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1781.

called upon.

Shawabad, and some adjoining districts; on con- BOOK dition of giving up half his treasure, and of fur-S nishing a certain stipulated quota of troops when

This indulgence was, however, little to the satisfaction of Mr. Hastings, who had previously declared, with respect to Fyzoola Khan, “ that he appeared not to merit any

consideration. The petty sovereign of a country estimated at six or eight lacks, ought not for a moment to prove an impediment to any of our measures, or to affect the CONSISTENCY of our conduct.”

The anxiety with which Mr. Hastings endeavoured, by every means in his power, to prevent the vizier from acceding to equitable terms of accommodation with the nabob Fyzoola Khan, is indeed very remarkable. This prince, as possessor of the dependent districts of Rampore and Shawabad, had been reluctantly forced into the war, and made early overtures for peace after the fatal battle of St. George. These advances met with a very favorable acceptance from colonel Champion, who declared, in his letter of the 28th of May 1774, to Mr. Hastings, “ that he wished for nothing so much as for the adoption of some measure that might strike all the powers of the East with admiration of our justice, in contrast to the conduct of the vizier.” In this instance, however, the vizier himself appears to have lent no unwilling ear to the solicita. tions of colonel Champion in favor of a man, who,

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1781.

BOOK to use his own words, " had never acted in such a

manner as for the vizier to have taken hatred to his heart against him”-whose general character was eminently mild and blameless, and whose innocence with respect to the origin of the war Mr. Hastings himself did not pretend to question. Nevertheless, in reply to colonel Champion's letter, the governorgeneral did not scruple to aflırm, “ that, instead of soliciting the vizier to relinquish his conquest of Fyzoola Khan, every argument should be used to dissuade him from such an intention, and that it was his desire that colonel Champion would discourage it as much as was in his power.” In the month of September following, Mr. Hastings, in .contradiction to this declaration, thought proper, in conjunction with the select committee of council, to express to colonel Champion “ their satisfaction at the vizier's intentions of terminating the war by an accommodation with the Rohillas, and hoping that his excellency would be disposed to conciliate their affections to his government by acceding to lenient terms.” But in a very few days after the date of this dispatch, he with the grossest duplicity transmitted a private letter to colonel Champion, signifying “ his hope and expectation that the commander in chief had resolved to prosecute the war to a final issue, because it was plain that Fyzoola Khan and his adherents lay at his mercy ; adding, that he apprehended much inconvenience from de

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1781.

lays, and was morally certain that no good would BOOK be gained by negotiating. He therefore wished that the vizier would lose no time in seeking for an accommodation. Happily, before the receipt of this letter, the treaty between the vizier and the nabob was concluded, through the beneficent and efficacious interposition of colonel Champion, who himself signed and sealed the treaty as a witness thereto. But though, in relation to the former treaty, supposed to be violated by the Rohillas, sir Robert Barker's signature was pronounced by Mr. Hastings to be equivalent to a formal and explicit guarantee, he in the sequel took upon him positively to deny, as to that in question,'" that colonel Champion did thereby engage the United Company to guaranty the same, or that he was invested with power so to do *.” And a large sum was ultimately obtained, or more properly extorted, from the nabob Fyzoola Khan, as a compensation for the Company's gua

Such and so palpable appears the inconsistency of Mr. Hastings's language and conduct !

The Rohilla war was subsequently condemned, in decisive terms, by a formal resolution of the court of directors, passed November 1775, “ as contrary to the express and repeated orders of the court, and inconsistent with the principles both of policy and justice;” and this resolve ivas, with the

rantee.

* Vide Mr. Hastings's “ Defince."

XIX.

1781.

BOOK singularly complaisant omission of the censure of

injustice, confirmed by a vote of the court of pro-
prietors.

But this extraordinary transaction, ranking among
the first and most important acts of Mr. Hastings's
administration, and affording a decisive and infalli-
ble criterion of its general tenor and spirit, demands
a yet further and more distinct investigation. After
the conquest of Bengal, the Company at home
seemed fully satisfied with the extent of their acqui-
sitions; and the dispatches of the court of directors
were from that period filled with rigorous in.
junctions to avoid all offensive wars, in which they
appear with good reason perpetually apprehensive
that the ambition, temerity, and avarice of their
servants in INDIA would involve them. Neverthe-
less, at the distance of half the globe from the scene
of action, it was impossible not to allow in the exe-
cution of their orders some latitude of discretion.
“ The situation of affairs," say they, in their gene-
ral letter of the 20th of June 1769, “
by unforeseen events at the very moment we are
writing :- whenever you think yourselves OBLIGED,
for our SECURITY, upon EMERGENT OCCASIONS,
to adopt measures of a contrary, i. e. hostile ten.
dency, you are to give us very full reasons for such
deviation." In another letter they say,

" You
must undoubtedly act according to the EMERGENCY
of affairs :" and again in another dispatch, "As we

may be varied

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1781.

know not what alliances may be formed to justify BOOK us in carrying our arms beyond the bounds of the provinces, we are prevented from proposing any PRECISE Plan for your guidance in this respect.

These necessary though reluctant concessions on the part of the directors, Mr. Hastings in his Minutes of Defence preposterously perverts into a justification of the Rohilla war ; although the Rohillas were notoriously as unwilling as they were unable to do any injury to the Company. The real grounds of the war appeared from the first sufficiently obvious. The pretext held out was, that the vizier, as an ally of the Company, was entitled to our assistance; and that, as guarantees of the treaty between him and the Rohilla chiefs, we.were bound to grant it.

Without adverting to the justice or injustice of the vizier's demand on the Rohillas, it is enough to say, that this pretended guarantee consisted only in the treaty being signed at the request of the Rohillas themselves, from their wellgrounded distrust of the vizier, in the presence of sir Robert Barker, commander-in-chief of the Company's forces, as a witness of the same.

It is not pretended that sir Robert Barker had authority to pledge the Company as guarantees of the treaty : and that he should take upon him to bind the government by so serious and important an act, without special instruction and direction, is an incre. dible supposition: and in fact, sir Robert Barker,

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