« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
quired of her,) and the Nabób, in å tone equally suppliant, expressing his consent, at least, that her request should be complied with, if the command of Mr. Hastings could be procured. My Lords, in order to save your Lordships' time, and that I might not overload this business, I did not intend to have troubled you with any observations upon this part of it, but the charge of falsehood which the Prisoner at your bar has had the audacity to bring against us, has induced me to lay it more particularly before you. We have now done with it; but before we retire, your Lordships will permit me to recapitulate briefly the substance of what has now been urged respecting his conduct towards these miserable women. We accuse him of reiterated breaches of the orders of the Court of Directors, both in the letter and spirit of them, and of his contempt of the opinions which his colleagues in office had formed of them. We charge him with the aggravation of these delinquencies, by the oppression and ruin which they brought upon the fainily of the Nabob, by the infraction of tréaties, and by the disrepute which in his person was sustained by the government he represented, and by the stain left upon the justice, honour, and good faith of the English nation. We charge him with their farther aggravation, by sundry false pretences alleged by him in justi
fication of this conduct, the pretended reluctance of the Nabob, the fear of offending him, the suggestion of the Begums having forgotten and forgiven the wrongs they had suffered, and of the danger of reviving their discontent by any attempt to redress them, and by his insolent language, that the majesty of justice with which he impudently invests himself, was only to be approached with solicitation. We have farther stated, that the pretence that he was only concerned in this business as an accessary, is equally false; it being on the contrary notorious, that the Nabob was the accessary, forced into the service, and a mere instrument in his hands, and that he and Sir Elijah Impey, (whose employment in this business we stated as a farther aggravation,) were the authors and principal agents. And we farther contend, that each of these aggravations and pretences is itself, in fact, and in its principle, a substantive crime. Your Lordships witnessed the insolence with which this man, stung to the quick by the recital of his crime, interrupted me; and you heard his ręcrimination of falsehood aganst:ụs. We again avouch the truth of all and every word we have uttered, and the validity of every proof with which we have supported them. Let his impatience, I say, now again 'burst forth; he who feels so sensibly every thing that touches
him, and yet seeks for an act of indemnity for his own atrocities, by endeavouring to make you believe, that the wrongs of a desolated family are, within one year, forgotten by them, and buried in oblivion.
misijil I trust, my Lords, that both his prosecutors and his judges will evince that patience, which the Criminal wants. Justice is not to wait to have its majesty approached with solicitation; we see that throne, in which resides invisibly, but virtually, the Majesty of England; we see your Lordships representing, in succession, the juridical authority in the highest court in this kingdom, but we do not approach you with solicitation; we make it a petition of right; we claim it; we demand it. The right of seeking redress is not suppliant, even before the Majesty of England; it comes boldly forward, and never thinks it offends its Sovereign, by claiming what is the right of all his people.
We have now done with this business; a business as atrocious as any that is known in the history of mankind; a business that has stained; throughout all Asiaj the British character, and by which our fame for honour, integrity, and publick: faith, has been forfeited ; a business which has introduced us throughout that country, a's breakers.of faith, destroyers of treaties, plum derers of the weak and unprotected, and has dishonoured, and will for ever dishonour, the
British name. Your Lordships have had all this in evidence. You have seen in what manner the Nabob, his country, his revenues, his subjects, his mother, his family, his nobility, and all their fortunes, real and personal, have been disposed of by the Prisoner at your bar; and having seen this, you will, by the impatience of this criminal, estimate the patience of the unfortunate women into whose injuries he refused to inquire. What he would not do the Commons have done. They know that you have a feeling different from that which he manifested on this occasion; they do not approach you suppliantly, but demand justice; they insist that as the Commons have done their part, your Lordships will perform yours.
We shall next proceed to shew your Lordships how he acted towards another set of women, the women of the late Sujah Dowlah, and for whom the Directors had ordered a maintenance to be secured by an express treaty. You will see that he is cruel towards the weak sex, and to all others, in proportion as they are weak and powerless to resist him.
You will see, I say, when he had usurped the whole government of Dude, and brought it into a servile dependence on 'himself, how these women fared, and then your Lordships will judge whether or not, and in what degree, he is criminal.
WARREN HASTINGS ESQ.
THURSDAY, JUNE 12th, 1794.
SEVENTH DAY OF THE REPLY.
MY LORDS, WHEN
THEN I had last the honour of addressing
your Lordships from this place, my observations were principally directed to the unjust confiscation and seizure of the jaghires and treasures of the Begums, without previous accusation or trial, or subsequent inquiry into their conduct; in violation of a treaty made with them and guaranteed by the East India Company ;to the long imprisonment and cruel treatment of their ministers, and to the false pretences and abominable principles by which the Prisoner at your bar has attempted to justify his conduct.
The several acts of violence and of oppression were, as we have shewn your Lordships, committed with circumstances of aggravated atrocity highly disgraceful to the British name and cha