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collecting the rice into stores. They did so. They knew the least violence prevailed. The unhappy Indians, resigned that the Gentoos would rather die than violate the to despair, confined themselves to the request of succours principles of their religion by eating flesh. The alternative they did not obtain, and peacefully awaited the relief of would, therefore, be between giving what they had, or death. dying! The inhabitants sunk. They that cultivated the “Let us now represent to ourselves any part of Europe land and saw the harvest at the disposal of others, planted afflicted with such a calamity. What disorder! what fury! in doubt: scarcity ensued. Then the monopoly was easier what atrocious acts! Europeans would have contended for managed; sickness ensued. In some districts, the living food dagger in hand; some flying, some pursuing, and, left the bodies of their numerous dead unburied.”
without remorse, massacreing one another! In the blindLet us next see what says the celebrated Abbé Raynal, a ness of despair, they would trample under foot all foreign historian, and the light in which this event is authority. regarded by foreigners :-" It was by a drought in 1769, at “ Had it been the fate of the English to have had the like the season when the rains are expected, that there was a events to dread, on the part of the people of Bengal, perhaps failure of the great harvest of 1769, and the less harvest of the famine would have been less general, and less destructive. 1770. It is true that the rice on the higher grounds did For, if we set aside the charge of monopoly, will any one not suffer greatly by this disturbance of the seasons, but undertake to defend them against the reproach of negligence there was far from a sufficient quantity for the nourishment and insensibility? And in what a crisis have they merited of all the inhabitants of the country; add to which, the this reproach ? In the very instant of time in which the English, who were engaged beforehand to take proper care life or death of several millions of their fellow-creaturas of their subsistence, as well as of the sepoys belonging to were in their power. One would think that, in such alternathem, did not fail to keep locked up in their magazines a tive, the very love of human kind, that innate sentinent part of the grain, though the harvest was insufficient. . . in all hearts, might have inspired them with resources." This scourge did not fail to make itself felt throughout Besides succeeding to the government of a country, whose Bengal. Rice, which is commonly sold for one sol (Id.) for chief province was thus exhausted, the finances of the three pounds, was gradually raised so high as four and even company were equally drained, both in Calcutta and at six sols (3d.) for one pound; neither, indeed, was there home, and the immediate demands on Hastings from the any to be found, except where the English had taken care to directors were for money, money, money! As one means collect it for their own use.
of raising this money, they sent him a secret order to break “The unhappy Indians were perishing every day by one of their most solemn engagements with the native thousands under this want of sustenance, without any princes. When they bribed Meer Jaffier to depose his means of help, and without any revenue. They were to be master, by offering to set him in his seat, and received in seen in their villages, along the public ways, in the midst of return the enormous sums mentioned for this elevation, they our European colonies, pals, meagre, emaciated, fainting, settled on Meer Jaffier and his descendants an annual consumed by famine-some stretched on the ground in ex- income of thirty-two lacs of rupees, or three hundred ani pectation of dying; others scarcely able to drag themselves sixty thousand pounds. But Meer Jaffier was now dead, on to seek any nourishment, and throwing themselves at the and his eldest son died during the famine. The second son feet of the Europeans, entreating them to take them in as was made nabob, a weak youth in a weak government, and their slaves.
as the company saw that he could not help himself, they .“ To this description, which makes humanity shudder, ordered Hastings to reduce the income to one-half. This let us add other objects, equally shocking. Let imagina- was easily done; but this was not enough, disgraceful as it tion enlarge upon them, if possible. Let us represent was. Mohammed Reza Khan, who had been appointed to ourselves infants deserted, some expiring on the by the company the nabob's naib dewan, or minister, on the breasts of their mothers ; everywhere the dying and the ground that he was not only a very able but very honest dead mingled together ; on all sides the groans and the man, they ordered to be arrested on pretended pleas of tears of despair, and we shall then have some faint idea of maladministration. He and all his family and partisans the horrible spectacle which Bengal presented for the space must be secured, but not in an open and abrupt way, which of six weeks.
might alarm the province; they were to be inveigled “During this whole time the Ganges was covered with down from Moorshedabad to Calcutta, on pretence of affairs carcases. The fields and highways were choked up with of government, and there detained. Nuncomar, the Hindoo, them; infectious vapours filled the air, and diseases multi- who had been displaced, in order to set up Mohammed, plied ; and, one evil succeeding another, it appeared not who was a Mussulman, and who had been removed on the improbable that the plague would carry off the total popula- | ground of being one of the most consummate rogues 11 tion of the unfortunate kingdom. It appears, by calcula- | India, was to be employed as evidence against Mohammed. tions pretty generally acknowledged, that the famine carried The company had pronounced Nuncomar as guilty of forgery off a fourth part, that is to say, about three millions! What and of treachery, in conveying information, injurious to the is still more remarkable is, that such a multitude of human company, to the French at Pondicherry. They had stigmacreatures, amidst this terrible distress, remained in absolute tised him, and justly, “as of that wicked and turbulent inactivity. All the Europeans, especially all the English, disposition, that no harmony can subsist in society, where were possessed of magazines. These were not touched. he has the opportunity of interfering." Yet it was this Private houses were so, too. No revolt, no massacre, not Nụnçomar, who had been incessantly plying the direston
with base suggestions against Mohammed, on which they of the harem, called Munny or Minnee Begum, to those were now determined to act. Knowing the utter villany of offices. The young nabob's own mother would have been Nuncomar, and willing to profit by it, the directors instructed the proper person, if a woman was to have the office; but Hastings to avail themselves of all the information which independent of this, the giving the office to a woman at all the envy and malice of Nuncomar were sure to furnish, but in that country was a matter of astonishment. This Munny to take care not to put him into any office as a reward. Begum had been a dancing-girl, and had nothing in her They knew that his object was to be made naib dewan, character to recommend her to the office, except that she or minister, instead of Mohammed; but he was by no means was a determined enemy of Mohammed Rheza Khan. to consent. He might be recompensed by a sum of money. Nuncomar was rewarded by his son Goordas, who "had
Such was the business Hastings was ordered to perform; no dangerous abilities," being appointed steward of the such an one as the Inquisition might have employed its nabob's household ; and Nuncomar was himself to be strictly familiars in, and as secretly communicated. “Yet," says watched that he did no mischief ; for Hastings, having done lord Mabon, "right or wrong, he was in no degree respon all this, still wrote to the directors that he knew Nuncomar sible for these acts. They arose from the peremptory and to be a traitor and a scoundrel, and had only used him bepositive commands of the directors at home." And Knight's cause no one else could or would do the things he had done. History says, “ No choice was left to their paid servant, “It is," said he, "on his abilities and on the activity of his which Hastipgs was, but implicit obedience, or disgrace and ambition and hatred to Mohammed that I depend. And," dismissal.” But is this the language of a Christian his- he adds, “ had I not been guided by the caution you have torian? Does the execution of wicked actions, under been pleased to enjoin me, yet my own knowledge of the command, exempt the doer from all moral responsibility ? character of Nuncomar would have restrained me from And was there no alternative but the execution of them, or yielding him any trust or authority which could prove detri. dismissal and disgrace, left to Hastings? Certainly there mental to the company's interests." was a far more honourable—a glorious alternative, that of Thus had Hastings, fulfilling to the tittle the secret resigning rather than be the instrument of such baseness instructions of the secret committee of the India House, and injustice. But Hastings was not of that high moral as completely swept away every engagement into which the stamp-such was not the spirit of the East India school. company had entered with Meer Jaffier for the possession of Hastings proceeded to obey, and from that moment became Bengal as if they had never existed. He had transferred particeps criminis, and prepared to advance further in that the whole government to Calcutta, with all the courts of dishonest course. Hastings fully carried out the orders of justice, so that, writes Hastings, “the authority of the the secret committee of the India House. He had company is fixed in this country without any possibility of Mohammed seized in his bed, at midnight, by a battalion of competition, and beyond the power of any but themselves to sepoys ; Shitab Roy, the naib of Bahar, who acted under shake it.” In all this wholesale injustice the only glimpse Mohammed at Patna, was also secured ; and these two great of a sense of it was shown in sending back Shitab Roy to officers and their chief agents were sent down to Calcutta Patna, clothed in a robe of state, and mounted on a richlyunder guard, and there put into what Hastings called "an caparisoned elephant, to hold some nominal office there; but easy confinement.” In this confinement they lay many the high-minded man sunk and died soon after, as it was months, all which time Nuncomar was in full activity said, of a broken heart, of a feeling evidently of the injustice preparing the charges against them. Shitab Roy, like and ingratitude to which he had been subjected. Mohammed, stood high in the estimation of his countrymen The manner in which Hastings had executed the orders of both faiths ; he had fought on the English side with of the directors in this business showed that he was presignal bravery, and appears to have been a man of high pared to go all lengths in maintaining their interests in honour and feeling. But these things weighed for nothing India. He immediately proceeded to give an equally striking with Hastings or bis masters in Leadenhall-street. He proof of this. We have seen that when the Mogul Shah hoped to draw large sums of money from these men; but he Alum applied to the English to assist him in recovering his was disappointed. Though he himself arranged the court territories, they promised to conduct him in triumph to that tried them, and brought up upwards of a hundred Delhi, and place him firmly on the grand musnud of a!! witnesses against them, no malpractice whatever could be India; but when, in consequence of this engagement, he had proved against them, and they were acquitted. They were made over to them by a public dewannee or grant, Bengal, therefore honourably restored, the reader will say. By no Bahar, and Orissa, they found it inconvenient to fulfil their means. Such were not the intentions of the company or of contract, and made over to him Allahabad and Corah inHastings.
stead, with an annual payment of twenty-six lacs of rupees Whilst Mohammed and Shitab Roy had been in prison, / -two hundred and sixty thousand pounds. The payment Hastings had been up at Moorshedabad, had abolished the of this large sum, too, was regarded by the company, now in office of naib in both Patna and Moorshedabad, removed all the deepest debt, as unnecessary, and Hastings had orders to the government business to Calcutta, cut down the income reduce it. It appears that the money was at no time duly of the young nabob, Muharek-al-Dowla, to one half, accord - paid, and had now been withheld altogether for more than ing to his instructions, and reduced the nabob himself to a two years. The mogul, thus disappointed in the promises of mere puppet. His uncle, Ahteram-ul-Dowlah, had solicited, restoration by the English, and now again in the payment as the existing eldest male relative, to be his minister and of this stipulated tribute, turned to the Mahrattas, and guardian, but Ilastings set him aside, and appointed a lady I offered to make over the little proviuc s of Allahabad and
Corah, on condition that they restored him to the sovereignty. This bargain was settled between the vizier and lastings of Delhi. The Mahrattas gladly caught at this offer, and at Benares, in September, 1773. by the end of the year 1771 they had borne the mogul in But the nabob of Oude held out new temptations of gain triumph into his ancient capital of Delhi.
to Hastings. The Rohillas, a tribe of Afghans, had, earlier This was precisely such a case as the directors were on the in that century, descended from their mountains and conwatch for. Their historian, Mill, says, in their letter to quered the territory lying between the Ganges and the Bengal of the 11th of November, 1768, they had said: “If | mountains to the west of Oude. They had given it the
the emperor Alings himself into the hands of the Mahrattas, name of Rohilcund. These brave warriors would gladly or any other power, we are disengaged from him, and it have been allies of the English, and applied to Sajah Dowlih may open a fair opportunity of withholding the twenty-six to bring about such an alliance. Dowlah made fair prolacs of rupees we now pay him." The opportunity had now mises, but he had other views. He hoped, by the assistance come, and was immediately seized on by Hastings to rescind of the English, to conquer Rohilcund and add it to Oude. the payment of the money altogether, and he prepared to He had no hope that his rabble of the plains could stand seize the two provinces of Allahabad and Corah. “Thus," against this brave mountain race, and he now artfully stated adds Mill, “they had plundered the unhappy emperor of to Hastings that the Mahrattas were at war with the Rotwenty-six lacs of rupees per annum, and the two provinces hillas. If they conquered them, they would next attack of Corah and Allahabad, which they sold to the vizier (the Oude, and, succeeding there, would descend the Ganges and nabob of Oude) for fifty lacs of rupees, on the plea that he had spread over all Bahar and Bengal. He therefore proposed forfeited them by his alliance with the Mahrattas; as though that the English should assist him to conquer Rohilcund for he were not frce, if one party would not assist him to regain himself, and add it to Oude. For this service he would say his rights, to scck that assistance from another."
all the expenses of the campaign, the English army rould
300 obtain a rich booty, and at the end he would pay the rush forward to the plunder. The English soldiers in great English government besides the sum of forty lacs of rupees. disgust said, “ We have the honour of the day, and these
Hastings bad no cause of quarrel with the Rohillas, but bandits, these robbers, have all the profit." Hastings bad for the proffered reward he at once acceded to the proposal. made not a single stipulation with Sujah Dowlah for mercy In April, 1774, an English brigade, under colonel Cham towards the inhabitants, and the nabob and his troops compion, invaded Rohilcund, and in a hard-fought field defeated mitted such horrors in plundering and massacreing not only the Rohillas. The old Rohilla chieftain, Hafiz, was seen the Rohillas, but the native and peaceful llindoos, that the
with his long white beard, seated on his charger, and vainly | English officers and soldiers denounced the proceedings with endeavouring to recall his flying troops. When he found horror. It was now, however, in vain that lastings called that he could not he gave a great shout, and, galloping for- on the pabob to restrain his soldiers, for, if he did not ward, was riddled by the balls of the enemy. The nabob of plunder, how was he to pay the stipulated forty lacs of Oude demanded the body, that he might have it cut in rupees; and if he ruined and burnt ou: the natives, how pieces, and his head carried on a pike round the country, were they, Hastings asked, to pay any taxes to him as his but colonel Champion had it wrapped in shawls, and sent new subjects? All this was disgraceful enough, but this was honourably to his family.
not all. Shah Alum now appeared upon the scene, and In the whole of this campaign nothing could be more dis- produced a contract betwixt himself and the nabob, which graceful every way than the conduct of the troops of Oude. had been made unknown to Hastings, by which the nabob They took care to keep behind during the fighting, but to l of Oude stipulated that, on condition of the mogul advancing
against the Rohillas from the south of Delhi he should re- confusion and calamity from this state of anarchy; and ceive a large share of the conquered territory and the Sujah Dowlah, regarding the proceedings of the new plunder. The nabob now refused to fulfil the agreement, members of council as directed against himself, and seeing on the plea that the mogul ought to have come and fought, in astonishment the authority of Hastings apparently at an and Hastings sanctioned that view of the case. One chief end, was so greatly terrified, that he sickened and died. of the Rohillas alone stood out; Fyzoola Khan took up a The council now recalled the English troops from strong position in the north of the province, and the nabob Rohilcund; and Bristow demanded, in the name of the was glad to grant him a jaghire in Rohilcund, as the price council, from Asoff-ul-Dowlah, the young nabob, a full of submission. The rest of the Rohillas returned to their payment of all arrears; and announced that, Sujah Dowlah own country, Sujah Dowlah remained in possession of it, being dead, the treaty with him was at an end. Under and Hastings returned to Calcutta with his ill-gotten booty. pressure of these demands, Bristow, by instructions from This was one of the cases which excited so much indignation the new regnant members of the council, compelled the in England when Burke brought it against Hastings on his young nabob to enter into a fresh treaty with them; and trial; and when some member of parliament endeavoured to in this treaty they introduced a clause to the full as infamous excuse him on the plea that the Rohillas were not natives of as anything which Hastings had done. In return for Rohilcund, Mr. Wilberforce exclaimed, “Why, what are we renewing the possession of the provinces of Corah and but the Rohillas of Bengal ?"
Allahabad, they compelled him to code to them the territory But Hastings had scarcely terminated these iniquitous of Cheyte Sing, the rajah of Benares, though this did not proceedings, when the new members of council, appointed at all belong to the nabob of Oude, and was, moreover, under the Regulations Acts, arrived. On the 19th of Oc- guaranteed to Cheyte Sing by Hastings, in solemn treaty. tober, 1774, landed the three councillors, Clavering, Mon- The revenue of Cheyte Sing, thus lawlessly taken possession son, and Francis ; Barwell had been some time in India. of, amounted to twenty-two million of rupees; and the nabob The presence of the three just arrived was eminently un- of Oude was also, on his own account, bound to discharge welcome to Hastings. He knew that they came with no all his father's debts and engagements to the company, and friendly disposition towards him, and that Philip Francis, in to raise greatly the pay to the company's brigade. Hastings particular, was most hostile. Francis was the one who utterly refused to sanction these proceedings; but the possessed by far the most able mind and the most determined directors at home, who cared not how or whence money will. All circumstances have ever pointed to him as the came, warmly approved of the proceedings. author of the “ Letters of Junius." From the moment that Nor did the new councillors confine their overbearing government gave him an appointment in the War Office, conduct to the presidency of Bengal. The new act gave George III. announced to his friends that Junius would be them authority over the other presidencies, and they proheard of no more, and he never was. Assuming, therefore, ceeded to exercise it without any regard to their own ignothat Francis was the author of Junius, you would imagine rance of the affairs of those other distant presidencies, or him not only a man of high ability, but of equal assumption the real acquaintance with them of the respective councik. of consequence and vindictive temperament. Such, indeed, The council of Bombay was just then engaged in a transacFrancis showed himself.
tion which, had the new members at Calcutta contemplated The letter of the court of directors recommended unanimity it justly, would have done them honour. The council of of councils, but nothing was further from the views of the Bombay had long coveted the rich island of Salsette, lying new members from Europe. As they were three, and near Bombay. A great confusion had arisen amongst the Hastings and Barwell only two, they constituted a majority, Mahrattas, in consequence of the assassination of Narrain and from the first moment commenced to undo almost Row, the peishwa, and the contending claims of different everything that he had done, and carried their object. competitors for his throne, and the council of Bombay took They denounced, and with too much justice, the Rohilla advantage of the opportunity to send out a force, which war; they demanded that the whole correspondence of seized the fort and island of Salsette. Once in possesMiddleton, the agent sent to the court of Oude by Hastings, sion of it, and desirous of obtaining other possessions in should be laid before them. Hastings refused to produce Surat, the council entered into treaty with Ragoba, tha much of it, as entirely of a private and personal nature; competitor whom, for the time, they chose to consider the and they asserted that this was because these letters would rightful peishwa, who yielded Salsette, Bassein, and other not bear the light, and that the whole of Hastings' connec- places, on condition that the English should support him tion with Sujah Dowlah was the result of mercenary against the claimants. Accordingly, colonel Keating was motives. In this they did the governor-general injustice, sent with a force to assist Ragoba; and at this point the for, though he drew money sternly and by all means from affair had arrived when the new councillors at Calcutta the India chiefs and people, it was rather for the company interfered. They first sharply reprimanded the council of than for himself. They ordered the recall of Middleton Bombay, and then dispatched colonel Upton thither to from Oude, deaf to the protests of Hastings, that this was decide the matter. Instead of ordering him, however, to stamping his conduct with public odium, and weakoning see that justice was done, he was instructed to take part with the hands of government in the eyes of the natives. Still, the stronger of the Mahratta factions, and, finding that Middleton was recalled, and Mr. Bristow sent in his place. Salsette, Bassein, and the rest of the territory, had been Hastings wrote home in the utmost alarm both to the obtained by treaty from Ragoba, he decided for Ragoa directors and to lord North, prognosticating the greatest | Rigoba was to be supported by all the power of the English