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to destroy those establishments which enabled the people to dig wells and to cultivate the country like a garden, and then to leave the whole in the hands of your arbitrary and wicked Residents and their instruments, chosen without the least idea of government and without the least idea of protection?”
God has sometimes converted wickedness into madness; and it is to the credit of human reason, that men who are not in some degree mad are never capable of being in the highest degree wicked. The human faculties and reason are in such cases deranged; and therefore this man has been dragged by the just vengeance of Providence to make his own madness the discoverer of his own wicked, perfidious, and cursed machinations in that devoted country.
Think, my Lords, of what he says respecting the military. He says there is no restraining them, that they pillage the country wherever they go. But had not Mr. Hastings himself just before encouraged the military to pillage the country? Did he not make the people's resistance, when the soldiers attempted to pillage them, one of the crimes of Cheyt Sing ? And who would dare to obstruct the military in their abominable ravages, when they knew that one of the articles of Cheyt Sing's impeachment was his having suffered the people of the country, when plundered by these wicked soldiers, to return injury for injury and blow for blow? When they saw, I say, that these were the things for which Cheyt Sing was sacrificed, there was manifestly nothing left for them but flight. - What! fly from a Governor-General ? You would expect he was bearing to the country, upon his balmy and healing wings, the cure of all its disorders and of all its distress. No: they knew him too well;
they knew him to be the destroyer of the country ; they knew him to be the destroyer of their sovereign, the destroyer of the persons whom he had appointed to govern under him; they knew that neither governor, sub-governor, nor subject could enjoy a moment's security while he possessed supreme power. This was the state of the country; and this the Commons of England call upon your Lordships to avenge.
Let us now see what is next done by the prisoner at your bar. He is satisfied with simply removing from his office Jagher Deo Seo, who is accused by him of all these corruptions and oppressions. The other poor, unfortunate man, who was not even accused of malversations in such a degree, and against whom not one of the accusations of oppression was regularly proved, but who had, in Mr. Hastings's eye, the one unpardonable fault of not having been made richer by his crimes, was twice imprisoned, and finally perished in prison. But we have never heard one word of the imprisonment of Jagher Deo Seo, who, I believe, after some mock inquiry, was acquitted.
Here, my Lords, I must beg you to recollect Mr. Hastings's proceeding with Gunga Govind Sing, and to contrast his conduct towards these two peculators with his proceeding towards Durbege Sing. Such a comparison will let your Lordships into the secret of one of the prisoner's motives of conduct upon such occasions. When you will find a man pillaging and desolating a country, in the manner Jagher Deo Seo is described by Mr. Hastings to have done, but who takes care to secure to himself the spoil, you will likewise find that such a man is safe, secure, unpunished. Your Lordships will recollect the desolation
of Dinugepore. You will recollect that the rapacious Gunga Govind Sing, (the coadjutor of Mr. Hastings in peculation,) out of 80,0001. which he had received on the Company's account, retained 40,0001. for his own use, and that, instead of being turned out of his employment and treated with rigor and cruelty, he was elevated in Mr. Hastings's grace and favor, and never called upon for the restoration of a penny. Observe, my Lords, the difference in his treatment of men who have wealth to purchase impunity, or who have secrets to reveal, and of another who has no such merit, and is poor and insolvent.
We have shown your Lordships the effects of Mr. Hastings's government upon the country and its inhabitants; and although I have before suggested to you some of its effects upon the army of the Company, I will now call your attention to a few other observations on that subject. Your Lordships will, in the first place, be pleased to attend to the character which he gives of this army. You have heard what he tells you of the state of the country in which it was stationed, and of the terror which it struck into the inhabitants. The appearance of an English soldier was enough to strike the country people with affright and dismay: they everywhere, he tells you, fled before them. And yet they are the officers of this very army who are brought here as witnesses to express the general satisfaction of the people of India. To be sure, a man who never calls Englislımen to an account for any robbery or injury whatever, who acquits them, upon their good intentions, without any inquiry, will in return for this indemnity have their good words. We are not surprised to find them coming with emulation to your bar to declare
him possessed of all virtues, and that nobody has or can have a right to complain of him. But we, my Lords, protest against these indemnities; we protest against their good words; we protest against their testimonials; and we insist upon your Lordships trying him, not upon what this or that officer says of his good conduct, but upon the proved result of the actions tried before you. Without ascribing, perhaps, much guilt to men who must naturally wish to favor the person who covers their excesses, who suffers their fortunes to be made, you will know what value to set upon their testimony. The Commons look on those testimonies with the greatest slight, and they consider as nothing all evidence given by persons who are interested in the very cause, - persons who derive their fortunes from the ruin of the very people of the country, and who have divided the spoils with the man whom we accuse. Undoubtedly these officers will give him their good word. Undoubtedly the Residents will give him their good word. Mr. Markham, and Mr. Benn, and Mr. Fowke, if he had been called, every servant of the Company, except some few, will give him the same good word, every one of them ; because, my Lords, they have made their fortunes under him, and their conduct has not been inquired into.
But to return to the observations we were making upon the ruinous effects in general of the successive governments which had been established at Benares by the prisoner at your bar. These effects, he would have
you believe, arose from the want of a constitution. Why, I again ask, did he destroy the constitution which he found established there, or suffer it to be destroyed? But he had actually authorized Mr. Markham to make a new, a regular, an official con stitution. Did Mr. Markham make it? No: though he professed to do it, it never was done: and so far from there being any regular, able, efficient constitution, you see there was an absolute and complete anarchy in the country. The native inhabitants, deprived of their ancient government, were so far from looking up to their new masters for protection, that, the moment they saw the face of a soldier or of a British person in authority, they fled in dismay, and thought it more eligible to abandon their houses to robbery than to remain exposed to the tyranny of a British governor. Is this what they call British dominion ? Will you sanction by your judicial authority transactions done in direct defiance of your legislative authority ? Are they so injuriously mad as to suppose your Lordships can be corrupted to betray in your judicial capacity (the most sacred of the two) what you have ordained in your legislative character ?
My Lords, I am next to remind you what this man has had the insolence and audacity to state at your bar. “In fact,” says he, “ I can adduce very many gentlemen now in London to confirm my assertions, that the countries of Benares and Gazipore were never within the memory of Englishmen so well protected, so peaceably governed, or more industriously cultivated than at the present moment."
Your Lordships know that this report of Mr. Hastings which has been read was made in the year 1784.
. Your Lordships know that no step was taken, while Mr. Hastings remained in India, for the regulation and management of the country. If there was, let it be shown. There was no constitution framed, nor