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Title: A report of Major Hart's case, of rice-frauds, near Seringapatam
Author: Inglis, W. H.
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "A report of Major Hart's case, of rice-frauds, near Seringapatam" ***


                           MAJOR HART'S CASE,
                             _WITH NOTES_;
                              AN APPENDIX,

                              W. H. INGLIS,


                        J. HATCHARD, PICCADILLY.


                MARCHANT, Printer, Ingram-Court, London.

                               _&c. &c._

Were any apology necessary for this Report, a sufficient one would be
where Major Hart says, "When I add that Major-general Macaulay was my
junior officer; that, in consequence of my dismission, he succeeded
to the very regiment which, at this hour, I should have otherwise
commanded, and became a general officer so much sooner by my dismission;
I am satisfied that the Honourable Court (of Directors) will think his
conduct a _most material_ feature in the future consideration of my
case."--India-House-Papers, p. 362.

Another instance of Major Hart's sinister attack is, where Major-general
Macaulay has replied to it, saying, "There remains a farther slanderous
insinuation of Major Hart's, that I think myself bound to notice. He has
charged upon me, as a leading motive in the censure of his conduct, a
settled design of placing myself in the command of the fortress of
Palamcottah, and of the forces in the field in Tinnevelly, to his
exclusion! This strange charge he more than once gave distinct hints of
to myself. But he made it directly in the course of his last visit to
me, in June 1815, when he behaved so coarsely. It will, I have little
doubt, seem somewhat strange, even to your Lordship, (Harris, the
commander-in-chief,) but so it is, that to this hour I do not know to
whom I owe that command. _I not only never made application directly or
indirectly for it, but the idea of applying for it never once entered my
mind._--Papers, p. 388.

But Major-general Macaulay scarce needed this reply, since it is Major
Hart himself who can affirm his own error. The Major says, "I shall not
however pretend to defend the act _acknowledged_ of my having carried to
the field a quantity of private grain.[A] No, my Lord, (Harris,) most
deeply and sensibly do I feel and deplore the _error_ of my
conduct.--Papers, p. 352.

    [A] It will be maintained in the body of this Report, that Major
    Hart did never carry to the field a quantity of private grain.

And yet, notwithstanding this _pretended_ acknowledgment of _real_
error, it is the Board of Controul which, in order to allow Major Hart
to hold private grain, must set aside the very regulation upon this
subject. The 39th Regulation says, "it being the principle of the
present system, by liberal and avowed allowances, to place this
department upon so respectable a footing as to leave no temptation to
seek for unauthorized advantages, the Commissary of Grain is not on any
account, directly or indirectly, to derive any other advantage or
emolument from this situation than the _salary_ fixed by Government. The
strictest economy is, therefore, to be observed in every expense
attending this department; and the disbursements and accounts of the
Commissary are to be attested on honour, as prescribed in the forms
annexed to these Regulations.--Papers, p. 17.

And the mighty Board of Controul, besides allowing Major Hart to hold
private grain, and therefore to reap the attendant profit on it _with
perfect security_, next considers this both as _another question_ and as
_not another question_. Thus the Board having said "whether he (Major
Hart) ought to have derived any profit upon the original price of the
rice, so in his possession, is another question," can yet add, "but
_suppose he ought not_, when he[B] openly supplied it to our army,
and was contented with much less (profit) than he might have obtained
with perfect security, we cannot think it a crime of the blackest
die.--Papers, p. 232.

    [B] See in page 11, and query he or Captain Macleod; also
    whether openly or covertly supplied, &c.

The Board continues "this, and the circumstance of his silence, from the
16th to the 22d of April, appear to us the only points of doubt in the
whole case, and a conduct doubtful only on two such points does not, in
our contemplation, warrant the sentence[C] that has been passed upon it,
with the consequences to his fortune and honour to which it has led."
Papers, p. 232.

    [C] The propriety of Major Hart's dismission, after suspension
    from the Company's service, is, perhaps, self-evident, and might
    have been a ground of thanks; but who would have thanked the
    Court of Directors for being now made to deem correct, what
    formerly they were pleased to deem incorrect, viz. an Act of
    Parliament, and the one cited on what are called the Mandamus

But, "in our contemplation" of this "whole case," there are yet to be
noticed other two grand points of doubt. And first, as Lord Harris
writes, "it was not the loss of rice in the department of the Commissary
of Grain _alone_ that so seriously affected the general store of
provision for the army, but," again, secondly, "that infinitely more
extensive and entirely unexpected deficiency which was discovered, on
the 16th of April, in the quantity carried by bullocks, hired in the
Ceded Districts, under the authority of Lieutenant-Colonel Read, and of
which Captain Macleod was in the general superintendance."

Lord Harris explains, saying "Captain Macleod, to whom no report of
material loss had been made by the carriers on the 3d of April, had, on
the 5th, given me a report, of which a copy is enclosed, by which it
appeared that rice, the property of government, sufficient for the
consumption of 30,000 men, at half a seer per day, for six-and-thirty
days, was then in camp, independently of nearly an equal quantity
reported by the benjarries (bullock-owners) to be in their possession,
and which they had been ordered to retain for the public service. No
issues had been authorized from this stock, and the belief that it
existed prevented my feeling any uneasiness on the subject of
provisions, although I knew the amount in _Major Hart's_ charge was
nearly expended. The measurement of the rice on the 15th of April, in
the course of delivery (not by, observe, because) to Major Hart,
produced the FIRST suspicion of this enormous deficiency, and the
report of it, when ascertained the succeeding day, the consequent
alarm." Papers, p. 75.

Nor is Lord Harris here alluding towards the whole, but rather to the
close of Captain Macleod's Report, where it is stated that "the private
and public rice would feed 30,000 men for thirty-three (or, as Lord
Harris says, thirty-six) days, exclusive of Major Hart's department. It
is supposed Major Hart has 7000 bullock-loads, which would be ten seers
each to 30,000 men. (Signed) William Macleod, Superintendant of
Supplies." Papers, p. 82.

From these several extracts we have now to gather, that if, on the 5th
of April, Major Hart had ten seers each man, equal to ten days rice, at
whole allowance, on the 15th he would have no bullock-loads, whatever,
remaining "in his possession." Wherefore, from the 16th of April to the
6th of May, (see in page. 17,) and, further, from this last date to the
18th following, (see in page 18), the fraud on the rice, "then in
camp," must have been, not only "exclusive of Major Hart's department,"
but in that of Captain Macleod, from whose stock "no issues had been
authorized." We have now to observe, that the real question becomes, not
whether Major Hart could hold private as well as public grain? but,
whether this could be done by Captain Macleod, and by him after his
having returned in his report both classes of grain as "the property of
government?" And we presume, once for all, on this nice point, that
there will not be urged the existence of one sort of regulation for a
Commissary of _Provisions_, as Captain Macleod is sometimes called, and
another for a Commissiary of _Grain_, as Major Hart is always called.

Contending that he ordered his private grain from Madras, less for
the army than for his private followers of it, Major Hart would rest
his order upon the affidavit of one of those followers, by name
Sadashevah Moodiliar. But this dubash, or confidential servant, will
herein-afterwards be shown, among other of Major Hart's head people,
as tampering with Subidar Enom Beg, during the intervals of this native
soldier's examination by the Committee of Inquiry.

To proceed more particularly with Captain Macleod.--It was he who,
having first disclosed to Major-General Macaulay, (the private instead
of public secretary to Lord Harris,) that Major Hart had a quantity of
private grain to dispose of, and who, next observing the surprise with
which his communication was received, does, third, and finally, request
Major-General Macaulay's "permission to inform Major Hart that he (Major
Hart) must, _in future_, communicate directly with me (Major-General
Macaulay) upon the subject." Major-General Macaulay subjoins, "to this I
assented;" but elsewhere explains, that "with the exception of the
conversation that took place with Captain Macleod, when he delivered the
original message, I held no communication with Major Hart, but _by
letter_." Papers, pp. 159 and 158.

Relative, indeed, to Captain Macleod the Major-General thinks it
equally right to explain, saying "Captain (now Colonel Macleod) well
knows my sentiments of his character. Long as he has been in England, it
has not happened to me _once to meet him_. But I retain my former
respect for his integrity." Papers, p. 369.

It was Captain Macleod who, having said "by this observation (_a slight
of hand_ in receiving and issuing grain by measure), I do not mean _to
attempt_ to screen the bullock-contractors;" and added, "who, I am
persuaded, _in my own mind_, must have embezzled the greatest proportion
of the quantity deficient;" yet does shortly afterwards release from
arrest, at the sole desire of the bullock-contractors, of all other men,
not indeed a _bullock_, but yet its tantamount, a _flock_ contractor,
notwithstanding this, "one of the duffadars, Narnapah by name, was
detected in having _concealed_ seventy bags of rice in the bazar of the
Nizam's camp, for the purpose of being sold there;" and, for all that,
such seventy bags "were, on _discovery_, removed from the Nizam's bazar
to the grain depôt, near head-quarters." Papers, p. 79.

It was once more Captain Macleod, who having said, "I impute the
deficiencies, generally, to the corruption of Sechiram," yet does not
confine or arrest this "security for all the contractors,[D] because his
holding a jaghire from government, in the Baramahl was _supposed to be_
a sufficient hold upon him," or hold, "which would put it _out of his
power to elude_ any punishment or penalty that might afterwards be
adjudged for his deception." Papers, p. 77.

    [D] "Except those of Selum, who appear, by the accompanying
    statement (part of Captain Macleod's often-mentioned Report,) to
    have lost or embezzled the _smallest_ proportion."

And such is the mode of reasoning subscribed to, rather than implicitly
believed in, by Lord Harris, where his Lordship says, "of Captain
Macleod's merits I have already had occasion to speak in terms of the
highest praise,[E] and although placed at the head of those persons from
whose misconduct the most serious mischief might have proceeded, and
which did actually produce considerable inconvenience to the army, I
hold it incumbent on me to declare that Captain Macleod is, _in no
degree_, blamable for this unfortunate business," or business, "which
_no means in his power to elude_ could possibly prevent." Papers, p. 75.

    [E] It will be seen, in page 12, where Major-General Macaulay
    has similarly written: "But I retain my former respect for his

We have said,--subscribed to, rather than implicitly believed
in,--because Lord Harris pursues "the principal carriers and benjarries
are now in the Baramahl, (the very place, observe, of Sechiram's
jaghire,) and I recommend to the immediate attention of government such
measures as it may appear proper to adopt for recovering from them the
amount of rice embezzled, and punishing those chiefs of this class of
men who stood forward in responsibility, and who certainly knew and
connived at the disposal of the rice, _if they were not themselves the
managers of the transaction_."

We now trust to have amply shown why Lord Harris thought, 1st, that "it
was not the loss of rice in the department of the Commissary of Grain
alone, that so seriously affected the general store of provision for
the army;[F] but, 2dly, that infinitely more extensive and entirely
unexpected deficiency, which was discovered in the quantity carried
by bullocks, hired in the Ceded Districts, under the authority of
Lieutenant-Colonel Read, and of which _Captain Macleod_ was in the
general superintendance.

    [F] In the debate on the Mandamus Papers, a proprietor of stock
    asks, "What did Lord Ellenborough say? Did he say, that what was
    done was conclusive evidence of any bargain having been made, or
    any price being charged? No; Lord Ellenborough said,--No; he is
    ordered to enter it as an item of account; but that does not
    give it the character of having been purchased for the public.
    He acquiesces in the direction to enter it; but it ought to be
    considered as if he had not so entered and as if it stood in its
    original situation." But we must ask, what would Lord
    Ellenborough have said, had his lordship been informed that the
    fraud was not solely in Major Hart's grain, but, also, in that
    of Captain Macleod, and who, _previously to the discovery of the
    fraud_, had been ordered, by Lord Harris, to enter, that is, to
    retain his benjarries, now called, private grain, for "the
    _public_ service." Of Major Hart's grain, it can equally be
    observed, that this had also been publicly returned in Captain
    Macleod's Report, which Report has been stated to close thus:
    "_it is supposed_ Major Hart has 7000 bullock-loads, which would
    be ten seers each to 30,000 men. (Signed) William Macleod,
    Superintendant of Supplies."

Upon this second and last of our own two points of grand doubt, we shall
offer some further extracts, by which it will be perceived that Major
Hart's head people were ordered back to the Ceded Districts, in company
with Captain Macleod's benjarries, that is, were ordered back to those
Districts, not before, but immediately upon the discovery of the fraud,
and, as it were, in consequence of it.

Asked by the Committee of Inquiry, "under whose charge was your rice
brought forward on the march, and placed at the ground of encampment?"
Major Hart replies, "under head people employed by myself, whom I
discharged and (though discharged, yet) sent to the Carnatic with
_General Floyd's_ detachment." In like manner, Captain Macleod states,
in one of his letters to government, that "Sechiram joined the army at
Kellamungulum and remained with it till the march of _General Floyd's_
division towards Caveriporam, when all the public and benjarries cattle,
which had at that time survived the campaign, were sent from the army."
Papers, p. 77. And under date of 18th April, Lord Harris having
confirmed that "_Major-General Floyd_, with all the cavalry and three
battalions of Native Infantry, marches to-morrow morning towards
Caveriporam to meet Colonel Read, and escort his benjarries to camp,"
explains that "their arrival is of the utmost consequence, as, on
measuring our bags to ascertain the rice they really contained, they
were found so much diminished, by loss or fraud, that eighteen days
provisions for the fighting men, at half allowance, is all that remains
in camp; our supplies must, therefore, arrive before the 6th of May, to
save us from extreme distress." Papers, p. 49.

Further beyond this coincidence, Captain Macleod's second of two
reports, dated Seringapatam, 29th June, 1799, says, "N.B. The 9025
mercals of rice remained in charge of Captain Macleod till Seringapatam
was taken; no part of it was issued before the 18th May. E.E. (Signed)
William Macleod, _late_ Superintendant of Supplies." Notwithstanding,
then, the extreme distress of the army, as just mentioned by Lord
Harris, we here find Captain Macleod admitting that he was a holder of
three days grain for 30,000 men, at whole allowance, not before but
after the 18th of May. Our inference is, what others have frequently
drawn in this case, that there was always a plenty rather than ever any
scarcity of grain.[G]

    [G] N.B. One mercal is twelve seers.

Finally, we are to produce Major Hart's dubash, the already mentioned
Sadashevah Moodiliar, as tampering among other of Major Hart's head
people, with Subidar Enom Beg, during the intervals of this native
soldier's examination by the Committee of Inquiry.

The Committee says, "from the very exact concurrence observed throughout
the depositions of the maistries (carriers) and head owners, (of
bullocks,) already examined, it appears that a further examination
of persons of those descriptions will not tend to afford any new
information on the subject under investigation; but as the native
commissioned and non-commissioned officers of the details which were
employed with the grain-department may, from their observation of the
conduct of the maistries and bullock-owners during the service, be able
to speak particularly to points connected therewith, the Committee call
upon Subidar Enom Beg, of the first battalion of the 12th regiment of
native infantry." Papers, p. 53.

And having first disproved, in common with other guards during the
march, the alleged irruptions of the enemy's horse, as counterpleaded
by the benjarries, even in phalanx form, Subidar Enom Beg, "of his own
accord," next informs the Committee, that, "about eleven o'clock in the
forenoon of yesterday, the _head conicopoly_ of the grain-department, by
name Dunnacody, accompanied by a tindall of lascars attached to the
department, came to his tent and told him that he had been directed by
MAJOR HART to inquire of him the names of the subidars and jemidars,
also the number of havildars, naigues, and sepoys, which had been
employed with the rice-department; that he (the subidar) told the
conicopoly that two of the companies were in Seringapatam, and that the
company from Major Tolfrey's battalion, in camp, consisted of such a
number of havildars, naigues, and sepoys, together with his own name,
and that of the jemidar, all of which the conicopoly took down, in
writing, and then went away. That in about half an hour afterwards
the conicopoly and tindall returned, and asked the subidar to come
to Tumboo Naik, _one of the principal bullock-owners_ and a DUBASH,
whom he supposed to be Major Hart's (Sadashevah Moodiliar, the
affidavit-witness,) as they wished to speak to him, and to come without
dressing himself. The subidar answered, 'that as he might be wanted for
duty, he could not come without his commanding-officer's leave,' to
which the conicopoly replied, 'that, as he would probably be sent for by
the Committee sitting near the general's tent, he desired him to keep
favour upon him,' and the subidar answered, 'he was in the Company's
service and, if sent for, he should tell what he saw, and could not tell
any lies.' That the subidar was then sent for by Major Tolfrey, and
ordered to come to the Committee, which he did, and that having attended
the Committee and been ordered by Colonel Muat (the President) to come
again this morning, he was going to his lines when _one of the
maistries_ meeting him upon the road, asked, 'what news at the
Committee?' The subidar answered him, 'you have no right to inquire: I
have been to the Committee on business which does not concern you; go
about your business.'" Papers, pp. 55 and 56.

We would observe upon this testimony of Enom Beg, that the
affidavit-dubash of Major Hart, Sadashevah Moodiliar, who is wont to
describe himself as "a writer in charge of the public servants in the
grain-department," is not, in our opinion, so important a personage as
Major Hart's head conicopoly Dunnacody, and this because the employment
of a head conicopoly is much more _official_ than that of a dubash,
however greatly any particular occasion, like the present, for instance,
may render the latter's services desirable. But in India it would
otherwise appear that the dubash is accounted by far the more important
personage of the two, at least if we can judge from Mr. Sherson's trial
at Madras, also for rice-frauds; for, on this trial Sir John Newbolt, as
third of three Judges, was pleased to argue, saying, 'Audy Narrain, (the
dubash of Mr. Sherson,) one of the persons offering the bribe, which is
_almost tantamount_ to naming Mr. Sherson himself.' Even in this case of
Major Hart there is what is not wholly dissimilar to bribery; namely,
where the conicopoly replies, 'that as he (Enom Beg) would probably be
sent for by the Committee sitting near the general's tent, he (the
conicopoly) desired him to keep favour on him.' The frequent occurrence
among native Indians of the word _lies_ is to be here regarded as an
Anglo-Orientalism. It is to the probability of Enom Beg and his
fellow-soldiers' testimonies over those of Major Hart and Captain
Macleod's head people, that attention shall safely be paid.

Relative to the benjarries and maistries of Captain Macleod, as well as
to Major Hart's head people, we must differ from the Committee of
Inquiry, where saying that "a _further_ examination of persons of those
descriptions will not tend to afford any new information on the
subject." Our cause of difference is, that neither Sadashevah and
Dunnacody, nor Sechiram and Narnapah, were _ever_ examined by this

Major-General Macaulay "cannot conceive, under the strong case which
appears to be made out, how the government of this country and
Parliament can, _with a due regard to character_, abstain from a
revision of the whole question." Neither can we conceive how, in this
respect,--not the government (of the Board of Controul and Court of
Directors,) but--Parliament abstains.


               _To the Proprietors of East-India Stock._

Major Hart, in his advertisement, (_Times_, 24th of April,) says "I
fear that I shall have no alternative but to appeal against such daily
slander to the laws of my country." In other words, he, who sought to
fight a duel with Major-Gen. Macaulay, fears. And may he fear!

But Major Hart dares not appeal to the laws of his country, were he even
slandered after the _daily_ manner of his own advertisement. Major Hart
is too old a soldier to have to learn, that

  He who fights and runs away,
  Lives to fight another day.

Nor can Major Hart forget where Major-General Macaulay states,
"Report--to which, however, I can scarce give credit--assigns this
disgraceful production to the pen of a noted Barrister. Be that as it
may, Major Hart stands fully (be this as it may, equally fully)
responsible." Major-General Macaulay's _official_ statement is, "Major
Hart addressed a letter to the Court of Directors, dated the 22d of last
month: that libellous letter has not yet been printed, by order of the
Court of Directors, for the use of the Proprietors; but Major Hart has
thought fit to print and widely to send it into circulation. I am sorry
that it is not inserted in the Papers respecting the _Mandamus_; the
reason may be, that the Court of Directors, possibly viewing it in the
light I do, could not have thought it proper to make themselves
accessaries to the circulation of a defamatory document, unaccompanied
by explanations from me. To that letter from Major Hart is appended a
declaration, under the signature of three General Officers; Gen. Sir
John Floyd (Bart. omitted), Lieut.-Gen. Brown, and Lieut.-Gen. Bridges,
on what these officers are pleased to term _some important points
connected with_ Major Hart's case. The words in Italics are so printed
in the original."

Proprietors!--Have you never heard of a "Review of _some important
passages_ in the Administration of Sir George Barlow, Bart. by Charles
Marsh, Esq. M.P.?" have you never heard that this "noted Barrister" is
the probable author of an anonymous Report of Mr. Sherson's case, if not
of his trial itself, or will you not hear your own Directors?

"The two following Papers, _although private_, having already appeared
in print, are here (the Records of the Company) inserted for the
information of the Proprietors; but it _does not_ appear from (here) the
Records of the Company, that they were ever (during 16 long years)
_officially_ communicated to the Court of Directors." The two Papers
are, "A Letter from the Right Hon. Henry Dundas to David Scott, Esq."
a deceased Director; and an enclosure in the foregoing, signed "William
Dundas," and "T. Wallace;" which last paper has actually been called
by some _A Report of the Board of Controul_. On the other hand, the
deceased Mr. David Scott's authority to correspond and correspondence do
not appear.

So, in Mr. Sherson's case, there has been published an unsigned or
anonymous Report of it, by a Mr. Halhed, one of the clerks in the
India-House, whose error "was not his first" of the kind, yet whose
Report was ordered, it has confidently been asserted, by only some one
or two of the whole Court of Directors. In Mr. Sherson's case again the
Board of Controul has compelled the erasure, from a despatch of the
Court of Directors, of a paragraph recommendatory of an investigation
into the conduct (on this Mr. Sherson's trial) of no less a person than
Sir Francis Macnaghten, the _second_ of three Judges, of whom the
_third_ is almost as much concerned as Sir Francis himself.

Nor let these parallels be thought to beg the question, since they might
readily have been extended; and since Major Hart's case would prove
itself in Courts of Law, whether by artful confessions, or by other and
better description of testimony. Unhappily, however, the period for this
is expired.

                                                           W. H. INGLIS.
  3, Mincing-lane.

                                THE END.

                           MARCHANT, Printer,
                    Ingram-Court, Fenchurch-Street.

    TRANSCRIBER'S NOTE: Footnotes have been moved from the middle
    of the text to the end of the paragraph referring to those
    footnotes. Apart from that, no other changes have been made
    for this e-text version.

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