, in rising to move—Than an humble Address he presented to Her Majesty for copies or extracts of any correspondence that has passed since 1881 between the Government of India and the Secretary of State for India in Council as to 'constitutional robustness' in the ease of candidates selected for the Covenanted Civil Service of India,said, that these appointments were, as their Lordships knew, thrown open to public competition, and young men with intellectual and scholarlike qualities came forward as candidates. The examinations were of a very searching character, and brought out in a very marked manner the intellectual and scholarlike qualities of the candidates. In addition to the first examination, candidates were also subjected to a medical examination, and, having passed that, spent some time at the Universities of Oxford, Cambridge, London, or Dublin, receiving during that time an allowance of £150 per annum from the India Office. At the end of that period they were again subjected to a medical examination, which, he believed, was conducted in a very searching manner by distinguished medical gentlemen. He need not dilate upon the fact that candidates, in addition to being qualified intellectually, should also be fit to do their duty with physical vigour; and after four years' experience on the Civil Service Commission he could say that the examinations were conducted in such a way as to secure, as far as possible, both those objects. But during the Course of the year 1881, the Government of Bombay sent a despatch home, complaining of the character of some of the candidates, not from a moral or intellectual point of view, but saying that their physique was not such as to make them useful public servants. The ages within which candidates were formally admitted were 17 to 21; but they were altered by the noble Marquess opposite (the Marquess of Salisbury), when he was Secretary of State for India, from 17 to 19. Some persons thought that had been an unfortunate restriction. Inquiries had been addressed to the different Governments of India, as to whether the complaints preferred by the Government of Bombay were also entertained by other Governments. He was anxious to find out whether that change of age had 4 been fatal to the physical requirements of the candidates, and in consequence of what had been stated, and because the Civil Service Commission were anxious to show what had been done, he now moved for this Correspondence.
§ LORD STANLEY OF ALDERLEY
, in seconding the Motion, asked whether the Government would produce the medical certificates down to the present date, for according to some professional authorities the Civil Service Commissioners were the cause of more overpressure than the elementary schools? He agreed entirely with what the noble Lord who had just sat down had said against the reduction of the maximum age for competition for Indian candidates to 19. The Indian newspapers were full of complaints against the injustice of this with regard to Natives of India, who were obliged to learn English first, before entering upon the study of other subjects of competition; but this early age was equally bad for English candidates, and prevented their going to the Universities. A few years ago their Lordships had seen a Blue Book on the competitive examination system in India. Officials who had entered the service by this means had been invited to give their opinions upon it. Now, the great vice of the Indian Administration was the prolixity of all their writings, and incapacity for conciseness. On this occasion the competition officials looked upon it as a godsend to be called upon to write essays to be printed at the public expense; and all their Reports were of immeasurable length. He thought that his noble Friend the Chief of the Civil Service Commission had rather neglected a duty by not teaching and inculcating greater brevity.
An Address for copies or extracts of any correspondence that has passed since 1881 between the Government of India and the Secretary of State for India in Council as to 'constitutional robustness' in the case of candidates selected for the Covenanted Civil Service of India."—(The Viscount Enfield.)
THE EARL OF KIMBERLEY
, in reply, said, there would be no difficulty in laying the Correspondence and extracts from the Papers for which his noble Friend (Viscount Enfield) had moved; and he would only so far anticipate the publication of them by saying what it might be satisfactory to their Lordships 5 to know, that, although the Government of Bombay made some complaints as to the "constitutional robustness" of the Civil Servants of that Presidency, the Reports from other Presidencies did not confirm those complaints. Reference had been made by his noble Friend to the limits of age made by the noble Marquess opposite (the Marquess of Salisbury); but he (the Earl of Kimberley) might point out that there was no Motion before the House upon which a discussion on that point could be raised, as his noble Friend simply moved for Papers, and he (the Earl of Kimberley) did not think it would be convenient to enter into a general discussion as to the rules laid down. His noble Friend would see, from the Papers asked for, when published, that the different Governments in India who had been consulted reported that up to the present time there had been no diminution in the "constitutional robustness" of the Civil Servants there; but they added, very fairly, that the time since the alteration had been inadequate to judge of results. He quite agreed that Indian Minutes were very voluminous, and it would be a valuable thing if the candidates could be taught to express themselves in a more concise form.
§ THE MARQUESS OF SALISBURY
said, he quite agreed with the noble Earl the Secretary of State for India that the present was not a fitting opportunity for discussing a subject with reference to which separate Notice ought to be given. He hoped that the terms of the Motion might be enlarged, so that they might be taken by the noble Earl opposite as including the case of civil engineers coming from Cooper's Hill College. There could be no doubt the complaint referred to in the Motion was an error that ought to be at once dissipated.
THB EARL OF KIMBERLEY
said, that he did not think there was any Correspondence to produce about the engineers to whom the noble Marquess referred. He would, however, make inquiries.
§ Motion agreed to.