Page images

The Tanjore
debt of
£400,000 ut.



The subsidy from Tanjore, on the arrear of voked all India, he is to be subjected to a new

which this pretended debt (if any there penalty. To what penalty ? Why, to no less

be) has accrued to the Company, is not, than the confiscation of all his revenues. terly without like that paid by the Nabob of Arcot, this is to end with the war, and they are to be

a compensation for vast countries ob- faithfully returned ? Oh, no; nothing like it. tained, augmented, and preserved for him ; not The country is to remain under confiscation unthe price of pillaged treasuries, ransacked houses, til all the debt which the Company shall think and plundered territories. It is a large grant fit to incur in such war shall be discharged ; that from a small kingdom, not obtained by our arms; is to say, forever. His sole comfort is to find robbed, not protected by our power; a grant for his old enemy, the Nabob of Arcot, placed in which no equivalent was ever given, or pretend the very same condition. ed to be given. The right honorable gentle- The revenues of that miserable country were, man (Mr. Dundas), however, bears witness in before the invasion of Hyder, reduced to Revenues his reports to the punctuality of the payments a gross annual receipt of three hundred of Tanjore. of this grant of bounty, or, if you please, of fear. and sixty thousand pounds. From this receipt It amounts to one hundred and sixty thousand the subsidy I have just stated is taken. This pounds sterling net annual subsidy. He bears again, by payments in advance, by extorting dewitness to a farther grant of a town and port, posits of additional sums to a vast amount for with an annexed district of thirty thousand pounds the benefit of their soucars, and by an endless vaa year, surrendered to the Company since the riety of other extortions, public and private, is first donation. He has not borne witness, but the loaded with a debt, the amount of which I never fact is (he will not deny it), that, in the midst of could ascertain, but which is large undoubtedly, war, and during the ruin and desolation of a con- generating a usury the most completely ruinous siderable part of his territories, this prince made that probably was ever heard of; that is, fortymany very large payments. Notwithstanding eight per cent., payable monthly, with compound these merits and services, the first regulation of interest ! ministry is to force from him a territory of an Such is the state to which the Company's extent which they have not yet thought proper servants have reduced that country. Tanjore com to ascertain for a military peace establishment, Now come the reformers, restorers, an annual tribthe particulars of which they have not yet been and comforters of India. What have site of $40,400 pleased to settle.

they done? In addition to all these of Arcot The next part of their arrangement is with tyrannous exactions, with all these ruinous debts

regard to war. As confessedly this in their train, looking to one side of an agreement the Rajali ifen: prince had no share in stirring up any while they willfully shut their eyes to the other,

of the former wars, so all future wars they withdraw from Tanjore all the benefits of are completely out of his power ; for he has no the treaty of 1762, and they subject that nation troops whatever, and is under a stipulation not to a perpetual tribute of forty thousand a year to so much as to correspond with any foreign state, the Nabob of Arcot—a tribute never due, or pre.. except through the Company. Yet, in case the tended to be due to him, even when he appeared Company's servants should be again involved in to be something-a tribute, as things now stand, war, or should think proper again to provoke any not to a real potentate, but to a shadow, a dream, enemy, as in times past they have wantonly pro- an incubus of oppression. After the Company have done the Rajah great injury; we have no in: remission of rent, as a compensation for their own

has accepted in subsidy, in grant of territory, in tention of doing him right. This constitutes a full and sufficient reason for going on to his destruction." protection, at least two hundred thousand pounds Such was the doctrine! As Tanjore was thus seized

a year, without discounting a shilling for that rewithout any authority from the Directors at London, ceipt, the ministers condemn this harassed nathe presidency at Madras was ordered to restore it; tion to be tributary to a person (the Nabob of Arand Lord Pigot was sent out to carry the restora. cot) who is himself, by their own arrangement, tion into effect. A statement has already been giv. deprived of the right of war or peace; deprived en of the violence which ensued, and the imprison of the power of the sword; forbid to keep up a ment of Lord Pigot by the majority of the Council

, single regiment of soldiers; and is, therefore, who were in the interest of Benfield and his parti. wholly disabled from all protection of the counsans. When the restoration was at last effected. it was only partial; some of the territory was with try which is the object of the pretended tribute. held; and no part of the goods, money, or revenues, Tribute hangs on the sword. It is an incident so unjustly taken from the Rajah, were restored inseparable from real sovereign power. In the The Directors of the East India

Company were or- present case, to suppose its existence is as absurd dered, in Mr. Pitt's East India Bill, to examine into as it is cruel and oppressive. And here, Mr. the subject, and came to the conclusion that cer. Speaker, you have a clear exemplification of the tain portions of territory should be restored to the

use of those false names and false colors which Rajah. The Board of Control overruled this de: the gentlemen who have lately taken possession cision, and, though Tanjore had been repeatedly plundered, and reduced to a state of extreme desti. of India choose to lay on for the purpose of distution, levied upon the country about £400,000 as guising their plan of oppression. The Nabob of a pretended debt for arrearage of tribute. Other Arcot and Rajah of Tanjore have, in truth and wrongs inflicted on Tanjore are enumerated by Mr. substance, no more than a merely civil authority, Burke.

held in the most entire dependence on the Cori.

Pennity against

gaged in war.

Dundas in deciding between the

pany. The Nabob, without military, without fed- tribute.40 This horrid and unnatural instrument eral capacity, is extinguished as a potentate ; but of extortion had been a distinguishing feature in then he is carefully kept alive as an independent the enormities of the Carnatic politics that loudand sovereign power

, for the purpose of rapine and ly called for reformation. But the food of a whole extortion ; for the purpose of perpetuating the old people is by the reformers of India conditioned on intrigues, animosities, usuries, and corruptions. payments from its prince at a moment that he is

It was not enough that this mockery of tribute overpowered with a swarm of their demands, was to be continued without the correspondent without regard to the ability of either prince or protection, or any of the stipulated equivalents, but people. In fine, by opening an avenue to the ten years of arrear, to the amount of £400,000 irruption of the Nabob of Arcot's creditors and sterling, is added to all the debts to the Company soucars, whom every man who did not fall in and to individuals, in order to create a new debt, love with oppression and corruption, on an exto be paid (if at all possible, to be paid in whole perience of the calamities they produced, would or in part) only by new usuries; and all this for have raised wall before wall, and mound before the Nabob of Arcot, or, rather, for Mr. Benfield mound, to keep from a possibility of entrance, a and the corps of the Nabob's creditors and their more destructive enemy than Hyder Ali is introsoucars. Thus these miserable Indian princes duced into that kingdom. By this part of their are continued in their seats, for no other pur- arrangement, in which they establish a debt to pose than to render them, in the first instance, the Nabob of Arcot, in effect and substance they objects of every species of extortion, and, in the deliver over Tanjore, bound hand and foot, io second, to force them to become, for the sake of Paul Benfield, the old betrayer, insulter, oppressa momentary shadow of reduced authority, a sort or, and scourge of a country which has for years of subordinate tyrants, the ruin and calamity, not been an object of an unremitted, but, unhappily, the fathers and cherishers of their people. an unequal struggle, between the bounties of

But take this tribute only as a mere charge Providence to renovate and the wickedness of Cruel arrange- (without title, cause, or equivalent) mankind to destroy. ment respect on this people; what one step has The right honorable gentleman talks of his orrigating been taken to furnish grounds for a fairness in determining the territo- Injustice of Mr. Tanjore

just calculation and estimate of the rial dispute between the Nabob of proportion of the burden and the ability ? None; Arcot and the prince of that coun- Benjadines Samoa not an attempt at it. They do not adapt the bur- try, when he superseded the determ- bob of Arcot. den to the strength, but they estimate the strength ination of the Directors, in whom the law had of the bearers by the burden they impose. Then vested the decision of that controversy. He is wbat care is taken to leave a fund sufficient to in this just as feeble as he is in every other part. the future reproduction of the revenues that are But it is not necessary to say a word in refutato bear all these loads ? Every one but toler- tion of any part of his argument. The mode of ably conversant in Indian affairs must know that the proceeding sufficiently speaks the spirit of it. the existence of this little kingdom depends on its It is enough to fix his character as a judge, that control over the River Cavery.39 The benefits of he never heard the Directors in defense of their Heaven to any community ought never to be con- adjudication, nor either of the parties in support nected with political arrangements, or made to of their respective claims. It is sufficient for me depend on the personal conduct of princes, in that he takes from the Rajah of Tanjore by this which the mistake, or error, or neglect, or dis- pretended adjudication, or, rather, from his untress, or passion of a moment on either side may happy subjects, £40,000 a year of his and their bring famine on millions, and ruin an innocent revenue, and leaves upon his and their shoulders nation perhaps for ages. The means of the sub- all the charges that can be made on the part of sistence of mankind should be as immutable as the Nabob, on the part of his creditors, and on the the laws of nature, let power and dominion take part of the Company, without so much as hearwhat course they may.' Observe what has been ing him as to right or to ability. But what prindone with regard to this important concern. The cipally induces me to leave the affair of the teruse of this river is indeed at length given to the ritorial dispute between the Nabob and the Rajah Rajah, and a power provided for its enjoyment at to another day is this, that both the parties being his own charge ; but the means of furnishing that stripped of their all, it little signifies under which charge (and a mighty one it is) are wholly cut of their names the unhappy, undone people are off. This use of the water, which ought to have delivered over to the merciless soucars, the allies no more connection than clouds, and rains, and of that right honorable gentleman and the Chansunshine, with the politics of the Rajah, the Na- cellor of the Exchequer. In them ends the acbob, or the Company, is expressly contrived as count of this long dispute of the Nabob of Arcot a means of enforcing demands and arrears of and the Rajah of Tanjore. 39 This river rises in a chain of mountains called

The right honorable gentleman is of opinion the Ghauts, near the Malibar coast, and, after a 40 This refers to the instructious of the Board of course of four hundred and fifty miles, flows into Control, which expressly provide that the use of the sea through Tanjore. The vast rice plains of water from the Cavery for the irrigation of his ter. that country are dependent for their products on the ritory shall be enjoyed by the Rajah “only while he waters of this river, which are turned upon the fields shall be punctual in paying his annual tribute to the by means of embankments and canals.


Attack on Mr.


that his judgment in this case can be censured by in his reports, the ill treatment of the Rajah of

none but those who seem to act as if Tanjore (a branch of the royal house of the MahDundas in reply they were paid agents to one of the rattas, every injury to whom the Mahrattas felt tions against Mr. parties. What does he think of his as offered to themselves) as a main cause of the

court of Directors? If they are paid alienation of that people from the British power ? by either the parties, by which of them does he And does he now think that, to betray his printhink they are paid ? He knows that their deciples, to contradict his declarations, and to becision has been directly contrary to his. Shall come himself an active instrument in those opI believe that it does not enter into his heart to pressions which he had so tragically lamented conceive that any person can steadily and active is the way to clear himself of having been actuly interest himself in the protection of the injured ated by a pecuniary interest at the time when he and oppressed without being well paid for his chose to appear full of tenderness to that ruined service? I have taken notice of this sort of nation ? discourse some days ago, so far as it may be VIII. The right honorable gentleman is fond supposed to relate to me. I then contented of parading on the motives of others, Motives which myself

, as I shall now do, with giving it a cold, and on his own. As to himself, he mentolos though a very direct contradiction. Thus much despises the imputations of those who debts. I do from respect to truth. If I did more, it might suppose that any thing corrupt could influence be supposed, by my anxiety to clear myself

, that him in this his unexampled liberality of the pubI had imbibed the ideas which, for obvious rea- lic treasure. I do not know that I am obliged to sons, the right honorable gentleman wishes to speak to the motives of the ministry in the ar. have received concerning all attempts to plead rangements they have made of the pretended the cause of the natives of India, as if it were a debts of Arcot and Tanjore. If I prove fraud disreputable employment. If he had not forgot, and collusion with regard to public money on in his present occupation, every principle which those right honorable gentlemen, I am not obliged ought to have guided him, and, I hope, did guide to assign their motives, because no good motives him, in his late profession (the law], he would can be pleaded in favor of their conduct. Upon have known that he who takes a fee for plead- that case I stand; we are at issue, and I desire ing the cause of distress against power, and to go to trial. This, I am sure, is not loose manfully performs the duty he has assumed, re- railing or mean insinuation, according to their ceives an honorable recompense for a virtuous low and degenerate fashion when they make atservice. But if the right honorable gentleman tacks on the measures of their adversaries. It will have no regard to fact in his insinuations or is a regular and juridical course and, unless I to reason in his opinions, I wish him at least to choose it, nothing can compel me to go farther. consider that if taking an earnest part with re- But since these unhappy gentlemen have gard to the oppressions exercised in India, and dared to hold a lofty tone about their motives, with regard to this most oppressive case of Tan- and affect to despise suspicion, instead of being jore in particular, can ground a presumption of careful not to give cause for it, I shall beg leave interested motives, he is himself the most mer- to lay before you some general observations on cenary man I know. His conduct, indeed, is what I conceive was their duty in so delicate a such that he is on all occasions the standing business. testimony against himself. He it was that first If I were worthy to suggest any line of pru. called to that case the attention of the House. dence to that right honorable gentleThe reports of his own committee are ample and man, I would tell him that the way to isters to avoid atleeting upon that subject; and as many of us avoid suspicion in the settlement of suspicion. as have escaped his massacre must remember pecuniary transactions, in which great frauds the very pathetic picture he made of the suffer- have been very strongly presumed, is to attend ings of the Tanjore country on the day when he to these few plain principles : First, to hear all moved the unwieldy code of his Indian resolu- parties equally, and not the managers for the tions.12 Has he not stated over and over again, suspected claimants only; not to proceed in the 11 This refers to an insinuation thrown out by Mr. sible; not to precipitate decision; to be religious

dark, but to act with as much publicity as posDandas, some days previous, that Mr. Burke was a in following the rules prescribed in the commispaid agent of the Rajah of Tanjore. Nothing could sion under which we act; and lastly, and above be more false, and the only pretense William Burke, brother of Edmund, was in the Ra- all, not to be fond of straining constructions to jah's service. At that time, Mr. Burke simply re- force a jurisdiction, and to draw to ourselves the pelled the insinuation. He now turns back Mr. management of a trust in its nature invidious and Dundas' attack upon himself.

obnoxious to suspicion, where the plainest letter 42 Mr. Dundas was chairman of the Committee of of the law does not compel it. If these few plain Secrecy on Indian Affairs. In 1782 he made a num rules are observed, no corruption ought to be susber of voluminous reports on the subject, and introduced nearly a hundred resolutions to carry out his pected; if any of them are violated, suspicion will views. The “massacre" to which Mr. Burke sport attach in proportion. If all of them are violated, ively alludes, seems to have been the defeat of the a corrupt motive of some kind or other will not Coalition Ministry in respect to their East India Bill, only be suspected, but must be violently prein accomplishing which Mr. Dundas bore a very act. sumed. ive part.

The persons in whose favor all these rules

Way for min

have been violated, and the conduct of ministers generous design of bestowing Old Sarum on the The payment of toward them, will naturally call for Bank of England, Mr. Benfield has thrown in to the parts owing your consideration, and will serve to the borough of Cricklade to re-enforce the counPerheen he lead you through a series and com- ły representation ! Not content with this, in principal creditor. bination of facts and characters, if order to station a steady phalanx for all future I do not mistake, into the very inmost recesses reforms, this public-spirited usurer, amid his of this mysterious business. You will then be charitable toils for the relief of India, did not in possession of all the materials on which the forget the poor, rotten Constitution of bis native principles of sound jurisprudence will found, or country. For her, he did not disdain to stoop will reject the presumption of corrupt motives; to the trade of a wholesale upholsterer for this or, if such motives are indicated, will point out to House, to furnish it, not with the faded tapestry you of what particular nature the corruption is. figures of antiquated merit, such as decorate,

Our wonderful minister (Mr. Pitt), as you all and may reproach some other houses, but with know, formed a new plan, a plan insigne, recens, real, solid, living patterns of true modern virtue. alio indictum ore, 43 a plan for supporting the Paul Benfield made (reckoning himself) no fewfreedom of our Constitution by court intrigues, er than eight members in the last Parliament. and for removing its corruptions by Indian de- What copious streams of pure blood must he not linquency !" To carry that bold paradoxical have transfused into the veins of the present ! design into exécution, sufficient funds and apt But what is even more striking than the real instruments became necessary. You are per- services of this new-imported patriot Benbeld did not fectly sensible that a parliamentary reform occu- is his modesty. As soon as he had take bine neat in pies his thoughts day and night, as an essential conferred this benefit on the Consti- went to Madras. member of this extraordinary project. In his tution, he withdrew himself from our applause. anxious researches upon this subject, natural in- He conceived that the duties of a member of stinct, as well as sound policy, would direct his Parliament (which, with the elect faithful, the eyes, and settle his choice on Paul Benfield. true believers, the Islam of parliamentary reform, Paul Benfield is the grand parliamentary reform- are of little or no merit, perhaps not much beter, the reformer to whom the whole choir of ter than specious sins) might be as well attendreformers bow, and to whom even the right hon-ed to in India as in England, and the means of orable gentleman himself must yield the palm; reformation to Parliament itself be far better for what region in the empire, what city, what provided. Mr. Benfield was, therefore, no soonborough, what county, what tribunal, in this er elected, than he set off for Madras, and dekingdom, is not full of his labors ?45 Others have frauded the longing eyes of Parliament. We been only speculators; he is the grand practical have never enjoyed in this House the luxury of reformer; and while the Chancellor of the Ex- beholding that minion of the human race, and chequer pledges in vain the man and the minis contemplating that visage, which has so long reter to increase the provincial members, Mr. Ben-flected the happiness of nations. field has auspiciously and practically begun it. It was, therefore, not possible for the minister Leaving far behind him even Lord Camelford's to consult personally with this great man. What,

then, was he to do? Through a sagacity that 43 Extraordinary and new, uttered by no other never failed him in these pursuits, he found out mouth. 44 There is great keenness in this attack on Mr. semblance. A specific attraction, by which he

in Mr. Benfield's representative his exact rePitt as a parliamentary reformer. His“ the freedom of our Constitution by court intrigues" gravitates toward all such characters

, soon refers to his defeating Mr. Fox's East India Bill in brought our minister into a close connection the House of Lords by appealing secretly to the with Mr. Benfield's agent and attorney, that is, King, through Lord Temple, and obtaining a decla- with the grand contractor (whom I name to ration that " whoever voted for the India Bill were honor), Mr. Richard Atkinson ; a name that not only not his friends (the King's), but that he will be well remembered as long as the records should consider them his enemies." This use of the of this House, as long as the records of the Britpowerful influence of the sovereign to overrule the ish treasury, as long as the monumental debt of decisions of Parliament was considered by Mr. England shall endure. Burke and his friends as a direct blow at the " "freedom of the Constitution.” It was also a mode of

This gentleman, sir, acts as attorney for Mr. “ removing its corruptions by Indian delinquency," Paul Benfield. Every one who hears Mr. Atkinson, because Mr. Pitt was united with Paul Benfield me is well acquainted with the sa- in naming mata and other Indian delinquents in opposing Mr. Fox's cred friendship, and the steady, mu- Pitt's India Bill. bill, and these men operated chiefly through the tual attachment, that subsists between him and purchase of rotten boroughs, which Mr. Pitt had the present minister. As many members as always treated as the great source of corruption to chose to attend in the first session of this Parliathe Constitation. It was known that Mr. Pitt, out of ment can best tell their own feelings at the an avowed regard to his former principles, intended scenes which were then acted. How much that to bring forward some plan of parliamentary reform honorable gentleman was consulted in the orig; this session. This called forth the terrible irony and sarcasm of this passage. After his failure in inal frame and fabric of the bill, commonly called that plan, Mr. Pitt never again attempted parlia- Mr. Pitt's India Bill, is matter only of conjecmentary reform. 45 Quæ regio in terris nostri non plena laboris ?

46 Quem gratia honoris nomino.


ture, though by no means difficult to divine. name of Benfield might have stood before those But the public was an indignant witness of the frightful figures. But my best information goes ostentation with which that measure was made to fix his share no higher than four hundred his own, and the authority with which he brought thousand pounds. By the scheme of the presup clause after clause, to stuff and fatten the ent ministry for adding to the principal twelve rankness of that corrupt act. As fast as the per cent. from the year 1777 to the year 1781, clauses were brought up to the table, they were four hundred thousand pounds, that smallest of accepted. No hesitation—no discussion. They the sums ever mentioned for Mr. Benfield, will were received by the new minister, not with ap- form a capital of £592,000 at six per cent. probation, but with implicit submission. The Thus, besides the arrears of three years, amountreformation may be estimated by seeing who ing to £106,500 (which, as fast as received, may was the reformer. Paul Benfield's associate and be legally lent out at twelve per cent.), Benfield agent was held up to the world as legislator of has received, by the ministerial grant before you, Hindostan! Bat it was necessary to authenti- an annuity of £35,520 a year, charged on the cate the coalition between the men of intrigue public revenues. in India and the minister of intrigue in England, Our mirror of ministers of finance did not think by a studied display of the power of this their this enough for the services of such a friend as connecting link. Every trust, every honor, every Benfield. He found that Lord Macartney, in ordistinction was to be heaped upon him. He was der to frighten the court of Directors from the at onco made a director of the India Company; object of obliging the Nabob to give soucar semade an alderman of London; and to be made, curity for his debt, assured them that, if they if ministry could prevail (and I am sorry to say should take that step, Benfield would infallibly how near, how very near they were prevailing), be the soucar, and would thereby become the representative of the capital of this kingdom. entire master of the Carnatic. What Lord MaBut, to secure his services against all risk, he cartney thought sufficient to deter the very was brought in for a ministerial borough. On agents and partakers with Benfield in his iniquihis part, he was not wanting in zeal for the com- ties was the inducement to the two right honmon cause, His advertisements show his mo- orable gentlemen to order this very soucar setives, and the merits upon which he stood. For curity to be given, and to recall Benfield to the your minister, this worn-out veteran submitted city of Madras, from the sort of decent exile into to enter into the dusty field of the London con- which he had been relegated by Lord Macarttest; and you all remember, that in the same ney. You must, therefore, consider Benfield as virtuous cause he submitted to keep a sort of soucar security for £480,000 a year, which, at public office or counting-house, where the whole twenty-four per cent. (supposing him contented business of the last general election was man with that profit), will, with the interest of his old His activity in aged. It was openly managed by the debt, produce an annual income of £149,520 a Mr. Pitt's favor direct agent and attorney of Benfield. year. tion of 1764, and It was managed upon Indian princi- Here is a specimen of the new and pure aris

ples, and for an Indian interest. This tocracy created by the right honorable gentlewas the golden cup of abominations; this the man (Mr. Pitt), as the support of the Crown and chalice of fornications of rapine, usury, and op- Constitution, against the old, corrupt, refractory, pression, which was held out by the gorgeous natural interests of this kingdom; and this is Eastern harlot; which so many of the people, the grand counterpoise against all odious coaliso many of the nobles of this land, had drained tions of these interests. 47 A single Benfield out. to the very dregs. Do you think that no reck- weighs them all. A criminal, who long since oning was to follow this lewd debauch? that no ought to have fattened the region kites with his payment was to be demanded for this riot of offal, is, by his Majesty's ministers, enthroned public drunkenness and national prostitution in the government of a great kingdom, and enHere! you have it here before you. The prin- seoffed with an estate which, in the comparison, cipal of the grand election manager must be in. effaces the splendor of all the nobility of Europe. demnified; accordingly, the claims of Benfield To bring a little more distinctly into view the and his crew must be put above all inquiry! true secret of this dark transaction, I beg you

For several years, Benfield appeared as the particularly to advert to the circumstances which chief proprietor, as well as the chief agent, di- I am going to place before you. rector, and controller of this system of debt. The general corps of creditors, as well as Mr. The worthy chairman of the Compa- Benfield himself, not looking well

Temporary with feld's interest in ny has stated the claims of this single into futurity, nor presaging the min- drawal of Ben

gentleman on the Nabob of Arcot ister of this day, thought it not ex- the list of credit as amounting to five hundred thousand pounds. pedient for their common interest Possibly, at the time of the chairman's statement, that such a name as his should stand at the head they might have been as high. Eight hundred of their list. It was therefore agreed among thousand pounds had been mentioned some time them that Mr. Benfield should disappear by makbefore; and, according to the practice of shifting ing over his debt to Messrs. Taylor, Majendie, the names of creditors in these transactions, and reducing or raising the debt itself at pleasure, I 47 This speer refers to the attacks made by Mr. think it not impossible that at one period the Pitt on Mr. Fox's coalition with Lord Nortb.

its reward.

Amount of Ben

these claims.


« PreviousContinue »