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Three Letters addressed to a Member of the present Parlia-

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Warren Hastings, Esquire - - - -

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From the SELECT CoMMITTEE (of the House of Commons) appointed to take into consideration the state of the Administration of Justice in the provinces of Bengal, Bahar, and Orissa, and to report the same, as it shall appear to them, to the House; with their observations thereupon ; and who were instructed to consider how the British Possessions in the East Indies may be held and governed with the greatest security and advantage to this Country; and by what means the happiness of the Native Inhabitants may be best promoted.—(25th June, 1783.)


In order to enable the house to adopt the most proper means for regulating the British government in India, and for promoting the happiness of the natives, who live under its authority or influence, your committee hold it expedient to collect, into distinct points of view, the circumstances, by which that government appears to them to be most essentially disordered; and to explain fully the principles of policy, and the course of conduct, by which the natives of all ranks and orders have been reduced to their present state of depression and misery.

Your committee have endeavoured to perform this task in plain and popular language, knowing o alienated the house from enquiries, absolutely necessary for the performance of one of the most essential of all its duties, so much as the technical language of the company's records; as the Indian names of persons, of offices, of the tenure and qualities of estates, and of all the varied branches of their intricate revenue. This language is, indeed, of necessary use in the executive departments of the company's affairs; but it is not necessary to parliament. A language, so foreign from all the ideas and habits of the far greater part of the members of this house, has a tendency to disgust them with all sorts of enquiry concerning this subject. They are fatigued into such a despair of ever obtaining a competent knowledge of the transactions in India, that they are easily persuaded to remand them back to that obscurity, mystery, and intrigue, out of which they have been forced upon publick notice by the calamities arising from their extreme mismanagement. This mismanagement has itself (as your committee conceive) in a great measure arisen from dark cabals, and secret sug

WOL. ii. p

gestions to persons in power, without a regular publick enquiry into the good or evil tendency of any measure, or into the merit or demerit of any person intrusted with the company's concerns. The plan adopted by your commit- p.m. law, tee is, first, to consider the law regu- to to the lating the East India company, as it ...".

- company, and now stands; and secondly, to enquire its internal

into the circumstances of the two onal great links of connexion, by which the territorial possessions in India are united to this kingdom; namely, the company's commerce; and the government exercised under the charter, and under acts of parliament. The last of these objects, the commerce, is taken in two points of view, the eaternal, or the direct trade between India and Europe; and the internal, that is to say, the trade of Bengal, in all the articles of produce and manufacture, which furnish the company's investment. The government is considered by your committee under the like descriptions of internal and external. The internal regards the communication between the court of directors and their servants in India; the management of the revenue; the expenditure of publick money; the civil administration; the administration of justice; and the state of the army.—The external regards, first, the conduct and maxims of the company's government with respect to the native princes and people dependent on the British authority: and next, the proceedings with regard to those native powers, which are wholly independent of the company. But your committee's observations on the last division extend to those matters only, which are not comprehended in the Report of the Committee of Secrecy. Under these heads, your committee refer to the most leading particulars of abuse, which prevail in the administration of India; deviating only from this order, where

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