["Mr. Newman and Mr. Merivale": Letter of F. W. Newman to the Editor of The Times.]

 

        Sir, — Now that Parliament has dispersed it is possible that you may allow me to expand one topic of my former letter as to which Mr. Merivale differs from me. If our difference were one of learning I could not wish to intrude upon your columns, but my argument is popular and practical.

        In 1883 Parliament inaugurated a new and noble policy towards India, which has remained a dead letter, and after recent events is, alas! become impossible. The Charter of 1833 professed to raise all natives of India, subject to the King, into equal dignity with Britons born. Except the two offices of Governor-General and Commander-in-Chief of India, all the King's subjects were to be equally eligible to every post of dignity; and Lord Macaulay, when, as one of Lord Grey's Ministry, on July 10, 1833, he spoke in support of the Ministerial Charter, distinctly declared that he would rather discard the Hon. East India Company entirely from the government of India than part with this clause. His words (in his own edition of his speech) are: — "If the Company were to refuse to accept of the government, unless we gave up the clauses of the Bill which permits Europeans to hold landed property and natives to hold office, I would take them at their word; but I will not discard them in the mere rage of experiment." Of these two cardinal points the former has been reduced to its minimum by the Hon. East India Company, and the latter has been avowedly and triumphantly resisted. I read in a printed paper (and I believe it, though I have not at hand the means of verification) that when Sir J. C. Hobhouse, as President of the Board of Control, following up the enactment of the Charter of 1833, presented the son of Rammohun Roy to a writership, the Directors had the daring to refuse to appoint him, on the ground that they would not permit any native Indian to become one of their covenanted servants. As it was not convenient for the Ministry just then to quarrel with the Directors, the Act of Parliament was trampled under foot, and the Indians were cheated of their promised equality. When the new Charter of 1853 was made this clause seems to have been ingeniously superseded by permitting Indians, if they can afford it, to come to England and compete against English students in a scholastic examination for the appointments.

        The blame of this violation of law (which was not a single act, but systematic for the 20 years of the Charter), Lord Macaulay himself being judge, is to be laid on the English Ministries. In the same speech he emphatically says, "For all the evils (denounced by Mr. Buckingham) the Ministers of the Crown are as much to blame as the Company; nay, much more so, for the Board of Control could, without the consent of the Directors, have redressed those evils; and the Directors most certainly could not have redressed them without the consent of the Board of Control. . . . For all measures of internal policy the servants of the King are at least as deeply responsible as the Company. For all measures of foreign policy the servants of the King, and they alone, are responsible." It is not, therefore, to be inferred that (whoever may be the de facto administrators of India) Parliament can any the more trust the Queen's Ministers in the future than in the past enforce English enactments upon them. No body of men has less moral courage than a tottering Ministry.

        The result has been that the Indian Government, instead of raising natives of India to the dignity of Britons, have laboured to degrade all the unofficial English in India to the level of born Indians. Twice they have attempted to deprive them of trial by jury; even so late as the beginning of this year the attempt was renewed and convulsed Calcutta, driving the unofficial residents into a violent and necessary animosity to the Government. It is evident that this theory must be renounced. To reduce the emigrant English in India to the level of natives, and keep the natives depressed as hitherto, must stop English emigration and make the existing English residents thoroughly disaffected. On the other hand, frankly to act on the principle of 1833, and to admit natives into high office with as little caution as if they were of English birth, is what few will now dare to advise, and what certainly we cannot expect.

        If England is to have in India military safety, political and religious, and social, and financial influences, she must encourage European colonization as the key to all these results. Official men, shut within four walls — military men, associating at most with their troops — form no cement between us and the nations of India. The colonist, the merchant, the artisans, the professional men, who emigrate to India, these are they who will root English sentiment into the Indians, if they do but enter in sufficient numbers; and if they do not Munro's prophecy will be fulfilled — that the first insurrection would be a mutiny, which we should suppress, and the second would be a national movement, which would eject us. You yourself, Sir, urge strongly an Imperial policy of Indian immigration. My present object is to insist that this policy demands a special English citizenship in India. Without this our countrymen will neither immigrate in sufficient numbers, nor will command in India the respect necessary to make them of political importance. Those who dread more lest the English in India try to throw off the yoke of Queen Victoria and reign by their own might over all India than lest the Indians themselves throw off the English supremacy may perhaps wish to go back to the state of things prior to 1833 and make it a high misdemeanour for an Englishman to be found in India without license from the local Government. This would be to treat India as Augustus treated Egypt. But I think very few persons will approve this. Assuming the paramount value of English colonization, I say, an inference from this now is a special English citizenship in India. But, once established, it would give us many precious advantages. It would, in particular, enable us to admit into our own freedom all the most trustworthy part of Indian society, and it would gradually remedy the worst financial mischief in India — the absence of local treasuries which the central Government cannot touch. Rules might be laid down by which the English citizenship should be earned, an acquaintance with our language being made one of the necessary conditions. At present no local funds for local objects (roads, canals, tanks, &c.) are possible, because the local treasurers are mere servants of the central Executive. Thus, if the Board of Control declares war upon Persia or Afghanistan, the money which ought to have irrigated fields or mended bridges is liable to be spent in war. This most pernicious mischief cannot be remedied until every local division of India gets the power of holding fast the local funds, of which there seems no hope except through unofficial Englishmen.

I am, Sir, your obedient servant,      
F. W. NEWMAN.          
Dec. 26.