Page images
PDF
EPUB

“ trussed, and then returned in a fine brocade coat with a diamond ftar upon it that that far outshone

“ The wealth of Ormus or of Ind.” " Charles Binney read alond the nabob's compliment upon the occafion, “ which was reechoed by Arthur Cuthbert, who, in his turn, read the “ admiral's reply. The captains were sprinkled with rose-water, be“ dewed with ottar, and had rings of flowers put round their necks, but “ no other sort of rings or even shawls made their appearance, which “ I hear the sea fish expected to have had a bite at, and were not a “ little ruffled at the disappointment. Entre nous, had I known it in “ time, I should have contrived to put the admiral on his guard against “ such a ceremony, because fome persons may possibly make an ill ose “ of it, and I really have a very great regard for him. I must add a " particular which Sir Hector Munro told me. The admiral, it seems, “ had desired that the governor might be invited to this breakfast, and “ both he and Sir Hector were assured it should be so. To their great “ surprize he was not there, and upon inquiry it was found that Paul's * “ preaching had prevailed against theirs, and the governor was not invited;

Sic me fervavit Apollo. " For it would have embarrassed me confoundedly to have been asked, " as the act of Parliament speaks very strong language againft this fame « ftar ; and there is not a raggamuffin here but may recover in the “ mayor's court double the value of it. It was once thought that no * Knight of the Bath could refift the dazzle of one of these gewgaws;

yet out of half a dozen brethren there is one, at least, who has not “ been blinded by them. That lure, among others, was thrown out, " when ftill Atronger was rejected, and was called only betel among friends ; but it was a kind of betel I was determined neither to chew “ nor Swallow ; and I with some of our friends had been of the same * way of thinking. 1. 245-6-7.

Of his virtue, as well as his various other good qualities, Lord Macartney appears on every occasion to be abundantly sensible. He, indeed, makes a parade of it, which is somewhat awkward, and would lead a captious person to suspect that he felt the full strength of the temptations thrown in his way. Nay, whether he is opposed or supported by his colleagues, and even when he is receiving the commendations of his employers, he must write long minutes and letters in his own favour. 'Mr Barrow has inserted part of a dissertation which he wrote in answer to the unanimous thanks of the Court of Directors. This extract fills above three quarto pages ; and the ungracious purport of it is to blame other people, and to prove that he is himself still more worthy of praise than has been imagined ; and that as to his zeal and activity' in the service, for which he has been thank

ed,

* Paul Bepfield, it is presumed, is the person here alluded to.?

ed, and to which he will add, his unexampled disinterestedness, he has the testimony of his own heart, without which their applause would avail him little. Whatever we may think of the taste of all this, and much as the sacrifices may have cost him, the fact is undeniable, that Lord Macartney was a most virtuous and disinterested governor ; and after four years spent in a station so lucrative to other men, retired with a clear saving of only 28,0001.

Mr Barrow enters at great length into the several disputes between the Madras and Calcutta Boards, respecting the appointments of General Coote and Mr Sullivan, the Northern Circars, and the assignment of the Carnatic. On these subjects his statements and documents are so partial, that no steady light whatever is thrown upon the several questions. But we wish particularly to point out for disapprobation his invectives against all who adventure the defence of any Indian prince. Mr Barrow is pleased to abuse in the mass all the native sovereigns who stand between the British Government and the people of India ; to blame exceedingly the policy of keeping up such puppets; to trace from this as a necessary consequence, the impeachment of every governor who dares to do his duty, and displease the aforesaid puppets and their united supporters in England. He is therefore quite clear, that the Company should at once put an end to this inconvenient establishment, for the benefit of their own servants as well as of the natives, and more especially for the comfort of all governors and presidents. Suppose France were convulsed by the contending parties of different generals, and its provinces seized, some by officers claiming in right of Buonaparte, some by the lieutenants of the exiled prince. If, in this state of things, Austria were to interfere, and support one claimant of a province, and England were then to set up another with a better title, and to succeed in establishing him by her arms, Mr Barrow's view of the case is just this, that it is foolish to support such a puppet; and that Brittany or Normandy, or whatever the province is, should forthwith be occupied and treated as our own, and the puppet sent elsewhere, to make way for some red or blue riband from London. Indeed the illustration which he draws of his just and enlightened views, from the history of the Carnatic, is peculiarly unfortunate. Whether Mahomet Ali (better known as Wallah Jah) had a reversionary grant of the nabobship from the Soubahdar of the Deccan, or not, we found it for our interest to espouse his cause, when the French set up Chunda Saheb. We said not a word of this defect, or any other, in his title, at that time ; nor did a whisper escape us respecting the constitutional authority of the court of Delhi. Indeed, says Mr Barrow, the Mogul's was a vacated dominion, which converted

U?

occupancy

occupancy into right. Well; for our candidate Wallah Jah, we, exerted our intrigues and our arms ; we beat his, not our anta-, gonist, supported as he was by our enemies; we then obtained a formal commission for him as nabob; we united to this the: Dewamy: an assignment of the revenue, including of course the restoration of this last office, was obtained by Lord Macartney during Hyder's war, evidently meant to revert to the nabob at, the peace. Of the fulfilling of this implied condition Mr Barrow bitterly complains; and he then is for us all at once discovering that our old candidate had no right at all; that he never had any title to the Misnud ; that he was a mere puppet ; and that the power which raised him should immediately, on finding him inconvenient, pull him down. He commits the constant error of such Indian politicians; and conceives that it is sufficient to vest a full right in England, if it be proved that some other conflicting fitle is defective. The Mogul's commission of nabob (if it is not mockery to speak of the tyrant's deeds) may not have made Wallah Jah also Dewan; but did this therefore make the English East India Company Behauder' the Dewan? The nabob may have had an indifferent title to the Carnatic originally; but does this give us, who 'made it effectual at least, though we may not have thought it good, a right to pick holes in it now, and, by belying our former assertions, to get into his place,-us, about whose utter want of title there can be no doubt? We are told, irideed, that former governors-general and presidents acted wrong, espoused the worst side, or blundered in other ways. It matters not; the deed is done, and the Company and England are bound by it, unless indeed, by rescinding the act, justice shall be rendered to those whom we injured, not gain secured to ourselves. • The governors and sirdars (said Hyder Ali) who enter into treaties, after one or two years return to Europe, and their acts and deeds become of no effect; and fresh governors and sirdars introduce new 'conversations ;' and it was for this reason that he refused to make peace with us. That Wallah Jah was desirous of disinheriting his

eldest son Omdut in favour of Amur, proves exactly nothing. The British governors might have refused to concur ; but their disapprobation of his conduct in this, or inceed in any other partieular, gave them no right to make themselves his heirs.

We lrave noticed these matters from the obvious tendency, and indeed plain intention of Mr Barrow's statements, to reconcile the public to the treatment which Walah Jah's successors have received, and to the whole conduct of our go'vernment in the East. Mr Barrow acts unworthily of Lord Macartney's pupil and eulogist, when he attempts to force the authority of that upright and prudent governor into the service

of those other men who have filled his place. It is evident that there is nothing done, either at Oude, Madras, Bassein, or elsewhere, which may not be vindicated on Mr Barrow's principle of nabobs and rajahs (of course he must include the peishwas) being either puppets or usurpers. It-is equally evident, on the other hand, that, except in the single instance of his unwillingness to give up the assignment (for which many reasons may be urged), Lord Macartney's principles of Indian government were at complete variance with the practice of all the British satraps whose maladministration has brought our empire in the East to the brink of ruin, and injured our national character almost irreparably.

We pass over the accounts of Lord Macartney's various differences, chiefly with Mr Hastings and his council, and with the commanding officers at his own presidency. He had open quarrels with Generals Steuart and Burgoyne, and was considerably at variance with Sir Edward Hughes and Sir Eyre Coote. With his own council he kept on the best terms, excepting only Mr Sadlier, to whom he rather incautiously gave the lie one day at a Board. This led to a duel afterwards : and he likewise fought with General Steuart, on his return home. In both meetings he behaved like a man of high spirit, and was wounded Mr BarTow's account of all these necessarily disputed and now very unimportant points, is of course partial; but we think we can clearly see through his statements, that Lord Macartney was generally in the right, and that his conduct was uniformly calculated to lead and gain by conciliatory means. That he should have incurred the bitter enmity of Paul Benfield, and the other swarms of his caste, was only natural : this fact has been indeed anticipated by our statement of his strenuous public virtue, and his hatred of all manner of abuses.

When the newly appointed Board of Controul sent out instructions to give up the Carnatic assignment, they also named a successor to Lord Macartney, who was resolved not to witness the , execution of what he believed to be disastrous orders, and retired immediately to Calcutta. Here he almost lost his life in an attempt unworthy of his good sense, to introduce certain savings into the Asiatic mode of living.

• His Lordship’s continuance at Calcuita was protraéied by an illness that threatened his life. It was occafioned by a with of setting an er. ample in his own person, which he conceived might be attended with some degree of benefit to the inhabitants of the presidency. It is scarce. dy necessary to observe, that the establishment of palankens in Calcutta is not only attended with serious expense to many families who can but ill afford to bear it, but that every young ftripling, from the moment he

U 3

fets

fets his foot on shore, must have his palankeen and his eight bearers to dance attendance upon bis perfon ; and it often happens that the greater part of these poor creatures, if age and infirmity could plead for goofideration, ought with more propriety to be carried by himself, Lord Macartney was sufficiently aware that the climate of Madras, from the regular sea breezes, admitted of the exercise of walking with less dan. ger than that of the inland city of Calcutta. Still however he deter, inined to make the experiment in the latter ; but the consequences of much exposure to the fun and the fatigue of walking bad nearly proved fatal,' 1. 297--299.

One night as he was atting with a friend in Calcutta, an officer from one of the Company's ships brought him a despatch, addreffed to him as governor-general of Bengal. He tore off the cover and cast it to his friend, who warmly congratulated him on an event fo wholly unexpe&t. ed; but Lord Macartney very calmly observed, before he had read the despatch, that he did not mean to accept the intended honour. He did not however immediately communicate this intention to the provisional governor-general who is said to have felt himself in a very awkward fi. tuation ; and all the legal authorities in Calcutta are supposed to have been consulted, whether Lord Macartney, appointed by the Court of Directors to succeed Mr Hattings, could legally step into the chair occupied by Mr Macpherson. The anxiety of the supreme council to keep their appointments could not fail greatly to amuse Lord Macartney, who had no delire to deprive any of them of their fituations, 'I. 300, 301,

The history of this unexpected appointment is then given by Mr Barrow. It seems poor Lord Macartney had had the misfortune to be greatly praised in the debate on the India bill, by Mr Fox and his friends, for his upright and obedient conduct; and this begat a very natural prejudice against him in the minds of Mr. Dundas and other such enlightened statesmen. Certain representations sent home against him from India, (probably from Mr Paul Benfield,) strengthened this prepossession, but it was effaced, says Mr Barrow, as soon as Mr Dundas had carefully and attentively gone through all the papers connected with ese affairs. We presume he was during this study pretty carefully informed of his mistake in supposing Lord Macartney to be politically attached to Mr Fox, or indeed to any extra-official character, and that Mr Fox had no intention of sending him to India, should his plan be adopted. Indeed, we are entitled to infer this from our author's attentive insertion of the circumstance, as part of Lord Macartney's defence against the prejudice created by Mr Fox's praise of his hero. This appointment, however, he decļined accepting, partly on account of his health, and partly because, without reform in various parts of the Bengal system, and changes in the Calcutta Board, he could not hope to execute

th

« PreviousContinue »