Journal of the House of Lords: Volume 62, 1830. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London.
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Die Jovis, 25 Martii 1830.
I was first Four Years Assistant to the Judge at Benares, and in the College in Bengal; I then went as Assistant Secretary to the Resident at Poonah; I then went as a sort of Political Assistant or Secretary with The Duke of Wellington; from that I was made Resident at Nagpoor, afterwards Acting Resident in Scindia's Camp, and then Envoy to Caubal; I was then Resident at Poonah, where I continued 'till the breaking out of the War with the Peishwa. I was Commissioner of the conquered Territory; and for the last Eight Years Governor of Bombay.
In some few Parts Settlements are made with Proprietors of Tracts of Country; more commonly with the Heads of Villages, or with the Village Communities, or with the individual Cultivators. In some Instances Tracts of uncultivated Country are given in Farm to any People who will undertake to lay out their Capital in improving them.
There is a Collector and European Assistants in every District; under them there are Native Collectors, who have small Portions of the District; they have inferior Revenue Officers under them, who collect the Revenue from the Villages.
Either by the Zemindars, when Tracts of Country are in the Hands of such Persons, or by the Villages, or by the individual Ryots, according to the Modes of Settlement, whether Zemindarry, or Mouzawary, or Ryotwary.
I do not think there is any material Difference. If the Rights of Individuals are well fixed, and there are Limits put to the Government Revenue, they are all equally good. But until a Survey has been made, when there is a good Collector, the Settlement with the individual Cultivators is best, because there is nothing between the Collector and the People - he sees into every thing; when there is a bad Collector, the Settlement with Villages or by Zemindars is best, because the Collector has least to do. When all is settled, I would give a Preference to the Settlement with the Heads of Villages, or small Zemindars, as tending to keep up the upper Class in the Country, which it is generally the Effect of our Institutions to break down.
It is assessed with reference to the Payments of former Years, and to the actual State of the Cultivation and of the Season. If the Cultivation has been increased, the Revenue is increased; if Land has been thrown up, it is diminished; and if it is a bad Season, Allowances are made for it.
A Survey was in progress in Guzzerat, that had been commenced some Time before I went to the Government, and was nearly finished before I went away; and a more complete one was just commenced in the Deccan, with a view to a new and lighter Assessment, and to defining Tenures and fixing Boundaries.
A European Officer, carefully selected, is appointed to the Head of the Survey; he has under him different Classes of Natives of Experience; they consult with the Heads of Villages and with intelligent Ryots; and each Owner of a Field states his Arguments for a lighter Assessment, or represents any Peculiarity in the Circumstances of his Land.
It was proposed that no Addition should be made on account of it; that when the Survey was completed an Agreement should be made with the Heads of Villages, that they might pay a fixed Amount for the Period of their Lease, which was to be a very long one. Nothing was to be levied upon new Land brought into Cultivation.
Yes; there are several Descriptions of Land. Some is held for Military or other Service Rent-free. That is called Jaghire. Some is held on paying a Quit Rent, so light that it almost partakes of that Nature; and some is entirely exempt from all Payment of Revenue. That, in the Deccan, is called Enaum.
There are different Opinions as to the Tenure. Some suppose that the whole of the Land is private Property; others, that it is held on a Right of Occupancy, and that while the Rent or Tax is paid to the Government the Holder must not be dispossessed. But it is a Property of very little Importance, as the Government has the Power of taking what Share it pleases of the Proceeds; and for these Reasons the Words "Rent" and "Tax" are indiscriminately used. There is a Description of Land on which the Tax ought not to be raised, or only under particular Circumstances; but this Privilege has been rendered almost nugatory by some Practices of the Native Governments.
In some Parts of the Country they do. In our latest Acquisitions they have been kept on the Native System, where the Duty is levied almost at every Stage, and that must of course very much impede the Communication.
They are sometimes collected and sometimes farmed. The farming is considered as a preferable Mode, because there is a Competition among the Farmers to give little Vexation, to levy light Duties, so as to draw People on to their Roads.
There was a Plan, just before I left Bombay, for lessening the Transit Duties; and the Loss was to be made up by an Increase of the Sea Customs, and I think by an increased Tax on Salt, but I am not quite positive.
Until this Proposal, I am not certain that there was a Salt Tax at Bombay. Some of the Salt Pans belong to Government, and were granted to People who paid a Rent for them. There was no general System like that in Bengal.
I think it might. The Land Assessment is so heavy at present that it is not desirable to increase any Tax that bears on that Class; but the Consumption of Salt reaches many whom the Land Revenue does not, and it is partly drawn from Foreign Countries where our Salt is consumed.
No. It was proposed that a Settlement in some degree permanent should be made, so that there should be no Fluctuation, and as the Country improved, the Assessment, which is now heavy, would become light, and as Consumption increased there would be other Objects for Taxation besides the Land.
Some of the Inhabitants within Towns are untaxed, and the Owners of Rent-free Land are almost entirely untaxed; but it is extremely difficult to devise any Means by which they could be taxed, without the Tax falling on the Classes who are already sufficiently heavily burthened.
The Country was divided into Districts, which were farmed to the highest Bidder; he sub-let them in small Portions to Underrenters; and the whole of the Government, Civil, Military and Judicial, was in the Hands of these Farmers.
Those I have seen most of, the Nizam's, Scindia's and the Rajah of Berar's, were governed on nearly the same Plan with the Peishwa's. There are some small States who do not farm the Land, but make a Settlement of the Revenue on equitable Principles, and they are very flourishing.
The Head of the Village is the Head of the Police, and under him there is a Village Watchman, who has a Grant of Land, or rather his Family have a Grant of Land, for which they are bound to supply a Member, and they generally take it in rotation.
It is different in different Districts. It is something like a Military Arrangement; they all wear an Uniform, and have Officers of different Ranks, and some nearly approach to the System pursued in regular Corps.
Considering the Nature of the Country, which is very full of Hills and Woods, and Places where Robbers can find Refuge, it is good; but there is a great Want of Public Spirit in the People, and they are afraid of accusing Robbers lest they should be acquitted, and they might be in danger from their Violence afterwards.
There is a Judge in each District, and under him there are a certain Number of Native Judges in Divisions of the District. An Appeal lies from the Native Judges to the European Judge, and from him to the Court called the Sudder Adawlut, from which an Appeal lies to The King in Council.
They are partly paid by a Salary and partly by Fees. No Fee was levied on any Cause under One hundred Rupees; but the Fee for those small Causes was paid by the Government, so as to make it the Interest of the Native Judge to try many Causes.
There is a small College at Poonah where they may get some Instruction; but there is a very great Deficiency of Means for educating them. The Sudder Adawlut has frequently represented to the Government of Bombay, that the Knowledge of the Hindoo and Mohamedan Law is becoming extinct among the Natives, and that it is difficult to find Law Officers in consequence.
They are more lately made, and consequently there are fewer Regulations rescinded and altered, and the Code is much shorter. I believe the Process is more simple. Natives are more employed; the Native Prejudices, I think, are more attended to; and in the Criminal Branch an Attempt has been made to define Crimes and specify Punishments.
In 1827, just before my Departure. There are some minor Differences between it and the Bengal Code. An Admonition is made use of instead of an Oath, in examining Witnesses; there is no Limit to the Interest of Money; and there is no Imprisonment for Debt after a Person gives up his Property; and some other Things of less Consequence, which I believe do not exist in the Bengal Code. In some respects it is less advanced than the Bengal Code.
From the Country being a later Conquest, a great many Natives are exempted from the Jurisdiction of the Courts. Some of those Exemptions are carried further than it would be desirable to maintain permanently. Many Revenue Causes are excluded from the Jurisdiction of the Court, until some more accurate Knowledge shall be obtained about the Rights of the Government, and of Individuals in those Branches.
No practical Difficulty whatever, except in one Instance. Part of the Plan was, to inquire into the Customs of Castes, and that in the City of Surat excited great Alarm; the People shut up their Shops, and the Judge who was making the Inquiries was obliged to desist. The Natives conceived that it was intended to interfere with the Customs of their Castes, and not merely to inquire into them.
They are perfectly satisfied with the Purity and Impartiality of it; but they are disgusted with the Forms and Delays. I think they have a Prejudice against our Administration of Justice, though it is certainly an unfounded one.
The greatest Improvement would be, the Formation of a Code such as that already mentioned. At present the Regulations provide merely Rules for Procedure. The Judge is to administer the Hindoo Law. That is partly to be found in Books, and partly in local Customs, and Customs of Castes. When the Judge has a Point to ascertain, if it is a Point of Law, he is obliged to refer to a Law Officer, and the Decision must depend upon his Learning and Integrity. If it is a Point of Custom, he must examine Witnesses, and the Witnesses are subject to being influenced by Favour or Corruption. A Judge must also have to exercise his own Discretion in the Decision he gives; and as he judges on Principles different from those of the Natives, his Decisions, even when they are most correct, must often be unexpected to the Suitors. This must produce considerable Uncertainty and increased Litigation. The Remedy appears to be, the Formation of a Code; but a Code, if it is inapplicable to the State of Society, or inconsistent with established Usages, will produce much greater Confusion than it is intended to remedy. It is necessary, therefore, that it should be made very cautiously, and with Attention to the Usages that at present exist. The Steps taken at Bombay towards forming a Code were to appoint a Gentleman to inquire into the Customs of Castes; which was done in the Deccan in the course of Two or Three Years, and his Collection was published. Another Gentleman was employed to make a Selection from the Decisions of the Courts of Justice on Points that seemed most to contribute to the Formation of a Code. The same Gentleman made a Translation of One of the Hindoo Law Books, which had not already been translated. If those Collections were continued, at the End of a certain Time they would furnish a Body of Materials from which some Rules might be selected and formed into a Code, which would supply the Place of the Hindoo Law, and give as much Satisfaction as the present Mode of administering it, while it would be much clearer both to the People and the Judges.
A considerable Number of Hindoo Law Books had been translated in Bengal by Mr. Colebrook and Sir William Jones and others, but I do not think the European Judges were much in the habit of studying them; they got the Hindoo Law from their Law Officers, and they were a good deal guided by their own Opinion. The Hindoo Law is so vague on many Points, that they are often obliged to exercise their own Discretion.
The Collector decides, in the first Instance, all Disputes connected with Land between Parties. An Appeal lies from him to the Judge. He is supposed to possess more Information about Land, and more Means of procuring Evidence, than the Judge could have.
The Collector, as Magistrate, punishes Misdemeanors. The greater Offences are tried by the European Judge of the District, who can punish as far as Seven Years Imprisonment. Higher Offences are tried by a Judge of the Sudder Adawlut, who goes the Circuit. The Capital Offences require the Confirmation of the whole Court of Sudder Adawlut.
There has been an Attempt in the new Bombay Code to make Rules which shall apply to all Criminal Cases. Formerly the Hindoo Law was nominally resorted to, but it almost always left the Punishment to the Decision of the Judge; it was nearly arbitrary.
I think they are satisfied with it, as far as protecting Innocence; but they complain very much of its Inadequacy to punish Guilt. I am not certain that their Complaints are well founded, for their Notions of Justice are very summary, and they are not able to comprehend the Difficulties we find in Criminal Procedure.
I think they would tend very much to the Improvement of the People, by drawing their Attention to public Business, but I doubt whether they would promote the immediate Objects of obtaining either a speedy or an improved Administration of Justice.
It would depend very much on the Class from which the Jury was selected. I do not think the Form of an English Jury the most desirable in which the Assistance of Natives could be afforded to European Judges.
I should doubt whether it would not be better to have a few Native Assessors rather than a Jury; that the Judge should have the Power of selecting a few well-informed Natives to sit with him as Assessors, he being responsible for the Decision. By the last Bombay Regulations, every Judge has a Power in all Cases of either assembling a Jury or calling in Assessors when he thinks it desirable.
I do not think it would. If I am to understand a Jury chosen and constituted as a Jury is here, it would be influenced by many Prejudices, and it would administer Justice much less satisfactorily than the same Class of People do in England.
I think it would be better that they should be selected, because it has the Effect of employing and improving the Natives more; and as it was not known who was to be Assessor in each Cause, when he was appointed there would be less Room for Corruption.
The State of Native Education is very fully shewn in a Series of Reports, which were called for from the different Officers under the Government, in the Beginning of the Year 1824. My general Impression from them is, that as far as reading and writing go, though far from being so extensive as might be desired, it is creditable to the Natives, being carried on entirely by themselves; but in all the higher Branches of Education it is totally defective.
I laid a Plan before the Government of Bombay in December 1823, in which all the Means that seemed to me practicable for Education were suggested. What I proposed for the higher Branches was, the Institution of a College, the Employment of Two or more European Professors, the granting of Prizes to those who shewed most Proficiency on Examinations, and, above all, the giving certain Rewards to any European or Native who would produce a Translation of an English Book on Science, or an original Work on Science, in a Native Language.
Supposing such a System of Education to be established, will not Natives, in your Opinion, be elected to fill many higher Situations than they now fill under the Government, and fill them advantageously?
I do not recollect any higher than the principal Judicial and Revenue Officers, who get a Salary of 500 Rupees a Month. There were in the Deccan Dewans or Chief Officers under the Collector, who at one Time got as much as a Thousand Rupees a Month; but I rather think they have been reduced.
I cannot say that I have seen much Change in the Native Character. There certainly is, in some few of the educated Classes, greater Liberality, and greater Desire for Information, than there was formerly.
I conceive it has certainly been beneficial. The Mogul Empire was broken up before the Introduction of our Power into India, and the whole Country was in the Hands of feeble Nabobs, or rapacious Mahrattas, in an extreme State of Misgovernment. We have put a stop to all external Invasion, and to all open Violence within our own Territories; and we have introduced a regular Administration of Justice, and a Government on fixed and rational Principles; all of which are great Benefits conferred on the Natives; but no doubt the Introduction of our Government has been attended also with very great Evils, as the Introduction of a Foreign Government always must be. It tends very much to level all Ranks; it withdraws a good deal of the Encouragement there was to Learning, and to Excellence of all sorts; and also, by the Destruction of the higher Class of Natives, it has diminished the Demand for many Indian Manufactures; the Europeans, who supply their Place, making use chiefly of Articles of their own Country, while the Importation from England of the Cloths and other Manufactures worn by the Natives themselves has supplanted the Manufactures of India.
A more general Residence of Europeans would be certainly attended with great Advantages, if they carried Capital or Skill with them to India; but I think that any unrestricted Residence of Europeans in India would be productive of more Harm than Good.
Would not a greater Resort of Europeans to the Country tend to keep down the Native Population, and to prevent the Natives rising to the Possession of those Offices in which you think it would be desirable to place them?
I think it certainly would. If Europeans were allowed to go without Restraint to India, I think many would go at first, some without Capital, and others on Speculations which would soon reduce them to Poverty; that from the Compassion of their Countrymen in India, and their greater Fitness for Office, they would be introduced into Employments to which we have been of late endeavouring to introduce the Natives; and that if they formed Friendships with the Europeans in Power, which they have greater Means of doing than the Natives, they would get Advantages in other Ways.
If none went to India but such as had Capital to employ in Commerce or Agriculture, no bad Effects would follow from their Residence. There would be some Competition, no doubt, between them and the Natives; but I think the Balance of Advantage would be greater than that of Disadvantage.
I do not know that any of the present Restrictions could be dispensed with. It would be sufficient if the Government had the Power of sending them out of the Country, and of sending them from one District to another, in case of their being guilty of any Oppression, or creating any great Disturbance in any particular District, as has happened sometimes. I am always supposing they are not so numerous as to form a very considerable Community in India. Such a Community would be very unruly, and very difficult to manage on the Part of a Government which must be always arbitrary in its Character. If there were a great Body of discontented Colonists, such as at the Cape for instance, I think their Clamours would probably weaken the Government very much with the Natives. Their Disagreements with the Natives would also be dangerous; and I think there would be a great Increase of the Feeling which there is now only among the lower Orders of Europeans in India, of Contempt and Dislike for Blacks. There would be a more marked Distinction between Blacks and Whites, as there is in all regular Colonies.
Part of it is in the Hands of Government, like the other Districts; and the greater Part in the Hands of Jaghiredars, Chiefs of the Peishwa, to whom their Lands have been continued by the British Government.
They are in some degree, but much less than in the other Provinces. There is no Judge stationed in the Southern Mahratta Country; the Judicial Proceedings are subject to the Revision of the Sudder Adawlut.
They are Subjects of the Government; but the Demands which the Government retain on them are fixed by Agreements which cannot now be altered. They consist of their furnishing a Body of Horse when called for, and perhaps some other Duties of less Consequence. They have a complete Jurisdiction within their own Territories, and the Power of Life and Death.
They differ according to the Character of the individual Chief. There is one great Family, that of the Putwurdens, all the Members of which have kept their Jaghires in the highest State of Prosperity. Some again, such as Appa Dessye, have carried on the greatest Exactions and Oppressions in their Jaghires.
The Chief appoints Collectors of the Revenue, who have the Judicial Power, as usual under the Natives, but they are not Farmers; they have generally a light Assessment; and the Jaghire being small, the Chief is able to pay Attention to every Part of it, and to see that there are no great Abuses.
That is not very easy to answer; for under the Native Governments the Rent or Tax fixed by the Government may be small, but there are a vast Number of Exactions in different Shapes which do not appear, and a great deal is embezzled by the Heads of Villages or other Agents of the Government. When our Government is introduced a stop is put to Exactions; but the Money formerly retained, though fraudulently, by the Heads of Villages and others, is all drawn to the Government, and the Assessment in consequence becomes really heavier on them.
Those are chiefly in Guzzerat. In some of them the Tribute is due to the British Government only, in others, the British Government and the Guicowar, and in others, to the Guicowar alone, but collected through the Agency of the British Government. Owing to the local Calamities, to the Oppressions of the Guicowar before we took the Management of his Share into our own Hands, and to the Division of the Property among the junior Members of Families, I think they are generally in a bad State; a State of Decay and Decline.
I think it is probable that a more direct Intervention would improve their Condition; but we are in a great measure tied up from exercising it, partly by our Agreements with the Chiefs themselves, and partly by the Relation they bear to the Guicowar.
About Half, perhaps; but they are so intermixed with those that are connected with the Guicowar that it is difficult to alter the System with them so long as the Guicowar's Tributaries remain in their present State.
When the Number of Persons from whom the Selection is to be made is considered, and the Rule by which they are ordinarily promoted to Office, does the Discretion left to the Government enable it on all Occasions to place in Situations of the first Power and Responsibility Persons in whom it can place Confidence?
I do not know that there is so much any Advantage that arises from that, as that it would be impossible to conduct a regular Service without it. It would be impossible to get well-educated Persons to go to India on the Chance of getting Appointments according to their Merits, without a Rise that is in some measure certain.
The Act of Parliament restrains the Government from giving an Appointment of a certain Value to an Individual who has not been a certain Number of Years in the Service; but it does not impose on the Government the Obligation of giving the Appointment to a Person who has been so many Years?
I think in the Political Line they may be employed indiscriminately with Civil Servants. In the Civil Department I think it would not be desirable to employ them without special Reasons, for it would render the Civil Service so insecure that properly educated Persons would not be disposed to enter it. Provided there was a sufficient Number of Appointments left for all the Civil Servants, there would be no Objection.
They receive an Education at the College at Hayleybury. In Calcutta and Madras there are Colleges where they receive a further Education in India. At Bombay there is no College; but they are subject to an Examination in the Native Languages before they are permitted to enter on any Appointment, and to a second Examination before they are promoted to the next Step in their Line. A great deal of their Education is acquired in the Course of their Duty, as they rise in the Service.
Yes, I think it would. There are not so many in Bombay as to occasion much Inconvenience from their being kept at One Place, and they are not in a College; but whenever there is a great Body of them together, I think it is always very injurious.
Has it been found practically, that the Civil Servants under the Presidency of Bombay, educated without a College, have been less efficient in the Performance of their Duties than the Civil Servants of the other Presidencies, educated at the Colleges?
I think it would be better if in England their Attention was directed more to the Knowledge which could be acquired only here, than to Native Languages, that can be better learnt in India; particularly to Political Economy and the general Principles of Jurisprudence (not English Law, but general Jurisprudence.) Perhaps it would be better, if, instead of being confined to any one College, they were taken from any College where they could get a good Education, and subjected to a very strict Examination before they were sent out.
A great Body of young Men are brought together, without an Institution which has been long enough established to impress them with Respect, or to maintain Order amongst them. I think the Effect of that will be to make them more extravagant, and less subordinate than they would be if they were otherwise educated.
As many of the young Men sent out to India in the Civil Service are connected with Persons who have passed their Lives there, is not there a Disadvantage in keeping up a sort of Indian Caste, by educating them in the same College?
I do not think they make any Report to the Government on the Civil Department, except sending in Returns of the Number of Causes filed and decided. The Judge of Circuit reports on the Police; and the Government consults the Sudder Adawlut on all Points connected with Judicial Business, whenever it thinks it necessary.
He receives the Estimates from the Collectors of the probable Receipts for every Year, and also those of the Charges from the Departments of Expenditure, and frames a general Estimate for the Government, and suggests the Ways and Means for the Deficit. At the End of the Year he takes all the Accounts, and submits them to the Government. He corresponds with the Accountant General in Bengal on all Measures of Finance. In Bombay he is also at the Head of the Audit Department, but not at the other Presidencies.
Is it the Duty of the Accountant General, or any other Person, to report on the Propriety, on the Part of the Governor, of acceding to any proposed Increase of Charge or Diminution of Charge in any Department?
After the Increase of Charge has been sanctioned, and has been for some Time in progress. The whole of the Expences of the Two Years are contrasted. There is no particular Review of new Expences, or the Effect of new Establishments.
It sometimes happens that one Member will be particularly acquainted with a Branch of Business that the others are not; the Commercial Department in particular; and in that Case the other Members generally defer to his Opinion. But it has never been, as in Bengal, where at one Time a particular Member of the Government was supposed to be at the Head of the Revenue Department, and another of the Judicial.
When the Governor quits the Seat of Government it is at present by no means certain what the Intention of the Act of Parliament is as to the Powers he shall retain, and the Particulars on which he shall consult Members of Council, or act independently. That Point would require to be fixed. At present, he in Effect acts altogether independently. It would be better to leave him that Power, and also the Power of consulting the Council when he thinks it necessary.
He has the Power of acting in Cases of Importance. I forget the exact Expression of the Act of Parliament, but it seems meant that it shall be on rare Occasions, where the Safety of the Government would be endangered by an erroneous Decision. I think it would be advantageous if the Governor were allowed the same Latitude on all Occasions, as he always must be the responsible Person.
The Members of Council being usually Persons of high Character and long Standing in the Service, would it not be advantageous to delegate to them particular Functions in the Government, so that the Public might avail themselves of their Services to the fullest Extent?
If they were put at the Head of Departments, the Government remaining on its present Footing, each would be responsible for his own Department, and the Governor would be in a measure superseded; the Opinion of these Heads of the Departments in Council would then have much greater Weight than it has at present, and the Governor's Attention would be withdrawn from the Department committed to each Individual.
If that Power were distinctly given to the Governor of which you have spoken, of acting on all Occasions independent of his Council, might not in that Case the Services of the Members of Council, being personally responsible for the good Management of the Departments over which they presided, be usefully available for the Public Service?
If the Persons at the Head of the different Departments, the Judicial and the Financial, were not Members of Council, might not still the Advantages, whatever they may be, which are derived from the Members of Council, be still derived from those Individuals; might not their Opinion be required by the Governor on all Occasions of Importance, and recorded?
That might certainly be done, but it would not entirely supply the Place of the Council as it is at present constituted. As every Measure of Government must be submitted to the Council, and discussed, that would be no longer necessary under such a System as that referred to, if I have understood it properly.
The Difference would be this; that under the present System every Measure is submitted for Discussion, and under the System which has been spoken of only those Measures would be submitted for Discussion which were considered by the Governor to be of sufficient Importance to require it.
There is certainly very great Inconvenience and Loss of Time in the long Discussions there are on all Subjects at present; but I think, in so distant a Government, probably the Advantage is greater than the Evil.
That is perhaps the principal Advantage; but the Governor, knowing that every Measure he has to propose is to be immediately discussed, is obliged to mature it, and consider it more before he proposes it than he otherwise might do.
By Law, I believe they are, except in Cases where the Governor is empowered to interpose, under the Provisions I have before alluded to; but practically I imagine the Responsibility rests entirely with the Governor.
I know no practical Inconvenience from the present Relation between the supreme Government and the other Governments; but I think it would be desirable that the supreme Government should not possess, what I believe it very seldom exercises, the Power of interfering in the internal Affairs of the other Presidencies, except in Cases that were likely to affect the general Interests. It is very necessary that the Relation of the Government and the Supreme Court should be defined in some Particulars.
At present no Servant of the Government acting under an Order is responsible to the Supreme Court for his Conduct. I should think it an Advantage, if the Government were allowed by an ex post facto Approbation to invest their Officers with the same Immunity.
Yes; but if he does it without a written Order he is not exempt; and I think the Court ought to have the Power of taking the Responsibility upon itself whenever it thinks proper. The Governor and Members of the Council are at present subject to the Jurisdiction of the Supreme Court in a great many Particulars, most of which I would not interfere with; but there are some on which I think a Limitation might be placed. The Supreme Court ought not to have the Power of summoning the Governor, or perhaps the Members of Council, as Witnesses, or to serve on Juries, which they have at present by Law; and some Provision ought perhaps to be made to protect the Governor against being subjected to the Jurisdiction of the Supreme Court, and even liable to Imprisonment, upon totally groundless Charges of Felony and Treason. No Inconvenience has ever arisen from that Power possessed by the Supreme Court, but such a Case might occur; as a Native Power, or any Individual whose Object it was to degrade a Governor, might by a false Charge subject him to Confinement, with which I apprehend the Supreme Court would have no Discretion to dispense. There has been a great deal of Confusion arisen from the Supreme Court conceiving that it represents The King, and that the Governor does not. That might possibly be removed, if the Governor had a Commission from The King as well as from the Company, as the Commander in Chief has at present.