter from Sir G.C.Lewis to Henry John Temple, third Viscount Palmerston, regarding proposals by Lord John Russell for the administration of India, 5 April 1858
Letter from Sir George Cornewall Lewis, second Baronet, Harpton [Court], Radnor, [Radnorshire, Wales], to Henry John Temple, third Viscount Palmerston: [Transcript] "I send you a letter with its enclosure which I have received today from Lord John. His expression of a wish that his views should be communicated to you is, I think, meant to be conciliatory, and all things considered, I do not much wonder at his backing out of his offer. It was perhaps more remarkable that he should have made it, [f.1v] without knowing more of the intentions of the government. It is clear that they are prepared to eat any amount of dirt in order to get out of this scrape. I still think that we ought to announce our intention to vote against the second reading unless they will withdraw the bill, and if the Liberal party are tolerably agreed in this threat, I feel satisfied that it will produce the withdrawal of the [f.2r] bill. My chief objection to Lord John's plan of a council is to paragraphs 4 and 5 which introduce the elective element. They introduce it however in the least objectionable form possible. I do not understand the object of paragraph 10. It amounts merely to a declaration [f.2v] that the present system is to be confirmed. What I am most anxious to guard against is a failure of legislation in the present session. It would have a very bad appearance and effect if Parliament were to separate without passing an Indian bill." 5 Apr 1858 Enclosed are: (i) a copy, in the hand of Lord Palmerston, of a letter from Lord John Russell, Pembroke Lodge, [Richmond Park, London], to Sir George Cornewall Lewis, second Baronet: [Transcript] [f.3r] "I will not discuss with you now the merits of particular provisions of the India bill of the late government, there are matters of more pressing importance. Bulwer Lytton, who communicates with the Radicals, tells them that the clauses regarding the great towns will be omitted and other larger concessions be made. They on their side are very loth to give any vote which may endanger the government and Charles Villiers tells me this is also the * Policy * feeling at Liverpool and elsewhere. Now they may not take a beating on the second reading without [f.3v] resigning on dissolving and there are plenty of Liberals in the House of Commons who are afraid of either consequence. This makes me pause and I shall like to hear any announcement the government have to make before I give a notice. In the mean time, I have drawn up in the form of resolutions the scheme I think the best, but it ought to be proposed by a government. Perhaps Disraeli may bring down his plan to nearly what I propose. I believe the government wish to stay in for the session and recess and will live upon dirt if they cannot get better fare. I don't see the harm of having members of the council in the House of Commons and dislike thoroughly [f.4r] all disqualifications. Pray tell Palmerston the substance of this letter and of my resolutions." 3 Apr 1858: contemporary copy (ii) A copy, in the hand of Lord Palmerston, of "Resolutions suggested by Lord John Russell April 1858 as preliminary for bill on Indian government": [Transcript] [f.5r] "1st. That \ it / is the opinion of this committee that the powers hitherto exercised by the Court of Directors and the Board of Controul should in future be exercised by a Secretary of State and a council to be appointed as hereinafter directed. 2nd. That the council should consist of fourteen members to hold their offices during good behaviour. 3rd. That ten of the said fourteen members should be appointed by the Crown, eight of whom shall consist of persons who have been directors of the East India Company, or who have been for 10 years at least in India in the service of the Crown, or of the said Company, or who have been for fifteen years at least resident in India. 4th. That the remaining four members should be elected by all persons who have been ten years at least in India as commissioned officers in the military service of Her Majesty, or in the military or naval service of the East India Company, or in the civil [f.5v] service of Her Majesty. 5th. That any person who has been for five years in India, or as a director of the East India Company, or ten years in the service of the Court of Directors, or the Board of Controul, or of the future Council of India, shall be capable of being elected one of the said four members of the Council. 6. That it shall be lawful for Her Majesty to remove any member of Council from her office upon address from both Houses of Parliament. 7. That not more than three members of the Council appointed by the Council appointed by the Crown shall be capable of being elected and of sitting and voting in the House of Commons. 8. That no patronage civil or military should be exercised by any member of the Council save and except the Secretary of State for India. 9. That all first appointments in the civil service should be made as directed in the act of 1853, and all first commissions [f.6r] in the military service should be granted after examination to persons whose physical constitution and mental intelligence shall best qualify them for such commissions. 10. That a military force composed of Her Majesty's European subjects should be placed upon the Indian establishment, the officers to be admitted and promoted without purchase, and the men to be intitled to pensions after twenty years service in India. 11. That the salary of each member of the Council should not exceed twelve hundred pounds with a retiring allowance after twelve years service or on permanent infirmity of six hundred pounds yearly. Apr 1858
Three papers
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Lord John Russell, later first Earl Russell, Member of Parliament for London
Edward Bulwer-Lytton, later first Baron Lytton, Member of Parliament for Hertfordshire
Charles Villiers, Member of Parliament for Wolverhampton
Benjamin Disraeli, later first Earl Beaconsfield, Chancellor of the Exchequer
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