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BOOK being interrogated at the bar of the house of com
mons—“ Whether he conceived that he had by any act of his bound the Company to a guarantee of the treaty by war ?" answered positively, “I did NOT."
Also in a letter written even before the actual conclusion of the treaty, he declares, “ that it was the farthest from his intention that the Company should in any respect whatever be mentioned in the agreement between the vizier and the Ro. hillas."
From the first suggestion of this project of conquest and extirpation by the vizier, if indeed the vizier were the original projector, it is evident that Mr. Hastings urged its prosecution with an ardor far superior to that discovered by the nabob, whose ambition was counteracted by his avarice, and who on cool reflection appears to have thought the prize scarcely worth the purchase. “I availed myself,” says Mr. Hastings, “ of his eager solicitude for the attainment of this point, to engage his assent to another measure of much greater value to the Company- that is to say, the increase of his annual
payments or subsidy to the amount of two hundred and ten thousand rupees per month.” But it is sufficiently evident, that when this concession was once extorted from the vizier, his “
eager solicitude" subsided into a state of mind which the artifices of Mr. Hastings only prevented from sinking into cold. ness and indifference: and when Mr. Hastings af.
firms, “ that this war derived its propriety from cir- BOOK , cumstances of nice relation and various detail he undoubtedly confounds its propriety, with its existence.
In a letter written by Mr. Hastings to the vizier, April 21, 1773, he enlarges on the great advantage which would result to the vizier from the reduction of the Rohilla country, “ because,” says he,“ by that means the defensive line of your dominions would be completed, by including within it all the land lying on that side of the river Ganges.”— - The ALLUREMENT (to adopt the language of Mr. Hastings in his Defence) thus held out to the vizier succeeded. He proposed in reply a meeting with me at Benares. I found him still equally bent on the design of reducing the Rohillas, which I ENCOURAGED as I had before done, by dwelling
* Minutes of Defence. It is pleasant enough, when inquiry is made into the causes of a war, the object of which is the extirpation of a nation, to be told, " that it derives its propriety from circumstances of nice relation and various detail.” The causes of such a war, justice and humanity out of the question, must, upon any solid ground of mere policy, be obvious and important. And it must be confessed, that the causes enumerated by Mr. Hastings in his defence are' extremely clear and intelligible. “The circunstances of nice relation and various detail," therefore, are to be referred merely and solely to the impositions and artifices by which the vizier was inveigled into this nefarious undertaking against the Rohillas.
BOOK on the advantages which he would derive from its
success; by objecting with great force the ORDERS of the COMPANY restricting us from such remote schemes of conquest, to which I therefore could not assent without such conditions obtained in return for it as might obviate their displeasure, and win their sanction to so hazardous and UNAUTHORISED a measure. Having at length obtained this point, viz. the increase of the subsidy, I easily yielded my assent to the Rohilla plan, i. e. to the plan which the vizier had been thus allured and encouraged to undertake, on the stipulation of forty lacks for its accomplishment. As a precaution against any effects which were to be apprehended from the vizier's IRRESOLUTION, the conditions originally accepted were dictated to him in the form of a letter, to be written by him, in which a clause was inserted, that whether the country was conquered, or a peace concluded between him and the enemy, the stipulation for the forty lacks should become EQUALLY DUE.' Thus at last,” says Mr. Hastings exultingly, “ an occasion took place, when, by a slight deviation from the defensive plan, our alliance with the vizier might be converted into solid advantages. In effect, the same reasons which before urged us to shun every military expedition now operated in the contrary direction, and recommended the employment of our army for the pur,
pose of REDUCING our EXPENCES, and ADDING TO BOOK our CURRENCY."
Surely the public accusers of Mr. Hastings would not wish to heighten the colors of the picture he has here drawn of himself! As to the mode in which this war of EXTIRPATION, or, to use that more soft and gentle phraseology which gives a specious gloss to deeds of the blackest villany, “ this slight deviation from the general plan of defence,” was conducted, we are well assured that colonel Champion never mentioned the service on which he was employed without the deepest expressions of grief and abhorrence. " Whilst all Asia knows,” says this commander, “ that the English gave him (i. e. the nabob vizier) the rod, will they not reasonably conclude that the scourges which the agent gives are connived at?—will they not say every English chief is another Sujah ?”—“ The authority given to the vizier over the army,” says the colonel in a letter to Mr. Hastings, dated May 10, 1774, “ has totally absorbed that degree of consequence due to my station. My hands have been tied up from giving protection or asylum to the miserable. I have been obliged to give a deaf ear to the lamentable cries of the widow and the fatherless, and shut my eyes against a wanton display of violence and oppression, of inhumanity and cruelty. The Company's interest constrained me in public to stifle the work.
Book ings of my feelings, but I must give way to them
in private-it would affect your SENSIBILITY too much were I to descend to particulars. The family of Hafiz, the Begums included, have been driven to the necessity of making supplications for a little rice and water ; and of the prisoners, many have died for want of sustenance. I wish to leave scenes which none but the merciless Sujah can bear without heart-bleeding pain--relieve ine therefore as soon as possible.”
In a moving representation to the colonel from the sons of Hafiz, of their manifold distresses, they say of the vizier, “ He has deprived us of our country, of our riches, and even of our honor; and, not satisfied with that, he is going to send us prisoners to Fyzabad. We desire no country, no riches, no palaces; but at Bissoulce are the tombs of our ancestors-near them, under some shade, we beg permission to spend the remainder of our days as faquiers." These things the colonel says he is compelled to state, although the ungracious reception of his former representations gave him but little encouragement to plead the cause of the unhappy.
In a subsequent letter, dated June 15, 1774, the colonel desires that he may be empowered to withdraw the English troops, in case the vizier will not otherwise be prevailed upon to desist from his enormilies ; but this Mir. Hastings, in his reply, declares