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ruin which they brought upon the family of the Nabol), by the infraction of treaties, and by the disrepute which in his person was sustained by the government he represented, and by the stain left upon the justice, honor, and good faith of the English nation. We charge him with their farther aggravation by sundry false pretences alleged by him in justification of this conduct, the pretended reluctance of the Nabob, the fear of offending him, the suggestion of the Begums having forgotten and forgiven the wrongs they had suffered, and of the danger of reviving their discontent by any attempt to redress them, and by his insolent language, that the majesty of justice with which he impudently invests himself was only to be approached with solicitation. We have farther stated, that the pretence that he was only concerned in this business as an accessary is equally false; it being, on the contrary, notorious, that the Nabob was the accessary, forced into the service, and a mere instrument in his hands, and that he and Sir Elijah Impey (whose employment in this business we stated as a farther aggravation) were the authors and principal agents. And we farther contend, that each of these aggravations and pretences is itself, in fact and in its principle, a substantive crime.
Your Lordships witnessed the insolence with which this man, stung to the quick by the recital of his crime, interrupted me; and you heard his recrimination of falsehood against us. We again avouch the truth of all and every word we have uttered, and the validity of every proof with which we have supported them. Let his impatience, I say, now again burst forth, - he who feels so sensibly everything that touches him, and yet seeks for an act of
indemnity for his own atrocities, by endeavoring to make you believe that the wrongs of a desolated family are within one year forgotten by them, and buried in oblivion.
I trust, my Lords, that both his prosecutors and his judges will evince that patience which the criminal wants. Justice is not to wait to have its majesty approached with solicitation. We see that throne in which resides invisibly, but virtually, the majesty of England; we see your Lordships representing, in succession, the juridical authority in the highest court in this kingdom : but we do not approach you with solicitation ; we make it a petition of right; we claim it; we demand it. The right of seeking redress is not suppliant, even before the majesty of England; it comes boldly forward, and never thinks it offends its sovereign by claiming what is the right of all his people.
We have now done with this business: a business as atrocious as any that is known in the history of mankind; a business that has stained, throughout all Asia, the British character, and by which our fame for honor, integrity, and public faith has been forfeited ; a business which has introduced us throughout that country as breakers of faith, destroyers of treaties, plunderers of the weak and unprotected, and has dishonored and will forever dishonor the British name. Your Lordships have had all this in evidence. You have seen in what manner the Nabob, his country, his revenues, his subjects, his mother, his family, his nobility, and all their fortunes, real and personal, have been disposed of by the prisoner at your bar; and having seen this, you will by the impatience of this criminal estimate the patience of the unfortunate women into whose injuries he refused to inquire. What he would not do the Commons have done. They know that you have a feeling different from that which he manifested on this occasion; they do not approach you suppliantly, but demand justice ; they insist, that, as the Commons have done their part, your Lordships will perform yours.
We shall next proceed to show your Lordships how he acted towards another set of women, the women of the late Sujah Dowlah, and for whom the Directors had ordered a maintenance to be secured by an express treaty. You will see that he is cruel towards the weak sex, and to all others in proportion as they are weak and powerless to resist him. You will see, I say, when he had usurped the whole government of Oude, and brought it into a servile dependence on himself, how these women fared ; and then your Lordships will judge whether or not, and in what degree, he is criminal.
SEVENTH DAY: THURSDAY, JUNE 12, 1794.
Maddressing your Lordships from this place, my
of addressing your Lordships from this place, my observations were principally directed to the unjust confiscation and seizure of the jaghires and treasures of the Begums, without previous accusation or trial, or subsequent inquiry into their conduct, in violation of a treaty made with them and guarantied by the East India Company, — to the long imprisonment and cruel treatment of their ministers, and to the false pretences and abominable principles by which the prisoner at your bar has attempted to justify his conduct. The several acts of violence and of oppression were, as we have shown your Lordships, committed with circumstances of aggravated atrocity highly disgraceful to the British name and character, - and particularly by his forcing the Nabob to become the means and instrument of reducing his mother and grandmother and their families to absolute want and distress.
I have now to call your attention to his treatment of another branch of this miserable family, the women and children of the late Nabob Sujah ul Dowlah. These persons were dependent upon the Begums, and by the confiscation of their property,
and by the ruin of various persons who would otherwise have contributed to their maintenance, were reduced to the last extremity of indigence and want. Being left without the common necessaries of life, they were driven to the necessity of breaking through all those local principles of decorum which constitute the character of the female sex in that part of the world; and after fruitless supplications and shrieks of famine, they endeavored to break the inclosure of the palace, and to force their way to the market-place, in order to beg for bread. When they had thus been forced to submit to the extremity of disgrace and degradation, by exposing themselves to public view with the starving children of their late sovereign, the brothers and sisters of the reigning prince, they were, in this attempt, attacked by the sepoys armed with bludgeons, and driven back by blows into the palace.
My Lords, we have first laid before you the sufferings and disgraces of women of the first distinction in Asia, protected by their rank, protected by their sex, protected by their near relation to the prince of the country, protected by two guaranties of the representative of the British government in India. We now come to another class of women, who suffered by the violent misappropriation of the revenues of the Nabob, by which their regular allowance was taken from them; and your Lordships will find that this man's crimes, at every step we take, ripen in guilt, his acts of positive injustice are always aggravated by his conduct with regard to the consequences of them, and form but a small part in the mass of oppression and tyranny which we have brought be