§ Sir R. Peel
said, it was in general very convenient that they should proceed consecutively with an adjourned debate; therefore, with the leave of the hon. Gentlemen, he would ask whether, if the discussion upon the Motion of the hon. Member for Montrose were over in time to resume the debate upon the affairs of New Zealand, the hon. Gentlemen who had other Motions were prepared to give way for that purpose? It would be a great convenience to have it brought to a close.
§ Mr. Ewart
was placed in some difficulty by the request. He stood pledged to several parties to bring on the Motion which stood in his name, and he feared another opportunity would not offer during the Session. He stood in a peculiar 893 position; but if his hon. Friend the Member for Montrose withdrew his Motion, he would follow his example.
§ Mr. Hume
said his statement would be very short, and as it was a matter in which justice had already been too long delayed, he trusted he should be allowed to go on. His object was to move—That an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty, that she will be graciously pleased to direct an impartial inquiry into the Charges against Pertaub Shean, late Rajah of Sattara, and also whether he has been furnished with a Copy of the Charges and Evidence against him on which he was, in 1839, deposed from his Raj, and sent an exile and a State prisoner to Benares; and that Her Majesty will be pleased further to direct inquiry to be made into the charges of Bribery and Corruption brought by Krushnajee Sudasew Bhidey (as stated in the Papers recently laid before this House), against Colonel Ovans, whilst Resident at Sattara, and against Ballajee Punt Nathoo, who assisted Colonel Ovans at the Court of Sattara, and is now a Prisoner under the East India Company, as a Sirdar of the second class.The hon. Member then continued: Sir, I cannot, consistently with what I believe to be my duty, postpone my Motion. I will, however, be as brief as the facts which it is necessary to bring before the House, will allow me to be. I have always been most reluctant to take up the time of the House upon this question; and have, therefore, waited long to see if Her Majesty's Government would take some steps towards granting to the unfortunate Prince, whose name is now before us, the trial to which the meanest of our fellow subjects is entitled, and always obtains, before punishment is inflicted. When I last brought this subject before the House, it was for the purpose of presenting a petition from the Rajah, the prayer of which I will now read. The injury complained of by the Rajah is stated in the following words:—That your Petitioner, for many years a faithful ally, and a great feudatory of Her Majesty's Indian Empire, has recently, by the East India Company's Government, under the accusation of treason and secret hostility—crimes which he never even in imagination conceived—on evidence corrupt and one-sided, as well as inconsistent and contradictory—without a trial, and without the opportunity of self-defence—been despoiled of his throne and dominions, and consigned to exile.He then proceeds to say— 894With regard to the evidence, oral and documentary, which the whole power and influence of the British Government have been for years employed to procure and accumulate against your Petitioner, it has not been in his power to offer the clearest disproof; because, although he has been pronounced guilty, and deposed upon that evidence, he has been peremptorily denied all knowledge of it.The Rajah concludes his Appeal to this House in the following words:—Wherefore your Petitioner respectfully solicits from your honourable House a consideration of his case, and of the treatment he has received, as well as the high character he has invariably maintained amongst his people and the Princes of India. While he implores from your honourable House that justice which, had his lot been that of a peasant, it would have been his right to claim from the laws of the British realm, he cannot forget that it is as a dethroned and exiled Prince that he appeals to your honourable House. He trusts, that the vast power which has been placed by Divine Providence in the hands of the Government of Great Britain will not be exercised to his continued wrong? and he hopes the injustice and degradation which he has suffered in innocence, will not be permitted to appear on the page of history, to tarnish the glory of the British name, and the conduct and character of that Government in India, towards a Sovereign, once its honoured ally, now its helpless prisoner.Such, Sir, is the substance of the petition which I had the honour to present to this House on the behalf of the Rajah; and I should have been well satisfied, if it had led to that impartial inquiry, which is all that either the Rajah or his friends in this country have ever desired. Before I go further, I must beg permission to state to the House in what estimation the Rajah was held previous to the period when the accusations which have been brought against him were first made. At the conclusion of the Mahratta war, which ended with the entire overthrow of Bajee Rao, the Bramin Peishwa, or Prime Minister of the Rajah of Sattara, the ex-Rajah was elevated by the British Government to the guddee, or throne of the Principality of Sattara, and was placed by Mr. Mountstuart Elphinstone under the special care of Captain Grant Duff. I shall now read to the House a letter which was unanimously adopted by the Court of Directors, in the month of December, 1835, and was sent to the Rajah, accompanied by a present of a splendid sword. This letter is as follows:—
§ "December 29th, 1835.
§ "Your Highness — We have been highly gratified by the information from time to time, transmitted to us by our Government, on the subject of your Highness's exemplary fulfilment of the duties of that elevated situation in which it has pleased Providence to place you.
§ "A course of conduct so suitable to your Highness's exalted station, and so well calculated to promote the prosperity of your dominions and the happiness of your people, as that which you have wisely and uniformly pursued, while it reflects the highest honour on your own character, has imparted to our minds the feelings of unqualified satisfaction and pleasure. The liberality, also, which you have displayed in executing, at your own cost, various public works of great utility, and which has so greatly raised your reputation in the eyes of the princes and people of India, gives you an additional claim to our approbation, respect, and applause.
§ "Impressed with these sentiments, the Court of Directors of the East India Company have unanimously resolved to transmit to you a sword, which will be presented to you through the Government of Bombay, and which we trust you will receive with satisfaction, as a token of their high esteem and regard.
§ "With sincere wishes for your health and prosperity, we subscribe ourselves in the name of the Court—Your Highness's most faithful friends,
§ (Signed) "W. S. CLARKE, Chairman.
§ "J. R. CARNAC, Deputy."
Unhappily, before this letter and present reached Bombay, there had been a misunderstanding between the Rajah and the Bombay Government respecting the title of the former to the sovereignty over some jagheers, or feudal estates, which had been secured to the Rajah by the Treaty of 1819, in the event of their lapsing, by the death of their incumbents, or the failure of heirs by birth, or adoption. This unfortunate quarrel, in which, however, the Rajah was entirely in the right, gave the native enemies of the Prince an opportunity of concocting plots for his dethronement; and these plots were in progress when the Court's complimentary letter reached India. As I deem it of the highest importance that the real character of the Rajah should be known, I will read the testimony which has been given by the political residents or ambassadors at his Court, for a period of twenty years; observing, that these hon. and gallant Gentlemen had the opportunity of narrowly observing the Rajah's conduct and dispositions, from day to day, through the whole of that long series of consecutive
years. The first evidence which I shall adduce is that of Captain Grant Duff, who was the Rajah's early adviser and friend. This officer, writing to the Rajah's Vakeel, Rungoo Bapojee, under date the 31st October, 1842, says—
He" (the Rajah) "never could be guilty of what has been alleged against him. I believe he never for one moment entertained inimical intentions towards the British Government. The whole story of intriguing with Goa, and of corrupting the sepoys, I also believe the Rajah had nothing to do with, and I think his deposal was impolitic and unjust. I have always said, that, judging from all I ever knew of the Rajah, I do not believe him guilty of the silly crimes with which he has been charged, and for which he has, in my humble judgment, been unjustly set aside.
The next evidence is that of Major General Briggs, who succeeded Captain Duff, and was at the Rajah's Court for more than four years. This testimony was borne so recently as the 18th of last month (June) in the Court of Proprietors, and is in reply to a charge of immorality brought against the Rajah, by an infamous Brahmin of the name of Ballajee Punt Nathoo. General Briggs says—
I had the honour to fill the situation of Resident at the Court of Sattara for a period of four years, during which time I had peculiar opportunities of forming a judgment on the private character of the late ruling Prince; and I have no hesitation in saying, that I consider the charge referred to a most atrocious libel. During my official experience, I have been brought into communication with many foreign Princes, both in India and elsewhere; and I do deliberately affirm, that I never met with one whose moral character stood higher, or in whose conduct the utter absence of all licentiousness was more remarkable, than in that of the deposed Rajah of Sattara.
I shall now quote the emphatic testimony of Major General Robertson, who is, at this moment, one of the Directors of the East India Company. This high-minded officer was more than six years at the Rajah's Court, and in answering the charge so explicitly refuted by his predecessor, General Briggs, he says—
In justice to the character of the Rajah of Sattara, I beg to confirm what has just been said by Major General Briggs; I have no hesitation in saying, that the charge is false. It rests solely on the assertion of the Brahmin Ballajee Punt Nathoo, who gave his evidence secretly and anonymously before the Commission in 1836. From my knowledge of the Rajah, I have no doubt that the story is utterly
false. I must beg also to say a word on the epithet of 'imbecile,' which has been bestowed upon the Rajah. Perhaps, as I was for years in the habit of almost daily intercourse with the Rajah, hon. Gentlemen will not object to receive my testimony on such a point, in preference to that of the hon. proprietor, Mr. Weeding. My testimony in reference to the Rajah's imbecility is this—and I set it over against that of those who know nothing about him—that I never knew a more able man in the transaction of public business, or a Prince of more perfect honour or spotless integrity.
In conclusion, on this part of the subject, I will read the evidence given by General Lodwick, who succeeded General Robertson, and who, in a speech delivered at the India House on the 8th of February, 1840, says—
I can positively declare that, during the period I was Resident at Sattara, I never expressed a wish to the Rajah that was not readily attended to: roads were constructed, the condition of his jagheerdars was ameliorated, in fact, he was liberal in every respect, generous to his servants, of the best domestic character, evincing the possession of a kindness springing from a happy temperament of mind and body. The Rajah collected the whole of his revenues without oppression.
Sir, here you have the testimony of the most unexceptionable witnesses to the character of the Rajah during twenty years, added to that of the unanimous opinion of the Directors in 1836. Three charges have been preferred against the Rajah. I will state what they are. The first was in 1836, and was that of the Rajah having had an interview with two native officers of a British regiment, with a view of corrupting them from their allegiance. The second was, that the Rajah carried on a clandestine correspondence with Appa Sahib, the ex-Rajah of Nagpore—at the time a State prisoner and a pensioner at the Court of the Rajah of Joudpore. The third was, that the Rajah intrigued with Don Manoel, the Viceroy of the Portuguese Settlement of Goa, for the purpose of bringing 30,000 European troops to India, to drive the British from the country. Sir, I once believed these charges were true; for I could not bring myself to think that the Government of India would dethrone a native prince, like the Rajah of Sattara, without the fullest and most conclusive evidence of his guilt; but having given much attention to the subject, and having read all the documents relating to the case, I have been
brought to the conclusion that the whole has been a series of the most infamous and wicked plots against the Rajah—hatched by his enemies, and too readily believed and acted upon by the Government, when they found the Rajah was determined to maintain his right to the jagheers, in opposition to the erroneous view which had been taken of that question. Sir, the charge of attempting the allegiance of the sepoys, was preferred during General Lodwick's time, and I must say that the conduct of Sir Robert Grant in the affair was anything but creditable. Instead of giving the Rajah an opportunity of rebutting the evidence of the two sepoys, he sent "a paper of hints" to the Resident, General Lodwick, instructing that officer how he might entrap the Rajah. I will read to the House what General Lodwick himself says on this subject, in a letter to the Court of Directors, dated 9th October, 1840.
The system was now changed. All was energy in devising schemes by which the plot should be matured and detected; for which I should have been at a loss to account, had I not been told that, in a hasty moment, 'a report of the case had been sent to the Supreme Government and to the Court of Directors, with an assurance that the Government placed full reliance on the testimony of the native officers; that many persons of weight went so far as to think the Rajah ought to be sent to Bombay to have his conduct investigated, and that possession should be taken of his country; but that, at all events, the affair could not be quashed, and the question was, how to make the inquiry most effective, though it was feared nothing more could be expected from the Rajah.' And a paper of hints was sent to me, suggesting, 'that the native officers should ask to see the Rajah, tell him they had heard their part of the plot had been discovered, beg that he would protect them, either by advancing money to escape with, or a pass under his hand and seal to insure them service; that if he gave them money, the evidence would be strong if a paper, convincing. If, however, he should give them up to me, with loud complaints of calumny, in this case I was to pretend to secure them, and suspicion being hushed, an opportunity would be afforded of securing the principal agents.
Honour and honesty being my motto in public as in private life, I spurned such shifts as these, and left the plot to develop itself, without secretly tempting the Rajah to afford me proof of his having aided it, determining to demand the delivery to me of the persons accused whenever the matter should transpire, and to take no active part in the Rajah's ruin.
At the proper moment, and in exact conformity with instructions which I had demanded from the Government, I went to the palace, informed His Highness that some of his subjects were accused of plotting against the British Government, and required them to be delivered over to me. In an hour from that time they were at the residency, the Rajah giving them up instantly.
General Lodwick not being willing to be employed as the Government wished, a Commission was appointed, consisting of the Resident, Colonel Ovans, and Mr. Willoughby, the Secretary to Government. This was a secret Commission, sent to try the Rajah in his own capital. What will the House think of this inquiry, when I tell them, that the Rajah was denied the right of having a person present to take notes and cross-examine the witnesses? Yet such was the case. General Lodwick pointed out the injustice of the refusal, and made a special application to Government in the Rajah's behalf; but no counsel or vakeel was allowed to be present. The two Commissioners from Bombay refused to pay their respects to the Rajah—an indignity never before offered to any native Prince—they also suggested that the Rajah should, without this ceremony, be sent for to the Commission; but the Resident positively refused to be the bearer of such an insulting message. Well, Sir, when the Commission had nearly closed their proceedings, they intimated to the Rajah that he might attend and hear the evidence given against him. He did so; it was read over to him in the Hindustanee language, with which the Rajah was only imperfectly acquainted. At the conclusion, the Rajah requested to be furnished with a copy of the depositions in the Mahratta language, and said, that when that was done, he would send in his reply. A promise was made that the depositions should be sent to him; but, although he frequently afterwards repeated his request, they were not given; and to the present hour the Rajah has never received a particle of the evidence against him, nor so much as a statement of the charges which the Government were, for years, prosecuting against him. The evidence in the case of the sepoys was of the most absurd and contradictory character; and though all on one side, was found insufficient to justify the conviction of the Rajah: in fact, one of the most able members of the Supreme Government
declared that he had sought in vain for a point on which to rest a belief of the Rajah's guilt. The Nagpore case is altogether too ridiculous to require serious notice in this House. It is a story about sending a pair of slippers to, and receiving a sword from, a man who was at the time in circumstances of absolute dependance and poverty; and yet it was said, that to this man the Rajah applied for 300,000l. to aid him in obtaining troops from Europe. The third charge relating to Goa has been proved to be without foundation in any of its parts. The papers produced to prove the charge are the admitted fabrications of one man, being neither in the handwriting of the Rajah on the one hand, nor of the Viceroy on the other. The seals attached to them are also forgeries, being neither the State seals of the Rajah, nor the seals of any of his predecessors, either Rajahs or Peishwas. These Papers, too, were obtained by Colonel Ovans from a gang robber, by a bribe of 400 rupees, or 40l. sterling. But, Sir, I would ask this House whether it be possible that the Bombay Government and Her Majesty's Ministers could believe this charge to be true, and yet refrain from taking any notice of it as regarded the conduct of a Portuguese Governor representing a Power in ancient and friendly alliance with this nation? If the Rajah was guilty, Don Manoel, the Viceroy, was equally so; and if he was guilty, it was the duty of the British Government to bring his acts to the notice of his Sovereign, and to demand his punishment, and the most ample explanation from those whose confidence and authority he had so shamefully abused. Sir, on hearing of this extraordinary charge, I myself wrote to Don Manoel, at the time filling a high situation in the household of the Queen of Portugal; and, in reply, received a solemn declaration, made in the presence of a public notary at Lisbon, to the effect that the charge was utterly false and groundless. Such I honestly believe to be the opinion of Her Majesty's Ministers, in proof of which I may refer to the words of Sir John Hobhouse, late President of the Board of Control, addressed to this House on the 23rd of June, 1842. The language of that right hon. Gentleman, on the occasion to which I refer, was this:—
The hon. Member for Shrewsbury has accused
me of dethroning the Rajah of Sattara; a charge almost too absurd to require contradiction. I did not dethrone the Rajah of Sattara. The hon. Member has also accused me of believing that the Rajah of Sattara was about to bring 30,000 Portuguese from Goa to invade British India. Where the hon. Member learned that, I know not: I have seen some trumpery statement in a newspaper to that effect; but there is not a word of truth in it. As President of the Board of Control, I know that those charges were brought against the Rajah of Sattara; but to say, that I believe them, is what the hon. Gentlemen has not the slightest foundation for saying.
If then, Sir, the exculpation of Don Manoel be considered complete, what becomes of the charge against his alleged confederate in crime, the Rajah of Sattara? why is the latter punished, while the charge is considered too ridiculous to be noticed in reference to the former? It is not my purpose, however, to examine the evidence brought forward to criminate the Rajah of Sattara: my object is simply to inquire whether the accused has had the opportunity of establishing his innocence by an examination of, and reply to, the allegations recorded against him; and as it is too late in the Session to move for the appointment of a Select Committee, I have adopted the course of recommending an Address to Her Majesty the Queen. I now beg leave to call the attention of the House, and of Her Majesty's Government, to the contents of the Papers which have been recently printed and laid on the Table. They relate to certain charges brought against Colonel Ovans, and his native assistant, Ballajee Punt Nathoo, by Krushnajee Sudasew Bhidey, a man who was employed to write and send to the Bombay Government a document denouncing the Rajah of Sattara, and twelve other persons, as concerned in a treasonable conspiracy against the British Government. I must be permitted to say, that I have hitherto most studiously abstained from bringing any charges against British officers connected with the dethronement of the Rajah of Sattara. So far from ever attempting to implicate Colonel Ovans, I have refused to believe any thing to his prejudice, and would not even accuse his native assistant of improper conduct, until I had afforded the Court of Directors the means of examining into the nature of the evidence offered in support of the charges against him. This will appear from my printed
Letter to the Court, upon page 9 of these Papers. A brief history of the connexion of Krushnajee Sudasew Bhidey, whose petition to this House has been printed, is here necessary, that the House may understand the true state of affairs. Before I come to Krushnajee, however, let me say a word regarding Ballajee Punt Nathoo, the person he has accused. This man is a Brahmin, and was instrumental, many years ago, in betraying his then master, Bajee Rao, the Peishwa, into the hands of the British Government. For this service he has since received a handsome pension, together with a second rank amongst the Sirdars, or chiefs of the Deccan. He was the enemy of the ex-Rajah, in consequence of that Prince refusing to make him his Minister; and throughout these proceedings, he has had the credit of being the chief instigator of the various plots to dethrone the Rajah. On the removal of General Lodwick from Sattara, he was recommended to Colonel Ovans by the Bombay Government, as a fit man to be taken into confidence and employed in the work of getting up evidence against the Rajah. He is a man of considerable talent, and has, it is said, amassed great wealth by the use of the power which he has been able to exercise since the dethronement of the ex-Rajah. To return to Krushnajee; this man, it appears, was the writer of the document I have already referred to, which was sent anonymously to the Bombay Government in the early part of 1837, and was given to Colonel Ovans, with a strict charge that he should ascertain and make known the writer. Colonel Ovans subsequently reported, that he had discovered all the parties concerned in the petition (as the document was called); that it was written at the suggestion of the mother of one of the parties denounced, who was already in prison; that its contents were dictated by the brother of that lady, a person of the name of Sukharam; and that it was posted from Poonah. Now, Sir, it is certainly a very strange and suspicious circumstance, that, after this account had been given to the Government, with an assurance from Colonel Ovans, that its accuracy might be relied upon, that it should appear, upon perfectly unquestionable evidence, that not one word of the story was true. The Papers before this House prove, that a short time after this
account had been sent to Bombay, and Colonel Ovans had obtained authority to imprison the parties named in the petition, that officer was waited upon by Krushnajee, and informed that he (Krushnajee) was the real writer; and that he was employed by a man of the name of Lukshmun Punt, who promised him, in the name of the lady from whom the petition purported to emanate, a reward of 1,250 rupees. It is also in evidence in the Printed Papers, that this man laid such documentary proofs before Colonel Ovans, as thoroughly satisfied that officer that his statement was correct; and that he had given the true history of the paper in question. I have nothing to say in vindication of Krushnajee, as far as regards his conduct, respecting the writing of the petition. All I am anxious to do is, to prove to the House that there are ample grounds for believing that every part of the evidence against the Rajah, has been the fruit of conspiracy and forgery. Let it be remembered, that Colonel Ovans has confessed, that all that this man said (before he became the accuser of himself, and his chief agent, Ballajee Punt Nathoo,) was true. If, then, his statement was considered true in the one case, why should it be rejected in the other? But, let us look at the conduct of Colonel Ovans on the receipt of the proofs of the real authorship of the petition. Instead of sending those proofs to Government, he withheld them for nearly a year; as I understand Colonel Ovans has declared that all that Krushnajee has recently alleged, is false; and that he is prepared to prove it. I beg to state, that Colonel Ovans was publicly charged three years ago, in the Court of Proprietors, with having suppressed the evidence of Krushnajee—even after he had demonstrated to his own satisfaction, that it was both "correct and conclusive." When this charge got out to India, Colonel Ovans seemed very anxious that the gentleman who had made it, should be prosecuted for libel. I will read three short paragraphs from his letter to the Bombay Government, showing his desire that the author of the charge should be punished. The letter is dated Sattara, 23rd September, 1842.
Par. 16.—"I think I may safely appeal to Government to say, if the accusations stated to have been read by Mr. G. Thompson, at
the India House, on the 29th of July last, can possibly have any foundation.
Par. 17.—"If these atrocious libels, however, were read by Mr. G. Thompson, in the presence of the Honourable Court of Directors, and in the presence of the Proprietors; then, I beg to say, that I put myself, as a public officer, under the protection of the Court, and earnestly solicit that the law officers of the Company may be directed to prosecute that gentleman for these libels.
Par. 18.—"But if this should not be deemed advisable, then I earnestly solicit permission to institute proceedings myself against Mr. G. Thompson; and, in this case, I beg the Honourable Court will be pleased to grant an order to my law advisers, for any papers they may require to lay before the courts of law to prove my case.
Sir, if Colonel Ovans be desirous of vindicating his character from the very grave accusation of suppressing most important judicial evidence, he had better carry out his original wish, and prosecute the gentleman who has made the charge in this country, and who has since repeated it; affording at the same time to Colonel Ovans an opportunity, which he declined to embrace, of refuting that charge before the body to which he belongs. Now, Sir, as it respects the charges contained in the Papers recently laid on the Table of this House: From those papers we learn, that Krushnajee Sudasew Bhidey professed to believe, that he had a claim upon the British Government for the reward originally promised him for writing the petition. Whether this be true or not, one thing is proved by these Papers, that, on his appearing before Colonel Ovans to state his share in the transactions, he received from Colonel Ovans a present of fifty rupees, and was put upon a monthly allowance, which he was permitted to enjoy, until the dethronement of the Rajah; and that he was then dismissed with a present of one hundred rupees, and recommended for employment under the present Rajah. If, therefore, he is now branded as an infamous man, in consequence of his original offence of fabricating a false document, what shall we say of Colonel Ovans, who, when fully cognizant of all the facts of the case, gave him in the first instance a very liberal sum of money, and afterwards kept him in his pay for two years, and finally dismissed him with another large gift? Those who will take the trouble of going through these Papers, will find that the
charges which have been brought against Colonel Ovans, and his agent Ballajee Punt, are supported by references to a very large number of highly respectable persons, as well as to a great number of official records. What did the Bombay Government do, on receiving a statement of these charges? Why, they sent them at once to the parties accused, who forthwith report that they are false and unfounded, and recommend that they be dismissed; and they are dismissed accordingly. After seven petitions to the Governor in Council have been thus treated, Krushnajee at lasts forwards his complaints to Mr. John Warden, a judge at Poonah, and the Government agent for the adjustment of all claims upon Sirdars in the Deccan. Mr. Warden viewed these charges in a light very different from the Bombay Government, and at once called upon Krushnajee to send him a list of the witnesses, and proofs he intended to call, in support of his accusations. Here, Sir, is the list prepared by the accuser, and sent to Mr. Warden. It covers three folio pages, and refers to evidence in support of every one of the charges. It is in this paper that we first find a direct charge against Colonel Ovans; and I will read the passage, that the House may decide whether or not it was worthy the attention of those who are bound to preserve the honour and integrity of the British service in India. [The hon. Member read from the Printed Papers a passage from the testimony of Krushnajee, accusing Colonel Ovans of receiving money and presents.] The House will observe, that there are three persons specified as witnesses in support of these charges against Colonel Ovans; that they are all in the service of the present Rajah; and that one of them is no less a person than the Rajah's Minister, with whom Colonel Ovans had, of necessity, much official intercourse. Nothing would have been easier than to have at once established the truth or the falsehood of these charges, which were thus plainly preferred in July, 1843. Mr. Warden deemed it his duty to require at once the personal attendance of Krushnajee, at Poonah; and on his arrival, took from him his solemn affirmation to the truth of his statements, which will be found in page 32 of the Printed Papers. Besides this affirmation, Mr. Warden called upon Krushnajee to enter into recognizances
for five thousand rupees, and to find security to the amount of one thousand more, to remain within the British jurisdiction, and to appear and make good his charges; or, in default of doing so, to pay the fine, or to suffer, with his security, two years' imprisonment. The recognizances were given; and Mr. Warden then wrote the following letter to the Government, sending with it, at the time, copies of all the documents which had been handed to him by Krushnajee Sudasew Bhidey. The House will perceive from Mr. Warden's letters, that that officer considered the case as one which was peculiarly deserving the notice of the Government.
§ "TO THE CHIEF SECRETARY TO GOVERNMENT, BOMBAY.
§ "Agent's Office, Poonah, 19th Aug., 1844.
§ "Sir—1. Several months ago, I received by the post a Mahratta paper, of which the enclosed (Krushnajee's Petition of the 14th of October) is a translation.
§ "2. As it has been usual for the Agent for Sirdars to communicate with the Government on alleged misconduct by Sirdars; as the mode of inquiry asked for in the present instance by Krushnajee Sudasew, is that ordered by Government in the case of Dadjee Appajee Seweya, excepting only that the committee on him was a native one; and as Ballajee Punt Nathoo is not only a Sirdar of the second class, and a pensioner of the British Government, 'during good behaviour,' but is the most favoured of all those who, on the accession of the British Government to the Deccan, were styled 'British adherents;' it did not appear right that I should disregard such serious complaints against him, and so earnest an appeal to me, as the Agent of Government in immediate communication with the Sirdars, although those complaints relate to the acts of Ballajee Punt Nathoo when employed in the Sattara country; and I therefore, as a preliminary step, called on Krushnajee Sudasew to state the grounds on which he preferred these charges of extortion, fraud, and abuse of authority.
§ "3. The enclosure No. 2 (the List of Witnesses, and other evidence), is the answer he has brought me, in which he has introduced two additional charges against Ballajee Punt Nathoo, as well as matter relating to the Resident at Sattara; and I feel that I only perform my duty in laying both papers before the Honourable the Governor in Council.
§ "4. As, however, it would be most unjust to the Resident and Ballajee Punt Nathoo to allow Krushnajee Sudasew Bhidey to prefer these accusations without confirming such facts as are within his own knowledge, by legal solemn affirmation, and placing himself within 907 the jurisdiction of a British Court, empowered to punish him for defamation; I have taken the solemn affirmation, of which the enclosure No. 3 is a translation, and obtained from him security to the amount of 1,000 rupees, besides his personal recognizance to the amount of 5,000 rupees, for his appearance at Poonah, till the inquiry which may be ordered shall have been completed.
§ "J. WARDEN."
§ What will be the surprise of this House when I say, that after all these formalities, precautions, and preparations, the Bombay Government dismissed the whole subject as utterly unworthy their attention, and took no means of rescuing the character of their own officer, or that of Ballajee Punt, by the only effectual and rational mode, namely, an inquiry into the case. Such being the state of the question, I trust this House and the Government will see the necessity of promoting an immediate and full investigation into all the facts of the case. I cannot but believe that the Rajah has been made the victim of the base and malicious plots of his native enemies, and that the Government, in refusing him the means of meeting the charges brought against him, have acted unjustly. Our character in India has, I feel persuaded, been much injured by the way in which we have disposed of this case; while, on the other hand, a solemn and sifting inquiry, which would enable the deposed Rajah to rebut the evidence given against him, and his restoration, in the event of his innocence being established, would more than anything else exalt our name among the princes and people of our vast Eastern Empire. I do not ask that the Rajah should be reinstated if he be guilty; but I do ask—and I will not at present believe that so reasonable a demand will be refused—that he be heard in his defence, and that, for the sake of truth and justice, the accusations which are contained in the Papers now before the House be impartially inquired into. The House of Commons will not, surely, be a party to the withholding of such an inquiry as is now prayed for. We have recently witnessed a severe scrutiny into the conduct of two Members of Her Majesty's Government, whose resignations have been accepted, in consequence of the strong sense entertained by the public of the necessity of having men in the public service who are beyond the reach of the slightest suspicion. I am quite convinced that there is not in this House 908 a more honourable man than Captain Boldero, who is one of those whose resignations have been recently laid before Her Majesty, and accepted. Let it not, then, be said, that when charges so serious as those of bribery and corruption are preferred against officers in India, we refuse to examine the evidence offered in their support; and so at once prevent the refutation of them if they be false, and the punishment of the guilty if they be true. The Rajah has been condemned unheard, upon the testimony of the most worthless characters. Let us not, then, refuse inquiry into charges against our own public officers, when the means of ascertaining their truth are at hand, and when it is only by such a course that the ends of justice can be gained. The hon. Gentleman concluded by submitting the Motion he had announced at the commencement of his speech.
§ Dr. Bowring
seconded the Motion, and said that it was deeply to be regretted, when subjects involving the well-being of our vast Indian Empire were introduced into the House, the interest taken was so small that the benches, as at present, were almost wholly deserted. Matters which had the piquancy of personal controversy were attractive enough; but those which directly affected the happiness of millions of our distant fellow subjects obtained little or no attention. In the case before the House, he found few hon. Members had waded through the numerous volumes of Papers which had been printed by orders of the House; but there was no portion of them which did not contain striking evidence of the widely-spread devices to entangle the Rajah; and on his part, a constant desire was everywhere visible to be confronted with his accusers, to court inquiry, and to demand a rigid scrutiny. On one side was confused, entangled, inconsistent, and contradictory evidence; on the other, an injured but highminded man, strong in his conviction of his own innocence, appealing to the Government of India, to the Government of England, and now to the British Parliament, for a fair investigation—demanding punishment if guilty, but redress and reparation if wrongly accused. And should the Rajah appeal in vain? It was impossible to read his eloquent and pathetic language without feeling that such a man, so speaking, was entitled to attention. With such evidence of mendacity, of fraud and 909 forgery, as his hon. Friend had laid before the House, how could this case be permitted to remain in its present state? It would come back again and again—pressing and pleading with accumulated power. He entreated the House not to turn a deaf ear to the demands of justice and humanity.
§ Mr. E. Tennent
said, the Motion to which the hon. Member had called the notice of the House, was one with which by name, at least, they might be somewhat familiar; inasmuch as this was, he believed, the eighteenth occasion on which it had been, either directly or incidentally, brought under the consideration of Parliament. The object of the hon. Member for Montrose was, to procure the reconsideration of a case which had been investigated in the year 1836, and solemnly disposed of with every ordinary and controlling formality; and the frequency of these unsuccessful appeals, if they exhibited on the one hand a perseverance which might be identified with a consciousness of the justice of their cause, demonstrated on the other a deliberation and firmness on the part of the numerous authorities who had been appealed to, concurring, as they all did, in rejecting the application, which could be attributable to one only conviction—that substantial justice had been already done, and that no plea existed for questioning the decision or reviving the inquiry. The inquiry into the charge against the ex-Rajah of Sattara, which had issued in his dethronement, was gravely and dispassionately conducted before a competent Commission in India; their verdict had been confirmed by authorities at Bombay, sanctioned by the Supreme Government of India, approved of by the Court of Directors, and recorded by the Board of Control; and although the propriety of reopening that inquiry had been referred to three successive Governors of Bombay, to three successive Governors General of India, to three Presidents of the India Board, and to a long series of Chairmen and Directors of the East India Company, the judgment upon it had been invariably the same—that the original decision was conformable with truth and consistent with justice; and that a reconsideration of a question so solemnly decided, would be not only unavailing as regarded the deposed Prince, but would be injurious to the administration of justice, and prejudicial to the authorities by whom it had been originally 910 adjudicated. He (Mr. E. Tennent) would not allude to the general complexion of the evidence against the Rajah of Sattara further than to say that, the inquiry being one of a political character, and called for by political considerations, its conclusiveness was to be decided, not by the inapplicable technicalities of a nisi prius trial, but by that importance which, in the opinion of the Executive Government, attached to incidents and inferences involving the safety of a State and the security of a Government. In answer to the charge, that portions of that evidence had been given by individuals of infamous character, and that in the mass it presented discrepancies and doubts which, under other circumstances, would work the rejection of the entire case, he would merely remind the House, that this inquiry was pursued by parties upon the spot, to whom the characters of the witnesses were known, and the facts they deposed to were familiar; and that they, after every deduction for character, and every allowance for contradiction, came to the deliberate and retained conclusion that, after every exclusion and deduction, enough remained for conviction; and that the evidence, with all its differences, more than sustained the charges against the Rajah. The House should be aware that Sattara was no ancient dynasty, now overturned for our own aggrandizement; it was a small Principality, created by ourselves in 1819, and its Sovereign set up by us under a Treaty conformable to our interests. It was no discredit upon these proceedings to deny that the investigation was a trial; it was not a judicial trial; the British Government had no jurisdiction, no tribunal to try a foreign Prince. But it was a political inquiry, demanded in consequence of the equivocal conduct of a feudatory Prince towards his Lord paramount. That inquiry established the fact, that the subject of it had been guilty of practices at variance with the terms of the Treaty which was the tenure of his power; and, because he refused to renew that violated Treaty, with assurance of fidelity for the future, he was, as a last resource, removed from the throne, and the heir next in succession, installed in his forfeited authority. The main allegation in the Motion of the hon. Member for Montrose, and that most calculated to make an unfavourable impression on the public, was the assertion, that all knowledge of the evidence 911 against him was withheld from the Rajah, and that to this hour he was in ignorance of the charge on which he had been condemned. Now, this was in every respect substantially incorrect. It was quite true, that of certain depositions no actual copies were submitted to him; and it was equally true, that the names of certain witnesses were withheld; but they were withheld upon this deliberate calculation—that, being subjects of his own, residing within his own dominions, and immediately within the circle of his influence, they would have been instantly tampered with, or constrained to withhold or to withdraw their testimony against him. But, whilst the names were withheld, the circumstances and facts of these allegations were all communicated to the Rajah, and the charges on which he was suspected were submitted for his answers and his evidence. Not only was this apparent in the pages of the Blue Books upon the Table, but they contained also the proofs that he tendered witnesses in his defence; and his own letters were filled with comments and explanations of the very charges on which he now complained that he was condemned in utter and total ignorance. The House would have collected from this and previous discussions, that the Rajah of Sattara was deposed on the grounds of a treasonable conspiracy to incite the western States of India to hostility against the British, and likewise of attempting to corrupt the fidelity of the native sepoys in the British service. His Minister, Govind Rao, was implicated and arrested for his share in these transactions; and his mother, Girjabaee, in the hope of saving her son's life by a confession of his complicity, caused a petition to be written, in which she indicated the names of twelve other individuals, all more or less involved in the guilt of the Rajah. Upon this information those parties were arrested, their offences proved, and their culpability extended to the inclusion of the Rajah. And the circumstances of this very petition, and of the equivocations and falsehoods in relation to it, were themselves a painful evidence of the difficulties attendant on such inquiries; and of the utter indifference to truth, and recklessness of assertion, which characterized even parties of the highest rank, who were implicated in this investigation. The author of the petition herself, the mother of the Minister, 912 found it necessary by a falsehood to conceal the name of its actual writer, for fear of the consequence by which she might be visited by the Rajah. Her second son, a brother of the accused person, in like manner, in order to protect his mother from the Rajah's resentment, penned an elaborate and circumstantial denial of her connexion with the petition; while, at the same moment, the lady herself, in a personal interview with Colonel Ovans, avowed its authorship and authenticity, and assigned frankly her motives for its adoption. The hon. Member for Montrose might allege that at this interview, Girjabaee was personated by another lady: but her identity was proved by persons by whom she was accompanied, and by the fact that she had been previously a frequent visitor to the ladies of Colonel Ovans' family. This evidence of the authorship of this document it was essential to bear in mind; for, that point once established, it annihilated at one stroke the entire case which the hon. Member for Montrose had this evening set up. Krushnajee, the clerk who actually penned the petition for Girjabaee, was promised for his services 1,250 rupees. This promise the lady found herself unable to comply with; and the clerk, to enforce his claim, disclosed himself as the penman to the British Resident at Poonah. He prosecuted that demand against her with the utmost perseverance up to the death of Girjabaee, in April, 1843, when he suddenly shifted his ground, and protested to the Bombay Government that his first attempt to extort the money from Girjabaee was a fraud; that it was not she who had employed him to draw up the petition; but that the petition was from beginning to end a falsehood and a forgery, and that he had been suborned to draw up and transcribe it by Colonel Ovans, the Resident, and Ballajee Punt Nathoo, a distinguished officer of the reigning Rajah of Sattara; and that those two persons, after availing themselves of his services, now refused to pay him his reward, and still owed him 1,100 rupees out of the 1,250 which they had promised. Now, apart from the matchless effrontery of prosecuting, even to her death, an innocent lady, on a fraudulent pretence—let the House look at the probability or possibility of the device to which this shameless villain resorts. Supposing, for one moment that Colonel Ovans could have 913 lent himself to so vile an imposture, and for so disgraceful a purpose; supposing that a man of wealth and distinction, like Ballajee Punt Nathoo, could have stooped to such a crime, was it to be conceived that the concoctors of such an artifice would run the risk, nay, incur the certainly of the detection, by withholding his wages from their instrument? In fact, there was and there could be no doubt that the mother of the Minister was the real petitioner in the case; that Krushnajee, the clerk, as a professional writer, was employed to draw up the document; and that whatever sum she might have promised as her fee, Colonel Ovans had not, and refused to have, the slightest concern with the transaction, or their mutual claims. Krushnajee having failed to induce the British Government to enforce the payment from Girjabaee, was equally unsuccessful in inducing them to believe his tale that their own representative and officer, Colonel Ovans, was his debtor, instead of the deceased lady; but, not to be baffled by one repulse, he announced his intention to persecute the Government with petitions, and the Resident with charges, till he should be appeased by the payment of his demands. Accordingly, petition followed petition, and allegation was heaped upon allegation, till at length, by one final sweep, he sought to crush both the objects of his animosity, and to his former charge against Ballajee Punt Nathoo and Colonel Ovans, he added those alluded to by the hon. Member for Montrose, of bribery, extortion, corruption, and dishonesty. And into these charges, brought by a man of such degraded character, and directed against one of the most upright and distinguished officers in the service of the East India Company, and one of the most eminent and honourable natives of India, the hon. Member now invited the House to enter, as a groundwork for demanding a revision and reconsideration of the whole inquiry into the political intrigues of the Sattara State. But the hon. Member said that the character of the informer had nothing to do with the nature of the charge, and that that character, bad as it might be now, was regarded as sufficiently respectable when, in 1837, they relied on it to prove the charges against the ex-Rajah of Sattara. He must deny the justice of that inference; he must deny that the evidence of 1837 had any connexion whatever with the character 914 of Krushnajee. The personal evidence he gave on that occasion was not only voluntary, but was worthless; and not only was the petition which he wrote acted and decided on before he was even known as the author, and found true in all its allegations, but in reality it merely directed the Commission to the quarter in which they might seek for proofs without adducing a single proof or making one important statement on the face of itself. The worthlessness of the mere copyist's character was therefore totally unimportant; but were they prepared then, at the instigation of such an individual as this, to call in question for one moment the integrity and the honour of such a man as Colonel Ovans? And what was the character of Colonel Ovans? Sir G. Arthur, the Governor of Bombay, in noticing these charges, bore his testimony to the reputation of that distinguished officer in these terms:—Since my arrival in this presidency, it has been my duty, as opportunities have incidentally presented, to satisfy myself, as well by observation as personal inquiry, respecting the bearing and public reputation of all the Hon. Company's servants, especially of those holding offices of high trust and responsibility; and had I been called upon to name officers universally well spoken of and esteemed, I should certainly have included Colonel Ovans in the number; and this must have been the opinion formed by the late Commander-in-Chief, for on Sir R. Grant's requesting Lord Keane to name an able and judicious officer to hold the appointment of Resident at Sattara, he recommanded his Quartermaster General, Colonel Ovans.Such was the man against whom this clerk preferred a charge of meanness and corruption. He (Mr. E. Tennent) held in his hand, and would beg to read to the House, two letters from Lieutenant Colonel Ovans, and he believed that every man who listened to them would feel a just indignation at finding a highminded and honourable gentleman placed in a situation requiring him to notice or contradict such humiliating calumnies. The first was addressed to his (Mr. E. Tennent's) noble Friend and Colleague at the India Board (Lord Jocelyn), and was as follows—it was received that morning:—
§ "London, July 22, 1845.
§ "My Lord — As I observe that a Motion is to be made this evening in the House of Commons by Mr. Hume—'That Her Majesty will be pleased further to direct inquiry to be made into the charges for bribery and corruption by 915 Krushnajee Sudasew Bhidey (as stated in the Papers before this House) against Colonel Ovans, whilst resident at Sattara, I trust your Lordship will do me the favour to lay before Lord Ripon my unequivocal and unqualified denial of this atrocious charge; as also to state, that I am ready to proceed at once to India to prosecute this infamous libeller for perjury, should it be considered advisable so to do. Your Lordship may easily conceive that it is most painful to me to see such slander attached to my name; but I feel confident that an upright and honourable service of thirty-three years in India, will be my best reply to the base attacks now made upon me; arising as they do, from my having at Sattara, honestly and fearlessly performed an important public duty to the satisfaction of all my superiors both in India and in England.—I remain, &c.
§ "C. OVANS.
§ "P.S.—I venture to enclose a copy of a note addressed by me to the Secretary at the India House, putting on record these my sentiments regarding Mr. Hume's Motion."
§ The enclosure to the Secretary at the India House was as follows:—
§ "London, July 21, 1845.
§ "Sir—Observing in the Papers regarding the case of the ex-Rajah of Sattara, lately printed by the House of Commons, that Krushnajee Sudasew Bhidey has preferred the following charges against me—viz., first, that Lieutenant Colonel Ovans has obtained from his Highness the Rajah of Sattara, payment of the sum of 1,500 rupees per mensem to his (Lieutenant Colonel Ovans') father-in-law, and that this allowance was on his death transferred to the Resident's brother-in-law, who receives it up to this day, secondly, that when the Resident's lady and children proceeded to England, gold, bullion, and Venetian necklaces, to the value of 50,000 rupees, were purchased by the Rajah and given to the Resident; and observing also, by the Votes of the House of Commons of Friday last, that Mr. Hume has founded a Notice upon those charges, and mentioned me by name, I feel it to be my duty to state that, while I repose entire confidence in the Hon. Court to take whatever steps they may deem necessary in consequence of these charges, whether in justice to the public service or to me as an officer in their employ, I desire to place upon record my indignant and unqualified denial of all and every part of this most atrocious and calumnious accusation; and to state, that if the Court of Directors deem it right for me to proceed to Bombay, either to be subjected to the most rigorous investigation, or myself to prosecute the infamous author of this libel, I am prepared at every inconvenience, and at all hazards to my health, at once to adopt that course.—I remain, &c.,
§ "C. OVANS."
§ He hoped the House would concur with 916 him that in these two letters there was a tone of frank and indignant honesty which was the most conclusive reply to the Motion of the hon. Member for Montrose. The hon. Member for Montrose laid much stress upon the fact that the eighth petition of Krushnajee, the latest which had reached this country, was not inquired into by the Government of Bombay, although Mr. Warden, the agent of Sirdars and Sattara, had taken all the preliminary steps for an inquiry, and had bound over Krushnajee to prosecute, under a penalty of 6,000 rupees, and had obtained from him a list of witnesses to sustain the charge, including, among others, the name of the Dewan of the Rajah. The hon. Member attached much importance to the two facts of the petitioner having given these names and entered into this security. But as to handing in the name of the Minister of the Rajah as one of its witnesses, it appeared to have been but a piece of gratuitous audacity, in strict keeping with the reckless character of the charges themselves; and, as to the security, when the House was made aware that of these 6,000 rupees, the recognizance of the petitioner himself included 5,000, although he couched every petition in the character of a pauper, they would readily see that the amount of the security was no type of the character of Krushnajee. As for the remaining 1,000 rupees, even if forfeited, so small a sum as 100l. would be a trifling object to the partisan who bailed him, compared with the value of compassing the infliction of an injury on the reigning Rajah, his friends, or his case. As to the charges against Ballajee Punt Nathoo, Sir G. Arthur found that they were a mere repetition of the allegations formerly considered; and, with the unanimous concurrence of the Council of Bombay, he refused to entertain the petition. Sir G. Arthur and the Council also expressed their unanimous opinion that no credit could be attached to the accusations urged by Krushnajee against Lieutenant Colonel Ovans; and he trusted that the House would confirm this decision of the Governor of Bombay, and protect the character of a high-minded, honourable, and meritorious officer from aspersion or suspicion, by treating with contempt the imputations which it had been attempted to cast upon his name and conduct. He hoped, that the House concurring in this 917 opinion, would give him (Mr. Tennent) its support in negativing the proposition of the hon. Member for Montrose.
§ Mr. W. Williams
supported the Motion of his hon. Friend the Member for Montrose. The hon. Gentleman the Secretary to the Board of Control (Mr. Tennent.) had made many assertions, but he had not proved any facts. He (Mr. Williams) knew nothing whatever of Colonel Ovans; he might be, and probably was a highminded and honourable man; but so long as these charges were impending over him, and an investigation of their truth or falsehood was denied, his character could not be regarded as entirely free from suspicion. The most important charge made against the Rajah was, that he had entered into a conspiracy with the Portuguese Governor of Goa. Now, this was a fact, the truth of which Her Majesty's Government might easily ascertain; but no proof had been adduced on the subject. He considered that it was the duty of the Government to institute some inquiry with reference to the allegations contained in this petition.
§ Mr. Hogg
said, that when hon. Members made attacks upon the characters of gentlemen of high honour, who occupied distinguished stations in the service of their country, they should, at least, be certain that they were accurate in the facts on which they grounded their statements. Not so with the hon. Member for Montrose. He had so confounded dates, transactions, and witnesses, that he (Mr. Hogg) felt satisfied, that the hon. Member could not have read with any attention the Papers laid on the Table. The hon. Member had commenced by stating, that he would not enter into the details of the case of the Rajah of Sattara, and would confine himself to what he termed the new matter, the charges now for the first time preferred against Colonel Ovans and Ballajee Punt Nathoo; and yet he had rambled over the whole transactions, throwing out imputations most unsparingly, and giving a bit here, and a bit there, from the Papers, but in a manner so unconnected, that hon. Members who had not toiled through the mass of blue books, could understand little, save that imputations more or less grave had been cast upon many gentlemen filling high and important public offices. The House would suppose from the statement of the hon. Member, that the Rajah of Sattara had 918 inherited the dominions of Sevajee, that the Peishwa had usurped his authority, and that the East India Company, after restoring him to his hereditary power and dominions, had entered into a Treaty with him as an independent Prince. Now this was wholly incorrect, and he would shortly state how the Rajah was circumstanced at the time when the Indian Government entered into a Treaty with him. The Mahratta power had been founded by Sevajee, a military adventurer, who raised himself to eminence in the time of Aurungzebe, and died in 1680. He was succeeded by two sons and a grandson; but his dynasty terminated about 1750, when the Peishwa, or chief of the Council of Brahmins, usurped the sovereign power, and transmitted it to six successors; the descendants of Sevajee remaining all the while, a period of nearly a hundred years, powerless and in captivity. During all this time the government was administered exclusively by and in the name of the Peishwa, who was universally regarded as the head of the Mahratta confederacy, and with whom all the Treaties entered into by our Government were concluded. Bajee Rao, the last of the Peishwas, having entered into a confederacy with other native princes for the overthrow of our power in India, the Government were compelled to take the field against him; and the result was the total overthrow of the Mahratta power, Bajee Rao himself having been taken prisoner. The object and policy of the Government was, totally to destroy the Mahratta power and confederacy, and all the territories of the Peishwa were accordingly annexed to the British dominions, with the exception of a new sovereignty which was created for the Rajah of Sattara, to enable him to maintain his family in adequate comfort and dignity. Thus, to use the words of Mr. Elphinstone—The Rajah was released from a prison, and was placed at the head of a Government obtained by no effort of his own, but which was the spontaneous result of the liberality of the British Government.But was this sovereignty given to him absolutely and without conditions? No such thing; he had the Treaty with him, and would, with the permission of the House, read it, or at least so much as related to the conditions annexed to the grant made to the Rajah. The Treaty bore date the 25th of September 1819:— 919Whereas the British Government having determined, in consideration of the antiquity of the House of his Highness the Rajah of Sattara, to invest him with a sovereignty sufficient for the maintenance of his family in comfort and dignity, the following Articles have been agreed to between the said Government and his Highness.ART. 1. The British Government agrees to cede in perpetual sovereignty to the Rajah of Sattara, his heirs and successors, the districts specified in the annexed schedule.ART. 2. The Rajah, for himself, and for his heirs and successors, engages to hold the territory in subordinate co-operation with the British Government, and to be guided in all matters by the advice of the British Agent at His Highness's court.ART. 3, The British Government charges itself with the defence of the Rajah's territories, and engages to protect His Highness from all injury and aggression. The Rajah, for himself, and for his heirs and successors, engages to afford every facility for the purchase of supplies for such troops as may be stationed in his country, or may pass through it; and the pasture lands now appropriated for the use of the troops are to be permanently given up to them. The Rajah likewise, for himself, and for his heirs and successors, engages to afford all the assistance in his power to the British Government, in all wars and military operations in which they may be engaged.ART. 4. His Highness, for himself, and for his heirs and successors, engages at no time to increase or diminish the military force, without the previous knowledge and consent of the British Government.ART. 5. The Rajah, for himself, and for his heirs and successors, engages to forbear from all intercourse with Foreign Powers, and with all Sirdars, Jagheerdars, Chiefs, and Ministers, and all persons of whatever description, who are not by the above Articles rendered subject to His Highness's authority. With all the above persons, His Highness, for himself, and for his heirs and successors, engages to have no connexion or correspondence. Any affairs that may arise with them relating to His Highness, are to be exclusively conducted by the British Government. If (for the purpose of forming matrimonial connexions for His Highness's family, or for any similar purpose) His Highness has occasion to communicate with persons not rendered subject to his authority by this agreement, such communication is to made entirely through the Political Agent.This Article is a fundamental condition of the present agreement, and any departure from it, on the Rajah's part shall subject him to the loss of all the advantages he may gain by the said agreement.The Rajah, it would be seen, was bound to be guided in all matters by the advice of the British Agent; was precluded from 920 all intercourse with all persons not subject to his own authority, and could not even communicate as to matrimonial arrangements, except through the Political Agent; and this was what the hon. Member for Montrose called independence! The hon. Member had dwelt upon the exemplary conduct and good intentions of the Rajah, and had read in support of his statement various extracts from letters of Captain Grant Duff, General Briggs, and other Residents at his court. He (Mr. Hogg) contended, that the ambitious views and intriguing disposition of the Rajah were known to every person who had communication with him; to Mr. Elphinstone, who framed the Treaty, and to every Agent who resided at his court. In April, 1818, Mr. Elphinstone impressed upon Captain Grant Duff the necessity of preventing the Rajah having any intercourse whatever with any other State — and the stipulations in the Treaty sufficiently evince how strong the opinion of Mr. Elphinstone on this subject was. His hon. Friend the Secretary to the Board of Control had read a letter from Captain Grant Duff, so early as March, 1819, showing that the Rajah was addicted to intrigue, and was a complete adept in dissimulation. General Briggs, when addressing the Government, states that he is tenacious of his prerogative, and is daily becoming more impatient of our control, and expresses his apprehension that he may be detected in intrigues which may lead to his ultimate ruin. General Robertson states, that he knew of the Goa intrigue; and General Lodwick, the fourth and last Political Agent, when addressing the Government on the 18th of August, 1836, says—That His Highness, the Rajah, is ambitious, and capable of giving countenance to any conspiracy that has the advancement of that object in view, I have no doubt. So far back as November, 1885, a devoted friend of the British Government privately reported to me, that the conversation between His Highness and his particular intimates constantly hinged on the downfall of the British Government. He further mentioned, that there were rumours of a combination, to join which His Highness was invited—adding, that he very possibly might be flattered into acceding to the plot. Nothing short of the high respectability of my informant could have induced me to give a moment's credit to their report.Again, on the 9th of September, he says—That it was beyond doubt that the Rajah had proved faithless to his engagements with the British Government:"—921 And on the 10th of September, he writes:—Deeply as I regret the errors of His Highness the Rajah, I can discover no extenuating circumstances;"—And he subsequently reported to Government that the Rajah had gradually increased the troops in his service, and even suggested to Government the expediency of sending additional troops to Sattara; and, lastly, General Lodwick was so apprehensive of the consequences that might arise from the unauthorized communications of the Rajah, that he told him that the fate of Bajee Rao would be his own. Such were the opinions of these officers, when on the spot, and in the execution of their duty. He admitted, with the hon. Member, that they have subsequently expressed opinions of a different character, and most favourable to the Rajah; and he hoped he need not add, that he (Mr. Hogg) gave these gentlemen full credit for the sincerity of the opinions which they expressed; but he was bound to say, that he attached more weight to opinions given deliberately, under the pressure and responsibility of public duty, than to sentiments expressed when the case of the Rajah had become the subject of excited, and rather angry discussion. Before replying to the observations of the hon Member, as to the charges against the Rajah, he would ask permission to give a very brief sketch of the charges, and of the nature of the evidence adduced in support of them. In 1836, Colonel Lodwick apprized the Government that attempts had been made by the Rajah to corrupt the fidelity of our native troops, by tampering with certain native officers belonging to a regiment then stationed at Bombay. This was not stated by Colonel Lodwick as an idle rumour, entitled to little attention. It was a grave representation nude by him in the discharge of his public duty, and it would appear, from his letters to Government on the occasion, that he then believed the charge to be well founded. In August, alluding to the officers who gave him the information, he says—The circumstances within my knowledge, detailed in the depositions of the native officers, admit of no doubt of their credibility.And again, when forwarding the depositions to the Government, he savs—They were taken separately; and full 922 reliance may be placed on their correctness, both from the respectability of the deponents, and corroborating circumstances within my knowledge.In consequence of this information, and not in consequence of an anonymous letter, as alleged by the hon. Member for Montrose—the Government appointed a Secret Commission to investigate the matter, composed of Colonel Lodwick, Mr. Willoughby, Political Secretary to the Government, and Colonel Ovans, then Quarter Master General; and this Commission, after a laborious inquiry, came unanimously to the conclusion that the charges against the Rajah were fully proved. And what was the nature of the charge thus proved? An attempt to corrupt the very life-blood of our Indian Empire. Before the Commission was issued, several persons at Sattara had been taken into custody at the suggestion of Colonel Lodwick, including Govind Rao, the Dewan of the Rajah. After the Commission had closed its proceedings, this person was sent as a kind of State prisoner, first to Poonah, and afterwards to Ahmednugger. About this time also, Girjabee, the mother of Govind Rao, actuated either by feelings of irritation against the Rajah for having surrendered her son, or by the hopes of obtaining her son's liberation, presented a petition to Government, stating the names of several persons implicated in these transactions. These persons were in consequence examined, and their testimony corroborated and confirmed the evidence taken under the Commission. But the strongest corroboration, arising from coincidence of evidence, was the statement of Govind Rao himself, who, at a distance of nearly 100 miles, and examined by a magistrate wholly unconnected with the matter, confirms by his testimony the evidence given at Sattara. The importance of this evidence was felt by the adherents of the Rajah, and how did they meet it? By alleging that Govind Rao was confined in a dark dungeon at the peril of his life, and that the statement was extorted from him by Mr. Hutt, the magistrate of the district. Now what were the facts as appears by Mr. Hutt's letter to Government? That he ordered a separate House to be taken for Govind Rao, who was treated with every consideration, and that Govind Rao himself volunteered the statement which was taken in Mr. Hutt's own house, Govind Rao 923 writing it in Mahratta, while Mr. Hutt took it in English. He would now notice the objections urged by the hon. Member for Montrose to the proceedings under the Commission. The hon. Member alleged, that the Rajah had not been furnished with a copy of the evidence, or a list of the witnesses, and that he was refused permission to bring with him an adviser. It was true that the Commission was a secret one; but he (Mr. Hogg) contended that everything was conceded to the Rajah that was requisite for his information, or for the means of defence. After the witnesses had been examined, and a primâ facie case had been established, the Rajah was invited to attend the Commission. He was requested, or to use the words of the Commission, he was—Earnestly pressed to allow the evidences, who were in attendance, to be introduced, that he might hear their history from their own lips.But he peremptorily declined being confronted with the witnesses, as derogatory to his dignity. The evidence of the principal witnesses was read over to him; whatever he had to say, or suggest, was attended to; several written memoranda were received from him and recorded, and all the witnesses whom he chose to name were examined. He was told that he might be accompanied, if he wished, by any friend, and he was, in fact, accompanied by his brother and Balah Sahib Senaputtee. He had wished to be attended by a barrister of the Supreme Court at Bombay, which the Commissioners most properly refused, and this was the grievance on which so much stress had been laid. The hon. Member had alleged, that the witnesses adduced were wholly unworthy of credit, and that the charge had been fabricated, for his own purposes, by Bellajee Punt Nathoo; and he read an extract from a speech or letter of General Lodwick, reflecting severely on Ballajee Punt Nathoo, and representing him as hostile to the Rajah, and designating him as an arch informer. Now, he (Mr. Hogg) would confidently state, that he did not believe there was any native in India of higher character and integrity, or more deserving of credit, than Ballajee Punt Nathoo. Mr. Elphinstone states that Ballajee Punt Nathoo had been connected with the Poonah Residency from the year 1804, 924 that he entered the Residency employment in 1816; and to use his own words, he says—In the troubles that followed, and in the settlement of the country, he (Ballajee Punt Nathoo) showed himself an able, zealous, and trustworthy public servant. He was my principal native agent, during most of the time I was in the Deccan, was consulted by me on all subjects, and gave me every reason to be satisfied with his judgment and fidelity.When Ballajee Punt Nathoo was produced, and examined before the Commission, his name, at the suggestion of Colonel Lodwick, was not recorded. Did Mr. Willoughby and Colonel Ovans neglect to inquire as to the character of a person produced under such circumstances? No such thing. They placed Colonel Lodwick himself in the witness box, and the following was the result. He was asked—Are you intimately acquainted with the person whose evidence was taken at the last day's meeting, whose name has not been recorded?His answer was:—I have been intimate with him since I have been at Sattara, whenever he visits the place; and from his extremely high character, and influence over the Rajah, I have been enabled to carry points and settle disputes which I should have hardly been able to effect without him.Question.—"From your knowledge of his character, have you full confidence in his veracity?Answer.—"Yes, I have, as far as in any native in India I have ever known. His former intimacy with, and the confidence reposed in him by, most eminent men now in England, are the best proof of his high character.Question—"Do you think it likely that he is so much in the interest of Appa Sahib, the Rajah's brother, as to induce him to deviate from the truth?Answer—"No, I do not.He had said that Colonel Lodwick, Mr. Willoughby, and Colonel Ovans were unanimous in declaring that the Rajah had been proved guilty of an attempt to corrupt our native sepoys. Sir R. Grant, the Governor of Bombay, and all the Members of his Council, after perusing the evidence, came to the same conclusion. Lord Auckland, the Governor-General of India, and all the Members of Council, with the exception of Mr. Shakespear, were equally satisfied as to the 925 Rajah's guilt. Sir Robert Grant, though fully satisfied of the guilt of the Rajah, took a lenient view, and suggested some very trifling punishment; the Government of India regarded the matter as deserving much more serious notice, and Mr. Shakespear himself admitted, that if his doubts as to the evidence were removed, the punishment ought to be of the severest character. And here, let it be observed, that when Mr. Shakespear expressed his doubts, he had only read the evidence taken by the Commission at Sattara, and that he died before that evidence had been supported and fortified by subsequent inquiries. Shortly after the Report of the Commission, Colonel Lodwick was removed from the Residency of Sattara, and Colonel Ovans was appointed in his place. By him the investigation was continued, and in the course of that inquiry he discovered the first traces of the intrigues and correpondence with the Government of Goa, and the ex-Rajah of Nagpore. The evidence, oral and documentary, as to the Rajah's intercourse with the authorities at Goa, for the purpose of subverting our authority, was so voluminous and complex, that it would be impossible to attempt even a sketch of it. He admitted fully the folly and absurdity of the scheme; but he at the same time contended, that the charge was proved and substantiated beyond the possibility of a doubt. It had been urged, that the charge respecting Goa was a conspiracy, got up for the purpose of completing the ruin of the Rajah. How, he would ask, was that allegation consistent with the fact that General Robertson left the Residency in the year 1831, admitted that he had heard of the Goa intrigue when he was at Sattara, and had represented to the Rajah, that the prosecution of it would involve him in difficulty, and probably be the ruin of the Raj? If it were a conspiracy, he must say, that the conspirators gave themselves a vast deal of unnecessary trouble, and exposed themselves to much unnecessary risk of detection, by adducing no less than forty witnesses. But, independently of the evidence of witnesses and documents, there was corroborative testimony of a very remarkable character. Mr. Spooner, the Collector of the District of Rutnagherry, received secret information of an intended attack upon the Treasury at Vingorla, and in consequence of that information 926 instituted an inquiry. Here was an inquiry, at a remote station, by a magistrate wholly unconnected with Sattara, and for a wholly different purpose, and yet, in the course of that investigation, evidence was taken, strongly confirming and corroborating that given at Sattara, relative to the Goa intrigue. The hon. Member had ridiculed the absurdity of the Goa intrigue, and had expressed his astonishment that the Government could have wasted their time in inquiring into such a matter. He fully admitted the absurdity of the scheme; but he denied that the wisdom or the folly of the Rajah's intrigues, formed any element in the consideration of the matter. Or, to use the words of Sir Robert Grant—To play at treason is a dangerous sport; and I am much inclined to believe, that a State which consents to laugh at such jests as these, will quickly be in a situation to justify the utmost derision of its enemies.The last charge, that of corresponding with Appa Sahib, the ex-Rajah of Nagpore, was also most fully proved. And what, he would ask, was the conduct of the Rajah, when the letter addressed to him by Appa Sahib was produced and shown to him by Sir James Carnac? Did he indignantly repudiate the charge, or deny the authenticity of the letter? No such thing—he evaded any direct answer, by alleging that the receipt of letters did not constitute guilt on the part of those who received them; and by asking, where are my answers? The hon. Member for Montrose endeavoured to create the impression, that the Bombay authorities were hostile to the Rajah, while the Supreme Government and the Court of Directors disregarded the charges, and disapproved of the investigation. A very unfair impression might be created by reading part of a despatch or a minute without stating the time or circumstances when it was written. It was true, that the Governor General expressed his apprehension as to the danger of becoming involved in an indefinite and inconclusive inquiry; and further expressed his apprehension, that the inquiries might create feelings of mistrust and insecurity throughout India. Previously, however, to the receipt of this communication, the Government of Bombay had obtained the clue to the whole intrigue; and, without troubling the House by further reference to the correspondence that took place 927 pending the inquiry, he would confidently state, that no one could peruse that correspondence without feeling satisfied that no Indian authority had any hostile feeling towards the Rajah, or any intention or wish to depose him; and that nothing but a clear conviction of the Rajah's guilt, and an imperative sense of public duty, could have induced them to adopt harsh measures. When the whole of the inquiry had been terminated, all the authorities were clearly satisfied as to his guilt; but, there was much discussion, and, at first, some little diversity of opinion, as to the best mode of proceeding, in consequence of that guilt. At this time Sir Robert Grant died, and was succeeded in the government of Bombay by Sir James Carnac, who was invested with full powers to determine the best course, and to bring the matter to a speedy conclusion. Sir James Carnac had been in the chair at the India House, and it was a matter of notoriety that his views and opinions were favourable to the Rajah of Sattara. Sir James Carnac arrived in Bombay in June, 1839, and, in several minutes, took a review of the case, concluding by strongly expressing his opinion in favour of a mild and lenient course of proceeding. He suggested that a strong remonstrance should be addressed to the Rajah, stating, that the Indian Government considered it proved that he had entered into irregular and unwarranted communications with the Goa authorities, and with Appa Sahib, the ex-Rajah of Nagpore, and had attempted to seduce from their allegiance native officers in the service of the British Government. That, nevertheless, the British Government were willing to throw oblivion over all that had passed, upon his renewing and scrupulously adhering to the former Treaty, and undertaking not to injure the persons or families of those who had taken part in the proceedings against him. Subsequently to this proposal, Sir James Carnac received a despatch from the Governor General, enclosing copies of the minutes of the Council of India, who were unanimously of opinion that the charges against the Rajah had been fully proved, and had subjected him to the penalty of deposition. The receipt of that despatch, and the strong opinions expressed by the Governor General and his Council, made no alteration in the sentiments of Sir James Carnac, who still adhered to the lenient course he had suggested; 928 though he distinctly recorded his opinion, that upon a reconsideration of the evidence and inspection of the original documents, and his own observations since his arrival, there was not a shadow of doubt in his mind as to the guilt of the Rajah, on the three charges preferred against him. Sir James Carnac having obtained the sanction and approbation of the Government of India, proceeded himself to Sattara for the purpose of carrying into execution his own lenient and merciful suggestion. He had four several interviews with the Rajah, and no one could read his narrative of the transaction, without being forcibly struck by the anxious solicitude evinced by him to retain the Rajah in his position, and save him from impending ruin. After addressing him in the most conciliatory language, he put into his hands a Mahratta paper, which the Rajah was required to sign, and the translation of which he would read to the House:—Information having been received by the British Government, that your Highness, misled by evil advisers, had, in breach of the Treaty which placed you on the throne, entered into communications hostile to the British Government, an inquiry into these accusations was considered indispensable. This inquiry has satisfied the British Government, that your Highness has exposed yourself to the sacrifice of its alliance and protection. Nevertheless, moved by considerations of clemency towards your Highness and your family, the British Government has resolved entirely to overlook what has past, on the following conditions, namely:—First,—That your Highness now binds yourself strictly, and in good faith, to act up literally to all the Articles of the Treaty of the 25th of September, 1819, and especially to the Second Article of that Treaty, which is as follows;—The Rajah, for himself, and for his heirs and successors, engages to hold the territory in subordinate co-operation with the British Government, and to be guided in all matters by the advice of the British Agent at his Highness's Court.Second,—That your Highness binds yourself to pay your brother Appa Sahib Maharaj, whatever allowances he has heretofore received, and to put him in possession of all his private property; and, should any dispute arise on this subject, the same is to be referred to the Resident, for adjustment, Appa Sahib Maharaj is also to be permitted to reside at any place he himself may choose, under the protection of the British Government.Third,—That Bulwunt Row Chitnavees be dismissed from your Highness's counsels, and not permitted to reside within your Highness's 929 territory without the sanction of the British Government.Fourth,—The persons whose names are inserted in a separate list having been guaranteed by the British Government in person, property, and allowances of every description, as the same stood in July, 1836, this guarantee is to be binding on your Highness, and all complaints against them are to be referred to the Resident. Should it appear necessary hereafter, to the British Government, to add the names of any other persons to this list, the same guarantee is to be extended to them, and it is to be acted upon in good faith by your Highness, in any manner that may be pointed out by the British Government. All complaints against these persons are also to be referred to the British Resident for his adjustment.The above are the terms to be agreed to by your Highness, and these conditions are to be considered as supplemental to the Treaty of the 25th September, 1819, and to be signed and sealed as such, by your Highness; that there can be no modification in these terms, as your Highness's sincere well-wisher, the British Government offers them in the confidence that your Highness's penetration will recognize their moderation, and the expediency of a prompt acquiescence. It is confidently expected, also, that the clemency of the British Government in preserving your State (raj) will be duly appreciated by your Highness, as it cannot fail to be by the general voice of this country, and induce your Highness, for the future, scrupulously to maintain the relations of friendship and mutual confidence, by acting up to the provisions and principles of the Treaty.Now, let it be observed, that the Rajah was not called upon to enter into any new terms—he was merely required to observe strictly, and in good faith, the Treaty that he had already entered into; and this he peremptorily refused to agree to, or sign, alleging that he had three several times refused to sign the original Treaty. Sir James Carnac distinctly states, that it was to this, the first of the conditions in the paper, that the Rajah expressed the greatest objection, stating, that by signing it, he would reduce himself to the condition of a Mamlutdar, or farmer of the district. The hon. Member has stated, that the Rajah was called upon to admit his guilt, and that he, therefore, refused to sign the conditions proposed to him. It is true, that the preamble states, that the British Government were satisfied as to the guilt of the Rajah; but he himself was not called upon for any explicit admission of his guilt. It was indispensably necessary to assign some reason in the 930 preamble, for the renewal of the former Treaty, and the introduction of the other conditions in the proposed Paper; and he (Mr. Hogg) did not see how the preamble could have been rendered less offensive. Besides, Sir James Carnac distinctly states, that the objection of the Rajah was not to the preamble. He particularly requested him to point out the particular part of the terms which he objected to, and in reply the Rajah distinctly refused to sign any new agreement whatsoever. Sir James Carnac says, towards the conclusion of his last Minute—His conversation with me and his past conduct have satisfied me, that he is a man whom no Treaty can bind, and that he is firmly resolved not to re-enter into and fulfil the stipulations of the Treaty under which he was enthroned.He attributes his failure to the inflated and erroneous impressions which had been instilled into the Rajah's mind; and, above all, to the confidence he reposed in the numerous agencies he had established in India and in England. He (Mr. Hogg) could not state too strongly his own opinion, that such agents, whether native or European, were the bane of every native Power that employed them. Sir James Carnac having tried in vain, during four interviews, to induce the Rajah to accede to his proposal, and avoid the ruin that must await his refusal, was compelled most reluctantly to determine on deposing him, and placing his brother in his stead. Still, however, he was unwilling to carry this severe sentence into immediate execution; and on leaving Sattara, instructed the Political Agent to send after him any communications which he might receive from the Rajah, hoping still to save the infatuated Prince. He (Mr. Hogg) would confidently ask the House, if it was consistent with our character, and our safety, in India, to pass over, without notice, the attempt of a native Prince, however limited his power, to subvert the British authority; and he would further ask whether it was possible to suggest a course more lenient than that proposed by Sir James Carnac? The suggestion was entirely his own, and opposed to the opinions of the other authorities in India; and every feeling that could influence a public man must have combined to make him use every effort for the success of his own proposal. The hon. 931 Member for Montrose had asked, with regard to the Goa intrigue, whether any reference on the subject had been made to the Portuguese Government? Why did not the hon. Member tell the House that he himself had written to the nobleman who at that time was Governor at Goa? And what was the answer of the Governor? Not that he had no correspondence or communication with the Rajah of Sattara; but that he had no correspondence relating to political matters. What right, he would ask, had the Rajah of Sattara to communicate at all with the Portuguese Governor, or with any foreign authority whatsoever? He was expressly prohibited from having any communication with any foreign authority; and the forfeiture of his dominion was declared to be the penalty annexed to the violation of that condition. Before leaving this part of the subject, he would ask permission to read two extracts from a minute recorded by the late Mr. Edmonstone, one of the ablest and most benevolent men that ever adorned the British service in India; one known to be ever foremost in maintaining the rights and privileges of native Princes; and, in political experience and knowledge, scarcely inferior even to Mr. Elphinstone.The Principality of Sattara had no existence antecedently to the formation of the Treaty with the Rajah. By the subversion of the Peishwa's power, his territorial possessions, of which the territories now composing the State of Sattara formed a part, together with all the rights of sovereignty and supremacy which he exercised, devolved upon us. The Mahratta Federative Compact was dissolved: the nominal supremacy of the imprisoned descendant of Sevajee was virtually extinguished; the materials which formerly constituted the Mahratta Empire were dissipated. The full extent of the Rajah's claim upon the justice, and even the liberality of the British Government, might have been satisfied by a stipend or a jagheer; its policy awarded to him a dominion, under special restrictions however, having specifically for its object to guard against the assumption of that titular supremacy to which he still considered himself to possess an hereditary claim.Finally, I must maintain, that in political questions involving the rights, interests, and conduct of its allies and dependants, the ruling power is the sole and proper judge; and that, in the case now under consideration, the British Government was not required to put the Rajah on his trial, and to be governed by the issue of it; but was strictly justified in 932 deciding, on the ground of recorded and in-disputed facts, that by his conduct he had incurred the forfeiture of his dominion, and that it was placed under the absolute necessity of carrying that decision into effect on his refusing to accede to the terms of a new Treaty, which, although it necessarily involved either a direct or inferential acknowledgment of his misconduct, yet only required him in future to abide by the principles of his original agreement, the conditions of which he had failed to observe.There might be some diversity of opinion as to the mode of conducting the different investigations, and as to the policy of scanning too minutely every violation of political faith by subordinate native Princes; but the main and substantial question before the House was the guilt of the Rajah; and he solemnly declared, he could not understand how any one who had perused the Papers could entertain a doubt as to his guilt, or the justice of the punishment inflicted. He now came to the charges of personal corruption against Colonel Ovans and Ballajee Punt Nathoo; and he must first express his deep regret that an hon. Member who took such a deep interest in the affairs of India, and was well acquainted with the character of its civil and military servants, should have felt it his duty to bring forward such a charge proceeding from such a source. The House would bear in mind, that when calling their attention to the proceedings under the Commission, he had stated that Geerja Baee, the mother of Govind Rao, had presented a petition to Government, giving the names of several persons implicated in the matter then under investigation, and able to afford important information. There was some difficulty in ascertaining the person who had been employed by Geerja Baee to write that petition. At length, Krushnajee Sudasew voluntarily came forward, and stated to Colonel Ovans that he had written the petition by the desire of Geerja Baee; and, to remove all doubt as to the truth of his allegation, he produced a duplicate of that petition, the original having never been out of the possession of Colonel Ovans, thereby proving most satisfactorily that he, Krushnajee, had written and prepared the petition. In December, 1842, this Krushnajee presented a petition to Government, stating that Geerja Baee had promised him 1,250 rupees as payment for his trouble in writing her petition; that of this sum he had only received 150 rupees; 933 and praying the intervention of Government for the recovery of the balance. He further alleged that Colonel Ovans and Ballajee Punt Nathoo had made themselves responsible for the sum promised by Geerja Baee. This petition was referred by Government to the Resident at Sattara, Colonel Ovans, who reported that he knew nothing whatever regarding the alleged promise of 1,250 rupees by Geerja Baee; that Krushnajee, if he had any claim on Geerja Baee, must proceed against her in the usual manner; and that Government could not interfere in the matter; and a reply to that effect was sent to Krushnajee. Shortly before the receipt of that reply, he had presented a second petition, nearly to the same effect as his first; and, in reply to that petition, he was informed that his allegations had already been considered, and that the decision communicated to him must be regarded as final. He then presented a third petition to the Governor, when on a tour in the Deccan, charging Ballajee Punt Nathoo with having received bribes from the jageerdars aud Ryots. This petition was inquired into, the allegations were declared to be utterly unfounded, and Krushnajee was informed that no further petitions on the subject would be received from him. Notwithstanding this intimation, he presented three or four other petitions to a similar effect, which, by the order of Government, were returned to him. Finding that his petitions presented to Government were returned, he thought he would try his success in another quarter; and he accordingly presented a petition to Mr. Warden, the agent for Sirdars at Poonah, dated October, 1843, reiterating his charges against Ballajee Punt Nathoo, and alleging, as before, that the petition of Geerja Baee had been written by him at her desire, and complaining that the promised reward of 1,250 rupees had not been paid to him. He would beg the attention of the House to this, that Krushnajee, in all his petitions up to October, 1843, alleged that the petition of Geerja Baee had been written by him and by her desire. This man, Krushnajee, now comes forward and declares, that all his former complaints and allegations regarding Geerja Baee were false; that she never employed him to write any petition; and that the petition purporting to have been presented by her, was forged by him at the suggestion of Ballajee Punt 934 Nathoo, who had withheld from him the wages of his iniquity. This wretch forges a petition in the name of Geerja Baee, and then endeavours to extort from the unfortunnate woman payment for having forged a document tending to the injury both of herself and son. He (Mr. Hogg) believed that the annals of human depravity scarcely contained another instance of such infamy—admitted and avowed by the man himself—and yet it was upon the unsupported assertion of this wretch, that the hon. Member for Montrose had thought it his duty to place upon the Votes of this House, charges of bribery and corruption against a British officer of high honour and unblemished reputation. It so happened, that as regarded the case of the Rajah of Sattara, it was entirely immaterial whether the petition of Geerja Baee was authentic or not. That petition stated no facts—it only indicated the names of various persons who could afford information, and these persons were in consequence examined, and did afford important information. Therefore, although the petition was in itself an important document, its authenticity was wholly immaterial. There could not, however, be a doubt that the petition was prepared by the desire of Geerja Baee, and written by Krushnajee. Geerja Baee had called upon Colonel Ovans, and had adverted to and admitted the petition. It had been alleged that Geerja Baee had never called upon Colonel Ovans, but had been personated by some woman, employed for that purpose by Ballajee Punt Nathoo. To this Colonel Ovans had replied, that Geerja Baee had called to visit his wife, that her person was known to him, and that he could not have been deceived. He would add, that Geerja Baee died in April, 1843, and that these allegations were not made until after her death. It was true, that documents had been transmitted to the Court of Directors by the hon. Member for Montrose, showing that Geerja Baee had disclaimed all knowledge of the petition in her name; but his hon. Friend the Secretary to the Board of Control had read to the House a document of a subsequent date, in which Geerja Baee alleged that the supposed denial was extorted from her. He had already stated that Ballajee Punt Nathoo was a native of great influence, and of the highest character and respectability, and had been rewarded by the British Government for the valuable 935 services he had rendered: that he had been connected with the British Government in India for nearly half a century; and he had read extracts from documents, showing the high estimation in which Ballajee Punt Nathoo was held by Mr. Elphinstone and all the public authorities who succeded him. This man had given useful information to Government in the Sattara affair, and had, therefore, been persecuted ever since with a most inveterate and implacable malignity. The charges preferred against him had again and again been declared false and malicious by the proper authorities in India; and this last attempt was now made here, to endeavour to disgrace, by foul charges, the name of a man now on the confines of the grave. The charges against Colonel Ovans were, that he had obtained payment of the Rajah of the sum of 1,500 rupees per month to his father-in-law, and that this allowance was, on his death, transferred to his brother-in-law, who received it up to this day; and that when Colonel Ovans's lady and children proceeded to England, gold bullion, and Venetian necklaces, to the value of 50,000 rupees, were purchased by the Rajah, and given to the Resident. These charges were not even adverted to in the letter from Krushnajee to the Court of Directors in December, 1843. For upwards of five years, every attempt has been made to cast imputations upon the judgment and impartiality of Colonel Ovans—but it was not (as Sir George Arthur says) until the eleventh hour, that his calumniators had dared to cast an imputation upon his integrity and honour. These charges were preferred before Mr. Warden, the agent for Sirdars, who made no inquiry whatever into them; he merely took the usual sureties, and referred the matter for the orders of the Government. The Government, finding that the charges preferred against Ballajee Punt Nathoo were identical with those which had so often been declared false and malicious, dismissed them without further notice or inquiry. He was happy to say, that with regard to the charges against Colonel Ovans, no inquiry was made by the Bombay Government. Knowing the high honour and unblemished character of that distinguished public officer, and the infamous source from whence the charges proceeded, the charges were spurned with contempt by the Bombay Government, as they were 936 by the Court of Directors, and as he hoped they would be by the British House of Commons. Sir George Arthur states, in his minute, that he had the fullest opportunities of knowing the bearing and reputation of the public servants in his presidency, and he declared that he would name Colonel Ovans among those who stood highest in the public respect and estmation. Sir Thomas M'Mahon, the Commander in Chief, did not deem the charges deserving even of notice, and satisfies himself by saying that they ought to be dismissed without inquiry. He would ask permission to read an extract from the minute of Mr. Crawford, who had known Colonel Ovans from the time of his arrival in India. Mr. Crawford says—I have known Colonel Ovans personally, from his first arrival in India (I think, as far back as the year 1808, or thereabouts) to the present time; and I may add, intimately, throughout that period. For although circumstances prevented our meeting in later time for a considerable number of years, I never lost sight of him, or of the estimation in which he was held by all classes. Of his pecuniary transactions, I had also an opportunity of knowing much in former days: and, certainly, his disregard of all selfish considerations, untainted, however, by any approach to extravagance, would point him out to me as amongst the last men in the service who would be guilty of corruption, or dishonourable dealing in any way. In fact, to sum up my opinion of Colonel Ovans in a very few words, I believe him to be utterly incapable of the acts imputed to him by this petitioner, or of any act as a public servant, or private individual, that need be concealed from any one. With these sentiments, I would deal with this, as all former petitions from the same source, dismiss it at once.He would also ask permission to read a short extract from the minute of Mr. Reid, the third and only other Member of Council:—The character and reputation of honourable men, who have well and zealously served the State, must not be left at the mercy of worthless and irresponsible individuals, who, urged by disappointment, or by some more unworthy motive, or employed as the mere tools of a faction, step forward as public accusers.And in conclusion he says—Taking this view, I consider it quite unnecessary to make any remarks on the case before us, further than to express my regret that an officer of Colonel Ovans's established character should be liable to be traduced by such a person as Bhire appears to be. But, this is an evil to which all public men are exposed, and especially 937 those who, in doing their duty, place themselves in opposition to the interests of influential and unscrupulous adversaries.He felt that an apology would be necessary, both to Colonel Ovans and to the House, if he were to enter into an argument to show the absurdity, as well as the falsehood, of these charges. It had been stated by his hon. Friend the Secretary to the Board of Control, that neither Colonel Ovans's father-in-law, or brother-in-law, had ever been in India. It appeared further, that the receipt of the alleged pension of 1,500 rupees was stated to have been of long standing, and as Colonel Ovans's family went home in April 1843, the receipt of the gold bullion and necklaces was also a transaction not of recent date. How came it, then, that these matters had never before been adverted to? It was pretty obvious, that the adherents and advocates of the Rajah were not very scrupulous, and yet neither in petition, nor in debate at the India House, where the matter had been so often and so warmly discussed, was there ever even an allusion to any such charges. The last debate at the India House was only about six weeks ago, and no allusion whatever was there made to the subject, though Colonel Ovans was personally assailed, and the hon. Member for Montrose had expressed his surprise that he had not thought himself called on to attend and defend himself. He (Mr. Hogg) thought, that the course pursued by Colonel Ovans was the course that ought to be pursued by any man of high honour and conscious integrity, under such circnmstances; and he would ask permission to read to the House a letter addressed by Colonel Ovans to Mr. Melvill, the Secretary to the Court, a few days previous to the debate referred to:—
§ "1, Charles Street, Lowndes Square, 14th June, 1845.
§ "My dear Mr. Melvill—I should not have considered it necessary to have made any observations on the proceedings at the last Quarterly General Court of Proprietors, held at the India House on the 19th of March last, had it not struck me that I might be expected to appear in person to defend my conduct, as a public officer, from the accusations brought forward by Mr. G. Thompson. But, as I think, such a course of proceeding would be generally condemned, and, moreover, would be highly injurious to the public service, I trust, you will oblige me by submitting the following points to the Chairman and Deputy Chairman on the subject;—
§ "These points are — 1st, That as the Sattara 938 case has been duly disposed of by the Government of India, the Court of Directors, and the Board of Control, it does not become me, as a public servant, to interfere.
§ "2nd, That my conduct as regards the case having been approved of by the Court of Directors, I feel confident I may safely trust my defence in their hands.
§ "3rd, That I, therefore, rest assured, that whatever discussion may hereafter arise, the Court will do me the justice to believe, that it is from no apprehension or unwillingness to meet any charge that may be made against me that I refrain from attending personally in that Court, but solely from a strong sense of public duty; inasmuch as it appears to me, that it would be very prejudicial to the public interests for officers, who had held high political employment in India, to attend in that Court to answer charges affecting not only their own acts, but those of their official superiors, both in India and in England.
§ "As regards this case, therefore, I will only add, that I am ready and willing to afford any explanation that may be called for by the Court of Directors. But that, as I before said, I conceive it would be very hurtful to the public service to admit (by attending personally in the Court of Proprietors) the right of Mr. G. Thompson to examine and try the servants of the East India Company for acts done in their official capacity whilst serving in India.—I remain, &c.
§ "C. OVANS,"
§ The hon. Member had said, if Colonel Ovans is conscious of his own innocence, why does he not court inquiry, which could only end in the refutation of the charges? He (Mr. Hogg) contended that the mere institution of an inquiry into the truth of charges so foul and infamous, would be a stigma upon the character of any man. By whom were these charges preferred? By a wretch who, at the very moment he preferred them, avowed himself guilty of forgery, perjury, and extortion: character would indeed be valueless, if it did not protect a public servant of tried ability and unblemished reputation, from such charges proceeding from such a source. He urged these considerations even more strongly, with regard to Ballajee Punt Nathoo. It might be matter of feeling, or perhaps he ought rather to say of prejudice. But he appealed to all who had been in India, as to the correctness of what he said, when he stated, that among natives of high caste, character, and influence, the disgrace of inquiry is little less than that of conviction. No failure, no exposure, could add to the infamy of Krushnajee; while his malignity would be gratified, if he could throw a shade 939 upon the fair fame of those who had thwarted his schemes and exposed his falsehood. His hon. Friend the Secretary to the Board of Control had read two letters from Colonel Ovans, one addressed to his noble Friend Lord Jocelyn, and the other to Mr. Melvill, in consequence of the Notice placed by the hon. Member on the Books of the House. He begged to state, that no communication whatever was made by the Court of Directors to Colonel Ovans on the subject of these charges; he was not even called upon for a denial of them; they were treated by the Court with contempt, and as undeserving of any notice. If Colonel Ovans should express any desire for inquiry, he (Mr. Hogg) thought it would be the duty of the Court of Directors to intervene and prevent it. A Government did not deserve to be well served who did not come forward to protect their servants when unjustly and falsely assailed. It had long been observed that the civil and military servants of the East India Company were alike remarkable for their ability and their integrity. How came it that the East India Company were thus well served? It was because they remunerated their servants liberally, and exacted from them in return a rigorous discharge of their public duties; and while they maintained the purity of their service by visiting with severity any dereliction of duty, he hoped they would ever be equally ready to protect their servants from foul and false imputations like these now brought forward against Colonel Ovans, who had discharged his public duties for a period of thirty-three years, with honour to himself and advantage to his country. He would conclude by expressing his hope and belief that the hon. Member would find few to support the Motion he had made.
§ Sir Edward Colebrooke
said, that his main object in rising was to prevent a statement of the hon. Gentleman the Secretary to the Board of Control passing uncontradicted. He alluded to that portion of the hon. Gentleman's speech, in which he said that the proceedings in the case of this unfortunate prince were conducted in a manner usual in India. He knew not what cases the hon. Gentleman had in his mind when he made this statement; but certainly he (Sir E. Colebrooke) was ready to admit that the recent history of India exhibited instances 940 in which great wars had been entered upon, ending in the dethronement of princes and conquests of territory, when the evidence on which we acted was utterly worthless for any judicial purpose, and where the parties accused had no opportunity of hearing the charges made against them. He would allude more particularly to the case of Scinde, which the hon. Gentleman was called upon, on a former occasion, officially to defend, and which exhibited a striking parallel to the present. The British officers who usually conduct the diplomatic intercourse with the native courts, being in either case employed in the unworthy task of searching for evidence from polluted channels, and the Government, in both cases, proceeding to act against the princes accused of breach of Treaties, without giving them the opportunity of hearing the accusation or making their defence; and then great volumes had been prepared and laid before Parliament to impose upon us the belief that the cases had met with a judicial inquiry. He denied that such cases were to be taken as specimens of our ordinary dealings with the native princes of India. He thought that our conduct to the Rajah of Sattara exhibited a marked violation of the principles of substantial justice. If he were to be regarded as an independent prince, why did we not act towards him as the Sovereign States are usually dealt with, and ask for explanations or defence of his conduct, before we proceeded to means of coercion? If, however, looking to the dependant relation which he held towards us, he was to be regarded as a subject, he should have had the advantage, which the meanest subject enjoys, of a fair trial, and ample means of defence. The hon. Gentleman the Secretary of the Board of Control, had indeed said, that the full particulars of the nature of the accusations were, throughout the whole of the proceedings, communicated to the Rajah; and the hon. and learned Member for Beverley had made a statement to the same effect. He apprehended that there was here some mistake. Certainly, with regard to one of the accusations, this proceeding was adopted; but with regard to the two subsequent and important accusations, the Rajah remained to the last in utter ignorance of them. He (Sir E. Colebrooke) knew not on what authority the 941 hon. Member had made this statement; but this he knew, that there was on record a minute of the then Governor General of India, in which this course was expressly recommended, and that this advice was never acted upon; and as that minute contained some striking comments upon the impropriety of the original inquiry into the intrigues of the Rajah of Sattara, as well as on the difficulty in which the Government were placed, when they were called upon to act upon evidence so collected, he would take the liberty of reading one or two extracts to the House. He considered that this minute, both in its observations on the past, and its recommendations for the future, contained the only solitary gleams of sense in the whole of the Sattara volumes.The grave inconvenience of a course of arduous and minute scrutiny into the possible plots and intrigues of the native States are, indeed, very obvious. Nor can it be necessary to dwell upon the unworthy labour of following out the petty and intricate ramification of such intrigues, or the questionable expedients that must be employed to expose the true meaning of proceedings covered with mystery. I would more strongly fix attention on the effect which seems justly dreaded by the honourable Court, of injuring the character of our Government for moderation, security and strength. In this instance, in an affair of no real importance to our power, the idea of mistrust on the part of the British Government, may have spread from Rajpootana to Madras and Malabar; and when all these evils shall have been increased, the serious practical difficulty must be incurred. It being known that the secret has been discovered, it may be impolitic not to take notice of that from which, had we continued in real or affected ignorance, we should have sustained no harm. Yet by what process and with what impression on the public mind is the guilty State to be tried, condemned and punished?In a later paragraph of the same minute, Lord Auckland suggests—That the Rajah should be furnished with a written statement, embodying a full and clear detail of the facts connected with the different charges, and of the names (with any reservations which may be absolutely required for the safety of the party) of the witnesses by whom they are proved, with a notice of the circumstances under which the evidence was obtained; and call for from him a similar written statement of whatever he may desire to urge in his own behalf.Such was the recommendation of Lord Auckland with regard to the course to be 942 pursued for the future, and which was plain and rational. The reasons why it was not acted upon are explained in a despatch of Colonel Ovans, and which he (Sir Edward Colebrooke) was ready to admit were, so far as they went, perfectly unanswerable. The argument was much the same as that employed by the hon. Secretary to the Board of Control on the difficulty of giving up the names of the witnesses. If we made known our case, we made known the means of defeating it. The Rajah was a sovereign prince with full power over his subjects, and as we had been hunting about in every corner for evidence against him, directly the case was made known to him, he might employ his power to crush every person who might be brought against him; and therefore any measure for trying his guilt by a full inquiry must be preceded by his temporary dethronement, in fact, by prejudging his guilt. Such reasoning was strong and cogent; but the practical conclusion at which he arrived was, not that we did right to dispense with a trial, but that we were in a position in which it was impossible to proceed with any credit to ourselves. And certainly the Indian Government seemed to be of the same opinion: and nothing could be more striking than the hesitation of the Government when they were called upon to act upon the evidence they had collected; so little right had the defenders of the Indian Government to assume that there was a strong weight of authority against the Rajah. The Indian Government prepared their case, and recorded strong opinions of the Rajah's guilt; but when they came to act, they shrunk from the responsibility of taking strong measures against him, and in the end waited for instruction from the Home Government. It was at this time that Sir J. Carnac was appointed to the government of Bombay, and proceeded thither with full power to settle this long-pending question. He appeared disposed to take a favourable or lenient view of the Rajah's case, and certainly to avoid having recourse to extremities with regard to him. But Sir J. Carnac found himself embarrassed in following out his views, owing to the strong opinions that had been recorded by different Members of the Government regarding the Rajah's guilt. Sir J. Carnac wished to bury the whole matter in oblivion; but at the same 943 time to do it in such a manner as should save the credit of those who had pledged themselves to his guilt; and hence it was that he (Sir E. Colebrooke) believed that the new Governor had recourse to that extraordinary expedient that had been alluded to in debate, of offering terms of amnesty to the Rajah, on condition of his subscribing a Treaty which should contain a full confession of his guilt. He understood that the hon. Member for Beverley denied that the Treaty contained such an admission; and yet it stood recorded on the preamble and on every part of the document. Even the very fact of renewing the old Treaty was only intelligible on the supposition that the former Treaty was broken or at an end. But not merely that; Sir J. Carnac, in his address to the Rajah, when he offered him these terms, reports that he made him a long speech on the subject of his criminality and ingratitude, and wound up with a parade of the magnanimity of the Government in offering terms of grace. He would read the Rajah's reply, as given by Sir J. Carnac, and the House would then judge whether the hon. Member for Beverley was justified in saying that the Rajah's refusal of the terms did not turn upon the point of his confession of guilt.During my address, (are the words of Sir J. Carnac,) the Rajah evinced a considerable degree of impatience, and frequently interrupted me by abrupt declarations that he had committed no breach of alliance. When I had concluded, he stated that he regarded me as his friend and well-wisher, asserted that the accusations against him originated in the intrigues of his enemies; that as long as the British Government entertained the idea that he had cherished hostile designs, he could agree to nothing; but this idea being removed, he would agree to any thing I proposed; that he would consent to any thing except to abandon his religion, or to acknowledge that he had been our enemy.He (Sir E. Colebrooke) considered the Rajah's reply dictated by proper pride and conscious innocence. He refused to accept the dishonourable terms offered to him, and he was accordingly dethroned. Having said thus much in favour of the Motion of his hon. Friend the Member for Montrose, he regretted having, in some measure, to qualify his approbation. But he could not agree to that part of the Motion which impugned the conduct of the Government, in refusing to enter 944 upon the accusations against Colonel Ovans, as detailed in the petition of Krushnajee Sudasew Bhidey. He thought, upon reading the Papers laid before Parliament, that the Government had come to a proper decision upon that subject; and he was the more disposed to make this admission, because he did not think that the Rajah's case was materially improved before the House, by entering upon the points detailed in those petitions. He thought the case weakened by entering into such details; the House was an unfit tribunal to enter upon such questions of evidence; but they were fully qualified to judge whether the proceedings towards the Rajah had been marked by fair dealing, and whether they were conducted with regard to substantial justice. It was in this point of view that he had submitted his observations to the House. He thought that the whole proceedings towards this unfortunate prince were reprehensible, and having a strong opinion on the subject, he could not allow this opportunity to pass by without stating them to the House.
§ Mr. Wakley
said, it appeared to him that upon all questions of personal grievance the Government seemed to make it a rule to get rid of the complaint by a large majority, and thus the responsibility of the Executive Government was removed from it by the decision of the House. He thought that this was rather an appeal to the Government than to the House. The First Lord of the Treasury ought to make himself perfect master of the case, and bring it to a satisfactory conclusion. For his own part, he knew little or nothing of it until he heard it discussed in the House that night; and having listened patiently to the statements that had been made on both sides of the House, he had come to the conclusion that the Rajah of Sattara was a most injured man, and that the least that could be done was to institute an inquiry. Should the prayer of the Rajah's petition be withheld, it would be a most serious reflection upon the Government. The hon. Member for Beverley had failed to prove what he attempted. Commenting upon the evidence taken at Sattara, the hon. Member opposite had said that the witnesses were most reckless persons, that they utterly disregarded the truth, and that they had no apprehension of consequences, their names being concealed. 945 Yet upon that evidence the Rajah had been deposed and banished, and was at the present moment an exile at Benares, and doomed to remain so, unless that House or the First Lord of the Treasury would interfere. Would the House refuse inquiry? Did they not feel that they were dealing with the case of an innocent man? Nothing could prove his innocence more than his pertinacious refusal to sign a document confessing his guilt, with all the awful consequences of that refusal staring him in the face. Why, Sir J. Carnac would have permitted the Rajah to remain on the throne, to exercise royal authority, and to remain in connexion with the British Government, had he signed that document? That was proof demonstrative that Sir J. Carnac believed him to be an innocent man. Could Sir J. Carnac believe that he was dealing with a traitor? If he did, he himself would be liable to impeachment for the course he attempted to take.
Mr. Bingham Baring
was induced to make a few observations on what had fallen from the hon. Member for Taunton (Sir T. E. Colebrooke). The hon. Member had drawn an analogy between the inquiry which had been made into the case of the Rajah of Sattara, and that which had been made into the case of a feudal chieftain in the North-West Provinces, who had been guilty of the murder of Mr. Fraser; but it was impossible to adapt the same mode of proceeding to the judicial trial of a subject for the crime of murder, and to the investigation of the political conduct of a dependent Sovereign to whom a breach of Treaty was alone imputed. Much blame had been cast upon Sir Robert Grant's conduct in this case; but the circumstances of India at the time had been altogether overlooked. The right hon. Member for Edinburgh told us, in a debate upon the Affghan war, that there prevailed about that period a general impression throughout the whole Empire, that the epoch of British dominion had reached its term. The star of England was considered to be upon the wane, and the advent of a mysterious power from the North-West was expected to overwhelm us. Upon the same occasion, the authority of General Cubbon, Governor of Mysore, and of Colonel Sutherland, Governor of Rajpootana, were quoted, to show that there never had existed such a ferment among the native princes of India. 946 We know, moreover, that the Rajah of Kinnoul had collected munitions of war in the castles of his Principality, sufficient for the outfit of a large army, and that an insurrection had broken forth lately at Hyderabad. These were the circumstances under which Sir Robert Grant acted; he would not otherwise have noticed intrigues, contemptible in themselves, and of common occurrence at all times in the proceedings of native courts. The inquiry he had to institute was conducted by our Resident in a foreign State, among the subjects of the accused monarch. It was, from its very nature, beset with imperfections, which rendered its result unsatisfactory as a foundation whereon to act. It was in consideration of these imperfections that the Home Government, although satisfied of the guilt of the Rajah, determined to overlook it. They selected as the new Governor of Bombay the Chairman of the Court of Directors, who had shown himself favourable to the accused monarch. He determined, on his arrival in India, to undertake, in person, the negotiation, which was a necessary preliminary to the restoration of the Rajah to his Throne. His subjects had committed themselves by giving evidence before our Commission. We were bound to protect them from persecution. His brother had been implicated. It was necessary to secure to him his estates and pension. The Rajah had for many years refused to comply with the Second Article of the Treaty, which had placed him upon the Throne, and had pledged him to conform, in all things, to the advice of the British Resident. It became necessary, therefore, as a guarantee for the future, to insist upon again recognising the Treaty of which he had been entirely forgetful. These were the three conditions contained in the Mahratta memorandum which he was called upon to sign. He positively refused. The hon. Member for Taunton says that the plea of his refusal was, that he was thereby called upon to acknowledge his guilt. This plea was not advanced by the Rajah at the time: it was an afterthought, suggested by his European advisers. The allegation of guilt contained in the preamble of the memorandum presented for his signature, was an allegation of the belief of the British Government in his guilt; but he was not required to sign the preamble. Sir James Carnac himself assured him (Mr. Baring), 947 that he should most readily have met such an objection by cancelling the preamble, which was altogether needless for the purpose he had in view, which purpose appears upon the face of the documents to have been to obtain the guarantee of the Rajah, for the future observance of the Treaty, for the amnesty of the acts of the witnesses, for the payment of his brother's pension. Look at Sir James Carnac's declaration, written before he quitted Bombay. Look at Mr. Farish's minute approving of the deposal of the Rajah, in which he wrote at the time—2. My entire conviction of the Rajah's guilt in the instances charged against him is on record; subsequent events have only tended to confirm it; but the very act of his refusing the conditions of oblivion and reconciliation—conditions which even spared him the mortification of expressly acknowledging guilt, particularly the first, as connected with his remark that it would place him in a subordinate situation, is a virtual declaration that he did not hold himself bound by the Treaty of 1819; and, even setting aside his former infractions of the Treaty, shows that no dependence could have been placed on him at any future period.Look at the evidence of the Rajah himself, contained in his own recital of events, communicated by him to the Nizam—a document which contains nothing upon which accusation might be rested—a document which bears every stamp of authenticity. He there says—5. 'The whole substance of the new memorandum (yad) is this, that nothing is to be done without consulting the Resident. Then I am to be like a Mamlutdar only, and to be subject to continual annoyance, and to have my people wearied, and entirely to let the statements of my enemies be confirmed.' I would not sign it, in consequence, although the Resident brought me the memorandum, and left it to them to make what arrangements they thought proper, on making reference to (the authorities) in Europe and Calcutta, for when requisite I shall speak in presence of those gentlemen who were present, whatever I have to say.It was thus shown by the evidence of Sir James Carnac, of Mr. Farish, of the Rajah himself, that he was dethroned, not for his violation of the Treaty, but because he refused to give us those guarantees for the future which his previous conduct had entitled us to demand. So much with regard to that part of the speech of the hon. Member for Taunton. As for the rest, he rejoiced to find that the hon. 948 Member for Taunton did not concur with the hon. Member for Montrose, in giving credence to the accusation against Colonel Ovans, and Balajee Punt Nathoo, a native of high rank and character, a constant friend of the British Government, and a confidential adviser of Mr. Elphinstone, in his settlement of the claims of the Southern Mahratta Jaghiredars. He would not go further into that part of the case, which had been so ably treated by others; but he could not refrain from expressing his indignation that upon the evidence of so worthless a character, after the perusal of the complete justification presented in the Papers before the House, charges of such a nature should be reiterated against men of such high and unblemished character.
§ Mr. Hume
, in his reply, was understood to say that he would confine himself chiefly to one point. The hon. Member for Beverley had defended Colonel Ovans, and found fault with him for his observations on that officer. In reply to the hon. Member, he would beg leave to read to the House an extract of a statement he had previously submitted to the Earl of Ripon. In that he said—In a letter from Captain Durack to Colonel Ovans, dated 27th September, 1837, and forwarded by that officer to the Bombay Government, it is stated that Colonel Ovans authorized the writer (Captain Durack) to pay a sum of money to an obscure subject (Bhaw Lilly) of the Sattara State, for Papers that would implicate his Sovereign; and it appears that the sum of 150 rupees was actually paid in advance.By his letter to the Bombay Government, dated the 11 th November, 1837, par. pa. 403, Colonel Ovans reports that he has obtained Papers from one Balkoba Kelkur (a gang robber) for 400 rupees (40l.) most important against the Rajah. These Papers consisted of letters, alleged to be from the Portuguese Viceroy of Goa to the Rajah, (which the Viceroy, now in Lisbon, has deposed to be foul forgeries,) and seals (which are proved not to be the Rajah's) with other documents, not one of which is proved to be genuine. Yet, will it be credited, that on the 21st September, 1842, Colonel Ovans makes an affidavit, in defiance of these recorded facts, that he never, directly or indirectly, purchased evidence of any witness or witnesses whatever; and although Colonel Ovans (now in England) has been publicly accused of moral, if not legal perjury, by the Rajah's agent, now in England, he has not availed himself of the usual facilities for clearing his character of imputations which the most obscure individual would 949 consider an everlasting stigma upon his respectability and good name.For everything there stated he had vouchers in the Papers on the Table of the House, and he put it to the House, whether the contradiction between Colonel Ovans's statement on November 11th, 1837, and his statement on September 21st, 1842, was not a complete vindication of what he had stated to the House, and a complete refutation of the hon. Member for Beverley's remarks? But he held in his hand other Papers, which confirmed all that he had advanced. He had the letters of Captain Durack to Colonel Ovans; he had a translation of the receipt for 150 rupees for the service which Bhaw Lilly agreed to perform. He had the copy of the forged seals of the Rajah, which were purchased by Colonel Ovans, and produced by him as evidence against the Rajah. He had copies too of the real seals which were produced by Rungo Bapojee, in proof of the forgery of those purchased by Colonel Ovans. All these, he contended, were clear and distinct proofs that Colonel Ovans was aware that evidence had been suborned against the Rajah, and that it was on this suborned evidence his proceedings were founded. He would not then go further with the case, nor would he press his Motion to a division. He had done his duty in bringing the subject under the notice of the House, and he threw on the Members the responsibility of rejecting his Motion, and neglecting to do justice to an injured Prince. He would only warn them that the preservation of our Empire in India must in the end depend on securing the affections of the natives, and that to pursue towards their princes a career of injustice, was to endanger our Indian Empire. If Ministers took no steps in the matter, he would bring the subject again before the House early next Session.
§ Question put, and negatived.