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Imperial Gazetteer of India, v. 4, p. 104.


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CHAPTER IV
FOREIGN RELATIONS
Powers of THE East India Company, at a very early period in its
the East career, regarded the approaches to its possessions as a matter
India
Company for its concern, and as a legitimate charge upon its purse. The
and its Charter of Charles II, in 166I, empowered the Company to
Governor-
General in make peace or war with any prince not Christian. The
regard to Regulating Act of 1773 conferred upon the Governor-General
foreign of Bengal exclusive power as against the subordinate Presi-
dencies, save in cases of imminent necessity, to declare war or
conclude treaties with Indian princes or powers. It has been
shown in the preceding chapter that, in 1793, Commissioner
Eyre dismissed the bill in the Chancery proceedings between
the Nawab of Arcot and the Company, because it was 'a case
of mutual treaty between persons acting in that instance as
States independent of each other, and the circumstance that
the East India Company are merely subjects with relation to
this country has nothing to do with that.' The Charter Act of
1793 again recognized the Company's position in regard to
foreign relations, although it reserved the powers of declaring
war, or entering into treaties involving war or guarantee of
possessions, for the Court of Directors or the Secret Committee,
except in certain specified cases; and the Act of 1813 added
the following reservation: 'provided that nothing in this Act
contained shall extend, or be construed to extend, to prejudice
or affect the undoubted sovereignty of the Crown of Great
Britain and Ireland in and over the said territorial acquisitions
[of the Company].' The constitutional and legal position of
the Company created by these several enactments is described
by Wheaton as not equivalent to that of a state, ' even whilst
it exercised the sovereign powers of war and peace without the
direct control of the Crown, and still less can it be so considered
since it has been subjected to that control. Those powers are
exercised by the East India Company in subordination to the
supreme power of the British Empire, the external sovereignty
of which is represented by the Company towards the Native



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