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system, by investing the supreme government, to be scated in Bengal, with an effectual control over every other presidency, and by investing that supreme govern. ment with executive power, and with the disposition of offices in India ; but to make it a matter less invidious,
; and to prevent the possibility of abuse, gradation and succession should be established as the invariable rule, except in very extraodinary cases; with a view to which there must be lodged in the supreme government, as in every other executive power, a discretion, which every man must see was actually necessary to be vested in an executive power, acting at such an extreme distance from the seat of the supreme government of all, but which was nevertheless to be subject to the control of the board of superintendancy to be established here at home, whose orders in this, as in every other case, the government of India must obey. Though Bengal was designed to be the supreme government, it was not to be the source of influence, that being as much as possible guarded against by the regulations designed to make a part of the bill. The officers of the government of Bengal were intended to be left to the nomination of the court of directors, subject to the negative of the crown; and the court of directors were to have the no. mination of the officers of all the subordinate governments, cxcepting only the commander in chief, who, for various reasons, would remain to be appointed by the
He said it might possibly be argued, that, if the crown nominated the commander in chief, and had a negative upon the rest of the appointments, all the patronage remained in the hands of government at home. This, however, was far from being the case; the patronage of great appointments not being the sort of patronage for the public to entertain a jealousy about, and the
other patronage being diffused and placed in Bengal, the influence from it was considerably weakened and diminished ; add to this, all offices going by gradation and succession, would be a forcible check upon the patronage, and tend greatly to its reduction”
Having discussed this matter very fully, Mr. Pitt proceeded to state, “ that much would depend on the manner of administering the government in India, and that his endeavours should be directed to enforce clear and simple principles, as those from which alone a good government could arise. The first and principal object would be to take care to prevent the government from being ambitious and bent on conquest. Propensities of that nature had already involved India in great expences, and cost much bloodshed. These, therefore, ought most studiously to be avoided. Commerce was our object, and, with a view to its extension, a pacific system should prevail, and a system of defence and conciliation. The government there ought, therefore, in an especial manner to avoid wars, or entering into alliances likely to
At the same time that he said this, he did not mean to carry the idea so far as to suggest, that the British government in India was not to pay a due regard to self-defence, to guard against sudden hostilities from the neighbouring powers, and, whenever there was reason to expect an attack, to be in a state of preparation. This was undoubtedly and indispensably necessary; but when ever such circumstances occurred, the execntive power in India was not to content itself with acting there as the rature of the case might require ; it was also to send immediate advice home of what had happened, of what measures had been taken in consequence of it, and of what farther measures were intended 10 be pursued. He mentioned also the institution of a tribunal to take
cognizance of such matters, and state how far such a tribunal should be empowered to act without instructtions from home. He next said, that the situation of the Indian princes, in connection with our government, and of the number of individuals living immediately under our government, were objects that ought to be the subject of inquiry.-The debts due from one Indian prince to another, over whom we had any influence, such as the claims of the nabob of Arcot upon the Rajah of Tanjore, ought, undoubtedly, to be settled on a permanent footing; this, and the debts of the natives tributary to us, ought also to be the subjects of inquiry. Another object of investigation, and an object of considerable delicacy, was the pretensions and titles of the landholders to the lands at present in their possession; in the adjustment of this particular, much caution must be adopted, and means found, that would answer the end of substantial justice, without going the length of rigid right; because he was convinced, and every man at all conversant with Indian affairs must be convinced, that indiscrimi. nate restitution would be as bad as indiscriminate confiscation. Another very material regulation, or rather prin- . ciple of reform, from which solid hopes of providing a surplus adequate to the debt in India might be drawn, was, the retrenchment of our establishments in that coun. try. At present it was a well known fact, that all our establishments there were very considerably overcharged ; at any rate, therefore, there must be no augmentation suffered ; and in order to prevent the possibility of such an improvident measure, a return of all the establishments must be called for. With regard to the means of reducing them, they ought to be laid before parliament, and submitted to the determination of both Houses. Every intended increase of the establishment ought also
to be submitted to parliament, and the company to be immediately restrained from sending out any more inferior servants.
He stated that it would be necessary, by proper provisos, to compel the execution of these points; and the better to guard against the continuance of that rapacity, plunder, and extortion, which was shocking to the feelings of humanity, and disgraceful to the national character, he proposed to render the company's servants responsible for what they did in every part of India, and to declare it illegal and punishable, if they, on any pretence whatever, accepted sums of money or other valuables from the natives. This would, he hoped, tend effectually to check private corruption. There were, he was aware, a certain species of presents, so much a part of the ceremonies inseparable from the manners of the East, that an attempt to direct that they should not be received would be utterly impracticable ; but 'even as much as possible to guard against any bad consequences resulting from the continuance of the practice in question, he meant that the bill should ob- . lige the company's servants in India to keep an exact, and faithful register of all such presents.
“ With regard to those of the company's servants, who did not comply with the directions the bill would hold out to them, and with such other directions as should, under the sanction and authority of the bill, be transmitted to them from home, such persons should be considered as guilty of offences punishable in the degrees stated in the bill, which should contain a special exception of those guilty of disobedience of orders, and other crimes, which, from their consequences, being of a more fatal tendency, must be punished with great sevetity. In respect to this part of his subject, the House, he had no doubt, would go along with him in feeling the
necessity, and at the same time the extreme difficulty, of providing a proper tribunal, before which persons charged with offences committed in India should be tried. He owned he had an extreme partiality to the present system of distributing justice in this country; so much so, that he could not bring himself for a moment to think seriously upon the idea of departing from that system, without the utmost reluctance; without mentioning names, however, or referring to recent in. stances, every man must acknowledge, that at present we had it not in our power to do justice to the delinquents of India, after their return home. The insuffi. ciency of parliamentary prosecutions was but too obvious; the necessity for the institution of some other process was therefore undeniable. A summary way of proceeding was what had struck him, and he believed, others who had thought much upon the subject, as most advisable; the danger, however, was the example that must arise from any deviation from the established forms of trial in this country, it being perhaps the first, the dearest, and the most essential consideration in the mind of every Englishman, that he held his property and his person in perfect security, from the wise, moderate, and liberal spirit of our laws. Much was to be said with respect to the case in point; either a new process must be instituted, or offences, equally shocking to humanity, opposite to justice, and contrary to every principle of religion and morality, must continue to prevail uncheck, uncontrolled, and unrestrained. of the case outweighed the risk and the hazard of the innovation; and when it was considered that those who might go to India hereafter, would know the danger of transgressing before they left England, he trusted that it