Slike strani

ferred a groundless charge. Should it be querors. Each province was also consitheir opinion, that he had idly sported dered as a body corporate, and consewith their time, and with the character of quently each province was enabled to the governor-general, he did assure the send their grievances to Rome collecHouse, that he would not resist their ven- tively, and to state them as speaking with geance; being once turned out of the one mouth. Noble was the character of door, he would not attempt to force him- an accuser in Rome, and great the advanself in at the window, as other men had | tages which attended him in order to endone. But in fact, what they had to vote able him to bring his charges home against that day, was not the case of Mr. Hastings: a state delinquent, who was stripped of Mr. Hastings was out of the question, be- his power and even of all his righis of cause matter of much higher import called citizenship pending the prosecution, the for their decision. They were that day better to enable the accuser to make out to vote a set of maxims and principles to and establish his accusation. How wide be the rule and guide of future governors was the distinction between this facility of in India; what they determined, there coming at a Roman governor, with high 'fore, would decide the world as to their crimes and misdemeanors, and the exopinion of British justice and British po- treme difficulty of making out any acculicy.

sation with effect against a British goThe code of political principles of govern- vernor! ment which they should that day establish, When he considered that Mr. Hastings as the principles of British government in had been for fourteen years at the head of its distant provinces, would stand recorded the government in India, and that not one as a lasting proof of their wisdom and jus complaint had been sent home against tice, or a test of their injustice and folly. him, he trembled at the enormous degree Lord Cornwallis, who was now going out of power he had to contend with, to which with great additional powers to India, alone could be ascribed the silence in would learn from the decision of that day question ; since it was not in human nawhat the system of government was, and sture, situated as Mr. Hastings had been, what the principles were as the basis of to preserve so pure, even-handed, and unthat system of which the House approved. impeachable a conduct, as to afford no The distanț dependencies had put their room for a single accusation to be stated sword into the hand of Britain; be it then against him. He mentioned also the their business to hold it as the sword of never having seen the face of an Indian justice, and not to turn it against the na- in this country, except a single Mahratta; tives of India, and use it as the sword of and stated the difficulties which must arise, vengeance, cruelty, and murder! The should any oppressed native of Hindostan House would please to recollet the mode madly venture to come to England to urge adopted by Rome as to the government of the complaint of the grievous oppressions her distant provinces, so long as a spark under which he had laboured. These of patriotism and public virtue remained circumstances were additional in her bosom. The Roman empire was which ought to operate with the House, an empire of continuity, each province and induce them still more anxiously to being either immediately or nearly acces- convince all India by their decision, that sible by land: they had likewise one ge. they were the firm friends of freedom and neral tongue to speak with, so that each justice, ever ready to relieve the oppressed man was able to tell his tale in his own and punish the oppressor. As to the way. This common tongue was Greek, charges themselves, excepting in some few which, with some of their own jargon, points, the facts which they contained had constituted all their language, so that they been admitted by Mr. Hastings at their in a manner realized the miraculous gift bar, in what he had called his defence, of tongues. They had another advantage, but which he had couched and delivered rather a melancholy one, as it arose from rather in the style of their master than the very circumstance of their being con- that of the person they were accusing of quered, and it was, that the principal per- high crimes and misdemeanors. He read sons who accomplished the conquest, al. a passage from Mr. Hastings's defence, ways acquired a property and influence in against the charge relative to the affairs each new province by them subdued ; and at Benares, and dwelt on it as an express of course, the vanquished found patrons avowal of a system of despotism and arbie and protectors in the persons of their con- trary power which Mr. Hastings declared


he had uniformly made the rule of his luxuriant garden which every spot of it conduct. It was repugnant to any prin- had been before the Rohilla war. He ciples of government that he had ever gave a history of the origin and life of heard of, and most especially where the Sujah Dowlah and Cossim Ally Khan, and constitution of the superintending govern- entered into an ample statement of the ment was free. Mischiefs must necessarily affair of Nundcomar, and of all the facts arise from subordinate directors of pro- contained in the charge; remarking, that sir vinces exercising arbitrary and despotic Robert Barker had been offered 500,000!., authority; and bighly reproachable indeed and the remission of an annuity of 250,0001. was Mr. Hastings's rapacity after money: due from the Company before Mr. Hastit was one of the prominent features of ings came out, only for employing the his government : and although he had | British brigade in the conquest of a small told the House when at the bar, that he part of the Rohillas belonging to Haffez went out to India with his education but Ramet; and that Mr. Hastings had underhalf finished, it was plain he had com- taken to extirpate the whole nation or pleted it in Bengal upon the true Indian tribe for 400,0001. Mr. Burke then moved system. Nor was his unlawful taking of to have the Resolution in May, 1782, money singly a crime in his mind; but which stigmatized Mr. Hastings's conduct, Mr. Hastings having, always party in his Tea The Master of the Rolls desired to kishers rapacious proceedings, was a very great to what purpose the hon. gentleman wished aggravation of it, inasmuch as it cast an to have the resolution read ? odium on the national character, by Mr. Burke said, his motive for wishing making a private vice appear to be ascri- to have the resolution read, was, in order bable to a public feeling.

to clear himself from the imputation of With respect to the circumstances im having rashly and singly meddled with the mediately precedent to the commence- subject, by shewing that the House had in ment of the Rohilla war, during its con- very strong terms already reprobated Mr. duct and progress, and subsequent to its Hastings's conduct in regard to the Roconclusion, he felt it necessary to observe, hilla war. that had Mr. Hastings so conducted his The resolution having been read, Mr. government, as to leave a country which Burke rose again and gave his motion to he found rich and fertile, increased in its Mr. St. John, who read it to the House. cultivation and produce; had he left its Mr. Wilbraham hoped, for the sake of venerable nobles in possession of their an- Mr. Hastings's honour, that the House cient honours and fortunes ; its merchants would suffer the charges to go to the in the pursuit of an improved and advan- Lords; for there, and there only, Mr. tageous commerce, productive of a still Hastings could have what he said at the more enlarged return of wealth and usury bar he was so anxious for, a full acquittal. I upon their capital ; employed its husband- Wonderful and transcendent were the conmen in carrying their victorious plough- ciliatory talents of Mr. Hastings, who had shares into desarts and woods, and war- found means to conciliate sir Elijah Impey ring against that destruction, solitude and after a public quarrel; he had also found famine, which warred against mankind; he means to conciliate the hon. gentleman, would in that case have said to the go- who at this time with so much ability apvernor-general, “ I inquire not into your peared as his agent in that House; and he particular conduct; I am satisfied with had beside conciliated the right hon, and the result; I want not to know whether learned gentleman, who originally moved you made two or three or five hundred the resolutions, which they had just heard thousand pounds; keep what you have read. The hon. governor would, he had got: you have made a numerous people no doubt, make an ample display of his rich and happy; you have increased the conciliatory talents in the House of Lords. commerce of the country; enlarged its An improper interpretation had been put means of wealth, and improved its reve- on sir Robert Barker's having signed the pues; in so doing, you have reflected how the treaty with the Rohillas; but surely nour and glory on the character of the such an attestation could not fairly be conBritish nation.” Just such a people' had strued into a guaranteeing of the treaty the Rohillas been previous to their exter on the part of sir Robert. mination; but alas! they were now ba- Mr. Nicholls said, that the Rohillas were pished, and their country no longer that originally adventurers and a warlike peop


ple, but were neither the cultivators of vote, from that concerning which he enthe soil, nor the collectors of the revenue. tertained a different opinion. They crossed the Ganges, and took pos- Mr. Burke begged leave to inform his session of Rohilcund about the year 1741, hon, friend why he had drawn the motion and held the offices of power ever since, in its present shape. The right hon. gentill the period of their expulsion in 1775. tleman opposite had desired that the moMr. Nicholls justified every step taken by tion might be proposed, as nearly as posMr. Hastings, and insisted upon it, that sible, in the form in which he should be sir Robert Barker's attestation was with a of opinion it might go to the Lords. view to guarantee the treaty. He ridi. Being therefore well aware that the Lords culed the idea that sir Robert only gua- would expect the articles sent up, as ranteed the treaty on the part of the Ro- grounds of an impeachment, to contain a hillas, declaring that no man ever heard specific statement of facts and periods of of a guarantee on one side only. Sujah time and place, he had drawn his motion ul Doula had been our ally, and our in- accordingly; but he was not wedded to terests being necessarily involved in his, its forn). If in addition to the hon. genwhen it appeared to be his determination tleman's opinion he should find it to be to make war on the Rohillas, we were the opinion of the House, he had no obobliged in a manner to join him; but the jection to retire for a minute or two, and making the Rohillas cross the Ganges was draw a short general motion of the nanot an extirpation any more than sending ture pointed out, and which, but for the the Austrian army out of Austria would reason he had stated, would certainly have be an extirpation of the whole Austrian been the form in which he should have nation. He went through the history of introduced it. the sale of the provinces of Corah and The Chancellor of the Exchequer joinIllahabad, and justified the demanding of ing with Mr. Powys, and likewise Mr. the five additional lacks of rupees, when Wilberforce, those gentlemen, as well as the Vizier desired to suspend the war he Mr. Fox, suggested different forms of had meditated against the Rohillas. He motions, so as to meet the general ideą ; also justified that part of the charge rela- whereupon Mr. Burke withdrew his first tive to Mr. Hastings's conduct in regard motion, and substituted the following, to his secret manner of conducting the “ That this committee having considered treaty of Benares, and summed up his the charge of the Rohilla war, and exaspeech, by declaring that he would give mined witnesses thereupon, is of opinion his negative against the question.

that there is ground for charging Warren Mr. Powys declared, that he did not Hastings, esq. with high crimes and misascribe the strange nature of the question demeanors upon the matter of the said to any improper intention on the part of charge.his right hon. friend, who had with such Mr. Powys then resumed. He dewonderful ability expatiated upon it; but clared, that the part of the charge which he had imagined that the committee would related to an imputation of cruel treatnot have been expected to do more than ment to the prisoners had not been proved vote some general resolution that night, or brought home to Mr. Hastings. He such as, that the charge contained matter stated what facts he thought had been of a criminal nature, or words to something proved, and especially that of extirpating like that effect. To explain what he meant the Rohillas. He answered Mr. Nicholls's more fully; the present motion enumerated argument, that forcing the Rohillas to almost every fact alleged in the charge cross the Ganges was no more the extiras criminal. To that extent he was not pation of a nation than obliging the prepared to go. Several of the facts did Austrian army to quit Austria would be not appear to him to have been proved, or extirpating the Austrian nation. He asked if proved, were not criminal ; others, on what the learned gentleman would think if the contrary, did appear to be criminal, the militia of England were compelled to and he was ready to vote them. If the quit the island of Great Britain ? He right hon. gentleman would withdraw his read some extracts from Mr. Hastings's motion and put it generally, as he had own letters, and declared that upon the hinted, he would vote for it; if the pre- whole he saw no ground to impute either sent motion were to stand, he must go personal or vindictive motives to Mr. through its detail, and separate what he Hastings; and therefore, though he should thought criminal, and was prepared to vote for the motion, he begged to be up

the powers

derstood as by no means pledging him. / rendered abortive by the court of proself to vote for the other charges, or to vote prietors, among whom Mr. Hastings 'had for carrying up articles of impeachment so many friends, that they sent back the to the Lords, merely on the single ground vote of the court of directors, and kept of the present resolution. He also al. Mr. Hastings in his situation. No other luded to the circumstance of Mr. Hastings means for removing him, therefore, could having been appointed three several times have been resorted to, but his bringing in by the same administration, after the affair a new Bill to alter again the constitution of the Rohilla war, and said, it was un- of the East India Company. That, as doubtedly a circumstance in his favour; their constitution had been so lately setbut what must the House think of the tled, he did not think it advisable, beconduct of that Administration, who could cause, if any alteration had been made, not but know of all the criminal facts he must still farther have encroached on stated in the charge of that day, and yet

of the court of directors. At continued to employ him?

a subsequent period, two gentlemen (Mr. Mr. Montague observed, that the reco- Grant and Mr. Macleane) came over from very of the forty lacks of rupees due from India, and made it appear to the court of the Rohillas to Sujah ul Dowlah, was the directors that they were authorized to only apparent and ostensible reason for make a tender of Mr. Hastings's resignacommencing the war upon that people; tion. The court accepted the resignation, but it was evident there had been some and Mr. Wheeler was appointed to sucother reason, which ought to be known ceed Mr. Hastings; but, on their return and stated.

to Calcutta, Mr. Hastings refused to Lord North observed, that he felt it acknowledge that he had given the genhighly requisite to explain a matter per- tlemen any authority to tender his resig. sonal' to himself, and alluded to by an nation, and would not give up his office. hon. gentleman. His lordship then gave In 1778, when a new bill was necessary a circumstantial account of his conduct to be passed, the French war commenced, while at the head of administration, rela- and he did not think that a fit time to tive to the appointment of Mr. Hastings make an alteration in the constitution of three several times. When the Bill ap- our government in India, and considering pointing a new constitution for the East Mr. Hastings as a man of abilities, he India Company, and abridging part of the continued him in his government. For powers before enjoyed by the directors, his own part, he had, ever since he first was before the House, he moved to nomi- | heard of the Rohilla war, uniformly connate Mr. Hastings for five years president demned it; and one reason for his not at Calcutta, and after that time the power recalling Mr. Hastings, was an expectaof nominating their chief servants in In- tion that he would voluntarily resign, from dia was to revert to the court of directors, knowing that the court of directors conti. and be by them enjoyed as before. By the nued to condemn his acts, and he (Mr. same Bill general Clavering, Mr. Monson, Hastings) to declare, that he should disand Mr. Francis, had been appointed (and dain to hold an employment under those a better council had never been sent out), who reprobated his measures. and at that time the news of the Rohilla The Earl of Mornington expressed his war, and all its circumstances, had not surprise at the extraordinary reasonsreached England. Soon after the arrival which the noble lord had assigned for of the new council in India, they sent his having three times appointed Mr. home complaints against the governor. Hastings to the chief place in the governgeneral on the subject of the Rohilla war, ment of Bengal, subsequent to the Rohilla stating such facts as had then come to war. First the noble lord had said, that their knowledge. As soon as he was ap- he knew nothing of the Rohilla war till prised of those facts, he thought Mr. lately: this was an extraordinary declaraHastings's conduct highly censurable, and tion from a noble lord who had been at he sent to the court of directors, and desired the head of his Majesty's councils at the them to make every possible exertion for time; for who ought to know such a fact, the recall or dismission of Mr. Hastings. but an administration possessing the then The court of directors condemned Mr. newly-given control and inspection over Hastings's conduct as much as he did; a the Company's affairs and dispatches ? court was called, and his dismission resolved Next, the noble lord had expressed great cn. That vote of the directors, however, was delicacy with regard to interfering with the East India Company's constitution. / necessary to constitute guaranteeshipHe was glad to hear the noble lord's | that there ought to be three parties to the delicacy on that subject had been of such treaty, the two contracting parties, and antiquity; he presumed, therefore, that it that which was to guarantee: that the had been owing to that subserviency which relation of the parties to each other should a right hon. gentleman had lately talked be specially recited, and of course the of exacting from all those parties, which | intention of one of the parties to become coalesced with him and his friends, that guarantee be fully set forth, and that the noble lord had condescended to pursue without such recital and particular specifithat line of conduct that he had followed cation there could be no guarantee, and in respect to a bill relative to the East any signature could only stand as a simple India Company, which was not a little attestation. famous in that House and throughout the Mr. Windham contended, that as sir Rocountry. The noble lord had stated to bert had declared that he signed the treaty the House, that the court of directors merely because otherwise the Rohillas condemned every one of the acts of Mr. would not have had faith in the Vizier, if sic Hastings, and therefore the noble lord Robert was to be considered as a guarante thought it would be wrong to turn him at all, it must be as a guarantee and security out of his government! A most extra- to the Rohillas. But putting that circum ordinary reason, with an explanation to stance out of the question, Mr. Windhana which he should hope that the noble lord asked, whether it was pretended the Rowould favour the House, not without hillas had violated the treaty? No sucia stating (what he had hitherto omitted) pretence was urged, and therefore Mr. his sentiments concerning the subject of Hastings was left without excuse for bis the present debate.

conduct in having employed the Britis.. Lord North answered, that with regard arms to attack and extirpate a nation c. to any delicacy which he felt about the tribe, who had given no offence to the East India Company's constitution, he did British forces or the British civil goverrinot recollect to have put the question on ment in India. delicacy; and as to chartered rights, he Lord Mulgrave defended the conduct had not said one word about them. If of Mr. Hastings, declaring that he could the noble lord wished to know why he did make out the policy, and would assume the not move or take a part in supporting that justice of it. He rested his argument upon bill during the war, he was ready to admit, the customs of the East, where treaties were that the moving it when it was moved did generally negociated sword in hand, and him no good; and the loss of it was, in the commander in chief was usually deemed his mind, a great public evil. Had it by the native princes the supreme power. been moved in the war time, it certainly This he applied to sir Robert's having would not have made bis administration signed the treaty as a mutual guarantee more firm.

With regard to his opinion between thé nabob vizier, our ally, and on the present question, if the noble lord the Rohillas. would have the patience to wait till he Mr. Hardinge said, that his own feelings voted, he would then discover the nature and his duty to the public, had, after the of his opinion, to guide him in which he most mature consideration, determined felt it necessary, (and perhaps the noble him as to the vote he should give on the lord stood in a similar case) to hear more present occasion, which should certainly arguments.

be in the affirmative of the motion before Mr. M. 4. Taylor elucidated the doc- the House. He flattered himself that trine of guaranteeship, proving from thence there was nothing in his general conduct that the Company were by no means gua and character that could subject him to a rantees to the treaty between the Rohillas suspicion of being influenced either by and Sujah ul Dowla, and of course that personal acrimony against Mr. Hastings, Mr. Hastings had no excuse whatever for or by the tide of party prejudice. In fact, entering into a war with the latter against his only aim was to promote the true inthe former. Sir R. Barker had told them | terest of his country, the honour of that at their bar, that when he signed the House, and the distribution of impartial treaty he had not done it with any inten- justice. He was sorry to see a tendency tion that it should make the Company gua- in some of those gentlemen who had rantee to that treaty, but simply as an at- spoken against the motion, to adopt those testation. He pointed out what he thought pernicious principles with which the House

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