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reside or direct. But as the King has been graciously pleased to bestow on the Company for ever such surplus as shall arise from the revenues, upon certain stipulations and agreements expressed in the Sunnud, we have settled with the Nawab, with his own free will and consent, that the sum of fifty-three lacs shall be annually paid to him for the support of his dignity and all contingent expenses, exclusive of the charge of maintaining an army, which is to be defrayed out of the revenues ceded to the Company by this royal grant of the Dewanny. And, indeed, the Nawab has abundant reason to be well satisfied with the conditions of his agreement, whereby a fund is secured to him, without trouble or danger, adequate to all the purposes of such grandeur and happiness as a man of his sentiments has any conception of enjoying. More would serve only to disturb his quiet, endanger his Government, and sap the foundation of that solid structure of power and wealth which at length is reared and completed by the Company, after a vast expense of blood and treasure.' Already, however, they began to devise how this new privilege might be stretched to work a defeasance of the general authority of the Soubahdar; and they proceed to indicate their meaning in unmistakable terms. It is worthy of note that the Directors in their reply' broadly and significantly distinguish between their appreciation of the value of the Dewanny, and their entire disapproval of its perversion to political ends. “We entirely approve of your preserving the ancient form of government in upholding the dignity of the Soubahdar. We conceive the office of Dewan should be exercised only in superintending the collection and disposal of the revenues.
This we conceive to be the whole office of the Dewanny. The admin
Despatch, 17th May 1768.
istration of justice, the appointments to offices, zemindaries, -in short, whatever comes under the denomination of civil administration, we understand is to remain in the hands of the Nawab or his Ministers."
In compliance with the terms of the imperial rescript, fifty-three lacs of rupees were agreed to be paid annually out of the taxes for supporting the expenses of the Nizamut--seventeen lacs being for household charges, and thirty-six lacs for guards, police, and other purposes requisite to maintain the state and dignity of the Soubahdar's Government. The gross receipts of the three provinces were estimated at no less a sum than two millions sterling; and Clive concurred with the Directors in declaring that all the details and functions of collection should be left, as before, in native hands. When in England, he had strongly urged upon the Directors the necessity of putting a check on the private trade of their servants. “ The trading in salt, betel, and tobacco” having been one of the causes of dispute, he hoped these articles would be restored to the Nawab; and the Company's servants absolutely forbidden to trade in them : “the odium of seeing such monopolies in the hands of foreigners need not be insisted on.” Under a tropical sun his good resolutions, however, all dissolved away, for before he had been out a month he had become a partner with Messrs Verelst, Sykes, and Sumner in the salt trade. It was said that he devoted his profits derived from the traffic to the relief of needy relatives and dependants, and that personally he obtained no benefit from them. Possessed of a vast fortune, drawn from the resources of native princes, he could hardly appropriate more from that quarter, and he had creditably aided in putting an end to the system of exactions under the name of presents, where his successors were concerned; but the orders of the Directors were equally
imperative for the cessation of private trade. He chose, notwithstanding, to disregard those orders, and to stultify his own previous professions, for the advantage of those about him.
In May 1766, the Nawab Nudjum-ul-Dowla died, and was succeeded by his younger brother, Syef-ul-Dowla. A new treaty between him and the Company was made, which ratified that first made with his father, and also that made with his brother the year before. The viceregal guards had been kept up at a cost of eighteen lacs a year, but overtures were made for their disbanding, in order that their pay might be saved, and their duty performed by the Company's sepoy battalions. The occasion was thought propitious for effecting this further change; and in the new treaty, the fixed sum for Nizamut expenses was reduced from fifty-three to forty-one lacs. The credit which the Governor took to himself for this piece of economy was not readily acknowledged at home. The Directors wrote, “ As the reduction of the stipend to the Nawab arises from striking off the pay of an unnecessary number of his sepoys, and does not affect the allowance for support of his dignity in the Government, we approve what you
have done in it; but we direct you never to reduce the stipend lower, being extremely desirous that he should have sufficient to support his public character, and appear respectable to his subjects and to foreigners.”
Long's Records, vol. i. p. 419.
PLIGHT OF THE PEOPLE.
“English historians, treating of Indian history as a series of struggles about the
Company's charter, enlivened with startling military exploits, have naturally little to say regarding an occurrence which involved neither a battle nor a parliamentary debate. Mill, with all his accuracy and minuteness, can barely spare five lines for the subject. But the disaster which, from this distance, floats as a faint speck on the horizon of our rule, stands out in the contemporary records in appalling proportions. It forms, indeed, the key to the history of Bengal during the succeeding forty years.”
- DR HUNTER.
THE second administration of Clive, who was sent from
England to consolidate the acquisitions somewhat awkwardly achieved by Vansittart and his Council, lasted about two years. After that, Verelst and Cartier filled successively the office of President of Bengal, and being calm, unambitious men, few events of historical importance occurred. It were perhaps more accurate to say, that few striking or sudden changes took place in the supreme relations of the State during that period. For events of historical importance are of two kinds, the silent and the noisy; and all things considered, the silent are of much more consequence than those whose taking place clamours for observation. In Bengal, a great event or coming forth into light of a new fact on the scroll of human destiny noiselessly revealed itself; no less a fact than that of an
Annals of Rural Bengal.
attempted Government by two separate and unlike powers —the one native, and hitherto paramount; the other alien, and hitherto tributary, but fast becoming irresistible and dominant. All the old respect and native predilection looked after the waning lustre of the Soubahdar's court; all the hope of profit and the fear of oppression looked towards the Presidency. The feelings of the community were instinctively devoted still to native rites, usages, and laws; their apprehensions were daily riveted more inquiringly upon the strange and unintelligible commands of Calcutta. How the pretensions of superior force came by degrees to be submitted to as irreversible, how acquiescence in the course of years grew into a sullen habit of obedience, it would take long to tell.
External force has sometimes been hailed as a deliverance from petty tyranny and internecine feuds; and when separate chieftainships and principalities have been swept away, the lot of the community at large has been benefited by the change. This has only been, however, where local rights, the securities of property, and the immunities of personal freedom have been maintained or strengthened. Instances are not wanting of substantial benefits having been at first conferred by a high-handed exercise of alien authority, which by degrees came to be recognised by their recipients as more than counterbalancing the affront to native pride involved in the manner of the gift. But such instances are rare, and there is, perhaps, not one in which such gratitude has ever been felt, or has ever been fairly earned, in which the irresistible power of the intruder has attempted to uproot the customary laws of the country regarding the administration of justice or the possession of land. By violent mutations of the royal power, the happiness of the many does not always suffer--not immediately or