Imágenes de páginas

prinela medie and Movember of sented

voluminously about public af- left Calcutta that the House of fairs in his letters to friends Commons had in February apand politicians in England. pointed & Committee to take He had been a few months into consideration in what in Bengal when he sent Lord manner British India might be North a sketch of “a plan governed “with the greatest of settlement" which he devel- advantage to the people both oped after into a “scheme for of Great Britain and of India." the government of India.” It The most important and laboriproposed that the Government ous member of that Committee of the Company should give was his friend Edmund Burke. place to Imperial legislation, The news of the devastation of and contained the germ of the Carnatic by Hyder Ali Fox's famous Bill relating to aroused the strongest fears as the Home Government of India, to the safety of our Indian It was the malignant repre possessions, and a Secret Comsentations of Francis regard. mittee was also appointed to ing the violence, cruelty, and inquire into the causes of the treachery of Hastings and the war raging in the Carnatic. Indian Government towards It was presided over by Henry the princes and people of India Dundas, “shrewd, able, and that inflamed the generous bold beyond any of his conanger of Burke and wrecked temporaries,” then Lord Advohis judgment. In November cate of Scotland. On the 26th 1780 Philip Francis set sail of June 1781 the Directors for England, a disappointed presented a petition for the and baffled man. The two renewal of the Charter. An objects nearest to his heart, Act was passed which did not the humiliation of Hastings renew the Charter, but merely and his own succession to the confirmed the privilege of the government of India, had Company for a definite period eluded his grasp. “I am of ten years, at the end of now,” he wrote shortly after which the Company were enhe landed at Calcutta, “I titled to three years' notice think, on the road to be of an intention to withdraw Governor of Bengal, which I it! Parliament also took adbelieve is the first situation vantage of the opportunity in the world attainable by a to increase its superintending subject.” But he had mis- power over the Home Governcalculated the mental vigour ment of the Company. The and pertinacity of his oppo- Ministry, no longer content nent. The struggle between with seeing all the correspondthem for five years had been ence that was sent from India, a severe one, and Francis left inserted a clause in the Act India only to renew the war that the Court of Directors in England.

“should deliver to the Lords of On the 19th of October 1781 the Treasury copies of all letters he arrived at Dover with his and orders relating to the civil accusations and evidence amply and military government and prepared. He knew before he affairs of the Company or their

the chicha didetely

nem for five sea Francis bar

at it was furthuild

Americane affairs angolicited

Indian East Indiance to the

gervants in India " which were On the 11th of November sent to India. The wars in 1783, at the opening of the which the Company were en- autumnal session, the speech gaged had alarmed the public from the throne, which an. at home, and it was further nounced the loss of the enacted that the Court should American colonies, stated be bound “by such instructions that the affairs and gov. as they might receive from his ernment of India “solicited Majesty through one of the the utmost exertion of their Secretaries of State, so far as abilities, and that the fruit related to the conduct and was now expected of these transactions of the Company important inquiries which had and their servants with the been so long and diligently Country powers in India, as pursued.” Seven days later well to the levying war as to Fox moved that leave be given making peace.” But the to bring in, not as is so often quarrels with the Country inaccurately stated his East powers, and the contrary en- Indian Bill, but his two sepgagements in which the Com- arate East Indian Bills,-one pany had become involved, having a reference to the were not due to the Court but Government at home, the to the Governor-General not other to the administration in having dictatorial powers over India. On the 20th of Nov. British India. Dundas, as ember Fox presented to the Chairman of the Secret Com- House his first Bill. Its prinmittee, had realised the evil of cipal feature was that it vested divided control in India, and the government of India for on the 9th of April 1782 he five years in a Commission of obtained leave to introduce a seven persons named in the Bill for the better government Bill. « And for the sole purof India. He proposed to in- pose of ordering and managing crease the power of the Gov- the commerce of the said ernor-General by making him United Company under and independent of the Council; to subject to the orders and add to his duties those of directions of the said DirecCommander - in - Chief, and to tors,” new assistant Directors confer the united office upon a were named in the Bill, “ being person of high rank and public proprietors each of them of character. Lord Cornwallis, a two thousand pounds capital general and statesman, he in the said United Company." considered the fittest person On the 26th of November Fox for the post. But Burke and brought in his second Bill. It his friends in the administra- was entitled “A Bill for the tion were anxious that Philip better Government of the TerriFrancis should be Governor- torial Possessions and DependGeneral, and they had deter- encies in India,” but, as James mined to bring in a Bill of Mill states, no improvement their own. Dundas, being in a whatsoever in the order and minority in the House, did not distribution of the powers of persevere with his measure. government was attempted, and

on the the makes Indian spesource

hardly anything higher was father of his country. Henry the proposed than to point out Fourth wished that he might live to what was deemed the delin

see a fowl in the pot of every peasant

of his Kingdom. That sentiment quencies into which the Govern- of homely benevolence was worth ment of India had strayed, and all the splendid sayings that are to forbid them for the future. recorded of Kings. But he wished, It is in the second Bill that perhaps, for more than could be we clearly trace the hand of man exceeded the power of the

obtained, and the goodness of the Burke, directed by Philip King. But this gentleman, a subFrancis. It was the source ject, may this day say this at least of all Burke's Indian speeches with truth, — that he secures the On the 1st of December the India.”

rice in his pot to every man in order of the day was read for the House to resolve itself into Fox and Burke were ultim& Committee of the whole ately defeated, and every man House upon the Bill “ for vest- in India was not deprived of ing the affairs of the East his pot of rice, as only a minIndia Company in the hands ority of the population live on of certain Commissioners.” that cereal. The seven ComPitt and Dundas opposed the missioners not being appointed measure, which was defended by the Crown or removable by Burke in a speech which except upon an address of was filled up with a travesty either House of Parliament, of facts, with invectives against was the rock on which the Hastings and the servants of measure split. On the 17th of the Company. He, who had December, owing to the perwith fiery eloquence contended sonal pressure put on the Peers that it was a clear violation of by the King, the Bill was rechartered rights to prevent the jected by the House of Lords Company by Act of Parlia- by 95 to 76. The Ministers ment from managing its own were dismissed, Pitt installed affairs, now laid down with in their place, and the absolute equal fervour the sound prin- abrogation of the powers of the ciple on which the good govern- Company was postponed for ment of India must always eighty years. Much can be depend,—that the East India said in favour of Fox's Bill Company or governing body relating to the Home Governwas accountable “to Parlia- ment of India. It was a more ment, from whom the trust honest Bill than Pitt's, and was derived." The speech, avoided “the dual control” like all Burke's orations on which led to 80 many grave Indian affairs, contains, to use evils and disasters. his own phrase, “a good deal On the 14th of January of fustian." Take, for instance, 1784 Pitt moved “That leave what Mr Morley calls the fine be given to bring in a Bill for page about Fox as the descend- the better regulation of our ant of Henry IV. of France :- Indian Concerns.” In his “His are faults which might exist

ist opening speech he stated the

pe in a descendant of Henry the Fourth real object of the measure. of France as they did exist in that “The imperial dominion of

our territories in the East Privy Councillors who "at the ought to be placed under other same time were possessed of control than that of the com- great and distinguished offices pany of merchants in Leaden- with large emoluments and hall Street, but the change little labour would no doubt ought to be made with as be found to accept of their little violence as possible; it duties without any additional ought to be made by the con- reward.” The jealousy of the viction of the Company, and King and the suspicion of the not by violence. In this the country as to the increase of Company agreed with him.” the power of the Prime MinPitt desired, like his father, ister were disarmed by the to place the whole government Commissioners being appointed of India under the control of by the Crown and holding the Crown; but when in op- office during pleasure. The position he had gauged the authority which the Govpower of chartered rights. ernment had of seeing all Fox still commanded a major papers sent to and from India ity in the House, and Pitt's was transferred to the Board. Bill was rejected. Every The Commissioners were further student of English history empowered to call upon the knows the story of the elec- Court of Directors to prepare tion of 1784, and Pitt's despatches on any subject, to triumph and return to power. be submitted for their revision On the 13th of August he and alteration, and on their again introduced his first East failure within fourteen days to India Bill, slightly modified, write them themselves. All and obtained a decisive ma- high political matters were jority, 271 to 60, in its favour. placed in a Secret Committee Never was a bill framed which of the Court, limited to three 80 well concealed, by vague members (in practice to two, and ambiguous language, its the Chairman and Deputy real aim. It was said to be Chairman), who alone comdrafted by Dundas, and that municated upon them to the able Scottish lawyer displayed Board. When the Chancellor all the worldly sagacity of the of the Exchequer and one of race. The Company were con- the principal Secretaries of ciliated by being allowed to State were absent, the senior keep their trade privileges, of the five presided. In and by the Court of Directors early times the Commissionhaving their powers continued ers did sit as a Board, and merely subject to the revision in a letter to Lord Cornof a Board of Commissioners wallis, of July 1787, Dundas for the Affairs of India. It says: “Mr Pitt is a real was to be an ideal Board, active member of the Board, consisting of certain members and makes himself thoroughly of the Privy Council. The master of the business.” But Commissioners were to have the Board soon became the no salary and no patronage. shadow of a Board, and Pitt stated in his speech that practically ceased to exist. By the Act of 1793, which of our Indian Empire, the confirmed the Company in happiness of the people, were, their privileges for twenty as Sir John Kaye pointed out, years, the Board was made legs dependent upon the will to consist of certain members of a deliberate body, a large of the Privy Council (of whom majority of whom had studied the two principal Secretaries India, “than upon the caprice of State and the Chancellor of a single man, who may be of the Exchequer were to be gone to-morrow-who may prethree), and two other members. side over the India Board and The first named in the letters govern India for a fortnight, patent constituting the Board and then be suddenly deposed was to be the President. A by some gust of party caprice, salary was to be paid by the by the mistaken tactics of an Company to certain of the inexperienced party leader, or Commissioners. An India the neglect of an inefficient Office was created by the whipper in.'” Commissioners being author- Pitt's Bill of 1784 placed the ised to appoint secretaries, East India Company in a and enjoined to “enter their subordinate position with reproceedings in proper books." gard to its governing powers, The President was from 1811 but it did not touch its coma member of the Cabinet and mercial privileges. In 1813 practically Minister for India, the second great Charter Act as from 1841 he was the only was passed, granting all existpaid member of the Board. The ing rights, powers, and priviPresident acted entirely on his leges to the Company for a own responsibility, but, as the term of twenty years. But, law declared that two members owing to the jealous outcry were competent to transact raised in Bristol, Glasgow, and the business of the Board, it Liverpool, the East India was thought advisable to ob- Company were deprived of the tain for the document record- privilege of the exclusive trade ing the Board's decision the with India, “without which signature of one of the ex not a rood of land in India officio members. The ex officio would have owned the rule of members were the Lord Presi- Great Britain.” The Ministry, dent of the Council, the Lord not wishing to hazard the Privy Seal, the First Lord of diminution of a revenue so the Treasury, the principal valuable and so easily realised Secretaries of State, and the as the duty upon tea paid by Chancellor of the Exchequer the Company, allowed them to The law gave the President retain their China monopoly. the power to override the In 1833 they were not only deCourt of Directors if he chose prived of the China monopoly to exercise it. The stability but also prohibited from trad

1 The Act of 1793 was the first of those comprehensive Acts which, from the extended duration of the grant, and the specific detail of the provisions for the constitution of the Company and for the scheme of their government in India, eame to be denominated the Charter Acts for India.

« AnteriorContinuar »