Слике страница
PDF
ePub
[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]
[merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors]

Court of Directors. Departure from India with intent to return to Europe was declared to vacate the office of governorgeneral, commander-in-chief, and certain other high offices. The procedure in the councils of the three presidencies was regulated, the powers of control exercisable by the governorgeneral were emphasized and explained, and the power of the governor-general to overrule the majority of his council was repeated and extended to the Governors of Madras and Bombay. The governor-general, whilst visiting another presidency, was to supersede the governor, and might appoint a vice-president to act for him in his absence. A series of elaborate provisions continued the exclusive privileges of trade for a further term of twenty years, subject to modifications of detail. Another equally elaborate set of sections regulated the application of the Company's finances. Power was given to raise the dividend to 10 per cent., and provision was made for payment to the Exchequer of an annual sum of £500,000 out of the surplus revenue which might remain after meeting the necessary expenses, paying the interest on, and providing for reduction of capital of, the Company's debt, and payment of dividend. It is needless to say that this surplus was never realized. The mutual claims of the Company and the Crown in respect of military expenses were adjusted by wiping out all debts on either side up to the end of 1792, and providing that thenceforward the Company should defray the actual ex. penses incurred for the support and maintenance of the king's troops serving in India. Some supplementary provisions regulated matters of civil administration in India. The admiralty jurisdiction of the supreme court of Calcutta was expressly declared to extend to the high seas. Power was given to appoint covenanted servants of the Company or other British inhabitants to be justices of the peace in Bengal. Power was also given to appoint scavengers for the presidency towns, and to levy what would now be called a sanitary rate. And the sale of spirituous liquors was made subject to the grant of a licence.

tion

1793 and

A few Parliamentary enactments of constitutional impor- Legislatance were passed during the interval between the Charter between Acts of 1793 and 1813.

1813. The lending of money by European adventurers to native princes on exorbitant terms had long produced grave scandals, such as those which were associated with the name of Paul Benham, and were exposed by Burke in his speech on the Nabob of Arcot's debts. An Act of 17971 laid down an important provision (s. 28) which is still in force, and which prohibits, under heavy penalties, unauthorized loans by British subjects to native princes.

The same Act reduced the number of judges of the supreme court at Calcutta to three, a chief justice and two puisnes, and authorized the grant of charters for the constitution of a recorder's court instead of the mayor's court at Madras and Bombay. It reserved native laws and customs in terms similar to those contained in the Act of 1781. It also embodied an important provision giving an additional and express sanction to the exercise of a local power of legislation in the Presidency of Bengal. One of Lord Cornwallis' regulations of 1793 (Reg. 41) had provided for forming into a regular code all regulations that might be enacted for the internal government of the British territories of Bengal. The Act of 1797 (s. 8) recognized and confirmed this wise and salutary provision, and directed that all regulations which should be issued and framed by the Governor-General in Council at Fort William in Bengal, affecting the rights, persons, or property of the natives, or of any other individuals who might be amenable to the provincial courts of justice, should be registered in the judicial department, and formed into a regular code and printed, with translations in the country languages, and that all the grounds of each regulation should be prefixed to it. The provincial courts of judicature were directed to be bound by these regulations, and copies of the regulations of each year were

37 Geo. III, C. 142. See Digest, s. 118.

.

1

2

to be sent to the Court of Directors and to the Board of Control 1.

An Act of 1799 ? gave the Company further powers for raising European troops and maintaining discipline among them. Under this Act the Crown took the enlistment of men for serving in India into its own hands, and, on petition from the Company, transferred recruits to them at an agreed sum per head for the cost of recruiting. Authority was given to the Company to train and exercise recruits, not exceeding 2,000, and to appoint officers for that purpose (bearing also His Majesty's commission) at pay not exceeding the sums stated in the Act. The number which the Crown could hold for transfer to the Company was limited to 3,000 men, or such a number as the Mutiny Act for the time being should specify. All the men raised were liable to the Mutiny Act until embarked for India.

An Act of 1800 provided for the constitution of a supreme court at Madras, and extended the jurisdiction of the supreme court at Calcutta over the district of Benares (which had been ceded in 1775) and all other districts which had been or might thereafter be annexed to the Presidency of Bengal.

An Act of 1807 4 gave the governors and councils at Madras and Bombay the same powers of making regulations, subject to approval and registration by the supreme court and recorder's court, as had been previously vested in the Government of Bengal, and the same power of appointing justices

3

of the peace.

Charter Act of 1813

The legislation of 1813 was of a very different character from that of 1793.

It was preceded by the most searching investigation which had yet taken place into Indian affairs. The vigorous policy of annexation carried on by Lord

2

3

· See Harington's Analysis, 1-9.

39 & 40 Geo. III, c. 109. See Clode, Military Forces of the Crown, i. 289.

39 & 40 Geo. III, c. 79. The charter under this Act was granted in December, 1801. Bombay did not acquire a supreme court until 1823 (3 Geo. IV, c. 71).

47 Geo. III, sess. 2, c. 68.

4

« ПретходнаНастави »