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degree, the incredible weight of influence which it will create. I will bring to the test the consistency of the great Whig families, of whose support we have heard so much from the right honourable Secretary; and I doubt not of the effectual assistance of every independent character in the House. I do not, however, despair of the total rejection of the present bill. I will only add, that if we do not strangle the monster in its birth, it will destroy the freedom both of the Parliament and People.
Mr. fVUkes, Due. \, 1783.
Wit"h regard to the prodigality and abufe that have of late marked the conduct of the Company's servants, and brought on the embarrassments under which the Company avowedly labour, what rational ground of expectation is there for the House to form an opinion Upon, that the fame prodigality and abuse will not continue, and any relief about to be given will prove efficacious \ How is the House to know what the real state of the Company's affairs is at this moment? and without knowing it, how is it possible to apply measures of relief adequate to the necessity of the cafe? The statement ©f the Directors in their Report is one continued system of fallacy, omission, and error. The letter of Mr. Hastings, dated Fort William at Bengal, December 16, 1783, with the three statements annexed, are equally imperfect and delusive. In order to convince the House that this is not merely asiertion, let us go into an examination of the Report of the Directors, and of the letter and statements sent over by Mr. Hastings, dated 16th of December, 1783, and the letter from the Governor General and Council, dated Bengal, Feb. 7, 1784, and examine the statements given in the different papers, and we fliall clearly perceive that the over credits taken, dr the charges omitted or under-rated by the Directors in the estimate of their commercial fund for six years, ending in March .1790, amount to more than three millions-; other calculation* culations made by gentlemen, who understand the subject better, carry the deficiency much higher, even to the amount of millions more than I have stated.
The Directors, in their estimate of the charges in India, have under-rated those charges to the amount of 882,080l. a year, which in six years would amount to .5,292,480l., they have . omitted to provide for the interest of their bond debt in India, to the amount of 400,000l. a year; which in six years come to 2,400,oool.; and they have taken credit for an increase of revenue from Benares, and from the Calcutta Customs, to the amount of 292,500l., which I am convinced will never be realized, and which in six years will amount to 1,755,000l. These several sums taken together come to 9,747,480!.; from which it will result, that instead of having an annual surplus in India, of 1,091,546l., as the Directors have stated, the annual balance against their Indian revenue will be 1,624,580!., and yet nothing allowed for victualling the King's ships and pay of regiments, which already amount to 782,391l.—Thewhole over credit taken by the Directors in the above two estimates, amount to 12,747,480I. on the estimated period of six years.
The hills already drawn, or expected by the Company, amount to 4,819,236l.; the provision made by the Directors, for bills to be drawn in the whole period of six years, is only 5,655,668l.; of which so great apart is already absorbed, that only 836,432l. is left to answer all the bills that may be drawn
. in the last four of the estimated years.
The bond debt in India amounts to 6,192,207l., and this was
.to be discharged, partly by the appropriation of certain debts, charged upon some ruined princes and insolvent renters, whose debts the Directors said themselves were good for nothing, at the fame moment that they took credit for them: and partly
Jby the.supposed savings out of a supposed annual surplus in India, stated at 1,091,546l., which ought to be converted into an annual deficiency of 1,624,580l.; that in this statement of .... the the bonded debt, nothing was charged-for outstanding debts at Bombay, which must be considerable, and of which there was no account produced; that the bonds of that Presidency (bearing nine per cent. interest) were at fifty per cent. discount, and that this government had no money to pay even the interest. '
All the calculations of the Directors in their estimate are grounded on the assumption, that India is in a state of profound peace, and is likely to continue so for six years to come. Upon what authority is that assumption built? It appears by no authentic document, that India is yet in a state of peace; on the contrary, in the very last dispatches that arrived from Bengal, the direct reverse is allowed. .
Mr. Hastings, who always writes currcnte calamo, and whose powers of the pen are infinite, is carried away by the rapidity with which his quill runs,, ami in a paragraph much better written than I could pretend to have done, fays, with all imaginary self-importance,
e* During a period of five years, we have maintained a con"tinued and desperate state of war in every part of India; we "have supported your other Presidencies not by scanty and "ineffectual supplies, but by an anxious anticipation of all "their wants, and by a most prompt and liberal relief of "them; we have assisted the China trade, and have provided "larger investments from this Presidency than it has everfur"nislied in any given period of the fame length, from the first "hour of its establishment to the present time. In the per"formance of these services we have sought but little pecu"niary assistance.from home; unwilling to add to the domestic
embarrassments of our honourable employers, we have "avoided drawing on you for supplies, upon many occasions "that would have justified us in seeking such assistance. In "all the exertions of this government, great and successful as "they have been, it has upheld itself with its own resources: "these, indeed, are not now so uniiicumbered as at the com
"mencement "mencement of our difficulties; yet, considering the various "purposes to which they have been applied, they are but iot"paired, and require only a short interval of peace to restore "them to more than their former vigour and abundance."
The Chancellor of the Exchequer may have his hopes, that the Company will go on more prosperously in future, than it has done hitherto; past experience leads me to think the contrary. If therefore the right honourable gentleman carries his hopes with him, my fears remain, and I fee no reason to part with them for more pleasant sensations.
Having acquired the independency I possess in the service of the East-India Company, it may be thought my conduct this day savours of ingratitude to my benefactors. To such an arrangement I beg leave to plead not guilty; no one of the servants of the East-India Company wishes better to its real interests than I do. But I make a great distinction between the East-India Company and its component parts. For the Company I feel every possible emotion of gratitude and respect. Towards the Court of Directors and the Court of Proprietors, I am impressed with very different sentiments. The first has uniformly honoured me with their opposition; and, indeed, I believe Mr. Hastinge does not consider himself much more obliged to them than I do. For the Court of Proprietors also I entertain no very eminent degree of respect. Having thus cleared myself from one imputation, another I yet remain liable to, requires that I mould fay something on that head. I mean with regard to Mr. Hastings, whose name I have frequently had occasion to mention in the course of what I have said, and undoubtedly not always with the most profound re- fpect. To Mr. Hastings, however, I feel no enmity; I have held a contest with him for six years together, but we are both men of too warm passions to harbour any resentments against each other. The object of our contest is now at an end, and so ought the temporary impression of it to be. I can very safely say, I am not actuated by any unfriendly motive against
Mr. Hastings personally, and I am perfectly ready to acquit him of feeling any against me. Every thing that I have said this day relative to Mr. Hastings, I would have said had Mr. Hastings been present. Indeed he may be said to be present by his Representatives. [A loud laugh.") Mr. Hastings however knows,, that I never was very anxious of concealing any opinion opposite to his own, that he might happen to hold. I have uniformly convinced Mr. Hastings, while in India, that I had not that foible among the many others that might mark my character.
Mr. Hastings has great talents, but he is a man, whose warmth of imagination, and force of feeling, diminishes, and in a great degree destroys the operation of his judgement, whence in-.a variety of instances his predictions have proved untrue, and his opinions have been contradicted by events. In proof of the truth of this character, when I stated in Council at Bengal the probability of Hyder Ally's invading the Carnatic, Mr. Hastings treated the idea as fanciful and improbable, and roundly asserted that the circumstance could not happen. How much Mr. Hastings was deceived, the world but too well knows. Again, Mr. Hastings placed a blind confidence in Modajee Boofla, and upheld him as the fast friend of the Company and their servants, contrary to the advice and opinion of every other Member of the Council of Bengal, at the very time, as it afterwards appeared, that Modajee Boofla was most busy in plotting and conducting intrigues with the other Indian, powers, big with danger to the Company's interests. In various instances also Mr. Hastings, from the sanguine propensity of his mind, fell a dupe to men much less able than himself, and was made the tool of the country princes. The great forte of Mr. Hastings is his power of the pen, by dint of which alone he can cover falshood with plausibility, and almost lay suspicion asteep. A greater proof of this faculty need not be sought after, than the letter of the Governor General, dated Bengal, December 16, suggests; in that letter, we had ani
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