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in peace, tranquillity, and order ; and though he was an arbitrary prince, he never strained his revenue to such a degree as to lose their affections, while he filled his exchequer. Such appears to have been the true character of Sujah Dowlah ; your lordships have heard what is the character which the prisoner at your bar and his counsel have thought proper to give you of him.
Surely, my lord, the situation of the great, as well as of the lower ranks in that country, must be a subject of melancholy reflection to every man. Your lordships' compassion will, I presume, lead you to feel for the lowest ; and I hope that your sympathetic dignity will make you consider in what manner the princes of this country are treated. They have not only been treated at your lordships' bar, with indignity by the prisoner, but his counsel do not leave their ancestors to rest quietly in their graves. They have slandered their families, and have gone into scandalous history, that has no foundation in facts whatever.
Your lordships have seen how he attempted to slander the ancestors of Cheit Sing, to deny that they were zemindars; and yet he must have known from printed books, taken from the company's records, the utter falsity of his declaration. You need only look into Mr. Verelst's Appendix, and there you will see that that country has always been called, the zemindary of Bulwant Sing. You will find him always called the zemindar; it was the known acknowledged name, till this gentleman thought proper at the bar of the House of Commons to deny that he was a zemindar, and to assert that he was only an aumil. He slanders the pedigree of this man as mean and base, yet he was not ashamed to take from him £23,000 ; in like manner he takes from Azoph ul Dowlah £100,000, which he would have appropriated to himself, and then directs his counsel to rake up the slander of Dow's History, a book of no authority; a book that no man values in any respect or degree. In this book they find that romantic, absurd, and ridiculous story, upon which an honorable
fellow manager of mine, who is much more capable than I am of doing justice to the subject, has commented with his usual ability ; I allude to that story of spitting on the beard ; the mutual compact to poison one another. That Arabian tale, fit only to form a ridiculous tragedy, has been gravely mentioned to your lordships, for the purpose of slandering the pedigree of this vizier of Oude, and making him vile in your lordships' eyes. My honorble friend has exposed to you the absurility of these stories, but he has not shown you the malice of their propagators. The prisoner and his counsel have referred to Dow's History, who calls this nabob, " the more infamous son of an infamous Persian pedlar.” They wish that your lordships should consider him as a person vilely born, ignominiously educated, and practising a mean trade ; in order that, when it shall be proved, that he and his family were treated with every kind of indignity and contempt by the prisoner at your bar, the sympathy of maukind should be weakened. Consider, my lords, the monstrous perfidy and ingratitude of this man, who after receiving great favors from the nabob, is not satisfied with oppressing his offspring, but goes back to his ancestors, tears them out of their graves, and vilifies them with slanderous aspersions. My lords, the ancestor of Sujah Dowlah was a great prince ; certainly a subordinate prince, because he was a servant of the Great Mogul, who was well called, King of Kings, for he had in his service persons of high degree. He was born in Persia ; but was not, as is falsely said, the more in fumous son of an infamous Persian pedlur. Your lordships are not unacquainted with the state and history of India ; you therefore know that Persia has been the nursery of all the Mahomedan mobility of India ; almost every thing in that country, which is not of Gentoo origin, is of Persian ; so much so that the Persian language is the language of the court, and of every office from the highest to the lowest. Among these noble Persians, the family of the nabob stands in the highest degree. His father's ancestors were of noble descent, and
those of his mother, Munny Begum, more eminently and more illustriously so. This distinguished family, on no better authority than that of the historian Dow, has been slandered by the prisoner at your bar, in order to destroy the character of those whom he had already robbed of their substance. Your lordships will have observed with disgust, how the Dows and the Hastingses, and the whole of that tribe, treat their superiors ; in what insolent language they speak of them, and with what pride and indignity they trample upon the first names and the first characters in that devoted country.
But supposing it perfectly true, that this man was "the more infamous son of an infamous Persian pedlar : " he had risen to be the secondary sovereign of that country. He had a revenue of £3,600,000 sterling; a vast and immense revenue; equal perhaps to the clear revenue of the king of England. He maintained an army of one hundred and twenty thousand men. He had a splendid court, and his country was prosperous and happy. Such was the situation of Sujah Dowlah, the nabob of Oude, and such the condition of Oude under his government. With his pedigree, I believe, your lordships will think, we have nothing to do in the cause now before us. It has been pressed upon us; and this marks the indecency, the rancor, the insolence, the pride, and tyranny, which the Dows and the Hastingses, and the people of that class and character, are in the habit of exercising over the great in India.
My lords, I shall be saved a great deal of trouble in proving to you the flourishing state of Oude, because the prisoner admits it as largely as I could wish to state it; and, what is more, he admits too the truth of our statement of the condition to which it is now reduced ; (but I shall not let him off so easily upon this point.) He admits, too, that it was left in this reduced and ruined state at the close of his administration. In his defence he attributes the whole mischief generally to a faulty system of government. My lords, systems
never make mankind happy or unhappy, any further than as they give occasions for wicked men to exercise their own abominable talents, subservient to their own more abominable dispositions. The system, says Mr. Hastings, was bad ; but I was not the maker of it. Your lordships have seen him apply this mode of reasoning to Benares, and you will now see that he applies it to Oude. I came, says he, into a bad system ; that system was not of my making, but I was obliged to act according to the spirit of it.
Now every honest man would say, I came to a bad system; I had every facility of abusing my power; I had every temptation to peculate ; I had every incitement to oppress; I had every means of concealment, by the defects of the system : but I corrected that evil system by the goodness of my administration ; by the prudence, the energy, the virtue of my conduct. This is what all the rest of the world would say: but what says Mr. Hastings ? A bad system was made to my hands; I had nothing to do in making it. I was altogether an involuntary instrument and obliged to execute every evil which that system contained. This is the line of conduct your lordships are called to decide upon. And I must here again remind you, that we are at an issue of law. Mr. Hastings has avowed a certain set of principles, upon which he acts; and your lordships are therefore to judge whether his acts are justifiable, because he found an evil system to act upon; or whether he and all governors upon earth have not a general good system upon which they ought to act.
The prisoner tells you, my lords, that it was in consequence of this evil system, that the nabob, from being a powerful prince, became reduced to a wretched dependant on the company, and subject to all the evils of that degraded state :subject to extortion, to indignity, to oppression. All these, your lordships are called upon to sanction; and because they may be connected with an existing system, you are to declare them to be an allowable part of a code for the government of British India.
In the year 1775, that powerful, magnificent, and illustrious prince, Sujah Dowlah, died in possession of the country of Oude. He had long governed a happy and contented people ; and if we except the portion of tyranny which we admit he really did exercise towards some few individuals, who resisted his power, he was a wise and beneficent governor. This prince died in the midst of his power and fortune, leaving somewhere about fourscore children. Your lordships know, that the princes of the East have a great number of wives; and we know that these women, though reputed of a secondary rank, are yet of a very high degree, and honorably maintained according to the customs of the East. Sujah Dowlah had but one lawful wife: he had by her but one lawful child, Azoph ul Dowlah. He had about twenty-one male children ; the eldest of whom was a person whom you have heard of very often in these proceedings, called Saadit Ali. Azoph ul Dowlah, being the sole legitimate son, had all the pretensions to succeed his father as sabadar of Oude, which could belong to any person under the Mogul government.
Your lordships will distinguish between a zemindar, who is a perpetual landholder, the hereditary proprietor of an estate ; and a subadar, who derives from his master's will and pleasure all his employments, and who, instead of having the jaghirdars subject to his supposed arbitrary will, is himself a subject, and must have his sovereign's patent for his place. Therefore, strictly and properly speaking, there is no succession in the office of subadar.
At this time the company, who alone could obtain the sunnuds or patent from the Great Mogul, upon account of the power they possessed in India, thought, and thought rightly, that, with an officer who had no hereditary power, there could be no hereditary engagements; and that in their treaty with Azoph ul Dowlah, for whom they had procured the sunnud from the Great Mogul, they were at liberty to propose their own terms, which, if honorable and mutually advantageous to the new subadar and to the company, they had a right to insist upon. A treaty