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amplest means of abuse; ruling over a peopleguarded by no distinct or well-ascertained privileges, whose language, manners, and radical prejudices render not only redress, but all complaint on their part, a matter of extreme difficulty ; such an administration, it is evident, never can be made subservient to the interests of Great Britain, or even tolerable to the natives, but by the strictest rigour in exacting obedience to the commands of the authority lawfully set over it.

But Your Committee find that this principle has been for some years very little attended to. Before the passing the Act of 1773, the professed purpose of which was to secure a better subordination in

the Company's Servants, such was the firmness, Vide Com- with which the Court of Directors maintained their

authority, that they displaced Governour Cartier, and Apa confessedly a meritorious servant, for disobedience pendix 10

of orders ; although his case was not a great deal more than a question, by whom the orders were to be obeyed. Yet the Directors were so sensible of the necessity of a punctual and literal obedience, that, conceiving their orders went to the parties, who were to obey, as well as to the act to be done, they proceeded with a strictness, that, in all cases, except that of their peculiar Government, might well be considered as rigorous. But in proportion as the necessity of enforcing obedience grew stronger and more urgent; and in proportion to the magnitude

and

millee's 5th Report,

21,

that Re

port, No 12.

and importance of the objects affected by disobedience, this rigour has been relaxed. Acts of disobedience have not only grown frequent, but systematick; and they have appeared in such instances, and are manifested in such a manner, as to amount, in the Company's servants, to little less than absolute independence; against which, on the part of the Directors, there is no struggle, and hardly so much as a protest to preserve a claim.

Before Your Committee proceed to offer to the House their remarks on the most distinguished of these instances, the particulars of which they have already reported, they deem it necessary to enter into some detail of a transaction equally extraordinary and important, though not yet brought into the view of Parliament, which appears to have laid the foundation of the principal abuses, that ensued, as well as to have given strength and encouragement to those, that existed. To this transaction, and to the conclusions naturally, deducible from it, Your Committee attribute that general spirit of disobedience and independence, which has since prevailed in the Government of Bengal.

Your Committee find, that in the year 1775 Mr. Lauchlan Macleane was sent into England as agent to the Nabob of Arcot and to Mr. Hastings.--The conduct of Mr. Hastings, in assisting to extirpaté, for a sum of money to be paid to the Company, the innocent nation of the Rohillas, had drawn upon

him the censure of the Court of Directors, and the unanimous censure of the Court of Proprietors. The former had even resolved to prepare an application to His Majesty for Mr. Hastings's dismission.

Another General Court was called on this proceeding. Mr. Hastings was then openly supported by a majority of the Court of Proprietors, who professed to entertain a good opinion of his general ability and rectitude of intention, notwithstanding the unanimous censure passed upon him. In that censure they therefore seemed disposed to acquiesce, without pushing the matter further. But, as the offence was far from trifling, and the condemnation of the measure recent, they did not directly attack the resolution of the Directors to apply

to His Majesty, but voted in the ballot, that it -should be re-considered. The business therefore remained in suspense, or it rather seemed to be dropped, for some months, when Mr. Macleane took a step, of a nature not in the least to be expected from the condition, in which the cause of his principal stood, which was apparently as favourable as the circumstances could bear. Hitherto the support of Mr. Hastings in the General Court was only by a majority; but, if on application from the Directors he should be removed, a mere majority would not have been sufficient for his restoration. The door would have been barred against his return

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to the Company's service by one of the strongest änd most substantial clauses in the Regulating Act of 1773. Mr. Macleane, probably to prevent the manifest ill consequences of such a step, came for. ward with a letter to the Court of Directors, declaring his provisional powers, and offering on the part of Mr. Hastings an immediate resignation of his office.

On this occasion the Directors showed themselves extremely punctilious with regard to Mr. Macleane's powers. They probably dreaded the charge of becoming accomplices to an evasion of the Act, by which Mr. Hastings, resigning the service, would escape the consequences attached by law to a dismission; they therefore demanded Mr. Macleane's written authority.

This he declared he could not give into their hands, as the letter contained other matters of a nature extremely confidential; but that, if they would appoint a Committee of the Directors, he would readily communicate to them the necessary parts of the letter, and give them perfect satisfaction with regard to his authority. A deputation was accordingly named'; who reported that they had seen Mr. Hastings's instructions, contained in a paper in his own handwriting, and that the authority for the act now done by Mr. Macleane was clear and sufficient. Mr. Vansittart, a very particular friend of Mr. Hastings, and Mr. John Stewart, his most attached and

P4

confidential

confidential dependant, attended on this occasion, and proved that directions, perfectly correspondent to this written authority, had been given by Mr. Hastings in their presence. By this means the powers were fully authenticated; but the letter remained safe in Mr. Macleane's hands.

"Nothing being now wanting to the satisfaction of the Directors, the resignation was formally accepted. Mr. Wheler was named to fill the vacancy, and presented for His Majesty's approbation, which was received. The Act was complete, and the office, that Mr. Hastings had resigned, was legally filled. This proceeding was officially notified in Bengal, and General Clavering, as senior in Council, was in course to succeed to the office of Governour-General.

Mr. Hastings, to extricate himself from the difficulties, into which this resignation had brought him, had recourse to one of those unlooked-for and hardy measures, which characterize the whole of his administration. He came to a resolution of disowning his agent, denying his letter, and disavowing his friends. He insisted on continuing in the execution of his office, and supported himself by such reasons as could be furnished in such a

An open schism instantly divided the Council. General Clavering claimed the office, to which he ought to succeed; and Mr. Francis adhered to him; Mr. Barwell stuck to Mr. Hastings.

The

cause,

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