« ForrigeFortsett »
this debt, which had always been renounced tion with the nabob or his ministers; that is, by the court of directors, was rather like to they forbid his communication with the very become the subject of something more like a person on a tcount of his dealings with whom criminal inquiry, tian of any patronage or they permit his return to that city. To over. sanction from parliament. Every ship brought top this contradiction, there is not a word reaccounts, one stronger than the other, of the straining him from the freest intercourse with prevalence of the determined enemies of the the nabob's second son, the real author of all Indian system. The public revenues became that is done in the nabob's name ; who, in an object desperate to the hopes of Mr. Ben- conjunction with this very Benfield, has acfield; he therefore resolved to fall upon his quired an absolute dominion over that unhapassociates, and, in violation of that faith which py man, is able to persuade him to put his subsists among those who have abandoned all signature to whatever paper they please, and other, commences a suit in the mayor's court often without any communication of the conagainst Taylor, Majendie, and Call, for the tents. This management was detailed to bond given to him, when he agreed to disap- them at full length by Lord Macartney, and pear for his own benefit as well as that of the they cannot pretend ignorance of it.* common concern. The assignees of his debt, I believe, after this exposure of facts, no who little expected the springing of this mine, man can entertain a doubt of the collusion of even from such an engineer as Mr. Benfield, ministers with the corrupt interest of the deafter recovering their first alarm, thought linquents in India. Whenever those in au it best to take ground on the real state thority provide for the interest of any person, of the transaction. They divulged the whole on the real but concealed state of his affairs mystery, and were prepared to plead that they without regard to his avowed, public, and os. had never received from Mr. Benfield any tensible pretences, it must be presumed tha. other consideration for the bond, than a trans- they are in confederacy with him, because fer, in trust for himself, of his demand on the they act for him on the same fraudulent prinnabob of Arcot. An universal indignation ciples on which he acts for himself. It is arose against the perfidy of Mr. Benfield's plain, that the ministers were fully apprisea proceeding: the event of the suit was looked of Benfield's real situation, which he had spon as so certain, that Benfield was com- used means to conceal, whilst concealment pelled to retreat as precipitately as he had answered his purposes. They were, or the advanced boldly; he gave up his bond, and person on whom they relied was, of the cabikas reinstated in his original demand, to wait net council of Benfield, in the very depth of all he fortune of other claimants. At that time, his mysteries. An honest magistrate compels and at Madras, this hope was dull indeed; men to abide by one story. An equitable but at home another scene was preparing. judge would not hear of the claim of a
It was long before any public account of man who had himself thought proper to rethis discovery at Madras had arrived in Eng. nounce it. With such a judge his shuffling land, that the present minister and his board and prevarication would have damned his of controul, thought fit to determine on the claims; such a judge never would have known, debt of 1777. The recorded proceedings at but in order to animadvert upon proceedings this time knew nothing of any debt to Benfield. of that character. There was his own testimony ; there was the I have thus laid before you, Mr. Speaker, lestimony of the list; there was the testimony I think with sufficient clearness, the connection of the nabob of Arcot against it. Yet such of the ministers with Mr. Atkinson at the was the ministers' feeling of the true secret general election; I have laid open to you the of this transaction, that they thought proper, connection of Atkinson with Benfield; I have in the teeth of all these testimonies, to give shewn Benfield's employment of his wealth, him licence to return to Madras. Here the in creating a parliamentary interest, 10 proministers were under some embarrassment. cure a ministerial protection ; I have set be Confounded between their resolution of re- fore your eyes his large concern in the debt, warding the good services of Benfield's friends his practices to hide that concern from the and associates in England, and the shame of public eye, and the liberal protection which sending that notorious incendiary to the court he has received from the minister. If this of the nabob of Arcot, to renew his intrigues chain of circumstances does not lead you neagainst the British government, at the time cesssarily to conclude that the minister was they authorize his return, they forbid him under the severest penalties, from any conversa
Appendix, No. 6.
paid to the avarice of Benfield the services under that discipline alone that avarice is able done by Benfield's connections to his ambition, to spread to any considerable extent, or to renI do not know any thing short of the confession der itself a general public mischief. It is thereof the party that can persuade you of his guilt. fore no apology for ministers, that they have Clandestine and collusive practice can only be not been bought by the East India delinquents, traced by combination and comparison of cir- but that they have only formed an alliance with cumstances. To reject such combination and them for screening each other írom justice, ac. comparison is to reject the only means of de- cording to the exigiare of their several necessitecting fraud; it is indeed to give it a patent ties. That they have dyne so is evident; and and free licence to cheat with impunity. the junction of the power of office in England,
I confine myself to the connection of minis- with the abuse of authority in the east, has not ters, mediately or immetliately, with only two only prevented even the appearance of redress persons concerned in this debt. How many to the grievances of India, but I wish it may others, who support their power and greatness not be found to have dulled, if not extinguished, within and without doors, are concerned ori- the honour, the candour, the generosity, the ginally, or by transfers of these debts, must be good nature, which used formerly to characleft to general opinion. I refer to the reports terize the people of England. I confess, I of the select committee for the proceedings of wish that some more feeling than I have yet some of the agents in these affairs, and their observed for the sufferings of our fellow-creaattempts, at least, to furnish ministers with tures and fellow-subjects in that oppressed the means of buying general courts, and even part of the world, had manifested itself in any whole parliaments, in the gross.*
one quarter of the kingdom, or in any one I know that the ministers will think it little large description of men. less than acquittal, that they are not charged That these oppressions exist, is a fact no with having taken to themselves some part of more denied, than it is resented as it ought to the money of which they have made so liberal be. Much evil has been done in India under a donation to their partisans, though the the British authority. What has been done charge may be indisputably fixed upon the cor- to redress it? We are no longer surprised at ruption of their politics. For my part, I follow any thing. We are above the unlearned and their crimes to that point to which legal pre- vulgar passion of admiration. But it will sumptions and natural indications lead me, astonish posterity, when they read our opiwithout considering what species of evil motive nions in our actions, that after years of intends most to aggravate or to extenuate the quiry we have found out that the sole grievance guilt of their conduct. But if I am to speak of India consisted in this, that the servants of my private sentiments, I think that in a thou- the company there had not profited enough of sand cases for one it would be far less mis- their opportunities, nor drained it sufficiently chievous to the public, and full as little dis- of its treasures; when they shall hear that the honourable to themselves to be polluted with very first and only important act of a comdirect bribery, than thus to become a standing mission specially named by act of parliament, auxiliary to the oppression, usury, and pecu- is to charge upon an undone country, in favour lation of multitudes, in order to obtain a of a bandful of men in the humblest ranks of corrupt support to their power. It is by bri- the public service, the enormous sum of perbing, not so often by being bribed, that wicked haps four millions of sterling money. politicians bring ruin on mankind. Avarice is It is difficult for the most wise and upright å rival to the pursuits of many. It finds government to correct the abuses of remote a multitude of checks, and many opposers, in delegated power, productive of unmeasured every walk of life. But the objects of ambition wealth, and protected by the boldness and are for the few; and every person who aims strength of the same ill-got riches. These at indirect profit, and therefore wants other abuses, full of their own wild native rigour, protection than innocence and law, instead of will grow and fourish under mere neglect. its rival becomes its instrument. There is a But where the supreme authority, not content natural allegiance and fealty due to this domi- with winking at the rapacity of its inferiour neering paramount evil, from all the vassal instruments, is so shameless and corrupt as vices, which acknowledge its superiority, and openly to give bounties and premiums for disreadily militate under its banners; and it is obedience to its laws; when it will not trust to
the activity of avarice in the pursuit of its own * Second Report of Select (General Smith’s) gains ; when it secures public robbery by all Committee
the careful jealousy and attention with which
it ought to protect property from such violence; others led to his own power, it was wise lo the commonwealth then is become totally per- enquire ; it was safe to publish: there was verted from its purposes; neither God nor man then no delicacy; there was then no danger.. will long endure it; nor will it long endure But when his object is obtained, and in his itself. In that case, there is an unnatural in- imitation he has outdone the crimes that he fection, a pestilential taint fermenting in the had reprobated in volumes of reports, and in constitution of society, which fewer and con- sheets of bills of pains and penalties; ther: vulsions of some kind or other must throw off; concealment becomes prudence; and it conor in which the vital powers, worsted in an cerns the safety of the state, that we should unequal struggle, are pushed back upon them- not know, in a mode of parliamentary cogniselves, and by a reversal of their whole func- zance, what all the world knows but ioo well, tions, fester to gangrene, to death; and instead that is, in what manner he chooses to dispose of what was but just now the delight and boast of the public revenues to the creatures of his of the creation, there will be cast out in the politics. face of the sun, a bloated, putrid, noisome, The debate has been long, and as much so carcass, full of stench and poison, an offence, on my part, at least, as on the part of those a horrour, a lesson to the world.
who have spoken before me. But long as it In my opinion, we ought not to wait for the is, the more material half of the subject has fruitless instruction of calamity to enquire into hardly been touched on; that is, the corrupt the abuses which bring upon us ruin in the and destructive system to which this debt has worst of its forms, in the loss of our fame and been rendered subservient, and which seems virtue. But the right honourable gentleman* to be pursued with at least as much vigour and says, in answer to all the powerful arguments regularity as ever. If I considered your ease of my honourable friend that this inquiry is or my own, rather than the weight and imporof a delicate nature, and that the state will tance of this question, I ought to make some suffer detriment by the exposure of this trans- apology to you, perhaps some apology to myaction.” But it is exposed; it is perfectly self, for having detained your attention so long. known in every member, in every particle, and I know on what ground I tread. This subject, in every way, except that which may lead to a at one time taken up with so much fervour and remedy. He knows that the papers of corres- zeal, is no longer à favourite in this house. pondence are printed, and that they are in The house itself has undergone a great and every hand.
signal revolution. To some the subject is He and delicacy are a rare and singular co- strange and uncouth ; to several harsh and alition. He thinks that to divulge our Indian distasteful; to the reliques of the last parliapolitics, may be highly dangerous. He! the ment it is a matter of fear and apprehension. mover! the chairman! the reporter of the It is natural for those who have seen their committee of secrecy! he that brought forth friends sink in the tornado which raged during in the utmost detail, in several vast, printed the late shift of the monsoon, and have hardly folios, the most recondite parts of the politics, escaped on the planks of the general wreck, the military, the revenues of the British em- it is but 100 natural for them, as soon as they pire in India! With six great chopping bas- make the rocks and quicksands of their formor iards, f each as lusty as an infant Hercules, disasters, to put about their new-built barks, this delicate creature blushes at the sight of and, as much as possible, to keep aloof from his new bridegroom, assumes a virgin deli- this perilous lee shore. cacy; or, to use a more fit, as well as a more But let us do what we please to put India poetic comparison, the person so squeamish, innm our thoughts, we can do nothing to sepa. so timid, so trembling lest the winds of heaven rate it from our public interest and our national should visit too roughly, is expanded to broad reputation. Our attempts to banish this imsunshine, exposed like the sow of imperial portunats duty, will only make it return upon augury, lying in the mud with all the prodigies us again and again, and every time in a shapo of her fertility about her, as evidence of her more unpleasant than the former. A govern. delicate amours- -Triginta capitum fætus enira
ment has been fabricated for that great projacebat, alba solo recubans albi circum ubera vince; the right honourable gentlernan says, nati,
that therefore you ought not to examine into Whilst discovery of the misgovernment of its conduct. Heavens! what an argument is
this! We are not to examine into the conduct Mr. Dundas.
of the direction, because it is an old govern. † Six Reports of the Committee c' Secrecy. ment: we are not to examine into this buard
of controul because it is a new one. Then acts? But if the scene on the other side of we are only to examine into the conduct of the globe, which tempts, invites, almost com those who have no conduct to account for. pels to tyranny and rapine, be not inspected Unfortunately the basis of this new government with the eye of a severe and unremitting vigihas been laid on old condemned delinquents, lance, shame and destruction must ensue. For and its superstructure is raised out of prose- one, the worst event of this day, though it may cutors turned into protectors. The event has deject, shall not break or subdue me. The been such as might be expected. But if it had call upon us is authoritative. Let who will been otherwise constituted; had it been con- shrink back, I shall be found at my post. stituted even as I wished, and as the mover of Baffled, discountenanced, subdued, discredited, this question had planned, the better part of as the cause of justice and humanity is, it will the proposed establishment was in the publi- be only the dearer to me. Whoever therefore city of its proceedings; in its perpetual re- shall at any time bring before you any thing sponsibility io parliament. Without this check, towards the relief of our distressed fellowwhat is our government at home, even awed, citizens in India, and towards a subversion of as every European government is, by an au- the present most corrupt and oppressive system dience formed of the other states of Europe, for its government, in me shall find, a weak, I by the applause or condemnation of the dis- am afraid, but a steady, earnest, and faithful cerning and critical company before which it assistant.
And be it enacted by the authority aforesaiu, CLAUSES OF MR. PITT'S BILL. that the said commissioners, or any two of
them, shall be, and are hereby impowered to Referred to from p. 383.
examine into any corrupt and fraudulent pracAppointing Commissioners to enquire into the tices, or other misconduct, committed by any fees, gratuities, perquisites, emoluments, which person or persons concerned in the manageare, or have been lately, received in the several ment of any of the offices or departments herepublicoffices therein mentioned ; to examine into inbefore mentioned ; and, for the better execuany abuses which may exist in the same, &-c. tion of this present act, the said commissioners,
or any two of them, are hereby authorized to meet And be it further enacted, that it shall and and sit, from time to time, in such place or places inay be lawful to and for the said commission
as they shall find most convenient, with or withers, or any two of them, and they are hereby out adjournment, and to send their precepl or impowered, authorized, and required, to era- precepts, under their hands and seals, for any mine upon oath (which oath they, or any two person or persons whatsoever, and for such books, of them, are hereby authorized to administer) papers, writings, or records, as they shall judge the several persons, of all descriptions, belong- necessary for their information, relating to any ing to any of the officers or departments before of the offices or departments hereinbefore menmentioned, and all other persons whom the said tioned; and all bailiffs, constables, sherifs, unul commissioners, or any two of them, shall think other his majesty's officers, are hereby required to fit to examine, touching the business of each obey and ericute such orders and precepts aforeoffice or department, and the fees, gratuities, said, as shall be sent to them or any of them by perquisites, and emoluments taken therein, and the said commissioners, or any two of them, touching all other matters and things neces- touching the proonises. sary for the execution of the powers vested in the said commissioners by this act; all which persons are hereby required and directed punc
APPENDIX, No. 2. tually to attend the said commissioners, ai such
Referred to from p. 385. time and place as they, or any two of them, shall
YABOB OF ARCOT'S DEBTS. appoint, and also to observe and execute such orders and directions as the said commissioners, Mr. GEORGE Smith being asked, Whoor any two of them, shall make or give for the ther the debts of the nabob of Arcot have inpurposes before mentioned.
creased since he knew Madras ? he said, Yos
they have. He distinguis ses his debts into this debt was given for the purposes mentioned two scris; those contracted before the year in the above question, but he does not know 1766, and those contracted from that year mo that it was so.-Being asked, Whether it was the year in which he left Madras.-Being the general opinion of the seitlement ? le said, asked, What he thinks is the original amount He cannot say that it was the general opinion, of tho old debts ? he said, Between twenty- but it was the opinion of a considerable part of three nnd twenty-four lacs of pagodas, as well the settlement. Being asked, Whether it was as he can recollect.-Being asked, What was the declared opinion of those that were conthe anount of that debt when he left Madras ? cerned in the debt, or those that were not ? he he nid, Between four and five lacs of pago said, It was the opinion of both parties, na! das, as he understood.-Being asked, What least such of them as he conversed with. waz the amount of the new debt when he left Being asked, Whether he has reason to beMadras ? he said, In November, 1777, that lieve that the interest really paid by the nabob, debt amounted, according to the nabob's own upon obligations given, or money lent, did 101 account, and published at Chipauk, his place frequently exceed twelve per cent. ?-he said, of residence, to sixty lacs of pagodas, inde. Prior to the first of August, 1774, he had had pendent of the old debt, on which debt of sixty reason to believe, that a higher interest than lacs of pagodas, the nabob did agree to pay twelve per cent. was paid by the nabob, on an interest of twelve per cent. per annum.- monies lent to him; but from and after that Being asked, Whether this debt was approved period, when the last act of parliament look of by the court of directors ? he said, He place in India, he does not know that more does not know it was.-Being asked, Whether than twelve per cent. had been paid by the the old debt was recognized by the court of nabob, or received from him.-Being asked, directors ? he said, Yes, it has been ; and the Whether it is not his opinion, that the nabob court ni directors have sent out repeated orders has paid more than twelve per cent. for money to the president and council of Madras, to en- due since the first of August, 1774? he said, force its recovery and payment.—Being asked, He has heard that he has, but he does not If the interest upon the new debt is punctually know it.-Being asked, Whether he has been paid ? he said, It was not during his residence at told so by any considerable and weighty auMadres, from 1777 to 1779, in which period he thority, that was like to know? he said, He Thinks no more than five per cent. interest was has been so informed by persons who he bepaid, in different dividends of two and one per lieves had a very good opportunity of knowing ent.-Being asked, What is the usual course it.-Being asked, Whether he was ever told taken by the nabob, concerning the arrears of so by the nabob of Arcot himself? he said, nterest? he said, Not having ever lent him He does not recollect that the nabob of Arcot monies himself, he cannot fully answer as to the directly told him so, but from what he said, he node of settling the interest with him. did infer that he paid a higher interest than
Being asked, Whether he has reason to be- twelve per cent. ieve the sixty lacs of pagodas was all princi- Mr. Smith being asked, Whether, in the pal money really and truly advanced to the course of trade, he ever sold any thing to the nabob of Arcot, or a fictitious capital, made nabob of Arcot ? he said, In the year 1775 up of obligations given by him, where no mo- he did sell to the nabob of Arcot pearls to the ley or goouis were received, or which was in- amount of 32,500 pagodas, for which the nabob reased by the uniting into it a greater interest gave him an order or tankah on the country han the twelve per cent. expressed to be due of Tanjore, payable in six months, without on the capital, he said, He has no reason to interest.—Being asked, Whether, at the time believe that the sum of sixty lacs of pagodas he asked the nabob his price for the pearls, the was lent in money or goods to the nabob, be- nabob beat down that price, as dealers com canse that sum he thinks is of more value than monly do? he said, No; so far from it, he all the money, goods, and chattels in the set- offered him more than he asked by 1,000 padement; but he does not know in what mode godas, and which he rejected. Being asked, or manner this debt of the nabob's was incurred Whether in settling a transaction of discount op accumulated. Being asked, Whether it with the nabob's agent, he was not offered a was not a general and well-grounded opinion greater discount than twelve per cent. he said, at Madras, that a great part of this sum was In discounting a soucar's bill for 180,000 paaccumulated by obligations, and was for ser- godas, the nabob's agent did offer him a discices performed or to be performed for the count of twenty-four per cent. per annun.. nabob? he said, He has heard that a part of saying, that it was the usuai rate of discount Vol. 1.-27