HC Deb 23 February 1836 vol 31 cc757-61
Mr. Tulk

, after stating that Mr. Bucking- ham's Compensation Bill was similar to that brought forward last year, moved that it be read a second time.

Sir Robert Inglis

wished to know from what fund the proposed compensation could be provided?

Mr. Tulk

from the funds of the East-India Company.

Mr. Lawson

felt it his duty to call the attention of the House to the manner in which this case appeared to have been got up. A few weeks ago he received a packet inclosing to him the draught of a petition in favour of this Bill, and requesting him to present it to his constituents for their signatures. He could not help thinking that this was a most unusual and unparliamentary mode of procuring petitions in favour of a private Bill. The note that accompanied the petition sent to him was from Mr. Buckingham. It conveyed to him that Gentleman's compliments, and requested that he would transmit the petition to his constituents for their signatures. This practice of one Member addressing another, and asking him to get up petitions in favour of some private claim of that individual Member, would, if carried to any extent, lower the character of that House in the eyes of the country at large, and it was a practice, in his opinion, more, worthy of an American Congress than of a British House of Commons. He begged leave to move, as an Amendment, that this Bill be read a second time that day six months.

Mr. Poulter

said, that though he opposed this Bill last Session, yet, upon an accurate examination of the subject, he considered himself bound now to give it his support. Looking at the whole of the case, it appeared to him that Mr. Buckingham had been induced to set up the Calcutta Journal on the strength of the principles then avowed by the Governor-General of India, and that those principles had been afterwards violated by the course of proceeding adopted towards Mr. Buckingham. It was no small testimony to the merits of Mr. Buckingham's publication, that a noble Lord of high character, late Governor-General of India, and now a Member of that House, had, in a letter addressed to Mr. Buckingham, expressed his regret that such a publication did not exist during his government. He thought that a case was made out to call upon the House to give an equitable compensation to Mr. Buckingham.

Mr. Vernon Smith

said, that in the absence of his right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Control, who was obliged to give his attendance elsewhere, it devolved upon him to state the course which the Board of Control felt it their duty to adopt in this instance. Seeing the manner in which the House had, last Session, carried the Bill through the first and second readings, notwithstanding the opposition offered to it then by the Board of Control, his right hon. Friend despaired of making any effectual opposition to it in those stages this Session, and he had therefore not intended to oppose it in those stages. It was not that his right hon. Friend had at all altered his opinion on the subject; he was as strongly impressed as ever with a sense of the gross injustice of calling upon the East-India Company to grant a compensation of this kind. He himself had gone carefully through the whole of the case, and he was convinced that if hon. Members had taken the same pains to make themselves acquainted with its merits, they would be of his opinion, that Mr. Buckingham had no claim in justice on the East-India Company. If the hon. Gentleman opposite should persevere in his motion, he (Mr. Smith) would certainly vote for it. If that Amendment should not be carried, he would move that the petition from the East-India Company against the Bill should be referred to the Middlesex list, to which, of course, this Bill would be referred, and that they be heard by counsel against the Bill before the Committee. In that way the House would be put in possession of the facts of the case. The East-India Company had a right, as the law stood at the time, to act as it did in the case of Mr. Buckingham. The House of Commons was not a fit tribunal to decide a legal claim of this kind, which Mr. Buckingham had never brought before a court of law. The sending round petitions for signatures in its favour on grounds that should never have been brought forward, was, to say the least of it, unparliamentary.

Mr. Roebuck

said, that sitting there a Member of the British House of Commons, and as such intrusted with the care of the interests, not merely of the people of England, but of the people of Hindostan, he must oppose this Bill. What did it propose to do? It proposed to make the people of Hindostan pay for the exercise of a discretionary power on the part of their Government, which power they (the people of England) had themselves, by Act of Parliament, placed in the hands of that Government. If Mr. Buckingham had been unjustly treated, and if he was entitled to compensation, let the people of England pay it—let it be put in the estimates, and brought forward by the Government, but let them not come down upon the East-India Company for it, because they had exercised a discretionary power vested in them by the Parliament of England. He had himself issued a publication—he had dared the Government to prosecute him; he did not mean to say he had violated the law, but if he had done so, if the Government had prosecuted him, and had obtained a verdict against him, with what face could he come to Parliament and ask for compensation? Why, Messrs. Cleave and Hetherington had as undoubted claims on the Parliament of England as Mr. Buckingham, and if this Bill should pass, he would recommend them to petition the House for leave to bring in a Bill claiming compensation from the British people for the injuries done to them in consequence of having violated an Act of Parliament. No man had a right to claim compensation for the consequences brought upon himself by a breach of the law,

Mr. Robinson

said, that last year he had opposed this Bill, and he saw no reason to alter his opinion of it now. It was proved by the counsel of the East-India Company last Session, that Mr. Buckingham had been over and over again warned that if he persevered in the course he was pursuing, he would subject himself to the measures which the Government of India found it necessary finally to adopt in his case. What weight was to be attached to the petitions presented in favour of this Bill, when the parties signing them were told that the people of Hindostan would have to pay the money? No doubt half the people of England would sign those petitions when told so. It would be a different thing, however, if they knew that the money was to come out of their own pockets.

Major Beauclerk

supported the Bill, and denied that Mr. Buckingham had been guilty of any breach of the law in India. If the hon. Member for Sheffield had what was called "a tail," less opposition would be made to this claim.

Mr. Pease

thought the House bound in justice to procure satisfaction for Mr. Buckingham, who had been the victim of the tyrannical proceedings of the Indian Government.

The House divided on the second reading: Ayes 81; Noes 125—Majority 44.

List of the AYES.
Aglionby, H. A. Maxwell, J.
Attwood, T. O'Brien, W. S.
Baines, E. O'Connell, D.
Baldwin, Dr. O'Connell, J.
Barnard, E. G. O'Connell, Maurice
Beauclerk, Major O'Connell, M. J.
Bentinck, Lord W. O'Connor, Don
Bewes, T. Palmer, C.
Blackburne, J. Parrot, J.
Bodkin, John James Pease, Joseph
Brady, Denis C. Pechell, G. R.
Brodie, W. D. Phillips, Mark
Brotherton, J. Poulter, J. S.
Brudenell, Lord Power, James
Cayley, E. S. Pryme, G.
Crawford, W. S. Roche, W.
Divett, E. Ruthven, E.
Duncombe, T. S. Ruthven, E. S.
Dundas, J. D. Sanford, E. A.
Elphinstone, Howard Scholefield, J.
Etwall, R. Scott, J. W.
Ferguson, R. C. Seale, Col.
Fielden, J. Sheil, R. L.
Finn, W. F. Steuart, R.
Fitzsimon, C. Strickland, Sir G.
Fitzsimon, N. Stuart, Lord Dudley
Gaskell, D. Talbot, J. H.
Goring, H. D. Talfourd, T. N.
Guest, J. J. Thorneley, Thomas
Harland, W. Tooke, W.
Harvey, D. W. Trelawney, Sir W.
Hector, C. J. Wakley, T.
Hoskins, K. Wallace, R.
Hume, J. Walter, J.
Jervis, J. Wason, R.
Kemp, T. R. Wilks, J.
Lampton, H. Winnington, H. J. E.
Langton, Col. G. Wood, Alderman
Lister, E. C. Wrightson, W. B.
Lynch, A. H. TELLERS.
Macleod, R. Warburton, H.
Maule, Hon. Fox Tulk, Charles A.
List of the NOES.
Acheson, Viscount Brownrigg, J. S.
Alsager, Richard Bruce, C. L. C.
Angerstein, J. Bruen, Col. H.
Archdal, General Bruen, Francis
Ashley, Lord Buller, Sir J. Y.
Barclay, C. Burrell, Sir C. M.
Baring, F. Burton, H.
Beckett, Sir J. Callaghan, D.
Bell, M. Campbell, Sir H.
Berkeley, C. Chandos, Marquess of
Bethell, R. Chaplin, T.
Bonham, F. R. Chetwynd, Captain
Bramston, T. W. Chichester, J. P. B.
Clive, Robert Lennox, Lord A.
Colborne, N. W. R. Lincoln, Earl of
Compton, H. C. Longfield, R.
Conolly, E. M. Lushington, S. R.
Cooper, Hon. A. Lygon, Col.
Coote, Sir C. Mackenzie, J. A. S.
Cripps, J. Maclean, D.
D'Albiac, Sir C. M'Taggart, John
Dick, Q. Mahon, Lord
Dunbar, George Mangles, J.
Egerton, W. Methuen, P.
Egerton, Lord F. Mordaunt, Sir J.
Entwisle, John Mostyn, E.
Fielden, W. Packe, C. W.
Finch, G. Paget, F.
Fleming, J. Parker, M. E. N.
Foster, C. Patten, Wilson
Freemantle, Sir T. Pelham, C. A.
Geary, Sir W. Penruddock, J. H.
Gladstone, W. E. Perceval, Col.
Gladstone, T. Pollock, Sir F.
Graham, Sir J. R. G. Robinson, G. R.
Grant, F. W. Roebuck, J. A.
Greisley, Sir R. Sanderson, R.
Grey, Col. Sandon, Lord
Halford, H. Scott, Sir E. D.
Halyburton, D. G. Sheppard, T.
Halse, J. Sibthorp, Colonel
Hanmer, Sir J. Smith, R. Vernon
Hardinge, Sir H. Smyth, Sir G. H.
Hardy, J. Somerset, Lord G.
Hayes, Sir E. Stanley, Lord
Hogg, J. W. Stuart, W. V.
Hope, Hon. J. Tancred, H. W.
Hope, Hon. T. Thomas, Col.
Horsman, E. Trevor, A.
Hotham, Lord Troubridge, Sir T.
Houldsworth, T. Verner, Sir H.
Howard, P. H. Vesey, Hon. T.
Inglis, Sir R. H. Vivian, John Ennis
Irton, S. Wall, B.
Johnston, J. J. H. Welby, G. E.
Jones, Captain Wilbraham, R. B.
Kearsley, J. H. Williams, R.
Knatchbull, Sir E. Wodehouse, Hon. E.
Knightley, Sir C. Wood, C.
Lawson, A. Wrottesley, Sir J.
Lees, John F. Young, G. F.
Lefroy, A. TELLERS.
Lefroy, Dr. T. Clerk, Sir G., Bart.
Lennox, Lord G. Ross, C.