Billeder på siden

“ her now the same conditions, to which I at first XVIII.

consented; provided, that she delivers into your

possession, within twenty-four hours from the That the said Warren Hastings did send to a “ time of receiving your message, the fort of Bidcertain castle, called Bidgigur, the residence of a zigurr, with the treasure and effects lodged person of high rank, called Pannah, the mother “therein by Cheyt Sing, or any of his adherents, of the rajah of Benares, with whom his wife, a “ with the reserve only, as above mentioned, of woman described by the said Hastings “ to be of “such articles as you shall think necessary to her "an amiable character,” and all the other women sex and condition, or as you shall be disposed of of the rajah's family, and the survivors of the “ yourself to indulge her with. If she complies, family of his father Bulwant Sing, did then reside, “as I expect she will, it will be your part to sea body of troops to dispossess them of her said cure the fort, and the property it contains, for residence, and to seize upon her money and ef " the benefit of yourself and detachment. I have fects, although she did not stand, even by himself, only further to request, that you will grant an accused of any offence whatsoever ; pretending, escort,

if Panna should require it, to conduct her but not proving, and not attempting to prove, “here, or wherever she may choose to retire to. then nor since, that the treasures therein contained “ But should she refuse to execute the promise she were the property of the rajah, and not her own ; “has made, or delay it beyond the term of 24 and did, in order to stimulate the British soldiery hours, it is my positive injunction, that you imto rapine and outrage, issue to them several bar mediately put a stop to any further intercourse barous orders, contrary to the practice of civilized or negociation with her, and on no pretext renations, relative to their property, moveable and “ new it. If she disappoints, or trifles with, me, immoveable, attended with unworthy and unbe “after I have subjected my duan to the disgrace coming_menaces, highly offensive to the manners " of returning ineffectually, and of course myself of the East, and the particular respect there paid “ to discredit, I shall consider it as a wanton afto the female sex ; which letters and orders, as“ front and indignity, which I can never forgive, well as the letters which he had received from the nor will I grant her any conditions whatever, officers concerned, the said Hastings did unlaw “ but leave her exposed to those dangers, which fully suppress, until forced by the disputes between “ she has chosen to risk, rather than trust to the him and the said officers to discover the same ; clemency and generosity of our government. and the said orders are as follow :

“ I think she cannot be ignorant of these conse“ I am this instant favoured with


yes quences, and will not venture to incur them ; "terday. Mine of the same date (22d October“ and it is for this reason I place a dependence on “ 1781) has before this time acquainted you with “ her offers, and have consented to send my duan my resolutions and sentiments respecting the " to her.” “Rannee (the mother of the rajah Cheyt Sing); "I think every demand she has made to you, ex


XIX. “cept that of safety and respect for her person, “is unreasonable. If the reports brought to me That the castle aforesaid being surrendered upon

are true, your rejecting her offers, or any negoci- terms of safety, and on express condition of not ations with her, would soon obtain you posses- attempting to search their persons, the woman of “sion of the fort upon your own terms. I appre- rank aforesaid, her female relations and female “hend, that she will contrive to defraud"the dependants, to the number of three hundred, be

captors of a considerable part of the booty by sides children, evacuated the said castle ; but the being suffered to retire without examination. spirit of rapacity being excited by the letters and

But this is your consideration, and not mine. other proceedings of the said Hastings, the capituI should be very sorry, that your officers and lation was shamefully and outrageously broken; soldiers lost ANY PART of the reward, to and in despite of the endeavours of the commandwhich they are so well entitled; but I cannot ing officer, the said woman of high condition, and “make any objection, as you must be the best her female dependants, friends, and servants, were "judge of the expediency of the promised indul-plundered of the effects they carried with them, "gence to the Rannee. What you have engaged and which were reserved to them in the capitula" for I will certainly ratify; but as to permitting tion of their fortress, and in their persons were " the Rannee to hold the purgunnah of Hurluk, otherwise rudely and inhumanly dealt with by the

or any other in the zemindary, without being licentious followers of the camp; for which out“subject to the authority of the zemindar, or rages, represented to the said Hastings with great “any lands whatever, or indeed making any con concern by the commanding officer, Major Popditions with her for a provision, I will never ham, he, the said Hastings, did afterwards recom“ consent to it." And in another letter to the same mend a late and fruitless redress. person, dated Benares, 3d of November 1781, in which he the said Hastings consents, that the said

XX. woman of distinction should be allowed to evacuate the place, and to receive protection, he did That the governour-general, Warren Hastings, express himself as follows: “I am willing to grant in exciting the hopes of the military by declaring


them well entitled to the plunder of the fortress tion, not of the company's interpreter, but of a aforesaid, the residence of the mother and other certain private interpreter of his the said Hastwomen of the rajah of Benares, and by wishing ings's own appointment, and a dependant on him, the troops to secure the same for their own benefit, called Major Davy, several declarations and dedid advise and act in direct contradiction to the positions by natives of Hindostan; and did also orders of the court of directors, and to his own cause to be taken before the said Sir Elijah Impey opinion of his publick duty, as well as to the truth several attestations in English, made by British and reality thereof; he having some years before subjects, and which were afterwards transmitted entered in writing the declaration, which follows. to Calcutta, and laid before the council general; “ The very idea of prize-money suggests to my some of which depositions were upon oath, some “ remembrance the former disorders which arose upon honour, and others neither upon oath nor “ in our army from this source, and had almost honour, but all or most of which were of an irreproved fatal to it. Of this circumstance you gular and irrelevant nature, and not fit or decent “must be sufficiently apprized, and of the neces- to be taken by a British magistrate, or to be trans

sity for discouraging every expectation of this mitted to a British government. “kind amongst the troops—it is to be avoided like poison. The bad effects of a similar measure

XXIII. “ were but too plainly felt in a former period, and

our honourable masters did not fail on that oc- That one of the said attestations (but not on “casion to reprobate with their censure, in the oath) was made by a principal minister of the “most severe terms, a practice, which they re- nabob of Oude, to whom the said Hastings had “ garded as the source of infinite evils; and which, some time before proposed to sell the sovereignty “ if established, would in their judgment ne- of that very territory of Benares; and that one

cessarily bring corruption and ruin on their other attestation (not upon oath) was made by a army.”

native woman of distinction, whose son he, the

said Hastings, did actually promote to the governXXI.

ment of Benares, vacated by the unjust expulsion

of the rajah aforesaid, and who in her deposition That the said Hastings, after he had given the did declare, that she considered the expelled rajah license aforesaid, and that in consequence thereof as her enemy; and that he never did confer with the booty found in the castle, to the amount of her, or suffer her to be acquainted with any of his 23,27,813 current rupees, was distributed among designs. the soldiers employed in its reduction, the said Hastings did retract his declaration of right, and

XXIV. his permission to the soldiers to appropriate to themselves the plunder, and endeavoured, by va- That besides the depositions of persons interested rious devices and artifices, to explain the same in the ruin of the rajah, others were made by peraway, and to recover the spoil aforesaid for the sons, who then received pensions from him the use of the company; and wholly failing in his at- said Hastings; and several of the affidavits were tempts to resume by a breach of faith with the made by persons of mean condition, and so soldiers, what he had unlawfully disposed of by wholly illiterate as not to be able to write their a breach of duty to his constituents, he attempted names. to obtain the same as a loan, in which attempt he also failed; and the aforesaid money being the

XXV. only part of the treasures belonging to the rajah, or any of his family, that had been found, he was That he, the said Hastings, did also cause to be altogether frustrated in the acquisition of every examined by various proofs and essays, the result part of that dishonourable object, which alone he of which was delivered in upon honour, the quality pretended to, and pursued through a long series of of certain military stores taken by the British acts of injustice, inhumanity, oppression, violence, troops from the said rajah of Benares; and upon and bloodshed, at the hazard of his person and the report, that the same were of a good quality, reputation, and, in his own opinion, at the risk of and executed by persons conversant in the making the total subversion of the British empire. of good military stores, although the cannon was

stated by the same authority to be bad, he, the XXII.

said Warren Hastings, from the report aforesaid,

did maliciously, and contrary to the principles of That the said Warren Hastings, after the com- natural and legal reason, infer, that the insurrecmission of the offences aforesaid, being well aware, tion, which had been raised by his own violence that he should be called to an account for the and oppression, and rendered for a time successful same, did, by the evil counsel and agency of Sir by his own improvidence, was the consequence of Elijah Impey, knight, His Majesty's chief justice, a premeditated design to overturn the British emwho was then out of the limits of his jurisdiction, pire in India, and to exterminate therefrom the cause to be taken at Benares, before, or by the British nation; which design, if it had been true, said Sir Elijah Impey, and through the interven- the said Hastings might have known. or rationally

[ocr errors]

conjectured, and ought to have provided against. | as to make it necessary to take extraordinary meAnd if the said Hastings had received any credible thods for coercing him, it would not have been information of such design, it was his duty to lay proper for him to settle upon such a traitor and the same before the council board, and to state criminal the zemindary of Benares, or any other the same to the rajah when he was in a condition territory, upon the most eligible, or upon any other to have given an answer thereto, or to observe footing whatever ; whereby the said Hastings has thereon ; and not, after he had proscribed and by his own stating demonstrated, that the money driven him from his dominions, to have enquired intended to have been exacted was not as a punishinto offences to justify the previous infliction of ment for crimes, but that the crimes were pretended punishment.

for the purpose of exacting money.

[blocks in formation]



That it does not appear, that in taking the said That the said Warren Hastings, in order to jusdepositions there was any person present on the tify the acts of violence aforesaid to the court of part of the rajah to object to the competence, or directors, did assert certain false facts, known by credibility, or relevancy of any of the said affi- him to be such, and did draw from them certain davits, or other attestations, or to account, other- false and dangerous inferences, utterly subversive wise than as the said deponents did account, for of the rights of the princes and subjects dependent any of the facts therein stated; nor were any copies on the British nation in India, contrary to the thereof sent to the said rajah, although the com- principles of all just government, and highly dispany had a minister at the place of his residence, honourable to that of Great Britain ; namely, that namely, in the camp of the Mahratta chief Scindia, the “ rajah of Benares was not a vassal or tribuso as to enable him to transmit to the company tary prince; and that the deeds, which passed any matters, which might induce or enable them to “ between him and the board upon the transfer do justice to the injured prince aforesaid. And it “ of the zemindary in 1775, were not to be undoes not appear, that the said Hastings has ever “ derstood to bear the quality and force of a treaty produced any witness, letter, or other document,

“ upon optional conditions between equal states; tending to prove, that the said rajah ever did carry “ that the payments to be made by him were not

any hostile negociation whatever with any of a tribute, but a rent; and that the instruments, those powers, with whom he was charged with a by which his territories were conveyed to him, conspiracy against the company, previous to the “ did not differ from common grants to zemindars, period of the said Hastings's having arrested him “ who were merely subjects; but that being noin his palace, although he the said Hastings had “thing more than a common zemindar, and mere various agents at the courts of all those princes; “subject, the company, holding the acknowledged and that a late principal agent and near relation of rights of his former sovereign, held an absolute a minister of one of them, the rajah of Berar, authority over him; that in the known relations called Benaram Pundit, was, at the time of the “ of zemindar to the sovereign authority, or power tumult at Benares, actually with the said Hastings, “ delegated by it, he owed a personal allegiance, and the said Benarai Pundit was by him highly “ and an implicit and unreserved obedience to applauded for his zeal and fidelity, and was there- “that authority, at the forfeiture of his zemindary, fore by him rewarded with a large pension on those “ and even of his life and property.” Whereas very revenues, which he had taken from the rajah the said Hastings did well know, that whether the Cheyt Sing: and if such a conspiracy had pre- payments from the rajah were called rent or triviously existed, the Mahratta minister aforesaid | bute, having been frequently by himself called must have known, and would have attested it. the one and the other, and that of whatever na

ture the instruments, by which he held, might XXVII.

have been, he did not consider him as a common

zemindar or landholder, but as far independent That it appears, that the said Warren Hastings as a tributary prince could be ; for he did assign at the time, that he formed his design of seizing as a reason for receiving his rent rather within the upon the treasures of the rajah of Benares, and company's province than in his own capital, that of deposing him, did not believe him guilty of it would not“ frustrate the intention of rendering that premeditated project for driving the English “ the rajah independent ; that if a resident was out of India, with which he afterwards thought fit appointed to receive the money as it became to charge him, or that he was really guilty of any “ due at Benares, such a resident would unavoidother great offence; because he has caused it to be ably acquire an influence over the rajah, and deposed, that if the said rajah should pay the sum

country, which would in effect render of money by him exacted, “ he would settle his “ him the master of both; that this consequence

zemindary upon him on the most eligible foot-“ might not perhaps be brought completely to pass “ ing.” Whereas if he had conceived him to have “ without a struggle, and many appeals to the entertained traitorous designs against the com- " council, which, in a government constituted like pany, from whom he held his tributary estate, or “ this, cannot fail to terminate against the rajah, had been otherwise guilty of such enormous offences “ and by the construction, to which this oppo

over his

[ocr errors]

“sition to the agent would be liable, might eventu prompted by an excess of zeal for their (the

ally draw on him severe restrictions, and end in company's) interest, operating with tou strong a reducing him to the mean and depraved state “ bias on his judgment; but that much stronger of a zemindar.

“is the presumption, that such acts are founded

on just principles, than that they are the result XXIX.

“of a misguided judgment." That the said doc

trines are, in both the members thereof, subversive And the said Hastings, in the said minute of of all the principles of just government, by emconsultation, having enumerated the frauds, empowering a governour with delegated authority in bezzlements, and oppressions, which would ensue the first case, on his own private belief concerning from the rajah's being in the dependent state afore- the necessities of the state, not to levy an imparsaid; and having obviated all apprehensions from tial and equal rate of taxation suitable to the cirgiving to him the implied symbols of dominion, cumstances of the several members of the commudid assert,“ that, without such appearance, he nity, but to select any individual from the same “ would expect from every change of government as an object of arbitrary and unmeasured imposi“ additional demands to be made upon him; and tion; and, in the second case, enabling the same “ would of course descend to all the arts of in- governour, on the same arbitrary principles,

trigue and concealment practised by other de determine whose property should be considered

pendant rajahs, which would keep him indigent as overgrown, and to reduce the same at his plea" and weak, and eventually prove hurtful to the sure.

company. But that by proper encouragement “ and protection, he might prove a profitable

dependant, an useful barrier, and even a powerful ally to the company; but that he would be " neither, if the conditions of his connexion with “ the company were left open to future varia

PART IV. « tions."


Second Revolution in Benares.

That if the fact had been true, that the rajah of Benares was merely an eminent landholder, or any That the said Warren Hastings, after he had, other subject, the wicked and dangerous doctrine in the manner aforesaid, unjustly and violently aforesaid, namely, that he owed a personal alle expelled the rajah Cheyt Sing, the lord or zemingiance, and an implicit and unreserved obedience, dar of Benares, from his said lordship or zeminto the sovereign authority, at the forfeiture of his dary, did, of his own mere usurped authority, and zemindary, and even of his life and property, at without any communication with the other memthe discretion of those, who held, or fully repre-bers of the council of Calcutta, appoint another sented, the sovereign authority, doth leave secu person, of the name of Mehip Narrain, a descendrity neither for life nor property to any persons ant by the mother from the late rajah Bulwant residing under the company's protection; and Sing, to the government of Benares; and, on acthat no such powers, nor any powers of that na count or pretence of his youth or inexperience (the ture, had been delegated to the said Warren Hast- said Mehip Narrain not being above twenty years ings by any provisions of the act of parliament old) did appoint his father Durbege Sing to act appointing a governour-general and council at as his representative or administrator of affairs; Fort William in Bengal.

but did give a controuling authority to the British

resident over both, notwithstanding his declaraXXXI.

tions before mentioned of the mischiefs likely to

happen to the said country from the establishThat the said Warren Hastings did at last ad- ment of a resident, and his opinions since devance another dangerous and pernicious principle clared, in a letter to the court of directors, dated in justification of his violent, arbitrary, and iniqui- from this very place (Benares) the 1st of Octotous acting aforesaid ; namely, " that if he had ber, 1784, to the same or stronger effect, in case “ acted with an unwarrantable rigour, and even agents are sent into the country, and armed “ injustice, towards Cheyt Sing, yet, first, if he “ with authority for the purposes of vengeance “ did believe, that extraordinary means were ne “and corruption, for to no other will they be cessary, and those exerted with a strong hand,

applied.“ to preserve the company's interests from sink That the said Warren Hastings did, by the “ing under the accumulated weight that oppress same usurped authority, entirely set aside all the “ ed them ; or, secondly, if he saw a political agreements made between the late rajah and the necessity for curbing the overgrown power of a company (which were real agreements with the

great member of their dominion, and to make it state of Benares, in the person of the lord or prince contribute to the relief of their pressing exigen- thereof, and his heirs); and without any form of “cies; that his errour would be excusable, as trial, inquisition, or other legal process, for for

« shall

feiture of the privileges of the people to be governed | correspondence concerning which had not been by magistrates of their own, and according to their before communicated; he pleading his illness for natural laws, customs, and usages, did, contrary not communicating the same, though that illness to the said agreement, separate the mint and the did not prevent him from carrying on correspondcriminal justice from the said government, and didence concerning the deposition of the said advest the mint in the British resident, and the cri- ministrator, and other important affairs in various minal justice in a Mahomedan native of his own places. appointment; and did enhance the tribute to be? That in the letter to the council requiring the paid from the province, from £.250,000 annually, confirmation of his acts aforesaid, the said Warren limited by treaty, or thereabouts, to three hun- Hastings did not only propose the confinement of dred and thirty thousand pounds for the first year, the said administrator at Benares, although by his and to four hundred thousand for every year after; imprisonment he must have been in a great meaand did compel the administrator aforesaid (father sure disabled from recovering the balances due to to the rajah) to agree to the same ; and did, by him, and for the non-payment of which he was the same usurped authority, illegally impose, and thus imprisoned, but did propose, as an alternacause to be levied, sundry injudicious and oppres- tive, his imprisonment at a remote fortress, out of sive duties on goods and merchandise, which did the said territory, and in the company's provinces, greatly impair the trade of the province, and called Chunar; desiring them to direct the resithreaten the utter ruin thereof; and did charge dent at Benares “ to exact from Baboo Dubbitzee several pensions on the said revenues, of his own Sing every rupee of the collections, which it mere authority; and did send and keep up various

appear that he has made, and not brought bodies of the company's troops in the said country; “ to account; and either to confine him at Beand did perform sundry other acts, with regard to nares, or to send him a prisoner to Chunar, and the said territory, in total subversion of the rights “ to keep him in confinement until he shall have of the sovereign and the people, and in violation of discharged the whole of the amount due from the treaties and agreements aforesaid.

“ him.” And the said Warren Hastings did asThat the said Warren Hastings being absent, sign motives of passion and personal resentment on account of ill health, from the presidency of for the said unjust and rigorous proceedings, as Calcutta at a place called Nia Serai, about forty follows: “ I feel myself, and may be allowed on miles distant therefrom, did carry on a secret cor- “ such an occasion to acknowledge it, personally respondence with the resident at' Benares, and “ hurt at the ingratitude of this man, and at the under colour, that the instalments for the new discredit, which his ill conduct has thrown on rent or tribute were in arrear, did of his own au- my appointment of him. He has deceived me; thority make, in about one year, a second revolu- “ he has offended against the government, which tion in the government of the territory aforesaid ; “ I then represented.” And, as a further reason and did order and direct, that Durbege Sing afore- for depriving him of his jaghire (or salary out of said, father of the rajah, and administrator of his land) he did insinuate in the said letter, but withauthority, should be deprived of his office and of out giving or offering any proof, “ that the said his lands, and thrown into prison ; and did threaten “ rajah had been guilty of little and mean pecuhim with death, although he, the said Warren lations, although the appointments assigned to Hastings, had, at the time of the making his new " bim had been sufficient to free him from the arrangement, declared himself sensible, that the “ temptations thereto.” rent aforesaid might require abatement; although That it appears, as it might naturally have been

was well apprized, that the administrator had expected, that the wife of the said administrator, been for two months of his administration in a the daughter of Bulwant Sing, the late rajah of weak and languid state of body, and wholly inca- Benares, and her son the reigning rajah, did pable of attending to the business of the collec-oppose to the best of their power, but by what tions; though a considerable drought had pre- remonstrances, or upon what plea, the said Warvailed in the said province, and did consequently ren Hastings did never inform the court of directaffect the regularity and produce of the collecors, the deposition, imprisonment, and confiscations; and though he had other sufficient rea- tion of the estates of the husband of the one, and son to believe, that the said administrator had not the father of the other ; but that the said Hastings, himself received from the collectors of government, persisting in his malice, did declare to the said and the cultivators of the soil, the rent in arrear; council as follows; “ the opposition made by the yet he, the said Warren Hastings, without any rajah and the old rannee, both equally incapaknown

process, or recording any answer, defence, “ble of judging for themselves, does certainly plea, exculpation, or apology from the party, or re- originate from some secret influence, which cording any other grounds of rigour against him, “ought to be checked by a decided and perempexcept the following paragraph of a letter from the “ tory declaration of the authority of the board, resident, not only gave the order as aforesaid, but “ and a denunciation of their displeasure at their did afterwards, without laying any other

presumption." ground before the council general, persuade them That the said Warren Hastings, not satisfied to, and did procure from them, a confirmation of with the injuries done, and the insults and disgraces the aforesaid cruel and illegal proceedings, the offered, to the family aforesaid, did in a manner

or better



« ForrigeFortsæt »