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understand, that if it should be the wish of any number of gentlemen to have them separated, that he should have no objection. Mr. Sheridan declared, that the part of the bill that went to the institution of a new judicature, was of so much importance, that he could not but wish extremely that it was separated and put into a distinct bill. He reminded Mr. Pitt, that he had himself stated his ideas upon that part of the bill, as by no means settled, and confirmed in his own mind; but had rather thrown them out as hints of what he thought might be done ; and had called upon gentlemen, in a very candid way, for their sentiments, in order that, by their assistance, the institution of a new tribunal might be so modified and guarded, as to leave little room for objection. Mr. Sheridan said, emboldened by these sentiments of the right hon. gentleman, he now rose with the hopes of persuading the right hon. gentleman to divide his bill into two at least, by which means that which related to the institution of the new judicature might come fairly under consideration, and receive that distinct degree of discussion, which the very great importance of it, and the serious effect it would have on the criminal jurisdiction of this country, well entitled it to. As no delay would be occasioned by this division of the bill, and as every possible purpose, the right honorable gentleman could propose to himself, from going on with the whole of it as one bill, would be effectually answered, he trusted there could be no objection to such a proposition; and therefore he moved, "That it be an instruction to the committee, that the bill be divided into two bills."
Mr. Pitt, in reply, partly consented to Mr. Sheridan's proposition; but in a subsequent speech retracted, on the ground that since he had first spoken, he had learned from the friends around him, that they were extremely averse from acceding to the measure of dividing the bill into two.
Mr. SHERIDAN wished the right honorable gentleman had adhered to his former concession; though
he acknowledged he was so seldom guilty of conceding to that side of the house, that he had feared his condescension would not continue till the question was put. With regard to what the right honorable gentleman had said relative to the lords, he thought the right honorable gentleman paid the understanding of their lordships a bad compliment; and relied less than he ought upon a house so full of his friends. If he was afraid of their not either comprehending the bill if it went up in parts, or receiving it cordially, let it go up in any shape the right honorable gentleman might choose to give it. As to the subject matters of the bill going to one object, undoubtedly it did so; but they were to all intents and purposes three distinct bills; and as not an hour would have been lost by the separation, he still hoped the right honorable gentleman would re-consider what might be termed his re-consideration; and re-concede what he had just retracted. Had the right honorable gentleman remained firm to his concession, it would be fair to say they would have gained a point; because he was persuaded many who approved of the former parts of the right honorable gentleman's bill, did not approve of that relative to the new judicature; in like manner, he made no scruple to acknowledge, that many who were most partial to the bill that had been brought in by his right honorable friend (who was not then present), before Christmas, had their doubts as to the plan that he had in contemplation, with regard to providing a system of jurisdiction applicable to the trial of the East India delinquents. If the bill had been divided, all those who held, that there had existed no peculation in India; that it was the scene of purity and integrity; that no oppression had been practised; no tyranny exercised over the natives; that rapine was unknown in the different territories we had acquired in the neighbouring princes' domains; and that out of five hundred persons, who had gone to India, only thirty had returned to Eng
land, and all of them without any fortunes at all, must necessarily have voted against the tribunal bill; because men entertaining and avowing such opinions, would surely never consent to subjecting their friends and principles, their relations and employers, to so severe, and, if their arguments were good, so unjust a tribunal. Mr. Sheridan said, if the right honorable gentleman, however, would not consent to divide his bill, he trusted that he would at least consent not to hurry that part of it that related to the new judicature, through the committee, so as to suffer it to be rendered the business of the tail of a day, or the subject of debate at two or three o'clock in the morning.
WAYS AND MEANS.- -HORSE DEALERS. Mr. SHERIDAN rose, and observed, that the proposition, that horse-dealers resident in the borough of Southwark should pay ten pounds for their license, appeared to him extremely liable to evasion. Might not innkeepers very fairly say, they were dealers in horses, and ought not those who kept a great number, either for use, pleasure, or splendour, take out a license as horse-dealers, and under that, shelter themselves from the payment of the duty.
Mr. Pitt replied, that the license was to be taken out by those only whose actual profession it was to buy and sell horses.
Mr. Powys said, that he had an insuperable objection, not merely to the wording, but to the very principle of the clause," obliging all persons, on their return from India, to give in a duplicate of their fortunes upon oath." If he understood it right, it went this length: it admitted the oath of a person to be the ground of his own acquittal, or what came nearly to the same thing, it made the oath a bar to a prosecution; for if a man, however guilty of peculation,
should make oath, that he was not worth more than a particular sum, this oath would be conclusive, and operate as a bar to any prosecution. This would be holding out impunity to the guilty, and consequently such a clause would defeat its own object.
Mr. SHERIDAN supported the objection thrown out by Mr. Powys against the principle of the clause, The sacred obligation of an oath would, he feared, sit exceedingly light on the conscience of a peculator; nay, as it was impossible that a servant of the company could have amassed an inordinate fortune by peculation, without having committed perjury in so doing, by the breach of official oaths; so it was very natural to expect that he would very readily commit a second perjury, in order to cover a former; and there was little reason to hope, that conscience, which had been seared to all sense of religion, duty, and honour, in India, should recover its sensibility merely by a change of climate on a passage from that country to England.
Mr. Dundas observed, "that the overgrown fortunes were generally to be seen among the servants of the company, although they were restricted from trading; and that as to the real trader, however rich he returned to his country, he would respect, cherish, and revere him.
Mr. Sheridan said, he made no doubt but the rich merchant would be respected, cherished, and revered; what treatment he should meet with, if poor, it was not for him to foresee or to foretel.
On the clause being read to exempt generally from the necessity of giving an inventory, and swearing to the truth of its contents, all persons who should arrive from India before the 1st of January, 1787,
Mr. Sheridan said, this clause was in fact an indemnity held out to all peculators, and a warning to them to return to England before the first day of the year 1787, as the means by which they might screen themselves from trial, and their property from being taken from them, as a punishment for the illegal methods by which it might have been acquired. The inventory and oath were deemed the means by which evidence of their peculations
was to be procured; these means, therefore, being taken away, impunity of course would ensue,
The clause was afterwards agreed to without a division.
The Chairman next read the clause which precludes from returning to India all persons who had served in that country; and after their return to England, should have resided here or elsewhere in Europe, for a certain space of time, unless arising from ill health.
Mr. Sheridan said this would greatly injure the public service, as the officers of the king's army and navy having once served in India, could not return to it if this clause should pass.
The amendment was afterwards passed, removing Mr. Sheridan's objection, by exempt/ng king's officers.
FIRST CLAUSE ON THE SUBJECT OF THE NEW JUDICATURE TO BE INSTITUTED UNDER THE AUTHORITY OF THE BILL.
Mr. Sheridan said, what the right honorable gentleman (Mr. Pitt) had suggested, certainly went a considerable way towards removing the objections that he had entertained against the court of judicature, which the printed bill held forth, as the tribunal which was to be instituted; it was, however, impossible for him, on the first hearing of alterations so various and so material, to say how far they were all of them improvements or not; but as the report of the bill, when it came out of the committee, was to be printed, with the amendments, he should then be the better able to judge, and to give his opinion upon the subject of the new tribunal as it would then stand.
The clause was agreed to without a division.
ARREAR OF THE CIVIL LIST.
Mr. Pitt stated, there had been an excess in every one of the three quarters the late administration had been in office.
Mr. SHERIDAN went into a copious discussion of the account. He said, the imputation which Mr,