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command imposed on him was lost to his recollection, perhaps from the stronger impression which the first and distant perusal of it had left on his mind that it was rather intended as a reprehension for something which had given offence in his report of the original transaction than as expressive of any want of a further elucidation of it.” *
That the said Warren Hastings, in affecting to doubt whether the information expressly required of him by his employers was expected or not, has endeavored to justify a criminal delay and evasion in giving it. That, considering the importance of the subject, and the recent date of the command, it is not possible that it could be lost to his recollection ; much less is it possible that he could have understood the specific demand of an answer to specific questions to be intended only as a reprehension for a former offence, viz., the offence of withholding from the Directors that very explanation which he ought to have given in the first instance. That the said Warren Hastings, in his answer to the said questions, cautiously avoids affirming or denying anything in clear, positive terms, and professes to recollect nothing with absolute certainty. That he has not, even now, informed the Directors of the name of any one person from whom any part of the money in question was received, nor what was the motive of any one person for giving the same. That he has, indeed, declared, that his motive for lending to the Company, or depositing in their treasury in his own name, money which he has in other places declared to be their property, was to avoid ostentation, and that lending the
* See his letter of the 11th of July, 1785, at the end of the Charges.
money was the least liable to reflection; yet, when he has stated these and other conjectural motives for his own conduct, he declares he will not affirm, though he is firmly persuaded, that those were his sentiments on the occasion. That of one thing only the said Warren Hastings declares he is certain, viz., " that it was his design originally to have concealed the receipt of all the sums, except the second, even from the knowledge of the Court of Directors, but that, when fortune threw a sum in his way of a magnitude which could not be concealed, and the peculiar delicacy of his situation at the time in which he received it made him more circumspect of appearances, he chose to apprise his employers of it.” That the said Warren Hastings informs the Directors, that he had indorsed the bonds taken by him for money belonging to the Company, and lent by him to the Company, in order to guard against their becoming a claim on the Company, as part of his estate, in the event of his death; but he has not affirmed, nor does it anywhere appear, that he has surrendered the said bonds, as he ought to have done. That the said Warren Hastings, in affirming that he had not time to answer the questions put to him by the Directors, while he was in Bengal, - in not bringing with him to England the documents necessary to enable him to answer those questions, or in pretending that he has not brought them,-in referring the Directors back again to Bengal for those documents, and for any further information on a subject on which he has given them no information, — and particularly in referring them back to a person in Bengal for a paper which he says contained the only account he ever kept of the transaction, while he himself professes to doubt whether
that paper be still in being, whether it be in the hands of that person, or whether that person can recollect anything distinctly concerning it, — has been guilty of gross evasions, and of palpable prevarication and deceit, as well as of contumacy and disobedience to the lawful orders of the Court of Directors, and thereby confirmed all the former evidence of his having constantly used the influence of his station for the most scandalous, illegal, and corrupt purposes.
18.- RESIGNATION OF THE OFFICE OF GOVERNOR
That Warren Hastings having by his agent, Lauchlan Macleane, Esquire, on the 10th day of October, in the year 1776," signified to the Court of Directors his desire to resign his office of Governor-General of Bengal, and requested their nomination of a successor to the vacancy which would be thereby occasioned in the Supreme Council,” the Court of Directors did thereupon desire the said Lauchlan Macleane “to inform them of the authority under which he acted in a point of such very great importance"; and the said Lauchlan Macleane“ signifying thereupon his readiness to give the court every possible satisfaction on that subject, but the powers with which he was intrusted by the papers in his custody being mixed with other matters of a nature extremely confidential, he would submit the same to the inspection of any three of the members of the court,” the said Court of Directors empowered the Chairman, Deputy Chairman, and Richard Becher, Esquire, to inspect the authorities, powers, and directions with
which Mr. Macleane was furnished by Mr. Hastings to make the propositions contained in his letter of the 10th October, 1776, and to report their opinion thereon. And the said committee did accordingly, on the 23d of the said month, report, “that, having conferred with Mr. Macleane on the subject of his letter presented to the court the 11th instant, they found, that, from the purport of Mr. Hastings's instructions, contained in a paper in his own handwriting given to Mr. Macleane, and produced by him to them, Mr. Hastings declared he would not continue in the government of Bengal, unless certain conditions therein specified could be obtained, of which they saw no probability; and Mr. George Vansittart had declared to them, that he was present when these instructions were given to Mr. Macleane, and when Mr. Hastings empowered Mr. Macleane to declare his resignation to the said court; that Mr. Stewart had likewise confirmed to them, that Mr. Hastings declared to him, that he had given directions to the above purpose by Mr. Macleane."
And the Court of Directors, having received from the said report due satisfaction respecting the authority vested in the said Lauchlan Macleane to propose the said resignation of the office of Governor-General of Bengal, did unanimously resolve to accept the same, and did also, under powers vested in the said court by the act of the 13th year of his present Majesty, “ nominate and appoint Edward Wheler, Esquire, to succeed to the office in the Council of Fort William in Bengal which will become vacant by the said resignation, if such nomination shall be approved by his Majesty”: which nomination and appointment was afterwards in due form approved and confirmed by his Majesty.
That the Court of Directors did, by a postscript to their general letter, dated 25th October, 1776, acquaint the Governor-General and Council at Calcutta of their acceptance of the said resignation, of their appointment of Edward Wheler, Esquire, to fill the said vacancy, and of his Majesty's approbation of the said appointment, together with the grounds of their said proceedings; and did transmit to the said Governor-General and Council copies of the said instruments of appointment and confirmation.
That the said dispatches from the Court of Directors were received at Calcutta, and were read in Council on the 19th day of June, in the year 1777; and that Warren Hastings, Esquire, having taken no steps to yield the government to his successor, General Clavering, and having observed a profound silence on the subject of the said dispatches, he, the said General Clavering, did, on the next day, being the 20th of June, by a letter addressed to the said Warren Hastings, require him to surrender the keys of Fort William, and of the Company's treasuries; but the said Warren Hastings did positively refuse to comply with the said requisition, “ denying that his office was vacated, and declaring his resolution to assert and maintain his authority by every legal means.”
That the said General Clavering, conceiving that the office of Governor-General was vacated by the arrival of the said dispatches, which acquainted the Council-General of the resignation of the said Warren Hastings and the appointment of the said Edward Wheler, Esquire, and that he, the said General Clavering, had in consequence thereof legally succeeded, under the provisions of the act of the 13th year of his