Page images

placed ; and that unless some such plan as that which I have proposed, should be adopted, the inhabitants of the Carnatic must continue to be wretched, the nabob must remain an indigent bankrupt, and his country an useless and expensive burthen to the company and the nation.” This was not the only evidence that this subject had engaged the most serious attention of lord Cornwallis ; for in a subsequent letter written two years after the former one, his lordship observed, that if there had been the least chance of obtaining the nabob's acquiescence, he should, without hesitation, have been ready to have proposed to him, as the plan best calculated for promoting his best interest and comfort, and the happiness of the inhabitants of the Carnatic, that he should entrust the company with the entire management of the country, under an engagement to pay to him regularly a liberal portion of the revenues, for the maintenance of his family and the support of his dignity.” Colonel Allan theo said, that he need not remind the house, that this plan exactly corresponds with that which was proposed by lord Powis to Ally Hussein. But before he proceeded further, he would call the attention of the house to the fact; that notwithstanding all that had been done by lord Macartney, by sir Archibald Campbell, and by lord Cornwallis, for the improvement of our connection with the nabob of Arcot, the evils of the nabob's adininistra. tion still existed and required correction : and here he would once more appeal to the authority to which he had already so often referred the house. He meant the authority of lord Buckinghamshire, who, in a minute as late as October 1795, observed, that " no comment could be required to shew that that species of government, if it deserved the name of government, contained the most griev. ous oppressions of the people, the certain impoverishment of the country, and the inevitable decay of revenue.” Impressed as his lordship was with a conviction of that truth, le looked with anxiety to the nature of the security provided by the trcaty of 1792 ; and his lordship stated his opinion, that there was no other remedy than placing the districts pledged for the security of the subsidy in the hands of the company: The conduct of bis noble friend was highly approved by the court of directors, who sincerely lamented thąt the nabob could not be prevailed upon to adopt the modification of the treaty proposed by lord Buckinghamshire, which, they observed, was founded on principles of sound policy, 'humanity, and justice; they therefore directed his noble friend to renew the proposition in their name. So deeply indeed were the court of directors, and the goverment ai home, impressed with ibe absolute necessity of this arrangement, that they requested Jord Wellesley to make a short stay at Madras, on his way to Bengal, in 1798, in order to prevail upon the nabob to agree to the plan proposed by lord Buckingham. shire. But this was not all. We find in the papers before us (April 1800)) the opinionis of lord Powis, strengthening and confirming those of his predecessors. His Jordsbip observed : " It is material for me to repeat, and with impressive earnes' ness, that no security sufficienily extensive and efficient for the British interest in the Carpatic, can be derived from the treaty of 1792; and that no divided power, however modified, can possibly avert the utter ruin of that devoted country." After then the opinions of lord Macartney, lord Cornwallis, lord Buckinghamshire, and lord Powis, publicly recorded, and to which he had endeavoured to draw the attention of the house; and after the fullest inquiries on the spot, possessing, as lord Wellesley did, every means of acquiring correct information ; could any person, he would ask, be surprised, that that noble lord should have considered the late arrangement in the Carnatic, as founded on the wisest policy? But its impolicy had been argued out of doors upon grounds, in his humble opinion, quite erroneous, It had been stated, that formerly we had no in vidious duties to discharge ; that the nabob's government exact ed the revenue and inflicted the punishments ; that they were regarded as the oppressors, whilst we were considered as the benefactors of the country : but that now we had changed places with the nabob; and we were asked, whether it was wise to have taken upon ourselves a task, whic must rendler us odious to the natives? To this point the bonourable member said he could speak from his own personal knowledge ; for he was employed for seven or eight years in making surveys of the country, and bad traversed every part of it: he believed he might venture to say, that at the time he quitted India, no European bad seen more of the Carnatic than himself; he had many opporlunities of learning the real sentiments of the joba

bitants, and he had no hesitation in declaring, that they invariably spoke in praise and admiration of the system pursued during the periods that the country had been under the management of the company's servants; and with detestation and abhorrence of the nabob's managers, jvhose oppression and cruelty were so great, that be had known all the inhabitants of a village fly from the nabob's territory, during the night, to seek protection in those of the company, or perhaps to retire altogether into the dominions of the nizam, or of Tippoo sultan. But (said the honourable member) it might be argued, that although the late arrangement in the Carnatic was founded in justice and policy, the family of Mahoined Allg had strong claims to the liberality and indulgence of the British government. It might be worth while, therefore, to examine how far such claims were well founded. From our earliest connection with Mahomed Ally, we had reason to be dissatisfied with him for his want of faith and honour, instances of which had been recorded so far back as the administration of Mr. Bourchier and Mr. Dupré; and the government of Madras had declared that the na: bob's conduct was such as to destroy all confidence in bis engagements. Lord Macartney observed, that the records were full of essential failures on the part of the nabob in bis pecuniary engagements. In the war with Hyder Ally, in 1780, we applied to the nabob in vain, for assistance; and we were equally unsuccessful when we were preparing for the war in 1790. In the war of 1799, the government was compelled to call upon the nabob for pecuniary assistance, for, when lord Wellesley assumed the government of India, he found an exhausted treasury, and credit low. The nabob promised 3 lacs of pagodas, no very large sum, but it will scarcely be believed, that he advanced only 16,000 pagodas (or 6,4001.). Private individuals however shewed more real, and to the honour of the British commercial houses at Madras, they afforded every possible assistance, and enabled the army to move from our frontier to Seringa patam. But the nabob's want of attachment was not confined to failures in his pecuniary engagements; the nabob actually shewed an in difference to the British interests, which might justly be attributed to disaffection. In a letter from the Madras go yernment to the court of directors, in August, 1799, they obgerved, that “they were concerned to inform the court that this was not the only instance in whiclı they had had to lámen: an indifference to the success of our measures on the part of his highness; for instead of calling forth the resources of the Carnatic for the supply of your army, his highness's managers, in every province of his dominions, not only withbeld all assistance from their respective districts, bui opposed every possible obstacle to the passage of supplies, procured for the use of the army, beyond the limits of his highness's dominions." And the government at home, in a letter to Bengal, dated the 4th December 1800, mentioned the particulars of the nabob's conduct regarding the fort of Chapdernagherry, and observed that

a more decided instance of disaffcction could scarcely be imagined.” He would therefore ask, whether, under all the circumstances of ihe nabob's repeated (he might almost say constant) failure in his engagements; of his indifference to the British interests, an indifference amounting nearly to disaffection; of his violation of the treaty of 1792, not only by granting assignments on the districts which were mortgaged to the company as the security for his subsidy, but also by entering into a secret correspond. ence with Tippoo sultan, the implacable enemy of the Bri. tish name in India; we were not justified in cousidering the treaty of 1792 as annihilated, and in adopting whatever measures we deemed necessary to secure our rights in the Carnatic. It was the intention of the British government to have made a communication to the nabob Umdit ul Omrab, of the proofs which they had obtained; of his having carried on a secret correspondence with Tippnô sultan, contrary to the stipulations of the treaty of 1792 ; the nabob bad, as he had already shewn, been previously apprised of his violation of another article of that treaty, by granting assignments on the mortgaged districts. Cir. cumstances of expediency interrupted that communica, tion; it was protracted by the nabob's illness, and his death frustrated the wish of the British government, to obtain from him satisfactory security for their rights in the Carnatic. Released froin the treaty of 1792, which had been repeatedly violated by the nabob; with the recorded opinions of lord Macartney, lord Cornwallis, lord Buckinghamshire, and lord Powis, that no divided

power, however modified, could possibly avert the utter ruin of the Carnatic ;, lord Wellesley was further strengthened in These sentiments by a lelter froin the secret committee, apa proved by the board of controul, and transmitted to him in June 1799. In this letter the government at home observed that, in the event of a war with Tippoo sultan, the respective countries of the nabob of Arcot, and the rajah of Tanjore, would of course come under the com, pany's management; and they directed that they be not relinquished without special orders from them, or from the court of directors. Here we find, that the government at home ordered lord Wellesley not to relinquish the Carnatic, éven upon the conclusion of peace with Tippoo sultan. He contended, therefore, that under alt these circumstances, it was the duty of lord Wellesley tỏ form such an arrangement for the future administration of the affairs of the Carnatic, as should result from a full consideration of the relative situation of the nabob and the East India company, of the ruinous consequences of the repeated violations of the treaty of 1792, the interests of the inbabitants of the country, the security of the British government, and the orders that had been received froin the court of directors. A difficulty however arose with respect to the person who was to succeed to whatever degree of power it might be deemed safe to place in the hands of the successor of Umdit ul Omrah. His illegitimate and adopted son was considered entiided to a conditional preference; but when, . under the suggestion of those who had been the advisers of his father, he refused to accede to the terms which it had become necessary to annex to the situation of the nabob of the Carnatic, the succession, subject to the stipulations required, was offered to, and accepted by the next legitimate heir, the son of the late Ameer ul Omrah, and grandson of Mahomed Ally.

But it had been said, that the arrangement in theCarnatic was begun, continued, and concluded, with a rapidity which was observable in all the foreign transactions of the Bengal government. It was easy to make, but it'was as easy to refute, the assertion. So far from that rapidity with which the Bengal government was unjustly charged, lord Wellesley investigated the business with the most deliberate caution. He appointed commissioners (of who'n, in consequence of what had fallen from the honourable ba-ronet who opened the debate, he should say a few words before he sat down) to examine the persons concerned in the correspondence, and to ascertain the nature of the connection between the nabobs of the Caruatic and Tippoo

« PreviousContinue »