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any other means taken for the settlement of the country, except the appointment of Ajeet Sing in the room of Durbege Sing, to reign like him, and like him to be turned out. Mr. Hastings left India in February, 1785; he arrived here, as I believe, in June or July following. Our proceedings against him commenced in the sessions of 1786 ; and this defence was given, I believe, in the year 1787. Yet at that time, when he could hardly have received any account from India, he was ready, he says, to produce the evidence (and no doubt might have done so) of many gentlemen whose depositions would have directly contradicted what he had himself deposed of the state in which he, so short a time before, had left the country. Your Lordships cannot suppose that it could have recovered its prosperity within that time. We know you may destroy that in a day which will take up years to build; we know a tyrant can in a moment ruin and oppress: but you cannot restore the dead to life; you cannot in a moment restore fields to cultivation; you cannot, as you please, make the people in a moment restore old or dig new wells: and yet Mr. Hastings has dared to say to the Commons that he would produce persons to refute the account which we had fresh from himself. We will, however, undertake to show you that the direct contrary was the fact.
I will first refer you to Mr. Barlow's account of the state of trade. Your Lordships will there find a full exposure of the total falsehood of the prisoner's assertions. You will find that Mr. Hastings himself had been obliged to give orders for the change of almost every one of the regulations he had made. Your Lordships may there see the madness and folly
of tyranny attempting to regulate trade. In the printed Minutes, page 2830, your Lordships will see how completely Mr. Hastings had ruined the trade of the country. You will find, that, wherever he pretended to redress the grievances which he had occasioned, he did not take care to have any one part of his pretended redress executed. When you consider the anarchy in which he states the country through which he passed to have been, you may easily conceive that regulations for the protection of trade, without the means of enforcing them, must be nugatory.
Mr. Barlow was sent, in the years 1786 and 1787, to examine into the state of the country. He has stated the effect of all those regulations, which Mr. Hastings has had the assurance to represent here as prodigies of wisdom. At the very time when our charge was brought to this House, it is a remarkable period, and we desire your Lordships to advert to it,) at that time, I do not know whether it was not on the very same day that we brought our charge to your bar, Mr. Duncan was sent by Lord Cornwallis to examine into the state of that province. Now, my Lords, you have Mr. Duncan's report before you, and you will judge whether or not, by any regulation which Mr. Hastings had made, or whether through any means used by him, that country had recovered or was recovering. Your Lordships will there find other proofs of the audacious falsehood of his representation, that all which he had done had operated on the minds of the inhabitants very greatly in favor of British integrity and good government. Mr. Duncan's report will not only enable you to decide upon what he has said himself, it will likewise enable you to judge of the credit which is due to the gentlemen now in London whom he can produce to confirm his assertions, that the country of Benares and Gazipore were never, within the memory of Englishmen, so well protected and cultivated as at the present moment.
Instead, therefore, of a speech from me, you shall hear what the country says itself, by the report of the last commissioner who was sent to examine it by Lord Cornwallis. The perfect credibility of his testimony Mr. Hastings has established out of Lord Cornwallis's mouth, who, being asked the character of Mr. Jonathan Duncan, has declared that there is nothing he can report of the state of the country to which you ought not to give credit. Your Lordships will now see how deep the wounds are which tyranny and arbitrary power must make in a country where their existence is suffered ; and you will be pleased to observe that this statement was made at a time when Mr. Hastings was amusing us with his account of Benares.
Extract of the Proceedings of the Resident at Benares,
under date the 16th February, 1788, at the Purgunnah of Gurrah Dehmah, fc. Printed Minutes, page 2610.
“ The Resident, having arrived in this purgunnah of Gurrah Dehmah from that of Mohammedabad, is very sorry to observe that it seems about one third at least incultivated, owing to the mismanagement of the few last years. The Rajah, however, promises that it shall be by next year in a complete state of cultivation; and Tobarck Hossaine, his aumeen, aumil, or agent, professes his confidence of the same happy effects, saying, that he has already brought a great proportion of the land, that lay fallow when he came into the purgunnah in the beginning of the year, into cultivation, and that, it being equally the Rajah's directions and his own wish, he does not doubt of being successful in regard to the remaining part of the waste land.”
Report, dated the 18th of February, at the Purgunnah
of Bulleah. “ The Resident, having come yesterday into this purgunnah from that of Gurrah Dehmah, finds its appearance much superior to that purgunnah in point of cultivation ; yet it is on the decline so far that it's collectible jumma will not be so much this year as it was last, notwithstanding all the efforts of Reazel Husn, the agent of Khulb Ali Khân, who has farmed this purgunnah upon a three years' lease, (of which the present is the last,) during which his, that is, the head farmer's, management cannot be applauded, as the funds of the purgunnah are very considerably declined in his hands : indeed, Reazel Husn declares that this year there was little or no khereef, or first harvest, in the purgumah, and that it has been merely by the greatest exertions that he has prevailed on the ryots to cultivate the rubby crop, which is now on the ground and seems plentiful.”
Report, dated the 20th of February, at the Purgunnah
of Khereed. “ The Resident, having this day come into the purgunnah of Khereed, finds that part of it laying between the frontiers of Bulleah, the present station, and Bansdeal, (which is one of the tuppahs, or subdivisions, of Khereed,) exceedingly wasted and uncultivated. The said tuppah is sub-farmed by Gobind Ram from Kulub Ali Bey, and Gobind Ram has again under-rented it to the zemindars."
Report, dated the 23d February, at the Purgunnah of
Sekunderpoor. “ The Resident is set out for Sekunderpoor, and is sorry to observe, that, for about six or seven coss that he had further to pass through the purgunnah of Kereebs, the whole appeared one continued waste, as far as the eye could reach, on both sides of the road. The purgunnah Sekunderpoor, beginning about a coss before he reached the village, an old fort of that name, appeared to a little more advantage; but even here the crops seem very scanty, and the ground more than half fallow."
Extract of the Proceedings of the Resident at Benares,
under date the 26th February, at the Purgunnah of Sekunderpoor.
“ The Resident now leaves Sekunderpoor to proceed to Nurgurah, the head cutchery of the purgunnah. He is sorry to observe, that, during the whole way between these two places, which are at the distance of six coss, or twelve miles, from each other, not above twenty fields of cultivated ground are to be seen; all the rest being, as far as the eye can reach, except just in the vicinity of Nuggeha, one general waste of long grass, with here and there some straggling jungly trees. This falling off in the cultivation is said to have happened in the course of but a few years, — that is, since the late Rajah's expulsion.”
Your Lordships will observe, the date of the ruin of this country is the expulsion of Cheyt Sing.