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beyond any present or obvious future means of payment, at least under the actual administration of their affairs ; that this condition of the East-India Company has begun to affect the sinking fund itself, on which the public credit of the kingdom rests, a million and upwards being due to the customs, which that House of Commons, whose intentions towards the Company have been so grossly misrepresented, were indulgent enough to respite. And thus, instead of confiscating their property, the Company received without interest (which in such a case had been before charged) the use of a very large sum of the public money. The revenues are under the peculiar care of this House, not only as the revenues originate from us, but as, on every failure of the funds set apart for support of the national credit, or to provide for the national strength and safety, the task of supplying every deficiency falls upon his Majesty's faithful Commons, this House must, in effect, tax the people. The House therefore, at every moment, incurs the hazard of becoming obnoxious to its constituents.

The enemies of the late House of Commons resolved, if possible, to bring on that event. They therefore endeavoured to misrepresent the provident means adopted by the House of Commons for keeping off this invidious necessity, as an attack on the rights of the East-India Company; for they well knew, that on the one hand, if, for want of proper regulation and relief, the Company should become insolvent, or even stop payment, the national credit and commerce would sustain a heavy blow: and that calamity would be justly imputed to parliament, which, after such long inquiries, and such frequent admonitions from his Majesty, had neglected so essential and so urgent an article of their duty: on the other hand they knew, that, wholly corrupted as the Company is, nothing effectual could be done to preserve that interest from ruin, without taking for a time the national objects of their trusts out of their hands; and then a cry would be industriously raised against the House of Commons, as depriving British subjects of their legal privileges. The restraint, being plain and simple, must be easily understood by those who would be brought with great difficulty to comprehend the intricate detail of matters of fact, which render this suspension of the administration of India absolutely


necessary on motives of justice, of policy, of public honour, and public safety.

The House of Commons had not been able to devise a method, by which the redress of grievances could be effected through the authors of those grievances; nor could they imagine how corruptions could be purified by the corrupters and the corrupted ; nor do we now conceive, how any

reformation can proceed from the known abettors and supporters of the

persons who have been guilty of the misdemeanors which parliament has reprobated, and who for their own ill purposes have given countenance to a false and delusive state of the Company's affairs, fabricated to mislead parliament, and to impose upon the nation.

Your Commons feel, with a just resentment, the inadequate estimate which your ministers have formed of the importance of this great concern. They call on us to act upon the principles of those who have not inquired into the subject; and to condemn those, who, with the most laudable diligence, have examined and scrutinized every part of it. The deliberations of parliament have been broken; the season of the year is unfavourable ; many of us are new members, who must be wholly unacquainted with the subject, which lies remote from the ordinary course of general information.

We are cautioned against an infringement of the constitution; and it is impossible to know, what the secret advisers of the crown, who have driven out the late ministers for their conduct in parliament, and have dissolved the late parliament for a pretended attack upon prerogative, will consider as such an infringement. We are not furnished with a rule, the observance of which can make us safe from the resentment of the crown, even by an implicit obedience to the dictates of the ministers who have advised that speech: we know not how soon those ministers may be disavowed ; and how soon the members of this House, for our very agreement with them, may be considered as objects of his Majesty's displeasure. "Until by his Majesty's goodness and wisdom the late example is completely done away, we are not free.

1 The purpose of the misrepresentation being now completely answered, there is no doubt but the committee in this parliament, appointed by the ministers themselves, will justify the grounds upon which the last parliament proceeded ; and will lay open to the world the dreadful state of the Company's affairs, and the grossness of their own calumnies upon this head. By delay the new assembly is come into the disgraceful situation of allowing a dividend of eight per cent. by act of parliament, without the least matter before them to justify the granting of any dividend at all.

W are well aware, in providing for the affairs of the East, with what an adult strength of abuse, and of wealth and influence growing out of that abuse, his Majesty's Com. mons had, in the last parliament, and we still have, to struggle. We are sensible that the influence of that wealth, in a much larger degree and measure than at any former period, may have penetrated into the very quarter from Whence alone


real reformation can be expected.' If, therefore, in the arduous affairs recommended to us, our proceedings should be ill adapted, feeble, and ineffectual ; if no delinquency should be prevented, and no delinquent should be called to account; if every person should be caressed, promoted, and raised in power, in proportion to the enormity of his offences; if no relief should be given to any of the natives unjustly dispossessed of their rights, jurisdictions, and properties ; if no cruel and unjust exactions shall be forborne ; if the source of no peculation, or oppressive gain, should be cut off ; if, by the omission of the opportunities that were in our hands, our Indian empire should fall

"This will be evident to those who consider the number and description of directors and servants of the East-India Company, chosen into the present parliament. The light in which the present ministers hold the labours of the House of Commons, in searching into the disorders in the Indian administration, and all its endeavours for the reformation of tho government there, without any distinction of times, or of the persons concerned, will appear from the following extract from a speech of the present lord chancellor. After making a high-flown panegyric on those whom the House of Commons had condemned by their resolutions, he said“ Let us not be misled by reports from committees of another House, to which, I again repeat, I pay as much attention as I would do to the History of Robinson Crusoe. Let the conduct of the East-India Company be fairly and fully inquired into. Let it be acquitted or condemned by evidence brought to the bar of the House. Without entering very deeply into the subject, let me reply in a few words to an observation which tell from a noble and learned lord, that the Company's finances are distressed, and that they owe, at this moment, a million sterling to the nation. When such a charge is brought, will parliament in its justice forget that the Company is restricted from employing that credit which its great and Pourishing situation gives to it pas

into ruin irretrievable, and in its fall crush the credit, and overwhelm the revenues, of this country, we stand acquitted to our honour and to our conscience, who have reluctantly seen the weightiest interests of our country, at times the most critical to its dignity and safety, rendered the sport of the inconsiderate and unmeasured ambition of individuals, and by that means the wisdom of his Majesty's government degraded in the public estimation, and the policy and character of this renowned nation rendered contemptible in the eyes of all Europe.

It passed in the negative.











may not be unnecessary to inform the reader, that the following Reflections had their origin in a correspondenco between the Author and a very young gentleman at Paris, who did him the honour of desiring his opinion upon the important transactions, which then, and ever since, have so much occupied the attention of all men. An answer was written some time in the month of October, 1789; but it was kept back upon prudential considerations. That letter is alluded to in the beginning of the following sheets. It has been since forwarded to the person to whom it was addressed. The reasons for the delay in sending it were assigned in a short letter to the same gentleman. This produced on his part a new and pressing application for the Author's sentiments.

The Author began a second and more full discussion 02 the subject. This he had some thoughts of publishing early in the last spring; but, the matter gaining upon him, he found that what he had undertaken not only far exceeded the measure of a letter, but that its importance required

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