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power will I hope never be heard of, but the true principles of religion, of liberty, and law will ever be inculcated, instead of studying in the school of Cossim Ali Khân.
If he had lived with us, he would have quoted the example of Cicero in his government, he would have quoted several of the sacred and holy prophets, and made them his example. His want of learning, profane as well as sacred, reduces him to the necessity of appealing to every name and authority of barbarism, tyranny, and usurpation that are to be found; and from these he says, “ From the practice of one part of Asia or other I have taken my rule.” But your Lordships will show him that in Asia as well as in Europe the same law of nations prevails, the same principles are continually resorted to, and the same maxims sacredly held and strenuously maintained, and, however disobeyed, no man suffers from the breach of them who does not know how and where to complain of that breach, - that Asia is enlightened in that respect as well as Europe; but if it were totally blinded, that England would send out governors to teach them better, and that he must justify himself to the piety, the truth, the faith of England, and not by having recourse to the crimes and criminals of other countries, to the barbarous tyranny of Asia, or any other part of the world.
I will go further with Mr. Hastings, and admit, that, if there be a boy in the fourth form of Westminster School, or any school in England, who does not know, when these articles are read to him, that he has been guilty of gross and enormous crimes, he may have the shelter of his present plea, as far as it will serve him. There are none of us, thank God, so uninstructed, who have learned our catechisms or the first elements of Christianity, who do not know that such conduct is not to be justified, and least of all by examples.
There is another topic he takes up more seriously, and as a general rebutter to the charge. Says he, “ After a great many of these practices with which I am charged, Parliament appointed me to my trust, and consequently has acquitted me." - Has it, my Lords? I am bold to say that the Commons are wholly guiltless of this charge. I will admit, if Parliament, on a full state of his offences before them, and full examination of those offences, had appointed him to the government, that then the people of India and England would have just reason to exclaim against so flagitious a proceeding. A sense of propriety and decorum might have restrained us from prosecuting. They might have been restrained by some sort of decorum from pursuing him criminally. But the Commons stand before your Lordships without shame. First, in their name we solemnly assure your Lordships that we had not in our Parliamentary capacity (and most of us, myself I can say surely, heard very little, and that in confused rumors) the slightest knowledge of any one of the acts charged upon this criminal at either of the times of his being appointed to office, and that we were not guilty of the nefarious act of collusion and flagitious breach of trust with which he presumes obliquely to charge us; but from the moment we knew them, we never ceased to condemn them by reports, by votes, by resolutions, and that we admonished and declared it to be the duty of the Court of Directors to take measures for his recall, and when frustrated in the way known to that court we then proceeded to an inquiry. Your Lordships know whether you were better informed. We are, therefore, neither guilty of the precedent crime of colluding with the criminal, nor the subsequent indecorum of prosecuting what we had virtually and practically approved.
Secondly, several of his worst crimes have been committed since the last Parliamentary renewal of his trust, as appears by the dates in the charge.
But I believe, my Lords, the judges — judges to others, grave and weighty counsellors and assistants to your Lordships — will not, on reference, assert to your Lordships, (which God forbid, and we cannot conceive, or hardly state in argument, if but for argument,) that, if one of the judges had received bribes before his appointment to an higher judiciary office, he would not still be open to prosecution.
So far from admitting it as a plea in bar, we charge, and we hope your Lordships will find it an extreme aggravation of his offences, that no favors heaped upon him could make him grateful, no renewed and repeated trusts could make him faithful and honest.
We have now gone through most of the general topics.
But he is not responsible, as being thanked by the Court of Directors. He has had the thanks and approbation of the India Company for his services. We know too well here, I trust the world knows, and you will always assert, that a pardon from the crown is not pleadable here, that it cannot bar the impeachment of the Commons, - much less a pardon of the East India Company, though it may involve them in guilt which might induce us to punish them for such
a pardon. If any corporation by collusion with criminals refuse to do their duty in coercing them, the magistrates are answerable.
It is the use, virtue, and efficacy of Parliamentary judicial procedure, that it puts an end to this dominion of faction, intrigue, cabal, and clandestine intelligences. The acts of men are put to their proper test, and the works of darkness tried in the face of day, - not the corrupted opinions of others on them, but their own intrinsic merits. We charge it as his crime, that he bribed the Court of Directors to thank him for what they had condemned as breaches of his duty.
The East India Company, it is true, have thanked him. They ought not to have done it; and it is a reflection upon their character that they did it. But the Directors praise him in the gross, after having condemned each act in detail. His actions are all, every one, censured one by one as they arise. I do not recollect any one transaction, few there are, I am sure, in the whole body of that succession of crimes now brought before you for your judgment, in which the India Company have not censured him. Nay, in one instance he pleads their censure in bar of this trial ;* for he says, “In that censure I have already received my punishment.” If, for any other reasons, they come and say, "We thank you, Sir, for all your services,” to that I answer, Yes; and I would thank him for his services, too, if I knew them. But I do not; - perhaps they do. Let them thank him for those services. I am ordered to prosecute him for these crimes. Here, therefore, we are on a balance with the India Company; and your Lordships may
* See Mr. Lastings's answer to the first charge.
perhaps think it some addition to his crimes, that he has found means to obtain the thanks of the India Company for the whole of his conduct, at the same time that their records are full of constant, uniform, particular censure and reprobation of every one of those acts for which he now stands accused.
He says, there is the testimony of Indian princes in his favor. But do we not know how seals are obtained in that country? Do we not know how those princes are imposed upon ? Do we not know the subjection and thraldom in which they are held, and that they are obliged to return thanks for the sufferings which they have felt? I believe your Lordships will think that there is not, with regard to some of these princes, a more dreadful thing that can be said of them than that he has obtained their thanks,
I understand he has obtained the thanks of the miserable Princesses of Oude, whom he has cruelly imprisoned, whose treasure he has seized, and whose eunuchs he has tortured.* They thank him for going away; they thank him for leaving them the smallest trifle of their subsistence; and I venture to say, if he wanted a hundred more panegyrics, provided he never came again among them, he might have them. I understand that Mahdajee Sindia has made his panegyric, too. Mahdajee Sindia has not made his panegyric for nothing; for, if your Lordships will suffer him to enter into such a justification, we shall prove that he has sacrificed the dignity of this country and the interests of all its allies to that prince. We appear here neither with panegyric nor with satire ; it is for substantial crimes we bring him be
* A Latin sentence, which was quoted here, is omitted in the MS. of the short-hand writer. -ED.