And first I would ask, — Now that you have got your degrees, what do you propose to do? Some of you will go into the service of Government. The service of Government is a very creditable calling, and we to whom the administration is at present confided have given practical proofs of our desire to see the number of graduates in the service of Government considerably increased.
Still, Government employment can only absorb a very limited number of you. Few things are more disastrous for a country, and few more flagitious in a Government, than to create places wholesale, to meet the wishes of aspirants to an income.
But some of you will say 'some places already existing but virtually closed to natives, will be opened to them.' Undoubtedly they will. The policy as to that was laid down by your, and my, masters long ago. We hear much childish chatter in favour of going faster, and not less unwise, though happily, fewer, utterances in favour of going more slowy in that direction, but all such have not the slightest effect upon the progress of events. The thoughtful opinions of thoughtful men who have studied the subject, and whose characters guarantee their good faith, are and always will be treated very differently—as you may have gathered from the Viceroy's speech at the Pier— the other day.
The main object of the Indian, as of every other civilized Government, must be to get for the country which it governs the best possible administration at the cheapest rate. To that object all minor considerations, such as questions of race or colour, must be subordinated.
But the problem in this country is an infinitely difficult one, and we have got a very little way towards solving it when we have merely made general allegations to the effect that native labour is cheaper than European, or that many more natives are fitted to take some considerable part in the Government than was the case thirty years ago, nor do we get a bit further by declaiming about the excellent work which the old Haileybury Civil Service, and the new Competitive Civil Service have done for this country. We must have many more good natives in office, and we must have a far higher average of statesmanlike acquirement than we have ever yet had in the Covenanted Civil Service, though we may very possibly a good deal diminish its numbers. But if you want