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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 çould 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
to be impossible to accede to a motion put in these general terms, embodying suspicion, as it were, against the whole of the government of the country. He differed from the gentlemen opposite on many important political subjects, but neither with respect to them, nor with respect to any man, could he
agree to this vague sort of motion. He himself had been in office; he knew the responsibility attached to the situation, and was ready to meet any accusation if fairly stated. But this motion extended back-how far nobody knew—and was calculated to put all those who for a great number of years back had been employed in public situations upon their trial, many of whom were precluded, in the course of nature, from giving those explanations that might be necessary to defend themselves against charges, or to prevent suspicion. He did not wish to throw a veil over delinquency; all he wished was that the delinquency and the nature of the evidence should be stated; that the charges should be specifically mentioned, and the individuals named against whom they were to be preferred, and then the House would consider whether the motion was such as ought to be entertained. Even on the ground of precedent, he did not think that this was a proper mode of proceeding. His hon. friend (Mr. Whitbread) had said that the House might watch over the proceedings of the Committee. But the House could not know what the committee was about till they reported. He gave the noble Lord credit for the most honest and upright intentions; and after what had come to light, he could blame none for being desirous of inquiry; but the House ought not to depart from the ordinary grounds of its proceedings. The motion assumed that the government was corrupt through all its departments, and this without pretending to state any evidence. Even in the abuses that had been found to have been carried on in the patronage of the East India Company, there was nothing that related to the public government of that department—nothing that was brought home to the House of Commons. The abuses at most reached only to the Court of Directors, who were governed by a separate law; and he was even surprised that a Committee on the abuses in the patronage of the Directors had been granted. These abuses were of a description amenable to law, and to this they
ought ought to have been turned over. If any abuses had been discovered to have existed in the public government of the EastIndia Company, that, no doubt, would have been a proper subject of Parliamentary inquiry. In the minutes of evidence, the existence of abuses at the Horse-Guards had been made out; but this was the only point of which the noble Lord proposed to keep clear. His motion went to impute corrupt practices to the Admiralty, and every other department of the government, without shadow of evidence; and all were to be put upon their trial without any specific charge! He hoped the noble Lord would withdraw his motion, and put it in a different shape. He did not wish to protect delinquency, but he could not consent to put the whole government on its trial without a specific charge alleged.
Mr. Canning said, he fairly avowed that, on grounds which had been already stated, no apprehension of consequences, be what they might, could possibly induce him to vote for this motion. It was impossible, in his opinion, to do so in consistency with the duty which he owed to the house and to the country, and therefore it had his decided opposition. But in giving that opposition he did not wish to oppose specific inquiry into specific abuses. The course was to specify the abuse; to prove the charge, and then to proceed to punishment. But was there no mischief in allowing the opinion to go abroad, that there was a consciousness on all hands of such a rottenness in the practices of government for several years past, as justified the entertaining of such a motion as this, as justified the appointment of a commits tee which, as it would be unlimited in its retrospective powers, must afford but a very distant prospect indeed of future advantage? Was the motion founded on the idea that all public men ought to be objects of suspicion? Was it conceived that the indulgence and emoluments could be the objects of liberal men in aspiring to office? Were the anxieties, the severe duties of such situations considered ? Were these things to be compensated by money? If there were any persons who could entertain such ideas of liberal men who aspired to office, it would be his pride to be an object of their suspicions. This he would say, that if the noble lord and his abettors succeeded in driving all liberal men from the pursuit of office, the cast of public men must be a degraded cast, into which no honest man could, in consistency with his own reputation, enroll himself. These were the sentiments which he took the liberty to submit to the House. He could not, therefore, let out this wide wast, ing power which was claimed by the noble lord, a power which could not be allowed to exist, without creating suspicions of the most disgraceful nature, which it would be impossible to do away.
The motion was negatived by 178 to 38.
The bill brought in by Mr. Perceval was read a second time on the 21st April, on which occasion Lord Folkstone observed, that various exceptions were made in the bill to whịch he objected; but amongst others there was one more important than those to which he had alluded, more important because the attention of the house and of the country had been more particularly called to it, in consequence of the report of the East-India Committee that seats in Parliament were trafficked for.
Mr. Bankes said, the committee on East-India offices had not expressed any opinion that sales of offices in the service of the Company should be exempted from the operation of the bill, but only that there was no necessity for any separate and specific legislative measure applicable to the Company. They had done so the more particularly on this account, because the East-India Company were already armed with greater powers than those which the country possessed, the former being permanent while the latter was subject to change, and dismissal from office always following the one, whilst it was by no means a necessary consequence on the other. He believed it would be a long time before any abuses were again heard of in the patronage of the East-India Company. The bill passed into a law on the 20th June 1809.
The jealousy of the House of Commons was subsequently manifested at the possible appropriation of any East-India patronage to the attainment of seats in Parliament, in the debate on a motion submitted by Lord A. Hamilton on the 25th April, as to a writership having been placed at the disposal of Lord Clancarty for that purpose.
In the whole course of the proceedings above adverted to, there
was not the shadow of an imputation cast on the Court of Directors, and although it was universally admitted that Mr. Thellusson's confidence had been abused, that gentleman, then one of the ex-Directors, lost his re-election to a seat in the court.
As Mr. Bankes had justly predicted in 1809, during a period of nearly twenty years, only two instances of abuse in the patronage of the Company have been heard of. The one, the receipt by Bascombe, the steward of Mr. Taggart, of the sum of £100, with the privity of his master, for a cadetship which Mr. Taggart obtained for a person of the name of Bennett, and for which Bascombe was tried and found guilty, and sentenced to pay a fine in May 1824. The other in the month of February 1827, when circumstances came to the knowledge of the Chairman, which induced a belief that a traffic either was pursued or pretended in East-India patronage: in consequence
of which measures were taken which led to the discovery of facts placing the matter beyond a doubt. The Court of Directors, ignorant of those facts and regardless who might be concerned, empowered a Select Committee to follow up the investigation and to take the necessary measures for bringing the parties to justice. The result led to a prosecution in the Court of King's Bench against eight parties, one of them being a member of the Court of Directors. On the trial which took place on Thursday the 6th March, that member was acquitted : six of the other seven defendants pleaded guilty; and against the eighth, who went to trial, a verdict of guilty was returned by the jury. · It may be proper to add, that the whole of the proceedings were laid before the General Court of Proprietors, and the motion for their being printed was seconded by the member of the court who had been acquitted at the trial, and who entreated the proprietors to pass their judgment upon the papers.
On the 18th June the following motion was made in the General Court: “ that the Court of Proprietors fully ap
prove of the measures adopted by the Court of Directors, “ in bringing the case of an abuse of patronage before a legal “ tribunal; and although Captain Prescott appears to have