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their original intention, they will become secondary. The possession, therefore, and the power of assertion of these great authorities coinciding with the improved state of Europe, with the improved state of arts in Europe, with the improved state of laws, and, what is much more material, the improved state of military discipline, more and more perfected every day with us, - universal improvement in Europe coinciding with the general decay of Asia, (for the proud day of Asia is passed, this improvement coinciding with the relaxation and dissolution of the Mogul government, with the decline of its warlike spirit, with the total disuse of the ancient strictness of the military discipline established by Tamerlane, the India Company came to be what it is, a great empire, carrying on, subordinately, a great commerce; it became that thing which was supposed by the Roman law irreconcilable to reason and propriety, - eundem negotiatorem et dominum : the same power became the general trader, the same power became the supreme lord.
In this exalted situation, the India Company, however, still preserves traces of its original mercantile character. The whole exterior order of its political service is carried on upon a mercantile plan and mercantile principles. In fact, the East India Company in Asia is a state in the disguise of a merchant. Its whole service is a system of public offices in the disguise of a counting-house. Accordingly, the whole external order and series of the service, as I observed, is commercial; the principal, the inward, the real, is almost entirely political.
This system of the Company's service, its order and discipline, is necessary to be explained to your
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Lordships, that you may see in what manner the abuses have affected it. In the first place, all the persons who go abroad in the Company's civil service enter as clerks in the counting-house, and are called by a name to correspond to it, - writers. In that condition they are obliged to serve five years. The second step is that of a factor, in which they are obliged to serve three years. The third step they take is that of a junior merchant, in which they are obliged to serve three years more. riod they become senior merchants, which is the highest stage of advance in the Company's service, - a rank by which they had pretensions, before the year 1774, to the Council, to the succession of the Presidency, and to whatever other honors the Company has to bestow.
The Company had, in its early times, established factories in certain places; which factories by degrees grew to the name of Presidencies and Council, in proportion as the power and influence of the Company increased, and as the political began first to struggle with, and at length to predominate over, the mercantile. In this form it continued till the year 1773, when the legislature broke in, for proper reasons urging them to it, upon that order of the service, and appointed to the superior department persons who had no title to that place under the ordinary usage of the service. Mr. Hastings and Mr. Barwell, whatever other titles they might have had, held solely under the act of Parliament nominating them to that authority ; but in all other respects, except where the act and other subsequent acts have not broken in upon it, the whole course of the service remains upon the ancient footing,
that is, the commercial footing, as to the gradation and order of service.
Your Lordships see here a regular series of gradation, which requires eleven years before any persons can arrive at the highest trusts and situations. You will therefore be astonished, when so long a probationary service was required, that effects very different from those to be expected from long probation have happened, and that in a much shorter time than those eleven years you have seen persons returning into this kingdom with affluent, with overbearing fortunes. It will be a great part of your inquiry, when we come before your Lordships to substantiate evidence against Mr. Hastings, to discover how that order came to be so completely broken down and erased that scarce a trace of it for any good purpose remains. Though I will not deny that that order, or that any order in a state, may be superseded by the ruling power, when great talents, upon pressing exigencies, are to be called forth, yet I must say the order itself was formed upon wise principles. It furnished the persons who were put in that course of probation with an opportunity (if circumstànces enabled them) of acquiring experience in business of revenue, trade, and policy. It gave to those who watched them a constant inspection of their conduct through all their progress. On the expectants of office it imposed the necessity of acquiring a character in proportion to their standing, in order that all which they had gained by the good behavior of years should not be lost by the misconduct of an hour. It was a great substantial regulation. But scarce a trace of the true spirit of it remains to be discovered in Mr. Hastings's gov
ernment; for Mr. Hastings established offices, nay, whole systems of offices, and especially a system of offices in 1781, which being altogether new, none of the rules of gradation applied to them; and he filled those offices in such a manner as suited best, not the constitution nor the spirit of the service, but his own particular views and purposes. The consequence has been, that persons in the most immature stages of life have been appointed to conduct affairs which required the greatest maturity of judgment, the greatest possible temper and moderation. Effects naturally consequent have followed upon it. — I shall not trouble your Lordships with any further observations on this system of gradation.
I must, however, remark, before I go further, that there is something in the representation of the East India Company in their Oriental territory different from that, perhaps, of any other nation that has ever transported any part of its power from one country to another. The East India Company in India is not properly a branch of the British nation: it is only a deputation of individuals. When the Tartars entered into China, when the Arabs and Tartars successively entered into Hindostan, when the Goths and Vandals penetrated into Europe, when the Normans forced their way into England, indeed, in all conquests, migrations, settlements, and colonizations, the new people came as the offset of a nation. The Company in India does not exist as a national colony. In effect and substance nobody can go thither that does not go in its service. The English in India are nothing but a seminary for the succession of officers. They are a nation of place
men; they are a commonwealth without a people ; they are a state made up wholly of magistrates. There is nothing to be in propriety called people, to watch, to inspect, to balance against the power of office. The power of office, so far as the English nation is concerned, is the sole power in the country: the consequence of which is, that, being a kingdom of magistrates, what is commonly called the esprit du corps is strong in it. This spirit of the body predominates equally in all its parts; by which the members must consider themselves as having a common interest, and that common interest separated both from that of the country which sent them out and from that of the country in which they act. No control upon them exists, – none, I mean, in persons who understand their language, who understand their manners, or can apply their conduct to the laws. Therefore, in a body so constituted, confederacy is easy, and has been general. Your Lordships are not to expect that that should happen in such a body which never happened in any body or corporation,
that is, that they should, in any instance, be a proper check and control upon themselves. It is not in the nature of things. The fundamental principle of the whole of the East India Company's system is monopoly, in some sense or other. The same principle predominates in the service abroad and the service at home; and both systems are united into one, animated with the same spirit, that is, with the corporate spirit. The whole, taken together, is such as has not been seen in the examples of the Moors, the Portuguese, the Spaniards, the Romans, - in no old, in no recent examples. The Dutch may resemble it, but they have not an em