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said, and said, I think, but once, and that very slightly, (whatever his original demand for a plan might seem to require,) that “there are abuses in the Company's government.” If that were all, the scheme of the mover of this bill, the scheme of his learned friend, and his own scheme of reformation, (if he has any,) are all equally needless. There are, and must be, abuses in all governments. It amounts to no more than a nugatory proposition. But before I consider of what nature these abuses are, of which the gentleman speaks so very lightly, permit me to recall to your recollection the map of the country which this abused chartered right affects. This I shall do, that you may judge whether in that map I can discover anything like the first of my conditions: that is, whether the object affected by the abuse of the East India Company's power be of importance sufficient to justify the measure and means of reform applied to it in this bill.
With very few, and those inconsiderable intervals, the British dominion, either in the Company's name, or in the names of princes absolutely dependent upon the Company, extends from the mountains that separate India from Tartary to Cape Comorin, that is, one-and-twenty degrees of latitude !
In the northern parts it is a solid mass of land, about eight hundred miles in length, and four or five hundred broad. As you go southward, it becomes narrcwer for a space. It afterwards dilates ; but, narrower or broader, you possess the whole eastern and northeastern coast of that vast country, quite from the borders of Pegu. — Bengal, Bahar, and Orissa, with Benares, (now unfortunately in our immediate possession,) measure 161,978 square English.
miles: a territory considerably larger than the whole kingdom of France. Oude, with its dependent provinces, is 53,286 square miles: not a great deal less than England. The Carnatic, with Tanjore and the Circars, is 65,948 square miles: very considerably larger than England. And the whole of the Company's dominions, comprehending Bombay and Salsette, amounts to 281,412 square miles : which forms a territory larger than any European dominion, Russia and Turkey excepted. Through all that vast extent of country there is not a man who eats a mouthful of rice but by permission of the East India Company.
So far with regard to the extent. The population of this great empire is not easy to be calculated. When the countries of which it is composed came into our possession, they were all eminently peopled, and eminently productive, – though at that time considerably declined from their ancient prosperity. But since they are come into our hands !! However, if we make the period of our estimate immediately before the utter desolation of the Carnatic, and if we allow for the havoc which our government had even then made in these regions, we cannot, in my opinion, rate the population at much less than thirty millions of souls : more than four times the number of per sons in the island of Great Britain.
My next inquiry to that of the number is the quality and description of the inhabitants. This multitude of men does not consist of an abject and barbarous populace; much less of gangs of savages, like the Guaranies and Chiquitos, who wander on the waste borders of the River of Amazons or the Plate ; but a people for ages civilized and cultivated, - cultivated
by all the arts of polished life, whilst we were yet in the woods. There have been (and still the skeletons remain) princes once of great dignity, authority, and opulence. There are to be found the chiefs of tribes and nations. There is to be found an ancient and venerable priesthood, the depository of their laws, learning, and history, the guides of the people whilst living and their consolation in death ; a nobility of great antiquity and renown; a multitude of cities, not exceeded in population and trade by those of the first class in Europe ; merchants and bankers, individual houses of whom have once vied in capital with the Bank of England, whose credit had often supported a tottering state, and preserved their governments in the midst of war and desolation ; millions of ingenious manufacturers and mechanics ; millions of the most diligent, and not the least intelligent, tillers of the earth. Here are to be found almost all the religions professed by men,- the Braminical, the Mussulman, the Eastern and the Western Christian.
If I were to take the whole aggregate of our possessions there, I should compare it, as the nearest parallel I can find, with the Empire of Germany. Our immediate possessions I should compare with the Austrian dominions : and they would not suffer in the comparison. The Nabob of Oude might stand for the King of Prussia; the Nabob of Arcot I would compare, as superior in territory, and equal in rev. enue, to the Elector of Saxony. Cheit Sing, the Rajah of Benares, might well rank with the Prince of Hesse, at least; and the Rajah of Tanjore (though hardly equal in extent of dominion, superior in revonue) to the Elector of Bavaria. The polygars and
the Northern zemindars, and other great chiefs, might well class with the rest of the princes, dukes, counts, marquises, and bishops in the Empire ; all of whom I mention to honor, and surely without disparagement to any or all of those most respectable princes and grandees.
All this vast mass, composed of so many orders and classes of men, is again infinitely diversified by manners, by religion, by hereditary employment, through all their possible combinations. This renders the handling of India a matter in an high degree critical and delicate. But, oh, it has been handled rudely indeed! Even some of the reformers seem to have forgot that they had anything to do but to regulate the tenants of a manor, or the shopkeepers of the next county town.
It is an empire of this extent, of this complicated nature, of this dignity and importance, that I have compared to Germany and the German government,
not for an exact resemblance, but as a sort of a middle term, by which India might be approximated to our understandings, and, if possible, to our feelings, in order to awaken something of sympathy for the unfortunate natives, of which I am afraid we are not perfectly susceptible, whilst we look at this very remote object through a false and cloudy medium.
My second condition necessary to justify me in touching the charter is, whether the Company's abuse of their trust with regard to this great object be an abuse of great atrocity. I shall beg your permission to consider their conduct in two lights: first the political, and then the commercial. Their political conduct (for distinctness) I divide again into two heads: the external, in which I mean
to comprehend their conduct in their federal capacity, as it relates to powers and states independent, or that not long since were such; the other internal, namely, their conduct to the countries either immediately subject to the Company, or to those who, under the apparent government of native sovereigns, are in a state much lower and much more miserable than common subjection.
The attention, Sir, which I wish to preserve to method will not be considered as unnecessary or affected. Nothing else can help me to selection out of the infinite mass of materials which have passed under my eye, or can keep my mind steady to the great leading points I have in view.
With regard, therefore, to the abuse of the external federal trust, I engage myself to you to make good these three positions. First, I say, that from Mount Imaus, (or whatever else you call that large range of mountains that walls the northern frontier of India,) where it touches us in the latitude of twenty-nine, to Cape Comorin, in the latitude of eight, that there is not a single prince, state, or potentate, great or small, in India, with whom they have come into contact, whom they have not sold: I say sold, though sometimes they have not been able to deliver according to their bargain. Secondly, I say, that there is not a single treaty they have ever made which they have not broken. Thirdly, I say, that there is not a single prince or state, who ever put any trust in the Company, who is not utterly ruined; and that none are in any degree secure or flourishing, but in the exact proportion to their settled distrust and irreconcilable enmity to this nation.
These assertions are universal: I say, in the fall