§ MR. G. THOMPSON
rose to bring forward his Motion—That a Select Committee be appointed to inquire into the conduct of Lieutenant-Colonel 404 Charles Ovans (of the Bombay Army) while British Political Resident at the Court of Sattara; and into the Proceedings of the Bombay Government, and the Court of Directors of the East India Company, in relation to certain Charges preferred against that Officer.The Motion, he said, were the aspect of a personal accusation; but he could assure the House that he had no feeling against the particular individual in question, and he altogether disclaimed any resentment towards that gallant officer. He had, indeed, never seen Colonel Ovans; and he was free to admit that all he had heard of his private character was to his advantage. Therefore in dealing with him he wished to be understood that he should do so only as the servant of the East India Company and of the Crown in the transaction. His object was less to attack Colonel Ovans than to attack those from whom he had received his commission on the occasion in question—conduct which had done a peculiar injury to the State of Sattara, and at the same time had sullied the character of British interests in India. The other reasons which actuated him to bring forward this charge were connected with the fate of the late illustrious person who lately filled the throne of Sattara. He (Mr. Thompson) had hoped that an impartial investigation would be given to those charges by the East India Company, and with that view he had first brought them under the notice of the court of that body. He had in doing so given every facility to Colonel Ovans for making his defence; and he had even furnished him with the documents on which the charges were founded. But they were negatived by the court in question; negatived, too, without a single one of them being gainsaid. He had next entertained a hope that the East India Company would at least be clement if they were not just; and that they would, in that character, have done something for the individual whom they had so deeply injured. But at two general courts held at the India House no answers were given to his application; and it was only on Wednesday last that he learned, from the speeches of the Chairman and Deputy Chairman of the Company, that it had been decided that the Rajah of Sattara, having been justly deprived of his throne for a violation of his treaty with the East India Company, was, therefore, not competent to nominate a successor to it. He (Mr. Thompson) consequently felt it to be his 405 duty to show the House his grounds for disputing that decision in reference to the guilt of the Rajah of Sattara; and he considered the present Motion would do as well as any other for that purpose. His object was not punishment, but the correction of a grievous error, and the prevention of persons in the situation of Colonel Ovans from committing such acts as he was prepared to prove against him. Since he had last addressed the House on the subject, Colonel Ovans had published an elaborate answer to the charges made against him, declaring them, in that document, utterly false and groundless. The gallant officer described in the same manner the charges of the hon. Member for Montrose. Nevertheless, he felt convinced that he could establish both to the very letter. Colonel Ovans also complained of persecution, and described it as vindictive and oppressive, because he had only executed the commands of the Government; but Colonel Ovans could not be relieved from the personal responsibility connected with truth and honour in his public capacity, whatever might be the commands of the Government. Colonel Ovans was appointed in 1837 to take charge of the Residency at Sattara, in consequence of the removal of Colonel Lodwick. He should pass over the circumstances connected with the removal of Colonel Lodwick, though, if the inquiry he moved for were granted, he should be able to show that he was removed on false pretences. It was entirely on a suspicion entertained by the Bombay authorities that Colonel Lodwick was not exactly the man to carry on those proceedings against the Rajah which had been already commenced, and which it was determined to continue, that Colonel Ovans was appointed, in consequence of his having more tact, dexterity, and energy. The day after Colonel Ovans took charge of the Residency, where, according to the treaty, he should have been the friendly adviser of the Rajah of Sattara, he authorised his staff officer to pay over to a native, whom he had never seen, 200 rupees for the production of certain documents purporting to inculpate the Rajah with treason. This he did without seeing the man, or asking him a single question, and authorised his staff officer to give this man a written engagement for further reward in proportion to his services—that was to say, in proportion to the amount of evidence he might bring forward to criminate the Rajah. The individual thus applied 406 to repented of the part he had acted in the transaction, and made a voluntary confession to the Rajah, his master. He laid the money he had received from Colonel Ovans at the feet of his master. It was not till the depositions were furnished by Br. Milne to the Bombay Government that Colonel Ovans acknowledged that he had thus suborned the evidence of the servant of the Rajah. It appeared that Colonel Ovans was cognisant of the connection of those natives with Liutenant Home and Captain Duval a month previous to the removal of Colonel Lodwick. He would ask the House whether the conduct of Colonel Ovans was such as any officer bearing Her Majesty's commission would be justified in adopting for the purpose of obtaining evidence against a prince at whose court he was accredited? The Indian princes, if such a course of conduct were adopted towards them, would be justified in considering the English residents at their courts as hypocrites and deceivers. While Colonel Ovans had acted in this manner, how had the Rajah acted? When he became acquainted with the attempts which Colonel Ovans had made to procure evidence against him through the means of Rowlheli, he sent for Colonel Ovans, and placed in his hand a letter deprecating the adoption of such proceedings against him, stating his firm friendship for the British Government, and petitioning the Government to relieve him of his Raj—to take from him his territory—but to allow him to retain his hitherto unblemished character, and not to offer a premium to those who were disposed by false evidence to deprive him of it. That letter had been transmitted to the Council at Bombay in 1837, and the Governor had made a minute that no notice should be taken of the communication, which appeared to betray on the part of the Rajah a degree of uneasiness proceeding from the consciousness of his guilt. The Rajah never received from the Bombay Government a letter even acknowledging that communication. Colonel Ovans, between the 16th of June, when he bribed the Rajah's follower, and the 27th of September, when he acknowledged what he had done, had written eighteen letters to Bombay, in none of which did he ever distinctly allude to treasonable papers received from that man. These papers had been placed in the hands of an English barrister, who had given it as his opinion that there had been established at Sattara a 407 system of espionage—a sort of political inquisition—for the purpose of endeavouring, by means of rewards, to procure evidence against the Rajah. He knew the defence that would be set up for Colonel Ovans. It would be said that the 250 rupees which he authorised to be paid Rowlheli were for his expenses; but every one who knew India knew that so large a sum was enough to make a man in that country comfortable for life. He would now proceed with another charge. Evidence had been obtained against the Rajah by duress and imprisonment. In July, 1837, Govind Row had been arrested, and had been sent to Poonah, from whence he had been transferred to Ahmednugger, and imprisoned, and while he was imprisoned there a paper had been procured from him purporting to implicate the Rajah. It had been said that the friends of the Rajah had accused Mr. Hutt, the magistrate at Ahmednugger, of extorting this evidence. The friends of the Rajah had made no such accusation; they had never at all reflected on the character of Mr. Hutt. All he had been called upon to do had been to receive the confession which he (Mr. G. Thompson) contended had been extorted from Govind Row. It had been said that the truth of the confession of Govind Row had been proved by the circumstance that his mother had in Sattara made a confession, which corroborated in every particular the statement made by Govind Row at Ahmednugger; but Govind Row had in 1842 petitioned that House, and had stated that he had been confined at Ahmednugger in a low and dirty room, and that while so confined his uncle had come to him and told him that his life would be in danger by adhering to the truth, and that it would be far better for him to admit in writing that which the Bombay Government wished him to tell against his master. Now, the Parliamentary Papers proved that Colonel Ovans had recommended the removal of Govind Row to Ahmednugger, in order that his mother and his friends might be induced, by the hope of procuring his release, to come forward and state all they knew concerning the Rajah. This he (Mr. Thompson) contended was procuring evidence against the Rajah by duress and imprisonment. If a Committee were granted, he would undertake to prove that the only petition presented to the British Government was by the mother of Govind Row, seeking the release of her son, who was 408 then imprisoned. That petition was forwarded to the Government on the 4th of August, by Colonel Ovans, and eventually complied with. A false petition was sent to the Government of Bombay. Colonel Lodwick was removed from Sattara for the sole purpose of being succeeded by Colonel Ovans, in order that the writer of this petition might be discovered. The actual writer of the petition communicated with Colonel Ovans a very short time after be had been at Sattara, informing him that he had forged the petition. [An unsuccessful attempt was here made to count out the House.] The nature of the charges he had to-night made against Colonel Ovans were well known to the right hon. Baronet opposite (Sir J. Hobhouse); and he (Mr. Thompson) considered that in justice to Colonel Ovans—in justice to the profession of which that gallant officer was a member—in justice to the Government of this country and of India—and in justice to himself (Mr. Thompson), by whom these charges had been preferred—a fair and full investigation ought to be granted. He (Mr. Thompson) might prefer, and believed he could substantiate, many other charges against Colonel Ovans, besides those to which he had to-night referred; but he would not longer occupy the time of the House, for he hoped the right hon. Baronet would assent to the appointment of the Committee for which he had moved. If the right hon. Gentleman refused to grant that Committee, he (Mr. Thompson) would throw himself upon the candour and justice of the House, and would entreat them to afford him an opportunity of proving his charges, and to give to Colonel Ovans—to the Members of Her Majesty's Government—and to the gentlemen connected with the East India Company—an opportunity of explaining their conduct with regard to the transactions to which he had referred.
§ MR. ELLIOT
said, that having passed the greater portion of his life in India, he trusted he might be allowed to offer a few observations on the subject now under consideration—that, if he ventured to obtrude himself upon the House, it was because he naturally felt a strong and lively interest in the welfare and happiness of the people of that country.
Before entering upon the subject itself he begged to direct the attention of the House to the extraordinary course pursued by the hon. Member for the Tower Hamlets (Mr. Thompson). Early in the 409 Session the hon. Member had thought proper to give notice of a Motion, the object of which was stated to he to inquire into the conduct of the Governments of India, and the Court of Directors of the East India Company, in respect to their proceedings in regard to the Rajah of Sattara. That Motion was brought on late on the night of the 6th April. The hon. Member wade his speech, in which he did not hesitate to bring forward charges of a most disgraceful and heinous nature, against almost every public officer who had been engaged in the inquiry into the case of the Rajah of Sattara, both in India and in this country. His hon. Friend the late Secretary to the Board of Control (Mr. C. Lewis) replied to that speech, when, owing to the lateness of the hour, the debate was adjourned. The hon. Member for the Tower Hamlets, having thus placed his charges in the bitterest form before the public, took care his Motion should not come on again for discussion, by fixing it for the followhig Friday, and then, from one Friday to another, until at last he allowed it to drop; knowing full well that, by thus keeping it fixed for a Goverment night, the poison he had circulated must remain uncontradicted. Soon after this the hon. Member placed a fresh notice on the Paper, in which, for the first time, he included Colonel Ovans's name amongst those whom he had determined to attack. By adopting this course the hon. Member entitled himself to make two speeches against those to whom he was opposed, before those hon. Members who were desirous to defend the accused were able to reply to his first attack. He (Mr. Elliot) considered this a most unfair mode of proceeding; but what would the House think, after hearing the speech of the hon. Member to-night, when be (Mr. Elliot) told those who heard him, that though the hon. Member had once more charged Colonel Ovans with conduct which, if true, would prove him to be utterly unworthy of the honourable character he so justly bears, he had not had the candour to state, that since the hon. Member last addressed the House, Colonel Ovans had furnished a full explanation of his conduct in reference to the twelve charges brought against him by the hon. Member, and that that explanation contained complete refutations of every one of them; the hon. Member knowing full well that the length of those explanations made it impossible for him (Mr. Elliot) to attempt to read them to the 410 House. In asking for this Committee, the hon. Gentleman had at all events succeeded in one thing: he had plainly shown, that for any Committee of this House to investigate this case was impossible; by his own showing, it would be impossible to obtain such evidence as would be necessary for such a purpose. The hon. Member first accused Colonel Ovans of such crimes as systematic subornation of perjury, and of being privy to the production of documents he knew to be forged—Colonel Ovans, an officer of the highest possible character, who, in every situation be has held, has been so fortunate as to obtain the marked approbation of the Governments he has served; and in no instances more than whilst filling the offices, first, of Commissioner to investigate the ease of the Rajah of Sattara; and, subsequently, of Resident at the Court of that Prince. Having in these capacities received the most strongly expressed approbation of three Governments of Bombay; of two Governors General, and the Members of the Supreme Council; of the Court of Directors, and of three Boards of Control; Colonel Ovans, being a subordinate officer, and acting under the orders and authority of the Government of Bombay; it is proposed by the hon. Member—nine years having passed—to arraign him before a Committee of this House. This he (Mr. Elliot) believed to be an unheard-of pro-position—such as he felt assured this House Would never consent to. But were there no other difficulties in the way of such an inquiry? Why, if a Committee were appointed, it would occupy five or six years before their labours could terminate; and, after all, no satisfactory result could he obtained. Two of the persons accused, Sir Robert Grant and Sir James Carnac, were gone to another world. The Rajah and his successor were also dead. Witnesses must be summoned from India; and, in short, the inquiry, to say nothing of its injustice, would be endless.
He (Mr. Elliot) conceived that in bringing forward charges such as these, and in asking the House to take so extraordinary a course as was asked for by the hon. Member, he was bound to show that he was free from all personal interest in this matter—that he was free from all feeling of animosity towards those accused—that he was entirely free from all pecuniary interest in the success of his Motion; and, above all, that his accuracy was such as to give the House 411 entire confidence in his statements. Now, he (Mr. Elliot) would take upon himself to show the reverse to be the case in each instance. He would begin with the last, and endeavour to test in some instances the accuracy of the hon. Gentleman's statements; in which he had charged the most base and disgraceful crimes against gentlemen of the highest position and repute. He would, if he were not afraid of wearying the House, read some of the numerous testimonials of honourable service and character, contained in the book which he held in his hand, and which formed a part of the papers laid on the table of the House; he felt, however, he could not do so without taking up too much time; he should, therefore, content himself by saying, that in the book he held in his hand there was a long series of official documents, containing, one more than another, honourable expressions of the most marked approbation of every Government and every authority under which Colonel Ovans had served.
Sir Robert Grant was in like manner assailed by the hon. Member, accused of intentional fasehood, and of having been guilty of subornation of perjury, and forgery. Sir Robert Grant! a gentleman known to every one who had ever heard his name as the most honourable, high-minded, and amiable man that ever existed, and as a person of all others who would have shrunk from conduct so detestable as that which the hon. Member would attribute to him. Sir James Carnac, the Members of the Government of Bombay, the Governor General, and the Government of India, are all guilty in the opinion of the hon. Member. Now, he (Mr. Elliot) would appeal to the House to say if it was not monstrous that such charges should be brought against such men. He would tell the hon. Member for the Tower Hamlets this—that such charges can never be injurious to men like Sir Robert Grant, whose name as a gentleman of high honour and public worth, would remain in the memory of his country after the hon. Member would be forgotten in the dust. ["Oh, oh!"] I hear some hon. Members say "Oh, oh!" but I tell all those hon. Members that they also will be forgotten before Sir Robert Grant ceases to be remembered as a gentleman of the highest honour. He (Mr. Elliot) was desirous to show the relative position in which the hon. Member for the Tower Hamlets 412 stood in reference to the hon. gentlemen he so recklessly accused, and with this view he had taken some pains to ascertain what were the avocations of the hon. Member, and how he employed his time whilst in India, and why he so suddenly returned. An hon. Member asked what that had to do with it; he (Mr. Elliot) would soon show him what it had to do with it.
The hon. Member for the Tower Hamlets is, or was till lately, the paid agent of the Rajah of Sattara, and that of itself sufficiently showed the private interest which he had in this ease; but he held in his hand a document that would show something more; it would show that the Rajah of Sattara was not the only native prince in whose affairs the hon. Member was willing to take an interest—in other words, for whom he was willing to act as a paid agent. It was not for him (Mr. Elliot) to say, whether this was a right and creditable position for a Member of that House to occupy: on that point he would give no opinion; but, in order that the House might understand the exact position of the hon. Member for the Tower Hamlets, he would take the liberty of reading the statement he held in his hand, and which he had received from a gentleman who had known the hon. Member when he was at Delhi, where the writer was then officially employed, and thus became fully acquainted with the particulars which it contains. He (Mr. Elliot) thought, if he could show that the hon. Member had, in conducting that agency, not been so accurate in his statements as he ought to have been, he might fairly infer that his accuracy could not be depended upon on the present occasion.
The statement was as follows:—On the return of the late Baboo Dewarka nauth Tagore to India, from his first visit to England, he was accompanied by Mr. George Thompson as a sort of itinerant philanthropist, who on reaching Calcutta made sundry speeches, at sundry meetings, which were only curious on account of the utter ignorance of Indian affairs which they displayed.
§ MR. ELLIOT
He would give the hon. Gentleman the name afterwards:—Mr. G. Thompson had all but engaged to proceed to England as a sort of Oriental Philanthropist Agent, when his eye came across an advertisement circulated by the King of Delhi, calling for tenders of services from parties desirous to proceed to England to advocate his claims before the home authorities. I know not 413 whether the advocacy of unfounded claims to large sums by one who knew the claims were frivolous, and all of whose present income was notoriously squandered in the grossest debauchery, could be said to come within the province of a general, or even special, philanthropic agency; but, be that as it may, it certainly suited Mr. G. Thompson's book, and the claims of his philanthropic friends in Calcutta were set aside, to meet his Majesty's requisition. Mr. G. Thompson replied by letter to his Majesty's advertisement; upon which his Majesty deputed his chief physician, Hukeem Aihsoon oollah Khan, to proceed to Calcutta as his confidential agent, with full authority to come to terms with Mr. G. Thompson. On his arrival in Calcutta, Mr. G. Thompson drew up written terms of agreement, wherein he undertook to proceed to England as his Majesty's vakeel (that is, agent or advocate), and his Majesty undertook to advance 5,000 rupees for the expenses of his journey to Delhi; and on his arrival there a further advance of one year's salary as his agent, at 1,000 rupees per mensem, namely, 12,000 rupees. This was all that his Majesty stood pledged to by the express terms of this bond (which purported to be drawn up to prevent future misunderstanding). On Mr. G. Thompson's arrival at Allahabad, by one of the Ganges steamers, he intimated his wish that a house might he prepared for his arrival at Delhi. This surprised his Majesty, as being in excess of his own written agreement; the palace of the late Begum Sumroo was, however, with some difficulty, provided for him, where Mr. G. Thompson had no sooner found shelter, than his Majesty was required to provide both table and servants; and a subsequent demand of 200 rupees per mensem, for table expenses during the journey from Calcutta, was made, and most reluctantly acceded to. His Majesty soon became impatient for his vakeel's departure on his embassy; but Mr. G. Thompson demanded and obtained a further advance of 1,000 rupees per mensem for the period of his sojourn at Delhi, which his Majesty most reluctantly paid as the only means of inducing him to start; Mr. G. Thompson's sojourn at Delhi was made memorable by the daily squabhles in the palace between Ills Majesty and the different branches of the Royal Family, and household servants, whom his Majesty obliged to pay their several quotas towards filling the Thompson purse.On Mr. G. Thompson's arrival in England, he submitted his Majesty's claims before a duly assembled meeting of the proprietors, at which it appeared, by the outlines of the debate received by the mails, that Mr. G. Thompson made use of such intemperate and indiscreet language as to call down upon him the severest rebuke from the Chairman, Mr. Shepherd. By the same mail Mr. G. Thompson forwarded to the King a newspaper, the Indian Advocate, supposed to be edited by himself, containing a full report of a totally different version of the debate, together with an accompanying letter from himself, wherein he claimed great credit for his complete success, and reminded his Majesty of the promised remuneration for the same. His Majesty was at the Cootub, distant twelve miles from Delhi, when Mr. Thompson's despatch reached him, and he forthwith ordered a royal salute to be fired from his camp, in commemoration of Mr. G. Thompson's victory!! His Majesty furthermore sent an express to Delhi, directing the Nazir of the Palace to report to the commandant of Palace Guards his intention to fire 414 a royal salute from the palace for the same cause. The commandant explained to the Nazir that his Majesty must be under considerable misapprehension, for that all reports of the debate seen by him gave quite a different view of the state of the case. The Nazir, being much surprised, suspended the salute, and reported accordingly to his Majesty, who, early next morning, sent his Minister with a printed newspaper, received from Mr. George Thompson, containing this very peculiar report of the debate. The Minister furthermore detailed the full confirmation of his success, as given by Mr. Thompson in his accompanying letter. The newspaper in question was headed by sundry cock-and-bull mottoes, such as "liberty to slaves," &c, and suchlike trash. All of which the commandant of Palace Guards, most faithfully translated to his most despotic Majesty's most despotic Minister, much to his horror, if not to his edification. The Palace salute was never fired; and I think I may safely affirm that Mr. G. Thompson never pocketed another stiver of his Majesty's money. [A lungh.] The above detailed facts are vividly impressed on my memory, and I give them without hesitation as they occur to me.Other copies of the report of Mr. Thompson's version of the debate were also sent by him to natives of rank, fifteen, if I mistake not, in number, probably with an eye to their becoming profitable customers. [A laugh.] The King having conferred the title of Ambassador upon Mr. G. Thompson, and thereby enlisted him, as he imagined, in his sole employ, was much surprised and annoyed on finding that he had also become the paid Agent of the Rajah of Sattara. His Majesty was also much annoyed by Mr. G. Thompson, soon after his arrival in England, forwarding repeated demands for large sums of money said to be required for copyists; whereas the 100l. per mensem was, under Mr. G. Thompson's own handwriting in his agreement, to have covered all demands, except the reward for ultimate success. The King's reply to Mr. Thompson's claim to a reward for the success of his exertions was, that he only awaited the official confirmation thereof, to evince his full appreciation in a pecuniary form; which confirmation, I need hardly say, never came.He (Mr. Elliot) would now state that tin's statement was given to him by Captain Angelo, the commandant of Palace Guards at the time these occurrences took place.
§ MR. ELLIOT
It was not a letter, but a statement which he (Mr. Elliot) received from Captain Angelo.
§ MR. ELLIOT
The statement was written and signed by Captain Angelo himself; and if the hon. Member succeeded in obtaining his Committee, the gallant officer would be prepared to substantiate it. He (Mr. Elliot) thought he had now given fair proof of the inaccuracy of the hon. Mem- 415 ber for the Tower Hamlets, but he had not yet done with such proof.
The hon. Member, in the speech which he made in this House on the 6th of April, had given the House to understand that the Rajah of Sattara had, as a matter of right, succeeded to the Raj. He had dwelt much on his descent from Seevajee, and had endeavoured to persuade hon. Members, that being an independent prince the British Government had no right to remove him from his throne. Now, how did this really stand, and what was the actual position of the Rajah? The British arms had conquered the Mahratta empire, and the British Government had at that time a perfect right to dispose of the whole country as they might think best. They might have retained the Sattara territory in their own hands, or they might, for political or other reasons, have put any one or no one, as seemed best to themselves, on the throne. Thus situated, they chose to place Pertaub Singh in possession of that Raj: no doubt they may have been influenced to do so by reasons of policy, and a desire to do that which they considered likely to be agreeable to the Mahrattas; but he (Mr. Elliot) would show the House how far the hon. Member was borne out in his statements of the claim be had set up for the independence of the Rajah. He held in his hand the treaty to which the Rajah subscribed before he was placed on the Guddee, and he would read to the House two or three articles of that treaty; hon. Members would then form their own judgment. First—The Rajah, for himself and for his heirs and his 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.He (Mr. Elliot) wished to know what the words "subordinate co-operation" meant in this article? and how it was that he was a perfectly independent prince when he was bound to do nothing without the concurrence and approbation of the British Resident?
Another article, the fifth, states that—The Rajah, for himself, 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 his heirs and successors, engages to have no connexion or correspondence; any affairs that may arise with them relating to his Highness 416 are to be exclusively conducted by the British Government.And he must now request the particular attention of the House to the concluding paragraph of this article, which he thought could not fail to show how far the Rajah was in a position independent of the British Government. That paragraph was as follows:—This article is a fundamental condition of the present agreement, and any departure from it on the Rajah's part will subject him to the loss of all the advantages he may gain by the said agreement.In other words, would subject him to deposition.
Now what is the Rajah's case? For several years after he was placed on the Guddee, he conducted himself entirely to the satisfaction of the British Government; and they in their turn did all in their power to evince their approbation and regard, by such attentions and marks of courtesy and regard as are most acceptable to native chiefs or princes. Amongst other things, as was formerly stated by the hon. Member for the Tower Hamlets, a complimentary address and a sword were sent out to him from this country.
But the time at length came when the Rajah, having fallen into the hands of interested and designing men, was induced to change his course, and to enter into intrigues which could only load to his ruin. At last he was charged—first, with holding an intercourse with certain persons at the Portuguese settlement of Goa, of a nature inimical to the British Government; next, with holding similar intercourse with the ex-Rajah of Nagpore, and latterly with the Government of Nepal, where he was proved to have an agent, though that Power was on the brink of a war with our Government; and, thirdly, he was charged with endeavouring to corrupt three native officers belonging to the 23rd Bombay Native Infantry.
Now, the truth of all these charges is denied by the hon. Member; but how does he endeavour to prove his case? Does he deny that there is ample evidence to substantiate their truth? No! he does not follow this course, because he knows full well that there is much more than ample evidence to prove it; but he resorts to the old Indian expedient—an expedient practised by all the lowest native vakeels or pleaders in India—of calling out perjury against every witness, and forgery against every document. Yes, the hon. Member 417 does not hesitate to imitate in this respect the lowest native pleaders in the lowest courts of justice in India, in a custom so common amongst that class, that in the year 1807, if he (Mr. Elliot) remembered rightly, the Government found it necessary to pass an Act declaring that no charge of perjury should be instituted, unless with the sanction of the judge before whom the case was tried.
But the hon. Member went further—he was not content to charge witnesses with perjury, and all the documents as being forged; but he did not hesitate to accuse Sir Robert Grant, Colonel Ovans, Sir James Carnac, and the members of their councils, of being all so influenced by a desire to persecute the Rajah, as for this object to become suborners of perjury and forgery! The Governor General, Lord Auckland, and all the Members of the Supreme Government of India—the Court of Directors and the Board of Control—may also be said to be included in this charge, as also of having come to a decision in this case without doing more than reading the Minutes of Sir Robert Grant, and consequently without understanding the case. He (Mr. Elliot) would again ask the House if it was not monstrous, that any hon. Gentleman should stand up in this House, and bring such charges as these against such men?
The hon. Member, having followed this course, appealed, when last he addressed the House on this subject, to the opinions of two persons, and two persons only, among the many who had been employed in this inquiry in India. The first of these was Mr. Shakespear, whom he justly represented as a high-minded, honourable man, well qualified to form a just opinion in a case of this sort. The hon. Member could not be more desirous than he (Mr. Elliot) was to bear testimony to Mr. Shake-spear's high character and abilities; but the hon. Member, when he set Mr. Shake-spear's opinion so prominently before the House, was bound in candour to toll at what time the Minute containing his opinion was written; and no doubt the House would now be somewhat surprised to hear that Mr. Shakespear had died three years before the investigation into the Rajah's case was brought to a conclusion.
§ MR. THOMPSON
I only referred to Mr. Shakespear with reference to the charge connected with the Soobadars,
§ MR. ELLIOT
did not care to what the hon. Member referred. He quoted Mr. 418 Shakespear as a great authority in this case, and he did not think it necessary to tell the House that Mr. Shakespear had died three years before the case was brought to a conclusion. He would now proceed to the hon. Member's second witness, Colonel, now General, Lodwick. Colonel Lodwick was Resident at Sattara prior to the commencement of the inquiry, and was afterwards joined with Mr. Willough-by, the Chief Secretary to the Government of Bombay, and Colonel Ovans, then Quartermaster-General of the Army, in a Commission, of which, being senior officer. Colonel Lodwick was president, to investigate the charges against the Rajah. Colonel Lodwick then, having held these high and responsible offices, is, as the House was informed by the hon. Member on the, 6th of April last, ready to appear before a Committee of this House, to bear his testimony in favour of the Rajah. Sir, whenever I see General Lodwick in that position, I will believe that this is possible; but till then the hon. Member must excuse me if I refuse to believe that any British officer will ever be found to place himself in so extraordinary a position as the gallant officer would be in were he so to act. He (Mr. Elliot) would now read to the House, first, a part of the evidence given by Colonel Lodwick, as president, before the Commission assembled at Sattara; and, next, a part of the report, which he, as president of that Commission, had signed. This is his evidence:—In the month of Juno, 1836, it came to my knowledge that his Highness had appointed an agent to proceed to England, to represent his claims to the Home authorities. Requesting an interview, I pointed out the impropriety of this, as he had not consulted me on the subject, as I conceive be was hound to do by the treaty; and as the right hon. the Governor had at that period assured his Highness that his case was before him, and that no delay would take place in submitting his case to the Court of Directors, and that eventually every consideration should be paid to his case, from that period an almost hostile disposition had been evinced towards me by his Highness, and he now scarcely ever consults me on any subject, and acts as he pleases, as if he were independent of the treaty and all control.Colonel Lodwick is then asked—The British Government raised the Rajah from a prison to a throne; do you think he is now or hag ever been embued with those feelings of gratitude and attachment natural to a person so situated?Colonel Lodwick answers—Whenever I have treated on the subject to his Highness, which has frequently bee" the case, he 419 has always expressed gratitude to the British Government; but latterly his conduct has certainly not corresponded with his professions; he considers himself an injured prince; this I attribute to his having a few interested and had advisers, who never transact business with me, but have unbounded influence over his Highness's mind, which I conceive to be exceedingly weak. His Highness is more gratified by flattery than common sense. Balla Sahib, and Nana Sahib, who have always been the medium of communication between the Rajah and the Resident, appear to me to have lost their influence; and on several occasions when I explained to them the mistakes his Highness committed, in not consulting the Resident, they appeared perfectly sensible as to the fact, but admitted they had but little influence over the Rajah.
In what way does his Highness consider himself to he an injured prince?
Colonel Lodwick answers—
In not having his claims above alluded to instantly attended to by the British Government, and on being prevented by the Resident from oppressing his Jagheerdars, who were, equally with himself, under the protection and guarantee of the British Government.
Again, lower down, Colonel Lodwick was asked—
The Commission believe that, up to a very late period, the authorities in this country, and in England, have been led to form a very favourable opinion of the character and conduct of his Highness the Rajah; can you account for the change that unhappily seems to have taken place?
I attribute it to his having attached himself to two persons in particular, Bulwunt Ron Chitnaees, and Abba Parisnees, who are generally reputed to be corrupt. They are in his full confidence, and they abuse it, and it has long been the general opinion at Sattara that they would be the cause of his ruin.
Further down Colonel Lodwick is again asked—
Are you intimately acquainted with the person whose evidence was taken at the last day's meeting, whose name has not been recorded?
I have been very 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 hardly have been able to effect without him.
From your knowledge of his character, have you full confidence in his veracity?
Yes, I have, as far as in any native of India I have ever known. His former intimacy with, and the confidence reposed by most eminent men, now in England, are the best proofs of his high character.
This was the evidence on oath given by Colonel Lodwick before the Commission, in his capacity of Resident. He (Mr. Elliot) would now proceed to read the finding of the Commission, of which Colonel Lodwick was chairman, upon the charge of the Rajah having been engaged in an attempt to corrupt and seduce from their allegiance three native officers of the Bombay 23rd Regiment of Native Infantry. Here is the paragraph containing the opinion of the Committee on that charge:—
We do not consider it to come within our province to enter upon the grave and important questions as to how his Highness's conduct should be noticed. He has acted most culpably, and his guilt is enhanced by the important benefits he has received from the British Government. However ill directed, his aim was certainly towards that part of our system which constitutes either our greatest strength or weakness; but we trust that, as far as the magnitude of the interests involved in this question will admit, his conduct may be mercifully considered.
He (Mr. Elliot) was aware that the hon. Member for the Tower Hamlets had stated, that General Lodwick now said he never regretted anything so much as having signed that report. Very likely it might be so—but he (Mr. Elliot) would call it to the attention of the House, that Colonel Lodwick was the hon. Member's own witness; and that here, first in his sworn evidence, he gives you the real reasons why the Rajah was hastening to his ruin, namely, that he had yielded himself up to the guidance of intriguing and interested men—that he was a man of weak intellect—and that, like other native princes, he was open to flattery, and inflated with notions of his own consequence. Here, then, are the causes of the commencement of his misfortunes, which were only brought to completion when he fell into the hands of European agents.
In order that the House might judge of the powers of the Rajah's mind, he (Mr. Elliot) would read to the House a part of the deposition, before the Commission, of the witness whom Colonel Lodwick describes as so respectable and trustworthy a man in the evidence I have just read. This witness says—
I believe the Rajah to he mad. About six months ago, a man named Dixshut informed his Highness that he would introduce him to the ghost of his deceased Dewan (minister). His Highness, with four or five other persons having assembled together, Dixshut went into another room and sent the ghost to the Rajah. The pretended ghost sat down and conversed with his Highness for about three hours. His Highness informed me of this himself; and when I told him
he had been deceived he denied it, and said he must give the ghost a dinner. [A laugh.] He has given Dixshut 9,000 rupees on account of this ghost. About six months ago, he also told me that a sword belonging to the Bhonslah had been sent to him, which had the virtue of apprising the possessor whether what he took in hand would succeed or fail, by turning either to the right or left.
This, then, is the character given of the power of the Rajah's intellect by the person whom the hon. Member's own witness, Colonel Lodwick, represents to be a trustworthy man; and he (Mr. Elliot) would say a more proper subject for the designs and intrigues of ill-disposed men could scarcely be found.
§ He (Mr. Elliot) must say one word more as to General Lodwick and his evidence. He had already said he would not believe that any British officer would conic before a Committee of this House to declare exactly the reverse of what he had deposed to upon oath elsewhere; but, supposing such a thing possible—supposing General Lodwick were to follow this course, then he (Mr. Elliot) would have no difficulty in deciding to which to give credit. If General Lodwick appeared to give evidence here, contrary to what Colonel Lodwick had given before the Commission, then he (Mr. Elliot) would be compelled to give a preference to the evidence given on oath by Colonel Lodwick, at a time when everything was fresh in his mind and recollection, and when speaking under the heavy responsibility of his public position, to any contradictory statement he might now make after his removal from his appointment.
§ These, then, are the two witnesses the hon. Member calls to support his case. Mr. Shakespear, who died three years before the inquiry terminated, and Colonel Lodwick, who has now been shown to have given the strongest opinions against the Rajah at the time he was engaged in the high and responsible situations both of Resident and of President of the Commission.
§ But he (Mr. Elliot) would refer to other authorities equally honourable and equally qualified to give an opinion as Mr. Shakespear, even had his report been made at the conclusion of the inquiry.
§ He would first name Mr. Robertson, at that time a Member of the Supreme Government of India, and who afterwards succeeded Lord Metcalfe as Lieutenant Governor of Agra. Mr. Robertson is a gentleman who, having been brought up 422 in the judicial line of the civil service, had passed through all the grades of that line, and had finally filled the situation of a judge of the Sudder Dewannee Adauluts, or head native court of justice in Bengal. This being the highest judicial situation to which any servant of the Company can attain, Mr. Robertson was, then, a person well calculated to form a judgment in a case of this description. He had, from his youth upwards, been accustomed to sit in courts of justice, and to weigh and sift native evidence; and he had besides held political offices which gave him an insight into the intrigues and customs of native courts. Now, what says Mr. Robertson? He is now in England, and he (Mr. Elliot) is authorised by that gentleman to state that he never took more pains to make himself master of any case that had ever come before him in his judicial capacity—that he made notes and memoranda of the whole evidence; and, indeed, his minute in this blue book shows this to have been the case—and that he can safely say he never remembers passing sentence upon any man of whose guilt he was more thoroughly satisfied than he was of that of the Rajah, or of the entire justice of the order by which the Rajah of Sattara was deposed.
§ But is Mr. Robertson's a solitary opinion? Not at all: he (Mr. Elliot) would, if it were not from an unwillingness to fatigue the House, read part of the minutes of Mr. Bird, who, like Mr. Robertson, having been employed in the judicial service of the East India Company during a long life, had subsequently passed into the Supreme Council. Mr. Bird's convictions of the justice of this proceeding were as strong as Mr. Robertson's, he from his education and habits being also peculiarly fitted to form a judgment on such a case.
§ Again, General Morison, then a Member of the Supreme Government, and now a Member of this House, has recorded his sentiments as strongly as his colleagues; and he (Mr. Elliot) will be bound to say, that in every instance, if hon. Members could read the minutes of the distinguished persons whom the hon. Member has attacked, whether at Bombay or in Bengal, they would he struck, not only with the clear and able manner in which they are drawn up, but also by the strong and anxious desire they evince throughout to deal leniently and kindly by the Rajah.
§ The hon. Member for the Tower Hamlets has complained that the Rajah has been condemned without a trial. Why, 423 certainly, if the hon. Member meant that he had not been brought as a criminal before a court of justice, the hon. Member has ground for his assertion; but if the hon. Member has picked up any information about the natives during his stay in India, he knows as well as he (Mr. Elliot) did that the greatest indignity the Government could have put upon the Rajah would have been to have dragged him before a court of justice. He ought to know, that even to summon the Rajah as a witness in a court of justice would have been an indignity, according to the notions of the natives of India, such as the Government could not have put upon him.
§ But, had it been possible to pursue such a course, it would have been inapplicable to the present case, which is one of a political and not of a judicial character. A subordinate State in alliance with the British Government is taxed with a breach of treaty, and of pursuing a course not only in violation of that treaty, but of a directly hostile nature, and of so rendering its Rajah liable, under a specific stipulation of the treaty, to deposition.
§ The hon. Member has tried to show that the course pursued towards the Rajah differs from that pursued in similar cases; but this is directly the reverse of the truth. The same course has not only been pursued in the cases of other States, but it is actually the course adopted by the Government towards its own servants, however high or distinguished their position. In all cases where delinquency is charged against a civil servant, a Commission is appointed to investigate the charges brought against him on the spot. There is a specific regulation of the Indian Government prescribing this mode of inquiry. [Here Mr. Thompson shook his head.] The hon. Member shakes his head; but he (Mr. Elliot) appealed to two hon. Directors of the East India Company, whom he saw opposite, to say if he was not correct. [Mr. PLOWDEN and Sir JAMES HOGG: Hear, tear!] And the only difference is, that in the case of the Rajah he was allowed to remain on the spot during the investigation, whereas in that of a civil servant he would be removed from the station where he has been in authority; because, it is justly believed, that so long as the natives suppose he may still continue to exercise that authority, they would withhold all information which would be likely to tell against him; and he (Mr. Elliot) could say, he had never heard of any instance in which injustice 424 had been thus inflicted on the accused. The Rajah, then, had this great advantage, that he was allowed to remain on the spot, and to avail himself of that influence which would have been denied to a gentleman being a civil servant of the Company. Instead, then, of there having been no trial, his case had undergone the strictest inquiry, and had been thoroughly sifted by men most competent to form a correct judgment on its merits, no pains being spared to arrive at the truth.
§ In cases, also, where the head native officer of one of our courts is accused of having been concerned with his chief in conduct which would warrant an inquiry, a similar course would be pursued towards him. He (Mr. Elliot) therefore thought he had sufficiently shown that there was nothing unusual in the mode of inquiry adopted in this case, and that he had in this instance again established the inaccuracy of the hon. Member. Now he would be glad to know how a Committee of this House would deal with a case of this sort. He warned the House that they would bitterly repent the day when such a course should be taken: two of the accused Governors were dead; the Rajah himself and his successor were dead. The witnessess (those who may yet be alive) are in India, and speak a language nobody in this House understands. The Members of the Committee would be totally ignorant of the habits and customs of the people with whom they would have to deal. It would be an inquiry of five or six years' duration, and attended with an enormous expense, and no possible good would result from it; whilst, on the contrary, he (Mr. Elliot) was sure that it was a course more calculated than any other to entail the greatest imaginable calamity on the natives of India. Why, what, he asked, had been the Rajah of Sattara's greatest misfortune? It was that he had first fallen into the hands of designing men of his own country; and then his ruin was completed by the employment of European agents. It is well known to every man who has been long in India, that for a rich native to fall into the hands of unauthorised European agents is the never-failing road to his ruin; and, when he (Mr. Elliot) said this, his opinion did not stand single or alone. He held in his hands the recorded opinions of the highest authorities on this subject, which he only wished he had time to read to the House: he should, however, content him- 425 self with naming a few. First, there was a warning from Mr. Mountstuart Elphin-stone, when he placed this unfortunate prince upon the throne, in which he urged him to beware of ever falling into this snare.
The hon. Member had quoted Sir John Malcolm as a great authority, and he was right in doing so: he held in his hand a case somewhat similar to the present, in which Sir John Malcolm had been officially engaged, and in which he expresses his conviction that the interference of unauthorised Europeans in the affairs of native princes and chiefs is the greatest calamity that can befall them; his words are—
That there exists not, amongst the difficulties which must ever attend the administration of the empire, one more likely to promote general corruption and intrigue, or which is more calculated to hurry princes and chiefs to their ruin, than that impression which low and interested men create and maintain, of their being able to appeal in political matters beyond the local government under whom they are placed.
§ Sir James Carnac had also placed a similar opinion on record; and Colonel Ovans had never ceased to bring to the notice of the Government of Bombay the certain ruin that must ensue to the Rajah from the interference of those agents, whose evident interest it was to foment and keep alive every feeling in the Rajah's mind which tended so much to their own advantage. He (Mr. Elliot) would then repeat, that every person who possessed any Indian experience know this fact, that unauthorised European agency was the greatest curse that could be inflicted on the native princes and chiefs of India. He (Mr. Elliot) was sorry to detain the House, but there was yet one more subject he was desirous to mention as affording further evidence of the hon. Member's inaccuraey and unworthiness of trust when making these sweeping accusations; it was this: there had been at Sattara a considerable disturbance regarding certain papers said to have been forged; and on the part of the Rajah an accusation or insinuation had been thrown out that the forgery was committed with the connivance of Colonel Lodwick. The hon. Member referred to this matter at a meeting of the Court of Proprietors held on the 29th July, 1842. The hon. Member then read what he stated to be copies of the papers connected with this matter; and, in the papers so read by the hon. Member, Colonel Ovans's name had been inserted instead of Colonel Lodwick's 426 as the instigator of the forgeries, though the forged papers were dated in 1836, and Colonel Ovans did not go to Sattara till 1837. Now, the charge, whether applied to Colonel Lodwick or Colonel Ovans, was equally incredible and absurd; but why, when it was considered of sufficient importance by the hon. Member to bring such a charge to the notice of the Court of Proprietors, was Colonel Ovans's name substituted for Colonel Lodwick's?
§ MR. ELLIOT
It was only the name that was wrong! Why, of course, it was only the name that was wrong; and is that not enough? He would ask how hon. Members would like their names to be so dealt with, and thus to have a charge of such a disgraceful nature imputed to them instead of to some other person? Why, this was all he (Mr. Elliot) wanted to show. All he wished to make clear was, that the hon. Gentleman's statements were so utterly inaccurate as to make it impossible for this House to put such confidence in them as would warrant their listening to such an extraordinary proposal as he had made to the House.
Now he would refer to another statement of the hon. Member, which he made on opening his speech of the 6th of April. He then said that he appeared on behalf of a bereaved family, who had been left without any support from the Government, and were in such a destitute state as not to be able to pay for the funeral obsequies of the deceased Rajah. This, he must say, was a very fine appeal to the feelings of the House; but what was the fact? Why, there were but two persons belonging to the Rajah's family, his widow and his daughter; and the widow has 1,000l. a year, and the daughter 500l., these sums being equal in India to double the amount here. But this is not all. Besides this, Mr. Freer, the Resident at Sattara, has reported since the Rajah's death that he has left property in jewels and cash estimated to amount to about 43,000l. And this is what the hon. Member has represented as absolute destitution and distress! But, if the Rajah was in distress, it might easily be accounted for. He had entered upon intrigues and employed agents at Goa, Nag-pore, Nepal, and Bombay, and his expenses must no doubt have been very large. It was shown by Colonel Ovans, on an ex- 427 animation of his accounts, that up to only the year 1839 a sum of no loss than 36,000l. had been sent to pay the Bombay agents, Dr. Milne and others. It would not have been odd if, under these circumstances, he had been found destitute when he was deposed.
§ MR. ELLIOT
The hon. Member for Montrose might cheer; but he repeated, that, if the Rajah was called upon to supply proportionate sums to satisfy his agents at the other places, his ruin might well follow. The 36,000l. was for Bombay alone, and only up to the year 1839. He would now refer to another inaccuracy of the hon. Member for the Tower Hamlets. In a speech which he made at the India House on the 18th March, 1846, he had stated what purported to be a conversation said to have passed between the Rajah of Sattara and the Governor General's agent at Benares, Major Carpenter, in the year 1845. The hon. Member, in introducing the paper which contained this conversation to the Court of Proprietors, designated it as "a paper of singular character;" and he (Mr. Elliot), before he had done, would, he thought, show the hon. Member to have been entirely justified in using that term. He regretted the length of this paper was too great to admit of his reading it to the House. He would, therefore, only state that its contents were of a nature to show, in the opinion of the hon. Member, that Major Carpenter had held language to the Rajah during the conversation in question which would bear the character of an offer of concessions from the Governor General, such as would only have been made under the conviction, on the part of the Government of India, that the Rajah was innocent; and the hon. Member did not hesitate to insinuate that thus an attempt at a compromise had originated with the Court of Directors.
§ MR. ELLIOT
He would read the hon. Member's own words, and they there would be no doubt as to his meaning:—It will be admitted, I think, that this is both a singular and important document. The hon. Chairman will probably be able to throw some light upon it; for I cannot help thinking it must be in some way connected with the deliberations which have taken place under this roof. As I have ever found the Rajah scrupulously cautious and correct in all his communications, I cannot doubt the substantial accuracy of the papers now in my hand; neither can I suppose that the Governor General's agent would send for his High- 428 ness, and hold such a conversation as is here reported, without some previous correspondence with the chief authorities in India. It is quite impossible to believe that such counsel as is here tendered to the Rajah would be offered without some antecedent understanding with those parties who alone had the power to make the concessions the Rajah was advised to solicit. These are matters, however, which must and doubtless will be cleared up in due time.He (Mr. Elliot) thought they were now effectually cleared up.
§ MR. ELLIOT
He would read on if the hon. Member wished it:—Assuming, as I feel authorised to do, that the contents of this paper are true, and that the highly respectable agent at Benares did not offer the advice referred to in entire ignorance of the feelings with which the Government would receive certain proposals from the Rajah, I am brought to the conclusion that the Government of India and the authorities here do not, any more than ourselves, entertain a doubt respecting the Rajah's innocence. Such propositions as are here suggested are wholly incompatible with the belief in the Rajah's guilt, and a conviction that an inquiry would justify the proceedings which have been carried on against him. If the contents of this paper be genuine, then there is an evident desire to prevent the further discussion of this question, and a disposition to buy off the Rajah, by conceding certain things—making him the petitioner for these concessions, and obtaining from him previously a declaration of his willingness to abandon all future claim upon the throne of Sattara.These are the hon. Member's own words; and he hoped hon. Members would now listen to what he had still to say on this subject. The document presented by the hon. Member being new to the Directors of the East India Company, it was sent to India, with orders to the Governor in Bengal to give some explanation of its contents. The Governor General in Council—being as ignorant on the subject as the Directors—called upon Major Carpenter; and here is Major Carpenter's reply:—The tone, and spirit, and meaning of the alleged conversation, thus minutely recorded, are so utterly at variance with the numerous consultations I have hold with the Rajah regarding the general state of his affairs, that I must at once pronounce the greater part of the conversation stated to have passed between him and myself in September last purely imaginary; and to declare that the 'propositions' therein detailed were never then or at any other period, directly or Indirectly, made by me to the Rajah of Sattara, cither on my own responsibility or on the authority of the Governor General.Still there is so much truth blended with misrepresentation in this document, and the motives and kind feeling by which I have been actuated towards the Rajah in the various conversations we have really held, with a view to an amelioration of his unhappy condition, are so strangely 429 perverted or misunderstood, that, in justice to myself, I am compelled to enter into a detail of circumstances which might otherwise appear irrelevant; at the same time, I desire not to impeach the veracity cither of the Rajah or of his friends in England; for I am assured by his Highness that the whole affair has arisen from a mistaken interpretation of the object of his communications, and that the moment he became aware of the erroneous impression his letters had produced, which it appears he did in March last, he wrote to his vakeel on the 4th of that month to correct it.Now this was the reply to the hon. Member's charge against the Governor General of India and the Court of Directors, and it is to be remembered it comes from the gentleman whom the hon. Member has taken care to designate as the highly respectable agent at Benares. Moreover, it is to be remembered that Major Carpenter was a gentleman attached to the Rajah, feeling strongly for his unfortunate position, and disposed to favour his cause, and, it may therefore be inferred, particularly averse to saying anything which might prove disadvantageous to him. Major Carpenter, after entering into some detail, finishes his letter of explanation with the following sentence:—I could say a great deal more on this subject, and it would occupy many sheets of paper to detail everything that has passed between the Rajah and myself, as he visits me generally three or four times a month, and sometimes more frequently; but I trust I have written enough to satisfy the right hon. the Governor General and the hon. the Secret Committee, that I am utterly incapable of compromising the Government I servo by making unauthorised 'propositions' of any kind, whether to the Rajah of Sattara, or to any other person confided to my charge.Now, then, he (Mr. Elliot), like Major Carpenter, had no desire to charge the hon. Member for the Tower Hamlets with wilful or intentional misstatement. His informant may have deceived him, and he may be the dupe of others. All he (Mr. Elliot) wished to do was to show the House the entire inaccuracy of the hon. Member's most positive assertions, and to ask the House whether it will be disposed, upon such erroneous information to grant a Committee of so extraordinary a nature as the hon. Member has asked for.
He thought that he had not only shown that the hon. Member had a personal, but a pecuniary interest in the success of his present Motion. He had shown what the hon. Member expected if he had succeeded in the case of the King of Delhi, and that he had claimed a pecuniary remuneration for services which he had represented as having been successful.
§ MR. ELLIOT
Notwithstanding the hon. Member's denial, he must say that he had entire confidence in the gentleman from whom he had received the information, and who from his position could not be mistaken. The hon. Member might not remember the circumstance, but he had no doubt a letter had been written to Delhi asking for the remuneration for his services.
§ MR. ELLIOT
The hon. Member had perhaps forgotten the circumstance. It was some time since it occurred, and his mind had been much occupied in the interval; at all events, of one thing he was sure, let this Committee be granted, and if it should be the will and pleasure of the hon. Member to go back to India to-morrow, he may return in two or three years with a hundred thousand pounds in his pocket. He would repeat, that let it only be known that the hon. Member had such power as would subvert the careful and unanimous decisions of all the local authorities in India, and a boundless field would be opened to him. Every dissatisfied prince or chief would be ready to engage the services of a Gentleman possessing such extraordinary influence. Sir, the hon. Gentleman might then have as many constituents as he pleases, and he (Mr. Elliot) could not help having some suspicions of the hon. Gentleman's intentions. Something bad occurred within the last few days that bad appeared rather ominous to him. The hon. Member had, he observed, moved for a return of all the lands held either by Jagheer or Shotrium tenure which had been resumed at Madras and Bombay. He (Mr. Elliot) was aware what a fine field these cases would open for the hon. Member, if it was his object to undertake further agencies; and he trusted the House would not encourage such an undertaking. He fully believed that, though there were dissatisfied people in India, as was the case in every other country, on the whole justice was as substantially administered in that country as in this.
With respect to this case it had been carefully, anxiously, and minutely gone into, and sifted by all the most competent authorities, both here and in India. First, the Commission of which Colonel Lodwick was the President; next, two Governors of Bombay and their Council; thirdly, two 431 Governors General, and the Council of India, all unanimous in opinion; again, by the Court of Directors; and, lastly, by two Boards of Control. And he implored the House to consider well before they consented to a proposal which would inflict the greatest curse that could be conceived upon the people of India, by encouraging the belief that the interference of unauthorised European agents would be sufficient to set aside the decisions of all the constituted authorities, and bring every case of this sort before the House of Commons. If this Committee were granted, he had no hesitation in saying that a number of these disinterested agents would be found to flock out to India; and that no surer course could be taken to instil into the minds of your native population the belief of the want of that authority and power on the part of the Government of India, and of all the authorities in that country, the existence of which at present form your greatest security.
§ MR. HUME
begged to recall the House to the question really before them. The hon. Member who spoke last had taken up an old subject of debate, that of the case of the Rajah of Sattara, when the present Motion referred only to Colonel Ovans. That was a sort of drag, such as sportsmen used when they drew a red herring over the ground to bring the hounds away from the scent of the fox. The question before them related only to an inquiry into the conduct of Lieutenant-Colonel Charles Ovans, whilst he was British Political Resident at the Court of Sattara, and the proceedings of the Bombay Government and the Court of Directors of the East India Company in relation to the charges preferred against that officer. And how had the hon. Gentleman attempted to meet that question? By charging his hon. Friend (Mr. G. Thompson) with being a hired agent. Why, what was the hon. Gentleman himself but a hired agent? And was a gentleman's character to be put down as unworthy because he was a paid agent? Let the hon. Gentleman, if he could, grapple with the facts; but it was always the case with those persons who had no way of meeting stubborn facts, that they fell back upon the old system of attacking private character. But, as to the charge that his hon. Friend had acted improperly, he would say, that his hon. Friend had acted, while in Bombay, with the full knowledge of Sir Thomas Metcalfe. The hon. Gentleman was very fond 432 of making those personal attacks. He had charged the hon. Member for Fins-bury, during the debate upon the income tax, with driving his constituents into revolution and violence, and with pandering to their vices; and he now had recourse to the same system of attack upon the hon. Member for the Tower Hamlets. But that hon. Gentleman had gone out to India as a philanthropist with one who was since dead; and he (Mr. Hume) had seen the letter in which he was requested to give his services and his advice to the King of Delhi. It was most unjust, and most unfair, and anything but proper, for the hon. Gentleman to have introduced such matter into that House. How did he, or how could ho, meet the charge against Colonel Ovans, that he had kept back evidence for eleven months? That he had it in his possession, and had withheld it? Was that a fact or not? He (Mr. Hume) had a paper containing the proceedings of the Court of Directors of the East India Company in 1845, and amongst the dissents entered in it was one from Major Oliphant, who dissented from the proceedings of the Court in the case of the Rajah of Sattara. The gallant Major said in that paper, that it had been indisputably proved by the printed papers, that on the 7th September, 1837, Colonel Ovans was in possession of positive information as to the name of the writer of the petition which implicated the Rajah; which information completely falsified the charge upon which the Rajah had been found guilty. The importance of discovering the real writer of that petition had been repeatedly pressed upon Colonel Ovans by Sir Robert Grant; and yet that officer had the very information that was wanted, and he did not report the discovery to the Government until the 16th August, 1838, eleven months after he had obtained it; and Major Oliphant went on to observe, that the Government of Bombay seemed never to have asked for any explanation of the circumstance from Colonel Ovans. That was the opinion of Major Oliphant. The Government of Bombay had never done their duty in the matter. They had never inquired after the evidence, nor sought to discover whether it was true or false that it had been suppressed for eleven months, during which time the proceedings against the Rajah were going on. And was the House to be told now that the time was gone by when they should institute an inquiry? If his hon. Friend could bring 433 the case into the Court of Queen's Bench, he was ready to do so. His proofs were all ready. If he could have it investigated at Bombay, he would go out. But the East India Company was sovereign there, and there was no place in which inquiry could be instituted except the House of Commons. Major Oliphant said, in his written protest, "This is a matter which ought, in my judgment, to be sifted elsewhere;" and it could not be sifted anywhere except in that House. Lot his hon. Friend, then, appoint a commission. Let him name any one—say throe men in the civil service of the East India Company—and he would have no hesitation in accepting them. He repeated, that Colonel Ovans, contrary to the recommendations of Sir Robert Grant and Lord Auckland, kept back from the Rajah copies of the evidence about to be used against him; and for that and all the other grounds which had been stated by his hon. Friend, he thought it due, not only to the character of Colonel Ovans, but to that of the Government and the East India Company, that an inquiry should be instituted, that the innocent man should stand forth as innocent, and the guilty be exposed. He seconded the Motion of his hon. Friend.
§ SIR J. W. HOGG
hoped he might be heard, as he desired to vindicate the character of men as honourable and as distinguished as any in India; and when he himself stood before them as a particeps criminis, as he had been described, he hoped it would be an additional claim upon their attention. And firstly, he should direct the notice of hon. Gentlemen to the manner in which the case had been brought before Parliament. After having been in various forms placed upon the books, a debate took place in April last upon the Motion of the hon. Member for Montrose relating to the case of the Rajah of Sattara. The hon. Gentleman spoke for three hours, during which he cast imputations upon every one who differed from him in opinion. He then placed those twelve atrocious and unfounded charges against Colonel Ovans upon the books, not one of which he attempted to substantiate, saying not a word, but that he was prepared to prove them. The Secretary to the Board of Control went into details in answer to the hon. Gentleman. The debate was adjourned for a week, and it was not then resumed. [Mr. HUME: We could not get on with it.] They might have 434 gone on with it if they pleased; but they adjourned it subsequently to two separate Wednesdays; then to a Friday, a Government night; then to a second and a third Friday, and then they allowed it to lapse altogether, without giving any one an opportunity of answering the charges they had made. He (Sir J. Hogg) said they had done so for the purpose of preventing an answer. And then the charge was altered in its form. That was neither more nor less than a trick, a mere trick and a subterfuge to open the whole of the Sattara debate, or to preclude him (Sir J. Hogg) and others from answering the calumnies which the hon. Gentleman had uttered upon the former occasion; but he would not be precluded—he would answer them. He did not think the hon. Gentleman would have resumed his seat without retracting his calumnies, and apologising for them. One of the allegations made by the hon. Member for the Tower Hamlets was, that Sir Tames Carnac, the Governor of Bombay, who had been for a long time a Member of that House, and who was as honourable, high-minded, and high-finished a gentleman as ever lived—that that gentleman, who was sent to adjudicate in performance of his public duties upon the case of the Rajah of Sattara, was spoken to by a member of Council of Bombay, who told him he had better take care what he did. That they (the Council) knew he was favourable to the Rajah, but he (the member) warned him not to let the Rajah oft', or there might be disclosures made against himself that would be injurious to public character. Now, had the hon. Gentleman said one word about that statement to-night? Had he either recanted it or apologised for it? Fortunately, the two members of Council were both in this country at present, namely, Mr. Anderson and Mr. Parish, and he had received letters from both these gentlemen on the subject. But he would first read a letter from a member of the late Sir J. Carnac's family. [The hon. Member here read a letter from Sir J. Carnac to Mr. Anderson, referring to Mr. Thompson's speech, and requesting him to ask Sir J. Cam Hobhouse, or Sir James Hogg, to refute it in the House of Commons. He then read a letter from Mr. Anderson, describing Mr. Thompson's charge as an unfounded and calumnious attack, and stating that he was himself a member of Council during 435 the whole period of Sir James Carnac's government, and that he believed the assertion made by Mr. Thompson to be wholly untrue, and devoid of any foundation, as such a threat could not have been held put to Sir James Carnac, without his having heard of it. The hon. Baronet also read a letter from Mr. Parish to the same effect.] He might here mention another of the statements that had been made by the hon. Member, to the effect that, when the terms of the amnesty had been submitted to the late ex-Rajah, he objected to affix his signature to it on the ground that it would be an admission of his guilt. He would venture to say that that statement of the hon. Member was inconsistent with all that appeared in the papers that had been laid before the House on the subject. They all tended to show that the Rajah's statement was this—" I will sign no papers; I will not renew the treaty: I objected to sign it at first, when I was asked to do so by Mr. Elphinstone, and I regret that I ever did sign it." [The hon. Baronet read an extract from Mr. Anderson's letter on this part of the subject, tearing out the account given by Sir James Carnac of his interview with the Rajah.] If they had a hundred Committees of the House, they could not have any more evidence from Sir James Carnac on this subject, and any fresh imputations on that lamented gentleman would only recoil on the head of him who made them. When the hon. Member introduced this matter in April last, he endeavoured to impress upon the House, that in restoring the ex-Rajah to the throne there was no generosity shown by the British Government; but that they acted merely for their own interests. There was no one who knew Mr. Elphinstone would believe that he could have entered into a treaty with a puppet king, while they had another treaty with the Peishwa. The hon. Member had also cited extracts from a book of Mr. Prinseps to prove that the ex-Rajah was in an influential situation—that Mr. Elphinstone had entered into private communications with him—and that the Rajah owed his elevation to a consideration of what would be better far our private interests. Now, about three weeks before the hon. Member made that statement and read those extracts, the hon. Member had taken the same course at a meeting at the India House at which Mr. Prinseps was present, and that gentleman then got up and repudiated the deductions of the hon. Member, 436 denied his statements, and expressed his astonishment that he should have read extracts from his book to prove such allegations; and yet, without mentioning to the House this important fact, that the author of the book from which he was quoting had himself denied the statements, and repudiated the deductions of the hon. Member, he had read these extracts to the House of Commons! Was there any doubt about that? [Mr. G. Thompson dissented.] Then he had a letter from Mr. Prinseps in his pocket, for it was necessary to come down to the House prepared with documents when this subject was under discussion. [The hon. Member read the letter, in which it was stated that, if Mr. Thompson had made use of the writer's book without mentioning his repudiation of the deductions which Mr. Thompson had drawn from it, that Gentleman had dealt unfairly by him, and had misled or had attempted to mislead the House of Common.] But nothing could be more explicit on this point than Mr. Elphinstone's own words. The fact was, that so necessary did Mr. Elphinstone find it to circumscribe the Rajah with a line, that there never was a treaty more strongly binding in its provisions. The next name that occurred to him in the list of the persons assailed by the hon. Member was Sir Robert Grant; and if ever there was any man incapable of anything harsh or mean, or who was nervously honourable, that man was the late Sir Robert Grant. On what did the hon. Member found his charge against that gentleman? On scraps taken from the Minutes. He would, however, beg to read the whole Minutes, and he would then leave it to the House whether a more fair and candid statement had ever been written. [The hon. Baronet read the Minutes, and continued:] But the hon. Member said, that one director was as good as another, and that Major Oliphant had given an opinion in favour of the Rajah's innocence. The fact was, however, that Major Oliphant was the only one out of thirty directors who ever wrote or spoke one word, not merely against the honour, but against the propriety of the conduct of Colonel Ovans. But then came the evidence of Mr. Shakes-pear. Who were the authorities, however, on the other side? [The hon. Baronet read a list of all the authorities that had been mentioned in connexion with the case of the late ex-Rajah, and then continued:] Out of these twenty-eight names there were seventeen who had recorded Minutes 437 in the blue books, stating their opinions of the guilt of the ex-Rajah, and giving the grounds on which those opinions had been formed. Of the remainder, all except one had expressed a belief in the guilt of the ex-Rajah; and, as had been remarked by his hon. Friend opposite (Mr. Elliot), that one (Mr. Shakespear) died before the corroborative testimony had come out. It was on these grounds that they were asked, in the year 1848, for a Committee of the House of Commons, to inquire into a matter that had been fully investigated by a Commission at Sattara ten years before. But this was not all. The hon. Member who brought forward this Motion had already brought forward no less than thirty-one Motions on the subject in the Court of Proprietors. The first was on the 12th of February, 1840, when, out of 2,400 proprietors interested in the good government of India, only twenty were found to vote with the hon. Gentleman, all the others being deaf to the voice of justice. On the 14th of July, 1841, there was a five days' debate on the same matter. On the 8th of February, 1843, the hon. Member again ventured on a division, but his supporters were by that time reduced from twenty to fifteen. The hon. Member then ventured to attack the character of Colonel Ovans. He made his Motion, and Mr. Peter Gordon seconded it; but it was rejected nem. con., because, though a man with less than 500l. stock could talk at the Court of Proprietors, he could not vote, and neither the hon. Member, nor his seconder, was in a position to vote; and they had both to walk out of the House when the question came to a division. Another hon. proprietor then offered to second the second charge made by the hon. Member, in order that there might be a decision upon it, but stating at the same time that he would divide against it; and thus every one of the charges made by the hon. Member against Colonel Ovans had been rejected without a dissentient voice. The House would be astonished, perhaps, when he told them that at the East India House they never had the pleasure of seeing the hon. Member for Montrose but once during all these transactions. But, in the month of January, a letter appeared, occupying three columns in the Times, full of false conclusions and of perversions of documents. It was thought it would help the cause, so it was published by the hon. Member for Montrose, and a copy sent, in the shape of a pamphlet, to 438 every proprietor. Much good it did him. Although it went forth without an antidote to its mis-statements, perversions, and false conclusions, there were only nineteen votes out of 2,400 at the next meeting of proprietors. He had thus mentioned some little of the authority of the Court of Proprietors on this subject. Pie now came to the Court of Directors. Eighteen out of the twenty-four acquiesced in the opinion that the Rajah was guilty. Two, since deceased, were at that time ill, and they could not interfere. Four signed dissents, and consequently they were of opinion the Rajah was innocent. Of the six who went out that year (for six went out every year) five were of opinion that the Rajah was guilty. These made up the thirty. Such was the result of "authority." But had the hon. Members for Montrose and the Tower Hamlets circulated it? No. Did they circulate the opinion of Mr. Edmundston? No. There had also been constant discussions of the case in Parliament. It had really never been off the Notice Paper; but had the bon. Member for Montrose, who brought it forward, ever ventured upon a division? Never but once, and then he mustered only between three and four-and-twenty. In other words, he and his friends were always satisfied with having made their speeches; the fact being they had never ventured on a division but once. But what was stated by the hon Gentleman in the letter of which he complained? Why, that "the Rajah was condemned unheard, without knowing the charges preferred against him; and that he knew nothing of them until he saw them in the blue book." He would place the whole case upon this single issue. He denied every one of these assertions. The inquiry was Instituted after the most pressing representations of the Resident; and who was the Resident? General Lodwick, the hon. Member's own witness! And who were the Commissioners appointed to conduct the inquiry? General Lodwick, Mr. Willoughby, the Chief Secretary of Government, and Colonel Ovans. No Commission could have been constituted more fairly, and their instructions were to discover the truth in the manner best adapted for that purpose. The Commission sat twenty-one days. The first object was to ascertain the character of the native officers; and on the eleventh day Colonel Lodwick himself, being examined, gave evidence that the individual whom he now called an informer was a person of the 439 highest possible character. The Rajah was not called in, because the Commission was secret; and because the Commissioners considered it would be better not to do so until a primâ facie case was made out. The Rajah refused to attend, but his witnesses were examined; yet now it was stated he was ignorant of the allegations against him, and that he had had no opportunity of answering them. General Lodwick had now changed his opinion upon the case. He blamed no gentleman for changing his opinion; but he begged to state, that on many essential points General Lodwick's memory had entirely failed him. General Lodwick now said, when he signed the report against the Rajah, he protested against it, and declared his conviction that the decision of the Commissioners was unjust. Yet both Mr. Willoughby and Colonel Ovans declared that up to the moment when they heard that statement they were under the conviction that General Lodwick was of the same opinion as themselves; and the draft report itself contained no traces of protest or diversity of sentiment. Whether General Lodwick was right or wrong, he (Sir J. W. Hogg) would only say, the hon. Members for Montrose and the Tower Hamlets must take him either for one side or the other. They could not have him both ways. A great many minutes had been read of the opinions of Sir Robert Grant and Lord Auckland; but Sir Robert Grant had said, as to the Commission, that he considered the Rajah guilty, but thought that a very lenient course might be adopted. That was the opinion of Sir Robert Grant, who had been represented as vindictively putting down the Rajah; and what did Lord Auckland say after the close of the Commission?—The proceedings of the Commission have left no doubt on my mind of the guilt of the Rajah to the extent of countenancing and attempting to seduce from their allegiance two native officers of the British army.He would now read the opinion of Lord Auckland when the whole matter was terminated. It was—It is now my painful duty to state that I am compelled to concur in the unanimous opinion of the Government of Bombay, that the two principal charges preferred against the Rajah are fully established.Lord Auckland said that he ought to have a copy of the charges, and Sir Robert Grant suggested the same thing; but, whilst the matter was under discussion. Sir Robert Grant died, and Lord Auckland 440 recorded in a Minute that the reasons assigned by the Resident satisfied him that it would not be right to persevere in the course he had previously recommended, and present the Rajah with a written statement of the charges and proofs against him. Such a course would lay the Government open to fresh embarrassment, and expose the witnesses to a prosecution. One of the Directors who had formed a favourable opinion of the case of the Rajah was Sir James Carnac. He went out with unlimited powers to settle this matter. He went to Sattara, represented to the Rajah the folly of which he had been guilty, and stated that all the Government wished him to do was, to adhere to the original treaty, upon which they would give an entire amnesty. That was placed before him. Sir James Carnac used every argument to induce him to sign it; and, had it not been for the intervention of agents, he would have signed it. If the natives were to be led to think that they might disregard the authority of the local government, then we might bid adieu to our empire in the East. On the Rajah's refusal to sign the treaty, he was removed, and his brother was placed in his stead. Now, what were these charges against Colonel Ovans? They were only deductions from the whole of the evidence. As to the first charge of subornation of perjury, it was said, what do you think of an officer entering into communication with a native to procure evidence? He denied that Lieutenant Home entered into communication, according to the ordinary acceptation of the words, with any person to procure evidence. The witness came forward and made the offer to Lieutenant Home, who was only holding office for Captain Durat, that he knew of certain documents, bearing the signature of the ex-Rajah, of a seditious nature, which he could obtain. What were the instructions of Colonel Ovans? To sift the matter to the bottom, and to give authority to advance a sum not exceeding 200 rupees, to pay the expenses of a journey to the places where the papers were said to be. Whilst Colonel Ovans was under the impression that the treasonable papers would make their appearance, suddenly he found that the witness had been playing the same trick with the Rajah, and trying to get money from him, by stating that the resident officer was getting up papers to make a charge against him. Colonel Ovans was a gentleman of the highest character, 441 as all knew who were acquainted with his proceedings in India; but how did the charge as regarded the correspondence apply to him? According to the treaty which the Rajah had agreed to, he was not to send a letter to any person or State unless through our Resident, and he would, by sending any such letter, lose his position as Rajah; and, when the Rajah took means by letters to seduce our sepoys, our Resident had a right to obtain a copy of that correspondence, which was a direct breach of the treaty. When treasonable tricks and correspondence were going on, it was the duty of our Resident to obtain an account of them, and report them to our Government. It was said, however, that one witness was confined and a deposition extorted; but Mr. Hutt, the judge who took the depositions, denied that—he denied both the imprisonment and the extortion of the deposition, and, on the contrary, declared that the confession was perfectly voluntary.
§ SIR J. HOGG
The hon. Member said that Mr. Hutt took the evidence, and Mr. Hutt denied both the imprisonment and the fact of the confession having been any-thing but voluntary. Whether the petition was written by the Rajah's mother or not, the facts stated in it showed a perfect knowledge of all the circumstances to which it referred, and the statements which it contained were borne out by all the other circumstances relating to that subject with which the Government had become acquainted. Another charge made by the hon. Member against Colonel Ovans, was that of suppressing the evidence of Krushnajee. Now, the fact was, that Krushnajee went to Colonel Ovans, and stated that he had written the petition, and had been promised 1,250 rupees by Girjabaee for doing so; and, to show the truth of his statement, he produced a copy of the petition. Colonel Ovans instituted an immediate inquiry into the matter; and, to show that no unnecessary delay had taken place, he (Sir J. Hogg) might state that the last deposition was taken on the 10th of July, and that the whole of the documents were handed by Colonel Ovans to the Government on the 16th of July. This fact at once disproved the charge that Colonel Ovans had suppressed the evidence for thirteen months. And yet the hon. Member for the Tower Hamlets stated in the Court of East India Proprietors that 442 Colonel Ovans was the greatest unpunished criminal in the world; and the hon Member for Montrose had said that the gallant officer had no regard for the honour of his cloth. Now he begged to tell that hon. Gentleman that there was not in the service a man of higher honour and integrity than Colonel Ovans, and there were few who had rendered greater services to their country both in the field and in the closet. This was the opinion of the whole Court of Directors. The hon. Member for Montrose (Mr. Hume) had, two years ago, accused Colonel Ovans, in that House, of bribery and corruption in having obtained from the Rajah a pension of 1,500l. a year for his father-in-law, and afterwards for his brother-in-law. Why was not that charge repeated to-night? Because it had been repudiated by the House with disgust and indignation when it was formerly made by the hon. Gentleman. It had also been asserted that, when his wife and family left India, Colonel Ovans obtained 50,000 rupees for them from the Rajah. And on whoso authority was this charge made? On that of Krushnajee, who, after stating that he had written the petition at the request of Girjabaee, declared that that assertion was a lie, and that he had written the petition at the desire of Colonel Ovans, who had paid him for it. He (Sir J. Hogg) would ask the House whether this was a man on Whose evidence they would allow the honour and integrity of Colonel Ovans to be impeached? When Colonel Ovans heard of these charges, he at once expressed his desire, although he was suffering from ill health, to go out to India and prosecute his calumniator. But the Court of Directors would have been unworthy of their position if they had not refused to attach any importance to these statements. It so happened that a new Resident was appointed to Sattara, Mr. Frere, who, not knowing all that had come out, wrote to say that he was afraid the hon. Member for Montrose (Mr. Hume) did not know the character of this man, "who had taken to memorialising Mr. Hume and the Queen in Council." Mr. Frere thought it right to inquire into these charges; the man named four-individuals to be sent for, and it turned out that one had been dead fourteen years, and the others know nothing about the matter. Mr. Frere was convinced that the whole petition was a tissue of falsehood. The hon. Member (Mr. G. Thompson) had been continually complain- 443 ing of the absence of an address which the Government of India were said to be withholding, in order that the people here might not know the truth of the case. At every court the Directors were "roasted "about it. Now it had come home; and what was it? An English document, concocted in this country by the Rajah's agents, cut and dried, in the English language; and Major Carpenter stated that the Rajah merely put his seal to it that it might be in form, and sent it to the Government. And the Government of India were charged with withholding evidence essential to substantiate the Rajah's case. He (Sir J. W. Hogg) must use a homely word, and ask, was there ever such preposterous humbug attempted to be foisted upon the public? The discussion of that night would, he trusted, have the effect of disabusing the public mind with respect to this question. He hoped it would expose the preposterous humbug which had been practised with regard to the case of the Rajah of Sattara, and that the vote of the House would satisfy public servants in India, civil and military, that as long as they discharged their duties honourably and faithfully to their Sovereign and their country, there existed that honourable and gentlemanly feeling in the House of Commons, which would make them repudiate and spurn charges like those which had been preferred against the distinguished and honourable individuals whose characters had been calumniously assailed on the present occasion.
§ MR. ANSTEY
, having taken a part in the previous debates upon this question, said, that he would not consider himself acting as a man of honour if he did not at once declare that, in his opinion, the character of Colonel Ovans had been completely vindicated. He had never assailed that gentleman. There was something more involved in the present discussion than the character of Colonel Ovans; and that was, the fame of our justice, and the moral influence which the result of these debates would have upon the natives of India. He was as well satisfied as ever of the guilt of our Government, and the innocence of the late Rajah. The speech of the hon. Baronet who had just sat down, appeared to him to furnish the strongest possible reason why an inquiry should take place into that case. He was satisfied that it was impossible, in the course of a night's debate of this desultory character, to arrive at a satisfactory conclusion. For example: 444 the whole case of the Rajah rested on a dispassionate examination of the circumstances disclosed in the papers as to the interview between the Rajah and Sir James Carnac. Now the hon. Baronet imagined that the Rajah had refused unconditionally to sign the treaty, when it appeared to him (Mr. Anstey) perfectly clear that he had merely objected to the preamble. How then could they come to a satisfactory Conclusion, except by a cool and dispassionate inquiry upstairs? He should vote in favour of the Motion as a Motion of inquiry, at the same time declaring that he did not consider that any imputation rested on the character of Colonel Ovans, and that he deeply regretted the course taken by the hon. Member for the Tower Hamlets, in accusing that gallant officer instead of the Government.
MR. H. BERKELEY
, as he had presented a petition from Bristol, purporting to be signed by the startling number of 1,500 names, and praying for investigation into the case of the Rajah of Sattara, had felt it his duty to make some inquiry with respect to that petition. He found the whole of the signatures were in the handwriting of two or three persons. He wrote to ascertain whether there was any excitement in Bristol on the subject of the Rajah of Sattara. One gentleman said in reply, "Really we are not acquainted with the gentleman." Another said, "If it was Mr. Brooke who was the Rajah, there was a great deal of sympathy for him; but as for the Rajah of Sattara, nobody knew anything about him." He held in his hand a return with the name of Lord Jocelyn on the back of it—a return of Europeans in the employment of native States and princes in India, with the amount of the payments made to them; and there he found the name of George Thompson connected with the payment of 1,000 rupees per month. There was an opinion abroad that this part of the return applied to the hon. Member for the Tower Hamlets, The hon. Gentleman would be glad to have an opportunity of contradicting what was extremely prejudicial to his case, and therefore of answering the question whether he was in the pay of the Rajah of Sattara?
§ SIR T. COLEBROOKE
was of opinion that the Bombay Government had been fully vindicated. He entirely subscribed to the statement of the hon. Baronet the Member for Honiton.
§ MR. URQUHART
contended that the Government of Bombay had committed a 445 great act of injustice, and the death of the Rajah had not altered the case. It was the duty of the House, for the honour of the country, to see that justice was done. The question of the Rajah of Sattara was to he decided by facts. Those facts were to be decided by the documents before the House, and from those documents it would appear that a greater blot was never cast on the English name than that which was cast upon it by our treatment of the Rajah of Sattara. No proof was adduced of the criminality of that prince, and therefore he (Mr. Urquhart) was justified in asserting his innocence. He would, therefore, demand, in the name of the honour of this country, that this case should be fully investigated. A subordinate Government dispossessed that prince in the teeth of the decision of the Supreme Government of India, and on the ground of that dispossession his character was attacked. Was that justice? On the examination of the last papers presented to Parliament he was ready to acquit Colonel Ovans of the charges made against him; but, while he acquitted Colonel Ovans of these charges, he did so only upon the disqualification of the evidence adduced by the Goverment of Bombay against the Rajah. He acquitted him in order to bring home to the real perpetrators the crimes committed in India. If this inquiry were refused, then the honour of England was for ever tarnished, and the security of our possessions in India would be greatly perilled. He would, therefore, implore the House to grant the inquiry.
§ SIR H. WILLOUGHBY
said, that in the autumn of the year 1842 Sir John Carnac stated to him the reason for de-posing the Rajah of Sattara. It was to be found in the simple consideration that on communication with the Rajah he was found to be unfriendly to the articles that formed the basis of the Treaty of 1819, particularly that part of it which was comprised in the second article. The observation made by the Rajah was, "Do you expect me to sign that treaty which would reduce me to the position of the manager of a district?" A gallant gentleman, a friend of his, had been attacked—he alluded to Colonel Ovans—and he believed that a more honourable public servant than that gentleman did not exist. Whether the charges against the Rajah were true or false, Colonel Ovans had no more to do with them than any hon. Gentleman in that House. The first charge against the 446 Rajah was made by Colonel Lodwick, and it was utterly impossible for any Government not to follow the suggestion that he had made.
§ MR. GEORGE THOMPSON
was sure that those hon. Gentlemen who had heard the statements of the hon. Gentleman the Member for Roxburghshire (Mr. Elliot) would allow him (Mr. G. Thompson) to make a few remarks in reply, as they had a personal reference to him. The hon. Gentleman was pleased to state, on authority on which he said he placed the Utmost reliance, that when he was in Calcutta he saw an advertisement put forth by the King of Delhi requesting the assistance of some philanthropic individual who would undertake his case in England. Now he begged to say he never saw or heard of such an advertisement. But he received, most unexpectedly, a visit from some gentlemen who said they had received instructions from the Minister of the King of Delhi to wait upon him and communicate with him respecting the question then depending between the King and the British Government. It was not until he had examined the papers, and looked into the Wellesley despatches, that he stated, on a subsequent occasion, to a person who waited upon him, that he thought that the King of Delhi had a just and reasonable claim on the Court of Directors. What was his course of conduct then? he was free to admit that the deputies were authorised to make to him large offers, and he disclaimed altogether any intention to stipulate for any remuneration whatever. He would enter into no compact with the deputies, and he left Calcutta, on the invitation of the King, for Delhi, without having entered into any engagement with him, only stipulating that his expenses from Calcutta to Delhi and back should be defrayed. It was arranged that it should be settled on a personal communication with the King whether it would be expedient to undertake the case, which he desired him to advocate in this country. It was said he had proposed that a provision should be made for him in the shape of a house; and he assured the hon. Gentleman the Member for Roxburghshire that he had never expressed such a wish, but, on the contrary, desired that not a penny should be expended for his accommodation in Delhi. It was also said that, on arriving in Delhi, he had further stipulated for a payment of 200 rupees per month as a provision for his table; and he 447 assured the hon. Member and the House, on the word of a gentleman, that he had never stipulated for a thing of the kind, and never had received 200 rupees a month for the supply of his table. Farther he would say, that he had never demanded one penny of remuneration from the King of Delhi; and, when the King offered him what he thought a moderate compensation for his services in this country, he (Mr. G. Thompson) refused to take it. Subsequently he agreed that he would be the agent of his Majesty the King in this country, but never took a step to accept any agency until the Lieutenant Governor of the western province had communicated to the King that he was at liberty to engage him. He refused to accept any guarantee for remuneration hereafter, and declared most solemnly that never in his life, since he returned to England, had he asked the King of Delhi for a penny, and never had he received a penny. With regard to the Rajah of Sattara, there were many in this country who knew that before he had any idea of visiting the shores of India he had advocated that prince's cause. There was not a single fact alleged by the right hon. Baronet opposite in favour of Colonel Ovans or the East India Company that he did not pledge himself to rebut if they granted the Committee. If they denied the inquiry. Colonel Ovans would not be cleared. He had chapter and verse for every allegation he made, and he would produce three hundred intercepted documents.
§ The House divided:—Ayes 8: Noes 77; Majority 69.
|List of the AYES.|
|Anstey, T. C.||Williams, J.|
|Lushington, C.||Wyld, J.|
|Stuart, Lord D.||TELLERS.|
|Thompson, Col.||Hume, J.|
|Wawn, J. T.||Thompson, G.|
|List of the NOES.|
|Armstrong, R. B.||Dundas, Adm.|
|Berkeley, hon. Capt.||Dundas, Sir D.|
|Berkeley, hon. H. F.||Ebrington, Visct.|
|Berkeley, hon. C. F.||Egerton, Sir P.|
|Boldero, H. G.||Elliot, hon. J. E.|
|Boiling, W.||Ferguson, Sir R. A.|
|Bouverie, hon. E. P.||Frewen, C. H.|
|Brotherton, J.||Galway, Visct.|
|Buller, C.||Grey, rt. hon. Sir G.|
|Christy, S.||Grosvenor, Lord R.|
|Clerk, rt. hon. Sir G.||Hawes, B.|
|Clive, H. B.||Hay, Lord J.|
|Cobbold, J. C.||Heald, J.|
|Colebrooke, Sir T. E.||Heywood, J.|
|Craig, W. G.||Hobhouse, rt. hon. Sir J.|
|Hobhouse, T. B.||Romilly, Sir J.|
|Hodges, T. L.||Russell, Lord J.|
|Hogg, Sir J. W.||Rutherford, A.|
|Hotham, Lord||Sandars, G.|
|Labouchere, rt. hon. H.||Sheil, rt. hon. R. L.|
|Lascelles, hon. W. S.||Shelburne, Earl of|
|Lewis, G. C.||Somerville, rt. hn. Sir W.|
|Mackenzie, W. F.||Spearman, H. J.|
|Maitland, T.||Spooner, R.|
|Mangles, R. D.||Stanton, W. H.|
|Maule, rt. hon. F.||Stuart, H.|
|Meux, Sir H.||Sutton, J. H. M.|
|Morison, Sir W.||Tenison, E. K.|
|Morris, D.||Townley, R. G.|
|Mullings, J. R.||Townshend, Capt.|
|Paget, Lord A.||Tynte, Col. C. J. K.|
|Paget, Lord C.||Ward, H. G.|
|Palmerston, Visct.||Watkins, Col. L.|
|Parker, J.||Willoughby, Sir H.|
|Pigott, F.||Wilson, J.|
|Pilkington, J.||Wilson, M.|
|Plowden, W. H. C.||Wood, rt. hon. Sir C.|
|Price, Sir R.||TELLERS.|
|Rica, E. R.||Bellew, R. M.|
|Rich, H.||Tufnell, H.|
§ House adjourned at a quarter after Two o'clock.