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court was not to supersede the justices of the choultry, who
were still to hear and decide petty cases. Grant of In the meantime the port and island of Bombay, which Bombay to the
had, in 1661, been ceded to the British Crown as a part of the Company. dower of Catherine of Braganza, were, by a charter of 1669,
granted to the East India Company to be held of the Crown,
as of the Manor of Greenwich in free and common soccage,' for the annual rent of £10.
And by the same charter the Company were authorized to take into their service such of the king's officers and soldiers as should then be on the island, and should be willing to serve them. The officers and men who volunteered their services under this power became the cadets of the Company's 'ist European Regiment, or ‘ Bombay Fusiliers,' afterwards the 103rd Foot.
The Company were authorized, through their court of committees, to make laws, orders, ordinances, and constitutions for the good government and otherwise of the port and island and of the inhabitants thereof and, by their governors and other officers, to exercise judicial authority, and have power and authority of government or command, in the island, and to repel any force which should attempt to inhabit its precincts without licence, or to annoy the inhabitants. Moreover, the principal governor of the island was empowered 'to use and exercise all those powers and authorities, in cases of rebellion, mutiny, or sedition, of refusing to serve in wars, flying to the enemy, forsaking colours or ensigns, or other offences against law, custom, and discipline military, in as large and ample manner, to all intents and purposes whatsoever, as any captain-general of our army by virtue of his office has used and accustomed, and may or might lawfully do.'
The transition of the Company from a trading association to a territorial sovereign invested with powers of civil and military government is very apparent in these provisions.
Further attributes of sovereignty were soon afterwards conferred
By a charter of 1677 the Company were empowered to Charter
of 1677 coin money at Bombay to be called by the name of 'rupees, granting pices, and budjrooks,' or such other names as the Company powers of
coinage. might think fit. These coins were to be current in the East Indies, but not in England. A mint for the coinage of pagodas had been established at Madras some years before.
The commissioners sent from Surat to take possession of AdminisBombay on behalf of the Company made a report in which justice at they requested that a judge-advocate might be appointed,
in seven as the people were accustomed to civil law. Apparently, as teenth
century. a temporary measure, two courts of judicature were formed, the inferior court consisting of a Company's civil officer assisted by two native officers, and having limited jurisdiction, and the supreme court consisting of the deputy governor and council, whose decisions were to be final and without appeal, except in cases of the greatest necessity. By a charter of 1683, the Company were given full power Charter
of 1683 to declare and make
giving nations' being natives of the parts of Asia and America power to
raise mentioned in the charter, and to raise, arm, train, and forces and
exercise muster such military forces as to them shall seem requisite martial and necessary; and to execute and use, within the said law, and
establishplantations, forts, and places, the law called the martial law, ing Court
of Adfor the defence of the said forts, places, and plantations miralty. against any foreign invasion or domestic insurrection or rebellion.' But this power was subject to a proviso reserving to the Crown 'the sovereign right, powers, and dominion over all the forts and places of habitation,' and 'power of making peace and war, when we shall be pleased to interpose our royal authority thereon.'
By the same charter the king established a court of judicature, to be held at such place or places as the Company might direct, and to consist of ‘one person learned in the
Bombay was then subordinate to Surat, where a factory had been established as early as 1612, and where there was a president with a council of eight members.
civil law, and two assistants,' to be appointed by the Company. The court was to have power to hear and determine all cases of forfeiture of ships or goods trading contrary to the charter, and also all mercantile and maritime cases concerning persons coming to or being in the places aforesaid, and all cases of trespasses, injuries, and wrongs done or committed upon the high seas or in any of the regions, territories, countries or places aforesaid, concerning any persons residing, being, or coming within the limits of the Company's charter. These cases were to be adjudged and determined by the court, according to the rules of equity and good conscience, and according to the laws and customs of merchants, by such procedure as they might direct, and, subject to any such directions as the judges of the court should, in their best judgement and discretion, think meet and just.
The only person learned in the civil law who was sent out to India in pursuance of the charter of 1683 was Dr. John St. John. By a commission from the king, supplemented by a commission from the Company, he was appointed judge of the court at Surat. But he soon became involved in disputes with the governor, Sir John Child?, who limited his jurisdiction to maritime cases, and appointed a separate judge for civil actions.
At Madras the president of the council was appointed to supply the place of judge-advocate till one should arrive. But this arrangement caused much dissatisfaction, and it was resolved that, instead of the president's accepting this appointment, the old court of judicature should be continued, and that, until the arrival of a judge-advocate, causes should be heard under it as formerly in accordance with the charter
of 1661. Charter of
In 1686 James II granted the Company a charter by 1686.
which he renewed and confirmed their former privileges, and authorized them to appoint 'admirals, vice-admirals, rearadmirals, captains, and other sea officers' in any of the Company's ships within the limits of their charter, with power for their naval officers to raise naval forces, and to exercise and use 'within their ships on the other side of the Cape of Good Hope, in the time of open hostility with some other nation, the law called the law martial for defence of their ships against the enemy. By the same charter the Company were empowered to coin in their forts any species of money usually coined by native princes, and it was declared that these coins were to be current within the bounds of the charter,
1 A brother of Sir Josiah Child.
The provisions of the charter of 1683 with respect to the Company's admiralty court were repeated with some modifications, and under these provisions Sir John Biggs, who had been recorder of Portsmouth, was appointed judge-advocate at Madras. Among the prerogatives of the Crown one of the most Establish
ment of important is the power of constituting municipal corporations municiby royal charter. Therefore it was a signal mark of royal pality at
Madras. favour when James II, in 1687, delegated to the East India Company the power of establishing by charter a municipality at Madras. The question whether this charter should be passed under the great seal or under the Company's seal was discussed at a cabinet council. The latter course was eventually adopted at the instance of the governor and deputy governor of the Company, and the reasons urged for its adoption are curious and characteristic. The governor expressed his opinion that no persons in India should be employed under immediate commission from His Majesty, because the wind of extraordinary honour in their heads would probably render them so haughty and overbearing that the Company would be forced to remove them.' He was evidently thinking of the recent differences between Sir John Child and Dr. St. John, and was alive to the dangers arising from an independent judiciary which in the next century were to bring about the conflicts between Warren Hastings and the Calcutta supreme court.
Charter of Accordingly the charter of 1687, which established a 1687.
municipality and mayor's court at Madras, proceeds from the Company, and not from the Crown. It recites the approbation of the king, declared in His Majesty's Cabinet Council 1 the eleventh day of this instant December,' and then goes on to constitute a municipality according to the approved English type. The municipal corporation is to consist of a mayor, twelve aldermen, and sixty or more burgesses. The mayor and aldermen are to have power to levy taxes for the building of a convenient town house or guild hall, of a public gaol, and of a school-house' for the teaching of the Gentues or native children to speak, read, and write the English tongue, and to understand arethmetick and merchants' accompts, and for such further ornaments and edifices as shall be thought convenient for the honour, interest, ornament, security, and defence' of the corporation, and of the inhabitants of Madras, and for the payment of the salaries of the necessary municipal officers, including a schoolmaster. The mayor and aldermen are to be a court of record, with power to try civil and criminal causes, and the mayor and three of the aldermen are to be justices of the peace. There is to be an appeal in civil and criminal cases from the mayor's court to 'our supreme court of judicature, commonly called our court of admiralty.' There is to be a recorder, who must be a discreet person, skilful in the laws and constitutions of the place, and who is to assist the mayor in trying, judging, and sentencing causes of any considerable value or intricacy. And there is to be a town clerk and clerk of the peace, an able and discreet person, who must always be an Englishman born, but well skilled in the language of East India, and who is to be esteemed a notary public.
Nor are the ornamental parts of municipal life forgotten. ' For the greater solemnity and to attract respect and rever
| This formal recognition of the existence of a cabinet council is of constitutional interest. But of course the cabinet council of 1687 was a very different thing from the cabinet council of the present day.