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conclusively. The select committee thought otherwise. Between these litigant parties for power I shall not determine on the merits ; thinking of nothing but the use, that was made of the power, to whomsoever it belonged. This secret committee then, without communicating with the rest of the council, formed the plan for a second revolution. But the concurrence of Major Calliaud, who commanded the British troops, was essential to the purpose, as it could not be accomplished without force. Mr. Hastings's assistance was necessary, as it could not be accomplished without treachery.
These are the parties concerned in the intended revolution. Mr. Holwell, who considered himself in possession only of temporary power, was urged to precipitate the business ; for, if Mr. Vansittart should arrive before his plot could be finally put into execution, he would have all the leading advantages of it, and Mr. Holwell would be considered only as a secondary instrument. But whilst Mr. Holwell, who originally conceived this plot, urged forward the execution of it, in order that the chief share of the profits might fall to him, the Major, and possibly the resident, held back, till they might receive the sanction of the permanent governour, who was hourly expected, with whom one of them was connected, and who was to carry with him the whole weight of the authority of this kingdom. This difference produced discussions. Holwell endeavoured by his correspondence to stimulate Calliaud to this enterprise, which, without him, could not be undertaken at all. But Major Calliaud had different views. He concurred inwardly, as he tells us himself, in all the principles of this intended revolution, in the propriety and necessity of it. wished delay. But he gave such powerful, solid, and satisfactory reasons, not against the delay, but the very merits of the design itself, exposing the injustice, and the danger of it, and the impossibility of mending by it their condition in any respect, as must have damned it in the mind of all rational men.
At least it ought to have damned it forever in his own.
But you will see, that Holwell persevered in his plan ; and that Major Calliaud thought two things necessary: first, not wholly to destroy the scheme, which he tells us he
always approved; but to postpone the execution ; and, in the mean time, to delude the nabob by the most strong, direct, and sanguine assurances of friendship and protection, that it was possible to give to man.
Whilst the projected revolution stood suspended ; whilst Mr. Holwell urged it forward, and Mr. Vansittart was expected every day to give it effect; whilst Major Calliaud with this design of ruining the nabob lodged in his breast, suspended in execution, and condemned in principle, kept the fairest face, and the most confidential interviews with that unfortunate prince and his son--as the operations of the campaign relaxed, the army drew near to Moorshedabad the capital when a truly extraordinary scene happened, such I am sure the English annals before that time had furnished no example of, nor will I trust in future. I shall state it as one piece from beginning to end-reserving the events, which intervened ; because, as I do not produce any part of this series for the gratification of historical curiosity, the contexture is necessary to demonstrate to your lordships the spirit of our Bengal politicks, and the necessity of some other sort of judicial inquiries than those, which that government institute for themselves. The transaction so manifestly marks the character of the whole proceeding, that I hope I shall not be blamed for suspending for a moment the narrative of the steps taken towards the revolution, that you may see the whole of this episode together; that by it you may judge of the causes, which led progressively to the state, in which the company's affairs stood, when Mr. Hastings was sent for the express purpose of reforming it.
The business I am going to enter into is commonly known by the name of the story of the three seals : it is to be found in the appendix, No. 10, to the first report of the state and condition of the East-India Company, made in 1773. The word report, my lords, is sometimes a little equivocal; and may signify sometimes, not what is made known, but what remains in obscurity ; the detail and evidence of many facts, referred to in the report, being usually thrown into the appendix. Many people, and I among the rest, (I take shame to myself for it may not have fully examined that appendix. I was not a member of either of the India commit
tees of 1773. It is not, indeed, till within this year, that I have been thoroughly acquainted with that memorable history of the three seals.
The history is this : in the year 1760, the allies were in the course of operations against the son of the Mogul, now the present Mogul, who, as I have already stated, had made an irruption into the kingdom of Bahar, in order to reduce the lower provinces to his obedience. The parties opposing him were the nabob of Bengal, and the company's troops under Major Calliaud. It was whilst they faced the common enemy as one body, this negotiation for the destruction of the nabob of Bengal by his faithful allies of the company was going on with diligence. At that time, the nabob's son, Meeran, a youth in the flower of his age, bold, vigorous, active ; full of the politicks, in which those, who are versed in usurpation, are never wanting ; commanded the army under his father ; but was, in reality, the efficient person in all things. About the fifteenth of April 1760, as I have it from Major Calliaud's letter of that date, the nabob came into his tent; and, with looks of the utmost embarrassment, big with some design, which swelled his bosom, something, that was too large and burdensome to conceal, and yet too critical to be told, appeared to be in a state of great distraction. The Major, seeing him in this condition, kindly, gently, like a fast and sure friend, employed (to use his own expression) some of those assurances, that tend to make men fully open their hearts ; and accordingly, fortified by his assurances, and willing to disburden himself of the secret, that oppressed him, he opens his heart to the commanding officer of his new friends, allies, and protectors. The nabob, thus assured, did open himself, and informed Major Calliaud, that he had just received a message from the prince, or his principal minister, informing him, that the Prince Royal, now the Mogul, had an intention (as indeed he rationally might, supposing, that we were as well disposed to him as we showed our. selves afterwards) to surrender himself into the hands of him, the nabob; but at the same time wished, as a guarantee, that the commander-in-chief of the English forces should give him security for his life and his honour, when he should in that manner surrender himself to the nabob. I do not mean,
my lords, by surrendering, that it was supposed he intended to surrender himself prisoner of war ;. but as a sovereign, dubious of the fidelity of those about him, would put himself into the hands of his faithful subjects, of those, who claimed to derive all their power, as both we and the nabob did, under his authority. The nabob stated to the English general, that, without this English security, the prince would not deliver himself into his hands. Here he confessed he found a difficulty. For the giving this faith, if it were kept, would defeat his ultimate view, which was, when the prince had delivered himself into his hands, in plain terms to murder him. This grand act could not be accomplished without the English general. In the first place, the prince, without the English security, would not deliver himself into the nabob's hands; and afterwards, without the English concurrence, he could not be murdered. These were difficulties, that pressed upon the mind of the nabob.
The English commander heard this astonishing proposition without any apparent emotion. Being a man habituated to great affairs, versed in revolutions, and with a mind fortified against extraordinary events, be heard it, and answered it without showing any signs of abhorrence or detestation; at the same time with a protestation, that he would indeed serve him, the nabob, but it should be upon such terms as honour and justice could support ; informing him, that an assurance for the prince's safety could not be given by him, until he had consulted Mr. Holwell, who was governour, and his superiour. This conversation passed in the morning. On that very morning, and whilst the transaction was hot, Major Calliaud writes to Mr. Holwell an account of it. In his letter he informs him, that he made an inquiry, without stating from whom, but that he did inquire the probability of the nabob's getting possession of the prince from some persons, who assured him, that there was no probability of the prince's intention to deliver himself to the nabob on any terms. Be that as it may, it is impossible not to remark, that the whole transaction of the morning of the 15th of April was not very discouraging to the nabob; not such as would induce him to consider this most detestable of
all projects as a thing utterly unfeasible, and as such to abandon it. The evening came on without any thing to alter his opinion. Major Calliaud that evening came to the nabob's tent to arrange some matters relative to the approaching campaign. The business soon ended with regard to the campaign ; but the proposal of the morning to Major Calliaud, as might be expected to happen, was in effect renewed. Indeed the form was a little different; but the substantial part remained the same. Your lordships will see what these alterations were.
In the evening scene the persons were more numerous. On the part of the company, Major Calliaud, Mr. Lushington, Mr. Knox, and the ambassadour at the nabob's court, Mr. Warren Hastings. On the part of the Moorish government, the nabob himself, his son Meeran, a Persian secretary, and the nabob's head spy, an officer well known in that part of the world, and of some rank. These were the persons of the drama in the evening scene. The nabob and his son did not wait for the prince's committing himself to their faith, which, it seems, Major Calliaud did not think likely to happen: so that one act of treachery is saved; but another opened of as extraordinary a nature. Intent and eager on the execution, and the more certain, of their design, they accepted the plan of a wicked wretch, principal servant of the then prime minister to the Mogul, or themselves suggested it to him. A person called conery, dewan or principal steward to Camgar Khân, a great chief in the service of the shậh zadda or prince, (now the Great Mogul, the sovereign, under whom the company holds their charter) had, it seems, made a proposal to the nabob, that, if a considerable territory, then held by his master, was assured to him, and a reward of a lack of rupees, ten or twelve thousand pounds, secured to him, he would for that consideration, deliver the prince, the eldest son of the Mogul, alive into the hands of the nabob; or, if that could not be effected, he engaged to murder him for the same reward. But as the assassin could not rely on the nabob and his son for his reward for this meritorious action, and thought better of English honour and fidelity in such delicate cases, he required, that