Northern Ireland

Balfour’s Horror at Idea of India Self-Government – On This Day in 1924

The outbreak has happened in India's Andhra Pradesh state. Picture by Google Maps 
February 28 1924

The Earl of Balfour said we could not import a new constitution into an old civilisation as we would import a locomotive. Everything that was now going on in India increased his sense of depression with regard to the political elements in that country, where they did not seem to have grasped the beginnings of wisdom in the matter of constitutional government.

No doubt the people there showed infinite ingenuity in their parliamentary manoeuvres and displayed great eloquence; but that was not the main thing required. The agitators in India were committing a great crime against their own country and against civilisation if they set to work merely to shatter what they had, without giving the least suggestion of what it was they wanted to put in its place.

If we left India to herself it was absolutely certain she would relapse into what was the natural organisation of society in that part of the world, namely absolute government. The destruction of British rule meant the growth of all that was least good in Indian society. Were we going to show ourselves incapable of carrying the burden that had been cast upon us and to leave 300 million people to that most certain fate? He could not believe it. There was no alternative but that of the 1919 [Government of India] Act. The task before this Government was one of extreme difficulty. The burden was there and must be borne. We must show the utmost resolution, courage, patriotism, and a perfect contempt for catchwords, if we were to carry out the task with ultimate success.

Former British prime minister Arthur Balfour states his belief that Indians were incapable of governing themselves and Britain needed to continue with the “burden” of governing on their behalf.
Irish Loyalists’ Compensation

In view of the House of Lords debate on the position of the southern Irish loyalists, which has been postponed to March 6, a statement has been prepared by the Irish Claims Compensation Association.

In view of the facts, fully set forth, it is strongly pressed that a judicial commission similar to the Deportee Commission now sitting should be set up to fix compensation for personal injuries to property from July to December 1922, on the basis of the pre-Truce legislation, with a view to compensating persons whose property had been looted and themselves driven out; in cases where the Criminal Injuries Act provided no remedy, and to loyalists injured since December 1922, where the Irish Government has not provided the projection which it undertook by its agreement of January 1922 to afford.

While the Irish Free State government did not provide further compensation to southern loyalists, the British government subsequently established a Second Irish Grants Committee in 1926 to close out the compensation it felt it owed for acts of violence and intimidation committed against them from the Truce period to the end of the Irish Civil War.