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A similar spirit pervades the Constitution of the selfgoverning colonies, with reference both to their internal government and their relation to the Mother Country. I will not attempt to trace the history of these colonies, or of any of them, in detail, or to explain the technicalities of their existing Constitutions. Speaking broadly, it is as true of them as of the English Constitution, that the present state of things is the result of natural development. In its early days the head of a colony must have full powers, and these must be derived from the Crown-that is, the responsible Government of the Mother Countryand be exercised under the control of the Crown. When the colony begins to gain strength, its leading men may be selected to assist the Governor with their advice and share his powers, and the control of the Crown will be relaxed. As the strength of the colony increases, the nominated Council may give place to an elected one, and the control of the Crown be reduced to a minimum. This is the stage which has been reached by the self-governing colonies, and, as I have said, it has been reached gradually, not by blindly adopting a particular form of government on account of its theoretical beauty, but by from time to time applying the form most suitable to the circumstances of each particular case. There is a great danger in political (of course I do not use the word in its party sense) as well as in other matters, not excluding even the law, of following theories instead of attending to the facts. This danger is particularly great when a country whose government is based on a democratic or popular foundation is dealing with the affairs of a colony or dependency. Because certain arrangements, such as the practical vesting of supreme power in a popular assembly, trial by jury, liberty of the press, work well, or are a necessity, in the Mother Country, it is assumed that they are great and eternal truths which will work equally well in all communities, and that they must be applied regardless of consequences, even though popular elections may result in a war of races or chaos,
trial by jury in gross miscarriage of justice, and liberty of the press in anarchy. The true democratic or popular principle is, I believe, this, that all Governments exist, or should exist, for the good of the governed, and that the best form of government for every community is the one which is, under the particular condition of each case, most calculated to promote this good. The relations between a Mother Country and her colonies and dependencies resemble very closely those between a parent and child. If it is incumbent on the parent to protect and control a child in its infancy, it is equally incumbent on him to recognise the fact that the child grows into the man, and that as he does so advice must take the place of command, and at last even advice must not be obtruded unasked. I do not wish to refer to any of the details of what I have already spoken of as the unfortunate quarrel between England and her American colonies, but I think that it may be said with truth that the chief cause of it was England's failure to recognise the fact that her child had grown up. She has learnt a lesson from the past, and whatever may be the formal constitutional relations between England and her grown-up colonies the real tie between them is that of family affection. The value of such a tie is as great in public as in private life, and it was never more strongly shown than at the present moment, when from all parts of the Empire England's children are rallying to her side, ready to spend their money and their lives in her defence, each colony vying with the others as to which can do most for the common mother, and best serve their much loved Queen.
To the very brief sketch which I have attempted to give of the constitutional relations between England and her colonies I must add a few words regarding these relations between her and India. India is not and never can be a colony-that is, a country occupied to any appreciable extent by settlers of British descent. Its organization, social and political, is entirely its own, though its govern
ment is completely controlled by England. It is the greatest of England's dependencies, and a most perfect illustration of the true meaning of that term. Although India is often described as having been conquered or acquired by the sword, the description is very inaccurate. The real source of the acquisition was, as in the case of the colonies, the peaceful industry and enterprise of England's own children. The foundation of the Empire was a curious one. It was due to a rise in the price of pepper. The Dutch, who had a monopoly of the Eastern trade, raised the price of all spices to such an extent that in 1600 a few merchants of the City of London determined to send out one or two ships of their own. Their enterprise was successful; it was repeated, and developed into a regular trade. The merchants became a Chartered Company, with a monopoly and established depots or factories. Bombay came to England as part of the dowry of the Queen of Charles II. Madras was founded in 1664 and Calcutta in 1698. The factories grew into possessions, and their guards into a powerful army. Clive made these possessions a power, and Warren Hastings made this power an empire, of which he was made Governor-General in 1774. It was Pitt's Regulating Act of that year which first established any real constitutional relations between England and India. This was done by constituting in England a Committee of the East India Company's directors, presided over by a Cabinet Minister, called the "President of the Board of Control," for the management of the "political" affairs of the Company, by associating with the Governor-General members of the Council appointed from home, and by establishing at each Presidency town-that is, at Calcutta, Madras, and Bombay-a Supreme Court, whose judges were English barristers. This arrangement lasted till 1860, when the East India Company ceased to exist, and the Crown assumed the direct government of India.
But the organization of the new government was framed,
in the main, on the lines of the old one. In England a Secretary of State took the place of the old "President of the Board of Control," and his Council, varying in number from ten to fifteen, and composed of persons, official and non-official, of the greatest Indian experience, took the place of the old Company's Committee. The Secretary of State cannot impose any burden on the finances of India without the consent of his Council, and he is supposed to consult it and be guided by its advice in all other matters. But he may, and he not infrequently does, act independently of his Council, or disregard its advice, not, I fear, always to the benefit of India.
In India the Governor-General became also Viceroy, but his powers and those of his Executive Council, which consists of a legal member and a financial member, usually sent out from England, and a military member, and two civilians selected from the civil and military services in India, remained much as before. Each member of Council has
special charge of some department of the Government, and, like a Cabinet Minister in other countries, disposes of all minor matters connected with it. All matters of importance are dealt with by the whole Council, but the Viceroy is not bound by a vote of the majority, nor would a member who was outvoted think it necessary to resign. He would merely record a minute setting forth his reasons for dissenting from the policy adopted. No doubt the original intention of the framers of this Constitution was that the opinion of the members of Council should be given perfectly independently by them as Indian experts, that the Viceroy should also form an independent judgment after giving due weight to this opinion, and that the Secretary of State in England should only overrule the Viceroy for very special reasons. I would not imply that the members of the Council have ceased to give independent opinions (and they have most carefully kept themselves free from English political parties), but the course of events in India and its vicinity, which has made many Indian ques
tions English or European questions, and more especially the telegraphic connection between India and England, has tended to reduce the Government of India to a more subordinate position, and to make its highest officers not men left to act independently with a possibility of having their action set aside, but mere officials appointed to carry out orders or a policy resolved on at home.
A very erroneous idea prevails about the Government of India and its officers in matters of internal administration It is very generally supposed that the Executive Government and its officials, down even to its district officers, can issue what orders they please, and that these orders have the force of law. Nothing can be further from the truth. No doubt this was the state of things under the native Governments which preceded the British, and it continues, with certain reservations in the native States at the present day. But in British India the powers of the Government and its officers were created solely by the written law, and are strictly limited by it. There is no royal prerogative by common law, and no inherent power in any class or any individual to rule over others. The whole population is on a footing of the most perfect legal equality, and if anyone issues an order to another he must show that the power to do so was conferred on him by a certain section of a certain Act, either of Parliament or the Indian Legislature, and punishment for disobedience of the order could only be inflicted by a regular court of law after a proper trial. If the Viceroy himself were to be personally assaulted by a common coolie, the latter would not, as in most Eastern countries, be led off to instant execution; he would have to be prosecuted before a magistrate, and could only, on conviction, receive the sentence prescribed by law.
No doubt in its inception the British Government did succeed to the powers of the Government it displaced, and its executive orders were regarded as laws. But as soon as Pitt's Act of 1774 gave a definite shape to the constitution of India, the distinction was drawn between mere