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The frequent reference which is required to the Acts of Parliament passed from time to time relating to the East-India Company, and to the circumstances which led to such legislative provisions, suggested the present work. Its extent considerably exceeds what was originally contemplated. On some of the points, matter is introduced not immediately relating to the Company, but tending to elucidate the subject under which it is embraced.
A brief account of the rise of the Company in England, and of the progress of the British power in India, is followed by an Analysis of the existing Laws to the close of the session on the 31st May 1826. A short statement is prefixed to the several heads under which those laws are contained, explanatory of the cause of their enactment, and also of the opinions entertained by the leading political characters of the a 3
day day when the subjects came under discussion in Parliament.
The system by which the affairs of India are governed was framed upon mature deliberation. Its object was to preserve the constitution of the country, and to secure to the Company their rights and privileges.
The act of 1784, which originated that system, contained the declaration, that to pur" sue schemes of conquest and extension of “ dominion in India, are measures repugnant " to the wish, the honour, and the policy of " this nation.”
The territories possessed by the Company at that period had been acquired principally under the governments of Lord Clive and Mr. Hastings. The means which were necessary for the preservation of those acquisitions, inevitably led to their extension; such extension almost immediately following the decided opinion which Parliament had recorded.
The war during the administration of Lord Cornwallis, in 1789, with Tippoo, was provoked by that chieftain's attack on Travancore.
In 1799 and 1803, under the government of the Marquis Wellesley, the designs of Tippoo,
the intrigues of the French, together with the hostility of the Mahrattas, necessarily involved the British Government in a war with those powers.
During the government of the Marquis of Hastings, the aggressions of the Nepaulese, the barbarous incursions of the Pindarries, the insincerity of the Mahratta powers, the disaffection of the Paishwa, and the treachery of the Rajah of Nagpore, led to the operations which took place between the years 1814 and 1819.
To the foregoing causes is to be attributed the extension of our Indian empire. vernment (under certain restrictions) is committed to the East-India Company, who have been described by the most eminent and constitutional lawyers as “a limb of the government of the country;" and it has been declared by the same high authority, that no distinction can be established between offices held under the Company and those held under the Government of the country.*
Lord Kenyon, when Lord Chief Justice of the Court of King's Bench, and Mr. Justice Lawrence, 24th January 1799.
The development, in some measure, of the system under which the domestic and foreign affairs of the Company are administered is the object of the following pages.