Slike strani

rest on the public debts, and other ar- | While the country was in an unsettled rangements for the improvement of the state, it was natural that artifices of this Company's finances. The capture of the nature should be resorted to, in hopes enemy's possessions on the continent of that a change of system might take place, India, and the armament fitted out for in which the old demands might be forthe protection of the trade in those seas, gotten, and new ones satisfied with the have occasioned some considerable addi- sums so reserved. Such was the situation of expense: but those captures have tion of the inhabitants of that country, added to our revenues, as has also the under the native or Mahomedan domidepriving the French of their share of the nion; and, for want of an established trade in salt and opium. system, the Company's government but too much resembled it. By inflexibly persevering in the system which has now been fixed, we may hope in time to eradicate those prejudices, and introduce a more generous mode of proceeding, with respect to receipts and payments. The large sum collected in the last year, shows, that this effect has, in a great degree, already been produced in Bengal ; and, in consequence of the increasing confidence in the stability and good faith of the British government, the population of these provinces has increased by the influx of inhabitants from the adjoining states, to enjoy the advantages of living under its protection. While, on the one hand, this circumstance evinces the flourishing state of our possessions, it, on the other, adds to the Company's receipts by the increased consumption of salt, from which a revenue of upwards of a million per annum has been collected in the last two years. In the last of those years the amount was nearly 300,000l. more, and the large sum thus realized is stated to have arisen not from an enhanced price, but from an increased consumption.

It is, however, on the mild and efficient system of government already established, or in a state of improvement throughout the British settlements in India, that I chiefly rely for the increasing prosperity of our affairs in that country. When the natives see a system of law and justice established, which affords equal protection to the rich and to the poor, and the tenure by which they hold their property rendered permanent, instead of precarious, they must feel a deep interest in the stability of the British government, and the wealth, population, and general prosperity of the country must rapidly advance. Such has already been the effect in the Bengal provinces of those systems for settling the land revenues, and administering justice, which I last year explained to have been established. The collections in 1793-4 exceeded the amount of any preceding year; for, not only a sum equal to the annual rent was paid, but also a part of former arrears. The arrears, however, still owing by the landholders, and included in the assets, amount to a considerable sum. To a certain degree this must always be the case in accounts of such a magnitude made up to a particular day; but the sums stated as owing by them in the present account, are augmented by the first effect of those regulations, from which the greatest benefits to the country have since arisen. In general, men hesitate at alterations in an established system, whatever benefits may be promised by the change: but in India, where the prejudices of the natives are blended with their existence, and where established custom has the force of law, no arguments would avail to inspire them with confidence in so considerable a variation in the tenure of their landed property. Therefore, although the settlement was moderate, yet it had the effect of lessening the collections at first, from the prevailing aversion of the inhabitants to prompt payment, and their propensity to seize every pretext of delay.

With respect to Madras, it has not yet been possible to establish a system of such regularity in the administration of the revenue. The introduction of similar regulations to those which have been adopted at Bengal must be a work of time. Innovations, however beneficial, must be made progressively; as it is only by degrees that the natives can understand how much their own good will be promoted by any alterations. But as the permanent security of property is the most certain means of increasing the population and prosperity of a country, I doubt not but such regulations founded on justice and sound policy, will be established, as will render the state of this settlement nearly, if not equally flourishing with that of Bengal. By the late treaty with the nabob of Arcot, the tributes of several of the southern Polygars, who had resisted the various demands

made upon them, are to be collected im- | newly acquired provinces is finally settled mediately by the Company. The amount and the arrangements with the native in the first year, has fallen short of the princes, completed, a respectable military stipulated sum; but when they find their force must be kept in readiness, which in. contributions equitably fixed, and the de- creases the expenses in that department. mands made on them not regulated by The charges of collecting the revenues of our necessities, but conformable to their the ceded countries will undoubtedly enagreements, I have no doubt but they gage the attention of the government, as will see it their interest to make their in the last year they amounted to above payments with greater regularity. The half the receipts ; but on this the supravidrought, which prevailed some time ago sor observes, that the expenses of that in the northern circars, has occasioned a year are not to be looked upon as a predeficiency of revenue from that quarter cedent for future years. In other respects, in the last two or three years; but as the the affairs of this presidency bear a very country is recovering from the effects of favourable aspect; the whole of the bond that calamity, it will become more pro- debt which bore 94 per cent. interest, ductive. The circars are also capable of and has been for many years a heavy drain being considerably improved, by the on Bengal, had been, by the advices dated adoption of proper measures for ame. in January last, paid off by notes bearing liorating the administration of justice, a less interest; and the 8 per cent. proand regulating the revenue system in missory notes, in like manner were exthese districts. The countries ceded by pected to be discharged in a very short Tippoo Sultan produced a larger revenue time; after which the debt will bear an in the last year than was collected from , interest of six per cent. only. But as no them in the one preceding; and the account was inclosed in this dispatch of nabob of Arcot and rajah of Tanjore now the amount of debts, I have been obliged pay their subsidies with punctuality. On to refer to the debts as they stood on the the whole, as I have already observed, 31st October 1793, when half the debt the revenues of this presidency appear to bearing interest was at 94 per cent. In be equal to its ordinary expenses in time respect, therefore, to the amount of the of peace; and when the improvements I debt owing at this presidency, and the have suggested shall be carried into effect. annual interest thereon, the next statea surplus may probably be obtained, to. ments must be considerably better than wards the provision of the profitable in- those now before the committee. vestment of coast goods.

From these remarks on the general The late account from Bombay show state of the revenues and charges of that the revenues of that presidency, and the British settlements in India, it apof the districts on the Malabar coast, are pears that, notwithstanding the extra exin a progressive state of increase. In the penses which the present war occasions, last year, the receipts amounted to the result is more favourable than was 312,36Hl. ; and for 1794-5 they are esti- computed in the average estimate, on mated at 354,8831. This latter sum is which my calculations were founded in 85,7421. less than the amount estimated making the late arrangement between the in the arrangement between the public public and the Company ; and that there and the Company in 1793 ; but a farther is every prospect of our affairs in that increase is certainly probable, as the country continuing in their present flouceded countries will, in the course of ano- rishing state. In concluding these obserther year, be more recovered from the vations on the prosperous state of the reeffects of the late war. Hitherto the re- venues of the British provinces in India, I venues of those districts have fallen far am naturally led to the claims of the short of the amount at which they were brave officers of the Company's army, estimated in the treaty with Tippoo Sul. whose services have so much contributed tan; but the progressive increase has to the extension and security of those been rapid, as in 1792-3, the amount col- possessions. When the Company acted lected was 44,140l. ; in 1793-4 122,386l.; merely as a commercial body, their forces and for 1794-5 the estimated amount is consisted only of a few guards stationed 197,6801. The charges of this presidency at their factories or seats of trade. With I have already mentioned to be far higher the accession of territory, a larger num. than was computed for a peace establish ber of forces became requisite for its dement; but until the government of the fence; and now, when the British power is second to none in Hindostan, its pre- , in Europe, shall have leave of absence, eminence can only be maintained by a under medical certificates, with the formidable military power, adequate both approbation of the commanders-in-chief to repel any hostile attack on our own and the governments in India, without dominions, and to protect those of our loss of rank or pay. Nor does it seem allies. Accordingly, our military force in proper to confine the leave of absence that quarter is not only greater than is merely to cases of ill-health ; but in order maintained in time of peace by Great Bri- to keep up that love for their native land tain, but is equal to the establishment which is almost universally implanted in kept up by some of the principal mili- every breast, but which long and unintertary governments in Europe. The gra- rupted residence in a foreign clime tends dations of rank, and the proportion of to alienate, a certain proportion of officers, officers in the Company's service, have in time of peace, should be allowed to renot kept pace with the increase of num- turn home, in rotation, for a limited time, bers ; nor have sufficient regulations been in like manner, without loss of pay or established for the encouragement and rank. An arrangement formed on these reward of long and faithful services. The principles will, I trust, fully redress the highest rank in their army is that of co- several grievances of which the Company's lonel, and the number of that rank is very officers have complained in the memorials limited; the elder officers, therefore, can- which have been laid before this House, not look up to those elevated situations, and I feel great satisfaction in the reflecwhich, in other armies are the reward of tion, that the improved state of the British long service and tried abilities; and the revenues in India, the reduction effected younger seebut a distant and discouraging in the amount of the debts owing there, prospect of arriving at the rank of co- and in the interest payable on those debts, lonel, or even to that of field officer. So slow will enable the company to carry the regu. is the progress of promotion, that thirty lations proper for these purposes into efyears indurance of a climate so hostile to fect, without any inconvenience to their European constitutions, is scarce suffi- finances, which will not be abundantly cient to obtain a colonelcy; and neither compensated by the satisfaction and zeal during that long period, nor after an officer which the officers of every rank will feel, has obtained that highest rank, can he visit in the more certain prospect that their his native country, without losing his pay exertions in the service of their country and emoluments during his absence. For will be readily acknowledged and liberally those who have no other support than the rewarded. income derived from their profession, and Mr. Dundas then moved his several whose ill state of health, or impaired con- Resolutions, which, after a short converstitution, may render a temporary return sation, were agreed to. to Europe absolutely necessary, there is not any provision, except such relief as Debate in the Commons on the Prince of may be obtained from the liberality of Wales's Annuity Bill.] June 1. Mr the court of directors, or the aid of their Anstruther, Solicitor-general to the Prince friends, without which humiliating sup- of Wales, acquainted the House, “ That port, such officers have only the dread the Prince of Wales, while the question ful alternative of dying in India, or

relative to his Establishment was under lingering in indigence at home. To afford the consideration of the House of Comrelief to the officers, in all these cases, mons, had thought the proper conduct for will be the principal object of the ar- him to observe was, to avoid expressing rangement for the army in India, at pre- any opinion or wish upon the subject; sent under consideration, of which I shall fully sensible that the liberality and wisjust mention the leading principles, viz. dom of parliament would make such arthat a certain number of general, and a rangements as should be best suited to larger proportion of field officers shall be the situation of his affairs, the dignity of allowed to each of the military establish the royal family, and the interest of the ments at the several presidencies; that a public; but having understood, that it comfortable and honourable retreat shall, was the desire of many respectable perafter a certain number of years service, sons, that his wishes and opinions upon be afforded to such officers as may wish to the subject should be known, his Royal retire; and that officers whose state of Highness had authorized him to assure the health may require a temporary residence House, that he is extremely desirous that such regulations may be adopted, as to I went precisely to the two objects referred the wisdom of parliament shall seem most to in the communication from his Royal expedient and advisable, for the purpose Highness-the regulation of the expendiof establishing order and regularity in ture of his household, and the appropriathe expenditure of his income, and to pre- tion of part of the income for the disvent the incurring of debt in future.-charge of debt. The question at present And, at the same time, his Royal High- was, whether the aid of parliament ought ness had authorized him farther to ex- to be given to his Royal Highness, by press his earnest desire, that the House | adopting legislative regulations for the will appropriate such part of the income, discharge of debts, which it was admitted which they may intend to allot to him, on all hands ought never to have been to the liquidation of the debts with which contracted? Without any retrospect to he is embarrassed, as, under all the pre- the past, over which he wished to draw a sent circumstances, shall seem to the wis- veil he appealed to the fair and candid dom and prudence of the House most ex- feelings of the House, whether they could pedient and adviseable; fully sensible refuse to adopt a measure so necessary that, however large that appropriation for the character and credit of his Royal may be, the House will be guided solely Highness, and so intimately connected by the consideration of what shall appear with his personal comfort and the splento them the most conducive to his ho- dor of his rank? He concluded with nour, and the interest of the public.” moving, “ That it be an instruction to

Mr. Pitt said, that in consequence of the gentlemen, who are appointed to prethe communication which had just been pare and bring in a bill for enabling his made to the House, he rose with senti- Majesty to grant a yearly sum or sums of ments of much less anxiety and much money, out of the consolidated fund, to. greater satisfaction than he had experi- wards providing for the Establishment of enced in any former part of this transac- their Royal Highnesses the Prince and tion. In bringing forward this business, Princess of Wales; that they do make he had not however been without conso- provision in the said bill for establishing lation. He had satisfaction in contem- a regular and punctual order of payment plating the principles which had given in the Prince's future expenditure, and rise to the difficulties attendant on the for guarding against his incurring debts transaction. He observed with pleasure in future; and also for appropriating a that a parliament which had never failed proportion of the Prince's annual income, in any expression of loyalty to their sove- towards the gradual discharge of the inreign, or attachment to his family, which cumbrances to which his Royal Highness had never been wanting in discovering a is now subject." proper spirit of liberality, when the occa- Mr. Duncombe said, that with whatever sion called for it, had no less in the pre- concern he might rise to obstruct any sent instance shown a degree of jealousy, proceeding that professed to have for its care, and circumspection, when a demand object the ease and comfort of his Royal was made upon the pockets of their con Highness, he considered the call of duty stituents, attended with some circum- as paramount to all other considerations. stances which they could not altogether it was the duty of the representatives of approve. He had no less satisfaction in the British nation to speak, when the ocobserving that the illustrious personage casion warranted, with a proper boldness, himself was impressed with a just sense of to persons even in the most exalted stathat line of conduct, which a regard to his tion. Under this impression he must say character and situation required him to that parliament could not, consistently pursue, and he trusted that the House with their duty to their constituents, or had that day received an earnest of the with that inviolable regard which they future dispositions of his Royal Highness, owed to truth and fidelity, after the soand of that regard to the welfare of the lemn assurances they had received on a people, which would distinguish him in former occasion, consent a second time the exalted situation to which he one day to pay the debts of the Prince of Wales. might be called. Under that impression, At a time (said Mr. D.) when the comhe hoped that there would be little differ forts and conveniences of life are wanting ence of opinion as to the proposition to the middle classes of society, when the which he should submit to the House. poor are scarcely supplied even with com. The instruction which he meant to move mon necessaries, and when the prospect

of a dearth becomes every day more alarming, I cannot listen to idle claims of splendor and magnificence: I trust that at such a time the benevolent feelings of his Royal Highness will dispose him rather to sympathize with the distress of the lower orders, and to sacrifice something for their relief, than to form selfish and extravagant pretensions. In these distempered times, let us beware how, by a wanton profusion of the public money we furnish the favourers of wild and dangerous innovations with a colour of plausibility for their arguments. As a friend to the hereditary monarchy, I feel myself called upon to resist the motion. Let us recollect that there are other branches of the royal family. If, after the assurance we received, we again consent to pay the debts of his Royal Highness, we shall establish a precedent, of which we cannot tell to what extent it may be carried. I do not mean to say that the debts ought not to be paid, but I look to other resources for that purpose: I look first to the justice of his Royal Highness, to make provision for the payment of those debts that shall be proved to be just; I look to future economy in the regulation of his household; and lastly, I look to the assistance which he may derive from the well-known munificence of his royal father. As the idea of a temporary retirement has been suggested, I have only to remark, that from such a retirement his Royal Highness may reap great advantage in settling his affairs, and be again enabled to emerge with fresh splendor. Retirement is the nurse of reflection; by its influence his Royal Highness may be enabled to confirm those resolutions which he has expressed in his communication to the House, and to return into public life fortified against future error, and qualified for the important duties of that high sta tion which he may one day be called upon to fill.

Mr. Curwen expressed his satisfaction at the message. He hoped it would prove, on the part of the Prince, an earnest of his future attention to the happiness of the country. He remarked on the cruelty that would be attached to the situation of his illustrious consort, if, by a refusal of that House to make any provision for the debts, she was left exposed to the taunts and insults of creditors. He wished his Royal Highness to be put in a situation to obtain respect, and to deserve it; he had therefore voted for the

larger income with a view to the application of a considerable part of it to the discharge of the debts. He regretted that the House had as yet received no communication on the subject from his majesty. He had hoped that he would have done something considerable, in the way of extricating the Prince from his difficulties.

Mr. Grey said, that every one must have felt satisfaction at the message from his Royal Highness. He was happy to receive it, not as a measure taken upon the spur of the occasion, but as the sincere expression of his feelings, with respect. to the House: he wished, indeed, that the whole grace of the transaction had belonged to his Royal Highness; that it had not been suggested from any other quarter; that ministers had first come to the House for a proper establishment, and when it had been granted, that the message had followed from the Prince, requiring the appropriation of part of his income for the discharge of his debts. At any rate, he must consider ministers as responsible for the former message, which contained the assurance that no second application should be made. They ought undoubtedly to have taken some means to enforce that assurance, and they were now bound to explain to the House why such means had not been taken. After what had passed, no reliance could be had that those provisions which might be made with respect to future conduct, would be of any avail. The only way the House had of discharging their duty was, to meet the present application with a direct refusal. His hon. friend had stated that by this refusal her Royal Highness would be exposed to taunts and insults. He hoped that even with the smaller income and proper economy, there would be found sufficient means to make provision for the discharge of the debts, more especially as in such a situation the Prince would be able to come to a composition with his creditors upon much better terms than if the idea was to be held out, that the business was to be taken up by that House. We knew that there were great means in the possession of an illustrious personage, and it was to be hoped that he would be induced to come forward with his assistance.

Mr. Secretary Dundas said, that the House had already decided for an income of 125,000. The motion was not an application for a sum of money for the discharge of the debts; the only question


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