§ Mr. Mangles
said, he would take this opportunity of putting to the right hon. Baronet (Sir R. Peel) the question of which he had given notice last week as to the administration of the province of Scinde. It would be necessary for him to say a few words by way of explanation, in order to render the question intelligible to the House. The House was doubtless aware that, by the constitution of the East India Company, a portion of their body formed a Secret Committee, consisting generally of the Chairman, the Deputy Chairman, and some members of the Court of Directors, to whom matters of great and urgent importance were referred. It was provided by the Act of Parliament that in any matters relating to the levying of war, or making peace, or to negotiations with the native princes and states in India, orders might be sent through the Secret Committee. It was evident from the Acts of Parliament that matters relating to the levying of war, or making peace, or other questions of urgent importance, were to be under the control of the Secret Committee. The House might not be aware that the general body of the Court of Directors had no more cognizance of the proceedings of the Secret Committee than they had of subjects under the consideration of Her Majesty's Cabinet. The facts to which he wished to invite the attention of the House were these:—Nearly three years since the East India Company had acquired possession of the province of Scinde and the whole government of that country (not merely its political relations, but its revenue, and the administration of justice) 656 had been under the control of the Secret Committee, the general body of directors having been kept in total ignorance of the manner in which the government of the province was conducted. The Board of Directors were ignorant of the amount of revenue levied in the province, of the expenses of Government, or of the manner in which justice was administered; and they had no more official knowledge of anything relating to the government of Scinde, than they had of the government of any portion of the territories of the Emperor of Russia. He entertained the most profound respect for the military talents of Sir C. Napier. [Cries of "Order."] Well, then, the questions he wished to put to the right hon. Baronet were these:—First, why it had been thought necessary to keep the government of the province of Scinde for so very long a period of time, nearly three years, and, as he thought, in direct opposition to the spirit of the law which established the Secret Committee of the Board of Directors, under the control of that Committee? Secondly, when the right hon. Baronet intended to place that province, with reference to its government, on the same footing with the other provinces constituting the territories of the East India Company? Thirdly, whether the right hon. Baronet would object to lay on the Table of the House all the information he possessed as to the revenue of the province of Scinde, and as to the judicial and financial affairs of that territory which was not of a political nature, and with reference to which secrecy was not absolutely necessary?
§ Sir R. Peel
said, he was not prepared for the last question of the hon. Member, which was not included in the Notice he had given. The general rule was in favour of delivering to the jurisdiction of the Court of Directors, at as early a period as possible, any new territorial district which might be incorporated with the general territories of the East India Company; but in the case of new territories, where a government had been established, it was usual to leave them for a certain period under the exclusive control of the Secret Committee. The province of Scinde had been peculiarly situated; for very recently military operations had been conducted in the country, which had been rendered necessary for the maintenance of order, and which had been completely successful. The government of 657 the province of Scinde had been conducted under the control of the Secret Committee, with the entire concurrence of Her Majesty's Government. The relations to the Punjaub had been such as to connect the necessity of military operations in Scinde with the precautionary measures which it had been deemed necessary to adopt. Those measures had been exclusively of a precautionary nature; and the recent period at which Scinde had come under our dominion was the main reason for the delay in transferring it from the jurisdiction of the Secret Committee to that of the Directors of the East India Company. The hon. Gentlemen might rest assured, that at the earliest period possible, consistent with public interests, that territory would be removed from the control of the Secret Committee to that of the Board of Directors. He believed that financial Papers with reference to Scinde would be laid on the Table at a very early period.
§ Mr. Mangles
said, he did not wish to enter into the question respecting our relations with Scinde and the Punjaub. His desire was, that the House should be put in possession of such information, as to the revenue and the judicial and financial affairs of Scinde, as there could be no necessity for keeping secret.