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tuous riot of contested elections, in wandering throughout the whole range of those variegated modes of inventive prodigality, which sometimes have excited our wonder, sometimes roused our indignation; that after all India was four millions still in debt to them? India in debt to them! For what! Every debt for which an equivalent of some kind or other is not given, is on the face of it a fraud. What is the equivalent they have given? What equivalent had they to give? What are the articles of commerce, or the branches of manufacture which those gentlemen have carried hence to enrich India? What are the sciences they beamed out to enlighten it? What are the arts they introduced to cheer and to adorn it? What are the religious, what the moral institutions they have taught among that people as a guide to life, or as a consolation when life is to be no more, that there is an eternal debt, a debt "still paying, still to owe," which must be bound on the present generation in India, and entailed on their mortgaged posterity forever? A debt of millions, in favour of a set of men, whose names, with few exceptions, are either buried in the obscurity of their origin and talents, or dragged into light by the enormity of their crimes?

In my opinion the courage of the minister was the most wonderful part of the transaction, especially as he must have read, or rather the right honourable gentleman says, he has read for him, whole volumes upon the subject. The volumes, by the way, are not by one tenth part so numerous as the right honourable gentleman has thought proper to pretend, in order to frighten you from inquiry; but in these volumes, such as they are, the minister must have found a full authority for a suspicion (at the very least) of every thing relative to the great fortunes made at Madras. What is that authority? Why no other than the standing authority for all the claims which the ministry has thought fit to provide forthe grand debtor-the nabob of Arcot himself. Hear that prince, in the letter written to the court of direc

tors, at the precise period, whilst the main body of these debts were contracting. In his letter he states himself to be, what undoubtedly he is, a most competent witness to this point. After speaking of the war with Hyder Ali in 1768 and 1769, and of other measures which he censures (whether right or wrong it signifies nothing) and into which he says he had been led by the company's servants; he proceeds in this manner-"If all these things were against the real interests of the company, they are ten thousand times more against mine, and against the prosperity of my country, and the happiness of my people; for your interests and mine are the same. What were they owing to then? to the private views of a few individuals, who have enriched themselves at the expense of your influence, and of my country; for your servants HAVE NO TRADE IN THIS COUN TRY; neither do you pay them high wages, yet in a few years they return to England with many lacks of pagodas. How can you or I account for such immense fortunes, acquired in so short a time without any visible means of getting them?"

When he asked this question, which involves its answer, it is extraordinary that curiosity did not prompt the chancellor of the exchequer to that inquiry which might come in vain recommended to him by his own act of parliament. Does not the nabob of Arcot tell us in so many words, that there was no fair way of making the enormous sums sent by the company's servants to England? and do you imagine that there was or could be more honesty and good faith in the demands for what remained behind in India? Of what nature were the transactions with himself? If you follow the train of his information you must see, that if these great sums were at all lent, it was not property, but spoil that was lent; if not lent, the transaction was not a contract, but a fraud. Either way, if light enough could not be furnished to authorize a full condemnation of these demands, they ought to have been left to the parties who best knew and understood each others proceed

ings. It was not necessary that the authority of government should interpose in favour of claims, whose very foundation was a defiance of that authority, and whose object and end was its entire subver


It may be said that this letter was written by the nabob of Arcot in a moody humour, under the influence of some chagrin. Certainly it was; but it is in such humours that truth comes out. And when he tells you from his own knowledge, what every one must presume, from the extreme probability of the thing, whether he told it or not, one such testimony is worth a thousand that contradict that probability, when the parties have a better understanding with each other, and when they have a point to carry, that may unite them in a common deceit.

If this body of private claims of debt, real or devised, were a question, as it is falsely pretended, between the nabob of Arcot, as debtor, and Paul Benfield and his associates, as creditors, I am sure I should give myself but little trouble about it. If the hoards of oppression were the fund for satisfying the claims of bribery and peculation, who would wish to interfere between such litigants? If the demands were confined to what might be drawn from the treasures which the company's records uniformly assert that the nabob is in possession of; or if he had mines of gold, or silver, or diamonds (as we know that he has none) these gentlemen might break open his hoards, or dig in his mines, without any disturbance from me. But the gentlemen on the other side of the house know as well as I do, and they dare not contradict me, that the nabob of Arcot and his creditors are not adversaries, but collusive parties, and that the whole transaction is under a false colour and false names. The litigation is not, nor ever has been, between their rapacity and his hoarded riches. No; it is between him and them combining and confederating on one side, and the publick revenues, and the miserable inhabitants of a ruined country, on the other. These are the real plaintiffs and the real defendants in the suit. Refusing

a shilling from his hoards for the satisfaction of any demand, the nabob of Arcot is always ready, nay, he earnestly, and with eagerness and passion, contends for delivering up to these pretended creditors his territory and his subjects. It is therefore not from treasuries and mines, but from the food of your unpaid armies, from the blood withheld from the veins, and whipt out of the backs of the most miserable of men, that we are to pamper extortion, usury, and peculation, under the false names of debtors and creditors of state.

The great patron of these creditors (to whose honour they ought to erect statues) the right honourable gentleman, in stating the merits which recommended them to his favour, has ranked them under three grand divisions. The first, the creditors of 1767; then the creditors of the cavalry loan; and lastly, the creditors of the loan in 1777. Let us examine them, one by one, as they pass in review before us.

The first of these loans, that of 1767, he insists, had an indisputable claim upon the publick justice. The creditors, he affirms, lent their money publickly; they advanced it with the express knowledge and approbation of the company; and it was contracted at the moderate interest of ten per cent. In this loan

the demand is, according to him, not only just, but meritorious in a very high degree; and one would be inclined to believe he thought so, because he has put it last in the provision he has made for these claims.

I readily admit this debt to stand the fairest of the whole; for whatever may be my suspicions concerning a part of it, I can convict it of nothing worse than the most enormous usury. But I can convict upon the spot the right honourable gentleman, of the most daring misrepresentation in every one fact, without any exception, that he has alleged in defence of this loan, and of his own conduct with regard to it. I will show you that this debt was never con

* Mr. Dundas.

tracted with the knowledge of the company; that it had not their approbation; that they received the first intelligence of it with the utmost possible surprise, indignation, and alarm.

So far from being previously apprized of the transaction from its origin, that it was two years before the court of directors obtained any official intelligence of it. "The dealings of the servants with the nabob were concealed from the first, until they were found out" (says Mr. Sayer, the company's counsel)" by the report of the country." The presidency, however, at last thought proper to send an official account. On this the directors tell them, "to your great reproach it has been concealed from us. We cannot but suspect this debt to have had its weight in your proposed aggrandizement of Mahomed Ali [the nabob of Arcot]; but whether it has or has not, certain it is, you are guilty of a high breach of duty in concealing it from us.

These expressions, concerning the ground of the transaction, its effect, and its clandestine nature, are in the letters, bearing date March 17, 1769. After receiving a more full account on the 23d March, 1770, they state, that "Messrs. John Pybus, John Call, and James Bourchier, as trustees for themselves and others of the nabob's private creditors, had proved a deed of assignment upon the nabob and his son of FIFTEEN districts of the nabob's country, the revenues of which yielded, in time of peace, eight lacks of pagodas [320,0001. sterling] annually; and likewise an assignment of the yearly tribute paid the nabob from the rajah of Tanjore, amounting to four lacks of rupees [40,0001.]" The territorial revenue, at that time possessed by these gentlemen, without the knowledge or consent of their masters, amounted to three hundred and sixty thousand pounds sterling annually. They were making rapid strides to the entire possession of the country, when the directors, whom the right honourable gentleman states as having authorized these proceedings, were kept in such profound ignorance of this royal acquisition of territo

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