HL Deb 09 February 1830 vol 22 cc248-64
Lord Ellenborough

said, he rose to move for a Select Committee to inquire into the present state of the affairs of the East-India Company, and into the trade between Great Britain, the East-Indies, and China. He begged in the outset to assure their Lordships that his Majesty's Government were as entirely free from all preconceived opinions or impressions on this subject as Parliament itself; that they approached this important inquiry with minds perfectly unbiassed; that there was no desire to hold back or conceal any thing on their part, but, on the contrary, the utmost anxiety to produce to their Lordships all the information in their possession. There were produced towards the close of the last session of Parliament, a number of documents illustrative of the various details connected with this subject, and he had himself presented this evening to their Lordships additional papers, calculated to throw light upon the state of the finances of India, and of the trade to that country; and if it should appear that further information would be necessary for the elucidation of the subject, or would be required for the satisfaction of their Lordships, it would be most readily afforded by his Majesty's Government. It was the wish of the Government that there should be no concealment. All that was desired by his Majesty's Government was, that Parliament and the country should have every opportunity afforded to form a correct judgment upon this important subject. As the papers presented last Session illustrative of it had now been for some time in their Lordships hands, it would be unnecessary for him to draw their attention more particularly to the results to be arrived at from a careful inspection of these documents, as he was confident that their Lordships had given to them that consideration and attention which they deserved. But for his own part he would say, that it was to him a source of great satisfaction to feel that the printing of the papers now presented, as doubtless had been the case with the publication of the papers that had been presented at the conclusion of the last Session of Parliament, would tend to dissipate the many fallacies and erroneous notions which had been industriously circulated throughout this country on this subject.

What his Majesty's Government desired was, that Parliament and the public should see the whole truth connected with this question, and be accurately informed with regard to it in all its parts and bearings. It was not for their Lordships, informed as they were by acts of the Legislature, and through the medium of the parliamentary accounts annually presented illustrative of the financial affairs of India, and of the general working of the government there—it was not so much for the satisfaction of their Lordships, who possessed so much information on the subject, that the production of these papers was required, as for the purpose of dissipating the fallacy which had arisen out of doors, and which had been most industriously propagated in this country; viz., that the territorial finances of India derived no benefit from the commercial funds or profits of the Company. Now, so far from that being the case, it would appear from the documents laid before Parliament, that during the course of the sixteen years which had now elapsed since the renewal of the Company's Charter, in point of fact the territorial finances of India had appropriated to themselves, either directly or indirectly, as large a sum of the commercial profits of the Company as had been appropriated to the payment of dividends to the proprietors of East-India stock, and in fact, since the renewal of the Charter, the profits derivable from the monopoly of the China trade enjoyed by the Company had been devoted more to the purposes and benefits of the finances of India than to any benefit accruing to the Company themselves from such monopoly.

Their Lordships would allow him to refer them to the papers laid on their table last Session, from which they would perceive, that the quantity of tea consumed in this country had been greatly increased. In point of fact, the Company had, since the last renewal of the Charter, greatly in- creased the quantity of tea consumed in this country, so much so, that under the present Charter, the consumption of tea in this country was equal to that of the whole Continent of Europe, exclusive of Russia. Already there were 5,000,000 pounds of tea sold to the people of this country, and at a cost considerably under that of the smaller quantity which had been formerly disposed of here. Their Lordships were aware, that previous to the presentation of the papers last Session, information had been obtained from his Majesty's consuls in the different parts of the Continent of Europe, and also in America, as to the prices of the several sorts of teas disposed of and consumed in the respective places where they were stationed. It was evident, however, that these statements of prices afforded no clear view as to the real proportion between the price of English teas and foreign teas, in quality and quantity. In order, therefore, to afford Parliament and the country the fullest means of arriving at a correct judgment as to the proportion, with regard to price, between English teas and teas consumed on the Continent, in quantity and quality, directions were transmitted to his Majesty's consuls abroad to procure a quantity of teas of all descriptions most in use on the Continent, with their respective prices in the principal continental marts. These samples of teas from various quarters had since been procured, and would be ready for the inspection of Parliament, together with the several accounts and details respecting them. It was obvious, then, from what he had stated, that every precaution had been taken by his Majesty's Government against unfair dealing in their investigations, and that everything had been done to prevent the existence of the slightest suspicion that, in instituting this inquiry, his Majesty's Government were actuated by any other motive but the most earnest desire and anxiety that every information should be given to Parliament, and every means afforded to them and the public to obtain the fullest and clearest view of all the real facts regarding the Company's monopoly, and the state of affairs in India.

It would be a matter of great satisfaction to him if, upon this occasion, he were able to inform the House that the finances of India were at present in a favourable state. Such undoubtedly was not the case but then when their Lordships considered the expensive conquests which had been made in India within a recent period by the East-India Company, they would not be surprised at perceiving that a falling-off was exhibited in the finance accounts. It was further to be borne in mind, that those countries which had been recently annexed to their dominions, though much larger in extent, were more scanty in population, and much poorer, than the countries they previously possessed, Taking these circumstances into consideration, their Lordships would not be surprised at the falling-off, as great expense was incurred in the maintenance of those possessions, while the ancient possessions of the country were richer and more manageable. Allowing a great deal for these facts, he was still willing to admit that there was much to blame in the management of these matters in India; and no persons, he could assure their Lordships, were more feelingly alive to that circumstance than the Directors of the East-India Company themsleves. It was impossible for any government in this or any other country to issue stronger orders than had been issued for the reduction or expenditure in every department of the state in India. That it was most desirable to effect an economical reform in every department of the state, was equally felt by the government of India, and by the noble Lord at the head of Administration in that country (Lord W. Bentinck); and no individual could apply himself with greater zeal and firmness than that noble Lord had already done to effect an object which was not more his own than it was that of the Government under which he acted. At the same time he could not hold out to the House the prospect of more than a gradual and moderate increase in the revenue of the East-India Company. Above all, he should deprecate making an increase in it by the laying on of additional charges upon the internal or external trade. [hear] It was only by diminishing the expense of collecting the revenue, by the introduction of an improved mode of collection, and by effecting all the reductions which could be made without injury to the civil or military departments of the government, that an increase in the revenue ought to be effected. Amongst the means of reducing the expenditure, was the very desirable one of reducing gradually the number of persons from Europe employed in establishments in India, and of bringing for- ward, gradually however, and with extreme caution, the most deserving amongst the natives, by employing them in situations of higher authority and trust than they had hitherto been accustomed to fill. [hear] If those measures should be pursued firmly, but with extreme caution, always regarding the interest and habits and feelings of the individuals in question, he confidently looked forward to an amelioration of the revenue of India, and he should be most gratified indeed, if next Session it should be in his power to announce to their Lordships that his anticipation had been confirmed and realized. Since the Company's last Charter had been granted, great alterations were effected by Parliament in the regulations which governed the trade between India and this country; and since the duties on imports into India had been so greatly reduced by the Committee appointed, in consequence of the motion of a noble Marquis opposite (the Marquis of Lansdowne), he would have their Lordships bear in mind, that no restrictions at the present moment existed upon the commercial intercourse of Great Britain with India, except such as, in his opinion, must be considered necessary, not for the interests of the East-India Company, but for the preservation of the connection between India and this country; and he could assure their Lordships, that since that period the East-India Company had afforded all the aid in their power to increase the facilities given to the external and internal trade of India. The duties upon various British manufactures, which formerly were 10 percent, had been reduced upon woollens and other articles to 5 per cent, and the duties upon cotton manufactures had been reduced from 7½ to 3½ per cent. At the same time the export duty of 5 per cent upon indigo had been taken off, and the export duty upon cotton had been also removed. He could therefore assure their Lordships that the attention of the Government was directed with the greatest earnestness to afford every additional facility to trade in that country, and amongst the means contemplated for increasing the revenue, in addition to the intended reductions, the first, and one of the most important, would be, the removal of restrictions as far as the removal was practicable upon the internal trade of that colony. In considering this subject, and in reviewing the papers which had been laid upon their table, he felt assured that their Lordships would see that the first and most important question for Parliament to decide was, first, whether it would be possible to conduct the government of India, directly or indirectly, without the assistance of the Company; and the second question was, whether that assistance should be afforded in the manner in which it had been hitherto afforded, or in some other way. He was satisfied that it would be unnecessary for him to enter into the details connected with this subject, for he was fully confident that their Lordships would consider minutely all the details which related to it; that they would make themselves acquainted with it in all its bearings; that they would approach its consideration with unbiased minds, and with deliberate caution; and above all things he trusted that there would be no disposition on the part of their Lordships to sacrifice to the seemingly present advantage of any portion of the population of this country, the happiness of that people whose interest should be as dear to their Lordships, and whose appeal to their justice and their generosity was so strong,—he meant the people of India. The noble Lord concluded with moving—"That a Select Committee be appointed to inquire into the present state of the affairs of the East-India Company, and into the trade between Great Britain, the East Indies, and China."

The Marquis of Lansdowne

said, it was not his intention to offer any opposition to the motion, but he was, on the contrary, anxious to express his gratification, that so early an opportunity had been taken for the appointment of the Committee. At the same time he was sorry that the course which he had recommended last Session, in reference to this important subject, had not been adopted. He then recommended his Majesty's Government to adopt the plan which was pursued on a former occasion, when the affairs of the East-India Company were before Parliament, on the last consideration of their Charter,—namely, that his Majesty's Government, who, of course. possessed the fullest and most correct information with respect to the affairs of India, and who must particularly of late years have had their attention peculiarly directed to that subject, should in the first instance bring forward their views in some tangible shape; the subject would afterwards be discussed in the course of inquiry which Parliament would not fail to institute, and doubtless it would be treated in the same spirit of candour by his Majesty's Government as that with which the noble Lord proposed to enter upon the present inquiry. Though the noble Lord had not adopted that course, he conceived, from what had fallen from the noble Lord, that upon many points of this important subject his opinions and views had been already in a great degree formed. As it was determined, however, that the intentions of Government should remain for the present unknown, he was the more resolved as an individual Member of Parliament, to apply himself to this subject, and to devote to it his earnest and peculiar attention. Their Lordships were called upon to discharge a most momentous and important duty;— they were called upon to decide in reference to measures affecting the happiness of millions who had never been seen by them, and had never seen them, and yet who were under their legislative control,—millions who though placed beyond their ken, yet by fortune had been placed within their power; and under such circumstances he trusted that their Lordships would approach the question with minds perfectly unbiassed—uninfluenced either by any previous speculations which it had called forth in this inquiring country on the one hand, or by any attention to existing interests on the other, whether deeply seated or long formed, and their sole object should be the happiness of the people of India. He would repeat, that he trusted noble Lords would remember that their sole aim and object should be the happiness of the people of India; and their earnest endeavours should be devoted to provide that mode of connection which was best calculated to promote their happiness, and to increase the wealth, and prosperity of this country in its relations with India. They should adopt measures to raise the character of the people of India, by giving to them benefits of which they, up to the present time, knew nothing, and they should instil into their minds an adequate sense of the advantages of law and government, of which past history and past circumstances, for which the Government of this country had much to answer, had hitherto precluded their acquisition. [hear] If such measures were not adopted, and such improvements carried into effect, the House would only continue to hear from the noble Lord and his successors the confession which he had made to-night of the inability of India to provide for its own government, and that country which if well managed, might be a support and an advantage to this Empire, would still continue as it had been a drain and drawback upon our resources. [hear]

Lord Durham

said, he fully agreed in the importance of this question, and concurred in what had fallen from his noble friend who had just sat down. He should not have thought it necessary to trespass upon this occasion upon the attention of the House were it not that he was anxious to afford to the noble Lord opposite (Ellenborough) an opportunity to give to the House and the country, an explanation regarding a document which had not only been circulated in the country, but which had been made the subject of animadversion in the other House of Parliament. The document to which he alluded had affixed to it the signature of the noble Lord, it was addressed to a functionary in India, and contained sentiments certainly of an extraordinary nature. He trusted the noble Lord would be enabled to deny its authenticity; and he now, therefore, called upon the noble Lord to state whether or not the letter addressed to Sir J. Malcolm, as printed in the public papers* was his production, or not?

Lord Ellenborough

said, he was anxious to allude, in the first instance, to what had fallen from the noble Marquis (Lansdowne). He fully concurred with the noble Marquis, as to the great importance of the question which was now about to be brought under the consideration of Parliament, and it was upon account of its importance that it had been thought fit that Parliament should apply itself to the investigation of the subject before any determinate course should be adopted by his Majesty's Ministers in respect to it. He could not help thinking that such a mode of previous inquiry was the best way of arriving at a just conclusion both on the part of Parliament and his Majesty's Ministers. He could assure the noble Marquis, that for his own part he was anxious to obtain fuller information on the subject before he came to a decision upon it, and that could only be accomplished by means of the proposed mode of inquiry. With regard to the question asked by the * For this letter, see the report of Mr. J. Rice's Inquiry in the Commons on the preceding Friday. noble Baron, he could only say, that of the letter which appeared in the papers purporting to be addressed by him to Sir John Malcolm, he had kept no copy; and, in fact, that when he first heard of the publication in question, he had no recollection of such a letter at all. He had since read the letter, and he had no reason to doubt that it was substantially correct. At the same time he had to state that versions of the same letter had been published, both in India and in this country, and that they differed in several material points, and in one particularly, of an important character. He could assure the noble Lord, that had he communicated in confidence with Sir John Malcolm, an officer acting with him in the government of India, having before him the official documents which he then had before him, he would never have given expression to any other sentiments than those expressed in the letter; nor if under such circumstances he had adopted any other course than that which he then advised his Majesty to pursue—namely, to appoint Sir J. Dewar and Sir W. Seymour as judges in the Supreme Court of Bombay,—he felt that he should have deserted his public duty, and rendered himself unworthy of the confidence which his Majesty had placed in him.

Lord Durham

said, it appeared, that the noble Lord substantially avowed the sentiments contained in the letter alluded to. He was not certainly prepared for such an acknowledgment, and he was sure the House and the country would participate in the sincere regret which he experienced at an avowal of such sentiments being entertained in such a quarter. It was the more to be regretted, as the feeling prevailed throughout the country, and was particularly impressed upon the minds of persons who interested themselves in the affairs of India, that in this letter one of the Ministers of the Crown, to whose charge was intrusted the government of India, had expressed sentiments unfavourable to the independence of the Judges in that country. It was a matter of sincere regret that such an impression should go forth in India. He would not enter further upon the consideration of that letter now, as he understood that the noble Lord was not prepared for the discussion of it at present. It was to be regretted that the rest of his Majesty's Government had not disavowed the sentiments in that letter—sentiments which had excited general alarm amongst the people of India for the independence of their Judges. He was not prepared now to submit a motion on the subject, and he did not exactly know when he should do so. He had felt it his duty to make this inquiry, and he must repeat his regret that the letter could not be disavowed.

The Duke of Wellington

said, his noble friend had stated that the letter was in substance the letter which he had written to Sir J. Malcolm, but though his noble friend had bound himself to the terms of the letter, he was not at all bound to it, as understood by the interpretation which others thought proper to affix. For his part, he did not see a word in the letter directly derogatory to the independence of the Judges in the east. It was stated in the letter, that a certain Judge in the East Indies had not conducted himself with discretion, and if his noble friend had known at the time of writing that letter the decision of the Privy Council (the highest authority in this country) on the subject, he would not have altered the expression; for the Privy Council decided that he had not conducted himself according to law. His noble friend had said in this private letter, which had in some manner found its way to the public, that the law of the learned Judge in question was considered bad law, and bad law it was afterwards decided to be by the Privy Council, and it was held that the Judge had no power to act as as he had done, and that his acting so had been indiscreet. His noble friend in his letter went on to say that two new Judges had been appointed who would restrain the other Judge should he happen to be indiscreet. [a laugh, and hear] Surely that would not be described as an attack upon the independence of the Judges. He was sure that noble Lords would see that there was not a word in the letter which could bear such an interpretation. The noble Lord had stated further in the letter, his opinion that the learned Judge should be recalled, and the Privy Council had since recommended to his Majesty that that learned person should be recalled, to answer for his conduct in this very transaction. With respect to the letter being a private one, he would say this—that if the noble Lord had described his noble friend as writing a private letter respecting a transaction of this description, he might blame him for that, and he would not defend him on that point; but if per- sons corresponding in private letters with individuals on foreign stations were to have every sentiment which they expressed, and every thing which they recommended, made the subject of public animadversion and parliamentary inquiry, of censure, or of ridicule, no business could be done at all; and he would say that his noble friend had been hardly dealt with.

Lord Durham

.—I have stated that it is the general opinion that the sentiments expressed in the letter indicated a disposition on the part of the writer to attack the independence of the Judges. I must confess that I entertained the sentiments which I have already named, relating to the appointment of the Judges, and that I am confirmed in those sentiments by what has occurred out of the House. Perhaps the noble Duke has not read the letter?

The Duke of Wellington

.—Yes, I have.

Lord Durham

.—Then what is the first fact contained in the letter? The Judge here spoken of is said "to have right notions of his duty, and of the law, which has been so strangely misrepresented; and that he will rather support Government"—

The Duke of Wellington

.—Read on.

Lord Durham (smiling)

—Not the whole of the letter.

Lord Ellenborough

—No, but the whole of the sentiment.

Lord Durham

—The noble Lord may, if he pleases, read the whole of the letter. The sentence is this:—"He (Sir William Seymour) will rather support Government than use the authority of the Supreme Court as a means of raising opposition." [Hear, from the Ministerial benches]—Then, in a subsequent passage, Sir J. Grant is spoken of as not likely to cause any more mischief, "as he will be led (observes the letter), like a wild elephant between two tame ones." This passage has been made the subject of ridicule, in which I do not myself concur; but I do think the President of the Board of Control ought not to have written such a letter as the one under discussion. If the sentiments contained in it were acted up to, a blow would be given to the independence of the Judges. The advice in that letter is, that the Governor should be placed in authority over the Judges—a circumstance not so ungenial to the feelings as to the law respecting the appointment of Judges in this country.

Lord Melville

said, he entertained opi- nions entirely in conformity with those expressed by the noble Duke, with regard to the letter in question. He would take the liberty of saying that a great deal of flippancy had been used on the subject of the letter, but not by the noble Baron who wrote it. A great deal of misconception existed with respect to the situation of Judges in the colonies, by comparing them to the Judges of this country. But what was the fact? The Judges were learned persons, who sometimes conceived that their Courts possessed a power which must be executed, and if not executed by others, that they must put their decrees in force. The Governor of Bombay had said on such an occasion. "You are wrong, you have no jurisdiction—you must not, and ought not, to execute your decrees." The Judge, however, persisted; the Governor resisted; he was justified in opposing the Judge's decrees; and he was told that he was wrong. He entertained an opinion totally different from some he had heard, and the authority he quoted for his opinion was that of Parliament itself. What happened with respect to the Courts of India fifty years before? The Supreme Court at Bengal then entertained a notion of its power, which it carried to a greater length than Sir J. P. Grant had done, and it employed a large number of persons to enforce its decrees, by which it caused the greatest confusion. What did the Government do? It sent a military officer to oppose the Judge's forces; and when the Governor was informed that this officer was not sufficient, he sent an additional force. What did the Parliament do? It supported the Governor, and very nearly impeached the Chief Justice. It passed an act, which is now on the Statute-book, enacting that the Governors of colonies must be supported; and by the first clause, it exempted the Governor General of India, and the Governor of Bombay and Madras, from the authority of the Supreme Court. It enacted, too, that if the acts of the Government were challenged by the Supreme Court, it should be sufficient to plead the order of the Governor as a bar to all proceeding. It further indemnified the Governors for resisting the Judges. It was very well to talk about the independence of the Judges in India, but it was not an independence in truth. They must have that sort of discretion not to put the country into danger, by exercising the power which belonged to their Courts. The case which lately occurred at Bombay was similar to what occurred at Bengal fifty years ago. The Judge had directed a habeas corpus to issue concerning a Zemindar of influence and property, and holding a high office, which the Government stopped. A complaint was made that the Judge had misunderstood the law. He did not blame the Judge for acting on his own opinion of the law;—in that he did right. But what did he do to support his decrees? The Governor did that which he had a right to do; and the Judge thereupon shut up his court, and denied all the people justice. The case had hardly been described fairly; it was not only necessary, as his noble friend said, that the Judges should be of discreet minds, they must also be full of integrity, and learned in the law; but above all it was requisite that they should possess sound discretion. It had happened to him more than once to have to advise His Majesty to recall a Judge from India. He had not the slightest doubt that on such occasions he had expressed himself in a manner similar to the sentiments of his noble friend. There was not a year passed that there were not confidential communications between the Governors and the Judges; and the Judges had a right to give an opinion, and caution the Governors when they were likely to do any thing wrong. If any doubt arose about the power of the Governor, it was customary to caution him not to come into contact with the law. There was a confidential intercourse between the Judge and the Governor, and the Judge cautioned the Governor to keep out of his court; and if the Governor found it necessary, an application was made to Parliament to provide a remedy.

He must contend that the Judges of this country must not show their independence when they went to India; they must be careful not to commit the Governor; they, in the sense in which that term is understood in this country, must not set up their own notions of law; the Judge must agree with what the authority of the Governor declares wrong. If the Judges set up their own authority, it was impossible to say what was the extent of their jurisdiction, or whom they might not make subject to it. Disputes might be referred home, but the Judge could not. be suffered to shut up his court. The conduct of Sir J. P. Grant was. in his opinion, extremely blameable, and so thought the Privy Council. Finally, if any person conceived that the independence of Judges in India stood upon the same footing as the independence of Judges in this country, it was altogether a mistake; and for asserting that such an opinion was erroneous, he had much higher authority than any he had hitherto heard quoted against it.

Lord Holland

said, when the noble Viscount opposite (Melville) rose, he was afraid that that noble Lord was about to read his noble friend (Lord Ellenborough) a severe lecture upon the style and tenor of the letter in question, seeing that the noble Viscount at the outset deprecated any flippancy upon a subject so grave and important; but instead of so turning round upon his friend, the noble Viscount had pursued a course altogether the reverse, and endeavoured to bear out the noble writer of that letter in the assertion that the question of law was one of comparative insignificance. That was the very sentiment of the letter, upon which those who objected to it might lay no inconsiderable stress. The noble Lord, in his letter, declared that the question of law was one of comparative insignificance, and that what he chiefly objected to was the tone and temper of the Judges—the tenor of the language which they delivered from the bench—the law was quite a secondary matter. However, it was scarcely fair to come to any conclusion upon matters turning upon the mere language of the letter, as the noble Lord had not thought proper to inform the House what parts of the letter were authentic, and what were not so; but thus much he (Lord Holland) could not help saying, that the effect of the letter had been to produce a considerable sensation in that country, and it was calculated to produce a considerable sensation here, that any member of His Majesty's Government should be found writing to a public functionary in India that errors in matters of law were comparatively of little importance, and that the speeches from the Judges on the bench—the tone and temper of those speeches—constituted the whole ground of offence. That it was much worse to touch the supreme Government than to be guilty of illegal proceedings. [hear, hear]

But after all, the real question was, what impression such a letter was calculated to make upon the public mind here and in India? He knew that in this country at least an impression was created, that in the appointment of the new Judges an improper bias and sway had been permitted to operate in the recommendation of the individuals appointed. He begged most unfeignedly to assure their Lordships, that he felt much dislike to the discussion of such topics, and no man could doubt that it would be infinitely move pleasure-able even to have been the writer of that letter than the person by whom it was made public; but with observations on that subject he would not trouble their Lordships; he would merely state as matter of fact, that an opinion prevailed in England that it was subserviency, and not knowledge and integrity, which recommended to favour the two appointments in question. That was his opinion; and unless he was very much misinformed, it was likely to be the opinion in India, and it was one likely to be productive of serious ill consequences—unless, indeed, the noble Lord could prove it to be without foundation. He (Lord, Holland) was perfectly willing to allow for the privacy of the communication; but he could not forget that it was a letter from one public officer to another, and it had been written by the noble Lord opposite, and its contents had transpired; and if they were at all such as had been described, he could not doubt that the effects of it would be unfortunate both for England and for India. [hear]

Lord Ellenborough

said, he should have thought himself almost the last person in this country who could have been considered as wishing to trench on the independence of Judges. He had too strong a recollection of the qualities that distinguished his noble and learned Father in the administration of law, not to respect and maintain the independence of the Judge: and had he entertained the slightest idea of destroying, injuring, or weakening the independence of Judges in India, he should have deserved the reprobation which the noble Baron had been pleased to cast on him. He did not, however, oppose himself to the independence of Judges, yet he would resist their usurpation of powers not given them, but expressly taken away from them, by law—powers, which if the official information he had received were to be relied upon, or that which he had obtained from persons well acquainted with the state of affairs in India, could not be exercised by the Judges there with- out danger to the tranquillity of the country, and to the stability of the Government. And therefore it was that he said that the errors in law were nothing compared to the language, which, from the sacred elevation of the bench, and clothed with royal authority, they had been pleased to direct against the Government of India, which, unless it were maintained in integrity and unquestioned authority, their Lordships could not preserve. The power of this country in India depended on opinion, [hear] and would not bear the collision of the Supreme Court and the Presidencies of that country. He spoke not of his own knowledge of that country but what he had derived from conversation with persons best acquainted with it, and from official documents; and he again declared, that the sentiments contained in the letter which had been alluded to were commanded by his public duty.

With respect to the individuals appointed to succeed the judges, it was his firm belief that fitter men could not have been found to fill those situations, and discharge, in the spirit of the Act of Parliament, the duties confided to them. When he read the official papers on the question at issue between the Supreme Court and the Government of India, he was struck by the knowledge of law displayed by Sir James Dewar, but much more by his discretion; and it occurred to him that if that gentleman should appear fit in other respects to be placed in the situation of Chief Justice, it would be an advantageous nomination. He had made inquiries as to the character of Sir James Dewar in this country for legal knowledge, and the result was most satisfactory; and he therefore recommended to his Majesty to appoint that gentleman Chief Justice in India. With respect to the other gentleman, there was nothing stated in the letter which he was not ready to maintain. That gentleman had the confidence of a noble and learned friend of his (Lord Ellenborough's) and of another right hon. gentleman, whose opinion was of the greatest value. He had moreover, made private inquiries with respect to his character, and more especially with respect to the possession of that discretion and gentleman like conduct, which he felt to be essential to the due discharge of the duties of a judge. He had had an interview with the learned gentleman, who read a passage from a work by Sir William Jones, in which the duties of a judge were described, and said, that he should endeavour to act according to the rules there laid down. Now, if that gentleman made as good a judge as Sir William Jones wished a judge to be, their lordships, and the Indian community, he thought, would be satisfied. He had only again to repeat, that nothing was farther from his wish than to trench on the independence of judges; but as long as he remained in the situation he now held, it was his duty to uphold and protect the local Government of India, more especially as it was composed of men who, at a great distance from this country, take on themselves, in the faithful discharge of their public duty, a great and fearful responsibility, acting, at much personal risk to themselves, to support the stability of the British power, and of the great interests committed to their charge.

Motion for the Committee put and agreed to; and the Lords following were named of the Committee: Lord President; Lord Privy Seal; Duke of Wellington; Duke of Buckingham and Chandos. Marquis of Lansdowne; Marquis of Salisbury; Marquis of Camden; Marquis of Cleveland; E. De Lawarr; E. Amherst; Viscount Strathallan; Viscount Melville; Viscount Sidmouth; Viscount Goderich; Lord Auckland; Lord Calthorpe; Lord Fitz Gibbon; Lord Ellenborough; Lord Bexley; Lord Wharncliffe; Lord Durham; Lord Wallace.

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