HC Deb 15 March 1805 vol 4 c30
Mr. Francis.

Before I proceed to the notice which I propose to give this day, I beg leave to ask the noble lord on the other side a question for information, very fit to be given to the house, and materially connected with the subject which I mean to bring under their consideration. By the papers on table it appears that the war now or lately carried on in India against Holcar, was declared by lord Wellesly so long ago as the 16th of April, 1804, and I presume must have been in his contemplation some time before that date. This we know indirectly through the government of Bombay. My question is, whether at this day the Court of Directors or the Select Committee have received any direct communication have received any direct communication from lord Wellesley of the orgin and the motives of this war?

Lord Castleragh.

—My answer to the question put to me by the hon. gent. is that, at this day, no advices have been received directly from lord Wellesley, concerning the origin and the motives of the war with Holcar.

Mr. Francis

—The fact of itself deserves the attention of the house; since nothing can be more precise and peremptory than the injunction of the law, by which the Governor General and Council are ordered, in all cased where hostilities shall be commenced, to communicate the same to the Directors, by the most expeditious means they can devise, with a full state of the information and intelligence upon which they shall have commenced such hostilities, and their motives and reasons for the same at large. I now, sir, beg leave to give notice that it is my intention, with permission of the house, to bring under their consideration a general view of the state of the British dominion in India, and to make a motion thereupon, as early in the week after next as may should with the convenience of the house. Sir, it would be desirable for any man, who wished to bring into view a question of great extent and consequence, and for me more than any other, that his audience should be in some degree possessed of the general nature of the subject. I cannot hope, though I very much desire it, that many gentlemen will have taken the trouble to examine attentively the whole of these voluminous papers relative to the late and present war with the Mahrattas. To save them some trouble and perhaps to invite them to read more and to enter farther into the inquiry, there are a few principle documents which I think will give a general insight into the subject, and engage them to proceed, and which I therefore beg leave to recommend to their attention. The instructions to colonel Collins; the instructions to colonel Close; the treaty of Bassein, from which, as it appears to me, the war may be dated; and, finally, the map of India annexed to the papers.

Lord Castlereagh.

—The notice given by the hon. gent. is so general and undefined, that I am at a loss to conjecture what the objects are which he has in his view, and to which I should of course wish to turn my own thoughts. I therefore hope and request that the hon. gent. will state more distinctly the points to which his intended motion is directed, or at least the particular subjects which he means to discuss.

Mr. Francis

made no reply.