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Sir, at this moment, it will not be neces- be no more, that there is an eternal debt, a da sary to consider the various operations which “still paying still to owe,” which must be the capital and interest of this debt have suc- bound on the present generation in India, and cessively undergone. I shall speak to these entailed on their mortgaged posterity for evu? operations when I come particularly to answer A debt of millions, in favour of a set of men, the right honourabie gentleman on cach of the whose names, with few exceptions, are eithe: heads, as he has thought proper to divide buried in the obscurity of their origin anú them. But this was the exact view in which talents, or dragged into light by the enormity these debts first appeared to the court of di- of their crimes ? rectors, and to the world. It varied after- In my opinion the courage of the minister wards. But it never appeared in any other was the most wonderful part of the transaction, than a most questionable shape. When this especially as he must have read, or rather the gigantic phantom of debt first appeared before right honourable gentleman says, he has read a young minister, it naturally would have jus- for him, whole volumes upon the subject. The tified some degree of doubt and apprehension. volumes, by the way, are not by one tenth pari Such a prodigy would have filled any common so numerous as the right honourable gentleman man with superstitious fears. He would ex- has thought proper to pretend, in order ti orcise that shapeless, nameless form, and by frighten you from inquiry; but in these volumes, every thing sacred would have adjured it to such as they are, the minister must have found tell by what means a small number of slight a full authority for a suspicion (at the very individuals, of no consequence or situation, pose least) of every thing relative to the great forsessed of no lucrative offices, without the com- tunes made at Madras. What is that authomand of armies, or the known administration rity? Why no other than the standing autho. of revenues, without profession of any kind, rity for all the claims which the ministry has without any sort of trade sufficient to employ a thought fit to provide for-the grand debtorpedlar, could have, in a few years (as to some, the nabob of Arcot himself. Hear that prince, even in a few months) amassed treasures equal in the letter written to the court of directors, to the revenues of a respectable kingdom? at the precise period, whilst the main body of Was it not enough to put these gentlemen, in these debts were contracting. In his letter he the noviciate of their administration, on their states himself to be, what undoubtedly he is, guard, and to call upon them for a strict in- a most competent witness to this point. After quiry (if not to justify them in a reprobation speaking of the war with Hyder Ali in 1768 of those demands without any inquiry at all) and 1769, and of other measures which he that when all England, Scotland, and Ireland censures (whether right or wrong it signifies had for years been witness to the immense nothing) and into which he says he had been sums laid out by the servants of the company led by the company's servants ; he proceeds in in stocks of all denominations, in the purchase this manner—"If all these things were against of lands, in the buying and building of houses, the real interests of the company, they are len in the securing quiet seats in parliament, or in thousand times more against mine, and against the tumultuous riot of contested elections, in the prosperity of my country, and the happiwandering throughout the whole range of those ness of my people ; for your interests and mine variegated modes of inventive prodigality, are the same. What were they owing to then ? which sometimes have excited our wonder, to the private views of a few individuals who sometimes roused our indignation ; that after have enriched themselves at the expense of you all India was four millions still in debt to them? influence, and of my country; for your servants India in debt to them! For whal ? Every debt HAVE NO TRADE IN THIS COUN. for which an equivalent of some kind or other TRY; neither do you pay them high wages, is not given, is on the face of it a fraud. What yet in a few years they return to England urik is the equivalent they have given ? What many lacs of pagodas. How can you or 1 equivalent had they to give? What are the account for such immense fortunes coquired in articles of commerce, or the branches of ma- 80 short a time, without any visible means of nufacture which those gentlemen have carried getting them?" hence to enrich India? What are the sciences When he asked this question, which involves they beamed out to enlighten it? What are the its answer, it is extraordinary that curiosity did arts they introduced to cheer and to adorn it ? not prompt the chancellor of the exchequer to What are the religious, what the moral institu- that inquiry, which might come in rain recomtions they have taught among that people as a mended to him by his own act of parliament guide to life, or as a consolation when life is to Does not the nabob of Arcot tell us in so may words, that there was no fair way of making and confederating on one side, and the public the enormous sums sent by the company's ser- revenues, and the miserable inhabitants of a vants to England ? and do you imagine that ruined country, on the other. These are the there was or could be more honesty and good real plaintiffs and the real defendants in the Caith, in the demands for what remained behind suit. Refusing a shilling from his hoards for in India? Of what nature were the transac- the satisfaction of any demand, the nabob of tions with himself? If you follow the train of Arcot is always ready, nay, he earnestly, and his information you must see, that if these with eagerness and passion, contends for deligreat sums were at all lent, it was not property, vering up to these pretended creditors his terut spoil that was lent; it not lent, the trans- ritory and his subjects. It is therefore not

ction was not a contract, but a fraud. Either from treasuries and mines, but from the food way, if light enough could not be furnished to of your unpaid armies, from the blood with

uthorize a full condemnation of these demands, held from the veins, and whipt out of the backs they ough to have been left to the parties, of the most miserable of men, that we are to who best knew and understood each other's pamper extortion, usury, and peculation, under proceedings. It was not necessary that the the false names of debtors and creditors of state. authority of government should interpose in The great patron of these creditors, (to whose avour of .claims, whose very foundation was honour they ought to erect statues,) the right a defiance of that authority, and whose object honourable gentleman,* in stating the merits and end was its entire subversion.

which recommended them to his favour, has It may be said that this letter was written ranked them under three grand divisions. The by the nabob of Arcot in a moody humour, first, the creditors of 1767; then the creditors under the influence of some chagrin. Certainly of the cavalry loan; and lastly, the creditors it was; but it is in such humours that truth of the loan in 1777. Let us examine them, comes out. And when he tells you from his one by one, as they pass in review before us. own knowledge, what every one must presume,

The first of these loans, that of 1767, he from the extreme probability of the thing, whe- insists, has an indisputable claim upon the ther he told it or not, one such testimony is public justice. The creditors, he affirms, lent worth a thousand that contradict that proba- their money publicly; they advanced it with Lility, when the parties have a better under- the express knowledge and approbation of the standing with each other, and when they have company; and it was contracted at the mode7 point to carry, that may unite them in a rate interest of ten per cent. In this loan the common deceit.

demand is, according to him, not only just, but If this body of private claims of debl. real meritorious in a very high degree; and one or devised, were a question, as it is falsely would be inclined to believe he thought so, pretended, between the nabob of Arcot as because he has put it last in the provision he debtor, and Paul Benfield and his associates has made for these claims. as creditors, I am sure, I should give myself I readily admit this debt to stand the fairest but little trouble about it. If the hoards of of the whole ; for whatever may be my suspioppression were the fund for satisfying the cions concerning a part of it, I can convict it claims of bribery and peculation, who would of nothing worse than the most enormous usuwish to interfere between such litigants? If ry. But I can convict upon the spot the right the demands were confined to what might be honourable gentleman, of the most daring inisdrawn from the treasures, which the company's representation in every one fact, without any records uniformly assert that the nabob is in exception, that he has alleged in defence of possession of; or if he had mines of gold or this loan, and of his own conduct with regard silver, or diamonds, (as we know that he has to it. I will shew you that this debt was never none,) these gentlemen might break open his contracted with the knowledge of the comhoards, or dig in his mines, without any dis- pany; that it had not their approbation; that turbance from me. But the gentlemen on the they received the first intelligence of it with other side of the house know as well as I do, the utmost possible surprise, indignation, and and they dare not contradict me, that the nabob alarm. of Arcot and his creditors are not adversaries, So far from being previously apprized of the but collusive parties, and that the whole trans- transaction from its origin, it was two years action is under a false colour and false names. before the court of directors obtained any offiThe litigation is not, nor ever has been, be- cial intelligence of it. " The dealings of the tween their rapacity and his hoarded riches. No. it is between him and them combining

Mr. Dundas.

48.

servants with the nabob were concealed from the said governour and council have, in nola the first, until they were found out,” (says Mr. rious violation of the trust reposed in them, Sayer, the company's counsel,)" by the report manifestly preferred the interest of private indir of the country." The presidency, however, viduals to that of the company, in permitting the at last thought proper to send an official ac- assignment of the revenues of certain valuable count. On this the directors tell them, “to districts, to a very large amount, from the your great reproach it has been concealed from nabob to individuals," —and then highly aggra

We cannot but suspect this debt to have vating their crimes, they add " we order and had its weight in your propose aggrandizement direct that you do examine, in the most imparof Manomed Ali, (the nabob of Arcot;] buttial manner, all the above-mentioned transacwhether it has or has not, certain it is, you are tions; and that you punish by suspension, guilty of an high breach of duty in concealing degradation, dismission, or otherwise, as la it from us."

you shall seem meet, all and every such serThese expressions, concerning the ground vant or servants of the company, who may by of the transaction, its effect, and its clandestine you be found guilty of any of the above offences." nature, are in the letters, bearing drate March “We had (say the directors) the mortification 17, 1769. After receiving a more full account to find that the servants of the compar.y, who on the 230 March, 1770, they state, that had been raised, supported, and owed their pre“Messrs. John Pybus, John Call, and James sent opulence to the advantages gained in such Bourchier, as trustees for themselves and service, have in this instance most unfaithfully others of the nabob's private creditors, had betrayed their trust, abandoned the company's proved a deed of assignment upon the nabob interest, and prostituted its influence to accomand his son of FIFTEEN districts of the plish the purposes of individuals, whilst the intenabob's country, the revenues of which yielded, rest of the company is almost wholly neglected, in time of peace, eight lacs of pagodas and payment to us rendered extremely preca[£.320,000 sterling) annually; and likewise an rious." Here then is the rock of approbation assignment of the yearly tribute paid the nabob of the court of directors, on which the right from the rajah of Tanjore, amounting to four honourable gentleman says this debt was lacs of rupees, [£.40,000.”] The territorial founded. Any member, Mr. Speaker, who revenue, at that time possessed by these gen- should come into the house, on my reading tlemen, without the knowledge or consent of this sentence of condemnation of the court of their masters, amounted to three hundred and directors against their unfaithful servants, sixty thousand pounds sterling annually. They might well imagine that he had heard an harsh, were making rapid strides to the entire pos- severe, unqualified invective against the presession of the country, when the directors, sent ministerial board of controul. So exacuy whom the right honourablo gentleman states do the proceedings of the patrons of this abuse as having authorized these proceedings, were tally with those of the actors in it, that the kept in such profound ignorance of this royal expressions used in the condemnation of the acquisition of territorial revenue by their ser- one, may serve for the reprobation of the other, vants, that in the same letter they say, “this without the change of a word. assignment was obtained by three of the mem- To read you all the expressions of wrath and bers of your board, in January 1767, yet we do indignation fulminated in this dispatch against not find the least trace of it upon your consulta- the meritorious creditors of the right honour. tions, until August 1768, nor do any of your lel- able gentleman, who according to him have ters to us afford any information relative to such been so fully approved by the company, would transactions, till the 1st of November, 1768. By be to read the whole. your last letters of the 8th of May, 1769, you bring The right honourable gentleman, with an the whole proceedings to light in one view." address peculiar to himself, every now and

As to the previous knowledge of the com- then slides in the presidency of Madras, as pany, and its sanction to the debts, you see synonymous to the company. That the prethat this assertion of that knowledge is utterly sidency did approve the debt, is certain. But unfounded. But did the directors approve of the right honourable gentleman, as prudent in it, and ratify the transaction when it was suppressing, as skilful in bringing forward his known? The very reverse. On the same 3d matter, has not chosen to tell you that the preof March, the directors declare,“ upon an im- sidency were the very persons guilty of conpartial examination of the whole conduct of our tracting this loan; creditors themselves, and late governour and council of George agents and trustees for all other creditors. (Madras) and on the fullest consideration, that For this the court of directors accuse them of

breach of trust; and for this the right honour- nance from the nabob ; oven our discarded able gentieman considers them as perfectly good officers, however unworthy, are received into authority for those claims. It is pleasant to the nabob's service."* It was indeed a mathear a gentleman of the law quote the appro- ter of no wonderful sagacity to determine bation of creditors as an authority for their whether the court of directors, with their miown debt.

serable salaries to their servants, of four or five How they came to contract the debt to them- hundred pounds a year, or the distributor of selves, how they came to act as agents for millions, was most likely to be obeyed. It those whom they ought to have controuled, is was an invention beyond the imagination of all for your inquiry. The policy of this debt was the speculatists of our speculating age, to see announced to the court of directors, by the a government quietly settled in one and the very persons concerned in creating it. “ Till same town, composed of two distinct members ; very lately,” (say the presidency,) " the nabob one to pay scantily for obedience, and the placed his dependence on the company. Now other to bribe high for rebellion and revolt. he has been taught by ill advisers, that an inte- The next thing which recommends this parrest out of doors may stand him in good stead. ticular debt to the right honourable gentleman He has been made to believe that his private is, it seems, the moderate interest of ten per creditors have power and interest to over-rule the cent. It would be lost labour to observe on court of directors."* The nabob was not mis- this assertion. The nabob, in a long apoloinformed. The private creditors instantly qua- getic lettert for the transaction between him lified a vast number of votes; and having made and the body of the creditors, states the fact, themselves masters of the court of proprietors, as I shall state it to you. In the accumulation as well as extending a powerful cabal in other of this debt, the first interest paid was from places as important, they so completely over- thirty to thirty-six per cent. it was then brought turned the authority of the court of directors at down to twenty-five per cent. at length it was home and abroad, ihat this poor baffled govern- reduced 10 twenty; and there it found its rest. inent was soon obliged to lower its tone. It During the whole process, as often as any of was glad to be admitted into partnership with these monstrous interests fell into an arrear, its own servants. The court of directors esta- (into which they were continually falling,) the blishing the debt which they had reprobated as arrear, formed into a new capital, I was added a breach of trust, and which was planned for to the old, and the same interest of twenty the subversion of their authority, settled its per cent. accrued upon both. The company, payments on a par with those of the public; having got some scent of the enormous usury and even so, were not able to obtain peace or which prevailed at Madras, thought it neceseven equality in their demands. All the con- sary to interfere, and to order all interests to sequences lay in a regular and irresistible be lowered to ten per cent. This order, which train. By employing their influence for the contained no exception, though it by no means recovery of this debt, their orders, issued in pointed particularly to this class of debts, came the same breath, against creating new debts, like a thunder-clap on the nabob. He cononly animated the strong desires of their servants to this prohibited prolific sport, and it

"He (the nabob) is in a great degree the soon produced a swarm of sons and daughters,

cause of our present inability ; by diverting tho

revenues of the Carnatic through private chan not in the least degenerated from the virtue of nels.”—“ Even this Peshcush (the Tanjoro their parents.

tribute) circumstanced as he and we are, he has From that moment, the authority of the assigned over to others, who now set themselves

in opposition to the company.Consultations, court of directors expired in the Carnatic, and

October 11, 1769, on the 12th communicated to every where else. "Every man,” says the the nabob. presidency, “who opposes the government 1 Nabob's letter to Governour Palk. Papers and its measures, finds an immediate counte

published by the directors in 1775; and

papers printed by the same authority, 1781.

| See papers printed by order of a general * For the threats of the creditors, and total court in 1750, p. 222, and p. 224, as also nabob's subversion of the authority of the company in letter to Governour Dupre, 191h July, 1771, " 1 favour of the nabob's power, and the increase have taken up loans by which I have suffered a chereby of his evil dispositions, and the great Joss of upwards of a crore of pagodas (four derangement of all public concerns, see select millions sterling) by interest on an heady committee Fort St. George's letters, 21st No. interest."-Letter 15th January, 1772, “ Not vember, 1769, and January 31st, 1770; Septem. withstanding I have taken much trouble, and ber 11th, 1772. And Governour Bourchier's let. have made many payments

my credito cers to the nabob of Arcot, 21st November, 1769, the load of my debi, which became so great, by and December 9th, 1769.

interest and compounc Inletes!, is not cleared

ye

sidered his political credit as ruined ; but to measure, no man shall ravish from me find a remedy to this unexpected evil, he shall be safely lodged in the sanctuary of my again added to the old principal twenty per heart ; never, never to be torn from thence, ceni. interest accruing for the last year. Thus but with those holds that grapple it to life. a new fund was formed ; and it was on that I say, I well remember that bill, and every accumulation of various principals, and inte- one of its honest and its wise provisions. rests heaped upon interests, not on the sum is not true that this debt was ever protected of originally lent, as the right honourable gentle- enforced, or any revenue whatsoever set apart man would make you believe, that ten per cent. for it. It was left in that bill just where it was settled on the whole.

stood; to be paid or not to be paid out of the When you consider the enormity of the nabob's private treasures, according to his interest at which these debts were contracted, own discretion. The company had actually and the several interests added to the princi- given it their sanction; though always relying pal, I believe you will not think me so scep- for its validity on the sole security of the faith tical, if I should doubt, whether for this debt of him,* who without their knowledge or conof £.880,000 the nabob ever saw £.100,000 in sent entered into the original obligation. Ju real money. The right honourable gentleman had no other sanction ; it ought to have had suspecting, with all his absolute dominion over no other. So far was Mr. Fox's bill from profact, that he never will be able to defend even viding funds for it, as this ministry have wickthis venerable patriarchal job, though sancti- edly done for this, and for ten times worse fied by ils numerous issue, and hoary with transactions, out of the public estate, that an prescriptive years, has recourse to recrimina- express clause immediately preceded, posi tion, the last resource of guilt. He says that tively forbidding any British subject from rethis loan of 1767 was provided for in Mr. ceiving assignments upon any part of the terriFox's India bill; and judging of others by historial revenue, on any pretence whatsoever.t own nature and principles, he more than in- You recollect, Mr. Speaker, that the chansinuates, that this provision was made, not cellor of the exchequer strongly professed to from any sense of merit in the claim, but retain every part of Mr. Fox's bill which was from partiality to General Smith, a proprietor, intended to prevent abuse; but in his India bill, and an agent for that debt. If partiality which (let me do justice) is as able and skilful could have had any weight against justice and a performance for its own purposes, as ever policy, with the then ministers and their issued from the wit of man, premeditating this friends, General Smith had titles to it. But iniquity—loc ipsum ut strueret Trojamque the right honourable gentleman knows as well aperirei Achivis, expunged this essential clause, as I do, that General Smith was very far from broke down the fence which was raised to looking on himself as partially treated in the cover the public property against the rapacity arrangements of that time; indeed what man of his partisans, and thus levelling every obdared to hope for private partiality in that struction, he made a firm, broad, highway for sacred plan for relief to nations ?

sin and death, for usury and oppression, to It is not necessary that the right honourable

renew their ravages throughout the devoted gentleman should sarcastically call that time revenues of the Carnatic. to our recollection. Well do I remember The tenour, the policy, and the consequences every circumstance of that memorable period. of this debt of 1767, are, in the eyes of minisGod forbid I should forget it. O illustrious try, so excellent, that its merits are irresistidisgrace! O victorious defeat! may your me- ble; and it takes the lead to give credit and morial be fresh and new to the latest genera- countenance to all the rest. Along with his tions! May the day of that generous conflict chosen body of heavy-armed infantry, and to be stamped in characters never to be cancelled support it, in the line, the right honourable genor worn out from the records of time! Let tieman has stationed his corps of black cavalry. no man hear of us, who shall not hear that in If there be any advantage between this debt a struggle against the intrigues of courts, and and that of 1769, according to him the cavalry the perfidious levity of the multitude, we fell debt has it. It is not a subject of defence; it in the cause of honour, in the cause of our is a theme of panegyric. Listen to the right country, in the cause of human nature itself! honourable gentleman, and you will find it But if fortune should be as powerful over was contracted to save the country; to preven fame, as she has been prevalent over virtue, at least our conscience is beyond her jurisdiction. * The nabob of Arcor My poor share in the support of that great † Appendix, No. 3.

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