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Letter from the Honourable Warren Hastings, Governor-General of Bengal,
to the Honourable the Court of Directors of the East-India Companya dated Lucknow, April 30. With a Poftfiript, dated May 13, 1784. Lucknow, April 30, 1784. bob vizier thould require it, which
I knew from undoubted authority Honourable Sirs, ..
he would, with his answer to the T HAVE judged it incumbent notification formally made to him, 1 upon me to make trial of every of the 31st of December. practicable chance of conveying to My reasons for thus anticipating you the earliest intelligence of my the occasion were many ; the diarrival at the place from which this stracie state of affairs, which every letter is dated, and of the first effects suspension of a day would aggraproduced by the accommodation, vate; the season of thç collections which took place, by the resolution requiring the application of early of the governor-general and coun: exertions for their security, and my cil, passed on the 31st of December own infirm state of health, which lait, and already notified to you by was not equal to sustain so long a the successive dispatches of your journey, if protracted to the comMhips. I mall begin the thread of mencement of the hot winds. my report from that date.
My offer was accepted by a conI foon after found that the state ditional declaration on the part of of this country was so disordered in Mr. Wheeler, and I made instant its revenue and adminili ration, and preparations for the journey. the credit and influence of the na- *On the 14th of February the na. bob himself so much fhaken by the bob's invitaticn arrived : I repeated effects of the late usurpation of his the proposal; the same authority authority, and the contests which decided its acceptance, and on the attended it, as to require the acces. i7th I took my leave of the board, fion of an extraneous aid, to restore and departed from Calcutta with a the powers and constitution of his severe indispofition, which had seizgovernment; and I was strongly ed ine some time preceding, then and repeatedly urged to repair hi. hanging on me; happily the change ther in person for that purpose. of air effected my speedy cure, and
Thele infances, though declared on the 27th ult. I arrived at this to be conformable to the wishes of place in a state of health fo con: the nabob vizier, his family and mi- firmed, as to promise an unremitted nisters, having been privately con-' attention to the very important obveyed to me, I represented them as jeets of my commission. Such to the board on the zoth of Ja- On my way, I had the alarining nuary, and offered my services to perspective of a soil so completely go to Luckr.ow, whenever the na. exhausted of its natural moisture, by the failure of one entire season proceedings, I have already expe. of the periodical rains, that except rienced them in two instances, one the fields of grain, which have been of which I believe to have had the kept in vegetation by the uncom- special service I am engaged in for mon labour of the husbandmen, and its object, and the other, the genewere still clothed with a luxuriant ral ruin of my authority. produce, or retained the subble of I allude, first, to a report fabrithe recent harvest, the plains exhi- cated at Fort St. George, of the bited an appearance of barrenness, arrival of a ship of war at Bombay, so dreary, that even the roots of its with the, authentic intelligence of former herbage no longer exitted, my disinission with disgrace from my and the deep ravines, and beds of office, which I received at the in iivers which I passed, threw up ftant that I was setting my foot on clouds of duft from their channels. the shore at Nuddeah, for the comThese are not circumstances of tri- mencement of my journey; and vial observation, nor are they con- secondly, to a paper transmitted to fined to the lands of these provinces; me by a respected authority froma every region of Hindostan has felt Calcutta, containing stri&tures oa the fame angry vifitation, and an- my former deputation, said to be a other year of equal drought, which part of a report of the select coinis not to be expected in the course mittee of the house of commons, of natural events, would put it out which unhappily apply to every of the reach of human wisdom to purpose of this, and which declare prevent, or retrieve the dreadful ca. (with horror I repeat it) a right inlamity which must attend it. vested in the commander in chief of
Yet such is my reliance on the the army, to oppose the power de. gratitude and unbounded confidence legated by the government itself to of the nabob and his ministers, that its first executive member, and to I dare promise, even at this imma• affert that right by an appeal to the ture period, under every circum- army for its ultimate decision upon stance, but the dreadful one which it. The words of the report (if it I have supposed, and wbich I have be such) to which I allude, are ftated as 'improbable, a successful these: progress and termination of the mea: “ By these instructions” (that is fure which I have begun, equal to the instructions sent by the court of any expectations which may have directors to Bengal in the year 1774 been formed of it, however fan- and 1778) " it appears, that the guine, if I am not counteracted, governor-general was positively reand my operations impeded by or- strained from the exercise of any ders which I may not refilt, and am military power whatsoever beyond allowed to rernain to the time de. the garrison and fortress of Fort Itined for their perfection. Nor shall William; so that the delegation and it be a common obstruction which exercise of all military power be. fhall restrain me; for I poffefs fuch yond the limits so described, was a inherent advantages as I trust will direct and positive disobedience of prove superior to every species of the orders of the court of direc: opposition, but the lait extremity tors.". of it. Indeed if such springs as "Disobedience of orders on a give the common movements to po- point, so delicate and important as pular opinion, could influence my that of wresting the military com
mand from the official military of every member of it, in an impli. ficer, who was invelied with that cit, and absolute subjection to its authority by the orders of the di authority. reétors, might have been produc. God forbid, that any future Pitive of consequences extremely pre zarros, and Almagros, mould dile judicial to the service : if the com- grace the annals of your dominion, mander in chief had asserted the or mark the traces of its decline right invested in himself, a conten- with the blood of your servants and tion for executive power might pos- soldiers ; ''ut the contest will pro. fibly have been the consequence, bably be of Mort duration ; and and the army, which in India is so happy will it be for the interests of peculiarly conftituted, as to require humanity, if such shall be the illue, not only exact discipline, but the though dreadful to our own, what. most perfect fubordination, in order ever period of time may close it. to insure obedience, must have ulti. Let me add, nor let my words be mately decided where that obedi- uttered in vain, that whenever the ence was due."
fatal blow shall be struck, or from I dare not examine a doctrine af- whatever hand it shall proceed, its firmed to be of lo sacred an autho- effect will be, not a gradual decay, rity ; yet I may humbly suggest but instantaneous ruin ; for your that it never was, nor could have existence hangs on the thread of been intended to be applied to the opinion, which the touch of chance actual commander in chief, whose may break, and even that source, command was originally constituted which ought to flow with the prinby the governor-general and coun- ciples of its duration, will, if procil themselves, and therefore could ductive of the same deleterious not be rendered superior to, and in- streams, which have been lately dependent of the powers velted in seen to issue from it, prove the cause the governor-general and council, of its dissolution. by an act of parliament passed be. I am not myself apprehensive of fore its existence ; nor included in any evil consequence, from the par, any instructions of the court of di. țial and limited command which I rectors, also framed at a more an- poflefs over your army, in its tendcient period, if even at a later; and ing to provoke a competition; for a sense of national duty superior to in the first place I will nover put it every consideration of personal safe- to the issue of a trial ; and in the ty, or the reverence which is due fecond, were the board to permit to high office, impels me to de- the commander in chief to come innounce, and to date the fall of the to this quarter, which is not likely, British empire in India from the in- I confidently hope, that before he Itant that it fhall be decidedly de- could arrive, this province will have clared, or understood, that any com- been so regulated as not to require mander in chief of the army, be any foreign aid for its internal prohis title or rank what it will, is, or tection, nor, of course, any exermay be, by any constructive power, cise of the powers which I poffels, independent of the government un- and which he might deem himself der which the wisdom of parlia. warranted to refift. ment hath hitherto placed the army I proceed to repeat the effects forming in these provinces, and which have been produced to this time, from the late accommodation, comptant for this station, but dif, and the objects to which I look, for fers materially from that which bas the final issue of it.
been drawn by the nabob's officers, Before my departure from Cal and I have referred it to the board curta, I applied through a private for adjustment with Mr. Bristos, channel to the acting minister, to who alone can explain the differ. advance an immediate supply of mo- ence. ney to your pily after-general at The second article is the regular Lucknow, for the subliftence of the produce of the current revenue : I troops stationed in thefe provinces, was early careful to guard the mi. who were then many months in ar- niiter against the ule of violent rears, and suffered much additional measures to anticipate the periods dili ress, from the scarcity and dear- of collection, for the purpose of ness of grain. He instantly raised giving an oitensible credit to the the sum of ten lacks of rupees, present fyllein, by swelling the a. which proved a critical and effec- mount of the payments, inade in tual relief.
consequence of it, although the exi. Since my arrival, he has made gencies of your state induced me to other payments to a considerable a- press him to contribute what he mount. These are particularized could for thcir relief, without add. in the enclosed account, No. 1. in ing to the distresses of his own; for wbich I have included, for your the country will not bear it. early information, all the payments The third article was obtained by made in liquidation of the honour- my own fuggetion from Almars able company's debt, in the course Ally Cawn, who complied cheer of the present fuffelee year, to fully and without hesitation, conti, which all accounts of the revenue dering it as an evidence fcasonably are, by old custom, adjudied, and offered for the general refutation of which cominences on the irth of the charges of perfidy and disloyalty Septeinber to the present time *. which have been too laborioully
To this I have joined another ac- urged against him, and carried at count, No. 2. ftating the probable one time to an excess which had claims of the company upon the nearly driven him to abandon the nabob vizier, from the beginning country, for the preservation of his of the present to the end of the life and honour, and thus to give a next futtelee year, or to the end of colour to the charges themselves.' September 1785.
It would scarce merit your atten. On both these accounts I Mall of- tion to be informed, that I have in. fer a few neceffary remarks. First vested a part of this supply in bills on No. 1. · The first sum of fixteen of exchange payable to the goverlacks of rupees slated as the amount nor-general and council in Cal. of Mr. Bristow's receipts, is taken cutta, to the amount of five lacks from his own account in the poslef- of Calcutta ficcas; but as it is con. fion of Mr. Wombwell, the ac- nected with an arrangement which • From the uth of September, 1783, to the gift of January, 1784, f seceived by Mr. Brillow, current rupees 1,857,873
185,789 From the 31st of Jaruary to the 30th of April, 1784, received by Mr. Wombwell current rupees 4,497,795
450,000 Total £.635,787
may prove a future advantage to mate formed on the actual expence; your interests, in the reduction of but will be considerably reduced, if ihe hoondyan, or exchange, from my future prospects and objects fixteen percent, to five and a half, shall be answerable to my present at which it is my determination to expectations. To these I proceed. fix it.
Firlt. My first wish is to realize I have recommended to the board the amount of your demands on the to appropriate the whole of this ar nabob of Owde to the end of the ticle as a fund for the payment of next fuffelee year, and to obtain the interest on your bonds, which ample securities for it before I de. had suftered foniething in their cre- part from him. dit and current value, from the sur- Second. My next care will be to pension of the payment of intereil, induce the nabob's minifters to ap. fome months before I left Calcutta. point bodies of regular troops, for
The first article is the balance of the support of his collections, and the fum due from Fyzoola Cawn, the internal defence of his country. by the treaty made between him and This will preclude the necessity of the nabob vizier, through the agen- calling for the aid of our troops, cy of major Palmer, on the 16th of and I hope may prove the means of February, 1783. Two lacks of this releasing him from the extraordiamount are now in regular course nary and undefined subsidy which of payment ; the remaining three he now pays for the great detachare not due by ftipulation till the ment employed under the command next season called Knereef, which of tir John Cumming in Rohil. is a period included between the cund, and the regiments which middle of September and the mid- have been occasionally demanded, dle of February. Some days after and remain scattered over other my arrival, I intimated to his vac- parts of his dominions; and of conkeel, my wish to have both pay- fining our defence, and the nabob ments immediately concluded, and vizier's payments, to the brigade his master gave immediate orders ftationed at Cawn pore, and to the for it,
subsidy paid by creaty, for its exTo this instance of respect for pence: your government, he has added an- Third. My last and ultimate other, in the deputation of his son hope is, that when these objects are to Lucknow, to confirm the assur- attained, your wisdom will put a ance of his attachment to the com- final period to the ruinous and dis. pany and British nation.
reputable system of interference, * What farther sums may be clear whether avowed or secret, in the ed in the course of this year, of affairs of the nabob of Owde, and which the most productive part is withdraw for ever the inftueme by already past, I cannot fay; but it which it was maintained. is 'my hope, that a considerable part This country has no iulets of of the nabob's debt wil he liqui- trade by which it can supply the dated, and the discharge of the re- illues which are made from it; for, mainder ensured by the engage excepting the factory at Tonda, ments of creditable bankers, so that which fublifts by a contract, makit may be wholly cleared within ing part of your investment, and the course of the ensuing year. the produce of opium and saltpetre, The account, No. 2, is an eftin which is not contiderable, I do not