Изображения страниц

the death of Sujah ul Dowlah to the time of Mr. Hastings's obtaining a majority in the Council ; after which he possessed the sole and uncontrouled management of the country; you have seen also the consequences that immediately followed till the year 1784, when he went up a second time into the country

I do not know, my Lords, that it is neceşsary to make any observation


this state of things. You see that the native authority was, as we have proved, utterly extinguished by Mr. Hastings-and that there was no superintendent power but his. You have heard of the oppressions of the farmers of the revenues—and we have shewn you, that these farmers generally were English officers. We have shewn you in what manner Colonel Hannay, one of these farmers sent by Mr. Hastings acted, and particularly the accumulation of hostages which were made by him. We have shewn you, that by their arbitrary and tyrannical proceedings, all regular government was subverted, and that the country experienced the last and most dreadful effects of anarchy. We have shewn you, that no other security was left to any human being, but to entrench themselves in such forts as they could make, and that these forts, in one district only of the country, had increased in number to the amount of seven hundred. Your Lordships also know, that when


the prisons and mud forts, in which Colonel Han: nay kept his hostages confined, were full, he kept them in uncovered cages in the open air. You know, that all these farmers of revenue were either English and military men, or natives under an abject submission to them; you know, that they had the whole country in assignments; that the jaghires were all confiscated for their benefits; and you find that the whole system had its origin at the time when Mr. Hastings alone formed in effect the authority of the Supreme Council. The weakness of the Nabob, as Siro Eyre Coote tells you, could not have been alone the cause of these evils, and that our influence over him, if not actually the cause of the utter ruin, desolation, and anarchy of that country, might have been successfully exerted in


When your Lordships shall proceed to judgment upon these accumulated wrongs, arising out of the usurped power of the Prisoner at your bar, and redressed by him in no one instance whatever, let not the usurpation itself of the Nabob's power be considered as a trivial matter. When any prince at the head of a great country is entirely stripped of every thing in his government, civil or military, by which his rank may be distinguished or his virtues exercised, he is in danger of becoming a mere animal, and of aban

doning himself wholly to sensual gratifications: Feeling no personal interest in the institutions or in the general welfare of the country, he suffers the former (and many wise and laudable institutions existed in the provinces of the Nabob, for their good order and government) to fall into disuse, and he leaves the country itself to persons in inferior situations, to be wasted and destroyed by them

; you

find that in Oude, the very apa pearance of justice had been banished out of it, and that every Aumil exercised an arbitrary power over the lives and fortunes of the people. My Lords, we have the proofs of all these facts in our hands; they are in your Lordships' Minutes; and though we can state nothing stronger than is stated in the papers themselves, yet we do not so far forget our duty as not to point out to your Lordships such 'observations as arise out of them.

To close the whole, your Lordships shall now hear read an extract from a most curious and extraordinary letter, sent by him to the Court of Directors, preparatory to his return to England: - My only remaining fear is, that the Mem?

bers of the Council, seeing affairs through a “, different medium from that through which I “ view them, may be disposed, if not to counter\'act the system which I have formed, to with

" hold

[ocr errors]

“ hold from it their countenance and active

support; while I myself remain it will be suf“ ficient if they permit it to operate without “ interruption, and I almost hope in the event “ of a new administration of


affairs whichi « shall confine itself to the same forbearance, “ and manifest no symptoms of intended inter“ ference, the objects of my arrangements will “ be effectually attained-for I leave them in the charge of agents whose interests, ambition,

every prospect of life, are interwovenwritter " with their success, and the hand of heaven has

visibly blest the soil with every elementary ~ sburce of progressive vegetation ; but if a dif« ferent policy shall be adopted, if new agents

are sent into the country and armed with authority for the purpose of vengeance or corruption, to no other will they be applied. If

new demands are raised on the Nabob Vizier, 66 and accounts overcharged on one side with a " wide latitude taken on the other to swell his “ debt beyond the means of payment; if politi" cal dangers are portended to ground on them “ the pleas of burthening his country with un

defences and enormous subsidies, or “ if even abstaining from direct encroachment

on the Nabob's rights, your government shall “ shew but a degree of personal kindness' to the

“ partizans


“ partizans of the late usurpation, or by any constructive indication of partiality and disaffection, furnish ground for the expectation of

an approaching change of system, I am sorry “ to say that all my labours will prove abortive ; “ for the slightest causes will be sufficient to

deject minds sore with the remembrance of past conflicts, and to elevate those whose only

dependence is placed in the renewal of the “ confusion which I have laboured with such “uzeal to eradicate, and will of course debilitate “ the authority which can alone insure future

success. I almost fear that this denunciation " of effects from causes so incompetent as “ they will appear to those who have not had “ the experience which I have had of the

quick sensibility which influences the habits “ of men placed in a state of polity so loose, and

subject to the continual variations of capri“ cious and despotick authority, will be deemed “ overcharged, or perhaps void of foundation :

nor, if they should come to pass, will it be

easy to trace them with any positive evidence “ to their connection ; yet it is my duty to ap“ prize you of what I apprehend, on grounds “ which I deem of absolute certainty, may come to pass ; and I rely on your candour for a fair “ interpretation of my intention.” Here, my Lords, the Prisoner at your bar, has done exactly


« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »