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A proposed Address to the King, on the same subject
Letter to Richard Burke, Esq. on the same subject
Letter on the Affairs of Ireland, written in the year 1797 460
Fragments and Notes of Speeches in Parliament.
On the Acts of Uniformity
On the Bill for the Relief of Protestant Dissenters
On the Petition of the Unitarians
On the Middlesex Election
On a Bill for shortening the Duration of Parliaments 481
On the Reform of the Representation in the House of Com-
On the Powers of Juries in Prosecutions for Libels
A Letter on the same subject -
On a Bill for repealing the Marriage Act
On the Dormant Claims of the Church
Hints for an Essay on the Drama
An Abridgment of English History, from the Invasion of Ju-
lius Cæsar to the end of the Reign of King John. In Three
CHAP. I. Causes of the Connexion between the Romans and
Britains.-Cæsar's two Invasions of Britain
11. Some Account of the ancient Inhabitants of Britain - 306
III. The Reduction of Britain by the Romans
iv. The Fall of the Roman Power in Britain
CHAP. 1. The Entry and Settlement of the Saxons, and their
Conversion to Christianity
11. Establishment of Christianity-of Monastick Institu-
tions-and of their Effects
III. Series of Anglo-Saxon Kings from Ethelbert to Alfred;
with the Invasion of the Danes
IV. Reign of King Alfred
v. Succession of Kings from Alfred to Harold
VI. Harold.- Invasion of the Normans-Account of that
People, and of the State of England at the tiine of the
VII. Of the Laws and Institutions of the Saxons
CHAP. I. View of the State of Europe at the time of the Nor.
II. Reign of William the Conqueror
11: Reign or Williame the Second, surnamed Rufus - 561
sv. ŘeigpolHenry I: .
V. Reign of Stephéri
Pl. Reigir af Hetty II.
111. Reign of Ričbard I.
VIIL Reign of John
3x Fragment:: An Essay towards an History of the Laws
::of England ::
Report, made on the 30th April 1794, from the Committee of
the House of Commons, appointed to inspect the Lords
Journals, in relation to their Proceeding on the Trial of
Warren Hastings, Esquire
From the Select COMMITTEE (of the House of Commons) appointed to take into consideration the
state of the Administration of Justice in the provinces of Bengal, Bahar, and Orissa, and to report the same, as it shall appear to them, to the House ; with their observations thereupon ; and who were instructed to consider how the British Possessions in the East Indies may be held and governed
reatest security and advantage to this Country; and by what means the happiness of the Native Inhabitants may be best promoted.-(25th June, 1783.)
AFFAIRS IN INDIA.
gestions to persons in power, without a regular 1.-OBSERVATIONS ON THE STATE OF THE COMPANY'S publick enquiry into the good or evil tendency of
any measure, or into the merit or demerit of any
person intrusted with the company's concerns. In order to enable the house to adopt the most The plan adopted by your commitproper means for regulating the British govern- tee is, first, to consider the law regu- relating to the ment in India, and for promoting the happiness of lating the East India company, as it Eanpanya the natives, who live under its authority or in- now stands; and secondly, to enquire its internal fluence, your committee hold it expedient to into the circumstances of the two policy. collect, into distinct points of view, the circum- great links of connexion, by which stances, by which that government appears to the territorial possessions in India are united to them to be most essentially disordered, and to this kingdom; namely, the company's commerce; explain fully the principles of policy, and the end the government exercised under the charter,
conduct, by which the natives of all and under acts of parliament. The last of these ranks and orders have been reduced to their pre-objects, the commerce, is taken in two points of sent state of depression and misery:
view, the external, or the direct trade between Your committee have endeavoured to perform India and Europe ; and the internal, that is to this task in plain and popular language, knowing say, the trade of Bengal, in all the articles of prothat nothing has alienated the house froń enquiries, duce and manufacture, which furnish the comabsolutely necessary for the performance of one of pany's investment. the most essential of all its duties, so much as the The government is considered by your comtechnical language of the company's records ; as mittee under the like descriptions of internal and the Indian names of persons, of offices, of the tenure external. The internal regards the communication and qualities of estates, and of all the varied between the court of directors and their servants branches of their intricate revenue. This language in India ; the management of the revenue; the exis, indeed, of necessary use in the executive depart- penditure of publick money; the civil adminisments of the company's affairs; but it is not neces-tration; the administration of justice ; and the sary to parliament. A language, so foreign from state of the army.-The external regards, first, all the ideas and habits of the far greater part of the conduct and maxims of the company's gothe members of this house, has a tendency to dis-vernment with respect to the native princes and gust them with all sorts of enquiry concerning this people dependent on the British authority : and subject. They are fatigued into such a despair of next, the proceedings with regard to those native ever obtaining a competent knowledge of the trans- powers, which are wholly independent of the actions in India, that they are easily persuaded to company. But your committee's observations on remand them back to that obscurity, mystery, and the last division extend to those matters only, intrigue, out of which they have been forced upon which are not comprehended in the Report of publick notice by the calamities arising from their the Committee of Secrecy. Under these heads, extreme mismanagement. This mismanagement your committee refer to the most leading particuhas itself (as your committee conceive) in a great lars of abuse, which prevail in the administration measure arisen from dark cabals, and secret sug- of India; deviating only from this order, where
the abuses are of a complicated nature, and where of the directors, and servants, and to watch over one cannot be well considered independently of the execution of all parts of the act; that they several others.
might be furnished with matter to lay before parYour committee observe, that this liament from time to time, according as the state tempt made
is the second attempt made by parlia of things should render regulation or animadverby parliament for a reforma- ment for the reformation of abuses in sion necessary.
the company's government. It ap The first object of the policy of this Court of Propears therefore to them a necessary preliminary to act was to improve the constitution of
prietors. this second undertaking, to consider the causes,
the court of proprietors. In this case, as in alwhich, in their opinion, have produced the failure most all the rest, the remedy was not applied diof the first; that the defects of the original plan rectly to the disease. The complaint was, that may be supplied ; its errours corrected; and such factions in the court of proprietors had shown, in useful regulations, as were then adopted, may be several instances, a disposition to support further explained, enlarged, and enforced. vants of the company against the just coercion Proceedings of
The first design of this kind was and legal prosecution of the directors. Instead of
formed in the session of the year 1773. applying a corrective to the distemper, a change In that year, parliament, taking up the considera was proposed in the constitution. By this reform, tion of the affairs of India, through two of its com- it was presumed, that an interest would arise in mittees, collected a very great body of details con- the general court more independent in itself, and cerning the interiour economy of the company's more connected with the commercial prosperity of possessions; and concerning many particulars of the company. Under the new constitution, no abuse, which prevailed at the time when those proprietor, not possessed of a thousand pounds committees made their ample and instructive re- capital stock, was permitted to vote in New qualifiports. But it does not appear, that the body of the general court: before the act, five regulations enacted in that year, that is, in the hundred pounds was a sufficient qualification for East-India act of the thirteenth of His Majesty's one vote; and no value gave more.
But as the reign, were altogether grounded on that informa- lower classes were disabled, the power was intion ; but were adopted rather on probable specu-creased in the higher : proprietors of three thoulations, and general ideas of good policy, and good sand pounds were allowed two votes ; those of six government. New establishments, civil and judi- thousand were entitled to three; ten thousand cial, were therefore formed at a very great expence, pounds was made the qualification for four. The and with much complexity of constitution. Checks votes were thus regulated in the scale and gradaand counter-checks of all kinds were contrived tion of property. On this scale, and on some proin the execution, as well as in the formation, of visions to prevent occasional qualifications, and this system, in which all the existing authorities of splitting of votes, the whole reformation rested. this kingdom had a share : for parliament appoint Several essential points, however, seem to have ed the members of the presiding part of the negy: been omitted or misunderstood. No regulation establishment; the Crown appointed the judicial: :was made to abaresh the pernicious custom of and the company preserved the nomination of the J. yoting by® bållot; vy means of which, other officers. So that if the act has not fully 1 acts of the bighest concern to the answered its purposes, the failure cannot be attri- ].company, and to the state, might be done by inbuted to any want of officers of every description, 1:aividuals with perfect impunity: and even the or to the deficiency of any mode of patronage in fidy' itselt mighi be subjected to a forfeiture of all their appointment. The cause must be sought its privileges for defaults of persons, who, so far elsewhere.
from being under control, could not be so much as Powers and The act had in its view (indepen- known in any mode of legal cognizance. Nothing objects of act dently of several detached regulations) was done, or attempted, to prevent the operation , five fundamental objects :
of the interest of delinquent servants of the com1st. The reformation of the court pany, in the general court, by which of proprietors to the East India company : they might even come to be their own
2dly. A new model of the court of directors, judges; and in effect, under another description, and an enforcement of their authority over the to become the masters in that body, which ought servants abroad :
to govern them. Nor was any thing provided to 3dly. The establishment of a court of justice secure the independency of the proprietory body capable of protecting the natives from the oppres from the various exteriour interests, by which it sion of British subjects :
might be disturbed, and diverted from the conser4thly. The establishment of a general council vation of that pecuniary concern, which the act to be seated in Bengal, whose authority should, in laid down as the sole security for preventing a colmany particulars, extend over all the British set-lusion between the general court and the powerful tlements in India :
delinquent servants in India. The whole of the 5thly. To furnish the ministers of the Crown regulations concerning the court of proprietors with constant information concerning the whole of relied upon two principles, which have often proved the company's correspondence with India, in order fallacious ; namely, that small numbers were a that they might be enabled to inspect the conduct security against faction and disorder; and, that
the effects thereof.
integrity of conduct would follow the greater pro- confusion, that were most to be dreaded in transperty. In no case could these principles be less acting the affairs of India. Whilst the votes of depended upon than in the affairs of the East-India the smaller proprietors continued, a door was left company. However, by wholly cutting off the open for the publick sense to enter into that society: lower, and adding to the power of the higher, clas- since that door has been closed, the proprietory has ses, it was supposed, that the higher would keep become (even more than formerly) an aggregate of their money in that fund to make profit; that the private interests, which subsist at the expence of vote would be a secondary consideration, and no the collective body. At the moment of this revomore than a guard to the property; and that there-lution in the proprietory, as it might naturally be fore any abuse, which tended to depreciate the expected, those, who had either no very particular value of their stock, would be warmly resented by interest in their vote, or but a petty object to pursuch proprietors.
sue, immediately disqualified; but those, who were If the ill effects of every misdemeanour in the deeply interested in the company's patronage ; company's service were to be immediate, and those, who were concerned in the supply of ships, had a tendency to lower the value of the stock, and of the other innumerable objects required for something might justly be expected from the pe- their immense establishments; those, who were cuniary security taken by the act. But from the engaged in contracts with the treasury, admiralty, then state of things, it was more than probable, and ordnance, together with the clerks in publick that proceedings, ruinous to the permanent inter- offices, found means of securing qualifications at est of the company, might commence in great the enlarged standard. All these composed a lucrative advantages. Against this evil large pe much greater proportion than formerly they had cuniary interests were rather the reverse of a re done of the proprietory body. medy. Accordingly, the company's servants have Against the great, predominant, radical corrupever since covered over the worst oppressions of tion of the court of proprietors, the raising the the people under their government, and the most qualification proved no sort of remedy. The return cruel and wanton ravages of all the neighbouring of the company's servants into Europe poured in countries, by holding out, and for a time actually a constant supply of proprietors, whose ability to realizing, additions of revenue to the territorial purchase the highest qualifications for themselves, funds of the company, and great quantities of their agents, and dependents, could not be dubious. valuable goods to their investment.
And this latter description form a very considerBut this consideration of mere in-able, and by far the most active and efficient, part Proprietors.
come (whatever weight it might have) of that body. To add to the votes, which is could not be the first object of a proprietor, in a adding to the power, in proportion to the wealth, body so circumstanced. The East-India com of men, whose very offences were supposed to pany is not like the Bank of England, a mere consist in acts, which lead to the acquisition of monied society for the sole purpose of the preser enormous riches, appears by no means a wellvation or improvement of their capital ; and there considered method of checking rapacity and opfore, every attempt to regulate it upon the same pression. In proportion as these interests prevailed, principles must inevitably fail. When it is con the means of cabal, of concealment, and of corrupt sidered, that a certain share in the stock gives a confederacy, became far more easy than before. share in the government of so vast an empire, with Accordingly, there was no fault with respect to such a boundless patronage, civil, military, ma the company's government over its servants, rine, commercial, and financial, in every depart-charged or chargeable on the general court as it ment of which such fortunes have been made, as originally stood, of which, since the reform, it has could be made no where else, it is impossible not not been notoriously guilty. It was not, therefore, to perceive, that capitals, far superiour to any a matter of surprise to your committee, that the qualifications appointed to proprietors, or even to general court, so composed, has at length grown directors, would readily be laid out for a partici- to such a degree of contempt both of its duty and pation in that power. The Indian proprietor, of the permanent interest of the whole corporation, therefore, will always be, in the first instance, a as to put itself into open defiance of the salutary politician ; and the bolder his enterprise, and the admonitions of this house, given for the purpose more corrupt his views, the less will be his con- of asserting and enforcing the legal authority of sideration of the price to be paid for compassing their own body over their own servants. them. The new regulations did not reduce the The failure in this part of the reform of 1773 is number so low as not to leave the assembly still not stated by your committee as recommending a liable to all the disorder, which might be supposed return to the ancient constitution of the company, to arise from multitude. But, if the principle had which was nearly as far as the new from containing been well established, and well executed, a much any principle tending to the prevention or remedy greater inconveniency grew out of the reform than of abuses; but to point out the probable failure that which had attended the old abuse; for if of any future regulations, which do not apply tumult and disorder be lessened by reducing the directly to the grievance, but which may be taken number of proprietors, private cabal and intrigue up as experiments to ascertain theories of the are facilitated, at least, in an equal degree; and operations of councils formed of greater or lesser it is cabal and corruption, rather than disorder and numbers, or such as shall be composed of men
of more or less opulence, or of interests of newer if they had not, in the mean time, been so modelled or longer standing, or concerning the distribution as to be entirely free from all ambition of that sort. of power to various descriptions or professions of From that period the orders of the court of men, or of the election to office by one authority, directors became so habitually despised by their rather than another.
servants abroad, and to be so little regarded even The second object of the act was by themselves, that this contempt of orders forms directors.
the court of directors. Under the almost the whole subject matter of the voluminous arrangement of the year 1773, that court appeared reports of two of your committees. If any doubt to have its authority much strengthened. It was however remains concerning the cause of this fatal made less dependent than formerly upon its con decline of the authority of the court of directors, stituents the proprietory. The duration of the no doubt whatsoever can remain of the fact itself, directors in office was rendered more permanent,
nor of the total failure of one of the great leading and the tenure itself diversified by a varied and regulations of the act of 1773. intricate rotation. At the same time their autho The third object was a new judicial
Supreme rity was held high over their servants of all descrip arrangement; the chief purpose of court of juditions; and the only rule prescribed to the council which was to form a strong and solid cature. general of Bengal, in the exercise of the large and security for the natives against the wrongs and ill-defined powers given to them, was, that they oppressions of British subjects resident in Bengal. were to yield obedience to the orders of the An operose and expensive establishment of a sucourt of directors. As to the court of directors preme court was made, and charged upon the itself, it was left with very little regulation. The revenues of the country. The charter of justice was custom of ballot, infinitely the most mischievous by the act left to the Crown, as well as the appointin a body possessed of all the ordinary executive ment of the magistrates. The defect in the instipowers, was still left; and your committee have tution seemed to be this; that no rule was laid found the ill effects of this practice in the course down, either in the act or the charter, by which of their enquiries. Nothing was done to oblige the the court was to judge. No descriptions of directors to attend to the promotion of their ser- offenders, or species of delinquency, were provants according to their rank and merits. In judg perly ascertained according to the nature of the ing of those merits, nothing was done to bind them place, or to the prevalent mode of abuse. Proto any observation of what appeared on their re- vision was made for the administration of justice cords. Nothing was done to compel them to pro in the remotest part of Hindostan, as if it were a secution or complaint where delinquency became province in Great Britain. Your committee have visible. The act indeed prescribed, that no ser- long had the constitution and conduct of this vant of the company abroad should be eligible court before them; and they have not yet been into the direction until two years after his return able to discover very few instances (not one, that to England. But as this regulation rather pre- appears to them of leading importance) of relief sumes than provides for an enquiry into their con given to the natives against the corruptions or duct, a very ordinary neglect in the court of direc- oppressions of British subjects in power: though tors might easily defeat it, and a short remission they do find one very strong and marked instance might in this particular operate as a total indem- of the judges having employed an unwarrantnity. In fact, however, the servants have of late able extension or application of the municipal seldom attempted a seat in the direction ; an at law of England, to destroy a person of the highest tempt, which might possibly rouse a dormant rank among those natives, whom they were sent spirit of enquiry; but satisfied with an interest in to protect. One circumstance rendered the prothe proprietory, they have, through that name, ceeding in this case fatal to all the good purposes, brought the direction very much under their own for which the court had been established. The controul.
sufferer (the Rajah Nundcomar) appears, at the As to the general authority of the court of di- very time of this extraordinary prosecution, a rectors, there is reason to apprehend, that on the discoverer of some particulars of illicit gain then whole it was somewhat degraded by the act, whose
Mr. Hastings, the governour general. professed purpose was to exalt it; and that the only Although in ordinary cases, and in some lesser ineffect of the parliamentary sanction to their orders stances of grievance, it is very probable, that this has been, that along with those orders the law of court has done its duty, and has been, as every the land has been despised and trampled under court must be, of some service; yet one example of foot. The directors were not suffered either to this kind must do more towards deterring the nominate or to remove those, whom they were em natives from complaint, and consequently from powered to instruct: from masters they were reduced the means of redress, than many decisions favourto the situation of complainants; a situation, the able to them, in the ordinary course of proceedimbecility of which no laws or regulations could ing, can do for their encouragement and relief. wholly alter; and when the directors were after- So far as your committee have been able to diswards restored in some degree to their ancient power, cover, the court has been generally terrible to the on the expiration of the lease given to their prin- natives, and has distracted the government of the cipal servants, it became impossible for them to company, without substantially reforming any one recover any degree of their ancient respect, even of its abuses.