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A SUMMARY ACCOUNT
PROCEEDINGS OF THE LATE PARLIAMENT,
From its Meeting on the 11th Day of November, 1783, to its Disolution
on the 25th Day of March, 1784, so far as relates to the India Bills, and the Dismission of the late Ministry.
HOUSE OF LORD S.
NOVEMBER II, 1783.
on the Throne with the usual folemnity, the Usher of the
Black Rod was sent with a meslage, commanding the attendance of the House of Commons; and the Commons being come, his Majesty was pleased to deliver the following most gracious ipeech :
My Lords and Gentlemen, “ I HAVE the satisfaction to inform you, that Definitive Treaties of Peace have * been concluded with the Courts of France and Spain, and with the United States of " America. Preliminary Articles have been allo ratified with the States General of the “ United Provinces. I have ordered these several Treaties to be laid before “ am happy to add, that I have no caufe of doubt, but that all those Powers agree “ with me in my fincere inclination to keep the calamities of war at a great distance.
“ The objects which are to be brought under your deliberation will fufficiently explain “ my reasons for calling you together after fo fhort a recess. Enquiries of the utinost
importance have been long and diligently pursued, and the fruit of them will be ex
pečted. The situation of the East India Company will require the utmost exertions of “ your wisdom, to maintain and improve the valuable advantages derived from our Indian “ poffeffions, and to promote and secure the happiness of the native inhabitants of those “ provinces.
« The season of peace will call upon you for an attention to every thing, which can « recruit the itrength of the nation, after so long and to expensive a war.
The security 66 and increate of the revenue, in the manner least burthensome to my subjects, will be “ amongst your first objects. In many essential parts it has suffered; dangerous frauds “ have prevailed ; and alarming outrages have been committed. Exertions have not been “ wanting to repress this daring spirit, nor pains to enquire into its true causes. In any “ instances in which the power of Government may not be equal to its utmost care and “ vigiance, I have no doubt that the wisdom of my Parliainentwill provide such reme“ dies as may be found wanting, for the accomplishment of purposes in which the “ material interests of this nation are so deeply concerned.
Gentlemen of the House of Commons, “ I have ordered the estimates of the expences for the year to be laid before you. From “ those you will perceive the reduction which I have made in all the establishments, which
appear to me to be brought as low as prudence will admit; and you will participate “ with me in the fatisfaction which I feel in this step towards the relief of my subjects.
" At the end of a war, some part of its weight must inevitably be borne for a time. I “ feel for the burthens of my people; but I rely on that fortitude, which has hitherto
supported this nation under many difficulties, for their bearing those which the presen exigencies require, and which are so · necessary for the full support of national credit.
My Lords and Gentlemen, “ In many respects our situation is new; your counsels will provide what is called for « by that situation, and your wisdom will give permanence to whatever has been found “ beneficial by the experience of ages. In your deliberations you will preserve that tem“ per of moderation, which the importance of their objects demands, and will, I have no « doubt, produce; and I am sure that you are unanimous in your desire to direct all " those deliberations to the honour of my Crown, the safety of my Dominions, and the “ prosperity of my People.”
HOUSE OF COMMONS.
November 18.] Mr. Fox proposed his India Bill, and on the 2oth presented it to the House, when it was read for a first time. On the 27th it was read a second time, and opposed going into a Committee by Mr. Pitt, but the House. divided on the motion of Mr. Pitt for adjourning the question. Ayes
Majority for the Commitment
109 December 1.] Mr. Fox made a motion for the House to resolve itself into a Committee, agreeable to the determination of the 27th of November, when the question being put, there appeared
For Mr. Fox's motion 217
(3) December 8.) Being appointed for the third reading, the House divided on the question. Ayes
Majority Mr. Fox then gave notice that he should attend on the next day at three o'clock, to carry the bill up to the Lords.
The following is an exact Copy of that celebrated Bill.
Hands of certain COMMISSIONERS, fer the Benefit of the PROPRIÉTORS,
Be it therefore enacted by the King's most excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and the Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, that the government and management of the territorial poffeffions, revenues, and commerce, of the United Company of Merchants of England-trading to the East Indies, by the Directors and Proprietors of the said Company, or either of them; and all and fingular the powers and authorities of the said Directors and Proprietors, or of any special, or general, or other Court thereof, in the ordering and managing the said possessions, revenues, and commerce; and all elections of Directors of the said United Company; be and are hereby declared to be discontinued, for and during the continuance of this act; any charter, law, or statute, to the contrary notwithstanding.
And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That for the better governing, ordering, and managing the said territorial possessions, revenues, and commerce, the Right Honourable William Earl Fitzwilliam, the Right Honourable Frederick Montagu, the Right Honourable George Legge, commonly called Lord Viscount Lewisham, the Honourable George Augustus North, Sir Gilbert Elliot, Baronet, Sir Henry Fletcher, Baronet, and Robert Gregory, Esq.: hall be, and they are hereby constituted and appointed Directors of the United Company, and shall be, and they are hereby constituted Members of the said Company; and that the said Directors hereby! appointed, or any three of them, shall have, use, poffefs, and exercise, all and fingular the powers and authorities which have been, at any time heretofore, vested in or lawfully exercised by the faid Directors hereby discontinued, or Proprietors, of the said 'United Company; and all such further and other powers and authorities, and under fuch directions, and subject to such limitations and restrictions, as in this act, or in any other act, the provisions whereof are not hereby altered or repealed, are contained, for the government' and management of the said territorial poffeffions, revenues, and commerce, of the said United Company, or in any wife relative thereto. B.2
.- And he it further enated by the authority aforesaid, That the fard Directors hereby appointed shall, and they are hereby authorized and impowered, immediately from and after the commencement of this act, to enter into and upon, and to possess themselves of all lands, tenements, houses, warehouses, and other buildings whatever, of or belonging to the faid United Company; and also to take into their custody and possession all books, records, documents, charters, acts, instruments, letters, and other papers whatsoever, and also all ships and vessels, goods, wares, merchandizes, money, securities for money, and all other effects whatsoever, of or belonging to the United Company, in truft for, and for the benefit of the Proprietors thereof, and to have, hold, possess the fame, in like manner as were they held and poffefled by the Directors hereby discontinued, subject to such charges, claims, and demands, as do or may affect the same; which Directors so discontinued, and all other officers and servants of the said United Company, are hereby enjoined, immediately upon the requisition of the said Directors hereby appointed, signified under their hands and feals, or the hands and feals of any three of them, to deliver to them, or to such person or persons as they shall for that purpose appoint, all such lands, tenements, houses, warehouses, buildings, books, records, documents, charters, acts, instruments, papers, thips, vefsels, goods, wares, and merchandizes, money, securities for money, and all other effects whatsoever.
And for the sole purpose of ordering and managing the commerce of the said United Company, under and subject to the orders and directions of the said Directors hereby appointed, be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That Thomas Cheap, Efa. George Cumming, Esq. Richard Hall, Esq. John Harrison, Esq. Jofeph Sharp, Esq. John Michie, Elq. John Smith, Esq. George Tatem, Etq. and James Moffat, Esq. being Proprietors, each of them of two thouland pounds capital stock in the said United Company, at least, fhall be affiftant Directors, for the purpote last aforesaid; and thall, from time to time, without requisition, and also as often as they thall be thereunto required, renderían account of their proceedings to the faid Directors hereby appointed; and in all matters and things whatsoever, shall pursue and follow such orders and directions, as they shall from time to time receive from fuch Directors.
And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That in case any vacancy or vacancies shall happen in the office of the said Directors hereby appointed, by death, resignation, removal, or otherwise, fuch vacancy or vacancies thall be filled by his Majesty, under his fign manual, within twenty days after notice of such vacancy or vacancies shall have been given to one of his Majesty's principal Secretaries of State.
And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That in cate any vacancy or vacancies shall happen in the office of the said assistant Directors, by death, resignation, removal, or otherwise, fuch vacancy or vacancies fhall be filled by the majority of the Proprietors of the said United Company, qualified in the manner required by an act of the thirteenth year of his present Majesty, intituled, “ An Act for establishing “ certain regulations, for the better management of the affairs of the East India Com
pany, as well in India as in Europe;" which Proprietors, at such election of any affiftant Director, shall not vote by ballot, or in any other covert or concealed manner, but in open court, for that purpose only specially summoned; and every such Proprietor, in giving his or her vote, shall subscribe his or her name in a book to be prepared for that purpose, under the name of the person for whom he or she shall · And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That if five of the said Directors hereby appointed, who shall be present at any meeting, shall, upon enquiry, and after examination into the conduct and behaviour of the said affistant Directors, find that any of them is guilty of neglect or misdeineanor in the execution of his faid ofhce, or of wilful disobedience of any order or orders of the faid Direétors hereby appointed, they are hereby authorized and impowered to remove and displace such afrístant
Directors; entering in their journals their reasons respectively, for removing or dirplacing such assistant Director, figned with their respective names.
And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That the said William Earl Fitzwilliam Thall be, during his continuance as a Director by virtue of this act, Chairman of the board of Directors, and the said Right Honourable Frederick Montagu, Deputy Chairman thereof; and if the said Chairman shall die, refign, or be removed from fuch office of Director, at any time during the continuance of this act, then and in that case the faid Deputy Chairinan fhall succeed to the office of Chairman of the said board of Directors; and if the said Deputy Chairman being become Chairman of the said board of Directors, hall also die, resign, or be removed from the faid office of a Director, then and in that case, and also in every other case of a vacancy in the office of a Chairman of the faid board of Directors, the said Directors hereby appointed shall choose and elect one of themselves to supply such vacancy; and if a vacancy, either by succefTion or otherwise, shall at any time happen in the faid office of Deputy Chairman of the faid board of Directors, established by this act, the said Directors hereby appointed, shall in like manner, choose and elect one of themselves to supply such vacancy.
And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That the said Chairman of the faid board of Directors, or in his absence, the said Deputy Chairman, shall have power to call or fuinmons any extraordinary meeting of the faid Directors hereby appointed, at such time or times as he shall think expedient; and may, at any meeting whatever of luch Directors, if he shall think fit, propose the businels to be first considered by fuch Directors at such meeting ; and in case of an equal division of voices on any question whatever before the said board of Directors shall have the casting voice : provided always, that nothing herein contained shall prevent the majority of such Directors present at any meeting, from adjourning their meetings to such time or times as they shall think proper.
And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That it shall not be lawful for the said Directors hereby appointed, or any of them, upon any question whatever, to vote by ballot, or in any other covert inanner; and that in any difference of opinion, except as to the election to offices of persons not having before been in the service of the faid United Company, the said Directors (as well the majority as those who fhall dissent) shall each of them enter, on the journals of the said Directors, his reasons for his vote, figned with his name, or his adherence to the reasons entered by any other Director.
And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That no person furnishing the faid United Company with thipping, or with any article of their investment outwards, either from Great Britain, or from such ports and places as the Company's ships have occafion to touch at in their way to India, or with any naval or military stores, or concerned in buying and selling any commodity of the said United Company's importation, shall be capable of being a Director or affiftant Director for the execution of this act.
And be it also enacted by the authority aforesaid, That no person shall be capable of being a Director, or afliltant Director, for the execution of this act, against whom the charge of any corrupt practice, peculation, or oppression in India, doth or shall appear in the records of the said United Company within the space of two years before the time of his nomination, or shall be made upon oath before the said Directors hereby appointed within the space of two years before the time of his nomination, until fuch Di. rectors, or three of them, shall have examined into the fame, and shall have severally declared that they have examined into the said charge, and do in their conscience believe such person not guilty of the said charge; or that they do, upon the said examination, find the said charge not of fufficient importance to 'exclude the said person from the said office of Director, or assistant Director, as the case may be; and that they have entered upon their journals their reasons for fuch their opinion.