§ The order of the day being read for resuming the adjourned debate on the Oude Charge,
rose, and began by stating some alteration in his Resolutions. He then observed, by way of preliminary observations, on the complaint made by marquis Wellesley's friends of the delay in bringing forward this question. For his own part, he had used as much haste as was consistent with the importance of the subject, and the time indispensably necessary to read and maturely consider the voluminous documents produced and printed on the subject. He also disclaimed any attempts to prejudice the public mind against marquis Wellesley by means of the press; but he doubted extremely whether the friends of the noble marquis could say as much. He had seen but three pamphlets on the subject, only one of which appeared in any degree hostile to the noble marquis; and the other two were written to bias the public mind in his favour, and were distributed gratis, not only to the members of that house, but in like manner through all the principal taverns and coffee houses in London. Even some of the Resolutions which he himself had first offered to the house, had been published in the Papers with Alterations and Comments; and this publication he could with certainty trace to the friends of the noble marquis, from the circumstance, that they were precisely in the form in which he had transmitted these Resolutions to them, but in which he had subsequently made some verbal alterations. He did not complain of this; he left the house and the country to judge of the fairness and decency of such a proceeding, and of the strength of the cause which required such assistance; but he did say, that those, who held such a conduct themselves, should have been the very last to cry out at any attempts to prejudice the public mind.—All attempts, however, of the sort he utterly disclaimed for his part; and he equally denied the knowledge of any such by any other person.—Having premised thus much, the noble lord proceeded to his Charges against the noble marquis, to which he entreated the serious attention of the house. If he should not be able to establish this case, no man would more sincerely regret than himself that he had ever trespassed upon the time of the house; but should he be able to sustain his case, he trusted the 994 house would give to it the gravest consideration, and adopt those measures which a sense of public justice and national honour should dictate, unbiassed by feelings of favour or prejudice. The noble lord then proceeded to recapitulate the circumstances, under, which the interference of marquis Wellesley in the affairs of the reigning Nabob of Oude originated; which interference terminated in the violation of a solemn treaty between the East India Company and the Nabob, and, by depriving that prince of all authority whatever and controul within his own dominions, left him entirely at the mercy of the East India Company. In this case, the house were called on to judge between the noble marquis and the nabob; but he begged the house to recollect, that, in truth, there was only one party before them. The marquis Wellesley had every advantage. The case was to be tried on his own grounds: the only documents, his own account of the transaction. He was before the house, if not in person, at least represented by friends and relations, persons bound to him by ties of blood, by friendship, by services, by obligations. The nabob, on the other hand, had no representative but such as the justice of his cause and the cruelty of the oppression he had suffered had called forth. He had no means of telling his story; no opportunity of producing his proofs. The house ought to look with a partial and indulgent eye to his case. However, as the advocate of the nabob; he asked for nothing but justice; sheer naked justice— justice founded on the facts as lord Wellesley had himself related them; and he was sure that, if the house would but give a fair hearing to the case, these facts thus detailed would be sufficient to induce the house to mark, with the severest reprobation, the conduct of the noble marquis: he hoped, too, to afford some relief and mitigation to the unfortunate nabob.—Lord Folkestone then proceeded to comment upon the treatment which the nabob had experienced from the hands of lord Wellesley, as detailed in the papers on the table of the house; and, taking the course he had pursued in his Resolutions, to make good the grounds, on which they were founded.—In 1798, the nabob ascended the musnud of the Province of Oude, and on that occasion entered into a treaty with the. East India Company; which, being the last compact between the two powers, must be considered as the rule of their future connec- 995 tion. It was a gross disgraceful breach of that treaty with which lord Wellesley was charged—a breach unaccompanied by any circumstances of excuse or palliation, inasmuch as the other party, the nabob, on his side ever showed himself a scrupulous and attentive observer of all the provisions of it.—The treaty of 1798 provided, that the entire defence of the territories of Oude, as well against internal, as against external enemies, was to rest with the Company, in return for which the nabob was to pay, by monthly instalments, an annual subsidy of 76 lacks of rupees, or 912,000l. sterling; that for this purpose of defence the Company should constantly retain in Oude a force of from 10 to 13,000 men; and that if at any time the defence of Oude required the presence of more than 13,000 men, the nabob should defray the expence of the difference.— By this treaty it was further stipulated, that if at any time the monthly instalments of the subsidy should fall in arrear, the Company should then require security for the future regular payment of the same.—All political power, and even all communication with other states, was taken from the nabob; but full authority over the internal affairs of the country, "over his household affairs, hereditary dominions, his troops, and his subjects," was left to him by the express words of the treaty.—The house should observe the circumstances under which this nabob mounted the musnud. By the interference of the Company in behalf of his hereditary right, his predecessor, an acknowledged usurper, was removed.—But it is to be observed that this man, probably conscious of the Weakness of his title and the instability of his tenure, had endeavoured to acquire the affections of the troops by unbounded largesses, so that, when the change took place, the new nabob found them discontented at the change and disaffected to his person.—Again, the two preceding reigns had been signalized by great profusion and expence; the affairs of the country had been neglected, its finances dilapidated, agriculture neglected, the treasury emptied, and the most burthensome taxes imposed on the people.—Under these circumstances, considering the close connection subsisting between the Company and the Sovereigns of Oude, it was manifestly desirable to the former that a new and amended system of policy should be adopted, and a reform established in the civil and military arrangement of the 996 country.—It certainly was no less the interest of the nabob—it was his wish; we have frequent expressions of that wish; aye, and actions too in conformity therewith, notwithstanding all the accusations of lord Wellesley to the contrary. —According then, to this evident interest of the two contracting parties, an article was inserted in the treaty of 1798, that such a reform should be set about, and that the nabob should advise with the Bengal government on the occasion. The nabob, on his part, faithfully acted according to this stipulation.—Numerous are the passages in the papers to which I could refer for proof of this assertion.—I will, however, only detain the house with one. It is a passage in one of Col. Scott's letters; "the assertion made by his excellency of its being his desire to dismiss or get rid of his present troops by degrees is, I believe, strictly true; and consistent with that intention, he long ago prohibited the filling up of vacancies; so that the battallions called regular, excepting those under Almas, are not more than half their complement of men." And the house must not suppose that this exception of the troops of Almas was any contravention to this agreement; they are the troops which sir J. Craig on his evidence states he could alone depend upon in the hour of danger; and the avowed disposition of their leader to appear independent of the nabob, and to look to the protection of the British, preclude the possibility of any favour having been shewn to him from improper motives.—Equally punctual was the nabob in fulfilling the other stipulations of the treaty. The subsidy was paid regularly to the day. This is over and over again acknowledged by lord W.; and we have col. Scott's own testimony, that "the nabob was determined in all things to fulfil, with minute regularity, his peculiar engagements with the Company. So much for the nabob; now for the Bengal government; four months had scarcely elapsed, from the signature of the treaty of 1798, when lord W. arrived in India; and he forthwith forms a plan in direct opposition to the provisions of it, "for the total reduction of the troops of the nabob." Other affairs, however, of importance prevent his lordship from proceeding immediately in the business; and it was above a twelve-month before any scheme of the sort was brought to maturity. At that period, however, having overthrown the power of Tippoo, he began to take steps for the 997 purpose of putting into execution his project in Oude. With this view he orders troops to march into the country.—The professed object of their introduction, was defence against the threatened invasion of Zemaun Shah; but the real reason being so to overburthen the treasury of the nabob, as to compel him to disband his own forces; for the house will recollect, that those additional troops were to be paid by him. There was, however, another convenient motive with lord W.; the relief of the Company's finances. In vain did the nabob remonstrate against this measure; in vain did he plead the provisions of the treaty. Lord W. argued, that he was bound to defend him; and that it was impossible for him to do so, unless he maintained, in his dominions at all times, forces sufficient to contend against the most distant and improbable contingencies. The house doubtless will be astonished at such an argument being gravely stated and seriously urged; yet so it is, and on no better foundation were troops poured in upon the unfortunate nabob, till he was actually compelled, in order to find money for the payment of them, to disband his own troops. This resolution being once adopted, the work was proceeded in with diligence. No proposals of Scott's were objected to; the nabob patiently acquiesced in every suggestion, and things went on under his sole direction. One should therefore have hoped that the Bengal government would now at length have been satisfied, the means of security, which they wished for, were obtained, the interference, which they thought necessary, was accomplished; their troops were in possession of the country, and the nabob's power and person at their mercy. Not so, however, could lord W. be satisfied.—The country was exhausted, and there was danger that, at some time, the subsidy would not be regularly paid. Harrassed by renewed and increasing applications, the nabob at length expressed apprehensions to this effect; he in truth accompanied it by assurances of his best endeavours to remedy the danger, and an offer to lay open the state of his affairs to col. Scott, and to consult with him how to provide the necessary funds. Overlooking this fair offer, lord W. could see nothing but the danger, which he immediately pronounced to be imminent and alarming, and such as to be removed by nothing but a cession of territory, the annual revenue of which should equal the full amount of 998 the subsidy. Indeed, another proposition of a still more extensive nature was pressed over and over again: "the transfer to the Company of the exclusive management of the civil and military government of the country" was asked for; but, notwithstanding all his efforts to obtain this reasonable request, lord W. was disappointed. It will not be necessary to detain the house by a narration of all the negociations which arose upon these demands; suffice it to say, that after a very protracted negociation, in which, on the one side, is displayed all the arts of chicanary, accompanied with threats the most undisguised, and language of reproach and reviling the most contemptuous and unmerited, while on the other, patient forbearing, and earnest supplication were alone manifested, the unhappy nabob was compelled to yield to the Company a portion of territory of the alledged annual income of one crore and 35 lacks of rupees, or 1,620,000l. in perpetual sovereignty, and to deprive himself even of all efficient government over the remainder. This forced cession was finally settled by the treaty, as it is called, signed at Lucknow in 1802. "I do not wish," said the noble lord, "to detain the house, but I must offer a few observations on these proceedings: 1. The house will observe, that by the treaty of 1790, the Company were bound to maintain, at all times, in Oude, a certain number of troops; and, in case of necessity, to supply a larger number for its defence: That the constant stationary number was to be paid for by a fixed subsidy, and the increase by a proportionate increase of payment. Now it will appear evident, I think, that there could be no right to pour into Oude, and to burthen the nabob with an increased number, unless a real, bonâ fide, danger existed. Any such danger was so far from existing at the time when lord W. poured his forces into the country, that an attack of a pretended Golaum Hadier was made the pretext for the introduction of troops; and was persevered in even after his defeat and death had removed the possibility (probability there never was) of any danger arising from his arms. And, indeed, lord W.'s justification of this increase of troops in Oude is sufficient to prove the injustice of it. "It is impossible, says he, "to defend the country, (which I am bound to do,) without maintaining, at all times in it, a force sufficient to resist remote and contingent danger." A more preposterous doctrine was surely never maintained. And 999 let us see how he himself afterwards acted upon it. By the territorial cession he obtained revenues sufficient to provide pay for troops kept up to the number so required; did he then keep them up to that extent? No; not only did he never send that number represented by him as absolutely necessary for the defence of Oude; but on one occasion, when the nabob expressed a wish that, at least in return for the sacrifices he was about to make, he might have the security of such a defence, lord W. not only resists this demand as an injurious suspicion of the means of the Company, but enters into a long argument to prove that he had no right to expect such protection. 2. The house will observe that, by the treaty of 1798, the East India Company were only entitled to demand security for the future regular payment of the subsidy, when already fallen into arrear. The territorial cession was demanded as such security, but no arrears having been incurred, the demand was, by the terms of the treaty, premature and unjust. 3. It must be observed, that the demand of territorial cession, to the extent of one crore and 35 lacks, or 1,620,000l. was calculated on the concurrence of various Contingencies; the necessity of the presence of troops to quell the disturbances supposed likely to arise from the bad police of the ceded provinces; and to resist the invasion of Zemaun Shah; but demands were at the same time urged, which precluded altogether the necessity of these payments; in the first place by the treaty of 1802, the company reserved to themselves the right of superintending the police of the nabob's remaining territories; and at the time of the signature of the treaty, not only was there no prospect of invasion by the Shah, but all future danger of the kind was removed by his death and the dismemberment of his dominions. 4. It is to be observed, that the value of the ceded provinces was taken at a reduced and low rate; that they immediately rose in value, and have regularly been returned as producing more than the revenue at which they were estimated; so that on their own shewing the Bengal government have extorted more than, on their own principle, they had any right to demand. 5. It should not be omitted that, during the whole of the negotiations recorded in the Oude Papers, not only the utmost hauteur was constantly employed towards the nabob, but, at various times, demands of the most unjust and exorbitant 1000 nature were made on him; at one time the expences of an embassy to Persia; at another, demands for payment of troops; the data on which such demands were made, being avowedly false; the different corps being calculated as complete, though they were acknowledged not to be so; and the presence of the corps themselves being extremely doubtful. 6. There is another proceeding which makes a great figure in these papers, but which, as it does not finally affect the termination of the business, I have not insisted on.—I mean the negotiation set on foot in consequence of a proposal of the nabob to abdicate; of which I shall only say, that the conduct of lord W. on that occasion, seems to me altogether such as would have justified any jealousy of his interference, and suspicions of his motives, which the nabob might subsequently appear to have entertained."— After urging all these points at considerable length, lord Folkestone concluded by exhorting the house to banish from their minds all feelings of affection and partiality, and do justice between the parties whoever they might be; and moved the First of the following 12 Resolutions: viz.
- "That it appears to this house, that on or about the 21st of Feb. 1798, the nabob, Saadut Ali, ascended the musnud of the province of Oude; and that he then entered into a treaty with the East India Company, whereby it was agreed, that the said Company should defend his territory against all enemies whatsoever, and for this purpose should constantly keep up, in the province, a force of not less than 10,000, nor more than 18,000 men; in return for which defence, the said Company was to receive from him an annual subsidy of 76 lacks of rupees, paid by monthly kists, (or instalments): that in case the defence of the country should at any time demand a greater number of the Company's forces than 18,000 men, the nabob should defray the expence of the difference; that, in case the monthly kists should fall in arrear, the nabob should undertake then to give security for the future payment of the same; that the said nabob should maintain correspondence with no foreign state, unless with the knowledge and consent of the Company: but that he was to be allowed to 'possess full authority over his household affairs, hereditary dominions, his troops, and his subjects."
- "That it appears that the nabob's
1001 forces were composed of disorderly troops, unaccustomed to the rules of good discipline, and disaffected to his person ;—that the nabob himself was extremely desirous to remedy the defects of their constitution, and to bring them into good order ;—that, for that purpose, he made frequent applications to the government of Bengal, through the resident at Lucknow, for advice and assistance in forwarding this object, and in default of their co-operation, did himself adopt such measures as in a short time reduced his different regular battalions to half their complement ofmen.'"
- —"That it appears that the nabob was scrupulously punctual and regular in the discharge of the monthly kists (or instalments) of the subsidy; and that 'whilst he was determined to fulfil with minute regularity the peculiar engagements with the company, his views were directed to the enjoyment of a full authority over his houshold affairs, hereditary dominions, and subjects, according to the most strict interpretation of the clause of the 17th Article of the Treaty executed at Lucknow.'"
- —"That it appears that notwithstanding this good disposition of the nabob, the marquis Wellesley, soon after his arrival in Bengal, formed a plan for 'the total reduction of the troops of the nabob, with the exception of such part as might be necessary for the purposes of state, or the collection of revenue;' and, on or about the 5th of Nov. 1799, proceeded to take steps for putting the same into execution; —that, for that express purpose, he ordered troops to march into the territories of the nabob, and to take possession of particular posts in the same; and that he persisted in this measure, though it was not even insinuated that any danger from foreign invasion existed at the time; and, though 'the late defeat of the pretended Gholaum Hadier had considerably weakened the pretexts which his as sembled numbers and first success afforded;' in opposition to the remonstrances and wishes of the nabob, and in direct violation of the spirit and stipulations of the treaty."
- —"That it appears, that the said troops were so marched into the province of Oude, under the belief that the funds of the nabob being insufficient to defray this additional charge, he would be thereby compelled to disband his own troops; —that accordingly, about the 18th of Dec. 1799, the nabob having vainly attempted
1002 by intreaties and remonstrances to prevent the measure, did at length give a reluctant consent to the dismissal of his battalions; and on the 20th of Feb. 1800, issued orders to that effect;—that from that time, so far from creating obstacles or throwing difficulties in the way of their dismissal, he 'readily adopted every proposition' made by the resident for that purpose; so that by the month of Dec. 1800, twenty-three regular battalions and upwards of 1,200 horsemen had been discharged."
- —"That it appears, that on or about the 22nd of Jan. 1801, the marquis Wellesley proposed to 'interfere more actively and decidedly in the affairs of the province of Oude;' and that he accordingly directed the British resident at Lucknow, to offer to the nabob two propositions, either, first, 'to transfer to the company the exclusive management of the civil and military government of the country;'—or, 2ndly, 'to cede to the company in perpetual sovereignty, such a portion of territory as should be fully adequate, in its impoverished condition, to defray the amount of the subsidy to the full extent of the augmented force.'"
- —"That it appears, that the nabob positively and repeatedly rejected both these proposals; but that he was finally compelled, by threats and menances, to yield a portion of territory of the alledged annual income of one crore and 35 lacks of rupees, in the terms of the second proposition; and furthermore, to bind himself to establish in his remaining dominions, a system of police under the advice and controul of the company's officers, and in all affairs to submit to the opinion of the British resident."
- —"That it appears, that the demand of a territorial cession was made under the pretence of obtaining security for the regular payment of the subsidy; but that the nabob Saadut Ali was always punctual, not only in discharging the monthly kists, but also in satisfying the further demands made upon him on account of the additional troops, and incessant in his applications to the British resident for advice and assistance in providing permanent funds for the payment of the same; and that therefore the said demand of territorial cession was unjust, and in direct violation of the provisions of the treaty."
- —"That it appears that, pending the negotiations respecting the territorial cession, demands were urged upon the nabob
1003 for arrears of payment of troops, unjustifiable in their principle, and exorbitant in their amount, calculated upon the principle of 'including every fixed and contingent expence for buildings, camp equipage, &c.;' and 'on the supposition that the corps were complete;' though it was confessed that they were not so, and claimed upon grounds inconsistent with the true spirit of the treaty."
- —"That it appears, that the demand of territory in perpetual sovereignty, to the amount of one crore and 35 lacks of rupees of annual revenue, was exorbitant and unjust, inasmuch as it was perpetual possession in annual income to the full amount of a temporary and occasional demand; and inasmuch as the said temporary and occasional demand was in part calculated on the supposition of the necessity of the presence of troops—1st, to overawe the licentious disposition of the nabob's battalions, and to repress the disorders arising from the bad police of his reserved dominions; which necessity was however removed by the very treaty itself, whereby the nabob was bound to disband all his troops not necessary for the purposes of state, and of collection of revenue, and to establish in his reserved dominions a system of police, under the advice and controul of the company's officers; and, 2ndly, to defend the province of Oude against the dangers arising from the invasion of Zemaun Shah, though the nabob was at the same time called upon by the marquis Wellesley, to defray a 'proportion of the expences at 'tending the embassy into Persia,' which had been employed 'in negociating there an arrangement to prevent any return of the same danger.'"
- —"That it appears that the demand of the specific territory of the alledged annual revenue of one crore and 35 lacks of rupees, was exorbitant and unjust; inasmuch as it was capable of immediate increase, and actually did yield, in the year immediately succeeding, the actual revenue of one crore and 57 lacks of rupees; and the settlement thereof for the 3 next succeeding years was at the average annual amount of one crore and 80 lacks of rupees, independent of the profit derivable from the monopoly of salt, estimated at 11 lacks; inasmuch as the said revenue was regularly and progressively increasing from year to year; and inasmuch as Mr. Henry. Wellesley, the governor of the ceded provinces, stated, that he had no
1004 doubt, that 'the settlement of the land revenue for the second period of 3 years would not be less than 2 crores of rupees;' and that 'the land revenue of these provinces, when fully cultivated, would amount to two crores and 50 lacks of rupees.'"
- — "That it appears from the whole of the transactions related in the Papers now under consideration, and from the negotiations carried on by the marquis Wellesley with the nabob Saadut Ali, in the year 1798, 1799, 1800, 1801, and 1802, that the said marquis Wellesley, actuated by unjustifiable ambition and love of power, had formed schemes of aggrandizement and acquisition of territory, in direct opposition to the established policy of the East India company;—that he pursued this object by means offensive, and with a spirit irritating to the nabob, with a total disregard of the recorded opinions of this house, and the provisions of two several acts of parliament; and that he finally succeeded in wresting from this unfortunate prince, against his will, a large portion of his territory, and in depriving him of all effective government over the remainder; in direct violation of every principle of good faith, equity, and justice, and in open breach of the sacred obligation of a solemn treaty; and that he has thereby affixed a lasting stigma and reproach on the British name and character, and contributed to destroy all confidence in the moderation, justice, and good faith of the British government in India."
The first Resolution having been read from the Chair,
§ Mr. Whitshed Keene
rose and said:— Sir; The noble lord has informed the house, that the Resolutions he has moved, are founded on the information he has drawn from the documents which have been laid before it to illustrate the transactions that took place in the province of Oude, during the administration of lord Wellesley. I by no means agree that those documents bear out these Resolutions, on the contrary, to my conviction they justify the very reverse. But, sir, what has induced me at this moment to obtrude myself on the house, is a persuasion that in order to form a sound opinion on this important subject, it is necessary to go much deeper into it than the noble lord has thought proper to do. I apprehend every gentleman will agree that ascertaining what has been the real relation between the British nation through its represen- 1005 tative the India Company and the province of Oude, and what are the duties and rights respectively belonging to it and the native chiefs, with whom it has been involved, since it was forced to emerge into a territorial from being a mercantile concern, ought to save much time, as whatever may he said which does not apply to these relations may be very good declamation, but is not argument. Appeals to its humanity and justice have always, and I trust ever will be favourably received, but when those appeals are made, it becomes the good sense of this house to examine carefully the grounds, least their heads should be the dupes of their hearts, and intending humanity and justice should produce results directly opposite. I conceive for this salutary purpose it is necessary to trace the origin and progress of the British connections in India, and knowing the apathy this house, unfortunately for the publick, has shewn on those subjects, I shall take up as little of its time, as the nature of that investigation will admit. As anonymous, and unacknowledged publications, bold assertions gratuitously advanced in this house or out of this house, can have no effect on its good sense, I beg leave to state that the opinions I entertain on this great subject are drawn from the series of facts recorded by Mr. Orme in his history of the wars sustained by the British company and nation in Bengal and the Carnatick, and from Mr. Verelst's account of the rise and progress of the British company in Bengal. The works of these two gentlemen having been before the public 50 years, and having been stamped with the character of truth and impartiality by a great majority of the principal actors in those scenes and of their successors, I conceive, will be admitted indisputable authority; it is to be regretted, that with their means and talents they did not continue their labours to a later period. It appears from their authorities that while the Mogul government retained its vigour, the vassal chiefs styled nabobs, were appointed only to enforce the orders from Delhi, that the places called fortresses in those districts were intrusted to killedars or governors independent of the nabob, that the collection of the revenues was in the, hands of officers called dewans, alike independent of him, that his emoluments arose from a jaghire or assignment in some other district with which he had no other connection, and that it had been the con- 1006 stant policy of the mogul, to remove nabobs so frequently, in order to prevent, their acquiring hold in their districts, that Mr. Orme tells us, one of them going from Delhi, rode with his face towards the horse's tail, saying he looked out for his successor. On the decline of the Mogul empire from the contests amongst the successors of Aurengzebe, and after its being completely broke down by the invasion of Nadir Shaw, who carried away 100 millions sterling from Delhi and massacred 100,000 of its inhabitants, the power of coercing the several provinces and districts which composed the vast mass of the Mogul empire, no longer existing, they fell into the hands of those chiefs whom a modern periodical reviewer has emphatically and truly described as victorious assassins, consummate traitors, and experienced robbers more skilled in breaking than in making treaties, and less formidable from their swords than their daggers. And after a disgusting repetition of assassinations, poisonings, and putting out of eyes, the boldest and most fortunate having the power of the sword in their hands, and no superior sword to control them, assumed all those powers which under the mogul had been studiously kept separate and declared their possessions hereditary. As long as the Mogul empire continued in vigour, a British factory at Calcutta carried on a profitable mercantile concern, in consequence of valuable privileges conceded in return for important medical relief rendered to the mogul and the nabob of Bengal by superior European skill. After its decline, during the progress of the subsequent transactions, the British factory, notwithstanding frequent exactions of the chiefs, still carried on a valuable commerce in consequence of the privileges that were left to them. But on the accession of a ferocious youth to the succession of a victorious assassin and consummate traitor, who not many years before became nabob of Bengal, the opinion of the opulence of the British factory roused his avarice, and with a mighty rabble he invested Calcutta. After a feeble attempt to defend the settlement, the greatest number of the Europeans sheltered themselves on board their ships, and about 150 remained in the fort. In a few days those in the fort surrendered on capitulation for their lives; but this ferocious youth disappointed in what he found in the settlement, ordered them to be confined, with the view of ex- 1007 torting treasure which he imagined they had concealed, about 147 were forced into 2 dungeon for the night 20 feet square, out of which the following morning 26 were brought out alive.—When an account of this desperate state of the British interests in Bengal, was brought to Madras, which was then the superior presidency, they determined to divert a force, which had been prepared for another purpose, to the attempt to relieve Bengal. Fortunately for his country a man who had distinguished himself by repeated military and political talents, was selected for the command, and col. Clive, was sent with it. With this force and the cordial and gallant co-operation of admiral Watson with the British squadron, they forced the nabob's numberless rabble to evacuate the settlement, and following them in their retreat, after a fruitless negotiation with the nabob, but securing the cooperation of Meer Jaffier, one of the chiefs who knew he was destined to destruction by the nabob, col. Clive attacked with his trifling force 30 times their number at Plassy, and having effected a compleat de-route thereof, he advanced to Muxadabad the capital, and placed Meer Jaffier on the musnud with the general acquiescence of the natives, who accustomed to be equally oppressed by all their chiefs cared not who was placed there. This observation seems necessary in order to account for the ease with which those rapid changes of chiefs take place in that country. After remaining some time longer in Bengal, and having settled as he thought its government, he returned to Europe. Not long after discontents and distrusts arose between this nabob Meer Jaffier and the council at Calcutta, which produced his removal and placing his relative Cossem Ally Khan in his room. This change was attended with large emoluments to the members of the said council. The same discontents and jealousies arising from pretensions mutually disallowed inflamed this nabob, who was more ferocious than his predecessor to the degree of assassinating some of the company's servants at Patna. To avenge which the company's troops advanced, and defeating the nabob's army drove him out of the country. He took refuge with the nabob vizier of Oude, who pretending to restore him, but really meaning to possess himself of Bengal, collected, under the authority of the degraded mogul, a large force which was defeated and dispersed by the company's troops at Buxar. After 1008 this defeat the mogul separated his interests from those of the nabob, and put himself under the protection of the company at Benares. Meer Jaffier was again placed on the musnud, not without marks of gratitude to his restorers. Things continued sometime in this situation, and an account of the confusion which prevailed in Bengal, being sent to England, the company induced lord Clive to return there as best qualified, from the well earned authority acquired by his former conduct, to restore order. Before he arrived, the nabob vizier being joined by a Mahratta force in addition to what he could raise in Oude, thought himself able to attain what he had in view, and in opposition to the mandate of the mogul, who continued under British protection, prepared to attack them. On this the mogul declared him deposed from the vizcerat, and by a treaty with the company assigned him certain parts of the province of Oude. The British army advanced, and attacking the nabob's confederate forces at Calpy, defeated and dispersed them, taking the nabob Soujah Dowlah prisoner, and the whole province was in their power. In this posture of affairs lord Clive arrived, and from the view he took of the financial and military resources of the company at that time, judging it unsafe and impolitic to retain any accession of territory, he prevailed on the mogul to re-establish the nabob, who had been two months prisoner in the British camp, in the province of Oude and the vizcerat, under the protection of the company, who consented to withdraw their troops on the payment of 50 lacks of rupees as reimbursement of the expences of the war, and bouud themselves to defend the province in case of attack with their whole force should it be necessary, the expence of the same to be defrayed by the nabob. From these facts it appears, that the province by right of conquest belonged to the company: that from prudential motives alone lord Clive, with that decision and sagacity which marked his military and political life, declined retaining any part of the province under the junnud of the mogul, and in lieu thereof accepted the dewanny of Bengal, Bahar, and Orissa. As he had laid the foundation of the British power in that country by the victory at Plassey, by this measure he gave it such stamina, that the abuses and misrule which prevailed there for some years, after he quitted the country, were not able to destroy it. And here, sir 1009 beg leave to lay before you in his own words the reasons he gave to the court of directors for having adopted this important measure. "The perpetual struggles for superiority between the nabobs and your agents, together with the recent proofs before us of notorious and avowed corruption, have rendered us unanimously of opinion, after the most mature deliberation, that no other method can be found, of laying the axe to the root of all those evils, than the obtaining the dewanny of Bengal, Bahar and Orissa for the company. By this acquisition of the dewanny your possessions and influence are rendered permanent and secure, since no future nabob will either have power or riches sufficient to attempt your overthrow by means either of force or corruption. All revolutions must henceforwards be at an end, as there will be no fund for secret services donations, or restitutions: the nabob cannot answer the expectations of the venal and mercenary, nor will the company comply with demands injurious to themselves out of their own revenues. The experience of years has convinced us, that a division of power is impossible, without generating discontent and hazarding the whole; all must belong either to the company or the nabob. The power is now lodged where it can only be lodged with safety to us, so that we may pronounce with some degree of confidence, that the worst which will happen in future will proceed from temporary ravages only. The more we reflect on the situation of your affairs, the stronger appear the reasons for accepting the dewanny of those provinces, by which alone we could establish a power sufficient to perpetuate the possessions we hold, and the influence we enjoy. While the nabob acted in quality of collector for the mogul, the means of supporting our military establishments depended on his pleasure. In the most critical situations, while we stood balancing on the extreme verge of destruction, his stipulated payments were slow and deficient, his revenues withheld by disaffected rajahs and turbulent zemindars, who despised the weakness of his government; or they were squandered in profusion and dissipated in corruption, the never failing symptoms of a declining constitution and feeble administration. Hence we were frequently disappointed of those supplies, upon the punctual receipt of which depended the very existence of the company in Bengal. Happy would it have been for Great Britain and the Carnatic had the 1010 government thereof, after having acquired the right and power by having conquered the country from France, avoided the fatal delusion of letting the dewanny slip out of their hands. The above description of the evils apprehended in Bengal, faintly represents what were realised in the Carnatic. Enough of this, until that question comes before the house. Sir, it appears that things remained for some years in this state, with an English brigade stationed in the province of Oude, until an invasion of it by a formidable combined Mahratta force under Scindia and Holkar in 1773, the whole British army advanced and completely defeated them. In the year 1774 the Rohilla chiefs declining to fulfil their engagements of paying 40 lacks of rupees towards the expence of repelling the invasion of their country, and also manifesting a hostile disposition towards the vizier, the British army subdued them, and conquering the whole of Rohillund, placed it all under the government of Oude, with the exception of a few districts granted in jaghire to Fyzoola Khan, a chief who had submitted to their arms. On the death of Soujah Dowlah in 1775, and the investiture of his son Azoph ul Dowlah in the province of Oude and its dependencies, obtained from the mogul through the direct influence of the British government, a new treaty for an increased English force and subsidy was made in a few years. This force, in consequence of the misrule of Azoph ul Dowlah, was found insufficient for the preservation of the internal tranquillity and external defence of the country, and it became necessary to strengthen it with a temporary brigade and adequate increase of subsidy, and in 1781 with a permanent augmentation, as it had now become a most important barrier to the British possessions. The continuation of the same misrule producing a progressive anarchy and decline in the resources of the districts under the nabob vizier, and his thoughtless extravagance disabling him from fulfilling his engagements with the company, he had recourse, in order to answer its demands, to those ruinous measures of borrowing money from natives and Europeans at 3, 4, and 5 per cent. per mensem, as detailed in No. 7, a paper reprinted for the use of the house. In this approaching ruin of the resources and inhabitants of a country which had belonged to the company by right of conquest, and which it was bound to protect after it had re-established the nabob vizier, 1011 with which it became so involved by succeeding treaties that it was impossible to withdraw, without causing the immediate destruction of that country and thereby endangering its own; you find that in all the communications from the court of directors to the supreme government in Bengal, the most urgent object to be, the reform and amelioration of the province of Oude, by the interference and exertion of that government. Accordingly you see that from the moment lord Cornwallis was sent there in 1786, how assiduously he applied his mind to that most important subject. As the powers with which his lordship went there, form a new æra in the system of Indian government, it seems proper to take notice of it. The inadequacy of the constitution of the company, which had been formed on mercantile principles, to govern an imperial concern, had the fate of a dwarf's garment forced upon a giant, and was broke through in every part. Prior to 1774 many of the servants of the company abroad setting at nought the orders of the court of directory, and trusting for impunity to private interest, or a combination of interests amongst the proprietors, yielded to the temptation of rapidly acquiring large fortunes, by availing themselves of the power which situation gave them to pillage and oppress the miserable ryots and inhabitants; and universal anarchy prevailed over the country. In order to cure all those evils, in 1774 the legislature thought fit, to appoint a governor general, and four counsellors, with new powers to control and superintend all the British settlements; but from the reluctance of the British parliament to vest, summary powers in an individual, and therefore the governor general being controlable by a majority of said council, difference of opinion, although the contending parties acted from their views of the public interest, produced irritation and discord as to the measures of government, and insubordination and anarchy in the country. To cure this evil the legislature at length saw the necessity, and vested in the governor general a summary power to act on his opinion and responsibility. With this power that excellent man whose head seldom erred, his heart never, went to Bengal. His habits of life, all the adventitious circumstances attending him, and the personal consideration derived from them, qualified him peculiarly for what was to be done at .that,time in Bengal. The reports from your committees in 1781,-2, and 3, 1012 which were formed principally by the indefatigable industry and perseverance of Mr. Burke, who applied all the powers of his mighty mind to unravel and enlighten all the intricacies and obscurities in which the transactions in that country had been studiously involved, pointed out a variety of abuses, to remedy which, regulations were enacted by parliament. These, that noble lord carried into execution and added a most important measure of his own, which a man of less weight and rank in this country, probably, could not have carried through; it was, to give the servants of the company such salaries as would enable them to live properly, and in a reasonable time make a provision for futurity; but precluding them from all indirect means of making money, instead of the mercantile system of giving small salaries and conniving at those means. By this wise and liberal policy, in addition to the parliamentary enactments, by his own bright example, he established a purity in Bengal, and laid a foundation for its progressive happiness, to compensate to its inhabitants for what they formerly still-bred from his countrymen. And yet, sir, during the government of such a man, and that of his successor, a man no less pure, Europeans and even a servant of the company, as appears by the paper above alluded to, were accelerating the ruin and distress of the province of Oude by usurious loans unknown to those governors. It is necessary to notice this, as it tends to prove that nothing but a cession of territory instead of subsidy could preclude the recurrence of the same mischiefs. You will find, sir, in the many communications between the nabob of Oude, his ministers and lord Cornwallis, personal and by letters, exhortations to ameliorate and reform the abuses under which that country laboured; it is true in as mild terms to the nabob as such strong truths could be conveyed, but telling the ministers that they were responsible to the British, government for their conduct., and that they would be supported by it accordingly as they acted right. You will ,find by the whole tenor of lord Cornwallis's correspondence with Oude, that though he studied to avoid hurting the pride of the nabob, he considered the British government vested with the right, as well as the power of controlling" his government; and in one of his lordship's last communications when he was returning to Europe, he warns the, nabob that the consequence of his misrule might produce ex- 1013 treme measures on the part of the company for their own safety, which was involved in the safety of Oude (Lord Cornwallis's words are as follow, in his letter to the nabob dated 29th Jan. 1793. "I have offered my advice as a friend, and flatter myself that you set that value on the company's friendship that will induce you to listen to their counsels in a manner that may render unnecessary any other measures on the part of the company for their own security and defence.") Notwithstanding all these exhortations, the same wretched system continued, and this country, which was a frontier in that quarter front whence most danger was to be apprehended, and which could be defended only by its resources, was reduced to the most extreme misery and distress. Lord Cornwallis's successor, sir John Shore, made remonstrances; the nabob continued his misrule. In 1794 a case happened however which proved the opinion sir J. Shore entertained of the relation between the nabob and the company. On the death of Fyzoola Khan, the chief above mentioned, who enjoyed a jaghire dependant on Oude, the second son murdering his elder brother, was invested by the nabob with the succession, on his engaging to him an increased tribute. Sir J. Shore, on learning the circumstances, ordered a considerable British force to march against the murderer, and notwithstanding the remonstrance of the nabob, drove him out and vested his succession in the infant son of the murdered eider brother. In the latter end of the year 1797, this nabob, Azoph ul Dowlah, died, and a reputed son, vizier Ally, was placed on the musnud, with the usual forms of investiture obtained from the mogul through the influence of the governor general. This youth, under 20 years old, soon exhibited great profligacy and ferocity, with a determined hostility to the British interests. These accounts being brought to Fort William, accompanied by representations from many of the principal persons in Oude, (to whom it was known that this youth was the son of a woman introduced into the zenena big with child, and of a father of the meanest order) the injustice of permitting such a person to hold the musnud in preference to the next brother of the late nabob, and the son of Soujah ul Dowlah. On these considerations, sir J. Shore proceeded to Lucknow, where he had ordered a large body of British troops to meet him, and having satisfied himself of the justice and necessity of the measure, 1014 he deposed this young man, and established the next brother, and son of Soujah Dowlah. In these instances the governor general exercised a sovereignty not surpassed by any act of Aurungzebe over his vassal states. A new treaty was made, with this nabob vizier Saadut Ally, for an increased British force, with an increased subsidy, and some important districts were ceded to the company, with reimbursement of the expence of putting their army in motion. Soon after this, sir J. Shore returned to Europe. His successor, on his arrival in Bengal, found that country agitated with an expected invasion by Zeman Schah, and soon after by the insurrection of the deposed young nabob vizier at Benares, where having collected a number of followers, he murdered the resident, with some other Englishmen, and fled into the province of Oude, where he collected between 5 and 6000 men, and was joined by some of the present nabob's troops who had been sent to stop his progress. These having been defeated by part of the British army, and the insurrection quelled, and Zeman Schah being fortunately obliged to fall back by disturbances in his own country, gave time to examine the state of Oude, and take the measures necessary for the defence of that province, which was the first object of Zeman Schah's invasion. It appeared that there was a rabble of an army amounting to near 40,000, but of a nature that the nabob declared he considered them as his enemies, and could not think himself safe in Lucknow without a considerable British force near his person. The British generals all declared that the existence of that army would be a powerful diversion in favour of Zeman Schah, in case he resumed his intention, and the nabob, impressed at that time with the danger, earnestly applied to the governor general for his assistance to reduce it, who in consequence sent a most able British officer to effect that great object. In this situation of things the war with Tippoo broke out, and the governor general went to the Carnatic, where having by great energy collected and put in motion in a few months the most powerful army ever assembled in India, Seringapatam was taken, Tippoo killed, and his whole dominions possessed by the English. Having by a skilful and fortunate enterprise at Hyderabad destroyed the French influence there, and having by his regulations in Mysore brought all the resources of that country, from whence the company apprehended the greatest 1015 danger, to its aid, he returned to Bengal, leaving the Carnatic in a state of security it had never known before. He found the important reforms in Oude but little advanced, the nabob, though the proposal of reducing his troops originated from him, when the danger from them was strong on his mind from Zeman Schah's invasion, yet as this decreased, he became irresolute, and brought forward proposals and evasions to create delay. The security of this important frontier, which the company was bound both by treaty and its own safety to defend, was an object of too vital a concern for the governor general to permit himself to be baffled in. As an article in the last treaty empowered the company to increase its forces in Oude to the extent judged necessary for its defence, and as by the same treaty the nabob is bound to give satisfactory security for the payment of the same, the governor general knowing from the uncertainty of payments of former inferior subsidies, in times of profound peace which Oude had enjoyed for many years (and which were only found by those usurious loans the exaction of which spread ruin and desolation amongst millions of the wretched inhabitants) how little reliance could be placed on the discharge of an increased subsidy in time of war, when a failure might be attended with disastrous consequences, and knowing the progressive decline of the resources of the country under the nabob vizier's government, demanded in lieu of subsidy a cession of territory, the produce of which, in its declining state, was equivalent to the support of the increased number of troops, which from the state of things was judged necessary for the protection of the province of Oude and its dependencies. To this demand the nabob vizier opposed many difficulties, during near two years. Although it had been proved repeatedly that without the British troops the dominions of Oude, if not entirely swallowed up, would have undergone great defalcations; although he felt and acknowledged that without them, his person was not secure from his own numerous and disorderly rabble, yet from irresolution of character, practised upon by those about him, who saw that by this measure, their means of enriching themselves, by the pillage and oppression of the miserable inhabitants would be exceedingly reduced, yet it was with reluctance on his, part he assented to a treaty, which precluded any further demand upon him in any possible case, by 1016 which his own dangerous and disorderly army was to be reduced merely to what was necessary for purposes of state, in lieu of which the country was to be defended at all times, by a considerable increase of troops under British discipline. By this treaty, those districts which surrounded the antient state of Oude, which were held by turbulent Zemindars, who had many troops and strong fastnesses, from whom he could not draw revenue without annually sending a superior force to collect it at a decreased jumma; which were most exposed to temporary depredations, and through which a powerful invasion must pass, was ceded in perpetuity to the company, and the necessity of making good a subsidy, by those usurious loans which had so large a share in the ruin of the country, and which from the nature of things must recur again, if the connection continued on the same footing, was for ever put an end to. The event has proved that the supreme government consulted not less the comfort and security of the nabob vizier, by this great measure than it did its own. This treaty was concluded on Nov. 10th 1801, and he now enjoys from his reserved dominions a larger income applicable to his personal gratifications, than he did when he possesesd those ceded districts subject to the payment of an inferior subsidy, and at the same time the comfort and security of those millions who were formerly oppressed and pillaged, by his numerous armed rabble, is materially improved. In the ceded districts, by those Zemindars who, possessed of troops and strong forts, were accustomed to dictate their own terms to the weakness of the vizier's government, much opposition was made to the .establishment of the company's government, and it is to be lamented in some instances much blood has been spilt. Such feudal anarchy was incompatible with safety and good order; as it shewed itself, it has been subdued by the vigour and discipline of the British arms; and the lenity and beneficence of those British institutions which from 1786 have progressively increased the happiness and prosperity of the Bengal provinces, have been introduced. Much time had not elapsed, before an opportunity occurred for the vizier to shew his feelings as to the change in his situation, and for the inhabitants of as important ceded district to shew what they felt. During the contest with the Mahrattas, a difficulty arising from a delay of supply of 1017 money and other requisites for the advance of the company's army, the nabob vizier voluntarily came forward with a considerable loan without interest, and assisted with all the resources of his country. On the incursion of a formidable Pitan chief into the ceded district whereof he was a native, where he had powerful connections, and where formerly he would have found Much co-operation, so few chewed themselves inclined to him, that he thought it prudent to retreat, doing but inconsiderable mischief. Another tempting occasion offered for the nabob to show dissatisfaction, if he had not experienced advantage from the new treaty, when, upon the proposal from a servant of the company (who was on his return to this country, and was supposed to have powerful connections here,) to be appointed his agent for the purpose of representing and obtaining redress of those hardships which he imagined the nabob vizier felt from the act of the British government; the nabob declined his interference, and testified by his conduct, feelings of a direct opposite nature. From all these circumstances, it can scarcely be doubted, but that he would think himself little obliged to those hon. gentlemen in this house who have advocated his cause, as they think, with so much zeal and eloquence, if they succeeded in putting him back into his former situation. The external political effects of this great measure may be appreciated by the facilities which it afforded to that energy of counsel, and exertion of military talents, by which, in a few months, fortresses deemed impregnable were taken by storm; arsenals filled with all military implements according to the European system of war, were seized; an army consisting of between 30 and 40,000 men, not such rabble as have hitherto composed a native army, but of troops formed and trained during many years in European tactics by M. de Roigne, but then under French influence; supported by a great superiority of compleat well served artillery; maintained by large revenues arising, from provinces in their possession which led into the heart of your dominions, compleatly annihilated; in consequence of which you are now in possession of those arsenals, arid revenues of those provinces; and what is not less important you have rescued the person of the mogul from that French influence which knew well how to employ his name to your detriment. Those who have had the means of 1018 best knowing the respective circumstances and localities of the countries in question, are convinced that had not this arrangement with the nabob vizier taken place, the increased difficulties must have prevented the above brilliant success. Sir, I have many apologies to make for having taken up so much of the time of the house, and shall trouble it with but one observation more. There are many respectable persons in this house, and in this country, who do not attach the importance which I do to the annihilation of the formidable force, and total change in those provinces on the north western frontier of the British possessions. But, sir, when the unceasing activity of Buonaparte, his talents of address aid intrigue, which let no opportunity of advancing his views against British power it India escape him, are considered; when it is known that the first cargo from France to Pondicherry in 1802 on. peace between us consisted of 200 French officers, (greatest part of whom, from the nature of things, would have endeavoured to make ther way to where they would have been most useful, that is, to that formidable force under French influence in the north western provinces, had they not been prevented by the wisdom and vigour of the government of Madras who sent them all back to Europe) I say, sir; that I cannot doubt but that if those vigorous measures had nit been adopted; that if there had remained such a fulcrum for Buonaparte to set his lever upon, even without the additions of those French officers, he would have shaken the British interests to their foundation, and at least a most dangerous war world have long since taken place in the centre of your possessions both in Indostan and the Decan, instead of his being obliged to encounter all the difficulties and delays of coming now from the Caspian to attack your frontiers, which there is every reason to think will be on the Indus. With these opinions on the justice and necessity of this treaty with the nabob vizier, and al those important consequences, I cannot hesitate in thinking the supreme government of Bengal is entitled to the gratitude of the country, for having, by its vigour and foresight, most importantly augmented he security of the British interests in many quarters, and guarding against darters which threatened them from no garter more eminent than the north of Indostan.
§ Sir John Anstruther,
rose to reply to the speech of the noble lord. As far as that 1019 noble lord was personally concerned, he had conducted the affair then before the house, in a manner which corresponded with his character, and the rank that he held in the country. Still, however, his noble friend's situation had been a hard one. A libel against him had been lying for a long period on the table of the house, and had in consequence been generally circulated, with something like an air of authority; the author of which, had it been promulgated in any other manner, would ere now have experienced the severity of the law. Before he entered on the subject, he would observe that the character of this prosecution against the marquis Wellesley, differed materially from that of any other India prosecution. In every preceding India prosecution, not errors of policy alone, but personal corruption, had been attributed to the individual accused. No man had dared, in the present instance, to whisper the slightest insinuation of such a nature against the noble marquis. Certainly, the last Resolution of the noble lord charged his noble frond with ambition, and a love of power, evinced by his actions, at the very moment that he was retiring from his high situation. This prosecution contained within itself an evident contradiction. A learned gent. not just now in parliament, had sail that there were three parties in this investigation; the noble marquis, the court of directors, and the suffering millions it India. The two first unquestionably were parties in the investigation; but with;aspect to the suffering millions in India, did not that learned gent. know, that the accuation of the chiefs and rajahs of India against the British government there, that it was a government for the protection of the lower orders, who, in the provinces under British influence, enjoyed a degree of security and happiness, for which they in vain sought in any other par of Asia? The suffering millions of India therefore, were no parties to this cause. The noble lord had expressed his hope that no person would decide on this question from motives of personal attachment. For himself, the long friendship ,with which he had been honoured by the noble marquis, had naturally created in his mind feelings of the highest respect and attachment; but in communicating to the house his sentiments on the subject, he was actuated by nobler motives. He had himself been in India; he had witnessed the danger at which it had trembed; he had 1020 witnessed the joy which the relief that the noble marquis's measures afforded had occasioned. He had heard the opinions in India of the most faithful and the most intelligent of the company's servants, and he had never heard a doubt expressed of the justice and propriety of the noble marquis's conduct. It would be enough for the vindication of the noble marquis, were he to state that the principles on which he acted had been approved of by the government who employed him. This would be enough for the vindication of every executive officer. But he would go further, he would slew that even had that approbation not been given, the noble marquis's conduct would have been not the less justifiable and honourable. The subject resolved itself into two parts, the transmutation of subsidy for territory, and the military interference with the province of Oude. With regard to the first point, the measures which the noble marquis pursued were imperiously called for. He was guided by the declaration of the East India company, repeatedly made; for instance, to lord Hobart, who was instructed to transmute subsidy into territory, in order that the territory from which the company were to derive support in war should be in their hands during peace, and be thus rendered more available when a period of war might occur. When the noble marquis first went out to India, he was charged by the court of directors with similar instructions, to change subsidy for territory; and when he failed in an undertaking of that nature (from circumstances which it was not necessary to state) they lamented that failure. Subsequently, when the noble marquis effected a transmutation of subsidy for territory with the rajah of Tanjore, the court of Directors thanked him for so doing. After this, they could not surely turn short round and say that an accession of territory in India was against the law in all cases. There was another reason why they could not say this: thinking highly of the services of the noble marquis in the war against Tippoo Sultaun, the court of directors had behaved to him as a great body ought to behave to a great man, and had rewarded him with a pension during the continuance of their charter, expressly declaring that by the destruction of Tippoo the company had gained a great accession of territory!' How, then, could the noble marquis suppose, after this explicit declaration, that 1021 there could be any disapprobation of future transmutation? But, this was not all. The noble marquis had, in this particular instance, informed the company of his intentions; he had told them that he meant to avail himself of the existing circumstances in Oude, to introduce the British power into that country. To this the company expressed no objection; they never replied, that it was against the law, or entreated him to desist from the execution of his plans, It was therefore fairly to be inferred, that those plans met with their concurrence. With regard to the other part of the subject, the introduction of military force into the Dewab, was it not evidently the wish of the directors that the civil and military power of the nabob of Oude should be reduced? When the noble marquis acquainted them that he was about to reform the useless and even dangerous battalions of the nabob, they in answer approved of his intention, and when he had compleated his military, to effect a civil reform; and was it to be endured that the noble marquis should now be told that these were measures highly criminal, and that he had fixed an everlasting stigma on. the British name and character in India? But, this was not all; after the noble marquis had effected his objects, he received the approbation of the directors, at least of the secret committee, which was a sufficient justification. To prove this, it would be necessary to refer to the letter from that committee, dated the 29th of Dec. 1802, in answer to one of the noble marquis, in which he acquainted them with what had been done in Oude, and intimated his intention of retiring from the high situation which he held in India. In this answer the committee, instead of censuring the noble marquis for the line of conduct which he had adopted, entreated that he would remain another year, and finish the work which he had so happily begun. Was not this a bona fide approbation? Unquestionably, there were some among the directors who did not approve of the noble marquis's proceedings. The deputy chairman, for instance, (who was entitled to the highest respect), had uniformly expressed his dislike to them but still, the opinion of the great majority of the directors was in his favour. He would now, however, argue the question, without reference to their approbation or disapprobation. If the noble marquis were to act at all in India, his attention must naturally have been directed to 1022 two Points; the first, whether he had any right whatever to interfere in Oude? the other, whether the occasion on which he did interfere was sufficient to justify him in such interference? As to the first point, no man, considering the relation which subsisted between the British possessions and the province of Oude, could possibly question the right of the British government to interfere with the affairs of that province. By treaty, Oude was to be defended by the British. By policy, Oude must be defended by the British; for to defend Bengal without defending Oude was impossible. Undeniably, therefore,the British government were justified in interfering authoritatively, and compelling the introduction into that country of an adequate military force. Who, then, was to be the judge of the quantity of the force which ought to be so introduced? What said sir John Shore, by whom the treaty with Oude had been concluded? He considered himself the proper judge. Had not lord Cornwallis declared, that if the reform in Oude were not carried into effect voluntarily, he should be obliged to compel the nabob to provide for his military defence? Moreover, had not that noble lord appointed two ministers of the nabob to carry his orders into execution, assuring them that he would support them against their master in the fulfilment of this task? How idle was it, then, to talk of the independence of Oude. Had not sir John Shore revoked Mr. Cherry's rash and unadvised assertion, that no further interference on the part of the British should take place in Oude, and had not the court of directors applauded him, for this revocation? On what principle had sir John Shore himself interfered in the government of that province? A man of more mildness, temperance, and moderation, he would also say of more integrity and ability, never existed. It was not to derogate from his administration to declare, that energy was not the characteristic of it; and yet sir John Shore, espousing the cause of Vizier Ally, decided, at his own tribunal, who should be the prince of Oude. Would he have done this had he not felt his undoubted right of interference? He had expressly told the company that he found it necessary to establish the British influence in Oude on a surer footing, because the two states were so connected, that without an over-ruling influence in Oude it would be impossible to keep Bengal. After all this, and much more, which he would not detain 1023 the house by stating, who could doubt that the right of interference was unquestionable, and that the noble marquis was the best judge as to the extent of that interference? So much for that part of the subject. Did the occasion, then, call for the interference which the noble marquis exercised? What was the situation of Oude at the time? Zemaun Shaw, at the head of a formidable army, threatening Oude, the Mahrattas making no movement and sheaving no disposition to oppose him, and a large French force in the heart of Egypt. Well did he recollect the feelings of natives and Europeans in India at that period. Well did he recollect the doubt and dismay which existed before the noble marquis arrived, which he dispelled very soon after his arrival, and which never re-appeared during his continuance in the government. It was, indeed, a period of danger, and one which called loudly upon the noble marquis to do that which he did; to interpose with a strong hand, and to put the military force of Oude in a state better calculated to repel the assailants, by which it was threatened. Sir John Craig, that most able and respectable officer, had demanded of the noble marquis a force of 20,000 men to meet the dangers that threatened Oude, not because he thought this force adequate to the object, but because he conceived that it was all that could be spared; yet even this number, lord Wellesley was unable to grant him. It was true, that he had sent an embassy to Persia for assistance; but the result of this embassy was contingent; and was it therefore to preclude him from endeavouring to put Oude into a better posture of defence? The civil state of Oude was this, half the army which ought to have been on the frontiers, to repel the menaced attack, was compelled to remain in the country to quell the rebellion, which the bad administration of affairs had occasioned. Even sir John Craig, with his small and inefficient force, had been obliged to leave two regiments at Lucknow, to defend the prince against his own subjects. By a letter from Mr. Lumsdale, it appeared, that even some of the frontier forts were in the hands of rebellious Zemindars. In these circumstances, was not the noble marquis completely justified in interfering to compel a mutinous army to obey its leaders, and a rebellious people to submit to their prince? He did interfere—he obtained his objects. So completely did he change the character and disposition of the coun- 1024 try, that sometime afterwards, when a fair opportunity was afforded by the passage of an hostile force, from one extremity of the province to the other, that force was not joined by a single individual of those 'suffering millions,' as they had been so pathetically, but so unfoundedly, termed. But the noble lord accused his noble friend, not only of sending into Oude a force larger than what was necessary, but of charging the vizier for it force larger than was actually sent. If this were true, which he denied, the noble marquis had nothing to do with it. He had desired the proper officer to make-out the account in the manner most favourable to the nabob, If any mistake had taken place, which was not very likely, and which he completely disbelieved, was the commander in chief in India to be chargeable with the error of a clerk in the accountant-general's office? The noble lord had so mingled in his Resolutions that which was true, with that which was not quite true, that he felt the impossibility of proposing any amendment to them. On all, therefore, but the last, he should move the previous question: to the last he must give his most direct negative. It charged his noble friend with ambition and the love of power. True, he was ambitious, but it was that his country should be great; true, he did love power, but it was the power of contributing by every honourable means to her prosperity and happiness. Traduced as his noble friend's character had been, he was desirous of meeting the personal imputations that had been east upon him, and should conclude with moving the following Resolution:—"That it appears to this house, that the marquis Wellesley in carrying into execution the late arrangements in Oude, was actuated by an ardent zeal for the public service, and by the desire of providing more effectually for the prosperity, the defence, and the safety of the British territories in India."
rose and spoke as follows:—Sir; It is with great diffidence I venture to offer myself to your notice, and to trespass on the attention of the house; but having passed the greater portion of my life in India, having been there during the early part of the administration of the noble marquis whose conduct is the subject of investigation; having held an official, and I may say confidential, situation, which gave me opportunities of knowing something of the motives and principles which governed 1025 the conduct of the noble lord during that period. And having attentively perused the voluminous papers laid before parliament, I cannot reconcile to my feelings to give a silent vote in this question. A question which, important as it is to the character of the noble lord, is of infinitely greater importance to the public—for, in my humble opinion, if the Resolutions moved by the noble lord shall receive the sanction of this house, it will lead to the subversion of every existing treaty with the native princes of India, and shake the foundation of the British power in the East.—In discussing the justice and the policy of the measures pursued by marquis Wellesley in Oude; it is necessary to consider, what was the nature of our connection with that state, at the time when these measures were adopted; and I think there is abundant proof in the Papers before us, that Oude was not an independent principality; but that it was altogether dependant on the British government, and in fact identified with it.—I am supported in this opinion by high authorities: lord Cornwallis, in a letter to the court of directors dated 16th Nov. 1786, observes 'the real interests of the vizier we look upon as inseparable from our own.' (No. 6, p. 3.) And in a Letter to the vizier dated 15th April 1787 his lordship says, 'as I consider the Company's territories and those of your excellency the same, the protection of your excellency's dominions is absolutely necessary.' (No. 6. p. 3.) That this was the view the court of directors took of the subject, 14 years before the arrangement made by marquis Wellesley, may be seen by a reference to the Instructions that were sent to Bengal in a letter to the governor general, dated 31st July 1787: they say, 'one thing is clear; the defence of Oude must be provided for: if, therefore, the Cawnpore brigade be not equal to, such defence, either the vizier's own troops must be reformed, so as to make them serviceable, or another detachment of company's troops must be stationed in the country: the additional expence of which he may be enabled to pay, by reducing his own useless troops. And this we recommend to your most serious consideration; always bearing in your mind, that from the nature of our connection with the nabob of Oude we consider the prosperity of that country as inseparable from the prosperity of our own provinces.'—Here, then, we have 1026 the official Instructions of the court of d rectors to the government of Bengal, authorizing them to do two of the acts, for the successful accomplishment of which the noble lord is charged with the violation of a treaty. They direct the British force in Oude to be augmented, and they direct the expence of such augmentation to be charged to the vizier. And, further, they recommend the reform of his military establishment. But I beg to call the attention of the house to another document, which is of importance, not only because it bears the authority of lord Cornwallis's name, but because it was written in India, about the time when the Instructions from the court of directors, I have just now recited, were preparing in England.—I allude to a letter from lord Cornwallis to the Secret Committee, written on the 4th of March 1787, in which his lordship explains the principles upon which the arrangement he had formed with the vizier was founded: his lordship says, 'They are, that, on our part, we shall totally abstain from interference in the management of the revenue, commerce, and internal government of Oude, but with the entire conduct of all political business, shall undertake its defence against all external enemies whatever. And on the other hand, that every civil and military expence necessarily incurred by the company in the country of Oude, shall be defrayed by the vizier.' (No. 2. p. 4).—The court of directors weighing these opinions of lord Cornwallis, gave their sanction and approbation to the principles upon which his lordship acted with respect to Oude; as will be seen by the following Extract of a Letter to the governor general dated 8th April 1789. 'Having attentively perused all the minutes, proceedings, and letters alluded to in these paragraphs, and in your subsequent advices, on the subject of the late agreement concluded by lord Cornwallis with the vizier, we approve of the principles upon which it is founded.' (No. 2. p. 4).—may not be unimportant to observe, that this was the sanction of the highest authority of the state; for the Instructions must have been approved by the Board of Controul, and it must be recollected that the president of that board was a cabinet minister. The opinion of lord Cornwallis, and the Instructions of the Court of Directors, approved as they were by the Board of Controul, in my humble opinion, fully justify the principles upon which lord Wel- 1027 lesly acted.—Lord Cornwallis in a letter to the vizier dated 29th Jan. 1793, says, 'Your excellency must be aware, that such is our close connection, that every chief in India must consider the two states as forming one power.' (No. 2. p. 13).—Lord Teignmouth in a Minute dated 13th Jan. 1798, observes, 'The government of Oude both in the opinion of the natives of the country, as well as externally, is considered a dependancy on the English, whatever its relations under treaty may be.' (No. 1. p. 15).—And his lordship adds, 'In the estimation of the natives of India, the kingdom of Oude is held as a gift from the company to Sujah ud Dowlah and as a dependant fief.'—Lord Teignmouth in his Evidence given before this house being asked, 'Did you consider the nabob to be at all in the light of an independent sovereign in respect to the company's government?' His lordship's answer is, 'Certainly not.' (p. 44).—Mr. Cooper, a member of the supreme government, having resided 32 years in India, being asked 'From the period of your first arrival in Bengal to the present, did you ever understand there was any general opinion otherwise, than that the nabob was totally and completely under the subjection of the British government?' Mr. Cooper's answer is, 'I certainly always so considered him, and in my seat at the board, my conduct and opinions there were given in consequence of so considering him.' (p. 47).—The few Extracts I have taken the liberty of reading to the house, in my humble opinion clearly establish these facts; that Oude is not an independent principality, but a dependency on the British government; that the principles upon which lord Wellesley acted, were laid down by lord Cornwallis, sanctioned and approved by the court of directors and the board of controul; and that the measures of the noble lord were founded in justice. Of the policy of those measures, it is impossible for any person in the least acquainted with India, or who has taken the trouble to look into the papers before us, to entertain the shadow of doubt. It has been stated, that the resources of the vizier's dominions were abundant and daily increasing; if that had really been the case, I might have doubted a little the necessity of the measures of the noble lord. It is extraordinary, but no less true, that the very papers produced to substantiate the charges against the noble lord, afford abundant means of re- 1028 futing them. Lord Cornwallis in a Letter to the court of directors dated 16th Nov. 1787, says, 'I cannot however express how much I was concerned during my short residence at his capital, and my progress through his dominions, to be witness of the disordered state of his finances, and of the desolate appearance of his country. The evils were too alarming to admit of palliation.' (No. 2. p. 4).—In a letter to the vizier, dated 24th Jan. 1793, his lordship says, 'On my return from the war in the Decan, I had the mortification to find that, after a period of 5 years, the evils which had prevailed at the beginning of that time, had increased; that your finances had fallen into a worse state, by an enormous accumulation of debt; that the same oppression continued to be exercised. Though the subsidy is at present paid up with regularity, yet I cannot risk my reputation, nor neglect my duty, by remaining a silent spectator of evils which will, in the end, and perhaps that end is not very remote, render abortive, even your excellency's earnest desire that the subsidy shall be punctually paid.' (No. 2. p. 11).—In a letter from lord Cornwallis to the vizier, dated 12th Aug. 1793, his lordship says, 'It is well known, not only throughout Hindostan, but to all Europe, that notwithstanding the prevalence of peace during so many years, the revenues of your excellency's dominions are diminished beyond all conjecture.' (No. 2. p. 16).—Lord Teignmouth in his Evidence, being asked, 'Can your lordship give the committee an account of the state of the administration of the nabob of Oude?' His lordship's answer is, 'I would rather speak generally, as to what I know of it. All the Papers printed by the house sufficiently shew what the state of that country was: that its administration was exceedingly bad in all its departments; the whole administration was as bad as it well could be in all its departments, and it was the perpetual object of government to prevail on the nabob to make a change in his administration. Lord Cornwallis had attempted it, and it was equally urged by the government abroad and the company at home.' And his lordship added, 'I think in Oude there was no justice at all.' (p. 22).—Mr. Cowper in his Evidence, says, 'It is impossible to conceive a state of greater anarchy or misrule than prevailed in the dominions of Oude: as far back as can recollect, 1029 there has been neither law, nor justice, nor subordination!' Mr. Cowper being asked, 'As far as you had the knowledge, did the resources of the country decline during your knowledge of them?' His answer is, 'They continued to decline from the first acquaintance I had with the dominions of Oude, till the last hour of my staying in India.' [Mr. Cowper had been in India from May 1769 till Feb. 1801]. Being asked, 'Were they in a progressive state of decline during the whole of this time?' His answer is, Yes.' To what cause do you suppose that decline of the revenues is to be attributed?' 'To the 'total want of all government in that country.' (p. 46).—We have also, to confirm this, the evidence of major Ousely, the aid-de-camp of the vizier. He says, 'As to the state of the Duab, I can speak with accuracy, but I cannot to the whole kingdom of Oude: that part called the Duab I found in a state of great anarchy, a total want of law, or justice, and everything else: nothing but violation of property of all binds, and banditti ranging over the whole of it, a total direlection from every thing like justice.' Major Ousely being asked, 'Have you any knowledge of the state of the Revenues in Oude, under the government of the nabob? His answer is, understood that they were in a state of annual decrease or decay.' (p. 64).—This is the account of the civil administration in Oude. The military, if possible, was worse. By a reference to the Papers before us, we find that the reform of the Military Establishment of the vizier had been one of the principal objects of the British government, from our earliest connection with Oude. Lord Cornwallis, lord Teignmouth, and every succeeding governor general had directed his attention to this object, and we are informed by Mr. Cowper in his evidence, 'That the uniform opinion of the court of directors was, that nothing could be more ruinous to the state and the affairs of Oude, than the existence of those troops.' (p. 46).— And Mr. Cowper further observes, 'That the most earnest recommendations to their council were, to prevail on the nabob to reduce them as much as possible, as much as was consistent with the safety of the country, and the collection of the revenues.' (p. 46).—For military purposes there was no question as to the inefficiency of the vizier's troops; but we are told by major Ousely (p. 64), that 1030 they were unequal to the collection of the revenues; he says, 'I believe at first the nabob was very willing to disband his army, finding them totally insufficient for the purpose of collecting the revenues, and for the subordination of his country.'—Sir James Craig, who commanded in Oude, being desired to state his opinion as to the efficiency, and discipline of the troops of the vizier in the years 1798,-9, and 1800, says, 'They were totally undisciplined; mutinous, licentious, and many battalions not armed.' being asked, 'Were they attached to the person and the government of Sadut ali Khan, the nabob of Oude?' Sir James Craig answered, 'I never had much communication with them, but I always understood the reverse; and, I know the nabob himself considered them in that light.' (p. 97).—The Extracts to which I have presumed to call the attention of the house, in my humble opinion, incontestably prove that the internal administration of the vizier's government was radically bad; and that the interests and safety of the vizier and of the East India company required that these growing evils should be corrected. In addition to this state of internal disorder, Oude was threatened with external danger, by the approach of Zeman Shah. Under all these circumstances, the measures pursued by the noble lord in Oude appear to have been founded in the wisest policy, as well as in the strictest justice, and we have reason to believe, from the evidence of major Ousely, that those measures have promoted the real interests and happiness of the vizier, and of his people.—The following Extract of a letter to the governor general, dated 4th of Dec. 1800, shews that the conduct of the noble lord with respect to Oude, was highly approved of by the court of directors. They say, 'That they entertained a due sense of the highly essential services of the marquis Wellesley in the persevering zeal with which he effected a reform in the military establishment of the nabob vizier, a measure not less contributing to the preservation of his excellency's dominions, than to the relief of the company's finances, by furnishing a large additional subsidy, to the annual amount of fifty lacks of rupees, to reimburse the charges of the late augmentation of our troops in that quarter, so necessary to be made in view to the ultimate security of our possessions against the invasion of 1031 Zeman Shah, or of any other power hostile to the British interests: and that they had the firmest reliance upon the continuance of his lordship's exertions for introducing the necessary improvements into the civil administration of the affairs of the nabob vizier.'—And the Secret Committee in a letter dated the 19th Nov. 1803, approved of the conduct of marquis Wellesley in the following terms: 'Having taken into our consideration the treaty lately concluded between the governor gen. and the nabob vizier we have now to signify our approbation, of the provisions of the treaty. We consider the stipulations therein contained, as calculated to improve and secure the interests of the vizier as well as those of the company, and to provide more effectually hereafter for the good government and prosperity of Oude, consequently for the happiness of its native inhabitants.'—We find in the Carnatic Papers laying upon our table, that in the war with Hyder Ali in 1780,-81, and 82, lord Macartney, then governor of Madras, found it absolutely necessary to assume the management of the revenues of the Carnatic, in order to have security for the payment of the nabob's subsidy.—In the war with Tippoo Sultan in 1790, lord Cornwallis had recourse to the same expedient; and a treaty was concluded with the nabob, by which the collection of the revenues was to be assigned to the Company during war,—not merely the necessity of this temporary assignment during war, but the necessity of having permanent territorial security for the payment of the subsidy, was so evident to a noble friend of mine (lord Buckinghamshire) who resided over the government of Madras with so much honour to himself and advantage to the public, that he endeavoured by every means in his power to modify the then existing treaty with the nabob of the Carnatic; on that principle, the Court of Directors highly approved of the conduct of my noble friend, and lamented that his zealous endeavours had not proved successful; as, in their opinion, nothing short of the modification proposed, was likely to answer any beneficial purpose; and lord Wellesley, on going to India, was instructed to accomplish that object. Territorial possession, therefore, instead of subsidy, has been a principle acted upon in India by the predecessors of lord Wellesley, and recommended and sanctioned by the highest 1032 authority at home.—In considering this important subject, it appears necessary to take a short view of the political state of India, at the time the noble lord assumed the charge of that government. Tippoo Sultan, compelled by lord Cornwallis to purchase a peace under the walls of his capital, by the surrender of one half of his dominions, by the payment of a large sum of money, and by delivering up two of his sons as hostages for the due performance of that treaty,—from this moment had been seeking the means of revenge. He had connected himself more closely with the French, from whom he actually received succours of troops. He had stirred up Zemaun Shaw and other native powers against us, and the Carnatic was threatened with the renewal of war.—The court of the Nizam was entirely controuled by French influence, and there was at Hydrabad a large and well disciplined native force under French officers, ready to co-operate with Tippoo Sultan, menacing the weakest part of our possessions on the coast of Coromandel.—A formidable native force, under 300 French officers, nominally in the service of Scindia; but in reality totally independant of him, was stationed on the most vulnerable part of our Bengal frontier (Oude); and M. Perron, who commanded that force, also commanded the resources of the country, and was in the receipt of an annual revenue of upwards of one million sterling. Let us for one moment look at the amount of this force. —The army of Tippoo Sultan amounted to. 94,000 men, 50,000 of which, with a train of 130 pieces ,of artillery, he afterwards brought into the field against us. The French force at Hydrabad consisted of 15,000 native troops, and 60 field pieces. The French force under M. Perron, consisted of 40,000 well disciplined native troops, and 280 pieces of Artillery, making altogether a regular field force of 105,000 men, and a train of 470 pieces of Artillery. If to this we add the armies of Scindia, of the Rajah of Berar, and of Holkar, amounting to 95,000 cavalry, 30,000 infantry and 400 guns, we shall find there was a force of no less than 230,000 men and 870 guns, which, in my opinion, would have been brought into the field against us if that formidable confederacy bad not been defeated, by the foresight, the promptitude, and the vigour of the measures pursued by the noble lord.—This force is independant of Zemaun Shaw's army, which menaced 1033 Oude, and of the army of the Nizam. Besides these dangers with which we were threatened at the time the noble lord took charge of the Indian government, he found an empty treasury and our credit so low, that the company's per cent. paper was at a discount of more than 20 per cent. I would beg to call the attention of the house to the situation in which we should at this moment stand, threatened as India is by the ruler of France, if the measures of the noble lord not been carried into effect? I would ask, what our prospects would be if a large French force, reaching the north-western frontier of India, were to be there joined by 40,000 well disciplined native troops, under French officers, and 200 pieces of Artillery, with every necessary equipment for an army, and with the resources of a country, yielding an annual revenue of above on million sterling?—If Oude, our frontier, was in the disordered and distracted state in which it was found by the noble lord, with its army as described by Sir James Craig, totally undisciplined, 'mutinous, licentious, unarmed, and disaffected to their prince and his government.' I think we might tremble for the safety of India. But if, in addition to this, there was a force of 15,000 men and 60 guns, under French officers at Hydrabad, threatening the northern Circars and to cut off all communication by land between Madras and Bengal?—If Tippoo Sultan was at the head of an army sufficiently powerful to meet us as he did, single handed in the field? If Scindiah, the rajah of Berar, and Holkar, were combined against us? And if French inffuence pervaded every court in India? I think there is no man that hears me so sanguine as to believe that, under these circumstances, we could retain our dominion in the East.—Fortunately, these dangers have been averted by the noble lord. He augmented the British force in Oude to guard against the attack that was menaced by Zemaun Shah, and directed the whole of his attention to overcome our foreign enemies. The French force at Hydrabad, and the French influence at that court, were completely annihilated. This able measure was followed up by the conclusion of a treaty with the Nizam, by which our subsidiary force was considerably augmented, and British influence was established. In the short space of two months, from the time the army under general Harris crossed our frontier, Tippoo Sultan, in the vain attempt to defend his capital, lost his life; and his dominions 1034 surrendered to the British power.—The Peishwa, driven by Scindiah and Holkar from his capital, and obliged to take refuge at Bombay, was restored to his authority, and a subsidiary treaty was concluded with him, similar to that with the Nizam.—Cuttac, the only maritime territory of the Marhattas on the coast of Coromandel, ever considered of the utmost importance, as connecting our possessions in Bengal with those of Madras, and as shutting out the French from all communication with the Mahrattas, on that side of India; was acquired.—Acquisitions, nearly as important, were made on the coast of Malabar, excluding the French in that quarter.—In less than three months, lord Lake (a name it is impossible to mention but with the deepest concern) gained three brilliant victories—in which he destroyed 31 battalions of Perron's army, and took 268 gun. A gallant officer, an honourable member of this house, in two brilliant actions, at Assaye and Argaum, which, for conduct in the general, and determined bravery in the troops, have never been surpassed—and where, if ever victories were gained by the exertions and example of an individual, they were gained on those occasions, by the exertions and example of my hon. friend; in those two actions, he completely defeated the armies of Scindiah and the Rajah of Berar, destroyed the remaining battalions of Perron's army and took 136 guns.—These glorious victories were followed by advantageous treaties of peace.—These are a few of the splendid services of that illustrious character, Marquis Wellesley. I will not trust myself to speak of the return he has met with. During a period of seven years, the most eventful in our hisrory of India, decision, energy, and purity marked every measure of his administration, and they were crowned with success.—Thinking as I do of the conduct of that noble lord, thinking that he was the saviour of British India, and convinced that an ardent zeal to promote the honour and the real interests of his country governed every part of his conduct, I shall oppose the Resolutions moved by the noble lord; and shall most cordially concur in the motion of the right hon. baronet.
differed from the hon. gent. who had just sat down, because he thought the measures of the noble marquis had been extremely prejudicial to the interests of the company. He thought the trans- 1035 action in Oude, both in its nature and progress, extremely unjust. Of all the important questions that could come under the consideration of parliament, this was the most important, because to that was the last appeal to be made, in case of any abuse of power in British India. After adverting to the circumstances by which the company first became involved in the quarrels of the native princes, the hon. gent. said, that whatever might have been the opinion upon these subjects, they had always considered treaties as sacred. Marquis Cornwallis felt sensibly for the disorders in Oude, but so strong was his regard for the faith of treaties, that he never interfered upon the subject, otherwise than by remonstrance. It was in the breach of the treaty that the essence of the present question consisted. A solemn treaty had been violated six months after it had been entered into, without any material change of circumstances to render that violation necessary. The negociation which led to the new treaty was carried on with a series of compulsory measures, executed with extreme rigour, by which the nabob was compelled, under a menace of the deprivation of his whole territory, to agree to the new treaty, whereby he was to pay 135 lacks instead of 76 lacks of rupees, as a subsidy, and instead of ten or thirteen thousand troops, any unlimited number was to be employed in his territory. Thus the nabob had been deprived of the whole benefit of the Treaty of 1798, and yet in 1806, the number of British troops employed in Oude did not exceed 11,400. The nabob was by these means reduced to the state of a Zemindar completely dependent upon the government of Bengal. When Oude first threw itself into our protection, it was by treaty, and, except by treaty, we had no right to alter the relation of that country to our empire in India, for the nabob had fully complied with the treaty of 1798. The time at which that treaty had been violated had been a time of profound peace. They had heard much of the alarm of invasion by Zemaun Shaw, and of the danger arising from Buonaparte being in Egypt. But he had marquis Wellesley's own authority for saying, that the danger of invasion had passed away at the time of the treaty by the destruction of Zemaun Shaw. Here the hon. director proceeded to read an extract from a letter of lord Wellesley to the secret committee of the court of directors. This document proved that the danger 1036 from Zemaun Shaw had passed away at the time the treaty was negociated, and he contended that before the troops had been marched some communication ought to have been made to the nabob. The demand of the reform of his troops the nabob seemed never to have understood, but as applying to their improvement, and not to the reduction of them, and therefore, some explanation ought to have been given to him of what was required of him. On the whole, he could not see that the occasion called for the interference. The assumption of the territory in the Carnatic, which had been done under an imperious necessity, did not apply; and as to the deposition of Vizier Ally, that event had originated in his own violence; and the circumstance of his being spurious, and not of the blood of Rajah Sujah al Doulah. The hon. gent. denied that the transactions in Oude had ever received the sanction of the court of directors at the period stated by the hon. baronet, and for a good reason, because they had not been acquainted with them, and when they were informed respecting them, they had taken the course that the occasion called for. It was not till the 24th of June 1802, that the treaty had been communicated to the council of Calcutta, six months after the transaction had taken place, and a great part of the impropriety of the case arose from the circumstance of the noble marquis having taken upon himself to violate the treaty of 1798, and to take one half of the province of Oude from its sovereign. It might be asked what was now to be done? He would not take upon him to say, but he thought that substantial justice ought to be done in some manner. The character of this country was its dearest possession, and he was convinced that that character would be compromised, if the house should not, with a view to national honour and national justice, express its disapprobation of this transaction.
§ Sir John Anstruther,
in explanation, denied that he had thrown out any aspersion on the administration of lord Teignmouth, although he thought it a government more of mildness than of vigour.
§ Mr. Wallace
declined entering into any detailed examination of the Papers on the table, but vindicated lord Wellesley's conduct from the great feature of his administration. With respect to the Resolutions of the noble lord, they kept short a moving an impeachment; but lord W. was not much obliged to him for that, 1037 because, if the stigma affixed upon his conduct was just, the house could not, consistently with its own honour, and that of the country, forbear prosecuting him before a higher tribunal. Our connection with Oude, he maintained, originated in absolute conquest, and all that the nabob or his family possessed they owed to British munificence. In the treaty of 1798, it was stipulated, that if there were more than 13,000 men in the country of the nabob of Oude, he was to be charged with the support of them; and if there were less than 8,000, there was to be a proportionate deduction in the subsidy, and there was also in the treaty an established right of general interference in the government. On lord Wellesley's arrival in India there was the loudest call for this interference. There was no protection either for the person or property of the inhabitants, and they were oppressed by a large, useless, licentious, and he might add, disaffected army. In support of this statement he quoted the authority of sir James Craig; and if this was true, lord W. had two things to do, to substitute a force for the defence of the country, and to get rid of an army which only served to burthen the country. Of the necessity of this reform in his army the resident of the nabob himself was convinced. But before a negociation for this purpose could be set on foot, a voluntary proposition was made by the nabob to abdicate his government. This proposition lord W. met with eagerness. But was his acquiescence in a proposition which was likely to be productive of the best effects to the people of that country, to be attributed to the overweening ambition of the noble lord? If this was a crime in the noble lord, the hon. gent. declared that it was one in which he deeply partook. But so far from its being a criminal act, he thought lord W. would have been wanting in his duty, not to have embraced an opportunity of doing so much good, by transferring the inhabitants of an oppressed and distressed province, to subjection to the mild laws of a British government. In these circumstances, British troops were sent into the country; and this measure was, in the first place, perfectly consonant with the treaty; and in the next place, it was in the then situation of the province of Oude, absolutely necessary to the defence of the country, which was essential at the time to the protection of the British dominions. It was incumbent on those who contended, that our power was then 1038 abused, to shew either that our territory was not threatened, or that the troops of the nabob were adequate to his defence; neither of which propositions could be made out if attention was paid to the hostile demonstrations of the Mahratta powers, or to the state of the nabob's army. And if a British force was necessary, the only question remaining to be settled was, whether the number of troops sent into the province of Oude were more than sufficient for the purpose of its defence; for if they were not more than what the exigency of affairs required, we were authorised by one of the articles of the treaty to demand that the expences of the army should be defrayed by the nabob; and if this could not be done by any other means, to take possession of his territory as a security. On these grounds he gave his decided negative to the Resolutions of the noble lord.
Mr. S. Lushington (Member for Yarmouth)
contended, that the observations made by the hon. gent. who preceded him, did not, in great part, apply to the question then submitted to the consideration of the house. Without following him throughout the extensive circuit he had taken, the paramount question was, whether the character of Great-Britain, for good faith, had been preserved? It was, whether the marquis Wellesley, in those treaties, which pledged the honour and credit of this country, had not, without any pretext on the part of the nabob of Oude, violated their spirit and letter,and consequently deteriorated our character with the native powers of Hindostan? The hon. gent. had asked, what benefit could marquis Wellesley acquire in keeping possession of the principality of Oude? That was not the question; but the fact was, that he had continued in possession of that principality from 1801 until 1805. The noble marquis had disdained to regulate his policy in the government of India by that system which the East India directors had recommended; regardless of the voice of the British legislature, of two acts of parliament forbidding the extension of territory, he had, confident in his own talents, and in gratification of his own ambitious views, abrogated the solemn provisions of ratified treaties, and committed, by his disregard of the recorded injunctions of parliament, the good faith of the British character, and the security of our possessions in India. It had been said that such a system of action was executed for the public good, that it was not only calculated to produce benefit to Great Britain, but to 1039 the very people and government against whom the aggression was committed. Against this interference he should ever contend, that it was the universal plea of tyrants, the ready defence of oppression, and it was that palliation which heretofore had been given by all the promoters of conquest and subjugation in India. Such a defence was similar to that assumed by Buonaparte; it was only to be compared with the French degree of 1792, which this and every other moral country reprobated, because it was founded on that reprehensible principle, that a foreign power was justified in interfering with the domestic arrangements of a state, under the professed pretext of correcting the errors of its domestic policy, and of advancing the general happiness of the people. Was it in England that such a plea could be tolerated? Was it in this country that such a pretext of interference with the rights and independence of a recognised government could receive sanction and support from its legislature? But, what was the first mode of relief? it was a monopoly of salt, from which the hon. gent. who spoke last said a revenue of 125,000l. was derived. Such an impost, as creating a monopoly, was in every view injurious; but, as affecting a necessary of life, was unjust and tyrannical. The hon. gent. opposite had reviewed the whole history of India, from the first establishment of the British power in that quarter of the world, and had laid considerable stress on the probable dangers which threatened the Indian interest of this country in the years 1790 and 1791. In what way did they apply to the merits of the present question? For any explanation or defence to be extracted from such a reference, he might as well have talked of the probable dangers with which this country was menanced by the Spanish power, in the reign of queen Elizabeth. The fact still remained undenied and indisputable, that the marquis Wellesley had violated; the recorded and positive determination of parliament, and therefore he trusted that the house of commons, in defence of their own resolutions, in support of the law of the land, in vindication of the national character, would visit with its censure any man, from the lowest servant in the service of the East India Company, to the proud and mighty governor who travelled with his troop of horse, who should dare to act in disobedience to the promulgated enactments of the legislature and to the 1040 total disregard of existing treaties. There was no proof of that evident necessity, which could alone warrant the interference with the nabob of Oude. There was no backwardness in the payment of his instalments on the part of that prince. But it was evident, that from the very moment that marquis Wellesley arrived in India, when he was scarce warm in his office, before any complaint was or could be made against the nabob, he, the marquis, had, in his first dispatch to colonel Scott, the resident at Lucknow, expressed his determination of possessing himself of the Duab, a very extensive proportion of the territory of Oude. Whilst, therefore, the non-payment of the subsidy was made the visible ground for invading the independence of that prince, the eventual accomplishment of a territorial cession was the paramount object of the marquis Wellesley's policy and exertions. Indeed, from the correspondence of that nobleman with colonel Scott, there was nothing to be traced but one tissue of hypocrisy and dissimulation, holding out false hopes and views to the nabob, at the same moment that difficulties were created, in order to make their existence a pretence for carrying into effect the views of aggression entertained by the marquis Wellesley, from the first moment of his arrival in India, against the principality of Oude. Much had been said of the dilapidation of the resources and financial means of Oude, in order to give a colouring to the system of conduct pursued against the nabob. Let the house and the country for a moment bear in their recollection, that from the commencement of the British intercourse with Oude, the subsidy paid by that principality increased, in 24 years, from 115,000l. to 1,600,000l. British. A pretty convincing answer to such allegations, and an unanswerable proof that there was no disinclination on the pert of the nabob to pay for the security he had received. But for what purpose were the means of assistance adopted by the British government? Was it for Oude solely? There was no person so Quixotic as to believe that any government was now animated by such disinterested principles. It then was for the security of the British power in India; and surely if a sum of money was expended for the defence of Ireland and Scotland, and through these parts of the kingdom for the security of the empire, there was no man who would say that these particular portions should be sepa- 1041 rately burdened with the expence which was incurred. But the marquis Wellesley, in his conduct to the nabob, was not content with exacting the whole of the subsidy. He called not only for it, but, as it was rumoured, for more than the specific amount, and that to a moment; adding, by his future demands for territorial cession, a spirit of severity to a principle of perfidy and injustice. It was in evidence before the house, that lord Teignmouth had declared, that as long as the nabob of oude paid his instalments, the British government was bound by treaty not to demand any territorial security. He did pay up the instalments; and in what view did the aggression of marquis Wellesley then present itself? Yet, under all the obligations of the treaty of 1798, the nabob was to have complete controul over his household, his troops, and his subjects. Could the noble lord confine these expressions to a controul over his wardrobe; for little else did that nobleman leave to the unfortunate prince? Was there then any wonder in seeing, as the declaration of the East India Directors expressed, the nabob in tears, and much dejected. Was there any surprise in finding that he had laid down the turban of a Mahometan prince, and retired from the palace of his fathers, to the hovel of a peasant, weighed down, as he was, by the oppression and injustice of the aggressions committed by marquis Wellesley. It was upon these grounds that he appealed to the feeling of the house, to its love of justice, and sense of moral character. He called upon it to vote its censure upon a man, who, in violation of the law of the land, and the binding provisions of a solemn compact, had been guilty of cruelty and oppression, had degraded the character of his country, and would, on every progressive step of the inquiry, be found more deserving of public reprobation.
§ Mr. Bankes
thought that the house had no jurisdiction on the subject. He deprecated, at all times, the house taking upon itself judicial functions, as he conceived they generally, in such cases, judged badly. He thought it highly improper. He remembered the house once being occupied for a long time in judicial investigations about sir Thomas Rumbold, which ended by the members absolutely ceasing to attend; and, on the last resolution upon that business, there were precisely 40 members in the house. The delay in Mr. Hasting's business also shewed the necessity 1042 of a separate judicature for Indian affairs. The hon. member concluded by deprecating all further investigation upon a subject wherein the house could come to no efficient conclusion answering the ends of justice. Its constitutional capacity was legislative and not judicial, and therefore it was useless to investigate where it had no power to judge or to execute. He would rather, under such circumstances, form no opinion upon the subject, than pursue inquiry to no effect. He would therefore conjure the house to desist from farther investigation, but he hoped that would not defeat the ends of justice in some other way. He remembered to have read of an instance in the year 1773, when a similar enquiry was instituted in that house relative to lord Clive, when, after a similar debate to this, which continued till five in the morning, the house seemed to be agreed, that there was no reason to doubt the truth of the charges; but nevertheless, it was induced to adopt a sort of conclusion, that the noble lord had rendered great and important services to the country, and that therefore it became matter of serious question, whether the Resolutions for his censure ought to be adopted, and they were eluded by a previous question.
§ Mr. W. Smith
suggested the propriety, of adjourning the debate, on the consideration of the lateness of the hour, and the many members who had yet to deliver their sentiments upon the extensive question then before them.—After a few words from the chancellor of the exchequer and lord Folkestone, the debate was adjourned to Tuesday next.