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From the SELECT COMMITTEE appointed to take into consideration the state of the Administration of Justice in the provinces of Bengal, Bahar, and Orissa, and to report the same, 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 the Native Inhabitants may be best promoted. -(1783.)

YOUR Committee, in the course of their in

quiry into the obedience yielded by the Company's servants 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

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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 all, who were concerned in the first disco-
veries, did probably prevent any further complaint
upon the subject; but, towards the close of the last
session, Your Committee have received much of
new and alarming information concerning that

B. N° 1.

plement to

the 2d Re


page 7.

The first traces appeared, though faintly and Appendi, obscurely, in a letter to the Court of Directors Vide Supfrom the Governour-General, Mr. Hastings, written on the 29th of November 1780. It has been 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 eronerate the Company from that "charge."-Continuing his Minute of Council, he says: "That sum (a sum of about £. 23,000,) I have already de

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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 that he was delivering back to the Company money of

B. N° 2.

their own, which he had secreted from them. Indeed, no man 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 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

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a trifle of that sum, in the hands of the sub-trea"surer," no entry whatsoever of that, or any other Appendix, 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 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 transmitted

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transmitted to Europe. The defect of an entry, corresponding with Mr. Hastings's declaration in Council, can be attributed only to one of these four causes; of which the want of foundation in his recorded assertion, though very blamable, is the least alarming.

On the 29th of November following, Mr. Hast- Vide Appendix, B. ings communicated to the Court of Directors some N° 1. sort of notice of this transaction. In his letter of that date he varies, in no small degree, the aspect, under which the business appeared in his Minute of Consultation of the 26th of June. In his letter he says to the Directors, "the subject is now become "obsolete; the fair hopes, which I had built upon "the prosecution of the Mahratta war, have been "blasted by the dreadful calamities, which have " befallen your Presidency of Fort Saint George; " and changed the object of our pursuit, from the aggrandizement of your power to its preserva"tion." After thus confessing, or rather boasting, of his motives to the Mahratta war, he proceeds:

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my present reason for reverting to my own con"duct on the occasion, which I have mentioned,” (namely, his offering a sum of money for the Company's service)" is to obviate the false conclusions,

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or purposed misrepresentations, which may be "made of it, either as an artifice of ostentation, or the effect of corrupt influence, by assuring you, "that the money, by whatever means it came into



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