East India Company.

The debate at the general quarterly court held at the East India house, on Wednesday, June 19, 1799, to take into consideration the papers respecting illicit trade, which were printed in consequence of a resolution of the general court on the 20th of March last : and other purposes, for which the co online

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Online LibraryEast India CompanyThe debate at the general quarterly court held at the East India house, on Wednesday, June 19, 1799, to take into consideration the papers respecting illicit trade, which were printed in consequence of a resolution of the general court on the 20th of March last : and other purposes, for which the co → online text (page 1 of 5)
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Which were printed in confequence of a Refolution of the GENERAL COURT on the
20th of March laft; and other purpoles, for which the Court was made Special.

At which Court a Motion was made, and after Debate carried unanimoujly as follows :

RESOLVED, That it does not appear to the fatisfa&ion of this Court, from the Papers printed for their comi-
deration, that it was neceffary to include the name of David Scott, fenior, in any Bill of Difcovery ; but as the
Court of Directors have thought proper, at the requeft of Mr. Scott himfelf (although not confiftent with the Re-
folution of the laft General Court), to prepare a Bill including his name, and to fubmit the fame to his Majefty'
Attorney General, this Court do acquiefce therein : but they think it incumbent upon them at the fame time
to declare, that they do not fee from thefe papers the fmalleft reafon to fulpect Mr. Scott of having betrayed any
confidential knowledge which he poflefled as a Member of the Secret Committee, or any part of his duty as a Di-
reftor of this Company, or of having any perfonal knowledge of the Ship Helfingoer, or of tranfaftions relative to
the Trade of the Houfe of David Scott and Company, and that they entirely concur with the Court of Directors
in acquitting him of all perfonal imputation.









Of iv horn may be had,
Mr. Woodfall's Reports of Eaft India Houfe Debates within the laft five years,

[Price Two Shillings.]




JUNE ig, 1799.

P"TP\HE proceedings of the laft General Court, recommending the confidera-
I tion of Lord Nelfon's fervices to the Court of Directors, and alfo, re-
commending the not including Mr. David Scott, fenior's name in a Bill of
Difcovery, were read by the Clerk.

The CHAIRMAN informed the Court, that this being a Quarterly General
Court, it was neceflary to declare the dividend on the Company's (lock, from the
5th of January laft to the 5th of July next, he therefore moved, that the refo-
lution of the Court of Directors that the fame {hould be five and a quarter per
cent, be confirmed ; which was unanimoufly agreed to.

The CHAIRMAN then ftated, that by the third Chapter of the feventh Sec-
tion of the By Laws, a Committee of By Laws was to be annually chofen at this
time, he fhould therefore defire that the names of thofe Gentlemen who had
ferved laft year (hould be read, and it would be neceflary that they fhould be put
in nomination feparately. He was forry to inform them, that one of the com-
mittee (Mr. Blackburn) was dead, and it would be neceflary to fill up the

The fix following Gentlemen, being the former members of the Committee,
were then feparately named and re-elecled, viz :

B John


( 6 )

John Cornwall, Efq. Henry Stracbey, Efq.

Robert Hunter, Efq. Samuel Wegg, Efq. and

, . Robert Holford, Efq. George WiUon, Efq.

And in the room of Mr. Blackburn, William Drew, Efq.

The CHAIRMAN alfo informed the Court, that by the llth Sea. of the third
Chapter of the By- Laws, it was neceffary that the whole of the By-Lavvs fhould
be read at the prefent Quarterly Court. He fhould therefore move, pro forma, that
they fhould be read in the abflract ; which being done, the Chairman faid,
he had now to communicate to the Court the unanimous refolution of the Court
of Directors conveying the thanks of the Company to Lord Nelfon, and that in
confequence of the Court of Proprietors having referred it to their Executive
Body to confider of a fuitable reward for thofe (ervices, they had taken the fame
into their confideration and had come to an unanimous refolution which he beg-
ged might be read. The Clerk then read the following refolution : ^

At a COURT of DIRECTORS, held 14th April, 1799.

Refolded Unanimoujly, That the thanks of this Court be given to the Right
Honourable Rear Admiral Lord NELSON, for the very great and im-
portant fervices he has rendered to the Eafl India Company, by the
ever-memorable victory obtained over the French fleet, near the
Mouth of the Nile, on the 1ft, 2cl, and 3d of Auguft, 1798.

Refolded Unanimoujly , That in further teftimony of the high fenfe this
Court entertain of the very great and important benefits arifing to the
Eafl India Company from his Lordfhip's magnanimous conduct on
that glorious occafion, this Court requefl his Lordfhip's acceptance of
the fum of Ten Thoufand Pounds.

The CHAIRMAN faid, he had the fatisfaction to acquaint the Court, that this
refolution had been fubmitted to the Board of Commiflioners who had agreed to
it, and he would beg that the intimation of their concurrence might be read, in
order to fhew the opinion the Board entertained on this occafion. The fame
was read as follows :

Whitehall, 7th May, 1799.

The Board moft highly approve, and with the greateft pleafure confirm, the
refolution of the Court of Directors, requefting the Right Honourable


Rear Admiral Lord NELSON'S acceptance of the Turn of in.oool as a
token of the juft lenfc they entertain of the very important fervicts ien-
dered the Eaft India Company, by his Lordflnp's glorious victory over
the rench fleet off the Mou^h of the Nile, on the firft, lecond and third
of Auguft laft ; and the Board do not conceive how the Court could
have done lefs than they have propofed.




The CHAIRMAN informed the Court, that thefe refolutions had been for-
\varded to Lord Nellbn, through the medium of the Admiralty, the Court having
conceived that to be the beft way of communicating to liis Lordfhip the fentt-
ments of the Eaft India Company.

Sir John Cox Hippi/ley rofe and faid, that as the Court was exprefsly and origi-
nally called for the confideration of Lord Nelfon's fervices, thofe fervices had been
fully recognized_, and there was but one opinion of their magnitude and impor-
tance to the interefts of the Company, he Ihould therefore confine himfelf, on the
prefent occafion, to fimply moving, that this Court do agree with the refolution
of the Court of Directors, in favour of Lord Nelfon, as reported by the Chair-


This motion being feconded by Mr. W. Lufhington,

The CHAIRMAN obferved, that the motion was not necefiary, as the General
Court had referred thebufinefs of remunerating Lord Nellbn to the Court of Di-
rectors. He then proceeded to ftate to the Court, that the Directors had come to
a refolution of placing the Company's marine forces at Bombay on the fame foot-
ing as their army in India, for which purpofe it would be neccflary to bring a
bill into Parliament, fubjecting that branch of their fervice to marine law. He
believed alfo, it had never been formally announced to the Court, that in the pre
fent exigency of affairs the Company had thought it right to add a third regi-
ment of their labourers for the protection of their warehoufes.

The CHAIRMAN then (tated, th;;t the Court of Directors having taken into their
confideration the fervices rendered to the Company by the late Mr. Edward Hay,


( 6 )

who had for many years acted as Secretary to the Government General of Bengal,
and had died in diilrefled circumftances, they had been induced, in confideration
of his long and eminent fervices, to grant-an annuity of three hundred pounds per
annum to his widow, who was left with a family unprovided for, the refolution to
which effect would now be fubmitted to the Court for their confideration.

The Clerk then read the proceedings of the Committee of Correfpondence
upon the petition of Elizabeth Hay, and their refolution confirmed by the Court
of Directors, to recommend it to the General Court, to concur in the grant of
an annuity of 3001. per annum to Mrs. Hay, during her widowhood, to com-
mence from May laft.

The CHAIRMAN fpoke in the higheft terms of the long and faithful fervices of
Mr. Hay, whofe very extraordinary merits had been confirmed to the Directors
by the teftimony of four different Governors General, under whom he had ferved,
namely, Mr. Haftings, Marquis Cornwallis, Sir John Macpherfon, and Lord
Teinmouth, it having alfo appeared to them that he died in very indigent cir-
cumftances, they had from the peculiar nature of the cafe been induced to agree
to the application of Mrs. Hay, for a penfion, the refolution to which effect was
now fubmitted to the General Court, according to the By-laws, for their fanction.

The CHAIRMAN then moved, that the Court do agree to this refolution,
which panned unanimoufly.

The CHAIRMAN communicated to the Court an application which had been
made to the Directors by Mr. George Patterfon to return to India, with his rank
in the fervice, with which they had, from the particular hardfhipsof Mr. Patterfon 's
eafe, been induced to comply. As this gentleman had been at home more than five
years, it was neceflary that hisjeave to return fhould be confirmed by the Proprie-
tors. He believed Mr. Patterfon's cafe Was well known to mod gentlemen in that
Court, he had been reduced to a (late of indigence by circumftances which it would
not be proper to ftate in fo public an aflembly. The objections to Gcntlcmens
returning to fituations in the fcrvicc after a long abfence was, that it was injurious
to the intereft of thofc fervants who were at prcfent difcharging their duty to the
Company in India, but in this cafe, fuch was the peculiar good character of the


( 9 )

gentleman, that his re-appointment would give fatisfaction to rvery Tnember of the
iettlcmenttowhich he belonged, and his return would be welcomed with open arms.
Without ante- .ng into the particular circumftartces which had occafioned this
application, he could aflure the Court that Mr. Patterfon was no party to the
occurrences which had occafioned the misfortune of the houfe he was con-
nected with.

The Clerk then read the refolution of the Directors for reftoring Mr. Patter-
fon to the Company's fervice.

The CHAIRMAN faid, he would not m;ke any motion upon it, as by the act of
Parliament,, the confirmation required, which was that of two thirds of the Pro-
prietors, muft be by ballot.

Mr. Chi/Iiolme begged leave to make one obfervation on the fubject. He did
not know Mr. Patterfon, nor did he rife to oppofe his being reftored to the fervice.
He thought it howeycr a matter of juftice to the Company's fervants abroad to
take fome notice of this mafurc. If it had been a new cafe, he (hould make no
obfervation upon it, but of late thefe fort of applications had come fo much into
practice that they pafled almoft as a matter of courfe. He fhould wave any
difcuflion of the fubjecl in the prefent inftance, but he gave notice that on the
next occafion that occured, he fhould rife in his place, and (late his objections to
the principle upon which thefe fort of applications were founded.


The CHAIRMAN obferved, that It did not frequently happen that the Directors
brought forward any fuch recommendation ; there were only three inftances of
Company's fervants being reftored fince the palling of the act which gave a dif-
cretionary power to that effect.

Mr. Chi/iolme faid, the inftances had followed each other very clofely, and he
thought the practice highly injurious to the fervice.

The CHAIRMAN propofed Tuefday the 2d of July for the ballot on Mr. Pat*
terfon's appointment, which was agreed to.



The CHAIRMAN then ft'atcd'.to the Court, that a part of the bufihefs for which
they had been convened, was for confidcring a recommendation of the Court of
Directors to difpenfe with the prefent By-laws refpecti-ng (hipping, and to per-
mit two (hips to be built upon the bottoms of the Ocean and Henry Addington ^
and alfp for confidcring a Bill propofed to be brought into Parliament for regulat-
ing in future the manner in which the Company (hall hire and take up (hips for
their fervice ; but as the fourteen days notice required by the By-laws had not
been. given, he would propofe to fix a general Court fur the confidcration of thofe
fubjects, on the 28th June next, which was the earlieft day pofftble, and in-
cluded the time which had elapfed (I nee the advertifement.

Mr. Henchman faid, he did not rife to make any objection to what the Chair-
man had propofed, but to offer an obfervation, which he hoped he would be ad-
mitted to do> refpecting a fubject of great eonfequence, which he thought ought
to make a part of that Bill he meant the General Trade of India, which, by the
Papers that would be before the Court this day,. it was evident, was in a date that
required immediate and very ferious attention. The Bill went to> provide for the
carrying of that trade, but it did not go into any other regulations, which were
mod imperiously called for. A very wife principle- was laid down by the regu-
lating India Act of 1793 ; but there was the cleared proof at hand, that mer-
chants had not the ncceflary facilities given them under that act, fo as to enable
them or the public to benefit to the extent which was intended : the Minifter
for India was well aware of this, and would he trufled interpofe ; all, Mr. Hench-
man faid, that he meant to do at prefent, was to give notice, that he or fome of
the friends near him would, whenever this Bill came forward, bring the fubject of
the General Trade of India into difcuflion, and offer fuch a motion to the Court
as mould tend to adiire the Court of Directors and his Majefiy's Minifter for
India, that they felt the neceffity of fome more effectual regulations being adopted
than what at prefent exifted, and that they would moft readily and cordially con-
cur in fuch further encouragement as (hould, after due deliberaticn, be thought
requifite in the prefent (late of affairs.


( 11 )

The CHAIRMAN ftatcd that in what he had juft before mentioned, " that the
" fpecific approbation of the Court of Proprietors was not eftential to the validity
" of the grant to Lord Nelfon,* as it now flood, he by no means wiflied to be un-
derftood as having confidered their approbation and previous recommendation
of the meafure of no importance. He was perfuaded that Lord Nelfon would
feel himfelf highly obliged to the Proprietors for the part they had taken in the
bufincfs ; all he meant was, that after the Refolution of the Directors had been
confirmed by the Board of Controul, it was not regular or neceflary to renew the

Sir John Cox HippiJIey expreffcd himfelf perfectly fatisfied'by this explanation,
and withdrew his motion;

The CHAIRMAN informed the Court that the notice for taking into their con -
fideration the printed papers on the Illicit Trade of the Company, .had been made
fpecial at the requeft of an honourable Director, whole name was alluded to iri
thole papers.

Mr. Scott faid, that as the honourable Chairman had juft acquainted them,
this Court had been made fpecial at Mr. Scott's particular deiire, for the difcuf*
fion of a fubject in which he was fo deeply interefted, he would ftate his reafons
for having made this requeft, but would not detain them more than a few mi-
nutes. The Proprietors had long been in poffeffion of the charges made againft
him, and were well acquainted with the enormity of the crimes- of which he
had been accufed. They had alfo read the Papers on which thefe charges were
faid to have been grounded.. The whole of thefe Papers had been feveral weeks
before them ; it was therefore unnecefTary for him to comment upon them at all.
The Proprietors had likewife been furnifhed with the minutes of his defence ;
thefe minutes he had only delivered in to the Court of Directors a few days ago,
having been prevented from fending them fooner by bad health : he ftooped not
to recrimination, for he ftood on higher ground. Neither the meafures, nor the
motives of his accufer were at prefent in his view. The Papers had no fooner
been read in the Court of Directors, on which the charges were founded, than
he, Mr. Scott, was exculpated to the complete fatisfaction of the Court, who
had acquitted him by an aimed unanimous decifion of every (hadow of impu-

tation. But, Mr. Scott added, he felt fomething further due to the Proprietors,
to the publie, and to himlcif : this had occalioned the minutes of defence, and
led him this d'lv before them, to requeft their 'dccifion on the fubject. He
fought no favour, he only claimed their juftice, and confcious rectitude gave him
no anxiety for the refult. He flattered himfeif, that after the heavy imputations
caft upon him from fuch a quarter, Gentlemen would think with him, that his
calling upon liia Conftituents to determine upon his conduct, was a.s natural as it
was right.

Mr. Chljholme (aid, it was cuftomary on queftions of this kind, to preface any
rolblution that was brought forward by a long introductory fpeech. He fhould
not obfcrve this method, for it was not his practice to take up for any length of
time the attention of the Court. The papers had been printed, and he prefumed,
pern fed by the Proprietors ; he hoped they would think them voluminous
enough ; he had read them with the utmoft attention, and after he had fo done,
he was thoroughly convinced that there was not the lean: foundation for the
charges brought forward againft Mr. Scott ; he thoroughly acquitted him of
every imputation. In faying this, he fpoke from the conviction of his own mind,
uninfluenced by any folicitation whatever. When he was thus fully convinced
of the innocence of the character of the honourable Director, he felt, it to be his
duty to bring forward a declaration to that effect; he thought his acquittal
ought to be as public and as general as the charge againft him had been made.
He felt the time of the Court to be of too much importance to prolong his ob-
fervations, he fhould, therefore, conclude with a fhort refolution, in framing
which, he had endeavoured to avoid every thing that might lead to any perfon-
ality ; but fiiould the debate take any turn which might make it neceffsry for
him fo to do, he begged leave to claim the privilege of being heard in reply.

Mr. Gil/holme then moved the following Refolution :

JfcfofoeJ, That it does not appear to the fatisfaction of this Court from the
papers printed for their conflderation, that it was neceflary to include
the name of David Scott, fenior, in any Bill of Difcovery ; but as the
Court of Directors have thought proper, at the requeft of Mr. Scott
himfeif, (although not confident with the refolution of the kft Ge-

( 13 )

neral Court) to prepare a bill including his name, and to fubmit the.
fame to his Majefty's Attorney General, this Court do acquiefce therein ;
but they think it incumbent upon them at the fame time to declare, that
they do not fee from thefe papers the fmallefl reafbn to fufpect Mr. Scott
of having betrayed any confidential knowledge, which he poflMed, as a
Member of the Secret Committee, or any part of his duty as a Director
of this Company, or of having any perfonal knowledge of the fhip
Helfingoer, or of tran dictions relative to the trade of the houfe of Da-
vid Scott and Co. and that they entirely concur with the Court of
Directors, in acquitting him of all perfonal imputation.

Mr. William Lujhmgton rofe to fecond the motion ; he wifhed, in common,
with every other Proprietor, to contribute to retrieve an highly honourable and
refpectable character from the unjuft imputations to which it had been fubjected.
He did not mean to arraign the fenfe of duty which had brought forward the
charges, but highly as he refpected the author of them, and much as he ap-
proved of his general conduct, he could not help expreffing, on this occafion,
his aftonifhment that he fhould have entertained and brought forward fufpicions
fo unwarranted and unjuft. His only objection to the motion which had been
made by his honourable Friend was, that it did not go far enough ; he had rifen
to fecond it, becaufe fo far as it did proceed, he entirely approved of it, but he
regretted that it had not gone farther, for in his opinion, there was not only no
grounds of fufpicion againft Mr. Scott, but that there was no foundation for a
Bill of Difcovery againft any of the parties implicated in the accufation. The
charges, fo far as the honourable Director was concerned in them, prefentcd three
principal and ftriking points, and he had attentively gone through the mafs of
papers on which they were founded, without having been able to difcover any
folid grounds by which any one of them could be fupported. The firft charge
was of a moft ferious nature, that of making public the fecretsof the Company
and the State. Mr. Scott and his friends muft necefTarily be anxious to have fo
ferious an imputation done away.

The fecond pretends to include Mr. Scott as a partner in the houfe of David
Scott, junior, and Co.

The third is an attack upon the houfe of David Scott and Co. dilconnected
from the name of David Scott, fenior.

Jn looking over the papers, Mr. Lufhington faid, it was perfectly clear to

D hi*

( 14 )

his mind, that there was not a (ingle act imputed to the noufe of David Scott
and Co. which was not fimply and fairly an act of agency. If in the tranfactions
alluded to, the houfe of David Scott and Co. acted on commiflion, it was per-
fectly fair fo to do, even though the articles purchafed by them for the houfe at
Copenhagen might be intended to fupply the enemies of this country. While
Government allow imports and exports, it is firictly juflifiable in any houfe of
agency to act in behalf of foreign neutral nations, on commiflion. The (hip Hel-
fingoer proceeds from hence to Copenhagen; what did her cargo coniiil of? Ar-
ticles of Britifh manufacture; fuch articles as it is the bufmcfs of Government to
protect and encourage the difpofal of; -flic afterwards failed to Manilla, and be-
caufethe Captain is charged with having faid that he expected to find the place
in the hands of the Englifh, it is-imputed to Mr. Scott to have given him infor-
mation of the intention of this country to attack it ! And this, though it appears
upon the face of the proceedings from whence the charge is made, that the Cap-
tain collected his information from a newfpaper put on board his fhip as he patted
through the channel. Mr. Lufhington faid it was unncceffiiry to dwell on this
frivolous charge, which was abandoned by thofe who had brought it forward ; he
would only add that the fufpicion was moft raftily adopted. He meant to impute
no improper motive to the late Chairman, but he could not help thinking that he
had fuffered this groundlefs fufpicion to lay fuch fall hold of his mind that it had
perverted his judgment throughout the whole of his inveftigation of the tranfac-
tion. This it was which afterwards led him to convert an act of agency into an
act of trading as principal, his mind having once gone the length of fufpect-
ing Mr. Scott of a greater x>ffence, it became eafy to believe him guilty of a
lefler ; but Mr. Lufhington faid, if, as he had contended, that the tranfactions
rcfpecling the Helfingoer were mere acts of agency, what grounds of impu-
tation were there either againft Mr. Scott, or the Houfe of David Scott,
junior, and Co? That the fhip and cargo belonged to the houfe of David
Scott and Co. reftcd folely upon one teftimony, and that one, the evidence
of a man, one of the national guards under Roberfpierre ; he did not mean to
reject his teftimony on this account, but he mentioned it to (hew of what dc-
fcription he was, and thence to account for his fubfequent conduct. What had
been the conduct of this man, (Rahling) ? Firft, he charges his Captain with
having been- guilty of grofs violence during the voyage, which occafioned the
death of two of the feamen. What declaration does he make at this time re-
fpccting the fhip and cargo ? He deliberately declares them to be Danifh pro-
perty ;

( J* )

perty; had they not been fo, his avowed hoftility to the Captain would then have led
him to have denounced the fhip and cargo Britifh property, and at once to have
gratified his revenge and promoted his intereft. But on the contrary, with the

1 3 4 5

Online LibraryEast India CompanyThe debate at the general quarterly court held at the East India house, on Wednesday, June 19, 1799, to take into consideration the papers respecting illicit trade, which were printed in consequence of a resolution of the general court on the 20th of March last : and other purposes, for which the co → online text (page 1 of 5)