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have the cause of oppressed princes, of undone women of the first rank, of desolated provinces, and of wasted kingdoms.
Do you want a criminal, my lords ? When was there so much iniquity ever laid to the charge of any one ?-No, my lords, you must not look to punish any other such delinquent from India.—Warren Hastings has not left substance enough in India to nourish such another delinquent.
My lords, is it a prosecutor you want ?-You have before you the Commons of Great Britain aś prosecutors; and, I believe, my lords, that the sun, in his beneficent progress round the world, does not behold a more glorious sight than that of men, separated from a remote people by the material bounds and barriers of nature, united by the bond of a social and moral community ;-all the Commons of England resenting, as their own, the indignities and cruelties, that are offered to all the people of India.
Do we want a tribunal ? My lords, no example of antiquity, nothing in the modern world, nothing in the range of human imagination, can supply us with a tribunal like this. My lords, here we see virtually in the mind's eye that sacred majesty of the crown, under whose authority you sit, and whose power you exercise. We see in that invisible authority, what we all feel in reality and life, the beneficent powers and protecting justice of his majesty. We have here the heir apparent to the crown, such as the fond wishes of the people of England wish an heir apparent of the crown to be. We have here all the branches of the royal family in a situation between majesty and subjection, between the sovereign and the subject,-offering a pledge in that situation for the support of the rights of the crown, and the liberties of the people, both which extremities they touch. My lords, we have a great hereditary peerage here; those, who have their own honour, the honour of their ancestors, and of their posterity, to guard; and who will justify, as they have always justified, that provision in the constitution, by which justice is made an hereditary office. My lords, we have here a new nobility, who have risen, and exalted themselves by various merits, by great military ser
vices, which have extended the fame of this country from the rising to the setting sun: we have those, who by various civil merits and various civil talents have been exalted to a situation, which they well deserve, and in which they will justify the favour of their sovereign, and the good opinion of their fellow subjects; and make them rejoice to see those virtuous characters, that were the other day upon a level with them, now exalted above them in rank, but feeling with them in sympathy what they felt in common with them before. We have persons exalted from the practice of the law, from the place, in which they administered high, though subordinate, justice, to a seat here, to enlighten with their knowledge, and to strengthen with their votes those principles, which have distinguished the courts, in which they have presided.
My lords, you have here also the lights of our religion ; you have the bishops of England. My lords, you have that true image of the primitive church in its antient form, in its antient ordinances, purified from the superstitions and the vices which a long succession of ages will bring upon the best institutions. You have the representatives of that religion, which says, that their God is love, that the very vital spirit of their institution is charity ; a religion, which so much hates oppression, that, when the God, whom we adore, appeared in human form, he did not appear in a form of greatness and majesty, but in sympathy with the lowest of the people, and thereby inade it a firm and ruling principle, that their welfare was the object of all government; since the person, who was the Master of Nature, chose to appear himself in a subordinate situation. These are the considerations, which influence them, which animate them, and will animate them, against all oppression ; knowing, that He, who is called first among them, and first among us all, both of the flock, that is fed, and of those, who feed it, made Himself 6 the servant of all.”
My lords, these are the securities, which we have in all the constituent parts of the body of this house.
We know them, we reckon, we rest upon them, and commit safely the interests of India and of humanity into your hands. . fore, it is with confidence, that, ordered by the Commons,
I impeach Warren Hastings, Esquire, of high crimes and misdemeanours.
I impeach him in the name of the Commons of Great Britain in parliament assembled, whose parliamentary trust he has betrayed.
I impeach him in the name of all the Commons of Great Britain, whose national character he has dishonoured.
I impeach him in the name of the people of India, whose laws, rights, and liberties he has subverted; whose properties he has destroyed, whose country he has laid waste and desolate.
I impeach him in the name, and by virtue, of those eternal laws of justice, which he has violated.
I impeach him in the name of human nature itself, which he has cruelly outraged, injured, and oppressed in both sexes, in every age, rank, situation, and condition of life.
AFTER Mr. Burke had concluded these opening speeches, the first article of the impeachment was brought forward on the 22d of February 1788, by Mr. Fox, and supported by Mr. Grey on the 25th. After the evidence upon this article had been adduced, it was summed up and enforced by Mr. Anstruther on the 11th day of April following.
The next article with which the Commons proceeded, was brought forward on the 15th of April 1788, by Mr. Adam, and supported by Mr. Pelham; and the evidence, in part upon the second article of charge, was summed up and enforced on the 3d of June, by Mr. Sheridan.
On the 21st of April 1789, Mr. Burke opened the sixth charge, bribery and corruption, in the following speech, which was continued on the 21st of April, and on the 5th and 7th May, in the same session.
TRIAL-TUESDAY, 21st April 1789.
(MR. BURKE.) My LORDS,—An event, which had spread, for a considerable time, an universal grief and consternation through this kingdom, and which, in its issue, diffused as universal and transcendent a joy, has in the circumstances both of our depression and of our exaltation produced a considerable delay, if not a total suspension of the most important functions of government.
My lords, we now resume our office; and we resume it with new and redoubled alacrity, and, we trust, under not less propitious omens than when we left it, in this house, at the end of the preceding session. We come to this duty with a greater degree of earnestness and zeal, because we are urged to it by many and very peculiar circumstances. This day we come from an house, where the last steps were taken, and, I suppose, something has happened similar in this, to prepare our way to attend with the utmost solemnity in another place a great national thanksgiving for having restored the sovereign to his parliament, and the parliament to its sovereign.
But, my lords, it is not only in the house of prayer, that we offer to the First Cause the acceptable homage of our rational nature-my lords, in this house, at this bar, in this place, in every place where His commands are obeyed, His worship is performed. And, my lords, I must boldly say, (and I think I shall hardly be contradicted by your lordships, or by any persons versed in the law, which guides us all,) that the highest act of religion, and the highest homage, which we can and ought to pay, is an imitation of the divine perfections as far as such a nature can imitate such perfections; and that by this means alone we can make our homage acceptable to him.
My lords, in His temple we shall not forget, that His most distinguished attribute is justice, and that the first
link in the chain, by which we are held to the Supreme Judge of all, is justice ; and that it is in this solemn temple of representative justice we may best give bim praise, be
we can here best imitate his divine attributes. If ever there was a cause, in which justice and mercy are not only combined and reconciled, but incorporated, it is in this cause of suffering nations, which we now bring before your lordships, this second session of parliament, unwearied and unfatigued in our persevering pursuit; and we feel it to be a necessary preliminary, a necessary fact, a necessary attendant and concomitant of every publick thanksgiving, that we should express our gratitude by our virtues, and not merely with our mouths : and that, when we are giving thanks for acts of mercy, we should render ourselves worthy of them by doing acts of mercy ourselves. My lords, these considerations, independent of those, which were our first movers in this business, strongly urge us at present to pursue with all zeal and perseverance the great cause, we have now in hand. And we feel this to be the more necessary, because we cannot but be sensible, that light, unstable, variable, capricious, inconstant, fastidious minds soon tire in any pursuit, that requires strength, steadiness, and perseverance. Such persons, who we trust are but few, and who certainly do not resemble your lordships, nor us, begin already to say, How long is this business to continue ? Our answer is,-lt is to continue till its ends are obtained.
We know, that by a mysterious dispensation of Providence injury is quick and rapid ; and justice slow : and we may say, that those, who have not patience and vigour of mind to attend the tardy pace of justice, counteract the order of Providence, and are resolved not to be just at all. We, therefore, instead of bending the order of nature to the laxity of our characters and tempers, must rather confirm ourselves by a manly fortitude and virtuous perseverance to continue within those forms, and to wrestle with injustice, until we have shown, that those virtues, which sometimes wickedness debauches into its cause, such as vigour, energy, activity, fortitude of spirit, are called back and brought to their true and natural service; and that in the pursuit of