Imatges de pÓgina

that these diftricts were farmed by public advertisement to fuch per fons as offered the best terms, and bore the most responsible character; that the rent for which they had agreed with the farmers was fomewhat lefs than that, which the nabob profeffed to have made in the years immediately preceding the war; and that, by a reduction of the expences, the net revenue would fomewhat more than double that, which had been raised in the former inftance. Their fyftem was to take complete effect on the 12th of the following July.

of December 1781. This mea fure naturally arofe out of the very unprovided and defenceless condition, in which the Carnatic had been found at the period of the invasion of Hyder Ali. It fufficiently appeared, that the perfons, who had then the conduct of the nabob's afairs, were by no means qualified to affift by their efforts the refolute ftand which was made by the Eng lifh in that quarter. Attacked as we were on every fide, ftruggling with a moft formidable confederacy, of the fultan of Myfore, the pefh. wa of the Marattas, the fuba of the Decan, and the raja of Berar, it would have been unjustifiable in us, to trifle with our fituation, or to facrifice the poffibility of our poli tical existence to the formalities of rank, and the ceremonial of a court. Lord Macartney therefore, by a conduct that has been generally approved in this country, obtained from the nabob the prerogative of farming out his diftricts and collecting his revenues, and this power was made over to the prefidency of Madras during the continuance of the war, or for the fpecific terms of three or five years, as lord Macartney fhould agree with the renters under the new leafes.

The falutary effects of this meafure fpeedily began to appear. The prefident, unwilling to retain in his hands a power of fo invidious a nature, and fo liable to mifconstruction, appointed, in conjunction with his council, a committee of affigned revenue for the conduct and fuperintendence of the territorial affairs of the Carnatic. Thefe gentlemen made a report in the month of May 1782; and from this paper it appears, that they had been able to recover in fome meafure one half of the districts of the nabob from the ravages of war

It was probably more owing to the diftreffed fituation of his dominions, than to any conviction in his mind of the rectitude of the meafure, that the nabob had been induced to yield his aflent to the conceffion of December 1781. The minifters, who had conducted his affairs, the men who had brought upon his country all its prefent calamities, and who had fattened up. on its fpoils, were indeed terrified into filence in the moment of dan ger, but foon began to repent of their precipitation in not having diffuaded their master from a meafure, which deprived them of fo much of their influence. It is generally fuppofed, that a principal caufe of the diftrefs of the Carnatic had confifted in the corrupt proceedings of Mr. Benfield and others, ufually known by the description of the English creditors of the nabob of Arcot. In the war before the laft, the standard of Great Britain had been fuccefsfully erect ed, both at the mouth of the Ganges, and upon the coast of Coromandel; and the immediate confequence of our victories was the obtaining for the English Eat-India company a decifive afcendant in the dominions of the nabob of Bengal and

and the nabob of the Carnatic. Our influence in Bengal has produced its complete effect. Though the family of the nabob ftill exifts, and though the heir poffeffes a nominal royalty, yet the government of Calcutta, under the name of his duan or treasurer, have engroffed the political power, and reduced the nabob to a mere cypher.

It is natural for a prince to be a lover of power; and we can fearcely cenfure in any man an unwillingness, to waste the term of his life in inglorious impotence and cafe. These were the fentiments that had been felt by the nabob of Arcot; and he accordingly exerted himfelf to avoid the fame kind of depofition and degradation, which had overtaken the nabob of Bengal. To effect this, he believed, that he could not adopt a more advantageous method, than that of creating an English party in his fayour, which might balance, and occafionally control the direct influence of the prefidency. Accordingly he entered into a friendly intercourse with many individuals of the English nation; he fought to heap upon them his favours, to attach them to his perfon, and to engage them permanently in his intereft. In order to have the prefidency more immediately under his infpection, he removed from his capital of Arcot to the hamlet of Chepauk, in the fuburbs of Madras. Such is fuppofed to have been the rife of the debts of the nabob. That he might gain his ends, he gave to fome bonds of pecuniary obligation for fictitious loans. In other inftances he actuaily borrowed fums of money, which it was contrary to the regulations of the Eaft-India company for any of their fervants to lend, in order to confer immediate bounty

upon fuch as might not be able to wait for the flower operations of ufury; or to fupport thofe neceffi ties, which were the natural fruits of fo corrupt a fyftem. The debts once contracted, it would have been difficult, perhaps in many instances impoffible for the company, to dif tinguish the fictitious loans from the true; and it would have feemed to have been a hard measure, where large fums of money had really been advanced, though contrary to the regulations of the company, to have exprefly forbidden the repayment of thofe fums. Nor would fuch a prohibition have been lefs ineffectual, than severe.

The creditors of the nabob had long had in their poffeffion the collection of his revenues. Impoverifhed himself, he was unable to pay the interest of his loans in fpecie, and he had gone on from tine to time affigning over to his creditors different diftricts of his dominions, in order that by their own management they might extract from thofe diftricts the annui ties they claimed. It was natural, that this fhould have been a profitable trade to the creditors. Collecting themselves the interest of their money, they could charge without fear of contravention what fums they pleafed for the expence of the collection, and could bring to account, as the amount of the real revenue, as little as they thought proper.

This trade had found a fudden and premature termination in the general affignment, that was made of his revenue by the nabob of Arcot to the prefidency of Madras. That this was not oppofed by the creditors, was partly owing, as has already been faid, to the hopeless fituation of the nabob's affairs. Perhaps for a time they flattered

themselves, that they fhould be able to obtain the fame kind of influence over lord Macartney, that they had exercifed over the nabob of Arcot. They had established a formidable power in the country, and, if not by inclination, at least by terror, he might be deterred from entering into open hoftility with them. They had fhown in their conteft fix years before with lord Pigot, that they were not without their partifans, either in the province of Bengal, or in the kingdom of Great Britain. But they fpeedily found their miflake in the prefent inftance. The renters of the diftricts were almost all of them changed. In the granting of the new leafes no attention was paid to the folicitations of friendship, or the acquifition of intereft. It has never been imputed to lord Macartney, either by his friends or his enemies, that he difplayed too much of forbearance and complaifance to the perfons, who had mott credit with the nabob of Arcot.

The controverfy that followed was curious in its circumstances, and protracted in its duration. An account of the meafure was fent over by the English government to the East-India company at home, and it received the fanction of the court of directors in the month of September 1782. Nearly at the farne inftant, the minitters of the nabob in India applied to the fupreme council at Bengal to fupercede the affignment of the revenues, upon condition that the nabob fhould pay out of them a fpecific fum monthly for the fupport of the war. Their petition was granted. Orders were difpatched to lord Macartney to give up the inftrument of affignment; and it was understood, that fir Eyre Coote, who carried thefe orders in his last voy

age to Madras, in March 1787, was authorifed to proceed to extre mities with lord Macartney, in cafe he refufed compliance, and even to fufpend him from his government. The death of that celebrated officer two days after his arrival, for the prefent diverted the form. Major-general Stuart, a gentleman, who had been particularly active in the arreft and imprifonment of lord Pigot, was charged by lord Macartney with taking up the bulinefs, which fir Eyre Coote was to have finished, and carrying on a fecret and improper correfpondence with the council at Bengal. It was in confequence of this charge, that general Stuart was arrefied by the order of lord Macartney in September 1783, and fent to England in the following month. In the mean time this nobleman, refting his confidence in the fanction of the court of directors, refused to comply with the mandate of the fupreme council. That mandate had been repeated in the month of Auguft, but without effect.

There are paffages in the corref pondence of the different parties in this bulinefs, that appear to deferve to be extracted in this hif tory. The reafonings of lord Macartney, in defence of his conduct, and to induce the fupreme council to give up their oppofition, turn chiefly upon the injuftice that would be done to the new renters, to whom leafes had been granted for the terms of three and five years, in conformity with the conditions of the affignment, and who refted for their fupport upon the faith of the company. "Their leafes," fays his lordship, "cannot be legally torn from them. Nothing, but their previous breach of a part, could justify our breach of the whole; fuch a ftretch and abufe

bufe of power would indeed not only favour of the affumption of fovereignty; but of arbitrary and oppreffive defpotifm. In the prefent conteft, whether the nabob be guilty, or we be guilty, the renters are not guilty. Whichever of the contending parties has broken the condition of the affignment, the renters have not broken the condition of their leafcs. Thefe men, in conducting the bufinefs of the affignment, have acted in oppofition to the designs of the nabob, in defpite of the menaces denounced against all who fhould dare to oppofe the mandates of the durbar jultice. Gratitude and humanity require, that provifion fhould be made by you, before you fet the nabob's minifters loofe upon the country, for the protection of the victims devoted to their vengeance."

The charges that are brought by the court of the nabob againit lord Macartney, are not a little extraordinary, and are in the fame ftyle with thofe which were heaped in laborious abundance upon lord Pigot. Befide the circumstances of inattention and neglect on the part of the prefident, of the decorum that was due to the nabob's dignity, in iffuing grants and leafes in his own name, and in not officially acquainting the nabob with the peace, till a month after it was made; charges, which are founded in fome degree of probability, they advance accufations, which, if they cou'd be proved, would be inevitably fatal to his character. But they confift of circumftances the most incredible, and not feldom contradict and defroy their own affertions. One of the nabob's letters begins in the following style. "I am willing to attribute this continued ufurpation


to the fear of detection in lord Macartney: he dreads the awful day, when the fcene of his enor mities will be laid open at my reftoration to my country, and when the tongues of my oppreffed fubjects will be unloofed, and proclaim aloud the cruel tyrannies they have fuftained." In another letter, lord Macartney's conduct is treated as unjustifiable, in appointing "2 committee of revenue with enormous falaries, though his lordship 、 well knows that most of them are by your orders difqualified by being my principal creditors." It is however to be obferved, that, in the conclufion of the fame letter, the nabob forgets this charge, and pathetically pleads in favour of his creditors. It is not without great concern that I have heard infinuations, tending to question the legality of their right to the payment of thofe juft debts; their claims are the claims of juftice, and their demands, I am bound by honour and every moral obligation to difcharge. But I hope the tongue of calumny will never drown the voice of truth and justice; and, while that is heard, the wifdom of the English nation cannot fail to accede to an effectul remedy for their diftreffes." Lord Macartney is farther charged in this correlpondence, with "the greatest acts of cruelty, even to the hedding the blood, and cutting off the noses and ears of my fubjects." He is charged with "fecretly conniving at Mr. Buffy's recommendation to Tippoo to invade the Carnatic a fecond time, as the means of procuring the most advantageous terms, and furnishing lord Macartney with the plea of neceffity for concluding a peace after his own manner. Laftly, he is charged with the most . direct and fhameless bribery in granting

granting a leafe of one of the diftricts for half its value; and a letter, real or pretended, is produced, from his lordship's dubafh or fecretary, in his own hand-writing, in relation to this bribe. The dubash reprefents himself as obliged to write this letter, to fatisfy the renter that his bribe had been faithfully paid; but requests, that "after perufal you will fend it back to me immediately;" adding, until I receive it, I do not like to eat my victuals, or take any fleep."

It is well known, that one of the first measures of the board of control, inftituted under Mr. Pitt's East India bill, was a refolution of the fifteenth of October 1784, to furrender the affignment of the revenues to the nabob of Arcot. They conceived, that the power 1efulting from this affignment was fuch, that the affumption of it could in no way be juflified, but by the emergency of the war. The am bition and incroachments of the Eaft-India company, or its fervants, bad become an object of difguft to the princes of India, and by thus voluntarily furrendering a power which had been fully put into their hands, they believed that they should furnish the ftrongest argument of their difpofition to listen to the voice of moderation and equity. Lord Macartney however did not enter into the fpirit of thefe reafonings, and was extremely mortified to find a point, which he had fo long laboured, ultimately decided against him by the higheft authority. The orders having arrived at Madras in May 1785, lord Macartney immediately failed in the veffel which had brought them, on the fourth of June, for Bengal. He was willing rather to try the

effect of his expoftulations and remonflrances with the fupreme council, who had acted most vehemently against him in the bufine's of the affignment, than to give up without any provifion the ren ters, for whofe fafety and indemnification he conceived himself to have pledged his own faith, and that of the company. Upon his arrival he found Mr. Haftings failed for England, and a fhort time after, on the thirty-first of July, he received the appointment of the court of directors, of the twentyfeventh of the preceding February, conftituting him governor-gencral, Upon this appointment lord Macartney deliberated for a few days, and at length, having determined to decline it, took his paffage for England on the ninth of August 1785.

A fhort time after the departure of the prefident, came on at Ma dras, the trial of major-general fir John Burgoyne, whofe fufpenfion and imprisonment by the order of lord Macartney, was noticed by us in the New Annual Regifter for 1784. The trial was held in the months of June and July, and the prefident of the court martial was lieutenant general fir John Dalling, commander in chief of the forces in India. The charges exhibited against general Burgoyne, were thofe of difobedience of orders and neglect of duty, in withdrawing himself from the army, at the time that general Lang was appointed by the council at Madras, to comnand in the field; and of cauling and exciting mutiny and fedition, in having propofed and made preparations for holding courts martial under his authority, when that province properly belonged to ge neral Lang. Of all and every part


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