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for his own benefit, and they not receiving such bribes, and if they had a liking to that kind of traffick, it is a good ground of envy, that a matter, wbich ought to be in common among them, should be confined to Mr. Hastings, and he therefore did well to conceal it ; and, on the other hand, if we suppose him to have taken them, as he pretends, for the company's use, in order not to excite a jealousy in his colleagues for being left out of this meritorious service, to which they had an equal claim, he did well to take bonds for what ought to be brought to the company's accounts. These are reasons applicable to his colleagues, who sat with him at the same board : Mr. Macpherson, Mr. Stables, Mr. Wheler, General Clavering; Colonel Monson, and Mr. Francis : he was afraid of exciting their envy or their jealousy. You will next see another reason, and an extraordinary one it is, which he gives for concealing these bribes from his inferiours.
But I must first tell your lordships, what, till the proof is brought before you, you will take on credit—indeed it is on his credit, that when he formed the committee of revenue, he bound them by a solemn oath, “not, under any name or pretence whatever, to take from any zemindar, farmer, person concerned in the revenue, or any other, any gift, gratuity, allowance or reward whatever, or any thing beyond their salary;" and this is the oath to which he alludes. Now his reason for concealing his bribes from his inferiours, this committee, under these false and fraudulent bonds, he states thus : “I should have deemed it particularly dishonourable to receive for my own use, money tendered by a certain class, from whom I had interdicted the receipt of presents to my inferiours, and bound them, by oath, not to receive them: I was therefore more than ordinarily cautious to avoid the suspicion of it, which would scarcely have failed to light upon me, had I suffered the money to be brought to my own house, or that of any person known to be in trust for me.” My lords, here he comes before you, avowing, that he knew the practice of taking money from these people was a thing dishonourable in itself. “I should have deemed it particularly dishonourable to receive, for my own
use, money tendered by men of a certain class, from whom I had interdicted the receipt of presents to my inferiours, and bound them, by oath, not to receive them." He beld it particularly dishonourable to receive them: he had bound others by an oath not to receive them: but he received them himself, and why does he conceal it? why ; because, says he, if the suspicion came upon me, the dishonour would fall upon my pate. Why did he, by an oath, bind his inferiours not to take these bribes ? Why, because it was base and dishonourable so to do; and because it would be mis. chievous and ruinous to the company's affairs to suffer them to take bribes. Why then did he take them himself? It was ten times more ruinous, that he, who was at the head of the company's government, and had bound up others so strictly, should practise the same himself; and, therefore, says he, “ I was more than ordinarily cautious.”—What? To avoid it ? No; to carry it on in so clandestine and private a manner, as might secure me from the suspicion of that, which I know to be detestable, and bound others up from practising
We shall prove, that the kind of men, from whom he interdicted his committee to receive bribes, were the identical men from whom he received them himself. If it was good for him, it was good for them to be permitted these means of extorting; and, if it ought at all to be practised, they ought to be admitted to extort for the good of the company. Rajah Nobkissen was one of the men, from whom he interdicted them to receive bribes, and from whom he received a bribe for his own use. But he says, he concealed it from them, because he thought great mischief might happen even from their suspicion of it, and lest they should thereby be inclined themselves to practice it, and to break their oaths.
You take it then for granted, that he really concealed it from them : No such thing ; his principal confidant in receiving these bribes was Mr. Croftes, who was a principal person in this board of revenue, and whom he had made to gwear not to take bribes : he is the confidant, and the very receiver, as we shall prove to your lordships. What will
your lordships think of his affirming, and averring a direct falsehood, that he did it to conceal it from these men, when one of them was his principal confidant and agent in the transaction ? What will you think of his being more than ordinarily cautious to avoid the suspicion of it?
He ought to have avoided the crime, and the suspicion would take care of itself. " For these reasons, he says, I caused it to be transported immediately to the treasury. There I well knew, sir, it could not be received, without being passed to some credit, and this could only be done by entering it as a loan, or as a deposit. The first was the least liable to reflection ; and therefore I had obviously recourse to it. Why the second sum was intended as a deposit, I am utterly ignorant. Possibly it was done without any special direction from me ; possibly because it was the simplest mode of entry, and therefore preferred, as the transaction itself did not require concealment, having been already avowed.” My lords, in fact, every word of this is either false or groundless : it is completely fallacious in every part. The first sum, he says, was entered as a loan ; the second as a deposit. Why was this done ? Because, when you enter monies of this kind, you must enter them under some name, some head of account; and I entered them, he says, under these, because, otherwise there was no entering them at all, Is this true? Will be stick to this? I shall desire to know from his learned counsel, sometime or other, whether that is a point he will take issue upon. Your lordships will see there were other bribes of his, which he brought under a regular official head, namely, durbar charges ; and there is no reason why he should not have brought these under the same head. Therefore what he says, that there is no other way of entering them but as loans and deposits, is not true. He next says, that in the second sum there was no reason for concealment, because it was avowed: but that false deposit was as much concealment as the false loan, for he entered that money as his own ; whereas when he had a mind to carry any money to the company's account, he knew how to do it, for he had been accustomed to enter it under a general name, called durbar charges ; a name, which, in its ex
tent at least, was very much his own invention, and which, as he gives no account of those charges, is as large and sufficient to cover any fraudulent expenditure in the account, as, one would think, any person could wish.
You see him, then, first guessing one thing, then another ; first giving this reason, then another: at last, however, he seems to be satisfied, that he has hit upon the true reason of his conduct.
Now let us open the next paragraph, and see what it is. “ Although I am firmly persuaded, that these were my sentiments on the occasion, yet I will not affirm that they were. Though I feel their impression as the remains of a series of thoughts retained on my memory, I am not certain that they may not have been produced by subsequent reflection on principal fact, combining with it the probable motives of it. Of this I am certain, that it was my design originally to have concealed the receipt of all the sums, except the second, even from the knowledge of the court of directors. They had answered my purpose of publick utility, and I had almost dismissed them from my remembrance.” My lords, you will observe in this most astonishing account, which he gives here, that several of these sums he meant to conceal for ever, even from the knowledge of the directors. Look back to his letter of 22d May 1782, and his letter of the 16th of December, and in them he tells you, that he might have concealed them, but that he was resolved not to conceal them : that he thought it highly dishonourable so to do; that his conscience would have been wounded, if he had done it ; and that he was afraid it would be thought, that this discovery was brought from him in consequence of the parliamentary inquiries. Here, he says of a discovery, which he values himself upon making voluntarily, that he is afraid it should be attributed to arise from motives of fear. Now, at last, he tells you, from Cheltenham, at a time when he had just cause to dread the strict account, to which he is called this day : first, that he cannot tell whether any one motive, which he assigns, either in this letter, or in the former, were his real motive or not; that he does not know, whether he has not invented them since, in consequence of a train of meditation, upon what he might have done, or
might have said ; and, lastly, he says, contrary to all his former declarations, “ that he had never meant nor could give the directors the least notice of them at all, as they had answered his purpose, and he had disinissed them from his remembrance.”
I intended, he says, always to keep them secret, though I have declared to you solemnly, over and over again, that I did not. I do not care how you discovered them; I have forgotten them; I have dismissed them from my remembrance. Is this the way, in which money is to be received and accoun' d for?
He then proceeds thus : “ But when fortune threw a sum of money in my way of a magnitude, which could not be concealed, and the peculiar delicacy of my situation at the time I received it, made me more circumspect of appearances; I chose to apprize my employers of it, which I did hastily and generally: hastily, perhaps, to prevent the vigilance and activity of secret calumny; and generally, because I knew not the exact amount, of which I was in the receipt, but not in the full possession. I promised to acquaint them with the result as soon as I should be in possession of it; and, in the performance of my promise, I thought it consistent with it to add to the amount all the former appropriations of the same kind; my good genius then suggesting to me, with a spirit of caution, which might have spared me the trouble of this apology, had I universally attended to it, that if I had suppressed them, and they were afterwards known, I might be asked, what were my motives for withholding a part of these receipts from the knowledge of the court of directors, and informing them of the rest, it being my wish to clear up
I am almost ashamed to remark upon the tergiversations, and prevarications, perpetually ringing the changes in this declaration. He would not have discovered this hundred thousand pounds, if he could have concealed it : he would have discovered it, lest malicious persons should be telling tales of it. He has a system of concealment; he never discovers any thing, but when he thinks it can be forced from him. He says, indeed, I could conceal these things for ever, but my conscience would not give me leave: but it is guilt, and not honesty of conscience, that always