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the wish, the honour, and policy of this nation,' the governorgeneral and his council were not, without the express authority of the Court of Directors, or of the secret committee, to declare war, or commence hostilities, or enter into any treaty for making war, against any of the country princes or States in India, or any treaty for guaranteeing the possession of any country princa or State, except where hostilities had actually been commenced, or preparations actually made for the commencement of hostilities, against the British nation in India, or against some of the princes of States who were dependent thereon, or whose territories were guaranteed by any existing treaty 1
The provisions of the Act of 1773 for the punishment of offences committed by British subjects in India were repeated and strengthened. Thus the receipt of presents by persons in the employment of the Company or the Crown was to be deemed extortion, and punishable as such, and there was an extraordinary provision requiring the servants of the Company, under heavy penalties, to declare truly on oath the amount of property they had brought from India.
All British subjects were declared to be amenable to all courts of competent jurisdiction in India or in England for acts done in Native States, as if the act had been done in British territory . The Company were not to release or compound any sentence or judgement of a competent court against any of their servants, or to restore any such servant to office after he had been dismissed in pursuance of a judicial sentence. The governor-general was empowered to issue his warrant for taking into custody any person suspected of carrying on illicit correspondence with any native prince or other person having authority in India 3.
1 s. 34. This enactment with its recital was substantially reproduced by a section of the Act of 1793 (33 Geo. III, c. 52, S. 42) which still remains unrepealed. See Digest, s. 48. ? s. 44. Re-enacted by 33 Geo. III, c. 52, s. 67. See Digest, s. 119.
8. 53. This section was re-enacted in substance by 33 Geo. III, c. 52, 88. 45, 46. See Digest, s. 120.
A special court, consisting of three judges, four peers, and six members of the House of Commons, was constituted for the trial in England of offences committed in India 1.
The Company were required to take into consideration their civil and military establishments in India, and to give orders 'for every practicable retrenchment and reduction,' and numerous internal regulations, several of which had been proposed by Fox, were made for Indian administration. Thus, promotion was to be as a rule by seniority, writers and cadets were to be between the ages of fifteen and twenty-two when sent out, and servants of the Company who had been five years in England were not to be capable of appointment to an Indian post, unless they could show that their residence in England was due to ill health.
The double government established by Pitt's Act of 1784, with its cumbrous and dilatory procedure and its elaborate system of checks and counter-checks, though modified in details, remained substantially in force until 1858. In practice the power vested in the Board of Control was exercised by the senior commissioner, other than the Chancellor of the Exchequer or Secretary of State. He became known as the President of the Board of Control, and occupied a position in the Government of the day corresponding to some extent to that of the modern Secretary of State for India. But the Board of Directors, though placed in complete subordination to the Board of Control, retained their rights of patronage and their powers of revision, and were thus left no unsubstantial share in the home direction of Indian affairs ?
ss. 66-80. The elaborate enactments constituting the court and regulating its procedure were amended by an Act of 1786 (26 Geo. III, c. 57), and still remain on the Statute Book, but appear never to have been put in force. “In 149 B.C., on the proposal of Lucius Calpurnius Piso, a standing Senatorial Commission (quaestio ordinaria) was instituted to try in judicial form the complaints of the provincials regarding the extortions of their Roman magistrates.' Mommsen, 3, 73.
As to the practical working of the system at the close of the eighteenth century see Kaye's Administration of the East India Company, p. 129.
The first important amendments of Pitt's Act were made Legisla
tion of in 1786. In that year Lord Cornwallis i was appointed
1786. governor-general, and he made it a condition of his accepting office that his powers should be enlarged. Accordingly an Act was passed which empowered the governor-general in special cases to override the majority of his council and act on his own responsibility ?, and enabled the offices of governorgeneral and commander-in-chief to be united in the same person 3.
By another Act of the same session the provision requiring the approbation of the king for the choice of governor-general was repealed. But as the Crown still retained the power of recall this repeal was not of much practical importance 4
A third Act 5 repealed the provisions requiring servants of the Company to disclose the amount of property brought home by them, and amended the constitution and procedure of the special court under the Act of 1784. It also declared (s. 29) that the criminal jurisdiction of the supreme court at Calcutta was to extend to all criminal offences committed in any part of Asia, Africa, or America, beyond the Cape of Good Hope to the Straits of Magellan, within the limits of the Company's trade, and (s. 30) that the governor or president and council of Fort St. George, in their courts of oyer and terminer and gaol delivery, and the mayor's court at Madras should have civil and criminal jurisdiction over all British subjects residing in the territories of the Company on the coast of Coromandel, or in any other part of the Carnatic,
1 'The first of the new dynasty of Parliamentary Governors-General.' Lyall, British Dominion in India, p. 218.
? See Digest, £. 44.
3 26 Geo. III, c. 16. Lord Cornwallis, though holding the double office of governor-general and commander-in-chief, still found his powers insufficient, and was obliged to obtain in 1791 a special Act (31 Geo. III, C. 40) confirming his orders and enlarging his powers. The exceptional powers given to the governor-general by the Act of 1786 were reproduced in the Act of 1793 (33 Geo. III, c. 52, ss. 47-51), by sections which are still nominally in force but have been practically superseded by a later enactment of 1870 (33 Vict. c. 3, s. 5). See Digest, s. 44. 4 26 Geo. III, c. 25.
5 26 Geo. III, c. 57.
Legislation of 1788.
or in the Northern Circars, or within the territories of the Soubah of the Deccan, the Nabob of Arcot, or the Rajah of Tanjore.
In 1788 a serious difference arose between the Board of Control and the Board of Directors as to the limits of their respective powers. The Board of Control, notwithstanding the objections of the directors, ordered out four royal regiments to India, and charged their expenses to Indian revenues. They maintained that they had this power under the Act of 1784. The directors on the other hand argued that under provisions of the Act of 1781, which were still unrepealed, the Company could not be compelled to bear the expenses of any troops except those sent out on their own requisition. Pitt proposed to settle the difference in favour of the Board of Control by means of an explanatory or declaratory Act. The discussions which took place on this measure raised constitutional questions which have been revived in later times ?.
It was objected that troops raised by the Company in India would suffice and could be much more cheaply maintained. It was also argued on constitutional grounds that no troops ought to belong to the king for which Parliament did not annually vote the money.
In answer to the first objection Pitt confessed that, in his opinion, the army in India ought to be all on one establishment, and should all belong to the king, and declared that it was mainly in preparation for this reform that the troops were to be conveyed ?
With respect to the second objection he argued that the Bill of Rights and the Mutiny Act, which were the only positive enactments on the subject, were so vague and indefinite
See the discussion in 1878 as to the employment of Indian troops in Malta, Hansard, ccxl. 14, and Anson, Law and Custom of the Constitution, pt. ii. p. 361 (2nd ed.).
? Lord Cornwallis was at this time considering a scheme for the combination of the king's and Company's forces. See Cornwallis Correspondence, i. 251, 341 ; ii. 316, 572.
as to be almost nugatory, and professed his willingness to receive any suggestions made for checking an abuse of the powers proposed to be conferred by the Bill.
The questions were eventually settled by a compromise. The Board of Control obtained the powers for which they asked, but a limit was imposed on the number of troops which might be charged to Indian revenues. At the same time the Board of Control were prevented from increasing any salary or awarding any gratuity without the concurrence of the directors and of Parliament, and the directors were required to lay annually before Parliament an account of the Company's receipts and disbursements 1. In 1793, towards the close of Lord Cornwallis' governor- Charter
Act of generalship, it became necessary to take steps for renewal of
1793. the Company's charter. Pitt was then at the height of his power ; his most trusted friend, Dundas”, was President of the Board of Control; the war with France, which had just been declared, monopolized English attention; and Indian finances were, or might plausibly be represented as being, in a tolerably satisfactory condition. Accordingly the Act of 17933, which was introduced by Dundas, passed without serious opposition, and introduced no important alterations. It was a measure of consolidation, repealing several previous enactments, and runs to an enormous length, but the amendments made by it relate to matters of minor importance.
The two junior members of the Board of Control were no longer required to be Privy Councillors. Provision was made for payment of the members and staff of the Board out of Indian revenues.
The commander-in-chief was not to be a member of the council at Fort William unless specially appointed by the
i 28 Geo. III, c. 8; Clode, Military Forces of the Crown, i. 270.
Henry Dundas, who afterwards became the first Viscount Melville. He did not become president till June 22, 1793, but had long been the most powerful member of the Board.
33 Geo. III, c. 52.