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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ere they reached Muradabad, when at once they saw troops
drawn upon each side of the river with some great guns;
they hailed them and desired them to come to, but nob
taking notice of them seme of them fired, on which some of
our sepoys began to fire also and killed somebody on the
shore, on which great guns and volleys were fired, which
induced them to put to the opposite shore where was the
least tire. Mr. Amyatt, notwithstanding the tire, landed
with a pair of pistols ; he took the Nawab's perwannah iu
one hand and held it up to them, and a pistol in the other,
and advanced to the top of the bank, where he was shot in
the leg, and soon after cut to pieces. Eusign Cooper met
with the same fate in making resistance, but the other
gentlemen they can give no account of, but expect they were
sent to Monghyr with Mr. Chambers and the others from
Cossimbazar. They also inform us Mr. Hay and Mr. Gulston
were left at Monghyr, and remain there yet. These gentle-
men have sufi'ered greatly^ being put in irons, and brought
up in one boat without cover and scarcely victuals or necessa-
ries to cover them, being in all twenty-seven persons. The
Nawab here allows ten rupees per day to the twenty-seven
people left, and an addition of two rupees per day to us on
account of these two gentlemen.

"23rd. — As His Excellency! still continues at Monghyr, Nawab at

, ,1 • 1 , , • . Monghyr.

it gives us reason to ttunlc our troops are not yet in possession
of the upper pass. "

"24t/i. — Hear for certain our troops are at Shahabad ;
that the enemy are repairing what of Monghyr they had
destroyed; that everything was in the greatest confusion in
His Excellency's camp ; that Somru had the management
of everything. His Excellency had not eaten for three days,
nor allowed his Nazir to be beat ; that he himself and Somru
were at Monghyr and his army advanced to Gulgot Nullah,
so that we may hourly expect some news.
' The Nawab Meer Cossiin.



Murder of

Nawab marches
from MongjT
to Patna.


Diary of Mr




" 2Gth. — This eveuing heard that ten Europeans at Barr
had been tied and thrown into the river, so that from this
we may guess what we are to expect ; have also an account
that some perwannahs have arrived here to several jemadars
of His Excellency's camp; some think he will be laid hold of
by his own people,

" 29th and 30fh. — Hear that His Excellency is two coss
this side Ruinulla, and Somru with the Armenians at the
nullah ; that his people are going off daily, and he is in
great fear of his life ; that about three weeks ago he proposed
cutting us all off, but was prevented by Somru^ the Arme-
nians, and some of his jemadars.

" Tuesday , 4th. — To-day, His Excellency arrived at Ram Na-
rain's gardens, and to-morrow comes into the city. They have
been very busy to-day mounting guns on the bastions of this
place. Heard that Meer Jaffier's brother had made his escape.

" Wednesday, 5ih. — Hear the Setts were cut off near Barr.

" Thursday, 6th. — Heard this morning that Mr. Ellis and
forty-seven gentlemen were cut off last night, so that doubtless
our fate must be sealed in twenty-four hours, for which God
prepare us all."

An English surgeon, named PuHarton, was the
sole survivor of the massacre. He had been a
medical attendant upon the Nawab Meer Cossim,
and never seems to have been in danger. When
hostilities began Mr. Fullarton was at Monghyr.
Subsequently he was sent to Patna, and was pre-
sent there at the time of the massacre. The follow-
ing extracts from his narrative show the com^se
of events at Monghyr and Patna : —

" July 6th. — Mr. Ellis with the rest of the gentlemen were
brought to Patna. I petitioned to be sent to them, or be
suffered to see them, both which were refused.

" The 8th. — Mr. Ellis with the rest of the gentlemen were
sent to Monghyr and there confined ; there was Bs. 45,000 of


the Company's cash on board the budgerow when Mr. Elb's
was taken, and some plate which was given to him, but in
the care of some of the Nawab's people, to be given him
when he wanted it ; some time it remained with Coja Petruss,
afterwards with Mamodom Khan.

" The 16th. — I was sent down to Monghyr and there
confined separately from the rest of the gentlemen, as I
afterwards nnderstood they were all well used, though strictly
confined. We had victuals sent us by the Nawab regularly
twice a day.

August 10th. — The Nawab left Monghyr, and the fort
was left in charge of Mamodom Klian ; he treated us with
the greatest lenity to appearance, and pretended to carry on
a treaty with Mr. Ellis, but it was all a sham, for he never
was in earnest. I was allowed to see the gentlemen on
account of Captain Turner being ill, who afterwards died
of a flux.

'' September 13th. — Mr. Ellis and the rest of the gentlemen
were sent from Monghyr; Messrs. ElUs and Greentree
were in palankeens ; Lushingtnn, Smith, Lieutenant Bowen,
Ensign McLeod, and one other gentleman whom I don^t
remember, were on hox'seback ; the rest were in irons, some
in dooleys, and some in hackeries, and after their arrival at
Patna were confined in Haji Ahmad^s house.

" September 19th. — I was sent from Monghyr to Patna and
confined alone in the Killa.

" October 5th. — Mr. Ellis with the rest of the gentlemen Massacre at
were inhumanly butchered by Somru, who came that even- ^*"^* ^y somra.
ing to the place with two companies of sepoys (he had the
day before sent for all the knives and forks from the gentle-
men) ; he surrounded the house with his people and went
into a little outer square and sent for Messrs. Ellis, Hay,
and Lushington, and with them came six other gentlemen,
who were all terribly mangled and cut to pieces, and their
bodies thrown into a well in the square and it filled up ; then
the sepoys were sent into the large square and fired on the
gentlemen there, and, rushing upon them, cut them into



Kiouses and
threats of the

Flight of the

Escape of Dr.

pieces ia the most inhuraau manner^ and tliey were iLrowii
into another well, which was likewise filled up.

" The 7th. — The Nawab sent for me and told me to get
myself in readiness to go to Calcutta, for that he had been
unlucky in the war, which, he asserted with great warmth,
had not been of his seeking, nor had he been the aggressoi-,
reproaching the English with want of fidelity and breach of
treaty, but he said he had still hopes of an accommodation ;
he asked me what I thought of it ; I told him I made no
doubt of it. "When some of his people then present mentioned
the affair of Mr. Amyatt^s death, he declared that he had
never given any orders of killing Mr. Amyatt, but after
receiving advice of Mr. Ellis^s having attacked Patna, he
had ordered all his servants to take and imprison all the
Eno-lish in his provinces wherever they could find them ; he
likewise added that if a treaty was not set afoot, he would
bring the King, the Mahrattas, and Abdulla^ against us, and
so ruin our trade, &c.; he had finished his letters, and ordered
boats and a guard to conduct me, when, upon the advice of
some of his people, he stopped me and said there was no
occasion for me to go. Aftei- his sending for me at first
he ordered the sepoys in whose charge I was to go to their
quarters ; two Moguls and twelve hurkaras to attend me, but
to let me go about the city where I pleased. I then appli-
ed for liberty to stay at the Dutch Factory, which was

" The 14(lu — On the approach of our army Nawab Cossim
decamped with his troops in great confusion, and marched
five coss to the westward of the city. The hurkaras that were
with me having no orders about me, I gave them some
money which made them pretty easy.

" The 26th. — After giving money to a jemadar that had the
guard to the westward of the Dutch Factory by the river
side, I set out in a small boat, and got safe to the boats
under command of Captain Wederburn that were lying
opposite to the city on the other side of the river, and at
1 Ahuiiul Shah Abdali, the sovereign of the Afgh.tus.


eleven o'clock that night avrivcd at tlie army under tlic com-
mand of Major Adams, laying at Jutly. ''

It is needless to dwell on the disaster. It will Ruin of Mccr


suffice to say that fifty-one Enp^lish gentlemen
were slaughtered in cold hlood at Patna, together
with a hundred others of inferior rank. The order
was given by Nawah Cossim, but the massacre was
directed by a deserter from the Prench army named
Somru^ who had entered the service of the Nawab.
The massacre rendered accommodation impossible.
The war which followed led to the utter ruin of
the Nawab. Meer Cossim was utterly beaten ; his
tlu'eats weve vain and futile ; he fled away to Oude
and took refuge with the Nawab Vizier.

The Nawab Vizier of Oude was prepared to take re -.sive battle

■^ -^ _ of Buxar, 1761.

advantage of the confusion of the times. He
was still accompanied by the King, Shah Alam;
he still hoped to get possession of Behar, Bengal,
and Orissa. The military operations have lost
their interest ; there was a mutiny of the sepoys in
the English anny ; it was the first on record ; it
was suppressed by blowing twenty men from iJ^
thek guns. Then followed the battle of Buxar ;
it was fought on the 23rd October 1 764 ; it
settled the fate of the English in India ; it
placed the whole of Oude and the North- West Pro-
vinces at the feet of the English at Calcutta. To

* The real uanie of this mau was Walter Reinhardt. He deserted to
the English and took the name of Summer ; the soldiers changed his name
to Sombre because of his evil expression. Subsequently he entered the
Nawab's service as stated in the text.


all outward appearance, the English had become
the paramount power, not only in Bengal, but in
all Hindustan, from the left bank of the Jumna to
the slopes of the Himalayas.
Kestoration of Mcanwhilc Mccr Jaffier was restored to the thi'one

Meer Jaffier.

of Bengal, Behar, and Orissa. Mr. Vansittart re-
tiu'ned to England and was succeeded by a Mr.
Spencer as Governor of Bengal. Lord Clive had
been raised to the peerage and appointed Governor
of Bengal. A Select Committee of five members,
T\ ith Lord Clive at their head, was formed for the
exclusive management of all political affaii's. All
these an'angements were reported to Calcutta in
1764. In 1765 Lord Clive was saihng up the Bay
of Bengal with two of the members of the new
Committee, for the purpose of taking over the
supreme control of affairs.



LORD CLIVE landed at Calcutta in May 1765. P}f;^«"f ^^'^
On his way up the Bay he had touched at
Madras, and heard that Meer Jaffier had died the
previous Eebruary. He was delighted at the news.
He was anxious to introduce the new system for
the government of the Bengal provinces, which
he had unfolded to Pitt more than seven years
before. He would set up a new Nawab who should
be only a cypher. He would leave the administra-
tion in the hands of native officials. The English
were to be the real masters ; they were to take over
the revenues, defend the three provinces from inva-
sion and insurrection, make war and conclude peace*
But the sovereignty of the English was to be hidden
from the public eye. They were to rule only in the
name of the Nawab and under the authority of the
Moghul Emperor.

Lord Clive had no missrivinsrs as to his newse«inff«p^

~ o infant Nawab,

scheme. He knew that there were two claimants
to the Nawab' s throne, an illegitimate son of Meer
Jaffier aged twenty, and a legitimate grandson aged
six. He would place the child of six on the tlu'onc


nt Murslipdabad. He would carry out all his
arrangements during tlie minority, without the
possibility of any difficulty or opposition.
Forestalled by Qu reacliiuoj Calcutta, Lord Clive found that he

Governor "

Spencer. j^^^ bccn forestallcd. Governor Spencer and Mem-

bers of Council hiad refused to await the arrival of
Lord Clive and the Select Committee. They were
anxious to make fortunes bv installino; a new Nawab.
Directly they heard of the death of Meer Jaffier,
they sent a deputation of four of their number to

A puppet Nawab tlic cltv of Murslicdabad. The deputation made a

and Aative «' J-

Mentor. huri'lcd bargain with a clever native grandee, named

Mahomed Ptcza Khan. It was agreed that the
young man of twenty should be made Nawab ; that
Mahomed Eeza Khan should exercise all real power
under the name of Xaib Subah, or Deputy Nawab ;
that twenty lakhs of rupees, or more than two hun-
dred thousand pounds sterling, should be distributed
amongst the Governor and Council at Calcutta ;
and to prevent any unpleasantness, like that which
led Meer Cossim to withhold the twenty lakhs,
the money was paid over at once in cash and bills
obtained from Hindu bankers, and the deputation
returned to Calcutta in great joy and exultation.

Complaints of Lord CHvc did not hear all this at once. He

the new Kawab.

was sufficiently exasperated at the news that the
young man of twenty had been made Nawab in-
stead of the child of six. A few days after his
arrival at Calcutta, he received a letter from the
young Nawab. The prince was weak and stupid ;
chnhng at the loss of the twentv lakhs, and


impatient of liis state of pupila£i:e und(T Maliomed
Heza Kliaii. lie complained to Lord Clivc that he
had been treated with insult and indignity; that
the money had been paid to the English gentlemen
against his will ; that the treasury at Murshedabad
had been unequal to the demand ; that most of the
money had been raised by a forced loan extorted
from the Seit bankers.

Lord Clive w^as excessively anf^ry. He declared wrath ot Loai

•^ ^ ^ '^ Clive.

that blacks and whites had united together to plun-
der the Nawab's treasury. Governor Spencer and
his Council asserted that they had only followed the
example set by Clive himself after the battle of
Plassey. They forgot that circumstances had entirely
changed. At Plassey Clive had rendered great
public services to the Nawab and the Company,
whilst there w^as no law whatever against the receipt
of presents. At the death of Meer Jafficr, Spencer
and his Council Imd rendered no services whatever ;
moreover, stringent orders had been passed by the
Court of Directors against the receipt of presents.
Covenants to that effect had been received at
Calcutta ; and the execution of the covenants had
been purposely delayed by Governor Spencer and
his Council until the English gentlemen had
received the money. It is needless to dwell upon
the scandal. Most of the gentlemen were return-
ing to England, and Lord Clive left their conduct
to be dealt with by the Court of Directors.

Lord Clive did not set aside the Nawab. The Provisional
prince had been installed by the English deputation,




Treaty with the
King and Nawab

Settlemeot of

policy of
Spencer and

and the arrangement had heen ratified hy the Gov-
ernor and Council. But he restricted the authority
of Mahomed E,eza Khan. He associated two Hindu
grandees with Mahomed Eeza Khan, and thus
distributed the powers of the Naih Subah amongst
a council of three.

Shortly afterwards, Lord Clive was called away
from Calcutta to conclude a treaty with the King
Shah Alam and the Nawab Vizier. The nego-
tiations were of a complex character. There were
three important questions which called for early
settlement : —

1st. — Tlie future status of Oude and the Nawab

Snd. — The future relations between the English
and the King, or Padishah.

3rd. — The future status of the Nawab of Bengal,
Behar, and Orissa with regard to the
King and the English.

The first business was the settlement of Oude.
This territory extended from Behar almost to Delhi.
It formed a barrier between the three Bengal pro-
vinces on one side, and the Mahrattas on the south
and Afghans on the north-west.

At this moment Delhi was in the hands of the
Afghans. Governor Spencer had wanted to treat
with the Afghans for the cession of Oude to the
Afghan invaders, and restoration of the King to
the throne of Delhi. Lord Clive set his face against
this policy. He would have nothing to do with
Delhi or the Afghans. He sought to restrict the


Eng'lish to the three provinces of Bengal, Echar,
and Orissa, and to guard against their interference
in the countries beyond. He was willing to restore
the territory of Oude and the guardianship of the
King to the Nawab Vizier.

Lord Clive's idea was to establish the English owocts of cuve.
ascendancy in Bengal, Behar, and Orissa under the
authority of Mogliul sovereignty. In so doing he
resuscitated some of the forms in the Moghul im-
perial system. He sought to maintain the King j_by
a settled yearly charge on the revenues of Oude
and Bengal, which might be regarded as the King's
share, and serve to strengthen the King's autho-

Lord Clive ffave back Oude to the Nawab Vizier. Restoration of

" Oude to the

He only insisted that the King should receive the pro vu^n fort i.e
yearly revenue of the districts of Allahabad and '°^'
Korah as his share of the revenue of Oude. So
far the imperial sovereignty of the King was re-
cognised in Oude. The King continued to reside
at Allahabad, nnder the guardianshiji of the Nawab
Vizier. In reality he was waiting for the tm^n of
fortune which should carry him on to Delhi.

Lord Clive next arranged the future government The Prwani of
of Bengal, Behar, and Orissa. He accepted the "'"^'^•^'issa.""*
post of King's Hewan for the three provinces in the
name of the English Company. The English Com-
pany, as King's Dewan, took over aU the revenue
of the three provinces ; they engaged to pay the
King a yearly rent of twenty-six lakhs, or at the
existing rate of exchange, about three hundred



thousand pounds sterling, as the imperial share.
They were left to deal with the surplus revenue as
they thought fit, and to make their own terms
with the Nawab of Murshedahad.
Provision for Lord Clivc next went to Murshedahad. He re-

tlic Nawab

quired the young Nawab to disband his rabble army.
He arranged to take over the whole revenue of the
three provinces. He agreed to pay a yearly sti-
pend of fifty -three lakhs to the Nawab. ^ In this
manner the English Company came into possession
of the yearly revenues of Bengal, Behar, and Orissa.
They paid twenty-six lakhs to the King, and fifty-
three lakhs to the Nawab. The yearly payments
were thus something less than a million sterling.
The yearly receipts, however, were estimated at three
or four millions. Out of the surplus they provided
for the defence of the country and maintenance of
the public peace. The balance was so large that
the Company appropriated it to the purchase of
o-oods and manufactiu'es in India and China. The


1 Henceforth the Nawab was known as the Nawab Nazim. The outward
form of the Governmnut of Bengal, Behar, and Orissa resemlled that which
prevailed in the reign of Aurungzeb. There was a Nawab Nazim, who was
responsible for the defence of the tliree provinces and the maintenance of the
public peace, as well as for the administration of justice and enforcing obedi-
ence to the law. There was a King's Dewan, who received the yearly reve-
nues of the three provinces, and was responsible for all disbursements, as well
as for the payment of the surplus to the King as his imperial share.

The outward form adopted by Lord Olive was only a veil to conceal the real
transfer of power. Lord Clive had taken away all military power from the
Nawab Nazim and reduced him to a cypher. The Company as King's Dewiiu
took possession of all the surplus revenue. In the time of Aurungzeb and his
immediate successors,the yearly remittances to the King amounted to a million
sterling. lu Lord Olive's time the King was only too glad to receive three
hundred thousand pounds stcrhug.


result was that within a few years the three Ben-
gal provinces were literally drained of rupees.*

The nature and results of this "-rant of the De- Kxposition of


tlio policy by the
yelcfl Cum-
mitt CO at

wani to the Company are fully set forth in the cor
respondence hetw^een the Select Committee at Cal
cutta and the Court of Directors. The letters to
England explain the policy of Lord Clive. The
letters from England expound the views of the
Bu'ectors. The Select Committee begins^ : —

" The time now approaches when we may be able to Kxisting status.
determine, with some degree of certainty, whether our re-
maining as merchants, subjected to the jurisdiction, encroach-
ments, and insults of the country government, or supporting
your privileges and possessions by the sword, are likely to
prove most advantageous to the Compan3\ Whatever may
be the consequence, certain it is, that after having once
begun, and proceeded to such lengths, we have been forced
to go on, step by step, until your whole possessions were put
to the risk by every revolution effected, and by every battle
fought. To apply a remedy to those evils, by giving stability
and permanency to jouv government, is now and has been
the constant object of the serious attention of your Select

"The perpetual struggles for superiority between the Necessity for
Nawabs and your Agents, together with the recent proofs newani.'^ *''"
before us of notorious and avowed corruption, have rendered
us unanimously of opinion, after the most mature deliberation,
that no other method can be suggested of laying the axe to
the root of all those evils, than that of obtaining the
Dewanny of Bengal, Behar, and Orissa, for the Company,
13y establishing the power of tiie Great Mogul, we have like-
wise established His rights; and his Majesty, from principles

1 The curious pbenomeua which followed these tiuiuicial arrangements will
be explained in the next chapter.

- Despatch of Select Committee at Fort William, dated 30th September
1705. Also despatch from the same, dalcd 31st January 1766.


of gratitude, of equity, and of policy, has tboug-ht 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 Dehli, or wherever the King shall 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 bis own
free will and consent, that the sum of fifty-three lakhs' shall
be annually paid to him, for the support of his dignity and
all contingent expenses, exclusive of the charge of maintain-
ing 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 this 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 happily reared and completed by
the Company, after a vast expense of blood and treasure.
Prospective " By this acquisition of the Dewanny, your possessions

advantages. ^^^^ influence are rendered permanent and secure, since no
future Nawab will either have power or riches sufficient to
attempt your overthrow, by means either of force or corrup-
tion. All revolutions must henceforward be at an end, as
there will be no fund for secret services, for donations, or for
restitutions. The Nawab cannot answer the expectations of
the venal and mercenary, nor will the Company comply with
demands injurious to themselves, out of their own revenues.

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 28 of 33)