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entered by the governor-general :-"The governor-general. I object to this motion, [a motion relative to the trial above alluded to] because I do not apprehend that the declaration of the judges, respecting the nabob's sovereignty, will involve this government in any difficulties with the French or other foreign nations." [Mark, my lords, these political effects.] "How little the screen of the nabob's name has hitherto availed, will appear in the frequent and inconclusive correspondence which has been maintained with the foreign settlements, the French especially, since the company have thought proper to stand forth in their real character in the exercise of the dewanny. From that period the government of these provinces has been wholly theirs, nor can all the subtilties and distinctions of political sophistry conceal the possession of power, where the exercise of it is openly practised and universally felt in its operation.-In deference to the commands of the company, we have generally endeavored, in all our correspondence with foreigners, to evade the direct avowal of our possessing the actual rule of the country; employing the unapplied term government, for the power to which we exacted their submission; but I do not remember any instance, and I hope none will be found, of our having been so disingenuous as to disclaim our own power, or to affirm that the nabob was the real sovereign of those provinces. In effect I do not hesitate to say, that I look upon this state of indecision to have been productive of all the embarrassments which we have experienced with the foreign settlements; none of them have ever owned any dominion but that of the British government in these provinces. Mr. Chevalier has repeatedly declared, that he will not acknowledge any other, but will look to that only for the support of the privileges possessed by his nation, and shall protest against that alone as responsible for any act of power, by which their privileges may be violated or their property disturbed. The Dutch, the Danes, have severally applied to this government, as to the ruling power, for the grant of indulgences and the redress of
their grievances. In our replies to all, we have constantly assumed the prerogatives of that character, but eluded the direct avowal of it; under the name of influence, we have offered them protection, and we have granted them the indulgences of government, under elusive expressions, sometimes applied to our treaties with the nabobs, sometimes to our own rights as the dewan, sometimes openly declaring the virtual rule which we held of these provinces, we have contended with them for the rights of government, and threatened to repel with force the encroachments on it; we, in one or two instances, have actually put these threats into execution, by orders directly issued to the officers of government, and enforced by detachments from our own military forces. The nabob was never consulted, nor was the pretence ever made, that his orders or concurrence were necessary; in a word, we have always allowed ourselves to be treated as principals; we have treated as principals; but we have contented ourselves with letting our actions insinuate the character which we effectually possessed, without asserting it.-For my own part, I have ever considered the reserve which has been enjoined on us in this respect, as a consequence of the doubts which have long prevailed, and which are still suffered to subsist, respecting the rights of the British government and the company to the property and dominion of these provinces, not as inferring a doubt with respect to any foreign power; it has, however, been productive of great inconveniences, it has prevented our acting with vigor in our disputes with the Dutch and French. The former refuse to this day the payment of the Bahor Pescush, although the right is incontestably against them, and we have threatened to enforce it. Both nations refuse to be bound by our decrees, or to submit to our regulations; they refuse to submit to the payment of the duties on the foreign commerce, but in their own way, which amounts almost to a total exemption; they refuse to submit to the duty of ten per cent. which is levied upon foreign salt, by which (unless a stop can be put to it by a more decisive
rule) they will draw the whole of that important trade into their own colonies; and even in the single instance in which they have allowed us to prescribe to them, namely, the embargo on grain on the apprehension of a dearth, I am generally persuaded that they acquiesced from the secret design of taking the advantage of the general suspension, by exporting grain clandestinely under cover of their colors, which they knew would screen them from the rigorous examination of our officers. We are precluded from forming many arrangements of general utility, because of their want of control over the European settlement; and a great part of the defects which subsist in the government and commercial state of the country are ultimately derived from this source. I have not the slightest suspicion, that a more open and decided conduct would expose us to worse consequences from the European nations; on the contrary, we have the worst of the argument, while we contend with them under false colors, while they know us under the disguise, and we have not the confidence to disown it; what we have done and may do under an assumed character, is full as likely to involve us in a war with France, a nation not much influenced by logical weapons, if such can be supposed to be the likely consequences of our own trifling disagreement with them, as if we stood forth their avowed opponents. To conclude, instead of regretting, with Mr. Francis, the occasion which deprives us of so useless and hurtful a disguise; I should rather rejoice, (were it really the case,) and consider it as a crisis which freed the constitution of our government from one of its greatest defects."
Now, my lords, the delicacy of the affidavit is no more— the great arcanum of the state is avowed-it is avowed that the government is ours-that the nabob is nothing. It is avowed to foreign nations; and the disguise which we have put on, Mr. Hastings states, in his opinion, to be hurtful to the affairs of the company. Here we perceive the exact and
the perfect agreement between his character as a delicate affidavit maker in a court of justice, and his indelicate declarations upon the records of the company for the information of the whole world, concerning the real arcanum of the Bengal government.
Now I cannot help praising his consistency upon this occasion, whether his policy was right or wrong; hitherto we find the whole consistent, we find the affidavit perfectly supported. The inferences, which delicacy at first prevented him from producing, better recollection and more perfect policy made him here avow. In this state things continued. The nabob, your lordships see, is dead-dead in law dead in politics-dead in a court of justice-dead upon the records of the company. Except in mere animal existence, it is all over with him.
I have now to state to your lordships, that Mr. Hastings, who has the power of putting even to death in this way, possesses likewise the art of restoring to life. But what is the medicine that revives them ?-Your lordships, I am sure, will be glad to know what nostrum, not hitherto pretended to by quacks in physic, by quacks in politics, nor by quacks in law, will serve to revive this man, to cover his dead bones with flesh, and to give him life, activity, and vigor. My lords, I am about to tell you an instance of a recipe of such infallible efficacy, as was never before discovered. His cure for all disorders is disobedience to the commands of his lawful superiors. When the orders of the contrary to his own opinions, he forgets them all. Let the court of directors but declare in favor of his own system and his own positions, and that very moment, merely for the purpose of declaring his right of rebellion against the laws of his country, he counteracts them. Then these dead bones arise; or, to use a language more suitable to the dignity of the thing, Bayes's men are all revived. "Are these men dead?" asks Mr. Bayes's friend. "No," says he, "they shall all get up and dance immediately."-But in this ludi
court of directors are
crous view of Mr. Hastings's conduct, your lordships must not lose sight of its great importance. You cannot have, in an abstract, as it were, any one thing that better develops the principles of the man; that more fully develops all the sources of his conduct; and of all the frauds and iniquities which he has committed, in order at one and the same time to evade his duty to the court of directors, that is to say, to the laws of his country, and to oppress, crush, rob, and illtreat the people that are under him.
My lords, you have had an account of the person who represented the nabob's dignity, Mahomed Reza Khân; you have heard of the rank he bore, the sufferings that he went through, his trial and honorable acquittal, and the company's order, that the first opportunity should be taken to appoint him naib soubah, or deputy of the nabob, and more especially to represent him in the administering of justice. Your lordships are also acquainted with what was done in consequence of those orders by the council general, in the restoration and reëstablishment of the executive power in this person; not in the poor nabob, a poor, helpless, ill-bred, ill-educated boy, but in the first Mussulman of the country, who had before exercised the office of naib soubah, or deputy viceroy, in order to give some degree of support to the expiring honor and justice of that country. The majority, namely, General Clavering, Colonel Monson, and Mr. Francis, whose names, as I have before said, will, for obedience to the company, fidelity to the laws, honor to themselves, and a purity untouched and unimpeached, stand distinguished and honored in spite of all the corrupt and barking virulence of India against them. These men, I say, obeyed the company; they had no secret or fraudulent connection with Mahomed Reza Khân; but they reinstated him in his office.
The moment that real death had carried away two of the most virtuous of this community, and that Mr. Hastings was thereby reëstablished in his power, he returned to his former state of rebellion to the company, and of fraud and oppres