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Macartney. The Investment on this plan is stated to be raised from £. 800,000 to L. 1,000,000 sterling
· It is on all accounts a very memorable transaction, and tends to bring on a heavy burthen, operating in the nature of a tax, laid by their own authority on the goods of their masters in England. If such a compensation to the Board of Trade was necessary on account of their engagement to take no further (that is to say, no unlawful) emolument, it implies, that the practice of making such unlawful emolument had formerly existed; and Your Committee think it very extraordinary, that the first notice the Company had received of such a practice should be, in taxing them for a compensation for a partial abolition of it, secured on the parole of honour of those very persons, who are supposed to have been guilty of this unjustifiable conduct. Your Committee consider this engagement, if kept, as only a partial abolition of the implied corrupt practice, because no part of the compensation is given to the members of the Board of Trade, who reside at the several factories, though their means of abuse are without all comparison greater; and if the 'corruption was supposed so extensive as to be bought off at that price where the means were fewer, the House will judge how far the tax has purchased off the evil.
E L E V E N T H REPORT,
From the SELECT COMMITTEE ap
pointed to take into consideration the state of : the Administration of Justice in the provinces of Bengal, Bahar, and Orissa, and to report the samę, as it shall appear to them, to the House; with their observations thereupon; and who were instructed to consider how the British Possessions in the East Indies may be held and governed :with the greatest security and advantage to this
Country; and by what means the happiness of w the Native Inhabitants may be best promoted.
YOUR Committee, in the course of their in
quiry into the obedience yielded by the Company's seryants to the orders of the Court of Di. rectors, (the authority of which orders had been strengthened by the Regulating Act of 1773.) could not overlook one of the most essential objects of that Act, and of those orders, namely, the taking of gifts and presents. These pretended free gifts from the Natives to the Company's servants in
power had never been authorized by law; they are contrary to the covenants formerly entered into by the President and Council; they are strictly forbidden by the Act of Parliament; and forbidden upon grounds of the most substantial policy,
Before the Regulating Act of 1733, the allowances made by the Company to the Presidents of Bengal were abundantly sufficient to guaranty them against any thing like a necessity for giving into that pernicious practice. The Act of Parliament, which appointed a Governour-General in the place of a President, as it was extremely particular in enforcing the prohibition of those presents, so it was equally careful in making an ample provision for supporting the dignity of the office, in order to remove all excuse for a corrupt increase of its emoluments.
Although evidence on record, as well as verbal testimony, has appeared before Your Committee of presents to a large amount having been received by Mr. Hastings and others before the
year 1775, they were not able to find distinct traces of that practice in him, or any one else, for a few years.
The inquiry set on foot in Bengal by order of the Court of Directors in 1775 with regard to all corrupt practices, and the vigour, with which they were for some time pursued, might have given a temporary check to the receipt of presents, or might have produced a more effectual.concealment
of them; and afterwards, the calamities, which befell almost al, who were concerned in the first discoveries, did probably prevent any further complaint upon the subject; bút; towards the close of the last session, Your Committee have received much of new and alarming information concerning that abuse.
The first traces appeared, though faintly and Appendis, obscurely, in a letter to the Court of Directors Vide Sup
plement to from the Governour-General, Mr. Hastings, writ-tie 2d Reten on the 29th of November 1780. It has been
page 7. stated in a former Report of Your Committee, that on the 26th of June 1780 Mr. Hastings, being very earnest in the prosecution of a particular operation in the Mahratta war, in order to remove objections to that measure, which were made on account of the expense of the contingencies, offered to exonerate the Company from that “ charge.”_Continuing his Minute of Council, he says: "That sum
(a sum of about £. 23,000,) I have already de
posited, within a small amount, in the hands of " the sub-treasurers; and I beg that the Board “ will permit it to be accepted for that service.” Here he offers in his own person; he deposits, or pretends that he deposits, in his own person; and, with the zeal of a man eager to pledge his private fortune in support of his measures, he prays that his offer may be accepted. Not the least hint thắt he was delivering back to the Company money of
their own, which he had secreted from them. Indeed, no mạn ever made it a request, much less earnestly entreated," begged to be permitted,” to pay to any persons, publick or private, money, that was their own.
It appeared to Your Committee, that the money offered for that service, which was to forward the operations of a detachment under Colonel Camac, in an expedition against one of the Mahratta Chiefs, was not accepted. And Your Committee, having directed search to be made for any sums of money paid into the treasury by Mr. Hastings for this service, found that, notwithstanding his assertion of having deposited “two lacks of rupees, or within
trifle of that sum, in the hands of the sub-trea
surer," no entry whatsoever of that, or any other Appendis, payment by the Governour-General, was made in
the Treasury Accounts, at or about that time. This circumstance appeared very striking to Your Committee, as the non-appearance in the Company's books of the article in question must be owing to one or other of these four causes i-that the assertion of Mr. Hastings, of his having paid in near two lacks of rupees at that time, was not true; or, that the sub-treasurer may receive great sums in deposit without entering them in the Company's Treasury Accounts; or that the Treasury-books themselves are records not to be depended on; or, lastly, that faithful copies of these books of accounts are not
B. N° 2.