תמונות בעמוד
PDF
ePub

siastical compositions, shall be collected by the Commissioners of Woods and Forests, and shall be appropriated, by act of parliament, to certain local charges which are now defrayed out of the consolidated fund; and to education ; and any portion of the rent-charges which shall not be so applied shall be paid to the consolidated fund.

To state the matter more succinctly, all tithe in Ireland is to be commuted: first, into a fair composition; and then, into a rent-charge of seven-tenths of the amount of the composition.

In all cases of ecclesiastical tithe, the rent-charges, instead of being paid to the parties entitled to the tithe, are to be appropriated, by act of parliament, to parochial or county charges, which are now paid by the state ; and to purposes of education. And the state is to give money, , amounting to sixteen years' purchase of the composition for which the rent-charge will have been substituted ; which money is to be invested by the Ecclesiastical Commissioners for Ireland, and the annual proceeds are to be for the ůse of the parties who are entitled to the tithe.

This plan will, of course, be further explained in the committee. It has been received by the Church in Ireland with some suspicion; which is not to be wondered at, when it is considered that some of its most important parts were first propounded publicly by one who, rightly or wrongly, is supposed to be an adversary of the Established Church; and that these resolutions are necessarily stated in terms so general, as to leave the precise intention of ministers upon several points still in doubt: whilst on others the plan would clearly be, in some degree, hazardous for the Church.

Compositions would be hurried on; and care must be taken that this shall not be carried so far as to place the tithe-owner at the mercy of the landlord, or the landlord at the mercy of the tithe-owner. The owners of ecclesiastical tithe would become dependent, at first on the

surplus, beyond fixed charges, of the consolidated fund; and, as the resolutions now stand, this state of things could not be entirely brought to a close in less than ten years, and, probably, would be protracted far beyond that period.

An anxiety is consequently felt to ascertain to what extent this surplus may be relied upon, or how the clergy may be secured against the hazard of having to trust to the liberality of future Houses of Commons in granting further supplies, and devising new ways and means for the continuance of that which they are to take in lieu of tithe. The uses to which the monies invested by the Ecclesiastical Commissioners would be applicable are not sufficiently declared ; and the mode of investment will require consideration. The local charges and purposes of education, to which the rent-charges established in lieu of ecclesiastical tithe would be appropriated, will have to be detailed and specified : and it will be of importance to see whether these local charges are now permanently charged by act of parliament on the consolidated fund, or are annually provided for out of the surplus of that fund. The eighth and ninth resolutions require a clear explanation. Upon the whole, however, this plan is more promising, and is susceptible of being made more intelligible, more simple, and more practicable, than any other which has yet been proposed for the extinction of tithe in Ireland.

III.

LEGISLATION IN INDIA.

On the 11th of April, it was ordered by the House of Commons, that there should be laid on the table of the house “ A copy of all laws and regulations which have “ been made by the Governor-General of India in council, “ by virtue of the Act of the 3d and 4th W. IV. c. 85.”

By that act, in 1833, the East India Company, so long as they should continue to hold their powers of government, were prohibited from carrying on trade; and both by this relief of private traders from a state of competition with the unbounded capital and overwhelming influence of the Company, and by the general permission then given to resort to India, for which purpose the license of the Company had before been required, and by its being made a right of British persons to purchase and hold lands, which they could not have held before unless by leave of the Company, there were facilities, and an encouragement and invitation, given to the people of the united kingdom, which made it necessary that there should be established in India a general legislative power of some sort, which should be competent to make laws for British persons, as well as for the natives. Such a power was accordingly created, for the first time, in 1833, by the imperial statute of the 3d and 4th W. IV. c. 85, ss. 39 to 55, by which it was enacted :

I. That the whole civil and military government in India was to be under a Governor-General and Counsellors, to be styled, “ The Governor-General of India in « Council."

II. That there should be four ordinary members of the Council; three of whom were to be appointed by the Court of Directors of the East India Company from amongst the servants of the Company, or persons who should have been servants of the Company; and the fourth was to be also appointed by the Directors, but subject to the approbation of the Crown, and from amongst persons who should not be servants of the Company.

III. That the Governor-General in Council should have power to make laws for altering or repealing any laws then being, or thereafter to be, in force, in the territories then in the possession and under the government of the East India Company, and for all persons, and all courts of justice, and all places and things within the said territories, and for all servants of the Company within the dominions of princes or states in alliance with the Company, with the following exceptions and restrictions :

1. That there should be no power to repeal, vary, or

affect the act of the 3d and 4th W. IV. c. 85, or any of the acts for punishing mutiny and desertion, or any future act whatsoever of the imperial par

liament. 2. That there should be no power to affect any prero

gative of the crown, or the authority of parliament, or the constitution or rights of the East India Company, or the allegiance of any person to the crown of the united kingdom, or the sovereignty or dominion of the crown over the Indian territories.

3. That, unless with the sanction of the Court of Di

rectors, none of the courts established by the charters of the crown should be abolished, nor any power be given to any other courts than those established by the charters of the crown, to sentence to death any of the subjects of the crown born in Europe, or the children of such

subjects. 4. That the Court of Directors and Board of Commis

sioners for the affairs of India, should have the power of disallowing and annulling any laws made

by the Governor-General of India in Council. 5. That a full, complete, and constantly existing right

and power, was reserved to parliament to control, supersede, or prevent all acts and proceedings whatsoever of the Governor-General of India in Council, and to repeal and alter, at any time, any law or regulation whatsoever made by the Governor-General in Council, and in all respects to legislate for the Indian territories, and all the inhabitants thereof, in as full and ample a manner as if the act of the 3d and 4th Wm. IV. c. 85,

had not been passed. 6. That the better to enable parliament to exercise at

all times such right and power, all laws and regulations made by the Governor-General in Council should be transmitted to England, and should be annually laid before both houses of parliament.

It was in the incalculable consequences, for good or for evil, which this new legislative power of 1833 might produce, that the justification was to be found of the first act of Sir John Hobhouse, when, without any previous opportunities of experience, he was appointed to the control of Indian affairs. In such circumstances, he is not to be blamed for having declined to ratify the commission

« הקודםהמשך »