3 APRIL 1852, Page 9



The subject of broadest interest in Parliament last night was the de- bate which arose on the motion by the Earl of DERBY for a Select Com- mittee to inquire into the operation of the act 3d and 4th of William IV. chapter 85, for the better government of her Majesty's Indian territories. Lord Derby took an historical view of the origin and growth of the Com- pany from the time—two hundred years since—when it was so insignificant a trading community that it refrained from landing a single battalion of troops in its settlement from fear of exciting the jealousy of the neigh- bouring princes, to the present day, when, having dropped its entirely commercial character, it has attained political empire over a country extending over twenty-eight degrees of latitude; and embracing a popu- lation of 150,000,000 souls — not so much by its army of 285,000 soldiers, as by a wise government and an enlightened humanity. He ex- plained the constitution of the Company; distinguishing the Proprietary, which has scarcely any function beyond that of receiving the dividends on its stock;' and the Court of Directors, which has been stripped by the Impe- rial Legislature of all political power except that due to its ability to recall any and every officer in the Indian service from the Governor-General down- wards, but which has intentionally been intrusted to retain nearly all the patronage of the Indian service. I hen he exhibited the machinery of the -Board of Control, which now has the whole political power and administration of the Indian Government in its hands. Ile showed the nature of the Secret Committee, a body compounded of the Court of Directors and of the Board of Control, for the management of negotiations with the Indian princes. Then he explained the details of the local government in India—in its separate political centres at Calcutta, Madras, and Bombay, but under the general con- trol of a Council presided over by the Governor-General. From the politi- cal framework of government he went into the dispensation of religion, the administration of justice, and the execution of public works; showing how thb first is more abundant under the influence of three bishops and 130 chap- lains; how the second is more pure under the administration of Eng- lish judges, while at the same time the natives are trained to the greater participation in judicial offices which is daily more and more opened to them ; and how the third has become munificent and bene- ficial, under a government whose revenues have now reached a yearly amount of 25,000,000/. sterling. The whole of these subjects would dome under the inquiry of the Committee, that they might consider and re- port on them all ; but practically the great questions would be, could the government of India be administered without the intervention of the Court of Directors ? would it be better that the nominal power should be exercised solely by the body which now exercises it really ? Lord Derby himself has a strong opinion on this matter, and he let out enough to show that that opin- ion is in favour of retaining the Directory. The Earl of ELLENBOROUGH went over the whole field, with a speech exhibiting his practical knowledge of the subject, abounding in suggestions of importance, but throughout toned with his understood antagonism to the Court of Directors. He admitted at the outset, "though with reluctance," that the double system of government at present existing must of necessity be continued. Among the leading suggestions he made, were these—that the Crown should have thesibsolute power of nominating the Commander-in-chief, not only of India, but of each of the Presidencies' that the Crown should be left at liberty to send what troops it thought fit, instead of only 20,000 as at pre- sent, without the consent of the Directors; and that at home the consti- tuency for electing the Directors should be enlarged by giving every person, British and Native, who had served in the civil or military service of the Company, abroad or at home, a vote.

The motion for a Select Committee was agreed to.

Subjects of minuter but more immediate political interest engaged the House of Commons. Lord Joins Russzis referred to the apprehension caused in the public mind by what had occurred in "another place" in reference to the dis- solution of the present Parliament—to the belief, encouraged by the re- cent words of Lord Derby, that "some circumstance has arisen to alter the intention of Government to advise a dissolution of Parliament as soon as the state of public business would permit it." He intimated that Sup- plies had been granted on the faith of another understanding, and that before further Supplies were granted, next Monday, a full .explanation would be expected. Mr. DISRAELI volunteered explanation at the moment. He said that "a very great misconception has existed within the last two or three days with respect to the intentions of the Prime Minister" ; and that "he never intended in any way to convey to the Parliament or the country the impression that his opinion on the subject of the dissolution of Parlia- ment was in the least degree changed." This assurance Mr. Disraeli backed up with an elaborate repetition of the former statements that the Queen will be advised to dissolve as soon as those measures are passed which are deemed absolutely necessary and indispensable for the service of her Majesty, and the security and good government of her realm.

Mr. HUME said, the one thing necessary is that Government should explain, now it has been some time in office, what are the measures it deems "necessary measures."

Mr. COBDEN stated that be had received a letter from Lord Derby, complaining of the inaccuracy of the quotation from his speech in 1835 about the votes of tenants, made by Mr. Cobden in the ballot debate. The words attributed to Lord Derby were these—" If the ballot should be carried, he, Lord Derby, should not be satisfied unless he saw his tenant put his ticket into the box at the election " ; but what he really said was that "if the ballot were carried there might be some landlords who would not be satisfied," Sec. The words as quoted by Mr. Cobden were in Han- sard, but Lord Derby now says that the Mirror of Parliatnent gives the other and the authentic version. Mr. Cobden heartily signified his ac- ceptance of the correction, and withdrew the strictures he made on the words attributed to Lord Derby—in order to transfer them to those ima- ginary landlords whom Lord Derby had in his mind's eye when he made the speech in 1836.

The other subjects were the issuing of a new writ for Harwich, after some debate ; the passage through Committee of the Corrupt Practices at Election bill; the second reading of the Repayment of Advances Bill; and the introduction of the Government Militia Bill.

In introducing his Militia Bill, Mr. Weirou3 surprised the House by announcing, that he would move in Committee the insertion of a clause providing that any person who served two years should be entitled to be registered and to vote for the county in which he resides.

The CILANCELLOR of the EXCHEQUER answered Mr. Balmer, that all the recommendations of the Committee on Salaries have now been carried out including particularly that referring to the salary of the Chief Secretary for Ireland.

The Cneneexi,on of the Exesteeirma announced that a new florin will be issued in about two months.

• Mr. Milner Gibson has placed on the paper of the HOIthe of Commons the following notice of amendment to the motion for the second reading of the Militia Bill-

" That this House is of opinion that it is not expedient to proceed with - the Militia Bill in the present Parliament."