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The 1909 Hansard Trawl - featuring further Jam, torture, sectarian strife and the unfitness of Londoners

India was flavour of the day in the proceedings, and our old friend the allegedly light fingered Jam makes a reappearance:

Mr. SUMMERBELL (for Mr. O'Grady) asked the Under-Secretary for India whether the notice of the Government of India has been drawn, by Petition or otherwise, to the fact that a Hindoo merchant in Bombay, named Mr. Premchand Kesavji, who is a native of Jamnagar, has been sentenced to a term of ten years' hard labour and confiscation of property, by His Highness the Jam, on certain criminal charges without any regular trial by the judicial courts of the State; and whether any information as to the nature of the charges, the mode of trial, and the punishment inflicted is in the possession of the Government; and, if not, would he obtain, as soon as possible, the particulars of this act of the Jam?

The MASTER of ELIBANK The Secretary of State has no information relating to this case. It is the established policy of the Government of India not to interfere in the internal affairs of a Native State, except in the case of gross mal-administration. In the absence, therefore, of any authentic statement of the whole facts, the Secretary of State is not prepared to move in the matter.

Further investigations following Monday's post make me think that the Jam of Nawanagar is better known to history as Ranjitsinghi, 'widely regarded as one of the greatest batsmen of all time'.

Not counting cats in Zanzibar, but noting unhappy Indians in Zanzibar:

Sir H. COTTON asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he is aware that a mass meeting of Indians was held last Sunday in Zanzibar to demonstrate their dissatisfaction with recent legislation limiting their liberties and injuriously affecting their commercial interests; and whether he will inquire into the matter with a view of remedying the grievances of the Indian population in Zanzibar?

Dr. RUTHERFORD also asked whether attention has been called to the fact that a mass meeting of Indians was held on the 12th instant at Zanzibar to protest against certain laws passed since 1908, limiting their liberty and injuriously affecting their commercial interests; and what steps the Secretary of State is taking to protect the rights of His Majesty's Indian subjects in Zanzibar?

The SECRETARY of STATE for FOREIGN AFFAIRS (Sir E. Grey) I will reply to this question and to that of the hon. Member for Brentford together. I have received a telegram from the chairman of the meeting, stating that a memorial has been addressed to me. Until that memorial reaches me I shall not be in a position to consider the matter, as I am unaware of the nature of the grievances alleged; but I shall, of course, give it due consideration when the facts are before me.

Let us hope the SoSfFA righted the wrongs.

Some heavyweight dodging of the question:

Dr. RUTHERFORD Is it not the fact that the judges of the High Court in all parts of India have found and complained of torture?

Mr. SPEAKER That does not arise out of this question.

Mr. MACKARNESS Is it the practice of the Government of India, when grave reflections have been cast upon the conduct of policemen by the High Court of Justice, to retain those policemen in their service, and does the Secretary of State approve of that practice?

The MASTER of ELIBANK That does not arise out of this question of the hon. Member. I have stated that the Governor of India and the Secretary of State were awaiting a final report on this case. Until that final report is received, it is not possible for me to answer the hon. Member's question fully. If the hon. Member will put down his question at a later date, when we have received the information, I will endeavour to reply to it.

Mr. MACKARNESS With great respect, this is the third time to my knowledge in this House—

Mr. SPEAKER The hon. Gentleman is not entitled to make a statement of that kind—especially a controversial one.

Mr. MACKARNESS  May I ask—

Mr. SPEAKER  Will the hon. Member put it down?


And closer to home, Hibernia:

Mr. THOMAS F. SMYTH asked the Chief Secretary if he is aware that John James MacNeill, of Drumcannon, Carrigallen, county Leitrim, who was formerly a member of the London Police Force, and is, since his retirement a few years ago, in receipt of a pension, going about the district giving offence to his Roman Catholic neighbours and making use of uncalled-for remarks with a view to raising sectarian strife and embitter feelings between people who have always lived on friendly terms with each other...and whether, as MacNeill has been fined several times at Carrigallen Petty Sessions for drunkenness, and that, when he would be drunk, he has to get police protection on account of his offensive remarks about Catholics and calling himself an Orangeman, steps will be taken to prevent MacNeill from acting in such a manner in the future?

A strange, and rather odious way to pass one's retirement, frankly.

Mr. SMYTH Will steps be taken in the future to prevent this man from repeating such conduct as is going on at present?

Mr. CHERRY If he violates the law in any way and the offence is brought to the knowledge of the police, I can promise that measures will be taken.

And concluding with what I am crowning the exchange o' the day: 

Mr. ARTHUR LYNCH Is there any means of informing the inhabitants of these localities that Queen Elizabeth is dead and even that King William III. has passed away?

Mr. CHERRY I think they are mostly aware of the two facts.
The ten unfittest towns in the Kingdom, so to speak:

Mr. SUMMERBELL asked the Secretary of State for War if he can state the number 387W of recruits for His Majesty's forces during the past 12 months who presented themselves for enrolment but were rejected as physically unfit to serve, and giving the numbers for each town over 100,000 population?

Mr. HALDANE presented the following tables [...]

London 4719
Glasgow 629
Birmingham 583
Liverpool 555
Belfast 479
Manchester 321

Edinburgh 307
Leicester 245
Sunderland 244

Newcastle 238

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Anonymous Anonymous said... 9:32 am

Surely "Government", not "Governor", of India?  

Blogger Croydonian said... 10:46 am

That's how it appeared in the original, honest.  

Blogger James Higham said... 12:11 pm

Some heavyweight dodging of the question:

Speakers never seem to change their spots.  

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