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fore you, and amongst others for cruelly using persons of the highest rank and consideration in India; and when we prove he has cruelly injured them, you will think the panegyrics either gross forgeries or most miserable aggravations of his offences, since they show the abject and dreadful state into which he has driven those people. For let it be proved that 1 have cruelly robbed and maltreated any persons, if I produce a certificate from them of my good behavior, would it not be a corroborative proof of the terror into which those persons are thrown by my misconduct ?
My Lords, these are, I believe, the general grounds of our charge. I have now closed completely, and I hope to your Lordships' satisfaction, the whole body of history of which I wished to put your Lordships in possession. I do not mean that many of your Lordships may not have known it more perfectly by your own previous inquiries; but, bringing to your remembrance the state of the circumstances of the persons with whom he acted, the persons and power he has abused, I have gone to the principles he maintains, the precedents he quotes, the laws and authorities which he refuses to abide by, and those on which he relies; and at last I have refuted all those pleas in bar on which he depends, and for the effect of which he presumes on the indulgence and patience of this country, or on the corruption of some persons in it. And here I close what I had to say upon this subject,
wishing and hoping, that, when I open before your Lordships the case more particularly, so as to state rather a plan of the proceeding than the direct proof of the crimes, your Lordships will hear me with the
same goodness and indulgence I have hitherto experienced, - that you will consider, if I have detained you long, it was not with a view of exhausting my own strength, or putting your patience to too severe a trial, but from the sense I feel that it is the most difficult and the most complicated cause that was ever brought before any human tribunal. Therefore I was resolved to bring the whole substantially before you. And now, if your Lordships will permit me, I will state the method of my future proceeding, and the future proceeding of the gentlemen assisting me.
I mean first to bring before you the crimes as they are classed, and are of the same species and genus, and how they mutually arose from one another. I shall first show that Mr. Hastings's crimes had root in that which is the root of all evil, I mean avarice; that avarice and rapacity were the groundwork and foundation of all his other vicious system ; that he showed it in setting to sale the native government of the country, in setting to sale the whole landed interest of the country, in setting to sale the British government and his own fellow-servants, to the basest and wickedest of mankind.
I shall then show your Lordships, that, when, in consequence of such a body of corruption and peculation, he justly dreaded the indignation of his country and the vengeance of its laws, in order to raise himself a faction embodied by the same guilt and rewarded in the same manner, he has, with a most abandoned profusion, thrown away the revenues of the country to form such a faction here.
I shall next show your Lordships, that, having exhausted the resources of the Company, and brought it to extreme difficulties within, he has looked to his external resources, as he calls them; he has gone up into the country. I will show that he has plundered, or attempted to plunder, every person dependent upon, connected, or allied with this country.
We shall afterwards show what infinite mischief has followed in the case of Benares, upon which he first laid his hands; next, in the case of the Begums of Oude.
We shall then lay before you the profligate system by which he endeavored to oppress that country: first by Residents ; next by spies under the name of British Agents; and lastly, that, pursuing his way up to the mountains, he has found out one miserable chief, whose crimes were the prosperity of his country, that him he endeavored to torture and destroy, - I do not mean in his body, but by exhausting the treasures which he kept for the benefit of his people.
In short, having shown your Lordships that no man who is in his power is safe from his arbitrary will, – that no man, within or without, friend, ally, rival, has been safe from him, - having brought it to this point, if I am not able in my own person immediately to go up into the country and show the ramifications of the system, (I hope and trust I shall be spared to take my part in pursuing him through both,) if I am not, I shall go at least to the root of it, and some other gentleman, with a thousand times more ability than I possess, will take up each separate part in its proper order. And I believe it is proposed by the managers that one of them shall as soon as possible begin with the affair of Benares.
The point I now mean first to bring before your Lordships is the corruption of Mr. Hastings, his system of peculation and bribery, and to show your Lordships the horrible consequences which resulted from it : for, at first sight, bribery and peculation do not seem to be so horrid a matter; they may seem to be only the transferring a little money out of one pocket into another; but I shall show that by such a system of bribery the country is undone.
I shall inform your Lordships in the best manner I can, and afterwards submit the whole, as I do with a cheerful heart and with an easy and assured security, to that justice which is the security for all the other justice in the kingdom.
END OF VOL. IX.