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Book V. the Nabob, which the known wish of the Governor-General could not fail
by them that the Subah's government was annihilated, to instruct the Board in what form the
foreign settlements It has been productive of great inconveniences; it has prevented us
from acting with vigour in our disputes with the Dutch and French Instead of regretting,
with Mr. Francis, the occasion which deprives us of so useless and hurtful a disguise, I should
* Of the mode in which such a letter was procured, nobody who knows the relative situation
amounting to 18,000 rupees beyond what he had received. The incapacity of Chap. III. Munny Begum, when compared with Mahomed Reza, could admit of no dis- ^ yj*g~~' pute; and the pernicious influence of the eunuchs who governed her delayed not in giving Hastings uneasiness. On the 10th of October of the same year (1778), he was obliged to write to the Nabob, "that the affairs both of the Phouzdary and Adaulut were in the greatest confusion imaginable, and that daily robberies and murders were perpetrated throughout the country;—that his dependants and people, actuated by selfish and avaricious views, had by their interference so impeded the business of justice, as to throw the whole country into a state of confusion."
Meanwhile the report of this transaction was received in England; and the The Directors Court of Directors, in their letter of the 4th of February, transmit their senti- Jjssjs, J1* ments upon it in the following terms: "We by no means approve your late ?"d orde^jlt to
proceedings on the application of the Nabob Mubarek ul Dowla for the removal of the Naib Subahdar. In regard to the Nabob's desire to take charge of his own affairs, we find it declared by one of your own members, and not contradicted, that the Nabob is, in his own person, utterly incapable of executing any of those offices which were deemed of essential importance to the welfare of the country. The Nabob's letters leave us no doubt of the true design of this extraordinary business being, to bring forward Munny Begum, and again to invest her with improper power and influence, notwithstanding our former declaration, that so great a part of the Nabob's allowance had been embezzled, or misapplied, under her superintendance. You have requested this inexperienced young man, to permit all the present judges and officers of the Nizamut and Phousdary Adauluts,'or courts of criminal justice, and also all the Phousdars or officers appointed to guard the peace of the country, to continue in office until he the Nabob shall have formed a plan for a new arrangement of those offices: And it is with equal surprise and concern, that we observe this request introduced, and the Nabob's ostensible rights so solemnly asserted at this period by our Governor-General; because, on a late occasion, to serve a very different purpose, he has not scrupled to declare it as visible as the light of the sun, that the Nabob is a mere pageant, and without even the shadow of authority. No circumstance has happened, since that declaration was made, to render the Nabob more independent, nor to give him any additional degree of power or consequence; you must therefore have been well apprised that your late concessions to Mubarek ul Dowla were unnecessary, and as such unwarrantable. As we deem it for the welfare of the country, that the office of Naib Vol. Il 3 F
Book V. Subahdar be for the present continued, and that this high office should be filled v*—^^~^/by a person of wisdom, experience, and approved fidelity to the Company; and as we have no reason to alter our opinion of Mahomed Reza Khan, wetively direct, that you forthwith signify to the Nabob Mubarek al Dowla our pleasure, that Mahomed Reza Khan be immediately restored to the office of Naib Subahdar." *
Halation* with The state of the relations between the Company's government and the Mahthe Mahratta ratta powers had for some time pressed with considerable weight upon the atten
State, a source r r ~o r
of uneasiness, tion of the Council. The treaty which had been concluded by Colonel Upton, commonly distinguished by the title of the treaty of Poorunder, had left the minds of the governing party at Poonah, and those of the Bombay Presidency, in a state of mutual jealousy and dissatisfaction. The occupation of Salsette, and the other concessions which had been extorted, but above all the countenance and protection still afforded to Ragoba, rankled in the minds of the Poonah ministry; while the Bombay rulers, condemned and frustrated by the Supreme Council, but encouraged by the approbation of the Court of Directors, stood upon the watch for any plausible opportunity of evading or infringing the treaty. Colonel Upton, though he remained at Poonah till the commencement of the year 1777, departed before any of the material stipulations had been carried into effect. Futty Sing, as by the treaty it had been rendered his interest, disavowed his right to alienate in favour of the Company any portion of the Guicawar dominions; and the Poonah Council made use of the favour shown to Ragoba, as a pretext for delaying or evading the concessions they had made.
A new feature was soon added to these disputes, by the arrival of a French ship in one of the Mahratta ports, and the reception given at Poonah to gentlemen whom she landed, as on a mission from the king of France. circumstance strongly excited English jealousy and fears. The object at which the French were supposed to aim, was the establishment of a factory at Poonah; and the acquisition of a sea-port on the coast of Malabar. The acquisition of these advantages would enable them, it was apprehended, to sustain a competition with the English in matters of trade, and to annoy them seriously in a period of war. The asseverations of the Mahratta government, that nothing was in view prejudicial to the Company, gave little satisfaction. Colonel Upton,
* Fifth Report, ut supra, p. 24—32, and App. No. 6; also the charges against Mr. Hastings, No. 17, with Mr. Hastings's answer: see also the Evidence both for the Prosecution and Defence in Minutes of Evidence, ut supra.
whose partiality was engaged to the treaty which he had concluded and the Chap. m. party whom he served, accused the Bombay Presidency, and answered for the sincerity and pacific designs of the Mahrattas. Mr. Hastings leaned to the suspicious side; his opponents urged the propriety of yielding contentment to the Mahrattas, especially by the abandonment of Ragoba. The probability of a rupture between France and England was already contemplated in India; and as it was to be expected that the French would aim at the recovery of their influence in India, so Mr. Hastings at least thought the western coast the place where they had the best prospect of success; and the support of the Mahrattas, the means most -likely to be adopted for the accomplishment of their ends. The progress of inquiry respecting the agent from France discovered; that his name was St. Lubin; that he was a mere adventurer, who had opened to the French Minister of Marine a project, supported by exaggerated and false representations, for acquiring an influence in the Mahratta councils, and an establishment in the Mahratta country; and that he had been entrusted with a sort of clandestine commission, as an experiment for ascertaining if any footing or advantage might be gained. The Presidency of Bombay represented to the Supreme Council, that St. Lubin received the most alarming countenance from the Poonah ministers; that nothing could be more dangerous to the Company, than a combined attack from the Mahrattas and French: And they urged the policy of anticipating the designs of their enemies by espousing the cause of Ragoba; and putting an end to the power of men, who waited only till their schemes were ripe for execution, to begin an attack upon the Company. The Bombay Presidency were more emboldened in their importunity, by a letter from the Court of Directors, containing their observations on the conduct of the Supreme Council, in taking the negotiation with the Mahrattas out of the hands of the Bombay government, and on the treaty which the Supreme Council had concluded with the Poonah rulers. "We approved," said the Directors,
under every circumstance, of keeping all territories and possessions ceded to the Company by Ragoba, and gave directions to the Presidencies of Bengal and Fort St. George to adopt such measures as might be necessary for their preservation and defence. But we are extremely concerned to find, from the terms of the treaty concluded by Colonel Upton at Poonah, that so great a sacrifice has been improvidently made; and especially, that the important cession of Bassein to the Company by Ragoba, has been rendered of no effect. We cannot but disapprove of the mode of interference of the Governor General and Council, by sending an ambassador to Poonah without first consulting you, and of their
Book V. determination to disavow and invalidate the treaty formerly entered into by an v 'agent from your Presidency, and solemnly ratified under the seal of the Com
pany. We are convinced that Bassein, which is so great an object with us, might have been obtained, if they had authorized you to treat either with Ragoba, or with the ministers at Poonah; reserving the final approval and ratification of the treaty to themselves. This is the precise line we wish to have drawn; and which we have directed our Governors-General and Council in future to pursue. We are of opinion, that an alliance originally with Ragoba would have been more for the honour and advantage of the Company, and more likely to be lasting, than that concluded at Poonah. His pretensions to the supreme authority appear to us better founded than those of his competitors; and, therefore, if the conditions of the treaty of Poonah have not been strictly fulfilled on the part of the Mahrattas, and if, from any circumstance, our Governor-General and Council shall deem it expedient, we have no objection to an alliance with Ragoba, on the terms agreed upon between him and you." A division in While these circumstances were under the consideration of the Supreme Poona'hT'and1 Council at Calcutta, intelligence arrived, that the rivalship of Siccaram Baboo theBombay m^ Nana Furnavese had produced a division in the Council at Poonah; that a Presidency to part of the ministers, with Siccaram Baboo at their head, had resolved to declare
aid the party , # ,
proposing to for Ragoba, had applied for the assistance of the English to place in his hands it^heu^ead! tne powers of government; and that the Presidency of Bombay had resolved to The resolution co-operate with them in his favour. This subject produced the usual train of the Supreme debate and contention in the Supreme Council; where Mr. Francis and Mr. meMures Wheler condemned the resolution of the President and Council of Bombay, it effect*6"* ^^st, a8 ilkg8^ because not taken with the approbation of the supreme authority; next, as unjust, by infringing the treaty; and finally, impolitic, by incurring the dangers and burdens of war: The Governor General and Mr. Barwell approved it, as authorized by the suddenness and greatness of the emergency, and the declared sentiments of the Court of Directors; as not unjust, since the principal party with whom the treaty was formed now applied for the interference of the Company; and as not impolitic, because it anticipated the evil designs of a hostile party, and gave to the Company an accession of territorial revenue, while it promised them a permanent influence in the Mahratta councils. It was resolved, in consequence, that a supply of money and a reinforcement of troops should be sent to the Presidency of Bombay. The Governor General proposed that a force should be assembled at Calpee, and should march by the most practicable route to Bombay. This also gave rise to