Images de page
PDF
ePub

BOOK IV
CUAP. 5.

Jaffier, 1763.
East India Company
Europeans, Natives, &c.

375,000
600,000

1765.

975,000
Peace with Suja-ad-dowla.
East India Company

.... 5,000,000 583,333
Total of Presents 2,169,6651.
Restitution, &c. 3,770,8331.
Total Amount, exclusive of
Lord Clive's jaghire..

£5,940,498

Memorandum. The rupees are valued according to the rate of exchange of the Company's bills at the different periods.”

That this was a practice, presenting the strongest demand for effectual regulation, its obvious consequences render manifest and indisputable. In the first place, it laid the nabobs, rulers, and other leading men of the country, under endless and unlimited oppression; because, so long as they on whom their whole power and influence depended were pleased to desire presents, nothing could be withheld which they either possessed or had it in their power to ravage and extort. That the temptations under which the servants of the Company were placed carried them to those heights of exaction which were within their reach, is far from true. They showed, on the contrary, a reserve and forbearance, which the education received in no other country, probably in the world, except their own, could have

1 Third Report on the Nature, State, and Condition of E. I. Company, 1772, p. 20–23.

CHAP. 5.

1765.

BOOK IV enabled men, in their extraordinary circumstances,

to maintain. Besides the oppression upon the people of the country, to which the receiving of presents prepared the way, this dangerous practice laid the foundation of perpetual perfidy in the servants of the Company to the interests of their employers. Not those plans of policy which were calculated to produce the happiest results to the Company, but those which were calculated to multiply the occasions for presents, and render them most effectual were the plans recommended by the strongest motives of interest to the agents and representatives of the Company in India. It is still less true, in the case of perfidy to the Company, than in the case of oppression to the natives, that the interests of the Company's servants were to the greatest practicable extent pursued. There seems not upon the most jealous scrutiny, any reason to believe that any one of the greatest transactions, or revolutions, in which the English, up to this period, were instrumental, was not sincerely regarded at the time, by the men on whom the decision depended, as required by the interests of their employers and

ountry; nor has it yet been certainly made appear, that in any of the instances in question, the circumstances of the moment admitted of a better decision.

The Company now resolved that the benefit of presents should at any rate change masters : and they ordained and commanded, that new covenants, dated May, 1764, should be executed by all their servants, both civil and military, binding them to pay to the Company the amount of all presents and

CHAP. 5.

1765.

gratuities in whatsoever shape, received from the BOOK IV natives, in case the amount exceeded four thousand rupees; and not to accept any present or gratuity, though not exceeding four thousand rupees, if amounting to so much as one thousand, without the consent of the President and Council. An unbounded power was still reserved by the Honourable Company for receiving or extorting presents in benefit to themselves. But as their servants were in no danger of being so rapacious for their masters' emolument, as their own, any effects which this regulation was calculated to produce were all naturally good.

With these powers and regulations Lord Clive (such was now the rank and title of this AngloIndian chief) sailed from England on the 4th of June 1764, and arrived at Madras on the 10th of April, 1765; where he received intelligence that the dangers

of which the alarm had sent him to India were entirely removed; that the troops were obedient; that not only Meer Casim was expelled, but all his supporters subdued; that the Emperor had cast himself upon the protection of the English ; and that the Nabob Meer Jaffier was dead. His sentiments upon this intelligence were communicated in a private letter to Mr. Rous, dated seven days exactly after his arrival;' “We have at last,” said he, “arrived at that critical period, which I have long foreseen ; I mean that period which renders it necessary for us to determine, whether we can or shall take the whole to ourselves. Jaffier Ally Khan

" See other letters on his arrival in Bengal, from Clive to General Carnac and Mr. Palk. Lile, ii. 318.-W.

CHAP. 5.

as ours are.

BOOK IV is dead, and his natural son is a minor; but I know

not whether he is yet declared successor. Suja-ad1765. dowla is beat from his dominion; we are in posses

sion of it, and it is scarcely hyperbole to say, to-morrow the whole Mogul empire is in our power. The inhabitants of the country, we know by long experience, have no attachment to any obligation. Their forces are neither disciplined, commanded, nor paid

Can it then be doubted that a large army of Europeans will effectually preserve us sovereigns: not only holding in awe the attempts of any country Prince, but by rendering us so truly formi. dable that no French, Dutch, or other enemy will presume to molest us.—You will, I am sure, imagine with me, that after the length we have run, the Princes of Indostan must conclude our views to be boundless; they have such instances of our ambition, that they cannot suppose us capable of moderation. The very Nabobs whom we might support would be either covetous of our possessions, or jealous of our power. Ambition, fear, avarice, would be daily watching to destroy us: a victory would be but a temporary relief to us; for the dethroning of the first Nabob would be followed by setting up another, who, from the same principles, would, when his treasure admitted of his keeping up an army, pursue the very path of his predecessor. We must indeed become Nabobs ourselves, in fact, if not in name;—perhaps totally so without disguise, but on this subject I cannot be certain until my arrival in Bengal.” With these views of the bold and splendid measures which it was now the time to pursue ; and anticipating the important effects

which those dazzling transactions would have on the BOOK IV price of the Company's Stock, this great man forgot not to deliberate how they might be directed to bear upon his own pecuniary interests. He wrote on the very same day to his private agent in London, as follows; “I have desired Mr. Rous to furnish you with a copy of my letter to him of this day's date, likewise with the cipher, that you may be enabled to understand what follows: The contents are of great importance, that I would not have them transpire. Whatever money I have in the public Funds, or any where else, and as much as can be borrowed in my name, I desire may be, without loss of a minute, invested in East India Stock. You will speak to my Attorneys on this point. Let them know I am anxious to have my money so disposed of; and press them to hasten the affair as much as possible.' The letter to Mr. Rous, and the shortness of the period which intervened between the arrival of Lord Clive in Bengal and his assuming the dewanee or revenues, would leave no doubt that he commanded all the money which he possessed, or which he could borrow, to be invested in India Stock, in contemplation of the rise of price which that measure was calculated to produce; had he not, when examined on the subject of this letter by the Committee of the House of Commons, declared absolutely, “ that he had not while at Madras formed the resolution to seize the dewanee."

CHAP. 5.

1765.

' Extracts of both Letters are given in the Appendix, No. Ixxxii. and Ixxxiii. of thc Third Report of the Committee, 1772.

« PrécédentContinuer »