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advanced against Mr. HASTINGS, on the subject of the fourth article in the general charge of a right honorable member, Mr. BURKE. But even this was far beneath his notice. The rectitude and strength of his cause were noc to be prejudiced by such pitiful expedients; nor should he waste a moment in counteracting measures, which, though insidious, were proportionately frivolous and unavailing. Nor would he take up the time of the committee with any general arguments to prove, that the subject of the charge, which it fell to his lot to bring forward, was of great moment and magnitude. The attention which parliament had paid to the affairs of India, for many sessions past, the voluminous productions of their committees on that subject, the various proceedings in that House respecting it, their own strong and pointed resoe lutions, the repeated recommendation of his Majesty, and their reiterated assurances of paying due regard to those recommendations, as well as various acts of the le. gislature, were all of them undeniable proofs of the moment and magnitude of the consideration, and incontrovertibly established this plain, broad fact, that parliament directly acknowledged that the British name and character had been dishonored and rendered detest. ed throughout India, by the malversation and crimes of the principal servant of the East India Company. That fact having been established beyond all question by themselves, and by their own acts, there needed no argument, on his part, to induce the committee to see the importance of the subject about to be discussed on that day, in a more striking point of view, than they themselves had held it up to public observation. There were, he knew, persons without doors, who affected to ridicule the idea of prosecuting Mr. HASTINGS, and who not inconsistently redoubled their exertions, in pro


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portion as the prosecution became more serious, and to increase their sarcasms upon the subject, by asserting that parliament might be more usefully employed ; that there were matters of more immediate moment to gain their attention; that a commercial treaty with France had been just concluded, and that it was an object of a vast and comprehensive nature, and of itself sufficient to engross their attention. To all this he would oppose these questions. Was parliament mispending its time by inquiring into the oppressions practised on millions of unfortunate persons in India, and endeavouring to bring the daring delinquent, who had been guilty of the most flagrant acts of enormous tyranny and rapacious peculation, to exemplary and condign punishment? Was it a misuse of their functions to be diligent in attempting, by the most effectual means, to wipe off the disgrace affixed to the British name in India, and to rescue the national character from lasting infamy ? Surely no man who felt either for the one, or the other, would think a business of greater moment or magnitude could occupy his ate tention, or that the House could with too much steadis ness, too ardent a zeal, or too industrious a perseverance, pursue its object. Their conduct in this respect, during the course of the preceding year, had done them im. mortal honor, and proved to all the world, that however degenerate an example of Englishmen some of the British subjects had exhibited in India, the people of England collectively speaking and acting by their res presentatives, felt, as men should feel on such an occasion; that they were anxious to do justice, by redressing injuries, and punishing offenders, however high their rank, however elevated their station. Their indefatigable exertions in committees appointed to inquire con. cerning the affairs of India, their numerous, elaborate,


and clear reports, their long and interesting debates, their solemn addresses to the throne, their rigorous legislative acts, their marked detestation of that novel and base sophism in the principles of judicial inquiry, (constantly the language of the Governor-General's servile dependents) that crimes might be compounded, that the guilt of Mr. HASTINGS was to be balanced by his successes, that fortunate events were a full and complete set. off against a system of oppression, corruption, breach of faith, peculation, and treachery; and finally, their solemn and awful judgment that in the case of Benares, Mr. HASTINGS's conduct was a proper object of parliamentary impeachment had covered them with applause, and brought them forward in the face of all the world, as the objects of perpetual admiration. Not less unquestionably just than highly virtuous was the assertion of the Commons of Great Britain, that there were acts which no political necessity could warrant, and that amidst flagrancies of such an inexplicable description was the treatment of CHEIT SING. To use the well-founded and emphatic language of a right honorable gentleman, [Mr. Pitt] the committee had discovered in the administration of Mr. HASTINGS proceedings of strong injustice, of grinding oppression, and unprovoked severity. In this decision the committee had, also, vindicated the character of his right honorable friend, Mr. BURKE, from the slanderous tongue of ignorance and perversion. They had by their vote on that question, declared, that the man who brought the charges was no false accuser ; that he was not moved by envy, by malice, nor by any unworthy motives to blacken a spotless name; but that he was the indefatigable, persevering, and, at length, successful champion of oppressed multitudes against their tyrannical oppressor. With sound justice, with manly


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firmness, with unshaken integrity, had his right honora able friend, on all occasions, resisted the timid policy of mere remedial acts ; even the high opinion of Mr. HasTINGs's successor, even the admired worth of lord CORNWALLIS's character, had been deemed by his honorable friend an indequate atonement to India for the injuries so heavily inflicted on that devoted country. Animated with the same zeal, the committee had, by that memorable vote, given a solemn pledge of their farther inten. tions. They had audibly said to India-you shall no longer be seduced into temporary acquiescence by sending out a titled governor, or a set of vapouring resolutions—It is not with stars and ribbands, and all the badges of regal favor, that we atone to you for past delinquencies. No! you shall have the solid consolation of seeing an end to your grievances, by an example of punishment for those that have already taken place. The House has set up a beacon, which, while it served to guide their own way, would also make their motions more conspicuous to the world which surrounded, and beheld them. He had no doubt but in their manly determination, to go through the whole of the business with the same steadiness which gave such sterling brilliancy of character to their outset, they might challenge the world, to observe and judge of them by the result. Impossible was it for sạch men to become improperly influenced by a paper, bearing the signature of WARREN HASTINGS, and put not many minutes before into their hands, as well as his own, on their entrance into the House. This insidious paper he felt himself at liberty to consider as a second defence, and a second answer to the charge he was about to bring forward ; a charge replete with proof of criminality of the blackest die, of tyranny the most vile and premeditated, of corruption the most open and


shameless, of oppression the most severe and grinding, of cruelty the most hard and unparalleled. But he was far from meaning to rest the charge on assertion, or on any warm expressions which the impulse of wounded feelings might produce. He would establish every part of the charge, by the most unanswerable proof, and the most unquestionable evidence ; and the witness whom he would bring forth to support every fact he should state should be, for the most part, one whom no man would venture to contradict-WARREN HASTINGS himself. Yet this character had friends, nor were they blameable. They might believe him guiltless, because he asserted his integrity. Even the partial warmth of friendship, and the emotions of a good, admiring, and unsuspecting heart, might not only carry them to such lengths, but incite them to rise with an intrepid confidence in his vindication. Again,” Mr. SHERIDAN added, “ he would repeat that the vote of last session, wherein the conduct of this pillar of India, this corner-stone of our strength in the East, this talisman of the British territories in Asia, was censured, did the greatest honor to this House, as it must be the forerunner of speedy justice on that character, which was said to be above censure, and whose conduct, we were given to understand, was not within the reach even of suspicion; but whose deeds indeed were such as no difficulties, no necessity could justify; for where is the situation, however elevated, and in that elevation however embarassed, that can authorise the wilful com. mission of oppression and rapacity? If at any period a point arose, on which inquiry had been full, deliberate, and dispassionate, it was the present. There were questions in which party conviction was supposed to be a matter of easy acquisition ; and if this inquiry were to be considered

; merely as a matter of party, he should regard it as very


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