HOW INDIA IS GOVERNED
The present form of government in India was adopted in 1858, after the terrible Sepoy mutiny had demonstrated the inability of the East India Company to control affairs. By an act of parliament all territory, revenues, tributes and property of that great corporation, which had a monopoly of the Indian trade, and, next to the Hanseatic League of Germany, was the greatest Trust ever formed, were vested in the Queen of Great Britain and Ireland, who in 1876 assumed the additional title of Empress of India. The title and authority were inherited by Edward VII. He governs through the Secretary of State for India, who is a Cabinet minister, and a Council of not less than ten members, nine of whom must have the practical knowledge and experience gained by a residence of at least ten years in India and not more than ten years previous to the date of their appointment. This Council is more of an advisory than an executive body. It has no initiative or authority, but is expected to confer with and review the acts of the Secretary of State for India, who can make no grants or appropriations from the revenues or decide any questions of importance without the concurrence of a majority of its members. The Council meets every week in London, receives reports and communications and acts upon them.
The supreme authority in India is the Viceroy, the direct personal representative of the emperor in all his relations with his 300,000,000 Indian subjects; but, as a matter of convenience, he makes his reports to and receives his instructions from the Secretary of State for India, who represents that part of the empire both in the ministry and in parliament. The present viceroy is the Right Honorable George Nathaniel Curzon, who was raised to the peerage in October, 1898, as Baron Curzon of Kedleston. He is the eldest son of Lord Scarsdale, was born Jan. 11, 1859, was educated at Eton and Oxford; selected journalism as his profession; became correspondent of the London Times in China, India and Persia; was elected to parliament from Lancashire in 1886, and served until 1898; was private secretary to the Marquis of Salisbury, and under-secretary of state for India in 1891-92; under-secretary of state for foreign affairs in 1895-98; married Mary Leiter, daughter of Mr. L. Z. Leiter of Washington and Chicago, in 1895, and was appointed viceroy of India to succeed the Earl of Elgin, September, 1898.
There have been twenty-five viceroys or governors general of India since Warren Hastings in 1774, and the list includes some of the ablest statesmen in English history, but Lord Curzon is the only man in the list who has ever been his own successor. When his first term expired in September, 1903, he was immediately reappointed for another five years. Whether he continues through the second term depends upon certain contingencies, but it is entirely probable that he will remain, because he has undertaken certain reforms and enterprises that he desires to complete. His administration has been not only a conspicuous but a remarkable success. Although he has been severely criticised for his administrative policy and many of his official acts have been opposed and condemned, the sources from which the criticisms have come often corroborate the wisdom and confirm the success of the acts complained of. Lord Cornwallis was twice Governor General of India, but there was a long interval between his terms, the first beginning in 1786 and the second in 1805. He is the only man except Lord Curzon who has been twice honored by appointment to the highest office and the greatest responsibility under the British crown except that of the prime minister.
The Viceroy is assisted in the administration of the government by a cabinet or council of five members, selected by himself, subject to the approval of the king. Each member is assigned to the supervision of one of the executive departments, - finance, military, public works, revenue, agriculture and legislative. The viceroy himself takes personal charge of foreign affairs. The commander in chief of the army in India, at present Lord Kitchener, is ex-officio member of the council.
For legislative purposes the council is expanded by the addition of ten members, appointed by the Viceroy from among the most competent British and native residents of India upon the recommendation of provincial, industrial and commercial bodies. The remaining members are the heads of the various executive departments of the government. By these men, who serve for a period of five years, and whose proceedings are open to the public and are reported and printed verbatim, like the proceedings of Congress, the laws governing India are made, subject to the approval of the Viceroy, who retains the right of veto, and in turn is responsible to the British parliament and to the king.
Thus it will be seen that the system of government in India is simple and liberal. The various industries and financial interests, and all of the great provinces which make up the empire, have a voice in framing the laws that apply to the people at large; but for convenience the territory is divided into nine great provinces, as follows:
Madras, with a governor whose salary is $40,000 a year.
Bombay, whose governor receives the same salary.
Bengal, with a lieutenant governor; salary, $33,000.
United Provinces, lieutenant governor; salary, $33,000.
Punjab, lieutenant governor; salary, $33,000.
Burma, lieutenant governor; salary, $33,000.
Assam, chief commissioner; salary, $16,500.
Central Provinces, chief commissioner, $16,500.
Northwestern Frontier Province, governed by an agent to the governor general, whose salary is $16,500.