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particularly favoured ? Do you think, that they were chosen as a little demesne for Mr. Hastings ? That they were the only provinces honoured with his protection, so far as to take bribes from them? Do you perceive any thing in their local situation, that should distinguish them from other provinces of Bengal ? What is the reason why Dinagepore, Patna, Nuddea, should have the post of honour assigned them ? What reason can be given for not taking bribes also from Burdwan, from Bishanpore, in short, from all the sixtyeight collections, which comprize the revenues of Bengal, and for selecting only three? How came he, I say, to be so wicked a servant, that, out of sixty-eight divisions, he chose only three to supply the exigencies of the company? He did not do his duty in making this distinction, if he thought, that bribery was the best way of supplying the company's treasury ; and that it formed the most useful and effectual resource for them ; which he has declared over and over again. Was it right to lay the whole weight of bribery, extortion and oppression, upon those three provinces, and neglect the rest ? No; you know and must know, that he, who extorts from three provinces, will extort from twenty, if there are twenty. You have a standard, a measure of extortion, and that is all; er pede Herculem : guess from thence what was extorted from all Bengal ? Do you believe he could be so cruel to these provinces, so partial to the rest, as to charge them with that load, with 95,0001. knowing the heary oppression they were sinking under, and leave all the rest untouched ? You will judge of what is concealed froin us by what we have discovered through various means, that have occurred in consequence, both of the guilty conscience of the person, who confesses the fact with respect to these provinces, and of the vigour, perseverance and sagacity of those, who have forced from him that discovery. It is not therefore for me to say, that the 100,0001. and 95,0001. only were taken. Where the circumstances entitle me to go on, I must not be stopped, but at the boundary where human nature has fixed a barrier.
You have now before you the true reason why he did not choose that this affair should come before a court of justice.
Rather than this exposure should be made, he to-day would call for the mountains to cover him : he would prefer an inquiry into the business of the three seals ; into any thing foreign to the subject, I am now discussing, in order to keep you from the discovery of that gross bribery, that shameful peculation, that abandoned prostitution and corruption, which he has practised with indemnity and impunity to this day, from one end of India to the other.
At the head of the only account we have of these transactions stands Dinagepore ; and it now only remains for me to make some observations upon Mr. Hastings's proceedings in that province. Its name, then, and that money was taken from it, is all that appears; but from whom, by what hands, by what means, under what pretence it was taken, he has not told you ; he has not told his employers. I believe, however, I can tell from whom it was taken : and I believe it will appear to your lordships, that it must have been taken from the unhappy rajah of Dinagepore; and I shall in a very few words state the circumstances attending and the service performed for it: from these you will be able to form a just opinion concerning this bribe.
Dinagepore, a large province, was possessed by an antient family, the last of which, about the year 1184 of their æra, the rajah Bijanaut had no legitimate issue. When he was at the point of death, he wished to exclude from the succession to the zemindary, his half brother, Cantoo Naut, with whom he had lived upon ill terms for many years, by adopting á son. Such an adoption, when a person has a half brother, as he had, in my poor judgment, is not countenanced by the Gentoo laws. But Gunga Govin Sing, who was placed by the office he held, at the head of the registry, where the records were kept, by which the rules of succession according to the custom of the country are ascertained, became master of these Gentoo laws; and through his means Mr. Hastings decreed in favour of the adoption. We find, that immédiately after this decree, Gunga Govin Sing receive ed a cabooleat on Dinagepore for the sum of 40,0001. of which it appears, that he has actually exacted 30,0001. though he has paid to Mr. Hastings only 20,0001. We find, before
the young rajah had been in possession a year, his natural guardians and relations, on one pretence or another, all turned out of their offices. The peshcush, or fixed annual rent payable to the company for his zemindary, fell into arrear, as might naturally be expected, from the rajah's inability to pay both his rent and this exorbitant bribe, extorted from a ruined family. Instantly, under pretext of this arrearage, Gunga Govin Sing, and the fictitious committee, which Mr. Hastings had made for his wicked purposes, composed of Mr. Anderson, Mr. Shore, and Mr. Croftes, who were but the tools, as they tell us themselves, of Gunga Govin Sing, gave that monster of iniquity, Debi Sing, the government of this family. They put this noble infant, this miserable rajah, together with the management of the provinces of Dinagepore and Rungpore, into his wicked and abominable hands; where the ravages he committed excited what was called a rebellion, that forced him to fly from the country, and into which I do not wonder he should be desirous that a political and not a juridical inquiry should be made. The savage barbarities, which were there perpetrated, I have already, in the execution of my duty, brought before this House and my country; and it will be seen, when we come to the proof, whether what I have asserted was the effect either of a deluded judgment or disordered imagination ; and whether the facts, I state, cannot be substantiated by authentick reports, and were none of my invention : and, lastly, whether the means, that were taken to discredit them, do not infinitely aggravate the guilt of the offenders.
Mr. Hastings wanted to fly from judicial inquiry ; he wanted to put Debi Sing anywhere but in a court of justice. A court of justice, where a direct assertion is brought forward, and a direct proof applied to it, is an element in which he cannot live for a moment. He would seek refuge anywhere, even in the very sanctuary of his accusers, rather than abide a trial with him in a court of justice : but the House of Commons was too just not to send him to this tribunal, whose justice they cannot doubt, whose penetration be cannot elude, and whose decision will justify those managers, whose characters he attempted to defame.
But this is not all. We find, that after the cruel sale of this infant, who was properly and directly under the guardianship of the company (for the company acts as steward and dewan of the province, which office has the guardianship of minors), after he had been robbed of 40,0001. by the hands of Gunga Govin Sing, and afterwards, under pretence of his being in debt to the company, delivered into the hands of that monster, Debi Sing, Mr. Hastings, by way of anticipation of these charges, and in answer to them, has thought proper to produce the certificate from this unfortunate boy, which I will now again read to you :
« 1, Radanaut, zemindar of purgunnah Havely, Penjuna, &c. commonly called Dinagepore :-As it has been learnt by me, the mutseddies, and the respectable officers of my zemindary, that the ministers of England are displeased with the late governour, Warren Hastings, Esq. upon the suspicion that he oppressed us, took money from us by deceit and force, and ruined the country ; therefore we, upon the strength of our religion, which we think it incumbent on and necessary for us to abide by, following the rules laid down in giving evidence, declare the particulars of the acts and deeds of Warren Hastings, Esq. full of circumspection and caution, civility and justice, superiour to the caution of the most learned ; and by representing what is fact, wipe away the doubts, that have possessed the minds of the ministers of England : That Mr. Hastings is possessed of fidelity and confidence, and yielding protection to us ; that he is clear of the contamination of mistrust and wrong, and his mind is free of covetousness or avarice. During the time of his administration no one saw other conduct than that of protection to the husbandmen and justice ; no inhabitant ever experienced afflictions, no one ever felt oppression from him ; our reputations have always been guarded from attacks by his prudence, and our families have always been protected by his justice. He never omitted the smallest instance of kindness towards us, but healed the wounds of despair with the salve of consolation, by means of his benevolent and kind behaviour, never permitting one of us to sink in the
pit of despondence. He supported every one by his goodness ; overset the designs of evil-minded men by his authority ; tied the hands of oppression with the strong bandage of justice, and by these means expanded the pleasing appearance of happiness and joy over us : he re-established justice and impartiality. We were, during his government, in the enjoyment of perfect happiness and ease, and many of us are thankful and satisfied. As Mr. Hastings was well acquainted with our manners and customs, he was always desirous, in every respect, of doing whatever would preserve our religious rights, and guard them against every kind of accident and injury; and at all times protected us. Whatever we have experienced from him, and whatever happened from him, we have written without deceit or exaggeration."
My lords, this Radanaut, zemindar of the purgunnah, who, as your lordships hear, bears evidence upon oath to all the great and good qualities of the governour, and particularly, to his absolute freedom from covetousness; this person, to whom Mr. Hastings appeals, was, as the committee state, a boy between five and six years old at the time when he was given into the hands of Debi Sing; and when Mr. Hastings left Bengal, which was in 1786, was between eleven and twelve years old! This is the sort of testimony, that Mr. Hastings produces, to prove, that he was clear from all sort of extortion, oppression, and covetousness, in this very zeinindary of Dinagepore. This boy, who is so observant, who is so penetrating, who is so accurate in his knowledge of the whole government of Mr. Hastings, was, I say, when he left his government, at the utmost, but eleven years and a half old. Now, to what an extremity is this unhappy man at your bar driven, when oppressed by this accumulative load of corruption charged upon him, and seeing his bribery, his prevarication, his fraudulent bonds brought before you, he gives the testimony of this child, who for the greatest part of his time lived 300 miles from the seat of Mr. Hastings's government. Consider the miserable situation of this poor unfortunate boy, made to swear, with all the so