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in every hand.
any considerable extent, or to render itself a struggle, are pushed back upon themselves, and, general, publick mischief. It is therefore no by a reversal of their whole functions, fester to apology for ministers, that they have not been gangrene, to death; and, instead of what was but bought by the East-India delinquents, but that just now the delight and boast of the creation, they have only formed an alliance with them for there will be cast out in the face of the sun, a screening each other from justice, according to bloated, putrid, noisome carcass, full of stench the exigence of their several necessities. That and poison, an offence, a horrour, a lesson to the they have done so is evident; and the junction of world. the power of office in England with the abuse of In my opinion, we ought not to wait for the authority in the East, has not only prevented even fruitless instruction of calamity to enquire into the the appearance of redress to the grievances of abuses which bring upon us ruin in the worst of India, but I wish it may not be found to have its forms, in the loss of our fame and virtue. But dulled, if not extinguished, the honour, the can- the right honourable gentleman* says, in answer dour, the generosity, the good nature, which used to all the powerful arguments of my
honourable formerly to characterize the people of England. friend -" that this enquiry is of a delicate nature, I confess, I wish that some more feeling than I “ and that the state will suffer detriment by the have yet observed for the sufferings of our fellow- exposure of this transaction.”
But it is excreatures and fellow-subjects in that oppressed posed; it is perfectly known in every member, in part of the world, had manifested itself in any one every particle, and in every way, except that which quarter of the kingdom, or in any one large de- may lead to a remedy. He knows that the papers scription of men.
of correspondence are printed, and that they are That these oppressions exist, is a fact no more denied, than it is resented as it ought to be. He and delicacy are a rare and a singular coMuch evil has been done in India under the Bri- alition. He thinks that to divulge our Indian tish authority. What has been done to redress it? politicks, may be highly dangerous. He! the We are no longer surprised at any thing. We mover! the chairman ! the reporter of the comare above the unlearned and vulgar passion of mittee of secrecy! he that brought forth in the admiration. But it will astonish posterity, when utmost detail, in several vast, printed folios, the they read our opinions in our actions, that after most recondite parts of the politicks, the military, years of enquiry, we have found out that the sole the revenues of the British empire in India! With grievance of India consisted in this, that the ser- six great chopping bastards,f each as lusty as an vants of the company there had not profited infant Hercules, this delicate creature blushes at enough of their opportunities, nor drained it suf- the sight of his new bridegroom, assumes a virgin ficiently of its treasures ; when they shall hear delicacy; or, to use a more fit, as well as a more that the very first and only important act of a poetick, comparison, the person so squeamish, so commission specially named by act of parliament timid, so trembling lest the winds of heaven should is to charge upon an undone country, in favour of visit too roughly, is expanded to broad sunshine, a handful of men in the humblest ranks of the exposed like the sow of imperial augury, lying in publick service, the enormous sum of perhaps four the mud with all the prodigies of her fertility millions of sterling money.
about her, as evidence of her delicate amoursIt is difficult for the most wise and upright go-Triginta capitum fætus enira jacebat, alba solo vernment to correct the abuses of remote, dele- recubans albi circum ubera nati. gated power, productive of unmeasured wealth, Whilst discovery of the misgovernment of others and protected by the boldness and strength of the led to his own power, it was wise to enquire ; it same ill-got riches. These abuses, full of their was safe to publish : there was then no delicacy; own wild native vigour, will grow and flourish there was then no danger. But when his object is under mere neglect. But where the supreme obtained, and in his imitation he has outdone the authority, not content with winking at the rapa- crimes that he had reprobated in volumes of recity of its inferiour instruments, is so shameless ports, and in sheets of bills of pains and penalties, and corrupt as openly to give bounties and pre- then concealment becomes prudence; and it conmiums for disobedience to its laws, when it will cerns the safety of the state, that we should not not trust to the activity of avarice in the pursuit know in a mode of parliamentary cognizance, of its own gains, when it secures public robbery what all the world knows but too well, that is, in by all the careful jealousy and attention with what manner he chooses to dispose of the publick which it ought to protect property from such revenues to the creatures of his politicks. violence, the commonwealth" then is become to- The debate has been long, and as much so on tally perverted from its purposes ; neither God my part, at least, as on the part of those who have nor man will long endure it; nor will it long spoken before me. But long as it is, the more endure itself. In that case, there is an unnatural material half of the subject has hardly been touched infection, a pestilential taint fermenting in the on; that is, the corrupt and destructive system to constitution of society, which fever and convul- which this debt has been rendered subservient, and sions of some kind or other must throw off; or in which seems to be pursued with at least as much which the vital powers, worsted in an unequal vigour and regularity as ever. If I considered
† Six Reports of the Committee of Secrecy.
* Mr. Dundas.
your ease or my own, rather than the weight and only to examine into the conduct of those who importance of this question, I ought to make some have no conduct to account for. Unfortunately apology to you, perhaps some apology to myself, the basis of this new government has been laid on for having detained your attention so long. I old, condemned delinquents, and its superstructure know on what ground I tread. This subject, at is raised out of persecutors turned into protectors. one time taken up with so much fervour and zeal, The event has been such as might be expected. is no longer a favourite in this house. The house But if it had been otherwise constituted, had it itself has undergone a great and signal revolution. been constituted even as I wished, and as the mover To some the subject is strange and uncouth, to se- of this question had planned, the better part of the veral harsh and distasteful, to the reliques of the proposed establishment was in the publicity of its last parliament it is a matter of fear and apprehen- proceedings : in its perpetual responsibility to parsion. It is natural for those who have seen their liament. Without this check, what is our European friends sink in the tornado which raged during government at home, even awed, as every European the late shift of the monsoon, and have hardly government is, by an audience formed of the other escaped on the planks of the general wreck, it is but states of Europe, by the applause or condemnation too natural for them, as soon as they make the of the discerning and critical company before rocks and quicksands of their former disasters, to which it acts ? But if the scene on the other side of put about their new-built barks, and, as much as the globe, which tempts, invites, almost compels, possible, to keep aloof from this perilous lee shore. to tyranny and rapine, be not inspected with the But let us do what we please to put India from eye of a severe and unremitting vigilance, shame our thoughts, we can do nothing to separate it and destruction must ensue. For one, the worst from our publick interest and our national repu- event of this day, though it may deject, shall not tation. Our attempts to banish this importunate break or subdue me. The call upon us is authoriduty will only make it return upon us again and tative. Let who will shrink back, I shall be found again, and every time in a shape more unpleasant at my post. Baffled, discountenanced, subdued, than the former. A government has been fabri- discredited, as the cause of justice and humanity is, cated for that great province; the right honour- it will be only the dearer to me. Whoever thereable gentleman says, that therefore you ought not fore shall at any time bring before you any thing to examine into its conduct. Heavens! what an towards the relief of our distressed fellow-citizens argument is this ! We are not to examine into the in India, and towards a subversion of the present conduct of the direction, because it is an old go- most corrupt and oppressive system for its governvernment: we are not to examine into this board ment, in me shall find a weak, I am afraid, but a of controul, because it is a new one. Then we are steady, earnest, and faithful assistant.
as they shall judge necessary for their informaNo. I.
tion, relating to any of the offices or depart
ments hereinbefore mentioned ; and all bailiffs, CLAUSES OF MR. PITT'S BILL.
constables, sheriffs, and other his majesty's of
ficers, are hereby required to obey and execute Referred to from p. 319.
such orders and precepts aforesaid, as shall be
sent to them or any of them by the said commisAppointing Commissioners to enquire into the fees, sioners, or any two of them, touching the premises. gratuities, perquisites, emoluments, which are, or have been lately, received in the several publick offices therein mentioned ; to examine into any abuses which
And be it further enacted, that it shall and may
Referred to from p. 320. be lawful to and for the said commissioners, or any two of them, and they are hereby impower
NABOB OF ARCOT'S DEBTS. ed, authorized, and required, to examine upon oath (which oath they, or any two of them, are Mr. George Smith being asked, Whether the hereby authorized to administer) the several per- debts of the nabob of Arcot have encreased since sons, of all descriptions, belonging to any of the he knew Madras ? he said, Yes, they have. He offices or departments before mentioned, and all distinguishes his debts into two sorts; those conother persons whom the said commissioners, or tracted before the year 1766, and those contracted any two of them, shall think fit to examine, from that year to the year in which he left touching the business of each office or department, Madras.—Being asked, What he thinks is the oriand the fees, gratuities, perquisites, and emolu-ginal amount of the old debts ? he said, Between ments taken therein, and touching all other mat-twenty-three and twenty-four lacks of pagodas, as ters and things necessary for the execution of the well as he can recollect.-Being asked, What was powers vested in the said commissioners by this the amount of that debt when he left Madras ? he act; all which persons are hereby required and said, Between four and five lacks of pagodas, as directed punctually to attend the said commission- he understood. Being asked, What was the ers, at such time and place as they, or any two amount of the new debt when he left Madras ? of them, shall appoint, and also to observe and he said, In November, 1777, that debt amounted, execute such orders and directions as the said according to the nabob's own account,
and pubcommissioners, or any two of them, shall make or lished at Chipauk, his place of residence, to sixty give for the purposes before mentioned.
lacks of pagodas, independent of the old debt, And be it enacted by the authority aforesaid, on which debt of sixty lacks of pagodas, the nathat the said commissioners, or any two of them, bob did agree to pay an interest of 12 per cent. shall be, and are, hereby impowered to examine per annum.—Being asked, Whether this debt was into any corrupt and fraudulent practices, or other approved of by the court of directors ? he said, misconduct, committed by any person or persons He does not know it was.--Being asked, Whether concerned in the management of any of the offices the old debt was recognized by the court of direcor departments herein before mentioned ; and, for tors ? he said, Yes, it has been : and the court of the better execution of this present act, the said directors have sent out repeated orders to the precommissioners, or any two of them, are hereby au- sident and council of Madras, to enforce its recothorized to meet and sit, from time to time, in very and payment.-Being asked, If the interest such place or places as they shall find most con- upon the new debt is punctually paid ? he said, It venient, with or without adjournment, and to was not during his residence at Madras, from 1777 send their precept or precepts, under their hands to 1779, in which period he thinks no more than and scals, for any person or persons whatsoever, 5 per cent. interest was paid, in different diviand for such books, papers, writings, or records, dends of 2 and 1 per cent.-Being asked, What
is the usual course taken by the nabob concern- or tankah on the country of Tanjore, payable in ing the arrears of interest ? he said, Not having six months, without interest.-- Being asked, ever lent him monies himself, he cannot fully Whether, at the time he asked the nabob his price answer as to the mode of settling the interest with for the pearls, the nabob beat down that price, as him.
dealers commonly do ? he said, No; so far from Being asked, Whether he has reason to believe it, he offered him more than he asked by 1,000 the sixty lacks of pagodas was all principal money | pagodas, and which he rejected. Being asked, really and truly advanced to the nabob of Arcot, Whether in settling a transaction of discount with or a fictitious capital, made up of obligations given the nabob's agent, he was not offered a greater by him, where no money or goods were received, discount than 121. per cent. ? he said, In discountor which was encreased by the uniting into it a ing a soucar's bill for 180,000 pagodas, the nabob's greater interest than the 12 per cent. expressed to agent did offer him a discount of 24 per cent. per be due on the capital ? he said, He has no reason annum, saying, that it was the usual rate of disto believe that the sum of sixty lacks of pagodas count paid by the nabob; but which he would was lent in money or goods to the nabob, because not accept of, thinking himself confined by the that sum he thinks is of more value than all the act of parliament limiting the interest of monies money, goods, and chattels in the settlement; but to 12 per cent. and accordingly he discounted the he does not know in what mode or manner this bill at 12 per cent. per annum only.—Being asked, debt of the nabob's was incurred or accumulated. Whether he does not think those offers were made
- Being asked, Whether it was not a general and him, because the nabob thought he was a person well-grounded opinion at Madras, that a great part of some consequence in the settlement ? he said, of this sum was accumulated by obligations, and Being only a private merchant, he apprehends was for services performed or to be performed that the offer was made to him more from its for the nabob ? he said, He has heard that a part being a general practice, than from any opinion of this debt was given for the purposes mentioned of his importance. in the above question, but he does not know that it was so.
.—Being asked, Whether it was the general opinion of the settlement ? he said, He not say that it was the general opinion, but it was
No. III. the opinion of a considerable part of the settlement.-Being asked, Whether it was the declared
Referred to from p. 325. opinion of those that were concerned in the debt, or those that were not ? he said, It was the opinion A Bill for the better government of the territoof both parties, at least such of them as he con- rial possessions and dependencies in India. versed with.-Being asked, Whether he has reason to believe that the interest really paid by the
[One of Mr. Fox's India Bills.] nabob, upon obligations given, or money lent, did not frequently exceed 12 per cent ? he said, Prior And be it further enacted by the authority to the first of August, 1774, he had had reason to aforesaid, that the nabob of Arcot, the rajah of believe, that a higher interest than 12 per cent. Tanjore, or any other native protected prince in was paid by the nabob on monies lent to him ; India, shall not assign, mortgage, or pledge any but from and after that period, when the last act territory or land whatsoever, or the produce or of parliament took place in India, he does not revenue thereof, to any British subject whatsoever
; know that more than 12 per cent. had been paid neither shall it be lawful to and for any British subby the nabob, or received from him.-Being ject whatsoever to take or receive
such assignasked, Whether it is not his opinion, that the ment, mortgage, or pledge; and the same are nabob has paid more than 12 per cent. for money hereby declared to be null and void ; and all pardue since the 1st of August 1774 ? he said, He has ments or deliveries of produce or revenue, heard that he has, but he does not know it.- any such assignment, shall and
may Being asked, Whether he has been told so by any back by such native prince paying or delivering considerable and weighty authority, that was likely the same, from the
person to know; he said, He has been so informed by same, or his or their representatives. persons who he believes had a very good opportunity of knowing it.-Being asked, Whether he was ever told so by the nabob of Arcot himself? he said, He does not recollect that the nabob of Arcot
No. IV. directly told him so, but, from what he said, he did infer that he paid a higher interest than 12
Referred to from
(COPY) of trade, he ever sold any thing to the nabob of
27th May, 1789 Arcot ? he said, In the year 1775 he did sell to the nabob of Arcot pearls to the amount of 32,500 Letter from the Committee of assigned Revenue, pagodas, for which the nabob gave him an order to the President and Select Committee, dated
under be recovered
or persons receiving the
27th May, 1782 ; with comparative statement, countries. Their prospect of relief from the heavy and minute thereon.
burthens of the war was indeed but little advanced
by the nabob's concession; and the revenues of To the Right Honourable Lord MACARTNEY, K. B. the Carnatick seemed in danger of being irrecover
President, and Governour, &c. Select Commit- ably lost, unless a speedy and entire change of tee of Fort St. George.
system could be adopted.
On our minutes of the 21st January, we treated My Lord, and Gentlemen,
the subject of the assignment at some length, and
pointed out the mischiefs which, in addition to ALTHOUGH we have, in obedience to your the effects of the war, had arisen from what we commands of the 5th January, regularly laid be-conceived to be wrong and oppressive managefore you our proceedings at large, and have oc- ment.-We used the freedom to suggest an entire casionally addressed you upon such points as alteration in the mode of realizing the revenues. required your resolutions or orders for our guid-We proposed a considerable and immediate reance, we still think it necessary to collect and duction of expences, and a total change of the digest, in a summary report, those transactions in principal aumildars who had been employed under the management of the assigned revenue, which ihe nabob.
ave principally engaged our attention, and whicl Our ideas had the good fortune to receive your upon the proceeding, are too much intermixed approbation; but the removal of the nabob's serwith ordinary occurrences to be readily traced vants being thought improper at that particular and understood.
period of the collections, we employed our attenSuch a report may be formed with the greater tion chiefly in preserving what revenue was left propriety at this time, when your lordship, &c. the country, and acquiring such materials as might have been pleased to conclude your arrangements lead to a more perfect knowledge of its foriner for the rent of several of the nabob's districts. and present state. Our aim in it is briefly to explain the state of the These pursuits, as we apprehended, met with Carnatick at the period of the nabob's assignment; great obstructions from the conduct of the nathe particular causes which existed, to the preju- bob's servants. The orders they received were dice of that assignment, after it was made; and evaded under various pretexts; no attention was the measures which your lordship, &c. have, upon paid to the strong and repeated applications made our recommendation, adopted for removing those to them for the accounts of their management ; causes, and introducing a more regular and bene- and their attachment to the company's interest ficial system of management in the country. appeared, in every instance, so feeble, that we saw
Hyder Ally having entered the Carnatick with no prospect whatever of success, but in the aphis whole force, about the middle of July, 1780, pointment of renters under the company's sole and employed fire and sword in its destruction for authority. nearly eighteen months before the nabob's assign- Upon this principle we judged it expedient to ment took place, it will not be difficult to con- recommend, that such of the nabob's districts as ceive the state of the country at that period. In were in a state to be farmed out might be imthose provinces which were fully exposed to the mediately let by a publick advertisement, issued ravages of horse, scarcely a vestige remained either in the company's name, and circulated through of population or agriculture : such of the miserable every province of the Carnatick; and, with the inhabitants as escaped the fury of the sword were view of encouraging bidders, we proposed, that either carried into the Mysore country, or left to the countries might be advertised for the whole struggle under the horrours of famine. The Ar- period of the nabob's assignment, and the secucot and Trichinopoly districts began early to feel rity of the company's protection promised, in the the effects of this desolating war. Tinnevelly, fullest manner, to such persons as might become Madura, and Ramnadaporum, though little infest- renters. ed with Hyder's troops, became a prey to the in- This plan had the desired effect; and the atcursions of the Polygars, who stript them of the tempts which were secretly made to counteract it, greatest part of the revenues; Ongole, Nellore, afforded an unequivocal proof of its necessity : and Palnaud, the only remaining districts, had but the advantages resulting from it were more suffered but in a small degree.
pleasingly evinced, by the number of proposals The misfortunes of war, however, were not the that were delivered, and by the terms which were only evils which the Carnatick experienced. The in general offered for the districts intended to be nabob's aumildars, and other servants, appear to farmed out. have taken advantage of the general confusion to Having so far attained the
of the asenrich themselves. A
of the reve- signment, our attention was next turned to the nue was accounted for; and so high were the or- heavy expences entailed upon the different prodinary expences of every district, that double the vinces; and here, we confess, our astonishment apparent produce of the whole country would not was raised to the highest pitch. In the Trichihave satisfied them.
nopoly country, the standing disbursements apIn this state, which we believe is no way exag-peared, by the nabob's own accounts, to be one gerated, the company took charge of the assigned lack of rupees more than the receipts. In other