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SUMMARY OF THE PROCEEDINGS IN PARLIAMENT, Szss. II. Debates in the present Seffion of Parlia. commencing hostilities against the native ment, continued from p. 232.
princes without just provocation ; and Friday, Feb. 17.
enforce it as the duty of the Court of M
troduction of his “ Bill for pre- ber or members of their principal presiventing all Intercourse between the dencies as appear to have been chiefly United States of America and our West concerned in acting upon a contrary fylIndia Colonies, except in British-built tem. This resolution being read at large, Ships," took occafion to explain the na as the ground on which he was to proture of the bill which the year before last ceed, he declared, that it was far from had been brought in for that purpose. It his wish to call forth accusations when was now, he said, a very proper enquiry the task was not exclusively his own; what fuccess had attended that measure. and, on the present occasion, the proseThis led him to a minute comparison be cution should have been the prosecution tween the present and past state of our trade of the House, and the exertion, the exwith America ; and it appeared, by clear ertion of the learned gentleman [Mr. and incontrovertible deduction, that it Dundas,] who ought not to have sufferwas now more profitable than ever. He ed him (Mr. B.] to be called upon by Thewed, at the same time, to what an Mr. Hastings to produce a specific charge astonishing degree it had increased the against him. This early advance, Mr. Shipping of this country, and pointed out B. said, looked either like innocence or the advantages resulting from that cir- magnanimity; but it should be remem. cumstance to our navy. He illustrated bered, that the person now accused was the connection which still fubfifted be a veteran to censure. For 12 years he tween the two countries as operating had borne it under all its aggravations ; powerfully in favour of a reciprocal com every returning thip to India had carried inercial intercourse. This connection, returning charges, which his subsequenc he said, was waxing stronger and Ironger conduct in every year had thewed to have every day. The manners of our trading been powerless. From the present call, people were more congenial to those of however, he would not now recede. He the Americans than those of any other would hazard all the odium and all the country; they were also emerging from labour; and would even with it to be difficulties. He desired particularly the remembered, that, if the accused was attention of the House to this circum- found innocent, he, the accufer, might dance, as he contidered the Ainerican be thought culpable. trade, by a variety of unforeseen, but Having said this, he drew the attenfortunate circumstances, to be in some tion of the House to the rise, progress, degree monopolized by this country. It and termination, of that system which may be asked, under these circumstances, had been the object of his constant rewhy not make the bill perpetual? A va- probation, the conquests of the company riety of caules stood in the way. A pe in Bengal; conquelts that had been pro. tition, he understood, was to be prea ductive of the most enormous abuses. sented against it from Jamaica. A com By these the Company and the public mercial treaty with Ainerica was in nc were exceedingly alarmed; and Lord gociation, in which some concessions Clive was sent out, in 1765, with full would undoubtedly militare with the powers for reducing them. He executed provisions of the bill. He therefore his commission to the satisfaction of all moved, that the “ Bill for regulating parties. Mr. Hastings, who in 1769 the Trade of this Country with the had been fent as second in command to United States of America," be continued Fort St. George, and who had recomanother vear. Agreed to.
mended himself to his superiors by a feMr. Burke role to bring forward his ries of actions that had been deemed mecharges against Mr. Hastings, the lateritorious, was nominated to the governgovernor general of India. He prefaced mat of Bengal foon after the great fahis address to the House by defiring the mine, which, by depopulating the counclerk to read the 44th resolution of the try, had almost laid it walte, This Secret Committee, dated May, 1782, in dreadful (courge occafioned murmurs which the committce, in the strongest from one end of India to the other, and terms, express their disapprobation of produced the well-known regulating act
Summary of Proceedings in the present Seffion of Parliament. 315 of 1773 (see vol. LIII. p. 346.) This causes that'are daily to be decided in that famous act, which gave a new governo ment to India, Mr. Hastings was ap He was as little for a bill of pains and pointed to carry into execution. And penalties, as not being sure how far it from this period the Company's affairs might be a punishment competent to the were under the direction of the British crimes charged. parliament. Here he entered into a de The third, which met his most detail of the proceedings of the two com cided preference, and which he thought - mittees appointed to investigate the con- equal to the dignity of the occasion, was ceros of the Company; one under Gen. an impeachment before the House of Smith, the other under the presidency of Lords, in which the Commons of En. the learned gentleman [Mr. Dundas), gland were to be the accusers. who ought to have undertaken the pre
He then stated the necessity of bringsent prosecution. From these enquiries ing forward that large body of evidence it came out, that Warren Hastings was on which the charge rested; and he culpable in every respect in which crimi- pledged himself fo to arrange it as to vality was practicable ; that to the na make it as intelligible to country gentle. tives he had been proud, rapacious, and men as to lawyers or to statesmen; and cruel; to his employers, refractory, concluded with moving for “ a copy of treacherous, and infolent ; to his coun the correspondence between Warren trymen in India, partial, imperious, and Hastings, esq. and the Court of Direcvipdictive ; and to the princes of the tors on the subject of presents and mocountry with whom he had connection, nies privately received." dark, designing, and per fidious. These, Alderman Le Mefurier thought the he said, were the charges that he was charge and the requisition both too genecalled upon by Mr. Hastings to substan; ral. He was, he said, but a young tiate, and which he was sorry could member; but he thought a few of thole not be refuted. The Court of Directors numerous and enormous crimes, which had followed the long investigation of includied delinquency of every kind in the committees by one equally earnest; which criminality was practicable, should but, after all their enquiries, the Court have been specifically charged by the of Proprietors, frons causes unknown, Right Hon. "Gentleman, and that the and without adequate information, had charge and the evidence lhould have thought proper to support the same agent gone hand in hand. To charge crimes in those guilty scenes, and to order that in the gross, and call for evidence withWarren Haltings should not be recalled; out specification, was, in his opinion, a but, as there had been no merit fince to new method of prosecution unknown to stand in equipoise with the criminality of the laws of this country; and he thought that period, he could not now imagine it not a little singular, tha: thé Hon. that parliament wou!d shrink from its gentleman, who had come forward with dignity so far as to recede from its own lo much zeal in this profecution, should sentence. He called upon the House, have disapproved of a trial by jury, the therefore, to asint him in the prosecu- taking away of which by the India Bill tion, as he owned much delicacy was re he had so often reprobated. He denied quired. There were, in his opinion, that the Court of Proprietors had decided three ways by which it might be carried without information on the merits of Mr. into effc&t.
Hastings; and asserted, that they had The first, by orderir.g his Majesty's At- every paper before them which the Court torney-gen, to file a bill against him in the of Directors had thought necessary to Court of King's Bench; but, high as he determine their own judgement. held the dignity of that court, and vene Mr. Dundas, in reply, said, if those rable as he regarded the talents and cha- heavy charges the House had just heard racter of the judge who presided there, brought forward by the Honourable it did not frike him as the most eligible Gentieman were true, he must conmode of asserting the justice of the na
sider himself criminal in a very high de. tion in a cause of such magnitude, in- gree; he was, however, much better volving disobedience to all the laws of a pleased to meet the accusation, to far as man's country, the extirpation of na. related to himself, face to face, than intions, the fale of kingdoms, the oppref. fidiously, in anonymous pamphlets, infion of millions, and the ejection of dustriously circulated at home and princes, by blending it with the petty abroad.
Summary of Proceedings in the present Seffion of Parliamenta As to the charge of inconsistency, fo of thanks transmitted to Mr. Hastings in much insisted on by the Hon. Gentleman,, evidence against him : but he begged he made no hesitation to declare thus gentlemen to recollect that it was not in openly, that he had at no period of his the power of the Board of Controul to life ever faid or infinualed, that it was alter the minutes of the Court of Direchis intention to bring forward any charge tors; and if it had, at that time [March against Mr. Hastings, for the purpose of 1785) he thought Mr. Hastings well encrimination. In the concern which he titled to the thanks of the Company, had in the investigation of the affairs of He had deitroyed a combination of all India (which he considered as a moft for the princes of India, which had been cunate circumstance in the events of his formed for our destruction, and which, life) he had, it was true, been chairman had it not been defeated, would most of the committee which framed the refo- certainly have had its effect. In 1783 Jutions on which so much stress had been he had complained to an administration, Jaid; but he took no pre-eminence in who laid in exclusive pretensions to purity, the bufiness, and it was by chance that of the numbers of writers teizing for paever he happened to determine on the tronage, being no less than 250 ; yet, conduct of Mr. Hastings. To the pre- far from contriving means to leffen the fidency of Bombay, he, with the com patronage, they fent out 36 additional mittee, had attributed the faults. And candidates, all of whon Mr. Hastings he begged leave to set the Rt. Hon. Gent. said were gaping for lacks, and desirous right, by stating, that the affairs of Ben to return as soon as possible to spend gal were not committed to the confidera- them, most of them recommended by tion of that commitcee at which he pre- persons of the first influence in Greatfided, but that the investigation of the Britain. As to the papers moved for, he Mahratta war, and the war of the Car- said, he had not the least objection to natic, the breach of the treaty of Poo- their production. Tundah, the burdensome establiments Mr. Fox, in reply, asserted in the most which he had formed and continued for folemn manner, that, during the admithe sake of patronage, and which consti- nistration of 1783, he never lent out but tuted a higher degree of guilt in the one writer, and that was when the Earl parties concerned, but was to partitioned of Shelburne was at the head of the between the administration in India, the Treasury. He hoped, therefore, that Court of Directors, and the ministers at the fufpicion which the learned gentlehuine, that he never once had entertained man had endeavoured to excite against the most diftant idea of bringing these him on that subject would be done away. taansactions into a criminal court of ju. He defied him to contradict it. The dicature. How then could he be charged learned gentleman, with an air of triwith inconsistency: or what charge could umph, has challenged to meet any man le against him for not being foremost in face to face on the Icore of inconfiftency. the present proceeding? He did not deny Without disputing his power of face, he that he had moved the resolution for would, he said, rest the question on what the recall of Mr. Hastings; but at that the learned gentleman had himself devery time, when the Hon. Gent. rose, clared. He does not hesitate to confess and, in his Itrong and forcible language a change of opinion ; but what does that charged Mr. Hastings with crimes of an change amount to ? Only to a confession enormous nature, he replied, that the that he had held two opposite opinions object of his motion was not to have Mr. on the same subject. Such is the learned Hastings tried as a delinquent, chough it gentleman's confilency! If the resolu. was necessary, on grounds of expedien- tions were not intended to criminate, for cy, to have him recalled. He certainly what else were they framed and entered
then thought, as he does now, Mi. upon the Journals: It was impossible for i Hiftings highly blameable in the breach , words to convey stronger censure ; and of the treaty of Poorundah, and in the yet the Board of Controul, in agreeing vurdensoinc cstablishments which le fo to the vote of thanks, had in plain terms long con:inued to maintain, but not in the contradicted the resolutions of the House, degree to which the Hon. Geni, has thought He would ask, what had Mr. Hastings fit to aggravate his conduct. It had been done fince, to atone for the infraction of asserted, that his [Mr. D's) conduct in treaties, for the exterminating of nations, the Board of Controul, aud as a member for the plunging the Company into a of parliament, had not been consistent; ruinous and expenfive war? The learned and the Hon. Genç. had brought the rote gentleman seemed to think Mr. Hastings
Summary of Proceedings in the present Seffion of Parliamenta
317 ulpable only on two accounts the cure his recall; but when afterwards he breach of the treaty of Poorundah, and discovered that the interest of the Com. the excess of the Calcutta establihment: pany, and the existence of the British go. but did he forget the Rohilla war, the vernment in India, could no otherwise ceffion of Koran and Illyabad, the une he maintained than vy his means, he jufifiable treatment of Chitfing? or did had readily yielded to the necessity of the he look on the present state of the trea- times, and did, what every friend to his fury of Bengal as a proof of the merit of country was bound to do, bestow praise Mr. Hastings, where the Company's for praise-worthy services, and concurred bonds are now at 30 per cent. discount, in thanking the Governor general for and treasury orders, which should pass as rescuing from ruin the Company's affairs cal, are received only at a discount of by his own sole influence. As to the 10 or 12 per cent.
conduct of Mr. Hastings, he could say With regard to the mode of profecu- nothing of his own knowledge. It aption, it was unnecessary for him to say peared to him, as a bye-stander, that if much on the present occasion, only to there was much to blame, there was fet a gentleman right who had spoken much to commend; and he was happy to early in the debate [Mr. Le Mefurier), feel in himlelf no prejudice either for or and who had misunderstood his hon. against him. He should be ready to friend's meaning, by supposing he wished criminate, if charges, luch as had been to avoid a trial by a jury. He had only alledged, were brought home to Mr. preferred a trial by impeachment as the Hastings; but, at the same time, he most solemn, the most effectual, and the lhould be as ready to attend to the pleas most suitable to the magnitude of the oc of desert. cafion, that could be devised. He con. Mr. Fox persevered in his charge of cluded with observing, that if his hon. inconsistency against the learned gentle friend should succeed in his endeavours man. His conduct, he iphisted, was no to vindicate the fame, the honour, and otherwise to be accounted for. the justice of the British nation, he Major Scott entered into a long and should think him intitled to the thanks elaborate justification of Gov. Hastings. and applause of his country.
He had been accustomed, he said, to the Mr. Pitt laid, he did not intend to pledges of the Right Hon. Gentleman, have troubled the Houle with any obser- who had at length brought forward his vations of his on the present debate, had threatened charges ; they are numerous, not the Right Hon. Gent. who fpoke last and, were they true, Mr. Hastings would deviated from the object of the motion to deserve the most excruciating death; but attack his learned friend [Mr. Dundas] the Right Hon. Gent. had sometimes in terms too gross to pass without repre- thought proper to descend from the higla henfion. It was not a little fingular to and important station which he fills in hear the Right Hon. Gentleman dwell this country, to the humble rank of a so long on the merits of consistency, who, common pamphleteer. In that station to be conliftent, had united with every he had formerly met him upon equal man with whom he had differed, and terms; and he appealed to the candid had abandoned every man with whom world, whether he had not refuted every he had acted; who had been long accus-, charge of every kind that the Rr. Hon. tomed to bestow censure and praise on Gent. had brought against Mr. Hastings. the same person, and to take into his bo- Both the charges and the answer have som for one purpose the man whom he long been before the public; and they, he had represented in the most odious light said, had pronounced in his favour. for another. Such is the consistency of Year after year the Right Hon. Gent. the Right Hon. Gentleman! The con- had pledged himself, to God, to this fiftency of his learned friend was of ano- House, and to his country, to prove Mr. ther kind. If at any time he thought fit Hastings a most notorious delinquent ; to alter his opinion, it was from prin- and at length he is come forth with a ciple. Limpelled by the same motives, he general charge of criminality of every had been invariably found in support of kind in which criminality could be practhe interests of his country. When, in ticable, without producing one specific the Committee of Secrecy, learned fact to confirm his general acculation. friend saw in the conduct of the Gover. Major Scott charged the Secret Compor-general a bias towards maintaining mittee with the grosseft partiality ; with his power by patronage, and corrupt suppressing evidence when in favour of means, he thought it high time to prom Mr. Hastings, and with countenancing 3
318 Summary of Proceedings in the prefent Seffion of Parliament. falfhood, when offered against him, Be- Oude, without permission of the Nabobs fore he had the honour of a seat in that or the permission or fanction of the Huuse, he had sitten in the gallery as a company's governor of Bengal, and bye-stander, and to his a tonishment had without accounting for the same. beard the Right Hon. Gent, describing.' IX. Copies of all other correspond in terms more precise and positive than cnce, during the residency of John Brishe could have thought the most fertile tow, esq. together with the documents imagipation could have invented, the therewith transmitted from the province murders, the robberies, the oppressions, of Oude; and also the answers thereto, and cruelties, committed by British sub- and all proceedings relative to his conjects in India. Upon these occasions he duct during the said residency, from the had wondered in what savage part of the month of October 1782. earth the cruelties he was describing were
Monday, February 20. permitted. No such scenes harl ever passed The order of the day being read, on the fertile plains of Bengal. Had the Mr. Burke resumed the adjourned deRight Hon. Gentleman, initead of those hate, by asking leave to substitute anoaggravated charges, come forth as soon as ther motion for papers, in the room of Mi. Hastings arrived, as a manly accuser, that on which the debate had been sufand given him an intimation of what spe- pended. He hoped it would not be licific crimes he intended to lay to his able to the fame objections when he charge, it would have been fair, honour. moved, that there be laid before the able, and parliamentary ; but he should House a duplicate, or copy, of the corresubmit it to the candour of the House in spondence between the Gov. Gen. of what light to view his present conduct. Bengal, and the residents Johnson, Lyt.
Other gentlemen spoke on the occa tleton, and Bristow, with such papers as fion; and, the following papers being related to the royal family of Oude ; also moved for, the House adjuurned. such papers as had any reference to the
1. That there be laid before this affairs of Almas Ali Cáwo. He hoped House an account of the time and man that, by leaving it to the officers to send ner of paying for the Company's trea. duplicates, or copies, the greatest part of fury a present of 100,0001. made by the the difficulties would be removed." Nabob of Oude to Warren Hastings, elq. Mr. Dundas said, not in the least; his for his present use. &c.
opposition had arisen from what he II. Extracts of the particulars of that deemed an essential principle of justice. part of the Company's accounts in Ben. That when by those papers a new ground gal, commonly called the Durbar ex of accusation was taken, distinct from pences and receipts.
the reports of the Secret Committee, it III. A similar extract of the Durbar was but fair that the Houfe 1hould be inexpences in the presidencies of Madras formed of the charges which they went aba Bombay.
to establish in order that, when they IV. An account of the annual reve
were known, the expediency or inexpenues and expenditures of the presidency diency of producing the papers moved of Bengal, fiom 1766 to 1785..
for might be submitted to their judgeV. Copies of all minutes relative to a
He believed the general sense of contract with Mr. Auriol, secretary to the House to be, that no papers should the board and council general, for a sup- be granted for the purpose of substantiply of rice to Madras and Bombay. ating any other charge that what the face
VI. Copies of all papers relative to of the report warranted. zhe revenue and contracts of opium, since Mr. Burke denied that to be the genethe year 1782.
ral sense of the House. It was diameVII. Copies of all minutes of corre: trically opposite to the uniform ulage of spondence between the gov. gen. and parliament, where papers were daily council, and the resident at the Durbar called for and produced, on the notion of the Nabob of Bengal, since the month of any member, without fpecifying the of January, 1780; together with the particular purpote for which they were actual employments now held, and those wanted. He could consider, therefore, formerly held, by Mahomed Reza Khan. the opposition of the learned gentleman
VIII. Copies of all minutes relative to in no other light than as a pititul ftrata& charge made by the Gov. Gen. Warren gem to get rid of the business in the beHaliings, eíq. against John Bristow, efq. ginning. He was sorry to find the late relident at Oude, distributing large learned gentleman hostile to the producfums of money from the trealury of tion of papers, in a parliamentary way,