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and Germany, allusions to "the Hon. the East India Company" as a still existing body, possessing territorial rights, and a political and commercial organisation ? On the continent of Europe this misapprehension is very general, nor can we feel surprised at the mistake, when even public men of some repute in this country have been observed to labour under similar delusions. It was but the other day that a gentleman,* who had for a considerable period a seat in the legislature, declared at a public meeting that it was unjust to permit the people of India to be ruled by a few commercial gentlemen, whose only object must necessarily be to obtain the highest dividends for their constituents! If a public man, living in the clear atmosphere of English political life, and with access to all the sources of correct information, can labour under such extraordinary misapprehensions, what sort of idea must be formed of the British government in the untutored mind of the Hindoo, or by the fierce and fanatical Mussulman? They never hear of any other power than that of the “ Company." They regard it as the source of all authority. From it alone the governor-general receives, as they suppose, his commission, and to it he is responsible, and their highest conception of sovereign power must be a grasping and avaricious mercantile association draining India of its wealth to swell its enormous gains. What sort of allegiance could the people of India justly owe to such a government, and what attachment could a native soldiery entertain for a power supposed to maintain them out of the very spoils of their country ? It is certainly not in human, far less in Indian, nature to venerate a power which it conceives as ruling not for the righteous purposes of protection and justice, but for its own selfish and mercenary ends.
Mr. Halliday, a gentleman who had filled very high offices in India, speaking in the presence of his employers, the Court of Directors, stated that the charter of 1833, giving a twenty years' lease to the East India Company, was considered by the natives of India as farming them out. “You used the expression,” was one of the questions put to him by a director, “- farming the government;' do you believe the people of India think the government of India is farmed out to the Company in the same sense that the taxes were farmed at the period you allude to ?” use precisely the same word in speaking of the renewal of the charter. They will talk with you as to the probability of the jarch,' or farm, being renewed, and, as far as I know, they have no other term to ex
Such is the conception very generally formed in the native mind of the nature of the English rule, and as long as such a misapprehension exists— and it cannot but exist while the phantom of the East India Company is permitted still to hover over the territories of India—so long will a spirit of hostility be engendered against England, and conspiracies organised to shake off the ignominious, although imaginary, yoke.t
“If,” Mr. Halliday continued, “ you were to change the system, and
* Mr. Miall.
† Even while we write, we observe in a respectable weekly journal (Jan. 9) the following extraordinary misstatement:—" To entrust the government of so'vast an empire to a body of men whose principal object is to increase their own gains, cer tainly appears very unwise, unjust to the inhabitants of the country, and discreditable to a Christian nation."
to govern India in the name of the Crown, you would enormously add to the reverence which the people of India would have for your government, and increase the stability of your empire.”.
It is impossible that this miserable political fiction, the source of so much misconception and, we doubt not, of such disastrous alienation of the native mind, can be permitted any longer to exist. The utter hollow. ness and rottenness of the whole system have been shown and recorded in our previous numbers. The time has arrived for it to be utterly condemned and cast aside as the relic of a past age and an exploded policy. The veil which has hitherto concealed the Crown from the eyes of the people of India must now be rent asunder, and the glorious symbol of British sovereignty revealed to the eyes of every inhabitant of our Indian dominions.
The precise form of administration must necessarily be a subject of great consideration. It is clearly essential that the functions of the Court of Directors should be utterly, and as speedily as possible, extinguished, and the Court of Proprietors abolished. We have no wish to deny the merits of some of the gentlemen now composing the direction, but their services may be secured to the government in a different form. The Board of Control must undergo the same dissolution as the little senate of Leadenhall-street.
A Council of State for Indian affairs, presided over by a cabinet minister, and composed of a limited number of persons most eminent for their Indian services, nominated by the Crown for a definite period, and their offices exempt from the fluctuations and uncertainty of political life, is, we conceive, the nearest approximation to a satisfactory government for India that we can hope to attain. India, to adopt Lord Macaulay's aphorism, 5 must be governed in India.” A supreme council sitting in London could only define the general policy to be pursued in India, correct errors, reform abuses, and make satisfactory appointments. The proceedings of a council such as we have suggested would not be above the reach of public opinion, and all its measures would be subject to the free criticism of parliament. It might be a desirable arrangement to require the opinions of any members of the council who should dissent from the president to be recorded in the form of written protests or minutes, similar to the system adopted in the supreme council at Calcutta. The necessity of such formal and solemn assertions of opinion would check any tendency to minute and captious objection, and, in the event of any serious difficulty arising between the chief of the council and his subordinates, the detailed reasonings of all the members of the board would be preserved in a form easily presentable to parliament. We should desire to see this council elevated to the rank of a great, responsible, and dignified department. Let distinctions be conferred on its members corresponding to the importance of their functions. Let it be divided into committees for the more convenient transaction of business, and let each department be provided with its appropriate staff. On special occasions, or on stated days, the whole council would naturally assemble for deliberation, and the president would state the general views of the government, ask advice, and receive trustworthy and important information from those most competent to give it, and be prepared to advise his colleagues in the cabinet, and to either mature or modify his Indian policy in accordance with the judg
ment of able, disinterested, and enlightened men. The choice of the Crown should be strictly confined to those civil and military functionaries who have served a definite period in India, and the government may then be safely entrusted with their selection. Distinguished ability and success in Indian administration will establish irresistible claims to å seat at the India board. A considerable salary should be attached to the office, so as to make it an object of desire as well as of laudable ambition to eminent Indian statesmen. We anticipate the happiest effects from this future prospect upon the Anglo-Indian community, and public men, instead of looking forward to a degrading and often unsuccessful canvass for a seat in nominal direction, will carry with them throughout their Indian career the conviction that proved ability and distinguished services cannot fail to attract the notice of the home government, and to secure for them a reward of great dignity and importance. All parliamentary jobbing would necessarily be excluded by this arrangement, and the right men would be selected because no others would be eligible. Recommendations from the Governor-General or Viceroy of India, in whichever name the government may be carried on, should be allowed great weight. It might be expedient to give him the power of nominating one or more members of the board, and retired governors-general should be entitled, by virtue of their rank and services, to seats at the board.
It is a necessary condition of our parliamentary government that an Indian council should be presided over by a minister of the Crown, and be thus directly connected with the administration of the day. An elective or independent council for Indian affairs is an impossibility with our form of government. An imperium in imperio would be created of a most anomalous and dangerous description. The disadvantages of a frequent change in the presidentship of the council are obvious enough, but they are unavoidable. But the minister for Indian affairs would, we may assume, always be a statesman of the first rank, possessing the confidence of the cabinet, representing their views, and instructed to carry out their measures. For minute and accurate knowledge he must rely on his council, and to it may be safely entrusted the general administration of details. It may, however, be objected, that a council for Indian affairs would be found impracticable in its working, that its time would be occupied in constant discussion, to the obstruction of business and derangement of the machinery of government. We would give the President of the Indian Council a power of overruling the decisions of his colleagues in every instance, and he would, in the rare occurrence of a collision, be obliged to defend his policy in parliament. Nor do we discover any reason why an India board more than a cabinet, or any other Council, should be exposed to the inconvenience of frequent differences of opinion; and we have never heard it objected to our government that a cabinet council is a focus of political dissension.
In framing a new government for India, any ministry must be prepared to encounter the old objection of a design to accumulate power in its own hands. The danger of vesting the patronage of India in the ministers of the Crown will of course be urged by political opponents, whether sitting on one side of the Speaker's chair or the other. Mr. Fox was assailed by a similar cry, although he proposed to rule India by a parliamentary commission. His reply was decisive. “If,” he said,
reform of the government of India is to be postponed until a scheme be devised against which ingenuity, ignorance, caprice, or faction shall not raise objections, the government will never be reformed at all.” And a yet greater man* said, on the same occasion, “ If we are not able to contrive some method of governing India well which will not of necessity become the means of governing Great Britain ill, a ground is laid for their eternal separation, but none for sacrificing the people of that coun. try to our constitution." The system of open competition for civil and military appointments has already done much, and will do more, to check the abuses of patronage. Indian appointments may be largely distributed among our best public and private schools as prizes for merit; and the test of a rigid examination be in all cases enforced upon candidates nominated by the council, in the hands of which a large portion of the patronage may, we should hope, be safely lodged. An increase of the patronage of administration must, however, be accepted as one of the necessary conditions of parliamentary government. It is not an addition to the power of the Crown so much as an augmentation of the means of influence which must always be possessed by a minister. We must accept our free institutions with their necessary and inevitable drawbacks. The disadvantages of parliamentary government may be considerable; a certain amount of corruption must always be one of the greatest, but we look for its correction not to any impracticable abnegation of patronage, but to the increased and increasing power of public opinion, the free criticism of the press, and an improved tone of political morality among all orders and descriptions of public men.
It may be instructive, in the present transition state of our Indian government, to cast a retrospective glance upon the policy of other states, but more particularly that of Spain in the government of her distant dependencies. It may appear extraordinary to refer to that country in her state of decadence and degradation, but there was much in the colonial administration of Spain that is worthy of our attention. Making due allowance for the difference in the character of the two nations, they had much in common during certain periods of their history. The same spirit of enterprise, and the same indomitable perseverance, marked the Spanish as it did the English conquests. Both nations exhibited the same marked ascendancy over the subject races,
and those races both possessed a very ancient civilisation. But it is to the policy of the Spanish government when it was under the necessity of constituting an administration for its colonial empire that we wish to direct attention. There is one peculiarity in the Spanish conception of government, as applied to its dependencies, that, in a most important particular, distinguishes it from our own. Zeal for the propagation of the Christian faith was with that country more than an ostensible motive for encouraging the spirit of enterprise and discovery in the New World. A missionary establishment was an institution of the state. The success in diffusing Christianity was great in proportion to the means employed, and if the benevolent intentions of the supreme government had not been counteracted by the iniquitous conduct of delegated power, the noble efforts of missionary enterprise would have been crowned with success, and a
* Mr. Burke.
Pagan would perhaps have been converted into a Christian community. Widely different has been the policy of England towards her distant and idolatrous dependency. There the light of Christianity was for a long period studiously hidden from the native mind, or was seen, if at all, only as a thin veil thrown over the general profligacy. There never was even a pretence to any higher motive than mercantile gain in our original connexion with India, and a Christian missionary who had dared to set his foot in the land dedicated to the worship of Vishnu and Mammon was expelled with contumely from the soil. Here the policy of Spain stands out in bright contrast to that of England, for, however unsuccessful in results, and inapplicable as a precedent, her noble effort to christianise her subjects by imparting to them the light, such as it was, that she herself possessed, must for ever give her a claim to respect.
A fundamental maxim of the Spanish jurisprudence with respect to America was to consider whatever had been acquired there as vested in the Crown. That state never committed the preposterous mistake of perpetuating a gigantic monopoly, bartering its territorial rights for money to a company of merchants, and delegating to them the awful and almost incommunicable attributes of peace and war. The Spanish government became instantly, in fact as well as in theory, the absolute proprietors of whatever soil had been conquered by the arms of its adventurous subjects. The colonists who established infant settlements were entrusted with no privileges independent of their sovereign, or that could serve as a barrier against the power of the Crown.
When the conquests of Spain in America were completed, she divided her enormous territories into three distinct and independent viceroyalties, which may suggest a comparison with our three Indian presidencies. Each viceroy possessed almost regal prerogatives. The civil business of the various provinces and districts was committed to magistrates of various orders and denominations, and the administration of justice was entrusted to tribunals formed after the model of those of Spain and to judges of Spanish blood ; and a power of appeal was given first to the viceroy, and in the last resort to the GREAT COUNCIL OF THE INDIES.
It is on the constitution and functions of this celebrated department of Spanish administration that we wish to briefly remark, as affording an example of the policy of a nation placed in circumstances somewhat analogous to our own. It was composed of the most eminent statesmen of the Spanish nation, well acquainted with the colonies, eminent for the purity of their characters, and illustrious for their public services. These men, celebrated even in the age of great characters, were selected by their sovereign to assist him in the arduous task of ruling his distant empire, and in them was vested the supreme government of all the Spanish dominions in America. The jurisdiction of the council extended to every department—ecclesiastical, civil, military, and commercial. All the laws and ordinances relative to the government and police of the colonies originated there, and required the approval of two-thirds of the members before they were issued in the name of the king: To it every person employed was made responsible, and every plan originated or suggested by the viceroys for improving the administration or police of their governments was submitted to its decision. “ From the first institution of the Council of the Indies,” says Robertson, "it has been the constant habit