HL Deb 05 August 1833 vol 20 cc308-24

The Marquess of Lansdown moved the Order of the Day for going into Committee on this Bill. He should reserve his statement until the noble Baron (Ellenborough) had brought forward his views.

Lord Ellenborough

proceeded to state his reasons for wishing to postpone the consideration of certain parts of the Bill to next Session. He should first call the attention of the noble Earl (Grey) opposite, to a speech uttered by him on the 18th day of June, 1818, in which the noble Earl 'urged the impropriety of going into the discussion of this question at so late a period of the Session, without the requisite information before them, and without the possibility of giving the question that due consideration which its great importance demanded. Were his noble friend, the noble Earl said, instead of asking the delay of a few days, to desire the postponement of the question altogether till the next Session, such a Motion should have his decided support, conceiving that it could not, at this period of the year, meet with adequate deliberation or due consideration.'* The measure which the noble Earl then objected to proceeding with, effected certainly some alterations in the trade to India, but in other respects it left the Charter much the same as before; whereas the alterations in the present Bill were of almost infinite importance, and required great consideration. The great subject-matter of the last Bill, too, had been preliminarily fully investigated and inquired into by a Committee of the House of Commons from 1809; whereas the present Bill, as far as related to the government of India came under their Lordships' consideration but very recently, and without any such examination; for, until the Bill was introduced, no persons but those connected with the Government were aware of its objects and provisions. What he desired, therefore, was the postponement of the clauses making important alterations in the administration of government in India, to the next Session, in order to give an opportunity of examining and obtaining the opinions of those persons most conversant with that subject, and most qualified to give an opinion on the proposed changes. It was true that, in the course of the inquiry which had taken place, some general questions on the subject had been asked; but there was a vast difference between general questions on a general subject, and specific questions on a specific plan. He had on a former occasion endeavoured to show, that there would be an increased charge on the revenues of India, in consequence of the plan of his Majesty's Government, of 400,000l. per annum. Taking the evidence between the calculations of the Board of Control and of the Court of Directors, there was at present a prospective deficit of 570,000l., which, added to the 400,000l., constituted a deficit of 970,000l. He admitted that the civil expenditure of India might be put upon the same footing as in 1823, and that, consequently, there might be a saving in the * Hansard, xxvi., p. 711. expenditure of 650,000l. a-year. This would still leave a considerable deficit. There would probably, however, be some increase in the revenues of India, perhaps to the extent of 100,000l. a-year; still, if he were correct, it might be found, even allowing largely for the expected improvement, that it would be at least four or five years before the revenue of India was equal to its expenditure. There was nothing which would be more advantageous to the people of India than a reduction of the expenditure of the government. That was not his opinion only—it was the opinion of some of the greatest men who had been in India. Sir Thomas Munro, the highest authority on Indian affairs, said:—'I have, in the course of this Minute, urged again and again the expediency of lowering our land revenue, and of establishing a mode rate and fixed assessment; because I am satisfied that this measure alone would be much more effectual than all other measures combined, in promoting the improvement both of the country and the people.' By the plan of Ministers, however, they would postpone for four or five years that reduction of taxation which Sir Thomas Munro considered to be essential to improve the condition of the people. Any surplus revenue which might arise from not reducing taxation, might be advantageously laid out in public works. There was no country in which the public money might be laid out to more advantage than in India, in forming tanks and canals. There was none, perhaps, in which less had been done in India, than by the English Government. If we were to be expelled from that country to-morrow, we should leave few traces of anything beneficial done by the Government for the people. Something of that kind ought to be done. All previous sovereigns had done something, and on this point the government of England was much inferior to the government of the Moguls. In connexion with the new charges to be thrown on the government of India, he could not but advert to the forcible and speedy termination of the Company's trade. In this particular the plan of the present Ministers differed from that which would have been adopted, he believed, had the late Government remained in office. For the sudden suppression of the trade now proposed he saw no good cause. It took place, too, at a time when there was no money at Calcutta, and no commercial credit. There were now no means to carry on commercial transactions—no means of obtaining any remittances, and even those articles were not sent from India which were essential to the completion of many of the manufactures of our own country. The Company had been advised immediately to discontinue their trade, and they were acting on that advice. Their indigo plantations were offered for sale; their cotton was to be sold in India; the goods they had prepared for the China market were to be sold here; their shipping was rendered useless, and was probably unfit for any other employment; their magnificent docks and warehouses were no longer to be employed; and thousands of persons who depended on the Company for their subsistence in the metropolis would be thrown out of work and out of bread. Why should this be? Why should no efforts be made to soften the blow it was necessary to inflict? The result of this mode of treating the subject would be, that full two-thirds of the trade of India would be transferred from London to the out-ports. The trade from India was valued at 6,000,000l. sterling per year, and 4,000,000l. of this would be immediately lost to London. Why should this be done so suddenly and unexpectedly? He said unexpectedly, for the great majority of the persons connected with the trade did not think a year ago that it would be done, and by the sudden application of this measure a crisis had been unnecessarily forced upon the country. The Ministers seemed to think that a government could not carry on trade, and to that they had sacrificed the India Company. But, however true that might be in general, it was not true as applied to this Company. It had for a long time carried on trade without injury to its subjects, and in carrying on trade it had not neglected the affairs of government. After the destruction of trade, too, in what way, he wished to ask, was the government to make remittances? It would have to go into market with its rupees, and give a price for bills which would cover all the expense of sending goods to England, thus forcing the market to meet those bills. Such a necessity would be much to the disadvantage of the Company, and would be very injurious to the proper course of trade. Remittances could, in fact, only then be made by a sort of bribery on the part of the Company, to create an export trade. However much he agreed with the political economists in thinking that the production of wealth was of great importance, he could not think it right to disregard the sufferings of individuals, or the amount of injury which might be immediately inflicted by a measure, that was ultimately to promote the national greatness. It was consistent with sound and just policy, and most expedient, never to make any great change in trade suddenly, and not to injure individuals who had engaged in occupations, and embarked their capital in business, upon the faith that Parliament would not suddenly change the whole system of trade. Turning aside, however, from the subject, he must draw the serious attention of their Lordships to the great alterations which it was proposed to make in the constitutional government of India. Why were these alterations proposed? The present form of government had existed for more than half a century. Did the Ministers, then, imagine that it was formed by men who had no skill in the management of affairs, and that it might, therefore, be destroyed whenever its destruction was recommended by a modern theory? The existing system was the offspring of men of great genius, of profound experience, and of much practical wisdom; of men who stood in their day in the first rank of practical statesmen. Not to disparage the present Ministers, he thought they might, without humbling themselves, pay some deference to the opinion of Mr. Pitt, and of the first Lord Melville. It was they who framed this system. It had undergone few alterations since. It was formed at a period when the attention of all the clever men in the country was directed to Indian affairs. It had now stood the experience of half a century—and half a century, not of peaceful times, but of times of danger and of war—of danger the most imminent, and of war the most extensive—and it had gone through all these dangers increasing in firmness and power. After having stood the shock of wars, and proved adequate to a great crisis, why was it proposed to alter this in time of peace, and to to strengthen the government—when, according to all experience, the business of government was one of comparative ease? It was unfortunate, but, at the same time, he believed, it would be the necessary effect of altering the China trade, that the influence of the Company in this country would be diminished. He regretted that, because it would have the effect of deteriorating the constituency of the Directors, and ultimately of deteriorating the representatives. The diminished influence of the body of Directors in this country which would be the consequence, would make the Company less efficient as the instrument of government in India. That effect was taking place, in conjunction with others. The Government seemed desirous of disparaging the Company, even while it was willing to retain it as the instrument of governing India. What, for example, could induce the Government to take from the Company the control of those, by whom it would have to carry on the government of India? The Bill removed from the Court of Directors the control of Haileybury College, which disparaged the Court of Directors. What had the Company done, too, that they were no longer to be intrusted with their own property? He saw no reason for this, though he saw what he believed was its object. There was a part of the measure which compelled the Board of Directors to submit their estimates to the Board of Control, and which consequently allowed the Board of Control to fix the sum for the payment of all the officers employed by the Company. The clause of the Bill allowing this was not exactly so worded, but its practical effect would be, to place narrow limits on the power of the Company, and to remove all limitations from the Board of Control; and the consequence of that would be, to place in the hands of the latter Board the whole government of India. At present the real limit to the power of the Board of Control was, the impossibility of extending its establishment. That, however, could now be done, and he had no doubt it would take the initiative in all measures. It would become a Board of Control, antecedent to the acts of the India Company; not, as hitherto, a Board only controlling the decisions of the Company, subsequent to the adoption of them. The practical effect, he contended, of this part of the Bill, would he to alter all the relations between the Board of Control and the Board of Directors; and the former would obtain a complete command over the latter. Let them next look at the effects of the alterations proposed in the government of India. It was proposed to take away from the subordinate Presidencies all control over the expenditure, to take away from them all power to increase salaries, or create places, or perform any one legislative act. The Bill, then, was taking power from the subordinate officers to give it to the Governor-General. He must condemn this part of the plan, and contend, that the consequence would be, that no men of high and independent character would be induced to accept the subordinate Presidencies, which would have to be filled by the civil servants of the Government, advanced by the principle of rotation. That would, he contended, weaken, not strengthen, the government of India. It was to him awful to think how much at present depended on the character of the one man who was Governor General; but if he should be, he would not say deficient of those great qualities which he ought to possess, but not possessing them in a remarkable degree, the Governor General might now fall back on the subordinate Presidents, and find counsel in their resources and talents. He could mention cases in which the abilities of the Governor General had found remarkable assistance from the support of his subordinate officers. But that could not be hereafter the case, when, as he stated, men of high character would no longer accept those offices. He understood that it was the intention of Government to abandon the plan of removing the Councils from Madras and Bombay; but he wished that the provision had not been introduced into the Bill, because it tended unnecessarily to disturb that which had been established for more than half a century. But, if they meant to continue these councils, why had the Government established a Presidency without a Council at Agra? The reason, he believed, why these councils were so very advantageous was, they recorded at the time the reasons which determined them to adopt any line of conduct, and those reasons were very instructive to the Government at home. Another alteration of importance, which he viewed with apprehension, was, the intention to establish one uniform legislation which should apply to all the King's subjects in India, Europeans as well as natives. It was impossible that any system of law could be drawn up which ought to be applied equally to persons so different in habits and circumstances as the Europeans and natives. The noble Baron, in support of this view, quoted the opinion of Sir Thomas Munro to show, in particular, that the Ryots required a law for themselves. "It was as impossible," Sir Thomas said, "to adapt our institutions to India, as to transfuse into a corpse the animation of the living being. It was impossible to make one set of laws for people so different." The noble Baron next referred to that part of the Bill, which granted permission to Europeans to settle in India; and contended, that the power given to the Governor General to make what laws he pleased, placed in his hand the power to remove whom he pleased, while the settlers were mocked with the promise of not being subject to deportation. Under such enactments, no persons would go to India but mere adventurers, and they would settle in the lower provinces, where the timidity of the natives would invite them to commit acts of oppression. He objected also to the power given to the Governor General to make laws for all things, even for the regulation of the Supreme Court, which, he contended, ought to be reserved to the Parliament itself. Investing that Court with all the majesty of the sovereign authority had a great effect in preventing crimes. The Governor General Was to have the power of abrogating the statute law and the common law, with the exception only, that he could make no laws to set the subjects free from their allegiance to the King. Such power was not necessary even for the purposes of the Bill, and was hostile to the good government of India. The Governor General was already overwhelmed with details, and more were now to be added, He was already overburdened, and an addition was to be made to his cares of governing 20,000,000 more people; being as many as lived in the whole Peninsula, or in the two kingdoms of Spain and Portugal united. He objected to the plan of admitting both natives and half-castes to offices, because, in his opinion, the latter, by dint of their connexion and superior education, would attain all the offices, while, to the natives, therefore, the permission would only be a mockery and a delusion. This would be very unfortunate, because the natives had a profound contempt for the half-castes, and he was disposed to believe that they were not as trustworthy as the natives. He objected also to the clause of the Bill which declared, that slavery should be abolished in India, and expressed his astonishment, that such a proposition should ever have entered the head of any statesman. He warned the Ministers that at present there was a crisis in the fate of India. It had hitherto been well governed and the dominion of England preserved, because every person connected with the Government was animated with the greatest zeal, but at present all the servants of the Government were filled with despondency, because the Government was uncertain, and they had not the slightest chance or hope of promotion. He conceived that the tendency of the Bill was, to defeat every object which ought to be kept in view. He had contemplated some plans for the improvement of the government of India, one of which consisted in improving the education of all the governing classes, and increasing their zeal by making them all pass through the army. That view had been supported by all those to whom he had mentioned it. He believed it would have the great advantage of making promotion very rapid—of stimulating all with hope, and of allowing the Governor General always to select men of the greatest energy for the places of most difficulty. He had been prepared too, to propose an improvement in the constitution of Haileybury, and to bring forward a plan for accelerating the correspondence. He had taken measures to accelerate that when he was at the head of the Board of Control, and to assimilate the manner of conducting it to that on which the correspondence of the Home-office was conducted. It had been his intention, had he remained in office, to have established a regular communication with India, by steam; for he was convinced then, as now, that unless our subjects in that Empire were brought more immediately under the control of the Government at home, they would be much more likely to do wrong, being without the fear of immediate punishment. Indeed he should never deem India to be placed in a state of security unless there were more expeditious communication with the Government there. He should conclude by moving an instruction to the Committee to omit all such clauses in the Bill as tended to alter the constitution and power of the government of the several presidencies of India.

The Marquess of Lansdown

thought that the noble Baron had considerably exaggerated the dangers and losses likely to be occasioned by the change in the character and situation of the East-India Company. As a matter of course so great a change as this must involve particular losses to particular individuals; but the benefits which would be derived from it to the community were ample grounds for its adoption. Nor, indeed, was the proposed change anything like a sudden blow, for it had been in the contemplation of all wise men, and almost also all statesmen, for the last twenty or thirty years. The Act of 1813 was itself a change, to a certain extent; and few of those concerned in that measure but looked upon it as a step towards the greater alterations contemplated in the present Bill. However, the same arguments—the same ominous predictions—had been held up in opposition to the modified change of 1813, as to the present measure. Petitions without number poured in from particular classes of merchants, foretelling, as was foretold now, that the measure would destroy the trade of London, by diverting all its trade to other ports; but had these predictions been verified? No: it was true that it had given increase of trade to other ports of England, but, at the same time, it had materially added to the trade of the port of London with India. The noble Baron had laid great stress, too, upon the supposed Inflection this measure would cast upon the East-India Company; but he was far from conceiving that any slur Would fall upon that honourable body; indeed, he thought it rather extraordinary that such an idea could occur to any man at a time when the Legislature was concocting a measure which would put into the hands of a private Company the whole government of such an empire as India. Nothing but the fullest and most entire confidence in them, justified by past experience of their good conduct and ability in administering the affairs of India, could have induced the Legislature to intrust them with such a charge. Indeed, it appeared to him the proudest day in the existence of the East-India Company to be so honourably intrusted with the government of 60,000,000 of people. With reference to the fears expressed by the noble Baron as to the delay in communication with India, bethought them unfounded. Government was, however, determined to make the most eligible arrangements possible with reference to this important subject. The noble Baron objected to the clause which required that the Company should in the first instance subject the estimates to the Board of Control, but this very clause, he was happy to inform the noble Lord was adopted at the suggestion of the Board of Directors; and so far from there being any intention of adding to the number of the Board of Control, there was proposed to be an immediate diminution. It appeared to him very inexpedient to delay so important a Bill any longer by making any great alterations in it after it had undergone such laborious and frequent discussion in its present shape. He did not see that there was any reason for raising such strong objections to the clauses in the proposed measure with reference to the Governor General, which were rather intended to simplify and confirm the powers of the Governor-General, than augment them. It was most essential that this Supreme-Officer should be possessed of adequate authority. As to the proposed formation of a fourth Presidency, this was rendered essential by the disturbed and lawless state of the upper provinces, which nothing would obviate but the promptness and energy of a local government. The necessity of that part of the arrangement was fully established by the opinion of Lord William Bentinck and other competent authorities. The law could not be maintained nor the north and western provinces be considered secure, unless a local government was established in them. At present the whole of these provinces were in a state of insecurity. And it was to provide against that, that the fourth presidency was established. He begged however to state, that it was proposed to add a clause, whereby it would be provided that a Council should be established iii each presidency. It was the duty of Government to make the law effective and equal in India; the necessity for vesting the proposed power in the hands of the Governor in Council had been suggested by the legal authorities in India. With respect to the education of persons intended to be sent to India, he must say, that he had strong objections to the plan proposed by the noble Baron, which would make the education of such persons, whether eventually placed in military or civil capacities, chiefly military. Though fully impressed with the importance of promoting an efficient military establishment, he strongly objected to giving the whole government of that great empire a military character. He had no wish, however, to lay down as a rule, on the other hand, that no military cadet should be admitted to act in a civil capacity. The great object was, to provide, that whoever the person might be who was put into a situation, he should be fit for performing its duties, if not the fittest who could be found—a point which had not been so much attended to as it ought. Hitherto all these appointments had been a matter of patronage and favour, without reference to the qualification of the individual; so that a boy was put into Haileybury College without any reference as to his capability for profiting by the instructions which alone could fit him for his destined position in India. It was now, however, intended to ascertain this point by previous examination; nor did he think that the fear of this examination would deter respectable persons, as seemed to be supposed by the noble Baron, from putting their sons forward to make the trial. There were few fathers who thought their sons open to rejection. This principle of emulation for patronage had been successfully tried by a right hon. Gentleman the predecessor of the noble Baron (Mr. Wynn), who made some of the appointments to India a matter of competition among the Westminster boys—an experiment which had the best results, and which certainly had not by any means had the effect of preventing sons of people of family from entering into competition. Neither would such an effect be produced by the present measure. He believed, on the contrary, that the highest orders would be induced, from a spirit of emulation, to come forward to compete for the appointments. The noble Lord had likewise called upon them to recollect that all the branches of the service of the East-India Company were in a state of despondency. He had expected that the noble Lord would have given some serious reason for this despondency, and he had felt anxious till it was stated. He was greatly relieved, however, when the noble Lord explained that the cause of that despondency was, that the country was now in a state of profound peace—all hope of further conquest being ended, and consequently the hope of quick promotion was gone. In that sense he willingly admitted, there was some despondency felt; but that was a despondency which was common to all countries which had been engaged in a long-protracted war, and returned to a state of profound and lasting peace. The noble Lord's complaint reminded him of the complaint of Alexander the Great, who pined because he had no more kingdoms to conquer. But what was the misfortune of military men—the want of employment, was the happiness of nations, which flourished during the cessation of the soldiers' toils. It was the same in this country, where the army was likewise in a state of despondency from the slowness of promotion, and the little prospect of advancement to high honours and glory, as in India. But would the noble Lord on that account contend that this country had not acquired great and incalculable benefits by the many victories of the noble Duke opposite, and especially by the glorious victory of Waterloo, which had produced that state of peace? He looked on the present state of India, as that country was in profound peace, with sentiments very different from alarm. He thought it was such as to hold out the expectation that the happiness of India would be much increased, and by the continuance of the same state an eventual remission of the present taxes might be granted to the people of that country. He could see nothing in this Bill to entitle the noble Lord to describe it as a Bill by which the period of the remission of taxation would be indefinitely protracted. There might be some small additional expense incurredat the commencement, from the change in the system of government which would he effected, but ultimately the country would be relieved considerably. He thought, therefore, that nothing had been said by the noble Lord which ought to induce the House to consent to the instruction, to divide the Bill, and thereby to defer the advantages which this measure was calculated to give to the Indian Empire.

The Duke of Wellington

said, that his noble friend (Lord Ellenborough) had objected to the present Bill, on the ground that it protracted the period at which a remission of the taxation on the people of India might be accomplished, to an indefinite period, and that the change to be accomplished was of too sudden a nature. He thought that his noble friend was right in both his views. To the latter objection the noble Marquess had answered, that the change now to be effected was not sudden, for it had been contemplated by the Government which preceded the Administration, of which he (the Duke of Wellington) had the honour to be the head, and it had been kept in view by him self. That was, however, not the case. No change had been contemplated by any former Government, by which the Company was to be prohibited from trading with China. It had been stated, as a reason for this change, that the trade with China had been of late a losing concern. A losing trade! It was a trade which produced not only 10½ per cent on the capital invested in it; but he had a statement in his hand, which showed that, besides the 10½ per cent, the debt of the territorial government had been relieved by the commerce of China, to the amount of three millions sterling. With these facts before them, it could not then be said, that the China trade had not been carried on advantageously. The noble Duke referred to several papers on the table to show, that the noble Lord was right in stating, that the period of the remission of taxation had been protracted by this Bill. The duties on tea, under the new system, would not only be more uncertain, but the expense of their collection would be greatly increased. The amount of duties at present derived from the article of tea alone was three millions sterling, which was collected at an expense of about 10,000l. Did they think that such a sum could be collected, under this Bill, at so small an expense, or with anything like the same degree of certainty? He (the Duke of Wellington) objected to the measure likewise on account of the great injury which it would do to the trade of the port of London. At present, the East-India Company carried all their trade to London, and had a capital invested in it, to the amount of between twelve and fourteen millions sterling, all which must be withdrawn in consequence of this measure. Could the House conceive that such a circumstance would be without a very baneful effect on the trade and shipping of the city? Thousands of those at present employed by the Company would be thrown out of employment if this Bill were carried into a law. He doubted if it ever were in the contemplation of the merchants of this country, who petitioned in favour of the opening of the China trade, that the Company's trade with that country should be wholly discontinued. They prayed not for the discontinuance of the trade, but for the removal of the monopoly; and so far was he from thinking that the continuance of the China trade, on the part of the Company, would be disadvantageous to the private traders, he thought that the private trader would derive a great deal of assistance from the Company's servants in that country, who, being already established, would assist them to carry it on with advantage. He, therefore, thought there was no sufficient reason given for putting down the East-India Company's commerce with China. He agreed with his noble friend (Lord Ellenborough) in thinking that the East-India Company had been treated with little courtesy, in the manner in which the Bill was introduced. Their opinion had never been asked on any single provision of the Bill; and their influence in the government of India was to be so much reduced, that it was nearly impossible they could exercise it with advantage. There was a material difference between the power given to the Governor General in Council, by the Act of 1813, and the present Bill. The difference was, that, by the present Bill, he would be empowered to enter more into the details of the acts of the Governors of the other Presidencies, than he was by the former Act. Formerly, the Governor General had merely a general superintendence of the governments of the other presidencies, but now he would have to go into the details of their governments. And, at the same time that he was empowered to go thus into the details of the acts of the other Governors, the number of his Council was increased from three to six. Now, he would ask the House if they thought that the Governor General would be better able to manage those additional details with a Council consisting of six, than one of three persons? The addition to his Council would alone occupy more of his time than formerly, and prevent him paying that attention he ought, to the general superintendence of the affairs of India. The Governor General would, he believed, be involved in details. He concluded, that the intention was, that the Governor General should have two Councils—one to assist him in the control of the government of India in general, and another to assist him in that of Bengal. He (the Duke of Wellington) was satisfied that the measure would require alteration, in respect to the powers to be given to the Governor General, and likewise in respect to the number of his councillors. He was one who thought that the Governor General should have a general control over the government of the country; but that the Governors should be allowed to manage the details of their own presidencies, and that they should be liable to account for the manner in which they conducted those details, not so much to the Governor General, as to the Government at home. He thought it impossible that the plan by which the Governor General was to move about from place to place, could work well in practice. He objected also to the new Presidency, both on account of the great expense which it would entail, and because, in his opinion, the same advantages might be obtained by a continuance of the system at present pursued. He felt decidedly opposed to the Law Commission, because he felt satisfied that a uniform system of laws could not be formed for the whole of India. There was as much difference between the inhabitants of the different parts of our Indian empire, as there was between the nations of the north and south of Europe. He had no objection, how- ever, that the Governors should have the power of framing laws for particular districts, which should be submitted to the Governor General for his approbation. Then, with respect to the clause, declaring the natives to be eligible to all situations. Why was that declaration made in the face of a regulation preventing its being carried into effect? It was a mere deception. It might, to a considerable extent, be applicable in the capitals of the Presidencies; but, in the interior, as appeared by the evidence of Mr. Elphinstone, and by that of every respectable authority, it was impracticable. He certainly thought that it was advisable to admit the natives to certain inferior civil and other offices, but the higher ones must as yet be closed against them, if our empire in India was to be maintained. With respect to the clause abolishing domestic slavery, he entreated their Lordships to give it their most serious attention. He knew, as a fact, that domestic slavery existed to a large extent in India; the Governor General in Council bad already power to redress any abuses under it, and he called upon their Lordships to deal lightly with the question, as they valued the maintenance of British India. After a short explanation of what had fallen from his noble friend (Lord Ellenborough) with respect to the power given by the Bill to the Governor General of altering all the laws, the noble Duke said, that he had now gone through the points he had felt it his duty to touch, and, in the course of the Committee, he should take an opportunity of recording his objections. He must again repeat, that he was extremely anxious that the House should weigh well the consequences of shutting out the Company from all trade with China, and he should rejoice much if it was not considered too late to amend that part of the Bill he fully concurred in the views taken by his noble friend who had moved the Amendment.

Lord Auckland

contended, that to leave the trade in the hands of the government of India would only be an injury to them, and a still greater one to the general interests of the country. All experience had shown, that where the Company had come into competition with the free traders of this country, they had been completely beaten out of every market. He was satisfied, therefore, that their trade in tea would soon dwindle to nothing when exposed to the same competition. As to the remittances, he had no doubt that in a short time they would speedily be effected by bills, without inconvenience. With regard to the distress that would be at first inflicted upon the port of London, by the destruction of the East-India Company mono poly, he could only say, that it was one of the misfortunes of such monopolies to draw about them a sort of factitious industry, which must give way as soon as fair competition in trade was allowed to operate against them. But the advantages which such bodies possessed were enjoyed at the expence of the community at large, and could not be justified. The particular injury likely to accrue, therefore, would be more than counterbalanced by the public benefit. The noble Lord then referred to the increased tonnage of shipping employed in the trade to the east of the Cape of Good Hope since the opening of the trade, as a proof of the great national advantage resulting from getting rid of monopolies. He also defended the clause relating to the abolition of slavery, and maintained that it had been framed with the utmost caution consistent with the destruction of an odious system; as well as the utmost care not to interfere with the domestic manners of the natives.

Lord Ellenborough

, in reply, stated, that the low profits of the Company were party occasioned by the restriction, compelling them always to keep on hand two years consumption of tea, and by the great fall in the price of coffee, which had beaten down the price of tea. He admitted that remittance would be made by bills, but it would be at a great expense. He still maintained his opinion, of previously giving the officer a military education, for none of the Presidents of India had been superior to those who, like Sir John Malcolm and Sir Thomas Munro, had received a military education.

The Amendment negatived; the House went into Committee.

Clauses from 1 to 48 were agreed to, with verbal amendments.

The House resumed—Committee to sit again.

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