HC Deb 19 June 1806 vol 7 cc776-8
Mr. Pault

moved the order of the day, for the house resolving itself into a committee, to take into consideration the Oude charge.

Sir A. Wellesley

asked what time the hon. gent. thought the further examination of evidence would occupy?

Mr. Paul

replied, that he expected to close his examination of sir Alured Clarke, major Ouseley, and Mr. Johnstone that night: but he proposed postponing the further evidence till Monday, on account of the absence of some important documents which were not yet before the house.—The house then resolved itself into a committee, lord A. Hamilton in the chair.

Mr. Paull

expressed a wish, that Mr. Johnstone, as being a member of the house, should be first examined.

Mr. Johnstone

felt himself placed in rather an aukward situation by being called on as a witness. He had wished to deliver his opinion on the charge as a member of the house, and probably his being called on to give evidence might preclude him from delivering his sentiments.

Mr. Paull

conceived it absolutely necessary to establish his charge, that the hon. gent. should be examined.

Mr. Johnstone

was then examined in his place, for four hours, the tendency of the examination was to shew the state of the revenue and military force of Oude, the moral habits of the nabob Asoph UI Doulah, and the general instructions given to the British residents at the court of Lucknow.

Sir Alured Clarke

was then called to the bar, and examined for a considerable time. On a question being put to him by Mr. Paull, whether he would consider the payment of 500,000l. by the Nabob to the East India Company, above the 70 crore of rupees stipulated in the treaty of 1798, an infraction of that treaty, Sir Alured was ordered to withdraw, and a long discussion ensued.—The question was strenuously opposed by Mr. Wallace, Mr. S. Bourne, Mr. Huskisson, sir A. Wellesley, and other members, upon the ground that as the treaty itself was on the table, the committee could form its own decision upon the subject, and ought not to receive evidence of opinion from any witness. Mr. Paull contended that he was grounded in this question upon the undisputed admission of the house the preceding night. This produced a debate of considerable length, when the committee divided; for the question 16; Against it 46;—Majority 30.

Mr. Paull

stated that the next question he had to put, was also a question as to opinion, namely, whether it the Bengal army had been marched to the frontier of Oude, with a view to repel the enemy, then marching to attack that territory, the witness thought it would be fair or just, and not contrary to treaty, that the nabob vizier? but as the committee had decided that night contrary to its own practice the further proceeding, in order to re-consider and new-shape the questions he had still to ask, and to give an opportunity for the attendance of other members.

Earl Temple

opposed the adjournment, and thought the speech of the hon. gent. most unparliamentary, when he proposed to take the sense of the committee to-morrow on a question which had been already decided. The noble lord then made some remarks on the propriety of taking the opinion of witness in the manner proposed, which mode of proceeding he deprecated.

Mr. Hutchinson

was decidedly of opinion that the hon. member had sufficient ground for moving the adjournment. The question of opinion had been fully debated on the examination of lord Teignmouth, the result of which was, that questions of opinion may be put to the witness at the bar. This having been the decision of last night, he was really surprised to hear the point revived in 24 hour afterwards, with a view of departing from what appeared to have been established as the practice for future proceedings in this case.

Mr. Fox

concurred with the hon gent. that the departure from the practice of parliament sanctioned last night, was a sufficient ground for authorising the hon. member to move an adjournment. It was gravely and solemnly debated last night, whether questions of opinion should or should not be put to witness examined at the bar respecting this impeachment? Although several members had spoken in the negative, yet, on the whole, the house had certainly acquiesced in the affirmative, without dividing, or coming to any specific resolution. On this ground, and from a regard to the consistency of the house, he certainly thought the motion for adjournment well founded. After some conversation, both sides of the house came to an understanding, that the question of opinion be put. In con- sequence of which, sir Alured Clarke was called in, and finally examined.

Sir Arthur Wellesley

said, that in order to the defence of his noble relation against one of the principal charges of profusion and extravagance, it would be materially important to have the testimony of a gentleman, named Salmon, who had been the military auditor at Bengal, and who had formed the estimates upon which the sums in allusion were expended. He therefore called upon the hon. gent. who brought forward those charges, to move that Mr. Salmon be summoned to attend the committee.

Mr. Paull

thought it every extraordinary, that the hon gentleman should dictate to him what witness he should bring forward in support of his charges, which he had no doubt of being able to substantiate.

Sir A. Wellesley

said, he hoped when the committee should decide upon this part of the case, it would be recollected that the hon. gent. summon a most competent witness.

Colonel Wood

said, if the hon. member refused to comply with claim so fair, the house had the power, and he hoped would, for its own satisfaction, summon Mr.Salmon.—The chairman at length left the chair, and obtained leave to sit again to-morrow. Ordered, upon the motion of colonel Wood, that Mr. Salmon be summoned to attend the committee.