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much more than perhaps even more grievous, and real oppressions, that were exercised under them. It had alarmed their feelings, it had been marked, and had called the attention of the publick upon them in an eminent manner.
Your lordships remember the death of Jaffier Ally Khân, the first of those soubahs, who introduced the English power into Bengal. He died about four or five years before this period; he was succeeded by two of his sons, who succeeded to one another in a very rapid succession. The first was the person,
of whom we have read an account to you. He was the natural son of the nabob by a person called Munny Begum, who, for the corrupt gifts, the circumstances of which we have recited, had, in prejudice of the lawful issue of the nabob, been raised to the musnud ; but as bastard slips, it is said in King Richard (an abuse of a scripture phrase ) do not take deep root, this bastard slip Nudjheem Dowla shortly died, and the legitimate son Syel O'Dowlah succeeded him. After him another legitimate son Mobareck ul Dowlab succeeded in a minority. When I say succeeded, I wish your lordships to understand, that there is no regular succession in the office of soubah, or viceroy of the kingdom ; but, in general, succession has been considered, and persons have been put in that place upon some principles resembling a regular succession. That regular succession had been broken in favour of a natural son, and the mother of that natural son did obtain the superiority in the female part of the family for a time.
In consequence of these two circumstances, namely, the famine, and the abuses, that were supposed to arise from it; and from the circumstance of the minority of Mobareck ul Dowlah, who now reigns or appears to reign, in consequence of these two circumstances, the company gave two sets of orders.
The first order related to Mahomed Reza Khân, who was (as your lordships remember I took, in the beginning of this affair, means of explaining) lord deputy of the province under the native government, the English holding the dewannee; and deputy dewan, or high steward, under the name of the English, and had the command of the whole revenue ;
and who was accused before the company (the channel of which accusation we now learn) of having aggravated that famine by a monopoly for his own benefit.
The company, upon these loose and general charges, ordered, that he should be divested of his office, that he should be brought down to Calcutta, and there be obliged to render an account of his conduct.
The next regulation they made was concerning the effective government of the country, which was become vacant by the removal of Mahomed Reza Khân. The offices, which he held were in effect these :-he was guardian to the nabob by the appointment of the company; he had the care and management of his family; he had the care of the publick justice ; and he represented that shadow of government to foreign nations, which it was the policy of the company, 'at that time, to keep up. This was the person, whom Mr. Hastings was ordered to remove ; in consequence of which removal all these offices were to be supplied—of guardian of the nabob's person, and manager of his family ; of chief magistrate, and of representative of the fallen dignity of the native government to the foreign nations, which traded to Bengal.
To these orders was added an instruction of a very remarkable nature, which was a third trust, that was given to Mr. Hastings; that during the nabob's minority he should reduce the annual allowance, which was thirty-two lacks, to sixteen ; and that to prevent the abuse of this restricted sum, and to prevent its being directed by the minister's authority to other purposes than that, for which the company allowed it, (that is to say, allowed him out of what was his own) of these sixteen lacks an account was to be regularly kept as a check upon the person so appointed, which account was ordered to be transmitted to Calcutta, and to be sent to England.
Now, we are to show your lordships, what Mr. Hastings's conduct was upon all these occasions; and, for this, we mean to produce testimony recorded in the company's books, and authentick documents taken from the publick offices of that country. At the same time I do admit, that there
never was a positive testimony, that did not stand something in need of the support of presumption ; for as we know, that witnesses may be perjured ; and, as we know, that documents can be forged, we have recourse to a known principle in the laws of all countries, that circumstances cannot lie ; and, therefore, if the testimony, that is given, was ever so clear and positive, yet, if it is contrary to the circumstances of the country ; if it is contrary to the circumstances of the facts, to which it alludes; if the deposition is totally adverse and alien to the characters of the persons ; then I will say, that though the testimonies should be many, though they should be consistent, and though they should be clear, yet they will still leave some degree of hesitation and doubt upon every mind timorous in the execution of justice, as every mind ought to be. If, for instance, ten witnesses were to swear, that the chief justice of England, that the lord high chancellour, or the archbishop of Canterbury, was seen, in the robes of his function, at noon day, robbing upon the highway, it is not the clearness, the weight, the authority of testimonies, that could make me believe it; I should attribute it to any cause, either corruption, mistake, errour, or madness, rather than believe that fact. Why? because it is totally alien to the character of the persons, the situation, the circumstances, and to all the rules of probability. But if, on the contrary, the crime charged has a perfect relation with the person, with his known conduct, with his known habits, with the situation and circumstances of the place, that he is in, and with the very corrupt inherent nature of the act, that he does, then much less proof than we are able to produce will serve ; and according to the nature and strength of the presumptions arising from the inherent nature of a vicious principle, and vicious motives in the act, will be strengthened the weakest evidence, or, if it comes to a sufficient height, the whole burthen of proof will be turned upon the party accused.
And thus we shall think ourselves bound to show your lordships, in every step of this proceeding, that there is an inherent presumption of corruption in every act. We shall show the presumptions, which preceded : we shall show the presumptions, which
accompanied the proof; and these, with the subsequent presumptions, will make it impossible to disbelieve them. Such a body of proof was never given upon any such occasion; and it is such proof as will prevail against the whole voice of corruption, that amazing, active, diligent, spreading voice, which has been made, by buzzing in every part of this country, sometimes to sound like the publick voice ; it will put it to silence by showing, that your lordships have proceeded upon the strongest evidence, active and passive.
First, Mr. Hastings received a positive order to seize upon Mahomed Reza Khân. That order he executed with a military promptitude of obedience, which will show your lordships, what are the services, which are congenial to his own mind, and which find in him always a ready acquiescence; a faithful agent, and a spirited instrument in the execution. The very day after he received the order, he sent up, privately, without communicating with the council, from whom he was not ordered to keep this proceeding a secret ; he sent up, and found that great and respectable man, and respectable magistrate, who was in all those high offices, which I have stated ; and if I was to compare them to circumstances and situations in this country, I should say, he had united in himself the character of first lord of the treasury ; the character of chief justice ; the character of lord high chancellour, and the character of archbishop of Canterbury ; a man of great gravity, dignity, and authority, and advanced in years; had once 100,0001. a year for the support of his dignity ; and had at that time 50,0001. This man, sitting in his garden, reposing himself after the toils of his situation ; for he was one of the most laborious men in the world ; was suddenly arrested, and without a moment's respite, dragged down to Calcutta, and there by Mr. Hastings (exceeding the orders of the company) confined near two years, under a guard of soldiers. Mr. Hastings kept this great man for several months without even attempting the trial upon him. How he tried him afterwards your lordships may probably in the course of this business inquire : and you will then judge from the circumstances of that trial, that, as he was not tried for his crime, so neither was he
acquitted for his innocence ;-but, at present, I leave him in that situation. Mr. Hastings, unknown to the council, having executed the orders of the company in the last degree of rigour to this unhappy man, keeps him in that situation, without a trial, under a guard, separated from his country, disgraced, and dishonoured, and by Mr. Hastings's express order not suffered either to make a visit or receive a visitor.
There was another commission for Mr. Hastings contained in these orders. The company, because they were of opinion, that justice could not be easily obtained while the first situations of the country were filled with this man's adherents, desired Mr. Hastings to displace them; leaving him a very large power, and confiding in his justice, prudence, and impartiality, not to abuse a trust of such delicacy. But, we shall prove to your lordships, that Mr. Hastings thought it necessary to turn out, from the highest to the lowest, several hundreds of people for no other reason than that they had been put in their employments by that very man, whom the English government had formerly placed there.
If we were to insist, that we could not possibly try Mr. Hastings, or come at his wickedness, until we had eradicated his influence in Bengal, and left not one man in it, who was, during his government, in any place or office whatever ; yet, though we should readily admit, that we could not do the whole without it, at the same time, rather than make a general massacre of every person presumed to be under his influence, we would leave some of his crimes unproved. He did avow and declare, that, unless he turned all these persons out of their offices, he could never hope to come at the truth of any charges against Mabomed Reza Khân; against whom no specifick charge bad been made. Yet upon loose and general charges did he seize upon this man, confine him in this manner, and every person, who derived any place or authority from him, high or low, was turned out. Mr. Hastings had, in the company's orders, something to justify him in rigour, but he had likewise a prudential power over that rigour; and he not only treated this man in the manner described, but every human crea