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Supervision of Indian Finance. 399 loss of a revenue of 200,0001. per annum. Mr. Whitley Stokes, the Legislative Member of Council, in his Minute of remonstrance, dated Calcutta, March 13, 1879, wrote of the Act of exemption, when first proposed, as follows:- The power to exempt goods from • Customs duties was originally conferred by Act xvii. ! of 1870, and was merely intended to relieve the Ex
ecutive from the useless and troublesome formality of * coming from time to time to the Indian Legislature • to make in the tariff petty alterations which that * Legislature, if applied to, would have made at once. • The change now proposed is of a very different charac! ter. I have reason to think that it would never be
sanctioned by the Legislative Council, unless, indeed, * arguments were brought forward in its favour far more
cogent than those I have heard. The proposed exemp*tion of cotton goods, if made by a mere executive order, will thus resemble what lawyers call a fraud on
the power; and there is unfortunately no Court of ! Equity to relieve the people of India against it.'
It was another effort on the part of Parliament to retain in its own hands a large share of the direct government of India when, by section 53 of the Act of 1858, the Secretary of State in Council was required, within the first fourteen days during which Parliament might be sitting next after the first day in May in every year, to lay before both Houses of Parliament an account of the receipts and disbursements at home and abroad on account of the Government of India, for the financial year preceding that last completed; and also estimates for the coming year, and a statement of debts, salaries, and allowances. The account was to be accompanied 6 by a statement prepared from detailed reports from
each Presidency and District in India, in such form as should best exhibit the moral and material progress and condition of India in each such Presidency.' The value of these, and indeed of all other like Parliamentary requirements, must mainly depend upon the assiduity and vigilance of Parliament itself. Up to very recently, when appalling famines and financial embarrassments, necessitating large public loans from England, at last aroused public attention in the two Houses and in the country at large, there was no topic more certain to fall flat on the ears of the British Legislature than that of the Indian Budget or Indian affairs generally.
It has already been seen that the further Parliamentary requirement, contained in section 54 of the Act of 1858, relating to the communication to both Houses of Parliament, within a definite time, of any order sent to India directing the actual commencement of hostilities by Her Majesty's forces in India, was proved in the Afghan war of 1878-79 to be without any avail for the purpose of securing Parliamentary discussion or concurrence. By the time that Parliament was formally acquainted with the fact of the order being sent for the commencement of hostilities, political and diplomatic steps of a most decisive character had long been taken which seemed to render retreat or pause almost impossible. The obvious course for Ministers was to defend all that had been done as being dictated by an over-bearing necessity, and to rely on a loyal Parliamentary majority to grant them condonation and indemnity.
The later amendments of the Act of 1858 have rather been in the direction of extending the Prerogative of the Crown than of supplying fresh safe-guards against its abuse, or fortifying the controlling influence
Extension of the Prerogative in India. 401 of Parliament. The Act of 1865 (24 and 25 Victoria, cap. 67) enlarges the legislative functions of the Governor-General in Council so as to enable him to omake laws and regulations for all British subjects of • Her Majesty within the dominions of Princes and States in India in alliance with Her Majesty, whether
in the service of the Government of India or other• wise. By the Act of 1869 (32 and 33 Victoria, cap. 98) the legislative power of the Governor-General in Council has been similarly extended so as to reach to native Indian subjects of Her Majesty without and • beyond as well as within the Indian territories under • the dominion of Her Majesty. An Act of the same year (32 and 33 Victoria, cap. 97) went some way towards impairing the securities for independence on the part of the Council of India which had been carefully devised by the Act of 1858. Henceforth all vacancies were to be filled up by appointment of the Secretary of State. Members of the Council could only be appointed for the term of ten years, and, generally, were not reeligible. But by the third section of the Act the Secretary of State was enabled to re-appoint for a further
period of five years any person whose term of office • should have expired, provided such re-appointment be • made for special reasons of public advantage, such
reasons to be set forth in a Minute signed by the said • Secretary of State, and laid before both Houses of • Parliament.
The transfer of the government of India from the Company to the Crown had, no doubt, the effect of abolishing the anoinalous tripartite government of India by the Governor-General in Council in India, the Court of Directors in Leadenhall Street, and the Board of
Control in Downing Street, and of substituting for it a better consolidated system of government and one more worthy of the dignity of both England and India. Parliament also was certainly in a better position than heretofore for exercising over the current administration of Indian affairs a scrutinising and incessant control of the most direct kind. But it may still be doubted whether, in practice, since the transfer, such a control has been exercised at all to the extent which would suffice to compensate for the loss of all the special ability and experience which was represented in the Court of Directors, and for the keen and vigilant interest of a personal kind which imparted an unfailing zeal to the Court of Proprietors. Any way, it has been scarcely possible for Parliament to take up towards the Crown and its Ministers the sort of chronic and healthful attitude of adversative and wary suspiciousness which, in relation to a private Company, was at once both imperative and decorous. The following language of the 51st section of the Act of 1833, by which Parliament resolutely guards itself against having its plenary rights of government in the minutest degree impaired through the simultaneous existence of a coordinate authority, could hardly find place in an Act passed since 1858, when the dependence on Parliament of the Executive Government to which the government of India had been transferred was formally assumed, and statutory precautions could not be taken against abuses without confounding the customary relations of Parliament and the Crown, and introducing a constitutional solecism. The language of the 51st section alluded to is as follows: Nothing herein contained shall • extend to affect in any way the right of Parliament to
Government of Hudson's Ba
make laws for the said territories, and for all the in• habitants thereof; and it is expressly declared that a • full, complete, and constantly existing right and power
is intended to be reserved to Parliament to control, • supersede, or prevent all proceedings and acts whatso• ever of the said. Governor-General in Council, and to * repeal and alter at any time any law or regulation
whatsoever made by the said Governor-General in
Council, and in all respects to legislate for the said • territories and all the inhabitants thereof in as full 6 and ample a manner as if this Act had not been passed; and the better to enable Parliament to exer
cise at all times such right and power, all laws • and regulations made by the said Governor-General in • Council shall be transmitted to England, and laid • before both Houses of Parliament, in the same manner • as is now provided concerning the rules and regula• tions made by the several Governments of India.'
(ii.) The settlement or the annexation of the territories of British Columbia, the Fiji Islands, and the Transvaal in South Africa, affords instances of the sort of amicable co-operation by which Parliament and the Crown, while insisting on their respective rights and privileges and guarding against mutual encroachments, may yet combine towards the accomplishment of ends generally recognised as expedient and beneficent.
Owing to the large discoveries of gold which were made in 1858 in a portion of the Hudson's Bay territory, and a vast immigration of gold-diggers which resulted, it became necessary for the British Government to take measures for the protection of life and property and the maintenance of order. So far, the prerogative of the Crown was exerted ; and the Secretary of State for