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which are so. The rights of the people are every thing, as they ought to be in the true and natural order of things. God forbid that these maxims should trench upon sovereignty, and its true, just, and lawful prerogative: on the contrary, they ought to support and establish them. The sovereign's rights are undoubtedly sacred rights, and ought to be so held in every country in the world; because exercised for the benefit of the people, and in subordination to that great end for which alone God has vested power in any man or any set of men. This is the law that we insist upon, and these are the principles upon which your Lordships are to try the Prisoner at
Let me remind your Lordships, that these people lived under the laws to which I have referred you, and that these laws were formed whilst we, I may say, were in the forest; certainly before we knew what technical jurisprudence was.
These laws are allowed to be the basis and substratum of the manners, customs, and opinions, of the people of India ; and we contend, that Mr. Hastings is bound to know them and to act by them; and I shall prove, that the very condition upon which he received power in India, was to protect the people in their laws and known rights. But whether Mr. Hastings did know these laws, or whether, content with credit gained by as base a fraud as was ever practised, he did not read the books which Nobkissin paid for; we take the benefit of them: we know and speak after knowledge of them. And although I believe his council have never read them, I should be sorry to stand in this place, if there was one word and tittle in these books that I had not read over.
We therefore come here and declare to you, that he is not borne out by these institutes, either in their general spirit or in any particular passage, to which he has had the impudence to appeal, in the assumption of the arbitrary power which he has exercised. We claim, that, as our own Government, and every person exercising authority in Great Britain is bound by the laws of Great Britain, so every person exercising authority in another country shall be subject to the laws of that country; since otherwise, they break the very covenant by which we hold our power there. Even if these institutes had been arbitrary, which they are not, they might have been excused as the acts of conquerors. But, my Lords, he is no conqueror, nor any thing but what you see him ; a bad scribbler of absurd papers, in which he can put no two sentences together without contradiction. We know him in no other character than that of having been a bullock contractor for some years; of having acted fraudulently in that capacity, and afterwards giving fraudulent contracts to others; and yet I will maintain, that the first conquerors of the world would have been base and abandoned if they had assumed such a right as he dares to claim. It is the glory of all such great men to have for their motto, Parcere subjectis et debellare superbos. These were men that said they would recompense the countries which they had obtained through torrents of blood, through carnage and violence; by the justice of their insti. tutions, the mildness of their laws, and the equity of their government. Even if these conquerors had promulgated arbitrary institutes instead of disclaiming them in every point, you, iny Lords, would never suffer such principles of defence to be urged here; still less will you suffer the examples of men acting by violence, of men acting by wrong ; ---the example of a man who has become a rebel to his sovereign in order that he should become the tyrant of his people, to be examples for a British governour, or for any governour. We here confidently protest against this mode of justification, and we maintain that his pretending to follow these examples is in itself a crime. The Prisoner has ransacked all Asia for principles of despotism ; he has ran. sacked all the bad and corrupted part of it for
tyrannical examples to justify himself; and certainly in no other way can he be justified.
Having established the falsehood of the first principle of the Prisoner's defence, that sovereignty, wherever it exists in India, implies in its nature and essence a power of exacting any thing from the subject, and disposing of his person and property ;--we now come to his second assertion, that he was the true, full, and perfect representative of that sovereignty in India.
In opposition to this assertion we first do positively deny, that he or the Company are the perfect representative of any sovereign power whatever. They have certain rights by their charter, and by Acts of Parliament, but they have no other. They have their legal rights only, and these do not imply any such thing as sovereign power.
The sovereignty of Great Britain is in the King, he is the Sovereign of the Lords, and the Sovereign of the Commons, individually and collectively; and as he has his prerogative established by law, he must exercise it, and all persons claiming and deriving under him, whether by Act of Parliament, whether by charter of the Crown, or by any other mode whatever, all are alike bound by law, and responsible to it. No one can assume or receive any power of sovereignty, because the sove
reignty is in the Crown, and cannot be delegated away from the Crown; no such delegation ever took place, or ever was intended ; as any one may see in the Act by which Mr. Hastings was nominated governour.
He cannot, therefore, exercise that high supreme sovereignty, which is vested by the law, with the consent of both Houses of Parliament, in the King, and in the King only. It is a violent, rebellious assumption of power, when Mr. Hastings pretends fully, perfectly, and entirely, to represent the Sovereign of this country, and to exercise legislative, executive, and judicial authority, with as large and broad a sway as His Majesty, acting with the consent of the two Houses of Parliament, and agreeably to the laws of this Kingdom. I say, my Lords, this is a traitorous and rebellious assumption which he has no right to make, and which we charge against him, and therefore it cannot be urged in justification of his conduct in any respect.
He next alleges, with reference to one particular case, that he received this sovereignty from the Vizier Sujah Dowlah, who he pretends was sovereign, with an unlimited power over the life, goods, and property of Cheit Sing. This we positively deny. Whatever power the
supreme sovereign of the empire had, we deny that it was delegated to Sujah Dowlah. He never was in possession of it. He was a Vizier of the