HC Deb 10 July 1838 vol 44 cc132-3
Mr. Winthrop Praed

, in rising to make the motion of which he had given notice for papers respecting the Government of Oude, wished to ask the right hon. Baronet opposite two questions connected with it. It was, he believed, an acknowledged fact, that on the death of the late King of Oude, the British resident, at Lucknow, had interfered with an armed force to place the third son of the deceased King on the throne; and that that interference had caused the loss of a thousand lives. The questions which he wished to put to the right hon. Baronet were, first, whether the steps which had been taken by the British resident at Lucknow, or by the East-India Company, with respect to the succession to the throne of Oude, had any connection with the payment of the debts due by the government of Oude to the Company; and, secondly, whether the despatches which had been sent to Lord William Bentinck, authorising him to take possession of the territory of Oude, had any connection with the steps which had been taken with respect to the succession to the throne of Oude? The hon. Gentleman concluded by moving for a number of papers connected with the succession of the government of Oude.

Sir John Hobhouse

said, that he had no objection to give the best answers that he could, to both the hon. Gentleman's questions; and he hoped, that those answers would prove satisfactory. To the production of the papers, also, with some slight alterations, he had no objection; and when they were produced, the hon. Gentleman and the House would be as well able as he was, to form a competent opinion of the conduct, which had been pursued on the occasion, by the East-India Company and their agents. As far as he had hitherto been able to look at the returns, he had not the slightest doubt in his own mind, that the president at Lucknow, and the Governor-general had come to a correct conclusion on the question; and that the person who was now on the throne of Oude, was actually the legitimate successor to it. As to the bloodshed which had attended the transaction, it had been greatly exaggerated, the number of lives lost having been only 35 instead of a thousand. To the first question which had been put to him by the hon. Gentleman, his answer was, that there had been no stipulation, and, as far as he knew, that there had been no intention in taking the steps relative to the succession, to make any arrangement with respect to the pecuniary claims of the Company to which the hon. Gentleman had alluded. To the hon Gentleman's other question his answer was, that in placing on the throne of Oude the individual who now sat there, there had been no stipulation, nor, as far as he knew, any intention to take that step for the sake of giving the East-India Company a greater right than they already possessed by treaty for the assumption of the territory of Oude. He would add, that so far was the course which had been pursued with respect to the succession, from adding to the chance (if it was a desirable object, which he did not believe it was) of enabling the Company to take possession of the territory of Oude—such was the character of the reigning Prince, that there was little probability, that he would afford us any pretext for assuming possession of the territory. Subject to some slight omissions and modifications, he had no objection to the hon. Gentleman's motions; and he could only say, that if, when the papers in question were laid on the table, they should appear to be incomplete, he would readily furnish any supplementary documents, that might be deemed necessary, being perfectly persuaded, that in the whole of the transaction in question, the East-India Company, both at home and abroad, had behaved with singular moderation, and had done nothing inconsistent with the high character which they had hitherto maintained.

Returns ordered.