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them, that Muis friends it had behority.
ever came from any of his colleagues. So that whoever made, or even hinted at such an offer as coming from him, did it without the smallest shadow of authority. In private conversations with his friends it had been frequently suggested by them, that Mr. Hastings being a very powerful man, it might make the India bill go down the easier, if the idea of prosecuting that gentleman was given up: but he had always resisted such advice; and, indeed, so determined was he, to have the governor-general brought to trial, that in his opening speech on his India bill, he had dwelt so much upon the mal-administration of Mr. Hastings, that many of the enemies to that bill had objected to him, that there seemed to be no other remedy necessary for the evils in India, than the recal of Mr. Hastings.
governorulia bill, he tings, that there
The House divided on Mr. Burke's motion :
YEAS / Mr. Francis 44. - Noes Mr. Rose 87. So it passed in the negative.
March 6. This day Mr. Burke moved, " That there be laid before this House, copies or duplicates of all consultations, instructions, and other correspondence, relative to any negociation at the court of the great mogul, wherever residing, concerning any treaty with the said mogul or concerning any of the ministers of the said court, or any of the chiefs in the neighbourhood of Delhi, or relative to any claims or demands for, or on behalf of, the said court, upon the East India company, since the ist day of January 1781." - Mr. Pitt refused to comply with the motion, as tending to affect the policy of India, by opening the secrets of negociations in that country, which the peace and tranquillity of Hindostan rendered absolutely necessary should remain undivulged. After a short debate the motion was rejected, on a division, by 88 against 34. A motion being immediately afterwards made for “a copy of a letter from Major James Brown to Warren Hastings, Esq. governorgeneral of Fort William, dated from Delhi, on the 30th of December 1783; also copies of two letters from Warren Hastings, Esq. to the court of directors of the East India company, dated the 30th of April and 16th of June 1784," .
Mr. Fox rose and remarked, that if the papers stated in the question were refused, there was an end of asking for papers, however material to the prosecution those papers might be, and however free from any imputation of being dangerous or likely to affect the policy of India. He could not believe, however, that his majesty's minister would go the length of refusing the three letters in question. If he did, what a shameful fact would it establish! For would it not then appear in broad and striking colours, that a right honourable and learned gentleman had persuaded that House to vote a number of strong resolutions, to not one of which he meant that they should ever give force and efficacy? Of the papers now called for, the House could already perceive the tendency, since, in the preceding debate, they had heard the most material passages read and argued on. They must, therefore, be aware, that no harm whatever could arise from making them public: he and his friends had duplicates of them already in their possession, and were perfectly masters of their contents. In refusing to let them formally be laid upon the table, the other side of the House would stand without excuse. Mr. Fox contended that it was, in his mind, impossible that they should do 80. If they did, and pleaded that their granting the papers would affect the policy of India, he must declare, that ever since he sat in parliament, he never had witnessed so disgraceful a conduct. His comfort, nevertheless, would be, that, however the minister might withstand every individual motion for papers, and prevent any thing like evidence from being obtained, and however he might rely on the power of his majorities in that House, there was another tribunal to which he must go for trial, the tribunal of the public, who would judge for themselves. The right honourable gentleman might be assured, that, though that House would rest content, the honour of the nation would not be satisfied, nor would the people be pleased at seeing their representatives act in a manner so disgraceful to themselves, and so foreign to the purposes of substantial justice. - What a precious farce, exclaimed Mr. Fox, is daily acting within these walls ! We see the friends of Mr. Hastings affecting to be eager that every paper called for should be granted: we see the king's ministers rising to declare that every thing that can properly be granted shall not be refused : we hear other gentlemen, who call themselves independent men, saying, by all means let the House know the whole, and be put in possession of every necessary species of information; and yet we see the same men all of them dividing together to enforce a negative to a motion for such information, and we see them helping each other out with hints and whispers during the debate, and pointing to matters apposite to the argument on their side the question, in like manner as my right honourable friend and myself would assist each other when we are maintaining the same point and arguing for the same purpose !
March 17. Previously to his troubling the House on the subject which he wished to bring under their consideration, Mr. Fox moved, “ That the entries in the journal of the House, of the 28th day of May, 1782, of the six resolutions reported from the committee of the whole House, to whom it was referred to consider farther of the several reports which had been made from the committee of secrecy, relating to the affairs of the East India company, and which were then agreed to by the House, might be read.” And the same were read accordingly, as follows:
Resolved, “ That the orders of the court of directors of the East India company, which have conveyed to their servants abroad a prohibitory condemnation of all schemes of conquest and enlargement of dominion, by prescribing certain rules and boundaries for the operation of their military force, and enjoining a strict adherence to a system of defence upon the principle of the treaty of Illahabad, were founded no less in wisdom and policy than in justice and moderation.”
“ That every transgression of those orders, without evident necessity, by any of the several British governments in India, has been highly reprehensible, and has tended, in a chief degree, to weaken the force and influence, and to diminish the resources, of the company in those parts.”
“That every interference, as a party, in the domestic or national quarrels of the country powers, and all new engagements with them in offensive alliance, have been wisely and providently forbidden by the company in their commands to their administrations in India."
- That every unnecessary or avoidable deviation from those well. advised rules should be followed with very severe reprehension and punishment for it, as an instance of wilful disobedience of orders, and as tending to disturb and destroy that state of tranquillity and peace with all their neighbours, the preservation of which has been recommended as the first principle of policy to the British government in India."
“ That the maintenance of an inviolable character for moderation, good faith, and scrupulous regard to treaty, ought to have been the simple grounds on which the British government should have endeavoured to establish an influence superior to that of other Europeans over the minds of the native powers in India ; and that the danger and discredit arising from the forfeiture of this pre-eminence, could not be compensated by the temporary success of any plan of violence or injustice.”
“ That as an essential failure in the executive conduct of the supreme council, or presidencies, would make them justly liable to the most serious animadversions of their superiors, so should any relaxation, without sufficient cause, in these principles of good government, on the part of the directors themselves, bring upon them, in a heavier degree, the resentment of the legislative power of their country, which alone çan interpose an effectual correction to the general inisrule.”
“ That it appears, that the government general had been previ. ously in possession of a letter from the duan of the rajah of Berar, containing overtures for mediation for peace and alliance with the peshwa; and that this material information was wholly suppressed by them in their dispatches to the court of directors; but a copy of it was sent, by the same conveyance, to the private agent of Mr. Hastings; and that, thus neglecting to make immediate communication to the court of directors of such important intelligence, the government general appear to have failed in an essential part of their duty.”
These Resolutions having been read,
Mr. Fox rose and observed, that he was perfectly convinced, that, previously to all endeavours for the successful introduction of a motion for papers, effectually and substantially, although perhaps not formally similar to that which, during the course of a preceding debate, received the investigation, and -- with concern he spoke it -- suffered under the dissent of the House, an apology was due to them upon the principle that it must always prove indecent frivolously to trespass upon their attention. But if he ever had reason to be dissatisfied with the decision of that House; if he ever thought a motion of the first importance to the honour and dignity of the House required a re-consideration, it was the motion for the Dehli papers; and that, because the decision the House had come to when they negatived it, had proved a decision in the teeth of the resolutions just read, and in defiance of every sound and solid argument advanced in support of those resolutions. It was, therefore, for no light or trivial purpose that he again begged the House, for the sake of its dignity, for the sake of its own honour, for the sake of national justice and national character, to re-consider what they had decided upon, and, before they confirmed a denial of the Dehli papers, — which denial, it appeared to him, they could not confirm, without loading themselves with disgrace and impeaching their own honour and dignity to weigh well what they were about, to reflect a little on the frivolous point of view in which such an illjudged confirmation would place their own resolutions, and the effect which it must necessarily have upon the conduct of the company's servants in India. He begged them also to recollect, that in passing the resolutions of the 28th of May, 1782, they had held out to the country powers of India a code of wise, wholesome, and salutary laws, as the basis of the conduct of the British government in India in future; and that the House had, in fact, pledged itself to adhere to the letter and spirit of their own resolutions. ,
These were surely great and important considerations, considerations which ought to have a deep 'effect on the minds of gentlemen before they gave a vote, which must involve in it so
many and such interesting consequences. Some persons had supposed that our government and constitution were attended by certain disadvantages with respect to their intercourse with foreign states, arising from the public manner in which many important parts of our administration must necessarily be conducted; but from this evil, if an evil it was, a inost important good would be found to result, when it was considered how far this publicity tended to create a confidence in all other nations, and how strongly it contributed to bind us to certain defined and specific modes of political conduct. From hence it arose, that we could lay down (as we had done in the present instance) a particular system of proceeding, for the due observance of which all those states might reasonably look to us; an advantage not in the power of any arbitrary government whatever; for if a king were to issue an edict, setting forth the principles by which he intended to conduct himself with respect to foreign nations, it would be received only as a notification of the will of the minister of the day, who, by death or disgrace, might lose his situation, and leave room for a successor of different sentiments, who, of course, would pursue a different line of conduct; whereas, with us, when the British House of Commons published a system of foreign administration, they not only committed the whole nation in the persons of their representatives, but absolutely bound individually, as well all those who had already been ministers, and had a prospect of being so for many years to come, as those who were so for the present.
That he might, if possible, still more impress the House with 'a proper idea of the magnitude of the duty which they had engaged to perform, when they voted the resolutions of 1782, he should not hesitate to describe them as measures of a strong nature, and affording, he believed, the first instance of that House thinking that it became them to depart so far out of their immediate province, as to interfere with any part of the exercise of the executive government; a circumstance which they certainly would not have consented to, but from the extraordinary complexion of the case which seemed to call for peculiar notice and a peculiar mode of proceeding. · Having premised these observations, Mr. Fox entered into à discussion of the principles on which the House usually called for papers, declaring that they never did it lightly, and being conscious that they ought not to do it lightly, he never had, nor would attempt to move for any that he was not convinced were absolutely necessary for some great and useful public purpose. The House, he was aware, ought not to grant any other; and, it was true, he was willing to admit, that papers necessary for some great and useful public purs