The Works of the Right Honourable Edmund Burke, Vol. VIII. (of 12)
by Edmund Burke
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That it appears, as it might naturally have been expected, that the wife of the said administrator, the daughter of Bulwant Sing, the late Rajah of Benares, and her son, the reigning Rajah, did oppose to the best of their power, but by what remonstrances or upon what plea the said Warren Hastings did never inform the Court of Directors, the deposition, imprisonment, and confiscation of the estates of the husband of the one and the father of the other; but that the said Hastings, persisting in his malice, did declare to the said Council as follows: "The opposition made by the Rajah and the old Rannee, both equally incapable of judging for themselves, does certainly originate from some secret influence, which ought to be checked by a decided and peremptory declaration of the authority of the board, and a denunciation of their displeasure at their presumption."

That the said Warren Hastings, not satisfied with the injuries done and the insults and disgraces offered to the family aforesaid, did, in a manner unparalleled, except by an act of his own on another occasion, fraudulently and inhumanly endeavor to make the wife and son of the said administrator, contrary to the sentiments and the law of Nature, the instruments of his oppressions: directing, "that, if they" (the mother and son aforesaid) "could be induced to yield the appearance of a cheerful acquiescence in the new arrangement, and to adopt it as a measure formed with their participation, it would be better than that it should be done by a declared act of compulsion; but that at all events it ought to be done."

That, in consequence of the pressing declarations aforesaid, the said Warren Hastings did on his special recommendation appoint, in opposition to the wishes and desires of the Rajah and his mother, another person to the administration of his affairs, called Jagher Deo Seo.

That, the Company having sent express orders for the sending the Resident by them before appointed to Benares, the said Warren Hastings did strongly oppose himself to the same, and did throw upon the person appointed by the Company (Francis Fowke, Esquire) several strong, but unspecified, reflections and aspersions, contrary to the duty he owed to the Company, and to the justice he owed to all its servants.

That the said Resident, being appointed by the votes of the rest of the Council, in obedience to the reiterated orders of the Company, and in despite of the opposition of the said Hastings, did proceed to Benares, and, on the representation of the parties, and the submission of the accounts of the aforesaid Durbege Sing to an arbitrator, did find him, the said Durbege Sing, in debt to the Company for a sum not considerable enough to justify the severe treatment of the said Durbege Sing: his wife and son complaining, at or about the same time, that the balances due to him from the aumils, or sub-collectors, had been received by the new administrator, and carried to his own credit, in prejudice and wrong to the said Durbege Sing; which representation, the only one that has been transmitted on the part of the said sufferers, has not been contradicted.

That it appears that the said Durbege Sing did afterwards go to Calcutta for the redress of his grievances, and that it does not appear that the same were redressed, or even his complaints heard, but he received two peremptory orders from the Supreme Council to leave the said city and to return to Benares; that, on his return to Benares, and being there met by Warren Hastings aforesaid, he, the said Warren Hastings, although he had reason to be well assured that the said Durbege Sing was in possession of small or no substance, did again cruelly and inhumanly, and without any legal authority, order the said Durbege Sing to be strictly imprisoned; and the said Durbege Sing, in consequence of the vexations, hardships, and oppressions aforesaid, died in a short time after, insolvent, but whether in prison or not does not appear.



That the said Warren Hastings, having, in the manner before recited, divested Durbege Sing of the administration of the province of Benares, did, of his own arbitrary will and pleasure, and against the remonstrances of the Rajah and his mother, (in whose name and in whose right the said Durbege Sing, father of the one, and husband of the other, had administered the affairs of the government,) appoint a person called Jagher Deo Seo to administer the same.

That the new administrator, warned by the severe example made of his predecessor, is represented by the said Warren Hastings as having made it his "avowed principle" (as it might be expected it should be) "that the sum fixed for the revenue must be collected." And he did, upon the principle aforesaid, and by the means suggested by a principle of that sort, accordingly levy from the country, and did regularly discharge to the British Resident at Benares, by monthly payments, the sums imposed by the said Warren Hastings, as it is asserted by the Resident, Fowke; but the said Warren Hastings did assert that his annual collections did not amount to more than Lac 37,37,600, or thereabouts, which he says is much short of the revenues of the province, and is by about twenty-four thousand pounds short of his agreement.

That it further appears, that, notwithstanding the new administrator aforesaid was appointed two months, or thereabouts, after the beginning of the Fusseli year, that is to say, about the middle of November, 1782, and the former administrator had collected a certain portion of the revenues of that year, amounting to 17,000l. and upwards, yet he, the said new administrator, upon the unjust and destructive principle aforesaid, suggested by the cruel and violent proceedings of the said Warren Hastings towards his predecessor, did levy on the province, within the said year, the whole amount of the revenues to be collected, in addition to the sum collected by his predecessor aforesaid.

That, on account of a great drought which prevailed in the province aforesaid, a remission of certain duties in grain was proposed by the chief criminal judge at Benares; but the administrator aforesaid, being fearful that the revenue should fall short in his hands, did strenuously oppose himself to the necessary relief to the inhabitants of the said city.

That, notwithstanding the cantonment of several bodies of the Company's troops within the province, since the abolition of the native government, it became subject in a particular manner to the depredations of the Rajahs upon the borders; insomuch that in one quarter no fewer than thirty villages had been sacked and burned, and the inhabitants reduced to the most extreme distress.

That the Resident, in his letter to the board at Calcutta, did represent that the collection of the revenue was become very difficult, and, besides the extreme drought, did assign for a cause of that difficulty the following. "That there is also one fund which in former years was often applied in this country to remedy temporary inconveniences in the revenue, and which in the present year does not exist. This was the private fortunes of merchants and shroffs [bankers] resident in Benares, from whom aumils [collectors] of credit could obtain temporary loans to satisfy the immediate calls of the Rajah. These sums, which used to circulate between the aumil and the merchant, have been turned into a different channel, by bills of exchange to defray the expenses of government, both on the west coast of India, and also at Madras." To which representation it does not appear that any answer was given, or that any mode of redress was adopted in consequence thereof.

That the said Warren Hastings, having passed through the province of Benares (Gazipore) in his progress towards Oude, did, in a letter dated from the city of Lucknow, the 2d of April, 1784, give to the Council Board at Calcutta an account, highly dishonorable to the British government, of the effect of the arrangements made by himself in the years 1781 and 1782, in the words following. "Having contrived, by making forced stages, while the troops of my escort marched at the ordinary rate, to make a stay of five days at Benares, I was thereby furnished with the means of acquiring some knowledge of the state of the province, which I am anxious to communicate to you. Indeed, the inquiry, which was in a great degree obtruded upon me, affected me with very mortifying reflections on my inability to apply it to any useful purpose. From the confines of Buxar to Benares I was followed and fatigued by the clamors of the discontented inhabitants. It was what I expected in a degree, because it is rare that the exercise of authority should prove satisfactory to all who are the objects of it. The distresses which were produced by the long-continued drought unavoidably tended to heighten the general discontent; yet I have reason to fear that the cause existed principally in a defective, if not a corrupt and oppressive administration. Of a multitude of petitions which were presented to me, and of which I took minutes, every one that did not relate to a personal grievance contained the representation of one and the same species of oppression, which is in its nature of an influence most fatal to the future cultivation. The practice to which I allude is this. It is affirmed that the aumils and renters exact from the proprietors of the actual harvest a large increase in kind on their stipulated rent: that is, from those who hold their pottah by the tenure of paying one half of the produce of their crops, either the whole without subterfuge, or a large proportion of it by a false measurement or other pretexts; and from those whose engagements are for a fixed rent in money, the half, or a greater proportion, is taken in kind. This is in effect a tax upon the industry of the inhabitants: since there is scarce a field of grain in the province, I might say not one, which has not been preserved by the incessant labor of the cultivator, by digging wells for their supply, or watering them from the wells of masonry with which their country abounds, or from the neighboring tanks, rivers, and nullahs. The people who imposed on themselves this voluntary and extraordinary labor, and not unattended with expense, did it on the expectation of reaping the profits of it; and it is certain they would not have done it, if they had known that their rulers, from whom they were entitled to an indemnification, would take from them what they had so hardly earned. If the same administration continues, and the country shall again labor under a want of rain, every field will be abandoned, the revenue fail, and thousands perish through want of subsistence: for who will labor for the sole benefit of others, and to make himself the subject of exaction? These practices are to be imputed to the Naib himself" (the administrator forced by the said Warren Hastings on the present Rajah of Benares). "The avowed principle on which he acts, and which he acknowledged to myself, is, that the whole sum fixed for the revenue of the province must be collected,—and that, for this purpose, the deficiency arising in places where the crops have failed, or which have been left uncultivated, must be supplied from the resources of others, where the soil has been better suited to the season, or the industry of the cultivators hath been more successfully exerted: a principle which, however specious and plausible it may at first appear, certainly tends to the most pernicious and destructive consequences. If this declaration of the Naib had been made only to myself, I might have doubted my construction of it; but it was repeated by him to Mr. Anderson, who understood it exactly in the same sense. In the management of the customs, the conduct of the Naib, or of the officer under him, was forced also upon my attention. The exorbitant rates exacted by an arbitrary valuation of the goods, the practice of exacting duties twice on the same goods, (first from the seller, and afterwards from the buyer,) and the vexations, disputes, and delays drawn on the merchants by these oppressions, were loudly complained of; and some instances of this kind were said to exist at the very time I was at Benares. Under such circumstances, we are not to wonder, if the merchants of foreign countries are discouraged from resorting to Benares, and if the commerce of that province should annually decay. Other evils, or imputed evils, have accidentally come to my knowledge, which I will not now particularize, as I hope, that, with the assistance of the Resident, they may be in part corrected. One evil I must mention, because it has been verified by my own observation, and is of that kind which reflects an unmerited reproach on our general and national character. When I was at Buxar, the Resident, at my desire, enjoined the Naib to appoint creditable people to every town through which our route lay, to persuade and encourage the inhabitants to remain in their houses, promising to give them guards as I approached, and they required it for their protection; and that he might perceive how earnest I was for his observation of this precaution, I repeated it to him in person, and dismissed him that he might precede me for that purpose. But, to my great disappointment, I found every place through which I passed abandoned; nor had there been a man left in any of them for their protection. I am sorry to add, that, from Buxar to the opposite boundary, I have seen nothing but traces of complete devastation in every village: whether caused by the followers of the troops which have lately passed, for their natural relief, (and I know not whether my own may not have had their share,) or from the apprehensions of the inhabitants left to themselves, and of themselves deserting their houses. I wish to acquit my own countrymen of the blame of these unfavorable appearances, and in my own heart I do acquit them; for at one encampment a crowd of people came to me complaining that their new aumil (collector), on the approach of any military detachment, himself first fled from the place; and the inhabitants, having no one to whom they could apply for redress, or for the representation of their grievances, and being thus remediless, fled also; so that their houses and effects became a prey to any person who chose to plunder them. The general conclusion appeared to me an inevitable consequence from such a state of facts; and my own senses bore testimony to it in this specific instance: nor do I know how it is possible for any officer commanding a military party, how attentive soever he may be to the discipline and forbearance of his people, to prevent disorders, when there is neither opposition to hinder nor evidence to detect them. These and many other irregularities I impute solely to the Naib, and recommend his instant removal. I cannot help remarking, that, except the city of Benares, the province is in effect without a government. The administration of the province is misconducted, and the people oppressed, trade discouraged, and the revenue in danger of a rapid decline, from the violent appropriation of its means."

That the said Warren Hastings did recommend to the Council, for a remedy of the disorders and calamities which had arisen from his own acts, dispositions, and appointments, that the administrator aforesaid should be instantly removed from his office,—attributing the aforesaid "irregularities, and many others, solely to him," although, on his own representation, it does appear that he was the sole cause of the irregularities therein described. Neither does it appear that the administrator, so by the said Hastings nominated and removed, was properly charged and called to answer for the said recited irregularities, or for the many others not recited, but attributed solely to him; nor has any plea or excuse from him been transmitted to the board, or to the Court of Directors; but he was, at the instance of the said Hastings, deprived of his said office, contrary to the principles of natural justice, in a violent and arbitrary manner; which proceeding, combined with the example made of his predecessor, must necessarily leave to the person who should succeed to the said office no distinct principle upon which he might act with safety. But in comparing the consequences of the two delinquencies charged, the failure of the payment of the revenues (from whatever cause it may arise) is more likely to be avoided than any severe course towards the inhabitants: as the former fault was, besides the deprivation of office, attended with two imprisonments, with a menace of death, and an actual death, in disgrace, poverty, and insolvency; whereas the latter, namely, the oppression, and thereby the total ruin, of the country, charged on the second administrator, was only followed by loss of office,—although, he, the said Warren Hastings, did farther assert (but with what truth does not appear) that the collection of the last administrator had fallen much short of the revenue of the province.

That the said Warren Hastings himself was sensible that the frequent changes by him made would much disorder the management of the revenues, and seemed desirous of concealing his intentions concerning the last change until the time of its execution. Yet it appears, by a letter from the British Resident, dated the 23d of June, 1784, "that a very strong report prevailed at Benares of his [the said Hastings's] intentions of appointing a new Naib for the approaching year, and that the effect is evident which the prevalence of such an idea amongst the aumils would probably have on the cultivation at this particular time. The heavy mofussil kists [harvest instalments] have now been collected by the aumils; the season of tillage is arrived; the ryots [country farmers] must be indulged, and even assisted by advances; and the aumil must look for his returns in the abundance of the crop, the consequence of this early attention to the cultivation. The effect is evident which the report of a change in the first officer of the revenue must have on the minds of the aumils, by leaving them at an uncertainty of what they have in future to expect; and in proportion to the degree of this uncertainty, their efforts and expenses in promoting the cultivation will be languid and sparing. In compliance with the Naib's request, I have written to all the aumils, encouraging and ordering them to attend to the cultivation of their respective districts; but I conceive I should be able to promote this very desirable intention much more effectually, if you will honor me with the communication of your intentions on this subject. At the same time I cannot help just remarking, that, if a change is intended, the sooner it takes place, the more the bad effects I have described will be obviated."

That the Council, having received the proposition for the removal of the administrator aforesaid, did also, in a letter to him, the said Hastings, condemn the frequent changes by him made in the administration of the collections of Benares,—but did consent to such alterations as might be made without encroaching on the rights established by his, the said Hastings's, agreement in the year 1781, and did desire him to transmit to them his plan for a new administration.

That the said Hastings did transmit a plan, which, notwithstanding the evils which had happened from the former frequent changes, he did propose as a temporary expedient for the administration of the revenues of the said province,—in which no provision was made for the reduction or remission of revenue as exigences might require, or for the extraction of the circulating specie from the said province, or for the supply of the necessary advances for cultivation, nor for the removal or prevention of any of the grievances by him before complained of, other than an inspection by the Resident and the chief criminal magistrate of Benares, and other regulations equally void of effect and authority,—and which plan Mr. Stables, one of the Supreme Council, did altogether reject; but the same was approved of as a temporary expedient, with some exceptions, by two other members of the board, Mr. Wheler and Mr. Macpherson, declaring the said Warren Hastings responsible for the temporary expediency of the same.

That the said Warren Hastings, in the plan aforesaid, having strongly objected to the appointment of any European collectors, that is to say, of any European servants of the Company being concerned in the same, declaring that there had been sufficient experience of the ill effects of their being so employed in the province of Bengal,—by which the said Hastings did either in loose and general terms convey a false imputation upon the conduct of the Company's servants employed in the collection of the revenues of Bengal, or he was guilty of a criminal neglect of duty in not bringing to punishment the particular persons whose evil practices had given rise to such a general imputation on British subjects and servants of the Company as to render them unfit for service in other places.

That the said Warren Hastings, having in the course of three years made three complete revolutions in the state of Benares, by expelling, in the first instance, the lawful and rightful governor of the same, under whose care and superintendence a large and certain revenue, suitable to the abilities of the country, and consistent with its prosperity, was paid with the greatest punctuality, and by afterwards displacing two effective governors or administrators of the province, appointed in succession by himself, and, in consequence of the said appointments and violent and arbitrary removals, the said province "being left in effect without a government," except in one city only, and having, after all, settled no more than a temporary arrangement, is guilty of an high crime and misdemeanor in the destruction of the country aforesaid.


I. That the reigning Nabob of Oude, commonly called Asoph ul Dowlah, (son and successor to Sujah ul Dowlah,) by taking into or continuing in his pay certain bodies of regular British troops, and by having afterwards admitted the British Resident at his court into the management of all his affairs, foreign and domestic, and particularly into the administration of his finances, did gradually become in substance and effect, as well as in general repute and estimation, a dependant on, or vassal of, the East India Company, and was, and is, so much under the control of the Governor-General and Council of Bengal, that, in the opinion of all the native powers, the English name and character is concerned in every act of his government.

II. That Warren Hastings, Esquire, contrary to law and to his duty, and in disobedience to the orders of the East India Company, arrogating to himself the nomination of the Resident at the court of Oude, as his particular agent and representative, and rejecting the Resident appointed by the Company, and obtruding upon them a person of his own choice, did from that time render himself in a particular manner responsible for the good government of the provinces composing the dominions of the Nabob of Oude.

III. That the provinces aforesaid, having been at the time of their first connection with the Company in an improved and flourishing condition, and yielding a revenue of more than three millions of pounds sterling, or thereabouts, did soon after that period begin sensibly to decline, and the subsidy of the British troops stationed in that province, as well as other sums of money due to the Company by treaty, ran considerably in arrear; although the prince of the country, during the time these arrears accrued, was otherwise in distress, and had been obliged to reduce all his establishments.

IV. That the prince aforesaid, or Nabob of Oude, did, in humble and submissive terms, supplicate the said Warren Hastings to be relieved from a body of troops whose licentious behavior he complained of, and who were stationed in his country without any obligation by treaty to maintain them,—pleading the failure of harvest and the prevalence of famine in his country: a compliance with which request by the said Warren Hastings was refused in unbecoming, offensive, and insulting language.

V. That the said Nabob, laboring under the aforesaid and other burdens, and being continually urged for payment, was advised to extort, and did extort, from his mother and grandmother, under the pretext of loans, (and sometimes without that appearance,) various great sums of money, amounting in the whole to six hundred and thirty thousand pounds sterling, or thereabouts: alleging in excuse the rigorous demands of the East India Company, for whose use the said extorted money had been demanded, and to which a considerable part of it had been applied.

VI. That the two female parents of the Nabob aforesaid were among the women of the greatest rank, family, and distinction in Asia, and were left by the deceased Nabob, the son of the one and the husband of the other, in charge of certain considerable part of his treasures, in money and other valuable movables, as well as certain landed estates, called jaghires, in order to the support of their own dignity, and the honorable maintenance of his women, and a numerous offspring, and their dependants: the said family amounting in the whole to two thousand persons, who were by the said Nabob, at his death, recommended in a particular manner to the care and protection of the said Warren Hastings.

VII. That, on the demand of the Nabob of Oude on his parents for the last of the sums which completed the six hundred and thirty thousand pounds aforesaid, they, the said parents, did positively refuse to pay any part of the same to their son for the use of the Company, until he should agree to certain terms to be stipulated in a regular treaty, and among other particulars to secure them in the remainder of their possessions, and also on no account or pretence to make any further demands or claims on them; and well knowing from whence all his claims and exactions had arisen, they demanded that the said treaty, or family compact, should be guarantied by the Governor-General and Council of Bengal: and a treaty was accordingly agreed to, executed by the Nabob, and guarantied by John Bristow, Esquire, the Resident at Oude, under the authority and with the express consent of the said Warren Hastings and the Council-General, and in consequence thereof the sum last required was paid, and discharges given to the Nabob for all the money which he had borrowed from his own mother and the mother of his father.

That, the distresses and disorders in the Nabob's government and his debt to the Company continuing to increase, notwithstanding the violent methods before mentioned taken to augment his resources, the said Warren Hastings, on the 21st of May, and on the 31st July, 1781, (he and Mr. Wheler being the only remaining members of the Council-General, and he having the conclusive and casting voice, and thereby being in effect the whole Council,) did, in the name and under the authority of the board, resolve on a journey to the upper provinces, in order to a personal interview with the Nabob of Oude, towards the settlement of his distressed affairs, and did give to himself a delegation of the powers of the said Council, in direct violation of the Company's orders forbidding such delegation.

VIII. That the said Warren Hastings having by his appointment met the Nabob of Oude near a place called Chunar, and possessing an entire and absolute command over the said prince, he did, contrary to justice and equity and the security of property, as well as to public faith and the sanction of the Company's guaranty, under the color of a treaty, which treaty was conducted secretly, without a written document of any part of the proceeding except the pretended treaty itself, authorize the said Nabob to seize upon, and confiscate to his own profit, the landed estates, called jaghires, of his parents, kindred, and principal nobility: only stipulating a pension to the net amount of the rent of the said lands as an equivalent, and that equivalent to such only whose lands had been guarantied to them by the Company; but provided neither in the said pretended treaty nor in any subsequent act the least security for the payment of the said pension to those for whom such pension was ostensibly reserved, and for the others not so much as a show of indemnity;—to the extreme scandal of the British government, which, valuing itself upon a strict regard to property, did expressly authorize, if it did not command, an attack upon that right, unprecedented in the despotic governments of India.

IX. That the said Warren Hastings, in order to cover the violent and unjust proceedings aforesaid, did assert a claim of right in the same Nabob to all the possessions of his said mother and grandmother, as belonging to him by the Mahomedan law; and this pretended claim was set up by the said Warren Hastings, after the Nabob had, by a regular treaty ratified and guarantied by the said Hastings as Governor-General, renounced and released all demands on them. And this false pretence of a legal demand was taken up and acted upon by the said Warren Hastings, without laying the said question on record before the Council-General, or giving notice to the persons to be affected thereby to support their rights before any of the principal magistrates and expounders of the Mahomedan law, or taking publicly the opinions of any person conversant therein.

X. That, in order to give further color to the acts of ill faith and violence aforesaid, the said Warren Hastings did cause to be taken at Lucknow and other places, before divers persons, and particularly before Sir Elijah Impey, Knight, his Majesty's chief-justice, acting extra-judicially, and not within the limits of his jurisdiction, several passionate, careless, irrelevant, and irregular affidavits, consisting of matter not fit to be deposed on oath,—of reports, conjectures, and hearsays; some of the persons swearing to the said hearsays having declined to declare from whom they heard the accounts at second hand sworn to; the said affidavits in general tending to support the calumnious charge of the said Warren Hastings, namely, that the aged women before mentioned had formed or engaged in a plan for the deposition of their son and sovereign, and the utter extirpation of the English nation: and neither the said charge against persons whose dependence was principally, if not wholly, on the good faith of this nation, and highly affecting the honor, property, and even lives, of women of the highest condition, nor the affidavits intended to support the same, extra-judicially taken, ex parte, and without notice, by the said Sir Elijah Impey and others, were at any time communicated to the parties charged, or to any agent for them; nor were they called upon to answer, nor any explanation demanded of them.

XI. That the article affecting private property secured by public acts, in the said pretended treaty, contains nothing more than a general permission, given by the said Warren Hastings, for confiscating such jaghires, or landed estates, with the modifications therein contained, "as he [the Nabob] may find necessary," but does not directly point at, or express by name, any of the landed possessions of the Nabob's mother. But soon after the signing of the said pretended treaty, (that is, on the 29th November, 1781,) it did appear that a principal object thereof was to enable the Nabob to seize upon the estates of his female parents aforesaid, which had been guarantied to them by the East India Company. And although in the treaty, or pretended treaty, aforesaid, nothing more is purported than to give a simple permission to the Nabob to seize upon and confiscate the estates, leaving the execution or non-execution of the same wholly to his discretion, yet it appears, by several letters from Nathaniel Middleton, Esquire, the Resident at the Court of Oude, of the 6th, 7th, and 9th of December, 1781, that no such discretion as expressed in the treaty was left, or intended to be left, with him, the said Nabob, but that the said article ought practically to have a construction of a directly contrary tendency: that, instead of considering the article as originating from the Nabob, and containing a power provided in his favor which he did not possess before, the confiscation of the jaghires aforesaid was to be considered as a measure originating from the English, and to be intended for their benefit, and, as such, that the execution was to be forced upon him; and the execution thereof was accordingly forced upon him. And the Resident, Middleton, on the Nabob's refusal to act in contradiction to his sworn engagement guarantied by the East India Company, and in the undutiful and unnatural manner required, did totally supersede his authority in his own dominions, considering himself as empowered so to act by the instructions of the said Hastings, although he had reason to apprehend a general insurrection in consequence thereof, and that he found it necessary to remove his family, "which he did not wish to retain there, in case of a rupture with the Nabob, or the necessity of employing the British forces in the reduction of his aumils and troops"; and he did accordingly, as sovereign, issue his own edicts and warrants, in defiance of the resistance of the Nabob, in the manner by him described in the letters aforesaid,—in a letter of 6th December, 1781, that is to say: "Finding the Nabob wavering in his determination about the resumption of the jaghires, I this day, in presence of and with the minister's concurrence, ordered the necessary purwannahs to be written to the several aumils for that purpose; and it was my firm resolution to have dispatched them this evening, with proper people to see them punctually and implicitly carried into execution; but before they were all transcribed, I received a message from the Nabob, who had been informed by the minister of the resolution I had taken, entreating that I would withhold the purwannahs until to-morrow morning, when he would attend me, and afford me satisfaction on this point. As the loss of a few hours in the dispatch of the purwannahs appeared of little moment, and as it is possible the Nabob, seeing that the business will at all events be done, may make it an act of his own, I have consented to indulge him in his request; but, be the remit of our interview whatever it may, nothing shall prevent the orders being issued to-morrow, either by him or myself, with the concurrence of the ministers. Your pleasure respecting the Begums I have learnt from Sir Elijah, and the measure heretofore proposed will soon follow the resumption of the jaghires. From both, or indeed from the former alone, I have no doubt of the complete liquidation of the Company's balance." And also in another letter, of the 7th December, 1781: "I had the honor to address you yesterday, informing you of the steps I had taken in regard to the resumption of the jaghires. This morning the Vizier came to me according to his agreement, but seemingly without any intention or desire to yield me satisfaction on the subject under discussion; for, after a great deal of conversation, consisting on his part of trifling evasion and puerile excuses for withholding his assent to the measure, though at the same time professing the most implicit submission to your wishes, I found myself without any other resource than the one of employing that exclusive authority with which I consider your instructions to vest me: I therefore declared to the Nabob, in presence of the minister and Mr. Johnson, who I desired might bear witness of the conversation, that I construed his rejection of the measure proposed as a breach of his solemn promise to you, and an unwillingness to yield that assistance which was evidently in his power towards liquidating his heavy accumulating debt to the Company, and that I must in consequence determine, in my own justification, to issue immediately the purwannahs, which had only been withheld in the sanguine hope that he would be prevailed upon to make that his own act which nothing but the most urgent necessity could force me to make mine. He left me without any reply, but afterwards sent for his minister and authorized him to give me hopes that my requisition would be complied with; on which I expressed my satisfaction, but declared that I could admit of no further delays, and, unless I received his Excellency's formal acquiescence before the evening, I should then most assuredly issue my purwannahs; which I have accordingly done, not having had any assurances from his Excellency that could justify a further suspension. I shall, as soon as possible, inform you of the effect of the purwannahs, which, in many parts, I am apprehensive it will be found necessary to enforce with military aid. I am not, however, entirely without hopes that the Nabob, when he sees the inefficacy of further opposition, may alter his conduct, and prevent the confusion and disagreeable consequences which would be too likely to result from the prosecution of a measure of such importance without his concurrence. His Excellency talks of going to Fyzabad, for the purpose heretofore mentioned, in three or four days: I wish he may be serious in his intention, and you may rest assured I shall spare no pains to keep him to it." And further, in a letter of the 9th December, 1781: "I had the honor to address you on the 7th instant, informing you of the conversation which had passed between the Nabob and me on the subject of resuming the jaghires, and the step I had taken in consequence. His Excellency appeared to be very much hurt and incensed at the measure, and loudly complains of the treachery of his ministers,—first, in giving you any hopes that such a measure would be adopted, and, secondly, in their promising me their whole support in carrying it through; but, as I apprehended, rather than suffer it to appear that the point had been carried in opposition to his will, he at length yielded a nominal acquiescence, and has this day issued his own purwannahs to that effect,—declaring, however, at the same time, both to me and his ministers, that it is an act of compulsion. I hope to be able in a few days, in consequence of this measure, to transmit you an account of the actual value and produce of the jaghires, opposed to the nominal amount at which they stand rated on the books of the circar."

XII. That the said Warren Hastings, instead of expressing any disapprobation of the proceedings aforesaid, in violation of the rights secured by treaty with the mother and grandmother of the reigning prince of Oude, and not less in violation of the sovereign rights of the Nabob himself, did by frequent messages stimulate the said Middleton to a perseverance in and to a rigorous execution of the same,—and in his letter from Benares of the 25th December, 1781, did "express doubts of his firmness and activity, and, above all, of his recollection of his instructions and their importance; and that, if he could not rely on his own [power] and the means he possessed for performing those services, he would free him [the said Middleton] from the charges, and would proceed himself to Lucknow, and would himself undertake them."

XIII. That very doubtful credit is to be given to any letters written by the said Middleton to the said Warren Hastings, when they answer the purposes which the said Warren Hastings had evidently in view: the said Middleton having written to him in the following manner from Lucknow, 30th December, 1781.

XIV. "MY DEAR SIR,—I have this day answered your public letter in the form you seem to expect. I hope there is nothing in it that may appear to you too pointed. If you wish the matter to be otherwise understood than I have taken up and stated it, I need not say I shall be ready to conform to whatever you may prescribe, and to take upon myself any share of the blame of the (hitherto) non-performance of the stipulations made on behalf of the Nabob: though I do assure you I myself represented to his Excellency and the ministers, (conceiving it to be your desire,) that the apparent assumption of the reins of his government, (for in that light he undoubtedly considered it at the first view,) as specified in the agreement executed by him, was not meant to be fully and literally enforced, but that it was necessary you should have something to show on your side, as the Company were deprived of a benefit without a requital; and upon the faith of this assurance alone, I believe I may safely affirm, his Excellency's objections to signing the treaty were given up. If I have understood the matter wrong, or misconceived your design, I am truly sorry for it: however, it is not too late to correct the error; and I am ready to undertake, and, God willing, to carry through, whatever you may, on receipt of my public letter, tell me is your final resolve."

XV. That it appears, but on his, the said Middleton's, sole authority, in a letter from the said Middleton, dated Lucknow, 2d December, 1781, that the Nabob of Oude, wishing to evade the measure of resuming the jaghires aforesaid, did send a message to him, purporting, "that, if the measure proposed was intended to procure the payment of the balance due to the Company, he could better and more expeditiously effect that object by taking from his mother the treasures of his father, which he did assert to be in her hands, and to which he did claim a right; and that it would be sufficient that he, the said Hastings, would hint his opinion upon it, without giving a formal sanction to the measure proposed; and that, whatever his resolution upon the subject should be, it would be expedient to keep it secret": adding, "The resumption of the jaghires it is necessary to suspend till I have your answer to this letter."

XVI. That it does not appear that the said Hastings did write any letter in answer to the proposal of the said Middleton, but he, the said Hastings, did communicate his pleasure thereon, to Sir Elijah Impey, being then at Lucknow, for his, the said Middleton's, information; and it does appear that the seizing of the treasures of the mother of the Nabob, said to have been proposed as an alternative by the said Nabob to prevent the resumption of the jaghires, was determined upon and ordered by the said Hastings,—and that the resumption of the said jaghires, for the ransom of which the seizing of the treasures was proposed, was also directed: not one only, but both sides of the alternative, being enforced upon the female parents of the Nabob aforesaid, although both the one and the other had been secured to them by a treaty with the East India Company.

XVIII.[60] That Sir Elijah Impey, Knight, his Majesty's chief-justice at Port William, did undertake a journey of nine hundred miles, from Calcutta to Lucknow, on pretence of health and pleasure, but was in reality in the secret of these and other irregular transactions, and employed as a channel of confidential communication therein. And the said Warren Hastings, by presuming to employ the said chief-justice, a person particularly unfit for an agent, in the transaction of affairs prima facie at least unjust, violent, and oppressive, contrary to public faith, and to the sentiments and law of Nature, and which he, the said Hastings, was sensible "could not fail to draw obloquy on himself by his participation," did disgrace the king's commission, and render odious to the natives of Hindostan the justice of the crown of Great Britain.

XIX. That, although the said Warren Hastings was from the beginning duly informed of the violence offered to the personal inclinations of the Nabob, and the "apparent assumption of the reins of his government," for the purposes aforesaid, yet more than two years after he did write to his private agent, Major Palmer, that is to say, in his letter of the 6th of May, 1783, "that it has been a matter of equal surprise and concern to him to learn from the letters of the Resident that the Nabob Vizier was with difficulty and almost unconquerable reluctance induced to give his consent to the attachment of the treasure deposited by his father under the charge of the Begum, his mother, and to the resumption of her jaghire, and the other jaghires of the individuals of his family": which pretence of ignorance of the Nabob's inclinations is fictitious and groundless. But whatever deception he might pretend to be in concerning the original intention of the Nabob, he was not, nor did he pretend to be, ignorant of his, the Nabob's, reluctance to proceed in the said measures; but did admit his knowledge of the Nabob's reluctance to their full execution, and yet did justify the same as follows.

XX. "I desire that you will inform him [the Nabob], that, in these and the other measures which were either proposed by him or received his concurrence in the agreement passed between us at Chunar, I neither had nor could have any object but his relief, and the strengthening of his connection with the Company; and that I should not on any other ground have exposed myself to the personal obloquy which they could not fail to draw upon me by my participation in them, but left him to regulate by his own discretion and by his own means the economy of his own finances, and, with much more cause, the assertion of his domestic right. In these he had no regular claim to my interference; nor had I, in my public character, any claim upon him, but for the payment of the debt then due from him to the Company, although I was under the strongest obligations to require it for the relief of the pressing exigencies of their affairs. He will well remember the manner in which, at a visit to him in his own tent, I declared my acquiescence freely, and without hesitation, to each proposition, which afterwards formed the substance of a written agreement, as he severally made them; and he can want no other evidence of my motives for so cheerful a consent, nor for the requests which I added as the means of fulfilling his purposes in them. Had he not made these measures his own option, I should not have proposed them; but having once adopted them, and made them the conditions of a formal and sacred agreement, I had no longer an option to dispense with them, but was bound to the complete performance and execution of them, as points of public duty and of national faith, for which I was responsible to my king, and the Company my immediate superiors: and this was the reason for my insisting on their performance and execution, when I was told that the Nabob himself had relaxed from his original purpose, and expressed a reluctance to proceed in it."

XXI. That the said Warren Hastings does admit that the Nabob had originally no regular claim upon him for his interference, or he any claim on the Nabob, which, might entitle him to interfere in the Nabob's domestic concerns; yet, in order to justify his so invidious an interference, he did, in the letter aforesaid, give a false account of the said treaty, which (as before mentioned) did nothing more than give a permission to the Nabob to resume the jaghires, if HE should judge the same to be necessary, and did therefore leave the right of dispensing with the whole, or any part thereof, as much in his option after the treaty as it was before: the declared intent of the article being only to remove the restraint of the Company's guaranty forbidding such resumption, but furnishing nothing which could authorize putting that resumption into the hands and power of the Company, to be enforced at their discretion. And with regard to the other part of the spoil made by order of the said Hastings, and by him in the letter aforesaid stated to be made equally against the will of the Nabob, namely, that which was committed on the personal and movable property of the female parents of the Nabob, nothing whatsoever in relation to the same is stipulated in the said pretended treaty.

XXII. That the said Hastings, in asserting that he was bound to the acts aforesaid by public duty, and even by national faith, in the very instance in which that national faith was by him grossly violated, and in justifying himself by alleging that he was bound to the complete execution by a responsibility to the Company which he immediately served, and by asserting that these violent and rapacious proceedings, subjecting all persons concerned in them to obloquy, would be the means of strengthening the connection of the Nabob with the British United Company of Merchants trading to the East Indies, did disgrace the authority under which he immediately acted. And that the said Hastings, in justifying his obligations to the said acts by a responsibility to the king, namely, to the King of Great Britain, did endeavor to throw upon his Majesty, his lawful sovereign, (whose name and character he was bound to respect, and to preserve in estimation with all persons, and particularly with the sovereign princes, the allies of his government,) the disgrace and odium of the aforesaid acts, in which a sovereign prince was by him, the said Hastings, made an instrument of perfidy, wrong, and outrage to two mothers and wives of sovereign princes, and in which he did exhibit to all Asia (a country remarkable for the utmost devotion to parental authority) the spectacle of a Christian governor, representing a Christian sovereign, compelling a son to become the instrument of such violence and extortion against his own mother.

That the said Warren Hastings, by repeated messages and injunctions, and under menaces of "a dreadful responsibility," did urge the Resident to a completion of this barbarous act; and well knowing that such an act would probably be resisted, did order him, the said Resident, to use the British troops under his direction for that purpose; and did offer the assistance of further forces, urging the execution in the following peremptory terms: "You yourself must be personally present; you must not allow any negotiation or forbearance, but must prosecute both services, until the Begums [princesses] are at the entire mercy of the Nabob."[61]

XXIII. That, in conformity to the said peremptory orders, a party of British and other troops, with the Nabob in the ostensible, and the British Resident in the real command, were drawn towards the city of Fyzabad, in the castle of which city the mother and grandmother of the Nabob had their residence; and after expending two days in negotiation, (the particulars of which do not appear,) the Resident not receiving the satisfaction he looked for, the town was first stormed, and afterwards the castle; and little or no resistance being made, and no blood being shed on either side, the British troops occupied all the outer inclosure of the palace of one of the princesses, and blocked up the other.[62]

XXIV. That this violent assault, and forcible occupation of their houses, and the further extremities they had to apprehend, did not prevail on the female parents of the Nabob to consent to any submission, until the Resident sent in unto them a letter from the said Warren Hastings,[63] (no copy of which appears,) declaring himself no longer bound by the guaranty, and containing such other matter as tended to remove all their hopes, which seemed to be centred in British faith.

XXV. That the chief officers of their household, who were their treasurers and confidential agents, the eunuchs Jewar Ali Khan and Behar Ali Khan, persons of great eminence, rank, and distinction, who had been in high trust and favor with the late Nabob, were ignominiously put into confinement under an inferior officer, in order to extort the discovery of the treasures and effects committed to their care and fidelity. And the said Middleton did soon after, that is to say, on the 12th of January, 1782, deliver them over for the same purpose into the custody of Captain Neal Stuart, commanding the eighth regiment, by his order given in the following words: "To be kept in close and secure confinement, admitting of no intercourse with them, excepting by their four menial servants, who are authorized to attend them until further orders. You will allow them to have any necessary and convenience which may be consistent with a strict guard over them."

XXVI. That, in consequence of these severities upon herself, and on those whom she most regarded and trusted, the mother of the said Nabob did at length consent to the delivering up of her treasures, and the same were paid to the Resident, to the amount of the bond given by the Nabob to the Company for his balance of the year 1779-80; and the said treasure "was taken from the most secret recesses in the houses of the two eunuchs."

XXVII. That the Nabob continuing still under the pressure of a further pretended debt to the Company for his balance of the year 1780-81, the Resident, not satisfied with the seizure of the estates and treasures of his parents aforesaid, although he, the said Resident, did confess that the princess mother "had declared, with apparent truth, that she had delivered up the whole of the property in her hands, excepting goods which from the experience which he, the Resident, had of the small produce of the sales of a former payment made by her in that mode he did refuse, and that in his opinion it certainly would have amounted to little or nothing," did proceed to extort another great sum of money, that is to say, the sum of one hundred and twenty thousand pounds sterling, on account of the last pretended balance aforesaid: in order, therefore, to compel the said ministers and treasurers either to distress their principals by extorting whatever valuable substance might by any possibility remain concealed, or to furnish the said sum from their own estates or from their credit with their friends, did order their imprisonment to be aggravated with circumstances of great cruelty, giving an order to Lieutenant Francis Rutledge, dated 20th January, 1782, in the following words.

XXVIII. "SIR,—When this note is delivered to you by Hoolas Roy, I have to desire that you order the two prisoners to be put in irons, keeping them from all food, &c., agreeable to my instructions of yesterday.


XXIX. That by the said unjust and rigorous proceeding the said eunuchs were compelled to give their engagement for the payment of one hundred and twenty thousand pounds sterling aforesaid, to be completed within the period of one month; but after they had entered into the said compulsory engagement, they were still kept in close imprisonment, and the mother and grandmother of the Nabob were themselves held under a strict guard,—although, at the same time, the confiscated estates were actually in the Company's possession, and found to exceed the amount of what they were rated at in the general list of confiscated estates,[64] and although the Assistant Resident, Johnson, did confess, "that the object of distressing the Bhow Begum was merely to obtain a ready-money instead of a dilatory payment, and that this ready-money payment, if not paid, was recoverable in the course of a few months upon the jaghires in his possession, and that therefore it was not worth proceeding to any extremities, beyond the one described," (namely, the confinement of the princesses, and the imprisonment and fettering of their ministers,) "upon so respectable a family."[65]

XXX. That, after the surrender of the treasure, and the passing the bonds and obligations given as aforesaid, the Resident having been strictly ordered by the said Warren Hastings not to make any settlement whatsoever with the said women of high rank, the Nabob was induced to leave the city of Fyzabad without taking leave of his mother, or showing her any mark of duty or civility. And on the same day the Resident left the city aforesaid; and after his return to Lucknow, in order to pacify the said Hastings, who appeared to resent that the Nabob was not urged to greater degrees of rigor than those hitherto used towards his mother, he, the said Resident, did, in his letter of the 6th February, give him an assurance in the following words:—"I shall, as you direct, use my influence to dissuade his Excellency from concluding any settlement until I have your further commands."

XXXI. That the payment of the bond last extorted from the eunuchs was soon after commenced, and the grandmother, as well as the mother, were now compelled to deliver what they declared was the extent of the whole of both their possessions, including down to their table utensils; which, as the Resident admitted, "they had been and were still delivering, and that no proof had yet been obtained of their having more."

XXXII. That bullion, jewels, and goods, to the amount of five hundred thousand pounds and upwards, were actually received by the Resident for the use of the Company before the 23d of February, 1782; and there remained on the said extorted bond no more than about twenty-five thousand pounds, according to the statement of the eunuchs, and not above fifty thousand according to that made by the Resident.

XXXIII. That, in this advanced state of the delivery of the extorted treasure, the ministers of the women aforesaid of the reigning family did apply to Captain Leonard Jaques, under whose custody they were confined, to be informed of the deficiency with which they stood charged, that they might endeavor, with the assistance of their friends, to provide for the same, and praying that they might through his mediation be freed from the hardships they suffered under their confinement: to which application they received an insolent answer from the said Richard Johnson, dated February 27th, 1782, declaring that part of what he had received in payment was in jewels and bullion, and that more than a month, the time fixed for the final payment, would elapse before he could dispose of the same,—insisting upon a ready-money payment, and assuring them "that the day on which their agreement expired he should be indispensably obliged to recommence severities upon them, until the last farthing was fully paid." And in order to add to their terrors and hardships, as well as to find some pretext for the further cruel and inhuman acts intended, an apparently groundless and injurious charge was suggested to the imprisoned ministers aforesaid in the following words. "You may also mention to them, that I have reason to suspect that the commotions raised by Bulbudder have not been without their suggestion and abetment, which, if proved upon them, in addition to the probable breach of their agreement, will make their situation very desperate."

XXXIV. That on the receipt of the said letter, that is, on the 2d March, the ministers aforesaid did aver, that they were not able to obtain cash, in lieu of the jewels and other effects, but that, if the goods were sold, and they released from their confinement, and permitted (as they have before requested) to go abroad among their friends, they could soon make good the deficiency; and they did absolutely deny "that they had any hand in the commotions raised by Bulbudder, or any kind of correspondence with him or his adherents."

XXXV. That the prisoners aforesaid did shortly after, that is to say, on the 13th March, a third time renew their application to Nathaniel Middleton, Esquire, the Resident, and did request that the jewels remaining in his, the said Resident's, hands, towards the payment of the balance remaining, "might be valued by four or five eminent merchants, Mussulmen and Hindoos, upon oath," and that, if any balance should afterwards appear, they would upon their release get their friends to advance the same; and they did again represent the hardship of their imprisonment, and pray for relief; and did again assert that the imputations thrown upon them by the said Richard Johnson were false and groundless,—"that they had no kind of intercourse, either directly or indirectly, with the authors of the commotions alluded to, and that they did stake their lives upon the smallest proof thereof being brought."

XXXVI. That, instead of their receiving any answer to any of the aforesaid reasonable propositions, concerning either the account stated, or the crimes imputed to them, or any relief from the hardships they suffered, he, the Resident, Middleton, did, on the 18th of the said month, give to the officer who had supplicated in favor of the said prisoners an order in which he declared himself "under the disagreeable necessity of recurring to severities to enforce the said payment, and that this is therefore to desire that you immediately cause them to be put in irons, and keep them so until I shall arrive at Fyzabad to take further measures as may be necessary": which order being received at Fyzabad the day after it was given, the said eunuchs were a second time thrown into irons. And it appears that (probably in resentment for the humane representations of the said Captain Jaques) the Resident did refuse to pay for the fetters, and other contingent charges of the imprisonment of the said ministers of the Nabob's mother, when at the same time very liberal contingent allowances were made to other officers; and the said Jaques did strongly remonstrate against the same as follows. "You have also ordered me to put the prisoners in irons: this I have done; yet, as I have no business to purchase fetters, or supply them any other way, it is but reasonable that you should order me to be reimbursed. And why should I add anything more? A late commander at this place, I am told, draws near as many thousands monthly contingencies as my trifling letter for hundreds. However, if you cannot get my bill paid, be so obliging as to return it, and give me an opportunity of declaring to the world that I believe I am the first officer in the Company's service who has suffered in his property by an independent command."

XXXVI. That, in about two months after the said prisoners had continued in irons in the manner aforesaid, the officer on guard, in a letter of the 18th May, did represent to the Resident as follows. "The prisoners, Behar and Jewar Ali Khan, who seem to be very sickly, have requested their irons might be taken off for a few days, that they might take medicine, and walk about the garden of the place where they are confined. Now, as I am sure they will be equally secure without their irons as with them, I think it my duty to inform you of this request: I desire to know your pleasure concerning it." To which letter the said officer did receive a direct refusal, dated 22d May, 1782, in the following words. "I am sorry it is not in my power to comply with your proposal of easing the prisoners for a few days of their fetters. Much as my humanity may be touched by their sufferings, I should think it inexpedient to afford them any alleviation while they persist in a breach of their contract with me: and, indeed, no indulgence can be shown them without the authority of the Nabob, who, instead of consenting to moderate the rigors of their situation, would be most willing to multiply them":—endeavoring to join the Nabob, whom he well knew to be reluctant in the whole proceeding, as a party in the cruelties by which, through the medium of her servants, it was intended to coerce his mother.

XXXVIII. That the said Resident, in a few days after, that is to say, on the 1st June, 1782, in a letter to Major Gilpin, in command at Fyzabad, did order the account, as by himself stated, to be read to the prisoners, and, without taking any notice of their proposal concerning the valuation of the effects, or their denial of the offences imputed to them, to demand a positive answer relative to the payment, and, "upon receiving from them a negative or unsatisfactory reply, to inform them, that, all further negotiation being at an end, they must prepare for their removal to Lucknow, where they would be called upon to answer not only their recent breach of faith and solemn engagement, but also to atone for other heavy offences, the punishment of which, as had frequently been signified to them, it was in their power to have mitigated by a proper acquittal of themselves in this transaction." By which insinuations concerning the pretended offences of the said unhappy persons, and the manner by which they were to atone for the same, and by their never having been specifically and directly made, it doth appear that the said crimes and offences were charged for the purpose of extorting money, and not upon principles or for the ends of justice.

XXXIX. That, after some ineffectual negotiations to make the prisoners pay the money, which it does not appear to have been in their power to pay, they were again threatened by the Resident, in a letter to Major Gilpin, dated 9th June, 1782, in the following terms. "I wish you to explain once more to the prisoners the imprudence and folly of their conduct in forcing me to a measure which must be attended with consequences so very serious to them, and that, when once they are removed to Lucknow, it will not be in my power to show them mercy, or to stand between them and the vengeance of the Nabob. Advise them to reflect seriously upon the unhappy situation in which they will be involved in one case, and the relief it will be in my power to procure them in the other; and let them make their option."

XL. That he, the said Resident, did also, at the same time, receive a letter from the princess mother, which letter does not appear, but to which only the following insolent return was made,—that is to say: "The letter from the Bhow Begum is no ways satisfactory, and I cannot think of returning an answer to it. Indeed, all correspondence between the Begum and me has long been stopped; and I request you will be pleased to inform her that I by no means wish to resume it, or to maintain any friendly intercourse with her, until she has made good my claim upon her for the balance due."

XLI. That, in consequence of these threats, and to prevent a separation of the ministers from their mistresses, several plans for the payment of the balance were offered, both by the mother of the Nabob and the prisoners, to which no other objection appears to have been made than the length of time required by the parties to discharge the comparatively small remainder of the extorted bond: the officer on command declaring, that, conformable to his instructions, he could not receive the same.[66]

XLII. That the prisoners were actually removed from the city of their residence to the city of Lucknow, where they arrived on the 24th of June, 1782, and were on the next day threatened with severities, "to make them discover where the balance might be procurable." And on the 28th, it should seem, that the severities for the purpose aforesaid were inflicted, at least upon one of them; for the Assistant Resident, Johnson, did on that day write to Captain Waugh, the officer commanding the guard, the letter following, full of disgrace to the honor, justice, and humanity of the British nation.

XLIII. "SIR,—The Nabob having determined to inflict corporal punishment upon the prisoners under your guard, this is to desire that his officers, when they shall come, may have free access to the prisoners, and be permitted to do with them as they shall see proper, only taking care that they leave them always under your charge."

XLIV. That the said Richard Johnson did, further to terrify the prisoners, and to extort by all ways the remainder of the said unjust, oppressive, and rapacious demand, threaten to remove them out of the Nabob's dominions into the castle of Churnagur, in order forever to separate them from their principals, and deprive both of their reciprocal protection and services,[67]—and did order a further guard to be put on the palace of the grandmother of the Nabob, an ally of the Company, and to prevent the entrance of the provisions to her, (which order relative to the guard only was executed,) and did use sundry unworthy and insulting menaces both with regard to herself and to her principal ministers.[68]

XLV. That a proposal was soon after made by the said princess and her daughter-in-law, praying that their ministers aforesaid should be returned to Fyzabad, and offering to raise a sum of money on that condition;[69] as also that they would remove from one of their palaces, whilst the English were to be permitted to search the other.[70] But the Assistant Resident, Johnson, did, instead of a compliance with the former of these propositions, send the following orders, dated 23d July, 1782, to the officer commanding the guard on the ministers aforesaid: "Some violent demands having been made for the release of the prisoners, it is necessary that every possible precaution be taken for their security; you will therefore be pleased to be very strict in guarding them; and I herewith send another pair of fetters to be added to those now upon the prisoners." And in answer to the second proposition, the said Resident did reply in the following terms: "The proposal of evacuating one palace, that it may be searched, and then evacuating the next, upon the same principle, is apparently fair; but it is well known, in the first place, that such bricked-up or otherwise hidden treasure is not to be hit upon in a day without a guide. I have therefore informed the Nabob of this proposal, and, if the matter is to be reduced to a search, he will go himself, with such people as he may possess for information, together with the prisoners; and when in possession of the ground, by punishing the prisoners, or by such other means as he may find most effectual to forward a successful search upon the spot, he will avail himself of the proposal made by the Bhow Begum."

XLVI. That, probably from the Nabob's known and avowed reluctance to lend himself to the perpetration of the oppressive and iniquitous proceedings of the representative of the British government, the scandalous plan aforesaid was not carried into execution; and all the rigors practised upon the chief ministers of the ladies aforesaid at Lucknow being found ineffectual, and the princess mother having declared herself ready to deliver up everything valuable in her possession, which Behar Ali Khan, one of her confidential ministers aforesaid, only could come at, the said change of prison was agreed to,—but not until the Nabob's mother aforesaid had engaged to pay for the said change of prison a sum of ten thousand pounds, (one half of which was paid on the return of the eunuchs,) and that "she would ransack the zenanah [women's apartments] for kincobs, muslins, clothes, &c., &c., &c., and that she would even allow a deduction from the annual allowance made to her for her subsistence in lieu of her jaghire."[71]

XLVII. That, soon after the return of the aforesaid ministers to the place of their imprisonment at Fyzabad, bonds for the five thousand pounds aforesaid, and goods, estimated, according to the valuation of a merchant appointed to value the same, at the sum of forty thousand pounds, even allowing them to sell greatly under their value, were delivered to the commanding officer at Fyzabad; and the said commanding officer did promise to the Begum to visit Lucknow with such proposals as he hoped would secure the small balance of fifteen thousand pounds remaining of the unjust exaction aforesaid.[72] But the said Resident, Middleton, did, in his letter of the 17th of the said month, positively refuse to listen to any terms before the final discharge of the whole of the demand, and did positively forbid the commanding officer to come to Lucknow to make the proposal aforesaid in the terms following. "As it is not possible to listen to any terms from the Begums before the final discharge of their conditional agreement for fifty-five lacs, your coming here upon such an agency can only be loss of time in completing the recovery of the balance of 6,55,000, for which your regiment was sent to Fyzabad. I must therefore desire you will leave no efforts, gentle or harsh, unattempted to complete this, before you move from Fyzabad; and I am very anxious that this should be as soon as possible, as I want to employ your regiment upon other emergent service, now suffering by every delay."

XLVIII. That the goods aforesaid were sent to Lucknow, and disposed of in a manner unknown; and the harsh and oppressive measures aforesaid being still continued, the Begum did, about the middle of October, 1782, cause to be represented to the said Middleton as follows. "That her situation was truly pitiable,—her estate sequestered, her treasury ransacked, her cojahs prisoners, and her servants deserting daily from want of subsistence. That she had solicited the loan of money, to satisfy the demands of the Company, from every person that she imagined would or could assist her with any; but that the opulent would not listen to her adversity. She had hoped that the wardrobe sent to Lucknow might have sold for at least one half of the Company's demands on her; but even jewelry and goods, she finds from woful experience, lose their value the moment it is known they come from her. That she had now solicited the loan of cash from Almas Ali Khan, and if she failed in that application, she had no hopes of ever borrowing a sum equal to the demand":[73]—an hope not likely to be realized, as the said Almas Ali was then engaged for a sum of money to be raised for the Company's use on the security of their confiscated lands, the restoration of which could form the only apparent security for a loan.

XLIX. That this remonstrance produced no effect on the mind of the aforesaid Resident,—who, being about this time removed from his Residency, did, in a letter to his successor, Mr. Bristow, dated 23d October, 1782, in effect recommend a perseverance in the cruel and oppressive restraints aforesaid as a certain means of recovering the remainder of the extorted bond, and that the lands with which the princesses aforesaid had been endowed should not be restored to them.

L. That the said Warren Hastings was duly apprised of all the material circumstances in the unjust proceedings aforesaid, but did nothing to stop the course they were in, or to prevent, relieve, or mitigate the sufferings of the parties affected by them: on the contrary, he did, in his letter of the 25th of January, 1782, to the Resident, Middleton, declare, that the Nabob having consented to the "resumption of the jaghires held by the Begums, and to the confiscation of their treasures, and thereby involved my own name and the credit of the Company in a participation of both measures, I have a right to require and insist on the complete execution of them; and I look to you for their execution, declaring that I shall hold you accountable for it." And it appears that he did write to the Nabob a letter in the same peremptory manner; but the said letter has been suppressed.

LI. That he, the said Hastings, farther did manifest the concern he took in, and the encouragement which he gave to the proceedings aforesaid, by conferring honors and distinctions upon the ministers of the Nabob, whom he, the Nabob, did consider as having in the said proceedings disobeyed him and betrayed him, and as instruments in the dishonor of his family and the usurpation of his authority. That the said ministers did make addresses to the said Hastings for that purpose (which addresses the said Hastings hath suppressed); and the Resident, Middleton, did, with his letter of the 11th of February, 1782, transmit the same, and did in the said letter acquaint the said Hastings "that the ministers of the Nabob had incurred much odium on account of their participation in his measures, and that they were not only considered by the party of the dispossessed jaghiredars, and the mother and uncle of the Nabob, but by the Nabob himself, as the dependants of the English government, which they certainly are, and it is by its declared and most obvious support alone that they can maintain the authority and influence which is indispensably necessary." And the said Middleton did therefore recommend "that they should be honored with some testimony of his [the said Hastings's] approbation and favor." And he, the said Warren Hastings, did send kellauts, or robes of honor, (the most public and distinguished mode of acknowledging merit known in India,) to the said ministers, in testimony of his approbation of their late services.

LII. That the said Hastings did not only give the aforesaid public encouragement to the ministers of the Nabob to betray and insult their master and his family in the manner aforesaid, but, when the said Nabob did write several letters to him, the said Hastings, expressive of his dislike of being used as an instrument in the dishonorable acts aforesaid, and refusing to be further concerned therein, he, the said Warren Hastings, did not only suppress and hide the said letters from the view of the Court of Directors, but in his instructions to the Resident, Bristow, did attribute them to Hyder Beg Khan, minister to the Nabob, (whom in other respects he did before and ever since support against his master,) and did express himself with great scorn and contempt of the said Nabob, and with much asperity against the said minister: affirming, in proud and insolent terms, that he had, "by an abuse of his influence over the Nabob,—he, the Nabob himself, being (as he ever must be in the hands of some person) a mere cipher in his [the said minister's],—dared to make him [the Nabob] assume a very unbecoming tone of refusal, reproach, and resentment, in opposition to measures recommended by ME, and even to acts done by MY authority": the said Hastings, in the instruction aforesaid, particularizing the resumption of the jaghires, and the confiscation of the treasures that had been so long suffered to remain in the hands of his, the Nabob's, mother. But the letters of the Nabob, which in the said instructions he refers to as containing an opposition to the measures recommended by him, and which he asserts was conveyed in a very unbecoming tone of refusal, reproach, and resentment, he, the said Hastings, hath criminally withheld from the Company, contrary to their orders, and to his duty,—and the more, as the said letters must tend to show in what manner the said Nabob did feel the indignities offered to his mother, and the manner in which the said ministers, notwithstanding their known dependence on the English government, did express their sense of the part which their sovereign was compelled to act in the said disgraceful measures. And in farther instructions to him, the said new Resident, he did declare his approbation of the evil acts aforesaid, as well as his resolution of compelling the Nabob to those rigorous proceedings against his parent from which he had long shown himself so very averse, in the following words. "The severities which have been increased towards the Begums were most justly merited by the advantage which they took of the troubles in which I was personally involved last year, to create a rebellion in the Nabob's government, and to complete the ruin which they thought was impending on ours. If it is the Nabob's desire to forget and to forgive their past offence, I have no objection to his allowing them, in pension, the nominal amount of their jaghires; but if he shall ever offer to restore their jaghires to them, or to give them any property in land, after the warning which they have given him by the dangerous abuse which they formerly made of his indulgence, you must remonstrate in the strongest terms against it; you must not permit such an event to take place, until this government shall have received information of it, and shall have had time to interpose its influence for the prevention of it." And the said Warren Hastings, who did in the manner aforesaid positively refuse to admit the Nabob to restore to his mother and grandmother any part of their landed estates for their maintenance, did well know that the revenues of the said Nabob were at that time so far applied to the demands of the Company, (by him, the said Warren Hastings, aggravated beyond the whole of what they did produce,) or were otherwise so far applied to the purposes of several of the servants of the Company, and others, the dependants of him, the said Hastings, that none of the pensions or allowances, assigned by the said Nabob in lieu of the estates confiscated, were paid, or were likely to be discharged, with that punctuality which was necessary even to the scanty subsistence of the persons to which they were in name and appearance applied. For,

LIII. That, so early as the 6th March, 1782, Captain Leonard Jaques, who commanded the forces on duty for the purpose of distressing the several women in the palaces at Fyzabad, did complain to the Resident, Richard Johnson, in the following words. "The women belonging to the Khord Mohul (or lesser palace) complain of their being in want of every necessary of life, and are at last driven to that desperation that they at night get on the top of the zenanah, make a great disturbance, and last night not only alarmed the sentinels posted in the garden, but threw dirt at them; they threaten to throw themselves from the walls of the zenanah, and also to break out of it. Humanity obliges me to acquaint you of this matter, and to request to know if you have any directions to give me concerning it. I also beg leave to acquaint you I sent for Letafit Ali Khan, the cojah who has the charge of them, and who informs me it is well grounded,—that they have sold everything they had, even to the clothes from their backs, and now have no means of subsisting."

LIV. That the distresses of the said women grew so urgent on the night of the said 6th of March, the day when the letter above recited was written, that Captain Leonard Jaques aforesaid did think it necessary to write again, on the day following, to the British Resident in the following words. "I beg leave to address you again concerning the women in the Khord Mohul [the lesser palace]. Their behavior last night was so furious, that there seemed the greatest probability of their proceeding to the uttermost extremities, and that they would either throw themselves from the walls or force open the doors of the zenanah. I have made every inquiry concerning the cause of their complaints, and find from Letafit Ali Khan that they are in a starving condition, having sold all their clothes and necessaries, and now have not wherewithal to support nature; and as my instructions are quite silent on this head, I should be glad to know how to proceed, in case they were to force the doors of the zenanah, as I suspect it will happen, should no subsistence be very quickly sent to them."

LV. That, in consequence of these representations, it appears that the said Resident, Richard Johnson, did promise that an application should be made to certain of the servants of the Nabob Vizier to provide for their subsistence.

LVI. That Captain Jaques being relieved from the duty of imprisoning the women of Sujah ul Dowlah, the late sovereign of Oude, an ally of the Company, who dwelt in the said lesser palace, and Major Gilpin being appointed to succeed, the same malicious design of destroying the said women, or the same scandalous neglect of their preservation and subsistence, did still continue; and Major Gilpin found it necessary to apply to the new Resident, Bristow, in a letter of the 30th of October, 1782, as follows.

LVII. "SIR,—Last night, about eight o'clock, the women in the Khord Mohul [lesser palace] or zenanah [women's apartment] under the charge of Letafit Ali Khan, assembled on the tops of the buildings, crying in a most lamentable manner for food,—that for the last four days they had got but a very scanty allowance, and that yesterday they had got none.

LVIII. "The melancholy cries of famine are more easily imagined than described; and from their representation I fear the Nabob's agents for that business are very inattentive. I therefore think it requisite to make you acquainted with the circumstance, that his Excellency, the Nabob, may cause his agents to be more circumspect in their conduct towards these poor unhappy women."

LIX. That, although the Resident, Bristol, did not then think himself authorized to remove the guard, he did apply to the minister of the Nabob, who did promise some relief to the women of the late Nabob, confined in the lesser palace; but apprehending, with reason, that the minister aforesaid might not be more ready or active in making the necessary provision for them than on former occasions, he did render himself personally responsible to Major Gilpin for the repayment of any sum, equal to one thousand pounds sterling, which he might procure for the subsistence of the sufferers. But whatever relief was given, (the amount thereof not appearing,) the same was soon exhausted; and the number of persons to be maintained in the said lesser palace being eight hundred women, the women of the late sovereign, Sujah ul Dowlah, and several of the younger children of the said sovereign prince, besides their attendants, Major Gilpin was obliged, on the 15th of November following, again to address the Resident by a representation of this tenor.

"SIR,—The repeated cries of the women in the Khord Mohul Zenanah for subsistence have been truly melancholy.

LX. "They beg most piteously for liberty, that they may earn their daily bread by laborious servitude, or to be relieved from their misery by immediate death.

LXI. "In consequence of their unhappy situation, I have this day taken the liberty of drawing on you in favor of Ramnarain, at ten days' sight, for twenty Son Kerah rupees, ten thousand of which I have paid to Cojah Letafit Ali Khan, under whose charge that zenanah is."

LXII. That, notwithstanding all the promises and reiterated engagements of the minister, Hyder Beg Khan, the ladies of the palace aforesaid fell again into extreme distress; and the Resident did again complain to the said minister, who was considered to be, and really and substantially was, the minister of the Governor-General, Warren Hastings, aforesaid, and not of the Nabob, (the said Nabob being, according to the said Hastings's own account, "a cipher in his [the said minister's] hands,") that the funds allowed for their subsistence were not applied to their support. But notwithstanding all these repeated complaints and remonstrances, and the constant promise of amendment on the part of his, the said Hastings's, minister, the supply was not more plentiful or more regular than before.

LXIII. That the said Resident, Bristow, finding by experience the inefficacy of the courses which had been pursued with regard to the mother and grandmother of the reigning prince of Oude, and having received a report from Major Gilpin, informing him that all which could be done by force had been done, and that the only hope which remained for realizing the remainder of the money, unjustly exacted as aforesaid, lay in more lenient methods,[74] he, the said Resident, did, of his own authority, order the removal of the guard from the palaces, the troops being long and much wanted for the defence of the frontier, and other material services,—and did release the said ministers of the said women of rank, who had been confined and put in irons, and variously distressed and persecuted, as aforerecited, for near twelve months.[75]

LXIV. That the manner in which the said inhuman acts of rapacity and violence were felt, both by the women of high rank concerned, and by all the people, strongly appears in the joy expressed on their release, which took place on the 5th of December, 1782, and is stated in two letters of that date from Major Gilpin to the Resident, in the words following.

LXV. "I have to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 2d instant, and in consequence immediately enlarged the prisoners Behar Ali Khan and Jewar Ali Khan from their confinement: a circumstance that gave the Begums, and the city of Fyzabad in general, the greatest satisfaction.

LXVI. "In tears of joy Behar and Jewar Ali Khan expressed their sincere acknowledgments to the Governor-General, his Excellency the Nabob Vizier, and to you, Sir, for restoring them to that invaluable blessing, liberty, for which they would ever retain the most grateful remembrance; and at their request I transmit you the inclosed letters.

LXVII. "I wish you had been present at the enlargement of the prisoners. The quivering lips, with the tears of joy stealing down the poor men's cheeks, was a scene truly affecting.

LXVIII. "If the prayers of these poor men will avail, you will, at the LAST TRUMP, be translated to the happiest regions in heaven."

LXIX. And the Resident, Bristow, knowing how acceptable the said proceeding would be to all the people of Oude, and the neighboring independent countries, did generously and politically, (though not truly,) in his letter to the princess mother attribute the said relief given to herself, and the release of her ministers, to the humanity of the said Warren Hastings, agreeably to whose orders he pretended to act: asserting, that he, the said Hastings, "was the spring from whence she was restored to her dignity and consequence."[76] And the account of the proceedings aforesaid was regularly transmitted to the said Warren Hastings on the 30th of December, 1782, with the reasons and motives thereto, and a copy of the report of the officer concerning the inutility of further force, attended with sundry documents concerning the famishing, and other treatment, of the women and children of the late sovereign: but the same appear to have made no proper impression on the mind of the said Warren Hastings; for no answer whatsoever was given to the said letter until the 3d of March, 1783, when the said Hastings, writing in his own character and that of the Council, did entirely pass by all the circumstances before recited, but did give directions for the renewal of measures of the like nature and tendency with those which (for several of the last months at least of the said proceeding) had been employed with so little advantage to the interest and with so much injury to the reputation of the Company, his masters, in whose name he acted,—expressing himself in the said letter of the 3d of March, 1783, as follows: "We desire you will inform us what means have been taken for recovering the balance [the pretended balance of the extorted money] due from the Begums [princesses] at Fyzabad; and if necessary, you must recommend it to the Vizier to enforce the most effectual means for that purpose." And the Resident did, in his answer to the board, dated 31st March, 1783, on this peremptory order, again detail the particulars aforesaid to the said Warren Hastings, referring him to his former correspondence, stating the utter impossibility of proceeding further by force, and mentioning certain other disgraceful and oppressive circumstances, and in particular, that the Company did not, in plundering the mother of the reigning prince of her wearing apparel and beasts of carriage, receive a value in the least equal to the loss she suffered: the elephants having no buyer but the Nabob, and the clothes, which had last been delivered to Middleton at a valuation of thirty thousand pounds, were so damaged by ill keeping in warehouses, that they could not be sold, even for six months' credit, at much more than about eight thousand pounds; by which a loss in a single article was incurred of twenty-two thousand pounds out of the fifty, for the recovery of which (supposing it had been a just debt) such rigorous means had been employed, after having actually received upwards of five hundred thousand pounds in value to the Company, and extorted much more in loss to the suffering individuals. And the said Bristow, being well acquainted with the unmerciful temper of the said Hastings, in order to leave no means untried to appease him, not contented with the letter to the Governor-General and Council, did on the same day write another letter to him particularly, in which he did urge several arguments, the necessity of using of which to the said Hastings did reflect great dishonor on this nation, and on the Christian religion therein professed, namely: "That he had experienced great embarrassment in treating with her [the mother of the reigning prince]; for, as the mother of the Vizier, the people look up to her with respect, and any hard measures practised against women of her high rank create discontent, and affect our national character." And the said Resident, after condemning very unjustly her conduct, added, "Still she is the mother of the prince of the country, and the religious prejudices of Mussulmen prevail too strongly in their minds to forget her situation."

LXX. That the said Warren Hastings did not make any answer to the said letter. But the mother of the prince aforesaid, as well as the mother of his father, being, in consequence of his, the said Hastings's, directions, incessantly and rudely pressed by their descendant, in the name of the Company, to pay to the last farthing of the demand, they did both positively refuse to pay any part of the pretended balances aforesaid, until their landed estates were restored to them; on the security of which alone they alleged themselves to be in a condition to borrow any money, or even to provide for the subsistence of themselves and their numerous dependants. And in order to put some end to these differences, the Vizier did himself, about the beginning of August, 1783, go to Fyzabad, and did hold divers conferences with his parents, and did consent and engage to restore to them their landed estates aforesaid, and did issue an order that they should be restored accordingly; but his minister aforesaid, having before his eyes the peremptory orders of him, the said Warren Hastings, did persuade his master to dishonor himself in breaking his faith and engagement with his mother and the mother of his father, by first evading the execution, and afterwards totally revoking his said public and solemn act, on pretence that he had agreed to the grant "from shame, being in their presence [the presence of his mother and grandmother], and that it was unavoidable at the time";[77]—the said minister declaring to him, that it would be sufficient, if he allowed them "money for their necessary expenses, and that would be doing enough."

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