Infomotions, Inc.The Works of the Right Honourable Edmund Burke, Vol. 09 (of 12) / Burke, Edmund, 1729-1797

Author: Burke, Edmund, 1729-1797
Title: The Works of the Right Honourable Edmund Burke, Vol. 09 (of 12)
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Title: The Works Of The Right Honourable Edmund Burke, Vol. IX. (of 12)

Author: Edmund Burke

Release Date: March 27, 2005 [EBook #13968]
[Date last upated: May 5, 2006]

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ART. VII. CONTRACTS                                                    3

 VIII. PRESENTS                                                       22


    X. SURGEON-GENERAL'S CONTRACT                                     60

   XI. CONTRACTS FOR POOLBUNDY REPAIRS                                60

  XII. CONTRACTS FOR OPIUM                                            63

 XIII. APPOINTMENT OF R.J. SULIVAN                                    70

  XIV. RANNA OF GOHUD                                                 72


  PART I.                                                             79

  PART II.                                                            87

  XVI. MISDEMEANORS IN OUDE                                           95

 XVII. MAHOMED REZA KHAN                                             179


  XIX. LIBEL ON THE COURT OF DIRECTORS                               228

   XX. MAHRATTA WAR AND PEACE                                        238

  XXI. CORRESPONDENCE                                                266


          BEFORE THE TREATY OF LALL-DANG                             268


  PART III. GUARANTY OF THE TREATY OF LALL-DANG                      278

  PART IV. THANKS OF THE BOARD TO FYZOOLA KHAN                       286

  PART V. DEMAND OF FIVE THOUSAND HORSE                              287

  PART VI. TREATY OF CHUNAR                                          296



           MAJOR PALMER AND MR. HASTINGS                             313


       *       *       *       *       *



    FIRST DAY: FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 15, 1788                             329

    SECOND DAY; SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 16                                396










That the Court of Directors of the East India Company had laid down the
following fundamental rules for the conduct of such of the Company's
business in Bengal as could be performed by contract, and had repeatedly
and strictly ordered the Governor and Council of Port William to observe
those rules, viz.: That all contracts should be publicly advertised, and
the most reasonable proposals accepted; that the contracts of
provisions, and for furnishing draught and carriage bullocks for the
army, should be _annual_; and that they should not fail to advertise for
and receive proposals for those contracts _every year_.

That the said Warren Hastings, in direct disobedience to the said
positive orders, and, as the Directors themselves say, _by a most
deliberate breach of his duty_, did, in September, 1777, accept of
proposals offered by Ernest Alexander Johnson for providing draught and
carriage bullocks, and for victualling the Europeans, without
advertising for proposals, as he was expressly commanded to do, and
extended the contract for _three years_, which was positively ordered to
be _annual_,--and, notwithstanding that extension of the period, which
ought at least to have been compensated by some advantage to the Company
in the conditions, did conclude the said contract _upon terms less
advantageous than the preceding contract, and therefore not on the
lowest terms procurable_. That the said Warren Hastings, in defiance of
the judgment and lawful orders of his superiors, which in this case left
him no option, declared, that _he disapproved of publishing for
proposals, and that the contract was reduced too low already_: thereby
avowing himself the advocate of the contractor, against whom, as
representative of the Company, and guardian of their interests, he
properly was party, and preferring the advantage of the contractor to
those of his own constituents and employers. That the Court of Directors
of the East India Company, having carefully considered the circumstances
and tendency of this transaction, condemned it in the strongest terms,
declaring, that they would _not permit_ the contract to be continued,
and that, "if the contractor should think himself aggrieved, and take
measures in consequence by which the Company became involved in loss or
damage, they should certainly hold the majority of the Council
responsible for such loss or damage, and proceed against them
accordingly."--That the said Warren Hastings, in defiance of orders,
which the Directors say were _plain and unequivocal_, did, in January,
1777, receive from George Templer a proposal essentially different from
the advertisement published by the Governor-General and Council for
receiving proposals for feeding the Company's elephants, and did accept
thereof, not only without having recourse to the proper means for
ascertaining whether the said proposal was the lowest that would be
offered, but with another actually before the board nearly thirty per
cent lower than that made by the said George Templer, to whom the said
Warren Hastings granted a contract, in the terms proposed by the said
Templer, for three years, and did afterwards extend the same to five
years, with new and distinct conditions, accepted by the said Warren
Hastings, without advertising for fresh proposals, by which the Company
were very considerable losers: on all which the Court of Directors
declared, "that this waste of their property could not be permitted;
that he, the said Warren Hastings, had disregarded their authority, and
disobeyed their orders, in not taking the lowest offers"; and they
ordered that the contract for elephants should be annulled: and the said
Directors further declared, that, "if the contractor should recover
damages of the Company for breach of engagement, they were determined,
in such case, to institute a suit at law against those members of the
board who had presumed, in direct breach of their orders, to prefer the
interest of an individual to that of the Company."--That the said Warren
Hastings did, in the year 1777, conclude with ---- Forde a contract for
an armed vessel for the pilotage of the Chittagong river, and for the
defence of the coast and river against the incursions of robbers, for
the term of five years, in further disobedience of the Company's orders
respecting the mode and duration of contracts, and with a considerable
increase of expense to the Company. That the farming out the defence of
a country to a contractor, being wholly unprecedented, and evidently
absurd, could have no real object but to enrich the contractor at the
Company's expense: since either the service was not dangerous, and then
the establishment was totally unnecessary, or, if it was a dangerous
service, it was evidently the interest of the contractor to avoid such
danger, and not to hazard the loss of his ship or men, which must be
replaced at his own expense, and therefore that an active and faithful
discharge of the contractor's duty was incompatible with his
interest.--That the said Warren Hastings, in further defiance of the
Company's orders, and in breach of the established rule of their
service, did, in the year 1777, conclude a contract with the master and
deputy master attendant of the Company's marine or pilot service, for
supplying the said marine with naval stores, and executing the said
service for the term of two years, and without advertising for
proposals. That the use and expenditure of such stores and the direction
of the pilot vessels are under the management and at the disposition of
the master attendant by virtue of his office; that he is officially the
proper and regular check upon the person who furnishes the stores, and
bound by his duty to take care that all contracts for furnishing such
stores are duly and faithfully executed. That the said Warren Hastings,
by uniting the supply and the check in the same hands, did not only
disobey the Company's specific orders, and violate the fundamental rules
and practice of the service, but did overset the only just and rational
principle on which this and every other service of a similar nature
ought to be conducted, and did not only subject the Company's interest,
in point of expense, to fraud and collusion, but did thereby expose the
navigation of the Bengal river to manifest hazard and distress:
considering that it is the duty of the master attendant to take care
that the pilot vessels are constantly stationed in the roads to wait
the arrival of the Company's ships, especially in tempestuous weather,
and that they should be in a constant condition to keep the sea; whereas
it is manifestly the interest of the contractor, in the first instance,
to equip the said vessels as scantily as possible, and afterwards to
expose them as little as possible to any service in which the stores to
be replaced by him might be lost or consumed. And, finally, that in
June, 1779, the said contract was prolonged to the said master
attendant, by the said Warren Hastings, for the further period of two
years from the expiration of the first, without advertising for
proposals.--That it does not appear that any of the preceding contracts
have been annulled, or the charges attending any of them abated, or that
the Court of Directors have ever taken any measures to compel the said
Warren Hastings to indemnify the Company, or to make good any part of
the loss incurred by the said contracts.

That in the year 1777 the said Warren Hastings did recommend and appoint
John Belli, at that time his private secretary, to be agent for
supplying the garrison of Fort William with victualling stores; that the
stores were to be purchased with money advanced by the Company, and that
the said agent was to be allowed a commission or percentage for his risk
and trouble; that, in order to ascertain what sum would be a reasonable
compensation for the agent, the Governor-General and Council agreed to
consult some of the principal merchants of Calcutta; that the merchants
so consulted reported their opinion, that twenty per cent on the prime
cost of the stores would be a reasonable compensation to the agent;
that, nevertheless, the said Warren Hastings, supported by the vote and
concurrence of Richard Barwell, then a member of the Supreme Council,
did propose and carry it, that thirty per cent per annum should be
allowed upon all stores to be provided by the agent. That the said
Warren Hastings professed that "he preferred an agency to a contract for
this service, because, if it were performed by contract, it must then be
advertised, and the world would know what provision was made for the
defence of the fort": as if its being publicly known that the fort was
well provided for defence were likely to encourage an enemy to attack
it. That in August, 1779, in defiance of the principle laid down by
himself for preferring an agency to a contract, the said Warren Hastings
did propose and carry it, that the agency should be _converted into a
contract_, to be granted to the said John Belli, without advertising for
proposals, and fixed for the term of five years,--"pretending that he
had received frequent remonstrances from the said agent concerning the
heavy losses and inconveniences to which he was _subjected_ by the
indefinite terms of his agency," notwithstanding it appeared by evidence
produced at the board, that, on a supply of about 37,000_l._, he had
already drawn a commission of 22,000_l._ and upwards. That the said
Warren Hastings pledged himself, that, _if required by the Court of
Directors, the profits arising from the agency should be paid into the
Company's treasury, and appropriated as the Court should direct_. That
the Court of Directors, as soon as they were advised of the first
appointment of the said agency, declared that they considered the
commission of twenty per cent as an ample compensation to the agent, and
did positively order, that, according to the engagement of the said
Warren Hastings, "the commission paid or to be paid to the said agent
should be reduced to twenty pounds per cent." That the said John Belli
did positively refuse to refund any part of the profits he had received,
or to submit to a diminution of those which he was still to receive; and
that the said Warren Hastings has never made good his own voluntary and
solemn engagement to the Court of Directors hereinabove mentioned: and
as his failure to perform the said engagement is a breach of faith to
the Company, so his performance of such engagement, if he had performed
it, and even his offering to pledge himself for the agent, in the first
instance, ought to be taken as presumptive evidence of a connection
between the said Warren Hastings and the said agent, his private
secretary, which ought not to exist between a Governor acting in behalf
of the Company and a contractor making terms with such Governor for the
execution of a public service.

That, before the expiration of the contract hereinbefore mentioned for
supplying the army with draught and carriage bullocks, granted by the
said Warren Hastings to Ernest Alexander Johnson for three years, the
said Warren Hastings did propose and carry it in Council, that a new
contract should be made on a new plan, and that an offer thereof should
be made to Richard Johnson, brother and executor of the said contractor,
without advertising for proposals, for the term of _five years_; that
this offer was _voluntarily accepted_ by the said Richard Johnson, who
at the same time desired and obtained that the new contracts should be
made out in the name of Charles Croftes, the Company's accountant and
sub-treasurer at Fort William; that the said Charles Croftes offered the
said Richard Johnson as one of his securities for the performance of
the said contract, who was accepted as such by the said Warren Hastings;
and that, at the request of the said contractor, the contract for
victualling the Europeans serving at the Presidency was added to and
united with that for furnishing bullocks, and fixed for the same period.
That this extension of the periods of the said contracts was not
compensated by a diminution in the charge to be incurred by the Company
on that account, as it ought to have been, but, on the contrary, the
charge was immoderately increased by the new contracts, insomuch that it
was proved by statements and computations produced at the board, that
the increase on the victualling contract would in five years amount to
40,000_l._, and that the increase on the bullock contract in the same
period would amount to above 400,000_l._ That, when this and many other
weighty objections against the terms of the said contracts were urged in
Council to the said Warren Hastings, he declared that _he should deliver
a reply thereto_; but it does not appear that he did ever deliver such
reply, or ever enter into a justification of any part of his conduct in
this transaction.--That the act of Parliament of 1773, by which the
first Governor-General and Council were appointed, did expressly limit
the duration of their office to the term of five years, which expired in
October, 1779, and that the several contracts hereinbefore mentioned
were granted in September, 1779, and were made to continue _five_ years
after the expiration of the government by which they were granted. That
by this anticipation the discretion and judgment of the succeeding
government respecting the subject-matter of such contracts was taken
away, and any correction or improvement therein rendered impracticable.
That the said Warren Hastings might have been justified by the rules and
practice or by the necessity of the public service in binding the
government by engagements to endure one year after the expiration of his
own office; but on no principles could he be justified in extending such
engagements beyond the term of one year, much less on the principles he
has avowed, namely, "that it was only an act of common justice in him to
secure _every man connected with him_, as far as he legally could, from
the apprehension of future oppression." That the oppression to which
such apprehension, if real, must allude, could only consist in and arise
out of the obedience which he feared a future government might pay to
the orders of the Court of Directors, by making all contracts _annual_,
and advertising for proposals publicly and indifferently from all
persons whatever, by which it might happen that such beneficial
contracts would not be constantly held by men _connected with him_, the
said Warren Hastings. That this declaration, made by the said Warren
Hastings, combined with all the circumstances belonging to these
transactions, leaves no room to doubt, that, in disobeying the Company's
orders, and betraying the trust reposed in him as guardian of the
Company's property, his object was to purchase the attachment of a
number of individuals, and to form a party capable of supporting and
protecting him in return.

That, with the same view, and on the same principles, it appears that
excessive salaries and emoluments, at the East India Company's charge
and expense, have been lavished by the said Warren Hastings to sundry
individuals, contrary to the general principles of his duty, and in
direct contradiction to the positive orders of the Court of Directors:
particularly, that, whereas by a resolution of the Court of Proprietors
of the East India Company, and by an instruction of the Court of
Directors, it was provided and expressly ordered that there should be
paid to the late Sir John Clavering "the sum of six thousand pounds
sterling per annum in full for his services as commander-in-chief, in
lieu of travelling charges and of all other advantages and emoluments
whatever," and whereas the Court of Directors positively ordered that
the late "Sir Eyre Coote should receive the _same_ pay as
commander-in-chief of their forces in India as was received by
Lieutenant-General Sir John Clavering," the said Warren Hastings,
nevertheless, within a very short time after Sir Eyre Coote's arrival in
Bengal, did propose and carry it in Council, that a new establishment
should be created for Sir Eyre Coote, by which an increase of expense
would be incurred by the India Company to the amount of eighteen
thousand pounds a year and upwards, exclusive of and in addition to his
salary of ten thousand pounds a year, provided for him by act of
Parliament as a member of the Supreme Council, and exclusive of and in
addition to his salary of six thousand pounds a year as
commander-in-chief, appointed for him by the Company, and expressly
fixed to that amount.

That the disobedience and breach of trust of which the said Warren
Hastings was guilty in this transaction is highly aggravated by the
following circumstances connected with it. That from the death of Sir
John Clavering to the arrival of Sir Eyre Coote in Bengal the
provisional command of the army had devolved to and been vested in
Brigadier-General Giles Stibbert, the eldest officer on that
establishment. That in this capacity, and, as the said Warren Hastings
has declared, "standing no way distinguished from the other officers in
the army, but by his accidental succession to the first place on the
list," he, the said Giles Stibbert, had, by the recommendation and
procurement of the said Warren Hastings, received and enjoyed a salary,
and other allowances, to the amount of 13,854_l._ 12_s._ per annum. That
Sir Eyre Coote, soon after his arrival, represented to the board that a
considerable part of those allowances, amounting to 8,220_l._ 10_s._ per
annum, ought to devolve to himself, as commander-in-chief of the
Company's forces in India, and, stating that the said Giles Stibbert
could no longer be considered as commander-in-chief under the Presidency
of Fort William, made a formal demand of the same. That the said Warren
Hastings, instead of reducing the allowances of the said Giles Stibbert
to the establishment at which they stood during General Clavering's
command, and for the continuance of which after Sir Eyre Coote's arrival
there could be no pretence, continued the allowances of 13,854_l._
12_s._ per annum to the said Giles Stibbert, and at the same time, in
order to appease and satisfy the demand of the said Sir Eyre Coote, did
create for him that new establishment, hereinbefore specified, of
eighteen thousand pounds per annum,--insomuch that, instead of the
allowance of _six thousand pounds a year, in lieu of travelling charges,
and of all emoluments and allowances whatsoever_, to which the pay and
allowances of commander-in-chief were expressly limited by the united
act of the legislative and executive powers of the Company, the annual
charge to be borne by the Company on that account was increased by the
said Warren Hastings to the enormous sum of thirty-eight thousand two
hundred and seventeen pounds ten shillings sterling.

That on the 1st of November, 1779, the said Warren Hastings did move and
carry it in Council, "that the Resident at the Vizier's court should be
furnished with an account of all the extra allowances and charges of the
commander-in-chief when in the field, with orders to add the same to the
debit of the Vizier's account, as a part of his general subsidy,--the
charge to commence from the day on which the general shall pass the
Caramnassa, and to continue till his return to the same line." That this
additional expense imposed by the said Warren Hastings on the Vizier was
unjust in itself, and a breach of treaty with that prince: the specific
amount of the subsidy to be paid by him having been fixed by a treaty,
to which no addition could justly be made, but at the previous
requisition of the Vizier. That the Court of Directors, in their letter
of the 18th of October, 1780, did condemn and prohibit the continuation
of the allowances above mentioned to Sir Eyre Coote in the following
words: "These allowances appear to us in a light so very extraordinary,
and so repugnant to the spirit of a resolution of the General Court of
Proprietors respecting the allowance made to General Clavering, that we
positively direct that they be discontinued immediately, and no part
thereof paid after the receipt of this letter." That on the 27th of
April, 1781, the Governor-General and Council, in obedience to the
orders of the Directors, did signify the same to the Commissary-General,
as an instruction to him that the extraordinary allowances to Sir Eyre
Coote _should be discontinued, and no part thereof paid after that
day_. That it appears, nevertheless, that the said extra allowances
(amounting to above twenty thousand pounds sterling a year) were
continued to be charged to the Vizier, and paid to Sir Eyre Coote, in
defiance of the orders of the Court of Directors, in defiance of the
consequent resolution of the Governor-General and Council, and in
contradiction to the terms of the original motion made by the said
Warren Hastings for adding those allowances to the debit of the Vizier,
viz., "that they should continue till Sir Eyre Coote's return to the
Caramnassa." That Sir Eyre Coote arrived at Calcutta about the end of
August, 1780, and must have crossed the Caramnassa, in his return from
Oude, some weeks before, when the charge on the Vizier, if at any time
proper, ought to have ceased. That it appears that the said allowances
were continued to be charged against the Vizier and paid to Sir Eyre
Coote for three years after, even while he was serving in the Carnatic,
and that this was done by the sole authority and private command of the
said Warren Hastings.

That the East India Company having thought proper to create the office
of Advocate-General in Bengal, and to appoint Sir John Day to that
office, it was resolved by a General Court of Proprietors that a salary
of three thousand pounds a year should be allowed to the said Sir John
Day, _in full consideration of all demands and allowances whatsoever for
his services to the Company at the Presidency of Fort William_. That the
said Warren Hastings, nevertheless, shortly after Sir John Day's arrival
in Bengal, did increase the said Sir John Day's salary and allowances to
six thousand pounds a year, in direct disobedience of the resolution of
the Court of Proprietors, and of the order of the Court of Directors.
That the Directors, as soon as they were informed of this proceeding,
declared, "that they held _themselves_ bound by the resolution of the
General Court, and that they could not allow it to be disregarded by the
Company's servants in India," and ordered that the increased allowances
should be forthwith discontinued. That the said Warren Hastings, after
having first thought it necessary, in obedience to the orders of the
Court of Directors, to stop the extraordinary allowance which he had
granted to Sir John Day, did afterwards resolve that the allowance which
had been struck off should be _repaid_ to him, upon his signing an
obligation to refund the amount which he might receive, in case the
Directors should confirm their former orders, already twice given. That
in this transaction the said Warren Hastings trifled with the authority
of the Company, eluded the repeated orders of the Directors, and exposed
the Company to the risk and uncertainty of recovering, at a distant
period, and perhaps by a process of law, a sum of money which they had
positively ordered him not to pay.

That in the latter part of the year 1776, by the death of Colonel
Monson, the whole power of the government of Fort William devolved to
the Governor and one member of the Council; and that from that time the
Governor-General and Council have generally consisted of an even number
of persons, in consequence of which the casting voice of the said Warren
Hastings has usually prevailed in the decision of all questions. That
about the end of the year 1776 the whole civil establishment of the said
government did not exceed 205,399_l._ per annum; that in the year 1783
the said civil establishment had been increased to the enormous annual
sum of 927,945_l._ That such increase in the civil establishment could
not have taken place, if the said Warren Hastings, who was at the head
of the government, with the power annexed to the casting voice, had not
actively promoted the said increase, which he had power to prevent, and
which it was his duty to have prevented. That by such immoderate waste
of the property of his employers, and by such scandalous breach of his
fidelity to them, it was the intention of the said Warren Hastings to
gain and secure the attachment and support of a multitude of
individuals, by whose united interest, influence, and intrigues he hoped
to be protected against any future inquiry into his conduct. That it was
of itself highly criminal in the said Warren Hastings to have so wasted
the property of the East India Company, and that the purpose to be
obtained by such waste was a great aggravation of that crime.

That among the various instances of profusion by which the civil
establishment of Fort William was increased to the enormous annual sum
hereinbefore mentioned, it appears that a Salt Office was created, of
six commissioners, whose annual emoluments were as follows, viz.:--

President, or Comptroller, per annum    L18,480
1st member                               13,100
2d    do                                 11,480
3d    do                                 13,183
4th   do                                  6,257
5th   do                                 10,307

That a Board of Revenue was created by the said Warren Hastings,
consisting of five commissioners, whose annual emoluments were as
follows, viz.:--

1st member, per annum                   L10,950
2d    do                                  9,100
3d    do                                  9,100
4th   do                                  9,100
5th   do                                  9,100

That David Anderson, Esquire, first member of the said board, did not
execute the duties, though he received the emoluments of the said
office: having acted, for the greatest part of the time, as ambassador
to Mahdajee Sindia, with a further salary of 4,280_l._ a year, making in
all 15,230_l._ a year. That the said Warren Hastings did create an
office of Agent-Victualler to the garrison of Fort William, whose
profits, on an average of three years, were 15,970_l._ per annum. That
this agency was held by the Postmaster-General, who in that capacity
received 2,200_l._ a year from the Company, and who was actually no
higher than a writer in the service. That the person who held these
lucrative offices, viz., John Belli, was private secretary to the said
Warren Hastings.

That the said Warren Hastings created a nominal office of Resident at
Goa, where the Company never had a Resident, nor business of any kind to
transact, and gave the said nominal office to a person who was not a
covenanted servant of the Company, with an allowance of 4,280_l._ a

That these instances are proofs of a criminal profusion and high breach
of trust to the India Company in the said Warren Hastings, under whose
government, and by means of whose special power, derived from the effect
of his casting voice, all the said waste and profusion did take place.

That at the end of the year 1780, when, as the Court of Directors
affirm, _the Company were in the utmost distress for money, and almost
every department in arrear_, and when it appears that there was a great
scarcity and urgent want of grain at Fort St. George, the said Warren
Hastings did accept of a proposal made to him by James Peter Auriol,
then Secretary to the Council, to supply the Presidency of Fort St.
George with rice and other articles, and did appoint the said Auriol to
be the agent for supplying _all the other_ Presidencies with those
articles; that the said Warren Hastings declared that the intention of
the appointment "was most likely to be fulfilled by a liberal
consideration of it," and therefore allowed the said Auriol a commission
of fifteen per cent on the whole of his disbursements, thereby rendering
it the direct interest of the said Auriol to make his disbursements as
great as possible; that the chance of capture by the enemy, or danger of
the sea, was to be at the risk of the India Company, and not of the said
Auriol; that the said Warren Hastings declared personally to the said
Auriol, "that this post was intended as a reward for his long and
faithful services." That the President and Council of Bombay did
remonstrate against what they called _the enormous amount of the
charges_ of the rice with which they wore supplied, which they state to
be nine rupees a bag at Calcutta, when they themselves could have
contracted for its delivery at Bombay, free of all risk and charges, at
five rupees and three sixteenths per bag; and that even at Madras, where
the distress and demand was greatest, the supplies of grain by private
traders, charged to the Company, were nineteen per cent cheaper than
that supplied by the said Auriol, exclusive of the risk of the sea and
of capture by the enemy. That it is stated by the Court of Directors,
that the agent's commission on a supply of _a single year_ (the said
commission being not only charged on the prime cost of the rice, but
also on the freight and all other charges) would amount to pounds
sterling 26,873, and by the said Auriol himself is admitted to amount to
18,292_l._ That William Larkins, the Accountant-General at Port William,
having been ordered to examine the accounts of the said agent, did
report to the Governor-General and Council, that he found them to be
_correct in the additions and calculations_; and that then the said
Larkins adds the following declaration: "The agent _being upon honor_
with respect to the sums charged in his accounts for the cost of the
articles supplied, I did not think myself authorized to require _any
voucher_ of the sums charged for the demurrage of sloops, either as to
the time of detention or the rate of the charge, or of those for the
articles lost in going down the river; and on that ground I thought
myself equally bound to admit the sums acknowledged as received for the
sales of goods returned, without requiring vouchers of the rates at
which they were sold." That in this transaction the said Warren Hastings
has been guilty of a high breach of trust and duty, in the unnecessary
expenditure of the Company's money, and in subjecting the Company to a
profusion of expense, at all times wholly unjustifiable, but
particularly at the time when that expense was incurred. That the said
Warren Hastings was guilty of breach of orders, as well as breach of
trust, in not advertising generally for proposals; in not _contracting_
indifferently for the supplies with such merchants as might offer to
furnish them on the lowest terms; in giving an enormous commission to an
agent, and that commission not confined to the prime cost of the
articles, but to be computed on the whole of his charges; in accepting
of the _honor_ of the said agent as a sufficient voucher for the cost of
the articles supplied, and for all charges whatever on which his
commission was to be computed; and finally, in giving a lucrative agency
for the supply of a distressed and starving province as a reward to a
Secretary of State, whose labors in that capacity ought to have been
rewarded by an avowed public salary, and not otherwise. That, after the
first year of the said agency was expired, the said Warren Hastings did
agree, that, for the future, the commission to be drawn by the said
agent should be reduced to five per cent, which the Governor-General and
Council then declared to be _the customary, amount drawn by merchants_;
but that even in this reduction of the commission the said Warren
Hastings was guilty of a deception, and did not in fact reduce the
commission from fifteen to five per cent, having immediately after
resolved that he, the agent, should be allowed the current interest of
Calcutta upon all his drafts on the Treasury from the day of their
dates, until they should be completely liquidated; that the legal
interest of money in Bengal is twelve per cent per annum, and the
current interest from eight to ten per cent.


That, before the appointment of the Governor-General and Council of Fort
William by act of Parliament, the allowances made by the East India
Company to the Presidents of that government were abundantly sufficient;
and that the said Presidents in general, and the said Warren Hastings
particularly, was restrained by a specific covenant and indenture, which
he entered into with the Company, from accepting any gifts, rewards, or
gratuities whatsoever, on any account or pretence whatsoever. That in
the Regulating Act passed in the year 1773, which appointed the said
Warren Hastings, Esquire, Governor-General of Fort William in Bengal, a
salary of twenty-five thousand pounds a year was established for him, to
which the Court of Directors added, "that he should enjoy their
principal houses, with the plate and furniture, both in town and
country, _rent-free_." That the same law which created the office and
provided the salary of the said Warren Hastings did expressly, and in
the clearest and most comprehensive terms that could be devised,
prohibit him from receiving any present, gift, or donation, in any
manner or on any account whatsoever; and that the said Warren Hastings
perfectly understood the meaning, and acknowledged the binding force of
this prohibition, before he accepted of the office to which it was
annexed: he knew, and had declared, that _the prohibition was positive
and decisive; that it admitted neither of refinement or misconstruction;
and that in his opinion an opposition would be to incur the penalty_.

That, notwithstanding the covenants and engagements above mentioned, it
appears in the recorded proceedings of the Governor-General and Council
of Fort William, that sundry charges have been brought against the said
Warren Hastings for gifts or presents corruptly taken by him before the
promulgation of the act of 1773 in India, and that these charges were
produced at the Council Board in the presence of the said Warren
Hastings. That, in March, 1775, the late Rajah Nundcomar, a native
Hindoo, of the highest caste in his religion, and of the highest rank in
society, by the offices which he had held under the country government,
did lay before the Council an account of various sums of money paid by
him to the said Warren Hastings, amounting to forty thousand pounds and
upwards, for offices and employments corruptly disposed of by the said
Warren Hastings, and did offer and engage to prove and establish the
same by sufficient evidence. That this account is stated with a minute
particularity and precision; the date of each payment, down to that of
small sums, is specified; the various coins in which such payments were
severally made are distinguished; and the different persons through
whose hands the money passed into those of the said Warren Hastings are
named. That such particularity on the face of such a charge, supposing
it false, is favorable to the party wrongfully accused, and exposes the
accuser to an instant and easy detection: for, though, as the said
Warren Hastings himself has observed on another occasion, "papers may be
forged, and evidences may appear in numbers to attest them, yet it must
always be an _easy_ matter to detect the falsity of any forged paper
produced by examining the witnesses separately, and subjecting them to a
subsequent cross-examination, in which case, if false, they will not be
able to persevere in one regular, consistent story "; whereas, if no
advantage be taken of such particularity in the charge to detect the
falsehood thereof, and if no attempt to disprove it, and no defence
whatever be made, a presumption justly and reasonably arises in favor of
the truth of such charge. That the said Warren Hastings, instead of
offering anything in his defence, declared that _he would not suffer
Nundcomar to appear before the board at his accuser_; that he attempted
to indict his said accuser for a conspiracy, in which he failed; and
that the said Rajah Nundcomar was soon after, and while his charge
against the said Warren Hastings was depending before the Council,
indicted upon an English penal statute, which does not extend even to
Scotland,[1] before the Supreme Court of Judicature, for an offence said
to have been committed several years before, and not capital by the laws
of India, and was condemned and executed. That the evidence of this man,
not having been encountered at the time when it might and ought to have
been by the said Warren Hastings, remains justly in force against him,
and is not abated by the capital punishment of the said Nundcomar, but
rather confirmed by the time and circumstances in which the accuser of
the said Warren Hastings suffered death. That one of the offices for
which a part of the money above mentioned is stated to have been paid to
the said Warren Hastings was given by him to Munny Begum, the widow of
the late Mir Jaffier, Nabob of Bengal, whose son, by another woman,
holds that title at present. That the said Warren Hastings had been
instructed by the Court of Directors of the East India Company to
appoint "_a minister_ to transact the political affairs of the
government, and to select for that purpose some person well qualified
for the affairs of government, to be the minister and guardian of the
Nabob's minority." That for these offices, and for the execution of the
several duties belonging to them, the said Warren Hastings selected and
appointed the said Munny Begum, a woman evidently unqualified for and
incapable of such offices, and restrained from acting in such capacities
by her necessary seclusion from the world and retirement in a seraglio.
That, a considerable deficiency or embezzlement appearing in this
woman's account of the young Nabob's stipend, she voluntarily declared,
by a writing under her seal, that she had given fifteen thousand pounds
to the said Warren Hastings for an entertainment,--which declaration
corresponds with and confirms that part of the charge produced by Rajah
Nundcomar to which it relates. That neither this nor any other part of
the said charge has been at any time directly denied or disputed by the
said Warren Hastings, though made to his face, and though he was
repeatedly accused by his colleagues, who were appointed by Parliament
at the same time with himself, of peculation of every sort. That,
instead of promoting a strict inquiry into his conduct for the clearance
of his innocence and honor, he did repeatedly endeavor to elude and
stifle all inquiry by attempting to dissolve the meetings of the Council
at which such charges were produced, and by other means, and has not
since taken any steps to disprove or refute the same. That the said
Warren Hastings, so long ago as September, 1775, assured the Court of
Directors, "that it was his fixed determination most fully and
liberally to explain every circumstance of his conduct on the points on
which he had been injuriously arraigned, and to afford them the clearest
conviction of his own integrity, and of the propriety of his motives for
declining a present defence of it"; and having never since given to the
Court of Directors any explanation whatever, much less the full and
liberal explanation he had promised so repeatedly, has thereby abandoned
even that late and protracted defence which he himself must have thought
necessary to be made at some time or other, and which he would be
thought to have deferred to a period more suitable and convenient than
that in which the facts were recent, and the impression of these and
other charges of the same nature against him was fresh and unimpaired in
the minds of men.

That on the 30th of March, 1775, a member of the Council produced and
laid before the board a petition from Mir Zein Abul Deen, (formerly
farmer of a district, and who had been in creditable stations,) setting
forth, that Khan Jehan Khan, then Phousdar of Hoogly, had obtained that
office from the said Warren Hastings, with a salary of seventy-two
thousand sicca rupees a year, and that the said _Phousdar had given a
receipt of bribe to the patron of the city_, meaning Warren Hastings, to
pay him annually thirty-six thousand rupees a year, and also to his
banian, Cantoo Baboo, four thousand rupees a year, out of the salary
above mentioned. That by the thirty-fifth article of the instructions
given to the Governor-General and Council, they are directed
"immediately to cause the strictest inquiry to be made into all
oppressions which might have been committed either against the natives
or Europeans, and into all abuses that might have prevailed in the
collection of the revenues, or any part of the civil government of the
Presidency, and to communicate to the Directors all information which
they might be able to obtain relative thereto, or to any dissipation or
embezzlement of the Company's money." That the above petition and
instruction having been read in Council, it was moved that the
petitioner should be ordered to attend the next day to make good his
charge. That the said Warren Hastings declared, "that it appeared to him
to be the purpose of the majority to make him the sole object of their
personal attacks; that they had taken their line, and might pursue it;
that he should have other remarks to make upon this transaction, but, as
they would be equally applicable _to many others_ which in the course of
this business were likely to be brought before the board, he should say
no more on the subject";--and he objected to the motion. That by the
preceding declaration the said Warren Hastings did admit that many other
charges were likely to be brought against him, and that such charges
would be of a similar nature to the first, viz., a corrupt bargaining
for the disposal of a great office, since he declared that his remarks
on that transaction would be equally applicable to the rest; and that,
by objecting to the motion for the personal attendance of the accuser,
he resisted and disobeyed the Company's instructions, and did, as far as
depended on his power, endeavor to obstruct and prevent all inquiry into
the charge. That in so doing he failed in his duty to the Company, he
disobeyed their express orders, and did leave the charge against himself
without a reply, and even without a denial, and with that unavoidable
presumption against his innocence which lies against every person
accused who not only refuses to plead, but, as far as his vote goes,
endeavors to prevent an examination of the charge, and to stifle all
inquiry into the truth of it. That, the motion having been nevertheless
carried, the said Warren Hastings did, on the day following, declare,
"that he could not sit to be confronted with such accusers, nor suffer a
judicial inquiry into his conduct at the board of which he was
president, and declared the meeting of the board dissolved." That the
board continued to sit and examine witnesses, servants of the Phousdar,
on oath and written evidence, being letters under the hand and seal of
the Phousdar, all directly tending to prove the charge: viz., that, out
of the salary of seventy-two thousand rupees a year paid by the Company,
the said Phousdar received but thirty-two thousand, and that the
remainder was received by the said Warren Hastings and his banian. That
the Phousdar, though repeatedly ordered to attend the board, did, under
various pretences, decline attending, until the 19th of May, when, the
letters stated be his, that is, under his hand and seal, being shown to
him, it was proposed by a member of the board that he should be asked
whether he had any objection to swear to the truth of such answers as he
might make to the questions proposed by the board; that the said Warren
Hastings objected to his being put to his oath; that the question was
nevertheless put to him, in consequence of a resolution of the board;
that he first declined to swear, under pretence _that it was a matter of
serious consequence to his character to take an oath_, and, when it was
finally left to his option, he declared, "Mean people might swear, but
that his character would not allow him,--that he could not swear, and
had rather subject himself to a loss." That the evidence in support of
the charge, being on oath, was in this manner left uncontradicted. That
it was admitted by the said Warren Hastings, that neither Mussulmen or
Hindoos are forbidden by the precepts of their religion to swear; that
it is not true, as the said Warren Hastings asserted, that it was
repugnant to the _manners_ either of Hindoos or Mussulmen; and that, if,
under such pretences, the natives were to be exempted from taking an
oath, when examined by the Governor and Council, all the inquiries
pointed out to them by the Company's instructions might stop or be
defeated. That no valid reason was or could be assigned why the said
Phousdar should not be examined on oath; that the charge was not against
himself; and that, if any questions had been put to him, tending to make
him accuse himself, he might have declined to answer them. That, if he
could have safely sworn to the innocence of the said Warren Hastings,
from whom he received his employment, he was bound in gratitude as well
as justice to the said Warren Hastings to have consented to be examined
on oath; that, not having done so, and having been supported and abetted
in his refusal by the said Warren Hastings himself, whose character and
honor, were immediately at stake, the whole of the evidence for the
truth of the charge remains unanswered, and in full force against the
said Warren Hastings, who on this occasion recurred to the declaration
he had before made to the Directors, viz., "that he would most fully and
liberally explain every circumstance of his conduct," but has never
since that time given the Directors any explanation whatsoever of his
said conduct. And finally, that, when the Court of Directors, in
January, 1776, referred the question (concerning the legality of the
power assumed and repeatedly exercised by the said Warren Hastings, of
dissolving the Council at his pleasure) to the late Charles Sayer, then
standing counsel of the East India Company, the said Charles Sayer
declared his opinion in favor of the power, but concerning the use and
exercise of it in the cases stated did declare his opinion in the
following words: "I believe he, Warren Hastings, is the first governor
that ever dissolved a council inquiring into his behavior, when he was
innocent." Before he could summon three councils, and dissolve them, he
had time fully to consider what would be the result of such conduct, _to
convince everybody beyond a doubt of his conscious guilt_.--That, by a
resolution of a majority of the Council, constituting a lawful act of
the Governor-General and Council, the said Khan Jehan Khan was dismissed
from the office of Phousdar of Hoogly for a contempt of the authority of
the board; that, within a few weeks after the death of the late Colonel
Monson, the number of the Council being then even, and all questions
being then determined by the Governor-General's casting voice, the said
Warren Hastings did move and carry it in Council, that the said Khan
Jehan Khan should be restored to his office; and that restoration, not
having been preceded, accompanied, or followed by any explanation or
defence whatsoever, or even by a denial of the specific and
circumstantial charge of collusion with the said Khan Jehan Khan, has
confirmed the truth of the said charge.

That, besides the sums charged to have been paid to the said Warren
Hastings by the said Nundcomar and Munny Begum and Khan Jehan Khan, and
besides the sum of one hundred and ten thousand pounds already mentioned
to have been accepted without hesitation by him, as a present on the
part of the Nabob of Oude and that of his ministers, the circumstances
of which have been particularly reported to the House of Commons, it
appears by the confession of the said Warren Hastings, that he has at
different times since the promulgation of the act of 1773, received
various other sums, contrary to the express prohibition of the said act,
and his own declared sense of the evident intent and obligation
thereof.--That in the month of June, 1780, the said Warren Hastings made
to the Council what he called "a very unusual tender, by offering to
exonerate the Company from the expense of a particular measure, and to
_take it upon himself_; declaring that he had already deposited two lacs
of rupees [or twenty-three thousand pounds] in the hands of the
Company's sub-treasurer for that service." That in a subsequent letter,
dated the 29th of November, 1780, he informed the Court of Directors,
that "this money, by whatever means it came into their possession, _was
not his own_"; but he did not then, nor has he at any time since, made
known to the Court of Directors from whom or on what account he received
that money, as it was his duty to have done in the first instance, and
notwithstanding the said Directors signified to him their expectation
that he should communicate to them "immediate information of the channel
by which this money came into his possession, with a complete
illustration of the cause or causes of so extraordinary an event." But,
from evidence examined in England, it has been discovered that this
money was received by the said Warren Hastings from Cheyt Sing, the
Rajah of Benares, who was soon after dispossessed of all his property
and driven from his country and government by the said Warren Hastings.
That, notwithstanding the declaration made by the said Warren Hastings,
that he had actually deposited the sum above mentioned in the hands of
the Company's sub-treasurer for their service, it does not appear that
"any entry whatsoever of that or any other payment by the
Governor-General was made in the Treasury accounts at or about the
time," nor is there any trace in the Company's books of its being
actually paid into their treasury. It appears, then, by the confession
of the said Warren Hastings, that this money was received by him; but it
does not appear that he has converted it to the property and use of the

That in a letter from the said Warren Hastings to the said Court of
Directors, dated the 22d of May, 1782, but not dispatched, as it might
and ought to have been, at that time, but detained and kept back by the
said Warren Hastings till the 16th of December following, he has
confessed the receipt of various other sums, amounting (with that which
he accepted from the Nabob of Oude) to nearly two hundred thousand
pounds, which sums he affirmed had been converted to the Company's
property through his means, but without discovering from whom or on what
account he received the same. That, instead of converting this money to
the Company's property, as he affirmed he had done, it appears that he
had lent the greater part of it to the Company upon bonds bearing
interest, which bonds were demanded and received by him, and, for aught
that yet appears, have never been given up or cancelled. That for
another considerable part of the above-mentioned sum he has taken credit
to himself, as for a deposit of his own property, and therefore
demandable by him out of the Company's treasury at his discretion. That
all sums so lent or deposited are not alienated from the person who
lends or deposits the same; consequently, that the declaration made by
the said Warren Hastings, that he had converted the whole of these sums
to the Company's property, was not true. Nor would such a transfer, if
it had really been made, have justified the said Warren Hastings in
originally receiving the money, which, being in the first instance
contrary to law, could not be rendered legal by any subsequent
disposition or application thereof; much less would it have justified
the said Warren Hastings in delaying to make a discovery of these
transactions to the Court of Directors until he had heard of the
inquiries then begun and proceeding in Parliament, in finally making a
discovery, such as it is, in terms the most intricate, obscure, and
contradictory. That, instead of that full and clear explanation of his
conduct which the Court of Directors demanded, and which the said Warren
Hastings was bound to give them, he has contented himself with telling
the said Directors, that, "if this matter was to be exposed to the view
of the public, his reasons for acting as he had done might furnish a
variety of conjectures to which it would be of little use to reply; that
he either chose to conceal the first receipts from public curiosity by
receiving bonds for the amount, or possibly acted without any studied
design which his memory could at that distance of time verify; and that
he _could_ have concealed them from their eye and that of the public
forever." That the discovery, as far as it goes, establishes the guilt
of the said Warren Hastings in taking money against law, but does not
warrant a conclusion that he has discovered _all_ that he may have
taken; that, on the contrary, such discovery, not being made in proper
time, and when made being imperfect, perplexed, and wholly
unsatisfactory, leads to a just and reasonable presumption that other
facts of the same nature have been concealed, since those which he has
confessed might have been forever, and that this partial confession was
either extorted from the said Warren Hastings by the dread of detection,
or made with a view of removing suspicion, and preventing any further
inquiry into his conduct.

That the said Warren Hastings, in a letter to the Court of Directors
dated 21st of February, 1784, has confessed his having _privately
received_ another sum of money, the amount of which he has not declared,
but which, from the application he says he has made of it, could not be
less than thirty-four thousand pounds sterling. That he has not informed
the Directors from whom he received this money, at what time, nor on
what account; but, on the contrary, has attempted to justify the receipt
of it, which was illegal, by the application of it, which was
unauthorized and unwarrantable, and which, if admitted as a reason for
receiving money _privately_, would constitute a precedent of the most
dangerous nature to the Company's service. That, in attempting to
justify the receipt and application of the said money, he has endeavored
to establish principles of conduct in a Governor which tend to subvert
all order and regularity in the conduct of public business, to
encourage and facilitate fraud and corruption in all offices of
pecuniary trust, and to defeat all inquiry into the misconduct of any
person in whom pecuniary trust is reposed.--That the said Warren
Hastings, in his letter above mentioned, has made a declaration to the
Court of Directors in the following terms: "Having had occasion to
disburse from my own cash many sums, which, though required to enable me
to execute the duties of my station, I have hitherto omitted to enter in
my public accounts, and my own fortune being unequal to so heavy a
charge, I have resolved to reimburse myself in a mode the most suitable
to the situation of your affairs, by charging the same in my Durbar
accounts of the present year, and crediting them by a sum _privately
received_, and appropriated to your service in the same manner with
other sums received on account of the Honorable Company, and already
carried to their account." That at the time of writing this letter the
said Warren Hastings had been in possession of the government of Fort
William about twelve years, with a clear salary, or avowed emoluments,
at no time less than twenty-five thousand pounds sterling a year,
exclusive of which all the principal expenses of his residence were paid
for by the Company. That, if the services mentioned by him were required
to enable him to execute the duties of his station, he ought not to have
omitted to enter them in his public accounts at the times when the
expenses were incurred. That, if it was true, as he affirms, that, when
he first engaged in these expenses, he had no intention to carry them to
the account of the Company, there was no subsequent change in his
situation which could justify his departing from that intention. That,
if his own fortune in the year 1784 was unequal to so heavy a charge,
the state of his fortune at any earlier period must have been still more
unequal to so heavy a charge. That the fact so asserted by the said
Warren Hastings leads directly to an inference palpably false and
absurd, viz., that, the longer a Governor-General holds that lucrative
office, the poorer he must become. That neither would the assertion, if
it were true, nor the inference, if it were admitted, justify the
conduct avowed by the said Warren Hastings in resolving to reimburse
himself out of the Company's property without their consent or
knowledge.--That the account transmitted in this letter is styled by
himself _an aggregate of a contingent account of twelve years_; that all
contingent accounts should be submitted to those who ought to have an
official control over them, at annual or other shorter periods, in order
that the expense already incurred may be checked and examined, and
similar expenses, if disapproved of, may be prohibited in time; that,
after a very long period is elapsed, all check and control over such
expenses is impracticable, and, if it were practicable in the present
instance, would be completely useless, since the said Warren Hastings,
without waiting for the consent of the Directors, did _resolve to
reimburse himself_. That the conduct of the said Warren Hastings, in
withholding these accounts for twelve years together, and then resolving
to reimburse himself without the consent of his employers, has been
fraudulent in the first instance, and in the second amounts to a denial
and mockery of the authority placed over him by law; and that he has
thereby set a dangerous example to his successors, and to every man in
trust or office under him.--That the mode in which he has reimbursed
himself is a crime of a much higher order, and greatly aggravates
whatever was already criminal in the other parts of this transaction.
That the said Warren Hastings, in declaring that he should reimburse
himself by crediting the Company by _a sum privately received_, has
acknowledged himself guilty of an illegal act in receiving money
_privately_. That he has suppressed or withheld every particular which
could throw any light on a conduct so suspicious in a Governor as the
_private_ receipt of money. That the general confession of the private
receipt of a large sum in gross, in which no circumstance of time,
place, occasion, or person, nor even the amount, is specified, tends to
cover or protect any act of the same nature (as far as a general
confession can protect such acts) which may be detected hereafter, and
which in fact may not make part of the gross sum so confessed, and that
it tends to perplex and defeat all inquiry into such practices.--That
the said Warren Hastings, in stating to the Directors that he has
resolved to reimburse himself in _a mode the most suitable to the
situation of their affairs_, viz., by receiving money privately against
law, has stated a presumption highly injurious to the integrity of the
said Directors, viz., that they will not object to, or even inquire
into, any extraordinary expenses incurred and charged by their Governors
in India, provided such expenses are reimbursed by money privately and
illegally received. That he has not explained what that situation of
their affairs was or could be to which so dangerous and corrupt a
principle was or might be applied.--That no evidence has been produced
to prove that it was true, nor any ground of argument stated to show
that it might be credible, that any native of India had voluntarily and
gratuitously given money privately to the said Warren Hastings, that is,
without some prospect of a benefit in return, or some dread of his
resentment, if he refused. That it is not a thing to be believed, that
any native would give large sums privately to a Governor, which he
refused to give or lend publicly to government, unless it were to derive
some adequate secret advantage from the favor, or to avoid some mischief
from the enmity of such Governor.--That the late confessions made by the
said Warren Hastings of money received against law are no proof that he
did not originally intend to appropriate the same to his own use, such
confessions having been made at a suspicious moment, when, and not
before, he was apprised of the inquiries commenced in the House of
Commons, and when a dread of the consequence of those inquiries might
act upon his mind. That such confessions, from the obscure, intricate,
and contradictory manner in which they are made, imply guilt in the said
Warren Hastings, as far as they go; that they do not furnish any color
of reason to conclude that he has confessed all the money which he may
have corruptly received; but that, on the contrary, they warrant a just
and reasonable presumption, that, in discovering some part of the bribes
he had received, he hoped to lull suspicion, and thereby conceal and
secure the rest.

That the Court of Directors, when the former accounts of these
transactions came before them, did show an evident disposition not to
censure the said Warren Hastings, but to give the most favorable
construction to his conduct; that, nevertheless, they found themselves
obliged "to confess that the statement of those transactions appeared to
them in many parts so _unintelligible_, that they felt themselves under
the necessity of calling on the Governor-General for an explanation,
agreeably to his promise voluntarily made to them." That their letter,
containing this requisition, was received in Bengal in the month of
August, 1784, and that the said Warren Hastings did not embark for
England until the 2d of February, 1785, but made no reply to that letter
before his departure, owing, as he has since said, _to a variety of
other more important occupations_. That, under pretence of such
occupations, he neglected to transmit to the Court of Directors a copy
of a paper which, he says, contained the _only_ account he ever kept of
the transaction. That such a paper, or a copy of it, might have been
transmitted without interrupting other important occupations, if any
could be more important than that of giving a clear and satisfactory
answer to the requisition of the Directors. That since his arrival in
England he has written a letter to the chairman of that court,
professedly in answer to their letter above mentioned, but in fact
giving no explanation or satisfaction whatsoever on the points which
they had declared to be unintelligible. That the terms of his letter are
ambiguous and obscure, such as a guilty man might have recourse to in
order to cover his guilt, but such as no innocent man, from whom nothing
was required but to clear his innocence by giving plain answers to plain
questions, could possibly have made use of. That in his letter of the
11th of July, 1785, he says, "that he has been kindly apprised that the
information required as above _was yet expected from him_: that the
submission which his respect would have enjoined him to pay to the
command imposed on him _was lost to his recollection_, perhaps from the
stronger impression which the first and distant perusal of it had left
on his mind that it was rather intended as a reprehension for something
which had given offence in his report of the original transaction than
as expressive of any want of a further elucidation of it."[2]

That the said Warren Hastings, in affecting to doubt whether the
information expressly required of him by his employers was expected or
not, has endeavored to justify a criminal delay and evasion in giving
it. That, considering the importance of the subject, and the recent date
of the command, it is not possible _that it could be lost to his
recollection_; much less is it possible that he could have understood
the specific demand of an answer to specific questions to be intended
only as a reprehension for a former offence, viz., the offence of
withholding from the Directors that very explanation which he ought to
have given in the first instance. That the said Warren Hastings, in his
answer to the said questions, cautiously avoids affirming or denying
anything in clear, positive terms, and professes to recollect nothing
with absolute certainty. That he has not, even now, informed the
Directors of the name of any one person from whom any part of the money
in question was received, nor what was the motive of any one person for
giving the same. That he has, indeed, declared, that his motive for
lending to the Company, or depositing in their treasury in his own name,
money which he has in other places declared to be their property, was to
avoid ostentation, and that _lending_ the money was _the least liable
to reflection_; yet, when he has stated these and other conjectural
motives for his own conduct, he declares _he will not affirm, though he
is firmly persuaded, that those were his sentiments on the occasion_.
That of one thing only the said Warren Hastings declares he is
_certain_, viz., "that it was his design originally to have _concealed_
the receipt of all the sums, except the second, even from the knowledge
of the Court of Directors, but that, when fortune threw a sum in his way
of a magnitude _which could not be concealed_, and the peculiar delicacy
of his situation at the time in which he received it made him more
circumspect of appearances, he _chose_ to apprise his employers of it."
That the said Warren Hastings informs the Directors, that he had
indorsed the bonds taken by him for money belonging to the Company, and
lent by him to the Company, _in order to guard against their becoming a
claim on the Company, as part of his estate, in the event of his death_;
but he has not affirmed, nor does it anywhere appear, that he has
surrendered the said bonds, as he ought to have done. That the said
Warren Hastings, in affirming that he had not time to answer the
questions put to him by the Directors, while he was in Bengal,--in not
bringing with him to England the documents necessary to enable him to
answer those questions, or in pretending that he has not brought
them,--in referring the Directors back again to Bengal for those
documents, and for any further information on a subject on which he has
given them no information,--and particularly in referring them back to a
person in Bengal for a paper which he says contained the _only_ account
he ever kept of the transaction, while he himself professes to doubt
whether that paper _be still in being_, whether _it be in the hands_ of
that person, or whether that person _can recollect anything distinctly
concerning it_,--has been guilty of gross evasions, and of palpable
prevarication and deceit, as well as of contumacy and disobedience to
the lawful orders of the Court of Directors, and thereby confirmed all
the former evidence of his having constantly used the influence of his
station for the most scandalous, illegal, and corrupt purposes.


That Warren Hastings having by his agent, Lauchlan Macleane, Esquire, on
the 10th day of October, in the year 1776, "signified to the Court of
Directors his desire to resign his office of Governor-General of Bengal,
and requested their nomination of a successor to the vacancy which would
be thereby occasioned in the Supreme Council," the Court of Directors
did thereupon desire the said Lauchlan Macleane "to inform them of the
authority under which he acted in a point of such very great
importance"; and the said Lauchlan Macleane "signifying thereupon his
readiness to give the court every possible satisfaction on that subject,
but the powers with which he was intrusted by the papers in his custody
being mixed with other matters of a nature extremely confidential, he
would submit the same to the inspection of any three of the members of
the court," the said Court of Directors empowered the Chairman, Deputy
Chairman, and Richard Becher, Esquire, to inspect the authorities,
powers, and directions with which Mr. Macleane was furnished by Mr.
Hastings to make the propositions contained in his letter of the 10th
October, 1776, and to report their opinion thereon. And the said
committee did accordingly, on the 23d of the said month, report, "that,
having conferred with Mr. Macleane on the subject of his letter
presented to the court the 11th instant, they found, that, from the
purport of Mr. Hastings's instructions, contained in a paper in his own
handwriting given to Mr. Macleane, and produced by him to them, Mr.
Hastings declared he would not continue in the government of Bengal,
unless certain conditions therein specified could be obtained, of which
they saw no probability; and Mr. George Vansittart had declared to them,
that he was present when these instructions were given to Mr. Macleane,
and when Mr. Hastings empowered Mr. Macleane to declare his resignation
to the said court; that Mr. Stewart had likewise confirmed to them, that
Mr. Hastings declared to him, that he had given directions to the above
purpose by Mr. Macleane."

And the Court of Directors, having received from the said report due
satisfaction respecting the authority vested in the said Lauchlan
Macleane to propose the said resignation of the office of
Governor-General of Bengal, did unanimously resolve to accept the same,
and did also, under powers vested in the said court by the act of the
13th year of his present Majesty, "nominate and appoint Edward Wheler,
Esquire, to succeed to the office in the Council of Fort William in
Bengal which will become vacant by the said resignation, if such
nomination shall be approved by his Majesty": which nomination and
appointment was afterwards in due form approved and confirmed by his

That the Court of Directors did, by a postscript to their general
letter, dated 25th October, 1776, acquaint the Governor-General and
Council at Calcutta of their acceptance of the said resignation, of
their appointment of Edward Wheler, Esquire, to fill the said vacancy,
and of his Majesty's approbation of the said appointment, together with
the grounds of their said proceedings; and did transmit to the said
Governor-General and Council copies of the said instruments of
appointment and confirmation.

That the said dispatches from the Court of Directors were received at
Calcutta, and were read in Council on the 19th day of June, in the year
1777; and that Warren Hastings, Esquire, having taken no steps to yield
the government to his successor, General Clavering, and having observed
a profound silence on the subject of the said dispatches, he, the said
General Clavering, did, on the next day, being the 20th of June, by a
letter addressed to the said Warren Hastings, require him to surrender
the keys of Fort William, and of the Company's treasuries; but the said
Warren Hastings did positively refuse to comply with the said
requisition, "denying that his office was vacated, and declaring his
resolution to assert and maintain his authority by every legal means."

That the said General Clavering, conceiving that the office of
Governor-General was vacated by the arrival of the said dispatches,
which acquainted the Council-General of the resignation of the said
Warren Hastings and the appointment of the said Edward Wheler, Esquire,
and that he, the said General Clavering, had in consequence thereof
legally succeeded, under the provisions of the act of the 13th year of
his present Majesty's reign, to the said office of Governor-General,
become vacant in the manner aforesaid, did, in virtue thereof, issue in
his own name summonses to Richard Barwell, Esquire, and Philip Francis,
Esquire, members of the Council, to attend the same, and in the presence
of the said Philip Francis, Esquire, who obeyed the said summons, did
take the oaths as Governor-General, and did sit and preside in Council
as Governor-General, and prepared several acts and resolutions in the
said capacity of Governor-General, and did, amongst other things,
prepare a proclamation to be made of his said succession to the
government, and of its commencing from the date of the said
proclamation, but did not carry any of the acts or resolutions so
prepared into execution.

The said Warren Hastings did, notwithstanding thereof, and in pursuance
of his resolution to assert and maintain his authority, illegally and
unjustifiably summon the Council to meet in another department, and did
sit and preside therein, apart from the said General Clavering and his
Council, and, in conjunction with Richard Barwell, Esquire, who
concurred therein, issued sundry orders and did sundry acts of
government belonging to the office of Governor-General, and, amongst
others, did order several letters to be written in the name of the
Governor-General and Council, and did subscribe the same, to the
commandant of the garrison of Fort William, and to the commanding
officer at Barrackpore, and to the commanding officers at the other
stations, and also to the provincial councils and collectors in the
provinces, enjoining them severally "to obey no orders excepting such as
should be signed by the said Warren Hastings, or a majority of his

That the said Warren Hastings did, by the said proceedings, which were
contrary both to law and to good faith, constitute a double government,
thereby destroying and annihilating all government whatever; and, by his
said orders to the military officers, did prepare for open resistance by
arms, exposing thereby the settlement, and all the inhabitants, subjects
of or dependent on the British government, whether native or European,
not only to political distractions, but to the horrors of civil war; and
did, by exposing the divisions and weakness of the supreme government,
and thereby loosening the obedience of the provinces, shake the whole
foundation of British authority, and imminently endanger the existence
of the British nation in India.

That the said evils were averted only by the moderation of the said
General Clavering and Philip Francis, Esquire, in consenting to a
reference, and submitting to the decision of the judges of the Supreme
Court of Judicature, although they entertained no doubts themselves on
the legality of their proceedings and the validity of General
Clavering's instant right to the chair, and although they were not in
any way bound by law to consult the said judges, who had no legal or
judicial authority therein in virtue of their offices or as a court of
justice, but were consulted, and interposed their advice, only as
individuals, by the voluntary reference of the parties in the said
dispute. And the said Warren Hastings, by his declaration, entered in
Minutes of Council, "that it was his determination to abide by the
opinion of the judges," and by the measures he had previously taken as
aforesaid to enforce the same by arms, did risk all the dangerous
consequences above mentioned: which must have taken place, if the said
General Clavering and Philip Francis, Esquire, had not been more tender
of the public interests, and less tenacious of their own rights, and had
persisted in their claim, as they were by law entitled to do, the
extra-judicial interposition of the judges notwithstanding; and from
which claim they receded only from their desire to preserve the peace of
the settlement, and to prevent the mischiefs which the illegal
resistance of the said Warren Hastings would otherwise infallibly have

That, after the said judges had delivered their opinion, "that the place
and office of Governor-General of this Presidency had not yet been
vacated by Warren Hastings, and that the actual assumption of the
government by the member of the Council next in succession to Mr.
Hastings, in consequence of any deduction which could be made from the
papers communicated to them, would be absolutely illegal," and after the
said General Clavering and Philip Francis, Esquire, had signified to the
said Warren Hastings, by a letter dated the 21st of June, "their
intention to acquiesce in the said opinion of the judges," and when the
differences in the Supreme Council were by these means composed, and the
calamities consequent thereon were avoided, the said Warren Hastings and
Richard Barwell, Esquires, did once more endanger the public peace and
security by other illegal, unwarrantable, and unprovoked acts of
violence: having omitted to summon either the said General Clavering or
the said Philip Francis, Esquire, to Council; and having, in a Council
held thus privately and clandestinely and contrary to law, on the 22d
day of June, come to the following resolutions, viz.

"Resolved, That, by the said acts, orders, and declarations of
Lieutenant-General John Clavering, recited in the foregoing papers,"
(meaning the proceedings of General Clavering in his separate Council on
the 20th of June,) "he has actually usurped and assumed and taken
possession of the place and office of Governor-General of the Presidency
of Fort William in Bengal, granted by the act of the 13th of his present
Majesty to Warren Hastings, Esquire.

"Resolved, That Lieutenant-General John Clavering has thereby
relinquished, resigned, surrendered, and vacated the office of Senior
Counsellor of Fort William in Bengal.

"Resolved, That Lieutenant-General John Clavering has thereby
relinquished, resigned, surrendered, and vacated his place of
Commander-in-Chief of the Company's forces in India.

"Resolved, That Richard Barwell, Esquire, by virtue of the said act of
Parliament, and by the death of the Honorable George Monson, Esquire, is
promoted to the office of Senior Counsellor of the Presidency of Fort
William in Bengal, in consequence of the said relinquishment,
resignation, surrender, and vacation of General Clavering.

"Resolved, That the office of Commander-in-Chief of the Company's forces
in India, by the relinquishment, resignation, surrender, and vacation of
General Clavering, and by the death of the Honorable George Monson,
Esquire, does no longer exist.

"Resolved, That, for the preservation of the legality of our
proceedings, Lieutenant-General John Clavering be not in future summoned
or admitted as a member of the Governor-General and Council."

And the said Warren Hastings and Richard Barwell, Esquire, did again
sit in Council on the next day, being the 23d of June, without summoning
either General Clavering or Philip Francis, Esquire, and did come to
several other resolutions, and make several orders, contrary to law or
justice, and inconsistent with the tranquillity and the security of the
settlement: that is to say, they ordered their secretary "to notify to
General Clavering that the board had declared his offices of Senior
Counsellor and Commander-in-Chief to be vacant, and to furnish him with
a copy of these proceedings, containing the grounds of the board for the
aforesaid declaration."

And they ordered extracts of the said proceedings "to be issued in
general orders, with letters to all the provincial councils and military
stations, directing them to publish the same in general orders"; and
they resolved, "that all military returns be made to the
Governor-General and Council in their military department, until a
commander-in-chief shall be appointed by the Company."

That on the day following, that is to say, on the 24th of June, the said
Warren Hastings did again omit to summon General Clavering to Council,
and did again, together with Richard Barwell, Esquire, who concurred
therein, adhere to and confirm the said illegal resolutions come to on
the two former days, declaring "that they could not be retracted but by
the present authority of the law or by future orders from home," and
aggravating the guilt of the said unjustifiable acts by declaring, as
the said Warren Hastings did, "that they were not the precipitate
effects of an instant and passionate impulse, but the fruits of long and
most temperate deliberations, of inevitable necessity, of the strictest
sense of public duty, and of a conviction equal in its impression on
his mind to absolute certainty."

That the said Warren Hastings was the less excusable in this obstinate
adherence to his former unjust proceedings, as the said declarations
were made in answer to a motion made by Philip Francis, Esquire, for the
reversal of the said proceedings, and to a minute introducing the said
motion, in which Mr. Francis set forth in a clear and forcible manner,
and in terms with which the Court of Directors have since declared their
entire concurrence, both the extreme danger and the illegality and
invalidity of the said proceedings of Warren Hastings and Richard
Barwell, Esquire, concluding the said minute by the following
conciliatory declaration: "And that this salutary motion may not be
impeded by any idea or suspicion that General Clavering may do any act
inconsistent with the acquiescence which both he and I have avowed in
the decision of the judges, I will undertake to answer for him in this
respect, or that, if he should depart from the true spirit and meaning
of that acquiescence, I will not be a party with him in such

That the said Warren Hastings could not plead ignorance of the law in
excuse for the said illegal acts, as it appears from the proceedings of
the four preceding days that he was well acquainted with the tenure by
which the members of the Council held their offices under the act of the
13th of his present Majesty, and had stated the same as a ground for
retaining his own office, contrary to an express declaration of the
Court of Directors and an instrument under the sign-manual of his
Majesty; and the judges of the Supreme Court, in their reasons for their
decision in his favor, had stated the provisions in the said act,[3] so
far as they related to the matter in dispute, from which it appeared
that there were but four grounds on which the office of any member of
the Council could be vacated,--namely, death, removal, resignation, or
promotion. And as the act confined the power of removal to "his Majesty,
his heirs and successors, upon representation made by the Court of
Directors of the said United Company for the time being," and conferred
no such power on the Governor-General, or a majority of the Council, to
remove, on any ground or for any cause whatever, one of their
colleagues,--so, granting the claim of General Clavering to the chair,
and his acts done in furtherance thereof, to have been illegal, and
criminal in whatever degree, yet it did not furnish to the rest of the
Council any ground to remove him from his office of Counsellor under the
provisions of the said act; and there could therefore remain only his
_resignation_ or _promotion_, as a possible means of vacating his said
office. But with regard to the promotion of General Clavering to the
office of Governor-General, although he claimed it himself, yet, as Mr.
Hastings did not admit it, and as in fact it was even receded from by
General Clavering, it could not be considered, at least by Mr. Hastings,
as a valid ground for vacating his office of Senior Counsellor, since
the act requires for that purpose, not a rejected claim, but an actual
and effectual promotion; and General Clavering's office of Counsellor
could no more be vacated by such a naked claim, unsupported and
disallowed, than the seat of a member of the House of Commons could be
vacated, and a new writ issued to supply the vacancy, by his claim to
the office of Steward of the Chiltern Hundreds, when his Majesty has
refused to appoint him to the said office. And with regard to
resignation, although the said Warren Hastings, as a color to his
illegal resolutions, had affectedly introduced the word "resigned"
amongst those of "relinquished, surrendered, and vacated," yet he well
knew that General Clavering had made no offer nor declaration of his
resignation of his offices of Senior Counsellor and Commander-in-Chief,
and that he did not claim the office of Governor-General on the ground
of any such resignation made by himself, but on the ground of a
resignation made by the said Warren Hastings, which resignation the said
Warren Hastings did not admit; and the use of the term _resigned_ on
that occasion was therefore a manifest and wilful misconstruction and
misapplication of the words of the act of his present Majesty. And such
misinterpretation and false extension of the term of resignation was the
more indecent in the said Warren Hastings, as he was at the same moment
disavowing and refusing to give effect to his own clear and express
resignation, according to the true intent and meaning of the word as
used in the said act, made by his agent, duly authorized and instructed
by himself so to do, to an authority competent to receive and accept the

That, although the said Warren Hastings did afterwards recede from the
said illegal measures, in compliance with the opinion and advice of the
judges again interposed, and did thereby avoid the guilt of such further
acts and the blame of such further evils as must have been consequent on
a persistence therein, yet he was nevertheless still guilty of the
illegal acts above described; and the same are great crimes and

That, although the judges did decide that the office of
Governor-General, held by the said Warren Hastings, was not _ipso facto_
and _instanter_ vacated by the arrival of the said dispatches and
documents transmitted by the Court of Directors, and did consider the
said consequences of the resignation as awaiting some future act or
event for its complete and effectual operation, yet the said judges did
not declare any opinion on the ultimate invalidity of the said acts of
Lauchlan Macleane, Esquire, as not being binding on his principal,
Warren Hastings, Esquire; nor did they declare any opinion that the
obligation of the said resignation was not from the beginning conclusive
and effectual, although its operation was, from the necessity of the
case, on account of the distance between England and India, to take
place only in future,--or that the said resignation made by Lauchlan
Macleane, Esquire, was only an offer or proposal of a resignation to be
made at some future and indefinite period, or a mere intimation of the
desire of Warren Hastings, Esquire, to resign at some future and
indefinite period, and that the said resignation, notwithstanding the
acceptance thereof by the Court of Directors, and the regular
appointment and confirmation of a successor, was still to remain
optional in the said Warren Hastings, to be ratified or departed from at
his future choice or pleasure; nor did the said judges pronounce, nor do
any of their reasonings which accompanied their decision tend to
establish it as their opinion, that even the time for ratifying and
completing the said transaction was to be at the sole discretion of the
said Warren Hastings; but they only delivered their opinion as
aforesaid, that his said office "has not _yet_ been vacated, and
[therefore] that the _actual_ assumption of the government by the
member of the Council next in succession was [in the actual
circumstances, and _rebus sic stantibus_] illegal."

That the said Warren Hastings does nowhere himself contend that the said
resignation was not absolute, but optional, according to the true
meaning and understanding of the parties in England, and so far as the
acts of Lauchlan Macleane, Esquire, and the Court of Directors, were
binding on him; but, on the contrary, he grounds his refusal to complete
the same, not on any interpretation of the words in which the said
resignation, and the other instruments aforesaid, were conceived, but
rather on a disavowal (not direct, indeed, but implied) of his said
agent, and of the powers under which the said agent had claimed to act
in his behalf. Neither did the said Warren Hastings ground his said
refusal on any objection to the particular day or period or
circumstances in which the requisition of General Clavering was made,
nor accompany the said refusal with any qualification in that respect,
or with any intimation that he would at any future or more convenient
season comply with the same,--although such an intimation might probably
have induced General Clavering to waive an instant and immediate claim
to the chair, and might therefore have prevented the distractions which
happened, and the greater evils which impended, in consequence of the
said claim of General Clavering, and the said refusal of Warren
Hastings, Esquire; but the said Warren Hastings did, on the contrary,
express his said refusal in such general and unqualified terms as
intimated an intention to resist absolutely and altogether, both then
and at any future time, the said requisition of General Clavering. And
the subsequent proceedings of the said Warren Hastings do all concur in
proving that such was his intention; for he did afterwards, in
conformity to the advice of the judges, move a resolution in Council,
"that all parties be placed in the same situation in which they stood
before the receipt of the last advices from England, reserving and
submitting to a decision in England the respective claims that each
party may conceive they have a right to make, but not acting upon those
claims till such decision shall arrive in Bengal": thereby clearly and
explicitly declaring that it was not his intention to surrender the
government until such decision should arrive in Bengal, which could not
be expected in less time than a year and a half after the date of the
said resolution; and thereby clearly and explicitly declaring that he
did not consider his resignation as binding for the present. And the
said intention was manifested, if possible, still more directly and
expressly in a letter written by the said Warren Hastings to the Court
of Directors, dated the 15th of August, 1777, being almost two months
after the receipt of the said dispatches, in which the said Warren
Hastings declares that "he did not hold himself bound by the
notification made by Mr. Macleane, nor by any of the acts consequent of

That, such appearing to have been the intention of the said Warren
Hastings, General Clavering was justified in immediately assuming the
government, without waiting for any future act of the said Warren
Hastings for the actual surrender of the said government, none such
being likely to happen; and Philip Francis, Esquire, was justified in
supporting General Clavering in the same on the soundest principles of
justice, and on a maxim received in courts of equity, namely, that no
one shall avail himself of his own wrong,--and that, if any one refuse
or neglect to perform that which he is bound to do, the rights of others
shall not be prejudiced thereby, but such acts shall be deemed and
reputed to have been actually performed, and all the consequences shall
be enforced which would have followed from such actual performance. And
therefore the resolutions moved and voted in Council by the said Warren
Hastings, declaring the offices of General Clavering to be vacant, were
not only illegal, inasmuch as the said Warren Hastings had no authority
to warrant such a declaration, even on the supposition of the acts of
General Clavering being contrary to law, but the said resolutions were
further highly culpable and criminal, inasmuch as the said acts done by
General Clavering, which were made the pretence of that proceeding, were
strictly regular and legal.

That the refusal of the said Warren Hastings to ratify the said
resignation, and his disavowal of the said Lauchlan Macleane, his agent,
is not justified by anything contained in his said letter to the Court
of Directors, dated on the 15th of August, 1777,--the said Warren
Hastings nowhere directly and positively asserting that the said
Lauchlan Macleane was not his agent, and had not both full and general
powers, and even particular instructions for this very act, although the
said Warren Hastings uses many indirect and circuitous, but insufficient
and inapplicable, insinuations to that effect. And the said letter does,
on the contrary, contain a clear and express avowal that the said
Lauchlan Macleane was his confidential agent, and that in that capacity
he acted throughout, and particularly in this special matter, with zeal
and fidelity. And the said letter does further admit in effect the
instructions produced by the said Lauchlan Macleane, Esquire, confirmed
by Mr. Vansittart and Mr. Stewart, and relied on and confided in by the
Court of Directors, by which the said Lauchlan Macleane appeared to be
specially empowered to declare the said resignation, the words of the
said instruction being as follows: "That he [Mr. Hastings] _will not
continue in the government of Bengal_, unless certain conditions therein
specified can be obtained"; and the words of the said letter being as
follows: "What I myself know with certainty, or can recollect at this
distance of time, concerning the powers and instructions which were
given to Messieurs Macleane and Graham, when they undertook to be my
agents in England, I will circumstantially relate. I am in possession of
two papers which were presented to those gentlemen at the time of their
departure from Bengal, one of which comprises four short propositions
_which I required as the conditions of my being confirmed in this
government_." And although the said Warren Hastings does here artfully
somewhat change the words of his written instructions (and which having
in his possession he might as easily have given verbatim) to other words
which may appear less explicit, yet they are in fact capable of only the
same meaning: for, as, at the time of giving the said instructions to
his agents, he was in full possession of his office, he could want no
confirmation therein except _his own_; and, in such circumstances, "to
require certain things, _as the conditions of his being confirmed in his
government_," is tantamount to a declaration "_that he will not continue
in his government, unless those conditions can be obtained_." And the
said attempt at prevarication can serve, its author the less, as either
both sentences have one and the same meaning, or, if their meaning be
different, the original instructions in his own handwriting, or, in
other words, the thing itself, must be preferred as evidence of its
contents to a loose statement of its purport, founded, perhaps, on a
loose recollection of it at a great distance of time.

That the said refusal of Warren Hastings, Esquire, was a breach of faith
with the Court of Directors and his Majesty's ministers in England; as
the said resignation was not merely a voluntary offer without any
consideration, and therefore subject to be recalled or retracted at the
pleasure of the said Warren Hastings, but ought rather to be considered
as having been the result of a negotiation carried on between Mr.
Macleane for the benefit of Warren Hastings, Esquire, on the one hand,
and by the Court of Directors for the interests of the Company on the
other: which view of the transaction will appear the more probable, when
it is considered that at the time of the said resignation a strict
inquiry had been carrying on by the Court of Directors into the conduct
of the said Warren Hastings, and the solicitor and counsel to the
Company, and other eminent counsel, had given it as their opinions, on
cases stated to them, that there were grounds for suing the said Warren
Hastings in the courts of law and equity, and that the Company would be
entitled to recover in the said suits against Warren Hastings, Esquire,
several very large sums of money taken by him in his office of
Governor-General, contrary to law, and in breach of his covenants, and
of his duty to the Company and the public; and the Court of Directors
had also come to various severe resolutions of censure against the said
Warren Hastings, and amongst others to a resolution to recall the said
Warren Hastings, and remove him from his office of Governor-General, to
answer for sundry great crimes and delinquencies by him committed in his
said office. And on these accounts it appears probable that the said
resignation was tendered and accepted as a consideration for some
beneficial concessions made in consequence thereof to the said Warren
Hastings in his said dangerous and desperate condition.

And the said refusal was also an act of great disrespect to the Court of
Directors and to his Majesty, and, by rendering abortive their said
measures, solemnly and deliberately taken, and ratified and confirmed by
his Majesty, tended to bring the authority of the Court of Directors and
of his Majesty into contempt.

And the said refusal was an injury to General Clavering.

And was also, or might have been, a great injury to Edward Wheler,

And was an act of signal treachery to Lauchlan Macleane, Esquire, as
also to Mr. Vansittart and Mr. Stewart, whose honors and veracity were
thereby brought into question, doubt, and suspicion.

And the said refusal was prejudicial to the affairs of the servants of
the Company in India, by shaking the confidence to be placed in their
agents by those persons with whom it might be for their interests to
negotiate on any matter of importance, and by thus subjecting the
communication of persons abroad with those at home to difficulties not
known before.


That the said Warren Hastings, in the year 1777, did grant to the
Surgeon-General a contract for three years, for defraying every kind of
hospital and medicinal expense,--not only in breach of the general
orders of the Court of Directors with respect to the duration of
contracts, but in direct opposition to a particular order of the Court
of Directors, of the 30th of March, 1774, when they directed "that the
Surgeon should not be permitted to enjoy any emolument arising from his
being concerned in dieting the patients, and that the occupations of
surgeon and contractor should be forthwith separated." That the said
contract was in itself highly improper, and inconsistent with the good
of the service; as it afforded the greatest temptation to abuse, and
established a pecuniary interest in the Surgeon-General, contrary to the
duties of his station and profession.


That the Governor-General and Council at Fort William did, on the motion
and recommendation of Warren Hastings, Esquire, enter into a contract
with Archibald Frazer, Esquire, on the 16th of April, 1778, for the
repairs of the pools and banks in the province of Burdwan, for two
years, at the rate of 120,000 sicca rupees for the first year, and
80,000 rupees for the second year.

That on the 19th of December, 1778, the said Warren Hastings did further
persuade the Supreme Council to prolong the term of the above contract
with Archibald Frazer for the space of three years more on the same
conditions, namely, the payment of 80,000 sicca rupees for each year: to
which was added a permission to Mr. Frazer to make _dobunds_, or special
repairs, whenever he should judge them necessary, at the charge of

That the said contracts, both in the manner of their acceptance by the
Supreme Council, without having previously advertised for proposals, and
in the extent of their duration, were made in direct violation of the
special orders of the Court of Directors.

That, so far from any advantage having been obtained for the Company in
the terms of these contracts, in consideration of the length of time for
which they were to continue, the expense of government upon this article
was increased by these engagements to a very great amount.

That it appears that this contract had been held for some years before
by the Rajah of Burdwan at the rate of 25,000 rupees per annum.

That the superintendent of poolbundy repairs, after an accurate and
diligent survey of the bunds and pools, and the Provincial Council of
Burdwan, upon the best information they could procure, had delivered it
as their opinion to the Governor-General and Council, before the said
agreement was entered into, that, after the heavy expense stated in Mr.
Kinlock's estimate, viz., 119,405 sicca rupees, if disbursed as they
recommended, the charge in future seasons would be greatly reduced,
_and, after one thorough and effectual repair, they conceived a small
annual expense would be sufficient to keep the bunds up and prevent
their going to decay_.

That, whatever extraordinary and unusual damages the pools and bunds
might have sustained, either from the neglect of the Rajah's officers,
or from the violence of the then late rains, and the torrents thereby
occasioned, to justify the expense of the first year, yet, as they were
all considered and included in the estimate for that year, there could
be no pretence for allowing and continuing so large and burdensome a
payment as 80,000 rupees per annum for the four succeeding years.

That the said Warren Hastings did, in his minutes of the 13th of
February, 1778, himself support that opinion, in the comparison to be
made between Mr. Thomson's proposals, of undertaking the same service
for 60,000 rupees a year for nine years, and the terms of Mr. Frazer's
contracts: preferring the latter, because these were "to effect a
complete repair, which could hardly be concluded in one season, and the
subsequent expense would be but trifling."

Notwithstanding which, the said Warren Hastings urged and prevailed upon
the Council to allow in the first year the full amount proposed by Mr.
Kinlock in his estimate of the necessary repairs, and did burden the
Company with what he must have deemed to be, for the greater part, an
unnecessary expense of 80,000 rupees per annum for four years.

That the permission granted to Mr. Frazer to make dobunds, or new and
additional embankments in aid of the old ones, whenever he should judge
them necessary, at the charge of government, (the said charge to be
verified by the oath of the said Frazer, without any voucher,) was a
power very much to be suspected, and very improper to be intrusted to a
contractor who had already covenanted to keep the old pools in perfect
repair, and to construct new ones wherever the old pools had been
broken down and washed away, or where the course of the rivers might
have rendered new ones necessary, in consideration of the great sums
stipulated to be paid to him by the government.

That the grant of the foregoing contracts, and the permission afterwards
annexed to the second of the said grants, become much more reprehensible
from a consideration of the circumstances of the person to whom such a
grant was made.

That the due performance of the service required local knowledge and
experience, which the said Archibald Frazer, being an officer in the
Supreme Court of Justice, could not have possessed.


That it appears that the opium produced in Bengal and Bahar is a
considerable and lucrative article in the export trade of those
provinces; that the whole produce has been for many years monopolized
either by individuals or by the government; that the Court of Directors
of the East India Company, in consideration of the hardship imposed on
the native owners and cultivators of the lands, who were deprived of
their natural right of dealing with many competitors, and compelled to
sell the produce of their labor to a single monopolist, did authorize
the Governor-General and Council to give up that commodity as an article
of commerce.

That, while the said commodity continued to be a monopoly for the
benefit of government, and managed by a contractor, the contracts for
providing it were subject to the Company's fundamental regulation,
namely, to be put up to auction, and disposed of to the best bidder; and
that the Company particularly ordered that the commodity, when provided,
should be consigned to the Board of Trade, who were directed to dispose
thereof by public auction.

That in May, 1777, the said Warren Hastings granted to John Mackenzie a
contract for the provision of opium, to continue three years, and
without advertising for proposals. That this transaction was condemned
by the Court of Directors, notwithstanding a clause had been inserted in
that contract by which it was left open to the Court of Directors to
annul the same at the expiration of the first or second year.

That, about the end of the year 1780, the said Warren Hastings, in
contradiction to the order above mentioned, did take away the sale of
the opium from the Board of Trade, though he disclaimed, at the same
time, _any intention of implying a censure on their management_.

That in March, 1781, the said Warren Hastings did grant to Stephen
Sulivan, son of Lawrence Sulivan, Chairman of the Court of Directors of
the East India Company, a contract for the provision of opium, without
advertising for proposals, and without even receiving any written
proposals from him, the said Sulivan; that he granted this contract for
four years, and at the request of the said Sulivan did omit that clause
which was inserted in the preceding contract, and by which it was
rendered liable to be determined by orders from the Company: the said
Warren Hastings declaring, contrary to truth, that such clause was now
unnecessary, as the Directors _had approved_ the contract.

That the said Sulivan had been but a few months in Bengal when the above
contract was given to him; that he was a stranger to the country, and to
all the local commerce thereof, and therefore unqualified for the
management of such a concern; and that the said Sulivan, instead of
executing the contract himself, did, shortly after obtaining the same,
assign it over to John Benn and others, and in consideration of such
assignment did receive from the said Benn a great sum of money.

That from the preceding facts, as well as from sundry other
circumstances of restrictions taken off (particularly by abolishing the
office of inspector into the quality of the opium) and of beneficial
clauses introduced, it appears that the said Warren Hastings gave this
contract to the said Stephen Sulivan in contradiction to the orders of
the Court of Directors, and without any regard to the interests of the
India Company, for the sole purpose of creating an instant fortune for
the said Sulivan at the expense of the India Company, without any claim
of service or pretence of merit on his part, and without any apparent
motive whatever, except that of securing or rewarding the attachment and
support of his father, Lawrence Sulivan, a person of great authority and
influence in the direction of the Company's affairs, and notoriously
attached to and connected with the said Warren Hastings.

That the said Stephen Sulivan neither possessed nor pretended to possess
any skill in the business of his contract; that he exerted no industry,
nor showed or could show any exactness, in the performance of it, since
he immediately sold the contract for a sum of money to another person,
(for the sole purpose of which sale it must be presumed the same was
given,) by which person another profit was to be made; and by that
person the same was again sold to a third, by whom a third profit was to
be made.

That the said Warren Hastings, at the very time when he engaged the
Company in a contract for engrossing the whole of the opium produced in
Bengal and Bahar in the ensuing four years on terms of such exorbitant
profit to the contractor, affirmed, that "there was little prospect of
selling the opium in Bengal at a reasonable price, and that it was but
natural to suppose that the price of opium _would fall, from the demand
being lessened_"; that in a letter dated the 5th of May, 1781, he
informed the Directors, "that, owing to the indifferent state of the
markets last season to the Eastward, and the very enhanced rates of
insurance which the war had occasioned, they had not been able to
dispose of the opium of the present year to so great an advantage as
they expected, and that more than one half of it remained still in their
warehouses." That the said Warren Hastings was guilty of a manifest
breach of trust to his constituents and his employers in monopolizing,
for their pretended use, an article of commerce for which he declared
_no purchasers had offered, and that there was little prospect of any
offering, and the price of which_, he said, _it was but natural to
suppose would fall_.

That the said Warren Hastings, having, by his own act, loaded the
Company with a commodity for which, either in the ordinary and regular
course of public auction, or even by private contract, there was, as he
affirmed, no sale, did, under pretence of finding a market for the same,
engage the Company in an enterprise of great and certain expense,
subject to a manifest risk, and full of disgrace to the East India
Company, not only in their political character, as a great sovereign
power in India, but in their commercial character, as an eminent and
respectable body of merchants; and that the execution of this enterprise
was accompanied with sundry other engagements with other persons, in all
of which the Company's interest was constantly sacrificed to that of
individuals favored by the said Warren Hastings.

That the said Warren Hastings first engaged in a scheme to export one
thousand four hundred and sixty chests of opium, on the Company's
account, on board a ship belonging to Cudbert Thornhill, half of which
was to be disposed of in a coasting voyage, and the remainder in Canton.
That, besides the freight and commission payable to the said Thornhill
on this adventure, twelve pieces of cannon belonging to the Company were
lent for arming the ship; though his original proposal was, that the
ship should be armed at his expense. That this part of the adventure,
depending for its success on a prudent and fortunate management of
various sales and resales in the course of a circuitous voyage, and
being exposed to such risk both of sea and enemy that all private
traders had declined to be concerned in it, was particularly unfit for a
great trading company, and could not be undertaken on their account with
any rational prospect of advantage.

That the said Warren Hastings soon after engaged in another scheme for
exporting two thousand chests of opium directly to China on the
Company's account, and for that purpose accepted of an offer made by
Henry Watson, the Company's chief engineer, to convey the same in a
vessel of his own, and to deliver it to the Company's supra-cargoes.
That, after the offer of the said Henry Watson had been accepted, a
letter from him was produced at the board, in which he declared that he
was unable to equip the ship with a proper number of cannon, and
requested that he might be furnished with thirty-six guns from the
Company's stores at Madras; with which request the board complied.

That it appears that George Williamson, the Company's auctioneer at
Calcutta, having complained that by this mode of exporting the opium,
which used to be sold by public auction, he lost his commission as
auctioneer, the board allowed him to draw a commission of one per cent
on all the opium which had been or was to be exported. That it appears
that the contractor for opium (whose proper duties and emoluments as
contractor ended with the delivery of the opium) was also allowed to
draw a commission on the opium then shipping on the Company's account;
but for what reason, or on what pretence, does not appear.

That the said Warren Hastings, in order to pay the said Stephen Sulivan
in advance for the opium furnished or to be furnished by him in the
first year of his contract, did borrow the sum of twenty lacs of rupees
at eight per cent, or two hundred thousand pounds sterling, to be repaid
by drafts to be drawn on the Company by their supra-cargoes in China,
provided the opium consigned to them should arrive safe; but that, if
the adventure failed, whether by the loss of the ships or otherwise, the
subscribers to the above loan were to be repaid their capital and
interest out of the Company's treasury in Bengal.

That the said Warren Hastings, having in this manner purchased a
commodity for which he said there was no sale, and paid for it with
money which he was obliged to borrow at a high interest, was still more
criminal in his attempt, or pretended plan, to introduce it
clandestinely into China. That the importation of opium into China is
forbidden by the Chinese government; that the opium, on seizure, is
burnt, the vessel that imports it confiscated, and the Chinese in whose
possession it may be found for sale punished with death.

That the Governor-General and Council were well aware of the existence
of these prohibitions and penalties, and did therefore inform the
supra-cargoes in China, that the ship belonging to the said Henry Watson
would enter the river at China as an armed ship, _and would not be
reported as bearing a cargo of opium, that being a contraband trade_.

That, of the above two ships, the first, belonging to Cudbert Thornhill,
was taken by the French; and that the second, arriving in China, did
occasion much embarrassment and distress to the Company's supra-cargoes
there, who had not been previously consulted on the formation of the
plan, and were exposed to great difficulty and hazard in the execution
of their part of it. That the ship was delayed, at a demurrage of an
hundred dollars a day, for upwards of three months, waiting in vain for
a better market. The factory estimate the _loss_ to the Company,
including port charges, demurrage, and factory charges allowed the
captain, at sixty-nine thousand nine hundred and ninety-three dollars,
or about twenty thousand pounds sterling.

That the Company's factory at China, after stating the foregoing facts
to the Court of Directors, conclude with the following general
observation thereon. "On a review of these circumstances, with the
extravagant and unusual terms of the freight, demurrage, factory
charges, &c., &c., we cannot help being of opinion that private
considerations have been suffered to interfere too much for any benefit
that may have been intended to the Honorable Company. We hope for the
Honorable Court's approbation of our conduct in this affair. The novelty
and nature of the consignments have been the source of much trouble and
anxiety, and, though we wished to have had it in our power to do more,
we may truly say we have exceeded our expectations."

That every part of this transaction, from the monopoly with which it
commenced, to the contraband dealing with which it concluded, criminates
the said Warren Hastings with wilful disobedience of orders and a
continued breach of trust; that every step taken in it was attended with
heavy loss to the Company, and with a sacrifice of their interest to
that of individuals; and that, if finally a profit had resulted to the
Company from such a transaction, no profit attending it could compensate
for the probable risk to which their trade in China was thereby exposed,
or for the certain dishonor and consequent distrust which the East India
Company must incur in the eyes of the Chinese government by being
engaged in a low, clandestine traffic, prohibited by the laws of the


That in the month of February, 1781, Mr. Richard Joseph Sulivan,
Secretary to the Select Committee at Fort St. George, applied to them
for leave to proceed to Calcutta _on his private affairs_. That, being
the confidential secretary to the Select Committee at Fort St. George,
and consequently possessed of all the views and secrets of the Company,
as far as they related to that government, he went privately into the
service of the Nabob of Arcot, and, under the pretence of proceeding to
Calcutta on his private business, undertook a commission from the said
Nabob to the Governor-General and Council, to negotiate with them in
favor of certain projects of the said Nabob which had been reprobated by
the Company.

That the said Sulivan was soon after appointed back again by the said
Warren Hastings to the office of Resident at the Durbar of the said
Nabob of Arcot. That it was a high crime and misdemeanor in the said
Hastings to encourage so dangerous an example in the Company's service,
and to interfere unnecessarily with the government of Madras in the
discharge of the duties peculiarly ascribed to them by the practice and
orders of the Company, for the purpose of appointing to a great and
confidential situation a man who had so recently committed a breach of
trust to his employers.

That the Court of Directors, in their letter to Bengal, dated the 12th
of July, 1782, and received there on the 18th of February, 1783, did
_condemn and revoke_ the said appointment. That the said Directors, in
theirs to Fort St. George, dated the 28th of August, 1782, and received
there the 31st of January, 1783, did highly condemn the conduct of the
said Sulivan, and, in order to deter their servants from practices of
the same kind, _did dismiss him from their service_.

That the said Hastings, knowing that the said Sulivan's appointment had
been condemned and revoked by the Court of Directors, and pretending
that on the 15th of March, 1783, he did not know that the said Sulivan
was _dismissed_ from the Company's service, though that fact was known
at Madras on the 31st of the preceding January, did recommend the said
Sulivan to be ambassador at the court of Nizam Ali Khan, Subahdar of the
Deccan, in defiance of the authority and orders of the Court of

That, even admitting, what is highly improbable, that the _dismission_
of the said Sulivan from the service of the said Company was not known
at Calcutta in forty-three days from Madras, the last-mentioned
nomination of the said Sulivan was made at least in contempt of the
censure already expressed by the Court of Directors at his former
appointment to the Durbar of the Nabob of Arcot, and which was certainly
known to the said Hastings.


That on the 2d of December, 1779, the Governor-General and Council of
Fort William, at the special recommendation and instance of Warren
Hastings, Esquire, then Governor-General, and contrary to the declared
opinion and protest of three of the members of the Council, viz., Philip
Francis and Edward Wheler, Esquires, who were present, and of Sir Eyre
Coote, who was absent, (by whose absence the casting voice of the said
Warren Hastings, Esquire, prevailed,) did conclude a treaty of perpetual
friendship and alliance, offensive and defensive, with a Hindoo prince,
called the Ranna of Gohud, for the express purpose of using the forces
of the said Ranna in opposition to the Mahrattas.

That, among other articles, it was stipulated with the said Ranna by the
said Warren Hastings, "that, whenever peace should be concluded between
the Company and the Mahratta state, the Maha Rajah should be included as
a party in the treaty which should be made for that purpose, and his
present possessions, together with the fort of Gualior, which of old
belonged to the family of the Maha Rajah, if it should be then in his
possession, and such countries as he should have acquired in the course
of war, and which it should then be stipulated to leave in his hands,
should be guarantied to him by such treaty."

That, in the late war against the Mahrattas, the said Ranna of Gohud did
actually join the British army under the command of Colonel Muir with
two battalions of infantry and twelve hundred cavalry, and did then
serve in person against the Mahrattas, thereby affording material
assistance, and rendering essential service to the Company.

That, in conformity to the above-mentioned treaty, in the fourth article
of the treaty of peace concluded on the 13th of October, 1781, between
Colonel Muir, on the part of the English Company, and Mahdajee Sindia,
the Mahratta general, the said Ranna of Gohud was expressly included.

That, notwithstanding the said express provision and agreement, Mahdajee
Sindia proceeded to attack the forts and lay waste the territories of
the said Ranna, and did undertake and prosecute a war against him for
the space of two years, in the course of which the Ranna and his family
were reduced to extreme distress, and in the end he was deprived of his
forts, and the whole not only of his acquired possessions, but of his
original dominions, so specially guarantied to him by the British
government in both the above-mentioned treaties.

That the said Warren Hastings was duly and regularly informed of the
progress of the war against the Ranna, and of every event thereof;
notwithstanding which, he not only neglected in any manner to interfere
therein in favor of the said Ranna, or to use any endeavors to prevent
the infraction of the treaty, but gave considerable countenance and
encouragement to Mahdajee Sindia in his violation of it, both by the
residence of the British minister in the Mahratta camp, and by the
approbation shown by the said Warren Hastings to the promises made by
his agent of observing the strictest neutrality, notwithstanding he was
in justice bound, and stood pledged by the most solemn and sacred
engagements, to protect and preserve the said Ranna from those enemies,
whose resentment he had provoked only by his adherence to the interests
of the British nation.

That, in the only attempt made to sound the disposition of Mahdajee
Sindia relative to a pacification between him and the Ranna of Gohud, on
the 14th of May, 1783, Mr. Anderson, in obedience to the orders he had
received, did clearly and explicitly declare to Bhow Bucksey, the
minister of Mahdajee Sindia, the sentiments of the said Warren Hastings
in the words following: "That it was so far from your [the said
Hastings's] meaning to intercede in his [the said Ranna's] favor, that I
only desired him to sound Sindia's sentiments, and, in case he was
desirous of peace, to mention what I had said; but if he seemed to
prefer carrying on the war, I begged that he would not mention a
syllable of what had passed, but let the matter drop entirely."

That it afterwards appeared, in a minute of the said Hastings in Council
at Fort William, on the 22d of September, 1783, that he promised, at the
instance of a member of the Council, to write to Lieutenant James
Anderson in favor of the Ranna of Gohud, and lay his letter before the

That, nevertheless, the said Hastings, professing _not to recollect_ his
said promise, _did neglect to write a formal letter to Lieutenant
Anderson in favor of the said Ranna of Gohud_, and that the private
letter, the extract of which the said Hastings did lay before the board
on the 21st of October, 1783, so far from directing any effectual
interference in favor of the said Ranna, or commanding his agent, the
said James Anderson, to interpose the mediation of the British
government to procure "_honorable terms_" for the said Ranna, or even
"_safety to his person and family_," contains the bitterest invectives
against him, and is expressive of the satisfaction which the said
Hastings acknowledges himself to have enjoyed in the distresses of the
said Ranna, the ally of the Company.

That the measures therein recommended appear rather to have been
designed to satisfy Mahdajee Sindia, and to justify the conduct of the
British government in not having taken a more active and a more hostile
part against the said Ranna, than an intercession on his behalf.

That, though no consideration of good faith or observance of treaties
could induce the said Hastings to incur the hazard of any hostile
exertion of the British force for the defence or the relief of the
allies of the Company, yet in the said private letter he directed,
that, in case his mediation should be accepted, it should be made _a
specific condition_, that, _if the said Ranna should take advantage of
Sindia's absence to renew his hostilities, we ought, in that case, on
requisition, to invade the dominions of the Ranna_.

That no beneficial effects could have been procured to the said Ranna by
an offer of mediation delayed till Sindia no longer wanted "_our
assistance to crush so fallen an enemy_," at the same time that no
reason was given to Sindia to apprehend the danger of drawing upon
himself the resentment of the British government by a disregard of their
proposal and the destruction of their ally.

That it was a gross and scandalous mockery in the said Hastings to defer
an application to obtain honorable terms for the Ranna, and safety for
his person and family, till he had been deprived of his principal fort,
in defence of which his uncle lost his life, and on the capture of
which, his wife, to avoid the dishonor consequent upon falling into the
hands of her enemies, _had destroyed herself by an explosion of

That, however, it does not appear that any offer of mediation was ever
actually made, or any influence exerted, either for the safety of the
Ranna's person and family or in mitigation of the _rigorous intentions_
supposed by Lieutenant Anderson[4] to have been entertained against him
by Mahdajee Sindia after his surrender.

That the said Hastings, in the instructions[5] given by him to Mr. David
Anderson for his conduct in negotiating the treaty of peace with the
Mahrattas, expressed his determination to desert the Ranna of Gohud in
the following words. "You will of course be attentive to any engagements
subsisting between us and other powers, in settling the terms of peace
and alliance with the Mahrattas. I except from this the Ranna of
Gohud.... Leave him to settle his own affairs with the Mahrattas."

That the said Anderson appears very assiduously to have sought for
grounds to justify the execution of this part of his instructions, to
which, however, he was at all events obliged to conform.

That, even after his application for that purpose to the Mahrattas,
whose testimony was much to be suspected, because it was their interest
to accuse and their determined object to destroy the said Ranna, no
satisfactory proof was obtained of his defection from the engagements he
had entered into with the Company.

That, moreover, if all the charges which have been pretended against the
Ranna, and have been alleged by the said Hastings in justification of
his conduct, had been well founded and proved to be true, the
subject-matter of those accusations and the proofs by which they wore to
be supported were known to Colonel Muir before the conclusion of the
treaty he entered into with Mahdajee Sindia; and therefore, whatever
suspicions may have been entertained or whatever degree of criminality
may have been proved against the said Ranna previous to the said treaty,
from the time he was so provided for and included in the said treaty he
was fully and justly entitled to the security stipulated for him by the
Company, and had a right to demand and receive the protection of the
British government.

That these considerations were urged by Mr. Anderson to the said Warren
Hastings, in his letter of the 24th of June, 1781, and were enforced by
this additional argument,--"that, in point of policy, I believe, it
ought not to be our wish that the Mahrattas should ever recover the
fortress of Gualior. It forms an important barrier to our own
possessions. In the hands of the Ranna it can be of no prejudice to us;
and notwithstanding the present prospect of a permanent peace betwixt us
and the Mahrattas, it seems highly expedient that there should always
remain some strong barrier to separate us, on this side of India, from
that warlike and powerful nation."

That the said Warren Hastings was highly culpable in abandoning the said
Ranna to the fury of his enemies, thereby forfeiting the honor and
injuring the credit of the British nation in India, notwithstanding the
said Hastings was fully convinced, and had professed, "that the most
sacred observance of treaties, justice, and good faith were necessary to
the existence of the national interests in that country," and though the
said Hastings has complained of the insufficiency of the laws of this
kingdom to enforce this doctrine "by the punishment of persons in the
possession of power, who may be impelled by the provocation of ambition,
avarice, or vengeance, stronger than the restrictions of integrity and
honor, to the violation of this just and wise maxim."

That the said Hastings, in thus departing from these his own principles,
with a full and just sense of the guilt he would thereby incur, and in
sacrificing the allies of this country "_to the provocations of
ambition, avarice, or vengeance_," in violation of the national faith
and justice, did commit a gross and wilful breach of his duty, and was
thereby guilty of an high crime and misdemeanor.



That the property of the lands of Bengal is, according to the laws and
customs of that country, an inheritable property, and that it is, with
few exceptions; vested in certain natives, called _zemindars_, or
landholders, under whom other natives, called _talookdars_ and _ryots_,
hold certain subordinate rights of property or occupancy in the said
lands. That the said natives are Hindoos, and that their _rights and
privileges are grounded upon the possession of regular grants, a long
series of family succession, and fair purchase_. That it appears that
Bengal has been under the dominion of the Mogul, and subject to a
Mahomedan government, for above two hundred years. That, while the Mogul
government was in its vigor, the property of zemindars was _held
sacred_, and that, either by voluntary grant from the said Mogul or by
composition with him, the native Hindoos were left in the free, quiet,
and undisturbed possession of their lands, on the single condition of
paying a fixed, certain, and unalterable revenue, or quit-rent, to the
Mogul government. That this revenue, or quit-rent, was called the
_aussil jumma_, or _original ground-rent_, of the provinces, and was not
increased from the time when it was first settled in 1573 to 1740, when
the regular and effective Mogul government ended. That, from that time
to 1765, invasions, usurpations, and various revolutions took place in
the government of Bengal, in consequence of which the country was
considerably reduced and impoverished, when the East India Company
received from the present Mogul emperor, Shah Allum, a grant of the
_dewanny_, or collection of the revenues. That about the year 1770 the
provinces of Bengal and Bahar were visited with a dreadful famine and
mortality, by which at least one third of the inhabitants perished. That
Warren Hastings, Esquire, has declared, "that he had always heard the
loss of inhabitants reckoned at a third, and in many places near one
half of the whole, and that he knew not by what means such a loss could
be recruited in four or five years, and believed it impossible." That,
nevertheless, the revenue was _violently kept up to its former
standard_,--that is, in the two years immediately preceding the
appointment of the said Warren Hastings to the government of Fort
William,--in consequence of which _the remaining two thirds of the
inhabitants were obliged to pay for the lands now left without
cultivation_; and that from the year 1770 to the year 1775 _the country
had languished, and the evil continued enhancing every day_. That the
said Warren Hastings, in a letter to the Secret Committee of the Court
of Directors, dated 1st September, 1772, declared, "that the lands had
suffered unheard-of depopulation by the famine and mortality of 1769;
that the collections, _violently kept up to their former standard_, had
added to the distress of the country, and threatened a general decay of
the revenue, unless immediate remedies were applied to prevent it." That
the said Warren Hastings has declared, "that, by intrusting the
collections to the hereditary zemindars, the people would be treated
with _more tenderness_, the rents more improved, and cultivation more
likely to be encouraged; that _they_ have a perpetual interest in the
country; that _their_ inheritance cannot be removed; that _they_ are the
proprietors; that the lands are _their_ estates, and _their_
inheritance; that, from a long continuance of the lands in their
families, it is to be concluded they have riveted an authority in the
district, acquired an ascendency over the minds of the ryots, and
_ingratiated their affections_; that, from continuing the lands under
the management of those who have a natural and perpetual interest in
their prosperity, solid advantages might be expected to accrue; that the
zemindar would be less liable to failure or deficiencies than the
farmer, from the perpetual interest which the former hath in the
country, and because his inheritance cannot be removed, and it would be
improbable that he should risk the loss of it by eloping from his
district, which is too frequently practised by a farmer when he is
hard-pressed for the payment of his balances, and as frequently
predetermined when he receives his farm." That, notwithstanding all the
preceding declarations made by the said Warren Hastings of the loss of
one third of the inhabitants and general decline of the country, he did,
immediately after his appointment to the government, in the year 1772,
make an arbitrary settlement of the revenues for five years at a higher
rate than had ever been received before, and with a progressive and
accumulating increase on each of the four last years of the said

That, notwithstanding the right of property and inheritance, repeatedly
acknowledged by the said Warren Hastings to be in the zemindars and
other native landholders, and notwithstanding he had declared "that the
security of private property is the greatest encouragement to industry,
on which the wealth of every state depends," the said Warren Hastings,
nevertheless, in direct violation of those acknowledged rights and
principles, did universally let the lands of Bengal _in farm_ for five
years,--thereby destroying all the rights of private property of the
zemindars,--thereby delivering the management of their estates to
farmers, and transferring by a most arbitrary and unjust act of power
the whole landed property of Bengal from the owners to strangers. That,
to accomplish this iniquitous purpose, he, the said Warren Hastings, did
put the lands of Bengal up to a pretended public auction, _and invited
all persons to make proposals for farming the same_, thereby encouraging
strangers to bid against the proprietors,--in consequence of which, not
only the said proprietors were ousted of the possession and management
of their estates, but a great part of the lands fell into the hands of
the banians, or principal black servants of British subjects connected
with and protected by the government; and that the said Warren Hastings
himself has since declared, that _by this way the lands too generally
fell into the hands of desperate or knavish adventurers_.[6] That,
before the measure hereinbefore described was carried into execution,
the said Warren Hastings did establish certain fundamental regulations
in Council, to be observed in executing the same.[7] That among these
regulations it was specially and strictly ordered, that no farm should
exceed the annual amount of _one_ lac of rupees, and "that no peshcar,
banian, or other servant, of whatever denomination, of the collector, or
relation or dependant of any such servant, should be allowed to farm
lands, nor directly or indirectly to hold a concern in any farm, nor to
be security for any farmer." That, in direct violation of these his own
regulations, and in breach of the public trust reposed in him, and
sufficiently declared by the manifest duty of his station, if it had not
been expressed and enforced by any positive institution, he, the said
Warren Hastings, did permit and suffer his own banian or principal black
steward, named Cantoo Baboo, to hold farms in different purgunnahs, or
districts, or to be security for farms, to the amount of thirteen lac of
rupees (130,000_l._ or upwards) per annum; and that, after enjoying the
whole of those farms for two years, he was permitted by the said Warren
Hastings to relinquish two of them. That on the subject of the farms
held by Cantoo Baboo the said Warren Hastings has made the following
declaration. "Many of his farms were taken without my knowledge, and
almost all against my advice. I had no right to use compulsion or
authority; nor could I with justice exclude him, because he was my
servant, from a liberty allowed to all other persons in the country. The
farms which he quitted he quitted by my advice, because I thought that
he might engage himself beyond his abilities, and be involved in
disputes, which I did not choose to have come before me as judge of
them."[8] That the said declaration contains sundry false and
contradictory assertions: that, if _almost all_ the said farms were
taken against his advice, it cannot be true that _many_ of them were
taken without his knowledge; that, whether Cantoo Baboo had been his
servant or not, the said Warren Hastings was bound by his own
regulations to prevent his holding any farms to a greater amount than
one lac of rupees per annum, and that the said Cantoo Baboo, being the
servant of the Governor-General, was excluded by the said regulations
from holding any farms whatever; that, if (as the Directors observe) it
was thought dangerous to permit the banian of a collector to be
concerned in farms, the same or stronger objections would always lie
against the Governor's banian being so concerned; that the said Warren
Hastings had a right, and was bound by his duty, to prevent his servant
from holding the same; that, in advising the said Cantoo Baboo to
relinquish some of the said farms, for which he was actually engaged, he
has acknowledged an influence over his servant, and has used that
influence for a purpose inconsistent with his duty to the India Company,
namely, to deprive them of the security of the said Cantoo Baboo's
engagement for farms which on trial he had found not beneficial, or not
likely to continue beneficial, to himself; and that, if it was improper
that he, the said Warren Hastings, should be the judge of any disputes
in which his servant might be involved on account of his farms, that
reason ought to have obliged him to prevent his servant from being
engaged in any farms whatever, or to have advised his said servant to
relinquish the remainder of his farms, as well as those which the said
Warren Hastings affirms he quitted by his advice. That on the subject of
the said charge the Court of Directors of the East India Company have
come to the following resolution: "_Resolved_, That it appears that the
conduct of the late President and Council of Fort William in Bengal, in
suffering Cantoo Baboo, the present Governor-General's banian, to hold
farms in different purgunnahs to a large amount, or to be security for
such farms, contrary to the tenor and spirit of the 17th regulation of
the Committee of Revenue at Fort William, of the 14th May, 1772, and
afterwards relinquishing that security without satisfaction made to the
Company, was highly improper, and has been attended with considerable
loss to the Company"; and that in the whole of this transaction the said
Warren Hastings has been guilty of gross collusion with his servant, and
manifest breach of trust to his employers.

That, whereas it was acknowledged by the said Warren Hastings, that the
country, in the years 1770 and 1771, had suffered great depopulation and
decay, and that the collections of those years, having been violently
kept up to their former standard, had added to the distress of the
country, the settlement of the revenues made by him for five years,
commencing the 1st May, 1772, instead of offering any abatement or
relief to the inhabitants who had survived the famine, held out to the
East India Company a promise of great _increase_ of revenue, to be
exacted from the country by the means hereinbefore described. That this
settlement was not realized, but fell considerably short, even in the
first of the five years, when the demand was the lightest; and that on
the whole of the five years the real collections fell short of the
settlement to the enormous amount of two millions and a half sterling,
and upwards. That such a settlement, if it had been or could have been
rigorously exacted from a country already so distressed, and from a
population so impaired, that, in the belief of the said Warren Hastings,
it was impossible such loss could be recruited in four or five years,
would have been in fact, what it appeared to be in form, an act of the
most cruel and tyrannical oppression; but that the real use made of that
unjust demand upon the natives of Bengal was, to oblige them to
compound privately with the persons who formed the settlement, and who
threatened to enforce it. That the enormous balances and remissions on
that settlement arose from a general collusion between the farmers and
collectors, and from a general peculation and embezzlement of the
revenues, by which the East India Company was grossly imposed on, in the
first instance, by a promised _increase_ of revenue, and defrauded, in
the second, not only by the failure of that _increase_, but by the
revenues falling short of what they were in the two years preceding the
said settlement to a great amount. That the said Warren Hastings, being
then at the head of the government of Bengal, was a party to all the
said imposition, fraud, peculation, and embezzlement, and is principally
and specially answerable for the same; and that, whereas sundry proofs
of the said peculation and embezzlement were brought before the Court of
Directors, the said Directors (in a letter dated the 4th of March, 1778,
and signed by William Devaynes and Nathaniel Smith, Esquires, now
Chairman and Deputy-Chairman of the said Court, and members of this
House) did declare, that, "although it was rather their wish to prevent
future evils than to enter into a severe retrospection of past abuses,
yet, as in some of the cases then before them they conceived there had
been _flagrant corruption_, and in others great oppressions committed on
the native inhabitants, they thought it unjust to suffer the delinquents
to pass wholly unpunished, and therefore they directed the
Governor-General and Council forthwith to commence a prosecution against
the persons who composed the Committee of Circuit, and their
representatives, and against all other proper parties"; but that the
prosecutions so ordered by the Court of Directors in the year 1778 have
never been brought to trial; and that the said Warren Hastings did, on
the 23d of December, 1783, propose and carry it in Council, _that orders
should be given for withdrawing_ the said prosecutions,--declaring, that
he was clearly of opinion that there was no ground to maintain them, and
_that they would only be productive of expense to the Company and
unmerited vexation to the parties_.



That the said Warren Hastings has on sundry occasions declared his
deliberate opinion generally against all innovations, and particularly
in the collection and management of the revenues of Bengal: that "he was
well aware of the expense and inconvenience _which ever attends
innovations of all kinds_, on, their first institution;[9]--that
innovations are _always_ attended with difficulties and inconveniences,
and innovations in the revenue with a suspension of the
collections;[10]--that the continual variations in the mode of
collecting the revenue, and the continual usurpation on the rights of
the people, have fixed in the minds of the ryots a rooted distrust of
the ordinances of government."[11] That the Court of Directors have
repeatedly declared their apprehensions "that a sudden transition from
one mode to another, in the investigation and collection of their
revenue, might have alarmed the inhabitants, lessened their confidence
in the Company's proceedings, and been attended with other evils."[12]

That the said Warren Hastings, immediately after his appointment to the
government of Fort William, in April, 1772, did abolish the office of
_Naib Dewan_, or native collector of the revenues, then existing; that
he did at the same time appoint a committee of the board to go on a
circuit through the provinces, and to form a settlement of the revenues
for five years; that he did then appoint sundry of the Company's
servants to have the management of the collections, viz., one in each
district, under the title of _Collector_; that he did then abolish the
General Board of Revenue or Council at Moorshedabad, for the following
reasons: "That, while the controlling and executive part of the revenue
and the correspondence with the collectors was carried on by a council
at Moorshedabad, the members of the administration at Calcutta had no
opportunity of acquiring that thorough and comprehensive knowledge which
could only result from _practical experience_; that the orders of the
Court of Directors, which established a new system, which enjoined many
new regulations and inquiries, could not properly be delegated to a
subordinate council, and it became absolutely necessary that the
business of the revenue should be conducted _under the immediate
observation and direction of the board_."[13]--That in November, 1773,
the said Warren Hastings abolished the office of Collector, and
transferred the collection and management of the revenues to several
councils of revenue, commonly called _Provincial Councils_. That on the
24th of October, 1774, the said Warren Hastings _earnestly offered his
advice_ (to the Governor-General and Council, then newly appointed by
act of Parliament) _for the continuation of the said system of
Provincial Councils in all its parts_. That the said Warren Hastings
did, on the 22d of April, 1775, transmit to the Directors a formal plan
for the future settlement of the revenues, and did therein declare,
that, "with respect to the mode of managing the collection of the
revenue and the administration of justice, none occurred to him so good
as the system which was already established of Provincial Councils."
That on the 18th of January, 1776, the said Warren Hastings did transmit
to the Court of Directors a plan for the better administration of
justice, that in this plan the establishment of the said Provincial
Councils was specially provided for and confirmed, and that Warren
Hastings did recommend it to the Directors _to obtain the sanction of
Parliament for a confirmation of the said plan_. That on the 30th of
April, 1776, the said Warren Hastings did transmit to the Court of
Directors the draft or scheme of an act of Parliament for the better
administration of justice in the provinces, in which the said
establishment of Provincial Councils is again specially included, and
special jurisdiction assigned to the said Councils. That the Court of
Directors, in a letter dated 5th of February, 1777, did give the
following instruction to the Governor-General and Council, a majority of
whom, viz., Sir John Clavering, Colonel Monson, and Mr. Francis, had
disapproved of the plan of Provincial Councils: "If you are fully
convinced that the establishment of Provincial Councils has not answered
nor is not capable of answering the purposes intended by such
institutions, we hereby direct you to form a new plan for the collection
of the revenues, and to transmit the same to _us for our
consideration_."--That the said Warren Hastings, in contradiction to his
own sentiments repeatedly declared, and to his own advice repeatedly
and deliberately given, and in defiance of the orders of the Directors,
to whom he transmitted no previous communication whatever of his
intention to abolish the said Provincial Councils, did, in the beginning
of the year 1781, again change the whole system of the collections of
the public revenue of Bengal, as also the administration of civil and
criminal justice throughout the provinces. That the said Warren
Hastings, in a letter dated 5th of May, 1781, advising the Court of
Directors of the said changes, has falsely affirmed, "that the plan of
superintending and collecting the public revenue of the provinces
through the agency of Provincial Councils had been instituted for the
temporary and declared purpose of introducing another more permanent
mode _by an easy and gradual change_"; that, on the contrary, the said
Warren Hastings, from the year 1773 to the year 1781, has constantly and
uniformly insisted on the wisdom of that institution, and on the
necessity of never departing from it; that he has in that time
repeatedly advised that the said institution should be confirmed _in
perpetuity_ by an act of Parliament; that the said total dissolution of
the Provincial Councils was not introduced by any easy and gradual
change, nor by any gradations whatever, but was sudden and unprepared,
and instantly accomplished by a single act of power; and that the said
Warren Hastings, in the place of the said Councils, has substituted a
Committee of Revenue, consisting of four covenanted servants, on
principles opposite to those which he had himself professed, and with
exclusive powers, tending to deprive the members of the Supreme Council
of a due knowledge of and inspection into the management of the
territorial revenues, specially and unalienably vested by the
legislature in the Governor-General and Council, and to vest the same
solely and entirely in the said Warren Hastings. That the reasons
assigned by the said Warren Hastings for constituting the said Committee
of Revenue are incompatible with those which he professed when he
abolished the subordinate Council of Revenue at Moorshedabad: that he
has invested the said Committee _in the fullest manner with all the
powers and authority of the Governor-General and Council_; that he has
thereby contracted the whole power and office of the Provincial Councils
into a small compass, and vested the same in four persons appointed by
himself; that he has thereby taken the general transaction and
cognizance of revenue business out of the Supreme Council; that the said
Committee are empowered to conduct the current business of the revenue
department without reference to the Supreme Council, and only _report to
the board such extraordinary occurrences, claims, and proposals as may
require the special orders of the board_; that even the instruction to
report to the board in extraordinary cases is nugatory and fallacious,
being accompanied with limitations which make it impossible for the said
board to decide on any questions whatsoever: since it is expressly
provided by the said Warren Hastings, _that, if the members of the
Committee differ in opinion, it is not expected that every dissentient
opinion should be recorded_; consequently the Supreme Council, on any
reference to their board, can see nothing but the resolutions or reasons
of the majority of the Committee, without the arguments on which the
dissentient opinions might be founded: and since it is also expressly
provided by the said Warren Hastings, that _the determination of the
majority of the Committee should not therefore be stayed, unless it
should be so agreed by the majority_,--that is, that, notwithstanding
the reference to the Supreme Council, the measure shall be executed
without waiting for their decision.

That the said Warren Hastings has delivered his opinion, with many
arguments to support the same, in favor of long leases of the lands, in
preference to _annual_ settlements: that he has particularly declared,
"that the farmer who holds his farm for one year only, having no
interest in the next, takes what he can with the hand of rigor, which,
even in the execution of legal claims, is often equivalent to violence;
he is under the necessity of being rigid, and _even cruel_,--for what is
left in arrear after the expiration of his power is at best a doubtful
debt, if ever recoverable; he will be tempted to exceed the bounds of
right, and to augment his income by irregular exactions, and by racking
the tenants, for which pretences will not be wanting, where the farms
pass _annually_ from one hand to another; that the discouragements which
the tenants feel from being transferred every year to new landlords are
a great objection to such short leases; that they contribute to injure
the cultivation and dispeople the lands; that, on the contrary, from
long farms the farmer acquires a permanent interest in his lands; he
will, for his own sake, lay out money in assisting his tenants in
improving lands already cultivated, and in clearing and cultivating
waste lands."[14] That, nevertheless, the said Warren Hastings, having
left it to the discretion of the Committee of Revenue, appointed by him
in 1781, to fix the time for which the ensuing settlement should be
made, and the said Committee having declared, that, _with respect to the
period of the lease, in general, it appeared to the Committee that to
limit them to one year would be the best period_, he, the said Warren
Hastings, approved of that limitation, in manifest contradiction to all
his own arguments, professions, and declarations concerning the fatal
consequences of _annual_ leases of the lands; that in so doing the said
Warren Hastings did not hold himself bound or restrained by the orders
of the Court of Directors, but acted upon his own discretion; and that
he has, for partial and interested purposes, exercised that discretion
in particular instances against his own general settlement for one year,
by granting perpetual leases of farms and zemindaries to persons
specially favored by him, and particularly by granting a perpetual lease
of the zemindary of Baharbund to his servant Cantoo Baboo on very low

That in all the preceding transactions the said Warren Hastings did act
contrary to his duty as Governor of Fort William, contrary to the orders
of his employers, and contrary to his own declared sense of expediency,
consistency, and justice, and thereby did harass and afflict the
inhabitants of the provinces with perpetual changes in the system and
execution of the government placed over them, and with continued
innovations and exactions, against the rights of the said
inhabitants,--thereby destroying all security to private property, and
all confidence in the good faith, principles, and justice of the British
government. And that the said Warren Hastings, having substituted his
own instruments to be the managers and collectors of the public revenue,
in the manner hereinbefore mentioned, did act in manifest breach and
defiance of an act of the 13th of his present Majesty, by which _the
ordering and management and government of all the territorial revenues
in the kingdoms of Bengal, Bahar, and Orissa_ were vested in the
Governor-General and Council, without any power of delegating the said
trust and duty to any other persons; and that, by such unlawful
delegation of the powers of the Council to a subordinate board appointed
by himself, he, the said Warren Hastings, did in effect unite and vest
in his own person the ordering, government, and management of all the
said territorial revenues; and that for the said illegal act he, the
said Warren Hastings, is solely answerable, the same having been
proposed and resolved in Council when the Governor-General and Council
consisted but of two persons present,--namely, the said Warren Hastings,
and the late Edward Wheler, Esquire, and when consequently the
Governor-General, by virtue of the casting voice, possessed the whole
power of the government. That, in all the changes and innovations
hereinbefore described, the pretence used by the said Warren Hastings to
recommend and justify the same to the Court of Directors has been, that
such changes and innovations would be attended with increase of revenue
or diminution of expense to the East India Company; that such pretence,
if true, would not have been a justification of such acts; but that such
pretence is false and groundless: that during the administration of the
said Warren Hastings the territorial revenues have declined; that the
charges of collecting the same have greatly increased; and that the said
Warren Hastings, by his neglect, mismanagement, and by a direct and
intended waste of the Company's property, is chargeable with and
answerable for all the said decline of revenue, and all the said
increase of expense.


I. That the province of Oude and its dependencies were, before their
connection with and subordination to the Company, in a flourishing
condition with regard to culture, commerce, and population, and their
rulers and principal nobility maintained themselves in a state of
affluence and splendor; but very shortly after the period aforesaid, the
prosperity both of the country and its chiefs began sensibly and rapidly
to decline, insomuch that the revenue of the said province, which, on
the lowest estimation, had been found, in the commencement of the
British influence, at upwards of three millions sterling annually, (and
that ample revenue raised without detriment to the country,) did not in
the year 1779 exceed the sum of 1,500,000_l._, and in the subsequent
years did fall much short of that sum, although the rents were generally
advanced, and the country grievously oppressed in order to raise it.

II. That in the aforesaid year, 1779, the demands of the East India
Company on the Nabob of Oude are stated by Mr. Purling, their Resident
at the court of Oude, to amount to the sum of 1,360,000_l._ sterling and
upwards, leaving (upon the supposition that the whole revenue should
amount to the sum of 1,500,000_l._ sterling, to which it did not amount)
no more than 140,000_l._ sterling for the support of the dignity of the
household and family of the Nabob, and for the maintenance of his
government, as well as for the payment of the public debts due within
the province.

III. That by the treaty of Fyzabad a regular brigade of the Company's
troops, to be stationed in the dominions of the Nabob of Oude, was kept
up at the expense of the said Nabob; in addition to which a temporary
brigade of the same troops was added to his establishment, together with
several detached corps in the Company's service, and a great part of his
own native Troops were put under the command of British officers.

IV. That the expense of the Company's temporary brigade increased in the
same year (the year of 1779) upwards of 80,000_l._ sterling above the
estimate, and the expense of the country troops under British officers
in the same period increased upwards of 40,000_l._ sterling; and in
addition to the aforesaid ruinous expenses, a large civil establishment
was gradually, secretly, and without any authority from the Court of
Directors, or record in the books of the Council-General concerning the
same, formed for the Resident, and another under Mr. Wombwell, an agent
for the Company; as also several pensions and allowances, in the same
secret and clandestine manner, were charged on the revenues of the said
Nabob for the benefit of British subjects, besides large occasional
gifts to persons in the Company's service.

V. That in the month of November, 1779, the said Nabob did represent to
Mr. Purling, the Company's Resident aforesaid, the distressed state of
his revenues in the following terms. "During three years past, the
expense occasioned by the troops in brigade, and others commanded by
European officers, has much distressed the support of my household,
insomuch that the allowances made to the seraglio and children of the
deceased Nabob have been reduced to _one fourth_ of what it had been,
upon which they have subsisted in a very distressed manner for two years
past. The attendants, writers, and servants, &c., of my court, have
received no pay for two years past; and there is at present no part of
the country that can be allotted to the payment of my father's private
creditors, whose applications are daily pressing upon me. All these
difficulties I have for these three years past struggled through, and
found this consolation therein, that it was complying with the pleasure
of the Honorable Company, and in the hope that the Supreme Council would
make inquiry from impartial persons into my distressed situation; but I
am now forced to a representation. From the _great increase of expense_,
the revenues were necessarily farmed out _at a high rate;_ and
deficiencies followed yearly. The country and cultivation is abandoned;
and this year in particular, from the excessive drought, deductions of
many lacs" (stated by the Resident, in his letter to the board of the
13th of the month following, to amount to twenty-five lac, or
250,000_l._ sterling) "have been allowed the farmers, who were still
left unsatisfied. I have received but just sufficient to support my
absolute necessities, the revenues being deficient to the amount of
fifteen lac [150,000_l._ sterling], and for this reason many of the old
chieftains with their troops, and the useful attendants of the court,
were forced to leave it, and there is now only a few foot and horse for
the collection of my revenues; and should the zemindars be refractory,
there is not left a sufficient number to reduce them to obedience." And
the said Nabob did therefore pray that the assignments for the new
brigade, the corps of horse, and the other detached bodies of the
Company's troops might not be required from him: alleging, "that the
former was not only quite useless to his government, but, moreover, the
cause of much loss, both in the revenues and customs; and that the
detached bodies of troops under their European officers brought nothing
but confusion into the affairs of his government, and were entirely
their own masters."

VI. That it appears that the said Nabob was not bound by any treaty to
the maintenance, without his consent, _even of the old brigade_,--the
Court of Directors having, in their letter of the 15th December, 1775,
approved of keeping the same in his service, "_provided it was done with
the free consent of the Subah, and by no means without it_." And the
_new brigade_ and temporary corps were raised on the express condition,
that the expense thereof should be charged on the Nabob only "_for so
long a time as he should require the corps for his service_." And the
Court of Directors express to the Governor-General and Council their
sense of the said agreement in the following terms: "But if you intend
to exert your influence first to induce the Vizier to acquiesce in your
proposal, and afterwards _to compel him to keep the troops in his pay
during your pleasure, your intents are unjust; and a correspondent
conduct would reflect great dishonor on the Company_."

VII. That, in answer to the decent and humble representation aforesaid
of the Nabob of Oude, the allegations of which, so far as they relate to
the distressed state of the Nabob's finances, and his total inability to
discharge the demands made on him, were confirmed by the testimony of
the English Resident at Oude, and which the said Hastings did not deny
in the whole or in any part thereof, he, the said Warren Hastings, did,
on pretence of certain political dangers, declare the relief desired to
be "without hesitation _totally_ inadmissible," and did falsely and
maliciously insinuate, "that the _tone_ in which the demands of the
Nabob were asserted, and the season in which they were made, did give
cause for _the most alarming suspicions_." And the said Warren Hastings
did, in a letter to the Nabob aforesaid, written in haughty and insolent
language, and without taking any notice of the distresses of the said
Nabob, alleged and verified as before recited, "require and insist upon
your [the Nabob's] granting _tuncaws_ [assignments] for the full amount
of their [the Company's] demands upon you for the current year, and on
your reserving funds sufficient to answer them, _even should the
deficiencies of your revenues compel you to leave your own troops
unprovided for, or to disband a part of them to enable you to effect

VIII. That, in a letter written at the same time to the Resident,
Purling, and intended for his directions in enforcing on the Nabob the
unjust demands aforesaid, the said Warren Hastings hath asserted, in
direct contradiction to the treaties subsisting between the said Nabob
and the Company, "that he [the Nabob] stands engaged to our government
to maintain the English armies which at his own request have been formed
for the protection of his dominions, and _that it is our part, and not
his, to judge and determine in what manner and at what time these shall
be reduced and withdrawn_." And in a Minute of Consultation, when the
aforesaid measure was proposed by the said Hastings to the Supreme
Council, he did affirm and maintain that the troops aforesaid "had now
no _separate_ or distinct existence from ours, and may be properly said
to consist of our _whole_ military establishment, with the exception
only of our European infantry; and that they could not be withdrawn
without imposing on the Company _the additional burden of them_, or
disbanding nine battalions of disciplined sepoys and three regiments of

IX. That in the Minute of Consultation aforesaid, he, the said Warren
Hastings, hath further, in justification of the violent and arbitrary
proceedings aforesaid, asserted, "that the arrangement of measures
between the British government and their allies, the native powers of
India, must, in case of disagreement about the necessity thereof, _be
decided by the strongest_"; and hath thereby advanced a dangerous and
most indecently expressed position, subversive of the rights of allies,
and tending to breed war and confusion, instead of cordiality and
cooeperation amongst them, and to destroy all confidence of the princes
of India in the faith and justice of the English nation. And the said
Hastings, having further, in the minute aforesaid, presumed to threaten
to "bring to punishment, if my influence" (his, the said Hastings's,
influence) "can produce that effect, _those incendiaries_ who have
endeavored to make themselves the instruments of division between us,"
hath, as far as in him lay, obstructed the performance of one of the
most essential duties of a prince engaged in an unequal alliance with a
presiding state,--that of representing the grievances of his subjects to
that more powerful state by whose acts they suffer: leaving thereby the
governing power in total ignorance of the effects of its own measures,
and to the oppressed people no other choice than the alternative of an
unqualified submission, or a resistance productive of consequences more

X. That, all relief being denied to the Nabob, in the manner and on the
grounds aforesaid, the demands of the Company on the said Nabob in the
year following, that is to say, in the year 1780, did amount to the
enormous sum of 1,400,000_l._ sterling, and the distress of the province
did rapidly increase.

XI. That the Nabob, on the 24th of February of the same year, did again
write to the Governor-General, the said Warren Hastings, a letter, in
which he expressed his constant friendship to the Company, and his
submission and obedience to their orders, and asserting that he had not
troubled them with any of his difficulties, trusting they would learn
them from other quarters, and that he should be relieved by their
friendship. "But," he says, "when _the knife had penetrated to the
bone_, and I was surrounded with such heavy distresses that I could no
longer live in expectations, I then wrote an account of my difficulties.
The answer I have received to it is such that it has given me
inexpressible grief and affliction. I never had the least idea or
expectation from you and the Council that you would have given your
orders in _so afflicting a manner, in which you never before wrote, and
I could never have imagined_. I have delivered up all my _private_
papers to him [the Resident], that, after examining my receipts and
expenses, he may take whatever remains. That, as I know it to be my
duty to satisfy you [the Company and Council], I have not failed to obey
in any instance; but requested of him that it might be done so as not to
distress me in my _necessary_ expenses. There being no other funds but
those for the expenses of my _mutseddies_ [clerks and accountants],
household expenses, and servants, &c., he demanded these in such a
manner, that, being remediless, I was obliged to comply with what he
required. He has accordingly stopped _the pensions of my old servants
for thirty years, whether sepoys [soldiers], mutseddies [secretaries and
accountants], or household servants, and the expenses of my family and
kitchen, together with the jaghires of my grandmother, mother, and
aunts, and of my brothers and dependants, which were for their

XII. That, in answer to the letter aforesaid, the Resident received from
the said Warren Hastings and Council an order to persevere in the demand
to its fullest extent,--that is to say, to the amount of 1,400,000_l._

XIII. That on the 15th of May the Nabob replied, complaining in an
humble and suppliant manner of his distressed situation: that he had at
first opposed the assigning to the use of the Company the estates of his
mother, of his grandmother, of one of his uncles, and of the sons of
another, but that, in obedience to the injunctions of the gentlemen of
the Council, it had been done, to the amount, on the whole, of
80,000_l._ sterling a year, or thereabouts; that whatever effects were
in the country, with even his table, his animals, and the salaries of
his servants, were granted in assignments; that, besides these, if they
were resolved again to compel him to give up the estates of his parents
and relations, which were granted them for their maintenance, they were
at the Company's disposal; saying, "If the Council have directed you to
attach them, do it: in the country no further sources remain. I have no
means; for I have not a subsistence.--How long shall I dwell upon my

XIV. That the truth of the said remonstrances was not disputed, nor the
_tone_ in which they were written complained of, the same being
submissive, and even abject, though the cause (his distresses) was by
the said Hastings, in a great degree, and in terms the most offensive,
attributed to the Nabob himself; but no relief was given, and the same
unwarrantable establishments, maintained at the same ruinous expense,
were kept up.

XV. That the said Warren Hastings, having considered as incendiaries
those who advised the remonstrances aforesaid, and, to prevent the same
in future, having denounced vengeance on those concerned therein, did,
for the purpose of keeping in his own power all representations of the
state of the court and country aforesaid, and to subject both the one
and the other to his own arbitrary will, and to draw to himself and to
his creatures the management of the Nabob's revenues, in defiance of the
orders of the Court of Directors, a second time recall Mr. Bristow, the
Company's Resident, from the court of Oude,--having once before recalled
him, as the said Directors express themselves, "without the shadow of a
charge being exhibited against him," and having, on the occasion and
time now stated, produced no specific charge against the said Resident;
and he, the said Hastings, did appoint Nathaniel Middleton, Esquire, to
succeed him,--it being his declared principle, that he must have a
person of _his own_ confidence in that situation.

XVI. That the said Warren Hastings, after he had refused all relief to
the distresses of the Nabob in the manner aforesaid, and had described
those who advised the representation of the grievances of Oude as
_incendiaries_, did himself, in a minute of the 21st May, 1781, describe
that province "as fallen into a state of great disorder and confusion,
and its resources in an extraordinary degree diminished,"--and did
state, that his presence in the said province was requested by the
Nabob, and that, unless some effectual measures were taken for his
relief, he [the Nabob] must be under the necessity of leaving his
country, and coming down to Calcutta, to represent the situation of his
government. And Mr. Wheler did declare that the Governor-General's
representation of the state of that province "was but too well founded,
and was convinced that it would require his utmost abilities and powers,
applied and exercised on the spot, to restore it to its former good
order and affluence."

XVII. That the said Warren Hastings, in consequence of the minute
aforesaid, did grant to himself, and did procure the consent of his only
colleague, Edward Wheler, Esquire, to a commission or delegation, with
powers "to assist the Nabob Vizier in forming such regulations as may
be necessary for the peace and good order of his government, the
improvement of his revenue, and the adjustment of the mutual concerns
subsisting between him and the Company." And in the said commission or
delegation he, the said Warren Hastings, did cause to be inserted
certain powers and provisions of a new and dangerous nature: that is to
say, reciting the business before mentioned, he did convey to himself
"such authority to enforce the same _as the Governor-General and Council
might or could exercise on occasions in which they could be warranted to
exercise the same_, and to form and conclude such several engagements or
treaties with the Nabob Vizier, the government of Berar, and with any
chiefs or powers of Hindostan, as _he_ should judge expedient and
necessary." Towards the conclusion of the act or instrument aforesaid
are the words following, viz.: "It is hereby declared, that all such
acts, and all such engagements or treaties aforesaid, shall be binding
on the Governor-General and Council in the same manner, _and as
effectually, as if they had been done and passed by the specific and
immediate concurrence and actual junction of the Governor-General and
Council, in council assembled_." And the said powers were, by the said
Warren Hastings, given by himself and the said Wheler, under the seal of
the Company, on the 3d July, 1781.

XVIII. That the said commission, delegating to him, the said Warren
Hastings, the whole functions of the Council, is destructive to the
constitution thereof, and is contrary to the Company's standing orders,
and is illegal.

XIX. That, in virtue of those powers, and the illegal delegation
aforesaid, the said Warren Hastings, after he had finished his business
at Benares, did procure a meeting with the Nabob of Oude at a place
called Chunar, upon the confines of the country of Benares, and did
there enter into a treaty, or pretended treaty, with the said Nabob; one
part of which the said Warren Hastings did pretend was drawn up from a
series of requisitions presented to him by the Nabob, but which
requisitions, or any copy thereof, or of any other material document
relative thereto, he did not at the time transmit to the
Presidency,--the said Warren Hastings informing Mr. Wheler, that the
Resident, Middleton, had taken the _authentic_ papers relative to this
transaction with him to Lucknow: and it does not appear that the said
Warren Hastings did ever reclaim the said papers, in order to record
them at the Presidency, to be transmitted to the Court of Directors, as
it was his duty to do.

XX. That the purport of certain articles of the said treaty, on the part
of the Company, was, that, in consideration of the Nabob's _inability_
(which inability the preamble of the treaty asserts to have been
"repeatedly and urgently represented") to support the expenses of the
temporary brigade, and of three regiments of cavalry, and also of the
British officers with their battalions, and of _other_ gentlemen who
were then paid by him, the several corps aforesaid, and the other
gentlemen, (with the exception of the Resident's office _then on the
Nabob's list_, and a regiment of sepoys for the Resident's guard,)
should, after a term of two and a half months, be no longer at his, the
Nabob's, charge: "the true meaning of this being, that no more troops
than one brigade, and the pay and allowances of a regiment of sepoys,"
(as aforesaid, to the Resident,) amounting in the whole to 342,000_l._ a
year, should be paid by the Nabob; and that _no officers, troops, or
others, should be put upon the Nabob's establishment_, exclusive of
those in the said treaty stipulated.

XXI. That the said Warren Hastings did defend and justify the said
articles, in which the troops aforesaid were to be removed from the
Nabob's establishment, by declaring as follows. "That the _actual_
disbursements to those troops had fallen upon _our own funds_, and that
_we_ support a body of troops, established _solely_ for the defence of
the Nabob's possessions, _at our own expense_. It is true, we charge the
Nabob with this expense; but the large balance already due from him
shows too justly the little prospect there was of disengaging ourselves
from _a burden_ which was daily adding to _our_ distresses and must soon
become _insupportable_, although it were granted that the Nabob's debt,
then suffered to accumulate, _might at some future period be
liquidated_, and that this measure would substantially effect an instant
relief to the pecuniary distresses of the Company."

XXII. That Nathaniel Middleton, the Resident, did also declare that he
would at all times testify, "that, upon the plan of the foregoing years,
the receipts from the Nabob were only _a deception_, and _not an
advantage_, but _an injury_ to the Company," and "that a remission to
the Nabob of this _insufferable burden_ was _a profit_ to the Company."
And the said Hastings did assert that the force of the Company was not
lessened by withdrawing the temporary troops; although, when it suited
the purpose of the said Hastings, in denying just relief to the
distresses of the said Nabob of Oude, he had not scrupled to assert the
direct contrary of the positions by him maintained in justification of
the treaty of Chunar,--having in his minute aforesaid, of the 15th of
December, 1779, asserted, "that these troops" (the troops maintained by
the Nabob of Oude) "had no _separate or distinct existence_, and may be
properly said to consist of our whole military establishment, with the
exception only of our European infantry, and that they could not be
_withdrawn, without imposing on the Company the additional burden of
their expense_, or disbanding nine battalions of disciplined sepoys and
three regiments of horse."

XXIII. That he, the said Warren Hastings, in justification of his
agreement to withdraw the troops aforesaid from the territories and pay
of the Nabob of Oude, did further declare, "that he had been too much
accustomed to the tales of hostile preparation and impending invasions,
against all the evidence of political probability, to regard them as any
other than phantoms raised for the purpose of perpetuating or
multiplying commands," and he did trust "all ideas of danger from the
neighboring powers were altogether visionary; and that, even if they had
been better founded, this mode of anticipating possible evils would be
more mischievous than anything they had reason to apprehend," and that
the internal state of the Nabob's dominions did not require the
continuance of the said troops; and that the Nabob, "_whose concern it
was, and not ours_" did affirm the same,--notwithstanding he, the said
Hastings, had before, in answer to the humble supplications of the
Nabob, asserted, that "_it was our part, and not his_, to judge and
determine in what manner and at what time they should be reduced or

XXIV. That the said Warren Hastings, in support of his measure of
withdrawing the said brigade and other troops, did also represent, that
"the remote stations of those troops, placing the commanding officers
beyond the notice and control of the board, afforded too much
opportunity and temptation for unwarrantable emoluments, and excited the
_contagion of peculation and rapacity throughout the whole army_, and,
as an instance thereof, that a court-martial, composed of officers of
rank and respectable characters, unanimously and honorably, 'most
honorably,' acquitted an officer upon an acknowledged fact which in
times of stricter discipline would have been deemed a crime deserving
the severest punishment."

XXV. That the said Warren Hastings, having in the letter aforesaid
contradicted all the grounds and reasons by him assigned for keeping up
the aforesaid establishment, and having declared his own conviction that
the whole was a fallacy and imposition, and a detriment to the Company
instead of a benefit, circumstances (if they are true) which he might
and ought to have well known, was guilty of an high crime and
misdemeanor in carrying on the imposture and delusion aforesaid, and in
continuing an insupportable burden and grievance upon the Nabob for
several years, without attending to his repeated supplications to be
relieved therefrom, to the utter ruin of his country, and to the
destruction of the discipline of the British troops, by diffusing among
them a general spirit of peculation; and the said Hastings hath
committed a grievous offence in upholding the same pernicious system,
until, by his own confession and declaration, in his minute of the 21st
of May, 1781, "the evils had _grown_ to so great an height, that
exertions will be required more powerful than can be made through the
delegated authority of the servants of the Company now in the province,
and that he was far from sanguine in his expectations that _even his own
endeavors would be attended with much success_."

XXVI. That, at the time of making the said treaty, and at the time when,
under color of the distress of the Nabob of Oude, and the failure of all
other means for his relief, he, the said Hastings, broke the Company's
faith with the parents of the Nabob, and first encouraged and afterwards
compelled him to despoil them of their landed estates, money, jewels,
and household goods, and while the said Nabob continued heavily in debt
to the Company, he, the said Warren Hastings, did, "_without
hesitation_," accept of and receive from the Nabob of Oude and his
ministers (who are notoriously known to be not only under his influence,
but under his absolute command) a bribe, or unlawful gift or present, of
one hundred thousand pounds sterling, and upwards. That, even if the
said pretended gift could be supposed to be voluntary, it was contrary
to the express provision of the Regulating Act of the 13th year of his
Majesty's reign, prohibiting the receipt of all presents upon any
pretence whatsoever, and contrary to his own sense of the true intent
and meaning of the said act, declared upon a similar, but not so strong
a case,--that is, where the service done, and the present offered in
return for it, had taken place before the promulgation of the above laws
in India: on that occasion he declared, "that the exclusion by an act of
Parliament _admitted of no abatement or evasion_, wherever its authority

XXVII. That the said Warren Hastings, confiding in an interest which he
supposed himself to have formed in the East India House, did endeavor to
prevail on the Court of Directors to violate the said act, and to suffer
him to appropriate the money so illegally accepted by him to his own
profit, as a reward for his services.

XXVIII. That the said Warren Hastings has since declared to the Court of
Directors, that, when _fortune threw a sum in his way_ (meaning the sum
of money above mentioned) _of a magnitude which could not be concealed,
he chose to apprise his employers of it_:[15] thereby confessing, that,
but for the magnitude of the same rendering it difficult to be
concealed, he never would have discovered it to them. And the said
unlawful present being received at the time when, for reasons directly
contradictory of all his former recorded declarations, he did agree to
remove the aforesaid troops from the Nabob's dominions, and to recall
the pensioners aforesaid, it must be presumed that he did not agree to
give the relief (which he had before so obstinately refused) upon the
grounds and motives of justice, policy, or humanity, but in
consideration of the sum of money aforesaid, which, in a time of such
extreme distress in the Nabob's affairs, could not be rationally given,
except for those and other concessions stipulated for in the said
treaty, but which had on former occasions been refused.

XXIX. That, notwithstanding his, the said Warren Hastings's, receipt of
the present of one hundred thousand pounds, as aforesaid, he did violate
every one of the stipulations in the said treaty contained, and
particularly he did continue in the country, and in the service of the
Nabob of Oude, those troops which he had so recently stipulated to
withdraw from his country and to take from his establishment: for, upon
the 24th of December following, he did order the temporary brigade,
making ten battalions of five hundred men each, to be again put on the
Vizier's list,--although he had recently informed the Court of
Directors, through Edward Wheler, Esquire, that any benefit to be
derived from the Nabob's paying that brigade was _a fallacy and a
deception_, and that the same was _a charge_ upon the Company, and not
_an alleviation of its distresses_, as well as _an insupportable burden_
to the Nabob: thus having, within a short space of time, twice
contradicted himself, both in declaration and in conduct.

XXX. That this measure, in direct violation of a treaty of not three
months' duration, was so injudicious, that, in the opinion of the
Assistant Resident, Johnson, "nothing less than blows could effect it":
he, the said Resident, further adding, "that the Nabob was not even able
to pay off the arrears still due to it [the new brigade]; and that the
troops being _all_ in arrears, and no possibility of present payment,
so large a body assembled here [viz., at Lucknow] without any means to
check and control them, nothing but disorder could follow. As one proof
that the Nabob is as badly off for funds as we are, I may inform you
that his cavalry rose this day upon him, and went all armed to the
palace, to demand from thirteen to eighteen months' arrears, and were
with great difficulty persuaded to retire, which was probably more
effected by a body of troops getting under arms to go against them than
any other consideration." But the letter of Warren Hastings, Esquire, of
the 24th of December, giving the above orders for the infraction of the
treaty, and to which the letter from whence the foregoing extracts are
taken is an answer, doth not appear, any otherwise than as the same is
recited in the said answer.

XXXI. That, notwithstanding the disorders and deficiencies in the
revenue aforesaid had continued and increased, and that three very large
balances had accumulated, the said Warren Hastings did cause the
Treasury accounts at Calcutta to be examined and scrutinized, and an
account of another arrear, composed of various articles, pretended to
have accumulated during seven years previous to the year 1779, (the
articles composing which, if they had been just, ought to have been
charged at the times they severally became due,) was sent to the
Resident, and payment thereof demanded, to the amount of 260,000_l._
sterling; which unexpected demand, in so distressed a situation, did not
a little embarrass the Nabob. But whilst he and his ministers were
examining into the said unexpected demand, another, and fifth balance,
made up of similar forgotten articles, was demanded, to the amount of
140,000_l._ sterling more. Which said two last demands did so terrify
and confound the Nabob and his ministers, that they declared that the
Resident "might at once take the country, since justice was out of the

XXXII. That the said Hastings, in order to add to the confusion,
perplexity, and distress of the Nabob's affairs, did send to his court
(in which he had already a Resident and Assistant Resident) two secret
agents, Major Palmer and Major Davy, and did instruct Major Palmer to
make a variety of new claims, one of a loan to the Company of
600,000_l._ sterling, although he well knew the Nabob was himself
heavily in arrear to the Company, and was utterly unable to discharge
the same, as well as in arrear to his own troops, and to many
individuals, and that he borrowed (when he could at all borrow) at an
interest of near thirty per cent. To this demand was added a new bribe,
or unlawful present, to himself, to the amount of 100,000_l._ sterling,
which he did not refuse as unlawful and of evil example, but as
_indelicate_ in the Nabob's present situation,--and did, as if the same
was his own property, presume to dispose of it, and to desire the
transfer of it, as of his own bounty, to the Company, his masters. To
this second demand he, the said Hastings, added a third demand of
120,000_l._ sterling, for four additional regiments on the Nabob's list,
after he had solemnly engaged to take off the ten with which it had been
burdened: the whole of the claims through his private agent aforesaid
making the sum of 820,000_l._ sterling.

XXXIII. That the demands, claims, &c., made by the said Warren Hastings
upon the government of Oude in that year amounted to the enormous sum of
2,530,000_l._ sterling; which joined to the arrears to troops, and some
internal failures, amounting to 255,000_l._ sterling more, the whole
charge arose to 2,785,000_l._ sterling, which was considerably more than
double the net produce of the Nabob's revenue,--the same only amounting
to 1,450,000_l._ "nominal revenue, never completely realized."

XXXIV. That, towards providing for these extravagant demands, he, the
said Warren Hastings, did direct and authorize another breach of the
public faith given in the treaty of Chunar. For whereas, by the second
article of the treaty aforesaid, it was left to the Nabob's discretion
whether or not he should resume the landed estates, called jaghires,
within his dominions, and notwithstanding the said Hastings, in defence
of the said article, did declare that the Nabob should be left to the
exercise of his own authority and pleasure respecting them, yet he, the
said Hastings, did authorize a violent compulsion to be used towards the
said Nabob for accomplishing an universal confiscation of that species
of landed property; and in so doing he did also compel the Nabob to
break his faith with all the landholders of that description, not only
in violating the assurance of his own original grants, but his assurance
recently given, when, being pressed by the Company, he, the Nabob, had
made a temporary seizure of the profits of the lands aforesaid, in the
manner of a compulsory loan, for the repayment of which he gave his
bonds and obligations; and although he had at the same time solemnly
pledged his faith that he never would again resort to the like
oppressive measure, yet he, the said Warren Hastings, did cause him to
be compelled to confiscate the estates of at least sixty-seven of the
principal persons of his country, comprehending therein his own nearest
relations and the ancient friends and dependants of his family: the
annual value of the said estates thus confiscated amounting to
435,000_l._ sterling, or thereabouts, upon an old valuation, but stated
by the Resident, Middleton, as being found to yield considerably more.

XXXV. That the violent and unjust measure aforesaid, subversive of
property, utterly destructive of several ancient and considerable
families, and most dishonorable to the British government, did produce
an universal discontent and the greatest confusion throughout the whole
country,--the said confiscated lands being on this occasion put to
rack-rents, and the people grievously oppressed: and to prevent a
possibility of redress, at least for a considerable time, the said
confiscated estates were mortgaged (it appearing otherwise impracticable
to make an approach towards satisfying the exorbitant demands of the
said Hastings) for a great sum to certain usurious bankers or
money-dealers at Benares.

XXXVI. That, besides these enormous demands, which were in part made for
the support of several corps of troops under British officers which by
the treaty of Chunar ought to have been removed, very large extra
charges not belonging to the military list of the said Nabob, and
several civil charges and pensions, were continued, and others newly put
on since the treaty of Chunar, namely, an allowance to Sir Eyre Coote
of 15,554 rupees per month, (being upwards of 18,664_l._ sterling a
year,) and an allowance to Trevor Wheler, Esquire, of 5,000 rupees per
month (or 6,000_l._ sterling and upwards a year); and the whole of the
settled charges, not of a military nature, to British subjects, did
amount to little less than 140,000_l._ yearly, and, if other allowances
not included in the estimate were added, would greatly exceed that sum,
besides much more which may justly be suspected to have been paid, no
part whereof had at that time been brought forward to any public

XXXVII. That the commander of one of these corps, of whose burden the
said Nabob did complain, was Lieutenant-Colonel Alexander Hannay, who
did farm the revenues of certain districts called Baraitch and
Goruckpore, which the said Hastings, in the ninth article of his
instructions to Mr. Bristow, did estimate at twenty-three lacs of
rupees, or 230,000_l._, per annum: but under his, the said Hannay's,
management, the collections did very greatly decline; complaints were
made that the countries aforesaid were harassed and oppressed, and the
same did fall into confusion, and at last the inhabitants broke out into
a general rebellion.

XXXVIII. That the far greater part of the said heavy list was authorized
or ordered by him, the said Warren Hastings, for the purpose of
extending his own corrupt influence: for it doth appear, that, at the
time when he did pretend, in conformity to the treaty of Chunar
aforesaid, to remove the Company's servants, "_civil_ and military,
from the court and service of the Vizier," he did assert that he thereby
did "diminish _his own influence_, as well as that of his colleagues, by
narrowing the line of _patronage_"; which proves that the offices,
pensions, and other emoluments aforesaid, in Oude, were of _his_
patronage, as his patronage could not be diminished by taking away the
said offices, &c., unless the same had been substantially of his gift.
And he did, at the time of the pretended reformation aforesaid, express
both his knowledge of the existence of the said excessive and abusive
establishments, and his sense of his duty in taking them away: for in
agreeing to the article in the treaty of Chunar for abolishing the said
establishments, he did declare himself "actuated solely by motives of
_justice_ to the Nabob, and a regard to _the honor of our national
character_"; and, according to his own representation, the said servants
of the Company, civil and military, "by their numbers, their influence,
and the _enormous amount_ of their salaries, pensions, and emoluments,
were an _intolerable_ burden on the revenues and authority of the
Vizier, and exposed us to _the envy and resentment of the whole
country_, by excluding the native servants and adherents of the Vizier
from the rewards of their services and attachment."

XXXIX. That the revenue of the country being anticipated, mortgaged, and
dilapidated, by the counsel, concurrence, connivance, and influence, and
often by the direct order of the said Warren Hastings, the whole civil
government, magistracy, and administration of justice gradually declined
and at length totally ceased through the whole of the vast provinces
which compose the territory of Oude, and no power was visible therein
but that of the farmers of the revenue, attended by bodies of troops to
enforce the collections; insomuch that robberies, assassinations, and
acts of every description of outrage and violence were perpetrated with
impunity,--and even in the capital city of Lucknow, the seat of the
sovereign power, there was no court of justice whatever to take
cognizance of such offences.

XL. That the said Warren Hastings, when he did interfere in the
government of Oude, was obliged by his duty to interfere for the good
purposes of government, and not merely for the purpose of extorting
money therefrom and enriching his own dependants,--which latter purpose
alone he did effect, in the manner before mentioned, but not one of the
former. For the said Hastings, having procured the extraordinary powers
given by and to himself by his delegation of the 3d of July, 1781, did
declare the same to be for the purpose, among many others, "of assisting
the Nabob Vizier in forming such regulations as may be necessary for the
peace and good order of his government and the improvement of his
revenue." And in consequence of the said powers, the said Warren
Hastings did, in the treaty of Chunar, obtain an article from the Nabob
by which the said Nabob did promise to attend to his advice in the
reformation of his civil administration; and he did give certain
instructions to the Resident, Middleton, to which he did require him to
yield _the most implicit obedience_, and did in one article thereof
direct him to urge the Nabob to endeavor gradually, if it could not be
done at once, to establish courts of _adawlut_ [justice], and that the
_darogahs_ [chief criminal magistrates], _moulavies_ [consulting or
assistant lawyers], and other officers, should be selected by the
ministers, with his, the Resident's, concurrence; and afterwards, in his
instructions to the Resident Bristow, desiring him to pursue the same
object, he declared his opinion, "that the want of such courts, and the
extreme licentiousness occasioned thereby, is one of the most
disreputable defects in his Highness the Nabob's government, and that,
while they do not exist, every man knows the hazard which he incurs in
lending his money "; but he did give him, the said Resident, no positive
instruction concerning the same, supposing the establishment of such
courts a matter of difficulty, and did therefore leave him a latitude in
his proceedings therein.

XLI. That the said Resident Bristow did, however, in conformity to the
said instructions, at last given with such latitude, endeavor to prevail
on the said minister gradually to introduce courts of justice for the
cognizance of crimes, by beginning to establish a criminal court under a
native judge, to judge according to the Mahomedan law in the city of
Lucknow. But Hyder Beg Khan, a minister of the said Warren Hastings's
nomination, and solely dependent upon him, did elude and obstruct, and
in the end totally defeat, the establishment of the same.

XLII. That the obstruction aforesaid, and the evil consequences thereof,
were duly represented to the said Hastings; and though the said Hastings
had made it the fourth article of a criminal charge against the Resident
Middleton, "that he did not report to the Governor-General, or to the
board, the progress which he had made from time to time in his endeavors
to comply with his instructions, and that, if he met with any
impediments in the execution of them, he had omitted to state those
impediments, and to apply for fresh orders upon them," yet he, the said
Hastings, did give no manner of support to the Resident Bristow against
the said Hyder Beg Khan, and did not even answer several of his letters,
the said Bristow's letters, stating the said impediments, or take any
notice of his remonstrances, but did at length revoke his own
instructions, declaring that he, the said Resident, should not presume
to act upon the same, and yet did not furnish him with any others, upon
which he might act, but did uphold the said Hyder Beg Khan in the
obstruction by him given to the performance of the first and fundamental
duty of all government,--namely, the administration of justice, and the
protection of the lives and property of the subject against wrong and

XLIII. That the said Hastings did afterwards proceed to the length of
criminating the Resident Bristow aforesaid for his endeavors to
establish the said necessary court, as an invasion of the rights of the
Nabob's government,--when, if the Nabob in his own proper person and
character, and not the aforesaid Hyder Beg, (who was a creature of the
said Hastings,) had opposed the reestablishment of justice in the said
country, it was the duty of the said Hastings to have pressed the same
upon him by every exertion of his influence. And the said Warren
Hastings, in his pretended attention to the Nabob's authority, when
exercised by his, the said Hastings's, minister, to prevent the
establishment of courts of justice for the protection of life and
property, at the same time that he did not hesitate, in the case of the
confiscation of the jaghires, and the proceedings against the mother and
grandmother of the Nabob, totally to supersede his authority, and to
force his inclinations in acts which overturned all the laws of
property, and offered violence to all the sentiments of natural
affection and duty, and accusing at the same time his instruments for
not going to the utmost lengths in the execution of his said orders, is
guilty of an high crime and misdemeanor.

XLIV. That the said Hastings did highly aggravate his offence in
discountenancing and discouraging the reestablishment of magistracy,
law, and order, in the country of Oude, inasmuch as he did in the eighth
article of his instructions to the Resident order him to exercise powers
which ought to have been exercised by lawful magistrates, and in a
manner agreeable to law. And in the said article he did state the
prevalence of rebellion in the said country of Oude,--as if rebellion
could exist in a country in which there was no magistracy, and no
protection for life or property, and in which the native authority had
no force whatever, and in which he himself states the exercise of
British authority to be an absolute usurpation; and he did accordingly
direct a rigorous prosecution against the offence of rebellion under
such circumstances, but "with a fair and impartial inquiry," when he did
not permit the establishment of those courts of justice and magistracy
by which alone rebellion could be prevented, or a fair and impartial
inquiry relative to the same could be had; and particularly he did
instruct the said Resident to obtain the Nabob's order for employing
some sure means for apprehending certain zemindars, and particularly
three, in the instruction named, whom he, the said Hastings, did cause
to be apprehended upon what he calls good information, founded upon some
facts to which he asserts he has the testimony of several witnesses,
"that they had the destruction of Colonel Hannay and the officers under
his command as their immediate object, and ultimately the extirpation of
the English influence and power throughout all the Nabob's dominions,"
and that they did still persevere in their rebellious conduct without
deviation, "though the Nabob's, and not our government, was then the
object of it"; and he did direct the said Resident, if it should appear,
"_on a fair and regular inquiry_, that their conduct towards the Nabob
had been such as it had been reported to be, to insist upon the Nabob's
punishing them with _death_, and to treat with the same rigor every
zemindar and every subject who shall be the leader in a rebellion
against his authority."

XLV. That the crime of the said Hastings, in his procedure aforesaid,
was further highly aggravated by his having received information of
several striking circumstances which strongly indicated the necessity of
a regular magistracy and a legal judicature, from the total failure of
justice, affecting not only the subjects at large, but even the reigning
family itself,--as also of the causes why no legal magistracy could
exist, and why the princes of the reigning family were not only exposed
to the attacks of assassins, but even to a want of the protection which
might be had from their servants and attendants, who were driven from
their masters for want of that maintenance which the princes, their
masters, could not procure even for themselves. And the circumstances
aforesaid were detailed to him, the said Hastings, by the Resident,
Bristow, in a letter from Lucknow, dated the 29th January, 1784, to the
Governor-General, the said Warren Hastings, and the Council of Bengal,
in the terms following.

"The frequent robberies and murders perpetrated in his Excellency's, the
Vizier's, dominions, have been _too often_ the subject of my
representations to your honorable board. From the total want of police,
hardly a day elapses but I am informed of some tragical event, whereof
the bare recital is shocking to humanity. About two months since, an
attempt was made to assassinate Rajah Ticket Roy, the acting minister's
confidential agent; but he happily escaped unhurt. Nabob Bahadur, _his
Highness's brother_, has not been so fortunate, as will appear from
translations of two of his letters to me, No. 1, which I have the honor
to inclose for your information. Although my feelings are sensibly hurt
and my compassion strongly excited by _the disgraceful and miserable
state of poverty to which his Excellency's brothers are reduced_, yet,
situated as I am, it is not in my power to interfere with effect. My
efforts on a former occasion failed of success, _and my interposition
now would only excite the resentment of the minister towards the unhappy
sufferers, in consequence of their application to me, from whom ALONE,
however, they hope for relief from their present distress_, which, their
near connection with the Vizier considered, is both shameful and
unprecedented. That no regular courts of justice have been established
in this country is particularly pointed at in my instructions, as the
most disreputable defect in his Highness's government; yet the minister
seems determined on abolishing even the shadow of so necessary an
institution. The office of Chief Justice, as held by Moulavy Morobine,
was ever nugatory, but now it is sunk into the lowest contempt. The
original establishment, inadequate as it was, is mouldering away, and
the officers now attached to it are literally starving, as no part of
their allowance has been paid for above six months past. He himself has
proposed to resign his appointment, being every way precluded from a
possibility of exercising the duties of it."

XLVI. That it appears by the said letter, and the papers therewith
transmitted, as well as other documents in the said correspondence,
that, in consequence of the distress brought upon the Nabob's finances,
certain of the princes, his brethren, the children of Sujah ul Dowlah,
the late sovereign of the country, were put upon pensions unsuitable to
their birth and rank, and by the mismanagement of the minister
aforesaid, (appointed by the said Warren Hastings,) for two years
together no considerable part of the said inadequate pension was paid;
and not being able to maintain the attendants necessary for their
protection in a city in which all magistracy and justice was abolished,
they were not only liable to suffer the greatest extremities of penury,
but their lives were exposed to the attempts of assassins: the condition
of one of the said princes, called the Nabob Bahadur, being by himself
strongly expressed in three letters to the said Resident Bristow,--the
first dated the 28th of December, 1783; the second, the 7th of January,
1784; and the third, the 15th of January, 1784,--which letters were
duly transmitted, in the dispatch of the 29th of the same month, to
Warren Hastings, Esquire, and are as follow.

"Your own servant carried you the account of what he himself was an
eye-witness to, after the affair of last night. These are the
particulars. About midnight my aunt received twelve wounds from a
ruffian, of which she died. I also received six successive stabs, which
alarmed the people of the house, who set up a shouting: whereupon the
assassin run off. Besides being _without food or the means of providing
any_, this misfortune has befallen me. _I am desirous of sending the
coffin to your door_. It is your duty, both for the sake of God and of
Christ, to execute justice, and to inquire what harm I have done to the
murderer sufficient to deserve assassination, or even injury. _You now
stand in the place of his Excellency the Vizier_. I request you will do
me justice. What more can I say?

"P.S. I am also desirous to show you my wounds."

       *       *       *       *       *

_From the same, 29th [7th?] January, 1784._

"You have been duly informed of all the circumstances relative both to
the murder of the innocent, and of my being wounded, as well by my
former letter, as by the messenger whom you sent to inquire into the
state of my health; and I have every reason to hope, from your known
kindness, that you will not be deficient in seeking out the assassin. _I
am at this moment overwhelmed in misfortune. Whilst the blood is flowing
from my wounds, neither I nor my children nor my servants have
wherewithal to procure subsistence_; nor have I it in my power either to
purchase remedies or to reward the physician: _it is for the sake of
God alone that he attends me_. Thus loaded with calamity upon calamity,
I am unable to support life; for I find no relief from any affliction
either day or night. Do you now stand in the place of my father; grant
me fresh life by speedy acts of benevolence.

"For these two last years his Excellency established a pension for me of
twenty thousand rupees; but I never received the full amount of it,
either last year or the year before. Should it, however, be paid me,
though inadequate to my desires, I shall still be enabled to support
myself. From the beginning of this year to the present time I have not
received a farthing, nor do I expect any; though, if you afford
protection to the oppressed, all my wishes will be accomplished. I was
desirous of waiting on you with my family, that you might be an
eye-witness to their condition; but I was advised not to stir out on
account of my wounds. What more can I say?"

       *       *       *       *       *

_The following Extracts are made from the Third Letter from the same
Prince, dated January 15, 1784._

"The particulars of the late and unforeseen misfortune with which I have
been overwhelmed are not unknown unto you,--that the innocent blood of
my aunt, _the prop and ruler of my family_, was shed, and in the same
manner I, too, was wounded. Until now I feel the pain and affliction of
my wounds; _and no person has regarded my solicitations for redress,
sought after the assassin, and brought him to condign punishment,
yourself excepted_."--"In like manner as the Honorable Governor-General
has adopted my brother Saadut Ali Khan for his son and relieved him from
the vexation, affliction, and dependence of this place, would it be
extraordinary that you also should, in your bounty and favor, consent to
adopt me, who do not possess the necessaries of life, and permit me to
attend you to whatever part of the world you may travel, whereby I shall
at all times derive honor and advantage? Formerly us three brothers,
Saadut Ali, Mirza Jungly, and I, the poor and oppressed, were, in the
presence of our blessed father, whose soul rests in heaven, treated
alike. Now the ministers of this government put me upon a footing with
our younger brothers, who have lately left the zenanah, and whose
expenses are small. On this scale, which is in every respect
insufficient for my maintenance, they pay _the pitiful allowance only
when it is their pleasure to do it_. My situation has for years past
been increasing in wretchedness to a degree that _I am in want of daily
bread, and my servants and animals are dying of hunger. My distresses
are so great that I have not been able to pay a daum to the surgeons for
the cure of my wounds; and they, too, are discouraged from affording me
their assistance or furnishing me with medicines_. How, then, is it
possible for me to exist? Considering you as my patron, participating in
my afflictions, I have represented the circumstances concerning my
situation; and I hope, from your friendship, that you will honor me with
a favorable answer."

XLVII. The Resident, Bristow, did also receive a strong application from
three others of the brethren of the reigning sovereign, called Mirza
Hyder Ali, Mirza Ennayut Ali, and Mirza Syef Ali, representing their
very pitiable case, in a letter of the 9th of March, 1783, in which,
among other particulars, are contained the following.

"Our situation is not fit to be represented. _For two years we have not
received a hubba_ on account of our tuncaw [assignment on the revenue],
though the ministers have annually charged a lac of rupees, and never
paid us anything. _After all, we are the sons of Sujah ul Dowlah!_ It is
surprising, having such a friend as you, our situation is arrived at
that pass that we should be in distress for _dry bread and clothes_.
Whereas you have done many generous acts, be pleased so to show us your
favor, that by some means we may receive our allowances from the
Company's treasury, and not be obliged to depend upon and solicit others
for it."

XLVIII. That one of the princes aforesaid, called the Mirza Jungly,
about the beginning of the year 1783, was obliged to fly from the
dominions of the Nabob of Oude, and to leave his country and
connections; and as the Resident, Bristow, writing from Lucknow, hath
observed, "he went to try his fortune at other courts, in preference to
starving at home, which might have been his fate, by all accounts, at
this place." And the said prince sought for succor at the court of one
of the neighboring Mahomedan princes; but conceiving some disgust at the
treatment he met with there, he departed from thence, and on the 8th of
February, 1783, arrived at the Mahratta camp, while David Anderson,
Esquire, was there in the character of Minister Plenipotentiary to the
Company, with a view, if his reception there should not prove answerable
to his wishes, to pass on to the southward. And the said Anderson,
probably considering this event as of very great importance to the honor
of the British government, as well as to its interest, on the one hand,
by exhibiting the son and brother of a sovereign prince, from whom the
Company had received many millions of money, a fugitive from his
country, and a wanderer for bread through the courts of India, and, on
the other, the consequences which might arise from the Mahrattas having
in their possession and under their influence a son of the late Nabob of
Oude, did without delay advise Warren Hastings, Esquire, of the event
aforesaid; and he did also write to Mr. Bristow, the Resident at the
court of the Nabob Vizier, several letters, of the 9th and 20th of
February, and of the 6th of March and 6th of April, 1783, in order that
some steps should be taken for his return and establishment in his own
country. And the said Anderson did inform the Resident, Bristow, in his
letter aforesaid, that, on the arrival of the fugitive prince, brother
of the reigning sovereign of Oude, at the Mahratta camp, he did cause
his tent to be pitched close to that of Mr. Anderson; but finding this
not agreeable to the Mahratta general, Sindia, he afterwards removed:
and that he showed a strong attachment to the English, and was inclined
to throw himself upon their generosity; that he was desirous of going to
Calcutta, and declared, that, if he, the said Anderson, "would give him
the smallest encouragement, he would quit all his followers, and come
alone, and would take up his residence under his protection." And the
said Anderson did declare, that he thought it "would be policy, and much
to the credit of our government, that some provision should be made for
Mirza Jungly in our territories."

XLIX. That the said Bristow did represent the aforesaid circumstances to
Hyder Beg Khan, minister to the Nabob of Oude, declaring it his
opinion, "that his Highness's brother's thus taking refuge with a
foreign prince is a reflection upon the Vizier, and it would be
advisable that an allowance should be granted to him upon the footing of
his brothers, that he might remain in the presence." But the Nabob was
induced to refuse to his brother any offer of any allowance beyond the
two hundred pounds per month, allowed, but not paid, to his other
brothers,--and which the said prince did observe to Mr. Anderson, "that
it was not only inadequate to his expenses, but infinitely less" (as the
truth was) "than what his Excellency has settled on many persons of
inferior rank, who have not so good a claim to his support; and that it
would not be sufficient to enable him to live at Lucknow, where all his
friends and relations were, and so many of his inferiors lived in a
state of affluence." In case, therefore, it could not be increased, he
requested leave to live in the Company's provinces, or at Calcutta; for
that in any of these situations "he could with less difficulty regulate
his expenses." And he did declare, that, if his request was granted to
him, he would immediately quit all his prospects with Sindia. To these
propositions he received a very discouraging answer from his brother's
minister, containing a positive and final refusal of any increase of
allowance, obtaining only the Nabob's permission to retire into the
Company's provinces. But Mr. Anderson did not think himself authorized
to take any steps for the prince's retreat into the said province
without Sindia's concurrence, who, he observed, would use every art to
detain him, and accordingly did offer him the command of a battalion of
infantry to be paid directly from his own treasury, and six thousand
pounds sterling a year for keeping up a corps of horse, and to settle
upon him a landed estate of four thousand pounds a year as a provision
for his wife and children: which honorable offers it appears he did
accept, and did and doth remain in the Mahratta service.

L. That, during the whole course of this transaction, the said Warren
Hastings was duly advised thereof, first by a very early letter from the
said Anderson, and afterwards by the Resident, Bristow, who, on the 23d
of April, 1783, transmitted to him his whole correspondence with Mr.
Anderson. But what answer or instructions the said Warren Hastings did
give to Mr. Anderson does not appear, he not having recorded anything
upon that subject; but it appears that to the Resident, Bristow, who
required to be informed whether the reception of the fugitive prince
aforesaid in the Company's provinces would meet his approbation, he gave
no answer whatsoever: by which criminal neglect, or worse, with regard
to a brother of an ally of the Company, who showed a strong attachment
and preference to the English nation, and by suffering him, without any
known effort to prevent it, to attach himself to the cause and fortunes
of the Mahrattas, who, he, the said Hastings, well knew, did keep up
claims upon several parts of the dominions of Oude, and had with
difficulty been persuaded to include the Nabob in the treaty of peace,
he, having suffered him first to languish at home in poverty, and then
to fly abroad for subsistence, and afterwards taking no step and
countenancing no negotiations for his return from his dangerous place of
refuge, at the same time that several of his, the said Hastings's,
creatures had each of them allowances much more considerable than would
have sufficed for the satisfaction and comfort of him, the said fugitive
prince, was guilty of a high crime and misdemeanor.

LI. That the indigent condition before related of the other brothers of
the Nabob was also duly transmitted to the said Warren Hastings; but he
did never order or direct any steps whatsoever to be taken towards the
relief of the family of a reigning prince, who were daily in danger of
perishing by famine through the effect of his measures, and those of a
person whom he supported in power against the will and inclinations of
the said prince and his family.

LII. That the foregoing instances of the penury, distress, dispersion,
and exile of the reigning family, as well as the general disorder in all
the affairs of Oude, did strongly enforce the necessity of a proper use
of the British influence (the only real government then existing) in the
province aforesaid for a regulation of the economy of the Vizier's
court, as well as for the proper administration of the public concerns,
civil and military, which were in the greatest disorder; and the said
Warren Hastings was under obligation to provide for the same, and did
himself understand it to be his duty so to do, and that he was therein
warranted by the spirit of the treaty of Chunar, as well as by other
universal powers of control, and even of supersession, supposed by him
to exist in the relation between the British government and that of
Oude; and accordingly he did, in his instructions to the Resident
Middleton, to which he required his most implicit obedience, direct him
to an interference in and control upon all the affairs concerning the
revenues, the military arrangements, and all the other branches of the
Nabob's government.

LIII. That, upon his recall of the said Middleton, he, in his
instructions to the Resident Bristow, dated 23d of October, 1781
[1782?], did at large set forth the situation of the court and
government of Oude, the situation and character of the Nabob, of the
acting minister, and of the British Resident at that court, and did
plainly, distinctly, and without reserve, describe the extent of the
authority to be exercised by the last of these persons, as well as the
unqualified compliance to be expected from the two former. And he did
accordingly declare, that, "_from the nature of our connection with the
government of Oude_, and from the Nabob's incapacity, _a necessity will
forever exist_, while we have the claim of a subsidy upon the resources
of his country, of exercising an influence, and frequently substituting
it _ENTIRELY in the place of an avowed and constitutional authority, in
the administration of his [the Nabob's] government_"; and he did further
in the said instructions, namely, in instruction the fourth, direct the
said Resident in the words following: "I must have recourse to you for
the introduction of a _new_ system in that government; nor can I omit,
whilst I express my reliance on you for that purpose, to repeat the
sentiments which I expressed in the verbal instructions which I gave you
at your departure, _that there can be no medium in the relation between
the Resident and the minister, but either the Resident must be the slave
and vassal of the minister, or the minister at the absolute disposal of
the Resident_." And he, the said Hastings, did state, in the same
article of the instructions aforesaid, that, though the conduct of the
said Hyder Beg Khan had been highly reprehensible, and that he was much
displeased thereat, he would prefer him to any other, on account of his
ability and knowledge of business, with the following proviso,--"If he
would submit to hold his office on such conditions as I require. He
exists by his dependence on the influence of our government. It must be
advisable to try him by the mode of conciliation; at the same time that
in your _final conversation with him_ it will be necessary to declare to
him, _in the plainest terms_, the footing and condition on which he
shall be _permitted_ to retain his place, with the alternative of a
dismission, and a scrutiny into his conduct, if he refuses it. In the
first place, I will not receive from the Nabob, _as his_, letters
dictated by _the spirit of opposition_; but shall consider every such
attempt _as an insult on our government_. In the second place, I shall
expect that _nothing_ is done in his official character but with your
knowledge and participation."

LIV. That the said Hastings having described, in the manner aforesaid,
the relative situation of the Resident and the minister, he did state
also the relative situation of the said minister and his master, the
Nabob, declaring, "that the minister did hold _without control_ the
unparticipated and entire administration, with all the powers annexed to
that government,--_the Nabob being, as he ever must be in the hands of
some person, a mere cipher in his_" (the minister's). And having thus
stated the subordination of the minister to the Resident, and the
subordination of the Nabob to the minister, he did naturally declare,
"that the first share of the responsibility would rest upon the said
Resident" And he did further declare, "that the other conditions did
follow distinctly in their places, because he did _consider the Resident
as responsible for them_."

LV. That, for the direction of the Resident in the exercise of so
critical a trust, wherein all the true and substantial powers of
government were in an inverted relation and proportion to the official
and ostensible authorities, and in which the said Hastings did suppose
the necessity constantly existing for exercising an influence, and
frequently for substituting _entirely_ the British authority "in the
place of the avowed and constitutional government," he, the said
Hastings, did properly leave to the Resident a discretionary power for
his deviation from any part of his instructions,--interposing a caution
for his security and direction, that, as much as he could, he would
leave the subject free for his, the said Hastings's, correction of it,
and would instantly inform him or the board, according to the degree of
its importance, with his reasons for it.

LVI. That, besides the institution of the courts of justice, as before
recited, four other principal objects in the reformation of the affairs
of Oude were expressly recommended to the Residents Middleton and
Bristow, and must be understood to be the conditions upon which the said
Hastings must have meant to have it understood that the acting minister
of Oude was to hold his employment: namely, the limitation of the
Nabob's personal expenses; the reduction of the Nabob's troops in
number, and the change in arrangement; the appointment of proper
collectors for the revenues; and the appointment of proper officers for
all parts of the executive administration.

LVII. That the first object, namely, that of the limitation of the
Nabob's personal expenses, and separating them from the public
establishments, he, the said Hastings, did state as the first and
fundamental part of his regulation, and that upon which all the others
would depend,--and did declare, "that, in order to prevent the Vizier's
alliance from being a clog instead of an aid to the Company, _the most
essential_ part is to _limit_ and _separate_ his personal disbursements
from the public accounts: _they must not exceed_ what he has received in
any of the last three years." And as to the public treasury and
disbursements, he, the said Hastings, did, in the said instructions,
wholly withdraw them from the personal management or interference of the
Nabob, and did expressly order and direct "that they should be under the
_sole_ management of the ministers, with the Resident's concurrence."
And on the appointment of the Resident Bristow, in October, 1782, he,
the said Hastings, did order and direct him in every point of the
instructions to Middleton not revoked or qualified by his then
instructions, to which he did require his, the said Resident Bristow's,
"most attentive and literal obedience."

LVIII. That the said Resident Bristow did, in consequence of the renewal
to him of the said instructions as aforesaid, endeavor to limit and put
in order the Nabob's expenses; but he was in that particular traversed
and counteracted, and in the end wholly defeated, by the minister, Hyder
Beg Khan. And though the obstructions aforesaid, agreeably to the
instructions given to Middleton, and to him, the said Bristow, were
represented to the said Warren Hastings by the Resident aforesaid, yet
the said Warren Hastings did give no kind of support to the said
Resident, or take any steps towards enabling him, the said Resident, to
effectuate the said necessary limitation and distribution of expenses,
by himself, the said Hastings, ordered and prescribed; nor, if he
disapproved the proceedings of the said Resident, did he give him any
instruction for the forbearance of the same, or for the exerting his
duty in any other mode; nor did he call for any illustration from him of
anything doubtful in his correspondence, nor state to him any complaint
made privately of his conduct, in order to receive thereon an
explanation; but he did leave him to pursue at his discretion the
extensive powers before described, to effect the reformation which he
was directed to accomplish, under the responsibility denounced to him as
aforesaid, if he should fail therein, as he was supposed to be
substantially invested with all the powers of government.

LIX. That, instead of the said support or instruction, he, the said
Hastings, did countenance, or more probably cause or direct, a
representation to be made to him by the acting minister of the Nabob of
Oude, complaining grievously of the proceedings of the Resident
aforesaid, as usurpations on the Nabob's authority and indignities on
his person. And although he, the said Hastings, did instruct the
Resident, Bristow, to inform the said Hyder Beg Khan that he would not
receive from the Nabob, as _his_, letters directed by the spirit of
opposition, but should consider every such attempt as his, the
minister's, as an insult on our government, yet he did receive as _his_
the Nabob's own letters, and as written from the impressions on his own
mind, and as the suggestions of his own judgment, letters to the same
effect as those written by the minister, although he had declared upon
record that the said "Nabob was a mere cipher in his, the said
minister's, hands," and "that he had dared to use both the Nabob's name,
and even his seal, affixed to letters either directed to the Nabob or
written as from him without his knowledge," and although he did assert
or record as aforesaid, that, in a letter which he had lately received
from the Nabob, the minister had the presumption to make the Nabob
declare that which was _true_ to be _false_, and that "his _making use_
of the Nabob in such a manner did show how thin the veil was by which
_he_ covered _his own acts_, and that such artifices would only tend to
make them the more criminal from _the falsehood and duplicity with which
they were associated_."

LX. That the said Hastings did act upon the letters pretended to be
written by the Nabob, as well as on those actually written by the
minister, without previously communicating the matter of the said
complaint to the said Resident, and did give credit to the same, and
coming, as aforesaid, from a person by himself, the said Hastings,
charged with artifice, falsehood, and duplicity, and with abusing to his
own evil purposes the name and seal of his master without his knowledge,
and without any previous inquiry into the facts and circumstances; and
did thereon ground an accusation against the said Resident, Bristow,
before the board at Calcutta, in which he did represent the conduct of
the said Bristow, in attempting to limit the household expenses of the
Nabob, as an indignity "which no man living, however mean his rank in
life, or dependent his condition in it, would permit to be exercised by
any other, but with the want or forfeiture of every manly principle."
And he did further accuse the said Bristow for that, in his proceedings
in the regulation of the Nabob's household, "he should receive to
himself, or Mr. Cowper for him, or a treasurer for both, (for the
arrangement has never been well defined,) the money assigned for the
support of the Nabob's household,--issue it as he pleased, not to the
Nabob, but to the menial officers of his household,--dispose of his
superfluous horses, and other cattle,--determine how many elephants were
necessary to the state of the Vizier of the Empire, the number of
domestics for his attendance, and pry into the kitchen for the purpose
of ascertaining the quantity of victuals which ought to be dressed in
it,--control the accounts of these disbursements,--and appropriate to
his own use (for that the consequence was inevitable, if he chose it)
the residue produced by those economical retrenchments."

LXI. That the said charge is malicious and insidious; because the
attempt to introduce proper officers for the management of household
expenses so considerable that the said Hastings has stated the allotment
for the same at three hundred thousand pounds sterling yearly, and that
other accounts have carried it to four hundred thousand pounds sterling
and upwards, and to keep proper and regular accounts thereof, was a
necessary regulation, and agreeable to the dignity of the Nabob, and by
no means a degradation either of his person or authority, which was
specially provided for in the regulations, as no expense could be
incurred but by his own personal warrant under his sign manual; nor doth
there appear therein anything but what is of absolute necessity to
prevent embezzlement to his prejudice. And the said Hastings hath
declared, in the fifth article of the instructions to the said Resident,
that _no_ administration can be properly conducted without regular
offices; and that in the whole province of Oude "there was _not one_,
the _whole_ being engrossed by the minister": of which minister, in the
fourteenth article, he declares his suspicion that the Nabob did not
receive the whole and punctual payment of the sum assigned for the
purpose of the household, but that some part had been by him withheld
from the Nabob; and that, from private information he had lately
received, he had reason to believe that this was actually the case. And
the said Hastings well knew that the Nabob's household had been ill
conducted, that the allowances of his servants had not been paid, that
his distress was scandalous, and that his nearest relations were in a
famishing condition; and the said Hastings did also well know that the
household of the Nabob was provided for or neglected, not at his own
discretion, but at that of the said Hyder Beg Khan; and he did, in the
fourteenth article aforesaid, instruct the Resident, Bristow, to show
every ostensible and external mark of respect to the Nabob, in order to
induce him to become himself the mover of every act necessary for the
advancing of his own interests and the discharge of his debts to the
Company,--declaring, "that they never could be effected while the
minister retained that ascendency over him which he at present holds by
the means of a nearer and more private intercourse, and by affecting to
be the mediator of his rights against the claims of our government." And
the said Hastings did further well know that there was no way of
ascertaining the payment of the assignments for the Nabob's household,
either for the general purposes of their destination or to the
particular objects to which they ought to be applied, without regular
offices of receipt and of account, which might prevent the said
minister, Hyder Beg Khan, or the British Resident, or any other, from
embezzling or misapplying the same. But the total want of offices
aforesaid in every department of government did furnish occasion of
concealing all frauds, clandestine presents, or pensions to a
Governor-General, Commander-in-Chief, or other servant of the Company.

LXII. That the said Warren Hastings, who did pretend so deep a concern
for the indignities supposed to be suffered by the Nabob merely in the
limitation and regulation of unnecessary expenses relative to his
kitchen, domestics, &c., did show no attention or compassion to the said
Nabob, when, in the year 1779, the said Nabob represented, that the
pensions of his old servants for thirty years, the expenses of his
family and kitchen, together with the jaghires of his grandmother,
mother, and aunts, and of his brothers and dependants, given for their
support, were not _regulated_, but _stopped_.

LXIII. That the other articles of regulation, namely, the reform of the
troops in number and in arrangement, the appointment of proper
collectors for the revenues, and the general constitution of offices for
the executive administration, were in like manner totally defeated by
the said Hyder Beg Khan. And the said Hastings did receive a charge from
him, and did adopt it as his own, representing the endeavors of the
Resident to act in the regulations aforesaid agreeably to the spirit of
his instructions, and in confidence of the powers vested in and the
responsibility imposed upon him, the said Resident, as usurpations of
the authority and prerogative of the Nabob; and he, the said Hastings,
did make criminal charges thereon against the said Resident, Bristow, of
which charges the Council Board did, on hearing the same, and the
defence of the said Bristow, fully acquit him.

LXIV. That the said Hastings, by abetting Hyder Beg Khan, a person
described by him as aforesaid, in his opposition to all the plans of
necessary reformation proposed by the said Hastings himself, and having
suggested no other whatever in lieu thereof, to answer the purposes for
which he had stipulated in the treaty of Chunar the interference of the
Resident in every branch of the Nabob's government, did thereby
frustrate every one of the good ends proposed by him in the said treaty
of Chunar, and did grossly abuse his trust in giving the exorbitant
powers before recited, and asserting them to exist in the British
Resident, without suffering them even in appearance to answer any of the
proper and justifiable ends for which any power or influence can or
ought to exist in any government.

LXV. That there is just ground to violently presume that not only the
letters in the name of the Nabob aforesaid were dictated to him by his
minister, Hyder Beg Khan, in whose hands the said Hastings has described
his master to be "a mere cipher," &c., but which Hyder Beg was the known
instrument of the said Hastings, but that the conduct and letters of
complaint of the said Hyder Beg were in effect and substance prescribed
and dictated to him by the said Warren Hastings, or his secret agent,
Palmer, by his direction: because it is notorious that the powers of the
said Hyder Beg were solely supported by him, the said Hastings, who,
according to the state of favor or displeasure in which he stood, hath
frequently promised him support or threatened him with dismission and
punishment, and therefore it is not to be thought that he would take so
material a step as to oppose the Company's Resident, acting under the
instructions of the Governor-General and Council, and to accuse him with
so much confidence, and in a manner so different from the usual style of
supplication on all other occasions employed by that court, if he had
not been previously well assured that his writing in that manner would
be pleasing to the person upon whom he solely depended for his power,
his fortune, and perhaps for his life;--secondly, because, when it
suited the purposes of the said Hastings on a former occasion, that is,
in the year 1784 [1781?], to remove the Resident Bristow aforesaid from
his office, a letter from the Nabob was laid before the Council Board at
Calcutta, proposing, that, in order to prevent the effects of the said
Bristow's application to Europe for redress, the said Hastings should
send him drafts of letters which he, the said Nabob, would write in his
own name and character to the King, to his Majesty's ministers, and to
the Court of Directors, expressing himself, in the letter aforesaid, in
the words following, viz., "To prevent his [Bristow's] applying to
Europe, send me, if _you_ think proper, the drafts of letters which _I_
may write to the King, the Vizier, and the chiefs of the
Company";--thirdly, that, though the said Hastings, and his secret
agent, Palmer, did pretend and positively assert that they had no share
in the letters aforesaid from the Nabob and his minister, there was an
original note to the Nabob's letters of accusation, referring to
distinct parts and specified numbers of the agent Palmer's secret
correspondence with the said Warren Hastings, and the said letter, with
the said reference, was, through inadvertence, laid before the board.

LXVI. That the said Warren Hastings, having thrown the government of
Oude into great confusion and distress, and thereby prevented the
discharge of the debt, or pretended debt, to the Company, did, by all
the said intrigues, machinations, and charges, aim at the filling the
said office of Resident at Oude with his own dependants or by himself
personally; as it appears that he did first propose to place in the said
office his secret agent, Palmer, and that afterwards, when he was not
able to succeed therein, he did propose nominally to abolish the said
office, but in effect to fill it by himself,--proposing to the Council
and rendering himself responsible (but not in fortune) for the payment
of the Company's debt within a certain given time, if he were permitted
and commissioned by the Council to act for the board in that province,
and did inform them that he was privately well assured that in a few
days he should receive an invitation to that effect; and he did state,
(as in the year 1781 he had stated as a reason for his former
delegation,) "that the state of the country was so disordered in its
revenue and administration, and the credit and influence of the Nabob
himself so much shook by _the late usurpation_ of his authority, and the
contests which attended it, as to require the accession of an
extraneous aid to restore the powers and to reanimate the constitution
of his government,"--although he, the said Hastings, did for a long time
before attribute the weakness of his government to an extraneous
interference. And the said Council, on his engagement aforesaid, did
consent thereto; and he did accordingly receive a commission, enabling
him to act in the affairs of Oude, not only as the Resident might have
done, but as largely as the Council-General might legally delegate their
own powers.

LXVII. That the said Warren Hastings, in accepting the said commission,
did subject his character and the reputation of his office to great
imputations and suspicions, by taking upon himself an inferior office,
out of which another had upon his intrigues been removed by a perpetual
obstruction which rendered it impossible for him to perform his duty or
to obey his instructions; and he did increase the said grounded
suspicions by exercising that office in a government from whence it was
notorious he had himself received an unlawful gift and present from the
ministers, and in which he had notoriously suffered many, and had
himself actually directed some, acts of peculation, by granting various
pensions and emoluments, to the prejudice of the revenue of a distressed
country, which he was not authorized to grant.

LXVIII. That the said Warren Hastings did proceed unto the said province
of Oude under color of providing a remedy for the disorders described to
be existing in the same, and for the recovery of the Company's
pretended debt. And the said Warren Hastings, who had thought fit to
recall the Company's Resident, appointed to that office by the Court of
Directors, and to suspend his office, did, notwithstanding, of his own
choice and selection, and on his own mere authority, take with him in
his progress a large retinue, "and a numerous society of English
gentlemen to compose his family," which he represents as necessary,
although, in a letter from that very place to which he took that very
numerous society, he informs the Court of Directors "that his own
consequence and that of the nation he represents are independent of
show." And after his arrival there, he, the said Warren Hastings, did
write from Lucknow, the capital of that province, a letter, dated the
30th of April, 1784, to the Court of Directors, in which are several
particulars to the following purport or tenor, and which he points out
to the Directors "to be circumstances of no trivial information,"
namely,--"that he had found that the lands in that province, as well as
in some parts more immediately under the Company, have suffered in a
grievous manner, being completely exhausted of their natural moisture by
the total failure of one entire season of the periodical rains," with a
few exceptions, which were produced only "by the uncommon labor of the
husbandman." And in a letter to Edward Wheler, Esquire, a member of the
Council-General, from Benares, the 20th of September, 1784, he says,
that "_the public revenues_ had declined with the failure of the
cultivation _in three successive years_; and all the stores of grain
which the _providence_ of the husbandmen, (as he was informed is their
_custom_,) in defiance of the _vigilance_ of the aumils [collectors],
_clandestinely reserved for their own use_, were of course exhausted,
in which state no person would accept of the charge of the collections
on a positive engagement; nor did the rain fall till the 10th of July."
And in another letter, dated from Benares, the 1st of October following,
he repeats the same accounts, and that the "country could not bear
further additions of expense: that it had _no inlets of trade_ to supply
the issues that were made from it" (the exceptions stated there being
inconsiderable); "therefore _every rupee_ which is drawn into your
treasury [the Company's] from its circulation will accelerate the period
at which its ability must cease _to pay even the stipulated subsidy_."
Notwithstanding this state of the country, of which he was well apprised
before he left Calcutta, and the poverty and distress of the prince
having been frequently, but in vain, represented to him, in order to
induce him to forbear his oppressive exactions, he did, in order to
furnish the Council with a color for permitting him to recall the
Company's Resident, and to exercise the whole powers of the Company in
his own person, without any check whatsoever, or witness of his
proceedings, except the persons of his own private choice, make the
express and positive engagement aforesaid, which, if understood of a
real and substantial discharge of debt for the relief of the total of
the Company's finances, was grossly fallacious: because at the very time
he must have been perfectly sensible, that, in the then state of the
revenues and country of Oude, (which are in effect the Company's
revenues and the Company's country,) the debt or pretended debt
aforesaid, asserted to be about five hundred thousand pounds, or
thereabouts, could not be paid without contracting another debt at an
usurious interest, without encroaching on the necessary establishments
or on private property or on the pay of the army, or without grievous
oppression of the country, or all these together. And it doth appear
that one hundred thousand pounds towards the said payment of debts was
borrowed at Calcutta by the Nabob's agent there, but at what interest is
not known; it appears also that other sums were borrowed for arrear of
the interest, on which forty thousand pounds sterling appears in the
Company's claims for the current year, and that various deductions were
made from the jaghires restored to the Begums, as well as other parts of
the Nabob's family; and it did and doth appear that an arrear is still
due to the old and new brigade,--but whether the same be growing or not
doth not appear: yet he hath not hesitated to assert that he had
"provided for the _complete_ discharge, in _one_ year, of a debt
contracted by _the accumulation of many_, and from a country whose
resources have been wasted and dissipated by three successive years of
drought and one of anarchy." But the said Hastings never did even
realize the payments to be made in the first year, (as he confesses in
the said letter,) except by an anticipation of the second; and though he
states in his letter aforesaid the following facts and engagements, that
is to say, "_that a recovery of so large a part of your property_ [the
Company's] will afford a seasonable and substantial relief to the
necessities of your government, and enable it (for such is my confident
hope) _to begin on the reduction of your debt at interest_ before the
conclusion of this year (I mean the year of this computation)." Whereas
the said Warren Hastings did apply the whole produce of the revenue to
the mere pay of some part of the British army in Oude; and did not
mention in his correspondence that he had remitted any money whatsoever
to Calcutta, nor to any other place, (except the fifty thousand pounds
taken from Almas Ali Khan, and said to be remitted to Surat,) for the
said "substantial relief," in consequence of the said pretended
"recovery of property,"--admitting that it had been suggested to him,
and not by him denied, that he had "disappointed the popular expectation
by not adopting the policy which he had, _on the conception of better
grounds_, rejected; nor did he begin the reduction of the interest debt"
at the time stated, nor at any time; but the whole (he well knowing the
state of the country from whence the resources aforesaid were by him
promised) was a premeditated deceit and imposition on the Board of
Council, his colleagues, and on the Court of Directors, his masters.

LXIX. That no traces of regulation appear to have been adopted by the
said Warren Hastings during his residence at Lucknow, in conformity to
the spirit and intentions of the treaty of Chunar, or of his
instructions to Middleton and Bristow, or of the proposed objects of his
own commission. But he did, in lieu thereof, pretend to free the Nabob's
government from the interference of the Company's servants, and the
usurpation (as he called it) of a Resident, and thereby to restore it to
its proper tone and energy; whereas the measures he took were such as to
leave no useful or responsible superintendence in the British, and no
freedom in the Nabob's government: for he did confirm the sole,
unparticipated, and entire administration, with all the powers annexed
to the government, on the minister, Hyder Beg Khan, to whom he
_prevailed_ on the Nabob Vizier to commit the entire charge of his
revenues, although he knew that his master was a cipher in his
hands,--that he "had affixed his seal to letters written without his
knowledge, and such as evidently tended to promote Hyder Beg Khan's
influence and interest,"--that his said master did not consider him as a
minister of his choice, but as an instrument of his degradation,--that
"he exists as a minister by his dependence on the Calcutta government,
and that the Nabob himself had no other opinion of him,--that it is by
its _declared_ and most _obvious_ support _alone_ that he could maintain
his authority and influence." And in his instructions to his secret
agent, Major Palmer, dated 6th of May, 1782, to ease his mind and remove
his jealousy with regard to British interference, he did instruct him,
"that much delicacy and caution will be required in your declarations on
this subject, lest they should be construed to extend to an immediate
change in the administration of his affairs, or the instruments of it.
Their persons must be considered as _sacred, while_ they act with the
_participation of our influence_. This distinction the Nabob
_understands_; nor will it be either necessary or proper to allude to
it, unless he himself should first introduce the subject." And the said
Hastings did assume, as to a dependant of the lowest order, to prescribe
to him the conditions on which he is to hold his place,--to threaten him
with scrutinies into his conduct, with dismission, with
punishment,--that he was guilty of falsehood and duplicity, and that he
had made his master assert what was true to be false,--that he suspected
he had withheld from his master what he ought to have paid to him,--that
the event of his having _prevailed_ on the Nabob to intrust him as
aforesaid was, according to his, the said Hastings's, own letter,
written to the said Hyder Beg Khan himself, "an accumulation of
distress, debasement, and dissatisfaction to the Nabob, and of
disappointment and disgrace to me. Every measure which he had himself
proposed, and to which he had solicited my assistance, has been so
conducted as to give him cause of displeasure; there are no officers
established by which his affairs could be regularly conducted; mean,
incapable, and indigent man have been appointed aumils of the districts,
without authority, and without the means of personal protection; some of
them have been murdered by the zemindars, and those zemindars, instead
of punishment, have been permitted to retain their zemindaries with
independent authority; all the other zemindars suffered to rise up in
rebellion, and to insult the authority of the sircar, without any
attempt made to suppress them; and the Company's debt, instead of being
discharged by the assignments, and extraordinary sources of money
provided for that purpose, is likely to exceed even the amount at which
it stood at the time in which the arrangement with his Excellency was
concluded. _The growth of these evils was early made known to me, and
their effects foreboded in the same order and manner as they have since
come to pass._ In such a state of calamity and disgrace, I can no longer
remain a passive spectator; nor would it be becoming to conceal my
sentiments, or qualify the expression of them. I now plainly tell you,
that you are answerable for every misfortune and defect of the Nabob
Vizier's government." And after giving orders, and expressing some hopes
of better behavior, he adds, "If I am disappointed, you will impose on
me the painful and humiliating necessity of acknowledging to him that I
have been deceived, and of recommending the examination of your conduct
to his justice, both for the redress of his own and the Company's
grievances, and for the injury sustained by both in their mutual
connection. _Do not reply to me_, that what I have written is from the
suggestion of your enemies; nor imagine that I have induced myself to
write in such plain and declaratory terms, without a clear insight into
all the consequences of it, and a fixed determination upon them."

LXX. That the aforesaid being the tenure of the power of the said
minister, and such his character, as given by the said Warren Hastings
himself, who did originally compel the Nabob to receive him, who did
constantly support him against the Nabob, his master, as well as against
the Company's Resident,--the delivering over to such a person his
master, his family, his country, and the care of the British interests
therein, without control or public inspection, was an high crime and

LXXI. That the next person whom the said Hastings did invest with power
in the said country was a certain opulent and powerful native manager of
revenue, called Almas Ali Khan, closely connected with the said Hyder
Beg Khan, and to whom the said Hyder Beg Khan, as the said Hastings has
admitted, "had intrusted the _greatest_ part of his revenues, without
any pledge or security for his fidelity." And afterwards the said
Hastings charges the said Almas Ali with an intention of removing from
the Nabob's dominions: he states, "as taking with him," and therefore
being possessed of, "an immense treasure, the fruits of his
embezzlements and oppressions, and an army raised for its protection."

LXXII. That the said Warren Hastings was, or pretended to be, impressed
with the evil character, dangerous designs, and immoderate power of the
said Almas Ali; that he did insert among his instructions to the
Resident Bristow an order of a dangerous and unwarrantable nature, in
which, upon his, the said Hastings's, simple allegation of offences, not
accurately described or specified, with regard either to the fact, the
nature of the offence, or the proof, he was required to urge the Nabob
to put him to death, with many qualifications in the said instructions,
full of fraud and duplicity, calculated to insnare the said Resident
Bristow, and to throw upon him the responsibility of the conduct of the
said Almas Ali Khan, if he should continue at large contrary to his
orders, or to subject him, the said Resident, to the shame and scandal
of apprehending and putting him to death by means which, in the
circumstances, must necessarily be such as would be construed into
treachery, and he, the said Almas Ali Khan, being from nature and
situation suspicious and watchful, and being at that very time in the
collection, or farmer of the most important part of the revenues, with
an extensive jurisdiction annexed, and at the head of fourteen thousand
of his own troops, and having been recently accepted by the Resident
Middleton as security for large sums of money advanced by the bankers of
Benares to the use of the East India Company; which orders (if the said
Resident would or could have executed them) must have raised an
universal alarm among all the considerable men of the country concerned
in the government, and would have been a means of subverting the public
credit of the Company, by the murder of a person engaged for very great
sums of money that had been advanced for their use. And the said
instruction is as followeth.

"If any engagement shall actually subsist between them at the time you
have charge of the Residency, it must, however exceptionable, be
faithfully observed; but if he has been guilty of any criminal offence
to the Nabob, his master, for which no immunity is provided in the
engagement, or he shall break any one of the conditions of it, I do most
strictly enjoin you, and it must be your special care to endeavor,
_either by force or surprise_, to secure his person and bring him to
justice. By bringing him to justice I mean, that you urge the Nabob, on
due conviction, _to punish him with death_, as a necessary example to
deter others from the commission of the like crimes; nor must you desist
till this is effected. I cannot prescribe the means; but to guard myself
against the obloquy to which I may be exposed by a forced
misconstruction of this order by those who may hereafter be employed in
searching our records for cavils and informations against me, I think it
proper to forbid and protest against the use of any _fraudulent artifice
or treachery to accomplish the end which I have prescribed_; and as you
alone are privy to the order, you will of course observe the greatest
secrecy, that it may not transpire: but I repeat my recommendation of
it, as one of the first and most essential duties of your office."

LXXIII. That, among the reasons assigned for putting to death the said
Almas Ali, which the said Hastings did recommend directly and repeatedly
to the Resident, "as one of the first and most essential duties of his
office," was, in substance, "that, by his extensive trust with regard to
the revenues, he had been permitted to acquire independency; that the
means thereof had been long seen and the effects thereof foretold by
every person acquainted with the state of government, except those
immediately interested in it"; and he, the said Warren Hastings, did
also charge the said Almas Ali with embezzlement of the revenues and
oppression of the people; and nothing appears to disprove the same, but
much to give ground to a presumption that the said Almas Ali did
grievously abuse the power committed to him, as farmer and collector of
the revenue, to the great oppression of the inhabitants of the countries
which had been rented to him by Hyder Beg Khan with the knowledge and
consent of the said Warren Hastings.

LXXIV. That the Resident, Bristow, declining the violent attempt on the
life of Almas Ali deceitfully ordered by the said Warren Hastings, did,
on weighty reasons, drawn from the spirit of the said Hastings's own
instructions, recommend that his, the said Almas Ali Khan's, farms of
revenue, or a great part of them, should be, on the expiration of his
lease, taken out of his hands, as being too extensive, and supplying the
means of a dangerous power in the country; but yet he, the said Warren
Hastings, did not only continue him in the possession of the said
revenues, but did give to him a new lease thereof for the term of five
years. And on this renovation and increase of trust, the said Warren
Hastings did not consent to produce the informer upon whose credit he
had made his charge of capital crimes on the said Almas Ali, and had
directed him to be put to death, or call upon him to make good his
charges; but, instead of this, totally changing his relation to the said
Almas Ali, did himself labor to procure from all parts attestations to
prove him not guilty of the perfidy and disloyalty of which the said
Hastings himself appears to have been to that very time his sole
accuser, as he hath since been his most anxious advocate: but though he
did use many endeavors to acquit Almas Ali of his intended flight, yet
concerning his embezzlements and oppressions, the most important of all
charges relative to that of the revenue and collection, he, the said
Hastings, hath made no inquiry whatever; by which it might appear that
he was not as fully guilty thereof as he had always represented him to
be. But some time after he, the said Warren Hastings, had arrived at
Lucknow, in the year 1784, he suggested to the said Almas Ali Khan the
_advance_ to the Company's use of a sum of money amounting to fifty
thousand pounds or thereabouts; and the said suggested advance was (as
the said Warren Hastings asserts, no witness or document of the
transaction appearing) "cheerfully and without hesitation complied with,
considering it as an _evidence seasonably_ offered for the general
refutation of the charges of perfidy and disloyalty": which practice of
charging wealthy persons with treason and disloyalty, and afterwards
acquitting them on the payment of a sum of money, is highly scandalous
to the honor, justice, and government of Great Britain; and the offence
is highly aggravated by the said Hastings's declaration to the Court of
Directors that the charges against Almas Ali Khan have been too
laboriously urged against him, and carried at one time to such an excess
as had nearly driven him to abandon his country "_for the preservation
of his life and honor_," and thus to give a "color to the charges
themselves," when he, the said Warren Hastings, did well know that he
himself did consider as a crime, and did make it an article in a formal
accusation against the Resident Middleton, that he did not inform him,
the said Hastings, of the supposed treasons of Almas Ali Khan, and of
his design to abandon the country, when he himself did most laboriously
urge the charges against him, and when no attempt appears to have been
made against the life of the said Almas Ali Khan except by the said
Warren Hastings himself.

LXXV. That the sum of fifty thousand pounds sterling, or thereabouts,
publicly taken by the said Warren Hastings, as an _advance_ for the use
of the Company, if given as a consideration or fine, on account of the
renewal for a long term of civil authority and military command, and the
collection of the revenues to an immense amount, the same being at least
eight hundred thousand pounds sterling yearly, was so totally inadequate
to the interest granted, that it may justly be presumed it was not on
that, or on any public ground or condition, that the said Hastings did
delegate, out of all reach of resumption or correction, a lease of
boundless power and enormous profit, for so long a term, to a known
oppressor of the country.

LXXVI. That Warren Hastings, being at Lucknow in consequence of his
deputation aforesaid, did, in his letter from that city, dated 30th of
April, 1784, recommend to the Court of Directors, "as his _last and
ultimate hope_, that their wisdom would put a _final_ period to _the
ruinous and disreputable system_ of interference, whether _avowed or
secret_, in the affairs of the Nabob of Oude, and withdraw _forever the
influence_ by which it is maintained," and that they ought to confine
their views to the sole maintenance of the old brigade stationed in Oude
by virtue of the first treaty with the reigning Nabob, expressing
himself in the following words to the Court of Directors. "If you
transgress that line, you may extend _the distribution of patronage, and
add to the fortunes of individuals_, and to the nominal riches of Great
Britain; but your _own_ interests will suffer by it; and _the ruin of a
great and once flourishing nation will he recorded as the work of your
administration, with an everlasting reproach to the British name_. To
this reasoning I shall join _the obligations of justice and good faith,
which cut off every pretext for your exercising any power or authority
in this country, as long as the sovereign of it fulfils the engagements
he has articled with you_."

LXXVII. That it appears by the extraordinary recommendation aforesaid,
asserted by him, the said Hastings, to be enforced by the
"_obligations of justice and good faith_," that the said Warren
Hastings, at the time of writing the said letter, had made an
agreement to withdraw the British interference, represented by him as
a "ruinous and disreputable system," out of the dominions of the Nabob
of Oude. But the instrument itself, in which the said agreement is
made, (if at all existing,) does not appear; nor hath the said
Hastings transmitted any documents relative to the said treaty, which
is a neglect highly criminal,--especially as he has informed the
Company, in his letter from Benares, "that he has promised the Nabob
that he will not abandon him to the _chance_ of any other mode of
relation, and most confidently given him assurance of _the
ratification and confirmation_ of that which he [the said Hastings]
had established between his government and the Company": the said
_confident assurance_ being given to an agreement never produced, and
made without any sort of authority from the Court of Directors,--an
agreement precluding, on the one hand, the operation of the discretion
of his masters in the conduct of their affairs, or, on the other,
subjecting them to the hazard of an imputation on their faith, by
breaking an engagement confidently made in their name, though without
their consent, by the first officer of their government.

That the said Hastings, further to preclude the operation of such
discretionary conduct in the administration of this kingdom as
circumstances might call for, has informed the Directors that he has
gone so far as even to condition the existence of the revenue itself
with the exclusion of the Company, his masters, from all interference
whatsoever: for in his letter to Mr. Wheler, dated Benares, 20th
September, 1784, are the following words. "The aumils [collectors]
demanded that a clause should be inserted in their engagements, that
they were to be in full force for the complete term of their leases,
_provided that no foreign authority_ was exercised over them,--or, in
other words, _that their engagements were to cease whenever they should
be interrupted in their functions by the interference of an English
agent_. This requisition was officially notified to me by the acting
minister, and referred to me in form by the Nabob Vizier, for my
_previous_ consent to it. I encouraged it, and I gave my consent to
it." And the said Hastings has been guilty of the high presumption to
inform his said masters, that he has taken that course to compel them
not to violate the assurances given by him in their name: "There is one
condition" (namely, the above condition) "which _essentially connects
the confirmation of the settlement itself with the interests of the

LXXVIII. That the said Warren Hastings, who did show an indecent
distrust of the Company's faith, did endeavor, before that time, at
other times, namely, in his instructions to his secret agent, Major
Palmer, dated the 6th of May, 1782, to limit the confidence to be
reposed in the British government to the duration of his own power, in
the following words in the fifth article. "It is very much my desire to
impress the Nabob with a _thorough_ confidence in the faith and justice
of our government,--that is to say, _in my own_, while I am at the head
of it: I cannot be answerable for the acts of others independent of me."

LXXIX. That the said Warren Hastings did, in his letter, dated Benares,
the 1st of October, 1784, to the Court of Directors, write, "that, if
they [the Directors] manifested no _symptoms_ of an (1.) _intended_
interference, the objects of his engagements will be obtained; (2.) but
if a different policy shall be adopted,--if new agents are sent into the
country, and armed with authority for the purposes of vengeance or
corruption (_for to no other will they be applied_),--if new demands are
made on the Nabob Vizier, (4.) and accounts overcharged on one side,
with a wide latitude taken on the other, to swell his debt beyond the
means of payment,--(5.) if political dangers are portended, to ground on
them the plea of burdening his country with unnecessary defences and
enormous subsidies,--(6.) or if, even abstaining from _direct
encroachment on the Nabob's rights_, your government shall show but _a
degree of personal kindness to the partisans_ of the late usurpation, or
by any constructive indication of partiality and dissatisfaction
_furnish_ grounds for the _expectation_ of an _approaching_ change of
system,--I am sorry to say, that all my labors will prove abortive."

LXXX. That all the measures deprecated in future by the said Warren
Hastings, with a reference to former conduct, in his several letters
aforesaid, being (so far as the same are intelligible) six in number,
have been all of them the proper acts and measures of the said Warren
Hastings himself. For he did himself first of all introduce, and did
afterwards continue and support, that interference which he now informs
the Court of Directors "is ruinous and disreputable, and which the very
_symptoms_ of an _intention_ to renew" he considers in the highest
degree dangerous; he did direct, with a controlling and absolute
authority, in every department of government, and in every district in
the dominions of the Nabob of Oude. Secondly, the appointment of agents,
which was eminently the act of his own administration: he not only
retaining many agents in the country of Oude, both "_secret and
avowed_," but also sending some of them, in defiance to the orders of
that very Court of Directors, to whom, in his said letter of the 1st of
October, 1784, he assigns "vengeance and corruption" as the only motives
that can produce such appointments. Thirdly, that he, the said Warren
Hastings, did instruct one of the said agents, and did charge him upon
pain of "_a dreadful responsibility_," to perform sundry acts of
violence against persons of the highest distinction and nearest relation
to the prince; which acts were justly liable to the imputation of
"_vengeance_" in the execution, and which he, in his reply to the
defence of Middleton to one of his charges, did declare to be liable to
the suspicion of "_corruption_ in the relaxation." Fourthly, that he did
raise new demands on the Vizier, "and overcharge accounts on one side
and take a wide latitude on the other," by sending up a new and before
unheard-of overcharge of four hundred thousand pounds and upwards, not
made by the Resident or admitted by the Vizier, and, by adding the same,
did swell his debt "beyond the means of payment"; and did even insert,
as the ninth article of his charge against Middleton, "his omitting to
take any notice of the additional balance of Rupees 26,48,571, stated by
the Accountant-General to be due from the Vizier on the 30th of April,
1780," to which he did add fourteen lac more, making together the above
sum. Fifthly, that he, the said Warren Hastings, did assign "political
dangers," in his minute of the 13th December, 1779, for burdening the
said Nabob of Oude "with unnecessary defences and enormous subsidies,"
with regard to which he then declared, that "it was _our_ part, not
_his_ [the Nabob's], to judge and to determine." And, sixthly, that he
did not only show the _design_, but the _fact_, of personal kindness to
the partisans of what he here calls, as well as in another letter, and
in one Minute of Consultation, a "late usurpation,"--he having rewarded
the principal and most obnoxious of the instruments of the said late
usurpation, (if such it was,) Richard Johnson, Esquire, with an
honorable and profitable embassy to the court of the Nizam.

LXXXI. That the said Warren Hastings, therefore,--by assuming an
authority which he himself did consider as an _usurpation_, and by acts
in virtue of that usurped authority, done in his own proper person and
by agents appointed by himself, and proceeding (though with some
mitigation, for which one of them was by him censured and accused) under
his own express and positive orders and instructions, and thereby
establishing, as he himself observed, "a system of interference,
disreputable and ruinous, which could only be subservient to promote
patronage, private interest, private embezzlement, corruption, and
vengeance," to the public detriment of the Company, "and to the ruin of
a once flourishing nation, and eternally reproachful to the British
name," and for the evil effects of which system, "as his sole and
ultimate hope" and remedy, he recommends an entire abdication, forever,
not only of all power and authority, but even of the interference and
influence of Great Britain,--is guilty of an high crime and misdemeanor.

LXXXII. That the said Warren Hastings, in his letter from Chunar of the
29th of November, 1781, has represented that very influence and
interference, which in three public papers he denominates "_a late
usurpation_" as being authorized by a regular treaty and agreement,
voluntarily made with the Nabob himself, at a place called Chunar, on
the 19th of September, 1781, a copy of which hath been transmitted to
the Court of Directors,--and that three persons were present at the
execution of the same, two whereof were Middleton and Johnson, his
agents and Residents at Oude, the third the minister of the Nabob. And
he did, in his paper written to the Council-General, and transmitted to
the Court of Directors, not only declare that the said interference was
agreed to by the said Nabob, and sealed with his seal, but would be
highly beneficial to him: assuring the said Council, "that, if the
Resident performed his duty in the execution of his [the said
Hastings's] instructions, the Nabob's part of the engagement will prove
of still greater benefit to him than to our government, in whose behalf
it was exacted; and that the _participation_ which is allowed our
Resident in the _inspection_ of the public treasure will secure the
receipt of the Company's demands, whilst _the influence which our
government will ALWAYS possess over the public minister of the Nabob,
and the authority of our own_, will be an effectual means of securing an
attentive and faithful discharge of their several trusts, both towards
the Company and the Vizier."

LXXXIII. And the said Warren Hastings did not only settle a plan, of
which the agency and interference aforesaid was a part, and assert the
beneficial consequences thereof, but did also record, that the same "was
a great public measure, constituted on a large and _established system_,
and destructive, in its instant effects, of the interest and fortune of
many patronized individuals"; and in consequence of the said treaty, he,
the said Warren Hastings, did authorize and positively require his agent
aforesaid to interfere in and control and regulate _all the Nabob's
affairs whatsoever_: and the said Warren Hastings having made for the
Company, and in its name, an acquisition of power and authority, even if
it had been abused by others, he ought to have remedied the abuse, and
brought the guilty to condign punishment, instead of making another
treaty without their approbation, consent, or knowledge, and to this
time not communicated to them, by which it appears he has annulled the
former treaty, and the authority thereby acquired to the Company, as a
grievance and usurpation, to which, from the general corruption of their
service, no other remedy could be applied than a formal renunciation of
their power and influence: for which said actings and doings the said
Warren Hastings is guilty of an high crime and misdemeanor.

LXXXIV. That the Company's army in India is an object requiring the most
vigilant and constant inspection, both to the happiness of the natives,
the security of the British power, and to its own obedience and
discipline, and does require that inspection in proportion as it is
removed from the principal seat of government; and the number and
discipline of the troops kept up by the native princes, along with
British troops, is also of great moment and importance to the same ends.
That Warren Hastings, Esquire, pretending to pursue the same, did, in
virtue of an authority acquired by the treaty of Chunar aforesaid, give
strict orders, and to which he did demand _a most implicit obedience_,
that _all_ officers of the Nabob's army should be appointed "with _the
concurrence of the Resident_," and supposing the case that persons of
obnoxious description or of known disaffection to the British government
should be appointed, (of which he left the Resident to be the judge,)
he did direct in the following words: "You are in such case to
remonstrate against it; and if the Vizier should persist in his choice,
you are peremptorily, _and in my name_, to oppose it as _a breach of his
agreement_"; and he did also direct that the "_mootiana_ [or soldiers
employed for the collection of revenue] should be reformed, and reduced
into one corps for the whole service, and that _no_ infantry should be
left in the Nabob's service but what may be necessary for his
bodyguard"; and he did further order and direct as follows: "That in
quelling disturbances the commander of the forces should assist you [the
said Resident] on the requisition of the Vizier communicated through you
to him [the said commander], _or at your own tingle application_. It is
directed that the regiment ordered for the immediate protection of your
office and person at Lucknow shall be relieved every three months, and
during its stay there shall act solely and exclusively under your
orders." And it appears in the course of the Company's correspondence,
that the country troops under the Nabob's sole direction would be
ill-disciplined and unserviceable, if not worse, and therefore the said
Warren Hastings did order that "no infantry should be kept in his
service"; yet it appears that the said Warren Hastings did make an
arrangement for a body of native troops wholly out of the control or
inspection of the British government, and left a written order in the
hands of Major Palmer (one of _his_ agents, who had been continued
there, though the Company was not permitted to employ any) to be
transmitted to Colonel Cumming as soon as an adequate force shall be
provided _for the defence of the Nabob's frontier_ by detachments from
_the Nabob's own battalions_,--the said Colonel Cumming's forces, whom
the others were to supersede and replace, consisting wholly of infantry,
and which, being intended for the same service, were probably of the
same constitution.

LXXXV. That the old brigade of British troops, which by treaty was to
remain, had been directed, by the instructions of the said Hastings to
the Resident Middleton and to the Resident Bristow, "not to be employed
at the requisition of the Vizier any otherwise than through the
Resident"; and the said direction was properly given,--it not being fit
that British troops should be under the sole direction of foreign
independent princes, or of any other than the British government: yet,
notwithstanding the proper and necessary direction aforesaid, he, the
said Warren Hastings, hath left the said troops, by his new treaty,
without any local control, or even inspection, notwithstanding his
powers under the treaty of Chunar, and his own repeated orders, and
notwithstanding the mischiefs and dangers which the said Warren Hastings
did foresee would result therefrom, if left under the sole direction of
the Nabob, and their own discretion, the said Hastings having stipulated
with the said Nabob not to exercise any authority, or even influence,
_secret_ or _avowed_, within his dominions.

LXXXVI. That the crime of the said Warren Hastings, in attempting thus
to abandon the British army to the sole discretion of the Nabob of Oude,
is exceedingly aggravated by the description given by him severally of
the said Nabob of Oude, and of the British army stationed for the
defence of his dominions. In his letters to the Court of Directors, and
in his Minutes of Consultation, and particularly in his letter of ----,
immediately on the accession of the Nabob, he did inform the said Court,
"that the Nabob had not, by all accounts, the qualities of the head or
heart which fitted him for that office, though there was no dispute
concerning his right to succeed"; and some years afterwards, when his
accounts must have been rendered more certain, he did, in his Minute of
Consultation of the 15th of December, 1779, (regularly transmitted to
the Court of Directors,) upon a discussion for withdrawing certain
troops kept up in the Nabob's country without his consent, by him, the
said Warren Hastings, strongly urge as follows,--"the _necessity_ of
maintaining the influence and force which we possess in the country;
that the disorders of his state [the Nabob of Oude's state] and
dissipation of his revenues are the effects of his own conduct, which
has failed, not so much from the usual effects of _incapacity_ as from
the detestable choice he has made of the ministers of his power and the
participation of his confidence. I forbear to expatiate further on his
character; it is sufficient that I am understood by the members of this
board, who must know the truth of my allusions. Mr. Francis" (a member
of the board) "surely was not aware of the injury he did me [Warren
Hastings] by attributing to the spirit of party the character I gave
Asoph ul Dowlah [the Nabob of Oude]; he himself knows it _to be true;
and it is one of those notorieties which supersede the necessity of any
evidence. I was forced to the allusion I made by the imputation cast on
this government, as having caused the evils which prevail in the
government of the Nabob of Oude, which I could only answer by ascribing
them to their true cause, the character and conduct of the Nabob of
Oude."_ And the Resident (appointed by the said Hastings, against the
orders of the Court of Directors, as his particular confidential
representative, one whom the said Nabob did himself request might be
continued with him _by an engagement in writing forever_) did some time
before, that is, on the 3d of January, 1779, assure the said Hastings
and the Council-General, that "such is his Excellency's [the Nabob of
Oude's] disposition, and so entirely has he lost the confidence and
affections of his subjects, that, unless some restraint is imposed on
him which would effectually secure those who live under the protection
of his government from violence and oppression, I am but too well
convinced that no man of reputation or property will long continue in
these provinces"; and that the said Resident proceeds to an instance of
oppression and rapine, "out of _many_ of the Nabob's, which has caused a
total disaffection and want of confidence among his subjects: he hoped
the board would take it into their humane consideration, and interpose
their _influence_, and prevent an act which would inevitably bring
disgrace upon himself, and a proportionable degree of discredit on the
national character of the English, which I consider to be more or less
concerned in every act of his administration."

LXXXVII. That no exception was ever taken by the said Warren Hastings to
the truth of the facts, or to the justness of the observation of the
said Resident, which he did transmit to the Court of Directors. And the
said Warren Hastings, in his letter from Chunar, dated the 29th of
November, 1781, speaking of the restraints which had been put by him,
the said Hastings, on the Nabob, relative to his own _mootiana_, or
forces for collection and police, and the necessity of giving the
Resident a control in the nomination of the officers of his army, has
asserted, "that the necessity of the reservation arose from a too well
known defect in the Nabob's character: if this _check_ be withdrawn, and
the choice left absolutely to the Nabob, the first commands in his army
will be filled with the most worthless and abandoned of his subjects:
his late commander-in-chief is a signal and scandalous instance of

LXXXVIII. And the said Warren Hastings, in his letter to the Court of
Directors, dated Benares, the 15th of October, 1784, even after he had
made the aforesaid renunciation of the Company's authority and influence
to the Nabob, did write, "that the Nabob, though most gentle in his
manners, and endued with an understanding much above the common level,
has been _unfortunately bred up in habits_ that draw his attention too
much from his own affairs, and often subject him to the guidance of
_insidious and unworthy confidants_"; which, though more decently
expressed with regard to the Nabob than in his former minutes,
substantially agrees with them. And the said Warren Hastings did inform
the Court of Directors, after he had solemnly covenanted to withdraw all
the Company's influence on the assurances and promises of a person so by
himself described, that, for reasons grounded on his knowledge of the
imbecility of the character of the Nabob, he waited in a frontier town,
"that he might be at hand to counteract any attempt to defeat the effect
of his proceedings at Lucknow"; and in his letter to Mr. Wheler from the
same place he did write in the following words: "I am still near enough
to attend to the first effects of the execution, and to interfere with
my influence for the removal of any obstructions to which they are or
may be liable." He therefore found that there was none or but an
insufficient security to the effect of his treaty, but in his own direct
personal violation of it. What otherwise was wanting in the security for
the Nabob's engagements was to be supplied as follows: "The most
respectable persons of his family will be employed to counteract every
other which may tend to warp him from it; and I am sorry to say _that
such assistance was wanting_." And in another letter, "that he had equal
ground to expect every degree of support which could be given it by _the
first characters of his family_, who are warmly and zealously interested
in it": the principal male character of the family, and of the most
influence in that family, being Salar Jung, uncle to the Nabob; and the
first female characters of the family being the mother and grandmother
of the reigning sovereign: all of whom, male and female, he, the said
Warren Hastings, in sundry letters of his own, in the transmission of
various official documents, and even in affidavits studiously collected
and sworn before Sir Elijah Impey during his short residence at Lucknow
and Benares, did himself represent as persons entirely disaffected to
the English power in India,--as having been principal promoters, if not
original contrivers, of a general rebellion and revolt for the utter
extirpation of the English nation,--and as such, he, the said Warren
Hastings, did compel the Nabob reluctantly to take from them their
landed estates; and yet the said Warren Hastings has had the presumption
to attempt to impose on the East India Company by pretending to place
his reliance on those three persons for a settlement favorable to the
Company's interests, on his renunciation of all their own power,
authority, and influence, and on his leaving their army to the sole and
uncontrolled discretion of a stranger, meriting in his opinion the
description given by him as aforesaid, as well as by him frequently
asserted to be politically incapable of supporting his own power without
the aid of the forces of the Company. And the offence of the said Warren
Hastings, in abandoning a considerable part of the British army in the
manner aforesaid, is much increased by the description which he has
himself given of the state of the said army, and particularly of that
part thereof which is stationed in the Nabob of Oude's dominions: for he
did himself, on the 29th of November, 1781, transmit the information
following, on that subject, to the Court of Directors, namely,--"that
the remote stations of those troops, placing the commanding officers
beyond the notice and control of the board [the Council-General] at
Calcutta, afforded too much of opportunity and temptation for
unwarrantable _emoluments, and excited the contagion of peculation and
rapacity throughout the whole army_. A most remarkable instance and
uncontrovertible proof of the prevalence of this spirit has been seen in
the court-martial upon Captain Erskine, where the court, composed of
officers of rank, and respectable characters, unanimously and honorably,
(_most_ honorably,) upon an acknowledged fact, acquitted him, which in
times of stricter discipline would have been deemed a crime deserving
the severest punishment." From which representation (if the said Warren
Hastings did not falsely and unjustly accuse and slander the Company's
service) it appeared that the peculation which infected the whole army,
derived from the taint which it had in Oude, and so fatal to the
discipline of the troops, would be dangerously increased by his treaty
and agreement aforesaid with the Nabob, and by his own said evil counsel
to the Court of Directors.

LXXXIX. That it appears, after the said Warren Hastings had, on grounds
so disgraceful to the British nation and government, agreed to remove
forever the British influence and interference from the government of
Oude, on account of the disorders in the said government, solely
produced by his own criminal acts and criminal connivances, that he did
overturn his own settlement as soon as he had made it, and did, after he
had abolished the Company's Residency, as a grievance, wholly violate
his own solemn agreement: for he did, for his private purposes, continue
therein his own private agent, Major Palmer, with a number of officers
and pensioners, at a charge to the revenues of the country greatly
exceeding that of the establishment under Mr. Bristow, which he did
represent as frightfully enormous, and which he pretended to remove: the
former amounting to 112,950_l._, the latter only to 64,202_l._

XC. That his own secret agent, Major Palmer, did receive a salary or
allowance, equal to 22,800_l._ a year, out of the distressed province
of Oude; and this the said Palmer did declare not to be more than he
absolutely did really and _bona fide_ spend, and that he had
retrenched considerably "in some of the articles since the expense has
been borne by the Vizier, and in every particular he made as little
parade and appearance as his station would admit,"--his station being
that of the said Warren Hastings's private agent. But if the said
large salary must be considered as merely equal to the expenses, large
secret emoluments must be presumed to attend it, in order to make it a
place advantageous to the holder thereof. That the said Palmer did
apply to the board at Calcutta for a new authority to continue the
said establishments,--he conceiving their continuance, "after the
period of the Governor-General's departure, depended upon the pleasure
of the board, and not upon the _authority of the Governor-General,
under the sanction of which they were established or confirmed_."

XCI. That the said Warren Hastings, in order to ruin the Resident
Bristow, and to justify himself for his former proceedings respecting
him, did bring before the board a new charge against him, for having
paid a large establishment of offices and pensions to the Company's
servants from the revenues of Oude; and the said Bristow, in making his
defence against the charge aforesaid, did plead, that he had found all
the allowances on his list established before his last appointment to
the Residency,--that they had grown to that excess in the interval
between his first removal by the said Warren Hastings and his
reappointment; and having adduced many reasons to make it highly
probable that the said Hastings was perfectly well acquainted with it,
and did approve of the expensive establishments which he, the said
Bristow, simply had paid, but not imposed, he did allege, besides the
official assurances of his predecessor, Middleton, certain facts, as
amounting to a direct proof that the Governor-General, Warren Hastings,
was not averse to the Vizier's granting large salaries to more than one
European gentleman. And the first instance was to Mr. Thomas, a surgeon,
who, exclusive of his pay from the Company, which was 1,440_l._ a year,
claimed from the Vizier, with Mr. Hastings's knowledge, the sum of
9,763_l._ a year, and upwards, making together 11,203_l._ per annum. The
next was Mr. Trevor Wheler, who did receive, upon the same
establishment, when he was Fourth Assistant at Oude, 6,000_l._ a year;
and which last fact the said Hastings has admitted upon record "that the
accusations of Mr. Bristow and Mr. Cowper did _oblige_ and _compel_ him
to acknowledge,"--denying, at the same time, that the allowances of the
Residents Middleton and Bristow, except in this single instance, were
ever authorized by him; whereas his own agent, Palmer, did, in his
letter of the 27th of March, 1785, represent, that the said salaries and
allowances (if not more and larger) were by him authorized or confirmed.

XCII. That the aforesaid Bristow did also produce the following letter
in proof that Mr. Hastings knew and approved of large salaries to
British subjects upon the revenues of Oude, and which he did declare
that nothing but the necessity of self-defence could have induced him to


"Sir Eyre Coote has some field-allowances to receive from the Vizier;
they amount to Sicca Rupees 15,554 per month, and he has been paid up by
the Vizier to the 20th of August, 1782. The Governor has directed me to
write to you, to request you to receive what is due from the Vizier
from the 20th August last, at the rate of Lucknow Sicca Rupees 15,664
per month, and send me a bill for the amount, the receipt of which I
will acknowledge in the capacity of Sir Eyre Coote's attorney; and the
Governor desires that you will continue to receive Sir Eyre Coote's
field-allowances at the same rate, and remit the money to me as it comes

     (Signed)                 "CHARLES CROFTES.

  "CALCUTTA, January 25, 1783."

XCIII. That Sir Eyre Coote aforesaid was at the time of the said
field-allowances not serving in the country of Oude, on which the said
allowances were charged, but in the Carnatic.

XCIV. That, from the declaration of the said Hastings himself, that it
was the conviction of Mr. Bristow and Mr. Cowper that could alone
_oblige_ and _compel_ him to _acknowledge_ certain of his aforesaid
practices, and that nothing _but the necessity of self-defence_ could
have induced Mr. Bristow to make public another and much stronger
instance of the same, it is to be violently presumed, that, where these
two, or either, or both necessities did not exist, many evil and
oppressive practices of the said Hastings do remain undiscovered,--that,
if it had not been for the contests between him, the said Hastings, and
the Resident Bristow, not only the before-mentioned particulars, but the
whole of the expensive civil establishments for English servants at
Oude, would have been forever concealed from the Directors and from
Parliament: and yet the said Hastings has had the audacity to pretend so
complete an ignorance of the facts, that, representing the Vizier as
objecting to the largeness of the payments made by Bristow, and stating
a very reduced list, which he was willing to allow for, amounting to
30,000_l._ a year, the said Hastings did affect to be alarmed at the
magnitude even of the list so curtailed, expressing himself as follows,
in his minute of the 7th of December, 1784: "For my own part, when the
Vizier's minister first informed me that the amount which his master had
authorized, and was willing to admit, for the charges of the Residency,
and the allowances of the gentlemen at Lucknow, was 25,000 rupees per
month, I own I was startled at the magnitude of the sum, and was some
days hesitating in my mind whether I could with propriety admit of it":
whereas he well knew that the three sums alone of which the necessities
aforesaid had compelled the discovery did greatly exceed that sum of
which at the first hearing he affects to have been so exceedingly
alarmed and thrown into a state of hesitation which continued for some
days, and although he, the said Hastings, was conscious that he had at
the very time authorized an establishment to more than four times the
amount thereof.

XCV. That, in the said deceits, prevarications, contradictions,
malicious accusations, fraudulent concealments, and compelled
discoveries, as well as in the said secret, corrupt, and prodigal
disposition of the revenues of Oude, as well as in his breach of faith
to the Nabob, in continuing expensive establishments under a private
agent of his own after he had agreed to remove the Company's agent, the
said Warren Hastings is guilty of an high offence and misdemeanor.


I. That it was the declared policy of the Company, on the acquisition of
the dewanny of Bengal, to continue the country government, under the
inspection of the Resident at the Nabob's durbar in the first instance,
and that of the President and Council in the last; and for that purpose
they did stipulate to assign, for the support of the dignity of the
Nabob, an annual allowance from the revenues, equal to four hundred
thousand pounds a year.

II. That, during the country government, the principal active person in
the administration of affairs, for rank, and for reputation of probity,
and of knowledge in the revenues and the laws, was Mahomed Reza Khan,
who, besides large landed property, was possessed of offices whose
emoluments amounted nearly, if not altogether, to one hundred thousand
pounds a year.

IV.[16] That the Company's servants, in the beginning, were not
conversant in the affairs of the revenue, and stood in need of natives
of integrity and experience to act in the management thereof. On that
ground, as well as in regard to the rank which Mahomed Reza Khan held in
the country, and the confidence of the people in him, they, the
President and Council, did inform the Court of Directors, in their
letter of the 30th of September, 1765, that, "as Mahomed Reza Khan's
short administration was irreproachable, they determined to continue him
in a share of the authority"; and this information was not given
lightly, but was founded upon an inquiry into his conduct, and a minute
examination of charges made against him by his rivals in the Nabob's
court,--they having insinuated to the Nabob that a design was formed for
deposing him, and placing Mahomed Reza on his throne; but, on
examination, the President and Council declare, that "he had so openly
and candidly accounted _for every rupee_ disbursed from the treasury,
that they could not, without injury to his character, and injustice to
his conduct during his short administration, refuse continuing him in a
share of the government."

V. That the Company had reason to be satisfied with the arrangement
made, so far as it regarded him: the President and Council having
informed them, in the following year, in their letter of the 9th of
December, 1766, that "the _large_ increase of the revenue must in a
great measure be ascribed to Mr. Sykes's assiduity, and to _Mahomed Reza
Khan's profound knowledge in the finances_."

VI. That the then President and Council, finding it necessary to make
several reforms in the administration, were principally aided in the
same by the suggestion, advice, and assistance of the said Mahomed Reza
Khan; and in their letter to the Court of Directors of the 24th of June,
1767, they state their resolution of reducing the emoluments of office,
which before had arisen from a variety of presents and other
perquisities, to fixed allowances; and they state the merits of Mahomed
Reza Khan therein, as well as the importance, dignity, and
responsibility of his station, in the following manner.

"Mahomed Reza Khan has now _of himself, with great delicacy of honor_,
represented to us the evil consequences that must ensue from the
continuance of this practice,--since, by suffering the principal
officers of the government to depend for the support of their dignity on
the precarious fund of perquisites, they in a manner oblige them to
pursue oppressive and corrupt measures, equally injurious to the country
and the Company; and they accordingly assigned twelve lac of rupees for
the maintenance and support of the said Mahomed Reza Khan, and two other
principal persons, who held in their hands the most important
employments of that government,--having regard to their elevated
stations, and to the expediency of supporting them in all the show and
parade requisite to keep up the authority and influence of their
respective offices, as they are all men of weight and consideration in
the country, who held places of great trust and profit under the former
government. We further propose, by this act of generosity, to engage
their cordial services, and confirm them steady in our interests; since
they cannot hope, from the most successful ambition, to rise to greater
advantages by any chance or revolution of affairs. At the same time it
was reasonable we should not lose sight of Mahomed Reza Khan's past
services. He has pursued the Company's interest with steadiness and
diligence; his abilities qualify him to perform the most important
services; the unavoidable charges of his particular situation are great;
in dignity he stands second to the Nabob only;--and as he engages to
increase the revenues, without injustice or oppression, to more than the
amount of his salary, _and to relinquish those advantages, to the amount
of eight lacs of rupees per annum_, which he heretofore enjoyed, we
thought it proper, in the distribution of salaries, to consider Mahomed
Reza Khan in a light superior to the other ministers. We have only to
observe further, that, great and enormous as the sum must appear which
we have allotted for the support of the ministers of the government, we
will not hesitate to pronounce that it is necessary and reasonable, and
will appear so on the consideration of the power which men employed on
these important services have either to obstruct or promote the public
good, unless their integrity be confirmed by the ties of gratitude and

VII. That the said Mahomed Reza Khan continued, with the same diligence,
spirit, and fidelity, to execute the trust reposed in him, which
comprehended a large proportion of the weight of government, and
particularly of the collections; and his attachment to the interest of
the Company, and his extensive knowledge, were again, in the course of
the year 1767, fully acknowledged, and stated to the Court of Directors.
And it further appears that by an incessant application to business his
health was considerably impaired, which gave occasion in the year
following, that is, in February, 1768, to a fresh acknowledgment of his
services in these terms: "We must, in justice to Mahomed Reza Khan,
express the high sense we entertain of his abilities, and of the
indefatigable attention he has shown in the execution of the important
trust reposed in him; and we cannot but lament the prospect of losing
his services from the present declining state of his health."

VIII. That as in the increase of the revenue the said Mahomed Reza Khan
was employed as a person likely to improve the same without detriment to
the people, so, when the state of any province seemed to require a
remission, he was employed as a person disposed to the relief of the
people without fraud to the revenue; and this was expressed by the
President and Council as follows, with relation to the remissions
granted in the province of Bahar: "That the general knowledge of Mahomed
Reza Khan, in all matters relative to the dewanny revenues, induced us
to consent to such deductions being made from the general state of that
province at the _last poonah_ as may be deemed irrecoverable, or such as
may procure an immediate relief and encouragement to the ryots in the
future cultivation of their lands."

IX. That the said Mahomed Reza Khan, in the execution of the said great
and important trusts and powers, was not so much as suspected of an
ambitious or encroaching spirit, which might make him dangerous to the
Company's then recent authority, or which might render his precedence
injurious to the consideration due to his colleagues in office; but, on
the contrary, it appears, that, a plan having been adopted for dividing
the administration, in order to remove the Nabob's jealousies, the same
was in danger of being subverted by the ambition "of two of his
colleagues, and _the excessive moderation of Mahomed Reza Khan_." And
for a remedy of the inconveniencies which might arise from the excess of
an accommodating temper, though attended with irreproachable integrity,
the President and Council did send one of their own members, as their
deputy, to the Nabob of Bengal, at his capital of Moorshedabad; and this
measure appears to have been adopted for the support of Mahomed Reza
Khan, in consequence of an inquiry made and advice given by Lord Clive,
in his letter of the 3d of July, 1765, in which letter he expresses
himself of the said Mahomed Reza Khan as follows: "It is with pleasure I
can acquaint you, _that, the more I see of Mahomed Reza Khan, the
stronger is my conviction of his honor and moderation_, but that, at the
same time, I cannot help observing, that, either from timidity or an
erroneous principle, he is too ready to submit to encroachments upon
that proportion of power that has been allotted him."

X. That, the Nabob Jaffier Ali Khan dying in February, 1765, Mahomed
Reza Khan was appointed guardian to his children, and administrator of
his office, or regent, which appointment the Court of Directors did
approve. But the party opposite to Mahomed Reza Khan having continued to
cabal against him, sundry accusations were framed relative to oppression
at the time of the famine, and for a balance due during his employment
of collector of the revenues; upon which the Directors did order him to
be deprived of his office, and a strict inquiry to be made into his

XI. That the said Warren Hastings, then lately appointed to the
Presidency, did, on the 1st of April, and on the 24th of September,
1772, write letters to the Court of Directors, informing them that on
the very next day after he had received (as he asserts) their private
orders, "addressed to himself alone," and not to the board, he did
dispatch, by express messengers, his orders to Mr. Middleton, the
Resident at the Nabob's court at Moorshedabad, in a public character
and trust with the Nabob, to arrest, in his capital, and at his court,
and without any previous notice given of any charge, his principal
minister, the aforesaid Mahomed Reza Khan, and to bring him down to
Calcutta; and he did carefully conceal his said proceedings from the
knowledge of the board, on pretext of his not being acquainted with
their dispositions, and the influence which he thought that the said
Mahomed Reza Khan had amongst them.

XII. That the said Warren Hastings, at the time he gave his orders as
aforesaid for arresting the said Mahomed Reza Khan, did not take any
measures to compel the appearance of any other persons as
witnesses,--declaring it as his opinion, "that there would be little
need of violence to obtain such intelligence as they could give against
their former master, when his authority is taken from him"; but he did
afterwards, in excuse for the long detention and imprisonment of the
said Mahomed Reza Khan, without any proofs having been obtained of his
guilt, or measures taken to bring him to a trial, assure the Directors,
in direct contradiction to his former declaration, "that the influence
of Mahomed Reza Khan still prevailed generally throughout the country,
in the Nabob's household, and at the capital, and was scarcely affected
by his present disgrace,"--notwithstanding, as he, the said Hastings,
doth confess, he had used his utmost endeavors "to break that influence,
by removing his dependants, and putting the direction of all the affairs
that had been committed to his care into the hands of _the most powerful
or active of his enemies_; that he depended on the activity of their
hatred to Mahomed Reza Khan, incited by the expectation of rewards, for
investigating the conduct of the latter; that with this the institution
of the new dewanny coincided; and that the same principle had guided him
in the choice of Munny Begum and Rajah Gourdas,--the former for the
chief administration, the latter" (the son of Nundcomar, and a mere
instrument in the hands of his father) "for the dewanny of the Nabob's
household,--both _the declared enemies_ of Mahomed Reza Khan."

XIII. That, although it might be true that enemies will become the most
active prosecutors, and as such may, though under much guard and many
precautions, be used even as witnesses, and that it ought not to be an
exception, supposing their character and capacity otherwise good, to the
appointing them to power, yet to advance persons to power on the ground
not of their honor and integrity, which might have produced the enmity
of bad men, but merely for the enmity itself, without any reference
whatsoever to a laudable cause, and even with a declared ill opinion of
the morals of one of the party, such as was actually delivered in the
said letter by him, the said Hastings, of Nundcomar, (and which time has
shown he might also on good ground have conceived of others,) was, in
the circumstances of a criminal inquiry, a motive highly disgraceful to
the honor of government, and destructive of impartial justice, by
holding out the greatest of all possible temptation to false accusation,
to corrupt and factious conspiracies, to perjury, and to every species
of injustice and oppression.

XIV. That, in consequence of the aforesaid motives, and others
pretended, which were by no means a sufficient justification to the said
Warren Hastings, he did appoint the woman aforesaid, called Munny Begum,
who had been of the lowest and most discreditable order in society,
according to the ideas prevalent in India, but from whom he received
several sums of money, to be guardian to the Nabob in preference to his
own mother, _and to administer the affairs of the government_ in the
place of the said Mahomed Reza Khan, the second Mussulman in rank after
the Nabob, and the first in knowledge, gravity, weight, and character
among the Mussulmen of that province. And in order to try every method
and to take every chance for his destruction, the said Warren Hastings
did maliciously and oppressively keep him under confinement, for a part
of the time without any inquiry, and afterwards with a slow and dilatory
trial, for two years together.

XV. That, notwithstanding a total revolution in the power, in part
avowedly made for his destruction, the persons appointed for his trial
did, on full inquiry, completely acquit the said Mahomed Reza Khan of
the criminal charges against him, on account of which he had been so
long persecuted and confined, and suffered much in mind, body, and
fortune: and the Court of Directors, in their letter of the 3d of March,
1775, testify their satisfaction in the conduct and result of the said
inquiry, and did direct the restoration of the said Mahomed Reza Khan to
liberty, and to the offices which he had lately held, which comprehended
the management of the Nabob's household, and the general superintendency
of the justice of Bengal; but, according to the orders of the Court of
Directors, his appointments were reduced to thirty thousand pounds a
year, or thereabouts, of which he did make grievous complaint, on
account of the expenses attendant on his station, and the heavy debts
which he had been obliged to contract during his unjust persecution and
imprisonment aforesaid.

XVI. That, on the removal of the said Mahomed Reza Khan from the
superintendency of the criminal justice, and in consequence of letting
the province of Bengal in farm by the said Warren Hastings, several
dangerous and mischievous innovations were made by him, the said Warren
Hastings, and the criminal justice of the country was almost wholly
subverted, and great irregularities and disorders did actually ensue.

XVII. That the Council-General, established by act of Parliament in the
year 1773, did restore the said Mahomed Reza Khan, with the consent and
approbation of the Nabob, (but under a protest from the said Warren
Hastings,) to his liberty and to his offices, according to the spirit of
the orders given by the Court of Directors as aforesaid; and the Court
of Directors did approve of the said appointment, and did assure the
said Mahomed Reza Khan of their favor and protection as long as his
conduct should merit the same, in the following terms. "As the abilities
of Mahomed Reza Khan have been sufficiently manifested, as official
experience qualifies him for so high a station in a more eminent degree
than any other native with whom the Company has been connected, and as
no proofs of maladministration have been established against him,
either during the strict investigation of his conduct or since his
retirement, we cannot under all circumstances but approve your
recommendation of him to the Nabob to constitute him his Naib. We are
well pleased that he has received that appointment, and authorize you to
assure him of our favor, so long as a firm attachment to the interest of
the Company and a proper discharge of the duties of his station shall
render him worthy of our protection." And the said Mahomed Reza Khan did
continue to execute the same without any complaint whatsoever of
malversation or negligence, in any manner or degree, in his said office.

XVIII. That in March, 1778, the said Warren Hastings, under color that
the Nabob had completed his twentieth year, and had desired to be placed
in the entire and uncontrolled management of his own affairs, and that
Mahomed Reza Khan should be removed from his office, and that Munny
Begum, his step-mother, the dancing-girl aforesaid, "should take on
herself the management of the _nizamut_ [the government and general
superintendency of criminal justice] without the interference of any
person whatsoever," and notwithstanding the contradictions in the
pretended applications from the Nabob, with whose incapacity for all
affairs he was well acquainted, did, in defiance of the orders of the
Court of Directors, and without regard to the infamy of an arrangement
made for the evident and declared purpose of delivering not only the
family with the prince, but the government and justice of a great
kingdom, into such insufficient, corrupt, and scandalous hands, and
though he has declared his opinion "that our national character is
concerned in the character which the Nabob may obtain in the public
opinion," on obtaining a majority in Council, without any complaint,
real or pretended, remove the said Mahomed Reza from all his offices,
and did partition his salary as a spoil in the following manner: to
Munny Begum, the dancing-girl aforesaid, an additional allowance of
72,000 rupees (7,200_l._) a year; to the Nabob's own mother but half
that sum, that is to say, 36,000 rupees (3,600_l._) a year; to Rajah
Gourdas, son of Nundcomar, (whom he had described as a weak young man,)
72,000 rupees (7,200_l._) a year, as controller of the household; and to
a magistrate called Sudder ul Hock, who, in real subserviency to the
said Munny Begum, was nominally to act in the department of criminal
justice, 78,000 rupees (7,800_l._) a year: the total of which allowances
exceeding the salary of Mahomed Reza Khan by 18,000 rupees (1,800_l._)
yearly, he did, for the corrupt and scandalous purposes aforesaid, order
the same to be made up from the Company's treasury.

XIX. That Mr. Francis and Mr. Wheler having moved that the execution of
the aforesaid arrangement, the whole expense of which, ordinary and
extraordinary, was charged upon the Company's treasury, and therefore
could not be even colorably disposed of at the pretended will of the
said Nabob, might be suspended until the pleasure of the Court of
Directors thereon should be known, and the same being resolved agreeably
to law by a majority of the Council then present, the said Hastings,
urging on violently the immediate execution of his corrupt project, and
having obtained, by the return of Richard Barwell, Esquire, a majority
in Council in his own casting vote, did rescind the aforesaid
resolution, and did carry into immediate execution the aforesaid most
unwarrantable, mischievous, and scandalous design.

XX. That the consequences which might be expected from such a plan of
administration did almost instantly flow from it. For the person
appointed to execute one of the offices which had been filled by Mahomed
Reza Khan did soon find that the eunuchs of Munny Begum began to employ
their power with great superiority and insolence in all the concerns of
government and the administration of justice, and did endeavor to
dispose of the offices relative to the same for their corrupt purposes,
and to rob the Nabob's servants of their due allowances; and in his
letter of the 1st September, 1778, he sent a complaint to the board,
stating, "that certain bad men had gained an ascendency over the Nabob's
temper, by whose instigation he acts"; and after complaining of the
slights he received from the Nabob, he adds: "Thus they cause the Nabob
to treat me, sometimes with indignity, at others with kindness, just as
they think proper to advise him; their view is, that, by compelling me
to displeasure at most unworthy treatment, they may force me either to
relinquish my station, or to join with them, and act by their advice,
and appoint creatures of their recommendation to the different offices,
from which they might draw profit to themselves."

XXI. That, in a subsequent letter to the Governor, the said
Superintendent of Justice did inform him, the said Warren Hastings, of
the audacious and corrupt manner in which, by violence, fraud, and
forgery, the eunuchs of Munny Begum had abused the Nabob's name, to
deprive the judicial and executory officers of justice of the salaries
which they ought to have drawn from the Company's treasury, in the
following words: "The Begum's ministers, before my arrival, with the
advice of their counsellors, caused the Nabob to sign a receipt, in
consequence of which they received, at two different times, near 50,000
rupees [5,000_l._], in the name of the officers of the Adawlut,
Phousdary, &c., from the Company's sircars; and having drawn up an
account-current _in the manner they wished_, they had got the Nabob to
sign it, and sent it to me." And in the same letter he asserts, "that
these people had the Nabob entirely in their power."

XXII. That the said Warren Hastings, upon this representation, did,
notwithstanding his late pretended opinion of the fitness and the right
of the Nabob to the sole administration of his own affairs,
authoritatively forbid him from any interference therein, and ordered
that the whole should be left to the magistrate aforesaid; to which the
Nabob did, notwithstanding his pretended independence, yield an
immediate and unreserved submission: for the said Hastings's order being
given on the 1st of September at Calcutta, he received _an answer_ from
Moorshedabad on the 3d, in the following terms: "Agreeably to your
pleasure, I have relinquished all concern with the affairs of the
Phousdary and Adawlut, leaving the entire management in Sudder ul Hock's
hands." Which said circumstance, as well as many others, abundantly
proves that all the Nabob's actions were in truth and fact entirely
governed by the influence of the said Hastings, and that, however the
said Hastings may have publicly discouraged the corrupt transactions of
the said court, yet he did secretly uphold the authority and influence
of Munny Begum, who did entirely direct, with his knowledge and
countenance, all the proceedings therein. For

XXIII. That on the 13th of the same month of September he did receive a
further complaint of the corrupt and fraudulent practices of the chief
eunuch of the said Munny Begum; and these corrupt practices did so
continue and increase, that on the 10th of October, 1778, he was obliged
to confess, in the strongest terms, the pernicious consequences of his
before-created unwarrantable and illegal arrangements; for, in a letter
of that date to the Nabob, he expresses himself as follows. "At your
Excellency's request, I sent Sudder ul Hock Khan to take on him the
administration of the affairs of the Adawlut and Phousdary, and hoped by
that means not only to have given satisfaction to your Excellency, but
that, through his abilities and experience, these affairs would have
been conducted in such manner as to have secured the peace of the
country and the happiness of the people; and it is with the greatest
concern I learn that this measure is so far from being attended with the
expected advantages, that the affairs both of the Phousdary and Adawlut
are in the greatest confusion imaginable, and daily robberies and
murders are perpetrated throughout the country. This is evidently owing
to the want of a proper authority in the person appointed to superintend
them. I therefore addressed your Excellency on the importance and
delicacy of the affairs in question, and of the necessity of lodging
full power in the hands of the person chosen to administer them; in
reply to which your Excellency expressed sentiments coincident with
mine; notwithstanding which, your dependants and people, actuated by
_selfish, and avaricious views, have by their interference so impeded
the business as to throw the whole country into a state of confusion,
from which nothing can retrieve it but an unlimited power lodged in the
hands of the superintendent_. I therefore request that your Excellency
will give the strictest injunctions to all your dependants not to
interfere in any manner with any matter relative to the affairs of the
Adawlut and Phousdary, and that you will yourself relinquish all
interference therein, and leave them entirely to the management of
Sudder ul Hock Khan: this is absolutely necessary to restore the country
to a state of tranquillity." And he concluded by again recommending the
Nabob to withdraw all interference with the administrator aforesaid:
"otherwise a measure which I adopted at your Excellency's request, and
with a view to your satisfaction and the benefit of the country, will be
attended with quite contrary effects, and bring discredit on me."

XXIV. That the said Hastings, in the letter aforesaid, in which he so
strongly condemns the acts and so clearly marks out the mischievous
effects of the corrupt influence under which alone the Nabob acted, and
under which alone, from his known incapacity, and his dependence on the
person supported by the said Hastings, he could act, did propose to put
all the offices of justice (which on another occasion he had requested
him to _permit_ to remain in the hands which then held them) into his
own disposal,--telling him, or rather the woman and eunuchs who governed
him, "that, if his Excellency has any plan for the management of the
affairs in future, be pleased to communicate it to me, and every
attention shall be paid to give your Excellency satisfaction": by which
means not only particular parts, as before, but the whole system of
justice was to be afloat, and to be subject to the purposes of the
aforesaid corrupt cabal of women and eunuchs.

XXV. That the Court of Directors, on receiving an account of the above
arrangements, and being well apprised of the spirit, intention, and
probable effect of the same, did, in a clear, firm, and decisive manner,
express their condemnation of the measure, and their rejection and
reprobation of all the pretended grounds and reasons on which the same
was supported,--marking distinctly his prevarication and contradictions
in the same, and pointing to him their full conviction of the unworthy
motives on which he had made so shameful an arrangement: telling him, in
the 17th paragraph of their general letter of the 4th of February, 1779,
"The Nabob's letters of the 25th and 30th of August, of the 3d of
September, and 17th of November, leave us no doubt of the _true_ design
of this _extraordinary_ business being _to bring forward_ Munny Begum,
and again to invest her with improper power and influence,
notwithstanding our former declaration, that _so great_ a part of the
Nabob's allowance had been embezzled and misapplied under her

XXVI. That, in consequence of the censure and condemnation of the
unwarrantable measures of the said Warren Hastings by the Court of
Directors, on the aforesaid and other weighty and substantial grounds,
they did order and direct as follows, in the 20th paragraph of the
general letter of the same date. "As we deem it for the welfare of the
country that the office of Naib Subahdar be for the present continued,
and that this high office should be filled by a person of wisdom,
experience, and of approved fidelity to the Company, and as we have no
reason to alter the opinion given of Mahomed Reza Khan in our letter of
the 24th of December, 1776, we positively direct, that you forthwith
signify to the Nabob Mobarek ul Dowlah our pleasure that Mahomed Reza
Khan be immediately restored to the office of Naib Subahdar; and we
further direct, that Mahomed Reza Khan be again assured of the
continuance of our favor, so long as a firm attachment to the interest
of the Company and a proper discharge of the duties of his station shall
render him worthy of our protection."

XXVII. That the aforesaid direction did convey in it such evident and
cogent reason, and was so far enforced by justice to individuals and by
regard to the peace and happiness of the natives, as well as by the
common decorum to be observed in all the transactions of government,
that the said Hastings ought to have yielded a cheerful obedience
thereto, even if he had not been by a positive statute, and his relation
of servant to the Company, bound to that just submission. Yet the said
Hastings did, without denying or evading any one of the reasons assigned
by the Court of Directors, or controverting the scandalous motives
assigned by them for his conduct, contumaciously refuse obedience to the
above positive order, on pretence that the Nabob, who, he had declared
it on record "to be as visible as the light of the sun, is a mere
pageant, and without even the shadow of authority," did dissent from the
same; and he did encourage the said Nabob, or rather the eunuchs, the
corrupt ministers of Munny Begum, to oppose himself and themselves to
the authority of the said Court of Directors: by which means the
arrangement, three times either ratified or expressly ordered by them,
was wholly defeated; the aforesaid corrupt system was continued; Mahomed
Reza Khan was not restored to his office; and a lesson was taught to the
natives of all ranks, that the declared approbation, the avowed
sanction, and the decided authority of the Court of Directors were
wholly nugatory to their protection against the corrupt influence of
their servants.

XXVIII. That the said Warren Hastings, on a reconciliation with Mr.
Francis, one of the Council-General, who made it a condition thereof
that certain of the Company's orders should be obeyed, and that Mahomed
Reza Khan should be restored to his offices, did, a considerable time
after, notwithstanding the pretended reluctance of the Nabob, and his
pretended freedom, make, for his convenience in the said accommodation,
the arrangement which he had unwarrantably and illegally refused to the
orders of the Court of Directors, and did of his own authority and that
of the board restore Mahomed Reza Khan to his offices.

XXIX. That soon after the departure of the said Mr. Francis he did again
deprive the said Mahomed Reza Khan of his said offices, and did make
several great changes in the constitution of the criminal justice in the
said country; and after having, under pretence of the Nabob's
sufficiency for the management of his own affairs, displaced, without
any specific charge, trial, or inquiry whatsoever, the said Mahomed Reza
Khan, he did submit the said Nabob to the entire direction, in all parts
of his concerns, of a Resident of his own nomination, Sir John D'Oyly,
Baronet, and did order an account of the most minute parts of his
domestic economy to be made out, and to be delivered to the said Sir
John D'Oyly, in the following words, contained in a paper by him
intituled, INSTRUCTIONS from the Governor-General to the Nabob Mobarek
ul Dowlah respecting his conduct in the management of his affairs. "You
will be pleased to direct your _mutseddies_ to form an account of the
fixed sums of your monthly expenses, such as servants' wages in the
different departments, pensions, and other allowances, as well as of the
estimated amount of variable expenses, to be delivered to Sir John
D'Oyly _for my inspection_. I have given such orders to Sir John D'Oyly
as will enable him to propose to you such reductions of the pensions and
other allowances, and such a distribution of the variable expenses, as
shall be proportionable to the total sum of your monthly income; _and I
must request you will conform to it_." And he did, in the subsequent
articles of his said instructions, order the whole management to be
directed by Sir John D'Oyly, subject to his own directions as aforesaid;
and did even direct what company he should keep; and did throw
reflections on some persons, in places the nearest to him, as of bad
character and base origin,--persons whom he should decline to name as
such, "unless he heard that they still availed themselves of his
goodness to retain _the places_ which they improperly hold near his
person." And he did particularly order the said Nabob not to admit any
English, but such as the said Sir John D'Oyly should approve, to his
presence; and did repeat the said order in the following peremptory
manner: "You _must forbid any_ person of _that nation_ to be intruded
into _your_ presence without _his_ introduction." And he did require his
obedience in the following authoritative style: "I shall think myself
obliged to interfere _in another manner_, if you neglect it."

XXX. That he, the said Warren Hastings, did insult the captive condition
of the said Nabob by informing him, in his imperious instructions
aforesaid, that this total, blind, and implicit obedience, in every
respect whatsoever, to Sir John D'Oyly and himself personally, and
without any reference to the board, "was the very _conditions_ of the
compliance of the Governor-General and Council with his late
requisition"; which requisition was, that he should enjoy _the free and
uncontrolled_ management of his own affairs. And though the said captive
did offer, as he, the said Hastings, himself admits, _four lacs_ of his
stipend, at that time reduced to sixteen lac, for _the free use of the
remainder_, yet he did place him, the said Nabob, in the state of
servitude in the said instructions laid down but a very short time after
he had assumed and used the said Nabob's independent rights as a ground
for refusing to obey the Company's orders,--and although he has
declared, or pretended, on another occasion, which he would have thought
similar, that any attempt to limit the household expenses of the Nabob
of Oude was an indignity, "which no man living, however mean his rank in
life, or dependent his condition in it, would permit to be exercised by
any other, without the want or forfeiture of every manly principle."

XXXI. That the said Warren Hastings did order the said stipend (which
was to be distributed, in the minutest particular, according to the said
Hastings's personal directions) to be paid monthly, not to any officer
of the Nabob, but to the said Resident, Sir John D'Oyly. And whereas the
Governor-General and Council did, on the appointment of Mahomed Reza
Khan, according to their duty, instruct him, that "he do conform to the
_orders_ of the Company, which direct that an annual account of the
Nabob's expenses be transmitted through the Resident at the Durbar, for
the inspection of this _board_" the said Hastings, in making his new
establishment in favor of his Resident, did wholly omit the said
instruction, and did confine the said communication to _himself_,
privately. And in fact it does not appear that any account whatsoever of
the disposition of the said large sum, exceeding 160,000_l._ sterling a
year, has been laid before the board, or at least that any such account
has been transmitted to the Court of Directors; and it is not fitting
that any British servant of the Company should have the management of
any public money, much less of so great a sum, without a public
well-vouched account of the specific expenditure thereof.

XXXII. That the Court of Directors did, on the 17th of May, 1766,
propose certain rules for regulating the correspondence of the Resident
with the Nabob of Bengal, in which they did direct, as a principle for
the said regulations, as follows (paragraph 16th). "We would have his
correspondence to be carried on with the _Select Committee_ through the
channel of the President: he should keep a diary of all his
transactions. His correspondence with the natives _must be publicly
conducted_: copies of _all_ his letters, sent and received, be
transmitted monthly to the Presidency, with duplicates and triplicates
to be transmitted home in our general packet by every ship."

XXXIII. That the President and Select Committee (Lord Clive being then
President) did approve of the whole substantial part of the said
regulation (the diary excepted); and the principle, in all matters of
account, ought to have been strictly adhered to, whatever limitations
may have been given to the office of Resident. Yet he, the said Warren
Hastings, in defiance of the aforesaid good rules, orders, and late
precedent in conformity to the same, did not only withhold any order for
the purpose, but, in order to carry on the business of the said durbar
in a clandestine manner for his own purposes, did, as aforesaid, exclude
all English from an intercourse with the Nabob, who might carry
complaints or representations to the board, or the Court of Directors,
of his condition, or the conduct of the Resident,--and did further, to
defeat all possible publicity, insinuate to him to give the preference
to verbal communication above letters, in the words following, of the
ninth article of his instructions to the Nabob: "Although I desire to
receive your letters frequently, yet, as many matters will occur which
cannot be _so easily explained by letters as by conversation_, I desire
that you will on such occasions give your orders to him respecting such
points as you may desire to have imparted to me; and I, postponing every
other concern, will give an immediate and the most satisfactory reply
concerning them." Accordingly, no relation whatsoever has been received
by the Court of Directors of the said Nabob's affairs, nor any account
of the money monthly paid, except from public fame, which reports that
his affairs are in groat disorder, his servants unpaid, and many of them
dismissed, and all the Mussulmen dependent on his family in a state of


I. That Shah Allum, the prince commonly called the Great Mogul, or, by
eminence, _The King_, is, or lately was, in the possession of the
ancient capital of Hindostan, and though without any considerable
territory, and without a revenue sufficient to maintain a moderate
state, he is still much respected and considered, and the custody of his
person is eagerly sought by many of the princes in India, on account of
the use to be made of his title and authority; and it was for the
interest of the East India Company, that, while on one hand no wars
shall be entered into in support of his pretensions, on the other no
steps should be taken which may tend to deliver him into the hands of
any of the powerful states of that country, but that he should be
treated with friendship, good faith, and respectful attention.

II. That Warren Hastings, in contradiction to this safe, just, and
honorable policy, strongly prescribed and enforced by the orders of the
Court of Directors, did, at a time when he was engaged in a negotiation
the declared purpose of which was to give peace to India, concur with
the captain-general of the Mahratta state, called Mahdajee Sindia, in
hostile designs against the few remaining territories of that same Mogul
emperor, by virtue of whose grant the Company actually possess the
government and enjoy the revenues of great provinces, and also against
the possessions of a Mahomedan chief called Nudjif Khan, a person of
much merit with the East India Company, in acknowledgment of which they
had granted him a pension, included in the tribute due to the king, and,
together with that tribute, taken from him by the said Warren Hastings,
though expressly _guarantied_ to him by the Company. With both these
powers the Company had been in friendship, and were actually at peace at
the time of the said clandestine concurrence in a design against them;
and the said Hastings hath since declared, that the right of one of
them, namely, "the right of the Mogul emperor, to our assistance, has
been constantly acknowledged."

III. That the said Warren Hastings, at the time of his treacherous
concurrence in a design against a power which he was himself of opinion
we were bound to assist, and against whom there was no doubt he was
bound neither to form nor to concur in any hostile attempt, did give a
caution to Colonel Muir, to whom the negotiation aforesaid was intrusted
on the part of the Company, against "inserting anything in the treaty
which might _expressly_ mark our _knowledge_ of his [the Mahratta
general's] views, _or concurrence in them_." Which said transaction was
full of duplicity and fraud; and the crime of the said Hastings therein
is aggravated by his having some years before withheld the tribute which
by treaty was solemnly agreed to be paid to the said king, on pretence
that he had thrown himself, for the recovery of his city of Delhi, on
the protection of the Mahrattas, whom the said Warren Hastings then
called _the natural enemies_ of the Company, and the growth of whose
power he then alleged to be highly dangerous to the interests of this
kingdom in India.

IV. That, after having concurred, in the manner before mentioned, in a
design of the Mahrattas against the Mogul, and notwithstanding he, the
said Warren Hastings, had formerly declared, "that with him [the Mogul]
our connection had been a long time suspended, and _he wished never to
see it renewed_, as it had proved a fatal drain to the wealth of Bengal
and the treasury of the Company, without yielding one advantage or
possible resource, even of remote benefits, in return," the said Warren
Hastings did nevertheless, on or about the month of March, 1783, with
the privity and consent of the members of the board, but by no
authoritative act, dispatch, as agents of him, the Governor-General
only, and not as agents of the Governor-General and Council, as they
ought to have been, certain persons, among whom were Major Browne and
Major Davy, to the court of the king at Delhi, and did there enter into
certain engagements with the said king by the means of those agents, and
did carry on certain private and dangerous intrigues for various
purposes, particularly for making war in favor of the said king against
some powers or princes not precisely described, but which, as may be
inferred from a subsequent correspondence, were certain Mahomedan
princes in the neighborhood of Delhi in amity with the Company, and some
of them at that time in the actual service and in the apparent
confidence and favor of the said Mogul; and he did order Major Browne to
offer to the Mogul king to provide for the _entire_ expense of _any_
troops the Shah [the said king] might require; and the proposal was
accordingly accepted, with the conditions annexed: by which proposal and
acceptance thereof the East India Company was placed in a situation of
great and perplexing difficulty; since either they were to engage, at an
unlimited _expense_, in new wars, contrary to their orders, contrary to
their general declared policy, and contrary to the published resolutions
of the House of Commons, and wholly incompatible with the state of their
finances, or, to preserve peace, they must risk the imputation of a new
violation of faith, by departing from an agreement made on the voluntary
proposal of their own government,--the agent of the said Hastings having
declared, in his letter to the said Hastings, by him communicated to the
board, "that the business of assisting the Shah [the Mogul emperor] can
and _must_ go on, if we wish to be secure in India, or regarded as a
nation of faith and honor."

V. That the said Warren Hastings did, on the 20th day of January, 1784,
send in circulation to the other members of the Council a letter to him
from his agent, Major Browne, dated at Delhi, on the 30th of December,
1783, viz., that letter to which the foregoing references are made, in
which the said Browne did directly press, and indirectly (though
sufficiently and strongly) suggest, several highly dangerous measures
for realizing the general offers and engagements of the said Warren
Hastings,--proposing, that, besides a proportion of field artillery, and
a train of battering cannon for the purpose of sieges, six regiments of
sepoys in the Company's service should be transferred to that of the
said king, and that certain other corps should also be raised for the
said service in the English provinces and dependencies, to be
immediately under the king's [the Mogul's] orders, and to be maintained
by assignments of territorial revenue within the province of Oude, a
dependent member of the British government, but with a caution against
having any British officer with the same; the said Major Browne
expressing his caution as followeth: "If any European officer _be_ with
this corps, a very nice judgment indeed must direct the choice; for
scarce any are in the smallest degree _fit_ for _such_ employ, but much
more likely to do harm than good." And the letter aforesaid being
without any observation thereon, or any disavowal of the matters of fact
or of the counsels so strongly and authoritatively delivered therein by
the said Warren Hastings's agent, and without any mark of disapprobation
of any part of his plan, whether that of the assignment of territory
belonging to the Company's allies for the maintenance of troops which
were to be by that plan put under the orders of a foreign independent
power, or that of employing the said troops without any British officer
with them, or for his alarming observation by him entered on the
Company's records, which, if not an implied censure on the nature of the
service in which British officers are supposed improper to be trusted,
is a strong reflection on the character of the British officers, which
was to render them unfit to be employed in an honorable service,--the
said Warren Hastings did thereby give a countenance to the said
unwarrantable and dangerous proposals and reflections.

VI. That a considerable time before the production and circulation of
Major Browne's letter, the said Hastings did enter a Minute of
Consultation containing a proposition similar in the general intent to
that in the said letter contained for assisting the Mogul with a
military force; but the other members of the board did disagree thereto,
and, being alarmed at the disposition so strongly shown by the said
Hastings to engage in new wars and dangerous foreign connections, and
possibly having intelligence of the proceedings of his agent, did call
upon him to produce his instructions to Major Browne; and he did, on the
5th of October, 1783, and not before, enter on the Consultations a
certain paper purporting to be the instructions which he had given to
Major Browne the preceding March, the time of his, the said Browne's,
appointment, in which pretended instructions no direction whatsoever was
given to the effect of his, the said Hastings's, Minute of Consultation
propounded: that is to say, no power was given in the said instructions
to make a direct offer of military aid to the Mogul, or to form the
arrangements stated by the said Browne, in his letter to the said
Hastings, as having been made by the express authority of the said
Hastings himself; but the said instructions contained nothing further on
that subject but a conditional direction, that, in case a military force
should be required for the Mogul's aid or protection, the Major is to
know the service on which it is to be employed, and the resources from
whence it is to be paid; and the instructions produced as his real
instructions by the said Hastings are so guarded as to caution the said
Browne against _taking any part in the intrigues of those who are about
the King's person_. By which letters, instructions, and transactions,
compared with each other, it appears that the said Warren Hastings,
after six months' delay in entering of (contrary to the Company's order)
any instructions to the said Browne, did at last enter a false paper as
the true, or that he did give other secret instructions, totally
different from, and even opposite to, his public ostensible
instructions, thereby to deceive the Council, and to carry on with less
obstruction dark and dangerous intrigues, contrary to the orders of the
Court of Directors, to the true policy of this kingdom, and to the
safety of the British possessions in the East.

VII. That the said letter from Major Browne was by the said Warren
Hastings transmitted to the Court of Directors, without being
accompanied by any part of the previous correspondence; by which wilful
concealment the said Warren Hastings is guilty of an high and criminal
disrespect to the Court of Directors, and of a most flagrant breach and
violation of their orders, which he was bound by an act of Parliament to

VIII. That the said Hastings having early in the year 1784 procured to
himself a deputation to act in the upper provinces, the Council, being
well aware of his disposition to engage in unwarrantable designs against
the neighboring states, did expressly confine his powers to the
circumstance of his actual residence within the Company's provinces. But
it appears that ways were found out by which he hoped to defeat the
precautions of the board: for the said Warren Hastings did write from
Lucknow, the capital of the country of Oude, to the Court of Directors,
a certain postscript of a letter, dated the 4th of May, 1784, in which
he informs the Court that the son and heir-apparent of the Great Mogul
had taken refuge with him and the Nabob of Oude; that he had a
conference with that prince on the 10th of the same month of May, "no
person being either present or within hearing" during the same; and that
in the said conference the prince had informed him of the distresses of
his father, and his wish for the relief of the king and the restoration
of the dominions of his house, as well as to rescue him from the power
of certain persons not named, who degraded him into a mere instrument of
their interested and sordid designs, and that, on a failure of his
application to him, he would either return to his father, or proceed to
Calcutta, and thence to England; and that the said Warren Hastings did
give him an answer to the following effect: "That our [the British]
government had just obtained relief from a state of universal warfare,
and required a term of repose; that our whole nation was weary of war,
and dreaded the renewal of it, _and would he equally alarmed at any
movement of which it could not see the issue or progress, but which
might eventually tend to create new hostilities_; that he came hither
[to Lucknow] with a limited authority, and could not, if he chose it,
engage in a business of that nature _without the concurrence of his
colleagues in office, who he believed would be adverse to it_; that he
would represent the same to the joint members of his own government, and
wait their determination. In the mean time he advised the prince to make
advances to Mahdajee Sindia, both because our government _was in
intimate and sworn connection_ with him, and because he was the
effectual head of the Mahratta state; besides that he [the said Warren
Hastings] feared his [Sindia's] taking the other side of the question,
unless he was early prevented."

IX. That in the statement of this discourse there is much criminal
reserve towards the Court of Directors,--it not appearing distinctly
what the objects were, nor who the persons concerned, nor what the side
was which he apprehended the Mahrattas might take, if not prevented by
his advances; and in the discourse itself there were many particulars
highly criminal, namely,--for that in the said conversation, in which he
describes himself as declining a compliance with the request of the
prince on account of the aversion (therein strongly expressed) of his
colleagues, of the Company, and of the whole British nation, to engage
in any measures which might even "_eventually lead to hostilities_," he
spoke to the prince as if he had been entirely ignorant of the offers
which but five months before had been made to the king, his father, on
the part of that very government, (whose repugnance to such measures he
then for the first time chose to profess, but which he always had
known,) through Major Browne, the Company's representative at the court
of Delhi, "to provide for the _entire_ expense of _any_ troops which the
Shah [the king] might require," and that this was "what the Resident had
_always_ proposed to the king and his confidential ministers,"--the said
Browne further declaring, "that, if, in consequence of the said
proposals, certain arrangements for the Shah's service by _troops_ were
not immediately ordered, in his opinion all our [English government's]
_offers and promises_ will be considered as false and insidious." This
being the known state of the business, as represented by the said
Hastings's own agent, and this the public opinion of it, although to
impose on the ignorance of the prince with regard to the proceedings at
his father's court would have been unworthy in itself, yet he, the said
Warren Hastings, could not hope to succeed in such imposition, as in the
postscript aforesaid he represents the said prince (who was the king's
eldest son, and thirty-six years of age) as a person of considerable
qualifications, and perfectly acquainted with the transactions at his
father's court, and as one who had long held the _principal_ and most
active part in the little that remained of _the administration of Shah
Allum_. And the said Hastings conferring with a prince so well
instructed, without making the slightest allusions to his said positive
and recent engagements, or without giving any explanation with regard to
them, the said Warren Hastings must appear to the said prince either as
a person not only contracting engagements, but actually being the first
mover and proposer of them, without any authority from _his colleagues_,
and against theirs and the general inclination of the British nation,
and on that ground not to be trusted, or that he had used this plea of
disagreement between him and his Council as a pretence, set up without
color or decency, for a gross violation of his own engagements, leaving
the princes and states of the country no solid ground on which they can
or ought to contract with the Company, to the utter destruction of all
public confidence, and to the equal disgrace of the national candor,
integrity, and wisdom.

X. That in a letter dated from the same place, Lucknow, the 16th of the
following June, 1784, the said Warren Hastings informs the Court of
Directors, that Major Browne, their agent to the Mogul, had arrived
there in the character also of agent from the Mogul, with two sets of
instructions from two opposite parties in his ministry, which
instructions were directly contrary to each other: the first, which were
the ostensible instructions, being to engage the said Hastings, in the
Mogul's name, to enter into a treaty of mutual alliance with a chief of
the country, then minister to the said Mogul, called Afrasaib Khan; the
second were from another principal person, called Mudjed ul Dowlah, also
a minister of the said Mogul, (but styled in the said letter
_confidential_, for distinction,) which were directly destructive of the
former; and the said latter instructions, to which it seems credence was
to be given, were sent "under the most solemn adjurations of secrecy."
The purpose of these latter and secret instructions was to require the
Company's aid in freeing the Mogul from the oppressions of his servants,
namely, from the oppressions of the said Afrasaib, between whom and the
Company Major Browne (at once agent to that Company, and to two
opposite factions in the Mogul's court) accepted a power to make a
treaty of mutual alliance under the sanction of his sovereign. And it
does not appear that he, Warren Hastings, did discountenance the
double-dealing and fraudulent agencies of his and the Company's minister
at that court, or did disavow any particular in the letter from him, the
said Browne, of the 30th of December, 1783, stating the offers made on
his part to the Mogul, so contradictory to his late declarations to the
heir-apparent of that monarch, or did give any reprimand to the said
Browne, or did show any mark of displeasure against him, as having acted
without orders, but did again send him, with renewed confidence, to the
court aforesaid.

XI. That the said Warren Hastings, still pursuing his said evil designs,
did apply to the Council for discretionary powers relative to the
intrigues and factions in the Mogul's court, giving assurances of his
resolution not to proceed against their sense; but the said Council,
being fully aware of his disposition, and having Major Browne's letter,
recorded by himself, the said Warren Hastings, before them, did refuse
to grant the said discretionary powers, but, on the contrary, did exhort
him "most sedulously and cautiously to avoid, in his correspondence with
the different princes in India, whatever may commit, or be strained into
an interpretation of committing the Company, either as to their army or
treasure,"--observing, "that the Company's orders are positive against
their interference in the objects of dispute between the country

XII. That, in order to subvert the plain and natural interpretation
given by the Council to the orders of the Court of Directors, and to
justify his dangerous intrigues, the said Warren Hastings, in his letter
of the 16th June, 1784, to the said Court, did, in a most insolent and
contemptuous manner, endeavor to persuade them of their ignorance of the
true sense of their own orders, and to limit their prohibition of
interference with the disputes of the country powers to such country
powers as are _permanent_,--expressing himself as follows: "The faction
which now surrounds the throne [the Mogul's throne] is widely different
from the idea which your commands are intended to convey by the
expressions to which you have generally applied them, of _country
powers_, to which that _of permanency is a necessary adjunct_, and which
may be more properly compared to a splendid bubble, which the slightest
breath of opposition may dissipate with every trace of its existence."
By which construction the said Hastings did endeavor to persuade the
Court of Directors that they meant to confine their prohibition of
sinister intrigues to those powers only who could not be easily hurt by
them, and whose strength was such that their resentment of such
clandestine interference was to be dreaded; but that, where the powers
were weak and fragile, such intrigues might be allowed.

XIII. That the said Hastings, further to persuade the Court of Directors
to involve themselves in the affairs of the Mogul, and to reconcile this
measure with his former conduct and declared opinions, did write to them
to the following effect: That "at that former period to which the
ancient policy with regard to the Mogul applied, the king's authority
was sufficiently respected" (which he knew not to be true,--having
himself declared, in his minute of the 25th of October, 1774, "that he
remained at Delhi, the ancient capital of the empire, _a mere cipher_ in
the administration of it") to maintain itself against common
vicissitudes; that he would not have advised interference, if the king
himself retained the exercise of it, _however feeble_, in his own hands;
that, if it [the Mogul's authority] is suffered to receive its final
extinction, it is impossible to foresee _what power may arise out of its
ruins_, or what events may be linked in the same chain of revolution
with it: but your interests _may_ suffer by it, your reputation
_certainly will_, as his right to our assistance _has been constantly
acknowledged_, and by a train of consequences to which our government
has not intentionally given birth, but most especially by the movements
which _its influence, by too near an approach_, has excited, it has
unfortunately become the efficient instrument of a great portion of the
king's present distresses and dangers,--intimating (as well as the
studied obscurity of his expressions will permit anything to be
discerned) that his own late intrigues had been among the causes of the
distresses and dangers, which by new intrigues he did pretend to remove:
and he did conclude this part of his letter with some loose general
expressions of his caution not to affect the Company's interests or
revenues by any measures he might at that time take.

XIV. That the principle, so far as the same hath been directly avowed,
of the said proceedings at the Mogul's court, was as altogether
irrational, and the pretended object as impracticable, as the means
taken in pursuit of it were fraudulent and dishonorable, namely, the
restoration of the Mogul in some degree to the dignity of his situation,
and to his free agency in the conduct of his affairs. For the said
Hastings, at the very time in which he did with the greatest apparent
earnestness urge the purpose which he pretended to have in view with
regard to the dignity and liberty of the Mogul emperor, did represent
him as a person wholly disqualified, and even indisposed, to take any
active part whatsoever in the conduct of his own affairs, and that any
attempt for that purpose would be utterly impracticable; and this he
hath stated to the Court of Directors as a matter of public notoriety,
in his said letter of the 16th of June, 1784, in the following
emphatical and decisive terms.

"_You need not be told_ the character of the king, whose inertness, and
the habit of long-suffering, has debased his dignity and the fortunes of
his house _beyond the power of retrieving either the one or the other_.
Whilst his personal repose is undisturbed, he will _prefer_ to live in
_the meanest state of indigence_, under the rule of men whose views are
bounded by avarice and the power which they derive from his authority,
rather than commit any share of it to his own sons, (though his
affection for them is boundless in every other respect,) from a natural
jealousy, founded on the experience of a very different combination of
those circumstances which once served as a temptation and example of
unlawful ambition in the princes of the royal line. His ministers, from
a policy more reasonable, have constantly employed every means of
influence to confirm this disposition, and to prevent his sons from
having any share in the distribution of affairs, so as to have
established a complete usurpation of the royal prerogative under its
own sanction and patronage."

XV. That the said Warren Hastings, having given this opinion of the
sovereign for whose freedom he pretended so anxious a concern, did
describe the minister with whom he had long acted in concurrence, and
from whom he had just received the extraordinary secret embassy
aforesaid for the purpose of effecting the deliverance of his master,
the Mogul, from the usurpations of _his ministers_, as follows. "The
first minister, Mudjed ul Dowlah, is _totally_ deficient in every
military quality, conceited of his own superior talents, and formed to
the practice of _that crooked policy which, generally defeats its own
purpose_, but sincerely attached to his master." The reality of the said
attachment was not improbable, but altogether useless, as the said
minister was the only one among the principal persons about the king who
(besides the total want of all military and civil ability) possessed no
territories, troops, or other means of serving and supporting him, but
was himself solely upheld by his influence over his master: neither doth
the said Hastings free him, any more than the persons more efficient,
who were to be destroyed, from a disposition to alienate the king from
an attention to his affairs, and from all confidence in his own family;
but, on the contrary, he brings him forward as the very first among the
instances he adduces to exemplify the practices of the ministers against
their sovereign and his children.

XVI. That the said Warren Hastings, recommending in general terms, and
yet condemning in detail, every part of his own pretended plan, as
impracticable in itself, and as undertaken in favor of persons all of
whom he describes as incapable, and the principal as indisposed to avail
himself thereof, must have had some other motives for this long,
intricate, dark, and laborious proceeding with the Mogul, which must be
sought in his actions, and the evident drift and tendency thereof, and
in declarations which were brought out by him to serve other purposes,
but which serve fully to explain his real intentions in this intrigue.

XVII. That the other members of the Council-General having abundantly
certified their averseness to his intrigues, and even having shown
apprehensions of his going personally to the Mogul and the Mahrattas for
the purpose of carrying on the same, the said Hastings was driven
headlong to acts which did much more openly indicate the true nature and
purpose of his machinations. For he at length recurred directly, and
with little disguise, to the Mahrattas, and did open an intrigue with
them, although he was obliged to confess, in his letter aforesaid of the
16th June, 1784, that the exception which he contended to be implied in
the orders of the Court of Directors forbidding the intermeddling in the
disputes of "the country powers," namely, "powers not permanent," did by
no means apply to the Mahrattas; and he informs the Court of Directors
that he did, on the very first advice he received of the flight of the
Mogul's son, write to Mr. James Anderson to apprise the Mahratta chief,
Sindia, of that event,--"for which as he was unprepared, he desired his
[the said Sindia's] advice for his conduct on the occasion of it." Which
method of calling for the advice of a foreign power to regulate his
political conduct, instead of being regulated therein by the advice of
the British Council and the standing orders of the Court of Directors,
was a procedure highly criminal; and the crime is aggravated by his not
communicating the said correspondence to the Council-General, as by his
duty he was bound to do; but it does abundantly prove his concert with
the Mahrattas in all that related to his negotiations in the Mogul
court, which were carried on agreeably to their advice, and in
subserviency to their views and purposes.

XVIII. That, in consequence of the cabal begun with the Mahrattas, the
said chief, Sindia, did send his "familiar and confidential ministers"
to him, the said Hastings, being at Lucknow, with whom the said Hastings
did hold several secret conferences, without any secretary or other
assistant: and the said Hastings hath not conveyed to the Court of
Directors any minutes thereof, but hath purposely involved even the
general effect and tendency of these conferences in such obscurity that
it is no otherwise possible to perceive the drift and tendency of the
same, but by the general scope of councils and acts relative to the
politics of the Mogul and of the Mahrattas together, and by the final
event of the whole, which is sufficiently visible. For

XIX. That the said Hastings had declared, in his said letter of the 16th
June, 1784, that the Mogul's right to our assistance had been constantly
acknowledged, that the Mogul had been oppressed by the lesser Mahomedan
princes in the character of his officers of state and military
commanders, and he did plainly intimate that the said Mogul ought to be
relieved from that servitude. And he did, in giving an account to the
Court of Directors of the conferences aforesaid, assure them that "his
inclinations [the inclinations of the Mahratta chief aforesaid] were not
very dissimilar from his own"; and that "neither in this nor in any
other instance would he suffer himself to be drawn into measures which
shall tend to weaken their connection, nor _in this even to oppose his_
[the said chiefs] _inclinations_": the said Hastings well knowing, as in
his letter to Colonel Muir of the ---- he has confessed, that the
inclinations of the said Sindia were to seize on the Mogul's
territories, and that he himself did secretly concur therein, though he
did not formally insert his concurrence in the treaty with the said
Mahratta chief. It is plain, therefore, that he did all along concur
with the Mahrattas in their designs against the said king and his
ministers, under the treacherous pretence of supporting the authority of
the former against the latter, and did contrive and effect the ruin of
them all. For, first, he did give evil and fraudulent counsel to the
heir-apparent of the Mogul "to make advances to the Mahrattas," when he
well knew, and had expressly concurred in, the designs of that state
against his father's, the Mogul's, dominions; and further to engage and
entrap the said prince, did assert that "our government" (meaning the
British government) "was in intimate and sworn connection with Mahdajee
Sindia," when no alliance, offensive or defensive, appears to exist
between the said Sindia and the East India Company, nor can exist,
otherwise than in virtue of some secret agreement between him, the said
Sindia, and Warren Hastings, entered into by the latter without the
knowledge of his colleagues and the government, and never communicated
to the Court of Directors. And, secondly, he did, in order to further
the designs of the Mahrattas, contrive and effect the ruin of the said
Mogul and his authority, by setting on foot, through the aforesaid Major
Browne, sundry perplexed and intricate negotiations, contrary to public
faith, and to the honor of the British nation; by which he did
exceedingly increase the confusion and disorders of the Mogul's court,
exposing the said Mogul to new indignities, insults, and distresses, and
almost all of the northern parts of India to great and ruinous
convulsions, until three out of four of the principal chieftains, some
of them possessing the territories lately belonging to Nudjif Khan, and
maintaining among them eighty thousand troops of horse and foot, and
some of which chiefs wore the ministers aforesaid, being cut off by
their mutual dissensions, and the fort of Delhi being at length
delivered to the Mahrattas, the said Sindia became the uncontrolled
ruler of the royal army, and the person of the Mogul, with the use of
all his pretensions and claims, fell into the hands of a nation already
too powerful, together with an extensive territory, which entirely
covers the Company's possessions and dependencies on one side, and
particularly those of the Nabob of Oude.

XX. That the circumstances of these countries did, in the opinion of the
said Warren Hastings himself, sufficiently indicate to him the necessity
of not aggrandizing any power whatsoever on their borders, he having in
the aforesaid letter of the 16th June given a deliberate opinion of the
situation of Oude in the words following: "That, whilst we are at peace
with the powers of Europe, it is only in this quarter that your
possessions under the government of Bengal are vulnerable." And he did
further in the said letter state, that, "if things had continued as they
had been to that time, with a divided government," (viz., the Company's
and the Vizier's, which government he had himself established, and under
which it ever must in a great degree remain, whilst the said country
continues in a state of dependence,) "the _slightest_ shock from a
foreign hand, or even an _accidental internal commotion_, might have
thrown the whole into confusion, and produced the most fatal
consequences." In this perilous situation he made the above-recited
sacrifices to the ambition of the Mahrattas, and did all along so
actively countenance and forward their proceedings, and with so full a
sense of their effect, that in his minute of the 24th December, 1784, he
has declared, "that in the countries which border on the dominions of
the Nabob Vizier, or on that quarter of our own, in effect _there is no
other power_." And he did further admit, that the presence of the
Mahratta chief aforesaid, so near the borders of the Nabob's dominions,
was no cause of suspicion; for "that it is the effect _of his own
solicitation_, and is _so far_ the effect of an act of that government."

XXI. That, in further pursuit of the same pernicious design, he, the
said Warren Hastings, did enter into an agreement to withdraw a very
great body of the British troops out of the Nabob's
dominions,--asserting, however truly, yet in direct contradiction to his
own declarations, that "this government" (meaning the British
government) "has not any right to force defence with its maintenance
upon him" (the Nabob); and he did thus not only avowedly aggrandize the
Mahratta state, and weaken the defence upon the frontier, but did as
avowedly detain their captain-general in force on that very frontier,
notwithstanding he was well apprised that they had designs against those
dependent territories of Oude, which they had with great difficulty been
persuaded, even in appearance, to include in the treaty of peace,--and
that they have never renounced their claims upon certain large and
valuable portions of them, and have shown evident signs of their
intentions, on the first opportunity, of asserting and enforcing them.
And, finally, the said Warren Hastings, in contradiction to sundry
declarations of his own concerning the necessity of curbing the power of
the Mahrattas, and to the principle of sundry measures undertaken by
himself professedly for that purpose, and to the sense of the House of
Commons, expressed in their resolution of 28th May, 1782, against any
measures that tended to unite the dangerous powers of the Mahratta
empire under one active command, has endeavored to persuade the Company,
that, "while Sindia lives, every accession of territory obtained by him
will be an advantage to this [the British] government"; which if it was
true as respecting the personal dispositions of Sindia, which there is
no reason to believe, yet it was highly criminal to establish a power in
the Mahrattas which must survive the man in confidence of whose personal
dispositions a power more than personal was given, and which may
hereafter fall into hands disposed to make a more hostile use of it.

XXII. That, in consequence of all the before-recited intrigues, the
Mogul emperor being in the hands of the Mahrattas, he, the said Mogul,
has been obliged to declare the head of the Mahratta state to be
vicegerent of the Mogul empire, an authority which supersedes that of
Vizier, and has thereby consolidated in the Mahratta state all the
powers acknowledged to be of legal authority in India; in consequence of
which, they have acquired, and have actually already attempted to use,
the said claims of general superiority against the Company itself,--the
Mahrattas claiming a right in themselves to a fourth part of the
revenues of all the provinces in the Company's possession, and claiming,
in right of the Mogul, the tribute due to him: by which actings and
doings the said Hastings has to the best of his power brought the
British provinces in India into a dependence on the Mahratta state: and
in order to add to the aforesaid enormous claims a proportioned force,
he did never cease, during his stay in India, to contrive the means for
its increase; for it is of public notoriety, that one great object of
the Mahratta policy is to unite under their dominion the nation or
religious sect of the Seiks, who, being a people abounding with
soldiers, and possessing large territories, would extend the Mahratta
power over the whole of the vast countries to the northwest of India.

XXIII. That the said Warren Hastings, further to augment the power of
the said Mahrattas, and to endanger the safety of the British
possessions, having established in force the said Mahrattas on the
frontier, as afore-recited, and finding the Council-General averse in
that situation to the withdrawing the British forces therefrom, and for
disbanding them to the extent required by the said Hastings, did, in a
minute of the 4th December, 1784, after stating a supposition, that,
contrary to his opinion, the said troops should not be reduced, propose
to employ them under the command of the Mogul's son, then under the
influence of the Mahrattas, in a war against the aforesaid people or
religious sect called Seiks, defending the same on the following
principles: "I feel the sense of an obligation, imposed on me by the
supposition I have made, to state a mode of rendering the detachment of
use in its prescribed station, and of affording the _appearance_ of a
cause for its retention."

XXIV. That the said Hastings did admit that there was no present danger
to the Company's possessions from that nation which could justify him in
such a war, as he had declared that the Mahrattas were _the only power_
that bordered on the Company's possessions and those of the Vizier; but
he did assign as a reason for going to war with them their military and
enthusiastic spirit,--the hardiness of their natural constitution,--the
dangers which might arise from them in some future time, if they should
ever happen to be united under one head, they existing at present in a
state little different from anarchy; and he did predict great danger
from them, and at no very remote period, "if this people be permitted to
grow into maturity without interruption." And though he doth pretend
that the solicitations of the heir-apparent of the Mogul, who, he says,
did repeatedly and earnestly solicit him to obtain the permission to use
the Company's troops for the purpose aforesaid, had weight with him, yet
he doth declare, as he expresses himself in the minute aforesaid, that
"a _stronger impulse_, arising from the hope of _blasting the growth_
of a generation whose strength _might_ become fatal to our own, strongly
pleaded in my mind for supporting his wishes."

XXV. That the said Warren Hastings, after forcibly recommending the plan
aforesaid, did state strong objections, that did, "in his judgment,
outweigh the advantages which might arise from a compliance with it."
Yet the said Hastings, being determined to pursue his scheme for
aggrandizing at any rate the Mahratta power, in whose adult growth and
the recent effects of it he could see no danger, did pursue the design
of war against a nation or sect of religion in its infancy, from whom he
had received no injury, and in whose present state of government he did
not apprehend any mischief whatsoever; and finding the Council fixed and
determined on not disbanding the frontier regiments, and thinking that
therein he had found an advantage, he did ground thereon the following

"If the expense [of the frontier troops] is to be continued, it may be
surely better continued for some useful purpose than to keep up the
parade of a great military corps designed merely to lie inactive in its
quarters. On this ground, therefore, and on the supposition premised, I
revert to my original sentiments in favor of the prince's plan; but as
this will require some qualification in the execution of it, I will
state my recommendation of it in the terms of a proposition, viz., that,
if it shall be the resolution of the board to continue the detachment
now under the command of Colonel Sir John Cumming at Furruckabad, and if
the prince Mirza Jehander Shah shall apply, _with the authority of the
king, and the concurrence of Mahdajee Sindia_, for the assistance of an
English military force, to act in conjunction with him, to expel the
Seiks from the territories of which they have lately possessed
themselves in the neighborhood of Delhi, it may be granted, and such a
portion of the said detachment allotted to that service as shall be
hereafter judged adequate to it."

XXVI. That the said Warren Hastings did, in the said proposal, endeavor
to circumvent and overreach the Council-General, by converting an
apparent and literal compliance with their resolution into a real and
substantial opposition to and disappointment thereof. For his first
proposal was, to withdraw the Company's troops from the Vizier's country
on the pretence of relieving him from the burden of that establishment,
but in reality with a view of facilitating the Mahratta pretensions on
that province, which would then be deprived of the means of defence. And
when the Council rejected the said proposal on the express ground of
danger to the province by withdrawing from the Mahrattas the restraint
of our troops, the said Hastings, finding his first scheme in favor of
the Mahrattas against the provinces dependent on the Company defeated by
the refusal of the Council to concur in the said measure of withdrawing
the troops, did then endeavor to obtain the same purpose in a different
way; and instead of leaving the troops, according to the intention and
policy of the Council, as a check to the ambition and progress of the
Mahrattas, he proposed to employ them in the actual furtherance of those
schemes of aggrandizement of which his colleagues were jealous, and
which it was the object of their resolution to counteract.

XXVII. That, in the whole of the letters, negotiations, proposals, and
projects of the said Warren Hastings relative to the Mogul, he did
appear to pursue but one object, namely, the aggrandizement of the
lately hostile and always dangerous power of the Mahrattas, and did
pursue the same by means highly dishonorable to the British character
for honor, justice, candor, plain-dealing, moderation, and humanity.


I. That Warren Hastings, Esquire, was, during the whole of the year
1783, a servant of the East India Company, and was bound by the duties
of that relation not only to yield obedience to the orders of the Court
of Directors, but to give to the whole of their service an example of
submission, reverence, and respect to their authority; and that, if they
should in the course of their duty call in question any part of his
conduct, he was bound to conduct his defence with temper and decency;
and while his conduct was under their consideration, it was not
allowable to print and publish any of his letters to them without their
consent first had and obtained; and he was bound by the same principles
of duty, enforced by still more cogent reasons, to observe, in a paper
intended for publication, great modesty and moderation, and to treat the
said Court of Directors, his lawful masters, with respect.

II. That the said Warren Hastings did print and publish, or cause to be
printed and published, at Calcutta in Bengal, the narrative of his
transactions at Benares, in a letter written at that place, without
leave had of the Court of Directors, in order to preoccupy the judgment
of the servants in that settlement, and to gain from them a factious
countenance and support, previous to the judgment and opinion of the
Court of Directors, his lawful superiors.

III. That the Court of Directors, having come to certain resolutions of
fact relative to the engagements subsisting between them and the Rajah
of Benares, and the manner in which the same had been fulfilled on the
part of the Rajah, did, in the fifth resolution, which was partly a
resolution of opinion, declare as follows: "That it appears to this
Court that the conduct of the Governor-General towards the Rajah, whilst
he was at Benares, was improper; and that the imprisonment of his
person, thereby disgracing him in the eyes of his subjects and others,
was unwarrantable and highly impolitic, and may tend to weaken the
confidence which the native princes of India ought to have in the
justice and moderation of the Company's government."

IV. That the said resolutions being transmitted to the said Warren
Hastings, he, the said Warren Hastings, did write, and cause to be
printed and published, a certain false, insolent, malicious, and
seditious libel, purporting to be a letter from him, the said Warren
Hastings, to the Court of Directors, dated Fort William, 20th March,
1783, "calculated," as the Directors truly affirm, "to bring contempt,
as well as an odium, on the Court of Directors, for their conduct on
that occasion"; and the said libel had a direct tendency to excite a
spirit of disobedience to the lawful government of this nation in India
through all ranks of their service.

V. That he, the said Warren Hastings, among other insolent and
contumacious charges and aspersions on the Court of Directors, did
address them in the printed letter aforesaid as follows. "I deny that
Rajah Cheyt Sing was a native prince of India. Cheyt Sing is the son of
a collector of the revenue of that province, which his arts, and the
misfortunes of his master, enabled him to convert to a permanent and
hereditary possession. This man, whom _you have thus ranked among the
princes_ of India, will be astonished, when he hears it, at an elevation
so unlooked for, nor less at the independent rights which _your_
commands have assigned him,--rights which are _so foreign to his
conceptions, that I doubt whether he will know in what language to
assert them, unless_ the example which _you have thought it consistent
with justice, however opposite to policy, to show, of becoming his
advocates against your own interests, should inspire any of your own
servants to be his advisers and instructors_." And he did further, to
bring into contempt the authority of the Company, and to excite a
resistance to their lawful orders, frame a supposition that the Court of
Directors had intended the restoration of the Rajah of Benares, and on
that ground did presume in the said libel to calumniate, in
disrespectful and contumelious terms, the policy of the Court of
Directors, as well as the person whom he did conceive to be the object
of their protection, as followeth. "Of the consequences of such a policy
I forbear to speak. _Most happily, the wretch whose hopes may be excited
by the appearances in his favor is ill qualified to avail himself of
them_, and _the force which is stationed in the province of Benares is
sufficient to suppress any symptoms of internal sedition_; but it cannot
fail to create distrust and suspense in the minds both of the rulers and
of the people, and such a state is always productive of disorder. But it
is not in this partial consideration that I dread the effects of your
commands; it is in your proclaimed indisposition against the first
executive member of your first government in India. I almost shudder at
the reflection of what might have happened, had these denunciations
against your own minister, in favor of a man universally considered in
this part of the world as justly attainted for his crimes, the murderer
of your servants and soldiers, and the rebel to your authority, arrived
two months earlier."

VI. That the said Warren Hastings did also presume to censure and
asperse the Court of Directors for the moderate terms in which they had
expressed their displeasure against him, as putting him under the
necessity of stating in his defence a strong accusation against himself,
and as implying in the said Court a consciousness that he was not guilty
of the offences charged upon him,--being, as he asserts, in the
resolutions of the Court of Directors, "arraigned and prejudged of _a
violation of national faith, in acts of such complicated aggravation_,
that, _if they were true_, no punishment SHORT OF DEATH could atone for
the injury which the interest and credit of the public had sustained in
them"; and he did therefore censure the said Court for applying no
stronger or more criminating epithets than those of "improper,
unwarrantable, and highly impolitic," to an offence so by them charged,
and by him described. And though it be true that the expressions
aforesaid are much too reserved for the purpose of duly characterizing
the offences of the said Hastings, yet was it _in him_ most indecent to
libel the Court of Directors for the same; and his implication, from the
tenderness of the epithets and descriptions aforesaid used towards him,
was not only indecent, but ungrounded, malicious, and scandalous,--he
having himself highly, though truly, aggravated "the charge of the
injuries done by him to the Rajah of Benares," in order to bring the
said Directors into contempt and suspicion, the paragraphs in the said
libel being as follow.--"Here I must crave leave to say, that the terms
'improper, unwarrantable, and highly impolitic' are much too gentle, as
deductions from such premises; and as every reader of the latter will
obviously feel, as he reads, the deductions which inevitably belong to
them, I will add, that the strict performance of solemn engagements on
one part, followed by acts directly subversive of them and by total
dispossession on the other, stamps on the perpetrators of the latter the
guilt of the greatest possible violation of faith and justice."--"There
is an appearance of tenderness in this deviation from plain
construction, of which, however meant, I have a right to complain;
because it imposes on me the necessity of framing the terms of the
accusation against myself, which you have only not made, but have stated
the leading arguments to it so strongly, that no one who reads these can
avoid making it, _or not know it to have been intended_."

VII. That the said Hastings, being well aware that his own declarations
did contain the clearest condemnation of his own conduct from his own
pen, did in the said libel attempt to overturn, frustrate, and render of
none effect all the proofs to be given of prevarication, contradiction,
and of opposition of action to principle, which can be used against men
in public trust, and did contend that the same could not be used against
him; and as if false assertions could be justified by factious motives,
he did endeavor to do away the authority of his own _deliberate,
recorded_ declarations, entered by him _in writing_ on the Council-Books
of the Presidency; for, after asserting, _but not attempting to prove_,
that his declarations were consistent with his conduct, he writes in the
said libel as follows: For "were it otherwise, they were not to be made
the rules of my conduct; and God forbid that every expression dictated
by the impulse of present emergency, and unpremeditatedly uttered in the
heat of party contention, should impose upon me the obligation of a
fixed principle, and be applied to every variable occasion!"

VIII. That the said Hastings, in order to draw the lawful dependence of
the servants of the Company from the Court of Directors to a factious
dependence on himself, did, in the libel aforesaid, treat the acts and
appointments of their undoubted authority, when exercised in opposition
to his arbitrary will, as ruinous to their affairs, in the following
terms. "It is as well known to the Indian world as to the Court of
English Proprietors, that the first declaratory instruments of the
dissolution of my influence, in the year 1774, were Mr. John Bristow and
Mr. Francis Fowke. By your ancient and known constitution the Governor
has been ever held forth and understood to possess the ostensible
powers of government; all the correspondence with foreign princes is
conducted in his name; and every person resident with them for the
management of your political concerns is understood to be _more
especially his_ representative, and of _his_ choice: and such ought to
be the rule; for how otherwise can they trust an agent nominated against
the will of _his_ principal? When the state of this administration was
such as seemed to _admit of_ the appointment of Mr. Bristow to the
Residency of Lucknow without _much_ diminution of _my own_ influence, I
gladly seized the occasion to show my readiness to submit to your
commands; I proposed his nomination; he was nominated, and declared to
_be the agent of my own choice_. Even this effect of my caution _is
defeated by your absolute command for his reappointment independent of
me, and with the supposition that I should be adverse to it_.--I am now
wholly deprived of my official powers, both in the province of Oude, and
in the zemindary of Benares."

IX. That, further to emancipate others and himself from due obedience to
the Court of Directors, he did, in the libel aforesaid, enhance his
services, which, without specification or proof, he did suppose in the
said libel to be important and valuable, by representing them as done
under their displeasure, and doth attribute his not having done more to
their opposition, as followeth. "It is now a complete period of eleven
years since I first received the first nominal charge of your affairs;
in the course of it I have _invariably_ had to contend, not with
ordinary difficulties, but such as most _unnaturally_ arose _from the
opposition of those very powers from which I primarily derived my
authority, and which were required for the support of it_. My exertions,
though applied to an unvaried and consistent line of action, have been
occasional and desultory; yet I please myself with the hope, that, in
the annals of your dominion, which shall be written after the extinction
of recent prejudices, this term of its administration will appear not
the least conducive to the interests of the Company, nor the least
reflective of the honor of the British name: and allow me to suggest the
instructive reflection of _what good might have been done, and what evil
prevented, had due support been given to that administration which has
performed such eminent and substantial services without it_."

And the said Hastings, further to render the authority of the said Court
perfectly contemptible, doth, in a strain of exultation for his having
escaped out of a measure in which by his guilt he had involved the
Company in a ruinous war, and out of which it had escaped by a sacrifice
of almost all the territories before acquired (from that enemy which he
had made) either by war or former treaties, and by the abandoning the
Company's allies to their mercy, attribute the said supposed services to
his acting in such a manner as had on former occasions excited their
displeasure, in the following words. "Pardon, Honorable Sirs, this
digressive exultation. I cannot suppress the pride which I feel in this
successful achievement of a measure so fortunate for your interests and
the national honor; for that pride is the source of my zeal, so
frequently exerted in your support, and never more happily than in those
instances _in which I have departed from the prescribed and beaten path
of action, and assumed a responsibility which has too frequently drawn
on me the most pointed effects of your displeasure_. But however I may
yield to my private feelings in thus enlarging on the subject, my motive
in introducing it was immediately connected with its context, and was to
contrast _the actual state of your political affairs, derived from a
happier influence, with that which might have attended an earlier
dissolution of it_": and he did value himself upon "the _patience_ and
temper with which he had submitted to all the indignities which have
been heaped upon him" (meaning, by the said Court of Directors) "in this
long service"; and he did insolently attribute to an unusual strain of
zeal for their service, that he "_persevered_ in the VIOLENT MAINTENANCE

X. That, in order further to excite the spirit of disobedience in the
Company's servants to the lawful authority set over them, he, the said
Warren Hastings, did treat contemptuously and ironically the supposed
disposition of the Company's servants to obey the orders of the Court of
Directors, in the words following. "The recall of Mr. Markham, who was
known to be the public agent of my own nomination at Benares, and the
reappointment of Mr. Francis Fowke by your order, contained in the same
letter, would place it [the restoration of Cheyt Sing] beyond a doubt.
_This order has been obeyed; and whenever you shall be pleased to order
the restoration of Cheyt Sing, I will venture to promise the same ready
and exact submission in the other members of the Council._" And he did,
in the postscript of the said letter, and as on recollection, endeavor
to make a reparation of honor to his said colleagues, as if his
expressions aforesaid had arisen from animosity to them, as follows.
"Upon a careful revisal of what I have written, I fear that an
expression which I have used, respecting the probable conduct of the
board in the event of orders being received for the restoration of Cheyt
Sing, may be construed as intimating a sense of dissatisfaction applied
to transactions already past.--It is not my intention to complain of any

XI. That the said Hastings, in the acts of injury aforesaid to the Rajah
of Benares, did assume and arrogate to himself an illegal authority
therein, and did maintain that the acts done in consequence of that
measure were not revocable by any subsequent authority, in the following
words. "If you should proceed to order the restoration of Cheyt Sing to
the zemindary, from which, _by the powers which I legally possessed_,
and conceive myself legally _bound to assert_ against any _subsequent
authority to the contrary_ derived from _the same common source_, he was
dispossessed for crimes of the greatest enormity, and your Council shall
resolve to execute the order, I will instantly give up my station and
the service."

XII. That the said Warren Hastings did attempt to justify his
publication of the said libellous letter to and against the Court of
Directors by asserting therein that these resolutions (meaning the
resolutions of the Court of Directors relative to the Rajah of Benares)
"were _either_ published or _intended_ for publication": evidently
proving that he did take this unwarrantable course without any
sufficient assurance that the ground and motive by him assigned had any


I. That by an act passed in 1773 it was expressly ordered and provided,
"that it should not be lawful for any President and Council of Madras,
Bombay, or Bencoolen, for the time being, to make any orders for
commencing hostilities, or declaring or making war, against any Indian
princes or powers, or for negotiating or concluding any treaty of peace,
or other treaty, with any such Indian princes or powers, without the
consent and approbation of the Governor-General and Council first had
and obtained, except in such cases of _imminent necessity_ as would
render it dangerous to postpone such hostilities or treaties until the
orders from the Governor-General and Council might arrive." That,
nevertheless, the President and Council of Bombay did, in December,
1774, without the consent and approbation of the Governor-General and
Council of Fort William, and in the midst of profound peace, commence an
unjust and unprovoked war against the Mahratta government, did conclude
a treaty with a certain person, a fugitive from that government, and
proscribed by it, named Ragonaut Row, or Ragoba, and did, under various
base and treacherous pretences, invade and conquer the island of
Salsette, belonging to the Mahratta government.

II. That Warren Hastings, on the first advices received in Bengal of the
above transactions, did condemn the same in the strongest
terms,--declaring that "the measures adopted by the Presidency of Bombay
had a tendency to a very extensive and indefinite scene of troubles, and
that their conduct was unseasonable, impolitic, unjust, and
unauthorized." And the Governor-General and Council, in order to put a
stop to the said unjust hostilities, did appoint an ambassador to the
Peshwa, or chief of the Mahratta state, resident at Poonah; and the said
ambassador did, after a long negotiation, conclude a definitive treaty
of peace with the said Peshwa on terms highly honorable and beneficial
to the East India Company, who by the said treaty obtained from the
Mahrattas a cession of considerable tracts of country, the Mahratta
share of the city of Baroach, twelve lacs of rupees for the expenses of
the said unjust war, and particularly the island of Salsette, of which
the Presidency of Bombay had possessed themselves by surprise and
treachery. That, in return for these extraordinary concessions, the
articles principally insisted on by the Mahrattas, with a view to their
own future tranquillity and internal quiet, were, that _no assistance
should he given to any subject or servant of the Peshwa that should
cause disturbances or rebellion in the Mahratta dominions_, and
particularly that the English _should not assist Ragonaut Row_, to whom
the Mahrattas agreed to allow five lacs of rupees a year, or a jaghire
to that amount, and that he should reside at Benares. That,
nevertheless, the Presidency of Bombay did receive and keep Ragonaut Row
at Bombay, did furnish him with a considerable establishment, and
continue to carry on secret intrigues and negotiations with him, thereby
giving just ground of jealousy and distrust to the Mahratta state. That
the late Colonel John Upton, by whom the treaty of Poorunder was
negotiated and concluded, did declare to the Governor-General and
Council, "that, while Ragonaut Row resides at Bombay in expectation of
being supported, the ministers can place no confidence in the Council
there, which must now be productive of the greatest inconveniencies, and
perhaps in the end of fatal consequences." That the said Warren
Hastings, concurring with his Council, which then consisted of Sir John
Clavering, Richard Barwell, and Philip Francis, Esquires, did, on the
18th of August, 1777, declare to the Presidency of Bombay, that "he
could see no reason to doubt that the presence of Ragoba at Bombay would
continue to be _an insuperable bar_ to the completion of the treaty
concluded with the Mahratta government; nor could any sincere cordiality
and good understanding be established with them, as long as he should
appear to derive encouragement and support from the English." That Sir
John Clavering died soon after, and that the late Edward Wheler,
Esquire, succeeded to a seat in the Supreme Council. That on the 29th of
January, 1778, the Governor-General and Council received a letter from
the Presidency of Bombay, dated 12th December, 1777, in which they
declared, "that they had agreed to give encouragement to a _party_
formed in Ragoba's favor, and flattered themselves they should meet with
the hearty concurrence of the Governor-General and Council in the
measures they might be obliged to pursue in consequence." That the
_party_ so described was said to consist of four principal persons in
the Mahratta state, on whose part _some overtures_ had been made to Mr.
William Lewis, the Resident of Bombay at Poonah, _for the assistance of
the Company to bring Ragoba to Poonah_. That the said Warren Hastings,
immediately on the receipt of the preceding advices, did propose and
carry it in Council, by means of his casting voice, and against the
remonstrances, arguments, and solemn protest of two members of the
Supreme Council, that the _sanction_ of that government should be given
to the plan which the President and Council of Bombay had agreed to form
with the Mahratta government; and also that a supply of money (to the
amount of ten lacs of rupees) should be immediately granted to the
President and Council of Bombay _for the support of their engagements
above mentioned_; and also that a military force should be sent to the
Presidency of Bombay. That in defence of these resolutions the said
Warren Hastings did falsely pretend and affirm, "that the resolution of
the Presidency of Bombay was formed on such a case of _imminent
necessity_ as would have rendered it dangerous to postpone the execution
of it until the orders from the Governor-General and Council might
arrive; and that the said Presidency of Bombay _were warranted by the
treaty of Poorunder_ to join in a plan for conducting Ragonaut Row to
Poonah on the application of the ruling part of the Mahratta state":
whereas the main object of the said treaty on the part of the Mahrattas,
and to obtain which they made many important concessions to the India
Company, was, that the English should withdraw their forces, and give no
assistance to Ragoba, and that he should be excluded forever from any
share in their government, being a person _universally held in
abhorrence_ in the Mahratta empire; and if it had been true (instead of
being, as it was, notoriously false) that _the ruling part_ of the
administration of the Mahratta state solicited the return of Ragonaut
Row to Poonah, his return in that case might have been effected by acts
of their own, without the interposition of the English power, and
without our interference in their affairs. That it was the special duty
of the said Warren Hastings, derived from a special trust reposed in him
and power committed to him by Parliament, to have restrained, as by law
he had authority to do, the subordinate Presidency of Bombay from
entering into hostilities with the Mahrattas, or from making engagements
the manifest tendency of which was to enter into those hostilities, and
to have put a stop to them, if any such had been begun; that he was
bound by the duty of his office to preserve the faith of the British
government, pledged in the treaty of Poorunder, inviolate and sacred, as
well as by the special orders and instructions of the East India Company
_to fix his attention to the preservation of peace throughout India_:
all which important duties the said Warren Hastings did wilfully
violate, in giving the _sanction_ of the Governor-General and Council to
the dangerous, faithless, and ill-concerted projects of the President
and Council of Bombay hereinbefore mentioned, from which the subsequent
Mahratta war, with all the expense, distress, and disgraces which have
attended it, took their commencement; and that the said Warren Hastings,
therefore, is specially and principally answerable for the said war, and
for all the consequences thereof. That in a letter dated the 20th of
January, 1778, the President and Council of Bombay informed the
Governor-General and Council, that, in consequence of later intelligence
received from Poonah, they had _immediately resolved that nothing
further could be done, unless Saccaram Baboo, the principal in the late
treaty_ (of Poorunder) _joined in making a formal application to them_.
That no such application was ever made by that person. That the said
Warren Hastings, finding that all this pretended ground for engaging in
an invasion of the Mahratta government had totally failed, did then
pretend to give credit to, and to be greatly alarmed by, the suggestions
of the President and Council of Bombay, that the Mahrattas were
negotiating with the French, and had agreed to give them the port of
Choul, on the Malabar coast, and did affirm that the French _had
obtained possession of that port_. That all these suggestions and
assertions were false, and, if they had been true, would have furnished
no just occasion for attacking either the Mahrattas or the French, with
both of whom the British nation was then at peace. That the said Warren
Hastings did then propose and carry the following resolution in Council,
against the protest of two members thereof, that, "for the purpose of
granting you [the Presidency of Bombay] the most effectual support in
our power, we have resolved to assemble a strong military force near
Calpee, the commanding officer of which is to be ordered to march by the
most practicable route to Bombay, or to such other place as future
occurrences and your directions to him may render it expedient"; and
with respect to the _steps_ said to be taking _by the French to obtain a
settlement on the Malabar coast_, the said Warren Hastings did declare
to the Presidency of Bombay, "that it was the opinion of the
Governor-General and Council that no time ought to be lost in forming
and carrying into execution such measures as might most effectually tend
to frustrate such dangerous designs." That the said Warren Hastings,
therefore, instead of fixing his attention to the preservation of peace
throughout India, as it was his duty to have done, did continue to abet,
encourage, and support the dangerous projects of the Presidency of
Bombay, and did thereby manifest a determined intention to disturb the
peace of India, by the unfortunate success of which intention, and by
the continued efforts of the said Hastings, the greatest part of India
has been for several years involved in a bloody and calamitous war. That
both the Court of Directors and Court of Proprietors did specially
instruct the said Warren Hastings, in all his measures, "to make the
safety and prosperity of Bengal his principal object," and did heavily
censure the said Warren Hastings for having employed their troops at a
great distance from Bengal in a war against the Rohillas, which the
House of Commons have pronounced to be _iniquitous_,[17] and did on that
occasion expressly declare, "that they disapproved of all such distant
expeditions as might eventually carry their forces to any situation too
remote to admit of their speedy and safe return to the protection of
their own provinces, in case of emergency."[18] That the said Warren
Hastings nevertheless ordered a detachment from the Bengal army to cross
the Jumna, and to proceed across the peninsula by a circuitous route
through the diamond country of Bundelcund, and through the dominions of
the Rajah of Berar, situated in the centre of Hindostan, and did thereby
strip the provinces subject to the government of Fort William of a
considerable part of their established defence, and did thereby disobey
the general instructions and positive orders of the Court of Directors,
(given upon occasion of a crime of the same nature committed by the said
Hastings,) and was guilty of a high crime and misdemeanor.

That the said Warren Hastings, having taken the measures hereinbefore
described for supporting those of the Presidency of Bombay, did, on the
23d of March, 1778, "invest the said Presidency with authority to form
a new alliance with Ragoba, and to engage with him in _any_ scheme which
they should deem expedient and safe for retrieving his affairs." That
the said Hastings was then in possession of a letter from the Court of
Directors, dated the 4th of July, 1777, containing a positive order to
the Presidency of Bombay in the following words. "Though that treaty"
(meaning the treaty of Poorunder) "is not, upon the whole, so agreeable
to us as we could wish, still we are resolved strictly to adhere to it
on our parts. You must therefore be particularly vigilant, while Ragoba
is with you, to prevent him from forming any plan against what is called
the ministerial party at Poonah; and we hereby positively order you not
to engage with him in any scheme whatever in retrieving his affairs,
without the consent of the Governor-General and Council, or the Court of
Directors." That the said Ragoba neither did or could form any plan for
his restoration but what was and must be against the ministerial party
at Poonah, who held and exercised the regency of that state in the
infancy of the Peshwa; and that, supposing him to have formed any other
_scheme_, in conjunction with Bombay, _for retrieving his affairs_, the
said Hastings, in giving a previous _general_ authority to the
Presidency of Bombay to engage with Ragoba in _any_ scheme for that
purpose, without knowing what such scheme might be, and thereby
relinquishing and transferring to the discretion of a subordinate
government that superintendence and control over all measures tending to
create or provoke a war which the law had exclusively vested in the
Governor-General and Council, was guilty of a high crime and

That the said Warren Hastings, having first declared that the measures
taken by him were for the support of the engagements made by the
Presidency of Bombay in favor of Ragoba, did afterwards, when it
appeared that those negotiations were _entirely laid aside_, declare
that his apprehension of the consequence of a pretended _intrigue_
between the Mahrattas and the French _was the sole motive of all the
late measures taken for the support of the Presidency of Bombay_; but
that neither of the preceding declarations contained the true motives
and objects of the said Hastings, whose real purpose, as it appeared
soon after, was, to make use of the superiority of the British power in
India to carry on offensive wars, and to pursue schemes of conquest,
impolitic and unjust in their design, ill-concerted in the execution,
and which, as this House has resolved, _have brought great calamities on
India, and enormous expenses on the East India Company_.

That the said Warren Hastings, on the 22d of June, 1778, made the
following declaration in Council. "Much less can I agree, that, with
such superior advantages as we possess over every power which can oppose
us, we should act _merely on the defensive_. On the contrary, if it be
really true that the British arms and influence have suffered so severe
a check in the Western world, it is more incumbent on those who are
charged with the interests of Great Britain in the East _to exert
themselves for the retrieval of the national loss_. We have the means in
our power, and, if they are not frustrated by our own dissensions, I
trust that the event of this expedition will yield every advantage _for
the attainment of which it was undertaken_."

That, in pursuance of the principles avowed in the preceding
declaration, the said Warren Hastings, on the 9th of July, 1778, did
propose and carry it in Council, that an embassy should be sent from
Bengal to Moodajee Boosla, the Rajah of Berar,--falsely asserting that
the said Rajah "was, by interest and inclination, likely to join in an
alliance with the British government, and suggesting that two advantages
might be offered to him as the inducements to it: first, the support of
his pretensions to the sovereign power" (viz., of the Mahratta empire);
"second, the recovery of the captures made on his dominions by Nizam
Ali." That the said Hastings, having already given full authority to the
Presidency of Bombay to engage the British faith to Ragonaut Row to
support him in _his_ pretensions to the government or to the regency of
the Mahratta empire, was guilty of a high crime and misdemeanor in
proposing to engage the same British faith to support the pretensions of
another competitor for the same object; and that, in offering to assist
the Rajah of Berar to recover the captures made on his dominions by the
Nizam, the said Hastings did endeavor, as far as depended on him, to
engage the British nation in a most unjust and utterly unprovoked war
against the said Nizam, between whom and the East India Company a treaty
of peace and friendship did then subsist, unviolated on his
part,--notwithstanding the said Hastings well knew that it made part of
the East India Company's fundamental policy to support that prince
against the Mahrattas, and _to consider him as one of the few remaining
chiefs who were yet capable of coping with the Mahrattas_, and that it
was the Company's _true interest to preserve a good understanding with
him_. That, by holding out such offers to the Rajah of Berar, the said
Hastings professed to hope that the Rajah _would ardently catch at the
objects presented to his ambition_: and although the said Hastings did
about this time lay it down as a maxim that _there is always a greater
advantage in receiving solicitations than in making advances_, he
nevertheless declared to the said Rajah that _in the whole of his
conduct he had departed from the common line of policy, and had made
advances where others in his situation would have waited for
solicitation_. That the said unjust and dangerous projects did not take
effect, because the Rajah of Berar refused to join or be concerned
therein; yet so earnest was the said Hastings for the execution of those
projects, that in a subsequent letter he daringly and treacherously
assured the Rajah, "that, if he had accepted of the terms offered him by
Colonel Goddard, and concluded a treaty with the government of Bengal
upon them, he should have held the obligation of it superior to that of
any engagement formed by the government of Bombay, and should have
thought it his duty to maintain it, &c., against every consideration
_even of the most valuable interests and safety of the English
possessions intrusted to his charge_." That all the offers of the said
Hastings were rejected with slight and contempt by the Rajah of Berar;
but the same being discovered, and generally known throughout India, did
fill the chief of the princes and states of India with a general
suspicion and distrust of the ambitious designs and treacherous
principles of the British government, and with an universal hatred of
the British nation. That the said princes and states were thereby so
thoroughly convinced of the necessity of uniting amongst themselves to
oppose a power which kept no faith with any of them, and equally
threatened them all, that, renouncing all former enmities against each
other, they united in a common confederacy against the English, viz.:
the Peshwa, as representative of the Mahratta state, and Moodajee
Boosla, the Rajah of Berar, that is, the principal Hindoo powers of
India, on one side; and Hyder Ali, and the Nizam of the Deccan, that is,
the principal Mahomedan powers of India, on the other: and that in
consequence of this confederacy Hyder Ali invaded, overran, and ruined
the Carnatic; and that Moodajee Boosla, instead of _ardently catching at
the objects presented to his ambition_ by the said Hastings, sent an
army to the frontiers of Bengal,--which army the said Warren Hastings
was at length forced to buy off with twenty-six lacs of rupees, or
300,000_l._ sterling, after a series of negotiations with the Mahratta
chiefs who commanded that army, founded and conducted on principles so
dishonorable to the British name and character, that the Secret
Committee of the House of Commons, by whom the rest of the proceedings
in that business were reported to the House, _have upon due
consideration thought it proper to leave out the letter of instructions
to Mr. Anderson_, viz., those given by the said Warren Hastings to the
representative of the British government, and concerning which the said
committee have reported in the following terms: "The schemes of policy
by which the Governor-General seems to have dictated the instructions he
gave to Mr. Anderson" (the gentleman deputed) "will also appear in this
document, as well respecting the particular succession to the _rauje_,
as also the mode of accommodating the demand of _chout_, the
establishment of which was apparently the great aim of Moodajee's
political manoeuvres, while the Governor-General's wish to defeat it was
avowedly more intent on the removal of a nominal disgrace than on the
anxiety or resolution to be freed from an expensive, if an unavoidable

That, while the said Warren Hastings was endeavoring to persuade the
Rajah of Berar to engage with him in a scheme to place the said Rajah at
the head of the Mahratta empire, the Presidency of Bombay, by virtue of
the powers specially vested in them for that purpose by the said
Hastings, did really engage with Ragonaut Row, the other competitor for
the same object, and sent a great part of their military force,
established for the defence of Bombay, on an expedition with Ragonaut
Row, to invade the dominions of the Peshwa, and to take Poonah, the
capital thereof; that this army, being surrounded and overpowered by the
Mahrattas, was obliged to capitulate; and then, through the moderation
of the Mahrattas, was permitted to return quietly, but _very
disgracefully_, to Bombay. That, supposing the said Warren Hastings
could have been justified in abandoning the project of reinstating
Ragonaut Row, which he at first authorized and promised to support, and
in preferring a scheme to place the Rajah of Berar at the head of the
Mahratta empire, he was bound by his duty, as well as injustice to the
Presidency of Bombay, to give that Presidency timely notice of such his
intention, and to have restrained them positively from resuming their
own project; that, on the contrary, the said Warren Hastings did, on the
17th of August, 1778, again _authorize_ the said Presidency "to assist
Ragoba with a military force to conduct him to Poonah, and to establish
him in the regency there," and, so far from communicating his change of
plan to Bombay, did keep it concealed from that Presidency, insomuch
that, even so late as the 19th of February, 1779, William Hornby, then
Governor of Bombay, declared in Council his total ignorance of the
schemes of the said Hastings in the following terms: "The schemes of the
Governor-General and Council with regard to the Rajah of Berar _being
yet unknown to us_, it is impossible for us to found any measures on
them; yet I cannot help now observing, that, if, as has been
conjectured, the gentleman of that Presidency have entertained thoughts
of restoring, in his person, the ancient Rajah government, the attempt
seems likely to be attended with no small difficulty." That, whereas the
said Warren Hastings did repeatedly affirm that it was his intention to
support the plan formed by the Presidency of Bombay in favor of Ragoba,
and did repeatedly authorize and encourage them to pursue it, he did
nevertheless, at the same time, in his letters and declarations to the
Peshwa, to the Nizam, and to the Rajah of Berar, falsely and
perfidiously affirm, _that it never was nor is designed by the English
chiefs to give support to Ragonaut Row,--that he_ (Hastings) _had no
idea of supporting Ragonaut Row,--and that the detachment he had sent to
Bombay was solely to awe the French, without the least design to assist
Ragonaut Row_. That, supposing it to have been the sole _professed_
intention of the said Hastings, in sending an army across India, to
protect Bombay against a Trench invasion, even that pretence was false,
and used only to cover the real design of the said Hastings, viz., to
engage in projects of war and conquest with the Rajah of Berar. That on
the 11th of October, 1778, he informed the said Rajah "that the
detachment would soon arrive in his territories, and depend on him
[Moodajee Boosla] for its subsequent operations"; that on the 7th of
December, 1778, the said Hastings revoked the powers he had before
given[19] to the Presidency of Bombay over the detachment, declaring
that the event of Colonel Goddard's negotiation with the Rajah of Berar
_was likely to cause a very speedy and essential change in the design
and operations of the detachment_; and that on the 4th of March, 1779,
the said Hastings, immediately after receiving advice of the defeat of
the Bombay army near Poonah, and when Bombay, if at any time,
particularly required to be protected against a French invasion, did
declare in Council that he _wished for the return of the detachment to
Berar, and dreaded to hear of its proceeding to the Malabar coast_: and
therefore, if the said Hastings did not think that Bombay was in danger
of being attacked by the French, he was guilty of repeated falsehoods in
affirming the contrary for the purpose of covering a criminal design;
or, if he thought that Bombay was immediately threatened with that
danger, he then was guilty of treachery in ordering an army necessary on
that supposition to the immediate defence of Bombay to halt in Berar, to
depend on the Rajah of Berar for its subsequent operations, or on _the
event of a negotiation_ with that prince, which, as the said Hastings
declared, _was likely to cause a very speedy and essential change in the
design and operations of the detachment_; and finally, in declaring that
_he dreaded to hear of the said detachment's proceeding to the Malabar
coast_, whither he ought to have ordered it to proceed without delay,
if, as he has solemnly affirmed, it was true that _he had been told by
the highest authority that a powerful armament had been prepared in
France, the first object of which was an attack upon Bombay, and that
he knew with moral certainty that all the powers of the adjacent
continent were ready to join the invasion_.

That through the whole of these transactions the said Warren Hastings
has been guilty of continued falsehood, fraud, contradiction, and
duplicity, highly dishonorable to the character of the British nation;
that, in consequence of the unjust and ill-concerted schemes of the said
Hastings, the British arms, heretofore respected in India, have suffered
repeated disgraces, and great calamities have been thereby brought upon
India; and that the said Warren Hastings, as well in exciting and
promoting the late unprovoked and unjustifiable war against the
Mahrattas, as in the conduct thereof, has been guilty of sundry high
crimes and misdemeanors.

That, by the definitive treaty of peace concluded with the Mahrattas at
Poorunder, on the 1st of March, 1776, the Mahrattas gave up all right
and title to the island of Salsette, unjustly taken from them by the
Presidency of Bombay; did also give up to the English Company forever
all right and title to their entire shares of the city and purgunnah of
Baroach; did also give forever to the English Company a country of three
lacs of rupees revenue, near to Baroach; and did also agree to pay to
the Company twelve lacs of rupees, in part of the expenses of the
English army: and that the terms of the said treaty _were honorable and
advantageous to the India Company_.[20]

That Warren Hastings, having broken the said treaty, and forced the
Mahrattas into another war by a repeated invasion of their country, and
having conducted that war in the manner hereinbefore described, did, on
the 17th of May, 1782, by the agency of Mr. David Anderson, conclude
another treaty of perpetual friendship and alliance with the Mahrattas,
by which the said Hastings agreed to deliver up to them all the
countries, places, cities, and forts, particularly the island of
Bassein, (taken from the Peshwa during the war,) and to relinquish all
claim to the country of three lacs of rupees ceded to the Company by the
treaty of Poorunder; that the said Warren Hastings did also at the said
time, by a private and separate agreement, deliver up to Mahdajee Sindia
the whole of the city of Baroach,--that is, not only the share in the
said city which the India Company acquired by the treaty of Poorunder,
but the other share thereof which the India Company possessed for
several years before that treaty; and that among the reasons assigned by
Mr. David Anderson for totally stripping the Presidency of Bombay of all
their possessions on the Malabar coast, he has declared, "that, from the
general tenor of the _rest_ of the treaty, the settlement of Bombay
would be in future put on such a footing that it might well become a
question whether the possession of an inconsiderable territory without
forts would not be attended with more loss than advantage, as it must
necessarily occasion considerable expense, must require troops for its
defence, and might probably in the end lead, as Sindia apprehended, to a
renewal of war."

That the said Warren Hastings, having in this manner put an end to a war
commenced by him without provocation, and continued by him without
necessity, and having for that purpose made so many sacrifices to the
Mahrattas in points of essential interest to the India Company, did
consent and agree to other articles utterly dishonorable to the British
name and character, having sacrificed or abandoned every one of the
native princes who by _his_ solicitations and promises had been engaged
to take part with us in the war,--and that he did so without necessity:
since it appears that Sindia, the Mahratta chief who concluded the
treaty, _in every part of his conduct manifested a hearty desire of
establishing a peace_ with us; and that this was the disposition of all
the parties in the Mahratta confederacy, who were only kept together by
a general dread of their common enemy, the English, and who only waited
for a cessation of hostilities with us to return to their habitual and
permanent enmity against each other. That the Governor-General and
Council, in their letter of 31st August, 1781, made the following
declaration to the Court of Directors. "The Mahrattas have demanded the
sacrifice of the person of Ragonaut Row, the surrender of the fort and
territories of Ahmedabad, and of the fortress of Gualior, _which are not
ours to give, and which we could not wrest from the proprietors without
the greatest violation of public faith_. No state of affairs, in our
opinions, could warrant our acquiescence to such requisition; and we are
morally certain, that, had we yielded to them, such a consciousness of
the state of our affairs would have been implied as would have produced
an effect the very reverse from that for which it was intended, by
raising the presumption of the enemy to exact yet more _ignominious_
terms, or perhaps their refusal to accept of any; nor, in our opinion,
would they have failed to excite in others the same belief, and the
consequent decision of all parties against us, as the natural
consequences of our decline." That the said Hastings himself, in his
instructions to Mr. David Anderson, after authorizing him to restore
_all_ that we had conquered during the war, expressly "_excepted_
Ahmedabad, and the territory conquered for Futty Sing Gwicowar." That,
nevertheless, the said Hastings, in the peace concluded by him, has
yielded to every one of the conditions reprobated in the preceding
declarations as _ignominious_ and incompatible with public faith.

That the said Warren Hastings did abandon the Ranna of Gohud in the
manner already charged; and that the said Ranna has not only lost the
fort of Gualior, but all his own country, and is himself a prisoner.
That the said Hastings did not interpose to obtain any terms in favor of
the Nabob of Bopaul, who was _with great reason desirous of concealing
from the Mahrattas the attachment he had borne to the English
government_:[21] the said Nabob having a just dread of the danger of
being exposed to the resentment of the Mahrattas, and no dependence on
the faith and protection of the English. That by the ninth article of
the treaty with Futty Sing it was stipulated, that, when a negotiation
for peace should take place, his interest should be primarily
considered; and that Mr. David Anderson, the minister and representative
of the Governor-General and Council, did declare to Sindia, that it was
indispensably incumbent on us to support Futty Sing's rights: that,
nevertheless, every acquisition made for or by the said Futty Sing
during the war, particularly _the fort and territories of Ahmedabad_,
were given up by the said Hastings; that Futty Sing was replaced under
the subjection of the Peshwa, (whose resentment he had provoked by
taking part with us in the war,) and under an obligation to pay a
tribute, not specified, to the Peshwa, and to perform such services and
to be subject to such obedience _as had long been established and
customary_; and that, no limit being fixed to such tribute or services,
the said Futty Sing has been left wholly at the mercy of the Mahrattas.

That, with respect to Ragoba, the said Hastings, in his instructions to
Mr. Anderson, dated 4th of November, 1781, contented himself with
saying, "We cannot _totally_ abandon the interests of Ragonaut Row.
Endeavor to obtain for him an adequate provision." That Mr. Anderson
declared to Mahdajee Sindia,[22] "that, as we had given Ragoba
protection as an independent prince, and not brought him into our
settlement as a prisoner, we could not _in honor_ pretend to impose the
_smallest_ restraint on his will, and he must be at liberty to go
wherever he pleased; that it must rest with Sindia himself to prevail on
him to reside in his country: all that we could do was to _agree_, after
a reasonable time, _to withdraw our protection from him, and not to
insist on the payment of the stipend to him_, as Sindia had proposed,
unless on the condition of his residing in some part of Sindia's

That, notwithstanding all the preceding declarations, and in violation
of the public faith repeatedly pledged to Ragoba, he was totally
abandoned by the said Hastings in the treaty, no provision whatever
being made even for his subsistence, but on a condition to which he
could not submit without the certain loss of his liberty and probable
hazard of his life, namely, _that he should voluntarily and of his own
accord repair to Sindia, and quietly reside with him_. That such
treacherous desertion of the said Ragoba is not capable of being
justified by any plea of necessity: but that in fact no such necessity
existed; since it appears that the Nizam, who of all the contracting
parties in the confederacy was personally most hostile to Ragoba, did
himself _propose that Ragoba, might have an option given him_ of
residing within the Company's territories.

That the plan of negotiating a peace with the Mahrattas by application
to Sindia, and through his mediation, was earnestly recommended to the
said Hastings by the Presidency of Bombay so early as in February, 1779,
who stated clearly to him the reasons why such application ought to be
made to Sindia in preference to any other of the Mahratta chiefs, and
why it would probably be successful; the truth and justice of which
reasons were fully evinced in the issue, when the said Hastings, after
incurring, by two years' delay, all the losses and distresses of a
calamitous war, did actually pursue that very plan with much less effect
or advantage than might have been obtained at the time the advice was
given. That he neglected the advice of the Presidency of Bombay, and
retarded the peace, as well as made its conditions worse, from an
obstinate attachment to his project of an alliance offensive and
defensive with the Rajah of Berar, the object of which was rather a new
war than a termination of the war then existing against the Peshwa.

That the said Hastings did further embarrass and retard the conclusion
of a peace by employing different ministers at the courts of the several
confederate powers, whom he severally empowered to treat and negotiate
a peace. That these ministers, not acting in concert, not knowing the
extent of each other's commissions, and having no instructions to
communicate their respective proceedings to each other, did in effect
counteract their several negotiations. That this want of concert and of
simplicity, and the mystery and intricacy in the mode of conducting the
negotiation on our part, was complained of by our ministers as
embarrassing and disconcerting to us, while it was advantageous to the
adverse party, who were thereby furnished with opportunity and pretence
for delay, when it suited their purpose, and enabled to play off one set
of negotiators against another; that it also created jealousy and
distrust in the various contending parties, with whom we were treating
at the same time, and to whom we were obliged to make contradictory
professions, while it betrayed and exposed to them all our own eagerness
and impatience for peace, raising thereby the general claims and
pretensions of the enemy. That, while Dalhousie Watherston, Esquire, was
treating at Poonah, and David Anderson, Esquire, in Sindia's camp, with
separate powers applied to the same object, the minister at Poonah
informed the said Watherston, that he had received proposals for peace
from the Nabob of Arcot with the approbation of Sir Eyre Coote; that he
had returned other proposals to the said Nabob of Arcot, who had assured
him, the minister, that those proposals _would be acceded to, and that
Mr. Macpherson would set out for Bengal, after which orders should be
immediately dispatched from the Honorable the Governor-General and
Council to the effect he wished_; that the said Nabob "had promised to
obtain and forward to him the expected _orders from Bengal in fifteen
days_, and that he was therefore every instant in expectation of their
arrival,--and observed, that, when General Goddard proposed to send a
confidential person to Poonah, he conceived that those orders must have
actually reached him": that therefore the treaty formally concluded by
David Anderson was in effect and substance the same with that offered
and in reality concluded by the Nabob of Arcot, with the exception only
of Salsette, which the Nabob of Arcot had agreed to restore to the

That the intention of the said Warren Hastings, in pressing for a peace
with the Mahrattas on terms so dishonorable and by measures so rash and
ill-concerted, was not to restore and establish a general peace
throughout India, but to engage the India Company in a new war against
Hyder Ali, and to make the Mahrattas parties therein. That the eagerness
and passion with which the said Hastings pursued this object laid him
open to the Mahrattas, who depended thereon for obtaining whatever they
should demand from us. That, in order to carry the point of an offensive
alliance against Hyder Ali, the said Hastings exposed the negotiation
for peace with the Mahrattas to many difficulties and delays. That the
Mahrattas were bound by a clear and recent engagement, which Hyder had
never violated in any article, to make no peace with us which should not
include him; that they pleaded the sacred nature of this obligation in
answer to all our requisitions on this head, while the said Hastings,
still importunate for his favorite point, suggested to them various
means of reconciling a substantial breach of their engagement with a
formal observance of it, and taught them how they might at once be
parties in a peace with Hyder Ali and in an offensive alliance for
immediate hostility against him. That these lessons of public duplicity
and artifice, and these devices of ostensible faith and real treachery,
could have no effect but to degrade the national character, and to
inspire the Mahrattas themselves, with whom we were in treaty, with a
distrust in our sincerity and good faith. That the object of this
fraudulent policy (viz., the utter destruction of Hyder Ali, and a
partition of his dominions) was neither wise in itself, or authorized by
the orders and instructions of the Company to their servants; that it
was incompatible with the treaty of peace, in which Hyder Ali was
included, and contrary to the repeated and best-understood injunctions
of the Company,--being, in the first place, a bargain for a new war,
and, in the next, aiming at an extension of our territory by conquest.
That the best and soundest political opinions on the relations of these
states have always represented our great security against the power of
the Mahrattas to depend on its being balanced by that of Hyder Ali; and
the Mysore country is so placed as a barrier between the Carnatic and
the Mahrattas as to make it our interest rather to strengthen and repair
that barrier than to level and destroy it. That the said treaty of
partition does express itself to be _eventual_ with regard to the making
and keeping of peace; but through the whole course of the said
Hastings's proceeding he did endeavor to prevent any peace with the
Sultan or Nabob of Mysore, Tippoo Sahib, and did for a long time
endeavor to frustrate all the methods which could have rendered the
said treaty of conquest and partition wholly unnecessary.

That the Mahrattas having taken no effectual step to oblige Hyder Ali to
make good the conditions for which they had engaged in his behalf, and
the war continuing to be carried on in the Carnatic by Tippoo Sultan,
son and successor of Hyder Ali, the Presidency of Fort St. George
undertook, upon their own authority, to open a negotiation with the said
Tippoo: which measure, though indispensably necessary, the said Hastings
utterly disapproved and discountenanced, expressly denying that there
was any ground or motive for entering into any direct or separate treaty
with Tippoo, and not consenting to or authorizing any negotiation for
such treaty, until after a cessation of hostilities had been brought
about with him by the Presidency of Fort St. George, in August, 1783,
and the ministers of Tippoo had been received and treated with by that
Presidency, and commissioners, in return, actually sent by the said
Presidency to the court of Poonah: which late and reluctant consent and
authority were extorted from him, the said Hastings, in consequence of
the acknowledgment of his agent at the court of Mahdajee Sindia, upon
whom the said Warren Hastings had depended for enforcing the clauses of
the Mahratta treaty, of the precariousness of such dependence, and of
the necessity of that direct and separate treaty with Tippoo, so long
and so lately reprobated by the said Warren Hastings, notwithstanding
the information and entreaties of the Presidency of Fort St. George, as
well as the known distresses and critical situation of the Company's
affairs. That, though the said Warren Hastings did at length give
instructions for negotiating and making peace with Tippoo, expressly
adding, that those instructions extended to _all_ the points which
occurred to _him or them_ as capable of being agitated or gained upon
the occasion,--though the said instructions were sent after the said
commissioners by the Presidency of Fort St. George, with directions to
obey them,--though not only the said instructions were obeyed, but
advantages gained which did not occur to the said Warren
Hastings,--though the said peace formed a contrast with the Mahratta
peace, in neither ceding any territory possessed by the Company before
the war, or delivering up any dependant or ally to the vengeance of his
adversaries, but providing for the restoration of all the countries that
had been taken from the Company and their allies,--though the Supreme
Council of Calcutta, forming the legal government of Bengal in the
absence of the said Warren Hastings, ratified the said treaty,--yet the
said Warren Hastings, then absent from the seat of government, and out
of the province of Bengal, and forming no legal or integral part of the
government during such absence, did, after such ratification, usurp the
power of acting as a part of such government (as if actually sitting in
Council with the other members of the same) in the consideration and
unqualified censure of the terms of the said peace.

That the Nabob of Arcot, with whom the said Hastings did keep up an
unwarrantable clandestine correspondence, without any communication with
the Presidency of Madras, wrote a letter of complaint, dated the 27th of
March, 1784, against the Presidency of that place, without any
communication thereof to the said Presidency, the said complaint being
addressed to the said Warren Hastings, the substance of which complaint
was, that he, the Nabob, had not been made a party to the late treaty;
and although his interest had been sufficiently provided for in the said
treaty, the said Warren Hastings did sign a declaration, on the 23d of
May, at Lucknow, forming the basis of a new article, and making a new
party to the treaty, after it had been by all parties (the Supreme
Council of Calcutta included) completed and ratified, and did transmit
the said new stipulation to the Presidency at Calcutta, solely for the
purposes and at the instigation of the Nabob of Arcot; and the said
declaration was made without any previous communication with the
Presidency aforesaid, and in consequence thereof orders were sent by the
Council at Calcutta to the Presidency of Fort St. George, _under the
severest threats in case of disobedience_: which orders, whatever were
their purport, would, as an undue assumption of and participation in the
government, from which he was absent, become a high misdemeanor; but,
being to the purport of opening the said treaty after its solemn
ratification, and proposing a new clause and a new party to the same,
was also an aggravation of such misdemeanor, as it tended to convey to
the Indian powers an idea of the unsteadiness of the councils and
determinations of the British government, and to take away all reliance
on its engagements, and as, above all, it exposed the affairs of the
nation and the Company to the hazard of seeing renewed all the
calamities of war, from whence by the conclusion of the treaty they had
emerged, and upon a pretence so weak as that of proposing the Nabob of
Arcot to be a party to the same,--though he had not been made a party by
the said Warren Hastings in the Mahratta treaty, which professed to be
for the relief of the Carnatic,--though he was not a party to the former
treaty with Hyder, also relative to the Carnatic,--though it was not
certain, if the treaty were once opened, and that even Tippoo should
then consent to that Nabob's being a party, whether he, the said Nabob,
would agree to the clauses of the same, and consequently whether the
said treaty, once opened, could afterwards be concluded: an uncertainty
of which he, the said Hastings, should have learned to be aware, having
already once been disappointed by the said Nabob's refusing to accede to
a treaty which he, the said Warren Hastings, made for him with the
Dutch, about a year before.

That the said Warren Hastings,--having broken a solemn and honorable
treaty of peace by an unjust and unprovoked war,--having neglected to
conclude that war when he might have done it without loss of honor to
the nation,--having plotted and contrived, as far as depended on him, to
engage the India Company in another war as soon as the former should be
concluded,--and having at last put an end to a most unjust war against
the Mahrattas by a most ignominious peace with them, in which he
sacrificed objects essential to the interests, and submitted to
conditions utterly incompatible with the honor of this nation, and with
his own declared sense of the dishonorable nature of those
conditions,--and having endeavored to open anew the treaty concluded
with Tippoo Sultan through the means of the Presidency of Fort St.
George, upon principles of justice and honor, and which established
peace in India, and thereby exposing the British possessions there to
the renewal of the dangers and calamities of war,--has by these several
acts been guilty of sundry high crimes and misdemeanors.


That, by an act of the 13th year of his present Majesty, intituled, "An
act for establishing certain regulations for the better management of
the affairs of the East India Company, as well in India as in Europe,
the Governor-General and Council are required and directed to pay due
obedience to all such orders as they shall receive from the Court of
Directors of the said United Company, and to correspond from time to
time, and constantly and diligently transmit to the said Court an exact
particular of all advices or intelligence and of all transactions and
matters whatsoever that shall come to their knowledge, relating to the
government, commerce, revenues, or interest of the said United Company."

That, in consequence of the above-recited act, the Court of Directors,
in their general instructions of the 29th March, 1774, to the
Governor-General and Council, did direct, "that the correspondence with
the princes or country powers in India should be carried on through the
Governor-General only; but that all letters to be sent by him should be
first approved in Council; and that he should lay before the Council, at
their next meeting, all letters received by him in the course of such
correspondence, for their information."

And the Governor-General and Council were therein further ordered,
"that, in transacting the business of their department, they should
enter with the utmost perspicuity and exactness all their proceedings
whatsoever, and all dissents, if such should at any time be made by any
member of their board, together with all letters sent or received in the
course of their correspondence; and that broken sets of such
proceedings, to the latest period possible, be transmitted to them [the
Court of Directors], a complete set at the end of every year, and a
duplicate by the next conveyance."

That, in defiance of the said orders, and in breach of the above-recited
act of Parliament, the said Warren Hastings has, in sundry instances,
concealed from his Council the correspondence carried on between him and
the princes or country powers in India, and neglected to communicate the
advices and intelligence he from time to time received from the British
Residents at the different courts in India to the other members of the
government, and, without their knowledge, counsel, or participation, has
dispatched orders on matters of the utmost consequence to the interests
of the Company.

That, moreover, the said Warren Hastings, for the purpose of covering
his own improper and dangerous practices from his employers, has
withheld from the Court of Directors, upon sundry occasions, copies of
the proceedings had, and the correspondence carried on by him in his
official capacity as Governor-General, whereby the Court of Directors
have been kept in ignorance of matters which it highly imported them to
know, and the affairs of the Company have been exposed to much
inconvenience and injury.

That, in all such concealments and acts done or ordered without the
consent and authority of the Supreme Council, the said Warren Hastings
has been guilty of high crimes and misdemeanors.




I. That the Nabob Fyzoola Khan, who now holds of the Vizier the
territory of Rampoor, Shahabad, and certain other districts dependent
thereon, in the country of the Rohillas, is the second son of a prince
renowned in the history of Hindostan under the name of Ali Mohammed
Khan, some time sovereign of all that part of Rohilcund which is
particularly distinguished by the appellation of the Kutteehr.

II. That, after the death of Ali Mohammed aforesaid, as Fyzoola Khan,
together with his elder brother, was then a prisoner of war at a place
called Herat, "the Rohilla chiefs took possession of the ancient
estates" of the captive princes; and the Nabob Fyzoola Khan was from
necessity compelled to waive his hereditary rights for the
inconsiderable districts of Rampoor and Shahabad, then estimated to
produce from six to eight lacs of annual revenue.

III. That in 1774, on the invasion of Rohilcund by the united armies of
the Vizier Sujah ul Dowlah and the Company, the Nabob Fyzoola Khan,
"with some of his people, was present at the decisive battle of St.
George," where Hafiz Rhamet, the great leader of the Rohillas, and many
others of their principal chiefs were slain; but, escaping from the
slaughter, Fyzoola Khan "made his retreat good towards the mountains,
with all his treasure." He there collected the scattered remains of his
countrymen; and as he was the eldest surviving son of Ali Mohammed Khan,
as, too, the most powerful obstacle to his pretensions was now removed
by the death of Hafiz, he seems at length to have been generally
acknowledged by his natural subjects the undoubted heir of his father's

IV. That, "regarding the sacred _sincerity_ and friendship of the
English, whose _goodness_ and celebrity is everywhere known, _who
dispossess no one_," the Nabob Fyzoola Khan made early overtures for
peace to Colonel Alexander Champion, commander-in-chief of the Company's
forces in Bengal: that he did propose to the said Colonel Alexander
Champion, in three letters, received on the 14th, 24th, and 27th of May,
to put himself under the protection either of the Company, or of the
Vizier, through the mediation and with the guaranty of the Company; and
that he did offer, "whatever was conferred upon him, to pay as much
without damage or deficiency as any other person would agree to do":
stating, at the same time, his condition and pretensions hereinbefore
recited as facts "evident as the sun"; and appealing, in a forcible and
awful manner, to the generosity and magnanimity of this nation, "by
whose means he hoped in God that he should receive justice"; and as "the
person who designed the war was no more," as "in that he was himself
guiltless," and as "he had never acted in such a manner as for the
Vizier to have taken hatred to his heart against him, that he might be
reinstated in his ancient possessions, the country of Ins father."

V. That on the last of the three dates above mentioned, that is to say,
on the 27th of May, the Nabob Fyzoola Khan did also send to the
commander-in-chief a _vakeel_, or ambassador, who was authorized on the
part of him, the Nabob Fyzoola Khan, his master, to make a specific
offer of three propositions; and that by one of the said propositions
"an annual increase of near 400,000_l._ would have accrued to the
revenues of our ally, and the immediate acquisition of above 300,000_l._
to the Company, for their influence in effecting an accommodation
perfectly consistent with their engagements to the Vizier," and strictly
consonant to the demands of justice.

VI. That, so great was the confidence of the Nabob Fyzoola Khan in the
just, humane, and liberal feelings of Englishmen, as to "lull him into
an inactivity" of the most essential detriment to his interests: since,
"in the hopes which he entertained from the interposition of our
government," he declined the invitation of the Mogul to join the arms of
his Majesty and the Mahrattas, "refused any connection with the Seiks,"
and did even neglect to take the obvious precaution of crossing the
Ganges, as he had originally intended, while the river was yet
fordable,--a movement that would have enabled him certainly to baffle
all pursuit, and probably "to keep the Vizier in a state of disquietude
for the remainder of his life."

VII. That the commander-in-chief, Colonel Alexander Champion aforesaid,
"thought nothing could be more honorable to this nation than the support
of so exalted a character; and whilst it could be done on terms so
advantageous, supposed it very unlikely that the vakeel's proposition
should be received with indifference"; that he did accordingly refer it
to the administration through Warren Hastings, Esquire, then Governor of
Fort William and President of Bengal; and he did at the same time
inclose to the said Warren Hastings a letter from the Nabob Fyzoola Khan
to the said Hastings,--which letter does not appear, but must be
supposed to have been of the same tenor with those before cited to the
commander-in-chief,--of which also copies were sent to the said Hastings
by the commander-in-chief; and he, the commander-in-chief aforesaid,
after urging to the said Hastings sundry good and cogent arguments of
policy and prudence in favor of the Nabob Fyzoola Khan, did conclude by
"wishing for nothing so much as for the adoption of some measure that
might strike all the powers of the East with admiration of our justice,
in contrast to the conduct of the Vizier."

VIII. That, in answer to such laudable wish of the said
commander-in-chief, the President, Warren Hastings, preferring his own
prohibited plans of extended dominion to the mild, equitable, and wise
policy inculcated in the standing orders of his superiors, and now
enforced by the recommendation of the commander-in-chief, did instruct
and "desire" him, the said commander-in-chief, "instead of soliciting
the Vizier to relinquish his conquest to Fyzoola Khan, to discourage it
as much as was in his power"; although the said Hastings did not once
express, or even intimate, any doubt whatever of the Nabob Fyzoola
Khan's innocence as to the origin of the war, or of his hereditary
right to the territories which he claimed, but to the said pleas of the
Nabob Fyzoola Khan, as well as to the arguments both of policy and
justice advanced by the commander-in-chief, he, the said Hastings, did
solely oppose certain speculative objects of imagined expediency,
summing up his decided rejection of the proposals made by the Nabob
Fyzoola Khan in the following remarkable words. "With respect to Fyzoola
Khan, _he appears not to merit our consideration. The petty sovereign of
a country estimated at six or eight lacs ought not for a moment to prove
an impediment to any of our measures, or to affect the consistency of
our conduct_."

IX. That, in the aforesaid violent and arbitrary position, the said
Warren Hastings did avow it to be a public principle of his government,
that no right, however manifest, and no innocence, however unimpeached,
could entitle the weak to our protection against others, or save them
from our own active endeavors for their oppression, and even
extirpation, should they interfere with our notions of political
expediency; and that such a principle is highly derogatory to the
justice and honor of the English name, and fundamentally injurious to
our interests, inasmuch as it hath an immediate tendency to excite
distrust, jealousy, fear, and hatred against us among all the
subordinate potentates of Hindostan.

X. That, in prosecution of the said despotic principle, the President,
Warren Hastings aforesaid, did persist to obstruct, as far as in him
lay, every advance towards an accommodation between the Vizier Sujah ul
Dowlah and the Nabob Fyzoola Khan; and particularly on the 16th of
September, only eight days after the said Hastings, in, conjunction with
the other members of the Select Committee of Bengal, had publicly
testified his _satisfaction_ in the prospect of _an accommodation_, and
had _hoped_ that "his Excellency [the Vizier] would be disposed to
conciliate the affections [of the Rohillas] to his government _by
acceding to lenient terms_," he, the said Hastings, did nevertheless
write, and without the consent or knowledge of his colleagues did
privately dispatch, a certain answer to a letter of the
commander-in-chief, in which answer the said Hastings did express other
_contradictory hopes_, namely, that the commander-in-chief _had resolved
on prosecuting the war to a final issue_,--"because" (as the said
Hastings explains himself) "it appears very plainly that Fyzoola Khan
and his adherents _lay at your mercy_, because I apprehend much
inconveniency from delays, and because _I am morally certain that no
good will he gained by negotiating_": thereby artfully suggesting his
wishes of what might be, in his hopes of what had been, resolved; and
plainly, though indirectly, instigating the commander-in-chief to much
effusion of blood in an immediate attack on the Rohillas, posted as they
were "in a very strong situation," and "combating for all."

XI. That the said Hastings, in the answer aforesaid, did further
endeavor to inflame the commander-in-chief against the Nabob Fyzoola
Khan, by representing the said Nabob "as highly presuming, insolent, and
evasive"; and knowing the distrust which the Nabob Fyzoola Khan
entertained of the Vizier, the said Hastings did "expressly desire it
should be left wholly to the Vizier to treat with the enemy by _his own
agents_ and _in his own manner_,"--though he, the said Hastings, "by no
means wished the Vizier to lose time by seeking an accommodation, since
it would be more effectual, more decisive, and more _consistent with his
dignity, indeed with his honor, which he has already pledged_, to abide
by his first offers, to dictate the conditions of peace, and to admit
only an acceptance without reservation, or a clear refusal, from his
adversary": thereby affecting to hold up, in opposition to and in
exclusion of the substantial claims of justice, certain ideal
obligations of dignity and honor,--that is to say, the gratification of
pride, and the observance of an arrogant determination once declared.

XII. That, although the said answer did not reach the commander-in-chief
until peace was actually concluded, and although the dangerous
consequences to be apprehended from the said answer were thereby
prevented, yet, by the sentiments contained in the said answer, Warren
Hastings, Esquire, did strongly evince his ultimate adherence to all the
former violent and unjust principles of his conduct towards the Nabob
Fyzoola Khan, which principles were disgraceful to the character and
injurious to the interests of this nation; and that the said Warren
Hastings did thereby, in a particular manner, exclude himself from any
share of credit for "the honorable period put to the Rohilla war, which
has in some degree done away the reproach so wantonly brought on the
English name."



I. That, notwithstanding the culpable and criminal reluctance of the
President, Hastings, hereinbefore recited, a treaty of peace and
friendship between the Vizier Sujah ul Dowlah and the Nabob Fyzoola Khan
was finally signed and sealed on the 7th October, 1774, at a place
called Lall-Dang, in the presence and with the attestation of the
British commander-in-chief, Colonel Alexander Champion aforesaid; and
that for the said treaty the Nabob Fyzoola Khan agreed to pay, and did
actually pay, the valuable consideration of half his treasure, to the
amount of fifteen lacs of rupees, or 150,000_l._ sterling, and upwards.

II. That by the said treaty the Nabob Fyzoola Khan was established in
the quiet possession of Rampoor, Shahabad, and "some other districts
dependent thereon," subject to certain conditions, of which the more
important were as follow.

"That Fyzoola Khan should retain in his service five thousand _troops_,
and not a single man more.

"That, with whomsoever the Vizier should make war, Fyzoola Khan should
send _two or three thousand men, according to his ability_, to join the
forces of the Vizier.

"And that, if the Vizier should march in person, Fyzoola Khan should
himself accompany him _with his troops_."

III. That from the terms of the treaty above recited it doth plainly,
positively, and indisputably appear that the Nabob Fyzoola Khan, in
case of war, was not bound to furnish more than three thousand men under
any construction, unless the Vizier should march in person.

IV. That the Nabob Fyzoola Khan was not positively bound to furnish so
many as three thousand men, but an indefinite number, not more than
three and not less than two thousand; that of the precise number within
such limitations the ability of Fyzoola Khan, and not the discretion of
the Vizier, was to be the standard; and that such ability could only
mean that which was equitably consistent not only with the external
defence of his jaghire, but with the internal good management thereof,
both as to its police and revenue.

V. That, even in case the Vizier should march in person, it might be
reasonably doubted whether the personal service of the Nabob Fyzoola
Khan "with his troops" must be understood to be with _all_ his troops,
or only with the number before stipulated, not more than three and not
less than two thousand men; and that the latter is the interpretation
finally adopted by Warren Hastings aforesaid, and the Council of Bengal,
who, in a letter to the Court of Directors, dated April 5th, 1783,
represent the clauses of the treaty relative to the stipulated aid as
meaning simply that Fyzoola Khan "should send two or three thousand men
to join the Vizier's forces, or attend in person in case it should be

VI. That from the aforesaid terms of the treaty it doth not specifically
appear of what the stipulated aid should consist, whether of horse or
foot, or in what proportion of both; but that it is the recorded
opinion, maturely formed by the said Hastings and his Council, in
January, 1783, that even "a single horseman included in the aid which
Fyzoola Khan might furnish would prove a literal compliance with the

VII. That, in the event of any doubt fairly arising from the terms of
the treaty, the Nabob Fyzoola Khan, in consideration of his hereditary
right to the whole country, and the price by him actually paid for the
said treaty, was in equity entitled to the most favorable construction.

VIII. That, from the attestation of Colonel Champion aforesaid, the
government of Calcutta acquired the same right to interpose with the
Vizier for the protection of the Nabob Fyzoola Khan as they, the said
government, had before claimed from a similar attestation of Sir Robert
Barker to assist the Vizier in extirpating the whole nation of the said
Fyzoola Khan,--more especially as in the case of Sir Robert Barker it
was contrary to the remonstrances of the then administration, and the
furthest from the intentions of the said Barker himself, that his
attestation should involve the Company, but the attestation of Colonel
Champion was authorized by all the powers of the government, as a
"sanction" intended "to add validity" to the treaty; that they, the said
government, and in particular the said Warren Hastings, as the first
executive member of the same, were bound by the ties of natural justice
duly to exercise the aforesaid right, if need were; and that their duty
so to interfere was more particularly enforced by the spirit of the
censures passed both by the Directors and Proprietors in the Rohilla
war, and the satisfaction expressed by the Directors "in the honorable
end put to that war."



I. That during the life of the Vizier Sujah ul Dowlah, and for some time
after his death, under his son and successor, Asoph ul Dowlah, the Nabob
Fyzoola Khan did remain without disturbance or molestation; that he did
all the while imagine his treaty to be under the sanction of the
Company, from Colonel Champion's affixing his signature thereto as a
witness, "which signature, as he [Fyzoola Khan] supposed," (rendered the
Company the _arbitrators_) between the Vizier and himself, in case of
disputes; and that, being "a man of sense, but _extreme pusillanimity_,
a good farmer, fond of wealth, _not possessed of the passion of
ambition_," he did peaceably apply himself to "improve the state of his
country, and did, _by his own prudence and attention_, increase the
revenues thereof beyond the amount specified in Sujah ul Dowlah's

II. That in the year 1777, and in the beginning of the year 1778, being
"alarmed at the young Vizier's resumption of a number of jaghires
granted by his father to different persons, and the injustice and
oppression of his conduct in general," and having now learned (from whom
does not appear, but probably from some person supposed of competent
authority) that Colonel Champion formerly witnessed the treaty as a
private person, the Nabob Fyzoola Khan did make frequent and urgent
solicitations to Nathaniel Middleton, Esquire, then Resident at Oude,
and to Warren Hastings aforesaid, then Governor-General of Bengal, "for
a renovation of his [the Nabob Fyzoola Khan's] treaty with the late
Vizier, and the guaranty of the Company," or for a "separate agreement
with the Company for his defence": considering them, the Company, as
"the only power in which he had confidence, and to which he could look
up for protection."

III. That the said Resident Middleton, and the said Governor-General
Hastings, did not, as they were in duty bound to do, endeavor to allay
the apprehensions of the Nabob Fyzoola Khan by assuring him of his
safety under the sanction of Colonel Champion's attestation aforesaid,
but by their criminal neglect, if not by positive expressions, (as there
is just ground from their subsequent language and conduct to believe,)
they, the said Middleton and the said Hastings, did at least keep alive
and confirm (whoever may have originally suggested) the said
apprehension; and that such neglect alone was the more highly culpable
in the said Hastings, inasmuch as he, the said Hastings, in conjunction
with other members of the Select Committee of the then Presidency of
Bengal, did, on the 17th of September, 1774, write to Colonel Champion
aforesaid, publicly authorizing him, the said Colonel Champion, to join
his _sanction_ to the accommodations agreed on between the Vizier Sujah
ul Dowlah and the Nabob Fyzoola Khan, _to add to their validity_,--and
on the 6th of October following did again write to the said Colonel
Champion, more explicitly, to join his sanction, "either by attesting
the treaty, or _acting as guaranty_ on the part of the Company for the
performance of it": both which letters, though they did not arrive until
after the actual signature of the said Colonel Champion, do yet
incontrovertibly mark the solemn intention of the said Committee (of
which the said Hastings was President) that the sanction of Colonel
Champion's attestation should be regarded as a public, not a private,
sanction; and it was more peculiarly incumbent on such persons, who had
been members of the said Committee, so to regard the same.

IV. That the said Warren Hastings was further guilty of much criminal
concealment for the space of "twelve months," inasmuch as he did not lay
before the board the frequent and urgent solicitations which he, the
said Hastings, was continually receiving from the Nabob Fyzoola Khan,
until the 9th of March, 1778; on which day the said Hastings did
communicate to the Council a public letter of the aforesaid Middleton,
Resident at Oude, acquainting the board that he, the said Middleton,
taking occasion from a late application of Fyzoola Khan for the
Company's guaranty, had deputed Mr. Daniel Octavus Barwell (Assistant
Resident at Benares, but then on a visit to the Resident Middleton at
Lucknow) to proceed with a special commission to Rampoor, there to
inquire on the spot into the truth of certain reports circulated to the
prejudice of Fyzoola Khan, which reports, however, the said Middleton
did afterwards confess himself to have "_always_" _thought_ "_in the
highest degree improbable_."

That the said Resident Middleton did "request to know whether, on proof
of Fyzoola Khan's innocence, the honorable board would be pleased to
grant him [the Resident] permission to comply with his [Fyzoola Khan's]
request of the Company's guarantying his treaty with the Vizier." And
the said Middleton, in excuse for having irregularly "availed himself of
the abilities of Mr. Daniel Barwell," who belonged to another station,
and for deputing him with the aforesaid commission to Rampoor without
the previous knowledge of the board, did urge the plea "_of immediate
necessity_"; and that such plea, if the necessity really existed, was a
strong charge and accusation against the said Warren Hastings, from
whose criminal neglect and concealment the urgency of such necessity did

V. That the Governor-General, Warren Hastings aforesaid, did immediately
move, "that the board approve the deputation of Mr. Daniel Barwell, and
that the Resident [Middleton] be authorized to offer the Company's
guaranty for the observance of the treaty subsisting between the Vizier
and Fyzoola Khan, provided it meets with the Vizier's concurrence"; and
that the Governor-General's proposition was resolved in the affirmative:
the usual majority of Council then consisting of Richard Barwell,
Esquire, a near relation of Daniel Octavus Barwell aforesaid, and the
Governor-General, Warren Hastings, who, in case of an equality, had the
casting voice.

VI. That, on receiving from Mr. Daniel Barwell full and early assurance
of Fyzoola Khan's "having preserved every article of his treaty
inviolate," the Resident, Middleton, applied for the Vizier's
concurrence, which was readily obtained,--the Vizier, however,
"_premising_, that he gave his consent, taking it for granted, that, on
Fyzoola Khan's receiving the treaty and _khelaut_ [or robe of honor], he
was to make him a return of the complimentary presents usually offered
on such occasions, and _of such an amount as should be a manifestation
of Fyzoola Khan's due sense of his friendship, and suitable to his
Excellency's rank to receive_"; and that the Resident, Middleton, "did
make himself in some measure responsible for the said presents being
obtained," and did write to Mr. Daniel Barwell accordingly.

VII. That, agreeably to the resolution of Council hereinbefore recited,
the solicited guaranty, under the seal of the Resident, Middleton, thus
duly authorized on behalf of the Company, was transmitted, together with
the renewed treaty, to Mr. Daniel Barwell aforesaid at Rampoor, and that
they were both by him, the said Barwell, presented to the Nabob Fyzoola
Khan, with a solemnity not often paralleled, "in the presence of the
greatest part of the Nabob's subjects, who were assembled, that the
ceremony might create a full belief in the breasts of all his people
that the Company would protect him as long as he strictly adhered to the
_letter_ of his treaty."

VIII. That, in the conclusion of the said ceremony, the Nabob Fyzoola
Khan did deliver to the said Barwell, for the use of the Vizier, a
_nuzzer_ (or present) of elephants, horses, &c., and did add thereto a
lac of rupees, or 10,000_l._ and upwards: which sum the said Barwell,
"not being authorized to accept any pecuniary consideration, did at
first refuse; but upon Fyzoola Khan's urging, that on such occasions it
was the invariable custom of Hindostan, and _that it must on the present
be expected, as it had been formerly the case_," (but when does not
appear,) he, the said Barwell, did accept the said lac in the name of
the Vizier, our ally, "in whose wealth" (as Warren Hastings on another
occasion observed) "we should participate," and on whom we at that time
had an accumulating demand.

IX. That, over and above the lac of rupees thus presented to the Vizier,
the Nabob Fyzoola Khan did likewise offer one other lac of rupees, or
upwards of 10,000_l._ more, for the Company, "as some acknowledgment of
the obligation he received; that, although such acknowledgment was not
pretended to be the invariable custom of Hindostan on such occasions,
however it might on the present be expected," Mr. Daniel Barwell
aforesaid (knowing, probably, the disposition and views of the then
actual government at Calcutta) did not, _even at first_, decline the
said offer, but, as he was not empowered to accept it, did immediately
propose taking a bond for the amount, until the pleasure of the board
should be known.

That the offer was accordingly communicated by the said Barwell to the
Resident, Middleton, to be by him, the Resident, referred to the board,
and that it was so referred; that, in reply to the said reference of the
Resident, Middleton, the Governor-General, Warren Hastings, did move and
carry a vote of Council, "authorizing Mr. Middleton to accept the offer
made by Fyzoola Khan to the Company of one lac of rupees," without
assigning any reason whatever in support of the said motion,
notwithstanding it was objected by a member of the board, "that, if the
measure was right, it became us to adopt it without such a
consideration," and that "our accepting of the lac of rupees as a
recompense for our interposition is beneath the dignity of this
government [of Calcutta], and will discredit us in the eyes of the
Indian powers."

That the acceptance of the said sum, in this circumstance, was beneath
the dignity of the said government, and did tend so to discredit us; and
that the motion of the said Hastings for such acceptance was therefore
highly derogatory to the honor of this nation.

X. That the aforesaid member of the Council did further disapprove
altogether of the guaranty, "as unnecessary"; and that another member of
Council, Richard Barwell, Esquire, the near relation of Daniel Octavus
Barwell, hereinbefore named, did declare, (but after the said guaranty
had taken place,) that "this government [of Calcutta] was in fact
engaged by Colonel Champion's signature being to the treaty with Fyzoola
Khan." That the said unnecessary guaranty did not only subject to an
heavy expense a prince whom we were bound to protect, but did further
produce in his mind the following obvious and natural conclusion,
namely, "_that the signature of any person, in whatever public capacity
he at present appears, will not be valid and of effect, as soon as some
other shall fill his station_": a conclusion, however, immediately
tending to the total discredit of all powers delegated from the board to
any individual servant of the Company, and consequently to clog,
perplex, and embarrass in future all transactions carried on at a
distance from the seat of government, and to disturb the security of
all persons possessing instruments already so ratified,--yet the only
conclusion left to Fyzoola Khan which did not involve some affront
either to the private honor of the Company's servants or to the public
honor of the Company itself; and that the suspicions which originated
from the said idea in the breast of Fyzoola Khan to the prejudice of the
Resident Middleton's authority did compel the Governor-General, Warren
Hastings, to obviate the bad effects of his first motion for the
guaranty by a second motion, namely, "That a letter be written to
Fyzoola Khan from myself, _confirming the obligations of the Company as
guaranties_ to the treaty formed between him and the Vizier,--which will
be equivalent in its effect, though not in form, to an engagement sent
him with the Company's seal affixed to it."

XII.[23] That, whether the guaranty aforesaid was or was not necessary,
whether it created a new obligation or but more fully recognized an
obligation previously existing, the Governor-General, Warren Hastings,
by the said guaranty, did, in the most explicit manner, pledge and
commit the public faith of the Company and the nation; and that by the
subsequent letter of the said Hastings (which he at his own motion
wrote, confirming to Fyzoola Khan the aforesaid guaranty) the said
Hastings did again pledge and commit the public faith of the Company and
the nation, in a manner (as the said Hastings himself remarked)
"equivalent to an engagement with the Company's seal affixed to it," and
more particularly binding the said Hastings personally to exact a due
observance of the guarantied treaty, especially to protect the Nabob
Fyzoola Khan against any arbitrary construction or unwarranted
requisition of the Vizier.



I. That, soon after the completion of the guaranty, in the same year,
1778, intelligence was received in India of a war between England and
France; that, on the first intimation thereof, the Nabob Fyzoola Khan,
"being indirectly sounded," did show much "promptness to render the
Company any assistance within the bounds of his finances and ability";
and that by the suggestion of the Resident, Middleton, hereinbefore
named, he, the Nabob Fyzoola Khan, in a letter to the Governor-General
and Council, did make a voluntary "offer to maintain two thousand
cavalry (all he had) for our service," "though he was under no
obligation to furnish the Company with a single man."

II. That the Nabob Fyzoola Khan did even "anticipate the wishes of the
board"; and that, "on an application made to him by Lieutenant-Colonel
Muir," the Nabob Fyzoola Khan did, "without hesitation or delay,"
furnish him, the said Muir, with five hundred of his best cavalry.

That the said conduct of the Nabob Fyzoola Khan was communicated by the
Company's servants both to each other and to their employers, with
expressions of "pleasure" and "particular satisfaction," as an event
"even surpassing their expectations"; that the Governor-General, Warren
Hastings, was officially requested to convoy "the thanks of the board";
and that, not satisfied with the bare discharge of his duty under the
said request, he, the said Hastings, did, on the 8th of January, 1779,
write to Fyzoola, "that, _in his own name_," as well as "that of the
board, he [the said Hastings] returned him the _warmest_ thanks for this
instance of his faithful attachment to the Company and the English

IV.[24] That by the strong expressions above recited the said Warren
Hastings did deliberately and emphatically add his own particular
confirmation to the general testimony of the Nabob Fyzoola Khan's
meritorious fidelity, and of his consequent claim on the generosity, no
less than the justice, of the British government.



I. That, notwithstanding his own private honor thus deeply engaged,
notwithstanding the public justice and generosity of the Company and the
nation thus solemnly committed, disregarding the plain import and
positive terms of the guarantied treaty, the Governor-General, Warren
Hastings aforesaid, in November, 1780, while a body of Fyzoola Khan's
cavalry, voluntarily granted, were still serving under a British
officer, did recommend to the Vizier "to require from Fyzoola Khan the
quota of troops stipulated by treaty to be furnished by the latter for
his [the Vizier's] service, being FIVE THOUSAND HORSE," though, as the
Vizier did not march in person, he was not, under any construction of
the treaty, entitled by stipulation to more than "_two or three thousand
troops_," horse and foot, "according to the ability of Fyzoola Khan";
and that, whereas the said Warren Hastings would have been guilty of
very criminal perfidy, if he had simply neglected to interfere as a
guaranty against a demand thus plainly contrary to the faith of treaty,
so he aggravated the guilt of his perfidy in the most atrocious degree
by being himself the first mover and instigator of that injustice, which
he was bound by so many ties on himself, the Company, and the nation,
not only not to promote, but, by every exertion of authority, influence,
and power, to control, to divert, or to resist.

II. That the answer of Fyzoola Khan to the Vizier did represent, with
many expressions of deference, duty, and allegiance, that the whole
force allowed him was but "five thousand men," and that "these consisted
of two thousand horse and three thousand foot; which," he adds, "in
consequence of our intimate connection, are equally yours and the
Company's": though he does subsequently intimate, that "the three
thousand foot are for the management of the concerns of his jaghire, and
without them the collections can never be made in time."

That, on the communication of the said answer to the Governor-General,
Warren Hastings, he, the said Hastings, (who, as the Council now
consisted only of himself and Edward Wheler, Esquire, "united in his own
person all the powers of government,") was not induced to relax from his
unjust purpose, but did proceed with new violence to record, that "the
Nabob Fyzoola Khan _had evaded the performance of his part of the
treaty_ between the late Nabob Sujah ul Dowlah and him, to which the
Honorable Company were guaranties, and upon which he was lately summoned
to furnish the stipulated number of troops, which he is obliged to
furnish on the condition by which he holds the jaghire granted to him."

That, by the vague and indefinite term of evasion, the said Warren
Hastings did introduce a loose and arbitrary principle of interpreting
formal engagements, which ought to be regarded, more especially by
guaranties, ill a sense the most literally scrupulous and precise.

That he charged with such evasion a moderate, humble, and submissive
representation on a point which would have warranted a peremptory
refusal and a positive remonstrance; and that in consequence of the said
imputed evasion he indicated a disposition to attach such a forfeiture
as in justice could only have followed from a gross breach of
treaty,--though the said Hastings did not then pretend any actual
infringement even of the least among the conditions to which, in the
name of the Company, he, the said Hastings, was the executive guaranty.

III. That, however "the number of troops stipulated by treaty may have
been understood," at the period of the original demand, "to be five
thousand horse," yet the said Warren Hastings, at the time when he
recorded the supposed evasion of Fyzoola Khan's answer to the said
demand, could not be unacquainted with the express words of the
stipulation, as a letter of the Vizier, inserted in the same
Consultation, refers the Governor-General to inclosed copies "of all
engagements entered into by the late Vizier and by himself [the
reigning Vizier] with Fyzoola Khan," and that the treaty itself,
therefore, was at the very moment before the said Warren Hastings: which
treaty (as the said Hastings observed with respect to another treaty, in
the case of another person) "most assuredly does not contain a syllable
to justify his conduct; but, by the unexampled latitude which he assumes
in his constructions, he may, if he pleases, extort this or any other
meaning from any part of it."[25]

IV. That the Vizier himself appears by no means to have been persuaded
of his own right to five thousand horse under the treaty,--since, in his
correspondence on the subject, he, the Vizier, nowhere mentions the
treaty as the ground of his demand, except where he is recapitulating to
the Governor-General, Warren Hastings, the substance of his, the said
Hastings's, own letters; on the contrary, the Vizier hints his
apprehensions lest Fyzoola Khan should appeal to the treaty against the
demand, as a breach thereof,--in which case, he, the Vizier, informs the
said Hastings of the projected reply. "Should Fyzoola Khan" (says the
Vizier) "mention anything of the tenor of the treaty, _the first breach
of it has been committed by him_, in keeping up more men than allowed of
by the treaty: _I have accordingly sent a person to settle that point
also_. In case he should mention to me anything respecting the treaty, I
will then reproach him with having kept up too many troops, and will
oblige him to send the five thousand horse": thereby clearly intimating,
that, as a remonstrance against the demand as a breach of treaty could
only be answered by charging a prior breach of treaty on Fyzoola Khan,
so by annulling the whole treaty to reduce the question to a mere
question of force, and thus "oblige Fyzoola Khan to send the five
thousand horse": "for," (continues the Vizier,) "if, when the Company's
affairs, on which my honor depends, require it, Fyzoola Khan will not
lend his assistance, _what_ USE _is there to continue the country to

That the Vizier actually did make his application to Fyzoola Khan for
the five thousand horse, not as for an aid to which he had a just claim,
but as for something over and above the obligations of the treaty,
something "that would give increase to their friendship and satisfaction
to the Nabob Governor," (meaning the said Hastings,) whose directions he
represents as the motive "of his call for the five thousand horse to be
employed," not in his, the Vizier's, "but in the Company's service."

And that the aforesaid Warren Hastings did, therefore, in recording the
answer of Fyzoola Khan as an evasion of treaty, act in notorious
contradiction not only to that which ought to have been the fair
construction of the said treaty, but to that which he, the said
Hastings, must have known to be the Vizier's own interpretation of the
same, disposed as the Vizier was "to reproach Fyzoola Khan with breach
of treaty," and to "send up persons who should settle points with him."

V. That the said Warren Hastings, not thinking himself justified, on the
mere plea of an evasion, to push forward his proceedings to that
extremity which he seems already to have made his scope and object, and
seeking some better color for his unjust and violent purposes, did
further move, that commissioners should be sent from the Vizier and the
Company to Fyzoola Khan, to insist on a clause of a treaty which nowhere
appears, being essentially different from the treaty of Lall-Dang,
though not in the part on which the requisition is founded; and the said
Hastings did then, in a style unusually imperative, proceed as follows.

"_Demand immediate delivery of three thousand cavalry; and if he should
evade or refuse compliance, that the deputies shall deliver him a formal
protest against him for breach of treaty_, and return, making this
report to the Vizier, which Mr. Middleton is to transmit to the board."

VI. That the said motion of the Governor-General, Hastings, was ordered
accordingly,--the Council, as already has been herein related,
consisting but of two members, and the said Hastings consequently
"uniting in his own person all the powers of government."

VII. That, when the said Hastings ordered the said demand for three
thousand cavalry, he, the said Hastings, well knew that a compliance
therewith, on the part of the Nabob Fyzoola Khan, was utterly
impossible: for he, the said Hastings, had at the very moment before him
a letter of Fyzoola Khan, stating, that he, Fyzoola Khan, had "but two
thousand cavalry" altogether; which letter is entered on the records of
the Company, in the same Consultation, immediately preceding the
Governor-General's minute. That the said Hastings, therefore, knew that
the only possible consequence of the aforesaid demand necessarily and
inevitably must be a protest for a breach of treaty; and the Court of
Directors did not hesitate to declare that the said demand "carried the
appearance of a determination to create a pretext for depriving him
[Fyzoola Khan] of his jaghire entirely, or to leave him at the mercy of
the Vizier."

VIII. That Richard Johnson, Esquire, Assistant Resident at Oude, was,
agreeably to the afore-mentioned order of Council, deputed commissioner
from Mr. Middleton and the Vizier to Fyzoola Khan; but that he did early
give the most indecent proofs of glaring partiality, to the prejudice of
the said Fyzoola Khan: for that the very next day (as it seems) after
his arrival, he, the said Johnson, from opinions imbibed in his journey,
did state himself to be "unwilling to draw any favorable or flattering
inferences relatively to the object of his mission," and did studiously
seek to find new breaches of treaty, and, without any form of regular
inquiry whatever, from a single glance of his eye in passing, did take
upon himself to pronounce "the Rohilla soldiers, in the district of
Rampoor alone, to be not less than twenty thousand," and the grant of
course to be forfeited. And that such a gross and palpable display of a
predetermination to discover guilt did argue in the said Johnson a
knowledge, a strong presumption, or a belief, that such representations
would be agreeable to the secret wishes and views of the said Hastings,
under whose orders he, the said Johnson, acted, and to whom all his
reports were to be referred.

IX. That the said Richard Johnson, did soon after proceed to the
immediate object of his mission, "which" (the said Johnson relates)
"was short to a degree." The demand was made, and "a flat refusal"
given. The question was repeated, with like effect. The said Johnson, in
presence of proper witnesses, then drew up his protest, "together with a
memorandum of _a palliative offer_ made by the Nabob Fyzoola Khan," and
inserted in the protest:--"That he would, in compliance with the demand,
and _in conformity to the treaty, which specified no definite number of
cavalry or infantry, only expressing troops_, furnish three thousand
men: viz., he would, in addition to the one thousand cavalry already
granted, give one thousand more, when and wheresoever required, and one
thousand foot,"--together with one year's pay in advance, and funds for
the regular payment of them in future.

And this, the said Richard Johnson observes, "I put down at his [the
Nabob Fyzoola Khan's] particular desire, but otherwise useless; as _my
orders_" (which orders do not appear) "_were, not to receive any
palliation, but a negative or affirmative_": though such palliation, as
it is called by the said Johnson, might be, as it was, in the strictest
conformity to the treaty.

X. That in the said offer the Nabob Fyzoola Khan, instead of palliating,
did at once admit the extreme right of the Vizier under the treaty, by
agreeing to furnish three thousand men, when he, Fyzoola Khan, would
have been justified in pleading his inability to send more than two
thousand; that such inability would not (as appears) have been a false
and evasive plea, but perfectly true and valid,--as the three thousand
foot maintained by Fyzoola Khan were for the purposes of his internal
government, for which the whole three thousand must have been
demonstrably necessary; and that the Nabob Fyzoola Khan, by declining to
avail himself of a plea so fair, so well founded, and so consonant to
the indulgence expressly acknowledged in the treaty, and by thus meeting
the specific demand of the Vizier as fully as, according to his own
military establishment, he could, did for the said offer deserve rather
the thanks of the said Vizier and the Company than the protest which the
aforesaid Johnson, under the orders of Warren Hastings, did deliver.

XI. That the report of the said protest, as well as the former letter of
the said Johnson, were by the Resident, Middleton, transmitted to the
board, together with a letter from the Vizier, founded on the said
report and letter of the said Johnson, and proposing in consequence "to
resume the grant, and to leave Fyzoola Khan to join his other faithless
brethren who were sent across the Ganges."

That the said papers were read in Council on the 4th of June, 1781, when
the Governor-General, Warren Hastings, did move and carry a vote to
suspend a final resolution on the same: and the said Hastings did not
express any disapprobation of the proceedings of the said Johnson;
neither did the said Hastings assign any reasons for his motion of
suspension, which passed without debate. That in truth the said Hastings
had then projected a journey up the country to meet the Vizier for the
settlement of articles relative to the regulation of Oude and its
dependencies, among which was included the jaghire of Fyzoola Khan; and
the said Hastings, for the aforesaid purposes, did, on the 3d of July,
by his own casting vote, grant to himself, and did prevail on his
colleague, Edward Wheler, Esquire, to grant, a certain illegal
delegation of the whole powers of the Governor-General and Council, and
on the seventh of the same month did proceed on his way to join the
Vizier at a place called Chunar, on the borders of Benares; and that the
aforesaid vote of suspending a final resolution on the transactions with
Fyzoola Khan was therefore in substance and effect a reference thereof
by the said Hastings from himself in council with his colleague, Wheler,
to himself in conference and negotiation with the Vizier, who, from the
first demand of the five thousand horse, had taken every occasion of
showing his inclination to dispossess Fyzoola Khan, and who before the
said demand (in a letter which does not appear, but which the Vizier
himself quotes as antecedent to the said demand) had complained to the
said Hastings of the "injury and irregularity in the management of the
provinces bordering on Rampoor, arising from Fyzoola Khan having the
uncontrolled dominion of that district."



I. That the Governor-General, Warren Hastings, being vested with the
illegal powers before recited, did, on the 19th of September, 1781,
enter into a treaty with the Vizier at Chunar,--which treaty (as the
said Hastings relates) was drawn up "from a series of requisitions
presented to him [the said Hastings] by the Vizier," and by him received
"with an instant and unqualified assent to each article"; and that the
said Hastings assigns his reasons for such ready assent in the
following words: "I considered the subjects of his [the Vizier's]
requests as essential to the reputation of our government, and no less
to our interest than his."

II. That in the said treaty of Chunar the third article is as follows.

"That, as Fyzoola Khan has by his breach of treaty forfeited the
protection of the English government, and causes by his continuance in
his present independent state great alarm and detriment to the Nabob
Vizier, he be permitted, _when time shall suit_, to resume his lands,
and pay him in money, through the Resident, the amount stipulated by
treaty, after deducting the amount and charges of the troops he stands
engaged to furnish by treaty; which amount shall be passed to the
account of the Company during the continuance of the present war."

III. That, for the better elucidation of his policy in the several
articles of the treaty above mentioned, the said Hastings did send to
the Council of Calcutta (now consisting of Edward Wheler and John
Macpherson, Esquires) two different copies of the said treaty, with
explanatory minutes opposed to each article; and that the minute opposed
to the third article is thus expressed.

"The conduct of Fyzoola Khan, in refusing the aid demanded, though (1.)
_not an absolute breach of treaty_, was evasive and uncandid. (2.) _The
demand was made for five thousand cavalry_. (3.) _The engagement, in the
treaty is literally for five thousand horse and foot_. Fyzoola Khan
could not be ignorant that we had no occasion for any succors of
infantry from him, and that cavalry would be of the most essential
service. (4.) _So scrupulous an attention to literal expression, when a
more liberal interpretation would have been highly useful and acceptable
to us, strongly marks his unfriendly disposition, though it may not
impeach his fidelity, and leaves him little claim to any exertions from
us for the continuance of his jaghires. But _ (5.) _I am of opinion that
neither the Vizier's nor the Company's interests would be promoted by
depriving Fyzoola Khan of his independency, and I have_ (6.) _therefore
reserved the execution of this agreement to an indefinite term; and our
government may always interpose to prevent any ill effects from it_."

IV. That, in his aforesaid authentic evidence of his own purposes,
motives, and principles, in the third article of the treaty of Chunar,
the said Hastings hath established divers matters of weighty and serious
crimination against himself.

1st. That the said Hastings doth acknowledge therein, that he did, in a
public instrument, solemnly recognize, "_as a breach of treaty_," and as
such did subject to the consequent penalties, an act which he, the said
Hastings, did at the same time think, and did immediately declare, to be
"_no breach of treaty_"; and by so falsely and unjustly proceeding
against a person under the Company's guaranty, the said Hastings, on his
own confession, did himself break the faith of the said guaranty.

2d. That, in justifying this breach of the Company's faith, the said
Hastings doth _wholly abandon his second peremptory demand for the three
thousand horse_, and the protest consequent thereon; and the said
Hastings doth thereby himself condemn the violence and injustice of the

3dly. That, in recurring to the original demand of five thousand horse
as the ground of his justification, the said Hastings doth falsely
assert "the engagement in the treaty to be _literally_ FIVE _thousand
horse and foot_," whereas it is in fact for TWO _or_ THREE _thousand
men_; and the said Hastings doth thereby wilfully attempt to deceive and
mislead his employers, which is an high crime and misdemeanor in a
servant of so great trust.

4thly. That, with a view to his further justification, the said Hastings
doth advance a principle that "_a scrupulous attention to the literal
expression_" of a guarantied treaty "_leaves_" to the person so
observing the same "_but little claim to the exertions_" _of a guaranty
on his behalf_; that such a principle is utterly subversive of all faith
of guaranties, and is therefore highly criminal in the first executive
member of a government that must necessarily stand in that mutual
relation to many.

5thly. That the said Hastings doth profess his opinion of an article to
which he gave an "_instant and unqualified assent_," that it was a
measure "_by which neither the Vizier's nor the Company's interests
would be promoted_," but from which, without some interposition, "_ill
effects_" _must be expected_; and that the said Hastings doth thereby
charge himself with a high breach of trust towards his employers.

6thly. That the said Hastings having thus confessed that consciously and
wilfully (from what motives he hath not chosen to confess) he did give
his formal sanction to a measure both of injustice and impolicy, he, the
said Hastings, doth urge in his defence, that he did at the same time
insert words "reserving the execution of the said agreement to an
indefinite term," with an intent that it might in truth be never
executed at all,--but that "our government might always interpose,"
without right, by means of an indirect and undue influence, to prevent
the ill effects following from a collusive surrender of a clear and
authorized right to interpose; and the said Hastings doth thereby
declare himself to have introduced a principle of duplicity, deceit, and
double-dealing into a public engagement, which ought in its essence to
be clear, open, and explicit; that such a declaration tends to shake and
overthrow the confidence of all in the most solemn instruments of any
person so declaring, and is therefore an high crime and misdemeanor in
the first executive member of government, by whom all treaties and other
engagements of the state are principally to be conducted.

V. That, by the explanatory minute aforesaid, the said Warren Hastings
doth further, in the most direct manner, contradict his own assertions
in the very letter which inclosed the said minute to his colleagues; for
that one of the articles to which he there gave "_an instant and
unqualified assent, as no less to our interest than to the Vizier's_" he
doth here declare unequivocally to be _neither to our interests nor the
Vizier's_; and the "_unqualified_ assent" given to the said article is
now so _qualified_ as wholly to defeat itself. That by such
irreconcilable contradictions the said Hastings doth incur the suspicion
of much criminal misrepresentation in other like cases of unwitnessed
conferences; and in the present instance (as far as it extends) the said
Hastings doth prove himself to have given an account both of his actions
and motives by his own confession untrue, for the purpose of deceiving
his employers, which is an high crime and misdemeanor in a servant of so
great trust.

VI. That the said third article of the treaty of Chunar, as it thus
stands explained by the said Hastings himself, doth on the whole appear
designed to hold the protection of the Company in suspense; that it
acknowledges all right of interference to cease, but leaves it to our
discretion to determine when it will suit our conveniency to give the
Vizier the liberty of acting on the principles by us already admitted;
that it is dexterously constructed to balance the desires of one man,
rapacious and profuse, against the fears of another, described as "of
extreme pusillanimity and wealthy," but that, whatever may have been the
secret objects of the artifice and intrigue confessed to form its very
essence, it must on the very face of it necessarily implicate the
Company in a breach of faith, whichever might be the event, as they must
equally break their faith either by withdrawing their guaranty unjustly
or by continuing that guaranty in contradiction to this treaty of
Chunar; that it thus tends to hold out to India, and to the whole world,
that the public principle of the English government is a deliberate
system of injustice joined with falsehood, of impolicy, of bad faith,
and treachery; and that the said article is therefore in the highest
degree derogatory to the honor, and injurious to the interests of this



I. That, in consequence of the treaty of Chunar, the Governor-General,
Warren Hastings, did send official instructions respecting the various
articles of the said treaty to the said Resident, Middleton; and that,
in a postscript, the said Hastings did forbid the resumption of the
Nabob Fyzoola Khan's jaghire, "until circumstances may render it more
expedient and easy to be attempted than the present more material
pursuits of government make it appear": thereby intimating a positive
limitation of the indefinite term in the explanatory minute above
recited, and confining the suspension of the article to the pressure of
the war.

II. That, soon after the date of the said instructions, and within two
months of the signature of the treaty of Chunar, the said Hastings did
cause Sir Elijah Impey, Knight, his Majesty's chief-justice at Fort
William, to discredit the justice of the crown of Great Britain by
making him the channel of unwarrantable communication, and did, through
the said Sir Elijah, signify to the Resident, Middleton, his, the said
Hastings's, "approbation of a _subsidy_ from Fyzoola Khan."

III. That the Resident, in answer, represents the proper equivalent for
two thousand horse and one thousand foot (the forces offered to Mr.
Johnson by Fyzoola Khan) to be twelve lacs, or 120,000_l._ sterling and
upwards, each year; which the said Resident supposes is considerably
beyond what he, Fyzoola Khan, _will voluntarily pay_: "however, if it
is your wish that the claim should be made, I am ready to take it up,
and _you may he assured nothing in my power shall be left undone to
carry it through_."

IV. That the reply of the said Hastings doth not appear; but that it
does appear on record that "a negotiation" (Mr. Johnson's) "was begun
for Fyzoola Khan's cavalry to act with General Goddard, and, on his
[Fyzoola Khan's] _evading_ it, _that a sum of money was demanded_."

V. That, in the months of February, March, and April, the Resident,
Middleton, did repeatedly propose the resumption of Fyzoola Khan's
jaghire, agreeably to the treaty of Chunar; and that, driven to
extremity (as the said Hastings supposes) "by the public menaces and
denunciations of the Resident and minister," Hyder Beg Khan, a creature
of the said Hastings, and both the minister and Resident acting
professedly on and under the treaty of Chunar, "the Nabob Fyzoola Khan
made such preparations, and such a disposition of his family and wealth,
as evidently manifested either an intended or an _expected rupture_."

VI. That on the 6th of May the said Hastings did send his confidential
agent and friend, Major Palmer, on a private commission to Lucknow; and
that the said Palmer was charged with secret instructions relative to
Fyzoola Khan, but of what import cannot be ascertained, the said
Hastings in his public instructions having inserted only the name of
Fyzoola Khan, as a mere reference (according to the explanation of the
said Hastings) to what he had verbally communicated to the said Palmer;
and that the said Hastings was thereby guilty of a criminal concealment.

VII. That some time about the month of August an engagement happened
between a body of Fyzoola Khan's cavalry and a part of the Vizier's
army, in which the latter were beaten, and their guns taken; that the
Resident, Middleton, did represent the same but as a slight and
accidental affray; that it was acknowledged the troops of the Vizier
were the aggressors; that it did appear to the board, and to the said
Hastings himself, an affair of more considerable magnitude; and that
they did make the concealment thereof an article of charge against the
Resident, Middleton, though the said Resident did in truth acquaint them
with the same, but in a cursory manner.

VIII. That, immediately after the said "fray" at Daranagur, the Vizier
(who was "but a cipher in the hands" of the minister and the Resident,
both of them directly appointed and supported by the said Hastings) did
make of Fyzoola Khan a new demand, equally contrary to the true intent
and meaning of the treaty as his former requisitions: which new demand
was for the detachment in garrison at Daranagur to be cantoned as a
stationary force at Lucknow, the capital of the Vizier; whereas he, the
Vizier, had only a right to demand an occasional aid to join his army in
the field or in garrison during a war. But the said new demand being
_evaded_, or rather refused, agreeably to the fair construction of the
treaty, by the Nabob Fyzoola Khan, the matter was for the present

IX. That in the letter in which the Resident, Middleton, did mention
"what he calls the fray" aforesaid, the said Middleton did again apply
for the resumption of the jaghire of Rampoor; and that, the objections
against the measure being now removed, (by the separate peace with
Sindia,) he desired to know if the board "would give assurances of their
support to the Vizier, in case, _which_" (says the Resident) "_I think
very probable, his_ [the Vizier's] _own strength should be found unequal
to the undertaking_."

X. That, although the said Warren Hastings did make the foregoing
application a new charge against the Resident, Middleton, yet the said
Hastings did only criminate the said Middleton for a proposal tending
"at such a crisis to increase the number of our enemies," and did in no
degree, either in his articles of charge or in his accompanying minutes,
express any disapprobation whatever of the principle; that, in truth,
the whole proceedings of the said Resident were the natural result of
the treaty of Chunar; that the said proceedings were from time to time
communicated to the said Hastings; that, as he nowhere charges any
disobedience of orders on Mr. Middleton with respect to Fyzoola Khan, it
may be justly inferred that the said Hastings did not interfere to check
the proceedings of the said Middleton on that subject; and that by such
criminal neglect the said Hastings did make the guilt of the said
Middleton, whatever it might be, his own.



I. That on the charges and for the misdemeanors above specified,
together with divers other accusations, the Governor-General, Warren
Hastings, in September, 1782, did remove the aforesaid Middleton from
his office of Resident at Oude, and did appoint thereto John Bristow,
Esquire, whom he had twice before, without cause, recalled from the
same; and that about the same time the said Hastings did believe the
mind of the Nabob Fyzoola Khan to be so irritated, in consequence of the
above-recited conduct of the late Resident, Middleton, and of his, the
said Hastings's, own criminal neglect, that he, the said Hastings, found
it necessary to write to Fyzoola Khan, assuring him "of the favorable
disposition of the government toward him, while he shall not have
forfeited it by any improper conduct"; but that the said assurances of
the Governor-General did not tend, as soon after appeared, to raise much
confidence in the Nabob, over whom a public instrument of the same
Hastings was still holding the terrors of a deprivation of his jaghire,
and an exile "among his other faithless brethren across the Ganges."

II. That, on the subject of Fyzoola Khan, the said Hastings, in his
instructions to the new Resident, Bristow, did leave him to be guided by
his own discretion; but he adds, "Be careful to prevent the Vizier's
affairs from being involved with new difficulties, while he has already
so many to oppress him": thereby plainly hinting at some more decisive
measures, whenever the Vizier should be less oppressed with

III. That the Resident, Bristow, after acquainting the Governor-General
with his intentions, did under the said instructions renew the aforesaid
claim for a sum of money, but with much caution and circumspection,
distantly sounding Allif Khan, the _vakeel_ (or envoy) of Fyzoola Khan
at the court of the Vizier; that "Allif Khan wrote to his master on the
subject, and in answer he was directed not to agree to the granting of
any pecuniary aid."

IV. That the Resident, Bristow, did then openly depute Major Palmer
aforesaid, with the concurrence of the Vizier, and the approbation of
the Governor-General, to the Nabob Fyzoola Khan, at Rampoor; and that
the said Palmer was to "endeavor to convince the Nabob that _all doubts
of his attachment to the Vizier are ceased, and whatever claims may be
made on him are founded upon the basis of his interest and advantage and
a plan of establishing his right to the possession of his jaghire_."

That the sudden ceasing of the said doubts, without any inquiry of the
slightest kind, doth warrant a strong presumption of the Resident's
conviction that they never really existed, but were artfully feigned, as
a pretence for some harsh interposition; and that the indecent mockery
of establishing, as a matter of favor, for a pecuniary consideration,
rights which were never impeached but by the treaty of Chunar, (an
instrument recorded by Warren Hastings himself to be founded on
falsehood and injustice,) doth powerfully prove the true purpose and
object of all the duplicity, deceit, and double-dealing with which that
treaty was projected and executed.

V. That the said Palmer was instructed by the Resident, Bristow, with
the subsequent approbation of the Governor-General, "to obtain from
Fyzoola Khan _an annual tribute_"; to which the Resident adds,--"_If
you can procure from him, over and above this, a peshcush_ [or fine] _of
at least five lacs_, it would be rendering an essential service to the
Vizier, and add to _the confidence his Excellency would hereafter repose
in the attachment of the Nabob Fyzoola Khan_." And that the said
Governor-General, Hastings, did give the following extraordinary ground
of calculation, as the basis of the said Palmer's negotiation for the
annual tribute aforesaid.

"_It was certainly understood_, at the time the treaty was concluded,
(of which this stipulation was a part,) that it applied _solely to
cavalry_: as the Nabob Vizier, possessing the service of our forces,
could not possibly require infantry, and least of all such infantry as
Fyzoola Khan could furnish; and _a single horseman included in the aid
which Fyzoola Khan might furnish would prove a literal compliance with
the said stipulation_. The number, therefore, of horse implied by it
ought at least to be ascertained: _we will suppose five thousand_, and,
allowing the exigency for their attendance to exist only in the
proportion of _one year in five_, reduce the demand to one thousand for
the computation of the subsidy, which, at the rate of _fifty rupees_ per
man, will amount to fifty thousand _per mensem_. This may serve for the
basis of this article in the negotiation upon it."

VI. That the said Warren Hastings doth then continue to instruct the
said Palmer in the alternative of a refusal from Fyzoola Khan. "If
Fyzoola Khan shall refuse to treat for a subsidy, and claim the benefit
of his original agreement in its literal expression, _he possesses a
right which we cannot dispute_, and it will in that case remain only to
fix the precise number of horse which he shall furnish, which ought at
least to exceed twenty-five hundred."

VII. That, in the above-recited instruction, the said Warren Hastings
doth insinuate (for he doth not directly assert),--

1st. That we are entitled by treaty to five thousand troops, which he
says were undoubtedly intended to be all cavalry.

2d. That the said Hastings doth then admit that a single horseman,
included in the aid furnished by Fyzoola Khan, would prove a literal

3d. That the said Hastings doth next resort again to the supposition of
our right to the whole five thousand cavalry.

4th. That the said Hastings doth afterwards think, in the event of an
explanation of the treaty, and a settlement of the proportion of
cavalry, instead of a pecuniary commutation, it will be all we can
demand that the number should _at least exceed twenty-five hundred_.

5th. That the said Hastings doth, in calculating the supposed time of
their service, assume an arbitrary estimate of one year of war to four
of peace; which (however moderate the calculation may appear on the
average of the said Hastings's own government) doth involve a principle
in a considerable degree repugnant to the system of perfect peace
inculcated in the standing orders of the Company.

6th. That, in estimating the pay of the cavalry to be commuted, the
said Hastings doth fix the pay of each man at fifty rupees a month;
which on five thousand troops, all cavalry, (as the said Hastings
supposes the treaty of Lall-Dang to have meant,) would amount to an
expense of thirty lacs a year, or between 300,000_l._ or 400,000_l._ And
this expense, strictly resulting (according to the calculations of the
said Hastings) from the intention of Sujah ul Dowlah's grant to Fyzoola
Khan, was designed to be supported out of a jaghire valued at fifteen
lacs only, or something more than 150,000_l._ of yearly revenue, just
half the amount of the expense to be incurred in consideration of the
said jaghire.

And that a basis of negotiation so inconsistent, so arbitrary, and so
unjust is contrary to that uprightness and integrity which should mark
the transactions of a great state, and is highly derogatory to the honor
of this nation.

VIII. That, notwithstanding the seeming moderation and justice of the
said Hastings in admitting the clear and undoubted right of Fyzoola Khan
to insist on his treaty, the head of instruction immediately succeeding
doth afford just reason for a violent presumption that such apparent
lenity was but policy, to give a color to his conduct: he, the said
Hastings, in the very next paragraph, bringing forth a new engine of
oppression, as follows.

"To demand the surrender of all the ryots [or peasants] of the Nabob
Vizier's dominions to whom Fyzoola has given protection and service, _or
an annual tribute in compensation for the loss sustained by the Nabob
Vizier in his revenue thus transferred to Fyzoola Khan_.

"You have stated the increase of his jaghire, occasioned by this act,
at the moderate sum of fifteen lacs. _The tribute ought at least to be
one third of that amount_.

"We conceive that Fyzoola Khan himself may be disposed to yield to the
preceding demand, on the additional condition of being allowed to hold
his lands in _ultumgaw_ [or an inheritable tenure] instead of his
present tenure by _jaghire_ [or a tenure for life]. This we think the
Vizier can have no objection to grant, and we recommend it; _but for
this a fine, or peshcush, ought to be immediately paid, in the customary
proportion of the jumma, estimated at thirty lacs_."

IX. That the Resident, Bristow, (to whom the letter containing Major
Palmer's instructions is addressed,) nowhere attributes the increase of
Fyzoola Khan's revenues to this protection of the fugitive ryots,
subjects of the Vizier; that the said Warren Hastings was, therefore,
not warranted to make that a pretext of such a peremptory demand. That,
as an inducement to make Fyzoola Khan agree to the said demand, it is
offered to settle his lands upon a tenure which would secure them to his
children; but that settlement is to bring with it a new demand of a fine
of thirty lacs, or 300,000_l._ and upwards; that the principles of the
said demand are violent and despotic, and the inducement to acquiescence
deceitful and insidious; and that both the demand and the inducement are
derogatory to the honor of this nation.

X. That Major Palmer aforesaid proceeded under these instructions to
Rampoor, where his journey "_to extort a sum of money_" was previously
known from Allif Khan, vakeel of Fyzoola Khan at the Vizier's court; and
that, notwithstanding the assurances of the friendly disposition of
government given by the said Hastings, (as is herein related,) the Nabob
Fyzoola Khan did express the most serious and desponding apprehensions,
both by letter and through his vakeel, to the Resident, Bristow, who
represents them to Major Palmer in the following manner.

"The Nabob Fyzoola Khan complains of the distresses he has this year
suffered from the drought. The whole collections have, with great
management, amounted to about twelve lacs of rupees, from which sum he
has to support his troops, his family, and several relations and
dependants of the late Rohilla chiefs. _He says, it clearly appears to
be intended to deprive him of his country, as the high demand you have
made of him is inadmissible._ Should he have assented to it, it would be
impossible to perform the conditions, and then his reputation would be
injured by a breach of agreement. _Allif Khan further represents, that
it is his master's intention, in case the demand should not be
relinquished by you, first to proceed to Lucknow, where he proposes
having an interview with the Vizier and the Resident; if he should not
be able to obtain his own terms for a future possession of his jaghire,
he will set off for Calcutta in order to pray for justice from the
Honorable the Governor-General._ He observes, it is the custom of the
Honorable Company, when they deprive a chief of his country, to grant
him some allowance. This he expects from Mr. Hastings's bounty; _but if
he should be disappointed, he will certainly set off upon a pilgrimage
to Mecca and Medina, and renounce the cares of the world_.--_He directs
his vakeel to ascertain whether the English intend to deprive him of his
country_; for if they do, he is ready to surrender it, upon receiving an
order from the Resident."

XI. That, after much negotiation, the Nabob Fyzoola Khan, "being fully
sensible that an engagement to furnish military aid, _however clearly
the conditions might be stated, must be a source of perpetual
misunderstanding and inconveniencies_," did at length agree with Major
Palmer to give fifteen lacs, or 150,000_l._ and upwards, by four
instalments, that he might be exempted from all future claims of
military service; that the said Palmer represents it to be his belief,
"_that no person, not known to possess your_ [the said Hastings's]
_confidence and support in the degree that I am supposed to do_, would
have obtained nearly so good terms"; but from what motive "terms so
good" were granted, and how the confidence and support of the said
Hastings did truly operate on the mind of Fyzoola Khan, doth appear to
be better explained by another passage in the same letter, where the
said Palmer congratulates himself on _the satisfaction which he gave to
Fyzoola Khan_ in the conduct of this negotiation, as he spent a month in
order to effect "by argument and persuasion _what he could have obtained
in an hour by threats and compulsions_."



I. That, in the course of the said negotiation for establishing the
rights of the Nabob Fyzoola Khan, Major Palmer aforesaid did communicate
to the Resident, Bristow, and through the said Resident to the
Council-General of Bengal, the full and direct denial of the Nabob
Fyzoola Khan to all and every of the charges made or pretended to be
made against him, as follows.

"Fyzoola Khan persists in denying the infringement on his part of any
one article in the treaty, or the neglect of any obligation which it
imposed upon him.

"He does not admit of _the improvements reported to be made_ in his
jaghire, and even asserts that the collections this year will fall short
of the original _jumma_ [or estimate] by reason of the long drought.

"He denies having exceeded the limited number of Rohillas in his

"And having refused the required aid of cavalry, made by Johnson, to act
with General Goddard.

"He observes, respecting the charge of evading the Vizier's requisition
for the cavalry lately stationed at Daranagur, to be stationed at
Lucknow, that he is not bound by treaty to maintain a stationary force
for the service of the Vizier, but to supply an aid of two or three
thousand troops in time of war.

"Lastly, he asserts, that, so far from encouraging the ryots [or
peasants] of the Vizier to settle in his jaghire, it has been his
constant practice to deliver them up to the Aumil of Rohilcund, whenever
he could discover them."

II. That, in giving his opinions on the aforesaid denials of the Nabob
Fyzoola Khan, the said Palmer did not controvert any one of the
constructions of the treaty advanced by the said Nabob.

That, although the said Palmer, "from general appearances as well as
universal report, did not doubt that the jumma of the jaghire is
_greatly increased_," yet he, the said Palmer, did not intimate that it
was increased in any degree near _the amount reported_, as it was drawn
out in a regular estimate transmitted to the said Palmer expressly for
the purposes of his negotiation, which was of course by him produced to
the Nabob Fyzoola Khan, and to which specifically the denial of Fyzoola
Khan must be understood to apply.

That the said Palmer did not hint any doubt of the deficiency affirmed
by Fyzoola Khan in the collections for the current year: and,

That, if any increase of jumma did truly exist, whatever it may have
been, the said Palmer did acknowledge it "to have been solemnly
relinquished (in a private agreement) by the Vizier."

That, although the said Palmer did suppose the number of Rohillas
(employed "in ordinary occupations) in Rampoor alone to exceed that
limited by the treaty for his [Fyzoola Khan's] service," yet the said
Palmer did by no means imply that the Nabob Fyzoola Khan _maintained in
his service_ a single man more than was allowed by treaty; and by a
particular and minute account of the troops of Fyzoola Khan, transmitted
by the Resident, Bristow, to the said Palmer, the number was stated but
at 5,840, probably including officers, who were not understood to be
comprehended in the treaty.

That the said Palmer did further admit it "_to be not clearly expressed_
in the treaty, whether the restriction included Rohillas of all
descriptions"; but, at any rate, he adds, "it does not appear that their
number is formidable, or that he [Fyzoola Khan] _could by any means
subsist such numbers as could cause any serious alarm to the Vizier_;
neither is there any appearance of their entertaining any views beyond
the quiet possession of the advantages which they at present enjoy."

And that, in a subsequent letter, in which the said Palmer thought it
prudent "to vindicate himself from any possible insinuation that he
meant to sacrifice the Vizier's interest," he, the said Palmer, did
positively attest the new claim on Fyzoola Khan for the protection of
the Vizier's ryots to be wholly without foundation, as the Nabob Fyzoola
Khan "had proved to him [Palmer], by producing receipts of various dates
and for great numbers of these people surrendered upon requisition from
the Vizier's officers."

III. That, over and above the aforesaid complete refutation of the
different charges and pretexts under which exactions had been practised,
or attempted to be practised, on the Nabob Fyzoola Khan, the said Palmer
did further condemn altogether the principle of calculation assumed in
such exactions (even if they had been founded in justice) by the
following explanation of the nature of the tenure by which, under the
treaty of Lall-Dang, the Nabob Fyzoola Khan held his possessions as a

"There are no precedents in the ancient usage of the country for
ascertaining the _nuzzerana_ [customary present] or _peshcush_ [regular
fine] of grants of this nature: _they were bestowed by the prince as
rewards or favors_; and the accustomary present in return was adapted to
the dignity of the donor rather than to the value of the gift,--_to
which it never, I believe, bore any kind of proportion_."

IV. That a sum of money ("which of course was to be received by the
Company") being now obtained, and the "_interests both of the Company
and the Vizier_" being thus much "_better promoted_" by "_establishing
the rights_" of Fyzoola Khan than they could have been by "_depriving
him of his independency_," when every undue influence of secret and
criminal purposes was removed from the mind of the Governor-General,
Warren Hastings, Esquire, he, the said Hastings, did also concur with
his friend and agent, Major Palmer, in the vindication of the Nabob
Fyzoola Khan, and in the most ample manner.

That the said Warren Hastings did now clearly and explicitly understand
the clauses of the treaty, "that Fyzoola Khan should send _two_ or
_three_ [and not _five_] thousand men, or _attend in person, in case it
was requisite_."

That the said Warren Hastings did now confess that the right of the
Vizier under the treaty was at best "but _a precarious and unserviceable
right_; and that he thought fifteen lacs, or 150,000_l._ and upwards, an
ample equivalent," (or, according to the expression of Major Palmer, _an
excellent bargain_,) as in truth it was, "for expunging an article of
such a tenor and so loosely worded."

And, finally, that the said Hastings did give the following description
of the general character, disposition, and circumstances of the Nabob
Fyzoola Khan.

"The rumors which had been spread of his hostile designs against the
Vizier were totally groundless, and if he had been inclined, he had not
the means to make himself formidable; on the contrary, being in the
decline of life, and possessing a very fertile and prosperous jaghire,
it is more natural to suppose that Fyzoola Khan wishes to spend the
remainder of his days in quietness than that he is preparing to embark
in active and offensive scenes which must end in his own destruction."

V. Yet that, notwithstanding this virtual and implied crimination of his
whole conduct toward the Nabob Fyzoola Khan, and after all the aforesaid
acts systematically prosecuted in open violation of a positive treaty
against a prince who had an hereditary right to more than he actually
possessed, for whose protection the faith of the Company and the nation
was repeatedly pledged, and who had deserved and obtained the public
thanks of the British government,--when, in allusion to certain of the
said acts, the Court of Directors had expressed to the said Hastings
their wishes "to be considered rather as the guardians of the honor and
property of the native powers than as the instruments of oppression,"
he, the said Hastings, in reply to the said Directors, his masters, did
conclude his official account of the final settlement with Fyzoola Khan
with the following indecent, because unjust, exultation:--

"Such are the measures which we shall ever wish to observe towards our
allies or dependants upon our frontiers."




    Copy of a Letter from Warren Hastings, Esquire, to William Devaynes,
    Esquire, Chairman of the Court of Directors of the East India
    Company, dated Cheltenham, 11th of July, 1785, and printed by order
    of the House of Commons.

_To William Devaynes, Esquire, Chairman of the Honorable the Court of

Sir,--The Honorable Court of Directors, in their general letter to
Bengal by the "Surprise," dated the 16th March, 1784, were pleased to
express their desire that I should inform them of the periods when each
sum of the presents mentioned in my address of the 22d May, 1782, was
received, what were my motives for withholding the several receipts from
the knowledge of the Council, or of the Court of Directors, and what
were my reasons for taking bonds for part of these sums, and for paying
other sums into the treasury as deposits on my own account.

I have been kindly apprised that the information required as above is
yet expected from me. I hope that the circumstances of my past
situation, when considered, will plead my excuse for having thus long
withheld it. The fact is, that I was not at the Presidency when the
"Surprise" arrived; and when I returned to it, my time and attention
were so entirely engrossed, to the day of my final departure from it, by
a variety of other more important occupations, of which, Sir, I may
safely appeal to your testimony, grounded on the large portion
contributed by myself of the volumes which compose our Consultations of
that period, that the submission which my respect would have enjoined me
to pay to the command imposed on me was lost to my recollection, perhaps
from the stronger impression which the first and distant perusal of it
had left on my mind that it was rather intended as a reprehension for
something which had given offence in my report of the original
transaction than as expressive of any want of a further elucidation of

I will now endeavor to reply to the different questions which have been
stated to me in as explicit a manner as I am able. To such information
as I can give the Honorable Court is fully entitled; and where that
shall prove defective, I will point out the easy means by which it may
be rendered more complete.

First, I believe I can affirm with certainty, that the several sums
mentioned in the account transmitted with my letter above mentioned were
received at or within a very few days of the dates which are prefixed to
them in the account; but as this contains only the gross sums, and each
of these was received in different payments, though at no great distance
of time, I cannot therefore assign a greater degree of accuracy to the
account. Perhaps the Honorable Court will judge this sufficient for any
purpose to which their inquiry was directed; but if it should not be so,
I will beg leave to refer for a more minute information, and for the
means of making any investigation which they may think it proper to
direct, respecting the particulars of this transaction, to Mr. Larkins,
your Accountant-General, who was privy to every process of it, and
possesses, as I believe, the original paper, which contained the only
account that I ever kept of it. In this each receipt was, as I
recollect, specifically inserted, with the name of the person by whom it
was made; and I shall write to him to desire that he will furnish you
with the paper itself, if it is still in being and in his hands, or with
whatever he can distinctly recollect concerning it.

For my motives for withholding the several receipts from the knowledge
of the Council, or of the Court of Directors, and for taking bonds for
part of these sums, and paying others into the treasury as deposits on
my own account, I have generally accounted in my letter to the Honorable
the Court of Directors of the 22d May, 1782: namely, that "I either
chose to conceal the first receipts from public curiosity by receiving
bonds for the amount, or possibly acted without any studied design which
my memory at that distance of time could verify; and that I did not
think it worth my care to observe the same means with the rest." It will
not be expected that I should be able to give a more correct explanation
of my intentions after a lapse of three years, having declared at the
time that many particulars had escaped my remembrance; neither shall I
attempt to add more than the clearer affirmation of the facts implied in
that report of them, and such inferences as necessarily, or with a
strong probability, follow them.

I have said that the three first sums of the account were paid into the
Company's treasury without passing through my hands. The second of these
was forced into notice by its destination and application to the expense
of a detachment which was formed and employed against Mahdajee Sindia
under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel Camac, as I particularly
apprised the Court of Directors in my letter of the 29th November, 1780.
The other two were certainly not intended, when I received them, to be
made public, though intended for public service, and actually applied to
it. The exigencies of the government were at that time my own, and every
pressure upon it rested with its full weight upon my mind. Wherever I
could find allowable means of relieving those wants, I eagerly seized
them; but neither could it occur to me as necessary to state on our
Proceedings every little aid which I could thus procure, nor do I know
how I could have stated it, without appearing to court favor by an
ostentation which I disdain, nor without the chance of exciting the
jealousy of my colleagues by the constructive assertion of a separate
and unparticipated merit, derived from the influence of my station, to
which they might have laid an equal claim. I should have deemed it
particularly dishonorable to receive for my own use money tendered by
men of a certain class, from whom I had interdicted the receipt of
presents to my inferiors, and bound them by oath not to receive them. I
was therefore more than ordinarily cautious to avoid the suspicion of
it, which would scarcely have failed to light upon me, had I suffered
the money to be brought directly to my own house, or to that of any
person known to be in trust for me: for these reasons I caused it to be
transported immediately to the treasury. There, you well know, Sir, it
could not be received without being passed to some credit, and this
could only be done by entering it as a loan or as a deposit: the first
was the least liable to reflection, and therefore I had obviously
recourse to it. Why the second sum was entered as a deposit I am utterly
ignorant: possibly it was done without any special direction from me;
possibly because it was the simplest mode of entry, and therefore
preferred, as the transaction itself did not require concealment, having
been already avowed.

Although I am firmly persuaded that these were my sentiments on the
occasion, yet I will not affirm that they were. Though I feel their
impression as the remains of a series of thoughts retained on my memory,
I am not certain that they may not have been produced by subsequent
reflection on the principal fact, combining with it the probable motives
of it. Of this I am certain, that it was my design originally to have
concealed the receipt of all the sums, except the second, even from the
knowledge of the Court of Directors. They had answered my purpose of
public utility, and I had almost totally dismissed them from my
remembrance. But when fortune threw a sum in my way of a magnitude which
could not be concealed, and the peculiar delicacy of my situation at the
time in which I received it made me more circumspect of appearances, I
chose to apprise my employers of it, which I did hastily and generally:
hastily, perhaps to prevent the vigilance and activity of secret
calumny; and generally, because I knew not the exact amount of the sum,
of which I was in the receipt, but not in the full possession. I
promised to acquaint them with the result as soon as I should be in
possession of it, and in the performance of my promise I thought it
consistent with it to add to the account all the former appropriations
of the same kind: my good genius then suggesting to me, with a spirit of
caution which might have spared me the trouble of this apology, had I
universally attended to it, that, if I had suppressed them, and they
were afterwards known, I might be asked what were my motives for
withholding part of these receipts from the knowledge of the Court of
Directors and informing them of the rest.

It being my wish to clear up every doubt upon this transaction, which
either my own mind could suggest or which may have been suggested by
others, I beg leave to suppose another question, and to state the terms
of it in my reply, by informing you that the indorsement on the bonds
was made about the period of my leaving the Presidency, in the middle of
the year 1781, in order to guard against their becoming a claim on the
Company, as part of my estate, in the event of my death occurring in the
course of the service on which I was then entering.

This, Sir, is the plain history of the transaction. I should be ashamed
to request that you would communicate it to the Honorable Court of
Directors, whose time is too valuable for the intrusion of a subject so
uninteresting, but that it is become a point of indispensable duty; I
must therefore request the favor of you to lay it, at a convenient time,
before them. In addressing it to you personally, I yield to my own
feelings of the respect which is due to them as a body, and to the
assurances which I derive from your experienced civilities that you will
kindly overlook the trouble imposed by it.

I have the honor to be, Sir,
  Your very humble and most obedient servant,
     (Signed)                 WARREN HASTINGS.

  CHELTENHAM, 11 July, 1785.













My Lords,--The gentlemen who have it in command to support the
impeachment against Mr. Hastings have directed me to open the cause with
a general view of the grounds upon which the Commons have proceeded in
their charge against him. They have directed me to accompany this with
another general view of the extent, the magnitude, the nature, the
tendency, and the effect of the crimes which they allege to have been by
him committed. They have also directed me to give an explanation (with
their aid I may be enabled to give it) of such circumstances, preceding
the crimes charged on Mr. Hastings, or concomitant with them, as may
tend to elucidate whatever may be found obscure in the articles as they
stand. To these they wished me to add a few illustrative remarks on the
laws, customs, opinions, and manners of the people concerned, and who
are the objects of the crimes we charge on Mr. Hastings. The several
articles, as they appear before you, will be opened by other gentlemen
with more particularity, with more distinctness, and, without doubt,
with infinitely more ability, when they come to apply the evidence which
naturally belongs to each article of this accusation. This, my Lords, is
the plan which we mean to pursue on the great charge which is now to
abide your judgment.

My Lords, I must look upon it as an auspicious circumstance to this
cause, in which the honor of the kingdom and the fate of many nations
are involved, that, from the first commencement of our Parliamentary
process to this the hour of solemn trial, not the smallest difference of
opinion has arisen between the two Houses.

My Lords, there are persons who, looking rather upon what was to be
found in our records and histories than what was to be expected from the
public justice, had formed hopes consolatory to themselves and
dishonorable to us. They flattered themselves that the corruptions of
India would escape amidst the dissensions of Parliament. They are
disappointed. They will be disappointed in all the rest of their
expectations which they have formed upon everything, except the merits
of their cause. The Commons will not have the melancholy unsocial glory
of having acted a solitary part in a noble, but imperfect work. What the
greatest inquest of the nation has begun its highest tribunal will
accomplish. At length justice will be done to India. It is true that
your Lordships will have your full share in this great achievement; but
the Commons have always considered that whatever honor is divided with
you is doubled on themselves.

My Lords, I must confess, that, amidst these encouraging prospects, the
Commons do not approach your bar without awe and anxiety. The magnitude
of the interests which we have in charge will reconcile some degree of
solicitude for the event with the undoubting confidence with which we
repose ourselves upon your Lordships' justice. For we are men, my
Lords; and men are so made, that it is not only the greatness of danger,
but the value of the adventure, which measures the degree of our concern
in every undertaking. I solemnly assure your Lordships that no standard
is sufficient to estimate the value which the Commons set upon the event
of the cause they now bring before you. My Lords, the business of this
day is not the business of this man, it is not solely whether the
prisoner at the bar be found innocent or guilty, but whether millions of
mankind shall be made miserable or happy.

Your Lordships will see, in the progress of this cause, that there is
not only a long, connected, systematic series of misdemeanors, but an
equally connected system of maxims and principles invented to justify
them. Upon both of these you must judge. According to the judgment that
you shall give upon the past transactions in India, inseparably
connected as they are with the principles which support them, the whole
character of your future government in that distant empire is to be
unalterably decided. It will take its perpetual tenor, it will receive
its final impression, from the stamp of this very hour.

It is not only the interest of India, now the most considerable part of
the British empire, which is concerned, but the credit and honor of the
British nation itself will be decided by this decision. We are to decide
by this judgment, whether the crimes of individuals are to be turned
into public guilt and national ignominy, or whether this nation will
convert the very offences which have thrown a transient shade upon its
government into something that will reflect a permanent lustre upon the
honor, justice, and humanity of this kingdom.

My Lords, there is another consideration, which augments the solicitude
of the Commons, equal to those other two great interests I have stated,
those of our empire and our national character,--something that, if
possible, comes more home to the hearts and feelings of every
Englishman: I mean, the interests of our Constitution itself, which is
deeply involved in the event of this cause. The future use and the whole
effect, if not the very existence, of the process of an impeachment of
high crimes and misdemeanors before the peers of this kingdom upon the
charge of the Commons will very much be decided by your judgment in this
cause. This tribunal will be found (I hope it will always be found) too
great for petty causes: if it should at the same time be found
incompetent to one of the greatest,--that is, if little offences, from
their minuteness, escape you, and the greatest, from their magnitude,
oppress you,--it is impossible that this form of trial should not in the
end vanish out of the Constitution. For we must not deceive ourselves:
whatever does not stand with credit cannot stand long. And if the
Constitution should be deprived, I do not mean in form, but virtually,
of this resource, it is virtually deprived of everything else that is
valuable in it. For this process is the cement which binds the whole
together; this is the individuating principle that makes England what
England is. In this court it is that no subject, in no part of the
empire, can fail of competent and proportionable justice; here it is
that we provide for that which is the substantial excellence of our
Constitution,--I mean, the great circulation of responsibility, by which
(excepting the supreme power) no man, in no circumstance, can escape
the account which he owes to the laws of his country. It is by this
process that magistracy, which tries and controls all other things, is
itself tried and controlled. Other constitutions are satisfied with
making good subjects; this is a security for good governors. It is by
this tribunal that statesmen who abuse their power are accused by
statesmen and tried by statesmen, not upon the niceties of a narrow
jurisprudence, but upon the enlarged and solid principles of state
morality. It is here that those who by the abuse of power have violated
the spirit of law can never hope for protection from any of its forms;
it is here that those who have refused to conform themselves to its
perfections can never hope to escape through any of its defects. It
ought, therefore, my Lords, to become our common care to guard this your
precious deposit, rare in its use, but powerful in its effect, with a
religious vigilance, and never to suffer it to be either discredited or
antiquated. For this great end your Lordships are invested with great
and plenary powers: but you do not suspend, you do not supersede, you do
not annihilate any subordinate jurisdiction; on the contrary, you are
auxiliary and supplemental to them all.

Whether it is owing to the felicity of our times, less fertile in great
offences than those which have gone before us, or whether it is from a
sluggish apathy which has dulled and enervated the public justice, I am
not called upon to determine,--but, whatever may be the cause, it is now
sixty-three years since any impeachment, grounded upon abuse of
authority and misdemeanor in office, has come before this tribunal. The
last is that of Lord Macclesfield, which happened in the year 1725. So
that the oldest process known to the Constitution of this country has,
upon its revival, some appearance of novelty. At this time, when all
Europe is in a state of, perhaps, contagious fermentation, when
antiquity has lost all its reverence and all its effect on the minds of
men, at the same time that novelty is still attended with the suspicions
that always will be attached to whatever is new, we have been anxiously
careful, in a business which seems to combine the objections both to
what is antiquated and what is novel, so to conduct ourselves that
nothing in the revival of this great Parliamentary process shall afford
a pretext for its future disuse.

My Lords, strongly impressed as they are with these sentiments, the
Commons have conducted themselves with singular care and caution.
Without losing the spirit and zeal of a public prosecution, they have
comported themselves with such moderation, temper, and decorum as would
not have ill become the final judgment, if with them rested the final
judgment, of this great cause.

With very few intermissions, the affairs of India have constantly
engaged the attention of the Commons for more than fourteen years. We
may safely affirm we have tried every mode of legislative provision
before we had recourse to anything of penal process. It was in the year
1774 [1773?] we framed an act of Parliament for remedy to the then
existing disorders in India, such as the then information before us
enabled us to enact. Finding that the act of Parliament did not answer
all the ends that were expected from it, we had, in the year 1782,
recourse to a body of monitory resolutions. Neither had we the expected
fruit from them. When, therefore, we found that our inquiries and our
reports, our laws and our admonitions, were alike despised, that
enormities increased in proportion as they were forbidden, detected, and
exposed,--when we found that guilt stalked with an erect and upright
front, and that legal authority seemed to skulk and hide its head like
outlawed guilt,--when we found that some of those very persons who were
appointed by Parliament to assert the authority of the laws of this
kingdom were the most forward, the most bold, and the most active in the
conspiracy for their destruction,--then it was time for the justice of
the nation to recollect itself. To have forborne longer would not have
been patience, but collusion; it would have been participation with
guilt; it would have been to make ourselves accomplices with the

We found it was impossible to evade painful duty without betraying a
sacred trust. Having, therefore, resolved upon the last and only
resource, a penal prosecution, it was our next business to act in a
manner worthy of our long deliberation. In all points we proceeded with
selection. We have chosen (we trust it will so appear to your Lordships)
such a crime, and such a criminal, and such a body of evidence, and such
a mode of process, as would have recommended this course of justice to
posterity, even if it had not been supported by any example in the
practice of our forefathers.

First, to speak of the process: we are to inform your Lordships, that,
besides that long previous deliberation of fourteen years, we examined,
as a preliminary to this proceeding, every circumstance which could
prove favorable to parties apparently delinquent, before we finally
resolved to prosecute. There was no precedent to be found in the
Journals, favorable to persons in Mr. Hastings's circumstances, that was
not applied to. Many measures utterly unknown to former Parliamentary
proceedings, and which, indeed, seemed in some degree to enfeeble them,
but which were all to the advantage of those that were to be prosecuted,
were adopted, for the first time, upon this occasion. In an early stage
of the proceeding, the criminal desired to be heard. He was heard; and
he produced before the bar of the House that insolent and unbecoming
paper which lies upon our table. It was deliberately given in by his own
hand, and signed with his own name. The Commons, however, passed by
everything offensive in that paper with a magnanimity that became them.
They considered nothing in it but the facts that the defendant alleged,
and the principles he maintained; and after a deliberation not short of
judicial, we proceeded with confidence to your bar.

So far as to the process; which, though I mentioned last in the line and
order in which I stated the objects of our selection, I thought it best
to dispatch first.

As to the crime which we chose, we first considered well what it was in
its nature, under all the circumstances which attended it. We weighed it
with all its extenuations and with all its aggravations. On that review,
we are warranted to assert that the crimes with which we charge the
prisoner at the bar are substantial crimes,--that they are no errors or
mistakes, such as wise and good men might possibly fall into, which may
even produce very pernicious effects without being in fact great
offences. The Commons are too liberal not to allow for the difficulties
of a great and arduous public situation. They know too well the
domineering necessities which frequently occur in all great affairs.
They know the exigency of a pressing occasion, which, in its precipitate
career, bears everything down before it,--which does not give time to
the mind to recollect its faculties, to reinforce its reason, and to
have recourse to fixed principles, but, by compelling an instant and
tumultuous decision, too often obliges men to decide in a manner that
calm judgment would certainly have rejected. We know, as we are to be
served by men, that the persons who serve us must be tried as men, and
with a very large allowance indeed to human infirmity and human error.
This, my Lords, we knew and we weighed before we came before you. But
the crimes which we charge in these articles are not lapses, defects,
errors of common human frailty, which, as we know and feel, we can allow
for. We charge this offender with no crimes that have not arisen from
passions which it is criminal to harbor,--with no offences that have not
their root in avarice, rapacity, pride, insolence, ferocity, treachery,
cruelty, malignity of temper,--in short, in [with?] nothing that does
not argue a total extinction of all moral principle, that does not
manifest an inveterate blackness of heart, dyed in grain with malice,
vitiated, corrupted, gangrened to the very core. If we do not plant his
crimes in those vices which the breast of man is made to abhor, and the
spirit of all laws, human and divine, to interdict, we desire no longer
to be heard upon this occasion. Let everything that can be pleaded on
the ground of surprise or error, upon those grounds be pleaded with
success: we give up the whole of those predicaments. We urge no crimes
that were not crimes of forethought. We charge him with nothing that he
did not commit upon deliberation,--that he did not commit against
advice, supplication, and remonstrance,--that he did not commit against
the direct command of lawful authority,--that he did not commit after
reproof and reprimand, the reproof and reprimand of those who were
authorized by the laws to reprove and reprimand him. The crimes of Mr.
Hastings are crimes not only in themselves, but aggravated by being
crimes of contumacy. They were crimes, not against forms, but against
those eternal laws of justice which are our rule and our birthright. His
offences are, not in formal, technical language, but in reality, in
substance and effect, _high_ crimes and high misdemeanors.

So far as to the crimes. As to the criminal, we have chosen him on the
same principle on which we selected the crimes. We have not chosen to
bring before you a poor, puny, trembling delinquent, misled, perhaps, by
those who ought to have taught him better, but who have afterwards
oppressed him by their power, as they had first corrupted him by their
example. Instances there have been many, wherein the punishment of minor
offences, in inferior persons, has been made the means of screening
crimes of an high order, and in men of high description. Our course is
different. We have not brought before you an obscure offender, who, when
his insignificance and weakness are weighed against the power of the
prosecution, gives even to public justice something of the appearance of
oppression: no, my Lords, we have brought before you the first man of
India, in rank, authority, and station. We have brought before you the
chief of the tribe, the head of the whole body of Eastern offenders, a
captain-general of iniquity, under whom all the fraud, all the
peculation, all the tyranny in India are embodied, disciplined, arrayed,
and paid. This is the person, my Lords, that we bring before you. We
have brought before you such a person, that, if you strike at him with
the firm and decided arm of justice, you will not have need of a great
many more examples. You strike at the whole corps, if you strike at the

So far as to the crime: so far as to the criminal. Now, my Lords, I
shall say a few words relative to the evidence which we have brought to
support such a charge, and which ought to be equal in weight to the
charge itself. It is chiefly evidence of record, officially signed by
the criminal himself in many instances. We have brought before you his
own letters, authenticated by his own hand. On these we chiefly rely.
But we shall likewise bring before you living witnesses, competent to
speak to the points to which they are brought.

When you consider the late enormous power of the prisoner,--when you
consider his criminal, indefatigable assiduity in the destruction of all
recorded evidence,--when you consider the influence he has over almost
all living testimony,--when you consider the distance of the scene of
action,--I believe your Lordships, and I believe the world, will be
astonished that so much, so clear, so solid, and so conclusive evidence
of all kinds has been obtained against him. I have no doubt that in nine
instances in ten the evidence is such as would satisfy the narrow
precision supposed to prevail, and to a degree rightly to prevail, in
all subordinate power and delegated jurisdiction. But your Lordships
will maintain, what we assert and claim as the right of the subjects of
Great Britain, that you are not bound by any rules of evidence, or any
other rules whatever, except those of natural, immutable, and
substantial justice.

God forbid the Commons should desire that anything should be received as
proof from them which is not by nature adapted to prove the thing in
question! If they should make such a request, they would aim at
overturning the very principles of that justice to which they resort;
they would give the nation an evil example that would rebound back on
themselves, and bring destruction upon their own heads, and on those of
all their posterity.

On the other hand, I have too much confidence in the learning with which
you will be advised, and the liberality and nobleness of the sentiments
with which you are born, to suspect that you would, by any abuse of the
forms, and a technical course of proceeding, deny justice to so great a
part of the world that claims it at your hands. Your Lordships always
had an ample power, and almost unlimited jurisdiction; you have now a
boundless object. It is not from this district or from that parish, not
from this city or the other province, that relief is now applied for:
exiled and undone princes, extensive tribes, suffering nations, infinite
descriptions of men, different in language, in manners, and in rites,
men separated by every barrier of Nature from you, by the Providence of
God are blended in one common cause, and are now become suppliants at
your bar. For the honor of this nation, in vindication of this
mysterious Providence, let it be known that no rule formed upon
municipal maxims (if any such rule exists) will prevent the course of
that imperial justice which you owe to the people that call to you from
all parts of a great disjointed world. For, situated as this kingdom is,
an object, thank God, of envy to the rest of the nations, its conduct in
that high and elevated situation will undoubtedly be scrutinized with a
severity as great as its power is invidious.

It is well known that enormous wealth has poured into this country from
India through a thousand channels, public and concealed; and it is no
particular derogation from our honor to suppose a possibility of being
corrupted by that by which other empires have been corrupted, and
assemblies almost as respectable and venerable as your Lordships' have
been directly or indirectly vitiated. Forty millions of money, at least,
have within our memory been brought from India into England. In this
case the most sacred judicature ought to look to its reputation. Without
offence we may venture to suggest that the best way to secure reputation
is, not by a proud defiance of public opinion, but by guiding our
actions in such a manner as that public opinion may in the end be
securely defied, by having been previously respected and dreaded. No
direct false judgment is apprehended from the tribunals of this country;
but it is feared that partiality may lurk and nestle in the abuse of our
forms of proceeding. It is necessary, therefore, that nothing in that
proceeding should appear to mark the slightest trace, should betray the
faintest odor of chicane. God forbid, that, when you try the most
serious of all causes, that, when you try the cause of Asia in the
presence of Europe, there should be the least suspicion that a narrow
partiality, utterly destructive of justice, should so guide us that a
British subject in power should appear in substance to possess rights
which are denied to the humble allies, to the attached dependants of
this kingdom, who by their distance have a double demand upon your
protection, and who, by an implicit (I hope not a weak and useless)
trust in you, have stripped themselves of every other resource under

I do not say this from any fear, doubt, or hesitation concerning what
your Lordships will finally do,--none in the world; but I cannot shut my
ears to the rumors which you all know to be disseminated abroad. The
abusers of power may have a chance to cover themselves by those fences
and intrenchments which were made to secure the liberties of the people
against men of that very description. But God forbid it should be
bruited from Pekin to Paris, that the laws of England are for the rich
and the powerful, but to the poor, the miserable, and defenceless they
afford no resource at all! God forbid it should be said, no nation is
equal to the English in _substantial_ violence and in _formal_
justice,--that in this kingdom we feel ourselves competent to confer the
most extravagant and inordinate powers upon public ministers, but that
we are deficient, poor, helpless, lame, and impotent in the means of
calling them to account for their use of them! An opinion has been
insidiously circulated through this kingdom, and through foreign nations
too, that, in order to cover our participation in guilt, and our common
interest in the plunder of the East, we have invented a set of
scholastic distinctions, abhorrent to the common sense and unpropitious
to the common necessities of mankind, by which we are to deny ourselves
the knowledge of what the rest of the world knows, and what so great a
part of the world both knows and feels. I do not deprecate any
appearance which may give countenance to this aspersion from suspicion
that any corrupt motive can influence this court; I deprecate it from
knowing that hitherto we have moved within the narrow circle of
municipal justice. I am afraid, that, from the habits acquired by moving
within a circumscribed sphere, we may be induced rather to endeavor at
forcing Nature into that municipal circle than to enlarge the circle of
national justice to the necessities of the empire we have obtained.

This is the only thing which does create any doubt or difficulty in the
minds of sober people. But there are those who will not judge so
equitably. Where two motives, neither of them perfectly justifiable, may
be assigned, the worst has the chance of being preferred. If, from any
appearance of chicane in the court, justice should fail, all men will
say, better there were no tribunals at all. In my humble opinion, it
would be better a thousand times to give all complainants the short
answer the Dey of Algiers gave a British ambassador, representing
certain grievances suffered by the British merchants,--"My friend," (as
the story is related by Dr. Shaw,) "do not you know that my subjects are
a band of robbers, and that I am their captain?"--better it would be a
thousand times, and a thousand thousand times more manly, than an
hypocritical process, which, under a pretended reverence to punctilious
ceremonies and observances of law, abandons mankind without help and
resource to all the desolating consequences of arbitrary power. The
conduct and event of this cause will put an end to such doubts,
wherever they may be entertained. Your Lordships will exercise the great
plenary powers with which you are invested in a manner that will do
honor to the protecting justice of this kingdom, that will completely
avenge the great people who are subjected to it. You will not suffer
your proceedings to be squared by any rules but by their necessities,
and by that law of a common nature which cements them to us and us to
them. The reports to the contrary have been spread abroad with uncommon
industry; but they will be speedily refuted by the humanity, simplicity,
dignity, and nobleness of your Lordships' justice.

       *       *       *       *       *

Having said all that I am instructed to say concerning the process which
the House of Commons has used, concerning the crimes which they have
chosen, concerning the criminal upon whom they attach the crimes, and
concerning the evidence which they mean to produce, I am now to proceed
to open that part of the business which falls to my share. It is rather
an explanation of the circumstances than an enforcement of the crimes.

Your Lordships of course will be apprised that this cause is not what
occurs every day, in the ordinary round of municipal affairs,--that it
has a relation to many things, that it touches many points in many
places, which are wholly removed from the ordinary beaten orbit of our
English affairs. In other affairs, every allusion immediately meets its
point of reference; nothing can be started that does not immediately
awaken your attention to something in your own laws and usages which you
meet with every day in the ordinary transactions of life. But here you
are caught, as it were, into another world; you are to have the way
pioneered before you. As the subject is new, it must be explained; as it
is intricate as well as new, that explanation can be only comparatively
short: and therefore, knowing your Lordships to be possessed, along with
all other judicial virtues, of the first and foundation of them all,
judicial patience, I hope that you will not grudge a few hours to the
explanation of that which has cost the Commons fourteen years' assiduous
application to acquire,--that your Lordships will not disdain to grant a
few hours to what has cost the people of India upwards of thirty years
of their innate, inveterate, hereditary patience to endure.

       *       *       *       *       *

My Lords, the powers which Mr. Hastings is charged with having abused
are the powers delegated to him by the East India Company. The East
India Company itself acts under two very dissimilar sorts of powers,
derived from two sources very remote from each other. The first source
of its power is under charters which the crown of Great Britain was
authorized by act of Parliament to grant; the other is from several
charters derived from the Emperor of the Moguls, the person in whose
dominions they were chiefly conversant,--particularly that great charter
by which, in the year 1765, they acquired the high-stewardship of the
kingdoms of Bengal, Bahar, and Orissa. Under those two bodies of
charters, the East India Company, and all their servants, are authorized
to act.

As to those of the first description, it is from the British charters
that they derive the capacity by which they are considered as a public
body, or at all capable of any public function. It is from thence they
acquire the capacity to take from any power whatsoever any other
charter, to acquire any other offices, or to hold any other possessions.
This, being the root and origin of their power, renders them responsible
to the party from whom all their immediate and consequential powers are
derived. As they have emanated from the supreme power of this kingdom,
the whole body and the whole train of their servants, the corporate body
as a corporate body, individuals as individuals, are responsible to the
high justice of this kingdom. In delegating great power to the East
India Company, this kingdom has not released its sovereignty; on the
contrary, the responsibility of the Company is increased by the
greatness and sacredness of the powers that have been intrusted to it.
Attempts have been made abroad to circulate a notion that the acts of
the East India Company and their servants are not cognizable here. I
hope on this occasion your Lordships will show that this nation never
did give a power without annexing to it a proportionable degree of

As to their other powers, the Company derives them from the Mogul empire
by various charters from that crown, and from the great magistrates of
that crown, and particularly by the Mogul charter of 1765, by which they
obtained the _dewanny_, that is, the office of lord high-steward, of the
kingdoms of Bengal, Bahar, and Orissa. By that charter they bound
themselves (and bound inclusively all their servants) to perform all the
duties belonging to that new office, and to be held by all the ties
belonging to that new relation. If the Mogul empire had existed in its
vigor, they would have been bound, under that responsibility, to
observe the laws, rights, usages, and customs of the natives, and to
pursue their benefit in all things: for this duty was inherent in the
nature, institution, and purpose of the office which they received. If
the power of the sovereign from whom they derived these powers should by
any revolution in human affairs be annihilated or suspended, their duty
to the people below them, which was created under the Mogul charter, is
not annihilated, is not even suspended; and for their responsibility in
the performance of that duty, they are thrown back upon that country
(thank God, not annihilated) from whence their original power, and all
subsequent derivative powers, have flowed. When the Company acquired
that high office in India, an English corporation became an integral
part of the Mogul empire. When Great Britain virtually assented to that
grant of office, and afterwards took advantage of it, Great Britain
guarantied the performance of all its duties. Great Britain entered into
a virtual act of union with that country, by which we bound ourselves as
securities to preserve the people in all the rights, laws, and liberties
which their natural, original sovereign was bound to support, if he had
been in condition to support them. By the disposition of events, the two
duties, flowing from two different sources, are now united in one. The
people of India, therefore, come in the name of the Commons of Great
Britain, but in their own right, to the bar of this House, before the
supreme royal justice of this kingdom, from whence originally all the
powers under which they have suffered were derived.

It may be a little necessary, when we are stating the powers the Company
have derived from their charter, and which we state Mr. Hastings to
have abused, to state in as short and as comprehensive words as I can
(for the matter is large indeed) what the constitution of that Company
is,--I mean chiefly, what it is in reference to its Indian service, the
great theatre of the abuse. Your Lordships will naturally conceive that
it is not to inform you, but to revive circumstances in your memory,
that I enter into this detail.

You will therefore recollect, that the East India Company had its origin
about the latter end of the reign of Elizabeth, a period of projects,
when all sorts of commercial adventures, companies, and monopolies were
in fashion. At that time the Company was constituted with extensive
powers for increasing the commerce and the honor of this country;
because increasing its commerce, without increasing its honor and
reputation, would have been thought at that time, and will be thought
now, a bad bargain for the country. The powers of the Company were,
under that charter, merely commercial. By degrees, as the theatre of
operation was distant, as its intercourse was with many great, some
barbarous, and all of them armed nations, nations in which not only the
sovereign, but the subjects, were armed, it was found necessary to
enlarge their powers. The first power they obtained was a power of naval
discipline in their ships,--a power which has been since dropped; the
next was a power of law martial; the next was a power of civil, and, to
a degree, of criminal jurisdiction, within their own factories, upon
their own people and their own servants; the next was (and here was a
stride indeed) the power of peace and war. Those high and almost
incommunicable prerogatives of sovereignty, which were hardly ever
known before to be parted with to any subjects, and which in several
states were not wholly intrusted to the prince or head of the
commonwealth himself, were given to the East India Company. That Company
acquired these powers about the end of the reign of Charles the Second;
and they were afterwards more fully, as well as more legally, given by
Parliament after the Revolution. From this time, the East India Company
was no longer merely a mercantile company, formed for the extension of
the British commerce: it more nearly resembled a delegation of the whole
power and sovereignty of this kingdom sent into the East. From that time
the Company ought to be considered as a subordinate sovereign power:
that is, sovereign with regard to the objects which it touched;
subordinate with regard to the power from whence its great trust was

Under these successive arrangements things took a course very different
from their usual order. A new disposition took place, not dreamt of in
the theories of speculative politicians, and of which few examples in
the least resembling it have been seen in the modern world, none at all
in the ancient. In other instances, a political body that acts as a
commonwealth was first settled, and trade followed as a consequence of
the protection obtained by political power; but here the course of
affairs was reversed. The constitution of the Company began in commerce
and ended in empire. Indeed, wherever the sovereign powers of peace and
war are given, there wants but time and circumstance to make these
powers supersede every other. The affairs of commerce will fall at last
into their proper rank and situation. However primary in their original
intention, they will become secondary. The possession, therefore, and
the power of assertion of these great authorities coinciding with the
improved state of Europe, with the improved state of arts in Europe,
with the improved state of laws, and, what is much more material, the
improved state of military discipline, more and more perfected every day
with us,--universal improvement in Europe coinciding with the general
decay of Asia, (for the proud day of Asia is passed,) this improvement
coinciding with the relaxation and dissolution of the Mogul government,
with the decline of its warlike spirit, with the total disuse of the
ancient strictness of the military discipline established by Tamerlane,
the India Company came to be what it is, a great empire, carrying on,
subordinately, a great commerce; it became that thing which was supposed
by the Roman law irreconcilable to reason and propriety,--_eundem
negotiatorem et dominum_: the same power became the general trader, the
same power became the supreme lord.

In this exalted situation, the India Company, however, still preserves
traces of its original mercantile character. The whole exterior order of
its political service is carried on upon a mercantile plan and
mercantile principles. In fact, the East India Company in Asia is a
state in the disguise of a merchant. Its whole service is a system of
public offices in the disguise of a counting-house. Accordingly, the
whole external order and series of the service, as I observed, is
commercial; the principal, the inward, the real, is almost entirely

This system of the Company's service, its order and discipline, is
necessary to be explained to your Lordships, that you may see in what
manner the abuses have affected it. In the first place, all the persons
who go abroad in the Company's civil service enter as clerks in the
counting-house, and are called by a name to correspond to
it,--_writers_. In that condition they are obliged to serve five years.
The second step is that of a _factor_, in which they are obliged to
serve three years. The third step they take is that of a _junior
merchant_, in which they are obliged to serve three years more. At that
period they become _senior merchants_, which is the highest stage of
advance in the Company's service,--a rank by which they had pretensions,
before the year 1774, to the Council, to the succession of the
Presidency, and to whatever other honors the Company has to bestow.

The Company had, in its early times, established factories in certain
places; which factories by degrees grew to the name of Presidencies and
Council, in proportion as the power and influence of the Company
increased, and as the political began first to struggle with, and at
length to predominate over, the mercantile. In this form it continued
till the year 1773, when the legislature broke in, for proper reasons
urging them to it, upon that order of the service, and appointed to the
superior department persons who had no title to that place under the
ordinary usage of the service. Mr. Hastings and Mr. Harwell, whatever
other titles they might have had, held solely under the act of
Parliament nominating them to that authority; but in all other respects,
except where the act and other subsequent acts have not broken in upon
it, the whole course of the service remains upon the ancient footing,
that is, the commercial footing, as to the gradation and order of

Your Lordships see here a regular series of gradation, which requires
eleven years before any persons can arrive at the highest trusts and
situations. You will therefore be astonished, when so long a
probationary service was required, that effects very different from
those to be expected from long probation have happened, and that in a
much shorter time than those eleven years you have seen persons
returning into this kingdom with affluent, with overbearing fortunes. It
will be a great part of your inquiry, when we come before your Lordships
to substantiate evidence against Mr. Hastings, to discover how that
order came to be so completely broken down and erased that scarce a
trace of it for any good purpose remains. Though I will not deny that
that order, or that any order in a state, may be superseded by the
ruling power, when great talents, upon pressing exigencies, are to be
called forth, yet I must say the order itself was formed upon wise
principles. It furnished the persons who were put in that course of
probation with an opportunity (if circumstances enabled them) of
acquiring experience in business of revenue, trade, and policy. It gave
to those who watched them a constant inspection of their conduct through
all their progress. On the expectants of office it imposed the necessity
of acquiring a character in proportion to their standing, in order that
all which they had gained by the good behavior of years should not be
lost by the misconduct of an hour. It was a great substantial
regulation. But scarce a trace of the true spirit of it remains to be
discovered in Mr. Hastings's government; for Mr. Hastings established
offices, nay, whole systems of offices, and especially a system of
offices in 1781, which being altogether new, none of the rules of
gradation applied to them; and he filled those offices in such a manner
as suited best, not the constitution nor the spirit of the service, but
his own particular views and purposes. The consequence has been, that
persons in the most immature stages of life have been appointed to
conduct affairs which required the greatest maturity of judgment, the
greatest possible temper and moderation. Effects naturally consequent
have followed upon it.--I shall not trouble your Lordships with any
further observations on this system of gradation.

I must, however, remark, before I go further, that there is something in
the representation of the East India Company in their Oriental territory
different from that, perhaps, of any other nation that has ever
transported any part of its power from one country to another. The East
India Company in India is not properly a branch of the British nation:
it is only a deputation of individuals. When the Tartars entered into
China, when the Arabs and Tartars successively entered into Hindostan,
when the Goths and Vandals penetrated into Europe, when the Normans
forced their way into England, indeed, in all conquests, migrations,
settlements, and colonizations, the new people came as the offset of a
nation. The Company in India does not exist as a national colony. In
effect and substance nobody can go thither that does not go in its
service. The English in India are nothing but a seminary for the
succession of officers. They are a nation of placemen; they are a
commonwealth without a people; they are a state made up wholly of
magistrates. There is nothing to be in propriety called people, to
watch, to inspect, to balance against the power of office. The power of
office, so far as the English nation is concerned, is the sole power in
the country: the consequence of which is, that, being a kingdom of
magistrates, what is commonly called the _esprit du corps_ is strong in
it. This spirit of the body predominates equally in all its parts; by
which the members must consider themselves as having a common interest,
and that common interest separated both from that of the country which
sent them out and from that of the country in which they act. No control
upon them exists,--none, I mean, in persons who understand their
language, who understand their manners, or can apply their conduct to
the laws. Therefore, in a body so constituted, confederacy is easy, and
has been general. Your Lordships are not to expect that that should
happen in such a body which never happened in any body or
corporation,--that is, that they should, in any instance, be a proper
check and control upon themselves. It is not in the nature of things.
The fundamental principle of the whole of the East India Company's
system is monopoly, in some sense or other. The same principle
predominates in the service abroad and the service at home; and both
systems are united into one, animated with the same spirit, that is,
with the corporate spirit. The whole, taken together, is such as has not
been seen in the examples of the Moors, the Portuguese, the Spaniards,
the Romans,--in no old, in no recent examples. The Dutch may resemble
it, but they have not an empire properly so denominated. By means of
this peculiar circumstance it has not been difficult for Mr. Hastings to
embody abuse, and to put himself at the head of a regular system of

Another circumstance in that service is deserving of notice. Except in
the highest parts of all, the emoluments of office do not in any degree
correspond with the trust, nor the nature of the office with its name.
In other official systems, the style, in general, is above the function;
here it is the reverse. Under the name of junior merchant, senior
merchant, writer, and other petty appellations of the counting-house,
you have magistrates of high dignity, you have administrators of
revenues truly royal, you have judges, civil, and in some respects
criminal, who pass judgment upon the greatest properties of a great
country. The legal public emoluments that belong to them are very often
so inadequate to the real dignity of the character, that it is
impossible, almost absolutely impossible, for the subordinate parts of
it, which, though subordinate, are stations of power, to exist, as
Englishmen, who look at a fortune to be enjoyed at home as their
ultimate object, and to exist in a state of perfect incorruption in that

In some parts of Europe, it is true that the greatest situations are
often attended with but little emolument; yet still they are filled.
Why? Because reputation, glory, fame, the esteem, the love, the tears of
joy which flow from happy sensibility, the honest applauses of a
grateful country, sometimes pay the cares, anxieties, and toils which
wait on great situations in the commonwealth; and in these they pay in
money what cannot be paid in fame and reputation. It is the reverse in
the service of the India Company. Glory is not the lot of subordinated
merit,--and all the subordinate parts of the gradation are officers who,
in comparison with the offices and duties intrusted to them, are
miserably provided for; whereas the chief of each great Presidency has
emoluments securing him against every mode of temptation. But if this
has not secured the head, we may easily judge how the members are to be
coerced. Mr. Hastings, at the head of the service, with high legal
emoluments, has fouled his hands and sullied his government with bribes.
He has substituted oppression and tyranny in the place of legal
government. With all that unbounded, licentious power which he has
assumed over the public revenues, instead of endeavoring to find a
series of gradual, progressive, honorable, and adequate rewards for the
persons who serve the public in the subordinate, but powerful
situations, he has left them to prey upon the people without the
smallest degree of control. In default of honest emolument, there is the
unbounded license of power; and, as one of the honestest and ablest
servants of the Company said to me in conversation, the civil service of
the Company resembled the military service of the Mahrattas,--little
pay, but unbounded license to plunder. I do not say that some of the
salaries given in India would not sound well here; but when you consider
the nature of the trusts, the dignity of the situation, whatever the
name of them may be, the powers that are granted, the hopes that every
man has of establishing himself at home, I repeat, it is a source of
infinite grievance, of infinite abuse: of which source of corrupt power
we charge Mr. Hastings with having availed himself, in filling up the
void of direct pay by finding out and countenancing every kind of
oblique and unjust emolument; though it must be confessed that he is
far from being solely guilty of this offence.

Another circumstance which distinguishes the East India Company is the
youth of the persons who are employed in the system of that service. The
servants have almost universally been sent out to begin their progress
and career in active occupation, and in the exercise of high authority,
at that period of life which, in all other places, has been employed in
the course of a rigid education. To put the matter in a few words,--they
are transferred from slippery youth to perilous independence, from
perilous independence to inordinate expectations, from inordinate
expectations to boundless power. School-boys without tutors, minors
without guardians, the world is let loose upon them with all its
temptations, and they are let loose upon the world with all the powers
that despotism involves.

It is further remarkable, these servants exercise what your Lordships
are now exercising, high judicial powers, and they exercise them without
the smallest study of any law, either general or municipal. It is made a
sort of rule in the service, a rule confirmed even by the attempts that
were made to correct it, (I mean confirmed by Sir Elijah Impey, when,
under the auspices of Mr. Hastings, he undertook to be legislator for
India,) that the judicial character, the last in the order of legal
progress, that to which all professional men look up as the crown of
their labors, that ultimate hope of men grown gray in professional
practice, is among the first experimental situations of a Company's
servant. It is expressly said in that body of regulations to which I
allude, that the office and situation of a judge of the Dewanny Courts
of Adawlut is to be filled by the _junior_ servants of the Company; and
as the judicial emolument is not substantially equal to that of other
situations, the office of a judge is to be taken, as it were, _in
transitu_, as a passage to other offices not of a judicial nature. As
soon, therefore, as a young man has supplied the defects of his
education by the advantage of some experience, he is immediately
translated to a totally different office; and another young man is
substituted, to learn, at the expense of the property of India, to fill
a situation which, when he may be qualified to fill, he is no longer to

It is in a great measure the same with regard to the other situations.
They are the situations of great statesmen, which, according to the
practice of the world, require, to fill properly, rather a large
converse with men and much intercourse in life than deep study of
books,--though that, too, has its eminent service. We know that in the
habits of civilized life, in cultivated society, there is imbibed by men
a good deal of the solid practice of government, of the true maxims of
state, and everything that enables a man to serve his country. But these
men are sent over to exercise functions at which a statesman here would
tremble, without any theoretical study, and without any of that sort of
experience which, in mixed societies of business and converse, form men
gradually and insensibly to great affairs. Low cunning, intrigue, and
stratagem are soon acquired; but manly, durable policy, which never
sacrifices the general interest to a partial or momentary advantage, is
not so cheaply formed in the human understanding.

Mr. Hastings, in his defence before the House of Commons, and in the
defences he has made before your Lordships, has lamented his own
situation in this particular. It was much to be lamented, indeed. How
far it will furnish justification, extenuation, or palliation of his
conduct, when we come to examine that conduct, will be seen.

These circumstances in the system have in a great degree vitiated and
perverted what is in reality (and many things are in reality) excellent
in it. They have rendered the application of all correctives and
remedies to abuse, at best, precarious in their operation. The laws that
we have made, the covenants which the Company has obliged its servants
to enter into, the occasional orders that have been given, at least
ostensibly good, all have proved noxious to the country, instead of

To illustrate this point, I beg leave to observe to your Lordships, that
the servants of the Company are obliged to enter into that service not
only with an impression of the general duty which attaches upon all
servants, but are obliged to engage in a specific covenant with their
masters to perform all the duties described in that covenant (which are
all the duties of their relation) under heavy penalties. They are bound
to a repetition of these covenants at every step of their progress, from
writer to factor, from factor to junior merchant, and from junior
merchant to senior merchant. They ought, according to the rule, to renew
these covenants at these times by something (I speak without offence)
which may be said to resemble confirmation in the Church. They are
obliged to renew their obligation in particular to receive no gifts,
gratuities, or presents whatsoever.

This scheme of covenants would have been wise and proper, if it had
belonged to a judicious order, and rational, consistent scheme of
discipline. The orders of the Company have forbidden their servants to
take any extraneous emoluments. The act of Parliament has fulminated
against them. Clear, positive laws, and clear, positive private
engagements, have no exception of circumstances in them, no difference
_quoad majus et minus_; but every one who offends against the law is
liable to the law. The consequence is this: he who has deviated but an
inch from the straight line, he who has taken but one penny of unlawful
emolument, (and all have taken many pennies of unlawful emolument,) does
not dare to complain of the most abandoned extortion and cruel
oppression in any of his fellow-servants. He who has taken a trifle,
perhaps as the reward of a good action, is obliged to be silent, when he
sees whole nations desolated around him. The great criminal at the head
of the service has the laws in his hand; he is always able to prove the
small offence, and crush the person who has committed it. This is one
grand source of Mr. Hastings's power. After he had got the better of the
Parliamentary commission, no complaint from any part of the service has
appeared against Mr. Hastings. He is bold enough to state it as one
presumption of his merit, that there has been no such complaint. No such
complaint, indeed, can exist. The spirit of the corps would of itself
almost forbid it,--to which spirit an informer is the most odious and
detestable of all characters, and is hunted down, and has always been
hunted down, as a common enemy. But here is a new security. Who can
complain, or dares to accuse? The whole service is irregular: nobody is
free from small offences; and, as I have said, the great offender can
always crush the small one.

If you examine the correspondence of Mr. Hastings, you would imagine,
from many expressions very deliberately used by him, that the Company's
service was made out of the very filth and dregs of human corruption;
but if you examine his conduct towards the corrupt body he describes,
you would imagine he had lived in the speculative schemes of visionary
perfection. He was fourteen years at the head of that service; and there
is not an instance, no, not one single instance, in which he endeavored
to detect corruption, or that he ever, in any one single instance,
attempted to punish it; but the whole service, with that whole mass of
enormity which he attributes to it, slept, as it were, at once, under
his terror and his protection: under his protection, if they did not
dare to move against him; under terror, from his power to pluck out
individuals and make a public example of them, whenever he thought fit.
And therefore that service, under his guidance and influence, was,
beyond even what its own nature disposed it to, a service of
confederacy, a service of connivance, a service composed of various
systems of guilt, of which Mr. Hastings was the head and the protector.
But this general connivance he did not think sufficient to secure to him
the general support of the Indian interest. He went further. We shall
prove to your Lordships, that, when the Company were driven by shame,
not by inclination, to order several prosecutions against delinquents in
their service, Mr. Hastings, directly contrary to the duty of his
office, directly contrary to the express and positive law of the Court
of Directors, which law Parliament had bound upon him as his rule of
action, not satisfied with his long tacit connivance, ventured, before
he left his government, and among his last acts, to pass a general act
of pardon and indemnity, and at once ordered the whole body of the
prosecutions directed by his masters, the Company, to be discharged.

Having had fourteen years' lease of connivance to bestow, and giving at
the end a general release of all suits and actions, he now puts himself
at the head of a vast body enriched by his bounties, connivances, and
indemnities, and expects the support of those whom he had thus fully
rewarded and discharged from the pursuit of the laws. You will find, in
the course of this business, that, when charges have been brought
against him of any bribery, corruption, or other malversation, his
course has been to answer little or nothing to that specific bribery,
corruption, or malversation: his way has been to call on the Court of
Directors to inquire of every servant who comes to Europe, and to say
whether there was any one man in it that will give him an ill word. He
has put himself into a situation in which he may always safely call to
his character, and will always find himself utterly incapable of
justifying his conduct.

So far I have troubled your Lordships with the system of confederacy and
connivance, which, under his auspices, was the vital principle of almost
the whole service. There is one member of the service which I have
omitted: but whether I ought to have put it first, or, as I do now,
last, I must confess I am at some loss; because, though it appears to be
the lowest (if any regular) part of the service, it is by far the most
considerable and the most efficient, without a full consideration and
explanation of which hardly any part of the conduct of Mr. Hastings,
and of many others that may be in his situation, can be fully

I have given your Lordships an account of writers, factors, merchants,
who exercise the office of judges, lord chancellors, chancellors of the
exchequer, ministers of state, and managers of great revenues. But there
is another description of men, of more importance than them all, a
description you have often heard of, but which has not been sufficiently
explained: I mean the _banian_. When the Company's service was no more
than mercantile, and the servants were generally unacquainted with the
country, they used the intervention of certain factors among the
natives, which were called _banians_: we called them so, because they
were of the tribe or caste of the banians or merchants,--the Indians
being generally distributed into trades according to their tribes. The
name still continues, when the functions of the banians are totally
altered. The banian is known by other appellations. He is called
_dewan_, or steward; and, indeed, this is a term with more propriety
applied to him in several of his functions. He is, by his name of
office, the steward of the household of the European gentleman: he has
the management of his affairs, and the ordering of his servants. He is
himself a domestic servant, and generally chosen out of that class of
natives who, by being habituated to misery and subjection, can submit to
any orders, and are fit for any of the basest services. Trained under
oppression, (it is the true education,) they are fit to oppress others.
They serve an apprenticeship of servitude to qualify them for the trade
of tyranny. They know all the devices, all the little frauds, all the
artifices and contrivances, the whole panoply of the defensive armor by
which ingenious slavery secures itself against the violence of power.
They know all the lurking-holes, all the winding recesses, of the
unfortunate; and they hunt out distress and misery even to their last
retreats. They have suffered themselves; but, far from being taught by
those sufferings to abstain from rigor, they have only learned the
methods of afflicting their fellow-slaves. They have the best
intelligence of what is done in England. The moment a Company's servant
arrives in India, and his English connections are known to be powerful,
some of that class of people immediately take possession of him, as if
he were their inheritance. They have knowledge of the country and its
affairs; they have money; they have the arts of making money. The
gentleman who comes from England has none of these; he enters into that
world, as he enters into the world at large, naked. His portion is great
simplicity, great indigence, and a strong disposition to relieve
himself. The banian, once in possession, employs his tyranny, not only
over the native people of his country, but often over the master
himself, who has little other share in the proceedings of his servant
but in giving him the ticket of his name to mark that he is connected
with and supported by an European who is himself well connected and
supported at home. This is a commission which nothing can resist. From
that moment forward it is not the Englishman, it is the black banian,
that is the master. The nominal master often lives from his hand. We
know how young men are sent out of this country; we know how happy we
are to hear soon that they are no longer a burden to their friends and
parents. The banian knows it, too. He supplies the young servant with
money. He has him under his power: first, from the necessity of
employing such a man; and next, (and this is the more important of the
two,) he has that dreadful power over his master which every creditor
has over his debtor. Actions the most abhorrent to his nature he must
see done before his face, and thousands and thousands worse are done in
his absence, and he dare not complain. The banian extorts, robs,
plunders, and then gives him just what proportion of the spoil he
pleases. If the master should murmur, the very power that was sent over
to protect the people of India from these very abuses, (the best things
being perverted, when applied to unknown objects and put into unsuitable
situations,) the very laws of England, by making the recovery of debts
more easy, infinitely increase the power of the banian over his master.
Thus the Supreme Court of Justice, the destined corrector of all abuses,
becomes a collateral security for that abominable tyranny exercised by
the moneyed banians over Europeans as well as the natives. So that,
while we are here boasting of the British power in the East, we are in
perhaps more than half our service nothing but the inferior, miserable
instruments of the tyranny which the lowest part of the natives of India
exercise, to the disgrace of the British authority, and to the ruin of
all that is respectable among their own countrymen. They have subverted
the first houses, totally ruined and undone the country, cheated and
defrauded the revenue,--the master a silent, sometimes a melancholy
spectator, until some office of high emolument has emancipated him. This
has often been the true reason that the Company's servants in India, in
order to free themselves from this horrid and atrocious servitude, are
obliged to become instruments of another tyranny, and must prostitute
themselves to men in power, in order to obtain some office that may
enable them to escape the servitudes below, and enable them to pay their
debts. And thus many have become the instruments of Mr. Hastings.

These banians, or dewans, were originally among the lower castes in the
country. But now, it is true, that, after seeing the power and profits
of these men,--that there is neither power, profession, nor occupation
to be had, which a reputable person can exercise, but through that
channel,--men of higher castes, and born to better things, have thrown
themselves into that disgraceful servitude, have become menial servants
to Englishmen, that they might rise by their degradation. But whoever
they are, or of whatever birth, they have equally prostituted their
integrity, they have equally lost their character; and, once entered
into that course of life, there is no difference between the best castes
and the worst. That system Mr. Hastings confirmed, established,
increased, and made the instrument of the most austere tyranny, of the
basest peculations, and the most scandalous and iniquitous extortions.

In the description I have given of banians a distinction is to be made.
Your Lordships must distinguish the banians of the British servants in
subordinate situations and the banians who are such to persons in higher
authority. In the latter case the banian is in strict subordination,
because he may always be ruined by his superior; whereas in the former
it is always in his power to ruin his nominal superior. It was not
through fear, but voluntarily, and not for the banian's purposes, but
his own, Mr. Hastings has brought forward his banian. He seated him in
the houses of the principal nobility, and invested him with farms of the
revenue; he has given him enormous jobs; he has put him over the heads
of a nobility which, for their grandeur, antiquity, and dignity, might
almost be matched with your Lordships. He has made him supreme
ecclesiastical judge, judge even of the very castes, in the preservation
of the separate rules and separate privileges of which that people
exists. He who has dominion over the caste has an absolute power over
something more than life and fortune.

Such is that first, or last, (I know not which to call it,) order in the
Company's service called a banian. The _mutseddies_, clerks,
accountants, of Calcutta, generally fall under this description. Your
Lordships will see hereafter the necessity of giving you, in the opening
the case, an idea of the situation of a banian. You will see, as no
Englishman, properly speaking, acts by himself, that he must be made
responsible for that person called his banian,--for the power he either
uses under him, or the power he has acquired over him. The banian
escapes, in the night of his complexion and situation, the inquiry that
a white man cannot stand before in this country. Through the banians, or
other black natives, a bad servant of the Company receives his bribes.
Through them he decides falsely against the titles of litigants in the
court of castes, or in the offices of public registry. Through them Mr.
Hastings has exercised oppressions which, I will venture to say, in his
own name, in his own character, daring as he is, (and he is the most
daring criminal that ever existed,) he never would dare to practise.
Many, if not most, of the iniquities of his interior bad administration
have been perpetrated through these banians, or other native agents and
confidants; and we shall show you that he is not satisfied with one of
them, confiding few of his secrets to Europeans, and hardly any of his
instruments, either native or European, knowing the secrets of each
other. This is the system of banianism, and of concealment, which Mr.
Hastings, instead of eradicating out of the service, has propagated by
example and by support, and enlarged by converting even Europeans into
that dark and insidious character.

I have explained, or endeavored to explain, to your Lordships these
circumstances of the true spirit, genius, and character, more than the
ostensible institutions of the Company's service: I now shall beg leave
to bring before you one institution, taken from the mercantile
constitution of the Company, so excellent, that I will venture to say
that human wisdom has never exceeded it. In this excellent institution
the counting-house gave lessons to the state. The active, awakened, and
enlightened principle of self-interest will provide a better system for
the guard of that interest than the cold, drowsy wisdom of those who
provide for a good out of themselves ever contrived for the public. The
plans sketched by private prudence for private interest, the regulations
by mercantile men for their mercantile purposes, when they can be
applied to the discipline and order of the state, produce a discipline
and order which no state should be ashamed to copy. The Company's
mercantile regulations are admirably fitted for the government of a
remote, large, disjointed empire. As merchants, having factors abroad
in distant parts of the world, they have obliged them to a minuteness
and strictness of register, and to a regularity of correspondence, which
no state has ever used in the same degree with regard to its public
ministers. The Company has made it a fundamental part of their
constitution, that almost their whole government shall be a written
government. Your Lordships will observe, in the course of the
proceeding, the propriety of opening fully to you this circumstance in
the government of India,--that is, that the Company's government is a
government of writing, a government of record. The strictest court of
justice, in its proceeding, is not more, perhaps not so much a court of
record as the India Company's executive service is, or ought to be, in
all its proceedings.

In the first place, they oblige their servants to keep a journal or
diary of all their transactions, public and private: they are bound to
do this by an express covenant. They oblige them, as a corrective upon
that diary, to keep a letter-book, in which all their letters are to be
regularly entered. And they are bound by the same covenant to produce
all those books upon requisition, although they should be mixed with
affairs concerning their own private negotiations and transactions of
commerce, or their closest and most retired concerns in private life.
But as the great corrective of all, they have contrived that every
proceeding in public council shall be written,--no debates merely
verbal. The arguments, first or last, are to be in writing, and
recorded. All other bodies, the Houses of Lords, Commons, Privy Council,
Cabinet Councils for secret state deliberations, enter only resolves,
decisions, and final resolutions of affairs: the argument, the
discussion, the dissent, does very rarely, if at all, appear. But the
Company has proceeded much further, and done much more wisely, because
they proceeded upon mercantile principles; and they have provided,
either by orders or course of office, that all shall be written,--the
proposition, the argument, the dissent. This is not confined to their
great Council; but this order ought to be observed, as I conceive, (and
I see considerable traces of it in practice,) in every Provincial
Council, whilst the Provincial Councils existed, and even down to the
minutest ramification of their service. These books, in a progression
from the lowest Councils to the highest Presidency, are ordered to be
transmitted, duplicate and triplicate, by every ship that sails to
Europe. On this system an able servant of the Company, and high in their
service, has recorded his opinion, and strongly expressed his
sentiments. Writing to the Court of Directors, he says, "It ought to be
remembered, that the basis upon which you rose to power, and have been
able to stand the shock of repeated convulsions, has been the accuracy
and simplicity of mercantile method, which makes every transaction in
your service and every expenditure a matter of record."

My Lords, this method not only must produce to them, if strictly
observed, a more accurate idea of the nature of their affairs and the
nature of their expenditures, but it must afford them no trivial
opportunity and means of knowing the true characters of their servants,
their capacities, their ways of thinking, the turn and bias of their
minds. If well employed, and but a little improved, the East India
Company possessed an advantage unknown before to the chief of a remote
government. In the most remote parts of the world, and in the minutest
parts of a remote service, everything came before the principal with a
domestic accuracy and local familiarity. It was, in the power of a
Director, sitting in London, to form an accurate judgment of every
incident that happened upon the Ganges and the Gogra.

The use of this recorded system did not consist only in the facility of
discovering what the nature of their affairs and the character and
capacity of their servants was, but it furnished the means of detecting
their misconduct, frequently of proving it too, and of producing the
evidence of it judicially under their own hands. For your Lordships must
have observed that it is rare indeed, that, in a continued course of
evil practices, any uniform method of proceeding will serve the purposes
of the delinquent. Innocence is plain, direct, and simple: guilt is a
crooked, intricate, inconstant, and various thing. The iniquitous job of
to-day may be covered by specious reasons; but when the job of iniquity
of to-morrow succeeds, the reasons that have colored the first crime may
expose the second malversation. The man of fraud falls into
contradiction, prevarication, confusion. This hastens, this facilitates,
conviction. Besides, time is not allowed for corrupting the records.
They are flown out of their hands, they are in Europe, they are safe in
the registers of the Company, perhaps they are under the eye of
Parliament, before the writers of them have time to invent an excuse for
a direct contrary conduct to that to which their former pretended
principles applied. This is a great, a material part of the constitution
of the Company. My Lords, I do not think it to be much apologized for,
if I repeat, that this is the fundamental regulation of that service,
and which, if preserved in the first instance, as it ought to be, in
official practice in India, and then used as it ought to be in England,
would afford such a mode of governing a great, foreign, dispersed
empire, as, I will venture to say, few countries ever possessed, even in
governing the most limited and narrow jurisdiction.

It was the great business of Mr. Hastings's policy to subvert this great
political edifice. His first mode of subverting it was by commanding the
public ministers, paid by the Company, to deliver their correspondence
upon the most critical and momentous affairs to him, in order to be
suppressed and destroyed at his pleasure. To support him in this plan of
spoliation, he has made a mischievous distinction in public business
between public and private correspondence. The Company's orders and
covenants made none. There are, readily I admit, thousands of occasions
in which it is not proper to divulge promiscuously a private
correspondence, though on public affairs, to the world; but there is no
occasion in which it is not a necessary duty, on requisition, to
communicate your correspondence to those who form the paramount
government, on whose interests and on whose concerns and under whose
authority this correspondence has been carried on. The very same reasons
which require secrecy with regard to others demand the freest
communication to them. But Mr. Hastings has established principles of
confidence and secrecy towards himself which have cut off all confidence
between the Directors and their ministers, and effectually kept them at
least out of the secret of their own affairs.

Without entering into all the practices by which he has attempted to
maim the Company's records, I shall state one more to your
Lordships,--that is, his avowed appointment of spies and under-agents,
who shall carry on the real state business, while there are public and
ostensible agents who are not in the secret. The correspondence of those
private agents he holds in his own hands, communicates as he thinks
proper, but most commonly withholds. There remains nothing for the
Directors but the shell and husk of a dry, formal, official
correspondence, which neither means anything nor was intended to mean

These are some of the methods by which he has defeated the purposes of
the excellent institution of a recorded administration. But there are
cases to be brought before this court in which he has laid the axe at
once to the root,--which was, by delegating out of his own hands a great
department of the powers of the Company, which he was himself bound to
execute, to a board which was not bound to record their deliberations
with the same strictness as he himself was bound. He appointed of his
own usurped authority a board for the administration of the revenue, the
members of which were expressly dispensed from recording their dissents,
until they chose it; and in that office, as in a great gulf, a most
important part of the Company's transactions has been buried.

Notwithstanding his unwearied pains in the work of spoliation, some
precious fragments are left, which we ought infinitely to value,--by
which we may learn, and lament, the loss of what he has destroyed. If it
were not for those inestimable fragments and wrecks of the recorded
government which have been saved from the destruction which Mr.
Hastings intended for them all, the most shameful enormities that have
ever disgraced a government or harassed a people would only be known in
this country by secret whispers and unauthenticated anecdotes; the
disgracer's of government, the vexers and afflicters of mankind, instead
of being brought before an awful public tribunal, might have been
honored with the highest distinctions and rewards their country has to
bestow; and sordid bribery, base peculation, iron-handed extortion,
fierce, unrelenting tyranny, might themselves have been invested with
those sacred robes of justice before which this day they have cause to

Mr. Hastings, sensible of what he suffers from this register of acts and
opinions, has endeavored to discredit and ruin what remains of it. He
refuses, in his defence to the House of Commons, in letters to the Court
of Directors, in various writings and declarations, he refuses to be
tried by his own recorded declarations; he refuses to be bound by his
own opinions, delivered under his own hand. He knows that he and the
record cannot exist together. He knows that what remains of the written
constitution which he has not destroyed is enough to destroy him. He
claims a privilege of systematic inconstancy, a privilege of
prevarication, a privilege of contradiction,--a privilege of not only
changing his conduct, but the principles of his conduct, whenever it
suits his occasions. But I hope your Lordships will show the destroyers
of that wise constitution, and the destroyers of those records which are
to be the securities against malversation in office, the discoverers and
avengers of it, that whoever destroys the discoverer establishes the
iniquity; that, therefore, your Lordships will bind him to his own
declarations, given on record under his own hand; that you will say to
this unfaithful servant of the Company, what was said to another
unfaithful person upon a far less occasion by a far greater authority,
"Out of thy own mouth will I judge thee, thou wicked servant."

       *       *       *       *       *

Having gone through what I have been instructed might be necessary to
state to your Lordships concerning the Company's constitution, (I mean
the real inside, and not the shell of its constitution,)--having stated
the abuses that existed in it,--having stated how Mr. Hastings
endeavored to perpetuate and to increase and to profit of the abuse, and
how he has systematically endeavored to destroy, and has in some
instances in fact destroyed, many things truly excellent in that
constitution,--if I have not wasted your time in explanation of matters
that you are already well acquainted with, I shall next beg leave to
state to you the abuse in some particulars of the other part of the
public authority which the Company acquired over the natives of India,
in virtue of the royal charter of the present Mogul emperor, in the year
1766 [1765?].

My Lords, that you may the better judge of the abuse Mr. Hastings has
made of the powers vested in him, it will be expedient to consider a
little who the people are to whose prejudice he has abused these powers.
I shall explain this point with as much brevity as is consistent with
the distinctness with which I mean to bring the whole before your
Lordships; and I beg to observe to you that this previous discourse,
rather explanatory than accusatorial, (if I may use the expression,) is
meant rather to elucidate the nature of the matter to come before you in
regular charges than as proof of the charges themselves.

I know that a good deal of latitude is allowed to advocates, when
opening a cause in a private court, to indulge themselves in their
narratives leading to the charges they intend to bring. They are not
always called to the strictest account for such prefatory matter,
because the court, when it comes to judge, sifts and distinguishes it
from the points to be strictly proved, and on whose merits the cause
relies. But I wish your Lordships to know, that, with the high opinion I
have of your gravity, (and it is impossible for a man to conceive a
higher,) and sensible of the weight of those I represent at this place,
namely, the Commons of Great Britain, I should be sorry that any one
substantial fact, even in this explanatory opening, or even the color of
the fact, should be alleged, which, when called upon, I should not be
ready to make good to you by proof,--I mean, by proof adapted to its
nature: public opinion, by evidence of public opinion; by record, that
to which record is applicable; by oral testimony, things to which oral
testimony alone can be produced; and, last of all, that which is matter
of historic proof, by historic evidence. This I hope to do with the
usual allowance to errors and mistakes, which is the claim of human

Then, my Lords, two distinct people inhabit India. Two sorts of people
inhabit the same country, as totally distinct from each other, in
characters, lives, opinions, prejudices, and manners, as the inhabitants
of countries most remote from each other. For both of these descriptions
Mr. Hastings was bound to provide equally, agreeable to the terms of
the charter which the Company received from the lawful governing power
of that country: a charter received at its own solicitation; a charter
not forced upon us by a superior power, but given at the immediate
solicitation of the principal servants belonging to the Company; a
charter solemnly accepted by the Company, and by them, I am very sorry
to say, little regarded,--or, at least, little regarded by their
principal servants.

My Lords, the first description of people who are subjected virtually to
the British empire through those mediums which I have described to you
are the original inhabitants of Hindostan, who have in all time, and
beyond all the eras which we use, (I mean always the two grand eras
excepted,) been the aboriginal inhabitants and proprietors of that
country,--with manners, religion, customs, and usages appropriated to
themselves, and little resembling those of the rest of mankind. This
description of men is commonly called Gentoos. The system and principle
of that government is locality. Their laws, their manners, their
religion are all local.

Their legislator, whoever he was, (for who he was is a matter lost in
the mists of a most obscure antiquity,) had it as a great leading
principle of his policy to connect the people with their soil.
Accordingly, by one of those anomalies which a larger acquaintance with
our species daily discovers, and which perhaps an attentive reflection
might explain in the nature of man, this aboriginal people of
India,--who are the softest in their manners of any of our race,
approaching almost to feminine tenderness,--who are formed
constitutionally benevolent, and, in many particulars, made to fill a
larger circle of benevolence than our morals take in,--who extend their
good-will to the whole animal creation,--these people are, of all
nations, the most unalliable to any other part of mankind. They cannot,
the highest orders of them, at least, cannot, come into contact with any
other. That bond which is one of the chief instruments of society, and
which, supporting the individual, connects the species, can have no
existence with them: I mean the convivial bond. That race can be held to
no other by that great link of life. No Hindoo can mix at meals even
with those on whom he depends for the meat he eats. This circumstance
renders it difficult for us to enter with due sympathy into their
concerns, or for them to enter into ours, even when we meet on the same
ground. But there are other circumstances which render our intercourse,
in our mutual relation, very full of difficulty. The sea is between us.
The mass of that element, which, by appearing to disconnect, unites
mankind, is to them a forbidden road. It is a great gulf fixed between
you and them,--not so much that elementary gulf, but that gulf which
manners, opinions, and laws have radicated in the very nature of the
people. None of their high castes, without great danger to his
situation, religion, rank, and estimation, can ever pass the sea; and
this forbids, forever, all direct communication between that country and
this. That material and affecting circumstance, my Lords, makes it ten
times more necessary, since they cannot come to us, to keep a strict eye
upon all persons who go to them. It imposes upon us a stricter duty to
guard with a firm and powerful vigilance those whose principles of
conscience weaken their principles of self-defence. If we undertake to
govern the inhabitants of such a country, we must govern them upon their
own principles and maxims, and not upon ours. We must not think to force
them into the narrow circle of our ideas; we must extend ours to take in
their system of opinions and rites, and the necessities which result
from both: all change on their part is absolutely impracticable. We have
more versatility of character and manners, and it is we who must
conform. We know what the empire of opinion is in human nature. I had
almost said that the law of opinion was human nature itself. It is,
however, the strongest principle in the composition of the frame of the
human mind; and more of the happiness and unhappiness of mankind resides
in that inward principle than in all external circumstances put
together. But if such is the empire of opinion even amongst us, it has a
pure, unrestrained, complete, and despotic power amongst them. The
variety of balanced opinions in our minds weakens the force of each: for
in Europe, sometimes, the laws of religion differ from the laws of the
land; sometimes the laws of the land differ from our laws of honor; our
laws of honor are full of caprice, differing from those other laws, and
sometimes differing from themselves: but there the laws of religion, the
laws of the land, and the laws of honor are all united and consolidated
in one invariable system, and bind men by eternal and indissoluble bonds
to the rules of what, amongst them, is called his _caste_.

It may be necessary just to state to your Lordships what a _caste_ is.
The Gentoo people, from the oldest time, have been distributed into
various orders, all of them hereditary: these family orders are called
castes; these castes are the fundamental part of the constitution of
the Gentoo commonwealth, both in their church and in their state.

Your Lordships are born to hereditary honors in the chief of your
houses; the rest mix with the people. With the Gentoos, they who are
born noble can never fall into any second rank. They are divided into
four orders,--the Brahmins, the Chittery, the Bice, and the Soodur, with
many subdivisions in each. An eternal barrier is placed between them.
The higher cannot pass into the lower; the lower cannot rise into the
higher. They have all their appropriated rank, place, and situation, and
their appropriated religion too, which is essentially different in its
rites and ceremonies, sometimes in its object, in each of those castes.
A man who is born in the highest caste, which at once unites what would
be tantamount in this country to the dignity of the peerage and the
ennobled sanctity of the episcopal character,--the Brahmin, who sustains
these characters, if he loses his caste, does not fall into an inferior
order, the Chittery, the Bice, or the Soodur, but he is thrown at once
out of all ranks of society. He is precipitated from the proudest
elevation of respect and honor to a bottomless abyss of contempt,--from
glory to infamy,--from purity to pollution,--from sanctity to
profanation. No honest occupation is open to him; his children are no
longer his children; their parent loses that name; the conjugal bond is
dissolved. Few survive this most terrible of all calamities. To speak to
an Indian of his caste is to speak to him of his all.

But the rule of caste has, with them, given one power more to fortune
than the manners of any other nation were ever known to do. For it is
singular, the caste may be lost, not only by certain voluntary crimes,
but by certain involuntary sufferings, disgraces, and pollutions, that
are utterly out of their power to prevent. Those who have patiently
submitted to imprisonment,--those who have not flinched from the
scourge,--those who have been as unmoved as marble under torture,--those
who have laughed at the menaces of death itself,--have instantly given
way, when it has been attempted to subject them to any of those
pollutions by which they lose caste. To this caste they are bound by all
laws of all descriptions, human and divine; and inveterate usage has
radicated it in them to a depth and with an adhesion with which no other
known prejudice has been known to exist. Tyranny is therefore armed
against them with a greater variety of weapons than are found in its
ordinary stores.

This, amongst a thousand other considerations, speaks to us in very
authoritative language with what care and circumspection we ought to
handle people so delicate. In the course of this trial your Lordships
will see with horror the use which Mr. Hastings made, through several of
his wicked and abominable instruments, chosen from the natives
themselves, of these superadded means of oppression. I shall prove, in
the course of this trial, that he has put his own menial domestic
servant,--a wretch totally dependent,--a wretch grossly ignorant,--the
common instrument of his bribery and peculation,--he has enthroned him,
I say, on the first seat of ecclesiastical jurisdiction, which was to
decide upon the castes of all those people, including their rank, their
family, their honor, and their happiness here, and, in their judgment,
their salvation hereafter. Under the awe of this power, no man dared to
breathe a murmur against his tyranny. Fortified in this security, he
says, "Who complains of me!"--"No, none of us dare complain of you,"
says the trembling Gentoo. "No! your menial servant has my caste in his
power."--I shall not trouble your Lordships with mentioning others; it
was enough that Cantoo Baboo, and Ginga Govind Sing, names to which your
Lordships are to be familiarized hereafter,--it is enough that those
persons had the caste and character of all the people of Bengal in their
hands. Through them he has taken effectual security against all
complaint. Your Lordships will hence discern how very necessary it is
become that some other personage should intervene, should take upon him
their representation, and by his freedom and his power should supply the
defects arising from their servitude and their impotence. The Commons of
Great Britain charge themselves with this character.

My Lords, these Gentoo people are the original people of Hindostan. They
are still, beyond comparison, the most numerous. Faults this nation may
have; but God forbid we should pass judgment upon people who framed
their laws and institutions prior to our insect origin of yesterday!
With all the faults of their nature and errors of their institutions,
their institutions, which act so powerfully on their natures, have two
material characteristics which entitle them to respect: first, great
force and stability; and next, excellent moral and civil effects.

Their stability has been proved by their holding on an uniform tenor for
a duration commensurate to all the empires with which history has made
us acquainted; and they still exist in a green old age, with all the
reverence of antiquity, and with all the passion that people have to
novelty and change. They have stood firm on their ancient base; they
have cast their roots deep in their native soil,--perhaps because they
have never spread them anywhere else than in their native soil. Their
blood, their opinions, and the soil of their country make one consistent
piece, admitting no mixture, no adulteration, no improvement:
accordingly, their religion has made no converts, their dominion has
made no conquests; but in proportion as their laws and opinions were
concentred within themselves, and hindered from spreading abroad, they
have doubled their force at home. They have existed in spite of
Mahomedan and Portuguese bigotry,--in spite of Tartarian and Arabian
tyranny,--in spite of all the fury of successive foreign conquest,--in
spite of a more formidable foe, the avarice of the English dominion.

I have spoken now, my Lords, of what their principles are, their laws
and religious institutions, in point of force and stability; I have
given instances of their force in the very circumstance in which all the
institutions of mankind in other respects show their weakness. They have
existed, when the country has been otherwise subdued. This alone
furnishes full proof that there must be some powerful influence
resulting from them beyond all our little fashionable theories upon such

The second consideration in the Gentoo institutions is their beneficial
effects, moral and civil. The policy, civil or religious, or, as theirs
is, composed of both, that makes a people happy and a state flourishing,
(putting further and higher considerations out of the way, which are not
now before us,) must undoubtedly, so far as human considerations
prevail, be a policy wisely conceived in any scheme of government. It
is confirmed by all observation, that, where the Hindoo religion has
been established, that country has been flourishing. We have seen some
patterns remaining to this day. The very country which is to be the
subject of your Lordships' judicial inquiry is an instance, by an entire
change of government, of the different effects resulting from the
rapacity of a foreign hand, and the paternal, lenient, protecting arm of
a native government, formed on the long connection of prejudice and
power. I shall give you its state under the Hindoo government from a
book written by a very old servant of the Company, whose authority is of
the greater weight, as the very destruction of all this scheme of
government is the great object of the author.

The author, Mr. Holwell, divides the country of Bengal into its
different provinces. He supposes what they then paid to the supreme
government; he supposes what the country is capable of yielding; and his
project is, to change entirely the application of the revenues of the
country, and to secure the whole into the hands of government. In
enumerating these provinces, at last he comes to the province of

"In truth," (says this author,) "it would be almost cruelty to molest
this happy people; for in this district are the only vestiges of the
beauty, purity, piety, regularity, equity, and strictness of the ancient
Hindostan government. Here the property as well as the liberty of the
people are inviolate. Here no robberies are heard of, either public or
private. The traveller, either with or without merchandise, becomes the
immediate care of the government, which allots him guards, without any
expense, to conduct him from stage to stage; and these are accountable
for the safety and accommodation of his person and effects. At the end
of the first stage he is delivered over, with certain benevolent
formalities, to the guards of the next, who, after interrogating the
traveller as to the usage he had received in his journey, dismiss the
first guard with a written certificate of their behavior, and a receipt
for the traveller and his effects; which certificate and receipt are
returnable to the commanding officer of the first stage, who registers
the same, and regularly reports it to the rajah.

"In this form the traveller is passed through the country; and if he
only passes, he is not suffered to be at any expense for food,
accommodation, or carriage for his merchandise or baggage: but it is
otherwise, if he is permitted to make any residence in one place above
three days, unless occasioned by sickness, or any unavoidable accident.
If anything is lost in this district,--for instance, a bag of money or
other valuables,--the person who finds it hangs it upon the next tree,
and gives notice to the nearest _chowkey_, or place of guard, the
officer of which orders immediate publication of the same by beat of
_tomtom_, or drum."

These, my Lords, are the effects universally produced by the Hindoo
polity throughout that vast region, before it was distorted and put out
of frame by the barbarism of foreign conquests. Some choice, reserved
spots continued to flourish under it to the year 1756. Some remained
till Mr. Hastings obtained the means of utterly defacing them. Such was
the prospect of Benares under the happy government of Bulwant Sing.
Such was the happy state of the same Benares in the happy days of Cheyt
Sing, until, in the year 1781, Mr. Hastings introduced _his_ reform into
that country.

Having stated the general outline of the manners of the original people
of Hindostan, having stated the general principles of their policy,
which either prohibit connection, or oblige us to a connection very
different from what we have hitherto used towards them, I shall leave it
to your Lordships' judgment whether you will suffer such fair monuments
of wisdom and benevolence to be defaced by the rapacity of your
governors. I hope I have not gone out of my way to bring before you any
circumstance relative to the Gentoo religion and manners, further than
as they relate to the spirit of our government over them; for though
there never was such food for the curiosity of the human mind as is
found in the manners of this people, I pass it totally over.

       *       *       *       *       *

I wish to divide this preliminary view into six periods; and your
Lordships will consider that of the Hindoos, which I have now mentioned,
as the first era.

The second era is an era of great misfortune to that country, and to the
world in general: I mean, the time of the prophet Mahomed. The
enthusiasm which animated his first followers, the despotic power which
religion obtained through that enthusiasm, and the advantages derived
from both over the enervated great empires, and broken, disunited,
lesser governments of the world, extended the influence of that proud
and domineering sect from the banks of the Ganges to the banks of the

This second period is the era of the Arabs. These people made a great
and lasting impression on India. They established, very early, Mahomedan
sovereigns in all parts of it, particularly in the kingdom of Bengal,
which is the principal object of our present inquiry. They held that
kingdom for a long series of years, under a dynasty of thirty-three
kings,--having begun their conquest and founded their dominion in Bengal
not very long after the time of their prophet.

These people, when they first settled in India, attempted, with the
ferocious arm of their prophetic sword, to change the religion and
manners of that country; but at length perceiving that their cruelty
wearied out itself, and never could touch the constancy of the
sufferers, they permitted the native people of the country to remain in
quiet, and left the Mahomedan religion to operate upon them as it could,
by appealing to the ambition or avarice of the great, or by taking the
lower people, who had lost their castes, into this new sect, and thus,
from the refuse of the Gentoo, increasing the bounds of the Mahomedan
religion. They left many of the ancient rajahs of the country possessed
of an inferior sovereignty; and where the strength of the country, or
other circumstances, would not permit this subordination, they suffered
them to continue in a separate state, approaching to independence, if
not wholly independent.

The Mahomedans, during the period of the Arabs, never expelled or
destroyed the native Gentoo nobility, zemindars, or landholders of the
country. They all, or almost all, remained fixed in their places,
properties, and dignities; and the shadows of several of them remain
under our jurisdiction.

The next, which is the third era, is an era the more necessary to
observe upon, because Mr. Hastings has made many applications to it in
his defence before the Commons: namely, the invasion of the Tartars, or
the era of Tamerlane. These Tartars did not establish themselves on the
ruins of the Hindoos. Their conquests were over the other Mahomedans:
for Tamerlane invaded Hindostan, as he invaded other countries, in the
character of the great reformer of the Mahomedan religion. He came as a
sort of successor to the rights of the Prophet, upon a divine title. He
struck at all the Mahomedan princes who reigned at that time. He
considered them as apostates, or at least as degenerated from the faith,
and as tyrants abusing their power. To facilitate his conquests over
these, he was often obliged to come to a sort of a composition with the
people of the country he invaded. Tamerlane had neither time nor means
nor inclination to dispossess the ancient rajahs of the country.

Your Lordships will observe that I propose nothing more than to give you
an idea of the principles of policy which prevailed in these several
revolutions, and not an history of the furious military achievements of
a barbarous invader. Historians, indeed, are generally very liberal of
their information concerning everything but what we ought to be very
anxious to know. They tell us that India was conquered by Tamerlane, and
conquered in such a year. The year will be found to coincide somewhere,
I believe, with the end of the fourteenth century. Thinking the mere
fact as of little moment, and its chronology as nothing, but thinking
the policy very material, which, indeed, is to be collected only here
and there, in various books written with various views, I shall beg
leave to lay before you a very remarkable circumstance relative to that
policy, and taken from the same book to which I formerly referred, Mr.

"When the Hindoo rajahs, or princes of Hindostan, submitted to
Tamerlane, it was on these capital stipulations: that the emperor should
marry a daughter of Rajah Cheyt Sing's house; that the head of this
house should be in perpetuity governors of the citadel of Agra, and
anoint the king at his coronation; and that the emperors should never
impose the _jessera_ (or poll-tax) upon the Hindoos."

Here was a conqueror, as he is called, coming in upon terms; mixing his
blood with that of the native nobility of the country he conquered, and,
in consequence of this mixture, placing them in succession upon the
throne of the country he subdued; making one of them even hereditary
constable of the capital of his kingdom, and thereby putting his
posterity as a pledge into their hands. What is full as remarkable, he
freed the Hindoos forever from that tax which the Mahomedans have laid
upon every country over which the sword of Mahomet prevailed,--namely, a
capitation tax upon all who do not profess the religion of the
Mahomedans. But the Hindoos, by express charter, were exempted from that
mark of servitude, and thereby declared not to be a conquered people.
The native princes, in all their transactions with the Mogul government,
carried the evident marks of this free condition in a noble independency
of spirit. Within their own districts the authority of many of them
seemed entire. We are often led into mistakes concerning the government
of Hindostan, by comparing it with those governments where the prince is
armed with a full, speculative, entire authority, and where the great
people have, with great titles, no privileges at all, or, having
privileges, have those privileges only as subjects. But in Hindostan the
modes, the degrees, the circumstances of subjection varied infinitely.
In some places hardly a trace at all of subjection was to be discerned;
in some the rajahs were almost assessors of the throne, as in this case
of the Rajah Cheyt Sing. These circumstances mark, that Tamerlane,
however he may be indicated by the odious names of Tartar and Conqueror,
was no barbarian; that the people who submitted to him did not submit
with the abject submission of slaves to the sword of a conqueror, but
admitted a great supreme emperor, who was just, prudent, and politic,
instead of the ferocious, oppressive, lesser Mahomedan sovereigns, who
had before forced their way by the sword into the country.

That country resembled more a republic of princes with a great chief at
their head than a territory in absolute, uniform, systematic subjection
from one end to the other,--in which light Mr. Hastings and others of
late have thought proper to consider it. According to them, if a
subordinate prince, like Cheyt Sing, was not ready to pay any exorbitant
sum on instant demand, or submit to any extent of fine which should be
inflicted upon him by the mere will of the person who called _robbery_ a
_fine_, and who took the measure of that fine without either considering
the means of paying or the degree of delinquency that justified it,
their properties, liberties, and lives were instantly forfeited. The
rajahs of that country were armed; they had fortresses for their
security; they had troops. In the receipt of both their own and the
imperial revenue, their securities for justice were in their own hands:
but the policy of the Mogul princes very rarely led them to push that
people to such extremity as it is supposed that on every slight occasion
we have a right to push those who are the subjects of our pretended

Mr. Holwell throws much light on this policy, which became the standing
law of the empire.

In the unfortunate wars which followed the death of Mauz-o-Din, "Sevajee
Cheyt Sing," (the great rajah we have just mentioned,) "with a select
body of Rajpoots, by a well-conducted retreat recovered Agra, and was
soon after reconciled to the king [the Mogul] and admitted to his
favor,--conformable to the steady policy of this government, in keeping
a good understanding with the principal rajahs, and more especially with
the head of this house, who is ever capable of raising and fomenting a
very formidable party upon any intended revolution in this despotic and
precarious monarchy."

You see that it was the monarchy that was precarious, not the rights of
the subordinate chiefs. Your Lordships see, that, notwithstanding our
ideas of Oriental despotism, under the successors of Tamerlane, these
principal rajahs, instead of being called wretches, and treated as such,
as Mr. Hastings has thought it becoming to call and treat them, when
they were in arms against their sovereign, were regarded with respect,
and were admitted to easy reconciliations; because, in reality, in their
occasional hostilities, they were not properly rebellious subjects, but
princes often asserting their natural rights and the just constitution
of the country.

This view of the policy which prevailed during the dynasty of Tamerlane
naturally conducts me to the next, which is the fourth era in this
history: I mean the era of the Emperor Akbar. He was the first of the
successors of Tamerlane who obtained possession of Bengal. It is easy to
show of what nature his conquest was. It was over the last Mahomedan
dynasty. He, too, like his predecessor, Tamerlane, conquered the prince,
not the country. It is a certain mark that it was not a conquered
country in the sense in which we commonly call a country conquered, that
the natives, great men and landholders, continued in every part in the
possession of their estates, and of the jurisdictions annexed to them.
It is true, that, in the several wars for the succession to the Mogul
empire, and in other of their internal wars, severe revenges were taken,
which bore resemblance to those taken in the wars of the Roses in this
country, where it was the common course, in the heat of blood,--"Off
with his head!--so much for Buckingham!" Yet, where the country again
recovered its form and settlement, it recovered the spirit of a mild
government. Whatever rigor was used with regard to the Mahomedan
adventurers from Persia, Turkey, and other parts, who filled the places
of servile grandeur in the Mogul court, the Hindoos were a favored,
protected, gently treated people.

The next, which is the fifth era, is a troubled and vexatious
period,--the era of the independent Subahs of Bengal. Five of these
subahs, or viceroys, governed from about the year 1717, or thereabouts.
They grew into independence partly by the calamities and concussions of
that empire, which happened during the disputes for the succession of
Tamerlane, and partly, and indeed principally, by the great shook which
the empire received when Thamas Kouli Khan broke into that country,
carried off its revenues, overturned the throne, and massacred not only
many of the chief nobility, but almost all the inhabitants of the
capital city. This rude shock, which that empire was never able to
recover, enabled the viceroys to become independent; but their
independence led to their ruin. Those who had usurped upon their masters
had servants who usurped upon them. Aliverdy Khan murdered his master,
and opened a way into Bengal for a body of foreign invaders, the
Mahrattas, who cruelly harassed the country for several years. Their
retreat was at length purchased, and by a sum which is supposed to
amount to five millions sterling. By this purchase he secured the
exhausted remains of an exhausted kingdom, and left it to his grandson,
Surajah Dowlah, in peace and poverty. On the fall of Surajah Dowlah, in
1756, commenced the last, which is the sixth,--the era of the British

On the fifth dynasty I have only to remark to your Lordships, that at
its close the Hindoo chiefs were almost everywhere found in possession
of the country; that, although Aliverdy Khan was a cruel tyrant, though
he was an untitled usurper, though he racked and tormented the people
under his government, urged, however, by an apparent necessity from an
invading army of one hundred thousand horse in his dominions,--yet,
under him, the rajahs still preserved their rank, their dignity, their
castles, their houses, their seigniories, all the insignia of their
situation, and always the right, sometimes also the means, of protecting
their subordinate people, till the last and unfortunate era of 1756.

Through the whole of this sketch of history I wish to impress but one
great and important truth upon your minds: namely, that, through all
these revolutions in government and changes in power, an Hindoo polity,
and the spirit of an Hindoo government, did more or less exist in that
province with which he was concerned, until it was finally to be
destroyed by Mr. Hastings.

       *       *       *       *       *

My Lords, I have gone through all the eras precedent to those of the
British power in India, and am come to the first of those eras. Mr.
Hastings existed in India, and was a servant of the Company before that
era, and had his education between both. He is an antediluvian with
regard to the British dominion in Bengal. He was coexistent with all the
acts and monuments of that revolution, and had no small share in all the
abuses of that abusive period which preceded his actual government. Bat
as it was during that transit from Eastern to Western power that most of
the abuses had their origin, it will not be perfectly easy for your
Lordships thoroughly to enter into the nature and circumstances of them
without an explanation of the principal events that happened from the
year 1756 until the commencement of Mr. Hastings's government,--during a
good part of which time we do not often lose sight of him. If I find it
agreeable to your Lordships, if I find that you wish to know these
annals of Indian suffering and British delinquency, if you desire that I
should unfold the series of the transactions from 1756 to the period of
Mr. Hastings's government in 1771, that you may know how far he promoted
what was good, how far he rectified what was evil, how far he abstained
from innovation in tyranny, and contented himself with the old stock of
abuse, your Lordships will have the goodness to consult the strength
which from late indisposition, begins almost to fail me. And if you
think the explanation is not time lost in this new world and in this new
business, I shall venture to sketch out, as briefly and with as much
perspicuity as I can give them, the leading events of that obscure and
perplexed period which intervened between the British settlement in 1757
and Mr. Hastings's government. If I should be so happy as to succeed in
that attempt, your Lordships' minds will be prepared for hearing this
cause. Then your Lordships will have a clear view of the origin and
nature of the abuses which prevailed in that government before Mr.
Hastings obtained his greatest power, and since that time; and then we
shall be able to enter fully and explicitly into the nature of the
cause: and I should hope that it will pave the way and make everything
easy for your subsequent justice.

I therefore wish to stop at this period, in which Mr. Hastings became
active in the service, pretty near the time when he began his political
career: and here, my Lords, I pause, wishing your indulgence at such
time as will suit your convenience for pursuing the rest of this
eventful history.





My Lords,--In what I had the honor of laying before your Lordships
yesterday, and in what I may further trouble you with to-day, I wish to
observe a distinction, which if I did not lay down so perfectly as I
ought, I hope I shall now be able to mark it out with sufficient
exactness and perspicuity.

First, I beg leave to observe that what I shall think necessary to
state, as matter of preliminary explanation, in order to give your
Lordships a true idea of the scene of action, of the instruments which
Mr. Hastings employed, and the effects which they produced,--all this I
wish to be distinguished from matter brought to criminate. Even the
matter, as stated by me, which may be hereafter brought to criminate, so
far as it falls to my share at present, is only to be considered, in
this stage of the business, as merely illustrative. Your Lordships are
to expect, as undoubtedly you will require, substantial matter of
crimination to be laid open for that purpose at the moment when the
evidence to each charge is ready to be produced to you. Thus your
Lordships will easily separate historical illustration from criminal
opening. For instance, if I stated yesterday to your Lordships, as I
did, the tyranny and cruelty of one of the usurping viceroys, whose
usurpation and whose vices led the way to the destruction of his country
and the introduction of a foreign power, I do not mean to charge Mr.
Hastings with any part of that guilt: what bears upon Mr. Hastings is
his having avowedly looked to such a tyrant and such a usurper as his
model, and followed that pernicious example with a servile fidelity.
When I have endeavored to lay open to your Lordships anything abusive,
or leading to abuse, from defects or errors in the constitution of the
Company's service, I did not mean to criminate Mr. Hastings on any part
of those defects and errors: I state them to show that he took advantage
of the imperfections of the institution to lot in his abuse of the power
with which he was intrusted. If, for a further instance, I have stated
that in general the service of the India Company was insufficient in
legal pay or emolument and abundant in the means of illegal profit, I do
not state that defect as owing to Mr. Hastings; but I state it as a
fact, to show in what manner and on what pretences he did, fraudulently,
corruptly, and for the purposes of his own ambition, take advantage of
that defect, and, under color of reformation, make an illegal, partial,
corrupt rise of emoluments to certain favored persons without regard to
the interests of the service at large,--increasing rather than lessening
the means of illicit emolument, as well as loading the Company with many
heavy and ruinous expenses in avowed salaries and allowances.

Having requested your Lordships to keep in mind, which I trust you would
do even without my taking the liberty of suggesting it to you, these
necessary distinctions, I shall revert to the period at which I closed
yesterday, that great and memorable period which has remotely given
occasion to the trial of this day.

       *       *       *       *       *

My Lords, to obtain empire is common; to govern it well has been rare
indeed. To chastise the guilt of those who have been instruments of
imperial sway over other nations by the high superintending justice of
the sovereign state has not many striking examples among any people.
Hitherto we have not furnished our contingent to the records of honor.
We have been confounded with the herd of conquerors. Our dominion has
been a vulgar thing. But we begin to emerge; and I hope that a severe
inspection of ourselves, a purification of our own offences, a
lustration of the exorbitances of our own power, is a glory reserved to
this time, to this nation, and to this august tribunal.

The year 1756 is a memorable era in the history of the world: it
introduced a new nation from the remotest verge of the Western world,
with new manners, new customs, new institutions, new opinions, new laws,
into the heart of Asia.

My Lords, if, in that part of Asia whose native regular government was
then broken up,--if, at the moment when it had fallen into darkness and
confusion from having become the prey and almost the sport of the
ambition of its home-born grandees,--if, in that gloomy season, a star
had risen from the West, that would prognosticate a better generation,
and would shed down the sweet influences of order, peace, science, and
security to the natives of that vexed and harassed country, we should
have been covered with genuine honor. It would have been a beautiful and
noble spectacle to mankind.

Indeed, something might have been expected of the kind, when a new
dominion emanated from a learned and enlightened part of the world in
the most enlightened period of its existence. Still more might it have
been expected, when that dominion was found to issue from the bosom of a
free country, that it would have carried with it the full benefit of the
vital principle of the British liberty and Constitution, though its
municipal forms were not communicable, or at least the advantage of the
liberty and spirit of the British Constitution. Had this been the case,
(alas! it was not,) you would have been saved the trouble of this day.
It might have been expected, too, that, in that enlightened state of the
world, influenced by the best religion, and from an improved description
of that best religion, (I mean the Christian reformed religion,) that we
should have done honor to Europe, to letters, to laws, to
religion,--done honor to all the circumstances of which in this island
we boast ourselves, at the great and critical moment of that revolution.

My Lords, it has happened otherwise. It is now left for us to repair our
former errors. Resuming the history where I broke off yesterday by your
indulgence to my weakness,--Surajah Dowlah was the adopted grandson of
Aliverdy Khan, a cruel and ferocious tyrant, the manner of whose
acquisition of power I have already stated. He came too young and
unexperienced to that throne of usurpation. It was a usurpation yet
green in the country, and the country felt uneasy under it. It had not
the advantage of that prescriptive usage, that inveterate habit, that
traditionary opinion, which a long continuance of any system of
government secures to it. The only real security which Surajah Dowlah's
government could possess was the security of an army. But the great aim
of this prince and his predecessor was to supply the weakness of his
government by the strength of his purse; he therefore amassed treasures
by all ways and on all hands. But as the Indian princes, in general, are
as unwisely tenacious of their treasure as they are rapacious in getting
it, the more money he amassed, the more he felt the effects of poverty.
The consequence was, that their armies were unpaid, and, being unpaid or
irregularly paid, were undisciplined, disorderly, unfaithful. In this
situation, a young prince, confiding more in the appearances than
examining into the reality of things, undertook (from motives which the
House of Commons, with all their industry to discover the circumstances,
have found it difficult to make out) to attack a little miserable
trading fort that we had erected at Calcutta. He succeeded in that
attempt only because success in that attempt was easy. A close
imprisonment of the whole settlement followed,--not owing, I believe, to
the direct will of the prince, but, what will always happen when the
will of the prince is but too much the law, to a gross abuse of his
power by his lowest servants,--by which one hundred and twenty or more
of our countrymen perished miserably in a dungeon, by a fate too
tragical for me to be desirous to relate, and too well known to stand in
need of it.

At the time that this event happened, there was at the same time a
concurrence of other events, which, from this partial and momentary
weakness, displayed the strength of Great Britain in Asia. For some
years before, the French and English troops began, on the coast of
Coromandel, to exhibit the power, force, and efficacy of European
discipline. As we daily looked for a war with France, our settlements on
that coast were in some degree armed. Lord Pigot, then Governor of
Madras,--Lord Pigot, the preserver and the victim of the British
dominion in Asia,--detached such of the Company's force as could he
collected and spared, and such of his Majesty's ships as were on that
station, to the assistance of Calcutta. And--to hasten this history to
its conclusion--the daring and commanding genius of Clive, the patient
and firm ability of Watson, the treachery of Mir Jaffier, and the battle
of Plassey gave us at once the patronage of a kingdom and the command of
all its treasures. We negotiated with Mir Jaffier for the viceroyal
throne of his master. On that throne we seated him. And we obtained, on
our part, immense sums of money. We obtained a million sterling for the
Company, upwards of a million for individuals, in the whole a sum of
about two millions two hundred and thirty thousand pounds for various
purposes, from the prince whom we had set up. We obtained, too, the town
of Calcutta more completely than we had before possessed it, and the
twenty-four districts adjoining. This was the first small seminal
principle of the immense territorial acquisitions we have since made in

Many circumstances of this acquisition I pass by. There is a sacred veil
to be drawn over the beginnings of all governments. Ours in India had an
origin like those which time has sanctified by obscurity. Time, in the
origin of most governments, has thrown this mysterious veil over them;
prudence and discretion make it necessary to throw something of the same
drapery over more recent foundations, in which otherwise the fortune,
the genius, the talents, and military virtue of this nation never shone
more conspicuously. But whatever necessity might hide or excuse or
palliate, in the acquisition of power, a wise nation, when it has once
made a revolution upon its own principles and for its own ends, rests
there. The first step to empire is revolution, by which power is
conferred; the next is good laws, good order, good institutions, to give
that power stability. I am sorry to say that the reverse of this policy
was the principle on which the gentlemen in India acted. It was such as
tended to make the new government as unstable as the old. By the vast
sums of money acquired by individuals upon this occasion, by the immense
sudden prodigies of fortune, it was discovered that a revolution in
Bengal was a mine much more easily worked and infinitely more productive
than the mines of Potosi and Mexico. It was found that the work was not
only very lucrative, but not at all difficult. Where Clive forded a deep
water upon an unknown bottom, he left a bridge for his successors, over
which the lame could hobble and the blind might grope their way. There
was not at that time a knot of clerks in a counting-house, there was not
a captain of a band of ragged _topasses_, that looked for anything less
than the deposition of subahs and the sale of kingdoms. Accordingly,
this revolution, which ought to have precluded other revolutions,
unfortunately became fruitful of them; and when Lord Clive returned to
Europe, to enjoy his fame and fortune in his own country, there arose
another description of men, who thought that a revolution might be made
upon his revolution, and as lucrative to them as his was to the first
projectors. Scarcely was Mir Jaffier, Lord Olive's nabob, seated on his
_musnud_, than they immediately, or in a short time, projected another
revolution, a revolution which was to unsettle all the former had
settled, a revolution to make way for new disturbances and new wars, and
which led to that long chain of peculation which ever since has
afflicted and oppressed Bengal.

If ever there was a time when Bengal should have had respite from
internal revolutions, it was this. The governor forced upon the natives
was now upon the throne. All the great lords of the country, both
Gentoos and Mahomedans, were uneasy, discontented, and disobedient, and
some absolutely in arms, and refusing to recognize the prince we had set
up. An imminent invasion of the Mahrattas, an actual invasion headed by
the son of the Mogul, the revenues on account of the late shock very ill
collected even where the country was in some apparent quiet, an hungry
treasury at Calcutta, an empty treasury at Moorshedabad,--everything
demanded tranquillity, and with it order and economy. In this situation
it was resolved to make a new and entirely mercenary revolution, and to
set up to sale the government, secured to its present possessor by every
tie of public faith and every sacred obligation which could bind or
influence mankind. This second revolution forms that period in the
Bengal history which had the most direct influence upon all the
subsequent transactions. It introduces some of the persons who were most
active in the succeeding scenes, and from that time to this has given
its tone and character to the British affairs and government. It marks
and specifies the origin and true principle of all the abuses which Mr.
Hastings was afterwards appointed to correct, and which the Commons
charge that he continued and aggravated: namely, the venal depositions
and venal exaltations of the country powers; the taking of bribes and
corrupt presents from all parties in those changes; the vitiating and
maiming the Company's records; the suppression of public correspondence;
corrupt combinations and conspiracies; perfidy in negotiation
established into principle; acts of the most atrocious wickedness
justified upon purity of intention; mock-trials and collusive acquittals
among the parties in common guilt; and in the end, the Court of
Directors supporting the scandalous breach of their own orders. I shall
state the particulars of this second revolution more at large.

Soon after the revolution which had seated Mir Jaffier on the viceroyal
throne, the spirit of the Mogul empire began, as it were, to make one
faint struggle before it finally expired. The then heir to that throne,
escaping from the hands of those who had held his father prisoner, had
put himself at the head of several chiefs collected under the standard
of his house, and appeared in force on the frontiers of the provinces of
Bengal and Bahar, upon both which he made some impression. This alarmed
the new powers, the Nabob Mir Jaffier, and the Presidency of Calcutta;
and as in a common cause, and by the terms of their mutual alliance,
they took the field against him. The Nabob's eldest son and
heir-apparent commanded in chief. Major Calliaud commanded the English
forces under the government of Calcutta. Mr. Holwell was in the
temporary possession of the Presidency. Mr. Vansittart was hourly
expected to supersede him. Mr. Warren Hastings, a young gentleman about
twenty-seven years of age, was Resident for the Company at the durbar,
or court, of Mir Jaffier, our new-created Nabob of Bengal, allied to
this country by the most solemn treaties that can bind men; for which
treaties he had paid, and was then paying, immense sums of money. Mr.
Warren Hastings was the pledge in his hands for the honor of the British
nation, and their fidelity to their engagements.

In this situation, Mr. Holwell, whom the terrible example of the Black
Hole at Calcutta had not cured of ambition, thought an hour was not to
be lost in accomplishing a revolution and selling the reigning Nabob.

My Lords, there was in the house of Mir Jaffier, in his court, and in
his family, a man of an intriguing, crafty, subtle, and at the same time
bold, daring, desperate, bloody, and ferocious character, called Cossim
Ali Khan. He was the son-in-law of Mir Jaffier; and he made no other use
of this affinity than to find some means to dethrone and to murder him.
This was the person in whose school of politics Mr. Hastings made his
first studies, and whose conduct he quotes as his example, and for whose
friends, agents, and favorites he has always shown a marked
predilection. This dangerous man was not long without finding persons
who observed his talents with admiration, and who thought fit to employ

The Council at Calcutta was divided into two departments: one, the
Council in general; the other a Select Committee, which they had
arranged for the better carrying on their political affairs. But the
Select Committee had no power of acting wholly without the Council at
large,--at least, finally and conclusively. The Select Committee
thought otherwise. Between these litigant parties for power I shall not
determine on the merits,--thinking of nothing but the use that was made
of the power, to whomsoever it belonged. This Secret Committee, then,
without communicating with the rest of the Council, formed the plan for
a second revolution. But the concurrence of Major Calliaud, who
commanded the British troops, was essential to the purpose, as it could
not be accomplished without force. Mr. Hastings's assistance was
necessary, as it could not be accomplished without treachery.

These are the parties concerned in the intended revolution. Mr. Holwell,
who considered himself in possession only of temporary power, was urged
to precipitate the business; for if Mr. Vansittart should arrive before
his plot could be finally put into execution, he would have all the
leading advantages of it, and Mr. Holwell would be considered only as a
secondary instrument. But whilst Mr. Holwell, who originally conceived
this plot, urged forward the execution of it, in order that the chief
share of the profits might fall to him, the Major, and possibly the
Resident, held back, till they might receive the sanction of the
permanent governor, who was hourly expected, with whom one of them was
connected, and who was to carry with him the whole weight of the
authority of this kingdom. This difference produced discussions. Holwell
endeavored by his correspondence to stimulate Calliaud to this
enterprise, which without him could not be undertaken at all. But Major
Calliaud had different views. He concurred inwardly, as he tells us
himself, in all the principles of this intended revolution, in the
propriety and necessity of it. He only wished delay. But he gave such
powerful, solid, and satisfactory reasons, not against the delay, but
the very merits of the design itself, exposing the injustice and the
danger of it, and the impossibility of mending by it their condition in
any respect, as must have damned it in the minds of all rational men: at
least it ought to have damned it forever in his own. But you will see
that Holwell persevered in his plan, and that Major Calliaud thought two
things necessary: first, not wholly to destroy the scheme, which he
tells us he always approved, but to postpone the execution,--and in the
mean time to delude the Nabob by the most strong, direct, and sanguine
assurances of friendship and protection that it was possible to give to

Whilst the projected revolution stood suspended,--whilst Mr. Holwell
urged it forward, and Mr. Vansittart was expected every day to give it
effect,--whilst Major Calliaud, with this design of ruining the Nabob
lodged in his breast, suspended in execution, and condemned in
principle, kept the fairest face and the most confidential interviews
with that unfortunate prince and his son,--as the operations of the
campaign relaxed, the army drew near to Moorshedabad, the capital, when
a truly extraordinary scene happened, such I am sure the English annals
before that time had furnished no example of, nor will, I trust, in
future. I shall state it as one piece from beginning to end, reserving
the events which intervened; because, as I do not produce any part of
this series for the gratification of historical curiosity, the
con-texture is necessary to demonstrate to your Lordships the spirit of
our Bengal politics, and the necessity of some other sort of judicial
inquiries than those which that government institute for themselves.
The transaction so manifestly marks the character of the whole
proceeding that I hope I shall not be blamed for suspending for a moment
the narrative of the steps taken towards the revolution, that you may
see the whole of this episode together,--that by it you may judge of the
causes which led progressively to the state in which the Company's
affairs stood, when Mr. Hastings was sent for the express purpose of
reforming it.

The business I am going to enter into is commonly known by the name of
the Story of the Three Seals. It is to be found in the Appendix, No. 10,
to the First Report of the state and condition of the East India
Company, made in 1773. The word _Report_, my Lords, is sometimes a
little equivocal, and may signify sometimes, not what is made known, but
what remains in obscurity: the detail and evidence of many facts
referred to in the Report being usually thrown into the Appendix. Many
people, and I among the rest, (I take shame to myself for it,) may not
have fully examined that Appendix. I was not a member of either of the
India committees of 1773. It is not, indeed, till within this year that
I have been thoroughly acquainted with that memorable history of the
Three Seals.

The history is this. In the year 1760 the allies were in the course of
operations against the son of the Mogul, now the present Mogul, who, as
I have already stated, had made an irruption into the kingdom of Bahar,
in order to reduce the lower provinces to his obedience. The parties
opposing him were the Nabob of Bengal and the Company's troops under
Major Calliaud. It was whilst they faced the common enemy as one body,
this negotiation for the destruction of the Nabob of Bengal by his
faithful allies of the Company was going on with diligence. At that time
the Nabob's son, Meeran, a youth in the flower of his age, bold,
vigorous, active, full of the politics in which those who are versed in
usurpation are never wanting, commanded the army under his father, but
was in reality the efficient person in all things.

About the 15th of April, 1760, as I have it from Major Calliaud's letter
of that date, the Nabob came into his tent, and, with looks of the
utmost embarrassment, big with some design which swelled his bosom,
something that was too large and burdensome to conceal, and yet too
critical to be told, appeared to be in a state of great distraction. The
Major, seeing him in this condition, kindly, gently, like a fast and
sure friend, employed (to use his own expression) _some of those
assurances that tend to make men fully open their hearts_; and
accordingly, fortified by his assurances, and willing to disburden
himself of the secret that oppressed him, he opens his heart to the
commanding officer of his new friends, allies, and protectors. The
Nabob, thus assured, did open himself, and informed Major Calliaud that
he had just received a message from the Prince, or his principal
minister, informing him that the Prince Royal, now the Mogul, had an
intention (as, indeed, he rationally might, supposing that we were as
well disposed to him as we showed ourselves afterwards) to surrender
himself into the hands of him, the Nabob, but at the same time wished,
as a guaranty, that the commander-in-chief of the English forces should
give him security for his life and his honor, when he should in that
manner surrender himself to the Nabob. I do not mean, my Lords, by
surrendering, that it was supposed he intended to surrender himself
prisoner of war, but as a sovereign dubious of the fidelity of those
about him would put himself into the hands of his faithful subjects, of
those who claimed to derive all their power, as both we and the Nabob
did, under his authority. The Nabob stated to the English general, that
without this English security the Prince would not deliver himself into
his hands. Here he confessed he found a difficulty. For the giving this
faith, if it were kept, would defeat his ultimate view, which was, when
the Prince had delivered himself into his hands, in plain terms to
murder him. This grand act could not be accomplished without the English
general. In the first place, the Prince, without the English security,
would not deliver himself into the Nabob's hands; and afterwards,
without the English concurrence, he could not be murdered. These were
difficulties that pressed upon the mind of the Nabob.

The English commander heard this astonishing proposition without any
apparent emotion. Being a man habituated to great affairs, versed in
revolutions, and with a mind fortified against extraordinary events, he
heard it and answered it without showing any signs of abhorrence or
detestation,--at the same time with a protestation that he would indeed
serve him, the Nabob, but it should be upon such terms as honor and
justice could support: informing him, that an assurance for the Prince's
safety could not be given by him, until he had consulted Mr. Holwell,
who was Governor, and his superior.

This conversation passed in the morning. On that very morning, and
whilst the transaction was hot, Major Calliaud writes to Mr. Holwell an
account of it. In his letter he informs him that he made an inquiry,
without stating from whom, but that he did inquire the probability of
the Nabob's getting possession of the Prince from some persons, who
assured him that there was no probability of the Prince's intention to
deliver himself to the Nabob on any terms. Be that as it may, it is
impossible not to remark that the whole transaction of the morning of
the 15th of April was not very discouraging to the Nabob,--not such as
would induce him to consider this most detestable of all projects as a
thing utterly unfeasible, and as such to abandon it. The evening came on
without anything to alter his opinion. Major Calliaud that evening came
to the Nabob's tent to arrange some matters relative to the approaching
campaign. The business soon ended with regard to the campaign; but the
proposal of the morning to Major Calliaud, as might be expected to
happen, was in effect renewed. Indeed, the form was a little different;
but the substantial part remained the same. Your Lordships will see what
these alterations were.

In the evening scene the persons were more numerous. On the part of the
Company, Major Calliaud, Mr. Lushington, Mr. Knox, and the ambassador at
the Nabob's court, Mr. Warren Hastings. On the part of the Moorish
government, the Nabob himself, his son Meeran, a Persian secretary, and
the Nabob's head spy, an officer well known in that part of the world,
and of some rank. These were the persons of the drama in the evening
scene. The Nabob and his son did not wait for the Prince's committing
himself to their faith, which, it seems, Major Calliaud did not think
likely to happen; so that one act of treachery is saved: but another
opened of as extraordinary a nature. Intent and eager on the execution,
and the more certain, of their design, they accepted the plan of a
wicked wretch, principal servant of the then prime-minister to the
Mogul, or themselves suggested it to him. A person called Conery, dewan
or principal steward to Camgar Khan, a great chief in the service of the
Shahzada, or Prince, (now the Great Mogul, the sovereign under whom the
Company holds their charter,) had, it seems, made a proposal to the
Nabob, that, if a considerable territory then held by his master was
assured to him, and a reward of a lac of rupees (ten or twelve thousand,
pounds) secured to him, he would for that consideration deliver the
Prince, the eldest son of the Mogul, alive into the hands of the Nabob;
or if that could not be effected, he engaged to murder him for the same
reward. But as the assassin could not rely on the Nabob and his son for
his reward for this meritorious action, and thought better of English
honor and fidelity in such delicate cases, he required that Major
Calliaud should set his seal to the agreement. This proposition was made
to an English commander: what discourse happened upon it is uncertain.
Mr. Hastings is stated by some evidence to have acted as interpreter in
this memorable congress. But Major Calliaud agreed to it without any
difficulty. Accordingly, an instrument was drawn, an indenture
tripartite prepared by the Persian secretary, securing to the party the
reward of this infamous, perfidious, murderous act. First, the Nabob put
his own seal to the murder. The Nabob's son, Meeran, affixed _his_ seal.
A third seal, the most important of all, was yet wanting. A pause
ensued: Major Calliaud's seal was not at hand; but Mr. Lushington was
sent near half a mile to bring it. It was brought at length; and the
instrument of blood and treachery was completely executed. Three seals
were set to it.

This business of the three seals, by some means not quite fully
explained, but (as suspected by the parties) by means of the information
of Mr. Holwell, who soon after came home, was conveyed to the ears of
the Court of Directors. The Court of Directors wrote out, under date of
the 7th of October, 1761, within a little more than a year after this
extraordinary transaction, to this effect:--that, in conjunction with
the Nabob, Major Calliaud had signed a paper offering a reward of a lac
of rupees, or some such sum, to several black persons, for the
assassination of the Shahzada, or Prince heir-apparent,--which paper was
offered to the then Chief of Patna to sign, but which he refused on
account of the infamy of the measure. As it appeared in the same light
to them, the Directors, they ordered a strict inquiry into it. The India
Company, who here did their duty with apparent manliness and vigor, were
resolved, however, to do it with gentleness, and to proceed in a manner
that could not produce any serious mischief to the parties charged; for
they directed the commission of inquiry to the very clan and set of
people who, from a participation in their common offences, stood in awe
of one another,--in effect, to the parties in the transaction. Without a
prosecutor, without an impartial director of the inquiry, they left it
substantially to those persons to try one another for their common acts.

Here I come upon the principle which I wish most strongly to mark to
your Lordships: I mean collusive trials and collusive acquittals. When
this matter came to be examined, according to the orders of the Court,
which was on the 4th of October, 1762, the Council consisted of Peter
Maguire, Warren Hastings, and Hugh Watts. Mr. Hastings had by this time
accomplished the business of Resident with the Nabob, and had taken the
seat to which his seniority entitled him in Council. Here a difficulty
arose _in limine_. Mr. Hastings was represented to have acted as
interpreter in this business; he was therefore himself an object of the
inquisition; he was doubtful as evidence; he was disqualified as a
judge. It likewise appeared that there might be some objection to others
whose evidence was wanting, but who were themselves concerned in the
guilt. Mr. Lushington's evidence would be useful, but there were two
circumstances rather unlucky. First, he had put the seal to the
instrument of murder; and, secondly, and what was most material, he had
made an affidavit at Patna, whilst the affair was green and recent, that
he had done so; and in the same affidavit had deposed that Warren
Hastings was interpreter in that transaction. Here were difficulties
both on him and Mr. Hastings. The question was, how to get Mr. Hastings,
the interpreter, out of his interpretation, and to put him upon the seat
of judgment. It was effected, however, and the manner in which it was
effected was something curious. Mr. Lushington, who by this time was got
completely over, himself tells you that in conferences with Major
Calliaud, and by arguments and reasons by him delivered, he was
persuaded to unsay his swearing, and to declare that he believed that
the affidavit which he made at Patna, and while the transaction was
recent or nearly recent, must be a mistake: that he _believed_ (what is
amazing indeed for any belief) that not Mr. Hastings, but he himself,
interpreted. Mr. Lushington completely loses his own memory, and he
accepts an offered, a given memory, a memory supplied to him by a party
in the transaction. By this operation all difficulties are removed: Mr.
Hastings is at once put into the capacity of a judge. He is declared by
Mr. Lushington not to have been an interpreter in the transaction. After
this, Mr. Hastings is himself examined. Your Lordships will look at the
transaction at your leisure, and I think you will consider it as a
pattern for inquiries of this kind. Mr. Hastings is examined: he does
not recollect. His memory also fails on a business in which it is not
easy to suppose a man could be doubtful,--whether he was present or not:
he thinks he was not there,--for that, if he had been there, and acted
as interpreter, he could not have forgot it.

I think it is pretty nearly as I state it: if I have fallen into any
error or inaccuracy, it is easily rectified; for here is the state of
the transaction given by the parties themselves. On this inaccurate
memory of Mr. Hastings, not venturing, however, to say positively that
he was not the interpreter, or that he was not present, he is discharged
from being an accomplice,--he is removed from the bar, and leaps upon
the seat of justice. The court thus completed, Major Calliaud comes
manfully forward to make his defence. Mr. Lushington is taken off his
back in the manner we have seen, and no one person remains but Captain
Knox. Now, if Captain Knox was there and assenting, he is an accomplice
too. Captain Knox asserts, that, at the consultation about the murder,
he said it was a pity to cut off so fine a young fellow in such a
manner,--meaning that fine young fellow the Prince, the descendant of
Tamerlane, the present reigning Mogul, from whom the Company derive
their present charter. The purpose to be served by this declaration, if
it had any purpose, was, that Captain Knox did not assent to the murder,
and that therefore his evidence might be valid.

The defence set up by Major Calliaud was to this effect. He was
apprehensive, he said, that the Nabob was alarmed at the violent designs
that were formed against him by Mr. Holwell, and that therefore, to
quiet his mind, (to quiet it by a proposition compounded of murder and
treason,--an odd kind of mind he had that was to be quieted by such
means!)--but to quiet his mind, and to show that the English were
willing to go all lengths with him, to sell body and soul to him, he did
put his seal to this extraordinary agreement, he put his seal to this
wonderful paper. He likewise stated, that he was of opinion at the time
that nothing at all sinister could happen from it, that no such murder
was likely to take place, whatever might be the intention of the
parties. In fact, he had very luckily said in a letter of his, written a
day after the setting the seal, "I think nothing will come of this
matter, but it is no harm to try." This experimental treachery, and
these essays of conditional murder, appeared to him good enough to make
a trial of; but at the same time he was afraid nothing would come of it.
In general, the whole gest of his defence comes to one point, in which
he persists,--that, whatever the act might be, his mind is clear: "My
hands are guilty, but my heart is free." He conceived that it would be
very improper, undoubtedly, to do such an act, if he suspected anything
could happen from it: he, however, let the thing out of his own hands;
he put, it into the hands of others; he put the commission into the
hands of a murderer. The fact was not denied; it was fully before these
severe judges. The extenuation was the purity of his heart, and the bad
situation of the Company's affairs,--the perpetual plea, which your
Lordships will hear of forever, and which if it will justify evil
actions, they will take good care that the most nefarious of their deeds
shall never want a sufficient justification. But then he calls upon his
life and his character to oppose to his seal; and though he has declared
that Mr. Holwell had intended ill to the Nabob, and that he approved of
those measures, and only postponed them, yet he thought it necessary, he
says, to quiet the fears of the Nabob; and from this motive he did an
act abhorrent to his nature, and which, he says, he expressed his
abhorrence of the morning after he signed it: not that he did so; but if
he had, I believe it would only have made the thing so many degrees
worse. Your Lordships will observe, that, in this conference, as stated
by himself, these reasons and apologies for it did not appear, nor did
they appear in the letter, nor anywhere else, till next year, when he
came upon his trial. Then it was immediately recollected that Mr.
Holwell's designs were so wicked they certainly must be known to the
Nabob, though he never mentioned them in the conference of the morning
or the evening of the 15th; yet such was now the weight and prevalence
of them upon the Major's mind, that he calls upon Mr. Hastings to know
whether the Nabob was not informed of these designs of Mr. Holwell
against him. Mr. Hastings's memory was not quite correct upon the
occasion. He does not recollect anything of the matter. He certainly
seems not to think that he ever mentioned it to the Nabob, or the Nabob
to him; but he does recollect, he thinks, speaking something to some of
the Nabob's attendants upon it, and further this deponent sayeth not. On
this state of things, namely, the purity of intention, the necessities
of the Company, the propriety of keeping the Nabob in perfect good-humor
and removing suspicions from his mind, which suspicions he had never
expressed, they came to the resolution I shall have the honor to read to
you: "That the representation, given in the said defence, of the state
of the affairs of the country at that time" (that is, about the month of
April, 1760) "is true and just" (that is, the bad state of the country,
which we shall consider hereafter); "that, in such circumstances, the
Nabob's urgent account of his own distresses, the Colonel's desire of
making him easy," (for here is a recapitulation of the whole defence,)
"as the first thing necessary for the good of the service, and the
suddenness of the thing proposed, might deprive him for a moment of his
recollection, and surprise him into a measure which, as to the measure
itself, he could not approve. That such only were the motives which did
or could influence Colonel Calliaud to assent to the proposal is fully
evinced by the deposition of Captain Knox and Mr. Lushington, that _his_
[_Calliaud's_] _conscience, at the time, never reproached him with a bad

Your Lordships have heard of the testimony of a person to his own
conscience; but the testimony of another man to any one's
conscience--this is the first time, I believe, it ever appeared in a
judicial proceeding. It is natural to say, "My conscience acquits me of
it"; but _they_ declare, that "_his_ conscience never reproached him
with a bad design, and therefore, upon the whole, they are satisfied
that his intention was good, though he erred in the measure."

I beg leave to state one thing that escaped me: that the Nabob, who was
one of the parties to the design, was, at the time of the inquiry, a
sort of prisoner or an exile at Calcutta; that his _moonshee_ was there,
or might have been had; and that his spy was likewise there; and that
they, though parties to this transaction, were never called to account
for it in any sense or in any degree, or to show how far it was
_necessary_ to quiet the Nabob's mind.

The accomplices, by acquitting him upon _their_ testimony to _his
conscience_, did their business nobly. But the good Court of Directors,
who were so easily satisfied, so ready to condemn at the first
proposition and so ready afterwards to acquit, put the last finishing
hand of a master to it. For the accomplices acquit him of evil
intentions and excuse his act. The Court of Directors, disapproving
indeed the measure, but receiving the testimony of his conscience in
justification of his conduct, and taking up the whole ground, honorably
acquit him, and commend this action as an instance of heroic zeal in
their service.

The great end and purpose for which I produce this to your Lordships is
to show you the necessity there is for other inquiries, other trials,
other acquittals of parties, than those made by a collusive clan abroad,
or by the Directors at home, who had required the parties to inquire of
themselves, and to take the testimony of the judges at second-hand, as
to the conscience of the party accused, respecting acts which neither
they nor any man living can look upon but with horror.

I have troubled your Lordships with the story of the Three Seals, as a
specimen of the then state of the service, and the politics of the
servants, civil and military, in the horrid abuses which then prevailed,
and which render at length the most rigorous reformation necessary. I
close this episode to resume the proceedings at the second revolution.

This affair of the three seals was, we have seen, to quiet the fears of
the Nabob. His fears it was indeed necessary to quiet; for your
Lordships will see that the man whose fears were to be set asleep by
Major Calliaud's offering him, in a scheme for murdering his sovereign,
an odd sort of opiate, made up of blood and treason, was now in a fair
way of being murdered himself by the machinations of him whose seal was
set to his murderous security of peace, and by those his accomplices,
Holwell and Hastings: at least they resolved to put him in a situation
in which his murder was in a manner inevitable, as you will see in the
sequel of the transaction. Now the plan proceeds. The parties continued
in the camp; but there was another _remora_. To remove a nabob and to
create a revolution is not easy: houses are strong who have sons grown
up with vigor and fitness for the command of armies. They are not easily
overturned by removing the principal, unless the secondary is got rid
of: and if this _remora_ could be removed, everything was going on in a
happy way in the business. This plan, which now (that is, about the
month of July) began to get into great ripeness and forwardness, Mr.
Holwell urged forward, Mr. Vansittart being hourly expected.

I do not know whether I am going to state a thing, though it is upon the
records, which will not have too theatrical an appearance for the grave
state in which we are. But here it is,--the difficulty, the knot, and
the solution, as recorded by the parties themselves. It was the object
of this bold, desperate, designing man, Cossim All Khan, who aimed at
everything, and who scrupled not to do anything in attaining what he
aimed at, to be appointed the lieutenant of the Nabob Jaffier Ali, and
thus to get possession of his office during his lifetime under that
name, with a design of murdering him: for that office, according to many
usages of that country, totally supersedes the authority of the first
magistrate, renders him a cipher in his hand, gives the administration
of his affairs and command of his troops to the lieutenant. It was a
part of his plan, that he was, after his appointment to the lieutenancy,
to be named to the succession of the Nabob, who had several other
children; but the eldest son stood in the way.

But as things hastened to a crisis, this difficulty was removed in the
most extraordinary and providential unheard-of manner, by the most
extraordinary event that, I believe, is recorded in history. Just in the
nick of time, in the moment of projection, on the 3d of July, this
Prince Meeran, in the flower of his age, bold, active, enterprising,
lying asleep in his tent, is suddenly, without any one's knowing it,
without any alarm or menace in the heavens that ever was heard of or
mentioned, without any one whatever being hurt or even alarmed in the
camp, killed with a flash of lightning. My Lords, thus was the Gordian
knot cut. This prince dies of a flash of lightning, and Mr. Lushington
(of whom you have heard) comes in the morning with his hair standing
erect, comes frightened into the presence of Major Calliaud, and, with
the utmost alarm, tells him of a circumstance that was afterwards to
give them so much pleasure. The alarm was immediately communicated to
the Major, who was seized with a fright; and fearing lest the army
should mutiny upon the death of their chief, it was contrived, in a
manner that I believe was most difficult to contrive, that what might
have excited a general mutiny was concealed by the ability, the good
conduct, and dexterity of Major Calliaud for seven days together, till
he led the army out of the place of danger. Thus a judgment fell upon
one of the (innocent) murderers in the scene of the Three Seals. This
man, who was probably guilty in his conscience as well as in act, thus
fell by that most lucky, providential, and most useful flash of

There were at that time, it seems, in Calcutta, a wicked, skeptical set
of people, who somehow or other believed that _human_ agency was
concerned in this elective flash, which came so very opportunely, and
which was a favor so thankfully acknowledged. These wicked, ill-natured
skeptics disseminated reports (which I am sure I do not mean to charge
or prove, leaving the effect of them to you) very dishonorable, I
believe, to Cossim Ali Khan in the business, and to some Englishmen who
were concerned.

The difficulty of getting rid of Meeran being thus removed, Mr.
Vansittart comes upon the scene. I verily believe he was a man of good
intentions, and rather debauched by that amazing flood of iniquity which
prevailed at that time, or hurried and carried away with it. In a few
days he sent for Major Calliaud. All his objections vanish in _an
instant_: like that flash of lightning, everything is _instant_. The
Major agrees to perform his part. They send for Cossim Ali Khan and Mr.
Hastings; they open a treaty and conclude it with him, leaving the
management of it to two persons, Mr. Holwell and another person, whom we
have heard of, an Armenian, called Coja Petruse, who afterwards played
his part in another illustrious scene. By this Petruse and Mr. Holwell
the matter is settled. The moment Mr. Holwell is raised to be a
Secretary of State, the revolution is accomplished. By it Cossim Ali
Khan is to have the lieutenancy at present, and the succession.
Everything is put into his hands, and he is to make for it large
concessions, which you will hear of afterwards, to the Company. Cossim
Ali Khan proposed to Mr. Holwell, what would have been no bad supplement
to the flash of lightning, the murder of the Nabob; but Mr. Holwell was
a man of too much honor and conscience to suffer that. He instantly flew
out at it, and declared the whole business should stop, unless the
affair of the murder was given up. Accordingly things were so settled.
But if he gave the Nabob over to an intended murderer, and delivered his
person, treasure, and everything into his hands, Cossim Ali Khan might
have had no great reason to complain of being left to the execution of
his own projects in his own way. The treaty was made, and amounted to
this,--that the Company was to receive three great provinces: for here,
as we proceed, you will have an opportunity of observing, with the
progress of these plots, one thing which has constantly and uniformly
pervaded the whole of these projects, and which the persons concerned in
them have avowed as a principle of their actions,--that they were first
to take care of the Company's interest, then of their own; that is,
first to secure to the Company an enormous bribe, and under the shadow
of that bribe to take all the little emoluments they could to
themselves. Three great, rich, southern provinces, maritime, or nearly
maritime, Burdwan, Midnapoor, and Chittagong, were to be dissevered from
the Subah and to be ceded to the Company. There were other minor
stipulations, which it is not necessary at present to trouble you with,
signed, sealed, and executed at Calcutta between these parties with the
greatest possible secrecy. The lieutenancy and the succession were
secured to Cossim Ali, and he was likewise to give somewhere about the
sum of 200,000_l._ to the gentlemen who were concerned, as a reward for
serving him so effectually, and for serving their country so well.
Accordingly, these stipulations, actual or understood, (for they were
eventually carried into effect,) being settled, a commission of
delegation, consisting chiefly of Mr. Vansittart and Major Calliaud, was
sent up to Moorshedabad: the new Governor taking this opportunity of
paying the usual visit of respect to the Nabob, and in a manner which a
new Governor coming into place would do, with the detail of which it is
not necessary to trouble you. Mr. Hastings was at this time at the
durbar; and having everything prepared, and the ground smoothed, they
first endeavored to persuade the Nabob to deliver over the power
negotiated for into the hands of their friend Cossim Ali Khan. But when
the old man, frightened out of his wits, asked, "What is it he has bid
for me?" and added, "I will give half as much again to save myself; pray
let me know what my price is,"--he entreated in vain. They were true,
firm, and faithful to their word and their engagement. When he saw they
were resolved that he should be delivered into the hands of Cossim Ali
Khan, he at once surrenders the whole to him. They instantly grasp it.
He throws himself into a boat, and will not remain at home an hour, but
hurries down to Calcutta to leave his blood at our door, if we should
have a mind to take it. But the life of the Nabob was too great a stake
(partly as a security for the good behavior of Cossim Ali Khan, and
still more for the future use that might be made of him) to be thrown
away, or left in the hands of a man who would certainly murder him, and
who was very angry at being refused the murder of his father-in-law. The
price of this second revolution was, according to their shares in it, (I
believe I have it here,) somewhere about 200,000_l._ This little
effusion to private interest settled the matter, and here ended the
second revolution in the country: effected, indeed, without bloodshed,
but with infinite treachery, with infinite mischief, consequent to the
dismemberment of the country, and which had nearly become fatal to our
concerns there, like everything else in which Mr. Hastings had any

This prince, Cossim Ali Khan, the friend of Mr. Hastings, knew that
those who could give could take away dominion. He had scarcely got upon
the throne, procured for him by our public spirit and his own
iniquities, than he began directly and instantly to fortify himself, and
to bend all his politics against those who were or could be the donors
of such fatal gifts. He began with the natives who were in their
interest, and cruelly put to death, under the eye of Mr. Hastings and
his clan, all those who, by their moneyed wealth or landed
consideration, could give any effect to their dispositions in favor of
those ambitious strangers. He removed from Moorshedabad higher up into
the country, to Monghir, in order to be more out of our view. He kept
his word pretty well, but not altogether faithfully, with the gentlemen;
and though he had no money, for his treasury was empty, he gave
obligations which are known by the name of _jeeps_--(the Indian
vocabulary will by degrees become familiar to your Lordships, as we
develop the modes and customs of the country). As soon as he had done
this, he began to rack and tear the provinces that were left to him, to
get as much from them as should compensate him for the revenues of those
great provinces he had lost; and accordingly he began a scene of
extortion, horrible, nefarious, without precedent or example, upon
almost all the landed interest of that country. I mention this, because
he is one of those persons whose governments Mr. Hastings, in a paper
called his Defence, delivered in to the House of Commons, has produced
as precedents and examples which he has thought fit to follow, and which
he thought would justify him in the conduct he has pursued. This Cossim
Ali Khan, after he had acted the tyrant on the landed interest, fell
upon the moneyed interest. In that country there was a person called
Juggut Seit. There were several of the family, who were bankers to such
a magnitude as was never heard of in the world. Receivers of the public
revenue, their correspondence extended all over Asia; and there are
those who are of opinion that the house of Juggut Seit, including all
its branches, was not worth less than six or seven millions sterling.
This house became the prey of Cossim Ali Khan; but Mr. Holwell had
predicted that _it should be delivered over to Satan to be buffeted_
(his own pious expression). He predicted the misfortunes that should
befall them; and we chose a Satan to buffet them, and who did so buffet
them, by the murder of the principal persons of the house, and by
robbing them of great sums of their wealth, that I believe such a scene
of nefarious tyranny, destroying and cutting up the root of public
credit in that country, was scarce ever known. In the mean time Cossim
was extending his tyranny over all who were obnoxious to him; and the
persons he first sought were those traitors who had been friends to the
English. Several of the principal of these he murdered. There was in the
province of Bahar a man named Ramarain; he had got the most positive
assurances of English faith; but Mr. Macguire, a member of the Council,
on the receipt of five thousand gold mohurs, or something more than
8,000_l._ sterling, delivered him up to be first imprisoned, then
tortured, then robbed in consequence of the torture, and finally
murdered, by Cossim Ali Khan. In this way Cossim Ali Khan acted, while
our government looked on. I hardly choose to mention to you the fate of
a certain native in consequence of a dispute with Mr. Mott, a friend of
Mr. Hastings, which is in the Company's records,--records which are
almost buried by their own magnitude from the knowledge of this country.
In a contest with this native for his house and property, some scuffle
having happened between the parties, the one attempting to seize and the
other to defend, the latter made a complaint to the Nabob, who was in an
entire subjection at that time to the English, and who ordered this
unfortunate man, on account of this very scuffle, arising from
defending his property, to be blown off from the mouth of a cannon. In
short, I am not able to tell your Lordships of all the nefarious
transactions of this man, whom the intrigues of Mr. Holwell and Mr.
Hastings had set upon the throne of Bengal. But there is a circumstance
in this business that comes across here, and will tend to show another
grievance that vexed that country, which vexed it long, and is one of
the causes of its chief disasters, and which, I fear, is not so
perfectly extirpated but that some part of its roots may remain in the
ground at this moment.

Commerce, which enriches every other country in the world, was bringing
Bengal to total ruin. The Company, in former times, when it had no
sovereignty or power in the country, had large privileges under their
_dustuck_, or permit: their goods passed, without paying duties, through
the country. The servants of the Company made use of this dustuck for
their own private trade, which, while it was used with moderation, the
native government winked at in some degree; but when it got wholly into
private hands, it was more like robbery than trade. These traders
appeared everywhere; they sold at their own prices, and forced the
people to sell to them at their own prices also. It appeared more like
an army going to pillage the people, under pretence of commerce, than
anything else. In vain the people claimed the protection of their own
country courts. This English army of traders in their march ravaged
worse than a Tartarian conqueror. The trade they carried on, and which
more resembled robbery than commerce, anticipated the resources of the
tyrant, and threatened to leave him no materials for imposition or
confiscation. Thus this miserable country was torn to pieces by the
horrible rapaciousness of a double tyranny. This appeared to be so
strong a case, that a deputation was sent to him at his new capital,
Monghir, to form a treaty for the purpose of giving some relief against
this cruel, cursed, and oppressive trade, which was worse even than the
tyranny of the sovereign. This trade Mr. Vansittart, the President about
this time, that is, in 1763, who succeeded to Mr. Holwell, and was in
close union of interests with the tyrant Cossim Ali Khan, by a treaty
known by the name of the treaty of Monghir, agreed very much to suppress
and to confine within something like reasonable bounds. There never was
a doubt on the face of that treaty, that it was a just, proper, fair
transaction. But as nobody in Bengal did then believe that rapine was
ever forborne but in favor of bribery, the persons who lost every
advantage by the treaty of Monghir, when they thought they saw corrupt
negotiation carrying away the prizes of unlawful commerce, and were
likely to see their trade crippled by Cossim Ali Khan, fell into a most
violent fury at this treaty; and as the treaty was made without the
concurrence of the rest of the Council, the Company's servants grew
divided: one part were the advocates of the treaty, the other of the
trade. The latter were universally of opinion that the treaty was bought
for a great sum of money. The evidence we have on our records of the
sums of money that are stated to have been paid on this occasion has
never been investigated to the bottom; but we have it on record, that a
great sum (70,000_l._) was paid to persons concerned in that
negotiation. The rest were exceedingly wroth to see themselves not
profiting by the negotiation, and losing the trade, or likely to be
excluded from it; and they were the more so, because, as we have it upon
our journals, during all that time the trade of the negotiators was not
proscribed, but a purwannah was issued by Cossim Ali Khan, that the
trade of his friends Mr. Vansittart and Mr. Hastings should not be
subject to the general regulations. This filled the whole settlement
with ill blood; but in the regulation itself (I put the motive and the
secret history out of the case) undoubtedly Mr. Hastings and Mr.
Vansittart were on the right side. They had shown to a demonstration the
mischief of this trade. However, as the other party were strong, and did
not readily let go their hold of this great advantage, first,
dissensions, murmurs, various kinds of complaints, and ill blood arose.
Cossim Ali was driven to the wall; and having at the same time made what
he thought good preparations, a war broke out at last. And how did it
break out? This Cossim Ali Khan signalized his first acts of hostility
by an atrocity committed against the faith of treaties, against the
rules of war, against every principle of honor. This intended murderer
of his father-in-law, whom Mr. Hastings had assisted to raise to the
throne of Bengal, well knowing his character and his disposition, and
well knowing what such a man was capable of doing,--this man massacred
the English wherever he met them. There were two hundred, or
thereabouts, of the Company's servants, or their dependants, slaughtered
at Patna with every circumstance of the most abominable cruelty. Their
limbs were cut to pieces. The tyrant whom Mr. Hastings set up cut and
hacked the limbs of British subjects in the most cruel and perfidious
manner, threw them into wells, and polluted the waters of the country
with British blood. Immediately war is declared against him in form.
That war sets the whole country in a blaze; and then other parties begin
to appear upon the scene, whose transactions you will find yourselves
deeply concerned in hereafter.

As soon as war was declared against Cossim, it was necessary to resolve
to put up another Nabob, and to have another revolution: and where do
they resort, but to the man whom, for his alleged tyranny, for his
incapacity, for the numberless iniquities he was said to have committed,
and for his total unfitness and disinclination to all the duties of
government, they had dethroned? This very man they take up again, to
place on the throne from which they had about two years before removed
him, and for the effecting of which they had committed so many
iniquities. Even this revolution was not made without being paid for.
According to the usual order of procession, in which the youngest walk
first, first comes the Company; and the Company had secured to it in
perpetuity those provinces which Cossim Ali Khan had ceded, as it was
thought, rather in the way of mortgage than anything else. Then, under
the name of compensation for sufferings to the people concerned in the
trade, and in the name of donation to an army and a navy which had
little to do in this affair, they tax him--what sum do you think? They
tax that empty and undone treasury of that miserable and undone country
500,000_l._ for a private emolument to themselves,--for the compensation
for this iniquitous trade,--for the compensation for abuses of which he
was neither the author nor the abettor, they tax this miserable prince
500,000_l._ That sum was given to individuals. Now comes the Company at
home, which, on hearing this news, was all inflamed. The Directors were
on fire. They were shocked at it, and particularly at this donation to
the army and navy. They resolved they would give it no countenance and
support. In the mean time the gentlemen did not trouble their heads upon
that subject, but meant to exact and get their 500,000_l._ as they

Here was a third revolution, bought at this amazing sum, and this poor,
miserable prince first dragged from Moorshedabad to Calcutta, then
dragged back from Calcutta to Moorshedabad, the sport of fortune and the
plaything of avarice. This poor man is again set up, but is left with no
authority: his troops limited,--his person, everything about him, in a
manner subjugated,--a British Resident the master of his court: he is
set up as a pageant on this throne, with no other authority but what
would be sufficient to give a countenance to presents, gifts, and
donations. That authority was always left, when all the rest was taken
away. One would have thought that this revolution might have satisfied
these gentlemen, and that the money gained by it would have been
sufficient. No. The partisans of Cossim Ali wanted another revolution.
The partisans of the other side wished to have something more done in
the present. They now began to think that to depose Cossim instantly,
and to sell him to another, was too much at one time,--especially as
Cossim Ali was a man of vigor and resolution, carrying on a fierce war
against them. But what do you think they did? They began to see, from
the example of Cossim Ali, that the lieutenancy, the ministry of the
king, was a good thing to be sold, and the sale of that might turn out
as good a thing as the sale of the prince.

For this office there were two rival candidates, persons of great
consideration, in Bengal: one, a principal Mahomedan, called Mahomed
Reza Khan, a man of high authority, great piety in his own religion,
great learning in the law, of the very first class of Mahomedan
nobility; but at the same time, on all these accounts, he was abhorred
and dreaded by the Nabob, who necessarily feared that a man of Mahomed
Reza Khan's description would be considered as better entitled and
fitter for his seat, as Nabob of the provinces. To balance him, there
was another man, known by the name of the Great Rajah Nundcomar. This
man was accounted the highest of his caste, and held the same rank among
the Gentoos that Mahomed Reza Khan obtained among the Mahomedans. The
prince on the throne had no jealousy of Nundcomar, because he knew,
that, as a Gentoo, he could not aspire to the office of Subahdar. For
that reason he was firmly attached to him; he might depend completely on
his services; he was _his_ against Mahomed Reza Khan, and against the
whole world. There was, however, a flaw in the Nabob's title, which it
was necessary should be hid. And perhaps it lay against Mahomed Reza
Khan as well as him. But it was a source of apprehension to the Nabob,
and contributed to make him wish to keep all Mahomedan influence at a
distance. For he was a Syed, that is to say, a descendant of Mahomet,
and as such, though of the only acknowledged nobility among Mussulmen,
would be by that circumstance excluded, by the known laws of the Mogul
empire, from being Subahdar in any of the Mogul provinces, in case the
revival of the constitution of that empire should ever again take place.

An auction was now opened before the English Council at Calcutta.
Mahomed Reza Khan bid largely; Nundcomar bid largely. The circumstances
of these two rivals at the Nabob court were equally favorable to the
pretensions of each. But the preponderating merits of Mahomed Reza Khan,
arising from the subjection in which he was likely to keep the Nabob,
and make him fitter for the purpose of continued exactions, induced the
Council to take his money, which amounted to about 220,000_l._ Be the
sum paid what it may, it was certainly a large one; in consequence of
which the Council attempted to invest Mahomed Reza Khan with the office
of Naib Subah, or Deputy Viceroy. As to Nundcomar, they fell upon him
with a vengeful fury. He fought his battle as well as he could; he
opposed bribe to bribe, eagle to eagle; but at length he was driven to
the wall. Some received his money, but did him no service in return;
others, more conscientious, refused to receive it; and in this battle of
bribes he was vanquished. A deputation was sent from Calcutta to the
miserable Nabob, to tear Nundcomar, his only support, from his side, and
to put the object of all his terrors, Mahomed Reza Khan, in his place.

Thus began a new division that split the Presidency into violent
factions; but the faction which adhered to Nundcomar was undoubtedly the
weakest. That most miserable of men, Mir Jaffier Ali Khan, clinging, as
to the last pillar, to Nundcomar, trembling at Mahomed Reza Khan, died
in the struggle, a miserable victim to all the revolutions, to all the
successive changes and versatile politics at Calcutta. Like all the rest
of the great personages whom we have degraded and brutalized by insult
and oppression, he betook himself to the usual destructive resources of
unprincipled misery,--sensuality, opium, and wine. His gigantic frame of
constitution soon gave way under the oppression of this relief, and he
died, leaving children and grandchildren by wives and concubines. On the
old Nabob's death, Mahomed Reza Khan was acknowledged Deputy Nabob, the
money paid, and this revolution completed.

Here, my Lords, opened a new source of plunder, peculation, and bribery,
which was not neglected. Revolutions were no longer necessary;
succession supplied their places: and well the object agreed with the
policy. Rules of succession could not be very well ascertained to an
office like that of the Nabob, which was hereditary only by the
appointment of the Mogul. The issue by lawful wives would naturally be
preferred by those who meant the quiet of the country. But a more
doubtful title was preferred, as better adapted to the purposes of
extortion and peculation. This miserable succession was sold, and the
eldest of the issue of Munny Begum, an harlot, brought in to pollute the
harem of the seraglio, of whom you will hear much hereafter, was chosen.
He soon succeeded to the grave. Another son of the same prostitute
succeeded to the same unhappy throne, and followed to the same untimely
grave. Every succession was sold; and between venal successions and
venal revolutions, in a very few years seven princes and six sales were
seen successively in Bengal. The last was a minor, the issue of a
legitimate wife, admitted to succeed because a minor, and because there
was none illegitimate left. He was instantly stripped of the allowance
of his progenitors, and reduced to a pension of 160,000 a year. He still
exists, and continued to the end of Mr. Hastings's government to furnish
constant sources of bribery and plunder to him and his creatures.

The offspring of Munny Begum clinging, as his father did, to Nundcomar,
they tore Nundcomar from his side, as they had done from the side of his
father, and carried him down as a sort of prisoner to Calcutta; where,
having had the weakness to become the first informer, he was made the
first example. This person, pushed to the wall, and knowing that the man
he had to deal with was desperate and cruel in his resentments, resolves
on the first blow, and enters before the Council a regular information
in writing of bribery against Mr. Hastings. In his preface to that
charge he excuses himself for what is considered to be an act equally
insane and wicked, and as the one inexpiable crime of an Indian, the
discovery of the money he gives,--that Mr. Hastings had declaredly
determined on his ruin, and to accomplish it had newly associated
himself with one Mohun Persaud, a name I wish your Lordships to
remember, a bitter enemy of his, an infamous person, whom Mr. Hastings
knew to be such, and as such had turned him out of his house,--that Mr.
Hastings had lately recalled, and held frequent communications with this
Mohun Persaud, the subject of which he had no doubt was his ruin. In the
year 1775 he was hanged by those incorrupt English judges who were sent
to India by Parliament to protect the natives from oppression.

Your Lordships will observe that this new sale of the office of
ministers succeeded to the sale of that of nabobs. All these varied and
successive sales shook the country to pieces. As if those miserable
exhausted provinces were to be cured of inanition by phlebotomy, while
Cossim Ali was racking it above, the Company were drawing off all its
nutriment below. A dreadful, an extensive, and most chargeable war
followed. Half the northern force of India poured down like a torrent on
Bengal, endangered our existence, and exhausted all our resources. The
war was the fruit of Mr. Hastings's cabals. Its termination, as usual,
was the result of the military merit and the fortune of this nation.
Cossim Ali, after having been defeated toy the military genius and
spirit of England, (for the Adamses, Monroes, and others of that period,
I believe, showed as much skill and bravery as any of their
predecessors,) in his flight swept away above three millions in money,
jewels, or effects, out of a country which he had plundered and
exhausted by his unheard-of exactions. However, he fought his way like a
retiring lion, turning his face to his pursuers. He still fought along
his frontier. His ability and his money drew to his cause the Subahdar
of Oude, the famous Sujah ul Dowlah. The Mogul entered into these wars,
and penetrated into the lower provinces on one side, whilst Bulwant
Sing, the Rajah of Benares, entered them on another. After various
changes of party and changes of fortune, the loss which began in the
treachery of the civil service was, as I have before remarked, redeemed
by military merit. Many examples of the same sort have since been seen.

Whilst these things were transacted in India, the Court of Directors in
London, hearing of so many changes, hearing of such an incredible mass
of perfidy and venality, knowing that there was a general market made of
the country and of the Company, that the flame of war spread from
province to province, that, in proportion as it spread, the fire glowed
with augmented fierceness, and that the rapacity which originally gave
rise to it was following it in all its progress,--the Company, my Lords,
alarmed not only for their acquisitions, but their existence, and
finding themselves sinking lower and lower by every victory they
obtained, thought it necessary at length to come to some system and some
settlement. After composing their differences with Lord Clive, they sent
him out to that country about the year 1765, in order, by his name,
weight, authority, and vigor of mind, to give some sort of form and
stability to government, and to rectify the innumerable abuses which
prevailed there, and particularly that great source of disorders, that
fundamental abuse, presents: for the bribes by which all these
revolutions were bought had not the name of conditions, stipulations, or
rewards; they even had the free and gratuitous style of presents. The
receivers contended that they were mere gratuities given for service
done, or mere tokens of affection and gratitude to the parties. They may
give them what names they please, and your Lordships will think of them
what you please; but they were the donations of misery to power, the
gifts of sufferers to the oppressors; and consequently, where they
prevailed, they left no certain property or fixed situation to any man
in India, from the highest to the lowest.

The Court of Directors sent out orders to enlarge the servants'
covenants with new and severe clauses, strongly prohibiting the practice
of receiving presents. Lord Clive himself had been a large receiver of
them. Yet, as it was in the moment of a revolution which gave them all
they possessed, the Company would hear no more of it. They sent him out
to reform: whether they chose well or ill does not signify. I think,
upon the whole, they chose well; because his name and authority could do
much. They sent him out to redress the grievances of that country, and
it was necessary he should be well armed for that service. They sent him
out with such powers as no servant of the Company ever held before. I
would not be understood here in my own character, much less in the
delegated character in which I stand, to contend for any man in the
totality of his conduct. Perhaps in some of his measures he was
mistaken, and in some of his acts reprehensible; but justice obliges me
to say, that the plan which he formed and the course which he pursued
were in general great and well imagined,--that he laid great
foundations, if they had been properly built upon. For, in the first
place, he composed all the neighboring countries torn to pieces by the
wars of Cossim Ali, and quieted the apprehensions raised by the opinion
of the boundless ambition of England. He took strong measures to put an
end to a great many of the abuses that prevailed in the country subject
to the Company. He then proceeded to the upper provinces, and formed a
plan which, for a military man, has great civil and political merit. He
put a bound to the aspiring spirit of the Company's servants; he limited
its conquests; he prescribed bounds to its ambition. "First" (says he)
"quiet the minds of the country; what you have obtained regulate; make
it known to India that you resolve to acquire no more."

On this solid plan he fixed every prince that was concerned in the
preceding wars, on the one side and on the other, in an happy and easy
settlement. He restored Sujah ul Dowlah, who had been driven from his
dominions by the military arm of Great Britain, to the rank of Vizier,
and to the dominion of the territories of Oude. With a generosity that
astonished all Asia, he reinstated this expelled enemy of his nation
peaceably upon his throne. And this act of politic generosity did more
towards quieting the minds of the people of Asia than all the terror,
great as it was, of the English arms. At the same time, Lord Clive,
generous to all, took peculiar care of our friends and allies. He took
care of Bulwant Sing, the great Rajah of Benares, who had taken our part
in the war. He secured him from the revenge of Sujah ul Dowlah. The
Mogul had granted us the superiority over Bulwant Sing. Lord Clive
reestablished him in a secure, easy independency. He confirmed him,
under the British guaranty, in the rich principality which he held.

The Mogul, the head of the Mussulman religion in India, and of the
Indian empire, a head honored and esteemed even in its ruins, he
procured to be recognized by all the persons that were connected with
his empire. The rents that ought to be paid to the Vizier of the Empire
he gave to the Vizierate. Thus our alliances were cemented, our enemies
were reconciled, all Asia was conciliated by our settlement with the
king. To that unhappy fugitive king, driven from place to place, the
sport of fortune, now an emperor and now a prisoner, prayed for in every
mosque in which his authority was conspired against, one day opposed by
the coin struck in his name and the other day sold for it,--to this
descendant of Tamerlane he allotted, with a decent share of royal
dignity, an honorable fixed residence, where he might be useful and
could not be dangerous.

As to the Bengal provinces, he did not take for the Company the
viceroyalty, as Mr. Holwell would have persuaded, almost forced, the
Company to do; but, to satisfy the prejudices of the Mahomedans, the
country was left in the hands nominally of the Subah, or viceroy, who
was to administer the criminal justice and the exterior forms of
royalty. He obtained from the sovereign the _dewanny_. This is the great
act of the constitutional entrance of the Company into the body politic
of India. It gave to the settlement of Bengal a fixed constitutional
form, with a legal title, acknowledged and recognized now for the first
time by all the natural powers of the country, because it arose from the
charter of the undoubted sovereign. The _dewanny_, or high-stewardship,
gave to the Company the collection and management of the revenue; and in
this modest and civil character they appeared, not the oppressors, but
the protectors of the people. This scheme had all the real power,
without any invidious appearance of it; it gave them the revenue,
without the parade of sovereignty. On this double foundation the
government was happily settled. The minds of the natives were quieted.
The Company's territories and views were circumscribed. The arm of force
was put out of sight. The imperial name covered everything. The power of
the purse was in the hand of the Company. The power of the sword was in
effect so, as they contracted for the maintenance of the army. The
Company had a revenue of a million and a half. The Nabob had, indeed,
fallen from any real and effective power, yet the dignity of the court
was maintained. The prejudices and interests of the Mahomedans, and
particularly of their nobility, who had suffered more by this great
revolution even than the old inhabitants of the country, were consulted;
for by this plan a revenue of 500,000_l._ was settled on the
viceroyalty, which was thus enabled to provide in some measure for those
great families. The Company likewise, by this plan, in order to enjoy
their revenues securely, and to avoid envy and murmur, put them into the
hands of Mahomed Reza Khan, whom Lord Clive found in the management of
affairs, and did not displace; and he was now made deputy-steward to the
Company, as he had been before lieutenant-viceroy to the Nabob. A
British Resident at Moorshedabad was established as a control. The
Company exercised their power over the revenue in the first instance
through the natives, but the British Resident was in reality the great

If ever this nation stood in a situation of glory throughout Asia, it
was in that moment. But, as I have said, some material errors and
mistakes were committed. After the formation of this plan, Lord Clive
unfortunately did not stay long enough in the country to give
consistency to the measures of reformation he had undertaken, but
rapidly returned to England; and after his departure, the government
that continued had not vigor or authority to support the settlement then
made, and considerable abuses began to prevail in every quarter. Another
capital period in our history here commences. Those who succeeded
(though I believe one of them was one of the honestest men that ever
served the Company, I mean Governor Verelst) had not weight enough to
poise the system of the service, and consequently many abuses and
grievances again prevailed. Supervisors were appointed to every
district, as a check on the native collectors, and to report every abuse
as it should arise. But they who were appointed to redress grievances
were themselves accused of being guilty of them. However, the disorders
were not of that violent kind which preceded Mr. Hastings's departure,
nor such as followed his return: no mercenary wars, no mercenary
revolutions, no extirpation of nations, no violent convulsions in the
revenue, no subversion of ancient houses, no general sales of any
descriptions of men,--none of these, but certainly such grievances as
made it necessary for the Company to send out another commission in
1769, with instructions pointing out the chief abuses. It was composed
of Mr. Vansittart, Mr. Ford, and Mr. Scrafton. The unfortunate end of
that commission is known to all the world; but I mention it in order to
state that the receipt of presents was considered as one of the
grievances which then prevailed in India, and that the supervisors under
that commission were ordered upon no account whatever to take presents.
Upon the unfortunate catastrophe which happened, the Company was
preparing to send out another for the rectification of these grievances,
when Parliament thought it necessary to supersede that commission, to
take the matter into their own hands, and to appoint another commission
in a Parliamentary way (of which Mr. Hastings was one) for the better
government of that country. Mr. Hastings, as I must mention to your
Lordships, soon after the deposition and restoration of Jaffier Ali
Khan, and before Lord Clive arrived, quitted for a while the scene in
which he had been so mischievously employed, and returned to England to
strengthen himself by those cabals which again sent him out with new
authority to pursue the courses which were the natural sequel to his
former proceedings. He returned to India with great power,
indeed,--first to a seat in Council at Fort St. George, and from thence
to succeed to the Presidency of Fort William. On him the Company placed
their chief reliance. Happy had it been for them, happy for India and
for England, if his conduct had been such as to spare your Lordships and
the Commons the exhibition of this day!

When this government, with Mr. Hastings at the head of it, was settled,
Moorshedabad did still continue the seat of the native government, and
of all the collections. Here the Company was not satisfied with placing
a Resident at the durbar, which was the first step to our assuming the
government in that country. These steps must be traced by your
Lordships; for I should never have given you this trouble, if it was not
necessary to possess you clearly of the several progressive steps by
which the Company's government came to be established and to supersede
the native. The next step was the appointment of supervisors in every
province, to oversee the native collector. The third was to establish a
general Council of Revenue at Moorshedabad, to superintend the great
steward, Mahomed Reza Khan. In 1772 that Council by Mr. Hastings was
overturned, and the whole management of the revenue brought to Calcutta.
Mahomed Reza Khan, by orders of the Company, was turned out of all his
offices, and turned out for reasons and principles which your Lordships
will hereafter see; and at last the dewanny was entirely taken out of
the native hands, and settled in the Supreme Council and Presidency
itself in Calcutta; and so it remained until the year 1781, when Mr.
Hastings made another revolution, took it out of the hands of the
Supreme Council, in which the orders of the Company, an act of
Parliament, and their own act had vested it, and put it into a
subordinate council: that is, it was entirely vested in himself.

       *       *       *       *       *

Now your Lordships see the whole of the revolutions. I have stated them,
I trust, with perspicuity,--stated the grounds and principles upon which
they were made,--stated the abuses that grew upon them,--and that every
revolution produced its abuse. You saw the native government vanish by
degrees, until it was reduced to a situation fit for nothing but to
become a private perquisite, as it has been, to Mr. Hastings, and to be
granted to whom he pleased. The English government succeeded, at the
head of which Mr. Hastings was placed by an act of Parliament, having
before held the office of President of the Council,--the express object
of both these appointments being to redress grievances; and within these
two periods of his power, as President and Governor-General, were those
crimes committed of which he now stands accused. All this history is
merely by way of illustration: his crimination begins from his
nomination to the Presidency; and we are to consider how he comported
himself in that station, and in his office of Governor-General.

The first thing, in considering the merits or demerits of any governor,
is to have some test by which they are to be tried. And here, my Lords,
we conceive, that, when a British governor is sent abroad, he is sent to
pursue the good of the people as much as possible in the spirit of the
laws of this country, which in all respects intend their conservation,
their happiness, and their prosperity. This is the principle upon which
Mr. Hastings was bound to govern, and upon which he is to account for
his conduct here. His rule was, what a British governor, intrusted with
the power of this country, was bound to do or to forbear. If he has
performed and if he has abstained as he ought, dismiss him honorably
acquitted from your bar; otherwise condemn him. He may resort to other
principles and to other maxims; but this country will force him to be
tried by its laws. The law of this country recognizes that well-known
crime called misconduct in office; it is a head of the law of England,
and, so far as inferior courts are competent to try it, may be tried in
them. Here your Lordships' competence is plenary: you are fully
competent both to inquire into and to punish the offence.

And, first, I am to state to your Lordships, by the direction of those
whom I am bound to obey, the principles on which Mr. Hastings declares
he has conducted his government,--principles which he has avowed, first
in several letters written to the East India Company, next in a paper of
defence delivered to the House of Commons explicitly, and more
explicitly in his defence before your Lordships. Nothing in Mr.
Hastings's proceedings is so curious as his several defences; and
nothing in the defences is so singular as the principles upon which he
proceeds. Your Lordships will have to decide not only upon a large,
connected, systematic train of misdemeanors, but an equally connected
system of principles and maxims of government, invented to justify those
misdemeanors. He has brought them forward and avowed them in the face of
day. He has boldly and insultingly thrown them in the face of the
representatives of a free people, and we cannot pass them by without
adopting them. I am directed to protest against those grounds and
principles upon which he frames his defence; for, if those grounds are
good and valid, they carry off a great deal at least, if not entirely,
the foundation of our charge.

My Lords, we contend that Mr. Hastings, as a British governor, ought to
govern on British principles, not by British forms,--God forbid!--for if
ever there was a case in which the letter kills and the spirit gives
life, it would be an attempt to introduce British forms and the
substance of despotic principles together into any country. No! We call
for that spirit of equity, that spirit of justice, that spirit of
protection, that spirit of lenity, which ought to characterize every
British subject in power; and on these, and these principles only, he
will be tried.

But he has told your Lordships, in his defence, that actions in Asia do
not bear the same moral qualities which the same actions would bear in

My Lords, we positively deny that principle. I am authorized and called
upon to deny it. And having stated at large what he means by saying that
the same actions have not the same qualities in Asia and in Europe, we
are to let your Lordships know that these gentlemen have formed a plan
of _geographical morality_, by which the duties of men, in public and in
private situations, are not to be governed by their relation to the
great Governor of the Universe, or by their relation to mankind, but by
climates, degrees of longitude, parallels, not of life, but of
latitudes: as if, when you have crossed the equinoctial, all the virtues
die, as they say some insects die when they cross the line; as if there
were a kind of baptism, like that practised by seamen, by which they
unbaptize themselves of all that they learned in Europe, and after which
a new order and system of things commenced.

This geographical morality we do protest against; Mr. Hastings shall not
screen himself under it; and on this point I hope and trust many words
will not be necessary to satisfy your Lordships. But we think it
necessary, in justification of ourselves, to declare that the laws of
morality are the same everywhere, and that there is no action which
would pass for an act of extortion, of peculation, of bribery, and of
oppression in England, that is not an act of extortion, of peculation,
of bribery, and oppression in Europe, Asia, Africa, and all the world
over. This I contend for not in the technical forms of it, but I contend
for it in the substance.

Mr. Hastings comes before your Lordships not as a British governor
answering to a British tribunal, but as a subahdar, as a bashaw of three
tails. He says, "I had an arbitrary power to exercise: I exercised it.
Slaves I found the people: slaves they are,--they are so by their
constitution; and if they are, I did not make it for them. I was
unfortunately bound to exercise this arbitrary power, and accordingly I
did exercise it. It was disagreeable to me, but I did exercise it; and
no other power can be exercised in that country." This, if it be true,
is a plea in bar. But I trust and hope your Lordships will not judge by
laws and institutions which you do not know, against those laws and
institutions which you do know, and under whose power and authority Mr.
Hastings went out to India. Can your Lordships patiently hear what _we_
have heard with indignation enough, and what, if there were nothing
else, would call these principles, as well as the actions which are
justified on such principles, to your Lordships' bar, that it may be
known whether the peers of England do not sympathize with the Commons in
their detestation of such doctrine? Think of an English governor tried
before you as a British subject, and yet declaring that he governed on
the principles of arbitrary power! His plea is, that he did govern there
on arbitrary and despotic, and, as he supposes, Oriental principles. And
as this plea is boldly avowed and maintained, and as, no doubt, all his
conduct was perfectly correspondent to these principles, the principles
and the conduct must be tried together.

If your Lordships will now permit me, I will state one of the many
places in which he has avowed these principles as the basis and
foundation of all his conduct. "The sovereignty which they assumed, it
fell to my lot, very unexpectedly, to exert; and whether or not such
power, or powers of that nature, were delegated to me by any provisions
of any act of Parliament, I confess myself too little of a lawyer to
pronounce. I only know that the acceptance of the sovereignty of
Benares, &c., is not acknowledged or admitted by any act of Parliament;
and yet, by the particular interference of the majority of the Council,
the Company is clearly and indisputably seized of that sovereignty." So
that this gentleman, because he is not a lawyer, nor clothed with those
robes which distinguish, and well distinguish, the learning of this
country, is not to know anything of his duty; and whether he was bound
by any, or what act of Parliament, is a thing he is not lawyer enough to
know! Now, if your Lordships will suffer the laws to be broken by those
who are not of the long robe, I am afraid those of the long robe will
have none to punish but those of their own profession. He therefore goes
to a law he is better acquainted with,--that is, the law of arbitrary
power and force, if it deserves to be called by the name of law. "If,
therefore," says he, "the _sovereignty_ of Benares, as ceded to us by
the Vizier, have _any rights whatever_ annexed to it, and be not a mere
empty word without meaning, those rights must be such as are held,
countenanced, and established by the law, custom, and usage of the Mogul
empire, and not by the provisions of any British act of Parliament
hitherto enacted. _Those rights_, and none other, I have been the
involuntary instrument of enforcing. And if any future act of Parliament
shall positively or by implication tend to annihilate those very rights,
or their exertion as I have exerted them, I much fear that the boasted
sovereignty of Benares, which was held up as an acquisition, almost
obtruded on the Company against my consent and opinion, (for I
acknowledge that even then I foresaw many difficulties and
inconveniences in its future exercise,)--I fear, I say, that this
sovereignty will be found a burden instead of a benefit, a heavy clog
rather than a precious gem to its present possessors: I mean, unless the
whole of our territory in that quarter shall be rounded and made an
uniform compact body by one grand and systematic arrangement.--such an
arrangement as shall do away all the mischiefs, doubts, and
inconveniences (both to the governors and the governed) arising from the
variety of tenures, rights, and claims in all cases of landed property
and feudal jurisdiction in India, from the informality, invalidity, and
instability of all engagements in so divided and unsettled a state of
society, and from the unavoidable anarchy and confusion of different
laws, religions, and prejudices, moral, civil, and political, all
jumbled together in one unnatural and discordant mass.

"Every part of Hindostan has been constantly exposed to these and
similar disadvantages ever since the Mahomedan conquests. The Hindoos,
who never incorporated with their conquerors, were kept in order only by
the strong hand of power. The constant necessity of similar exertions
would increase at once their energy and extent; so that rebellion itself
is the parent and promoter of despotism. Sovereignty in India implies
nothing else. For I know not how we can form an estimate of its powers,
but from its visible effects; and those are everywhere the same, from
Cabool to Assam. The whole history of Asia is nothing more than
precedents to prove the invariable exercise of arbitrary power. To all
this I strongly alluded in the minutes I delivered in Council, when the
treaty with the new Vizier was on foot in 1775; and I wished to make
Cheyt Sing independent, because in India dependence included a thousand
evils, many of which I enumerated at that time, and they are entered in
the ninth clause of the first section of this charge. I knew the powers
with which an Indian sovereignty is armed, and the dangers to which
tributaries are exposed. I knew, that, from the history of Asia, and
from the very nature of mankind, the subjects of a despotic empire are
always vigilant for the moment to rebel, and the sovereign is ever
jealous of rebellious intentions. A zemindar is an Indian subject, and
as such exposed to the common lot of his fellows. _The mean and depraved
state of a mere zemindar_ is therefore this very dependence above
mentioned on a despotic government, this very proneness to shake off his
allegiance, and this very exposure to continual danger from his
sovereign's jealousy, which are consequent on the political state of
Hindostanic governments. Bulwant Sing, if he had been, and Cheyt Sing,
as long as he was a zemindar, stood exactly in this _mean and depraved
state_ by the constitution of his country. I did not make it for him,
but would have secured him from it. Those who made him a zemindar
entailed upon him the consequences of so mean and depraved a tenure.
Aliverdy Khan and Cossim Ali fined all their zemindars on the
necessities of war, and on every pretence either of court necessity or
court extravagance."

My Lords, you have now heard the principles on which Mr. Hastings
governs the part of Asia subjected to the British empire. You have heard
his opinion of the mean and depraved state of those who are subject to
it. You have heard his lecture upon arbitrary power, which he states to
be the constitution of Asia. You hear the application he makes of it;
and you hear the practices which he employs to justify it, and who the
persons were on whose authority he relies, and whose example he
professes to follow. In the first place, your Lordships will be
astonished at the audacity with which he speaks of his own
administration, as if he was reading a speculative lecture on the evils
attendant upon some vicious system of foreign government in which he had
no sort of concern whatsoever. And then, when in this speculative way he
has established, or thinks he has, the vices of the government, he
conceives he has found a sufficient apology for his own crimes. And if
he violates the most solemn engagements, if he oppresses, extorts, and
robs, if he imprisons, confiscates, banishes at his sole will and
pleasure, when we accuse him for his ill-treatment of the people
committed to him as a sacred trust, his defence is,--"To be robbed,
violated, oppressed, is their privilege. Let the constitution of their
country answer for it. I did not make it for them. Slaves I found them,
and as slaves I have treated them. I was a despotic prince. Despotic
governments are jealous, and the subjects prone to rebellion. This very
proneness of the subject to shake off his allegiance exposes him to
continual danger from his sovereign's jealousy, and this is consequent
on the political state of Hindostanic governments." He lays it down as a
rule, that despotism is the genuine constitution of India, that a
disposition to rebellion in the subject or dependent prince is the
necessary effect of this despotism, and that jealousy and its
consequences naturally arise on the part of the sovereign,--that the
government is everything, and the subject nothing,--that the great
landed men are in a mean and depraved state, and subject to many evils.

Such a state of things, if true, would warrant conclusions directly
opposite to those which Mr. Hastings means to draw from them, both
argumentatively and practically, first to influence his conduct, and
then to bottom his defence of it.

Perhaps you will imagine that the man who avows these principles of
arbitrary government, and pleads them as the justification of acts which
nothing else can justify, is of opinion that they are on the whole good
for the people over whom they are exercised. The very reverse. He
mentions them as horrible things, tending to inflict on the people a
thousand evils, and to bring on the ruler a continual train of dangers.
Yet he states, that your acquisitions in India will be a detriment
instead of an advantage, if you destroy arbitrary power, unless you can
reduce all the religious establishments, all the civil institutions, and
tenures of land, into one uniform mass,--that is, unless by acts of
arbitrary power you extinguish all the laws, rights, and religious
principles of the people, and force them to an uniformity, and on that
uniformity build a system of arbitrary power.

But nothing is more false than that despotism is the constitution of any
country in Asia that we are acquainted with. It is certainly not true of
any Mahomedan constitution. But if it were, do your Lordships really
think that the nation would bear, that any human creature would bear, to
hear an English governor defend himself on such principles? or, if he
can defend himself on such principles, is it possible to deny the
conclusion, that no man in India has a security for anything, but by
being totally independent of the British government? Here he has
declared his opinion, that he is a despotic prince, that he is to use
arbitrary power; and of course all his acts are covered with that
shield. "_I know_," says he, "_the constitution of Asia only from its
practice_." Will your Lordships submit to hear the corrupt practices of
mankind made the principles of government? No! it will be your pride
and glory to teach men intrusted with power, that, in their use of it,
they are to conform to principles, and not to draw their principles from
the corrupt practice of any man whatever. Was there ever heard, or could
it be conceived, that a governor would dare to heap up all the evil
practices, all the cruelties, oppressions, extortions, corruptions,
briberies, of all the ferocious usurpers, desperate robbers, thieves,
cheats, and jugglers, that ever had office, from one end of Asia to
another, and, consolidating all this mass of the crimes and absurdities
of barbarous domination into one code, establish it as the whole duty of
an English governor? I believe that till this time so audacious a thing
was never attempted by man.

_He_ have arbitrary power! My Lords, the East India Company have not
arbitrary power to give him; the king has no arbitrary power to give
him; your Lordships have not; nor the Commons, nor the whole
legislature. We have no arbitrary power to give, because arbitrary power
is a thing which neither any man can hold nor any man can give. No man
can lawfully govern himself according to his own will; much less can one
person be governed by the will of another. We are all born in
subjection,--all born equally, high and low, governors and governed, in
subjection to one great, immutable, preexistent law, prior to all our
devices and prior to all our contrivances, paramount to all our ideas
and all our sensations, antecedent to our very existence, by which we
are knit and connected in the eternal frame of the universe, out of
which we cannot stir.

This great law does not arise from our conventions or compacts; on the
contrary, it gives to our conventions and compacts all the force and
sanction they can have. It does not arise from our vain institutions.
Every good gift is of God; all power is of God; and He who has given the
power, and from whom alone it originates, will never suffer the exercise
of it to be practised upon any less solid foundation than the power
itself. If, then, all dominion of man over man is the effect of the
Divine disposition, it is bound by the eternal laws of Him that gave it,
with which no human authority can dispense,--neither he that exercises
it, nor even those who are subject to it; and if they were mad enough to
make an express compact that should release their magistrate from his
duty, and should declare their lives, liberties, and properties
dependent upon, not rules and laws, but his mere capricious will, that
covenant would be void. The acceptor of it has not his authority
increased, but he has his crime doubled. Therefore can it be imagined,
if this be true, that He will suffer this great gift of government, the
greatest, the best, that was ever given by God to mankind, to be the
plaything and the sport of the feeble will of a man, who, by a
blasphemous, absurd, and petulant usurpation, would place his own
feeble, contemptible, ridiculous will in the place of the Divine wisdom
and justice?

The title of conquest makes no difference at all. No conquest can give
such a right; for conquest, that is, force, cannot convert its own
injustice into a just title, by which it may rule others at its
pleasure. By conquest, which is a more immediate designation of the hand
of God, the conqueror succeeds to all the painful duties and
subordination to the power of God which belonged to the sovereign whom
he has displaced, just as if he had come in by the positive law of some
descent or some election. To this at least he is strictly bound: he
ought to govern them as he governs his own subjects. But every wise
conqueror has gone much further than he was bound to go. It has been his
ambition and his policy to reconcile the vanquished to his fortune, to
show that they had gained by the change, to convert their momentary
suffering into a long benefit, and to draw from the humiliation of his
enemies an accession to his own glory. This has been so constant a
practice, that it is to repeat the histories of all politic conquerors
in all nations and in all times; and I will not so much distrust your
Lordships' enlightened and discriminating studies and correct memories
as to allude to one of them. I will only show you that the Court of
Directors, under whom he served, has adopted that idea,--that they
constantly inculcated it to him, and to all the servants,--that they run
a parallel between their own and the native government, and, supposing
it to be very evil, did not hold it up as an example to be followed, but
as an abuse to be corrected,--that they never made it a question,
whether India is to be improved by English law and liberty, or English
law and liberty vitiated by Indian corruption.

No, my Lords, this arbitrary power is not to be had by conquest. Nor can
any sovereign have it by succession; for no man can succeed to fraud,
rapine, and violence. Neither by compact, covenant, or submission,--for
men cannot covenant themselves out of their rights and their
duties,--nor by any other means, can arbitrary power be conveyed to any
man. Those who give to others such rights perform acts that are void as
they are given,--good indeed and valid only as tending to subject
themselves, and those who act with them, to the Divine displeasure;
because morally there can be no such power. Those who give and those who
receive arbitrary power are alike criminal; and there is no man but is
bound to resist it to the best of his power, wherever it shall show its
face to the world. It is a crime to bear it, when it can be rationally
shaken off. Nothing but absolute impotence can justify men in not
resisting it to the utmost of their ability.

Law and arbitrary power are in eternal enmity. Name me a magistrate, and
I will name property; name me power, and I will name protection. It is a
contradiction in terms, it is blasphemy in religion, it is wickedness in
politics, to say that any man can have arbitrary power. In every patent
of office the duty is included. For what else does a magistrate exist?
To suppose for power is an absurdity in idea. Judges are guided and
governed by the eternal laws of justice, to which we are all subject. We
may bite our chains, if we will, but we shall be made to know ourselves,
and be taught that man is born to be governed by law; and he that will
substitute _will_ in the place of it is an enemy to GOD.

Despotism does not in the smallest degree abrogate, alter, or lessen any
one duty of any one relation of life, or weaken the force or obligation
of any one engagement or contract whatsoever. Despotism, if it means
anything that is at all defensible, means a mode of government bound by
no written rules, and coerced by no controlling magistracies or
well-settled orders in the state. But if it has no written law, it
neither does nor can cancel the primeval, indefeasible, unalterable law
of Nature and of nations; and if no magistracies control its exertions,
those exertions must derive their limitation and direction either from
the equity and moderation of the ruler, or from downright revolt on the
part of the subject by rebellion, divested of all its criminal
qualities. The moment a sovereign removes the idea of security and
protection from his subjects, and declares that he is everything and
they nothing, when he declares that no contract he makes with them can
or ought to bind him, he then declares war upon them: he is no longer
sovereign; they are no longer subjects.

No man, therefore, has a right to arbitrary power. But the thought which
is suggested by the depravity of him who brings it forward is supported
by a gross confusion of ideas and principles, which your Lordships well
know how to discern and separate. It is manifest, that, in the Eastern
governments, and the Western, and in all governments, the supreme power
in the state cannot, whilst that state subsists, be rendered criminally
responsible for its actions: otherwise it would not be the supreme
power. It is certainly true: but the actions do not change their nature
by losing their responsibility. The arbitrary acts which are unpunished
are not the less vicious, though none but God, the conscience, and the
opinions of mankind take cognizance of them.

It is not merely so in this or that government, but in all countries.
The king in this country is undoubtedly unaccountable for his actions.
The House of Lords, if it should ever exercise, (God forbid I should
suspect it would ever do what it has never done!)--but if it should ever
abuse its judicial power, and give such a judgment as it ought not to
give, whether from fear of popular clamor on the one hand, or
predilection to the prisoner on the other,--if they abuse their
judgments, there is no calling them to an account for it. And so, if the
Commons should abuse their power, nay, if they should have been so
greatly delinquent as not to have prosecuted this offender, they could
not be accountable for it; there is no punishing them for their acts,
because we exercise a part of the supreme power. But are they less
criminal, less rebellious against the Divine Majesty? are they less
hateful to man, whose opinions they ought to cultivate as far as they
are just? No: till society fall into a state of dissolution, they cannot
be accountable for their acts. But it is from confounding the
unaccountable character inherent in the supreme power with arbitrary
power, that all this confusion of ideas has arisen.

Even upon a supposition that arbitrary power can exist anywhere, which
we deny totally, and which your Lordships will be the first and proudest
to deny, still, absolute supreme dominion was never conferred or
delegated by you,--much less, arbitrary power, which never did in any
case, nor ever will in any case, time, or country, produce any one of
the ends of just government.

It is true that the supreme power in every constitution of government
must be absolute, and this may be corrupted into the arbitrary. But all
good constitutions have established certain fixed rules for the exercise
of their functions, which they rarely or ever depart from, and which
rules form the security against that worst of evils, the government of
will and force instead of wisdom and justice.

But though the supreme power is in a situation resembling arbitrary, yet
never was there heard of in the history of the world, that is, in that
mixed chaos of human wisdom and folly, such a thing as an _intermediate_
arbitrary power,--that is, of an officer of government who is to exert
authority over the people without any law at all, and who is to have the
benefit of all laws, and all forms of law, when he is called to an
account. For that is to let a wild beast (for such is a man without law)
loose upon the people to prey on them at his pleasure, whilst all the
laws which ought to secure the people against the abuse of power are
employed to screen that abuse against the cries of the people.

This is _de facto_ the state of our Indian government. But to establish
it so in right as well as in fact is a thing left for us to begin with,
the first of mankind. For a subordinate arbitrary or even despotic power
never was heard of in right, claim, or authorized practice; least of all
has it been heard of in the Eastern governments, where all the instances
of severity and cruelty fall upon governors and persons intrusted with
power. This would be a gross contradiction. Before Mr. Hastings, none
ever came before his superiors to claim it; because, if any such thing
could exist, he claims the very power of that sovereign who calls him to

But suppose a man to come before us, denying all the benefits of law to
the people under him,--and yet, when he is called to account, to claim
all the benefits of that law which was made to screen mankind from the
excesses of power: such a claim, I will venture to say, is a monster
that never existed, except in the wild imagination of some theorist. It
cannot be admitted, because it is a perversion of the fundamental
principle, that every power given for the protection of the people below
should be responsible to the power above. It is to suppose that the
people shall have no laws with regard to _him_, yet, when _he_ comes to
be tried, he shall claim the protection of those laws which were made to
secure the people from his violence,--that he shall claim a fair trial,
an equitable hearing, every advantage of counsel, (God forbid he should
not have them!) yet that the people under him shall have none of those
advantages. The reverse is the principle of every just and rational
procedure. For the people, who have nothing to use but their natural
faculties, ought to be gently dealt with; but those who are intrusted
with an artificial and instituted authority have in their hands a great
deal of the force of other people; and as their temptations to injustice
are greater, so their moans are infinitely more effectual for mischief
by turning the powers given for the preservation of society to its
destruction: so that, if an arbitrary procedure be justifiable, (a
strong one I am sure is,) it is when used against those who pretend to
use it against others.

My Lords, I will venture to say of the governments of Asia, that none of
them ever had an arbitrary power; and if any governments had an
arbitrary power, they cannot delegate it to any persons under them: that
is, they cannot so delegate it to others as not to leave them
accountable on the principles upon which it was given. As this is a
contradiction in terms, a gross absurdity, as well as a monstrous
wickedness, let me say, for the honor of human nature, that, although
undoubtedly we may speak it with the pride of England that we have
better institutions for the preservation of the rights of men than any
other country in the world, yet I will venture to say that no country
has wholly meant, or ever meant, to give this power.

As it cannot exist in right on any rational and solid principles of
government, so neither does it exist in the constitution of Oriental
governments,--and I do insist upon it, that Oriental governments know
nothing of arbitrary power. I have taken as much pains as I could to
examine into the constitutions of them. I have been endeavoring to
inform myself at all times on this subject; of late my duty has led me
to a more minute inspection of them; and I do challenge the whole race
of man to show me any of the Oriental governors claiming to themselves a
right to act by arbitrary will.

The greatest part of Asia is under Mahomedan governments. To name a
Mahomedan government is to name a government by law. It is a law
enforced by stronger sanctions than any law that can bind a Christian
sovereign. Their law is believed to be given by God; and it has the
double sanction of law and of religion, with which the prince is no more
authorized to dispense than any one else. And if any man will produce
the Koran to me, and will but show me one text in it that authorizes in
any degree an arbitrary power in the government, I will confess that I
have read that book, and been conversant in the affairs of Asia, in
vain. There is not such a syllable in it; but, on the contrary, against
oppressors by name every letter of that law is fulminated. There are
interpreters established throughout all Asia to explain that law, an
order of priesthood, whom they call _men of the law_. These men are
conservators of the law; and to enable them to preserve it in its
perfection, they are secured from the resentment of the sovereign: for
he cannot touch them. Even their kings are not always vested with a real
supreme power, but the government is in some degree republican.

To bring this point a little nearer home,--since we are challenged thus,
since we are led into Asia, since we are called upon to make good our
charge on the principles of the governments there, rather than on those
of our own country, (which I trust your Lordships will oblige him
finally to be governed by, puffed up as he is with the insolence of
Asia,)--the nearest to us of the governments he appeals to is that of
the Grand Seignior, the Emperor of the Turks.--_He_ an arbitrary power!
Why, he has not the supreme power of his own country. Every one knows
that the Grand Seignior is exalted high in _titles_, as our prerogative
lawyers exalt an abstract sovereign,--and he cannot be exalted higher in
our books. I say he is destitute of the first character of sovereign
power: he cannot lay a tax upon his people. The next part in which he
misses of a sovereign power is, that he cannot dispose of the life, of
the property, or of the liberty of any of his subjects, but by what is
called the _fetwah_, or sentence of the law. He cannot declare peace or
war without the same sentence of the law: so much is _he_, more than
European sovereigns, a subject of strict law, that he cannot declare war
or peace without it. Then, if he can neither touch life nor property,
if he cannot lay a tax on his subjects, or declare peace or war, I leave
it to your Lordships' judgment, whether he can be called, according to
the principles of that constitution, an arbitrary power. A Turkish
sovereign, if he should be judged by the body of that law to have acted
against its principles, (unless he happens to be secured by a faction of
the soldiery,) is liable to be deposed on the sentence of that law, and
his successor comes in under the strict limitations of the ancient law
of that country: neither can he hold his place, dispose of his
succession, or take any one step whatever, without being bound by law.
Thus much may be said, when gentlemen talk of the affairs of Asia, as to
the nearest of Asiatic sovereigns: and he is more Asiatic than European,
he is a Mahomedan sovereign; and no Mahomedan is born who can exercise
any arbitrary power at all, consistently with their constitution;
insomuch that this chief magistrate, who is the highest executive power
among them, is the very person who, by the constitution of the country,
is the most fettered by law.

Corruption is the true cause of the loss of all the benefits of the
constitution of that country. The _practice of Asia_, as the gentleman
at your bar has thought fit to say, is what he holds to; the
constitution he flies away from. The question is, whether you will take
the constitution of the country as your rule, or the base practices of
those usurpers, robbers, and tyrants who have subverted it. Undoubtedly,
much blood, murder, false imprisonment, much peculation, cruelty, and
robbery are to be found in Asia; and if, instead of going to the sacred
laws of the country, he chooses to resort to the iniquitous practices of
it, and practices authorized only by public tumult, contention, war, and
riot, he may indeed find as clear an acquittal in the practices as he
would find condemnation in the institutions of it. He has rejected the
law of England. Your Lordships will not suffer it. God forbid! For my
part, I should have no sort of objection to let him choose his
law,--Mahomedan, Tartarian, Gentoo. But if he disputes, as he does, the
authority of an act of Parliament, let him state to me that law to which
he means to be subject, or any law which he knows that will justify his
actions. I am not authorized to say that I shall, even in that case,
give up what is not in me to give up, because I represent an authority
of which I must stand in awe; but, for myself, I shall confess that I am
brought to public shame, and am not fit to manage the great interests
committed to my charge. I therefore again repeat of that Asiatic
government with which we are best acquainted, which has been constituted
more in obedience to the laws of Mahomet than any other, that the
sovereign cannot, agreeably to that constitution, exercise any arbitrary
power whatever.

The next point for us to consider is, whether or no the Mahomedan
constitution of India authorizes that power. The gentleman at your
Lordships' bar has thought proper to say, that it will be happy for
India, (though soon after he tells you it is an happiness they can never
enjoy,) "when the despotic institutes of Genghiz Khan or Tamerlane shall
give place to the liberal spirit of a British legislature; and," says
he, "I shall be amply satisfied in my present prosecution, if it shall
tend to hasten the approach of an event so beneficial to the great
interests of mankind."

My Lords, you have seen what he says about an act of Parliament. Do you
not now think it rather an extraordinary thing, that any British subject
should, in vindication of the authority which he has exercised, here
quote the names and institutes, as he calls them, of fierce conquerors,
of men who were the scourges of mankind, whose power was a power which
they held by force only?

As to the institutes of Genghiz Khan, which he calls arbitrary
institutes, I never saw them. If he has that book, he will oblige the
public by producing it. I have seen a book existing, called Yassa of
Genghiz Khan; the other I never saw. If there be any part of it to
justify arbitrary power, he will produce it. But if we may judge by
those ten precepts of Genghiz Khan which we have, there is not a shadow
of arbitrary power to be found in any one of them. Institutes of
arbitrary power! Why, if there is arbitrary power, there can be no

As to the institutes of Tamerlane, here they are in their original, and
here is a translation. I have carefully read every part of these
institutes; and if any one shows me one word in them in which the prince
claims in himself arbitrary power, I again repeat, that I shall for my
own part confess that I have brought myself to great shame. There is no
book in the world, I believe, which contains nobler, more just, more
manly, more pious principles of government than this book, called the
Institutions of Tamerlane. Nor is there one word of arbitrary power in
it, much less of that arbitrary power which Mr. Hastings supposes
himself justified by,--namely, a delegated, subordinate, arbitrary
power. So far was that great prince from permitting this gross, violent,
intermediate arbitrary power, that I will venture to say the chief thing
by which he has recommended himself to posterity was a most direct
declaration of all the wrath and indignation of the supreme government
against it. But here is the book. It contains the institutes of the
founder of the Mogul empire, left as a sacred legacy to his posterity,
as a rule for their conduct, and as a means of preserving their power.

       *       *       *       *       *

"Be it known to my fortunate sons, the conquerors of kingdoms, to my
mighty descendants, the lords of the earth, that, since I have hope in
Almighty God that many of my children, descendants, and posterity shall
sit upon the throne of power and regal authority, upon this account,
having established laws and regulations for the well governing of my
dominions, I have collected together those regulations and laws as a
model for others, to the end that, every one of my children,
descendants, and posterity acting agreeably thereto, my power and
empire, which I acquired through hardships and difficulties and perils
and bloodshed, by the Divine favor, and by the influence of the holy
religion of Mahomet, (God's peace be up on him!) and with the assistance
of the powerful descendants and illustrious followers of that prophet,
may be by them preserved. And let them make these regulations the rule
of their conduct in the affairs of their empire, that the fortune and
the power which shall descend from me to them may be safe from discord
and dissolution.

"Now, therefore, be it known to my sons, the fortunate and the
illustrious, to my descendants, the mighty subduers of kingdoms, that,
in like manner as I by twelve maxims, which I established as the rule of
my conduct, attained to regal dignity, and with the assistance of these
maxims conquered and governed kingdoms, and decorated and adorned the
throne of my empire, let them also act according to these regulations,
and preserve the splendor of mine and their dominions.

"And among the rules which I established for the support of my glory and
empire, the _first_ was this,--that I promoted the worship of Almighty
God, and propagated the religion of the sacred Mahomet throughout the
world, and at all times and in all places supported the true faith.

"_Secondly_. With the people of the twelve classes and tribes I
conquered and governed kingdoms, and with them I strengthened the
pillars of my fortune, and from them I formed my assembly.

"_Thirdly_. By consultation and deliberation and provident measures, by
caution and by vigilance, I vanquished armies, and I reduced kingdoms to
my authority. And I carried on the business of my empire by complying
with times and occasions, and by generosity, and by patience, and by
policy; and I acted with courteousness towards my friends and towards my

"_Fourthly_. By order and by discipline I regulated the concerns of my
government; and by discipline and by order I so firmly established my
authority, that the emirs and the viziers and the soldiers and the
subjects could not aspire beyond their respective degrees; and every one
of them was the keeper of his own station.

"_Fifthly_. I gave encouragement to my emirs and to my soldiers, and
with money and with jewels I made them glad of heart; and I permitted
them to come into the banquet; and in the field of blood they hazarded
their lives. And I withheld not from them my gold nor my silver. And I
educated and trained them to arms; and to alleviate their sufferings, I
myself shared in their labors and in their hardships, until with the arm
of fortitude and resolution, and with the unanimity of my chiefs and my
generals and my warriors, by the edge of the sword, I obtained
possession of the thrones of seven-and-twenty kings, and became the king
and the ruler of the kingdoms of Eraun, and of Tooraun, and of Room, and
of Mughrib, and of Shaum, and of Missur, and of Erauk-a-Arrub, and of
Ajjum, and of Mauzinduraun, and of Kylaunaut, and of Shurvaunaut, and of
Azzurbauejaun, and of Fauris, and of Khorausaun, and of the Dusht of
Jitteh, and the Dusht of Kipchauk, and of Khauruzm, and Khuttun, and of
Kauboolistaun, and of Hindostaun, and of Bauktur Zemeen.

"And when I clothed myself in the robe of empire, I shut my eyes to
safety, and to the repose which is found on the bed of ease. And from
the twelfth year of my age I travelled over countries, and combated
difficulties, and formed enterprises, and vanquished armies, and
experienced mutinies amongst my officers and my soldiers, and was
familiarized to the language of disobedience; and I opposed them with
policy and with fortitude, and I hazarded my person in the hour of
danger; until in the end I vanquished kingdoms and empires, and
established the glory of my name.

"_Sixthly_. By justice and equity I gained the affections of the people
of God; and I extended my clemency to the guilty as well as to the
innocent; and I passed that sentence which truth required; and by
benevolence I gained a place in the hearts of men; and by rewards and
punishments I kept both my troops and my subjects divided between hope
and fear. And I compassionated the lower ranks of my people, and those
who were distressed. And I gave gifts to the soldiers.

"And I delivered the oppressed from the hand of the oppressor; and after
proof of the oppression, whether on the property or the person, the
decision which I passed between them was agreeable to the sacred law.
And I did not cause any one person to suffer for the guilt of another.

"Those who had done me injuries, who had attacked my person in battle,
and had counteracted my schemes and enterprises, when they threw
themselves on my mercy, I received them with kindness, I conferred on
them additional honors, and I drew the pen of oblivion over their evil
actions; and I treated them in such sort, that, if suspicion remained in
their hearts, it was plucked out entirely.

"_Seventhly_, I selected out, and treated with esteem and veneration,
the posterity of the Prophet, and the theologians, and the teachers of
the true faith, and the philosophers, and the historians. And I loved
men of courage and valor; for God Almighty loveth the brave. And I
associated with good and learned men; and I gained their affections, and
I entreated their support, and I sought success from their holy prayers.
And I loved the dervishes and the poor; and I oppressed them not,
neither did I exclude them from my favor. And I permitted not the evil
and the malevolent to enter into my council; and I acted not by their
advice; and I listened not to their insinuations to the prejudice of

"_Eighthly_. I acted with resolution; and on whatever undertaking I
resolved, I made that undertaking the only object of my attention; and I
withdrew not my hand from that enterprise, until I had brought it to a
conclusion. And I acted according to that which I said. And I dealt not
with severity towards any one, and I was not oppressive in any of my
actions; that God Almighty might not deal severely towards me, nor
render my own actions oppressive unto me.

"And I inquired of learned men into the laws and regulations of ancient
princes, from the days of Adam to those of the Prophet, and from the
days of the Prophet down to this time. And I weighed their institutions
and their actions and their opinions, one by one. And from their
approved manners and their good qualities I selected models. And I
inquired into the causes of the subversion of their power, and I shunned
those actions which tend to the destruction and overthrow of regal
authority. And from cruelty and from oppression, which are the
destroyers of posterity and the bringers of famine and of plagues, I
found it was good to abstain.

"_Ninthly_. The situation of my people was known unto me. And those who
were great among them I considered as my brethren; and I regarded the
poor as my children. And I made myself acquainted with the tempers and
the dispositions of the people of every country and of every city. And I
contracted intimacies with the citizens and the chiefs and the nobles;
and I appointed over them governors adapted to their manners and their
dispositions and their wishes. And I knew the circumstances of the
inhabitants of every province. And in every kingdom I appointed writers
of intelligence, men of truth and integrity, that they might send me
information of the conduct and the behavior and the actions and the
manners of the troops and of the inhabitants, and of every occurrence
that might come to pass amongst them. And if I discovered aught contrary
to their information, I inflicted punishment on the intelligencer; and
every circumstance of cruelty and oppression in the governors and in the
troops and in the inhabitants, which reached my ears, I chastised
agreeably to justice and equity.

"_Tenthly_. Whatever tribe, and whatever horde, whether Toork, or
Taucheek, or Arrub, or Ajjum, came in unto me, I received their chiefs
with distinction and respect, and their followers I honored according to
their degrees and their stations; and to the good among them I did good,
and the evil I delivered over to their evil actions.

"And whoever attached himself unto me, I forgot not the merit of his
attachment, and I acted towards him with kindness and generosity; and
whoever had rendered me services, I repaid the value of those services
unto him. And whoever had been my enemy, and was ashamed thereof, and,
flying to me for protection, humbled himself before me, I forgot his
enmity, and I purchased him with liberality and kindness.

"In such manner Share Behraum, the chief of a tribe, was along with me.
And he left me in the hour of action, and he united with the enemy, and
he drew forth his sword against me. And at length my salt, which he had
eaten, seized upon him; and he again fled to me for refuge, and humbled
himself before me. As he was a man of illustrious descent, and of
bravery, and of experience, I covered my eyes from his evil actions; and
I magnified him, and I exalted him to a superior rank, and I pardoned
his disloyalty in consideration of his valor.

"_Eleventhly_. My children, and my relations, and my associates, and my
neighbors, and such as had been connected with me, all these I
distinguished in the days of my fortune and prosperity, and I paid unto
them their due. And with respect to my family, I rent not asunder the
bands of consanguinity and mercy; and I issued not commands to slay
them, or to bind them with chains.

"And I dealt with every man, whatever the judgment I had formed of him,
according to my own opinion of his worth. As I had seen much of
prosperity and adversity, and had acquired knowledge and experience, I
conducted myself with caution and with policy towards my friends and
towards my enemies.

"_Twelfthly_. Soldiers, whether associates or adversaries, I held in
esteem,--those who sell their permanent happiness to perishable honor,
and throw themselves into the field of slaughter and battle, and hazard
their lives in the hour of danger.

"And the man who drew his sword on the side of my enemy, and committed
hostilities against me, and preserved his fidelity to his master, him I
greatly honored; and when such a man came unto me, knowing his worth, I
classed him with my faithful associates; and I respected and valued his
fidelity and his attachment.

"And the soldier who forgot his duty and his honor, and in the hour of
action turned his face from his master, and came in unto me, I
considered as the most detestable of men.

"And in the war between Touktummish Khaun, his emirs forgot their duty
to Touktummish, who was their master and my foe, and sent proposals and
wrote letters unto me. And I uttered execrations upon them, because,
unmindful of that which they owed to their lord, they had thrown aside
their honor and their duty, and came in unto me. I said unto myself,
'What fidelity have they observed to their liege lord? what fidelity
will they show unto me?'

"And, behold, it was known unto me by experience, that every empire
which is not established in morality and religion, nor strengthened by
regulations and laws, from that empire all order, grandeur, and power
shall pass away. And that empire may be likened unto a naked man, who,
when exposed to view, commandeth the eye of modesty to be covered; and
it is like unto a house which hath neither roof nor gates nor defences,
into which whoever willeth may enter unmolested.

"THEREFORE I established the foundation of my empire on the morality and
the religion of Islaum; and by regulations and laws I gave it stability.
And by laws and by regulations I executed every business and every
transaction that came before me in the course of my government."

       *       *       *       *       *

I need not read any further, or I might show your Lordships the noble
principles, the grand, bold, and manly maxims, the resolution to abstain
from oppression himself, and to crush it in the governors under him, to
be found in this book, which Mr. Hastings has thought proper to resort
to as containing what he calls arbitrary principles.

But it is not in this instance only that I must do justice to the East.
I assert that their morality is equal to ours, in whatever regards the
duties of governors, fathers, and superiors; and I challenge the world
to show in any modern European book more true morality and wisdom than
is to be found in the writings of Asiatic men in high trust, and who
have been counsellors to princes. If this be the true morality of Asia,
as I affirm and can prove that it is, the plea founded on Mr. Hastings's
geographical morality is annihilated.

I little regard the theories of travellers, where they do not relate the
facts on which they are founded. I have two instances of facts attested
by Tavernier, a traveller of power and consequence, which are very
material to be mentioned here, because they show that in some of the
instances recorded, in which the princes of the country have used any of
those cruel and barbarous executions which make us execrate them, it has
been upon governors who have abused their trust,--and that this very
Oriental authority to which Mr. Hastings appeals would have condemned
him to a dreadful punishment. I thank God, and I say it from my heart,
that even for his enormous offences there neither is nor can be anything
like such punishments. God forbid that we should not as much detest
out-of-the-way, mad, furious, and unequal punishments as we detest
enormous and abominable crimes! because a severe and cruel penalty for a
crime of a light nature is as bad and iniquitous as the crime which it
pretends to punish. As the instances I allude to are curious, and as
they go to the principles of Mr. Hastings's defence, I shall beg to
quote them.

The first is upon a governor who did what Mr. Hastings says he has a
power delegated to him to do: he levied a tax without the consent of his
master. "Some years after my departure from Com," says Tavernier, "the
governor had, of his own accord, and without any communication with the
king, laid a small impost upon every pannier of fruit brought into the
city, for the purpose of making some necessary reparations in the walls
and bridges of the town. It was towards the end of the year 1632 that
the event I am going to relate happened. The king, being informed of the
impost which the governor had laid upon the fruit, ordered him to be
brought in chains to court. The king ordered him to be exposed to the
people at one of the gates of the palace; then he commanded the son to
pluck off the mustachios of his father, to cut off his nose and ears, to
put out his eyes, and then cut off his head. The king then told the son
to go and take possession of the government of his father, saying, _See
that you govern better than this deceased dog, or thy doom shall be a
death more exquisitely tormenting_."

My Lords, you are struck with horror, I am struck with horror, at this
punishment. I do not relate it to approve of such a barbarous act, but
to prove to your Lordships, that, whatever power the princes of that
country have, they are jealous of it to such a degree, that, if any of
their governors should levy a tax, even the most insignificant, and for
the best purposes, he meets with a cruel punishment. I do not justify
the punishment; but the severity of it shows how little of their power
the princes of that country mean to delegate to their servants, the
whole of which the gentleman at your bar says was delegated to him.

There is another case, a very strong one, and that is the case of
presents, which I understand is a custom admitted throughout Asia in all
their governments. It was of a person who was raised to a high office;
no business was suffered to come before him without a previous present.
"One morning, the king being at this time on a hunting party, the
_nazar_ came to the tent of the king, but was denied entrance by the
_meter_, or master of the wardrobe. About the same time the king came
forth, and, seeing the nazar, commanded his officers to take off the
bonnet from the head of that dog that took gifts from his people, and
that he should sit three days bareheaded in the heat of the sun, and as
many nights in the air. Afterwards he caused him to be chained about the
neck and arms, and condemned him to perpetual imprisonment, with a
_mamoudy_ a day for his maintenance; but he died for grief within eight
days after he was put in prison."

Do I mean, by reading this to your Lordships, to express or intimate an
approbation either of the cruelty of the punishment or of the coarse
barbarism of the language? Neither one nor the other. I produce it to
your Lordships to prove to you, from this dreadful example, the horror
which that government felt, when any person subject to it assumed to
himself a privilege to receive presents. The cruelty and severity
exercised by these princes is not levelled at the poor unfortunate
people who complain at their gates, but, to use their own barbarous
expression, _to dogs that impose taxes and take presents_. God forbid I
should use that language! The people, when they complain, are not called
dogs and sent away, but the governors, who do these things against the
people: they are called dogs, and treated in that cruel manner. I quote
them to show that no governors in the East, upon any principle of their
constitution or any good practice of their government, can lay arbitrary
imposts or receive presents. When they escape, it is probably by
bribery, by corruption, by creating factions for themselves in the
seraglio, in the country, in the army, in the divan. But how they escape
such punishments is not my business to inquire; it is enough for me that
the constitution disavows them, that the princes of the country disavow
them,--that they revile them with the most horrible expressions, and
inflict dreadful punishments on them, when they are called to answer for
these offences. Thus much concerning the Mahomedan laws of Asia. That
the people of Asia have no laws, rights, or liberty, is a doctrine that
wickedly is to be disseminated through this country. But I again assert,
every Mahomedan government is, by its principles, a government of law.

I shall now state, from what is known of the government of India, that
it does not and cannot delegate, as Mr. Hastings has frequently
declared, the whole of its powers and authority to him. If they are
absolute, as they must be in the supreme power, they ought to be
arbitrary in none; they were, however, never absolute in any of their
subordinate parts, and I will prove it by the known provincial
constitutions of Hindostan, which are all Mahomedan, the laws of which
are as clear, as explicit, and as learned as ours.

The first foundation of their law is the _Koran_. The next part is the
_Fetwah_, or adjudged cases by proper authority, well known there. The
next, the written interpretations of the principles of jurisprudence:
and their books are as numerous upon the principles of jurisprudence as
in any country in Europe. The next part of their law is what they call
the _Kanon_,--that is, a positive rule equivalent to acts of Parliament,
the law of the several powers of the country, taken from the Greek word
[Greek: Kanon], which was brought into their country, and is well known.
The next is the _Rawaj-ul-Mulk_, or common law and custom of the
kingdom, equivalent to our common law. Therefore they have laws from
more sources than we have, exactly in the same order, grounded upon the
same authority, fundamentally fixed to be administered to the people
upon these principles.

The next thing is to show that in India there is a partition of the
powers of the government, which proves that there is no absolute power

In every province the first person is the _Subahdar_ or _Nazim_, or
Viceroy: he has the power of the sword, and the administration of
criminal justice only. Then there is the _Dewan_, or High Steward: he
has the revenue and all exchequer causes under him, to be governed
according to the law and custom and institutions of the kingdom. The law
of inheritances, successions, and everything that relates to them, is
under the _Cadi_, in whose court these matters are tried. But this, too,
was subdivided. The Cadi could not judge, but by the advice of his
assessors. Properly in the Mahomedan law there is no appeal, only a
removal of the cause; but when there is no judgment, as none can be when
the court is not unanimous, it goes to the general assembly of all the
men of the law. There are, I will venture to say, other divisions and
subdivisions; for there are the _Kanongoes_, who hold their places for
life, to be the conservators of the canons, customs, and good usages of
the country: all these, as well as the Cadi and the Mufti, hold their
places and situations, not during the wanton pleasure of the prince, but
on permanent and fixed terms for life. All these powers of magistracy,
revenue, and law are all different, consequently not delegated in the
whole to any one person.

This is the provincial constitution, and these the laws of Bengal; which
proves, if there were no other proof, by the division of the functions
and authorities, that the supreme power of the state in the Mogul empire
did by no means delegate to any of its officers the supreme power in its
fulness. Whether or no we have delegated to Mr. Hastings the supreme
power of King and Parliament, that he should act with the plenitude of
authority of the British legislature, you are to judge.

Mr. Hastings has no refuge here. Let him run from law to law; let him
fly from the common law and the sacred institutions of the country in
which he was born; let him fly from acts of Parliament, from which his
power originated; let him plead his ignorance of them, or fly in the
face of them. Will he fly to the Mahomedan law? That condemns him. Will
he fly to the high magistracy of Asia to defend taking of presents?
Padishah and the Sultan would condemn him to a cruel death. Will he fly
to the Sophis, to the laws of Persia, or to the practice of those
monarchs? I cannot utter the pains, the tortures, that would be
inflicted on him, if he were to govern there as he has done in a British
province. Let him fly where he will, from law to law; law, I thank God,
meets him everywhere, and enforced, too, by the practice of the most
impious tyrants, which he quotes as if it would justify his conduct. I
would as willingly have him tried by the law of the Koran, or the
Institutes of Tamerlane, as on the common law or statute law of this

The next question is, whether the Gentoo laws justify arbitrary power:
and if he finds any sanctuary there, let him take it, with the cow in
the pagoda. The Gentoos have a law which positively proscribes in
magistrates any idea of will,--a law with which, or rather with extracts
of it, that gentleman himself has furnished us. These people in many
points are governed by their own ancient written law, called the
_Shaster_. Its interpreters and judges are the _Pundits_. This law is
comprehensive, extending to all the concerns of life, affording
principles and maxims and legal theories applicable to all cases, drawn
from the sources of natural equity, modified by their institutions, full
of refinement and subtilty of distinction equal to that of any other
law, and has the grand test of all law, that, wherever it has prevailed,
the country has been populous, flourishing, and happy.

Upon the whole, then, follow him where you will, let him have Eastern or
Western law, you find everywhere arbitrary power and peculation of
governors proscribed and horribly punished,--more so than I should ever
wish to punish any, the most guilty, human creature. And if this be the
case, as I hope and trust it has been proved to your Lordships, that
there is law in these countries, that there is no delegation of power
which exempts a governor from the law, then I say at any rate a British
governor is to answer for his conduct, and cannot be justified by wicked
examples and profligate practices.

But another thing which he says is, that he was left to himself, to
govern himself by his own practice: that is to say, when he had taken
one bribe, he might take another; when he had robbed one man of his
property, he might rob another; when he had imprisoned one man
arbitrarily, and extorted money from him, he might do so by another. He
resorts at first to the practice of barbarians and usurpers; at last he
comes to his own. Now, if your Lordships will try him by such maxims and
principles, he is certainly clear: for there is no manner of doubt that
there is nothing he has practised once which he has not practised again;
and then the repetition of crimes becomes the means of his indemnity.

The next pleas he urges are not so much in bar of the impeachment as in
extenuation. The first are to be laid by as claims to be made on motion
for arrest of judgment, the others as an extenuation or mitigation of
his fine. He says, and with a kind of triumph, "The ministry of this
country have great legal assistance,--commercial lights of the greatest
commercial city in the world,--the greatest generals and officers to
guide and direct them in military affairs: whereas I, poor man, was sent
almost a school-boy from England, or at least little better,--sent to
find my way in that new world as well as I could. I had no men of the
law, no legal assistance, to supply my deficiencies." _At Sphingem
habebas domi._ Had he not the chief-justice, the tamed and domesticated
chief-justice, who waited on him like a familiar spirit, whom he takes
from province to province, his amanuensis at home, his postilion and
riding express abroad?

Such a declaration would in some measure suit persons who had acted much
otherwise than Mr. Hastings. When a man pleads ignorance in
justification of his conduct, it ought to be an humble, modest,
unpresuming ignorance, an ignorance which may have made him lax and
timid in the exercise of his duty; but an assuming, rash, presumptuous,
confident, daring, desperate, and disobedient ignorance heightens every
crime that it accompanies. Mr. Hastings, if through ignorance he left
some of the Company's orders unexecuted, because he did not understand
them, might well say, "I was an ignorant man, and these things were
above my capacity." But when he understands them, and when he declares
he will not obey them, positively and dogmatically,--when he says, as he
has said, and we shall prove it, _that he never succeeds better than
when he acts in an utter defiance of those orders_, and sets at nought
the laws of his country,--I believe this will not be thought the
language of an ignorant man. But I beg your Lordships' pardon: it is the
language of an ignorant man; for no man who was not full of a bold,
determined, profligate ignorance could ever think of such a system of
defence. He quitted Westminster School almost a boy. We have reason to
regret that he did not finish his education in that noble seminary,
which has given so many luminaries to the Church and ornaments to the
State. Greatly it is to be lamented that he did not go to those
Universities where arbitrary power will I hope never be heard of, but
the true principles of religion, of liberty, and law will ever be
inculcated, instead of studying in the school of Cossim Ali Khan.

If he had lived with us, he would have quoted the example of Cicero in
his government, he would have quoted several of the sacred and holy
prophets, and made _them_ his example. His want of learning, profane as
well as sacred, reduces him to the necessity of appealing to every name
and authority of barbarism, tyranny, and usurpation that are to be
found; and from these he says, "From the practice of one part of Asia or
other I have taken my rule." But your Lordships will show him that in
Asia as well as in Europe the same law of nations prevails, the same
principles are continually resorted to, and the same maxims sacredly
held and strenuously maintained, and, however disobeyed, no man suffers
from the breach of them who does not know how and where to complain of
that breach,--that Asia is enlightened in that respect as well as
Europe; but if it were totally blinded, that England would send out
governors to teach them better, and that he must justify himself to the
piety, the truth, the faith of England, and not by having recourse to
the crimes and criminals of other countries, to the barbarous tyranny of
Asia, or any other part of the world.

I will go further with Mr. Hastings, and admit, that, if there be a boy
in the fourth form of Westminster School, or any school in England, who
does not know, when these articles are read to him, that he has been
guilty of gross and enormous crimes, he may have the shelter of his
present plea, as far as it will serve him. There are none of us, thank
God, so uninstructed, who have learned our catechisms or the first
elements of Christianity, who do not know that such conduct is not to be
justified, and least of all by examples.

There is another topic he takes up more seriously, and as a general
rebutter to the charge. Says he, "After a great many of these practices
with which I am charged, Parliament appointed me to my trust, and
consequently has acquitted me."--Has it, my Lords? I am bold to say that
the Commons are wholly guiltless of this charge. I will admit, if
Parliament, on a full state of his offences before them, and full
examination of those offences, had appointed him to the government, that
then the people of India and England would have just reason to exclaim
against so flagitious a proceeding. A sense of propriety and decorum
might have restrained us from prosecuting. They might have been
restrained by some sort of decorum from pursuing him criminally. But the
Commons stand before your Lordships without shame. First, in their name
we solemnly assure your Lordships that we had not in our Parliamentary
capacity (and most of us, myself I can say surely, heard very little,
and that in confused rumors) the slightest knowledge of any one of the
acts charged upon this criminal at either of the times of his being
appointed to office, and that we were not guilty of the nefarious act of
collusion and flagitious breach of trust with which he presumes
obliquely to charge us; but from the moment we knew them, we never
ceased to condemn them by reports, by votes, by resolutions, and that we
admonished and declared it to be the duty of the Court of Directors to
take measures for his recall, and when frustrated in the way known to
that court we then proceeded to an inquiry. Your Lordships know whether
you were better informed. We are, therefore, neither guilty of the
precedent crime of colluding with the criminal, nor the subsequent
indecorum of prosecuting what we had virtually and practically approved.

Secondly, several of his worst crimes have been committed since the last
Parliamentary renewal of his trust, as appears by the dates in the

But I believe, my Lords, the judges--judges to others, grave and weighty
counsellors and assistants to your Lordships--will not, on reference,
assert to your Lordships, (which God forbid, and we cannot conceive, or
hardly state in argument, if but for argument,) that, if one of the
judges had received bribes before his appointment to an higher judiciary
office, he would not still be open to prosecution.

So far from admitting it as a plea in bar, we charge, and we hope your
Lordships will find it an extreme aggravation of his offences, that no
favors heaped upon him could make him grateful, no renewed and repeated
trusts could make him faithful and honest.

We have now gone through most of the general topics.

But he is not responsible, as being thanked by the Court of Directors.
He has had the thanks and approbation of the India Company for his
services.--We know too well here, I trust the world knows, and you will
always assert, that a pardon from the crown is not pleadable here, that
it cannot bar the impeachment of the Commons,--much less a pardon of the
East India Company, though it may involve them in guilt which might
induce us to punish them for such a pardon. If any corporation by
collusion with criminals refuse to do their duty in coercing them, the
magistrates are answerable.

It is the use, virtue, and efficacy of Parliamentary judicial procedure,
that it puts an end to this dominion of faction, intrigue, cabal, and
clandestine intelligences. The acts of men are put to their proper test,
and the works of darkness tried in the face of day,--not the corrupted
opinions of others on them, but their own intrinsic merits. We charge it
as his crime, that he bribed the Court of Directors to thank him for
what they had condemned as breaches of his duty.

The East India Company, it is true, have thanked him. They ought not to
have done it; and it is a reflection upon their character that they did
it. But the Directors praise him in the gross, after having condemned
each act in detail. His actions are _all_, every one, censured one by
one as they arise. I do not recollect any one transaction, few there
are, I am sure, in the whole body of that succession of crimes now
brought before you for your judgment, in which the India Company have
not censured him. Nay, in one instance he pleads their censure in bar of
this trial;[27] for he says, "In that censure I have already received my
punishment." If, for any other reasons, they come and say, "We thank
you, Sir, for all your services," to that I answer, Yes; and _I_ would
thank him for his services, too, if I knew them. But _I_ do
not;--perhaps _they_ do. Let them thank him for those services. I am
ordered to prosecute him for these crimes. Here, therefore, we are on a
balance with the India Company; and your Lordships may perhaps think it
some addition to his crimes, that he has found means to obtain the
thanks of the India Company for the whole of his conduct, at the same
time that their records are full of constant, uniform, particular
censure and reprobation of every one of those acts for which he now
stands accused.

He says, there is the testimony of Indian princes in his favor. But do
we not know how seals are obtained in that country? Do we not know how
those princes are imposed upon? Do we not know the subjection and
thraldom in which they are held, and that they are obliged to return
thanks for the sufferings which they have felt? I believe your Lordships
will think that there is not, with regard to some of these princes, a
more dreadful thing that can be said of them than that he has obtained
their thanks.

I understand he has obtained the thanks of the miserable Princesses of
Oude, whom he has cruelly imprisoned, whose treasure he has seized, and
whose eunuchs he has tortured.[28] They thank him for going away; they
thank him for leaving them the smallest trifle of their subsistence; and
I venture to say, if he wanted a hundred more panegyrics, provided he
never came again among them, he might have them. I understand that
Mahdajee Sindia has made his panegyric, too. Mahdajee Sindia has not
made his panegyric for nothing; for, if your Lordships will suffer him
to enter into such a justification, we shall prove that he has
sacrificed the dignity of this country and the interests of all its
allies to that prince. We appear here neither with panegyric nor with
satire; it is for substantial crimes we bring him before you, and
amongst others for cruelly using persons of the highest rank and
consideration in India; and when we prove he has cruelly injured them,
you will think the panegyrics either gross forgeries or most miserable
aggravations of his offences, since they show the abject and dreadful
state into which he has driven those people. For let it be proved that I
have cruelly robbed and maltreated any persons, if I produce a
certificate from them of my good behavior, would it not be a
corroborative proof of the terror into which those persons are thrown by
my misconduct?

       *       *       *       *       *

My Lords, these are, I believe, the general grounds of our charge. I
have now closed completely, and I hope to your Lordships' satisfaction,
the whole body of history of which I wished to put your Lordships in
possession. I do not mean that many of your Lordships may not have known
it more perfectly by your own previous inquiries; but, bringing to your
remembrance the state of the circumstances of the persons with whom he
acted, the persons and power he has abused, I have gone to the
principles he maintains, the precedents he quotes, the laws and
authorities which he refuses to abide by, and those on which he relies;
and at last I have refuted all those pleas in bar on which he depends,
and for the effect of which he presumes on the indulgence and patience
of this country, or on the corruption of some persons in it. And here I
close what I had to say upon this subject,--wishing and hoping, that,
when I open before your Lordships the case more particularly, so as to
state rather a plan of the proceeding than the direct proof of the
crimes, your Lordships will hear me with the same goodness and
indulgence I have hitherto experienced,--that you will consider, if I
have detained you long, it was not with a view of exhausting my own
strength, or putting your patience to too severe a trial, but from the
sense I feel that it is the most difficult and the most complicated
cause that was ever brought before any human tribunal. Therefore I was
resolved to bring the whole substantially before you. And now, if your
Lordships will permit me, I will state the method of my future
proceeding, and the future proceeding of the gentlemen assisting me.

I mean first to bring before you the crimes as they are classed, and are
of the same species and genus, and how they mutually arose from one
another. I shall first show that Mr. Hastings's crimes had root in that
which is the root of all evil, I mean avarice; that avarice and rapacity
were the groundwork and foundation of all his other vicious system; that
he showed it in setting to sale the native government of the country, in
setting to sale the whole landed interest of the country, in setting to
sale the British government and his own fellow-servants, to the basest
and wickedest of mankind.

I shall then show your Lordships, that, when, in consequence of such a
body of corruption and peculation, he justly dreaded the indignation of
his country and the vengeance of its laws, in order to raise himself a
faction embodied by the same guilt and rewarded in the same manner, he
has, with a most abandoned profusion, thrown away the revenues of the
country to form such a faction here.

I shall next show your Lordships, that, having exhausted the resources
of the Company, and brought it to extreme difficulties within, he has
looked to his _external_ resources, as he calls them; he has gone up
into the country. I will show that he has plundered, or attempted to
plunder, every person dependent upon, connected, or allied with this

We shall afterwards show what infinite mischief has followed in the case
of Benares, upon which he first laid his hands; next, in the case of the
Begums of Oude.

We shall then lay before you the profligate system by which he
endeavored to oppress that country: first by Residents; next by spies
under the name of British Agents; and lastly, that, pursuing his way up
to the mountains, he has found out one miserable chief, whose crimes
were the prosperity of his country,--that him he endeavored to torture
and destroy,--I do not mean in his body, but by exhausting the treasures
which he kept for the benefit of his people.

In short, having shown your Lordships that no man who is in his power is
safe from his arbitrary will,--that no man, within or without, friend,
ally, rival, has been safe from him,--having brought it to this point,
if I am not able in my own person immediately to go up into the country
and show the ramifications of the system, (I hope and trust I shall be
spared to take my part in pursuing him through both,) if I am not, I
shall go at least to the root of it, and some other gentleman, with a
thousand times more ability than I possess, will take up each separate
part in its proper order. And I believe it is proposed by the managers
that one of them shall as soon as possible begin with the affair of

The point I now mean first to bring before your Lordships is the
corruption of Mr. Hastings, his system of peculation and bribery, and to
show your Lordships the horrible consequences which resulted from it:
for, at first sight, bribery and peculation do not seem to be so horrid
a matter; they may seem to be only the transferring a little money out
of one pocket into another; but I shall show that by such a system of
bribery the country is undone.

I shall inform your Lordships in the best manner I can, and afterwards
submit the whole, as I do with a cheerful heart and with an easy and
assured security, to that justice which is the security for all the
other justice in the kingdom.


[1] 2d year of George II.

[2] See his letter of the 11th of July, 1785, at the end of the Charges.

[3] 13 Geo. III. c. 63, Sec. 10.

[4] 29 February, 1784.

[5] Dated, Benares, 4th of November, 1781.

[6] Revenue Consultation, 28th January, 1775.

[7] Revenue Board, 14th May, 1772.

[8] Address to the Court of Directors, 25th March, 1775.

[9] 3d November, 1772.

[10] 24th October, 1774.

[11] 22d April, 1775.

[12] 5th February, 1777; 4th July, 1777.

[13] 3d November, 1772.

[14] 14th May, 1772.

[15] See his letter of the 11th July, 1785, at the end of the Charges.

[16] Sic orig.

[17] 28th May, 1782.

[18] 15th Dec, 1775.

[19] On the 15th of November.

[20] Resolution of the House of Commons, 28th May, 1782.

[21] Anderson's letter of 26th January, 1782.

[22] Anderson's letter of 24th February, 1782.

[23] Sic orig.

[24] Sic orig.

[25] Observations on Mr. Bristow's Defence.

[26] As the letter referred to in the Eighth and Sixteenth Articles of
Charge is not contained in any of the Appendixes to the Reports of the
Select Committee, it has been thought necessary to annex it as an
Appendix to these Charges.

[27] See Mr. Hastings's answer to the first charge.

[28] A Latin sentence, which was quoted here, is omitted in the MS of
the short-hand writer.--Ed.


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Edmund Burke, Vol. IX. (of 12), by Edmund Burke


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