« AnteriorContinuar »
iiderable detachment to Madras by land. It was immediately formed, and joined Sir Eyre Coote before his second general action with Hyder; nor can I conceive, that the late House of Commons condemned the transaction, that the march of this great detachment through the territories of Modajee Boofla was purchased too dearly by the sum of money given to his son Chemnajee. From that period every possible assistance was afforded by the Supreme Council to the government of Madras; and after a variety of successes in a most difficult and arduous war, our army was besieging the French forces in Cuddalore, when intelligence of the peace arrived in India. I believe in my conscience, that peace has saved the country; but was any possible exertion neglected by Mr. Hastings to feed and to pay the army at Madras, or to enable the Bombay forces to make that diversion which at the most critical moment of the war drew Tippoo Saib out of the Carnatic? The honourable gentleman, however, has passed in silence over the dangers we escaped, passed in silence over the difficulties we surmounted, and says, we have not peace with Tippoo *Saib! I am not afraid of committing myself by saying, that I believe we have peace with Tippoo Saib, aud that 1 believe he is utterly unable to continue the war. I believe also, that his only chance for safety is in peace. But admitting for a moment that it is, not concluded, have we a Mahratta war now to support? Have we seventeen sail of the line, and six thousand land forces belonging to France, opposed to us? Or is Tippoo Saib now in the heart of the Carnatic? We never can have such a combination to struggle with again; and I repeat it, that putting together the intelligence from Tanjore and from Bussorah, I believe that at this moment the peace with Tippoo is concluded. Without wishing to fay any thing that may give offence, let us consider how the war has ended in different quarters of the globe; in Europe we have lost Minorca; in America, thirteen provinces and the two Floridas; in the West Indies, Tobago and some settlements in Africa. We
I 4 have have contracted a debt of one hundred millions and upwards, and have lost above a hundred thousand men, but in India we have preserved all our former possessions, and we have yielded up Chandenagore, and all the French settlements in Bengal. We have yielded Pondicherry, Carical, and every settlement. We have conquered from the French upon the coasts of Coromandel and the Malabar. We have given back to the Dutch, Chensurah, Calcapore, and their settlements on their coasts, Negapatnam excepted. I should rather say, this nation has given up, and wifely given up the conquests of the East-India Company, to prevent farther sacrifices where they would have been more felt by the public. We have contracted a debt during this long and arduous war, not equal to one year of our net revenues; and shall the Company be filled a burden upon the State, or shall its servants, who have exerted themselves so meritorioufly,-be calumniated, instead of receiving the praise due to their merit? But the honourable gentleman says, we have no security that œconomy will be practised in Bengal, except we argue in favour of future obedience from past disobedience. If the fact is so, why iii the name of God do we not remove those men who will not obey our orders? Was Mr. Hastings in the way of any scheme of reformation? Had he not expreflly and anxioufly written to desire that a successor might be sent out? I appeal to the noble Lord in the blue ribband, whether it had not invariably been the language of Mr. Hastings, "remove me, or confirm me; the government of India should be supported by the government at home; and if you will not give me your confidence, recall me." I earnestly hope, that if His Majesty's Ministers, or if the Court of Directors, will not give their confidence to Mr. Hastings, they will instantly remove him. I hope, if they conceive tha*t he will not rigidly execute every order they fend to him relative to œconomical retrenchments, that they Will instantly remove him. I have heard this language of Mr. Hastings's disobedience repeated in speeches; I have seen it inserted in , pamphlets pamphlets and newspapers; but when gentlemen are pushed upon the subject, they are obliged to have recourse to the stale charge of not sending Mr. Bristow to Oud, arid Mr. Fowke to Benares. And here I must fay, that whether Mr. Hastings is to be continued or not, or whoever goes out to succeed him, the government of India must be in India, and this House muft give up the ridiculous idea of appointing gentlemen to ministerial offices, either from Leadenhall Street, or this end of the town. The system is new, and destructive in the- extreme, of pointing out to their governments in India who they shall employ in offices of trust and importance. Will the honourable gentleman, or will any other honourable gentleman, point out a single order sent from this country relative to œconomical letrenchments which have been disobeyed in the last three years? There is. indeed, a difference of opinion between Mr. Hastings and the Directors, relative to the duration of contracts; but that is of a very old date, and will make no difference to the present argument. I shall now briefly state my ideas of what could be done in Bengal. ' The House had authentic official advice, that the army! in Bengal had been considerably reduced; they knew that Colonel Morgan's detachment was, on tile 23d of'January, within twelve Cofs of Gualior; consequently that by the 1st of February it would be in the ranks of the Jumna, when it was instantly to be reduced. Admitting the peace not to be concluded with Tippoo, the services of the Bengal detachment at Madras were no longer necessary. I therefore believe, that by the 1st of May every military expence of the Bengal army was brought within one hundred and ten lacks a year. It is the duty of the Court of Directors not to trust merely to this, but to point specifically the reductions that mould be made, and to take-care that the expence they authorize is not exceeded. The civil disbursements are estimated at more than thirty-nine lacks, including the expence of the Supreme Court of Judicature; but allowing fifty lacks for the civil, charges and the marine, allowing twenty-one
lacks laeks for stipends, and twenty lacks for coutingencies, beyond the very high rate at which I have stated the disbursements, and from the net revenues of Bengal, Bahar, and Orisla; Benares, Vizier's subsidy, and the profit upon salt and opium, including also the sale of our imports, there will still remain a surplus of above one hundred and fifty-nine lacks of rupees, for the purchase of future investments, for paying the interest of the bonded debts of India, and for a gradual liquidation of the principal.
In stating the subsidy of the Vizier, I confine myself to the two lacks and sixty thousand rupees a month, which he pays for a complete brigade by the treaty of 1775. But his Excellency is also engaged to pay seventy thousand rupees a month for every regiment of Sepoys which he may choose to station in his dominions, beyond the complete brigade, and a fixed sum for the Ordnance department. At present there are six regiments upon this subsidy in the Vizier's dominions, which is so far a saving to the Company. If at any future period (of which I haAe no idea) the Vizier should wish to recal all our forces from Oud, their line of defence will be circumscribed, and a proportional reduction of the army must take place; and when we are agaia brought within the banks of the Carumnafla, eighty lacks of rupees will amply provide for as large an army as will be uecessary for our complete defence; I perfectly agree with the honourable gentleman, that from Bengal the interest of the bond debts in India must be paid, and the principal liquidated, whenever it is liquidated: yet I have the authority of Lord Macartney for supposing, that on the re-establishment os peace, the Carnatic will bear its own expences, and furnish a cargo for Europe. I hope it will be so, and then it will be a relief to Bengal, which I have not yet calculated. I did intend to have made a few remarks upon the Report of the Select Committee before us, an* to have noticed two or three very glaring errors; but I shall leave this to other gentlemen, as I am of opinion observations will not escape them. I have the
highest highest opinion of the integrity, ability, and impartiality of the gentlemen who compose the Committee; but this is an additional proof of the absurdity of a Committee of this House entering upon the detail of an Indian account without having a single gentleman among them who, from local knowledge and long experience, can be enabled to point out to them the necessary papers and documents which they mould refer to.
Major Scott, July 2, 1784.
FREEDOM Of ELECTION.
It is well known, that by the Constitution of this kingdom all elections, of whatever nature, ought to be made with the utmost fieedom.—We have many laws, both ancient and modern, for establishing the freedom of elections, and for prc venting any undue influence that may be made, either by money, by threats, or by promises, upon the electors. The very nature of the thing requires it should be so; for every man who is allowed a vote at any election, is, by law, presumed capable of determining within himself who is the most proper person for that post, office, or employment, to which he is to elect; and if he be directed in his voting, either by money, by threats, or by promises, it is he who directs that is properly the elector, and not he who is made the tool upon that occasion; by which means, that election, which by law ought to be made by a great number of persons, may come to be directed, and, consequently, made by one single man.
Therefore, my Lords, it always has been deemed to be a maxim of the common law of England, that elections shall be freely and regularly made, without any interruption whatever;