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ed a decision.
and a civil establishment, would have been im- justified by Lord Macartney himself, who, in a
possible; therefore the ministers are subsequent letter, informs the court that his the Carnatic: silent on that head, and rest them- sketch is a matter of speculation; it supposes estimated by selves on the authority of Lord Ma- the country restored to its ancient prosperity,
cartney, who, in a letter to the court and the revenue to be in a course of effective of Directors, written in the year 1781, speculat- and honest collection. If, therefore, the minising on what might be the result of a wise manage-ters have gone wrong, they were not deceived ment of the countries assigned by the Nabob of by Lord Macartney; they were deceived by no Arcot, rates the revenue as in time of peace at The estimate of the Directors is nearly twelve hundred thousand pounds a year, as he the very estimate furnished by the right honordoes those of the King of Tanjore (which had not able gentleman himself (Mr. Dundas), and pubbeen assigned) at four hundred and fifty:31 On lished to the world in one of the printed reports this Lord Macartney grounds his calculations, and of his own committee; but as soon as he obon this they choose to ground theirs. It was on tained his power, he chose to abandon his acthis calculation that the ministry, in direct oppo-count. No part of his official conduct can be sition to the remonstrances of the court of Direct- defended on the ground of his parliamentary inors, have compelled that miserable, enslaved body formation. to put their hands to an order for appropriating the In this clashing of accounts and estimates, enormous sum of £180,000 annually as a fund for ought not the ministry, if they wished paying to their rebellious servants a debt contract- to preserve even appearances, to have ought, in these ed in defiance of their clearest and most positive waited for information of the actual to have delay. injunctions.
result of these speculations, before The authority and information of Lord Ma- they laid a charge, and such a charge, not conLord Macare cartney is held high on this occasion, ditionally and eventually, but positively and aubeste estimate though it is totally rejected in every thoritatively, upon a country which they all ferent state of other particular of this business. I knew, and which one of them had registered on
believe I have the honor of being al- the records of this House, to be wasted beyond most as old an acquaintance as any Lord Ma- all example, by every oppression of an abusive cartney has. A constant and unbroken friend government, and every ravage of a desolating ship has subsisted between us from a very early war. But that you may discern in what manperiod; and I trust he thinks that, as I respect ner they use the correspondence of office, and his character, and in general admire his conduct, that thereby you may enter into the true spirit I am one of those who feel no common interest of the ministerial Board of Control, I desire you, in his reputation; yet I do not hesitate wholly Mr. Speaker, to remark, that through their whole to disallow the calculation of 1781, without any controversy with the court of Directors, they do apprehension that I shall appear to distrust his not so much as hint at their ever having seen veracity or his judgment. This peace estimate any other paper from Lord Macartney, or any of revenue was not grounded on the state of the other estimate of revenue, than this of 1781. To Carnatic as it then, or as it had recently stood. this they hold. Here they take post ; here they It was a statement of former and better times. intrench themselves. There is no doubt that a period did exist, when When I first read this curious controversy bethe large portion of the Carnatic held by the Na-tween the ministerial board and the But they sup. bob of Arcot might be fairly held to produce a court of Directors, 33 common candor pressed the revenue to that, or to a greater amount; but the obliged me to attribute their tenacious estimate, that whole bad so melted away by the slow and silent adherence to the estimate of 1781 to committee. hostility of oppression and mismanagement, that a total ignorance of what had appeared upon the the revenues, sinking with the prosperity of the records. But the right honorable gentleman has country, had fallen to about £800,000 a year, chosen to come forward with an uncalled-for deceven before an enemy's horse had imprinted his laration; he boastingly tells you that he has seen, hoof on the soil of the Carnatic.32 From that read, digested, compared every thing, and that, if view, and independently of the decisive effects of he has sinned, he has sinned with his eyes broad the war which ensued, Sir Eyre Coote conceived open. Since then, the ministers will obstinately that years must pass before the country could be "shut the gates of mercy' on themselves, let them restored to its former prosperity and production. add to their crimes what aggravations they please. It was that state of revenue (namely, the actual They have, then (since it must be so), willfully state before the war) which the Directors have and corruptly suppressed the information which opposed to Lord Macartney's speculation. They they ought to have produced, and, for the support The estimate of refused to take the revenues for more of peculation, have made themselves guilty of
than £800,000. In this they are spoliation and suppression of evidence. The pa" Lord Macartney was at that time Governor of (for the present, at least) the estimate of 1781,
per I hold in my hand, which totally overturns Madras.
* The manner in which Mr. Burke here individu. they have no more taken notice of in their conalizes, by mentioning the horse's hoof, is peculiarly troversy with the court of Directors than if it had appropriate and beautiful, after the description giv- 33 This controversy arose out of the resistance en above of the "whirlwind of cavalry'' which had made by the Directors to the order of the Board of Ewept over the Carnatic.
Control for the payment of these debts.
no existence. It is the report made by a com- putable fact before them, what has been done by mittee appointed at Madras to manage the whole the Chancellor of the Exchequer and his accomof the six countries assigned to the Company by plices ? Shall I be believed? They have dethe Nabob of Arcot. This committee was wise- livered over those very territories, on the keeply instituted by Lord Macartney, to remove from ing of which in the hands of the committee the himsell the suspicion of all improper manage- defense of our dominions, and, what was more ment in so invidious a trust, and it seems to have dear to them, possibly, their own job, depended ; been well chosen. This committee has made a they have delivered back again, without condicomparative estimate of the only six districts tion, without arrangement, without stipulation which were in a condition to be let to farm. In of any sort for the natives of any rank, the whole one set of columns they state the gross and net of those vast countries, to many of which he had produce of the districts as let by the Nabob. To no just claim, into the ruinous mismanagement that statement they oppose the terms on which of the Nabob of Arcot! To crown all, accordthe same districts were rented for five years un- ing to their miserable practice whenever they do der their authority. Under the Nabob, the gross any thing transcendently absurd, they preface farm was so high as £570,000 sterling. What this their abdication of their trust by a solemn was the clear produce? Why, no more than declaration, that they were not obliged to it by about £250,000; and this was the whole profit any principle of policy, or any demand of justice to the Nabob's treasury, under his own manage- whatsoever. ment, of all the districts which were in a condi- I have stated to you the estimated produce of tion to be let to farm on the 27th of May, 1782. the territories of the Carnatic, in a con- subsequent Lord Macartney's leases stipulated a gross prod- dition to be farmed in 1782, according estunates. uce of no more than about £530,000, but then to the different managements into which they the estimated net amount was nearly double fall, and this estimate the ministers have thought the Nabob's. It, however, did not then exceed proper to suppress.
Since that, two other ac£180,000; and Lord Macartney's commission- counts have been received. The first informs ers take credit for an annual revenue amounting us that there has been a recovery of what is to this clear sum. Here is no speculation; here called arrear, as well as of an improvement of is no inaccurate account clandestinely obtained the revenue of one of the six provinces (Tinnefrom those who might wish, and were enabled velly) which were let in 1782. It was brought to deceive. It is the authorized, recorded state about by making a new war. After some sharp of a real recent transaction. Here is rot twelve actions, by the resolution and skill of Colonel hundred thousand pounds—not eight hundred. Fullarton, several of the petty princes of the The whole revenue of the Carnatic yielded no most southerly of the unwasted provinces were more in May, 1782, than four hundred and compelled to pay very heavy rents and tributes, eighty thousand pounds ; nearly the very pre- who for a long time before had not paid any accise sum which your minister, who is so careful knowledgment. After this reduction, by the care of the public security, has carried from all de- of Mr. Irwin, one of the committee, that province scriptions of establishment, to form a fund for was divided into twelve farms. This operation the private emolument of his creatures.34 raised the income of that particular province;
In this estimate we see, as I have just observed, the others remain as they were first farmed. So the Nabob's farms rated so high as £570,000. that, instead of producing only their original rent Hitherto all is well; but follow on to the effect- of £480,000, they netted, in about two years and ive net revenue-here the illusion vanishes; and a quarter, £1,320,000 sterling, which would you will not find nearly so much as half the prod- be about £660.000 a year is the recovered aruce.
It is with reason, therefore, Lord Macart. rear was not included. What deduction is to be ney invariably, throughout the whole correspond- made on account of that arrear I can not de. ence, qualifies all his views and expectations of termine, but certainly what would reduce the revenue, and all his plans for its application, annual income considerably below the rate I have with this indispensable condition, that the man
allowed. agement is not in the hands of the Nabob of The second account received is the letting of Arcot. Should that fatal measure take place, the wasted provinces of the Carnatic. This, I he has over and over again told you that he has understand, is at a growing rent, which may or no prospect of realizing any thing whatsoever may not realize what it promises; but if it should for any public purpose. With these weighty answer, it will raise the whole, at some future declarations, confirmed by such a state of indis- time, to £1,200,000.
You must here remark, Mr. Speaker, that this 34 The Company were, of course, unable to pay revenue is the produce of all the Nabob's dominthe Nabob's debts at once, and the Board of Control ions. During the assignment the Nabob paid therefore exacted from the Directors a paper setting nothing, because the Company had all. Supapart for this purpose twelve lacs of pagodas, or about £480,000 a year.
posing the whole of the lately-assigned territory It appears, from the above computation, that the entire revenue of the Carnatic
to yield up to the most sanguine expectations would be absorbed by this assignment. Nothing re
of the right honorable gentleman; and suppose mained for its government and defense. This was £1,200,000 to be annually realized (of which left to come out of the other means of the Company, we actually know of no more than the realizing and if these failed, from the public treasury at home.' of six hundred thousand), out of this you must account at all. The Company were now masters of natic, was that arising to the East In
This debt onght
ed on the rese.
deduct the subsidy and rent which the Nabob dia Company, which, after the provision for the paid before the assignment, namely, £340,000 cavalry and the consolidation of 1777, was to a year.
This reduces back the revenue, appli- divide the residue of the fund of £480,000 a cable to the new distribution made by his Majes- year with the lenders of 1767. This debt the ty's ministers, to about £800,000. Of that sum, worthy chairman, who sits opposite to me, con. five eighths are by them surrendered to the tends to be three millions sterling. Lord Madebts. The remaining three are the only fund cartney's account of 1781 states it to be, at that lest for all the purposes so magnificently dis period, £1,200,000. The first account of the played in the letter of the Board of Control; that court of Directors makes it £900,000. This, is, for the new-cast pence establishment; a new like the private debt, being without any solid fund for ordnance and fortifications; and a large existence, is incapable of any distinct limits. allowance for what they call "the splendor of Whatever its amount or its validity may be, one the Durbar' (Court of the Nabob).
thing is clear; it is of the nature and quality of You have heard the account of these terri- a public debt. In that light, nothing is provided tories as they stood in 1782. You have seen the for it but an eventual surplus to be divided with actual receipt since the assignment in 1781, of one class of the private demands, after satisfying which I reckon about two years and a quarter the two first classes. Never was a more shameproductive. I have stated to you the expecta- ful postponing a public demand, which, hy the tion from the wasted part. For realizing all reason of the thing, and the uniform practice of this, you may value yourselves on the vigor and all nations, supersedes every private claim.36 diligence of a governor and committee that have Those who gave this preference to private done so much. If these hopes from the commit- claims consider the Company's as a lawful detee are rational, remember that the committee mand; else, why did they pretend to provide for is no more. Your ministers, who have formed it? On their own principles they are condemned. their fund for these debts on the presumed effect But I, sir, who profess to speak to your underof the committee's management, have put a com- standing and to your conscience, and plete end to that committee. Their acts are to brush away from this business all not to be charg rescinded; their leases are broken; their rent- false colors, all false appellations, as nues of the Car. ers are dispersed. Your ministers knew, when well as false facts, do positively deny they signed the death-warrant of the Carnatic, that the Carnatic owes a shilling to the Compathat the Nabob would not only turn all these un ny, whatever the Company may be indebted to fortunate farmers of revenue out of employment, that undone country. It owes nothing to the but that he has denounced his severest vengeance Company, for this plain and simple reason : The against them for acting under British authority. territory charged with the debt is their own! To With a knowledge of this disposition, a British say that their revenues fall short, and owe them Chancellor of the Exchequer and Treasurer of money, is to say they are in debt to themselves, the Navy, incited by no public advantage, im- which is only talking nonsense. The fact is, pelled by no public necessity, in a strain of the that by the invasion of an enemy, and the ruin most wanton perfidy which has ever stained the of the country, the Company, either in its own annals of mankind, have delivered over to plun- name or in the names of the Nabob of Arcot and der, imprisonment, exile, and death itself, accord- Rajah of Tanjore, has lost for several years what ing to the mercy of such execrable tyrants as it might have looked to receive from its own es. Amir al Omra and Paul Benfield, the unhappy tate. If men were allowed to credit themselves, and deluded souls who, untaught by uniform ex- upon such principles any one might soon grow ample, were still weak enough to put their trust rich by this mode of accounting. A flood comes in English faith.35 They have gone farther; they down upon a man's estate in the Bedford level have thought proper to mock and outrage their of a thousand pounds a year, and drowns his misery by ordering them protection and com- rents for ten years. The chancellor would put pensation. From what power is this protection that man into the hands of a trustee, who would to be derived ? And from what fund is this com- gravely make up his books, and for this loss credit pensation to arise ? The revenues are delivered over to their oppressor ; the territorial jurisdic, the charge of its revenues, had been taken from the
36 The civil and military government of India, and tion, from whence that revenue is to arise, and Company by Mr. Pitt's bill, and placed in the hands under which they live, is surrendered to the same
of the British government. All debts due to the iron hands; and that they shall be deprived of Company had, therefore, become public debts; and all resuge and all hope, the minister has made a if brought into the account at all, ought, on estabsolemn, voluntary declaration that he never will lished principles, to have taken the precedence of interfere with the Nabob's internal government. every other. Instead of this, they had been put
Mr. Burke, however, conVI. The last thing considered by the Board after most of the others! of Control, among the debts of the Car- tends that they ought not to be brought into the
the country; and whatever sums they had expend. 35 The favorite son of the Nabob, Amir ul Omra, ed in thus adding to their dominions ought to be was so vicious and cruel, that, although destined to carried to the account of “profit and loss." They sacceed his father, the Company set him aside on ought not to be brought in as debts, to squeeze more the death of the Nabob in 1795, and
revenue out of the natives, or to be saddled on the erament to his brother.
public, if that revenue shou
himself in his account for a debt due to him of are soucars who will supply you on the mortgage £10,000. It is, however, on this principle the of your territories. Then steps forward some Company makes up its demands on the Carnatic. Paul Benfield, and from his grateful compassion In peace they go the full length, and indeed more to the Nabob, and his filial regard to the Comthan the full length, of what the people can bear pany, he unlocks the treasures of his virtuous for current establishments; then they are absurd industry, and for a consideration of twenty-four enough to consolidate all the calamities of war or thirty-six per cent. on a mortgage of the terinto debts; to metamorphose the devastations of ritorial revenue, becomes security to the Compathe country into demands upon its future produc- ny for the Nabob's arrear. tion. What is this but to avow a resolution ut- All this intermediate usury thus becomes sancterly to destroy their own country, and to force tified by the ultimate view to the Company's the people to pay for their sufferings, to a gov- payment. In this case, would vot a plain man ernment which has proved unable to protect ei- ask this plain question of the Company: If you ther the share of the husbandman or their own ? know that the Nabob must annually mortgage In every lease of a farm, the invasion of an ene- his territories to your servants to pay his annual my, instead of forming a demand for arrear, is a arrear to you, why is not the assignment or mort. release of rent; nor for that release is it at all nec- gage made directly to the Company itself ? By essary to show that the invasion has left nothing this simple, obvious operation, the Company to the occupier of the soil, though in the present would be relieved and the debt paid, without case it would be too easy to prove that melan- the charge of a shilling interest to that prince. choly fact. I therefore appland my right hon. But if that course should be thought too indulgorable friend, who, when he canvassed the Com- ent, why do they not take that assignment with pany's accounts, as a preliminary to a bill that such interest to themselves as they pay to othought not to stand on falsehood of any kind, fixed ers; that is, eight per cent.? Or, if it were his discerning eye and his deciding hand on these thought more advisable (why it should I know debts of the Company, from the Nabob of Arcot not) that he must borrow, why do not the Comand Rajah of Tanjore, and at one stroke ex- pany lend their own credit to the Nabob for their punged them all, as utterly irrecoverable; he own payment? That credit would not be weakmight have added, as utterly unfounded. ened by the collateral security of his territorial
On these grounds I do not blame the arrange- mortgage. The money might still be had at ment this day in question, as a preference given eight per cent. Instead of any of these honest to the debt of individuals over the Company's and obvious methods, the Company has for years debt. In my eye, it is no more than the prefer- kept up a show of disinterestedness and moderaence of a fiction over a chimera; but I blame tion, by suffering a debt to accumulate to them the preference given to those fictitious private from the country powers, without any interest at debts over the standing defense and the standing all; and at the same time have seen before their government. It is there the public is robbed. eyes, on a pretext of borrowing to pay that debt, It is robbed in its army; it is robbed in its civil the revenues of the country charged with a usuadministration; it is robbed in its credit; it is ry of twenty, twenty-four, thirty-six, and even robbed in its investment, which forms the com- eight-and-forty per cent., with compound intermercial connection between that country and est, for the benefit of their servants! All this Europe. There is the robbery.
time they know that by having a debt subsisting But my principal objection lies a good deal without any interest, which is to be paid by conTliis debe made deeper. That debt to the Company tracting a debt on the highest interest, they manthe pretrut for is the pretext under which all the ifestly render it necessary to the Nabob of Arcot most unjustifia: other debts lurk and cover them to give the private demand a preference to the
selves. That debt forms the foul, public; and, by binding him and their servants putrid mucus, in which are engendered the together in a common cause, they enable him to whole brood of creeping ascarides, all the end- form a party to the utter ruin of their own auless involutions, the eternal knot, added to a knot thority and their own affairs. Thus their false of those inexpugnable tape-worms which devour moderation and their affected purity, by the natthe nutriment, and eat up the bowels of India. aral operation of every thing false and every It is necessary, sir, you should recollect two thing affected, becomes pander and bawd to the things: first, that the Nabob's debt to the Com- unbridled debauchery and licentious lewdness of pany carries no interest. In the next place you usury and extortion. will observe, that whenever the Company has In consequence of this double game, all the occasion to borrow, she has always commanded territorial revenues have, at one time Extreme og whatever she thought fit at eight per cent. Car- or other, been covered by those locusts, pression or rying in your mind these two facts, attend to the the English soucars. Not one single the necessaprocess with regard to the public and private foot of the Carnatic has escaped them; debt, and with what little appearance of decency a territory as large England! During these opthey play into each other's hands a game of utter erations, wbat a scene has that country present. perdition to the unhappy natives of India. The ed! The usurious European assignee supersedes Nabob fo!ls into an arrear to the Company. The the Nabob's native farmer of the revenne; the presidenry presses for payment. The Nabob's farmer flies to the Nabob's presence to claim his answer ''s, I have no money. Good ! But there bargain; while his servants murmur for wages,
and his soldiers mutiny for pay."
37 The mortgage these soucars are no other than the creditors to the European assignee is then resumed, and themselves. The minister, not content with authe native farmer replaced; replaced, again to thorizing these transactions in a manner and to be removed on the new clamor of the European an extent unhoped for by the rapacious expectaassignee. Every man of rank and landed for- tions of usury itself, loads the broken back of the tune being long since extinguished, the remain- Indian revenues, in favor of his worthy friends ing miserable last cultivator, who grows to the the soucars, with an additional twenty-four per soil, after having his back scored by the farmer, cent. for being security to themselves for their has it again flayed by the whip of the assignee, own claims; for condescending to take the counand is thus, by a ravenous, because a short-lived try in mortgage to pay to themselves the fruits succession of claimants, lashed from oppressor to of their extortions ! oppressor, while a single drop of blood is left as The interest to be paid for this security, acthe means of extorting a single grain of corn. cording to the most moderate strain of soucar Do not think I paint. Far, very far from it; I demand, comes to one hundred and eighteen do not reach the fact, nor approach to it. Men thousand pounds a year, which, added to the of respectable condition, men equal to your sub- £480,000 on which it is to accrue, will make stantial English yeomen, are daily tied up and the whole charge on account of these debts on scourged to answer the multiplied demands of the Carnatic revenues amount to £598,000 a various contending and contradictory titles, all year, as much as even a long peace will enable issuing from one and the same source. Tyran- those revenues to produce. Can any one reflect nous exaction brings on servile concealment, and for a moment on all those claims of debt, which that, again, calls forth tyrannous coercion. They the minister exhausts himself in contrivances to move in a circle, mutually producing and pro- augment with new usuries, without lifting up his duced; till at length nothing of humanity is left hands and eyes in astonishment of the impuin the government, no trace of integrity, spirit, dence both of the claim and of the adjudication ? or manliness in the people, who drag out a pre- Services of some kind or other these servants of carious and degraded existence under this sys- the Company must have done, so great and emi. tem of outrage upon human nature. Such is nent, that the Chancellor of the Exchequer can the effect of the establishment of a debt to the not think that all they have brought home is Company, as it has hitherto been managed, and half enough. He halloos after them, “Gentle. as it ever will remain, until ideas are adopted men, you have forgot a large packet behind you, totally different from those which prevail at this in your hurry; you have not sufficiently recovtime.
ered yourselves; you ought to have, and you Your worthy ministers, supporting what they shall have, interest upon interest, upon a prohib. are obliged to condemn, have thought fit to re-ited debt that is made up of interest upon internew the Company's old order against contract. est. Even this is too little; I have thought of ing private debts in future. They begin by re- another character for you, by which you may warding the violation of the ancient law; and add something to your gains; you shall be sethen they gravely re-enact provisions, of which curity to yourselves; and hence will arise a new they have given bounties for the breach. This usury, which shall efface the memory of all the inconsistency has been well exposed by Mr. Fox. usuries suggested to you by your own dull inBut what will you say to their having gone the ventions." length of giving positive directions for contract- VII. I have done with the arrangement relaing the debt which they positively forbid ?
tive to the Carnatic. After this, it is to Treatment I will explain myself. They order the Nabob, little purpose to observe on what the of Tanjore. The orders of the out of the revenues of the Carnatic, ministers have done to Tanjore. Your minisnemet menece to allot four hundred and eighty ters have not observed even form and ceremony mars, aun enor thousand pounds a year as a fund in their outrageous and insulting robbery of that
for the debts before us. For the country, whose only crime has been its early and punctual payment of this annuity, they order him constant adherence to the power of this, and the to give soucar security. When a soucar, that is, suffering of a uniform pillage in consequence of a money-dealer, becomes security for any na- it. The debt of the Company from the Rajah tive prince, the course is, for the native prince of Tanjore is just of the same stuff with that of to counter-secure the money-dealer by making the Nabob of Arcot.38 over to him in mortgage a portion of his terri- 38 Tanjore was a small kingdom on the southeasttory equal to the sum annually to be paid, with ern coast of India, bordering on the Carnatic. Hy. an interest of at least twenty-four per cent. The der Ali was eager to bring it into subjection to himpoint fit for the House to know is, who are these self; and the presidency at Madras (then under the soucars to whom this security on the revenues
control of Benfield and his associates) united in the in favor of the Nabob's creditors is to be given ? design, and sent an army for this purpose. At a The majority of the House, unaccustomed to these other army to seize and bold it for the Company.
later period they changed their policy, and sent an. transactions, will hear with astonishment that
· Never," says Mill, "was the resolution taken to 3: The books of the Company, in 1781, show that make war upon a lawful sovereign with a view of the Nabob's farmers of revenue rarely continued in stripping him of his dominions, and either putting othce three months. What must have been the state him and bis family to death, or making them prison. of the country under such a system of exaction! ers for life, on a more accommodating principle. We