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has been under the control of the secretary of state's office, and we had then three secretaries of state. If more than this is done, then they annihilate the direction which they pretend to support; and they augment the influence of the crown, of whose growth they affect so great a horror. But in truth this scheme of reconciling a direction really and truly deliberative, with an office really and substantially controlling, is a sort of machinery that can be kept in order but a very short time. Either the directors will dwindle into clerks, or the secretary of state, as hitherto has been the course, will leave everything to them, often through design, often through neglect. If both should affect activity, collision, procrastination, delay, and, in the end, utter confusion, must ensue.
But, Sir, there is one kind of influence far greater than that of the nomination to office. This gentlemen in opposition have totally overlooked, although it now exists in its full vigour; and it will do so, upon their scheme, in at least as much force as it does now. That influence this bill cuts up by the roots : I mean the influence of protection. I shall explain myself :-The office given to a young man going to India is of trifling consequence. But he that goes out an insignificant boy, in a few years returns a great Nabob. Mr. Hastings says he has two hundred and fifty of that kind of raw materials, who expect to be speedily manufactured into the merchantable quality I mention. One of these gentlemen, suppose, returns hither, laden with odium and with riches. When he comes to England, he comes as to a prison, or as to a sanctuary; and either is ready for him, according to his demeanour. What is the influence in the grant of any place in India, to that which is acquired by the protection or compromise with such guilt, and with the command of such riches, under the dominion of the hopes and fears which power is able to hold out to every man in that condition? That man's whole fortune, half a million perhaps, becomes an instrument of influence, without a shilling of charge to the civil list; and the influx of fortunes which stand in need of this protection is continual. It works both ways; it influences the delinquent, and it may corrupt the minister. Compare the influence acquired by appointing, for instance, even a governor-general, and that obtained by protecting him. I shall push this no further. But I wish gentlemen to roll it a little in their own minds.
The bill before you cuts off this source of influence. Its design and main scope is to regulate the administration of India upon the principles of a court of judicature; and to exclude, as far as human prudence can exclude, all possibility of a corrupt partiality, in appointing to office, or supporting in office, or covering from inquiry and punishment, any person who has abused or shall abuse his authority. At the board, as appointed and regulated by this bill, reward and punishment cannot be shifted and reversed by a whisper. That commission becomes fatal to cabal, to intrigue, and to secret representation, those instruments of the ruin of India. He that cuts off the means of premature fortune, and the power of protecting it when acquired, strikes a deadly blow at the great fund, the bank, the capital stock of Indian influence, which cannot be vested anywhere, or in any hands, without most dangerous consequences to the public.
The third and contradictory objection is, That this bill does not increase the influence of the crown. On the contrary, That the just power of the crown will be lessened, and transferred to the use of a party, by giving the patronage of India to a commission nominated by parliament, and independent of the crown. The contradiction is glaring, and it has been too well exposed to make it necessary for me to insist upon it. But passing the contradiction, and taking it without any relation, of all objections that is the most extraordinary. Do not gentlemen know, that the crown has not at present the grant of a single office under the Company, civil or military, at home or abroad? So far as the crown is concerned, it is certainly rather a gainer; for the vacant offices in the new commission are to be filled up by the king.
It is argued as a part of the bill, derogatory to the prerogatives of the crown, that the commissioners named in the bill are to continue for a short term of years, too short in my opinion; and because, during that time, they are not at the mercy of every predominant faction of the court. Does not this objection lie against the present directors ; none of whom are named by the crown, and a proportion of whom hold for this very term of four years ? Did it not lie against
the governor-general and council named in the act of 1773– who were invested by name, as the present commissioners are to be appointed in the body of the act of parliament, who were to hold their places for a terın of years, and were not removable at the discretion of the crown ? Did it not lie against the re-appointment, in the year 1780, upon the very same terms? Yet at none of these times, whatever other objections the scheme might be liable to, was it supposed to be a derogation to the just prerogative of the crown, that a commission created by act of parliament should have its members named by the authority which called it into existence ? This is not the disposal by parliament of any office derived from the authority of the crown, or now disposable by that authority. It is so far from being anything new, violent, or alarming, that I do not recollect, in any parliamentary commission, down to the commissioners of the landtax, that it has ever been otherwise.
The objection of the tenure for four years is an objection to all places that are not held during pleasure; but in that objection I pronounce the gentlemen, from my knowledge of their complexion and of their principles, to be perfectly in earnest. The party (say these gentlemen) of the minister who proposes this scheme will be rendered powerful by it; for he will name his party friends to the commission. This objection against party is a party objection; and in this too these gentlemen are perfectly serious. They see that if, by any intrigue, they should succeed to office, they will lose the clandestine patronage, the true instrument of clandestine influence, enjoyed in the name of subservient directors, and of wealthy, trembling, Indian delinquents. But as often as they are beaten off this ground, they return to it again. The minister will name his friends, and persons of his own party. -Whom should he name ? Should he name his adversaries ? Should he name those whom he cannot trust ? Should he name those to execute his plans, who are the declared enemies to the principles of his reform ? His character is here at stake. If he proposes for his own ends (but he never will propose) such names as, from their want of rank, fortune, character, ability, or knowledge, are likely to betray or to fall short of their trust, he is in an independent House of Commons which has, by its own virtue, destroyed the instruments of parliamentary subservience. This House of Commons would not endure the sound of such names. He would perish by the means which he is supposed to pursue for the security of his power. The first pledge he must give of his sincerity in this great reform will be in the confidence which ought to be reposed in those names.
For my part, Sir, in this business I put all indirect considerations wholly out of mind. My sole question, on each clause of the bill, amounts to this :-Is the measure proposed required by the necessities of India ? I cannot consent to. tally to lose sight of the real wants of the people who are the objects of it, and to hunt after every matter of party squabble that may be started on the several provisions. On the question of the duration of the commission I am clear and decided. Can I, can any one who has taken the smallest trouble to be informed concerning the affairs of India, amuse himself with so strange an imagination, as that the habitual despotism and oppression, that the monopolies, the peculations, the universal destruction of all the legal authority of this kingdom, which have been for twenty years maturing to their present enormity, combined with the distance of the scene, the boldness and artifice of delinquents, their combination, their excessive wealth, and the faction they have made in England, can be fully corrected in a shorter term than four years ? None has hazarded such an assertionNone, who has a regard for his reputation, will hazard it.
Sir, the gentlemen, whoever they are, who shall be appointed to this commission, have an undertaking of mag. nitude on their hands, and their stability must not only be, but it must be thought, real;—and who is it will believe, that anything short of an establishment made, supported, and fixed in its duration, with all the authority of parliament, can be thought secure of a reasonable stability ? The plan of my honourable friend is the reverse of that of reforming by the authors of the abuse. The best we could expect from them is, that they should not continue their ancient, pernicious activity. To those we could think of nothing but applying control ; as we are sure that even a regard to their reputation (if any such thing exists in them) would oblige them to cover, to conceal, to suppress, and consequently to prevent, all cure of the grievances of India. For what can be discovered, which is not to their disgrace ? Every attempt to correct an abuse would be a satire on their former administration. Every man they should pretend to call to an account would be found their instrument, or their accomplice. They can never see a beneficial regulation, but with a view to defeat it. The shorter the tenure of such persons, the better would be the chance of some amendment.
But the system of the bill is different. It calls in persons in nowise concerned with any act censured by parliament; persons generated with, and for, the reform, of which they are themselves the most essential part. To these the chief regulations in the bill are helps, not fetters; they are authorities to support, not regulations to restrain them. From these we look for much more than innocence. From these we expect zeal, firmness, and unremitted activity. Their duty, their character, binds them to proceedings of vigour; and they ought to have a tenure in their office which precludes all fear, whilst they are acting up to the purposes of their trust; a tenure without which none will undertake plans that require a series and system of acts. When they know that they cannot be whispered out of their duty, that their public conduct cannot be censured without a public discussion, that the schemes which they have begun will not be committed to those who will have an interest and credit in defeating and disgracing them, then we may entertain hopes. The tenure is for four years, or during their good behaviour. That good behaviour is as long as they are true to the principles of the bill; and the judgment is in either House of Parliament. This is the tenure of your judges; and the valuable principle of the bill is to make a judicial administration for India. It is to give confidence in the execution of a duty, which requires as much perseverance and fortitude, as can fall to the lot of any that is born of woman.
As to the gain by party, from the right honourable gentleman's bill, let it be shown, that this supposed party advantage is pernicious to its object, and the objection is of weight: but until this is done, and this has not been attempt. ed, I shall consider the sole objection, from its tendency to promote the interest of a party, as altogether contemptible. The kingdom is divided into parties, and it ever has been so