§ The house resumed the adjourned debate on the conduct of the Marquis Wellesley relative to the Affairs of Oude (see p. 993). The first Resolutions being read,
§ Sir Thomas Turton
spoke as follows:— Mr. Speaker; considering this question as intimately connected in its policy with that which it will be my duty shortly to submit to the house, (the Carnatic Question)—viewing it as one great link of the same chain of Eastern policy, (if policy it cart be called) that distinguished the administration of lord Wellesley, I cannot content myself with giving a silent vote on the motions of the noble lord. Before, however, I enter upon the question itself, I must submit to the house a few observations on the very extraordinary objections to the motion, which were advanced by an hon. gent. on the floor, (Mr. Bankes) who concluded the debate at its adjournment. The objection of the hon. gent. to our proceedings, was founded on the incompetency of this tribunal to take cognizance of the subject. I think the hon. gent. stated, 'that its functions were of a legislative, not of a judicial nature.' Without entering into a minute investigation of the powers and constitution of parliament, the history of which would fully demonstrate the extent of its judicial, as well as legislative functions, for the purpose of instituting criminal proceedings—I would ask that hon. gent. if, on reflection, he can entertain a doubt of the right, and even of the expediency of parliament, to receive this application to its justice. Even, I think, in the experience of the hon. gent. many, very many instances must hare occurred, of this house entertaining, nay encouraging, applications of a similar nature. Let me ask the hon. gent. where, or to whom in this particular instance, could the appeal against British injustice and oppression be made?—Not to our courts of law and equity; there it has been already determined, that an independent sovereign (yes a dependent nabob', as he is called) can neither institute or defend a suit. To the sovereign, in council, can he appeal?— The constitution of our Indian government permits not this Where then can he apply, with a possibility of success, but to a British parliament, and to parliament only? Do we not invite this appeal against the misconduct of our Eastern governors and servants, by the act of placing on the table of 1090 the house, at the commencement of every sessions, the names of those members we think most fit to form a judicature for the trial of these offences? But think the hon. gent. founds his objection to the proceeding of the noble lord, because he (lord Folkestone) does not mean to follow it up with an impeachment against the noble marquis; but, whilst I am not surprised at the reluctance of the noble lord, on this head, after What we have seen of impeachments, yet is it not competent to any other member of this house, to propose such a measure? Or cannot the house address his majesty to direct his attorney general to file an information against the accused person, in conformity with the spirit and letter of the East Indian Judicature act? If these motions are carried, is there a serious doubt, on the mind of any member in this house, that whatever the precise nature of its judicial functions are, this house can, not only entertain the question in its present state, but pursue all those measure, which the character of a great nation demands, in order to bring to condign punishment all those who, at whatever distance of the globe, in the administration of its government, violate its principles of justice and good faith? But, sir, I am almost ashamed to argue this. point—no one can seriously doubt it; and, to dwell on it longer, would be a waste of the time and attention of the house.—In proceeding to the merits of the question, I cannot but lament that it has been treated, not so much as the revisal of a great political measure, involving a system of government, as the case of a distinguished individual. I cannot treat it in that light, for respected as the, character of the noble marquis, and his individual interest in the transaction ought to be, it is still only that of an individual, and as such, least in importance. For, what is the real state of this question in a great political view? The government of India (over which it is true the noble marquis presided at the time) has violated a solemn treaty executed between lord Teignmouth, the then governor general, and the nabob of Oude, in Feb. 1798, and to which the faith of the British government was pledged which existed at the time, arid to the performance of which, we were at the very moment binding the nabob. The particulars of the violation were—1st, The reduction of the army of the nabob, against his will, an interference expressly guarded against in the 17th article of the treaty; and se- 1091 condly, the taking from him by violence, one half of his territories, and reserving to ourselves the complete controul over the remainder, by a paper, which we chose to denominate the treaty of 1801. The pretences assigned for this conduct, particularly by a right hon. baronet, whose connections with, and obligations to, the noble marquis, have induced him to stand forwards as the champion of the government of India, on this occasion, are three-fold; first, the right; secondly, the expediency and even necessity of the exercise of it; and thirdly, instructions of the government at home.—First, sir, as to the right of the government of India, to commit these acts of tyranny. From whence is it derived? The right hon. bart. has not condescended to tell us. Is it derived from the treaty of 1798? That in the article to which I have referred, expressly guarantees the right of the nabob to a full authority over his household affairs, his troops, and his subjects. As long as this treaty existed, therefore, government could have no right to disband a soldier, or to interfere even with the lowest of his subjects; but says an hon. gent. (Mr. Whitshed Keene) the right is that of the sword, obtained by conquest, by that alone can your government in India be supported.' What occasion then for treaties, if the will of the conqueror is to be the only law? Willing. am I to acknowledge, that when Sujah-ul-Dowlah, after the subjugation of his ally, Meer Caassim Ally, the nabob of Bengal, fell into the hands of the British, at the battle of Calpi, in 1765, it was the undoubted right of the India company, to have disposed of the territories of Oude, in the manner they deemed most advantageous to their interests. Indeed it appears they did so, for after having granted the emperor of Delhi, (for whose cause, and at whose mandate the nabob of Oude first entered on the war with the British government), they actually, by a firmaun or agreement with the emperor, Made over to him the greater part of the dominions of Sujah-ul-Dowlah, which they had so conquered, and reserved a part to themselves. This Was the right of conquest; a dreadful, but legitimate right. The sovereign was a prisoner in your camp—his dominions at your feet; but what was the conduct of lord Clive when he heard of this agreement? He refused to ratify it; he considered that in every view of policy an extension of territory, was to be deprecated; he released the captive monarch; he restored him to his dominions; 1092 he executed with him a treaty offensive and defensive, by which the two states agreed mutually to assist each other, in case of attack, with part or the whole of their respective forces, as might be necessary. If, therefore, you had the right of subjugation by conquest, did you not abandon that right, when you concluded this treaty with Sujah-ul-Dowlah? And is there a single word in all the treaties since executed with the sovereigns of Oude, in which this right of conquest is referred to in the most distant manner? But, says the hon. gent. to whom I last alluded, 'the nabob of Oude was never considered as more than the ward of the company, who were his guardians.' Well then, if the company were his guardians, the disposition of their ward and his property ought, in some degree, to have been subject to their disposal. Their agent ought not to have acted without their authority. He ought not to have constituted himself the guardian, and in violation of every principle, the characteristic of that sacred name, to have first robbed him of half his property, and obtained himself to be appointed receiver and comptroller of the other half; but an honourable and gallant colonel (Allen) whose attachment to the noble marquis, and defence of his conduce is as natural as praiseworthy, says 'The nabob was not and independent prince, he could not expect to be treated as such.' I have read something of this in two long publications gratuitously conveyed to me, on the eve of this motion; and I have thought it my duty to wade through them. Does the noble marquis rest his defence on either of them? Is it 'tali auxilio, defensoribus istis,' that his cause rests?—To satisfy any man of the wildness and extravagance of the doctrines contained in them, I need only state, that in one of them, the author, after deducing from Vattel, puffendorff, Montesquieu, and even Locke, the right to treat the nabob as our slave, represents him, as filling 'an office perfectly analogous to that of lord lieutenant of Ireland;' and by another author we are told 'that Oude was a dependent fief, the company paramount lord, and the nabob its vassal,' and I think the result of his argument is, that not having taken from our vassal the whole of his dominion, we have treated him with 'signal indulgence.' I should be ashamed to answer arguments (if so they can be called) like these; but, I would ask the hon. Officer, who terms the nabob a dependent prince, as having no 1093 rights of sovereignty, except what were derived from the company, and to whom they reverted at their will and pleasure, how he could reconcile to one principle of common justice, much less of British generosity and magnanimity, the cruel and oppressive treatment of a dependent prince, subject to your power and will? But, sir, if this unhappy prince had no independent power, if he possessed no power, no dominions or subjects, but those of the company, existing only in a combined and amalgamated state with theirs, what occasion for this treaty of 1798, explanatory of the respective rights of the company, and of the prince? If these doctrines have any foundation but in usurpation and tyranny, how came these words in the preamble of the treaty of 1798: "Whereas various treaties have been concluded at different times between the late nabob Sujah-ul-Dowlah Behader, and the nabob Asoph-ul-Dowlah Behader, and the hon. the East India company, to the mutual advantage of their respective dominions, the nabob, &c. &c. and sir John Shore, bart. on the part of the hon. the East India company, with the view to perpetuate the amity between the two states, &c." Are not these words conclusive of the opinion of the government of India at the time, that they were two distinct independent states, or dominions? Is such a preamble consistent with the idea of a paramount lord and vassal? Is not this a recognition of sovereign rights? Besides, let it be recollected, if the nabob received his investiture from us, or from the mogul, from whom did we receive our dominion of Bengal, Bahar, and Orissa? I should wish to see any treaty produced, where the language is more consistent with independent and mutual rights. But the right hon. bart. says, our right on this occasion was founded on usage also; and he instances the interference of lord Cornwallis and lord Teignmouth, with the internal government of the nabob. Does the right hon. hart. seriously mean to contend, that the acts of those noble lords, and this we are now revising have any the smallest resemblance?—True, lord Cornwallis, at a moment when the subsidy had been for a considerable time in arrear, apprehensive of the failure of it, and considering the failure imputable to the mismanagement of the then nabob Asoph-ul-Dowlah, urged him less in the strong language of remonstrance, than the affectionate warmth of friendship, to remedy the errors and defects Of his government; he even, from a 1094 similar motive, interfered with his remonstrance and advice, as to the members of the, nabob's government. But let gentlemen recollect, that not even threats were resorted to; strong remonstrance and repeated advice were the only weapons of force he used, or pretended the right to use; every other he specifically and repeatedly disclaimed, as inconsistent with the relative state of the governments, and their respective independence. But can any thing be a more conclusive proof of the continued opinion of this noble lord, of the injustice, and even the impolicy of interference with the government of India, contrary to subsisting treaties, than the very last act of the life of this respected nobleman; who, when at the close of a long life, actively and usefully employed in the cause of his country, he was sent over to India to repair, as far as possible, all the errors of former administrations, and to retrieve the character of the country, would permit no consideration of interest or advantage to the company's affairs, to be pleaded against the faith arid honour of Britain. In answer to a letter written by colonel Close, the resident at Poonah, describing the sad condition of the Peishwah's government, and the more than inclination, the almost request of the Peishwah for the interference of the British in the internal regulation of his dominions, and the compliance with which request colonel Close considers as the only means of rendering the treaty of Bassein any other than a burthen on the company; lord Cornwallis, after acknowledging the force of the resident's arguments and conclusions, writes thus:—'It is one of the fundamental principles of the treaty of Bassein and constitutes one of its express provisions, that the British government is not to interfere in the internal administration of his highness's dominions;" and his lordship then directs the resident to decline all the offers of interference, and actual prepositions of substitution of the British government for that of the Peishwa, which had been made to the resident. In the same manner, sir, we find, when col. Kirkpatrick, the resident at Hydrabad (who had been lord Wellesley's secretary, and of course inclined to further his views and projects of interference and reform), in no less than six several dispatches to the Bengal government, had pressed the necessity of establishing a body of Sillahdar cavalry, under the government of Hydrabad, to 1095 be permanently maintained in a state of efficiency, but which he (the resident) acknowledges the Nizam to be uniformly averse to, lord Cornwallis embraces the first opportunity of explicitly disavowing the conduct of the resident, and instructs him wholly to abandon not only the proposition as to the cavalry, but the whole system of compulsion, or even interference in the civil or military government of the Nizam. The whole letter is replete with censure on the system established by the marquis Wellesley's government, both as to its justice and policy. I shall not fatigue the house by reading the whole of it; yet there are two passages so immediately applicable, that I cannot refrain from quoting them.—"The prosecution of such a system of compulsion appears to the governor-general to be inconsistent with the principles of the alliance, and injurious to the interests and reputation of the British government, by exciting a general apprehension, that it is our object to establish the entire ascendancy and controul of the British power in India." And again, in the same letter, he adds, "The governor-general observes, with great regret, the degree of interference exercised by the British government through the channel of its representative in the internal administration of the government of Hydrabad. It appears to his lordship to have entirely changed the nature of the relations originally established between the British government and the state of Hydrabad. His lordship is aware, that this undesirable degree of interference and ascendancy in the councils of the state of Hydrabad, is to be ascribed to the gradual decay of the energies of government, and to the defect of efficient instruments of authority. But the evils, which appear to his lordship to be the natural result of such a system of interference and paramount ascendancy in the government of Hydrabad, greatly exceed those, which the maintenance of that system is calculated to prevent; a system rendered more dangerous at the present moment, by the probable effects of a belief, which, however unjust, appears to be too generally entertained, of a systematic design on the part of the British government to establish its controul and authority over every state in India."—So much for lord Cornwallis's opinion of our right to interfere at all, much less to the extent which would justify by example, our conduct to the nabob of Oude. What too has 1096 been the opinion of lord Teignmouth, as to this extent of right: look through all his letters whilst he was governor general; there one instance in which he hints at the right of using force, to render interference valid? Does he not uniformly limit the interference to remonstrance and abvice? But read his evidence delivered at your bar, and in the hands of every member of this house; is there one tittle of it which justifies the use of force to accomplish even the purposes of reform? On the contrary, is there not an express and reiterated disclaimer of it?—Did he not, in fact, remove Mr. Cherry from his situation as resident, because he had used improper language (that of intimidation) to the nabob. I cannot imagine what has induced the right hon. baronet to rest the defence of his patron on conduct so dissimilar. Even were he correct in this statement, how could the conduct of lord Cornwallis, and lord Teignmouth, before the year 1798, when the treaty of Lucknow was concluded, justify lord Wellesley's conduct since? It is the violation of that treaty he is charged with—of that treaty which stipulated charged the non-interference of the British government "in his dominions or with his troops and subjects." All arguments therefore founded on the conduct of our government previously to it, fall to the ground. By that article, if you ever had the right, you had expressly covenanted to give it up. On the right therefore I will not waste another word.—But for argument sake, suppose the right, where was the necessity of its exercise at the moment? It has been said that the troops of the nabob were mutinous, disaffected, and inefficient, and that this justified their reform. Neither the right hon. baronet, nor any other gentleman, have favoured us with one tittle of proof of the disaffection, except that when Zemaun Shah threatened to invade Oude, the nabob was apprehensive of his person, and requested some British troops at Lucknow. But is the real cause assigned of this request? are we told (as in fairness we ought) that the nabob had at the instant been raised to the musnud, as the lineal successor, and Vizier Ali displaced (whose partizans were then very numerous, in the country between Benares and Oude); that scarcely warm in his seat, he was apprehensive of the advantage which might be taken of Zemaun Shah's approach, and of the flight of Vizier Ali into Gorruckpore with 6000 men, after the murder of Mr. 1097 Cherry at Benares by the enemies of the company and himself, to excite mutiny amongst his troops? But was there any thing like mutiny or disaffection amongst his troops at the time of your projected reform? Was there any vizier Ali to create mutiny; or any approach of Zemaun Shah to encourage it? That different regiments mutinied at times when long arrears were due to them, could not be brought as a reason; it is well known that scarcely any power in Hindoostan is exempt from such instances. Their troops are always greatly in arrear (I wish ours may not often be so), and when the abuse becomes intolerable, it remedies itself. The troops mutiny, march to the seat of government, get paid, and return again to obedience. But then they are wholly inefficient, it is said:—not wholly so, whilst all are most fit for the enforcing and collection of revenue (as will be seen hereafter) The evidence on your table proves that some, particularly the troops of Almas Ali Khan, the great Aumil of the Doab, are efficient. in our opinion; but are they not all as much so as Mussulmen troops are in general throughout the world? It is not the question whether they are as efficient as European troops; but whether we had the right to disband them at our will and pleasure? But it has been urged that the peculiar situation in which we were placed at the time, rendered it absolutely necessary that a considerable reform should take place in the Vizier's troops; that our north-western frontier was endangered by the threatened return of Zemaun Shah, and by the influence of France in the western part of India. It has been added even that the French were in Egypt when lord Wellesley landed in India. Such an excuse for this act of oppression and tyranny (for I will presently chew that even then it would have been merely pretence) might have been advanced; but when the victory of Aboukir, and the subsequent successes of the British arms in Egypt, (long before the conclusion of this scheme of rapine) had annihilated the French power in the east—when the conquest of Tippoo Saib had destroyed French influence in India, how can such an argument be advanced for the measure? Zemaun Shah too was destroyed; and although his brother, Mahmood Shah, was pledged to pursue the same career, and to attack British India, yet was he likely to be more formidable than his brother? Was the situation of India more danger- 1098 ous, after the destruction of Tippoo and the conquest of Egypt, than before? and what were the preparations made to resist Zematin Shah in 1798? Why, 15,000 men (exclusive of those left to protect the nabob) under the command of sir James Craig. The treaty of Lucknow compelled you to have 13,000 men; surely 7000 more, the extent of sir James Craig's wishes, might have been sent from the British provinces, to defend its north western frontiers; for was the invasion of Zemaun Shah directed solely against the nabob of Oude? was it not equally, and especially directed against the British power in India? and were we to contribute nothing to our defence, and the nabob every thing? Was this just or reasonable; but even if 20,000 men were necessary for the defence of Oude only, was it not possible to have raised and disciplined 7000 men out of the armies of the nabob, which amounted to between 30 and 40,000. Was not this the kind of reform we should have first attempted? We might have made at least the experiment, and seen what British influence and discipline might have effected. It will not be pretended that you would have found any effectual resistance in the nabob to this measure of disbanding part of his army, and disciplining the remainder. On the contrary, we find him actually assisting in such a project, for half the battalions were purposely left unfilled. Conscious of the inutility of so large and unorganized a force, he would gladly have reduced a great part and organized the remainder. At first this was all you asked; you desired only a reform of his army by the reduction of part of his useless battalions; you said not a word of marching in your troops to replace them. Having repeatedly stated his army to be worse than useless, to be dangerous, and embarrassing to your own, all that you could wish was the removal, as far as was possible, of this danger and embarrassment. Any reduction was a gain; it diminished your fears, and concentrated your own force; it required therefore no additional number of troops. This was your alleged view of it at first; for sir Alured Clarke in his letter to the vizier of the 21st of June, 1799, writes thus The defence of your excellency's dominions against foreign attack, as well as their internal tranquillity, can only be effected by a reform of your excellency's military establishments. There can be no doubt that the measure might 1099 be effected with a degree of advantage to your excellency's finances, little inferior to that which it promises to your military establishments. So lord Wellesley on the 26th of September, three months afterwards, writes thus: I cannot conclude without expressing my anxious hope that your excellency will not suffer any consideration to delay for a moment the necessary alterations in your military establishment; on the early completion of the improvement of your army, the safety and prosperity of your dominions essentially depend, and the present is the most favourable season for the accomplishment of this great and salutary work.' Is it not plain from these letters, that what was originally meant and proposed, was a military reform? Nor did the nabob view it in any other light: for on the 20th Oct. 1799, he writes to lord Wellesley thus, your lordship desires that I will not delay for a moment the necessary alterations in my military establishment. The fact is, that the benefits both immediate and future of such reform are even more strongly impressed upon my mind than they are described by your lordship: and accordingly a year ago, from a sense of those benefits and of the evils arising from the failure of my resources, and the increase of my expences, I, of my own accord, planned in my own mind a reform in the system, and was the first to propose it. Your lordship's reply that pressing avocations obliged you to postpone the question, rendered it a case of necessity.' So that after all the assertions of the nabob's unwillingness to listen to the measure of reform, it actually appears that he was the first to propose it, and that the delay was alone to be imputed to lord Wellesley; indeed, I will defy the right hon. baronet to produce any one instance, in which any refusal, or even disinclination, on the part of the nabob existed to reform his civil or military government; he was always anxious to procure from the resident such a plan—nay, he himself had led to it by divers reforms and retrenchments; this you have had from major Ouseley, at the bar of this house, who, after describing him as a 'sensible, acute, and well read man,' as an excellent scholar,' and 'a great ornament of society;' and a man of considerable talents for business, tells you, that he corrected a great many abuses in all parts of his establishment; so that we find it was not a mere profession, but a fixed and steady determination 1100 in the nabob, to introduce every practicable reform into his dominions.—But did the noble marquis wish for a reform? did he propose any thing resembling it? will it be pretended that the proposition to disband his whole army, and to pay for any additional and unlimited number of troops you might chuse to introduce, was a proposition of reform of his army? and did you make any other? No, you never intended to do so: it was ad part of your real plan, it was a pitiful and contemptible pretence. Your object from the first was, what you effected at last, the dismemberment of the nabob's territories, and the subjugation to your power of what you suffered him to retain Can any man doubt this, who has at attentively read the papers before you? is there one man in the house that seriously doubts this intention? If he does, let him read the first letter written by lord Wellesley to Mr. Lumsden, the resident Lucknow, after his arival in 1798, and before he had been six months in India. After complimenting the talents, integrity, and diligence of Mr. Lumsden, (whom however, he thought necessary afterwards to supersede) he writes thus:'there are two or three leading considerations in the state of Oude, to which I wish to direct your particular notice, intending at an early period to enter fully into the arrangement in which they toast terminate. Whenever the death of Almas shall happen, an opportunity will offer of securing the benefits of lord Teignmouth's treaty, by. provisions which seem necessary for the purpose of realising the subsidy under all contingencies. The company ought to succeed to the power of Almas.' Here we find an open undisguised avowal of an intention to violate at a given time the treaty of Luchnow, to reduce it's stipulations to mere waste paper, by a seizure of its most valuable and fertile provinces, to secure against all contingencies the payment of a subsidy, for which there was an express stipulation and provision in the treaty itself. No, sir, reform was only a paltry and despicable pretext; your plan was settled, and your means were adequate. You marched in a large body of troops, not to reform the nabob's military establishment, but to make your power irresistible, and his resources exhausted.—You demanded the disbanding his army; you knew the consequences would at the least be the diminution of his revenues; you compelled him to pay their arrears; he did so; you 1101 then required payment of the troops you had Marched in. After some ineffectual remonstrances, he complied with your requisitions; but this would not satisfy you; he had found the means of frustrating your iniquitous project; till his coffers were exhausted, you had not the means of executing your plans; ingenuity, therefore, must be stretched to find other pretexts of extortion. A long dormant claim, one that was never in the contemplation of lord Teignmouth, for the expences incurred by the company at the period of Zemaun Shah's approach, was then advanced; to this was added a demand of a lack, and 40,000 rupees for the repairs of the fort of Allahabad. Nor was this all; we had went two embassies to Persia to counteract the views of Zemaun Shah in Hindostan; half of the expence was demanded of the nabob: emptied as his coffers had been by our previous extortions, we were in hopes these demands would wholly exhaust them; or, at least, that they would draw forth from the nabob some acknowledgment of inability to pay them, which might found the pretence of seizing his dominions. And on his remonstrating against the injustice and extent of these demands, and the time and manner in which they were brought forward, and expressed his anxiety, lest such vast and reiterated demand; made at the same moment, "should occasion a failure in payment," and by that means "his responsibility should be in peached:" the governor-general eagerly seizes on "this possible inability to discharge his engagements with the company," (as he is pleased to term it) as the foundation of a demand, the most unjust and tyrannical, but which was always the ultimate object of the government. The resident is directed to propose to the nabob, either 1st. The complete transfer of his whole authority, civil and military, to the company; or, 2dly. Territorial cessions in perpetual sovereignty, equivalent to subsidy and the charges of the augmented force, and this under the seventh article of the treaty of Luchnow, an article which could relate to nothing more than the subsidy settled by that treaty, which was 76 lacks of rupees, not to the augmented demand of upwards of 54 lacks more For a long time the nabob firmly resisted both these iniquitous propositions; and it was not till he was informed that his further resistance would be ineffectual, that he chose the least degrading of them.— Sir, the noble lord 1102 (Folkestone) has detailed the particulars of this transaction; the insulting language, and the wean artifices by which it was effected. He has stated justly the enormity of the security taken of 62 lacks for every 10 of subsidy, on the principle of the treaty with the rajah of Tanjore; he has pointed out to you the unworthy conduct of the resident, the humiliation of the nabob; I shall not repeat the disgusting detail, so injurious to the reputation and honour of G. Britain. But I may just be permitted to ask on what principle of fairness we can accuse the nabob of artifice and duplicity: we who, during the whole transaction, in our instructions to our resident, made use of every little subterfuge, every pitiful pretext to cover our intentions; who, when we failed in persuading the nabob to surrender his dominions wholly to the Company, instead of abdicating in favour of his son according to his own proposal, instructed our resident to avow the indifference of the Company to an act we had most at heart, and directed him to remove every idea from the mind of the nabob, that we anxiously wished him to abdicate; we, who when we marched our augmented force into Oude, stated the situation of Rohilcund, and the success of Gholaum Khader, as the pretexts for their march, acknowledging at the time that they were but pretexts.— With what face then can we accuse the nabob of duplicity?—I shall always think, sir, that if the policy of our government in India was to strengthen our north western frontier by the possession of the Doab, and by the dismemberment of Oude, and the extension of our territory in India (a policy I much doubt) it would have been more manly, more becoming the character and honour of the British government, to have openly avowed our determination, rather than by these little unworthy pretexts and artifices, so insulting to common sense and honesty, endeavouring to justify an act, which though in itself atrocious and tyrannical, was, in its execution, attended with circumstances still more disgraceful to the British name and character, than the act itself. But, sir, it is said, with confidence, by the right hon. baronet, that the noble lord only followed the instructions he received from his employers, and that the commutation of territory for subsidy had been recommended by them. When the right hon. baronet stated the instructions lord Wellesley had received, and held in his 1103 hand a large folio volume of papers and instructions, I thought he would have favoured us with one letter or paper of instructions from the secret committee, or the court of directors, justifying lord Wellesley in his conduct to the nabob of Oude, and which might have escaped my observation: and although I should not have thought the violation of a solemn treaty, even under the sanction of such authority, deserving the approval of this house; yet, certainly, the noble marquis could not have been accused in such case of any thing more than submitting to be the instrument of the Company's injustice. How then, sir, must the house have been astonished to find, that not one letter, not one scrap of paper, not one expression in any letter, which can be tortured into an instruction to the marquis Wellesley, even to commute the subsidy for territory, with the consent of the nabob, much less against it, has been produced or read; and after this is broadly stated as one ground of defence of the conduct of the governor-general, we find amounts to no more than this, that in former times the government of India was instructed to attempt to persuade the nabobs of Arcot to commute subsidy for territory, and that lord Wellesley himself actually carried out instructions so to do. Now let us shortly examine this alledged approbation by the Company, of the principle of this commutation. Sir, those who have read the Carnatic papers now on the table of this house, will have found that lord Macartney in 1781, whilst we were at war, (I think with Hyder Ali) procured for the purposes of defence and security, the nabob of Arcot to consent to make an assignment of a stipulated portion of territory, in lieu of the subsidy then paid by him to the Company; but he expressly states, that this was done by consent, and adds how highly improper it would have been to have used any thing like force to obtain it. On the representation of this circumstance to the supreme government at Bengal, Mr. Hastings and his council approved of the exchange; but on further reflection, and on lord Macartney's avowal of his intention to make the exchange more than temporary, a discussion very unpleasant took place between the two governments, and ultimately, Mr. Hastings directed the re-assignment of the territory to the nabob. The court of directors, after stating their reasons, confirmed the order of the government of 1104 Bengal, and lord Macartney retired in consequence from their service in disgust. Next comes the conduct of lord Cornwallis, and this is mainly relied on! He, it is said, actually made a treaty, by which the nabob agreed, in a certain case, to commute subsidy for territory. He certainly did so: but in what manner, and under what circumstances? By the treaty of 1787, the subsidy to be paid by the nabob of Arcot, was increased 200,000l.; it was always in arrear. Lord Cornwallis, sensible that it was beyond the ability of the nabob to pay with punctuality, reduced it, and the nabob in consideration of this reduction, stipulated that if the payment of the instalments should be in arrear, certain districts in the treaty mentioned, should be possessed by the company, till the arrears were paid; in fact he mortgaged his territory to secure the payment of the demand. Now, sir, let me ask the house, if in either of these cases, there is the least justification to be found of the conduct of lord Wellesley, in Oude. In one case a temporary commutation was made, and afterwards restored by the orders of the supreme government and the court of directors; in the other merely a provision for such commutation in a given event; in both by consent of the nabob. How can the ingenuity of the right hon. baronet find the slightest resemblance in the cases? But where are the instructions? I had almost forgot the government of lord Hobart, which was adduced as illustrative of the principle of commutation.—sir, my recollection does not furnish me with one single letter of instruction to lord Hobart from the government at home, or the supreme government at Bengal, to use force, or any thing like it, to obtain this commutation; although it does furnish me with repeated instances of urgent requests on his part to use it for the purpose. The government uniformly resisted it, and insisted that no means but persuasion should be resorted to; indeed, to the best of my recollection, this very urgency, on the part of lord Hobart, was the occasion of his losing the supreme government, which was intended for him —It is remarkable, that in the only instance where lord Wellesley seems to have attended to the instructions of his employers, or considered them more than waste paper, is on this very subject, where he is ordered by them to go to Madras, previously to taking upon himself the government of Bengal, will a view of per- 1105 suading the nabob to consent to this arrangement of territorial cession, in lieu of subsidy. But what were his instructions? —Why, to use no other means than persuasion to induce the nabob to consent to the proposed arrangement; and these being his instructions, he was obliged to leave the object unaccomplished. Now, sir, after having taken all this pains to travel from Bengal to Madras, to find a justification of the noble lord's conduct, by analogy to instructions given to the late government—how have we succeeded? Not one instance of instruction to any governor general in India, to obtain an exchange of territory for subsidy, by force, is to be found—directly the reverse. I defy the right hon. baronet to adduce even one solitary instance. I am content to rest the whole of this case on such proof. But, sir, I will not waste another word in attempting to refute the mass of fallacious and plausible statements, which the ingenuity of the hon. baronet has produced, and which have been stated with a solemnity that would make one fancy there was something of truth in them. Let any man read the papers, and he cannot for an instant doubt on how weak a foundation rests the defence of this disgraceful transaction.—Yet the injustice of the transaction may find some excuse in its policy, and in the advantages resulting from it. Well, let us examine it in this view. What have been our gains? have we more security now than before! Have me bettered our finances? Is our government in India more secure? Have we even improved the condition of the natives? If these objects, or any of them have been gained, we have something to put to the credit side of the account. In what way is our security increased? Is our north-western frontier defended by a greater body of forces?—No. Have we a larger army of British troops in Oude than before?—No. On the contrary, although the pretended object of our first attack on the nabob's independence was the necessity of a much larger effective military establishment in Oude, we have since the treaty had permanently a less force than before. The average number has been from 10,000 to 12,500 men from the year 1802 to the last accounts in 1806, and the greater part of these scattered up and down the ceded provinces, in the brilliant employ of the collectors of the revenue, to the great annoyance of the natives and the ruin of the 1106 discipline of the army, as has been stated to you by sir James Craig, in his evidence at your bar. I cannot help asking here—What can be a stronger proof of the falsehood of our reason for marching in our troops than this statement, which is strictly correct? But, are our finances improved by this measure? Ask the India Company. It has been acknowledged that the flourishing statement of the probable future revenue of the ceded provinces, by Mr. H. Wellesley, has never been realised. You have been told by an hon. director, (Mr. Robert Thornton) the immense increase of debt, during the administration of lord Wellesley: and much am I deceived, if the committee you have just appointed to inquire into the state of the company's affairs, will not soon furnish you with a statement much less encouraging than the one you have heard. How, indeed, can it be otherwise? Can this system of eternal war, of extended territory, be carried on, without a proportionate expence, and consequently of increase of debt? Firmly am I convinced, that all your debts and embarrassments are owing to the wretched and disgraceful system of extortion and plunder you have pursued. But will it be said, that our government is more secure. How will the friends of lord Wellesley prove this? Is it by the temporary subjugation of the princes of India? Is that the security on which we must rely, should the present ruler of France carry into execution his projected attack? Is there one of these princes on whom you could, in such case rely! Your treatment has made them your bitter enemies in heart—though they are now your humble slaves. The appearance of an European army would rekindle the flame of resentment, which, if suppressed, can never be extinguished. A government by force, as has been recommended by an hon. gent. (Mr. Whitshed Keene) cannot be durable, it is physically impossible, that 30,000. Europeans should be the absolute masters of sixty or seventy millions of the inhabitants of India, subdued by violence or treachery? For, let gentlemen look at the map of Hindostan, and they will see the extent of the mischief in which this wretched system has involved us. From the extremity of the Malabar to the Coromandel coast, all is British influence and oppression. How have you treated the nabob of Surat? He had a divided authority with the Company; you have taken it from him, and 1107 made him a pensioner on the bounty of the company—a mere cypher of authority, subject to your will and pleasure! How have you treated the unhappy chiefs of the southern Polygars? You have razed their forts; hung them up at the doors of their own palaces, and transported to New South Wales their relatives and adherents! What have you done with the Rajah of Tanjore? You have made what you call a treaty with him; by which you have taken all his dominions from him, and pensioned him off! What has been your conduct to the Nizam? When you parcelled out Tippoo's dominions, you in your bounty, gave him a part; you have taken them from him by a similar agreement, which you call a treaty, under the pretence of a commutation for subsidy:—and if lord Cornwallis had not returned to India, you were on the eve of introducing the same reform into his military establishments, as you did in Oude; so indeed you would have done with the Peishwa, but for the interference of that respected nobleman. How have we conducted ourselves to the nabob of Arcot? We have made a treaty with him too!—Ah! sir, such a treaty, attended with such circumstances, as it will be my painful duty to state to the house hereafter; suffice it now to say, he retains not a vestige of power. With this cursory view of our situation in India, is there any man bold enough to view it without apprehension? But, sir, though last, not least, in the contemplation of every benevolent and feeling mind, has the condition of the natives been improved? Has any system of police been introduced; any plan even proposed for the amelioration of the condition of the lower orders (those for whom, as the right hon. bart. states, British laws were peculiarly calculated)? Has the industrous ryot been protected in the enjoyment of the fruits of his industry, against the extortion of the zemindar?—No, sir; we hear of reform, but the people have experienced none; their condition in the space of four years, and upwards, has been not one Whit mended; and this we have from the authority of Mr. Strachey, who, was a judge in one of the ceded provinces. He tells you, that up to the year 1805, this detestable police (as the right hon. bart represents it) remained in the same state; not one step had been taken by the British government to improve the police in the ceded provinces. This gentleman was judge at Midnapore, the very spot to 1108 which the Mahrattas marched, in their way to Bengal, in 1780; and we have evidence from him of the state of his province. He says, that continued disturbances arose, in consequence of the substitution of our military for the forces of the country, in the collection of the revenues; and he was actually obliged, in order to preserve the peace of the country, to dismiss the military, and restore the police to the zemindar; and by that means the people were satisfied, and the province tranquil.—What too does Mr. Riley, the judge of Etawa, say? Does he furnish you with the glowing portrait of the peace end happiness of British rule in India, so feelingly contrasted by the right hon. bart. with the anarchy and misery of the native governments? Where is the magic wand, which was, at the instant, to convert licentiousness into subordination, and, in the name of British justice, to substitute civilization and good order, for barbarism and revolt? From him we learn, that a general and perpetual dissatisfaction existed during the whole of that period he resided as judge in the province; that there were nothing butt insurrections and revolts; that the zemindars and nobles were in a constant state of revolt; that when a French officer (M. Suffrien) entered the province, with a handful of troops, they actually joined him. Indeed, sir, it is impossible to believe, that the hearts of the people can be with you; torn, by your power, from their natural sovereign, to whom, in eastern countries, attachment is part of their nature; subjected to the exactions, insults, and punishments of men whose justice they have heard of, but never experienced; whose religion they abhor, and whose laws are dissonant from their habits and customs; dragooned, as it were, into submission, by a scattered, and consequently a licentious military—what spark of affection can be excited in their breasts towards you?— What feeling can animate them, but stifled, yet unsubdued revenge?—a deep-rooted resentment, which, under your present system, no time will allay, and which wants only a fit opportunity to overwhelm you in its effects. Depend on it, India is the theatre on which Britain is vulnerable; neglect not the necessary precautions till it be too late; retrace those sanguinary and despotic steps which you have lately trod; substitute conciliation for terror—the influence of European civilization for British fraud and violence; make the native princes your friends, not your slaves; re- 1109 store to them the unjust spoils of which you have plundered them; let British faith and justice be henceforth as unsullied in Hindostan, as, I trust, in every other part of the world it has been. If we claim the character of a great nation, let us deserve it. Forget not, 'that justice is the foundation of the prosperity of states, and that the prayers of the oppressed often call down the vengeance of the Almighty on their oppressors.'—This was the pathetic appeal to the justice of a former nabob, by that respected nobleman, marquis Cornwallis; he lived, alas! to see it too applicable to ourselves.—And now sir, the amendment of which notice has been given by the right hon. bart. on the last motion, brings me to t le personal question as it immediately affects the noble marquis; I have before said I consider this the least important view of the subject, because the destruction of the system, not the punishment of the man, is and ought to be our object. The right hon. gent. seems to think otherwise, and if lord Wellesley can be saved harmless, the suffering millions' of India (as in contempt he is pleased to term them) may remain pillaged, oppressed and subjugated. Let us then consider if in truth and justice, the noble marquis can be saved harmless. Sir, I am well aware how much the brilliancy of exploits dazzles and confounds the judgment, how much the recollection of splendid victorios achieved in a good cause, shuts our eyes to future misconduct in a bad one. It is a natural and irresistible feeling. The achievements of the noble marquis in the Carnatic war against. Tippoo, and the complete destruction of French interest in India, the consequence of that event, entitled him to the highest commendations of his country. It is impossible to speak in terms appropriate of the peculiar merit which attended that exploit, not only in its success, but in the vigorous and energetic measures of lord Wellesley, which preceded, and ensured it. His conduct on that occasion reminds me of the splendid and useful qualities attributed by Cicero to Pompey, when he wished to prevail on the Roman senate to appoint hire to a command in its nature something similar. 'Labor in negotiis, fortitudo in periculis, industria in agendo, celeritas in conficiendo, consilium in providendo.' All these attributes the noble marquis may justly lay claim to, in the war against the Indian Mithridates, and if he had immediately after this conquest of Mysore left India, he 1110 would have merited the unqualified approbation of his countrymen. But, sir, after reading the papers on your table, of his subsequent conduct, is there any impartial man who will venture to say that his laurels remain unfaded, untarnished by his subsequent conduct? Highly as I respect the talents of the noble marquis, I cannot permit the brilliancy of those talents to shut my eyes against the acts of tyranny and injustice we are now examining? I impute to him no corrupt motives; but is that unbounded ambition, which permits no obstacles to the attainment of the most unjust ends, no crime? Is such an ambition less fatal to the interests and character of a great nation than personal avarice? Insatiable as they both are, the effects of ambition are more pernicious, because more extensive and durable. With a considerable bias on my mind in favour of lord Wellesley, I feel compelled to pronounce a verdict of guilty, and that against him alone; for plainly manifest is it, that in the whole of these momentous proceedings, whilst his disregard and contempt of the company's authority has been avowed and justified by the right hon. baronet, he has not even condescended to communicate to his council his intentions towards Oude. Sir Alured Clarke, second in council, informs you that though he left India only in Feb. 1801, he knew nothing of the intentions of lord Wellesley respecting Oude, though they had been methodized, and arranged as we find long before; even Mr. Cowper, possessing the confidence and friendship of lord Wellesley, was not entrusted with the secret. In fact this was his sole act, originating in himself; executed by himself—no one has shared the merit, if merit it has; no one else is intitled to censure, if censure it deserves.—I had nearly forgot the justification of the noble marquis from the subsequent approval by the court of directors. How does the right hon. baronet construe an approval of the treaty into that of lord Wellesley's conduct? An honorable director (Mr. Grant) has told you, that the naked treaty alone came to them, without one explanation of the manner in which it had been obtained, or the circumstances which preceded it. I wonder not they should approve a treaty which (if they gave credit to the brilliant statement of the future revenues of the ceded provinces by Mr. H. Wellesley) promised so great a relief to their embarrassed finances; but when they did know 1111 all the circumstances attending it, did they then approve lord Wellesley's conduct? No, sir, on the contrary, they stood forward, as manfully and honourably as they do now, to express their reprobation and abhorrence of it. On what then rests this part of the justification It is as specious, but as fallacious as the rest.— I fear, Sir, I have nearly exhausted the patience of the house; indeed I am nearly exhausted myself; but I was anxious fully to state the reasons of my vote on a question, which I consider most important to the interests and character of Great Britain, which has employed an attentive consideration of some weeks, and to which I have brought only an anxious desire for truth. In the vote which I shall most readily give in support of the motion of the noble lord, I will frankly own, I am making no small sacrifice of my political feelings, to my sence of public duty. I have my political attachments and friendships as well as others; and when I feel compelled to forego them even for the moment, it is with sincere regret. I am happy, however, in thinking that this is no party question. The present ministers, with one exception, have not the remotest personal interest in the transaction; yet if they had, if they themselves were implicated in the question, it would make no difference in me, except in increasing my regrets: for there is, there can be but one plain line of duty for a member of the British parliament to pursue, namely, to consider the honour and character of the country, (and of consequence its interests) as paramount to every personal feeling and every private wish.—One word, sir, before I sit down, on the subject of reparation to the party injured. I wish this point had come under the consideration of the noble lord, and a motion had been directed to this object. Reparation to the injured is a proof of the sincerity of our repentance of the act. I think the committee now sitting, and to which I have alluded, is the proper tribunal to which reference in this case might be made; but I dictate not to the noble lord. Sir, I shall detain you and the house no longer; I am thankful for its indulgence, and of which I am conscious I have taken an unreasonable advantage.
§ Mr. Henry Wellesley
said, that it was with the greatest reluctance that he ventured to obtrude himself upon the time of the house, upon a question of such importance, as that now under its considera- 1112 tion; but, having been principally concerned in the execution of those measures, upon which the noble lord's resolutions were grounded, and having been personally alluded to by an hon. gent. (Mr. Lushington) who spoke last but one previous to the adjournment of this debate, he trusted that he should be excused if he troubled the house with a very few words. During the several discussions which had taken place upon this subject, previous to the last session of parliament, he had not the honour of being a member of the house, and he therefore had no opportunity of expressing his sentiments, even upon those parts of them which related personally to him. It was for that reason, as well as from what fell from the hon. gent. opposite to him, (Mr. Lushington) before this debate was adjourned, that he was anxious to avail himself of this occasion to state that, although, during his employment in Oude, he acted for the most part under instructions from the supreme government, yet that nothing could be further from his disposition than to shrink from any responsibility which might be supposed to attach to him for the share he had had in these transactions. The hon. gent. (Mr. Lushington) expressed his surprize that one of his first acts, immediately after the territorial cession, should have been the establishment, in the ceded provinces, of a monopoly of salt, and he asked him where he had learnt that branch of political economy? Now, the hon. gent. was mistaken as to the period when that monopoly was introduced into the ceded provinces, for it was not introduced till nearly a year and a half subsequent to the cession, when the territorial settlement had taken place, and when the company's civil and judicial system had been completely extended over those provinces; and, if the hon. gent. would take the trouble to enquire, he would find that a monopoly of salt, forms one of the company's principal sources of revenue in the province of Bengal. He could not see, therefore, why the establishment of such a monopoly, under proper regulations, in the ceded provinces of Oude, should not be proportionably productive as a source of revenue, and as little oppressive on the inhabitants, as long experience had proved it to be in the province of Bengal.— After the able and comprehensive speech of his right hon. friend opposite to him, (sir John Anstruther,) he felt that be should trespass unnecessarily upon the time of the house, if 1113 he attempted to enter, to any great extent, into the general question before it. He certainly thought, (and he was persuaded that he spoke the sentiments of most of the gentlemen present, who were Conversant in the affairs of India, when he said,) that our right of control over the affairs of Oude was fully established by the peculiar nature of the intimate connection subsisting between the East India company and the government of Oude; connection which could not be dissolved without consequences the most injurious to both states, and probably destructive to the government of Oude. Much had been said respecting the interference of lord Wellesley's immediate predecessors in the affairs of Oude; and he certainly could not conceive a more direct and positive act of interference, or one which went further to establish the dependency of Oude upon the East India company, than that which was exercised by lord Teignmouth; when, with the assistance of a British army, he deposed vizier Ali, whose elevation to the musnud he had before sanctioned, and placed the present vizier Sandut Ali in his room. In adverting to this transaction, he had no other object whatever than to call the attention of the house to lord Teignmouth's opinion with respect to our relations in Oude, whose authority, so deservedly respectable upon all subjects, relating to India, is so entirely conclusive upon this particular point; and he hoped it would be understood, that nothing was further from his intention than to impute the slightest blame to the noble lord for his conduct upon that occasion. On the contrary, he thought, that under circumstances of great difficulty, and, he believed, of personal danger, lord Teignmouth displayed a degree of judgment and firmness which was highly creditable to his character. He also thought, that his decision was founded in strict justice; but, was it only where justice was due to others that our interference was warrantable? but where it was due to ourselves, in a case where our security depends upon our interference, are we to remain inactive spectators of the ruin of the resources upon which that security was to depend; nor could it be maintained, that the gov. gen. should have postponed his interference till that ruin was accomplished, rather than have interposed his authority to prevent it? That it was fast approaching, was abundantly proved by the papers upon the table; and he would ask the house, 1114 what must have been the condition of those provinces, if, in addition to the calamities under which they were suffering, they had been exposed to the evil of becoming the seat of a Mahratta war; and yet, had those provinces continued under the direction of the vizier, at the breaking out of the Mahratta war, it would have been utterly impossible for lord Lake (whose loss the public and his friends have so much reason to deplore) to have achieved that brilliant campaign, for which, among other marks of distinction deservedly conferred upon him, he received the thanks of the house. His army would have found sufficient employment in restraining and keeping in check the mutinous and disorderly troops of the vizier. Had he attempted to advance beyond the frontier, the country would have been in open rebellion; his supplies (if indeed he could have procured any from a country in such a condition).would have been cut off; he must therefore have remained in Oude upon the defensive, and (in addition to the evils of a protracted war) from the inadequacy of his force to cover the whole of a weak and extensive frontier, he must necessarily have left many parts of the country exposed to the irruption of the Mahratta army.—In consequence, however, of the introduction of the company's authority into those provinces, lord Lake was not only enabled to draw his supplies from them, but to apply the whole of his force to the attack of the enemy, and thus he finished, in one campaign, a war which might otherwise have been protracted to a period of several years.—These were a, part of the advantages resulting from that territorial cession, a demand for which he Maintained not only to have been justifiable, not only conformable to the spirit of the stipulations contained in the treaty of 1798, but absolutely necessary to our security. The vizier had repeatedly intimated to the resident, his apprehension of a total failure in the resources of the country, and in proportion as it was essential to the interests of the company, and of the vizier, that a large British military force should be, permanently stationed in Oude, in the same proportion was it necessary, that the resources by which that force was to be maintained, should be preserved from failure. And, considering all the circumstances detailed in the papers upon the table, of the radical defects of the vizier's system of administration, of the mutinous spirit, and total want of dis 1115 cipline prevailing in his army, of the annual progressive decline of the revenues and resources of every description, and of the existence of a formidable French establishment, permanently stationed upon the most vulnerable part of our frontier; he repeated, that, under such circumstances, the governor-general, whoever he might be, would not only have been unworthy of the trust reposed in him, but would have been guilty of a criminal neglect of his duty, if he had not taken effectual means for placing the company's interests in Oude, as connected with those of the vizier, upon a permanent foundation of security. The arrangement, as it now stands, has proved equally advantageous to both parties. The company no longer depends for the regular discharge of the subsidy upon the precarious realization of the revenues. On the other hand, the vizier, with a diminished territory, had, in a pecuniary view, derived a considerable advantage. For, although the districts ceded to the company, were rated at a crore and 35-lacks of rupees, it appeared, upon an examination of the account of the aumils of the several districts ceded, that not more than 90 lacks had ever been paid into the vizier's treasury from those districts; consequently, he was a gainer of more than forty lacks of rupees annually by the new arrangement.—The noble lord (Folkestone) had stated, in his Resolutions, that in pursuing this measure, lord Wellesley was actuated by motives of ambition and aggrandizement. But he positively knew, that he pursued the whole progress of this arrangement with a degree of personal labour, solicitude, and anxiety, almost unparalleled, under a conviction that his duty required the steps Which he took, and that he was acting in a most important and urgent case, not only for the advantage, but for the very existence of the interests committed to his charge. He also acted under a conviction, that his proceedings were consonant to the wishes and intentions of his employers at home; nor did he receive the least intimation, not even a hint, that his measures in Oude were disapproved by the court of directors, until his return to England in 1806, more than four years subsequent to the conclusion of the treaty. As to the motives imputed to him by the noble lord (Folkestone) he took upon himself to assert that in this as well as in every other measure connected with his arduous administration, lord Wellesley had been 1116 actuated by no personal motive whatever, unless indeed it were that which (although so nearly connected with him, he trusted he might be permitted to say) had distinguished every act of his public life,— an anxious and unremitting zeal for the welfare and interest of his country. And he would put into the house, whether, if the reports which had reached this country respecting the designs of Buonaparte upon our possessions in the East Indies, and of the progress which he had made in the furtherance of those designs, be entitled to any credit, whether this was a time to propose to the house to pass a vote of censure upon the measures which are best calculated to defeat his designs? An hon. director (Mr. Grant) had said, that the system of policy pursued by lord Wellesley, during his administration, was likely to prove injurious to our interests in India, at the present crisis of affairs. Did the hon. director think that our interests would have been safer if the power of Tippoo Sultaun were still in existence, with the means which he possessed from the extent of sea-coast, which formed one of the boundaries of his dominions, of facilitating the landing of a French army in the peninsula? Did he think that our interests would be safer, if the native powers of India were free from all connection with the British government, some of them with large French establishments in their service, one of these permanently stationed upon the most vulnerable part of our frontier, and upon that part of it which (in the course he was supposed to be pursuing) would immediately present itself to the enemy? Was it not evident, that if such were the political state of India, at the present moment, that the danger which was supposed to menace it from the projects of Buonaparte, would be infinitely more formidable than it now is? And, lastly, he asked, it, at the present crisis of affairs, we derived any security from the destruction of the French power in India, and from the establishment of our influence over the councils of the native princes, was it not solely to be attributed to the measures pursued by his noble relation during his administration?—He said he had only further to state, that as far as he was personally concerned in the transaction before the house, fully impressed as he was with a sense of the important advantages resulting from it, if he thought it possible that the Resolutions proposed by the noble lord (Folkestone) would be sanctioned by 1117 a vote of this house, he certainly should deeply lament it. But there was one part of this transaction to which he had not yet adverted, and to have been concerned in which could not fail, under any circumstances, to afford him the highest gratification; and that was, that he should have been instrumental to the relief of several millions of people from the most dreadful system of tyranny, oppression, and violence, that ever prevailed in any part of the world.
§ Mr. C. Grant ,
in explanation said, that the war with Tippoo was one of defence. Here the measures were those of aggression.
§ Mr. George Johnstone,
felt great difficulty in offering his opinion upon the conduct of a person, who, on some occasions, had done great service to the country, and to whose motives he did the amplest justice. He had at the outset of the noble marquis's government in India, been one of the first to offer his tribute of praise to his splendid actions, and it was not till he saw him enter upon a line of policy bad in itself, and disapproved of by the company at home, that he changed his opinion. It should appear from the papers on the table that our frontier was in danger, and it was necessary to secure it; that would be a full justification of the noble marquis's conduct; but if, on the other hand, it was evident that no further security was necessary, and that his system went only to destroy the independence of every native power in alliance with us, and to interfere with their internal government, a double portion of censure ought to Fall on him. In order to shew this to be the case, he would consider the subject under four heads; 1. The rights of the nabob of Oude by treaty. 2. His conduct under these stipulations. 3. The negociation which was pursued for the purpose of procuring the disbanding of his troops; and 4. The negociation which compelled him to cede the half of his territory in commutation of his kilts. The hon. gent. then entered upon a detail of the circumstances that led Saudut Ally to the musnud, and went through the articles of the Treaty concluded between him and. the company in 1798, and contended, that the danger of invasion from Persia was as great at that time as it was at any future period. From this circumstance he drew the conclusion, that as the territory of Oude was not seized when the treaty was concluded by sir John Shore, there never was a future occasion for re- 1118 sorting to such a measure. And what was the reason assigned for not seizing it? because it would ruin our character for justice and forbearance over all Hindostan. The treaty was concluded, and government pronounced it to contain every thing beneficial and desirable, and to be fully competent to the security of the interests of both parties. The nabob was sincerely attached to, and zealous in the service of the company; to whom, on a pressing occasion, he gave money from his private treasures, and his family horses for the purpose of mounting a regiment. We were, therefore, in every sense bound to the strict observance of the treaty; yet what would they say, judging fairly and impartially, when ten months after, they found the governor-general determined to break through it—to pursue the system of wresting the Dwab from the nabob, interfering in his civil government, and disbanding his troops. From several letters, this appeared to be his determination, and it was postponed a twelve-month by the more important affairs of the Mysore, which were no sooner settled than Mr. Lumsden was recalled from Lucknow, and Col. Scott was appointed resident there. It was then they proceeded with violence to procure the dismissal of the nabob's troops, for the purpose of spreading their own over his dominions, and taking the collection of the revenue, as well as the authority of governing, out of his hands. He called upon the house, to consider in this place the representation made by the nabob (which he read); and, he was sure, if they did not feel for the cruelty and aggression that had been exercised towards him, they would be destitute of those feelings which a British parliament was never yet found to want. Yet, to this representation, so humble and so expressive of attachment, the most harsh and severe answer was returned by the governor-general. It made no alteration in his plans; and he went on with them in direct Violation of the treaty, and that in a manner calculated to degrade the nabob in the eyes of his people. These measures at last threatened, that the troops of the vizier were reduced to the amount of 14½ lacks, and a further practical reduction proposed, amounting to 15 lacks, besides the troops of that great officer Almas, who was countenanced by the British government against his own master, amounting to 8 lacks. This, however, does not satisfy the governor, and the next step is to take an 1119 improbable alarm respecting the failure of the resources, and to demand a cession, not only of a part, but of the whole dominions of Oude, without leaving the sovereign any power at all, but remaining merely as a pensioner, on the company. If any thing could equal this outrageous proposal, it was the double dealing manner in which it was wished to be effected, by asking the nabob to make an application to have it done as a favour to himself, anti for the benefit of his people. He resisted it with meekness, but with firmness; and then came the letter accusing him of ingratitude, and threatening to send troops to take forcible possession of his territory. A demand of 38 lacks of rupees is instantaneously required to be paid. This sum had increased from 17, in eight months, and he doubted that any part of it was due; for, from the accounts before the house, it appeared, that in former years the expenditure of Oude was less than the payments. Thus, in the three preceding years, the expences had been 60, 90, and 80 lacks, while the payments were 67, 98, and 92 lacks. Thus pressed, however, the nabob made an offer so fair, that the resident at Lucknow wished to conclude a treaty with him upon that ground. It was a cession of territory to the amount of 1 crore 20 lacks, for the payment of the additional troops marched in by command of marquis Wellesley; but even this was rejected by him. Harrassed at last by all these means, the nabob only wished to resign the territory of his ancestors to his son, and by the most respectful means, a petition of right, addressed to the governor-general on this subject; but this also was rejected in a most harsh and cruel manner. He doubted much that ever the noble marquis would have succeeded in his object, had he not appointed his brother to be resident at Oude; which appointment by the way, was illegal, as being made without the advice or consent of the council. To do away the levity with which gentlemen were too apt to look at the treatment of this sovereign, he here read copious extracts from the reports of the negociators sent to Lucknow by marquis Wellesley, and animadverted with great severity on the absurd assertion, that the nabob, despoiled of one half of his territory and revenue, was now happier and richer than he was before. There was something mysterious and concealed too in the correspondence of the hon. gent. behind him, (Mr. H. Wellesley) and his brother. The 1120 letters were marked 'private;' there were inclosures that were never seen, and it was not till 60 days after the changes had taken place, that a detail of them was made known to the government. He had also to remark on the conduct of the hon. gent. himself, who seemed to have imbibed a harshness in this affair, very incongenial with his usual meek and mild temper. It was not so strange that the noble marquis, elated with his successes, and governor-general of India, should treat an independent sovereign with haughtiness; but he could not be reconciled to the hon. gent. (Mr. H. Wellesley) expressing 'his utmost indignation and surprise' at the conduct of the nabob, for a circumstance which in his view was calculated to excite neither surprise nor indignation. It was pitiable to see the answer returned by the nabob to the letter containing this expression, so humiliating not only to himself, but to the king of G. Britain, the parliament and country, whose names he was sorry to say had appeared too often in the threats productive of these submissions. The hon. member recapitulated shortly his preceding arguments, and apologised for the time he had occupied the house, but it was from detail alone that this business could be understood. The pretence for marching troops into Oude was futile, for there was not the slightest danger to be apprehended from Zemaun Shaw, although from the days of Nadir Shaw it had been the general cry in Hindostan, whenever the weather, fit for marching troops, set in, 'the Persian conqueror is coming.' in 1796 they had penetrated 200 miles into the country of the Seiks, but even then they were 300 miles from the frontier of Oude, and the Mahratta states lay between them. All circumstances continuing the same, would it be argued, that the governor-general was entitled to change a system which was approved of by those who appointed him? If he did so, it must be on a real, and not an imaginary necessity. The hon. gent. who spoke last, had asked how we could have carried on the Mahratta war? Would to God we had never had the power to carry it on, or any other so destructive to our interest in India. He contended, that the nabob was independent, and as to the argument, that he was bound in gratitude to the company, it appeared to him the same kind of gratitude that was due from Prussia to Buonaparte, after he had taken all he had any use for, and left that sovereign 1121 dependent upon him for what he allowed him to retain. It was urged that the nabob was only independent from having wrested his dominions from the Mogul; he would ask whence came the independence of the East India company, who were nothing more than the keepers of his exchequer. But, it was needless to argue on supposition, since he had it from the highest legal authority in this kingdom, that of the lord chancellor, who had decided that the nabob of Arcot was an independent sovereign, at a time when he was not possessed of half so good a title to it as the nabob of Oude. It was still a more whimsical defence to adduce the evidence of marquis Cornwallis, who had said, that such a system destroyed in India the opinion of the justice, moderation, and good faith of G. Britain. The opinion of lord Teignmouth was also pressed as unwarrantably into this defence; for the treaty he concluded in 1798 was an existing proof of the direct opposition he gave to the principle. An attempt had also been made front the 12th article of the treaty, to prove that the company had a right to march troops into Oude, and take security for any arrear of the kists; but this, he shewed was a fallacy in the present instance, as no arrears had been contracted, and the only pretence was arrears due at the time the treaty was concluded.—He had next to consider a little the general policy of this system. Why were they so anxious to improve the discipline of the troops belonging to the nabob? These troops were the same as all the troops in India, and such as enabled them to make their conquests, and the first thing they would have done would have been to repel the treatment they had met with. The hon. gent. here digressed into a statement of the customs of the casts in India, their importance, and the general tendency of that kind of association. He pointed out the mode of collecting the revenues, by appointing lieutenants with military authority, who paid stipulated sums for their several provinces. These found it most to their interest to compromise with the zemindars, because the whole time for collecting the revenue was only about six weeks when the crops were taking in; and if any were refractory, the lieutenant had not time to overpower them from their forts, and enforce obedience. Thus, in this strange way, since the country had been broken into smaller states, independent of the mogul, the evils coun- 1122 teracted and corrected each other. He then turned to the assertion that had been made with regard to the revenues of Oude in particular, and shewed from a long calculation, that this country, so desolated and disgraced, produced more revenue in proportion than Bengal, which was reckoned the most productive province in the possession of the company—Oude yielding 57l. 10s. per square acre, and Bengal only 40l.. 10s. The new system had introduced the monopoly of salt, but from the difference of situation between Oude and Bengal, it had been found so destructive and ruinous, that it was obliged almost immediately to be abandoned. The use of spirituous liquors, so strictly forbidden by the Mahometan law, was also introduced and legalized in Oude. He would ask, if any advantage had been found to arise from this?—Having hitherto considered the question without any personal application to the noble marquis, he trusted the house would pardon his encroaching on them a few minutes longer in making some remarks on it in that point of view. The council was designed to deliberate with the governor-general on any plans he might form; that by a previous discussion in detail, the nature of the intended measure might be ascertained; and not only that, but for the purpose of having on their journals a sufficient account of transactions to be transmitted for the information of the government at home. But if, as in the case of the noble marquis, the governor-general chose to pass by this part of the constitution of India, and keep his plans in his pocket, he would be relieved from the most important check upon his conduct. He got rid of forms which were thought necessary in the case of a cabinet minister at home, and were much more necessary at the distance of ten thousand miles, where they were the only means left for controuling the exorbitant power of the head of the establishment. The negotiation was not recorded till long after it was finished; so that neither the council nor the company, for several months, new any thing of the matter. As for the Thanks voted to the noble marquis, they proceeded from ignorance, for it was imagined that the governor-general was doing nothing more than securing the company's revenues in Oude. But, his measures did not add either to their security or their revenues. The Rohillas were in the same state as ever, and in 1804–5 their revenue 1123 was less than it was in former years, because their charges, which always grew in proportion to their wealth, were greater. The revenue was 1 crore, 43 lacks; the charges 48 lacks, which, with 20, as the expence of a regiment of cavalry and two of Sepoys, and left 76 lack, the same time the nabob was bound to pay them, but he had always paid more, and in the preceding year paid 115 lack, being nearly 40 more than was raised by the new system. In detailing the various measures which he thought beneficial to India, he gave his warmest praise to the permanent revenue mode, adopted by marquis Cornwallis, which would in time very much ameliorate the condition of the natives. The system of jurisprudence he considered as too complicated to have any good effect. As for the amelioration of Oude, the promise of it was forgot the moment they got possession of the territory; not a single attempt had been made to accomplish it in the slightest degree, and by this means the British name and troops were made the instruments of oppression, as they were employed in collecting the revenue and other unpopular acts, which were formerly done by the authority of the vizier. They had added to the evils of the Indian government, the evils of an European military system—a system which had been tried at Gurrockpore, and had laid waste that district. Having thus taken notice of the principal objections against the noble marquis's government that occurred to him, he had only to add, that thinking his motives pure, he would not concur in pressing this charge any further than censure. An impeachment he considered as improper; and if in his power, he would rather correct the Resolutions, carrying them no further than the opinion of marquis Cornwallis, that the system was destructive to the character of justice, moderation, and good faith, hitherto maintained by the British in India. Whatever difference of opinion might exist between him and his friends on the past, he was sure they had only one mind as to the future. They had nothing to say against the eulogies bestowed on the noble marquis, for his conquests and victories, they only begged to have no more victories for the future. They wished it to be sincerely said, we abjure conquests and will pursue victories no longer. The hon. member concluded, by noticing what had been said on a former night. Those, that had compared the court of directors to twenty- 1124 four printers, ought to recollect that they were the men who put a stop to this ruinous system, and sent out marquis Cornwallis to put a termination to it.
Mr. S. R. Lushington
(Member for Rye) was perfectly aware of the difficulty under which he rose to address the house upon this important and extensive question. If local knowledge, obtained during a long residence and service in India, should lead him into much detail, he should incur the hazard of wearying the patience of the house; and if he altogether neglected that detail, he might sacrifice the real merits of the case. He should endeavour in deference to the feelings of the house, to be as concise as possible, at the same time not to abandon the substantial justice of the question. After all the declamation the house had heard, their judgment upon this question must be founded upon the treaty made with the nabob of Oude by lord Teignmouth in 1798; but as that treaty confirmed all former treaties, not contrary thereto, it was necessary to review the principal stipulations of those treaties, and the practice of successive governors-general, as approved by lawful authorities in this country.—The first treaty made between the vizier and the company was in the year 1765, when, after an unjust war against the English, his dominions and his person were in possession of the British army. In such a situation, it was not very probable that lord Clive should treat with him as an independent sovereign; in fact, he prescribed to him such terms as were, at that time, judged best for the company's interests; and many articles of that treaty bear the stamp of his subjection, and of the company's superior power.—The second article of that treaty expressed that the company should defend the province of Oude, according to the exigency of the nabob's affairs, and so far as might be consistent with their own security. In this case, of the English company's forces being employed in his highness's service, the extraordinary ex-pence of the same was to be defrayed by him. In like manner, if the company should be attacked, his highness shall assist them with a part or the whole of his forces; but the company are not to pay for forces.—Here then was an obvious distinction in the relative situation of the two states:—The company, as sovereigns, were to protect the dependent state of Oude, and they are to be paid for it. The nabob, as a protected ally, should defend 1125 the company's territories and be paid nothing at all.— Was it possible, after such a clause as this, to imagine that the nabob-vizier treated with the company as an equal, independent power?— The fourth article states, "The king Shah 'Aulum shall remain in full possession of Corah, and such part of the province of Allahabad as he now possesses, which are ceded to his majesty as a royal demesne, for the support of his dignity and expences.' This article does not express by whom this cession is made; but the treaty with the nabob-vizier in 1773, clears up this point. It states, 'Whereas in the treaty concluded at Allahabad in the year 1765 (Aug. 16) between the company and the vizier, it is expressed that the districts of Corah and Allahabad were given to his majesty for his expenses; and whereas his majesty hath forfeited his right to the said districts, which have reverted to the company, from whom he received them.' This was an express recognition of the sovereignty of the company by the vizier himself: and those provinces, which the vizier acknowledged to have reverted to the company in their capacity of sovereigns, were re-granted out to himself under certain stipulated conditions; namely, 'He shall pay to the 'company 50,00,000 sicca rupees.'—The next treaty was one upon which Mr. Lushington particularly desired to fix the attention of the house. It is dated in 1768; and the object of it was, to limit the number of the nabob's troops, of every description, to 35,000 men. This was done in consequence of suspicions entertained of the treachery of his councils: and it was particularly to be remarked, that this number of troop was deemed by lord Clive sufficient for the defence of Oude at a time when the company had no troops of their own in that province.—Of this description were the treaties with the nabob of Oude down to the year 1781; and correspondent with these treaties was the practice of the British governments—exercising a real controul over his highness, protecting his country from foreign invasion, receiving his subsidy, reducing the number of his military when any suspicions were entertained of his fidelity, and in defending the jaghireders of the empire from his violence. Such were alone the acts of sovereignty exercised by the Mogul in the fulness of his power; to these the company succeeded by the defeat of his majesty, and the right to exercise them was solemnly 1126 confirmed by treaties with the vizier.— The letter of lord Cornwallis, dated 13th April, 1787, was the next document for the consideration of the house. In this letter, which afterwards assumed the force of a settled agreement, lord Cornwallis superseded that article of the treaty of 1781, which the vizier had introduced for the purpose of removing the British troops from Futty Ghur, because those forces were, in lord Cornwallis's judgment, requisite for the defence of Oude. On this occasion lord Cornwallis remarked, 'Although there is no prospect of any attack on your excellency's territory at present, its security must ultimately depend upon the strength of the force stationed for its protection. I doubt not your excellency will agree to the additional expense of effective troops, where the object is the defence of the country; for this reason I do not hesitate to recommend to your excellency, to discharge so much of your own army as will allow for the additional expence attending the continuance of those effective troops. It is my firm intention, not to embarrass your excellency, with further expense than that incurred by the company from their connection with your excellency, and for the protection of your country; which, by the accounts, I find amounts to 50,00,000 annually.' Thus, lord Cornwallis superseded an article of a former treaty, augmenting the British force in Oude, and requiring the vizier to discharge so much of his own army as would enable him to pay the expense of our effective troops. In respect to the details of his highness's government, lord Cornwallis remarked, 'As it is the intention of the company, and my firm resolution, that no interference shall take place in the details of the affairs of your excellency's government, strict orders shall be sent to him [the resident], that he shall neither interfere himself, nor suffer interference, by, public or private claims, or exemptions of duties, or in any other mode, from any British subject, or person under the authority of this government; in short, leaving the whole management of your country to your excellency and your ministers I will put a stop to the interference 'of others: and, in order to carry this 'effectually into execution, I propose to your excellency not to suffer any Europeas to reside in your dominions without my written permission.'—Notwithstanding the nature of the interference 1127 which lord Cornwallis was determined to prevent, was thus specifically expressed to be the interference of Europeans residing in Oude, whether with or without authority, yet it had been contended that these expressions were sufficient to restrain any future governor-general from interposing the power of the company for the security of the province, by augmenting the number of the British troops, and by insisting on the discharge of the nabob's mutinous rabble. The conduct of lord Cornwallis, as shewn in the same letter, completely falsified this construction; for the house would explicitly understand it to be his firm determination, that, 'the expence incurred by the company from their con- nection with Oude, and for the protection of the country,' should be defrayed by the nabob. The interference he deprecated was, that of lawless Europeans, who had, for their corrupt purposes, been too long engaged in pursuing usurious loans, in insisting upon exemptions from duties upon their merchandise, and in oppressing the inhabitants, by enforcing the payment of balances, on the equity of which such offenders had themselves decided.—The result of lord Cornwallis's treaty was, therefore, in practice this:—That he augmented the British troops as he thought necessary for the protection of Oude, 'although there was no prospect of attack on his excellency's territory;' and made the vizier pay for that augmentation: that he called upon the nabob to discharge his useless troops: and, though he very properly interdicted all interference in the details of the vizier's government by Europeans resident at Oude, he not only did not relinquish any of the sovereign rights derived from his predecessors, and confirmed by treaty, but even extended the interposition of his power to the protection of the vizier's minister, in opposition to the will of his master. And upon this marked act of interference, in the detail of his highness's government, the court of directors expressed their decided approbabation. As demonstrative of the nature of lord Cornwallis's interference, and of the court's approbation, Mr. Lushington here read and referred the house to—Lord Cornwallis's letter to the vizier, dated 12th Aug. 1793. '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; that 1128 from Rhohilcund, which paid at first 80 lacks of rupees a-year, and afterwards a crore, forty lacks cannot now be collected; and that four lacks only are received from Goruckpore, which formerly yielded twelve; and that other metals are in a state of progressive decline. Does not this consideration alarm your excellency? Can any thing but ruin result from such circumstances? Are not these facts a decisive proof of tyranny, extortion, and mismanagement, in the aumils? and what must be the situation of the ryots who are placed under such people? But your excellency knows that the prayers of the oppressed are attended to by the Almighty, and often call down his vengeance upon their oppressors. No truth is more certain than that justice is the foundation of the prosperity of states; and when the rulers are negligent in punishing those who oppress their subjects, they become partakers of their crimes, and may be deemed the subverters of their own prosperity. History confirms the observation, by exhibiting innumerable examples of monarchies overturned, and families effaced from the earth, by a violation of justice in the sovereign, or neglect in him to enforce its laws. I have been informed, and your excellency knows how far it is true, that for many years past no aumil in your dominions has been punished for misdemeanors; yet the decline in the revenues could not, have taken place without great mismanagement, which must have merited the severest punishment: lenity and good-nature are amiable virtues; but it is at the same time to be remembered, that lenity towards oppressors is injustice towards the oppressed.—The evils flowing from this source would have been less felt, if in proportion as the revenues declined a diminution of expences had taken place. But profusion, in fact, was the cause of the first evil; and the continuance of it increased its magnitude, without wars, without any material losses, uncommon accidents, or irregular demands. I learn from your ministers, that your debts exceed a crore and a half of rupees. I thank God that this accumulation of debt cannot be in any respect attributed to the interference of the English. In the detail of your excellency's affairs, in which for these seven years they have had no concern, your excellency must, I am afraid, confess 'that a total disregard of all economy on 1129 your own part is the cause of those in-cumbrances. I wish I could as certainly point out the means of liquidating them. But it requires no wisdom to foresee the consequences of a decreasing income, and increasing profusion, disorder, discredit, and distress.—I am obliged to represent, that all the oppressions and extortions, committed by the aumils on the peasantry, take their source in the connivance and irregularities of the administration at Lucknow; and though the companys subsidy is at present paid up with regularity, 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 excellencys earnest desire that the subsidy should be punctually paid. As the company have expressed their approbation of the choice which you have made of Hussein Reza Cawn and Rajah Tiket Rai to be ministers, I shall naturally con sider the political measures of your government to be dependent on them, as well as the domestic. And, convinced of the necessity that they should be supported in the execution of their duty, I have given and ever will give them that countenance which the connection between our governments enables me to do. I feel this to be a duty incumbent on me, for the credit of the company, as well as your reputation; since the connection between us, the employment of the companys troops in your dominions, and the effect reciprocally felt of a good or a bad government in our respective territories, equally affect both in the eyes of all Hindostan.'—What did the court of directors say upon this letter of lord Cornwallis?—'To afford every possible countenance and protection to the minister, even in his opposition to the will of his master, in his exertions to remedy the abuses complained of, is a line of interference which the situation of affairs, and the disinclination of the vizier to enter upon any effectual reform, fully warranted.'—The hon. gentlemen on the opposite side of the house smiled at this description of the miseries of a mussulman government! Did they think that this language was not applicable to the misrule and anarchy of the vizier's territories? or did they believe that lord Cornwallis exaggerated the calamities which distracted that country? Mr. Lushington, considered this description to be perfectly true—to be ex- 1130 pressed in the voice of wisdom and just authority, in the vigour of lord Cornwalliss understanding, and in the unbroken firmness of his mind. It is upon these and the other records of that great and good mans former long and prosperous administration in India, with many of which Mr. L. was intimately acquainted, that every true friend of his memory must desire to rest the glory and humanity of his name; not upon the few and fearful dispatches, written in the last imperfect days of his existence, when his noble spirit was fast sinking beneath the infirmities of nature.—The treaty of sir John Shore, now lord Teignmouth, remained to be considered, and any gent. who had read his ldp.'s minute upon this subject, could not entertain a doubt that lord Teignmouth knew the sovereign power over Oude was vested in the company. His lordship had stated, that he acted upon this conviction when he deposed vizier Ally from the musnud and placed Saadut Ally in that situation; and certainly this interposition was one of those extreme acts of sovereign power, which nothing but the undoubted possession of that power, and an irresistible necessity for using it, could justify.—Under this correct impression of his power, and of his duty as governor-general, sir John Shore deposed vizier Ally, and placed Saadut Ally on the musand. The treaty formed on that occasion, bound the company to defend the dominions of Oude against all enemies; and to enable them to perform this engagement in a better manner, the former subsidy, of 56,77,638, was augmented to 76,00,000.—The first part of this treaty, which Mr. Lushington would particularly notice, was the last; because the noble lord who had brought forward these accusations, had put a construction on it which, in Mr. L.'s judgment, was not its correct meaning. The words to which he alluded were these: The said nabob shall possess full authority over his household affairs, hereditary dominions, his troops, and his subjects. These words, considered apart from the rest of the treaty, would release the nabob from all connection with the company. If the nabob were really to possess full authority over his hereditary dominions, what became of the second article of this treaty, in which his highness commits the defence of his dominions, against all his enemies, to the company? If it were to possess full authority over his troops, as they then were in number, what force would then remain to 1131 the twelfth article of the treaty, in which the nabob engages to consult with the company's government, arid in concert with them devise the proper objects of reduction in his establishments? If he were to possess full authority over his subjects, he might employ them as diplomatic agents to any foreign power or state, in violation of the thirteenth clause of this treaty, where the 'nabob engages not to carry on such correspondence, without the knowledge and concurrence of the company.'—Mr. L. would not go more fully into the other clauses of the treaty, for he had said enough to convince the house that this treaty must be construed by that rule of law and reason which taught them, in the interpretation of all public covenants, to consider the whole of the stipulations connected together; not to regard only some general expressions, that militate, under the construction put upon them, against the specific and most important articles of the covenant. For these obvious reasons, Mr. L. thought the house would agree with him, that the nabob was to possess full authority over his household affairs, hereditary dominions, troops, and subjects, as far as might be consistent with the specific clauses of that treaty.—Of those clauses, the twelfth was that upon which lord Wellesley was first called upon to take any particular measures. His lordship knew, from all the communications, and directions received from the court of directors, that the reduction of the large, useless, and expensive military establishment, within the Oude dominions, was one of their most earnest desires; and as the vizier was bound by treaty to concert with the companys government the proper objects of these reductions, lord Wellesley required the vizier to carry this intention into effect. During a period of war and Menaced invasion, when reduction was impracticable, the nabob had professed a desire that the reform might be made; but when a season of peace presented a fit occasion, far from co-operating in this reform, he opposed the deepest artifices and most obstinate delays, until the season of produce and collection having arrived, the difficulties of this reform were greatly aggravated. To fulfil this indispensible measure, and, at the same time, to protect the dominions of Oude from foreign invasion, lord Wellesley introduced an additional number of the company's troops into the province; and after a long struggle on the part of the nabob, and 1132 frequent mutinies amongst his troops, they were reduced, from the number of 65,000 men, to about 45,000 men. After a deliberate examination of the treaty, and of the papers upon this subject, the conviction of Mr. Lushington's mind was this, that lord Wellesley, in the reduction of the troops, did too little, and not too much. For the foundation of this impression he referred to the twelfth article of the treaty, to the explanation given of it by lord Teigmnouth and the nabob himself, from which it was clear, that the nabobs troops were to be reduced to 35,000 men at least, or still lower if necessary, to secure the payments under the treaty. Mr. Lushington here read to the house the article of the treaty, and the explanations of lord Teignmouth and the vizier, to which he alluded.—'Whereas, by the engagement now entered into between the nabob vizier, and the company, the amount of the subsidy is considerably increased, and many other permanent charges upon his excellency are incurred; on a comparison of his disbursements with the assets of his country, it becomes necessary to make such reduction in the superfluous charges of the establishments of the public servants, &c. as may be requisite, and are consistent with his excellencys dignity and convenience. To that end, the said nabob agrees to consult with the company's government, and, in concert with them, devise the proper objects of such reductions, and the best means of effecting them'. Lord Teignmouth's evidence: I think there was a proposition made for the specific purpose of reducing the nabob's military. The nabob was afraid that a specific proposition of that kind might excite alarm; and on some discussion with the former minister, Tofassul Hassan Khan, I think that article (the twelfth) was substituted for the plain article, stipulating a reduction of the troops, and that it was perfectly understood the company should interfere, for the purposes expressed in this article, so far as might be necessary for securing the payment under the treaty.'—From the nabob-vizier, 19th Feb. 1800. 'Your lordship is in every respect desirous, that the dignity, respectability, and outward state, of this government should be maintained. For this purpose it is necessary, that a suitable body of troops be maintained after my own manner. Accordingly, in the first draft of the treaty, sir John 1133 Shore, bart. proposed thirty-five thousand men, cavalry and infantry.'—Having thus established the right and duty of the governor-general to compel this reduction of the military, Mr. Lushington would not long detain the house upon the policy of that reduction. The noble lord, who had brought forward these charges, had himself affirmed, that the nabobs forces were composed of disorderly and irregular troops, unaccustomed to the rules of good discipline , and disaffected to his person.' This admission precludes the necessity of referring to the body of evidence, upon this subject, before the house, attesting that these troops were both useless and dangerous. It needed neither argument nor language, to impress upon the house the extent of this danger; for it was self-evident, that one of the most formidable perils to which any state can be exposed is, the disorder and disaffection of its military power. And, here, Mr. L. reminded the house of the experience which the British government had acquired of the services of similar troops, in their early wars against the French, in the Carnatic. He had the authority of that accurate and elegant historian, Orme, for declaring, that they were an obstruction, rather than an auxiliary, to that success, which after an arduous struggle of fifteen years, finally crowned the British arms. Without trespassing upon the time of the house, by referring to particular instances of their misconduct, it should never be forgotten, that at a moment of the utmost emergence in the company's affairs, when Trichinopoly was closely besieged by an immense confederated force, the troops of Mahomed Ally closed their career of service by going over to the enemy in mid-day, having previously stipulated with captain Cope, the commandant of Trichinopoly, that he would not fire upon them as they marched off. To this he readily consented, being heartily rejoiced to get rid of so dangerous an incumbrance.—Such were the services which might have been expected from the military of Oude, had Zemaun Shah invaded the province, or had the French-Mahratta forces been let loose upon the country. Their reduction was demanded, not less by policy than by treaty, and the vizier was bound, by the seventh clause, to pay the expence of the company's troops introduced into his country. But he failed to make good this payment; there occurred an arrear of twenty-two 1134 lacks, and lord Wellesley put into execution the following article of the treaty:— If, contrary to the sincere intentions and exertions of the said nabob, the payment of the kists should fall into arrear, the said nabob Saadut Ally Khan engages and ,promises that he will then give such security to the company for the discharge of the existing arrears, and the future regular payment of the kists, as shall be deemed satisfactory.' The only security, which could be deemed satisfactory in a case of this description, was that which lord Cornwallis had suggested, and the court of directors had repeatedly approved, a territorial cession. Lord Wellesley demanded this security; and, after a long struggle by the vizier to avoid it, he at length ceded to the company a territory producing a gross revenue of 1,35,00,000, in payment of a net subsidy of 76,00,000. To persons who are not acquainted with the enormous civil and military expenditure, in collecting the revenues under a Mussulman government, this amount of cession, in gross revenue, might appear exorbitant. It happened however, that a statement upon the table of this house casts considerable light upon this question.—From the statement, compiled by Mr. G. Johnstone, and entered at the end of the minutes of evidence on the Oude charge, it appears that the gross revenues of Oude amounted to 2,21,70,000. From this gross revenue the vizier received into his treasury at Lucknow only 96,05,000. After discharging the company's subsidy of 76,00,000, there remained a balance from the whole of his dominions of 20,05,000: out of which he had to pay great part of his Oude civil establishment, a large portion of the Haggoory troops, repairs of forts, military stores, public buildings, besides contingent balances arising from calamities of season, or extraordinary disorders in the country. Mr. L. had no doubt, that these several items would completely absorb this balance, and leave the nabob without the means of defraying any additional force, even from the revenues of all his, dominions.—By the cession of one half of his territories, in lieu of every possible claim on the part of the company, he retained the other half free from all incumbrance, and was therefore, pecuniarily in a better situation than he was before he made this cession. In confirmation of this, reasoning, Mr. Lushington called the attention of the house to the evidence of 1135 the viziers own officer, major Ouseley, who had declared, in the presence of parliament, that 'the nabob is now happy and contented, eased of a burthen of a part of the country continually open to the Seiks and Mahrattas; his splendor, furniture, and houses, in a state infinitely more magnificent then they were before; for he has more opportunity of knowing what funds he can bestow on these things.' Such was the description given by major Ouseley of the nabobs actual condition: and the house would readily perceive that it Was very different from that of a victim weighed down by oppression. Indeed, the conduct of the vizier, since that cession, had manifested an increased confidence, rather than any sense of injury or distrust of our government.—Mr. Lushington then proceeded to make some remarks upon the speech of an honourable member below him (Mr. Johnstone) who had asserted, that all the Concurring evidence before the house, confirming the disorder and decay of the leVenues of Oude, is not founded in truth; and that those revenues are in a state of greater prosperity than the revenues of Bengal, or evert of the company's most fertile district Benares. In illustration -of this assertion, the hon. member had read a statement, carefully prepared, of the number of square miles in the province of Oude, of Bengal, and Benares, and comparing the revenues of these several districts with the number of miles, he discovered that, for every square mile in Bengal, that there is a revenue of 32l.: do. Benares, 40l. 10s.: do. Oude, 51l. 10s.: that it was therefore quite clear that Oude is in a more flourishing state than Bengal or Benares. Mr. Lushington was perfectly astonished at this statement. Did not the honourable member know, that cultivation and population were the sources of revenue, and not the number of barren square miles? Great part of Bengal was occupied by forests and jungles. It might with as much reason be contended, that America, having more square miles than Great Britain, ought to produce more revenue. If this be the sort of knowledge which the honourable member possessed of India, Mr. Lushington was happy that his information of its revenues was of a very different nature. He would not, however, trespass upon the patience of this house, by enlarging more upon this calculation.—The same hen. member(Mr. Johnstone), resided for some time in India, 1136 had also stated, that the fear of invasion from Zemaun Shah was an annual alarm; and that, after a particular season of the year, it passed away, and was no more heard of. It might be very well for that honourable member sitting in security in this house, to treat this danger with derision; but Mr. L. was not satisfied to form his judgment of this peril upon the present indifference of the hon members feelings. He chose rather to refer to the opinion of sir James Craig, who commanded upon the frontier on that occasion: and who, that is acquainted with the fortitude of that officer's mind, could believe him more likely to be influenced by a groundless apprehension than the honourable member, Mr. Johnstone? That gallant officer gave it as his opinion, at that dangerous moment, that an army of 20,000 men was necessary to repel what the hon. member was pleased to call an idle alarm: and, far from thinking Zemaun Shah was not likely to complete his expedition, he apprehended his army might reach the frontier before he was in condition to receive him; he feared that, by the celerity of his march, Zemaun Shah might anticipate our preparations.—Mr. Lushington here read sir James Craig's letters upon this subject; and he begged particular attention of the house to the first sentence, because it was too descriptive of the present disgraceful condition of this country.—Extract of a letter from sir James Craig, K. B. to the governor-general, marquis Wellesley, dated 13th Oct. 1798. They are quarrelling among themselves at Delhi, without seeming much to think of the danger with which they are threatened. The Attock is but about 400 coss from Delhi; a space that may, with the utmost ease, be marched in six weeks, and that without adverting at all to the celerity with which the Shahs army is reported to move. if (and it is no very improbable supposition), despising the Seiks, whose behaviour, in 1796, was no wise such as to give him cause to hold them in high estimation, the Shah should adopt a bold step, and, leaving a corps of troops to keep them in awe, he should move on with rapidity, in the view of anticipating the Mahrattas at Delhi, he may be there in a time that I almost tremble to think of. It is utterly impossible, my lord, that he might anticipate our preparations.—I know not what to say with respect to the nabob's troops: I Would be content that they 1137 should be useless, but I dread their being dangerous. Unless some step is taken with regard to them, I should be almost as unwilling to leave them behind me, as I should he to leave a fortress of the enemy. The nabob is highly unpopular, and, of all his subjects, I believe he would least expect attachment from his army.'— 31st Oct.—'With respect to his troops, he (the nabob) at once, and repeatedly, declared, that we must not think of deriving the smallest assistance from them;—that his army could not be depended on for any of their services. I ventured to ask, why he did not disband them; to which he made no answer. The nabob seemed to be under considerable apprehensions with respect to the Rohillahs, who, he repeatedly said, he had no doubt would take up arms the moment they could think themselves sure of support, by the Shah's approach. If it would be possible to ensure the Rohillahs' crossing the river, and joining the Shah, much as the circumstance would weigh in the addition of strength that it would give him, the mischief would nevertheless be trifling, compared to that which they may cause by assembling in our rear, and ravaging these provinces.' Such, sir, was sir James Craig's opinion of the hon. members annual alarm: and who, that had ever read or heard of the murdering carnage which attended the former incursions into Hindostan, but must turn with horror from the recollection. Were the Afghans of the present day less ferocious, or less accustomed to the work of blood, than the Persians were at the periods alluded to? or, was the brother who succeeded Zemaun Shah likely to be more merciful than his predecessor? The passions of human nature were the same in all ages; and when the government over them was precisely of the same description, they would be demonstrated by similar actions under similar temptations. And here, a passage from history, describing the effects of such barbarous invasions, occurs to his memory. Wherever the invaders marched, their route was marked with blood. They ravaged or destroyed all around them; they made no distinction between what was sacred and what was profane; they respected no age, or sex, or rank: the more fertile and populous provinces were converted into deserts, in which were scattered the ruins of villages and cities, that afforded shelter to a few mise- 1138 rable inhabitants, whom chance had preserved, or the sword of the enemy, wearied with destroying, had spared.'—What, sir, were the temptations which the state of Oude held out to Zemaun Shah at this period? The house had the authority of the nabob himself for saying, that the organisation of the circar (state), which had, for a long period of time, been very loose and confused, was in the last degree ineffective and irregular:' that the 'approaching failure of the resources was to be ascribed to the precarious realisation of the revenues, and to the declining assets of the country:' and that 'for 24 years past, the administration of affairs in this country has been in a state of disorder.'—Did this state of Oude offer no temptation to the Afghans in their threatened expedition?—The hon. member (Mr. Johnstone) had given it as his opinion to this house, that the number of 40,000 Mahratta troops, commanded by a French officer (Perron), and having nearly 300 officers under his command, might as well have been called an English as a French force. Mr. Lushington had never heard a more absurd proposition. Had that hon. member, then, yet to learn the disposition of a Frenchman's mind? Did he not know that, in every clime and country, he was bent upon the destruction of our power and interests; and that, such was the malignity of his hatred, he would bury even this happy land itself beneath that wave where he now flees from our cannon.—It had been asserted in a former night's debate (by an hon. director, Mr. Grant), that the foreign and internal policy of lord Wellesley had been equally erroneous; that it had destroyed the confidence of surrounding states, alienated the affections of our native subjects, and placed our power in greater danger than at the time of lord Wellesley's arrival in India. In replying to these extraordinary assertions, Mr. L. wished to ask, at what period we had enjoyed the confidence of surrounding states? Did we ever possess the confidence of Tippoo, or his father Hyder Ally? Had the Mahrattas ever reposed in security, that we regarded only our commercial pursuits? Did Nizam ud Dowlah, at any period, feel disposed to trust to us? Was there any thing in the nature of our possession in India calculated to conciliate the confidence of surrounding states? Was not the whole derived from conquest; and was it not clear, that whenever our energy should relax, or the union 1139 of our power be disturbed, 'Nature, rising up, will claim her original rights, and destroy an unjust usurpation?'—As the best reply that Mr. Lushington could make to the unfounded statement of the hon. director, he would here briefly explain to the house what had been the policy of marquis Wellesley; he should speak on this subject with a confidence inspired by local knowledge of India, and a particular acquaintance with his lordship's principles and intentions upon his arrival in that country, having held the situation of private secretary to the governor of Fort St. George at that period. No man in that house, whatever might be his humanity, could more anxiously deprecate the necessity of calling the army into the field, than lord Wellesley did. The humane feelings of his mind would, at all times, lead him to resort to this extremity with the most bitter anguish; but at this period it was particularly to be dreaded, in consequence of the embarrassed state of our finances. He had, however, no choice:—his lordship saw, with a prophet's eye, the furies of war brooding upon the mountains of the Balagaut, pregnant with destruction to our power, and with misery to the unoffending people of the Carnatic. To guard against this calamity, there was a fancied balance of the powers of Tippoo Sultaun, of the Nizam, the Mahrattas, and the Company: but there was this remarkable circumstance in this balanced power, that we were always sure to have the most powerful member of it against us.—This balance of power was established by lord Cornwallis; but there was established, at the same time, the inevitable causes of its destruction. In wresting from Tippoo, in the year 1792, one-half of his dominions, we secured the implacable hatred of that prince, and every effort of his power and malignity to combine for our destruction. In favouring the establishment of French officers in the soubah of the Dekhan, we cherished a hostile force, which usurped the government of the Nizam, and held the power of that state ready to combine with Tippoo in subverting every object of the triple alliance.—Such was the state of India at the time of lord Wellesleys arrival. Tippoo was then meditating at what moment he should early the calamities of war into the peaceful vales of the Carnatic; his hereditary malignity inflamed almost beyond his own bearing, by the loss of half his dominions conquered from him 1140 by lord Cornwallis. Their was a French force controuling the councils of the dekhan; a corps officered by Frenchmen in the service of Scindiah was in possession of the person of the Mogul, the imperial city of Delhi, and the fortress of Agra; whilst Buonaparte, with a French army in possession of Egypt, had declared that India was his ultimate object. At this urgent moment the wise policy of lord Wellesley embraced the interests of his country in Europe as well as in Asia; and the vital principle winch animated it was this,—that British India should assist us in resisting the overwhelming domination of France. Pursuing this principle with undaunted firmness, he subverted that French influence at Hydrabad, which we before had cherished; and he destroyed the Power of Tippoo, whose hatred had been inflamed beyond the hope of change. He rescued the person and the city of the legitimate sovereign of Hindostan from the possession of France, and he drove back the Mahrattas to their proper boundaries, expelling all French influence from their councils and armies. Such have been the most prominent measures of the noble lords external policy. In contemplating his internal policy, it would be found that his sagacity had not been less conspicuous, or his success less beneficial to his country. Lord Wellesley found the company under engagements to protect the native princes against all their enemies, with no security that the expences necessary to defray this protection would, in case of emergence, be available to the company. The post history of our transactions in India demonstrated to him, that it was vain to rely on the mutinous rabble, the uncertain and unwilling resources of those princes in a period of war. Hence he availed himself of every occasion to commute the subsidy, payable by those princes, for territorial possession, in every practicable instance; and assuredly there was no other basis of strength confidence, and peace, to Great Britain in India.—Thus having explained to the house his sentiments upon some of those points of the foreign and internal policy of lord Wellesley in India which had been unjustly censured: Mr. Lushington would detain them but a few moments longer, in stating the effects of that administration upon our own countrymen there, arid upon our native subjects. At the period of his service in India, which was during the administration of the noble 1141 lord, his power the vigilance pervaded every part of the government in all our possessions. Every servant of the company, however isolated or difficult his situation, however remote from the seat of government, felt that its care and influence watched over his person and proceedings. The harmony and vigour which animated every department of the state, prevented any serious consequences from the ambition of the domestic rebel, or the intrigues of foreign enemies—evils to which every government was liable. In these the mass of the people, and our seapoys in particular, took no part; but beheld with satisfaction an united government calling forth its energies to repress these evils, and subsequently acknowledged its justice in repairing the injuries arising from these accidental causes.—But what a change had succeeded! a system of accusation and unfounded suspicion at home had relaxed the vigilance and undermined the power of the governments abroad, and had infused doubt and distraction where the noble marquis had established confidence and strength. In addition to this, an absurd fanaticism seeking to change that religion which an almighty Power had suffered to subsist for so many ages, unhurt by the sanguinary power of the mussulman, or the disgusting bigotry of roman-catholic zealots, had been used as a pretext to loosen the allegiance of our native subjects, and to alienate the affections of our native seapoys. Every settlement, and every battalion, in India, saw with indignation him whom they had regarded, and proclaimed to his ungrateful country, as an example of public honour and exalted service, the selected object of slander and accusation in this country: and Mr. L. affirmed, from communications with India, that the most meritorious servants of the company knew not by what rules or motives to regulate their conduct;—their spirit and emulation, founded upon the consciousness of their virtues and talents, had been nearly extinguished by this national disgrace.—He trusted however, that there was yet time to correct this evil. He had the greatest reliance on the elevated sentiments of the public servants in India: he knew -with what joy they will hail that interposition of wisdom in this house, which by the act of justice about to be performed to the noble lord this night, should reassure their confidence and re-establish our strength in India. The smallest reflection upon the 1142 nature of that strength, ought to check that desperate folly which seemed to delight in distracting the functions, and in dilapidating the authority, of our government; and which, if suffered to proceed in its present career, would precipitate the calamitous period of British India. Before Mr. L. concluded, he intreated the house to consider what had been the condition of British India at this exigent moment, when the union of France, Russia, and Persia threatened our empire with invasion, if the implacable hatred of Tippoo had still animated the power of Mysore—if the soubah of the Dekhan had still been under the controul of a French force—if French-Mahratta troops had still hung in defiance upon our unprotected frontier—if the dominions of Oude had still been filled with 65,000 disorderly disaffected soldiers —and if we had still relied, for the support of our own army, upon the resources of a state in the last stage of weakness and decay.—Mr. Lushington could not reflect upon the events which had removed these mighty dangers, without a mind filled with gratitude to the noble marquis: a gratitude founded on public affection alone; for the only favour he had ever sought from the noble lord was peremptorily refused: it was refused, however, from such public motives, that he could not but respect the principle of the denial. The house might, therefore, be assured, that the opinions which Mr. Lushington had taken the liberty of stating to them, were the unfeigned feelings of his mind, and that. he should be at all times prepared to avow and to verify them. He trusted however, that the cloud which had too long obscured the great and splendid services of the noble lord, would now be dispelled; and that a day of justice and retribution would succeed a long night of darkness and ignorance.
§ Sir James Hall
observed, that the charge before the house was defective in one very important circumstance which seemed to have escaped observation. Lord Wellesley is charged with having greatly injured an individual; but this individual has never complained. Saâdut Ali, the nabob of Oude, has sent no remonstrance to the British government, though that measure was suggested to him by a person who undertook to become his agent, and he rejected the proposal in toto. It may, indeed, be alledged, that this conduct was the result of fear, lord Wellesley being then in power; but soon after- 1143 wards the marquis came home, and the politics of India assuming a new face, the nabob could have been at no loss for friends to urge his suit and bring forward his remonstrance, had he really thought himself injured. But the truth is, if we may trust the evidence delivered at the bar of this house, that Saâdut Ali had no inclination to complain, nor any cause of complaint. It is true, that the territory over which he seemed to reign was greatly curtailed; its extent being reduced, in fact, to one half, and that much against his inclination at the moment; but the circumstances of the transaction were such as to add greatly to his comfort; for being relieved from the burden of a heavy tribute, and from the expence of maintaining a great army, his net annual income was left as great, at least as before, being to the amount of 1,200,000l. sterling yearly, free from all charges, and perfectly at his own disposal.—His political consequence may seem to have been impaired; but he had, in reality, nothing political to lose. The documents before the house sufficiently prove that the nabob of Oude, as well as all these protected princes of India, possess only an apparent sovereignty; that they have been raised to this elevated station by us, merely to serve our own purpose, to overawe the natives, and to facilitate the collection of the revenues; that without the assistance of our military force these princes could not maintain their station for a single month; that though treaties have been entered into with them worded in the language usually employed between equal and independent states, these seem, by mutual understanding, to have been considered as nugatory, and have been disregarded by every successive governor-general, whenever they stood in the way of the public service.—Some very striking anecdotes, stated in evidence by major Ouseley, shew clearly that Saadut Ali himself, after the first shock was over, which his pride underwent during the arrangement at Lucknow, saw the matter in the same light. These anecdotes prove, not only that he acquiesced, but that he acquiesced cheerfully in all that had been settled. Sir James H stated that with no bias in favour of the noble marquis, he had felt himself called upon to look, for the first time, into the affairs of India, in order to form an impartial judgment on the question before the house. In examining the secret correspondence carried on 1144 between Lucknow and Calcutta during the negotiation which ended in the arrangement of 1801, he had met with very ample confirmations of the favourable opinion, entertained by the public, of lord Wellesley's talents; and he found at the same time, what the public voice had not led him to expect, that in carrying through these measures with firmness and sometimes with severity, the marquis never lost sight of what could tend to conciliation; that when the points, essential to the public service, were galled, he exerted himself strenuously and effectually in rendering the charges palatable to the nabob himself, to his family, his nobles, and his disbanded army. So for therefore from having incurred blame by his conduct in Oude, lord Wellesley appeared to have a double claim to the thanks of his country, by achieving the most arduous public services, and by, at the same time, healing those wounds which great political changes and revolutions, however beneficial to the public, seldom fail to inflict on individuals.
thought the question now before the house of such importance, as to interest the feelings of every member. The chief object of the resolutions moved by a noble lord was to impeach a distinguished character not in that house. The noble marquis who was the object of these resolutions, had received great honours, both from his majesty, from his country, and from the court of directors, for the very same conduct which it was now wished to make the ground of parliamentary censure. The noble marquis was charged with crimes of no common magnitude, he was charged with tyranny, breach of treaty, and contributing to throw a stigma of reproach upon the British character. These were charges which he believed were entirely unfounded in truth, and incapable of proof. He considered the noble marquis had a right now to expect the decision of the house. The business had already been 3 years under discussion. He did not mean, however, to say that any unnecessary delay had taken place. The papers connected with the business were so volumnious, they required a considerable length of time to be got in readiness, and the house could not be called upon to the evidence, till they had had time to canvass and examine it. Gentlemen on the other side of the house seemed to mistake the real situation of the prince of Oude. They considered him al com- 1145 pletely independent of this country. But, this was not the fact. He was a protected prince, living under the protection of G. Britain. By the treaty concluded by sir John Shore, G. Britain had a right to interfere with the internal concerns of Oude; and in all the proceedings of marquis Wellesley, there was nothing contrary to existing stipulations, which had been said respecting encreasing the subsidy paid to this country: but he found nothing in this particularly applicable to the noble marquis. Since the year 1773, to the year 1798, alterations had been made seven times in the amount of subsidy paid by the nabob of Oude. In the year 1773, he paid yearly the sum of 300,000l. and in the year 1798, he paid the increased yearly sum of 900,000l. But gentlemen would observe, that the expence incurred by the company in defence of the province, had also of late years greatly increased. He considered the defence of Oude, and of our East India possessions, as one and the same thing. When marquis Wellesley arrived in India, he wrote the court of directors the plan of the conduct he meant to follow. This letter lay upon their table; and if the court had disapproved of his intentions, would it not have been but justice both to themselves and to the noble marquis, immediately to have sent him notice. The miseries which have existed in our East India settlements, he considered to have sprung in a great measure from pecuniary subsidies, of which he completely disapproved. Territorial subsidies he considered much less oppressive in their effect. The company had at the present time, 69,000 men for the defence of Bengal, and 40,000 in the Doab, or on the banks of the Ganges, for the defence of Oude. Objections had been stated to our introducing troops into Oude, as if contrary to treaty; however, the papers before the house shewed that it was not so. He maintained that the nabob of Oude was in a better situation now than before the late arrangements. His dominion was fixed, and the subsidy payable to the company was not liable to be increased by contingencies. He concluded, by saying, he thought some of the resolutions moved for by the noble lord so much like to truth, and some of so frivolous a nature, he should wish to get rid of them, not by a negative, but by moving the previous question. The last resolution, however, he considered extremely objectionable, and would give it his negative.
§ Mr. Robert Thornton
said, he could not in all points in this question, join speakers on either side. He would endeavour to express his private sentiments upon the question, in as few words as possible. When the noble marquis went to India, as governor-general, the yearly revenue amounted to 7,000,000l. when he left it, the revenue amounted to 15,000,000l This was doubling the revenue certainly, but it was necessary also to look to the increase of debt during the time of his governorship. When he went to India, the debt owing by the company amounted to 10,000,000l. when he left it the debt amounted to 30,000,000l. This was, he must say, a vast encrease of debt in a few Years. As to cession of territory in the form of subsidy, this he thought justifiable, or otherwise, according to the manner in which the cession was made. But he thought cession of territory most unjustifiable, if contrary to the sacredness of treaty. The noble marquis could not, he was sorry to say, be complimented on his having followed the example of our most gracious sovereign, in imitating him in noble generosity and moderation towards weaker powers; and, however he might approve of the war with Tippoo, he could not but condemn the conduct of the noble marquis in violating the treaty of Oude. It had been asserted, that the vizier was frequently drunk, and was incapable of taking any proper management; but he would assert that the noble marquis also had been drunk with ambition, and ought to be checked, however much he might admire the extraordinary talents of the marquis on many occasions, in which he deserved commendation.
On a cry of question, Mr. Biddulph moved the adjournment of the debate till Friday. Several observations were then made by different members, and Mr. Whitbread remarked, that he was sorry to see the temper of the house so inimical to listening to his hon. friend who had just sat down, as he would have thrown great light on the transactions of India; but he was determined to oppose the adjournment. The Speaker then put the motion; on the division, there were 37 for and 196 against the motion: On entering the house we found Mr. Sheridan on his legs, stating, that he understood, that instead of the original debate, a very extraordinary motion of thanks was to be proposed by an hon. friend to the marquis Wellesley. The whole he had heard in defence of the 1147 noble marquis, did not appear to him to justify such a measure; and more particularly so at this period of the night, as it would occasion the whole grounds of the debate to be again gone over.
§ Lord Milton
said the house ought to be cautious how it gave its censure or thanks; it was to be remarked, that it was considered to be the policy of our government, and also that of the East India Company to look to commerce, and not to the acquisition of territory; on this ground he Would give his vote.
§ Mr. Whitbread
said, he was astonished at the conduct of the friends of lord Wellesley, who had rested their defence upon the policy of the noble marquis, and not upon the treaty. The injustice was too strong to forego examination. For what was the case? Lord Cornwallis had left our possessions in India in a flourishing state. The noble marquis had, by his conduct, destroyed what lord Cornwallis had effected, and had left the country in the greatest distress. So much so, that had some bullion not arrived at the same time with his lordship, when he went again to resume the command, there would have been no funds for the exigencies of the state, nor money to pay the troops. He contended that we had violated the treaty of Oude, as by that treaty we had acknowledged the independence of that country, and could not, without injustice, seize upon the territory. He would go the full length of the Resolution, and the motion upon it.
§ Earl Temple
defended marquis Wellesley from the unfounded calumnies circulated against him. He compared his administration with that of marquis Cornwallis and lord Teignmouth, in order to show that they all interfered alike, and considered Oude as dependent upon the company. He would not only vote against the Resolution, but for the motion of sir J. Anstruther.
acknowledged that the treaty was violated, but asserted it was owing to the failure of the nabob to pay his kists; he would therefore vote against the Resolutions.
denied that ever the nabob failed in his payment, and replied to the arguments on that side at consideable length.
The house then divided,
The Resolution 31 Against it 182 Majority —151
|List of the Minority.|
|Antonie, W. Lee||Lushington, Stephen|
|Astell, W.||Lyttleton, hon. W|
|Babington, Thomas||Malocks, W.A.|
|Brand, hon. T.||Milton, lord|
|Burdett, sir F.||Sheridan, R. B.|
|Byng, George||Smith, George|
|Campbell, lord J.||Smith, Wm.|
|Cavendish, lord G.||Smith, Hugh|
|Cavendish, G. H. C.||Thellusson, George|
|Combe, Harvey C.||Thornotn, Robert|
|Fitzgerald, M.||Tracey, Hanbury|
|Grant, Charles||Turton, Hanbury|
|Howorth, H.||Wharton, John|
|Hughes, Wm. L.||Whitbread, Samuel|
|Lambton, R. J.||Folkestone, lord|
|Lloyd, sir Edward||Creevey, Thomas|
§ Sir John Anstruther
then moved, "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."
On this motion the house divided,
For the Resolution 180 Against it 29 Majority —151