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Minute by the Most Noble the Governor-General,—dated 2nd April 1850. 2nd , April 1850

Minute by the Most Noble the Governor-General,—dated 2nd April 1850. 2nd , April 1850

Secret Papers


March 16, 2023 at 12:34:04 PM

National Archives of India,Delhi


Mohammed Q,Binghalib


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Minute by the Most Noble the Governor-General,—dated 2nd April 1850.
On my arrival at Calcutta I received the despatch of the Hon’ble Court, No. 2 C., dated 16th January 1830, in reply to my letter of 16th February 1849, on the succession to the throne of Delhi. In that letter I had recommended to the Hon'’ble Court that, on the death of the present King, the title of Sovereignty should be withdrawn from the Head of the House of Timour, that the Palace now occupied by the Royal Family within the city of Delhi should pass into the possession of the Hon’ble Company; and that the exemption from judicial process now enjoyed by every member of the family
should be withdrawn, excepting only the Prince and his im-mediate Family. The Hon'ble Court have conveyed to the Governor-General- al in Council full authority to carry those measures into effect.
But I have for some time past been made aware through various channels that the measures I have thus proposed regarding the throne of Delhi have not met with the concur-
rence of authorities in England, whose long experience and knowledge of Indian affairs entitle their opinions to great weight, and that many there regard the tendency of these proposed measures with anxiety, if not with alarm.
I have reconsidered the recommendations which I formerly submitted to the Hon’ble Court and the reasons on which they were founded. With unfeigned deference to the opinions of those to whom I have alluded, I still hold the views I then Expressed.
I still think it would be political and expedient on the death of the present Sovereign to withdraw the Kingly title, which under very different circumstances was continued by us to the Head of the House of Timour.
I still think it of great importance that the Palace at Delhi should be exclusively in the hands of the British Government, and I earnestly desire that that object should be pursued. But, although my conviction on these points contin- ues as strong as before, I do not consider the measures in themselves to be of such immediate urgency as would justify my carrying them into effect contrary to declared opinions of undoubted weight and authority, or in a manner calculated to create uneasiness and doubt.
I propose now to take advantage of the opportunity which was not open to me before consulting with the Council upon this subject.
If after discussing it in Council it should seem advisable to us, under present circumstances, to forego the intention of withdrawing the Kingly title on the death of the present Sovereign, then upon the occurrence of that event, or at an Future succession to the throne of Delhi.
In an earlier period, the Government of India will indicate a success-sor, and will, I presume, name the next brother as the heir by Mahomedan Law, although the King desires the succession to be settled on a younger child.
Every exertion should be made by the Government of India on the death of the present King to persuade or to induce the heir and the family to quit the Palace. If they should consent, the head of the family would reside in the Qutub Palace, and the building in the city would pass into the hands of the Government. If they should refuse, they will continue to reside in the City Palace as heretofore.
On these two points, notwithstanding the expressed sanc-tion of the Court, I am prepared to defer to the authoritative opinions of others, for I regard these as measures of expediency and not questions of principle. But the measure for abolishing hereafter the exemption from all law and restraint which is now enjoyed by the whole body of the Sullateen within the Palace is, in my judgment, a question of principle. Therein I cannot, consistently with a sense of my own duty, depart from the course 1 have formerly Suggested. The Court's despatch of January 16th, 1S50, is permissive and not peremptory, and I therefore should feel justified in acting upon the view's I have expressed in this minute if no further directions shall be received from the Hon'ble Court of Directors.                                                                           DALHOUSIE.
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