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accordingly with Nudjum-ul-Dowla on the 20th February 1765, which, ratifying that first made by his father in 1757, repeated most of the provisions of the alliance of 1763. Besides this, however, it secured the appointment of a friend of the Company, Mahomed Reza Khan, the Naib of Dacca, in the office of Chief Minister. Nuncomar, a rich Brahmin, who had held this office under the late Soubahdar, was not deemed well-disposed to the Company's interests, and hence the desire to have him superseded. For the defence of Bengal against the Mogul and the Vizier of Oude by the Anglo-Indian forces, Mir Jaffir had paid at the rate of five lacs a month. This sum his successor agreed to continue; and, moreover, as he “esteemed the Company's troops equal to the defence of the provinces, and as his own,” he would only himself maintain such in addition were immediately necessary for the dignity of his person and Government, and the business of his collections throughout the provinces.” The Company thus became contractors for the military defence of the country, but for that only; judicial and fiscal authority still remained in native hands. In spite of the positive injunctions of the Directors at home to put an end to the scandalous system of inland smuggling, until an equitable and satisfactory plan" could be arranged with the free will and consent of the Nawab, so as not to afford any just ground of complaint,” Mr Spencer and the Council inserted in the new treaty a clause which gave the Company, and every servant of theirs trading in his private capacity, immunity from tolls and dues, except 2} per cent. on salt. The young Soubahdar, and his Minister, as usual, paid liberally for the Company's friendship, in sums ranging from one to over two lacs, given under the name of nuzzurana to different members of the Council.
Clive arrived at Calcutta 3d May 1765, accompanied by Mr Sumner and Mr Sykes, who, with himself, General Carnac, and Mr Verelst, were appointed by the Directors a Select Committee, invested with extraordinary powers, to inquire into abuses too notorious, and to take measures for restoring “order and tranquillity.” This supercession of their authority provoked attempts at resistance among the Council, but Clive showed a resolute front, and while they murmured, they submitted. The first act of the Committee was one of official reform. The Directors, with a view to check the scandal caused by their servants exacting enormous presents from wealthy natives, had prepared forms of covenant to be subscribed, pledging them not to accept any land, rents, revenue, or other property, beyond a small amount, without special permission previously obtained. Though these documents had arrived in January, the Council absolutely ignored them in their dealings with Nudjum-ul-Dowla and Reza Khan, intending also to remonstrate against the inhibition. The Committee at once set about enforcing compliance; and, by dint of dismissals, suspensions, and retirements among the refractory, order and decorum were for a time restored.
The aspect of military affairs had improved, and Clive was, perhaps, disappointed that no immediate opening presented itself for the exercise of his unusual powers as diplomatist or general. But he had not long to wait. The Vizier of Oude, who had sought the aid of the Mahrattas to conquer Bengal, had sustained a crushing defeat, and sued for peace on any terms, to arrange which Clive proceeded to the camp. It was not thought advisable to press the vanquished too hard, and he was mulcted only in a war-fine of fifty lacs, and the relinquishment of the districts of Allahabad and Korah; which, instead of being
appropriated, were used as a bribe wherewith to obtain new and valuable concessions from the court of Delhi. A separate peace was negotiated, whereby, in consideration of these territories and the Company's guarantee of twentysix lacs of yearly tribute, Shah Alum agreed to issue a firman appointing the Company his farmers-general of the revenues of Orissa, Behar, and Bengal-provision being carefully made that nothing therein contained should imply any derogation from the authority and dignity of the Nawab-Nazim, the maintenance of whose Government should be a permanent charge, and should be fully defrayed before anything was appropriated to their own profit by the new collectors. This notable transaction is what has been called the transfer of the Dewanny, and from its singularity and importance, it is not surprising that it should have been variously misunderstood and misrepresented. It was, in fact, the realisation of a scheme conceived seven years before. In 1758 the Council wrote home that their late successes had acquired for them so great a reputation with the Emperor, that his Ministers wished for their good offices at Moorshedabad to secure the more punctual payment of the imperial tribute. Their diplomatic agent, Sitab Roy, more than hinted that if they would guarantee the annual payment, they might have the function and title of Dewan. “ The Dewan is the second man of rank,” they say,
“ in the kingdom ; and such a dignity annexed to your Presideney would give extraordinary weight to the Company in the Empire, which nothing would be able to remove. The accepting this employ might occasion jealousy on the part of the Soubahdar, and we are unwilling to cause him any dissatisfaction at a time when our small force is engaged another way, especially as you gentlemen give us so little hopes of reinforcements from home.”
Long's Records, vol i.
But times had changed, and the reinforcements were now
The encroaching lodgers clutched at the latch-key, which gave them henceforth the run of the house without let or hindrance or question.
In its ultimate consequences, the transfer of the Dewanny proved to be, no doubt, the turning-point of India's fortunes; and in whatever
s aspect viewed at the time, it is impossible not to regard it as a proof of the political imbecility into which the Durbar of Delhi had sunk. For the sake of ready money to sustain its lavish and luxurious expenditure, a concession was made to encroaching and ambitious foreigners, who had recently been open foes, incompatible with all our notions of imperial self-respect, patriotism, and policy. But it is idle to pretend, looking at the terms employed in the firman, the stipulations it embodies, and bearing in mind the confidential language used regarding it by the concessionaires, that it ever was proposed or granted, asked for or accepted, as tantamount to a transfer of the dominion or government of the three provinces to the Company. That it was used and abused to that end, at first stealthily and slowly, and then rapidly and ruthlessly, is true. But it is not true that
any such purpose was breathed until the deed was done. Let those who found a claim of forfeiture upon this so-called act of expropriation by the then acknowledged paramount power, consult the private correspondence of M. de Barillon, wherein the payment of secret pensions and gifts from Louis XIV. to Charles II. are carefully chronicled, with the receipts and acknowledgments given by English peers and diplomatists, and similar documents from noble lords and right honourable gentlemen in Parliament, for like gratifications and benefits from the King of France; and then let them think what would have been said had any one attempted to construe such transactions as a mortgage of
the soil of England, reducible into possession at the pleasure of the mortgagee. Yet, between the two bargainings, the moral difference is unspeakable. Want of money by a sensual and prodigal court is the one feature of identity : everything else is different, the difference being in favour of the Asiatics.
The Council could not contain themselves for joy; and sped their congratulations by the next mail to London. The hills were now about to drop fatness; and for the first time they felt as if they could afford to keep a conscience. The contentions about tolls and duties, wrung from the natives, but not exacted from their own people, and all the corruptions and crimes incident thereto, suddenly had become scandalous in their eyes. They declared they had just discovered that the only way to put an end to all such evils was to take away the bone of contention, and to become tax-gatherers themselves. Their solemn effrontery cannot be appreciated in paraphrase. “The perpetual struggles for superiority between the Nawabs and your agents, together with the recent proofs before us of notorious and avowed corruption, have rendered us unanimously of opinion, after the most mature deliberation, that no other method could be suggested of laying the axe to the root of all these evils, than that of obtaining the Dewanny of Bengal, Behar, and Orissa for the Company. By establishing the power of the Great Mogul, we have likewise established his rights; and His Majesty, from principles of gratitude, equity, and policy, has thought
, proper to bestow this important employment on the Company, the nature of which is the collecting all the revenues, and, after defraying the expenses of the army and allowing a sufficient fund for the support of the Nizamut, to remit the remainder to Delhi, or wherever the King shall