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Parliament could be persuaded to call for them. At the period of Hastings's trial, the most searching inquiries were made; and all the documents which could throw any light on the early history of British India, were produced and commented upon by the keenest minds of the age. To this complete exposure Mr Mill attributes the appearance of profligacy in the conduct of the Governors of India, more than to any actual inferiority to other rulers, whose actions have not been laid so open. We are inclined, however, to think, that their conduct has been really worse; though we are far from supposing, that, individually, they have been more profligate than other sovereigns: and we shall state in a few words the grounds of this opinion.


The only real securities which a people can possess against the oppression of rulers over whom they have no legal control, are to be found in the dread of Shame, in the Sympathy in the sufferings or the welfare of those around us, or in the dread of Insurrectionary vengeance. Now, in India, these securities are feeble indeed. There, no shame can attach to oppressionfor there is no public opinion which European rulers can be made to feel. The causes which remove the English from public opinion, debar them from sympathy with the natives. feel little sympathy for those among whom we have not lived in our childhood, and among whom we do not expect to pass our old age. We feel little for those whose complaints we do not hear in our own language, whose habits we despise, who are constantly guilty of acts which we are accustomed to regard as crimes, and who, however we afflict them, afflict themselves still more by a voluntary submission to the dictates of a cursed superstition. Still less, perhaps, shall we find among these adventurous men who govern India, a dread of insurrection. They possess a military power sufficient to overwhelm all oppotion; and those provinces which are the most tempting to oppressors, are the least formidable from the nature of their population. Most of their property, too, is secure in England; and they have there a sure refuge for themselves. These remarks apply with the same force to the transactions with native princes, as to those with their native subjects. It is not to be denied that the manners and religion of European rulers must deter them from those acts of wanton cruelty which will be found to stain the annals of Asiatic conquerors, and from some of those barbarities which serve rather to shock the feelings of a hearer, than to form a serious article in the account of a nation's sufferings. But, in opposition to the interest of rulers, the influence of manners and religion on their policy, must at the best be casual and uncertain.

Accordingly we find, at the very outset of the history of the

Company as a governing body, a series of acts of treachery and unjust violence, sometimes for the benefit of the Company, sometimes for that of their servants, such as it would not be easy to match in the annals of men whom we are accustomed to consider as the worst of tyrants. We may take, as a specimen, their first interference in the affairs of the native princes in 1749.

A pretender to the throne of Tanjore, who, according to the ordinary rules of succession, had a better claim to the throne than its actual possessor, applied to the Madras Government for an army to support him in his quarrel; and offered, as a reward for their assistance, the possession of a port called Devi-cottah, which it was considered convenient for the Company to obtain. With the ruling prince, Pretaupa-Sing, the Company had corresponded for years, with the fullest recognitions of his title; and in India, the course of succession is in fact so uncertain, that seldom is a sovereign to be found who can make good his title according to our notions of legitimacy. But the promise of Devi-cottah inspired the Company with a flaming zeal for the jus divinum; and they despatched an army to desolate Tanjore, and to dethrone its sovereign. This was bad enough; but this was not all. The army got possession of Devi-cottah, according to the bargain; but then it was found, that the establishment of the Company's protegé would be rather a difficult task, and therefore they made peace with Pretaupa-Sing, who agreed to concede to them the port in question, and territory worth 9000 pagodas a year; and, in return, these champions of legitimacy stipulated, not only that they would abstain from hostilities, but that they would secure the person of the pretender, the rightfulness of whose claim had been the sole justification of this appeal to arms, that he might give no further molestation to their new ally-who was to allow them 400l. for the yearly expenses of their state prisoner. He escaped from his betrayers: but his uncle, the leader of his party, was imprisoned by the English for nine years, till he was released by the French when they took Fort St David, in 1758.

The price of this first piece of treachery in the South was a port;-the price of the next was a kingdom. In the year 1757, after a war with Surajah-Dowla, Subahdar or Nabob of Bengal, the government of Calcutta had entered into a treaty with that prince. They found it convenient, after the treaty was concluded, to attack a French factory in the Nabob's dominions, in spite of his entreaties and commands. The Nabob, who was threatened by other enemies, did not think it prudent to resent this insult, and still continued on amicable terms with the English, who had a resident at his Court. The Government t Calcutta, however, were more sensitive, and reasoned in this

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manner-They had acted so as to entitle the Nabob to expel them from his dominions, whenever he found an opportunity; it was necessary, therefore, that they should follow up their injustice, to secure themselves from punishment: and accordingly, without more ado, they resolved to dethrone the Nabob Having satisfied themselves as to the propriety of the end, they were not, as might be supposed, very scrupulous as to the means. They debauched his confidential servant and the officers of his army. They promised Meer Jaffier, the paymaster-general of his forces, the sovereignty of Bengal, as a reward for betraying his master, to whom he was also related by marriage; and he promised in return, that when he should be put in possession of the Subahdarry, he would pay 1,200,000l. to the Company, under the name of compensation for their losses during the former war, and about as much more to the inhabitants of Calcutta, the army, and the fleet. The business of negotiation was conducted by a Committee of the Council, who, reflecting that quite as much would be accomplished by fraud as by force, thought it but just that they should not forget themselves. This, they would have us believe, was quite an after-thought. • When this was settled,' says Lord Clive, in his evidence before the Committee of the House of Commons, 1772, speaking of the stipulations we have mentioned, Mr Becker, a member, suggested to the Committee, that he thought that Committee who managed the great machine of government, was entitled to some consideration, as well as the army and navy. 'Such a proposition,' observes Mr Mill, in such an assembly, could not fail to appear eminently reasonable. It met with a suitable approbation.' Colonel Clive and the Governor reecived 31,000l. each, and the other members of the Committee each 27,000l. The army took the field. The Nabob assembled his force to meet it; but the paymaster moved off with his division during the battle; and the English were victorious, almost without a struggle. Surajah Dowla fled, but fell into the hands of Meer Jaflier; by the order of whose son he was immediately assassinated. This atrocious transaction was scarcely heard of in England till fifteen years after, when it was fully investigated by a Committee of the House of Commons in 1773-and resoButions declaring its illegality unanimously adopted. But by this time Clive had been rewarded with an Irish peerage-was n member of that very House of Commons-and had secured in England an immense fortune, the result, in great part, of those acquisitions which were then declared to be illegal. The influence which the Minister of the day might acquire by a compromise with wealthy delinquents, is stated by Burke as bue of the worst effects of the possession of India upon the

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British constitution. Whether in this instance such a compromise took place, or whether the talents and achievements of Clive awakened compassion in his favour, all attempt to proceed to measures of greater severity against him proved abortive; and future oppressors in India were taught, that even if their delinquencies were exposed, and their acts declared to be illegal by the highest authority in England, means were still to be found by which prosecution and punishment might be averted. When Clive was protected, of course his coadjutors were not punished.

We shall pursue a little further the narrative of proceedings in Bengal. Meer Jaffier the conspirator, it appears, had not been chosen with any great regard to his fitness for the duties of a sovereign. He was found to be voluptuous and indolent. He could not raise the sums which he had promised to pay, and the English could not get money for the troops which they had maintained to defend him. It was convenient, therefore, for them to break the treaty with Jaffier, as they had broken that with his predecessor. Mr Vansittart, who was then Governor of Bengal, entered into a treaty with the son-in-law of the Nabob, Meer Causim, who, in return for the assignment of some districts, and a present of some lacs of rupees to the Company, was to be invested with the whole powers of the administration; Jaffier retaining the name, but nothing of the authority of a Nabob. The palace of Jaffier was seized by English troops; and the arrangement, as it was called, was tendered to him for his approbation. He was assured, that no designs against his person or authority were entertained;-that nothing was proposed beyond a reform of the government in the hands of his son-in-law, who would act as his deputy. But he knew the meaning of this language; and thought it quite as honourable, and much more safe, to lead a private life under English protection.

The scene which opened during the reign of his successor, is a still more striking instance of public morality. Meer Causim was a successful financier; he discharged the whole of his pecuniary obligations to the English, and satisfied both his own and his predecessor's troops. He introduced strict economy into his expenditure; and he was improving and new-modelJing his army, when his government became involved in disorder by the pretensions of the Company's servants. This, too, requires a word or two of preliminary explanation.

In Hindostan, the transit of goods within the country was subject to duties from time immemorial, and which formed a great part of the revenue of the native governments. At an early

period of their history, the Company had obtained from the Mogul Emperor, a phirmaun, or imperial decree, by which the goods employed in their import or export trade were exempted from these imposts. The benefit of this privilege long accrued to the Company alone; and though their servants who engaged in private trade, sometimes sought to participate in it, such attempts were always opposed by the Subahdars as frauds on the revenue, and unfair advantages taken over the native merchants. After the elevation of Meer Jaffier and Causim, however, all the Company's servants usurped this privilege of the corporate body; and when any collector ventured to perform his duty towards these authoritative traders, it was customary to send a party of sepoys to seize him, and carry him prisoner to the nearest English factory. The oppression exercised in this form was incredible. The greater part of the native merchants were driven out of the country trade; while the revenue and its collectors, the Zemindars, were reduced to absolute ruin.

Mr Vansittart the governor of Calcutta interfered to check these enormities; but he was compelled to apply to the Council, without whose authority he was unable to take effectual measures. The majority of the Council, it happened, were hostile to this gentleman; and were, besides, interested in the disorders of which he complained. They not only, therefore, refused to repress them, but pronounced the feeble efforts of the Nabob's officers in behalf of their countrymen, to be symptoms of culpable enmity to the English interest. It should be remembered, to the credit of Warren Hastings, who at that time was a member of Council, that he dissented from the proceedings of this bold majority. The governor then concluded an agreement with the Nabob, by which all the Company's servants were to be allowed to carry on the home trade upon payment of duties far less than those exigible from the native merchants. But to this the Council refused to accede. They declared, with only two dissenting voices (those of Mr Vansittart and Mr Hastings), that the Company's servants had a right, though confessedly it had never been exercised, to trade duty-free, but, out of regard to the Nabob they would consent to pay a duty of 23 per cent. (about one tenth of the usual rate) on salt alone. They at the same time decreed, that all disputes between the English and the Natives should be referred, not to the legal tribunals of the country, but to the English heads of factories and residents-that is, as Mr Mill observes, to men, not only, in the majority of cases, far too distant to receive the complaints, but, what was still more shameful, men reaping exorbitant profits from the abuses over which they were thus exclusively vested with the judicative power.'

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