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than three hundred thousand pounds, due to him by the Company, and also lands, which yielded a revenue of upwards of half a million sterling. By the treaty then entered into, the Company came under an obligation to pay tribute out of the revenues of Bengal to the amount of twenty-six lacks of rupees (£260,000) a year, and to grant the Emperor the quiet and perpetual possession of the districts of Corah and Allahabad. It should not be forgotten, that at the same time Lord Clive was confirmed in the possession of an estate worth £30,000 per annum.*
By this treaty the Company were in fact made the masters of a splendid kingdom, comprising one of the richest portions of the world.
Here, then, Sir, we have a list of signal and essential benefits confirmed
upon the Company by the ancestors of the Prince who this day seeks justice at your hands. Shah Alum, Alumgeer, Ferookseer, Aurungzebe, Shah Jehan, Jehanqeer, and Akbar, were his forefathers. He inherits their throne, and I appear to-day to ask you, to restore to him, not the dominion and wealth of his illustrious ancestors, but the comparatively small pittance which you yourselves, through the agency of your accredited servants, did. voluntarily oblige yourselves to give to his grandfather and his successors. I shall not here enter upon the treatment of Shah Alum between 1765 and 1803. I will not rip up old grievances, or I might turn to that disgraceful page in the Company's history, which records their conduct in refusing, the moment they had the opportunity of doing so, the payment of the Bengal tribute. I could in an instant prove you in debt more than twenty millions sterling to the royal family of Delhi, according to your treaty with the indigent Shah Alum, and exclusive of the revenues of Corah aad Allahabad, which you took from him when in helplessness at Delhi, and sold to a murderer for £500,000.
I will not, as I might, bring forward claims prior to 1803, but proceed to a statement of events from that period.
In the year I have just named, Shah Alum, after a series of misfortunes, was little better than a prisoner within the walls of his own palace. (Hear, hear! from the chairman.)—Sir, I grant most freely, that when you sought his alliance he was in that condition.
He was aged, infirm, and blind, and as I have said, little better than a captive in the hands of Sindiah and the French, who sought their own aggrandisement by the exercise of his authority and the use of his name, His impotence and poverty, however, will not, I should hope, be pleaded as a justification for any wrong act of ours.
If this was his condition, the stronger were his claims to sympathy and assistance ;
* Wiison's Ed. of Mill, vol. 3, book 5, pp. 408, 409.
and, let me here observe, that it is not my intention to ask anything from your compassion! No. I shall demand everything I seek for the King of Delhi from your justice, and all I shall claim for him will but make up together, a small instalment in liquidation of that which you as much owe him, as you owe to the living son the debt you contracted to his departed sire.
At the period I have adverted to, India was the scene of a struggle for supremacy and even for existence, between the French and the English. Each had their allies, and each had the same object--to establish an empire for themselves, and drive their rival out of the country. While Sir Arthur Wellesley carried on the war in the Deccan, Lord Lake was on his way to the Upper Provinces, to engage the Mahrattas and the French on the banks of the Ganges and the Jumna.
In this most critical state of affairs, the Governor General, the Marquess Wellesley, addressed a letter to Lord Lake® pointing out with the greatness clearness the designs and operations of the enemy, and the immense importance of becoming if possible the protectors of the Emperor. In addition to this despatch, he sent him also a letter upon the latter subject exclusively. This letter is dated July 27th, 1803,+ and is as follows :
“The arrangement to be finally concluded with respect to his Majesty, involves a question of great POLITICAL and NATIONAL importance, which will form the subject of future deliberation. For the present it is my intention merely to secure to His Majesty the protection of the British Government, and to assign to him and to his family a provision for their immediate support. The extent of that provision must be regulated by future events and circumstances. I entertain no doubt that His Majesty will be cordially disposed to place himself under the British protection without any previous stipulation."
" When that event shall have taken place, it is my anxious desire that His Majesty and the Royal family should immediately experience the benefit of the change, by receiving from your Excellency, and from all persons acting under your authority, every demonstration of reverence, respect and attention, and every degree of regard to the comfort and convenience of His Majesty, and the royal family, consistent with the security of their persons. It will be proper that your Excellency should immediately appoint a civil or military officer, who may be duly qualified to attend His Majesty, in the capacity of agent or representative of the British Government, furnishing such officer with proper instructions for the regulation of his conduct towards His Majesty and
* Wellesley Despatches, vol. 3, p.p., 211, 212, 214, 222, and 230
the royal family, founded on the actual circumstances of their situation, and on the spirit of these suggestions."
“ Your Excellency will be pleased to transmit to me, as soon as may be practicable, a statement of the names and degrees of the persons for whom it may be necessary to assign a provision, together with such suggestions as your Excellency may deem advisable, to enable me to determine the extent of such provision."
Such were the sentiments, and such the instructions conveyed by Lord Wellesley to Lord Lake. The arrangement to be concluded respecting the King and royal family was " a question of great political and national importance.” The provision to be made for them, in the first instance, was merely for their “ immediate support." They were to be treated by his Excellency, and all persons acting under his authority, “ with every demonstration of reverence, respect, and attention," and the names were to be furnished of all persons for whom it might be necessary to make a provision.
In addition to this letter to Lord Lake, Lord Wellesley also secretly addressed a letter to the Emperor Shah Alum, dated on the same day, in which he sympathised, with every appearance of sincerity, in the sufferings and privations to which his Majesty had been subjected, and invited him, should the opportunity occur, to place himself under the protection of the British Government, assuring him of the loyalty and attachment of that Government to the Royal house. Majesty be disposed to accept this offer," says his Lordship, you may be assured that every demonstration of respect, and every degree of attention which can contribute to the ease and comfort of your Majesty and the royal family, will be manifested on the part of the British Government; and that adequate provision will be made for the support of your Majesty, and household."* Here then there is a distinct and solemn pledge in the name of the British Government. It is true that for very obvious reasons, Lord Wellesley does not in this letter state his own private motives for desiring so earnestly to become the protector of the Emperor.
His Majesty did not at the time he received this letter, entertain confidence in the sincerity of the professions which it contained, or the promise which it made. Doubtless, he remembered too well the 12th of August, 1765, when he made his bargain with Lord Clive-he remembered the non-payment of the tribute money, and the loss of Corah and Allahabad, and the indifference which had been shewn to all his afflictions through a long series of years. In his answer, therefore, to Lord Lake, dated the 29th of August, he says :
u Should your
* Wellesley Desp tches, vol. 3, p. 233.
* The English have for some years past been unmindful of one ; conceiving, therefore, lest when the English gain possession of the country, they may prove unmindful of me again, it becomes necessary for the General to settle this point with the Governor-General, that hereafter there be no want of obedience, or cause of dissatisfaction to me.”
The decisive battle of Delhi was fought on the 11th September, 1803• The Mahrattas were defeated, and the Emperor having been induced again to repose his faith upon the honour and assurances of the British Government, joyfully hailed the victors, placed himself and his family under the shelter of the English flag, and afforded every assistance to the Commander-in-Chief, in the removal of his troops from the left to the right bank of the Jumna.
On the 16th of September, 1803, Lord Lake was visited at his camp by the heir apparent, Akbar Shah, and by him conducted to the palace. *
..On coming into the presence of the venerable monarch, the victorious General presented Nuzzers in the name of the British Government, together with sundry costly presents. “ His Majesty,” says Lord Lake, "received me seated on his throne, and his Majesty and the whole court were unanimous in testifying their joy at the change which had taken place in their fortunes.” Writing to his Royal Highness the Duke of York,t he says, " in testimony of the sentiments his Majesty entertained on this occasion, he conferred on me a title, the second in the empire in rank and importance, and would have conferred the first had it not been previously bestowed on Dowlut Rao Sindiah.
“On my part, I paid every deference, respect, and honour to the royal dignity, and encouraged every hope of future comfort and independence, from the generous conduct and acknowledged liberality of the British Government."
I shall now read the copy of a letter contained in the records of this house, the accuracy of the translation of which is certified by W. B. Bayley, Esq., one of the Directors, whom I see before me, and who was at the time the assistant Persian secretary to the Government of India, It is dated the 5th of October, 1803, but a little more than three weeks after the battle. It will shew in what light the King viewed the letter of Lord Wellesley, of July 27th, and the assurances which had been given him by Lord Lake. Addressing the GovernorGeneral, he says :
Be this great victory and splendid success happy and prosperous to us, and to all the servants (meaning the British Government in India, of our illustrious court, especially to your Lordship.
• Wellesley Despatches, vol. 2, p. 318.
† Ibid, vol. iii., p. 688. British Friend of India Mag. Vol. VI. No. 36.
“ As the designs of our faithful servants have happily succeeded, the time has arrived for your Lordship, in conformity to the distinct and abligatory engagement described to us by your Lordship in the letter which you lately transmitted, to secure to yourself happiness temporal and eternal, and permanent reputation, by fulfilling that engagement, and hy carrying into effect that which may provide for the interests and welfare of the servants of this imperial court (meaning his Majesty and family), and for the happiness of the people of God, through the aid and services of the officers of the Company's Government." Here then we see, that his Majesty reminds Lord Wellesley of " the distinct and obligatory engagement" under which the British Government had been brought by the letter addressed by the latter to the King, and calls upon him to secure for himself unfading reputation, by fulfilling that engagement.
The noble Marquis does not appear to have stood in need of any such a call as was made upon his honour and good faith in the letter which I have just read, for we find the following letter from his Lordship to his Majesty Shah Alum, under date the 8th of October. No language can be more emphatic, or more intelligible, or more honourable, than the language of this letter, and I cannot too earnestly entreat the attention of the members of this Court to it.
My attention,” says his Lordship,“ is now directed with great solicitude to the formation of a PERMANENT ARRANGEMENT, calculated to provide durable security for the happiness, dignity, and tranquillity of your Majesty and Royal Family, conformable to the intimation contained in my former address to your Majesty."
“ I trust that the testimony of my early attention to your Majesty's service may be acceptable to your Majesty, until his Excellency Gen. Lake, under my orders, can be enabled to offer to your Majesty's consideration the plan of a permanent settlement of your affairs, secured by power of the British Government.
" I request your Majesty to consider his Excellency, General Lake, to be fully authorized by me to conduct all affairs in Hindostan, and to possess my entire confidence and highest respect.
" Your Majesty will, therefore, be pleased to signify your commands on all occasions to General Lake, with the same confidence by which you have honoured me; and your Majesty will also be pleased to accept all communications from General Lake, as proceeding immediately from my authority.”
This letter, also, is attested by the signature of W. B. Bayley Esq., and will be found among the records of this house.
Lord Lake, it has been seen, was fully authorized to treat with his Majesty,who was told to accept all communications from him as though