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about them until the East India Company was put into the hands of the Court. Since that time, a most religious silence is kept about those affairs. Government is sure to throw them immediately out, if any one's forward zeal prompts him to bring them before us. Nothing but the approaching expiration of the agreement with the public can submit it again to our instrumental consideration. Something will then be done. If more can be done for confirming the power of the Crown over the Company, as to its exterior form, like other forms, it will, I fancy, be suffered to continue.
When you write to Mr. Francis, pray put him in mind of me, and thank him for his permission to you to communicate his very valuable paper, of which I neither have made, nor shall make any improper or indiscreet use. I have written to him a letter, which I hope will not be wholly useless, about the first object of my heart, our friend William Burke. You are happy that you have our friend S under the immediate
protection of one who knows so well what power owes to friendship. Adieu, my dear John, my hand is tired; but it is, with my heart, always yours.
The perusal of Mr. Francis's Memorial led Mr. Burke's mind, which had been for some years employed in attending to Indian affairs in general, into accurate and extensive inquiries concerning that specific part When of the condition of the Zemindars.* Mr. Francis returned in 1781, he was enabled to make himself master of the subject; besides being very greatly assisted in the attainment of knowledge upon other questions concerning India. It is not doubted that the information and views which Mr. Burke had derived from Mr. Francis, and other
Mr. Francis, in a letter from Bengal to Lord North, afterwards published by Debrett, presents us with a very masterly account of the Zemindars, and other ranks and classes of natives; and also a clear and striking view of the political interests both of India and the Company.
sources, were powerfully instrumental in supplying Fox with the materials from which he formed his bill; a bill, to the passing of which neither Burke nor Fox anticipated any powerful obstruction. The Ministry had certainly many symptoms of strength superior to that possessed by any Ministry since the commencement of this reign. It combined the leading members of both parties during the American war. It united philosophy and genius with official experience. To consolidate parts, formerly heterogeneous, into one mass, a great weight of aristocratic influence was superinduced. Lord North retained many of his numerous supporters. Fox had a less numerous, but more able band of friends. The result of this union of genius, experience, rank, and property, was a majority seldom seen in favour of the Minister from the time of the illustrious Pitt. It was more likely to continue, because not depending solely on the native genius of the Minister, it had so many strong adventitious supports. Strong, however, as the building appeared,
there was a latent flaw. The Administration had been evidently forced upon the Sovereign, and was suspected by many, and known by some, to be disagreeable to that personage and his courtiers. The people also regarded the coalition with a jealous eye. The party which the coalition had driven from power, it might well be supposed, would narrowly watch every opportunity which either the favour of the Sovereign, or the people, might improve to them. The India bill of Mr. Fox afforded them the opportunity they wished.
The session met on the 11th day of November. The speech and address were received in the House of Lords, without any censure, except from Earl Temple alone; and in the House of Commons with una
Nov. 18, Fox introduced, with a speech that few ever equalled, and even he himself never surpassed, his famous India bill. To enter into a detail of a measure so well
known, would be unnecessary, and, indeed, foreign to my purpose. It may not, however, be irrelative to repeat its leading objects and features, as Burke was its most strenuous supporter. The system proposed by Fox characterised his ardent daring spirit, his comprehensive, expanded, and inventive genius. Whether in its tendency and principles a good or a bad measure, it was undoubtedly at once open, decisive, and efficient. He either assumed or concluded that the East India Company had so completely mismanaged their affairs as to be in a state of insolvency, and that their servants had been guilty of the most atrocious oppression in India. On this hypothesis or conviction he formed his plan. To prevent the continuance of mismanagement by the East India Company, he proposed what would have been certainly very effectual as to that object, the taking the management of their own affairs, territorial and commercial, entirely out of the hands of the Proprietors and the Directors; their house in Leadenhall-street, together with all books,`