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year 1185. The reason, why I gave permission for the additional expense of twelve hundred peons, was that he might be enabled to manage the country with ease, and pay the money to government regularly. I besides sent Mr. Osborne there, to command in the mahals belonging to Illahabad, which were in the possession of rajah Ajeit Sing; and he accordingly took charge.
"Afterwards, in obedience to the orders of the governorgeneral, Mr. Hastings, Jelladut Jung, he was recalled, and the mahals placed, as before, under rajah Ajeit Sing. I never sent Mr. Osborne to settle the concerns of Illahabad, for there was no occasion for him; but Mr. Osborne, of himself, committed depredations and rapines within Ishmael Beg's jurisdiction. Last year the battalion which, by permission of General Sir Eyre Coote, was sent, received orders to secure and defend Ishmael Beg against the encroachments of Mr. Osborne; for the complaints of Ishmael Beg against the violences of Mr. Osborne had reached the general and Mr. Purling; and the governor and gentlemen of council, at my request, recalled Mr. Osborne. This year, as before, the collections of Arreel and Parra remain under Ishmael Beg. In those places, some of the talookdars and zemindars, who had been oppressed and ill treated by Mr. Osborne, had conceived ideas of rebellion.”
Here, my lords, you have an account of the condition of Darughur, Futtyghur, Furruckabad, and of the whole line of our military stations in the nabob's dominions. You see the whole was one universal scene of plunder and rapine. You see all this was known to Mr. Hastings, who never inflicted any punishments for all this horrible outrage. You see the utmost he has done is merely to recall one man, Major Osborne, who was by no means the only person deeply involved in these charges. He nominated all these people; he has never called any of them to an account. Shall I not then call him their captain general? Shall not your lordships call him so? And shall any man in the kingdom call him by
any other name? We see all the executive, all the civil and criminal justice of the country seized on by him. We see the trade, and all the duties seized upon by his creatures. We see them destroying established markets, and creating others at their pleasure. We see them, in the country of an ally, and in a time of peace, producing all the consequences of rapine and of war. We see the country ruined and depopulated by men, who attempt to exculpate themselves, by charging their unhappy victims with rebellion.
And now, my lords, who is it that has brought to light all these outrages and complaints, the existence of which has never been denied, and for which no redress was ever obtained, and no punishment ever inflicted? Why, Mr. Hastings himself has brought them before you; they are found in papers which he has transmitted. God, who inflicts blindness upon great criminals, in order that they should meet with the punishment they deserve, has made him the means of bringing forward this scene, which we are maliciously said to have falsely and maliciously devised. If any one of the ravages contained in that long catalogue of grievances is false, Warren Hastings is the person who must answer for that individual falsehood. If they are generally false, he is to answer for the false and calumniating accusation; and, if they are true, my lords, he only is answerable, for he appointed those ministers of outrage, and never called them to account for their misconduct.
Let me now show your lordships the character that Mr. Hastings gives of all the British officers. It is to be found in an extract from the appendix to that part of his Benares narrative, in which he comments upon the treaty of Chunar. Mark, my lords, what the man himself says, of the whole military service." Notwithstanding the great benefit which the company would have derived from such an augmentation of their military force as these troops constituted, ready to act on any emergency, prepared and disciplined without any charge on the company, as the institution professed, until
their actual services should be required, I have observed some evils growing out of the system, which, in my opinion, more than counterbalanced those advantages, had they been realized in their fullest effect. The remote stations of these troops, placing the commanding officers beyond the notice. and control of the board, afforded too much opportunity and temptation for unwarrantable emoluments, and excited the contagion of peculation and rapacity throughout the whole army. A most remarkable and incontrovertible proof of the prevalence of this spirit has been seen in the court martial upon Captain Erskine, where the court, composed of officers of rank and respectable characters, unanimously and honorably, most honorably, acquitted him upon an acknowledged fact, which, in times of stricter discipline, would have been deemed a crime deserving the severest punishment."
I will now call your lordships' attention to another extract from the same comment of Mr. Hastings, with respect to the removal of the company's servants, civil and military, from the court and service of the vizier." I was actuated solely by motives of justice to him, and a regard to the honor of our national character. In removing those gentlemen, I diminish my own influence, as well as that of my colleagues, by narrowing the line of patronage; and I expose myself to obloquy and resentment from those who are immediately affected by the arrangement, and the long train of their friends and powerful patrons. But their numbers, their influence, and the enormous amount of their salaries, pensions, and emoluments, were an intolerable burthen on the revenues and authority of the vizier, and exposed us to the envy and resentment of the whole country, by excluding the native servants and adherents of the vizier from the rewards of their services and attachment."
My lords, you have here Mr. Hastings's opinion of the whole military service. You have here the authority and documents by which he supports his opinion. He states, that the contagion of peculation had tainted all the frontier
stations, which contain much the largest part of the company's army. He states that this contagion had tainted the whole army, every where; so that according to him, there was, throughout the Indian army, an universal taint of peculation. My lords, peculation is not a military vice.—Insubordination, want of attention to duty, want of order, want of obedience and regularity, are military vices; but who ever before heard of peculation being a military vice? In the case before you, it became so by employing military men as farmers of revenue, as masters of markets and of gunges. This departure from the military character and from military duties, introduced that peculation which tainted the army, and desolated the dominions of the nabob vizier.
I declare, when I first read the passage which has been just read to your lordships, in the infancy of this inquiry, it struck me with astonishment, that peculation should at all exist as a military vice; but I was still more astonished at finding Warren Hastings charging the whole British army with being corrupted by this base and depraved spirit, to a degree which tainted even their judicial character. This, my lords, is a most serious matter. The judicial functions of military men are of vast importance in themselves; and, generally speaking, there is not any tribunal, whose members are more honorable in their conduct, and more just in their decisions than those of a court martial. Perhaps there is not a tribunal in this country whose reputation is really more untainted than that of a court martial. It stands as fair in the opinion both of the army and of the public as any tribunal, in a country where all tribunals stand fair. But in India, this unnatural vice of peculation, which has no more to do with the vices of a military character than with its virtues ; —this venomous spirit has pervaded the members of military tribunals to such an extent, that they acquit, honorably acquit, most honorably acquit a man, upon an acknowledged fact, which, in times of stricter discipline, would have been deemed a crime deserving the severest punishment."
Do I say it?-No: it is He records it. He gives you
Who says all this, my lords? Warren Hastings who says it. his vouchers and his evidence, and he draws the conclusion. He is the criminal accuser of the British army. He, who sits in that box, accuses the whole British army in India. He has declared them to be so tainted with peculation from head to foot, as to have been induced to commit the most wicked perjuries, for the purpose of bearing one another out in their abominable peculations. In this unnatural state of things, and whilst there is not one military man on these stations of whom Mr. Hastings does not give this abominably flagitious character; yet every one of them have joined to give him the benefit of their testimony for his honorable intentions and conduct.
In this tremendous scene, which he himself exposes, are there no signs of this captain-generalship which I have alluded to ? Are there no signs of this man's being a captaingeneral of iniquity, under whom all the spoilers of India were paid, disciplined, and supported? I not only charge him with being guilty of a thousand crimes; but I assert, that there is not a soldier or a civil servant in India, whose culpable acts are not owing to this man's example, connivance, and protection. Every thing which goes to criminate them, goes directly against the prisoner. He puts them in a condition to plunder.-He suffered no native authority or government to restrain them; and he never called a man to an account for these flagitious acts, which he has thought proper to bring before his country in the most solemn manner and upon the most solemn occasion.
I verily believe, in my conscience, his accusation is not true, in the excess, in the generality and extravagance in which he charges it. That it is true, in a great measure, we cannot deny; and in that measure we, in our turn, charge him with being the author of all the crimes which he denounces; and if there is any thing in the charge beyond the truth, it is he who is to answer for the falsehood.