§ The Earl of Aberdeen
said, that before the House went into Committee on the East-India Bill, he would, pursuant to notice, present to their Lordships a petition against some provisions of the Bill. He felt he should only be doing his duty by shortly calling the attention of the House to the nature of the objection and the reasonable prayer of the petitioners. The petition came from certain creditors of the East-India Company, who were holders of Carnatic Stock. They complained, and he thought very justly, that their interests were neglected by the Bill, their security injured, and that public faith would be by it broken. His noble friend the (Duke of (Wellington) had on a former night explained to the House the injury that would be done to another class of creditors by the Bill now before the House. In a very few words he (Earl Aberdeen) would describe the situation of these creditors. The specific complaints which the petitioners made of the Bill were,—that the Company had secured their dividend of 630,000l. per annum, and that it was to have a priority of other claims; and, also, that the guarantee fund of 2,000,000l. should be constituted a primary security to those with whom the petitioners contended, that, under the faith of an Act of Parliament, they had an equal claim. The petitioners prayed to be heard by Counsel at the Bar, The petitioners, had, the noble Earl stated, a pecuniary interest in the matter, and he, therefore, thought that they ought to be heard at the Bar. He meant to make a Motion to that effect.
§ Lord Auckland
said, that the petitioners would in no respect be placed in a worse 401 situation than at present. There was no intention on the part of the Government to place them in that situation. The question was of a complicated nature, and he hoped that their Lordships would not come to any hasty decision. He hoped, that the noble Earl would postpone his Motion for a few days, in order that the Ministers might ascertain what could best be done to meet the difficulties of the case.
§ The Duke of Wellington
admitted, that the Government did not intend to place these gentlemen in a worse situation than they now were; but he contended; that the Bill did actually place them in a worse situation. It did away with the Parliamentary provision for their payments. The assets even to which they had to look were taken from the Company, and taken into the hands of the Government. The provisions made by former Acts were done away, and the creditors had nothing left but a clause, directing the Board of Directors, the debtors, to make arrangements in favour of their creditors, under the sanction of the Ministers. That was not equal to the provisions of an Act of Parliament. It was impossible that some further provision should not be made for the further payment of these gentlemen. The Bill ought to contain a provision for the payment of these creditors in England.
§ Petition laid on the Table; Motion for hearing the petitioners at the Bar postponed.