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factories on a foreign shore, when that Company was in possession of provinces; and when the laws were completed to govern those, it had obtained kingdoms. That the present government is inadequate, and the laws under which it exists defective, and not calculated for the greatness of the empire, every one acquainted with the subject must acknowledge; and the time probably approaches when some great change must take place.'-vol. i. p. 8.
Such was the opinion of Sir John Malcolm within two years of the last renewal of the East India Company's exclusive privileges; and as the opening of the trade to the merchants of England, the only important change which took place in 1813, was a measure that affected in a very trifling degree the government of India, we conclude that the work of extensive alteration and improvement is considered by the author as still to be commenced. The three last chapters contain, however, a far fuller exposition of Sir John Malcolm's mature opinions on these points. The importance of the subject, and the deserved weight attached to the opinions of an author so highly distinguished in the annals of Indian diplomacy and service, will, we feel, justify our examining at some length the suggestions to be found in these chapters; and we shall, in so doing, have frequent occasion to advert to the clever pamphlet 'On the Administration of Indian Affairs,' by a Civil Servant.'
Sir John Malcolm and the Civil Servant both adopt the obvious division of this part of the subject, namely, the government in England, and the local government in India. Upon the first head the question to be decided is, whether the object of good government will be best attained by continuing the present mixed system of administration by the East India Company and the Board of Control, or by transferring the whole authority to the Crown. The Civil Servant appears to assume the probable continuance of the present system; and Sir John Malcolm reasons very much at length on the inexpediency of substituting any other medium than that of the East India Company for the direct government of our Indian empire. In discussing the consequences of a total transfer of the government to the king's ministers, Sir John says, that
the first inevitable change on such an event would be in the different view taken of the Indian empire, by the authority under which it was then placed. With the Company's government it must always remain a primary consideration; with his Majesty's government it must be a secondary one. This has been too often shown, in cases where the latter had a right to interfere, to leave a doubt of the fact; and who can calculate the danger that would arise in India, when every measure which regarded that empire should be considered with reference to other and more important questions of expediency.'-vol. ii. p. 125.
The urgent desire (he proceeds) of satisfying friends, and dis
VOL. XXXV. NO. LXIX.
arming opponents; of conciliating the public, or of avoiding parliamentary discussions, would often outweigh all interest connected with our remote possessions in the minds of the wisest and strongest ministers; and at periods of weakness, the most serious evils might justly be apprehended from this source; nor could we look to the House of Commons as that check which they form upon other occasions, to any abuse or unwise exercise of power. Questions of a magnitude to excite the attention of that body would seldom be brought forward; and when they were, they would be so enveloped in details, that few would understand them: for a general and familiar acquaintance with the affairs of India can never be anticipated.'
There is unquestionably some truth in this statement; and, we think, the most important part of it is, that the government of our Indian empire requires the attention of some authority in England, from which it may receive undivided and unremitting attention; and this result we conceive to be obtained in a much greater degree under the present system, than we could expect it to be under any other that has hitherto been proposed. We cannot, however, subscribe to the conviction expressed by Sir John Malcolm, that the inevitable consequence of the governing authority being vested directly in his majesty's ministers would be the postponement of the Indian empire to the minor considerations of parliamentary tactics and momentary convenience. We cannot believe that the sole and detailed superintendence of affairs involving the happiness of millions would be neglected or undervalued by the wisest and strongest ministers;' on the contrary, we feel assured that, were the transfer to the crown to take place, the attention to this great department would be proportionably increased; and that the affairs of India would receive as minute consideration as those of the treasury or foreign relations now do. Still less are we disposed to admit, without reserve, that an investigation as to the mode in which patronage has been exercised in those distant possessions, (the British colonies,) would not be favourable to the arguments of persons who advocate this change in our Indian government:" for-with the exception of the few offices in the colonies, which still continue to be performed by deputy-the responsibility under which the patronage (and, indeed, every part) of the colonial department is administered, is, in the present day, much more direct and unceasing than that attached to the government of India. The constitutional and increasing jealousy attending the patronage of the crown generally, and the readiness with which the complaints of individuals are brought forward in the House of Commons, have the effect of sometimes embarrassing the honest discharge of official duty, and, to say the least of the matter, render the chance of impunity under malversation highly improbable. On the other
hand, a great change has taken place in public opinion with regard to individuals employed in India: for while public service in that country was, in the last century, however unjustly, considered synonymous with the corrupt acquisition of wealth, the most absolute confidence as to good intention and conduct seems now to be bestowed on the servants, civil and military, of the East India Company; and as neglect of their own pretensions forms no part of their general character, and a regular and copious supply of panegyric upon public events in India, and individuals employed in India, is not included among our literary wants, the present impression is not likely to be disturbed. Still we cannot but admit that the mutability belonging to the high offices of administration in England, and the change of measures to which contending parties are so often pledged, might, if applied to India, materially affect the stability of our extraordinary empire in that country. Dynasties have risen and fallen in the East, without changing the laws or manners of the people; and there unquestionably is a fixedness about municipal and fiscal institutions in India, that renders change, even though directed to obvious improvement, difficult, and makes periodical experiment extremely dangerous. That such a possession should be an appendage to Great Britain is most extraordinary; it is impossible not to feel with Sir John Malcolm, that our empire in India bears little analogy to any power that ever existed in the universe.' It is not less certain that the present system of home administration is a most singular one; but at the same time it combines elements peculiarly adapted, as well to the political interests of our own country, as to the good government of our Indian possessions. Subordinate as commerce must needs be with the ruling authorities in England to the greater questions of empire, it would be utterly impossible legislatively to create such a body as the East India Company, or to establish a deliberative assembly constituted and qualified like the Court of Proprietors. In that court is to be found the most accurate and complete information on every point connected with the administration of India at home and abroad. Sufficiently numerous to possess the advantages of a popular assembly, and yet, from the amount of a qualification to a vote, (500l. India stock,) and the general condition of its members, free from many of the disadvantages of one-this Court presents a basis for the government of India, that is certainly not to be found in any other part of our political organization. Sir John Malcolm treats the Court of Proprietors entirely as a control upon the Court of Directors and the local government in India; and divests that assembly of any importance as the instrument by which any improvement may be hereafter effected, either in the distribution of duties at home, or in the
administration of government abroad. We, on the contrary, should, maintaining the positive efficiency and political convenience of the existing system, press strongly the obvious and increasing utility of this Court of Proprietors, as the only medium through which the difficult question of governing India in the present day, with all the benefits of a representative system, and without its official vicissitudes, can be obtained. The Civil Servant entertains a similar view of the matter:
I conceive (says this writer) that the Court of Proprietors has not sufficiently exerted itself in circumstances either of political or mercantile vicissitude: in fact, until within the later years, when the personal activity and ability of a few individuals has called general attention to the occurrences of our Indian empire, the proprietors were considered as mere receivers of dividends, and sometimes of pensions and gratuities. The spirit of inquiry may be now said to walk the face of the waters dividing Europe from India: the press is daily annihilating distance, and the proprietors will be singularly wanting to their own interests, and show themselves unfit to retain the continued management of that empire, which the East India Company originally acquired for their country, if they do not employ the interval between this period and 1833, in a systematic and persevering examination of every branch of their affairs, so as to merit either a renewal of the charter, or to deserve the thanks of parliament for the state in which the great trust may be transferred to other hands.'—p. 2.
As the executive authority vested by law in the East India Company is exercised by the Court of Directors, the fitness of the members for the duties which they have to perform is obviously a matter of the highest importance to the good government of India. Sir John Malcolm and the Civil Servant concur as to the necessity of some alteration, as well in the composition of the court, as in the regulations under which its business is conducted. We have to regret the indistinct manner in which the former has treated all that relates to the directors, and shall, therefore, in bringing this part of the subject before our readers, avail ourselves of the brief but definite suggestions of the pamphlet. The Civil Servant justly remarks:
It is singular, that with the increased importance of the duties which the Court of Directors have had to discharge, and still more with the augmented diffusion of knowledge on all subjects connected with our Indian empire, that has been effected of late years through the activity of the press, no alteration in the distribution of business should have taken place within the court itself. The administrative business of the Indian empire has been from ancient usage, and is still, intrusted to the eleven senior directors, (including the chairman and deputy,) under the title of the Committee of Corre
spondence, while the remaining directors are divided into committees, more or less occupied in the mercantile affairs of the East India Company.'-p. 5.
Sir John Malcolm estimates, that, generally speaking, a period of ten years must elapse from the election of a director, to his obtaining a seat in the Committee of Correspondence.' Both he and the Civil Servant consider this period so long, as to render the information which the director may have acquired by service in India positively useless. Sir John, indeed, almost goes so far as to pronounce previous service in India mischievous, from its producing the bias of an attachment to old opinions, many of which may have become obsolete.' But surely, if this be correct, there must be a marvellous mutability in the administration of Indian affairs, a mutability quite inconsistent with the decided preference which Sir John Malcolm entertains for the life-tenure-without even the interval of being out by rotation-of a seat in the direction. The Civil Servant thus describes the consequence of the present arrangement:
'A gentleman who may have held the highest office in India, that of member of the Supreme Council in Bengal, who may have reached that distinguished situation after a series of years passed in the political department of the service, is employed for nine years of probation in the committee of warehouses and shipping, as if the object were to expel all previously-acquired knowledge from his memory, and thus ultimately fit him for the Committee of Correspondence. Military talent and service would have also to run the same course, and it may therefore fairly be presumed, that on admission to the Committee of Correspondence, the member of council and the military commander will have reached, in the descending, the same point as the ship-owner and the merchant in the ascending scale, so that there will be no decided superiority of knowledge to affect the value of their respective opinions.'-p. 4.
In this passage, as in the remarks of Sir John Malcolm, there is obviously much professional asperity, probably the result of that large share of influence still possessed by the mercantile members of the court, for whose administrative knowledge, neither the military nor the civil servants of the East India Company are commonly understood to have much respect.
The Civil Servant, we think justly, recommends that the business of the Court of Directors should be divided into departments, analogous to those of the empire under their administration, with such addition or modification as may be required by the peculiar constitution of the East India Company; and with this view he suggests the distribution into the following committees :'Judicial, to which might be joined education and religion; mili