1916-1925 · v.p.
Sydenham (1848-1933) was a British army officer and colonial administrator who governed Bombay (1907-13) and Victoria (Australia) (1901-03), and served as Secretary of the Committee of Imperial Defence 1904-07. Most of the material here concerns issues (including the rise of Gandhi and his party) in India during the last decades of the British Raj and Lord Sydenham draws on his experience there to influence the House of Lords in an anti-Gandhi direction. He also tries to push them to suppress the rising Zionist cause in Palestine in the 1920s. The archive also provides an interesting look at the British response to the German submarine menace, including the sinking of passenger and other vessels, in 1916, prior to the U.S. entry into WWI. Lord Ss slow personal change from liberal views to the support of fascism is an interesting sidelight here, as well as the members of the House of Lords reactions to his vocal contributions in Parliament. ~~ Following are the contents of this archive. (1) . Indo-British Association, Ltd. The Interests of India: Minutes of Third Annual Meeting 25th June, 1920 .Ca. 9 ½ x 6. 10 pages + 2 blanks. Handwritten note on cover signed S. (for Sydenham). Most of the Minutes are dedicated to the text of a speech by the Associations President, Lord Sydenham of Combe. In 1919, the Government of India Act created a diarchy, or dual government, for the provinces of India consisting of a governor and executive council appointed by the Secretary of State. This seemed to bring representative government to India, but the Governor General could override any of the laws passed by the provincial councils. 1920 was the date of the first of these legislative council elections, but the Indian National Council, the voice of the non-cooperation non-violent movement spearheaded by Gandhi, called for an election boycott. In the speech recorded here, delivered just before the provincial elections, Association President Lord Sydenham of Combe, himself a former Governor of Bombay (1907-1913), says that the Associations work now should be spreading the truth about Indian conditions and upholding the rights of the helpless masses of the workers in India against the boycott, which was merely a concession to a very small minority using violent agitation and propaganda to try to rebel against British rule. He also criticizes the Hunter Committee Report on the Jalianwalbagh Amritsar violence in 1919, an investigation which concluded that the rebellion was not a pre-arranged conspiracy but rather rioting that turned into rebellion, and that it justified use of martial law. The report also reprimanded Brigadier General Reginald Dyer, and Sydenham here roundly supports Dyers actions in quelling the revolt. ~~ (2) 10 issues of the House of Lords Parliamentary Debates (Unrevised). Those labeled below as A and B concern WWI issues: the sinking of the British passenger ship Stephano by German submarine U-53, as well as a discussion on the exchange of civilian prisoners. Issues c, f, g i and j are concerned with issues and uprisings in colonial India; issues d and e focus on issues in Palestine; and h examines the possible threat of Soviet Missions (i.e. embassies, etc.) in Britain. ~ More details: (A) Vol. 23, #76, Oct. 26, 1916. 3 ½ of the 5 pages in this issue discuss the sinking of the Stephano near Lightship Nantucket in the U.S. Lord S. calls for further details to be released and, after noting Pres. Wilsons condemnation of Germany for the sinking of 7 ships since April, calls for a joint statement of condemnation by all the Allies. ~ (B) Vol. 23, #82, Nov. 15, 1916. 21 pages. In addition to a long discussion abut the exchange of civilian prisoners between the British and German Empires, in this issue, Lord S. reiterates his call for the Allies to issue a declaration re Germanys violation of international law in the form of the submarine menace and a 5-page discussion ensues. ~ (C) Vol. 45, #45, May 1921. 12 ½ pages re the defense of the North-West frontier of India— the only military frontier in the whole of the Empire--, and the danger now posed by local tribesmen, Afghanistan and a new kid of [post-Revolution] Russia. Lord S. emphasizes the need for better communication on the frontiers, including improved railways and roads, and notes the dangers posed by Afghanistan and the Jewish Government of Moscow. ~ (D) Vol. 45,, #49, June 8, 1921. Lord S. has questions re the situation in Palestine as exemplified by the recent riots in Jaffa, since there have been conflicting reports. He notes the rise in power of Zionist elements, including the expansion of the use of the Hebrew language, and mentions the dangers to British rule. Laid in is an unrelated news clip by Lord S. as a Letter to the Editor re failure of the strike and the dangers such threats pose to British industry. ~ (E) Vol. 45, #56, June 23, 1921. 29 pages, including a discussion re Englands responsibilities connected with territories administered by Great Britain under the Mandate of the League of Nations. Lord S. speaks at length about the Mesopotamia and Palestine and problems in both places. ~ (F) Vol. 45, #63, July 7, 1021. 19 pages, with Lord Ss questions about India occupying 6 of them. Lord S. asks what is being done to protect the lives and properties of Europeans and loyal Indians in the country districts of India, where anxiety prevails. He accuses Gandhi of fomenting anti-European feelings and notes that in some areas our women dare not go out without escort. He believes that Gandhis plan of making life impossible to Europeans in India is much more dangerous than and rising and hopes threat the British government realizes the growing gravity of the situation, comparing it to the unrest in Ireland, Egypt and in Palestine . Laid in is a reprint from Plain English (June 18, 1921) re the situation in Palestine and Lords Ss speech described above. ~ (G) Vol. 47, # 86, Oct. 25, 1921. 33 pages, all re India, with a handwritten note by Lord S. on the cover: This will give you [Goodrich] a true picture of India today. S. Lord Ss speech to the Lords is about events that have grown steadily more menacing in India, under the present Secretary of State, and he believes there has been a disastrous series of mistakes, illusions, concessions and impossible policies, which he goes on to describe. ~ (H) Vol. 60, #4, December 16, 1924,. 15 pp. 13 of the pages address the question of how many persons with various Soviet Missions have been admitted into this country since the conclusion of the Anglo-Russian Trade Agreement . Lord S. sees Soviet delegations in Britain being in violation of the Treaty through their spread of Bolshevist propaganda. ~ (I) Vol. 60, # 30, April 6, 1925. 12 ½ pp. A discussion re provincial services in India and addresses the issue of British public servants not mentioned in the Lee Commission Report. (This Report focused on the ethnic makeup of Indian public services and in a 1924 proposal, suggested that 40% be British, 40% recruited Indians and 20% Indians promoted from provincial services.) Lord S. speaks of the need for British supervision and guidance in order to avoid a minority group of Indians (i.e. Gandhis party) leading the country toward chaos. ~ (J) Vol. 62, #74, July 29, 1925. 35 pp. 4 pages are occupied by Lord Ss comments on the Indian Medical Services, which, he feels, have introduced Western medical methods and become one of the finest, perhaps the finest, public medical service ever created. Now, he believes, it is crumbling away and the government is sending out medical officers to serve there who dont know the language and culture and who are only assigned there temporarily. He says this is bad for both the European and Indian populations and contradicts the Lee Commission Report by stating that general control of any Civil Medical Service .of medical education and of medical research must be retained in the hands of the Imperial Government. ~~ Also, a 2-page statement by Lord S., 9 ½ x 6 ½ on heavy stock, re Imperial Conferences which began to be held in 1887. Lord S. notes the need for standing machinery working for the development of inter-Imperial trade and describes the need for the development of efficient and cheap methods of communication including shipping, cables, wireless and port facilities. He calls for the creation of a permanent Imperial Council to study communication methods. (Inventory #: 038095)