Development of Self-Government in India, 1858-1914

Cross, Cecil Merne Putnam

     The conviction that the political development of India was to be one of the most important problems before the world in the next twenty years, was the primary motive in undertaking the investigation of the development of self-government in India during the years from the mutiny to the outbreak of the world-war. The study proceeds in a chronological fashion beginning with a description of the establishment of British rule in India with the East India Company; the problems encountered by the English in their attempt to Anglicize India; liberal and conservative policies towards India, their execution, and degree of success; the forces enabling England to maintain her supremacy; and the attitude of the natives towards England. It then considers the transfer of the government of India to the Crown and The Indian Councils Act of 1861. A chapter is devoted to the study of municipalities between 1858 and 1868 and the various acts guiding their development: the Bengal Village Police Act of 1856, the Bengal Municipalities Act of 1864, the Madras Municipal Act of 1865, the Lucknow Municipal Act of 1864, the Punjab Act of 1867, the Northwestern Provinces Act of 1868, the Bengal Act of 1868, and so on. The next chapter treats the period 1868-82 in a similar way, with a focus on the major laws passed during this period under Lord Mayo and Lord Northbrook: the Madras Act of 1871, the Bengal Municipal Act of 1873, the Punjab Municipal Act of 1873, the Northwestern Provinces and Oudh Act of 1873, the Central Provinces Municipal Act of 1873, the Bombay Municipalities Act of 1873, the Burma Municipalities Acts of 1861 and 1874, and the Bengal Municipalities Act of 1876. Two chapters describe the reforms of Lord Ripon between 1881 and 1885. The study then describes the origin of the Indian National Congress, features of the Congress movement, the right of the Congress to speak for India, and England's attitude towards the Congress. The next chapter analyzes the Indian Councils Act of 1892, noting that it is of the greatest significance that in the new proposals native demands for the first time seem to have been a perceptible influence, although stopping short of the claim that the reforms of 1892 were brought about by the Congress or the educated classes. A brief digression traces the unique history of the Presidency cities (Calcutta, Madras, Bombay) between 1858 and 1914, before the study takes up the impact of the Russo-Japanese War on India and the Morley-Minto Reforms. The final chapter surveys the period 1909-14, summarizes the development of self-government in India, and assesses the possibilities for the future.