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arranged to his hand; but he dared to make the wicked and flagitious experiment, which I have stated; an experiment upon the happiness of a numerous people, whose property he had usurped and distributed in the manner which has been laid before your lordships. The attempt failed, and he is responsible for the consequences.
How dared he to make these experiments? In what manner can be justified for playing fast and loose with the dearest interests, and perhaps with the very existence of a nation? Attend to the manner in which he justifies himself, and you will find the whole secret let out. "The easy accumulation of too much wealth," he says, "had been Cheit Sing's ruin; it had buoyed him up with extravagant and ill-founded notions of independence, which I very much wished to discourage in the future rajah. Some part, therefore, of the superabundant produce in the country I turned into the coffers of the sovereign by an augmentation of the tribute." Who authorized him to make any augmentation of the tribute? But above all, who authorized him to augment it upon this principle? I must take care the tributary prince does not grow too rich, if he gets rich he will get proud. This prisoner has got a scale like that in the almanac, "war begets poverty; poverty peace," and so on. The first rule that he lays down is, that he will keep the new rajah in a state of poverty; because if he grows rich he will become proud, and behave as Cheit Sing did. You see the ground, foundation, and spirit of the whole proceeding. Cheit Sing was to be robbed. Why? Because he is too rich. His successor is to be reduced to a miserable condition. Why? Lest he should grow rich and become troublesome. The whole of his system is to prevent men from growing rich, lest if they should grow rich, they should grow proud, and seek independence. Your lordships see, that in this man's opinion riches must beget pride. I hope your lordships will never be so poor as to cease to be proud; for ceasing to be proud, you will cease to be independent.
Having resolved that the rajah should not grow rich, for fear he should grow proud and independent, he orders him to pay forty lacks of rupees, or £400,000, annually to the company. The tribute had before been £250,000, and he all at once raised it to £400,000. Did he previously inform the council of these intentions? Did he inform them of the amount of the gross collections of the country, from any properly authenticated accounts procured from any public office?
I need not inform your lordships, that it is a serious thing to draw out of a country, instead of £250,000, an annual tribute of £400,000. There were other persons besides the rajah concerned in this enormous increase of revenue. The whole country is interested in its resources being fairly estimated and assessed; for if you overrate the revenue which it is supposed to yield to the great general collector, you necessitate him to overrate every under-collector, and thereby instigate them to harass and oppress the people. It is upon these grounds that we have charged the prisoner at your bar, with having acted arbitrarily, illegally, unjustly, and tyrannically and your lordships will bear, in mind, that these acts were done by his sole authority, which authority we have shown to have been illegally assumed.
My lords, before he took the important steps which I have just stated, he consulted no one but Mr. Markham, whom he placed over the new rajah. The rajah was only nineteen years old but Mr. Markham undoubtedly had the advantage of him in this respect, for he was twenty-one. He had also the benefit of five months' experience of the country; an abundant experience, to be sure, my lords, in a country where it is well known, from the peculiar character of its inhabitants, that a man cannot any where put his foot without placing it upon some trap or mine until he is perfectly acquainted with its localities. Nevertheless, he puts the whole country and a prince of nineteen, as appears from the evidence, into the hands of Mr. Markham, a man of twenty-one. We have no doubt of
Mr. Markham's capacity; but he could have no experience in the country over which he possessed a general controlling power. Under these circumstances, we surely shall not wonder if this young man fell into error. I do not like to treat harshly the errors into which a very young person may fall: but the man, who employs him and puts him into a situation for which he has neither capacity nor experience, is responsible for the consequences of such an appointment; and Mr. Hastings is doubly responsible in this case, because he placed Mr. Markham as resident, merely to show that he defied the authority of the court of directors.
But, my lords, let us proceed. We find Mr. Hastings resolved to exact forty lacks from the country; although he had no proof that such a tribute could be fairly collected. He next assigns to this boy, the rajah, emoluments amounting to about £60,000 a year. Let us now see upon what grounds he can justify the assignment of these emoluments. I can perceive none but such as are founded upon the opinion of its being necessary to the support of the rajah's dignity. Now, when Mr. Markham, who is the sole ostensible actor in the management of the new rajah, as he had been a witness to the deposition of the former, comes before you to give an account of what he thought of Cheit Sing, who appears to have properly supported the dignity of his situation; he tells you, that about a lack or a lack and a half (£10,000 or £15,000) a year was as much as Cheit Sing could spend. And yet this young creature, settled in the same country, and who was to pay £400,000 a year, instead of £250,000 tribute to the company, was authorized by Mr. Hastings to collect and reserve to his own use £60,000 out of the reveThat is to say, he was to receive four times as much as was stated by Mr. Hastings, on Mr. Markham's evidence, to have been necessary to support him.
Your lordships tread upon corruption every where. Why was such a large revenue given to the young rajah to support his dignity, when, as they say, Cheit Sing did not spend
above a lack and half in support of his; though it is known he had great establishments to maintain; that he had erected considerable buildings adorned with fine gardens; and, according to them, had made great preparations for war?
We must at length imagine, that they knew the country could bear the impost imposed upon it. I ask, how did they know this? We have proved to you, by a paper presented here by Mr. Markham, that the net amount of the collections was about £360,000. This is their own account, and was made up, as Mr. Markham says, by one of the clerks of Durbedgy Sing, together with his Persian moonshee, (a very fine council to settle the revenues of the kingdom,) in his private house. And with this account before them, they have dared to impose upon the necks of that unhappy people a tribute of £400,000, together with an income for the rajah of £60,000. These sums the naib Durbedgy Sing was bound to furnish, and left to get them as he could. Your lordships will observe, that I speak of the net proceeds of the collections. We have nothing to do with the gross amount. We are speaking of what came to the public treasury, which was no more than I have stated; and it was out of the public treasury that these payments were to be made, because there could be no other honest way of getting the money.
But let us now come to the main point, which is to ascertain what sums the country could really bear. Mr. Hastings maintains, (whether in the speech of his counsel or otherwise, I do not recollect,) that the revenue of the country was £400,000, that it constantly paid that sum, and flourished under the payment. In answer to this, I refer your lordships, first to Mr. Markham's declaration, and the Wassil Baakee, which is in page 1750 of the printed minutes. I next refer your lordships to Mr. Duncan's Reports, in page 2493. According to Mr. Duncan's public estimate of the revenue of Benares, the net collections of the very year we are speaking of, when Durbedgy Sing had the management, and when
Mr. Markham, his Persian moonshee, and a clerk in his private house, made their estimates, without any documents, or with whatever documents, or God only knows, for nothing appears on the record of the transaction; the collections yielded in that year but £340,000, that is, £20,000 less than Mr. Markham's estimate. But take it which way you will, whether you take it at Mr. Markham's £360,000, or at Mr. Duncan's £340,000, your lordships will see, that, after reserving £60,000 for his own private expenses, the rajah could not realize a sum nearly equal to the tribute demanded.
Your lordships have also in evidence before you an account of the produce of the country, for, I believe, full five years after this period, from which it appears that it never realized the forty lacks, or any thing like it. Yielding only thirty-seven and thirty-nine lacks, or thereabouts, which is £20,000 short of Mr. Markham's estimate, and £160,000 short of Mr. Hastings's. On what data could the prisoner at your bar have formed this estimate? Where were all the clerks and mutseddies, where were all the men of business in Benares, who could have given him complete information upon the subject? We do not find the trace of any of them; all our information is Mr. Markham's moonshee, and some clerk of Durbedgy Sing's employed in Mr. Markham's private counting-house, in estimating revenues of a country.
The disposable revenue was still further reduced by the jaghires which Mr. Hastings granted, but to what amount does not appear. He mentions the increase in the revenue, by the confiscation of the estates of the Baboos, who had been in rebellion. This he rates at six lacks. But we have inspected the accounts; we have examined them with that sedulous attention, which belongs to that branch of the legislature that has the care of the public revenues, and we have not found one trace of this addition. Whether these confiscations were ever actually made, remains doubtful; but if they were made, the application or the receipt of the