Page images
PDF
EPUB

W

ART. VI. An Enquiry into the Policy of making Conquests for the Ma

bometans in India by the British Arms; in Answer to a Pamphlet ena titled, Considerations on the Conquest of Tanjore. 4to. 35. Dodfley. 1779.

E have here an ingenious and spirited apology for the

conduct of the Directors of the East India Company, in taking the kingdom of Tanjore from the Nabob of Arcot, and restoring it to its former fovereign. In justice to the Author, and for the satisfa&tion of our Readers, we shall give a summary of the principal arguments which are here adduced in justification of this measure.

Our Author considers the conquest of Tanjore, firit on the ground of authority, and then on that of reason and justice. On the former ground, he observes-that there is no evidence of the truth of any material charge against the Rajah, which could lay the Company under an obligation to make this conquest for the Nabob of Arcot. The authorities produced as records in support of the Nabob's right are, for the most part, nothing more than the mere representations of those servants of the Company who have asisted the Nabob in his usurpation. Of this nature is the correspondence of the Select Committee of Madras. And even these authorities do not come up to the purpose for wnich they are produced; for the Select Committee never either informed the Directors that they had the conqueft of Tanjore in view, or recommended that measure; and, befides, they confefs explicitly, that they acted in this affair against their own judgment. The orders of the Company do not amount to an authority to make this conquest; they only express the Company's disapprobation of the Rajah's conduct,' in some instances, and their wish, that when convenient he may be chastised, and the Nabob's pretensions against him_rendered effectual. These pretensions, communicated to the Directors, were only that the Nabob might receive the arrears of his pilhcuth or tribute money, and a reasonable sum towards the charges of the war with Hyder Ali. The Prefidency themselves expressly acknowledge, that they had no cause tó infer from any orders of the Company, that it was their wish the country of Tanjore thould be conquered for the Nabob; and they expressly informed the Nabob, that any measures taken for this purpose could only be temporary, till the Company's pleasure be known; and declare it to be the Company's wish, not to fubvert the established government of any power, with which they have connection.- Whatever errors the Company may have fallen into in this affair, have been owing to their giving too

• Sec Review for April, 1779, p. 296.

салу easy credit to their servants abroad, who scrupled not to mislead them by the most unjustifiable misrepresentations, of which the Directors have frequently complained.

Our Author next confiders the conquest of Tanjore on the ground of reason and justice.- When the Company first began to interfere in the politics of India, they found the then king of Tanjore an hereditary fovereign, formed their first regular alliance with him, and, by his affiftance, gave the first turn to the war with France. The exertions of the king of Tanjore were immediately in support of the Nabob against his rival Chunda Saheb, and put him in peaceable pofleffion of his government. But the wealth and splendour in which the king then lived, excited the envy of the Nabob, and led him to forru the design of extirpating him. This the Presidency acknowledged. When he was compelled by necessity to relinquish this design, he formed a plan for the extirpation of Hyder Ali, the Nabob of Mysore, and engaged the arms of the Company in this wicked scheme. Still, however, he kept in view the conquest of Tanjore, and omitted no means to bring on a rupture with that kingdom. At length, having failed in his attempt against Hyder Ali, that he might balance the lofses that he had sustained, and accomplish his favourite object, he engaged in the war of 1771 against Tanjore, supported by the Presidency.

After this account of the real motives of the war, our Author proceeds to examine the pretexts on which it was undertaken. The first pretext was, that in the war with Hyder Ali, the Rajah had not sent allistance to the Nabob.--To this it is replied, that the King of Tanjore was not bound by any treaty whatever to take part in this war, as even his enemies confess. The war was undertaken, without consulting the Rajah, and in direct opposition to his interests : had it been successful, it would have left Tanjore entirely at the mercy of the Nabob. Yet, notwithstanding this, from a desire of being on good terms with the English, the Rajah sent 3000 men, under Colonel Wood, to the aliltance of the Nabob. Beside, if he had incurred any blame in this transaction, it was wiped off by the treaty of peace with Hyder Ali, in which the Rajah was included.

The second pretext was, the non-payment of the pishcush to the Mogul, through the hands of the Nabob, according to the treaty of 1762. Here no proof of the refusal of payment is brought. The payment was only delayed for three months, on account of the expence the Rajah had sustained from the war with Hyder Ali.' The Company had been themselves in the same situation with respect to the Rajah, having neglected for five years to pay a pilhcuch for the town of Devicota.

The

The third pretext was, that the Rajah had made war on the princes or Polygars of Marawar and Malcooty, whom the Nabob alleged to be his dependants. The fact of the war is admitted, but the fovereignty of the Rajah being acknowledged, (which was allowed by the Presidency in 1772, and by the Nabob himself in 1762) he must be at liberty to right himself on his neighbours who had injured him. The Nabob had before expressed, in the strongest terms, his desire that no protection should be given to the Marawar princes : he even acknowledged the justice of the war by calling the territories in dispute the King of Tanjore's country. Yet he clandestinely incited the Polygars to hoftilities, while he was preparing to make war with the Rajah for having a quarrel with them. On inquiry, it has appeared that there is no proof of these Polygars having any dependence on the Nabob, and their sovereignty is found to be ancient and hereditary.

The result of this war, undertaken on such frivolous pretexts, was, that Tanjore, after suffering great devastation and plunder, was obliged, in 1771, to submit to pay near 700,000 1. and to such other terms as the Nabob thought fit to exact.

At the very inftant in which this treaty, so advantageous to the Nabob, was concluded, the Presidency sent orders not to restore or demolish the fort of Vallum, according to the agreement, but to have it fufficiently garrisoned, under the pretext of an apprehension that the Rajah would not perform all the articles of the agreement: they afferted that he equivocated, and immediately annulled the treaty. But no proof or explanation is given of this equivocation. And the truth is, the Rajah did not equivocate, or hesitate to fulfil the agreement. On the evidence of the Nabob's own minister, Nazib Khan, it appears that the jewels taken from the Marawars were delivered to the Nabob's eldest son, and that the King of Tanjore offered bills, the same day, for nine lacks out of the fourteen agreed to be paid, and engaged to pay the remainder the Monday following.

On this the Nabob's eldest son hesitated on the infraction of the treaty; but his younger brother broke through it at once, on no other pretence than that his father's pleasure must, by all means, be preserved. In this manner the treaty of 1777 was broken, and a second made agreeable to the Nabob's pleaSure, which however, two years after, he found means to dira solve. The Presidency, having only agreed to, not ratified the last treaty, thought themselves at liberty to act contrary to it, as guardians of the public peace.

Šolely on the charge of the Rajah's enemy, the Nabob himself, with only four days deliberation, the Presidency declared his right to protection forfeited, and that it was dangerous to

suffer

suffer bim to exist as a power. The first particular of the Na. bob's charge is, that by advice confirmed by the Company's refident at Poonah, the Rajah had endeavoured to bring the Ma-, rattas into the Carnatic. This charge is made without any direct information to the Prefidency, and reits wholly on the word of the Nabob : and from the account sent by the Presia dency to the Company it appears, that whatever was the negociation, it arose from a just dread which the Rajah entertained of the Nabob's infincerity and evil designs against Tanjore. The second charge is, that the Rajah had given the Nabob no aifftance against the Polygars, but had received them, and supplied them with ammunition. Of this no proof is given : be- . fide, it must be remembered, that the Nabob had juft quarrelled with the Rajah, for making war on these very Polygars, and now, for not making war upon them, and that these contradictory charges were made at the interval of about two months, without alleging any act of rebellion subsequent to the time in which he confidered them as under his protection. A third charge is, that the Rajah had taken fome runaway Polygars under his protection, and given them a residence. As the nature of the crime of these runaways is not specified, and no other proof of the fact is given but the word of the Nabob, it cannot merit notice. The fourth charge is, that the Rajah had, under the plea of borrowing money, mortgaged some districts of the Tanjore country to the Dutch, French, and Danes. The whole amount of this charge is, that the Nabob forces the Rajah, by invasions and violent extortions, to mortgage some of his territories, and then makes that mortgage a reason for robbing him of all the remainder. The last charge is, that the Rajah had refused to pay the money agreed for by treaty, ten lacks still remaining due. Though this charge was admitted by the Presidency without inquiry, the fact is, that this money was, at the time of the accusation, actually paid. The Rajah, notwithstanding the exhausted state of his finances, had borrowed money of Comora, an Hindoo, for this purpose, and pledged a territorial revenue for the payment. This Comora drew bills on his master, Paul Benfield, the Nabob's banker, for the amount, which bills (by Mr. Benfield's own confeffion) were in the Nabob's or his banker's hands. On these flight grounds, which the Presidency took up on the bare word of the Nabob, the war was renewed, under the protection of the English arms in 1973, which issued in the plunder of four millions sterling of the wealth of Tanjore, and the conquest of the country.

Such is the evidence (which must be allowed to carry with it much appearance of truth) on which this Writer justifies the conduct of the Directors of the East-India Company in restoring 1

Tanjore

Tanjore to its former fovereign. He subjoins fome general remarks on the impropriety and injustice of making conquests for the Mahometan princes in India : and concludes with a wish, in which all true friends to the rights of humanity, without deciding to which party the guilt of oppreflion belongs, may concur: • It is hoped that the active partizans of oppreffion, by officiously bringing these matters into discussion, will rouse the humanity and justice of his Majesty, this nation, and the Company, in favour of the unhappy nations, princes, and people, who are under our protection, and from whom we derive infinite benefits.'

Art. VII. Poems, by a young Nobleman, of distinguished Abilities,

lately deceased; particularly the State of England, and the once flourishing City of London. In a Letter from an American Traveller, dated from the ruinous Portico of St. Paul's, in the Year 2199, to a Friend seccled in Boston, the Metropolis of the Weltern Empire. Also, fundry fugitive Pieces, principally wrote whilft upon his Travels on the Continent. 410. 2 s. 6 d. Kearlly. 1780.

Nobleman, who is supposed to have been the Au

thor of these Poems, was sufficiently notorious. Nature had bestowed upon him considerable talents : these talents, under the care of a most excellent father, had met with the highest cultivation. Such were the advantages with which he entered into life. Unfortunately both for himself and for the world, there was fomething still wanting to give a proper direction to those abilities for which he was soon distinguished. Devoted, unhappily, to the pursuit of pleasure, he seems to have been one of those who emancipate themselves from every principle which opposes the gratification of their ruling appetite. A mind enslaved by vice, and enfeebled by a constant attention to low and sordid enjoyments, seems incapable of that dignity and elevation which are so essential to true poetry. Hence it may be that we meet with so few marks of those distinguished abilities which are announced in the title-page of these poems. Though we indeed expected not the " dignity of verse," we yet looked for brilliancy and wit. In this respect, however, we are also disappointed. The first poem, the State of England in the year 2199, is heavy and unanimated. Neither force of genius nor grace of fancy are displayed in it. A Bostonian is supposed to vifit the ruins of London; a poor emaciated Briton, who officiates as Ciceroni, is his attendant. After expatiating on the different objects that had engaged their attention, they

proceed into a field
O'ergrown with rank and noisome weeds, and here
The honest Briton wiping from his eye
The starting tear, in broken sobs of grief,

And

« PreviousContinue »