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shoot of the great chain of the Himalayas; and whilst the northern and southern frontiers enclose between them a distance of somewhat over 250 miles, the distance between the Ganges and the Himalayan branch may be reckoned at 180 miles. The country of Rohilcund bounds Oude on the north, and, according to the post-office authorities, Lucknow, the capital of Oude, is distant from Calcutta 619 miles.
The Viceroys (Nawaubs or Viziers) of Oude originally held power under the Mogul emperors of Delhi-a monarchy the character of which we have depicted in a previous sketch-but with the death of Aurungzebe, they, in common with others, assumed a kind of independent sovereignty. In the words of an historian long ennobled by his writings, and now raised to the peerage by letters patent, "wherever the viceroys of the Mogul retained authority, they became sovereigns. They might still acknowledge in words the superiority of the house of Tamerlane, as a Count of Flanders or a Duke of Burgundy might have acknowledged the superiority of the most helpless driveller among the later Carlovingians. They might occasionally send to their titular sovereign a complimentary present, or solicit from him a title of honour. In truth, however, they were no longer lieutenants removable at pleasure, but independent, hereditary princes. In this way originated those great Mussulman houses which formerly ruled Bengal and the Carnatic, and those which still, though in a state of vassalage, exercise some of the powers of royalty at Lucknow and Hyderabad."
Our connexion with the Nawaubs of Oude dates from a very early period. Its history is given both by Mr. Hale and the writer of the Calcutta pamphlet. Queen Elizabeth, in 1601, first granted a charter to a company of merchants to trade to the East Indies. In 1634, this Company obtained an imperial firman from the Emperor Shah Jehan to trade with Bengal by sea, and establish a factory. In 1652, permission was granted to the Company by the same prince to trade through the province of Bengal. In 1699, Fort William was completed, on the land where Calcutta also now stands, and the Company, under imperial confirmation, continued to conduct their affairs with success until 1756, when Serajul-Dowlah, then Nawaub or Subadar of Bengal, in consequence of a quarrel with Governor Drake, attacked and captured Calcutta. Calcutta was retaken on the 2nd of January 1757, and Seraj-ul-Dowlah, marching against Lord Clive, was utterly defeated, and the first treaty was concluded between the Company and the Nawaub of Bengal.
In the same year, at the battle of Plassey, the power of Seraj-ulDowlah was destroyed, and Meer Jaffier was installed as Subadar. He was removed three years afterwards from incompetency, and Meer Cossim Ali Khan was installed in his stead. In 1763, however, Cossim Ali was deposed, and Meer Jaffier reinstated. Cossim Ali then fled to, and allied himself with, Sujah-ul-Dowlah, the then Vizier (Nawaub or Nabob*) of Oude, who, after a series of reverses, came to his final overthrow in the field of Buxar, 23rd of October, 1764-a defeat which lay the power of the Nawaub of Oude at the feet of the Company. Chunar, Allahabad,
The terms Nawaub or Nabob, and Wuzir or Vizier, may, like those of Nawaub and Subadar, or Soubadar, be regarded as identical in respect of rank, the one being of Muhammadan, and the other of Hindoo origin.
and Lucknow were occupied by British troops, and the treaty of the 16th of August, 1765, by which peace and union were established, with the provisoes of pecuniary indemnification, was concluded. In 1767, Lord Clive, having finally quitted Bengal, the Nawaub was accused of levying troops, and had to consent to an additional clause being added to the treaty, by which he was bound to restrict his military force to 35,000 men of all arms.
In 1771, the Emperor of Delhi made over the fortress of Allahabad to the Nawaub of Oude, and the ensuing year, the Nawaub having appealed to the Company, in virtue of the treaty of 1765, for assistance against the Mahrattas, at that time threatening the province through Rohilcund, it was agreed that, the better to enable the East India Company to assist his highness in the preservation of his dominions, that the fort of Chunar, or Chunargur, situated on the Ganges, between Benares and Allahabad, should be delivered up to the Company, and that the latter fort should be occupied by the Company's troops. So little gratitude is there in Eastern natures, that the advocates of the cause of the Nawaubs of Oude, instead of recognising the importance of the service done, and by which the integrity of the vizirate was in all probability preserved, actually denounce the proceeding as a step in the system of annexation.
Hale does not notice, but the Calcutta pamphleteer does, that, on the advent of Warren Hastings, the Nawaub of Oude was the first to express a desire for an interview with the new governor, "to concert measures of defence against the Mahrattas "—a pressure the existence of which it suits the partisans of a deposed monarch to deny-as also to revise existing treaties. The result of the new treaty was expressed as follows by Macaulay: "The rich provinces of Oude had, in the general dissolution of the Mogul Empire, fallen to the share of the great Mussulman house by which it is still governed. Sujah Dowlah, then Nabob Vizier (of Oude), was on excellent terms with the English. He had a large treasure. Allahabad and Corah were so situated that they might be of use to him, and could be of none to the Company. The buyer and seller soon came to an understanding; and the provinces which had been torn from the Mogul were made over to the government of Oude for about half a million sterling."
This, in the eloquent language of the historian, gives one version of the treaty, but it is scarcely a complete one. Warren Hastings's policy appears to have gone further, for he made the Nawaub of Oude pay for the transfer of dominions the occupation of which does not appear to have been ever positively ceded by the Company. Hastings threw at the same time the charge of the troops, left in those dominions to assist in the Rohilla war, upon the Nawaub of Oude. Sujah-ul-Dowlah died on the 26th of January, 1775, about fifteen months after the ratification of the treaty, and was succeeded by his eldest son, Asuf-ul-Dowlah. Two new treaties were concluded with this weak and vicious prince by Warren Hastings, by the first of which, from circumstances which belong more particularly to the history of the localities in question, and cannot be treated of at the present moment, all the districts dependent on the Rajah Cheyt Singh, and which included the sacred city of Benares-the entrepôt of all the luxurious commerce of Hindostan-Juanpore, and Ghazipore,
were ceded, with other districts, to the Company. This treaty bears date March 25, 1775. By the second, concluded in 1781 at the earnest request of the Nawaub himself, the expenses of the army of occupation were more particularly provided for by allowing the Nawaub to resume the lands of the Jagheerdars-a tyranical military or feudal system of tenure, which gave rise to great distress in the Nawaub's dominions. By a subsequent agreement, without date, it was arranged that, in order the better to secure the payment of the subsidy agreed to, a private and public purse be established, and that the remainder of the net collections be left in a public treasury, under the management of the Nawaub's ministers and the inspection of the British Resident. This very simple and business-like act of precaution is denounced by the Oude partisans as curtailing the expenses of the Nawaub in order to satisfy the demands of the Company. And suppose it had been so, they were justified in seeing to their own interests where they had the power.
In September, 1786, Lord Cornwallis assumed the government of India, and his attention was immediately called to the subsisting relations between the Company and the Nawaub of Oude. The auxiliary brigade was left at its old station-Futtegghur-a frontier town of Oude to the north-east of Lucknow, but the annual payments of the Nawaub were reduced from eighty-four lakhs to fifty. Lord Cornwallis also handed over the internal administration of his affairs to the exclusive management of the Nawaub and his ministers. This, as might have been expected, worked so badly, that Lord Cornwallis, who further concluded a commercial treaty between the Company and the Nawaub in what is admitted on all hands to have been in an equally fair and liberal spirit, was obliged to address remonstrances to the Nawaub upon the subject of the internal administration of his kingdom previously to his quitting India in 1796. And to such an extent did maladministration go, that the very next year-1797 -the new governor-general, Sir John Shore, was obliged to proceed from Calcutta to communicate personally with the Nawaub Asuf-ulDowlah on the state of his kingdom, and to urge him to a thorough reformation of his government, insisting, at the same time, upon an augmentation of the auxiliary brigade.
But a few months after this the Nawaub Asuf-ul-Dowlah died, and was first succeeded by his illegitimate son, Mirza Ali. But this prince being deposed on account of the spuriousness of his birth, and Saadut Ali, the brother of the late Nawaub, placed on the Musnud, a period of anarchy resulted which led to a totally new state of things in the relations of Oude and the Company. A treaty was concluded on the 21st of February, 1798, between the Vizier Saadut Ali Khan and Sir J. Shore, the governor-general, which stipulated, among other things, an annual subsidy of seventy-six lakhs of rupees, the augmentation of the brigade to ten, or, if necessary, thirteen thousand men of all arms, and the making over of the fort of Allahabad, with all its buildings and appurtenances, to the Company. The terms of the treaty were certainly not favourable to Oude, but a usurper got confirmed in his rule, a deposed prince provided for, and the comparatively tranquil administration of the country secured. Such advantages were worth a sacrifice, or it never would have been made. The partisans of Oude would, however, ignoring the state of
things which brought about the remonstrances of the admitted greatest friend to Oude-Lord Cornwallis-the interference of Sir John Shore, forced upon him by glaring maladministration, and the anarchy consequent upon a disputed accession at the death of Asuf-ul-Dowlah, argue that these successive treaties were the real cause of confusion in Oude, the true source of which was financial oppression! The argument is really too absurd to merit controverting. Fretful, turbulent barbarians, with princes buried in the luxurious vices of the East, are depicted to us as lambs shorn by a faithless and rapacious neighbouring power! They themselves are faultless. It is really the grossest perversion of facts that could be made to support a bad case.
Lord Wellesley arrived in Calcutta in the month of May, 1798. That eminent statesman at once set to work upon the laborious task of reforming the government of Oude, by substituting disciplined troops for the mutinous rabble maintained by the Nawaub; by placing the defence of the Oude frontier against foreign invasion beyond the unstable and capricious control of the Nawaub; and by commuting the pecuniary subsidy with a territorial cession, thus removing a constant cause of irritation. To this effect the treaty of the 10th of November, 1801, was concluded, by which the territory of the Doab was ceded to the Company, the subsidy was to cease, the Company were to defend the frontiers, and a British detachment was to be attached to the person of the Nawaub. Nothing, one would imagine, could be better devised for the relief of the existing government and of the people. The so-called cause of confusion-financial oppression-at least on the part of the Company, was removed at once, and the people were at the same time disencumbered of a rapacious and turbulent soldiery-the prætorian guard of their Viziers. With such a people, these measures were, however, of no greater effect than those which had preceded them.
On the 11th of July, 1814, Saadut Ali Khan died, and was succeeded by his son, Ghazi ul Deen Hyder; and on this occasion a recognition of existing treaties took place. The protracted prosecution of the Nepaul war having obliged the Company to obtain certain loans of money at or about the same time from the new Nawaub, he was afterwards repaid by the cession of the sovereignty of the district of Khyreegurh and other Ghoorka lands; and in 1819 the ruler of Oude, with the approbation of the British government, had his title changed from that of Vizier to King of Oude; and his majesty was crowned in due form. The partisans of Oude say upon this, "We would fain hope that the East India Company duly consulted the feelings of the subjects of Oude before giving their approbation." Thus throwing a doubt upon the popularity of the election of their own protégés, puppets of the Company's creation, by what the progress of events has shown to have been a feeble and mistaken policy.
Ghazi ul Deen Hyder died in 1827, and was succeeded by his son, Nussur ul Deen Hyder, who reigned ten years, dying in 1837, and who was succeeded by his uncle, Muhammad Ali Shah. In the interval, many irregularities had crept into the administration of affairs, and the engagements entered into by the rulers of Oude had been glaringly infringed, more particularly in the matter of raising levies and upholding a large
force. Lord Auckland, who arrived at Calcutta on the 5th of March, 1836, hastened to conclude a treaty with the new king, by which these irregularities should be, as far as possible, corrected; and among other arrangements proposed to that effect was the officering of the native troops by Englishmen. It was also concluded in the same treaty that "the King of Oude will take into his immediate and earnest consideration, in concert with the British Resident, the best means of remedying the existing defects in the police, and in the judicial and revenue administrations of his dominions; and that if his majesty should neglect to attend to the advice of the British government or its local representative, and if (which God forbid) gross and systematic oppression, anarchy, and misrule, should hereafter at any time prevail within the Oude dominions, such as seriously to endanger the public tranquillity, the British government reserves to itself the right of appointing its own officers to the management of whatsoever portions of the Oude territory, either to a small or to a great extent, in which such misrule as that above alluded to have occurred, for so long a period as it may deem necessary." This treaty, although by some (as the Friend of India) spoken of as having been repudiated at home, manifestly constitutes the basis of the annexation effected by Lord Dalhousie. Its bearings are said to have been so distinctly felt by the then King of Oude, that when first proposed by the Resident, Colonel Low, he declined signing it, as by so doing he would be making away the kingdom from his children.
On the 7th of May, 1842, Muhammad Ali Shah died, and was succeeded by his eldest son, Muhammad Umjud Ali Shah, and Colonel Low was replaced by Captain J. D. Shakespear, who was again succeeded shortly afterwards by Mr. T. R. Davidson. At the death of Umjud Ali Shah he was succeeded by the present king, Wajid Ali Shah, and Colonel Richmond was appointed Resident. It was shortly after this young monarch's accession that Lord Hardinge visited Lucknow, and witnessed such scenes of misrule and oppression as induced that distinguished officer to address that warning to the king which ultimately drew upon him the confiscation of his rule. On the 21st of November, 1854, the governor-general (Lord Dalhousie) recorded a minute, which was acquiesced in by the other members of the council, in which, after referring to communications which had been made to the then reigning King of Oude-firstly, in 1831, by Lord William Bentinck, and secondly, in 1847, by Lord Hardinge-Lord Dalhousie proposed that General Outram, then on the point of becoming British Resident at Lucknow, should make an inquiry into the present state of the kingdom of Oude. General Outram proceeded to Lucknow, having received as his instructions in the intended inquiry a letter from the secretary to the government of India (Mr. Edmonstone), of which the following is the concluding and most important paragraph: "I am accordingly directed by the governor-general in council to instruct you to apply yourself, on your arrival at Lucknow, to an inquiry into the present state of that country, with a view to determine whether its affairs still continue in the state in which Colonel Sleeman from time to time described them to be; whether the improvement which Lord Hardinge peremptorily demanded, seven years ago, at the hands of the king, in pursuance of the treaty of