Images de page


Political state of the CarnaticViews of the Nabob

on Governor of Velore, King of Tanjore, and Marawars Treaty with Tanjore Company's JaghireWar on Mohammed Issoof-Mound of the Cavery.


BOOK IV By the final overthrow of the French in the Carnatic, CHAP. 6.

the British in that part of India had accomplished an object far greater than any to which, at the beginning of the contest, they had even elevated their hopes. To see the Carnatic under the Government of a chief, who should have obligations to them for his elevation, and from whose gratitude they might expect privileges and favour, was the alluring prospect which had carried them into action. They not only now beheld the man, whose interest they had espoused, in possession of the government of the country, but they beheld him dependent upon themselyes, and the whole kingdom of the Carnatic subject to their absolute will.

It was the grand object of deliberation, and the grand practical difficulty, to settle in what proportion the powers and advantages should be divided between the nominal sovereign and the real one. Clear, complete, well-defined and unambiguous regulations, are naturally employed for the prevention of discordance, when the parties have wisdom, and are free from

CHAP. 6.


clandestine views. On the present occasion, accord- BOOK IV ing to the slovenly mode in which the business of

government is usually transacted, few things were regulated by professed agreement; the final distribution was left to come out among the practical, that is, the fortuitous results of government; and of the two parties each inwardly resolved to appropriate as great a share of the good things as power and cunning would allow.

The English were not disposed to forget that upon them the whole burden of the war had devolved ; that they alone had conquered and gained the country; that the assistance of Mohammed Ali had been of little or rather of no importance; and that even now he possessed not resources and talents sufficient to hold the government in his hands, unless they continued to support him.

On the other hand Mohammed Ali looked upon himself as invested with all the dignity and power of Nabob; and the absolute ruler of the country. During the whole progress of the dispute the English had represented themselves as contending only for him ; had proclaimed that his rights were indisputable; and that their zeal for justice was the great motive which had engaged them so deeply in the war. The Nabob, therefore, hesitated not to consider himself the master; though a master owing great obligations to a servant who had meritoriously exerted himself in his cause.

" It is scarcely just, however, to expect complete regulations affecting untried circumstances and novel relations; to legislate before experience, is to invert the order of things, and except in some lucky hits, to ensure failure.-W.

CHAP. 6.


The seeds of dissatisfaction between the rulers of the Carnatic, abundantly sown in a fruitful soil, were multiplied by the penury of the country. The avidity, which made the English so long believe that every part of India abounded with riches, had filled them with hopes of a great stream of wealth, from the resources of the Carnatic. And although they had already experienced how little was to be drawn, and with how great difficulty, from the districts which had come into their power; though they were also aware how the country had been desolated by the ravages of war, they still expected it to yield a large supply to their treasury, and accused and complained of the Nabob when their expectations were not fulfilled.

The Nabob, who was the weakest party, and as such had the greatest occasion for the protection of well-defined regulations, had, before the surrender of the French in Pondicherry, presented a draught of the conditions to which it appeared to him expedient that the two parties should bind themselves. He offered to pay to the Company, in liquidation of the sums for which in the course of the war he had become responsible, twenty-eight lacs of rupees annually till the debts should be discharged; and three lacs of rupees annually to defray the expense of the garrison at Trichinopoly: Should Pondicherry be reduced, and the Company afford him an adequate force to extract from the renters and other tributaries of the country, the contributions which they owed, he would discharge his debt to the Company in one year: Should any of the districts between Nelore and Tinivelly, be taken or plundered by an

CHAP. 6.


enemy, a proportional deduction must take place, BOOK IV from the twenty-eight lacs which were assigned to the Company: on the other side, the Nabob desired, that the Company would not countenance the disobedience of the local governors and administrators; that the English officers in the forts or garrisons should not interfere in the affairs of the country, or the disputes of the inhabitants; that the Nabob's flag, instead of the Company's, should be hoisted in the different forts; and that the Company should, when required, assist his officers in the collection of the revenue.

The President; whether he decided without reflection, or thought a promise which would keep the Nabob in good humour, and might be broken at any time, was an obligation of no importance, expressed by letter his assent to these conditions. In a short time however the President and Council presented to the Nabob a demand for fifty lacs of rupees. The Nabob, as this was a sum which he did not possess, endeavoured by all the means in his power to evade the contribution. Unable to resist the importunities of his allies, he was driven to his credit, which was very low; and under disadvantageous terms, which heaped upon him a load of debt, he raised by loan the money they exacted.

The expense of the war, the exhaustion of their own treasury, and their exaggerated conception of the riches of the country of which they had made him sovereign, rendered the President and Council

i Mr. Pigot's Letter to ths Nabob, June 23, 1760. Nabob's Papers, iii. 21.

CHAP. 6.


BOOK IV by no means sparing in their requisitions upon the

Nabob. It was stipulated that he should repay the whole expenses of the siege of Pondicherry. Even to this he agreed, upon condition of receiving all the stores which should be taken in the place. The servants of the Company, however, appropriated the stores to themselves; and they met the complaints of the Nabob, by promising to allow for them a certain sum in his account: in other words, they took for their own benefit what by their own contract belonged to the Nabob, and promised to make their masters pay him something, more or less, by way of compensation. Their masters, however, were on this occasion not less alive to their own interests than their servants had been to theirs; and no sooner heard of the sum which had been allowed to the Nabob in their books than they ordered it to be recharged to his account; while their servants were left in undisturbed possession of the stores.'

From the mode in which the country was governed; by sub-division into local commands, with a military force and places of strength in the hands of every local commander, who withheld the revenue of his district, as often as he beheld a prospect of escaping punishment for his faults; it has frequently been seen what difficulties attended the realizing of revenue, whenever the government became disordered or weak. For a series of years, the Carnatic had been subject to no regular government; the different antagonists

Sir John Lindsay's Narrative, Oct. 13, 1770, Secretary of State's Office. Quoted by the author of the History and Management of the East India Company, p. 116.

« PrécédentContinuer »