§ Lord Ashley
rose, and said it would have been more agreeable to himself, and not a little so to the House, if the subject he was about to introduce had been brought forward by some Member of greater importance. He had waited until the close of last Session before he gave a notice, partly to see whether any other Member would undertake the office, and partly in expec- 343 tation of the arrival of certain appeals from the imprisoned Ameers to Her Majesty in council. These appeals had not arrived, but why they had not arrived no one could say. It might be that their possessions being confiscated, they had not the means to forward or to prosecute them; it might be that it was out of their power to do anything in their own behalf, on account of the rigorous imprisonment to which they were subjected. But whatever was the cause, it was most fitting and necessary that justice should be done to those unfortunate princes, and the national honour of the country vindicated. Now, having felt most deeply that the question should be entrusted to other and abler hands, he had, since he gave a notice on the subject last Session, determined altogether to abandon it, not from any want of confidence in the merits of the case, but on account of his own incapacity to do justice to it. But when there appeared in the columns of the Morning Chronicle, that important paper—a letter bearing the signature of Sir Henry Pottinger—and such a letter from such a man—he did feel that it was his duty no longer to shrink from the task of bringing the subject before that House. In this remarkable letter from Sir Henry Pottinger, which appeared in the Morning Chronicle of January 8th, 1844, Sir Henry says,I lamented over the fallen state of my old friends the Ameers, of whose case I have all along said, and ever shall say, under all circumstances, and in all society and places where I may hear it alluded to, it is the most unprincipled and disgraceful that has ever stamped the annals of our empire in India. No explanation or reasoning can, in my opinion, remove the foul stain it has left on our faith and honour; and as I know more than any other man living of previous events and measures connected with that devoted country, I feel that I have a full right to exercise my judgment, and express my sentiments on the subject. You cannot use too strong language in expressing my disgust and sorrow.That was true, to the very letter. These unhappy princes have strong claims; and he asked, in their name, what he would not ask in his own, that the House would be kind enough to give him a patient and even a favourable hearing. With the permission of the House, he would now proceed to state the history of our connection with that country, and the claims which these princes put forth to the consideration and sympathy of the British Parliament. 344 These princes, whose case he was now bringing before the House, are—that is to say, were dum regna manebant—a fraternity of crowned heads, each having a separate and independent principality, but ruling conjointly and federally under the style and title of the Ameers of Scinde; they acquired their country by conquest, and ruled over a people of different language and religion from themselves; but if that was to be used as an argument against the Ameers of Scinde, as he perceived it was used in one of the minutes of the Governor-general, that argument would recoil with tenfold force upon ourselves. Why, what were the English in India? If they allowed this to weigh a single instant on their minds as an argument for the course of proceeding against these fallen princes, it would be retorted with tenfold vigour upon ourselves. The Ameers had been recognised as the governors of Scinde by several successive Viceroys of India, who endeavoured to institute friendly relations with the Ameers, and endeavoured to prove to them that nothing but benefits could accrue to them from an extended intercourse with the British Empire. From 1758 to 1809 the East India Company passed through every variety of favour and disfavour, of suspicion and fear, of confidence and jealousy; but at last in 1809 a Treaty was made between the East India Company and the Ameers. It was the first document in the blue book, and contained this passage.Art. 1. There shall be eternal friendship between the British Government and that of Scinde. Art. 2. Enmity shall never more appear between the two states.The same thing was declared in a new treaty in 1820, by which the relations of the former treaty were expressed in still stronger terms. In the year 1832 the relations between the East India Company and the state of Khyrpore were greatly strengthened. The second article of the treaty set forth that the two contracting parties mutually bind themselves, from generation to generation, never to look with the eye of covetousness on the possessions of each other. The same article was repeated in the treaty with the Ameers of Hyderabad. The Ameers asserted that they had faithfully observed the conditions and spirit of the treaty. Those who espoused the cause of the Ameers said, that the British Government had completely 345 violated the treaty. To form some estimate of the character of the two parties it would be well to refer to history. They would find by a book lately published by a most intelligent author, that the demeanour of the Ameers towards the other states was most peaceable. Could the same be said of us? Now the primary object of our efforts in that part of India was to obtain the free and unrestricted navigation of the Indus. Scruple after scruple was overcome in the minds of the Ameers, who acquiesced in each request made to them for our political advantage. In the year 1832 we obtained the partial navigation of the Indus, and, in 1834, the Ameers made further concessions to meet our views. In the second article of the treaty of 1838, it was conceded that a British Minister should reside at Hyderabad, with liberty to change his residence as he thought expedient. From this time up to 1840, there was a spirit of suspicion, of fear, of alarm, and of everything likely to excite distrust on both sides. We then called upon the Ameers to perform parts of the treaties which we ourselves had violated. In 1840 a rebellion broke out at Gwalior; large bodies of troops were then sent through the country of the Ameers, and if they had been at all hostile to us, it would have been of the most alarming consequence to the British Government in India. They would find in the accounts of Captain Postans, who was at the time a resident in Scinde, that the Ameers gave to the British Government the most cordial co-operation in India. But what said Captain Postans, as to the Ameers making aggressions on our forces at that time? That officer, in his observations on Scinde, says,Had the conduct of these chiefs been otherwise, our interest would have suffered severely, but in justice to them, it must be recorded, that they fully made up on this occasion for their former hollow professions and want of faith by a cordial co-operation.Now, as to the importance of their aid under the circumstances, they had the most unequivocal testimony of Sir John Kean, relative to his march in the former year. In a letter of that gallant general to the Governor-general, he says,—We could never think of advancing leaving Scinde behind us in a state of hostility, or even doubt upon that score.After this, the difficulties of the British Government in India increased; but as 346 these difficulties increased, there was no disposition manifested by the Ameers to diminish their friendship or assistance. Captain Postans on this point says,—At a time when affairs at Candahar and Cabul assumed so fearful an aspect as to direct attention to those quarters, the chiefs were left as usual in full possession of all their rights, and beyond the usual delays in the payment of the subsidy, there was no ostensible reason to complain of their conduct at a period, it should be remembered, when, if they had shown hostile feelings, they were sufficiently powerful to do us material injury, if not to have crushed the few troops, which the urgent calls for forces above the passes permitted us to keep in Scinde. Yet, beyond the usual petty intrigues which are essential elements of eastern courts, it is not yet publicly announced that the Ameers of Scinde flew from their engagements, at a time, moreover, when all India was anxiously looked to as likely to catch the spark of rebellion, and strike a blow when it was thought we were too weak to ward it off.But we had still further testimony on this point from this experienced officer. He says,—The fearful catastrophe of Cabul at length arrived. Up to 1842, the affairs of Scinde continued in precisely the same peaceable demeanour as before, every necessary precaution being taken by the political subordinates to whom the duty was entrusted of removing any existing cause, as much as possible, at a distance from a firmly bigoted Mahomedan people, who would soon have been incited to make the Affghan cause a common one for their faith alone, to which there can be no doubt they were strongly tempted by every argument used on such occasions by the disaffected, and which to resist, amounts to apostacy from the true faith.Let hon. Gentlemen observe the delicacy of our treatment of the Ameers, and the forbearance that we showed when we feared their enmity, and needed their friendship, and let them observe the precautions that were taken not to offend in any way thisFiercely bigoted Mahomedan people, who would soon have been incited to make the Affghan cause a common one for their faith.The manner in which the Ameers then acted was strongly indicative of their good faith, and of their honest intentions towards the British empire. There could be no doubt, that they were then strongly tempted by every argument that could be used on such occasions by the disaffected, the resistance to which arguments was looked upon as almost an equivalent to 347 an act of apostacy by this bigoted Mahomedan people. In spite of all this, they withstood all temptation, and remained true in the hour of danger to the British Government. But he might add, that the Governor-general was fully aware of this, and bore testimony to their good faith, for he found that in a letter from the Secretary of the Government, dated November 2, 1840, to Major Outram, then resident in Scinde, that officer was directed to make personal acknowledgments to the Ameers for their conduct. The letter statedI am directed to acknowledge the receipt of your dispatch of the 5th ult., reporting the progress of troops to Upper Scinde, and furnishing extracts from private letters, showing the conduct of the Ameers' officers and demeanour of the people as most civil; and, in reply, to request that you will be good enough to convey to their Highnesses the expression of the high satisfaction of his Lordship in Council at the conduct of their officers in facilitating the movement of the 6th regiment, and the civility and attention shown by them to the officers and men.The Governor-general also, in a dispatch to the secret committee, dated November 16, 1840, bears similar testimony. He writes—It will be seen by Major Outram's dispatch, that the conduct of the Hyderabad Ameer's officers towards our troops through Lower to Upper Scinde, was most friendly.Now approached the catastrophe of their case. Circumstances, perhaps the most innocent of their lives, were distorted to their ruin. On January 24, 1842, the secretary of the government, by command of the Governor-general, writes to the resident as follows:—I am directed to request that you will communicate to the Ameers the satisfaction with which the Governor-general in council has received this additional proof of their friendly disposition, and of the liberal policy with which their administration is conducted.On the 6th of May following, Lord Ellenborough wrote to Major Outram:—The Governor-general is led to think that you may have seen reason to doubt the fidelity of some one or more of the Ameers of Scinde.Now, he begged the House to mark this singular passage—Led to think that you may have some reason to doubt the fidelity of one or more of the Ameers of Scinde.348 On this single statement, he founds his proceedings against the Ameers. On May 22, the Governor-general sent a letter, in which he stated his final determination to Major Outram, and the conditions which he required. Let any one regard this letter, and he would ask whether the conditions were not most harsh and dishonourable to the Ameers? But little time was allowed for deliberation. The negotiations, if such they could be called, were to be expedited by the presence of an invading army. Violence naturally begat violence, and distrust and dismay everywhere prevailed. The Beloochees were aroused to arms, and the Ameers were unable to control them. The first attack was on the residency, and no doubt this was a base and a vile act; but what room for surprise was there at this event? The battle of Meeanee followed, and the Ameers were defeated and imprisoned. Thus these famous treaties, which commenced by declaring that enmity should never ensue, and friendship never be at an end between the two Powers, were wound up by the imprisonment of the Ameers; and the solemn promise never to look with the eyes of covetousness on their dominions, issued in the conquest and annexation of their territory. This was the case which the Ameers themselves would probably state. But then they were charged with treachery. No doubt they were; as a matter of course, those who undertook to bring such a charge against these Ameers would be prepared with specious pretences to show some sort of reason for the outrage and assault they had perpetrated. But where was the proof of this treachery? Over and over again he called for proofs of this alleged treachery, which was to justify what had been done. No doubt there was abundant intrigue—no doubt the greatest distrust and alarm prevailed, and the greatest desire to get rid of the British from their territory. But was there no cause for this? Was there not ample cause for all this distrust and alarm, and also for the policy which the Ameers had been compelled to pursue? He would pass over all the irritating acts—all the violence of language which had occurred on both sides, and would come to the simple fact, what could be alleged against the Ameers? what act of treachery or dishonour on their parts as an argument for their destruction and imprisonment? 349 In July, 1838, the Governor-general being determined to carry on a system of operations against Affghanistan, was desirous of putting the Scindian affairs into such a position as would be most favourable for his ambitious projects, and he directed a letter to be sent to the resident to this effect: thatThe Governor-general is averse from contemplating a refusal on the part of the Ameers to enter into such a composition with his Majesty as to the British Government may seem just and reasonable.But this was not all; he goes on to say,—In case of refusal, temporary occupation shall be taken of Shikarpore, and of as much of the country adjacent as may be required.It does not end it. Still more was demanded. He adds,—While the present: exigency lasts, you may apprise the Ameers that the article of the Treaty with them, prohibitory of using the Indus for the conveyance of military stores, must necessarily be suspended.But was their consent asked? Was this the way to treat with an independent power? Was it strange that we were hated and distrusted? At this time there was nothing charged against the Ameers; no doubt, however, they were subsequently involved in intrigues with the court of Persia. He did not defend the policy of the Ameers, but what he wanted to know was, whether our conduct had been so open and honest, whether our performance of solemn treaties had been so manifestly scrupulous, as to forbid the Ameers to resort to those means of defence which the weaker party always resort to? The interval was filled up with charges, recriminations, and suspicions, but without any overt acts on either side. In November, 1838, there occurred a demand on the Ameers of far greater importance than any of the preceding. In November, 1838, the Governor-general first expressed a desire to enter Bukkur, and to occupy the fortress. The value of this fortress was immense, and it was of extreme importance to all parties—to those who got it, and to those who lost it. Sir Henry Pottinger said of it—The ferry at Bukkur is, I am told, the best between the sea and Mithen-kole. It has been from time immemorial the great thoroughfare between Khorassan and India. Your demand for the temporary occupation of the fortress of 350 Bukkur will put Meer Roostrum Khan's friendship to the test.Sir H. Pottinger told the Governor-general, that the demand for the fort would put the old man's friendship to the test. Let the House, therefore, bear in mind what return that good old man received. The same subject was referred to by Sir A. Burnes, in a letter, dated December 17th, 1838. He writes—I am negociating for the fortress of Bukkur, and I think I have nailed it; if not, we must just take it.He prayed the House to attend to those words, because they would serve to show the spirit which pervaded our conduct in all our negociations with the Ameers. Sir A. Burnes said, if we could not get the fortress by negociation, "we must just take it." This was the way we dealt with the independent Ameers; and this was the conduct which suggested to them the necessity for resorting to intrigue. But there was yet more, for on the 25th of December, Sir A. Burnes wrote—It is with the highest satisfaction, that I inform the Governor-general, that the fortress of Bukkur has been ceded to the British Government on the terms proposed.He asked the House to listen attentively to the next proposition, for on this the case of the Ameers was placed. See the pangs it cost the Ameers—The consternation caused by this public declaration was very great. The Ameer said it was the heart of his country—his honour was centered in keeping it—his family and children would have no confidence if it were given up. Meer Roostrum Khan was now attacked by Ins relatives, and Moobaruck Khan urged him strongly to resist us; but the worthy old man addressed to me the annexed most feeling letter.He would just give one more extract, because it exhibited in a still stronger manner the great concession made by this old man. On the 28th December, Sir A. Burnes wrote—When I visited Roostrum Khan I found him with his younger brother. The Ameer stated at full length his declarations of devotion. He said, that in giving up Bukkur to the British, he had to encounter great disgrace; that his tribe and family were alike opposed to it; but that he was an old man, with but a few years to live, and that it was to save his children and his tribe from ruin, that he had years ago resolved on allying himself to us; that he was henceforward the submissive and obedient servant of the British.351 In December, 1839, the Governor-general, Lord Auckland, prompted by a fine sentiment of honour, and feeling that the Government was bound by solemn treaties, and being willing to compensate the Ameers for the unjust violation of those treaties, recorded his opinion in a minute, the terms of which he highly approved—Sir James Carnac has recommended the permanent retention of Bukkur in our hands; but, it will be remembered, that we are under special engagement to restore Bukkur to the Khypore Ameers, and that we have no absolute right, under treaty, to station our troops within the Khypore limits.This was the statement of the Governor-general, and was highly honourable to the policy by which he was guided. Well, this being the case, let them imagine the dismay and desperation with which the Ameers received the announcement on our part, after so long a period of confidential intercourse, and after such great assistance as they had rendered to the British Government, after the confidence which Roostrum Khan had placed in the British, the disgust and dismay may be imagined which was felt when the following verbosa et grandis epistola was received by Major Outram, written by the Governor-general's Secretary:—May 22, 1842.The Governor-general (Lord Ellenborough) directs me to inform you that the Governor-general contemplates the continued occupation of Kurachee. His Lordship likewise contemplates the continued occupation of the island of Bukkur.Now, after this, he did ask the House whether any amount of distrust—whether any effort for self-defence on the part of the Ameers, was not perfectly justifiable; and whether they were not warranted in defending those rights which had been so unscrupulously invaded? He had stated enough to prove the case. Recollect that the Ameers of Scinde had never been charged at this time with acts of treachery, cruelty, or outrage sufficient to justify their expulsion from the throne of Scinde. He would refer to other papers to show that alarm and despondency were entertained by Meer Roostrum Khan, in consequence of the course about to be pursued against him. In June, 1842, the Secretary to the Governor-general wrote to the political resident at Scinde, saying,The Governor-general has learned with 352 regret, but without surprise, your opinion of the infidelity of Meer Roostrum Khan. The Governor-general wishes to be informed whether the territories under Meer Roostrum Khan be in such a position as to make it easy to annex a portion thereof to the dominions of the Khan of Bhawulpore whose dominions his Lordship is desirous of increasing in reward for his own uniform fidelity and that of his ancestors.This letter, it would be perceived, was written for the purpose of asking the resident at Scinde, whether it was not easy to cut off a large slice of the hereditary dominions of Meer Roostrum Khan, for the purpose of annexation to the territories of the Khan of Bhawulpore. Would any hon. Gentleman, who did not approve of the term hereditary dominion, deny that the territories in the possession of the Ameer were not as much his dominions and as much his possessions as Calcutta was a possession of ours? Was it not probable that Meer Roostrum foresaw all that was to occur, and knowing these things, was it not likely and reasonable that he should do all in his power to save his territories? He would go a little further. Sir Charles Napier was spoken of as to all intents and purposes the agent of the Government. This was proved by a declaration of the Governor-general at the end of his note, that he had acted under his instructions during the last three months. Sir Charles Napier, in October, 1842, says—I maintain that we only want a fair pretext to coerce the Ameers.Could it be supposed that the Ameers were entirely ignorant of these designs, sitting in a fool's paradise, and believing that their interests were the sole objects of British diplomacy? In the final Treaty of Nov. 4th the provisions were still worse. What time was given to the Ameers for deliberation? Forces were assembled at Sukkur, which caused the greatest dismay; at the same time proof was afforded that the Ameers had not even sent out emissaries to collect their troops. The Governor-general, on the 14th November, wrote thus:—I adhere to my original intention with respect to the Ameers. If any one of them commits an overt act of hostility, his possessions shall be altogether confiscated, and he shall depend upon the charity of his own family for his future subsistence.On the 20th December, a charge was made that the Ameers had collected troops, 353 and it was natural, under all circumstances, that they should collect them. But what was the fact? The greatest alarm prevailed; this terror increased, and Meer Roostum Khan fled with his family to the desert. On the 27th November, Sir C. Napier wrote to the Governor-general thus:—I made up my mind that although war has not been declared (nor is it necessary to declare it), I would at once march upon Emaun Ghur.This was carried into effect, and the Ameer was pursued, the fort was destroyed, and the property taken, and after all it appeared that the Ameer meditated neither fraud nor violence; for on the 7th of January, he wrote—We yesterday came so close upon the traces of Meer Roostum, that, hearing that Major Outram was with me, he sent a message to him, to say, he was perfectly submissive. Major Outram asked my leave to go to him, as we were both convinced, that Ali Moorad had frightened him; the old man had been persuaded by Ali Moorad, that I meant to imprison him for life.So much, then, for the alleged opposition of the Ameers. The Ameers of Hyderabad experienced no greater forbearance. Sir C. Napier wrote a despatch addressed to the Governor-general and bearing date the 22nd of January, advising him that he was proceeding on the high road to Hyderabad, and, that he apprehended such a movement on the part of the army would give vigour to the negotiation then carrying on, should there be an inclination on the part of the Ameers to procrastinate the negotiation.If this should fail, and the treaty flag (the writer continued) I shall proceed upon Hyderabad.Under these alarming circumstances, he would ask a British House of Commons, could the Ameers help being frightened? The Ameers did all they could to prevent, however, the consequences of the alarm which seized the Beloochees and the populace, but in vain. The attack was made, as all knew, upon the residency and upon the person of the British resident. Major Outram had been before made aware, by the Ameers, that the Beloochees were flocking into the town in consequence of Sir Charles Napier and the British forces having passed the frontiers. In page 556 of the correspondence, the House would find this detailed, and 354 also, that the Ameers did all in their power to stop their entrance or to disperse them. This stage of these exciting proceedings at Hyderabad, naturally brought him to a document the most extraordinary and important of them all. It purported to be Major Outram's notes of a conference held between him and the Ameers during the negotiations, dated the 8th of February, and following day, and, of course, antecedent to the battle of Meeanee; a document the more important in consequence of its having been seen and commented upon by the Governor-general and Sir C. Napier, neither of whom touched the material points, although the Governor-general had represented in his last despatch, that some reasons had been thereby furnished him, for dethroning and imprisoning these princes. This representation was strange and irreconcileable, for mark what were the words taken down upon this part of the subject during that conference. It was then asserted, that treasonable letters had been written by the Ameers. The Ameers asked to see them. They complained that they were not produced. What did the Ameers say? Why not produce the letters on which you found the accusation? We deny that we wrote them. To enable us to disprove that they were written by us, they ought to be produced. The commissioner then stated to them, that these letters had been traced, and found to be in the hand-writing of the confidential secretary of Sirvar Meer Khan. What was his answer,—"I deny that they were ever written by my authority. Why is not this paper shown to me. The House should know and see, what these documents were, upon which a treatment so terrific has been attempted to be justified, and these sovereign princes hurled from their thrones, and consigned to a prison. What must the House and the country think of this refusal to produce a document alleged to be the cause of these extraordinary proceedings—the sole proof of the alleged treachery of the Ameers? Would such a course he suffered or tolerated in a court of law? No. But the right to see and examine this document was not one derived from the force or forms of law merely—it was founded upon the principle of immutable justice, and the right of human nature. By-the-bye, there had been one of these letters said to be produced, but not to the 355 Ameers. They asked to see it, however, and were told, as Major Outram stated it, that it had been handed over to Ali Moorad, the very man who might be suspected with reason to have written or forged such a letter. The entry of the notes of the conference with the Ameers was as follows;—The Ameers said, thatIt was written that treasonable letters had been sent to Beebruck Boogtie and Sawun Mull. Why were those letters never produced? Why don't you give us an opportunity of disproving them? We never wrote them." Commissioner.—"The handwriting was ascertained to be that of one of your confidential scribes." Meer Nusseer Khan.—"I solemnly deny that it was written by my authority; why was not the paper shown to me?What said the Commissioner upon this part of the subject?—"These are not points for me to discuss or settle." But he maintained that they were points for the House of Commons to discuss. He trusted, whatever might be the result of this motion to-night, a British House of Commons would not suffer such a proceeding to pass without branding it with just reprobation. In the notes by Major Outram it would be found, that the Commissioner urged—The question is whether you will, or will not, accept the new Treaty; if not, the army under Sir Charles Napier will continue to advance.To which the Ameers replied—If the army advances, our Beloochees will not be restrained, and we shall be blamed for the consequences.The Ameers again said,You know how little under our control our Beloochees are. If the army advances they will plunder the whole country.To this it was replied by the Commissioner—It is in your own power to prevent it by complying with the terms; the moment you do so I will dispatch a British officer to inform Sir Charles Napier.The Ameers then rejoined—We deny the charges on which the new Treaty is imposed; but still we will subscribe it.On this the Commissioner wrote to the General, that if he advanced the Beloochees threatened to go and fight the British force. On the 10th he wrote again thus—I sent off Fitzgerald with a dispatch last 356 night, announcing that the Hyderabad Ameers had subscribed the Treaty.Again, the Major, in another part of the correspondence, stated the readiness also of the Ameers of Upper Scinde to sign, and prayed Sir Charles not to advance. Upon the 12th he again wrote to Sir Charles Napier—These fools are in the utmost alarm in consequence of the continued progress of your troops toward Hyderabad, notwithstanding their acceptance of the Treaty, which they hoped would have caused you to stop. If you come beyond Halla, I fear they will be impelled by their fears to assemble their rabble, with a view to defend themselves and their families, in the idea that we are determined to destroy them notwithstanding their submission.—P.S. I go to durbar this evening to receive the Ameers' acceptance of the treaties.In another letter, of the same date, he again stated the alarm of the Ameers at the arrival of a European guard for the resident, and urged Sir Charles Napier not to advance. On the 13th of February again he wrote—All the Ameers of Upper and Lower Scinde accepted the new Treaties in public durbar last night, and applied the seals to the drafts.It subsequently appeared that two deputies attended from the Ameers, to say, that the Beloochee Sirdars had met—that,Finding Major Outram had given no pledge, they had sworn to march out and fight the British army; and that the Ameers had lost all control over them, and could not be answerable for what they did.So wrote Major Outram. It would appear to the House that, so desirous of maintaining good faith with the British and the Commissioners were the Ameers, that they became exposed to the suspicion of treachery in the eyes of their people, anti the Major accordingly wrote to the following effect:—It appears to me that the Ameers are now execrated for their dastardly submission (as they consider it) to what they style robbery. For the first time since I came to Scinde in an official capacity, I was received last night by a dense crowd with shouts, expressive of detestation of the British. Had we not been guarded by a numerous body of horse, headed by some of the most influential Beloochee chiefs, I dare say the mob would have proceeded to violence—it is evident the government did its utmost to protect us—the Ameers had been engaged in paying off and dismissing those who had flocked to the city since the 357 night before last, on hearing of the continued advance of your troops. The Ameers have sent to say, that the Beloochees have become quite uncontrollable, and refuse to obey them in any way. They beg me to leave as soon as possible, and give the advice from pure friendship.All these facts would be proved by a reference to the contents of the second volume of the blue book, containing the correspondence with reference to Scinde, published by order of the House, and it would be found that even in the comments added by the Governor-general he did not deny that the Ameers were guiltless of the assault. He must take the liberty to say that there was great blame imputable from the slovenly and inaccurate manner in which the details of these proceedings were officially stated, more especially as they had been made the means to account for and justify an aggression so enormous upon a sovereign power. It would be observed by the House, that Sir Charles Napier's letter stated to the Governor-general that the signing of the Treaty took place upon the 14th of February, and the hostile attack was made upon the residency, on the morning of the 15th. The same statement was repeated by the Governor-general in his subsequent proclamation. Any one reading these documents would infer that the Ameers had signed the Treaty on the night of the 14th only, to blind the eyes of the residents preparatory to the attack on the 15th. But it would be seen in the second volume that the Treaty was signed on the 12th; and during the interval between that and the 15th unceasing efforts were made by the Ameers to avert mischief. Far greater care and exactness ought to be expected in the narrative of facts when it is attempted to found and maintain the propriety of steps of such profound import to the Ameers and to the character of this great nation—"I stand," (said the noble Lord), "here upon the refusal to produce the letters inculpating their conduct, to the Ameers of Scinde, which have been assumed by the Governor-general to be such unanswerable proofs of guilt. I complain of the running commentary and of the foot notes attached to the correspondence of Major Out ram, as if to question its correctness or give a different colour to the statement. If Major Outram has seen these foot-notes, and he continues silent notwithstanding, the case is dif ferent; but, if not, I must say, a gross in 358 justice has been done to one of our most meritorious officers." The noble Lord then detailed the circumstances of the attack on the residency, the battles that followed, and the dethronement and imprisonment of the Ameers, and called the attention of the House to the letter from the Governor-general to the Secret Committee, dated March 13th, which contained the passage—Had the Ameers been entirely masters over their own troops, it seems to be doubtful even now whether Sir Charles Napier would not have effected his purpose and carried the Treaty into execution without actual hostilities?That, as it appeared to him, contained the whole question. It gave the testimony of the Governor-general to the disposition of the Ameers and ought to exonerate them from personal penalty for deeds which they could not control, Mr. Speaker, continued the noble Lord, I have carefully abstained from touching on the original policy of invading and afterwards annexing the territory of Scinde; not that I hesitate to entertain an opinion on the subject, but because I had hoped to obtain some practical redress for these unhappy princes. And though I might demand much more in justice, I have preferred as the more likely course, to demand a little in mercy. Sir, let the House consider the utter improbability that they should have entertained hostile intentions. They had made no preparation to remove their women from Hyderabad, nor even their treasures. Had they contemplated violence surely they would have dispatched all their women and valuables to their place of refuge to the westward, among the Beloochee mountains. They surrendered, moreover, to the British Government the moment their troops were defeated. But take it in another point of view, is it likely—is it consistent with common sense that they should have remained tranquil amidst all our difficulties and dangers; nay, more, that they should have contributed their best aid, and lent every assistance to extricate us from peril, and then reserve all their intrigue and all their violence for our period of victory and strength? There was a time when they might have crushed us. During that time they were prodigal in assistance, contributing by every facility they could afford to the recovery of our position and honour. They attempt our 359 destruction as their enemies would assert, when our troops, returning in victory, had rendered it impossible. But, surely, Sir, if they were as guilty as they are unjustly represented to be, if all the charges against them were true, you have exacted of these men a sufficient penalty. You have torn them from their thrones, reduced them to the level of your meanest dependents, seized their dominions, incarcerated their persons, plundered their houses, and exposed them to various forms of privation and insult. Here is a note from one of the captives, Meer Sobdar Khan, addressed to the Governor of Bombay in Council:—I received frequent letters from the ladies of my family at Hyderabad, complaining that the sum of 550 rupees a month, which Sir Charles Napier allows for their expenses, is not sufficient for them and a hundred servants, besides the expense of keeping up an establishment of seven or eight houses; they are, consequently living in great distress, and suffering many privations.The Government have, at last, I know, set a fixed allowance for the royal captives. As a prison allowance, it is liberal, but in no other sense. But are they to remain prisoners for life? Another letter from an officer at Bombay, dated September 28, 1843, shows their deplorable condition:—The Ameers are thrown into the deepest grief, as they look upon their fate as irrevocably sealed, and that they must remain in India prisoners for life. Poor Sobdar is in utter amazement at the return we have made him for all his past services; and it is the opinion of every one at all acquainted with his history, that he has been most unjustly treated. The Governor-general will not allow them to be visited, except by the officers associated with them in duty, which they consider a great hardship.It adds many other indignities, perhaps the natural consequence of times of violence, but hard to be endured by the Ameers. Read the various appeals to the Directors, the Governor-general, and the Governor of Bombay, from the imprisoned Ameers. I must not detain you by quoting them all, but the memorial of two of these unhappy prisoners is peculiarly touching. The letter addressed by Meer Mahomed Khan, and Meer Yar Mahomed Khan, to the Court of Directors, was dated Sassoor, Sept. 18, 1843, and was couched in the following terms:—Be it known that we poor brothers received monthly pay from Meer Nusseer Khan, at Hy- 360 derabad, where we lived happily. We never interfered with the external or the internal politics of the country, or in any of its public affairs. Meanwhile Sir Charles Napier arrived in Scinde, and soon the Beloochees were in insurrection. We remained quietly in our retirement. Afterwards, when the other Ameers embarked for Bombay, we were permitted to remain at Hyderabad at liberty, through the kindness of Sir Charles Napier, but shortly after we were also sent to Bombay; and then to this place. It is now five months since we were forced to leave our country and family. We are innocent, yet we are suffering all the privations of imprisonment in a strange country. We are not real brothers of Meer Nusseer Khan that we should be punished as if we had been rulers, or in power in Scinde. We trust, that, becoming acquainted with our circumstances, you will allow us a suitable pension, and send us back with honour and respect to Scinde, to live there your faithful and obedient subjects.I am sure it will be interesting to the House to hear the affecting terms of a memorial from Meer Hoossein Ali Khan, Meer Mahommed Khan, Meer Nusseer Khan, Meer Sobdar Khan, and Meer Roostum Khan, the Governor of Bombay in Council, dated Sassoor, 9th of November, 1843. Some previous facts connected with this are set forth in a dispatch of Major Outram's in 1840. To the honour and kindness of the British nation the late Noor Mahommed had bequeathed his sons; the dying man took Major Out-ram by his hand, and said, "I bequeaths the care of my sons to the honour and kindness of the British Empire." This is the memorial to which I refer.The two sons of the late Meer Meer Mahomed are confined, one in Surat Castle, the other at Sassoor. On account of their separation their mother is grieved and much afflicted. It would lessen her grief and sorrow if both her sons were confined in the same place till they are released by the favour of the Queen, on whom we rely for justice; the distress of the brothers, too, would be lessened by sympathising with each other in the same place.I have searched in vain for a contradiction of this statement, or to find that the grievance has been alleviated. Sure therefore I am, that it must be true, for all these memorials have undergone a most rigid examination by the authorities in India. I must now refer to a letter written by Sir Charles Napier to the Ameers at Hyderabad, and I quote it, not in an invidious sense against that gallant and most distinguished officer, of whom I am ready to say, he is deserving of every 361 honour which the Crown can bestow, of Peerage and of the Thanks of this House, and of his country generally, for his gallant conduct. But still, in stating the case of the Ameers, in speaking in their defence and on their behalf, I must be at liberty to show this letter as a sample of the spirit in which the intercourse with them was conducted, and the insults to which they were exposed, and will continue to be exposed as long as they are in the degraded situation of prisoners. Sir Charles Napier's letter to the Ameers of Hyderabad, dated March 18, 1843, runs thus:I am much surprised by the falsehoods which you tell—I will no longer bear this conduct; and if you give me any more trouble by stating gross falsehoods, as you have done, in your two letters, I will cast you into prison as you deserve; you are prisoners, and though I will not kill you as you ordered your people to do to the English;That charge has never been proved. This letter proceeds:—I will put you in irons on board a ship. Shere Mahomed is a very weak man, and will soon cause himself to be destroyed, and so will you unless you submit more quietly to the fate which your own rash folly has brought upon you. I will answer no more of your letters, which are only repetitions of gross falsehoods, which I will not submit to.Well, now, this might have been caused by infirmity incident to human nature. On this point, I will say no more; but I will ask the House whether this is the language which ought to be used to defeated men, and fallen princes? Even before a tribunal for the trial of felons, a previous good character may be pleaded, and is often accepted, in mitigation of their sentence. I ask much less than justice, when I ask the same here. Are all the services of these men to be forgotten? Recollect all that they have done for you? Call to mind your awful reverses in Cabul? Remember your distress—your danger—your dismay;—the nervous and trembling anxiety of the country—the imminent danger to your Empire in India. And then, remember also, their ready aid—their friendly and fruitful co-operation. During the whole of 1841, supplies were in constant demand for our armies, and were most liberally bestowed. Detachments of various numbers and strength were pushed without obstruction through all parts of the Scindian territory, requiring and universally obtaining every possible assistance. 362 Never before this late event had they drawn a sword against the British Empire. If ever they were your enemies, it was only in the height of your power. But remember they were your friends in the depth of your adversity. These, Sir, are the grounds on which I implore the interposition of this House in behalf of these fallen princes, stripped alike of their public power and their private possessions, and left to mourn in the solitude of a prison, over their own lost freedom, and the sufferings of their race. I pass over the various arguments drawn from their love of hunting, their injurious system, their vile government, charges which, however true they may be, are seldom admissible to justify aggression, and certainly have no place here. I do not venture to propose restoration to empire, but restoration to private rights and personal freedom. We have an illustrious precedent for our imitation. Contrast the bearing of our present Government in India with that of my Lord Cornwallis; his treatment of the sons of Tippoo Saib, with theirs of the dethroned Ameers. On one side, every abatement of the rights of war, every mitigation of its sorrows; on the other, to the uttermost, the pound of flesh, loss of territory, loss of freedom, loss of domestic associations, loss of independent means of sustenance for themselves and their children, loss of every thing but of life. Have we endeavoured to soften the woes we have inflicted? How does our policy contrast with that of better days? Let me give you the testimony, the unsuspicious testimony, of Mr. Mill, in his admirable history of British India. The Sultan had been compelled to surrender his sons as hostages to the British Government. What was their reception?Lord Cornwallis, attended by his staff, and some of the principal officers of the army, received them as they dismounted from their elephants, at the door of his great tent, embraced them, led them in by the hand, and seated them one on each side of himself; when he was thus addressed by the head Vakeel:—'These children were this morning the sons of the Sultan, my master; they must now look up to your Lordship as a father.' His Lordship assured, with earnestness, both the Vakeels and the Princes, that they should not feel the loss of a father's care. The faces of the children brightened up, and every spectator was moved.Where, in the late transaction, was the spirit of Lord Cornwallis? Where was 363 that higher spirit, which should have dictated a different course to that which was pursued? Again, seven years later, after the fall of Seringapatam, in how noble a manner did the Marquess Wellesley receive the children of the defeated foe of England. I will quote again from the same authority—To the family of Tippoo, if we make allowance for the loss of a throne, as well as to the principal men of his kingdom, the conduct of the Governor-general was considerate and generous. The fortress of Vellore, in the Carnatic, was appropriated for the residence of the Royal Family, and fitted up commodiously for their reception, with an allowance for their support more liberal than that which they had received from Tippoo himself.And yet, Sir, consider the difference of their claims. They were the sons of our hereditary foe; their father and grandfather, steeped in everlasting hatred to the British name, had warred against us for years, with implacable fury; had wrought us enormous mischief, and sworn to extirpate us from the soil of India. Here are the sons and successors of ancient allies, men who have once been hostile and oftentimes friendly, to whom we owe much, but who owe to us little. Both it is true, were taken in arms, but the one fight was the conclusion of a long, premeditated, and ferocious hatred: the other, the beginning and the ending too, of a short and unwilling hostility. Sir, we are often admonished, with oracular solemnity, that our empire in Hindostan is founded on opinion. Is it the opinion of our justice, our humanity, or our power? A wise and patriotic Government would ardently pursue such a noble combination; and this House, by the fulness and promptitude of its reply to an injured sufferer, would compensate for the enormous, though inevitable concession of despotic authority to the rulers of those distant regions. Sir, the generosity of absolute power is cheap, and safe, and honourable; true principle alone is of so attractive a nature as to lead many to believe that a really Christian empire would soon acquire the sovereignty of the world by the voluntary and eager resort of all nations under the shadow of its wings. Whether by such means as these Great Britain shall accomplish the dominion of the East remains to be seen; we have not, I fear, made an auspicious beginning; but if we are to gain no more by virtue, let us not 364 lose what we have by injustice. Let us hasten to wipe out the awful rebuke passed by them on their Christian conquerors, "Heu pietas, heu prisca fides!" saying, as they were led away into captivity, "Now we perceive that there is no hope for us of judgment or justice, until God Almighty shall sit in the last great adawlut."
§ Mr. Roebuck
wished, in the first place, to explain to the House and to the noble Lord, why he felt himself under the necessity of pursuing the course of which he had given notice. Some time last year he gave notice to the House of his intention to bring under its consideration the annexation of Scinde. Unfortunately, the papers connected with that transaction were not printed in time to admit of the discussion taking place that Session. The papers which he now held in his hands were not printed until a period when he was obliged to be absent in the North; but he had taken the earliest opportunity of coming down to the House, and stating, that as early as possible in the present Session he would bring forward the question. He had accordingly come down on the very first day of this Session to enter his notice, but he found himself very unexpectedly precluded from doing what he had intended, by the noble Lord's having, in spite of the intimation he (Mr. Roebuck) gave last year, already put down the motion brought forward that night. The noble Lord's zeal was equal to that of the old lady in the sermon, who, in her religious fervour stole a copy of Tillotson's Sermons. The noble Lord's zeal in the present matter had led hint, in like manner to disregard the proprieties, and to deviate from the ordinary course adopted by one Member towards another, in appropriating a motion of which he (Mr. Roebuck) had given notice for himself, but the subject of which the noble Lord would really appear to consider as his own peculiar property for the time being. However, he had not risen to complain of the noble Lord, but to explain the reason of his amendment on the noble Lord's motion. This reason was, that he thought the noble Lord had taken somewhat a narrow view of a large and solemn question. It might be easy to show, as the noble Lord had done, instances of hardships; but the great business of the House, as it seemed to him, was to consider the whole of this policy from the 365 beginning to the end—when it began, when it was voluntary, and how soon it became a fatal necessity upon the rulers of England, a necessity imposed upon them by the previous proceedings of the former Government. In doing this, he must begin at the beginning, and go closely on to the end. It would, therefore, be necessary for him to go, as briefly as possible, over much of the same ground traversed by the noble Lord. He would begin with taking up the question from the period of our first interference with Scinde down to 1834. During that period it would be found that the proceedings of England in that quarter were perfectly fair endeavours to enlarge our commerce, and to spread the great advantages of civilisation over the East. After that they would find the scene change. The period to which he now referred was that between 1834 and the departure of Lord Auckland. The peculiar geographical position of Scinde was to be carefully kept in view throughout the whole discussion. When the Dooranee empire fell, Scinde conquered for itself a sort of independence, under the rule of a well known tribe—the Galora tribe. About seventy years ago these rulers were expelled by the late governors of Scinde; indeed, the whole of them were destroyed, with the exception of one or two persons, whose sole descendant was now living in the Punjaub, and some short while since wrote a letter to Sir Charles Napier, requesting to be replaced on the throne of his forefathers, in return for which he offered to assign us one half of his revenues. If, then, we were to act upon a mere principle of hereditary right, the legal sovereign of Scinde was this same Timoor, the lineal descendant of the former rulers of the country, who had been expelled by the ancestors of the Ameers. However, when the Ameers had got possession of the country, it so happened that England thought it worth while to enter into a commercial Treaty with them, and a factory was established, which was subsequently suppressed by the jealousy of these rulers. He now came down to 1800; at this time the leading fear of England was Napoleon Bonaparte, and accordingly we entered into a negotiation with the Ameers not to allow the French to enter Scinde. After that we had not much communication with them until 1806, when Lieutenant Pottinger was sent to enter into other negotiations with the Ameers, 366 and as America was then an object of hostility with us the Treaty went to exclude the Americans as well as the French. Afterwards, it occurred to Lord William Bentinck that the enlargement of our commerce, by way of the Indus, would be beneficial, and he then by somewhat questionable methods, proceeded to endeavour to effect this object. He sent Lieutenant Burnes to Lahore. Lieutenant Burnes was sent up the Indus with the ostensible project of taking up some horses, but the real and secret object of his mission was to survey the Indus; and he did survey it, and then a circumstance occurred of a remarkable character, showing the sort of notion that prevailed in India of the grasping nature of English policy. However questionable might be the policy of what had been done up to this point, there was little for which to blame the English Government. What followed was a Treaty, and that Treaty an important one, in consequence of the negotiations of Colonel Pottinger. The Treaty of 1832 was an important one, and like all our Treaties in that part of the world, it commenced by both parties swearing eternal friendship, and both declaring in the second article of the Treaty,That the two contracting powers bind themselves never to look with the eye of covetousness on the possessions of each other.And in the third article,That the British Government has requested a passage for the merchants and traders of Hindostan by the river and roads of Scinde, by which they may transport their goods and merchandize from one country to another; and the said government of Hyderabad hereby acquiesces in the same request, on the three following conditions:—1, that no person shall bring any description of military stores by the above river or roads; 2, that no armed vessels or boats shall come by the said river; 3, that on English merchants shall be allowed to settle in Scinde, but shall come as occasion requires, and having stopped to transact their business, shall return to India.These conditions were of the utmost importance, because he was about to charge upon the British Government, as conducted by Lord Auckland, a direct, flagrant, and treacherous breach of the conditions. He would now pass on to 1834, when there was another Treaty concluded with the Ameers of Scinde to the same purpose—that of the opening of the Indus. The Treaty of 1834 ratified the Treaty of 1832, and added clauses imposing duties upon boats at a certain rate, and which were 367 to be appropriated in a particular manner. He now came to the most extraordinary event in the whole history of these transactions. An idea now began to be prevalent among the rulers of India that danger to English dominion in India was to be apprehended from the attempts of Russia—Russia being feared as influencing Persia, and Persia being feared as influencing Affghanistan, and for the purpose of getting a defence for our Indian dominions, it was proposed that an expedition should be undertaken against Affghanistan. In 1838, while this idea was prevailing in the minds of the rulers of India, Colonel Pottinger undertook to enter upon negotiations with the Ameers of Scinde, and these negotiations were conducted by Colonel Pottinger, under the commands of the Governor-general of India, in a very remarkable manner. Hitherto in our intercourse with the Ameers, all had been fair and aboveboard, or, at least, apparently so, but now the play was to cease and something serious was to be done, and, like the tiger of their native country, we had hitherto kept the paw like velvet, but then a blow was struck which drew blood. Every man who knew any thing of India, knew the manner in which English aggression advanced—that we first proceeded to interfere in the affairs of the neighbouring countries, offering our mediation—that was our first step; but when we did these things we did not do them for nothing—we must get something by what we did. And what did Lord Auckland do in this case? Lord Auckland had heard that our worthy ally Runjeet Sing was desirous of invading Scinde, and, in the peculiar way in which things are managed in the East, he asked of the Government to be enabled to take arms up the Indus, for the purpose of invading the country. The proceedings of Lord Auckland in this affair were thus described in a letter to the secret committee, in the first page of the book containing the secret correspondence from 1836 to 1838:—In our letter dated 26th September last, we had the honour of informing you, that we had taken the opportunity afforded by Maharajah Runjeet Sing's applying to be furnished with 50,000 stand of arms, by the Indus, to remind his Highness of the peaceful nature of the objects for which the Indus has been reopened, and to make him acquainted with the sentiments entertained by the British Govern- 368 ment, with respect to the aggressive line of policy which he was pursuing towards his neighbours.No doubt the laudable desire of Lord Auckland to keep the peace was deserving of approbation; but as he had already said, we never did this sort of thing for nothing—we were really what Napoleon called us, a nation of shopkeepers.We considered it our duty to endeavour to induce the Maharajah to lay aside his hostile intentions. It appeared to us, also, that this opportunity ought not to be neglected, of establishing the British influence on a solid basis in Scinde, a country which is of great importance to us, both from its commanding the entrance to the Indus, and from its position in reference to the Punjaub and Affghanistan. With these views, we, on the one hand, instructed Captain Wade to endeavour, by any means short of actual menace, to deter the Maharajah from advancing against Shikarpore, while, on the other, we desired Colonel Pottinger to intimate to the Ameers that we were ready to enter into a closer alliance with them, on such terms as might be mutually agreed on. Owing to the distance of the scene, and the uncertainty of events, we did not consider it expedient to prescribe to Colonel Pottinger the precise conditions on which he was to treat. He was authorised by us to offer our protection against the Sikhs, and we expressed our hope that, with a view to enable us to fulfil this obligation, the Ameers would consent permanently to receive, and to pay the expense of, a body of British troops, to be stationed at their capital. Short of this, we informed him that he was at liberty to offer the mediation of the British Government with Maharajah Runjeet Sing, on condition of the reception of a British agent at Hyderabad, and, of course, of all the relations between Scinde and Lahore being conducted solely through the medium of British officers, and of the expense of any temporary deputation of the British troops into Scinde, which might be found requisite, being defrayed by the Ameers.This was the proposition made to the Ameers of Scinde. In a moment they knew what it meant—they had seen India absorbed, by the all-grasping power of the British Government, from Cape Comorin to the Himalaya, by the same process, and they knew, that this was the next step of inexorable destiny, to bring them under the same overwhelming power. They opposed to the utmost, the proposition with respect to the admission of troops, they insisted that they would have nothing to do with us in that shape. What then did we do? We put the screw on them—we said, we would let loose the Sikh mo- 369 narch upon them, if they did not do as we desired. In page 5 of the same correspondence, there was a letter from the Secretary to the Government of India, to the Governor-general's Agent for the Affairs of Scinde, which contained this passage,—You will, in treating with the Ameers, communicate with them, without reserve, in reference to the dangerous position in which they stand, and you will apprise them, that this Government is sensible how essential it is, not to their interests only, but to their very existence, that the ties by which they are connected with the British empire should be strengthened.Diplomatic communications were generally periphrastic, but there was something under their ambiguity, and to the unfortunate Ameers, this, when translated into good Persian, would very soon indicate, that Runjeet Sing was to be allowed to take Khyrpore.Whether the communication which you may make to the Ameers in pursuance of these instructions shall end in no new result, or in the mere reception, at the court of Hyderabad, of a British agent, or in the advance of a subsidiary force, for the protection of the Scinde territories, will probably depend upon the conduct of the Maharajah, and the course of events.In another passage of the same letter it was said—His Lordship in council, would not, without your deliberate advice, and a very careful consideration of all the circumstances of the position of Scinde, enter into a general engagement to defend that country from all external enemies; but he does not hesitate to authorize you to promise his mediation in all disputes between the Ameers and the government of Lahore, if a reasonable equivalent be assented to. As one condition of this mediation, and with a view to enable this Government readily to give effect to it, it would be advantageous if the Ameers would consent permanently to receive a body of British troops, to be stationed at their capital, the expense of the detachment being paid from the Scinde revenues.Any one would understand the right signification of such an instruction as this; and the Ameers at length, well knowing the power that would be exercised by the Maharajah in consequence of their not complying with the demands made upon them, entered into the treaty of 1838. He begged the House to reflect upon the position of affairs at that time. We had a commercial treaty with the government of Hyderabad—we had entered into stipu- 370 lations, one of which was, that no military force or military stores should pass through the dominions of the Ameers, and they had accepted our offer of a resident agent at Hyderabad. That was the state of our relations in 1838. Now was matured the scheme of advancing upon Affghanistan, and here was the origin of all the evil—here was the source from which all the waters of bitterness flowed; and he charged it upon the conduct of the then Governor-general of India, and the right hon. Gentleman who was his chief controller, as having been the cause and origin of all the evils that followed, and the source of all the disasters which were so much to be deplored as having occurred in Affghanistan, and all the miseries which had ensued in Scinde. How did he make out this charge? The first proposition which he should move to-night, as an amendment upon the motion of the noble Lord, charged upon the Governor-general of India, acting under the commands of a right hon. Gentleman whom he now saw in his place, first, injustice to the Ameers, in the conduct which he was about to describe; and next with a want of wisdom towards England in the same conduct. And now for the injustice, with which he should first begin. He had asserted, and he did not expect to hear it denied, that when the Dooranee dynasty fell to pieces, the people of Scinde, or at least the rulers of Scinde, vindicated to themselves by force of arms a certain degree of independence. When he talked of independence, he did not wish to be misunderstood. They had for some time paid tribute to the then rulers of Cabul—the amount of which was unsettled. They had paid the tribute for some years; but the family of Khyrpore utterly refused payment, and defeated the Affghans when they endeavoured to enforce it, and for some years the tribute had never been paid. This he should by-and-by show. A part of the same empire was the Punjaub. In the same way the people of that territory vindicated their independence, and Runjeet Sing, with singular sagacity and courage, gathered together the broken fragments of the Punjaub kingdom, and brought it under his own control. Runjeet Sing was a powerful monarch, having an army of about 60,000 men, and with him we did not wish to quarrel. We entered into the famous Tripartite Treaty, which he should now state to the House. 371 In 1838 we had entered into a treaty with the Ameers of Scinde. The ink was hardly dry—the year was not ended, when we entered into this Tripartite Treaty. By the 16th Article of the Treaty, Lord Auckland took upon himself to dispose of Scinde; there was no way of explaining it otherwise. He took upon himself to dispose of the country, and he did it thus: the English Government had set up that puppet Shah Soojah; they pretended to say that he was King of Cabul—King of Affghanistan. As such he claimed to have powers over Scinde, and one would have supposed that he would have equal power over the Punjaub. But a line was drawn between them. Over the Punjaub he gave up every thing like dominion, and he even bound himself to pay tribute to Runjeet Sing; but as regarded the unfortunate Ameers, what was the conduct of Lord Auckland? By the 16th article of the Tripartite Treaty,Shah Shooja-ool-Moolk agrees to relinquish, for himself, his heirs and successors, all claims of supremacy, and arrears of tribute, over the country now held by the Ameers of Scinde (which will continue to belong to the Ameers and their successors in perpetuity), on condition of the payment to him by the Ameers of such a sum as may be determined under the mediation of the British Government; 15,000,000 of rupees of such payment being made over by him to Maharajah Runjeet Sing. On these payments being completed, Article 4. of the Treaty of 12th March, 1833, will be considered cancelled, and the customary interchange of letters and suitable presents between the Maharajah and the Ameers of Scinde shall be maintained as heretofore.We undertook what? We undertook to lend our mediation—between whom? Between an independent set of sovereigns, the Ameers, and a poor unfortunate outcast who had lived upon our charity for years, and whom at that moment we were setting up as a mere puppet to suit our own purpose. Shah Soojah had not a single slave, or single soldier, or single follower who was not paid by England. He had no army, although the noble Lord called it Shah Shoojah's army. It was recruited by England, paid by England, officered by England, conducted by England—in fact it was an English army, and we having the power of this army in our hands, called upon the Ameers with an affectation which added insult to injury—the affectation of being friends, pretending to mediate be- 372 tween our puppet and those whom we were actually at the time about to rob. Well, Colonel Pottinger was sent to the Ameers with the Tripartite Treaty, and he was told not, as long as he could avoid it, to let the Ameers know any thing about it, to keep the matter snug and quiet till the last moment, and then to tell them what they would have to pay, and what would be the penalty for not paying it. Colonel Pottinger undertook the negotiation. Colonel Pottinger addressed himself to the Ameers—and here he must make a distinction which was necessary to the due understanding of the narrative. The family of those who governed Scinde when we first came into possession of it consisted of three brothers, presiding over three separate districts, those of Shikarpore, Hyderabad, and Khyrpore. In the transactions which followed, as in all our oriental proceedings, the Ameers exclaimed against the injustice that was about to be done. Although this affair was but consistent with all our Indian policy, yet no doubt, in consequence of our improved habits of national as well as other morality, every one would receive with derision that which was a libel and a total falsehood upon the character of England. The Secretary to the Governor-general, in writing to the resident in Scinde, in the letter contained in pages 8 and 9 of the Correspondence, after enumerating certain documents which he sent, said:—The measures treated of in those documents are of the highest importance, and as the Ameers of Scinde are deeply interested in the issue of them, it is necessary that they should be made fully and fairly acquainted with the motives and intentions of the British Government. You will, in the first place, state to the Ameers that, in the opinion of the Governor-general, a crisis has arrived, at which it is essentially requisite, for the security of British India, that the real friends of that power should unequivocally manifest their attachment to its interests; and you will further apprise them that a combination of the Powers to the westward, apparently having objects in view calculated to be injurious to our empire in the East, has compelled the Governor-general to enter into a counter-combination for the purpose of frustrating these objects. You will perceive that by one of the articles of the Treaty recently concluded, the British Government engages to arbitrate the claim of Shah Shooja-ool-Moolk upon Shikarpore and the territories of Scinde generally, and proposes at the same time to bring to a final settlement the claims of Maharajah Runjeet Sing, as connected with the Shah, and 373 with the territories along the course of the Indus, which were formerly included in the dominions of the Affghan kingdom. The Governor-general has not yet determined the amount which the Ameers may be fairly called upon to pay, and it should not therefore immediately be named, but the minimum may certainly be taken at 20 lacs of rupees. His Lordship will endeavour to prevail upon Shah Shooja-ool-Moolk to reduce the claim which he has on the Ameers to a reasonable amount.He would ask, was it not a downright insult that such a paper should be brought down to the House of Commons and received, as he had no doubt it would be by the right hon. Gentleman opposite, as a thing deserving a moment's attention, as being the offspring of common sense or common honesty? Why, to prevail upon Shah Soojah—a man who at that moment must have starved if we had chosen—a mere instrument of our will, and who, if we had prohibited him, would not have dared to open his mouth—and yet the Governor-general had the hardihood—he must call it—to palm off this statement—And he trusts that you will have no difficulty in convincing them of the magnitude of the benefits they will derive from securing the undisturbed possession of the territories they now hold, and obtaining immunity for all future claims on this account by a moderate pecuniary sacrifice.In a subsequent paragraph he says—Shah Shooja-ool-Moolck will probably arrive, with his own army, and the direct support of British troops, at Shikarpore, about the middle of November next, in progress to take possession of the throne of Affghanistan. The Governor-general is averse from contemplating such a result as a refusal on the part of the Ameers to enter into such a composition with his Majesty as the British Government may deem just and reasonable; but it may be proper to apprize them of the probable consequences of their not coming cordially into the general views of his Lordship at a crisis so important; and you are authorised to tell them, that his Lordship must regard the demonstration of such a spirit, as rendering it indispensably necessary to the success of the enterprise which it is the object of the Tripartite treaty to accomplish that temporary occupation should be taken of Shikarpore, and of as much of the country adjacent as may be required, to afford a secure base to the intended military operations.There it was threatened by Lord Auckland, that for his own special purposes he would take direct possession of the country of the Ameers, and he (Mr. Roebuck) would follow up the negotiation step by step, and as the noble Lord quoted Colonel 374 Pottinger's statement, as he supposed it to be, from seeing it in the newspapers, he (Mr. Roebuck) would read a paper sent to the Governor-general, which had Colonel Pottinger's name at the bottom of it. He read that letter, which the noble Lord had not done, and the House would find that Colonel Pottinger distinctly recommended to the Governor-general to take forcible possession of Scinde. He could not believe that letter, to which the noble Lord had yielded such hasty credence, for he (Mr. Roebuck) was not one of those who believed all they heard. In letter 14, page 14, Colonel Pottinger said—Had our present connexion existed some years, and our resident thereby had time, by constantly kind intercourse with the chiefs and people, to have removed the strong and universal impression that exists throughout Scinde as to our grasping policy, the case might have been widely different; but I enter on my new duties without anything to offer, and with a proposal that will not only strengthen the above impressions (for many besides the Scindees will believe at the outset that we are making a mere use of Shah Shoojah's name), but revive a claim to tribute which has been long esteemed obsolete. For the reasons I have, I fear imperfectly, adduced in this letter, and also because I am convinced that, sooner or later, the precaution will be requisite "—(the last attempt—the ultima ratio of England)—"I mean to request the Governor of Bombay to take early steps to prepare a force for eventual service in Scinde. I shall propose that three regiments of native infantry and a troop of horse artillery be at once sent into Cutch; that a complete regiment of native cavalry be brought to, and kept at Rajkote; and that two squadrons of dragoons, two companies of foot artillery, and 1,000 European infantry, be held in readiness at their present stations, until I may call for them.This was a beautiful specimen of that figure of rhetoric called rigmarole.I look on it, that the moral effect of such preparations will be even greater on the government of Scinde, as well as throughout the adjacent principalities, than our sending a force direct into the former province. Should the Ameers seem inclined, either by their avowed hostility, or backwardness in the cause—What cause? that of inflicting a fine upon themselves—"to oblige us to occupy their territories, I shall lose no time in apprising the Bombay government; and, in that case, the whole force might either assemble in this province, or the European troops proceed by steamers to the mouths of the Indus, where the native 375 infantry would meet them in boats from Mandavie, whilst the mounted corps (horse artillery and native cavalry) would probably have to march, so as to form a junction with the main body of the army somewhere near Tatta. All these details would of course depend greatly on the support or opposition to be anticipated from the local government, and of that I shall be able to speak fully when I reach Hyderabad, and have communicated with them.That was the first show off of Sir Henry Pottinger. This was the man who was now so full of virtuous indignation and who talked of his old friends, the Ameers. If ever there was a set of men puffed up with vanity—overcharged with the notion of their own importance—he would point his finger for an example at the political agents of the Indian government. In page 17—this was another part of this pretty farce—the Governor-general said:—You have stated your intention to charge the Ameer to his face with this injurious act.This injurious act was the entering into intercourse with Persia. So soon as it was discovered that there was a difficulty in the negotiation, the next step was to find a pretext for coercing them. The Ameers had written a letter to the Shah of Persia, and the Governor-general, in speaking of this act of an independent Sovereign, in writing to the Shah of Persia, says:You have stated your intention to charge the Ameer to his face with this injurious act, but you have not stated with what proceeding on your part an admission by him will be followed, and it is, therefore, difficult to foresee in what circumstances you may be placed before the receipt of this letter. It seems open to you to decide upon proclaiming, as soon as a force from Bombay may enable you to do so with effect, that an act of hostility and bad faith having been committed towards the British Government, the share in the government of Scinde, which has been held by the guilty party, shall be transferred to the more faithful members of the family.This was within a few days of the communication of the Tripartite Treaty to the Ameers, and here was a threat to take their territories:—And it may be thought right to accompany this transfer with a condition, that as a security for the future, a British subsidiary force shall be maintained in Scinde; or, secondly, the maintenance of this force may be required without the adoption of an act so rigorous as that of deposition; or, thirdly, it 376 may be thought expedient, upon submission, and the tender by the Ameer of such amends as may be in his power, to point out to him that no better reparation can be given than by exertions to give effect to the treaty formed for the restoration of Shah Shooja.The letter went on to say, that the first course would be a justifiable one. Negotiations were continued to see what could be done, and he was now about to read a remarkable passage from the letter of Colonel Pottinger, in which he recommended the occupation of the greater part of Scinde. In page 89, he said,—The only one of these that requires any observation from me in this place, is that regarding the strength of the subsidiary force. On this subject I have bestowed a good deal of reflection since the receipt of your letter of the 29th ult., and I am of opinion that we should demand from the Ameers of Scinde the cession, 'not a temporary occupation,' of all the country lying on the right bank of the Indus, south of an imaginary line to be drawn due west from that river at a point ten miles (more or less) north of Tatta, until it meets the frontier of Beloochistan, at the base of the mountains. This would give us a compact territory, the complete command of the river, and possession of the only sea-port. At a very rough estimate, I calculate that the cession I have indicated would yield at first a revenue of from four to five lacs of rupees, but it is one that would rapidly improve under our rule, and in a few years, I see no reason to doubt that Tatta would spring into much of its former opulence, and become a vast emporium of trade and wealth. I see manifold and cogent reasons why the subsidiary force should not be stationed at the capital, where barbarism and prejudice would lead to continual disputes without any counterbalancing advantage. My plan, therefore, would be to have a regiment of native infantry and a company of artillery at Kurachee, and all the rest of the troops at Tatta, where there is an admirable site on the Mukalla hills (west of the city), for a cantonment. I shall also propose that a strong detachment of Bengal troops (equal, perhaps, to the Kurachee one), should be kept at Sukkur, on the Indus, to which I presume the Khyrpore chiefs will gladly give their assent. With these troops, and British agents residing at Hyderabad and Khyrpore, I look on it that our perfect supremacy throughout Scinde will be as fully established as though we had entirely subjugated it.This, then, was the man who now talked of his old friends, the Ameers of Scinde. But the noble Lord had, no doubt, been imposed upon by that letter. [Lord Ashley: "I believe it."] And I believe the noble Lord has been imposed upon. But, he had now to show what had happened? 377 The army came from Bombay to the mouth of the Indus. He knew well that the Governor-general began to be doubtful of the success of his expedition. The Governor-general was most hot upon the seizing of Scinde, until there was a danger of a stop being put to the Affghanistan expedition. Until the danger arose, he was most hot upon the seizure. Lieutenant Eastwick took a Treaty to Hyderabad, and that treaty he was told to enforce upon the Ameers. It was to be found at pages 122 and 123, and, like all other Treaties, it began by declaring that there was to be lasting friendship between the two governments:—Whereas, Treaties of friendship and amity have, from time to time, been entered into between the British and Hyderabad governments; and whereas circumstances have lately occurred which render it expedient and necessary to revise those treaties; with a view to which this draft has been prepared, agreeably to instructions addressed by the Right Hon. Lord George Auckland, Governor-general of India, &c., to Colonel Henry Pottinger, resident in Scinde, &c. There shall be lasting friendship, alliance, arid amity between the Honourable the East India Company and the Hyderabad government; and the provisions of all former Treaties, not modified or annulled by the present one, are hereby confirmed. The Governor-general of India has commanded that a British force shall be kept in Scinde, and stationed at the city of Tatta, where a cantonment will be formed. The strength of this force is to depend on the pleasure of the Governor-general of India.Where is, said the hon. and learned Gentleman, the independence of Scinde now? The treaty goes on:—Meer Noor Mahomed Khan, Meer Nusseer Mahomed Khan, and Meer Mahomed Khan bind themselves to pay annually the sum of in part of the expense of the force, from the presence of which their respective territories will derive such vast advantages. The chiefs of the Beloochee tribes, and all others holding grants (jacedads) pensions (wazeefas), jagheers (tesols), &c. from the different Ameers, are to continue to enjoy them as they now do, the Ameers being answerable for their peaceable conduct towards the British Government and his subjects. Their highnesses the Ameers agree to form no new treaties, or enter into any engagements with foreign states, without the knowledge and concurrence of the British Government, but their highnesses will, of course, carry on friendly correspondence as usual with their neighbours.Was not this, he asked, depriving them of their independence as a nation? They 378 compelled the Ameers to maintain a foreign force in their territory—they made them pay such sums of money as they pleased, for the sustainment of that army, and then they would not permit them to enter into any sort or kind of negotiation with their neighbours. And why drive them to this? On the pretext that they had written a letter to the Shah of Persia, where the English were about to proceed, not against the Shah of Persia, but against Afghanistan—that is, when the English were about to make war against Affghanistan, it was a crime in the Ameers to write to the Shah, with whom England was at peace; and they punished that crime first, by compelling them to pay money; then to maintain a foreign force; and next, by depriving them of their independence as princes. What party was it here who broke the treaty? He answered, the British Government. Let them compare all the crimes that were laid at the door of the Ameers—let them compare that with the fact of proceeding up the Indus with an armed force—with the threat that, if they did not give up a portion of their territory, they would be deprived of their independence, and they, too, should be punished if "they did not aid the cause." Let them, he said, compare those things with the circumstance, even supposing it to be true, of a friendly letter being addressed by one potentate to the other, conceived in the usual terms of hyperbole employed in the East, and it would be found that the former was a gross, traitorous, ungenerous breach of faith. It was to compare a mole-hill to Mount Ossa. Lieutenant Eastwick went to Hyderabad, and there a series of negotiations were commenced, in which the only weapons left to the weak were resorted to by these Ameers. There was evasion, deceit, falsehood—everything that could ,be devised, every art that could be employed was used to escape from the grasp that was actually surrounding them, and which, like the huge snake of their country, was twining, coil upon coil, about them, and that, with overwhelming power, was gradually crushing and destroying them. Amongst other things, they told us that they were totally unable to coerce the Beloochees, that the Beloochees had congregated about their capital, and they stated to Lieutenant Eastwick that, if he did not take care, an attack would be made upon him. Lieutenant Eastwick took them at their word. He retired 379 quietly. He retired quietly to the army that was advancing. He got on board a steamer. The army advanced to Hyderabad, and then, but not till then, did the Ameers sign that obnoxious Treaty. He said that this conduct on the part of the British Government was a disgrace to their name and nation—he said that it was a foul blot on their escutcheon—he said that it was one of unblushing dishonour; they had power, and how did they use that power towards the poor and helpless?—shamefully and tyrannically!Oh! it is excellentTo have a giant's strength; but it is tyrannousTo use it like a giant.Whilst this proceeding was going on at Hyderabad, Lieutenant Burnes was at Cabul. When the army descended the Sutlej, Lieutenant Burnes proposed to the Ameers of Hyderabad the temporary occupation of Bukkur. Afterwards the army passed on, and got through Cutch and the Bolam Pass. He stopped here to answer an argument that might be used against him. He would be told that it was unfair in him now to question the invasion of Affghanistan—that he ought to accept it as "an accomplished fact," and then discuss nothing but what was the object of the present motion;—that he ought to allow as a given thing that the proceedings against Affghanistan ought to have gone on. Now, he would first take the liberty of saying that the Governor-general had taken the wrong route to Cabul. His army ought to have gone through the territory of his ally—through that of Runjeet Sing. Instead of going 1,500 miles out of his road, he could have gone by a march of 300 miles. He gave this not merely as his own opinion, but he cited for it a high military authority, which proved Lord Auckland to have been guilty of a blunder in his injustice. The writer states—The invasion of Affghanistan being thus settled military principles demanded that the shortest and most direct lines of operation should be adopted. Those were in the Punjaub. The Maharajah had just concluded a most advantageous treaty for himself, at the expense of the king, and by the influence of the Governor-general. It was but reasonable, then, to demand a free right of passage to reach Affghanistan through the ceded territories—that is to say, through Peshawur and the Khyber Passes, which was the best route to Cabul. There was no reason, if he had faith in his allies, the British, why the Punjaub should not at once be made the base of operations—why the invad- 380 ing army should not have assembled, with all its stores, on the Upper Indus, instead of the Sutlej, and from thence have penetrated at once by the Khyber Passes to Cabul, and by the roads which lead from Ismael Dera Khan over the Sooliman ridges to Ghuznee and Candahar. When a great point, as it is technically termed in war, is to be made, there are only two modes recognised by military art to effect the object. The army should march, having its warlike means with it, compact and strong, to bear through all opposition, trusting to the genius of its commander to draw resources for its support from the country where it is to halt. Such was Hannibal's invasion of Italy. The success depends upon a sagacious calculation of power and resistance beforehand; upon the proportion which the vastness of the enterprise bears to the vastness of the leader's genius. This is the highest effort of military genius. The second mode is to trust the communications with the base of operations to allies or nations subjugated on the march. Such was the Macedonian Alexander's method of approaching India. There was no Hannibal to lead Lord Auckland's army—there was no army organised for such an enterprise to be led—but the more secure mode of Alexander did not require his genius. Runjeet Sing was the ally to whom the communications should have been entrusted, and an army of reserve assembled on the Sutlej, would have insured his fidelity. If Runjeet Sing refused his consent, his alliance was hollow. Justice had been cast aside from the beginning; policy then dictated the forcing him to acquiescence, or the subjugation of his kingdom as a preliminary to the invasion of Affghanistan. Not so acted Lord Auckland. He turned his eyes another way, and, with a total disregard of military principle, of which he and his advisers appeared to be as profoundly ignorant as they were regardless of equity, he resolved to perpetrate, under the pretext of friendship, the enormous aggression on the Ameers which he dared not attempt with the powerful Maharajah. In this view articles were inserted in the tripartite treaty by which Runjeet accepted the British mediation in his dispute with Scinde; and the King who had resigned, without an equivalent, the finest and richest portions of his kingdom to the Maharajah, agreed also to resign his sovereign right in Scinde on condition of receiving arrears of tribute. The purport of all this was to seize so much of the Ameer's territory as would secure a line of operations against Affghanistan through Scinde. This line, however, was so defective, that military considerations alone should have stopped the invasion. The line of operations by the Khyber Passes would have been of 500 miles from Loodiana to Cabul, but only of 300 from Attock if the base had been there first established. The line from Ishmael dera Khan would have been 300 miles to Candahar; 200 to Ghuznee..'The attack upon the Ameers was a 381 gratuitous wrong. It was a blunder, attended with injustice. They had thrown away the lives of hundreds of their fellow countrymen—they had thrown away money which ought not to have been expended, even if the attack on the Ameers were to be justified as prudent or honest. He now passed on to the year 1841, when they were in possession of Affghanistan. The Ameers became unable to pay the tribute required from them. The next demand made on them was for territory. The demand was made on them for Shikarpore; but before this negotiation arrived at a close, there came the disaster of Cabul. A portion of the army was withdrawn. At length the people of Affghanistan rose upon the army that remained; they destroyed the British envoy; killed the puppet king, which the English had set up, and confined within their narrow fortresses the few that had escaped from the general slaughter. The whole of the British policy was then changed. He was not now going to discuss the wisdom or the folly of Lord Ellenborugh's proclamation on his arrival in India. It was, however, the first time that the English were compelled to return—it was the first time that they had been thoroughly beaten, and their being so had created a general feeling throughout the eastern world. The position, then, of Lord Ellenborough, in taking a shattered dominion out of the hands of his predecessor, was extremely difficult and perilous. Lord Ellenborough announced his determination to retire to the limits of the Indus. It was a remarkable fact. He knew nothing like to it but that remarkable circumstance in the history of Rome, when the people first gave up the vain pretension to an universal dominion.It was an ancient tradition," said Gibbon, "that when the capitol was founded by one of the Roman Kings, the god Terminus (who presided over boundaries, and wasre presented according to the fashion of that age by a large stone) alone among all the inferior deities refused to yield his place to Jupiter himself. But though Terminus had resisted the majesty of Jupiter, he submitted to the authority of the Emperor Adrian.He did not think he should be met by the continuation of the passage, which said thatIt was scarcely in Adrian's power to place the superiority of his predecessor in a more conspicuous light than by thus confessing himself unequal to the task of defending the conquests of Trajan.382 Lord Ellenborough arrived there to take command of their Indian dominions at a time that was most dangerous and critical. The army of England was ordered to advance into Cabul. They (the English) said they were victorious; but, victorious or not, they retired from Affghanistan. They were followed by the people of Affghanistan in arms. Not a step was taken by that army but the people rose up behind them and around them, and compelled them to fight their way out of the kingdom, and the eastern world said, and he (Mr. Roebuck) was not much inclined to blame them for it—that "we were thrashed out of Affghanistan." The Scindians saw this, believed this, and they said, "We are as brave as the Affghanistans—we can fight as well as they—they have conquered the Feringhees—why then should not we too be able to defeat them?" From one end of Scinde, then, to the other—and he did not blame the Ameers for this, for they were smarting under the fierce injuries they had received—they entered into a conspiracy against the English. From Beeloochee to Cutch, from Kurrachee to Lahore, they had entered into a conspiracy against the English dominion [Hear, hear] He heard a learned Indian authority say "Hear;" now, he asked, was it not natural that they should do this? The noble Lord had said that they had done serious injury to the princes of Scinde—they had taken possession of the heart of their country. They felt strongly the injury and insult that had been done to them, and they conspired against the British dominion. As might be expected, the evidence on this point was multifarious. He would read an extract from a letter addressed by Lieutenant Leckie to the political agent in Scinde; it was dated Hyderabad, May 3, 1842:—I received yours of the 29th ultimo, yesterday, and had an interview with—last night. I put the letter from Nusseer Khan to you into his hands, and directed him to peruse it. After having done so, he said, 'This is Gleanchund's writing in parts, also that of Akoond Buchal. The seal is Meer Nusseer Khan's, and there is no doubt of its being authentic' I then quietly hinted at Meer Nusseer's correspondence with the Sikhs, to which he added, Meer Nusseer Khan corresponds now in every direction, seeking his own ruin by digging a well for the purpose of burying himself (or being smothered, literally); his favorite confidant in the Persian quarter is dead, but his son has replaced him, and arrived 383 only three days ago; his name I forget, but will find out for you; as to the Sikhs, Suckoo Mull has for some time been in the habit of writing letters as if from the Maharajah to Nusseer Khan, and has gained by it; however, something has gone wrong, and he wrote a letter as if from the Sikhs, recalling him to the Punjaub; this was a forgery. I do not know the tenor of the communication lately, but some time back Meer Nusseer proposed to the Sikhs, that they should rise and kick us out of their part of the country, as the Affghans had done, and that they (the Ameers) would join; his having written thus to one quarter makes the conclusion he has written every where; he has so many irons in the fire, that he is overwhelmed in his own imagined greatness. Meer Meer Mahomed appears to join, but he has a clean heart, and is a good man. Mahomed Khan Tora is the mischief-maker, and guides the Ameer according as Meer Nusseer wishes. To prove that Meer Nusseer tries to deceive every one, his plot with regard to the Bakroo rupees was intended to impose upon the British Government, by which it would have lost from 10 to 15,000 rupees in a lac; but you luckily got hold of the truth and upset his measures.That was proof of a conspiracy. At that time a curious thing happened. Major Outram wanted to know how these things were carried on, and he sent his people immediately to intercept the communications between one part of Scinde and another, and thus got into his possession certain letters from Nusseer Khan to the Khyrpore chiefs; but he could not say that the method of getting at them was very creditable to the English people. So it was, however. Again, writes Lieutenant Leckie to the Political Agent in Scinde, under date the 13th of April, 1842:—Nusseer Khan is going ahead as fast as he can, and is trifling with the treaty, as far as levying duties is concerned. He says, he will levy on all the merchandise of Sciude, at this place, to make up for the river being free. Yesterday, I am informed, Shandad and Hoossein Ali went to Sobdar to point out the necessity of the Ameers being of one mind and acting together, owing to the Affghans getting the better of us. Meer Meer Mahomed also went in the afternoon. The Naib, Ahmed Khan, was present. All this is at the instigation of Nusseer Khan, who keeps aloof himself; he is making a dead push to be No. 1. He is our enemy, without doubt, and is making the most of our weakness. How he is to be checked by the other Ameers, I know not; and it strikes me ere long we must interfere with a powerful hand; as the hot season approaches we may find the fellows getting bolder. A visit from you would have a wonderful effect just now to check Nusseer, 384 before he makes a greater idiot of himself; he has succeeded in getting all but Sobdar under his thumb, and, from his wealth, has the troops at his beck. Mahomed Shuzbee, who resides in Bombay, and corresponds with Jaffir Schah, is the man that gives all the newspapers gulp that is twisted into queer forms by these people. Perhaps you will think, from what I have written, that I am an alarmist. It is not so; my wish is to prevent their stupidity carrying them too far, and which must cause their ruin, with a good deal of trouble to ourselves. I hear Mahomed Dewan is at the gate; I fancy he is charged with money." "April 28, 1842.—I was told last night that Nusseer said, when he heard we had won the Khyber, that the Afreedees and Patans were a set of donkeys, and should have thrashed us. He is well blown out with pride and conceit of himself just now. What I do not like is the old chiefs of Mahomed Ali and Noor Mahomed going to his service, and deserting others. He is, there is no doubt, spending money and sweet words at no allowance, and can afford to do so after all the zulam he has committed. Should Tukkee Shah be false, I fancy that every assistance may be given me in finding out what is going on through his aid, as it is an object to the Ameer or Ameers to let villains travel quickly hence unknown to him." "May 1, 1842.—has this moment left me. He tells me that we must not consider Meer Nusseer Khan of Khelat our friend; that he has written a letter, which a man of—saw at Beila, addressed to the Jam of that place, urging him and the other chiefs of the Hills, Ahmed Khan, Noomria, and the Takkia chief included, and all the Scindees at Kurachee and adjacent provinces, to rise against us, should we be unsuccessful in Affghanistan; that Gordan, at Sonmeanee, is to be ordered to quit his post. If he refuses he is to be forced, and if he shows any hostile intention he must be answerable, or, in other words, killed. That this will be the signal for the Scindees of Kurachee to loot and attack the camp, and in that direction insurrection will be general.Was it supposed that the old chiefs Mahomed Ali and Noor Mahomed would come and tell our people what they were about to do? Our agents were obliged to get information as they best could, by making use of their own eyes. There was another letter from Sir G. Arthur, who was as well qualified as any man to see what was going on in the country at this time; and from that letter it was also quite clear that there was a conspiracy going on against our dominnion. It was for Lord Ellenborough to determine this most important question:—When we had been defeated, as the Indian people thought, in Affghanistan—should 385 we withdraw not only from Affghanistan, but also from the Indus, and should we make as heretofore the great Desert of India and the Sutlej our frontier? Now, Lord Ellenborough had carefully to consider that question, with all the great responsibilities of his office pressing on his mind, and having, he (Mr. Roebuck) thought, nothing else than the interest of his country at heart, for he could not conceive what other interest he could have [Lord Palmerston:"Hear."] The noble Lord might know more than he did upon that point; he was only explaining his own views of the matter. The noble Lord had a more intimate knowledge of the subject, and had, perhaps, grounds for coming to a different conclusion; but he only judged from the ordinary conduct of men. Lord Ellenborough, seeing that we were refluent from Afighanistan, asked himself this question, "Shall we now withdraw from the Indus, and forego all the advantages of its occupation?" The right hon. Gentleman near him (Sir J. C. Hobhouse, as we understood) and the noble Lord the Member for Tiverton looked upon the Indus as the great artery of our new commerce, and was Lord Ellenborough at that moment to have given up that advantage after all the blood, and all the treasures that had been spent for its attainment, and after the fatal effects in the eastern world of our defeat at Cabul? Was he then to desert the Indus, and to withdraw within those limits which prudence should have forbidden us to pass, but which the right hon. Gentleman (Sir J. C. Hobhouse), for the unhappiness of that country and of this, had allowed the late Governor-general to transgress? Well then, Lord Ellenborough determined on keeping possession of Scinde—that was to say, had determined on maintaining our onward position—had determined on retaining Sukkur, on retaining Kurrachee—Kurrachee which had been seized by Lord Auckland by one of the most extraordinary proceedings—he should advert to that immediately—by one of the most extraordinary proceedings that distinguished the whole case. When the Ameers under actual compulsion from Sir John Keane's army had signed the treaty, the ink was scarcely dry when the Wellesley made her appearance in the harbour of Kurrachee. A gun was fired, not at her, but in honour of her, as had been afterwards proved; the Wellesley immediately brought 386 her broadside to bear, and took possession of Kurrachee, which the Governor-general determined to hold as a conquest by British arms. That statement would not, he supposed, be denied. Colonel Pottinger himself, on finding that Lord Auckland had determined on retaining Kurrachee, had said,I cannot answer the arguments made to me by those people, when they tell me what gave rise to the attack; and I must leave it to your Lordship to decide whether you will retain the conquest.Colonel Pottinger had not said, "this Conquest so unjustly obtained," although he evidently thought it. It had been retained for two years. Then we were in possession of Kurrachee, of Sukkur, and of Shikarpore. The question to be determined was, whether or not we were to give up those possessions which Lord Auckland had taken, which Lord Auckland had declared he would retain, and which there appeared to be no intention of ever giving up. Kurrachee had been taken decidedly by force of arms. Under these circumstances, what was Lord Ellenborough to do? He decided, as a matter of policy, that we ought to retain the possessions which we had acquired on the Indus. And, after he had come to that conclusion, then came the question—not the question narrowed down too much by the noble Lord, although he was willing to admit the great injustice that had been done to those unfortunate people—but then came the question whether, under the circumstances, Lord Ellenborough could, in policy, or in prudence towards our Indian empire, have withdrawn from the Indus. It struck him (Mr. Roebuck) that the conduct of Lord Ellenborough on that subject was in conformity with our whole conduct in India. There was not a particle of our Indian empire that had not been obtained by—he was going to say dishonesty—there was not a particle of that empire that had not been obtained by aggression. From the first day to the present hour, it was an aggression from beginning to end; and the difficulty was, to know where that aggression was to terminate, and how they were to hold together that somewhat brittle but great and glittering machine. It was a fabric, he knew, which attracted the world's attention, and perhaps the world's envy; but assuredly the time would come when we should find our 387 Indian empire a dangerous acquisition, and when we should find that the outrages which we had committed would be righted by that justice which ever followed such acts. But he could not get over the difficulty of the question which they were then discussing; he wanted to know whether under the circumstances it would have been politic on the part of Lord Ellenborough to have given up Scinde after he had been driven from Affghanistan? Were we to declare that we had been beaten in Scinde also? He knew that we ought never to have gone beyond the Sutlej, and therefore he charged with want of wisdom the noble Lord, the late Governor-general of India, for having gone beyond that frontier. He charged him with having thus done an injury to British interests. But afterwards, he said, that that entailed a fatal necessity upon his successor from which he could not escape, and it did not then become the Members of the late Administration to turn round and say, "You are unjust in doing that which we ourselves actually did; you are impolitic in doing that which we ourselves did; and you are in every way worthy of blame, because you consummated the evil deed that we had commenced." It was, he repeated, a fatal necessity, a direful evil, one only to be in any way whatever borne out by showing the vast, dangerous necessity, under which the Governor-general was placed when he arrived in India. And now came the consideration, whether the determination to remain in Scinde was not beyond the noble Lord's control. In the first place, it should be recollected, that Major Outram suggested to the Governor-general that he had discovered circumstances connected with the two Khans, and the Ameers generally, which, to use his words, would justify him in punishing them; and he proposed a new treaty to be again negotiated with the Ameers of Scinde. On the 21st of June 1842, Major Outram wrote—In continuation of my despatch of yesterday's date, I beg leave to submit for the consideration of the Governor-general, the grounds which I would suggest for renewing negotiations with the chiefs of Scinde, and the terms I would propose to remedy the errors of our present position in that country, and to insure security and advantage for the future. 2. I respectfully premise, that I think it would be necessary to show, as a ground for requiring new arrangements, that we have of late been exposed to the inimical intrigues of some of 388 the Ameers; that, therefore, we are called upon to demand such arrangements as will insure security for the future to our power and to our commerce, which, as at present situated, is liable to be interrupted. 3. The evidence which I have already submitted to Government, even if deficient of legal proof, gives, I consider, sufficient data for suspecting that intrigues were in progress to overthrow our power, and to authorise, consequently, our now taking the precautions necessary for self-preservation; and it cannot be denied that, as at present situated in Scinde, our military positions are insecure, and our communications liable to be cut off. 4. These considerations would, I should suppose, justify the dictation of our terms to the Ameers, although generously at the time relinquishing for ever, as an equivalent for what we justly assumed the right to demand, all pecuniary claims we possess on them, and even making up to such chiefs as we have no claims against what we estimate they may sacrifice pecuniarily by this arrangement. 5. If I am allowed to communicate with the Ameers on the above grounds, I anticipate little difficulty in satisfactorily concluding the arrangements desired by his Lordship, before the army returning from Affghanistan passes through Scinde; otherwise it may be impracticable to induce the Ameers to concede what is required on the mere ground of mutual advantage, for scarcely any return would induce them to wave their prejudices against making over Kurachee, and allowing any infringement on their Shikargahs.Now, first, there had been a constant breach of the commercial treaties by the Ameers; they had not paid the tribute they had undertaken to pay; they had not kept the treaty the stipulations of which they had undertaken to observe. The mode in which that treaty was forced upon them he did not defend; but the commercial treaties were not forced upon them—they had agreed to them without force; yet, notwithstanding, they continually committed breaches of them. What then took place? The noble Lord said, the treaty was framed and imposed on the Ameers of Khyrpore, by which a certain portion of their hereditary territory was taken from them. Did the noble Lord (Lord Ashley) know that Roostum Khan never had any hereditary dominions? They belonged to Bhawulpore. But the noble Lord made a point of referring to them as hereditary territories. [Lord Ashley: "No."] Now, with the exception of the cession of Bhawulpore, referred to by Lord Ellenborough, nothing more was proposed to the Ameers than what had been before proposed to them. On the 389 28th of June, 1842, Major Outram transmitted to the Governor-general a sketch of the proposed treaty with the Ameers of Scinde, in which was this article:—The fortress of Bukkur and neighbouring small islets are ceded to the British Government in perpetuity.Again, another article said:—The British Government is allowed to cut and consume for steam navigation, wood growing within 100 baths (cubits) of the river bank, and to clear the bank of jungle for that space, due precautions being adopted to prevent trespass beyond that limit.They had heard much of the Ameers having been deprived of their hunting grounds. Yet here was a proposal by Major Outram to cut wood within 100 Baths of the river bank, due precautions being taken to prevent trespass; so that the very provisions afterwards proposed by Lord Ellenborough to the Ameers, and which Major Outram afterwards offered at Hyderabad , were precisely the same as those which he had previously recommended. The noble Lord said, that the great objection raised by the Ameers at Hyderabad was, that the papers had not been brought before them. The mere effect of those papers was a feather in the scale. He was not attacking the Ameers for their injustice. He did not mean to say that they had not a right to drive us out of Scinde if they could. His question was, what was the proper conduct of a person coming among them, and finding himself surrounded by those difficulties? He would here give a history which the noble Lord had not given. Roostum Khan, for whom the noble Lord demanded the pity of the House, was an unhappy man, eighty-five years of age, who was entirely under the control, if not at the command, of his minister. That minister Major Outram proposed to drive out of the country, making his deposition a part of the treaty. The succession in Scinde not being from father to son, but from brother to brother, it would not be the son of Roostum Khan who would succeed him, but his brother, Ali Morad. At the time that General Napier arrived in Scinde Roostum Khan was in the hands of his family and his minister, and at the same time, the Beloochees were assembling in arms, for the purpose of preventing everything that Lord Ellenborough had determined. There was from Lord Ellenborough a half command to 390 enforce die treaty by means of arms, should it be necessary. Twenty passages, one after another, could be pointed out, in which Lord Ellenborough said—I don't think you could carry out the Treaty without force; if force be necessary, use it for the purpose.And, really, giving, as he did, every consideration to the misfortunes of these people, he must say, that it appeared to him, the sooner the consummation of their bite took place the better. Was it not the inevitable fate of Scinde—the protected state, as Lord Auckland had made her—to be sooner or later absorbed in our Anglo-Indian empire? And if so, was it not better, that the event should take place at the time, and under the circumstances already pointed out by the Government of lndia? Her long agony was on—negoteation after negotiation had taken place—there were constant disputes, riots and confusion; and all things tended to that result which had since occurred, namely, that Scinde must become part and parcel of that enormous dominion, which we, the successful invaders, had created in India. And was it not clear on the face of the papers, that there was another part of the territory of India which, in spite of ourselves, would become ours? He knew it was said to be injustice to do this, but why did not we altogether get out of India? Was not the whole thing injustice from the beginning to the end? Why (continued the hon. and learned Gentleman) I am a prophet! I say you will possess the Punjaub in less than two years in spite of yourselves. [Laughter.] My hon. Friend may laugh; but remember I said two years ago, you would have Scinde, and Scinde you have! Now, mark my word. In two years we shall possess the Punjaub. And then, doubtless, we shall be told of the injustice. Unjust, undoubtedly, it will be, but then all our Indian dominion has been acquired unjustly and unwisely. But to return to the point from which he had diverged. Roostum Khan wrote to Sir Charles Napier, saying, he saw himself surrounded by his sons in arms, and praying him to conic to him. Sir Charles Napier replied, that he ought to go to Ali Morad. He did go, and there he surrendered in due form, the throne to Ali. Ali became friendly to England, and Sir Charles Napier expressed a wish to see Roostum. 391 The passage read by the noble Lord, where Sir Charles spoke of going so close on the traces of Roostum, referred to the time, when Sir Charles was so desirous of seeing him, in order to know if any violence had been used to compel him to descend from the durbar. Sir Charles saw Roostum, who proposed to come to him the next morning, instead of which he fled to Hyderabad. Ali was now the sovereign, and he attended Sir Charles to Hunmuntgur. Ali himself fired the guns on that fort. He gave Sir Charles full authority to destroy it; and it was destroyed. Here was the actual de facto sovereign attending the English army, giving authority to destroy the fortress, and then Sir C. Napier determined to advance on Hyderabad. It was a favourite argument on that (the Opposition) side of the House that this advance of Sir Charles caused the attack on the resident's house, and thereby brought on the war. In reply to this charge, he would read what Sir C. Napier, in his letter to the Governor-general, says:—Major Outran, being at Hyderabad, sent me two (or three my journal says, but I can find but two) despatches by express on the 12th, to assure me that the Ameers had not any armed men except their usual personal attendants, and that those were not more numerous than Indian Princes of their rank would move with in time of profound peace. At that moment, the army of the Ameers was assembled at Meanee, only six miles from Hyderabad, and were preparing their position. At the moment he was writing those despatches to me, his house was surrounded by 8000 Beloochees (who had eight pieces of cannon), preparing for their attack on him on the 15th of February. Major Outran wrote to ask me to go to Hyderabad alone to meet the Ameers. He proposed my sending my troops to Meerpoor. Had I allowed myself to be guided by Major Outram my own throat and his, and the throats of all of us, would probably have been cut, and the army left without a leader at Meerpore, forty miles from the river which formed the line of communication by steamers between Sukkur and Bombay, and when thus isolated would have been attacked by 60,000 men, pushed back into the desert, and there have miserably perished.At the time Sir Charles advanced on Hyderabad, his spies told him there were 35,000 men in arms on that side, while Major Outram told him there was not a single man in arms. Major Outram asked Sir Charles to stop for a certain time, and he did stop. He then asked him to send his army to Meerpoor, and come alone to 392 Hyderabad, saying that this would remove all difficulties. What was Sir Charles Napier's answer? Why he said, "Yes; and remove my head at the same time." He mentioned this in order that no blame might rest on that gallant officer. Fancy him obeying the political agent at that time. Fancy him destroying an English army, throwing them into the desert. What would you have said then? But he, more knowing than those knowing gentlemen who speak but cannot read Persian, more knowing in diplomacy than the diplomatists themselves, saw the real force before him, sounded the depths of the danger, and determined, by holding the force which he possessed, to command that respect which the other thought he might obtain without exacting it. If Sir Charles Napier had gone alone to Hyderabad, a scene of terror and dismay from Cape Comorin to the Himalayas would have been the absolute consequence. And this was the man who brought all his views to bear while the difficulties of his situation were pressing upon him—difficulties unknown to carpet knights while discussing at their ease and in perfect freedom the consequences of his proceedings—this was the man who, rising above his age, remembered the true part which we ought to act in such a scene and under such circumstances, who fought at a disadvantage of ten to one and gained the victory, and who, by listening to the very same political agent, was obliged to fight the second battle because he was arrested in his course by a paltry diplomacy. The battle of Hyderabad was in consequence of that resolution, and Arneer Mahomed was thus enabled to collect another army of 30,000 men with which to try the chances of another battle. If any accident had occurred to his old and gallant friend see what, under such circumstances as these, would have been the consequence to our boasted empire in India. He gave the noble Lord the fullest credit for his intentions, but he did ask his countrymen, and he did ask that House, to give to Sir C. Napier that great meed of praise which he so justly deserved, and weigh not scrupulously, but with generous feelings, the heavy responsibility of his situation. When Major Outram asked Sir C. Napier to allow him to go to Hyderabad, his answer was, not to go without a guard of soldiers. Major Outram believed he had personal interest at Hyderabad. What! with men 393 whom he had forced into subjugation? Did he suppose he could check 60,000 men in their career? Sir C. Napier's advice to the Agent was, to take troops with him in order to guard against treachery. An European company was taken; and had it not been, Major Outram would not have lived to give any one his advice and assistance. With regard to the contents of the foot-notes, he did not see how the noble Lord could with justice have made the reference to them he did in connection with Sir C. Napier.
§ Lord Ashley
said, he did not mean to charge Sir C. Napier with injustice. What he said was, that the production of those foot-notes by the Government, without a statement of the circumstances connected with them, was unjust to Major Outram.
§ Mr. Roebuck
said, he held in his hand a letter, which had been communicated to him for use, and which in the exercise of his discretion he felt justified in reading, which contained the substance of those foot-notes. It was a letter from Sir C. Napier, it ran thus—Hyderabad, July 22, 1843.My dear Outram.—Before I proceed to discuss other things, I shall begin by observing that in one of your letters, you twice remark, that you had only received a short note from me. Now, the only letters I have received from you, and not answered, are those of the 8th and 20th of March. The first, and yours describing your visit to Lady Napier, at Mahabulishwur, I only got a few days ago! so it is idle to refer to any letters but those actually received. I could not reply to yours of the 20th sooner. That of the 30th reached me as I was going out against Shere Mahomerl—that of the 8th I have had only a few days. If I had not a most sincere regard for you, I should have no anxiety at all. However, I will state all that has passed, and you must judge how far you are right or wrong. I am placed in a situation where, in my own defence, I must state all that passed between the 8th and 12th of February. I am attacked both in the public papers and in private letters. I am accused of forcing on the war because I did not allow myself to be advised by you to halt, I am said to have attacked the Ameers after they had signed the treaty; and about four days ago I had a letter from Lord Ellenborough, saving he had received from the Select Committee, notes of conversations between you, as Commissioner, and the Ameers, and asking if I ever heard of them; expressing his surprise at now hearing of them for the first time. At the same time, private letters have said, that I am supposed to have intercepted reports made by 394 you, which ought to have gone to the Governor-general. How these notes got into the hands of the Secret Committee, I do not know, nor do I care die least; but the results are; First, that Lord Ellenborough evidently attaches importance to them; and as I never sent them to him, I appear, until he gets my explanation, as if I had concealed what passed from his Lordship for the purpose of forcing the Ameers to battle. Second, Sir G. Arthur also attaches importance to them, in consequence of his conversation with you, and from their own contents, for he sent them to Lord Fitzgerald. Third, the Secret Committee attaches importance to them, because they have not only sent them to Lord Ellenborough, but caused them to be printed. My position has therefore this appearance—that I intercepted most important papers, which, had they reached Lord Ellenborough, might have prevented the war; or even if I had been induced by your advice to halt, and to act differently from the way in which I did act, the war would not have broken out; and worse, if worse could be, that I so betrayed Lord Ellenborough, who had placed unbounded confidence in me, and given me the utmost possible support in every way. This was the position, I say, in which the letters from Lord Ellenborough and Sir G. Arthur, must have placed me in my own and their opinions, and this is the position in which the printing of these notes, if they become public, must place me in the opinion of the world. Now, it is clear, that if such was the state of the case, I might perhaps he allowed to lay claim to courage and to some degree of military skill, because success will give a man so much credit; but assuredly I could never pretend to honour, to humanity, or to be trusted with the slightest diplomatic transaction; in short, I should be deservedly execrated as a resolute scoundrel who had sacrificed everything to military glory, and turned a deaf ear to the supplicating cry of injured and betrayed princes. This would be my position in face of the public, supposing that there be a word of truth in the whole story. That there is not it was necessary to show to Lord Ellenborough and my friends. I therefore directly answered Lord Ellenborough thus:—First, that I had only received two of the conversations, and I believe the third had been intercepted. Second, I sent him the copies of those notes prepared on purpose to transmit to his Lordship, with the probable reasons why they were not so sent. Third, I forwarded to his Lordship your demi-official letters between the 8th and 13th of February (first examining them to see they contained nothing private). Fourth, I told him my reasons for not halting were, that L knew the assertions contained in those conversations to be false, as respected anything I had done, especially Roostrum's assertion that I had made him give himself up to Ali Mourad; and that I thought, when you showed that assertion to Sir G. Arthur, you 395 should also have showed him my contradiction of it. (Perhaps you did?)Fifth,—That your wanting me to halt, and twice in one day and once in another, telling me the Ameers had dispersed their forces, when I knew they had not, convinced me you were deceived by the Ameers; that your wanting me to go to Hyderabad without my army added another proof to the conviction that they had deceived you; finally, that your proposing to me to march the troops to Meerpore completed the proofs. Sixth,—That important letters I found on the Murree chief, Hyat Khan, coupled with my secret intelligence, and a comparison with the Ameers' anxiety that I should halt, proved to me past all hesitation or doubt that they were only trying to gain a day or two that they might bring 50,000 men to Meanee instead of the 25,000 which they had there; and now our subsequent knowledge of events makes that a matter of history. Therefore had I halted I should have lost the army unless saved by a miracle; and if the forces had got to Meerpore and lost the line of communication with the Indus, it would have been equally destroyed. Now you, a major without much experience of war, may well be excused for such errors; but I, as an experienced general officer, could have no excuse, and should be very justly condemned. For these reasons I stand acquitted for not attending to your advice. Finally, I have told his Lordship my reason for being silent, and not keeping him informed upon these matters with that exactness which I did on all others. That reason was, that I thought it would injure you in his Lordship's opinion, and this I was anxious to avoid. Afterwards I gave that up, because it was evidently out of the question; so that when, not long ago, he wrote to tell me he beard you were going to apply for employment again in Scinde, I told him I was sure you were not going to apply, because our ideas of the politics of Scinde were so adverse that our working together was impossible. Now, my dear Outram, whether it has been you or your friends who have pushed thus matter ahead I know not; but it has been done, and I necessarily have defended, and will defend my conduct. 'It has been done,' as Lord Fitzroy Somerset very justly says in a letter to me, speaking of the attacks of the press, It has been done to attack Lord Ellenborough through you.' All this has passed within a few days, except the attacks upon me in the papers (especially the Bombay Times). They have long been at work, but I did not condescend to defend myself against them; nor, indeed, had I time. Having now told you all that has passed, I shall refer to your letter, dated March 20. You are angry that Lord Ellenborough did not thank you for your exertions during the short time you were commissioner; and you say you are sure I reported to him all your exertions. My answer is, that I did no such thing. I studiously avoided mentioning your name to Lord Ellen- 396 borough, as I was well aware, that my appointing you commissioner was contrary to Ins opinion; from 'all you had told me I judged this. You were not his selection; and I have heard that he was surprised to learn that the papers, without contradiction, held you up as having powers in Scinde. If any one had to thank you it was me, I did so in my despatch. As to your political exertions they failed. My advance is said to be the cause of that failure; to thank you for them would have been to condemn myself. Now I entirely differed with you, except in your wish to prevent blood being shed; but even there we differed in our motive. I did it from humanity alone, thinking the war policy of Lord Ellenborough perfectly just. You wished to keep the peace, because you thought the policy unjust; and, as you said to me, every drop of blood shed you thought was murder.' Of course, in despite of such feelings, you exerted yourself, as you were bound to do, after accepting the office; but I confess I see nothing in that which particularly calls for public thanks. Suppose the Ameers had made peace, and no battle had taken place, should I have thanked you, or expected Lord Ellenborough to thank me? Certainly not. I should have expected no such thing. My view of thanks is, that they are only to be given for great success in battle, or for long series of brilliant civil service. I confess I cannot see how it casts the slightest reflection upon you, but I think your wishing to moot the question is injudicious. I did all I could to avoid the question being brought forward; but it has now been done, and we must both abide the public judgment; for, assuredly, I never will allow it to be ever hinted at, without a fiat contradiction, that I have led Lord Ellenborough into error; that I deceived him; that I was unequal to the high position in which Her Majesty placed me as a general officer. Even the affection of a brother should by me be swept away in a question involving my honour and military character. If you were wrong, it was an error of judgment; if I was wrong, it was either a criminal sacrifice to a thirst of military glory, or a total ignorance of my profession. This brings me to another matter. The violence of a party against Lord Ellenborough at Bombay, leads it, I hear, to say I made my promised account of your defence of the residency, and that Lord Ellenborough barked it.' This is false. I did mean to make it; and I do mean to make it; but I never said when, nor can I now say I have not time to devote at least ten days to make a good dissertation on the defence of outposts, giving that of the residency as an example in all its details. You know the heat here, and that the operations I have carried on military and civil, since the capture of Hyderabad preclude all work which is not absolutely necessary. Nevertheless, I do mean to write an essay on the defence of the residency when I can. I can assure you that this busiof defending my conduct has given me more 397 pain and annoyance than anything that has happened to me in Scinde.Believe me to be, &c.(Signed) "C. J. NAPIER.P.S.—I beg you not to mistake me. I neither do nor have a right to object to your defending both the cause of the Ameers and your own exertions; nor ant I at all worried at any one else defending them. I only mean to say I must defend myself; and if the public takes a different view—if it pronounces that you were deceived—it has not been my doing, but that of those who have placed me on my defence.At the time these papers were written, Shere Mahorned had been negotiating with the Ameers, and it was the gathering together of their army that within a few days had forced Sir Charles Napier to Hyderabad; but into the palaces of the Ameers he had never entered. While there he was obliged to live in a tent, whilst all around were places cooled by artificial means, tempting, and unoccupied. It had appeared to the gallant General unworthy to intrude into the palaces of the fallen princes, or interrupt their privacy. This was conduct which would be regarded as characteristic, by those who knew the combination of daring, bravery, and of kindness almost feminine which distinguished that, gallant Officer—in whom was united the courage of a lion and the gentleness—the heart—of a child. I have reason (added the learned Gentleman in a tone of emotion) to say this, and I say it emphatically and with feeling. Let it be known, further, that the ladies of these princes had refused to accompany them into their captivity because of the horrid cruelty with which they had been treated by those tyrants, who, lustful as well as cruel, had torn those unhappy women from the arms of their parents; and, when at liberty, had they chosen to accompany their oppressors? They exclaimed against it; and Sir Charles Napier now has in his possession the instrument of cruel torture used by these barbarous tormentors—a whip made with brass wires—upon their defenceless victims. [Sensation.] "Yes! it is a fact! I cannot show it to the noble Lord (Lord Ashley), but the fact is so!" I now come to the third point. A great deal had been heard on this subject upon the score of "humanity." Of course, the cruelty of the Ameers would not justify injury towards them. But he did say, that if it should appear that the Ameers were the most horrible tyrants that ever 398 digraced perhaps any age or clime, it would assuredly be some alleviation to the evil effected by our invasion, that it had not affected the people whom we had rather rescued than injured. The people of Scinde were composed of three races, differing materially one from another. A large body of the Scindians were converts from Hindooism to the faith of Mahomet; another portion still adhered to Hindooism; and the third part consisted of the Beloochees, who were the governors of the country. He would give a few extracts from letters describing the state of things in that country. The Beloochees were robbers, were always armed and would never work, but forced the Hindoos, who were their slaves, to work for them. One of the letters to which he referred, said—We have had continued rain for many days, not known for fifteen years before. The feeling that this has produced is very extraordinary. They say when the Ameers murdered the Kulloras, for that is the term the Seindians apply to the Beloochee conquest, that no rain fell for six years, and there was nothing but famine and misery in the land to show God's displeasure. This has been the universal belief even among the Beloochees. The present extraordinary fall has, therefore, produced the idea, in every part of Scinde, that God has sent it to mark his approbation of our conquest, and that the Ameers are overthrown. We are now looked upon as a favoured people, and this, joined to our rigid discipline, and the giving them all their possessions back, and reducing taxes is, I firmly believe, (and indeed the general opinion appears to be so) giving us a firm hold upon the affections of the people, Beloochees, Mahometans, and Hindoos alike, which, in four mouths after a desperate battle with the first of these people, is as much as the bounds of possibility admit of. Besides, in this land, where five mouths ago every Beloochee went strutting about armed with sword and shield, no man now carries a weapon but a chief. To the chiefs I gave their swords back, to avoid wounding their honour.This was the officer who had been called "harsh" and "cruel!" Let it be observed now, that these swords were by conquest in the general's possession; that they would have been articles of great value in any gentleman's possession, particularly in his own; that their value was what money could not represent. In another part of the letter it was stated,I am now going, if Lord Ellenborough agrees, to make all these jaghires their own property, to give up the right to turn them out, and 399 to exchange the power to demand military service for that of assisting to open water-courses or nullahs as far as they run through their lands. If I hold the government right to military service I should continue their right to maintain armed retainers, and I have forbidden the carrying of arms,—not by proclamation, because that I feared would excite apprehension, but practically. I seize every man who is seen with weapons, disarm him, and give his arms to the soldiers as plunder, and the wearer is then liberated. When once they see I want to secure their jaghires as personal estates they will be delighted, for the Ameers kept the right to turn them out. It happened constantly, a favourite placed his eye on a jaghire, and if the jaghidar was not a greater favourite, out he was trundled, neck and crop, unless he could raise a large force to resist, which was not seldom. But there is work for the life of an antediluvian in this country. All I can do in my short time is to stop murder, form a strong police, and fortify a few important posts. If I can mark out a few roads, especially into the Delta, which will be our 'La Vendee,' if we have disturbances, I shall be lucky, and I also think I may secure this great point I have at heart, that of turning the military chiefs into small farmers; or, in plain terms the robber and his band into farmers, all being small proprietors. Now, he, the Beloochee, holds his jaghire, his sword, his matchlock, and his shield. He does no work, all his smaller jaghidars and dependents have their arms; none work; each has his Scindian slaves, or Hindoo slaves, and he-labourers, receiving about two-pennyworth of grain in kind for a day's labour. Both toasters and slaves are noble looking, fine men. I never see a pretty Scindee woman. Perhaps the richer ones are so. The poor are perfect monsters. It is really disgusting to look at them, but this I suspect arises from the state of abject slavery to which their Beloochee masters have reduced them in fifty years, for I see some fine features, but with the look of despair in every line of their face. Mind these are Scindian women—the Beloochee women are never seen. This is a wonderful land, unlocked to civilisation—unknown to the world—and teeming with resources by nature rich. The more I see, the more I rejoice, at whatever hand I have had in the overthrow of these villains of Ameers. I think when we establish barracks and good houses this climate will be fine and healthy, but at present we have not proper protection; as to carpenters, smiths, &c., there are none. The Ameers drove them away; if one was employed, the Ameers took half of his wages, and from the other half he had to make a present to the tax-gatherer, who took the half. So they left the land. No man but a Hindoo could earn his bread, and they are regular Jews. When any one was too rich to conceal it, the Ameers gave gentle persuasions and lightened him of it according to the value he 400 put upon his eyes, nose, ears, and other matters, which he was obliged to bid for with his own money! My new police will be chiefly Scinde, both horse and foot; only slavery has, I fear, made them cowardly, but by mixing them we shall get things right, but not in my time. The progress of improvement in activity is slow everywhere, but in this exhausting climate almost hopeless; a man who can live on a handful of grain, and will not work a stroke while he can live without it, is a hard fellow to deal with. An increased population will increase the price of food and give a stimulus to exertion, for it is in them, and, as far as the Scindians were concerned, the Ameers took it out of them also. The Beloochee struts with a shield and sword; the Scindian sleeps till kicked out of his dreams; the Hindoo goes about all eyes, and fingers as supple as his conscience, robbing everybody.Such was the account of a man who was on the spot and saw things with his own eye. What, too, said Colonel Pottinger? He said,—They (the Scindians) are avaricious, full of deceit, cruel, ungrateful, strangers to veracity; but, in extenuation of their vices, it is to be recollected that the present generation has grown up under a government whose extortion, ignorance, and tyranny, is possibly unequalled in the world. Among the people of the countries bordering on Scinde the term Scindian dog' is synonymous with a treacherous liar.' This feeling has gained ground greatly of late years, from the abhorrence with which the government of that country is regarded. They are execrated by the peaceable classes of the community for their imperious conduct; they, on the other hand, hate the princes by whom they are governed. It would be difficult to conceive a more unpopular rule, with all classes of their subjects, than that of the Ameers of Scinde; nor is the feeling disguised; many a fervent hope did we hear expressed in every part of the country, that we were the forerunners of conquest, the advance guard of a conquering army. The persons of the Ameers are secure from danger by the number of slaves they entertain around their persons.Would it be just, after all this had happened to Scinde, to call back the Talpoor dynasty? Speaking of the possible fate of the Talpoors, Burnes says,—They might prevent for a while conspiracy or rebellion, but the misfortunes of the house of Talpoor would excite compassion nowhere, for their government is unpopular with their subjects, and dreaded, if not hated, by the neighbouring nations."—vol.—p. 216.He agreed with the noble Lord in wishing every alleviation to be afforded to these unfortunate individuals, and this he felt confident would be done. But when 401 the noble Lord appealed to "that of which (said the learned Gentleman) I know something—the conduct of the British Government to the children of Tippoo Saib—let it he stated, that they were long imprisoned, though certainly with courtesy which civilisation dictates towards imprisoned princes; these children of a sovereign slain in battle were kept in confinement and deprived of their dominions. And what a different position is ours now? Such has been the rapid course of conquest! The same Government that subjugated Tippoo Saib has subjugated the Ameers of Scinde; and the same civilisation that induced Lord Cornwallis to deal kindly with the children of the slain Sultan has governed the conduct of Lord Ellenborough towards the deposed princes. Nor can I believe, that an English ruler, however wrong may have been his judgment, however erroneous his principles, could ever work foul wrong and cruelty to unhappy defeated rulers. I will not believe he would act with any inhumanity, or at all beyond what was absolutely necessary to prevent their return. I firmly believe, that he has shown every consideration for their distressed situation. Sir, I believe I have now travelled over the various topics to which I intended to advert. It strikes me, that in the origin of this war there was very great injustice and great want of discernment; that unnecessary negotiations were carried on under Lord Auckland with unnecessary harshness; that injustice and cruelty resulted; but that the position of Lord Ellenborough was totally different; that he had great difficulties pressing upon him; that his policy proved, through the original errors committed, fatally and necessarily injurious; and that evil was thus entailed upon him by his predecessor. But we find that, after all this blood had been shed—after all the mischief had been done—to allow the country to return to its original condition would be deserting the people on whom we have so thrust ourselves; that humanity and justice command us to hold our dominion over those who have every reason to rejoice in their liberation from the tyranny of the deposed dynasty; we cannot think but that our sway is mercifully substituted for that of those barbarians (I use not the term offensively, but merely as descriptive of their rude character as rulers) whose dominion no doubt it was unjust originally to dis- 402 turb. One word upon the form of my resolution. This is too large a question, and far too important to be discussed without the expression of an opinion upon it on the part of this House, and my resolutions are framed with a view of affording an opportunity of fully expressing that opinion. If the proposition of the noble Lord be negatived, these resolutions can be put seriatim: and the House will be enabled to decide on each step of these unhappy events—first whether Lord Auckland was wrong; secondly whether Lord Ellenborough was right; thirdly, whether it would be wise and just to reinstate those unhappy princes whom by force of arms we have now deposed." The hon. and learned Member concluded by moving his amendment as follows:—That the conduct pursued by Lord Auckland as Governor-general of India, in his negotiations with the Ameers of Scinde, was unjust to those rulers, and impolitic with respect to British dominion in India.2. That the policy adopted by Lord Ellenborough towards those same rulers, was the unfortunate but necessary result of the unwise and unjust proceedings of his predecessor, a deplorable consequence to be justified only by the dangers which then threatened the very existence of our Indian Empire.3. That while the restoration of the Ameers to their former dominions would be dangerous to British interests, as well as calamitous to the inhabitants of Scinde, and therefore impossible, humanity requires that these unfortunate princes should receive every consideration and comfort which is compatible with the peace and security of their former possessions, now forming a most important frontier of our eastern dominions.
§ Mr. E. Tennent
then rose. He commenced by alluding to a speech of the right hon. Member for Edinburgh in that House some ten years ago, in which he mentioned not less truly than happily, that such was the proverbial apathy in this House to eastern affairs that a riot in Coldbath-fields was more likely to enlist its attention than the news of a battle and a victory in India; and although the attention manifested by the House that evening proved that in a remarkable degree, that cause of just complaint had been removed, and although the events and the policy of our Indian empire had in late years engrossed a more than ordinary portion of public attention, yet he felt that the House was still but an inadequate tribunal to which collectively to appeal upon a question such as this; a question, in this instance, from the nature of 403 the subject, which was so interwoven with minute and contradictory details, and comprehending events spread over so very large a portion of time, that to form an impartial judgment upon it, uninfluenced by the appeal to their commiseration which had been made by the noble Lord who opened this debate, it would require not merely a careful perusal, but a careful collation of the papers upon the Table, and a perfect comprehension not merely of the condition of Scinde, but of the political position of India at the period when these events were in progress. He could hardly persuade himself that the majority of those whom he addressed had so qualified themselves for the decision which they were called upon to pronounce; and the more especially when it was borne in mind that the papers upon the subject had not yet been even one week in the hands of the Members of that House. With one portion, however, of these voluminous details which had been brought before the House that evening it was not his function nor his intention to interfere. He did not agree with the hon. and learned Member for Bath, that the question was necessarily connected with any considerations arising out of the early policy of Lord Auckland towards Affghanistan or towards Scinde; the justification of the present Governor-general of India was not contingent either upon the inculpation or the acquittal of Lord Auckland. Other Members of that House might be disposed to undertake either the one or the other; but on that subject he abstained from offering any opinion. The case as it concerned the administration of Lord Ellenborough and his policy towards the Ameers was confined to those events alone which had been in progress since the ratification of the treaty of 1839, and since that noble Lord undertook the government of India. For those alone he was responsible; and regarding as he did the policy of Lord Auckland towards the Ameers of Scinde as complete, and concluded by the ratification of the treaty of 1839, he held, that their subsequent deposition must be justified or condemned by their subsequent acts, and by that line of proceeding which Lord Ellenborough, under the provisions of that treaty, felt called upon to adopt on assuming the protection of Scinde. The noble Lord had assured the House that it was mainly the letter, or rather the assumed letter, which he had quoted from Sir H. Pottinger, which had impelled him to bring forward the motion: but he entirely concurred with 404 the hon. and learned Member for Bath in the belief that that letter was not, and could not be, genuine. He could not persuade himself that that letter was in reality the production of Sir H. Pottinger, or that an officer high in the confidence of Her Majesty's Government, and administering one department, could so far forget himself as to write such a document, condemning, in such marked terms, the administration of another. But, in addition to the external evidence, there was internal evidence in this letter itself to show that it was not, and could not be, genuine, so entirely was it at variance with the recently recorded opinions of its assumed writer. The noble Lord had said, and said truly, that there was no man living who so well understood the character of the Scindees and their rulers. In that opinion he most cordially concurred. Sir H. Pottinger seemed to him throughout the whole of the proceedings in Scinde, from 1833 to 1840, to have seen with the most keen penetration the inmost character of the Ameers, and to have been fully impressed with contempt for their vices and their weaknesses. He could discover no one sentence throughout this volume of papers in which Sir H. Pottinger spoke of them otherwise than as they merited; and he even forewarned them of the probable termination which had actually overtaken them in their despicable career. What was the character which Sir H. Pottinger gave of these very men whom this pretended letter now described by the endearing epithet of his "old friends?" In writing to Lord Auckland, as to the difficulty of his negotiations, in 1838, he says—I hope his Lordship will not suppose from the tenour of this letter that I am exaggerating the existing difficulties, or raising up imaginary ones. My best exertions, I need hardly say, will be devoted to carry the objects of the British Government amicably; and had I one or even two princes (however obtuse in intellect they might be) to convince, I might hope to succeed. Here I have, I may say, to deal with a whole nation, divided into parties, or split into deadly feuds, headed by uncivilized and barbarous chiefs, to many of whom nothing would be so agreeable and cheering as a state of anarchy and warfare.(The hon. Gentleman here referred to other passages in the letters written by Colonel Pottinger, for the purpose of showing that he had spoken of the Ameers in terms quite inconsistent with the supposition that he could at any period designate them as "his old friends.") Such 405 being Colonel Pottinger's personal opinion of the Ameers, justified as it was by evidence and proofs of their conduct, he could not believe in the genuineness of the letter to which the noble Lord had referred. The noble Lord and the hon. Member for Bath had each gone with great particularity into the events of our early intercourse with Scinde, and he would follow the noble Lord into that detail, but for a very different purpose, for the purpose of exhibiting that the same system of treachery and bad faith which had now led to the overthrow of the Ameers had been their habitual policy and demeanour towards this country from the earliest moment of our intercourse. Not only were the proofs of each recent act of treachery and hostility against us on the part of the Ameers clear and conclusive—not only did we possess unquestioned and convincing evidences of their guilt; but the facts themselves which had come to light—the individual conduct of the Ameers—their avowals of feeling, and their demonstrations in action, were in such entire consistence with all our past experience of these singular chieftains, and so accordant with the demeanour and policy which they had maintained towards us, from the very earliest period of our intercourse, that even were distinct evidence wanting as to their motives and designs, the bare inference of their guilt, did we rely on it alone, was so irresistible, that it would almost suffice to convict them in the absence of more demonstrative proof. Even before the British had entered into diplomatic communication with them, and whilst the servants of the East India Company visited the Indus only as merchants and traders to dispose of their goods, the English commercial agent, who had been induced to take up his residence at Tatta by their special invitation, was rudely driven off in 1800, without quarrel or complaint, by the father of one of the present Ameers, under a threat of personal violence if he delayed his departure beyond ten days. In 1809, when our Eastern possessions were threatened by the intrigues of France, and it became essential to secure, if not the active alliance, at least the friendly neutrality of the states upon our north-western frontier, the Indian Government found it necessary to enter into a treaty of amity with the Ameers. The negotiations for that purpose were characterised by the most offensive arrogance and positive insult on the part of the Ameers, which the policy of the moment rendered 406 it prudent for us to wink at; and the stipulations of the Treaty were afterwards so regardlessly infringed by the Ameers, that we were compelled in 1825 to assemble a force of 5,000 men upon our frontier, in order to awe them into an observance of their obligations. Our next relations with them were opened for the purpose of negotiating the commercial treaties of 1832 and 1834, providing for the opening of the Indus to our trade; and not only were the articles then agreed on obtained by Colonel Pottinger with the utmost difficulty, after combating the ignorance, the arrogance, and prejudices of the Ameers, but they were coupled with a condition prohibiting any Englishman from settling permanently in Scinde; and, although they agreed to permit a native officer of the Company to reside at the mouth of the Indus for the protection of the merchants, their jealous and vexatious interference so entirely thwarted and neutralized his exertions, that he was finally compelled to withdraw; and so arbitrary were their exactions, and so insecure the transit of the river, that merchants were deterred from its navigation, and the commercial treaties of 1832 and 1834, from which so much good was anticipated to India, were never productive of the slightest advantage. The same vulgar assumption, the same causeless suspicion and exclusion which, down to this period, characterized our purely commercial intercourse with the rulers of Scinde, was manifested in a still more intense degree in our subsequent political relations with the Ameers; and, in proportion as these became important and extensive, they led to a further development on their part of the most gratuitous falsehood and duplicity, of treachery and hatred, and all those vices which were inseparable from the darkest ignorance, bigotry, and barbarism; and he was prepared to show that the exercise of these propensities and the dishonest and dishonourable conduct of the Ameers themselves, were the sole and immediate causes of their overthrow; and that their expulsion and imprisonment were the natural consequences of their own crimes, and not the result of any preconceived policy or territorial ambition on the part of the Government of India. So far from ours being a premeditated aggression, our first political interference with the Ameers was at their own request, and for the purpose of protecting them from the aggressions of their powerful neighbour, Runjeet Singh, who in 1836 was proceeding to take possession of 407 their territories in Upper Scinde. Lord Auckland, conscious of the duty incumbent on his Government to watch over the political condition of our frontier states, and especially of those which exercised so important a control over the navigation of the Indus, offered them the protection of the British Government they receiving and supporting a British force within their territories; or, should this be objectionable, that they should at least consent to receive a British agent, to be resident at their capital, and conduct the communication with the Governor-general. The latter offer they acceded to. The negotiation was eminently successful. Runjeet Sing at once admitted our interference, and the Ameers entertained our proposition of a resident at their court, in acknowledgement of their obligation for our friendly intervention; but even here their bad faith manifested itself;—in the midst of their ostensible negotiations with us, and knowing that the Sikhs were acting under our direct influence in acceding to any accommodation, the Ameers attempted to open a secret negotiation direct with them, in the hope of obtaining the same terms from them direct, and thus evading the condition they had virtually agreed to accept, of having a British representative at Hyderabad. The plot was, however, discovered. Colonel Pottinger frankly taxed them with their duplicity, and intimated its consequences in the withdrawal of our friendship on any future emergency; and the consequence was, that our interposition was openly acknowledged, an arrangement effected with the Sikhs, and a new treaty formed with the Ameers, in pursuance of which Colonel Pottinger was accepted as the first British resident at Hyderabad. Such, then, were the chiefs with whom Lord Auckland concluded the Treaty of 1839, and in considering the policy of Lord Ellenborough under that Treaty towards the Ameers, there were two leading considerations to be borne in mind—the nature of the existing Treaty as it affected the Scindees, and their own acts in reference to its observance and to their obligations towards the British Government. As to the Treaty itself, whatever might have been the circumstances which led to its adoption, whatever the conduct of Lord Auckland towards the Ameers, there was both internal and external evidence to show that it was neither oppressive in its stipulations, nor calculated to be unpopular in its adoption. Lord Auckland, in communicating the revised and ratified draft of it to Colonel 408 Pottinger in 1839, described it as an engagement, the—Provisions of which are so complete, and confer for the first time such signal advantages upon the Ameers, that it should be regarded by them as a great charter, obtained from the goodwill of the paramount power in India, for the security of their independence and their possessions; which they will henceforth hold, on condition of their fidelity and adherence to their present engagements, by virtue of a deed granted them by the head of the British Government in India.That description of his own Treaty might naturally be regarded with suspicion, as coming from Lord Auckland himself; but it was a signal proof that it was so regarded by the Ameers themselves, from the fact that two years after its ratification, and when ample experience had been had of its operation, Shere Mahomed, of Myrpoor, an independent prince of Scinde, who had not been a party to the Treaty of 1839, and who was one of the most intense enemies of the English, solicited and agreed to pay us an annual tribute of 50,000 rupees, in consideration of his obtaining a similar Treaty with the Indian Government; an application which was complied with, and a Treaty ratified with him in June, 1840. As regarded the practical operation of the Treaty of 1839, they had the testimony of Sir C. Napier, in 1842, confirmed by the accompanying attestation of Major Outram, that although the hostility of the Ameers towards the British Government led them to aResolution to break the treaty in every way, there was a growing attachment amongst the people to British connexion," and "the treaties, if rigidly adhered to by the Ameers, would have rendered those princes more rich and powerful, and their subjects more happy, than they were:A connexion between two states, based on a foundation such as this, and regulated by provisions calculated to be popular and advantageous, could only have been rendered abortive by one of two causes—either by arbitrary aggressions upon the part of the protecting power or by malicious and wanton infraction by the other contracting party. But it was justice not less to Lord Auckland than to Lord Ellenborough to insist on attention to the fact, that throughout the whole of this voluminous correspondence there was not one allegation, one hint or insinuation, that in any one particular the stipulations of the treaty of 1839 had been exceeded, perverted, or set aside 409 by the Government of India—whilst a month had scarcely elapsed from its ratification before it was openly evaded and violently infringed by the Ameers, both individually and as a body. The justification, therefore, of Lord Ellenborough's policy towards the Ameers, and their visitation with war and dethronement, rested solely and entirely upon this, that it was the inevitable result of their own flagrant infractions of their engagements, and their treacherous, malignant, and treasonable machinations against the British Government—practices, not only calling for sound punishment for themselves, but which to have left unnoticed and unredressed, would have produced impressions of weakness and pusillanimity on the part of the British Government—impressions most pernicious and injurious in the eyes of the native princes and people of India, at a moment when our recent reverses had given rise to the most exaggerated ideas of our humiliation, and when as Lord Ellenborough justly observed, notwithstandingThe adoption of every measure which could have the effect of giving the appearance of triumph to the return of our armies from Cabul, it was still impossible to conceal that it was a retirement from an advanced position; and the first retirement ever rendered necessary to a British army.The noble Lord, in his statement, had relied mainly upon the evidence or the opinions of Major Outram. In all discussions upon the treatment of the Ameers, much confidence had been reposed, and it most naturally attached to the opinions and views of that officer, who, from his long residence and intimate knowledge of the character of the Ameers, might be supposed to possess access to the best sources of information as to their acts, and to have the best opportunity of judging of their conduct. Upon detached passages, however, of the correspondence of Major Outram two principal allegations had been founded, and formed the gravamen of the charge against the Governor-general of India. The one, that in the punishment which he had inflicted he had involved alike the innocent and the guilty in one promiscuous ruin, although there were the most marked lines of demarcation in their degrees of culpability; the other, that the punishment inflicted by Lord Ellenborough in the terms of his contemplated Treaty in 1842 were more than proportionate to the offence. Now, on both these points the evidence of Major Outram himself was conclusive proof to the contrary; and it afforded unequi- 410 vocal demonstration, not only that all the Ameers were more or less participators in the common guilt, but the punishment proposed was actually that which was, if not suggested, at least cordially concurred in and recommended by Major Outram himself. When he said that all the Ameers had been implicated, he omitted only the question of degree; for there was evidence to show that even Ali Morad and Meer Sobdar, of whom in the universal hostility which prevailed they were accustomed to speak of as friends of the British Government from the comparative veniality of their overt acts, were in reality but a shade (if even a shade) removed from our enemies; that they were all along cognizant of their intentions, and shared in their counsels, and that it was only on the eve of the explosion that Ali Morad, from motives of self-interest, detached himself from our enemies at Khyrpoor, whilst at the same crisis Meer Sobdar, from imbecility if not inclination, joined actively with our foes at Hyderabad. An erroneous inference had been drawn as to the guilt or innocence of all the parties, from the fact that Major Outram in general spoke only by name of the heads of the confederacy, Meer Roostum and Meer Nusseer Khan, who, from their age, their rank, and their influence, took the lead in the revolt—it might therefore be imagined that these alone were the criminal parties; and all others whom he abstained from naming were innocent. But such was not the fact; the entire families of both the branches were equally guilty though not equally prominent. Major Outram in no one instance made a single reservation, except in the cases of Sobdar and Ali Morad; and in numerous passages he stated his ability to bring incontrovertible proof of the criminality and treachery of all the Ameers. On the 8th of May, 1842, he wrote to Lord Ellenborough that heShould have it in his power shortly to expose the hostile intrigues of the Ameers to such an extent as may be deemed by his Lordship sufficient to authorize the dictation of his own terms to the chiefs of Scinde, and to call for such measures as he deems necessary to place British power on a secure footing in these countries.Here there was no reservation, even of Sobdar or Ali Morad; but to show that even these must have been included in his charges, he stated in a similar letter of the 23rd of May, 1842, his belief that there was sufficient proofTo connect Nusseer Khan and Meer Roos- 411 tum, whenever it might please his Lordship to take notice of their inimical proceedings;But this he recommended should be deferred for a little,Lest the Ameers should be at their wits' end, from fear; and that all of them, being conscious that they are already guilty, might be driven to commit themselves further.This advice he repeated in a subsequent letter, in which he stated that he hadReason to believe that almost every individual chief throughout these countries has been more or less concerned, directly or indirectly, in treasonable plottings, and all would consider themselves compromised.And the nature of their guilt he had himself expressed in the preamble to the draught of a new treaty, which he submitted to Lord Ellenborough as one which should be forced upon the Ameers as a punishment for their past offences, and a guarantee for their future conduct and our own security. The object and scope of this conspiracy, Major Outram proposed that they should certify under their own hand by signing the Treaty, to have been that theyHad entered into a treasonable correspondence with the enemies of the British Government, with a view to the expulsion of the British troops from Scinde and closing the river Indus against trade and commerce.After giving proof of this grave offence, after supplying the Governor-general with evidence of their having intercepted the commerce of the Indus, and fired into the boats of peaceful natives which traversed it—exacting toll upon the river contrary to the express exemption of the treaty of 1839—of insolence and violence to our public servants—refusing to supply us with wood for fuel to our steam-boats—prohibiting their subjects to sell us grain and other commodities at our military stations—withholding our stipulated tribute—interfering to prevent us from purchasing camels and carriage for our troops at a moment when the preservation of our army in Affghanistan was dependent upon it—and finally, intriguing and confederating with the malcontents of Beloochistan, Multen, and the Punjaub, and to levy war and expel us from the Indus,—after giving abundant proof of the acts of concealed treachery and open hostility, and avowing his belief that all the Ameers were more or less compromised by the conspiracy, Major Outram proceeded to suggest to the Governorgeneral the provisions of the supplemen- 412 tary treaty, which he would impose at once as a punishment for the past and a precaution for the future; and the provisions of the treaty afterwards proposed by Lord Ellenborough on the 4th of November, and tendered to the Ameers, were each and all either adopted from these suggestions of Major Outram himself, or most heartily approved of by him, on the suggestion of the Governor-general or of Sir Charles Napier. His own draught of the 21st of June proposed to enforce free-trade and exemption from all toll upon the Indus—a cession of certain military stations along the river in exchange for a remission of all annual tribute—and the right to cut wood for 100 cubits along the banks of the Indus; a concession which he considered to be indispensable, andThough unpalatable to the Ameers themselves, but not to their subjects, whose river traffic would be so greatly facilitated, besides being rendered safer, he submitted that their Highnesses' selfish feelings on this subject ought not to obstruct a measure of such great public benefit, and vitally necessary for the continuance of steam navigation on the Indus.The measures which Major Outram pressed upon the Governor-general of India were taken into consideration, and on the 4th of November he adopted a treaty, the stipulations of which were identical with those submitted to him by Major Outram; the included free-trade, the cession of certain territory, and the abolition of tolls upon the Indus, and, in addition, they included the territory of Talpore. The cession of that territory had been alluded to by the noble Lord as an instance of infringement upon the hereditary territory of the Ameer of Talpore; but whether those possessions were hereditary or not their cession, or rather their seizure from Meer Roostum Khan, was most strongly insisted on and recommended by Major Outram, who put forward, in terms more strong than those used by the Governor-general, the claim of Meer Ali Moorad Khan upon the gratitude of the English, and also his claim to the cession of the territory. What then were the facts of the case? There was first the guilt of the Ameers brought home to their doors so clearly that it was impossible to entertain a doubt upon the subject; and, secondly, every department of the Government concurred in imposing upon them measures for the security of the country—measures which both Major Outram and Sir C. Napier said were not dishonourable or harsh, but, on 413 the contrary, mild and most humane. He would call the attention of the House to the position of the question as it then stood. The crime of the Ameers was proved; they were before us; a mild and moderate punishment was imposed upon them. What was the result? With the external appearance of submission to the Treaty, they sullenly determined that they would levy war rather than observe its stipulations. The Treaty was signed, and without a recorded remonstrance as to its provisions; but instantly fresh ground was taken, and because the commissioner who negotiated it refused to pledge his Government to take a course upon another and a totally different question, which would have been in violation of the Treaty itself—namely, to depose Ali Moorad, in order to reinstate the Rais who had just abdicated in his favour, or to strip him of the royalties and temporalities which were attached to the dignity of the sovereign Prince—a ferocious rabble of 10,000 armed Beloochees attacked the residency of the British representative, aud thus precipitated a general engagement with the British troops—an action unsurpassed in brilliancy and valour by any in our military records, and which terminated in their entire and hopeless overthrow, and the surrender and captivity of their unprincipled chiefs: One word as to the transfer of the durbar to Ali Moorad. The noble Lord had laid much stress upon that, as if there was either merit or blame in that transaction; it was due to Major Outram, who was the first to suggest that step, with this sole variation—to state that instead of beingan instant transfer, it was to take place at the decease of Roostum Khan, who was already eighty-five years of age. The noble Lord also raised a question as to the actual guilt of Roostum himself in any particular, from the circumstance of some doubt having at one time existed as to the authenticity of his intercepted letter to the Maharajah Shere Singh. But that doubt was most thoroughly removed, and both Sir C. Napier and Lieutenant Brown have given ample assurances of the authenticity of the letter. Writing to Lord Ellenborough Sir C. Napier says,With regard to the letter of Ameer Roostum Khan of Khyrpore, to the Maharajah Shere Singh, there are doubts on Major Outram's mind whether Ameer Roostum Khan was privy to this letter or not. But of its having his seal, and being written by his confidential minister, Futteh Mahommed Ghoree, there is no doubt, Query.—Is the doctrine to be admitted, that if a prince gives his signet 414 and power blindly to his minister, such folly is to excuse him from the consequences? I think that your Lordship will hardly admit this. You will say that Ameer Roostum must be answerable for the acts of his confidential minister. However, without the original document, which is in the possession of Mr. Clerk, I can form no opinion.And again, writing from Sukkur, Nov. 23, 1842, he adds:—I have just received from Mr. Clerk, the original letters from Ameer Roostum Khan, of Khyrpore, to the Maharajah. Of their being authentic original letters Lieutenant Brown assures me that there cannot be the slightest doubt.As to the absurd conjectures which had been industriously circulated, that the conquest of Schick was the result of some preconcerted scheme of territorial aggrandizement, he would only refer them to the papers on the Table for its conclusive refutation. Lord Auckland disclaimed, and he (Mr. E. Tennent) felt assured honestly disclaimed, every intention of permanently subjugating that country; and he attested the sincerity of his profession by leaving the country in the hands of the Ameers. In like manner, the entire series of Lord Ellenborough's despatches attest the fact that he repudiated throughout the idea of annexing Seinde to the territories of England, and even in his last instructions for the prosecution of war, he enjoined every reasonable sacrifice for the maintenance of peace. It was the treachery, the hatred, the insult, and hostilities of the Ameers that forced upon us the necessity of their humiliation; as similar provocations have invariably led to similar results in India. Our career of conquest in Bengal owed its origin and its impulse to the atrocities of Surajah Dowlah and the horrors of the Black Hole of Calcutta. It was this that led to the overthrow of the supremacy of the Mogul conquerors of India, and substituted Bristish supremacy in its stead; and the subsequent struggles of their successors to wrest from us their lost dominions compelled us to reduce them to utter helplessness and insignificance, by depriving them successively of every spot of 'vantage ground from which they vainly essayed to assail us. A like necessity was entailed upon us at a later period by those formidable confederacies which bursting, like a revived conflagration, from the ruins of the Mogul throne, wrapped Western India in a flame, which we were compelled either to extinguish or be ourselves annihilated by it. Lord Wellesley, with genius to 415 comprehend the danger, and intrepidity to encounter it, undertook the task, and succeeded in substituting the stable and beneficent government of England for the turbulent despotism of the restless Maharattas. Similar causes were productive of similar results in the Deccan and in Southern India; the dangerous ambition and hostile cabals of France, and of those native princes and states whom she aroused to war in the vain expectation of expelling us from Hindostan, only served still further to extend our dominions, to establish us as rulers where we had been menaced as victims, and to mark the expanding boundary of our dominion by the march of our victorious armies. The Ameers of Scinde, ignorant or insensible to the warning held out by the fate of all who have conspired against us, have tempted the fate, as they have emulated the example, though at an ignoble distance, of Surajah and of Tippoo, of Scindia, and of Holcar. And the treacherous but "brave Beloochees," as they have been generously written by their recent conqueror, have been taught by their own temerity, that the same power which crushed the Maharattas, which humbled the Ghoorkas, and annihilated the Pindarees, is still undiminished and paramount in Hindostan. As to the motion of the noble Lord, which had immediate reference to the personal treatment of the Ameers as prisoners, he was not prepared to accede to it, because it was an uncalled for dictation to the Government of India, and a gratuitous supposition that it might be found wanting in those duties which humanity alone would dictate, uninfluenced by policy. From the first moment of the arrival of intelligence of these events in England, the uniform instructions of Her Majesty's Government to the local authorities in India had been so shaped as to impress upon them the duty of considering, whatever might have been the offences of these princes, that they had been visited by a great calamity, and that every arrangement for their custody should be conceived and carried out with that due respect, which was claimed alike by their rank and their misfortunes. As to the present allowance in lieu of income, it exceeded 24,000l. per annum; and of this the sum allotted to their ladies, instead of having but 500 rupees per month, as quoted by the noble Lord (from the inaccurate statement of Meer Sobdar), had been fixed at 5,400l. Nor was this all; for strict injunctions had been sent to the Governor-general that considerations of economy alone 416 should not be permitted to interfere in any matter affecting their comforts or enjoyment. As to their restoration to liberty, as suggested by the noble Lord, that, it was obvious, would be alike incompatible with the interests of Scinde and the tranquility of India. But it was the wish and intention of Her Majesty's Government that every freedom and indulgence should be granted to them short of permitting them to return to their former dangerous intrigues.
§ Sir John Hobhouse:
Before, Sir, I address myself to the arguments—or rather to the assertions of the hon. and learned Member for Bath, I must take the opportunity, in allusion to a remark cursorily made by the hon. and learned Gentleman, that he sees me now in my place, of apologising for not having been present last year when the debate took place on the subject of the expedition into Affghanistan. But, Sir, in making this apology, I think it due to myself to state, that having had, during the previous Session of Parliament, occasion to make a long—I fear too long a speech in defence of the Affghan expedition, when attempts were made by two hon. Members to impugn that expedition, or at least to ask for papers on which it might be condemned—attempts which received little encouragement from the House—I was justified in concluding, that I should not be called on early in the next Session of Parliament to weary the House with another defence of that enterprize. This must be my excuse—if not a valid, at least a sincere one, for my absence on that occasion; but I may add, that a man may be absent on the occasion of a notice given by the hon. and learned Gentleman, and yet at the same time not be liable to the imputation of wishing to shrink from the defence of a Friend and Colleague. Sir, I find that the hon. and learned Gentleman last Session gave notice, that he would bring the subject of Scinde before Parliament, and having repeated that notice, this Session, he complains in, I think, a somewhat angry manner, that the noble Lord opposite has poached on his manor, as if the hon. and learned Gentleman had a sort of freehold in respect of complaints relating to the conduct of the British in Scinde and elsewhere in India—as if it was a sort of offence for any intruder to tread the ground marched over with such grace and dignity by the hon. and learned Member for Bath. But the hon. and learned 417 Gentleman must excuse me for saying, that on his giving this notice, it was impossible for me, as it must have been for the noble Lord opposite, to guess that it would contain a long arraignment of Lord Auckland with reference to his invasion—no, not invasion, of Scinde—but his having marched the army across Scinde. What is the notice given by the hon. and learned Gentleman on the first day of the Session? It is this:—That this House, while it bestows the fullest meed of praise upon the skill of the General, and the valour of the Soldiers, by whom the Territory of Scinde has been added to our Empire, yet deems it a necessary, though painful duty, to visit with the sternest reprobation that grasping, treacherous, and meddling policy which forced upon our Army the necessity of such a conquest.Why, Sir, this by implication, to be sure, might be made to apply to the whole history of the East India Company. It might apply to the policy which put us in possession of Bahar and Orissa. I really had not the least conception when I read the notice, that the hon. and learned Gentleman intended to make a long, detailed,—I will not say, that it was not an able, for, bating some particulars, it was an able charge—against the late Governor-general. But, besides this, the hon. and learned Gentleman practised a little ingenious manœuvre, I will not call it a trick, for I dislike hard words, upon the noble Lord, and in effect said to him, "You shall not deprive me of my speech. If I have not the first, I will have the best part of the debate." And so the hon. and learned Gentleman came down with his resolutions—with respect to which I will say, with an experience in Parliament of nearly twenty-five years, that never was this House, after an interval of forty-eight hours for consideration, called upon to decide upon three such important facts as those which these resolutions contain. There are three great facts, to say nothing of thirty minor ones contained in these resolutions. The first is an imputation upon the justice and policy of Lord Auckland; the next is a direct assertion that whatever was done by Lord Ellenborough was a necessary consequence of that impolicy and injustice; and the next, that such is the condition of the Scindian people, that to restore the Ameers to their dominion would be—so and so—and therefore impossible. Now, the right hon. Baronet opposite (Sir Robert Peel) might have taught the hon. 418 and learned Gentleman that it was difficult to say what was impossible; and really when we consider that the hon. and learned Gentleman has had so long a time to consider and resolve upon the wording of his resolution, he might have accomplished it without using the term "impossible," seeing that so far from the fact in question being impossible, nothing could be more easy and practicable than to restore the Ameers, if it were right and proper that it should be done. After all the deliberations and ingenious artifices of the hon. and learned Gentleman, I will take leave to tell him, that he has contrived to lay on the Table of the House three proposals, which I will venture to say, in point of injustice—in point of unfairness—in point of' little foundation in fact—have never been equalled by any similar proposals ever submitted to Parliament. I maintain this, and, somehow or other, I think the House seems to be of the same opinion with myself. Why, there is nobody to back the hon. and learned Gentleman; and these solemn charges—these imputations upon the Governor-general of India—of injustice and impolicy—almost of monstrosity—such as could not of itself have ever entered into the hon. and learned Gentleman's imagination—all these charges, all these imputations, fall equally to the ground, and you, Sir, are saved the trouble—I should say disgust—of putting to the House proposals which have found no seconder within doors, and which, I am sure, would find as few supporters out of doors.
Sir, the hon. and learned Member for Bath does not understand his own case. Hardly a fact of his statement is well founded. I repeat it, hardly one. I except, indeed, the tribute the hon. and learned Gentleman has paid to the character of the gallant Napier; and I except, also, what he has said with reference to Lord Ellenborough—a subject I shall have an opportunity a little farther on of touching upon; but I do say that no single assertion—I mean, of course, of the principal, not the minor, assertions of the hon. and learned Gentleman, has any foundation in fact at all.
Sir, the hon. and learned Member began, as it was right he should do, at the beginning. Like a learned French author of whom. I have read, he told us he would begin at the beginning. The worst of it is, that the hon. and learned Member did not begin correctly. He said he would give the House an account of our early intercourse 419 with Scinde, and then he went on to refer to the treaties concluded with that country. The hon. Member first mentioned the treaty of 1809, which has also been alluded to by the hon. Gentleman the Secretary to the Board of Control. He said, that at the time of that treaty, the policy pursued by the Scindians was a voluntary sort of policy—that is to say, that the Scindians were not compelled to do anything they did not like. [Mr. Roebuck dissented.] Well, if I quote the hon. and learned Gentleman incorrectly, he can set me right. I understood him to say that our intercourse with Scinde might be divided into two sorts of intercourse—the one carried on voluntarily upon the part of the Scindians, the other, involuntary intercourse upon their part—that is to say, when we forced them to do what they might have objected to. Our early relations with Scinde, the hon. and learned Gentleman described as having been of the voluntary species. He might have begun much earlier, but I will begin, as he did with the period of 1809. In the treaty that was made in that year, what was its fourth article? Why this:—That the government of Scinde will not allow the establishment of the tribe of the French in Scinde.Is this voluntary? What right had we to impose upon the rulers of Scinde the obligation of not allowing the French to have any communication with them? The hon. and learned Gentleman afterwards quoted the fact, that we would not allow the Scindian princes to send a friendly letter to the Shah of Persia—as a proof that we were depriving them of their independence. Now this was not a friendly letter. It was, indeed, friendly in one sense. It was friendly to Persia, but it was not friendly to us. But in 1809, the Indian Government, by treaty, stipulated that no Frenchman should reside in Scinde. Where was the abstract justice of this? Why it was a stronger imposing upon a weaker power a condition which no country would voluntarily adopt, and which showed the predominant power of one controlling party. Again, it appears, that when by one of the movements characterised by the hon. and learned Gentleman, the Member for Bath, as aggressive, when we had taken—not the possession of, but when we had made ourselves masters in Cutch—that we came into collision with the Scindians, and that an embassy was sent—not from Scinde—because, as I must inform the hon. and 420 learned Gentleman, the Scindians were not independent, but from their sovereign paramount Shah Mahmood king of Cabul to the Governor-general of India—after some difficulties a Treaty was concluded in 1820, which stipulated, by its third article, thatThe Ameers of Scinde engage not to permit any European or American to settle in their dominions.Did that stipulation savour much of voluntary agreement upon the part of the Scindians. Was there anything voluntary in that? We have all along, I tell the hon. and learned Gentleman, in contradiction to Ms idle theory—we have all along, in dealing with Scinde, treated the princes of that country on any footing but that of equality, and when we had treaties with them—up to the time at which we ourselves made them independent—they were never reckoned free from the supremacy of the Shah of Cabul.
But the hon. and learned Member for Bath, after passing through the treaties of 1809, of 1820, of 1832, and of 1834, (the chief object of the latter being the opening the navigation of the Indus) came to that of 1836, of which he gave a most complete misrepresentation from beginning to end. The hon. and learned Gentleman charged Lord Auckland with having been guilty, at that time, of such meanness, of such trickery, that if the accusation were well founded, he deserved impeachment at least. The hon. and learned Gentleman stated, that Lord Auckland then played off the fears of the Scindians, in respect to Runjeet Sing, against themselves, and caused them, under the influence of these fears, to implore the aid of the British Government, in order that advantage might ultimately accrue to us. Now, Sir, this was not the fact. What occurred was this, Lord William Bentinck, in 1831, had become acquainted with the intentions of Runjeet Sing to take the first opportunity of invading Scinde, and the Sikh ruler did not conceal that project from Sir Alexander Burnes in 1832. In 1836, Runjeet Sing marched a considerable army from the Punjaub, and took a fort near Shikarpoor. The principal of the Ameers of Scinde sent a messenger to Sir Henry Pottinger, who was then in Cutch to request his interference, and that communication with Sir Henry Pottinger led Noor Mahommed to have a conference with him, in which he did not confine his request to the mere appearance of Sir Henry Pottinger 421 upon the disputed territory, but begged that in case of necessity a British force might be sent to Shikarpoor to prevent further aggressions upon the part of Runjeet Sing. I refer to page 9 and 17 of the supplementary paper presented to Parliament and indeed to Sir Henry Pottinger's whole dispatch of December 10, 1836. It was at the request of the Scindians that we stepped forward to assist the weak against the strong, and to save those who were unable to resist from the grasp of Runjeet Sing. No one will pretend that if the contest had gone on the Ameers of Scinde would have had the slightest chance of success against him, and in return for saving Scinde what did we get! the permission to have a resident at the court of the Ameers—secured by the treaty of April 20, 1838.
The hon. Gentleman next says, that Lord Auckland, by what was commonly called the Tripartite Treaty, signed in June, 1838, at Lahore, at once disposed of Scinde, we never having had the least right or pretext; and that that disposal was conveyed by the words of the sixteenth article of the Treaty. The disposal of Scinde! I will repeat to the hon. Gentleman first, that the acknowledgment of the independence of Scinde will be found in no former Treaty whatever; and next, that the very sixteenth article, of which he complains, liberated the Ameers from all claims of supremacy and arrears of tribute in respect to the sovereign of Cabul, under the guarantee of the paramount power of India, and of the neighbouring Prince, to whose exactions and incursions they had hitherto been subject. And this is the step charged against Lord Auckland as tyrannical, and this is taking a liberty with the independence of countries, and on this is founded that charge of baseness which the hon. and learned Gentleman finds such a difficulty in conceiving. The hon. and learned Gentleman said in the course of his speech,What reason have I to suppose Lord Ellenborough guilty of what has been imputed to him—what interest had he in such misdeeds—what reason have we to suspect him.I say no, as to Lord Ellenborough; but I say no, too, as to Lord Auckland. What right has the hon. and learned Gentleman to refuse the same measure of justice to an individual as honourable as any in this country, and who understands the policy and the interests of India very nearly as 422 well as the hon. and learned Gentleman. When he asked us what right we have to speak suspiciously of Lord Ellenborough, he will allow me to ask what interest Lord Auckland could have in the perpetual scheming, fraud, and knavery so profusely charged on his conduct, as to Scinde and to other regions to which he is alleged to have extended his artifices. The hon. and learned Gentleman prides himself on being a fair man. Why should he not allow the same merit of good intentions to Lord Auckland, to which I concur with him in thinking Lord Ellenborough is entitled? The hon. Gentleman brings forward as it charge against Lord Auckland that there was a money paymentmadeby the Scindians, exacted under colour of advantage to them, but really enforced by the paramount power or England. "We took the money," said the hon. Gentleman. Now I tell the hon. and learned Gentleman, that Lord Auckland did not, in the first instance, insist on this sum as an exaction, or a payment made under any compulsion whatever, and if the hon. and learned Gentleman will look again at his blue book, he will see it was not so considered; but afterwards, I grant, when, in spite of the great benefits to Scinde, the British troops were opposed on their march to Affghanistin, when an additional expense of 200,000l. was incurred, and when at great risk and hazard the march to Affghanistan was delayed for five weeks, then, I admit, Lord Auckland said the money engagements should be enforced. But in what way? Was it given to the British Government, or did it go to the expenses of the expedition? Will the hon. and learned Gentleman tell the facts which he stated inaccurately? Of the twenty-one lacs which were to be paid by the Ameers to the Shah, fifteen lass were to be made over to Runjeet Sing, but no part of the payment went into the Indian Treasury. Yes, says the hon. and learned Gentleman, "You gave the money to your puppet—that is, you gave it to yourselves." No, Sir, if Shah Sonja had remained on the throne, which the Governor-general had a right to contemplate—and did contemplate—this step would have had the effect of preventing him from making any future demands founded on old claims. But the hon. and learned Gentleman says that those claims had been previously abandoned. One party asserts that, the other denies it. But I say it signifies little whether this is true or false, considering that the acknowledgment of the 423 independent freedom of Scinde, and the exemption from future exactions on the part of the Affghan Sovereign, was cheaply purchased at that price—and the same may be said as to the arrangement with Runjeet Sing, who was not to be expected to give up his pretensions for nothing. Runjeet Sing knew very well the advantages he was conferring; and, I repeat, it was desirable to release the Ameers of Scinde at the price agreed upon. With respect to the payment of three lees annually to ourselves, those who heard the hon. and learned Gentleman may be perhaps astonished to learn, that it is no more than the expense of keeping up one native regiment.
After all this cruelty to the Ameers of Scinde, and robbery of the people, as described by the hon. and learned Gentleman, he brought us to the Affghan expedition. The hon. and learned Gentleman candidly informed us he was not going into that question, as he had discussed it already. He characterised it in his usual bold language; called down on our heads the blood shed there, indeed plentitifully besprinkled the noble Lord and myself with the blood that was spilled there. I can only tell him—who, by the way, was absent from that debate, as I was from his—that in my attempt to vindicate Lord Auckland, I did my best to shew that that expedition was forced on the Government of India by a paramount necessity—by what, at least, the Indian government thought to be a paramount necessity, and I will add what I stated when the hon. Gentleman was so fortunate as not to be present, that up to the disasters of Cabul, an altissimum silentium prevailed on this subject, that no manner of charge was brought forward (I don't say, and never did, that an approval was given) in anything like a substantive shape, either in Parliament or anywhere else. And, therefore, I say we have a right in this matter to insist, that if Lord Auckland conceived that the march into Affghanistan was necessary to the security of India he was not to be stopped by respect for the territory of Scinde. There is no rule of law or of public morality which forbids self-defence, or for taking such measures as are positively essential to a just object. It was unlikely that our march through Scinde would be obstructed, or that the people would not have co-operated with us. We had as much right to expect their assistance as that of the Khan of Bahwulpore, or the Rao of Cutch. 424 But when instead of receiving assistance, every obstruction was cast in the way of a passage for our army through the territory of Scinde, we had a right to take the course taken by Lord Auckland.
But, says the hon. and learned Gentleman, we should not have gone into a country inimical to us. We should have taken the Khyber Pass route; and not have trespassed upon independent states, but gone through friendly countries. I deny both these positions. The people of Scinde were as likely to be as friendly to us as ever Runjeet Sing was; and when we informed the Ameers why we took the passage, and when Colonel Pottinger acquainted them with all our projects, and all our motives, to remove all fears, and when, instead of assisting us, they not only thwarted, but assembled a large army to act against us, Lord Auckland was perfectly justified in taking every necessary measure for putting them down. The hon. and learned Gentleman says, upon some authority with which I am not acquainted, we ought to have gone through the Khyber Pass, and that "Runjeet Sing would have given you leave, if you applied to him." Now, I happen to know the contrary. And it was with considerable difficulty that a limited force was allowed to go through the Khyber Pass. And recollect this was at a time when Runjeet Sing was in possession of a great army, and would not allow us to go through' his territory, merely because we wished it, and (what I deny) because we could not have taken so convenient a route. Now I tell the hon. and learned Gentleman, what perhaps he did not know before, that we had an object in going by way of the Bolan Pass to Candabar. It was in the territory of Candahar that Shah Soojali had his chief adherents, and it was of the greatest advantage that we should go through a country friendly to Shah Soojah rather than by Cabul, where Dost Mahomed was then reigning. But independently of this reason, and of the facility of sending the Bombay division by the route of Candahar, if we had marched our whole army by the Khyber Pass, we should have experienced want of provisions and of the means of transport. Notwithstanding the authority quoted by the hon. Gentleman, it was, in the words of his own resolution, "impossible" that our troops could have gone by the passage he contended for, because, in addition to those reasons, Runjeet Sing would not 425 have allowed them. I hope I have given a sufficient answer to the question as to the route by which the expedition was marched.
The whole question, I admit, turns on this—was the expedition to Cahill unavoidable? I think it was; the hon. and learned Gentleman thinks it was not: but this controversy has been twice before the House, and need not be renewed now. I now turn to another charge made by the hon. Gentleman, not against Lord Auckland, but the whole Indian service. Commenting on something Colonel Pottinger said, the hon. and learned Gentlemen observed,How odd it is that those Indian officers should be all overcharged with a sense of their own importance.That may be true, or it may not; but the failing of self-importance is not confined to "Indian officers." I must, however, on behalf of that most distinguished Indian officer, and other Indian officers of whom I have a right to know something—I must say, that Colonel Pottinger is incapable of making any representation not founded on truth, or recommending any measure which does not appear to him founded in justice and good policy. That officer like others who live in hot countries, may have been now and then betrayed into hasty expressions, or for ought I know may have written hasty letters; but, of course, the Governor-general dealt with his letters as he found them, and when the advice they contained appeared unsound, he did not follow it, while, on the other hand, what appeared prudent in them and supported by facts was adopted by hint. The hon. Gentleman was guilty (if be will excuse the expression) of an extraordinary attempt to prejudice the House, through the authority of Colonel Pottinger, against Lord Auckland. He quoted recommendations of that officer, and left the House to infer that Lord Auckland had acted upon them. I should have been deceived, though I followed the hon. Gentleman with the book in my hand, if I had not been aware of his astuteness. Looking fairly to this mass of papers, what does it signify what was recommended to Lord Auckland or Lord Ellenborough; what we have to enquire is what Lord Auckland or Lord Ellenborough did. After the hon. and learned Gentleman quoted the recommendation of Colonel Pottinger, he altogether omitted to mention what was stated by the noble Lord (Lord Ashley), that Lord Auckland did 426 not follow the advice, but altogether dissented from it. And if you look at p.97, vol. 1, you will find the facts to be as I have stated them. I believe the hon. Gentleman assents to what I assert; but at all events it is clear that Colonel Pottinger's views were not acted upon, and did not operate upon Lord Auckland's final policy.
As to the aggressions of Lord Auckland on Scinde, the hon. Gentleman seems to think that not only did the noble Lord force an army across Scinde, but also violated the treaty of March, 1839. If the hon. and learned Gentleman will look to numbers 166 and 214 of the printed papers of the first volume, he will find that Lord Auckland did not enforce any condition on the people of Scinde of which they had the least right to complain, and, as the hon. Secretary of the Board of Control stated, the best proof of that is to be found in the fact that no attempt whatever was made to depart from that Treaty, from the period when it was signed up to the time when Lord Auckland ceased to be Governor-general. More than that, on Noor Mahomed's death, we prevented his Will from being disputed, and found not the least difficulty in carrying it into complete effect. The Scindeans acquiesced in the disposition we then made to enforce it.
The hon. Gentleman next objected to our taking possession of Kurrachee. Now, in that, too, he is completely mistaken. From first to last we never did take possession of Kurrachee. We established a military post there; but when the Ameers complained of it, and refused to ratify the Treaty of 1839, in consequence of our military force in Kurrachee, an explanation was given that it was only a military station, that the English had not the slightest idea of interfering with the government of the place or appropriating the port dues, and that explanation was completely satisfactory. You will find, by a letter of Colonel Pottinger, dated the 10th of October, 1839, page 226, that the Ameers never afterwards; made the slightest objection. In that letter Colonel Pottinger used these words—The Ameers have never made the smallest objection to our troops being at Kurrachee, and immediately after Sir John Keane's force moved on from Hyderabad, Noor Mahomed Khan himself, suggested that we should retain the fort at the mouth of the harbour.The hon. Gentleman says, that when Lord Ellenborough took possession of the 427 government of India he had to contend with great difficulties. Sir, the noble Lord certainly had to contend with great difficulties; and I do not think, that I am in the least called upon to do more with respect to the hon. Gentleman's motion, than to say, that I think he is not borne out in what he asserted in his second proposition—that what has been done by Lord Ellenborough is the necessary consequence of what was done by Lord Auckland. But, Sir, the House is saved the trouble of hearing any suggestions from me on this point, because the hon. Gentleman the Secretary for the Board of Control has most distinctly told us, that he does not found the defence of Lord Ellenborough on any policy of Lord Auckland; and he says, that the policy of Lord Auckland in Scinde had its term, and was brought to a natural conclusion by the Treaty of March, 1839. He does not indulge in any of those imputations against Lord Auckland, as having originated by his policy, that which was adopted by Lord Ellenborough, but absolves him from any such charge. But, Sir, the proposition of the hon. Gentleman is not at all borne out either by time or dates, both are quite at variance with his allegations. The hon. Gentleman says, that the following out of this deplorable policy of Lord Auckland, by Lord Ellenborough, was to be justified only by the dangers which then threatened the existence of our Indian empire. Why, Sir, if this refers to Scinde, I beg leave to tell the hon. Gentleman that dates do not at all bear him out; because when Lord Ellenborough had determined on those extreme measures against Scinde—and I do not intend to say anything at all about them, because he may be justified in them for what I know—but at the time when Lord Ellenborough took his resolution the affairs of Afghanistan had been entirely settled. Lord Ellenborough had received the news of the great victories m Affgbanistan, and the establishment of British preponderance therein, in September, 1842. He had announced them in his famous proclamation of the 1st of October; and the despatch on which the conduct of Iris agents in Scinde was founded bore date in November. Therefore, the hon. Gentleman is wrong in supposing it was imminent danger that made Lord Ellenborough adopt the course complained of as to Scinde.
Now, Sir, with respect to the policy of Lord Ellenborough, as I before said, I do not think myself at all called upon to give an opinion upon it. Nay more, I will say, I 428 am not prepared to condemn that policy. I am aware of the difficulties as well as the hon. Gentleman, with which not only Lord Ellenborough, but every Governor-general, has to contend—I mean with respect to a fair judgment of his conduct. He has got to deal, first of all, in India, with the most unscrupulous press that was ever tolerated on the face of the earth. That is the first obstacle; I believe the hon. Gentleman will own this himself. Then he has to deal with persons who perhaps think they have got very good reasons for being a little discontented with the distribution of patronage in India. Then, besides that, he has to deal with clever Gentlemen in Parliament, who, some four or five years after transactions have taken place, think it a very good amusement and edification for themselves and others, to bring charges and make motions, which are sometimes, seconded. I say, Sir, I think that at this time I am not called upon to say more of Lord Ellenborough's policy than this, that in certain respects it cannot be said to be the same as, or a continuance of Lord Auckland's. One or two instances will show this, and prove to the hon. Gentleman that he is in the wrong in making the contrary assertion. One of the great differences between the policy of Lord Auckland and Lord Ellenborough is this, that Lord Auckland thought tribute better than territory. Lord Ellenborough, on the other hand, prefers territory. I am not saying whether he is right or wrong. Lord Auckland did not, I believe, appropriate any portion of territory from any of his allies, or from any other parties; Lord Ellenborough thought himself justified in so doing, and I do not say that he was wrong. Lord Ellenborough made another difference between his policy and that of his predecessor, which is very material. Lord Ellenborough has chosen a different set of agents from those usually employed; he objects to the use of political agents, rightly, perhaps; he has placed in command, for instance, in Scinde, that gallant and distinguished officer, Sir C. Napier, whose name can never be pronounced in this country, I will not say without praise, but without the deepest emotions of gratitude. And here let me ask, has any thing been said, has any thing been so much as hinted against that gallant officer? Has anybody blamed Sir C. Napier? Who has attacked him.Quis vituperavit Herculem429 God forbid that this House should be so ill-judging, so far forgetful of its duty, so far wanting in proper and decent feeling, as not to be sensible that to that officer we owe a debt of gratitude more than it is possible for us ever to repay? That being the case, I am curious to know what induced the hon. Gentleman to enter into a liberal defence of the gallant General; whom no one, so far as I know, has thought of blaming.
In concluding what I have taken the liberty to addresss to the House, and I must really beg pardon for having done so, for I rose with great reluctance to make what I considered an unnecessary defence against an unnecessary attack; in conclusion, I say, I have only to request the House, that when they wish to be just to Ameers, or just to any other similarly situated princes, they will not forget the justice that is due to our own great public functionaries. Do not let them forget that they owe something to men who take on themselves these tremendous responsibilities, and, who, at a distance from those they may most wish to consult, are sometimes obliged to hold in the balance the very fate of this great empire. Let us, Sir, be just to the Governors of India, not only to the present, who is in power, but to the past who have descended from it. Let us not think that because they have ceased to wield the reins of empire, which were delegated to them, they have therefore, ceased to claim and to merit a fair consideration for their conduct. I will not condescend, Sir, if I may use the expression, to refute some of the charges the hon. Gentleman thought proper to make against the late Indian Government. He accused Lord Auckland of matters, which, if truly attaching to him, if he deserved the character they imply, would make him unfit—I will not say to be Governor-general of India, but to be trusted with the meanest interest which could be confided to any private individual. Sir, I hope that the time will speedily come when we shall cease to hear these charges against our great public officers—I think, indeed, the time has come, if I may judge from the reception of the hon. Gentleman's motion. It is time to desist from such charges as those now brought against Lord Auckland. When were the treaties with Scinde laid on the table? When was it competent for the House to take into consideration this gross infraction of the laws 430 of nations, and the right of individuals, alleged to have been perpetrated? In 1839 we made the treaty with Scinde, and in 1840 we were in possession of all the facts connected with these supposed aggressions. Yet, it is not till 1844 that all those charges are made. The hon. Gentleman, I think, said the other night, he had only been for a year and a half in Parliament, and, therefore, was not blameable. [Mr. Roebuck: I did not say so.] Well, I thought the hon. Gentleman had said something to that effect; but at all events, three years had passed, and those charges had not been made. They were not made for a very good reason, because nobody summoned up courage to make them: they were not made because they were not tenable; they were not made because they required more special pleadings than every-day Members of Parliament can bring to debate, to make even a tolerable case out of them.
With respect to the motion of the noble Lord, for we have not the motion of the hon. Gentleman before us, it has dropt still-born, I am inclined to think, that the Secretary for the Board of Control, is right, and that it would not be prudent to interfere with the Indian Government in this matter. I think what has been said this night, shows, that there is a very proper appreciation of the particular condition in which the Ameers are at this moment placed, and that every attention will be paid to their due comforts, and to their respectability, as far as is consistent with their not being so much at large as to endanger the interests of the empire. Sir, that is my opinion, and that being so, it is impossible for me to vote for the Motion of the noble Lord. I hope there will be no mistake in this matter. It is not for want of proper sympathy with those princes that I must decline to vote for the Motion. I sympathise with them, as I would with Lord Auckland, or with the hon. and learned Gentleman himself, if he needed such support. It is because the Motion would lead to an interference with the Indian Government in a matter of great responsibility. If the noble Lord's proposal is carried, nobody shall tell me, that it will not be a very considerable slur on the Governor-general of India. It will be telling him, that he, on the spot, does not know in what way these Princes ought to be treated. I am not prepared to say that, and I think, as a general rule, though I dare say it will be thought rather an illiberal opinion, the less interference that 431 Members of Parliament, and this House in general, feels itself called upon to make with regard to the Indian Government, the better it will be. I never knew much good come of any such interference, but, at the same time, I will not say that a case may not arise in which such may not be called for. If it does, I shall go a great deal farther than the noble Lord now proposes. I shall not content myself with making a charge by a side-wind: I shall bring forward a positive charge, on which we may come to a clear conclusion. Knowing, however, the great responsibility under which the Indian Government acts in this matter, I own, I cannot bring myself to interfere. On this ground, I am obliged to say, with the greatest possible respect for the noble Lord who made the motion, that it is impossible for me to vote with him.
§ Sir C. Napier
said, he rose not to pass any judgment on the conduct or policy either of Lord Ellenborough or Lord Auckland. He would leave that to Gentlemen who were much better acquainted with Indian affairs than he was; but he intended to make some observations on what fell from the noble Lord relative to his (Sir C. Napier's) gallant relation commanding in Scinde. The noble Lord had stated, that if Sir Charles Napier had followed the advice of Major Outram, no war would have ensued, and the questions depending would have been brought to a satisfactory conclusion. He differed totally from the noble Lord, and he was decidedly of opinion, after having read the whole of the correspondence, that Major Outram's conduct could only be compared to that of Frere, relative to Sir John Moore, when he commanded the army in Spain. He felt perfectly certain, that if the advice of Major Outram had been followed, not one roan would have lived to tell the story at this moment, and he was astonished, that a military officer like Major Outram, could have given such advice to Sir Charles Napier. He was of opinion, that if any blame whatever attached to the latter gallant officer, it was for having so long delayed his march on Hyderabad, and thus risked the whole of the army in the manner he did, to satisfy Major Outran. It was clearly stated in the correspondence, that Major Outram asked for a delay of three days, and the general proved that he delayed no less than four days, with the prospect of the 432 hot weather coming on, and exposing the whole army to ruin and destruction. The noble Lord in another part of his remarks fell into an error. There was not a person in that House whom he admired more than the noble Lord, for he was a good, just, and humane man, but it showed how we might be led astray by taking up a question which he had not sufficiently studied. In reading a letter of Sir C. Napier, page 49, which was certainly a little strong, the noble Lord ought in justice to have quoted the gallant officer's other letter, showing the position in which he was placed at the time he had written the one in question. This letter he would take the liberty of reading to the house: it was to be found at page 139, of the supplementary volume.Kurachee, Oct. 27, 1843.I have the honour to inclose to your Lordship some more information relative to the conduct of the ex-Ameers. I hope it may not prove unsatisfactory, because the further inquiry is pushed, the more the treachery of the Ameers will become apparent. I could have sent this information last February or March, had I chosen to spend my time in the employment suited to a chief of police receiving depositions. But, at the period in question, I had not the power of drawing up above 1,500 men in order of battle; no reinforcements had yet arrived; 20,000 men, under Shere Mahomed, were within a march of my camp; we were in the midst of an insurgent population, warlike, and well armed; I had the magazines and hospitals full of wounded men, to guard on the banks of the Indus; I had six sovereign princes in my camp, intriguing as hard as they could to arrange an attack on my camp, by overwhelming multitudes; I had a large fortress to guard—this fortress was three miles from my camp; I had an immense treasure to guard; I am obliged to respect the Zenana in the fortress, to the hazard of the regiment in the fortress (which regiment had suffered greatly in the battle, and could not muster above 400 men), for in these Zenanas were about 800 powerful Beloochees well armed, and the Zenanas full of arms. I well knew the treachery of the Ameers, or I should not have been so unjust as to use the terms I applied to them in my despatch after the battle of Meeanee.He would ask the noble Lord, considering the above situation described in the above letter, that there were but 1,500 men in a hostile country, and in a climate enough utterly to destroy the army, if it was fair and just to excite the feelings of the House in the manner he 433 had done in reference to this point? The noble Lord had compared the treatment of the Ameers with that of the sons of Tippoo Saib, by Lord Cornwallis; but the cases were totally different. They were hostages, they were in a peaceful country, not in the midst of enemies, surrounded by multitudes thirsting for their blood. The noble Lord had also said, it was not true that they had intended to murder the English. Why, what said the confidential servant of the Ameers, Bunroodeen, in his examination before Mr. Brown, given at page 138? He was asked what would have been the fate of the British forces had the Ameers' treachery not been prevented in time; and he said they would have all been massacred. He believed it was plainly established from the correspondence of Sir Charles Napier, that if they had gained the victory, they would have put every man to the sword, and he did not believe that one would have been left alive. He should like to know what the House of Commons would have said then? They would have said that Sir Charles Napier was a vacillating and undecided man, who had not courage to go on, and that he had foolishly listened to his political agent. He thought political agents ought never to be employed; the whole conduct of the war ought to be left to the general. God knew, political agents did mischief enough, even in peaceful times, but they were much more mischievous in war. What said the Ameers themselves? Meer Shadad, and all the rest of them—he need not go through the names of all; these Ameers had confessed their guilt. How could the noble Lord, having read the papers deny their participation in the treacherous attack on the residency? The noble Lord said they could not control the Beloochees, but he (Sir Charles Napier) said they intended to take part in the attack. He would not detain the House longer; he had risen to complain of one or two of the noble Lord's expressions, though his speech had been generally marked, he must admit, by moderation. Relative to the motion of the noble Lord he would go this length, he would say these men had been sufficiently punished, they ought not to be made prisoners, and confined to Bombay; they ought to have some compensation for their losses. But they certainly ought not to be allowed to return to Scinde.
§ Lord Jocelyn
said, had I been aware 434 that the hon. Member for Bath intended to produce the letter from Sir C. Napier to Major Outram, I would have taken care to have provided myself with the answer. I trust, that on a future day the House will, in justice to that gallant officer, allow me to read the answer. I shall support the motion of my noble Friend, because I have heard nothing to alter the opinion I had originally formed of the injustice and impolicy of our actions in Scinde; and, however much I may regret to differ from those to whom I have hitherto given my support, I have a higher duty to perform to the cause of what I believe to be justice and humanity. Acts of harshness and injustice when committed by a Government, cannot long be concealed; and self-preservation alone can be allowed as a palliation for our harsh measures. There can be no greater cruelty and impolicy than forcing a war upon a weak and submissive people. It is not by deluging a country in blood—it is not by upsetting one dynasty to replace it with another, nor by trampling upon the dearest rights and customs of the people, that you give encouragement to commerce. It is not in the infraction of solemn treaties by a civilized power, that you teach barbarians to respect them. We have cause to blush for our policy in Central Asia. Ever since we set foot on the right bank of the Indus, our acts have been a tissue of fraud and intrigue. It is painful to think that able and gallant men could be found to carry into those distant countries, not the blessings of peace and civilization, but the firebrands of discord and rancour. Providence seemed to mark its detestation of our conduct by the fate of our gallant army, and men grew weary of such a policy. The proclamation of the Governor-general in 1842 was received with satisfaction both in India and in England. It was delightful to learn,That content with the limits which nature appears to have assigned to its empire, the Government of India would devote all its efforts to the establishment of public peace.It was with regret, in a few months afterwards, we found that the promise of peace was but a momentary vision of the Governor-general, and that a policy was about to be pursued, which would inevitably tend to a war, the peculiar features of which have, thank God, not often disgraced the pages of British history. I speak advisedly when I make use of this expression; and I appeal to any unbiassed individual who has read the pages of this 435 book which has been produced, to say, whether or not there is a single proof in support of the accusations—whether it is not a mass of assertion and ex parte evidence. In 1832, it appears that in our connexion with Scinde, commercial advantage was one chief object. We sued for permission to navigate the Indus, and to make use of the roads in Scinde, for mercantile transactions; we asked, that moderate duties only should be imposed. Our request was granted. At the commencement of this treaty with the Ameers of Upper Scinde, we pledge ourselves never to view with the eye of covetousness, their possessions. A treaty is formed a few days later with the Ameers of Lower Scinde, and in it we find the same article respecting the "eye of covetousness." We likewise find the British Government is thereby pledged never to carry military stores of any kind upon the river, nor to covet any fortress upon one bank or upon the other. Thus we stood until the year 1838, when the whole course of our policy in Central Asia, was to undergo a change. The Government of India at that time, considering it necessary by some great counter movement, to check what they believed to be a combination of the great Mussulman Powers on the north-west frontier, determined upon that policy, which I shall not here discuss. It became necessary for their purpose, that all subordinate arrangements should tend to the great object they had in view. This can be their only excuse for the treaty they then imposed. This may palliate in their eyes the infraction of solemn and binding engagements; but in the eye of justice, there can be no excuse for measures engendered by weak and timid counsels or unlawful ambition. The rulers of Scinde, feeling their own weakness, and knowing the power of the lawgiver, humbly submitted to that treaty, which was imposed by fear of force. By the treaty of 1832, we bound ourselves to bring no military stores into the country, nor to covet any fortress on the banks of the Indus, nor to view with the eye of covetousness, the possessions of Scinde. By the treaty forced on them in 1839, we find a force is to be maintained in Scinde, the Ameers are to pay three lacs of rupees towards the maintenance of that force, and by a supplementary treaty, the fortress of Bukkur is to be given up. Thus, we obtained the right of locating our troops in any part of their dominions; we threw open the navigation of the Indus 436 to commerce; we were in a position from Bombay to pour troops (if necessity required it) into the very heart of the country. What, then, could we obtain by annexing Scinde to our dominions? Whatever I may think of the policy which led to this treaty, all the advantages that could be desired were obtained by it. By acts of aggression we are now paramount, and it has devolved upon us to keep in subjection the warlike Beloochee tribes, in a climate whose noxious effects have already been felt severely by our forces; and what have we gained by the acquisition? Captain Postans computes the revenue of Scinde at 40 lacs, and our expenditure at 80. Does war encourage and give confidence to trade? I agree with Major Outram's quotation from Dr. Franklin:—To me it seems that neither the obtaining or retaining of any trade, however valuable, is an object for which men may spill each other's blood.And he adds, that the profit of no trade can be equal to the expense of compelling it, and holding it by fleets and armies. Many believe there is no greater fallacy than the trade of the Indus. Captain Eastwick gave such as his opinion a few days since in the India-house, and declared, that owing to the delays and difficulties of the navigation, merchandise is carried in preference on camels from Kurachee to the interior. In turning to the more immediate transactions, I am anxious to draw a distinct line between that gallant officer (Sir C. Napier) who has added lustre to the profession he adorns, and the same individual who, in his character of envoy, has been led into errors by his want of local knowledge and inexperience in native character. But in his latter position he was noways to blame; those are accountable who, at a moment of the greatest importance, removed the accustomed staff through which all political affairs were transacted, and replaced them by a gallant officer who was as ignorant of the position of affairs as he was of the customs and language of the people. The Ameers of Scinde were declared to have infringed, or wilfully misconstrued, the Treaty of 1839. In Europe, at the misconstruction of a treaty, explanation is first sought before proceeding to ulterior measures. Because dealing with barbarians, we should not act like barbarians. We should have pursued the same course towards the Ameers of Scinde as in civilized Europe. Were 437 we so clean-handed and immaculate, who had pledged ourselves to the treaty of 1832, and forced on the treaty of 1839, as to be warranted in the conduct displayed in the pages of the Blue Book? Is there in its pages anything but assertions, in some cases, of worthless characters, in others of interested parties? I will not enter into the details of the alleged infractions of the treaty of 1839. The weakness of those accusations has been laid bare, and it is quite clear, by reference to the treaty made by the Ameers on all occasions, that they had no intention of wilfully forfeiting their engagements. They had their own interpretation, to which, according even to Sir Charles Napier's opinion, "they had a right as independent princes;" and one fact speaks volumes to my mind—that it is distinctly recorded by Sir Henry Pottinger before the treaty of 1839, that in no one instance had the Ameers infringed the commercial treaty of 1834. So much for the conduct of the Ameers. I find in a letter of the gallant general "nothing but a fair pretext is wanting to coerce the Ameers." That pretext, of course, was very soon found, but not in these infractions of the Treaty, which even, to Lord Ellenborough appeared too trivial to afford grounds for coercive measures. Recourse is therefore had to that hacknied engine of Eastern tyranny—accusation of treasonable correspondence. We find, then, the whole case against the Ameers is made to depend on three charges—first, as to the authenticity of a letter from Meer Nusseer Khan to a hill chief; secondly, as to the authenticity of a letter from Meer Roostum Khan to the Maharajah of the Sikhs; and, thirdly, whether the confidential minister of Meer Roostum was privy to the escape of a state prisoner. I will not enter deeply into these charges; but even granting that they were true, which I utterly deny, they afford no grounds for our harsh measures. Surely, sovereign princes are not to be dethroned on accusations so easily manufactured. The similarity of seals is all that is alleged in support of the first charge. Why, seals are not received as evidence in any court in India. They are continually forged. The unfortunate prince in the notes of conference reminds Major Outram that his own seal was forged. Seals are not used in these transactions; letters are not written. We find Lieutenant Mylne, who forwarded these charges, stating his inability to produce documentary proof, as their Highnesses had not of late committed 438 their thoughts to paper; and yet this very letter is said to have been written within the month. And, in the name of common justice, why was the letter that he was accused of writing not shown to the Ameer? Why was he not afforded an opportunity of disproving the charge? and what are the grounds against Meer Roostum, our old and tried friend? Another treasonable letter of even more suspicious authenticity. The very letter of Lord Ellenborough himself proves the absurdity of the charge. He accuses Meer Roostum of endeavouring to commence a correspondence with our most faithful and esteemed ally, Maharajah Shere Sing; whereas this treasonable letter is one of a series, and speaks of treaties already concluded. Major Outram doubts its authenticity; Mr. Clerk doubts its authenticity; Captain Postans declares it is written by another person—the Minister of the Prince; and yet the Crown is made answerable for the act of the Minister. I would ask the right hon Baronet at the head of the Government, whether be supports Lord Ellenborough's doctrine, and considers the Crown responsible for his own acts? I hold, that unless it was proved that this letter was written by the Ameer's express command or implied sanction, the Ameer is no more responsible than I am. With these opinions, I need not touch on the third charge. Such are the accusations, and such are the proof on which they rest. On grounds like these, Lord Ellenborough deemed himself justified in imposing his new stringent conditions; but even these conditions did not lead to the hostilities so much to be deplored. The Ameers accepted the Treaties; they actually signed the Treaties; they submitted to the preponderating force; and all would have been arranged, but for the series of aggressive measures of the British general, acting in obedience to his superior authority. I cannot pass over the painful story of Meer Roostum, that old and venerable chieftain, of whose good faith this volume affords so many instances. Bewildered and alarmed by the insulting language of the British representative, in the agony of distress he seeks the protection of the British general. We learn from the general's own letter, that fearing to be embarrassed—how embarrassed, if our intentions were peaceful and straightforward—he recommends him to seek refuge with his bitterest foe, his traitor brother Ali Moorad. What ensued? That brother, working on the fears and helplessness of the aged chief, induces 439 him to resign the chieftainship into his hands; and this, I learn, was a matter of congratulation in the eyes of the British general. In the mean time, the Treaty had been accepted, but not ratified; and what is the course pursued by the general? He takes forcible possession of the territory to be ceded by the yet unratified Treaty. Here is the first overt act of hostility. He next issues an order—and I should wish to know by what article in any Treaty he does this—directing the Ameers immediately to dismiss their forces—forces collected for self-defence. Not content with this, and, to use his own expression, "to show them that neither their deserts nor their negotiations can protect them"—he marches on Emamghur, and destroys the fortress. He then resumes his march on Hyderabad, takes prisoners a band of Beloochees with their chieftain, and keeps them in confinement. But I do not blame Sir Charles Napier. He only carries out his instructions. Lord Ellenborough approves of his conduct, and urges him to still further aggressions, while at the same time, in a strain of mockery, I suppose, he trusts that the Treaties will yet be signed without bloodshed. I have read the notes of conference with pain and humiliation. I find the Treaty, alleged by Lord Ellenborough to have been signed on the 14th, was actually signed on the 12th—a most material difference. At the very period of the conference, Sir Charles Napier's army had passed the frontier, and the Beloochees had flocked to the capital. I find the reiterated remonstrances of Major Outram had no effect on the impetuous general. I may have expressed myself warmly, but not half so warmly as I feel. Step by step I have followed our policy in that devoted country. I have seen our avaricious demands yearly increased. I have seen a war forced upon a submissive nation, to give colour to our exactions. I learn from the Blue Book that there are two laws—one for Englishmen, and another for Asiatics. I learn that there are cases where the British Government may infringe a solemn Treaty at pleasure, which cannot be broken, but at their peril by the Asiatics. When I took up this second volume, I hoped to find some defence—some extenuation of this flagrant outrage on the law of nations. But the letters of Major Outram lay the matter still more bare, and make the policy still more unpardonable. I suppose that the letter of Lord Ellenborough, dated the 26th of June, to the Secret Com- 440 mittee, is intended as his Lordship's explanation. It may satisfy him; but I feel assured it will satisfy no lover of justice. There are still the same absurd charges resting on the same weak evidence; and there are other statements, which a reference to the first Blue Book will easily refute. When Lord Ellenborough speaks of the Ameers assembling troops without legitimate cause, he forgets that he admits in his letter of the 14th of November that the preparations of the Ameers were merely defensive. When he writes that the British general had been drawn into the vicinity of Hyderabad by the Ameers, he forgets the numerous letters of Major Outram remonstrating against the advance, and explaining the submission of the Ameers. Here we have the old accusations reiterated; and of such materials is his explanation. The benefits that he tells us we are to derive from the annexation of Scinde are truly absurd. Forgetful of the immense military force requisite to maintain our position in that country, and of the noxious influence of the climate, he endeavours to excite the public feeling by imaginary advantages. His cultivation of the hunting preserves, his abolition of slavery, his grand projects for the opening old canals, are alike visionary. Why mention the hunting preserves, unless to excite a feeling against these unhappy princes? Are there not thousands of acres of equally fertile waste land throughout Scinde? As to the claptrap of abolishing slavery, all who know anything of slavery in those countries are aware, that next to the children, the slave is the best beloved of the family, and the one in whom most confidence is placed. Where are the funds for carrying out these grand plans of improvement? From Captain Postans we know the revenue of Scinde, and the cost of keeping it. I shall support the motion of my noble Friend, and I trust the House will weigh well the evidence before they destroy the last hopes of these unfortunate princes. I trust they will compare the many instances of good faith evinced by the Ameers with the trumpery charges brought against them. I trust they will remember their truth in the hour of our defeat and disaster. I would bring to their notice this new mode of treating fallen princes. I would bring before their eves the features of that old and venerable chief, Meer Roostum, whose grey hairs we have brought down with sorrow to the grave. Shall his misfortunes descend to his innocent posterity, and his 441 whole family be involved in one common ruin? I shrink from such an awful responsibility, and I call upon the House to weigh well their votes, for we must all answer at that bar where Englishmen and Asiatics will alike find justice.
§ Sir E. Colebrooke
would rather have been asked on this occasion the simple question, ay or nay, did the whole policy pursued towards the princes of Scinde redound to the credit of this country; and he had expected that the hon. Gentleman the Secretary of the Board of Control, would have relied upon something more than the vague and general statements which the hon. Gentleman had made to the House. He differed in opinion on this subject from almost every speaker, except perhaps the noble Lord who had just sat down. He did not believe that any of the princes of India really desired the overthrow of the British dominion. With respect to the independence of the Ameers of Scinde, the wonder to him was how they remained independent so long. They were divided among themselves by family dissensions; their people were divided in religious opinions; so that, in 1836, they gladly received our assistance, and had it not been for our interference they would have fallen a prey to the invasion of Runjeet Singh. The family dissensions among the princes rendered it evident all along that any combination among them to oppose us was not merely hopeless, but not even desirable for themselves. One of the despatches confirmed this view:—That two of them (said the resident), Noor Mahomed Khan and Nusseer Khan, may not be sincere in their professions of friendship, I can readily admit; but the dissensions of the Ameers among themselves are a guarantee that they will not only not act with unanimity but would shrink with terror from attempting anything against us.When the British resident was withdrawn from Hyderabad it struck him (Sir E. Colebrooke) that no communication of that circumstance was made to the House, and in the course of the last Session, when he asked the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Board of Control whether he was aware of any such communication, that right hon. Gentleman seemed to think that he (Sir E. Colebrooke) wished to make an attack upon the Indian Government; but he intended no such attack. Still he thought that a communication of that circumstance 442 was due to the Court of Directors and the country. It appeared that the Ameers were at a loss to understand the meaning of the Governor-general. Two views, then, might reasonably have occurred to the minds of the Ameers; first, that the British Government meditated hostilities, as was evinced by placing the conduct of affairs in the hands of General Napier, at the head of a large army. The second view might have been (what it was not unnatural to suppose), when our armies were withdrawing from Affghanistan, and from beyond the Indus, that we were about to withdraw from Scinde also. How was the report received by them? So far from exulting at it, they shrank from the idea. In the words of the agent—The Ameers are wholly at a loss to comprehend the reason for this; they dread a return of the Affghan oppressions, and messages are continually sent me from one or the other of the Ameers begging that some one may be permitted to remain at Hyderabad. Meer Shandad has built a fort.Then, again, the facilities our armies experienced in getting supplies should not be forgotten. How could the Ameers be plotting our overthrow when they were furnishing us with the means of carrying on a successful contest with the Affghans? Such a supposition was full of contradiction and absurdity. He should not go further into points on which the Secretary of the Board of Control had not thought proper to rest his defence of Lord Ellenborough.
§ Sir R. Peel:
I cordially agree in one sentiment expressed by the right hon. Gentlemen, (Sir C. Hobhouse), that in discussing questions of Indian policy, this House ought to put a liberal construction, not merely upon the motive, but upon the conduct of public men entrusted with great responsibility, acting at a great distance, and having the destines of a mighty empire committed to their care, and I can assure the House that no consideration on earth could induce me to rest the vindication of Lord Ellenborough's policy on a condemnation of the policy of Lord Auckland. I could under no circumstances have consented to the motion made by the hon. and learned Member for Bath. On the contrary. I should have willingly extended to Lord Auckland the same credit which is claimed for Lord Ellenborough; and from my own personal knowledge of Lord Auckland I must say, so far as motive is 443 concerned—I have had occasion to express my opinions freely with respect to the policy of Lord Auckland as to the expedition to and invasion of Affghanistan—but so far as motive is concerned—I do not believe that any man ever administered important public functions with a greater desire to promote the interests of his country, or with greater devotion to its welfare. Independently of this, there is another ground for making allowances for the conduct of Lord Auckland or Lord Ellenborough, acting under the circumstances under which all Governor-generals of British India are always placed. We may in this House lay down what positions we please with respect to the propriety of observing in our Indian policy the same rules and principles which are observed between European States—we may pass acts of Parliament interdicting the Governor-general from extending our Indian territories by conquest; but I am afraid there is some great principle at work wherever civilization and refinement come in contact with barbarism, which makes it impossible to apply the rules observed amongst more advanced nations; more especially when civilization and refinement come in contact with barbarism in an immensely extended country. I doubt whether it be possible, if you wish to increase the security of your Indian empire that you can rigidly adopt the principle with respect to the nominally independent and small states in India which is adopted in Europe. Take the case of Affghanistan. Assuming that it had been necessary, for the maintenance and security of the Indian empire, to counteract the designs of Persia or of Russia in respect to Affghanistan, and that Scinde—a country nominally independent—was interposed between you and Affghanistan; would it have been possible for the Governor-general of India to have acted upon those principles which would, under almost similar circumstances have been observed and acted upon in Europe? Would it have been possible for him to have said, "Unless the inhabitants of Scinde do voluntarily consent to give to me a free passage through their territory unless I gain that permission, I will respect their political independence? I will look on and see Persia and Russia making rapid strides into Affghanistan for what ulterior purposes they please, but I am determined not to stir; I will not consent to pass through Scinde because it is an inde- 444 pendent state without the free assent of the powers of that country." Could such a policy be acted upon in India? Consider how many small independent states you would have to deal with in that respect, and how complicated would be your operations in order to retain your domination in that vast territory. And what would you be ultimately compelled to do, to protect your own territory? You would not, perhaps, effect that protection by taking forcible possession of those states which offered obstacles in your way but by other equally effectual means; by placing your resident at each of their courts, and by subsidizing their troops, and thereby obtaining an effectual political sway over them. Whatever may be the principle which may regulate the conduct of civilised nations when coming in contact with each other, I am afraid that when civilization and barbarism come into contact there is some uncontrolable principle of a very different description, which demands a different course of conduct to be pursued. I have already said that I would not purchase the vindication of Lord Ellenborough at the expense of Lord Auckland. But it is perfectly consistent with this declaration, in order to come to a right decision to regard the position in which Lord Ellenborough has been placed by antecedent events. It is not necessary for me to assert that all Lord Ellenborough's proceedings must inevitably be attached to those antecedent events; and as I did not formerly upon these principles concur in a vote of censure on Lord Auckland in respect of a policy of which I entertained doubts, by bringing the whole weight of Government to bear against those whom we have succeeded, and though it is not my purpose to question the policy of Lord Auckland, it is impossible to put out of account, in considering the cases of Lord Ellenborough and Sir Charles Napier, the position in which they found themselves in the latter part of the year 1840. What was the state of things which Lord Auckland had established in Scinde by the policy he had pursued? It was briefly described in the following extract from a despatch of the Governor-general to the Secret Committee, dated camp at Pinjore, March 13th, 1839:—I may be permitted to offer my congratulations to you upon this timely settlement of our relations with Scinde, by which our political and military ascendancy in that province 445 is now Anally declared and confirmed. The main provisions of the proposed engagements are, that the confederacy of the Ameers is virtually dissolved, each chief being upheld in his own possessions, and bound to refer his differences with the other chiefs to our arbitration: that Scinde is placed formally under British protection and brought within the circle of our Indian relations; that a British force is to be fixed in Lower Scinde, at Tatta, or such other point to the westward of the Indus as the British Government may determine; the sum of 3 lacs of rupees per annum, in aid of the cost of this force, being paid in equal proportions by the three Ameers, Meer Noor Mahomed Khan, Meer Nnsseer Mahomed Khan, and Meer Meer Mahomed Khan; and that the navigation of the Indus, from the sea to the most northern point of the Scinde territory, is rendered free of all toll. These are objects of high undoubted value, and especially so when acquired without bloodshed, as the first advance towards that consolidation of our influence, and extension of the general benefits of commerce throughout Affghanistan, which form the great end of our designs. It cannot be doubted, that the complete submission of the Ameers, will go far towards diffusing in all quarters an impression of the futility of resistance to our arms. The command of the navigation of the Indus up to the neighbourhood of the junction of the five rivers, will, by means of steam-vessels, add incalculably to the safety of our frontier. And the free transit of its waters, at a time when a considerable demand for merchandise of many kinds will be created by the mere onward movement of our forces, will give a spur to enterprise by this route, from which it may be hoped that permanent advantage will be derived. The arrangement may seem in some measure unsatisfactory, inasmuch as so small an annual sum as 3 lacs of rupees will go but a short way towards defraying the expense of our force to be stationed in Scinde. But it has been the deliberate opinion of Colonel Pottinger, to whom the subject has been at different times referred for the most careful examination, that the Ameers draw but a very slender revenue from their districts, and that no heavier imposition could well be fixed upon them. I have been the more disposed to admit the justice of this view, so long as the Ameers continue stedfast to the engagements which are now to be exchanged with them, because I am anxious that all our measures should bear the character of a just forbearance and moderation. It is to be remembered, that no arrangement has yet been formed with the chief of Meerpore, who has distinct possessions in Lower Scinde, and that some addition to the annual pecuniary contribution may eventually be obtained from him. To ourselves it is so desirable to have the military control of the Indus, that it would have been highly expedient to introduce our troops into Scinde, even were the whole cost to be paid from our own treasures. In fact, on the 446 probable supposition that we shall not permanently maintain a force of more than 2,500 men in Scinde, the arrangement would be, under any circumstances, inexpensive, as being little else than an advance of our frontier stations from those at present occupied by us in Cutch and Guzerat.Thus it appears that Lord Ellenborough did not find Scinde an independent country with which he had to deal; but from the conduct of his predecessor he found a country over which the political and military ascendancy of England had been established. This passage showed that, in fact, by the policy of Lord Auckland, the independence of Scinde was at an end. You intended, in fact, to maintain, and von had a force of 2,500 men in that country; and, above all, you had gamed this great advantage, not merely to yourselves personally, but to the cause of civilization—you had procured the advantage of opening the Indus; you had made stipulations with the Ameers to prevent restrictions upon commerce, or imposition of heavy duties, either of which would have prevented that accession of commerce for which the Indus was the great high way. These were the results of Lord Auckland's policy, which Lord Ellenborough found existing when he assumed the reins of government. He found also that you had experienced great reverses in Cabul, and that it was necessary to do what, I will venture to say, had never been done before by England—cover it over as you might with your rejoicings for victories previously gained—he found it absolutely necessary, for the security of the Indian empire, that yon should make a retrograde movement and abandon Cabul. You could not do that without shaking in many states their confidence in your supremacy. There were indications of a disposition to attack our forces in Nepaul, Gwalior, and Bundelkund, in countries having armies of from 30,000 to 50,000 combatants, in consequence of your reverses in Affghanistan, which led to the impression that your military supremacy was drawing to a close. How, under these circumstances, was Lord Ellenborough to deal with Scinde? These advantages had been gained by his predecessor. The retrograde movement being necessary, it was determined to evacuate Cabul by the Khyber Pass. Could they at the same moment have carried on a simultaneous operation in Lower Scinde? What would have been 447 the position, if at the time they were conducting operations from Cabul by the Khyber Pass, they had attempted to carry on a similar operation by the Bolam Pass? Could you have done it with safety? Would your rear not have been pressed upon by an enormous host, perhaps of undisciplined, but most powerful troops. Had Lord Ellenborough adopted a course different from that which he pursued, he must have abandoned Kurachee and given up the commerce of that and of the Indus. Sir C. Napier truly represented the duties on traffic in that part of India to be exceedingly high, and yet at the time to which he was then referring the tolls were about to be raised. Suppose the British forces had abandoned the country, the apprehended impediments to commerce must have arisen; it therefore became necessary for him to maintain whatever he had a right to maintain, provided he could do so in safety. He had no alternative but a proposition for a revival of the treaty with Roostum Khan, when it appeared that that person had written a letter, the authorship of which had not been fully brought home to him. That might be so, but if the British authorities were now to take any steps without evidence fitted for a court of justice in this country, then he did not hesitate to say that we must be prepared for heavy blows and great detriment to our interests in India. What was the state of the case as regarded one of the Ameers? He employed a Prime Minister respecting whom he had often received warning that he was unfriendly to the interests of England. There was an admission of the fact, and they found this Minister intriguing as he pleased; and they found also that the imbecile Ameer did not punish him. Now, why must they wait to have legal evidence of the complicity of this imbecile old man of eighty-five years, before they took any steps for their own protection against an active Minister who was unceasing in his plots and intrigues against British interests? If they were to wait for complete evidence in a case like that, they might as well at once prepare for the evacuation of the country. In the year 1839, the Ameers were suspected of treasonable correspondence with Persia. Lord Auckland said, he did not think the evidence sufficient, but he thought it would be difficult to establish satisfactory proof till a British army occupied the territory; it 448 became necessary, therefore, in all cases of this kind, to be content with moral conviction With respect to Sir Charles Napier, I shall have occasion on Monday to attempt to do justice to the achievements of that most distinguished man. It is my firm belief, that but for his personal courage and desperate fidelity to the cause of his country, not one man of the British army would have been left alive. I think he has exhibited not only a noble example of British courage and military skill, but the greatest civil sagacity. But, as I have said before, I shall have to attempt on another occasion to do justice to Sir C. Napier, when I trust this House, without exception, will be unanimous, for I shall studiously avoid any reference to political matters, as it will be my duty exclusively to attempt to do justice to the merits of that distinguished man. With respect to the motion of my noble Friend, it is quite out of the power of the Government to acquiesce in that motion. My noble Friend does not propose a condemnation of the policy of the Government, or a condemnation of the policy of Lord Ellenborough, and I doubt whether it would not have been an infinitely more satisfactory mode of meeting the question to have called upon the House of Commons fairly to pronounce an opinion upon the policy, and have left that declaration of opinion to be followed up by its natural consequences, rather than to maintain reserve as to that policy, but address the Crown to take a certain course in another respect. My noble` Friend proposes an Address to the Crown, to take into consideration the situation and treatment of the Ameers of Scinde, and that Her Majesty will direct their immediate restoration to liberty, and the enjoyment of their own estates, or with such provision for their future maintenance as may be considered a just equivalent. I trust the House of Commons will not consent to prescribe a rule affecting the policy of the Government of India which shall be followed at a distance of 5,000 miles in total ignorance of what may have intervened. The immediate restoration of the Ameers to liberty must be the necessary consequence of the passing of this resolution. Under that resolution the Government will be compelled, whatever may be the state of Scinde, to send these Ameers back to their country. And I do not profess to have confidence in our presen 449 alliance—even in the friendship of Ali Moorad—but the result of the adoption of this resolution will be a permission to all these Ameers again to return to Scinde, and there, if so inclined, to enter into intrigues against the British power in India. Can the House of Commons venture to take that responsibility upon themselves? But my noble Friend proposes, not only that the Ameers should be restored to liberty, but to the enjoyment of their estates. I admit it is a great question of public policy how, justly, we should treat them; a great question of public policy as to the mode of providing for the Ameers of Scinde, and fairly an object of consideration whether we should establish the Ameers in a subordinate capacity, and through their instrumentality carry on the Government of that country. Those questions have been well considered, and I earnestly advise the House of Commons to leave them with the executive Government. They embrace considerations of the greatest difficulty, and the opinion which we have formed is, that it would not be safe to permit them to return back. The restoration to their estates, depriving them of political power, must leave them in full possession of the means of carrying on every intrigue against us, and place them in a position to render those intrigues successful. When we consider the immense landed possessions which they are to occupy in Scinde, discontented with your authority, because you have taken from them the power which they have heretofore possessed—may it not be of great importance to permit their return to Scinde, with the restoration of their estates and residence there as landed proprietors, discontented and dissatisfied? But my noble Friend says, give them a just equivalent for their estates. What does he mean—that we should ascertain the value of their estates? It would be rather a large demand upon the revenues of Scinde I apprehend, and that coupled with the condition that they are to have their personal liberty, and be freed altogether from restraint—I ask the House of Commons to beware of a resolution which may involve the British army and the interests of the British Government in the greatest difficulty. Sir, in this sentiment I entirely concur, that Her Majesty should take into consideration the situation and treatment of the Ameers. Whatever may have been their misconduct, we ought not 450 to forget their misfortunes. We ought not to exclude from our indulgent and liberal consideration the height from which they have fallen, and the rank which they held. I assure my noble Friend, that it is the wish of the Government here, and also of the Government in India, that no restraint of a personal nature should be imposed on these Ameers for the mere purpose of punishment—that there should be no restraint placed on their personal liberty which is not to be justified by considerations of public necessity. It is now under consideration whether their removal to another part of India from that in which they have been may not admit of less restraint than they have hitherto been subject to. With respect to their personal enjoyments, on the part of the Government of England and the Government of India, I can truly say that no narrow consideration of economy will be permitted to interfere with their most liberal, considerate, and kind treatment. At present 24,000l. are allowed for their maintenance, but if that were deemed by them insufficient, and it could be fairly shown that a larger sum is necessary for the purpose of supplying them with any comforts and luxuries to which they have been heretofore accustomed, I can assure the House that no narrow economy would prevent the fair consideration of the subject. I trust the House of Common will consider the distance, the character, and the disposition of the persons uncontrollable for years by the authority of the Ameers, and that they will recollect that they must necessarily be ignorant of all intervening events. My opinion is, from the character and successful administration of the present Governor-general, that we may safely trust the consideration of these matters to his hands. At any rate I trust the House of Commons will not assume a responsibility which I do not think would be safe.
§ Lord John Russell
said, that after the speech of the right hon. Baronet, he deemed it necessary to say a few words to explain the reasons for the vote he should give. The noble Lord's motion relative to the treatment of the Ameers of Scinde was entirely irrespective of the original policy of the war, and entirely irrespective of the injustice of adding the whole of the territory of Scinde to our Indian possessions. Addressing himself at once to the immediate motion, he should say he agreed generally with what the right hon. Baronet 451 had stated on the subject. He was glad to hear from him an assurance that no consideration of economy should stand in the way of that which was necessary to administer corn fort to these captive princes. The right hon. Baronet said, and he likewise agreed with him, that it would be very difficult indeed for the House of Commons to require a further assurance, either from the Crown or from the Minister representing the Crown in that House, that the Ameers, in the present state of Scinde, should be set at liberty. He was not aware what might be actually the state of Scinde at this moment. The hon. Member for Bath had read a letter from Sir C. Napier, to the effect that he had found it necessary to disarm the population of that country; that there was a great proportion of the population accustomed to arms; that more than half the population were Mussulmen, and were in the habit of carrying arms, and it had been necessary to disarm them. He could not feel sure, that if the liberation of these Ameers were to take place, although the country might be getting into a state of quiet, there might not yet be such a combination of the former followers of these Ameers, and such a state of contention and anarchy aroused, as would require another force to subdue it. He felt that be could not take on himself the responsibility of a vote which might have such consequences. He could not, therefore, after the assurances they had received from the Minister of the Crown, agree to the Address proposed by the noble Lord. He gave the noble Lord every credit for the motives which had induced him to bring forward this question; and he had made many observations which had great weight. If this policy were a right policy—even if it were necessary on the part of Lord Ellenborough—supposing it to be necessary to acquire a large advance of territory, the events of the last few years had come so suddenly after each other, and the proceedings to be taken necessary for our safety had been so calculated to excite resistance on the part of the Ameers, that the House was bound to consider, with the noble Lord, that the Ameers were entitled to every indulgence and liberty which could be given to a fallen foe. The right hon. Gentleman had, however, entered into another question not before the House in the motion of the noble Lord. He had entered into the question of the policy of Lord Ellenbo- 452 rough in India. He felt aware of the justice of the observations which had been made by the Secretary of the Board of Control upon this subject, that the supplementary papers had scarce been in the hands of the Members a week—these papers threw a great light upon the original papers, which were furnished last year; and it would be very difficult, if the present motion were either to condemn or to justify Lord Ellenborough's policy—it would be very difficult to come to a correct decision, and for his own part, he could not attempt, without having first carefully studied those papers, to come to airy decision which would be satisfactory to his own mind. In giving his vote against the motion of the noble Lord (Lord Ashley) he wished to imply no opinion with reference to the policy of Lord Ellen-borough. The right hon. Gentlemen opposite (Sir R. Peel) and his right hon. Friend (Sir J. C. Hobhouse) near him, had remarked, that it was a consideration which should be borne in mind by the House, if they were debating that question, that Lord Ellenborough was placed in circumstances of great difficulty—that the disasters in Affghanistan—the retreat, which he thought justifiable, from the occupation of that country, were likely to produce an impression of the decline of the British military force in India, and that Lord Ellenborough might have other questions to consider, of which it was very difficult to convey any impression at such a distance as India was from this country. Impressions might have arisen in India which it might have been necessary to correct, and that speedily, and by a most decisive mode of action, lest they should become extremely formidable. He trusted lie should always feel that those were considerations which must be borne in mind in any opinions at which he might arrive. On the other hand, however, he could not but say, that he felt the confidence which he might otherwise have had in Lord Ellenborough a good deal shaken by the wavering and changes in his policy after he arrived in India. One of the first acts which had since resounded throughout the whole globe, was to issue a proclamation, which seemed very like a violent philippic against his predecessor, and in which he declared it to be his policy to keep within the Indus, which he was pleased to declare formed the natural limit of an empire, which, as far as he 453 knew, had no natural limit in any sense of the term. Then they would find that exactly one month after that—the former declaration being made upon the 1st of October, and the latter upon the 4th of November—Lord Ellenborough announced a distinctly different policy, affirming that we roust have an addition to our territory, and that that addition must be to the west of the Indus. It might be quite necessary, that we should have adopted the latter policy, but he could not help thinking, if it were necessary, that it had been rendered so by the injurious effects to our power in India, caused by his first proclamation. It was impossible that any man reading these proclamations should think otherwise, than that our force and preponderance in India were matter of doubt. As he said before, these were considerations which would strike him, if he had to come to any decision upon Lord Ellenborough's policy. He certainly thought, that, upon the whole subject, he could give no opinion as a Member of that House. There were two points, however, upon which he was quite ready to declare that he had a very decided opinion. First, it appeared to him to be perfectly clear from the papers before the House, that Sir Charles Napier—after the line of policy that had been taken by Lord Ellenborough—that that gallant Officer, with a view to the safety of his army, and with a view to the preservation of anything like our supremacy in India could have acted in no other mariner than he did. He quite agreed with those who said, that if Sir Charles Napier had acted otherwise, that if he had delayed his march any longer he would have put his army in jeopardy, and with the destruction of that army the power of the British empire in India would have been weakened to an extent fearful to contemplate. With respect, therefore, to Sir C. Napier, whether regarded in the light of a gallant and skilful officer, or as a man not wanting in moral courage upon a great crisis, he was willing to concede to him his humble share of approbation. He felt, however, that there was another and a very different question to which he must advert. He referred to certain general principles laid down by the right hon. Gentleman opposite (Sir R. Peel) with respect to civilization, and to the impossibility of applying to Scinde Laws of Nations. Very loose as those Laws of Nations generally 454 were, and God knew favourable enough as they were to conquest and aggression of all kinds whenever there were found princes of Europe ready to undertake conquest or aggression, he could not agree that the laws which governed an intercourse with other nations should be suspended in our transactions with Scinde. Such an admission would seem to leave such a latitude, and so to overthrow all moral control, that he for one should be sorry to participate in it. They had been favoured with a prophecy from the hon. and learned Member for Bath, to the effect that the next aggression which we were to make was to be the conquest of the Punjaub. He could very well understand the principles upon which Lord Auckland proceeded to Affghanistan. He could well understand a league comprising the princes of Persia, the chiefs of Cabul and Candahar, and the Ameers of Scinde, backed either openly or secretly by Russia, which should make it necessary to advance across the Indus; he could readily understand such perfidy upon the part of the Ameers of Scinde, as might well justify Lord Ellenborough in all the steps which he had taken with respect to Scinde; but with regard to anything which he had heard in reference to the Punjaub, he could see no reason for imagining that our next step in advance would be in that direction. He could not help referring to the excuse which had been brought forward in vindication of Scindian policy, as to that country being in a state of anarchy and misgoverned, subject to no control, and proceeding to the length of murdering its princes; hut if they listened to such an excuse as that—if they considered that, because a country was not well governed, or if they thought that they could govern it better—or upon a maxim equally dangerous, that upon one side there was civilization, and upon the other barbarism, and that, therefore, they must always be making advances upon barbarism—if they acted upon those principles, he said, the British empire in India, instead of becoming stronger, would increase to such an extent, that it must be weakened in consequence of those continued aggressions. With respect to the whole subject, if it were to be debated at all, he must say that he should certainly have expected to hear some opinions from some Members of that House who had the 455 honour of a seat in the East India direction. In the hands of the East India Company was placed, to a considerable extent, the Government of India, and as there were several hon. Gentlemen in that House who were directors of that company, who had as yet expressed no opinion, he thought that the House, if it were called upon to come to a decision upon the subject, would be much enlightened by the explanation which they might be able to give of those particular transactions. However, as he stated at the commencement, the only question at present was, whether they would agree to the motion of the noble Lord. He, for one, felt that he could not take upon himself that responsibility. He did not expect that that motion would be carried, but he trusted that the noble Lord would have the consolation of thinking, if there were any intention upon the part of the Government in India not to treat the Ameers with all the liberality to which they were entitled, that his motion would then have defeated any such object.
§ Sir R. Peel
observed, that the noble Lord had put a wider construction on what had fallen from him than he was justified in doing. The noble Lord had imputed to him that he had said, that the principles of those international laws which governed the intercourse between the states of Europe could not be depended on in our intercourse with the nations of the east. Now, what he said was this; that there were cases in which they would refuse to interfere with nations in Europe, but when under similar circumstances they would be called upon to interfere in India. He could not understand how on any other principle Lord Auckland's policy could be defended.
§ Mr. Hume
had never heard with more astonishment any observation than that which had fallen from the noble Lord as to the influence of the opinions of the Board of Directors. It must be well known to the noble Lord, that the Board of Directors was a perfect cipher on political matters, and that the Board of Control could do just what it pleased as to the government of India; therefore to ask for the opinion of Directors of the East India Company having seats in that House was a perfect farce. He should vote for the motion of the noble Lord, not that it went to the length which he desired, for he should have preferred it if it went much 456 further. The right hon. Baronet had said, that Lord Auckland had succeeded in making each Ameer independent, and yet he stated, that a letter proved against one only of the Ameers, Meer Roostum, was to justify the policy of Lord Ellenborough against all. On these grounds he considered these proceedings to be impolitic and unjust, and that in all times hereafter the word of England would be worth nothing. He trusted, that the right hon. Baronet would soon effect the object of the present motion, and make the Ameers complete compensation. He was satisfied, that within two years—the period fixed by his hon. and learned Friend for the accession of the Punjaub—the East India Company would be perfectly tired of our position in Scinde, and be glad to get rid of it; for we had an army there which cost four times more to maintain it than the whole revenue of the country; and on the ground of character, it was the greatest loss the East India Company had ever sustained.
Mr. Vernon Smith
thought that the integrity of our Indian empire would receive assistance from the knowledge of the fact, that some sympathy was exhibited in this country for the Ameers, and that even the Governor-general himself ought to be pleased that this sympathy was shown. The right hon. Gentleman said, that their return to Scinde was necessary if they were set at liberty; but they might be restrained, like the sons of Tippoo Saib, who, though released, were prohibited from returning to Mysore. In his opinion, however, if the people of Scinde were as happy and contented as they were described, the Ameers might even be admitted to Scinde without causing real danger. He must protest, in common with his noble Friend, against the doctrine of civilization being compelled to be unjust to barbarous states, propounded by the right hon. Baronet.
§ Lord Ashley
At that very late hour of the night, he would not avail himself of his privilege of reply, even if anything had been stated which affected his arguments. But he had not heard one single thing against his motion which ought to cause him to detain the House. There was only one thing which needed a word of comment. If the House were not to interfere, and if it were scrupulously to refuse to redress any evils, what became of the responsibility of the Governor-general? 457 What became of the great controlling power of the House to superintend the whole of the officers of the Government? The whole arguments of the right hon. Baronet and of the hon. and learned Gentleman, the Member for Bath, turned upon reasons of State. They urged that the conduct of the Governor-general with respect to the Ameers of Scinde was founded upon reasons of State. If, for the sake of argument, and for the sake of argument only, he admitted that reasons of State were sufficiently cogent to justify the conduct of the Governor-general, were we to visit with punishment these miserable Ameers, whom we felt we must maintain in their possessions, though they had been engaged in some intrigues; and, then, because we had reasons of State, were we to allow them no longer to rule, and tear them from their thrones? He had heard one statement from the hon. Gentleman, the Member for Bath, which he never should have expected to fall from any hon. Member, and certainly not from a legal Member of that House, that the non-production of the documents which might have proved the vindication of the Ameers was only a feather. Why, it was the last feather which broke the elephant's back. He assured the gallant Commodore (Sir Charles Napier) that he did not quote the letter of Sir Charles Napier in any invidious spirit; he had so stated at the time, nor did he do it to complain of Sir Charles Napier, but it was necessary for him to refer to it, as the advocate of the Ameers, to show how they were treated. He was glad to hear from the right hon. Baronet at the head of the Government, that the state of the Ameers was entitled to the consideration of the Government. He was sure that the Government must sympathise with them, but these promises of sympathy would not be a sufficient alleviation of their condition. They were entitled to more: they were entitled to their liberty. He did not mean to say, if that were restored to them, that it was necessary for them to return to Scinde; but even if that should be the consequence, he could quote from Sir C. Napier himself, that nothing was so hated in Scinde as the Ameers. They were loathed by the Mahomedan people, and even the Beloochees had discarded them. All he had heard from his right hon. Friend was not by any means sufficient, according to his views; and however great might be his 458 regret at the inconvenience to which he would put the House, and at opposing old political friends, still he must, by his vote, express his opinion of an act which reflected no credit on the nation to which we belonged, or to the religion we professed.
§ The House divided:—Ayes 68; Noes 202:—Majority 134.
|List of the AYES.|
|Arundel and Surrey, Earl of||Hume, J.|
|Labouchere, rt. hn. H.|
|Barnard, E. G.||M'Geachy, F. A.|
|Borthwick, P.||Mangles, R. D.|
|Bowring, Dr.||Manners, Lord J.|
|Brotherton, J.||Marsland, H.|
|Browne, hon. W.||Maule, rt. hon. F.|
|Buller, C.||Morris, D.|
|Busfeild, W.||Muntz, G. F.|
|Cochrane, A.||Napier, Sir C.|
|Cowper, hon. W. F.||O'Brien, A. S.|
|Denison, J. E.||Paget, Lord A.|
|Disraeli, B.||Pattison, J.|
|Divett, E.||Pechell, Capt.|
|Duncan, G.||Plumridge, Capt.|
|Duncombe, T.||Pryse, P.|
|Dundas, F.||Pulsford, R.|
|Dundas, D.||Repton, G. W. J.|
|Easthope, Sir J.||Ross, D. R.|
|Ebrington, Visct.||Smith, rt. hon. R. V.|
|Esmonde, Sir T.||Stanley, hon. W. O.|
|Ferrand, W. B.||Stewart, P. M.|
|Gardner, J. D.||Stock, Serj.|
|Gisborne, T.||Strickland, Sir G.|
|Gore, hon. R.||Tancred, H. W.|
|Granger, T. C.||Thornely, T.|
|Grey, rt. hon. Sir G.||Trelawny, J. S.|
|Hall, Sir B.||Tufnell, H.|
|Hastie, A.||Wallace, R.|
|Hawes, B.||Wawn, J. T.|
|Hill, Lord M.||Wood, C.|
|Hindley, C.||Wyse, T.|
|Howard, Lord||Ashley, Lord|
|Howick, Visct.||Jocelyn, Visct.|
|List of the NOES.|
|Acland, T. D.||Bell, M.|
|A'Court, Capt.||Bentinck, Lord G.|
|Aldam, W.||Beresford, Major|
|Alford, Visct.||Berkeley, hon. C.|
|Allix, J. P.||Bernal, R.|
|Antrobus, E.||Blakemore, R.|
|Arbuthnott, hon. H.||Boldero, H. G.|
|Arkwright, G.||Botfield, B.|
|Bagot, hon. W.||Bradshaw, J.|
|Bailie, Col.||Broadley, H.|
|Baldwin, B.||Bruce, Lord E.|
|Balfour, J. M.||Bruen, Col.|
|Baring, hon. W. B.||Buckley, E.|
|Barrington, Visct.||Burroughs, H. N.|
|Baskerville, T. B. M.||Cardwell, E.|
|Beckett, W.||Charteris, hon. F.|
|Chetwode, Sir J.||Hussey, T.|
|Cholmondeley, hn. H.||Hutt, W.|
|Clayton, R. R.||James, Sir W. C.|
|Clerk, Sir G.||Jermyn, Earl|
|Clive, hon. R. H.||Johnstone, Sir J.|
|Colborne, hn. W. N. R.||Johnstone, H.|
|Colebrooke, Sir T. E.||Jones, Capt.|
|Colvile, C. R.||Kemble, H.|
|Compton, H. C.||Knatchbull, rt. hn. Sir E.|
|Connolly, Col.||Knightley, Sir C.|
|Copeland, Ald:||Lascelles, hon. W. S.|
|Corry, rt. hon. H.||Law, hon. C. E.|
|Cresswell, B.||Lawson, A.|
|Cripps, W. H.||Leader, J. T.|
|Dalrymple, Capt.||Lincoln, Earl of|
|Damer, hon. Col.||Lockhart, W.|
|Darby, G.||Lowther, J. H.|
|Denison, E. B.||Mackenzie, T.|
|Dickinson, F. H.||Mackenzie, W. F.|
|Douglas, Sir H.||Maclean, D.|
|Douglas, Sir C. E.||M'Neill, D.|
|Douglas, J. D. S.||Mahon, Visct.|
|Douro, Marq. of||Manners, Lord C. S.|
|Drummond, H. H.||March, Earl of|
|Dundas, Adm.||Marjoribanks, S.|
|Du Pre, C. G.||Marsham, Visct.|
|Eaton, R. J.||Martin, C. W.|
|Egerton, W. T.||Marton, G.|
|Eliot, Lord||Maxwell, hon. J. P.|
|Escott, B.||Meynell, Capt.|
|Farnham, E. B.||Miles, P. W. S.|
|Fitzmaurice, hon. W.||Miles, W.|
|Flower, Sir J.||Milnes, R. M.|
|Follett, Sir W. W.||Morgan, O.|
|Ffolliott, J.||Murray, A.|
|Forster, M.||Neville, R.|
|Fuller, A. E.||Newport, Visct.|
|Gaskell, J. Milnes||Nicholl, rt. hon. J.|
|Gladstone, rt. hn. W. E.||Norreys, Lord|
|Godson, R.||Northland, Visct.|
|Gordon, hon. Capt.||Oswald, A.|
|Gore, M.||Owen, Sir J.|
|Goulburn, rt. hon. H.||Packe, C. W.|
|Graham, rt. hn. Sir J.||Paget, Lord W.|
|Greene, T.||Pakington, J. S.|
|Gregory, W. H.||Palmer, R.|
|Grimston, Visct.||Palmerston, Visct.|
|Hale, R. B.||Patten, J. W.|
|Halford, H.||Peel, rt. hon. Sir R.|
|Hamilton, J. H.||Peel, J.|
|Hamilton, W. J.||Philips, M.|
|Hamilton, Lord C.||Pigot, Sir R.|
|Hanmer, Sir J.||Pollington, Visct.|
|Harcourt, G. G.||Pollock, Sir F.|
|Hardinge, rt. hn. Sir H.||Praed, W, T.|
|Hayes, Sir E.||Pringle, A.|
|Henley, J. W.||Protheroe, E.|
|Hepburn, Sir T. B.||Pusey, P.|
|Herbert, hon. S.||Rashleigh, W.|
|Hinde, J. H||Reid, Sir J. R..|
|Hobhouse, rt. hn. Sir J.||Roebuck, J. A.|
|Hodgson, F.||Round, J.|
|Hodgson, R.||Rushbrooke, Col.|
|Holmes, hn. W. A'Ct.||Russell, Lord J.|
|Hope, hon. C.||Russell, J. D. W.|
|Hope, G. W.||Ryder, hon. G. D.|
|Howard, P. H.||Sandon, Visct.|
|Scarlett, hon. R. C.||Trotter, J.|
|Scott, hon. F.||Turnor, C.|
|Shaw, rt. hon. F.||Tyrell, Sir J. T.|
|Shirley, E. J,||Vane, Lord H.|
|Sibthorp, Col.||Waddington, H. S.|
|Smith, A.||Walsh, Sir J. B.|
|Somerset, Lord G.||Wilshere, W.|
|Standish, C.||Wodehouse, E.|
|Stanley, Lord||Wood, Col.|
|Stanley, E.||Wood, Col. T.|
|Stewart, J.||Wortley, hon. Jas. S.|
|Sutton, hon. H. M.||Wortley, hon. Jn. S.|
|Tennent, J. E.||Wrightson, W. B.|
|Thesiger, F.||Wyndham, Col. C.|
|Tollemache, hon. F. J.||Yorke, hon. E. T.|
|Tomline, G.||Young, J.|
|Trench, Sir F. W.||Freemantle, Sir T.|
|Trevor, hon. G. R.||Baring, H.|