Obrázky stránek


[blocks in formation]

AN addrefs has been tranfinitted to his Ma

N addrefs has been tranfinitted to his Ma

men, and freeholders of Dublin, declaring their attachment to his government and the conftitution, and their utter abhorrence, &c. of every attempt to create unjuft and dangerous difcontents, tending to fubvert the conftitution in church and ftate. The addrefs was figned by 21 peers, and 1,113 commoners, gentlemen, freeholders, and others.

On the 20th of January the lord-lieutenant opened the feflion of parliament with the following fpeech from the throne:

My Lords and Gentlemen,

"I Have his Majefty's commands to meet you in parliament, and to defire your advice and co-operation upon thofe affairs of importance which in the prefent circumftances of the kingdom require your moft ferious attention.

Whilst I lamented the lawless outrages and unconstitutional proceedings which had taken place fince your laft prorogation, I had the fatisfaction to perceive that these exceffes were confined to a few places, and even there condemned. And I have now the pleasure to obfarve, that, by the falutary interpofition of the jaws, the general tranquillity is re-established.

"Gentlemen of the House of Commons, "I have ordered the public accounts to be Jaid before you. I have the fulleft reliance on your approved loyalty to the King, and attachment to your country, that a due confideration of the exigencies of the state will lead you to make whatever provifions fhall appear to be neeffary for the public expences, and for the hoourable fupport of his Majefty's government.

"My Lords and Gentlemen,

"I am to recommend in the King's name to your earnest investigation those objects of trade and commerce between Great-Britain and Ire

land which have not yet received their complete adjustment. In framing a plan, with a view to

final fettlement, you will be fenfible that the interefts of Great-Britain and Ireland ought to be for ever united and infeparable. And his Majesty relies on your liberality and wifdom for adopting fuch an equitable fyftem, for the joint benefit of both countries, and the fupport of the common intereft, as will fecure mutual fatisfaction and permanency.

The encouragement and extenfion of agricul ture and manufactures, and especially of your linen manufactures, will I am perfuaded engage your conftant concern. Let me likewife direct your attention in a particular manner to the fisheries on your coafts, from which you may reafonably hope for an improving fource of industry

and wealth to this kingdom, and of ftrength to the empire.

"The liberality which you have always fhewn to the maintenance of your Proteftant,citarter-schools and other public institutions, makes it unneceffary for me to recommend them to your care. You cannot more beneficially exert this laudable spirit, than by directing your attention to improve, and to diffufe throughout the kingdom, the advantages of good education. Senfible of its effential confequence to the morals and happiness of the people, and to the dignity of the nation, I am happy to affure you of his Majefty's gracious patronage; and fhall be earnest to give every affiftance in my power to the fuccefs of fuch measures as your wifdom may devife for this important purpose.

"It is the province of your prudence and. difcretion to confider what new provifions may be neceffary for fecuring the fubject against vio lence and outrage, for the regulation of the po→ lice, and the better execution of the laws, as well as for the general encouragement of peaceable fubordination and honest industry. It will be a pleafing tafk to me to affift and promote your exertions for the tranquillity of the kingdom for upholding the authority of the legislature, and fupporting the true principles of our happy conftitution both in church and state.

"The uniformity of laws and of religion, and a common intereft in treaties with foreign ftates, form a fure bond of mutual connection and attachment between Great-Britain and Ire land. It will be your care to cherish these in eftimable bleffings with that fpirit and wifdom which will render them effectual fecurities to the Arength and profperity of the empire.".

Upon his Grace's retiring, the Earl of Glendore moved an addrefs to the King, in which all the topics of the fpeech were taken up, and re-echoed in ftrong and determined language. The motion was oppofed by the Duke of Leinster, who, however, declined entering into argument, and merely stated that he thould give a fimple negative, as the words of the addrefs did not particularly point to the late law proceedings, and the queftion of attachments.

The motion then paffed, and Lord Rawdon having moved for a committee to prepare an address to the lord-lieutenant, the Houte adjourned...

[blocks in formation]

of the Governour-General and Council, paffed on the 31st of December laft, and already notified to you by the fucceflive dispatches of your hips. I fhall begin the thread of my report from that date.

I foon after found that the ftate of this country was fo difordered in its revenue and adminiftration, and the credit and influence of the Nabob himself fo much fhaken by the effects of the late ufurpation of his authority, and the contefts which attended it, as to require the acceffion of an extraneous aid, to restore the powers and conftitution of his government; and I was ftrongly and repeatedly urged to repair hither in perfon for that purpofe.

Thefe inftances, though declared to be conformable to the wishes of the Nabob Vizier, his family, and minifters, having been privately conveyed to me, I reprefented them as fuch to the Board on the 20th of January, and offered my fervices to go to Lucknow, whenever the Nabob Vizier fhould require it, which I knew from undoubted authority he would, with his anfwer to the notification, formally made to him, of the 31ft of December.

My reafons for thus anticipating the occafion were many: the diftracted ftate of affairs, which every fufpenfion of a day would aggravate; the feafon of the collections, requiring the application of early exertions for their fecurity, and my own infirm state of health, which was not equal fo fuftain fo long a journey, if protracted to the

commencement of the hot winds.

My offer was accepted by a conditional declaration on the part of Mr. Wheeler, and I made inftant preparations for the journey.

On the 14th of February the Nabob's invitation arrived; I repeated my propofal, the fame authority decided its acceptance, and on the 17th I took my leave of the Board, and departed from Calcutta, with a fevere indifpofition, which had feized me fome time preceding, then hanging on me. Happily, the change of air effected my fpeedy cure, and on the 27th ult. I arrived at this place in a ftate of health fo confirmed, as to promise an unremitted attention to the very important objects of my commiffion. On my way, I had the alarming perfpective of a foil fo completely exhaufted of its natural moisture, by the failure of one entire season of the periodical rains, that, except the fields of grain, which had been kept in vegetation by the uncommon labour of the hufbandmen, and were still clothed with a luxuriant produce, or retained the ftubble of the recent harveft, the plains exhibited an appearance of barrennefs, fo dreary, that even the roots of its former herbage no longer exifted; and the deep ravines, and beds of rivers, which I paffed, threw up clouds of duft from their channels. Thefe are not circumftances of trivial obfervation, nor are they confined to the lands of these provinces; every region of Hindostan has felt the fame angry vifitation, and another year of equal drought, which is not to be expected in the courfe of natural events, would put it out of the reach of human wisdom to prevent, or retrieve, the dreaddul calamity which must attend it.

Yet fuch is my reliance on the gratitude and unbounded confidence of the Nabob and his mi

nisters, that I dare promife, even at this immature period, under every circumftance but the dreadful one which I have fuppofed, and which I have ftated is improbable, a fuccessful progrefs and termination of the measure which I have begun, equal to any expectations which may have been formed of it, however fanguine, if I am not counteracted, and my operations impeded, by orders which I may not refft, and am allowed to remain to the time deftined for their perfection: nor thall it be a common obftruction which fhall reftrain me; for I poffefs fuch inherent advantages as I trust will prove fuperior to every fpecies of oppofition, but the last extremity of it. Indeed, it fuch fprings as give the common movements to popular opinion could influence my proceedings, I have already experienced them in two inftances, one of which I believe to have had the fpecial fervice I am engaged in for its object, and the other, the general ruin of my authority.

I allude, first, to a report fabricated at Fort St. George of the arrival of a fhip of war at Bombay, with the authentic intelligence of my difmiffion with difgrace from my office, which received at the inftant that I was fetting my foot on the fhore at Nuddeah, for the commencement of my journey: and fecondly, to a paper tranf mitted to me by a respected authority from Calcutta, containing strictures on my former deputation, faid to be part of a report of the Select Committee of the Houfe of Commons, which unhappily apply to every purpofe of this, and which declare (with horror I repeat it) a right invested in the commander in chief of the army to oppofe the power delegated by the govern ment itself to its first executive member, and to affert that right, by an appeal to the army for its ultimate decifion upon it. The words of the report (if it be fuch) to which I allude, are thefe:

[ocr errors]

By thefe inftructions (that is, the inftructions fent by the Court of Directors to Bengal in the year 1774 and 1778) it appears that the Governor-General was pofitively reftrained from the exercise of any military power whatsoever beyond the garrifon and fortress of Fort William; fo that the delegation and exercife of all military power beyond the limits so described was a direct and pofitive difobedience of the orders of the Court of Directors."

"Difobedience of orders on a point fo delicate and important as that of wrefting the mili❤ tary command from the official military officer, who was invefted with that authority by the orders of the directors, might have been productive of confequences extremely prejudicial to the fervice: if the commander in chief had afferted the right invested in himself, a contention for executive power might polfibly have been the confequence, and the army, which in India is fo peculiarly conftituted, as to require not only exact difcipline, but the moft perfect fubordination, in order to infure obedience, muft have ultimately decided where that obedience was due."

I dare not examine a doctrine affirmed to be of fo facred an authority; yet I may humbly fuggeft that it never was, nor could have been intended to be applied to the actual commander K. 2


in chief, whofe command was originally conftituted by the Governour-General and Council themselves, and therefore could not be rendered fuperior to, and independent of the powers veited in the Governour-General and Council by an act of parliament pafled before its exiftence; nor included in any inftructions of the Court of Directors, alfo framed at a more ancient period, if even at a later; and a fenfe of national duty, fuperior to every confideration of perfonal fafety, or the reverence which is due to high office, impels me to denounce, and to date the fall of the British empire in India from the inftant that it fhall be decidedly declared, or understood, that any commander in chief of the army, be his title or rank what it will, is, or may be, by any contructive power, independent of the government under which the wifdom of parliament hath hitherto placed the army ferving in thefe provinces, and every member of it, in an implicit and abfolute fubjection to its authority.

God forbid that any future Pizzarros and Almagros fhould difgrace the annals of your dominion, or mark the traces of its decline with the blood of your fervants and foldiers; but the conteft will probably be of short duration, and happy will it be for the interefts of humanity, if fuch fhall be the iffue, though dreadful to our own, whatever period of time may clote it.

Let me add, nor let my words be uttered in vain, that whenever the fatal blow fhall be ftruck, or from whatever hand it fhall proceed, its effect will be, not a gradual decay, but inftantaneous ruin; for your exiftence hangs on the thread of opinion, which the touch of chance may break, and even that fource, which ought to flow with the principles of its duration, will, if productive of the fame deleterious ftreams which have been lately feen to iffue from it, prove the cause of its diffolution.

I am not myself apprehenfive of any evil confequence from the partial and limited command which I poffefs over your army, in its tending to provoke a competition; for, in the first place, I will never put it to the iffue of a trial; and, in the fecond, were the board to permit the commander in chief to come into this quarter, which is not likely, I confidently hope, that before he could arrive this province will have been fo regulated, as not to require any foreign aid for its internal protection, nor, of course, any exercise of the powers which I poffefs, and which he might deem himself warranted to refift.

I proceed to repeat the effects which have been produced to this time from the late accommodation, and the objects to which I look, for the final flue of it,

Before my departure from Calcutta, I applied through a private channel to the acting minifter to advance an immediate fupply of money to your paymaster-general at Lucknow, for the fubfiftence of the troops ftationed in these provinces, who were then many months in arrears,

and fuffered much additional diftrefs, from the fcarcity and dearnefs of grain. He inftantly raised the fum of ten lacks of rupees, which proved a critical and effectual relief.

Since my arrival, he has made other payments to a confiderable amount. Thefe are particularized in the enclosed account, No. 1, in which I have included, for your early information, all the payments made in liquidation of the honourable Company's debt, in the courfe of the prefent fuffelee year, to which all accounts of the revenue are, by old cuftom, adjufted, and which commences on the 11th of September to the prefent time *.

To this I have joined another account, No. 2, ftating the probable claims of the Company upon the Nabob Vizier, from the beginning of the. prefent to the end of the next fuffelee year, or to the end of September, 1785.

On both thefe accounts I fhall offer a few neceffary remarks. Firft on No. 1. The firft fum of fixteen lacks of rupees, ftated as the amount of Mr. Briftow's receipts, is taken from his own account, in the poffeffion of Mr. Wombwell, the accomptant for this station, but differs materially from that which has been drawn by the Nabob's officers, and I have referred it to the Board for adjustment with Mr. Bristow, who alone can explain the difference.

The fecond article is the regular produce of the current revenue: I was early careful to guard the minifter against the use of violent meafures to anticipate the periods of collection, for the purpose of giving an oftenfible credit to the prefent fyftem, by fwelling the amount of the payments made in confequence of it, although the exigencies of your ftate induced me to prefs him to contribute what he could for their relief, without adding to the diftreffes of his own; for the country will not bear it.

The third article was obtained by my own fuggeftion from Almafs Ali Cawn, who complied chearfully, and without hefitation, confidering it as an evidence feafonably offered for the general refutation of the charges of perfidy and difloyalty which have been too laboriously urged against him, and carried at one time to an excefs which had nearly driven him to abandon the. country, for the prefervation of his life and honour, and thus to give a colour to the charges themselves.

It would fcarce merit your attention to be informed, that I have inveited a part of this fupply in bills of exchange payable to the governor general and council in Calcutta, to the amount of five lacks of Calcutta ficcas; but as it is connected with an arrangement which may prove a future advantage to your interefts, in the reduction of the hoondyan or exchange, from fixteen per cent. to five and a half, at which it is my determination to fix it.

I have recommended to the board to appropriate the whole of this article as a fund for the

* From the 11th of September,. 1783, to the 31st of January, 1784, received by Mr. Bristow, current rupees 1,857,873

From the 31st of January to the 30th of April, 1784, received by Mr. Wombwell, current rupees 4,497,795

payment £.



Total 635,787

payment of the intereft on your bonds, which had fuffered fomething in their credit, and current value, from the fufpenfion of the payment of intereft, fome months before I left Calcutta. The laft article is the balance of the fum due from Fyzoola Cawn, by the treaty made between him and the Nabob Vizier, through the agency of Major Palmer, on the 16th of February, 1783. Two lacks of this amount are now in regular courfe of payment; the remaining three are not due by ftipulation till the next feafon called Khereef, which is a period included between the middle of September and the middle of February. Some days after my arrival, I intimated to his Vackeel my wifh to have both payments immediately concluded, and his mafter gave immediate orders for it.

To this inftance of refpect for your government he has added another, in the deputation of his fon to Lucknow, to confirm the affurance of his attachment to the company and British

nation. >

What further fums may be cleared in the courfe of this year, of which the moft productive part is already pait, I cannot fay; but it is my hope that a confiderable part of the nabob's debt will be liquidated, and the discharge of the remainder enfured by the engagements of creditable bankers, fo that it may be wholly cleared within the courfe of the enfuing year.

The account, No. 2, is an eftimate formed on the actual expence; but will be confiderably reduced, if my future profpects and objects fhall be anfwerable to my prefent expectations. To thefe I proceed.

Firft. My first wifh is to realife the amount of your demands on the Nabob of Owde to the end of the next fuffelee year, and to obtain ample fecurities for it before I depart from him.

Second. My next care will be to induce the Nabob's minifters to appoint bodies of regular troops, for the fupport of his collections, and the internal defence of his country. This will preclude the neceffity of calling for the aid of our troops, and I hope may prove the means of releafing him from the extraordinary and undefined fubfidy which he now pays for the great detachment employed under the command of Sir John Cumming in Rohilcund, and the regiments which have been occafionally demanded, and remain scattered over other parts of his dominions; and of confining our defence, and the Nabob Vizier's payments, to the brigade ftationed at Cawnpore, and to the fubfidy paid by treaty for its expence.

Third. My laft and ultimate hope is, that when these objects are attained your wifdom will put a final period to the ruinous and difreputable fyftem of interference, whether avowed or fecret, in the affairs of the Nabob of Owde, and withdraw, for ever, the influence by which it was maintained.

This country has no inlets of trade by which it can fupply the flues which are made from it; for, excepting the factory at Tonda, which fubfifts by a contract, making part of your investment, and the produce of opium and faltpetre, which is not confiderable, I do not know any other articles of commerce from which it would

derive any returns. Therefore, every rupee which is drawn from its circulation into your treasury must accelerate the period at which its ability must ceafe to pay even the ftipulated fubfidy. By the continuance of this fund, you maintain an acceffion of more than one half to the military establishment required for the defence of your own dominions, without any charge on your own income; and you oppofe a wide and powerful frontier to your eventual enemies.

That force will continue to be an effectual fafeguard to the country, which will fuffer nothing by its maintenance, because the fpecie thus applied will, of courfe, flow back into its circulation; and it is a tribute which it ought gladly to pay; for its whole wealth would not in any other way yield an adequate mode of protection.

Few are the advocates of the national interests, and their voice will be faintly heard amid the numerous and loud exclamations of private rapacity; but I humbly affume to rank myself with the former, and to affure you, that if you feek for a permanent and profitable system of connection with this country, you must confine your claims upon it to the line I have recommended.

If you tranfgrefs it, you may extend the diftribution of patronage, and add to the fortunes of individuals, and the nominal riches of GreatBritain; but your own interefts will fuffer by it, and the ruin of a great and once flourishing nation will be recorded as the work of your administration, with an everlasting reproach on the British name.

To this reafoning I fhall join the obligations of juftice and good faith, which cut off every pretext for your exercifing any power or autho rity in this country, while the fovereign of it fulfils the engagements which he contracted with you. I have the honour to be, with the most profound refpect, Honourable Sirs,

Your most obedient,

And most faithful fervant,

P. S. May 13, 1784. This letter, though purpofely and declaredly written for inftant difpatch, has been detained by the fudden appearance of an uncommon phenomenon, which, though in itself fimple and unimportant, derived a magnitude (like the lefs ordinary events of the phyfical world, viewed through the medium of fuperftition) from its operation on the opinions of mankind. On the night of the 11th of laft month, the Prince Jewan Bukht, who has long held the principal and most active part in the little that remained of the administration of the King, Shah Allum, and is his eldest fon, being about thirty-fix years of age, fled from the capital, attended only by his mother's brother and another perfon; and rapidly paffing the bounds of his father's dominions, efcaped far beyond the reach of purfuit, before his abfence was discovered; nor was the first direction of his flight known for fome days. The King fent circular orders to every quarter, that he might be apprehended, and fent back to the prefence.


The Nabob Vizier and myfelf received phirmauns (or letters) to that effect, and in the fame terms. We waited three days to learn the courfe of his route, and as foon as it appeared probable that it lay towards this place, we adreffed the prince feparately, to inform him of the commands which had been received, the mortification which thefe would impofe upon us of with-holding from him the duties of refpect, if it was his intention to come this way, and he perfifted in it, and, therefore, entreating him not to come. Answers were written to the King, with information of the part we had thus taken, and the utmost we could take in obedience to his commands. The prince in reply difclaimed any defign or object but fuch as were dictated by the molt devoted attachment and zeal for his father's interests, demonftrated by his choofing for his retreat the place where the Vizier of the empire and the chief of the English nation refided, who were known to be incapable of abetting him in a different conduct from that which he profeffed, and declaring that he would proceed at all events, trufting his deftiny to the conviction which must follow the integrity of his intentions. At the fame time, I received a letter from Major Browne, in which he related a private conference to which he had been admitted by the King, and in which his Majefty had expreffed his pleafere at hearing that his fon had chofen Lucknow for his retreat, where he would be fafe from the confequences which were to have been apprehended, had he thrown himself into other hands: and his Majefty enjoined Major Browne, with repetition and emphafis, to write fo to me. It was accordingly refolved to receive the prince, and of courfe to pay him all the honours of his rank, which, by the conftitution of Hindoftan, were the fame as those which were paid to the King himself; and this determination was inftantly tranfmitted to the King, with our reafons for it. In conformity to this plan, I accompanied the Nabob Vizier on the 7th inftant to the prince's encampment, at the diftance of about eighteen miles from Lucknow; and we paid him together the customary forms of obcitance. On the 9th he entered Lucknow, attended by the Nabob Vizier, myfelf declining, in oppofition to the defire of both, to bear any principal part in the ceremony, though I could bot refufe, at the prince's inftance, to appear in it, which I did, following him on horfeback as a mere attendant; and on the fame obvious motives, the prince having defired to be accommodated in a houfe near to my own, I refigned to him that which I then occupied, and took immediate poffeffion of one of the nabob's, which he had originally provided and prepared for my reception, within the compafs of his own palace, and immediately adjoining to that which he lived in. I have been minute in detailing thefe little particularities, becaufe, little as they are in themfelves, they are not fuch in their effects. The meanelt circumftances of fuch an interview will be circulated to every Durbar in Hindoitan, and construed the prognoftic of future events, and in that infpection may give birth to them. It was my duty, therefore, to avoid every appearance which might be received as a fymptom of en

couragement, by exceeding the limits of my prefent relation to the Nabob Vizier, as his gueft, and to raife his confequence, my own, and that of the nation which I reprefent; being independent of external fhow. I have the fatisfaction to know, that in this line I have pleafed both.

The Nabob conducted the prince to his capital, feated on the fame elephant behind him, and attended him to the house appointed for his accommodation. I paid my respects to him early on the morning of the 10th, and had the honour of a long converfation with him, in which he explained to me all the motives of his vifit, and painted the wretched condition of his father, which had been the primary caufe of it, in fuch ftrength of colouring, qualified with fo modeft a dignity in every occafion of reference to himself, and fuch a delicacy of expreflion, where he touched upon thofe circumstances of the royal fufferings as might tend to the diminution of his perfonal character, as exceed my powers of language to do them juftice in the recital of them.

I fhall beg leave to deliver the abridged account of what paffed in the words of a letter which I immediately wrote on my return to my own quarters, and with the impreflion of it recent on my memory, and difpatched the fame day to Mr. Wheeler, for his private information, and that of the other members of the board.

"The fum was, that his father was a mere paffive inftrument in the hands of others, and that he had undertaken this journey at the peril of his head, because it afforded the only chance he had of a relief to the King, or a restoration of the dominion of his houfe; that if he could be the inftrument of effecting this, he wished for nothing for himself but the credit of it, and a conviction in his father's mind of his having ferved him with duty, zeal, and fidelity. He obferved that, diftreffed as the royal family was, he himself enjoyed a comparative state of comfort, poffeffing a jagheer, horfes, elephants, a portion of fplendor, and domeftic eafe and pleafure; that he had voluntarily made a facrifice of thefe advantages, and given his person to fatigue and diftrefs, and his life to the hazard of the obvious confequences of his flight, that he might attempt the greatest poffible fervice for his father, in which if he failed, he would either return on his Majefty's command, which, he faid, impreffed him with fuch awe, that he doubted his ability, even at this distance, to refift it, or he would go to Calcutta, and there folicit a paffage in a fhip to England; for he understood the voyage was but five months; and if it was longer, he could bear the fatigues which others bore, and accommodate himself to any fituation of life which it became him to accept as a lot, and to submit to it. He faid, I was not to expect from his father any other letters than fuch as I had already received, and fuch as were confonant to the wishes of thofe who were about his perfon; but that he knew his father's real fentiments, which were of a very different kind, and I might eafily believe that the King muit in his heart be pleafed with conduct which could be attributed to no other motire


« PředchozíPokračovat »