« ForrigeFortsæt »
of Oude; or to dispossess the rajah of his territo- “ his own subjects ;” and whose distresses, and ries; or to seize upon his forts, and to plunder the known disorders in his government, he, the them of the treasure therein contained, to the said Hastings, did attribute solely to his own bad amount of four or five hundred thousand pounds, conduct and evil character ; admitting also in a did reject the offer of two hundred thousand letter written to Edward Wheler, Esq. and transpounds, tendered by the said rajah for his redemp- mitted to the court of directors, “ that many cirtion from the injuries, which he had discovered that “cumstances did favour suspicion of his (the said the said Hastings had clandestinely meditated “ nabob's) fidelity to the English interest, the naagainst him, although the sum aforesaid would“ bob being surrounded by men base in their chahave been a considerable and seasonable acquisi- “racters, and improvident in their understandings, tion at that time; the said Hastings being deter- “ his favourites, and his companions of his looser mined, at a critical period, to risk the existence “ hours. These had every cause to dread the of the British empire, rather than fail in the grati- “ effect of my influence on theirs ; and both these, fication of his revenge against the said rajah. “ and the relations of the family, whose views of
consequence and power were intercepted by our XVII.
"participation in the administration of his affairs,
“ entertained mortal hatred to our nation, and That the first of his three instituted projects, openly avowed it.” And the said Hastings was namely, the depriving the rajah of his territories, well aware, that in case the nabob, by him dewas by himself considered as a measure likely to scribed in the manner aforesaid, on making such be productive of much odium to the British go- purchase, should continue to observe the terms of vernment; he having declared, whatever opinions his father's original covenants and engagements he might entertain of its justice, “ that it would with the rajah, and should pay
the “ have an appearance of severity; and might only tribute, which he could lawfully exact from “ furnish grounds unfavourable to the credit of our the said rajah, it was impossible that he could, “ government, and to his own reputation, from the for the mere naked and unprofitable rights of a “ natural influence which every act of rigour, ex-sovereignty paramount, afford to offer so great a “ercised in the persons of men in elevated situa- sum as the rajah did offer to the said Hastings for “ tions, is apt to impress on those, who are too re- his redemption from oppression. Such an acqui“mote from the scene of action to judge, by any sition to the nabob (while he kept his faith) could “ evidence of the facts themselves, of their motives not possibly be of any advantage whatever to him; “ or propriety.” And the second attempt, the sum and that therefore, if a great sum was to be paid of money, which he aimed at by attacking the for- by the nabob of Oude, it must be for the purpose tresses of the rajah, and plundering them of the of oppression, and violation of publick faith, to treasure supposed to be there secured, besides the be perpetrated in the person of the said nabob, to obvious uncertainty of acquiring what was thus an extent, and in a manner, which the said Hassought, would be liable to the same imputations tings was then apprehensive he could not justify with the former. And with regard to the third to the court of directors, as his own personal act. project, namely, the sale of the company's sovereignty to the nabob of Oude, and his having actually received proposals for the same, it was an high offence to the company, as presuming, without their authority or consent, to put up to sale their sovereign rights; and particularly to put them
PART III. up to sale to that very person, against whom the independence of the said province had been declared by the governour-general and council to be neces- Expulsion of the Rajah of Benares. sary, as a barrier for the security of the other provinces, in case of a future rupture with him. It was
1. See Hastings's an heinous injury to the said rajah to letter.
attempt to change his relation without That the said Warren Hastings, being resolved his consent, especially on account of the person,
on the ruin of the rajah aforesaid, as a preliminary to whom he was to be made over for money, by step thereto, did, against the express orders of the reason of the known enmity subsisting between his court of directors, remove Francis Fowke, Esquire, family and that of the nabob, who was to be the the company's resident at the city of Benares, purchaser; and it was a grievous outrage on the without any complaint, or pretence of complaint, innocent inhabitants of the zemindary of Benares, whatsoever, but merely on his own declaration, to propose putting them under a person long be- that he must have, as a resident at Benares, a perfore described by himself to the court of directors, son of his own special and personal nomination
to want the qualities of the head and heart re- and confidence, and not a man of the company's
quisite for his station ;” and a letter from the nomination ; and in the place of the said Francis British resident at Oude, transmitted to the said Fowke, thus illegally divested of his office, did court, represents him “ to have wholly lost, by appoint thereto another servant of the company of “ his oppressions, the confidence and affections of his own choice.
lessly and maliciously represent as an indication II.
of a design upon his life; and the said rajah came
into the pinnace, in which the said Hastings was That soon after he had removed the company's carried, and in a lowly and suppliant manner, resident, he prepared for a journey to the Upper alone, and without any guard or attendance whatProvinces, and particularly to Benares, in order soever, entreated his favour; and being received to execute the wicked and perfidious designs by with great sternness and arrogance, he did put him before meditated and contrived; and although his turban in the lap of the said Hastings, therehe did communicate his purpose privately to such by signifying, that he abandoned his life and persons as he thought fit to intrust therewith, he fortune to his disposal, and then departed; the did not enter any thing on the consultations to said Hastings not apprehending, nor having any that purpose, or record the principles, real or pre reason to apprehend, any violence whatsoever to tended, on which he had resolved to act, nor did his person. he state any guilt in the rajah, which he intended
IV. to punish, or charge him, the said rajah, with entertaining any hostile intentions, the effects of That the said Hastings, in the utmost security which were to be prevented by any strong measure; and freedom from apprehension, did pursue his but, on the contrary, he did industriously conceal journey, and did arrrive at the city of Benares on his real designs from the court of directors, and did the 14th of August 1781, some hours before the fallaciously enter on the consultations a minute, rajah, who soon after his arrival intended to pay declaratory to purposes wholly different therefrom, him a visit of honour and respect at his quarters, and which supposed nothing more than an amica- but was by the said Hastings rudely and insolently ble adjustment, founded on the treaties between forbid, until he should receive his permission. And the company and the rajah, investing himself by the said Hastings, although he had previously dehis said minute with “ full power and authority to termined on the ruin of the said rajah, in order to " form such arrangements with the rajah of Be- afford some colour of regularity and justice to his “pares for the better government and manage- proceedings, did on the day after his arrival, that “ment of his zemindary, and to perform such is, on the 15th day of August 1781, send to the
acts for the improvement of the interest, which rajah a charge in writing, which, though informal " the company possesses in it, as he shall think and irregular, may be reduced to four articles, " fit, and consonant to the mutual engagements two general, and two more particular; the first “subsisting between the company and the rajah;" of the general being, “ that he (the rajah) had, and for this and other purposes he did invest him by the means of his secret agents, endeavoured self with the whole power of the council, giving to excite disorders in the government, on which to himself an authority, as if his acts had been the “ he depended;" the second, “ that he had sufferacts of the council itself; which, though a power “ed the daily perpetration of robberies and murof a dangerous, unwarrantable, and illegal extent, “ ders, even in the streets of Benares, to the
great yet does plainly imply the following limits, namely, “ and publick scandal of the English name.” that the acts done should be arranged with the rajah, that is, with his consent ; and, secondly,
V. that they should be consonant to the actual engagements between the parties ; and nothing ap That it appears, that the said Warren Hastings pears in the minute conferring the said power, is guilty of an high offence, contrary to the fundawhich did express or imply any authority for de- mental principles of justice, in the said mode of priving the rajah of his government, or selling the charging misdemeanours without any specification sovereignty thereof to his hereditary enemy, or for of person, or place, or time, or act, or any offer of the plunder of his fort-treasures.
specification of proofs, by which the party charged
may be enabled to refute the same, in order to unIII.
justly load his reputation, and to prejudice him
with regard to the articles more clearly specified. That the said Warren Hastings, having formed the plans aforesaid for the ruin of the rajah, did
VI. set out on a journey to the city of Benares, with a great train, but with a very small force, not much That the two specified articles relate to certain exceeding six companies of regular black soldiers, delays ; the first, with regard to the payment of to perpetrate some of the unjust and violent acts the sums of money unjustly extorted as aforesaid ; by him meditated and resolved on; and the said and the second, the non-compliance with a requiHastings was met, according to the usage of dis-sition of cavalry; which non-compliance the said tinguished persons in that country, by the rajah Hastings (even if the said charges had been founded) of Benares with a very great attendance, both in did falsely, and in contradiction to all law, affirm boats and on shore, which attendance he did ap- and maintain (in his accusation against the rajah, parently intend as a mark of honour and observ- and addressing himself to him) « to amount to a ance to the place and person of the said Hastings, “ direct charge of disaffection and infidelity to the but which the said Hastings did afterwards ground" government, on which you depend.” And fur
presence of all
ther proceeded as follows: “I therefore judged it to the claim made by the rajah to a fair and im
proper to state them (the said charges) thus fully partial trial and enquiry into the matter of accu“ to you in writing, and to require your answer; sation brought against him by the said Hastings, “ and this I expect immediately.” That the said at a time and place, which furnished all proper Hastings, stating his pretended facts to amount to materials, and the
wita charge of the nature (as he would have it under- nesses; but the said Hastings, instead of institutstood) of high treason, and therefore calling for an ing the said enquiry, and granting trial, did receive immediate answer, did wilfully act against the rules an humble request for justice from a great prince, of natural justice, which requires, that a convenient as a fresh offence, and as a personal insult to himtime should be given to answer, proportioned to self; and did conceive a violent passion of anger, the greatness of the offence alleged, and the heavy and a strong resentment thereat, declaring, that penalties which attend it; and when he did arro- he did consider the said answer as not only ungate to himself a right both to charge and to judge satisfactory in substance, but offensive in style. in his own person, he ought to have allowed the “ This answer you will perceive to be not only rajah full opportunity for conferring with his mi-“ unsatisfactory in substance, but offensive in nisters, his doctors of law, and his accountants, on style; and less a vindication of himself, than a the facts charged, and on the criminality inferred in “ recrimination on me. It expresses no concern the said accusation of disloyalty and disaffection," for the causes of complaint contained in my letor offences of that quality.
ter, or desire to atone for them, nor the smallest
“ intention to pursue a different line of conduct. VII.
“ An answer couched nearly in terms of defiance
“ to requisitions of so serious a nature I could not That the said rajah did, under the pressure of “ but consider as a strong indication of that spirit the disadvantages aforesaid, deliver in, upon the of independency, which the rajah has for some very evening of the day of the charge, a full, com- years past assumed, and of which indeed I had plete, and specifick answer to the two articles “ early observed other manifest symptoms, both therein specified; and did allege, and offer proof, “ before and from the instant of my arrival.”— that the whole of the extraordinary demands of which representation is altogether, and in all parts the said Hastings had been actually long before thereof, groundless and injurious; as the substance paid and discharged ; and did state a proper de- of the answer is a justification proper to be pleaded, fence with regard to the cavalry, even supposing and the style, if in any thing exceptionable, it is him bound (when he was not bound) to furnish any. in its extreme humility, resulting rather from an And the said rajah did make a direct denial of the unmanly and abject spirit, than from any thing of truth of the two general articles, and did explain an offensive liberty; but being received as disrehimself on the same in as satisfactory a manner, spectful by the said Hastings, it abundantly indiand as fully as their nature could permit; offering cates the tyrannical arrogance of the said Hastings, to enter into immediate trial of the points in issue and the depression into which the natives are sunk between him and the said Hastings, in the remark- under the British government. able words following : “ My enemies, with a view to my ruin, have made false representations to
IX. you. Now that, happily for me, you
your“ self arrived at this place, you will be able to
That the said Warren Hastings, pretending to “ ascertain all the circumstances; first, relative to have been much alarmed at the offensive language “the horse; secondly, to my people going to Cal- of the said rajah's defence, and at certain appear“cutta ; and thirdly, the dates of the receipts of ances of independency, which he had observed, not “ the particular sums above mentioned. You will only on former occasions, but since his arrival at “then know whether I have amused you with a Benares, (where he had been but little more than “ false representation, or made a just report to one day,) and which
he never has speyou.” And in the said answer the said rajah cified in any one instance, did assert, that he concomplained, but in the most modest terms, of an ceived himself indispensably obliged to adopt some injury to him of the most dangerous and criminal decisive plan; and without any further enquiry or nature in transactions of such moment, namely, his consultation (which appears) with any person, did not receiving any answer to his letters and peti at ten o'clock of the very night, on which he retions; and concluded in the following words : “Iceived the before-mentioned full and satisfactory, “ have never swerved in the smallest degree from as well as submissive, answer, send an order to the
my duty to you. It remains with you to de- British resident (then being a publick minister re“ cide on all these matters. I am in every case presenting the British government at the court of
What is just I have represented to the said rajah, and as such bound by the law of you. May your prosperity increase !" nations to respect the prince, at whose court he
was resident, and not to attempt any thing against VIII.
his person or state ; and who ought not therefore
to have been chosen by the said Hastings, and comThat the said Warren Hastings was bound by pelled to serve in that business) that he should on the essential principles of natural justice, to attend the next morning arrest the said prince in his
palace, and keep him in his custody until further property, what necessity can there be for him to orders; which said order being conceived in the “ be dealt with in this
?” most peremptory terms, the rajah was put under arrest, with a guard of about thirty orderly sepoys, with their swords drawn; and the particulars thereof were reported to him as follows:
That according to the said Hastings's narrative
of this transaction, he, the said Hastings, on ac“ Honourable Sir,
count of the apparent despondency, in which these
letters were written, “ thought it necessary to give “ I this morning, in obedience to your orders of “ him some encouragement;” and therefore wrote “ last night, proceeded with a few of my orderlies, him a note of a few lines, carelessly and haughtily
accompanied by Lieutenant Stalker, to She expressed, and little calculated to relieve him from “ walla Ghaut, the present residence of Rajah Cheit his uneasiness, promising to send to him a person “ Sing, and acquainted him it was your pleasure to explain particulars; and desiring him " to set “ he should consider himself in arrest; that he “ his mind at rest, and not to conceive any ter“ should order his people to behave in a quiet and rour or apprehension.” To which an answer of “ orderly manner, for that any attempt to rescue great humility and dejection was received. “ him would be attended with his own destrucThe rajah submitted quietly to the ar
XII. “ rest, and assured me, that whatever were your “ orders, he was ready implicitly to obey; he That the report of the rajah's arrest did cause “ hoped that you would allow him a subsistence ;
a great alarm in the city, in the suburbs of which “ but as for his zemindary, his forts, and his the rajah's palace is situated, and in the adjacent “ treasure, he was ready to lay them at your country. The people were filled with dismay and
feet, and his life if required. He expressed anger, at the outrage and indignity offered to a “ himself much hurt at the ignominy, which he prince, under whose government they enjoyed “affirmed must be the consequence of his con- much ease and happiness. Under these circum“ finement; and entreated me to return to you stances the rajah desired leave to perform his ab“ with the foregoing submission, hoping, that you lutions; which was refused, unless he sent for “ would make allowances for his youth and inex- water, and performed that ceremony on the spot. “perience, and in consideration of his father's This he did. And soon after some of the people, “ name release him from his confinement, as soon who now began to surround the palace in consider“ as he should prove the sincerity of his offers, able numbers, attempting to force their way into the “ and himself deserving of your compassion and palace, a British officer, commanding the guard “ forgiveness."
upon the rajah, struck one of them with his sword.
The people grew more and more irritated; but a X.
message being sent from the rajah to appease them,
they continued, on this interposition, for a while That a further order was given, that every ser- quiet. Then the rajah retired to a sort of stone vant of the rajah should be disarmed, and a certain pavilion, or bastion, to perform his devotions, the number only left to attend him under a strict guard of sepoys attending him in this act of reliwatch. In a quarter of an hour after this conver- gion. In the mean time, a person of the meanest sation, two companies of grenadier sepoys were station, called a chubdar, at best answering to our sent to the rajah's palace by the said Hastings; common beadle or tipstaff, was sent with a mesand the rajah, being dismayed by this unexpected sage (of what nature does not appear) from Mr. and unprovoked treatment, wrote two short letters Hastings, or the resident, to the prince under aror petitions to the said Hastings, under the greatest rest; and this base person, without regard to the apparent dejection at the outrage and dishonour rank of the prisoner, or to his then occupation, he had suffered in the eyes of bis subjects, (all addressed him in a rude boisterous manner,
pasimprisonment of persons of rank being held in that “sionately and insultingly," (as the said rajah has country as a mark of indelible infamy; and he also, without contradiction asserted,)“ and reviling him in all probability, considering his imprisonment as a “ with a loud voice, gave both him and his people the prelude to the taking away his life,) and in the “ vilest abuse;" and the manner and matter being first of the said petitions he did express himself in observable and audible to the multitude, divided this manner : “ whatever may be your pleasure, only by an open stone lattice from the scene with“ do it with your own hands; I am your slave. in, a firing commenced from without the palace ; “ What occasion can there be for a guard ?" And on which the rajah again interposed, and did what in the other, my
honour was bestowed upon in him lay to suppress the tumult, until an English " me by your highness. It depends on you alone officer striking him with a sword, and wounding “ to take away, or not to take away, the country him on the hand, the people no longer kept any “out of my hands. In case my honour is not left measures, but broke through the enclosure of the “ to me, how shall I be equal to the business of palace. The insolent tipstaff was first cut down, “ the government? Whoever, with his hands in a and the multitude falling upon the sepoys and the “supplicating posture, is ready with his life and English officers, the whole, or nearly the whole,
were cut to pieces; the soldiers having been or- perpetrated and done, and by bis total improvidered to that service without any charges for their dence in not taking any one rational security pieces. And in this tumult the rajah, being justly whatsoever against the inevitable consequences of fearful of falling into the hands of the said Hast those acts, did make himself guilty of all the 'ings, did make his escape over the walls of his mutual slaughter and devastation, which ensued, palace by means of a rope, formed of his turban as well as, in his opinion, of the imminent danger tied together, into a boat upon the river, and from of the total subversion of the British power in thence into a place of security; abandoning many India, by the risk of his own person, which he asof his family to the discretion of the said Hastings, serts, that it did run; as also, “ that it ought not who did cause the said palace to be occupied by “ to be thought, that he attributed too much cona company of soldiers after the flight of the rajah. sequence to his personal safety, when he sup
“posed the fate of the British empire in India XIII.
“ connected with it ; and that, mean as its sub
stance may be, its accidental qualities were That the rajah, as soon as he had arrived at a "equivalent to those, which, like the characters place of refuge, did, on the very day of his fright, “ of a talisman in the Arabian mythology, formed send a suppliant letter to the said Hastings, filled " the essence of the state itself, representation, with expressions of concern (affirmed by the said " title, and the estimate of the publick opinion. Hastings to be slight expressions) for what had “ That had he fallen, such a stroke would be happened, and professions (said by the said Hast- “ universally considered as decisive of the national ings to be indefinite and unapplied) of fidelity : “ fate. Every state round it would have started but the said Warren Hastings, though bound by into arms against it; and every subject of its his duty to hear the said rajah, and to prevent own dominion would, according to their several extremities, if possible, being filled with insolence abilities, have become its enemy.” And that and malice,.did not think it “ becoming of him to he knew, and has declared, that, though the said “ make any reply to it; and that he thought he stroke was not struck, great convulsions did “ ordered the bearer of the letter to be told, that actually ensue from his proceedings.
“ That “ it required none."
“half the province of Oude was in a state of as
complete rebellion as that of Benares ;” and XIV.
that invasions, tumults, and insurrections were oc
casioned thereby in various other parts. That, this letter of submission having been received, the said rajah, not discouraged or provoked
XVI. from using every attempt towards peace and reconciliation, did again apply, on the very morning That the said Warren Hastings, after he had following, to Richard Johnson, Esquire, for his collected his forces from all parts, did, with little interposition, but to no purpose; and did likewise, difficulty or bloodshed, subsequent to that time, on with as little effect, send a message to Cantù Babû, the part of his troops, ar in a few days, entirely native steward, and confidential agent of the said reduce the said province of Benares; and did, Hastings, which was afterwards reduced into writ- after the said short and little-resisted hostility, in ing, " to exculpate himself from any concern in cold blood, issue an order for burning a certain “ what had passed, and to profess his obedience town, in which he accused the people at large of “ to his will (Hastings's) in whatever way he should having killed, “ upon what provocation he knows “ dictate.” But the said Hastings, for several false not,” certain wounded sepoys, who were prisoners ; and contradictory reasons by him assigned, did which order, being generally given, when it was not take any advantage of the said opening, attri- his duty to have made some enquiry concerning buting the same to artifice, in order to gain time; the particular offenders, but which he did never but instead of accepting the said submissions, he make, or cause to be made, was cruel, inhuman, did resolve upon flight from the city of Benares, and tended to the destruction of the revenues of and did suddenly fly therefrom in great confusion, the company; and that this, and other acts of
devastation, did cause the loss of two months of XV.
That the said Hastings did persevere in his reso
XVII, lutions not to listen to any submission, or offer of accommodation whatsoever, though several were That the said Warren Hastings did not only reafterwards made through almost every person, who fuse the submissions of the said rajah, which were might be supposed to have influence with him, but frequently repeated through various persons after did cause the rajah's troops to be attacked and he had left Benares, and even after the defeat of fallen upon, though they only acted on the defen- certain of the company's forces, but did proscribe sive, (as the rajah has without contradiction as- and except him from the pardons, which he issued, serted,) and thereby, and by his preceding refusal after he had satisfied his vengeance on the proof propositions of the same nature, and by other vince of Benares. his perfidious, unjust, and tyrannical acts by him