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and amend an act," &c. This system had the appearance of naval architecture, by first laying the keel, then forming the ribs, then the rigging and other appurtenances; but what was remarkable, the ship at last was obliged to put to sea without a rudder! He then mentioned some supposed deficiencies in the horse, stamp, and window acts;— and said, that the wording of some conveyed the idea of the horses, not only inhabiting the houses, but the extraordinary circumstance of their looking out of the windows. He then condemned the proposed tax on perfumery; and, enumerating the articles of lavender, milk of roses, &c. said that the commissioners, in distinguishing the various particulars of taxation, must be gifted by nature with the noses of pointers; and then, alluding to parliament, quoted the following passage from Pope's Rape of the Lock:
"Our humble province is to tend the fair,
Not a less pleasing, though less glorious care;
He concluded by moving, that the bill relative to a tax on perfumery, be printed.
The motion was opposed by Mr. Rose and Mr. Pitt. The house divided; ayes 24; noes 119.
Upon bringing up the report from the committee on this bill,
Mr. SHERIDAN observed, that the right honorable gentleman, who had proposed a reduction of the bounties to those concerned in the whale fisheries, had not proceeded upon true parliamentary principles. For, to say nothing of the injury about to be committed against the trading part of the kingdom, he could not conceive the parliamentary
grounds for relinquishing a measure one session and resuming the consideration of it the next.
Mr. Jenkinson replied, that in certain cases the regulations alluded to by the honorable gentleman were very proper. In tax bills, for instance, a measure was seldom or ever resumed which had been abandoned in the former session; but here the case was very different, and the honorable gentleman had mistaken the real grounds of opposition.
The report of the committee having been brought up by Mr. Young, the amendments were read separately, and a separate question put upon each; when the house came to the clause which limited the number of the militia to be called out, trained, and exercised to twothirds of the whole. This was objected to by Mr. Marsham, and supported by Mr. Pitt.
Mr. SHERIDAN declared, that he could not resist that opportunity of expressing his surprise and regret, that the right hon. gentleman had thought proper to give way on the present occasion. He stated the consideration due to the gentlemen who had so laudably stood forward as friends of the militia, and urged the little regard that the difference of the expense deserved; when, in fact, the difference was so mere a trifle between calling out two-thirds of the militia annually, and calling out the whole.
The house divided; ayes (for the amendment, as it stood, for twothirds of the militia) 49; noes 13. The bill was here ordered to be engrossed, with the amendment.
PETITION OF THE EAST-INDIA COMPANY.
Mr. SHERIDAN said, that it was highly reprehensible to introduce at so late a period of the ses'sion great and important matters which required deliberate discussion; and particularly culpable indeed was the negligent way in which they were
opened by the right honorable gentleman, as if they were of little consequence, and fit to be considered only as matters of course. Mr. Sheridan proceeded to prove, that the necessity for the present application must have been known early in the session; and that the Directors had no manner of occasion to have waited under the expectation of receiving additional information by the last ships from India. He stated the grounds upon which he formed these opinions, and entered into an examination and discussion of several parts of the report of the situation of the East-India Company's affairs which had been laid on the table. He asserted, that the calculations were most erroneous; the deductions false; and the result of the whole of such as he had touched upon, consequently fallacious. The commutation tax had failed so greatly in point of productiveness, that instead of the many hundred thousand pounds which the public were led to believe they should receive for what they paid so dearly for, it had only produced one hundred thousand pounds compensation; and great part of that was extremely disputable, whether it was to be ascribed to the operation of that tax, or to any other effect, which he had taught the public to entertain respecting it.
Mr. Pitt answered, that Mr. Sheridan had greatly misconceived -the report, and declared, that from having combated a report brought in by Mr. Grenville, with some success, he seemed to be of opinion, that any report might be handled with equal dexterity; but he had shewn the reverse to be the fact. Mr. Pitt appealed to the house, whether the commutation tax had not proved gloriously successful. As the honorable gentleman had not offered any objec tion to the motion, but had gone into a detail of matters totally foreign to it, it was unnecessary to detain the house with a long argument in reply.
Mr. Sheridan contended, that the right honorable gentleman not only misconceived, but grossly mis-stated his reasoning; a circumstance which he imputed altogether to the right honorable gentleman's want of capacity on such subjects. The right
honorable gentleman's boasting of the commutation tax, and looking round him, and appealing to a few of his own friends for support in his assertion, was no proof of the success of it, or the feeling of the public respecting it. Let him ask the country, let him inquire without those walls, (where he was sure of his majority) let him appeal to the people at large, and ascertain their sense of it, and he would then learn that its unpopularity was equal to its failure in point of produce!
The resolutions were agreed to without a division.
PETITION OF THE EAST-INDIA COMPANY.
The report of the two resolutions in the committee of supply, in consequence of the East-India Company's petition, was brought up by Mr. Rose; and the resolutions, after having been read a first and second time, were agreed to.
Mr. SHERIDAN remaked, that as occasions might, more than once, arise for the investigation of the subject of the two resolutions just read and agreed to by the house, he would not take up their time by going into it at that moment; but the more he examined the matter, the more fully he was convinced of the fallacy and error of the report upon which the Directors of the East-India Company had presumed to apply to that house for the assistance which they had desired. Mr. Sheridan stated some of the particulars, in which he differed altogether from the Chancellor of the Exchequer. One of them was, with regard to the sum sent from Bengal to China, in the course of the past year, which amounted to no more than 80001. although he said, the right honorable gentleman had conceived that it amounted to 275,0001. He said, that he had a motion to make for a paper, to the production of which he conceived the right honorable gentleman could have no sort of objection, as it would give the house a degree of in
formation respecting the business which they much wanted. Mr. Sheridan concluded with moving, "that there be laid before this house, extracts of all letters received by the court of directors of the EastIndia Company, since the 1st of January last, relating to the probable future amount of the net surplus revenues of the company's possessions in India; and also of all letters relating to the amount of sums which may probably be remitted, on the company's account, from India to China, in the next four years." Agreed to.
PROCEEDINGS AGAINST MR. HASTINGS.
* Mr. Hastings on the 1st of May, having been called to the bar, addressed himself in a short speech; in which he stated, that he considered his being allowed to be heard in that stage of the business as a very great indulgence, for which he begged leave to make his most grateful acknowledgments to the house; and as his wish was to deliver what he had to say in answer to the charges that had been presented against him by an honorable member, with a greater share of accuracy and correctness than he could pretend to in a speech from memory, he had committed his sentiments to writing, and hoped to be permitted to read them. This request being granted, Mr. Hastings proceeded to read his defence, in which he was assisted by Mr. Markham and the clerks of the house. Three days were spent in going through the several parts of his defence, and it was afterwards at the request of Mr. Hastings ordered to be laid upon the table of the house, and printed for the use of the members. The house in a committee next proceeded in the examination of witnesses in proof of the charges; and on the 1st of June, Mr. Burke brought forward the Rohilla charge, and moved the following resolution thereupon. "That the committee having considered the said article, and examined evidence on the same, are of opinion that there are grounds sufficient to charge Warren Hastings with high crimes and misdemeanors upon the matter of the said article." After much discussion, the debate was adjourned at half-past 3 o'clock, and renewed the day following. At half-past seven the committee divided, when there appeared for the motion 67: against it 119.
On the 13th of June, Mr. Fox brought forward the charge respecting the Rajah of Beuares. It was carried by a majority of
* Abstract of proceedings, continued from that under the head of April 26.