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as did originally the English word fee, derived from the word feod and feodum. These jaghires, like other fees and like other feods, were given in land, as a maintenance: some with the condition of service, some without any condition ; some were annexed to an office, some were granted as the support of a dignity, and none were granted for a less term than life, except those that were immediately annexed to a lease. We have shown your Lordships (and in this we have followed the example of Mr. Hastings) that some of them are fees granted actually in perpetuity; and in fact many of them are so granted. We are farther to tell your Lordships, that by the custom of the empire they are almost all grown, as the feods in Europe are grown, by use, into something which is at least virtually an inheritance. This is the state of the jaghires and jaghiredars.
Among these jaghires we find, what your Lordships would expect to find, an ample provision for all the nobility of that illustrious family of which the Nabob is the head: a prince whose family, both by father and mother, notwithstanding the slander of the prisoner against his benefactor, was undoubtedly of the first and most distinguished nobility of the Mahometan empire. Accordingly, his uncles, all his near relations, his mother, grandmother, all possessed jaghires, some of very long standing, and most of them not given by the Nabob.
I take some pains in explaining this business, because I trust your Lordships will have a strong feeling against any confiscation for the purpose of reve
Believe me, my Lords, if there is anything which will root the present order of things out of Europe, it will begin, as we see it has already begun
in a neighboring country, by confiscating, for the purposes of the state, grants made to classes of men, let them be held by what names or be supposed susceptible of what abuses soever. I will venture to say that Jacobinism never can strike a more deadly blow against property, rank, and dignity than your Lordships, if you were to acquit this man, would strike against your own dignity, and the very being of the society in which we live.
Your Lordships will find in your printed Minutes who the jaghiredars were, and what was the amount of their estates. The jaghires of which Mr. Hastings authorized the confiscation, or what he calls a resumption, appear from Mr. Purling's account, when first the forced loan was levied upon them under his Residentship, to amount to 285,0001. sterling per annum; which 285,0001., if rated and valued according to the different value of provisions and other necessaries of life in that country and in England, will amount, as near as may be, to about 600,0001. a year. I am within compass.
Everybody conversant with India will say it is equivalent at least to 600,0001. a year in England ; and what a blow such a confiscation as this would be on the fortunes of the peers of Great Britain your Lordships will judge. I like to see your estates as great as they are; I wish they were greater than they are; but whatever they are, I wish above all that they should be perpetual. For dignity and property in this country, Esto perpetua shall be my prayer this day, and the last prayer of my life. The Commons, therefore, of Great Britain, those guardians of property, who will not suffer the monarch they love, the government which they adore, to levy one shilling upon the subject in any
other way than the law and statutes of this kingdom prescribe, will not suffer, nor can they bear the idea, that any single class of people should be chosen to be the objects of a contrary conduct, nor that even the Nabob of Oude should be permitted to act upon such a flagitious principle. When an English governor has substituted a power of his own instead of the legal government of the country, as I have proved this man to have done, if he found the prince going to do an act which would shake the property of all the nobility of the country, he surely ought to raise his hand and say, “ You shall not make my name your sanction for such an atrocious and abominable act as this confiscation would be."
Mr. Hastings, however, whilst he gives, with an urbanity for which he is so much praised, his consent to this confiscation, adds, there must be pensions secured for all persons losing their estates, who had the security of our guaranty. Your Lordships know that Mr. Hastings, by his guaranty, had secured their jaghires to the Nabob's own relations and family. One would have imagined, that, if the estates of those who were without any security were to be confiscated at his pleasure, those at least who were guarantied by the Company, such as the Begums of Oude and several of the principal nobility of the Nabob's family, would have been secure. He, indeed, says that pensions shall be given them; for at this time he had not got the length of violating, without shame or remorse, all the guaranties of the Company. “ There shall,” says he,“ be pensions given.” If pensions were to be given to the value of the estate, I ask, What has this violent act done? You shake the security of property, and, instead of suffering a man to gather
his own profits with his own hands, you turn him into a pensioner upon the public treasury. I can conceive that such a measure will render these persons miserable dependants instead of independent nobility ; but I cannot conceive what financial object can be answered by paying that in pension which you are to receive in revenue. This is directly contrary to financial economy. For when you stipulate to pay out of the treasury of government a certain pension, and take upon you the receipts of an estate, you adopt a measure by which government is almost sure of being a loser. You charge it with a certain fixed sum, and, even upon a supposition that under the management of the public the estate will be as productive as it was under the management of its private owner, (a.thing highly improbable,) you take your chance of a reimbursement subject to all the extra expense, and to all the accidents that may happen to a public revenue. This confiscation could not, there
, fore, be justified as a measure of economy; it must have been designed merely for the sake of shaking and destroying the property of the country.
The whole transaction, my Lords, was an act of gross violence, ushered in by a gross fraud. It appears that no pensions were ever intended to be paid; and this you will naturally guess would be the event, when such a strange metamorphosis was to be made as that of turning a great landed interest into a pensionary payment. As it could answer no other purpose, so it could be intended for no other, than that of getting possession of these jaghires by fraud. This man, my Lords, cannot commit a robbery without indulging himself at the same time in the practice of his favorite arts of fraud and falsehood.
And here I must again remind your Lordships, that at the time of the treaty of Chunar the jaghires were held in the following manner. Of the 285,0001. a year which was to be confiscated, the old grants of Sujah Dowlah, [and?] the grandfather of the Nabob, amounted to near two thirds of the whole, as you will find in the paper to which we refer you. By this confiscation, therefore, the Nabob was authorized to resume grants of which he had not been the grantor.
[Mr. Burke here read the list of the jaghires.] Now, my Lords, you see that all these estates, except 25,7821. a year, were either jaghires for the Nabob's own immediate family, settled by his father upon his mother, and by his father's father upon his grandmother, and upon Salar Jung, his uncle, or were the property of the most considerable nobility, to the gross amount of 285,0001. Mr. Hastings confesses that the Nabob reluctantly made the confiscation to the extent proposed. Why? “Because,” says he, “the orderlies, namely, certain persons so called, subservient to his debaucheries, were persons whom he wished to spare.'
Now I am to show you that this man, whatever faults he may have in his private morals, (with which we have nothing at all to do,) has been slandered throughout by Mr. Hastings. Take his own account of the matter.
“ The Nabob,” says he, “ would have confiscated all the rest, except his orderlies, whom he would have spared; but I, finding where his partiality lay, compelled him to sacrifice the whole ; for otherwise he would have sacrificed the good to save the bad: whereas,” says Mr. Hastings, “ in effect my principle was to sacrifice the good, and at the same time to punish the bad."