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dence brought to the bar of the House. Without enter, ing very deep into the subject, let me reply, in a few words, to an observation which fell from a noble and learned lord, that the company's finances are distressed, and that they owe at this moment a million sterling to the nation, When such a charge is brought, will parliament, in its justice, forget that the company is restricted from employing that credit, which its great and flourishing situation gives to it? Will parliament, in its justice, forget that so high is the credit of this company, that if the restrictions were taken off to-morrow morning, every demand due to the state would be discharged? Will parliamenr, in its justice, forget, that not all the wisdom of His Majesty's councils, nor the united wisdom of this country, has prevented us from being involved in a long, a dangerous, and expensive war? Will parliament, in its justice, forget, that though we have met with loss, misfortune, and disgrace, in every other quarter of the globe, this delinquent East India Company has sur. mounted the most astonishing difficulties in India? Will the justice of parliament forget, that when peace was at last restored to this unfortunate country, the conquests of this delinquent company were given up, to prevent farther sacrifices in the West ? Will parliament, in its justice, forget that this delinquent company, by the additional expence of freight, or captures at sea, has sus. tained a loss of two millions seven hundred thousand pounds, in consequence of our national war? Will parliament, in its justice, forget, that when this country has increased its debt above one hundred millions sterling, this delinquent company wants but a little time to pay all it owes to the exchequer, or privilege to use its flowing credit ? Will parliament, in its justice, forget, that at a former period, when its commerce was circum
scribed, when it had not an empire to support, this de. linquent company was allowed to issue bonds to the amount of three millions sterling, though now limited, at the close of an expensive and calamitous war, to the sum of fifteen hundred thousand pounds ? These are circumstances which must be recollected, when we meani to violate private property-an injury which must cut every Englishman to the bone, and which nothing but the strongest necessity, fully and fairly proved, can ever justify.
« The noble and learned lord has mentioned the de. population of fertile provinces in India, the expulsion of a King from his palace, and the cruelties exercised upon an old woman. These, my lords, are sounding words ; but I call upon the noble and learned lord to prove the facts.
“ It is something singular, that when the character of Mr. HASTINGS is thus held up to public detestation, his name should be cautiously suppressed? Whence, iny lords, this remarkable degree of delicacy towårds Mr. HASTINGS? If he is a desolator of provinces, if he is a plunderer, and an enemy to the human race, let him be punished for his crimes ; but let the facts be proved. The little, low, dirty attempts of malice and faction, which have long been employed to destroy the character of that great man (as I think him) can have no weight with your lordships. Ho v industriously, my lords, has every transaction of Mr. HASTINGS's long government, that could tend to criminate him, been circulated! The reports of a committee have been sold as pamphlets. The ingenuity of some men, the industry and warm imagination of others, have been long employed to sully the well earned reputation of Mr. HASTINGS. To my mind, my lords, Mr. HASTINGS is one of the most extraordinary
characters this country has ever produced.
He has served the East India Company thirty-three years in the most important situations, twelve years as Governor, or Governor General of Bengal. He is a man, my lords, whose integrity, whose honor, whose firmness of mind, and whose perseverance, are not only very generally acknowledged in this kingdom and in Asia, but throughout the continent of Europe. He is a man, my lords, who possesses a most extensive knowledge of the languages, the politics, the customs, and the revenues of Indostan. He is a man, my lords, who infused the spirit which animated his own mind, and rose superior to the astonishing difficulties he had to encounter, into the breasts of our brave and intre. pid countrymen, who have so nobly distinguished themselves in Asia. Mr. HASTINGS, my lords, is a man who has re-established peace in India, who furnished resources for the war, while it lasted, by an increase of revenues in Bengal, and has preserved the provinces under his more immediate control in peace and tranquillity. Mr.HASTINGS is a man, my lords, who has held a bold and consistent language throughout. When the government of this country sent three men to thwart and to oppose all his measures, he desired either to be recalled, or confirmed. Would to God, those men had never arrived there! When I consider the scene of confusion which ensued, the factions, personal, and party spirit, by which they were actuated from the very hour of landing, I am astonished that Mr. HASTINGS has been able to surmount so arduous a trial. What have been the means, my lords, to which Mr. Hastings has had recourse to preverve his power ? Has he employed the low and dirty arts of intrigue, which have heretofore been practised ? No, my lords, he has been supported by the voice of the public, by great and meritorious actions. This being my opinion
of Mr. HASTINGS, I shall support him until evidence of his delinquency shall be produced. Whence, my lords, this extreme desire to avoid a full and pure discussion of this question ? I again repeat it; if Mr. HASTINGS is guilty, recall him, punish him ; but do not, my lords, let us be deluded by tales fabricated for the purpose of the hour, and circulated with a degree of industry which disgraces the honor and dignity of the British nation. I cannot help adding, my lords, that, to my mind, the late dispatches from India contain such convincing proofs of the vigor of our government in Bengal, of the regu. lations formed for the collection of the revenues, and the administration of justice, throughout the provinces, added to the economical arrangement formed in the civil and military departments, that I do believe it will not be in the
power of any clerk in office, that Mr. Fox's Directors may send out, to throw Bengal into confusion again in less than two, or three years."
After the rejection of Mr. Fox's bill, Mr. Pitt, who was immediately appointed Chancellor of the Exchequer, brought forward a plan of his for the better government of India, on principles which left the commercial concerns of the company in their own hands; and established a Board of Control consisting of certain commissioners appointed by the King, possessing a negative on the proceedings of the company in all matters of government or politics. But as the late ministers still retained a small majority in the House of Commons, this bill, on the motion for its commitment, was lost by 222 voices against 214–The general election, which soon afterwards took place, was so favorable to Mr. Pitt's wishes, that he felt the utmost confidence in again producing his bill on the 6th of July 1784, founded on the same general principles as before, but considerably im.
proved in its details, and so completely avoiding all the exceptionable parts of M. Fox's bill, as to gain the assent of the company, and finally to obtain the sanction of the legislature. He introduced it with the following speech:
“ No one,” he said, “ could be more deeply impressed than he was with the importance of the subject on which he was then going to enter : in whatever point of view he considered it, he felt that no subject could possibly be more interesting. In it were involved the prosperity and strength of this country; the happiness of the natives of those valuable territorries in India which belonged to England; and finally, the constitution of England itself. India had at all times been of great consequence to this country, from the resources of opulence and strength it afforded ; and that consequence had, of course, increased in proportion to the losses sustained by the dismemberment of other great possessions ; by which losses, the limits of the empire being more con tracted, the remaining territories became more valuable.
“ He was aware that nothing could be more difficult than to digest a plan, which should at once confirm and enlarge the advantages derived to this country from connections with India, to render that connection a blessing to the native Indians, and at the same time preserve unviolate the essence and spirit of our own constitution from the injuries to which this connection might eventually expose it. Gentlemen would recollect, with a degree of horror, to what dangers that happy constitution was exposed last year, when a bill was introduced into parliament, which would have established a system dangerous to every thing that Englishmen held dear: they would recollect that the liberties of this country had nearly suf