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CHAP. .
LV.

1783. of Wales takes his seat.

presented himself in state in the House of Lords, to take the customary oaths, and to assume his seat as Duke of Cornwall.

The King, in his speech, announced the conclusion King's speech. of definitive treaties of peace, and hoped that all the

contracting powers would endeavour, with him, to keep the calamities of war at a great distance.

" The “ situation of the East India Company,” he said, “ will

require the utmost exertion of your wisdom to “ maintain and improve the valuable advantages de“ rived from our Indian possessions, and to promote " and secure the happiness of the native inhabitants. His Majesty also noticed the dangerous frauds and alarming outrages which had prevented the increase of the revenue; and, in conclusion, recommended mo

deration in debate. Address in In the upper House, the address was moved by the Lords. the Earl of Scarborough, and seconded by Lord Hamp

den. There was no division, nor any regular opposition. Earl Temple alone made some animadversions on the state of public affairs, and particularly on the delay in completing the definitive treaty with Holland, but proposed no amendment.

The Earl of Upper Ossory, in moving the address mons, moved in the House of Commons, took occasion to speak of of Upper our possessions in India, which, he said, were now beOssory.

come the brightest and most valuable gem in the British diadem ; and, consequently, ought to be objects of the greatest care. The acquisition of such dominions by a company of merchants was an event unparalleled, and the wisdom of Parliament should be exerted in securing conquests which would afford such

resources to the country. Seconded by

Sir Francis Basset, who seconded the motion, adverted also to our possessions in India ; to the enterprizes of contraband traders, who, during the war, had

In the Com.

by the Earl

Sir Francis
Basset.

land and King of Hanover, born 5th June, 1771; Augustus Frederick, now
Duke of Sussex, born 27th January, 1773; Adolphus Frederick, now Duke
of Cambridge, born 24th February, 1774; the Princess Mary, born 15th April,
1776, and married to the Duke of Gloucester; the Princess Sophia, born 3rd
November, 1777; and the Princess Amelia, born 7th August, 1783. There had
also been two princes, named Octavius and Alfred, but they were dead.

CHAP.
LV.

1783.

conveyed intelligence to the enemy; and, after noticing our calamities and expenses, rejoiced that at last we had got into the haven of peace; post tot naufragia portum.

Sir Joseph Mawbey, availing himself of this quota. Of Sir Joseph tion, said, if portum meant the coalition, he could not Maubey. thank his Majesty on that account, for he detested the coalition. He expected no good from an administration, one part of which, during a government of twelve years, had occasioned all the danger, disgrace, and difficulty which were now felt and acknowledged.

In this mode of attack the honourable Baronet was Mr. Pitt. not imitated by Mr. Pitt, who, in giving his hearty assent to the motion, said there was not one exceptionable expression either in the speech or the address. He must approve the treaties; but it was singular that the House should now be called upon to express their thanks for signing them, although they were in substance the same with those preliminary articles for which, in the last session, thanks had been refused. England, he said, could never recover her situation among the nations of Europe, unless her ministers, by rigid economy, should make her revenue at least equal to her expenditure, or even create a redundancy, which would extinguish some part of the national debt, and so furnish means of carrying on with vigour any future contest. He recommended candid and authoritative statements on these heads, as the means of inducing the people cheerfully to bear new burthens necessary for the support of public credit. He regretted that a commercial treaty with America had not been accomplished, and declared that, if proper measures were proposed, he would not, by an ignoble opposition, endeavour to defeat, but would give them his best sup

port.

Mr. Fox, heartily thanking Mr. Pitt for his last Mr. Fos. expressions, expressed his great satisfaction at finding that both the speech and address appeared unexceptionable. By the preliminary treaty, he observed, the faith of the nation was pledged; so that the definitive treaty became matter, not of choice, but necessity. To the want of explicit declarations in the preliminary

CHAP.

LV.

1783.

carried

treaty he imputed the disappointment of commercial arrangements with America; and the impediments in measures relating to India had arisen through the

ifferences of opinion between the Directors and the Proprietors respecting the recall of Mr. Hastings. He also professed satisfaction at the language of Mr. Pitt, respecting economy and explicit statements to the public. To make a strong government, the dread of unpopularity must be surmounted; and the ministry who flinched from their duty on so narrow-minded a principle would not deserve support. He hoped that the spirit of dissension was, at length, to give way to the necessities of the state, and that personal animosities would be suspended, at least till the deliverance of

the country was accomplished. Address

For the day, the wish of Mr. Fox was realized ; unanimously. the motion was carried without a dissentient voice;

but this momentary calm was a prelude to one of the

most stormy sessions and one of the most extraordiMr. Fox moves nary conflicts recorded in history. to bring in bills In a week after this discussion, Mr. Fox moved for the govern- for leave to bring in a bill for vesting the affairs of the

East India Company in the hands of certain commis12th 14th, and sioners, and one for the better government of the terri

torial possessions in India. The statutes of the thirteenth and twentieth of the King's reign, and certain resolutions passed in the last session* having been read, the Right Honourable Secretary introduced his motion by a long and eloquent speech. The measure, he said, was not of choice, but of necessity; it was no idle speculation on his part, the business forced itself upon him and upon the nation; and, even if he would, he could not avoid or defer the discussion. The wretched financial condition of the Company, and the feebleness of their government, led to inconsistency at home, and, abroad, to disobedience and contempt of their commands. As a proof of their insolvency, he stated that they owed eleven million two hundred thousand pounds, while their stock in hand did not much exceed three millions; and, to shew that their

Indies.

Nov. 18th.

* Namely, on the 29th of April, and 10th of May, 1782.

His plan.

CHAP.
LV.

1783.

orders were not obeyed, he referred to many instances in the reports, particularly in the cases of Mr. Bristow and Mr. Fowke, the Rajah Cheyt Sing, and the Mahratta war.

His plan was to establish a board of seven persons, invested with power to appoint and displace officers in India, and having control over the whole government of that country. Another body of eight persons, to be called assistants, were to have charge of the sales, outfits, and other commercial concerns of the Company, subject to the control of the first seven. The Board was to be held in England, under the very eye of the Parliament, and their proceedings entered in books for the inspection of both Houses. For the present, Parliament should name all the members of this Board ; but, after three or five years, or any time sufficient for experiment, the appointment should be in the Crown. The proprietors were not to nominate at first, but to fill up vacancies in the body of assistants.

His second bill would alter the tenure of lands, prohibit presents, abolish monopolies, and effect other important regulations. He had intended to introduce clauses for the administration of justice in India, and for the trial at home of criminals offending there, but had not been able satisfactorily to arrange a plan.

He begged that the bills might be discussed without reference to the merits or demerits of Mr. Hastings. He might be the most honest, upright, humane, and just of mankind, and yet the bills might be highly proper; or he might be the most corrupt peculator and most cruel and unjust governor that ever cursed the plains of Hindostan, and yet the remedy proposed might be found inadequate. He earnestly deprecated the intervention of influence. Should that manifest itself, future governors would expect it; in that House peculators would be defended, and the plunderers protected by those who shared in the spoil. The influence of the Crown had been deemed too great; but, in its most enormous and alarming state, it was nothing compared with the boundless patronage of the East India Government; if that were used to

СНАР.
LV.

1783..

Mr. Pitt.

influence the House, the country was lost indeed, lost beyond all hope or possibility of recovery. In conclusion, he said he had not intruded himself into this business officiously; it was not a mean and interested expedient to fortify a party, or add to the influence of the Crown. It was a strong measure, because the production of it required a great resolution; but considering it, as he and his colleagues did, necessary to the salvation of the Company, and, with the Company, of the State, he had applied to it with the greatest earnestness, and brought it forward without the loss of a moment. He then moved for leave to bring in the bills he had described.

Mr. Fox having assured the House of Lord North's perfect accordance in the measures, Mr. Pitt adverted to a supposed imputation of indolence, of which,

he said, Mr. Fox had never been accused, although it had formed a leading feature of that administration of which he had once been thought no great admirer. He seemed to desire a general amnesty for the coalition; but it was much to be doubted that Parliament would grant it. He would not, at that time, offer any opposition to the propriety, necessity, or principles, of the bills, but suspend his judgment until they were presented. He complained, however, that such an extraordinary and alarming exertion of administrative power should have been brought forward with no reason to justify it but necessity, the plea of every illegal exertion, of every oppression, every usurpation, every infringement of human freedom; the argument of tyrants, the creed of slaves. The necessity alleged was, that of destroying the corrupt influence of the Company in both Houses of Parliament; but if government were to possess this source of influence and corruption, the minister would virtually be the Governor of India; he would have all the power and patronage which this bill professed to eradicate. It was right to give stability and permanency to the property of the natives ; but, while endeavouring to secure to the Gentoos their natural rights, let the minister take care not to destroy the liberties of Englishmen. In his opinion,

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