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XXXII

CHAP. dience. The fupreme government was reftrained from offenfive war or alliances, without orders from home; the fubordinate fettlements were prohibited from forming even defenfive treaties, but with a conditional clause, which would render their permanency dependent on the ratification of the governor general; the fervants of the company were required to tranfmit accounts of all confiderable transactions to the council of Bengal, and the supreme council to convey fpeedy intelligence to Britain of every important occurrence. In confidering the comfort and fecurity of the natives, inquiry was ordered to be inftituted by the different presidencies into the expulfions of hereditary farmers, and the oppreffive rents and contributions that might have been extorted; and measures were directed to be employed for their relief and future tranquillity. Various regulations were added, respecting the debts of the nabob of Arcot, and the rajah of Tanjore, to private individuals and to the company. The bill further required an examination into the different establishments of the prefidencies, for the purposes of retrenchment, and an annual report of the fame to be tranfmitted to Britain. The propofition also contained both the description of delinquency, and the judicial eftablishments for its cognizance and punishments. Crimes committed by English subjects in any part of India, were made amenable to every British court of justice, in the fame manner as if they had been committed in our immediate dominions. Prefents, except fuch as were merely ceremonial, were forbidden to be received, unless by a counsellor at law, a phy+

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XXXII.

1784

a phyfician, a furgeon, or a chaplain, under the pe- CHAP. nalty of confifcation of the prefent, and an additional fine, at the difcretion of the court. Difobedience of orders, unless abfolutely neceffary, and pecuniary transactions, contrary to the interests of the company, were declared to be high crimes and misdemeanors. The company were forbidden to interfere in favour of any person legally condemned of the above crimes, or to employ him in their service for ever. The governors of the several presidencies were empowered to imprison any person suspected of illicit correspondence, and to fend him to England if they judged it neceffary. Every perfon ferving in India was required, within two months after his return to England, to deliver in upon oath to the court of exchequer, an inventory of his real and perfonal estates, and a copy thereof to the court of directors, for the inspection of the proprietors ; and should the validity of the account be doubted, on any complaint to that effect made by the board of control, the court of directors, or three proprietors poffeffing India ftock to the amount of 10,000l. conjunctively, the court of exchequer were required to examine upon oath the perfon ac-. cufed, and to imprison him until he should have fatisfactorily answered interrogatories. Neglect or concealment were to be punished by the imprisonment of the defendant, the forfeiture of all his eftates, both real and perfonal, and an incapacity of ever serving the company. For the more speedy and effectual profecution of perfons in Great Britain, charged with crimes committed in India, a court was established, to confist of three judges, noC 2 minated

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XXXII.

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CHAP minated refpectively by the chancery, king's bench, and common pleas, four peers taken from a list of twenty-fix, and fix commoners from a lift of forty (the lifts to be chofen by ballot from their respective houses), a certain number of whom fhould be fubject to peremptory challenge both by the profecutor and the defendant. The judgment of the court was to extend to imprisonment, fine, and incapacity of ferving the company. Such are the outlines of Mr. Pitt's legiflative, executorial, and judicial arrangement for the government of India.

Arguments against the bill.

Oppofition reprobated the bill, on the grounds of infufficiency for the regulation of India, and dangerously extending the patronage of the crown. Many objections were alfo made to particular claufes; the new tribunal was faid to be in truth a fcreen for delinquents, fince no man was to be tried but on the accufation of the company or the attorney-general; he had only to conciliate government, in order to attain perfect fecurity. The obligation to fwear to the amount of property, and the powers granted to the courts of enforcing interrogatories, tended to compel perfons to criminate themfelves, and were modes of inquifitorial proceedings unknown to the fubjects of this ifland. It was confidently denied that, there was any neceffity for fo alarming a departure from the established principles and practice of the conftitution; and it was therefore prefumed that it could have been done with no other than a corrupt view, to draw the rich and powerful fervants of the East India company into a dependence upon the crown for

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its protection. Mr. Fox directed the force of his CHA P eloquence against this measure of his rival. prepares (faid the orator) feebleness at hoine by a divifion of power; if there be a receipt, a noftrum, for making a weak government, it is by giving the power of contriving measures to one, and the nomination of the perfons who are to execute them to another. Theories that do not connect men with measures, are not theories for this world; they are chimeras with which a reclufe may divert his fancy, but not principles on which a statefman would found his system. But, fay the ministers, the ne gative provides against the appointment of improper officers; the commiffioners have a negative, therefore they have full power. Here then is the com plete annihilation of the company, and of the fo much vaunted chartered rights. The bill is a fcheme of dark and delufive art, and takes away the claims of the company by flow and gradual fap. The first affumption made by the minister, is the power of fuperintendance and control; and what is the meaning of this power? Does it mean fuch a fuperintendance and control as this houfe poffeffes over minifters? No; for this houfe has not the power of giving official instructions. It is to be an active control, it is to originate meafures; and this is the next ftep. At laft, to complete the invafion, orders may be fecretly conveyed to India by the commiffioners, at the very moment they were giving their open countenance to inftructions to be fent from the directors. of an oppofite tendency. To fuffer fuch a scheme of dark intrigue will be a farce, a child's play, and does not deferve the name of a government. To this

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CHAP. progreffive and underhand scheme, I peremptorily object. If it were right to veft the powers of the court of directors in a board of privy counsellors, at any rate it should be done openly, A great nation ought never to defcend to gradual and infidious encroachment. Let them do what they wished for explicitly, and fhew the company, that what they dare to do, they dare to justify."

Arguments for it.

The minister declared his conviction, that the ordinary courts of justice were inadequate to the cognizance of Indian delinquency; and that there were many crimes committed there, for which the common law had provided no redress: at the fame time he did not conceive, that the principle on which he proceeded was so totally unknown in the jurisprudence of this kingdom; it was recognised in the whole code of martial law. As to the influence of the crown, he trusted he had fufficiently guarded against any fuch apprehenfions, by the mode directed for the conftitution of the new court of judicature. The whole plan was efficient to every good purpose, and guarded against the evil which must have refulted from the fcheme of Mr. Fox. The bill paffed both houses by very great majorities.

In the characters of Meffrs. Pitt and Fox a diverfity has been remarked, which may perhaps account for a striking difference in their respective fyftems. Energetic as Mr. Fox is in power, he is not always proportionably guarded and confiderate in the exertions of his faculties; hence, though his judgment be exquifite, his actually exerted difcrimination does not uniformly keep pace with the ftrength of his invention: Mr. Pitt, on the other

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