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mense fortunes was too inviting to be neglected, and the temptation too powerful to be resisted. A treaty was hastily drawn up by the board, or rather transcribed, with few unimportant additions, from that concluded with Meer Jaffier ; and a deputation, consisting of Messrs. Johnstone senior, Middleton, and Leycester, appointed to raise the natural son of the deceased nabob to the soubahdarry, in prejudice of the claim of the grandson: and for this measure such reasons are assigned as ought to have dictated a diametrically oppo, site resolution. Miran's son was a minor, which circumstance alone would have naturally brought the whole administration into our hands, at a juncture when it became indispensably necessary we should realize that shadow of power and influence, which having no solid foundation was exposed to the danger of being annihilated by the first stroke of adverse fortune. But this inconsistence was not regarded; nor was it material to the views for precipitating the treaty, which was pressed on the young nabob at the first interview, in so earnest and indelicate a manner, as highly disgusted him and chagrined his ministers; while not a single rupee was stipulated for the company, whose interests were sacrificed, that their servants might revel in the spoils of a treasury before impoverished, but now totally exhausted.
“This scene of corruption was first disclosed, at a visit the nabob was paid, to Lord Clive and the gentlemen of the committee a few days after our arrival. He there delivered to his lordship a letter filled with bitter complaints of the insults and indignities he had been exposed to, and the embezzlement of near 20 lacks of rupees, issued from his treasury for purposes unknown during the late negotiations. So publick a complaint could not be disregarded, and it soon produced an inquiry. We referred the letter to the board, in expectation of obtaining a satisfactory account of the application of this money, and were answered only by a warm remonstrance entered by Mr. Leycester against that very nabob, in whose elevation he boasts of having been a principal agent.
“ Mahomed Reza Cawn, the naib soubah, was then called upon to account for this large disbursement from the treasury; and he soon delivered to the committee the
very extraordinary narrative entered in our proceedings the 6th of June, wherein he specifies the several names and sums, by wbom paid, and to whom, whether in cash, bills, or obligations. So precise, so accurate an account as this of money for secret and venal services was never, we believe, before this period exbibited to the honourable court of directors, at least never vouched by such undeniable testimony and authentick documents : by Juggut Seet, who himself was obliged to contribute largely to the sums demanded ; by Moolyram, who was employed by Mr. Johnstone in all those pecuniary transactions ; by the nabob and Mahomed Reza Cawn, who were the heaviest sufferers; and, lastly, by the confession of the gentlemen themselves, whose names are specified in the distribution list.
“ Juggut Seet expressly declared in his narrative, that the sum, which he agreed to pay the deputation, amounting to 125,000 rupees, was extorted by menaces; and since the close of our inquiry, and the opinions we delivered in the proceedings of the 21st June, it fully appears, that the presents from the nabob and Mahomed Reza Cawn, exceeding the immense sum of 17 lacks, were not the voluntary offerings of gratitude, but contributions levied on the weakness of the government, and violently exacted from the dependent state and timid disposition of the minister. The charge indeed is denied on the one hand, as well as affirmed on the other. Your honourable board must therefore determine, how far the circumstance of extortion may aggravate the crime of disobedience to your positive orders; the exposing the government in a manner to sale, and receiving the infamous wages of corruption from opposite parties and contending interests. We speak with boldness, because we speak from conviction, founded upon indubitable facts, that besides the above sums specified in the distribution account to the amount of 228,125 pounds sterling, there was likewise to the value of several lacks of rupees procured from Nundcomar and Roydullub, each of whom aspired
at and obtained a promise of that very employment it was predetermined to bestow on Mahomed Reza Cawn.
(Signed at the end) “ Clive.-Wm B. Sumner.----John Carnac.-H. Verelst.--Fra Sykes.”
This paper cannot be denied to be a paper of weight and authenticity, because it is signed by a gentleman now in this house, who sits on one side of the gentleman at your bar, as his bail.—This grievance, therefore,--so authenticated, so great, and described in so many circumstances, I think it might be sufficient for me, in this part of the business, to show, was, when Mr. Hastings was sent to India, a prevalent evil.
But, iny lords, it is necessary, that I should show to you something more, because, primâ fronte, this is some exculpation of Mr. Hastings : for, if he was only a partaker in a general misconduct, it was rather vitium loci et vitium temporis, than vilium hominis. This might be said in his exculpation. But, I am next to show your lordships the means, which the company took for removing this grievance; and, that Mr. Hastings's peculiar trust—the great specifick ground of his appointment, was a confidence, that he would eradicate this very evil, of which we are going to prove, that he has been one of the principal promoters. I wish your lordships to advert to one particular circumstance, namely, that the two persons, who were bidders at this time, and at this auction of government, for the favour and countenance of the presidency at Calcutta, were Mahomed Reza Khân, and rajah Nundcomar. I wish your lordships to recollect this, by and by, when we shall bring before you the very saine two persons, who in the same sort of transaction, and in circumstances exactly similar, or very nearly so, were candidates for the favour of Mr. Hastings.
My lords, our next step will be to show you, that the company, in 1768, had made a covenant, expressly forbidding the taking of presents of above 4001. value, in each present, by the governour-general. I take it for granted, this will not be much litigated; they renewed and enforced that with other covenants, and other instructions; and at last came an act of parliament, in the clearest, the most
definite, the most specifick words, that all the wisdom of the legislature, intent upon the eradication of this evil, could use, to prevent the receiving of presents.
My lords, I think it is necessary to state, that there has been some little difficulty concerning this word presents. Bribery and extortion have been covered by the name of presents, and the authority and practice of the East has been adduced, as a palliation of the crime. My lords, no authority of the East will be a palliation of the breach of laws enacted in the West : and to those laws of the West, and not the vicious customs of the East, we insist upon making Mr. Hastings liable. But do not your lordships see, that this is an entire mistake, that there never was any custom of the East for it? I do not mean vicious practices and customs, which it is the business of good laws and good customs to eradicate. There are three species of presents known in the East : two of them, payments of money, known to be legal; and the other perfectly illegal, and which has a name exactly expressing it in the manner our language does. It is necessary, that your lordships should see, that Mr. Hastings has made use of a perversion of the names of authorized gifts, to cover the most abominable and prostituted bribery. The first of these presents is known in the country by the name of peshcush: this peshcush is a fine paid, upon the grant of lands, to the sovereign, or whoever grants them. The second is the nuzzer, or nuzzeranah, which is a tribute of acknowledgment from an inferiour to a superiour. The last is called reshwâat, in the Persian language, that is to say, a bribe, or sum of money clandestinely and corruptly taken ; and is as much distinguished from the others, as, in the English language, a fine or acknowledgment is distinguished from a bribe. To show your lordships this, we shall give in evidence, that whenever a peshcush or fine is paid, it is a sum of money publicly paid, and paid in proportion to the grant; and that the sum is entered upon the very grant itself. We shall prove the nuzzer is, in the same manner, entered, and that all legal fees are endorsed upon the body of the grant, for which they are taken: and that they are no more in the East, than in the West, any kind of colour or pretence for
corrupt acts, which are known by the circumstance of their being clandestinely taken, and which are acknowledged and confessed to be illegal and corrupt. Having stated, that Mr. Hastings, in some of the evidence, that we shall produce, endeavours to confound these three things, I am only to remark, that the nuzzer is generally a very small sun of money, that it sometimes amounts to one gold mohr; that sometimes it is less, and that, in all the records of the company, I have never known it exceed one gold mohr, or about thirty-five shillings; passing by the fisty gold mohrs, which were given to Mr. Hastings by Cheit Sing, and a hundred gold mohrs, which were given to the Mogul, as a nuzzer, by Mahomed Ali, nabob of Arcot.
The company seeing, that this nuzzer, though small in each sum, might amount at last to a large tax upon the country, (and it did so in fact) thought proper to prohibit any sum of money to be taken upon any pretext whatever; and the company, in the year 1775, did expressly explode the whole doctrine of peshcush, nuzzer, and every other private lucrative emolument, under whatever name to be taken by the governour-general: and did expressly send out an order, that that was the construction of the act ; and that he was not even to take a nuzzer. Thus we shall show, that that act had totally cut up the whole system of bribery and corruption; and that Mr. Hastings had no sort of colour whatever for taking the money, which we shall prove he has taken.
I know, that positive prohibitions, that acts of parliament, that covenants, are things of very little validity indeed, as long as all the means of corruption are left in power, and all the temptations to corrupt profit are left in poverty. I should really think, that the company deserved to be ill served, if they had not annexed such appointments to great trusts as might secure the persons entrusted from the temptations of unlawful emolument; and, what in all cases is the greatest security, given a lawful gratification to the natural passions of men. Matrimony is to be used as a true remedy against a vicious course of profligate manners : fair and lawful emoluments, and the just profits of office, are opposed to