Well, in 1857 there came the mutiny. What did our rulers do then? Sir
Charles Wood, in 1538, had made a speech five hours long, most of it in
praise of the government of the East India Company. In 1858--at the
opening of the session in 1858, I think--the Government brought in a
Bill to abolish that Company, and to establish a new form of government
for India. That was exactly what we asked them to do in 1853; but, as in
everything else, nothing is done until there comes an overwhelming
calamity, when the most obtuse and perverse is driven from his position.
In 1858 that Bill passed, under the auspices of Lord Stanley. It was not
a Bill such as I think Lord Stanley approved when he was not a Minister;
it was not a Bill such as I believe he would have brought in if he had
been permitted by the House and the Cabinet to have brought in a better
Bill. It abolished the East India Company, established a new Council,
and left things to a great extent much in the same state as they were.
During the discussion of that Bill, I made a speech on Indian affairs,
which I believe goes to the root of the matter. I protested then as now
against the notion of governing one hundred and fifty millions of
people--twenty different nations, with twenty different languages--from
a little coterie of rulers in the city of Calcutta.