HC Deb 27 January 1806 vol 6 cc37-41
Mr. Paull

moved, that the papers ordered by the votes of the house on the 25th and 28th of June last, be printed for the use of the members; which was accordingly ordered. After a short pause, the hon. gent. rose again, and said:—No person sir, can be more convinced than I am, of the inutility, the inexpediency, the danger, of moving for many papers relative to any transaction, more especially, if connected with India; still, however I may deprecate delay, in a question of so much importance, I am under the necessity of moving for a few more papers, important in every point of view, and essentially necessary for the ends of substantial justice. But, sir, these are the last papers I shall call for, to support the two charges I have already given notice of; and when the papers I formerly had the honour to move for, are printed, together with the additional papers that I am to call for this evening, no time shall be lost, on my part, in bringing direct and positive charges of criminality against my lord Wellesley. As the papers are not to be objected to, it is not necessary for me to take up much of the time of the house. Suffice it to say, that to insure the support of those gentlemen on this side of the house, and the aid and countenance of many honourable, disinterested, conscientious gentlemen on the other, I shall produce a charge, copied almost verbatim from the articles of impeachment voted against Mr. Hastings, by a strong, overpowering majority of this house, at the head of which was the late Mr. Pitt. I move, "that there be laid before this house, 1. Copy of a treaty concluded between the margins Cornwallis, then governor-general of India, and the late vizier Assul ul Dowlah, in 1787. 2. Copy of the dispatches of marquis Cornwallis to the court of directors, or secret committee, on the conclusion of that treaty; together with a copy of his lordship's instructions to Edward Otto Ives, esq. on the same occasion, he then being resident at the vizier's court, 3. Copies or extracts of the general letter from the court of directors or secret committee to Bengal, approving of the treaty and lord Cornwallis's conduct on the occasion. 4. Copy of a minute of sir John Shore, now lord Teignmouth, late governor-general, dated in June or July 1796, removing G. F. Cherry, and appointing John Lumsden, esq. resident of Lucnow. 5. Copy of a minute of the marquis Wellesley, late governor-general, removing the said John Lumsden, and appointing col. W. Scott resident at the court of the vizier. 6. Copy of any minute or appointment empowering the hon. Henry Wellesley, then private secretary to the governor-general, to proceed to Lucnow, accompanied by Grime Morier, esq. as his assistant, or secretary, in 1801; and an account of any sum or sums of money drawn by the hon. Henry Wellesley, whilst at Lucnow, or by those employed under him, whether as salaries, establishment, or durbar charges, where drawn, and the authority for such payments. 7. Copy of a letter written by lord Wellesley, or under his authority, to col. William Scott, resident at the court of the vizier, announcing the special mission of the hon. Henry Wellesley to Lucnow. 8. Copy of all correspondence between marquis Wellesley, whether in his capacity of governor-general or captain-general, and lieut. general Gerard, now lord Lake, from July 1801, to the conclusion of the treaty of Lucnow, with copies of lord Lake's orders to major-general Frederick St. John, commanding the station of Cawnpour, major-general Robert Stuart, commanding Futty Ghur; with copies of their orders to the other officers commanding corps and stations in Oude, for putting the forces in readiness to march at the shortest notice, from July 1801 to Nov. in the same year.

Mr. Whitshead Keene

cordially seconded the motions of the hon. member, to whom the house and the public, he conceived, were much indebted, and for whose talents he entertained great respect. He doubted not but that his motives were pure and honourable, and such he hoped ever to find them.

Mr. Paull

trusted the house would excuse him for saying a very few words regarding himself. He assured the hon. seconder, the house, and the public, that he dared the breath of calumny to impute to him, with justice, any motives but those of a public nature. He bore no animosity to lord Wellesley personally, he would exert his honest endeavours to prosecute him to conviction, as the enemy to the happiness and prosperity of India, and to the best interests of the mother country; he could consider him in no light but that of a great state delinquent, in the situation that Mr. Hastings stood on his return from abroad, with this essential difference, that what was undefined crime in the case of Mr. Hastings, was positive criminality in the case of lord Wellesley. The latter could plead no error in judgment, no ignorance of the laws of his country, having been a member of the British parliament when the articles of impeachment were voted against Mr. Hastings. One word more, said the hon. gent. and I have done. I stand, sir, proud of acting with the party to which I belong, and I take this opportunity of declaring in the face of this house, that with the Nabob of Oude, or with any potentate on the continent of ill-fated India) I am as unconnected as with the emperor of France, nor will I allow with impunity insinuations calculated to injure, through me, the cause of truth and justice: the unfairness of such aspersions, no man knows better than marquis Wellesley himself.

Sir T. Metcalfe

said, that similar motions to those now brought forward had led to nothing but great trouble and enormous expence. He trusted, therefore, that the house would pause before it would consent to grant papers, under such circumstances, to any individual, however respectable he might be. This was one objection he felt to the motions of the hon. gent. There was another too, which equally weighed within his mind. The papers, that had already been produced, had got into the hands of translators, through whom the French government had obtained the information they contained; a circumstance that had proved materially prejudicial to the interests of the Company. The importance of it to the French government was such, that Bonaparte would have given half the revenues of France to have obtained it. Besides, he should ask, whether the present was a proper time to agitate such questions? Under the influence of these objections, he should feel it his duty to divide the house. When a member was conscious of being actuated by a sense of duty, he should not be ashamed to avow his feelings. The hon. gent. had said, that the papers, when produced, would criminate the conduct of the noble marquis; but this he begged leave to deny, as he was convinced in his conscience that no one of them would affect the public or private character of that noble lord; and if it were possible for him to attend in that house, he was sure he would say in reply to the motions, 'give all the papers.' Besides, it would have the most dangerous effect, if it should be thought on the continent of India, that all the treaties and engagements that had been entered into with the native powers, could be rescinded by a vote of parliament. It was certainly competent to parliament to enquire into the conduct of the marquis Wellesley; but this was not the time, and for all these reasons he should certainly take the sense of the house.

Mr. Francis

said, he was not in the house when the motions were proposed; but as in adverting to the mischiefs that had arisen from similar motions, the hon. baronet seemed to allude to those made by himself, he felt it necessary to say a few words. If any mischief had arisen from the production of the papers he had moved for, it was chargeable only on the board of controul, which had the power of deciding which of them might be produced with safety, and was at liberty to withhold such as could not be published, consistently with the public interest. As to the objection respecting the expences that would attend printing the papers moved for, it might have some weight with vulgar minds; but it was not to be tolerated in that house, when an enquiry was to be instituted respecting the management of the affairs of India, the revenues of which were estimated at fifteen millions. With respect to his own opinion of marquis Wellesley's conduct, he had stated it to the house and to the country, and saw no reason to alter it. He was not to be awed or intimidated into an abandonment of his principles. The hon. baronet had stated, that considerable danger arose from the intelligence derived to the enemy from the publication of these papers; but he was of opinion that the enemy had gained more information from marquis Wellesley's intercepted correspondence, which had been published in the Moniteur, and afterwards translated into all the London papers, from which only the public obtained the information, though the contents of the correspondence ought to have been long before transmitted direct to the governors of the India Company. He was not aware of any danger that could he apprehended Irons the production of the papers, and that there had been no objection felt to granting them on that score, he appealed to the declaration of the noble lord at the head of the board of controul. That noble lord had said that he saw no possible objection to their being produced.

Mr. Paull

said, the conduct of the worthy bart. excited his utmost astonishment; an astonishment not unmixed with some degree of indignation. Did the hon. bart. mean to crush this business by a side wind? If he did, he was very much mistaken. The refusal of the papers would avail lord Wellesley nothing. My wish, sir, said the hon. gent. is to accompany assertion with proof, which the hon. bart. seems to wish to prevent; but opposition can only make me more zealous, an opposition especially of this sort, an opposition completely and entirely unforeseen and unexpected; as the noble lord who presides at the board of controul, to whom I fairly and candidly submitted the list of the papers, told me there could be no possible objection to the production of the papers I have this night moved for. An hon. member of the same board, whom I am happy to see in his place, will do me the justice to confirm this assertion, if confirmation was at all necessary.

Mr. Wallace

corroborated the statement of the hon. gent. and could see no reasonable objection to the production of the papers. He, however, wished the hon. gent. would omit in the last motion the words "secret service money," and allow "Durbar charges" instead.

Mr. Paull

replied he could have no possible objection, provided "the secret ser- "vice money," if any, was included under the head of "Durbar charges." He did not stickle, he said, for terms, provided the substance was the same; he looked only to substantial justice between lord Wellesley and the public; and, in conclusion, added, that nothing could deter him from proceeding in the line of conduct he had lain down for himself.—The sense of the house being decidedly in favour of Mr. Paull's motions, sir T. Metcalfe withdrew his intention of a division, and the whole of the papers were accordingly ordered and agreed to.

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