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tonishing combination of horrible circumstances.
in which you will consider these circumstances must be left to your lordships. At present I am not able to proceed further. My next attempt will be to bring before you, the manner in which Mr. Hastings treated movable and immovable property in Oude, and by which he has left nothing undestroyed in that devoted country.
SATURDAY, 7TH JUNE, 1794.
FIFTH DAY OF REPLY.
MY LORDS,-We will now resume the consideration of the remaining part of our charge, and of the prisoner's attempts to defend himself against it.
Mr. Hastings, well knowing, (what your lordships must also by this time be perfectly satisfied was the case,) that this unfortunate nabob had no will of his own, draws down his poor victim to Chunar, by an order to attend the governorgeneral. If the nabob ever wrote to Mr. Hastings, expressing a request or desire for this meeting, his letter was unquestionably dictated to him by the prisoner. We have laid a ground of direct proof before you, that the nabob's being at Chunar, that his proceedings there, and that all his acts were so dictated, and consequently must be so construed.
I shall now proceed to lay before your lordships the acts of oppression, committed by Mr. Hastings through his two miserable instruments; the one, his passive instrument, the nabob; the other, Mr. Middleton, his active instrument, in his subsequent plans for the entire destruction of that country. In page 513 of the printed minutes, you have Mr. Middleton's declaration of his promptitude to represent every thing agreeably to Mr. Hastings's wishes.
"My dear Sir, I have this day answered your public letter in the form you seemed to expect. I hope there is nothing in it, that may to you appear too pointed. If you wish the matter to be otherwise understood than I have taken up and stated it, I need not say I shall be ready to conform to whatever you may prescribe, and to take upon myself any share of the blame of the hitherto non-performance of the stipulations made on behalf of the nabob; though I do assure you, I myself represented to his excellency and the ministers, conceiving it to be your desire, that the apparent assumption of the reins of his government, (for in that light he undoubtedly considered it at the first view,) as specified in the agreement executed by him, was not meant to be fully and literally enforced, but that it was necessary you should have something to show on your side, as the company were deprived of a benefit, without a requital; and upon the faith of this assurance alone, I believe I may safely affirm, his excellency's objections to signing the treaty were given up. If I have understood the matter wrong, or misconceived your design, I am truly sorry for it. However, it is not too late to correct the error; and I am ready to undertake, and God willing, to carry through whatever you may, on the receipt of my public letter, tell me is your final resolve.
"If you determine, at all events, that the measures of reducing the nabob's army, &c. shall be immediately undertaken, I shall take it as a particular favor, if you will indulge me with a line at Fyzabad, that I may make the necessary previous arrangements with respect to the disposal of my family, which I would not wish to retain here, in the event either of a rupture with the nabob, or the necessity of employing our forces on the reduction of his aumils and troops. This done, I can begin the work in three days after my return from Fyzabad.”
Besides this letter, which I think is sufficiently clear upon the subject, there is also another, much more clear, upon
your lordships' minutes, much more distinct and much more pointed, expressive of his being resolved to make such representations of every matter, as the governor-general may wish. Now, a man, who is master of the manner in which facts are represented, and whose subsequent conduct is to be justified by such representations, is not simply accountable for his conduct; he is accountable for culpably attempting to form, on false premises, the judgment of others upon that conduct. This species of delinquency must therefore be added to the rest; and I wish your lordships to carry generally in your minds, that there is not one single syllable of representation made by any of those parties, except where truth may happen to break out in spite of all the means of concealment, which is not to be considered as the representation of Mr. Hastings himself, in justification of his own conduct.
The letter, which I have just now read, was written preparatory to the transaction which I am now going to state, called the Treaty of Chunar. Having brought his miserable victim thither, he forced him to sign a paper called a treaty ; but such was the fraud in every part of this treaty, that Mr. Middleton himself, who was the instrument and the chief agent in it, acknowledges that the nabob was persuaded to sign it, by the assurance given to him that it never was to be executed. Here then your lordships have a prince first compelled to enter into a negotiation, and then induced to accede to a treaty, by false assurances that it should not be executed, which he declares nothing but force should otherwise have compelled him to accede to.
The first circumstance in this transaction, that I shall lay before your lordships, is, that the treaty is declared to have for its objects two modes of relieving the nabob from his distresses; from distresses, which we have stated, and which Mr. Hastings has not only fully admitted, but has himself proved in the clearest manner to your lordships. The first was by taking away that wicked rabble, the British troops,
represented by Mr. Hastings as totally ruinous to the nabob's affairs; and, particularly, by removing that part of them, which was called the new brigade.
Another remedial part of the treaty regarded the British pensioners. It is in proof before your lordships, that Mr. Hastings agreed to recall from Oude that body of pensioners, whose conduct there is described, in such strong terms, as being ruinous to the vizier and to all his affairs. These pensioners Mr. Hastings engaged to recall; but he never did recall them. We refer your lordships to the evidence before you, in proof that these odious pensioners, so distressing to the nabob, so ruinous to his affairs, and so disgraceful to our government, were not only not recalled by Mr. Hastings, but that, both afterwards, and upon the very day of signing the treaty (as Mr. Middleton himself tells you); upon that very day, I say, he recommended to the nabob that these pensioners might remain upon that very establishment, which, by a solemn treaty of his own making and his own dictating, he had agreed to relieve from this intolerable burden.
Mr. Hastings, your lordships will remember, had departed from Benares, frustrated in his designs of extorting £500,000 from the rajah, for the company's use. He had ravaged the country, without obtaining any benefit for his masters; the British soldiers having divided the only spoil, and nothing remaining for the share of his employers but disgrace. He was, therefore, afraid to return without having something of a lucrative pecuniary nature to exhibit to the company. Having this object in view, Oude appears to have first presented itself to his notice, as a country from which some advantage of a pecuniary kind might be derived, and accordingly he turned in his head a vast variety of stratagems for effecting his purpose."
The first article, that occurs in the treaty of Chunar, is a power given to the nabob to resume all the jaghires not guarantied by the company, and to give pensions to all those persons who should be removed from their jaghires.