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draw the influence of the British government from Oude for ever. He termed Mr. Hastings a Mussulman, and gave the House information, that all the upper part of Hindostan was in a state of open rebellion, that Mr. Hastings had actually contracted for a new war in India, and that in fact there would be two wars in that country very shortly. Though the affairs of the East were inveloped in a mysterious secrecy, though the proprietors looked at present more for diamonds than discoveries, yet that the country was in a state of distracted rebellion could not long be concealed. That the criminal against whom that House fulminated its censures, yet retained the reins of government, that he had had the insolence to level his designs against the man (Lord Macartney) who had been honoured by the approbation of that House, were facts well known. It remained for him to add, that profusion on the one hand, and peculation on the other, had left no money to purchase the investments of the Company; that even their treasury orders passed at a discount of 12 per cent.; that the expences of the establishment had been gradually raised to the enormous sum of 512,000l. per annum; and that, thus situated, Mr. Hastings had dared, without the knowledge of government, or the proprietors, actually to engage in a war, hazardous and desperate in the extreme, as if to fill the measure of calamity, and complete the ruin he had begun. He reprobated the idea of thinking to extract from the distresses of Hindostan any alleviation of our burthens, pledged himself in the most solemn manner to support his assertions with proofs the most irrefragable, and concluded by moving an amendment to the proposed Address, by inserting these words:" and convinced as we are by the most decisive and most melancholy experience, that all waste of the public treasure in the East Indies, immediately or mediately applicable to the Company's use, and all diversion of that treasure from public service to the private emolument of individuals, must not only bring an insupportable burthen on the natives of those countries (multi
tudes of whom are our fellow-citizens, and ought to be the objects of our most tender concern) but has a tendency to bring home the same burthens on the inhabitants of Great Britain, we will, with a care worthy of the magnitude of the objects which such an abuse may effect, employ our most diligent researches to discover, and our best endeavours to bring to condign punishment, the authors of such misdemeanours, if they shall be found to exist.”
Mr. Burke's Amendment, which was warmly supported by Mr. Fox, was negatived without a division. After which the Address was agreed to.
NABOB OF ARCOT'S DEBTS.
THIS day Mr. Fox, in pursuance of the notice he
brought forth his motion relative to the Debts of the nabob of Arcot. The motion was seconded by Mr. Francis, and supported by Mr. Burke, in a speech, which, notwithstanding the unpromising nature of the subject, was supposed to be one of the most eloquent that was ever made in either House of parliament. It was afterwards published by Mr.
Burke, with the following
"That the least informed reader of this speech may be enabled to enter fully into the spirit of the transaction on occasion of which it was delivered, it may be proper to acquaint him, that among the princes dependent on this nation in the southern part of India, the most considerable at present is commonly known by the title of the Nabob of Arcot.
"This prince owed the establishment of his government, against the claims of his elder brother, as well as those of other competitors, to the arms and influence of the British East India Company. Being thus established in a considerable part of the
dominions he now possesses, he began, about the year 1765, to form, at the instigation (as he asserts) of the servants of the East India Company, a variety of designs for the further extension of his territories. Some years after, he carried his views to certain objects of interior arrangement, of a very pernicious nature. None of these designs could be compassed without the aid of the Company's arms; nor could those arms be employed consistently with an obedience to the Company's orders. He was therefore advised to form a more secret, but an equally powerful interest among the servants of that Company, and among others, both at home and abroad. By engaging them in his interests, the use of the Company's power might be obtained without their ostensible authority, the power might even be employed in defiance of the authority; if the case should require, as in truth it often did require, a proceeding of that degree of boldness.
"The Company had put him into possession of several great cities and magnificent castles. The good order of his affairs, his sense of personal dignity, his ideas of oriental splendour, and the habits of an Asiatic life, (to which, being a native of India, and a Mahometan, he had from his infancy been inured,) would naturally have led him to fix the seat of his government within his own dominions. Instead of this, he totally sequestered him. self from his country, and abandoning all appearance of state, he took up his residence in an ordinary house, which he purchased in the suburbs of the Company's factory at Madras. In that place he has lived, without removing one day from thence, for several years past. He has there continued a constant cabal with the Company's servants, from the highest to the lowest ; creating, out of the ruins of the country, brilliant fortunes for those who will, and entirely destroying those who will not, be subservient to his purposes.
"An opinion prevailed, strongly confirmed by several passages in his own letters, as well as by a combination of circumstances forming a body of evidence which cannot be resisted, that very great sums have been by him distributed, through a long course of years, to some of the Company's servants. Besides these presumed payments in ready money, (of which, from the nature of the thing, the direct proof is very difficult,) debts have at several periods been acknowledged to those gentlemen, to an immense amount; that is, to some millions of sterling money. There is strong reason to suspect,
that the body of these debts is wholly fictitious, and was never created by money bonâ fide lent. But even on a supposition that this vast sum was really advanced, it was impossible that the very reality of such an astonishing transaction should not cause some degree of alarm, and incite to some sort of inquiry.
"It was not at all seemly, at a moment when the Company itself was so distressed, as to require a suspension by act of parliament, of the payment of bills drawn on them from India and also a direct tax upon every house in England, in order to facilitate the vent of their goods, and to avoid instant insolvency at that very moment that their servants should appear in so flourishing a condition, as, besides ten millions of other demands on their masters, to be entitled to claim a debt of three or four millions more from the territorial revenue of one of their dependent princes.
"The ostensible pecuniary transactions of the nabob of Arcot, with very private persons, are so enormous, that they evidently set aside every pretence of policy, which might induce a prudent government in some instances to wink at ordinary loose practice in ill-managed departments. No caution could be too great in handling this matter; no scrutiny too exact. It was evidently the interest, and as evidently at least in the power, of the creditors, by admitting secret participation in this dark and undefined concern, to spread corruption to the greatest and the most alarming extent.
"These facts relative to the debts were so notorious, the opinion of their being a principal source of the disorders of the British government in India was so undisputed and universal, that there was no party, no description of men in parliament, who did not think themselves bound, if not in honour and conscience, at least in common decency, to institute a vigorous inquiry into the very bottom of the business, before they admitted any part of that vast and suspicious charge to be laid upon an exhausted country. Every plan concurred in directing such an inquiry; in order that whatever was discovered to be corrupt, fraudulent, or oppressive, should lead to a due animadversion on the offenders; and if any thing fair and equitable in its origin should be found, (nobody suspected that much, comparatively speaking, would be so found,) it might be provided for; in due subordination, however, to the ease of the subject, and the service of the state.
"These were the alleged grounds for an inquiry, settled in all the bills brought into parliament relative to India, and there were I think no less than four of them. By the bill, commonly called Mr. Pitt's bill, the inquiry was specially, and by express words, committed to the court of directors, without any reserve for the interference of any other person or persons whatsoever. It was ordered that they should make the inquiry into the origin and justice of these debts, as far as the materials in their possession enabled them to proceed; and where they found those materials deficient, they should order the presidency of Fort St. George [Madras] to complete the inquiry.
"The court of directors applied themselves to the execution of the trust reposed in them. They first examined into the amount of the debt, which they computed, at compound interest, to be 2,945,600l. sterling. Whether their mode of computation, either of the original sums, or the amount on compound interest, was exact; that is, whether they took the interest too high, or the several capitals too low, is not material. On whatever principle any of the calculations were made up, none of them found the debt to differ from the recital of the act, which asserted, that the sums claimed were very large.' The last head of these debts the directors compute at 2,465,680l. sterling. Of the existence of this debt the directors heard nothing until 1776; and they say, that, although they had repeatedly written to the nabob of Arcot, and to their 'servants, respecting the debt, yet they had never been able to trace the origin thereof, or to obtain any satisfactory information on the subject.'
"The court of directors, after stating the circumstances under which the debts appeared to them to have been contracted, add as follows: For these reasons we should have thought it our duty to inquire very minutely into those debts, ' even if the act of parliament had been silent on the subject, before we concurred in any measure for their payment. But with the positive injunctions of the act before us, to examine ' into their nature and origin, we are indispensably bound to 'direct such an inquiry to be instituted.' They then order the president and council of Madras to enter into a full examination, &c. &c.
"The directors having drawn up their order to the presidency on these principles, communicated the draught of the