John Morley.

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78 ^

167 ^


Indian Budget Speech for 1906 ...

Indian Budget Speech for 1907 ...

Speech AT Arbroath

The Partition of Bengal

Indian Excise Administration . . .

British Indians in the Transvaal

The Need FOR Reform ...

The Condition of India ...

Speech at the Civil Service Dinner

The Reform Proposals ...

Second Reading of Indian Councils Bill

The Creation of Provincial Exrcuhvk Councils 223

Closing Speech on the Second Reading

of the Indian Councils Bill ... ... 228 ^^

Third Reading OF the Indian Councils Bill ... 240
The Hindu-Mahomedan Problem ... ... 250 v/"

The Indian Civil Service Probationers ... ... 269 ^^


A. Despatch on the Reform Proposals i

B. The Forward Policy ... ... ... i

Back TO Lord Lawrence ... ... ... vi

The War bh:yond the Indian Frontier ... ... x

The Stupendous Fabric of Government in India, xiv




During the closing years of the late Mr. Glad-
stone's political career Lord Morley was his right hand
man . No one outside Mr. Gladstone's family circle
enjoyed his confidence and shared his counsel in
equal measure with Lord Morley. In his Life of
Gladstone, Lord Morley alludes to this with becoming
modesty. He says : — '' One poor biographical item
perhaps the toleran>t reader will not grudge me leave
to copy from Mr. Gladstone's diary : — 'October 6,

1892. Saw J. Morley and made him envoy to .

He is on the whole about the best stay I have.'

Earlier still, in the seventies of the last century, in an
entry in his diary about a visit he paid to Charles
i-^arwin in company with Huxley, Playfair, Sir John
Lubbock and John Morley, of whom John Morley
alone was then a stranger to him, Mr. Gladstone
recorded that 'he fjund a notable party, and made
interesting conversation and that he could not help
liking one of the company, then a stranger to him.'
Lord Morley thus impressed Mr. Gladstone on the
very first occasion of their meeting and made his
way straight to that friendship and comradeship


wliicli was perpetuated for all time in his Life of
Gladstone. Between the two, however, a wide gulf
was fixed, of which Lord Morley himself does not
omit to make mention in his Life. In the opinion of
the late Lord Acton, many were the points of anta-
gonism between Mr. Gladstone and Lord Morley^
In one of his letters to Mary Gladstone, that eminent
historical scholar wrote as follows : — "He (then John
Movley) is a sceptic ; his studies are all French, eigh-
teenth century ; in Political Economy he is a bald
Cobdenite, and will do scant justice to the political
a&pects of the French Treaty. He has the obstinacy
of a very honest mind." Obstinacy is, perhaps, not
the word to use in this connection. Lord Morley has
been a man of strong convictions for which he has
eeldom failed to do battle. On the eve of one of his
election struggles, though he knew that: his success
depended upon his making a notable concession to
the demands of the miners, whose vote would turn
the scale, with unflinchmg courage and determined
front he declared that while pol tical contests would
vary with the shifting sands of time, principles were
eternal and that he would stand by his principles.

Amidst the dust and heat and excitement of party
polemics, with an eye to the main chance, the busy


politician is apt to lose sight of his principles, of even
the difference between right and wrong and belie
his past as a thinker and observer. He has to trim
his sails to every passing wind of political expedi-
ency ; he has to act in concert with his colleagues
possibly of a different mould ; and not infrequently
he has to defend views, which he does not share,
with all the simulated fervour of conviction. Id the
opinion not only of the most competent judaes, but of
the British public in general, like Cobden and Bright
before him who knew no compromise with the root
principles of justice and righteousness, Lord Morley
has stood firmly up for his convictions ; and they
have conferred on him the title of 'Honest John*.

It would be easy to enumerate the instances of what
Lord Acton calls Lord Morley's obstinacy. The latest
and by far the most shining example has been Lord
Morley's attifnde in regard to the war in South
Africa. We prefer to recall this one case chiefly
because there are among us politicians who, in their
apparent guilelessness, want to sacrifice everything
one ought to hold dear and sacred at the altar of what
they call union without any identity of aims or
similarity of methods. On the eve and after the
outbreak of the Boer War, Lord Morley found him-


8elf in direct opposition not only to the sentiments and
feelings of the British democracy, the same democracy
in defence of which he had to cross swords among
others with so well-equipped an antagonist as Sir
Henry Maine, but to the bulk of the most influential
aection of his own party. It is a singular and yet signifi-
cant fact that with the exception of two orthree of hia
colleagues in the present Cabinet, every member of
Mr. Asquith's Government, including Mr. Asquith,
yigorously assailed the position taken up by Lord
MorLy ; and at one time the quarrel threatened per-
manently to break up the Liberal party. And yet
Lord Morley, deeply absorbed as he then was in his
Life of Gladstone^ came out into the open and boldly
grappled with his foes. He sternly rebuked his
countrymen for their 'heady, violent and heedless
temper' and expressed his abhorrence of the war which
he described as a 'moral conflagration/ To his poli-
tical friends and opponents alike he pointed out that
they stood in need of clear views, distinct opinions,
fidelity to principles, broad, sound and established.
Though he aSected not to discard party catchwords
and party impulses, he laughed to scorn the unrea-
soning plea of Liberal unity. Cross-currents in the
turgid stream of opinion he was not afaid of. He want-


ed to purify the atmosphere of noxious exhalations^
He strove hard, with steadfast aim and wise counsel,
to evolve out of the political tumult of the day
clearer and saner ideas of England's duty and Eng-
land's mission. The stand he then made reminds one
of the courage with which C>»bden and Bright faced
the unpopularity of opposing the Crimean War. The
work of those two great men had been to propel the
tide of pubh'c sentiment, and, in a sense, they lived
upon the confidence, the approval and the applause
of the people. Suddenly, as Mr. Gladstone said, there
came a great occasion on which they differed from
the vast majority of their countrymen. Friends and
foes alike discovered whab Mr- Gladstone called
the moral elevation of Cobden and Bright. It was
then known how high the moral tone of those two
popular leaders had been pitched, what bright exam-
ples they set to the whole of their contemporaries and
to coming generations, and with what readiness they
could part with popular sympathy and support for
the sake of the right and of their convictions. Lord
Morley's position during the South African War was
somewhat similar.

Though in conjunction with Mr. Joseph Chamber-
lain in that statesman's Radical days. Lord Morley


did much to educate the British public on Radical
principles and doctrines, he was never a popular
leader in the sense in which Cobden and Bright;
were. He combines in himself the philosophical
calmness and detachment of his master John Stuart
Mill with many of the great qualities of the prac-
tical politician. Long before and during the South
African War, he was known and recognised as
a responsible leader of the Liberal party in closs
alliance with such recognised interpreters of Libe-
ralism as Sir William Harcourt and Sir Henry
Campbell-Baniierman. It must have cost him not
a little to cut himself adrift from the main stream
of Liberalism and seek his own course, though indeed
in company with his two friends. But neither Sir
William Harcourt nor Sir Henry Campbell-Banner-
man did so much to lift up the thoughts and minds of
his erring countrymen to so lofty a level of justice,
truth, righteousness and humanity. Lord Morley
asked them, in the plainest language, to leave the idols
of the market-} lace, the foium and the theatre and
to fix their eyes on those high ideals and great princi-
ples which have guided mankind towards the light.
In his election address, in letters, and in a number of
speeches, he sought to inculcate lessons of political


wisdom aud to teacli the true mission o£ England as
a world-power. On the return of the Prince and
Princess of Wales after their tour through the British
self-governing Colonies, Lord Morley described, in
'the course of a speech at Forfar, the gorgeous spec-
tacle of their home-coming and quoted the sublime
lines of Milton depicting the pageantry of the streets
and ways of ancient Rome. But, continued he, the
sway of Great Britain was greater and more glorious
than that of ancient Rome. In a few vivid sentences
lie gave his hearers what the sway of England was: —

*' Our sway rests nofc on the pride of the sword — though the
-Bword cannot be laid aside ; it rests upon industry and the arts of
peace. It springs not from the pride of a dominating race — though
race counts. That sway is rather the protection of national claims
and national tradition, recogniging the great truth that the senti-
ment of nationality is one of the most h(>nourable and noble parts of
human nature. And finally, our rule of the realm to which we
^belong claims to rest on strict rales and principles of justice,
■equity, good faith, honour, and the principles of which, I think^
Mr. Gladstone said that self-government is the great aim of national
politics. Now think what a burden of high responsibility citizen-
ship in such a Commonwealth as I have described to you imposes
upon me and all who possess the citizenship in such a Common-
wealth as that. It is the very magnitude, gentlemen, of the
heritage, it is the beneficence of this inheritance of ours that ought
to move and nei ve us to resist the mad outcries of the hour, and to
return to those maxims of sanity and of caution which have built
TUp this mighty fabric.


They tell me that those who hold the opinions upon contempo-
rary events which I hold, are blind to the changed circumstances iu
which the Empire finds itself placed. They say to me, " Do you
not see the armaments of foreign Powers, how huge they are, how
threatening they are F The Colonies, which not so long ago no for-
eign Power grudged to us, and on which we ourselves did not set so
high a value as we do, and rightly do, to-day, these are now the
objects of the covetousness of the world." I am asked if I do
not see that our legitimate and indispensable power at sea now
finds new competitors and rivals. Well, that is perfectly true. I for
one am not blind to all these changes in the circumstances of the
world, all these changes in the position of this country in relation
to the Powers of the world j but I beg you to mark this. It is
exactly these changes in eur circumstances, the growth of Powers
outside, new aims in foreign Powers — it is exactly these changes
that constitute the perils of the policy of expansion and militarism
and it is because of these changeS that I preach, as more needed
than ever, the gospel of sanity and caution .

It is exactly these chjinges, bringing us as it does into a thou-
sand points of contact withcomplex interests and complex possibili-
ties all over the world, that demand moi-e loudly and more imper*
atively than ever before that kind of statesmanship wxiich is always
surveying the situation as a Avhole, which does not, in trying to pufc
one set of difficulties right, manage to put a great many other more
serious things wrong, wFiich regards the proportion of your ends,
which does not deal with the present alone, but which cultivates
and practises that kind of prudence which looks into fche future. -

Now, when those who taunt us — those who think as I do, and I
hope as you think— when they taunt as with belittling our country^


it is not so, and for that uiat'ter they know it is not so. They know
thatj we exnlt as they do in the strength and resources of our
country. But mark this, the mailed right arm will avail little if it
is not guided by on understanding mind".

In these pregnant words Lord Morley has condensed
his active political creed. In deed as in thought he has
striven to follow his ideal and has seldom failed to
criticise the men and measures of his time from his own
view-point. Truth and justice have been his goal.
Pride of race does not count with him. He has been
one of the most strenuous and consistent o£ the critics
of what is called Imperialism. He has long per-
ceived '^ that the new cant about efficiency is little
better than the old cant of the good despot without
the good despot's grasp and energy.'' He has not
minced words in showing up the shallowness of the
theory of the man on the spot and the expert. In his
essay on Democracy and Eeactio7i, he speaks with
refined sarcasm of the policy which lays down that
'^ everything is to fall into the hands of an expert,
who will sit in an office and direct the course of the
world." He is the high priest of liberty. He has been
no doubt a guardian of the victories of the past.
But he has been making use, within certain limita-
tions of course, of the lessons and resources of the^


past to solve the problems and settle the isrin
the present.

Lord Morley's name is intimately connected with
Irish Home Rule. For generations past powerful
Irish leaders were at work to effect a repeal of the
Act of Union. But neither of the two great Eng-
lish parties espoused their cause, and though
Mr. Gladstone had done a great deal to pacify
Ireland by his Disestablishment of the Irish Church
and bylhis Land Acts, he turned his thought and
his eloquence to the question of the* Union only
in 188b ; and it is still said that Lord Morley was
mainly responsible for the conversion of Mr.
Gladstone to Home Rule. At any rate Lord Morley's
■appointment as Irish Chief Secretary was the first
clear indication of that most momentous departure
in Liberal policy of modern times. When the issue
seemed uncertain, when friends faltered and some of
the most capable and faithful of his colleagues left
Mr. Gladstone, Lord Morley stood by him with stead-
fast courage and unflinching resolution. The cause
was certainly unpopular; and all the eloquence and
the vast authority of Mr. Gladstone could not mako
it popular. But during the dark hour of defeat and
in the cold shades of Opposition, Lord Morley was as


firm in his resolve and as persevering in purpose
as liis dauntless chief. Previous to the Home
Rule schism it used to be said that the future of
British politics was bound up with three friends,
Mp. Chamberlain provided the driving power and
the popular appeal, Sir Charles Dilke an encyclopas-
dic knowledge of detail and affairs, and Mr. John
Morley the moral motive and the intellectual foun-
dations. Together, we were told, they could have
moved mountains. But the combination fell to
pieces ; and though the friendship between Lord
Morley and Mr. Chamberlain has survived the con-
vulsions of party politics, there never have been two
political opponents whose differences have been so
marked. Like Mr. Gladstone all through the struggle
Lord Morley kept his temper steady and his princi-
ples undimmed. He faced unpopularity with un-
affected cheerfulness and calmness and preached his
Home Rule doctrines with unwearied persistence. In
a simple yet noble peroration to a speech he deli-
vered in Lancashire he put the Irish case thus : —
^'Gentlemen, do to L'eland as you would be done
by. If she is poor, remember it is you who have
denied to her the fruits of her labour ; if she
is ignorant, remember it is your laws that have


closed to her tlie book of knowledge ; if she is-
excessive; as some of you may think, in her
devotion to a Church which is not the Church of most
of you, remember that Church was her only friend
and comforter in the dark hour. Gentlemen, the
dark hour is past. She has found other friends,,
other comforters. We will never desert her."

So long as Mr. Gladstone lived the Liberal party
did not desert Ireland. But with the death of that
illustrious statesman has disapp3ared the driving
power of the party ; and though Loi'd Morley con-
tinues to be a Home Euler, since the assumption of
his present office he has not said a word on the sub-
ject. His long career as a practical politician may
have discovered to him the necessity of silence under
unfavourable conditions. Edmund Burke was not
included in any Cabinet though he directed or
influenced its policy from outside, because of his
impulsive nature and the lack of the spirit of com-
promise. Since he entered the arena of practical
politics Lord Morley ha^, perhaps, found out that with
a view to concerted action, it is necessary to be silent
on questions which lie beyond the pale of present en«
deavour. If, however, he is compelled to speak and acfc


tliere can be no doubt that lie will stand by his
principles. His attitude in regard to the Boer War and
what he said about Lord Kitchener's Egyptian
campaign and about the morality of saddling India
with a portion of the cost of that campaign, which, if
we remember correct, he described as a masterpiece
of melancholy meanness, assure us that he will be
what he was if he is called upon to pronounce his
judgment upon any question about which he has
cherished deep-s3ated convictions based on his study
of the past and of the history of large masses of

Lord Morley has been often described as a
philosophical Kadical. He is surely the direct poli-
tical descendant of John Stuart Mill — who was his
benignant lamp of wisdom. But Lord Morley likes to
call himself a Liberal. What is Liberalism.? In his
paper on Democracy and Reaction^ Lord Morley says
that Liberalism is a name with many shades of
meaning, a volume of many chapters. He himself
does not define the term. To hurry to define, says
he, is rash. If we want a platitude, there is nothing
like a definition. Most definitions hang between^
platitude and paradox. Mr. Gladstone has defined


Liberalism as faith in the people qualified by pru-
dence. But this definition was given in the midsfe
of a party contest and may be set down to party
prejudice since Mr. Gladstone's definition of Toryism,
in the same speech, was mistrust of the people quali-
fied by fear, which, at any rate, is not synonymous
with Disraeli's or Lord Randolph Churchill's Tory
democracy. Define Liberalism as we may, faith in
progress has been, we are told, the mainspring of Lib-
eralism in all its schools and branches- To think of
Progress as a certainty of social destiny, as the benig-
nant outcome of some eternal cosmic law, has been a
leading Liberal superstition, and it has been held
that progress lies in the constant increase in the
number of things wanted. In a number of places and
on a number of occasions Lord Morle}^ has dealt with
the historic, social; political and moral aspects o£

In his essay on Comioromise:, he calls atten*
tion to tlie political spirit in England. '^ The poli-
tical spirit," says he, " has grown to be the strong-
est element in our national life ; the dominant
force, extending its influence over all our ways of
thinking in matters that have least to do with poli»


tics, or even nothing at all to do with them. There
has thus been engendered among us the real sense of
political responsibility. In a corresponding degree has
been discouraged ^ ^ ^ the sense of intellectual
responsibility * * * ^ * * It is at least well,
and more than that, it is an indispensable condition
of social well-being, that the divorce between politi-
cal responsibility and intellectual responsibility,
between respect for what is instantly practicable
and search after what is only important in thought,
should not be too complete and universaF'. Here
we hear the voice of the philosophical Eadical laying
down the law from his lofty height. In a later
work: of his. Lord Morley goes somewhat into
detail as to what constitutes Liberalism. In doing
so, he goes to the root causes of political discon-
tents. '* When the French set Europe in a blaze
by their Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity," says he,
'* they were nearly all of them thinking of equality
in political power. That was to bring the new
heaven and the new earth. It was pointed out at an
early stage of this vast change in the modern world,
that not only equality of right but equality of fact is
the real goal oE the social art. Few of the great
political insurgencies of history have been unaccom*


paiiied by racing economic currents. This is not to
say, as Proudhom said, that all revolutions are
economic revolutions. For the mightiest changes
have come from religious and moral changes in
men's hearts. Still, historians have been too prone
to under-estimate the element oi truth in the
dictum, '^ there is no change in social order without
a change in properby". Liberalism, i£ we mistake
not, takes account of these changes in a sympathe-
tic spirit with an eye to justice, truth and liberty,
the term itself, let it be remembered, having
been adopted into the political speech of England
from France.

Id seems to the writer that Lord Morley's

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Online LibraryJohn MorleySpeeches on Indian affairs → online text (page 1 of 23)