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in a laboured apology, among the causes which justified the prosecution of the Chap. VII. Rajah to his ruin. ^ v
... 1781. In the year 1778, the Governor-General proposed, that a requisition should be A requisition made upon the Rajah Cheyte Sing, for the maintenance of three battalions of J^"or more sepoys estimated at five lacs of rupees per annum, during the continuance of hls tn" the war. In settling the terms of the connexion of the Rajah with the Company, in 1775, it had been proposed, for consideration, by the Governor-General, whether the Rajah should not engage to keep a body of 2,000 cavalry constantly on foot, which should be consigned to the service of the Company, receiving an additional pay or gratuity, as often as the public interest should require. But this proposition was rejected by the rest of the Council, even by Mr. Barwell, on the score of its being a mere enhancement of the tribute of the Rajah, under a different name. And the Governor-General then declared, that "it was far from his intention to propose this, or any other article, to be imposed on the Rajah by compulsion; he only proposed it, as an article of speculation." Mr. Francis and Mr. Wheler, in 1778, consented that an aid, to the amount which the Governor-General proposed, should be requested of the Rajah, but demurred as to the right of enforcing any demand beyond that of the stipulated tribute; and Mr. Hastings agreed to reserve the question of right to their superiors.* Professing a strong desire to show his friendship to the Company, the Rajah, as was to be expected, endeavoured to obtain an abatement of the sum; and when he gave his consent to the whole, expressly declared that it was only for a single year. In resentment of these endeavours to limit the amount of the contribution, the Governor-General proposed, that no time should be allowed for the convenience of payment; but the whole should be exacted immediately. "I acquiesce," were the words of Mr. Francis's Minute; "though, in my own opinion, it would answer as well to us, and be less distressing to the Rajah, if the subsidy were added in equal proportions to the monthly receipts of the tribute." The Rajah pleaded poverty; and, praying for indulgence in point of time, engaged to make good the total payment in six or seven months. The GovernorGeneral treated the very request as a high offence; and added the following very explanatory words; "I will not conceal from the Board, that I have expected this evasive conduct in the Rajah, having been some time past well * The expressions in his Minute in Council (9th July, 1778,) are these .... "wishing to avoid the question of right" "I wish to leave the decision of future right to our superiors." Book V. informed, that he had been advised in this manner to procrastinate the payment v oftne nve kw^' to afford time for the arrival of dispatches from England, which were to bring orders for a total change in this government; and this he was given to expect would produce a repeal of the demand made upon him by the present government." A delay, founded upon the hope that the GovernorGeneral would be stript of power, might sting the mind of the Governor-General, if it was a mind of a particular description; but a delay, founded upon the hope of remission, (even if it had been ascertained to be the fact) would not, by any body, unless he were in the situation of the Governor-General, be regarded as much of a crime. Mr. Francis and Mr. Wheler were over-ruled, and the resident at Benares was commanded immediately to repair to the Rajah, to demand, that in five days the whole of the money should be paid, to denounce to him that a failure in this respect would be treated as equivalent to an absolute refusal, and to abstain from all intercourse with him till further instructions, if the requisition was not obeyed. a second re- In the following year, the demand was renewed. The Rajah now more Mme sort.1 6 earnestly represented the narrowness of his circumstances; the hardship which was imposed upon him, by so heavy an exaction; his exemption, by the terms of his treaty, from all demands beyond the amount of his tribute, which was most regularly paid; and his express stipulation, annexed to his former payment, that it was not to be for more than a year. The Governor-General replied in terms more imperious and harsh than before; threatening him with military execution, unless he paid immediate and unconditional obedience to the command. The Rajah repeated his remonstrance, in the most earnest, but the most submissive and even suppliant terms. The troops were ordered to march. He was compelled to pay not only the original demand, but 2,000/., as a fine for delay, under the title of expense of the troops employed to coerce him. A third, and In the third year, that is, in 1780, the exaction was renewed; but several reqwsrtton'of new circumstances were, in this year, annexed to the transaction. The Rajah the same sort. sent ^is confidential minister to Calcutta, to mollify the Governor-General, by the most submissive expressions of regret for having incurred his displeasure, even by confessions of error and of fault, and by the strongest protestations of a desire to make every possible exertion for the recovery of his favour. This however included not the payment of the five lacs, of which the agent was instructed to use his utmost endeavours to obtain a remission. For the better accomplishment of this object, he was furnished with a secret compliment to the Governor-General, of the amount of two lacs of rupees. At first, as we are told by Mr. Hastings, he absolutely refused the present, and assured the agent of the Chap. VII. Rajah that the contribution must be paid. Afterwards, however, he accepted the v v'
present; with a view, as he himself informs us, to apply the money to a peculiar exigency of the public service. Be it so. The money of the Rajah however was tendered, for a purpose which it was impossible to mistake: And that money, with all the obligation which the receipt of it imported, was in fact received.* The contribution, nevertheless, was exacted. The remonstrances of the Rajah, and his renewed endeavours to gain a little time, were treated as renewed delinquency; and for these endeavours the Governor-General imposed upon him a mulct or fine of 10,000/.; f and the troops were ordered to march into the Rajah's country, on the same errand, and on the same terms, as in the preceding year.
The Rajah again submitted, and the money was again discharged. But these A fourth resubmissions and payments were no longer regarded as enough. An additional and above°h?s burthen was now to be imposed. A resolution was passed in the Supreme Council, u^]f aTM^.
* For the circumstances of this present, see Hastings' Answer to Burke's Eighth Charge; the Eleventh Report of the Select Committee, 1781; and the Minutes of the Evidence taken at the Trial of Warren Hastings. These circumstances are remarkable, and characteristic: At first, perfect concealment of the transaction: such measures, however, taken, as may if afterwards necessary appear to imply a design of future disclosure: when concealment becomes difficult and hazardous, then disclosure made. The Governor-General, on the 29th of June, offered to apply 23,000/., which, as he described it, appeared to be, though not asserted to be, money of his own, to the support of the detachment under'Colonel Carnac, destined to act in the country of Scindia: Whether the accommodation was meant to be a loan or a gift did not appear. Of the receipt of this money as a present no intimation was made to the Court of Directors before the 29th of November following; when he only alludes to it, but expressly withholds explanation. Stating the reason of mentioning the matter at all to be a desire of " obviating the false conclusions or purposed misrepresentations" which might be made of his offer to defray the expense of Carnac's detachment, as if that offer were "either an artifice of ostentation, or the effect of corrupt influence," he tells them, "that the money, by whatever means it came into his possession, was not his own; that he had himself no right to it, nor would or could have received it, but for the occasion which prompted him to avail himself of the accidental means which were at that instant afforded him, of accepting and converting it to the property and use of the Company." Even here, he represents his converting it to the use of the Company, as a voluntary favour he conferred upon the Company, when the money was in reality the money of the Company, and when every thing received in presents was theirs. He had given no further explanation up to the end of 1783; and the first knowledge obtained in England of the source whence the money was derived, was drawn from Major Scott by the interrogatories of the Select Committee. See Eleventh Report, p. 7.
t The payment of this mulct is stated as doubtful, in Burke's Charges; but as it is passed without mention in the Answer, the silence must, in this as in other cases, be taken for confession. Book V. that the Rajah, besides his tribute, and the annual contribution of five lacs of
v v—* rupees, should be required to furnish to the Bengal Government such part of the cavalry entertained in his service, as he could spare: And the resident was instructed by the Governor-General to make a peremptory demand of 2,000. The Rajah represented that he had only 1,300 cavalry in his service, and that they were all employed in guarding the country, or in collecting the revenues. The Governor-General reduced his demand, first to 1,500, and at last to 1,000. The Rajah collected 500 horse, as he himself, and without contradiction, affirmed, and 500 matchlock men as a substitute for the remainder: He sent word to the Governor-General that this force was ready to receive his commands; but never obtained any answer.
A resolution The Governor-General had other views. He wanted money, and he was Company'sne-resolved that the plunder of the unhappy Rajah, whom he disliked, should be acting from the t-ne source from which it was to flow. "I was resolved," says the GovernorRajah. General, "to draw from his guilt the means of relief to the Company's distresses.
In a word, I had determined to make him pay largely for his pardon, or to exact a severe vengeance for his past delinquency." * The confession has the merit of frankness, be the other virtues belonging to it such as they may. The guilt, as it is called, consisted, exclusively, in a reluctance to submit to the imposition of a very heavy burthen, from which the Rajah considered that he ought to be free.
The Rajah was informed of the hostile designs which were entertained against him, and, in order to mitigate the fury of the storm, sent an offer to the Governor-General of twenty lacs of rupees for the public service. The offer was scornfully rejected. And a sum of not less than fifty lacs, was the peremptory demand. From the Governor-General's information we learn, that he was at this time offered a large sum of money for the dominions of the Rajah, by the Nabob of Oude; that he was resolved to extort the obedience of the Rajah; otherwise to reduce his forts, and seize the treasure which they were supposed to contain; or to conclude a bargain for his dominions with the Nabob Vizir.
It is necessary to be remarked, that Mr. Fowke, who had been replaced in the office of resident at Benares by the express command of the Court of Directors, the Governor-General removed about six months before his journey to Benares, on the sole pretence that "he thought the resident there should be a man of his own nomination and confidence;" though the Court of Directors had
* Governor-General's Narrative, K., ut supra.
decreed the contrary, and issued to that effect their most peremptory commands. Chap. VII. It is also requisite to be stated, that though the Governor-General departed for v' Benares with the intention of inflicting a severe vengeance on the Rajah, a design which he communicated in trust to some of his confidential friends, he entered no intimation of this design in the consultations, or records of the Deliberative Council, but on the contrary a minute, importing nothing beyond an amicable and ordinary adjustment, and desiring powers for nothing but to make such arrangements, and perform such acts, for the improvement of the Zemindary "as he should think fit and consonant to the mutual engagements subsisting between the Company and the Rajah." The aptness of the expression consisted in its having sufficient laxity to stretch around all that the actor had in view, while its more obvious signification led not the mind of the hearer to any but ordinary transactions.
Upon the approach of the Governor-General to the boundary of the Rajah's The Govemor
1 rr _ General ar
dominions, that Prince went out to meet him, and, to render the compliment rives at Bestill more respectful, with a retinue unusually great. Not contented with anares" mere interview of form, the Rajah pressed for a more confidential conversation. "He professed," says Mr. Hastings, "much concern to hear that I was displeased with him, and contrition for having given cause for it, assuring me that his Zemindary, and all that he possessed, were at my devotion; and he accompanied his words by an action, either strongly expressive of the agitation of his mind, or his desire to impress on mine a conviction of his sincerity—by laying his turban on my lap." Mr. Hastings, according to his own account, treated the declarations of the Rajah as unworthy of his regard, and dismissed him.
Mr. Hastings arrived in the capital of the Rajah on the 14th of August; earlier by some hours than the Rajah himself. The Rajah communicated his intention of waiting upon him in the evening. But the Governor-General sent his prohibition; and at the same time directed him to forbear his visits, till permission should be received. The resident was next morning sent to the Rajah with a paper of complaints and demands. The Rajah in reply transmitted, in the course of the day, a paper in which he endeavoured to make it appear that his conduct was not liable to so much blame as the Governor-General imputed; nor deserved the severity of treatment which was bestowed. The Governor- Puts the RaGeneral, without any further communication, put him under arrest the following irrest!^ morning; and imprisoned him in his own house with a military guard.
This is the point, at which the reader should pause, to examine, by the rules of justice, the conduct of the parties; since to this time their actions were