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and endeavoured to provide more legitimate remunerations for the higher classes of the Company's civil and military servants by assigning to them specific shares in the profits derived from the salt monopoly. According to his estimates the profits from this source of a commissioner or colonel would be at least £7,000 a year; those of a factor or major, £2,000 1.
At the presidency towns, civil justice was administered in the mayor's courts and courts of request, criminal justice by the justices in petty and quarter sessions. In 1772 Warren Hastings became Governor of Bengal, and took steps for organizing the administration of justice in the interior of that province. In the previous year the Court of Directors had resolved to assert in a more active form the powers given them by the grant of the Diwani in 1765, and in a letter of instructions to the president and council at Fort William had announced their resolution to 'stand forth as diwan,' and by the agency of the Company's servants to take upon themselves the entire care and management of the revenues ?. In pursuance of these instructions the Court of Directors appointed a committee, consisting of the Governor of Bengal and four members of council, and these drew up a report, comprising a plan for the more effective collection of the revenue and the administration of justice. This plan was adopted by the Government on August 21, 1772, and many of its rules were long preserved in the Bengal Code of Regulations 3
In pursuance of this plan, a board of revenue was created, consisting of the president and members of the council, and the treasury was removed from Moorshedabad to Calcutta. The supervisors of revenue became collectors, and with them 1 See Lecky, iv. 266, 270.
? Letter of August 28, 1771. 3 The office of 'diwan ’implied, not merely the collection of the revenue, but the administration of civil justice. The ‘nizamut' comprised the right of arming and commanding the troops, and the management of the whole of the police of the country, as well as the administration of criminal justice. Morley, Digest, p. xxxi. See a fuller account of Warren Hastings' Plan, ibid. p. xxxiv.
were associated native officers, styled diwans. Courts were established in each collectorship, one styled the Diwani, a civil court, and the other the Faujdari, a criminal court. Over the former the collector presided in his quality of king's diwan. In the criminal court the kazi and mufti of the district sat to expound the Mahomedan law. Superior courts were established at the chief seat of government, called the Sadr Diwani Adalat and the Sadr Nizamat Adalat. These courts theoretically derived their jurisdiction and authority, not from the British Crown, but from the native Government in whose name the Company acted as administrators of revenue. They were Company's courts, not king's
courts. Provisions By the Regulating Act of 1773 the qualification to vote of Regulating Act. in the Court of Proprietors was raised from £500 to £1,000,
and restricted to those who had held their stock for twelve months. The directors, instead of being annually elected, were to sit for four years, a quarter of the number being annually renewed.
For the government of the Presidency of Fort William in Bengal, a governor-general and four counsellors were appointed, and the Act declared that the whole civil and military government of this presidency, and also the ordinary management and government of all the territorial acquisitions and revenues in the kingdoms of Bengal, Behar, and Orissa, should, during such time as the territorial acquisitions and revenues remained in the possession of the Company, be vested in the governor-general and council of the Presidency of Fort William, in like manner as they were or at any time theretofore might have been exercised by the president and council or select committee in the said kingdoms. The avoidance of any attempt to define, otherwise than by reference to existing facts, the nature or extent of the authority claimed or exercised by the Crown over the Company in the new territorial acquisitions is very noticeable, and is characteristic of English legislation.
The first governor-general and counsellors were named in the Act. They were to hold office for five years 1, and were not to be removable in the meantime, except by the king on the representation of the Court of Directors. A casual vacancy in the office of governor-general during these five years was to be supplied by the senior member of council. A casual vacancy in the office of member of council was during the same time to be filled by the Court of Directors with the consent of the Crown. At the end of the five years the patronage was to be vested in the Company. The governorgeneral and council were to be bound by the votes of a majority of those present at their meetings, and in the case of an equal division the governor-general was to have a casting vote.
Warren Hastings, who had been appointed Governor of Bengal in 1772, was to be the first governor-general. The first members of his council were to be General Clavering, Colonel Monson, Mr. Barwell, and Mr. Francis.
The supremacy of the Bengal Presidency over the other presidencies was definitely declared. The governor-general and council were to have power of superintending and controlling the government and management of the presidencies of Madras, Bombay, and Bencoolen ?, so far and in so much as that it should not be lawful for any Government of the minor presidencies to make any orders for commencing hostilities, or declaring or making war, against any Indian princes or powers, or for negotiating or concluding any treaty with any such prince or power without the previous consent
1 It has been suggested that this enactment is the origin of the custom under which the tenure of the more important offices in India, such as those of governor-general, governor, lieutenant-governor, and member of council, is now limited to five years. The limitation is not imposed by statute or by the instrument of appointment.
Bencoolen, otherwise Fort Marlborough, is in Sumatra. It was founded by the English in 1686, and was given to the Dutch by the London Treaty, March 11, 1824, in exchange for establishments on the continent of India and for the town and fort of Malacca and its dependencies, which were handed over to the East India Company by 5 Geo. IV, c. 108
of the governor-general and council, except in such cases of imminent necessity as would render it dangerous to postpone such hostilities or treaties until the arrival of their orders, and except also in cases where special orders had been received from the Company 1. A president and a council offending against these provisions might be suspended by order of the governor-general and council. The governors of the minor presidencies were to obey the order of the governor-general and council, and constantly and dutifully to transmit to them advice and intelligence of all transactions and matters relating to the government, revenues, or interest of the Company.
Provisions followed for regulating the relations of the governor-general and his council to the Court of Directors, and of the directors to the Crown. The governor-general and council were to obey the orders of the Court of Directors and keep them constantly informed of all matters relating to the interest of the Company. The directors were, within fourteen days after receiving letters or advices from the governor-general and council, to transmit to the Treasury copies of all parts relating to the management of the Company's revenue, and to transmit to a secretary of state copies of all parts relating to the civil or military affairs and government of the Company.
Important changes were made in the arrangements for the administration of justice in Bengal. The Crown was empowered to establish by charter a supreme court of judicature at Fort William, consisting of a chief justice and three other judges, who were to be barristers of five years' standing, and were to be appointed by the Crown. The supreme court was empowered to exercise civil, criminal, admiralty, and ecclesiastical jurisdiction, and to appoint such clerks and other ministerial officers with such reasonable salaries as should be approved by the governor-general and council, and to
? This was the first assertion of Parliamentary control over the treaty relations of the Company.
establish such rules of procedure and do such other things as might be found necessary for the administration of justice and the execution of the powers given by the charter. The court was declared to be at all times a court of record and a court of oyer and terminer and jail delivery in and for the town of Calcutta and factory of Fort William and the factories subordinate thereto. Its jurisdiction was declared to extend to all British subjects who should reside in the kingdoms or provinces of Bengal, Behar, and Orissa, or any of them, under the protection of the United Company. And it was to have 'full power and authority to hear and determine all complaints against any of His Majesty's subjects for crimes, misdemeanours, or oppressions, and also to entertain, hear, and determine any suits or actions whatsoever against any of His Majesty's subjects in Bengal, Behar, and Orissa, and any suit, action, or complaint against any person employed by or in the service of the Company or of any of His Majesty's subjects.
But on this jurisdiction two important limitations were imposed.
First, the court was not to be competent to hear or determine any indictment or information against the governor-general or any of his council for any offence, not being treason or felony , alleged to have been committed in Bengal, Behar, or Orissa. And the governor-general and members of his council were not to be liable to be arrested or imprisoned in any action, suit, or proceeding in the supreme court 2.
Then, with respect to proceedings in which natives of the country were concerned, it was provided that the court should hear and determine “any suits or actions whatsoever of any of His Majesty's subjects against any inhabitant of India residing in any of the said kingdoms or provinces of Bengal, Behar, or Orissa,' on any contract in writing where
· Could it then try the governor-general for treason or felony ?
? The saving appears to be limited to civil proceedings. It would exempt against arrest on mesne process.