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on by Mr. Francis, and again received a negative. Sir Eyre Coote, though present, and declaring that, had he been at the original consultation he should have voted for the immediate execution of the Company's orders, yet was resolved to avoid what he called any kind of retrospect. His neutrality gained the question in favour of this the third resolution for disobedience to orders.
The resolution in Bengal being thus decisively taken, it came to the turn of the Court of Directors to act their part. They did act their part exactly in their old manner; they had recourse to their old remedy of repeating orders, which had been disobeyed. The Directors declare to Mr. Hastings and Mr. Barwell (though without any apparent reason) that "they have read with astonish"ment their formal resolution to suspend the exe
cution of their orders; that they shall take
measures as appear necessary for preserving the "authority of the Court of Directors, and for pre"venting such instances of direct and wilful dis"obedience in their servants in time to come."
They then renew their directions concerning Mr. Fowke. The event of this sole measure, taken to preserve their authority, and to prevent instances of direct and wilful disobedience, Your Committee will state in its proper place, taking into consideration, for the present, the proceedings relative to Mr. Bristow, and to Mahomed Reza Khân, Q 2
which were altogether in the same spirit; but as they were diversified in the circumstances of disobedience, as well from the case of Mr. Fowke as from one another, and as these circumstances tend to discover other dangerous principles of abuse, and the general prostrate condition of the authority. of Parliament in Bengal, Your Committee proceed first to make some observations upon them.
The province of Oude, enlarged by the accession of several extensive and once flourishing territories, that is, by the country of the Rohillas, the district of Corah and Allahabad, and other provinces be twixt the Ganges and Jumna, is under the nominal dominion of one of the princes of the country, called Asoph ul Dowlah. But a body of English troops is kept up in his country; and the greatest part of his revenues are, by one description or another, substantially under the administration of English subjects. He is to all purposes a dependent prince. The person to be employed in his dominions to act for the Committee was therefore of little consequence in his capacity of negotiator; but he was vested with a trust, great and critical in all pecuniary affairs. These provinces of dependence lie out of the system of the Company's ordinary administration; and transactions there cannot be so readily brought under the cognizance of the Court of Directors. This renders it the more necessary that the residents in such places should be persons
not disapproved of by the Court of Directors. They are to manage a permanent interest, which is not, like a matter of political negotiation, variable, and which, from circumstances, might possibly excuse some degree of discretionary latitude in con struing their orders. During the life-time of General Clavering and Colonel Monson, Mr. Bristow was appointed to this presidency, and that appoint ment, being approved and confirmed by the Court of Directors, became in effect their own. Mr., Bristow appears to have shown himself a man of talents and activity. He had been principally concerned in the negotiations, by which the Company's interest in the higher provinces had been esta blished; and those services were considered by the Presidency of Calcutta as so meritorious, that they voted him ten thousand pounds as a reward, with many-expressions of esteem and honour.
Mr. Bristow, however, was recalled by Mr. Hastings and Mr. Barwell, who had then acquired the majority, without any complaint having been assigned as the cause of his removal, and Mr. Middleton was sent in his stead to reside at the capital of Oude. The Court of Directors, as soon as they could be apprized of this extraordinary step, in their letter of the 4th of July 1777, express their strongest disapprobation of it; they order Mr. Middleton to be recalled, and Mr. Bristow, to be re-instated in his office. In December 1778, they Q3 repeat
repeat their order. Of these repeated orders no notice was taken. Mr. Bristow, fatigued with unsuccessful private applications, which met with a constant refusal, did at length, on the 1st of May 1780, address a letter to the Board, making his claim of right; entitling himself to his offices under the authority of the Court of Directors; and complaining of the hardships, which he suffered by the delay in admitting him to the exercise of it. This letter Your Committee have inserted at large in the Fifth Report; having found nothing whatsoever exceptionable in it, although it seems to have excited the warmest resentment in Mr. Hastings.
This claim of the party gave no new force to the order of the Directors, which remained without any attention from the Board, from Mr. Bristow's arrival until the 1st of May, and with as little from the 1st of May to the 2d of October following. On that day Mr. Francis, after having caused the repeated orders of the Court of Directors to be first read, moved, that Mr. Bristow should be reinstated in his office. This motion, in itself just and proper in the highest degree, and in which no fault could be found, but that it was not made more early, was received by Mr. Hastings with the greatest marks of resentment and indignation. He declares in his Minute, that were the most determined adversary of the British nation to possess, by whatever
66 means, a share in the administration, he could "not devise a measure in itself so pernicious, or "time it so effectually for the ruin of the British "interests in India." Then turning to the object of the motion, he says, "I will ask, who is Mr. "Bristow? that a Member of the Administration 66 should, at such a time, hold him forth as an in"strument for the degradation of the first executive "Member of this government. What are the pro❝fessed objects of his appointment? What are "the merits and services, or what the qualifications, "which entitle him to such uncommon distinction? "Is it for his superiour integrity, or for his eminent "abilities, that he is to be dignified at such hazard " of every consideration, that ought to influence the Members of this Administration? Of the "former (his integrity) I know no proofs; I am sure it is not an evidence of it, that he has been enabled to make himself the principal in such a "competition; and for the test of his abilities I "appeal to the letter, which he has dared to write "to this Board, and which I am ashamed to say
we have suffered. I desire that a copy of it may "be inserted in this day's proceedings, that it may “stand before the eyes of every Member of the "Board, when he shall give his vote upon a ques "tion for giving their confidence to a man, their "servant, who has publickly insulted them, his A masters, and the Members of the Government,