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Wellesley in the situation of chief House was at present deprived of secretary, on the ground, that before information upon Irish subjects, it Parliament appointed commissioners was fallacious, Ireland having its fair they should first be satisfied that some proportion of representatives. Mr practicable measure could be propo. Grattan also objected to the motion, sed and adopted to remedy the ac- saying, he had seen many commisknowledged evil. Unless this was sioners appointed by the crown, but previously ascertained, the inquiry they had never been found to go to would only tend to raise expectations the root of the evil ; it would be bet. which could not be realized; and the ter to move for a committee next ses. feelings and passions of men were sion. The House divided upon the already but too much excited upon motion, 75 in favour of it, against this subject throughout every district 146. in Ireland. As for the plea that the
YOL. II. PART I,
Affairs of the East India Company. Report of the Committee of Inquiry, Recall of Cadets and Writers. Pohlman and Keylock's Trial. Measures of Reform and Economy, Dutch Commissioners. Offices in Reversion. Motion for excluding Placemen from the House of Commons. Mr Whitbread's Motion against Christian Frederick Walter, Storekeeper at the Military Depot. Insolvent Debtors. Bankrupt Laws. Cold Bath Fields Prison. Lord Auckland's Resolutions respecting Divorces. Cruelty Bil. Augmentation of Poor Livings. Lord Sidmouth's proposed Amend. ment of the Toleration Act. Its Impracticability shewn.
The affairs of the East India Com- lowed his steps exactly, and repeated pany occupied but little of the at- his congratulations. In 1806, when tention of Parliament during this ses. Lord Morpeth had a seat at the board, sion. Mr R. Dundas, while presi- a very different statement was pro
dent of the Board of Con- duced. In the ensuing year the com. Feb. 23. troul, moved for a renewal pany petitioned that they might be of the East India com- allowed to borrow money upon
their mittee, and for the reappointment of bonds; it was resisted, unless the the persons who had formerly com- company would consent to make a posed it, excepting Mr T. Grenville full disclosure of their affairs ; this and Mr Hobhouse, who requested to they promised in the following sesbe excused on the score of inconve- sion, and accordingly the committee nience, and in whose place he propo- in question was appointed. The sed Lord Temple and Mr Heley Ad. House was aware of the extent and dington. Mr Creevey objected to this. importance of the matter to be inves“ The Board of Controul,” he said, tigated. The whole causes of the “ had been formed on the report of disappointments experienced for such the committee appointed by Lord a long series of years, even the utility Melville, and parliament would doubts of the system of controul, might be less recollect how his lordship had called in question, as well as the concome down session after session with duct of all those connected with it. congratulations to himself and to the Possibly the conduct of the directors country upon the prosperous state of themselves ought to be arraigned; and our empire in the east, owing to his yet the committee selected to inquire new system. Lord Castlereagh, who into these transactions were the very had been educated in his school, fol. person whose conduct might be called
in question, as connected with these the business that was to come before transactions, and they were thus to them, to the exclusion of those who sit in judgement upon themselves were informed upon the subject. He and their system. Never was such himself had been alluded to with suf. a mockery of inquiry! The person ficient personality; but he might apwho proposed the committee and peal to the honourable gentleman those of whom it was to be compo. himself as to the line of conduct he sed, was himself at the head of the had pursued during the proceedings Board of Controul, and nearly con. of the last committee. Of this he nected with its founder; and there. might be sure, that whenever the confore it was to be presumed, that none duct of his noble brother came before of the committee could be so uncivil the committee, the fullest and the as to open their lips against that sys. most rigid inquiry into that conduct tem, or deny its utility. And though should at all times have his cordial Marquis Wellesley could not be on support. He was fully prepared to that committee, yet care was taken prove, that the extension of our do. to place his connections there ; Sir minions in India had not been owing John Anstruther, who was his friend, to any aggression on our part : how and had been intimately connected far it was to be followed up, was a with his system in his capacity of question of a very different nature.” Chief Judge of Bengal, was to be the Mr W. Smith observed, “that the chairman!
But then it might be said, House ought rather to look for imthat two of the directors were there. partiality with the means of obtain. These directors were, however, suinging information, than for partiality the committee for money, something however fully informed. If the perin the manner of paupers, and they sons appointed to try, in the present were, out of doors, suing the right instance, were not only acquainted honourable gentleman (Mr Dundas) with the circumstances of the quesfor a renewal of their charter. It tion, but were parties in it, it was in was not probable, under these cir- vain to say that they could be comcumstances, that they would be very petent judges.” Mr Whitbread purobstinate in their objections to what-sued this reasoning farther. He proever policy he should approve. But tested against the principle of confiit might be said again, how could we dence in public men, and maintained get information on these subjects, that the constitutional principle was unless the committee were composed distrust -distrust in all public men, of such as were most conversant with be they who they may. “ Sir Arthese matters? The best way to come thur," he said, “ had told the House at information, was by the exami- what he could prove ; let him then nation of records and of witnesses. go before the committee as a witness, Those persons most capable of giving not as a judge, in matters which he information might be examined by has prejudged already. But he was impartial, though unlearned persons, not the only objectionable person. and much more good would result.” Was the situation of war secretary
Upon this Sir A. Wellesley re- such a sinecure, as that the noble lord marked, “that it would be rather an who held it could be spared from that odd way of selecting a committee to department to attend to the business of chuse persons who were ignorant of this committee? Could the chancello
of the exchequer quit his official situ- would prove, he said, that private ation, as Sir Arthur had quitted the merchants were very hardly treated chief secretaryship for Ireland, to dis. by the directors, and that the direccharge the
very important duties of a tórs had not fulfilled certain engagemember of this committee ? As for ments which they had contracted for the directors and the members of the giving facility to the private trade. Board of Controul, they ought rather The complaint was shewn to be unto be examined against each other as founded. The company having rewitnesses, than be suffered to preside sisted the project of carrying home as judges.” Mr Peter Moore argued produce in India-built ships, engaged, to the same end, upon a different view in 1802, to furnish the private merof the subject. The committee," chants with English-built ships, subhe said, “ was a farce and mockery; ject to its regulations, at the low rate for it would consist of two parties, of 141. per ton. When the war comwho ought to be in permanent hos. menced, orders were sent out to raise tility with each other. The whole it to 201., but upon a representation system of India had been wrong ever that it had been already signified to since the minister of the crown had the private merchants that the rate interfered to set it right. The India would be only 141. for the year
1804, Company were sufficient to do every the directors'acceded to it.
As the thing that could be wished, but the war continued, the expence rose, but Board of Controul would not permit the rate was still within what the it. While the whole play of dethro- company paid ; and, in fact, while ning princes and rajahs was carrying the private merchants thought themon, the main actors in that drama selves ill-used that the company did sent not a word of information to
not supply them with vessels at the their masters the directors, but they rate of 141. per ton, they were, as continued in full correspondence with ship-owners, themselves letting ships the Board of Controul, and now they to the company at from 191. to 211. were going to club their efforts for Another complaint was, that in the the
purpose of blinding the public.” years 1805 and 1806 no extra ships Notwithstanding these objections the arrived in India, the vessels having committee were reappointed ; and a been detained for political purposes. motion of Mr Creevey, that the ex- This of course was a circumstance position which had been laid before which the company could not con. the last committee should be printed, troul ; but all that could be done in was negatived without a division, Mr such a case was done, the private mere Dundas observing that when a com- chants were furnished with tonnage mittee was appointed, it was imusual in the company's ships at the rate to anticipate its report, by calling for paid by the company. “With re. any particular document before the gard to the India trade," said Mr time when the others were to be pro. Howorth, “ undoubtedly the restricduced. He doubted not but that tions and interruptions which have the committee would produce that been imposed on the free merchants, and every other paper relating to the and the extravagant price of freight affairs of the company in due time.. demanded of them, have produced the
Late in the session, Mr Prender. effect of diverting the legitimate trade gast moved for certain papers which of India into clandestine courses, by foreing a great part of British capital sentment on the part of the Compa. to pass under foreign flags. But it ny's officers, and such discontent is rather unfair to charge the direc- among the native troops, to whom tors with making this exorbitant de- their officers were endeared by long mand for freight, for whatever blame services, and with whom, for their may attach to the expensive system gallant conduct at Bhurtpoor, they under which they act, it surely could had received the thanks of Lord not be reasonably expected that they Lake, that Mr Duncan, the govershould give facilities to the free mer- nor of Bombay, prudently withheld chants, and promote their objects, by the publication of the order, and recharging a lower rate of freight than monstrated with the government of the company were paying, at a cer- Bengal on the subject. It has also tain loss to themselves. Whenever a been stated to me, that an order has corrective shall be applied to the abu- been issued for drafting off annually ses of the Indian trade, it will proba- from every grenadier battalion 12 bly be found to consist in enabling picked men, in order to form a crack the British merchants to bring their corps. I had hoped that the mutiny own ships, subject however to the su. at Vellore, at the same time that it pervision and controul of the East afforded an awful, would also have India Company, to be freighted and afforded an instructive lesson, of the refreighted, to be imported and ex- absurdity of enforcing British reguported through their offices, thelations upon Indian armies. On goods and merchandize to be depo- that occasion the lives of near a thousited in their warehouses, in short, in sand men, of whom upwards of two a system, which will enable the Bri- hundred were British soldiers, were tish merchant and natives under Bri. sacrificed to a turban and a whisker ; tish protection, to trade upon equal if that pernicious folly had not been terms with the merchants of every stopped, your whole native army other country: Do this, and you would have been lost by it. If such will bring the whole trade of India' a lesson and such an example be disinto the Thames, and for this plain regarded, are you equally indifferent reason—if the terms were equal, the about the consequence ? I am sorry security would be infinitely greater.”
to observe, that in this house very Mr Howorth then adverted to a few know what is doing in India, and far more momentous subject. “Va- I fear very few care. rious letters," said he, “ which I have Mr Dundas replied, that as to the received from India, concur in sta- practices respecting the troops, he ting the discontents of the Compa. had good reason to believe that Mr ny's officers, and the disaffection of Howorth was mistaken. Of the disthe native troops. This is principal- contents he said nothing ; and the y attributed to a system of foisting papers which were moved for were king's officers into the native corps, granted without opposition. persons unacquainted with their lan- A subject of more general interest guage, and unused to their customs. arose, when the committee which had At Bombay it was intended to mount branched off from the inquiry into additional cavalry, and it was order- the Duke of York's conduct made ed to be officered by king's officers their report upon the existence of from Madras. This excited such re. corrupt practices in the appointment