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1828. East-India Exports and Imports.-Accounts were ordered, Petition
shewing the real and official value of the exports from the against StampTax.“ United Kingdom to the East-Indies and China, together
66 with the Mauritius, for the year ending 5th January 1828, “ specifying the respective quantity and value of each article
so exported, distinguishing the East-India Company's trade “ from the private trade.”
Showing the official value of the imports into the United “ Kingdom from the East-Indies and China, together with the “ Mauritius, for the year ending 5th January 1828, specifying “ the respective quantity of each article so imported, distin
guishing the East-India Company's trade from the private 66 trade.”
“ Of the amount of duties received on goods imported into “ the United Kingdom from the East-Indies and China, toge“ther with the Mauritius, for the year ending 5th January
66 1828." Shipping. On the same day an account of the number of ships belong
ing to the British empire, distinguishing those belonging to the
Mauritius, Bombay, and Calcutta, was laid before the House. Mutiny Act On the 30th June, on the motion of Mr. Astell, the act of Bombay
the 4th Geo. IV. cap. 81, was read, and a bill was ordered to be brought in by Mr. Astell, Lord Ashley, and Mr. Williams Wynn, to extend the provisions of the East-India Mutiny Act to the Bombay Marine. The bill was brought in, read a second time on the 3d instant, and received the royal assent
on the 19th July. Vide BOMBAY MARINE. Silk Trade. On the 14th July a petition was presented by Mr. P. Thomp
son from merchants trading to the East-Indies, praying that the duties on the importation of foreign silks might be kept at thirty per cent. after the 30th October next. On the same day a discussion took place on the proposition for continuing for another year the duties imposed by the act of 1826. It was contended by the opponents of the measure that a pledge was given that the duty should not exceed thirty per cent. A division took place, when the clause containing the present duties for another year passed by 37 to 34.
On the 18th July papers relating to infanticide were presented to the House of Commons.
SALE AND BROKERAGE OF PROHIBITED.
Prior to the year 1809 the only laws relating to the sale and brokerage of offices were the act of the 12th of Richard II., which went to prevent the officers of justice appointing improper persons; and the act of the 5th of Edward VI., which prohibited the sale of those offices. In the course of the investigation which was instituted into the offices of the Commander-in-chief, in the month of February in that year, it was stated by a Mr. Donovan that he had offered a writership to India for £3,000. Mr. George Smith, one of the directors of the East-India Company, in consequence of such statement, moved on the following day (10th February) in his place in the Ho use of Commons, for the appointment of a committee to inquire into the abuses of East-India patronage. The motion was seconded by the late Mr. Grant, then Deputy Chairman of the Court of Directors, who stated that nothing could be more satisfactory to the Court as a body than such an inquiry, and hoped it would be conducted in the purest and most impartial mode, and that none of those concerned in the interests of the Company would be appointed members of the committee. Mr. Smith said, that though it was usual for the mover to be one of the members of a committee, he begged on that occasion to be excused.
A committee of fifteen was immediately appointed by the house. The Court of Directors passed a resolution, that the Chairman of the Court should communicate to the Chairman of the said committee the earnest wish of the Directors to contribute all in their power to the prosecution of the investigation for which the committee of the House of Commons had been appointed, and to give the committee every information which the records of the Company enabled them to furnish,
as 'well as to meet individually any inquiries which the honourable committee might judge fit to propose to them.
On the 23d March Mr. Bankes, chairman of the committee of the House of Commons, brought up the Report, which was ordered to be printed.
The committee stated: “ It is a satisfaction, throughout “ the whole evidence, to remark nothing which traces any “ one of these corrupt or improper bargains to any Director,
induces a reasonable suspicion that it was done with the “ privity or connivance of any member of that court.
- If this House should in its wisdom adopt any legislative
measures for the purpose of preventing all traffic in the “ disposal of offices under Government, it will, in the opi“ nion of your committee, be proper to extend the same pro“ tection to patronage held under the East-India Company: 66 but they see no reason to recommend any special or separate
provisions as applicable to their case, judging that the East“ India Company has within its own power the most effectual “ means for accomplishing that end.”
In consequence of the practices disclosed in the course of the examinations by the House of Commons and by the Committee, Mr. Perceval, on the 27th March 1809, moved for leave to bring in a bill to prevent the sale and brokerage of offices. He stated that the practice consisted, not in the sale of offices by those who had the power to give them away, but in the arts of those who pretended to have influence over such persons, and issued 'public advertisements, giving occasion to the notion that these abuses prevailed to a much greater extent than they actually did. This was the description of abuse which the law had in contemplation. He had already mentioned that persons in a certain office who had carried on this trade were under prosecution. As there were several persons in that concern, they were prosecuted for a conspiracy; but if there had been only one individual, he did not see how the law, as it then stood, could have reached him. The material point would be to make it highly penal to solicit 'money for procuring offices, or to circulate any advertisement with that view. Such a circumstance would go farther than any other to check
the abuse. His object was not to trench on the exceptions to the sale of offices that were expressly admitted of. Leave was given to bring in the bill. On the 18th April Lord Folkstone submitted a motion to the House, for the appointment of a committee to inquire generally into the existence of corrupt disposal of offices in the State, &c. His Lordship thought it impossible, in reading the evidence of the East-India Committee, not to see that there were other abuses in the various departments of the State, and that those abuses were proceeding to a very great extent.
Mr. Perceval was of opinion that such an inquiry could not go to an investigation into the conduct of every individual who might have by chance been concerned in the disposal of any offices. '. There might be a variety of instances in which persons might have erected themselves into a sort of agency concern, misrepresenting themselves to be authorized by this person and the other who had power to dispose of offices, while with such persons they had no concern, and in this manner might procure money under the pretence of using their interest with the person who had the actual power of disposing of the office in question, while of this proceeding the person having the gift of the office was utterly ignorant. On the subject there was a bill before the House. He hoped it would be found adequate to every object which might seem to be required; at all events, it would be in the power of the House and of the noble Lord himself to consider how far it should be extended. He was therefore of opinion that, on the whole, the inquiry proposed would neither be beneficial nor politic. No particular statement of delinquency had been brought forward, and to a general statement the House could not listen, especially after the Parliamentary inquiry which had lately taken place.
Lord Henry Petty did not think that a prospective measure was all that was requisite; and though he agreed with the noble Lord who brought forward the motion in thinking that some further inquiry was necessary, he differed from him on the motion as worded.
He came down to the house expecting that the motion would be for a reference to a Committee to inquire into certain facts contained in the minutes of evidence, and pointed out by the House to the Committee to be by them inquired into. As the motion stood, however, it would be for every member of that Committee to suggest to the Committee what facts they should go into. This was a power which the noble Lord contended could not be given to any Committee, as the House was not entitled to part with any of the powers which it could exercise itself; and he submitted, if there was any power which it could delegate to a Committee, which would not be better exercised by the House itself. If he looked to the motion, it extended to every thing and to every department. He did not say that it would not be right that such investigation should take place if the particular facts to be inquired into, and on which the reference to a Committee was founded, were pointed out and referred to; but he could not agree to confide so general and extensive a power to any Committee. His Lordship was willing to support any specific motion founded on any specific fact developed in the minutes of evidence, whether the motion were made by the noble Lord or by any person else. He was disposed for inquiry of every kind; but when he looked to such instances as his memory furnished him with of the House instituting general inquiries, he could not forbear from thinking that they almost all proved abortive.
Mr. Tierney observed, that the object of the motion was no less than to arraign the whole system of the Government of the country through all its departments. He did not think that a motion of this vague and general complexion ought to be entertained. He admitted that where a specific case was stated, it would be disgraceful to the House to blink at it; but while the House attended, as it was bound to do, to the interest of the people, it would always recollect that it owed something to the government of the country. Was this a mode of proceeding which any one would venture to propose with regard to an individual ? If not, why should a different principle be entertained with respect to the government? The noble Lord, he supposed, had some cases in contemplation, for he could not imagine that he would propose the appointment of a Committee without having something to lay before them. But why did he not tell the House what these cases were ? He conceived it