XVIII. That the said commission, delegating to him, the said Warren Hastings, the whole functions of the Council, is destructive to the constitution thereof, and is contrary to the Company's standing orders, and is illegal.
XIX. That, in virtue of those powers, and the illegal delegation aforesaid, the said Warren Hastings, after he had finished his business at Benares, did procure a meeting with the Nabob of Oude at a place called Chunar, upon the confines of the country of Benares, and did there enter into a treaty, or pretended treaty, with the said Nabob; one part of which the said Warren Hastings did pretend was drawn up from a series of requisitions presented to him by the Nabob, but which requisitions, or any copy thereof, or of any other material document relative thereto, he did not at the time transmit to the Presidency,—the said Warren Hastings informing Mr. Wheler, that the Resident, Middleton, had taken the authentic papers relative to this transaction with him to Lucknow: and it does not appear that the said Warren Hastings did ever reclaim the said papers, in order to record them at the Presidency, to be transmitted to the Court of Directors, as it was his duty to do.
XX. That the purport of certain articles of the said treaty, on the part of the Company, was, that, in consideration of the Nabob's inability (which inability the preamble of the treaty asserts to have been "repeatedly and urgently represented") to support the expenses of the temporary brigade, and of three regiments of cavalry, and also of the British officers with their battalions, and of other gentlemen who were then paid by him, the several corps aforesaid, and the other gentlemen, (with the exception of the Resident's office then on the Nabob's list, and a regiment of sepoys for the Resident's guard,) should, after a term of two and a half months, be no longer at his, the Nabob's, charge: "the true meaning of this being, that no more troops than one brigade, and the pay and allowances of a regiment of sepoys," (as aforesaid, to the Resident,) amounting in the whole to 342,000l. a year, should be paid by the Nabob; and that no officers, troops, or others, should be put upon the Nabob's establishment, exclusive of those in the said treaty stipulated.
XXI. That the said Warren Hastings did defend and justify the said articles, in which the troops aforesaid were to be removed from the Nabob's establishment, by declaring as follows. "That the actual disbursements to those troops had fallen upon our own funds, and that we support a body of troops, established solely for the defence of the Nabob's possessions, at our own expense. It is true, we charge the Nabob with this expense; but the large balance already due from him shows too justly the little prospect there was of disengaging ourselves from a burden which was daily adding to our distresses and must soon become insupportable, although it were granted that the Nabob's debt, then suffered to accumulate, might at some future period be liquidated, and that this measure would substantially effect an instant relief to the pecuniary distresses of the Company."
XXII. That Nathaniel Middleton, the Resident, did also declare that he would at all times testify, "that, upon the plan of the foregoing years, the receipts from the Nabob were only a deception, and not an advantage, but an injury to the Company," and "that a remission to the Nabob of this insufferable burden was a profit to the Company." And the said Hastings did assert that the force of the Company was not lessened by withdrawing the temporary troops; although, when it suited the purpose of the said Hastings, in denying just relief to the distresses of the said Nabob of Oude, he had not scrupled to assert the direct contrary of the positions by him maintained in justification of the treaty of Chunar,—having in his minute aforesaid, of the 15th of December, 1779, asserted, "that these troops" (the troops maintained by the Nabob of Oude) "had no separate or distinct existence, and may be properly said to consist of our whole military establishment, with the exception only of our European infantry, and that they could not be withdrawn, without imposing on the Company the additional burden of their expense, or disbanding nine battalions of disciplined sepoys and three regiments of horse."
XXIII. That he, the said Warren Hastings, in justification of his agreement to withdraw the troops aforesaid from the territories and pay of the Nabob of Oude, did further declare, "that he had been too much accustomed to the tales of hostile preparation and impending invasions, against all the evidence of political probability, to regard them as any other than phantoms raised for the purpose of perpetuating or multiplying commands," and he did trust "all ideas of danger from the neighboring powers were altogether visionary; and that, even if they had been better founded, this mode of anticipating possible evils would be more mischievous than anything they had reason to apprehend," and that the internal state of the Nabob's dominions did not require the continuance of the said troops; and that the Nabob, "whose concern it was, and not ours" did affirm the same,—notwithstanding he, the said Hastings, had before, in answer to the humble supplications of the Nabob, asserted, that "it was our part, and not his, to judge and determine in what manner and at what time they should be reduced or withdrawn."
XXIV. That the said Warren Hastings, in support of his measure of withdrawing the said brigade and other troops, did also represent, that "the remote stations of those troops, placing the commanding officers beyond the notice and control of the board, afforded too much opportunity and temptation for unwarrantable emoluments, and excited the contagion of peculation and rapacity throughout the whole army, and, as an instance thereof, that a court-martial, composed of officers of rank and respectable characters, unanimously and honorably, 'most honorably,' acquitted an officer upon an acknowledged fact which in times of stricter discipline would have been deemed a crime deserving the severest punishment."
XXV. That the said Warren Hastings, having in the letter aforesaid contradicted all the grounds and reasons by him assigned for keeping up the aforesaid establishment, and having declared his own conviction that the whole was a fallacy and imposition, and a detriment to the Company instead of a benefit, circumstances (if they are true) which he might and ought to have well known, was guilty of an high crime and misdemeanor in carrying on the imposture and delusion aforesaid, and in continuing an insupportable burden and grievance upon the Nabob for several years, without attending to his repeated supplications to be relieved therefrom, to the utter ruin of his country, and to the destruction of the discipline of the British troops, by diffusing among them a general spirit of peculation; and the said Hastings hath committed a grievous offence in upholding the same pernicious system, until, by his own confession and declaration, in his minute of the 21st of May, 1781, "the evils had grown to so great an height, that exertions will be required more powerful than can be made through the delegated authority of the servants of the Company now in the province, and that he was far from sanguine in his expectations that even his own endeavors would be attended with much success."
XXVI. That, at the time of making the said treaty, and at the time when, under color of the distress of the Nabob of Oude, and the failure of all other means for his relief, he, the said Hastings, broke the Company's faith with the parents of the Nabob, and first encouraged and afterwards compelled him to despoil them of their landed estates, money, jewels, and household goods, and while the said Nabob continued heavily in debt to the Company, he, the said Warren Hastings, did, "without hesitation," accept of and receive from the Nabob of Oude and his ministers (who are notoriously known to be not only under his influence, but under his absolute command) a bribe, or unlawful gift or present, of one hundred thousand pounds sterling, and upwards. That, even if the said pretended gift could be supposed to be voluntary, it was contrary to the express provision of the Regulating Act of the 13th year of his Majesty's reign, prohibiting the receipt of all presents upon any pretence whatsoever, and contrary to his own sense of the true intent and meaning of the said act, declared upon a similar, but not so strong a case,—that is, where the service done, and the present offered in return for it, had taken place before the promulgation of the above laws in India: on that occasion he declared, "that the exclusion by an act of Parliament admitted of no abatement or evasion, wherever its authority extended."
XXVII. That the said Warren Hastings, confiding in an interest which he supposed himself to have formed in the East India House, did endeavor to prevail on the Court of Directors to violate the said act, and to suffer him to appropriate the money so illegally accepted by him to his own profit, as a reward for his services.
XXVIII. That the said Warren Hastings has since declared to the Court of Directors, that, when fortune threw a sum in his way (meaning the sum of money above mentioned) of a magnitude which could not be concealed, he chose to apprise his employers of it: thereby confessing, that, but for the magnitude of the same rendering it difficult to be concealed, he never would have discovered it to them. And the said unlawful present being received at the time when, for reasons directly contradictory of all his former recorded declarations, he did agree to remove the aforesaid troops from the Nabob's dominions, and to recall the pensioners aforesaid, it must be presumed that he did not agree to give the relief (which he had before so obstinately refused) upon the grounds and motives of justice, policy, or humanity, but in consideration of the sum of money aforesaid, which, in a time of such extreme distress in the Nabob's affairs, could not be rationally given, except for those and other concessions stipulated for in the said treaty, but which had on former occasions been refused.
XXIX. That, notwithstanding his, the said Warren Hastings's, receipt of the present of one hundred thousand pounds, as aforesaid, he did violate every one of the stipulations in the said treaty contained, and particularly he did continue in the country, and in the service of the Nabob of Oude, those troops which he had so recently stipulated to withdraw from his country and to take from his establishment: for, upon the 24th of December following, he did order the temporary brigade, making ten battalions of five hundred men each, to be again put on the Vizier's list,—although he had recently informed the Court of Directors, through Edward Wheler, Esquire, that any benefit to be derived from the Nabob's paying that brigade was a fallacy and a deception, and that the same was a charge upon the Company, and not an alleviation of its distresses, as well as an insupportable burden to the Nabob: thus having, within a short space of time, twice contradicted himself, both in declaration and in conduct.
XXX. That this measure, in direct violation of a treaty of not three months' duration, was so injudicious, that, in the opinion of the Assistant Resident, Johnson, "nothing less than blows could effect it": he, the said Resident, further adding, "that the Nabob was not even able to pay off the arrears still due to it [the new brigade]; and that the troops being all in arrears, and no possibility of present payment, so large a body assembled here [viz., at Lucknow] without any means to check and control them, nothing but disorder could follow. As one proof that the Nabob is as badly off for funds as we are, I may inform you that his cavalry rose this day upon him, and went all armed to the palace, to demand from thirteen to eighteen months' arrears, and were with great difficulty persuaded to retire, which was probably more effected by a body of troops getting under arms to go against them than any other consideration." But the letter of Warren Hastings, Esquire, of the 24th of December, giving the above orders for the infraction of the treaty, and to which the letter from whence the foregoing extracts are taken is an answer, doth not appear, any otherwise than as the same is recited in the said answer.
XXXI. That, notwithstanding the disorders and deficiencies in the revenue aforesaid had continued and increased, and that three very large balances had accumulated, the said Warren Hastings did cause the Treasury accounts at Calcutta to be examined and scrutinized, and an account of another arrear, composed of various articles, pretended to have accumulated during seven years previous to the year 1779, (the articles composing which, if they had been just, ought to have been charged at the times they severally became due,) was sent to the Resident, and payment thereof demanded, to the amount of 260,000l. sterling; which unexpected demand, in so distressed a situation, did not a little embarrass the Nabob. But whilst he and his ministers were examining into the said unexpected demand, another, and fifth balance, made up of similar forgotten articles, was demanded, to the amount of 140,000l. sterling more. Which said two last demands did so terrify and confound the Nabob and his ministers, that they declared that the Resident "might at once take the country, since justice was out of the question."
XXXII. That the said Hastings, in order to add to the confusion, perplexity, and distress of the Nabob's affairs, did send to his court (in which he had already a Resident and Assistant Resident) two secret agents, Major Palmer and Major Davy, and did instruct Major Palmer to make a variety of new claims, one of a loan to the Company of 600,000l. sterling, although he well knew the Nabob was himself heavily in arrear to the Company, and was utterly unable to discharge the same, as well as in arrear to his own troops, and to many individuals, and that he borrowed (when he could at all borrow) at an interest of near thirty per cent. To this demand was added a new bribe, or unlawful present, to himself, to the amount of 100,000l. sterling, which he did not refuse as unlawful and of evil example, but as indelicate in the Nabob's present situation,—and did, as if the same was his own property, presume to dispose of it, and to desire the transfer of it, as of his own bounty, to the Company, his masters. To this second demand he, the said Hastings, added a third demand of 120,000l. sterling, for four additional regiments on the Nabob's list, after he had solemnly engaged to take off the ten with which it had been burdened: the whole of the claims through his private agent aforesaid making the sum of 820,000l. sterling.
XXXIII. That the demands, claims, &c., made by the said Warren Hastings upon the government of Oude in that year amounted to the enormous sum of 2,530,000l. sterling; which joined to the arrears to troops, and some internal failures, amounting to 255,000l. sterling more, the whole charge arose to 2,785,000l. sterling, which was considerably more than double the net produce of the Nabob's revenue,—the same only amounting to 1,450,000l. "nominal revenue, never completely realized."
XXXIV. That, towards providing for these extravagant demands, he, the said Warren Hastings, did direct and authorize another breach of the public faith given in the treaty of Chunar. For whereas, by the second article of the treaty aforesaid, it was left to the Nabob's discretion whether or not he should resume the landed estates, called jaghires, within his dominions, and notwithstanding the said Hastings, in defence of the said article, did declare that the Nabob should be left to the exercise of his own authority and pleasure respecting them, yet he, the said Hastings, did authorize a violent compulsion to be used towards the said Nabob for accomplishing an universal confiscation of that species of landed property; and in so doing he did also compel the Nabob to break his faith with all the landholders of that description, not only in violating the assurance of his own original grants, but his assurance recently given, when, being pressed by the Company, he, the Nabob, had made a temporary seizure of the profits of the lands aforesaid, in the manner of a compulsory loan, for the repayment of which he gave his bonds and obligations; and although he had at the same time solemnly pledged his faith that he never would again resort to the like oppressive measure, yet he, the said Warren Hastings, did cause him to be compelled to confiscate the estates of at least sixty-seven of the principal persons of his country, comprehending therein his own nearest relations and the ancient friends and dependants of his family: the annual value of the said estates thus confiscated amounting to 435,000l. sterling, or thereabouts, upon an old valuation, but stated by the Resident, Middleton, as being found to yield considerably more.
XXXV. That the violent and unjust measure aforesaid, subversive of property, utterly destructive of several ancient and considerable families, and most dishonorable to the British government, did produce an universal discontent and the greatest confusion throughout the whole country,—the said confiscated lands being on this occasion put to rack-rents, and the people grievously oppressed: and to prevent a possibility of redress, at least for a considerable time, the said confiscated estates were mortgaged (it appearing otherwise impracticable to make an approach towards satisfying the exorbitant demands of the said Hastings) for a great sum to certain usurious bankers or money-dealers at Benares.
XXXVI. That, besides these enormous demands, which were in part made for the support of several corps of troops under British officers which by the treaty of Chunar ought to have been removed, very large extra charges not belonging to the military list of the said Nabob, and several civil charges and pensions, were continued, and others newly put on since the treaty of Chunar, namely, an allowance to Sir Eyre Coote of 15,554 rupees per month, (being upwards of 18,664l. sterling a year,) and an allowance to Trevor Wheler, Esquire, of 5,000 rupees per month (or 6,000l. sterling and upwards a year); and the whole of the settled charges, not of a military nature, to British subjects, did amount to little less than 140,000l. yearly, and, if other allowances not included in the estimate were added, would greatly exceed that sum, besides much more which may justly be suspected to have been paid, no part whereof had at that time been brought forward to any public account.
XXXVII. That the commander of one of these corps, of whose burden the said Nabob did complain, was Lieutenant-Colonel Alexander Hannay, who did farm the revenues of certain districts called Baraitch and Goruckpore, which the said Hastings, in the ninth article of his instructions to Mr. Bristow, did estimate at twenty-three lacs of rupees, or 230,000l., per annum: but under his, the said Hannay's, management, the collections did very greatly decline; complaints were made that the countries aforesaid were harassed and oppressed, and the same did fall into confusion, and at last the inhabitants broke out into a general rebellion.
XXXVIII. That the far greater part of the said heavy list was authorized or ordered by him, the said Warren Hastings, for the purpose of extending his own corrupt influence: for it doth appear, that, at the time when he did pretend, in conformity to the treaty of Chunar aforesaid, to remove the Company's servants, "civil and military, from the court and service of the Vizier," he did assert that he thereby did "diminish his own influence, as well as that of his colleagues, by narrowing the line of patronage"; which proves that the offices, pensions, and other emoluments aforesaid, in Oude, were of his patronage, as his patronage could not be diminished by taking away the said offices, &c., unless the same had been substantially of his gift. And he did, at the time of the pretended reformation aforesaid, express both his knowledge of the existence of the said excessive and abusive establishments, and his sense of his duty in taking them away: for in agreeing to the article in the treaty of Chunar for abolishing the said establishments, he did declare himself "actuated solely by motives of justice to the Nabob, and a regard to the honor of our national character"; and, according to his own representation, the said servants of the Company, civil and military, "by their numbers, their influence, and the enormous amount of their salaries, pensions, and emoluments, were an intolerable burden on the revenues and authority of the Vizier, and exposed us to the envy and resentment of the whole country, by excluding the native servants and adherents of the Vizier from the rewards of their services and attachment."
XXXIX. That the revenue of the country being anticipated, mortgaged, and dilapidated, by the counsel, concurrence, connivance, and influence, and often by the direct order of the said Warren Hastings, the whole civil government, magistracy, and administration of justice gradually declined and at length totally ceased through the whole of the vast provinces which compose the territory of Oude, and no power was visible therein but that of the farmers of the revenue, attended by bodies of troops to enforce the collections; insomuch that robberies, assassinations, and acts of every description of outrage and violence were perpetrated with impunity,—and even in the capital city of Lucknow, the seat of the sovereign power, there was no court of justice whatever to take cognizance of such offences.
XL. That the said Warren Hastings, when he did interfere in the government of Oude, was obliged by his duty to interfere for the good purposes of government, and not merely for the purpose of extorting money therefrom and enriching his own dependants,—which latter purpose alone he did effect, in the manner before mentioned, but not one of the former. For the said Hastings, having procured the extraordinary powers given by and to himself by his delegation of the 3d of July, 1781, did declare the same to be for the purpose, among many others, "of assisting the Nabob Vizier in forming such regulations as may be necessary for the peace and good order of his government and the improvement of his revenue." And in consequence of the said powers, the said Warren Hastings did, in the treaty of Chunar, obtain an article from the Nabob by which the said Nabob did promise to attend to his advice in the reformation of his civil administration; and he did give certain instructions to the Resident, Middleton, to which he did require him to yield the most implicit obedience, and did in one article thereof direct him to urge the Nabob to endeavor gradually, if it could not be done at once, to establish courts of adawlut [justice], and that the darogahs [chief criminal magistrates], moulavies [consulting or assistant lawyers], and other officers, should be selected by the ministers, with his, the Resident's, concurrence; and afterwards, in his instructions to the Resident Bristow, desiring him to pursue the same object, he declared his opinion, "that the want of such courts, and the extreme licentiousness occasioned thereby, is one of the most disreputable defects in his Highness the Nabob's government, and that, while they do not exist, every man knows the hazard which he incurs in lending his money "; but he did give him, the said Resident, no positive instruction concerning the same, supposing the establishment of such courts a matter of difficulty, and did therefore leave him a latitude in his proceedings therein.
XLI. That the said Resident Bristow did, however, in conformity to the said instructions, at last given with such latitude, endeavor to prevail on the said minister gradually to introduce courts of justice for the cognizance of crimes, by beginning to establish a criminal court under a native judge, to judge according to the Mahomedan law in the city of Lucknow. But Hyder Beg Khan, a minister of the said Warren Hastings's nomination, and solely dependent upon him, did elude and obstruct, and in the end totally defeat, the establishment of the same.
XLII. That the obstruction aforesaid, and the evil consequences thereof, were duly represented to the said Hastings; and though the said Hastings had made it the fourth article of a criminal charge against the Resident Middleton, "that he did not report to the Governor-General, or to the board, the progress which he had made from time to time in his endeavors to comply with his instructions, and that, if he met with any impediments in the execution of them, he had omitted to state those impediments, and to apply for fresh orders upon them," yet he, the said Hastings, did give no manner of support to the Resident Bristow against the said Hyder Beg Khan, and did not even answer several of his letters, the said Bristow's letters, stating the said impediments, or take any notice of his remonstrances, but did at length revoke his own instructions, declaring that he, the said Resident, should not presume to act upon the same, and yet did not furnish him with any others, upon which he might act, but did uphold the said Hyder Beg Khan in the obstruction by him given to the performance of the first and fundamental duty of all government,—namely, the administration of justice, and the protection of the lives and property of the subject against wrong and violence.
XLIII. That the said Hastings did afterwards proceed to the length of criminating the Resident Bristow aforesaid for his endeavors to establish the said necessary court, as an invasion of the rights of the Nabob's government,—when, if the Nabob in his own proper person and character, and not the aforesaid Hyder Beg, (who was a creature of the said Hastings,) had opposed the reestablishment of justice in the said country, it was the duty of the said Hastings to have pressed the same upon him by every exertion of his influence. And the said Warren Hastings, in his pretended attention to the Nabob's authority, when exercised by his, the said Hastings's, minister, to prevent the establishment of courts of justice for the protection of life and property, at the same time that he did not hesitate, in the case of the confiscation of the jaghires, and the proceedings against the mother and grandmother of the Nabob, totally to supersede his authority, and to force his inclinations in acts which overturned all the laws of property, and offered violence to all the sentiments of natural affection and duty, and accusing at the same time his instruments for not going to the utmost lengths in the execution of his said orders, is guilty of an high crime and misdemeanor.
XLIV. That the said Hastings did highly aggravate his offence in discountenancing and discouraging the reestablishment of magistracy, law, and order, in the country of Oude, inasmuch as he did in the eighth article of his instructions to the Resident order him to exercise powers which ought to have been exercised by lawful magistrates, and in a manner agreeable to law. And in the said article he did state the prevalence of rebellion in the said country of Oude,—as if rebellion could exist in a country in which there was no magistracy, and no protection for life or property, and in which the native authority had no force whatever, and in which he himself states the exercise of British authority to be an absolute usurpation; and he did accordingly direct a rigorous prosecution against the offence of rebellion under such circumstances, but "with a fair and impartial inquiry," when he did not permit the establishment of those courts of justice and magistracy by which alone rebellion could be prevented, or a fair and impartial inquiry relative to the same could be had; and particularly he did instruct the said Resident to obtain the Nabob's order for employing some sure means for apprehending certain zemindars, and particularly three, in the instruction named, whom he, the said Hastings, did cause to be apprehended upon what he calls good information, founded upon some facts to which he asserts he has the testimony of several witnesses, "that they had the destruction of Colonel Hannay and the officers under his command as their immediate object, and ultimately the extirpation of the English influence and power throughout all the Nabob's dominions," and that they did still persevere in their rebellious conduct without deviation, "though the Nabob's, and not our government, was then the object of it"; and he did direct the said Resident, if it should appear, "on a fair and regular inquiry, that their conduct towards the Nabob had been such as it had been reported to be, to insist upon the Nabob's punishing them with death, and to treat with the same rigor every zemindar and every subject who shall be the leader in a rebellion against his authority."
XLV. That the crime of the said Hastings, in his procedure aforesaid, was further highly aggravated by his having received information of several striking circumstances which strongly indicated the necessity of a regular magistracy and a legal judicature, from the total failure of justice, affecting not only the subjects at large, but even the reigning family itself,—as also of the causes why no legal magistracy could exist, and why the princes of the reigning family were not only exposed to the attacks of assassins, but even to a want of the protection which might be had from their servants and attendants, who were driven from their masters for want of that maintenance which the princes, their masters, could not procure even for themselves. And the circumstances aforesaid were detailed to him, the said Hastings, by the Resident, Bristow, in a letter from Lucknow, dated the 29th January, 1784, to the Governor-General, the said Warren Hastings, and the Council of Bengal, in the terms following.
"The frequent robberies and murders perpetrated in his Excellency's, the Vizier's, dominions, have been too often the subject of my representations to your honorable board. From the total want of police, hardly a day elapses but I am informed of some tragical event, whereof the bare recital is shocking to humanity. About two months since, an attempt was made to assassinate Rajah Ticket Roy, the acting minister's confidential agent; but he happily escaped unhurt. Nabob Bahadur, his Highness's brother, has not been so fortunate, as will appear from translations of two of his letters to me, No. 1, which I have the honor to inclose for your information. Although my feelings are sensibly hurt and my compassion strongly excited by the disgraceful and miserable state of poverty to which his Excellency's brothers are reduced, yet, situated as I am, it is not in my power to interfere with effect. My efforts on a former occasion failed of success, and my interposition now would only excite the resentment of the minister towards the unhappy sufferers, in consequence of their application to me, from whom ALONE, however, they hope for relief from their present distress, which, their near connection with the Vizier considered, is both shameful and unprecedented. That no regular courts of justice have been established in this country is particularly pointed at in my instructions, as the most disreputable defect in his Highness's government; yet the minister seems determined on abolishing even the shadow of so necessary an institution. The office of Chief Justice, as held by Moulavy Morobine, was ever nugatory, but now it is sunk into the lowest contempt. The original establishment, inadequate as it was, is mouldering away, and the officers now attached to it are literally starving, as no part of their allowance has been paid for above six months past. He himself has proposed to resign his appointment, being every way precluded from a possibility of exercising the duties of it."
XLVI. That it appears by the said letter, and the papers therewith transmitted, as well as other documents in the said correspondence, that, in consequence of the distress brought upon the Nabob's finances, certain of the princes, his brethren, the children of Sujah ul Dowlah, the late sovereign of the country, were put upon pensions unsuitable to their birth and rank, and by the mismanagement of the minister aforesaid, (appointed by the said Warren Hastings,) for two years together no considerable part of the said inadequate pension was paid; and not being able to maintain the attendants necessary for their protection in a city in which all magistracy and justice was abolished, they were not only liable to suffer the greatest extremities of penury, but their lives were exposed to the attempts of assassins: the condition of one of the said princes, called the Nabob Bahadur, being by himself strongly expressed in three letters to the said Resident Bristow,—the first dated the 28th of December, 1783; the second, the 7th of January, 1784; and the third, the 15th of January, 1784,—which letters were duly transmitted, in the dispatch of the 29th of the same month, to Warren Hastings, Esquire, and are as follow.
"Your own servant carried you the account of what he himself was an eye-witness to, after the affair of last night. These are the particulars. About midnight my aunt received twelve wounds from a ruffian, of which she died. I also received six successive stabs, which alarmed the people of the house, who set up a shouting: whereupon the assassin run off. Besides being without food or the means of providing any, this misfortune has befallen me. I am desirous of sending the coffin to your door. It is your duty, both for the sake of God and of Christ, to execute justice, and to inquire what harm I have done to the murderer sufficient to deserve assassination, or even injury. You now stand in the place of his Excellency the Vizier. I request you will do me justice. What more can I say?
"P.S. I am also desirous to show you my wounds."
* * * * *
From the same, 29th [7th?] January, 1784.
"You have been duly informed of all the circumstances relative both to the murder of the innocent, and of my being wounded, as well by my former letter, as by the messenger whom you sent to inquire into the state of my health; and I have every reason to hope, from your known kindness, that you will not be deficient in seeking out the assassin. I am at this moment overwhelmed in misfortune. Whilst the blood is flowing from my wounds, neither I nor my children nor my servants have wherewithal to procure subsistence; nor have I it in my power either to purchase remedies or to reward the physician: it is for the sake of God alone that he attends me. Thus loaded with calamity upon calamity, I am unable to support life; for I find no relief from any affliction either day or night. Do you now stand in the place of my father; grant me fresh life by speedy acts of benevolence.
"For these two last years his Excellency established a pension for me of twenty thousand rupees; but I never received the full amount of it, either last year or the year before. Should it, however, be paid me, though inadequate to my desires, I shall still be enabled to support myself. From the beginning of this year to the present time I have not received a farthing, nor do I expect any; though, if you afford protection to the oppressed, all my wishes will be accomplished. I was desirous of waiting on you with my family, that you might be an eye-witness to their condition; but I was advised not to stir out on account of my wounds. What more can I say?"
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The following Extracts are made from the Third Letter from the same Prince, dated January 15, 1784.
"The particulars of the late and unforeseen misfortune with which I have been overwhelmed are not unknown unto you,—that the innocent blood of my aunt, the prop and ruler of my family, was shed, and in the same manner I, too, was wounded. Until now I feel the pain and affliction of my wounds; and no person has regarded my solicitations for redress, sought after the assassin, and brought him to condign punishment, yourself excepted."—"In like manner as the Honorable Governor-General has adopted my brother Saadut Ali Khan for his son and relieved him from the vexation, affliction, and dependence of this place, would it be extraordinary that you also should, in your bounty and favor, consent to adopt me, who do not possess the necessaries of life, and permit me to attend you to whatever part of the world you may travel, whereby I shall at all times derive honor and advantage? Formerly us three brothers, Saadut Ali, Mirza Jungly, and I, the poor and oppressed, were, in the presence of our blessed father, whose soul rests in heaven, treated alike. Now the ministers of this government put me upon a footing with our younger brothers, who have lately left the zenanah, and whose expenses are small. On this scale, which is in every respect insufficient for my maintenance, they pay the pitiful allowance only when it is their pleasure to do it. My situation has for years past been increasing in wretchedness to a degree that I am in want of daily bread, and my servants and animals are dying of hunger. My distresses are so great that I have not been able to pay a daum to the surgeons for the cure of my wounds; and they, too, are discouraged from affording me their assistance or furnishing me with medicines. How, then, is it possible for me to exist? Considering you as my patron, participating in my afflictions, I have represented the circumstances concerning my situation; and I hope, from your friendship, that you will honor me with a favorable answer."
XLVII. The Resident, Bristow, did also receive a strong application from three others of the brethren of the reigning sovereign, called Mirza Hyder Ali, Mirza Ennayut Ali, and Mirza Syef Ali, representing their very pitiable case, in a letter of the 9th of March, 1783, in which, among other particulars, are contained the following.
"Our situation is not fit to be represented. For two years we have not received a hubba on account of our tuncaw [assignment on the revenue], though the ministers have annually charged a lac of rupees, and never paid us anything. After all, we are the sons of Sujah ul Dowlah! It is surprising, having such a friend as you, our situation is arrived at that pass that we should be in distress for dry bread and clothes. Whereas you have done many generous acts, be pleased so to show us your favor, that by some means we may receive our allowances from the Company's treasury, and not be obliged to depend upon and solicit others for it."
XLVIII. That one of the princes aforesaid, called the Mirza Jungly, about the beginning of the year 1783, was obliged to fly from the dominions of the Nabob of Oude, and to leave his country and connections; and as the Resident, Bristow, writing from Lucknow, hath observed, "he went to try his fortune at other courts, in preference to starving at home, which might have been his fate, by all accounts, at this place." And the said prince sought for succor at the court of one of the neighboring Mahomedan princes; but conceiving some disgust at the treatment he met with there, he departed from thence, and on the 8th of February, 1783, arrived at the Mahratta camp, while David Anderson, Esquire, was there in the character of Minister Plenipotentiary to the Company, with a view, if his reception there should not prove answerable to his wishes, to pass on to the southward. And the said Anderson, probably considering this event as of very great importance to the honor of the British government, as well as to its interest, on the one hand, by exhibiting the son and brother of a sovereign prince, from whom the Company had received many millions of money, a fugitive from his country, and a wanderer for bread through the courts of India, and, on the other, the consequences which might arise from the Mahrattas having in their possession and under their influence a son of the late Nabob of Oude, did without delay advise Warren Hastings, Esquire, of the event aforesaid; and he did also write to Mr. Bristow, the Resident at the court of the Nabob Vizier, several letters, of the 9th and 20th of February, and of the 6th of March and 6th of April, 1783, in order that some steps should be taken for his return and establishment in his own country. And the said Anderson did inform the Resident, Bristow, in his letter aforesaid, that, on the arrival of the fugitive prince, brother of the reigning sovereign of Oude, at the Mahratta camp, he did cause his tent to be pitched close to that of Mr. Anderson; but finding this not agreeable to the Mahratta general, Sindia, he afterwards removed: and that he showed a strong attachment to the English, and was inclined to throw himself upon their generosity; that he was desirous of going to Calcutta, and declared, that, if he, the said Anderson, "would give him the smallest encouragement, he would quit all his followers, and come alone, and would take up his residence under his protection." And the said Anderson did declare, that he thought it "would be policy, and much to the credit of our government, that some provision should be made for Mirza Jungly in our territories."
XLIX. That the said Bristow did represent the aforesaid circumstances to Hyder Beg Khan, minister to the Nabob of Oude, declaring it his opinion, "that his Highness's brother's thus taking refuge with a foreign prince is a reflection upon the Vizier, and it would be advisable that an allowance should be granted to him upon the footing of his brothers, that he might remain in the presence." But the Nabob was induced to refuse to his brother any offer of any allowance beyond the two hundred pounds per month, allowed, but not paid, to his other brothers,—and which the said prince did observe to Mr. Anderson, "that it was not only inadequate to his expenses, but infinitely less" (as the truth was) "than what his Excellency has settled on many persons of inferior rank, who have not so good a claim to his support; and that it would not be sufficient to enable him to live at Lucknow, where all his friends and relations were, and so many of his inferiors lived in a state of affluence." In case, therefore, it could not be increased, he requested leave to live in the Company's provinces, or at Calcutta; for that in any of these situations "he could with less difficulty regulate his expenses." And he did declare, that, if his request was granted to him, he would immediately quit all his prospects with Sindia. To these propositions he received a very discouraging answer from his brother's minister, containing a positive and final refusal of any increase of allowance, obtaining only the Nabob's permission to retire into the Company's provinces. But Mr. Anderson did not think himself authorized to take any steps for the prince's retreat into the said province without Sindia's concurrence, who, he observed, would use every art to detain him, and accordingly did offer him the command of a battalion of infantry to be paid directly from his own treasury, and six thousand pounds sterling a year for keeping up a corps of horse, and to settle upon him a landed estate of four thousand pounds a year as a provision for his wife and children: which honorable offers it appears he did accept, and did and doth remain in the Mahratta service.
L. That, during the whole course of this transaction, the said Warren Hastings was duly advised thereof, first by a very early letter from the said Anderson, and afterwards by the Resident, Bristow, who, on the 23d of April, 1783, transmitted to him his whole correspondence with Mr. Anderson. But what answer or instructions the said Warren Hastings did give to Mr. Anderson does not appear, he not having recorded anything upon that subject; but it appears that to the Resident, Bristow, who required to be informed whether the reception of the fugitive prince aforesaid in the Company's provinces would meet his approbation, he gave no answer whatsoever: by which criminal neglect, or worse, with regard to a brother of an ally of the Company, who showed a strong attachment and preference to the English nation, and by suffering him, without any known effort to prevent it, to attach himself to the cause and fortunes of the Mahrattas, who, he, the said Hastings, well knew, did keep up claims upon several parts of the dominions of Oude, and had with difficulty been persuaded to include the Nabob in the treaty of peace, he, having suffered him first to languish at home in poverty, and then to fly abroad for subsistence, and afterwards taking no step and countenancing no negotiations for his return from his dangerous place of refuge, at the same time that several of his, the said Hastings's, creatures had each of them allowances much more considerable than would have sufficed for the satisfaction and comfort of him, the said fugitive prince, was guilty of a high crime and misdemeanor.
LI. That the indigent condition before related of the other brothers of the Nabob was also duly transmitted to the said Warren Hastings; but he did never order or direct any steps whatsoever to be taken towards the relief of the family of a reigning prince, who were daily in danger of perishing by famine through the effect of his measures, and those of a person whom he supported in power against the will and inclinations of the said prince and his family.
LII. That the foregoing instances of the penury, distress, dispersion, and exile of the reigning family, as well as the general disorder in all the affairs of Oude, did strongly enforce the necessity of a proper use of the British influence (the only real government then existing) in the province aforesaid for a regulation of the economy of the Vizier's court, as well as for the proper administration of the public concerns, civil and military, which were in the greatest disorder; and the said Warren Hastings was under obligation to provide for the same, and did himself understand it to be his duty so to do, and that he was therein warranted by the spirit of the treaty of Chunar, as well as by other universal powers of control, and even of supersession, supposed by him to exist in the relation between the British government and that of Oude; and accordingly he did, in his instructions to the Resident Middleton, to which he required his most implicit obedience, direct him to an interference in and control upon all the affairs concerning the revenues, the military arrangements, and all the other branches of the Nabob's government.
LIII. That, upon his recall of the said Middleton, he, in his instructions to the Resident Bristow, dated 23d of October, 1781 [1782?], did at large set forth the situation of the court and government of Oude, the situation and character of the Nabob, of the acting minister, and of the British Resident at that court, and did plainly, distinctly, and without reserve, describe the extent of the authority to be exercised by the last of these persons, as well as the unqualified compliance to be expected from the two former. And he did accordingly declare, that, "from the nature of our connection with the government of Oude, and from the Nabob's incapacity, a necessity will forever exist, while we have the claim of a subsidy upon the resources of his country, of exercising an influence, and frequently substituting it ENTIRELY in the place of an avowed and constitutional authority, in the administration of his [the Nabob's] government"; and he did further in the said instructions, namely, in instruction the fourth, direct the said Resident in the words following: "I must have recourse to you for the introduction of a new system in that government; nor can I omit, whilst I express my reliance on you for that purpose, to repeat the sentiments which I expressed in the verbal instructions which I gave you at your departure, that there can be no medium in the relation between the Resident and the minister, but either the Resident must be the slave and vassal of the minister, or the minister at the absolute disposal of the Resident." And he, the said Hastings, did state, in the same article of the instructions aforesaid, that, though the conduct of the said Hyder Beg Khan had been highly reprehensible, and that he was much displeased thereat, he would prefer him to any other, on account of his ability and knowledge of business, with the following proviso,—"If he would submit to hold his office on such conditions as I require. He exists by his dependence on the influence of our government. It must be advisable to try him by the mode of conciliation; at the same time that in your final conversation with him it will be necessary to declare to him, in the plainest terms, the footing and condition on which he shall be permitted to retain his place, with the alternative of a dismission, and a scrutiny into his conduct, if he refuses it. In the first place, I will not receive from the Nabob, as his, letters dictated by the spirit of opposition; but shall consider every such attempt as an insult on our government. In the second place, I shall expect that nothing is done in his official character but with your knowledge and participation."
LIV. That the said Hastings having described, in the manner aforesaid, the relative situation of the Resident and the minister, he did state also the relative situation of the said minister and his master, the Nabob, declaring, "that the minister did hold without control the unparticipated and entire administration, with all the powers annexed to that government,—the Nabob being, as he ever must be in the hands of some person, a mere cipher in his" (the minister's). And having thus stated the subordination of the minister to the Resident, and the subordination of the Nabob to the minister, he did naturally declare, "that the first share of the responsibility would rest upon the said Resident" And he did further declare, "that the other conditions did follow distinctly in their places, because he did consider the Resident as responsible for them."
LV. That, for the direction of the Resident in the exercise of so critical a trust, wherein all the true and substantial powers of government were in an inverted relation and proportion to the official and ostensible authorities, and in which the said Hastings did suppose the necessity constantly existing for exercising an influence, and frequently for substituting entirely the British authority "in the place of the avowed and constitutional government," he, the said Hastings, did properly leave to the Resident a discretionary power for his deviation from any part of his instructions,—interposing a caution for his security and direction, that, as much as he could, he would leave the subject free for his, the said Hastings's, correction of it, and would instantly inform him or the board, according to the degree of its importance, with his reasons for it.
LVI. That, besides the institution of the courts of justice, as before recited, four other principal objects in the reformation of the affairs of Oude were expressly recommended to the Residents Middleton and Bristow, and must be understood to be the conditions upon which the said Hastings must have meant to have it understood that the acting minister of Oude was to hold his employment: namely, the limitation of the Nabob's personal expenses; the reduction of the Nabob's troops in number, and the change in arrangement; the appointment of proper collectors for the revenues; and the appointment of proper officers for all parts of the executive administration.
LVII. That the first object, namely, that of the limitation of the Nabob's personal expenses, and separating them from the public establishments, he, the said Hastings, did state as the first and fundamental part of his regulation, and that upon which all the others would depend,—and did declare, "that, in order to prevent the Vizier's alliance from being a clog instead of an aid to the Company, the most essential part is to limit and separate his personal disbursements from the public accounts: they must not exceed what he has received in any of the last three years." And as to the public treasury and disbursements, he, the said Hastings, did, in the said instructions, wholly withdraw them from the personal management or interference of the Nabob, and did expressly order and direct "that they should be under the sole management of the ministers, with the Resident's concurrence." And on the appointment of the Resident Bristow, in October, 1782, he, the said Hastings, did order and direct him in every point of the instructions to Middleton not revoked or qualified by his then instructions, to which he did require his, the said Resident Bristow's, "most attentive and literal obedience."
LVIII. That the said Resident Bristow did, in consequence of the renewal to him of the said instructions as aforesaid, endeavor to limit and put in order the Nabob's expenses; but he was in that particular traversed and counteracted, and in the end wholly defeated, by the minister, Hyder Beg Khan. And though the obstructions aforesaid, agreeably to the instructions given to Middleton, and to him, the said Bristow, were represented to the said Warren Hastings by the Resident aforesaid, yet the said Warren Hastings did give no kind of support to the said Resident, or take any steps towards enabling him, the said Resident, to effectuate the said necessary limitation and distribution of expenses, by himself, the said Hastings, ordered and prescribed; nor, if he disapproved the proceedings of the said Resident, did he give him any instruction for the forbearance of the same, or for the exerting his duty in any other mode; nor did he call for any illustration from him of anything doubtful in his correspondence, nor state to him any complaint made privately of his conduct, in order to receive thereon an explanation; but he did leave him to pursue at his discretion the extensive powers before described, to effect the reformation which he was directed to accomplish, under the responsibility denounced to him as aforesaid, if he should fail therein, as he was supposed to be substantially invested with all the powers of government.
LIX. That, instead of the said support or instruction, he, the said Hastings, did countenance, or more probably cause or direct, a representation to be made to him by the acting minister of the Nabob of Oude, complaining grievously of the proceedings of the Resident aforesaid, as usurpations on the Nabob's authority and indignities on his person. And although he, the said Hastings, did instruct the Resident, Bristow, to inform the said Hyder Beg Khan that he would not receive from the Nabob, as his, letters directed by the spirit of opposition, but should consider every such attempt as his, the minister's, as an insult on our government, yet he did receive as his the Nabob's own letters, and as written from the impressions on his own mind, and as the suggestions of his own judgment, letters to the same effect as those written by the minister, although he had declared upon record that the said "Nabob was a mere cipher in his, the said minister's, hands," and "that he had dared to use both the Nabob's name, and even his seal, affixed to letters either directed to the Nabob or written as from him without his knowledge," and although he did assert or record as aforesaid, that, in a letter which he had lately received from the Nabob, the minister had the presumption to make the Nabob declare that which was true to be false, and that "his making use of the Nabob in such a manner did show how thin the veil was by which he covered his own acts, and that such artifices would only tend to make them the more criminal from the falsehood and duplicity with which they were associated."
LX. That the said Hastings did act upon the letters pretended to be written by the Nabob, as well as on those actually written by the minister, without previously communicating the matter of the said complaint to the said Resident, and did give credit to the same, and coming, as aforesaid, from a person by himself, the said Hastings, charged with artifice, falsehood, and duplicity, and with abusing to his own evil purposes the name and seal of his master without his knowledge, and without any previous inquiry into the facts and circumstances; and did thereon ground an accusation against the said Resident, Bristow, before the board at Calcutta, in which he did represent the conduct of the said Bristow, in attempting to limit the household expenses of the Nabob, as an indignity "which no man living, however mean his rank in life, or dependent his condition in it, would permit to be exercised by any other, but with the want or forfeiture of every manly principle." And he did further accuse the said Bristow for that, in his proceedings in the regulation of the Nabob's household, "he should receive to himself, or Mr. Cowper for him, or a treasurer for both, (for the arrangement has never been well defined,) the money assigned for the support of the Nabob's household,—issue it as he pleased, not to the Nabob, but to the menial officers of his household,—dispose of his superfluous horses, and other cattle,—determine how many elephants were necessary to the state of the Vizier of the Empire, the number of domestics for his attendance, and pry into the kitchen for the purpose of ascertaining the quantity of victuals which ought to be dressed in it,—control the accounts of these disbursements,—and appropriate to his own use (for that the consequence was inevitable, if he chose it) the residue produced by those economical retrenchments."
LXI. That the said charge is malicious and insidious; because the attempt to introduce proper officers for the management of household expenses so considerable that the said Hastings has stated the allotment for the same at three hundred thousand pounds sterling yearly, and that other accounts have carried it to four hundred thousand pounds sterling and upwards, and to keep proper and regular accounts thereof, was a necessary regulation, and agreeable to the dignity of the Nabob, and by no means a degradation either of his person or authority, which was specially provided for in the regulations, as no expense could be incurred but by his own personal warrant under his sign manual; nor doth there appear therein anything but what is of absolute necessity to prevent embezzlement to his prejudice. And the said Hastings hath declared, in the fifth article of the instructions to the said Resident, that no administration can be properly conducted without regular offices; and that in the whole province of Oude "there was not one, the whole being engrossed by the minister": of which minister, in the fourteenth article, he declares his suspicion that the Nabob did not receive the whole and punctual payment of the sum assigned for the purpose of the household, but that some part had been by him withheld from the Nabob; and that, from private information he had lately received, he had reason to believe that this was actually the case. And the said Hastings well knew that the Nabob's household had been ill conducted, that the allowances of his servants had not been paid, that his distress was scandalous, and that his nearest relations were in a famishing condition; and the said Hastings did also well know that the household of the Nabob was provided for or neglected, not at his own discretion, but at that of the said Hyder Beg Khan; and he did, in the fourteenth article aforesaid, instruct the Resident, Bristow, to show every ostensible and external mark of respect to the Nabob, in order to induce him to become himself the mover of every act necessary for the advancing of his own interests and the discharge of his debts to the Company,—declaring, "that they never could be effected while the minister retained that ascendency over him which he at present holds by the means of a nearer and more private intercourse, and by affecting to be the mediator of his rights against the claims of our government." And the said Hastings did further well know that there was no way of ascertaining the payment of the assignments for the Nabob's household, either for the general purposes of their destination or to the particular objects to which they ought to be applied, without regular offices of receipt and of account, which might prevent the said minister, Hyder Beg Khan, or the British Resident, or any other, from embezzling or misapplying the same. But the total want of offices aforesaid in every department of government did furnish occasion of concealing all frauds, clandestine presents, or pensions to a Governor-General, Commander-in-Chief, or other servant of the Company.
LXII. That the said Warren Hastings, who did pretend so deep a concern for the indignities supposed to be suffered by the Nabob merely in the limitation and regulation of unnecessary expenses relative to his kitchen, domestics, &c., did show no attention or compassion to the said Nabob, when, in the year 1779, the said Nabob represented, that the pensions of his old servants for thirty years, the expenses of his family and kitchen, together with the jaghires of his grandmother, mother, and aunts, and of his brothers and dependants, given for their support, were not regulated, but stopped.
LXIII. That the other articles of regulation, namely, the reform of the troops in number and in arrangement, the appointment of proper collectors for the revenues, and the general constitution of offices for the executive administration, were in like manner totally defeated by the said Hyder Beg Khan. And the said Hastings did receive a charge from him, and did adopt it as his own, representing the endeavors of the Resident to act in the regulations aforesaid agreeably to the spirit of his instructions, and in confidence of the powers vested in and the responsibility imposed upon him, the said Resident, as usurpations of the authority and prerogative of the Nabob; and he, the said Hastings, did make criminal charges thereon against the said Resident, Bristow, of which charges the Council Board did, on hearing the same, and the defence of the said Bristow, fully acquit him.
LXIV. That the said Hastings, by abetting Hyder Beg Khan, a person described by him as aforesaid, in his opposition to all the plans of necessary reformation proposed by the said Hastings himself, and having suggested no other whatever in lieu thereof, to answer the purposes for which he had stipulated in the treaty of Chunar the interference of the Resident in every branch of the Nabob's government, did thereby frustrate every one of the good ends proposed by him in the said treaty of Chunar, and did grossly abuse his trust in giving the exorbitant powers before recited, and asserting them to exist in the British Resident, without suffering them even in appearance to answer any of the proper and justifiable ends for which any power or influence can or ought to exist in any government.
LXV. That there is just ground to violently presume that not only the letters in the name of the Nabob aforesaid were dictated to him by his minister, Hyder Beg Khan, in whose hands the said Hastings has described his master to be "a mere cipher," &c., but which Hyder Beg was the known instrument of the said Hastings, but that the conduct and letters of complaint of the said Hyder Beg were in effect and substance prescribed and dictated to him by the said Warren Hastings, or his secret agent, Palmer, by his direction: because it is notorious that the powers of the said Hyder Beg were solely supported by him, the said Hastings, who, according to the state of favor or displeasure in which he stood, hath frequently promised him support or threatened him with dismission and punishment, and therefore it is not to be thought that he would take so material a step as to oppose the Company's Resident, acting under the instructions of the Governor-General and Council, and to accuse him with so much confidence, and in a manner so different from the usual style of supplication on all other occasions employed by that court, if he had not been previously well assured that his writing in that manner would be pleasing to the person upon whom he solely depended for his power, his fortune, and perhaps for his life;—secondly, because, when it suited the purposes of the said Hastings on a former occasion, that is, in the year 1784 [1781?], to remove the Resident Bristow aforesaid from his office, a letter from the Nabob was laid before the Council Board at Calcutta, proposing, that, in order to prevent the effects of the said Bristow's application to Europe for redress, the said Hastings should send him drafts of letters which he, the said Nabob, would write in his own name and character to the King, to his Majesty's ministers, and to the Court of Directors, expressing himself, in the letter aforesaid, in the words following, viz., "To prevent his [Bristow's] applying to Europe, send me, if you think proper, the drafts of letters which I may write to the King, the Vizier, and the chiefs of the Company";—thirdly, that, though the said Hastings, and his secret agent, Palmer, did pretend and positively assert that they had no share in the letters aforesaid from the Nabob and his minister, there was an original note to the Nabob's letters of accusation, referring to distinct parts and specified numbers of the agent Palmer's secret correspondence with the said Warren Hastings, and the said letter, with the said reference, was, through inadvertence, laid before the board.
LXVI. That the said Warren Hastings, having thrown the government of Oude into great confusion and distress, and thereby prevented the discharge of the debt, or pretended debt, to the Company, did, by all the said intrigues, machinations, and charges, aim at the filling the said office of Resident at Oude with his own dependants or by himself personally; as it appears that he did first propose to place in the said office his secret agent, Palmer, and that afterwards, when he was not able to succeed therein, he did propose nominally to abolish the said office, but in effect to fill it by himself,—proposing to the Council and rendering himself responsible (but not in fortune) for the payment of the Company's debt within a certain given time, if he were permitted and commissioned by the Council to act for the board in that province, and did inform them that he was privately well assured that in a few days he should receive an invitation to that effect; and he did state, (as in the year 1781 he had stated as a reason for his former delegation,) "that the state of the country was so disordered in its revenue and administration, and the credit and influence of the Nabob himself so much shook by the late usurpation of his authority, and the contests which attended it, as to require the accession of an extraneous aid to restore the powers and to reanimate the constitution of his government,"—although he, the said Hastings, did for a long time before attribute the weakness of his government to an extraneous interference. And the said Council, on his engagement aforesaid, did consent thereto; and he did accordingly receive a commission, enabling him to act in the affairs of Oude, not only as the Resident might have done, but as largely as the Council-General might legally delegate their own powers.
LXVII. That the said Warren Hastings, in accepting the said commission, did subject his character and the reputation of his office to great imputations and suspicions, by taking upon himself an inferior office, out of which another had upon his intrigues been removed by a perpetual obstruction which rendered it impossible for him to perform his duty or to obey his instructions; and he did increase the said grounded suspicions by exercising that office in a government from whence it was notorious he had himself received an unlawful gift and present from the ministers, and in which he had notoriously suffered many, and had himself actually directed some, acts of peculation, by granting various pensions and emoluments, to the prejudice of the revenue of a distressed country, which he was not authorized to grant.
LXVIII. That the said Warren Hastings did proceed unto the said province of Oude under color of providing a remedy for the disorders described to be existing in the same, and for the recovery of the Company's pretended debt. And the said Warren Hastings, who had thought fit to recall the Company's Resident, appointed to that office by the Court of Directors, and to suspend his office, did, notwithstanding, of his own choice and selection, and on his own mere authority, take with him in his progress a large retinue, "and a numerous society of English gentlemen to compose his family," which he represents as necessary, although, in a letter from that very place to which he took that very numerous society, he informs the Court of Directors "that his own consequence and that of the nation he represents are independent of show." And after his arrival there, he, the said Warren Hastings, did write from Lucknow, the capital of that province, a letter, dated the 30th of April, 1784, to the Court of Directors, in which are several particulars to the following purport or tenor, and which he points out to the Directors "to be circumstances of no trivial information," namely,—"that he had found that the lands in that province, as well as in some parts more immediately under the Company, have suffered in a grievous manner, being completely exhausted of their natural moisture by the total failure of one entire season of the periodical rains," with a few exceptions, which were produced only "by the uncommon labor of the husbandman." And in a letter to Edward Wheler, Esquire, a member of the Council-General, from Benares, the 20th of September, 1784, he says, that "the public revenues had declined with the failure of the cultivation in three successive years; and all the stores of grain which the providence of the husbandmen, (as he was informed is their custom,) in defiance of the vigilance of the aumils [collectors], clandestinely reserved for their own use, were of course exhausted, in which state no person would accept of the charge of the collections on a positive engagement; nor did the rain fall till the 10th of July." And in another letter, dated from Benares, the 1st of October following, he repeats the same accounts, and that the "country could not bear further additions of expense: that it had no inlets of trade to supply the issues that were made from it" (the exceptions stated there being inconsiderable); "therefore every rupee which is drawn into your treasury [the Company's] from its circulation will accelerate the period at which its ability must cease to pay even the stipulated subsidy." Notwithstanding this state of the country, of which he was well apprised before he left Calcutta, and the poverty and distress of the prince having been frequently, but in vain, represented to him, in order to induce him to forbear his oppressive exactions, he did, in order to furnish the Council with a color for permitting him to recall the Company's Resident, and to exercise the whole powers of the Company in his own person, without any check whatsoever, or witness of his proceedings, except the persons of his own private choice, make the express and positive engagement aforesaid, which, if understood of a real and substantial discharge of debt for the relief of the total of the Company's finances, was grossly fallacious: because at the very time he must have been perfectly sensible, that, in the then state of the revenues and country of Oude, (which are in effect the Company's revenues and the Company's country,) the debt or pretended debt aforesaid, asserted to be about five hundred thousand pounds, or thereabouts, could not be paid without contracting another debt at an usurious interest, without encroaching on the necessary establishments or on private property or on the pay of the army, or without grievous oppression of the country, or all these together. And it doth appear that one hundred thousand pounds towards the said payment of debts was borrowed at Calcutta by the Nabob's agent there, but at what interest is not known; it appears also that other sums were borrowed for arrear of the interest, on which forty thousand pounds sterling appears in the Company's claims for the current year, and that various deductions were made from the jaghires restored to the Begums, as well as other parts of the Nabob's family; and it did and doth appear that an arrear is still due to the old and new brigade,—but whether the same be growing or not doth not appear: yet he hath not hesitated to assert that he had "provided for the complete discharge, in one year, of a debt contracted by the accumulation of many, and from a country whose resources have been wasted and dissipated by three successive years of drought and one of anarchy." But the said Hastings never did even realize the payments to be made in the first year, (as he confesses in the said letter,) except by an anticipation of the second; and though he states in his letter aforesaid the following facts and engagements, that is to say, "that a recovery of so large a part of your property [the Company's] will afford a seasonable and substantial relief to the necessities of your government, and enable it (for such is my confident hope) to begin on the reduction of your debt at interest before the conclusion of this year (I mean the year of this computation)." Whereas the said Warren Hastings did apply the whole produce of the revenue to the mere pay of some part of the British army in Oude; and did not mention in his correspondence that he had remitted any money whatsoever to Calcutta, nor to any other place, (except the fifty thousand pounds taken from Almas Ali Khan, and said to be remitted to Surat,) for the said "substantial relief," in consequence of the said pretended "recovery of property,"—admitting that it had been suggested to him, and not by him denied, that he had "disappointed the popular expectation by not adopting the policy which he had, on the conception of better grounds, rejected; nor did he begin the reduction of the interest debt" at the time stated, nor at any time; but the whole (he well knowing the state of the country from whence the resources aforesaid were by him promised) was a premeditated deceit and imposition on the Board of Council, his colleagues, and on the Court of Directors, his masters.
LXIX. That no traces of regulation appear to have been adopted by the said Warren Hastings during his residence at Lucknow, in conformity to the spirit and intentions of the treaty of Chunar, or of his instructions to Middleton and Bristow, or of the proposed objects of his own commission. But he did, in lieu thereof, pretend to free the Nabob's government from the interference of the Company's servants, and the usurpation (as he called it) of a Resident, and thereby to restore it to its proper tone and energy; whereas the measures he took were such as to leave no useful or responsible superintendence in the British, and no freedom in the Nabob's government: for he did confirm the sole, unparticipated, and entire administration, with all the powers annexed to the government, on the minister, Hyder Beg Khan, to whom he prevailed on the Nabob Vizier to commit the entire charge of his revenues, although he knew that his master was a cipher in his hands,—that he "had affixed his seal to letters written without his knowledge, and such as evidently tended to promote Hyder Beg Khan's influence and interest,"—that his said master did not consider him as a minister of his choice, but as an instrument of his degradation,—that "he exists as a minister by his dependence on the Calcutta government, and that the Nabob himself had no other opinion of him,—that it is by its declared and most obvious support alone that he could maintain his authority and influence." And in his instructions to his secret agent, Major Palmer, dated 6th of May, 1782, to ease his mind and remove his jealousy with regard to British interference, he did instruct him, "that much delicacy and caution will be required in your declarations on this subject, lest they should be construed to extend to an immediate change in the administration of his affairs, or the instruments of it. Their persons must be considered as sacred, while they act with the participation of our influence. This distinction the Nabob understands; nor will it be either necessary or proper to allude to it, unless he himself should first introduce the subject." And the said Hastings did assume, as to a dependant of the lowest order, to prescribe to him the conditions on which he is to hold his place,—to threaten him with scrutinies into his conduct, with dismission, with punishment,—that he was guilty of falsehood and duplicity, and that he had made his master assert what was true to be false,—that he suspected he had withheld from his master what he ought to have paid to him,—that the event of his having prevailed on the Nabob to intrust him as aforesaid was, according to his, the said Hastings's, own letter, written to the said Hyder Beg Khan himself, "an accumulation of distress, debasement, and dissatisfaction to the Nabob, and of disappointment and disgrace to me. Every measure which he had himself proposed, and to which he had solicited my assistance, has been so conducted as to give him cause of displeasure; there are no officers established by which his affairs could be regularly conducted; mean, incapable, and indigent man have been appointed aumils of the districts, without authority, and without the means of personal protection; some of them have been murdered by the zemindars, and those zemindars, instead of punishment, have been permitted to retain their zemindaries with independent authority; all the other zemindars suffered to rise up in rebellion, and to insult the authority of the sircar, without any attempt made to suppress them; and the Company's debt, instead of being discharged by the assignments, and extraordinary sources of money provided for that purpose, is likely to exceed even the amount at which it stood at the time in which the arrangement with his Excellency was concluded. The growth of these evils was early made known to me, and their effects foreboded in the same order and manner as they have since come to pass. In such a state of calamity and disgrace, I can no longer remain a passive spectator; nor would it be becoming to conceal my sentiments, or qualify the expression of them. I now plainly tell you, that you are answerable for every misfortune and defect of the Nabob Vizier's government." And after giving orders, and expressing some hopes of better behavior, he adds, "If I am disappointed, you will impose on me the painful and humiliating necessity of acknowledging to him that I have been deceived, and of recommending the examination of your conduct to his justice, both for the redress of his own and the Company's grievances, and for the injury sustained by both in their mutual connection. Do not reply to me, that what I have written is from the suggestion of your enemies; nor imagine that I have induced myself to write in such plain and declaratory terms, without a clear insight into all the consequences of it, and a fixed determination upon them."
LXX. That the aforesaid being the tenure of the power of the said minister, and such his character, as given by the said Warren Hastings himself, who did originally compel the Nabob to receive him, who did constantly support him against the Nabob, his master, as well as against the Company's Resident,—the delivering over to such a person his master, his family, his country, and the care of the British interests therein, without control or public inspection, was an high crime and misdemeanor.
LXXI. That the next person whom the said Hastings did invest with power in the said country was a certain opulent and powerful native manager of revenue, called Almas Ali Khan, closely connected with the said Hyder Beg Khan, and to whom the said Hyder Beg Khan, as the said Hastings has admitted, "had intrusted the greatest part of his revenues, without any pledge or security for his fidelity." And afterwards the said Hastings charges the said Almas Ali with an intention of removing from the Nabob's dominions: he states, "as taking with him," and therefore being possessed of, "an immense treasure, the fruits of his embezzlements and oppressions, and an army raised for its protection."
LXXII. That the said Warren Hastings was, or pretended to be, impressed with the evil character, dangerous designs, and immoderate power of the said Almas Ali; that he did insert among his instructions to the Resident Bristow an order of a dangerous and unwarrantable nature, in which, upon his, the said Hastings's, simple allegation of offences, not accurately described or specified, with regard either to the fact, the nature of the offence, or the proof, he was required to urge the Nabob to put him to death, with many qualifications in the said instructions, full of fraud and duplicity, calculated to insnare the said Resident Bristow, and to throw upon him the responsibility of the conduct of the said Almas Ali Khan, if he should continue at large contrary to his orders, or to subject him, the said Resident, to the shame and scandal of apprehending and putting him to death by means which, in the circumstances, must necessarily be such as would be construed into treachery, and he, the said Almas Ali Khan, being from nature and situation suspicious and watchful, and being at that very time in the collection, or farmer of the most important part of the revenues, with an extensive jurisdiction annexed, and at the head of fourteen thousand of his own troops, and having been recently accepted by the Resident Middleton as security for large sums of money advanced by the bankers of Benares to the use of the East India Company; which orders (if the said Resident would or could have executed them) must have raised an universal alarm among all the considerable men of the country concerned in the government, and would have been a means of subverting the public credit of the Company, by the murder of a person engaged for very great sums of money that had been advanced for their use. And the said instruction is as followeth.
"If any engagement shall actually subsist between them at the time you have charge of the Residency, it must, however exceptionable, be faithfully observed; but if he has been guilty of any criminal offence to the Nabob, his master, for which no immunity is provided in the engagement, or he shall break any one of the conditions of it, I do most strictly enjoin you, and it must be your special care to endeavor, either by force or surprise, to secure his person and bring him to justice. By bringing him to justice I mean, that you urge the Nabob, on due conviction, to punish him with death, as a necessary example to deter others from the commission of the like crimes; nor must you desist till this is effected. I cannot prescribe the means; but to guard myself against the obloquy to which I may be exposed by a forced misconstruction of this order by those who may hereafter be employed in searching our records for cavils and informations against me, I think it proper to forbid and protest against the use of any fraudulent artifice or treachery to accomplish the end which I have prescribed; and as you alone are privy to the order, you will of course observe the greatest secrecy, that it may not transpire: but I repeat my recommendation of it, as one of the first and most essential duties of your office."
LXXIII. That, among the reasons assigned for putting to death the said Almas Ali, which the said Hastings did recommend directly and repeatedly to the Resident, "as one of the first and most essential duties of his office," was, in substance, "that, by his extensive trust with regard to the revenues, he had been permitted to acquire independency; that the means thereof had been long seen and the effects thereof foretold by every person acquainted with the state of government, except those immediately interested in it"; and he, the said Warren Hastings, did also charge the said Almas Ali with embezzlement of the revenues and oppression of the people; and nothing appears to disprove the same, but much to give ground to a presumption that the said Almas Ali did grievously abuse the power committed to him, as farmer and collector of the revenue, to the great oppression of the inhabitants of the countries which had been rented to him by Hyder Beg Khan with the knowledge and consent of the said Warren Hastings.
LXXIV. That the Resident, Bristow, declining the violent attempt on the life of Almas Ali deceitfully ordered by the said Warren Hastings, did, on weighty reasons, drawn from the spirit of the said Hastings's own instructions, recommend that his, the said Almas Ali Khan's, farms of revenue, or a great part of them, should be, on the expiration of his lease, taken out of his hands, as being too extensive, and supplying the means of a dangerous power in the country; but yet he, the said Warren Hastings, did not only continue him in the possession of the said revenues, but did give to him a new lease thereof for the term of five years. And on this renovation and increase of trust, the said Warren Hastings did not consent to produce the informer upon whose credit he had made his charge of capital crimes on the said Almas Ali, and had directed him to be put to death, or call upon him to make good his charges; but, instead of this, totally changing his relation to the said Almas Ali, did himself labor to procure from all parts attestations to prove him not guilty of the perfidy and disloyalty of which the said Hastings himself appears to have been to that very time his sole accuser, as he hath since been his most anxious advocate: but though he did use many endeavors to acquit Almas Ali of his intended flight, yet concerning his embezzlements and oppressions, the most important of all charges relative to that of the revenue and collection, he, the said Hastings, hath made no inquiry whatever; by which it might appear that he was not as fully guilty thereof as he had always represented him to be. But some time after he, the said Warren Hastings, had arrived at Lucknow, in the year 1784, he suggested to the said Almas Ali Khan the advance to the Company's use of a sum of money amounting to fifty thousand pounds or thereabouts; and the said suggested advance was (as the said Warren Hastings asserts, no witness or document of the transaction appearing) "cheerfully and without hesitation complied with, considering it as an evidence seasonably offered for the general refutation of the charges of perfidy and disloyalty": which practice of charging wealthy persons with treason and disloyalty, and afterwards acquitting them on the payment of a sum of money, is highly scandalous to the honor, justice, and government of Great Britain; and the offence is highly aggravated by the said Hastings's declaration to the Court of Directors that the charges against Almas Ali Khan have been too laboriously urged against him, and carried at one time to such an excess as had nearly driven him to abandon his country "for the preservation of his life and honor," and thus to give a "color to the charges themselves," when he, the said Warren Hastings, did well know that he himself did consider as a crime, and did make it an article in a formal accusation against the Resident Middleton, that he did not inform him, the said Hastings, of the supposed treasons of Almas Ali Khan, and of his design to abandon the country, when he himself did most laboriously urge the charges against him, and when no attempt appears to have been made against the life of the said Almas Ali Khan except by the said Warren Hastings himself.