SIR HERBERT ROBERTS, BART., M. P.
The news of the death of Mr. Gokhale had for some time a sense of the approaching end, came to me as a painful shock. Ever since I began to take an interest I Indian affairs in Parliament – now more than twenty years ago – I had looked upon Mr. Gokhale as the representative of what was best and noblest in the life and thought of Indian, as a sure guide upon Indian matters, and as a most sincere and loyal friend. He was destined to take a leading part in developments throughout a memorable and critical period in the history of the Indian people, and as I look back over the years during which Mr. Gokhale consecrated his life to India one or two outstanding facts dominate the situation.
First, Mr. Gokhale was a man of rare intellectual gifts. His work as a member of the Viceroy’s Council disclosed a mind able not only to unravel intricate financial problems, but also to grasp the larger aspects of general policy. Again his knowledge of the conditions and needs of India, of her real life and spirit, was probably unique. Add to this the influence of a personality of exceptional charm, absolute simplicity and self-surrender, combined with qualities of undaunted courage and determinations at any cost to act in accordance with the principles which dominated his whole career.
Mr. Gokhale was recognised leader of educated India, in the great effort, along constitutional lines, to secure for India a further measure of self-government, and to him, first and foremost, I think is due the manifest progress in this direction of the last ten years. He won the confidence and respect of succeeding Viceroys in India and of secretaries of State at home, and I venture to affirm that few more remarkable instances can be found of the power of one striking personality upon the development of an Imperial issue of first magnitude than that of the great man whose loss we sorrowfully mourn to-day. Assuredly, though dead he will yet speak in the coming new and better day of India.