Infomotions, Inc.The Works of the Right Honourable Edmund Burke, Vol. 08 (of 12) / Burke, Edmund, 1729-1797

Author: Burke, Edmund, 1729-1797
Title: The Works of the Right Honourable Edmund Burke, Vol. 08 (of 12)
Publisher: Project Gutenberg
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Title: The Works of the Right Honourable Edmund Burke, Vol. VIII. (of 12)

Author: Edmund Burke

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    CONNECTION OF GREAT BRITAIN WITH INDIA                            41


    INTERNAL TRADE OF BENGAL                                          75
      SILK                                                            83
      RAW SILK                                                        88
      CLOTHS, OR PIECE-GOODS                                          99
      OPIUM                                                          116
      SALT                                                           142
      SALTPETRE                                                      170

    BRITISH GOVERNMENT IN INDIA                                      173

    NOVEMBER 18, 1783                                                217


    I. ROHILLA WAR                                                   307

   II. SHAH ALLUM                                                    319



           BENARES                                                   339

         PART III. EXPULSION OF THE RAJAH OF BENARES                 354

         PART IV. SECOND REVOLUTION IN BENARES                       380

         PART V. THIRD REVOLUTION IN BENARES                         386

   IV. PRINCESSES OF OUDE                                            397

    V. REVOLUTIONS IN FURRUCKABAD                                    467

   VI. DESTRUCTION OF THE RAJAH OF SAHLONE                           484






June 25, 1783.


    From the SELECT COMMITTEE [of the House of Commons] appointed
    to take into consideration the state of the administration of
    justice in the provinces of Bengal, Bahar, and Orissa, and to
    report the same, as it shall appear to them, to the House,
    with their observations thereupon; and who were instructed to
    consider how the British possessions in the East Indies may
    be held and governed with the greatest security and advantage
    to this country, and by what means the happiness of the
    native inhabitants may be best promoted.


In order to enable the House to adopt the most proper means for
regulating the British government in India, and for promoting the
happiness of the natives who live under its authority or influence, your
Committee hold it expedient to collect into distinct points of view the
circumstances by which that government appears to them to be most
essentially disordered, and to explain fully the principles of policy
and the course of conduct by which the natives of all ranks and orders
have been reduced to their present state of depression and misery.

Your Committee have endeavored to perform this task in plain and popular
language, knowing that nothing has alienated the House from inquiries
absolutely necessary for the performance of one of the most essential
of all its duties so much as the technical language of the Company's
records, as the Indian names of persons, of offices, of the tenure and
qualities of estates, and of all the varied branches of their intricate
revenue. This language is, indeed, of necessary use in the executive
departments of the Company's affairs; but it is not necessary to
Parliament. A language so foreign from all the ideas and habits of the
far greater part of the members of this House has a tendency to disgust
them with all sorts of inquiry concerning this subject. They are
fatigued into such a despair of ever obtaining a competent knowledge of
the transactions in India, that they are easily persuaded to remand them
back to that obscurity, mystery, and intrigue out of which they have
been forced upon public notice by the calamities arising from their
extreme mismanagement. This mismanagement has itself, as your Committee
conceive, in a great measure arisen from dark cabals, and secret
suggestions to persons in power, without a regular public inquiry into
the good or evil tendency of any measure, or into the merit or demerit
of any person intrusted with the Company's concerns.

[Sidenote: Present laws relating to the East India Company, and internal
and external policy.]

The plan adopted by your Committee is, first, to consider the law
regulating the East India Company, as it now stands,--and, secondly, to
inquire into the circumstances of the two great links of connection by
which the territorial possessions in India are united to this kingdom,
namely, the Company's commerce, and the government exercised under the
charter and under acts of Parliament. The last [first] of these objects,
the commerce, is taken in two points of view: the _external_, or the
direct trade between India and Europe, and the _internal_, that is to
say, the trade of Bengal, in all the articles of produce and manufacture
which furnish the Company's investment.

The government is considered by your Committee under the like
descriptions of internal and external. The internal regards the
communication between the Court of Directors and their servants in
India, the management of the revenue, the expenditure of public money,
the civil administration, the administration of justice, and the state
of the army. The external regards, first, the conduct and maxims of the
Company's government with respect to the native princes and people
dependent on the British authority,--and, next, the proceedings with
regard to those native powers which are wholly independent of the
Company. But your Committee's observations on the last division extend
to those matters only which are not comprehended in the Report of the
Committee of Secrecy. Under these heads, your Committee refer to the
most leading particulars of abuse which prevail in the administration of
India,--deviating only from this order where the abuses are of a
complicated nature, and where one cannot be well considered
independently of several others.

[Sidenote: Second attempt made by Parliament for a reformation.]

Your Committee observe, that this is the second attempt made by
Parliament for the reformation of abuses in the Company's government. It
appears, therefore, to them a necessary preliminary to this second
undertaking, _to consider the causes which, in their opinion_, have
produced the failure of the first,--that the defects of the original
plan may be supplied, its errors corrected, and such useful regulations
as were then adopted may be further explained, enlarged, and enforced.

[Sidenote: Proceedings of session 1773.]

The first design of this kind was formed in the session of the year
1773. In that year, Parliament, taking up the consideration of the
affairs of India, through two of its committees collected a very great
body of details concerning the interior economy of the Company's
possessions, and concerning many particulars of abuse which prevailed at
the time when those committees made their ample and instructive reports.
But it does not appear that the body of regulations enacted in that
year, that is, in the East India Act of the thirteenth of his Majesty's
reign, were altogether grounded on that information, but were adopted
rather on probable speculations and general ideas of good policy and
good government. New establishments, civil and judicial, were therefore
formed at a very great expense, and with much complexity of
constitution. Checks and counter-checks of all kinds were contrived in
the execution, as well as in the formation of this system, in which all
the existing authorities of this kingdom had a share: for Parliament
appointed the members of the presiding part of the new establishment,
the Crown appointed the judicial, and the Company preserved the
nomination of the other officers. So that, if the act has not fully
answered its purposes, the failure cannot be attributed to any want of
officers of every description, or to the deficiency of any mode of
patronage in their appointment. The cause must be sought elsewhere.

[Sidenote: Powers and objects of act of 1773, and the effects thereof.]

The act had in its view (independently of several detached regulations)
five fundamental objects.

1st. The reformation of the Court of Proprietors of the East India

2ndly. A new model of the Court of Directors, and an enforcement of
their authority over the servants abroad.

3rdly. The establishment of a court of justice capable of protecting the
natives from the oppressions of British subjects.

4thly. The establishment of a general council, to be seated in Bengal,
whose authority should, in many particulars, extend over all the British
settlements in India.

5thly. To furnish the ministers of the crown with constant information
concerning the whole of the Company's correspondence with India, in
order that they might be enabled to inspect the conduct of the Directors
and servants, and to watch over the execution of all parts of the act;
that they might be furnished with matter to lay before Parliament from
time to time, according as the state of things should render regulation
or animadversion necessary.

[Sidenote: Court of Proprietors.]

[Sidenote: New qualification.]

The first object of the policy of this act was to improve the
constitution of the Court of Proprietors. In this case, as in almost all
the rest, the remedy was not applied directly to the disease. The
complaint was, that factions in the Court of Proprietors had shown, in
several instances, a disposition to support the servants of the Company
against the just coercion and legal prosecution of the Directors.
Instead of applying a corrective to the distemper, a change was proposed
in the constitution. By this reform, it was presumed that an interest
would arise in the General Court more independent in itself, and more
connected with the commercial prosperity of the Company. Under the new
constitution, no proprietor, not possessed of a thousand pounds capital
stock, was permitted to vote in the General Court: before the act, five
hundred pounds was a sufficient qualification for one vote; and no value
gave more. But as the lower classes were disabled, the power was
increased in the higher: proprietors of three thousand pounds were
allowed two votes; those of six thousand were entitled to three; ten
thousand pounds was made the qualification for four. The votes were thus
regulated in the scale and gradation of property. On this scale, and on
some provisions to prevent occasional qualifications and splitting of
votes, the whole reformation rested.

[Sidenote: The ballot.]

[Sidenote: Indian interest.]

Several essential points, however, seem to have been omitted or
misunderstood. No regulation was made to abolish the pernicious custom
of voting by _ballot_, by means of which acts of the highest concern to
the Company and to the state might be done by individuals with perfect
impunity; and even the body itself might be subjected to a forfeiture of
all its privileges for defaults of persons who, so far from being under
control, could not be so much as known in any mode of legal cognizance.
Nothing was done or attempted to prevent the operation of the interest
of delinquent servants of the Company in the General Court, by which
they might even come to be their own judges, and, in effect, under
another description, to become the masters in that body which ought to
govern them. Nor was anything provided to secure the independency of the
proprietary body from the various exterior interests by which it might
be disturbed, and diverted from the conservation of that pecuniary
concern which the act laid down as the sole security for preventing a
collusion between the General Court and the powerful delinquent servants
in India. The whole of the regulations concerning the Court of
Proprietors relied upon two principles, which have often proved
fallacious: namely, that small numbers were a security against faction
and disorder; and that integrity of conduct would follow the greater
property. In no case could these principles be less depended upon than
in the affairs of the East India Company. However, by wholly cutting off
the lower, and adding to the power of the higher classes, it was
supposed that the higher would keep their money in that fund to make
profit,--that the vote would be a secondary consideration, and no more
than a guard to the property,--and that therefore any abuse which tended
to depreciate the value of their stock would be warmly resented by such

If the ill effects of every misdemeanor in the Company's servants were
to be _immediate_, and had a tendency to lower the value of the stock,
something might justly be expected from the pecuniary security taken by
the act. But from the then state of things, it was more than probable
that proceedings ruinous to the permanent interest of the Company might
commence in great lucrative advantages. Against this evil large
pecuniary interests were rather the reverse of a remedy. Accordingly,
the Company's servants have ever since covered over the worst
oppressions of the people under their government, and the most cruel and
wanton ravages of all the neighboring countries, by holding out, and for
a time actually realizing, additions of revenue to the territorial funds
of the Company, and great quantities of valuable goods to their

[Sidenote: Proprietors.]

But this consideration of mere income, whatever weight it might have,
could not be the first object of a proprietor, in a body so
circumstanced. The East India Company is not, like the Bank of England,
a mere moneyed society for the sole purpose of the preservation or
improvement of their capital; and therefore every attempt to regulate it
upon the same principles must inevitably fail. When it is considered
that a certain share in the stock gives a share in the government of so
vast an empire, with such a boundless patronage, civil, military,
marine, commercial, and financial, in every department of which such
fortunes have been made as could be made nowhere else, it is impossible
not to perceive that capitals far superior to any qualifications
appointed to proprietors, or even to Directors, would readily be laid
out for a participation in that power. The India proprietor, therefore,
will always be, in the first instance, a politician; and the bolder his
enterprise, and the more corrupt his views, the less will be his
consideration of the price to be paid for compassing them. The new
regulations did not reduce the number so low as not to leave the
assembly still liable to all the disorder which might be supposed to
arise from multitude. But if the principle had been well established and
well executed, a much greater inconveniency grew out of the reform than
that which had attended the old abuse: for if tumult and disorder be
lessened by reducing the number of proprietors, private cabal and
intrigue are facilitated at least in an equal degree; and it is cabal
and corruption, rather than disorder and confusion, that was most to be
dreaded in transacting the affairs of India. Whilst the votes of the
smaller proprietors continued, a door was left open for the public sense
to enter into that society: since that door has been closed, the
proprietary has become, even more than formerly, an aggregate of private
interests, which subsist at the expense of the collective body. At the
moment of this revolution in the proprietary, as it might naturally be
expected, those who had either no very particular interest in their vote
or but a petty object to pursue immediately disqualified; but those who
were deeply interested in the Company's patronage, those who were
concerned in the supply of ships and of the other innumerable objects
required for their immense establishments, those who were engaged in
contracts with the Treasury, Admiralty, and Ordnance, together with the
clerks in public offices, found means of securing qualifications at the
enlarged standard. All these composed a much greater proportion than
formerly they had done of the proprietary body.

Against the great, predominant, radical corruption of the Court of
Proprietors the raising the qualification proved no sort of remedy. The
return of the Company's servants into Europe poured in a constant supply
of proprietors, whose ability to purchase the highest qualifications for
themselves, their agents, and dependants could not be dubious. And this
latter description form a very considerable, and by far the most active
and efficient part of that body. To add to the votes, which is adding to
the power in proportion to the wealth, of men whose very offences were
supposed to consist in acts which lead to the acquisition of enormous
riches, appears by no means a well-considered method of checking
rapacity and oppression. In proportion as these interests prevailed, the
means of cabal, of concealment, and of corrupt confederacy became far
more easy than before. Accordingly, there was no fault with respect to
the Company's government over its servants, charged or chargeable on the
General Court as it originally stood, of which since the reform it has
not been notoriously guilty. It was not, therefore, a matter of surprise
to your Committee, that the General Court, so composed, has at length
grown to such a degree of contempt both of its duty and of the permanent
interest of the whole corporation as to put itself into open defiance of
the salutary admonitions of this House, given for the purpose of
asserting and enforcing the legal authority of their own body over their
own servants.

The failure in this part of the reform of 1773 is not stated by your
Committee as recommending a return to the ancient constitution of the
Company, which was nearly as far as the new from containing any
principle tending to the prevention or remedy of abuses,--but to point
out the probable failure of any future regulations which do not apply
directly to the grievance, but which may be taken up as experiments to
ascertain theories of the operation of councils formed of greater or
lesser numbers, or such as shall be composed of men of more or less
opulence, or of interests of newer or longer standing, or concerning the
distribution of power to various descriptions or professions of men, or
of the election to office by one authority rather than another.

[Sidenote: Court of Directors.]

The second object of the act was the Court of Directors. Under the
arrangement of the year 1773 that court appeared to have its authority
much strengthened. It was made less dependent than formerly upon its
constituents, the proprietary. The duration of the Directors in office
was rendered more permanent, and the tenure itself diversified by a
varied and intricate rotation. At the same time their authority was held
high over their servants of all descriptions; and the only rule
prescribed to the Council-General of Bengal, in the exercise of the
large and ill-defined powers given to them, was that they were to yield
obedience to the orders of the Court of Directors. As to the Court of
Directors itself, it was left with very little regulation. The custom of
ballot, infinitely the most mischievous in a body possessed of all the
ordinary executive powers, was still left; and your Committee have found
the ill effects of this practice in the course of their inquiries.
Nothing was done to oblige the Directors to attend to the promotion of
their servants according to their rank and merits. In judging of those
merits nothing was done to bind them to any observation of what appeared
on their records. Nothing was done to compel them to prosecution or
complaint where delinquency became visible. The act, indeed, prescribed
that no servant of the Company abroad should be eligible into the
direction until two years after his return to England. But as this
regulation rather presumes than provides for an inquiry into their
conduct, a very ordinary neglect in the Court of Directors might easily
defeat it, and a short remission might in this particular operate as a
total indemnity. In fact, however, the servants have of late seldom
attempted a seat in the direction,--an attempt which might possibly
rouse a dormant spirit of inquiry; but, satisfied with an interest in
the proprietary, they have, through that name, brought the direction
very much under their own control.

As to the general authority of the Court of Directors, there is reason
to apprehend that on the whole it was somewhat degraded by the act whose
professed purpose was to exalt it, and that the only effect of the
Parliamentary sanction to their orders has been, that along with those
orders the law of the land has been despised and trampled under foot.
The Directors were not suffered either to nominate or to remove those
whom they were empowered to instruct; from masters they were reduced to
the situation of complainants,--a situation the imbecility of which no
laws or regulations could wholly alter; and when the Directors were
afterwards restored in some degree to their ancient power, on the
expiration of the lease given to their principal servants, it became
impossible for them to recover any degree of their ancient respect, even
if they had not in the mean time been so modelled as to be entirely free
from all ambition of that sort.

From that period the orders of the Court of Directors became to be so
habitually despised by their servants abroad, and at length to be so
little regarded even by themselves, that this contempt of orders forms
almost the whole subject-matter of the voluminous reports of two of your
committees. If any doubt, however, remains concerning the cause of this
fatal decline of the authority of the Court of Directors, no doubt
whatsoever can remain of the fact itself, nor of the total failure of
one of the great leading regulations of the act of 1773.

[Sidenote: Supreme Court of Judicature.]

The third object was a new judicial arrangement, the chief purpose of
which was to form a strong and solid security for the natives against
the wrongs and oppressions of British subjects resident in Bengal. An
operose and expensive establishment of a Supreme Court was made, and
charged upon the revenues of the country. The charter of justice was by
the act left to the crown, as well as the appointment of the
magistrates. The defect in the institution seemed to be this,--that no
rule was laid down, either in the act or the charter, by which the court
was to judge. No descriptions of offenders or species of delinquency
were properly ascertained, according to the nature of the place, or to
the prevalent mode of abuse. Provision was made for the administration
of justice in the remotest part of Hindostan as if it were a province in
Great Britain. Your Committee have long had the constitution and conduct
of this court before them, and they have not yet been able to discover
very few instances (not one that appears to them of leading importance)
of relief given to the natives against the corruptions or oppressions of
British subjects in power,--though they do find one very strong and
marked instance of the judges having employed an unwarrantable extension
or application of the municipal law of England, to destroy a person of
the highest rank among those natives whom they were sent to protect. One
circumstance rendered the proceeding in this case fatal to all the good
purposes for which the court had been established. The sufferer (the
Rajah Nundcomar) appears, at the very time of this extraordinary
prosecution, a discoverer of some particulars of illicit gain then
charged upon Mr. Hastings, the Governor-General. Although in ordinary
cases, and in some lesser instances of grievance, it is very probable
that this court has done its duty, and has been, as every court must be,
of some service, yet one example of this kind must do more towards
deterring the natives from complaint, and consequently from the means
of redress, than many decisions favorable to them, in the ordinary
course of proceeding, can do for their encouragement and relief. So far
as your Committee has been able to discover, the court has been
generally terrible to the natives, and has distracted the government of
the Company without substantially reforming any one of its abuses.

This court, which in its constitution seems not to have had sufficiently
in view the necessities of the people for whose relief it was intended,
and was, or thought itself, bound in some instances to too strict an
adherence to the forms and rules of English practice, in others was
framed upon principles perhaps too remote from the constitution of
English tribunals. By the usual course of English practice, the far
greater part of the redress to be obtained against oppressions of power
is by process in the nature of civil actions. In these a trial by jury
is a necessary part, with regard to the finding the offence and to the
assessment of the damages. Both these were in the charter of justice
left entirely to the judges. It was presumed, and not wholly without
reason, that the British subjects were liable to fall into factions and
combinations, in order to support themselves in the abuses of an
authority of which every man might in his turn become a sharer. And with
regard to the natives, it was presumed (perhaps a little too hastily)
that they were not capable of sharing in the functions of jurors. But it
was not foreseen that the judges were also liable to be engaged in the
factions of the settlement,--and if they should ever happen to be so
engaged, that the native people were then without that remedy which
obviously lay in the chance that the court and jury, though both liable
to bias, might not easily unite in the same identical act of injustice.
Your Committee, on full inquiry, are of opinion _that the use of juries
is neither impracticable nor dangerous in Bengal_.

Your Committee refer to their report made in the year 1781, for the
manner in which this court, attempting to extend its jurisdiction, and
falling with extreme severity on the native magistrates, a violent
contest arose between the English judges and the English civil
authority. This authority, calling in the military arm, (by a most
dangerous example,) overpowered, and for a while suspended, the
functions of the court; but at length those functions, which were
suspended by the quarrel of the parties, were destroyed by their
reconciliation, and by the arrangements made in consequence of it. By
these the court was virtually annihilated; or if substantially it
exists, it is to be apprehended it exists only for purposes very
different from those of its institution.

The fourth object of the act of 1773 was the Council-General. This
institution was intended to produce uniformity, consistency, and the
effective cooeperation of all the settlements in their common defence. By
the ancient constitution of the Company's foreign settlements, they were
each of them under the orders of a President or Chief, and a Council,
more or fewer, according to the discretion of the Company. Among those,
Parliament (probably on account of the largeness of the territorial
acquisitions, rather than the conveniency of the situation) chose Bengal
for the residence of the controlling power, and, dissolving the
Presidency, appointed a new establishment, upon a plan somewhat similar
to that which had prevailed before; but the number was smaller. This
establishment was composed of a Governor-General and four Counsellors,
all named in the act of Parliament. They were to hold their offices for
five years, after which term the patronage was to revert to the Court of
Directors. In the mean time such vacancies as should happen were to be
filled by that court, with the concurrence of the crown. The first
Governor-General and one of the Counsellors had been old servants of the
Company; the others were new men.

On this new arrangement the Courts of Proprietors and Directors
considered the details of commerce as not perfectly consistent with the
enlarged sphere of duty and the reduced number of the Council.
Therefore, to relieve them from this burden, they instituted a new
office, called the Board of Trade, for the subordinate management of
their commercial concerns, and appointed eleven of the senior servants
to fill the commission.

[Sidenote: Object of powers to Governor-General and Council.]

The powers given by the act to the new Governor-General and Council had
for their direct object the kingdom of Bengal and its dependencies.
Within that sphere (and it is not a small one) their authority extended
over all the Company's concerns of whatever description. In matters of
peace and war it seems to have been meant that the other Presidencies
should be subordinate to their board. But the law is loose and
defective, where it professes to restrain the subordinate Presidencies
from making war without the consent and approbation of the Supreme
Council. They are left free to act without it _in cases of imminent
necessity_, or _where they shall have received special orders from the
Company_. The first exception leaves it open to the subordinate to judge
of the necessity of measures which, when taken, bind or involve the
superior: the second refers a question of peace or war to two
jurisdictions, which may give different judgments. In both instances
cases in point have occurred.[1] With regard to their local
administration, their powers were exceedingly and dangerously loose and
undetermined. Their powers were not given directly, but in words of
reference, in which neither the objects related to nor the mode of the
relation were sufficiently expressed. Their legislative and executive
capacities were not so accurately drawn, and marked by such strong and
penal lines of distinction, as to keep these capacities separate. Where
legislative and merely executive powers were lodged in the same hands,
the legislative, which is the larger and the more ready for all
occasions, was constantly resorted to. The Governor-General and Council,
therefore, immediately gave constructions to their ill-defined authority
which rendered it perfectly despotic,--constructions which if they were
allowed, no action of theirs ought to be regarded as criminal.

Armed as they were with an authority in itself so ample, and by abuse so
capable of an unlimited extent, very few, and these very insufficient
correctives, were administered. Ample salaries were provided for them,
which indeed removed the necessity, but by no means the inducements to
corruption and oppression. Nor was any barrier whatsoever opposed on the
part of the natives against their injustice, except the Supreme Court
of Judicature, which never could be capable of controlling a government
with such powers, without becoming such a government itself.

There was, indeed, a prohibition against all concerns in trade to the
whole Council, and against all taking of presents by any in authority. A
right of prosecution in the King's Bench was also established; but it
was a right the exercise of which is difficult, and in many, and those
the most weighty cases, impracticable. No considerable facilities were
given to prosecution in Parliament; nothing was done to prevent
complaint from being far more dangerous to the sufferer than injustice
to the oppressor. No overt acts were fixed, upon which corruption should
be presumed in transactions of which secrecy and collusion formed the
very basis; no rules of evidence nor authentic mode of transmission were
settled in conformity to the unalterable circumstances of the country
and the people.

[Sidenote: Removal of servants.]

One provision, indeed, was made for restraining the servants, in itself
very wise and substantial: a delinquent once dismissed, could not be
restored, but by the votes of three fourths of the Directors and three
fourths of the proprietors: this was well aimed. But no method was
settled for bringing delinquents to the question of removal: and if they
should be brought to it, a door lay wide open for evasion of the law,
and for a return into the service, in defiance of its plain
intention,--that is, by resigning to avoid removal; by which measure
this provision of the act has proved as unoperative as all the rest. By
this management a mere majority may bring in the greater delinquent,
whilst the person removed for offences comparatively trivial may remain
excluded forever.

[Sidenote: Council-General]

The new Council nominated in the act was composed of two totally
discordant elements, which soon distinguished themselves into permanent
parties. One of the principal instructions which the three members of
the Council sent immediately from England, namely, General Clavering,
Colonel Monson, and Mr. Francis, carried out with them was, to "_cause
the strictest inquiry to be made into all oppressions and abuses_,"
among which _the practice of receiving presents from the natives_, at
that time generally charged upon men in power, was principally aimed at.

Presents to any considerable value were justly reputed by the
legislature, not as marks of attention and respect, but as bribes or
extortions, for which either the beneficial and gratuitous duties of
government were sold, or they were the price paid for acts of
partiality, or, finally, they were sums of money extorted from the
givers by the terrors of power. Against the system of presents,
therefore, the new commission was in general opinion particularly
pointed. In the commencement of reformation, at a period when a
rapacious conquest had overpowered and succeeded to a corrupt
government, an act of indemnity might have been thought advisable;
perhaps a new account ought to have been opened; all retrospect ought to
have been forbidden, at least to certain periods. If this had not been
thought advisable, none in the higher departments of a suspected and
decried government ought to have been kept in their posts, until an
examination had rendered their proceedings clear, or until length of
time had obliterated, by an even course of irreproachable conduct, the
errors which so naturally grow out of a new power. But the policy
adopted was different: it was to begin with _examples_. The cry against
the abuses was strong and vehement throughout the whole nation, and the
practice of presents was represented to be as general as it was
mischievous. In such a case, indeed in any case, it seemed not to be a
measure the most provident, without a great deal of previous inquiry, to
place two persons, who from their situation must be the most exposed to
such imputations, in the commission which was to inquire into their own
conduct,--much less to place one of them at the head of that commission,
and with a casting vote in case of an equality. The persons who could
not be liable to that charge were, indeed, three to two; but any
accidental difference of opinion, the death of any one of them or his
occasional absence or sickness, threw the whole power into the hands of
the other two, who were Mr. Hastings and Mr. Barwell, one the President,
and the other high in the Council of that establishment on which the
reform was to operate. Thus those who were liable to process as
delinquents were in effect set over the reformers; and that did actually
happen which might be expected to happen from so preposterous an
arrangement: a stop was soon put to all inquiries into the capital

Nor was the great political end proposed in the formation of a
superintending Council over all the Presidencies better answered than
that of an inquiry into corruptions and abuses. The several Presidencies
have acted in a great degree upon their own separate authority; and as
little of unity, concert, or regular system has appeared in their
conduct as was ever known before this institution. India is, indeed, so
vast a country, and the settlements are so divided, that their
intercourse with each other is liable to as many delays and difficulties
as the intercourse between distant and separate states. But one evil may
possibly have arisen from an attempt to produce an union, which, though
undoubtedly to be aimed at, is opposed in some degree by the unalterable
nature of their situation,--that it has taught the servants rather to
look to a superior among themselves than to their common superiors. This
evil, growing out of the abuse of the principle of subordination, can
only be corrected by a very strict enforcement of authority over that
part of the chain of dependence which is next to the original power.

[Sidenote: Powers given to the ministers of the crown.]

That which your Committee considers as the fifth and last of the capital
objects of the act, and as the binding regulation of the whole, is the
introduction (then for the first time) of the ministers of the crown
into the affairs of the Company. The state claiming a concern and share
of property in the Company's profits, the servants of the crown were
presumed the more likely to preserve with a scrupulous attention the
sources of the great revenues which they were to administer, and for the
rise and fall of which they were to render an account.

The interference of government was introduced by this act in two ways:
one by a control, in effect by a share, in the appointment to vacancies
in the Supreme Council. The act provided that his Majesty's approbation
should be had to the persons named to that duty. Partaking thus in the
patronage of the Company, administration was bound to an attention to
the characters and capacities of the persons employed in that high
trust. The other part of their interference was by way of inspection. By
this right of inspection, everything in the Company's correspondence
from India, which related to the civil or military affairs and
government of the Company, was directed by the act to be within fourteen
days after the receipt laid before the Secretary of State, and
everything that related to the management of the revenues was to be laid
before the Commissioners of the Treasury. In fact, both description of
these papers have been generally communicated to that board.

[Sidenote: Defects in the plan.]

It appears to your Committee that there were great and material defects
in both parts of the plan. With regard to the approbation of persons
nominated to the Supreme Council by the Court of Directors, no
sufficient means were provided for carrying to his Majesty, along with
the nomination, the particulars in the conduct of those who had been in
the service before, which might render them proper objects of
approbation or rejection. The India House possesses an office of record
capable of furnishing, in almost all cases, materials for judging on the
behavior of the servants in their progress from the lowest to the
highest stations; and the whole discipline of the service, civil and
military, must depend upon an examination of these records inseparably
attending every application for an appointment to the highest stations.
But in the present state of the nomination the ministers of the crown
are not furnished with the proper means of exercising the power of
control intended by the law, even if they were scrupulously attentive to
the use of it. There are modes of proceeding favorable to neglect.
Others excite inquiry and stimulate to vigilance.

[Sidenote: Proposition to remedy them.]

Your Committee, therefore, are of opinion, that for the future
prevention of cabal, and of private and partial representation, whether
above or below, that, whenever any person who has been in the service
shall be recommended to the King's ministers to fill a vacancy in the
Council-General, the Secretary of the Court of Directors shall be
ordered to make a strict search into the records of the Company, and
shall annex to the recommendation the reasons of the Court of Directors
for their choice, together with a faithful copy of whatever shall be
found (if anything can be found) relative to his character and
conduct,--as also an account of his standing in the Company's service,
the time of his abode in India, the reasons for his return, and the
stations, whether civil or military, in which he has been successively

With this account ought to be transmitted the names of those who were
proposed as candidates for the same office, with the correspondent
particulars relative to their conduct and situation: for not only the
separate, but the comparative merit, probably would, and certainly
ought, to have great influence in the approbation or rejection of the
party presented to the ministers of the crown. These papers should be
laid before the Commissioners of the Treasury and one of the Secretaries
of State, and entered in books to be kept in the Treasury and the
Secretary's office.

[Sidenote: Appointment of Counsellors, &c.]

[Sidenote: Macpherson's appointment.]

[Sidenote: Stables's.]

These precautions, in case of the nomination of any who have served the
Company, appear to be necessary from the improper nomination and
approbation of Mr. John Macpherson, notwithstanding the objections
which stood against him on the Company's records. The choice of Mr. John
Stables, from an inferior military to the highest civil capacity, was by
no means proper, nor an encouraging example to either service. His
conduct, indeed, in the subaltern military situation, had received, and
seems to have deserved, commendation; but no sufficient ground was
furnished for confounding the lines and gradations of service. This
measure was, however, far less exceptionable than the former; because an
irregular choice of a less competent person, and the preference given to
proved delinquency in prejudice to uncensured service, are very
different things. But even this latter appointment would in all
likelihood have been avoided, if rules of promotion had been
established. If such rules were settled, candidates qualified from
ability, knowledge, and service would not be discouraged by finding that
everything was open to every man, and that favor alone stood in the
place of civil or military experience. The elevation from the lowest
stations unfaithfully and negligently filled to the highest trusts, the
total inattention to rank and seniority, and, much more, the combination
of this neglect of rank with a confusion (unaccompanied with strong and
evident reasons) of the lines of service, cannot operate as useful
examples on those who serve the public in India. These servants,
beholding men who have been condemned for improper behavior to the
Company in inferior civil stations elevated above them, or (what is less
blamable, but still mischievous) persons without any distinguished civil
talents taken from the subordinate situations of another line to their
prejudice, will despair by any good behavior of ascending to the
dignities of their own: they will be led to improve, to the utmost
advantage of their fortune, the lower stages of power, and will endeavor
to make up in lucre what they can never hope to acquire in station.

The temporary appointment by Parliament of the Supreme Council of India
arose from an opinion that the Company, at that time at least, was not
in a condition or not disposed to a proper exercise of the privileges
which they held under their charter. It therefore behoved the Directors
to be particularly attentive to their choice of Counsellors, on the
expiration of the period during which their patronage had been
suspended. The duties of the Supreme Council had been reputed of so
arduous a nature as to require even a legislative interposition. They
were called upon, by all possible care and impartiality, to justify
Parliament at least as fully in the restoration of their privileges as
the circumstances of the time had done in their suspension.

But interests have lately prevailed in the Court of Directors, which, by
the violation of every rule, seemed to be resolved on the destruction of
those privileges of which they were the natural guardians. Every new
power given has been made the source of a new abuse; and the acts of
Parliament themselves, which provide but imperfectly for the prevention
of the mischief, have, it is to be feared, made provisions (contrary,
without doubt, to the intention of the legislature) which operate
against the possibility of any cure in the ordinary course.

In the original institution of the Supreme Council, reasons may have
existed against rendering the tenure of the Counsellors in their office
precarious. A plan of reform might have required the permanence of the
persons who were just appointed by Parliament to execute it. But the act
of 1780 gave a duration coexistent with the statute itself to a Council
not appointed by act of Parliament, nor chosen for any temporary or
special purpose; by which means the servants in the highest situation,
let their conduct be never so grossly criminal, cannot be removed,
unless the Court of Directors and ministers of the crown can be found to
concur in the same opinion of it. The prevalence of the Indian factions
in the Court of Directors and Court of Proprietors, and sometimes in the
state itself, renders this agreement extremely difficult: if the
principal members of the Direction should be in a conspiracy with any
principal servant under censure, it will be impracticable; because the
first act must originate there. The reduced state of the authority of
this kingdom in Bengal may be traced in a great measure to that very
natural source of independence. In many cases the instant removal of an
offender from his power of doing mischief is the only mode of preventing
the utter and perhaps irretrievable ruin of public affairs. In such a
case the process ought to be simple, and the power absolute in one or in
either hand separately. By contriving the balance of interests formed in
the act, notorious offence, gross error, or palpable insufficiency have
many chances of retaining and abusing authority, whilst the variety of
representations, hearings, and conferences, and possibly the mere
jealousy and competition between rival powers, may prevent any decision,
and at length give time and means for settlements and compromises among
parties, made at the expense of justice and true policy. But this act of
1780, not properly distinguishing judicial process from executive
arrangements, requires in effect nearly the same degree of solemnity,
delay, and detail for removing a political inconvenience which attends a
criminal proceeding for the punishment of offences. It goes further, and
gives the same tenure to all who shall succeed to vacancies which was
given to those whom the act found in office.

[Sidenote: Provisional appointment for vacancies.]

Another regulation was made in the act, which has a tendency to render
the control of delinquency or the removal of incapacity in the
Council-General extremely difficult, as well as to introduce many other
abuses into the original appointment of Counsellors. The inconveniences
of a vacancy in that important office, at a great distance from the
authority that is to fill it, were visible; but your Committee have
doubts whether they balance the mischief which may arise from the power
given in this act, of a provisional appointment to vacancies, not on the
event, but on foresight. This mode of providing for the succession has a
tendency to promote cabal, and to prevent inquiry into the
qualifications of the persons to be appointed. An attempt has been
actually made, in consequence of this power, in a very marked manner, to
confound the whole order and discipline of the Company's service. Means
are furnished thereby for perpetuating the powers of some given Court of
Directors. They may forestall the patronage of their successors, on whom
they entail a line of Supreme Counsellors and Governors-General. And if
the exercise of this power should happen in its outset to fall into bad
hands, the ordinary chances for mending an ill choice upon death or
resignation are cut off.

In these provisional arrangements it is to be considered that the
appointment is not in consequence of any marked event which calls
strongly on the attention of the public, but is made at the discretion
of those who lead in the Court of Directors, and may therefore be
brought forward at times the most favorable to the views of partiality
and corruption. Candidates have not, therefore, the notice that may be
necessary for their claims; and as the possession of the office to which
the survivors are to succeed seems remote, all inquiry into the
qualifications and character of those who are to fill it will naturally
be dull and languid.

Your Committee are not also without a grounded apprehension of the ill
effect on any existing Council-General of all strong marks of influence
and favor which appear in the subordinates of Bengal. This previous
designation to a great and arduous trust, (the greatest that can be
reposed in subjects,) when made out of any regular course of succession,
marks that degree of countenance and support at home which may
overshadow the existing government. That government may thereby be
disturbed by factions, and led to corrupt and dangerous compliances. At
best, when these Counsellors elect are engaged in no fixed employment,
and have no lawful intermediate emolument, the natural impatience for
their situations may bring on a traffic for resignations between them
and the persons in possession, very unfavorable to the interests of the
public and to the duty of their situations.

Since the act two persons have been nominated to the ministers of the
crown by the Court of Directors for this succession. Neither has yet
been approved. But by the description of the persons a judgment may be
formed of the principles on which this power is likely to be exercised.

[Sidenote: Stuart and Sulivan's appointment to succeed to vacancies.]

Your Committee find, that, in consequence of the above-mentioned act,
the Honorable Charles Stuart and Mr. Sulivan were appointed to succeed
to the first vacancies in the Supreme Council. Mr. Stuart's first
appointment in the Company's service was in the year 1761. He returned
to England in 1775, and was permitted to go back to India in 1780. In
August, 1781, he was nominated by the Court of Directors (Mr. Sulivan
and Sir William James were Chairman and Deputy-Chairman) to succeed to
the first vacancy in the Supreme Council, and on the 19th of September
following his Majesty's approval of such nomination was requested.

[Sidenote: Mr. Stuart's situation at the time of his appointment.]

In the nomination of Mr. Stuart, the consideration of rank in the
service was not neglected; but if the Court of Directors had thought fit
to examine their records, they would have found matter at least strongly
urging them to a suspension of this appointment, until the charges
against Mr. Stuart should be fully cleared up. That matter remained (as
it still remains) unexplained from the month of May, 1775, where, on the
Bengal Revenue Consultations of the 12th of that month, peculations to a
large amount are charged upon oath against Mr. Stuart under the
following title: "_The Particulars of the Money unjustly taken by Mr.
Stuart, during the Time he was at Burdwan._" The sum charged against him
in this account is 2,17,684 Sicca rupees (that is, 25,253_l._ sterling);
besides which there is another account with the following title: "_The
Particulars of the Money unjustly taken by Callypersaud Bose, Banian to
the Honorable Charles Stuart, Esquire, at Burdwan, and amounting to
Sicca Rupees 1,01,675_" (that is, 11,785_l._),--a large sum to be
received by a person in that subordinate situation.

The minuteness with which these accounts appear to have been kept, and
the precision with which the date of each particular, sometimes of very
small sums, is stated, give them the appearance of authenticity, as far
as it can be conveyed on the face or in the construction of such
accounts, and, if they were forgeries, laid them open to an easy
detection. But no detection is easy, when no inquiry is made. It appears
an offence of the highest order in the Directors concerned in this
business, when, not satisfied with leaving such charges so long
unexamined, they should venture to present to the king's servants the
object of them for the highest trust which they have to bestow. If Mr.
Stuart was really guilty, the possession of this post must furnish him
not only with the means of renewing the former evil practices charged
upon him, and of executing them upon a still larger scale, but of
oppressing those unhappy persons who, under the supposed protection of
the faith of the Company, had appeared to give evidence concerning his
former misdemeanors.

This attempt in the Directors was the more surprising, when it is
considered that two committees of this House were at that very time
sitting upon an inquiry that related directly to their conduct, and that
of their servants in India.

[Sidenote: Mr. Sulivan's situation at the time of his appointment.]

It was in the same spirit of defiance of Parliament, that at the same
time they nominated Mr. Sulivan, son to the then Chairman of the Court
of Directors, to the succession to the same high trust in India. On
these appointments, your Committee thought it proper to make those
inquiries which the Court of Directors thought proper to omit. They
first conceived it fitting to inquire what rank Mr. Sulivan bore in the
service; and they thought it not unnecessary here to state the
gradations in the service, according to the established usage of the

The Company's civil servants generally go to India as _writers_, in
which capacity they serve the Company _five years_. The next step, in
point of rank, is to be a _factor_, and next to that a _junior
merchant_; in each of which capacities they serve the Company _three
years_. They then rise to the rank of _senior merchant_, in which
situation they remain till called by rotation to the _Board of Trade_.
Until the passing of the Regulation Act, in 1773, seniority entitled
them to succeed to the _Council_, and finally gave them pretensions to
the _government of the Presidency_.

The above gradation of the service, your Committee conceive, ought never
to be superseded by the Court of Directors, without evident reason, in
persons or circumstances, to justify the breach of an ancient order. The
names, whether taken from civil or commercial gradation, are of no
moment. The order itself is wisely established, and tends to provide a
natural guard against partiality, precipitancy, and corruption in
patronage. It affords means and opportunities for an examination into
character; and among the servants it secures a strong motive to preserve
a fair reputation. Your Committee find that no respect whatsoever was
paid to this gradation in the instance of Mr. Sulivan, nor is there any
reason assigned for departing from it. They do not find that Mr. Sulivan
had ever served the Company in any one of the above capacities, but was,
in the year 1777, abruptly brought into the service, and sent to Madras
to succeed as Persian Translator and Secretary to the Council.

Your Committee have found a letter from Mr. Sulivan to George Wombwell
and William Devaynes, Esquires, Chairman and Deputy-Chairman of the
Court of Directors, stating that he trusted _his applications_ would
have a place in their deliberations when Madras affairs were taken up.
Of what nature those applications were your Committee cannot discover,
as no traces of them appear on the Company's records,--nor whether any
proofs of his ability, even as Persian Translator, which might entitle
him to a preference to the many servants in India whose study and
opportunities afforded them the means of becoming perfect masters of
that language.

On the above letter your Committee find that the Committee of
Correspondence proceeded; and on their recommendation the Court of
Directors unanimously approved of Mr. Sulivan to be appointed to succeed
to the posts of Secretary and Persian Translator.

[Sidenote: Mr. Sulivan's succession of offices.]

Conformably to the orders of the court, Mr. Sulivan succeeded to those
posts; and the President and Council acquainted the Court of Directors
that they had been obeyed. About five months after, it appears that Mr.
Sulivan thought fit to resign the office of Persian Translator, to which
he had been appointed by the Directors. In April, 1780, Mr. Sulivan is
commended for his _great diligence as Secretary_; in August following
he obtains leave to accompany Mrs. Sulivan to Bengal, whence she is to
proceed to Europe on account of her health; and he is charged with a
commission from the President and Council of Fort St. George to obtain
for that settlement supplies of grain, troops, and money, from the
Governor-General and Council of Bengal. In October the Governor-General
requests permission of the Council there to employ Mr. Sulivan as his
_Assistant_, for that he had experienced (between his arrival in Bengal
and that time) the abilities of Mr. Sulivan, and made choice of him as
_completely qualified for that trust_; also requests the board to
appoint him Judge-Advocate-General, and likewise to apply to the
Presidency of Madras for him to remain in Bengal without prejudice to
his rank on their establishment: which several requests the board at
Madras readily complied with, notwithstanding their natural sensibility
to the loss of a Secretary of such ability and diligence as they had
described Mr. Sulivan to be.

On the 5th of December following, the President and Council received a
letter from Bengal, requesting that Mr. Sulivan might be allowed to keep
his rank. This request brought on some discussion. A Mr. Freeman, it
seems, who had acted under Mr. Sulivan as Sub-Secretary whilst his
principal obtained so much praise for his diligence, addressed the board
on the same day, and observed, "that, since Mr. Sulivan's arrival, _he_
[Mr. Freeman] had, _without intermission_, done almost the _whole_ of
the duty allotted to the post of Secretary, _which it was notorious Mr.
Sulivan had paid but little attention to_; and neither his inclination
or duty led him to act any longer as Mr. Sulivan's deputy."

Here your Committee cannot avoid remarking the direct contradiction
which this address of Mr. Freeman's gives to the letter from the
President and Council to the Court of Directors in April, 1780, wherein
Mr. Sulivan is praised for his "diligence and attention in his office of

The President and Council do not show any displeasure at Mr. Freeman's
representation, (so contrary to their own,) the truth of which they thus
tacitly admit, but agree to write to the Governor-General and Council,
"that it could not be supposed that they could carry on the public
business for any length of time without _the services of a Secretary_
and Clerk of Appeals, two offices that required personal attendance, and
which would be a general injury to the servants on their establishment,
and in particular to the person who acted in those capacities, as they
learnt that Mr. Sulivan had been appointed Judge-Advocate-General in
Bengal,--and to request the Governor-General and Council to inform Mr.
Sulivan of their sentiments, and to desire him to inform them whether he
meant to return to his station or to remain in Bengal."

On the 5th December, as a mark of their approbation of Mr. Freeman, who
had so plainly contradicted their opinion of Mr. Sulivan, the President
and Council agree to appoint him to act as Secretary and Clerk of
Appeals, till Mr. Sulivan's answer should arrive, with the emoluments,
and to confirm him therein, if Mr. Sulivan should remain in Bengal.

On the 14th February, 1781, the President and Council received a letter
from Bengal in reply, and stating their request that Mr. Sulivan might
reserve the right of returning to his original situation on the Madras
establishment, if the Court of Directors should disapprove of his being
transferred to Bengal. To this request the board at Madras declare they
have no objection: and here the matter rests; the Court of Directors not
having given any tokens of approbation or disapprobation of the

Such is the history of Mr. Sulivan's service from the time of his
appointment; such were the qualifications, and such the proofs of
assiduity and diligence given by him in holding so many incompatible
offices, (as well as being engaged in other dealings, which will appear
in their place,) when, after three years' desultory residence in India,
he was thought worthy to be nominated to the succession to the Supreme
Council. No proof whatsoever of distinguished capacity in any line
preceded his original appointment to the service: so that the whole of
his fitness for the Supreme Council rested upon his conduct and
character since his appointment as Persian Translator.

Your Committee find that his Majesty has not yet given his approbation
to the nomination, made by the Court of Directors on the 30th of August,
1781, of Messrs. Stuart and Sulivan to succeed to the Supreme Council on
the first vacancies, though the Court applied for the royal approbation
so long ago as the 19th of September, 1781; and in these instances the
king's ministers performed their duty, in withholding their countenance
from a proceeding so exceptionable and of so dangerous an example.

Your Committee, from a full view of the situation and duties of the
Court of Directors, are of opinion that effectual means ought to be
taken for regulating that court in such a manner as to prevent either
rivalship with or subserviency to their servants. It might, therefore,
be proper for the House to consider whether it is fit that those who
are, or have been within some given time, Directors of the Company,
should be capable of an appointment to any offices in India. Directors
can never properly govern those for whose employments they are or may be
themselves candidates; they can neither protect nor coerce them with due
impartiality or due authority.

If such rules as are stated by your Committee under this head were
observed in the regular service at home and abroad, the necessity of
superseding the regular service by strangers would be more rare; and
whenever the servants were so superseded, those who put forward other
candidates would be obliged to produce a strong plea of merit and
ability, which, in the judgment of mankind, ought to overpower
pretensions so authentically established, and so rigorously guarded from

[Sidenote: Deficiency of powers to ministers of government.]

The second object, in this part of the plan, of the act of 1773, namely,
that of inspection by the ministers of the crown, appears not to have
been provided for, so as to draw the timely and productive attention of
the state on the grievances of the people of India, and on the abuses of
its government. By the Regulating Act, the ministers were enabled to
inspect one part of the correspondence, that which was received in
England, but not that which went outward. They might know something, but
that very imperfectly and unsystematically, of the state of affairs; but
they were neither authorized to advance nor to retard any measure taken
by the Directors in consequence of that state: they were not provided
even with sufficient means of knowing what any of these measures were.
And this imperfect information, together with the want of a direct call
to any specific duty, might have, in some degree, occasioned that
remissness which rendered even the imperfect powers originally given by
the act of 1773 the less efficient. This defect was in a great measure
remedied by a subsequent act; but that act was not passed until the year

[Sidenote: Disorders increased since 1773.]

Your Committee find that during the whole period which elapsed from 1773
to the commencement of 1782 disorders and abuses of every kind
multiplied. Wars contrary to policy and contrary to public faith were
carrying on in various parts of India. The allies, dependants, and
subjects of the Company were everywhere oppressed;[2] dissensions in the
Supreme Council prevailed, and continued for the greater part of that
time; the contests between the civil and judicial powers threatened that
issue to which they came at last, an armed resistance to the authority
of the king's court of justice; the orders which by an act of Parliament
the servants were bound to obey were avowedly and on principle
contemned; until at length the fatal effects of accumulated misdemeanors
abroad and neglects at home broke out in the alarming manner which your
Committee have so fully reported to this House.[3]

[Sidenote: Proceedings in India not known to Parliament.]

In all this time the true state of the several Presidencies, and the
real conduct of the British government towards the natives, was not at
all known to Parliament: it seems to have been very imperfectly known
even to ministers. Indeed, it required an unbroken attention, and much
comparison of facts and reasonings, to form a true judgment on that
difficult and complicated system of politics, revenue, and commerce,
whilst affairs were only in their progress to that state which produced
the present inquiries. Therefore, whilst the causes of their ruin were
in the height of their operation, both the Company and the natives were
understood by the public as in circumstances the most assured and most
flourishing; insomuch that, whenever the affairs of India were brought
before Parliament, as they were two or three times during that period,
the only subject-matter of discussion anywise important was concerning
the sums which might be taken out of the Company's surplus profits for
the advantage of the state. Little was thought of but the disengagement
of the Company from their debts in _England_, and to prevent the
servants abroad from drawing upon them, so as that body might be
enabled, without exciting clamors here, to afford the contribution that
was demanded. All descriptions of persons, either here or in India,
looking solely to appearances at home, the reputation of the Directors
depended on the keeping the Company's sales in a situation to support
the dividend, that of the ministers depended on the most lucrative
bargains for the Exchequer, and that of the servants abroad on the
largest investments; until at length there is great reason to apprehend,
that, unless some very substantial reform takes place in the management
of the Company's affairs, nothing will be left for investment, for
dividend, or for bargain, and India, instead of a resource to the
public, may itself come, in no great length of time, to be reckoned
amongst the public burdens.

[Sidenote: Inspection of ministers has failed in effect.]

In this manner the inspection of the ministers of the crown, the great
cementing regulation of the whole act of 1773, has, along with all the
others, entirely failed in its effect.

[Sidenote: Failure in the act.]

Your Committee, in observing on the failure of this act, do not consider
the intrinsic defects or mistakes in the law itself as the sole cause of
its miscarriage. The general policy of the nation with regard to this
object has been, they conceive, erroneous; and no remedy by laws, under
the prevalence of that policy, can be effectual. Before any remedial law
can have its just operation, the affairs of India must be restored to
their natural order. The prosperity of the natives must be previously
secured, before any profit from them whatsoever is attempted. For as
long as a system prevails which regards the transmission of great wealth
to this country, either for the Company or the state, as its principal
end, so long will it be impossible that those who are the instruments of
that scheme should not be actuated by the same spirit for their own
private purposes. It will be worse: they will support the injuries done
to the natives for their selfish ends by new injuries done in favor of
those before whom they are to account. It is not reasonably to be
expected that a public rapacious and improvident should be served by any
of its subordinates with disinterestedness or foresight.


In order to open more fully the tendency of the policy which has
hitherto prevailed, and that the House may be enabled, in any
regulations which may be made, to follow the tracks of the abuse, and
to apply an appropriated remedy to a particular distemper, your
Committee think it expedient to consider in some detail the manner in
which India is connected with this kingdom,--which is the second head of
their plan.

The two great links by which this connection is maintained are, first,
the East India Company's commerce, and, next, the government set over
the natives by that company and by the crown. The first of these
principles of connection, namely, the East India Company's trade, is to
be first considered, not only as it operates by itself, but as having a
powerful influence over the general policy and the particular measures
of the Company's government. Your Committee apprehend that the present
state, nature, and tendency of this trade are not generally understood.

[Sidenote: Trade to India formerly carried on chiefly in silver.]

Until the acquisition of great territorial revenues by the East India
Company, the trade with India was carried on upon the common principles
of commerce,--namely, by sending out such commodities as found a demand
in the India market, and, where that demand was not adequate to the
reciprocal call of the European market for Indian goods, by a large
annual exportation of treasure, chiefly in silver. In some years that
export has been as high as six hundred and eighty thousand pounds
sterling. The other European companies trading to India traded thither
on the same footing. Their export of bullion was probably larger in
proportion to the total of their commerce, as their commerce itself bore
a much larger proportion to the British than it does at this time or has
done for many years past. But stating it to be equal to the British,
the whole of the silver sent annually from Europe into Hindostan could
not fall very short of twelve or thirteen hundred thousand pounds a
year. This influx of money, poured into India by an emulation of all the
commercial nations of Europe, encouraged industry and promoted
cultivation in a high degree, notwithstanding the frequent wars with
which that country was harassed, and the vices which existed in its
internal government. On the other hand, the export of so much silver was
sometimes a subject of grudging and uneasiness in Europe, and a commerce
carried on through such a medium to many appeared in speculation of
doubtful advantage. But the practical demands of commerce bore down
those speculative objections. The East India commodities were so
essential for animating all other branches of trade, and for completing
the commercial circle, that all nations contended for it with the
greatest avidity. The English company flourished under this exportation
for a very long series of years. The nation was considerably benefited
both in trade and in revenue; and the dividends of the proprietors were
often high, and always sufficient to keep up the credit of the Company's
stock in heart and vigor.

[Sidenote: How trade carried on since.]

But at or very soon after the acquisition of the territorial revenues to
the English company, the period of which may be reckoned as completed
about the year 1765, a very great revolution took place in commerce as
well as in dominion; and it was a revolution which affected the trade of
Hindostan with all other European nations, as well as with that in whose
favor and by whose power it was accomplished. From that time bullion was
no longer regularly exported by the English East India Company to
Bengal, or any part of Hindostan; and it was soon exported in much
smaller quantities by any other nation. A new way of supplying the
market of Europe, by means of the British power and influence, was
invented: a species of trade (if such it may be called) by which it is
absolutely impossible that India should not be radically and
irretrievably ruined, although our possessions there were to be ordered
and governed upon principles diametrically opposite to those which now
prevail in the system and practice of the British company's

[Sidenote: Investments.]

A certain portion of the revenues of Bengal has been for many years set
apart to be employed in the purchase of goods for exportation to
England, and this is called the _Investment_. The greatness of this
investment has been the standard by which the merit of the Company's
principal servants has been too generally estimated; and this main cause
of the impoverishment of India has been generally taken as a measure of
its wealth and prosperity. Numerous fleets of large ships, loaded with
the most valuable commodities of the East, annually arriving in England,
in a constant and increasing succession, imposed upon the public eye,
and naturally gave rise to an opinion of the happy condition and growing
opulence of a country whose surplus productions occupied so vast a space
in the commercial world. This export from India seemed to imply also a
reciprocal supply, by which the trading capital employed in those
productions was continually strengthened and enlarged. But the payment
of a tribute, and not a beneficial commerce to that country, wore this
specious and delusive appearance.

[Sidenote: Increase of expenses.]

The fame of a great territorial revenue, exaggerated, as is usual in
such cases, beyond even its value, and the abundant fortunes of the
Company's officers, military and civil, which flowed into Europe with a
full tide, raised in the proprietors of East India stock a premature
desire of partaking with their servants in the fruits of that splendid
adventure. Government also thought they could not be too early in their
claims for a share of what they considered themselves as entitled to in
every foreign acquisition made by the power of this kingdom, through
whatever hands or by whatever means it was made. These two parties,
after some struggle, came to an agreement to divide between them the
profits which their speculation proposed to realize in England from the
territorial revenue in Bengal. About two hundred thousand pounds was
added to the annual dividends of the proprietors. Four hundred thousand
was given to the state, which, added to the old dividend, brought a
constant charge upon the mixed interest of Indian trade and revenue of
eight hundred thousand pounds a year. This was to be provided for at all

By that vast demand on the territorial fund, the correctives and
qualifications which might have been gradually applied to the abuses in
Indian commerce and government were rendered extremely difficult.

[Sidenote: Progress of investments.]

The practice of an investment from the revenue began in the year 1766,
before arrangements were made for securing and appropriating an assured
fund for that purpose in the treasury, and for diffusing it from thence
upon the manufactures of the country in a just proportion and in the
proper season. There was, indeed, for a short time, a surplus of cash in
the treasury. It was in some shape to be sent home to its owners. To
send it out in silver was subject to two manifest inconveniences. First,
the country would be exhausted of its circulating medium. A scarcity of
coin was already felt in Bengal. Cossim Ali Khan, (the Nabob whom the
Company's servants had lately set up, and newly expelled,) during the
short period of his power, had exhausted the country by every mode of
extortion; in his flight he carried off an immense treasure, which has
been variously computed, but by none at less than three millions
sterling. A country so exhausted of its coin, and harassed by three
revolutions rapidly succeeding each other, was rather an object that
stood in need of every kind of refreshment and recruit than one which
could subsist under new evacuations. The next, and equally obvious
inconvenience, was to the Company itself. To send silver into Europe
would be to send it from the best to the worst market. When arrived, the
most profitable use which could be made of it would be to send it back
to Bengal for the purchase of Indian merchandise. It was necessary,
therefore, to turn the Company's revenue into its commerce. The first
investment was about five hundred thousand pounds, and care was taken
afterwards to enlarge it. In the years 1767 and 1768 it arose to seven
hundred thousand.

[Sidenote: Consequences of them.]

This new system of trade, carried on through the medium of power and
public revenue, very soon produced its natural effects. The loudest
complaints arose among the natives, and among all the foreigners who
traded to Bengal. It must unquestionably have thrown the whole
mercantile system of the country into the greatest confusion. With
regard to the natives, no expedient was proposed for their relief. The
case was serious with respect to European powers. The Presidency plainly
represented to the Directors, that some agreement should be made with
foreign nations for providing their investment to a certain amount, or
that the deficiencies then subsisting must terminate in an open rupture
with France. The Directors, pressed by the large payments in England,
were not free to abandon their system; and all possible means of
diverting the manufactures into the Company's investment were still
anxiously sought and pursued, until the difficulties of the foreign
companies were at length removed by the natural flow of the fortunes of
the Company's servants into Europe, in the manner which will be stated

But, with all these endeavors of the Presidency, the investment sunk in
1769, and they were even obliged to pay for a part of the goods to
private merchants in the Company's bonds, bearing interest. It was plain
that this course of business could not hold. The manufacturers of
Bengal, far from being generally in a condition to give credit, have
always required advances to be made to them; so have the merchants very
generally,--at least, since the prevalence of the English power in
India. It was necessary, therefore, and so the Presidency of Calcutta
represented the matter, to provide beforehand a year's advance. This
required great efforts; and they were made. Notwithstanding the famine
in 1770, which wasted Bengal in a manner dreadful beyond all example,
the investment, by a variety of successive expedients, many of them of
the most dangerous nature and tendency, was forcibly kept up; and even
in that forced and unnatural state it gathered strength almost every
year. The debts contracted in the infancy of the system were gradually
reduced, and the advances to contractors and manufacturers were
regularly made; so that the goods from Bengal, purchased from the
territorial revenues, from the sale of European goods, and from the
produce of the monopolies, for the four years which ended with 1780,
when the investment from the surplus revenues finally closed, were never
less than a million sterling, and commonly nearer twelve hundred
thousand pounds. This million is the lowest value of the goods sent to
Europe for which no satisfaction is made.[4]

[Sidenote: Remittances from Bengal to China and the Presidencies.]

About an hundred thousand pounds a year is also remitted from Bengal, on
the Company's account, to China; and the whole of the product of that
money flows into the direct trade from China to Europe. Besides this,
Bengal sends a regular supply in time of peace to those Presidencies
which are unequal to their own establishment. To Bombay the remittance
in money, bills, or goods, for none of which there is a return, amounts
to one hundred and sixty thousand pounds a year at a medium.

[Sidenote: Exports from England to India.]

The goods which are exported from Europe to India consist chiefly of
military and naval stores, of clothing for troops, and of other objects
for the consumption of the Europeans residing there; and, excepting some
lead, copper utensils and sheet copper, woollen cloth, and other
commodities of little comparative value, no sort of merchandise is sent
from England that is in demand for the wants or desires of the native

[Sidenote: Bad effects of investment.]

When an account is taken of the intercourse (for it is not commerce)
which is carried on between Bengal and England, the pernicious effects
of the system of investment from revenue will appear in the strongest
point of view. In that view, the whole exported produce of the country,
so far as the Company is concerned, is not exchanged in the course of
barter, but is taken away without any return or payment whatsoever. In a
commercial light, therefore, England becomes annually bankrupt to Bengal
to the amount nearly of its whole dealing; or rather, the country has
suffered what is tantamount to an annual plunder of its manufactures and
its produce to the value of twelve hundred thousand pounds.

[Sidenote: Foreign companies.]

[Sidenote: Consequences of their trade.]

In time of peace, three foreign companies appear at first sight to bring
their contribution of trade to the supply of this continual drain. These
are the companies of France, Holland, and Denmark. But when the object
is considered more nearly, instead of relief, these companies, who from
their want of authority in the country might seem to trade upon a
principle merely commercial, will be found to add their full proportion
to the calamity brought upon Bengal by the destructive system of the
ruling power; because the greater part of the capital of all these
companies, and perhaps the whole capital of some of them, is furnished
exactly as the British is, out of the revenues of the country. The civil
and military servants of the English East India Company being
restricted in drawing bills upon Europe, and none of them ever making or
proposing an establishment in India, a very great part of their
fortunes, well or ill gotten, is in all probability thrown, as fast as
required, into the cash of these companies.

In all other countries, the revenue, following the natural course and
order of things, arises out of their commerce. Here, by a mischievous
inversion of that order, the whole foreign maritime trade, whether
English, French, Dutch, or Danish, arises from the revenues; and these
are carried out of the country without producing anything to compensate
so heavy a loss.

[Sidenote: Foreign companies' investments.]

Your Committee have not been able to discover the entire value of the
investment made by foreign companies. But, as the investment which the
English East India Company derived from its revenues, and even from its
public credit, is for the year 1783 to be wholly stopped, it has been
proposed to private persons to make a subscription for an investment on
their own account. This investment is to be equal to the sum of
800,000_l._ Another loan has been also made for an investment on the
Company's account to China of 200,000_l._ This makes a million; and
there is no question that much more could be readily had for bills upon
Europe. Now, as there is no doubt that the whole of the money remitted
is the property of British subjects, (none else having any interest in
remitting to Europe,) it is not unfair to suppose that a very great
part, if not the whole, of what may find its way into this new channel
is not newly created, but only diverted from those channels in which it
formerly ran, that is, the cash of the foreign trading companies.

[Sidenote: Of the silver sent to China.]

Besides the investment made in goods by foreign companies from the funds
of British subjects, these subjects have been for some time in the
practice of sending very great sums in gold and silver directly to China
on their own account. In a memorial presented to the Governor-General
and Council, in March, 1782, it appears that the principal money lent by
British subjects to one company of merchants in China then amounted to
seven millions of dollars, about one million seven hundred thousand
pounds sterling; and not the smallest particle of silver sent to China
ever returns to India. It is not easy to determine in what proportions
this enormous sum of money has been sent from Madras or from Bengal; but
it equally exhausts a country belonging to this kingdom, whether it
comes from the one or from the other.

[Sidenote: Revenue above the investment, how applied.]

[Sidenote: Allowance to Nabob of Bengal.]

[Sidenote: How reduced.]

But that the greatness of all these drains, and their effects, may be
rendered more visible, your Committee have turned their consideration to
the employment of those parts of the Bengal revenue which are not
employed in the Company's own investments for China and for Europe. What
is taken over and above the investment (when any investment can be made)
from the gross revenue, either for the charge of collection or for civil
and military establishments, is in time of peace two millions at the
least. From the portion of that sum which goes to the support of civil
government the natives are almost wholly excluded, as they are from the
principal collections of revenue. With very few exceptions, they are
only employed as servants and agents to Europeans, or in the inferior
departments of collection, when it is absolutely impossible to proceed
a step without their assistance. For some time after the acquisition of
the territorial revenue, the sum of 420,000_l._ a year was paid,
according to the stipulation of a treaty, to the Nabob of Bengal, for
the support of his government. This sum, however inconsiderable,
compared to the revenues of the province, yet, distributed through the
various departments of civil administration, served in some degree to
preserve the natives of the better sort, particularly those of the
Mahomedan profession, from being utterly ruined. The people of that
persuasion, not being so generally engaged in trade, and not having on
their conquest of Bengal divested the ancient Gentoo proprietors of
their lands of inheritance, had for their chief, if not their sole
support, the share of a moderate conqueror in all offices, civil and
military. But your Committee find that this arrangement was of a short
duration. Without the least regard to the subsistence of this innocent
people, or to the faith of the agreement on which they were brought
under the British government, this sum was reduced by a new treaty to
320,000_l._, and soon after, (upon a pretence of the present Nabob's
minority, and a temporary sequestration for the discharge of his debts,)
to 160,000_l._: but when he arrived at his majority, and when the debts
were paid, (if ever they were paid,) the sequestration still continued;
and so far as the late advices may be understood, the allowance to the
Nabob appears still to stand at the reduced sum of 160,000_l._

[Sidenote: Native officers.]

The other resource of the Mahomedans, and of the Gentoos of certain of
the higher castes, was the army. In this army, nine tenths of which
consists of natives, no native, of whatever description, holds any rank
higher than that of a _Subahdar Commandant_, that is, of an officer
below the rank of an English subaltern, who is appointed to each company
of the native soldiery.

[Sidenote: All lucrative employments in the hands of the English.]

Your Committee here would be understood to state the ordinary
establishment: for the war may have made some alteration. All the
honorable, all the lucrative situations of the army, all the supplies
and contracts of whatever species that belong to it, are solely in the
hands of the English; so that whatever is beyond the mere subsistence of
a common soldier and some officers of a lower rank, together with the
immediate expenses of the English officers at their table, is sooner or
later, in one shape or another, sent out of the country.

Such was the state of Bengal even in time of profound peace, and before
the whole weight of the public charge fell upon that unhappy country for
the support of other parts of India, which have been desolated in such a
manner as to contribute little or nothing to their own protection.

[Sidenote: Former state of trade.]

Your Committee have given this short comparative account of the effects
of the maritime traffic of Bengal, when in its natural state, and as it
has stood since the prevalence of the system of an investment from the
revenues. But before the formation of that system Bengal did by no means
depend for its resources on its maritime commerce. The inland trade,
from whence it derived a very great supply of silver and gold and many
kinds of merchantable goods, was very considerable. The higher provinces
of the Mogul Empire were then populous and opulent, and intercourse to
an immense amount was carried on between them and Bengal. A great trade
also passed through these provinces from all the countries on the
frontier of Persia, and the frontier provinces of Tartary, as well as
from Surat and Baroach on the western side of India. These parts opened
to Bengal a communication with the Persian Gulf and with the Red Sea,
and through them with the whole Turkish and the maritime parts of the
Persian Empire, besides the commercial intercourse which it maintained
with those and many other countries through its own seaports.

[Sidenote: And the trade to Turkey.]

During that period the remittances to the Mogul's treasury from Bengal
were never very large, at least for any considerable time, nor very
regularly sent; and the impositions of the state were soon repaid with
interest through the medium of a lucrative commerce. But the disorders
of Persia, since the death of Kouli Khan, have wholly destroyed the
trade of that country; and the trade to Turkey, by Jidda and Bussorah,
which was the greatest and perhaps best branch of the Indian trade, is
very much diminished. The fall of the throne of the Mogul emperors has
drawn with it that of the great marts of Agra and Delhi. The utmost
confusion of the northwestern provinces followed this revolution, which
was not absolutely complete until it received the last hand from Great
Britain. Still greater calamities have fallen upon the fine provinces of
Rohilcund and Oude, and on the countries of Corah and Allahabad. By the
operations of the British arms and influence, they are in many places
turned to mere deserts, or so reduced and decayed as to afford very few
materials or means of commerce.

[Sidenote: State of trade in the Carnatic.]

Such is the actual condition of the trade of Bengal since the
establishment of the British power there. The commerce of the Carnatic,
as far as the inquiries of your Committee have extended, did not appear
with a better aspect, even before the invasion of Hyder Ali Khan, and
the consequent desolation, which for many years to come must exclude it
from any considerable part of the trading system.

It appears, on the examination of an intelligent person concerned in
trade, and who resided at Madras for several years, that on his arrival
there, which was in the year 1767, that city was in a flourishing
condition, and one of the first marts in India; but when he left it, in
1779, there was little or no trade remaining, and but one ship belonging
to the whole place. The evidence of this gentleman purports, that at his
first acquaintance with the Carnatic it was a well-cultivated and
populous country, and as such consumed many articles of merchandise;
that at his departure he left it much circumscribed in trade, greatly in
the decline as to population and culture, and with a correspondent decay
of the territorial revenue.

Your Committee find that there has also been from Madras an investment
on the Company's account, taking one year with another, very nearly on
the same principles and with the same effects as that from Bengal; and
they think it is highly probable, that, besides the large sums remitted
directly from Madras to China, there has likewise been a great deal on a
private account, for that and other countries, invested in the cash of
foreign European powers trading on the coast of Coromandel. But your
Committee have not extended their inquiries relative to the commerce of
the countries dependent on Madras so far as they have done with regard
to Bengal. They have reason to apprehend that the condition is rather
worse; but if the House requires a more minute examination of this
important subject, your Committee is willing to enter into it without


Hitherto your Committee has considered this system of revenue
investment, substituted in the place of a commercial link between India
and Europe, so far as it affects India only: they are now to consider it
as it affects the Company. So long as that corporation continued to
receive a vast quantity of merchantable goods without any disbursement
for the purchase, so long it possessed wherewithal to continue a
dividend to pay debts, and to contribute to the state. But it must have
been always evident to considerate persons, that this vast extraction of
wealth from a country lessening in its resources in proportion to the
increase of its burdens was not calculated for a very long duration. For
a while the Company's servants kept up this investment, not by improving
commerce, manufacture, or agriculture, but by forcibly raising the
land-rents, on the principles and in the manner hereafter to be
described. When these extortions disappointed or threatened to
disappoint expectation, in order to purvey for the avarice which raged
in England, they sought for expedients in breaches of all the agreements
by which they were bound by any payment to the country powers, and in
exciting disturbances among all the neighboring princes. Stimulating
their ambition, and fomenting their mutual animosities, they sold to
them reciprocally their common servitude and ruin.

The Governor-General, Mr. Hastings, and the Council, tell the Directors,
"that the supply for the investment has arisen from _casual_ and
_extraordinary_ resources, which they could not expect _always_ to
command." In an earlier minute he expresses himself still more
distinctly: he says, "If the internal resources of a state fail it, or
are not equal to its _occasional_ wants, whence can it obtain immediate
relief but from _external_ means?" Indeed, the investment has not been
for any long time the natural product of the revenue of Bengal. When, by
the vast charge and by the ill return of an evil political and military
traffic, and by a prodigal increase of establishments, and a profuse
conduct in distributing agencies and contracts, they found themselves
under difficulties, instead of being cured of their immoral and
impolitic delusion, they plunged deeper into it, and were drawn from
expedient to expedient for the supply of the investment into that
endless chain of wars which this House by its resolutions has so justly
condemned. At home these measures were sometimes countenanced, sometimes
winked at, sometimes censured, but always with an acceptance of whatever
profit they afforded.

At length, the funds for the investment and for these wars together
could no longer be supplied. In the year 1778 the provision for the
investment from the revenues and from the monopolies stood very high. It
was estimated at a million four hundred thousand pounds; and of this it
appears that a great deal was realized. But this was the high flood-tide
of the investment; for in that year they announce its probable decline,
and that such extensive supplies could not be continued. The advances to
the Board of Trade became less punctual, and many disputes arose about
the time of making them. However, knowing that all their credit at home
depended on the investment, or upon an opinion of its magnitude, whilst
they repeat their warning of a probable deficiency, and that their
"finances bore an unfavorable aspect," in the year 1779 they rate their
investment still higher. But their payments becoming less and less
regular, and the war carrying away all the supplies, at length Mr.
Hastings, in December, 1780, denounced sentence of approaching
dissolution to this system, and tells the Directors that "he bore too
high a respect for their characters to treat them with the management of
a preparatory and gradual introduction to an unpleasing report: that it
is the _only substantial_ information he shall have to convey in that
letter." In confidence, therefore, of their fortitude, he tells them
without ceremony, "that there will be a necessity of making a large
reduction, or possibly a _total suspension_, of their investment;--that
they had already been reduced to borrow near 700,000_l._ This resource,"
says he, "cannot last; it must cease at a certain period, and that
perhaps not far _distant_."

He was not mistaken in his prognostic. Loans now becoming the regular
resource for retrieving the investment, whose ruin was inevitable, the
Council enable the Board of Trade, in April, 1781, to grant certificates
for government bonds at eight per cent interest for about 650,000_l._
The investment was fixed at 900,000_l._

But now another alarming system appeared. These new bonds overloaded
the market. Those which had been formerly issued were at a discount; the
Board of Trade was obliged to advance, therefore, a fourth more than
usual to the contractors. This seemed to satisfy that description of
dealers. But as those who bought on agency were limited to no terms of
mutual advantage, and the bonds on the new issue falling from three to
eight, nine, and ten per cent discount, the agents were unable to
furnish at the usual prices. Accordingly a discount was settled on such
terms as could be made: the lowest discount, and that at two places
only, was at four per cent; which, with the interest on the bonds, made
(besides the earlier advance) at the least twelve per cent additional
charge upon all goods. It was evident, that, as the investment, instead
of being supported by the revenues, was sunk by the fall of their
credit, so the net revenues were diminished by the daily accumulation of
an interest accruing on account of the investment. What was done to
alleviate one complaint thus aggravating the other, and at length
proving pernicious to both, this trade on bonds likewise came to its

Your Committee has reason to think that the bonds have since that time
sunk to a discount much greater even than what is now stated. The Board
of Trade justly denominates their resource for that year "the sinking
credit of a paper currency, laboring, from the uncommon scarcity of
specie, under disadvantages scarcely surmountable." From this they value
themselves "on having effected an _ostensible_ provision, at least for
that investment." For 1783 nothing appears even ostensible.

By this failure a total revolution ensued, of the most extraordinary
nature, and to which your Committee wish to call the particular
attention of the House. For the Council-General, in their letter of the
8th of April, 1782, after stating that they were disappointed in their
expectations, (how grounded it does not appear,) "thought that they
should be able to spare a sum to the Board of Trade,"--tell the Court of
Directors, "that they had adopted a _new_ method of keeping up the
investment, by private subscribers for eighty lacs of rupees, which will
find _cargoes for their ships_ on the usual terms of privilege, _at the
risk of the individuals_, and is to be repaid to them _according to the
produce of the sales in England_,"--and they tell the Directors, that "a
copy of the plan makes a number in their separate dispatches over land."

It is impossible, in reporting this revolution to the House, to avoid
remarking with what fidelity Mr. Hastings and his Council have adhered
to the mode of transmitting their accounts which your Committee found it
necessary to mark and censure in their First Report. Its pernicious
tendency is there fully set forth. They were peculiarly called on for a
most accurate state of their affairs, in order to explain the necessity
of having recourse to such a scheme, as well as for a full and correct
account of the scheme itself. But they send only the above short minute
by one dispatch over land, whilst the copy of the plan itself, on which
the Directors must form their judgment, is sent separately in another
dispatch over land, which has never arrived. A third dispatch, which
also contained the plan, was sent by a sea conveyance, and arrived late.
The Directors have, for very obvious reasons, ordered, by a strict
injunction, that they should send _duplicates of all_ their dispatches
by _every ship_. The spirit of this rule, perhaps, ought to extend to
every mode of conveyance. In this case, so far from sending a duplicate,
they do not send even one perfect account. They announce a plan by one
conveyance, and they send it by another conveyance, with other delays
and other risks.

At length, at nearly four months' distance, the plan has been received,
and appears to be substantially that which had been announced, but
developing in the particulars many new circumstances of the greatest
importance. By this plan it appears that the subscription, even in idea
or pretence, is not for the use of the Company, but that the subscribers
are united into a sort of society for the remitting their _private
fortunes_: the goods, indeed, are said to be _shipped on the Company's
account_, and they are directed to be sold on the same account, and at
the usual periods of sales; but, after the payment of duties, and such
other allowances as they choose to make, in the eleventh article they
provide "that _the remainder of the sales shall revert to the
subscribers_, and be declared to be _their property_, and divided in
proportion to _their_ respective shares." The compensation which they
allow in this plan to their masters for their brokerage is, that, if,
after deducting all the charges which they impose, "the amount of the
sales _should be found_ to exceed two shillings and twopence for the
current rupee of the invoice account, it shall be taken by the Company."
For the management of this concern in Bengal they choose commissioners
by their own authority. By the same authority they form them into a
body, they put them under rules and regulations, and they empower them
also to make regulations of their own. They remit, by the like
authority, the duties to which all private trade is subject; and they
charge the whole concern with seven per cent, to be paid from the net
produce of the sales in England, as a recompense to the commissioners:
for this the commissioners contract to bear all the charges on the goods
to the time of shipping.

The servants having formed this plan of trade, and a new commission for
the conduct of it, on their private account, it is a matter of
consideration to know who the commissioners are. They turn out to be the
three senior servants of the Company's Board of Trade, who choose to
take upon them to be the factors of others for large emoluments, whilst
they receive salaries of two thousand pounds and fifteen hundred pounds
a year from the Company. As the Company have no other fund than the new
investment from whence they are to be paid for the care of their
servants' property, this commission and those salaries being to take
place of their brokerage, they in effect render it very difficult, if
not impossible, for them to derive advantage from their new occupation.

As to the benefit of this _plan_: besides preventing the loss which must
happen from the Company's ships returning empty to Europe, and the
stopping of all trade between India and England, the authors of it
state, that it will "_open a new channel_ of remittance, and abolish the
practice, by precluding the necessity, of remitting _private fortunes_
by _foreign bottoms_, and that it may lead to some _permanent mode_ for
remittance of private fortunes, and of combining it with the regular
provision of the Company's investment,--that it will yield _some_ profit
to the Company without risk, and the national gain will be the same as
upon the regular trade."

As to the combination of this mode of remittance with the Company's
investment, nothing can be affirmed concerning it until some
satisfactory assurance can be held out that such an investment can ever
be realized. Mr. Hastings and the gentlemen of the Council have not
afforded any ground for such an expectation. That the Indian trade may
become a permanent vehicle of the private fortunes of the Company's
servants is very probable,--that is, as permanent as the means of
acquiring fortunes in India; but that _some profit_ will accrue to the
Company is absolutely impossible. The Company are to bear all the charge
outwards, and a very great part of that homewards; and their only
compensation is the surplus commission on the sale of other people's
goods. The nation will undoubtedly avoid great loss and detriment, which
would be the inevitable consequence of the total cessation of the trade
with Bengal and the ships returning without cargoes. But if this
temporary expedient should be improved into a system, no occasional
advantages to be derived from it would be sufficient to balance the
mischiefs of finding a great Parliamentary corporation turned into a
vehicle for remitting to England the private fortunes of those for whose
benefit the territorial possessions in India are in effect and substance
under this project to be _solely_ held.

By this extraordinary scheme the Company is totally overturned, and all
its relations inverted. From being a body concerned in trade on their
own account, and employing their servants as factors, the servants have
at one stroke taken the whole trade into their own hands, on their own
capital of 800,000_l._, at their own risk, and the Company are become
agents and factors to them, to sell by commission _their_ goods for
_their_ profit.

To enable your Committee to form some judgment upon the profit which may
accrue to the Company from its new relation and employment, they
directed that an estimate should be made of the probable proceeds of an
investment conducted on the principles of that intended to be realized
for 1783. By this estimate, which is subjoined,[5] it appears to your
Committee, that, so far from any surplus profit from this transaction,
the Bengal adventurers themselves, instead of realizing 2_s._ 2_d._ the
rupee, (the standard they fix for their payment,) will not receive the
1_s._ 9_d._ which is its utmost value in silver at the Mint, nor
probably above 1_s._ 5_d._ With this certain loss before their eyes, it
is impossible that they can ever complete their subscription, unless, by
management among themselves, they should be able to procure the goods
for their own account upon other terms than those on which they
purchased them for their masters, or unless they have for the supply of
the Company on their hands a quantity of goods which they cannot
otherwise dispose of. This latter case is not very improbable, from
their proposing to send ten sixteenths of the whole investment in
silk,--which, as will be seen hereafter, the Company has prohibited to
be sent on their account, as a disadvantageous article. Nothing but the
servants being overloaded can rationally account for their choice of so
great a proportion of so dubious a commodity.

On the state made by two reports of a committee of the General Court in
1782, their affairs were even then reduced to a low ebb. But under the
arrangement announced by Mr. Hastings and his colleagues, it does not
appear, after this period of the servants' investment, from what fund
the proprietors are to make any dividend at all. The objects of the sale
from whence the dividend is to arise are not _their_ goods: they stand
accountable to others for the whole probable produce. The state of the
Company's commerce will therefore become an object of serious
consideration: an affair, as your Committee apprehends, of as much
difficulty as ever tried the faculties of this House. For, on the one
hand, it is plain that the system of providing the Company's import into
Europe, resting almost wholly by an investment from its territorial
revenues, has failed: during its continuance it was supported on
principles fatal to the prosperity of that country. On the other hand,
if the nominal commerce of the Company is suffered to be carried on for
the account of the servants abroad, by investing the emoluments made in
their stations, these emoluments are therefore inclusively authorized,
and with them the practices from which they accrue. All Parliamentary
attempts to reform this system will be contradictory to its institution.
If, for instance, five hundred thousand pounds sterling annually be
necessary for this kind of investment, any regulation which may prevent
the acquisition of that sum operates against the investment which is the
end proposed by the plan.

On this new scheme, (which is neither calculated for a future security
nor for a present relief to the Company,) it is not visible in what
manner the settlements in India can be at all upheld. The gentlemen in
employments abroad call for the whole produce of the year's investment
from Bengal; but for the payment of the counter-investment from Europe,
which is for the far greater part sent out for the support of their
power, no provision at all is made: they have not, it seems, agreed that
it should be charged to their account, or that any deduction should be
made for it from the produce of their sales in Leadenhall Street. How
far such a scheme is preferable to the total suspension of trade your
Committee cannot positively determine. In all likelihood, extraordinary
expedients were necessary; but the causes which induced this necessity
ought to be more fully inquired into; for the last step in a series of
conduct may be justifiable upon principles that suppose great blame in
those which preceded it.

After your Committee had made the foregoing observations upon the plan
of Mr. Hastings and his colleagues, transmitted to the Court of
Directors, an extract of the Madras Consultations was a few days ago
laid before us. This extract contains a letter from the Governor-General
and Council of Bengal to the Presidency of Fort St. George, which
affords a very striking, though to your Committee by no means an
unexpected, picture of the instability of their opinions and conduct. On
the 8th of April the servants had regularly formed and digested the
above-mentioned plan, which was to form the basis for the investment of
their own fortunes, and to furnish the sole means of the commercial
existence of their masters. Before the 10th of the following May, which
is the date of their letter to Madras, they inform Lord Macartney that
they had fundamentally altered the whole scheme. "Instead," say they,
"of allowing the subscribers to retain an interest in the goods, they
are to be provided entirely on account of the Company, and transported
_at their risk_; and the subscribers, instead of receiving certificates
payable out of the produce of the sales in Europe, are to be granted
receipts, on the payment of their advances, bearing an interest of eight
per cent per annum, until exchanged for drafts on the Court of
Directors, payable 365 days after sight, at the rate of two shillings
per current rupee,--which drafts shall be granted in the proper time, of
three eighths of the amount subscribed, on the 31st of December next,
and the remaining five eighths on the 31st of December, 1783."

The plan of April divests the Company of all property in Bengal goods
transported to Europe: but in recompense they are freed from all the
risk and expense, they are not loaded with interest, and they are not
embarrassed with bills. The plan of May reinstates them in their old
relation: but in return, their revenues in Bengal are charged with an
interest of eight per cent on the sum subscribed, until bills shall be
drawn; they are made proprietors of cargoes purchased, under the
disadvantage of that interest, at their own hazard; they are subjected
to all losses; and they are involved in Europe for payments of bills to
the amount of eighty lacs of rupees, at two shillings the rupee,--that
is, in bills for eight hundred thousand pounds sterling. It is probably
on account of the previous interest of eight per cent that the value of
the rupee on this scheme is reduced. Mr. Hastings and his colleagues
announce to Lord Macartney no other than the foregoing alteration in
their plan.

It is discouraging to attempt any sort of observation on plans thus
shifting their principle whilst their merits are under examination. The
judgment formed on the scheme of April has nothing to do with the
project of May. Your Committee has not suppressed any part of the
reflections which occurred to them on the former of these plans: first,
because the Company knows of no other by any regular transmissions;
secondly, because it is by no means certain that before the expiration
of June the Governor-General and Council may not revert to the plan of
April. They speak of that plan as likely to be, or make a part of one
that shall be, _permanent_. Many reasons are alleged by its authors in
its favor, grounded on the state of their affairs; none whatever are
assigned for the alteration. It is, indeed, morally certain that
persons who had money to remit must have made the same calculation which
has been made by the directions of your Committee, and the result must
have been equally clear to them,--which is, that, instead of realizing
two shillings and twopence the rupee on their subscription, as they
proposed, they could never hope to see more than one shilling and
ninepence. This calculation probably shook the main pillar of the
project of April. But, on the other hand, as the subscribers to the
second scheme can have no certain assurance that the Company will accept
bills so far exceeding their allowance in this particular, the necessity
of remitting their fortunes may beat them back to their old ground. The
Danish Company was the only means of remitting which remained. Attempts
have been made with success to revive a Portuguese trade for that
purpose. It is by no means clear whether Mr. Hastings and his colleagues
will adhere to either of the foregoing plans, or, indeed, whether any
investment at all to that amount can be realized; because nothing but
the convenience of remitting the gains of British subjects to London can
support any of these projects.

The situation of the Company, under this perpetual variation in the
system of their investment, is truly perplexing. The manner in which
they arrive at any knowledge of it is no less so. The letter to Lord
Macartney, by which the variation is discovered, was not intended for
transmission to the Directors. It was merely for the information of
those who were admitted to a share of the subscription at Madras. When
Mr. Hastings sent this information to those subscribers, he might well
enough have presumed an event to happen which did happen,--that is,
that a vessel might be dispatched from Madras to Europe: and indeed, by
that, and by every devisable means, he ought not only to have apprised
the Directors of this most material change in the plan of the
investment, but to have entered fully into the grounds and reasons of
his making it.

It appears to your Committee that the ships which brought to England the
plan of the 8th of April did not sail from Bengal until the 1st of May.
If the change had been in contemplation for any time before the 30th of
April, two days would have sufficed to send an account of it, and it
might have arrived along with the plan which it affected. If, therefore,
such a change was in agitation before the sailing of the ships, and yet
was concealed when it might have been communicated, the concealment is
censurable. It is not improbable that some change of the kind was made
or meditated before the sailing of the ships for Europe: for it is
hardly to be imagined that reasons wholly unlooked-for should appear for
setting aside a plan concerning the success of which the Council-General
seemed so very confident, that a new one should be proposed, that its
merits should be discussed among the moneyed men, that it should be
adopted in Council, and officially ready for transmission to Madras, in
twelve or thirteen days. In this perplexity of plan and of transmission,
the Court of Directors may have made an arrangement of their affairs on
the groundwork of the first scheme, which was officially and
authentically conveyed to them. The fundamental alteration of that plan
in India might require another of a very different kind in England,
which the arrangements taken in consequence of the first might make it
difficult, if not impossible, to execute. What must add to the confusion
is, that the alteration has not the regular and official authority of
the original plan, and may be presumed to indicate with certainty
nothing more than that the business is _again_ afloat, and that no
scheme is finally determined on. Thus the Company is left without any
fixed data upon which they can make a rational disposition of their

The fact is, that the principles and economy of the Company's trade have
been so completely corrupted by turning it into a vehicle for tribute,
that, whenever circumstances require it to be replaced again upon a
bottom truly commercial, hardly anything but confusion and disasters can
be expected as the first results. Even before the acquisition of the
territorial revenues, the system of the Company's commerce was not
formed upon principles the most favorable to its prosperity; for,
whilst, on the one hand, that body received encouragement by royal and
Parliamentary charters, was invested with several ample privileges, and
even with a delegation of the most essential prerogatives of the
crown,--on the other, its commerce was watched with an insidious
jealousy, as a species of dealing dangerous to the national interests.
In that light, with regard to the Company's imports, there was a total
prohibition from domestic use of the most considerable articles of their
trade,--that is, of all silk stuffs, and stained and painted cottons.
The British market was in a great measure interdicted to the British
trader. Whatever advantages might arise to the general trading interests
of the kingdom by this restraint, its East India interest was
undoubtedly injured by it. The Company is also, and has been from a
very early period, obliged to furnish the Ordnance with a quantity of
saltpetre at a certain price, without any reference to the standard of
the markets either of purchase or of sale. With regard to their export,
they were put also under difficulties upon very mistaken notions; for
they were obliged to export annually a certain proportion of British
manufactures, even though they should find for them in India none or but
an unprofitable want. This compulsory export might operate, and in some
instances has operated, in a manner more grievous than a tax to the
amount of the loss in trade: for the payment of a tax is in general
divided in unequal portions between the vender and consumer, the largest
part falling upon the latter; in the case before us the tax may be as a
dead charge on the trading capital of the Company.

The spirit of all these regulations naturally tended to weaken, in the
very original constitution of the Company, the main-spring of the
commercial machine, _the principles of profit and loss_. And the
mischief arising from an inattention to those principles has constantly
increased with the increase of its power. For when the Company had
acquired the rights of sovereignty in India, it was not to be expected
that the attention to profit and loss would have increased. The idea of
remitting tribute in goods naturally produced an indifference to their
price and quality,--the goods themselves appearing little else than a
sort of package to the tribute. Merchandise taken as tribute, or bought
in lieu of it, can never long be of a kind or of a price fitted to a
market which stands solely on its commercial reputation. The
indifference of the mercantile sovereign to his trading advantages
naturally relaxed the diligence of his subordinate factor-magistrates
through all their gradations and in all their functions; it gave rise,
at least so far as the principal was concerned, to much neglect of price
and of goodness in their purchases. If ever they showed any
extraordinary degrees of accuracy and selection, it would naturally be
in favor of that interest to which they could not be indifferent. The
Company might suffer above, the natives might suffer below; the
intermediate party must profit to the prejudice of both.

Your Committee are of opinion that the Company is now arrived at that
point, when, the investment from surplus revenue or from the spoil of
war ceasing, it is become much more necessary to fix its commerce upon a
commercial basis. And this opinion led your Committee to a detailed
review of all the articles of the Indian traffic upon which the profit
and loss was steady; and we have chosen a period of four years, during
the continuance of the revenue investment, and prior to any borrowing or
any extraordinary drawing of bills, in order to find out how far the
trade, under circumstances when it will be necessary to carry it on by
borrowing, or by bills, or by exportation of bullion, can be sustained
in the former course, so as to secure the capital and to afford a
reasonable dividend. And your Committee find that in the first four
years the investment from Bengal amounted to 4,176,525_l._; upon
2,260,277_l._ there was a gain of 186,337_l._, and upon 1,916,248_l._ a
loss of 705,566_l._: so that the excess of loss above gain, upon the
whole of the foregoing capital, was in the four years no less than

If the trade were confined to Bengal, and the Company were to trade on
those terms upon a capital borrowed at eight per cent Indian interest,
their revenues in that province would be soon so overpowered with debt,
that those revenues, instead of supporting the trade, would be totally
destroyed by it. If, on the other hand, the Company traded upon bills
with every advantage, far from being in a condition to divide the
smallest percentage, their bankruptcy here would be inevitable.

Your Committee then turned to the trade of the other factories and
Presidencies, and they constantly found, that, as the power and dominion
of the Company was less, their profit on the goods was greater. The
investments of Madras, Bombay, and Bencoolen have, in the foregoing four
years, upon a capital of 1,151,176_l._, had a gain upon the whole of
329,622_l._ The greatest of all is that of Bencoolen, which, on a
capital of 76,571_l._, produced a profit of 107,760_l._ This, however,
is but a small branch of the Company's trade. The trade to China, on a
capital of 1,717,463_l._, produced an excess of gain amounting to
874,096_l._, which is about fifty per cent. But such was the evil
influence of the Bengal investment, that not only the profits of the
Chinese trade, but of all the lucrative branches taken together, were so
sunk and ingulfed in it, that the whole profit on a capital of
7,045,164_l._ reached to no more than 684,489_l._, that is, to
189,607_l._ less than the profit on the Chinese trade alone,--less than
the total profits on the gainful trades taken together, 520,727_l._

It is very remarkable, that in the year 1778, when the Bengal investment
stood at the highest, that is, so high as 1,223,316_l._, though the
Chinese trade produced an excess of gain in that year of 209,243_l._,
and that no loss of moment could be added to that of Bengal, (except
about 45,000_l._ on the Bombay trade,) the whole profit of a capital of
2,040,787_l._ amounted only to the sum of 9,480_l._

The detail of the articles in which loss was incurred or gain made will
be found in the Appendix, No. 24. The circumstances of the time have
rendered it necessary to call up a vigorous attention to this state of
the trade of the Company between Europe and India.


The internal trade of Bengal has next attracted the inquiries of your

The great and valuable articles of the Company's investment, drawn from
the articles of internal trade, are raw silk, and various descriptions
of piece-goods made of silk and cotton. These articles are not under any
formal monopoly; nor does the Company at present exercise a _declared_
right of preemption with regard to them. But it does not appear that the
trade in these particulars is or can be perfectly free,--not so much on
account of any direct measures taken to prevent it as from the
circumstances of the country, and the manner of carrying on business
there: for the present trade, even in these articles, is built from the
ruins of old monopolies and preemptions, and necessarily partakes of the
nature of its materials.

In order to show in what manner manufactures and trade so constituted
contribute to the prosperity of the natives, your Committee conceives it
proper to take, in this place, a short general view of the progress of
the English policy with relation to the commerce of Bengal, and the
several stages and gradations by which it has been brought into its
actual state. The modes of abuse, and the means by which commerce has
suffered, will be considered in greater detail under the distinct heads
of those objects which have chiefly suffered by them.

During the time of the Mogul government, the princes of that race, who
omitted nothing for the encouragement of commerce in their dominions,
bestowed very large privileges and immunities on the English East India
Company, exempting them from several duties to which their natural-born
subjects were liable. The Company's _dustuck_, or passport, secured to
them this exemption at all the custom-houses and toll-bars of the
country. The Company, not being able or not choosing to make use of
their privilege to the full extent to which it might be carried,
indulged their servants with a qualified use of their passport, under
which, and in the name of the Company, they carried on a private trade,
either by themselves or in society with natives, and thus found a
compensation for the scanty allowances made to them by their masters in
England. As the country government was at that time in the fulness of
its strength, and that this immunity existed by a double connivance, it
was naturally kept within tolerable limits.

But by the revolution in 1757 the Company's servants obtained a mighty
ascendant over the native princes of Bengal, who owed their elevation to
the British arms. The Company, which was new to that kind of power, and
not yet thoroughly apprised of its real character and situation,
considered itself still as a trader in the territories of a foreign
potentate, in the prosperity of whose country it had neither interest
nor duty. The servants, with the same ideas, followed their fortune in
the channels in which it had hitherto ran, only enlarging them with the
enlargement of their power. For their first ideas of profit were not
official; nor were their oppressions those of ordinary despotism. The
first instruments of their power were formed out of evasions of their
ancient subjection. The passport of the Company in the hands of its
servants was no longer under any restraint; and in a very short time
their immunity began to cover all the merchandise of the country. Cossim
Ali Khan, the second of the Nabobs whom they had set up, was but ill
disposed to the instruments of his greatness. He bore the yoke of this
imperious commerce with the utmost impatience: he saw his subjects
excluded as aliens from their own trade, and the revenues of the prince
overwhelmed in the ruin of the commerce of his dominions. Finding his
reiterated remonstrances on the extent and abuse of the passport
ineffectual, he had recourse to an unexpected expedient, which was, to
declare his resolution at once to annul all the duties on trade, setting
it equally free to subjects and to foreigners.

Never was a method of defeating the oppressions of monopoly more
forcible, more simple, or more equitable: no sort of plausible objection
could be made; and it was in vain to think of evading it. It was
therefore met with the confidence of avowed and determined injustice.
The Presidency of Calcutta openly denied to the prince the power of
protecting the trade of his subjects by the remission of his own duties.
It was evident that his authority drew to its period: many reasons and
motives concurred, and his fall was hastened by the odium of the
oppressions which he exercised voluntarily, as well as of those to which
he was obliged to submit.

When this example was made, Jaffier Ali Khan, who had been deposed to
make room for the last actor, was brought from penury and exile to a
station the terms of which he could not misunderstand. During his life,
and in the time of his children who succeeded to him, parts of the
territorial revenue were assigned to the Company; and the whole, under
the name of residency at the Nabob's court, was brought, directly or
indirectly, under the control of British subjects. The Company's
servants, armed with authorities delegated from the nominal government,
or attended with what was a stronger guard, the fame of their own power,
appeared as magistrates in the markets in which they dealt as traders.
It was impossible for the natives in general to distinguish, in the
proceedings of the same persons, what was transacted on the Company's
account from what was done on their own; and it will ever be so
difficult to draw this line of distinction, that as long as the Company
does, directly or indirectly, aim at any advantage to itself in the
purchase of any commodity whatever, so long will it be impracticable to
prevent the servants availing themselves of the same privilege.

The servants, therefore, for themselves or for their employers,
monopolized every article of trade, foreign and domestic: not only the
raw merchantable commodities, but the manufactures; and not only these,
but the necessaries of life, or what in these countries habit has
confounded with them,--not only silk, cotton, piece-goods, opium,
saltpetre, but not unfrequently salt, tobacco, betel-nut, and the grain
of most ordinary consumption. In the name of the country government
they laid on or took off, and at their pleasure heightened or lowered,
all duties upon goods: the whole trade of the country was either
destroyed or in shackles. The acquisition of the Duanne, in 1765,
bringing the English into the immediate government of the country in its
most essential branches, extended and confirmed all the former means of

In the progress of these ruinous measures through all their details,
innumerable grievances were suffered by the native inhabitants, which
were represented in the strongest, that is, their true colors, in
England. Whilst the far greater part of the British in India were in
eager pursuit of the forced and exorbitant gains of a trade carried on
by power, contests naturally arose among the competitors: those who were
overpowered by their rivals became loud in their complaints to the Court
of Directors, and were very capable, from experience, of pointing out
every mode of abuse.

The Court of Directors, on their part, began, though very slowly, to
perceive that the country which was ravaged by this sort of commerce was
their own. These complaints obliged the Directors to a strict
examination into the real sources of the mismanagement of their concerns
in India, and to lay the foundations of a system of restraint on the
exorbitancies of their servants. Accordingly, so early as the year 1765,
they confine them to a trade only in articles of export and import, and
strictly prohibit them from all dealing in objects of internal
consumption. About the same time the Presidency of Calcutta found it
necessary to put a restraint upon themselves, or at least to make show
of a disposition (with which the Directors appear much satisfied) to
keep their own enormous power within bounds.

But whatever might have been the intentions either of the Directors or
the Presidency, both found themselves unequal to the execution of a plan
which went to defeat the projects of almost all the English in
India,--possibly comprehending some who were makers of the regulations.
For, as the complaint of the country or as their own interest
predominated with the Presidency, they were always shifting from one
course to the other; so that it became as impossible for the natives to
know upon what principle to ground any commercial speculation, from the
uncertainty of the law under which they acted, as it was when they were
oppressed by power without any color of law at all: for the Directors,
in a few months after they had given these tokens of approbation to the
above regulations in favor of the country trade, tell the Presidency,
"It is with concern we see in _every page_ of your Consultations
_restrictions, limitations, prohibitions, affecting various articles of
trade_." On their side, the Presidency freely confess that these
monopolies of inland trade "were the foundation of all the bloodsheds,
massacres, and confusions which have happened of late in Bengal."

Pressed in this urgent manner, the Directors came more specifically to
the grievance, and at once annul all the passports with which their
servants traded without duties, holding out means of compensation, of
which it does not appear that any advantage was taken. In order that the
duties which existed should no longer continue to burden the trade
either of the servants or natives, they ordered that a number of
oppressive toll-bars should be taken away, and the whole number reduced
to nine of the most considerable.

When Lord Clive was sent to Bengal to effect a reformation of the many
abuses which prevailed there, he considered monopoly to be so inveterate
and deeply rooted, and the just rewards of the Company's servants to be
so complicated with that injustice to the country, that the latter could
not easily be removed without taking away the former. He adopted,
therefore, a plan for dealing in certain articles, which, as he
conceived, rather ought to be called "a regulated and restricted trade"
than a formal monopoly. By this plan he intended that the profits should
be distributed in an orderly and proportioned manner for the reward of
services, and not seized by each individual according to the measure of
his boldness, dexterity, or influence.

But this scheme of monopoly did not subsist long, at least in that mode
and for those purposes. Three of the grand monopolies, those of opium,
salt, and saltpetre, were successively by the Company taken into their
own hands. The produce of the sale of the two former articles was
applied to the purchase of goods for their investment; the latter was
exported in kind for their sales in Europe. The senior servants had a
certain share of emolument allotted to them from a commission on the
revenues. The junior servants were rigorously confined to salaries, on
which they were unable to subsist according to their rank. They were
strictly ordered to abstain from all dealing in objects of internal
commerce. Those of export and import were left open to young men without
mercantile experience, and wholly unprovided with mercantile capitals,
but abundantly furnished with large trusts of the public money, and with
all the powers of an absolute government. In this situation, a religious
abstinence from all illicit game was prescribed to men at nine thousand
miles' distance from the seat of the supreme authority.

Your Committee is far from meaning to justify, or even to excuse, the
oppressions and cruelties used by many in supplying the deficiencies of
their regular allowances by all manner of extortion; but many smaller
irregularities may admit some alleviation from thence. Nor does your
Committee mean to express any desire of reverting to the mode (contrived
in India, but condemned by the Directors) of rewarding the servants of
an higher class by a regulated monopoly. Their object is to point out
the deficiencies in the system, by which restrictions were laid that
could have little or no effect whilst want and power were suffered to be

But the proceedings of the Directors at that time, though not altogether
judicious, were in many respects honorable to them, and favorable, in
the intention at least, to the country they governed. For, finding their
trading capital employed against themselves and against the natives, and
struggling in vain against abuses which were inseparably connected with
the system of their own preference in trade, in the year 1773 they came
to the manly resolution of setting an example to their servants, and
gave up all use of power and influence in the two grand articles of
their investment, silk and piece-goods. They directed that the articles
should be bought at an equal and public market from the native
merchants; and this order they directed to be published in all the
principal marts of Bengal.

Your Committee are clearly of opinion that no better method of purchase
could be adopted. But it soon appeared that in deep-rooted and
inveterate abuses the wisest principles of reform may be made to operate
so destructively as wholly to discredit the design, and to dishearten
all persons from the prosecution of it. The Presidency, who seemed to
yield with the utmost reluctance to the execution of these orders, soon
made the Directors feel their evil influence upon their own investment;
for they found the silk and cotton cloths rose twenty-five per cent
above their former price, and a further rise of forty per cent was
announced to them.


What happened with regard to raw silk is still more remarkable, and
tends still more clearly to illustrate the effects of commercial
servitude during its unchecked existence, and the consequences which may
be made to arise from its sudden reformation. On laying open the trade,
the article of raw silk was instantly enhanced to the Company full
eighty per cent. The contract made for that commodity, wound off in the
Bengal method, which used to sell for less than six rupees, or thirteen
shillings, for two pounds' weight, arose to nine rupees, or near twenty
shillings, and the filature silk was very soon after contracted for at

The Presidency accounted for this rise by observing that the price had
before been _arbitrary_, and that the persons who purveyed for the
Company paid no more than "what was _judged_ sufficient for the
maintenance of the first providers." This fact explains more fully than
the most labored description can do the dreadful effects of the monopoly
on the cultivators. They had the _sufficiency_ of their maintenance
measured out by the judgment of those who were to profit by their labor;
and this measure was not a great deal more, by their own account, than
about two thirds of the value of that labor. In all probability it was
much less, as these dealings rarely passed through intermediate hands
without leaving a considerable profit. These oppressions, it will be
observed, were not confined to the Company's share, which, however,
covered a great part of the trade; but as this was an article permitted
to the servants, the same power of arbitrary valuation must have been
extended over the whole, as the market must be equalized, if any
authority at all is extended over it by those who have an interest in
the restraint. The price was not only raised, but in the manufactures
the quality was debased nearly in an equal proportion. The Directors
conceived, with great reason, that this rise of price and debasement of
quality arose, not from the effect of a free market, but from the
servants having taken that opportunity of throwing upon the market of
their masters the refuse goods of their own private trade at such
exorbitant prices as by mutual connivance they were pleased to settle.
The mischief was greatly aggravated by its happening at a time when the
Company were obliged to pay for their goods with bonds bearing an high

The perplexed system of the Company's concerns, composed of so many
opposite movements and contradictory principles, appears nowhere in a
more clear light. If trade continued under restraint, their territorial
revenues must suffer by checking the general prosperity of the country:
if they set it free, means were taken to raise the price and debase the
quality of the goods; and this again fell upon the revenues, out of
which the payment for the goods was to arise. The observations of the
Company on that occasion are just and sagacious; and they will not
permit the least doubt concerning the policy of these unnatural trades.
"The amount of our Bengal cargoes, from 1769 to 1773, is 2,901,194_l._
sterling; and if the average increase of price be estimated at
twenty-five per cent only, the amount of such increase is 725,298_l._
sterling. The above circumstances are exceedingly alarming to us; but
what must be our concern, to find by the advices of our President and
Council of 1773, that a further advance of forty per cent on Bengal
goods was expected, and allowed to be the consequence of advertisements
then published, authorizing a free trade in the service? We find the
Duanne revenues are in general farmed for five years, and the aggregate
increase estimated at only 183,170_l._ sterling (on a supposition that
such increase will be realized); yet if the annual investment be sixty
lacs, and the advance of price thirty per cent only, such advance will
_exceed the increase of the revenue by no less than 829,330l.

The indignation which the Directors felt at being reduced to this
distressing situation was expressed to their servants in very strong
terms. They attributed the whole to their practices, and say, "We are
far from being convinced that the competition which tends to raise the
price of goods in Bengal is wholly between public European companies, or
between merchants in general who export to foreign markets: we are
rather of opinion that the sources of this grand evil have been the
extraordinary privileges granted to individuals in our service or under
our license to trade without restriction throughout the provinces of
Bengal, and the encouragement they have had to extend their trade to the
uttermost, even in such goods as were proper for our investment, by
observing the success of those persons who have from time to time _found
means to dispose of their merchandise to our Governor and Council_,
though of so bad a quality as to be sold here with great difficulty,
after having been frequently refused, and put up at the next sale
without price, to the very great discredit and disadvantage of the
Company." In all probability the Directors were not mistaken; for, upon
an inquiry instituted soon after, it was found that Cantu Babu, the
banian or native steward and manager to Mr. Hastings, (late President,)
held two of these contracts in his own name and that of his son for
considerably more than 150,000_l._ This discovery brought on a
prohibition from the Court of Directors of that suspicious and dangerous
dealing in the stewards of persons in high office. The same man held
likewise farms to the amount of 140,000_l._ a year of the landed
revenue, with the same suspicious appearance, contrary to the
regulations made under Mr. Hastings's own administration.

In the mortifying dilemma to which the Directors found themselves
reduced, whereby the ruin of the revenues either by the freedom or the
restraint of trade was evident, they considered the first as most rapid
and urgent, and therefore once more revert to the system of their
ancient preemption, and destroy that freedom which they had so lately
and with so much solemnity proclaimed, and that before it could be
abused or even enjoyed. They declare, that, "unwilling as we are to
return to _the former coercive system_ of providing an investment, or to
abridge that freedom of commerce which has been so lately established in
Bengal, yet at the same time finding it our indispensable duty to strike
at the _root_ of an evil which has been so severely felt by the Company,
and which can no longer be supported, we hereby direct that all persons
whatever in the Company's service, _or under our protection_, be
absolutely prohibited, by public advertisement, from trading in any of
those articles which compose our investment, directly or indirectly,
except on account of and for the East India Company, until their
investment is completed."

As soon as this order was received in Bengal, it was construed, as
indeed the words seemed directly to warrant, to exclude all natives as
well as servants from the trade, until the Company was supplied. The
Company's preemption was now authoritatively reestablished, and some
feeble and ostensible regulations were made to relieve the weavers who
might suffer by it. The Directors imagined that the reestablishment of
their coercive system would remove the evil which fraud and artifice had
grafted upon one more rational and liberal. But they were mistaken; for
it only varied, if it did so much as vary, the abuse. The servants might
as essentially injure their interest by a direct exercise of their power
as by pretexts drawn from the freedom of the natives,--but with this
fatal difference, that the frauds upon the Company must be of shorter
duration under a scheme of freedom. That state admitted, and indeed led
to, means of discovery and correction; whereas the system of coercion
was likely to be permanent. It carried force further than served the
purposes of those who authorized it: it tended to cover all frauds with
obscurity, and to bury all complaint in despair. The next year,
therefore, that is, in the year 1776, the Company, who complained that
their orders had been extended beyond their intentions, made a third
revolution in the trade of Bengal. It was set free again,--so far, at
least, as regarded the native merchants,--but in so imperfect a manner
as evidently to leave the roots of old abuses in the ground. The Supreme
Court of Judicature about this time (1776) also fulminated a charge
against monopolies, without any exception of those authorized by the
Company: but it does not appear that anything very material was done in
consequence of it.

The trade became nominally free; but the course of business established
in consequence of coercive monopoly was not easily altered. In order to
render more distinct the principles which led to the establishment of a
course and habit of business so very difficult to change as long as
those principles exist, your Committee think it will not be useless here
to enter into the history of the regulations made in the first and
favorite matter of the Company's investment, the trade in _raw silk_,
from the commencement of these regulations to the Company's perhaps
finally abandoning all share in the trade which was their object.


The trade in _raw silk_ was at all times more popular in England than
really advantageous to the Company. In addition to the old jealousy
which prevailed between the Company and the manufactory interest of
England, they came to labor under no small odium on account of the
distresses of India. The public in England perceived, and felt with a
proper sympathy, the sufferings of the Eastern provinces in all cases in
which they might be attributed to the abuses of power exercised under
the Company's authority. But they were not equally sensible to the evils
which arose from a system of sacrificing the being of that country to
the advantage of this. They entered very readily into the former, but
with regard to the latter were slow and incredulous. It is not,
therefore, extraordinary that the Company should endeavor to ingratiate
themselves with the public by falling in with its prejudices. Thus they
were led to increase the grievance in order to allay the clamor. They
continued still, upon a larger scale, and still more systematically,
that plan of conduct which was the principal, though not the most
blamed, cause of the decay and depopulation of the country committed to
their care.

With that view, and to furnish a cheap supply of materials to the
manufactures of England, they formed a scheme which tended to destroy,
or at least essentially to impair, the whole manufacturing interest of
Bengal. A policy of that sort could not fail of being highly popular,
when the Company submitted itself as an instrument for the improvement
of British manufactures, instead of being their most dangerous rival, as
heretofore they had been always represented.

They accordingly notified to their Presidency in Bengal, in their letter
of the 17th of March, 1769, that "there was no branch of their trade
they more ardently wish to extend than that of raw silk." They
disclaim, however, all desire of employing compulsory measures for that
purpose, but recommended every mode of encouragement, and particularly
by augmented wages, "_in order to induce manufacturers of wrought silk
to quit that branch and take to the winding of raw silk_."

Having thus found means to draw hands from the manufacture, and
confiding in the strength of a capital drawn from the public revenues,
they pursue their ideas from the purchase of their manufacture to the
purchase of the material in its crudest state. "We recommend you to give
an _increased price_, if necessary, _so as to take that trade out of the
hands of other merchants and rival nations_." A double bounty was thus
given against the manufactures, both in the labor and in the materials.

It is very remarkable in what manner their vehement pursuit of this
object led the Directors to a speedy oblivion of those equitable
correctives before interposed by them, in order to prevent the mischiefs
which were apparent in the scheme, if left to itself. They could venture
so little to trust to the bounties given from the revenues a trade which
had a tendency to dry up their source, that, by the time they had
proceeded to the thirty-third paragraph of their letter, they revert to
those very compulsory means which they had disclaimed but three
paragraphs before. To prevent silk-winders from working in their private
houses, where they might work for private traders, and to confine them
to the Company's factories, where they could only be employed for the
Company's benefit, they desire that the newly acquired power of
government should be effectually employed. "Should," say they, "this
practice, through _inattention_, have been suffered to take place again,
it will be proper to put a stop to it, which may _now be more
effectually done by an absolute prohibition, under severe penalties, by
the authority of government_."

This letter contains a perfect plan of policy, both of compulsion and
encouragement, which must in a very considerable degree operate
destructively to the manufactures of Bengal. Its effect must be (so far
as it could operate without being eluded) to change the whole face of
that industrious country, in order to render it a field for the produce
of crude materials subservient to the manufactures of Great Britain. The
manufacturing hands were to be seduced from their looms by high wages,
in order to prepare a raw produce for our market; they were to be locked
up in the factories; and the commodity acquired by these operations was,
in this immature state, carried out of the country, whilst its looms
would be left without any material but the debased refuse of a market
enhanced in its price and scanted in its supply. By the increase of the
price of this and other materials, manufactures formerly the most
flourishing gradually disappeared under the protection of Great Britain,
and were seen to rise again and flourish on the opposite coast of India,
under the dominion of the Mahrattas.

These restraints and encouragements seem to have had the desired effect
in Bengal with regard to the diversion of labor from manufacture to
materials. The trade of raw silk increased rapidly. But the Company very
soon felt, in the increase of price and debasement of quality of the
wrought goods, a loss to themselves which fully counterbalanced all the
advantages to be derived to the nation from the increase of the raw
commodity. The necessary effect on the revenue was also foretold very
early: for their servants in the principal silk-factories declared that
the obstruction to the private trade in silk must in the end prove
detrimental to the revenues, and that the investment clashes with the
collection of these revenues. Whatsoever by bounties or immunities is
encouraged out of a landed revenue has certainly some tendency to lessen
the net amount of that revenue, and to forward a produce which does not
yield to the gross collection, rather than one that does.

The Directors declare themselves unable to understand how this could be.
Perhaps it was not so difficult. But, pressed as they were by the
greatness of the payments which they were compelled to make to
government in England, the cries of Bengal could not be heard among the
contending claims of the General Court, of the Treasury, and of
Spitalfields. The speculation of the Directors was originally fair and
plausible,--so far as the mere encouragement of the commodity extended.
Situated as they were, it was hardly in their power to stop themselves
in the course they had begun. They were obliged to continue their
resolution, at any hazard, increasing the investment. "The state of our
affairs," say they, "requires the utmost extension of your investments.
You are not to forbear sending even those sorts _which are attended with
loss_, in case such should be necessary to supply an investment to as
great an amount as _you can provide from your own resources_; and we
have not the least doubt of your being thereby enabled to increase your
consignments of this valuable branch of national commerce, even to the
utmost of your wishes. But it is our positive order that no part of
such investment be provided with borrowed money which is to be repaid by
_drafts upon our treasury in London_; since the license which has
already been taken in this respect has involved us in difficulties which
we yet know not how we shall surmount."

This very instructive paragraph lays open the true origin of the
internal decay of Bengal. The trade and revenues of that country were
(as the then system must necessarily have been) of secondary
consideration at best. Present supplies were to be obtained, and present
demands in England were to be avoided, at every expense to Bengal.

The spirit of increasing the investment from revenue at any rate, and
the resolution of driving all competitors, Europeans or natives, out of
the market, prevailed at a period still more early, and prevailed not
only in Bengal, but seems, more or less, to have diffused itself through
the whole sphere of the Company's influence. In 1768 they gave to the
Presidency of Madras the following memorable instruction, strongly
declaratory of their general system of policy.

"We shall depend upon your prudence," say they, "to discourage
foreigners; and being intent, as you have been repeatedly acquainted, on
bringing home as great a part of the revenues as possible in your
manufactures, the outbidding them in those parts where they interfere
with you would certainly prove an effectual step for answering that end.
We therefore recommend it to you to offer such increase of price as you
shall deem may be consistently given,--that, by beating them out of the
market, the quantities by you to be provided may be proportionally
enlarged; and if you take this method, it is to be so cautiously
practised as not to enhance the prices in the places immediately under
your control. On this subject we must not omit the approval of your
prohibiting the weavers of Cuddalore from making up any cloth of the
same sortments that are provided for us; and if such prohibition is not
now, it should by all means be in future, _made general, and strictly

This system must have an immediate tendency towards disordering the
trade of India, and must finally end in great detriment to the Company
itself. The effect of the restrictive system on the weaver is evident.
The authority given to the servants to buy at an advanced price did of
necessity furnish means and excuses for every sort of fraud in their
purchases. The instant the servant of a merchant is admitted on his own
judgment to overbid the market, or to send goods to his master which
shall sell at loss, there is no longer any standard upon which his
unfair practices can be estimated, or any effectual means by which they
can be restrained. The hope entertained by the Directors, of confining
this destructive practice of giving an enhanced price to a particular
spot, must ever be found totally delusive. Speculations will be affected
by this artificial price in every quarter in which markets can have the
least communication with each other.

In a very few years the Court of Directors began to feel, even in
Leadenhall Street, _the effects of trading to loss_ upon the revenues,
especially on those of Bengal. In the letter of February, 1774, they
observe, that, "looking back to their accounts for the four preceding
years, on several of the descriptions of silk there has been an
_increasing loss_, instead of any alteration for the better in the last
year's productions. This," they say, "threatens the destruction of that
valuable branch of national commerce." And then they recommend _such
regulations_ (as if regulations in that state of things could be of any
service) as may obtain "a profit in future, instead of so considerable a
loss, which _we can no longer sustain_."

Your Committee thought it necessary to inquire into the losses which had
actually been suffered by this unnatural forced trade, and find the loss
so early as the season of 1776 to be 77,650_l._, that in the year 1777
it arose to 168,205_l._ This was so great that worse could hardly be
apprehended: however, in the season of 1778 it amounted to 255,070_l._
In 1779 it was not so ruinously great, because the whole import was not
so considerable; but it still stood enormously high,--so high as
141,800_l._ In the whole four years it came to 642,725_l._ The
observations of the Directors were found to be fully verified. It is
remarkable that the same article in the China trade produced a
considerable and uniform profit. On this circumstance little observation
is necessary.

During the time of their struggles for enlarging this losing trade,
which they considered as a national object,--what in one point of view
it was, and, if it had not been grossly mismanaged, might have been in
more than one,--in this part it is impossible to refuse to the Directors
a very great share of merit. No degree of thought, of trouble, or of
reasonable expense was spared by them for the improvement of the
commodity. They framed with diligence, and apparently on very good
information, a code of manufacturing regulations for that purpose; and
several persons were sent out, conversant in the Italian method of
preparing and winding silk, aided by proper machines for facilitating
and perfecting the work. This, under proper care, and in course of time,
might have produced a real improvement to Bengal; but in the first
instance it naturally drew the business from native management, and it
caused a revulsion from the trade and manufactures of India which led as
naturally and inevitably to an European monopoly, in some hands or
other, as any of the modes of coercion which were or could be employed.
The evil was present and inherent in the act. The means of letting the
natives into the benefit of the improved system of produce was likely to
be counteracted by the general ill conduct of the Company's concerns
abroad. For a while, at least, it had an effect still worse: for the
Company purchasing the raw cocoon or silk-pod at a fixed rate, the first
producer, who, whilst he could wind at his own house, employed his
family in this labor, and could procure a reasonable livelihood by
buying up the cocoons for the Italian filature, now incurred the
enormous and ruinous loss of fifty per cent. This appears in a letter to
the Presidency, written by Mr. Boughton Rouse, now a member of your
Committee. But for a long time a considerable quantity of that in the
old Bengal mode of winding was bought for the Company from contractors,
and it continues to be so bought to the present time: but the Directors
complain, in their letter of the 12th of May, 1780, that both species,
and particularly the latter, had risen so extravagantly that it was
become more than forty per cent dearer than it had been fifteen years
ago. In that state of price, they condemn their servants, very justly,
for entering into contracts for three years,--and that for several
kinds of silk, of very different goodness, upon averages unfairly
formed, where the commodities averaged at an equal price differed from
twenty to thirty per cent on the sale. Soon after, they formed a regular
scale of fixed prices, above which they found they could not trade
without loss.

Whilst they were continuing these methods to secure themselves against
future losses, the Bengal ships which arrived in that year announced
nothing but their continuance. Some articles by the high price, and
others from their ill quality, were such "as never could answer to be
sent to Europe at any price." The Directors renew their prohibition of
making fresh contracts, the present being generally to expire in the
year 1781. But this trade, whose fundamental policy might have admitted
of a doubt, as applied to Bengal, (whatever it might have been with
regard to England,) was now itself expiring in the hands of the Company,
so that they were obliged to apply to government for power to enlarge
their capacity of receiving bills upon Europe. The purchase by these
bills they entirely divert from raw silk, and order to be laid out
wholly in piece-goods.

Thus, having found by experience that this trade, whilst carried on upon
the old principles, of whatever advantage it might have been to the
British manufacturers, or to the individuals who were concerned in it in
Bengal, had proved highly detrimental to the Company, the Directors
resolved to expunge the raw silk from their investment. They gave up the
whole to private traders, on condition of paying the freight, charges,
and duties,--permitting them to send it to Europe in the Company's ships
upon their own account.

The whole of this history will serve to demonstrate that all attempts,
which in their original system or in their necessary consequences tend
to the distress of India, must, and in a very short time will, make
themselves felt even by those in whose favor such attempts have been
made. India may possibly in some future time bear and support itself
under an extraction of measure [treasure?] or of goods; but much care
ought to be taken that the influx of wealth shall be greater in quantity
and prior in time to the waste.

On abandoning the trade in silk to private hands, the Directors issued
some prohibitions to prevent monopoly, and they gave some directions
about the improvement of the trade. The prohibitions were proper, and
the directions prudent; but it is much to be feared, that, whilst all
the means, instruments, and powers remain, by which monopolies were
made, and through which abuses formerly prevailed, all verbal orders
will be fruitless.

This branch of trade, being so long principally managed by the Company's
servants for the Company and under its authority, cannot be easily taken
out of their hands and pass to the natives, especially when it is to be
carried on without the control naturally inherent in all participation.
It is not difficult to conceive how this forced preference of traffic in
a raw commodity must have injured the manufactures, while it was the
policy of the Company to continue the trade on their own account. The
servants, so far from deviating from their course, since they have taken
the trade into their own management, have gone much further into it. The
proportion of raw silk in the investment is to be augmented. The
proportion of the whole cargoes for the year 1783, divided into sixteen
parts, is ten of raw silk, and six only of manufactured goods. Such is
the proportion of this losing article in the scheme for the investment
of private fortunes.

In the reformed scheme of sending the investment on account of the
Company, to be paid in bills upon Europe, no mention is made of any
change of these proportions. Indeed, some limits are attempted on the
article of silk, with regard to its price; and it is not improbable that
the price to the master and the servant will be very different: but they
cannot make profitable purchases of this article without strongly
condemning all the former purchases of the Board of Trade.


The general system above stated, relative to the silk trade, must
materially have affected the manufactures of Bengal, merely as it was a
system of preference. It does by no means satisfactorily appear to your
Committee that the freedom held out by the Company's various orders has
been ever fully enjoyed, or that the grievances of the native merchants
and manufacturers have been redressed; for we find, on good authority,
that, at that very period at which it might be supposed that these
orders had their operation, the oppressions were in full vigor. They
appear to have fallen heaviest on the city of Dacca, formerly the great
staple for the finest goods in India,--a place once full of opulent
merchants and dealers of all descriptions.

The city and district of Dacca, before the prevalence of the East India
Company's influence and authority, manufactured annually to about three
hundred thousand pounds' value in cloths. In the year 1776 it had
fallen to about two hundred thousand, or two thirds of its former
produce. Of this the Company's demand amounted only to a fourth part,
that is, about fifty thousand pounds yearly. This was at that time
provided by agents for the Company, under the inspection of their
commercial servants. On pretence of securing an advantage for this
fourth part for their masters, they exerted a most violent and arbitrary
power over the whole. It was asserted, that they fixed the Company's
mark to such goods as they thought fit, (to all goods, as stated in one
complaint,) and disposed of them as they thought proper, excluding not
only all the native dealers, but the Dutch Company, and private English
merchants,--that they made advances to the weavers often beyond their
known ability to repay in goods within the year, and by this means,
having got them in debt, held them in perpetual servitude. Their
inability to keep accounts left them at the discretion of the agents of
the supreme power to make their balances what they pleased, and they
recovered them, not by legal process, but by seizure of their goods and
arbitrary imprisonment of their persons. One and the same dealer made
the advance, valued the return, stated the account, passed the judgment,
and executed the process.

Mr. Rouse, Chief of the Dacca Province, who struggled against those
evils, says, that in the year 1773 there were no balances due, as the
trade was then carried on by the native brokers. In less than three
years these balances amounted to an immense sum,--a sum lost to the
Company, but existing in full force for every purpose of oppression. In
the amount of these balances almost every weaver in the country bore a
part, and consequently they were almost all caught in this snare. "They
are in general," says Mr. Rouse, in a letter to General Clavering,
delivered to your Committee, "a timid, helpless people; many of them
poor to the utmost degree of wretchedness; incapable of keeping
accounts; industrious as it were by instinct; unable to defend
themselves, if oppressed; and satisfied, if with continual labor they
derive from the fair dealing and humanity of their employer a moderate
subsistence for their families."

Such were the people who stood accused by the Company's agents as
_pretending_ grievances, in order to be excused the payment of their
balances. As to the commercial state of the province in general, Mr.
Rouse represents it "to be for those two years a perpetual scene of
complaint and disputation;--the Company's agents professing to pay
higher rates to weavers, whilst the Leadenhall sales showed an heavy
loss to the Company; the weavers have even travelled in multitudes to
prefer their complaints at the Presidency; the amount of the investment
comparatively small, with balances comparatively large, and, as I
understand, generally contested by the weavers; the native merchants,
called _delals_, removed from their influence, as prejudicial to the
Company's concerns; and European merchants complaining against undue
influence of the Company's commercial agents, in preventing the free
purchase even of those goods which the Company never takes."

The spirit of those agents will be fully comprehended from a state of
the proceedings before Mr. Rouse and Council, on the complaint of a Mr.
Cree, an English free merchant at Dacca, who had been twice treated in
the same injurious manner by the agents of Mr. Hurst, the Commercial
Chief at that place. On his complaint to the board of the seizure of the
goods, and imprisonment of his agents, Mr. Hurst was called upon for an
explanation. In return he informed them that he had sent to one of the
villages to inquire concerning the matter of fact alleged. The impartial
person sent to make this inquiry was the very man accused of the
oppressions into which he was sent to examine. The answer of Mr. Hurst
is in an high and determined tone. He does not deny that there are some
instances of abuse of power. "But I ask," says he, "what _authority_ can
guard against the conduct of individuals? but that a _single_ instance
cannot be brought of a general depravity." Your Committee have reason to
believe these coercive measures to have been very general, though
employed according to the degree of resistance opposed to the monopoly;
for we find at one time the whole trade of the Dutch involved in the
general servitude. But it appears very extraordinary that nothing but
the actual proof of a _general_ abuse could affect a practice the very
principle of which tends to make the coercion as general as the trade.
Mr. Hurst's reflection concerning the abuse of _authority_ is just, but
in this case it is altogether inapplicable; because the complaint was
not of the abuse, but of the use of authority in matters of trade, which
ought to have been free. He throws out a variety of invidious
reflections against the Council, as if they wanted zeal for the
Company's service; his justification of his practices, and his
declaration of his resolution to persevere in them, are firm and
determined,--asserting the right and policy of such restraints, and
laying down a rule for his conduct at the factory, which, he says, will
give no cause of just complaint to private traders. He adds, "I have no
doubt but that they have hitherto provided investments, and it cannot
turn to my interest to preclude them _now_, though I must ever think it
my duty to combat the private views of individuals who _set themselves
up as competitors_ under that very body under whose license and
indulgence only they can derive their privilege of trade: all I contend
for is the _same influence_ my employers have ever had." He ends by
declining any reply to any of their future references of this nature.

The whole of this extraordinary letter is inserted in the Appendix, No.
51,--and Mr. Rouse's minute of observations upon it in Appendix, No. 52,
fully refuting the few pretexts alleged in that extraordinary
performance in support of the trade by influence and authority. Mr.
Hollond, one of the Council, joined Mr. Rouse in opinion that a letter
to the purport of that minute should be written; but they were overruled
by Messrs. Purling, Hogarth, and Shakespeare, who passed a resolution to
defer sending any reply to Mr. Hurst: and none was ever sent. Thus they
gave countenance to the doctrine contained in that letter, as well as to
the mischievous practices which must inevitably arise from the exercise
of such power. Some temporary and partial relief was given by the
vigorous exertions of Mr. Rouse; but he shortly after removing from that
government, all complaints were dropped.

It is remarkable, that, during the long and warm contest between the
Company's agents and the dealers of Dacca, the Board of Trade seem to
have taken a decided part against the latter. They allow some sort of
justice in the complaints of the manufacturers with regard to low
valuation, and other particulars; but they say, that, "although" (during
the time of preemption) "it appears that the weavers _were not allowed
the same liberty of selling to individuals they before enjoyed_, our
opinion on the whole is, that these complaints have originated upon the
premeditated designs of the delals [factors or brokers] _to thwart the
new mode_ of carrying on the Company's business, _and to render
themselves necessary_." They say, in another place, that there is no
ground for the dissatisfactions and difficulties of the weavers: "that
they are owing to the delals, _whose aim it is to be employed_."

This desire of being employed, and of rendering themselves necessary, in
men whose only business it is to be employed in trade, is considered by
the gentlemen of the board as no trivial offence; and accordingly they
declare, "they have established it as _an invariable rule_, that,
_whatever deficiency_ there might be in the Dacca investment, no
purchase of the manufactures of _that quarter_ shall be made for account
of the Company from private merchants. We have passed this resolution,
which we deem of importance, from a persuasion that private merchants
are often _induced_ to make advances for Dacca goods, not by the
ordinary chance of sale, but merely from an expectation of disposing of
them at an enhanced price to the Company, against _whom a rivalship_ is
by this manner encouraged"; and they say, "that they intend to observe
the _same_ rule with respect to the investment of other of the factories
from whence similar complaints may come."

This positive rule is opposed to the positive directions of the Company
to employ those obnoxious persons by preference. How far this violent
use of authority for the purpose of destroying rivalship has succeeded
in reducing the price of goods to the Company has been made manifest by
the facts before stated in their place.

The recriminatory charges of the Company's agents on the native
merchants have made very little impression on your Committee. We have
nothing in favor of them, but the assertion of a party powerful and
interested. In such cases of mutual assertion and denial, your Committee
are led irresistibly to attach abuse to power, and to presume that
suffering and hardship are more likely to attend on weakness than that
any combination of unprotected individuals is of force to prevail over
influence, power, wealth, and authority. The complaints of the native
merchants ought not to have been treated in any of those modes in which
they were then treated. And when men are in the situation of
complainants against unbounded power, their abandoning their suit is far
from a full and clear proof of their complaints being groundless. It is
not because redress has been rendered impracticable that oppression does
not exist; nor is the despair of sufferers any alleviation of their
afflictions. A review of some of the most remarkable of the complaints
made by the native merchants in that province is so essential for laying
open the true spirit of the commercial administration, and the real
condition of those concerned in trade there, that your Committee
observing the records on this subject and at this period full of them,
they could not think themselves justifiable in not stating them to the

Your Committee have found many heavy charges of oppression against Mr.
Barwell, whilst Factory Chief at Dacca; which oppressions are stated to
have continued, and even to have been aggravated, on complaint at
Calcutta. These complaints appear in several memorials presented to the
Supreme Council of Calcutta, of which Mr. Barwell was a member. They
appeared yet more fully and more strongly in a bill in Chancery filed in
the Supreme Court, which was afterwards recorded before the
Governor-General and Council, and transmitted to the Court of Directors.

Your Committee, struck with the magnitude and importance of these
charges, and finding that with regard to those before the Council no
regular investigation has ever taken place, and finding also that Mr.
Barwell had asserted in a Minute of Council that he had given a full
answer to the allegations in that bill, ordered a copy of the answer to
be laid before your Committee, that they might be enabled to state to
the House how far it appeared to them to be full, how far the charges
were denied as to the fact, or, where the facts might be admitted, what
justification was set up. It appeared necessary, in order to determine
on the true situation of the trade and the merchants of that great city
and district.

The Secretary to the Court of Directors has informed your Committee that
no copy of the answer is to be found in the India House; nor has your
Committee been able to discover that any has been transmitted. On this
failure, your Committee ordered an application to be made to Mr. Barwell
for a copy of his answer to the bill, and any other information with
which he might be furnished with regard to that subject.

Mr. Barwell, after reciting the above letter, returned in answer what

"Whether the records of the Supreme Court of Judicature are lodged at
the India House I am ignorant, but on those records my answer is
certainly to be found. At this distance of time I am sorry I cannot from
memory recover the circumstances of this affair; but this I know, that
the bill did receive a complete answer, and the people the fullest
satisfaction: nor is it necessary for me to remark, that [in?] the state
of parties at that time in Bengal, could party have brought forward any
particle of that bill supported by any verified fact, the principle that
introduced it in the proceedings of the Governor-General and Council
would likewise have given the verification of that one circumstance,
whatever that might have been. As I generally attend in my place in the
House, I shall with pleasure answer any invitation of the gentlemen of
the Committee to attend their investigations up stairs with every
information and light in my power to give them.

"St. James's Square, 15th April, 1783."

Your Committee considered, that, with regard to the matter charged in
the several petitions to the board, no sort of specific answer had been
given at the time and place where they were made, and when and where the
parties might be examined and confronted. It was considered also, that
the bill had been transmitted, with other papers relating to the same
matter, to the Court of Directors, with the knowledge and consent of Mr.
Barwell,--and that he states that his answer had been filed, and no
proceedings had upon it for eighteen months. In that situation it was
thought something extraordinary that no care was taken by him to
transmit so essential a paper as his answer, and that he had no copy of
it in his hands.

Your Committee, in this difficulty, thought themselves obliged to
decline any verbal explanation from the person who is defendant in the
suit, relative to matters which on the part of the complainant appear
upon record, and to leave the whole matter, as it is charged, to the
judgment of the House to determine how far it may be worthy of a further
inquiry, or how far they may admit such allegations as your Committee
could not think themselves justified in receiving. To this effect your
Committee ordered a letter to be written Mr. Barwell; from whom they
received the following answer.

"Sir,--In consequence of your letter of the 17th, I must request the
favor of you to inform the Select Committee that I expect from their
justice, on any matter of public record in which I am personally to be
brought forward to the notice of the House, that they will at the same
time point out to the House what part of such matter has been verified,
and what parts have not nor ever were attempted to be verified, though
introduced in debate and entered on the records of the Governor-General
and Council of Bengal. I am anxious the information should be complete,
or the House will not be competent to judge; and if it is complete, it
will preclude all explanation as unnecessary.

  "I am, Sir,
    "Your most obedient humble servant,

  "St. James's Square, 22nd April, 1783.

"P.S. As I am this moment returned from the country, I had it not in my
power to be earlier in acknowledging your letter of the 17th."

Your Committee applied to Mr. Barwell to communicate any papers which
might tend to the elucidation of matters before them in which he was
concerned. This he has declined to do. Your Committee conceive that
under the orders of the House they are by no means obliged to make a
complete state of all the evidence which may tend to criminate or
exculpate every person whose transactions they may find it expedient to
report: this, if not specially ordered, has not hitherto been, as they
apprehend, the usage of any committee of this House. It is not for your
Committee, but for the discretion of the party, to call for, and for the
wisdom of the House to institute, such proceedings as may tend finally
to condemn or acquit. The Reports of your Committee are no charges,
though they may possibly furnish _matter_ for charge; and no
representations or observations of theirs can either clear or convict on
any proceeding which may hereafter be grounded on the facts which they
produce to the House. Their opinions are not of a judicial nature. Your
Committee has taken abundant care that every important fact in their
Report should be attended with the authority for it, either in the
course of their reflections or in the Appendix: to report everything
upon every subject before them which is to be found on the records of
the Company would be to transcribe, and in the event to print, almost
the whole of those voluminous papers. The matter which appears before
them is in a summary manner this.

The Dacca merchants begin by complaining that in November, 1773, Mr.
Richard Barwell, then Chief of Dacca, had deprived them of their
employment and means of subsistence; that he had extorted from them
44,224 Arcot rupees (4,731_l._) by the terror of his threats, by long
imprisonment, and cruel confinement in the stocks; that afterwards they
were confined in a small room near the factory-gate, under a guard of
sepoys; that their food was stopped, and they remained starving a whole
day; that they were not permitted to take their food till next day at
noon, and were again brought back to the same confinement, in which they
were continued for six days, and were not set at liberty until they had
given Mr. Barwell's banian a certificate for forty thousand rupees; that
in July, 1774, when Mr. Barwell had left Dacca, they went to Calcutta to
seek justice; that Mr. Barwell confined them in his house at Calcutta,
and sent them back under a guard of peons to Dacca; that in December,
1774, on the arrival of the gentlemen from Europe, they returned to
Calcutta, and preferred their complaint to the Supreme Court of

The bill in Chancery filed against Richard Barwell, John Shakespeare,
and others, contains a minute specification of the various acts of
personal cruelty said to be practised by Mr. Barwell's orders, to extort
money from these people. Among other acts of a similar nature he is
charged with having ordered the appraiser of the Company's cloths, who
was an old man, and who asserts that he had faithfully served the
Company above sixteen years without the least censure on his conduct, to
be severely flogged without reason.

In the _manner_ of confining the delals, with ten of their servants, it
is charged on him, that, "when he first ordered them to be put into the
stocks, it was at a time when the weather was exceedingly bad and the
rain very heavy, without allowing them the least covering for their
heads or any part of their body, or anything to raise them from the wet
ground; in which condition they were continued for many hours, until the
said Richard Barwell thought proper to remove them into a far worse
state, if possible, as if studying to exercise the most cruel acts of
barbarity on them, &c.; and that during their imprisonment they were
frequently carried to and tortured in the stocks in the middle of the
day, when the scorching heat of the sun was insupportable,
notwithstanding which they were denied the least covering." These men
assert that they had served the Company without blame for thirty
years,--a period commencing long before the power of the Company in

It was no slight aggravation of this severity, that the objects were not
young, nor of the lowest of the people, who might, by the vigor of their
constitutions, or by the habits of hardship, be enabled to bear up
against treatment so full of rigor. They were aged persons; they were
men of a reputable profession.

The account given by these merchants of their first journey to Calcutta,
in July, 1774, is circumstantial and remarkable. They say, "that, on
their arrival, _to their astonishment, they soon learned that the
Governor, who had formerly been violently enraged against the said
Richard Barwell for different improprieties in his conduct, was now
reconciled to him; and that ever since there was a certainty of his
Majesty's appointments taking place in India, from being the most
inveterate enemies they were now become the most intimate friends; and
that this account soon taught them to believe they were not any nearer
justice from their journey to Calcutta than they had been before at

When this bill of complaint was, in 1776, laid before the Council, to be
transmitted to the Court of Directors, Mr. Barwell complained of the
introduction of such a paper, and asserted, _that he had answered to
every particular of it on oath about eighteen months, and that during
this long period no attempt had been made to controvert, refute, or even
to reply to it_.

He did not, however, think it proper to enter his answer on the records
along with the bill of whose introduction he complained.

On the declarations made by Mr. Barwell in his minute (September, 1776)
your Committee observe, that, considering him only as an individual
under prosecution in a court of justice, it might be sufficient for him
to exhibit his defence in the court where he was accused; but that, as a
member of government, specifically charged before that very government
with abusing the powers of his office in a very extraordinary manner,
and for purposes (as they allege) highly corrupt and criminal, it
appears to your Committee hardly sufficient to say that he had answered
elsewhere. The matter was to go before the Court of Directors, to whom
the question of his conduct in that situation, a situation of the
highest power and trust, was as much at least a question of state as a
matter of redress to be solely left to the discretion, capacity, or
perseverance of individuals. Mr. Barwell might possibly be generous
enough to take no advantage of his eminent situation; but these
unfortunate people would rather look to his power than his disposition.
In general, a man so circumstanced and so charged (though we do not know
this to be the case with Mr. Barwell) might easily contrive by legal
advantages to escape. The plaintiffs being at a great distance from the
seat of government, and possibly affected by fear or fatigue, or seeing
the impossibility of sustaining with the ruins of fortunes never perhaps
very opulent a suit against wealth, power, and influence, a compromise
might even take place, in which circumstances might make the
complainants gladly acquiesce. But the public injury is not in the least
repaired by the acquiescence of individuals, as it touched the honor of
the very highest parts of government. In the opinion of your Committee
some means ought to have been taken to bring the bill to a discussion on
the merits; or supposing that such decree could not be obtained by
reason of any failure of proceeding on the part of the plaintiffs, that
some process official or juridical ought to have been instituted against
them which might prove them guilty of slander and defamation in as
authentic a manner as they had made their charge, before the Council as
well as the Court.

By the determination of Mr. Hurst, and the resolutions of the Board of
Trade, it is much to be apprehended that the native mercantile interest
must be exceedingly reduced. The above-mentioned resolutions of the
Board of Trade, if executed in their rigor, must almost inevitably
accomplish its ruin. The subsequent transactions are covered with an
obscurity which your Committee have not been able to dispel. All which
they can collect, but that by no means distinctly, is, that, as those
who trade for the Company in the articles of investment may also trade
for themselves in the same articles, the old opportunities of
confounding the capacities must remain, and all the oppressions by which
this confusion has been attended. The Company's investments, as the
General Letter from Bengal of the 20th of November, 1775, par. 28,
states the matter, "are never at a stand; advances are made and goods
are received all the year round." Balances, the grand instrument of
oppression, naturally accumulate on poor manufacturers who are intrusted
with money. Where there is not a vigorous rivalship, not only tolerated,
but encouraged, it is impossible ever to redeem the manufacturers from
the servitude induced by those unpaid balances.

No such rivalship does exist: the policy practised and avowed is
directly against it. The reason assigned in the Board of Trade's letter
of the 28th of November, 1778, for its making their advances early in
the season is, to prevent the foreign merchants and private traders
_interfering_ with the purchase of their (the Company's) assortments.
"They also refer to the means taken to prevent this interference in
their letter of 26th January, 1779." It is impossible that the small
part of the trade should not fall into the hands of those who, with the
name and authority of the governing persons, have such extensive
contracts in their hands. It appears in evidence that natives can hardly
trade to the best advantage, (your Committee doubt whether they can
trade to any advantage at all,) if not joined with or countenanced by
British subjects. The Directors were in 1775 so strongly impressed with
this notion, and conceived the native merchants to have been even then
reduced to so low a state, that, notwithstanding the Company's earnest
desire of giving them a preference, they "doubt whether there are at
this time in Bengal native merchants possessed of property adequate to
such undertaking, or of credit and responsibility sufficient to make it
safe and prudent to trust them with such sums as might be necessary to
enable them to fulfil their engagements with the Company."

The effect which so long continued a monopoly, followed by a preemption,
and then by partial preferences supported by power, must necessarily
have in weakening the mercantile capital, and disabling the merchants
from all undertakings of magnitude, is but too visible. However, a
witness of understanding and credit does not believe the capitals of the
natives to be yet so reduced as to disable them from partaking in the
trade, if they were otherwise able to put themselves on an equal footing
with Europeans.

The difficulties at the outset will, however, be considerable. For the
long continuance of abuse has in some measure conformed the whole trade
of the country to its false principle. To make a sudden change,
therefore, might destroy the few advantages which attend any trade,
without securing those which must flow from one established upon sound
mercantile principles, whenever such a trade can be established. The
fact is, that the forcible direction which the trade of India has had
towards Europe, to the neglect, or rather to the total abandoning, of
the Asiatic, has of itself tended to carry even the internal business
from the native merchant. The revival of trade in the native hands is of
absolute necessity; but your Committee is of opinion that it will
rather be the effect of a regular progressive course of endeavors for
that purpose than of any one regulation, however wisely conceived.

After this examination into the condition of the trade and traders in
the principal articles provided for the investment to Europe, your
Committee proceeded to take into consideration those articles the
produce of which, after sale in Bengal, is to form a part of the fund
for the purchase of other articles of investment, or to make a part of
it in kind. These are, 1st, Opium,--2ndly, Saltpetre,--and, 3rdly, Salt.
These are all monopolized.


The first of the internal authorized monopolies is that of opium. This
drug, extracted from a species of the poppy, is of extensive consumption
in most of the Eastern markets. The best is produced in the province of
Bahar: in Bengal it is of an inferior sort, though of late it has been
improved. This monopoly is to be traced to the very origin of our
influence in Bengal. It is stated to have begun at Patna so early as the
year 1761, but it received no considerable degree of strength or
consistence until the year 1765, when the acquisition of the Duanne
opened a wide field for all projects of this nature. It was then adopted
and owned as a resource for persons in office,--was managed chiefly by
the civil servants of the Patna factory, and for their own benefit. The
policy was justified on the usual principles on which monopolies are
supported, and on some peculiar to the commodity, to the nature of the
trade, and to the state of the country: the security against
adulteration; the prevention of the excessive home consumption of a
pernicious drug; the stopping an excessive competition, which by an
over-proportioned supply would at length destroy the market abroad; the
inability of the cultivator to proceed in an expensive and precarious
culture without a large advance of capital; and, lastly, the incapacity
of private merchants to supply that capital on the feeble security of
wretched farmers.

These were the principal topics on which the monopoly was supported. The
last topic leads to a serious consideration on the state of the country;
for, in pushing it, the gentlemen argued, that, in case such private
merchants should advance the necessary capital, the lower cultivators
"_would get money in abundance_." Admitting this fact, it seems to be a
part of the policy of this monopoly to prevent the cultivator from
obtaining the natural fruits of his labor. Dealing with a private
merchant, he could not get _money in abundance_, unless his commodity
could produce an _abundant_ profit. Further reasons, relative to the
peace and good order of the province, were assigned for thus preventing
the course of trade from the equitable distribution of the advantages of
the produce, in which the first, the poorest, and the most laborious
producer ought to have his first share. The cultivators, they add, would
squander part of the money, and not be able to complete their
engagements to the full; lawsuits, and even battles, would ensue between
the factors, contending for a deficient produce; and the farmers would
discourage the culture of an object which brought so much disturbance
into their districts. This competition, the operation of which they
endeavor to prevent, is the natural corrective of the abuse, and the
best remedy which could be applied to the disorder, even supposing its
probable existence.

Upon whatever reasons or pretences the monopoly of opium was supported,
the real motive appears to be the profit of those who were in hopes to
be concerned in it. As these profits promised to be very considerable,
at length it engaged the attention of the Company; and after many
discussions, and various plans of application, it was at length taken
for their benefit, and the produce of the sale ordered to be employed in
the purchase of goods for their investment.

In the year 1773 it had been taken out of the hands of the Council of
Patna, and leased to two of the natives,--but for a year only. The
contractors were to supply a certain quantity of opium at a given price.
Half the value was to be paid to those contractors in advance, and the
other half on the delivery.

The proceedings on this contract demonstrated the futility of all the
principles on which the monopoly was founded. The Council, as a part of
their plan, were obliged, by heavy duties, and by a limitation of the
right of emption of foreign opium to the contractors for the home
produce, to check the influx of that commodity from the territories of
the Nabob of Oude and the Rajah of Benares. In these countries no
monopoly existed; and yet there the commodity was of such a quality and
so abundant as to bear the duty, and even with the duty in some degree
to rival the monopolist even in his own market. There was no complaint
in those countries of want of advances to cultivators, or of lawsuits
and tumults among the factors; nor was there any appearance of the
multitude of other evils which had been so much dreaded from the
vivacity of competition.

On the other hand, several of the precautions inserted in this contract,
and repeated in all the subsequent, strongly indicated the evils against
which it is extremely difficult, if not impossible, to guard a monopoly
of this nature and in that country. For in the first contract entered
into with the two natives it was strictly forbidden to compel the
tenants to the cultivation of this drug. Indeed, very shocking rumors
had gone abroad, and they were aggravated by an opinion universally
prevalent, that, even in the season immediately following that dreadful
famine which swept off one third of the inhabitants of Bengal, several
of the poorer farmers were compelled to plough up the fields they had
sown with grain in order to plant them with poppies for the benefit of
the engrossers of opium. This opinion grew into a strong presumption,
when it was seen that in the next year the produce of opium (contrary to
what might be naturally expected in a year following such a dearth) was
nearly doubled. It is true, that, when the quantity of land necessary
for the production of the largest quantity of opium is considered, it is
not just to attribute that famine to these practices, nor to any that
were or could be used; yet, where such practices did prevail, they must
have been very oppressive to individuals, extremely insulting to the
feelings of the people, and must tend to bring great and deserved
discredit on the British government. The English are a people who
appear in India as a conquering nation; all dealing with them is
therefore, more or less, a dealing with power. It is such when they
trade on a private account; and it is much more so in any authorized
monopoly, where the hand of government, which ought never to appear but
to protect, is felt as the instrument in every act of oppression. Abuses
must exist in a trade and a revenue so constituted, and there is no
effectual cure for them but to entirely cut off their cause.

Things continued in this train, until the great revolution in the
Company's government was wrought by the Regulating Act of the thirteenth
of the king. In 1775 the new Council-General appointed by the act took
this troublesome business again into consideration. General Clavering,
Colonel Monson, and Mr. Francis expressed such strong doubts of the
propriety of this and of all other monopolies, that the Directors, in
their letter of the year following, left the Council at liberty to throw
the trade open, under a duty, if they should find it practicable. But
General Clavering, who most severely censured monopoly in general,
thought that this monopoly ought to be retained,--but for a reason which
shows his opinion of the wretched state of the country: for he supposed
it impossible, with the power and influence which must attend British
subjects in all their transactions, that monopoly could be avoided; and
he preferred an avowed monopoly, which brought benefit to government, to
a virtual engrossing, attended with profit only to individuals. But in
this opinion he did not seem to be joined by Mr. Francis, who thought
the suppression of this and of all monopolies to be practicable, and
strongly recommended their abolition in a plan sent to the Court of
Directors the year following.[6]

The Council, however, submitting to the opinion of this necessity,
endeavored to render that dubious engagement as beneficial as possible
to the Company. They began by putting up the contract to the highest
bidder. The proposals were to be sealed. When the seals came to be
opened, a very extraordinary scene appeared. Every step in this business
develops more and more the effect of this junction of public monopoly
and private influence. Four English and eight natives were candidates
for the contract; three of the English far overbid the eight natives.
They who consider that the natives, from their superior dexterity, from
their knowledge of the country and of business, and from their extreme
industry, vigilance, and parsimony, are generally an over-match for
Europeans, and indeed are, and must ultimately be, employed by them in
all transactions whatsoever, will find it very extraordinary that they
did not by the best offers secure this dealing to themselves. It can be
attributed to this cause, and this only,--that they were conscious,
that, without power and influence to subdue the cultivators of the land
to their own purposes, they never could afford to engage on the lowest
possible terms. Those whose power entered into the calculation of their
profits could offer, as they did offer, terms without comparison better;
and therefore one of the English bidders, without partiality, secured
the preference.

The contract to this first bidder, Mr. Griffiths, was prolonged from
year to year; and as during that time frequent complaints were made by
him to the Council Board, on the principle that the years answered very
differently, and that the business of one year ran into the other,
reasons or excuses were furnished for giving the next contract to Mr.
Mackenzie for three years. This third contract was not put up to
auction, as the second had been, and as this ought to have been. The
terms were, indeed, something better for the Company; and the engagement
was subject to qualifications, which, though they did not remove the
objection to the breach of the Company's orders, prevented the hands of
the Directors from being tied up. A proviso was inserted in the
contract, that it should not be anyways binding, if the Company by
orders from home should alter the existing practice with regard to such

Whilst these things were going on, the evils which this monopoly was in
show and pretence formed to prevent still existed, and those which were
naturally to be expected from a monopoly existed too. Complaints were
made of the bad quality of the opium; trials were made, and on those
trials the opium was found faulty. An office of inspection at Calcutta,
to ascertain its goodness, was established, and directions given to the
Provincial Councils at the places of growth to certify the quantity and
quality of the commodity transmitted to the Presidency.

In 1776, notwithstanding an engagement in the contract strictly
prohibiting all compulsory culture of the poppy, information was given
to a member of the Council-General, that fields green with rice had been
forcibly ploughed up to make way for that plant,--and that this was done
in the presence of several English gentlemen, who beheld the spectacle
with a just and natural indignation. The board, struck with this
representation, ordered the Council of Patna to make an inquiry into the
fact; but your Committee can find no return whatsoever to this order.
The complaints were not solely on the part of the cultivators against
the contractor. The contractor for opium made loud complaints against
the inferior collectors of the landed revenue, stating their undue and
vexatious exactions from the cultivators of opium,--their throwing these
unfortunate people into prison upon frivolous pretences, by which the
tenants were ruined, and the contractor's advances lost. He stated,
that, if the contractor should interfere in favor of the cultivator,
then a deficiency would be caused to appear in the landed revenues, and
that deficiency would be charged on his interposition; he desired,
therefore, that the cultivators of opium should be taken out of the
general system of the landed revenue, and put under "his _protection_."
Here the effect naturally to be expected from the clashing of
inconsistent revenues appeared in its full light, as well as the state
of the unfortunate peasants of Bengal between such rival protectors,
where the ploughman, flying from the tax-gatherer, is obliged to take
refuge under the wings of the monopolist. No dispute arises amongst the
English subjects which does not divulge the misery of the natives; when
the former are in harmony, all is well with the latter.

This monopoly continuing and gathering strength through a succession of
contractors, and being probably a most lucrative dealing, it grew to be
every day a greater object of competition. The Council of Patna
endeavored to recover the contract, or at least the agency, by the most
inviting terms; and in this eager state of mutual complaint and
competition between private men and public bodies things continued until
the arrival in Bengal of Mr. Stephen Sulivan, son of Mr. Sulivan,
Chairman of the East India Company, which soon put an end to all strife
and emulation.

To form a clear judgment on the decisive step taken at this period, it
is proper to keep in view the opinion of the Court of Directors
concerning monopolies, against which they had uniformly declared in the
most precise terms. They never submitted to them, but as to a present
necessity; it was therefore not necessary for them to express any
particular approbation of a clause in Mr. Mackenzie's contract which was
made in favor of their own liberty. Every motive led them to preserve
it. On the security of that clause they could alone have suffered to
pass over in silence (for they never approved) the grant of the contract
which contained it for three years. It must also be remembered that they
had from the beginning positively directed that the contract should be
put up to public auction; and this not having been done in Mr.
Mackenzie's case, they severely reprimanded the Governor-General and
Council in their letter of the 23rd December, 1778.

The Court of Directors were perfectly right in showing themselves
tenacious of this regulation,--not so much to secure the best
practicable revenue from their monopoly whilst it existed, but for a
much more essential reason, that is, from the corrective which this
method administered to that monopoly itself: it prevented the British
contractor from becoming doubly terrible to the natives, when they
should see that his contract was in effect _a grant_, and therefore
indicated particular favor and private influence with the ruling members
of an absolute government.

On the expiration of Mr. Mackenzie's term, and but a few months after
Mr. Sulivan's arrival, the Governor-General, as if the contract was a
matter of patronage, and not of dealing, pitched upon Mr. Sulivan as the
most proper person for the management of this critical concern. Mr.
Sulivan, though a perfect stranger to Bengal, and to that sort and to
all sorts of local commerce, made no difficulty of accepting it. The
Governor-General was so fearful that his true motives in this business
should be mistaken, or that the smallest suspicion should arise of his
attending to the Company's orders, that, far from putting up the
contract (which, on account of its known profits, had become the object
of such pursuit) to _public auction_, he did not wait for receiving so
much as a _private proposal_ from Mr. Sulivan. The Secretary perceived
that in the rough draught of the contract the old recital of a proposal
to the board was inserted as a matter of course, but was contrary to the
fact; he therefore remarked it to Mr. Hastings. Mr. Hastings, with great
indifference, ordered that recital to be _omitted_; and the omission,
with the remark that led to it, has, with the same easy indifference,
been sent over to his masters.

The Governor-General and Council declare themselves apprehensive that
Mr. Sulivan might be a loser by his bargain, upon account of troubles
which they supposed existing in the country which was the object of it.
This was the more indulgent, because the contractor was tolerably
secured against all losses. He received a certain price for his
commodity; but he was not obliged to pay any certain price to the
cultivator, who, having no other market than his, must sell it to him at
his own terms. He was to receive half the yearly payment by _advance_,
and he was not obliged to advance to the cultivator more than what he
thought expedient; but if this should not be enough, he might, if he
pleased, draw the _whole_ payment before the total delivery: such were
the terms of the engagement with him. He is a contractor of a new
species, who employs no capital whatsoever of his own, and has the
market of compulsion at his entire command. But all these securities
were not sufficient for the anxious attention of the Supreme Council to
Mr. Sulivan's welfare: Mr. Hastings had before given him the contract
without any proposal on his part; and to make their gift perfect, in a
second instance they proceed a step beyond their former ill precedent,
and they contract with Mr. Sulivan for _four_ years.

Nothing appears to have been considered but the benefit of the
contractor, and for this purpose the solicitude shown in all the
provisions could not be exceeded. One of the first things that struck
Mr. Hastings as a blemish on his gift was the largeness of the penalty
which he had on former occasions settled as the sanction of the
contract: this he now discovered to be so great as to be likely to
frustrate its end by the impossibility of recovering so large a sum. How
a large penalty can prevent the recovery of any, even the smallest part
of it, is not quite apparent. In so vast a concern as that of opium, a
fraud which at first view may not appear of much importance, and which
may be very difficult in the discovery, may easily counterbalance the
reduced penalty in this contract, which was settled in favor of Mr.
Sulivan at about 20,000_l._

Monopolies were (as the House has observed) only tolerated evils, and at
best upon trial; a clause, therefore, was inserted in the contracts to
Mackenzie, annulling the obligation, if the Court of Directors should
resolve to abolish the monopoly; but at the request of Mr. Sulivan the
contract was without difficulty purged of this obnoxious clause. The
term was made absolute, the monopoly rendered irrevocable, and the
discretion of the Directors wholly excluded. Mr. Hastings declared the
reserved condition to be no longer necessary, "because the Directors had
approved the monopoly."

The Chiefs and Councils at the principal factories had been obliged to
certify the quantity and quality of the opium before its transport to
Calcutta; and their control over the contractor had been assigned as the
reason for not leaving to those factories the management of this
monopoly. Now things were changed. Orders were sent to discontinue this
measure of invidious precaution, and the opium was sent to Calcutta
without anything done to ascertain its quality or even its quantity.

An office of inspection had been also appointed to examine the quality
of the opium on its delivery at the capital settlement. In order to ease
Mr. Sulivan from this troublesome formality, Mr. Hastings abolished the
office; so that Mr. Sulivan was then totally freed from all examination,
or control whatsoever, either first or last.

These extraordinary changes in favor of Mr. Sulivan were attended with
losses to others, and seem to have excited much discontent. This
discontent it was necessary in some manner to appease. The
vendue-master, who was deprived of his accustomed dues on the public
sales of the opium by the private dealing, made a formal complaint to
the board against this, as well as other proceedings relative to the
same business. He attributed the private sale to "_reasons of state_";
and this strong reflection both on the Board of Trade and the Council
Board was passed over without observation. He was quieted by appointing
him to the duty of these very inspectors whose office had been just
abolished as useless. The House will judge of the efficacy of the
revival of this office by the motives to it, and by Mr. Hastings giving
that to _one_ as _a compensation_ which had been executed by several as
_a duty_. However, the orders for taking away the precautionary
inspection at Patna still remained in force.

Some benefits, which had been given to former contractors at the
discretion of the board, were no longer held under that loose
indulgence, but were secured to Mr. Sulivan by his contract. Other
indulgences, of a lesser nature, and to which no considerable objection
could be made, were on the application of a Mr. Benn, calling himself
his attorney, granted.

Your Committee, examining Mr. Higginson, late a member of the Board of
Trade, on that subject, were informed, that this contract, very soon
after the making, was generally understood at Calcutta to have been sold
to this Mr. Benn, but he could not particularize the sum for which it
had been assigned,--and that Mr. Benn had afterwards sold it to a Mr.
Young. By this transaction it appears clearly that the contract was
given to Mr. Sulivan for no other purpose than to supply him with a sum
of money; and the sale and re-sale seem strongly to indicate that the
reduction of the penalty, and the other favorable conditions, were not
granted for his ease in a business which he never was to execute, but to
heighten the value of the object which he was to sell. Mr. Sulivan was
at the time in Mr. Hastings's family, accompanied him in his progresses,
and held the office of Judge-Advocate.

The monopoly given for these purposes thus permanently secured, all
power of reformation cut off, and almost every precaution against fraud
and oppression removed, the Supreme Council found, or pretended to find,
that the commodity for which they had just made such a contract was not
a salable article,--and in consequence of this opinion, or pretence,
entered upon a daring speculation hitherto unthought of, that of sending
the commodity on the Company's account to the market of Canton. The
Council alleged, that, the Dutch being driven from Bengal, and the seas
being infested with privateers, this commodity had none, or a very dull
and depreciated demand.

Had this been true, Mr. Hastings's conduct could admit of no excuse. He
ought not to burden a falling market by long and heavy engagements. He
ought studiously to have kept in his power the means of proportioning
the supply to the demand. But his arguments, and those of the Council on
that occasion, do not deserve the smallest attention. Facts, to which
there is no testimony but the assertion of those who produce them in
apology for the ill consequences of their own irregular actions, cannot
be admitted. Mr. Hastings and the Council had nothing at all to do with
that business: the Court of Directors had wholly taken the management of
opium out of his and their hands, and by a solemn adjudication fixed it
in the Board of Trade. But after it had continued there some years, Mr.
Hastings, a little before his grant of the monopoly to Mr. Sulivan,
thought proper to reverse the decree of his masters, and by his own
authority to recall it to the Council. By this step he became
responsible for all the consequences.

The Board of Trade appear, indeed, to merit reprehension for disposing
of the opium by private contract, as by that means the unerring standard
of the public market cannot be applied to it. But they justified
themselves by their success; and one of their members informed your
Committee that their last sale had been a good one: and though he
apprehended a fall in the next, it was not such as in the opinion of
your Committee could justify the Council-General in having recourse to
untried and hazardous speculations of commerce. It appears that there
must have been a market, and one sufficiently lively. They assign as a
reason of this assigned [alleged?] dulness of demand, that the Dutch had
been expelled from Bengal, and could not carry the usual quantity to
Batavia. But the Danes were not expelled from Bengal, and Portuguese
ships traded there: neither of them were interdicted at Batavia, and the
trade to the eastern ports was free to them. The Danes actually applied
for and obtained an increase of the quantity to which their purchases
had been limited; and as they asked, so they received this indulgence as
a great favor. It does not appear that they were not very ready to
supply the place of the Dutch. On the other hand, there is no doubt that
the Dutch would most gladly receive an article, convenient, if not
necessary, to the circulation of their commerce, from the Danes, or
under any name; nor was it fit that the Company should use an extreme
strictness in any inquiry concerning the necessary disposal of one of
their own staple commodities.

The supply of the Canton treasury with funds for the provision of the
next year's China investment was the ground of this plan. But the
Council-General appear still to have the particular advantage of Mr.
Sulivan in view,--and, not satisfied with breaking so many of the
Company's orders for that purpose, to make the contract an object
salable to the greatest advantage, were obliged to transfer their
personal partiality from Mr. Sulivan to the contract itself, and to hand
it over to the assignees through all their successions. When the opium
was delivered, the duties and emoluments of the contractor ended; but
(it appears from Mr. Williamson's letter, 18th October, 1781, and it is
not denied by the Council-General) this new scheme _furnished them with
a pretext of making him broker for the China investment, with the profit
of a new commission_,--to what amount does not appear. But here their
constant and vigilant observer, the vendue-master, met them again:--they
seemed to live in no small terror of this gentleman. To satisfy him for
the loss of his fee to which he was entitled upon the public sale, they
gave _him_ also a commission of one per cent on the investment. Thus was
this object loaded with a double commission; and every act of partiality
to one person produced a chargeable compensation to some other for the
injustice that such partiality produced. Nor was this the whole. The
discontent and envy excited by this act went infinitely further than to
those immediately affected, and something or other was to be found out
to satisfy as many as possible.

As soon as it was discovered that the Council entertained a design of
opening a trade on those principles, it immediately engaged the
attention of such as had an interest in speculations of freight.

A memorial seems to have been drawn early, as it is dated on the 29th of
March, though it was not the first publicly presented to the board. This
memorial was presented on the 17th of September, 1781, by Mr. Wheler,
conformably (as he says) to the desire of the Governor-General; and it
contained a long and elaborate dissertation on the trade to China,
tending to prove the advantage of extending the sale of English
manufactures and other goods to the North of that country, beyond the
usual emporium of European nations. This ample and not ill-reasoned
theoretical performance (though not altogether new either in speculation
or attempt) ended by a practical proposition, very short, indeed, of the
ideas opened in the preliminary discourse, but better adapted to the
immediate effect. It was, that the Company should undertake the sale of
its own opium in China, and commit the management of the business to the
memorialist, who offered to furnish them with a strong armed ship for
that purpose. The offer was accepted, and the agreement made with him
for the transport of two thousand chests.

A proposal by another person was made the July following the date of
this project: it appears to have been early in the formal delivery at
the board: this was for the export of one thousand four hundred and
eighty chests. This, too, was accepted, but with new conditions and
restrictions: for in so vast and so new an undertaking great
difficulties occurred. In the first place, all importation of that
commodity is rigorously forbidden by the laws of China. The impropriety
of a political trader, who is lord over a great empire, being concerned
in a contraband trade upon his own account, did not seem in the least to
affect them; but they were struck with the obvious danger of subjecting
their goods to seizure by the vastness of the prohibited import. To
secure the larger adventure, they require of the China factory that
Colonel Watson's ship should enter the port of Canton as an _armed
ship_, (they would not say a ship of war, though that must be meant,)
that her cargo should not be reported; they also ordered that other
measures should be adopted to secure this prohibited article from
seizure. If the cargo should get in safe, another danger was in
view,--the overloading the Chinese market by a supply beyond the demand;
for it is obvious that contraband trade must exist by small quantities
of goods poured in by intervals, and not by great importations at one
time. To guard against this inconvenience, they divide their second,
though the smaller adventure, into two parts; one of which was to go to
the markets of the barbarous natives which inhabit the coast of Malacca,
where the chances of its being disposed of by robbery or sale were at
least equal. If the opium should be disposed of there, the produce was
to be invested in merchandise salable in China, or in dollars, if to be
had. The other part (about one half) was to go in kind directly to the
port of Canton.

The dealing at this time seemed closed; but the gentlemen who chartered
the ships, always recollecting something, applied anew to the board to
be furnished with cannon from the Company's ordnance. Some was
delivered to them; but the Office of Ordnance (so heavily expensive to
the Company) was not sufficient to spare a few iron guns for a merchant
ship. Orders were given to cast a few cannon, and an application made to
Madras, at a thousand miles' distance, for the rest. Madras answers,
that they cannot exactly comply with the requisition; but still the
board at Bengal _hopes_ better things from them than they promise, and
flatter themselves that with their assistance they shall properly arm a
ship of thirty-two guns.

Whilst these dispositions were making, the first proposer, perceiving
advantages from the circuitous voyage of the second which had escaped
his observation, to make amends for his first omission, improved both on
his own proposal and on that of the person who had improved on him. He
therefore applied for leave to take two hundred and fifty chests on his
own account, which he said could "be _readily disposed of_ at the
several places where it was necessary for the ship to touch for wood and
water, or intelligence, during her intended voyage through _the Eastern
Islands_." As a corrective to this extraordinary request, he assured the
board, that, if he should meet with any unexpected delay at these
markets, he would send their cargo to its destination, having secured a
_swift-sailing_ sloop for the _protection_ of his ship; and this sloop
he proposed, in such a case, to leave behind. Such an extraordinary
eagerness to deal in opium lets in another view of the merits of the
alleged dulness of the market, on which this trade was undertaken for
the Company's account.

The Council, who had with great condescension and official facility
consented to every demand hitherto made, were not reluctant with regard
to this last. The quantity of opium required by the freighters, and the
permission of a trading voyage, were granted without hesitation. The
cargo having become far more valuable by this small infusion of private
interest, the armament which was deemed sufficient to defend the
Company's large share of the adventure was now discovered to be unequal
to the protection of the whole. For the convoy of these two ships the
Council hire and arm another. How they were armed, or whether in fact
they were properly armed at all, does not appear. It is true that the
Supreme Council proposed that these ships should also convey supplies to
Madras; but this was a secondary consideration: their primary object was
the adventure of opium. To this they were permanently attached, and were
obliged to attend to its final destination.

The difficulty of disposing of the opium according to this project being
thus got over, a material preliminary difficulty still stood in the way
of the whole scheme. The contractor, or his assignees, were to be paid.
The Company's treasure was wholly exhausted, and even its credit was
exceedingly strained. The latter, however, was the better resource, and
to this they resolved to apply. They therefore, at different times,
opened two loans of one hundred thousand pounds each. The first was
reserved for the Company's servants, civil and military, to be
distributed in shares according to their rank; the other was more
general. The terms of both loans were, that the risk of the voyage was
to be on account of _the Company_. The payment was to be in bills (at a
rate of exchange settled from the supercargoes at Canton) upon the same
Company. In whatever proportion the adventure should fail, either in the
ships not safely arriving in China or otherwise, in that proportion the
subscribers were to content themselves with the Company's bonds for
their money, bearing eight per cent interest. A share in this
subscription was thought exceeding desirable; for Mr. Hastings writes
from Benares, where he was employed in the manner already reported and
hereafter to be observed upon, requesting that the subscription should
be left open to his officers who were employed in the military
operations against Cheyt Sing; and accordingly three majors, seven
captains, twenty-three lieutenants, the surgeon belonging to the
detachment, and two civil servants of high rank who attended him, were
admitted to subscribe.

Bills upon Europe without interest are always preferred to the Company's
bonds, even at the high interest allowed in India. They are, indeed, so
greedily sought there, and (because they tend to bring an immediate and
visible distress in Leadenhall Street) so much dreaded here, that by an
act of Parliament the Company's servants are restricted from drawing
bills beyond a certain amount upon the Company in England. In Bengal
they have been restrained to about one hundred and eighty thousand
pounds annually. The legislature, influenced more strongly with the same
apprehensions, has restrained the Directors, as the Directors have
restrained their servants, and have gone so far as to call in the power
of the Lords of the Treasury to authorize the acceptance of any bills
beyond an amount prescribed in the act.

The false principles of this unmercantile transaction (to speak of it in
the mildest terms) were too gross not to be visible to those who
contrived it. That the Company should be made to borrow such a sum as
two hundred thousand pounds[7] at eight per cent, (or terms deemed by
the Company to be worse,) in order first to buy a commodity represented
by themselves as depreciated in its ordinary market, in order afterwards
to carry one half of it through a circuitous trading voyage, depending
for its ultimate success on the prudent and fortunate management of two
or three sales, and purchases and re-sales of goods, and the chance of
two or three markets, with all the risks of sea and enemy, was plainly
no undertaking for such a body. The activity, private interest, and the
sharp eye of personal superintendency may now and then succeed in such
projects; but the remote inspection and unwieldy movements of great
public bodies can find nothing but loss in them. Their gains,
comparatively small, ought to be upon sure grounds; but here (as the
Council states the matter) the private trader actually declines to deal,
which is a proof more than necessary to demonstrate the extreme
imprudence of such an undertaking on the Company's account. Still
stronger and equally obvious objections lay to that member of the
project which regards the introduction of a contraband commodity into
China, sent at such a risk of seizure not only of the immediate object
to be smuggled in, but of all the Company's property in Canton, and
possibly at a hazard to the existence of the British factory at that

It is stated, indeed, that a monopolizing company in Canton, called the
Cohong, had reduced commerce there to a deplorable state, and had
rendered the gains of private merchants, either in opium or anything
else, so small and so precarious that they were no longer able by
purchasing that article to furnish the Company with money for a China
investment. For this purpose the person whose proposal is accepted
declares his project to be to set up a monopoly on the part of the
Company against the monopoly of the Chinese merchants: but as the
Chinese monopoly is at home, and supported (as the minute referred to
asserts) by the country magistrates, it is plain it is the Chinese
company, not the English, which must prescribe the terms,--particularly
in a commodity which, if withheld from them at their market price, they
can, whenever they please, be certain of purchasing as a condemned

There are two further circumstances in this transaction which strongly
mark its character. The first is, that this adventure to China was not
recommended to them by the factory of Canton; it was dangerous to
attempt it without their previous advice, and an assurance, grounded on
the state of the market and the dispositions of the government, that the
measure, in a commercial light, would be profitable, or at least safe.
Neither was that factory applied to on the state of the bills which,
upon their own account, they might be obliged to draw upon Europe, at a
time when the Council of Bengal direct them to draw bills to so enormous
an amount.

The second remarkable circumstance is, that the Board of Trade in
Calcutta (the proper administrator of all that relates to the Company's
investment) does not seem to have given its approbation to the project,
or to have been at all consulted upon it. The sale of opium had been
adjudged to the Board of Trade for the express purpose of selling it in
Bengal, not in China,--and of employing the produce of such sale in the
manufactures of the country in which the original commodity was
produced. On the whole, it appears a mere trading speculation of the
Council, invading the department of others, without lights of its own,
without authority or information from any other quarter. In a commercial
view, it straitened the Company's investment to which it was destined;
as a measure of finance, it is a contrivance by which a monopoly formed
for the increase of revenue, instead of becoming one of its resources,
involves the treasury, in the first instance, in a debt of two hundred
thousand pounds.

If Mr. Hastings, on the expiration of Mr. Mackenzie's contract, the
advantages of which to the Company had been long doubtful, had put
himself in a situation to do his duty, some immediate loss to the
revenue would have been the worst consequence of the alleged
depreciation; probably it would not have been considerable. Mr.
Mackenzie's contract, which at first was for three years, had been only
renewed for a year. Had the same course been pursued with Mr. Sulivan,
they would have had it in their power to adopt some plan which might
have secured them from any loss at all. But they pursued another plan:
they carefully put all remedy still longer out of their reach by giving
their contract for four years. To cover all these irregularities, they
interest the settlement in their favor by holding out to them the most
tempting of all baits in a chance of bills upon Europe.

In this manner the servants abroad have conducted themselves with regard
to Mr. Sulivan's contract for opium, and the disposal of the commodity.
In England the Court of Directors took it into consideration. First, as
to the contract, in a letter dated 12th July, 1782, they say, that,
"having condemned the contract entered into with Mr. Mackenzie for the
provision of opium, they cannot but be _surprised_ at your having
concluded a new contract for _four_ years relative to that article with
Mr. Stephen Sulivan, without leaving the decision of it to the Court of

The sentiments of the Directors are proper, and worthy of persons in
public trust. Their _surprise_, indeed, at the disobedience to their
orders is not perfectly natural in those who for many years have
scarcely been obeyed in a single instance. They probably asserted their
authority at this time with as much vigor as their condition admitted.

They proceed: "We do not mean," say they, "to convey any censure on Mr.
Sulivan respecting the transaction; but we cannot withhold our
displeasure from the Governor-General and Council at such an instance of
_contempt_ of our authority." They then proceed justly to censure the
removal of the inspection, and some other particulars of this gross
proceeding. As to the criminality of the parties, it is undoubtedly true
that a breach of duty in servants is highly aggravated by the rank,
station, and trust of the offending party; but no party, in such
conspiracy to break orders, appear to us wholly free from fault.

The Directors did their duty in reprobating this contract; but it is the
opinion of your Committee that further steps ought to be taken to
inquire into the legal validity of a transaction which manifestly
attempts to prevent the Court of Directors from applying any remedy to
a grievance which has been for years the constant subject of complaints.

Both Mr. Sulivan and Mr. Hastings are the Company's servants, bound by
their covenants and their oaths to promote the interest of their
masters, and both equally bound to be obedient to their orders. If the
Governor-General had contracted with a stranger, not apprised of the
Company's orders, and not bound by any previous engagement, the contract
might have been good; but whether a contract made between two servants,
contrary to the orders of their common master, and to the prejudice of
his known interest, be a breach of trust on both sides, and whether the
contract can in equity have force to bind the Company, whenever they
shall be inclined to free themselves and the country they govern from
this mischievous monopoly, your Committee think a subject worthy of
further inquiry.

With regard to the disposal of the opium, the Directors very properly
condemn the direct contraband, but they approve the trading voyage. The
Directors have observed nothing concerning the loans: they probably
reserved that matter for future consideration.

In no affair has the connection between servants abroad and persons in
power among the proprietors of the India Company been more discernible
than in this. But if such confederacies, cemented by such means, are
suffered to pass without due animadversion, the authority of Parliament
must become as inefficacious as all other authorities have proved to
restrain the growth of disorders either in India or in Europe.


The reports made by the two committees of the House which sat in the
years 1772 and 1773 of the state and conduct of the inland trade of
Bengal up to that period have assisted the inquiries of your Committee
with respect to the third and last article of monopoly, viz., that of
salt, and made it unnecessary for them to enter into so minute a detail
on that subject as they have done on some others.

Your Committee find that the late Lord Clive constantly asserted that
the salt trade in Bengal had been a monopoly time immemorial,--that it
ever was and ever must be a monopoly,--and that Coja Wazid, and other
merchants long before him, had given to the Nabob and his ministers two
hundred thousand pounds per annum for the exclusive privilege. The
Directors, in their letter of the 24th December, 1776, paragraph 76,
say, "that it has ever been in a great measure an exclusive trade."

The Secret Committee report,[8] that under the government of the Nabobs
the duty on salt made in Bengal was two and an half per cent paid by
Mussulmen, and five per cent paid by Gentoos. On the accession of Mir
Cassim, in 1760, the claim of the Company's servants to trade in salt
duty-free was first avowed. Mr. Vansittart made an agreement with him by
which the duties should be fixed at nine per cent. The Council annulled
the agreement, and reduced the duty to two and an half per cent. On this
Mir Cassim ordered that no customs or duties whatsoever should be
collected for the future. But a majority of the Council (22nd March,
1763) resolved, that the making the exemption general was a breach of
the Company's privileges, and that the Nabob should be positively
required to recall it, and collect duties as before from the country
merchants, and all other persons who had not the protection of the
Company's _dustuck_. The Directors, as the evident reason of the thing
and as their duty required, disapproved highly of these transactions,
and ordered (8th February, 1764) _a final and effectual stop to be put
to the inland trade in salt_, and several other articles of commerce.
But other politics and other interests prevailed, so that in the May
following a General Court resolved, that it should be recommended to the
Court of Directors to reconsider the preceding orders; in consequence of
which the Directors ordered the Governor and Council to form a plan, in
concert with the Nabob, for regulating the inland trade.

On these last orders Lord Clive's plan was formed, in 1765, for
engrossing the sole purchase of salt, and dividing the profits among the
Company's senior servants. The Directors, who had hitherto reluctantly
given way to a monopoly under any ideas or for any purposes, disapproved
of this plan, and on the 17th May, 1766, ordered it to be abolished; but
they substituted no other in its room.[9] In this manner things
continued until November, 1767, when the Directors repeated their orders
for excluding all persons whatever, excepting the natives only, from
being concerned in the inland trade in salt; and they declared that
(vide par. 90) "_such trade is hereby abolished and put a final end
to_." In the same letter (par. 92) they ordered that the salt trade
should be laid open to the natives in general, subject to such a duty
as might produce one hundred and twenty thousand pounds a year. This
policy was adopted by the legislature. In the act of 1773 it was
expressly provided, that it should not be lawful for any of his
Majesty's subjects to engage, intermeddle, or be any way concerned,
directly or indirectly, in the inland trade in salt, except on the India
Company's account.

Under the positive orders of the Company, the salt trade appears to have
continued open from 1768 to 1772. The act, indeed, contained an
exception in favor of the Company, and left them a liberty of dealing in
salt upon their own account. But still this policy remained unchanged,
and their orders unrevoked. But in the year 1772, without any
instruction from the Court of Directors indicating a change of opinion
or system, the whole produce was again monopolized, professedly for the
use of the Company, by Mr. Hastings. Speaking of this plan, he says
(letter to the Directors, 22d February, 1775): "No new hardship has been
imposed upon the salt manufacturers by taking the management of that
article into the hands of government; the only difference is, that the
profit which was before reaped by English gentlemen and by banians is
now acquired by the Company." In May, 1766, the Directors had condemned
the monopoly _on any conditions whatsoever_. "At that time they thought
it neither consistent with their honor nor their dignity to promote such
an exclusive trade."[10] "They considered it, too, as disgraceful, _and
below the dignity of their present situation_, to allow of such a
monopoly, and that, were they to allow it under any restrictions, they
should consider themselves as assenting and subscribing to all the
mischiefs which Bengal had presented to them for four years past."[11]

Notwithstanding this solemn declaration, in their letter of 24th
December, 1776, they approve the plan of Mr. Hastings, and say, "that
the monopoly, _on its present footing_, can be no considerable grievance
to the country," &c.

This, however, was a rigorous monopoly. The account given of it by
General Clavering, Colonel Monson, and Mr. Francis, in their minute of
11th January, 1775, in which the situation of the _molungees_, or
persons employed in the salt manufacture, is particularly described, is
stated at length in the Appendix. Mr. Hastings himself says, "The power
of obliging molungees to work has been customary from time immemorial."

Nothing but great and clear advantage to government could account for,
and nothing at all perhaps could justify, the revival of a monopoly thus
circumstanced. The advantage proposed by its revival was the
transferring the profit, which was before reaped by English gentlemen
and banians, to the Company. The profits of the former were not
problematical. It was to be seen what the effect would be of a scheme to
transfer them to the latter, even under the management of the projector
himself. In the Revenue Consultations of September, 1776, Mr. Hastings
said, "Many causes have since combined to reduce this article of revenue
_almost to nothing_. The plan which I am _now_ inclined to recommend for
the future management of the salt revenue differs widely from that
which I adopted under different circumstances."

It appears that the ill success of his former scheme did not deter him
from recommending another. Accordingly, in July, 1777, Mr. Hastings
proposed, and it was resolved, that the salt mahls should be let, _with_
the lands, to the farmers and zemindars for a ready-money rent,
including duties,--the salt to be left to their disposal. After some
trial of this method, Mr. Hastings thought fit to abandon it. In
September, 1780, he changed his plan a third time, and proposed the
institution of a _salt office_; the salt was to be again engrossed for
the benefit of the Company, and the management conducted by a number of
salt agents.

From the preceding facts it appears that in this branch of the Company's
government little regard has been paid to the ease and welfare of the
natives, and that the Directors have nowhere shown greater inconsistency
than in their orders on this subject. Yet salt, considering it as a
necessary of life, was by no means a safe and proper subject for so many
experiments and innovations. For ten years together the Directors
reprobated the idea of suffering this necessary of life to be engrossed
on _any condition whatsoever_, and strictly prohibited all Europeans
from trading in it. Yet, as soon as they were made to expect from Mr.
Hastings that the profits of the monopoly should be converted to their
own use, they immediately declared that it "could be no considerable
grievance to the country," and authorized its continuance, until he
himself, finding it produced little or nothing, renounced it of his own
accord. Your Committee are apprehensive that this will at all times,
whatever flattering appearance it may wear for a time, be the fate of
any attempt to monopolize the salt for the profit of government. In the
first instance it will raise the price on the consumer beyond its just
level; but that evil will soon be corrected by means ruinous to the
Company as monopolists, viz., by the embezzlement of their own salt, and
by the importation of foreign salt, neither of which the government of
Bengal may have power for any long time to prevent. In the end
government will probably be undersold and beaten down to a losing price.
Or, if they should attempt to force all the advantages from this article
of which by every exertion it may be made capable, it may distress some
other part of their possessions in India, and destroy, or at least
impair, the natural intercourse between them. Ultimately it may hurt
Bengal itself, and the produce of its landed revenue, by destroying the
vent of that grain which it would otherwise barter for salt.

Your Committee think it hardly necessary to observe, that the many
changes of plan which have taken place in the management of the salt
trade are far from honorable to the Company's government,--and that,
even if the monopoly of this article were a profitable concern, it
should not be permitted. Exclusive of the general effect of this and of
all monopolies, the oppressions which the manufacturers of salt, called
_molungees_, still suffer under it, though perhaps alleviated in some
particulars, deserve particular attention. There is evidence enough on
the Company's records to satisfy your Committee that these people have
been treated with great rigor, and not only defrauded of the due payment
of their labor, but delivered over, like cattle, in succession, to
different masters, who, under pretence of buying up the balances due to
their preceding employers, find means of keeping them in perpetual
slavery. For evils of this nature there can be no perfect remedy as long
as the monopoly continues. They are in the nature of the thing, and
cannot be cured, or effectually counteracted, even by a just and
vigilant administration on the spot. Many objections occur to the
farming of any branch of the public revenue in Bengal, particularly
against farming the salt lands. But the dilemma to which government by
this system is constantly reduced, of authorizing great injustice or
suffering great loss, is alone sufficient to condemn it. Either
government is expected to support the farmer or contractor in all his
pretensions by an exertion of power, which tends of necessity to the
ruin of the parties subjected to the farmer's contract, and to the
suppression of free trade,--or, if such assistance be refused him, he
complains that he is not supported, that private persons interfere with
his contract, that the manufacturers desert their labor, and that
proportionate deductions must be allowed him.

After the result of their examination into the general nature and effect
of this monopoly, it remains only for your Committee to inquire whether
there was any valid foundation for that declaration of Mr. Hastings
which we conclude must have principally recommended the monopoly of salt
to the favor of the Court of Directors, viz., "that the profit, which
was before reaped by English gentlemen, and by banians, was now acquired
by the Company." On the contrary, it was proved and acknowledged before
the Governor-General and Council, when they inquired into this matter,
in March, 1775, that the Chiefs and Councils of those districts in which
there were salt mahls reserved particular salt farms for their _own_
use, and divided the profits, in certain stated proportions, among
themselves and their assistants. But, unless a detail of these
transactions, and of the persons concerned in them, should be called for
by the House, it is our wish to avoid entering into it. On one example
only your Committee think it just and proper to insist, stating first to
the House on what principles they have made this selection.

In pursuing their inquiries, your Committee have endeavored chiefly to
keep in view the conduct of persons in the highest station, particularly
of those in whom the legislature, as well as the Company, have placed a
special confidence,--judging that the conduct of such persons is not
only most important in itself, but most likely to influence the
subordinate ranks of the service. Your Committee have also examined the
proceedings of the Court of Directors on all those instances of the
behavior of their servants that seemed to deserve, and did sometimes
attract, their immediate attention. They constantly find that the
negligence of the Court of Directors has kept pace with, and must
naturally have quickened, the growth of the practices which they have
condemned. Breach of duty abroad will always go hand in hand with
neglect of it at home. In general, the Court of Directors, though
sufficiently severe in censuring offences, and sometimes in punishing
those whom they have regarded as offenders of a lower rank, appear to
have suffered the most conspicuous and therefore the most dangerous
examples of disobedience and misconduct in the first department of their
service to pass with a feeble and ineffectual condemnation. In those
cases which they have deemed too apparent and too strong to be
disregarded even with safety to themselves, and against which their
heaviest displeasure has been declared, it appears to your Committee
that their interference, such as it was, had a mischievous rather than a
useful tendency. A total neglect of duty in this respect, however
culpable, is not to be compared, either in its nature or in its
consequences, with the destructive principles on which they have acted.
It has been their practice, if not system, to inquire, to censure, and
not to punish. As long as the misconduct of persons in power in Bengal
was encouraged by nothing but the hopes of concealment, it may be
presumed that they felt some restraint upon their actions, and that they
stood in some awe of the power placed over them; whereas it is to be
apprehended that the late conduct of the Court of Directors tells them,
in effect, that they have nothing to fear from the certainty of a

On the same principle on which your Committee have generally limited
their researches to the persons placed by Parliament or raised or put in
nomination by the Court of Directors to the highest station in Bengal,
it was also their original wish to limit those inquiries to the period
at which Parliament interposed its authority between the Company and
their servants, and gave a new constitution to the Presidency of Fort
William. If the Company's servants had taken a new date from that
period, and if from thenceforward their conduct had corresponded with
the views of the legislature, it is probable that a review of the
transactions of remoter periods would not have been deemed necessary,
and that the remembrance of them would have been gradually effaced and
finally buried in oblivion. But the reports which your Committee have
already made have shown the House that from the year 1772, when those
proceedings commenced in Parliament on which the act of the following
year was founded, abuses of every kind have prevailed and multiplied in
Bengal to a degree unknown in former times, and are perfectly sufficient
to account for the present distress of the Company's affairs both at
home and abroad. The affair which your Committee now lays before the
House occupies too large a space in the Company's records, and is of too
much importance in every point of view, to be passed over.

Your Committee find that in March, 1775, a petition was presented to the
Governor-General and Council by a person called Coja Kaworke, an
Armenian merchant, resident at Dacca, (of which division Mr. Richard
Barwell had lately been Chief,) setting forth in substance, that in
November, 1772, the petitioner had farmed a certain salt district,
called Savagepoor, and had entered into a contract with the Committee of
Circuit for providing and delivering to the India Company the salt
produced in that district; that in 1773 he farmed another, called
Selimabad, on similar conditions. He alleges, that in February, 1774,
when Mr. Barwell arrived at Dacca, he charged the petitioner with
1,25,500 rupees, (equal to 13,000_l._,) as a contribution, and, in order
to levy it, did the same year deduct 20,799 rupees from the amount of
the _advance money_ which was ordered to be paid to the petitioner, on
account of the India Company, for the provision of salt in the two
farms, and, after doing so, compelled the petitioner to execute and
give him four different bonds for 77,627 rupees, in the name of one
Porran Paul, for the remainder of such contribution, or unjust profit.

Such were the allegations of the petition relative to the unjust
exaction. The harsh means of compelling the payment make another and
very material part; for the petitioner asserts, that, in order to
recover the amount of these bonds, guards were placed over him, and that
Mr. Barwell by ill usage and oppressions recovered from him at different
times 48,656 Arcot rupees, besides 283 rupees extorted by the
guard,--that, after this payment, two of the bonds, containing 36,313
rupees, were restored to him, and he was again committed to the charge
of four _peons_, or guards, to pay the amount of the remaining two
bonds. The petition further charges, that the said gentleman and his
people had also extorted from the petitioner other sums of money, which,
taken together, amounted to 25,000 rupees.

But the heaviest grievance alleged by him is, that, after the sums of
money had been extorted on account of the farms, the faith usual in such
transactions is allowed not to have been kept; but, after the petitioner
had been obliged to buy or compound for the farms, that they were taken
from him,--"that the said Richard Barwell, Esquire, about his departure
from Dacca, in October, 1774, for self-interest wrested from the
petitioner the aforesaid two mahls, (or districts,) and farmed them to
another person, notwithstanding he had extorted from the petitioner a
considerable sum of money on account of those purgunnahs."

To this petition your Committee find two accounts annexed, in which the
sums said to be paid to or taken by Mr. Barwell, and the respective
dates of the several payments, are specified; and they find that the
account of particulars agrees with and makes up the gross sum charged in
the petition.

Mr. Barwell's immediate answer to the preceding charge is contained in
two letters to the board, dated 23rd and 24th of March, 1775. The answer
is remarkable. He asserts, that "the whole of Kaworke's relation is a
gross misrepresentation of facts;--that the simple fact was, that in
January, 1774, the salt mahls of Savagepoor and Selimabad became _his_,
and were re-let by _him_ to this man, in the names of Bussunt Roy and
Kissen Deb, on condition that he should account with him [_Mr. Barwell_]
for profits to a certain sum, and that he [_Mr. Barwell_] engaged for
Savagepoor _in the persuasion of its being a very profitable farm_"; and
he concludes with saying, "If I am mistaken in my reasoning, and _the
wish to add to my fortune has warped my judgment_, in a transaction that
may appear to the board in a light different to what I view it in, it is
past,--I cannot recall it,--and I rather choose to admit an error than
deny a fact." In his second letter he says, "To the Honorable Court of
Directors I will submit all my rights in the salt contracts I engaged
in; and if in their opinion those rights vest in the Company, I will
account to them for the last shilling I have received from such
contracts, my intentions being upright; and as I never did wish to
profit myself to the prejudice of my employers, by their judgment I will
be implicitly directed."

The majority of the board desired that Kaworke's petition should be
transmitted to England by the ship then under dispatch; and it was
accordingly sent with Mr. Barwell's replies. Mr. Barwell moved that a
committee should be appointed to take into consideration what he had to
offer on the subject of Kaworke's petition; and a committee was
accordingly appointed, consisting of all the members of the Council
except the Governor-General.

The committee opened their proceedings with reading a second petition
from Kaworke, containing corrected accounts of cash said to be forcibly
taken, and of the extraordinary and unwarrantable profits taken or
received from him by Richard Barwell, Esquire; all which are inserted at
large in the Appendix. By these accounts Mr. Barwell is charged with a
balance or debt of 22,421 rupees to Kaworke. The principal difference
between him and Mr. Barwell arises from a different mode of stating the
accounts acknowledged to exist between them. In the account current
signed by Mr. Barwell, he gives Kaworke credit for the receipt of 98,426
rupees, and charges him with a balance of 27,073 rupees.

The facts stated or admitted by Mr. Barwell are as follow: that the salt
farms of Selimabad and Savagepoor were _his_, and re-let by him to the
two Armenian merchants, Michael and Kaworke, on condition of their
paying him 1,25,000 rupees, exclusive of their engagements to the
Company; that the engagement was written in the name of Bussunt Roy and
Kissen Deb Sing; and Mr. Barwell says, that the reason of its being "in
these people's names was because _it was not thought consistent with the
public regulations that the names of any Europeans should appear_."

It is remarkable that this policy was carried to still greater length.
Means were used to remove such an obnoxious proceeding, as far as
possible, from the public eye; and they were such as will strongly
impress the House with the facility of abuse and the extreme difficulty
of detection in everything which relates to the Indian administration.
For these substituted persons were again represented by the further
substitution of another name, viz., _Rada Churn Dey_, whom Mr. Barwell
asserts to be a real person living at Dacca, and who _stood for the
factory of Dacca_; whereas the Armenian affirms that there was _no_ such
person as _Rada Churn_, and that it was a fictitious name.

Mr. Barwell, in his justification, proceeds to affirm, that Coja Kaworke
never had the management of the salt mahls, "_but on condition of
accounting to the former Chief, and to Mr. Barwell, for a specified
advantage arising from them_,--that Mr. Barwell determined, _without he
could reconcile the interests of the public with his own private
emoluments_, that he would not engage in this concern,--and that, when
he took an interest in it, _it was for specified benefit in money_, and
every condition in the public engagement to be answered."

Your Committee have stated the preceding facts in the same terms in
which they are stated by Mr. Barwell. The House is to judge how far they
amount to a defence against the charges contained in Kaworke's petition,
or to an admission of the truth of the principal part of it. Mr. Barwell
does not allow that compulsion was used to extort the money which he
received from the petitioner, or that the latter was dispossessed of the
farms in consequence of an offer made to Mr. Barwell by another person
(Ramsunder Paulet) to pay him a lac of rupees more for them. The truth
of _these_ charges has not been ascertained. They were declared by Mr.
Barwell to be false, but no attempt was made by him to invalidate or
confute them, though it concerned his reputation, and it was his duty,
in the station wherein he was placed, that charges of such a nature
should have been disproved,--at least, the accuser should have been
pushed to the proof of them. Nothing of this kind appears to have been
done, or even attempted.

The transaction itself, as it stands, is clearly collusive; the form in
which it is conducted is clandestine and mysterious in an extraordinary
degree; and the acknowledged object of it a great illicit profit, to be
gained by an agent and trustee of the Company at the expense of his
employers, and of which he confesses he has received a considerable

The committee of the Governor-General and Council appear to have closed
their proceedings with several resolutions, which, with the answers
given by Mr. Barwell as a defence, are inserted in the Appendix. The
whole are referred thither together, on account of the ample extent of
the answer. These papers will be found to throw considerable light not
only on the points in question, but on the general administration of the
Company's revenues in Bengal. On some passages in Mr. Barwell's defence,
or account of his conduct, your Committee offer the following remarks to
the judgment of the House.

In his letter of the 23rd March, 1775, he says, that he engaged for
Savagepoor _in the persuasion of its being a very profitable farm_. In
this place your Committee think it proper to state the 17th article of
the regulations of the Committee of Circuit, formed in May, 1772, by
the President and Council, of which Mr. Barwell was a member, together
with their own observations thereupon.

    17th. "That no peshcar, banian, or other servant, of whatever
    denomination, of the collector, or relation or dependant of any such
    servant, be allowed to farm lands, nor directly or indirectly to
    hold a concern in any farm, nor to be security for any farmer; that
    the collector be strictly enjoined to prevent such practices; and
    that, if it shall be discovered that any one, _under a false name,
    or any kind of collusion_, hath found means to evade this order, he
    shall be subject to an heavy fine, proportionate to the amount of
    the farm, and the farm shall be re-let, or made _khas_: and if it
    shall appear that the collector shall have countenanced, approved,
    or connived at a breach of this regulation, he shall stand _ipso
    facto_ dismissed from his collectorship. Neither shall any European,
    directly or indirectly, be permitted to rent lands in any part of
    the country."

    _Remark by the Board._

    17th. "If the collector, or any persons who partake of his
    authority, are permitted to be the farmers of the country, no other
    persons will dare to be their competitors: of course they will
    obtain the farms on their own terms. _It is not fit that the
    servants of the Company should be dealers with their masters._ The
    collectors are checks on the farmers. If they themselves turn
    farmers, what checks can be found for _them_? What security will the
    Company have for their property, or where are the ryots to look for
    relief against oppressions?"

The reasons assigned for the preceding regulation seem to your Committee
to be perfectly just; but they can by no means be reconciled to those
which induced Mr. Barwell to engage in the salt farms of Selimabad and
Savagepoor. In the first place, his doing so is at length a direct and
avowed, though at first a covert, violation of the public regulation, to
which he was himself a party as a member of the government, as well as
an act of disobedience to the Company's positive orders on this subject.
In their General Letter of the 17th May, 1766, the Court of Directors
say, "We positively order, that no covenanted servant, or Englishman
residing under our protection, shall be suffered to hold any land for
his own account, directly or indirectly, in his own name or that of
others, or to be concerned in any farms or revenues whatsoever."

Secondly, if, instead of letting the Company's lands or farms to
indifferent persons, their agent or trustee be at liberty to hold them
himself, he will always (on principles stated and adhered to in the
defence) have a sufficient reason for farming them on his own account,
since he can at all times make them as profitable as he pleases; or if
he leases them to a third person, yet reserves an intermediate profit
for himself, that profit may be as great as he thinks fit, and must be
necessarily made at the Company's expense. If at the same time he be
collector of the revenues, it will be his interest to recommend
remissions in favor of the nominal farmer, and he will have it in his
power to sink the amount of his collections.

These principles, and the correspondent practices, leave the India
Company without any security that all the leases of the lands of Bengal
may not have been disposed of, under that administration which made the
five years' settlement in 1772, in the same manner and for the same

To enable the House to judge how far this apprehension may be founded,
it will be proper to state, that Mr. Nicholas Grueber, who preceded Mr.
Barwell in the Chiefship of Dacca, in a letter dated 29th of April,
1775, declares that he paid to the Committee of Circuit twelve thousand
rupees as their profit on a single salt farm,--which sum, he says, "I
paid the Committee at their request, before their departure from Dacca,
and reimbursed myself out of _the advances_ directed to be issued for
the provision of the salt." Thus one illicit and mischievous transaction
always leads to another; and the irregular farming of revenue brings on
the misapplication of the commercial advances.

Mr. Barwell professes himself to be sensible "_that a wish to add to his
fortune may possibly have warped his judgment_, and that _he rather
chooses to admit an error than deny a fact_." But your Committee are of
opinion that the extraordinary caution and the intricate contrivances
with which his share in this transaction is wrapped up form a sufficient
proof that he was not altogether misled in his judgment; and though
there might be some merit in acknowledging an error before it was
discovered, there could be very little in a confession produced by
previous detection.

The reasons assigned by Mr. Barwell, in defence of the clandestine part
of this transaction, seem to your Committee to be insufficient in
themselves, and not very fit to be urged by a man in his station. In one
place he says, that "_it was not thought consistent with the public
regulations that the names of any Europeans should appear_." In another
he says, "I am aware of the objection that has been made to the English
taking farms under the names of natives, as prohibited by the Company's
orders; and I must _deviate_ a little upon this. It has been generally
understood that the scope and tendency of the Honorable Company's
prohibition of farms to Europeans was meant only to exclude such as
could not possibly, in their own persons, come under the jurisdiction of
the Duanne courts of Adawlet, because, upon any failure of engagements,
upon any complaint of unjust oppression, or other cause of discontent
whatever, it was supposed an European might screen himself from the
process of the country judicature. But it was never supposed _that an
European of credit and responsibility_ was absolutely incapable from
holding certain tenures under the sanction and authority of the country
laws, or from becoming security for such native farmers, contractors,
&c., &c., as he might protect and employ."

Your Committee have opposed this construction of Mr. Barwell's to the
positive order which the conduct it is meant to color has violated.
"Europeans of credit and responsibility," that is, Europeans armed with
wealth and power, and exercising offices of authority and trust, instead
of being excepted from the spirit of the restriction, must be supposed
the persons who are chiefly meant to be comprehended in it; for abstract
the idea of an European from the ideas of power and influence, and the
restriction is no longer rational.

Your Committee are therefore of opinion that the nature of the evil
which was meant to be prevented by the above orders and regulations was
not altered, or the evil itself diminished, by the collusive methods
made use of to evade them,--and that, if the regulations were proper,
(as they unquestionably were,) they ought to have been punctually
complied with, particularly by the members of the government, _who
formed the plan_, and who, as trustees of the Company, were especially
answerable for their being duly carried into execution. Your Committee
have no reason to believe that it could ever have been generally
understood "that the Company's prohibition of farms to Europeans was
meant only to exclude such as could not possibly, in their own persons,
come under the jurisdiction of the Duanne courts": no such restriction
is so much as hinted at. And if it had been so understood, Mr. Barwell
was one of the persons who, from their rank, station, and influence,
must have been the principal objects of the prohibition. Since the
establishment of the Company's influence in Bengal, no Europeans, of any
rank whatever, have been subject to the process of the country
judicature; and whether they act avowedly for themselves, and take farms
in their own name, or substitute native Indians to act for them, the
difference is not material. The same influence that screened an European
from the jurisdiction of the country courts would have equally protected
his native agent and representative. For many years past the Company's
servants have presided in those courts, and in comparison with _their_
authority the native authority is nothing.

The earliest instructions that appear to have been given by the Court of
Directors in consequence of these transactions in Bengal are dated the
5th of February, 1777. In their letter of that date they applaud the
proceedings of the board, meaning the majority, (then consisting of
General Clavering, Colonel Monson, and Mr. Francis,) _as highly
meritorious_, and promise them their _firmest support_. "Some of the
_cases_" they say, "_are so flagrantly corrupt, and others attended with
circumstances so oppressive to the inhabitants, that it would be unjust
to suffer the delinquents to go unpunished_." With this observation
their proceedings appear to have ended, and paused for more than a year.

On the 4th of March, 1778, the Directors appear to have resumed the
subject. In their letter of that date they instructed the Governor and
Council forthwith to commence a prosecution in the Supreme Court of
Judicature against the persons who composed the Committee of Circuit, or
their representatives, and also against Mr. Barwell, in order to
recover, for the use of the Company, the amount of all advantages
acquired by them from their several engagements in salt contracts and
farms. Adverting, however, to the declaration made by Mr. Barwell, that
he would account to the Court of Directors for the last shilling he had
received and abide implicity by their judgment, they thought it
probable, that, on being acquainted with their peremptory orders for
commencing a prosecution, he might be desirous of paying his share of
profits into the Company's treasury; and they pointed out a precaution
to be used in accepting such a tender on his part.

On this part of the transaction your Committee observe, that the Court
of Directors appear blamable in having delayed till February, 1777, to
take any measure in consequence of advices so interesting and important,
and on a matter concerning which they had made so strong a
declaration,--considering that early in April, 1776, they say "they had
investigated the charges, and had then come to certain resolutions
concerning them." But their delaying to send out positive orders for
commencing a prosecution against the parties concerned till March, 1778,
cannot be accounted for. In the former letter they promise, if they
should find it necessary, to return the original covenants of such of
their servants as had been any ways concerned in the undue receipt of
money, in order to enable the Governor-General and Council to recover
the same by suits in the Supreme Court. But your Committee do not find
that the covenants were ever transmitted to Bengal. To whatever cause
these instances of neglect and delay may be attributed, they could not
fail to create an opinion in Bengal that the Court of Directors were not
heartily intent upon the execution of their own orders, and to
discourage those members of government who were disposed to undertake so
invidious a duty.

In consequence of these delays, even their first orders did not arrive
in Bengal until some time after the death of Colonel Monson, when the
whole power of the board had devolved to Mr. Hastings and Mr. Barwell.
When they sent what they call _their positive orders_, in March, 1778,
they had long been apprised of the death of Colonel Monson, and must
have been perfectly certain of the effect which that event would have on
the subsequent measures and proceedings of the Governor-General and
Council. Their opinion of the principles of those gentlemen appears in
their letter of the 28th of November, 1777, wherein they say "they
cannot but express their concern that the power of granting away their
property in perpetuity should have devolved upon such persons."

But the conduct of the Court of Directors appears to be open to
objections of a nature still more serious and important. A recovery of
the amount of Mr. Barwell's profits seems to be the only purpose which
they even professed to have in view. But your Committee are of opinion
that to preserve the reputation and dignity of the government of Bengal
was a much more important object, and ought to have been their first
consideration. The prosecution was not the pursuit of mean and
subordinate persons, who might with safety to the public interest remain
in their seats during such an inquiry into their conduct. It appears
very doubtful, whether, if there were grounds for such a prosecution, a
proceeding in Great Britain were not more politic than one in Bengal.
Such a prosecution ought not to have been ordered by the Directors, but
upon grounds that would have fully authorized the recall of the
gentleman in question. This prosecution, supposing it to have been
seriously undertaken, and to have succeeded, must have tended to weaken
the government, and to degrade it in the eyes of all India. On the other
hand, to intrust a man, armed as he was with all the powers of his
station, and indeed of the government, with the conduct of a prosecution
against himself, was altogether inconsistent and absurd. The same letter
in which they give these orders exhibits an example which sets the
inconsistency of their conduct in a stronger light, because the case is
somewhat of a similar nature, but infinitely less pressing in its
circumstances. Observing that the Board of Trade had commenced a
prosecution against Mr. William Barton, a member of that board, for
various acts of peculation committed by him, they say, "We must be of
opinion, that, as _prosecutions are actually carrying on against him by
our Board of Trade_, he is, during such prosecution at least, an
improper person to hold a seat _at that board_; and therefore we direct
that he be suspended from the Company's service until our further
pleasure concerning him be known." The principle laid down in this
instruction, even before their own opinion concerning Mr. Barton's case
was declared, and merely on the prosecution of others, serves to render
their conduct not very accountable in the case of Mr. Barwell. Mr.
Barton was in a subordinate situation, and his remaining or not
remaining in it was of little or no moment to the prosecution. Mr.
Barton was but one of seven; whereas Mr. Barwell was one of four, and,
with the Governor-General, was in effect the Supreme Council.

In the present state of power and patronage in India, and during the
relations which are permitted to subsist between the judges, the
prosecuting officers, and the Council-General, your Committee is very
doubtful whether the mode of prosecuting the highest members in the
Bengal government, before a court at Calcutta, could have been almost in
any case advisable.

It is possible that particular persons, in high judicial and political
situations, may, by force of an unusual strain of virtue, be placed far
above the influence of those circumstances which in ordinary cases are
known to make an impression on the human mind. But your Committee,
sensible that laws and public proceedings ought to be made for general
situations, and not for personal dispositions, are not inclined to have
any confidence in the effect of criminal proceedings, where no means are
provided for preventing a mutual connection, by dependencies, agencies,
and employments, between the parties who are to prosecute and to judge
and those who are to be prosecuted and to be tried.

Your Committee, in a former Report, have stated the consequences which
they apprehended from the dependency of the judges on the
Governor-General and Council of Bengal; and the House has entered into
their ideas upon this subject. Since that time it appears that Sir
Elijah Impey has accepted of the guardianship of Mr. Barwell's children,
and was the trustee for his affairs. There is no law to prevent this
sort of connection, and it is possible that it might not at all affect
the mind of that judge, or (upon his account) indirectly influence the
conduct of his brethren; but it must forcibly affect the minds of those
who have matter of complaint against government, and whose cause the
Court of Directors appear to espouse, in a country where the authority
of the Court of Directors has seldom been exerted but to be despised,
where the operation of laws is but very imperfectly understood, but
where men are acute, sagacious, and even suspicious of the effect of all
personal connections. Their suspicions, though perhaps not rightly
applied to every individual, will induce them to take indications from
the situations and connections of the prosecuting parties, as well as of
the judges. It cannot fail to be observed, that Mr. Naylor, the
Company's attorney, lived in Mr. Barwell's house; the late Mr. Bogle,
the Company's commissioner of lawsuits, owed his place to the patronage
of Mr. Hastings and Mr. Barwell, by whom the office was created for him;
and Sir John Day, the Company's advocate, who arrived in Bengal in
February, 1779, had not been four months in Calcutta, when Mr. Hastings,
Mr. Barwell, and Sir Eyre Coote doubled his salary, contrary to the
opinion of Mr. Francis and Mr. Wheler.

If the Directors are known to devolve the whole cognizance of the
offences charged on their servants so highly situated upon the Supreme
Court, an excuse will be furnished, if already it has not been
furnished, to the Directors for declining the use of their own proper
political power and authority in examining into and animadverting on the
conduct of their servants. Their true character, as strict masters and
vigilant governors, will merge in that of prosecutors. Their force and
energy will evaporate in tedious and intricate processes,--in lawsuits
which can never end, and which are to be carried on by the very
dependants of those who are under prosecution. On their part, these
servants will decline giving satisfaction to their masters, because they
are already before another tribunal; and thus, by shifting
responsibility from hand to hand, a confederacy to defeat the whole
spirit of the law, and to remove all real restraints on their actions,
may be in time formed between the servants, Directors, prosecutors, and
court. Of this great danger your Committee will take farther notice in
another place.

No notice whatever appears to have been taken of the Company's orders in
Bengal till the 11th of January, 1779, when Mr. Barwell moved, _that the
claim made upon him by the Court of Directors should be submitted to the
Company's lawyers, and that they should be perfectly instructed to
prosecute upon it_. In his minute of that date he says, "_that the state
of his health had long since rendered it necessary for him to return to

Your Committee observe that he continued in Bengal another year. He
says, "that he had hitherto waited for the arrival of Sir John Day, the
Company's advocate; but as the season was now far advanced, he wished to
bring the trial speedily to issue."

In this minute he retracts his original engagement to submit himself to
the judgment of the Court of Directors, "and to account to them for the
last shilling he had received": he says, "that no merit had been given
him for the offer; that a most unjustifiable advantage had been
attempted to be made of it, by first declining it and _descending to
abuse_, and then giving orders upon it as if it had been rejected, when
called upon by him in the person of his agent to bring home the charge
of delinquency."

Mr. Barwell's reflections on the proceedings of the Court of Directors
are not altogether clearly expressed; nor does it appear distinctly to
what facts he alludes. He asserts that a most unjustifiable advantage
had been attempted to be made of his offer. The fact is, the Court of
Directors have nowhere declined accepting it; on the contrary, they
caution the Governor-General and Council about the manner of receiving
the tender of the money which they expect him to make. They say nothing
of any call made on them by Mr. Barwell's agent in England; nor does it
appear to your Committee that they "have descended to abuse." They have
a right, and it is their duty, to express, in distinct and appropriated
terms, their sense of all blamable conduct in their servants.

So far as may be collected from the evidence of the Company's records,
Mr. Barwell's assertions do not appear well supported; but even if they
were more plausible, your Committee apprehend that he could not be
discharged from his solemn recorded promise to abide by the judgment of
the Court of Directors. Their judgment was declared by their resolution
to prosecute, which it depended upon himself to satisfy by making good
his engagement. To excuse his not complying with the Company's claims,
he says, "_that his compliance would be urged as a confession of
delinquency, and to proceed from conviction of his having usurped on the
rights of the Company_." Considerations of this nature might properly
have induced Mr. Barwell to stand upon his right in the first instance,
"_and to appeal_" (to use his own words) "_to the laws of his country,
in order to vindicate his fame_." But his performance could not have
more weight to infer delinquency than his promise. Your Committee think
his observation comes too late.

If he had stood a trial, when he first acknowledged the facts, and
submitted himself to the judgment of the Court of Directors, the suit
would have been carried on under the direction of General Clavering,
Colonel Monson, and Mr. Francis; whereas in the year 1779 his influence
at the board gave him the conduct of it himself. In an interval of four
years it may be presumed that great alterations might have happened in
the state of the evidence against him.

In the subsequent proceedings of the Governor-General and Council the
House will find that Mr. Barwell complained that his instances for
carrying on the prosecution were ineffectual, owing to the legal
difficulties and delays _urged by the Company's law officers_, which
your Committee do not find have yet been removed. As far as the latest
advices reach, no progress appears to have been made in the business. In
July, 1782, the Court of Directors found it necessary to order an
account of all suits against Europeans depending in the Supreme Court of
Judicature to be transmitted to them, and that no time should be lost in
bringing them to a determination.


The next article of direct monopoly subservient to the Company's export
is saltpetre. This, as well as opium, is far the greater part the
produce of the province of Bahar. The difference between the management
and destination of the two articles has been this. Until the year 1782,
the opium has been sold in the country, and the produce of the sale laid
out in country merchandise for the Company's export. A great part of the
saltpetre is sent out in kind, and never has contributed to the interior
circulation and commerce of Bengal. It is managed by agency on the
Company's account. The price paid to the manufacturer is invariable.
Some of the larger undertakers receive advances to enable them to
prosecute their work; but as they are not always equally careful or
fortunate, it happens that large balances accumulate against them.
Orders have been sent from Calcutta from time to time to recover their
balances, with little or no success, but with great vexation to all
concerned in the manufacture. Sometimes they have imprisoned the failing
contractors in their own houses,--a severity which answers no useful
purpose. Such persons are so many hands detached from the improvement
and added to the burden of the country. They are persons of skill drawn
from the future supply of that monopoly in favor of which they are
prosecuted. In case of the death of the debtor, this rigorous demand
falls upon the ruined houses of widows and orphans, and may be easily
converted into a means either of cruel oppression or a mercenary
indulgence, according to the temper of the exactors. Instead of thus
having recourse to imprisonment, the old balance is sometimes deducted
from the current produce. This, in these circumstances, is a grievous
discouragement. People must be discouraged from entering into a
business, when, the commodity being fixed to one invariable standard and
confined to one market, the best success can be attended only with a
limited advantage, whilst a defective produce can never be compensated
by an augmented price. Accordingly, very little of these advances has
been recovered, and after much vexation the pursuit has generally been
abandoned. It is plain that there can be no life and vigor in any
business under a monopoly so constituted; nor can the true productive
resources of the country, in so large an article of its commerce, ever
come to be fully known.

The supply for the Company's demand in England has rarely fallen short
of two thousand tons, nor much exceeded two thousand five hundred. A
discretionary allowance of this commodity has been made to the French,
Dutch, and Danes, who purchase their allotted shares at some small
advance on the Company's price. The supply destined for the London
market is proportioned to the spare tonnage; and to accommodate that
tonnage, the saltpetre is sometimes sent to Madras and sometimes even to
Bombay, and that not unfrequently in vessels expressly employed for the

Mr. Law, Chief of Patna, being examined on the effect of that monopoly,
delivered his opinion, that with regard to the Company's _trade_ the
monopoly was advantageous, but as sovereigns of the country they must be
losers by it. These two capacities in the Company are found in perpetual
contradiction. But much doubt may arise whether this monopoly will be
found advantageous to the Company either in the one capacity or the
other. The gross commodity monopolized for sale in London is procured
from the revenues in Bengal; the certain is given for the hazardous. The
loss of interest on the advances, sometimes the loss of the
principal,--the expense of carriage from Patna to Calcutta,--the various
loadings and unloadings, and insurance (which, though borne by the
Company, is still insurance),--the engagement for the Ordnance, limited
in price, and irregular in payment,--the charge of agency and
management, through all its gradations and successions,--when all these
are taken into consideration, it may be found that the gain of the
Company as traders will be far from compensating their loss as
sovereigns. A body like the East India Company can scarcely, in any
circumstance, hope to carry on the details of such a business, from its
commencement to its conclusion, with any degree of success. In the
subjoined estimate of profit and loss, the value of the commodity is
stated at its invoice price at Calcutta. But this affords no just
estimate of the whole effect of a dealing, where the Company's charge
commences in the first rudiments of the manufacture, and not at the
purchase at the place of sale and valuation: for they [there?] may be
heavy losses on the value at which the saltpetre is estimated, when,
shipped off on their account, without any appearance in the account; and
the inquiries of your Committee to find the charges on the saltpetre
previous to the shipping have been fruitless.


The other link by which India is bound to Great Britain is the
government established there originally by the authority of the East
India Company, and afterwards modified by Parliament by the acts of 1773
and 1780. This system of government appears to your Committee to be at
least as much disordered, and as much perverted from every good purpose
for which lawful rule is established, as the trading system has been
from every just principle of commerce. Your Committee, in tracing the
causes of this disorder through its effects, have first considered the
government as it is constituted and managed within itself, beginning
with its most essential and fundamental part, the order and discipline
by which the supreme authority of this kingdom is maintained.

The British government in India being a subordinate and delegated power,
it ought to be considered as a fundamental principle in such a system,
that it is to be preserved in the strictest obedience to the government
at home. Administration in India, at an immense distance from the seat
of the supreme authority,--intrusted with the most extensive
powers,--liable to the greatest temptations,--possessing the amplest
means of abuse,--ruling over a people guarded by no distinct or
well-ascertained privileges, whose language, manners, and radical
prejudices render not only redress, but all complaint on their part, a
matter of extreme difficulty,--such an administration, it is evident,
never can be made subservient to the interests of Great Britain, or even
tolerable to the natives, but by the strictest rigor in exacting
obedience to the commands of the authority lawfully set over it.

But your Committee find that this principle has been for some years very
little attended to. Before the passing the act of 1773, the professed
purpose of which was to secure a better subordination in the Company's
servants, such was the firmness with which the Court of Directors
maintained their authority, that they displaced Governor Cartier,
confessedly a meritorious servant, for disobedience of orders, although
his case was not a great deal more than a question by whom the orders
were to be obeyed.[12] Yet the Directors were so sensible of the
necessity of a punctual and literal obedience, that, conceiving their
orders went to the parties who were to obey, as well as to the act to be
done, they proceeded with a strictness that, in all cases except that of
their peculiar government, might well be considered as rigorous. But in
proportion as the necessity of enforcing obedience grew stronger and
more urgent, and in proportion to the magnitude and importance of the
objects affected by disobedience, this rigor has been relaxed. Acts of
disobedience have not only grown frequent, but systematic; and they have
appeared in such instances, and are manifested in such a manner, as to
amount, in the Company's servants, to little less than absolute
independence, against which, on the part of the Directors, there is no
struggle, and hardly so much as a protest to preserve a claim.

Before your Committee proceed to offer to the House their remarks on the
most distinguished of these instances, the particulars of which they
have already reported, they deem it necessary to enter into some detail
of a transaction equally extraordinary and important, though not yet
brought into the view of Parliament, which appears to have laid the
foundation of the principal abuses that ensued, as well as to have given
strength and encouragement to those that existed. To this transaction,
and to the conclusions naturally deducible from it, your Committee
attribute that general spirit of disobedience and independence which has
since prevailed in the government of Bengal.

Your Committee find that in the year 1775 Mr. Lauchlan Macleane was sent
into England as agent to the Nabob of Arcot and to Mr. Hastings. The
conduct of Mr. Hastings, in assisting to extirpate, for a sum of money
to be paid to the Company, the innocent nation of the Rohillas, had
drawn upon him the censure of the Court of Directors, and the unanimous
censure of the Court of Proprietors. The former had even resolved to
prepare an application to his Majesty for Mr. Hastings's dismission.

Another General Court was called on this proceeding. Mr. Hastings was
then openly supported by a majority of the Court of Proprietors, who
professed to entertain a good opinion of his general ability and
rectitude of intention, notwithstanding the unanimous censure passed
upon him. In that censure they therefore seemed disposed to acquiesce,
without pushing the matter farther. But, as the offence was far from
trifling, and the condemnation of the measure recent, they did not
directly attack the resolution of the Directors to apply to his Majesty,
but voted in the ballot that it should be reconsidered. The business
therefore remained in suspense, or it rather seemed to be dropped, for
some months, when Mr. Macleane took a step of a nature not in the least
to be expected from the condition in which the cause of his principal
stood, which was apparently as favorable as the circumstances could
bear. Hitherto the support of Mr. Hastings in the General Court was only
by a majority; but if on application from the Directors he should be
removed, a mere majority would not have been sufficient for his
restoration. The door would have been barred against his return to the
Company's service by one of the strongest and most substantial clauses
in the Regulating Act of 1778. Mr. Macleane, probably to prevent the
manifest ill consequences of such a step, came forward with a letter to
the Court of Directors, declaring his provisional powers, and offering
on the part of Mr. Hastings an immediate resignation of his office.

On this occasion the Directors showed themselves extremely punctilious
with regard to Mr. Macleane's powers. They probably dreaded the charge
of becoming accomplices to an evasion of the act by which Mr. Hastings,
resigning the service, would escape the consequences attached by law to
a dismission; they therefore demanded Mr. Macleane's written authority.
This he declared he could not give into their hands, as the letter
contained other matters, of a nature extremely confidential, but that,
if they would appoint a committee of the Directors, he would readily
communicate to them the necessary parts of the letter, and give them
perfect satisfaction with regard to his authority. A deputation was
accordingly named, who reported that they had seen Mr. Hastings's
instructions, contained in a paper in _his own handwriting_, and that
the authority for the act now done by Mr. Macleane was clear and
sufficient. Mr. Vansittart, a very particular friend of Mr. Hastings,
and Mr. John Stewart, his most attached and confidential dependant,
attended on this occasion, and proved that directions perfectly
correspondent to this written authority had been given by Mr. Hastings
in their presence. By this means the powers were fully authenticated;
but the letter remained safe in Mr. Macleane's hands.

Nothing being now wanting to the satisfaction of the Directors, the
resignation was formally accepted. Mr. Wheler was named to fill the
vacancy, and presented for his Majesty's approbation, which was
received. The act was complete, and the office that Mr. Hastings had
resigned was legally filled. This proceeding was officially notified in
Bengal, and General Clavering, as senior in Council, was in course to
succeed to the office of Governor-General.

Mr. Hastings, to extricate himself from the difficulties into which this
resignation had brought him, had recourse to one of those unlooked-for
and hardy measures which characterize the whole of his administration.
He came to a resolution of disowning his agent, denying his letter, and
disavowing his friends. He insisted on continuing in the execution of
his office, and supported himself by such reasons as could be furnished
in such a cause. An open schism instantly divided the Council. General
Clavering claimed the office to which he ought to succeed, and Mr.
Francis adhered to him: Mr. Barwell stuck to Mr. Hastings. The two
parties assembled separately, and everything was running fast into a
confusion which suspended government, and might very probably have ended
in a civil war, had not the judges of the Supreme Court, on a reference
to them, settled the controversy by deciding that the resignation was an
invalid act, and that Mr. Hastings was still in the legal possession of
his place, which had been actually filled up in England. It was
extraordinary that the nullity of this resignation should not have been
discovered in England, where the act authorizing the resignation then
was, where the agent was personally present, where the witnesses were
examined, and where there was and could be no want of legal advice,
either on the part of the Company or of the crown. The judges took no
light matter upon them in superseding, and thereby condemning the
legality of his Majesty's appointment: for such it became by the royal

On this determination, such as it was, the division in the meeting, but
not in the minds of the Council, ceased. General Clavering uniformly
opposed the conduct of Mr. Hastings to the end of his life. But Mr.
Hastings showed more temper under much greater provocations. In
disclaiming his agent, and in effect accusing him of an imposture the
most deeply injurious to his character and fortune, and of the grossest
forgery to support it, he was so very mild and indulgent as not to show
any active resentment against his unfaithful agent, nor to complain to
the Court of Directors. It was expected in Bengal that some strong
measures would have immediately been taken to preserve the just rights
of the king and of the Court of Directors; as this proceeding,
unaccompanied with the severest animadversion, manifestly struck a
decisive blow at the existence of the most essential powers of both. But
your Committee do not find that any measures whatever, such as the case
seemed to demand, were taken. The observations made by the Court of
Directors on what they call "_these extraordinary transactions_" are
just and well applied. They conclude with a declaration, "_that the
measures which it might be necessary for them to take, in order to
retrieve the honor of the Company, and to prevent the like abuse from
being practised in future, should have their most serious and earliest
consideration_"; and with this declaration they appear to have closed
the account, and to have dismissed the subject forever.

A sanction was hereby given to all future defiance of every authority in
this kingdom. Several other matters of complaint against Mr. Hastings,
particularly the charge of peculation, fell to the ground at the same
time. Opinions of counsel had been taken relative to a prosecution at
law upon this charge, from the then Attorney and the then
Solicitor-General and Mr. Dunning, (now the Lords Thurlow, Loughborough,
and Ashburton,) together with Mr. Adair (now Recorder of London). None
of them gave a positive opinion against the grounds of the prosecution.
The Attorney-General doubted on _the prudence_ of the proceedings, and
censured (as it well deserved) the ill statement of the case. Three of
them, Mr. Wedderburn, Mr. Dunning, and Mr. Adair, were clear in favor of
the prosecution. No prosecution, however, was had, and the Directors
contented themselves with censuring and admonishing Mr. Hastings.

With regard to the Supreme Council, the members who chose (for it was
choice only) to attend to the orders which were issued from the
languishing authority of the Directors continued to receive unprofitable
applauses and no support. Their correspondence was always filled with
complaints, the justice of which was always admitted by the Court of
Directors; but this admission of the existence of the evil showed only
the impotence of those who were to administer the remedy. The authority
of the Court of Directors, resisted with success in so capital an
instance as that of the resignation, was not likely to be respected in
any other. What influence it really had on the conduct of the Company's
servants may be collected from the facts that followed it.

The disobedience of Mr. Hastings has of late not only become uniform and
systematical in practice, but has been in principle, also, supported by
him, and by Mr. Barwell, late a member of the Supreme Council in Bengal,
and now a member of this House.

In the Consultation of the 20th of July, 1778, Mr. Barwell gives it as
his solemn and deliberate opinion, that, "while Mr. Hastings is in the
government, the respect and dignity of his station should be supported.
In these sentiments, I must decline an acquiescence in _any_ order which
has a _tendency_ to bring the government into disrepute. As the Company
have the means and power of forming their own administration in India,
they may at pleasure place whom they please at the head; but in my
opinion they are not authorized to treat a person in that post with

By treating them with indignity (in the particular cases wherein they
have declined obedience to orders) they must mean those orders which
imply a censure on any part of their conduct, a reversal of any of their
proceedings, or, as Mr. Barwell expresses himself in words very
significant, in any orders that have a _tendency_ to bring _their_
government into _disrepute_. The amplitude of this latter description,
reserving to them the judgment of any orders which have so much as that
_tendency_, puts them in possession of a complete independence, an
independence including a despotic authority over the subordinates and
the country. The very means taken by the Directors for enforcing their
authority becomes, on this principle, a cause of further disobedience.
It is observable, that their principles of disobedience do not refer to
any local consideration, overlooked by the Directors, which might
supersede their orders, or to any change of circumstances, which might
render another course advisable, or even perhaps necessary,--but it
relates solely to their own interior feelings in matters relative to
themselves, and their opinion of their own dignity and reputation. It is
plain that they have wholly forgotten who they are, and what the nature
of their office is. Mr. Hastings and Mr. Barwell are servants of the
Company, and as such, by the duty inherent in that relation, as well as
by their special covenants, were obliged to yield obedience to the
orders of their masters. They have, as far as they were able, cancelled
all the bonds of this relation, and all the sanctions of these

But in thus throwing off the authority of the Court of Directors, Mr.
Hastings and Mr. Barwell have thrown off the authority of the whole
legislative power of Great Britain; for, by the Regulating Act of the
thirteenth of his Majesty, they are expressly "directed and required to
pay due obedience to _all_ such orders as they shall receive from the
Court of Directors of the said United Company." Such is the declaration
of the law. But Mr. Barwell declares that he declines obedience to _any_
orders which he shall interpret to be indignities on a Governor-General.
To the clear injunctions of the legislature Mr. Hastings and Mr. Barwell
have thought proper to oppose their pretended reputation and dignity; as
if the chief honor of public ministers in every situation was not to
yield a cheerful obedience to the laws of their country. Your Committee,
to render evident to this House the general nature and tendency of this
pretended dignity, and to illustrate the real principles upon which they
appear to have acted, think it necessary to make observations on three
or four of the cases, already reported, of marked disobedience to
particular and special orders, on one of which the above extraordinary
doctrine was maintained.

These are the cases of Mr. Fowke, Mr. Bristow, and Mahomed Reza Khan. In
a few weeks after the death of Colonel Monson, Mr. Hastings having
obtained a majority in Council by his casting vote, Mr. Fowke and Mr.
Bristow were called from their respective offices of Residents at
Benares and Oude, places which have become the scenes of other
extraordinary operations under the conduct of Mr. Hastings in person.
For the recall of Mr. Bristow no reason was assigned. The reason
assigned for the proceeding with regard to Mr. Fowke was, that "the
purposes for which he was appointed were then fully accomplished."

An account of the removal of Mr. Fowke was communicated to the Court of
Directors in a letter of the 22d of December, 1776. On this
notification the Court had nothing to conclude, but that Mr. Hastings,
from a rigid pursuit of economy in the management of the Company's
affairs, had recalled a useless officer. But, without alleging any
variation whatsoever in the circumstances, in less than twenty days
after the order for the recall of Mr. Fowke, and _the very day after the
dispatch_ containing an account of the transaction, Mr. Hastings
recommended Mr. Graham to this very office, the end of which, he
declared to the Directors but the day before, had been fully
accomplished; and not thinking this sufficient, he appointed Mr. D.
Barwell as his assistant, at a salary of about four hundred pounds a
year. Against this extraordinary act General Clavering and Mr. Francis
entered a protest.

So early as the 6th of the following January the appointment of these
gentlemen was communicated in a letter to the Court of Directors,
without any sort of color, apology, or explanation. That court found a
servant removed from his station without complaint, contrary to the
tenor of one of their standing injunctions. They allow, however, and
with reason, that, "if it were possible to suppose that a saving, &c,
had been his motive, they would have approved his proceeding. But that
when immediately afterwards two persons, with _two_ salaries, had been
appointed to execute the office which had been filled with reputation by
Mr. Fowke alone, and that Mr. Graham enjoys all the emoluments annexed
to the office of Mr. Fowke,"--they properly conclude that Mr. Fowke was
removed without just cause, to make way for Mr. Graham, and strictly
enjoin that the former be reinstated in his office of Resident as
Post-master of Benares. In the same letter they assert their rights in
a tone of becoming firmness, and declare, that "on no account we can
permit our orders to be disobeyed or our authority disregarded."

It was now to be seen which of the parties was to give way. The orders
were clear and precise, and enforced by a strong declaration of the
resolution of the Court to make itself obeyed. Mr. Hastings fairly
joined issue upon this point with his masters, and, having disobeyed the
general instructions of the Company, determined to pay no obedience to
their special order.

On the 21st July, 1778, he moved, and succeeded in his proposition, that
the execution of these orders should be suspended. The reason he
assigned for this suspension lets in great light upon the true character
of all these proceedings: "That his consent to the recall of Mr. Graham
would be adequate to his own resignation of the service, as it would
inflict such a wound on _his authority and influence_ that he could not
maintain it."

If that had been his opinion, he ought to have resigned, and not
disobeyed: because it was not necessary that he should hold his office;
but it was necessary, that, whilst he hold it, he should obey his
superiors, and submit to the law. Much more truly was his conduct a
virtual resignation of his lawful office, and at the same time an
usurpation of a situation which did not belong to him, to hold a
subordinate office, and to refuse to act according to its duties. Had
his authority been self-originated, it would have been wounded by his
submission; but in this case the true nature of his authority was
affirmed, not injured, by his obedience, because it was a power derived
from others, and, by its essence, to be executed according to their

In this determined disobedience he was supported by Mr. Barwell, who on
that occasion delivered the dangerous doctrine to which your Committee
have lately adverted. Mr. Fowke, who had a most material interest in
this determination, applied by letter to be informed concerning it. An
answer was sent, acquainting him coldly, and without any reason
assigned, of what had been resolved relative to his office. This
communication was soon followed by another letter from Mr. Fowke, with
great submission and remarkable decency asserting his right to his
office under the authority of the Court of Directors, and for solid
reasons, grounded on the Company's express orders, praying to be
informed of the charge against him. This letter appears to have been
received by Mr. Hastings and Mr. Barwell very loftily. Mr. Hastings
said, "that such applications were irregular; that they are not
accountable to Mr. Fowke for their resolution respecting him. The
reasons for suspending the execution of the orders of the Court of
Directors contain _no charge, nor the slightest imputation of a charge_,
against Mr. Fowke; _but I see no reason why the board should condescend
to tell him so_." Accordingly, the proposition of Mr. Francis and Mr.
Wheler, to inform Mr. Fowke "that they had no reason to be dissatisfied
with his conduct," on the previous question was rejected.

By this resolution Mr. Hastings and Mr. Barwell discovered another
principle, and no less dangerous than the first: namely, that persons
deriving a valuable interest under the Company's orders, so far from
being heard in favor of their right, are not so much as to be informed
of the grounds on which they are deprived of it.

The arrival soon after of Sir Eyre Coote giving another opportunity of
trial, the question for obedience to the Company's orders was again[13]
brought on by Mr. Francis, and again received a negative. Sir Eyre
Coote, though present, and declaring, that, had he been at the original
consultation, he should have voted for the immediate execution of the
Company's orders, yet he was resolved to avoid what he called _any kind
of retrospect_. His neutrality gained the question in favor of this, the
third resolution for disobedience to orders.

The resolution in Bengal being thus decisively taken, it came to the
turn of the Court of Directors to act their part. They did act their
part exactly in their old manner: they had recourse to their old remedy
of repeating orders which had been disobeyed. The Directors declare to
Mr. Hastings and Mr. Barwell, though without any apparent reason, that
"they have read _with astonishment their formal resolution_ to suspend
the execution of their orders; that they shall take such measures as
appear necessary for _preserving the authority of the Court of
Directors_, and for preventing _such instances of direct and wilful_
disobedience in their servants in time to come." They then renew their
directions concerning Mr. Fowke. The event of this _sole_ measure taken
to preserve their authority, and to prevent instances of direct and
wilful disobedience, your Committee will state in its proper
place,--taking into consideration, for the present, the proceedings
relative to Mr. Bristow, and to Mahomed Reza Khan, which were
altogether in the same spirit; but as they were diversified in the
circumstances of disobedience, as well from the case of Mr. Fowke as
from one another, and as these circumstances tend to discover other
dangerous principles of abuse, and the general prostrate condition of
the authority of Parliament in Bengal, your Committee proceed first to
make some observations upon them.

The province of Oude, enlarged by the accession of several extensive and
once flourishing territories, that is, by the country of the Rohillas,
the district of Corah and Allahabad, and other provinces betwixt the
Ganges and Jumna, is under the nominal dominion of one of the princes of
the country, called Asoph ul Dowlah. But a body of English troops is
kept up in his country; and the greatest part of his revenues are, by
one description or another, substantially under the administration of
English subjects. He is to all purposes a dependent prince. The person
to be employed in his dominions to act for the Committee [Company?] was
therefore of little consequence in his capacity of negotiator; but he
was vested with a trust, great and critical, in all pecuniary affairs.
These provinces of dependence lie out of the system of the Company's
ordinary administration, and transactions there cannot be so readily
brought under the cognizance of the Court of Directors. This renders it
the more necessary that the Residents in such places should be persons
not disapproved of by the Court of Directors. They are to manage a
permanent interest, which is not, like a matter of political
negotiation, variable, and which, from circumstances, might possibly
excuse some degree of discretionary latitude in construing their orders.
During the lifetime of General Clavering and Colonel Monson, Mr.
Bristow was appointed to this Presidency, and that appointment, being
approved and confirmed by the Court of Directors, became in effect their
own. Mr. Bristow appears to have shown himself a man of talents and
activity. He had been principally concerned in the negotiations by which
the Company's interest in the higher provinces had been established; and
those services were considered by the Presidency of Calcutta as so
meritorious, that they voted him ten thousand pounds as a reward, with
many expressions of esteem and honor.

Mr. Bristow, however, was recalled by Mr. Hastings and Mr. Barwell, who
had then acquired the majority, without any complaint having been
assigned as the cause of his removal, and Mr. Middleton was sent in his
stead to reside at the capital of Oude. The Court of Directors, as soon
as they could be apprised of this extraordinary step, in their letter of
the 4th of July, 1777, express their strongest disapprobation of it:
they order Mr. Middleton to be recalled, and Mr. Bristow to be
reinstated in his office. In December, 1778, they repeat their order. Of
these repeated orders no notice was taken. Mr. Bristow, fatigued with
unsuccessful private applications, which met with a constant refusal,
did at length, on the 1st of May, 1780, address a letter to the board,
making his claim of right, entitling himself to his offices [office?]
under the authority of the Court of Directors, and complaining of the
hardships which he suffered by the delay in admitting him to the
exercise of it. This letter your Committee have inserted at large in the
Fifth Report, having found nothing whatsoever exceptionable in it,
although it seems to have excited the warmest resentment in Mr.

This claim of the party gave no new force to the order of the Directors,
which remained without any attention from the board from Mr. Bristow's
arrival until the 1st of May, and with as little from the 1st of May to
the 2nd of October following. On that day, Mr. Francis, after having
caused the repeated orders of the Court of Directors to be first read,
moved that Mr. Bristow should be reinstated in his office. This motion,
in itself just and proper in the highest degree, and in which no fault
could be found, but that it was not made more early, was received by Mr.
Hastings with the greatest marks of resentment and indignation. He
declares in his minute, that, "were the most determined adversary of the
British nation to possess, by whatever means, a share in the
administration, he could not devise a measure in _itself_ so pernicious,
or _time_ it so effectually for the _ruin_ of the British interests in
India." Then turning to the object of the motion, he says, "I will ask,
Who is Mr. Bristow, that a member of the administration should, at such
a time, hold him forth, as _an instrument for the degradation of the
first executive member of this government?_ What are the professed
objects of his appointment? What are the _merits_ and services, or what
the _qualifications_, which entitle him to such uncommon distinction? Is
it for his superior _integrity_, or from his eminent _abilities_, that
he is to be dignified at such hazard of every consideration that ought
to influence the members of this administration? Of the former (his
integrity) I know _no proofs_; I am sure it is not an evidence of it,
that he has been _enabled_ to make himself the principal in such a
_competition:_ and for the test of his abilities I appeal to the letter
which he has _dared_ to write to this board, and which I am ashamed to
say we have _suffered_. I desire that a copy of it may be inserted in
this day's proceedings, that it may stand before the eyes of every
member of the board, when he shall give his vote upon a question for
giving their confidence to a man, _their servant_, who has publicly
insulted _them, his masters_, and the members of the government to whom
he owes _his obedience_,--who, assuming an association with the Court of
Directors, and erecting himself into a _tribunal_, has _arraigned_ them
for _disobedience_ of orders, _passed judgment_ upon them, _and
condemned or acquitted them, as their magistrate or superior_. Let the
board consider, whether a man possessed of so _independent_ a spirit,
who has already shown a _contempt_ of their authority, who has shown
himself _so wretched an advocate for his own cause and negotiator for
his own interest_, is fit to be trusted with the guardianship of _their_
honor, the execution of _their_ measures, and as _their_ confidential
manager and negotiator with the princes of India. As the motion has been
unaccompanied by any reasons which should induce the board to pass their
acquiescence in it, I presume the motion which preceded it, for _reading
the orders of the Court of Directors, was intended to serve as an
argument for it, as well as an introduction to it_. The last of those
was dictated the 23rd December, 1778, almost two years past. They were
dictated at a time when, I am sorry to say, the Court of Directors were
in _the habit of casting reproach upon my conduct and heaping
indignities upon my station_."

Had the language and opinions which prevail throughout this part of the
minute, as well as in all the others to which your Committee refer, been
uttered suddenly and in a passion, however unprovoked, some sort of
apology might be made for the Governor-General. But when it was produced
five months after the supposed offence, and then delivered in writing,
which always implies the power of a greater degree of recollection and
self-command, it shows how deeply the principles of disobedience had
taken root in his mind, and of an assumption to himself of exorbitant
powers, which he chooses to distinguish by the title of "_his
prerogative_." In this also will be found an obscure hint of the cause
of his disobedience, which your Committee conceive to allude to the main
cause of the disorders in the government of India,--namely, an underhand
communication with Europe.

Mr. Hastings, by his confidence in the support derived from this source,
or from the habits of independent power, is carried to such a length as
to consider a motion to obey the Court of Directors as a degradation of
the executive government in his person. He looks upon a claim under that
authority, and a complaint that it has produced no effect, as a piece of
daring insolence which he is ashamed that the board has suffered. The
behavior which your Committee consider as so intemperate and despotic he
regards as a culpable degree of patience and forbearance. Major Scott,
his agent, enters so much into the principles of Mr. Hastings's conduct
as to tell your Committee that in his opinion Lord Clive would have sent
home Mr. Bristow a prisoner upon such an occasion. It is worthy of
remark, that, in the very same breath that Mr. Hastings so heavily
condemns a junior officer in the Company's service (not a _servant_ of
the Council, as he hazards to call him, but _their fellow-servant_) for
merely complaining of a supposed injury and requiring redress, he so far
forgets his own subordination as to reject the orders of the Court of
Directors even as an _argument_ in favor of appointing a person to an
office, to presume to censure _his_ undoubted masters, and to accuse
them of having been "in a habit of casting reproaches upon him, and
heaping indignities on _his_ station." And it is to be observed, that
this censure was not for the purpose of seeking or obtaining redress for
any injury, but appeared rather as a reason for refusing to obey their
lawful commands. It is plainly implied in that minute, that no servant
of the Company, in Mr. Bristow's rank, would dare to act in such a
manner, if he had not by indirect means obtained a premature fortune.
This alone is sufficient to show the situation of the Company's servants
in the subordinate situations, when the mere claim of a right, derived
from the sovereign legal power, becomes fatal not only to the objects
which they pursue, but deeply wounds that reputation both for ability
and integrity by which alone they are to be qualified for any other.

If anything could add to the disagreeable situation of those who are
submitted to an authority conducted on such principles, it is this: The
Company has ordered that no complaint shall be made in Europe against
any of the Council without being previously communicated to them: a
regulation formed upon grave reasons; and it was certainly made in
_favor_ of that board. But if a person, having ground of complaint
against the Council, by making use of the mode prescribed in favor of
that very Council, and by complaining to themselves, commits an offence
for which he may be justly punished, the Directors have not regulated
the mode of complaint, they have actually forbidden it; they have, on
that supposition, renounced their authority; and the whole system of
their officers is delivered over to the arbitrary will of a few of their
chief servants.

During the whole day of that deliberation things wore a decided face.
Mr. Hastings stood to his principles in their full extent, and seemed
resolved upon unqualified disobedience. But as the debate was adjourned
to the day following, time was given for expedients; and such an
expedient was hit upon by Mr. Hastings as will, no doubt, be unexpected
by the House; but it serves to throw new lights upon the motives of all
his struggles with the authority of the legislature.

The next day the Council met upon the adjournment. Then Mr. Hastings
proposed, as a compromise, a division of the object in question. One
half was to be surrendered to the authority of the Court of Directors,
the other was reserved for his dignity. But the choice he made of his
own share in this partition is very worthy of notice. He had taken his
_sole_ ground of objection against Mr. Bristow on the supposed ill
effect that such an appointment would have on the minds of the Indian
powers. He said, "that these powers could have no dependence on his
fulfilling his engagements, _or maintaining the faith of treaties_ which
he might offer for their acceptance, if they saw him treated with such
contempt." Mr. Bristow's appearing in a political character was the
_whole_ of his complaint; yet, when he comes to a voluntary distribution
of the duties of the office, he gives Mr. Bristow those very political
negotiations of which but the day before he had in such strong terms
declared him personally incapable, whose appointment he considered to be
fatal to those negotiations, and which he then spoke of as a measure in
_itself_ such as the bitterest adversary to Great Britain would have
proposed. But having thus yielded his whole ground of ostensible
objection, he reserved to his own appointment the entire management of
the pecuniary trust. Accordingly he named Mr. Bristow for the former,
and Mr. Middleton for the latter. On his own principles he ought to have
done the very reverse. On every justifiable principle he ought to have
done so; for a servant who for a long time resists the orders of his
masters, and when he reluctantly gives way obeys them by halves, ought
to be remarkably careful to make his actions correspond with his words,
and to put himself out of all suspicion with regard to the purity of his
motives. It was possible that the political reasons, which were solely
assigned against Mr. Bristow's appointment, might have been the real
motives of Mr. Hastings's opposition. But these he totally abandons, and
holds fast to the pecuniary department. Now, as it is notorious that
most of the abuses of India grow out of money-dealing, it was peculiarly
unfit for a servant, delicate with regard to his reputation, to require
a _personal_ and confidential agent in a situation merely official, in
which secrecy and personal connections could be of no possible use, and
could only serve to excite distrust. Matters of account cannot be made
too public; and it is not the most confidential agent, but the most
responsible, who is the fittest for the management of pecuniary trusts.
That man was the fittest at once to do the duty, and to remove all
suspicions from the Governor-General's character, whom, by not being of
his appointment, he could not be supposed to favor for private purposes,
who must naturally stand in awe of his inspection, and whose misconduct
could not possibly be imputable to him. Such an agency in a pecuniary
trust was the very last on which Mr. Hastings ought to have risked his
disobedience to the orders of the Direction,--or, what is even worse for
his motives, a direct contradiction to all the principles upon which he
had attempted to justify that bold measure.

The conduct of Mr. Hastings in the affair of Mahomed Reza Khan was an
act of disobedience of the same character, but wrought by other
instruments. When the Duanne (or universal perception, and management of
the revenues) of Bengal was acquired to the Company, together with the
command of the army, the Nabob, or governor, naturally fell into the
rank rather of a subject than that even of a dependent prince. Yet the
preservation of such a power in such a degree of subordination, with the
criminal jurisdiction, and the care of the public order annexed to it,
was a wise and laudable policy. It preserved a portion of the government
in the hands of the natives; it kept them in respect; it rendered them
quiet on the change; and it prevented that vast kingdom from wearing the
dangerous appearance, and still more from sinking into the terrible
state, of a country of conquest. Your Committee has already reported the
manner in which the Company (it must be allowed, upon pretences that
will not bear the slightest examination) diverted from its purposes a
great part of the revenues appropriated to the country government; but
they were very properly anxious that what remained should be well
administered. In the lifetime of General Clavering and Colonel Monson,
Mahomed Reza Khan, a man of rank among the natives, was judged by them
the fittest person to conduct the affairs of the Nabob, as his Naib, or
deputy: an office well known in the ancient constitution of these
provinces, at a time when the principal magistrates, by nature and
situation, were more efficient. This appointment was highly approved,
and in consequence confirmed, by the Court of Directors. Mr. Hastings
and Mr. Barwell, however, thought proper to remove him. To the authority
of the Court of Directors they opposed the request of the Nabob, stating
that he was arrived at the common age of maturity, and stood _in no need
of a deputy to manage his affairs_. On former occasions Mr. Hastings
conceived a very low opinion of the condition of the person whom he thus
set up against the authority of his masters. "On a former occasion," as
the Directors tell him, "and to serve a very different purpose, he had
not scrupled to declare it as visible as the sun that the Nabob was a
mere pageant, without even _the shadow of authority_." But on this
occasion he became more substantial. Mr. Hastings and Mr. Barwell
yielded to his representation that a deputy was not necessary, and
accordingly Mahomed Reza Khan was removed from his office.

However, lest any one should so far mistrust their understanding as to
conceive them the dupes of this pretext, they who had disobeyed the
Company's orders under color that _no deputy was necessary_ immediately
appoint another deputy. This independent prince, who, as Mr. Hastings
said, "had an incontestable right to his situation, and that it was his
by inheritance," suddenly shrunk into his old state of insignificance,
and was even looked upon in so low a light as to receive a severe
reprimand from Mr. Hastings for _interposing_ in the duties of his (the
deputy's) office.

The Company's orders, censuring this transaction in the strongest terms,
and ordering Mahomed Reza Khan to be immediately restored to the office
of Naib Subahdar, were received in Calcutta in November, 1779. Mr.
Hastings acted on this with the firmness which he had shown on other
occasions; but in his principles he went further. Thinking himself
assured of some extraordinary support, suitable to the open and
determined defiance with which he was resolved to oppose the lawful
authority of his superiors, and to exercise a despotic power, he no
longer adhered to Mr. Barwell's distinction of the orders which had a
tendency to bring his government into disrepute. This distinction
afforded sufficient latitude to disobedience; but here he disdained all
sorts of colors and distinctions. He directly set up an independent
right to administer the government according to his pleasure; and he
went so far as to bottom his claim to act independently of the Court of
Directors on the very statute which commanded his obedience to them.

He declared roundly, "that he should _not_ yield to the authority of the
Court of Directors in _any_ instance in which it should require his
concession of the rights which he held under an act of Parliament." It
is too clear to stand in need of proof, that he neither did or could
hold any authority that was not subject, in every particle of it, and in
every instance in which it could be exercised, to the orders of the
Court of Directors.

He therefore refused to back the Company's orders with any requisition
from himself to the Nabob, but merely suffered them to be transmitted to
him, leaving it to him to do just as he thought proper. The Nabob, who
called Mr. Hastings "his patron, and declared he would never do anything
without his consent and approbation," perfectly understood this kind of
signification. For the second time the Nabob recovered from his trance
of pageantry and insignificance, and collected courage enough to write
to the Council in these terms: "I administer the affairs of the Nizamut,
(the government,) which are the affairs of _my own family_, by _my own
authority_, and shall do so; and I never can _on any account agree_ to
the appointment of the Nabob Mahomed Reza Khan to the Naib Subahship."
Here was a second independent power in Bengal. This answer from that
power proved as satisfactory as it was resolute. No further notice was
taken of the orders of the Court of Directors, and Mahomed Reza Khan
found their protection much more of a shadow than the pageant of power
of which he aspired to be the representative.

This act of disobedience differs from the others in one particular
which, in the opinion of your Committee, rather aggravates than
extenuates the offence. In the others, Messrs. Hastings and Barwell took
the responsibility on themselves; here they held up the pretext of the
country government. However, they obtained thereby one of the objects
which they appear to have systematically pursued. As they had in the
other instances shown to the British servants of the Company that the
Directors were not able to protect them, here the same lesson was taught
to the natives. Whilst the matter lay between the native power and the
servants, the former was considered by Mr. Hastings in the most
contemptible light. When the question was between the servants and the
Court of Directors, the native power was asserted to be a self-derived,
hereditary, uncontrollable authority, and encouraged to act as such.

In this manner the authority of the British legislature was at that time
treated with every mark of reprobation and contempt. But soon after a
most unexpected change took place, by which the persons in whose favor
the Court of Directors had in vain interposed obtained specific objects
which had been refused to them; things were, however, so well contrived,
that legal authority was nearly as much affronted by the apparent
compliance with their orders as by the real resistance they had before
met with. After long and violent controversies, an agreement took place
between Mr. Hastings and Mr. Francis. It appears that Mr. Hastings,
embarrassed with the complicated wars and ruinous expenses into which
his measures had brought him, began to think of procuring peace at home.
The agreement originated in a conversation held on Christmas-Day, 1779,
between Major Scott, then aide-de-camp, and now agent, to Mr. Hastings,
and Mr. Ducarrel, a gentleman high in the Company's service at Calcutta.
Mr. Scott, in consequence of this conversation, was authorized to make
overtures to Mr. Francis through Mr. Ducarrel: to declare Mr. Hastings
tired of controversy; expressing his wish to have the Mahratta war
entirely left to him; that there were certain points _he could not give
up_; that he could _not_ (for reasons he then assigned) _submit_ to the
restoration of Mr. Fowke, Mahomed Reza Khan, and Mr. Bristow; that _he
had not the smallest personal objection to them_, and would willingly
provide for them in any other line. Mr. Francis in this treaty insisted
on those very points which Mr. Hastings declared he could never give up,
and that his conditions were the Company's orders,--that is, the
restoration of the persons whom they had directed to be restored. The
event of this negotiation was, that Mr. Hastings at length submitted to
Mr. Francis, and that Mr. Fowke and Mahomed Reza Khan were reinstated in
their situations.

Your Committee observe on this part of the transaction of Mr. Hastings,
that as long as the question stood upon his obedience to his lawful
superiors, so long he considered the restoration of these persons as a
gross indignity, the submitting to which would destroy all his credit
and influence in the country; but when it was to accommodate his own
occasions in a treaty with a fellow-servant, all these difficulties
instantly vanish, and he finds it perfectly consistent with his dignity,
credit, and influence, to do for Mr. Francis what he had refused to the
strict and reiterated injunctions of the Court of Directors.
Tranquillity was, however, for a time restored by this measure, though
it did not continue long. In about three months an occasion occurred in
which Mr. Francis gave some opposition to a measure proposed by Mr.
Hastings, which brought on a duel, upon the mischievous effects of which
your Committee have already made their observations.

The departure of Mr. Francis soon after for Europe opened a new scene,
and gave rise to a third revolution. Lest the arrangement with the
servants of the Company should have the least appearance of being
mistaken for obedience to their superiors, Mr. Francis was little more
than a month gone, when Mr. Fowke was again recalled from Benares, _and
Mr. Bristow soon after from Oude_. In these measures Mr. Hastings has
combined the principles of disobedience which he had used in all the
cases hitherto stated. In his Minute of Consultation on this recall he
refers to his former Minutes; and he adds, that he has "a recent motive
in the necessity of removing any circumstance which may contribute to
lessen his _influence_ in the effect of any negotiations in which he may
be engaged in the prosecution of his intended visit to Lucknow." He here
reverts to his old plea of preserving his influence; not content with
this, as in the case of Mahomed Reza Khan he had called in the aid of
the Nabob of Bengal, he here calls in the aid of the Nabob of Oude, who,
on reasons exactly tallying with those given by Mr. Hastings, desires
that Mr. Bristow may be removed. The true weight of these requisitions
will appear, if not sufficiently apparent from the known situation of
the parties, by the following extract of a letter from this Nabob of
Oude to his agent at Calcutta, desiring him to acquaint Mr. Hastings,
that, "if it is proper, I will write to the king [of Great Britain], and
the vizier [one of his Majesty's ministers], and the chief of the
Company, _in such a manner as he shall direct, and in the words that he
shall order_, that Mr. Bristow's views may be thwarted there." There is
no doubt of the entire cooeperation of the Nabob Asoph ul Dowlah in all
the designs of Mr. Hastings, and in thwarting the views of any persons
who place their reliance on the authority of this kingdom.

As usual, the Court of Directors appear in their proper order in the
procession. After this third act of disobedience with regard to the
same person and the same office, and after calling the proceedings
unwarrantable, "_in order to vindicate and uphold their own authority,
and thinking it a duty incumbent on them to maintain the authority of
the Court of Directors_," they again order Mr. Bristow to be reinstated,
and Mr. Middleton to be recalled: in this circle the whole moves with
great regularity.

The extraordinary operations of Mr. Hastings, that soon after followed
in every department which was the subject of all these acts of
disobedience, have made them appear in a light peculiarly unpropitious
to his cause. It is but too probable, from his own accounts, that he
meditated some strong measure, both at Benares and at Oude, at the very
time of the removal of those officers. He declares he knew that his
conduct in those places was such as to lie very open to malicious
representations; he must have been sensible that he was open to such
representations from the beginning; he was therefore impelled by every
motive which ought to influence a man of sense by no means to disturb
the order which he had last established.

Of this, however, he took no care; but he was not so inattentive to the
satisfaction of the sufferers, either in point of honor or of interest.
This was most strongly marked in the case of Mr. Fowke. His reparation
to that gentleman, in point of honor, is as full as possible. Mr.
Hastings "declared, that he approved his character and his conduct in
office, and believed that he might _depend_ upon _his exact and literal
obedience and fidelity_ in the execution of the functions annexed to
it." Such is the character of the man whom Mr. Hastings a second time
removed from the office to which he told the Court of Directors, in his
letter of the 3rd of March, 1780, he had appointed him in conformity to
their orders. On the 14th of January, 1781, he again finds it an
indispensable obligation in him to exercise powers "_inherent_ in the
constitution of his government." On this principle he claimed "the right
of nominating the agent of his own choice to the Residence of Benares;
that it is a representative situation: that, speaking for myself
_alone_, it may be _sufficient_ to say, that Mr. Francis Fowke is not
_my_ agent; _that I cannot give him my confidence_; that, while he
continues at Benares, he stands as a screen between the Rajah and this
government, instead of an instrument of control; that the Rajah himself,
and every chief in Hindostan, will regard it as the pledge and
foundation of his independence." Here Mr. Hastings has got back to his
old principles, where he takes post as on strong ground. This he
declares "to be his objection to Mr. Fowke, and that it is insuperable."
The very line before this paragraph he writes of this person, to whom he
_could_ not give his _confidence_, that "he believed he might _depend_
upon _his fidelity_, and his exact and literal obedience." Mr. Scott,
who is authorized to defend Mr. Hastings, supported the same principles
before your Committee by a comparison that avowedly reduces the Court of
Directors to the state of a party against their servants. He declared,
that, in his opinion, "it would be just as _absurd_ to _deprive him_ of
the power of nominating his ambassador at Benares as it would be to
force on _the ministry_ of this country an ambassador from _the
opposition_." Such is the opinion entertained in Bengal, and that but
too effectually realized, of the relation between the principal servants
of the Company and the Court of Directors.

So far the reparation, in point of honor, to Mr. Fowke was complete. The
reparation in point of interest your Committee do not find to have been
equally satisfactory; but they do find it to be of the most
extraordinary nature, and of the most mischievous example. Mr. Fowke had
been deprived of a place of rank and honor,--the place of a public
_Vackeel_, or representative. The recompense provided for him is a
succession to a contract. Mr. Hastings moved, that, on the expiration of
Colonel Morgan's contract, he should be appointed agent to all the boats
employed for the military service of that establishment, with a
commission of _fifteen per cent on all disbursements in that
office_,--permitting Mr. Fowke, at the same time, to draw his allowance
of an hundred pounds a month, as Resident, until the expiration of the
contract, and for three months after.

Mr. Hastings is himself struck, as every one must be, with so
extraordinary a proceeding, the principle of which, he observes, "is
liable to _one_ material objection." That one is material indeed; for,
no limit being laid down for the expense in which the percentage is to
arise, it is the direct interest of the person employed to make his
department as expensive as possible. To this Mr. Hastings answers, that
"he is convinced by experience it will be better performed"; and yet he
immediately after subjoins, "This _defect_ can _only_ be corrected by
the probity of the person intrusted with so important a charge; and I am
willing to have it understood, as a proof of _the confidence I repose in
Mr. Fowke_, that I have proposed his appointment, in opposition _to a
general principle_, to a trust so constituted."

In the beginning of this very Minute of Consultation, Mr. Hastings
removes Mr. Fowke from the Residency of Benares because "he cannot give
him his confidence"; and yet, before the pen is out of his hand, he
violates one of the soundest general principles in the whole system of
dealing, in order to give a proof of the confidence he reposes in that
gentleman. This apparent gross contradiction is to be reconciled but by
one way,--which is, that confidence with Mr. Hastings comes and goes
with his opposition to legal authority. Where that authority recommends
any person, his confidence in him vanishes; but to show that it is the
authority, and not the person, he opposes, when that is out of sight,
there is no rule so sacred which is not to be violated to manifest his
real esteem and perfect trust in the person whom he has rejected.
However, by overturning general principles to compliment Mr. Fowke's
integrity, he does all in his power to corrupt it; at the same time he
establishes an example that must either subject all future dealings to
the same pernicious clause, or which, being omitted, must become a
strong implied charge on the integrity of those who shall hereafter be
excluded from a trust so constituted.

It is not foreign to the object of your Committee, in this part of their
observations, which relates to the obedience to orders, to remark upon
the manner in which the orders of the Court of Directors with regard to
this kind of dealing in contracts are observed. These orders relate to
contracts; and they contain two standing regulations.

1st, That all contracts shall be publicly advertised, and that the most
reasonable proposals shall be accepted.

2ndly, That two contracts, those of provisions and for carriage
bullocks, shall be only annual.

These orders are undoubtedly some correctives to the abuses which may
arise in this very critical article of public dealing. But the House
will remark, that, if the business usually carried on by contracts can
be converted at pleasure into agencies, like that of Mr. Fowke, all
these regulations perish of course, and there is no direction whatsoever
for restraining the most prodigal and corrupt bargains for the public.

Your Committee have inquired into the observance of these necessary
regulations, and they find that they have, like the rest, been entirely
contemned, and contemned with entire impunity. After the period of
Colonel Monson's death, and Mr. Hastings and Mr. Barwell obtaining the
lead in the Council, the contracts were disposed of without at all
advertising for proposals. Those in 1777 were given for three years; and
the gentlemen in question growing by habit and encouragement into more
boldness, in 1779 the contracts were disposed of for five years: and
this they did at the eve of the expiration of their own appointment to
the government. This increase in the length of the contracts, though
contrary to orders, might have admitted some excuse, if it had been
made, even in appearance, the means of lessening the expense. But the
advantages allowed to the contractors, instead of being diminished, were
enlarged, and in a manner far beyond the proportion of the enlargement
of terms. Of this abuse and contempt of orders a judgment may be formed
by the single contract for supplying the army with draught and carriage
bullocks. As it stood at the expiration of the contract in 1779, the
expense of that service was about one thousand three hundred pounds a
month. By the new contract, given away in September of that year, the
service was raised to the enormous sum of near six thousand pounds a
month. The monthly increase, therefore, being four thousand seven
hundred pounds, it constitutes a total increase of charges for the
Company, in the five years of the contract, of no less a sum than two
hundred and thirty-five thousand pounds. Now, as the former contract
was, without doubt, sufficiently advantageous, a judgment may be formed
of the extravagance of the present. The terms, indeed, pass the bounds
of all allowance for negligence and ignorance of office.

The case of Mr. Belli's contract for supplying provisions to the Fort is
of the same description; and what exceedingly increases the suspicion
against this profusion, in contracts made in direct violation of orders,
is, that they are always found to be given in favor of persons closely
connected with Mr. Hastings in his family, or even in his actual

The principles upon which Mr. Hastings and Mr. Barwell justify this
disobedience, if admitted, reduce the Company's government, so far as it
regards the Supreme Council, to a mere patronage,--to a mere power of
nominating persons to or removing them from an authority which, is not
only despotic with regard to those who are subordinate to it, but in all
its acts entirely independent of the legal power which is nominally
superior. These are principles directly leading to the destruction of
the Company's government. A correspondent practice being established,
(as in this case of contracts, as well as others, it has been,) the
means are furnished of effectuating this purpose: for the common
superior, the Company, having no power to regulate or to support their
own appointments, nor to remove those whom they wish to remove, nor to
prevent the contracts from being made use of against their interest, all
the English in Bengal must naturally look to the next in authority; they
must depend upon, follow, and attach themselves to him solely; and thus
a party may be formed of the whole system of civil and military servants
for the support of the subordinate, and defiance of the supreme power.

Your Committee being led to attend to the abuse of contracts, which are
given upon principles fatal to the subordination of the service, and in
defiance of orders, revert to the disobedience of orders in the case of
Mahomed Reza Khan.

This transaction is of a piece with those that preceded it. On the 6th
of July, 1781, Mr. Hastings announced to the board the arrival of a
messenger and introduced a requisition from the young Nabob Mobarek ul
Dowlah, "that he might be _permitted to dispose of his own stipend,
without being made to depend on the will of another_." In favor of this
requisition Mr. Hastings urged various arguments:--that the Nabob could
no longer be deemed a minor;--that he was twenty-six years of age, and
father of many children;--that his understanding was much improved _of
late_ by an attention to his education;--that these circumstances gave
him a claim to the uncontrolled exercise of domestic authority; and it
might reasonably be supposed that he would pay a greater regard to a
just economy in his own family than had been observed by those who were
aliens to it. For these reasons Mr. Hastings recommended to the board
that Mahomed Reza Khan should be immediately divested of the office of
superintendent of the Nabob's household, _and that the Nabob Mobarek ul
Dowlah should be intrusted with the exclusive and entire receipts and
disbursements of his stipend, and the uncontrolled management and
regulation of his household_. Thus far your Committee are of opinion,
that the conclusion corresponds with the premises; for, supposing the
fact to be established or admitted, that the Nabob, in point of age,
capacity, and judgment, was qualified to act for himself, it seems
reasonable that the management of his domestic affairs should not be
withheld from him. On this part of the proceeding your Committee will
only observe, that, if it were strictly true that the Nabob's
understanding had been much improved _of late_ by an attention to his
education, (which seems an extraordinary way of describing the
qualifications of a man of six-and-twenty, the father of many children,)
the merit of such improvement must be attributed to Mahomed Reza Khan,
who was the only person of rank and character connected with him, or who
could be supposed to have any influence over him. Mr. Hastings himself
reproaches the Nabob with _raising mean men to be his companions_, and
tells him plainly, _that some persons, both of bad character and base
origin, had found the means of insinuating themselves into his company
and constant fellowship_. In such society it is not likely that either
the Nabob's morals or his understanding could have been _much improved_;
nor could it be deemed prudent to leave him without any check upon his
conduct. Mr. Hastings's opinion on this point may be collected from what
he did, but by no means from what he said, on the occasion.

The House will naturally expect to find that the Nabob's request was
granted, and that the resolution of the board was conformable to the
terms of Mr. Hastings's recommendation. Yet the fact is directly the
reverse. Mr. Hastings, after advising _that the Nabob should be
intrusted with the exclusive and entire receipts and disbursements of
his stipend_, immediately corrects that advice, _being aware that so
sudden and unlimited a disposal of a large revenue might at first
encourage a spirit of dissipation in the Nabob_,--and reserves to
_himself_ a power of establishing, _with the Nabob's consent_, such a
plan for the regulation and equal distribution of the Nabob's expenses
_as should be adapted to the dissimilar appearances of preserving his
interests and his independence at the same time_. On the same
complicated principles the subsequent resolution of the board professes
to allow the Nabob the management of his stipend and expenses,--with _an
hope_, however, (which, considering the relative situation of the
parties, could be nothing less than an injunction,) that he would submit
to such a plan _as should be agreed on between him_ and the

The drift of these contradictions is sufficiently apparent. Mahomed Reza
Khan was to be divested of his office at all events, and the management
of the Nabob's stipend committed to other hands. To accomplish the
first, the Nabob is said to be "now arrived at that time of life when a
man may be supposed capable, _if ever_, of managing his own concerns."
When this principle has answered the momentary purpose for which it was
produced, we find it immediately discarded, and an opposite resolution
formed on an opposite principle, viz., that he shall _not_ have the
management of his own concerns, _in consideration of his want of

Mr. Hastings, on his arrival at Moorshedabad, gives Mr. Wheler an
account of his interview with the Nabob, and of the Nabob's implicit
submission to his advice. The principal, if not the sole, object of the
whole operation appears from the result of it. Sir John D'Oyly, a
gentleman in whom Mr. Hastings places particular confidence, succeeds to
the office of Mahomed Reza Khan, and to the same control over the
Nabob's expenses. Into the hands of this gentleman the Nabob's stipend
was _to be immediately paid, as every intermediate channel would be an
unavoidable cause of delay_; and to _his_ advice the Nabob was required
to give the same attention as if it were given by Mr. Hastings himself.
One of the conditions prescribed to the Nabob was, that he should admit
no Englishman to his presence without previously consulting Sir John
D'Oyly; _and he must forbid any person of that nation to be intruded
without his introduction_. On these arrangements it need only be
observed, that a measure which sets out with professing to relieve the
Nabob from a state of _perpetual pupilage_ concludes with delivering not
only his fortune, but his person, to the custody of a particular friend
of Mr. Hastings.

The instructions given to the Nabob contain other passages that merit
attention. In one place Mr. Hastings tells him, "You have offered to
give up the sum of four lacs of rupees to be allowed the free use of the
remainder; but this we have refused." In another he says, that, "_as
many matters will occur which cannot be so easily explained by letter as
by conversation_, I desire that you will on such occasions give your
orders to Sir John D'Oyly respecting such points as you may desire to
have imparted to _me_." The offer alluded to in the first passage does
not appear in the Nabob's letters, therefore must have been in
conversation, and declined by Mr. Hastings without consulting his
colleague. A refusal of it might have been proper; but it supposes a
degree of incapacity in the Nabob not to be reconciled to the principles
on which Mahomed Reza Khan was removed from the management of his
affairs. Of the matters alluded to in the second, and which, it is said,
_could not be so easily explained by letters as in conversation_, no
explanation is given. Your Committee will therefore leave them, as Mr.
Hastings has done, to the opinion of the House.

As soon as the Nabob's requisition was communicated to the board, it was
moved and resolved that Mahomed Reza Khan should be divested of his
office; and the House have seen in what manner it was disposed of. The
Nabob had stated various complaints against him:--that he had dismissed
the old established servants of the Nizamut, and filled their places
with his own dependants;--that he had _regularly received_ the stipend
of the Nizamut from the Company, yet had kept the Nabob involved in debt
and distress, and exposed to the clamors of his creditors, and sometimes
even in want of a dinner. All these complaints were recorded at large in
the proceedings of the Council; but it does not appear that they were
ever communicated to Mahomed Reza Khan, or that he was ever called upon,
in any shape, to answer them. This circumstance inclines your Committee
to believe that all of these charges were groundless,--especially as it
appears on the face of the proceedings, that the chief of them were not
well founded. Mr. Hastings, in his letter to Mr. Wheler, urges the
absolute necessity of the monthly payment of the Nabob's stipend _being
regularly made_, and says, that, to relieve the Nabob's present wants,
he had directed the Resident to raise an immediate supply on the credit
of the Company, to be repaid from the first receipts. From hence your
Committee conclude that the monthly payments had _not_ been regularly
made, and that whatever distresses the Nabob might have suffered must
have been owing to the Governor-General and Council, not to Mahomed Reza
Khan, who, for aught that appears to the contrary, paid away the stipend
as fast as he received it. Had it been otherwise, that is, if Mahomed
Reza Khan had reserved a balance of the Nabob's money in his hands, he
should, and undoubtedly he would, have been called upon to pay it in;
and then there would have been no necessity for raising an immediate
supply by other means.

The transaction, on the whole, speaks very sufficiently for itself. It
is a gross instance of repeated disobedience to repeated orders; and it
is rendered particularly offensive to the authority of the Court of
Directors by the frivolous and contradictory reasons assigned for it.
But whether the Nabob's requisition was reasonable or not, the
Governor-General and Council were precluded by a special instruction
from complying with it. The Directors, in their letter of the 14th of
February, 1779, declare, that a resolution of Council, (taken by Mr.
Francis and Mr. Wheler, in the absence of Mr. Barwell,) viz., "that the
Nabob's letter should be referred to _them_ for _their_ decision, and
that no resolution should be taken in Bengal on his requisitions without
their special orders and instructions," was very proper. They prudently
reserved to themselves the right of deciding on such questions; but
they reserved it to no purpose. In England the authority is purely
formal. In Bengal the power is positive and real. When they clash, their
opposition serves only to degrade the authority that ought to
predominate, and to exalt the power that ought to be dependent.

       *       *       *       *       *

Since the closing of the above Report, many material papers have arrived
from India, and have been laid before your Committee. That which they
think it most immediately necessary to annex to the Appendix to this
Report is the resolution of the Council-General to allow to the members
of the Board of Trade resident in Calcutta a charge of five per cent on
the sale in England of the investment formed upon their second plan,
namely, that plan which had been communicated to Lord Macartney. The
investment on this plan is stated to be raised from 800,000_l._ to
1,000,000_l._ sterling.

It is on all accounts a very memorable transaction, and tends to bring
on a heavy burden, operating in the nature of a tax laid by their own
authority on the goods of their masters in England. If such a
compensation to the Board of Trade was necessary on account of their
engagement to take no further (that is to say, no unlawful) emolument,
it implies that the practice of making such unlawful emolument had
formerly existed; and your Committee think it very extraordinary that
the first notice the Company had received of such a practice should be
in taxing them for a compensation for a partial abolition of it, secured
on the parole of honor of those very persons who are supposed to have
been guilty of this unjustifiable conduct. Your Committee consider this
engagement, if kept, as only a partial abolition of the implied corrupt
practice: because no part of the compensation is given to the members of
the Board of Trade who reside at the several factories, though their
means of abuse are without all comparison greater; and if the corruption
was supposed so extensive as to be bought off at that price where the
means were fewer, the House will judge how far the tax has purchased off
the evil.


[1] See the Secret Committee's Reports on the Mahratta War.

[2] Vide Secret Committee Reports.

[3] Vide Select Committee Reports, 1781

[4] The sale, to the amount of about one hundred thousand pounds
annually, of the export from Great Britain ought to be deducted from
this million.

[5] Estimate of the Sale Amount and Net Proceeds in England of the
Cargoes to be sent from Bengal, agreeable to the Plan received by Letter
dated the 8th April, 1782.

This calculation supposes the eighty lac investments will be equal to
the tonnage of five ships.

[B] 2. To custom            L320,000 |[A] 1. By sale amount of
[C] 3. " freight             200,000 |          piece-goods and
[D] 4. " 5 per cent duty on          |          raw silk        L1,300,000
          L1,300,000          65,000 |       Discount 61/2 per
[E] 5. " 2 do. warehouse             |          cent allowed the
          room do.            26,000 |          buyers              84,500
         7 do. commission            |
          on L604,500         42,315 |
                          ---------- |
                            L653,315 |
[F] 6. " Balance             562,185 |
                          ---------- |                          ----------
                          L1,215,500 |                          L1,215,500

[A] 1. The sale amount is computed on an average of the sales of the two
last years' imports.

[B] 2. The custom is computed on an average of what was paid on
piece-goods and raw silk of said imports, adding additional imposts.

[C] 3. The ships going out of this season, (1782,) by which the above
investment is expected to be sent home, are taken up at 47_l._ 5_s._ per
ton, for the homeward cargo; this charge amounts to 35,815_l._ each
ship; the additional wages to the men, which the Company pay, and a very
small charge for demurrage, will increase the freight, &c., to
40,000_l._ per ship, agreeable to above estimate.

[D] 4. The duty of five per cent is charged by the Company on the gross
sale amount of all private trade licensed to be brought from India: the
amount of this duty is the only benefit the Company are likely to
receive from the subscription investment.

[E] 5. This charge is likewise made on private trade goods, and is
little, if anything, more than the real expense the Company are at on
account of the same; therefore no benefit will probably arise to the
Company from it on the sale of the said investment.

[F] 6. This is the sum which will probably be realized in England, and
is only equal to 1_s._ 6_d._ per rupee, on the eighty lacs subscribed.

[6] Vide Mr. Francis's plan in Appendix, No. 14, to the Select
Committee's Sixth Report.

[7] The whole sum has not been actually raised; but the deficiency is
not very considerable.

[8] Fourth Report, page 106.

[9] Par. 36. Vide Fourth Report from Com. of Secrecy in 1773, Appendix,
No. 45.

[10] Vide Sel. Letter to Bengal, 17 May, 1766, Par. 36, in Fourth Report
from Com. of Secrecy, in 1773, Appendix, No. 45.

[11] Ibid. Par. 37.

[12] Vide Committee's Fifth Report, page 21, and Appendix to that
Report, No. 12.

[13] 1st and 5th April, 1779.







November 18, 1783.


    From the SELECT COMMITTEE appointed to take into
    consideration the state of the administration of justice in
    the provinces of Bengal, Bahar, and Orissa, and to report the
    same, as it shall appear to them, to the House, with their
    observations thereupon; and who were instructed to consider
    how the British possessions in the East Indies may be held
    and governed with the greatest security and advantage to this
    country, and by what means the happiness of the native
    inhabitants may be best protected.

Your Committee, in the course of their inquiry into the obedience
yielded by the Company's Servants to the orders of the Court of
Directors, (the authority of which orders had been strengthened by the
Regulating Act of 1773,) could not overlook one of the most essential
objects of that act and of those orders, namely, _the taking of gifts
and presents_. These pretended free gifts from the natives to the
Company's servants in power had never been authorized by law; they are
contrary to the covenants formerly entered into by the President and
Council, they are strictly forbidden by the act of Parliament, and
forbidden upon grounds of the most substantial policy.

Before the Regulating Act of 1773, the allowances made by the Company to
the Presidents of Bengal were abundantly sufficient to guaranty them
against anything like a necessity for giving into that pernicious
practice. The act of Parliament which appointed a Governor-General in
the place of a President, as it was extremely particular in enforcing
the prohibition of those presents, so it was equally careful in making
an ample provision for supporting the dignity of the office, in order to
remove all excuse for a corrupt increase of its emoluments.

Although evidence on record, as well as verbal testimony, has appeared
before your Committee of presents to a large amount having been received
by Mr. Hastings and others before the year 1775, they were not able to
find distinct traces of that practice in him or any one else for a few

The inquiries set on foot in Bengal, by order of the Court of Directors,
in 1775, with regard to all corrupt practices, and the vigor with which
they were for some time pursued, might have given a temporary check to
the receipt of presents, or might have produced a more effectual
concealment of them, and afterwards the calamities which befell almost
all who were concerned in the first discoveries did probably prevent any
further complaint upon the subject; but towards the close of the last
session your Committee have received much of new and alarming
information concerning that abuse.

The first traces appeared, though faintly and obscurely, in a letter to
the Court of Directors from the Governor-General, Mr. Hastings, written
on the 29th of November, 1780.[14] It has been stated in a former Report
of your Committee,[15] that on the 26th of June, 1780, Mr. Hastings
being very earnest in the prosecution of a particular operation in the
Mahratta war, in order to remove objections to that measure, which were
made on account of the expense of the contingencies, he offered to
_exonerate_ the Company from that "charge." Continuing his Minute of
Council, he says, "That sum" (a sum of about 23,000_l._) "I have already
deposited, within a small amount, in the hands of the sub-treasurer; and
I _beg_ that the board will _permit_ it to be accepted for that
service." Here he offers in his own person; he deposits, or pretends
that he deposits, in his own person; and, with the zeal of a man eager
to pledge his private fortune in support of his measures, he prays that
his offer may be accepted. Not the least hint that he was delivering
back to the Company money of their own, which he had secreted from them.
Indeed, no man ever made it a request, much less earnestly entreated,
"begged to be permitted," to pay to any persons, public or private,
money that was their own.

It appeared to your Committee that the money offered for that service,
which was to forward the operations of a detachment under Colonel Camac
in an expedition against one of the Mahratta chiefs, was not accepted.
And your Committee, having directed search to be made for any sums of
money paid into the Treasury by Mr. Hastings for this service, found,
that, notwithstanding his assertion of having deposited "two lacs of
rupees, or within a trifle of that sum, in the hands of the
sub-treasurer," no entry whatsoever of that or any other payment by the
Governor-General was made in the Treasury accounts at or about that
time.[16] This circumstance appeared very striking to your Committee, as
the non-appearance in the Company's books of the article in question
must be owing to one or other of these four causes:--That the assertion
of Mr. Hastings, of his having paid in near two lacs of rupees at that
time, was not true; or that the sub-treasurer may receive great sums in
deposit without entering them in the Company's Treasury accounts; or
that the Treasury books themselves are records not to be depended on;
or, lastly, that faithful copies of these books of accounts are not
transmitted to Europe. The defect of an entry corresponding with Mr.
Hastings's declaration in Council can be attributed only to one of these
four causes,--of which the want of foundation in his recorded assertion,
though very blamable, is the least alarming.

On the 29th of November following, Mr. Hastings communicated to the
Court of Directors some sort of notice of this transaction.[17] In his
letter of that date he varies in no small degree the aspect under which
the business appeared in his Minute of Consultation of the 26th of June.
In his letter he says to the Directors, "The subject is now become
obsolete; the fair hopes which I had built upon the prosecution of the
Mahratta war have been blasted by the dreadful calamities which have
befallen your Presidency of Fort St. George, and changed the object of
our pursuit from the _aggrandizement_ of your power to its
preservation." After thus confessing, or rather boasting, of his motives
to the Mahratta war, he proceeds: "My present reason for reverting to my
own conduct on the occasion which I have mentioned" (namely, his
offering a sum of money for the Company's service) "is to obviate _the
false conclusions or purposed misrepresentations_ which may be made of
it, either as an artifice of _ostentation_ or the effect of _corrupt
influence_, by assuring you that the money, _by whatever means it came
into my possession, was not my own_, that I had myself _no right_ to it,
nor would or could have received it but for the occasion which prompted
me to avail myself _of the accidental means_ which were at that instant
afforded me of accepting and converting it to the property and use of
the Company: and with this brief apology I shall dismiss the subject."

The apology is brief indeed, considering the nature of the transaction;
and what is more material than its length or its shortness, it is in all
points unsatisfactory. The matter becomes, if possible, more obscure by
his explanation. Here was money received by Mr. Hastings, which,
according to his own judgment, he had no right to receive; it was money
which, "but for the occasion that prompted him, he could not have
accepted"; it was money which came into his, and from his into the
Company's hands, by ways and means undescribed, and from persons
unnamed: yet, though apprehensive of false conclusions and purposed
misrepresentations, he gives his employers no insight whatsoever into a
matter which of all others stood in the greatest need of a full and
clear elucidation.

Although he chooses to omit this essential point, he expresses the most
anxious solicitude to clear himself of the charges that might be made
against him, of the artifices of ostentation, and of corrupt influence.
To discover, if possible, the ground for apprehending such imputations,
your Committee adverted to the circumstances in which he stood at the
time: they found that this letter was dispatched about the time that
Mr. Francis took his passage for England; his fear of misrepresentation
may therefore allude to something which passed in conversation between
him and that gentleman at the time the offer was made.

It was not easy, on the mere face of his offer, to give an ill turn to
it. The act, as it stands on the Minute, is not only disinterested, but
generous and public-spirited. If Mr. Hastings apprehended
misrepresentation from Mr. Francis, or from any other person, your
Committee conceive that he did not employ proper means for defeating the
ill designs of his adversaries. On the contrary, the course he has taken
in his letter to the Court of Directors is calculated to excite doubts
and suspicions in minds the most favorably disposed to him. Some degree
of ostentation is not extremely blamable at a time when a man advances
largely from his private fortune towards the public service. It is human
infirmity at the worst, and only detracts something from the lustre of
an action in itself meritorious. The kind of ostentation which is
criminal, and criminal only because it is fraudulent, is where a person
makes a show of giving when in reality he does not give. This imposition
is criminal more or less according to the circumstances. But if the
money received to furnish such a pretended gift is taken from any third
person without right to take it, a new guilt, and guilt of a much worse
quality and description, is incurred. The Governor-General, in order to
keep clear of ostentation, on the 29th of November, 1780, declares, that
the sum of money which he offered on the 26th of the preceding June as
his own was not his own, and that he had no right to it. Clearing
himself of vanity, he convicts himself of deceit, and of injustice.

The other object of this brief apology was to clear himself of _corrupt
influence_. Of all ostentation he stands completely acquitted in the
month of November, however he might have been faulty in that respect in
the month of June; but with regard to the other part of the apprehended
charge, namely, _corrupt influence_, he gives no satisfactory solution.
A great sum of money "not his own,"--money to which "he had no
right,"--money which came into his possession "by whatever means":--if
this be not money obtained by corrupt influence, or by something worse,
that is, by violence or terror, it will be difficult to fix upon
circumstances which can furnish a presumption of unjustifiable use of
power and influence in the acquisition of profit. The last part of the
apology, that he had converted this money ("which he had no right to
receive") to the Company's use, so far as your Committee can discover,
_does nowhere appear_. He speaks, in the Minute of the 26th of June, as
having _then_ actually deposited it for the Company's service; in the
letter of November he says that he converted it to the Company's
property: but there is no trace in the Company's books of its being ever
brought to their credit in the expenditure for any specific service,
even if any such entry and expenditure could justify him in taking money
which he had by his own confession, "no right to receive."

The Directors appear to have been deceived by this representation, and
in their letter of January, 1782,[18] consider the money as actually
paid into their Treasury. Even under their error concerning the
application of the money, they appear rather alarmed than satisfied
with the brief apology of the Governor-General. They consider the whole
proceeding as _extraordinary and mysterious_. They, however, do not
condemn it with any remarkable asperity; after admitting that he might
be induced to a temporary secrecy _respecting the members of the board_,
from a fear of their resisting the proposed application, or any
application of this money to the Company's use, yet they write to the
Governor-General and Council as follows:--"It does not appear to us that
there could be any real necessity for delaying to communicate to _us_
immediate information of the _channel_ by which the money came into Mr.
Hastings's possession, with a complete illustration of the cause or
causes of so _extraordinary_ an event." And again: "The means proposed
of defraying the extra expenses are very _extraordinary_; and the money,
we conceive, must have come into his hands by an _unusual_ channel; and
when more complete information comes before us, we shall give our
sentiments fully on the transaction." And speaking of this and other
moneys under a similar description, they say, "We shall suspend our
judgment, without approving it in the least degree, or proceeding to
censure our Governor-General for this transaction." The expectations
entertained by the Directors of a more complete explanation were
natural, and their expression tender and temperate. But the more
complete information which they naturally expected they never have to
this day received.

Mr. Hastings wrote two more letters to the Secret Committee of the Court
of Directors, in which he mentions this transaction: the first dated (as
he asserts, and a Mr. Larkins swears) on the 22d of May, 1782;[19] the
last, which accompanied it, so late as the 16th of December in the same
year.[20] Though so long an interval lay between the transaction of the
26th of June, 1780, and the middle of December, 1782, (upwards of two
years,) no further satisfaction is given. He has written, since the
receipt of the above letter of the Court of Directors, (which demanded,
what they had a right to demand, a clear explanation of the particulars
of this sum of money which he had no right to receive,) without giving
them any further satisfaction. Instead of explanation or apology, he
assumes a tone of complaint and reproach, to the Directors: he lays
before them a kind of an account of presents received, to the amount of
upwards of 200,000_l._,--some at a considerable distance of time, and
which had not been hitherto communicated to the Company.

In the letter which accompanied that very extraordinary account, which
then for the first time appeared, he discovers no small solicitude to
clear himself from the imputation of having these discoveries drawn from
him by the terrors of the Parliamentary inquiries then on foot. To
remove all suspicion of such a motive for making these discoveries, Mr.
Larkins swears, in an affidavit made before Mr. Justice Hyde, bearing
even date with the letter which accompanies the account, that is, of the
16th of December, 1782, that this letter had been written by him on the
22d of May, several months before it was dispatched.[21] It appears that
Mr. Larkins, who makes this voluntary affidavit, is neither secretary to
the board, nor Mr. Hastings's private secretary, but an officer of the
Treasury of Bengal.

Mr. Hastings was conscious that a question would inevitably arise, how
he came to delay the sending intelligence of so very interesting a
nature from May to December. He therefore thinks it necessary to account
for so suspicious a circumstance. He tells the Directors, "that the
dispatch of the 'Lively' having been protracted from time to time, the
accompanying address, which was originally designed and prepared for
that dispatch, _and no other since occurring_, has of course been thus
long delayed."

The Governor-General's letter is dated the 22d May, and the "Resolution"
was the last ship of the season dispatched for Europe. The public
letters to the Directors are dated the 9th May; but it appears by the
letter of the commander of the ship that he did not receive his
dispatches from Mr. Lloyd, then at Kedgeree, until the 26th May, and
also that the pilot was not discharged from the ship until the 11th
June. Some of these presents (now for the first time acknowledged) had
been received eighteen months preceding the date of this letter,--none
less than four months; so that, in fact, he might have sent this account
by all the ships of that season; but the Governor-General chose to write
this letter thirteen days after the determination in Council for the
dispatch of the last ship.

It does not appear that he has given any communication whatsoever to his
colleagues in office of those extraordinary transactions. Nothing
appears on the records of the Council of the receipt of the presents;
nor is the transmission of this account mentioned in the general letter
to the Court of Directors, but in a letter from himself to their Secret
Committee, consisting generally of two persons, but at most of three. It
is to be observed that the Governor-General states, "that the dispatch
of the 'Lively' had been protracted from time to time; that this delay
was of no public consequence; but that it produced a situation which
with respect to himself he regarded as unfortunate, because it exposed
him to the meanest imputations, from the occasion which the late
Parliamentary inquiries have since furnished, but which were unknown
when his letter was written." If the Governor-General thought his
silence exposed him to the _meanest imputations_, he had the means in
his own power of avoiding those imputations: he might have sent this
letter, dated the 22d May, by the Resolution. For we find, that, in a
letter from Captain Poynting, of the 26th May, he states it not possible
for him to proceed to sea with the smallest degree of safety without a
supply of anchors and cables, and most earnestly requests they may be
supplied from Calcutta; and on the 28th May we find a minute from the
Secretary of the Council, Mr. Auriol, requesting an order of Council to
the master-attendant to furnish a sloop to carry down those cables;
which order was accordingly issued on the 30th May. There requires no
other proof to show that the Governor-General had the means of sending
this letter seven days after he wrote it, instead of delaying it for
near seven months, and because no conveyance had offered. Your Committee
must also remark, that the conveyance by land to Madras was certain; and
whilst such important operations were carrying on, both by sea and land,
upon the coast, that dispatches would be sent to the Admiralty or to the
Company was highly probable.

If the letter of the 22d May had been found in the list of packets sent
by the Resolution, the Governor General would have established in a
satisfactory manner, and far beyond the effect of any affidavit, that
the letter had been written at the time of the date. It appears that the
Resolution, being on her voyage to England, met with so severe a gale of
wind as to be obliged to put back to Bengal, and to unload her cargo.
This event makes no difference in the state of the transaction. Whatever
the cause of these new discoveries might have been, at the time of
sending them the fact of the Parliamentary inquiry was publicly known.

In the letter of the above date Mr. Hastings laments the mortification
of being reduced to take precautions "to guard his reputation from
dishonor."--"If I had," says he, "_at any time_ possessed that degree of
confidence from my _immediate_ employers which they have never withheld
from the _meanest_ of my predecessors, I should have disdained to use
these attentions."

Who the _meanest_ of Mr. Hastings's predecessors were does not appear to
your Committee; nor are they able to discern the ground of propriety or
decency for his assuming to himself a right to call any of them mean
persons. But if such mean persons have possessed that degree of
confidence from his immediate employers which for so many years he had
not possessed "_at any time_," inferences must be drawn from thence very
unfavorable to one or the other of the parties, or perhaps to both. The
attentions which he practises and disdains can in this case be of no
service to himself, his employers, or the public; the only attention at
all effectual towards extenuating, or in some degree atoning for, the
guilt of having taken money from individuals illegally was to be full
and fair in his confession of all the particulars of his offence. This
might not obtain that confidence which at no time he has enjoyed, but
still the Company and the nation might derive essential benefit from it;
the Directors might be able to afford redress to the sufferers; and by
his laying open the concealed channels of abuse, means might be
furnished for the better discovery, and possibly for the prevention, or
at least for the restraint, of a practice of the most dangerous
nature,--a practice of which the mere prohibition, without the means of
detection, must ever prove, as hitherto it had proved, altogether

Your Committee, considering that so long a time had elapsed without any
of that information which the Directors expected, and perceiving that
this receipt of sums of money under color of gift seemed a growing evil,
ordered the attendance of Mr. Hastings's agent, Major Scott. They had
found, on former occasions, that this gentleman was furnished with much
more early and more complete intelligence of the Company's affairs in
India than was thought proper for the Court of Directors; they therefore
examined him concerning every particular sum of money the receipt of
which Mr. Hastings had confessed in his account. It was to their
surprise that Mr. Scott professed himself perfectly uninstructed upon
almost every part of the subject, though the express object of his
mission to England was to clear up such matters as might be objected to
Mr. Hastings; and for that purpose he had early qualified himself by the
production to your Committee of his powers of agency. The ignorance in
which Mr. Hastings had left his agent was the more striking, because he
must have been morally certain, that, if his conduct in these points
should have escaped animadversion from the Court of Directors, it must
become an object of Parliamentary inquiry; for, in his letter of the
15th [16th?] of December, 1782, to the Court of Directors, he expressly
mentions his fears that those Parliamentary inquiries might be thought
to have extorted from him the confessions which he had made.

Your Committee, however, entering on a more strict examination
concerning the two lacs of rupees, which Mr. Hastings declares he had no
right to take, but had taken from some person then unknown, Major Scott
recollected that Mr. Hastings had, in a letter of the 7th of December,
1782, (in which he refers to some former letter,) acquainted him with
the name of the person from whom he had received these two lacs of
rupees, mentioned in the minute of June, 1780. It turned out to be the
Rajah of Benares, the unfortunate Cheyt Sing.

In the single instance in which Mr. Scott seemed to possess intelligence
in this matter, he is preferred to the Court of Directors. Under their
censure as Mr. Hastings was, and as he felt himself to be, for not
informing them of the channel in which he received that money, he
perseveres obstinately and contemptuously to conceal it from them;
though he thought fit to intrust his agent with the secret.

Your Committee were extremely struck with this intelligence. They were
totally unacquainted with it, when they presented to the House the
Supplement to their Second Report, on the affairs of Cheyt Sing. A gift
received by Mr. Hastings from the Rajah of Benares gave rise in their
minds to serious reflections on the condition of the princes of India
subjected to the British authority. Mr. Hastings was, at the very time
of his receiving this gift, in the course of making on the Rajah of
Benares a series of demands, unfounded and unjustifiable, and constantly
growing in proportion as they were submitted to. To these demands the
Rajah of Benares, besides his objections in point of right, constantly
sat up a plea of poverty. Presents from persons who hold up poverty as a
shield against extortion can scarcely in any case be considered as
gratuitous, whether the plea of poverty be true or false. In this case
the presents might have been bestowed; if not with an assurance, at
least with a rational hope, of some mitigation in the oppressive
requisitions that were made by Mr. Hastings; for to give much
voluntarily, when it is known that much will be taken away forcibly, is
a thing absurd and impossible. On the other [one?] hand, the acceptance
of that gift by Mr. Hastings must have pledged a tacit faith for some
degree of indulgence towards the donor: if it was a free gift,
gratitude, if it was a bargain, justice obliged him to do it. If, on the
other hand, Mr. Hastings originally destined (as he says he did) this
money, given to himself secretly and for his private emolument, to the
use of the Company, the Company's favor, to whom he acted as trustee,
ought to have been purchased by it. In honor and justice he bound and
pledged himself for that power which was to profit by the gift, and to
profit, too, in the success of an expedition which Mr. Hastings thought
so necessary to their aggrandizement. The unhappy man found his money
accepted, but no favor acquired on the part either of the Company or of
Mr. Hastings.

Your Committee have, in another Report, stated to the House that Mr.
Hastings attributed the extremity of distress which the detachments
under Colonel Camac had suffered, and the great desertions which ensued
on that expedition, to the want of punctuality of the Rajah in making
payment of one of the sums which had been extorted from him; and this
want of punctual payment was afterwards assigned as a principal reason
for the ruin of this prince. Your Committee have shown to the House, by
a comparison of facts and dates, that this charge is wholly without
foundation. But if the cause of Colonel Camac's failure had been true as
to the sum which was the object of the public demand, the failure could
not be attributed to the Rajah, when he had on the _instant_ privately
furnished at least 23,000_l._ to Mr. Hastings,--that is, furnished the
identical money which he tells us (but carefully concealing the name of
the giver) he had from the beginning destined, as he afterwards publicly
offered, for this very expedition of Colonel Camac's. The complication
of fraud and cruelty in the transaction admits of few parallels. Mr.
Hastings at the Council Board of Bengal displays himself as a zealous
servant of the Company, bountifully giving from his own fortune, and in
his letter to the Directors (as he says himself) as going out of the
ordinary roads for their advantage;[22] and all this on the credit of
supplies derived from the gift of a man whom he treats with the utmost
severity, and whom he accuses, in this particular, of disaffection to
the Company's cause and interests.

With 23,000_l._ of the Rajah's money in his pocket, he persecutes him to
his destruction,--assigning for a reason, that his reliance on the
Rajah's faith, and his breach of it, were the principal causes that _no
other_ provision was made for the detachment on the specific expedition
to which the Rajah's specific money was to be applied. The Rajah had
given it to be disposed of by Mr. Hastings; and if it was not disposed
of in the best manner for the accomplishing his objects, the accuser
himself is the criminal.

To take money for the forbearance of a just demand would have been
corrupt only; but to urge unjust public demands,--to accept private
pecuniary favors in the course of those demands,--and, on the pretence
of delay or refusal, without mercy to persecute a benefactor,--to refuse
to hear his remonstrances,--to arrest him in his capital, in his palace,
in the face of all the people,--thus to give occasion to an
insurrection, and, on pretext of that insurrection, to refuse all treaty
or explanation,--to drive him from his government and his country,--to
proscribe him in a general amnesty,--and to send him all over India a
fugitive, to publish the shame of British government in all the nations
to whom he successively fled for refuge,--these are proceedings to
which, for the honor of human nature, it is hoped few parallels are to
be found in history, and in which the illegality and corruption of the
acts form the smallest part of the mischief.

Such is the account of the first sum _confessed_ to be taken as a
present by Mr. Hastings, since the year 1775; and such are its
consequences. Mr. Hastings apologizes for this action by declaring "that
he would not have received the money but for the _occasion_, which
prompted him to avail himself of the accidental means which were at that
instant afforded him of accepting and converting it to the use of the
Company."[23] By this account, he considers the act as excusable only by
the particular occasion, by the temptation of accidental means, and by
the suggestion of the _instant_. How far this is the case appears by the
very next paragraph of this letter in which the account is given and in
which the apology is made. If these were his sentiments in June, 1780,
they lasted but a very short time: his accidental means appear to be
growing habitual.

To point out in a clear manner the spirit of the second money
transaction to which your Committee adverted, which is represented by
Mr. Hastings as having some "affinity with the former _anecdote_,"[24]
(for in this light kind of phrase he chooses to express himself to his
masters,) your Committee think it necessary to state to the House, that
the business, namely, this business, which was the second object of
their inquiry, appears in three different papers and in three different
lights: on comparing of these authorities, in every one of which Mr.
Hastings is himself the voucher, if one of the three be true, the other
two must necessarily be false.

These three authorities, which your Committee has accurately compared,
are, first, his minutes on the Consultations;[25] secondly, his letter
to the Court of Directors on the 29th of November, 1780;[26] thirdly,
his account, transmitted on the 16th of December, 1782.[27]

About eight months after the first transaction relative to Cheyt Sing,
and which is just reported, that is, on the 5th of January, 1781, Mr.
Hastings produced a demand to the Council for money of his own expended
for the Company's service.[28] Here was no occasion for secrecy. Mr.
Francis was on his passage to Europe; Mr. Wheler was alone left, who no
longer dissented from anything; Mr. Hastings was in effect himself the
whole Council. He declared that _he_ had disbursed three lacs of rupees,
that is, thirty-four thousand five hundred pounds, in secret
services,--which having, he says, "been advanced from _my own private
cash_, I request that the same may be repaid to me in the following
manner." He accordingly desires three bonds, for a lac of Sicca rupees
each, to be given to him in two of the Company's subscriptions,--one to
bear interest on the eight per cent loan, the other two in the four per
cent: the bonds were antedated to the beginning of the preceding
October. On the 9th of the same month, that is, on the 9th of January,
1781, the three bonds were accordingly ordered.[29] So far the whole
transaction appears clear, and of a piece. Private money is subscribed,
and a public security is taken for it. When the Company's Treasury
accounts[30] are compared with the proceedings of their Council-General,
a perfect correspondence also appears. The three bonds are then [there?]
entered to Mr. Hastings, and he is credited for principal and interest
on them, in the exact terms of the order. So far the official
accounts,--which, because of their perfect harmony, are considered as
clear and consistent evidence to one body of fact.

The second sort of document relative to these bonds (though the first in
order of time) is Mr. Hastings's letter of the 29th of November,
1780.[31] It is written between the time of the expenditure of the money
for the Company's use and the taking of the bonds. Here, for the first
time, a very material difference appears; and the difference is the more
striking, because Mr. Hastings claimed the _whole_ money as his own, and
took bonds for it as such, _after_ this representation. The letter to
the Company discovers that part of the money (the whole of which he had
declared on record to be his own, and for which he had taken bonds) was
not his, but the property of his masters, from whom he had taken the
security. It is no less remarkable that the letter which represents the
money as belonging to the Company was written about six weeks before the
Minute of Council in which he claims that money as his own. It is this
letter on which your Committee is to remark.

Mr. Hastings, after giving his reasons for the application of the three
lacs of rupees, and for his having for some time concealed the fact,
says, "Two thirds of that sum I have raised _by my own credit_, and
shall charge it in my official account; _the other third_ I have
supplied from the cash in my hands belonging to the Honorable

The House will observe, that in November he tells the Directors that he
shall charge only _two thirds_ in his official accounts; in the
following January he charges the _whole_.[33] For the other third,
although he admitted that to belong to the Company, we have seen that he
takes a bond to _himself_.

It is material that he tells the Company in his letter that these two
lacs of rupees were _raised on his credit_. His letter to the Council
says that they were advanced from his _private cash_. What he raises on
his credit may, on a fair construction, be considered as his own: but in
this, too, he fails; for it is certain he has never transferred these
bonds to any creditor; nor has he stated any sum he has paid, or for
which he stands indebted, on that account, to any specific person.
Indeed, it was out of his power; for the first two thirds of the money,
which he formerly stated as raised upon his credit, he now confesses to
have been from the beginning the Company's property, and therefore could
not have been raised on his private credit, or borrowed from any person

To these two accounts, thus essentially varying, he has added a
third,[34] varying at least as essentially from both. In his last or
third account, which is a statement of all the sums he has received in
an extraordinary manner, and confessed to be the Company's property, he
reverses the items of his first account, and, instead of allowing the
Company but one third and claiming two thirds for himself, he enters two
of the bonds, each for a lac of rupees, as belonging to the Company: of
the third bond, which appears so distinctly in the Consultations and in
the Treasury accounts, not one word is said; ten thousand pounds is
absorbed, sinks, and disappears at once, and no explanation whatsoever
concerning it is given; Mr. Hastings seems not yet to have decided to
whose account it ought to be placed. In this manner his debt to the
Company, or the Company's to him, is just what he thinks fit. In a
single article he has varied three times. In one account he states the
whole to be his own; in another he claims two thirds; in the last he
gives up the claim of the two thirds, and says nothing to the remaining

To make amends, however, for the suppression of this third bond, given
with the two others in January, 1781, and antedated to the beginning of
October, Mr. Hastings, in the above-mentioned general account subjoined
to his letter of the 22d May, 1782, has brought to the Company's credit
a new bond.[35]

This bond is for 17,000_l._ It was taken from the Company (and so it
appears on their Treasury accounts) on the 23d of November, 1780. He
took no notice of this, when, in January following, he called upon his
own Council for the three others. What is more extraordinary, he was
equally silent with regard to it, when, only six days after its date, he
wrote concerning the subject of the three other bonds to the Court of
Directors; yet now it comes out, that that bond also was taken by Mr.
Hastings from the Company for money which he declares he had received on
the Company's account, and that he entered himself as creditor when he
ought to have made himself debtor.

Your Committee examined Major Scott concerning this money, which Mr.
Hastings must have obtained in some clandestine and irregular mode; but
they could obtain no information of the persons from whom it was taken,
nor of the occasion or pretence of taking this large sum; nor does any
Minute of Council appear for its application to any service. The whole
of the transaction, whatever it was, relative to this bond, is covered
with the thickest obscurity.

Mr. Hastings, to palliate the blame of his conduct, declares that he
has not received any interest on these bonds,--and that he has indorsed
them as not belonging to himself, but to the Company.[36] As to the
first part of this allegation, whether he received the interest or let
it remain in arrear is a matter of indifference, as he entitled himself
to it; and so far as the legal security he has taken goes, he may,
whenever he pleases, dispose both of principal and interest. What he has
indorsed on the bonds, or when he made the indorsement, or whether in
fact he has made it at all, are matters known only to himself; for the
bonds must be in his possession, and are nowhere by him stated to be
given up or cancelled,--which is a thing very remarkable, when he
confesses that he had no right to receive them.

These bonds make but a part of the account of private receipts of money
by Mr. Hastings, formerly paid into the Treasury as his own property,
and now allowed not to be so. This account brings into view other very
remarkable matters of a similar nature and description.[37]

In the public records, a sum of not less than 23,871_l._ is set to his
credit as a _deposit_ for his private account, paid in by him into the
Treasury in gold, and coined at the Company's mint.[38] This appears in
the account furnished to the Directors, under the date of May, 1782, not
to be lawfully his money, and he therefore transfers it to the Company's
credit: it still remains as a deposit.[39]

That the House may be apprised of the nature of this article of
deposit, it may not be improper to state that the Company receive into
their treasury the cash of private persons, placed there as in a bank.
On this no interest is paid, and the party depositing has a right to
receive it upon demand. Under this head of account no public money is
ever entered. Mr. Hastings, neither at making the deposit as his own,
nor at the time of his disclosure of the real proprietor, (which he
makes to be the Company,) has given any information of the persons from
whom this money had been received. Mr. Scott was applied to by your
Committee, but could not give any more satisfaction in this particular
than in those relative to the bonds.

The title of the account of the 22d of May purports not only that those
sums were paid into the Company's treasury by Mr. Hastings's order, but
that they were applied to the Company's service. No service is
specified, directly or by any reference, to which this great sum of
money has been applied.

Two extraordinary articles follow this, in the May account, amounting to
about 29,000_l._[40] These articles are called Receipts for Durbar
Charges. The general head of Durbar Charges, made by persons in office,
when analyzed into the particulars, contains various expenses, including
bounties and presents made by government, chiefly in the foreign
department. But in the last account he confesses that this sum also is
not his, but the Company's property; but as in all the rest, so in this,
he carefully conceals the means by which he acquired the money, the time
of his taking it, and the persons from whom it was taken. This is the
more extraordinary, because, in looking over the journals and ledgers
of the Treasury, the presents received and carried to the account of the
Company (which were generally small and complimental) were precisely
entered, with the name of the giver.

Your Committee, on turning to the account of Durbar charges in the
ledger of that month, find the sum, as stated in the account of May 22d,
to be indeed paid in; but there is no specific application whatsoever

The account of the whole money thus clandestinely received, as stated on
the 22d of May, 1782, (and for a great part of which Mr. Hastings to
that time took credit for, and for the rest has accounted in an
extraordinary manner as his own,) amounts in the whole to upwards of
ninety-three thousand pounds sterling: a vast sum to be so obtained, and
so loosely accounted for! If the money taken from the Rajah of Benares
be added, (as it ought,) it will raise the sum to upwards of
116,000_l._; if the 11,600_l._ bond in October be added, it will be
upwards of 128,000_l._ received in a secret manner by Mr. Hastings in
about one year and five months. To all these he adds another sum of one
hundred thousand pounds, received as a present from the Subah of Oude.
Total, upwards of 228,000_l._

Your Committee find that this last is the only sum the giver of which
Mr. Hastings has thought proper to declare. It is to be observed, that
he did not receive this 100,000_l._ in money, but in bills on a great
native money-dealer resident at Benares, and who has also an house at
Calcutta: he is called Gopal Das. The negotiation of these bills tended
to make a discovery not so difficult as it would have been in other

With regard to the application of this last sum of money, which is said
to be carried to the Durbar charges of April, 1782, your Committee are
not enabled to make any observations on it, as the account of that
period has not yet arrived.

Your Committee have, in another Report, remarked fully upon most of the
circumstances of this extraordinary transaction. Here they only bring so
much of these circumstances again into view as may serve to throw light
upon the true nature of the sums of money taken by British subjects in
power, under the name of _presents_, and to show how far they are
entitled to that description in any sense which can fairly imply in the
pretended donors either willingness or ability to give. The condition of
the bountiful parties who are not yet discovered may be conjectured from
the state of those who have been made known: as far as that state
anywhere appears, their generosity is found in proportion, not to the
opulence they possess or to the favors they receive, but to the
indigence they feel and the insults they are exposed to. The House will
particularly attend to the situation of the principal giver, the Subah
of Oude.

"When the knife," says he, "had penetrated to the bone, and I was
surrounded with such heavy distresses that I could no longer live in
expectations, I wrote you an account of my difficulties.

"The answer which 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 ever have given your
orders in so afflicting a manner, in which you never before wrote, and
which I could not have imagined. As I am resolved to _obey_ your orders,
and directions of the Council, without any delay, as long as I live, I
have, agreeably to those _orders_, delivered up _all my private papers_
to him [the Resident], that, when he shall have examined my receipts and
expenses, _he may take whatever remains_. 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, 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, mutseddies, 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 support_. I had raised thirteen hundred horse and three battalions
of sepoys to attend upon me; but as I have no resources to support them,
I have been obliged to remove the people stationed in the mahals
[districts] and to send his people [the Resident's people] into the
mahals, so that I have not now one single servant about me. Should I
mention to what further difficulties I have been reduced, it would lay
me open to contempt."

In other parts of this long remonstrance, as well as in other
remonstrances no less serious, he says, "that it is difficult for him to
save himself alive; that in all his affairs _Mr. Hastings had given full
powers to the gentlemen here_," (meaning the English Resident and
Assistants,) "_who have done whatever they chose, and still continue to
do it_. I never expected that _you_ would have brought me into such
apprehension, and into so weak a state, without _writing to me on any
one of those subjects_; since I have not the smallest connection with
anybody except yourself. I am in such distress, both day and night, that
I see not the smallest prospect of deliverance from it, since you are so
displeased with me _as not to honor me with a single letter_."

In another remonstrance he thus expresses himself. "The affairs of this
world are unstable, and soon pass away: it would therefore be incumbent
on the _English_ gentlemen to show _some_ friendship for me in my
_necessities_,--I, who have always exerted my very life in the service
of the English, _assigned over to them all the resources left in my
country_, stopped my very household expenses, together with the jaghires
of my servants and dependants, to the amount of 98,98,375 rupees.
Besides this, as to the jaghires of my grandmother, mother, and uncle,
which were granted to them for their support, _agreeable to
engagements_, you are the _masters_,--if the Council have sent orders
for the stopping their jaghires also, stop them. I have no resources
left in my country, and have no friends by me, being even distressed in
my daily subsistence. I have some elephants, horses, and the houses
which I inhabit: if they can be of any service to my friends, they are
ready. Whenever you can discover any resources, seize upon them: I shall
not interfere to prevent you. In my present distress for my daily
expenses, I was in hopes that they would have excused some part of my
debt. Of what use is it for me to relate my situation, which is known to
the whole world? This much is sufficient."

The truth of all these representations is nowhere contested by Mr.
Hastings. It is, indeed, admitted in something stronger than words;
for, upon account of the Nabob's condition, and the no less distressed
condition of his dominions, he thought it fit to withdraw from him and
them a large body of the Company's troops, together with all the English
of a civil description, who were found no less burdensome than the
military. This was done on the declared inability of the country any
longer to support them,--a country not much inferior to England in
extent and fertility, and, till lately at least, its equal in population
and culture.

It was to a prince, in a state so far remote from freedom, authority,
and opulence, so penetrated with the treatment he had received, and the
behavior he had met with from Mr. Hastings, that Mr. Hastings has chosen
to attribute a disposition so very generous and munificent as, of his
own free grace and mere motion, to make him a present, at one donation,
of upwards of one hundred thousand pounds sterling. This vast private
donation was given at the moment of vast instant demands severely
exacted on account of the Company, and accumulated on immense debts to
the same body,--and all taken from a ruined prince and almost desolated

Mr. Hastings has had the firmness, with all possible ease and apparent
unconcern, to request permission from the Directors to legalize this
forbidden present for his own use. This he has had the courage to do at
a time when he had abundant reason to look for what he has since
received,--their censure for many material parts of his conduct towards
the people from whose wasted substance this pretended free gift was
drawn. He does not pretend that he has reason to expect the smallest
degree of partiality, in this or any other point, from the Court of
Directors. For, besides his complaint, first stated, of having never
possessed their confidence, in a late letter[41] (in which,
notwithstanding the censures of Parliament, he magnifies his own
conduct) he says, that, in all the long period of his service, "he has
almost unremittedly wanted the support which all his predecessors had
enjoyed from their constituents. From mine," says he, "I have received
_nothing but reproach, hard_ epithets, _and indignities_, instead of
rewards and encouragement." It must therefore have been from some other
source of protection than that which the law had placed over him that he
looked for countenance and reward in violating an act of Parliament
which forbid him from _taking gifts or presents on any account
whatsoever_,--much less a gift of this magnitude, which, from the
distress of the giver, must be supposed the effect of the most cruel

The Directors did wrong in their orders to appropriate money, which they
must know could not have been acquired by the consent of the pretended
donor, to their own use.[42] They acted more properly in refusing to
confirm this grant to Mr. Hastings, and in choosing rather to refer him
to the law which he had violated than to his own sense of what he
thought he was entitled to take from the natives: putting him in mind
that the Regulating Act had expressly declared "that no
Governor-General, or any of the Council, shall, directly or indirectly,
accept, receive, or take, of or from any person or persons, or on any
account whatsoever, any present, gift, donation, gratuity, or reward,
pecuniary or otherwise, or any promise or engagement for any of the
aforesaid." Here is no reserve for the case of a disclosure to the
Directors, and for the legalizing the breach of an act of Parliament by
their subsequent consent. The illegality attached to the action at its
very commencement, and it could never be afterwards legalized: the
Directors had no such power reserved to them. Words cannot be devised of
a stronger import or studied with more care. To these words of the act
are opposed the declaration and conduct of Mr. Hastings, who, in his
letter of January, 1782, thinks fit to declare, that "an offer of a very
considerable sum of money was made to him, both on the part of the Nabob
and his ministers, as _a present_, which he _accepted without
hesitation_." The plea of his pretended necessity is of no avail. The
present was not in ready money, nor, as your Committee conceive,
applicable to his immediate necessities. Even his credit was not
bettered by bills at long periods; he does not pretend that he raised
any money upon them; nor is it conceivable that a banker at Benares
would be more willing to honor the drafts of so miserable, undone, and
dependent a person as the Nabob of Oude than those of the
Governor-General of Bengal, which might be paid either on the receipt of
the Benares revenue, or at the seat of his power, and of the Company's
exchequer. Besides, it is not explicable, upon any grounds that can be
avowed, why the Nabob, who could afford to give these bills as _a
present_ to Mr. Hastings, could not have equally given them in discharge
of the debt which he owed to the Company. It is, indeed, very much to be
feared that the people of India find it sometimes turn more to their
account to give presents to the English in authority than to pay their
debts to the public; and this is a matter of a very serious

No small merit is made by Mr. Hastings, and that, too, in a high and
upbraiding style, of his having come to a voluntary discovery of this
and other unlawful practices of the same kind. "That honorable court,"
says Mr. Hastings, addressing himself to his masters, in his letter of
December, 1782, "ought to know whether I possess the integrity and honor
which are the first requisites of such a station. If I wanted these,
they have afforded me too powerful incentives to suppress the
information which I now convey to them through you, and to appropriate
to my own use the sums which I have already passed to their credit, by
their _unworthy_, and pardon me if I add _dangerous reflections_, which
they have passed upon me for the first communication of this kind"; and
he immediately adds, what is singular and striking, and savors of a
recriminatory insinuation, "_and your own experience_ will suggest to
you that there are persons who would profit by such a warning."[43] To
what Directors in particular this imputation of experience is applied,
and what other persons they are in whom _experience_ has shown a
disposition to profit of such a warning, is a matter highly proper to be
inquired into. What Mr. Hastings says further on this subject is no less
worthy of attention:--"_that he could have concealed these transactions,
if he had a wrong motive, from theirs and the public eye forever_."[44]
It is undoubtedly true, that, whether the observation be applicable to
the particular case or not, practices of this corrupt nature are
extremely difficult of detection anywhere, but especially in India; but
all restraint upon that grand fundamental abuse of presents is gone
forever, if the servants of the Company can derive safety from a
defiance of the law, when they can no longer hope to screen themselves
by an evasion of it. All hope of reformation is at an end, if, confiding
in the force of a faction among Directors or proprietors to bear them
out, and possibly to vote them the fruit of their crimes as a reward of
their discovery, they find that their bold avowal of their offences is
not only to produce indemnity, but to be rated for merit. If once a
presumption is admitted, that, wherever something is divulged, nothing
is hid, the discovering of one offence may become the certain means of
concealing a multitude of others. The contrivance is easy and trivial,
and lies open to the meanest proficient in this kind of art; it will not
only become an effectual cover to such practices, but will tend
infinitely to increase them. In that case, sums of money will be taken
for the purpose of discovery and making merit with the Company, and
other sums will be taken for the private advantage of the receiver.

It must certainly be impossible for the natives to know what presents
are for one purpose, or what for the other. It is not for a Gentoo or a
Mahometan landholder at the foot of the remotest mountains in India, who
has no access to our records and knows nothing of our language, to
distinguish what lacs of rupees, which he has given _eo nomine_ as a
present to a Company's servant, are to be authorized by his masters in
Leadenhall Street as proper and legal, or carried to their public
account at their pleasure, and what are laid up for his own emolument.

The legislature, in declaring all presents to be the property of the
Company, could not consider corruption, extortion, and fraud as any part
of their resources. The property in such presents was declared to be
theirs, not as a fund for their benefit, but in order to found a legal
title to a civil suit. It was declared theirs, to facilitate the
recovery out of corrupt and oppressive hands of money illegally taken;
but this legal fiction of property could not nor ought by the
legislature to be considered in any other light than as a trust held by
them for those who suffered the injury. Upon any other construction, the
Company would have a right, first, to extract money from the subjects or
dependants of this kingdom committed to their care, by means of
particular conventions, or by taxes, by rents, and by monopolies; and
when they had exhausted every contrivance of public imposition, then
they were to be at liberty to let loose upon the people all their
servants, from the highest rank to the lowest, to prey upon them at
pleasure, and to draw, by personal and official authority, by influence,
venality, and terror, whatever was left to them,--and that all this was
justified, provided the product was paid into the Company's exchequer.

This prohibition and permission of presents, with this declaration of
property in the Company, would leave no property to any man in India.
If, however, it should be thought that this clause in the act[45] should
be capable, by construction and retrospect, of so legalizing and thus
appropriating these presents, (which your Committee conceive
impossible,) it is absolutely necessary that it should be very fully

The provision in the act was made in favor of the natives. If such
construction prevails, the provision made as their screen from
oppression will become the means of increasing and aggravating it
without bounds and beyond remedy. If presents, which when they are given
were unlawful, can afterwards be legalized by an application of them to
the Company's service, no sufferer can even resort to a remedial process
at law for his own relief. The moment he attempts to sue, the money may
be paid into the Company's treasury; it is then lawfully taken, and the
party is non-suited.

The Company itself must suffer extremely in the whole order and
regularity of their public accounts, if the idea upon which Mr. Hastings
justifies the taking of these presents receives the smallest
countenance. On his principles, the same sum may become private property
or public, at the pleasure of the receiver; it is in his power, Mr.
Hastings says, to conceal it forever.[46] He certainly has it in his
power not only to keep it back and bring it forward at his own times,
but even to shift and reverse the relations in the accounts (as Mr.
Hastings has done) in what manner and proportion seems good to him, and
to make himself alternately debtor or creditor for the same sums.

Of this irregularity Mr. Hastings himself appears in some degree
sensible. He conceives it possible that his transactions of this nature
may to the Court of Directors seem unsatisfactory. He, however, puts it
hypothetically: "If to you," says he, "who are accustomed to view
business in an _official and regular light, they should appear
unprecedented, if not improper_."[47] He just conceives it possible that
in an official money transaction the Directors may expect a proceeding
official and regular. In what other lights than those which are official
and regular matters of public account ought to be regarded by those who
have the charge of them, either in Bengal or in England, does not appear
to your Committee. Any other is certainly "unprecedented and improper,"
and can only serve to cover fraud both in the receipt and in the
expenditure. The acquisition of 58,000 rupees, or near 6000_l._, which
appears in the sort of _unofficial and irregular account_ that he
furnishes of his presents, in his letter of May, 1782,[48] must appear
extraordinary indeed to those who expect from men in office something
official and something regular. "This sum," says he, "I received while I
was on my journey to Benares."[49] He tells it with the same careless
indifference as if things of this kind were found by accident on the

Mr. Hastings did not, indeed he could not, doubt that this unprecedented
and improper account would produce much discussion. He says, "Why these
sums were taken by me, why they were (except the second) _quietly_
transferred to the Company's account, why bonds were taken for the first
and not for the rest, might, were this matter to be exposed to the view
of the public, _furnish a variety of conjectures_."[50]

This matter has appeared, and has furnished, as it ought to do,
something more serious than conjectures. It would in any other case be
supposed that Mr. Hastings, expecting such inquiries, and considering
that the questions are (even as they are imperfectly stated by himself)
far from frivolous, would condescend to give some information upon
them; but the conclusion of a sentence so importantly begun, and which
leads to such expectations, is, "that to these conjectures it would be
of little use to reply." This is all he says to public conjecture.

To the Court of Directors he is very little more complaisant, and not at
all more satisfactory; he states merely as a supposition their inquiry
concerning matters of which he positively knew that they had called for
an explanation. He knew it, because he presumed to censure them for
doing so. To the hypothesis of a further inquiry he gives a conjectural
answer of such a kind as probably, in an account of a doubtful
transaction, and to a superior, was never done before.

"_Were_ your Honorable Court to question me upon these points, I _would_
answer, that the sums were taken for the Company's benefit, at times in
which the Company very much stood in need of them; 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 could at this distance of time verify."[51]

He here professes not to be certain of the motives by which he was
himself actuated in so extraordinary a concealment, and in the use of
such extraordinary means to effect it; and as if the acts in question
were those of an absolute stranger, and not his own, he gives various
loose conjectures concerning the motive to them. He even supposes, in
taking presents contrary to law, and in taking bonds for them as his
own, contrary to what he admits to be truth and fact, that he might have
acted without any distinct motive at all, or at least such as his
memory could reach at that distance of time. That immense distance, in
the faintness of which his recollection is so completely lost as to set
him guessing at his motives for his own conduct, was from the 15th of
January, 1781, when the bonds at his own request were given, to the date
of this letter, which is the 22d of May, 1782,--that is to say, about
one year and four months.

As to the other sums, for which no bond was taken, the ground for the
difference in his explanation is still more extraordinary: he says, "I
did not think it worth my care to observe the same means with _the
rest_."[52] The rest of these sums, which were not worth his care, are
stated in his account to be greater than those he was so solicitous (for
some reason which he cannot guess) to cover under bonds: these sums
amount to near 53,000_l._; whereas the others did not much exceed
40,000_l._ For these actions, attended with these explanations, he
ventures to appeal to their (the Directors') breasts for a candid
interpretation, and "he assumes the freedom to add, that he thinks
himself, on _such_ a subject, and on _such_ an occasion, entitled to
it";[53] and then, as if he had performed some laudable exploit, in the
accompanying letter he glories in the integrity of his conduct; and
anticipating his triumph over injustice, and the applauses which at a
future time he seems confident he shall receive, says he, "The applause
of my own breast is my surest reward: your applause and that of my
country is my next wish in life."[54] He declares in that very letter
that he had not _at any time_ possessed the confidence with them which
they never withheld from the meanest of his predecessors. With wishes so
near his heart perpetually disappointed, and, instead of applauses, (as
he tells us,) receiving nothing but reproaches and disgraceful epithets,
his steady continuance for so many years in their service, in a place
obnoxious in the highest degree to suspicion and censure, is a thing
altogether singular.

It appears very necessary to your Committee to observe upon the great
leading principles which Mr. Hastings assumes, to justify the irregular
taking of these vast sums of money, and all the irregular means he had
employed to cover the greater part of it. These principles are the more
necessary to be inquired into, because, if admitted, they will serve to
justify every species of improper conduct. His words are, "that the
sources from which these reliefs to the public service have come would
never have yielded them to the Company _publicly_; and that the
exigencies of their service (exigencies created by the exposition of
their affairs, and faction in their divided councils) required those

As to the first of these extraordinary positions, your Committee cannot
conceive what motive could actuate any native of India dependent on the
Company, in assisting them privately, and in refusing to assist them
publicly. If the transaction was fair and honest, every native must have
been desirous of making merit with the great governing power. If he gave
his money as a free gift, he might value himself upon very honorable and
very acceptable service; if he lent it on the Company's bonds, it would
still have been of service, and he might also receive eight per cent
for his money. No native could, without some interested view, give to
the Governor-General what he would refuse to the Company as a grant, or
even as a loan. It is plain that the powers of government must, in some
way or other, be understood by the natives to be at sale. The
Governor-General says that he took the money with an original
destination to the purposes to which he asserts he has since applied it.
But this original destination was in his own mind only,--not declared,
nor by him pretended to be declared, to the party who gave the presents,
and who could perceive nothing in it but money paid to the supreme
magistrate for his private emolument. All that the natives could
possibly perceive in such a transaction must be highly dishonorable to
the Company's government; for they must conceive, when they gave money
to Mr. Hastings, that they bought from Mr. Hastings either what was
their own right or something that was not so, or that they redeemed
themselves from some acts of rigor inflicted, threatened, or
apprehended. If, in the first case, Mr. Hastings gave them the object
for which they bargained, his act, however proper, was corrupt,--if he
did not, it was both corrupt and fraudulent; if the money was extorted
by force or threats, it was oppressive and tyrannical. The very nature
of such transactions has a tendency to teach the natives to pay a
corrupt court to the servants of the Company; and they must thereby be
rendered less willing, or less able, or perhaps both, to fulfil their
engagements to the state. Mr. Scott's evidence asserts that they would
rather give to Mr. Hastings than lend to the Company. It is very
probable; but it is a demonstration of their opinion of his power and
corruption, and of the weak and precarious state of the Company's

The second principle assumed by Mr. Hastings for his justification,
namely, that factious opposition and a divided government might create
exigencies requiring such supplies, is full as dangerous as the first;
for, if, in the divisions which must arise in all councils, one member
of government, when he thinks others factiously disposed, shall be
entitled to take money privately from the subject for the purposes of
his politics, and thereby to dispense with an act of Parliament,
pretences for that end cannot be wanting. A dispute may always be raised
in council in order to cover oppression and peculation elsewhere. But
these principles of Mr. Hastings tend entirely to destroy the character
and functions of a council, and to vest them in one of the dissentient
members. The law has placed the sense of the whole in the majority; and
it is not a thing to be suffered, that any of the members should
privately raise money for the avowed purpose of defeating that sense, or
for promoting designs that are contrary to it: a more alarming
assumption of power in an individual member of any deliberative or
executive body cannot be imagined. Mr. Hastings had no right, in order
to clear himself of peculation, to criminate the majority with faction.
No member of any body, outvoted on a question, has, or can have, a right
to direct any part of his public conduct by that principle. The members
of the Council had a common superior, to whom they might appeal in their
mutual charges of faction: they did so frequently; and the imputation of
faction has almost always been laid on Mr. Hastings himself.

But there were periods, very distinguished periods too, in the records
of the Company, in which the clandestine taking of money could not be
supported even by this pretence. Mr. Hastings has been charged with
various acts of peculation, perpetrated at a time he could not excuse
himself by the plea of any public purpose to be carried on, or of any
faction in council by which it was traversed. It may be necessary here
to recall to the recollection of the House, that, on the cry which
prevailed of the ill practices of the Company's servants in India,
(which general cry in a great measure produced the Regulating Act of
1773,) the Court of Directors, in their instructions of the 29th of
March, 1774, gave it as an injunction to the Council-General, that "they
_immediately_ cause the _strictest_ inquiry to be made into _all_
oppressions which may have been committed either against natives or
Europeans, and into _all_ abuses which may have prevailed in the
collection of the revenues or _any part of the civil government_ of the
Presidency; and that you communicate to us _all information_ which you
may be able to obtain relative thereto, or any embezzlement or
dissipation of the Company's money."

In this inquiry, by far the most important abuse which appeared on any
of the above heads was that which was charged relative to the sale in
gross by Mr. Hastings of nothing less than the whole authority of the
country government in the disposal of the guardianship of the Nabob of

The present Nabob, Mobarek ul Dowlah, was a minor when he succeeded to
the title and office of Subahdar of the three provinces in 1770.
Although in a state approaching to subjection, still his rank and
character were important. Much was necessarily to depend upon a person
who was to preserve the moderation of a sovereign not supported by
intrinsic power, and yet to maintain the dignity necessary to carry on
the representation of political government, as well as the substance of
the whole criminal justice of a great country. A good education,
conformably to the maxims of his religion and the manners of his people,
was necessary to enable him to fill that delicate place with reputation
either to the Mahometan government or to ours. He had still to manage a
revenue not inconsiderable, which remained as the sole resource for the
languishing dignity of persons any way distinguished in rank among
Mussulmen, who were all attached and clung to him. These considerations
rendered it necessary to put his person and affairs into proper hands.
They ought to have been men who were able by the gravity of their rank
and character to preserve his morals from the contagion of low and
vicious company,--men who by their integrity and firmness might be
enabled to resist in some degree the rapacity of Europeans, as well as
to secure the remaining fragments of his property from the attempts of
the natives themselves, who must lie under strong temptation of taking
their share in the last pillage of a decaying house.

The Directors were fully impressed with the necessity of such an
arrangement. Your Committee find, that, on the 26th of August, 1771,
they gave instructions to the President and Council to appoint "a
minister to transact the political affairs of the circar
[government],--and to select for that purpose some person well qualified
for the affairs of government to be the minister of the government, and
guardian of the Nabob's minority."

The order was so distinct as not to admit of a mistake; it was (for its
matter) provident and well considered; and the trust which devolved on
Mr. Hastings was of such a nature as might well stimulate a man
sensible to reputation to fulfil it in a manner agreeably to the
directions he had received, and not only above just cause of exception,
but out of the reach of suspicion and malice. In that situation it was
natural to suppose he would cast his eyes upon men of the first repute
and consideration among the Mussulmen of high rank.

Mr. Hastings, instead of directing his eyes to the durbar, employed his
researches in the seraglio. In the inmost recesses of that place he
discovered a woman secluded from the intercourse and shut up from the
eyes of men, whom he found to correspond with the orders he had received
from the Directors, as a person well "qualified for the affairs of
government, fit to be a minister of government and the guardian of the
Nabob's minority." This woman he solemnly invests with these functions.
He appoints Rajah Gourdas, whom some time after he himself qualified
with a description of a young man of mean abilities, to be her duan, or
steward of the household. The rest of the arrangement was correspondent
to this disposition of the principal offices.

It seems not to have been lawful or warrantable in Mr. Hastings to set
aside the arrangement positively prescribed by the Court of Directors,
which evidently pointed to a man, not to any woman whatever. As a woman
confined in the female apartment, the lady he appointed could not be
competent to hold or qualified to exercise any active employment: she
stood in need of guardians for herself, and had not the ability for the
guardianship of a person circumstanced as the Subah was. General
Clavering, Colonel Monson, and Mr. Francis declare in their minute,
"that they believe there never was an instance in India of such a trust
so disposed of." Mr. Hastings has produced no precedent in answer to
this objection.

It will be proper to state to the House the situation and circumstances
of the women principally concerned, who were in the seraglio of Jaffier
Ali Khan at his death. The first of these was called Munny Begum, a
person originally born of poor and obscure parents, who delivered her
over to the conductress of a company of dancing girls; in which
profession being called to exhibit at a festival, the late Nabob took a
liking to her, and, after some cohabitation, she obtained such influence
over him that he took her for one of his wives and (she seems to have
been the favorite) put her at the head of his harem; and having a son by
her, this son succeeded to his authority and estate,--Munny Begum, the
mother, being by his will a devisee of considerable sums of money, and
other effects, on which he left a charge, which has since been applied
to the service of the East India Company. The son of this lady dying,
and a son by another wife succeeding, and dying also, the present Nabob,
Mobarek ul Dowlah, son by a third wife, succeeded. This woman was then
alive, and in the seraglio.

It was Munny Begum that Mr. Hastings chose, and not the natural mother
of the Nabob. Whether, having chosen a woman in defiance of the
Company's orders, and in passing by the natural parent of the minor
prince, he was influenced by respect for the disposition made by the
deceased Nabob during his life, or by other motives, the House will
determine upon a view of the facts which follow. It will be matter of
inquiry, when the question is stated upon the appointment of a
stepmother in exclusion of the parent, whether the usage of the East
constantly authorizes the continuance of that same distribution of rank
and power which was settled in the seraglio during the life of a
deceased prince, and which was found so settled at his death, and
afterwards, to the exclusion of the mother of the successor. In case of
female guardianship, her claim seems to be a right of Nature, and which
nothing but a very clear positive law will (if that can) authorize the
departure from. The history of Munny Begum is stated on the records of
the Council-General, and no attempt made by Mr. Hastings to controvert
the truth of it.

That was charged by the majority of Council to have happened which might
be expected inevitably to happen: the care of the Nabob's education was
grossly neglected, and his fortune as grossly mismanaged and embezzled.
What connection this waste and embezzlement had with the subsequent
events the House will judge.

On the 2d of May, 1775, Mr. James Grant, accountant to the Provincial
Council of Moorshedabad, produced to the Governor-General and Council
certain Persian papers which stated nine lacs of rupees (upwards of
ninety thousand pounds sterling) received by Munny Begum, on her
appointment to the management of the Nabob's household, over and above
the balance due at that time, and not accounted for by her. These Grant
had received from Nuned Roy, who had been a writer in the Begum's
Treasury Office. Both Mr. Grant and Nuned Roy were called before the
board, and examined respecting the authenticity of the papers. Among
other circumstances tending to establish the credit of these papers, it
appears that Mr. Grant offered to make oath that the chief eunuch of the
Begum had come to him on purpose to prevail on him not to send the
papers, and had declared _that the accounts were not to be disputed_.

On the 9th of May it was resolved by a majority of the board, against
the opinion and solemn protest of the Governor-General, that a gentleman
should be sent up to the city of Moorshedabad to demand of Munny Begum
the accounts of the nizamut and household, from April, 1764, to the
latest period to which they could be closed, and to divest the Begum of
the office of guardian to the Nabob; and Mr. Charles Goring was
appointed for this purpose.

The preceding facts are stated to the House, not as the foundation of an
inquiry into the conduct of the Begum, but as they lead to and are
therefore necessary to explain by what means a discovery was made of a
sum of money given by her to Mr. Hastings.

Mr. Goring's first letter from the city, dated 17th May, 1775, mentions,
among other particulars, the young Nabob's joy at being delivered out of
the hands of Munny Begum, of the mean and indigent state of confinement
in which he was kept by her, of the distress of his mother, and that he
had told Mr. Goring that the "Begum's eunuch had instructed the servants
not to suffer him to learn anything by which he might make himself
acquainted with business": and he adds, "Indeed, I believe there is
great truth in it, as his Excellency seems to be ignorant of almost
everything a man of his rank ought to know,--not from a want of
understanding, but of being properly educated."

On the 21st of May, Mr. Goring transmitted to the Governor-General and
Council an account of sums given by the Begum under her seal, delivered
to Mr. Goring by the Nabob in her apartments. The account is as follows.

    Memorandum of Disbursements to English Gentlemen, from the
    Nabob's Sircar, in the Bengal Year 1179.

                                         |Seal of Munny Begum,|
                                         |Mother of the Nabob |
                                         |Nudjuf ul Dowlah,   |
                                         |deceased.           |

      To the Governor, Mr. Hastings, for an
      entertainment                                  1,50,000

      To Mr. Middleton, on account of an agreement
      entered into by Baboo Begum                    1,50,000
                                            Rupees   3,00,000

When this paper was delivered, the Governor-General moved that Mr.
Goring might be asked _how he came by it_, and _on what account this
partial selection was made by him_; also, that the Begum should be
desired _to explain the sum laid to his charge_, and that he should ask
_the Nabob or the Begum their reasons for delivering this separate

The substance of the Governor's proposal was agreed to.

Mr. Goring's answer to this requisition of the board is as follows.

"In compliance with your orders to explain the delivery of the paper
containing an account of three lacs of rupees, I am to inform you, it
took its rise from a message sent me by the Begum, requesting I would
interest myself with the Nabob to have Akbar Ali Khan released to her
for a few hours, having something of importance to communicate to me, on
which she wished to consult him. Thinking the service might be benefited
by it, I accordingly desired the Nabob would be pleased to deliver him
to my charge, engaging to return him the same night,--which I did. I
heard no more till next day, when the Begum requested to see his
Excellency and myself, desiring Akbar Ali might attend.

"On our first meeting, she entered into a long detail of her
administration, endeavoring to represent it in the fairest light; at
last she came to the point, and told me, my urgent and repeated
remonstrances to her to be informed how the balance arose of which I was
to inquire induced her from memory to say what she had herself
given,--then mentioning the sum of a lac and a half to the Governor to
feast him whilst he stayed there, and a lac and a half to Mr. Middleton
by the hands of Baboo Begum. As I looked on this no more than a matter
of conversation, I arose to depart, but was detained by the Begum's
requesting the Nabob to come to her. A scene of weeping and complaint
then began, which made me still more impatient to be gone, and I
repeatedly sent to his Excellency for that purpose: he at last came out
and delivered me the paper I sent you, declaring it was given him by the
Begum to be delivered me."

Munny Begum also wrote a letter to General Clavering, in which she
directly asserts the same. "Mr. Goring has pressed me on the subject of
the balances; in answer to which I informed him, that all the
particulars, being on record, would in the course of the inquiry appear
from the papers. He accordingly received from the Nabob Mobarek ul
Dowlah a list of three lacs of rupees given to the Governor and Mr.
Middleton. I now send you inclosed a list of the dates when it was
presented, and through whose means, which you will receive."

The Governor-General then desired that the following questions might be
proposed to the Begum by Mr. Martin, then Resident at the Durbar.

1st. Was any application made to you for the account which you have
delivered, of three lacs of rupees said to have been paid to the
Governor and Mr. Middleton, or did you deliver the account of your own
free will, and unsolicited?

2d. In what manner was the application made to you, and by whom?

3d. On what account was the sum of one and half lacs given to the
Governor-General, which you have laid to his account? Was it in
consequence of any requisition from him, or of any previous agreement,
or of any established usage?

The Governor-General objected strongly to Mr. Goring's being present
when the questions were put to the Begum; but it was insisted on by the
majority, and it was resolved accordingly, that he ought to be present.
The reasons on both sides will best appear by the copy of the debate,
inserted in the Appendix.

The Begum's answer to the preceding questions, addressed to the
Governor-General and Council, where it touched the substance, was as

"The case is this. Mr. Goring, on his arrival here, _seized all the
papers, and secured them under his seal; and all the mutsuddies [clerks
or accountants] attended him, and explained to him all the particulars
of them_. Mr. Goring inquired of me concerning the arrears due to the
sepoys, &c., observing, that the nizamut and bhela money [Nabob's
allowance] was received from the Company; from whence, then, could the
balance arise? I made answer, that the sum was not adequate to the
expenses. Mr. Goring then asked, What are those expenses which exceed
the sum received from the Company? I replied, _All the particulars will
be found in the papers_. The affair of the three lacs of rupees, _on
account of entertainment for the Governor and Mr. Middleton_, has been,
I am told, related to you by Rajah Gourdas; besides which there are many
other expenses, which will appear from the papers. As the custom of
entertainment is of long standing, and accordingly every Governor of
Calcutta who came to Moorshedabad received a daily sum of two thousand
rupees for entertainment, which, was in fact instead of provisions; and
the lac and an half of rupees laid to Mr. Middleton's charge was _a
present on account of an agreement entered into by the Bhow Begum_. I
therefore affixed my seal to the account, and forwarded it to Mr. Goring
by means of the Nabob."

In this answer, the accounts given to Mr. Goring she asserts to be
genuine. They are explained, in all the particulars, by all the
secretaries and clerks in office. They are secured under Mr. Goring's
seal. To them she refers for everything; to them she refers for the
three lacs of rupees given to Mr. Hastings and Mr. Middleton. It is
impossible to combine together a clearer body of proof, composed of
record of office and verbal testimony mutually supporting and
illustrating each other.

The House will observe that the receipt of the money is indirectly
admitted by one of the Governor's own questions to Munny Begum.

If the money was not received, it would have been absurd to ask _on what
account it was given_. Both the question and the answer relate to some
established usage, the appeal to which might possibly be used to justify
the acceptance of the money, if it was accepted, but would be
superfluous, and no way applicable to the charge, if the money was never

On this point your Committee will only add, that, in all the controversy
between Mr. Hastings and the majority of the Council, he _nowhere denies
the receipt of this money_. In his letter to the Court of Directors of
the 31st of July, 1775, he says that the Begum was compelled by the ill
treatment of one of her servants, which he calls _a species of torture_,
to deliver the paper to Mr. Goring; but he nowhere affirms that the
contents of the paper were false.

On this conduct the majority remark, "We confess it appears very
extraordinary that Mr. Hastings should employ so much time and labor to
show that the discoveries against him have been obtained by improper
means, but that he should take no step whatsoever _to invalidate the
truth of them_. He does not deny the receipt of the money: the Begum's
answers to the questions put to her at his own desire make it impossible
that he should deny it. It seems, he has formed some plan of defence
against this and similar charges, which he thinks will avail him in a
court of justice, and which it would be imprudent in him to anticipate
at this time. If he has not received the money, we see no reason for
such a guarded and cautious method of proceeding. An innocent man would
take a shorter and easier course. He would voluntarily exculpate
himself by his oath."

Your Committee entertain doubts whether the refusal to exculpate by oath
can be used as a circumstance to infer any presumption of guilt. But
where the charge is direct, specific, circumstantial, supported by
papers and verbal testimony, made before his lawful superiors, to whom
he was accountable, by persons competent to charge, if innocent, he was
obliged at least to oppose to it a clear and formal denial of the fact,
and to make a demand for inquiry. But if he does not deny the fact, and
eludes inquiry, just presumptions will be raised against him.

Your Committee, willing to go to the bottom of a mode of corruption deep
and dangerous in the act and the example, being informed that Mr. Goring
was in London, resolved to examine him upon the subject. Mr. Goring not
only agreed with all the foregoing particulars, but even produced to
your Committee what he declared to be the original Persian papers in his
hands, delivered from behind the curtain through the Nabob himself, who,
having privilege, as a son-in-law, to enter the women's apartment,
received them from Munny Begum as authentic,--the woman all the while
lamenting the loss of her power with many tears and much vociferation.
She appears to have been induced to make discovery of the above
practices in order to clear herself of the notorious embezzlement of the
Nabob's effects.

Your Committee examining Mr. Scott and Mr. Baber on this subject, they
also produced a Persian paper, which Mr. Baber said he had received from
the hands of a servant of Munny Begum,--and along with it a paper
purporting to be a translation into English of the Persian original. In
the paper given as the translation, Munny Begum is made to allege many
matters of hardship and cruelty against Mr. Goring, and an attempt to
compel her to make out a false account, but does not at all deny the
giving the money: very far from it. She is made to assert, indeed, "that
Mr. Goring desired her to put down three lacs of rupees, as divided
between Mr. Hastings and Mr. Middleton. I begged to be excused,
observing to him that this money had neither been tendered or _accepted_
with any criminal or improper view." After some lively expressions in
the European manner, she says, "that it had been customary to furnish a
table for the Governor and his attendants, during their stay at court.
With respect to the sum mentioned to Mr. Middleton, it was a _free gift_
from my own _privy purse_. Purburam replied, he understood this money to
be paid to these gentlemen as a gratuity for _secret services_; and as
such he should assuredly represent it." Here the payments to Mr.
Hastings are fully admitted, and excused as agreeable to usage, and for
keeping a table. The present to Mr. Middleton is justified as a free
gift. The paper produced by Mr. Scott is not referred to by your
Committee as of any weight, but to show that it does not prove what it
is produced to prove.

Your Committee, on reading the paper delivered in by Mr. Scott as a
translation, perceive it to be written in a style which they conceived
was little to be expected in a faithful translation from a Persian
original, being full of quaint terms and idiomatic phrases, which
strongly bespeak English habits in the way of thinking, and of English
peculiarities and affectations in the expression. Struck with these
strong internal marks of a suspicious piece, they turned to the Persian
manuscript produced by Mr. Scott and Mr. Baber, and comparing it with
Mr. Goring's papers, they found the latter carefully sealed upon every
leaf, as they believe is the practice universal in all authentic pieces.
They found on the former no seal or signature whatsoever, either at the
top or bottom of the scroll. This circumstance of a want of signature
not only takes away all authority from the piece as evidence, but
strongly confirmed the suspicions entertained by your Committee, on
reading the translation, of unwarrantable practices in the whole conduct
of this business, even if the translation should be found substantially
to agree with the original, such an original as it is. The Persian roll
is in the custody of the clerk of your Committee for further

Mr. Baber and Mr. Scott, being examined on these material defects in the
authentication of a paper produced by them as authentic, could give no
sort of account how it happened to be without a signature; nor did Mr.
Baber explain how he came to accept and use it in that condition.

On the whole, your Committee conceive that all the parts of the
transaction, as they appear in the Company's records, are consistent,
and mutually throw light on each other.

The Court of Directors order the President and Council 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_, and to be the _minister of government_. Mr. Hastings
selects for the minister so described and so qualified a woman locked up
in a seraglio. He is ordered to appoint a guardian to the Nabob's
minority. Mr. Hastings passes by his natural parent, and appoints
another woman. These acts would of themselves have been liable to
suspicion. But a great deficiency or embezzlement soon appears in this
woman's account. To exculpate herself, she voluntarily declares that she
gave a considerable sum to Mr. Hastings, who never once denies the
receipt. The account given by the principal living witness of the
transaction in his evidence is perfectly coherent, and consistent with
the recorded part. The original accounts, alleged to be delivered by the
lady in question, were produced by him, properly sealed and
authenticated. Nothing is opposed to all this but a paper without
signature, and therefore of no authority, attended with a translation of
a very extraordinary appearance; and this paper, in apologizing for it,
confirms the facts beyond a doubt.

Finally, your Committee examined the principal living witness of the
transaction, and find his evidence consistent with the record. Your
Committee received the original accounts, alleged to be delivered by the
lady in question, properly sealed and authenticated, and find opposed to
them nothing but a paper without signature, and therefore of no
authority, attended with a translation of a very extraordinary

In Europe the Directors ordered opinions to be taken on a prosecution:
they received one doubtful, and three positively for it.

They write, in their letter of 5th February, 1777, paragraphs 32 and

"Although it is rather our wish to prevent evils in future than to enter
into a severe retrospection of the past, and, where facts are doubtful,
or attended with alleviating circumstances, to proceed with lenity,
rather than to prosecute with rigor,--yet some of the cases are so
flagrantly corrupt, and others attended with circumstances so oppressive
to the inhabitants, that it would be unjust to suffer the delinquents to
go unpunished. The principal facts[56] have been communicated to our
solicitor, whose report, confirmed by our standing counsel, we send you
by the present conveyance,--authorizing you, at the same time, to take
such steps as shall appear proper to be pursued.

"If we find it necessary, we shall return you the original covenants of
such of our servants as remain in India, and have been anyways concerned
in the undue receipt of money, in order to enable you to recover the
same for the use of the Company by a suit or suits at law, to be
instituted in the Supreme Court of Judicature in Bengal."

Your Committee do not find that the covenants have been sent, or that
any prosecution has been begun.

A vast scene of further peculation and corruption, as well in this
business as in several other instances, appears in the evidence of the
Rajah Nundcomar. That evidence, and all the proceedings relating to it,
are entered in the Appendix. It was the last evidence of the kind. The
informant was hanged. An attempt was made by Mr. Hastings to indict him
for a conspiracy; this failing of effect, another prosecutor appeared
for an offence not connected with these charges. Nundcomar, the object
of that charge, was executed, at the very crisis of the inquiry, for an
offence of another nature, not capital by the laws of the country. As
long as it appeared safe, several charges were made (which are inserted
at large in the Appendix); and Mr. Hastings and Mr. Barwell seemed
apprehensive of many more. General Clavering, Colonel Monson, and Mr.
Francis declared, in a minute entered on the Consultations of the 5th
May, 1775, that, "in the late proceedings of the Revenue Board, it will
appear that there is no species of peculation from which the Honorable
Governor-General has thought proper to abstain." A charge of offences of
so heinous a nature, so very extensive, so very deliberate, made on
record by persons of great weight, appointed by act of Parliament his
associates in the highest trust,--a charge made at his own board, to his
own face, and transmitted to their common superiors, to whom they were
jointly and severally accountable, this was not a thing to be passed
over by Mr. Hastings; still less ought it to have perished in other
hands. It ought to have been brought to an immediate and strict
discussion. General Clavering, Colonel Monson, and Mr. Francis ought to
have been punished for a groundless accusation, if such it had been. If
the accusation were founded, Mr. Hastings was very unfit for the high
office of Governor-General, or for any office.

After this comprehensive account by his colleagues of the
Governor-General's conduct, these gentlemen proceeded to the
particulars, and they produced the case of a corrupt bargain of Mr.
Hastings concerning the disposition of office. This transaction is here
stated by your Committee in a very concise manner, being on this
occasion merely intended to point out to the House the absolute
necessity which, in their opinion, exists for another sort of inquiry
into the corruptions of men in power in India than hitherto has been
pursued. The proceedings may be found at large in the Appendix.

A complaint was made that Mr. Hastings had sold the office of Phousdar
of Hoogly to a person called Khan Jehan Khan on a corrupt agreement,--which
was, that from his emoluments of seventy-two thousand rupees a
year he was to pay to the Governor-General thirty-six thousand rupees
annually, and to his banian, Cantoo Baboo, four thousand more. The
complainant offers to pay to the Company the forty thousand rupees which
were corruptly paid to these gentlemen, and to content himself with the
allowance of thirty-two thousand. Mr. Hastings was, if on any occasion
of his life, strongly called upon to bring this matter to the most
distinct issue; and Mr. Barwell, who supported his administration, and
as such ought to have been tender for his honor, was bound to help him
to get to the bottom of it, if his enemies should be ungenerous enough
to countenance such an accusation, without permitting it to be detected
and exposed. But the course they held was directly contrary. They began
by an objection to receive the complaint, in which they obstinately
persevered as far as their power went. Mr. Barwell was of opinion that
the Company's instructions to inquire into peculation were intended for
the public interests,--that it could not forward the public interests to
enter into these inquiries,--and that "he never would be a channel of
aspersing any character, while it cannot conduce to the good of
government." Here was a new mode of reasoning found out by Mr. Barwell,
which might subject all inquiry into peculation to the discretion of
the very persons charged with it. By that reasoning all orders of his
superiors were at his mercy; and he actually undertook to set aside
those commands which by an express act of Parliament he was bound to
obey, on his opinion of what would or would not conduce to the good of
government. On his principles, he either totally annihilates the
authority of the act of Parliament, or he entertains so extravagant a
supposition as that the Court of Directors possessed a more absolute
authority, when their orders were not intended for the public good, than
when they were.

General Clavering was of a different opinion. He thought "he should be
wanting to the legislature, and to the Court of Directors, if he was not
to receive the complaints of the inhabitants, when properly
authenticated, and to prefer them to the board for investigation, as the
only means by which these grievances can be redressed, and the Company
informed of the conduct of their servants."

To these sentiments Colonel Monson and Mr. Francis adhered. Mr. Hastings
thought it more safe, on principles similar to those assumed by Mr.
Barwell, to refuse to hear the charge; but he reserved his remarks on
this transaction, because they will be equally applicable to _many
others which in the course of this business are likely to be brought
before the board_. There appeared, therefore, to him a probability that
the charge about the corrupt bargain was no more than the commencement
of a whole class of such accusations; since he was of opinion (and what
is very extraordinary, previous to any examination) that the same
remarks would be applicable to several of those which were to follow. He
must suppose this class of charges very uniform, as well as very

The majority, however, pressed their point; and notwithstanding his
opposition to all inquiry, as he was supported only by Mr. Barwell, the
question for it was carried. He was then desired to name a day for the
appearance of the accuser, and the institution of the inquiry. Though
baffled in his attempt to stop the inquiry in the first stage, Mr.
Hastings made a second stand. He seems here to have recollected
something inherent in his own office, that put the matter more in his
power than at first he had imagined; for he speaks in a positive and
commanding tone: "I will not," says his minute, "name a day for Mir Zin
ul ab Dien to appear before the board; _nor will I suffer him to appear
before the board_."

The question for the inquiry had been carried; it was declared fit to
inquire; but there was, according to him, a power which might prevent
the appearance of witnesses. On the general policy of obstructing such
inquiries, Mr. Francis, on a motion to that effect, made a sound remark,
which cannot fail of giving rise to very serious thoughts: "That,
supposing it agreed among ourselves that the board shall not hear any
charges or complaints against a member of it, a case or cases may
hereafter happen, in which, by a reciprocal complaisance to each other,
our respective misconduct may be effectually screened from inquiry; and
the Company, whose interest is concerned, or the parties who may have
reason to complain of any one member individually, may be left without

Mr. Barwell was not of the opinion of that gentleman, nor of the maker
of the motion, General Clavering, nor of Mr. Monson, who supported it.
He entertains sentiments with regard to the orders of the Directors in
this particular perfectly correspondent with those which he had given
against the original inquiry. He says, "Though it may in some little
degree save the Governor-General from personal insult, where there is no
judicial power lodged, that of inquisition can never answer any good
purpose." This is doctrine of a most extraordinary nature and tendency,
and, as your Committee conceive, contrary to every sound principle to be
observed in the constitution of judicatures and inquisitions. The power
of inquisition ought rather to be wholly separated from the judicial,
the former being a previous step to the latter, which requires other
rules and methods, and ought not, if possible, to be lodged in the same
hands. The rest of his minute (contained in the Appendix) is filled with
a censure on the native inhabitants, with reflections on the ill
consequences which would arise from an attention to their complaints,
and with an assertion of the authority of the Supreme Court, as
superseding the necessity and propriety of such inquiries in Council.
With regard to his principles relative to the natives and their
complaints, if they are admitted, they are of a tendency to cut off the
very principle of redress. The existence of the Supreme Court, as a
means of relief to the natives under all oppressions, is held out to
qualify a refusal to hear in the Council. On the same pretence, Mr.
Hastings holds up the authority of the same tribunal. But this and other
proceedings show abundantly of what efficacy that court has been for the
relief of the unhappy people of Bengal. A person in delegated authority
refuses a satisfaction to his superiors, throwing himself on a court of
justice, and supposes that nothing but what judicially appears against
him is a fit subject of inquiry. But even in this Mr. Hastings fails in
his application of his principle; for the majority of the Council were
undoubtedly competent to order a prosecution against him in the Supreme
Court, which they had no ground for without a previous inquiry. But
their inquiry had other objects. No private accuser might choose to
appear. The party who was the subject of the peculation might be (as
here is stated) the accomplice in it. No popular action or popular suit
was provided by the charter under whose authority the court was
instituted. In any event, a suit might fail in the court for the
punishment of an actor in an abuse for want of the strictest legal
proof, which might yet furnish matter for the correction of the abuse,
and even reasons strong enough not only to justify, but to require, the
Directors instantly to address for the removal of a
Governor-General.--The opposition of Mr. Hastings and Mr. Barwell proved
as ineffectual in this stage as the former; and a day was named by the
majority for the attendance of the party.

The day following this deliberation, on the assembling of the Council,
the Governor-General, Mr. Hastings, said, "he would not sit to be
confronted by such accusers, nor to _suffer_ a judicial inquiry into his
conduct at the board of which he is the president." As on the former
occasions, he declares the board dissolved. As on the former occasions,
the majority did not admit his claim to this power; they proceeded in
his absence to examine the accuser and witnesses. Their proceedings are
in Appendix K.

It is remarkable, that, during this transaction, Khan Jehan Khan, the
party with whom the corrupt agreement was made, declined an attendance
under excuses which the majority thought pretences for delay, though
they used no compulsory methods towards his appearance. At length,
however, he did appear, and then a step was taken by Mr. Hastings of a
very extraordinary nature, after the steps which he had taken before,
and the declarations with which those steps had been accompanied. Mr.
Hastings, who had absolutely refused to be present in the foregoing part
of the proceeding, appeared with Khan Jehan Khan. And now the affair
took another turn; other obstructions were raised. General Clavering
said that the informations hitherto taken had proceeded upon oath. Khan
Jehan Khan had previously declared to General Clavering his readiness to
be so examined; but when called upon by the board, he changed his mind,
and alleged a delicacy, relative to his rank, with regard to the oath.
In this scruple he was strongly supported by Mr. Hastings. He and Mr.
Barwell went further: they contended that the Council had no right to
administer an oath. They must have been very clear in that opinion, when
they resisted the examination on oath of the very person who, if he
could safely swear to Mr. Hastings's innocence, owed it as a debt to his
patron not to refuse it; and of the payment of this debt it was
extraordinary in the patron not only to enforce, but to support, the
absolute refusal.

Although the majority did not acquiesce in this doctrine, they appeared
to have doubts of the prudence of enforcing it by violent means; but,
construing his refusal into a disposition to screen the peculations of
the Governor-General, they treated him as guilty of a contempt of their
board, dismissed him from the service, and recommended another (not the
accuser) to his office.

The reasons on both sides appear in the Appendix. Mr. Hastings accuses
them bitterly of injustice to himself in considering the refusal of this
person to swear as a charge proved. How far they did so, and under what
qualifications, will appear by reference to the papers in the Appendix.
But Mr. Hastings "thanks God that they are not his judges." His great
hold, and not without reason, is the Supreme Court; and he "blesses the
wisdom of Parliament, that constituted a court of judicature at so
seasonable a time, to check the despotism of the new Council." It was
thought in England that the court had other objects than the protection
of the Governor-General against the examinations of those sent out with
instructions to inquire into the peculations of men in power.

Though Mr. Hastings did at that time, and avowedly did, everything to
prevent any inquiry that was instituted merely for the information of
the Court of Directors, yet he did not feel himself thoroughly satisfied
with his own proceedings. It was evident that to them his and Mr.
Barwell's reasonings would not appear very respectful or satisfactory;
he therefore promises to give them full satisfaction at some future
time. In his letter of the 14th of September, 1775, he reiterates a
former declaration, and assures them of his resolution to this purpose
in the strongest terms. "I now _again_ recur to the declaration which I
have before made, that it is my fixed determination to carry _literally_
into execution, and _most fully and liberally explain every circumstance
of my conduct on the points upon which I have been injuriously
arraigned_,--and to afford you the clearest conviction of my own
integrity, and of the propriety of my motives for my declining a present
defence of it."

These motives, as far as they can be discovered, were the violence of
his adversaries, the interested character and views of the accuser, and
the danger of a prosecution in the Supreme Court, which made it prudent
to reserve his defence. These arguments are applicable to any charge.
Notwithstanding these reasons, it is plain by the above letter that he
thought himself bound at some time or other to give satisfaction to his
masters: till he should do this, in his own opinion, he remained in an
unpleasant situation. But he bore his misfortune, it seems, patiently,
with a confidence in their justice for his future relief. He says,
"Whatever evil may fill the _long interval_ which may precede it." That
interval he has taken care to make long enough; for near eight years are
now elapsed, and he has not yet taken the smallest step towards giving
to the Court of Directors any explanation whatever, much less that full
and liberal explanation which he had so repeatedly and solemnly

It is to be observed, that, though Mr. Hastings talks in these letters
much of his integrity, and of the purity of his motives, and of full
explanations, he nowhere denies the fact of this corrupt traffic of
office. Though he had adjourned his defence, with so much pain to
himself, to so very long a day, he was not so inattentive to the ease of
Khan Jehan Khan as he has shown himself to his own. He had been accused
of corruptly reserving to himself a part of the emoluments of this man's
office; it was a delicate business to handle, whilst his defence stood
adjourned; yet, in a very short time after a majority came into his
hands, he turned out the person appointed by General Clavering, &c, and
replaced the very man with whom he stood accused of the corrupt bargain;
what was worse, he had been charged with originally turning out
another, to make room for this man. The whole is put in strong terms by
the then majority of the Council, where, after charging him with every
species of peculation, they add, "We believe the proofs of his
appropriating four parts in seven of the salary with which the Company
is charged for the Phousdar of Hoogly are such as, whether sufficient or
not to convict him in a court of justice, will not leave the shadow of a
doubt concerning his guilt in the mind of any unprejudiced person. The
salary is seventy-two thousand rupees a year; the Governor takes
thirty-six thousand, and allows Cantoo Baboo four thousand more for the
trouble he submits to in conducting the negotiation with the Phousdar.
This also is the common subject of conversation and derision through the
whole settlement. It is our firm opinion and belief, that the late
Phousdar of Hoogly, a relation of Mahomed Reza Khan, was turned out of
this office merely because his terms were not so favorable as those
which the Honorable Governor-General has obtained from the present
Phousdar. The Honorable Governor-General is pleased to assert, with a
confidential spirit peculiar to himself, that his measures hitherto
stand unimpeached, except by us. We know not how this assertion is to be
made good, unless _the most daring and flagrant prostitution in every
branch_ be deemed an honor to his administration."

The whole style and tenor of these accusations, as well as the nature of
them, rendered Mr. Hastings's first postponing, and afterwards totally
declining, all denial, or even defence or explanation, very
extraordinary. No Governor ought to hear in silence such charges; and
no Court of Directors ought to have slept upon them.

The Court of Directors were not wholly inattentive to this business.
They condemned his act as it deserved, and they went into the business
of his legal right to dissolve the Council. Their opinions seemed
against it, and they gave precise orders against the use of any such
power in future. On consulting Mr. Sayer, the Company's counsel, he was
of a different opinion with regard to the legal right; but he thought,
very properly, that the use of a right, and the manner and purposes for
which it was used, ought not to have been separated. What he thought on
this occasion appears in his opinion transmitted by the Court of
Directors to Mr. Hastings and the Council-General. "But it was as great
a _crime_ to dissolve the Council upon _base and sinister motives_ as it
would be to assume the power of dissolving, if he had it not. I believe
he 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_."

It was a matter but of small consolation to Mr. Hastings, during the
painful interval he describes, to find that the Company's learned
counsel admitted that he had legal powers of which he made an use that
raised an universal presumption of his guilt.

Other counsel did not think so favorably of the powers themselves. But
this matter was of less consequence, because a great difference of
opinion may arise concerning the extent of official powers, even among
men professionally educated, (as in this case such a difference did
arise,) and well-intentioned men may take either part. But the use that
was made of it, in systematical contradiction to the Company's orders,
has been stated in the Ninth Report, as well as in many of the others
made by two of your committees.


[14] Appendix B. No. 1.

[15] Vide Supplement to the Second Report, page 7.

[16] Appendix. B. No. 2.

[17] Vide Appendix B. No. 1.

[18] Appendix B. No. 7.

[19] Appendix B. No. 3 and No. 5.

[20] Appendix B. No 6.

[21] Vide Larkins's Affidavit, Appendix B. No. 5.

[22] Vide Appendix B. No. 1.

[23] Vide Appendix B. No. 1.

[24] Ibid.

[25] Ibid., No. 8.

[26] Ibid., No. 1.

[27] Ibid., No. 4.

[28] Appendix B. No. 8.

[29] Ibid.

[30] Ibid., No. 9.

[31] Appendix B. No. 1.

[32] Ibid.

[33] Ibid., No. 8.

[34] Appendix B. No. 4: The Governor-General's Account of Moneys
received, dated 22d May, 1782. Also, Appendix B. No. 9: The Auditor's
Account of Bonds granted to the Governor-General.

[35] Vide Appendix B. No. 4.

[36] Vide Mr. Hastings's Account, in Appendix B. No. 4.

[37] Vide Hastings's Account, dated 22d May, 1782, in Appendix B. No. 4.

[38] Vide above Appendix, and B. No. 2.

[39] Vide above Appendix.

[40] Vide Appendix B. No. 4.

[41] Vide Appendix B. No. 6.

[42] Ibid., No. 7.

[43] Vide Appendix B. No. 6.

[44] Ibid.

[45] Act 13 Geo. III. cap 63.

[46] Vide Mr. Hastings's Letter of 16 December, 1782, in Appendix B. No.

[47] Vide Appendix B. No. 6.

[48] Vide Appendix B. No. 3.

[49] Ibid.

[50] Ibid.

[51] Vide Appendix B. No. 3.

[52] Vide Appendix B. No. 3.

[53] Ibid.

[54] Ibid., No. 6.

[55] Vide Appendix B. No. 6.

[56] Relative to salt farms, charges of the Ranny of Burdwan, and the
charges of Nundcomar and Munny Begum.


B. No. 1.[57]

_Copy of a Letter from the Governor-General to the Court of Directors._

To the Honorable the Court of Directors of the Honorable United East
India Company.

FORT WILLIAM, 29th November, 1780.


You will be informed by our Consultations of the 26th of June of a very
unusual tender which was made by me to the board on that day, for the
purpose of indemnifying the Company for the extraordinary expense which
might be incurred by supplying the detachment under the command of Major
Camac in the invasion of the Mahratta dominions, which lay beyond the
district of Gohud, and drawing the attention of Mahdajee Sindia, to whom
that country immediately appertained, from General Goddard, while his
was employed in the reduction of Bassein, and in securing the conquests
made by your arms in Guzerat. I was desirous to remove the only
objection which has been or could be ostensibly made to the measure,
which I had very much at heart, as may be easily conceived from the
means which I took to effect it. For the reasons at large which induced
me to propose that diversion, it will be sufficient to refer to my
minute recommending it, and to the letters received from General Goddard
near the same period of time. The subject is now become obsolete, and
all the fair hopes which I had built upon the prosecution of the
Mahratta war, of its termination in a speedy, honorable, and
advantageous peace, have been blasted by the dreadful calamities which
have befallen your arms in the dependencies of your Presidency of Fort
St. George, and changed the object of our pursuit from the
aggrandizement of your power to its preservation. My present reason for
reverting to my own conduct on the occasion which I have mentioned is to
obviate the false conclusions or purposed misrepresentations which may
be made of it, either as an artifice of ostentation or as the effect of
corrupt influence, by assuring you that the money, _by whatever means it
came into your possession_, was not my own,--that I had myself no right
to it, nor would or could have received it, but for the occasion which
prompted me to avail myself of the accidental means which were at that
instant afforded me of accepting and converting it to the property and
use of the Company; and with this brief apology I shall dismiss the

Something of affinity to this anecdote may appear in the first aspect of
_another_ transaction, which I shall proceed to relate, and of which it
is more immediately my duty to inform you.

You will have been advised, by repeated addresses of this government, of
the arrival of an army at Cuttack, under the command of Chimnajee
Boosla, the second son of Moodajee Boosla, the Rajah of Berar. The
origin and destination of this force have been largely explained and
detailed in the correspondence of the government of Berar, and in
various parts of our Consultations. The minute relation of these would
exceed the bounds of a letter; I shall therefore confine myself to the
principal fact.

About the middle of the last year, a plan of confederacy was formed by
the Nabob Nizam Ali Khan, by which it was proposed, that, while the army
of the Mahrattas, under the command of Mahdajee Sindia and Tuckoojee
Hoolkar, was employed to check the operations of General Goddard in the
West of India, Hyder Ali Khan should invade the Carnatic, Moodajee
Boosla the provinces of Bengal, and he himself the Circars of Rajamundry
and Chicacole.

The government of Berar was required to accept the part assigned it in
this combination, and to march a large body of troops immediately into
Bengal. To enforce the request on the part of the ruling member of the
Mahratta state, menaces of instant hostility by the combined forces were
added by Mahdajee Sindia, Tuckoojee Hoolkar, and Nizam Ali Khan, in
letters written by them to Moodajee Boosla on the occasion. He was not
in a state to sustain the brunt of so formidable a league, and
ostensibly yielded. Such at least was the turn which he gave to his
acquiescence, in his letters to me; and his subsequent conduct has
justified his professions. I was early and progressively acquainted by
him with the requisition, and with the measures which were intended to
be taken, and which were taken, by him upon it. The army professedly
destined for Bengal marched on the Dusserra of the last year,
corresponding with the 7th of October. Instead of taking the direct
course to Bahar, which had been prescribed, it proceeded by varied
deviations and studied delays to Cuttack, where it arrived late in May
last, having performed a practicable journey of three mouths in seven,
and concluded it at the instant commencement of the rains, which of
course would preclude its operations, and afford the government of Berar
a further interval of five months to provide for the part which it would
then be compelled to choose.

In the mean time letters were continually written by the Rajah and his
minister to this government, explanatory of their situation and motives,
proposing their mediation and guaranty for a peace and alliance with the
Peshwa, and professing, without solicitation on our part, the most
friendly disposition towards us, and the most determined resolution to
maintain it. Conformably to these assurances, and the acceptance of a
proposal made by Moodajee Boosla to depute his minister to Bengal for
the purpose of negotiating and concluding the proposed treaty of peace,
application had been made to the Peshwa for credentials to the same

In the mean time the fatal news arrived of the defeat of your army at
Conjeveram. It now became necessary that every other object should give
place or be made subservient to the preservation of the Carnatic; nor
would the measures requisite for that end admit an instant of delay.
Peace with the Mahrattas was the first object; to conciliate their
alliance, and that of every other power in natural enmity with Hyder
Ali, the next. Instant measures were taken (as our general advices will
inform you) to secure both these points, and to employ the government
of Berar as the channel and instrument of accomplishing them. Its army
still lay on our borders, and in distress for a long arrear of pay, not
less occasioned by the want of pecuniary funds than a stoppage of
communication. An application had been made to us for a supply of money;
and the sum specified for the complete relief of the army was sixteen
lacs. We had neither money to spare, nor, in the apparent state of that
government in its relation to ours, would it have been either prudent or
consistent with our public credit to have afforded it. It was
nevertheless my decided opinion that some aid should be given,--not less
as a necessary relief than as an indication of confidence, and a return
for the many instances of substantial kindness which we had within the
course of the last two years experienced from the government of Berar. I
had an assurance that such a proposal would receive the acquiescence of
the board; but I knew that it would not pass without opposition, and it
would have become public, which might have defeated its purpose.
Convinced of the necessity of the expedient, and assured of the
sincerity of the government of Berar, from evidences of stronger proof
to me than I could make them appear to the other members of the board, I
resolved to adopt it, and take the entire responsibility of it upon
myself. In this mode a less considerable sum would suffice. I
accordingly caused three lacs of rupees to be delivered to the minister
of the Rajah of Berar, resident in Calcutta: he has transmitted it to
Cuttack. Two thirds of this sum I have raised by my own credit, and
shall charge it in my official accounts; the other third I have supplied
from the cash in my hands belonging to the Honorable Company. I have
given due notice to Moodajee Boosla of this transaction, and explained
it to have been a private act of my own, unknown to the other members of
the Council. I have given him expectations of the remainder of the
amount required for the arrears of his army, proportioned to the extent
to which he may put it in my power to propose it as a public gratuity by
his effectual orders for the recall of these troops, or for their
junction with ours.

I hope I shall receive your approbation of what I have done for your
service, and your indulgence for the length of this narrative, which I
could not comprise within a narrower compass.

  I have the honor to be, Honorable Sirs,
    Your most faithful, obedient,
      and humble servant,


B. No. 2.

_An Account of Money paid into the Company's Treasury by the
Governor-General, since the Year 1773._

May     April                                    CRs.    |    CRs.
1774 to 1775. For interest bonds                2,175[58]|
              For bills of exchange on the               |
              Court                          1,43,937    |
              For money refunded by                      |
              order of Court, account                    |
              General Coote's commission        8,418    |
                                             --------    |  1,54,530
1775-1776.    For bills of exchange on the Court         |  1,80,480
1776-1777.     Do.           do.          do.            |  1,96,800
1777-1778.     Do.           do.          do.            |  1,08,000
1778-1779.     Do.           do.          do.            |  1,43,000
1779-1780.     Do.           do.          do.            |  1,21,600
1780-1781.    For bills of exchange            43,000    |
              For deposits                   2,38,715    |
              For interest bonds, at 8 per               |
               cent                          4,75,600    |
              For         do.        4 per               |
               cent                          1,66,000    |
              For Durbar charges             2,32,000    |
                                             --------    | 11,55,315
May, 1782.    For interest bonds                         |    35,000
                                                         | ---------
                                                         | 20,94,725
                                (Errors excepted.)

  _Auditor of Indian Accounts._
    EAST INDIA HOUSE, 11th June, 1783.

B. No. 3.

To the Honorable the Secret Committee of the Honorable Court of

FORT WILLIAM, 22d May, 1782.


In a letter which I have had the honor to address you in duplicate, and
of which a triplicate accompanies this, dated 20th January, 1782, I
informed you that I had received the offer of a sum of money from the
Nabob Vizier and his ministers to the nominal amount of ten lacs of
Lucknow siccas, and that bills on the house of Gopaul Doss had been
actually given me for the amount, which I had accepted for the use of
the Honorable Company; and I promised to account with you for the same
as soon as it should be in my power, after the whole sum had come into
my possession. This promise I now perform; and deeming it consistent
with the spirit of it, I have added such _other_ sums as have been
occasionally converted to the Company's property through my means, and
in consequence of the like original destination. Of the second of these
you have been already advised in a letter which I had the honor to
address the Honorable Court of Directors, dated 29th November, 1780.
Both this and the third article were paid immediately to the Treasury,
by my order to the sub-treasurer to receive them on the Company's
account, but never passed through my hands. The three sums for which
bonds were granted were in like manner paid to the Company's Treasury
without passing through my hands; but their appropriation was not
specified. The sum of 58,000 current rupees was received while I was on
my journey to Benares, and applied as expressed in the account.

As to the manner in which these sums have been expended, the reference
which I have made of it, in the accompanying account, to the several
accounts in which they are credited, renders any other specification of
it unnecessary; besides that those accounts either have or will have
received a much stronger authentication than any that I could give to

Why these sums were taken by me,--why they were, except the second,
quietly transferred to the Company's use,--why bonds were taken for the
first, and not for the rest,--might, were this matter to be exposed to
the view of the public, furnish a variety of conjectures, to which it
would be of little use to reply. Were your Honorable Court to question
me upon these points, I would answer, that the sums were taken for the
Company's benefit at times in which the Company very much needed
them,--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 could at this distance of time
verify, and that I did not think it worth my care to observe the same
means with the rest. I trust, Honorable Sirs, to your breasts for a
candid interpretation of my actions, and assume the freedom to add, that
I think myself, on such a subject, and on such an occasion, entitled to

  I have the honor to be, Honorable Sirs,
    Your most faithful, most obedient,
      and most humble servant,


B. No. 4.

_An Account of Sums received on the Account of the Honorable Company of
the Governor-General, or paid to their Treasury by his Order, and
applied to their Service._

1780.                                            |
October.                                         |
        The following sums were paid into the    |
Treasury, and bonds granted for the same, in the |
name of the Governor-General, in whose possession|
the bonds remain, with a declaration upon each   |
indorsed and signed by him, that he has no claim |
on the Company for the amount either of principal|
or interest, no part of the latter having been   |
received:                                        |
One bond, dated the 1st October,                 |
  1780, No. 1539                1,16,000  0  0   |
One bond, dated the 2d October,                  |
  1780, No. 1540                1,16,000  0  0   |
One bond, dated the 23d November,                |
  1780, No. 1354                  1,74,000 0 0   |
                                --------------   |  4,06,000  0  0
November.                                        |
        Paid into the Treasury, and carried      |
to the Governor-General's credit in the          |
12th page of the Deposits Journal of 1780-81,    |
mohurs of sorts which had been coined in the     |
Mint, and produced, as per 358 and 359           |
pages of the Company's General Journal of        |
1780-81:                                         |
  Gold mohurs, 12,861 12 11, or                  |
  Calcutta siccas               2,05,788 14  9   |
  Batta, 16 per cent              32,926  3  6   |
                                --------------   |  2,38,715  2  3
1781.                                            |
30 April.                                        |
        Paid into the Treasury, and credited     |
in the 637th page of the Company's General       |
Journal, as money received from the              |
Governor-General on account of Durbar charges:   |
  Sicca rupees                  2,00,000  0  0   |
  Batta, 16 per cent              32,000  0  0   |  2,32,000  0  0
                                --------------   |  --------------
                Carried forward                  |  8,76,715  2  3

                Brought forward                  |  8,76,715  2  3
August.                                          |
            Received in cash, and employed in    |
defraying my public disbursements, and credited  |
in  the Governor-General's account of            |
Durbar charges for April, 1782                   |    58,000  0  0

            Produce of the sum mentioned in the  |
Governor-General's letter to the Honorable       |
Secret Committee, dated 20th January, 1782,      |
and credited in the Governor-General's account   |
of Durbar charges for April, 1782                | 10,30,275  1  3
                             Current rupees      | 19,64,990  3  6
                            ( Errors excepted.)

    FORT WILLIAM, 22d May, 1782.

B. No. 5.

I, William Larkins, do make oath and say, that the letter and account to
which this affidavit is affixed were written by me at the request of the
Honorable Warren Hastings, Esquire, on the 22d May, 1782, from rough
draughts written by himself in my presence; that the cover of the letter
was sealed up by him in my presence, and was then intended to have been
transmitted to England by the "Lively," when that vessel was first
ordered for dispatch; and that it has remained closed until this day,
when it was opened for the express purpose of being accompanied by this

  So help me God.

  CALCUTTA, 16th December 1782.

  Sworn this 16th day of December, 1782, before me,
    J. HYDE.

B. No. 6.

To the Honorable the Secret Committee of the Honorable Court of

FORT WILLIAM, 16 December, 1782.


The dispatch of the "Lively" having been protracted by various causes
from time to time, the accompanying address, which was originally
designed and prepared for that dispatch, (no other conveyance since
occurring,) has of course been thus long detained. The delay is of no
public consequence; but it has produced a situation which with respect
to myself I regard as unfortunate, because it exposes me to the meanest
imputation from the occasion which the late Parliamentary Inquiries have
since furnished, but which were unknown when my letter was written, and
written in the necessary consequence of a promise made to that effect in
a former letter to your Honorable Committee, dated 20th January last.
However, to preclude the possibility of such reflections from affecting
me, I have desired Mr. Larkins, who was privy to the whole transaction,
to affix to the letter his affidavit of the date in which it was
written. I own I feel most sensibly the mortification of being reduced
to the necessity of using such precautions to guard my reputation from
dishonor. If I had at any time possessed that degree of confidence from
my immediate employers which they never withheld from the meanest of my
predecessors, I should have disdained to use these attentions. How I
have drawn on me a different treatment I know not; it is sufficient that
I have not merited it: and in the course of a service of thirty-two
years, and ten of these employed in maintaining the powers and
discharging the duties of the first office of the British government in
India, that Honorable Court ought to know whether I possess the
integrity and honor which are the first requisites of such a station. If
I wanted these, they have afforded me but too powerful incentives to
suppress the information which I now convey to them through you, and to
appropriate to my own use the sums which I have already passed to their
credit, by the unworthy, and, pardon me if I add, dangerous, reflections
which they have passed upon me for the first communication of this kind:
and your own experience will suggest to you, that there are persons who
would profit by such a warning.

Upon the whole of these transactions, which to you, who are accustomed
to view business in an official and regular light, may appear
unprecedented, if not improper, I have but a few short remarks to
suggest to your consideration.

If I appear in any unfavorable light by these transactions, I resign the
common and legal security of those who commit crimes or errors. I am
ready to answer every particular question that may be put against
myself, upon honor or upon oath.

The sources from which these reliefs to the public service have come
would never have yielded them to the Company publicly; and the
exigencies of your service (exigencies created by the exposition of your
affairs, and faction in your councils) required those supplies.

I could have concealed them, had I had a wrong motive, from yours and
the public eye forever; and I know that the difficulties to which a
spirit of injustice may subject me for my candor and avowal are greater
than any possible inconvenience that could have attended the
concealment, except the dissatisfaction of my own mind. These
difficulties are but a few of those which I have suffered in your
service. The applause of my own breast is my surest reward, and was the
support of my mind in meeting them: your applause, and that of my
country, are my next wish in life.

  I have the honor to be, Honorable Sirs,
    Your most faithful, most obedient,
      and most humble servant,


B. No. 7.

_Extract of the Company's General Letter to Bengal, dated the 25th
January, 1782._

Par. 127. We have received a letter from our Governor-General,
dated the 29th of November, 1780, relative to an unusual tender and
advance of money made by him to the Council, as entered on your
Consultation of the 26th of June, for the purpose of indemnifying the
Company from the extraordinary charge which might be incurred by
supplying the detachment under the command of Major Camac in the
invasion of the Mahratta dominions, which lay beyond the district of
Gohud, and thereby drawing the attention of Mahdajee Sindia (to whom the
country appertained) from General Goddard, while the General was
employed in the reduction of Bassein, and in securing the conquests
made in the Guzerat country; and also respecting the sum of three lacs
of rupees advanced by the Governor-General for the use of the army under
the command of Chimnajee Boosla without the authority or knowledge of
the Council; with the reasons for taking these extraordinary steps under
the circumstances stated in his letter.

128. In regard to the first of these transactions, we readily conceive,
that, in the then state of the Council, the Governor-General might be
induced to temporary secrecy respecting the members of the board, not
only because he might be apprehensive of opposition to the proposed
application of the money, but, perhaps, because doubts might have arisen
concerning the propriety of appropriating it to the Company's use on any
account; but it does _not appear to us_ that there could be any real
necessity for delaying to communicate to us immediate information of the
channel by which the money came into his possession, with a complete
illustration of the cause or causes of so extraordinary an event.

129. Circumstanced as affairs were at the moment, it appears that the
Governor-General had the measure much at heart, and judged it absolutely
necessary. The means proposed of defraying the extra expense were very
extraordinary; and the money, as we conceive, must have come into his
hands by an unusual channel: and when more complete information comes
before us, we shall give our sentiments fully upon the whole

130. In regard to the application of the Company's money to the army of
Chimnajee Boosla by the sole authority of the Governor-General, he knew
that it was entirely at his own risk, and he has taken the
responsibility upon himself; nothing but the most urgent necessity
could warrant the measure; nor can anything short of full proof of such
necessity, and of the propriety and utility of the extraordinary step
taken on the occasion, entitle the Governor-General to the approbation
of the Court of Directors; and therefore, as in the former instance
relative to the sum advanced and paid into our Treasury, we must also
for the present _suspend_ our judgment respecting the money sent to the
Berar army, without approving it in the least degree, or proceeding to
censure our Governor-General for this transaction.

B. No. 8.

_Extract of Bengal Secret Consultations, the 9th January, 1781._

The following letter from the Governor-General having been circulated,
and the request therein made complied with, an order on the Treasury
passed accordingly.


Having had occasion to disburse the sum of three lacs of sicca rupees on
account of secret services, which having been advanced from my own
private cash, I request that the same may be repaid to me in the
following manner:--A bond to be granted me upon the terms of the second
loan, bearing date from the 1st October, for one lac of sicca rupees; a
bond to be granted me upon the terms of the first loan, bearing date
from the 1st October, for one lac of sicca rupees; a bond to be granted
me upon the terms of the first loan, bearing date from the 2d October,
for one lac of sicca rupees.

  I have the honor to be, &c., &c.,

    (Signed)       WARREN HASTINGS.

  Fort William, 5th January, 1781.

B. No. 9.

_An Account of Bonds granted to the Governor-General, from 1st January,
1779, to 31st May, 1782, with Interest paid or credited thereon._

When paid into the |   Sum.   |   Date of Bond.  | Rate of Interest.
   Treasury.       |          |                  |
                   |   CRs.   |                  |
23d Nov., 1780     | 1,74,000 | 23d Nov., 1780   | at 8 per cent.
15th Dec.          |   69,600 | 15th Dec.        |      Do.
15th Jan., 1781    | 1,16,000 | 1st Oct., 1780   |      Do.
      Do.          | 1,16,000 | 2d Do.           |      Do.
      Do.          | 1,16,000 | 1st Do.          |    4 per cent.
17th March         |   50,000 | 17th Mar., 1781  |      Do.
8th May, 1782      |   20,000 | 15th Sept., 1781 |    8 per cent.
      Do.          |   15,000 | 8th Dec., 1781   |      Do.
                   |----------|                  |
                   | 6,76,600 |                  |

There does not appear to have been any interest paid on the above bonds
to 31st May, 1782, the last accounts received. In the Interest Books,
1780-81, the last received, the Governor-General has credit for interest
on the first six to April, 1781, to the amount of CRs. 21,964 12 8.

                           (Errors excepted.)

    _Auditor of Indian Accounts._
      EAST INDIA HOUSE, 5th June, 1783.


[57] As the Appendixes originally printed with the foregoing Reports,
and which consist chiefly of official documents, would have swelled this
volume to an enormous size, it has been thought proper to omit them,
with the exception of the first nine numbers of the Appendix B. to the
Eleventh Report, the insertion of which has been judged necessary for
the elucidation of the subject-matter of that Report.

[58] {Received 19th May,
     {Cancelled 30th July, 1774.















That the Court of Directors of the East India Company, from a just sense
of the danger and odium incident to the extension of their conquests in
the East Indies, and from an experience of the disorders and corrupt
practices which intrigues and negotiations to bring about revolutions
among the country powers had produced, did positively and repeatedly
direct their servants in Bengal not to engage in any offensive war
whatsoever. That the said Court laid it down as _an invariable maxim,
which ought ever to be maintained, that they were to avoid taking part
in the political schemes of any of the country princes_,--and did, in
particular, order and direct that they should not engage with a certain
prince called Sujah ul Dowlah, Nabob of Oude, and Vizier of the Empire,
in any operations beyond certain limits in the said orders specially

That Warren Hastings, Esquire, then Governor of Fort William in Bengal,
did, with other members of the Council, declare his clear understanding
of the true intent and meaning of the said positive and repeated orders
and injunctions,--did express to the Court of Directors his approbation
of the policy thereof,--did declare that he adopted the same _with
sincerity and satisfaction_, and that he was _too well aware of the
ruinous tendency of all schemes of conquest ever to adopt them, or ever
to depart from the absolute line of self-defence, unless impelled to it
by the most obvious necessity_,--did signify to the Nabob of Oude the
said orders, and his obligation to yield punctual obedience
thereto,--and did solemnly engage and promise to the Court of Directors,
with the _unanimous concurrence_ of the whole Council, "that no object
or consideration should either tempt or compel him to pass the political
line which they [the Directors] had laid down for his operations with
the Vizier," assuring the Court of Directors that he "scarce saw a
possible advantage which could compensate the hazard and expense to be
incurred by a contrary conduct,"--that he did frequently repeat the same
declarations, or declarations to the same effect, particularly in a
letter to the Nabob himself, of the 22d of November, 1773, in the
following words: "The commands of my superiors are, as I have repeatedly
informed you, peremptory, that I shall not suffer their arms to be
carried beyond the line of their own boundaries, and those of your
Excellency, their ally."

That the said Warren Hastings, in direct contradiction to the said
orders, and to his own sense of their propriety and coercive authority,
and in breach of his express promises and engagements, did, in
September, 1773, enter into a private engagement with the said Nabob of
Oude, who was the special object of the prohibition, to furnish him, for
a stipulated sum of money to be paid to the East India Company, with a
body of troops for the declared purpose of "thoroughly extirpating the
nation of the Rohillas": a nation from whom the Company had never
received, or pretended to receive or apprehend, any injury whatsoever;
whose country, in the month of February, 1773, by an unanimous
resolution of the said Warren Hastings and his Council, was included in
the line of defence against the Mahrattas; and from whom the Nabob never
complained of an aggression or act of hostility, nor pretended a
distinct cause of quarrel, other than the non-payment of a sum of money
in dispute between him and that people.

That, supposing the sum of money in question to have been strictly due
to the said Nabob by virtue of any engagement between him and the
Rohilla chiefs, the East India Company, or their representatives, were
not parties to that engagement, or guaranties thereof, nor bound by any
obligation whatever to enforce the execution of it.

That, previous to the said Warren Hastings's entering into the agreement
or bargain aforesaid to extirpate the said nation, he did not make, or
cause to be made, a due inquiry into the validity of the sole pretext
used by the said Nabob; nor did he give notice of the said claims of
debt to the nation of the Rohillas, in order to receive an explanation
on their part of the matter in litigation; nor did he offer any
mediation, nor propose, nor afford an opportunity of proposing, an
agreement or submission by which the calamities of war might be avoided,
as, by the high state in which the East India Company stood as a
sovereign power in the East, and the honor and character it ought to
maintain, as well as by the principles of equity and humanity, and by
the true and obvious policy of uniting the power of the Mahometan
princes against the Mahrattas, he was bound to do. That, instead of
such previous inquiry, or tender of good offices, the said Warren
Hastings did stimulate the ambition and ferocity of the Nabob of Oude to
the full completion of the inhuman end of the said unjustifiable
enterprise, by informing him "that it would be absolutely necessary to
persevere in it until it should be accomplished"; pretending that a fear
of the Company's displeasure was his motive for annexing the
accomplishment of the enterprise as a condition of his assistance, and
asserting "that he could not hazard or answer for the displeasure of the
Company, his masters, if they should find themselves involved in a
_fruitless_ war, or in an expense for prosecuting it,"--a pretence
tending to the high dishonor of the East India Company, as if the gain
to be acquired was to reconcile that body to the breach of their own
orders prohibiting all such enterprises;--and in order further to
involve the said Nabob beyond the power of retreating, he did, in the
course of the proceeding, purposely put the said Nabob under
difficulties in case he should decline that war, and did oblige him to
accept even the permission to relinquish the execution of this unjust
project as a favor, and _to make concessions for it_; thereby acting as
if the Company were principals in the hostility; and employing for this
purpose much double dealing and divers unworthy artifices to entangle
and perplex the said Nabob, but by means of which he found himself (as
he has entered it on record) _hampered and embarrassed in a particular

That the said compact for offensive alliance in favor of a great prince
against a considerable nation was not carried on by projects and
counter-projects in writing; nor were the articles and conditions
thereof formed into any regular written instrument, signed and sealed
by the parties; but the whole (both the negotiation and the compact of
offensive alliance against the Rohillas) was a mere verbal engagement,
the purport and conventions whereof nowhere appeared, except in
subsequent correspondence, in which certain of the articles, as they
were stated by the several parties, did materially differ: a proceeding
new and unprecedented, and directly leading to mutual misconstruction,
evasion, and ill faith, and tending to encourage and protect every
species of corrupt, clandestine practice. That, at the time when this
private verbal agreement was made by the said Warren Hastings with the
Nabob of Oude, a public ostensible treaty was concluded by him with the
said Nabob, in which there is no mention whatever of such agreement, or
reference whatever to it: in defence of which omission, it is asserted
by the said Warren Hastings, that _the multiplication of treaties
weakens their efficacy, and therefore they should be reserved only for
very important and permanent obligations_; notwithstanding he had
previously declared to the said Nabob, "that the points which he had
proposed required much consideration, and the previous ratification of a
formal agreement, before he could consent to them." That the whole of
the said verbal agreement with the Nabob of Oude in his own person,
without any assistance on his part, was carried on and concluded by the
said Warren Hastings alone, without any person who might witness the
same, without the intervention even of an interpreter, though he
confesses that he spoke the Hindostan language _imperfectly_, and
although he had with him at that time and place several persons high in
the Company's service and confidence, namely, the commander-in-chief of
their forces, two members of their Council, and the Secretary to the
Council, who were not otherwise acquainted with the proceedings between
him and the said Nabob than by such communications as he thought fit to
make to them.

That the object avowed by the said Warren Hastings, and the motives
urged by him for employing the British arms in the utter extirpation of
the Rohilla nation, are stated by himself in the following terms:--"The
acquisition of forty lacs of rupees to the Company, and of so much
specie added to the exhausted currency of our provinces;--that it would
give wealth to the Nabob of Oude, of which we should participate;--that
the said Warren Hastings _should_ always be ready to profess that he did
reckon the probable acquisition of wealth among his reasons for taking
up arms against his _neighbors_;--that it would ease the Company of a
considerable part of their military expense, and preserve their troops
from inaction and relaxation of discipline;--that the weak state of the
Rohillas promised an easy conquest of them;--and, finally, that such was
his idea of the Company's distress at home, added to his knowledge of
their wants abroad, that he should have been glad of _any_ occasion to
employ their forces which saved so much of their pay and expenses."

That, in the private verbal agreement aforesaid for offensive war, the
said Warren Hastings did transgress the bounds of the authority given
him by his instructions from the Council of Fort William, which had
limited his powers to such compacts "as were consistent with the spirit
of the Company's orders"; which Council he afterwards persuaded, and
with difficulty drew into an acquiescence in what he had done.

That the agreement to the effect aforesaid was settled in the said
secret conferences before the 10th of September, 1773; but the said
Warren Hastings, concealing from the Court of Directors a matter of
which it was his duty to afford them the earliest and fullest
information, did, on the said 10th of September, 1773, write to the
Directors, and dispatched his letter over land, giving them an account
of the public treaty, but taking not the least notice of his agreement
for a mercenary war against the nation of the Rohillas.

That, in order to conceal the true purport of the said clandestine
agreement the more effectually, and until he should find means of
gaining over the rest of the Council to a concurrence in his
disobedience of orders, he entered a minute in the Council books, giving
a false account of the transaction; in which minute he represented that
the Nabob had indeed _proposed_ the design aforesaid, and that he, the
said Warren Hastings, _was pleased that he urged the scheme of this
expedition no further_, when in reality and truth he had absolutely
consented to the said enterprise, and had engaged to assist him in it,
which he afterwards admitted, and confessed that he did act in
consequence of the same.

That the said Warren Hastings and his Council were sensible of the true
nature of the enterprise in which they had engaged the Company's arms,
and of the heavy responsibility to which it would subject himself and
the Council,--"the personal hazard they, the Council, run, in
undertaking so _uncommon_ a measure without _positive_ instructions, at
their own risk, with the eyes of the whole nation on the affairs of the
Company, and the passions and prejudices of almost every man in England
inflamed against the conduct of the Company and the character of its
servants"; yet they engaged in the very practice which had brought such
odium on the Company, and on the character of its servants, though they
further say that they had continually before _their eyes the dread of
forfeiting the favor of their employers_, and becoming the "objects of
_popular_ invectives." The said Warren Hastings himself says, at the
very time when he proposed the measure, "I must confess I entertain some
doubts as to its expediency at this time, from the circumstances of the
_Company_ at home, exposed to _popular_ clamor, and all its measures
liable to be canvassed in _Parliament_, their charter drawing to a
close, and his Majesty's ministers unquestionably ready to take
advantage of every unfavorable circumstance in the negotiations of its
renewal." All these considerations did not prevent the said Warren
Hastings from making and carrying into execution the said mercenary
agreement for a sum of money, the payment of which the Nabob endeavored
to evade on a construction of the verbal treaty, and was so far from
being insisted on, as it ought to have been, by the said Warren
Hastings, that, when, after the completion of the service, the
commander-in-chief was directed to make a demand of the money, the agent
of the said Warren Hastings at the same time assured the Nabob "that the
demand was nothing more than matter of form, common, and even necessary,
in all public transactions, and that, although the board considered the
claim of the government literally due, it was not the intention of
administration to prescribe to his Excellency _the mode, or even
limits, of payment_." Nor was any part of the money recovered, until the
establishment of the Governor-General and Council by act of Parliament,
and their determination to withdraw the brigade from the Nabob's
service,--the Resident at his court, appointed by the said Warren
Hastings, having written, _that he had experienced much duplicity and
deceit in most of his transactions with his Excellency_; and the said
Nabob and his successors falling back in other payments in the same or
greater proportion as he advanced in the payment of this debt, the
consideration of lucre to the Company, the declared motive to this
shameful transaction, totally failed, and no money in effect and
substance (as far as by any account to be depended on appears) has been

That the said Nabob of Oude did, in consequence of the said agreement,
and with the assistance of British troops, which were ordered to march
and subjected to his disposal by the said Warren Hastings and the
Council, unjustly enter into and invade the country of the Rohillas, and
did there make war in a barbarous and inhuman manner, "by an abuse of
victory," "by the unnecessary destruction of the country," "by a wanton
display of violence and oppression, of inhumanity and cruelty," and "by
the sudden expulsion and casting down of an whole race of people, to
whom the slightest benevolence was denied." When prayer was made not to
dishonor the Begum (a princess of great rank, whose husband had been
killed in battle) and other women, by _dragging them about the country,
to be loaded with the scoffs of the Nabob's rabble, and otherwise still
worse used_, the Nabob refused to listen to the entreaties of a British
commander-in-chief in their favor; and the said women of high rank were
exposed not only to the vilest personal indignities, but even to
absolute want: and these transactions being by Colonel Champion
communicated to the said Warren Hastings, instead of commendations for
his intelligence, and orders to redress the said evils, and to prevent
the like in future, by means which were suggested, and which appear to
have been proper and feasible, he received a reprimand from the said
Warren Hastings, who declared that we had no authority to control the
conduct of the Vizier in the treatment of his subjects; and that Colonel
Champion desisted from making further representations on this subject to
the said Warren Hastings, being apprehensive of having already run some
risk of displeasing by perhaps a too free communication of sentiments.
That, in consequence of the said proceedings, not only the eminent
families of the chiefs of the Rohilla nation were either cut off or
banished, and their wives and offspring reduced to utter ruin, but the
country itself, heretofore distinguished above all others for the extent
of its cultivation as a _garden_, not having _one spot_ in it of
_uncultivated_ ground, and from being _in the most flourishing state
that a country could be_, was by the inhuman mode of carrying on the
war, and the ill government during the consequent usurpation, reduced to
a state of great decay and depopulation, in which it still remains.

That the East India Company, having had reason to conceive, that, for
the purpose of concealing corrupt transactions, their servants in India
had made unfair, mutilated, and garbled communications of
correspondence, and sometimes had wholly withheld the same, made an
order in their letter of the 23d of March, 1770, in the following
tenor:--"The Governor singly shall correspond with the country powers;
but _all_ letters, before they shall be by him sent, must be
communicated to the other members of the Select Committee, and receive
their approbation; and also _all_ letters _whatsoever_ which may be
received by the Governor, in answer to or in course of correspondence,
shall likewise be laid before the said Select Committee for their
information and consideration"; and that in their instructions to their
Governor-General and Council, dated 30th March, 1774, they did repeat
their orders to the same purpose and effect.

That the said Warren Hastings did not obey, as in duty he was bound to
do, the said standing orders; nor did communicate all his correspondence
with Mr. Middleton, the Company's agent at the court of the Subah of
Oude, or with Colonel Champion, the commander-in-chief of the Company's
forces in the Rohilla war, to the Select Committee: and when afterwards,
that is to say, on the 25th of October, 1774, he was required by the
majority of the Council appointed by the act of Parliament of 1773,
whose opinion was by the said act directed to be taken as the act of the
whole Council, to produce _all_ his correspondence with Mr. Middleton
and Colonel Champion for the direction of their future proceedings
relative to the obscure, intricate, and critical transaction aforesaid,
he did positively and pertinaciously refuse to deliver any other than
such parts of the said correspondence as he thought convenient, covering
his said illegal refusal under general vague pretences of secrecy and
danger from the communication, although the said order and instruction
of the Court of Directors above mentioned was urged to him, and although
it was represented to him by the said Council, that they, as well as
he, were bound by an oath of secrecy: which refusal to obey the orders
of the Court of Directors (orders specially, and on weighty grounds of
experience, pointed to cases of this very nature) gave rise to much
jealousy, and excited great suspicions relative to the motives and
grounds on which the Rohilla war had been undertaken.

That the said Warren Hastings, in the grounds alleged in his
justification of his refusal to communicate to his colleagues in the
Superior Council his correspondence with Mr. Middleton, the Company's
Resident at Oude, was guilty of a new offence, arrogating to himself
unprecedented and dangerous powers, on principles utterly subversive of
all order and discipline in service, and introductory to corrupt
confederacies and disobedience among the Company's servants; the said
Warren Hastings insisting that Mr. Middleton, the Company's covenanted
servant, the public Resident for transacting the Company's affairs at
the court of the Subah of Oude, and as such receiving from the Company a
salary for his service, was no other than the _official agent_ of him,
the said Warren Hastings, and that, being such, he was not obliged to
communicate his correspondence.

That the Court of Directors, and afterwards a General Court of the
Proprietors of the East India Company, (although the latter showed
favorable dispositions towards the said Warren Hastings, and expressed,
but without assigning any ground or reason, the highest opinion of his
services and integrity,) did unanimously condemn, along with his conduct
relative to the Rohilla treaty and war, his refusal to communicate his
whole correspondence with Mr. Middleton to the Superior Council: yet the
said Warren Hastings, in defiance of the opinion of the Directors, and
the unanimous opinion of the General Court of the said East India
Company, as well as the precedent positive orders of the Court of
Directors, and the injunctions of an act of Parliament, has, from that
time to the present, never made any communication of the whole of his
correspondence to the Governor-General and Council, or to the Court of


That, in a solemn treaty of peace, concluded the 16th of August, 1765,
between the East India Company and the late Nabob of Oude, Sujah ul
Dowlah, and highly approved of, confirmed, and ratified by the said
Company, it is agreed, "that the King Shah Allum shall remain in full
possession of Corah, and such part of the province of Allahabad as he
now possesses, which are ceded to his Majesty as a royal demesne for the
support of his dignity and expenses." That, in a separate agreement,
concluded at the same time, between the King Shah Allum and the then
Subahdar of Bengal, under the immediate security and guaranty of the
English Company, the faith of the Company was pledged to the said King
for the annual payment of twenty-six lac of rupees for his support out
of the revenues of Bengal; and that the said Company did then receive
from the said King a grant of the duanne of the provinces of Bengal,
Bahar, and Orissa, on the express condition of their being security for
the annual payment above mentioned. That the East India Company have
held, and continue to hold, the duanne so granted, and for some years
have complied with the conditions on which they accepted of the grant
thereof, and have at all times acknowledged that they held the duanne
_in virtue of the Mogul's grants_. That the said Court of Directors, in
their letter of the 30th June, 1769, to Bengal, declared, "that they
esteemed themselves bound by treaty to protect the King's person, and to
secure him the possession of the Corah and Allahabad districts"; and
supposing an agreement should be made respecting these provinces between
the King and Sujah ul Dowlah, the Directors then said, "that they should
be subject to no further claim or requisition from the King, excepting
for the stipulated tribute for Bengal, which they [the Governor and
Council] were to pay to his agent, or remit to him in such manner as he
might direct."

That, in the year 1772, the King Shah Allum, who had hitherto resided at
Allahabad, trusting to engagements which he had entered into with the
Mahrattas, quitted that place, and removed to Delhi; but, having soon
quarrelled with those people, and afterwards being taken prisoner, had
been treated by them with very great disrespect and cruelty. That, among
other instances of their abuse of their immediate power over him, the
Governor and Council of Bengal, in their letter of the 16th of August,
1773, inform the Court of Directors that he had been _compelled, while a
prisoner in their hands, to grant sunnuds for the surrender of Corah and
Allahabad to them_; and it appears from sundry other minutes of their
own that the said Governor and Council did at all times consider the
surrender above mentioned as _extorted_ from the King, and
_unquestionably an act of violence_, which could not alienate or impair
his right to those provinces, and that, when they took possession
thereof, it was at the request of the King's Naib, or viceroy, who put
them under the Council's _protection_. That on this footing they were
accepted by the said Warren Hastings and his Council, and for some time
considered by them as a deposit committed to their care by a prince to
whom the possession thereof was particularly guarantied by the East
India Company. In their letter of the 1st of March, 1773, they (the said
Warren Hastings and his Council) say, "In no shape can this compulsatory
cession by the King release us from the obligation we are under to
defend the provinces which we have so particularly guarantied to him."
But it appears that they soon adopted other ideas and assumed other
principles concerning this object. In the instructions, dated the 23d of
June, 1773, which the Council of Fort William gave to the said Warren
Hastings, previous to his interview with the Nabob Sujah ul Dowlah at
Benares, they say, that, "while the King continued at Delhi, whither he
proceeded in opposition to their most strenuous remonstrances, they
should certainly consider the engagements between him and the Company as
dissolved by his alienation from them and their interest; that the
possession of so remote a country could never be expected to yield any
profit to the Company, and the defence of it must require a perpetual
aid of their forces": yet in the same instructions they declare their
opinion, that, "if the King should make overtures to renew his former
connection, _his right to reclaim the districts of Corah and Allahabad
could not with propriety be disputed_," and they authorize the said
Warren Hastings to restore them to him _on condition that he should
renounce his claim to the annual tribute of twenty-six lac of rupees_,
herein before mentioned, _and to the arrears which might be due_,
thereby acknowledging the justice of a claim which they determined not
to comply with but in return for the surrender of another equally
valid;--that, nevertheless, in the treaty concluded by the said Warren
Hastings with Sujah ul Dowlah on the 7th of September, 1773, it is
asserted, that his Majesty, (meaning the King Shah Allum,) "having
abandoned the districts of Corah and Allahabad, and given a sunnud for
Corah and Currah to the Mahrattas, had thereby forfeited his right to
the said districts," although it was well known to the said Warren
Hastings, and had been so stated by him to the Court of Directors, that
this surrender on the part of the King had been extorted from him by
violence, while he was a prisoner in the hands of the Mahrattas, and
although it was equally well known to the said Warren Hastings that
there was nothing in the original treaty of 1765 which could restrain
the King from changing the place of his residence, consequently that his
removal to Delhi could not occasion a forfeiture of his right to the
provinces secured to him by that treaty.

That the said Warren Hastings, in the report which he made of his
interview and negotiations with Sujah ul Dowlah, dated the 4th of
October, 1773, declared, "that the administration would have been
culpable in the highest degree in retaining possession of Corah and
Allahabad _for any other purpose than that of making an advantage by the
disposal of them_," and therefore he had ceded them to the Vizier for
fifty lac of rupees: a measure for which he had no authority whatever
from the King Shah Allum, and in the execution of which no reserve
whatever was made in favor of the rights of that prince, nor any care
taken of his interests.

That the sale of these provinces to Sujah Dowlah involved the East India
Company in a triple breach of justice; since by the same act they
violated a treaty, they sold the property of another, and they alienated
a deposit committed to their friendship and good faith, and as such
accepted by them. That a measure of this nature is not to be defended on
motives of policy and convenience, supposing such motives to have
existed, without a total loss of public honor, and shaking all security
in the faith of treaties; but that in reality the pretences urged by the
said Warren Hastings for selling the King's country to Sujah Dowlah were
false and invalid. It could not strengthen our alliance with Sujah ul
Dowlah; since, paying a price for a purchase, he received no favor and
incurred no obligation. It did not free the Company from all the dangers
attending either a remote property or a remote connection; since, the
moment the country in question became part of Sujah Dowlah's dominions,
it was included in the Company's former guaranty of those dominions, and
in case of invasion the Company were obliged to send part of their army
to defend it at the requisition of the said Sujah Dowlah; and if the
remote situation of those provinces made the defence of them difficult
and dangerous, much more was it a difficult and dangerous enterprise to
engage the Company's force in an attack and invasion of the Rohillas,
whose country lay at a much greater distance from the Company's
frontier,--which, nevertheless, the said Warren Hastings agreed to and
undertook at the very time when, under pretence of the difficulty of
defending Corah and Allahabad, he sold those provinces to Sujah Dowlah.
It did not relieve the Company from the _expense_ of defending the
country; since the revenues thereof far exceeded the subsidy to be paid
by Sujah Dowlah, and these revenues justly belonged to the Company as
long as the country continued under their protection, and would have
answered the expense of defending it. Finally, that the sum of fifty lac
of rupees, stipulated with the said Sujah Dowlah, was inadequate to the
value of the country, the annual revenues of which were stated at
twenty-five lac of rupees, which General Sir Robert Barker, then
commander-in-chief of the Company's forces, affirms _was certain, and
too generally known to admit of a doubt_.

That the King Shah Allum received for some years the annual tribute of
twenty-six lac of rupees above mentioned, and was entitled to continue
to receive it by virtue of an engagement deliberately, and for an
adequate consideration, entered into with him by the Company's servants,
and approved of and ratified by the Company themselves;--that this
engagement was absolute and unconditional, and did neither express nor
suppose any case in which the said King should forfeit or the Company
should have a right to resume the tribute;--that, nevertheless, the said
Warren Hastings and his Council, immediately after selling the King's
country to Sujah Dowlah, resolved to withhold, and actually withheld,
the payment of the said tribute, of which the King Shah Allum has never
since received any part;--that this resolution of the Council is not
justified even by themselves on principles of right and justice, but by
arguments of policy and convenience, by which the best founded claims
of right and justice may at all times be set aside and defeated. "They
judged it highly impolitic and unsafe to answer the drafts of the King,
until they were satisfied of his amicable intentions, and those of his
new allies." But neither had they any reason to question the King's
amicable intentions, nor was he pledged to answer for those of the
Mahrattas; his trusting to the good faith of that people, and relying on
their assistance to reinstate him in the possession of his capital,
might have been imprudent and impolitic, but these measures, however
ruinous to himself, indicated no enmity to the English, nor were they
productive of any effects injurious to the English interests. And it is
plain that the said Warren Hastings and his Council were perfectly aware
that their motives or pretences for withholding the tribute were too
weak to justify their conduct, having principally insisted on the
reduced state of their treasury, which, as they said, _rendered it
impracticable to comply with those payments_. The _right_ of a creditor
does not depend on the circumstances of the debtor: on the contrary, the
plea of inability includes a virtual acknowledgment of the debt; since,
if the creditor's right were denied, the plea would be superfluous.

That the East India Company, having on their part violated the
engagements and renounced the conditions on which they received and have
hitherto held and enjoyed the duanne of Bengal, Bahar, and Orissa from
the King Shah Allum, have thereby forfeited all right and title to the
said duanne arising from the said grant, and that it is free and open to
the said King to resume such grant, and to transfer it to any other
prince or state;--that, notwithstanding any distress or weakness to
which he may be actually reduced, his lawful authority, as sovereign of
the Mogul Empire, is still acknowledged in India, and that his grant of
the duanne would sufficiently authorize and materially assist any prince
or state that might attempt to dispossess the East India Company
thereof, since it would convey a right which could not be disputed, and
to which nothing but force could be opposed. Nor can these opinions be
more strongly expressed than they have been lately by the said Warren
Hastings himself, who, in a minute recorded the 1st of December, 1784,
has declared, that, "fallen as the House of Timur is, it is yet the
relic of the most illustrious line of the Eastern world; that _its
sovereignty is universally acknowledged_, though the substance of it no
longer exists; and that the Company itself derives its constitutional
dominion from its ostensible bounty."

That the said Warren Hastings by this declaration has renounced and
condemned the principle on which he avowedly acted towards the Mogul in
the year 1773, when he denied that the sunnuds or grants of the Mogul,
if they were in the hands of another nation, would avail them
anything,--and when he declared "that the sword which gave us the
dominion of Bengal must be the instrument of its preservation, and that,
if it should ever cease to be ours, the next proprietor would derive his
_right_ and possession from the same _natural charter_." That the said
Warren Hastings, to answer any immediate purpose, adopts any principle
of policy, however false or dangerous, without any regard to former
declarations made, or to principles avowed on other occasions by
himself; and particularly, that in his conduct to Shah Allum he first
maintained that the grants of that prince were of no avail,--that we
held the dominion of Bengal by the sword, which he has falsely declared
the source of _right_, and the _natural charter_ of dominion,--whereas
at a later period he has declared that the sovereignty of the family of
Shah Allum is universally acknowledged, and that the Company itself
derives its constitutional dominion from their ostensible bounty.




I. That the territory of Benares is a fruitful, and has been, not long
since, an orderly, well-cultivated, and improved province, of great
extent; and its capital city, as Warren Hastings, Esquire, has informed
the Court of Directors, in his letter of the 21st of November, 1781, "is
highly revered by the natives of the Hindoo persuasion, so that many who
have acquired independent fortunes retire to close their days in a place
so eminently distinguished for its sanctity"; and he further acquaints
the Directors, "that it may rather be considered as the seat of the
Hindoo religion than as the capital of a province. But as its
inhabitants are not composed of Hindoos only, the _former_ wealth which
flowed into it from the offerings of pilgrims, as well as from the
transactions of exchange, for which its central situation is adapted,
has attracted numbers of Mahomedans, who still continue to reside in it
with their families." And these circumstances of the city of Benares,
which not only attracted the attention of all the different
descriptions of men who inhabit Hindostan, but interested them warmly in
whatever it might suffer, did in a peculiar manner require that the
Governor-General and Council of Calcutta should conduct themselves with
regard to its rulers and inhabitants, when it became dependent on the
Company, on the most distinguished principles of good faith, equity,
moderation, and mildness.

II. That the Rajah Bulwant Sing, late prince or Zemindar of the province
aforesaid, was a great lord of the Mogul Empire, dependent on the same,
through the Vizier of the Empire, the late Sujah ul Dowlah, Nabob of
Oude; and the said Bulwant Sing, in the commencement of the English
power, did attach himself to the cause of the English Company; and the
Court of Directors of the said Company did acknowledge, in their letter
of the 26th of May, 1768, that "Bulwant Sing's joining us at the time he
did was of _signal service_, and the stipulation in his favor was what
he was justly entitled to"; and they did commend "the care that had been
taken [by the then Presidency] of those that had shown their attachment
to them [the Company] during the war"; and they did finally express
their hope and expectation in the words following: "The moderation and
attention paid to those who have espoused our interests in this war will
_restore_ our reputation in Hindostan, and that the Indian powers will
be convinced _NO breach of treaty will ever have our sanction_."

III. That the Rajah Bulwant Sing died on the 23d of August, 1770, and
his son, Cheyt Sing, succeeding to his rights and pretensions, the
Presidency of Calcutta (John Cartier, Esquire, being then President) did
instruct Captain Gabriel Harper to procure a confirmation of the
succession to his son Cheyt Sing, "as it was of the utmost political
import to the Company's affairs; and that the young man ought not to
consider the price to be paid to satisfy _the Vizier's jealousy and
avarice_." And they did further declare as follows: "The strong and
inviolable attachment which subsisted betwixt the Company and the father
makes us most readily interpose our good offices for the son." And the
young Rajah aforesaid having agreed, under the mediation of Captain
Harper, to pay near two hundred thousand pounds as a gift to the said
Vizier, and to increase his tribute by near thirty thousand pounds
annually, a deed of confirmation was passed by the said Vizier to the
said Rajah and his heirs, by which he became a purchaser, for valuable
considerations, of his right and inheritance in the zemindary aforesaid.
In consequence of this grant, so by him purchased, the Rajah was
solemnly invested with the government in the city of Benares, "amidst
the acclamations of a numerous people, and to the great satisfaction of
all parties." And the said Harper, in his letter of the 8th October,
1770, giving an account of the investiture aforesaid, did express
himself in these words: "I will leave the young Rajah and others to
acquaint you how I have conducted myself; only thus much let me say,
that I have kept a strict eye not to diminish our national honor,
disinterestedness, and justice, which I will conclude has had a greater
effect in securing to the Company their vast possessions than even the
force of arms, however formidable, could do." The President of Calcutta
testified his approbation of the said Harper's conduct in the strongest
terms, that is, in the following: "Your disinterestedness has been
equally distinguishable as your abilities, and both do you the greatest

IV. That the agreement between the Rajah and Nabob aforesaid continued
on both sides without any violation, under the sanction and guaranty of
the East India Company, for three years, when Warren Hastings, Esquire,
being then President, did propose a further confirmation of the said
grant, and did, on the 12th of October, 1773, obtain a delegation for
himself to be the person to negotiate the same: it being his opinion, as
expressed in his report of October 4th, 1773, that the Rajah was not
only entitled to the inheritance of his zemindary by the grants through
Captain Harper, but that the preceding treaty of Allahabad, though
literally expressing no more than a security personal to Bulwant Sing,
did, notwithstanding, in the true sense and import thereof, extend to
his posterity; "and that it had been differently understood" (that is,
not literally) "by the Company, and by this administration; and the
Vizier had _before_ put it out of all dispute by the solemn act passed
in the Rajah's favor on his succession to the zemindary."

V. That the Council, in their instructions to the said Governor
Hastings, did empower him "to _renew_, in behalf of the Rajah Cheyt
Sing, the stipulation which was formerly made with the Vizier in
consideration of his services in 1764"; and the government was
accordingly settled on the Rajah and his posterity, or to his heirs, on
the same footing on which it was granted to his said father, excepting
the addition aforesaid to the tribute, with an express provision "that
_no increase_ shall ever hereafter be demanded." And the grant and
stipulation aforesaid was further confirmed by the said Sujah ul Dowlah,
under the Company's guaranty, by the most solemn and awful form of oath
known in the Mahomedan religion, inserted in the body of the deed or
grant; and the said Warren Hastings, strongly impressed with the opinion
of the propriety of protecting the Rajah, and of the injustice, malice,
and avarice of the said Sujah Dowlah, and the known family enmity
subsisting between him and the Rajah, did declare, in his report to the
Council, as follows: "I am well convinced that the Rajah's inheritance,
and perhaps his life, are no longer safe than while he enjoys the
Company's protection, which is his due by the ties of justice and the
obligations of public faith."

VI. That some time after the new confirmation aforesaid, that is to say,
in the year 1774, the Governor-General and Council, which had been
formed and the members thereof appointed by act of Parliament, did
obtain the assignment of the sovereignty paramount of the said
government by treaty with the Nabob of Oude, by which, although the
supreme dominion was changed, the terms and the conditions of the tenure
of the Rajah of Benares remained; as the said Nabob of Oude could
transfer to the East India Company no other or greater estate than he
himself possessed in or over the said zemindary. But to obviate any
misconstruction on the subject, the said Warren Hastings did propose to
the board, that, whatever provision might in the said treaty be made
for the interest of the Company, the same should be "without an
encroachment on the just rights of the Rajah, or _the engagements
actually subsisting with him_."

VII. That the said Warren Hastings, then having, or pretending to have,
an extraordinary care of the interest of the Rajah of Benares, did, on
his transfer of the sovereignty, propose a new grant, to be conveyed in
new instruments to the said Rajah, conferring upon him further
privileges, namely, the addition of the sovereign rights of the mint,
and of the right of criminal justice of life and death. And he, the said
Warren Hastings, as Governor-General, did himself propose the resolution
for that purpose in Council, in the following words, with remarks
explanatory of the principles upon which the grants aforesaid were made,


VIII. "That the perpetual and _independent_ possession of the zemindary
of Benares and its dependencies be _confirmed_ and guarantied to the
Rajah Cheyt Sing and his heirs forever, _subject only to the annual
payment of the revenues hitherto paid to the late Vizier_, amounting to
Benares Sicca Rupees 23,71,656.12, to be disposed of as is expressed in
the following article: _That no other demand be made on him either by
the Nabob of Oude or this government; nor any kind of authority or
jurisdiction be exercised by either within the districts assigned him_."
To which minute he, the said Warren Hastings, did subjoin the following
observation in writing, and recorded therewith in the Council books,
that is to say: "_The Rajah of Benares, from the situation of his
country, which is a frontier to the provinces of Oude and Bahar, may be
made a serviceable ally to the Company, whenever their affairs shall
require it. He has always been considered in this light both by the
Company and the successive members of the late Council; but to insure
his attachment to the Company, his interest must be connected with it,
which cannot be better effected than by freeing him totally from the
REMAINS of his present vassalage under the guaranty and protection of
the Company, and at the same time guarding him against any apprehensions
from this government, by thus pledging its faith that no encroachment
shall ever be made on his rights by the Company._" And the said Warren
Hastings, on the 5th of July, 1775, did himself propose, among other
articles of the treaty relative to this object, one of the following
tenor: "That, whilst the Rajah shall continue faithful to these
engagements and punctual in his payments, and shall pay due obedience to
the authority of this government, _no more demands_ shall be made upon
him by the Honorable Company of ANY KIND, or, on any pretence
whatsoever, shall any person be allowed to interfere with his authority,
or to disturb the peace of his country." And the said article was by the
other members of the Council assented to without debate.

IX. On transferring the Rajah's tribute from the Nabob to the Company,
the stipulation with the Nabob was renewed on the proposition of the
said Warren Hastings himself, and expressed in a yet more distinct
manner, namely: "That no more demands shall be made upon him by the
Honorable Company of any kind." And the said Warren Hastings, in
justification of his proposal of giving the Rajah "a complete and
uncontrolled authority over his zemindary," did enter on the Council
book the following reasons for investing him with the same, strongly
indicating the situation in which he must be left under any other
circumstances, whether under the Nabob of Oude, or under the English, or
under the double influence of both: "That the security of his person and
possessions from the Company's protection may be rated equal to many
lacs of rupees, _which, though saved to him, are no loss to the
government on which he depends, being all articles of invisible
expense_: in fees to the ministers and officers of the Nabob; in the
charges of a double establishment of vackeels to both governments; in
presents and charges of accommodation to the Nabob, during his residence
at any place within the boundaries of his zemindary; in _the frauds,
embezzlements, and oppressions exercised in the mint and cutwally_;
besides the allowed profits of those officers, and the advantages which
every man _in occasional power, or in the credit of it, might make of
the Rajah's known weakness_, and the dread he stood in both of the
displeasure of the Nabob _and the ill-will of individuals among the
English, who were all considered, either in their present stations or
connections, or the right of succession, as members of the state of
Bengal_. It would be scarce possible to enumerate all the inconveniences
to which the Rajah was liable _in his former situation_, or to estimate
the precise effect which they produced on his revenue and on the gross
amount of his expense; but it may be easily conceived that both were
enormous, and of a nature the most likely to lessen the profits of
government, instead of adding to them." And in justification of his
proposal of giving the Rajah the symbols of sovereignty in the power of
life and death, and in the coining of money, as pledges of his
_independence_, he states the deplorable situation of princes reduced to
dependence on the Vizier or the Company, and obliged to entertain an
English Resident at their court, in the following words: "It is proposed
to receive the payment of his [the Rajah's] rents at Patna, because that
is the nearest provincial station, and because it would not frustrate
_the intention of rendering the Rajah independent_. If a Resident was
appointed to receive the money, as it became due, at Benares, _such a
Resident_ would unavoidably acquire an influence over the Rajah, and
over his country, _which would in effect render him the master of both_.
This consequence might not perhaps be brought completely to pass without
_a struggle and many appeals to the Council_, which, in a government
constituted like this, _cannot fail to terminate against the Rajah, and,
by the construction to which his opposition to the agent would be
liable, might eventually draw on him severe restrictions, and end in
reducing him to the mean and depraved state of a mere zemindar_."

X. That, in order to satisfy the said Rajah of the intentions of the
Company towards him, and of the true sense and construction of the
grants to him, the said Rajah, to be made, the Governor-General (he, the
said Warren Hastings) and Council did, on the 24th August, 1775,
instruct Mr. Fowke, the Resident at the Rajah's court, in the following
words: "It is proper to assure the Rajah, we do not mean to increase his
tribute, but to require from him an exact sum; that, under the
sovereignty of the Company, we are determined to leave him the free and
uncontrolled management of the internal government of his country, and
the collection and regulation of the revenues, so long as he adheres to
the terms of his engagement; and will _never_ demand _any_ augmentation
of the annual tribute which may be fixed."

XI. That the said Warren Hastings and the Council-General, not being
satisfied with having instructed the Resident to make the representation
aforesaid, to remove all suspicion that by the new grants any attempt
should insidiously be made to change his former tenure, did resolve that
a letter should be written by the Governor-General himself to the Rajah
of Benares, to be delivered to Mr. Fowke, the Resident, together with
his credentials; in which letter they declare "the board willing to
continue the grant of the zemindary to him _in as full and ample a
manner as he possessed it from former sovereigns_; and on his paying the
annual tribute," &c;--and in explaining the reasons for granting to him
the mint and criminal justice, they inform him that this is done in
order "that he may possess an _uncontrolled and free authority_ in the
regulation and government of his zemindary."

XII. That on the 26th February, 1776, the Board and Council did order
that the proper instruments should be prepared for conveying to the
Rajah aforesaid the government and criminal justice and mint of Benares,
with its dependencies, "in the usual form, _expressing the conditions
already resolved on in the several proceedings of the board_." And on
the same day a letter was written to the Resident at Benares, signifying
that they had ordered the proper instruments to be prepared, specifying
the terms concerning the remittance of the Rajah's tribute to Calcutta,
as well as "_the several other conditions which had been already agreed
to_,--and that they should forward it to him, to be delivered to the
Rajah." And on the 20th of March following, the board did again explain
the terms of the said tribute, in a letter to the Court of Directors,
and did add, "that a _sunnud_ [grant or patent] for his [Cheyt Sing's]
zemindary should be furnished him _on these and the conditions before
agreed on_."

XIII. That during the course of the transactions aforesaid in Council,
and the various assurances given to the Rajah and the Court of
Directors, certain improper and fraudulent practices were used with
regard to the symbols of investiture which ought to have been given, and
the form of the deeds by which the said zemindary ought to have been
granted. For it appears that the original deeds were signed by the board
on the 4th September, 1775, and transmitted to Mr. Fowke, the Resident
at the Rajah's court, and that on the 20th of November following the
Court of Directors were acquainted by the said Warren Hastings and the
Council that Rajah Cheyt Sing had been invested with the _sunnud_
(charters or patents) for his zemindary, and the _kellaut_, (or robes of
investiture,) in all the proper forms; but on the 1st of October, 1775,
the Rajah did complain to the Governor-General and Council, that the
_kellaut_, (or robes,) with which he was to be invested according to
their order, "_is not of the same kind_ as that which he received from
the late Vizier on the like occasion." In consequence of the said
complaint, the board did, in their letter to the Resident of the 11th of
the same month, desire him "to make inquiry respecting the nature of
the kellaut, and invest him with _one of the same sort_, on the part of
this government, instead of that which they formerly described to him."
And it appears highly probable that the instruments which accompanied
the said robes of investiture were made in a manner conformable to the
orders and directions of the board, and the conditions by them agreed
to; as the Rajah, who complained of the insufficiency of the robes, did
make no complaint of the insufficiency of the instruments, or of any
deviation in them from those he had formerly received from the Vizier.
_But a copy or duplicate of the said deeds or instruments were in some
manner surreptitiously disposed of, and withheld from the records of the
Company, and never were transmitted to the Court of Directors._

XIV. That several months after the said settlement and investiture,
namely, on the 15th of April, 1776, the Secretary informed the Court
that he had prepared a _sunnud_, _cabbolut_, and _pottah_ (that is, a
patent, an agreement, and a rent-roll) for Cheyt Sing's zemindary, and
the board ordered the same to be executed; but the Resident, on
receiving the same, did transmit the several objections made by the
Rajah thereto, and particularly to a clause in the patent, made in
direct contradiction to the engagements of the Council so solemnly and
repeatedly given, by which clause the former patents _are declared to be
null_. That, on the representation aforesaid, on the 29th July, the
Secretary was ordered to prepare new and proper instruments, _omitting
the clause declaring the former patents to be null_, and the said new
patents were delivered to the Rajah; and the others, which he objected
to, as well as those which had been delivered to him originally, were
returned to the Presidency. But neither the first set of deeds, nor the
fraudulent patent aforesaid, nor the new instruments made out on the
complaint of the Rajah, omitting the exceptionable words, have been
inserted in the records, although it was the particular duty of the said
Warren Hastings that all transactions with the country powers should be
faithfully entered, as well as to take care that all instruments
transmitted to them on the faith of the Company should be honestly,
candidly, and fairly executed, according to the true intent and meaning
of the engagements entered into on the part of the Company,--giving by
the said complicated, artificial, and fraudulent management, as well as
by his said omitting to record the said material document, strong reason
to presume that he did even then meditate to make some evil use of the
deeds which he thus withheld from the Company, and which he did
afterwards in reality make, when he found means and opportunity to
effect his evil purpose.



I. That the tribute transferred to the Company by the treaty with the
Nabob of Oude, being 250,000_l._ a year sterling, and upwards, without
any deductions whatsoever, was paid monthly, with such punctual
exactness as had no parallel in the Company's dealings with any of the
native princes or with any subject zemindar, being the only one who
never was in arrears; and according to all appearance, a perfect
harmony did prevail between the Supreme Council at Calcutta and the
Rajah. But though the Rajah of Benares furnished no occasion of
displeasure to the board, yet it since appears that the said Warren
Hastings did, at some time in the year 1777, conceive displeasure
against him. In that year, he, the said Warren Hastings, retracted his
own act of resignation of his office, made to the Court of Directors
through his agent, Mr. Macleane, and, calling in the aid of the military
to support him in his authority, brought the divisions of the
government, according to his own expression, "to an extremity bordering
on civil violence." This extremity he attributes, in a narrative by him
transmitted to the Court of Directors, and printed, not to his own fraud
and prevarication, but to what he calls "an attempt to wrest from him
his authority"; and in the said narrative he pretends that the Rajah of
Benares had deputed an agent with an express commission to his opponent,
Sir John Clavering. This fact, if it had been true, (which is not
proved,) was in no sort criminal or offensive to the Company's
government, but was at first sight nothing more than a proper mark of
duty and respect to the supposed succession of office. Nor is it
possible to conceive in what manner it could offend the said Hastings,
if he did not imagine that the express commission to which in the said
narrative he refers might relate to the discovery to Sir John Clavering
of some practice which he might wish to conceal,--the said Clavering,
whom he styles "_his opponent_," having been engaged, in obedience to
the Company's express orders, in the discovery of sundry peculations and
other evil practices charged upon the said Hastings. But although, at
the time of the said pretended deputation, he dissembled his
resentment, it appears to have rankled in his mind, and that he never
forgave it, of whatever nature it might have been (the same never having
been by him explained); and some years after, he recorded it in his
justification of his oppressive conduct towards the Rajah, urging the
same with great virulence and asperity, as a proof or presumption of
his, the said Rajah's, disaffection to the Company's government; and by
his subsequent acts, he seems from the first to have resolved, when
opportunity should occur, on a severe revenge.

II. That, having obtained, in his casting vote, a majority in Council on
the death of Sir John Clavering and Mr. Monson, he did suddenly, and
without any previous general communication with the members of the
board, by a Minute of Consultation of the 9th of July, 1778, make an
extraordinary demand, namely: "That the Rajah of Benares should
_consent_ to the establishment of three regular battalions of sepoys,
_to be raised and maintained at his own expense_"; and the said expense
was estimated at between fifty and sixty thousand pounds sterling.

III. That the said requisition did suppose the _consent_ of the
Rajah,--the very word being inserted in the body of his, the said Warren
Hastings's, minute; and the same was agreed to, though with some doubts
on the parts of two of his colleagues, Mr. Francis and Mr. Wheler,
concerning the right of making the same, even worded as it was. But Mr.
Francis and Mr. Wheler, soon after, finding that the Rajah was much
alarmed by this departure from the treaty, the requisition aforesaid was
strenuously opposed by them. The said Hastings did, notwithstanding
this opposition, persevere, and by his casting vote alone did carry the
said unjust and oppressive demand. The Rajah submitted, after some
murmuring and remonstrance, to pay the sum required,--but on the express
condition (as has been frequently asserted by him to the said Warren
Hastings without any contradiction) that the exaction should continue
_but for one year, and should not be drawn into precedent_. He also
requested that the extraordinary demand should be paid along with the
instalments of his monthly tribute: but although the said Warren
Hastings did not so much as pretend that the instant payment was at all
necessary, and though he was urged by his before-mentioned colleagues to
moderate his proceedings, he did insist upon immediate payment of the
whole; and did deliver his demand in proud and insulting language,
wholly unfit for a governor of a civilized nation to use towards eminent
persons in alliance with and in honorable and free dependence upon its
government; and did support the same with arguments full of
unwarrantable passion, and with references to reports affecting merely
his own personal power and consideration, which reports were not proved,
nor attempted to be proved, and, if proved, furnishing reasons
insufficient for his purpose, and indecent in any public proceedings.
That the said Hastings did cause the said sums of money to be rigorously
exacted, although no such regular battalions as he pretended to
establish, as a color for his demand on the Rajah, were then raised, or
any steps taken towards raising them; and when the said Rajah pleaded
his inability to pay the whole sum at once, he, the said Hastings,
persevering in his said outrageous and violent demeanor, did order the
Resident to wait on the Rajah forthwith, and "demand of him in person,
and by writing, the full payment in specie to be made to him within five
days of such demand, and to declare to him, in the name of this
government, that his evading or neglecting to accomplish the payment
thereof within that space of time should be deemed _equivalent to an
absolute refusal_; and in case of non-compliance with this [the
Resident's] demand, _we peremptorily enjoin you to refrain from all
further intercourse with him_": the said Hastings appearing by all his
proceedings to be more disposed to bring on a quarrel with the Prince of
Benares, than to provide money for any public service.

IV. That the said demand was complied with, and the whole thereof paid
on the 10th of October that year. And the said Rajah did write to the
said Hastings a letter, in order to mitigate and mollify him, declaring
to the said Hastings that his sole reliance was on him, "and that in
every instance he depended on his faith, religion, promises, and
actions." But he, the said Warren Hastings, as if the being reminded of
his faith and promises were an incentive to him to violate the same,
although he had agreed that his demand should not be drawn into
precedent, and the payment of the fifty thousand pounds aforesaid should
continue only for one year, did, the very day after he had received the
letter aforesaid, renew a demand of the same nature and on the same
pretence, this year even less plausible than the former, of three
battalions _to be_ raised. The said Rajah, on being informed of this
requisition, did remind the said Warren Hastings that he engaged in the
last year that but one payment should be made, and that he should not be
called upon in future, and, pleading inability to discharge the new
demand, declared himself in the following words to the said Warren
Hastings: "I am therefore hopeful you will be kindly pleased to excuse
me the five lacs now demanded, and that nothing may be demanded of me
beyond the amount expressed in the pottah."

V. That on the day after the receipt of this letter, that is, on the
28th August, 1779, he, the said Warren Hastings, made a reply to the
said letter; and without any remark whatsoever on the allegation of the
Rajah, stating to him his engagement, that he, the said Rajah, should
not be called upon in future, he says, "I now repeat my demand, that you
do, on the receipt of this, without evasion or delay, pay the five lac
of rupees into the hands of Mr. Thomas Graham, who has orders to receive
it from you, and, in case of your refusal, to summon the two battalions
of sepoys under the command of Major Camac to Benares, that measures may
be taken to oblige you to a compliance; and in this case, the whole
expense of the corps, from the time of its march, will fall on you."

VI. That the said Rajah did a second and third time represent to the
said Warren Hastings that he had broke his promise, and the said
Hastings did in no manner deny the same, but did, in contempt thereof,
as well as of the original treaty between the Company and the Rajah,
order two battalions of troops to march into his territories, and in a
manner the most harsh, insulting, and despotic, as if to provoke that
prince to some act of resistance, did compel him to the payment of the
said second unjust demand; and did extort also the sum of two thousand
pounds, on pretence of the charge of the troops employed to coerce him.

VII. That the third year, that is to say, in the year 1780, the same
demand was, with the same menaces, renewed, and did, as before, produce
several humble remonstrances and submissive complaints, which the said
Hastings did always treat as crimes and offences of the highest order;
and although in the regular subsidy or tribute, which was monthly
payable by treaty, fifty days of grace were allowed on each payment, and
after the expiration of the said fifty days one quarter par cent only
was provided as a penalty, he, the said Warren Hastings, on some short
delay of payment of his third arbitrary and illegal demand, did presume
of his own authority to impose a fine or mulct of ten thousand pounds on
the said Rajah; and though it does not appear whether or no the same was
actually levied, the said threat was soon after followed by an order
from the said Hastings for the march of troops into the country of
Benares, as in the preceding year.

VIII. That, these violent and insulting measures failing to provoke the
Rajah, and he having paid up the whole demand, the said Warren Hastings,
being resolved to drive him to extremities, did make on the said Rajah a
sudden demand, over and above the ordinary tribute or subsidy of
260,000_l._ per annum, and over and above the 50,000_l._ extraordinary,
to provide a body of cavalry for the service of the Bengal government.

IX. The demand, as expressed in the Minute of Consultation, and in the
public instructions of the board to the Resident to make the
requisition, is "for such part of the cavalry entertained in his service
as he can spare"; and the demand is in this and in no other manner
described by the Governor-General and Council in their letter to the
Court of Directors. But in a Narrative of the said Warren Hastings's,
addressed to Edward Wheler, Esquire, it appears, that, upon the Rajah's
making difficulties, according to the representation of the said
Hastings, relative to the said requisition, the correspondence
concerning which the said Hastings hath fraudulently suppressed, he, the
said Hastings, instead of adhering to the requisition of such cavalry
_as the Rajah could spare_, and which was all that by the order of
Council he was authorized to make, did, of his own private and arbitrary
authority, in some letter which he hath suppressed, instruct the
Resident, Markham, to make a peremptory demand for two thousand cavalry,
which he well knew to be more than the Rajah's finances could support,
estimating the provision for the same at 96,000_l._ a year at the
lowest, though the expense of the same would probably have been much
more: which extravagant demand the said Hastings could only have made in
hopes of provoking the Rajah to some imprudent measure or passionate
remonstrance. And this arbitrary demand of cavalry was made, and
peremptorily insisted on, although in the original treaty with the said
Rajah it was left entirely optional whether or not he should keep up any
cavalry at all, and in the Minute of Consultation it was expressly
mentioned to be thus optional, and that for whatsoever cavalry he, the
said Rajah, should furnish, he should be paid fifteen rupees per month
for each private, and so in proportion for officers: yet the demand
aforesaid was made without any offer whatsoever of providing the said
payment according to treaty.

X. That the said Hastings did soon after, but upon what grounds does not
appear by any Minute of Council, or from any correspondence contained in
his Narrative, reduce the demand to fifteen hundred, and afterwards to
one thousand: by which he showed himself to be sensible of the
extravagance of his first requisition.

XI. That, in consequence of these requisitions, as he asserts in his
Narrative aforesaid, the Rajah "did offer two hundred and fifty horse,
but sent none." But the said Hastings doth not accompany his said
Narrative with any voucher or document whatever; and therefore the
account given by the Rajah, and delivered to the said Warren Hastings
himself, inserted by the said Warren Hastings himself in his Narrative,
and in no part thereof attempted to be impeached, is more worthy of
credit: that is to say,--

"With respect to the horse, you desired me in your letter to inform you
of what number I could afford to station with you. I sent you a
particular account of all that were in my service, amounting to one
thousand three hundred horse, of which several were stationed at distant
places; but I received no answer to this. Mr. Markham delivered me an
order to prepare a thousand horse. In compliance with your wishes I
collected five hundred horse, and a substitute for the remainder, five
hundred _burkundasses_ [matchlock-men], of which I sent you information;
and I told Mr. Markham that they were ready to go to whatever place they
should be sent. No answer, however, came from you on this head, and I
remained astonished at the cause of it. Repeatedly I asked Mr. Markham
about an answer to my letter about the horse; but he told me that he did
not know the reason of no answer having been sent. I remained

XII. That the said Hastings is guilty of an high offence in not giving
an answer to letters of such importance, and in concealing the said
letters from the Court of Directors, as well as much of his
correspondence with the Residents,--and more particularly in not
directing to what place the cavalry and matchlock-men aforesaid should
be sent, when the Rajah had declared they were ready to go to whatever
service should be destined for them, and afterwards in maliciously
accusing the Rajah for not having sent the same.

XIII. That, on the 3d of February, 1781, a new demand for the support of
the three fictitious battalions of sepoys aforesaid was made by the said
Warren Hastings; but whilst the Rajah was paying by instalments the said
arbitrary demand, the said Rajah was alarmed with some intelligence of
secret projects on foot for his ruin, and, being well apprised of the
malicious and revengeful temper of the said Hastings, in order to pacify
him, if possible, offered to redeem himself by a large ransom, to the
amount of two hundred thousand pounds sterling, to be paid for the use
of the Company. And it appears that the said alarm was far from
groundless; for Major Palmer, one of the secret and confidential agents
of the said Hastings, hath sworn, on the 4th of December, 1781, at the
desire of the said Warren Hastings, before Sir Elijah Impey, to the
following effect, that is to say: "That the said Warren Hastings had
told him, the said Palmer, that he, the said Hastings, had rejected the
offer of two hundred thousand pounds made by the Rajah of Benares for
the public service, and that he was resolved _to convert the faults
committed by the Rajah into a public benefit_, and would exact the sum
of five hundred thousand pounds, as a punishment for his breach of
engagements with the government of Bengal, and acts of misconduct in his
zemindary; and if the Rajah should absolutely refuse the demand, that he
would deprive him of his zemindary, or transfer the sovereignty thereof
to the Nabob of Oude."

XIV. And Mr. Anderson, in his declaration from Sindia's camp, of the 4th
of January, 1782, did also, at the desire of Mr. Hastings, depose
(though not on oath) concerning a conversation between him and the said
Hastings (but mentioning neither the time nor place where the same was
held); in which conversation, after reciting the allegations of the said
Hastings relative to several particulars of the delay and backwardness
of the Rajah in paying the aforesaid extra demand, and his resolution to
exact from the Rajah "a considerable sum of money to the relief of the
Company's exigencies," he proceeds in the following words: "That, if he
[the Rajah] consented, you [the said Warren Hastings] were desirous of
_establishing his possessions on the most permanent and eligible
footing_; but if he refused, you had it in your power to _raise a large
sum_ for the Company by accepting an offer which had been made for his
districts by the Vizier." And the said Anderson, in the declaration
aforesaid, made at the request of the said Hastings, and addressed to
him, expressed himself as follows: "That you told me you had
communicated our designs to Mr. Wheler [his only remaining colleague];
and I believe, but I do not positively recollect, you said he concurred
in them." But no trace of any such communication or concurrence did, at
the time referred to, or at any time ever after, appear on the
Consultations, as it ought to have done; and the said Hastings is
criminal for having omitted to enter and record the proceeding. That the
said Wheler did also declare, but a considerable time after the date of
the conversations aforesaid, that, "on the eve of the Governor-General's
departure, the said Hastings had told him that the Rajah's offences (not
stating what offences, he having paid up all the demands, ordinary and
extraordinary) _were declared_ to require early punishment; and as _his
wealth was great, and the Company's exigencies pressing_, it was thought
a measure of policy and of justice to exact from him a large pecuniary
mulct for their relief. The sum to which the Governor declared his
resolution to extend the fine was forty _or_ fifty lacs; his ability to
pay it was stated as a fact that could not admit of a doubt; and the two
alternatives on which the Governor declared himself to have resolved
were, to the best of my recollection, either a removal from his
zemindary entirely, or, by taking immediate possession of all his
forts, to obtain out of the treasure deposited in them the above sum for
the Company."

XV. That in the declaration of the said Wheler the time of the
conversation aforesaid is stated to be on the eve of the Governor's
departure, and then said to be confidential; nor is it said or
insinuated that he knew or ever heard thereof at a more early period,
though it appears by Major Palmer's affidavit that the design of taking,
not four _or_ five, but absolutely five, hundred thousand pounds from
the Rajah, was communicated to him as early as the month of June. And it
does not appear by the declarations of the said Wheler he did ever
casually or officially approve of the measure; which long concealment
and late communication, time not being allowed to his colleague to
consider the nature and consequences of such a project, or to advise any
precaution concerning the same, is a high misdemeanor.

XVI. That the said Hastings, having formed a resolution to execute one
of the three violent and arbitrary resolutions aforesaid,--namely, to
sell the Company's sovereignty over Benares to the Nabob of Oude, or to
dispossess the Rajah of his territories, or to seize upon his forts, and
to plunder them of the treasure therein contained, to the amount of four
or five hundred thousand pounds,--did reject the offer of two hundred
thousand pounds, tendered by the said Rajah for his redemption from the
injuries which he had discovered that the said Hastings had
clandestinely meditated against him, although the sum aforesaid would
have been a considerable and seasonable acquisition at that time: the
said Hastings being determined, at a critical period, to risk the
existence of the British empire, rather than fail in the gratification
of his revenge against the said Rajah.

XVII. That the first of his three instituted projects, namely, the
depriving the Rajah of his territories, was by himself considered as a
measure likely to be productive of much odium to the British government:
he having declared, whatever opinions he might entertain of its justice,
"that it would have an appearance of _severity_, and might furnish
grounds _unfavorable to the credit of our government, and to his own
reputation_, from the natural influence which every _act of rigor_,
exercised in the persons of men in _elevated situations_, is apt to
impress on those who are too remote from the scene of action to judge,
by any evidence of the facts themselves, of their motives or propriety."
And the second attempt, the sum of money which he aimed at by attacking
the fortresses of the Rajah, and plundering them of the treasure
supposed to be there secured, besides the obvious uncertainty of
acquiring what was thus sought, would be liable to the same imputations
with the former. And with regard to the third project, namely, the sale
of the Company's sovereignty to the Nabob of Oude, and his having
actually received proposals for the same, it was an high offence to the
Company, as presuming, without their authority or consent, to put up to
sale their sovereign rights, and particularly to put them up to sale to
that very person against whom the independence of the said province had
been declared by the Governor-General and Council to be necessary, as a
barrier for the security of the other provinces, in case of a future
rupture with him.[59] It was an heinous injury to the said Rajah to
attempt to change his relation without his consent, especially on
account of the person to whom he was to be made over for money, by
reason of the known enmity subsisting between his family and that of the
Nabob, who was to be the purchaser; and it was a grievous outrage on the
innocent inhabitants of the zemindary of Benares to propose putting them
under a person long before described by himself to the Court of
Directors "to want the qualities of the head and heart requisite for his
station"; and a letter from the British Resident at Oude, transmitted to
the said Court, represents him "to have wholly lost, by his
_oppressions_, the confidence and affections of his own subjects"; and
whose distresses, and the known disorders in his government, he, the
said Hastings, did attribute solely to his own bad conduct and evil
character; admitting also, in a letter written to Edward Wheler,
Esquire, and transmitted to the Court of Directors, "that many
circumstances did favor suspicion of his [the said Nabob's] fidelity to
the English interest, the Nabob being surrounded by men base in their
characters and improvident in their understandings, his favorites, and
his companions of his looser hours. These had every cause to dread the
effect of my influence on theirs; and both these, and the relations of
the family, whose views of consequence and power were intercepted by our
participation in the administration of his affairs, entertained a mortal
hatred to our nation, and openly avowed it." And the said Hastings was
well aware, that, in case the Nabob, by him described in the manner
aforesaid, on making such purchase, should continue to observe the
terms of his father's original covenants and engagements with the Rajah,
and should pay the Company the only tribute which he could lawfully
exact from the said Rajah, it was impossible that he could, for the mere
naked and unprofitable rights of a sovereignty paramount, afford to
offer so great a sum as the Rajah did offer to the said Hastings for his
redemption from oppression; such an acquisition to the Nabob (while he
kept his faith) could not possibly be of any advantage whatever to him;
and that therefore, if a great sum was to be paid by the Nabob of Oude,
it must be for the purpose of oppression and violation of public faith,
to be perpetrated in the person of the said Nabob, to an extent and in a
manner which the said Hastings was then apprehensive he could not
justify to the Court of Directors as his own personal act.



I. That the said Warren Hastings, being resolved on the ruin of the
Rajah aforesaid, as a preliminary step thereto, did, against the express
orders of the Court of Directors, remove Francis Fowke, Esquire, the
Company's Resident at the city of Benares, without any complaint or
pretence of complaint whatsoever, but merely on his own declaration that
he must have as a Resident at Benares a person of his own special and
personal nomination and confidence, and not a man of the Company's
nomination,--and in the place of the said Francis Fowke, thus illegally
divested of his office, did appoint thereto another servant of the
Company of his own choice.

II. That, soon after he had removed the Company's Resident, he prepared
for a journey to the upper provinces, and particularly to Benares, in
order to execute the wicked and perfidious designs by him before
meditated and contrived: and although he did communicate his purpose
privately to such persons as he thought fit to intrust therewith, he did
not enter anything on the Consultations to that purpose, or record the
principles, real or pretended, on which he had resolved to act, nor did
he state any guilt in the Rajah which he intended to punish, or charge
him, the said Rajah, with entertaining any hostile intentions, the
effects of which were to be prevented by any strong measure; but, on the
contrary, he did industriously conceal his real designs from the Court
of Directors, and did fallaciously enter on the Consultations a minute
declaratory of purposes wholly different therefrom, and which supposed
nothing more than an amicable adjustment, founded on the treaties
between the Company and the Rajah, investing himself by his said minute
with "full power and authority to form _such_ arrangements _with_ the
Rajah of Benares for the _better_ government and management of his
zemindary, and to perform such acts for the improvement of the interest
which the Company possesses in it, as he shall think _fit and consonant
to the mutual engagements subsisting between the Company and the
Rajah_"; and for this and other purposes he did invest himself with the
whole power of the Council, giving to himself an authority as if his
acts had been the acts of the Council itself: which, though a power of a
dangerous, unwarrantable, and illegal extent, yet does plainly imply the
following limits, namely, that the acts done should be _arranged with_
the Rajah, that is, _with his consent_; and, secondly, that they should
be consonant to the actual engagements between the parties; and nothing
appears in the minute conferring the said power, which did express or
imply any authority for depriving the Rajah of his government, or
selling the sovereignty thereof to his hereditary enemy, or for the
plunder of his fort-treasures.

III. That the said Warren Hastings, having formed the plans aforesaid
for the ruin of the Rajah, did set out on a journey to the city of
Benares with a great train, but with a very small force, not much
exceeding six companies of regular black soldiers, to perpetrate some of
the unjust and violent acts by him meditated and resolved on; and the
said Hastings was met, according to the usage of distinguished persons
in that country, by the Rajah of Benares with a very great attendance,
both in boats and on shore, which attendance he did apparently intend as
a mark of honor and observance to the place and person of the said
Hastings, but which the said Hastings did afterwards groundlessly and
maliciously represent as an indication of a design upon his life; and
the said Rajah came into the pinnace in which the said Hastings was
carried, and in a lowly and suppliant manner, alone, and without any
guard or attendance whatsoever, entreated his favor; and being received
with great sternness and arrogance, he did put his turban in the lap of
the said Hastings, thereby signifying that he abandoned his life and
fortune to his disposal, and then departed, the said Hastings not
apprehending, nor having any reason to apprehend, any violence
whatsoever to his person.

IV. That the said Hastings, in the utmost security and freedom from
apprehension, did pursue his journey, and did arrive at the city of
Benares on the 14th of August, 1781, some hours before the Rajah, who,
soon after his arrival, intended to pay him a visit of honor and respect
at his quarters, but was by the said Hastings rudely and insolently
forbid, until he should receive his permission. And the said Hastings,
although he had previously determined on the ruin of the said Rajah, in
order to afford some color of regularity and justice to his proceedings,
did, on the day after his arrival, that is, on the 15th day of August,
1781, send to the Rajah a charge in writing, which, though informal and
irregular, may be reduced to four articles, two general, and two more
particular: the first of the general being, "That he [the Rajah] had, by
the means of his secret agents, endeavored to excite disorders in the
government on which he depended"; the second, "That he had suffered the
_daily_ perpetration of robberies and murders, even in the streets of
Benares, to the great and public scandal of the English name."

V. That it appears that the said Warren Hastings is guilty of an high
offence, contrary to the fundamental principles of justice, in the said
mode of charging misdemeanors, without any specification of person or
place or time or act, or any offer of specification or proofs by which
the party charged may be enabled to refute the same, in order to
unjustly load his reputation, and to prejudice him with regard to the
articles more clearly specified.

VI. That the two specified articles relate to certain delays: the
first, with regard to the payment of the sums of money unjustly extorted
as aforesaid; and the second, the non-compliance with a requisition of
cavalry,--which non-compliance the said Hastings (even if the said
charges had been founded) did falsely, and in contradiction to all law,
affirm and maintain (in his accusation against the Rajah, and addressing
himself to him) "to amount to a _direct_ charge of disaffection and
_infidelity_ to the government on which you depend": and further
proceeded as follows: "I therefore judged it proper to state them [the
said charges] thus fully to you in writing, and to _require_ your
answer; and this I expect _immediately_." That the said Hastings,
stating his pretended facts to amount to a charge of the nature (as he
would have it understood) of high treason, and _therefore_ calling for
an _immediate_ answer, did wilfully act against the rules of natural
justice, which requires that a convenient time should be given to
answer, proportioned to the greatness of the offence alleged, and the
heavy penalties which attend it; and when he did arrogate to himself a
right both to charge and to judge in his own person, he ought to have
allowed the Rajah full opportunity for conferring with his ministers,
his doctors of law, and his accountants, on the facts charged, and on
the criminality inferred in the said accusation of disloyalty and
disaffection, or offences of that quality.

VII. That the said Rajah did, under the pressure of the disadvantages
aforesaid, deliver in, upon the very evening of the day of the charge, a
full, complete, and specific answer to the two articles therein
specified; and did allege and offer proof that the whole of the
extraordinary demands of the said Hastings had been actually long before
paid and discharged; and did state a proper defence, with regard to the
cavalry, even supposing him bound (when he was not bound) to furnish
any. And the said Rajah did make a direct denial of the truth, of the
two _general_ articles, and did explain himself on the same in as
satisfactory a manner and as fully as their nature could permit,
offering to enter into immediate trial of the points in issue between
him and the said Hastings, in the remarkable words following. "My
enemies, with a view to my ruin, have made false representations to you.
Now that, _happily for me_, you have yourself arrived at this place, you
will be able to ascertain all the circumstances: first, relative to the
horse; secondly, to my people going to Calcutta; and thirdly, the dates
of the receipts of the particular sums above mentioned. You will then
know whether I have amused you with a false representation, or made a
just report to you." And in the said answer the said Rajah complained,
but in the most modest terms, of an injury to him of the most dangerous
and criminal nature in transactions of such moment, namely, his not
receiving any answer to his letters and petitions, and concluded in the
following words. "I have never swerved in the smallest degree from my
duty to you. It remains with you to decide on all these matters. I am in
every case your slave. What is just I have represented to you. May your
prosperity increase!"

VIII. That the said Warren Hastings was bound by the essential
principles of natural justice to attend to the claim made by the Rajah
to a fair and impartial trial and inquiry into the matter of accusation
brought against him by the said Hastings, at a time and place which
furnished all proper materials and the presence of all necessary
witnesses; but the said Hastings, instead of instituting the said
inquiry and granting trial, did receive an humble request for justice
from a great prince as a fresh offence, and as a personal insult to
himself, and did conceive a violent passion of anger and a strong
resentment thereat, declaring that he did consider the said answer as
not only unsatisfactory in substance, but offensive in style. "This
answer you will perceive to be not only unsatisfactory in substance, but
offensive in style, and less a vindication of himself than a
recrimination on me. It expresses no concern for the causes of complaint
contained in my letter, or desire to atone for them, nor the smallest
intention to pursue a different line of conduct. An answer couched
nearly _in terms of defiance_ to requisitions of so serious a nature I
could not but consider as _a strong indication of that spirit of
independency_ which the Rajah has for some years past assumed, and of
which indeed I had early observed other manifest symptoms, both before
and from the instant of my arrival." Which representation is altogether
and in all parts thereof groundless and injurious; as the substance of
the answer is a justification proper to be pleaded, and the style, if in
anything exceptionable, it is in its extreme humility, resulting rather
from an unmanly and abject spirit than from anything of an offensive
liberty; but being received as disrespectful by the said Hastings, it
abundantly indicates the tyrannical arrogance of the said Hastings, and
the depression into which the natives are sunk under the British

IX. That the said Warren Hastings, pretending to have been much alarmed
at the offensive language of the said Rajah's defence, and at certain
appearances of independency which he had observed, not only on former
occasions, but since his arrival at Benares, (where he had been but
little more than one day,) and which appearances he never has specified
in any one instance, did assert that he conceived himself indispensably
obliged to adopt some decisive plan; and without any farther inquiry or
consultation (which appears) with any person, did, at ten o'clock of the
very night on which he received the before-mentioned full and
satisfactory as well as submissive answer, send an order to the British
Resident (then being a public minister representing the British
government at the court of the said Rajah, and as such bound by the law
of nations to respect the prince at whose court he was Resident, and not
to attempt anything against his person or state, and who ought not,
therefore, to have been chosen by the said Hastings, and compelled to
serve in that business) that he should on the next morning arrest the
said prince in his palace, and keep him in his custody until further
orders; which said order being conceived in the most peremptory terms,
the Rajah was put under arrest, with a guard of about thirty orderly
sepoys, with their swords drawn; and the particulars thereof were
reported to him as follows.

"HONORABLE SIR,--I this morning, in obedience to your orders of last
night, proceeded with a few of my orderlies, accompanied by Lieutenant
Stalker, to Shewalla Ghaut, the present residence of Rajah Cheyt Sing,
and acquainted him it was your pleasure he should consider himself in
arrest; that he should order his people to behave in a quiet and orderly
manner, for that any attempt _to rescue him would be attended with his
own destruction. The Rajah submitted quietly to the arrest_, and assured
me, that, whatever were your orders, he was ready implicitly to obey; he
hoped that you would allow him a _subsistence_, but as for _his
zemindary, his forts, and his treasure, he was ready to lay them at your
feet, and his life, if required_. He expressed himself much hurt at the
ignominy which he affirmed must be the consequence of his confinement,
and entreated me to return to you with the foregoing submission, hoping
that you would make allowances for his youth and inexperience, and in
consideration of his father's name release him from his confinement, as
soon as he should prove the sincerity of his offers, and himself
deserving of your compassion and forgiveness."

X. That a further order was given, that every servant of the Rajah's
should be disarmed, and a certain number only left to attend him under a
strict watch. In a quarter of an hour after this conversation, two
companies of grenadier sepoys were sent to the Rajah's palace by the
said Hastings; and the Rajah, being dismayed by this unexpected and
unprovoked treatment, wrote two short letters or petitions to the said
Hastings, under the greatest apparent dejection at the outrage and
dishonor he had suffered in the eyes of his subjects, (all imprisonment
of persons of rank being held in that country as a mark of indelible
infamy, and he also, in all probability, considering his imprisonment as
a prelude to the taking away his life,) and in the first of the said
petitions he did express himself in this manner: "Whatever may be your
pleasure, do it with your own hands; I am your slave. What occasion can
there be for a guard?" And in the other: "My honor was bestowed upon me
by your Highness. It depends on you alone to take away or not to take
away the country out of my hands. In case my honor is not left to me,
how shall I be equal to the business of the government? Whoever, with
his hands in a supplicating posture, is ready with his life and
property, what necessity can there be for him to be dealt with in this

XI. That, according to the said Hastings's narrative of this
transaction, he, the said Hastings, on account of the apparent
despondency in which these letters were written, "thought it _necessary_
to give him _some_ encouragement," and therefore wrote him a note of a
few lines, carelessly and haughtily expressed, and little calculated to
relieve him from his uneasiness, promising to send to him a person to
explain particulars, and desiring him "to set his mind at rest, and not
to conceive any terror or apprehension." To which an answer of great
humility and dejection was received.

XII. That the report of the Rajah's arrest did cause a great alarm in
the city, in the suburbs of which the Rajah's palace is situated, and in
the adjacent country. The people were filled with dismay and anger at
the outrage and indignity offered to a prince under whose government
they enjoyed much ease and happiness. Under these circumstances the
Rajah desired leave to perform his ablutions; which was refused, unless
he sent for water, and performed that ceremony on the spot. This he
did. And soon after some of the people, who now began to surround the
palace in considerable numbers, attempting to force their way into the
palace, a British officer, commanding the guard upon the Rajah, struck
one of them with his sword. The people grew more and more irritated; but
a message being sent from the Rajah to appease them, they continued, on
this interposition, for a while quiet. Then the Rajah retired to a sort
of stone pavilion, or bastion, to perform his devotions, the guard of
sepoys attending him in this act of religion. In the mean time a person
of the meanest station, called a _chubdar_, at best answering to our
common beadle or tipstaff, was sent with a message (of what nature does
not appear) from Mr. Hastings, or the Resident, to the prince under
arrest: and this base person, without regard to the rank of the
prisoner, or to his then occupation, addressed him in a rude, boisterous
manner, "passionately and insultingly," (as the said Rajah has without
contradiction asserted,) "and, reviling him with a loud voice, gave both
him and his people the vilest abuse"; and the manner and matter being
observable and audible to the multitude, divided only by an open stone
lattice from the scene within, a firing commenced from without the
palace; on which the Rajah again interposed, and did what in him lay to
suppress the tumult, until, an English officer striking him with a
sword, and wounding him on the hand, the people no longer kept any
measures, but broke through the inclosure of the palace. The insolent
tipstaff was first cut down, and the multitude falling upon the sepoys
and the English officers, the whole, or nearly the whole, were cut to
pieces: the soldiers having been ordered to that service without any
charges for their pieces. And in this tumult, the Rajah, being justly
fearful of falling into the hands of the said Hastings, did make his
escape over the walls of his palace, by means of a rope formed of his
turban tied together, into a boat upon the river, and from thence into a
place of security; abandoning many of his family to the discretion of
the said Hastings, who did cause the said palace to be occupied by a
company of soldiers after the flight of the Rajah.

XIII. That the Rajah, as soon as he had arrived at a place of refuge,
did, on the very day of his flight, send a suppliant letter to the said
Hastings, filled with expressions of concern (affirmed by the said
Hastings to be slight expressions) for what had happened, and
professions (said by the said Hastings to be indefinite and unapplied)
of fidelity: but the said Warren Hastings, though bound by his duty to
hear the said Rajah, and to prevent extremities, if possible, being
filled with insolence and malice, did not think it "_becoming_ of him to
make any reply to it; and that he _thought_ he ordered the bearer of the
letter to be told that _it required none_."

XIV. That this letter of submission having been received, the said
Rajah, not discouraged or provoked from using every attempt towards
peace and reconciliation, did again apply, on the very morning
following, to Richard Johnson, Esquire, for his interposition, but to no
purpose; and did likewise, with as little effect, send a message to
Cantoo Baboo, native steward and confidential agent of the said
Hastings, which was afterwards reduced into writing, "to exculpate
himself from any concern in what had passed, and to profess his
obedience to his _will_ [Hastings's] _in whatever_ way he should
dictate." But the said Hastings, for several false and contradictory
reasons by him assigned, did not take any advantage of the said opening,
attributing the same to artifice in order to gain time; but instead of
accepting the said submissions, he did resolve upon flight from the city
of Benares, and did suddenly fly therefrom in great confusion.

XV. That the said Hastings did persevere in his resolutions not to
listen to any submission or offer of accommodation whatsoever, though
several were afterwards made through almost every person who might be
supposed to have influence with him, but did cause the Rajah's troops to
be attacked and fallen upon, though they only acted on the defensive,
(as the Rajah has without contradiction asserted,) and thereby, and by
his preceding refusal of propositions of the same nature, and by other
his perfidious, unjust, and tyrannical acts by him perpetrated and done,
and by his total improvidence in not taking any one rational security
whatsoever against the inevitable consequences of those acts, did make
himself guilty of all the mutual slaughter and devastation which ensued,
as well as, in his opinion, of the imminent danger of the total
subversion of the British power in India by the risk of his own person,
which he asserts that it did run,--as also "that it ought not to be
thought that he attributed too much consequence to his personal safety,
when he supposed _the fate of the British empire in India connected with
it_, and that, mean as its substance may be, its accidental qualities
were equivalent to those which, like the characters of a talisman in
the Arabian mythology, formed the _essence_ of the state itself,
representation, title, and the _estimate_ of the public opinion; that,
had he fallen, such a stroke would be universally considered as decisive
of the national fate; every state round it would have started into arms
against it, and _every subject of its own dominion would, according to
their several abilities, have become its enemy_": and that he knew and
has declared, that, though the said stroke was not struck, that great
convulsions did actually ensue from his proceedings, "that half the
province of Oude was in a state of as complete rebellion as that of
Benares," and that invasions, tumults, and insurrections were occasioned
thereby in various other parts.

XVI. That the said Warren Hastings, after he had collected his forces
from all parts, did, with little difficulty or bloodshed, subsequent to
that time, on the part of his troops, and in a few days, entirely reduce
the said province of Benares; and did, after the said short and little
resisted hostility, in cold blood, issue an order for burning a certain
town, in which he accused the people at large of having killed, "upon
what provocation he knows not," certain wounded sepoys, who were
prisoners: which order, being _generally_ given, when it was his duty to
have made some inquiry concerning the particular offenders, but which he
did never make, or cause to be made, was cruel, inhuman, and tended to
the destruction of the revenues of the Company; and that this, and other
acts of devastation, did cause the loss of two months of the

XVII. That the said Warren Hastings did not only refuse the submissions
of the said Rajah, which were frequently repeated through various
persons after he had left Benares, and even after the defeat of certain
of the Company's forces, but did proscribe and except him from the
pardons which he issued after he had satisfied his vengeance on the
province of Benares.

XVIII. That the said Warren Hastings did send to a certain castle,
called Bidzigur, the residence of a person of high rank, called Panna,
the mother of the Rajah of Benares, with whom his wife, a woman
described by the said Hastings "to be of an amiable character," and all
the other women of the Rajah's family, and the survivors of the family
of his father, Bulwant Sing, did then reside, a body of troops to
dispossess them of her said residence, and to seize upon her money and
effects, although she did not stand, even by himself, accused of any
offence whatsoever,--pretending, but not proving, and not attempting to
prove, then nor since, that the treasures therein contained were the
property of the Rajah, and not her own; and did, in order to stimulate
the British soldiery to rapine and outrage, issue to them several
barbarous orders, contrary to the practice of civilized nations,
relative to their property, movable and immovable, attended with
unworthy and unbecoming menaces, highly offensive to the manners of the
East and the particular respect there paid to the female sex,--which
letters and orders, as well as the letters which he had received from
the officers concerned, the said Hastings did unlawfully suppress, until
forced by the disputes between him and the said officers to discover
the same: and the said orders are as follow.

"I am this instant favored with yours of yesterday. Mine of the same
date [22d October, 1781] has before this time acquainted you with my
resolutions and sentiments respecting the Rannee [the mother of the
Rajah Cheyt Sing]. I think every demand she has made to you, except that
of safety and respect for her person, is unreasonable. If the reports
brought to me are true, _your rejecting her offers, or any negotiations
with her_, would soon obtain you possession of the fort upon your own
terms. I apprehend that she will contrive _to defraud the captors of a
considerable part of the booty by being suffered to retire without
examination. But this is your consideration, and not mine. I should be
very sorry that your officers and soldiers lost ANY PART of the reward
to which they are so well entitled_; but I cannot make any objection, as
you must be the best judge of the expediency of the _promised_
indulgence to the Rannee. What you have engaged for I will certainly
ratify; but as to permitting the Rannee to hold the purgunnah of Hurluk,
or any other in the zemindary, without being subject to the authority of
the zemindar, or any lands whatever, _or indeed making any conditions
with her for a provision, I will never consent to it_." And in another
letter to the same person, dated Benares, 3d of November, 1781, in which
he, the said Hastings, consents that the said woman of distinction
should be allowed to evacuate the place and to receive protection, he
did express himself as follows. "I am willing to grant her now the same
conditions to which I at first consented, provided that she delivers
into your possession, within twenty-four hours from the time of
receiving your message, the fort of Bidzigur, with the treasure and
effects lodged therein by Cheyt Sing or any of his adherents, with the
reserve only, as above mentioned, of such articles _as you shall think
necessary to her sex and condition_, or as you shall be disposed _of
yourself to indulge her with_. If she complies, as I expect she will, it
will be your part to secure the fort and the property it contains _for
the benefit of yourself and detachment_. I have only further to request
that you will grant an escort, if Panna should require it, to conduct
her here, or wherever she may choose to retire to. But should she refuse
to execute the promise she has made, _or delay it beyond the term of
twenty-four hours_, it is my _positive_ injunction that you immediately
put a stop to any further intercourse or negotiation with her, and on no
pretext renew it. If she disappoints _or trifles_ with me, after I have
subjected my duan to the disgrace of returning ineffectually, and of
course myself to discredit, I shall consider it as a _wanton affront and
indignity which I can never forgive_, nor will I grant her any
conditions whatever, but leave her exposed to _those dangers_ which she
has chosen to risk rather than trust to the clemency and generosity of
our government. I think _she cannot be ignorant of these consequences,
and will not venture to incur them_; and it is for this reason I place a
dependence on her offers, and have consented to send my duan to her."

XIX. That the castle aforesaid being surrendered upon terms of safety,
and on express condition of not attempting to search their persons, the
woman of rank aforesaid, her female relations and female dependants, to
the number of three hundred, besides children, evacuated the said
castle; but the spirit of rapacity being excited by the letters and
other proceedings of the said Hastings, the capitulation was shamefully
and outrageously broken, and, in despite of the endeavors of the
commanding officer, the said woman of high condition, and her female
dependants, friends, and servants, were plundered of the effects they
carried with them, and which were reserved to them in the capitulation
of their fortress, and in their persons were otherwise rudely and
inhumanly dealt with by the licentious followers of the camp: for which
outrages, represented to the said Hastings with great concern by the
commanding officer, Major Popham, he, the said Hastings, did afterwards
recommend a late and fruitless redress.

XX. That the Governor-General, Warren Hastings, in exciting the hopes of
the military by declaring them _well entitled to the plunder_ of the
fortress aforesaid, the residence of the mother and other women of the
Rajah of Benares, and by wishing the troops to secure the same for their
own benefit, did advise and act in direct contradiction to the orders of
the Court of Directors, and to his own opinion of his public duty, as
well as to the truth and reality thereof,--he having some years before
entered in writing the declaration which follows.

"The very idea of _prize-money_ suggests to my remembrance _the former
disorders which arose in our army from this source, and had almost
proved fatal to it_. Of this circumstance you must be sufficiently
apprised, and of the necessity for discouraging every expectation of
this kind amongst the troops. _It is to be avoided like poison._ The bad
effects of a similar measure were but too plainly felt in a former
period, and our honorable masters did not fail on that occasion to
reprobate with their censure, in the most severe terms, a practice which
they regarded as the source of infinite evils, and which, if
established, would in their judgment necessarily bring corruption and
ruin on their army."

XXI. That the said Hastings, after he had given the license aforesaid,
and that in consequence thereof the booty found in the castle, to the
amount of 23,27,813 current rupees, was distributed among the soldiers
employed in its reduction, the said Hastings did retract his declaration
of right, and his permission to the soldiers to appropriate to
themselves the plunder, and endeavored, by various devices and
artifices, to explain the same away, and to recover the spoil aforesaid
for the use of the Company; and wholly failing in his attempts to resume
by a breach of faith with the soldiers what he had unlawfully disposed
of by a breach of duty to his constituents, he attempted to obtain the
same as a loan, in which attempt he also failed; and the aforesaid money
being the only part of the treasures belonging to the Rajah, or any of
his family, that had been found, he was altogether frustrated in the
acquisition of every part of that dishonorable object which alone he
pretended to, and pursued through a long series of acts of injustice,
inhumanity, oppression, violence, and bloodshed, at the hazard of his
person and reputation, and, in his own opinion, at the risk of the total
subversion of the British empire.

XXI. That the said Warren Hastings, after the commission of the
offences aforesaid, being well aware that he should be called to an
account for the same, did, by the evil counsel and agency of Sir Elijah
Impey, Knight, his Majesty's chief-justice, who was then out of the
limits of his jurisdiction, cause to be taken at Benares, before or by
the said Sir Elijah Impey, and through the intervention, not of the
Company's interpreter, but of a certain private interpreter of his, the
said Hastings's, own appointment, and a dependant on him, called Major
Davy, several declarations and depositions by natives of Hindostan,--and
did also cause to be taken before the said Sir Elijah Impey several
attestations in English, made by British subjects, and which were
afterwards transmitted to Calcutta, and laid before the
Council-General,--some of which depositions were upon oath, some upon
honor, and others neither upon _oath_ nor _honor_, but all or most of
which were of an irregular and irrelevant nature, and not fit or decent
to be taken by a British magistrate, or to be transmitted to a British

XXIII. That one of the said attestations (but not on oath) was made by a
principal minister of the Nabob of Oude, to whom the said Hastings had
some time before proposed to sell the sovereignty of that very territory
of Benares; and that one other attestation (not upon oath) was made by a
native woman of distinction, whose son he, the said Hastings, did
actually promote to the government of Benares, vacated by the unjust
expulsion of the Rajah aforesaid, and who in her deposition did declare
that she considered the expelled Rajah as her enemy, and that he never
did confer with her, or suffer her to be acquainted with any of his

XXIV. That, besides the depositions of persons interested in the ruin of
the Rajah, others were made by persons who then received pensions from
him, the said Hastings; and several of the affidavits were made by
persons of mean condition, and so wholly illiterate as not to be able to
write their names.

XXV. That he, the said Hastings, did also cause to be examined by
various proofs and essays, the result of which was delivered in upon
honor, the quality of certain military stores taken by the British
troops from the said Rajah of Benares; and upon the report that the same
were of a good quality, and executed by persons conversant in the making
of good military stores, although the cannon was stated by the same
authority to be bad, he, the said Warren Hastings, from the report
aforesaid, did maliciously, and contrary to the principles of natural
and legal reason, infer that the insurrection which had been raised by
his own violence and oppression, and rendered for a time successful by
his own improvidence, was the consequence of a premeditated design to
overturn the British empire in India, and to exterminate therefrom the
British nation; which design, if it had been true, the said Hastings
might have known, or rationally conjectured, and ought to have provided
against. And if the said Hastings had received any credible information
of such design, it was his duty to lay the same before the Council
Board, and to state the same to the Rajah, when he was in a condition to
have given an answer thereto or to observe thereon, and not, after he
had proscribed and driven him from his dominions, to have inquired into
offences to justify the previous infliction of punishment.

XXVI. That it does not appear, that, in taking the said depositions,
there was any person present on the part of the Rajah to object to the
competence or credibility or relevancy of any of the said affidavits or
other attestations, or to account, otherwise than as the said deponents
did account, for any of the facts therein stated; nor were any copies
thereof sent to the said Rajah, although the Company had a minister at
the place of his residence, namely, in the camp of the Mahratta chief
Sindia, so as to enable him to transmit to the Company any matters which
might induce or enable them to do justice to the injured prince
aforesaid. And it does not appear that the said Hastings has ever
produced any witness, letter, or other document, tending to prove that
the said Rajah ever did carry on any hostile negotiation whatever with
any of those powers with whom he was charged with a conspiracy against
the Company, previous to the period of the said Hastings's having
arrested him in his palace, although he, the said Hastings, had various
agents at the courts of all those princes,--and that a late principal
agent and near relation of a minister of one them, the Rajah of Berar,
called Benaram Pundit, was, at the time of the tumult at Benares,
actually with the said Hastings, and the said Benaram Pundit was by him
highly applauded for his zeal and fidelity, and was therefore by him
rewarded with a large pension on those very revenues which he had taken
from the Rajah Cheyt Sing, and if such a conspiracy had previously
existed, the Mahratta minister aforesaid must have known, and would have
attested it.

XXVII. That it appears that the said Warren Hastings, at the time that
he formed his design of seizing upon the treasures of the Rajah of
Benares, and of deposing him, did not believe him guilty of that
premeditated project for driving the English out of India with which he
afterwards thought fit to charge him, or that he was really guilty of
any other great offence: because he has caused it to be deposed, that,
if the said Rajah should pay the sum of money by him exacted, "he would
settle his zemindary upon him on the most eligible footing"; whereas, if
he had conceived him to have entertained traitorous designs against the
Company, from whom he held his tributary estate, or had been otherwise
guilty of such enormous offences as to make it necessary to take
extraordinary methods for coercing him, it would not have been proper
for him to settle upon such a traitor and criminal the zemindary of
Benares, or any other territory, upon the most eligible, or upon any
other footing whatever: whereby the said Hastings has by his own stating
demonstrated that the money intended to have been exacted was not as a
punishment for crimes, but that the crimes were pretended for the
purpose of exacting money.

XXVIII. That the said Warren Hastings, in order to justify the acts of
violence aforesaid to the Court of Directors, did assert certain false
facts, known by him to be such, and did draw from them certain false and
dangerous inferences, utterly subversive of the rights of the princes
and subjects dependent on the British nation in India, contrary to the
principles of all just government, and highly dishonorable to that of
Great Britain: namely, that the "Rajah of Benares was not a vassal or
tributary prince, and that the deeds which passed between him and the
board, upon the transfer of the zemindary in 1775, were not to be
understood to bear the quality and force of a treaty upon optional
conditions between equal states; that the payments to be made by him
were not a tribute, but a rent; and that the instruments by which his
territories were conveyed to him did not differ from common grants to
zemindars who were merely subjects; but that, being nothing more than a
common zemindar and mere subject, and the Company holding the
acknowledged rights of his former sovereign, held an absolute authority
over him; that, in the known relations of zemindar to the sovereign
authority, or power delegated by it, he owed a personal allegiance and
an implicit and unreserved obedience to that authority, at the
forfeiture of his zemindary, and even of his life and property." Whereas
the said Hastings did well know, that, whether the payments from the
Rajah were called _rent_ or _tribute_, having been frequently by himself
called the one and the other, and that of whatever nature the
instruments by which he held might have been, he did not consider him as
a common zemindar or landholder, but as far independent as a tributary
prince could be: for he did assign as a reason for receiving his rent
rather within the Company's province than in his own capital, that it
would not "frustrate the intention of rendering the Rajah _independent_;
that, if a Resident was appointed to receive the money as it became due
at Benares, such a Resident would unavoidably acquire an influence over
the Rajah, and over his country, which would in effect render him the
master of both; that this consequence might not, perhaps, be brought
completely to pass without a struggle, and many appeals to the Council,
which, in a government constituted like this, cannot fail to terminate
against the Rajah, and, by the construction to which his opposition to
the agent would be liable, might eventually draw on him severe
restrictions, and end _in reducing him to the mean and depraved state of
a zemindar_."

XXIX. And the said Hastings, in the said Minute of Consultation, having
enumerated the frauds, embezzlements, and oppressions which would ensue
from the Rajah's being in the dependent state aforesaid, and having
obviated all apprehensions from giving to him the implied symbols of
dominion, did assert, "that, without such appearance, he would expect
from every change of government additional demands to be made upon him,
and would of course descend to all the arts of intrigue and concealment
practised by other dependent Rajahs, which would keep him indigent and
weak, and eventually prove hurtful to the Company; but that, by proper
encouragement and protection, he might prove a profitable dependant, an
useful barrier, and even a powerful ally to the Company; but that he
would be neither, if the conditions of his connection with the Company
were left open to future variations."

XXX. That, if the fact had been true that the Rajah of Benares was
merely an eminent landholder or any other subject, the wicked and
dangerous doctrine aforesaid, namely, that he owed a personal allegiance
and an implicit and unreserved obedience to the sovereign authority, at
the forfeiture of his zemindary, and even of his life and property, at
the discretion of those who held or fully represented the sovereign
authority, doth leave security neither for life nor property to any
persons residing under the Company's protection; and that no such
powers, nor any powers of that nature, had been delegated to the said
Warren Hastings by any provisions of the act of Parliament appointing a
Governor-General and Council at Fort William in Bengal.

XXXI. That the said Warren Hastings did also advance another dangerous
and pernicious principle in justification of his violent, arbitrary, and
iniquitous actings aforesaid: namely, "that, if he had acted with an
unwarrantable rigor, and even injustice, towards Cheyt Sing, yet, first,
if he did _believe_ that extraordinary means were necessary, and those
exerted with a strong hand, to preserve the Company's interests from
sinking under the accumulated weight that oppressed them, or, secondly,
if he saw a _political necessity_ for curbing the _overgrown_ power of a
great member of their dominion, and to make it contribute to the relief
of their pressing exigencies, that his error would be excusable, as
prompted by an excess of zeal for their [the Company's] interest,
operating with too strong a bias on his judgment; but that much stronger
is the presumption, that such acts are founded on just principles than
that they are the result of a misguided judgment." That the said
doctrines are, in both the members thereof, subversive of all the
principles of just government, by empowering a governor with delegated
authority, in the first case, on his own private _belief_ concerning the
necessities of the state, not to levy an impartial and equal rate of
taxation suitable to the circumstances of the several members of the
community, but to select any individual from the same as an object of
arbitrary and unmeasured imposition,--and, in the second case, enabling
the same governor, on the same arbitrary principles, to determine whose
property should be considered as overgrown, and to reduce the same at
his pleasure.



That the said Warren Hastings, after he had, in the manner aforesaid,
unjustly and violently expelled the Rajah Cheyt Sing, the lord or
zemindar of Benares, from his said lordship or zemindary, did, of his
own mere usurped authority, and without any communication with the other
members of the Council of Calcutta, appoint another person, of the name
of Mehip Narrain, a descendant by the mother from the late Rajah,
Bulwant Sing, to the government of Benares; and on account or pretence
of his youth and inexperience (the said Mehip Narrain not being above
twenty years old) did appoint his father, Durbege Sing, to act as his
representative or administrator of his affairs; but did give a
controlling authority to the British Resident over both, notwithstanding
his declarations before mentioned of the mischiefs likely to happen to
the said country from the establishment of a Resident, and his opinion
since declared in a letter to the Court of Directors, dated from this
very place (Benares) the 1st of October, 1784, to the same or stronger
effect, in case "agents are sent into the country, and armed with
authority for the purposes of vengeance and corruption,--_for to no
other will they be applied_."

That the said Warren Hastings did, by the same usurped authority,
entirely set aside all the agreements made between the late Rajah and
the Company (which were real agreements with the state of Benares, in
the person of the lord or prince thereof, and his heirs); and without
any form of trial, inquisition, or other legal process, for forfeiture
of the privileges of the people to be governed by magistrates of their
own, and according to their natural laws, customs, and usages, did,
contrary to the said agreement, separate the mint and the criminal
justice from the said government, and did vest the mint in the British
Resident, and the criminal justice in a Mahomedan native of his own
appointment; and did enhance the tribute to be paid from the province,
from two hundred and fifty thousand pounds annually, limited by treaty,
or thereabouts, to three hundred and thirty thousand pounds for the
first year, and to four hundred thousand for every year after; and did
compel the administrator aforesaid (father to the Rajah) to agree to the
same; and did, by the same usurped authority, illegally impose, and
cause to be levied, sundry injudicious and oppressive duties on goods
and merchandise, which did greatly impair the trade of the province, and
threaten the utter ruin thereof; and did charge several pensions on the
said revenues, of his own mere authority; and did send and keep up
various bodies of the Company's troops in the said country; and did
perform sundry other acts with regard to the said territory, in total
subversion of the rights of the sovereign and the people, and in
violation of the treaties and agreements aforesaid.

That the said Warren Hastings, being absent, on account of ill health,
from the Presidency of Calcutta, at a place called Nia Serai, about
forty miles distant therefrom, did carry on a secret correspondence with
the Resident at Benares, and, under color that the instalments for the
new rent or tribute were in arrear, did of his own authority make, in
about one year, a second revolution in the government of the territory
aforesaid, and did order and direct that Durbege Sing aforesaid, father
of the Rajah, and administrator of his authority, should be deprived of
his office and of his lands, and thrown into prison, and did threaten
him with death: although he, the said Warren Hastings, had, at the time
of the making his new arrangement, declared himself sensible that the
rent aforesaid might require abatement; although he was well apprised
that the administrator had been for two months of his administration in
a weak and languid state of body, and wholly incapable of attending to
the business of the collections; though a considerable drought had
prevailed in the said province, and did consequently affect the
regularity and produce of the collections; and though he had other
sufficient reason to believe that the said administrator had not himself
received from the collectors of government and the cultivators of the
soil the rent in arrear: yet he, the said Warren Hastings, without any
known process, or recording any answer, defence, plea, exculpation, or
apology from the party, or recording any other grounds of rigor against
him, except the following paragraph of a letter from the Resident, not
only gave the order as aforesaid, but did afterwards, without laying any
other or better ground before the Council-General, persuade them to, and
did procure from them, a confirmation of the aforesaid cruel and
illegal proceedings, the correspondence concerning which had not been
before communicated: he pleading his illness for not communicating the
same, though that illness did not prevent him from carrying on
correspondence concerning the deposition of the said administrator, and
other important affairs in various places.

That in the letter to the Council requiring the confirmation of his acts
aforesaid the said Warren Hastings did not only propose the confinement
of the said administrator at Benares, although by his imprisonment he
must have been in a great measure disabled from recovering the balances
due to him, and for the non-payment of which he was thus imprisoned, but
did propose, as an alternative, his imprisonment at a remote fortress,
out of the said territory, and in the Company's provinces, called
Chunar: desiring them to direct the Resident at Benares "to exact from
Baboo Durbege Sing every rupee of the collections which it shall appear
that he has made and not brought to account, and either to confine him
at Benares, or to send him a prisoner to Chunar, and to keep him in
confinement until he shall have discharged the whole of the amount due
from him." And the said Warren Hastings did assign motives of passion
and personal resentment for the said unjust and rigorous proceedings, as
follows: "I feel myself, and may be allowed on such an occasion to
acknowledge it, personally hurt at the ingratitude of this man, and at
the discredit which his ill conduct has thrown on my appointment of him.
He has deceived me; he has offended against the government which I then
represented." And as a further reason for depriving him of his jaghire,
(or salary out of land,) he did insinuate in the said letter, but
without giving or offering any proof, "that the said Rajah had been
guilty of _little and mean peculations_, although the appointments
assigned to him had been sufficient to free him from the temptations

That it appears, as it might naturally have been expected, that the wife
of the said administrator, the daughter of Bulwant Sing, the late Rajah
of Benares, and her son, the reigning Rajah, did oppose to the best of
their power, but by what remonstrances or upon what plea the said Warren
Hastings did never inform the Court of Directors, the deposition,
imprisonment, and confiscation of the estates of the husband of the one
and the father of the other; but that the said Hastings, persisting in
his malice, did declare to the said Council as follows: "The opposition
made by the Rajah and the old Rannee, both equally incapable of judging
for _themselves_, does certainly originate from some secret influence,
which ought to be checked by a decided and peremptory declaration of the
authority of the board, and a denunciation of their displeasure at
_their presumption_."

That the said Warren Hastings, not satisfied with the injuries done and
the insults and disgraces offered to the family aforesaid, did, in a
manner unparalleled, except by an act of his own on another occasion,
fraudulently and inhumanly endeavor to make the wife and son of the said
administrator, contrary to the sentiments and the law of Nature, the
instruments of his oppressions: directing, "that, if they" (the mother
and son aforesaid) "could be _induced_ to yield _the appearance of a
cheerful acquiescence_ in the new arrangement, and to adopt it as _a
measure formed with their participation_, it would be better than that
it should be done by a declared act of compulsion; but that at all
events it ought to be done."

That, in consequence of the pressing declarations aforesaid, the said
Warren Hastings did on his special recommendation appoint, in opposition
to the wishes and desires of the Rajah and his mother, another person to
the administration of his affairs, called Jagher Deo Seo.

That, the Company having sent express orders for the sending the
Resident by them before appointed to Benares, the said Warren Hastings
did strongly oppose himself to the same, and did throw upon the person
appointed by the Company (Francis Fowke, Esquire) several strong, but
unspecified, reflections and aspersions, contrary to the duty he owed to
the Company, and to the justice he owed to all its servants.

That the said Resident, being appointed by the votes of the rest of the
Council, in obedience to the reiterated orders of the Company, and in
despite of the opposition of the said Hastings, did proceed to Benares,
and, on the representation of the parties, and the submission of the
accounts of the aforesaid Durbege Sing to an arbitrator, did find him,
the said Durbege Sing, in debt to the Company for a sum not considerable
enough to justify the severe treatment of the said Durbege Sing: his
wife and son complaining, at or about the same time, that the balances
due to him from the _aumils_, or sub-collectors, had been received by
the new administrator, and carried to his own credit, in prejudice and
wrong to the said Durbege Sing; which representation, the only one that
has been transmitted on the part of the said sufferers, has not been

That it appears that the said Durbege Sing did afterwards go to Calcutta
for the redress of his grievances, and that it does not appear that the
same were redressed, or even his complaints heard, but he received two
peremptory orders from the Supreme Council to leave the said city and to
return to Benares; that, on his return to Benares, and being there met
by Warren Hastings aforesaid, he, the said Warren Hastings, although he
had reason to be well assured that the said Durbege Sing was in
possession of small or no substance, did again cruelly and inhumanly,
and without any legal authority, order the said Durbege Sing to be
strictly imprisoned; and the said Durbege Sing, in consequence of the
vexations, hardships, and oppressions aforesaid, died in a short time
after, insolvent, but whether in prison or not does not appear.



That the said Warren Hastings, having, in the manner before recited,
divested Durbege Sing of the administration of the province of Benares,
did, of his own arbitrary will and pleasure, and against the
remonstrances of the Rajah and his mother, (in whose name and in whose
right the said Durbege Sing, father of the one, and husband of the
other, had administered the affairs of the government,) appoint a person
called Jagher Deo Seo to administer the same.

That the new administrator, warned by the severe example made of his
predecessor, is represented by the said Warren Hastings as having made
it his "avowed principle" (as it might be expected it should be) "that
the sum fixed for the revenue _must_ be collected." And he did, upon the
principle aforesaid, and by the means suggested by a principle of that
sort, accordingly levy from the country, and did regularly discharge to
the British Resident at Benares, by monthly payments, the sums imposed
by the said Warren Hastings, as it is asserted by the Resident, Fowke;
but the said Warren Hastings did assert that his annual collections did
not amount to more than Lac 37,37,600, or thereabouts, which he says is
much short of the revenues of the province, and is by about twenty-four
thousand pounds short of his agreement.

That it further appears, that, notwithstanding the new administrator
aforesaid was appointed two months, or thereabouts, after the beginning
of the Fusseli year, that is to say, about the middle of November, 1782,
and the former administrator had collected a certain portion of the
revenues of that year, amounting to 17,000_l._ and upwards, yet he, the
said new administrator, upon the unjust and destructive principle
aforesaid, suggested by the cruel and violent proceedings of the said
Warren Hastings towards his predecessor, did levy on the province,
within the said year, the whole amount of the revenues to be collected,
in addition to the sum collected by his predecessor aforesaid.

That, on account of a great drought which prevailed in the province
aforesaid, a remission of certain duties in grain was proposed by the
chief criminal judge at Benares; but the administrator aforesaid, being
fearful that the revenue should fall short in his hands, did strenuously
oppose himself to the necessary relief to the inhabitants of the said

That, notwithstanding the cantonment of several bodies of the Company's
troops within the province, since the abolition of the native
government, it became subject in a particular manner to the depredations
of the Rajahs upon the borders; insomuch that in one quarter no fewer
than thirty villages had been sacked and burned, and the inhabitants
reduced to the most extreme distress.

That the Resident, in his letter to the board at Calcutta, did represent
that the collection of the revenue was become very difficult, and,
besides the extreme drought, did assign for a cause of that difficulty
the following. "That there is also one fund which in former years was
often applied in this country to remedy temporary inconveniences in the
revenue, and which in the present year does not exist. This was the
private fortunes of merchants and _shroffs_ [bankers] resident in
Benares, from whom _aumils_ [collectors] of credit could obtain
temporary loans to satisfy the immediate calls of the Rajah. These sums,
which used to circulate between the aumil and the merchant, have been
turned into a different channel, by bills of exchange to defray the
expenses of government, both on the west coast of India, and also at
Madras." To which representation it does not appear that any answer was
given, or that any mode of redress was adopted in consequence thereof.

That the said Warren Hastings, having passed through the province of
Benares (Gazipore) in his progress towards Oude, did, in a letter dated
from the city of Lucknow, the 2d of April, 1784, give to the Council
Board at Calcutta an account, highly dishonorable to the British
government, of the effect of the arrangements made by himself in the
years 1781 and 1782, in the words following. "Having contrived, by
making forced stages, while the troops of my escort marched at the
ordinary rate, to make a stay of five days at Benares, I was thereby
furnished with the means of acquiring some knowledge of the state of the
province, which I am anxious to communicate to you. Indeed, the inquiry,
which was _in a great degree obtruded upon me_, affected me with very
mortifying reflections on my inability to apply it to any useful
purpose. From the confines of Buxar to Benares I was followed and
_fatigued_ by the clamors of the discontented inhabitants. It was what I
expected in a degree, because it is rare that the exercise of authority
should prove satisfactory to all who are the objects of it. The
distresses which were produced by the long-continued drought unavoidably
tended to heighten the general discontent; _yet I have reason to fear
that the cause existed principally in a defective, if not a corrupt and
oppressive administration_. Of a multitude of petitions which were
presented to me, and of which I took minutes, every one that did not
relate to a personal grievance contained the representation of one and
the same species of oppression, which is in its nature of an influence
most fatal to the future cultivation. The practice to which I allude is
this. It is affirmed that the aumils and renters exact from the
proprietors of the actual harvest a large increase in kind on their
stipulated rent: that is, from those who hold their _pottah_ by the
tenure of paying _one half_ of the produce of their crops, either _the
whole_ without subterfuge, or a _large_ proportion of it by a _false
measurement_ or other pretexts; and from those whose engagements are for
a fixed rent _in money_, the half, or a greater proportion, is taken _in
kind_. This is in effect a tax upon the industry of the inhabitants:
since there is scarce a field of grain in the province, _I might say not
one_, which has not been preserved by the incessant labor of the
cultivator, by digging wells for their supply, or watering them from the
wells of masonry with which their country abounds, or from the
neighboring tanks, rivers, and nullahs. The people who imposed on
themselves this voluntary and extraordinary labor, and not unattended
with expense, did it on the expectation of reaping the profits of it;
and it is certain they would not have done it, if they had known that
their rulers, _from whom they were entitled to an indemnification_,
would take from them what they had so hardly earned. If the same
administration continues, and the country shall again labor under a want
of rain, _every field will be abandoned, the revenue fail, and thousands
perish through want of subsistence_: for who will labor for the _sole_
benefit of others, and to make himself the subject of exaction? These
practices are to be imputed to the Naib himself" (the administrator
forced by the said Warren Hastings on the present Rajah of Benares).
"The avowed principle on which he acts, and which he acknowledged to
myself, is, that the _whole_ sum fixed for the revenue of the province
_must_ be collected,--and that, for this purpose, the deficiency arising
in places where the crops have failed, or which have been left
uncultivated, must be supplied from the resources of others, where the
soil has been better suited to the season, or the industry of the
cultivators hath been more successfully exerted: a principle which,
however specious and plausible it may at first appear, _certainly tends
to the most pernicious and destructive consequences_. If this
declaration of the Naib had been made only to myself, I might have
doubted my construction of it; but it was repeated by him to Mr.
Anderson, who understood it exactly in the same sense. In the management
of the customs, the conduct of the Naib, or of the officer under him,
was forced also upon my attention. _The exorbitant rates exacted by an
arbitrary valuation of the goods_, the practice of exacting duties
_twice_ on the same goods, (first from the seller, and afterwards from
the buyer,) and the vexations, disputes, and delays drawn on the
merchants by these oppressions, were loudly complained of; and some
instances of this kind were said to exist at the very time I was at
Benares. Under such circumstances, we are not to wonder, if the
merchants of foreign countries are discouraged from resorting to
Benares, and if the commerce of that province should annually decay.
_Other_ evils, or imputed evils, have accidentally come to my knowledge,
which I will not now particularize, as I hope, that, with the
assistance of the Resident, they may be _in part_ corrected. One evil I
must mention, because it has been verified by my own observation, and is
of that kind which reflects an unmerited reproach on our general and
national character. When I was at Buxar, the Resident, at my desire,
enjoined the Naib to appoint creditable people to every town through
which our route lay, to persuade and encourage the inhabitants to remain
in their houses, promising to give them guards as I approached, and they
required it for their protection; and that he might perceive how earnest
I was for his observation of this precaution, I repeated it to him in
person, and dismissed him that he might precede me for that purpose.
But, to my great disappointment, _I found every place through which I
passed abandoned; nor had there been a man left in any of them for their
protection_. I am sorry to add, _that, from Buxar to the opposite
boundary, I have seen nothing but traces of complete devastation in
every village: whether caused by the followers of the troops which have
lately passed, for their natural relief, (and I know not whether my own
may not have had their share,)_ or from the apprehensions of the
inhabitants left to themselves, and of themselves deserting their
houses. I wish to acquit my own countrymen of the blame of these
unfavorable appearances, and in my own heart I do acquit them; for at
one encampment a crowd of people came to me complaining that _their new
aumil (collector), on the approach of any military detachment, himself
first fled from the place; and the inhabitants, having no one to whom
they could apply for redress, or for the representation of their
grievances, and being thus remediless, fled also; so that their houses
and effects became a prey to any person who chose to plunder them_. The
general conclusion appeared to me an inevitable consequence from such a
state of facts; and my own senses bore testimony to it in this specific
instance: nor do I know how it is possible for any officer commanding a
military party, how attentive soever he may be to the discipline and
forbearance of his people, to prevent disorders, _when there is neither
opposition to hinder nor evidence to detect them_. These and many other
irregularities I impute _solely_ to the Naib, and recommend his instant
removal. I cannot help remarking, that, except the city of Benares, _the
province is in effect without a government. The administration of the
province is misconducted, and the people oppressed, trade discouraged,
and the revenue in danger of a rapid decline, from the violent
appropriation of its means._"

That the said Warren Hastings did recommend to the Council, for a remedy
of the disorders and calamities which had arisen from his own acts,
dispositions, and appointments, that the administrator aforesaid should
be instantly removed from his office,--attributing the aforesaid
"irregularities, _and many others, solely_ to him," although, on his own
representation, it does appear that he was the sole cause of the
irregularities therein described. Neither does it appear that the
administrator, so by the said Hastings nominated and removed, was
properly charged and called to answer for the said recited
irregularities, or for the _many others_ not recited, but _attributed
solely_ to him; nor has any plea or excuse from him been transmitted to
the board, or to the Court of Directors; but he was, at the instance of
the said Hastings, deprived of his said office, contrary to the
principles of natural justice, in a violent and arbitrary manner; which
proceeding, combined with the example made of his predecessor, must
necessarily leave to the person who should succeed to the said office no
distinct principle upon which he might act with safety. But in comparing
the consequences of the two delinquencies charged, the failure of the
payment of the revenues (from whatever cause it may arise) is more
likely to be avoided than any severe course towards the inhabitants: as
the former fault was, besides the deprivation of office, attended with
two imprisonments, with a menace of death, and an actual death, in
disgrace, poverty, and insolvency; whereas the latter, namely, the
oppression, and thereby the total ruin, of the country, charged on the
second administrator, was only followed by loss of office,--although,
he, the said Warren Hastings, did farther assert (but with what truth
does not appear) that the collection of the last administrator had
fallen much short of the revenue of the province.

That the said Warren Hastings himself was sensible that the frequent
changes by him made would much disorder the management of the revenues,
and seemed desirous of concealing his intentions concerning the last
change until the time of its execution. Yet it appears, by a letter from
the British Resident, dated the 23d of June, 1784, "that a very strong
report prevailed at Benares of his [the said Hastings's] intentions of
appointing a new Naib for the approaching year, and that the effect is
evident which the prevalence of such an idea amongst the aumils would
probably have on the cultivation at this particular time. The heavy
mofussil kists [harvest instalments] have now been collected by the
aumils; the season of tillage is arrived; the ryots [country farmers]
must be indulged, and even assisted by advances; and the aumil must look
for his returns in the abundance of the crop, _the consequence of this
early attention to the cultivation_. The effect is evident _which the
report of a change in the first officer of the revenue must have on the
minds of the aumils, by leaving them at an uncertainty of what they have
in future to expect_; and in proportion to the degree of this
uncertainty, their efforts and expenses in promoting the cultivation
will be languid and sparing. In compliance with the Naib's request, I
have written to all the aumils, encouraging and ordering them to attend
to the cultivation of their respective districts; but I conceive I
should be able to promote this very desirable intention much more
effectually, if you will honor me with the communication of your
intentions on this subject. At the same time I cannot help just
remarking, that, if a change is intended, the sooner it takes place, the
more _the bad effects_ I have described will be obviated."

That the Council, having received the proposition for the removal of the
administrator aforesaid, did also, in a letter to him, the said
Hastings, condemn the frequent changes by him made in the administration
of the collections of Benares,--but did consent to such alterations as
might be made without encroaching on the rights established by his, the
said Hastings's, agreement in the year 1781, and did desire him to
transmit to them his plan for a new administration.

That the said Hastings did transmit a plan, which, notwithstanding the
evils which had happened from the former frequent changes, he did
propose _as a temporary expedient_ for the administration of the
revenues of the said province,--in which no provision was made for the
reduction or remission of revenue as exigences might require, or for the
extraction of the circulating specie from the said province, or for the
supply of the necessary advances for cultivation, nor for the removal or
prevention of any of the grievances by him before complained of, other
than an inspection by the Resident and the chief criminal magistrate of
Benares, and other regulations equally void of effect and
authority,--and which plan Mr. Stables, one of the Supreme Council, did
altogether reject; but the same was approved of _as a temporary
expedient_, with some exceptions, by two other members of the board, Mr.
Wheler and Mr. Macpherson, declaring _the said Warren Hastings
responsible for the temporary expediency of the same_.

That the said Warren Hastings, in the plan aforesaid, having strongly
objected to the appointment of any European collectors, that is to say,
of any European servants of the Company being concerned in the same,
declaring that there had been sufficient experience of the ill effects
of their being so employed in the province of Bengal,--by which the said
Hastings did either in loose and general terms convey a false imputation
upon the conduct of the Company's servants employed in the collection of
the revenues of Bengal, or he was guilty of a criminal neglect of duty
in not bringing to punishment the particular persons whose evil
practices had given rise to such a general imputation on British
subjects and servants of the Company as to render them unfit for service
in other places.

That the said Warren Hastings, having in the course of three years made
three complete revolutions in the state of Benares, by expelling, in the
first instance, the lawful and rightful governor of the same, under
whose care and superintendence a large and certain revenue, suitable to
the abilities of the country, and consistent with its prosperity, was
paid with the greatest punctuality, and by afterwards displacing two
effective governors or administrators of the province, appointed in
succession by himself, and, in consequence of the said appointments and
violent and arbitrary removals, the said province "being left in effect
without a government," except in one city only, and having, after all,
settled no more than a temporary arrangement, is guilty of an high crime
and misdemeanor in the destruction of the country aforesaid.


I. That the reigning Nabob of Oude, commonly called Asoph ul Dowlah,
(son and successor to Sujah ul Dowlah,) by taking into or continuing in
his pay certain bodies of regular British troops, and by having
afterwards admitted the British Resident at his court into the
management of all his affairs, foreign and domestic, and particularly
into the administration of his finances, did gradually become in
substance and effect, as well as in general repute and estimation, a
dependant on, or vassal of, the East India Company, and was, and is, so
much under the control of the Governor-General and Council of Bengal,
that, in the opinion of all the native powers, the English name and
character is concerned in every act of his government.

II. That Warren Hastings, Esquire, contrary to law and to his duty, and
in disobedience to the orders of the East India Company, arrogating to
himself the nomination of the Resident at the court of Oude, as his
particular agent and representative, and rejecting the Resident
appointed by the Company, and obtruding upon them a person of his own
choice, did from that time render himself in a particular manner
responsible for the good government of the provinces composing the
dominions of the Nabob of Oude.

III. That the provinces aforesaid, having been at the time of their
first connection with the Company in an improved and flourishing
condition, and yielding a revenue of more than three millions of pounds
sterling, or thereabouts, did soon after that period begin sensibly to
decline, and the subsidy of the British troops stationed in that
province, as well as other sums of money due to the Company by treaty,
ran considerably in arrear; although the prince of the country, during
the time these arrears accrued, was otherwise in distress, and had been
obliged to reduce all his establishments.

IV. That the prince aforesaid, or Nabob of Oude, did, in humble and
submissive terms, supplicate the said Warren Hastings to be relieved
from a body of troops whose licentious behavior he complained of, and
who were stationed in his country without any obligation by treaty to
maintain them,--pleading the failure of harvest and the prevalence of
famine in his country: a compliance with which request by the said
Warren Hastings was refused in unbecoming, offensive, and insulting

V. That the said Nabob, laboring under the aforesaid and other burdens,
and being continually urged for payment, was advised to extort, and did
extort, from his mother and grandmother, under the pretext of loans,
(and sometimes without that appearance,) various great sums of money,
amounting in the whole to six hundred and thirty thousand pounds
sterling, or thereabouts: alleging in excuse the rigorous demands of the
East India Company, for whose use the said extorted money had been
demanded, and to which a considerable part of it had been applied.

VI. That the two female parents of the Nabob aforesaid were among the
women of the greatest rank, family, and distinction in Asia, and were
left by the deceased Nabob, the son of the one and the husband of the
other, in charge of certain considerable part of his treasures, in money
and other valuable movables, as well as certain landed estates, called
jaghires, in order to the support of their own dignity, and the
honorable maintenance of his women, and a numerous offspring, and their
dependants: the said family amounting in the whole to two thousand
persons, who were by the said Nabob, at his death, recommended in a
particular manner to the care and protection of the said Warren

VII. That, on the demand of the Nabob of Oude on his parents for the
last of the sums which completed the six hundred and thirty thousand
pounds aforesaid, they, the said parents, did positively refuse to pay
any part of the same to their son for the use of the Company, until he
should agree to certain terms to be stipulated in a regular treaty, and
among other particulars to secure them in the remainder of their
possessions, and also on no account or pretence to make any further
demands or claims on them; and well knowing from whence all his claims
and exactions had arisen, they demanded that the said treaty, or family
compact, should be guarantied by the Governor-General and Council of
Bengal: and a treaty was accordingly agreed to, executed by the Nabob,
and guarantied by John Bristow, Esquire, the Resident at Oude, under the
authority and with the express consent of the said Warren Hastings and
the Council-General, and in consequence thereof the sum last required
was paid, and discharges given to the Nabob for all the money which he
had borrowed from his own mother and the mother of his father.

That, the distresses and disorders in the Nabob's government and his
debt to the Company continuing to increase, notwithstanding the violent
methods before mentioned taken to augment his resources, the said Warren
Hastings, on the 21st of May, and on the 31st July, 1781, (he and Mr.
Wheler being the only remaining members of the Council-General, and he
having the conclusive and casting voice, and thereby being in effect the
whole Council,) did, in the name and under the authority of the board,
resolve on a journey to the upper provinces, in order to a personal
interview with the Nabob of Oude, towards the settlement of his
distressed affairs, and did give to himself a delegation of the powers
of the said Council, in direct violation of the Company's orders
forbidding such delegation.

VIII. That the said Warren Hastings having by his appointment met the
Nabob of Oude near a place called Chunar, and possessing an entire and
absolute command over the said prince, he did, contrary to justice and
equity and the security of property, as well as to public faith and the
sanction of the Company's guaranty, under the color of a treaty, which
treaty was conducted secretly, without a written document of any part of
the proceeding except the pretended treaty itself, authorize the said
Nabob to seize upon, and confiscate to his own profit, the landed
estates, called jaghires, of his parents, kindred, and principal
nobility: only stipulating a pension to the net amount of the rent of
the said lands as an equivalent, and that equivalent to such only whose
lands had been guarantied to them by the Company; but provided neither
in the said pretended treaty nor in any subsequent act the least
security for the payment of the said pension to those for whom such
pension was ostensibly reserved, and for the others not so much as a
show of indemnity;--to the extreme scandal of the British government,
which, valuing itself upon a strict regard to property, did expressly
authorize, if it did not command, an attack upon that right,
unprecedented in the despotic governments of India.

IX. That the said Warren Hastings, in order to cover the violent and
unjust proceedings aforesaid, did assert a claim of right in the same
Nabob to all the possessions of his said mother and grandmother, as
belonging to him by the Mahomedan law; and this pretended claim was set
up by the said Warren Hastings, after the Nabob had, by a regular treaty
ratified and guarantied by the said Hastings as Governor-General,
renounced and released all demands on them. And this false pretence of a
legal demand was taken up and acted upon by the said Warren Hastings,
without laying the said question on record before the Council-General,
or giving notice to the persons to be affected thereby to support their
rights before any of the principal magistrates and expounders of the
Mahomedan law, or taking publicly the opinions of any person conversant

X. That, in order to give further color to the acts of ill faith and
violence aforesaid, the said Warren Hastings did cause to be taken at
Lucknow and other places, before divers persons, and particularly before
Sir Elijah Impey, Knight, his Majesty's chief-justice, acting
extra-judicially, and not within the limits of his jurisdiction, several
passionate, careless, irrelevant, and irregular affidavits, consisting
of matter not fit to be deposed on oath,--of reports, conjectures, and
hearsays; some of the persons swearing to the said hearsays having
declined to declare from whom they heard the accounts at second hand
sworn to; the said affidavits in general tending to support the
calumnious charge of the said Warren Hastings, namely, that the aged
women before mentioned had formed or engaged in a plan for the
deposition of their son and sovereign, and the _utter extirpation_ of
the English nation: and neither the said charge against persons whose
dependence was principally, if not wholly, on the good faith of this
nation, and highly affecting the honor, property, and even lives, of
women of the highest condition, nor the affidavits intended to support
the same, extra-judicially taken, _ex parte_, and without notice, by the
said Sir Elijah Impey and others, were at any time communicated to the
parties charged, or to any agent for them; nor were they called upon to
answer, nor any explanation demanded of them.

XI. That the article affecting private property secured by public acts,
in the said pretended treaty, contains nothing more than a general
permission, given by the said Warren Hastings, for confiscating such
jaghires, or landed estates, with the modifications therein contained,
"as _he_ [the Nabob] may find necessary," but does not directly point
at, or express by name, any of the landed possessions of the Nabob's
mother. But soon after the signing of the said pretended treaty, (that
is, on the 29th November, 1781,) it did appear that a principal object
thereof was to enable the Nabob to seize upon the estates of his female
parents aforesaid, which had been guarantied to them by the East India
Company. And although in the treaty, or pretended treaty, aforesaid,
nothing more is purported than to give a simple permission to the Nabob
to seize upon and confiscate the estates, leaving the execution or
non-execution of the same wholly to his discretion, yet it appears, by
several letters from Nathaniel Middleton, Esquire, the Resident at the
Court of Oude, of the 6th, 7th, and 9th of December, 1781, that no such
discretion as expressed in the treaty was left, or intended to be left,
with him, the said Nabob, but that the said article ought practically to
have a construction of a directly contrary tendency: that, instead of
considering the article as originating from the Nabob, and containing a
power provided in his favor which he did not possess before, the
confiscation of the jaghires aforesaid was to be considered as a measure
originating from the English, and to be intended for their benefit, and,
as such, that the execution was to be forced upon him; and the execution
thereof was accordingly forced upon him. And the Resident, Middleton, on
the Nabob's refusal to act in contradiction to his sworn engagement
guarantied by the East India Company, and in the undutiful and unnatural
manner required, did totally supersede his authority in his own
dominions, considering himself as empowered so to act by the
instructions of the said Hastings, although he had reason to apprehend a
general insurrection in consequence thereof, and that he found it
necessary to remove his family, "which he did not wish to retain there,
in case of a rupture with the Nabob, or the necessity of employing the
British forces in the reduction of _his_ aumils and troops"; and he did
accordingly, as sovereign, issue his own edicts and warrants, in
defiance of the resistance of the Nabob, in the manner by him described
in the letters aforesaid,--in a letter of 6th December, 1781, that is to
say: "_Finding the Nabob wavering in his determination about the
resumption of the jaghires_, I this day, in presence of and with the
minister's concurrence, ordered the necessary purwannahs to be written
to the several aumils for that purpose; and it was my firm resolution to
have dispatched them this evening, with proper people to see them
punctually and implicitly carried into execution; but before they were
all transcribed, I received a message from the Nabob, who had been
informed by the minister of the resolution I had taken, entreating that
I would withhold the purwannahs until to-morrow morning, when he would
attend me, and afford me satisfaction on this point. As the loss of a
few hours in the dispatch of the purwannahs appeared of little moment,
and as it is possible the Nabob, _seeing that the business will at all
events be done, may make it an act of his own, I have consented to
indulge him in his request; but, be the remit of our interview whatever
it may, nothing shall prevent the orders being issued to-morrow, either
by him or myself, with the concurrence of the ministers_. Your pleasure
respecting the Begums I have learnt from Sir Elijah, and the measure
heretofore proposed will soon follow the resumption of the jaghires.
From both, or indeed from the former alone, I have no doubt of the
complete liquidation of the Company's balance." And also in another
letter, of the 7th December, 1781: "I had the honor to address you
yesterday, informing you of the steps I had taken in regard to the
resumption of _the jaghires. This morning the Vizier came to me
according to his agreement, but seemingly without any intention or
desire to yield me satisfaction on the subject under discussion; for,
after a great deal of conversation, consisting on his part of trifling
evasion and puerile excuses for withholding his assent to the measure,
though at the same time professing the most implicit submission to your
wishes, I found myself without any other resource than the one of
employing that exclusive authority with which I consider your
instructions to vest me: I therefore declared to the Nabob, in presence
of the minister and Mr. Johnson, who I desired might bear witness of the
conversation, that I construed his rejection of the measure proposed as
a breach of his solemn promise to you, and an unwillingness to yield
that assistance which was evidently in his power towards liquidating his
heavy accumulating debt to the Company_, and that I must in consequence
determine, in my own justification, _to issue immediately the
purwannahs_, which had only been withheld in the sanguine hope that he
would be prevailed upon _to make that his own act_ which nothing but the
most urgent necessity could force _me to make mine_. He left me without
any reply, but afterwards sent for his minister and authorized him to
give me hopes that my requisition would be complied with; on which I
expressed my satisfaction, but declared that I could admit of no further
delays, and, unless I received his Excellency's formal acquiescence
before the evening, I should then most assuredly issue _my_ purwannahs;
which _I have accordingly done_, not having had any assurances from his
Excellency that could justify a further suspension. I shall, as soon as
possible, inform you of the effect of the purwannahs, which, in many
parts, I am apprehensive it will be found necessary _to enforce with
military aid_. I am not, however, entirely without hopes that the Nabob,
_when he sees the inefficacy of further opposition_, may alter his
conduct, and prevent _the confusion and disagreeable consequences which
would be too likely to result from the prosecution of a measure of such
importance without his concurrence_. His Excellency talks of going to
Fyzabad, for the purpose heretofore mentioned, in three or four days: _I
wish he may be serious in his intention_, and you may rest assured _I
shall spare no pains to keep him to it_." And further, in a letter of
the 9th December, 1781: "I had the honor to address you on the 7th
instant, informing you of the conversation which had passed between the
Nabob and me on the subject of resuming the jaghires, and the step I had
taken in consequence. _His Excellency appeared to be very much hurt and
incensed at the measure, and loudly complains of the treachery of his
ministers,--first, in giving you any hopes that such a measure would be
adopted, and, secondly, in their promising me their whole support in
carrying it through; but, as I apprehended, rather than suffer it to
appear that the point had been carried in opposition to his will_, he at
length yielded a _nominal_ acquiescence, and has this day issued his own
purwannahs to that effect,--_declaring, however, at the same time, both
to me and his ministers, that it is an act of compulsion_. I hope to be
able in a few days, in consequence of this measure, to transmit you an
account of the actual value and produce of the jaghires, opposed to the
nominal amount at which they stand rated on the books of the circar."

XII. That the said Warren Hastings, instead of expressing any
disapprobation of the proceedings aforesaid, in violation of the rights
secured by treaty with the mother and grandmother of the reigning prince
of Oude, and not less in violation of the sovereign rights of the Nabob
himself, did by frequent messages stimulate the said Middleton to a
perseverance in and to a rigorous execution of the same,--and in his
letter from Benares of the 25th December, 1781, did "express doubts of
his firmness and activity, and, above all, of his recollection of his
instructions and their importance; and that, if he could not rely on his
own [power] and the means he possessed for performing those services, he
_would free him_ [the said Middleton] _from the charges_, and would
proceed _himself_ to Lucknow, and would _himself_ undertake them."

XIII. That very doubtful credit is to be given to any letters written by
the said Middleton to the said Warren Hastings, when they answer the
purposes which the said Warren Hastings had evidently in view: the said
Middleton having written to him in the following manner from Lucknow,
30th December, 1781.

XIV. "MY DEAR SIR,--I have this day answered your _public_
letter in the form _you seem to expect_. I hope there is nothing in it
that may appear to you too pointed. _If you wish the matter to be
otherwise understood than I have taken up and stated it, I need not say
I shall be ready to conform to whatever you may prescribe, and to take
upon myself any share of the blame of the (hitherto) non-performance of
the stipulations made on behalf of the Nabob_: though I do assure you I
myself represented to his Excellency and the ministers, (conceiving it
to be your desire,) that _the apparent assumption of the reins of his
government_, (for in that light he undoubtedly considered it at the
first view,) as specified in the agreement executed by him, was not
meant to be _fully_ and _literally_ enforced, but that it was necessary
_you should have something to show on your side, as the Company were
deprived of a benefit without a requital; and upon the faith of this
assurance alone_, I believe I may safely affirm, his Excellency's
objections to signing the treaty were given up. If I have understood the
matter wrong, or misconceived your design, I am truly sorry for it:
_however, it is not too late to correct the error; and I am ready to
undertake, and, God willing, to carry through, whatever you may, on
receipt of my public letter, tell me is your final resolve_."

XV. That it appears, but on his, the said Middleton's, sole authority,
in a letter from the said Middleton, dated Lucknow, 2d December, 1781,
that the Nabob of Oude, wishing to evade the measure of resuming the
jaghires aforesaid, did send a message to him, purporting, "that, if the
measure proposed was intended to procure the payment of the balance due
to the Company, he could better and more expeditiously effect that
object by taking from his mother the treasures of his father, which he
did assert to be in her hands, and to which he did claim a right; and
that it would be sufficient that he, the said Hastings, _would hint his
opinion upon it, without giving a formal sanction to the measure
proposed_; and that, whatever his resolution upon the subject should be,
it would be expedient to keep it secret": adding, "_The resumption of
the jaghires it is necessary to suspend till I have your answer to this

XVI. That it does not appear that the said Hastings did write any
letter in answer to the proposal of the said Middleton, but he, the said
Hastings, did communicate his pleasure thereon, to Sir Elijah Impey,
being then at Lucknow, for his, the said Middleton's, information; and
it does appear that the seizing of the treasures of the mother of the
Nabob, said to have been proposed as _an alternative_ by the said Nabob
to prevent the resumption of the jaghires, was determined upon and
ordered by the said Hastings,--and that the resumption of the said
jaghires, for the ransom of which the seizing of the treasures was
proposed, was also directed: not one only, but both sides of the
alternative, being enforced upon the female parents of the Nabob
aforesaid, although both the one and the other had been secured to them
by a treaty with the East India Company.

XVIII.[60] That Sir Elijah Impey, Knight, his Majesty's chief-justice at
Port William, did undertake a journey of nine hundred miles, from
Calcutta to Lucknow, on pretence of health and pleasure, but was in
reality in the secret of these and other irregular transactions, and
employed as a channel of confidential communication therein. And the
said Warren Hastings, by presuming to employ the said chief-justice, a
person particularly unfit for an agent, in the transaction of affairs
_prima facie_ at least unjust, violent, and oppressive, contrary to
public faith, and to the sentiments and law of Nature, and which he, the
said Hastings, was sensible "could not fail to draw obloquy on himself
by his participation," did disgrace the king's commission, and render
odious to the natives of Hindostan the justice of the crown of Great

XIX. That, although the said Warren Hastings was from the beginning duly
informed of the violence offered to the personal inclinations of the
Nabob, and the "apparent assumption of the reins of his government," for
the purposes aforesaid, yet more than two years after he did write to
his private agent, Major Palmer, that is to say, in his letter of the
6th of May, 1783, "that it has been a matter of _equal surprise and
concern_ to him to learn from the letters of the Resident that the Nabob
Vizier was with difficulty and almost unconquerable reluctance induced
to give his consent to the attachment of the treasure deposited by his
father under the charge of the Begum, his mother, and to the resumption
of her jaghire, and the other jaghires of the individuals of his
family": which pretence of ignorance of the Nabob's inclinations is
fictitious and groundless. But whatever deception he might pretend to be
in concerning the original intention of the Nabob, he was not, nor did
he pretend to be, ignorant of his, the Nabob's, reluctance to _proceed_
in the said measures; but did admit his knowledge of the Nabob's
reluctance to their full execution, and yet did justify the same as

XX. "I desire that you will inform him [the Nabob], that, in these and
the other measures which were either proposed by him or received his
concurrence in the agreement passed between us at Chunar, I neither had
nor could have any object _but his relief, and the strengthening of his
connection with the Company_; and that I should not on any other ground
have exposed myself to _the personal obloquy which they could not fail
to draw upon me by my participation in them_, but left him to regulate
by his own discretion and by his own means the economy of his own
finances, and, _with much more cause, the assertion of his domestic
right. In these he had no regular claim to my interference_; nor had I,
in my public character, any claim upon him, but for the payment of the
debt then due from him to the Company, although I was under the
strongest obligations to require it for the relief of the pressing
exigencies of their affairs. He will well remember the manner in which,
at a visit to him in his own tent, I declared my acquiescence freely,
and without hesitation, to each proposition, which afterwards formed the
substance of a written agreement, as he severally made them; and he can
want no other evidence of my motives for _so cheerful a consent_, nor
for the requests which I added as the means of fulfilling his purposes
in them. Had he not made these measures his own option, I should not
have proposed them; _but having once adopted them, and made them the
conditions of a formal and sacred agreement, I had no longer an option
to dispense with them, but was bound to the complete performance and
execution of them, as points of public duty and of national faith, for
which I was responsible to my king, and the Company my immediate
superiors: and this was the reason for my insisting on their performance
and execution, when I was told that the Nabob himself had relaxed from
his original purpose, and expressed a reluctance to proceed in it_."

XXI. That the said Warren Hastings does admit that the Nabob _had_
originally no regular claim upon him for his interference, or he any
claim on the Nabob, which, might entitle him to interfere in the Nabob's
domestic concerns; yet, in order to justify his so invidious an
interference, he did, in the letter aforesaid, give a false account of
the said treaty, which (as before mentioned) did nothing more than give
a _permission_ to the Nabob to resume the jaghires, _if HE should judge
the same to be necessary_, and did therefore leave the right of
dispensing with the whole, or any part thereof, as much in his option
after the treaty as it was before: the declared intent of the article
being only to remove the restraint of the Company's guaranty forbidding
such resumption, but furnishing nothing which could authorize putting
that resumption into the hands and power of the Company, to be enforced
at their discretion. And with regard to the other part of the spoil made
by order of the said Hastings, and by him in the letter aforesaid stated
to be made equally against the will of the Nabob, namely, that which was
committed on the personal and movable property of the female parents of
the Nabob, nothing whatsoever in relation to the same is stipulated in
the said pretended treaty.

XXII. That the said Hastings, in asserting that he was bound to the acts
aforesaid by public duty, and even by national faith, in the very
instance in which that national faith was by him grossly violated, and
in justifying himself by alleging that he was bound to the _complete_
execution by a responsibility to the Company which he immediately
served, and by asserting that these violent and rapacious proceedings,
subjecting all persons concerned in them to obloquy, would be the means
of strengthening the connection of the Nabob with the British United
Company of Merchants trading to the East Indies, did disgrace the
authority under which he immediately acted. And that the said Hastings,
in justifying his obligations to the said acts by a responsibility to
the _king_, namely, to the King of Great Britain, did endeavor to throw
upon his Majesty, his lawful sovereign, (whose name and character he was
bound to respect, and to preserve in estimation with all persons, and
particularly with the sovereign princes, the allies of his government,)
the disgrace and odium of the aforesaid acts, in which a sovereign
prince was by him, the said Hastings, made an instrument of perfidy,
wrong, and outrage to two mothers and wives of sovereign princes, and in
which he did exhibit to all Asia (a country remarkable for the utmost
devotion to parental authority) the spectacle of a Christian governor,
representing a Christian sovereign, compelling a son to become the
instrument of such violence and extortion against his own mother.

That the said Warren Hastings, by repeated messages and injunctions, and
under menaces of "a dreadful responsibility," did urge the Resident to a
completion of this barbarous act; and well knowing that such an act
would probably be resisted, did order him, the said Resident, to use the
British troops under his direction for that purpose; and did offer the
assistance of further forces, urging the execution in the following
peremptory terms: "You _yourself_ must be _personally present_; you must
not allow _any_ negotiation or forbearance, but must prosecute both
services, until the Begums [princesses] are at the entire mercy of the

XXIII. That, in conformity to the said peremptory orders, a party of
British and other troops, with the Nabob in the ostensible, and the
British Resident in the real command, were drawn towards the city of
Fyzabad, in the castle of which city the mother and grandmother of the
Nabob had their residence; and after expending two days in negotiation,
(the particulars of which do not appear,) the Resident not receiving the
satisfaction he looked for, the town was first stormed, and afterwards
the castle; and little or no resistance being made, and no blood being
shed on either side, the British troops occupied all the outer inclosure
of the palace of one of the princesses, and blocked up the other.[62]

XXIV. That this violent assault, and forcible occupation of their
houses, and the further extremities they had to apprehend, did not
prevail on the female parents of the Nabob to consent to any submission,
until the Resident sent in unto them a letter from the said Warren
Hastings,[63] (no copy of which appears,) declaring himself no longer
bound by the guaranty, and containing such other matter as tended to
remove all their hopes, which seemed to be centred in British faith.

XXV. That the chief officers of their household, who were their
treasurers and confidential agents, the eunuchs Jewar Ali Khan and Behar
Ali Khan, persons of great eminence, rank, and distinction, who had been
in high trust and favor with the late Nabob, were ignominiously put into
confinement under an inferior officer, in order to extort the discovery
of the treasures and effects committed to their care and fidelity. And
the said Middleton did soon after, that is to say, on the 12th of
January, 1782, deliver them over for the same purpose into the custody
of Captain Neal Stuart, commanding the eighth regiment, by his order
given in the following words: "To be kept in close and secure
confinement, admitting of no intercourse with them, excepting by their
four menial servants, who are authorized to attend them until further
orders. You will allow them to have any necessary and convenience which
may be consistent with a strict guard over them."

XXVI. That, in consequence of these severities upon herself, and on
those whom she most regarded and trusted, the mother of the said Nabob
did at length consent to the delivering up of her treasures, and the
same were paid to the Resident, to the amount of the bond given by the
Nabob to the Company for his balance of the year 1779-80; and the said
treasure "was taken from the most secret recesses in the houses of the
two eunuchs."

XXVII. That the Nabob continuing still under the pressure of a further
pretended debt to the Company for his balance of the year 1780-81, the
Resident, not satisfied with the seizure of the estates and treasures of
his parents aforesaid, although he, the said Resident, did confess that
the princess mother "had declared, _with apparent truth_, that she had
delivered up _the whole of the property in her hands_, excepting goods
which from the experience which he, the Resident, had of the _small
produce_ of the sales of a former payment made by her in that mode he
did refuse, and that in his opinion it certainly would have amounted to
little or nothing," did proceed to extort another great sum of money,
that is to say, the sum of one hundred and twenty thousand pounds
sterling, on account of the last pretended balance aforesaid: in order,
therefore, to compel the said ministers and treasurers either to
distress their principals by extorting whatever valuable substance might
by any possibility remain concealed, or to furnish the said sum from
their own estates or from their credit with their friends, did order
their imprisonment to be aggravated with circumstances of great cruelty,
giving an order to Lieutenant Francis Rutledge, dated 20th January,
1782, in the following words.

XXVIII. "SIR,--When this note is delivered to you by Hoolas
Roy, I have to desire that you order the two prisoners to be put _in
irons, keeping them from all food, &c., agreeable to my instructions of

    (Signed)       "NATH^L MIDDLETON."

XXIX. That by the said unjust and rigorous proceeding the said eunuchs
were compelled to give their engagement for the payment of one hundred
and twenty thousand pounds sterling aforesaid, to be completed within
the period of one month; but after they had entered into the said
compulsory engagement, they were still kept in close imprisonment, and
the mother and grandmother of the Nabob were themselves held under a
strict guard,--although, at the same time, the confiscated estates were
actually in the Company's possession, and found to exceed the amount of
what they were rated at in the general list of confiscated estates,[64]
and although the Assistant Resident, Johnson, did confess, "that the
object of distressing the Bhow Begum was merely to obtain a
_ready-money_ instead of a _dilatory payment_, and that this ready-money
payment, if not paid, was recoverable in the course of a few months upon
the jaghires in his possession, and that therefore it was not worth
proceeding to any extremities, beyond the one described," (namely, the
confinement of the princesses, and the imprisonment and fettering of
their ministers,) "upon so respectable a family."[65]

XXX. That, after the surrender of the treasure, and the passing the
bonds and obligations given as aforesaid, the Resident having been
strictly ordered by the said Warren Hastings not to make any settlement
whatsoever with the said women of high rank, the Nabob was induced to
leave the city of Fyzabad without taking leave of his mother, or showing
her any mark of duty or civility. And on the same day the Resident left
the city aforesaid; and after his return to Lucknow, in order to pacify
the said Hastings, who appeared to resent that the Nabob was not urged
to greater degrees of rigor than those hitherto used towards his mother,
he, the said Resident, did, in his letter of the 6th February, give him
an assurance in the following words:--"I shall, as you direct, use my
influence to dissuade his Excellency from concluding _any settlement_
until I have your further commands."

XXXI. That the payment of the bond last extorted from the eunuchs was
soon after commenced, and the grandmother, as well as the mother, were
now compelled to deliver what they declared was _the extent of the
whole_ of both their possessions, including down to their _table
utensils_; which, as the Resident admitted, "they had been and were
still delivering, and that no proof had yet been obtained of their
having more."

XXXII. That bullion, jewels, and goods, to the amount of five hundred
thousand pounds and upwards, were actually received by the Resident for
the use of the Company before the 23d of February, 1782; and there
remained on the said extorted bond no more than about twenty-five
thousand pounds, according to the statement of the eunuchs, and not
above fifty thousand according to that made by the Resident.

XXXIII. That, in this advanced state of the delivery of the extorted
treasure, the ministers of the women aforesaid of the reigning family
did apply to Captain Leonard Jaques, under whose custody they were
confined, to be informed of the deficiency with which they stood
charged, that they might endeavor, with the assistance of their friends,
to provide for the same, and praying that they might through his
mediation be freed from the hardships they suffered under their
confinement: to which application they received an insolent answer from
the said Richard Johnson, dated February 27th, 1782, declaring that part
of what he had received in payment was in jewels and bullion, and that
more than a month, the time fixed for the final payment, would elapse
before he could dispose of the same,--insisting upon a ready-money
payment, and assuring them "that the day on which their agreement
expired he should be indispensably obliged to recommence severities upon
them, until the last farthing was fully paid." And in order to add to
their terrors and hardships, as well as to find some pretext for the
further cruel and inhuman acts intended, an apparently groundless and
injurious charge was suggested to the imprisoned ministers aforesaid in
the following words. "You may also mention to them, that I have reason
to _suspect_ that the commotions raised by Bulbudder have not been
without their _suggestion and abetment_, which, if proved upon them, in
addition to the _probable_ breach of their agreement, will make their
situation _very desperate_."

XXXIV. That on the receipt of the said letter, that is, on the 2d March,
the ministers aforesaid did aver, that they were not able to obtain
cash, in lieu of the jewels and other effects, but that, if the goods
were sold, and they released from their confinement, and permitted (as
they have before requested) to go abroad among their friends, they could
soon make good the deficiency; and they did absolutely deny "that they
had any hand in the commotions raised by Bulbudder, or any kind of
correspondence with him or his adherents."

XXXV. That the prisoners aforesaid did shortly after, that is to say, on
the 13th March, a third time renew their application to Nathaniel
Middleton, Esquire, the Resident, and did request that the jewels
remaining in his, the said Resident's, hands, towards the payment of the
balance remaining, "might be valued by four or five eminent merchants,
Mussulmen and Hindoos, upon oath," and that, if any balance should
afterwards appear, they would upon their release get their friends to
advance the same; and they did again represent the hardship of their
imprisonment, and pray for relief; and did again assert that the
imputations thrown upon them by the said Richard Johnson were false and
groundless,--"that they had no kind of intercourse, either directly or
indirectly, with the authors of the commotions alluded to, and that they
did stake their lives upon the smallest proof thereof being brought."

XXXVI. That, instead of their receiving any answer to any of the
aforesaid reasonable propositions, concerning either the account stated,
or the crimes imputed to them, or any relief from the hardships they
suffered, he, the Resident, Middleton, did, on the 18th of the said
month, give to the officer who had supplicated in favor of the said
prisoners an order in which he declared himself "under the disagreeable
necessity of recurring to severities to enforce the said payment, and
that this is therefore to desire that you immediately cause them _to be
put in irons_, and keep them so until I shall arrive at Fyzabad to take
further measures as may be necessary": which order being received at
Fyzabad the day after it was given, the said eunuchs were a second time
thrown into irons. And it appears that (probably in resentment for the
humane representations of the said Captain Jaques) the Resident did
refuse to pay for the fetters, and other contingent charges of the
imprisonment of the said ministers of the Nabob's mother, when at the
same time very liberal contingent allowances were made to other
officers; and the said Jaques did strongly remonstrate against the same
as follows. "You have also ordered me to put the prisoners in irons:
this I have done; yet, as I have no business to purchase fetters, or
supply them any other way, it is but reasonable that you should order me
to be reimbursed. And why should I add anything more? A late commander
at this place, I am told, draws near as many thousands monthly
contingencies as my trifling letter for hundreds. However, if you cannot
get my bill paid, be so obliging as to return it, and give me an
opportunity of declaring to the world that I believe I am the first
officer in the Company's service who has suffered in his property by an
independent command."

XXXVI. That, in about two months after the said prisoners had continued
in irons in the manner aforesaid, the officer on guard, in a letter of
the 18th May, did represent to the Resident as follows. "The prisoners,
Behar and Jewar Ali Khan, who seem to be very sickly, have requested
their irons might be taken off for a few days, that they might take
medicine, and walk about the garden of the place where they are
confined. Now, as I am sure _they will be equally secure without their
irons as with them_, I think it my duty to inform you of this request: I
desire to know your pleasure concerning it." To which letter the said
officer did receive a direct refusal, dated 22d May, 1782, in the
following words. "I am sorry it is not in my power to comply with your
proposal of easing the prisoners for a few days of their fetters. Much
as my humanity may be touched by their sufferings, I should think it
inexpedient to afford them any alleviation while they persist in a
breach of their contract with me: and, indeed, no indulgence can be
shown them without the authority of the Nabob, who, instead of
consenting to moderate the rigors of their situation, would be most
willing to multiply them":--endeavoring to join the Nabob, whom he well
knew to be reluctant in the whole proceeding, as a party in the
cruelties by which, through the medium of her servants, it was intended
to coerce his mother.

XXXVIII. That the said Resident, in a few days after, that is to say, on
the 1st June, 1782, in a letter to Major Gilpin, in command at Fyzabad,
did order the account, as by himself stated, to be read to the
prisoners, and, without taking any notice of their proposal concerning
the valuation of the effects, or their denial of the offences imputed to
them, to demand a positive answer relative to the payment, and, "upon
receiving from them a negative or unsatisfactory reply, to inform them,
that, all further negotiation being at an end, they must prepare for
their removal to Lucknow, where they would be called upon to answer not
only their recent breach of faith and solemn engagement, but also to
atone for other heavy offences, the punishment of which, as had
frequently been signified to them, it was in their power to have
mitigated by a proper acquittal of themselves in this transaction." By
which insinuations concerning the pretended offences of the said unhappy
persons, and the manner by which they were to atone for the same, and by
their never having been specifically and directly made, it doth appear
that the said crimes and offences were charged for the purpose of
extorting money, and not upon principles or for the ends of justice.

XXXIX. That, after some ineffectual negotiations to make the prisoners
pay the money, which it does not appear to have been in their power to
pay, they were again threatened by the Resident, in a letter to Major
Gilpin, dated 9th June, 1782, in the following terms. "I wish you to
explain once more to the prisoners the imprudence and folly of their
conduct in forcing me to a measure which must be attended with
consequences so very serious to them, and that, when once they are
removed to Lucknow, it will not be in my power to show them mercy, or to
stand between them and the vengeance of the Nabob. Advise them to
reflect seriously upon the unhappy situation in which they will be
involved in one case, and the relief it will be in my power to procure
them in the other; and let them make their option."

XL. That he, the said Resident, did also, at the same time, receive a
letter from the princess mother, which letter does not appear, but to
which only the following insolent return was made,--that is to say: "The
letter from the Bhow Begum is no ways satisfactory, and I cannot think
of returning an answer to it. Indeed, all correspondence between the
Begum and me has long been stopped; and I request you will be pleased to
inform her that I by no means wish to resume it, or to maintain any
friendly intercourse with her, until she has made good my claim upon her
for the balance due."

XLI. That, in consequence of these threats, and to prevent a separation
of the ministers from their mistresses, several plans for the payment of
the balance were offered, both by the mother of the Nabob and the
prisoners, to which no other objection appears to have been made than
the length of time required by the parties to discharge the
comparatively small remainder of the extorted bond: the officer on
command declaring, that, conformable to his instructions, he could not
receive the same.[66]

XLII. That the prisoners were actually removed from the city of their
residence to the city of Lucknow, where they arrived on the 24th of
June, 1782, and were on the next day threatened with severities, "to
make them discover where the balance might be procurable." And on the
28th, it should seem, that the severities for the purpose aforesaid were
inflicted, at least upon one of them; for the Assistant Resident,
Johnson, did on that day write to Captain Waugh, the officer commanding
the guard, the letter following, full of disgrace to the honor, justice,
and humanity of the British nation.

XLIII. "SIR,--The Nabob having determined _to inflict corporal
punishment upon the prisoners_ under your guard, this is to desire that
his officers, when they shall come, may have free access to the
prisoners, and _be permitted to do with them as they shall see proper_,
only taking care that they leave them always under your charge."

XLIV. That the said Richard Johnson did, further to terrify the
prisoners, and to extort by all ways the remainder of the said unjust,
oppressive, and rapacious demand, threaten to remove them out of the
Nabob's dominions into the castle of Churnagur, in order forever to
separate them from their principals, and deprive both of their
reciprocal protection and services,[67]--and did order a further guard
to be put on the palace of the grandmother of the Nabob, an ally of the
Company, and to prevent the entrance of the provisions to her, (which
order relative to the guard only was executed,) and did use sundry
unworthy and insulting menaces both with regard to herself and to her
principal ministers.[68]

XLV. That a proposal was soon after made by the said princess and her
daughter-in-law, praying that their ministers aforesaid should be
returned to Fyzabad, and offering to raise a sum of money on that
condition;[69] as also that they would remove from one of their palaces,
whilst the English were to be permitted to search the other.[70] But the
Assistant Resident, Johnson, did, instead of a compliance with the
former of these propositions, send the following orders, dated 23d July,
1782, to the officer commanding the guard on the ministers aforesaid:
"Some violent demands having been made for the release of the prisoners,
it is necessary that every possible precaution be taken for their
security; you will therefore be pleased to be very strict in guarding
them; and I herewith send _another pair of fetters to be added to those
now upon the prisoners_." And in answer to the second proposition, the
said Resident did reply in the following terms: "The proposal of
evacuating one palace, that it may be searched, and then evacuating the
next, upon the same principle, is apparently fair; but it is well known,
in the first place, that such bricked-up or otherwise hidden treasure
is not to be hit upon in a day without a guide. I have therefore
informed the Nabob of this proposal, and, if the matter is to be reduced
to a search, he will go himself, with such people as he may possess for
information, together with the prisoners; and when in possession of the
ground, by _punishing the prisoners_, or by such _other means as he may
find most effectual_ to forward a successful search upon the spot, he
will avail himself of the proposal made by the Bhow Begum."

XLVI. That, probably from the Nabob's known and avowed reluctance to
lend himself to the perpetration of the oppressive and iniquitous
proceedings of the representative of the British government, the
scandalous plan aforesaid was not carried into execution; and all the
rigors practised upon the chief ministers of the ladies aforesaid at
Lucknow being found ineffectual, and the princess mother having declared
herself ready to deliver up everything valuable in her possession, which
Behar Ali Khan, one of her confidential ministers aforesaid, only could
come at, the said change of prison was agreed to,--but not until the
Nabob's mother aforesaid had engaged to pay for the said change of
prison a sum of ten thousand pounds, (one half of which was paid on the
return of the eunuchs,) and that "she would ransack the _zenanah_
[women's apartments] for kincobs, muslins, clothes, &c., &c., &c., and
that she would even allow a deduction from the annual allowance made to
her for her subsistence in lieu of her jaghire."[71]

XLVII. That, soon after the return of the aforesaid ministers to the
place of their imprisonment at Fyzabad, bonds for the five thousand
pounds aforesaid, and goods, estimated, according to the valuation of a
merchant appointed to value the same, at the sum of forty thousand
pounds, even allowing them to sell greatly under their value, were
delivered to the commanding officer at Fyzabad; and the said commanding
officer did promise to the Begum to visit Lucknow with such proposals as
he hoped would secure the _small balance_ of fifteen thousand pounds
remaining of the unjust exaction aforesaid.[72] But the said Resident,
Middleton, did, in his letter of the 17th of the said month, positively
refuse to listen to any terms before the final discharge of the whole of
the demand, and did positively forbid the commanding officer to come to
Lucknow to make the proposal aforesaid in the terms following. "As it is
not possible to listen to _any_ terms from the Begums before the final
discharge of their conditional agreement for fifty-five lacs, your
coming here upon such an agency can only be _loss of time_ in completing
the recovery of the balance of 6,55,000, for which your regiment was
sent to Fyzabad. I must therefore desire you will leave _no efforts,
gentle or harsh_, unattempted to complete this, before you move from
Fyzabad; and I am very anxious that this should be as soon as possible,
_as I want to employ your regiment upon other emergent service, now
suffering by every delay_."

XLVIII. That the goods aforesaid were sent to Lucknow, and disposed of
in a manner unknown; and the harsh and oppressive measures aforesaid
being still continued, the Begum did, about the middle of October,
1782, cause to be represented to the said Middleton as follows. "That
her situation was truly pitiable,--her estate sequestered, her treasury
ransacked, her cojahs prisoners, and her servants deserting daily from
want of subsistence. That she had solicited the loan of money, to
satisfy the demands of the Company, from every person that she imagined
would or could assist her with any; but that the opulent would not
listen to her adversity. She had hoped that the wardrobe sent to Lucknow
might have sold for at least one half of the Company's demands on her;
but even jewelry and goods, she finds from woful experience, lose their
value the moment it is known they come from her. That she had now
solicited the loan of cash from Almas Ali Khan, and if she failed in
that application, she had no hopes of ever borrowing a sum equal to the
demand":[73]--an hope not likely to be realized, as the said Almas Ali
was then engaged for a sum of money to be raised for the Company's use
on the security of their confiscated lands, the restoration of which
could form the only apparent security for a loan.

XLIX. That this remonstrance produced no effect on the mind of the
aforesaid Resident,--who, being about this time removed from his
Residency, did, in a letter to his successor, Mr. Bristow, dated 23d
October, 1782, in effect recommend a perseverance in the cruel and
oppressive restraints aforesaid as a certain means of recovering the
remainder of the extorted bond, and that the lands with which the
princesses aforesaid had been endowed should not be restored to them.

L. That the said Warren Hastings was duly apprised of all the material
circumstances in the unjust proceedings aforesaid, but did nothing to
stop the course they were in, or to prevent, relieve, or mitigate the
sufferings of the parties affected by them: on the contrary, he did, in
his letter of the 25th of January, 1782, to the Resident, Middleton,
declare, that the Nabob having consented to the "resumption of the
jaghires held by the Begums, and to the confiscation of their treasures,
and thereby involved my own name and the credit of the Company in a
participation of both measures, I have a right to _require and insist on
the complete execution of them_; and I look to you for their execution,
declaring that I shall hold you accountable for it." And it appears that
he did write to the Nabob a letter in the same peremptory manner; but
the said letter has been suppressed.

LI. That he, the said Hastings, farther did manifest the concern he took
in, and the encouragement which he gave to the proceedings aforesaid, by
conferring honors and distinctions upon the ministers of the Nabob, whom
he, the Nabob, did consider as having in the said proceedings disobeyed
him and betrayed him, and as instruments in the dishonor of his family
and the usurpation of his authority. That the said ministers did make
addresses to the said Hastings for that purpose (which addresses the
said Hastings hath suppressed); and the Resident, Middleton, did, with
his letter of the 11th of February, 1782, transmit the same, and did in
the said letter acquaint the said Hastings "that the ministers of the
Nabob had incurred much odium on account of their participation in his
measures, and that they were not only considered by the party of the
dispossessed jaghiredars, and the mother and uncle of the Nabob, but _by
the Nabob himself_, as the _dependants of the English government, which
they certainly are, and it is by its declared and most obvious support
alone_ that they can maintain the authority and influence which is
indispensably necessary." And the said Middleton did therefore recommend
"that they should be honored with some testimony of his [the said
Hastings's] approbation and favor." And he, the said Warren Hastings,
did send _kellauts_, or robes of honor, (the most public and
distinguished mode of acknowledging merit known in India,) to the said
ministers, in testimony of his approbation of their late services.

LII. That the said Hastings did not only give the aforesaid public
encouragement to the ministers of the Nabob to betray and insult their
master and his family in the manner aforesaid, but, when the said Nabob
did write several letters to him, the said Hastings, expressive of his
dislike of being used as an instrument in the dishonorable acts
aforesaid, and refusing to be further concerned therein, he, the said
Warren Hastings, did not only suppress and hide the said letters from
the view of the Court of Directors, but in his instructions to the
Resident, Bristow, did attribute them to Hyder Beg Khan, minister to the
Nabob, (whom in other respects he did before and ever since support
against his master,) and did express himself with great scorn and
contempt of the said Nabob, and with much asperity against the said
minister: affirming, in proud and insolent terms, that he had, "by an
abuse of his influence over the Nabob,--he, the Nabob himself, being
(_as he ever must be in the hands of some person_) _a mere cipher in
his [the said minister's],--dared_ to make him [the Nabob] _assume_ a
very _unbecoming_ tone of refusal, reproach, and resentment, in
opposition to _measures recommended by ME_, and even to _acts done by MY
authority_": the said Hastings, in the instruction aforesaid,
particularizing the resumption of the jaghires, and the confiscation of
the treasures that had been so long suffered to remain in the hands of
his, the Nabob's, mother. But the letters of the Nabob, which in the
said instructions he refers to as containing an opposition to the
measures recommended by him, and which he asserts was conveyed in a very
unbecoming tone of refusal, reproach, and resentment, he, the said
Hastings, hath criminally withheld from the Company, contrary to their
orders, and to his duty,--and the more, as the said letters must tend to
show in what manner the said Nabob did feel the indignities offered to
his mother, and the manner in which the said ministers, notwithstanding
their known dependence on the English government, did express their
sense of the part which their sovereign was compelled to act in the said
disgraceful measures. And in farther instructions to him, the said new
Resident, he did declare his approbation of the evil acts aforesaid, as
well as his resolution of compelling the Nabob to those rigorous
proceedings against his parent from which he had long shown himself so
very averse, in the following words. "The severities which have been
increased towards the Begums were most justly merited by the advantage
which they took of the troubles in which I was personally involved last
year, to create a rebellion in the Nabob's government, and to complete
the ruin which they thought was impending on ours. If it is the Nabob's
desire to forget and to forgive their past offence, I have no objection
to his allowing them, in pension, the nominal amount of their jaghires;
but if he shall _ever offer_ to restore their jaghires to them, or to
give them any property in land, after the warning which they have given
him by the dangerous abuse which they formerly made of his indulgence,
you must remonstrate in the strongest terms against it; _you must not
permit such an event to take place_, until this government shall have
received information of it, and shall have had time to interpose its
influence for the prevention of it." And the said Warren Hastings, who
did in the manner aforesaid positively refuse to admit the Nabob to
restore to his mother and grandmother any part of their landed estates
for their maintenance, did well know that the revenues of the said Nabob
were at that time so far applied to the demands of the Company, (by him,
the said Warren Hastings, aggravated beyond the whole of what they did
produce,) or were otherwise so far applied to the purposes of several of
the servants of the Company, and others, the dependants of him, the said
Hastings, that none of the pensions or allowances, assigned by the said
Nabob in lieu of the estates confiscated, were paid, or were likely to
be discharged, with that punctuality which was necessary even to the
scanty subsistence of the persons to which they were in name and
appearance applied. For,

LIII. That, so early as the 6th March, 1782, Captain Leonard Jaques, who
commanded the forces on duty for the purpose of distressing the several
women in the palaces at Fyzabad, did complain to the Resident, Richard
Johnson, in the following words. "The women belonging to the Khord
Mohul (or lesser palace) complain of their being in want of every
necessary of life, and are at last driven to that desperation that they
at night get on the top of the zenanah, make a great disturbance, and
last night not only alarmed the sentinels posted in the garden, but
threw dirt at them; they threaten to throw themselves from the walls of
the zenanah, and also to break out of it. Humanity obliges me to
acquaint you of this matter, and to request to know if you have any
directions to give me concerning it. I also beg leave to acquaint you I
sent for Letafit Ali Khan, the cojah who has the charge of them, and who
informs me it is well grounded,--that they _have sold everything they
had, even to the clothes from their backs, and now have no means of

LIV. That the distresses of the said women grew so urgent on the night
of the said 6th of March, the day when the letter above recited was
written, that Captain Leonard Jaques aforesaid did think it necessary to
write again, on the day following, to the British Resident in the
following words. "I beg leave to address you again concerning the women
in the Khord Mohul [the lesser palace]. Their behavior last night was so
furious, that there seemed the greatest probability of their proceeding
to the uttermost extremities, and that they would either _throw
themselves from the walls or force open the doors of the zenanah_. I
have made every inquiry concerning the cause of their complaints, and
find from Letafit Ali Khan that they are in _a starving condition,
having sold all their clothes and necessaries, and now have not
wherewithal to support nature_; and as my instructions are quite silent
on this head, I should be glad to know how to proceed, in case they were
to force the doors of the zenanah, as I suspect it will happen, should
no subsistence be very quickly sent to them."

LV. That, in consequence of these representations, it appears that the
said Resident, Richard Johnson, did promise that an application should
be made to certain of the servants of the Nabob Vizier to provide for
their subsistence.

LVI. That Captain Jaques being relieved from the duty of imprisoning the
women of Sujah ul Dowlah, the late sovereign of Oude, an ally of the
Company, who dwelt in the said lesser palace, and Major Gilpin being
appointed to succeed, the same malicious design of destroying the said
women, or the same scandalous neglect of their preservation and
subsistence, did still continue; and Major Gilpin found it necessary to
apply to the new Resident, Bristow, in a letter of the 30th of October,
1782, as follows.

LVII. "SIR,--Last night, about eight o'clock, the women in the
Khord Mohul [lesser palace] or zenanah [women's apartment] under the
charge of Letafit Ali Khan, assembled on the tops of the buildings,
_crying in a most lamentable manner for food,--that for the last four
days they had got but a very scanty allowance, and that yesterday they
had got none_.

LVIII. "_The melancholy cries of famine are more easily imagined than
described_; and from their representation I fear the Nabob's agents for
that business are very inattentive. I therefore think it requisite to
make you acquainted with the circumstance, that his Excellency, the
Nabob, may cause his agents to be more circumspect in their conduct
towards these poor unhappy women."

LIX. That, although the Resident, Bristol, did not then think himself
authorized to remove the guard, he did apply to the minister of the
Nabob, who did promise some relief to the women of the late Nabob,
confined in the lesser palace; but apprehending, with reason, that the
minister aforesaid might not be more ready or active in making the
necessary provision for them than on former occasions, he did render
himself personally responsible to Major Gilpin for the repayment of any
sum, equal to one thousand pounds sterling, which he might procure for
the subsistence of the sufferers. But whatever relief was given, (the
amount thereof not appearing,) the same was soon exhausted; and the
number of persons to be maintained in the said lesser palace being eight
hundred women, the women of the late sovereign, Sujah ul Dowlah, and
several of the younger children of the said sovereign prince, besides
their attendants, Major Gilpin was obliged, on the 15th of November
following, again to address the Resident by a representation of this

"SIR,--The repeated cries of the women in the Khord Mohul
Zenanah for subsistence have been truly melancholy.

LX. "_They beg most piteously for liberty, that they may earn their
daily bread by laborious servitude, or to be relieved from their misery
by immediate death._

LXI. "In consequence of their unhappy situation, I have this day taken
the liberty of drawing on you in favor of Ramnarain, at ten days' sight,
for twenty Son Kerah rupees, ten thousand of which I have paid to Cojah
Letafit Ali Khan, under whose charge that zenanah is."

LXII. That, notwithstanding all the promises and reiterated engagements
of the minister, Hyder Beg Khan, the ladies of the palace aforesaid fell
again into extreme distress; and the Resident did again complain to the
said minister, who was considered to be, and really and substantially
was, the minister of the Governor-General, Warren Hastings, aforesaid,
and not of the Nabob, (the said Nabob being, according to the said
Hastings's own account, "a cipher in his [the said minister's] hands,")
that the funds allowed for their subsistence were not applied to their
support. But notwithstanding all these repeated complaints and
remonstrances, and the constant promise of amendment on the part of his,
the said Hastings's, minister, the supply was not more plentiful or more
regular than before.

LXIII. That the said Resident, Bristow, finding by experience the
inefficacy of the courses which had been pursued with regard to the
mother and grandmother of the reigning prince of Oude, and having
received a report from Major Gilpin, informing him that all which could
be done by force had been done, and that the only hope which remained
for realizing the remainder of the money, unjustly exacted as aforesaid,
lay in more lenient methods,[74] he, the said Resident, did, of his own
authority, order the removal of the guard from the palaces, the troops
being long and much wanted for the defence of the frontier, and other
material services,--and did release the said ministers of the said women
of rank, who had been confined and put in irons, and variously
distressed and persecuted, as aforerecited, for near twelve months.[75]

LXIV. That the manner in which the said inhuman acts of rapacity and
violence were felt, both by the women of high rank concerned, and by all
the people, strongly appears in the joy expressed on their release,
which took place on the 5th of December, 1782, and is stated in two
letters of that date from Major Gilpin to the Resident, in the words

LXV. "I have to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 2d
instant, and in consequence immediately enlarged the prisoners Behar Ali
Khan and Jewar Ali Khan from their confinement: a circumstance that gave
the Begums, and the city of Fyzabad in general, the greatest

LXVI. "In tears of joy Behar and Jewar Ali Khan expressed their sincere
acknowledgments to the Governor-General, his Excellency the Nabob
Vizier, and to you, Sir, for restoring them to that invaluable blessing,
liberty, for which they would ever retain the most grateful remembrance;
and at their request I transmit you the inclosed letters.

LXVII. "I wish you had been present at the enlargement of the
prisoners. The quivering lips, with the tears of joy stealing down the
poor men's cheeks, was a scene truly affecting.

LXVIII. "If the prayers of these poor men will avail, you will, at the
LAST TRUMP, be translated to the happiest regions in heaven."

LXIX. And the Resident, Bristow, knowing how acceptable the said
proceeding would be to all the people of Oude, and the neighboring
independent countries, did generously and politically, (though not
truly,) in his letter to the princess mother attribute the said relief
given to herself, and the release of her ministers, to the humanity of
the said Warren Hastings, agreeably to whose orders he pretended to act:
asserting, that he, the said Hastings, "was the spring from whence she
was restored to her dignity and consequence."[76] And the account of the
proceedings aforesaid was regularly transmitted to the said Warren
Hastings on the 30th of December, 1782, with the reasons and motives
thereto, and a copy of the report of the officer concerning the
inutility of further force, attended with sundry documents concerning
the famishing, and other treatment, of the women and children of the
late sovereign: but the same appear to have made no proper impression on
the mind of the said Warren Hastings; for no answer whatsoever was given
to the said letter until the 3d of March, 1783, when the said Hastings,
writing in his own character and that of the Council, did entirely pass
by all the circumstances before recited, but did give directions for the
renewal of measures of the like nature and tendency with those which
(for several of the last months at least of the said proceeding) had
been employed with so little advantage to the interest and with so much
injury to the reputation of the Company, his masters, in whose name he
acted,--expressing himself in the said letter of the 3d of March, 1783,
as follows: "We desire you will inform us what means have been taken for
recovering the balance [the pretended balance of the extorted money] due
from the Begums [princesses] at Fyzabad; and if necessary, you must
recommend it to the Vizier _to enforce the most effectual means_ for
that purpose." And the Resident did, in his answer to the board, dated
31st March, 1783, on this peremptory order, again detail the particulars
aforesaid to the said Warren Hastings, referring him to his former
correspondence, stating the utter impossibility of proceeding further by
force, and mentioning certain other disgraceful and oppressive
circumstances, and in particular, that the Company did not, in
plundering the mother of the reigning prince of her wearing apparel and
beasts of carriage, receive a value in the least equal to the loss she
suffered: the elephants having no buyer but the Nabob, and the clothes,
which had last been delivered to Middleton at a valuation of thirty
thousand pounds, were so damaged by ill keeping in warehouses, that they
could not be sold, even for six months' credit, at much more than about
eight thousand pounds; by which a loss in a single article was incurred
of twenty-two thousand pounds out of the fifty, for the recovery of
which (supposing it had been a just debt) such rigorous means had been
employed, after having actually received upwards of five hundred
thousand pounds in value to the Company, and extorted much more in loss
to the suffering individuals. And the said Bristow, being well
acquainted with the unmerciful temper of the said Hastings, in order to
leave no means untried to appease him, not contented with the letter to
the Governor-General and Council, did on the same day write another
letter _to him particularly_, in which he did urge several arguments,
the necessity of using of which to the said Hastings did reflect great
dishonor on this nation, and on the Christian religion therein
professed, namely: "That he had experienced great embarrassment in
treating with her [the mother of the reigning prince]; for, as the
mother of the Vizier, the people look up to her with respect, and any
hard measures practised against women of her high rank create
discontent, and affect our national character." And the said Resident,
after condemning very unjustly her conduct, added, "Still she is the
mother of the prince of the country, and the religious prejudices of
Mussulmen prevail too strongly in their minds to forget her situation."

LXX. That the said Warren Hastings did not make any answer to the said
letter. But the mother of the prince aforesaid, as well as the mother of
his father, being, in consequence of his, the said Hastings's,
directions, incessantly and rudely pressed by their descendant, in the
name of the Company, to pay to the last farthing of the demand, they did
both positively refuse to pay any part of the pretended balances
aforesaid, until their landed estates were restored to them; on the
security of which alone they alleged themselves to be in a condition to
borrow any money, or even to provide for the subsistence of themselves
and their numerous dependants. And in order to put some end to these
differences, the Vizier did himself, about the beginning of August,
1783, go to Fyzabad, and did hold divers conferences with his parents,
and did consent and engage to restore to them their landed estates
aforesaid, and did issue an order that they should be restored
accordingly; but his minister aforesaid, having before his eyes the
peremptory orders of him, the said Warren Hastings, did persuade his
master to dishonor himself in breaking his faith and engagement with his
mother and the mother of his father, by first evading the execution, and
afterwards totally revoking his said public and solemn act, on pretence
that he had agreed to the grant "from shame, being in their presence
[the presence of his mother and grandmother], and that it was
unavoidable at the time";[77]--the said minister declaring to him, that
it would be sufficient, if he allowed them "money for their _necessary_
expenses, and that would be _doing enough_."

LXXI. That the faith given for the restoration of their landed estates
being thus violated, and the money for necessary expenses being as ill
supplied as before, the women and children of the late sovereign, father
of the reigning prince, continued exposed to frequent want of the common
necessaries of life;[78] and being sorely pressed by famine, they were
compelled to break through all the principles of local decorum and
reserve which constitute the dignity of the female sex in that part of
the world, and, after great clamor and violent attempts for one whole
day to break the inclosure of the palace, and to force their way into
the public market, in order to move the compassion of the people, and to
beg their bread, they did, on the next day, actually proceed to the
extremity of exposing themselves to public view,--an extremity implying
the lowest state of disgrace and degradation, to avoid which many women
in India have laid violent hands upon themselves,--and they did proceed
to the public market-place with the starving children of the late
sovereign, and the brothers and sisters of the reigning prince! A minute
account of the transaction aforesaid was written to the British Resident
at Lucknow by the person appointed to convey intelligence to him from
Fyzabad, in the following particulars, highly disgraceful to the honor,
justice, and humanity of this nation.

LXXII. "The ladies, their attendants and servants, were still as
clamorous as last night. Letafit, the _darogah_, went to them and
remonstrated with them on the impropriety of their conduct, at the same
time assuring them that in a few days all their allowances would be
paid, and should not that be the case, he would advance them ten days'
subsistence, upon condition that they returned to their habitation. None
of them, however, consented to his proposals, but were still intent upon
making their escape through the _bazar_ [market-place], and in
consequence formed themselves into a line, arranging themselves in the
following order: the children in the front; behind them the ladies of
the seraglio; and behind them again their attendants: but their
intentions were frustrated by the opposition which they met from
Letafit's sepoys.

LXXIII. "The next day Letafit went twice to the women, and used his
endeavors to make them return into the zenanah, promising to advance
them ten thousand rupees; which, upon the money being paid down, they
agreed to comply with: but night coming on, nothing transpired.

LXXIV. "On the day following their clamors were more violent than usual.
Letafit went to confer with them, upon the business of yesterday;
offering the same terms. Depending upon the fidelity of his promises,
they consented to return to their apartments, which they accordingly
did, except two or three of the ladies, and most of their attendants.
Letafit then went to Hossmund Ali Khan, to consult with him upon what
means they should take. They came to a resolution of driving them in by
force, and gave orders to their sepoys to beat any one of the women who
should attempt to move forward. The sepoys consequently assembled; and
each one being provided with a bludgeon, they drove them by dint of
beating into the zenanah. The women, seeing the treachery of Letafit,
proceeded to throw stones and bricks at the sepoys, and again attempted
to get out; but finding that impossible, from the gates being shut, they
kept up a continual discharge of stones and bricks till about ten, when,
finding their situation desperate, they retired into the Kung Mohul, and
forced their way from thence into the palace, and dispersed themselves
about the house and garden; after this they were desirous of getting
into the Begum's apartment, but she, being apprised of their intention,
ordered her doors to be shut. In the mean time Letafit and Hossmund Ali
Khan posted sentries to secure the gates of the lesser Mohul. During
the whole of this conflict, all the ladies and women remained exposed to
the view of the sepoys. The Begum then sent for Letafit and Hossmund Ali
Khan, whom she severely reprimanded, and insisted upon knowing the
causes of this infamous behavior. They pleaded in their defence the
impossibility of helping it, as the treatment the women had met with had
been conformable to his Excellency the Vizier's orders. The Begum
alleged, that, even admitting that the Nabob had given those orders,
they were by no means authorized in this manner to disgrace the family
of Sujah Dowlah; and should they not receive their allowance for a day
or two, it could be of no great moment: what was passed was now at an
end; but that the Vizier should certainly be acquainted with the whole
of the affair, and that whatever he desired she should implicitly comply
with. The Begum then sent for five of the children, who were wounded in
the affray of last night, and, after endeavoring to soothe them, she
sent again for Letafit and Hossmund Ali Khan, and in the presence of the
children expressed her disapprobation of their conduct, and the
improbability of Asoph ul Dowlah's suffering the ladies and children of
Sujah Dowlah to be disgraced by being exposed to the view of the rabble.
Upon which Letafit produced the letter from the Nabob, at the same time
representing that he was amenable only to the orders of his Excellency,
and that whatever he ordered it was his duty to obey, and that, had the
ladies thought proper to have retired into their apartments quietly, he
would not have used the means he had taken to compel them. The Begum
again observed, that what had happened was now over. She then gave the
children four hundred rupees, and dismissed them, and sent word by
Jumrud and the other eunuchs, that, if the ladies would peaceably retire
to their apartments, Letafit would supply them with three or four
thousand rupees for their personal expenses, and recommended to them not
to incur any further disgrace, and that, if they did not think proper to
act agreeable to her directions, they would do wrong. The ladies
followed her advice, and about ten at night went back into the zenanah.
The nest morning the Begum waited upon the mother of Sujah Dowlah, and
related to her all the circumstances of the disturbances. The mother of
Sujah Dowlah returned for answer, that, after there being no accounts
kept of crores of revenues, she was not surprised that the family of
Sujah Dowlah, in their endeavors to procure a subsistence, should be
obliged to expose themselves to the meanest of the people. After
bewailing their misfortunes, and shedding many tears, the Begum took her
leave, and returned home."

That the said affecting narrative being sent, with others of the same
nature, on the 29th of January, 1784, to the said Warren Hastings, he
did not order any relief in consequence thereof, or take any sort of
notice whatsoever of the said intelligence.

LXXV. That the Court of Directors did express strong doubts of the
propriety of seizing the estates aforesaid, and did declare to him, the
said Hastings, "that the only consolation they felt on the occasion is,
that the amount of those jaghires _for which the Company were
guaranties_ is to be paid _through our Resident at the court of the
Vizier_; and it very materially concerns the credit of your Governor on
no account to _suffer such payments to be evaded_." But the said Warren
Hastings did never make the arrangement supposed in the said letter to
be actually made, nor did he cause the Resident to pay them the amount
of their jaghires, or to make any payment to them.

And the said Hastings being expressly ordered by the Court of Directors
to restore to them their estates, in case the charges made upon them
should not be found true, he, the said Hastings, did contumaciously and
cruelly decline any compliance with the said orders until his journey to
Lucknow, in ----, when he did, as he says, "conformably to the orders of
the Court of Directors, and more to the inclination of the Nabob Vizier,
restore to them their jaghires, but with the defalcation, according to
his own account, of _a large portion_ of their respective shares":
pretending, without the least probability, that the said defalcation was
a "voluntary concession on their part." But what he has left to them for
their support, or in what proportion to that which he has taken away, he
has nowhere stated to the Court of Directors, whose faith he has broken,
and whose orders he has thus eluded, whilst he pretended to yield _some_
obedience to them.

LXXVI. That the said Warren Hastings having made a malicious, loose, and
ill-supported charge, backed by certain unsatisfactory affidavits, as a
ground for his seizing on the jaghires and the treasures of the Vizier's
mother, solemnly guarantied to them, the Court of Directors did, in
their letter of the 14th of February, 1783, express themselves as
follows concerning that measure,--"which the Governor-General, [he, the
said Warren Hastings,] in his letter to your board, the 23d of January,
1782, has declared _he strenuously encouraged and supported_: we hope
and trust, for the honor of the British nation, that the measure
appeared fully justified in the eyes of all Hindostan. The
Governor-General has informed us that it can be well attested that the
Begums [the mother and grandmother of the Nabob aforesaid] _principally_
excited and supported the late commotions, and that they carried their
inveteracy to the English nation so far _as to aim at our utter
extirpation_." And the Court of Directors did farther declare as
follows: "That it nowhere appears from the papers at present in our
possession, that they [the mother and grandmother of the Nabob of Oude]
excited any commotions previous to the imprisonment of Rajah Cheyt Sing,
and only armed themselves in consequence of that transaction; and, as it
is probable, that such a conduct proceeded from motives of
self-defence, under an apprehension that they themselves might likewise
be laid under unwarrantable contributions." And the said Court of
Directors, in giving their orders for the restoration of the jaghires,
or for the payment of an equivalent through the Resident, did give this
order for the restoration of their estates as aforesaid on condition
that it should appear from inquiry that they were not guilty of the
practices charged upon them by the said Hastings. Mr. Stables, one of
the Council-General, did, in execution of the said conditional order,
propose an inquiry leading to the ascertainment of the condition, and
did enter a minute as follows: "That the Court of Directors, by their
letters of the 14th of February, 1783, seem not to be satisfied that the
disaffection of the Begums to this government is sufficiently proved by
the evidence before them; I therefore think that the late and present
Resident, and commanding officer in the Vizier's country at the time,
should be called on to collect what further information they can on this
subject, in which the honor and dignity of this government is so
_materially concerned_, and that such information may be transmitted to
the Court of Directors." And he did further propose heads and modes of
inquiry suitable to the doubts expressed by the Court of Directors. But
the said Warren Hastings, who ought long before, on principles of
natural justice, to have instituted a diligent inquiry in support of his
so improbable a charge, and was bound, even for his own honor, as well
as for the satisfaction of the Court of Directors, to take a strong part
in the said inquiry, did set himself in opposition to the same, and did
carry with him a majority of Council against the said inquiry into the
justice of the cause, or any proposition for the relief of the
sufferers: asserting, "that the reasons of the Court of Directors, if
transmitted with the orders for the inquiry, will prove in effect an
order for collecting evidence _to the justification and acquittal of the
Begums, and not for the investigation of the truth of the charges which
have been preferred against them_." That Mr. Stables did not propose (as
in the said Hastings's minute is groundlessly supposed) that the reasons
of the Court of Directors should be transmitted with the orders for an
inquiry. But the apprehension of the said Warren Hastings of the
probable result of the inquiry proposed did strongly indicate his sense
of his own guilt and the innocence of the parties accused by him; and
if, by his construction, Mr. Stables's minute did indicate an inquiry
merely for the justification of the parties by him accused, (which
construction the motion did not bear,) it was no more than what the
obvious rules of justice would well support, his own proceedings having
been _ex parte_,--he having employed Sir Elijah Impey to take affidavits
against the women of high rank aforesaid, not only without any inquiry
made on their part, but without any communication to them of his
practice and proceeding against them; and equity did at least require
that they, with his own knowledge and by the subordinates of his own
government, should be allowed a public inquiry to acquit themselves of
the heavy offences with which they had been by him clandestinely

LXXVII. That he, the said Hastings, in order to effectually stifle the
said inquiry, did enter on record a further minute, asserting that the
said inquiry would be productive "of evils greater than any which exist
in the consequences which have already taken place, _and which time has
almost obliterated_"; as also the following: "If I am rightly informed,
the Nabob Vizier and the Begums are on terms of mutual goodwill. It
would ill become this government to interpose its influence by any act
which might tend to revive their animosities,--and a very slight
occasion would be sufficient to effect it. They will instantly take fire
on such a declaration, proclaim the judgment of the Company in their
favor, demand a reparation of the acts which they will construe wrongs
with such a sentence warranting that construction, and either accept the
invitation to the proclaimed scandal of the Nabob Vizier, which _will
not add to the credit of our government_, or remain in his dominions,
but not under his authority, to add to his vexations and the disorders
of the country by continual intrigues and seditions. Enough already
exists to affect his peace and the quiet of his people. If we cannot
heal, let us not inflame the wounds _which have been inflicted_."--"If
the Begums think themselves aggrieved to such a degree as to justify
them in _an appeal to a foreign jurisdiction_, to appeal to it against a
man standing in the relation of son and grandson to them, _to appeal to
the justice of those who have been the abettors and instruments of their
imputed wrongs_, let us at least permit them to be the judges of their
own feelings, and prefer their complaints before we offer to redress
them. They will not need to be prompted. I hope I shall not depart from
the simplicity of official language in saying, the majesty of justice
ought to be approached with solicitation, not descend to provoke or
invite it, much less to debase itself by the suggestion of wrongs and
the promise of redress, with the denunciation of punishments before
trial, and even before accusation."

LXXVIII. That the said Warren Hastings, in attempting to pass an act of
indemnity for his own crimes, and of oblivion for the sufferings of
others, supposing the latter _almost obliterated_ by time, did not only
mock and insult over the sufferings of the allies of the Company, but
did show an indecent contempt of the understandings of the Court of
Directors: because his violent attempts on the property and liberty of
the mother and grandmother of the ally aforesaid had not their first
commencement much above two years before that time, and had been
continued, without abatement or relaxation on his part, to the very time
of his minute; the Nabob having, by the instigation of his, the said
Hastings's, instrument, Hyder Beg Khan, not two months before the date
of the Consultation, been obliged a second time to break his faith with
relation to the estates of his mother, in the manner hereinbefore
recited. And the said Hastings did not and could not conceive that the
clearing the mother could revive any animosity between her and her son,
by whom she never had been accused. The said Hastings was also sensible
that the restoration of her landed estates, recommended by the Court of
Directors, could not produce any ill effect on the mind of the said son,
as it was "with almost unconquerable reluctance he had been persuaded to
deprive her of them," and at the time of his submitting to become an
instrument in this injustice, did "declare," both, to the Resident and
his ministers, "that it was an act of compulsion."

LXXIX. That the said Hastings further, by insinuating that the women in
question would act amiss in appealing to _a foreign jurisdiction_
against a son and grandson, could not forget that he himself, being that
foreign jurisdiction, (if any jurisdiction there was,) did himself
direct and order the injuries, did himself urge the calumnies, and did
himself cause to be taken and produced the unsatisfactory evidence by
which the women in question had suffered,--and that it was against him,
the said Hastings, and not against their son, that they had reason to
appeal. But the truth is, that the inquiry was moved for by Mr. Stables,
not on the prayer or appeal of the sufferers, but upon the ill
impression which the said Hastings's own conduct, merely and solely on
his own state of it, and on his own evidence in support of it, had made
on the Court of Directors, who were his lawful masters, and not suitors
in his court. And his arrogating to himself and his colleagues to be a
tribunal, and a tribunal not for the purpose of doing justice, but of
refusing inquiry, was an high offence and misdemeanor (particularly as
the due obedience to the Company's orders was eluded on the insolent
pretence "that the majesty of justice ought to be approached with
solicitation, and that it would debase itself by the suggestion of
wrongs and the promise of redress") in a Governor, whose business it is,
even of himself, and unsolicited, not only to promise, but to afford,
redress to all those who should suffer under the power of the Company,
even if their ignorance, or want of protection, or the imbecility of
their sex, or the fear of irritating persons in rank and station, should
prevent them from seeking it by formal solicitation.

LXXX. That the said Warren Hastings, at the time when he pretended
ignorance of all solicitation for justice on the part of the women
aforesaid, and on that pretence did refuse the inquiry moved by his
colleague, Mr. Stables, had in all probability received from the
Resident, Middleton, or, if he had made the slightest inquiry from the
said Middleton, then at Calcutta, might immediately receive, an account
that _they did actually solicit_ the said Resident, through Major
Gilpin, for redress against his, the said Hastings's, calumnious
accusation, and the false testimony by which it was supported, and did
send the said complaint to the Resident, Middleton, by the said Gilpin,
to be transmitted to him, the said Hastings, and the Council, so early
as the 19th of October, 1782; and that she, the mother of the Nabob,
did afterwards send the same to the Resident, Bristow, asserting their
innocence, and accompanying the same with the copies of letters (the
originals of which they asserted were in their hands) from the chief
witnesses against them, Hannay and Gordon, which letters did directly
overturn the charges or insinuations in the affidavits made by them, and
that, instead of any accusation of an attempt upon them and their
parties by the instigation of the mother of the Nabob, or by her
ministers, they, the said Hannay and Gordon, did attribute their
preservation to them and to their services, and did, with strong
expressions of gratitude both to the mother of the Nabob and to her
ministers, fully acknowledge the same: which remonstrance of the mother
of the Nabob, and the letters of the said Hannay and Gordon, are annexed
to this charge; and the said Hastings is highly criminal for not having
examined into the facts alleged in the said remonstrance.

LXXXI. That the violent proceedings of the said Warren Hastings did tend
to impress all the neighboring princes, some of whom were allied in
blood to the oppressed women of rank aforesaid, with an ill opinion of
the faith, honor, and decency of the British nation; and accordingly, on
the journey aforesaid made by the Nabob from Lucknow to Fyzabad, in
which the said Nabob did restore, in the manner before mentioned, the
confiscated estates of his mother and grandmother, and did afterwards
revoke his said grant, it appears that the said journey did cause a
general alarm (the worst motives obtaining the most easy credit with
regard to any future proceeding, on account of the foregone acts) and
excited great indignation among the ruling persons of the adjacent
country, insomuch that Major Brown, agent to the said Warren Hastings at
the court of the King Shah Allum at Delhi, did write a remonstrance
therein to Mr. Bristow, Resident at Oude, as follows.

"The evening of the 7th, at a conference I had with Mirza Shaffee Khan,
he introduced a subject, respecting the Nabob Vizier, which, however it
may be disagreeable for you to know, and consequently for me to
communicate, I am under a necessity of laying before you. He told me he
had received information from Lucknow, that, by the advice of Hyder Beg
Khan, the Vizier had determined to bring his grandmother, the widow of
Sufdar Jung, from Fyzabad to Lucknow, with a view of getting a further
sum of money from her, by seizing on her eunuchs, digging up the
apartments of her house at Fyzabad, and putting her own person under
restraint. This, he said, he knew was not an act of our government, but
the mere advice of Hyder Beg Khan, to which the Vizier had been induced
to attend. He added, that the old Begum had resolved rather to put
herself to death than submit to the disgrace intended to be put upon
her; that, if such a circumstance should happen, there is _not a man in
Hindostan who will attribute the act to the Vizier [Nabob of Oude], but
every one will fix the odium on the English, who might easily, by the
influence they so largely exercise in their own concerns there_, have
prevented such unnatural conduct in the Vizier. He therefore called upon
me, as the English representative in this quarter, to inform you of
this, that you may prevent a step which will destroy all confidence in
the English nation throughout Hindostan, and excite the bitterest
resentment in all those who by blood are connected with the house of
Sufdar Jung. He concluded by saying, that, 'if the Vizier so little
regarded his family and personal honor, or his natural duty, as to wish
to disgrace his father's mother for a sum of money, let him plunder her
of all she has, but let him send her safe up to Delhi or Agra, and, poor
as I am, I will furnish subsistence for her, which she shall possess
with safety and honor, though it cannot be adequate to her rank.'

"This, Sir, is a most exact detail of the conversation (as far as
related to that affair) on the part of Mirza Shaffee Khan. On my part I
could only say, that I imagined the affair was misrepresented, and that
I should write as he requested. Let me therefore request that you will
enable me to answer in a more effectual manner any further questions on
this subject.

LXXXII. "As Mirza Shaffee's grandfather was brother to Sufdar Jung,
there can be no doubt of what his declaration means; and if this measure
of dismissing the old Begum should be persisted in, I should not, from
the state of affairs, and the character of the Amir ul Omrah, be
surprised at some immediate and violent resolution being adopted by

LXXXIII. That Mirza Shaffee, mentioned in this correspondence, (who has
since been murdered,) was of near kindred to the lady in question,
(grandmother to the Nabob,) was resident in a province immediately
adjoining to the province of Oude, and, from proximity of situation and
nearness of connection, was likely to have any intelligence concerning
his female relations from the best authority.

LXXXIV. That the Resident, Bristow, on receiving this letter, did apply
to the said Hyder Beg Khan for an explanation of the Nabob's intentions,
who denied that the Nabob intended more than a visit of duty and
ceremony: which, whatever his dispositions might have been, and probably
were, towards his own mother, was not altogether probable, as it was
well known that he was on very bad terms with the mother of his father,
and it appears that intentions of a similar nature had been before
manifested even with regard to his own mother, and therefore obtained
the more easy credit concerning the other woman of high rank aforesaid,
especially as the evil designs of the said Hyder Beg were abundantly
known, and that the said Hastings, upon whom he did wholly depend,
continued to recommend "the most effectual, that is, the most violent,
means for the recovery of the small remains of his extorted demand." But
although it does not appear that the Resident did give credit to the
said report, yet the effect of the same on the minds of the neighboring
princes did make it proper and necessary to direct a strict inquiry into
the same, which was not done; and it does not appear that any further
inquiry was made into the true motives for this projected journey to
Fyzabad, nor into the proceedings of Hyder Beg Khan, although the said
Warren Hastings well knew that all the acts of the Nabob and his
principal ministers were constantly attributed to him, and that it was
known that secret agents, as well as the Company's regular agent, were
employed by him at Lucknow and other places.

LXXXV. That the said Hastings, who did, on pretence of the majesty of
justice, refuse to inquire into the charges made upon the female
parents of the Nabob of Oude, in justification of the violence offered
to them, did voluntarily and of his own accord make himself an accuser
of the Resident, Middleton, for the want of a literal execution of his
orders in the plans of extortion and rapine aforesaid: the criminal
nature, spirit, and tendency of the said proceedings, for the defective
execution of which he brought the said charge, appearing in the defence
or apology made by Mr. Middleton, the Resident, for his temporary and
short forbearances.

LXXXVI. "It could not, I flatter myself, be termed a long or
unwarrantable delay [two days], when the importance of the business, and
the peculiar embarrassments attending the prosecution of it to its
desired end, are considered. The Nabob was _son_ to the Begum whom we
were to proceed against: a son against a mother must at least _save
appearances in his mode of proceeding_. The produce of his negotiation
was to be received by the Company. Receiving a benefit, accompanying the
Nabob, withdrawing their protection, were circumstances sufficient to
_mark the English as the principal movers in this business_. At a court
where no opportunity is lost to throw odium on us, so favorable an
occasion was not missed to persuade the Nabob that we instigated him to
dishonor his family for our benefit. The impressions made by these
suggestions constantly retarded the progress, and more than once
actually broke off the business: which rendered the utmost caution on my
part necessary, especially as I had no assistance to expect from the
ministers, who could not openly move in the business. In the East, it is
well known that no man either by himself or his troops, can enter the
walls of a zenanah, scarcely in the case of acting against an open
enemy, much less of _an ally,--an ally acting against his own mother_.
The outer walls, and the Begum's agents, were all that were liable to
immediate attack: they were dealt with, and successfully, as the event
proved."--He had before observed to Mr. Hastings, in his correspondence,
what Mr. Hastings well knew to be true, "that no farther rigor than that
he had exerted could be used against females in that country; where
force could be employed, it was not spared;--that the place of
concealment was only known to the chief eunuchs, who could not be drawn
out of the women's apartments, where they had taken refuge, and from
which, if an attempt had been made to storm them, they might escape; and
the secret of the money being known only to them, it was necessary to
get their persons into his hands, which could be obtained by negotiation
only."--The Resident concluded his defence by declaring his "hope, that,
if the main object of his orders was fulfilled, he should be no longer
held criminal for a deviation from the precise letter of them."

LXXXVII. That the said Warren Hastings did enter a reply to this answer,
in support of his criminal charge, continuing to insist "that his orders
ought to have been literally obeyed," although he did not deny that the
above difficulties occurred, and the above consequences must have been
the result,--and though the reports of the military officers charged
with the execution of his commission confirmed the moral impossibility,
as well as inutility in point of profit, of forcing a son to greater
violence and rigor against his mother.

LXXXVIII. That the said Hastings, after all the acts aforesaid, did
presume to declare on record, in his minute of the 23d September, 1788,
"that, whatever may happen of the events which he dreads in the train of
affairs now subsisting, he shall at least receive this consolation under
them, that he used his utmost exertions to prevent them, and that in the
annals of the nations of India which have been subjected to the British
dominions _HE shall not be remembered among their oppressors_." And
speaking of certain alleged indignities offered to the Nabob of Oude,
and certain alleged suspicions of his authority with regard to the
management of his household, he, the said Hastings, did, in the said
minute, endeavor to excite the spirit of the British nation, severely
animadverting on such offences, making use of the following terms: "If
there be a spark of generous virtue in the breasts of any of my
countrymen who shall be the readers of this compilation, this letter" (a
letter of complaint from the Nabob) "shall stand for an instrument to
awaken it to the call of vengeance against so flagitious an abuse of
authority and reproach to the British name."

_From her Excellency the Bhow Begum to Mr. Bristow, Resident at the
Vizier's Court._

There is no necessity to write to you by way of information a detail of
my sufferings. From common report, and the intelligence of those who are
about you, the account of them will have reached your ears. I will here
relate a part of them.

After the death of Sujah Dowlah, most of his ungrateful servants were
constantly laboring to gratify their enmity; but finding, from the firm
and sincere friendship which subsisted between me and the English, that
the accomplishment of their purposes was frustrated, they formed the
design of occasioning a breach in that alliance, to insure their own
success. I must acquaint you that my son Asoph ul Dowlah had formerly
threatened to seize my jaghire; but, upon producing the treaty signed by
you, and showing it to Mr. Middleton, he interfered, and prevented the
impending evil. The conspiration now framed an accusation against me of
a conduct which I had never conceived even in idea, of rendering
assistance to Rajah Cheyt Sing. The particulars are as follow. My son
Asoph ul Dowlah and his ministers, with troops and a train of artillery,
accompanied by Mr. Middleton, on the 16th of the month of Mohurum,
arrived at Fyzabad, and made a demand of a crore of rupees. As my
inability to pay so vast a sum was manifest, I produced the treaty _you_
signed and gave me, but to no effect: their hearts were determined upon
violence. I offered my son Asoph ul Dowlah, whose will is dearer to me
than all my riches, or even life itself, whatever money and goods I was
possessed of: but an amicable adjustment seemed not worth accepting: he
demanded the delivering up the fort, and the recall of the troops that
were stationed for the preserving the peace of the city. To me tumult
and discord appeared unnecessary. I gave up these points, upon which
they seized my head eunuchs, Jewar Ali Khan and Behar Ali Khan, and sent
them to Mr. Middleton, after having obliged them to sign a bond for
sixty lacs of rupees; they were thrown into prison, with fetters about
their feet, and denied food and water. I, who had never, even in my
dreams, experienced such an oppression, gave up all I had to preserve
my honor and dignity: but this would not satisfy their demands: they
charged me with a rupee and a half batta upon each mohur, and on this
account laid claims upon me to the amount of six lacs some thousand
rupees, and sent Major Gilpin to exact the payment. Major Gilpin,
according to orders, at first was importunate; but being a man of
experience, and of a benevolent disposition, when he was convinced of my
want of means, he changed his conduct, and was willing to apply to the
shroffs and bankers to lend me the money. But with the loss of my
jaghire my credit was sunk; I could not raise the sum. At last, feeling
my helpless situation, I collected my wardrobe and furniture, to the
amount of about three lacs of rupees, besides fifty thousand rupees
which I borrowed from one place or other, and sent Major Gilpin with it
to Lucknow. My sufferings did not terminate here. The disturbances of
Colonel Hannay and Mr. Gordon were made a pretence for seizing my
jaghire. The state of the matter is this. When Colonel Hannay was by Mr.
Hastings ordered to march to Benares, during the troubles of Cheyt Sing,
the Colonel, _who had plundered the whole country, was incapable of
proceeding, from the union of thousands of zemindars, who had seized
this favorable opportunity_: they harassed Mr. Gordon near Junivard
[Juanpore?], and the zemindars of that place and Acberpore opposed his
march from thence, till he arrived near Taunda. As the Taunda nullah,
from its overflowing, was difficult to cross without a boat, Mr. Gordon
sent to the Phousdar to supply him. He replied, the boats were all in
the river, but would, according to orders, assist him as soon as
possible. Mr. Gordon's situation would not admit of his waiting: he
forded the nullah upon his elephant, and was hospitably entertained and
protected by the Phousdar for six days. In the mean time a letter was
received by me from Colonel Hannay, desiring me to escort Mr. Gordon to
Fyzabad. As my friendship for the English was always sincere, I readily
complied, and sent some companies of nejeebs to escort Mr. Gordon, and
all his effects, to Fyzabad, where, having provided for his
entertainment, I effected his junction with Colonel Hannay. The letters
of thanks I received from both these gentlemen upon this occasion are
still in my possession, copies of which I gave in charge to Major
Gilpin, to be delivered to Mr. Middleton, that he might forward them to
the Governor-General. To be brief, those who have loaded me with
accusations are now clearly convicted of falsehood. But is it not
extraordinary, notwithstanding the justness of my cause, that nobody
relieves my misfortunes? Why did Major Gilpin return without effect?

My prayers have been constantly offered to Heaven for your arrival;
report has announced it; for which reason I have taken up the pen, and
request you will not place implicit confidence in my accusers, but,
weighing in the scale of justice their falsehoods and my
representations, you will exert your influence in putting a period to
the misfortunes with which I am overwhelmed.

_Copy of a Letter from Colonel Hannay to Jewar Ali Khan and Behar Ali

I had the pleasure to receive your friendly letter, fraught with
benevolence; and whatever favors you, my friends, have been pleased to
confer respecting Mr. Gordon afforded me the greatest pleasure.

Placing a firm reliance on your friendship, I am in expectation that the
aforesaid gentleman, with his baggage, will arrive at Fyzabad in safety,
that the same may oblige and afford satisfaction to me.

A letter from Mr. Gordon is inclosed to you. I am in expectation of its
being inclosed in a cover to the Aumil of Taunda, to the end that the
Aumil may forward it to the above-mentioned gentleman, and procure his
reply. Whenever the answer arrives, let it be delivered to Hoolas Roy,
who will forward it to me.

Always rejoice me by a few lines respecting your health. [Continue to
honor me with your correspondence.]

_Copy of a Letter from Colonel Hannay to Jewar and Behar Ali Khan._

Khan Saib, my indulgent friends, remain under the protection of God!

Your friendly letter, fraught with kindness, accompanied by an honorary
letter from the Begum Saib, of exalted dignity, and inclosing a letter
from Mr. Gordon, sent through your hircarrahs, obliged and rejoiced me.

With respect to what you communicate regarding your not having received
an answer to your friendly epistle, I became perfectly astonished, as a
reply was written from Mohadree. It may be owing to the danger of the
road that it never arrived,--not to the smallest neglect on my side [or
of mine].

I now send two letters to you,--one by the Dawk people, and the second
by one of my hircarrahs, (who will present them to you,) which you
certainly will receive.

I am extremely well contented and pleased with the friendship you have

You wrote me to remain perfectly easy concerning Mr. Gordon. Verily,
from the kindness of you, my indulgent friends, my heart is quite easy.
You also observed and mentioned, that, as Mr. Gordon's coming with those
attached to him [probably his sepoys and others] might be attended with
difficulty, if I approved, he should be invited alone to Fyzabad. My
friends, I place my expectation entirely upon your friendships, and
leave it to you to adopt the manner in which the said gentleman may
arrive in security, without molestation, at Fyzabad; but at the same
time let the plan be so managed that it may not come to the knowledge of
any zemindars: in this case you are men of discernment. However, he is
to come to Fyzabad: extend your assistance and endeavors.

It is probable that the Begum Saib, of high dignity, has received
authentic intelligence from the camp at Benares. Favor me with the
contents or purport.

From Mr. Gordon's letter I understand that Mirza Imaum Buksh, whom you
dispatched thither [Taunda], has and still continues to pay great
attention to that gentleman, which affords me great pleasure.

An answer to the Begum's letter is to be presented. I also send a letter
for Mr. Gordon, which please to forward.

_An Address from Colonel Hannay to the Begum._

Begum Saib, of exalted dignity and generosity, &c., whom God preserve!

Your exalting letter, fraught with grace and benevolence, that through
your unbounded generosity and goodness was sent through grace and favor,
I had the honor to receive in a fortunate moment, and whatever you were
pleased to write respecting Mr. Gordon,--"that, as at this time the
short-sighted and deluded ryots had carried their disturbances and
ravages beyond all bounds, Mr. Gordon's coming with his whole people [or
adherents] might be attended with difficulty, and therefore, if I chose,
he should be invited to come alone." Now, as your Highness is the best
judge, your faithful servant reposeth his most unbounded hopes and
expectation upon your Highness, that the aforesaid Mr. Gordon may arrive
at Fyzabad without any apprehension or danger. I shall be then extremely
honored and obliged.

Considering me in the light of a firm and faithful servant, continue to
honor and exalt me by your letters.

What further can I say?

_A Copy of an Address from Mr. Gordon to the Begum._

Begum Saib, of exalted dignity and generosity, whom God preserve!

After presenting the usual professions of servitude, &c., in the
customary manner, my address is presented.

Your gracious letter, in answer to the petition of your servant from
Goondah, exalted me. From the contents I became unspeakably impressed
with the honor it conferred. May the Almighty protect that royal purity,
and bestow happiness, increase of wealth, and prosperity!

The welfare of your servant is entirely owing to your favor and
benevolence. A few days have elapsed since I arrived at Goondah with the
Colonel Saib.

This is presented for your Highness's information. I cherish hopes from
your generosity, that, considering me in the light of one of your
servants, you will always continue to exalt and honor me with your
gracious letters.

May the sun of prosperity continually shine!

_Copy of a Letter to Mahomed Jewar Ali Khan and Behar Ali Khan, from Mr.

  Sirs, my indulgent friends,
    Remain under, &c., &c.

After compliments. I have the pleasure to acquaint you that yesterday
having taken leave of you, I passed the night at Noorgunge, and next
morning, about ten or eleven o'clock, through your favor and
benevolence, arrived safe at Goondah. Mir Aboo Buksh, zemindar, and Mir
Rustum Ali, accompanied me.

To what extent can I prolong the praises of you, my beneficent friends?
May the Supreme Being, for this benign, compassionate, humane action,
have you in His keeping, and increase your prosperity, and speedily
grant me the pleasure of an interview! Until which time continue to
favor me with friendly letters, and oblige me by any commands in my
power to execute.

May your wishes be ever crowned with success!

  My compliments, &c., &c., &c.

_Copy of a Letter from Colonel Hannay to Jewar Ali Khan and Behar Ali

  Khan Saib, my indulgent friends,

Remain under the protection of the Supreme Being!

After compliments, and signifying my earnest desire of an interview, I
address you.

Your friendly letter, fraught with kindness, I had the pleasure to
receive in a propitious hour, and your inexpressible kindness in sending
for Mir Nassar Ali with a force to Taunda, for the purpose of conducting
Mr. Gordon, with all his baggage, who is now arrived at Fyzabad.

This event has afforded me the most excessive pleasure and satisfaction.
May the Omnipotence preserve you, my steadfast, firm friends! The pen of
friendship itself cannot sufficiently express your generosity and
benevolence, and that of the Begum of high dignity, who so graciously
has interested herself in this matter. Inclosed is an address for her,
which please to forward. I hope from your friendship, until we meet, you
will continue to honor me with an account of your health and welfare.
What further can I write?


I. That a prince called Ahmed Khan was of a family amongst the most
distinguished in Hindostan, and of a nation famous through that empire
for its valor in acquiring, and its policy and prudence in well
governing the territories it had acquired, called the Patans, or
Afghans, of which the Rohillas were a branch. The said Ahmed Khan had
fixed his residence in the city of Furruckabad, and in the first wars
of this nation in India the said Ahmed Khan attached himself to the
Company against Sujah Dowlah, then an enemy, now a dependant on that
Company. Ahmed Khan, towards the close of his life, was dispossessed of
a large part of his dominions by the prevalence of the Mahratta power;
but his son, a minor, succeeded to his pretensions, and to the remainder
of his dominions. The Mahrattas were expelled by Sujah ul Dowlah, the
late Vizier, who, finding a want of the services of the son and
successor of Ahmed Khan, called Muzuffer Jung, did not only guaranty him
in the possession of what he then actually held, but engaged to restore
all the other territories which had been occupied by the Mahrattas; and
this was confirmed by repeated treaties and solemn oaths, by the late
Vizier and by the present. But neither the late nor the present Vizier
fulfilled their engagements, or observed their oaths: the former having
withheld what he had stipulated to restore; and the latter not only
subjecting him to a tribute, instead of restoring him to what his father
had unjustly withheld, but having made a further invasion by depriving
him of fifteen of his districts, levying the tribute of the whole on the
little that remained, and putting the small remains of his territory
under a sequestrator or collector appointed by Almas Ali Khan, who did
grievously afflict and oppress the prince and territory aforesaid.

That the hardships of his case being frequently represented to Warren
Hastings, Esquire, he did suggest a doubt whether "that little ought to
be still subject to tribute," indicating that the said tribute might be
hard and inequitable,--but, whatever its justice might have been, that,
"from the _earliest period_ of our connection with the present Nabob of
Oude, it had invariably continued a part of the funds assigned by his
Excellency as a provision for the liquidation of the several public
demands of _this government_ [Calcutta] upon him; and in consequence of
the powers the board deemed it expedient to vest in the Resident at his
court for the collection of the Company's assignments, a _sezauwil_ [a
sequestrator] has always been stationed to enforce by every means in his
power the payment of the tribute." And the said tribute was, in
consequence of this arrangement, not paid to the Nabob, but to the
British Resident at Oude; and the same being therefore under the
direction and for the sole use of the Company, and indeed the prince
himself wholly dependent, the representatives of the said Company were
responsible for the protection of the prince, and for the good
government of the country.

II. That the said "Warren Hastings did, on the 22d of May, 1780,
represent to the board of Calcutta the condition of the said country in
the following manner.

"To the total want of all order, regularity, or _authority_ in his
government [the Furruckabad government], among _other obvious causes_,
it may, no doubt, be owing, that the country of Furruckabad is become
_an almost entire waste, without cultivation or inhabitants_; that the
capital, which but a very short time ago was distinguished as one of the
most _populous and opulent_ commercial cities in Hindostan, at present
exhibits nothing _but_ scenes of the most wretched poverty, desolation,
and misery; and the Nabob himself, though in possession of a tract of
country which with only common care is notoriously capable of yielding
an annual revenue of between thirty and forty lacs [three or four
hundred thousand pounds], with _no military establishment to maintain,
scarcely commanding the means of bare subsistence_." And the said Warren
Hastings, taking into consideration the said state of the country and
its prince, and that the latter had "_preferred frequent complaints_"
(which complaints the said Hastings to that time did not lay before the
board, as his duty required) "_of the hardships and indignities_ to
which he is subjected by the conduct of the sezauwil [sequestrator]
stationed in the country for the purpose of levying the annual tribute
which he is bound by treaty to pay to the Subah of Oude," he, the said
Warren Hastings, did declare himself "extremely desirous, as well from
motives of _common justice_ as _due_ regard to _the rank which that
chief holds among the princes of Hindostan_, of affording him relief."
And he, the said Warren Hastings, as the means of the said relief, did,
with the consent of the board, order the said native sequestrator to be
removed, and an English Resident, a servant of the Company, to be
appointed in his room, declaring "he understood a local interference to
be _indispensably necessary_ for realizing the Vizier's just demands."

III. That the said native sequestrator being withdrawn, and a Resident
appointed, no complaint whatever concerning the collection of the
revenue, or of any indignities offered to the prince of the country or
oppression of his subjects by the said Resident, was made to the
Superior Council at Calcutta; yet the said Warren Hastings did,
nevertheless, in a certain paper, purporting to be a treaty made at
Chunar with the Nabob of Oude, on the 19th September, 1781, at the
request of the said Nabob, consent to an article therein, "That no
English Resident be appointed to Furruckabad, and that the present be
recalled." And the said Warren Hastings, knowing that the Nabob of Oude
was ill-affected towards the said Nabob of Furruckabad, and that he was
already supposed to have oppressed him, did justify his conduct on the
principles and in the words following: "That, if the Nabob Muzuffer Jung
_must_ endure oppression, (_and I dare not at this time propose his
total relief_,) it concerns the reputation of our government to remove
_our participation in it_." And the said Warren Hastings making,
recording, and acting upon the first of the said false and inhuman
suppositions, most scandalous to this nation, namely, that princes
paying money wholly for the use of the Company, and directly to its
agent, for the maintenance of British troops, by whose force and power
the said revenue was in effect collected, must of necessity endure
oppression, and that our government at any time _dare_ not propose their
_total_ relief, was an high offence and misdemeanor in the said Warren
Hastings, and the rather, because in the said treaty, as well as before
and after, the said Hastings, who pretended not to dare to relieve those
oppressed by the Nabob of Oude, did assume a complete authority over the
said Nabob himself, and did dare to oppress him.

IV. That the second principle assumed by the said Warren Hastings, as
ground for voluntarily abandoning the protection of those whom he had
before undertaken to relieve, _on the sole strength of his own
authority_, and in full confidence of the lawful foundation thereof, and
for delivering over the persons so taken into protection, under false
names and pretended descriptions, to known oppression, asserting that
the reputation of the Company was saved by removing this apparent
participation, when the new as well as the old arrangements were truly
and substantially acts of the British government, was disingenuous,
deceitful, and used to cover unjustifiable designs: since the said
Warren Hastings well knew that all oppressions exercised by the Nabob of
Oude were solely, and in this instance particularly, upheld by British
force, and were imputed to this nation; and because he himself, in not
more than three days after the execution of this treaty, and in virtue
thereof, did direct the British Resident at Oude, in orders _to which he
required his most implicit obedience_, "that the ministers [the Nabob of
Oude's ministers] are to choose _all_ aumils and collectors of revenue
with your concurrence." And the dishonor to the Company, in thus
deceitfully concurring in oppression, which they were able and were
bound to prevent, is much aggravated by the said Warren Hastings's
receiving from the person to whose oppression he had delivered the said
prince, as a private gift or donation to himself and for his own use, a
sum of money amounting to one hundred thousand pounds and upwards, which
might give just ground of suspicion that the said gift from the
oppressor to the person surrendering the person injured to his mercy
might have had some share in the said criminal transaction.

V. That the said Warren Hastings did (in the paper justifying the said
surrender of the prince put by himself under the protection of the East
India Company) assert, "that it was a fact, that the Nabob Muzuffer
Jung [the Nabob of Furruckabad] is equally urgent with the Nabob Vizier
for the removal of a Resident," without producing, as he ought to have
done, any document to prove his improbable assertion, namely, his
assertion that the oppressed prince did apply to his known enemy and
oppressor, the Nabob of Oude, (who, if he would, was not able to relieve
him against the will of the English government,) rather than to that
English government, which he must have conceived to be more impartial,
to which he had made his former complaint, and which was alone able to
relieve him.

VI. That the said Warren Hastings, in the said writing, did further
convey an insinuation of an ambiguous, but, on any construction, of a
suspicious and dangerous import, viz.: "It is a fact, that Mr. Shee's
[the Resident's] authority over the territory of Furruckabad is in
itself as much subversive of that [_of the lawful rulers_] as that of
the Vizier's aumil [collector] ever was, and is the more _oppressive_ as
the power from whence it is derived is greater." The said assertion
proceeds upon a supposition of the illegality both of the Nabob's and
the Company's government; all consideration of the _title_ to authority
being, therefore, on that supposition, put out of the question, and the
whole turning only upon the _exercise_ of authority, the said Hastings's
suggestion, that the oppression of government must be in proportion to
its power, is the result of a false and dangerous principle, and such as
it is criminal for any person intrusted with the lives and fortunes of
men to entertain, much more, publicly to profess as a rule of action, as
the same hath a direct tendency to make the new and powerful government
of this kingdom in India dreadful to the natives and odious to the
world. But if the said Warren Hastings did mean thereby indirectly to
insinuate that oppressions had been actually exercised under the British
authority, he was bound to inquire into these oppressions, and to
animadvert on the person guilty of the same, if proof thereof could be
had,--and the more, as the authority was given by _himself_, and the
person exercising it was by himself also named. And the said Warren
Hastings did on another occasion assert that "whether they were well or
ill-founded he never had an opportunity to ascertain." But it is not
true that the said Hastings did or could want such opportunity: the fact
being, that the said Warren Hastings did never cause any inquiry to be
made into any supposed abuses during the said Residency, but did give a
pension of fifteen hundred pounds a year to the said late Resident as a
compensation to him for an injury received, and did afterwards promote
the Resident, as a faithful servant of the Company, (and nothing appears
to show him otherwise,) to a judicial office of high trust,--thereby
taking away all credit from any grounds asserted or insinuated by the
said Hastings for delivering the said Nabob of Furruckabad to the hand
of a known enemy and oppressor, who had already, contrary to repeated
treaties, deprived him of a large part of his territories.

VII. That, on the said Warren Hastings's representation of the
transaction aforesaid to the Court of Directors, they did heavily and
justly censure the said Warren Hastings for the same, and did convey
their censure to him, recommending relief to the suffering prince, but
without any order for sending a new Resident: being, as it may be
supposed, prevented from taking that step by the faith of the treaty
made at Chunar.

VIII. That all the oppressions foreseen by him, the said Warren
Hastings, when he made the article aforesaid in the treaty of Chunar,
did actually happen: for, immediately on the removal of the British
Resident, the country of Furruckabad was subjected to the discretion of
a certain native manager of revenue, called Almas Ali Khan, who did
impoverish and oppress the country and insult the prince, and did
deprive him of all subsistence from his own estates,--taking from him
even his gardens and the tombs of his ancestors, and the funds for
maintaining the same.

IX. That, on complaint of those proceedings, the said Hastings did of
his own authority, and without communicating with his Council, direct
the native collector aforesaid to be removed, and the territory of
Furruckabad to be left to the sole management of its natural prince. But
in a short time the said Hastings, pretending to receive many complaints
purporting that the tribute to the Nabob remained wholly unpaid, and the
agent to the prince of Furruckabad at the Presidency, and afterwards
chief manager to the prince aforesaid, having, as the said Warren
Hastings saith, "had the insolence to propagate a report that the
_interference_ to which his master owed the power he then enjoyed was
_purchased_ through him," he, the said Hastings, did again (but, as
before, without the Council) "withdraw his protection and interference
altogether," on or about the month of August, 1782, and did signify his
resolution, through the Resident, Middleton, to the Nabob Vizier. But
the said Hastings asserts that "the consequence of this his own second
dereliction of the prince of Furruckabad was _an aggravated renewal of
the severities_ exercised against his government, and the reappointment
of a sezauwil, with powers delegated or assumed, to the _utter
extinction_ of the rights of Muzuffer Jung, and actually depriving him
of the means of subsistence." And the said Hastings did receive, on the
16th of February, 1783, from the prince aforesaid, a bitter complaint of
the same to the following tenor.

"The miseries which have fallen upon my country, and the poverty and
distress which have been heaped upon me by the reappointment of the
sezauwil, are such, that a relation of them would, I am convinced,
excite the strongest feelings of compassion in your breast. But it is
impossible to relate them: on one side, my country ruined and
uncultivated to a degree of desolation which exceeds all description; on
the other, my domestic concerns and connections involved _in such a
state of distress and horror, that even the relations, the children, and
the wives of my father are starving in want of daily bread, and are on
the point of flying voluntary exiles from their country and from each

But although the said Hastings did, on the 16th of February, receive and
admit the justice of the said complaint, and did not deny the urgent
necessity of redress, the said letter containing the following sentence,
"If there should be _any delay_ in your acceptance of this proposal, _my
existence and the existence of my family will become difficult and
doubtful_,"--and although he did admit the interference to be the more
urgently demanded, "as the services of the English troops have been
added to enforce the authority of the sezauwil,"--and although he admits
also, that, even before that time, similar complaints and applications
had been made,--yet he did withhold the said letter of complaint, a
minute of which he asserts he had, at or about that time, prepared for
the relief of the sufferer, from the Board of Council, and did not so
much as propose anything relative to the same for seven months after,
viz., until the 6th of October, 1783: the said letter and minute being,
as he asserts, "_withheld_, from causes _not necessary to mention_, from
presentation." By which means the said country and prince did suffer a
long continuance of unnecessary hardship, from which the said Hastings
confessed it was his duty to relieve them, and that a British Resident
was necessary at Furruckabad, "from a sense of submission to the
_implied_ orders of the Court of Directors in their letter of 1783,
lately received, added to _the conviction I have LONG SINCE_ entertained
_of the necessity of such an appointment for the preservation of our
national credit_, and the means of rescuing an ancient and respectable
family from ruin."

And the said Warren Hastings did at length perform what he thought had
_long since_ been necessary; and in contradiction to his engagements
with the Nabob in the treaty of Chunar, and against his strong
remonstrances, urging his humiliation from this measure, and the faith
of the agreement, and against his own former declaration that it
concerned the reputation of our government to remove our participation
in the oppressions which he, the said Hastings, supposed the prince of
Furruckabad must undergo, did once more recommend to the Council a
British Resident at Furruckabad, and the withdrawing the native
sezauwil: no course being left to the said Hastings to take which was
not a violation of some engagement, and a contradiction to some
principle of justice and policy by him deliberately advanced and entered
on record.

That Mr. Willes being appointed Resident, and having arrived at
Furruckabad on the 25th of February, 1784, with instructions to inquire
minutely into the state of the country and the ruling family, he, the
said Resident, Willes, in obedience thereto, did fully explain to him,
the Governor-General, the said Warren Hastings, (he being then out of
the Company's provinces, at Lucknow, on a delegation which respected
this very country, as part of the dependencies of Oude,) the situation
of the province of Furruckabad; but the said Warren Hastings did not
take or recommend any measure whatsoever for the relief thereof in
consequence of the said representation, nor even communicate to the
Council-General the said representation; and it was not until the 28th
of June, 1783 [1785?], that is, sixteen months from the arrival of the
Resident at his station, that anything was laid before the board
relative to the regulation or relief of the distressed country
aforesaid, and that not from the said Warren Hastings, but from other
members of the Council: which purposed neglect of duty, joined to the
preceding wilful delay of seven months in proposing the said relief
originally, caused near two years' delay. And the said Warren Hastings
is further culpable in not communicating to the Council Board the order
which he had, of his own authority, and without any powers from them,
given to the said Resident, Willes, and did thereby prevent them from
taking such steps as might counteract the ill effects of the said order;
which order purported, that the said Willes was not to interfere with
the Nabob of Furruckabad's government, for the regulation of which he
was in effect appointed to the Residency,--declaring as follows: "I rely
much on your moderation and good judgment, which I hope will enable you
to regulate your conduct towards the Nabob and his _servants_ in such a
manner, that, _without interfering in the executive part of his
government_, you may render him essential service by _your council and
advice_." And this restriction the said Hastings did impose, which
totally frustrated the purpose of the Resident's mission, though he well
knew, and had frequently stated, the extreme imbecility and weakness of
the said Nabob of Furruckabad, and his subjection to unworthy servants;
and in the Minute of Consultation upon which he founded the appointment
did state the Nabob of Furruckabad "as a weak and unexperienced young
man, who had abandoned himself entirely to the discretion of his
servants, and the restoration of his independence was followed by a
_total_ breach of the engagements he had promised to fulfil, attended by
pointed instances of contumacy and disrespect"; and in the said minute
the said Hastings adds, (as before mentioned,) his principal servant and
manager had propagated a report that the "_interference_" (namely, his,
the said Hastings's, interference) "to which his master owed the power
he then enjoyed was purchased by him," the principal servant aforesaid:
yet he, the said Hastings, who had assigned on record the character of
the said Nabob, and the conduct of his servants, and the aforesaid
report of his principal servant, so highly dishonorable to him, the said
Hastings, as reasons for taking away the independency of the Nabob of
Furruckabad, and the subjecting him to the oppression of the Nabob of
Oude's officer, Almas Ali, did again himself establish the pretended
independence of the said prince of Furruckabad, and the real
independence of his corrupt and perfidious servants, not against the
Nabob of Oude, but against a British Resident appointed by himself ("as
a character eminently qualified for such a charge") for the correction
of those evils, and for rendering the prince aforesaid an useful ally to
the Company, and restoring his dominions to order and plenty.

That the said Hastings did not only disable the Resident at Furruckabad
by his said prohibitory letter, but did render his very remaining at all
in that station perfectly precarious by a subsequent letter, rendering
him liable to dismission by the Vizier,--thereby changing the tenure of
the Resident's office, and changing him from a minister of the Company,
dependent on the Governor-General and Council, to a dependant upon an
unresponsible power,--in this also acting without the Council, and by
his own usurped authority: and accordingly the said Resident did
declare, in his letter of the 24th of April, 1785, "that the situation
of the country was _more_ distressful than when he [the prince of
Furruckabad] addressed himself for relief in 1783, and that he was sorry
to say that his appointment at Furruckabad was of no use"; that, though
the old tribute could not be paid, owing to famine and other causes, it
was increased by a new imposition, making the whole equal the entire
_gross_ produce of the revenue; that therefore there will not be
"_anything for the subsistence of the Nabob and family_." And the uncles
of the said Nabob of Furruckabad, the brethren of the late Ahmed Khan,
(who had rendered important services to the Company,) and their
children, in a petition to the Resident, represented that soon after the
succession of Muzuffer Jung "their misery commenced. The jaghires [lands
and estates] on which they subsisted were disallowed. Our distress is
great: we have neither clothes nor food. Though we felt hurt at the idea
of explaining our situation, yet, could we have found a mode of
conveyance, we would have proceeded to Calcutta for redress. The
scarcity of grain this season is an additional misfortune. With
difficulty we support life. From your presence without the provinces we
expect relief. It is not the custom of the Company to deprive the
zemindars and jaghiredars of the means of subsistence. To your justice
we look up."

This being the situation of the person and family of the Nabob of
Furruckabad and his nearest relations, the state of the country and its
capital, prevented from all relief by the said Warren Hastings, is
described in the following words by the Resident, Willes.

"Almas Ali has taken the purgunnah of Marara at a very inadequate rent,
and his aumils have seized many adjacent villages: the purgunnahs of
Cocutmow and Souje are constantly plundered by his people. The
collection of the ghauts near Futtyghur has been seized by the Vizier's
_cutwal_, and the zemindars in four purgunnahs are so refractory as to
have fortified themselves in their gurries, and to refuse all payments
of revenue. This is the state of the purgunnahs. _And Furruckabad,
which was once the seat of great opulence and trade, is now daily
deserted by its inhabitants, its walls mouldering away, without police,
without protection, exposed to the depredations of a banditti of two or
three hundred robbers, who, night after night, enter it for plunder,
murdering all who oppose them. The ruin that has overtaken this country
is not to be wondered at, when it is considered that there has been no
state, no stable government, for many years._ There has been the Nabob
Vizier's authority, his ministers', the Residents' at Lucknow, the
sezauwils', the camp authority, the Nabob Muzuffer Jung's, and that of
twenty duans or advisers: no authority sufficiently predominant to
establish any regulations for the benefit of the country, whilst each
authority has been exerted, as opportunity offered, for temporary

"Such being the present _deplorable_ state of Furruckabad and its
districts, in the ensuing year it will be in vain to look for revenue,
if some regulations equal to the exigency be not adopted. The whole
country will be divided between the neighboring powerful aumils, the
refractory zemindars, and banditti of robbers; and the Patans, who might
be made useful subjects, will fly from the scene of anarchy. The crisis
appears now come, that either some plan of government should be resolved
on, so as to form faithful subjects on the frontier, or the country be
given up to its fate: and if it be abandoned, there can be little doubt
but that the Mahrattas will gladly seize on a station so favorable to
incursions into the Vizier's dominions, will attach to their interests
the Hindoo zemindars, and possess themselves of forts, which, with
little expense being made formidable, would give employment perhaps to
the whole of our force, should it be ever necessary to recover them."

That the Council at Calcutta, on the representation aforesaid made by
the Resident at Furruckabad, did propose and record a plan for the
better government of the said country, but did delay the execution of
the same until the arrangements made by the said Hastings with the Nabob
Vizier should be known; but the said Hastings, as far as in him lay, did
entirely set aside any plan that could be formed for that purpose upon
the basis of a British Resident at Furruckabad, by engaging with the
said Nabob Vizier that no British influence shall be employed within his
dominions, and he has engaged to that prince not to abandon him to any
other mode of relation; and he has informed the Court of Directors that
the territories of the Nabob of Oude will be ruined, if Residents are
sent into them, observing, that "Residents never will be sent for any
other purposes than those of vengeance and corruption."

That the said Warren Hastings did declare to the Court of Directors,
that in his opinion the mode of relief most effectual, and most lenient
with regard to Furruckabad, would be to nominate one of the family of
the prince to superintend his affairs and to secure the payments; but
this plan, which appears to be most connected with the rights of the
ruling family, whilst it provides against the imbecility of the natural
lord, and is free from his objection to a Resident, is the only one
which the said Hastings never has executed, or even proposed to execute.

That the said Hastings, by the agreements aforesaid, has left the
Company in such an alternative, that they can neither relieve the said
prince of Furruckabad from oppression without a breach of the
engagements entered into by him, the said Hastings, with the Nabob
Vizier in the name of the Company, nor suffer him to remain under the
said oppression without violating all faith and all the rules of justice
with regard to him. And the said Hastings hath directly made or
authorized no less than six revolutions in less than five years in the
aforesaid harassed province; by which frequent and rapid changes of
government, all of them made in contradiction to all his own declared
motives and reasons for the several acts successively done and undone in
this transaction, the distresses of the country and the disorders in its
administration have been highly aggravated; and in the said irregular
proceedings, and in the gross and complicated violations of faith with
all parties, the said Hastings is guilty of high crimes and


I. That the late Nabob of Oude, Sujah ul Dowlah, did (on what reasons of
policy or pretences of justice is unknown) dispossess a certain native
person of distinction, or eminent Rajah, residing in the country of
Sahlone, "the lineal descendant of the most powerful Hindoo family in
that part of Hindostan," of his patrimonial estate, and conferred the
same, or part of the same, on his, the Nabob's, mother, as a jaghire, or
estate, for the term of her life: and the mother of the Nabob, in order
to quiet the country, and to satisfy in some measure the principal and
other inhabitants, did allow and pay a certain pension to the said
Rajah; which pension, on the general confiscation of jaghires, made at
the instigation of the said Warren Hastings, and by the letting the
lands so confiscated to farmers at rack-rents, was discontinued and
refused to be paid; and the discontinuance of the said pension, "on
account of the personal respect borne to the Rajah, (as connections with
him are sought for, and thought _to confer honor_,)" did cause an
universal discontent and violent commotions in the district of Sahlone,
and other parts of the province of Oude, with great consequent effusion
of blood, and interruption, if not total discontinuance, to the
collection of the revenues in those parts, other than as the same was
irregularly, and with great damage to the country, enforced by British

II. That Mr. Lumsdaine, the officer employed to reduce those disordered
parts of the province to submission, after several advantages gained
over the Rajah and his adherents, and expelling him from the country,
did represent the utter impossibility of bringing it to a permanent
settlement "merely by forcible methods; as in any of his [the Rajah's]
incursions it would not be necessary to bring even a force with him, as
the zemindars [landed proprietors and freeholders] are much attached to
the Rajah, whom they consider as their hereditary prince, and never fail
to assist him, and that his rebellion against government is not looked
on as a crime": and Mr. Lumsdaine declared it "as his clear opinion,
that the allowing the said Rajah a pension suitable to his rank and
influence in the country would be the most certain mode of obtaining a
permanent peace,"--alleging, among other cogent reasons, "that the
expense of the force necessary to be employed to subdue the country
might be spared, and employed elsewhere, and that the people would
return to their villages with their cattle and effects, and of course
government have some security for the revenue, whereas at present they
have none." And the representation containing that prudent and temperate
counsel, given by a military man of undoubted information and perfect
experience in the local circumstances of the country, was transmitted by
the Resident, Bristow, to the said Warren Hastings, who did wilfully and
criminally omit to order any relief to the said Rajah in conformity to
the general sense and wishes of the inhabitants, a compliance with whose
so reasonable an expectation his duty in restoring the tranquillity of
the country and in retrieving the honor of the English government did
absolutely require; but instead of making such provision, a price was
set upon his head, and several bodies of British troops being employed
to pursue him, after many skirmishes and much bloodshed and mutual waste
of the country, the said Rajah, honored and respected by the natives,
was hunted down, and at length killed in a thicket.


[59] See Hastings's Letter.

[60] Sic orig.

[61] 26th Dec., 1781.

[62] 13th Jan., 1782.

[63] 18th Jan., 1782.

[64] Letter from Mr. Middleton, 2d Feb., 1782.

[65] Lucknow, 22d July, 1782.

[66] Major Gilpin's Letter, 15th June, 1782.

[67] Mr. Johnson's letter, 9th July, 1782.

[68] Ibid., 4th July, 1782.

[69] Major Gilpin's Letter, 6th July, 1782.

[70] Mr. Johnson's Letter, 22d July, 1782.

[71] Major Gilpin's Letters, 16th June and 15th Sept., 1782.

[72] Major Gilpin's letter, 15th Sept., 1782.

[73] Major Gilpin's letter, 19th Oct., 1782.

[74] Major Gilpin's Letter, 18 Nov., 1782.

[75] Mr. Bristow's Letter, 2d Dec., 1782.

[76] Mr. Bristow's Letter, 12 Dec., 1782.

[77] Shoka from the Vizier to Hyder Beg Khan, 2d Ramsur, 1197

[78] Bristow's Letter, 29th Jan., 1784, with inclosures.


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