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Now, the first thing which would naturally occur to a man who was going to raise a revenue through the intervention of the prince of the country, would be to recommend to that prince a better economy in his affairs, and a rational and equal assessment upon his subjects, in order to furnish the amount of the demand which he was about to make upon him. I need not tell your lordships, trained and formed as your minds are to the rules and orders of good government, that there is no way by which a prince can justly assess his subjects, but by assessing them all in proportion to their respective abilities; and that, if a prince should make such a body as the House of Lords in this kingdom (which comes near the case I am going to state) separately the subject of assessment, such a thing would be contrary to all the principles of regular and just taxation in any country in the universe. Some men may posssibly, by locality or privileges, be excepted from certain taxes; but no taxation ever can be just that is thrown upon some particular class only; and if that class happen to be small and the demand great, the injustice done is directly proportionable to the greatness of the exaction and inversely to the number of the persons who are the objects of it. These are clear, irrefragable, and eternal principles.

But if, instead of exacting a part by a proportionable rate, the prince should go further and attempt to shake the whole mass of property itself, a mass perhaps not much less than that which is possessed by the whole peers of Great Britain, by confiscating the whole of the estates at once as a government resource, without the charge or pretence of any crime; I say, that such an act would be oppressive, cruel, and wicked in the highest degree. Yet this is what Mr. Hastings projected, and actually did accomplish.

My lords, at the treaty of Chunar, as it is called, Mr. Hastings (for he always artfully feels his way as he proceeds) first says, that the nabob shall be permitted to do this act if he pleases. He does not assume the government. He does

not compel the nabob to do any thing.

He does not

force upon him this abandoned and wicked confiscation of the property of the whole nobility of a great country. All that he says is this, the nabob may be permitted to resume these jaghires. Why permitted? If the act had been legal, proper, and justifiable, he did not want our permission; he was a sovereign in his own dominions. But Mr. Hastings recollected that some of these jaghires (as they are called, and on which I shall say a very few words to your lordships) were guarantied by the company. The jaghires of his own house, of his mother and grandmother, were guarantied by us. I must inform your lordships, that upon some of our other exactions at an earlier period, the nabob had endeavored to levy a forced loan upon the jaghirdars. This forced loan was made and submitted to by those people, upon a direct assurance of their rights in the jaghires, which right was guarantied by the British resident, not only to the begums, and to the whole family of the nabob, but also to all the other objects of the tax.

Before I proceed, I will beg leave to state to you briefly the nature of these jaghires. The jaghirdars, the holders of jaghires, form the body of the principal Mahomedan nobility. The great nobility of that country are divided into two parts: one part consists of the zemindars, who are the ancient proprietors of land, and the hereditary nobility of the country; these are mostly Gentoos. The Mahomedans form the other part, whose whole interest in the land consists in the jaghires, for very few indeed of them are zemindars any where; in some of the provinces none of them are so; the whole of them are jaghirdars.

We have heard, my lords, much discussion about jaghires. It is in proof before your lordships, that they are of two sorts that a jaghire signifies exactly what the word fee does in the English language, or feodum in the barbarous Latin of the Feudists; that it is a word which signifies a salary or a maintenance, as did originally the English word fee,

derived from the word feod and feodum. These jaghires, like other fees and like other feods, were given in land, as a maintenance; some with the condition of service, some without any condition; some were annexed to an office, some were granted as the support of a dignity, and none were granted for a less term than life, except those that were immediately annexed to a lease. We have shown your lordships, (and in this we have followed the example of Mr. Hastings,) that some of them are fees granted actually in perpetuity; and in fact many of them are so granted. We are farther to tell your lordships, that by the custom of the empire they are almost all grown as the feods in Europe are grown by use into something which is at least virtually an inheritance. This is the state of the jaghires and jaghirdars.

Among these jaghires we find, what your lordships would expect to find, an ample provision for all the nobility of that illustrious family, of which the nabob is the head; a prince whose family, both by father and mother, notwithstanding the slander of the prisoner against his benefactor, was undoubtedly of the first and most distinguished nobility of the Mahomedan empire. Accordingly his uncles, all his near relations, his mother, grandmother, all possessed jaghires, some of very long standing, and most of them not given by the nabob.

I take some pains in explaining this business, because I trust your lordships will have a strong feeling against any confiscation for the purpose of revenue. Believe me, my

lords, if there is any thing which will root the present order of things out of Europe, it will begin, as we see it has already begun in a neighboring country, by confiscating, for the purposes of the state, grants made to classes of men, let them be held by what names, or be supposed susceptible of what abuses soever. I will venture to say that Jacobinism never can strike a more deadly blow against property, rank, and dignity, than your lordships, if you were to acquit this man, would strike against your own dignity, and the very being of the society in which we live.

Your lordships will find in your printed minutes who the jaghirdars were, and what was the amount of their estates. The jaghires of which Mr. Hastings authorized the confiscation, or what he calls a resumption, appear from Mr. Purling's account, when first the forced loan was levied upon them, under his residentship, to amount to £285,000 sterling per annum; which £285,000, if rated and valued according to the different value of provisions and other necessaries of life in that country and in England, will amount, as near as may be, to about £600,000 a year. I am within compass. Every body conversant with India will say it is equivalent at least to £600,000 a year in England; and what a blow such a confiscation as this would be, on the fortunes of the peers of Great Britain, your lordships will judge. I like to see your estates as great as they are ;-I wish they were greater than they are; but whatever they are, I wish above all that they should be perpetual. For dignity and property in this country esto perpetua shall be my prayer this day, and the last prayer of my life. The Commons therefore of Great Britain, those guardians of property, who will not suffer the monarch they love, the government which they adore, to levy one shilling upon the subject, in any other way than the law and statutes of this kingdom prescribe, will not suffer, nor can they bear the idea that any single class of people should be chosen to be the objects of a contrary conduct, nor that even the nabob of Oude should be permitted to act upon such a flagitious principle. When an English governor has substituted a power of his own, instead of the legal government of the country, as I have proved this man to have done, if he found the prince going to do an act which would shake the property of all the nobility of the country, he surely ought to raise his hand and say, "You shall not make my name your sanction for such an atrocious and abominable act as this confiscation would be."

Mr. Hastings, however, whilst he gives, with an urbanity for which he is so much praised, his consent to this confisca

tion, adds, there must be pensions secured for all persons losing their estates, who had the security of our guaranty. Your lordships know that Mr. Hastings by his guaranty had secured their jaghires to the nabob's own relations and family. One would have imagined that, if the estates of those who were without any security were to be confiscated at his pleasure, those at least who were guarantied by the company, such as the begums of Oude, and several of the principal nobility of the nabob's family would have been secure. He indeed says, that pensions shall be given them, for at this time he had not got the length of violating, without shame or remorse, all the guaranties of the company. There shall, says he, be pensions given. If pensions were to be given to the value of the estate, I ask what has this violent act done? You shake the security of property, and, instead of suffering a man to gather his own profits with his own hands, you turn him into a pensioner upon the public treasury. I can conceive that such a measure will render these persons miserable dependants instead of independent nobility; but I cannot conceive what financial object can be answered by paying that in pension which you are to receive in revenue. This is directly contrary to financial economy. For when you stipulate to pay out of the treasury of government a certain pension, and take upon you the receipts of an estate, you adopt a measure by which government is almost sure of being a loser. You charge it with a certain, fixed sum, and even upon a supposition, that, under the management of the public, the estate will be as productive as it was under the management of its private owner, (a thing highly improbable,) you take your chance of a reimbursement, subject to all the extra expense and to all the accidents that may happen to a public revenue. This confiscation could not therefore be justified as a measure of economy; it must have been designed merely for the sake of shaking and destroying the property of the country.

The whole transaction, my lords, was an act of gross vio

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