HC Deb 29 July 1842 vol 65 cc836-7
Mr. Hume

presented a petition from Puntaub Shean, the deposed Raja of Sattara, who was now a state prisoner at Benares. He had last year offered a petition to the House on the same subject, but as it was written in the Mahratta language, and unaccompanied by an English translation, it had been withdrawn. He now presented a petition from the same individual, written in the English language. The petition was signed at Benares, on the 8th of January, 1842, and was sealed with the seal of the Mahratta kingdom of Sevajee. It was attested by four inhabitants of Benares, and by a magistrate. The petitioner stated that he was the lineal descendant of Sevajee, the founder of the Mahratta empire; that he was now the legitimate head of the Mahratta empire; that in 1819, on the deposition of the Peisshwa, he had been restored by the British Government as a feudatory of the British empire; that from that period up to the year 1835, he had enjoyed the unlimited confidence of the Court of Directors, who, in that year, had sent him a sword of honour, and stated that his conduct was worthy of the imitation of the other native princes; that since that period he hail been deposed, under the circumstances related in the petition. In 1836 he was accused of plotting against the British Government, but his whole life ought to have been a sufficient answer to such an accusation; that the Governor of Bombay was empowered to procure evidence against him, as having violated the treaty which he had entered into, but he referred to Presidents Duff, Bing, and Robinson, in testimony of its faithful observance; that he was accused of conspiring against the British Government, and entering into a treaty with the Portuguese Government to procure 3,000 troops from Goa; that an inquiry was instituted which was kept a secret from him; and that notwithstanding, the whole evidence against him was declared to be worthless. He stated that his principal servant was seized and imprisoned; that he was kept for twenty-two months in prison, in a state of torture, till he signed a document to save his life; that the charge of procuring 30,000 troops from Goa was so absurd, that the House could not give it credence; that he never had mote than 1,500 troops, and that to attempt any such proceeding as he was charged with, was totally at variance with his character; that his brother was placed in his stead on the throne, who was proved, under his own hand-writing, to have conspired to injure the interest of the India Company; that he (the Raja of Sattara) had private property to the amount of 350,000l. taken from him; that he was seized by the orders of Sir J. Carnac in his palace, to which he was never after allowed to return; and that he suffered all these losses upon the vague charge of bringing troops from Goa, whilst he was never heard in his own defence. He therefore solicited from the House a consideration of his case, and an investigation into the treatment which he had received; that the vast power of England need fear no alarm, and that it would tarnish the glory of her Majesty's reign if an individual, once her Majesty's faithful ally, now her prisoner, did not receive her protection. That was the petition; and as it was one of importance, he begged to bring it up, and to move that it be printed.

Motion agreed to.

On the motion that the House resolve itself into a Committee of Supply,