HL Deb 04 August 1842 vol 65 cc1008-9
Lord Beaumont

held in his hand a petition from a native Indian prince, who, whatever might have been his errors, deserved commisseration for his misfortunes. This prince was the head of the Mahratta dynasty, and the lineal descendant of its eminent founder. The Prince complained that he had been dethroned, deprived of his personal property and sent an exile to Benares, on charges which had not been proved, and which had no foundation in fact. Amongst other absurd allegations against him was, that of an intention of bringing up 30,000 Portuguese troops from Goa, for the purpose of overthrowing British power in India. These and other charges he strongly denied, and complained that he had undergone a sort of trial by British commissioners, but that he had been present at only a part of the proceedings, that he had no person to defend him, that he had been required to sign a document which would be an admission of his guilt, but that rather than do so, be would forfeit his throne, and that he had been dethroned and replaced by his brother. He prayed that his case might be revised, and such relief given as their Lordships might deem fit. He did not mean to say that the Governor-general of India, or the Governor of Bombay, were to blame for sanctioning this deposition, because he believed the whole of the documents connected with the case were not yet printed, but, judging only from those papers which had been published, he should say that the case of the Rajah was one of great hardship,' and he hoped it would undergo revision.

Lord Fitzgerald

said, that if the present occasion were the first on which this case of the Rajah came under public notice he might feel it necessary to enter into some explanation of its merits; but the case having been considered and reconsidered elsewhere, and being about to be submitted for revision in the other House of Parliament that evening, he did not feel called upon to go into any detail about it. Whether the explanation which had been given elsewhere was sufficient he would not say; but when the proceedings against the Rajah had been sanctioned by the Governor-general of India in Council, the Governor of Bombay, the Court of Directors, the Court of Proprietors, and the Board of Control, he did not think that it ought to be again gone into now. He would only say, that any one who had carefully read over the papers must feel satisfied that the Rajah's conduct was such as to call for active measures against him; and when he recollected that those measures were commenced under the Government of the late Sir R. Grant, as Governor of Bombay, he thought it was enough to give a guarantee that they were only such as the case called for. He did not feel it necessary to enter further into the matter on the presentation of a petition.

Lord Beaumont

said, that if a more satisfactory explanation were not given, he should feel it his duty to submit a motion on the subject, of which he would give due notice.

Lord Brougham

said, that his right hon. Friend, the late Sir R. Grant was dead before the deposition of the Rajah took place, but he believed that had his right hon. Friend lived, the act of deposition would have met his sanction.

Petition laid on the Table.

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