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This debt not
Mr. Fox's bill.
fame, as she has been prevalent over virtue, at their ravages throughout the devoted revenues least our conscience is beyond her jurisdiction. of the Carnatic.17 My poor share in the support of that great meas- (2.) The tenor, the policy, and the conseure no man shall ravish from me. It shall be quences of this debt of 1767, are, in safely lodged in the sanctuary of my heart, nev- the eyes of the ministry, so excellent, er, never to be torn from thence but with those that its merits are irresistible; and it takes the holds grapple it to life!
lead to give credit and countenance to the I say, I well remember that bill, and every rest. Along with this chosen body of heavy
one of its honest and its wise provi- armed infantry, and to support it in the line, protected by sions. It is not true that this debt was the right honorable gentleman has stationed his
ever protected or enforced, or any rev- corps of black cavalry. If there be any advantenue whatsoever set apart for it. It was left in age between this debt and that of 1769, accordthat bill just where it stood, to be paid or not ing to him the Cavalry Debt has it. It is not a to be paid out of the Nabob's private treasures, subject of defense; it is a theme of panegyric. according to his own discretion. The Company Listen to the right honorable gentleman, and had actually given it their sanction, though al- you will find it was contracted to save the counways relying for its validity on the sole security try; to prevent mutiny in armies; to introduce of the faith of him who, without their knowledge economy in revenues; and for all these honoror consent, entered into the original obligation. able purposes, it originated at the express de. It had no other sanction; it ought to have had sire, and by the representative authority of the no other. So far was Mr. Fox's bill from provid. Company iself. ing funds for it, as this ministry have wickedly First, let me say a word to the authority. done for this, and for ten times worse transac- This debt was contracted, not by Not authorize! by tions, out of the public estate, that an express the authority of the Company, not by a faction which
the Company, but clause immediately preceded positively forbid by its representatives (as the right
bad usurped the ding any British subject from receiving assign- honorable gentleman has the un. Madras. ments upon any part of the territorial revenue, paralleled confidence to assert), but in the ever on any pretense whatsoever. 15
memorable period of 1777, by the usurped powYou recollect, Mr. Speaker, that the Chancel- er of those who rebelliously, in conjunction with lor of the Exchequer (Mr. Pitt) strongly pro- the Nabob of Arcot, had overturned the lawful fessed to retain every part of Mr. Fox's bill government of Madras.18 For that rebellion, which was intended to prevent abuse; but in his this House unanimously directed a public prosIndia bill, which (let me do justice) is as able ecution. The delinquents, after they had suband skillful a performance for its own purposes verted the government in order to make themas ever issued from the wit of man, premeditat- selves a party to support them in their power, ing this iniquity—“ hoc ipsum ut strueret Trojam- are universally known to have dealt jobs about que aperiret Achivis''16 expunged this essential to the right and to the left, and to any who were clause, broke down the fence which was raised willing to receive them. This usurpation, which to cover the public property against the rapacity the right honorable gentleman well knows was of his partisans, and thus leveling every obstruc- brought about by and for the great mass of these tion, be made a firm, broad highway for “Sin pretended debts, is the authority which is set up and Death,” for usury and oppression, to renew by him to represent the Company; to represent
that Company which, from the first moment of 15 The following were the words of Mr. Fox's bill. their hearing of this corrupt and fraudulent "And be it further enacted by the authority afore transaction to this hour, have uniformly dissaid, that the Nabob of Arcot, the Rajah of Tanjore, owned and disavowed it! or any other protected prince of India, shall not as. sign, mortgage, or pledge any territory or land what
So much for the authority. As to the facts, soever. or the revenue or produce thereof to any partly true and partly colorable, as they real origin British subject whatsoever; nor shall it be lawful stand recorded, they are in substance of the debt. for any British subject whatsoever to take or re- these. The Nabob of Arcot, as soon as he had ceive any such assignment, mortgage, or pledge : thrown off the superiority of this country by and the same are hereby declared null and void.
means of these creditors, kept up a great army, And all payments, or deliveries of produce or rev. ende under any such assignment, shall and may be
which he never paid. Of course, his soldiers recovered back by such native prince paying or
were generally in a state of mutiny. The usurpdelivering the same from the person or persons re
ing council say that they labored hard with their ceiving the same, or from his or their representa master, the Nabob, to persuade him to reduce tives,"
these mutinous and useless troops. He consent16 The passage is taken from Virgil's Æneid, 17 The allusion here is to Satan's first passage to book ii., line 60, and relates to Sinon, the Greek this earth, as described by Milton in bis Paradise spy, when brought in by the shepherds.
Lost, near the close of the second Book. -qui se ignotum venientibus ultro,
Sin and Death amrin Hoc ipsum ut strueret Trojamque aperiret Achivis, Following bis track (such was the will of Heaven), Obtulerat.
Paved after bim a broad and beaten way He offered himself unknown to them approaching,
Over the dark abyss. This very end to gain, and open Troy
18 The circumstances of this usurpation have been To the Greeks.
already detailed in note 14, page 338.
ed; but, as usual, pleaded inability to pay them considering the trifle of interest to Mr. Taylor their arrears. Here was a difficulty: the Nabob and the others as of no great matter; but instead had no money; the Company had no money; of this, I am oppressed with the burden of pay every public supply was empty. But there was due to those troops, and the interest which is goone resource which no season has ever yet dried ing on to Mr. Taylor from the day the teeps were up in that climate. The soucars (money lenders) granted to him.” What I have read to you is were at hand; that is, private English money- an extract of a letter from the Nabob of the Carjobbers offered their assistance. Messrs. Tay- natic to Governor Rumbold, dated the 22d, and lor, Majendie, and Call proposed to advance the received the 24th of March, 1779. small sum of £160,000, to pay off the Nabob's Suppose his Highness not to be well broken black cavalry, provided the Company's authority in to things of this kind, it must, indeed, surprise was given for their loan. This was the great so known and established a bond vender as the point of policy always aimed at and pursued Nabob of Arcot, one who keeps himself the through a hundred devices by the servants at largest bond warehouse in the world, to find that Madras. The presidency, who themselves had he was now to receive in kind; not to take monno authority for the functions they presumed to ey for his obligations, but to give his bond in exercise, 19 very readily gave the sanction of the exchange for the bond of Messrs. Taylor, MajenCompany to those servants who knew that the die, and Call, and to pay, beside, a good smart Company (whose sanction was demanded) had nterest, legally 12 per cent. (in reality perhaps positively prohibited all such transactions. twenty or twenty-four per cent.), for this ex
However, so far as the reality of the dealing change of paper. But his troops were not to goes, all is hitherto fair and plausible; and here be so paid or so disbanded; they wanted bread, the right honorable gentleman concludes, with and could not live by cutting and shuffling of commendable prudence, his account of the busi-bonds. The Nabob still kept the troops in
But here it is I shall beg leave to com- service, and was obliged to continue, as you mence my supplement, for the gentleman's dis- have seen, the whole expense; to exonerate creet modesty has led him to cut the thread of himself from which, he became indebted to the the story somewhat abruptly. One of the most essential parties is quite forgotten. Why should Had it stood here, the transaction would have the episode of the poor Nabob be omitted? When been of the most audacious strain of fraud and that prince chooses it, nobody can tell his story usury perhaps ever before discovered, whatever better. Excuse me if I apply again to my book, might have been practiced and concealed. But and give it you from the first hand—from the the same authority (I mean the Nabob's) brings Nabob himself.
before you something, if possible, more striking. "Mr. Stratton one of the members of the He states that, for this their paper, he immediDocument council at Madras) became acquainted ately handed over to these gentlemen something ary proofs. with this, and got Mr. Taylor and oth very different from paper; that is, the receipt ers to lend me four lacs of pagodas toward dis- of a territorial revenue, of which it seems they charging the arrears of pay of my troops. Upon continued as long in possession as the Nabob this, I wrote a letter of thanks to Mr. Stratton; himself continued in possession of any thing. and, upon the faith of this money being paid im Their payments, therefore, not being to com. mediately, I ordered many of my troops to be mence before the end of four months, and not discharged by a certain day, and lessened the being completed in two years, it must be prenumber of my servants. Mr. Taylor, &c., some
sumed (unless they proved the contrary) that time after acquainted me that they had no ready their payments to the Nabob were made out of money, but they would grant teeps (notes of the revenues they had received from his assignhand), payable in four months. This astonished ment. Thus they condescended to accumulate me; for I did not know what might happen when a debt of £160,000, with an interest of 12 per the sepoys were dismissed from my service. I cent., in compensation for a lingering payment begged of Mr. Taylor and the others to pay this to the Nabob of £160,000 of his own money! sum to the officers of my regiments at the time
Still we have not the whole. About two years they mentioned ; and desired the officers, at the after the assignment of those territorial revenues same time, to pacify and persuade the men be- to these gentlemen, the Nabob receives a remonlonging to them that their pay would be given strance from his chief manager, in a principal to them at the end of four months; and that till province, of which this is the tenor: “The enthose arrears were discharged their pay should tire revenue of those districts is by your Highbe continued to them. Two years are nearly ness's order set apart to discharge the tunkaus expired since that time, but Mr. Taylor has not (assignments granted to the Europeans. The yet entirely discharged the arrears of those troops, gomastahs (agents) of Mr. Taylor, to Mr. De and I am obliged to continue their pay from that Fries, are there in order to collect those tuntime till this. I hoped to have been able, by this kaws; and as they receive all the revenue that expedient, to have lessened the number of my is collected, your Highness's troops have seven troops, and discharged the arrears due to them, or eight months' pay due which they can not re
ceive, and are thereby reduced to the greatest 19 The acting presidency were the usurping ones distress. In such times, it is highly necessary to who had imprisoned Lord Pigot.
provide for the sustenance of the troops, that they
pretense that the
may be ready to exert themselves in the service | Mr. Paul Benfield, for instance, without property of your Highness."
upon which any one would lend to themselves a Here, sir, you see how these causes and effects single shilling, are enabled at once to take provact upon one another. One body of troops mu- inces in mortgage, to make princes their debttinies for want of pay; a debt is contracted to ors, and to become creditors for millions ! pay them, and they still remain unpaid. A ter- But it seems the right honorable gentleman's ritory destined to pay other troops is assigned favorite soucar cavalry have proved Exposure of the for this debt, and these other troops fall into the the payment before the Mayor's debt had been same state of indigence and mutiny with the first. Court at Madras! Have they so ? proved in court. Bond is paid by bond; arrear is turned into new Why, then, defraud our anxiety and their chararrear; usury engenders new usury; mutiny acters of that proof ? Is it not enough that the suspended in one quarter, starts up in another; charges which I have laid before you have stood until all the revenues and all the establishments on record against these poor injured gentlemen are entangled into one inextricable knot of con- for eight years? Is it not enough that they are fusion, from which they are only disengaged by in print by the orders of the East India Compa. being entirely destroyed. In that state of con- ny for five years ? After these gentlemen have fusion, in a very few months after the date of the borne all the odium of this publication, and all memorial I have just read to you, things were the indignation of the Directors, with such unexfound, when the Nabob's troops, famished to feed ampled equanimity, now that they are at length English soucars, instead of defending the coun- stimulated into feeling, are you to deny them try, joined the invaders, and deserted in entire their just relief? But will the right honorable bodies to Hyder Ali.20
gentleman be pleased to tell us how they came The manner in which this transaction was not to give this satisfaction to the court of Di. carried on shows that good examples are not rectors, their lawsul masters, during all the eight easily forgot, especially by those who are bred years of this litigated claim? Were they not in a great school. One of those splendid exam- bound, by every tie that can bind man, to give ples give me leave to mention at a somewhat them this satisfaction ? This day, for the first more early period, because one fraud furnishes time, we hear of the proofs. But when were light to the discovery of another, and so on, until these proofs offered ? In what cause ? Who the whole secret of mysterious iniquity bursts were the parties? Who inspected? Who conupon you in a blaze of detection. The paper I tested this belated account? Let us see someshall read you is not on record. If you please, thing to oppose to the body of record which apyou may take it on my word. It is a letter pears against them. The Mayor's Court! The written from one of undoubted information in Mayor's Court ? Pleasant ! Does not the hon. Madras, to Sir John Clavering, describing the orable gentleman know that the first corps of practice that prevailed there, while the Compa- creditors (the creditors of 1767) stated it as a ny's allies were under sale, during the time of sort of hardship to them, that they could not have Governor Winch's administration.
justice at Madras, from the impossibility of their “One mode," says Clavering's correspondent, supporting their claims in the Mayor's Court? "of amassing money at the Nabob's cost is cu- Why? Because, say they, the members of that rious. He is generally in arrears to the Com-court were themselves creditors, and therefore pany. Here the Governor, being cash-keeper, could not sit as judges! Are we ripe to say is generally on good terms with the banker, who that no creditor under similar circumstances was manages matters thus: The Governor presses a member of the court when the payment which the Nabob for the balance due from him; the is the ground of this cavalry debt was put in Nabob flies to his banker for relief; the banker proof? Nay, are we not in a manner compelled engages to pay the money, and grants his notes to conclude that the court was so constituted, accordingly, which he puts in the cash-book as when we know there is scarcely a man in Madready money; the Nabob pays him an interest ras who has not some participation in these sor it at two and three per cent. a month, till the transactions? It is a shame to hear such proofs tunkaws (assignments) he grants on the particu- mentioned, instead of the honest, vigorous scru. lar districts for it are paid. Matters in the mean tiny which the circumstances of such an affair time are so managed, that there is no call for so indispensably call for. 21 this money for the Company's service, till the But his esty's ministers, indulgent enough tunkaws become due. By this means not a cash to other scrutinies, have not been satisfied with is advanced by the banker, though he receives a heavy interest from the Nabob, which is divided 21 As to this pretended proof before the Mayor's as lawful spoil.”
Court at Madras, the fact turned out to be just as Here, Mr. Speaker, you have the whole art Mr. Burke supposed. It was wholly collusive. It and mystery, the true Free-mason secret of the consisted merely of an affidavit of the money-lend. profession of soucaring; by which a few inno- ers themselves, who swore (what no one ever doubt.
ed) that they had engaged, and agreed to pay (not cent, inexperienced young Englishmen, such as
that they had actually paid), the sum of £160,000 20 This took place in 1780, during that terrible to the Nabob of Arcot. This aflidavit was made devastation of the Carnatic by Hyder Ali, which Mr. two years after the transaction, before George Proc. Barke so vividly describes toward the close of this tor, mayor, who was also agent for some of the speech.
ed in full
authorizing the payment of this demand without | to have twenty-five per cent at once struck off such inquiry as the act has prescribed ; but they from the capital of a great part of this debt, and have added the arrear of twelve per cent. inter- prayed to have a provision made for this reduced est, from the year 1777 to the year 1784, to principal, without any interest at all! make a new capital, raising thereby £160,000 to an arrangement of their own—an arrangement £294,000. Then they charge a new twelve made by those who best knew the true constituper cent. on the whole from that period, for a tion of their own debt; who knew how little fatransaction in which it will be a miracle is a vor it merited, and how little hopes they had to single penny will be ever found really advanced find any persons in authority abandoned enough from the private stock of the pretended creditors. to support it as it stood.
(3.) In this manner, and at such an interest, But what corrupt men, in the fond imaginathe ministers have thought proper to dispose of tions of a sanguine avarice, had not the Yet allow. £294,000 of the public revenues, for what is confidence to propose, they have found a called the Cavalry Loan. After dispatching this, Chancellor of the Exchequer in England hardy Consolidation the right honorable gentleman leads to enough to undertake for them. He has cheered
battle his last grand division, the con- their drooping spirits. He has thanked the pecsolidated debt of 1777. But having exhausted ulators for not despairing of their commonall his panegyric on the two first, he has nothing wealth. He has told them they were too modat all to say in favor of the last. On the con- He has replaced the twenty-five per cent. Authorized trary, he admits that it was contracted which, in order to lighten themselves, they had by no one. in defiance of the Company's orders, abandoned in their conscious terror. Instead of without even the pretended sanction of any pre- cutting off the interest, as they had themselves tended representatives. Nobody, indeed, has yet consented to do, with one fourth of the capital, been found hardy enough to stand forth avowed. he has added the whole growth of four years' ly in its defense. But it is little to the credit of usury of twelve per cent. to the first overgrown the age, that what has not plausibility enough to principal, and has again grasted on this meliorafind an advocate, has influence enough to obtain ted stock a perpetual annuity of six per cent., to a protector. Could any man expect to find that take place from the year 1781. Let no man protector any where ? But what must every hereafter talk of the decaying energies of naman think, when he finds that protector in the ture. All the acts and monuments in the recchairman of the Committee of Secrecy (Mr. Dun- ords of peculation; the consolidated corruption das), who had published to the House, and to the of ages, the patterns of exemplary plunder in the world, the facts that condemn these debts—the heroic times of Roman iniquity, never equaled the orders that forbid the incurring of them—the gigantic corruption of this single act. Never did dreadful consequences which attended them. Nero, in all the insolent prodigality of despotism, Even in his official letter, when he tramples on deal out to his Pretorian guards a donation fit to his parliamentary report, yet his general lan- be named with the largess showered down by the guage is the same. Read the preface to this bounty of our Chancellor of the Exchequer on part of the ministerial arrangement, and you the faithful band of his Indian Sepoys. would imagine that this debt was to be crushed, The right honorable gentleman (Mr. Dundas) with all the weight of indignation which could lets you freely and voluntarily into the whole fall from a vigilant guardian of the public treas- transaction. So perfectly has his conduct conury, upon those who attempted to rob it. What founded his understanding, that he fairly tells you must be felt by every man who has feeling, when, that through the course of the whole business he after such a thundering preamble of condemna- has never conferred with any but the agents of tion, this debt is ordered to be paid without any the pretended creditors! After this, do you want sort of inquiry into its authenticity? without a more to establish a secret understanding with single step taken to settle even the amount of the parties ? to fix, beyond a doubt, their colluthe demand? without an attempt so much as to sion and participation in a common fraud ? ascertain the real persons claiming a sum, which If this were not enough, he has furnished you rises in the accounts from one million three hund- with other presumptions that are not contradictory red thousand pounds sterling to two millions to be shaken. It is one of the known reasona design. four hundred thousand pounds principal money ? | indications of guilt to stagger and pre- them. without an attempt made to ascertain the pro- varicate in a story, and to vary in the motives prietors, of whom no list has ever yet been laid that are assigned to conduct. Try these minisbefore the court of Directors; of proprietors ters by this rule. In their official dispatch, they who are known to be in a collusive shuffle, by tell the presidency of Madras that they have eswhich they never appear to be the same in any tablished the debt for two reasons; first, betwo lists, handed about for their own particular cause the Nabob (the party indebted) does not purposes ?
dispute it; secondly, because it is mischievous My honorable friend [Mr. Fox] who made to keep it longer afloat, and that the payment Abandoned. you the motion has sufficiently ex- of the European creditors will promote circulatour greater posed the nature of this debt. He tion in the country. These two motives (for the
ed allowing creditors.
has stated to you that its own agents, plainest reasons in the world) the right honora
in the year 1781, in the arrangement they proposed to make at Calcutta, were satisfied 32 --ne de republica desperandum sit.
tent, by clainiants themselses.
ble gentleman has this day thought fit totally to burden of the proof on those who make the deabandon. In the first place, he rejects the au- mand? Ought not ministry to have said to the thority of the Nabob of Arcot. It would indeed creditors, “ The person who admits your debt be pleasant to see him adhere to this exploded stands excepted as to evidence; he stands chargtestimony. He next, upon grounds equally solid, ed as a collusive party, to hand over the public abandons the benefits of that circulation, which revenues to you for sinister purposes? You say was to be produced by drawing out all the juices you have a demand of some millions on the In. of the body. Laying aside, or forgetting these dian treasury. Prove that you ha
acted by pretenses of his dispatch, he has just now as- lawful authority ; prove, at least, that your monsumed a principle totally different, but to the ey has been bona fide advanced ; entitle yourself full as extraordinary. He proceeds upon a sup- to my protection by the fairness and fullness of the position that many of the claims may be fictitious. communications you make.” Did an honest credHe then finds that, in a case where many valid itor ever refuse that reasonable and honest test ? and many fraudulent claims are blended togeth- There is little doubt that several individuals er, the best course for their discrimination is in- have been seduced by the purveyors Undoubtedly discriminately to establish them all! He trusts to the Nabob of Arcot to put their some honest (I suppose), as there may not be a fund sufficient money (perhaps the whole of honest for every description of creditors, that the best and laborious earnings) into their hands, and that warranted claimants will exert themselves in such high interest, as, being condemned at law, bringing to light those debts which will not leaves them at the mercy of the great managers bear an inquiry. What he will not do himself, whom they trusted. These seduced creditors he is persuaded will be done by others; and for are probably persons of no power or interest, eithis purpose he leaves to any person a general ther in England or India, and may be just obpower of excepting to the debt. This total jects of compassion. By taking, in this archange of language and prevarication in princi- rangement, no measures for discrimination and ple is enough, if it stood alone, to fix the pre- discovery, the fraudulent and the fair are, in the sumption of unfair dealing. His dispatch as first instance, confounded in one
The signs motives of policy, concord, trade, and cir- subsequent selection and distribution is left to culation. His speech proclaims discord and lit- the Nabob! With him the agents and instruigations, and proposes, as the ultimate end, detec- ments of his corruption, whom he sees to be om
nipotent in England, and who may serve him in But he may shift his reasons, and wind and future, as they have done in times past, will turn as he will, confusion waits him at all his have precedence, if not an exclusive preference. doubles. Who will undertake this detection ? | These leading interests domineer, and have alWill the Nabob ? But the right honorable gen- ways domineered, over the whole. By this artleman has himself this moment told us that no rangement the persons seduced are made deprince of the country can by any motive be pendent on their seducers: honesty (comparaprevailed upon to discover any fraud that is tive honesty, at least) must become of the party practiced upon him by the Company's servants. of fraud, and must quit its proper character and He says what (with ihe exception of the com- its just claims, to entitle itself to the alms of bribplaint against the cavalry loan) all the world ery and peculation. knows to be true; and without that prince's But be these English creditors what they concurrence, what evidence can be had of the may, the creditors most certainly not fraud of any, the smallest of these demands ? fraudulent are the natives, who are nu- ly natives The ministers never authorized any person to merous and wretched indeed : by exenter into his exchequer and to search his rec- hausting the whole revenues of the Carnatic, ords. Why, then, this shameful and insulting nothing is left for them. They lent bona fide ; mockery of a pretended contest? Already con- in all probability, they were even forced to lend, tests for a preference have arisen among these or to give goods and service for the Nabob's obrival bond creditors. Has not the Company it. ligations. They had no trust to carry to his self struggled for a preference for years, without market
. They had no faith of alliances to sell. any attempt at detection of the nature of those They had no nations to betray to robbery and debts with which they contended? Well is the ruin. They had no lawful government sediNabob of Arcot attended to in the only specific tiously to overturn; nor had they a governor, to complaint he has ever made. He complained whom it is owing that you exist in India, to deof unfair dealing in the cavalry loan. It is fixed liver over to captivity and to death in a shameful upon him with interest on interest, and this loan prison.23 is excepted from all power of litigation.
These were the merits of the principal part of This day, and not before, the right honorable the debt of 1777, and the universally conceived genileman thinks that the general establishment cause of its growth; and thus the unhappy naof all claims is the surest way of laying open the tives are deprived of every hope of payment for fraid of some of them. In India this is a reach their real debts, to make provision for the arrears of deep policy; but what would be thought of of unsatisfied bribery and treason. You see in this mode of acting on a demand upon the treas
23 For the circumstances attending the imprisonury in England ? Instead of all this cunning, is ment and death of Lord Pigot, Governor of Madras, there not one plain way open, that is, to put the see note 14, page 338.