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examine the evidence, and find the India, if the result of the proceed. articles on which the impeachment ings in that house should be to find was to be founded. --This mode of that enormous peculation existed, proceeding had, from the heat and but that there was no peculator; paflion with which the minds of that there was gross corruption, but men were sometimes apt to be in no person to corrupt, or to be corHamed, led the house, on more than rupted ; that a torrent of violence, one occasion, into the disgraceful oppression, and cruelty had deluged dilemma of either abandoning the that country, but that every soul in impeachment they had voted, or of it was juft, moderate, and humane? preferring articles which they had To trace peculation to the pecula, not evidence to support. In order tor, corruption to its source, and to steer clear of this disgrace, he oppression to the oppressor, had been should move that such papers as the object of the researches of the were necessary for subftantiating the several committees that had been guilt of Mr. Hastings, if guilt there instituted at different times by the was, should be laid before the house; house ; and the result was, they and that these papers, together found that government in India with the charges extraded from could not be foul and the governor them, should be referred to a com pure. After a specch of confidermittee of the whole house, and evi- able length, in which these and dence examined thereon: if the char- many other topics of the same nages should then appear, what he be ture were argued with great force lieved they would be found to be, and perspicuity, Mr. Burke concharges of the blackest and foulest cluded, by moving, “ That copies nature, and supported by compe- of all correspondence, fince the tent and fufficient evidence, the month of Jannary 1782, between house would then proceed with con Warren Hastings, Esquire, goverfidence and dignity to the bar of nor general of Bengal, and the the house of lords.
court of directors, as well be. Having itated these matters with fore as. since the return of the said great precision, Mr. Burke went governor general, relative to preinto a series of reflections on the fents and other money particularly rature of the office he had under- reccived by the said governor gene. taken. Every accuser, he said, was ral, be laid before this house." himself under accusation at the very The reflections thrown out by time he accused another; it behoved Mr. Burka, relative to the resoluhim to act upon sure grounds, and tions of the secret committee, and he had therefore chosen the line of the conduct of Mr. Dundas, calconduct he had just explained, as
led up that gentleman to justify being at the same time the most ef- the part he had taken.--He acfectual for the purposes of public knowledged that he undoubtedly justice, and the least exposed to the was the person who suggested the danger of error: he urged the un resolutions alluded to, and he had avoidable necessity of making the not the smallest scruple to admit enquiry perional; he asked what that the fame sentiments that he enwould be the sentiments of the mi- tertained respecting Mr. Hastings, serable and oppressed natives of at the time of proposing those reso.
lutions, he entertained at that mo what ?-to punish ?-No! but to ment; but would any one contend recal certain of the company's that those sentiments went fo far as servants. Whether the conduct by to fuppose Mr. Hastings to be a fit which the confidence had been loit object for a criminal proiecution ? was imputable as a crime to those The resolutions went to the recal of servants, was totally another confi. Mr. Hastings, a matter which he deration : he was indeed ready to at the time thought expedient, join in opinion with the gentlemen and had recommended it to the opposite to him, that if any real house as a matter of expediency guilt was to be investigated, and only. He thought the conduct of adequate punishment to be inflicted, Mr. Hastings, since the period to his right honourable friend would which those resolutious referred, not be full as proper a person to take only not criminal bet highly meri. the lead, and full as likely to actorious, and he had for that reason complish all the purposes of pubapproved of the vote of thanks lic justice, as those gentlemen inwhich the court of directors had to whose hands the prosecution conferred upon him.
would fall; but, as it had been said The charge of inconfistency being in the course of the debate that again urged against Mr. Dundas there were occasions when the forwith great severity, by Mr. Fox, mal rules of common justice might Mr. Pitt rose up in his defence, and be overleaped, and a prosecution retorted the charge with some conducted with violence and reacrimony on Mr. Fox, ivhose con- sentment, rather than by the dull duct, he faid, in the coalition he had forms of ordinary proceedings, formed with a person whom he had perhaps, considering the present bubeen in the habit of loading with finess in that point of view, the the most extravagant reproaches, gentlernen that had taken it up were had sufficiently explained to the the fittest people to be intrufted, public his ideas of consistency. He with it: with respect to the papers contended that the resolution of re- moved for, Mr. Pitt made no obcal by no means pledged the house jection, but hoped the gentleman to prosecute ; fince, if that were the who moved for them would inform cate, they would on all occasions be the house as early and as explicitly reduced to the necessity either of as possible of the nature and extent hesitating on such a step (however of the charges he intended to urgent the emergency might be) make. untila fuil examination of the con The question being carried, Mr. duct of the person could be had, or Burke proceeded to move for a of rendering a prosecution unavoid. great variety of other papers, which able, although no adequate en he alledged were necessary for the quiry had been instituted to evince prosecution of the cause he had units propriety. "The resolutions con dertaken. These motions produced tained in themselves the whole of much conversation, and towards the the object for which they were de- close of the day there appeared figned, namely, that in order to re some hesitation in the ministers of corer the lost confidence of the the crown, whether it would be princes of India, it was adviseable,' proper to produce whatever papers
might be called for on the mere aid, he ought not to be denied the suggestion of the mover, without means of digesting, explaining, or insisting upon his stating to the simplifying those facts of which he house the connection they had with was in prior pofleffion. If, on the the matters contained in the re. other hand, the grounds of accufae ports of the committees, beyond tion could be extenuated, if the which they did not think he ought feverity of the charge could be to go in the matter of his intended abated, nay, perhaps annihilated, accusation, At this stage of the a denial of that opportunity to the business the house adjourned at one
an injuftice to the o'clock, on account of the illness accused. He should therefore conof the speaker ; and the day fol- sider the rejection of his motion as lowing the conversation was re a stratagem to get rid of the whole newed, upon a motion for papers enquiry ; but he entertained too relative to the affairs of Oude. strong a sente of what he owed to
It was urged that it would be a public justice, and to humanity, precedent of a very dangerous na to accept of the subterfuge that was ture to suffer papers, of the con offered him, and steal away from tents of which the house was in a and desert their cause. He knew great measure ignorant, to be laid that he should have to encounter a upon the table, merely on the connected force of the firit weight word of any individual member. and influence in the country : but Why did not the /honourable gen- he had not undertaken the accusatleman bring forward a specific ac tion upon light grounds, and he cusation ? the house might then be had the firmeit reliance upon the enabled to judge whether the pa- justice of his cause. He had been pers moved for were necessary to told, that the profecution would be fustantiate the charge or not; but unpopular ; that the people of Engtill that was done, it was their duty land would reject him in such a to resist the production of them. In pursuit.- O mil rable public ! he opposition to this unexpected obita- exclaimed; what! for having taken cle, Mr. Burke contended, and en up the cause of their injure} and deavoured to prove from several oppresled fellow-subjects in India, instances, that the practice of the for attempting to bring to justice house by no means bound them the plunderers of mankind, the down to the mode of proceeding to defolators of provinces, the opwhich it was attempted to subject presfors of an innocent and meri. him. In every criminal proceis torious people, in every rank, sex, the accuser, who, by becoming and condition, the violators of pub. fuch, took upon himself the onus lic faith, the destroyers of the Bri. probandi, was entitled to have such tish character and raputation--was documents and papers he he to be unpopular? Those who esteemed necessary to support the had railed monuments of their be. charge he undertook to bring for- nevolence, by providing afylums ward, open and accessible. A re- and receptacles for human milery, fusal must be attended with a were justly ranked for such deeds double injustice. If the accuser amongst the benefactors to manwanted collateral and explanatory kind; but even these acts of pa. VOL. XXVIII.
triotism and charity were not to be power had no excuse for refusing. compared to the noble work of sup; The papers for which he had movporting the most facred rights and ed he avowed were necessary for valuable interests of mankind, by his purpose ; and it was incumbent bringing to public justice the man on those who refused them to juswho had sacrificed them to his crueltify, by some better plea than that ty, his avarice, and his ambition.
of ignorance of their contents, the After pursuing this train of re refusal of them. flections with great energy and elo Major Scott followed Mr. Burke, quence, Mr. Burke remarked, that and agreed in opinion with him, the prevaricatio accusatorum had that the papers were necessary to been reckoned amongit one of the be produced ; and Mr. Pitt, after first symptoms of the decline of the many professions of the most un. Roman greatness. But at the time biased impartiality, concurred with this observation was made, when them; remarking, at the same time, Verres was accused by Cicero, every that it would be but fair and canmeans of information was allowed did in the right honourable mover, him. One hundred and fifty days to give the house fome specific inwere granted him, to collect the ma formation of the subject matter of terials of his accusation from so near his charges, and to itate the grounds a province as Sicily. All the pub- and reasons for the production of lic records were open to him, and such papers as he might think it persons sent out of Italy to every necessary to call for in support of place where the proofs of his guilt them. In compliance with this recould be collected. In like man- quest, Mr. Burke read to the house ner, when the Cicero of the present a short abstract of the several charges age felt that indignity against pub- which he designed to bring forlic crimes which did him so much ward ; and pointed out the matters honour, every possible aslistance was which the several papers, he afterafforded him ; every paper which wards moved fci, were intended to he wanted was produced; every explain and substantiate. avenue of information was opened;
The rest of Mr. all parties concurred in encouraging
Burke's motions met him ; the flower of the bar sup- with little opposition, tili, on the ported him ; crown lawyers were 3d of March, he moved for copies engaged in making researches; and of letters, and other papers, relatreasury clerks exerted themselves tive to the treaty of peace with the with all the enthusiasm of public Mahrattas. This motion was opvirtue. In hort the learned gen- posed by Mr. Dundas and Mr. Pitt, tleman obtained more information on two grounds; first, that the treaty than he might have ultimately in queition was a wife and falutary wished to have brought in charge treaty, and had saved the British against the delinquent he prosecut- empire in Asia ; and, fecondly, ed. Mr. Burke added, that it was that the production of the papers suficiently visible that his situation moved for would discover transwas in every respect the very re- actions relative to that peace, which verse ; that, for his own part, he ought to be kept a secret from only called for what the hand of the country powers in India, info
much as it would disclose the means be given. After a long debate, by which the several states that the house divided upon the motion, were confederate against England which was rejected by a majority were made jealous of each other, of 87 to 44. and the intrigues by which they
The conduct of
17th March. were induced to diffolve that con-,
adminiftration in re. federacy. In answer to these ob, fusing the papers moved for by Mr. jections, it was urged, by Ms. Burke, and the reasons upon which Burke and Mr. Fox, in the first that refusal was grounded, appearplace, that to argue from the me ed to the members in opposition of rits of the peace, was to beg the so serious and alarming a nature, question. , Mr. Hastings was charg- that the same motion was twice reed with having acted in that treaty newed, on the 6th and on the 17th unjustly, treacherously, and cruelly; of March by Mr. Fox, but restrict. that was the point in issue, and it ed to the correspondence of a Macould only be tried by the produc- jor Brown, an agent of Mr Hafttion of the papers. The accuser ings at the court of Delhi. Copies alledged he was in possession of the of many parts of this corresponfacts, and demanded the public do. dence were in the hands of some cuments only as furnishing the means private individuals in England, and of formal evidence of his charge. they were used, in the course of the In the second place it was argued, debate, both to prove the criminal that the reasons given for withhold. conduct of Mr. Hastings, and the ing the papers were, in fact, the 'futility of the pretention of sestrongest reasons for producing them; cresy. those reasons amounted to this, that It was strongly urged, that if the papers ought not to be produ- the grounds upon which ministers ced, because they would discover withheld those papers from the inin what manner the different pow. spection of parliament were aders in India had been sacrificed in mitted by the house as fufficient, that treaty to each other---the very it would in fact vest them with a point that was charged in the ac power of protecting every delincusation. This argument, if car- quent, and qualhing at the very ried to its full extent, would cover outset every public enquiry. Not. almost every species of political de- withitanding the odium which was linquency, since it made it only attempted by these repeated difneceffary for the delinquent to add cuffions to be thrown on adminiscomplicated treachery to his other tration, they continued firm in crimes, to render it dangerous to their refusal ; urging, in addition to bring him to a public trial. But their former arguments, that the the argument was futile in another agency of major Brown was by no respect ; the transactions alluded to means proved, and that the correwere but too well known, and too fpondence in question appeared to generally condemned and reproba- contain merely the wild and chi. ted throughout India. If they were merical projects of an unauthorized to be a secret, it would be a secret individual. The 'motion was reonly to the house of commons, and jected on the last day by 140 to of this sufficient proof might easily 73.