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WARREN HASTINGS. 15

described by the highest authority as an invaluable public servant,
eminently fit to be at the head of the internal administration of a
whole presidency, but unfortunately quite ignorant of all political
business.

The internal government of Bengal the English rulers delegated
to a great native minister, who was stationed at Moorshedabad.
All military affairs, and, with the exception of what pertains to
mere ceremonial, all foreign affairs, were withdrawn from his
control ; but the other departments of the administration were en-
tirely confided to him. His own stipend amounted to near a hun-
dred thousand pounds sterling a year. The personal allowance of
the nabob, amounting to more than three hundred thousand pounds
a year, passed through the minister’s hands, and was, to a great
extent, at his disposal. The collection of the revenue, the admini-
stration of justice, the maintenance of order, were left to this high
functionary; and for the exercise of his immense power he was
responsible to none but the British masters of the country.

A situation so important, lucrative, and splendid, was naturally
an object of ambition to the ablest and most powerful natives.
Clive had found it difficult to decide between conflicting preten-
sions. Two candidates stood out prominently from the crowd,
each of them the representative of a race and of a religion.

One of these was Mahommed Reza Khan, a Mussulman of Per-
sian extraction, able, active, religious after the fashion of his people,
and highly esteemed by them. In England he might perhaps
have been regarded as a corrupt and greedy politician. But, tried
by the lower standard of Indian morality, he might be considered
as a man of integrity and honour. .

His competitor was a Hindoo Brahmin whose name has, by a
terrible and melancholy event, been inseparably associated with
that of Warren Hastings, the Maharajah N uncomar. This man
had played an important part in all the revolutions which, since
the time of Surajah Dowlah, had taken place in Bengal. To the
consideration which in that country belongs to high and pure
caste, he added the weight which is derived from wealth, talents,
and experience. Of his moral character it is diflicult to give a
notion to those who are acquainted with human nature only as it
appears in our island. VVhat the Italian is to the Englishman,
what the Hindoo is to the Italian, what the Bengalee is to other
Hindoos, that was Nuncomar to other Bengalees. The physical

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