Front Page Titles (by Subject) CHAP. II. - The History of British India, vol. 3
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CHAP. II. - James Mill, The History of British India, vol. 3 
The History of British India in 6 vols. (3rd edition) (London: Baldwin, Cradock, and Joy, 1826). Vol. 3.
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Commencement of the New Government—Supreme Council divided into two Parties, of which that of the Governor-General in the Minority—Presidency of Bombay espouse the Cause of Ragoba, an ejected Peshwa—Supreme council condemn this Policy, and make Peace with his Opponents—Situation of the Powers in the Upper Country, Nabob of Oude, Emperor, and Nujeef Khan—Pecuniary Corruption, in which Governor-General seemed to be implicated, in the cases of the Ranee of Burdwan, Phousdar of Hoogley, and Munny Begum—Governor-General resists Inquiry—Nuncomar the great Accuser—He is prosecuted by Governor-General—Accused of Forgery, found guilty, and hanged—Mahomed Reza Khan, and the office of Naib Subah restored.
book v.Chap. 2. 1774.The operation of the new constitution framed by the Parliament of England, was ordained to commence in India after the 1st of August, 1774. The new counsellors, however, General Clavering, Mr. Monson, and Mr. Francis, who, along with Mr. Hastings and Mr. Barwell, were elected to compose the board of administration, did not arrive at Calcutta until the 19th of October. On the following day the existing government was dissolved by proclamation, and the new council took possession of its powers. On the proposal of the Governor-General, who stated the necessity of a few days, to prepare for the council a view of the existing state of affairs, and to enable Mr.book v.Chap. 2. 1774. Barwell, who was then absent, to arrive; the meeting of the Board was suspended until the 25th. On the very day on which its deliberations began, some of the discord made its appearance, which so long and so deeply embarrassed and disgraced the government of India. The party who had arrived from England, and the party in India, with whom they were conjoined, met not, it should seem, with minds in the happiest frame for conjunct operations. Mr. Hastings, upon the first appearance of his colleagues, behaved, or was suspected of behaving, coldly. And with jealous feelings this coldness was construed into studied and humiliating neglect. In the representation which the Governor-General presented of the political state of the country, the war against the Rohillas necessarily attracted the principal attention of the new councillors; and, unhappily for the Governor-General, presented too many appearances of a doubtful complexion not to excite the desire of elucidation in the minds of the most candid judges. An obvious objection was, its direct opposition to the frequent and urgent commands of the Court of Directors, not to engage in offensive wars of any description, and to confine the line of defensive operations to the territorial limits of themselves and allies. The reasons, too, upon which the war was grounded; a dispute about the payment of an inconsiderable sum of money, and the benefit of conquest, to which that dispute afforded the only pretext; might well appear a suspicious foundation. When the new government began the exercise of its authority, the intelligence had not arrived of the treaty with Fyzoolla Khan; and an existing war appeared to demand its earliest determinations. To throw light upon the field of deliberation, the new Councillors required that the book v.Chap. 2. 1774. correspondence should be laid before them, which had passed between the Governor-General (such is the title by which the President was now distinguished), and the two functionaries, the commander of the troops, and the agent residing with the Vizir. And when they were informed that a part indeed of this correspondence should be submitted to their inspection, but that a part of it would also be withheld, their surprise and dissatisfaction were loudly testified, their indignation and suspicions but little concealed.
As reasons for suppressing a part of the letters Mr. Hastings alleged, that they did not relate to public business, that they were private confidential communications, and not fit to become public.
It is plain that this declaration could satisfy none but men who had the most unbounded confidence in the probity and wisdom of Mr. Hastings; and as the new Councillors neither had that confidence, nor had been in circumstances in which they could possibly have acquired it on satisfactory grounds, they were not only justified in demanding, but their duty called upon them to demand a full disclosure. The pretension erected by Mr. Hastings, if extended into a general rule, would destroy one great source of the evidence by which the guilt of public men can be proved: And it was calculated to rouse a suspicion of his improbity in any breast not fortified against it by the strongest evidence of his habitual virtue.1 Nothing could be more unfortunate for Mr. Hastingsbook v.Chap. 2. 1774. than his war against the Rohillas, and the suppression of his correspondence with Mr. Middleton. The first branded his administration with a mark, which its many virtues were never able to obliterate, of cruel and unprincipled aggression; and the second stained him with a natural suspicion of personal impurity. Both together gave his rivals those advantages over him which rendered his subsequent administration a source of contention and misery, and involved him in so great a storm of difficulties and dangers at its close.
Of the Council, now composed of five Members, the three who had recently come from England joined together in opposing the Governor-General, who was supported by Mr. Barwell alone. This party constituted, therefore, a majority of the Council, and the powers of government passed in consequence into their hands. The precipitation of their measures called for, and justified, the animadversions of their opponents. Having protested against the suppression of any part of Middleton’s correspondence, they were not contented with commanding that, as at least a temporary expedient, his letters should be wholly addressed to themselves: they voted his immediate recall; though Hastings declared that such a measure would dangerously proclaim to the natives the distractions of the government, and confound the imagination of the Vizir, who had no conception of power except in the head of the government, and who would consider the annihilation of that power as a revolution in the state. The governing party, not book v.Chap. 2. 1774. withstanding their persuasion of the injustice and cruelty of the Rohilla war, and notwithstanding their ignorance whether or not it was brought to a close, directed the Commander-in-Chief, in the first place, immediately upon receipt of their letter, to demand payment from the Vizir of the forty lacs of rupees promised for the extirpation of the Rohillas,1 and of all other sums which might be due upon his other engagements. Provided a real inability was apparent, he might accept not less than twenty lacs, in partial payment, and securities for the remainder, in twelve months. And they directed him in the second place, to conduct the troops within fourteen days out of the Rohilla country, into the ancient territory of Oude; and in case the Vizir should refuse compliance with the prescribed demands, to withdraw the troops entirely from his service, and retire within the limits of the Company’s dominions. Before the dispatch of these instructions, intelligence arrived of the treaty with Fyzoolla Khan; of the payment of fifteen lacs by the Vizir, from the share of Fyzoolla Khan’s effects; of his return to his capital, for the declared purpose of expediting payment to the Company of the sums which he owed; and of the intention of the English army to march back to Ramgaut, a Rohilla town near the borders of Oude. Inbook v.Chap. 2. 1774. consideration of these events the Governor-General proposed to suspend the peremptory demands of money, and the order for the recall of the troops; and to proceed with more leisure and forbearance. But every motion from that quarter in favour of the Vizir was exposed to the suspicion of corrupt and interested motives; and the proposal was rejected. The directions to the Commander were no further modified, than by desiring him to wait upon the Vizir at his capital, and to count the fourteen days from the date of his interview. The Governor-General condemned the precipitation of the pecuniary demand; as harsh, impolitic, and contrary to those rules of delicacy, which were prescribed by the directors for their transaction with the native princes, and which prudence and right feeling prescribed in all transactions: And he arraigned the sudden recall of the troops as a breach of treaty, a violation of the Company’s faith, tantamount to a declaration that all engagements with the Vizir were annulled, and affording to him a motive and pretence for eluding payment of the debts, which, if his alliance with the Company continued, it would be his interest to discharge. Both parties wrote the strongest representations of their separate views of these circumstances to the Directors; and the observations of one party called forth replies from the other, to a mischievous consumption of the time and attention, both in England and in India, of those on whose undivided exertions the right conducting of the government depended.1
book v.Chap. 2. 1775. Shortly after his return from the expedition against the Rohillas, Sujah Dowla, the Vizir, whose health was already broken, began to show symptoms of a rapid decay, and expired in the beginning of 1775, when his only legitimate son, who assumed the title of Asoff ul Dowla, succeeded without opposition to the Subahdaree of Oude. Mr. Middleton had already returned, and Mr. Bristow was now sent to supply his place at the residence of the new Nabob. The majority in Council resolved to obtain from the son, with all possible dispatch, the sums of money due by the father, but to consider all engagements by which they were bound to the late Nabob as dissolved by his death, and to make any assistance, which they might hereafter afford his successor, the result of new purchases and payments. A treaty was at last arranged on the 21st of May, by which it was agreed, that the Company should guarantee to Asoff ul Dowla, the provinces of Corah and Allahabad, which had been sold to his father; but that the Nabob in return should cede to the Company the territory of the Rajah Cheyte Sing, Zemindar of Benares, yielding a revenue of 22,10,000 rupees; that he should raise the allowance for the service of the Company’s brigade to 2,60,000 rupees per month; and should pay, as they fell due, the pecuniary balances upon the engagements of the late Vizir. Mr. Hastings refused his sanction to the imposition of these terms, as inconsistent with any equitable construction of the treaty with the late Vizir, extorted from the mere necessities of the young Nabob, and beyond his power to fulfil. The conduct of the Directors was peculiar. In their letter of the 15th December, 1775, remarking upon the resolution of the Council to disregard the treaties concluded with the late Nabob of Oude, they say, “Although the death of Sujah Dowla may render it necessary to make new arrangements with hisbook v.Chap. 2. 1775. successor, we cannot agree with our Council, that our treaties with the State of Oude expired with the death of that Nabob.” When they were made acquainted however with the new grant of revenue, and the new allowance on account of the troops, they say, in their letter of the 24th of December, 1776, “It is with singular satisfaction we observe at any time the attention paid by our servants to the great interests of their employers; and it is with particular pleasure we here signify our entire approbation of the late treaty concluded with Asoff ul Dowla, successor of Sujah Dowla, by which such terms are procured as seem to promise us solid and permanent advantages.”1
The new Board of Administration had early announced to the distant Presidencies, that it had assumed the reins of government, and was vested with controuling power over all the British authorities in India. It had also required from each of the Presidencies a representation of its political, financial, and commercial situation; and found a scene opened at Bombay, which it requires a notice of some preceding circumstances rightly to unfold.
The Mahratta Sovereigns, or Rajahs, were assisted, according to the Hindu institution, by a council of eight Brahmens, who shared among them the principal offices of the state. The official name of the chief of this council was Peshwa, upon whom the most important parts of the business of government devolved. According as the pleasures, the indolence, or the incapacity of the sovereign withdrew him from the management of affairs, the importance of this principal servant was increased; and a proportionable share of the dignity and power of the sovereign passed book v.Chap. 2. 1775. into his hands. In a rude state of society it appears not to be difficult for the influence and dignity of the servant to outgrow that of the master, who becomes too weak to resume the power which he has imprudently devolved. The minister leaves his office and ascendancy to his son; the son makes it hereditary; and the sovereign, divested of all but the name of king, sinks into an empty pageant. Such was the course of events in the case of the mayor of the palace in France, in that of the Chu-vua in Tunquin,1 and such it was, besides other cases, in that of the Peshwa, among the Mahrattas. In the reign of the Rajah Sahoo, who was but third in succession from Sevagee, Kishwanath Balajee had raised himself from a low situation in life to the rank of Peshwa. Sahoo was a prince devoted to ease and to pleasure; and the supreme powers were wielded, with little check or limitation, by Kishwanath Balajee. He assumed the name of Row Pundit, that is, chief of the Pundits, or learned Brahmens, and made the Rajah invest him with a sirpah, or robe of office, a ceremony which ever since has marked the succession of the Peshwas, and appeared to confer the title. Kishwanath was able to leave his office and power to his son Bajerow, who still further diminished the power of the sovereign; and finally allowed him not so much as liberty. The Rajah was confined to Satarah, a species of state prisoner; while the Peshwa established his own residence at Poona, which hence-forth became the seat of government. The brother of Bajerow, Jumnajee Anna, though a Brahmen, led the forces of the state; he attacked the Portuguese settlements in the neighbourhood of Bombay; and added Salsette and Bassein to the conquests of thebook v.Chap. 2. 1775. Mahrattas. The family of the Peshwa prided themselves in these acquisitions; affected to consider them as their own, rather than the property of the state; and showed a violent attachment to them, as often as, either by force or negotiation, the alienation of them was attempted. The vicinity of these territories to the British settlements at Bombay, brought the interests of the Company in contact with those of the Mahrattas; and the terms of a commercial and mari-time intercourse were somewhat inaccurately framed. Bajerow left a son, named Bow, who was slain in the battle of Paniput; and Jumnajee Anna, his brother, left two sons, Nanah, called also Bajee Row, and Ragonaut Row, with the former of whom, as Peshwa, the Presidency of Bombay, in 1756, concluded a treaty. The Mahrattas agreed to exclude the Dutch from all intercourse with their dominions, and to give up fort Vittoria, Hematgur, and Bancote, in exchange for Gheriah, which the English had taken from Angria the pirate. In 1761, Bajee Row, or Nanah, died, of grief, it is said, for the death of Bow, and left two sons, the eldest Madhoo Row, the other Narrain Row, both minors. The hereditary succession of the Peshwas had now so firm an establishment, that the title of Madhoo was not disputed; and the burden of government, during the minority of his nephew, devolved upon Ragonaut Row, more commonly known by the name of Ragoba.
It had fared with the Mahratta government, as it commonly fares with extended dominion under the rude policy of the East. The government of the provinces was confided to the chief military leaders, and the more distant and powerful of them, as the vigour of the central government relaxed, acquired independence. Of these independencies, the most book v.Chap. 2. 1775. important by far was that of the Bhonslas, which, together with Cuttack, a part of Orissa, included the whole of the vast province, or region of Berar. The next in point of magnitude, of the separate Mahratta kingdoms, was the province of Guzerat, which had been wrested from the Mogul empire by Pillagee Guicawar, or the herdsman, and its government rendered hereditary in his family. Besides these independent princes, two chiefs, Holkar and Scindia, possessed extensive dominions in the province of Malwa, and in the regions bordering on the territories of the Rajah of Berar and the Nabob-vizir. And there were inferior adventurers, who in other parts had acquired a sort of independence, among whom the most remarkable was Morari Row, who had acted a considerable part in the long struggle between the French and English in Carnatic, and possessed the fort of Gooti with a considerable district on the frontier of the Nizam. All these powers acknowledged a nominal dependence upon the government founded by Sevagee; and a sort of national feeling was apt to unite them against a foreign enemy. But their connection was voluntary, and they scrupled not to draw their swords against one another, and even against the Peshwa, upon any provocation or prospect that would have engaged them in hostilities with a different foe.
The Brahmen council of eight, known also by the name of Mutseddies, or ministers, had been reduced to a low station in the government, during the vigour of the preceding Peshwas. The weak and divided councils of a minority and regency offered a tempting opportunity to endeavour the recovery of the influence which they had lost. By intriguing with Gopicaboy, the mother of Madhoo, they succeeded in creating jealousies between the nephew and the uncle; and in the end the uncle was stripped of his power. Thebook v.Chap. 2. 1775. Mutseddies and Gopicaboy ascribed to Ragonaut Row a design to elevate himself to the office of Peshwa, and treacherously to deprive his nephews of their dignity or their lives. The Regent described his opponents as an ambitious confederacy, leagued with a dissolute intriguing woman for the purpose of grasping the powers of the state. The account of the transaction which the ministers themselves drew up for the English government1 is marked with strong improbabilities. Hitherto, moreover, the members of the Peshwa family, instead of supplanting, had acted with the greatest harmony in supporting, their head. And if Ragonaut Row had aimed at the supremacy, of which no other token appears than the accusation of his enemies, prudence would have taught him, either to usurp the authority from the beginning; or to leave but little time for his nephew to gather strength. After the fall of Ragoba, the power of the Mutseddies, during the nonage of Madhoo, was without control; and they employed it, after the manner of Hindus, for the acquisition of enormous riches. As the years however of the Peshwa increased, he displayed some vigour of mind, and began to restrict the power of this cabal; but died at an early age in 1772. At his death he bore a testimony to the fidelity of Ragoba, or his distrust of the ministerial confederacy, by releasing that relation from confinement; giving him the guardianship of Narrain Row; and vesting him with the regency during the nonage of that prince. A short time elapsed before the intrigues of the Mutseddies with Gopicaboy, and the influence of Gopicaboy with her son, stripped Ragoba a second time of his power and book v.Chap. 2. 1775. his liberty. Dissensions, however, arose among the Mutseddies themselves. Siccaram Baboo, who had been raised by Ragoba from a menial service in his household, to the office of Duan, or financial minister of the state, had taken the lead in all the preceding intrigues against his former master, and had acted as chief of the ministerial combination. Another of the ministers, however, Nanah Furnavese, now attained the foremost place in the favour of Gopicaboy and her son; and the principal share of the power appeared ready to fall from the hands of Siccaram Baboo. In these circumstances a conspiracy was formed against the life of the young Peshwa, who is said to have rendered himself odious by his follies and cruelty. The commander of the guards was gained; who forced his way into the palace with a body of men, and cut down the prince in the apartment of Ragoba to whom he had fled for protection. It was believed in Poona, at the time, according to the report of Mr. Mostyn, the English resident, who was upon the spot; that a party of the ministers were engaged in this transaction; and that Siccaram Baboo was at their head. It is to them that Ragoba himself ascribed both the conception and execution of the plot. But when the party of Siccaram Baboo regained the ascendancy, and chased Ragoba from the throne, they accused him of having alone been the author of his nephew’s murder, and repelled or shifted the accusation from themselves.
Upon the death of Narrain Row, Ragoba was immediately acknowledged Peshwa; received the sirpah, or robe of office, from the pageant Rajah; and was complimented by the ministers of foreign states, among others by the English resident, in the same form as was usually observed on the accession of a Peshwa. From the beginning of his administration, the new Peshwa acted with a visible distrust of thebook v.Chap. 2. 1775. Mutseddies. He forbore appointing Siccaram Baboo to the office of Duan, and performed the duties of it himself. This conduct insured him the hatred of the ministers. An army seemed the best security against their ambition and malice; and under the pretext of avenging the encroachments which the Subahdar of Deccan, the Nizam according to the English phrase, had made upon the Mahratta territories during the confusions of the government, he levied an army against that neighbouring prince. An union however was formed between the two hostile parties of the Mutseddies; his principal officers were debauched from their allegiance; and through their treachery, he sustained, in an engagement with the Subahdar, a total defeat. To supply his pecuniary necessities, which were extremely urgent, he marched towards the south, to exact a long arrear of Chout from Hyder, and from the Nabob of Arcot. With Hyder he had compromised his claim, by accepting twenty-five lacs of rupees, and ceding to him in return the three provinces of Mudgewarry, Hanscootah, and Chunderdroog. But he was recalled from prosecuting his design against Mahomed Ali, by intelligence, that the ministerial confederacy had raised an army; that they were joined by the forces of the Subahdar; that they had proclaimed the widow of Narrain Row to be with child; and under pretence of securing her offspring, had carried her to the fort of Poorunder. Ragoba met, and, by a well-concerted stratagem, gained a decisive victory over his foes. But after he was within a few miles of Poona, he was struck with a panic, upon intelligence, that the two chiefs, Holkar and Scindia, were gained by the ministerial party; and, quitting his army in secret with a small body of men, he fled to Guzerat, where Govind Row Guicawar book v.Chap. 2. 1775. engaged to support him. His army dispersed; Holkar and Scindia, whether previously engaged, or now led to the determination, joined the Brahmen cabal; the widow of Narrain Row was said to have been delivered of a son; and the confederacy agreed to support the pretensions of the infant.
The fact of the birth was immediately disputed; and it is evident that the affirmation of the ministers ought to have been for ever disregarded; because, whether or not a child was born of the widow, and whether a male or a female, their conduct and pretences would have still been the same. By withdrawing the pretended mother from the perception of disinterested witnesses; and by shutting up with her, as was generally affirmed and believed, a number of pregnant women in the same fort, they rendered it impossible that evidence of the reality of the pretended birth could ever be obtained; and for that reason it ought never to have been believed.
At the time when Ragoba fled to Guzerat, the country was distracted by the rival pretensions of the two brothers, Futty Sing Guicawar, and Govind Row Guicawar. In the time of the Peshwa, Madhoo Row Futty Sing, by means it was said of bribes, to the ministerial junto, obtained, through the authority of the Peshwa, succession to the Musnud of Guzerat, in prejudice of his elder brother Govind Row. When the office of Peshwa, however, devolved upon Ragoba, he acknowledged the title of Govind Row. Govind Row proceeded to levy war upon his brother; had gained over him various successes in the field; and was actually besieging him in his capital city of Broderah, when Ragoba came to claim his protection.1
It so happened that a similar contention at thebook v.Chap. 2. 1775. same moment divided the kingdom of Berar, and ranged one of the rivals on the side of Ragoba, the other on that of his adversaries. Jannajee, the late Rajah, died without issue. He had two brothers, Shabajee the elder, Moodajee the younger. Jannajee, before his demise, adopted the son of Moodajee, then a minor, and named him his successor. Shabajee and Moodajee disputed to whom the guardianship of the minor, and the regency of the kingdom, should belong. Shabajee claimed, as the elder brother; Moodajee, as the parent of the Rajah. And to determine their pretensions they involved their country in a violent and destructive war.
In looking therefore to the neighbouring powers, there was none from which Ragoba could expect so much support as from the English at Bombay. To them, accordingly, he offered terms of alliance: And there existed circumstances, in the state of that Presidency, which induced the members of the government to lend a favourable ear to his proposals. Salsette, and Bassein, with their dependencies, had been strongly coveted for some years. In the letter to the President and Council of Bombay, dated the 18th of March, 1768, the Directors said, “We recommend to you, in the strongest manner, to use your endeavours, upon every occasion that may offer, to obtain these places, which we should esteem a valuable acquisition.—We cannot directly point out the mode of doing it, but rather wish they could be obtained by purchase than war.”1 In the following year they expressed high approbation of an attempt to obtain them by negotiation; and add; “Salsette and Bassein, with their dependencies, and the Mahrattas’ proportion book v.Chap. 2. 1775. of the Surat provinces, were all that we seek for on that side of India. These are the objects you are to have in view, in all your treaties, negotiations, and military operations,—and that you must be ever watchful to obtain.”1 In more earnest prosecution of the same design, Mr. Mostyn arrived from England, in 1772, with instructions from the Court of Directors, that he should be sent immediately to negotiate with Madhoo Row, the Peshwa, for certain advantages to the settlements on the coast of Malabar, and above all for the cession of the island and peninsula of Salsette and Bassein, which added so much to the security and value of Bombay. The result of this negotiation tended only to show that, pacifically at least, the coveted spots were very unlikely to be obtained.
In the mean time the Presidency had engaged themselves in a dispute with the Nabob of Baroach, upon whom they advanced a demand for the phoorza, a species of tribute, formerly yielded by Baroach to the government of Surat;2 and for indemnification of an overcharge in the customs, which for the six preceding years had been levied on the merchants trading under the Company’s protection. The more effectually to enforce the demand, a body of troops was sent to invade the Nabob’s territory; but after proceeding so far as so attack his capital, they were obliged to abandon the enterprise, and return to Surat. This expedition the Directors condemned in the severest terms; as involving the Presidency in expense, when it was under the greatest pecuniary difficulties; as unskilfully conducted; as disgracing the Company’s arms; and, even if successful, promising no proportional advantage. The supreme authority,book v.Chap. 2. 1775. weakened by its distance, prevented not the subordinate from raising a new expedition out of the first. The Nabob of Baroach, despairing of his power to resist the arms of the Company, repaired to Bombay, and represented his inability to comply with their heavy demand, amounting to thirty-three lacs of rupees. Among the various expedients to which he had recourse for conciliating the favour of the Bombay administration, and obtaining a mitigation of their claims, he recommended with great assiduity the conquest of Guzerat; which he represented as easy, and promised to assist them with all his resources. The Presidency lent him a very favourable ear. After great discussion, an arrangement was concluded at the end of November, 1771. A species of military alliance; a sum of four lacs of rupees to be paid by instalments; the privilege of levying all duties on those who trade under the protection of the Company in the territory of Baroach; the erection of an English factory; and exclusion of all other Europeans excepting the Dutch, who had a previous establishment; were the advantages which the treaty promised to the English. Before the lapse of a year the Presidency began to accuse the Nabob of an intention to elude his agreement. After the question was left undetermined in the Committee, it was decided in the Council, with the censure of the Court of Directors on the former expedition lying before them, to send an armament to chastise the Nabob, and wipe off the former disgrace of their arms. Now indeed the enterprise succeeded; the Nabob was ruined; and the Presidency settled the division of the revenues with Futty Sing on the same terms on which they had formerly been shared between the government of Guzerat and the Nabob.
book v.Chap. 2. 1775. The assassination of Narrain Row, and the succession of Ragoba, announcing a weak and distracted government, appeared to the Council to present a favourable opportunity for accomplishing an object which their honourable masters had so much at heart, the possession of Salsette and Bassein: In their select consultations, on the 17th of September, 1773, they agreed to instruct Mr. Mostyn, their resident at Poonah, to improve diligently every circumstance favourable to the accomplishment of that event; and on no account whatever to leave the Mahratta capital: Baroach, and several of the recent acquisitions, as Fort Vittoria, and Rajapore, were offered in exchange: But in their letter to the Directors, of the 12th of January, 1774, the Council declare the disappointment of all their endeavours; and their opinion that no inducements would prevail upon the Mahrattas willingly to part with those favourite possessions, so justly the object of the Company’s desire. They next represent the violent distractions of the Mahratta government; and the opinion, which they had received from Mr. Mostyn, that Ragoba would be either assassinated, or deposed. With this event, say they, “our treaties with the present government may be deemed at an end.” The violent competitions for the throne, and consequent weakness of the state, might afford them, released as they would be from all engagements, an opportunity of acquiring those important possessions by what appeared to be the only means of acquiring them, force of arms; and they signify to the Court of Directors their determination not to let the occasion be lost, provided their pecuniary situation would permit, and the circumstances of Ragoba, which some recent intelligence represented as not yet desperate, should be found to be such as the Resident described.
After the dispatch of this letter, Ragoba had returnedbook v.Chap. 2. 1775. upon his enemies; gained the victory, already mentioned,1 over their forces in the field; fled from his army to Guzerat; and opened a negotiation with the Presidency; when, towards the end of November, 1774, intelligence was received at Bombay from the Company’s resident at Goa, that great preparations were making by the Portuguese for the recovery of their lost possessions; and, in particular, of Salsette and Bassein. The accomplishment of this project appeared to the Presidency not only to cut off all chance of making this favourite acquisition for the Company, but to give to the Portuguese the command of the passes into the interior country, and the power of harassing, by what imposts and restrictions they pleased, the trade of the English. They came therefore to the resolution of preventing, at all events, the fall of Salsette and Bassein into the hands of the Portuguese; and for that purpose regarded no expedient so good as taking possession themselves. It was agreed to signify to Ragoba, with whom they were treating, that it was a measure purely of precaution, and in no respect intended to interfere with his rights. To avoid an immediate rupture with the Mutseddies, the Resident was instructed to make to them a similar declaration; and to renounce all intention of holding Salsette and Bassein in opposition to the will of the existing government at Poona. On the 12th of December a considerable force set out from Bombay; it carried by assault the principal fort in Salsette on the 28th; and without further opposition took possession of the island.2
The negotiation was not interrupted with Ragoba. The Presidency regarded him as the rightful Peshwa. book v.Chap. 2. 1775. They expected, and with good reason, that their assistance would place him, without much difficulty, on his throne; and though he adhered with obstinacy to the possession of Salsette and Bassein, he offered territorial dominion and revenue to a large amount in the neighbourhood of Surat. Amid these proceedings, arrived, on the 7th of December, the letter from the Supreme Council in Bengal, announcing the accession of the new government, and requiring an account of the state of the Presidency of Bombay. It was answered on the 31st, when accounts were rendered of the acquisition of Salsette and Bassein, of the negotiation with Ragoba, the intention of the President and Council to grant him their assistance, and the reasons which guided them in these acts and determinations. In the interval between the adjustment and execution of the treaty with Ragoba, he was brought to an action by the army of the Ministers; deserted in the battle by a body of Arabs, on whom he depended, and obliged to fly from the field with a small body of horse. This disaster the majority of the Bombay Council deemed it an easy matter to retrieve; as Ragoba still had powerful adherents; as the Ministers were neither united, nor strong; and the union of the English troops with his army would render him more than a match for his opponents. They resolved, therefore, “not to give up the great advantages which they were to reap by the treaty, when so fair an opportunity occurred.” Ragoba made his way to Surat, and a treaty was concluded on the 6th of March, 1775, by which he now yielded up Salsette and Bassein, with the Mahratta share of the revenues of Baroach and other places in the district of Surat, to the amount, upon the whole, of a revenue of twenty-two and a half lacs of rupees. His army, with that of Govind Row, made good their retreat to the fort of Copperwange, about fifty coss frombook v.Chap. 2. 1775. Cambay, and were joined by the English, under the command of Colonel Keating, on the 19th of April. The detachment consisted of eighty European artillery, and 160 artillery Lascars, 500 European infantry, and 1,400 Sepoys, with a field train of twelve pieces, besides two mortars and several howitzers. The whole amounted to about 25,000 men in arms.1
The army of the Mutseddies had been deserted by Scindia, with 12,000 of the best horse; Shabbajee Bonsla, who favoured their cause in Berar, had been cut off by his brother, who befriended Ragoba; the fidelity of Holkar was held in doubt; and the Nizam, though he received their concessions, and promised assistance, always evaded performance; but they were still superior in numbers to Ragoba and his allies.
As soon after conjunction as possible the English commander proposed to advance toward the enemy, who were encamped on the banks of the Sabermatty. After a few indecisive rencounters, finding they could not bring the enemy to a general action, the English, in concert with their allies, resolved to march toward the south, and, penetrating to the Deccan, arrive at Poona before the setting in of the rains. The enemy, as soon as they discovered their intention, laid waste the country in front and destroyed the wells. At last on the 18th of May, having reached the plain of Arras, on which they had given Ragoba his recent defeat, they advanced and commenced a cannonade upon the rear of the English and their ally. The enemy were received with great gallantry; but an officer of Ragoba having treacherously introduced as partizans a body of hostile cavalry, between the advanced book v.Chap. 2. 1775. party of the British army and the line, some confusion ensued, and the first company of European grenadiers, by a mistake of the officer commanding them, began to retreat, and were followed in a panic by the rest of the party. Considerable execution was then performed by the enemy’s horse; but so destructive a fire of grape and shells was immediately poured upon them from the British line, as compelled them to seek their safety by quitting the field. The loss of Europeans, seven officers and eighty men, mostly grenadiers, beside 200 Sepoys, rendered this an expensive victory; while the want of horse, and the backwardness occasioned or excused by the want of pay of the troops of Ragoba, made it impossible, by an active pursuit, to derive from it the advantages it might otherwise have given. The rear of the enemy was attacked in crossing the Nerbuddah, on the 11th of June, where they lost many lives and were obliged to sink a part of their guns. After this rencounter, they hasted out of the province of Guzerat. And as Ragoba’s troops refused to cross the Nerbuddah, till they obtained satisfaction in regard to their long arrears, it was resolved, as the season of the rains was at hand, to suspend the progress of the expedition. Dhuboy, a fortified city about fifty miles from Baroach, convenient for receiving reinforcements and supplies, was selected for quartering the English; while Ragoba encamped with his army at Bellapoor, a pass on the river Dahder at ten miles distance. The favourable complexion of Ragoba’s affairs produced among other consequences the alliance of Futty Sing. His overtures were made through the English; and, Govind Row being previously satisfied by the promises of Ragoba, the terms of a treaty were agreed upon in the month of July. To the English, he consented to confirm all the grants within thebook v.Chap. 2. 1775. Guicawar dominions, which had been yielded by Ragoba; and to make further concessions in perpetuity to the annual amount of about one million seventy-eight thousand rupees: To Ragoba he engaged himself for the usual tribute and aid to the Poona durbar; and what was of unspeakable importance on the present emergency, for the sum of twenty-six lacs of rupees, to be paid in sixty days. The English and Ragoba had thus a prospect of marching to Poona in the next campaign, with a great augmentation of resources, and a friendly country in their rear.1
We have seen that the Presidency of Bombay informed the Directors by letter, on the 12th of January, 1774, that the Mahratta government was in a peculiar crisis, and that such an opportunity now occurred of acquiring Salsette and Bassein, as they had very little intention of letting escape. The Directors, as if anxious to allow time for the conquest, replied not till the 12th of April, 1775, when their answer could not be received at Bombay, in much less than two years from the time when the measure was announced as on the verge of execution. Nearly six months after the place was reduced by their arms, and governed by their authority, they sat down to say, “It is with much concern we learn from your records, that we are not likely to obtain Salsette from the Mahrattas by negotiation. We, however, disapprove your resolution to take possession of the island by force, in case of the death or deposition of Ragoba; and hereby positively prohibit you from attempting that measure, under any circumstances whatever, book v.Chap. 2. 1775. without our permission first obtained for that purpose.”1
The letter, containing the account of the capture of Salsette, and the negotiation with Ragoba, written by the Bombay Presidency to the supreme Council, on the 31st of December, was not received at Calcutta till the beginning of March. Before that time, however, intelligence from various quarters had reached them of the fate of Salsette; and they had written letters to Bombay, reprehending the Council, in severe terms, for delaying to send more complete information. Vested with a control over the other presidencies, not well defined, and, by consequence, ill-understood, the Supreme Council were jealous of every appearance of an attempt to originate important measures independently of their authority. This jealousy, and a desire to carry their own importance high, distinguished the party in the new Council, which now, by force of numbers, engrossed the powers of the government. They looked, therefore, with a very evil eye upon the audacity which, in a subordinate Presidency, so near the time when the Supreme Council were to assume the reins of government, ventured upon so great a measure as the conquest of Salsette, without waiting to be authorized by their sanction, or deterred by their prohibition. The letter from Bombay was answered on the 8th of March, with a dry remark, that all observations on the capture of Salsette were rendered useless by the tardiness of the information: The Council, however, declared their express disapprobation of the connexion with Ragoba; and two days after the treaty with that chieftain was signed, commanded that all negotiation with him should be suspended, till further instructions were received. On the 31st of May,book v.Chap. 2. 1775. arrived from the President and Council of Bombay a letter dated the 31st of March, with information of the conclusion of the treaty with Ragoba, and the departure of the troops for his support. On this occasion the Governor-General took the lead in the condemnation of the President and Council of Bombay; denouncing their procedure as “unseasonable, impolitic, unjust, and unauthorized;” and he proposed, that they should be peremptorily enjoined to cancel the treaty, and to withdraw the troops immediately from assisting Ragoba, except in the three following cases: “1. That they should have obtained any decisive advantages over the enemy; 2. That they should be in such a situation as might render it dangerous to retreat; 3. That a negotiation should have taken place between Ragoba and his opponents.” The Governor-General afterwards professed that he had gone beyond his real sentiments in these terms of condemnation, in hopes to moderate by that means the violence of the opposite party. In this expectation, if ever formed, he found himself deceived. The majority passed two resolutions, which form as singular a combination as the history of practical politics presents. They voted the condemnation of the treaty with Ragoba, and the immediate recall of the troops, subject to no consideration whatever but that of their safety: And they voted that a negotiation should be immediately opened with the Mutseddies, to arrange a treaty of peace, and obtain confirmation of Salsette and Bassein. They condemned the President and Council of Bombay, for taking part in the quarrels of the Mahrattas, and declaring for one party in opposition to another: They themselves performed what they themselves condemned, and were most effectually and irresistibly declaring in favour of the ministers book v.Chap. 2. 1775. against Ragoba. Other negotiators proceed to discussion with as fair a colour on their pretensions as they can, and as much power in their hands as they are able to retain; not that honourable men will aim at advantages which are unreasonable and unjust; but that they may be secure from the necessity of submitting to any thing which is unreasonable and unjust. The English rulers began with declaring themselves to be in the wrong, and stripping their hands of power; as preliminaries to a negotiation with a people, uniformly insolent and rapacious in proportion to their strength; who never heard the proposal of a concession but as an avowal of weakness; and could not conceive that any government ever yielded any thing which it was able to retain. Of all the courses which it was in the power of the Supreme Council to pursue, they made choice of that which was decidedly the worst. By fulfilling the treaty with Ragoba, they would have easily established his authority, and obtained the important concessions to which he had agreed: If they resolved, as they did, to countenance the ministers, they might, at any rate, have made their terms, before they exalted their pretensions by the annihilation of the power which would have made them compliant: And if they had inclined to act the part of really useful and pacific neighbours, they might have arbitrated between the parties with decisive and happy effect.
The Supreme Council resolved to treat with the ministers at Poona by an agent of their own, without the intervention of the Presidency of Bombay, in whose department the Mahratta country was situated, and who were best acquainted with the character and circumstances of the people.1 Colonel Upton, who was selected for the service, departed on the 17th ofbook v.Chap. 2. 1776. July, with letters to Siccaram Baboo, as head of the ministerial party; and with instructions to insist upon Salsette and Bassein, as indispensable conditions in the agreement which was proposed. It is worthy of remark, that he was furnished also with a letter to Ragoba, which was to be presented to that Prince, in case of his success; and then to form an introduction to a negotiation.
A letter from the Governor and Council of Bombay, dated the 22d of August, reached the Supreme Council in the beginning of October. These rulers complained severely of the disgrace which was thrown upon their Presidency, by compelling them to violate a solemn treaty, and depriving them of the power of negotiating with the neighbouring states. Such a loss of dignity in a great branch of the government could not fail, they said, to affect injuriously the interests of the Company. They denied, that they had been guilty of any wilful disrespect to the Supreme Council. The nature of the circumstances required that they should act without delay; the possession of Salsette and Bassein, required that they should declare in favour of one of the Mahratta parties; and many considerations induced them to give the preference to Ragoba. They pointed out the unhappy effects, even upon the negotiation with the ministers, which would result from the recall of the troops, and the ruin of Ragoba; and stated that they had deputed to Calcutta a member of their board, upon whose representations they still hoped, that their treaty would be executed, and that the great advantages of the connexion with Ragoba would not be thrown away. Their deputy displayed both zeal book v.Chap. 2. 1776. and ability, in his endeavours to make an impression upon the Council. But the majority adhered to their first determinations. Colonel Upton was, however, instructed to make some stipulations in favour of Ragoba; and the Presidency at Bombay was authorized to afford a sanctuary, in case of personal danger, to himself, his family and attendants. That Presidency was also directed, notwithstanding the breach of the treaty with Ragoba, to retain possession of the districts which had been yielded by Futty Sing, till the conclusion of a definitive treaty of peace.
The Council had for some time been waiting with impatience for the account of the arrival of their negotiator at Poona. In the beginning of January, 1776, they received letters from the ministers, which contained a commentary on the policy of annihilating Ragoba, at the moment of commencing a negotiation with his enemies. These letters displayed a high tone of complaint, and even of menace. They expressed a disinclination, on the part of the ministers, to submit their pretensions to discussion; and threatened a renewal of hostility, unless the places which had been taken were immediately restored.
Letters, dated the 5th of January, received from Colonel Upton on the 12th of February, announced his arrival at Poona, and a favourable reception. Other letters received on the 6th of March, and dated on the 2d of February, brought information of difficulties impeding the negotiation. The ministers imagine, says Colonel Upton, “that I must treat with them at any rate:—And that I have vastly exceeded my instructions, by asking a surrender of Salsette and Bassein.” “They ask me,” says he, “a thousand times, Why we make such professions of honour? How disprove the war entered into by the Bombay government; when we are so desirous of availing ourselves of the advantages of it?” Despairingbook v.Chap. 2. 1776. of compliance with all his demands, the Colonel proposed to relax in the affair of Bassein, and to ask for something else in its stead.1
On the 7th of March, a letter dated the 7th of February arrived; and announced that the negotiation was broken off. The ministers insisted upon an immediate renunciation of Salsette, and would not allow so much as time for consulting the government. “In five or six days more,” says the Colonel, “I am to leave Poona Dhur, and they will then fix the time for the expiration of the cessation of arms. I told them, I expected time to advise all our settlements before the renewal of the war; but I suspect them of taking every advantage.” He added, which confirmed the representations made in defence of the connexion with Ragoba, “If three or four companies of Europeans, a small detachment from the corps of artillery, and two or three battalions of Sepoys, were embarked from Bengal to join the army from Bombay, we might soon command peace on our own terms. For the chiefs of this country are quite at a loss which side to take; and are waiting to see what the English do.”2
Upon this intelligence the Council hastened to prepare for war on the largest scale. They resolved, “to support the cause of Ragoba with the utmost vigour; and with a general exertion of the whole power of the English arms in India; to act in all quarters at once; and, by the decision and rapidity of their proceedings, to bring the war, if possible, to a speedy conclusion:” And all this, (namely, a war with the ministers, and alliance with Ragoba, the very measures for which they condemned the Presidency book v.Chap. 2. 1776. at Bombay), rather than restore Salsette, the capture of which, and the alliance for its support, they had denounced as both impolitic and unjust!
At the conclusion, however, of the month, another letter from Colonel Upton was received. This letter brought intelligence of the final compliance of the ministers on the subject of Salsette. Warlike preparations were then suspended, and a treaty was at last arranged. The English renounced Bassein, and agreed to renounce the cessions in Guzerat, provided it appeared, as the ministers maintained, that Futty Sing was not entitled to make them. The Mahrattas yielded Salsette, and the small adjacent islands, of 3,500,000 rupees revenue; the Mahratta chout, or share of the revenues of Broach, amounting to an equal sum; and a country of three lacs in the neighbourhood of Broach. The members of the Bombay government compared these with the terms which they had obtained from Ragoba; and proclaimed their disapprobation. The concession with respect to Broach, they said, was pretended and delusive, as the Mahrattas had no right to any share of its revenues: The ceded territory, not being jaghire, or free from Mahratta burthens, would be a source of continual disturbance: The relinquishment of the cessions in Guzerat was weakly made upon an unfounded pretence, which actually gave the Guicawars an interest to disclaim the right in dispute: And, upon the whole, the treaty was highly injurious to the reputation, honour, and interests of the Company. The majority in the Supreme Council grounded the defence of their measures upon the utility of peace; and the frequent commands of the Directors to abstain from aggressive war.1
It had been stipulated that Ragoba should disbandbook v.Chap. 2. 1776. his army within one month; receive an establishment of 1,000 horse, to be paid and relieved at the pleasure of government, and, of course, to act as his gaolers and guards; enjoy a pension of three lacs of rupees per annum, and reside at an appointed place of abode. With these terms, which he represented as placing him in the hands of his enemies, Ragoba declared his resolution not to comply; and having requested an asylum in one of the Company’s settlements, he was promised, under the licence formerly granted, a sanctuary for himself and his attendants, by the Governor and Council of Bombay. The Mutseddies complained of this act of protection to Ragoba; and alarmed the ruling party in the Supreme Council with menaces that they would renounce the treaty, and betake themselves to war. After violent debates in the Supreme Council, and great diversity of opinion, it was decided by the majority, to condemn the offer made by the President and Council of Bombay of their protection to Ragoba; and to forbid them to receive that chieftain at any of the settlements within the limits of their government. The apprehensions of his enemies were soon after allayed by the defection of his troops. And he retired to Surat with only 200 attendants.
After considerable delay, and a variety of mutual complaints on the part of the Bombay Presidency and the ministers at Poona, the treaty was signed, and transmitted by Colonel Upton to Calcutta, on the 3d of June, 1776. It is peculiarly worthy of notice and remembrance, that intelligence of the conclusion of this affair had not reached the Supreme Council, when letters arrived from the Court of Directors applauding the treaty which the Presidency of book v.Chap. 2. 1776. Bombay had formed with Ragoba; and commanding their government of Bengal to co-operate for its fulfilment and confirmation. “We approve,” they say, “under every circumstance, of the keeping of all the territories and possessions ceded to the Company by the treaty concluded with Ragoba; and direct that you forthwith adopt such measures as may be necessary for their preservation and defence.”1
During these transactions, the attention of the Supreme Council was not attracted by any great event, towards the powers on the north-western frontier of the Company’s empire. In Oude, Asoff ul Dowla, the New Nabob, had entered upon his government with an exhausted treasury; he was oppressed by the debts due to the Company, and by their importunate demands of payment; his troops were mutinous for want of pay; his inability to maintain them had produced a reduction of his army; he had dismissed the ministers of his father, and surrounded himself with favourites; distraction prevailed in his family and his government; his character was vicious and weak; and every commotion on his frontier alarmed the Supreme Council for the safety of his dominions. Flying parties of the Mahrattas harrassed the neighbouring countries; and reports of more formidable enterprises excited the apprehensions of both the Nabob and his English friends. During the summer of 1776 it was rumoured, that a league had been formed by the Emperor, the Mahrattas, the Seiks, and the Rohillas, to invade the dominions of Asoff ul Dowla. And the Governor General urged the expediency of forming an alliance with Nujeef Khan, to lessen the danger of such an association. After the expedition against Zabita Khan, and thebook v.Chap. 2. 1776. admission of the Mahrattas into Delhi, this leader, through the artifice of a favourite, had fallen into disgrace with his master, and been reduced to the brink of ruin. The necessity of the Emperor’s affairs, and even the recommendation of Sujah Dowla and the English, again restored him to favour; and, in 1773, he engaged in a war with the Jaats, under an understanding that he should retain one half of the territory he should conquer, and resign the other to the Emperor. He had prevailed over the Jaats in the field, and recovered the fort and city of Agra, at the time when the agreement was made, between the Emperor and Vizir, to join in the war against the Rohillas. After his return from Rohilcund, he prosecuted his war with the Jaats; and having driven them, though he was exceedingly distressed for pecuniary means, from the open country, he was besieging the strong fortress of Deig; which, after an obstinate resistance, yielded to his arms; at the time when the situation of the neighbouring powers recommended a connexion with him to the English rulers. The discharge, however, of Sumroo, and a few Frenchmen, from his service, was made an indispensable preliminary; and as he alleged the danger at that moment of sending them to increase the power of his enemies, though he professed the strongest desire to comply with the wishes of the Company, the alliance was for the present obstructed and postponed. The anxiety of Asoff ul Dowla to receive from the Emperor, what still, it seems, was a source of illustration and an object of ambition; the office, though now only nominal, of Vizir; was kept on the rack by various interruptions, by competitors strongly supported, particularly the Nizam, and by the disinclination of the imperial mind. The pescush, book v.Chap. 2. 1776. however, or appropriate offering, with five thousand men and some artillery, which the Nabob sent to attend the Emperor, arrived at a critical moment, when Zabita Khan had not only evaded payment of the revenue for the country which he possessed, but had taken up arms to support his disobedience; had gained a victory over the Emperor’s forces; and was upon the point of becoming master of Delhi, and of the fate of its lord. The troops of Asoff ad Dowla appeared in time to save this catastrophe; and an imperial representative, in requital of this service, was soon after dispatched to invest the Nabob with the Kelât. By interference, however, of the commander of the Nabob’s detachment, whom Zabita Khan had duly bribed, the helpless Emperor was obliged to confirm that disobedient chief in the territory which he held, and even to remit those arrears of tribute which formed the subject of dispute.1
During the period of those transactions, affairs of a different description had deeply engaged the attention of the Supreme Council, and excited the most violent dissensions. So early as the month of December, 1774, a petition had been presented by the Ranee of Burdwan. This was the title of the widow of Tillook Chund, lately deceased, who, under the title of Rajah, had enjoyed the Zemindary of the district, and whose ancestors, as the representatives of its ancient Rajahs, had enjoyed it in succession through the whole period of Mahomedan sway. Her son, a minor of only nine years of age, had been nominated to the office upon the death of his father; and a considerable share of the power had at first passed into her hands. Afterwards, by the authority of the English government, the young Rajah wasbook v.Chap. 2. 1776. withdrawn from the guardianship of the Ranee, and the affairs of the Zemindary were entrusted to administrators of English appointment. She now complained of corrupt administration on the part of the Duan, or chief agent of the Zemindary, and accused the English Resident of supporting him in his iniquity, for the sake of the bribes with which the Duan took care to engage him. The more numerous party in the Council decreed that the Duan should be compelled to render an account of his administration; that the Ranee, agreeably to her petition, should be allowed to repair to Calcutta with her son; and as no inquiry into the conduct of the Duan could be successfully performed, while he retained power over the persons and papers of his office, that a temporary substitute should occupy his place. These resolutions the Governor-General, accompanied by Mr. Barwell, opposed. The Governor-General said, that the presence of the Ranee at Calcutta, whom he described as a troublesome, violent woman, would be not only unnecessary, but inconvenient; that the removal of the Duan from his office before any guilt was proved, would be a violation of justice;1 and the appointment to that office of persons whose qualifications had not been tried, a total departure from policy and prudence. On the 6th of January, 1775, a letter was received from the Resident, against whom the accusations of the Ranee were directed. It was drawn up in a very lofty style; the writer celebrated his own virtues; ascribed a bad character to the Ranee; and expressed the highest indignation, that she had the audacity to prefer an accusation book v.Chap. 2. 1776. against him. He professed his readiness to submit his conduct to examination; but required, that security should first be demanded of the Ranee to pay an equivalent penalty, in case she failed in the proof of her charges. The pretext for this condition was, its alleged conformity to the laws of the country. To stifle complaint, and to screen misrule, was its natural effect; and upon this consideration the majority of the Council refused to impose it. A variety of accounts were presented to the Board, in which were entered several sums of considerable amount, as paid by the Duan to the servants of the Company and their dependants, not only upon the appointment of the young Rajah, but also upon that of his Duan. Not less than 3,20,975 rupees were charged to the account of the Resident, his banyan, and cash-keeper. Mr. Hastings himself was accused of receiving 15,000 rupees, and his banyan, or native secretary, 4,500; and the whole of the sums represented as thus distributed among the Company’s servants, since the death of the deceased Rajah, amounted to 9,36,497 rupees. The authenticity of these accounts was called in question by the parties whom they affected; and every thing is doubtful which rests upon the authority of Indian witnesses, under strong temptations to depart from truth. Enough does not appear to condemn any individual. Enough appears to render it not doubtful that money was upon this occasion received by the Company’s servants; and enough does not appear to exculpate any individual against whom the charge was advanced. Mr. Hastings now lost his tone of calmness and forbearance. He accused the party in the council, by whom he was opposed, of a design to supersede him in his authority, and to drive him from his office. He pronounced them to be his accusers, parties to the cause against him; and therefore disqualified to sit asbook v.Chap. 2. 1776. judges upon his conduct. He declared that he would not summon or hold councils for “a triumph over himself.” He proposed that whatever inquisition they might choose to make into his conduct, they should make it in a committee; where his absence would save his station and character from degradation and insult; and he declared it to be his resolution to dissolve the council, as often as they should enter upon any criminating inquiry against himself. An occasion soon presented itself for putting his threat in execution. The resolution to compliment the Ranee with the usual insignia of office, he pronounced an insult to himself; declared the Council dissolved, and quitted the chair. The majority resolved that a vote of adjournment could, as all other votes, be passed only by a plurality of the voices present; that if this was not the law, the Governor-General was despotic; and that the right which he claimed was a right of impunity. They voted the first member of the Council into the chair, and continued their proceedings.
On the 30th of March, 1775, another accusation occupied the attention of the Board. In a representation received from one of the natives, it was set fourth, that the Phouzdar of Hoogly was paid by the Company 72,000 rupees as the annual salary of his office; that out of this sum, however, he paid annually to Mr. Hastings 36,000 rupees, together with 4,000 to Mr. Hastings’ native secretary, reserving only 32,000 rupees to himself; and that the author of this representation would undertake the duties of the office for this reduced allowance, producing an annual saving to the Company of 40,000 rupees, now corruptly received by Mr. Hastings and his banyan. The first debate which rose upon this book v.Chap. 2. 1776. information regarded the competence of the board to entertain such complaints. Mr. Hastings’ party, consisting of Mr. Barwell and himself, opposed the reception of any accusations against any individual of the board; and referred to the courts of justice. The major party deemed it an important article of the duty of the Supreme Council to control abuses, and not least in the hands of those who had the greatest power to commit them. It is no sufficient check, upon those who are entrusted with power, to be amenable for legal crimes in a court of justice. The analogies of the most vulgar trust shed light upon the highest. Who would endure a servant, pretending that his conduct ought not to be challenged but in a court of justice; his trust modified, or withdrawn, till after the judicial proof of a legal crime? When this plea was over-ruled, and the council were about to enter upon the investigation, Mr. Hastings declared that “he would not sit to be confronted with such accusers, nor to suffer a judicial inquiry into this conduct, at the board of which he is President.” As formerly, he pronounced the Council dissolved; and the majority continued their proceedings in his absence. Two letters of the Phouzdar in question were produced in evidence; and two witnesses were examined. The Phouzdar himself was summoned to answer. At first he alleged excuses for delay. When he did appear, he declined examination upon oath; on the pretence that to persons of his rank it was a degradation to confirm their testimony by that religious ceremony. In this scrupulosity, he was strongly supported by Mr. Hastings; but the majority construed it into a contempt of the Board; and dismissed the Phouzdar from his office, which they conferred, not upon the accusing petitioner, but another individual, at one half of the preceding salary, 36,000 rupees. The majority of thebook v.Chap. 2. 1776. Council esteemed the evidence of the charge complete. The party of the Governor-General, representing the testimony of the natives of India when they have any motive to falsify, as little worthy of trust, and the known disposition of the leading party in the Council as holding forth inducement to accuse, affirmed that the evidence had no title to regard. The eagerness of the Governor-General to stifle, and his exertions to obstruct inquiry, on all occasions where his conduct came under complaint, constituted in itself an article of proof, which added materially to the weight of whatever came against him from any other source.
Another ground of charge presented itself in the following manner. On the 2d of May, 1775, Mr. Grant, accountant to the provincial council of Moorshedabad, produced to the board a set of accounts, relating to the affairs of the Nabob; and stated that he had received them from a native, now in his own service, who had till lately been a clerk in the treasury office of the Nabob. From these accounts it appeared that Munny Begum, since her appointment to the superintendence of the Nabob’s person and affairs, had received 9,67,693 rupees, over and above what she appeared to have disbursed or had accounted for. Upon examination of Mr. Grant, and of the clerk from whom the accounts were received, the majority of the council were induced to regard them as authentic. Among other circumstances it was stated by the clerk, that the head eunuch of the Begum, the person who stood highest in her confidence, had endeavoured, upon hearing of such accounts in the hands of the clerk, to prevail upon him, by the prospect of rewards and advantages, to restore the papers, and return to the service of the book v.Chap. 2. 1776. Begum; and Mr. Grant was ready to state upon his oath that similar attempts had been made upon himself. The party opposed to the Governor-General thought the circumstances sufficiently strong to render inquiry necessary, and to authorise the steps which inquiry demanded. They proposed, that a servant of the Company should immediately be sent to Moorshedabad, invested with a proper commission and powers; and that the Begum, for the investigation of whose conduct no satisfactory evidence could be procured, while she retained authority over the officers and servants of the Nabob, should be divested of her power. The Governor-General, on the other hand, questioned the authority of the papers, resisted the proposal to inquire into the accounts of the Begum, and protested against removing her from her office, while no proof of her misconduct was adduced.1 By decision however of the majority, Mr. Goring was dispatched for the investigation; the power of the Begum was withdrawn; and Rajah Gourdass, the son of Nuncomar, Duan, or principal Minister of the Begum, received the temporary charge of the Nabob’s affairs. Inquiry seemed to establish the authenticity of the papers. The Begum, when pressed to account for the balance with which she was charged, stated, among other circumstances, that 1,50,000 rupees had been given to Mr. Hastings, under the name of entertainment money, when he went to Moorshedabad in 1772, and placed her at the head of the Nabob’s establishment. She also represented that on the same occasion 1,50,000 rupees had been given by her as a present to Mr. Middleton. Of the sum thus delivered to Mr. Middleton (for the receipt of it was never denied), no account was ever rendered, and no defence was ever set up. Mr. Hastingsbook v.Chap. 2. 1776. justified the receipt of what was bestowed upon himself, on the several pleas, that the act of parliament which prohibited presents was not then passed, that such allowances were the common custom of the country, that a Nabob of Bengal received on the same account 1000 rupees a day as often as he visited the Governor in Calcutta, that he added nothing to his fortune by this allowance, and must have charged to the company a sum as large, if this had not been received.1 Upon part of this it is necessary to remark, that custom, the custom of a country, where almost every thing was corrupt, affords but a sorry defence; that if a visit to the Nabob was a thing of so much expense it ought not to have been made without an adequate cause; that no adequate cause, if the receipt of the present be excluded, can any where be found; that for the necessity of a great expense on such a visit, or indeed of any extraordinary expense at all, we have barely the assertion of the Governor-General, which being the assertion of a party making out a case in his own defence, and an assertion opposed to probability, possesses but little of the force of proof. Besides, the amount is enormous; 2000 rupees per day; 7,30,000 rupees, or 73,000l. per annum. What should have made living at Moorshedabad cost the Governor-General at the rate of 73,000l. per annum? And why should the Nabob, whose allowance was understood to be cut down to the lowest point, have been oppressed by so enormous a burden? Another consideration of importance is, that when Mr. Hastings received the sum of one lac and a half of rupees for entertainment money, he at the same time charged to the Company a large sum, book v.Chap. 2. 1776. 30,000 rupees and upwards, as travelling charges, and a great additional amount for his colleagues and attendants.1 The complaints of severe usage to the Begum, advanced both by herself and by Hastings, appear to have had no other foundation than the loss of her office; an office which the majority considered her sex as disqualifying her to fill; and to which they treated her appointment as one of the errors or crimes of the preceding administration.
Of the different charges, however, brought against the Governor-General, those which were produced by the Rajah Nuncomar were attended with the most remarkable circumstances. From this personage, whom we have seen Phouzdar of Hoogly, minister of the Nabob Jaffier Khan, the agent of Mr. Hastings in the prosecution of Mahomed Reza Khan, and whose son was appointed Duan of the household to the Nabob, which son it was regulated and ordained that he should guide, a paper was delivered on the 11th of March, which, beides accusing the Governor-General of overlooking the proof of vast embezzlements committed by Mahomed Reza Khan and Shitabroy, and of acquitting them in consideration of large sums of money by which he was bribed, exhibited the particulars of a sum amounting to 3,54,105 rupees, which, it affirmed, the Governor-General accepted, for the appointment of Munny Begum, and Goordass, to their respective dignities and powers. In prosecution of the opinion of the majority that it was the duty of the Supreme Council to inquire into the charges which were brought against the members of the government, and to control the conduct even of the highest officers of state, it was on the 13th proposed, that Nuncomar should be summoned to appear before them, and called uponbook v.Chap. 2. 1776. to produce the grounds of his accusation. Mr. Hastings, instead of choosing to confront his accuser, and to avail himself of the advantage of innocence, in hearing and challenging the pretences of a false accusation, resisted inquiry. “Before the question is put,” says his Minute, “I declare that I will not suffer Nuncomar to appear before the Board as my accuser. I know what belongs to the dignity and character of the first member of this administration. I will not sit at this Board in the character of a criminal. Nor do I acknowledge the members of this Board to be my judges. I am reduced on this occasion to make the declaration that I regard General Clavering, Colonel Monson, and Mr. Francis, as my accusers.” The Governor-General, with Mr. Barwell, again recommended prosecution at law, not inquiry before the Council, as the mode of investigating his conduct. Again he pronounced the Council dissolved, and, together with Mr. Barwell, quitted the Board. Again the majority voted this form of dissolution void, and continued the inquiry. Nuncomar made positive declaration as to the sums which he himself had paid to the Governor; gave in the names of several persons who were privy to the transactions; and presented a letter, in purport from Munny Begum to himself, of which the seal, upon comparison, by the Persian translator and his moonshee, was declared to be authentic; and in which a gift was stated of two lacs to the Governor from himself. Upon this evidence the Governor was called upon to refund to the Company the money which he had thus illegally received. But he refused to acknowledge the majority as a council, and returned no answer.
Nothing surely can be more inadmissible than the pretences of the Governor-General for stifling inquiry book v.Chap. 2. 1776. What he alleged was, the dignity of the accused, and the baseness of the accuser. If dignity in the accused be a sufficient objection to inquiry, the responsibility of the leading members of every government is immediately destroyed; all limitation of their power is ended; and all restraint upon misconduct is renounced. If the character of the accuser is bad, so much the greater is the advantage of the accused; because so much the more easy it is to counterbalance the evidence of his testimony. So great may be the improbability of a charge, and so little the value of an accuser’s testimony, that the first may outweigh the latter, and preclude the propriety of any further research. But where the case is in any degree different from this, the character of the informer is not a sufficient objection to inquiry. It is often from men of the worst character that the most important intelligence is most likely to be received; and it is only necessary in receiving it to make those abatements of belief which the character of the informant may appear to require. Perpetual reference to the courts of law, as the only place where inquiry into the conduct of an officer of government could fitly be made, merits the highest condemnation; because the conduct of a member of government may be evil to almost any degree, may involve his country in ruin, and yet may be incapable of being touched by courts of law, constituted and conducted as those of England. It is another species of superintendance and control which must ensure good conduct in those who are vested with great public trusts. In disclaiming the majority for his judges, the Governor availed himself of an ambiguity in the word. They did not undertake the office of judgment. They only held it their duty to inquire, for the benefit of those who might afterwards judge.
In this case, the Governor-General was not satisfiedbook v.Chap. 2. 1776. with crying out against inquiry. He took the extraordinary resolution of prosecuting with all the weight of his authority the man by whom he was accused. An indictment, at the instance of the Governor-General, of Mr. Barwell, of Mr. Vansittart, of Mr. Hastings’ Banyan, and of the Roy Royan or head native agent of finance, was preferred against Nuncomar, together with Messrs. Joseph and Francis Fowke, for a conspiracy to force a man named Commaul ad dien Khan, to write a petition against the parties to the prosecution. After an examination before the judges, Mr. Francis Fowke was discharged; and Mr. Barwell, the Roy Royan, and the Governor’s Banyan, withdrew their names from the prosecution. The Governor and Mr. Vansittart persevered; and Nuncomar and Mr. Joseph Fowke were held to bail at their instance. “The truth is, as we,” says the minute of Clavering, Monson, and Francis, on the 16th of May, “have reason to believe, that there never existed such a paper as has been sworn to; and that every particular said to be contained in it is an imposition invented by Commaul ad Dien.” A few days after this suspicious, but ineffectual proceeding, a new prosecution was instituted against Nuncomar. At the suit of a native, he was taken up on a charge of forgery, and committed to the common gaol. He was tried before the Supreme Court, by a jury of Englishmen, convicted, and hanged. No transaction perhaps of this whole administration more deeply tainted the reputation of Hastings than the tragedy of Nuncomar. At the moment when he stood forth as the accuser of the Governor-General, he was charged with a crime, alledged to have been committed five years before; tried, and executed; a proceeding which could not book v.Chap. 2. 1776. fail to generate the suspicion of guilt, and of an inability to encounter the weight of his testimony, in the man whose power to have prevented, or to have stopped (if he did not cause) the prosecution, it is not easy to deny. As Hastings, aware of the sinister interpretations to which the destruction of an accuser, in circumstances so extraordinary, would assuredly expose him, chose rather to sustain the weight of those suspicions, than to meet the charges by preventing or suspending the fate of the accuser; it is a fair inference, though mere resentment and spite might hurry some men to as great an indiscretion, that from the accusations he dreaded something worse than those suspicions. Mr. Francis, in his examination before the House of Commons, on the 16th of April, 1788, declared that the effect of this transaction upon the inquiries carried on by the Board into the accusations against the Governor, was, “to defeat them; that it impressed a general terror on the natives with respect to preferring accusations against men in great power; and that he and his coadjutors were unwilling to expose them to what appeared to him and these coadjutors, as well as themselves, a manifest danger.”
The severest censures were very generally passed upon this trial and execution; and it was afterwards exhibited as matter of impeachment against both Mr. Hastings, and the Judge who presided in the tribunal. The crime for which Nuncomar was made to suffer, was not a capital offence, by the laws of Hindustan, either Moslem or Hindu; and it was represented as a procedure full of cruelty and injustice, to render a people amenable to the most grievous severities of a law with which they were unacquainted, and from which, by their habits and associations, their minds were totally estranged. It was affirmed; That this atrocious condemnation and execution werebook v.Chap. 2. 1776. upon an ex post facto law, as the statute which created the Supreme Court and its powers was not published till 1774, and the date of the supposed forgery was in 1770: That the law which rendered forgery capital did not extend to India, as no English statute included the colonies, unless where it was expressly stated in the law: That Nuncomar, as a native Indian, for a crime committed against another Indian, not an Englishman, or even a European, was amenable to the native, not the English tribunals: That the evidence adduced was not sufficient to warrant condemnation: And that although the situation in which the prisoner was placed with regard to a man of so much power as the Governor-General should have suggested to the Judge peculiar circumspection and tenderness, there was every appearance of precipitation, and of a predetermination to find him guilty, and to cut him off. In the defence which was set up by Sir Elijah Impey, the Chief Judge, in his answer at the bar of the House of Commons on the 12th of December, 1787, he admitted that a native inhabitant of the provinces at large was not amenable to the English laws, or to the English tribunals: and it was not as such, he affirmed, that Nuncomar was tried. But he maintained that a native inhabitant of the English town of Calcutta, which was English property, which had long been governed by Englishmen, and English laws, was amenable to the English tribunals, and justly, because he made it his voluntary choice to live under their protection; and that it was in this capacity, namely that of an inhabitant of Calcutta, that Nuncomar suffered the penalties of the English laws. If the competency of the jurisdiction was admitted, the question of evidence, where evidence was complicated and contradictory, could not book v.Chap. 2. 1776. admit of any very clear and certain decision; and the Judge opposed the affirmation of its insufficiency by that of the contrary. He denied the doctrine that an English penal statute extended to the colonies, only when that extension was expressed. The allegation of precipitation and unfairness, still further of corruption, in the treatment of the accused, he not only denied with strong expressions of abhorrence, but by a specification of circumstances endeavoured to disprove. It was, however, affirmed, that Nuncomar was not an inhabitant of Calcutta at the time when the offence was said to have been committed; but a prisoner brought and detained there by constraint. The Chief Justice, on the other hand, maintained that not only was no evidence to this fact exhibited on the trial, but evidence to the contrary, and that not opposed. It does indeed appear that an omission, contrary to the intent of the framers, in the Charter of Justice granted the Company in 1753, had afforded a pretext for that extension of jurisdiction over the inhabitants of Calcutta, under which Impey sheltered himself. In establishing the civil court for the administration of the English laws, this charter expressly excepted “such suits as shall be between Indian natives, which shall be determined among themselves, unless both parties consent.” In establishing the penal court, the reservation of the natives, having once been expressed, was not repeated; and of this opening the servants of the Company had availed themselves, whenever they chose, to extend over the natives the penalties of English law. That the intention of the charter was contrary, appeared by its sanctioning a separate court, called the Phousdary, for the trial of all offences of the native inhabitants; a court which, under the intention of rendering natives as well as English amenable to the English criminal laws, would have been totally withoutbook v.Chap. 2. 1776. a purpose.1 Of the evidence it may fairly be observed, that though the forgery was completely proved by the oaths of the witnesses to the prosecution, it was as completely disproved by the oaths of the witnesses to the defence; that there was no such difference in the character of the parties or their witnesses as to throw the balance greatly to either of the sides; and that the preponderance, if any, was too weak, to support an act of so much importance and delicacy, as the condemnation of Nuncomar. Even after the judgment, the case was not without a remedy; the execution might have been staid till the pleasure of the King was known, and a pardon might have been obtained. This too the Court absolutely refused; and proceeded with unrelenting determination to the execution of Nuncomar; who, on the 5th of August, with a tranquillity and firmness that never were surpassed, submitted to his fate, not only amid the tears and lamentations, but the cries and shrieks of an extraordinary assemblage of his countrymen.
There was, perhaps, enough to save the authors of this transaction, on the rigid interpretation of naked law. But that all regard to decorum, to the character of the English government, to substantial justice, to the prevention of misrule, and the detection of ministerial crimes, was sacrificed to personal interests, and personal passions, the impartial inquirer cannot hesitate to pronounce.2
book v.Chap. 2. 1776. Among the regulations of the financial system, formed and adopted in 1772, under the authority of Mr. Hastings, the seventeenth article was expressed in the following words; “That no Peshcar, Banyan, or other servant of whatever denomination, of the collector, or relation or dependant of any such servant, be allowed to farm lands, nor directly or indirectly to hold a concern in any farm, nor to be security for any farmer; and if it shall appear, that the collector shall have countenanced, approved, or connived at a breach of this regulation, he shall stand ipso facto dismissed from his collectorship.” These regulations had the advantage of being accompanied with a running commentary, in a corresponding column of the very page which contained the text of the law; the commentary proceeding from the same authority as the law, and exhibiting the reasons on which it was founded. The commentary on the article in question, stated, that, “If the collector or any persons who partake of his authority, are permitted to be farmers of the country, no other persons will dare to be their competitors. Of course they will obtain the farms on their own terms. It is not fit that the servants of the Company should be dealers with their masters. The collectors are checks on the farmers. If they themselves turn farmers, what checks can be found for them? What security will the Company have for their property? Or where are the ryots to look for protection?”1 Notwithstandingbook v.Chap. 2. 1776. this law, it appeared that Mr. Hastings’s own Banyan had, in the year 1773, possessed, or was concerned in the farm of no less than nineteen pergunnahs, or districts, in different parts of Bengal, the united rent-roll of which was 13,33,664 rupees; that in 1774, the rent-roll of the territory so farmed was 13,46,152 rupees; in 1775, 13,67,796 rupees; that in 1776, it was 13,88,346 rupees; and in 1777, the last year of the existing or quinquennial settlement, it was 14,11,885 rupees. It also appeared that, at the end of the second year, he was allowed to relinquish three of the farms, on which there was an increasing rent. This proceeding was severely condemned by the Directors; and Mr. Hastings himself, beyond affirming that he had no share in the profits, and that little or none were made, alleged but little in its defence.2
For the affairs of the Nabob, and that part of the business of government, still transacted in his name, a substitute to Munny Begum, and to the plan superseded by her removal, was urgently required. In their letter of the 3d of March, 1775, the Directors had declared Mahomed Reza Khan to be so honourably cleared of the suspicions and charges with which he had been clouded, and Nuncomar to be so disgraced by his attempts to destroy him, that they directed his son, who was no more than the tool of the father, to be removed from his office; and Mahomed Reza Khan to be appointed in his stead. It is remarkable, that book v.Chap. 2. 1776. the Directors were so ignorant of the government of India, which it belonged to them to conduct, that they mistook the name of the office of Gourdass, who was the agent for paying the Nabob’s servants, and the substitute for Munny Begum, when any of the affairs was to be transacted to which the fiction of the Nabob’s authority was still applied, for that of the officer who was no more than the head of the native clerks in the office of revenue at Calcutta. When they directed Gourdass to be replaced by Mahomed Reza, they distinguished him by the title of Roy Royan; and thence enlarged the ground of cavil and dispute between the contending parties in the Council. Clavering, Francis, and Monson, decided for uniting in the hands of Mahomed Reza Khan the functions which had been divided between Munny Begum and Rajah Gourdass; and as Rajah Gourdass, notwithstanding the prejudices against his father, was recommended by the Directors to some inferior office, the same party proposed to make him Roy Royan, and to remove Rajah Bullub, the son of Dooloob Ram, by whom that office had hitherto been held.
As the penal department of justice was ill administered in the present Fousdary courts (that branch of the late arrangements had totally failed); and as the superintendance of criminal justice, entrusted to the Governor-General, as head of the Nizamut Adaulut, or Supreme Penal Court of Calcutta, loaded him with a weight of business, and of responsibility, from which he sought to be relieved, the majority agreed to restore to Mahomed Reza Khan, the superintendence of penal justice, and of the native penal courts throughout the country; and for that purpose to remove the seat of the Nizamut Adaulut from Calcutta back to Moorshedabad. The Governor-General agreed that the orders of the Directors required the removal of Gourdass from the office whichbook v.Chap. 2. 1776. he held under Munny Begum, and the appointment to that office of Mahomed Reza Khan; but he dissented from all the other parts of the proposed arrangement; and treated the renewal of the title of Naib Subah, and the affectation of still recognizing the Nabob’s government, as idle grimace. “All the arts of policy cannot,” he said, “conceal the power by which these provinces are ruled, nor can all the arts of sophistry avail to transfer the responsibility to the Nabob; when it is as visible as the light of the sun, that every act originates from our own government, that the Nabob is a mere pageant without the shadow of authority, and even his most consequential agents receive their express nomination from the servants of the Company.”1 The opposing party, however, thought it would be still political, to uphold the pretext of “a country government,” for managing all discussions with foreign factories. And if ultimately it should, they say, “be necessary to maintain the authority of the country government by force, the Nabob will call upon us for that assistance, which we are bound by treaty to afford him, and which may be effectually employed in his name.” That party possessed the majority of votes, and their schemes, of course, were carried into execution.2
end of vol. iii.
The Directors not only condemned the retention of the correspondence, and sent repeated orders for its disclosure, which were never obeyed; but arraigned the very principle of a private agent. “The conduct of our late Council,” say they, “in empowering the President to prepare instructions for Mr. Middleton as agent at the court of Sujah Dowla, without ordering them to be submitted to the Board for their inspection and approbation, was very improper. And it is our express direction, that no such independent or separate authority be ever delegated, to any Governor, or Member of Council, or to any other person whatsoever; but that all instructions to public agents be laid before the Council, and signed by a majority of the Members, before they be carried into execution.” Letter to Bengal, 15th December, 1775, Fifth Report, ut supra, Appendix, No. 46.
On the supposition of the injustice of the Rohilla war, these forty lacs ought to have been paid not to the Company, but to the sufferers: Sujah Dowla ought to have been compelled to restore the unhappy refugees to their homes; and to make compensation. But neither the party, who now possessed all the powers of government, though they reprobated the Rohilla war, nor the Court of Directors, though they solemnly condemned it, ever uttered a wish for the restoration of the expatriated and plundered Rohillas; for a farthing of compensation for their loss, or alleviation to their miseries, either out of their own revenues, or those of the Vizir. The cry about justice, therefore, was a cheap virtue to them; and they were so much the less excusable than the Vizir and Mr. Hastings, that these actors in the scene denied its injustice, and were consistent: the Directors, and the condemning party, were inconsistent; if conscious of that inconsistence, hypocritical; if not conscious, blind.
See the Documents in the Appendix, Nos. 44, 45, and 46 of the Fifth Report, ut supra. They are also to be found in the Minutes of Evidence, exhibited to the House of Commons on the Oude charge; and once more in the Minutes of the Evidence exhibited on the trial of Mr. Hastings in Westminster Hall.
Fifth Report, ut supra, with Appendix, No. 44 and 45.
See the Exposé Statistique du Tunkin, published in London, in 1811, from the papers of M. de la Bissachere, a French Missionary, who had spent twenty-six years in the country.
See Fifth Report, ut supra, Appendix, No. 35.
To the documents adduced in the Fifth Report, ut supra, add the anecdotes related by a man who had access to the conversation of the best informed of his countrymen, Mr. James Forbes, in his Oriental Memoirs, the fifteenth and two subsequent chapters.
Fifth Report, Appendix, No. 47.
Fifth Report, p. 60. Extract of a general Letter, dated 31st March, 1769.
Surat was still governed nominally by a Mogul Nabob, who was however now, in a great measure, dependant upon the Company.
Vide supra, p. 531.
Fifth Report, ut supra, p. 69.
Forbes, Oriental Memoirs, ii. 32.
Mr. Forbes, who was private secretary to the commanding officer of the British detachment, gives us, though less of the campaign than of other objects, our best particulars, in the chapters xvi. to xx. of his Oriental Memoirs.
Fifth Report, App. No. 54. They, notwithstanding, failed not to approve of the acquisition when made. See p. 550, below.
The ignorance respecting the Mahrattas, of the Supreme Council, at this time, even of Mr. Hastings, not to speak of Mr. Francis and his party is very conspicuous in the Minutes of their consultations.
Fifth Report, ut supra, App. No. 102.
Ibid. No. 105.
See Fifth Report, ut supra, p. 24–29, and 60–88, with the corresponding articles in the Appendix.
Fifth Report, ut supra, App. No. 137. Compare p. 541, above.
Report, ut supra, p. 97, 98, and App. No. [Editor: Illegible Number], 168. Also Scott’s Aurungzebe’s Successors, p. 249–267.
Wherein lay the difference between this case, and that of Mahomed Reza Khan, and the Rajah Shitabroy?
Another contrast to the case of Mahomed Reza Khan.
See Defence of Mr. Hastings at the Bar of the Lords.
Minutes of Evidence on the Trial, p. 1048.
Accordingly this jurisdiction had hitherto been exercised with great timidity; and the consent of the government was always asked before the sentence was executed. In one case, and but one, there had been a conviction for forgery, but the prisoner was not executed—he received a pardon. See the Seventh Report of the Committee of Secrecy, in 1773, p. 17.
For the preceding charges against Mr. Hastings, and the proceedings of the Council, see the Eleventh Report of the Select Committee, in 1781, with its Appendix; Burke’s Charges against Hastings, No. 8, and Hastings’s Answer to the Eighth Charge, with the Minutes of Evidence on the Trial, p. 953–1001; and the Charges against Sir Elijah Impey, exhibited to the House of Commons by Sir Gilbert Elliot, in 1787, with the Speech of Impey in reply to the first charge, printed, with an Appendix, by Stockdale, in 1788. For the execution and behaviour of Nuncomar, see a very interesting account, written by the sheriff who superintended, and printed in Dodsley’s Annual Register for 1788, Historical part, p. 157.
Sixth Report of the Committee of Secrecy, in 1773; Bengal Consultations, 14th May, 1772, p. 18.
Extract of Bengal Revenue Consultations, 17th March, 1775; Parliamentary Papers, printed in 1787; see also the Fifteenth of the Charges exhibited to Parliament against Warren Hastings, Esq. and his Answer to the same.
How strange a language this from the pen of the man, who, but a few months before, had represented the power of the shadow of this shadow, the Naib Subah, as too great to exist with safety to the Company in the hands of any man !
Fifth Report of the Select Committee in 1781; and the Bengal Consultations in the Appendix, No. 6.