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The Works of the Right Honourable Edmund Burke, Vol. 08 (of 12)

The Works of the Right Honourable Edmund Burke, Vol. 08 (of 12)
Author: Burke Edmund
Title: The Works of the Right Honourable Edmund Burke, Vol. 08 (of 12)
Release Date: 2006-04-13
Type book: Text
Copyright Status: Public domain in the USA.
Date added: 25 March 2019
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THE WORKS
OF
THE RIGHT HONOURABLE
EDMUND BURKE

IN TWELVE VOLUMES
VOLUME THE EIGHTH

BURKE COAT OF ARMS.

London
JOHN C. NIMMO
14, KING WILLIAM STREET, STRAND, W.C.
MDCCCLXXXVII


CONTENTS OF VOL. VIII


NINTH REPORT
OF THE
SELECT COMMITTEE OF THE HOUSE OF COMMONS
ON
THE AFFAIRS OF INDIA.
June 25, 1783.


NINTH REPORT

From the SELECT COMMITTEE [of the House of Commons]appointed to take into consideration the state of theadministration of justice in the provinces of Bengal, Bahar,and Orissa, and to report the same, as it shall appear tothem, to the House, with their observations thereupon; andwho were instructed to consider how the British possessionsin the East Indies may be held and governed with the greatestsecurity and advantage to this country, and by what means thehappiness of the native inhabitants may be best promoted.

I.—OBSERVATIONS ON THE STATE OF THE COMPANY'S AFFAIRS IN INDIA.

In order to enable the House to adopt the most proper means forregulating the British government in India, and for promoting thehappiness of the natives who live under its authority or influence, yourCommittee hold it expedient to collect into distinct points of view thecircumstances by which that government appears to them to be mostessentially disordered, and to explain fully the principles of policyand the course of conduct by which the natives of all ranks and ordershave been reduced to their present state of depression and misery.

Your Committee have endeavored to perform this task in plain and popularlanguage, knowing that nothing has alienated the House from inquiriesabsolutely necessary for the performance of one of the most essentialof all its duties so much as the technical language of the Company'srecords, as the Indian names of persons, of offices, of the tenure andqualities of estates, and of all the varied branches of their intricaterevenue. This language is, indeed, of necessary use in the executivedepartments of the Company's affairs; but it is not necessary toParliament. A language so foreign from all the ideas and habits of thefar greater part of the members of this House has a tendency to disgustthem with all sorts of inquiry concerning this subject. They arefatigued into such a despair of ever obtaining a competent knowledge ofthe transactions in India, that they are easily persuaded to remand themback to that obscurity, mystery, and intrigue out of which they havebeen forced upon public notice by the calamities arising from theirextreme mismanagement. This mismanagement has itself, as your Committeeconceive, in a great measure arisen from dark cabals, and secretsuggestions to persons in power, without a regular public inquiry intothe good or evil tendency of any measure, or into the merit or demeritof any person intrusted with the Company's concerns.

Present laws relating to the East India Company, and internaland external policy.The plan adopted by your Committee is, first, to consider the lawregulating the East India Company, as it now stands,—and, secondly, toinquire into the circumstances of the two great links of connection bywhich the territorial possessions in India are united to this kingdom,namely, the Company's commerce, and the government exercised under thecharter and under acts of Parliament. The last [first] of these objects,the commerce, is taken in two points of view: the external, or thedirect trade between India and Europe, and the internal, that is tosay, the trade of Bengal, in all the articles of produce and manufacturewhich furnish the Company's investment.

The government is considered by your Committee under the likedescriptions of internal and external. The internal regards thecommunication between the Court of Directors and their servants inIndia, the management of the revenue, the expenditure of public money,the civil administration, the administration of justice, and the stateof the army. The external regards, first, the conduct and maxims of theCompany's government with respect to the native princes and peopledependent on the British authority,—and, next, the proceedings withregard to those native powers which are wholly independent of theCompany. But your Committee's observations on the last division extendto those matters only which are not comprehended in the Report of theCommittee of Secrecy. Under these heads, your Committee refer to themost leading particulars of abuse which prevail in the administration ofIndia,—deviating only from this order where the abuses are of acomplicated nature, and where one cannot be well consideredindependently of several others.

Second attempt made by Parliament for a reformation.Your Committee observe, that this is the second attempt made byParliament for the reformation

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