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For the Year 1787.
Affairs of Bengal. Situation of Oude. cal Reform. Mr. Haftings refigns. of the Revenues. Lord Macartney E intended to commence the prefent volume of our Register with a review of fome of thofe tranfactions at Madras and Bengal, which fucceeded the pacification with Tippoo Sultan in March 1784. But, before we attend to the facts fubfequent to that period, it may perhaps be expected from us, that we fhould take fome notice of a charge of partiality, which has been repeatedly brought against us, in our narrative of the conqueft of Canara, and which has at length been embodied in a pamphlet, entitled, a Vindication of the Conduct of the English Forces, employed in that Expedition, pub. lihed by the order of the Eaft India company, and figned by one major, and fifty-two fubalterns of the Bombay establishment.
The point chiefly laboured in this pamphlet, relates to the capture of Annanpore by major Campbel. Refpecting this action we mentioned three circumstances, which undoubtedly were not confidered by us as topics of applause. "No quarter was given by the army, apd every man in the place was put
Negociations at Debli. Oeconomi Affairs of the Carnatic. Surrender refigns.
to the fword, except one horfeman, who made his efcape, after being wounded in three different places, The women, unwilling to be feparated from their relations, or expofed to the brutal licentiousness of the foldiery, threw themselves in multitudes into the moats, with which the fort was furrounded. Four hundred beautiful women, pierced with the bayonet, and expiring in each other's arms, were in this fituation treated by the British with every kind of outrage." Thefe facts were related, partly on the authority of a printed letter of lieutenant John Charles Sheen, an officer on this fervice, and the last of them only is controverted in the Bombay pamphlet. Mr. Sheen was called upon by one of thefe officers to difavow the facts ftated in his letter; and in his reply he observed, "that the bufinefs of Annanpore, was greatly exaggerated, and contrary to what he wrote home, together with the whole of that publication (the printed letter)." We are forry that this gentleman has not been more explicit, as a difarowal, couched in terms fo extremely indefinite
definite, throws a general fhade of obfcurity over his teftimony, while it cannot take away a certain degree of authority from his original letter. We are left to fufpect, that
those who ferved in the expedition, did not forget the calls of humanity, and lamented that the horrors of war fhould have involved the innocent with the guilty:" but add, he would have been more peremp-the foldier must pay implicit obedience to the voice that commands him, however the feelings of the man may be affected." The two first of thefe apologies we shall leave to be estimated by the reader: in the laft we acknowlege a degree of weight, but we had not then, nor have we now materials, to enable us to afcertain in the cafe of each individual, what is to be ascribed to the deliberation of choice, and what to the paffiveness of fubmisfion.
tory in his contradiction if he could; and we are entirely in the dark, as to the person who interpolated his narrative, and the motives that could have inftigated fo extraordinary a proceeding. The letter, it feems, was addreffed to his father in London, and we hope, if that gentleman be ftill living, that he will communicate to the public the real circumstances of the cafe. But this is not all, Mr. Sheen adds,
that he never commented upon the bufinefs of Annanpore himfelf:" an obfervation particularly unfortunate, as facts, not comments, compofe the matter in question. In the mean time we must obferve, that the ftory of the four hundred women is explicitly contradicted in the pamphlet of the officers, and we therefore cheerfully declare our conviction that it is founded in mifreprefentation.
It is already fufficiently evident, how little has been effected by the vindication of the Bombay officers. The great outlines and character of the expedition remain unaltered. It is ftill true, that a remarkable degree of feverity was employed in the field; that in the capture of the fortreffes of Canara the principle of a ftorm and no quarter, was very frequently applied; and that the acquifition of money was too much the governing object in every stage of the undertaking. The vindication of the officers has therefore done them little fervice; and it happens here, as it generally does in the cafe of an imperfect reply, that the majority of the facts are rather ftrengthened and demonftrated by the attempt to refute them. With refpect to the conclufion of the ftory; the treafures of Hydernagur; and the charge brought against them by Tippoo, that they had broken the terms of capitulation, and that when the fort was furrendered not a rupee was to be found in it; these circumstances are paffed over by the officers in the profoundest filence. It was this, that roufed the fultan
There are only two circumftances befide thefe, that receive any diftinct notice from the Bombay officers. At Onore, and again at Annanpore, the places were taken by form, and orders were iffued that no quarter fhould be given. This account is admitted in their pamphlet, and three apologies are offered. In the first place, the proceeding was "according to the rules of war. In the next, "that the garrison of Annanpore was treated with particular feverity, was entirely owing to their having been guilty of a breach of the law of nations, in detaining a flag of truce that was fent in by major Campbel to fummon them to furrender:" and lastly, they obferve," that
could not annihilate the remembrance of the blame they might incur. To return to the fubject of our history.
In the New Annual Register for the year 1784, we brought down the tranfactions, both of Madras and Bengal, to the clofe of the year 1783. The remaining tranfactions, which are neceffary to complete our furvey of the administration of Mr. Haftings and of lord Macartney, belong to a period of tranquillity, and are therefore unlike those which have preceded them, uncon⚫ nected and defultory. One of them, which has formed an object of fome difquifition, carries us back beyond the period we have affigned. So early as the month of August 1782, major Browne was commiffioned by the fupreme council, which then confifted of Mr. Haftings, Mr. Wheler, and Mr. Macpherfon, upon an embaffy to the Great Mogul at his capital of Delhi; and his inftructions were drawn up by the governor general, and approved by the board. We were at that time engaged in war with the Marattas, Hyder Ali Khan, the French, and the Dutch; and it appears to have been conceived, that in this fituation, we were bound to look out on all fides for confederates and allies. Of all the powers in India indeed, the Great Mogul was the leaft formidable in refpect of apparent ftrength. His immediate dominions has been alternately the prey of the Marattas and the Seiks, and in 1765, he had taken refuge in the feat of the English government at Calcutta. From the period at which he had quitted our territories in 1771, his condition had not meliorated; and accordingly the overtures which major Browne was impowered to make, were not for any reinforcement on .A 3
to vengeance, and it is to this, that he appeals for his juftification in difregarding a capitulation which had first been diffolved by the vanquifhed English.
The reader will naturally imagine, that the authors of the New Annual Register were inftigated by no perfonal malevolence against their countrymen in India, and that they were actuated folely by a regard for justice and humanity. That the furviving officers would be mortified by the refult of the picture, was a circumftance which was originally in our view, though we did not permit either an unwillingnefs to offend, or a dread of refentment, to deter us from the execution of our duty. Whether or not what are called the rules of war, juftified the moft fanguinary proceedings in India, we never ftaid to enquire. We were not ignorant, that they were fuccefsfully applied to the juftification of thole actions in ancient or modern times, which truth and humanity contemplate with horror. It has been faid, that we treated the petty bloodshed of Canara with reprobation, while the greater ravages of Hyder did not equally excite our indignation. Suppofing this to be true, it may be accounted for by a very obvious reafon. In inveighing against Hyder, we fhould only have been gratifying national predilection, and inviting a fpirit of retaliation and carnage. In condemning the improper proceedings of our own forces, we were animated by a fuitable zeal for the British character; we were contributing what was in our power to the termination of those scenes in India, which have fo long difgraced us; we were roufing the voice of equity in the breafts of the delinquents; and convincing them, that the hardships they might fuffer,
his part, but on the contrary to encourage any propofal, that fhould be fuggefted by the Mogul or his minister, for military afliftance from Bengal. One of the caufes of major Browne's being fent at this time, was the death of Nuzcph, Khan, the Mogul minifter, in the preceding April, who had been in long habits of connection with the government of Calcutta. This connection it was deemed highly proper to maintain; and it was conceived, that, however weak were the actual power of the Mogul, the fanction of his name, and the ftamp of his authority, would have no inconfiderable influence in inclining the balance of war.
It happened to major Browne, as it had done in feveral other of our Indian tranfactions, that, in ftead of proceeding immediately to the place of his deftination, he was detained first in Oude, and afterwards in other places in the courfe of his route, fo that he did not reach Delhi till December 1783. Upon his arrival however he loft no time, and immediately arranged with Affrafiab Khan, the then minister of the Mogul, the articles of an agreement, drawn up in the fpirit of his inftructions. According ly in the fame month, he addreffed a letter to the governor general, informing him of the fate of the tranfaction, and reprefenting in an emphatical style the urgency of the bulinefs. "We have offered to treat," fays the refident; "the Mo. gul has accepted: we have annexed conditions; he has approved of them." But, in the interval between the preparation of the inftructions and their execution, the fituation of affairs in India was entirely changed; the treaty with the Marattas was already concluded; the French war was terminated;
and the period of a general peace feemed rapidly to approach. The question, whether a military affilance fhould be afforded to the Mo. gul, was debated in the fupreme council in the month of October, and the board appeared to imagine, that, though once it might have been advifable, it was no longer fo.
Mr. Haftings indeed retained his original opinion; but he was left alone in a minority. And, the question having been already difcuffed, major Browne's letter was not taken into regular confideration, but was paffed over in filence and neglect.
We have mentioned Mr. Haftings's intention of proceeding, in the beginning of the year 1784, upon a journey to Lucknow, the capital of Oude. The fituation of the nabob of this province, the most important and powerful of our dependencies in this quarter of India, has long been extremely undefirable, and his complaints and expof tulations had been loud and unin termitted. He was impoverished, by the magnitude of the fubfidy levied upon him by the British government, which had gradually been increafed from 36,000l. to 312,000l. per annum, and by the number of troops that was stationed in his territories from the fame quarter. The remedies, which from time to time had been applied by the government general, confifted in temporary expedients, and not in the application of great principles of policy. We continually interfered even in the detail of his government; his firft minister was merely the tool of the British, and the most opulent of his fubjects were frequently the object of our complaint and perfecution. Occafionally we withdrew a confiderable part of the troops that were quar