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"Copies or extracts of all the correspondence between the faid Governments and any of the Mahratta princes or ftates, relative to the said hoftilities.
"Copies or extracts of all orders or inftructions fent to India by the Court of Directors of the Eaft India Company, on the fame fubject.”
On the queftion being put from the chair,
Lord Caftlereagh rofe. He expreffed his approbation of the candid manner in which the hon. Gentleman had introduced his motion, and joined iffue completely with him in regard to the general principle, that the caufe of the war is a very proper fubject of parliamentary inquiry. - Independent of the acts, he was ready, his Lordship faid, to admit the propriety of an inquiry, both as a matter of policy and juftice. But the queftion now was, whether fuch an inquiry could be fafely made in the prefent circumstances; and here he differed, his Lordfhip faid, very materially, from the hon. Gentleman. Independently of the difadvantages that might arife from fuch an investigation, during a war not yet terminated, on which he was not difpofed to lay very great ftrefs, he had ftronger and very oftenfible reafons for objecting to the motion. The Government were not in poffeffion of the circumftances that preceded the rupture; and therefore any inveftigation of the kind propofed by the prefent motion, muft neceffarily terminate unfatisfactorily, and to the obvious prejudice of the noble Lord (Wellesley) to whom the government of India was entrusted. Without having information as to all the circumftances that led to the war, it would be impoffible to form a proper eftimate of the cafe, or to do any justice to the conduct of the Governor General. The House must wait, therefore, till the neceffary communications be received by his Majefty's Government. Such a communication was foon to be expected. That it fhould have been made fooner was impoffible, from the date at which the war took place. It had been faid, that the war commenced in the beginning of June, but inftead of this it was not till the 6th of Auguft that hoftilities took place. The communications between the Myfore and Poonah could not be effected in less than a month, and the lateft communications received from Madras were of the first of September; there must be many documents therefore, in regard to the preli minaries, of which Government could not be in poffeffion, and which were abfolutely neceffary to do juftice to the noble Lord's conduct. He had no objection to the principle, VOL. II. 1803-4.
but he was not able at prefent to comply with the motion. He was ready, however, his Lordfhip faid, as foon as Government fhould be in poffeffion of the neceffary documents, not only to comply with the motion, but even to apprize the hon. Gentleman as foon as such dispatches were received.
Mr. Johnßone was of opinion that, though the war might not have commenced till the period stated by the noble Lord, yet that there moft neceffarily be many circumstances previous to open hoftilities which ought to have been communieated to Government. It was not to the 6th of August only that he wished to look back, but to trace the war to its fource. From the moment that orders had been given to march the troops from the Myfore, the commencement of the war was certainly to be dated. The very march of that army, he would infift, was against the acts and refolutions of the House as much as any event on the 6th of Auguft. The moment Lord Wellesley iffued thofe orders to his army, he ought to have fent difpatches to this country, stating his reasons for fuch measures. But he was apprehenfive there was too frequently a fuppreffion of documents. All the proceedings of the Government of India ought to appear on the records of the Company, and be regularly tranfmitted to this country. Were this the cafe, we frould at all times have the fullest information. He was afraid that the war had originated in aggreffion on our part, and was owing to that spirit of ambition that had been too prevalent in India, and which particularly had characterized the government of the noble Lord But, whatever be the iffue of the war, he contended it must be disastrous in its confequences. If attended with fuccefs, our empire in India must be as large as the two Peninfulas, and confequently ready to fall to pieces by its own weight.. But, fhould we be defeated in our attempts at aggrandizement, the most probable confequence was, that we thould be turned out of India, and a period put at once to our empire. Here the hon. Gentleman infifted on the power and influence of the Mahrattas. In our former wars in India, our refources had been derived from the revenues of Bengal,. which always remained untouched: but here the case was extremely different. The revenues of Bengal would be immediately affected; and, in cafe of defeat, or in cafe, which. was not at all improbable, of the enemy laying walle the country, the confequences might be fatal. The prefent cafe. refembled, in fome degree perhaps, that of the Carnatic.
The dispatches to which the noble Lord alluded, and for which he defires us to wait, may in all probability contain nothing. Such was the cafe in the difpatches from Lord Clive, in regard to the Carnatic.
Lord Cafilereagh was ready to adinit the importance of the communications in regard to the caufes of the war; but the end also of the correspondence was certainly equally important, and abfolutely neceffary either to justify or condemn the conduct of the Governor General in his commencement of hoftilities.
Mr. Francis thought that reafons might have been affigned by the Governor General for the iffue of his orders to the troops to march, which had happened two months previous to the period alluded to by the noble Lord. He was willing, however, to rely on the engagement which the noble Lord had taken on himself, to apprize him of the first arrival of the neceffary dispatches, and begged leave therefore at present to withdraw his motion.
The other orders of the day being difpofed of, the House adjourned till the next day.
HOUSE OF LORDS.
THURSDAY, MARCH 15.
Heard counsel on Lady Mary Fitzgerald's claim to the Rofs peerage; to be further heard on Tuesday next.
A converfation enfued on the Irish deacons' and priests' bill, in which Lord Ellenborough, the Bishops of St. Afaph, Ferns, and Heroford, and the Lord Chancellor, spoke, after which the bill was ordered to be committed on Thursday next. Adjourned.
HOUSE OF COMMONS
THURSDAY, MARCH 15.
The amendments made by the Lords, in the bill for improving the port of London, were agreed to, and Sir J. W. Anderfon was ordered to carry it, thus amended, to the Houfe of Lords.
When the order of the day was read, for the fecond reading of the Croydon canal bill,
Mr. Howard moved, "That the bill be read a fecund time on the 12th of April next."
Mr. Jolliffe moved, as an amendment, "That it be read a fecond time this day fix months."
Mr. Howard expreffed his furprife at the amendment, which went to throw out the bill completely; more particularly as it affected an object of confiderable importance to the inland trade of the country. The hon. Gentleman who propofed this amendment had not thought proper to state a fingle reafon in fupport of his motion, yet called upon the Houfe to agree to a vote which would deftroy the property already embarked in the undertaking, and fupprefs the fpirit of laudable enterprise in the internal commerce of the country, which had fo effentially contributed to its profperity.
Lord Wm. Ruffell referred to the ftatement which was then before the Houfe, in which it was mentioned that 800,000l. was requifite for the purpose of carrying the plan into execution; and out of this fum 120,000l. only had been fubfcribed.
Mr. Somers Cocks declared, that he thought the provisions of the bill would militate against all principles of juftice and refpect to property. If he was not mifinformed too, the weakness of the party who framed the bill, was manifested by the introduction of a claufe which stated, that the canal fhould not be carried further than Croydon, until more money was fubfcribed. If the bill was calculated to promote any real and fubftantial public benefit, even though it fhould be against his own intereft in fome degree or that of his family, he declared that he would give it his fupport. But, really, he thought the Houfe was of late giving way to a fad practice, in allowing canals to be carried on without any reasonable ground to acknowledge their utility, or any probable appearance of public advantage. It was a mifchievous idea to encourage the schemes of a set of adventu rers poffeffing no money in comparifon to the magnitude of the object in the purfuit of which they were engaged. He was confident alfo that the prefent measure had no fupport from the perfons of landed property near whose estates the canal was defigned to run.
Mr. Hurft fpoke in favour of the fecond reading of the bill on the 12th of April, upon the principle, that no evidence was before the Houfe to induce them to negative the motion.
Sir J. W. Anderfon obferved, that as treafurer of the first charitable inftitution in the world, Chrift's Hofpital, he had
been instructed to vote against the bill, which, were it agreed to, would materially injure their property.
Mr Jolliffe's amendment was agreed to, and the bill was confequently thrown out,
The Exchequer bills bill was read a second time, and ordered to be committed the next day.
Mr. Alexander brought up the report of the Committees appointed to prepare eftimates of the pay and clothing of the militia of Great Britain and Ireland; and alfo the report of the Committee appointed to eftimate the allowances to be made to adjutants and ferjeant majors of militia, Ordered to lie on the table.
Leave was given to bring in a bill for increasing the allowances to innkeepers on the billeting of foldiers.
Mr. Alexander brought up the report of the Committee of expiring laws. The refolutions were agreed to, and a bill ordered accordingly.
The neutral hips bill went through a Committee. The report to be received the next day.
The Irish duties bill, the Irish malt bill, and the Irish countervailing duty bill, were read a third time, and paffed. Mr. Pitt gave notice that on Tuesday next, he should move for leave to bring in a bill to amend and render more effectual the act of aft feffion for raifing an army of referve, and for rendering that army more fubfervient to the recruiting of the regular regiments. He wished to bring forward the motion in fufficient time to allow the bill, if leave should be given to bring it in, to be printed, and to lie over for confideration in the holidays.
STATE OF OUR NAVAL FORCE.
Mr. Pitt role to bring forward his promised motion on the present state of the naval defence of the country. In introducing the fubject to the Houfe, he spoke to the following purport-As I have reafon to believe, Sir, that a part of the information refpecting the naval defence of the country, which it is my wish to have laid before the Houfe, is not likely to be refused by his Majefty's Minifters, it is not my intention, in the first inftance, to occupy your time by any detailed obfervations. At prefent, I fhall content myself with little more than opening the nature of the information which appears to me to be neceffary; conceiving it to be understood that, if objection fhould arife to the production of fome of the papers to be moved for, I may have an opportunity of after