It may be necessary just to state to your Lordships what a caste is. The Gentoo people, from the oldest time, have been distributed into various orders, all of them hereditary: these family orders are called castes; these castes are the fundamental part of the constitution of the Gentoo commonwealth, both in their church and in their state.
Your Lordships are born to hereditary honors in the chief of your houses; the rest mix with the people. With the Gentoos, they who are born noble can never fall into any second rank. They are divided into four orders,—the Brahmins, the Chittery, the Bice, and the Soodur, with many subdivisions in each. An eternal barrier is placed between them. The higher cannot pass into the lower; the lower cannot rise into the higher. They have all their appropriated rank, place, and situation, and their appropriated religion too, which is essentially different in its rites and ceremonies, sometimes in its object, in each of those castes. A man who is born in the highest caste, which at once unites what would be tantamount in this country to the dignity of the peerage and the ennobled sanctity of the episcopal character,—the Brahmin, who sustains these characters, if he loses his caste, does not fall into an inferior order, the Chittery, the Bice, or the Soodur, but he is thrown at once out of all ranks of society. He is precipitated from the proudest elevation of respect and honor to a bottomless abyss of contempt,—from glory to infamy,—from purity to pollution,—from sanctity to profanation. No honest occupation is open to him; his children are no longer his children; their parent loses that name; the conjugal bond is dissolved. Few survive this most terrible of all calamities. To speak to an Indian of his caste is to speak to him of his all.
But the rule of caste has, with them, given one power more to fortune than the manners of any other nation were ever known to do. For it is singular, the caste may be lost, not only by certain voluntary crimes, but by certain involuntary sufferings, disgraces, and pollutions, that are utterly out of their power to prevent. Those who have patiently submitted to imprisonment,—those who have not flinched from the scourge,—those who have been as unmoved as marble under torture,—those who have laughed at the menaces of death itself,—have instantly given way, when it has been attempted to subject them to any of those pollutions by which they lose caste. To this caste they are bound by all laws of all descriptions, human and divine; and inveterate usage has radicated it in them to a depth and with an adhesion with which no other known prejudice has been known to exist. Tyranny is therefore armed against them with a greater variety of weapons than are found in its ordinary stores.
This, amongst a thousand other considerations, speaks to us in very authoritative language with what care and circumspection we ought to handle people so delicate. In the course of this trial your Lordships will see with horror the use which Mr. Hastings made, through several of his wicked and abominable instruments, chosen from the natives themselves, of these superadded means of oppression. I shall prove, in the course of this trial, that he has put his own menial domestic servant,—a wretch totally dependent,—a wretch grossly ignorant,—the common instrument of his bribery and peculation,—he has enthroned him, I say, on the first seat of ecclesiastical jurisdiction, which was to decide upon the castes of all those people, including their rank, their family, their honor, and their happiness here, and, in their judgment, their salvation hereafter. Under the awe of this power, no man dared to breathe a murmur against his tyranny. Fortified in this security, he says, "Who complains of me!"—"No, none of us dare complain of you," says the trembling Gentoo. "No! your menial servant has my caste in his power."—I shall not trouble your Lordships with mentioning others; it was enough that Cantoo Baboo, and Ginga Govind Sing, names to which your Lordships are to be familiarized hereafter,—it is enough that those persons had the caste and character of all the people of Bengal in their hands. Through them he has taken effectual security against all complaint. Your Lordships will hence discern how very necessary it is become that some other personage should intervene, should take upon him their representation, and by his freedom and his power should supply the defects arising from their servitude and their impotence. The Commons of Great Britain charge themselves with this character.
My Lords, these Gentoo people are the original people of Hindostan. They are still, beyond comparison, the most numerous. Faults this nation may have; but God forbid we should pass judgment upon people who framed their laws and institutions prior to our insect origin of yesterday! With all the faults of their nature and errors of their institutions, their institutions, which act so powerfully on their natures, have two material characteristics which entitle them to respect: first, great force and stability; and next, excellent moral and civil effects.
Their stability has been proved by their holding on an uniform tenor for a duration commensurate to all the empires with which history has made us acquainted; and they still exist in a green old age, with all the reverence of antiquity, and with all the passion that people have to novelty and change. They have stood firm on their ancient base; they have cast their roots deep in their native soil,—perhaps because they have never spread them anywhere else than in their native soil. Their blood, their opinions, and the soil of their country make one consistent piece, admitting no mixture, no adulteration, no improvement: accordingly, their religion has made no converts, their dominion has made no conquests; but in proportion as their laws and opinions were concentred within themselves, and hindered from spreading abroad, they have doubled their force at home. They have existed in spite of Mahomedan and Portuguese bigotry,—in spite of Tartarian and Arabian tyranny,—in spite of all the fury of successive foreign conquest,—in spite of a more formidable foe, the avarice of the English dominion.
I have spoken now, my Lords, of what their principles are, their laws and religious institutions, in point of force and stability; I have given instances of their force in the very circumstance in which all the institutions of mankind in other respects show their weakness. They have existed, when the country has been otherwise subdued. This alone furnishes full proof that there must be some powerful influence resulting from them beyond all our little fashionable theories upon such subjects.
The second consideration in the Gentoo institutions is their beneficial effects, moral and civil. The policy, civil or religious, or, as theirs is, composed of both, that makes a people happy and a state flourishing, (putting further and higher considerations out of the way, which are not now before us,) must undoubtedly, so far as human considerations prevail, be a policy wisely conceived in any scheme of government. It is confirmed by all observation, that, where the Hindoo religion has been established, that country has been flourishing. We have seen some patterns remaining to this day. The very country which is to be the subject of your Lordships' judicial inquiry is an instance, by an entire change of government, of the different effects resulting from the rapacity of a foreign hand, and the paternal, lenient, protecting arm of a native government, formed on the long connection of prejudice and power. I shall give you its state under the Hindoo government from a book written by a very old servant of the Company, whose authority is of the greater weight, as the very destruction of all this scheme of government is the great object of the author.
The author, Mr. Holwell, divides the country of Bengal into its different provinces. He supposes what they then paid to the supreme government; he supposes what the country is capable of yielding; and his project is, to change entirely the application of the revenues of the country, and to secure the whole into the hands of government. In enumerating these provinces, at last he comes to the province of Burdwan.
"In truth," (says this author,) "it would be almost cruelty to molest this happy people; for in this district are the only vestiges of the beauty, purity, piety, regularity, equity, and strictness of the ancient Hindostan government. Here the property as well as the liberty of the people are inviolate. Here no robberies are heard of, either public or private. The traveller, either with or without merchandise, becomes the immediate care of the government, which allots him guards, without any expense, to conduct him from stage to stage; and these are accountable for the safety and accommodation of his person and effects. At the end of the first stage he is delivered over, with certain benevolent formalities, to the guards of the next, who, after interrogating the traveller as to the usage he had received in his journey, dismiss the first guard with a written certificate of their behavior, and a receipt for the traveller and his effects; which certificate and receipt are returnable to the commanding officer of the first stage, who registers the same, and regularly reports it to the rajah.
"In this form the traveller is passed through the country; and if he only passes, he is not suffered to be at any expense for food, accommodation, or carriage for his merchandise or baggage: but it is otherwise, if he is permitted to make any residence in one place above three days, unless occasioned by sickness, or any unavoidable accident. If anything is lost in this district,—for instance, a bag of money or other valuables,—the person who finds it hangs it upon the next tree, and gives notice to the nearest chowkey, or place of guard, the officer of which orders immediate publication of the same by beat of tomtom, or drum."
These, my Lords, are the effects universally produced by the Hindoo polity throughout that vast region, before it was distorted and put out of frame by the barbarism of foreign conquests. Some choice, reserved spots continued to flourish under it to the year 1756. Some remained till Mr. Hastings obtained the means of utterly defacing them. Such was the prospect of Benares under the happy government of Bulwant Sing. Such was the happy state of the same Benares in the happy days of Cheyt Sing, until, in the year 1781, Mr. Hastings introduced his reform into that country.
Having stated the general outline of the manners of the original people of Hindostan, having stated the general principles of their policy, which either prohibit connection, or oblige us to a connection very different from what we have hitherto used towards them, I shall leave it to your Lordships' judgment whether you will suffer such fair monuments of wisdom and benevolence to be defaced by the rapacity of your governors. I hope I have not gone out of my way to bring before you any circumstance relative to the Gentoo religion and manners, further than as they relate to the spirit of our government over them; for though there never was such food for the curiosity of the human mind as is found in the manners of this people, I pass it totally over.
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I wish to divide this preliminary view into six periods; and your Lordships will consider that of the Hindoos, which I have now mentioned, as the first era.
The second era is an era of great misfortune to that country, and to the world in general: I mean, the time of the prophet Mahomed. The enthusiasm which animated his first followers, the despotic power which religion obtained through that enthusiasm, and the advantages derived from both over the enervated great empires, and broken, disunited, lesser governments of the world, extended the influence of that proud and domineering sect from the banks of the Ganges to the banks of the Loire.
This second period is the era of the Arabs. These people made a great and lasting impression on India. They established, very early, Mahomedan sovereigns in all parts of it, particularly in the kingdom of Bengal, which is the principal object of our present inquiry. They held that kingdom for a long series of years, under a dynasty of thirty-three kings,—having begun their conquest and founded their dominion in Bengal not very long after the time of their prophet.
These people, when they first settled in India, attempted, with the ferocious arm of their prophetic sword, to change the religion and manners of that country; but at length perceiving that their cruelty wearied out itself, and never could touch the constancy of the sufferers, they permitted the native people of the country to remain in quiet, and left the Mahomedan religion to operate upon them as it could, by appealing to the ambition or avarice of the great, or by taking the lower people, who had lost their castes, into this new sect, and thus, from the refuse of the Gentoo, increasing the bounds of the Mahomedan religion. They left many of the ancient rajahs of the country possessed of an inferior sovereignty; and where the strength of the country, or other circumstances, would not permit this subordination, they suffered them to continue in a separate state, approaching to independence, if not wholly independent.
The Mahomedans, during the period of the Arabs, never expelled or destroyed the native Gentoo nobility, zemindars, or landholders of the country. They all, or almost all, remained fixed in their places, properties, and dignities; and the shadows of several of them remain under our jurisdiction.
The next, which is the third era, is an era the more necessary to observe upon, because Mr. Hastings has made many applications to it in his defence before the Commons: namely, the invasion of the Tartars, or the era of Tamerlane. These Tartars did not establish themselves on the ruins of the Hindoos. Their conquests were over the other Mahomedans: for Tamerlane invaded Hindostan, as he invaded other countries, in the character of the great reformer of the Mahomedan religion. He came as a sort of successor to the rights of the Prophet, upon a divine title. He struck at all the Mahomedan princes who reigned at that time. He considered them as apostates, or at least as degenerated from the faith, and as tyrants abusing their power. To facilitate his conquests over these, he was often obliged to come to a sort of a composition with the people of the country he invaded. Tamerlane had neither time nor means nor inclination to dispossess the ancient rajahs of the country.
Your Lordships will observe that I propose nothing more than to give you an idea of the principles of policy which prevailed in these several revolutions, and not an history of the furious military achievements of a barbarous invader. Historians, indeed, are generally very liberal of their information concerning everything but what we ought to be very anxious to know. They tell us that India was conquered by Tamerlane, and conquered in such a year. The year will be found to coincide somewhere, I believe, with the end of the fourteenth century. Thinking the mere fact as of little moment, and its chronology as nothing, but thinking the policy very material, which, indeed, is to be collected only here and there, in various books written with various views, I shall beg leave to lay before you a very remarkable circumstance relative to that policy, and taken from the same book to which I formerly referred, Mr. Holwell's.
"When the Hindoo rajahs, or princes of Hindostan, submitted to Tamerlane, it was on these capital stipulations: that the emperor should marry a daughter of Rajah Cheyt Sing's house; that the head of this house should be in perpetuity governors of the citadel of Agra, and anoint the king at his coronation; and that the emperors should never impose the jessera (or poll-tax) upon the Hindoos."
Here was a conqueror, as he is called, coming in upon terms; mixing his blood with that of the native nobility of the country he conquered, and, in consequence of this mixture, placing them in succession upon the throne of the country he subdued; making one of them even hereditary constable of the capital of his kingdom, and thereby putting his posterity as a pledge into their hands. What is full as remarkable, he freed the Hindoos forever from that tax which the Mahomedans have laid upon every country over which the sword of Mahomet prevailed,—namely, a capitation tax upon all who do not profess the religion of the Mahomedans. But the Hindoos, by express charter, were exempted from that mark of servitude, and thereby declared not to be a conquered people. The native princes, in all their transactions with the Mogul government, carried the evident marks of this free condition in a noble independency of spirit. Within their own districts the authority of many of them seemed entire. We are often led into mistakes concerning the government of Hindostan, by comparing it with those governments where the prince is armed with a full, speculative, entire authority, and where the great people have, with great titles, no privileges at all, or, having privileges, have those privileges only as subjects. But in Hindostan the modes, the degrees, the circumstances of subjection varied infinitely. In some places hardly a trace at all of subjection was to be discerned; in some the rajahs were almost assessors of the throne, as in this case of the Rajah Cheyt Sing. These circumstances mark, that Tamerlane, however he may be indicated by the odious names of Tartar and Conqueror, was no barbarian; that the people who submitted to him did not submit with the abject submission of slaves to the sword of a conqueror, but admitted a great supreme emperor, who was just, prudent, and politic, instead of the ferocious, oppressive, lesser Mahomedan sovereigns, who had before forced their way by the sword into the country.
That country resembled more a republic of princes with a great chief at their head than a territory in absolute, uniform, systematic subjection from one end to the other,—in which light Mr. Hastings and others of late have thought proper to consider it. According to them, if a subordinate prince, like Cheyt Sing, was not ready to pay any exorbitant sum on instant demand, or submit to any extent of fine which should be inflicted upon him by the mere will of the person who called robbery a fine, and who took the measure of that fine without either considering the means of paying or the degree of delinquency that justified it, their properties, liberties, and lives were instantly forfeited. The rajahs of that country were armed; they had fortresses for their security; they had troops. In the receipt of both their own and the imperial revenue, their securities for justice were in their own hands: but the policy of the Mogul princes very rarely led them to push that people to such extremity as it is supposed that on every slight occasion we have a right to push those who are the subjects of our pretended conquest.
Mr. Holwell throws much light on this policy, which became the standing law of the empire.
In the unfortunate wars which followed the death of Mauz-o-Din, "Sevajee Cheyt Sing," (the great rajah we have just mentioned,) "with a select body of Rajpoots, by a well-conducted retreat recovered Agra, and was soon after reconciled to the king [the Mogul] and admitted to his favor,—conformable to the steady policy of this government, in keeping a good understanding with the principal rajahs, and more especially with the head of this house, who is ever capable of raising and fomenting a very formidable party upon any intended revolution in this despotic and precarious monarchy."
You see that it was the monarchy that was precarious, not the rights of the subordinate chiefs. Your Lordships see, that, notwithstanding our ideas of Oriental despotism, under the successors of Tamerlane, these principal rajahs, instead of being called wretches, and treated as such, as Mr. Hastings has thought it becoming to call and treat them, when they were in arms against their sovereign, were regarded with respect, and were admitted to easy reconciliations; because, in reality, in their occasional hostilities, they were not properly rebellious subjects, but princes often asserting their natural rights and the just constitution of the country.
This view of the policy which prevailed during the dynasty of Tamerlane naturally conducts me to the next, which is the fourth era in this history: I mean the era of the Emperor Akbar. He was the first of the successors of Tamerlane who obtained possession of Bengal. It is easy to show of what nature his conquest was. It was over the last Mahomedan dynasty. He, too, like his predecessor, Tamerlane, conquered the prince, not the country. It is a certain mark that it was not a conquered country in the sense in which we commonly call a country conquered, that the natives, great men and landholders, continued in every part in the possession of their estates, and of the jurisdictions annexed to them. It is true, that, in the several wars for the succession to the Mogul empire, and in other of their internal wars, severe revenges were taken, which bore resemblance to those taken in the wars of the Roses in this country, where it was the common course, in the heat of blood,—"Off with his head!—so much for Buckingham!" Yet, where the country again recovered its form and settlement, it recovered the spirit of a mild government. Whatever rigor was used with regard to the Mahomedan adventurers from Persia, Turkey, and other parts, who filled the places of servile grandeur in the Mogul court, the Hindoos were a favored, protected, gently treated people.
The next, which is the fifth era, is a troubled and vexatious period,—the era of the independent Subahs of Bengal. Five of these subahs, or viceroys, governed from about the year 1717, or thereabouts. They grew into independence partly by the calamities and concussions of that empire, which happened during the disputes for the succession of Tamerlane, and partly, and indeed principally, by the great shook which the empire received when Thamas Kouli Khan broke into that country, carried off its revenues, overturned the throne, and massacred not only many of the chief nobility, but almost all the inhabitants of the capital city. This rude shock, which that empire was never able to recover, enabled the viceroys to become independent; but their independence led to their ruin. Those who had usurped upon their masters had servants who usurped upon them. Aliverdy Khan murdered his master, and opened a way into Bengal for a body of foreign invaders, the Mahrattas, who cruelly harassed the country for several years. Their retreat was at length purchased, and by a sum which is supposed to amount to five millions sterling. By this purchase he secured the exhausted remains of an exhausted kingdom, and left it to his grandson, Surajah Dowlah, in peace and poverty. On the fall of Surajah Dowlah, in 1756, commenced the last, which is the sixth,—the era of the British empire.
On the fifth dynasty I have only to remark to your Lordships, that at its close the Hindoo chiefs were almost everywhere found in possession of the country; that, although Aliverdy Khan was a cruel tyrant, though he was an untitled usurper, though he racked and tormented the people under his government, urged, however, by an apparent necessity from an invading army of one hundred thousand horse in his dominions,—yet, under him, the rajahs still preserved their rank, their dignity, their castles, their houses, their seigniories, all the insignia of their situation, and always the right, sometimes also the means, of protecting their subordinate people, till the last and unfortunate era of 1756.
Through the whole of this sketch of history I wish to impress but one great and important truth upon your minds: namely, that, through all these revolutions in government and changes in power, an Hindoo polity, and the spirit of an Hindoo government, did more or less exist in that province with which he was concerned, until it was finally to be destroyed by Mr. Hastings.
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My Lords, I have gone through all the eras precedent to those of the British power in India, and am come to the first of those eras. Mr. Hastings existed in India, and was a servant of the Company before that era, and had his education between both. He is an antediluvian with regard to the British dominion in Bengal. He was coexistent with all the acts and monuments of that revolution, and had no small share in all the abuses of that abusive period which preceded his actual government. Bat as it was during that transit from Eastern to Western power that most of the abuses had their origin, it will not be perfectly easy for your Lordships thoroughly to enter into the nature and circumstances of them without an explanation of the principal events that happened from the year 1756 until the commencement of Mr. Hastings's government,—during a good part of which time we do not often lose sight of him. If I find it agreeable to your Lordships, if I find that you wish to know these annals of Indian suffering and British delinquency, if you desire that I should unfold the series of the transactions from 1756 to the period of Mr. Hastings's government in 1771, that you may know how far he promoted what was good, how far he rectified what was evil, how far he abstained from innovation in tyranny, and contented himself with the old stock of abuse, your Lordships will have the goodness to consult the strength which from late indisposition, begins almost to fail me. And if you think the explanation is not time lost in this new world and in this new business, I shall venture to sketch out, as briefly and with as much perspicuity as I can give them, the leading events of that obscure and perplexed period which intervened between the British settlement in 1757 and Mr. Hastings's government. If I should be so happy as to succeed in that attempt, your Lordships' minds will be prepared for hearing this cause. Then your Lordships will have a clear view of the origin and nature of the abuses which prevailed in that government before Mr. Hastings obtained his greatest power, and since that time; and then we shall be able to enter fully and explicitly into the nature of the cause: and I should hope that it will pave the way and make everything easy for your subsequent justice.
I therefore wish to stop at this period, in which Mr. Hastings became active in the service, pretty near the time when he began his political career: and here, my Lords, I pause, wishing your indulgence at such time as will suit your convenience for pursuing the rest of this eventful history.
OPENING THE IMPEACHMENT.
SECOND DAY: SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 16, 1788.
My Lords,—In what I had the honor of laying before your Lordships yesterday, and in what I may further trouble you with to-day, I wish to observe a distinction, which if I did not lay down so perfectly as I ought, I hope I shall now be able to mark it out with sufficient exactness and perspicuity.
First, I beg leave to observe that what I shall think necessary to state, as matter of preliminary explanation, in order to give your Lordships a true idea of the scene of action, of the instruments which Mr. Hastings employed, and the effects which they produced,—all this I wish to be distinguished from matter brought to criminate. Even the matter, as stated by me, which may be hereafter brought to criminate, so far as it falls to my share at present, is only to be considered, in this stage of the business, as merely illustrative. Your Lordships are to expect, as undoubtedly you will require, substantial matter of crimination to be laid open for that purpose at the moment when the evidence to each charge is ready to be produced to you. Thus your Lordships will easily separate historical illustration from criminal opening. For instance, if I stated yesterday to your Lordships, as I did, the tyranny and cruelty of one of the usurping viceroys, whose usurpation and whose vices led the way to the destruction of his country and the introduction of a foreign power, I do not mean to charge Mr. Hastings with any part of that guilt: what bears upon Mr. Hastings is his having avowedly looked to such a tyrant and such a usurper as his model, and followed that pernicious example with a servile fidelity. When I have endeavored to lay open to your Lordships anything abusive, or leading to abuse, from defects or errors in the constitution of the Company's service, I did not mean to criminate Mr. Hastings on any part of those defects and errors: I state them to show that he took advantage of the imperfections of the institution to lot in his abuse of the power with which he was intrusted. If, for a further instance, I have stated that in general the service of the India Company was insufficient in legal pay or emolument and abundant in the means of illegal profit, I do not state that defect as owing to Mr. Hastings; but I state it as a fact, to show in what manner and on what pretences he did, fraudulently, corruptly, and for the purposes of his own ambition, take advantage of that defect, and, under color of reformation, make an illegal, partial, corrupt rise of emoluments to certain favored persons without regard to the interests of the service at large,—increasing rather than lessening the means of illicit emolument, as well as loading the Company with many heavy and ruinous expenses in avowed salaries and allowances.
Having requested your Lordships to keep in mind, which I trust you would do even without my taking the liberty of suggesting it to you, these necessary distinctions, I shall revert to the period at which I closed yesterday, that great and memorable period which has remotely given occasion to the trial of this day.
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My Lords, to obtain empire is common; to govern it well has been rare indeed. To chastise the guilt of those who have been instruments of imperial sway over other nations by the high superintending justice of the sovereign state has not many striking examples among any people. Hitherto we have not furnished our contingent to the records of honor. We have been confounded with the herd of conquerors. Our dominion has been a vulgar thing. But we begin to emerge; and I hope that a severe inspection of ourselves, a purification of our own offences, a lustration of the exorbitances of our own power, is a glory reserved to this time, to this nation, and to this august tribunal.
The year 1756 is a memorable era in the history of the world: it introduced a new nation from the remotest verge of the Western world, with new manners, new customs, new institutions, new opinions, new laws, into the heart of Asia.
My Lords, if, in that part of Asia whose native regular government was then broken up,—if, at the moment when it had fallen into darkness and confusion from having become the prey and almost the sport of the ambition of its home-born grandees,—if, in that gloomy season, a star had risen from the West, that would prognosticate a better generation, and would shed down the sweet influences of order, peace, science, and security to the natives of that vexed and harassed country, we should have been covered with genuine honor. It would have been a beautiful and noble spectacle to mankind.
Indeed, something might have been expected of the kind, when a new dominion emanated from a learned and enlightened part of the world in the most enlightened period of its existence. Still more might it have been expected, when that dominion was found to issue from the bosom of a free country, that it would have carried with it the full benefit of the vital principle of the British liberty and Constitution, though its municipal forms were not communicable, or at least the advantage of the liberty and spirit of the British Constitution. Had this been the case, (alas! it was not,) you would have been saved the trouble of this day. It might have been expected, too, that, in that enlightened state of the world, influenced by the best religion, and from an improved description of that best religion, (I mean the Christian reformed religion,) that we should have done honor to Europe, to letters, to laws, to religion,—done honor to all the circumstances of which in this island we boast ourselves, at the great and critical moment of that revolution.
My Lords, it has happened otherwise. It is now left for us to repair our former errors. Resuming the history where I broke off yesterday by your indulgence to my weakness,—Surajah Dowlah was the adopted grandson of Aliverdy Khan, a cruel and ferocious tyrant, the manner of whose acquisition of power I have already stated. He came too young and unexperienced to that throne of usurpation. It was a usurpation yet green in the country, and the country felt uneasy under it. It had not the advantage of that prescriptive usage, that inveterate habit, that traditionary opinion, which a long continuance of any system of government secures to it. The only real security which Surajah Dowlah's government could possess was the security of an army. But the great aim of this prince and his predecessor was to supply the weakness of his government by the strength of his purse; he therefore amassed treasures by all ways and on all hands. But as the Indian princes, in general, are as unwisely tenacious of their treasure as they are rapacious in getting it, the more money he amassed, the more he felt the effects of poverty. The consequence was, that their armies were unpaid, and, being unpaid or irregularly paid, were undisciplined, disorderly, unfaithful. In this situation, a young prince, confiding more in the appearances than examining into the reality of things, undertook (from motives which the House of Commons, with all their industry to discover the circumstances, have found it difficult to make out) to attack a little miserable trading fort that we had erected at Calcutta. He succeeded in that attempt only because success in that attempt was easy. A close imprisonment of the whole settlement followed,—not owing, I believe, to the direct will of the prince, but, what will always happen when the will of the prince is but too much the law, to a gross abuse of his power by his lowest servants,—by which one hundred and twenty or more of our countrymen perished miserably in a dungeon, by a fate too tragical for me to be desirous to relate, and too well known to stand in need of it.
At the time that this event happened, there was at the same time a concurrence of other events, which, from this partial and momentary weakness, displayed the strength of Great Britain in Asia. For some years before, the French and English troops began, on the coast of Coromandel, to exhibit the power, force, and efficacy of European discipline. As we daily looked for a war with France, our settlements on that coast were in some degree armed. Lord Pigot, then Governor of Madras,—Lord Pigot, the preserver and the victim of the British dominion in Asia,—detached such of the Company's force as could he collected and spared, and such of his Majesty's ships as were on that station, to the assistance of Calcutta. And—to hasten this history to its conclusion—the daring and commanding genius of Clive, the patient and firm ability of Watson, the treachery of Mir Jaffier, and the battle of Plassey gave us at once the patronage of a kingdom and the command of all its treasures. We negotiated with Mir Jaffier for the viceroyal throne of his master. On that throne we seated him. And we obtained, on our part, immense sums of money. We obtained a million sterling for the Company, upwards of a million for individuals, in the whole a sum of about two millions two hundred and thirty thousand pounds for various purposes, from the prince whom we had set up. We obtained, too, the town of Calcutta more completely than we had before possessed it, and the twenty-four districts adjoining. This was the first small seminal principle of the immense territorial acquisitions we have since made in India.
Many circumstances of this acquisition I pass by. There is a sacred veil to be drawn over the beginnings of all governments. Ours in India had an origin like those which time has sanctified by obscurity. Time, in the origin of most governments, has thrown this mysterious veil over them; prudence and discretion make it necessary to throw something of the same drapery over more recent foundations, in which otherwise the fortune, the genius, the talents, and military virtue of this nation never shone more conspicuously. But whatever necessity might hide or excuse or palliate, in the acquisition of power, a wise nation, when it has once made a revolution upon its own principles and for its own ends, rests there. The first step to empire is revolution, by which power is conferred; the next is good laws, good order, good institutions, to give that power stability. I am sorry to say that the reverse of this policy was the principle on which the gentlemen in India acted. It was such as tended to make the new government as unstable as the old. By the vast sums of money acquired by individuals upon this occasion, by the immense sudden prodigies of fortune, it was discovered that a revolution in Bengal was a mine much more easily worked and infinitely more productive than the mines of Potosi and Mexico. It was found that the work was not only very lucrative, but not at all difficult. Where Clive forded a deep water upon an unknown bottom, he left a bridge for his successors, over which the lame could hobble and the blind might grope their way. There was not at that time a knot of clerks in a counting-house, there was not a captain of a band of ragged topasses, that looked for anything less than the deposition of subahs and the sale of kingdoms. Accordingly, this revolution, which ought to have precluded other revolutions, unfortunately became fruitful of them; and when Lord Clive returned to Europe, to enjoy his fame and fortune in his own country, there arose another description of men, who thought that a revolution might be made upon his revolution, and as lucrative to them as his was to the first projectors. Scarcely was Mir Jaffier, Lord Olive's nabob, seated on his musnud, than they immediately, or in a short time, projected another revolution, a revolution which was to unsettle all the former had settled, a revolution to make way for new disturbances and new wars, and which led to that long chain of peculation which ever since has afflicted and oppressed Bengal.
If ever there was a time when Bengal should have had respite from internal revolutions, it was this. The governor forced upon the natives was now upon the throne. All the great lords of the country, both Gentoos and Mahomedans, were uneasy, discontented, and disobedient, and some absolutely in arms, and refusing to recognize the prince we had set up. An imminent invasion of the Mahrattas, an actual invasion headed by the son of the Mogul, the revenues on account of the late shock very ill collected even where the country was in some apparent quiet, an hungry treasury at Calcutta, an empty treasury at Moorshedabad,—everything demanded tranquillity, and with it order and economy. In this situation it was resolved to make a new and entirely mercenary revolution, and to set up to sale the government, secured to its present possessor by every tie of public faith and every sacred obligation which could bind or influence mankind. This second revolution forms that period in the Bengal history which had the most direct influence upon all the subsequent transactions. It introduces some of the persons who were most active in the succeeding scenes, and from that time to this has given its tone and character to the British affairs and government. It marks and specifies the origin and true principle of all the abuses which Mr. Hastings was afterwards appointed to correct, and which the Commons charge that he continued and aggravated: namely, the venal depositions and venal exaltations of the country powers; the taking of bribes and corrupt presents from all parties in those changes; the vitiating and maiming the Company's records; the suppression of public correspondence; corrupt combinations and conspiracies; perfidy in negotiation established into principle; acts of the most atrocious wickedness justified upon purity of intention; mock-trials and collusive acquittals among the parties in common guilt; and in the end, the Court of Directors supporting the scandalous breach of their own orders. I shall state the particulars of this second revolution more at large.
Soon after the revolution which had seated Mir Jaffier on the viceroyal throne, the spirit of the Mogul empire began, as it were, to make one faint struggle before it finally expired. The then heir to that throne, escaping from the hands of those who had held his father prisoner, had put himself at the head of several chiefs collected under the standard of his house, and appeared in force on the frontiers of the provinces of Bengal and Bahar, upon both which he made some impression. This alarmed the new powers, the Nabob Mir Jaffier, and the Presidency of Calcutta; and as in a common cause, and by the terms of their mutual alliance, they took the field against him. The Nabob's eldest son and heir-apparent commanded in chief. Major Calliaud commanded the English forces under the government of Calcutta. Mr. Holwell was in the temporary possession of the Presidency. Mr. Vansittart was hourly expected to supersede him. Mr. Warren Hastings, a young gentleman about twenty-seven years of age, was Resident for the Company at the durbar, or court, of Mir Jaffier, our new-created Nabob of Bengal, allied to this country by the most solemn treaties that can bind men; for which treaties he had paid, and was then paying, immense sums of money. Mr. Warren Hastings was the pledge in his hands for the honor of the British nation, and their fidelity to their engagements.
In this situation, Mr. Holwell, whom the terrible example of the Black Hole at Calcutta had not cured of ambition, thought an hour was not to be lost in accomplishing a revolution and selling the reigning Nabob.
My Lords, there was in the house of Mir Jaffier, in his court, and in his family, a man of an intriguing, crafty, subtle, and at the same time bold, daring, desperate, bloody, and ferocious character, called Cossim Ali Khan. He was the son-in-law of Mir Jaffier; and he made no other use of this affinity than to find some means to dethrone and to murder him. This was the person in whose school of politics Mr. Hastings made his first studies, and whose conduct he quotes as his example, and for whose friends, agents, and favorites he has always shown a marked predilection. This dangerous man was not long without finding persons who observed his talents with admiration, and who thought fit to employ him.
The Council at Calcutta was divided into two departments: one, the Council in general; the other a Select Committee, which they had arranged for the better carrying on their political affairs. But the Select Committee had no power of acting wholly without the Council at large,—at least, finally and conclusively. The Select Committee thought otherwise. Between these litigant parties for power I shall not determine on the merits,—thinking of nothing but the use that was made of the power, to whomsoever it belonged. This Secret Committee, then, without communicating with the rest of the Council, formed the plan for a second revolution. But the concurrence of Major Calliaud, who commanded the British troops, was essential to the purpose, as it could not be accomplished without force. Mr. Hastings's assistance was necessary, as it could not be accomplished without treachery.
These are the parties concerned in the intended revolution. Mr. Holwell, who considered himself in possession only of temporary power, was urged to precipitate the business; for if Mr. Vansittart should arrive before his plot could be finally put into execution, he would have all the leading advantages of it, and Mr. Holwell would be considered only as a secondary instrument. But whilst Mr. Holwell, who originally conceived this plot, urged forward the execution of it, in order that the chief share of the profits might fall to him, the Major, and possibly the Resident, held back, till they might receive the sanction of the permanent governor, who was hourly expected, with whom one of them was connected, and who was to carry with him the whole weight of the authority of this kingdom. This difference produced discussions. Holwell endeavored by his correspondence to stimulate Calliaud to this enterprise, which without him could not be undertaken at all. But Major Calliaud had different views. He concurred inwardly, as he tells us himself, in all the principles of this intended revolution, in the propriety and necessity of it. He only wished delay. But he gave such powerful, solid, and satisfactory reasons, not against the delay, but the very merits of the design itself, exposing the injustice and the danger of it, and the impossibility of mending by it their condition in any respect, as must have damned it in the minds of all rational men: at least it ought to have damned it forever in his own. But you will see that Holwell persevered in his plan, and that Major Calliaud thought two things necessary: first, not wholly to destroy the scheme, which he tells us he always approved, but to postpone the execution,—and in the mean time to delude the Nabob by the most strong, direct, and sanguine assurances of friendship and protection that it was possible to give to man.
Whilst the projected revolution stood suspended,—whilst Mr. Holwell urged it forward, and Mr. Vansittart was expected every day to give it effect,—whilst Major Calliaud, with this design of ruining the Nabob lodged in his breast, suspended in execution, and condemned in principle, kept the fairest face and the most confidential interviews with that unfortunate prince and his son,—as the operations of the campaign relaxed, the army drew near to Moorshedabad, the capital, when a truly extraordinary scene happened, such I am sure the English annals before that time had furnished no example of, nor will, I trust, in future. I shall state it as one piece from beginning to end, reserving the events which intervened; because, as I do not produce any part of this series for the gratification of historical curiosity, the con-texture is necessary to demonstrate to your Lordships the spirit of our Bengal politics, and the necessity of some other sort of judicial inquiries than those which that government institute for themselves. The transaction so manifestly marks the character of the whole proceeding that I hope I shall not be blamed for suspending for a moment the narrative of the steps taken towards the revolution, that you may see the whole of this episode together,—that by it you may judge of the causes which led progressively to the state in which the Company's affairs stood, when Mr. Hastings was sent for the express purpose of reforming it.
The business I am going to enter into is commonly known by the name of the Story of the Three Seals. It is to be found in the Appendix, No. 10, to the First Report of the state and condition of the East India Company, made in 1773. The word Report, my Lords, is sometimes a little equivocal, and may signify sometimes, not what is made known, but what remains in obscurity: the detail and evidence of many facts referred to in the Report being usually thrown into the Appendix. Many people, and I among the rest, (I take shame to myself for it,) may not have fully examined that Appendix. I was not a member of either of the India committees of 1773. It is not, indeed, till within this year that I have been thoroughly acquainted with that memorable history of the Three Seals.
The history is this. In the year 1760 the allies were in the course of operations against the son of the Mogul, now the present Mogul, who, as I have already stated, had made an irruption into the kingdom of Bahar, in order to reduce the lower provinces to his obedience. The parties opposing him were the Nabob of Bengal and the Company's troops under Major Calliaud. It was whilst they faced the common enemy as one body, this negotiation for the destruction of the Nabob of Bengal by his faithful allies of the Company was going on with diligence. At that time the Nabob's son, Meeran, a youth in the flower of his age, bold, vigorous, active, full of the politics in which those who are versed in usurpation are never wanting, commanded the army under his father, but was in reality the efficient person in all things.
About the 15th of April, 1760, as I have it from Major Calliaud's letter of that date, the Nabob came into his tent, and, with looks of the utmost embarrassment, big with some design which swelled his bosom, something that was too large and burdensome to conceal, and yet too critical to be told, appeared to be in a state of great distraction. The Major, seeing him in this condition, kindly, gently, like a fast and sure friend, employed (to use his own expression) some of those assurances that tend to make men fully open their hearts; and accordingly, fortified by his assurances, and willing to disburden himself of the secret that oppressed him, he opens his heart to the commanding officer of his new friends, allies, and protectors. The Nabob, thus assured, did open himself, and informed Major Calliaud that he had just received a message from the Prince, or his principal minister, informing him that the Prince Royal, now the Mogul, had an intention (as, indeed, he rationally might, supposing that we were as well disposed to him as we showed ourselves afterwards) to surrender himself into the hands of him, the Nabob, but at the same time wished, as a guaranty, that the commander-in-chief of the English forces should give him security for his life and his honor, when he should in that manner surrender himself to the Nabob. I do not mean, my Lords, by surrendering, that it was supposed he intended to surrender himself prisoner of war, but as a sovereign dubious of the fidelity of those about him would put himself into the hands of his faithful subjects, of those who claimed to derive all their power, as both we and the Nabob did, under his authority. The Nabob stated to the English general, that without this English security the Prince would not deliver himself into his hands. Here he confessed he found a difficulty. For the giving this faith, if it were kept, would defeat his ultimate view, which was, when the Prince had delivered himself into his hands, in plain terms to murder him. This grand act could not be accomplished without the English general. In the first place, the Prince, without the English security, would not deliver himself into the Nabob's hands; and afterwards, without the English concurrence, he could not be murdered. These were difficulties that pressed upon the mind of the Nabob.
The English commander heard this astonishing proposition without any apparent emotion. Being a man habituated to great affairs, versed in revolutions, and with a mind fortified against extraordinary events, he heard it and answered it without showing any signs of abhorrence or detestation,—at the same time with a protestation that he would indeed serve him, the Nabob, but it should be upon such terms as honor and justice could support: informing him, that an assurance for the Prince's safety could not be given by him, until he had consulted Mr. Holwell, who was Governor, and his superior.
This conversation passed in the morning. On that very morning, and whilst the transaction was hot, Major Calliaud writes to Mr. Holwell an account of it. In his letter he informs him that he made an inquiry, without stating from whom, but that he did inquire the probability of the Nabob's getting possession of the Prince from some persons, who assured him that there was no probability of the Prince's intention to deliver himself to the Nabob on any terms. Be that as it may, it is impossible not to remark that the whole transaction of the morning of the 15th of April was not very discouraging to the Nabob,—not such as would induce him to consider this most detestable of all projects as a thing utterly unfeasible, and as such to abandon it. The evening came on without anything to alter his opinion. Major Calliaud that evening came to the Nabob's tent to arrange some matters relative to the approaching campaign. The business soon ended with regard to the campaign; but the proposal of the morning to Major Calliaud, as might be expected to happen, was in effect renewed. Indeed, the form was a little different; but the substantial part remained the same. Your Lordships will see what these alterations were.
In the evening scene the persons were more numerous. On the part of the Company, Major Calliaud, Mr. Lushington, Mr. Knox, and the ambassador at the Nabob's court, Mr. Warren Hastings. On the part of the Moorish government, the Nabob himself, his son Meeran, a Persian secretary, and the Nabob's head spy, an officer well known in that part of the world, and of some rank. These were the persons of the drama in the evening scene. The Nabob and his son did not wait for the Prince's committing himself to their faith, which, it seems, Major Calliaud did not think likely to happen; so that one act of treachery is saved: but another opened of as extraordinary a nature. Intent and eager on the execution, and the more certain, of their design, they accepted the plan of a wicked wretch, principal servant of the then prime-minister to the Mogul, or themselves suggested it to him. A person called Conery, dewan or principal steward to Camgar Khan, a great chief in the service of the Shahzada, or Prince, (now the Great Mogul, the sovereign under whom the Company holds their charter,) had, it seems, made a proposal to the Nabob, that, if a considerable territory then held by his master was assured to him, and a reward of a lac of rupees (ten or twelve thousand, pounds) secured to him, he would for that consideration deliver the Prince, the eldest son of the Mogul, alive into the hands of the Nabob; or if that could not be effected, he engaged to murder him for the same reward. But as the assassin could not rely on the Nabob and his son for his reward for this meritorious action, and thought better of English honor and fidelity in such delicate cases, he required that Major Calliaud should set his seal to the agreement. This proposition was made to an English commander: what discourse happened upon it is uncertain. Mr. Hastings is stated by some evidence to have acted as interpreter in this memorable congress. But Major Calliaud agreed to it without any difficulty. Accordingly, an instrument was drawn, an indenture tripartite prepared by the Persian secretary, securing to the party the reward of this infamous, perfidious, murderous act. First, the Nabob put his own seal to the murder. The Nabob's son, Meeran, affixed his seal. A third seal, the most important of all, was yet wanting. A pause ensued: Major Calliaud's seal was not at hand; but Mr. Lushington was sent near half a mile to bring it. It was brought at length; and the instrument of blood and treachery was completely executed. Three seals were set to it.
This business of the three seals, by some means not quite fully explained, but (as suspected by the parties) by means of the information of Mr. Holwell, who soon after came home, was conveyed to the ears of the Court of Directors. The Court of Directors wrote out, under date of the 7th of October, 1761, within a little more than a year after this extraordinary transaction, to this effect:—that, in conjunction with the Nabob, Major Calliaud had signed a paper offering a reward of a lac of rupees, or some such sum, to several black persons, for the assassination of the Shahzada, or Prince heir-apparent,—which paper was offered to the then Chief of Patna to sign, but which he refused on account of the infamy of the measure. As it appeared in the same light to them, the Directors, they ordered a strict inquiry into it. The India Company, who here did their duty with apparent manliness and vigor, were resolved, however, to do it with gentleness, and to proceed in a manner that could not produce any serious mischief to the parties charged; for they directed the commission of inquiry to the very clan and set of people who, from a participation in their common offences, stood in awe of one another,—in effect, to the parties in the transaction. Without a prosecutor, without an impartial director of the inquiry, they left it substantially to those persons to try one another for their common acts.
Here I come upon the principle which I wish most strongly to mark to your Lordships: I mean collusive trials and collusive acquittals. When this matter came to be examined, according to the orders of the Court, which was on the 4th of October, 1762, the Council consisted of Peter Maguire, Warren Hastings, and Hugh Watts. Mr. Hastings had by this time accomplished the business of Resident with the Nabob, and had taken the seat to which his seniority entitled him in Council. Here a difficulty arose in limine. Mr. Hastings was represented to have acted as interpreter in this business; he was therefore himself an object of the inquisition; he was doubtful as evidence; he was disqualified as a judge. It likewise appeared that there might be some objection to others whose evidence was wanting, but who were themselves concerned in the guilt. Mr. Lushington's evidence would be useful, but there were two circumstances rather unlucky. First, he had put the seal to the instrument of murder; and, secondly, and what was most material, he had made an affidavit at Patna, whilst the affair was green and recent, that he had done so; and in the same affidavit had deposed that Warren Hastings was interpreter in that transaction. Here were difficulties both on him and Mr. Hastings. The question was, how to get Mr. Hastings, the interpreter, out of his interpretation, and to put him upon the seat of judgment. It was effected, however, and the manner in which it was effected was something curious. Mr. Lushington, who by this time was got completely over, himself tells you that in conferences with Major Calliaud, and by arguments and reasons by him delivered, he was persuaded to unsay his swearing, and to declare that he believed that the affidavit which he made at Patna, and while the transaction was recent or nearly recent, must be a mistake: that he believed (what is amazing indeed for any belief) that not Mr. Hastings, but he himself, interpreted. Mr. Lushington completely loses his own memory, and he accepts an offered, a given memory, a memory supplied to him by a party in the transaction. By this operation all difficulties are removed: Mr. Hastings is at once put into the capacity of a judge. He is declared by Mr. Lushington not to have been an interpreter in the transaction. After this, Mr. Hastings is himself examined. Your Lordships will look at the transaction at your leisure, and I think you will consider it as a pattern for inquiries of this kind. Mr. Hastings is examined: he does not recollect. His memory also fails on a business in which it is not easy to suppose a man could be doubtful,—whether he was present or not: he thinks he was not there,—for that, if he had been there, and acted as interpreter, he could not have forgot it.
I think it is pretty nearly as I state it: if I have fallen into any error or inaccuracy, it is easily rectified; for here is the state of the transaction given by the parties themselves. On this inaccurate memory of Mr. Hastings, not venturing, however, to say positively that he was not the interpreter, or that he was not present, he is discharged from being an accomplice,—he is removed from the bar, and leaps upon the seat of justice. The court thus completed, Major Calliaud comes manfully forward to make his defence. Mr. Lushington is taken off his back in the manner we have seen, and no one person remains but Captain Knox. Now, if Captain Knox was there and assenting, he is an accomplice too. Captain Knox asserts, that, at the consultation about the murder, he said it was a pity to cut off so fine a young fellow in such a manner,—meaning that fine young fellow the Prince, the descendant of Tamerlane, the present reigning Mogul, from whom the Company derive their present charter. The purpose to be served by this declaration, if it had any purpose, was, that Captain Knox did not assent to the murder, and that therefore his evidence might be valid.
The defence set up by Major Calliaud was to this effect. He was apprehensive, he said, that the Nabob was alarmed at the violent designs that were formed against him by Mr. Holwell, and that therefore, to quiet his mind, (to quiet it by a proposition compounded of murder and treason,—an odd kind of mind he had that was to be quieted by such means!)—but to quiet his mind, and to show that the English were willing to go all lengths with him, to sell body and soul to him, he did put his seal to this extraordinary agreement, he put his seal to this wonderful paper. He likewise stated, that he was of opinion at the time that nothing at all sinister could happen from it, that no such murder was likely to take place, whatever might be the intention of the parties. In fact, he had very luckily said in a letter of his, written a day after the setting the seal, "I think nothing will come of this matter, but it is no harm to try." This experimental treachery, and these essays of conditional murder, appeared to him good enough to make a trial of; but at the same time he was afraid nothing would come of it. In general, the whole gest of his defence comes to one point, in which he persists,—that, whatever the act might be, his mind is clear: "My hands are guilty, but my heart is free." He conceived that it would be very improper, undoubtedly, to do such an act, if he suspected anything could happen from it: he, however, let the thing out of his own hands; he put, it into the hands of others; he put the commission into the hands of a murderer. The fact was not denied; it was fully before these severe judges. The extenuation was the purity of his heart, and the bad situation of the Company's affairs,—the perpetual plea, which your Lordships will hear of forever, and which if it will justify evil actions, they will take good care that the most nefarious of their deeds shall never want a sufficient justification. But then he calls upon his life and his character to oppose to his seal; and though he has declared that Mr. Holwell had intended ill to the Nabob, and that he approved of those measures, and only postponed them, yet he thought it necessary, he says, to quiet the fears of the Nabob; and from this motive he did an act abhorrent to his nature, and which, he says, he expressed his abhorrence of the morning after he signed it: not that he did so; but if he had, I believe it would only have made the thing so many degrees worse. Your Lordships will observe, that, in this conference, as stated by himself, these reasons and apologies for it did not appear, nor did they appear in the letter, nor anywhere else, till next year, when he came upon his trial. Then it was immediately recollected that Mr. Holwell's designs were so wicked they certainly must be known to the Nabob, though he never mentioned them in the conference of the morning or the evening of the 15th; yet such was now the weight and prevalence of them upon the Major's mind, that he calls upon Mr. Hastings to know whether the Nabob was not informed of these designs of Mr. Holwell against him. Mr. Hastings's memory was not quite correct upon the occasion. He does not recollect anything of the matter. He certainly seems not to think that he ever mentioned it to the Nabob, or the Nabob to him; but he does recollect, he thinks, speaking something to some of the Nabob's attendants upon it, and further this deponent sayeth not. On this state of things, namely, the purity of intention, the necessities of the Company, the propriety of keeping the Nabob in perfect good-humor and removing suspicions from his mind, which suspicions he had never expressed, they came to the resolution I shall have the honor to read to you: "That the representation, given in the said defence, of the state of the affairs of the country at that time" (that is, about the month of April, 1760) "is true and just" (that is, the bad state of the country, which we shall consider hereafter); "that, in such circumstances, the Nabob's urgent account of his own distresses, the Colonel's desire of making him easy," (for here is a recapitulation of the whole defence,) "as the first thing necessary for the good of the service, and the suddenness of the thing proposed, might deprive him for a moment of his recollection, and surprise him into a measure which, as to the measure itself, he could not approve. That such only were the motives which did or could influence Colonel Calliaud to assent to the proposal is fully evinced by the deposition of Captain Knox and Mr. Lushington, that his [Calliaud's] conscience, at the time, never reproached him with a bad design."
Your Lordships have heard of the testimony of a person to his own conscience; but the testimony of another man to any one's conscience—this is the first time, I believe, it ever appeared in a judicial proceeding. It is natural to say, "My conscience acquits me of it"; but they declare, that "his conscience never reproached him with a bad design, and therefore, upon the whole, they are satisfied that his intention was good, though he erred in the measure."
I beg leave to state one thing that escaped me: that the Nabob, who was one of the parties to the design, was, at the time of the inquiry, a sort of prisoner or an exile at Calcutta; that his moonshee was there, or might have been had; and that his spy was likewise there; and that they, though parties to this transaction, were never called to account for it in any sense or in any degree, or to show how far it was necessary to quiet the Nabob's mind.
The accomplices, by acquitting him upon their testimony to his conscience, did their business nobly. But the good Court of Directors, who were so easily satisfied, so ready to condemn at the first proposition and so ready afterwards to acquit, put the last finishing hand of a master to it. For the accomplices acquit him of evil intentions and excuse his act. The Court of Directors, disapproving indeed the measure, but receiving the testimony of his conscience in justification of his conduct, and taking up the whole ground, honorably acquit him, and commend this action as an instance of heroic zeal in their service.
The great end and purpose for which I produce this to your Lordships is to show you the necessity there is for other inquiries, other trials, other acquittals of parties, than those made by a collusive clan abroad, or by the Directors at home, who had required the parties to inquire of themselves, and to take the testimony of the judges at second-hand, as to the conscience of the party accused, respecting acts which neither they nor any man living can look upon but with horror.
I have troubled your Lordships with the story of the Three Seals, as a specimen of the then state of the service, and the politics of the servants, civil and military, in the horrid abuses which then prevailed, and which render at length the most rigorous reformation necessary. I close this episode to resume the proceedings at the second revolution.
This affair of the three seals was, we have seen, to quiet the fears of the Nabob. His fears it was indeed necessary to quiet; for your Lordships will see that the man whose fears were to be set asleep by Major Calliaud's offering him, in a scheme for murdering his sovereign, an odd sort of opiate, made up of blood and treason, was now in a fair way of being murdered himself by the machinations of him whose seal was set to his murderous security of peace, and by those his accomplices, Holwell and Hastings: at least they resolved to put him in a situation in which his murder was in a manner inevitable, as you will see in the sequel of the transaction. Now the plan proceeds. The parties continued in the camp; but there was another remora. To remove a nabob and to create a revolution is not easy: houses are strong who have sons grown up with vigor and fitness for the command of armies. They are not easily overturned by removing the principal, unless the secondary is got rid of: and if this remora could be removed, everything was going on in a happy way in the business. This plan, which now (that is, about the month of July) began to get into great ripeness and forwardness, Mr. Holwell urged forward, Mr. Vansittart being hourly expected.
I do not know whether I am going to state a thing, though it is upon the records, which will not have too theatrical an appearance for the grave state in which we are. But here it is,—the difficulty, the knot, and the solution, as recorded by the parties themselves. It was the object of this bold, desperate, designing man, Cossim All Khan, who aimed at everything, and who scrupled not to do anything in attaining what he aimed at, to be appointed the lieutenant of the Nabob Jaffier Ali, and thus to get possession of his office during his lifetime under that name, with a design of murdering him: for that office, according to many usages of that country, totally supersedes the authority of the first magistrate, renders him a cipher in his hand, gives the administration of his affairs and command of his troops to the lieutenant. It was a part of his plan, that he was, after his appointment to the lieutenancy, to be named to the succession of the Nabob, who had several other children; but the eldest son stood in the way.
But as things hastened to a crisis, this difficulty was removed in the most extraordinary and providential unheard-of manner, by the most extraordinary event that, I believe, is recorded in history. Just in the nick of time, in the moment of projection, on the 3d of July, this Prince Meeran, in the flower of his age, bold, active, enterprising, lying asleep in his tent, is suddenly, without any one's knowing it, without any alarm or menace in the heavens that ever was heard of or mentioned, without any one whatever being hurt or even alarmed in the camp, killed with a flash of lightning. My Lords, thus was the Gordian knot cut. This prince dies of a flash of lightning, and Mr. Lushington (of whom you have heard) comes in the morning with his hair standing erect, comes frightened into the presence of Major Calliaud, and, with the utmost alarm, tells him of a circumstance that was afterwards to give them so much pleasure. The alarm was immediately communicated to the Major, who was seized with a fright; and fearing lest the army should mutiny upon the death of their chief, it was contrived, in a manner that I believe was most difficult to contrive, that what might have excited a general mutiny was concealed by the ability, the good conduct, and dexterity of Major Calliaud for seven days together, till he led the army out of the place of danger. Thus a judgment fell upon one of the (innocent) murderers in the scene of the Three Seals. This man, who was probably guilty in his conscience as well as in act, thus fell by that most lucky, providential, and most useful flash of lightning.
There were at that time, it seems, in Calcutta, a wicked, skeptical set of people, who somehow or other believed that human agency was concerned in this elective flash, which came so very opportunely, and which was a favor so thankfully acknowledged. These wicked, ill-natured skeptics disseminated reports (which I am sure I do not mean to charge or prove, leaving the effect of them to you) very dishonorable, I believe, to Cossim Ali Khan in the business, and to some Englishmen who were concerned.
The difficulty of getting rid of Meeran being thus removed, Mr. Vansittart comes upon the scene. I verily believe he was a man of good intentions, and rather debauched by that amazing flood of iniquity which prevailed at that time, or hurried and carried away with it. In a few days he sent for Major Calliaud. All his objections vanish in an instant: like that flash of lightning, everything is instant. The Major agrees to perform his part. They send for Cossim Ali Khan and Mr. Hastings; they open a treaty and conclude it with him, leaving the management of it to two persons, Mr. Holwell and another person, whom we have heard of, an Armenian, called Coja Petruse, who afterwards played his part in another illustrious scene. By this Petruse and Mr. Holwell the matter is settled. The moment Mr. Holwell is raised to be a Secretary of State, the revolution is accomplished. By it Cossim Ali Khan is to have the lieutenancy at present, and the succession. Everything is put into his hands, and he is to make for it large concessions, which you will hear of afterwards, to the Company. Cossim Ali Khan proposed to Mr. Holwell, what would have been no bad supplement to the flash of lightning, the murder of the Nabob; but Mr. Holwell was a man of too much honor and conscience to suffer that. He instantly flew out at it, and declared the whole business should stop, unless the affair of the murder was given up. Accordingly things were so settled. But if he gave the Nabob over to an intended murderer, and delivered his person, treasure, and everything into his hands, Cossim Ali Khan might have had no great reason to complain of being left to the execution of his own projects in his own way. The treaty was made, and amounted to this,—that the Company was to receive three great provinces: for here, as we proceed, you will have an opportunity of observing, with the progress of these plots, one thing which has constantly and uniformly pervaded the whole of these projects, and which the persons concerned in them have avowed as a principle of their actions,—that they were first to take care of the Company's interest, then of their own; that is, first to secure to the Company an enormous bribe, and under the shadow of that bribe to take all the little emoluments they could to themselves. Three great, rich, southern provinces, maritime, or nearly maritime, Burdwan, Midnapoor, and Chittagong, were to be dissevered from the Subah and to be ceded to the Company. There were other minor stipulations, which it is not necessary at present to trouble you with, signed, sealed, and executed at Calcutta between these parties with the greatest possible secrecy. The lieutenancy and the succession were secured to Cossim Ali, and he was likewise to give somewhere about the sum of 200,000l. to the gentlemen who were concerned, as a reward for serving him so effectually, and for serving their country so well. Accordingly, these stipulations, actual or understood, (for they were eventually carried into effect,) being settled, a commission of delegation, consisting chiefly of Mr. Vansittart and Major Calliaud, was sent up to Moorshedabad: the new Governor taking this opportunity of paying the usual visit of respect to the Nabob, and in a manner which a new Governor coming into place would do, with the detail of which it is not necessary to trouble you. Mr. Hastings was at this time at the durbar; and having everything prepared, and the ground smoothed, they first endeavored to persuade the Nabob to deliver over the power negotiated for into the hands of their friend Cossim Ali Khan. But when the old man, frightened out of his wits, asked, "What is it he has bid for me?" and added, "I will give half as much again to save myself; pray let me know what my price is,"—he entreated in vain. They were true, firm, and faithful to their word and their engagement. When he saw they were resolved that he should be delivered into the hands of Cossim Ali Khan, he at once surrenders the whole to him. They instantly grasp it. He throws himself into a boat, and will not remain at home an hour, but hurries down to Calcutta to leave his blood at our door, if we should have a mind to take it. But the life of the Nabob was too great a stake (partly as a security for the good behavior of Cossim Ali Khan, and still more for the future use that might be made of him) to be thrown away, or left in the hands of a man who would certainly murder him, and who was very angry at being refused the murder of his father-in-law. The price of this second revolution was, according to their shares in it, (I believe I have it here,) somewhere about 200,000l. This little effusion to private interest settled the matter, and here ended the second revolution in the country: effected, indeed, without bloodshed, but with infinite treachery, with infinite mischief, consequent to the dismemberment of the country, and which had nearly become fatal to our concerns there, like everything else in which Mr. Hastings had any share.
This prince, Cossim Ali Khan, the friend of Mr. Hastings, knew that those who could give could take away dominion. He had scarcely got upon the throne, procured for him by our public spirit and his own iniquities, than he began directly and instantly to fortify himself, and to bend all his politics against those who were or could be the donors of such fatal gifts. He began with the natives who were in their interest, and cruelly put to death, under the eye of Mr. Hastings and his clan, all those who, by their moneyed wealth or landed consideration, could give any effect to their dispositions in favor of those ambitious strangers. He removed from Moorshedabad higher up into the country, to Monghir, in order to be more out of our view. He kept his word pretty well, but not altogether faithfully, with the gentlemen; and though he had no money, for his treasury was empty, he gave obligations which are known by the name of jeeps—(the Indian vocabulary will by degrees become familiar to your Lordships, as we develop the modes and customs of the country). As soon as he had done this, he began to rack and tear the provinces that were left to him, to get as much from them as should compensate him for the revenues of those great provinces he had lost; and accordingly he began a scene of extortion, horrible, nefarious, without precedent or example, upon almost all the landed interest of that country. I mention this, because he is one of those persons whose governments Mr. Hastings, in a paper called his Defence, delivered in to the House of Commons, has produced as precedents and examples which he has thought fit to follow, and which he thought would justify him in the conduct he has pursued. This Cossim Ali Khan, after he had acted the tyrant on the landed interest, fell upon the moneyed interest. In that country there was a person called Juggut Seit. There were several of the family, who were bankers to such a magnitude as was never heard of in the world. Receivers of the public revenue, their correspondence extended all over Asia; and there are those who are of opinion that the house of Juggut Seit, including all its branches, was not worth less than six or seven millions sterling. This house became the prey of Cossim Ali Khan; but Mr. Holwell had predicted that it should be delivered over to Satan to be buffeted (his own pious expression). He predicted the misfortunes that should befall them; and we chose a Satan to buffet them, and who did so buffet them, by the murder of the principal persons of the house, and by robbing them of great sums of their wealth, that I believe such a scene of nefarious tyranny, destroying and cutting up the root of public credit in that country, was scarce ever known. In the mean time Cossim was extending his tyranny over all who were obnoxious to him; and the persons he first sought were those traitors who had been friends to the English. Several of the principal of these he murdered. There was in the province of Bahar a man named Ramarain; he had got the most positive assurances of English faith; but Mr. Macguire, a member of the Council, on the receipt of five thousand gold mohurs, or something more than 8,000l. sterling, delivered him up to be first imprisoned, then tortured, then robbed in consequence of the torture, and finally murdered, by Cossim Ali Khan. In this way Cossim Ali Khan acted, while our government looked on. I hardly choose to mention to you the fate of a certain native in consequence of a dispute with Mr. Mott, a friend of Mr. Hastings, which is in the Company's records,—records which are almost buried by their own magnitude from the knowledge of this country. In a contest with this native for his house and property, some scuffle having happened between the parties, the one attempting to seize and the other to defend, the latter made a complaint to the Nabob, who was in an entire subjection at that time to the English, and who ordered this unfortunate man, on account of this very scuffle, arising from defending his property, to be blown off from the mouth of a cannon. In short, I am not able to tell your Lordships of all the nefarious transactions of this man, whom the intrigues of Mr. Holwell and Mr. Hastings had set upon the throne of Bengal. But there is a circumstance in this business that comes across here, and will tend to show another grievance that vexed that country, which vexed it long, and is one of the causes of its chief disasters, and which, I fear, is not so perfectly extirpated but that some part of its roots may remain in the ground at this moment.
Commerce, which enriches every other country in the world, was bringing Bengal to total ruin. The Company, in former times, when it had no sovereignty or power in the country, had large privileges under their dustuck, or permit: their goods passed, without paying duties, through the country. The servants of the Company made use of this dustuck for their own private trade, which, while it was used with moderation, the native government winked at in some degree; but when it got wholly into private hands, it was more like robbery than trade. These traders appeared everywhere; they sold at their own prices, and forced the people to sell to them at their own prices also. It appeared more like an army going to pillage the people, under pretence of commerce, than anything else. In vain the people claimed the protection of their own country courts. This English army of traders in their march ravaged worse than a Tartarian conqueror. The trade they carried on, and which more resembled robbery than commerce, anticipated the resources of the tyrant, and threatened to leave him no materials for imposition or confiscation. Thus this miserable country was torn to pieces by the horrible rapaciousness of a double tyranny. This appeared to be so strong a case, that a deputation was sent to him at his new capital, Monghir, to form a treaty for the purpose of giving some relief against this cruel, cursed, and oppressive trade, which was worse even than the tyranny of the sovereign. This trade Mr. Vansittart, the President about this time, that is, in 1763, who succeeded to Mr. Holwell, and was in close union of interests with the tyrant Cossim Ali Khan, by a treaty known by the name of the treaty of Monghir, agreed very much to suppress and to confine within something like reasonable bounds. There never was a doubt on the face of that treaty, that it was a just, proper, fair transaction. But as nobody in Bengal did then believe that rapine was ever forborne but in favor of bribery, the persons who lost every advantage by the treaty of Monghir, when they thought they saw corrupt negotiation carrying away the prizes of unlawful commerce, and were likely to see their trade crippled by Cossim Ali Khan, fell into a most violent fury at this treaty; and as the treaty was made without the concurrence of the rest of the Council, the Company's servants grew divided: one part were the advocates of the treaty, the other of the trade. The latter were universally of opinion that the treaty was bought for a great sum of money. The evidence we have on our records of the sums of money that are stated to have been paid on this occasion has never been investigated to the bottom; but we have it on record, that a great sum (70,000l.) was paid to persons concerned in that negotiation. The rest were exceedingly wroth to see themselves not profiting by the negotiation, and losing the trade, or likely to be excluded from it; and they were the more so, because, as we have it upon our journals, during all that time the trade of the negotiators was not proscribed, but a purwannah was issued by Cossim Ali Khan, that the trade of his friends Mr. Vansittart and Mr. Hastings should not be subject to the general regulations. This filled the whole settlement with ill blood; but in the regulation itself (I put the motive and the secret history out of the case) undoubtedly Mr. Hastings and Mr. Vansittart were on the right side. They had shown to a demonstration the mischief of this trade. However, as the other party were strong, and did not readily let go their hold of this great advantage, first, dissensions, murmurs, various kinds of complaints, and ill blood arose. Cossim Ali was driven to the wall; and having at the same time made what he thought good preparations, a war broke out at last. And how did it break out? This Cossim Ali Khan signalized his first acts of hostility by an atrocity committed against the faith of treaties, against the rules of war, against every principle of honor. This intended murderer of his father-in-law, whom Mr. Hastings had assisted to raise to the throne of Bengal, well knowing his character and his disposition, and well knowing what such a man was capable of doing,—this man massacred the English wherever he met them. There were two hundred, or thereabouts, of the Company's servants, or their dependants, slaughtered at Patna with every circumstance of the most abominable cruelty. Their limbs were cut to pieces. The tyrant whom Mr. Hastings set up cut and hacked the limbs of British subjects in the most cruel and perfidious manner, threw them into wells, and polluted the waters of the country with British blood. Immediately war is declared against him in form. That war sets the whole country in a blaze; and then other parties begin to appear upon the scene, whose transactions you will find yourselves deeply concerned in hereafter.
As soon as war was declared against Cossim, it was necessary to resolve to put up another Nabob, and to have another revolution: and where do they resort, but to the man whom, for his alleged tyranny, for his incapacity, for the numberless iniquities he was said to have committed, and for his total unfitness and disinclination to all the duties of government, they had dethroned? This very man they take up again, to place on the throne from which they had about two years before removed him, and for the effecting of which they had committed so many iniquities. Even this revolution was not made without being paid for. According to the usual order of procession, in which the youngest walk first, first comes the Company; and the Company had secured to it in perpetuity those provinces which Cossim Ali Khan had ceded, as it was thought, rather in the way of mortgage than anything else. Then, under the name of compensation for sufferings to the people concerned in the trade, and in the name of donation to an army and a navy which had little to do in this affair, they tax him—what sum do you think? They tax that empty and undone treasury of that miserable and undone country 500,000l. for a private emolument to themselves,—for the compensation for this iniquitous trade,—for the compensation for abuses of which he was neither the author nor the abettor, they tax this miserable prince 500,000l. That sum was given to individuals. Now comes the Company at home, which, on hearing this news, was all inflamed. The Directors were on fire. They were shocked at it, and particularly at this donation to the army and navy. They resolved they would give it no countenance and support. In the mean time the gentlemen did not trouble their heads upon that subject, but meant to exact and get their 500,000l. as they could.
Here was a third revolution, bought at this amazing sum, and this poor, miserable prince first dragged from Moorshedabad to Calcutta, then dragged back from Calcutta to Moorshedabad, the sport of fortune and the plaything of avarice. This poor man is again set up, but is left with no authority: his troops limited,—his person, everything about him, in a manner subjugated,—a British Resident the master of his court: he is set up as a pageant on this throne, with no other authority but what would be sufficient to give a countenance to presents, gifts, and donations. That authority was always left, when all the rest was taken away. One would have thought that this revolution might have satisfied these gentlemen, and that the money gained by it would have been sufficient. No. The partisans of Cossim Ali wanted another revolution. The partisans of the other side wished to have something more done in the present. They now began to think that to depose Cossim instantly, and to sell him to another, was too much at one time,—especially as Cossim Ali was a man of vigor and resolution, carrying on a fierce war against them. But what do you think they did? They began to see, from the example of Cossim Ali, that the lieutenancy, the ministry of the king, was a good thing to be sold, and the sale of that might turn out as good a thing as the sale of the prince.
For this office there were two rival candidates, persons of great consideration, in Bengal: one, a principal Mahomedan, called Mahomed Reza Khan, a man of high authority, great piety in his own religion, great learning in the law, of the very first class of Mahomedan nobility; but at the same time, on all these accounts, he was abhorred and dreaded by the Nabob, who necessarily feared that a man of Mahomed Reza Khan's description would be considered as better entitled and fitter for his seat, as Nabob of the provinces. To balance him, there was another man, known by the name of the Great Rajah Nundcomar. This man was accounted the highest of his caste, and held the same rank among the Gentoos that Mahomed Reza Khan obtained among the Mahomedans. The prince on the throne had no jealousy of Nundcomar, because he knew, that, as a Gentoo, he could not aspire to the office of Subahdar. For that reason he was firmly attached to him; he might depend completely on his services; he was his against Mahomed Reza Khan, and against the whole world. There was, however, a flaw in the Nabob's title, which it was necessary should be hid. And perhaps it lay against Mahomed Reza Khan as well as him. But it was a source of apprehension to the Nabob, and contributed to make him wish to keep all Mahomedan influence at a distance. For he was a Syed, that is to say, a descendant of Mahomet, and as such, though of the only acknowledged nobility among Mussulmen, would be by that circumstance excluded, by the known laws of the Mogul empire, from being Subahdar in any of the Mogul provinces, in case the revival of the constitution of that empire should ever again take place.
An auction was now opened before the English Council at Calcutta. Mahomed Reza Khan bid largely; Nundcomar bid largely. The circumstances of these two rivals at the Nabob court were equally favorable to the pretensions of each. But the preponderating merits of Mahomed Reza Khan, arising from the subjection in which he was likely to keep the Nabob, and make him fitter for the purpose of continued exactions, induced the Council to take his money, which amounted to about 220,000l. Be the sum paid what it may, it was certainly a large one; in consequence of which the Council attempted to invest Mahomed Reza Khan with the office of Naib Subah, or Deputy Viceroy. As to Nundcomar, they fell upon him with a vengeful fury. He fought his battle as well as he could; he opposed bribe to bribe, eagle to eagle; but at length he was driven to the wall. Some received his money, but did him no service in return; others, more conscientious, refused to receive it; and in this battle of bribes he was vanquished. A deputation was sent from Calcutta to the miserable Nabob, to tear Nundcomar, his only support, from his side, and to put the object of all his terrors, Mahomed Reza Khan, in his place.
Thus began a new division that split the Presidency into violent factions; but the faction which adhered to Nundcomar was undoubtedly the weakest. That most miserable of men, Mir Jaffier Ali Khan, clinging, as to the last pillar, to Nundcomar, trembling at Mahomed Reza Khan, died in the struggle, a miserable victim to all the revolutions, to all the successive changes and versatile politics at Calcutta. Like all the rest of the great personages whom we have degraded and brutalized by insult and oppression, he betook himself to the usual destructive resources of unprincipled misery,—sensuality, opium, and wine. His gigantic frame of constitution soon gave way under the oppression of this relief, and he died, leaving children and grandchildren by wives and concubines. On the old Nabob's death, Mahomed Reza Khan was acknowledged Deputy Nabob, the money paid, and this revolution completed.
Here, my Lords, opened a new source of plunder, peculation, and bribery, which was not neglected. Revolutions were no longer necessary; succession supplied their places: and well the object agreed with the policy. Rules of succession could not be very well ascertained to an office like that of the Nabob, which was hereditary only by the appointment of the Mogul. The issue by lawful wives would naturally be preferred by those who meant the quiet of the country. But a more doubtful title was preferred, as better adapted to the purposes of extortion and peculation. This miserable succession was sold, and the eldest of the issue of Munny Begum, an harlot, brought in to pollute the harem of the seraglio, of whom you will hear much hereafter, was chosen. He soon succeeded to the grave. Another son of the same prostitute succeeded to the same unhappy throne, and followed to the same untimely grave. Every succession was sold; and between venal successions and venal revolutions, in a very few years seven princes and six sales were seen successively in Bengal. The last was a minor, the issue of a legitimate wife, admitted to succeed because a minor, and because there was none illegitimate left. He was instantly stripped of the allowance of his progenitors, and reduced to a pension of 160,000 a year. He still exists, and continued to the end of Mr. Hastings's government to furnish constant sources of bribery and plunder to him and his creatures.
The offspring of Munny Begum clinging, as his father did, to Nundcomar, they tore Nundcomar from his side, as they had done from the side of his father, and carried him down as a sort of prisoner to Calcutta; where, having had the weakness to become the first informer, he was made the first example. This person, pushed to the wall, and knowing that the man he had to deal with was desperate and cruel in his resentments, resolves on the first blow, and enters before the Council a regular information in writing of bribery against Mr. Hastings. In his preface to that charge he excuses himself for what is considered to be an act equally insane and wicked, and as the one inexpiable crime of an Indian, the discovery of the money he gives,—that Mr. Hastings had declaredly determined on his ruin, and to accomplish it had newly associated himself with one Mohun Persaud, a name I wish your Lordships to remember, a bitter enemy of his, an infamous person, whom Mr. Hastings knew to be such, and as such had turned him out of his house,—that Mr. Hastings had lately recalled, and held frequent communications with this Mohun Persaud, the subject of which he had no doubt was his ruin. In the year 1775 he was hanged by those incorrupt English judges who were sent to India by Parliament to protect the natives from oppression.
Your Lordships will observe that this new sale of the office of ministers succeeded to the sale of that of nabobs. All these varied and successive sales shook the country to pieces. As if those miserable exhausted provinces were to be cured of inanition by phlebotomy, while Cossim Ali was racking it above, the Company were drawing off all its nutriment below. A dreadful, an extensive, and most chargeable war followed. Half the northern force of India poured down like a torrent on Bengal, endangered our existence, and exhausted all our resources. The war was the fruit of Mr. Hastings's cabals. Its termination, as usual, was the result of the military merit and the fortune of this nation. Cossim Ali, after having been defeated toy the military genius and spirit of England, (for the Adamses, Monroes, and others of that period, I believe, showed as much skill and bravery as any of their predecessors,) in his flight swept away above three millions in money, jewels, or effects, out of a country which he had plundered and exhausted by his unheard-of exactions. However, he fought his way like a retiring lion, turning his face to his pursuers. He still fought along his frontier. His ability and his money drew to his cause the Subahdar of Oude, the famous Sujah ul Dowlah. The Mogul entered into these wars, and penetrated into the lower provinces on one side, whilst Bulwant Sing, the Rajah of Benares, entered them on another. After various changes of party and changes of fortune, the loss which began in the treachery of the civil service was, as I have before remarked, redeemed by military merit. Many examples of the same sort have since been seen.