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accordingly, acting as advocate on the true state of that matter before Mr. other side when the prosecution really Farrer.* took place.
Sir Gilbert Elliot proceeded to state a Mr. Farrer has told us that “ he stood variety of the particular transactions in for some time the sole advocate of that India, in which Ñundcomar had been conCourt ; and he believes every person cerned, tracing the conduct of Mr. Hastthere was very much indeed unacquainted | ings down to the trial and execution of with what the business of an advocate the unfortunate Rajah, inferring from the was," I do not know whether Mr. Farrer whole, that he had been made a political was still the only advocate in Calcutta sacrifice by sir Elijah Impey, contrary to at the date of this conversation, but his sense of law, and contrary to his duty. he stood in such a degree of eminence in He said he would not attempt to prove an that new profession, that he was, beyond actual communication between Mr. Hastall question, the first to whom any client ings and sir Elijah, previous to the prosewould have applied : Mr. Farrer was, cution, because it had been held that, in clearly, not retained at that time on the proving crimes which depend on a combipart of Nundcomar; for, in the first place, nation, it was not necessary to prove the no proceeding had as yet taken place combination. Lord Mansfield, in the case against him, which could induce him to of the Cock-lane Ghost prosecution for a employ counsel in his defence, and in the conspiracy, had contended, that there was next place, if Mr. Farrer had been re- no occasion to prove the conspiracy, but tained by Nundcomar, he could not have that it might be collected from collateral accepted instructions from Mr. Driver, circumstances. Having stated this, sir the declared purpose of which was a pro Gilbert observed, that the judges had secution in which he was already engaged themselves suppressed the circumstance on the other side. I cannot refrain from of the illegality of trying a native of India observing here, in passing, that this omis- on an English penal act, making that sion of Mr. Driver's, in not securing this a capital offence which was not so by gentleman, who was at the head of his the laws of India, and insisted that profession, and the only person who could the execution of Nundcomar was unjustiafford him effectual assistance, as he after. fiable on two grounds; first, that the wards experienced, is not easily recon- Supreme Court of Calcutta had not crimiciled with a settled intention at that time nal jurisdiction; and next, that, even adto institute a cause, at once so important mitting that they had, they could not
and so full of difficulty as that which fol. exercise it to affect the life or limb of a · lowed; and the omission appears the native Hindoo, under an English act of more extraordinary, as he actually em- parliament. In proof of this, he referred ployed him in a previous step of that to the acts of Parliament, and to the cause. It results, however, from this cir- charter constituting the Supreme Court. cumstance, that the sole object of Mr. | By the former, it was clear no power of Driver's instructions to Mr. Farrer was to criminal jurisdiction was given. Under obtain possession of the papers belonging the latter, he admitted, it might be conto the estate of Bollakee Doss, and that tended that such a power did exist; but all that passed between them, on the sub- then, on what written authority could it ject of the prosecution, was mere conver- be exercised ? He entered into a discussation. Let us now consider what the sion of the question, Whether a king of tendency of that conversation was. Mr. England, exercising sovereign power over Driver informs Mr. Farrer that he was a conquered country, had a right to exabout to commence a prosecution against tend his laws to that country, and subject Nundcomar for an offence of a pretty old the natives to their operation without the date, and he thinks proper to account to consent of his parliament? He denied Mr. Farrer for that prosecution not having that he could, and pointed out the extaken place sooner. I say, Sir, that this treme danger that must result to our conwas a subject on which Mr. Driver was stitution at home, if a British king could under no obligation to disclose to Mr. Farrer the secret history of this business, and thereby, perhaps, the secret motive Elliot's speech upon this day was prepared
Thus far the above report of sir Gilbert of his client, and that it is easy to suppose for the press by the honourable baronet him. many reasons, which should have made it self. It is much to be regretted that it was improper on the part of Driver to lay the never completed.
so far carry his prerogative royal. To I spect to promotion. Seeing the injustice legislate implied a right of taxation, and offered by the late promotion to those if a king of England could, through the brave officers who had been passed by, medium of taxation, assume the revenues seeing the insult offered to the service, of the provinces of India, he might apply and the danger which such conduct those revenues to the payment of armies threatened to the nation, he could not without the consent of parliament, to the conceive that he fulfilled his duty as a destruction of our constitution. He as- member of that House, unless he took the serted, that in no one law-book, or book sense of the House on the principles which of reports, was there a case to be found, had, seemingly, been laid down by that in which the authority of a court of law promotion. The question before the to sanction such a doctrine had been given. House would be plainly, Whether the It was true, lord Mansfield bad, in two Admiralty should take the entire patronage cases, laid it down from the bench; but of the fag, and dispose of it to whom they then the Committee were to recollect the thought proper, with or without merit, or essential difference and distinction be. whether the flag should be disposed of actween a mere dictum of an individual cording to merit? The only principle judge and a judgment of a court. The discoverable in the late promotion, (if any fact was, it never had been so decided ; 1 principle was to be discovered) was a deand even lord Mansfield's dicta had been termination not to promote those who had loose and irrelative. He referred to gallantly exerted themselves in the service printed reports of the law cases where of their country in the victories under Iord Mansfield had delivered the dicta in lords Rodney and Hood in the last war; question, and reasoned upon each to il- and it was a matter of fact, that none of lustrate his argument. After much dis- the officers under those commanders had cussion of this point, and a reference to been promoted to the flag, .sir Charles lord Coke and to the work of baron Ma. Douglas alone excepted, while others had zeres upon the subject, he admitted the been promoted to that rank who were doctrine for a moment, and proceeded to junior officers, and who could not boast prove that Calcutta was not a pais conquis. any greater merits than their seniors who In order to effect this, he produced the were passed over. He then recapitulated original grant in 1697, and read its con- the heads of his former argument, and tents, whence it appeared that Calcutta made several remarks on the conduct and was originally let to the East India Com- evasions of the Admiralty in passing over pany as a zemindary, and upon stipulated those officers, and of the many contradic. conditions. He stated, that the grant was tions they had involved themselves in for renewed again in 1718, and that the Com- the purpose of particular promotions, re. pany did not obtain a free and full posses- ferring to their own letters, which he had, sion of it, in their own right, till the year on a former day, produced in justification 1756. He produced other grants and of his observations. It was to no purpose, documents, to which he referred as the he added, that captains exerted them. occasion of his argument required, and, at selves; for the most distinguished conduct length, begged leave to postpone the re- would not insure to them their regular mainder of what he had to offer in support succession to the flag: they were to have of the first charge until another opportu- no honourable badge for their meritorious nity.
services to distinguish them from the The chairman thereupon reported pro. coward and skulker. The principle laid gress, and the House resolved to go again down by the late promotion went to give into the Committee on the 7th of May. an arbitrary power to the Board of Admi
ralty, a power which would destroy the Debate in the Commons respecting Pro-exertions of the navy, prejudice the sermotions of Flag Officers.] April 29. Mr. vice, and be of the most alarming conse. Bastard rose. He began with declaring, quence to the country. To prevent these that, had his former motion been agreed effects, he wished the House to adopt to, the motion he was about to make some measure, whereby a permanent rule would have been unnecessary, He should of service might be laid down, enabling not so frequently have troubled the House, officers to know what they had to trust to, were he not convinced of the necessity of and in what manner it would be proper to some measure being adopted to prevent, conduct themselves to secure their sucin future, any cause of complaint in re- cession to the fag. If the motion should
meet with their approbation, he doubted question of so much magnitude and deli. not but the country and the service cacy should ever find its way into that would be satisfied, that no meritorious of. | House. He lamented, that during the ficer would hereafter be set aside by the administration of a right hon. gentleman, caprice of a first lord of the Admiralty. distinguished for his abilities, his integrity.
The late promotion he considered, and he and his justice that during the residence believed the country at large so considered of a noble lord at the board of Adiniralty. it, to be founded on principles the most whom he believed to be as honest and as cruel, unjust, and impolitic, and as he was brave a man as any that existed, and to desirous to correct it, he therefore moved, whose conduct and command he would " That it is highly injurious to the naval most freely confide that fleet that should service of Great Britain to set aside in fight for the last stake of this country, a promotions of flag officers, officers of dis- precedent should be attempted to be estatinguished merit and approved service, blished, which had both irritated and diswho are not precluded from such promo gusted every seaman of Great Britain, tion by any orders of his Majesty in coun- , except only a few gentlemen of that pro.
fession then present in the House, who Sir W. Molesworth seconded the mo were in immediate possession of emolution, from a conviction that it was abso ments conferred on them by the present lutely necessary the House should come administration. However, the matter was to some resolution to encourage meritori- now completely coram judice, both opi. ous and gallant officers, and to revive their nions were fully at issue, and the vote of hopes of obtaining a succession to the flag. that night must determine, whether the The question before the House went not naval officers of this country might in to say who should be employed, but who future be irritated, degraded, and disought to be rewarded for past services. I graced without econoiny to the public, or He never expected to have seen, during advantage to the state.—Sir John assured the course of the present administration, the House, that he fully absolved lord such men as captains Balfour, Thompson, Howe's integrity, while he as decidedly Laforey, and Bray, passed over and disa condemned his judgment in the late naval graced. He never expected to have seen promotion; and expressed his surprise at merit so rewarded by the present ministry. finding no defence set up by any one lord A lesson was thereby held out to the ser- of Admiralty, for a promotion so generally vice, that not merit, not valour, not fifty- reprehended. One member of that Board four years arduous service for the good of (Mr. Brett) had risen merely to deny the the country, were sufficient recommenda- charge brought against them of having tions to ensure the flag, but that all de- | garbled the papers that had been called pended upon selection ; upon the favour for by the House; another (Mr. Hop. and friendship of the first lord of the Ad- kins) only to assert what every man almiralty. A new mode of education was ready knew that there were precedents by such conduct pointed out to all young in former admiralty promotions, for passmen entering upon the naval service; they ling by many of the senior captains. Was need not exert themselves to become this the kind of defence which the House hardy, bold, and experienced tars; for had a right to expect from a Board so such qualifications would be of no service constituted, and who were every one of to them, but their interest, their succes. | them then in their places in the House? sion to flags would be best secured by Of all the professional men then present creeping and cringing to the lords of the in the House, one alone (capt. Berkeley) Admiralty.
had attempted any kind of defence of the Sir John Miller said, he had risen Admiralty, and he had argued only geseveral times in the debate of the 18th, to nerally upon the inconvenience that might offer his sentiments upon the late naval arise from parliamentary interference with promotion, but had not been fortunate the executive power. Sir John asked that enough to catch the Speaker's eye. Re- | honourable officer, whether he was yet to garding, however, the present motion as learn how difficult it was in this country standing precisely upon the same founda to prevent political opinions from mixing tion, he should now endeavour to reply themselves with, and influencing profesto the arguments that had been adduced sional preferments? Had he already forin justification of the conduct of the ad-gotten how many years of his early sermiralty. He expressed his sorrow, that a vices liad been lost to this country, by his
disagreeing in politics with a former First man mean, that because they were made Lord of the Admiralty? And how could captains, and received the thanks of that he say, embarked as he now was in large House, for a glorious action achieved 30 and not very passive political connexions, years since, and had continued from that whether a subsequent promotion to flags moment to the present, in the invariable might not take place at a moment when he performance of every duty of their proshould be high upon the list of captains, festion, that, therefore, they might with and when a future first lord, who did not propriety lose their turn of promotion to approve of his parliamentary conduct, / Alags, to their disgrace and degradation ? might therefore pass him by, and rob him Where the right hon. gentleman bad of his promotion? Would he fail to com- picked up this new nautical doctrine, one plain aloud of such a conduct towards would be at a loss to divine, were it not himself, as most unjust and most partial? | for the subject of the present debate. But He most undoubtedly would not. Why, he would tell the right hon. gentleman, that then, did he not give that measure to very few men indeed, either in the naval or others that he would wish should be military line, had in the course of a long meted to himself? The minister, sir John life of actual service a fortunate opporsaid, had begun his speech on the former tunity of distinguishing themselves by one day, by admitting, “ that it was the duty brilliant action. But when they had that of the House to institute inquiry, when a good fortune, and followed it up with case should be made out strong enough to good and faithful services, was that a suffiwarrant a suspicion of injustice.” Such cient reason to deprive them of the proa case, sir John asserted, had been very motion that fairly came to their turn?sufficiently made out; nay, it had been | The next argument of the right hon. gen. even so voted by 134 members of that tleman was," that precedents for such House; it was true 151 had voted it omissions in naval promotions had freotherwise. But, in his opinion, the first quently occurred in the most glorious lord and his real friends should have periods of this country.” With regard to eagerly grasped at the opportunity af precedent, he thought the present age as forded them to come forward and justify capable of making precedents for themtheir conduct, by an explanation of the selves as their predecessors. The right motives that occasioned the late promo hon. gentleman had next asked, “ would tion. Had this been the case with them the House pretend to be more competent Far otherwise ; they had skulked behind judges of the fit objects for naval promoa miserable majority of seventeen. The tion than the Board of Admiralty ?" To next statement of the right hon. gentle this he would reply,“ yes, mostindubitably, man was, that “ he admitted the lieute. | as in the present instance.” Not only the Dants Laforey and Balfour had performed House of Commons, but every seaman, as a brilliant action at Louisbourg, but had well as landman throughout the whole they not been promoted to the rank of kingdom, could judge better than the captain, and had they not received the Board that counselled the late promotion. thanks of that House? Were these no Where was the man that would take upon recompense for that honourable service ?” him to say, that sir John Lindsay, who Sir John said, the rank of captain was was in a state of absolute decrepitude at their indisputable right for the action | the moment he received his flag, and when they had just performed; any admiral, this country was arming for war, was as then commanding, could not have refused fit a man to be made an admiral as captain it them. But that great naval character, Thompson, who led lord Rodney's line on under whose eye they were at that time the ever memorable 12th of April, 1782, (admiral Boscawen) would not have en-1 captain Laforey and several others, in dured, no not for a moment, the with whom were united health and activity, holding from them the fair and immediate with all the useful experience of service? professional reward of their conduct. As The right hon. gentleman had next proto the thanks 'of that House, whatever ceeded to discriminate the respective those gentlemen might have thought of situations and pretensions of sir C. Midthem in those times, they must not flatter dleton and those of capt. Laforey; stating themselves, after some late comments the latter, while employed at Antigua, as upon them, (by Mr. Pitt) that they would a mere civil officer, who had the charge of set any very high value upon them at the a single port. Sir John said, that lord present day. Did the right hon, gentle- | Rodney's" commission to capt. Laforey • [VOL, XXVII.]
gave a flat contradiction to this assertion ; | thought it incumbent upon him, however, and showed, that he was charged with the as nobody had yet stated the truth of that care and the defence of the island itself, matter, to assert, that several of those and of its various ports, then the centre of very captains had been included in the late all hostility in that quarter of the globe. promotion to the flag. He then produced The next position of the right hon. gen. a list, by which it appeared that four of tleman had been, “ that a good captain of the captains, serving with lords Rodney a man of war might not make a good ad. and Hood had flags given them by lord miral." This might certainly be the case; Howe, and that eleven others had been yet the presumption was rather against rewarded with various lucrative appointthe position. But admitting that a good ments. naval or military captain might not make | Mr. Grenville said, that nothing could a good admiral or general, let the execu- be more distinct and different than the tive power, which was responsible for its motion then before the House, and the appointments, take care not to trust the motion decided upon a few days before. command of its fleets or armies to insuffi- The hon. gentleman had then moved an cient officers, nor rob deserving profes- inquiry into the conduct of the Admiralty sional men of their turn of promotion. board, and gone into a statement of the The right hon, gentleman had dwelt much facts on which he grounded the necessity upon the responsibility of the executive of that inquiry. The House had then power to parliament. This he could con- thought proper to negative the motion; sider in no other light than as a mere and he never had given a vote more from piece of mockery, while a majority of the conviction than he had done on that occaHouse appeared, with the right hon. gen. sion, being perfectly satisfied, that the tleman at their head, determined to resist House of Commons was, of all others, the every species of inquiry into the now pre most improper place to discuss the chasumed abuses. Soʻshielded, by what pos racters of officers in, and that consesibility could they draw from the execu quences highly injurious to the service tive power a fair information? He knew must unavoidably follow, if any such of no other means than by adopting the motion were countenanced and adopted. practice of the courts of justice, in re Should that House ever so far depart gard to those who refused to plead to their from the wisdom of conduct that had indictments, viz. the pressing them gently hitherto marked its proceedings, and inand gradually (as our law expresses it | terpose in so essential a branch of the exeuntil they shall consent to plead. He cutive government, no advantage could contended, that the House had a right not result to the gentlemen of that profession, merely to inquire into the conduct of on the behalf of which the present motion every branch of the executive govern- was brought forward; but, on the conment, where there was ground for cen- trary, the most essential disadvantage. sure, but also where the House had cause Every officer who had access to one or for the slightest suspicion of abuse. An more members of that House, would make hon. gentleman had, on a former day, that the road to preferment; and instead quoted lord Kaims, to show that the House of endeavouring to do their duty well and possessed such a power. Not only lord to distinguish themselves at sea, officers Kaims, but lord Coke, sir W. Temple, would consider it as their first interest to Judge Blackstone, De Lolme, and all the canvass for parliamentary votes, to the writers on the British constitution so prejudice of public business, the destrucstated it. Sir John concluded with giving tion of discipline, and, ultimately, perhaps, his hearty assent to the motion.
the subversion of the constitution. With Mr. Strachey said, that he could not regard to the present motion, having rehelp taking notice of one particular, which fused to go into an inquiry relative to the had been strongly insisted upon by Mr. late promotion to the flag, he never could Bastard. It was, that lord Howe had consent to lay down a general rule for enviously and invidiously marked all the the future regulation of such promotions. captains who had assisted in the victories No man had attempted to suggest, that of lords Rodney and Hood. So injurious the first lord had been influenced by any an aspersion, he flattered himself could improper motive in the late promotion. not possibly rest upon a man whose cha- The only argument to be inferred from racter was so highly distinguished for ho- the present motion was, that military nour and liberality of sentiment. He honours were to be considered, as re