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"Baboo Begum, the mother of the nabob Mobarick ul Dowlah, was the daughter of Summim Ali Khân, and married Meer Mahomed Jaffier Khân. The history of Munny Begum, is this:-At a village called Balcurda, near Sehindra, there lived a widow, who from her great poverty, not being able to bring up her daughter Munny, gave her to a slave girl belonging to Summin Ali Khân, whose name was Bissoo; during the space of five years she lived at Shahjehunabad, and was educated by Bissoo, after the manner of a dancing girl; afterward the nabob Shamot Jung, upon the marriage of Ikram ul Dowlah, brother to the nabob Surage ul Dowlah, sent for Bissoo Beg's set of dancing girls from Shahjehunabad, of which Munny Begum was one, and allowed them 10,000 rupees for their expenses, to dance at the wedding; while this ceremony was celebrating they were kept by the nabob, but some months afterwards he dismissed them, and they took up their residence in this city. Meer Mahomed Jaffier Khân then took them into keeping, and allowed Munny and her set 500 rupees per month; till at length finding that Munny was pregnant, he took her into his own house; she gave birth to the nabob Nijam ul Dowlah, and in this manner she has remained in the nabob's family ever since."
My lords, I do not mean to detain you long upon this part of the business; but I have thought it necessary to advert to these particulars. As to all the rest, the honorable and able manager who preceded me has sufficiently impressed upon your lordships' minds the monstrous nature of the deposing of the nabob's mother from the guardianship of her son, for the purpose of placing this woman there at the head of all his family, and of his domestic concerns in the seraglio within doors, and at the head of the state without; together with the disposal of the whole of the revenue that was allowed him. Mr. Hastings pretends, indeed, to have appointed at the same time a trusty mutseddy to keep the accounts of the revenue, but he has since declared that no account had been kept, and that it was in vain to desire it or to call for it.
This is the state of the case with respect to the appointment of Munny Begum. With regard to the reappointment of Mahomed Reza Khân, you have heard from my worthy fellow manager, that he was acquitted of the charges that had been brought against him by Mr. Hastings, after a long and lingering trial. The company was perfectly satisfied with the acquittal, and declared that he was not only acquitted, but honorably acquitted; and they also declared that he had a fair claim to a compensation for his sufferings. They not only declared him innocent, but meritorious. They gave orders that he should be considered as a person who was to be placed in office again upon the first occasion, and that he had entitled himself to this favor by his conduct in the place which he had before filled.
The council of the year 1775, (whom I can never mention nor shall mention without honor,) who complied faithfully with the act of parliament, who never disobeyed the orders of the company, and to whom no man has imputed even the shadow of corruption, found that this Munny Begum had acted in the manner which my honorable fellow manager has stated; that she had dissipated the revenue; that she had neglected the education of the nabob, and had thrown the whole judicature of the country into confusion. They ordered that she should be removed from her situation; that the nabob's own mother should be placed at the head of the seraglio, a situation to which she was entitled; and, with regard to the rest of the offices, that Mahomed Reza Khân should be employed to fill them.
Mr. Hastings resisted these propositions with all his might; but they were by that happy momentary majority carried against him, and Mahomed Reza Khân was placed in his former situation. But Mr. Hastings, though thus defeated, was only waiting for what he considered to be the fortunate moment for returning again to his corrupt, vicious, tyrannical, and disobedient habits. The reappointment of Mahomed Reza Khân had met the fullest approbation of the company;
and they directed, that as long as his good behavior entitled him to it, he should continue in the office. Mr. Hastings, however, without alleging any ill behavior, and for no reason that can be assigned, but his corrupt engagement with Munny Begum, overturned (upon the pretence of restoring the nabob to his rights) the whole of the company's arrangement, as settled by the late majority, and approved by the court of directors.
I have now to show you what sort of a man the nabob was, who was thus set up in defiance of the company's authority; what Mr. Hastings himself thought of him; what the judges thought of him; and what all the world thought of him.
I must first make your lordships acquainted with a little preliminary matter :-a man named Roy Radachurn, had been appointed vakeel, or agent, to manage the nabob's affairs at Calcutta. One of this man's creditors attached him there. Roy Radachurn pleaded his privilege as the vakeel or representative of a sovereign prince. The question came to be tried in the supreme court, and the issue was, Whether the nabob was a sovereign prince or not? I think the court did exceedingly wrong in entertaining such a question; because, in my opinion, whether he was or was not a sovereign prince, any person representing him ought to be left free, and to have a proper and secure means of concerting his affairs with the council. It was, however, taken otherwise; the question was brought to trial, Whether the nabob was a sovereign prince, sufficient to appoint and protect a person to manage his affairs, under the name of an ambassador? In that cause did Mr. Hastings come forward to prove, by a voluntary affidavit, that he had no pretensions, no power, no authority at all; that he was a mere pageant, a thing of straw, and that the company exercised every species of authority over him, in every particular, and in every respect; and that therefore to talk of him as an efficient person, was an affront to the
common sense of mankind; and this you will find the judges afterwards declared to be their opinion.
I will here press again one remark, (which perhaps you may recollect that I have made before,) that the chief and most usual mode, in which all the villanies perpetrated in India by Mr. Hastings and his copartners in iniquity, has been through the medium and instrumentality of persons, whom they pretended to have rights of their own, and to be acting for themselves; whereas such persons were, in fact, totally dependent upon him, Mr. Hastings, and did no one act that was not prescribed by him. In order, therefore, to let you see the utter falsehood, fraud, prevarication, and deceit of the pretences by which the native powers of India are represented to be independent, and are held up as the instruments of defying the laws of this kingdom, under pretext of their being absolute princes, I will read the affidavit of Warren Hastings, Esq., governor-general of Bengal, made the 31st July, 1775:-"This deponent maketh oath, and saith, That the late president and council did, on or about the month of August, 1772, by their own authority appoint Munny Begum, relict of the late nabob, Meer Jaffier Ali Khân, to be guardian to the present nabob, Mobarick ul Dowlah, and Rajah Goordas, son of Mahah Rajah Nundcomar to be dewan of the said nabob's household; allowing to the said Munny Begum a salary of 140,000 rupees per annum; and to the said Rajah Goordas, for himself and officers, a salary of 100,000 rupees per annum.-That the said late president and council did, in or about the month of August, 1772, plan and constitute regular and distinct courts of justice, civil and criminal, by their own authority, for administration of justice to the inhabitants throughout Bengal, without consulting the said nabob, or requiring his concurrence, and that the said civil courts were made solely dependent on the presidency of Calcutta; and the said criminal courts were put under the inspection and control of the company's servants, although ostensibly under the name of the nazim, as appears from the
following extracts from the plan for the administration of justice, constituted by the president and council as aforesaid."
My lords, we need not go through all the circumstances of this affidavit which is in your minutes, and to save time, I will refer your lordships to them. This affidavit, as I have already said, was put into the court to prove, that the nabob had no power or authority at all; but what is very singular in it, and which I recommend to the particular notice of your lordships when you are scrutinizing this matter, is, that there is not a single point stated to prove the nullity of this nabob's authority, that was not Mr. Hastings's own particular act. Well, the governor-general swears; the judge of the court refers to him in his decision; he builds and bottoms it upon the governor-general's affidavit; he swears, I say, that the council, by their own authority, appointed Munny Begum to be guardian to the nabob. "By what authority," the governor-general asks, "did the council erect courts of law and superintend the administration of justice, without any communication with the nabob? Had the nabob himself any idea that he was a sovereign? Does he complain of the reduction of his stipend or the infringement of treaties? No; he appears to consider himself to be, what in fact he really is, absolutely dependent on the company, and to be willing to accept any pittance they would allow him for his maintenance. He claims no rights. Does he complain that the administration of justice is taken into the hands of the company? No. By the treaty, the protection of his subjects is delivered up to the company; and he well knew, that, whoever may be held up as the ostensible prince, the administration of justice must be in the hands of those who have power to enforce it." He goes on, "The governor-general, who, I suppose, had a delicacy to state more than what had before been made public, closes his affidavit with saying, that all he has deposed to, he believes to be publicly known,