James Talboys Wheeler.

Early records of British India; a history of the English settlements in India, as told in the government records, the works of old travellers, and other contemporary documents, from the earliest perio online

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Online LibraryJames Talboys WheelerEarly records of British India; a history of the English settlements in India, as told in the government records, the works of old travellers, and other contemporary documents, from the earliest perio → online text (page 24 of 33)
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''The first thing- that occnvs under the head of Country KinpShahAiam

T> •ji-r>i • or~i A i« returns towards

rowers IS the rroclamation or Shah Alam (formerly known ueihi; fails to


obi ain the help bv the iiame of tliG Sliahzada) as Kin"" of Delbi. He re-

of the Euglisb. *' , , -ii i i • • n -r i

niained at ratna till the beginniiig- ot June, and was ex-
tremely desirous of having a body of English forces accom-
panying' him to his capital ; but as we were uncertain of
Colonel Coolers regiment coming down from the coast/ and
the security of your possessions in Bengal was first to be
regarded, we found it impossible to spare a sufficient detach-
ment for undertaking so distant and so important a service.
The King, therefore, being pressed by his relations at l)elhi
to proceed thither with all expedition, and Shuja-u-daula, the
Nawab of Oude, whom he has appointed his Yizier, having
advanced to the borders of this Province to meet him, he
determined not to wait longer for our assistance. The Na-
wab Meer Cossim supplied him with considerable sums of
money during his residence at Patna, and at the time of
his departure caused Sicca Rupees to be struck in his
name throughout these provinces ; of which having advised
the President, it was agreed that the Siccas in the name
of Shah Alam should also be struck in our Mint on the
15th of July, which was accordingly done, the usual notice
being first given. Shah Alara is not, however, as yet gener-
ally acknowledged. The late V^izier [at Delhi] has en-
gaged some of the chiefs of the empire in his party, and has
formed a considerable army to oppose the King and Shuja-u-
daula on their way to Delhi. These last were by our freshest
advices about ten days' march on this side of Agra, which
was in the hands of the late Delhi Vizier, so that upon the
whole the event of this affair is very doubtful.^

" We hope, however, that none of the contending parties
will return this way, and that Bengal will continue to enjoy
a state of tranqiiiliity."

* The "coast" always refers to the Coroiiinndel Coast j in other words, to
the Madras Presidency. Thus the Calcutta letter means that the Governor
and Council were uncertain whether Culonel Coote would bring up his
European regiment from Madras. Had they been assured on this point, an
English foi'ce would even at this early period liave been sent to Delhi to
place Shah Alam on tlie throne. AYhat the result would have been, lew cnu

- General letter :o Court, l£th November 17G1, paras. 56 to 71.


It ultimately turned out that neither the En2:lisli ppsie.mor
nor Nawab Cossim -would help Shah Alani. At the "I'U" the Kiii,?.
same time both were anxious to get what they could
out of him. The name of Padishah, or King, was
still held in profound respect throughout Hindu-
stan ; and his sign manual sufficed for the grant of
provinces. Meer Cossim had been made Kawab
of Bengal, Behar, and Orissa by English prestige. He
W'as anxious to sret letters of investiture from the
King, under the King's seal. It would not only
confirm his right to the three provinces, but
render him independent of the English. He would
be Xawab, not by the nomination of foreigners,
but by the favour of the King. Shah Alam, on the
other hand, insisted upon the payment of the old
annual tribute as the imperial share of the revenue
of the three provinces. He w'ould not give the
letters of investiture without some guarantee that
the imperial share would be paid. In the end
Kawab Cossim agreed to pay the King an annual
tribute of twenty-four lakhs, or tw^o hundred and
forty thousand pounds sterling ; and by this large
sacrifice of revenue secured the letters of investi-

Mr. Yansittart heard that Xawab Cossim had Desiffns of ti.e
got letters of investiture for Bengal, Behar, and ^^"^ *^"'s-
Orissa, and naturally followed the example. He
asked the King for letters of investitui*e for the
jaghire lands granted by Nawab Jaffier, and for the
three districts ceded by Meer Cossim ; he also
asked for similar letters investing Mahomed Ali,


the English Nawah of Arcot, with the government
of the Carnatic. ' Mr. Vansittart evidently thouglit
that the request for the letters was a very simple
one ; but he was told that no letters of investiture
would be granted, unless the imj^erial share of the
revenues of the Carnatic, as well as that of the three
districts in Bengal, was sent to the King. He was
evidently taken aback by the refusal. It will be
seen hereafter that the Directors were equally
offended with the King; they thought the King
ought to have granted the letters of investiture
out of gratitude to the English. The following
extract from the letter to the Court already quoted
sufficiently details the facts : —

'' By the Nawab Cusslm's letter to tlie President, wliicli lie

laid before the Board the 12th October, we are advised of his

having received from Shah Alam the Sunuuds \_i. e., letters

of investiture] for the three provinces.

The English " We directed Maior Carnac and Mr. McGuire, and after-

applj to Shah -i r\ ^ ^ ^

Ahim for other wards Coloncl Cootc aud Mr. McGuirc, to apiDly, as soon as

Sunuuds. ' . i. y J '

Shah Alam should be acknowledged King, for Sunnnds for
the Company^s possessions and privileges in Bengal, viz. : —
" The zemindari of the pergunnahs or lauds about Cal-
cutta granted by Meer Jaffier.
" The jaghires of the districts of Burdwan, Midnapore,
and Chittagong, granted by the present Nawab, and
the confirmation of the freedom of our Mint.
Also for Sunnuds " We directed also application to be made at the same time
at Arcot. ' for the Sunnuds for the Provinces of Arcot in the name of
the Nawab Mahomed Ali Khan, with whom we have been
so long allied. These requests were made by Major Carnac,
who was detached by Colonel Coote to escort the King to
the borders of the Province; and the King wrote upon the

1 Sec ante, pnge 146.

CAU'UTTA IJErOHDS: ('llAX(;iXi; XAWAl'.S. 271)

papers of requests that thoy should be g'raiiteil whenever a
proper tribute was remitted. The Major transmitted to us
copies of the said papers of requests with the Kin^^^s super-
scription, and advised us at the same time that the King had
offered to confer on the Company the Dewani of Bengal on
condition of our being- answerable for the Royal Revenues ;
but as we were sensible that our accepting of this post would
cause jealousy and ill-will between us and the Nawab, we
thought it more prudent to decline it. "^

The next move of Xawab Cossim betrays the Designs of
same desire to get rid of English interference which HiuduVrindecH.
he had shown ever since he became Nawab. Clive
had put an end to rebellions by giving guarantees
of protection to Hindu grandees. Mr. Vansittart
withdrew the guarantees. The subject was one of
bitter controversy at the time. The general letter
may be left to tell its own story : —

'^ In your commands of the 13th March 1701/ you have Non-intcrferenec

„ , . - ... . , with the

lavoured us with your opinion in general as to our conduct Nawab's scr-
with the country "•oveniment. We are very happv in the asrearardsRam

„, ■ , ,, . Narain.

coniiuence you are pleased to express in our management,
and shall endeavour to conform to those views of economy
and good order you therein recommend. Our sentiments
with respect to protecting the servants of the countiy gov-
ernment agree perfectly wi:h yours. Those who have re-
ceived such protections have proved in general false friends
to us, of which the transactions of Roy Doolub and Nund-
comar,-^ mentioned in our advices of last season, may be

* This offer of the Dewani is a repetition of the offer already made to Clive.
In 17G5 it was accepted hy Clive, as will be seen in the nccount of liis second
admini'tration of Bengal. It was offered in 1761 on the condition that
the English would conduct Shah Alam to Delhi.

- Not at Calcutta.

* Roy Doolub was the Hindu Prime Minister of MeerJaffier; Nundr^nmar
was the Hindu Governor of Hughli. The lives of both, as well as that of
Kam Narain, had been guaranteed by Clive.


esteemed a proof. Those two, however, do remaiQ under
our protection, but we shall take care that the number of
them does not increase. Our Select Committee^s address
of the 29th December 1759, which you take notice of,
does not mention the particulars of the eng'ag-ements that
subsisted between Ram Narain [Nawab of Behar or Patna] ;^
nor can we find them anywhere. We could, therefore, con-
strue them no otherwise than as justice and equity and the
constitution of the country would admit. We supposed
them accordingly to be of this nature, that he should have
the protection of the English as long- as he should duly
give an account of his administration to the Subah" of Mur-
shedabad, and be answerable to him for the revenues of the
Behar Province according to their real produce, or at least
according to the terms agreed with the late Nawab Jaffier
Ali Khan, which were extremely easy. Upon this footing
we were determined still to support him, and sent orders
accordingly to Major Caruac early in the month of March,
which orders we afterwards repeateil several times, and en-
deavoured to the utmost of our power to bring him to an
adjustment of his accounts with the Nawab [^.

Online LibraryJames Talboys WheelerEarly records of British India; a history of the English settlements in India, as told in the government records, the works of old travellers, and other contemporary documents, from the earliest perio → online text (page 24 of 33)