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transportation, for which some of the colonies were found. ed, - has been given up: patronage has been surrendered, the dispo-al of public lands waived by the Crown, and political dominion virtually renounced. In short, their dependence has become little more than nominal, except for purposes of military defence.
We have seen how, in the earlier history of the colonies, they strove to defend themselves. But during the
Military prolonged hostilities of the French revolutionary defence of war, assaults upon our colonies naturally formed part of the tactics of the enemy, which were met, on our part, by costly naval and military armaments. And after the peace, England continued to garrison her colonies with large military forces, - wholly paid by herself, - and to construct fortifications, requiring still larger garrisons. Wars were undertaken against the natives, as in the Cape of Good Hope and New Zealand, — of which England bore all the cost, and the colonies gained all the profit. English soldiers have further performed the services of colonial police. Instead of taxing her colonies, England has suffered herself to be taxed heavily on their account. The annual military expenditure, on account of the colonies, ultimately reached £3,225,081, of which £1,715,246 was incurred for free colonies, and £1,509,835 for military garrisons and dependencies, maintained chiefly for imperial purposes.1 Many of the colonies have already contributed towards the maintenance of British troops, and have further raised considerable bodies of militia and volunteers ; but Parliament has recently pronounced it to be just that the colonies which enjoy self-government, should undertake the responsibility and cost of their own military defence. To carry this policy into effect must be the work of time. But whenever it may be effected, the last material bond of connection with the colonies will have been severed ; and colonial states, acknowledging the honorary sovereignty of England, and fully armed for self-defence, as well against herself as others,
1 Report of Committee on Colonial Military Expenditure, 1861.
2 lbid., and Evidence; Resolution of Commons, Mar. 4, 1862. – Hans. Deb., 3d Ser., clxxv. 1032; Earl Grey's Colonial Policy, i. 265; Mr. Adderley's Letter to Mr. Disraeli on the Relations of England with the Colonies,
will have grown out of the dependencies of the British Empire. They will still look to her, in time of war, for at least naval protection; and, in peace, they will continue to imitate her laws and institutions, and to glory in the proud distinction of British citizenship. On her part, England may well be prouder of the vigorous freedom of her prosperous sons, than of a hundred provinces subject to the iron rule of British pro-consuls. And, should the sole remaining ties of kindred, affection, and honor be severed, she will reflect, with just exultation, that her dominion ceased, not in oppression and bloodshed, but in the expansive energies of freedom, and the hereditary capacity of her manly offspring for the privileges of self-government.
Other parts of the British empire have — from the conDependencies
ditions of their occupation, the relations of the state to the native population, and other circum
stances - been unable to participate in the free institutions of the more favored colonies ; but they have largely shared in that spirit of enlightened liberality, which, during the last twenty years, has distinguished the administration of colonial affairs. Of all the dependencies of the British crown, India is the
most considerable in territory, in population, in revenue, and in military resources. It is itself a great empire. Originally acquired and governed by a trading company, England was responsible for its administration no further than was implied in the charters and Acts of Parliament, by which British subjects were invested with sovereignty over
distant regions.” Trade was the first, dominion Company. the secondary object of the company. Early in
unfitted for self-governInent.
1 Viz., India, Malta, Gibraltar, Ceylon, Hong Kong, St. Helena, Falklands, Western Australia, Labuan, Sierra Leone, Gambia, Gold Coast.
2 The first charter was granted in 1600; the first Act concerning the East India Company was passed in 1698, 9 & 10 Will. III. c. 44.
the reign of George III. their territories had become so extended, that Lord Chatham conceived the scheme of claim. ing them as dominions of the crown. This great scheme, however, dwindled, in the hands of his colleagues, into an agreement with the company to pay £400,000 a year, as the price of their privileges. This tribute was not long enjoyed, for the company, impoverished by perpetual wars, and mal-administration, fell into financial difficulties ; and in 1773, were released from this obligation. And in this year, Parliament, for the first time, undertook to regulate the constitution of the government of India. The court of directors, consisting of twenty-four members, elected by the proprietors of India stock, and virtually independent of the government, became the home authority, by whom the governor-general was appointed, and to whom alone he was responsible. An Asiatic empire was still intrusted to a company, having an extensive civil and military organization, making wars and conquests, negotiating treaties, and exercising uncontrolled dominion. A trading company bad grown into a corporate emperor. The genius of Clive and Warren Hastings had acquired the empire of the Great Mogul.
But power exercised by irresponsible and despotic rulers was naturally abused ; and in 1773, and again in Abuses of 1780, the directors were placed under the partial
ministration, control of a secretary of state. Soon afterwards 1781-82. some of the most glaring excesses of Indian misrule were forced upon the notice of Parliament. English statesmen became sensible that the anomalies of a government, so constituted, could no longer be endured. It was not fit that
i Lord Mahon's Hist., v. 262; Chatham Corr., iv. 264.
2 7 Geo. III. c. 57; 9 Geo. III. c. 24; Parl. Hist., xvi. 350; Walp. Mem., ii. 391, 427, 449; jji. 39-57.
8 13 Geo. III. c. 63.
6 See Debates, Feb. 1st and 12th, and May 8th, 1781; April 15th, 1782. Parl. Hist., xxi. 1162, 1182; xxii. 200, 1275; Reports of Secret and Select Committees, 1782 and 1783.
England should suffer her subjects to practise the iniquities of Asiatic rule, without effective responsibility and control. On Mr. Fox and the coalition ministry first devolved the task of providing against the continued oppression and mis
rule, which recent inquiries had exposed. They India Bill,
grappled boldly with the evils which demanded a
remedy. Satisfied that the government of an empire could not be confided with safety or bonor to a commercial company, they proposed at once to transfer it to another body. But to whom could such a power be intrusted ? Not to the crown, whose influence they had already denounced as exorbitant; not to any department of the executive government, which could become accessory to Parliamentary corruption. The company had been, in great measure, independent of the crown and of the ministers of the day; and the power which bad been abused, they now proposed to vest in an independent board. This important body was to consist of seven commissioners, appointed in the first instance, by Parliament, for a term of four years, and ultimately by the crown. The leading concerns of the company were to be managed by eight assistants, appointed first by Parliament, and afterwards by the proprietors of East India stock. It was a bold and hazardous measure, on which Mr. Fox and his colleagues staked their power. Conceived in a spirit of wisdom and humanity, it recognized the duty of the state to redress the wrongs and secure the future welfare of a distant empire; yet was it open to objections which a fierce party contest discolored with exaggeration. The main objections urged against the bill were these: that it violated the chartered rights of the company, that it increased the influence of the crown, and that it invested the coalition party, then having a Parliamentary majority, with a power superior to the crown itself. regards the first objection, it was vain to contend that Parliament might not lawfully dispossess the company of their dominion over millions of
1 Mr. Fox's Speech, Nov. 18th, 1783; Parl. Hist., xxiii. 1187.
men, which they had disgraced by fraud, rapine, oppression, cruelty, and bloodshed. They had clearly forfeited the political powers intrusted to them for the public good. A solemn trust, having been flagrantly violated, might justly be revoked. But had they forfeited their commercial privileges ? They were in difficulties and debt; their affairs were in the utmost confusion ; the grossest mismanagement was but too certainly proved. But such evils in a commercial company however urgently needing correction, scarcely justified the forfeiture of established rights. The two latter objections were plainly contradictory. The measure could not increase the influence of the crown, and at the same time exalt a party above it. The former was, in truth, wholly untenable, and was relinquished; while the king, the opposition, the friends of the company, and the country, made common cause in maintaining the latter. And assuredly the weakest point was chosen for attack. The bill nominated the commissioners, exclusively from the ministerial party ; and intrusted them with all the power and patronage of India, for a term of four years. At a time when corrupt influence was so potent in the councils of the state, it cannot be doubted that the Commissioners would have been able to promote the political interests of their own party. To add to their weight, they were entitled to sit in Parliament. Already the Parliamentary influence of the Company had aroused jealousy; and its concentration in a powerful and organized party naturally excited alarm. However exaggerated by party violence, it was unquestionably a well-founded objection, which ought to have been met and counteracted. It is true that vacancies were to be filled up by the crown, and that the appointment of the commissioners was during good behavior; but, practically, they would have enjcyed an in. dependent authority for four years. It was right to wrest power from a body which should never have been permitted to exercise it, and by whom it had been flagrantly abused ; but it was wrong to constitute the new government an in