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claim its permanence throughout the country. Besides his share in the completion of this momentous system, almost amounting to a revolution in the affairs of British India, Mr. Shore was mainly instrumental in the framing of the code of laws published in Bengal in the year 1793–a compilation constituting an era in the history of that country, as well as a most hazardous experiment in the science of human legislation.
After the long experience the Court of Directors had had of the judgment and integrity of Mr. Shore, it is not at all strange that they should have chosen him for the immediate successor of Lord Cornwallis. Economical promises were made at home, and who so able to execute them as the man who had wound himself into all the intricacies of Indian finance, and whose policy in relation to the native powers was decidedly pacific? Upon this occasion, Mr. Shore was created a baronet of England, with the title of Sir John Shore of Heachcote. Four years afterwards, he was raised by patent to an Irish peerage, with the title of Baron Teignmouth.
On his first accession to the chair of Government, Sir John Shore had to steer between no ordinary perplexities. The Mahrattas were jealous of the growing power of the English, and thirsted for the spoils of the feeble Nizam, who existed only beneath
the shade of British protection. Scindia, now at the head of the Mahratta councils, looked to the power of Tippoo as the best counterpoise to that of the English. If any thing can be fairly objected to the policy of Sir John Shore, it is,—that he relied on the good faith of the Mahrattas to act according to existing treaties, which it was their interest to set at nought, and left his ally, the Nizam, in a state almost unprotected and defenceless. The first pretext of Scindia was the demand of the arrears of the Mahratta chout (tribute) from the pusillanimous Nizam. The English Government offered its mediation. The Mahrattas, perceiving that they were not prepared to enforce it by arms, treated the proposed mediation with contempt. Tippoo was in the field, and ready to confederate with the Mahrattas for the subjugation of the Nizam. What course was the Governorgeneral bound to pursue? By the treaty of alliance, the Nizam was entitled to the assistance of the English against Tippoo. It was not on the Mahrattas that he could safely rely,—for he knew they were intent on their aim of plundering his dominions when a convenient juncture should arrive. He confided only in the British faith, pledged to him in consequence of his accession to the alliance. At the period when he acceded to it, his friendship
was of the highest value to the British Govern. ment,--they solicited, they sought it. The engagement with him was offensive and defensive. It is clear, then, that, if attacked by Tippoo, he could rightfully demand the benefit of the British alliance. Was his claim to that benefit diminished when he was attacked by Tippoo in conjunction with the Mahrattas? The desertion of the Nizam, therefore, involved a violation of British faith. It is to be regretted, however, that other consideratious prevailed with Sir John Shore. The treaty between the English, the Nizam, and the Mahrattas, bound the parties, it was contended, not to assist the enemies of one another. In the event of a war between two of the contracting powers, the third was bound not to interfere.
Putting aside the question of good faith, the Governor-general, moreover, urged the expenses of a war with Tippoo and the Mahrattas, which the revenues of the country could ill sustain. He dwelt emphatically on the Act of Parliament prohibitory of British interference in the quarrels of the native powers; evidently considering a war with Tippoo and the Mahrattas to be a greater evil than the grossest departure from faith and plain-dealing on the part
his own Government.
policy, the Nizam was left to his fate. Sir John Malcolm, * with some justice, condemns the procedure, confidently declaring, in a tone of dogmatical prescience, that had the Governor-general declared himself bound to protect the Nizam at the hazard of war, and shewn himself prepared for that extremity, the mere terror of British interference would have prevented the necessity of having recourse to it. He complains of the conduct of the Government in sacrificing the Nizam, and cultivating the Mahrattas as a more efficient ally against Tippoo Saib, contending that the obligation to support the feeble power of their ancient ally remained unimpaired and entire. One thing, however, seems to have been overlooked by that careless and positive writer. If war should break out between the Nizam and the Mahrattas, the English, if bound to assist the Nizam on the ground of having received assistance from him, were bound to assist the Mahrattas, from whom they had also received assistance. This would involve a most absurd contradiction—for the British Government would have been thus bound to send one body of British troops to fight against another.
About this period, Scindia died. His nephew • Political History of India. This is a loose and desultory production, and not always good authority in respect of facts.
and successor inherited his policy. War between