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such wine was not fit to drink, by which only case which could justify a departure means perhaps the most unexceptionable from the Company's accustomed practice article would be coudemued in the esti. was wherever there was a combination in ination of the consamers; and the plain any particular branch of trade ; in such truth of the matter was that the wine in case the Company would undoubtedly requestion was condemned in India by the sort to public advertisement, as indeed infiuence of rival merchants, although the they always did upon occasions of that quality of it was unexceptionable.
kind. The experience of many, many With respect to the by-law now pro- years w:s decidedly against the principle posed he had only to say, upon tlie last of competition, and therefore he should authority that not above one quarter of hold up his hand against the whole of the the Company's esports were bought or by-law, conceiving, as he did, that no such could be bought by public advertisement; check was wanted. in fact, there were very few articles that The Hon. D, Kinnaird was extremely could be purchased by such means. There sorry that the discussion upon this by-law fore it appeared to him that this by-law seemed to have turned upon a transactiou was totally unnecessary, and he called not immediately connected with the subupon the court not to pass it, because it stantial principle upou which it stood, but would inevitably fetter the directors in the object of which seemed to be to get many of their commercial transactions. rid entirely of the law proposed. He was It was proposed that the committee of ready to admit that his hon. friend (Mr. buying and selling should state their rea Hume) had a blunt manner of drawing sous to the court of directors for every conclusions ; but it often happened that a purchase they should make. Now no man in pursuit of truth did not think it thing could be more fallacious than such
at all necessary to pay much attention to a regulation ; because, if the Company the feelings of those who might be implihad confidence in the integrity and honour cated the disclosure. It seemed howof the persons thus employed in their ser
ever to him, on the present occasion, that vice, what useful object could be attain
those persons who inight indirectly have ed in calling upon them to detail reasons their feelings irritated had adopted a very and opinions which might or inight not unwise course in reproving his hon. friend, be correct, but wbich at last must be forgetting that the facts upon which he governed by the judgment of the persons argued were before court, and that the utso employed ? With respect to this pare most which could be urged against bis ticular wine transaction, he would ven hon. friend was that he had forgotten to ture to assert that there never was any be very gentle in the use of those facts. thing more honourable or disinterested Now he (Mr. K.) denied that those facts and he hoped the court would allow him which his hun. friend had brought forto state, as a proof of it, that the only ward were at all answered by what had person connected with the gentlemen who been stated ; and he should have been had received the order for the wine would most happy to pass over a transaction not sit upon the committee, for he would which he must say had opened his mind have nothing to do whatever with the a good deal to the necessity of the law protransaction. But when the committee posed. It was not his intention to have were left to themselves they divided upon spoken upon this subject : but he must the proposition, and they fixed upon those say that he should have been very sorry two houses which had supplied the wine. to have been a member of the committee Experience had proved, that in many most of buying and selling; for however honorimportaut articles the manner in which able that comunittee was in its intentions, the Company had made their purchases and however certain many persons might was highly advantageous, and that if they be that they had intended nothing wrong, had adopted a contrary practice their loss yet he was quite convinced that it was would have been incalculable; he alluded impossible for any person to look at the particularly to woollen articles, to can · transaction in question without being at dles, and others. He was aware however least satisfied that in the first instance the that the principles of competition had primâ facie case was against the commitbeen usefully adopted in some cases : as tee. He was extremely sorry that this for instance, in lead, copper, and coals for transaction had taken place ; for although, the use of the house, which were latterly he was unwilling to attribute to the hon. purchased by open contract. But if they gentlemen on that committee any sinister were to purchase woollen and other arti- intentions, yet it was incumbent upon cles upon that principle, they must have him, as a proprietor, to attend to the cirsustained inevitable loss. He had known cumstances of the case, in order to induce. instances himself, where commodities of him to put a by-law upon the Company's this kind had been purchased at twenty code for the purpose of preventing the reper cent. cheaper than they could have currence of a similar transaction. The court been procured by public contract or com were bound to take care that all transaca petition. It appeared to him that the tions of this sort, in which the Company
were engaged, should be grounded upon ther duty should be imposed upon them principle, and not upon the sound discre of putting their reasons on record for tion and judgment of any men in the such purchases, unless specific reasons inservice of the Company. The hon. gen tervened to prevent such a communica.. tlemen employed upon the committee of tion. Now nobody could doubt the probuying and selling might conduct the priety of this additional restriction. The affairs of the Company upon principle, Company did not vary their transactions but at present the court of proprietors had every year, so that the committee would no right to control them if they should not be called upon cvery year to state happen to be wrong. It was not suffi. their reasons for dealing in particular arcient that the court should be told that ticles : but he apprehended that their the committee ought to act upon the good reasons for dealing in wool ought necesopinion which they entertained of the sarily to be stated, until they found it persous with whom they generally dealt, wise to change their mode of dealing ia nor was it a sufficient guarantee for the that article; for he was clearly of opiinterests of the Company to be told, that if nion that they ought not to go on dealing a trader used the committee ill they would in the same manuer in that commodity not deal with him afterwards. He did as they had hitherto done. In the first not like to have transactions of this kind conversation which he had with a gentlegorerned by the mere judgment and man upou the subject of the mode of dealopinion which the committec might form ing in wool, he said, “Oh, dear! we of particular individuals. There might be have discussed this matter already very personal feelings in the case to influence much at length; the subject of wool has the judgment of the persons who employed been already discussed ; the case is made a man with whom they had been in the out, we find there is but one mode of habit of dealing ; but, on the other hand, purchasing wool.” Now it appeared to there were a thousand circumstances him that the directors would order their which might induce the committee to cor-, matters wisely by at least trying the exfide in a person of whom they knew no periment proposed. They need not deal thing. Why, if the doctrine now con all at once upon the principle of open tended for were adopted, the court would contract, but they might go on with safehave the committee of buying and selling ty, gradually altering their system. He say, we had such a knowledge of that was quite of opinion with the committee individual, that we thought we might (con of by-laws, that if the directors had trary to all commercial principles, deal the reasons of the committee of buying with him, but he has deceived us.” Sure and selling on record, it would very much ly the committee deserved to be deceived, influence their conduct, because he was if they chose to act upon such uncom perfectly persuaded that there had been mercial principles. He understood, that many purchases made which the directors in consequence of this wine transaction, would not have confirmed, had they had the directors had given orders to their an opportunity of considering the reasons committee of buying and selling to re upon which they were founded. The port the purchases they were to make hon. gentleman who spoke last, it seemhereafter, before they were completed. ed to him, had very much committed Now he should like to know what other himself upon the subject of the wine commentary could be made on that reso transaction. He had told the court, “ Oh lution than this : why, that some trans it was all intrigue that ruined the finest actions had come to the knowledge of the speculation in the world ;-I would have court of directors which induced them to done the same thing myself.” Now, with think it necessary to place this check all the respect which he sincerely enterupon the committee of buying and selling. tained for the hon. gentleman, it was posIf he (Mr. K.) were a member of that sible that he might have been mistaken committee, the observation he should in his calculations. But supposing he make would be, “ I think you are taking might think he had acted upon the soundan odious responsibility from me ; and I est judgment; after all, it was but the shall be most happy to report to you all opinion of an individual, which ought not purchases which I shall hereafter make, to govern the court. No man, certainly, whether there be or be not any necessity but the hon. gentleman himself, would for it.' So much then for the transac advise a friend to commit his fortunes tions of the court of directors them- upon a speculation like this; therefore selves. The subject was then referred to the opinions of an individual was not the the committee by-laws, who felt them- rule by which the Company ought to act. selves bound to suggest, that, in addition. But then it was said, that the ill success to the regulation made by the directors, of this wine speculation was to be atit would be of use to the Company, that tributed to intrigue, and the caprice of the if instead of the committee of buying and wine drinkers in India, who sent the wine selling being required merely, to report back, declaring that it was not drinkable. their purchases to the directors, a fur. Now if he (Mr. K.) had been a merchant,
he should have taken care to ascertain of which he was a member, were jea-
making any reflections on the committee Mr. Inglis explained, and said that the of buying and selling: all that they sought hon. gentleman had totally mistaken the was to carry the intentions of the direcobservation he had made. He had never tors into effect, and with a view to make said that the committee of buying and this further regulation,--that if hereafter selling, who had succeeded the committee any inquiry should be made, or any insi
nuations unjustly cast upon the committee ny's export commodities by public adverof buying and selling, by any proprietor of tisement : that ought not to be permitted, this court, there should be persons ready Mr. Jackson requested to be informed to stand up and say, “ here are the rea by the deputy chairman when the price of sons recorded upon which the committee the claret was first ascertained by the at that time, or the court at this time, court of directors. were willing to rest this or that trans The Deputy Chairman.-On the 9th action;" putting therefore, an end Dec. 1814. to all insinuation of private motives Mr. Jackson I wish to know when or interests
these are the reasons the first two thousand half chests were which governed our judgment at the ordered ? time, and every body else may equally The Deputy Chairman.-In May 1814. exercise their judgment. For his own Mr. Jackson. When were the second part, lie thought that it would be much two thousand half chests ordered ? more creditable to the court themselves, The Deputy Chairman.-In December and certainly more satisfactory to all par- of the same year. ties, if a spirit of good temper pervaded Mr. Jackson then expressed bis regret the proceedings of the day, and all insi that the committee of by-laws had intronuations against motives were laid aside ; duced this transaction at all into their reand he declared, upon his honor, that he port, though he must admit that it was had flattered himself that by so doing, the perfectly natural for them, in signing committee of by-laws would be furthering such a by law as has been proposed, to the intentions of the court of directors; allude to the transaction. The only obso that if the reasons for deviating from servation he should make upon what had the regular rule should be put upon re passed was, that the sarcasms thrown cord, there might be no cavilling or ques upon bis hon. friend (Mr. Hume) were tion as to the motives which induced them most unfounded, because it now turned to act; for at present, the only mode by out, from the admission of the lion. deputy which the court could arrive at the mo chairman, that two thousand half chests tive for deviating from the general prac were ordered several months before the tice of purchasing by open contract, was price was settled. by examining the officer of the committee. The Deputy Chairman.-The second That officer was in a very painful situa two thousand half chests were not ordertion, for it was impossible for him to ed until the price was known of the first. dive into particular reasons. Common Mr. Jackson then argued strongly in justice to the Company required, that the favor of the proposed by-law, which he moment the committee came to the reso contended had been in substance adopted lution of buying, they should state the in the shape of a resolution by the court reason why they had determined so to act. of directors. But it should be recollected He, therefore, confidently submitted that that a resolution was not a law : tliere this was the safest and wisest system to would be less likelihood of an infraction pursue.
in one case than in the other. As a geMr. Elphinstone complained that the neral principle, nothing was more anexhon. gentleman had but too successfully ceptionable than the system of purchafollowed the example of his predecessor sing by open competition ; and there was (Mr. Hume) in attacking persons who nothing very bard imposed upon the diwere perfectly free from blame in this rectors by this regulation, because the transaction
3 but he, (Mr. E.) professed by-law gave them a discretion to depart himself entirely unable to cope with the from it in certain special excepted cases, hon. gentleman in the business of insinua. upon condition of their reasons for such tion. He always liked an open manly at. departure being stated on record. This tack, because the ground was clear, and latter obligation was indispensibly necesit could be met upon equal terms; but the şary, because it was the only check which attack by insinuation was intolerable, it the Company had against the abuse of the was like a wound inflicted in the dark. discretionary power given by the law. If Of such a description was the mode of there was any serious doubt entertajued attack adopted by the hou. gentleman, by the court of the directors, or they had and therefore it was impossible to put the not made up their minds as to, the proquestion for consideration fairly in issue. priety of the law, it appeared to him that The objection to the proposed by-law the shortest way of disposing of the was not as to the propriety of reporting question was, that a committee of diwhat purchases had been made by the rectors should be appointed to consibuying aud selling committee, but the ne der of the subject, and report to the cessity for them to give their reasons. court whether, in their sober judga The by-law itself was a very good one, ment, such a law ought to pass. With but he never could accede to the general this view, he should submit to the court proposition of purchasing all the Compa, the propriety of adjourning this particular
law to another day, when it might be fur it was composed of such honorable inther discussed.
dividuals, that he was quite persuaded The Deputy Chairman said, it would they would not recommend any meabe very inconrenient to adjourn for the sure which they did not believe to be purpose of hearing more painful, trouble- really beneficial. But the hon. gentleman some, not to say useless orations from (Mr. H.) had indulged himself with such some honorable proprietors. The court indecent attacks upon the court of direchad sometimes attended to very long tors and particular individuals, had come speeches from two hon. gentlemen, which down with such a bias of prejudice, as to for their industry and research did them make it impossible for the court of direcsome credit, but he must say, that he ne tors to sit patiently under such treatment. ver heard speeches in his life more full of At the same time, he (Mr. P.) was not at imendo and insinuation against the re all afraid to meet any of the hon. gentlespectable body of men whom the proprie- man's charges or inuendoes. But the tors had chosen to superintend their af objection he had to the by-law proposed, fairs, than the speeches of the two hon. was, that it implied a want of contidence gentlemen in the corner (Mr. Hume and in the court of directors. The court of Mr. Kinnaird). He (Mr. P.) had sat for proprietors had had the opportunity of some time patiently listening to their ob- choosing those whom they thought to be servations, because he was quite couscious properly qualified to manage their affairs ; of not deserving the insinuations they had and having chosen such persons as they thought proper to throw out.
It was thought fit for the situation, those persons true he had sat as a member of the buying ought to liave the credit of intending to and selling committee, but he happened act from proper motives, until the contranot to be present at the moment the wine ry was proved. Now he (Mr. P.), for one, purchase was made ; and perhaps if he did claim to be admitted to have acted had, he should not have exactly agreed in upon honorable and honest principles ; the mode adopted. As to the principle of and he did not think that the court of dithe purchase, he perfectly concurred in the rectors deserved the observation of the propriety of it. The character of the per- hon. gentleman, who said " he thought sons chosen to supply the wine was unex that the directors would be a little more ceptionable ; they were two of the most attentive to the transactions of the Comrespectable and celebrated houses in that pany, if they were their own.” In answer trade. As to the quality of the wine, it to this most unjustifiable remark, he had was unquestionable, notwithstanding all only to say, that the hon. gentleman had that had been said against it. He had a totally mistaken his ground in the lanletter before him from Bengal which sta guage he thought proper to use towards ted that the wine was of the most unex the gentlemen who sat behind that bar. ceptionable quality, but that the reason When the hơn. gentleman thought himself of its failure was, that the market was warranted in advising the directors to act very much overstocked from the opening in the East-India Coinpany's affairs, as if of the private trade, and consequently they were their own, he had only to say, that it could not be sold. Perhaps the that the advice was unnecessary, and that quantity might be considered large ; but he spurned advice coming from such a it should be recollected that it was not quarter. He would receive nothing from sent'out all at once. It was in fact dis that liọn. gentleman; if he could find him patched at four different seasons. One (Mr. P.) out in any thing improper, why hundred half chests at one time; five let him turn him out of his situation ; hundred at another, and the remainder in but so long as he did his duty in that two other lots; the result, however, un place he had a right to that courtesy which fortuvately was, that the wine came back was due to every man intending to act again unsold. As to the quality of the properly and conscientiously. wine it was so excellent that it was now Mr. Hume denied the fact that he had fit to be drank by any epicure in London. made any such insinuations as the hon. He confessed that he should have had no gentleman supposed. The hon. direcobjection to the proposed by-law, had the tor on the right (Mr. Elphinstone) had debate of to-day been conducted with brought forward facts, and stated circum. common decency. But the hon. gentle, stances, which he (Mr. H.) felt him man (Mr. Home) had “ laid it on so self warranted in commenting upon; and thick," as really to indispose the directors the whole of his observations were contowards any measure which he could re fined to those facts, and to the remarks commend. Happily that hon. gentleman made by that hou. director. was not one of the committee of by-laws, Mr. Elphinstone begged that the hon. and he (Mr. P.) 'trusted he should never gentleman would not put into his mouth see him in that situation. He (Mr. words which he had never used : he had P.) had the highest opinion of the com never uttered any thing which could mittee of by-laws, because he believed justify the insinuations and calumuies