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that I should live to accomplish my intention, you will not, I hope, my dear lord, refuse permission to my availing myself of this present opportunity of telling the world, how greatly I love him, and how highly 1 honour bim.
Soon after my first acquaintance with him, he succeeded to the splendid possessions of his uncle, the Marquess of Rockingham, my revered master and patron; and, together with them, perhaps I may be permitted to say, to the guar. dianship of the whig cause in England and Ireland. From that time his political conduct is well known to his country ; for covertly or in concealment, I may confidently assert, he has done nothing. To his country, then, I may safely leave the judgment of that conduct. His political knowledge, and his ability for the administration of publick affairs, are known to those, who have either sat in council, or have held correspondence with him upon political subjects. His official services, indeed, during the late long reign, will not appear frequent in the historick page, nor his name prominently conspicuous in the annals of party ; but in the silent operation of those causes, wbich have hitherto transmitted to us the constitution, if not unimpaired, perhaps without essential deterioration, through the vicissitudes of that eventful period, and which have rescued it from frequent and imminent dangers, the politician, who looks below the surface of things, will discover abundant proofs of his influence. Ever keeping steadily in his view the essential equipoises of our constitution, he conceived it to be his paramount duty, however painful the performance of it might be, to endeavour to maintain that balance between its constituent parts, which is necessary to the very existence of the constitution itself.
If, at one time, he abdicated, as it were, the high rank, which be held as a leader of the old whig party, by concurring* in such a formation of a new party, as to the jealous eye of the publick, appeared tinged with a factious pursuit of
* The coalition with Lord North in 1783.
power, and which excited suspicions of a dereliction of principles; it was, because he well knew that no such dere. liction had taken place, and that there were no other means of combating with effect, that favourite system, which from the beginning of the late reign was directed in all its operations to the very extinction of whiggism.
If in an alarming exigency, when all constituted authority was threatened with subversion, he submitted* to the painful necessity of acting in separation from men, for whom he entertained the highest esteem, and with whom he had lived in habits of the most intimate friendship, and in concert with those, of whose political conduct he had before generally disapproved, it was for the purpose of discouraging the projects of innovation, which had been avowedly espoused by those who were then called the new whigs : it was for the purpose of preventing, by strengthening the legitimate operations of government, those inroads upon the constitution, to which the executive administration, when weakly formed, is often driven, in popular disturbances, to bave recourse : and particularly it was with a well grounded expectation of procuring thereby the accomplishment of a great act of national justice, by the restoration of our Roman Catholick fellow subjects to their political rights. This support of the executive government required no compromise of publick principles ; on the contrary, the additional strength acquired by the administration might both have disposed and enabled it to effectuate measures of salutary reform, of prudent retrenchments of expense, and of necessary ceconomy. On the part of Lord Fitzwilliam, this separation was marked with a moderation, which disarmed the animosity of the friends he had quitted, and left open the avenues to re-union with them, whilst at the same time it indicated the terms and extent of the new alliance, and was a pledge to the people, that the security of their rights,
* The coalition with Mr. Pitt in 1794, and the formation of Lord Grenville's administration in 1806.
and of the constitution, was with him the sole object of that alliance.
Afterwards, when the independence of Europe was endangered by an overwhelming force, which nothing but the resources of this country appeared able to resist, he united his endeavours with those of statesmen of the highest character and reputation, to call forth those resources in the support of a war, which, whatever might bave been his opinion of its policy at its commencement, he then conceived to be a measure of unavoidable necessity.
Lastly, when, in the discharge of these duties to his country, he was exposed to the effects of political intrigues, he bore the consequences* with that dignity, which naturally belongs to conscious merit, when deprived of any means of being useful.
Whilst I appeal with confidence to the people, for their judgment upon his publick conduct, to those, who are most intimately acquainted with his private life, I may with equal confidence appeal, and ask, By what private virtue is it not eminently distinguished ? Is this adulation ? His advanced age, and mine, as they remove from me almost all temptation to be a flatterer, may well exempt me from such an imputation. May you, my dear lord, ever escape its poisonous arts. May your labours in the service of your country procure for you, together with its praise, its confi. dence; and may that confidence, whilst it is your reward, become in your hands, one of the means of promoting and securing its most valuable interests and general prosperity.
* The dismission of the coalition ministry in 1784, and the subsequent discomfiture of the whig candidates at the general election in the same year; his resignation of the lord lieutenancy of Ireland in 1795; the dismission of the Grenville administration in 1807; and Lord Fitzwilliam's removal from the lord lieutenancy of Yorkshire in 1819.
With these and every other good wish, and with the sincerest regard, I remain,
My dear lord,
P.S.—Some apology seems necessary for the insertion of so much matter, extraneous to the immediate design of this introduction. I have no other to offer, but the natural garrulity, one of the many infirmities of old age.—If age cannot screen me from the severity of criticism, I must demand from the publick the indulgence, which I may require, for the venial gratification of private and personal feelings, as no unreasonable compensation for the labour and pains bestowed in preparing these posthumous works for its perusal.
OF WARREN HASTINGS, ESQUIRE.
THIRD DAY, 15th FEBRUARY, 1788.
My LORDS,—The gentlemen who have it in command to support the impeachment against Mr. Hastings, have directed me to open the cause with a general view of the grounds, upon which the Commons have proceeded in their charge against him. They have directed me to accompany this with another general view of the extent, the magnitude, the nature, the tendency, and the effect of the crimes, which they allege to have been by him committed. They have also directed me to give an explanation (with their aid I may be enabled to give it) of such circumstances, preceding the crimes charged on Mr. Hastings, or concomitant with them, as may tend to elucidate whatever may be found obscure in the articles as they stand. To these they wished me to add a few illustrative remarks on the laws, customs, opinions, and manners of the people concerned, and who are the objects of the crimes we charge on Mr. Hastings.
The several articles, as they appear before you, will be opened by other gentlemen with more particularity, with more distinctness, and, without doubt, with infinitely more ability, when they come to apply the evidence, which naturally belongs to each article of this accusation. This, my lords, is the plan, which we mean to pursue on the great charge, which is now to abide your judgment.
My lords, I must look upon it as an auspicious circumstance to this cause, in which the honour of the kingdom