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terror or corruption. In answer to an observation that the session was too far advanced to allow of commencing an inquiry so serious and extensive, Mr. Fox desired the House to remember, that in May they had voted away the liberties of America; in May they had voted the Quebec establishment, so contrary to our own constitution. The chairman was directed to leave · the chair, and the resolutions were lost*. In the three following sessions, the affairs of the
Petition on the East India Company were introduced occasionally, for India Judicacommercial, but not political regulation. At length, a petition arrived from the Supreme Council at Cal
1781. cutta, and from agents in London, on behalf of the 1st Feb. British subjects in Bengal, Bahar, Orissa, and their dependencies, complaining of the mode in which justice was administered; it was ably supported by General Smith, Mr. Boughton Rous, and Mr. Burke; it 12th Feb. was referred to a committee, and, their report having been received, a bill was brought in, and finally passed, 8th May. for altering, in some material particulars, the judicial administration. On considering the war in the Carnatic, Lord North obtained the appointment of a Com- Secret Committee of Secrecy to inquire into the causes, and into mittee. the present condition of the British possessions. In 30th April. the following session, a select Committee was formed, Select Comon the motion of Mr. Dundas, for considering the administration of justice. The select Committee was 11th April. principally composed of members adverse to Lord North: General Smith was chairman. In the secret Committee Mr. Dundas presided, and the members were all friends of the existing ministry.
The labours of these two bodies are preserved in a Their reports. series of Reports, filling four large closely printed folio volumes, and the greatest praise is due to the Committees for industry and perseverancet. Their inquiry
* See the Debate in Hansard's Parliamentary History, vol. xix. p. 273.
† It is hardly necessary to say that these are the Reports so frequently quoted in preceding pages. The Reports of the Select Committee, besides those made on the 8th May, were cleven in number, the last being made on the 18th of November, 1783. The Committee of Secrecy presented six Reports; their last appearing on the 6th of March, 1782. Their labours were mentioned with approbation in the King's speech at the close of the session.
Mr. Francis much consulted.
was facilitated by the production of the written narratives and observations in which all transactions, since the formation of the new government, were comprised. They had also the benefit of personal information, and particularly from Mr. Francis, who could direct their attention to the point desired with unerring exactness, and who could, besides, impart or refer to oral testimony on every subject.
From the communications of this gentleman, the reports of the committees received much of their colour; Mr. Burke describes him as the man whose deep reach of thought, large legislative conceptions, and grand plans of policy, make the most shining part of the reports, from whence the committee had ali learned their lessons, if they had learned any good ones; he was the man, from whose materials those gentlemen, who had least acknowledged it, had spoken as from a brief. To estimate rightly these communications which are so profusely praised, it is necessary to consider the frame of mind and temper of the individual by whom they were imparted. Mr. Francis, when he considered himself in peril of speedy death, from his wound in the duel, is reported to have expressed his forgiveness of his antagonist*. He recovered, and with his health his former feelings seem to have returned; he left Calcutta in disgust, and his disappointment and almost anger against the Directors was disclosed in a letter, which he afterward declared to have been written in a moment of resentment, but which he avowed to have been composed with deliberation and under an expectation that he should be called upon to substantiate the contentst. On his passage, he wrote again from St. Helena, regretting the delays which would impede his return, but proffering information of the highest importance
He announced his arrival in London to the Court of Directors, and, on the same day, called at the houses of the chairman and deputy chairman; but, in the
1781. 20th Oct.
* Dr. Tomline's Life of Mr. Pitt, vol. ii. p. 100, 4to.
lapse of nearly a month, his applications produced only a formal acknowledgment from the secretary to the Company that his letter was received, and a visit from the chairman, occasioned by a written message 13th Nov. left for him by Mr. Francis.
In consequence of this interview, he delivered at 14th. the India house a letter, addressed to the chairman, complaining of the neglect he had experienced, as deliberate and intended, and claiming, unless he had failed in executing the duties of his station, to receive the usual approbation of the court. The answer of the secretary produced a sharp and angry reply, which terminated the correspondence*.
ondence*. This conduct was calculated to hurt the feelings of Mr. Francis, and it is difficult to believe that it was not so intended : how it could affect his interests is not so apparent; but it is said that, “ the doors of the India House being closed " against him, he forfeited all expectation of credit,
consequence, party, and followingt:" It is, however, certain, that with a mind inflamed by the recollection of his long and unsuccessful struggles abroad, and his supposed unworthy treatment at home, he lent his aid to that committee which his exact local and chronological information enabled to instruct and to guide.
The Reports of the Select Committee having been referred to a committee of the whole house, Mr. Dundas April 15 and moved a long series of criminatory resolutions, and Proceedings obtained leave to bring in a bill of pains and penalties whomas Kumagainst Sir Thomas Rumbold and Mr. Perring, and bold, Mr. Perfor discovering their estate and effects, and those tingand Sir
Elijah Impey. of Mr. Whitehill ; it proceeded languidly through Parliament, members shewing a great disinclination to attend during its progress; and, at last, an injunction was voted prohibiting their departure from the kingdom while the inquiry was pending. In the following year, a new bill was brought in, and, when the session had nearly elapsed, a motion was made that the proceedings June 2nd.
Second Report of Select Committee; Reports, vol. v. p. 394, and Appendix 6, p. 435.
+ The very words of Mr. Burke's speech on Mr. Fox's East India Bill; Works, vol iv. p. 101.
1782. 3rd May.
Mr. Dundas obtains leave to bring in an India Bill.
1783. April 14th.
should not be discontinued by the prorogation or dissolution of Parliament. The inquiry, however, died away, and nothing effectual was accomplished. Motions were carried for the recall of Sir Elijah Impey, and also for that of Mr. Hastings and Mr. Hornby.
In their reports, the committees freely and largely censured the conduct of the Company; and Mr. Dundas obtained leave to bring in a bill for better regulating the government of India. The speech with which he pressed his motion is in many respects remarkable. The Governor-general was to be invested with amplified powers; he was, at his discretion, and on his responsibility, allowed to act even against the will and opinion of the council; a privilege which was not extended to governors in the inferior presidencies. The territorial system was to be totally changed, the Rajah of Tanjore and the Nabob of Arcot were to be objects of especial care. For Mr. Hastings, was to be substituted a person of high rank and birth, whose pledge for good conduct should be, not only his own personal honour, but also that of his ancestors; a person who could by his profession add to the character of governor, that of Commander-in-chief; uniting with integrity and high military reputation, skill, valour, and economy; a person who had no broken fortune to amend, no avarice to gratify, no beggarly mushroom kindred to provide for, no crew of hungry followers gaping to be gorged. The nobleman he alluded to was Lord Cornwallis. In concluding, the Lord Advocate spoke of the late peace with the Mahrattas, and treated their union with Hyder Ally as a monstrous coalition; and, unless ministers had a predilection for coalition-mongers, he trusted they would prefer a man of honour and honesty to supreme command, before a man who had joined or countenanced a government that had made so curious a display of skill in match-making.
Governor Johnstone strenuously defended the character and conduct of Mr. Hastings. Mr. Burke, regretting that at any time he should be obliged to differ in opinion from the learned Lord-Advocate, declared himself sufficiently plebeian to think that the
high post of honour might as well be filled by a man of middling rank in life. Mr. Fox combated Mr. Dundas's arguments, and expressed astonishment that the junction between Lord North and himself should be compared to that of Hyder Ally and the Mahrattas.
Perhaps it was owing to the advanced period of the session that no bill was brought in; but the debate displays the views already entertained. The attack on ministers was made by means of a popular watchword ; the earnest commendation of Lord Cornwallis was probably an attempt to gain public favour and pave the way to power, by contrasting strongly the character and pretensions of that nobleman with those of Mr. Francis, who was supposed to enjoy the predilection of ministers, and to be the man of middle rank alluded to by Mr. Burke. That Mr. Hastings would be unsparingly attacked was quite obvious; indeed, the committees, in their reports, had shewn no forbearance toward him: they had not only censured the acts of his government with rigorous severity, but had, on some occasions, descended even to criticism, or sneer at phrases in his dispatches or narratives*.
The East India Company, too, could not but feel that their condition must be materially changed, even if their chartered character were permitted to be retained. They had not, however, omitted, during the war, to perform some acts which must give them popularity; particularly when the alarm of the nation, with respect to naval defence, was at the highest; they had raised six thousand seamen, and built and equipped, for the public service, three ships of seventy-four guns at their own costt. The meeting of Parliament was rendered memo
Meeting of rable by the appearance of his Royal Highness the Parliament. Prince of Wales, who, having attained his majoritył, The Prince
• See, for example, the Eleventh Report of the Select Committee; Reports, vol. vi. p. 580 to 583; and the Reports in many other places. † Macpherson's Annals of Commerce, vol. iii. p. 642.
After this period, the number of his Majesty's children received no augmentation ; therefore, beside those formerly mentioned (see chapter 15, vol. i. p. 336), the royal offspring at this period were Elizabeth, afterward Landgravine of Hesse Hombourg, born 22nd May, 1770; Ernest Augustus, now Duke of Cumber